Battler Bunn (He Bombs the Hun) in, "The Argies Have Landed" by John Freeman and Michael Norwitz, from an idea of John Freeman, with apologies to Alan Moore.
[[Good morning, London.]] The slow Latin tones came voiced over the loudspeakers that were erected at every street corner. [[It is 6:AM, the second of June, and this is the Voice of Fate broadcasting on 275 and 285 of the medium wave.
[[Good news following the productivity reports from Herefordshire indicating a possible end to meat rationing starting mid August ... ]]
Parliament's cold shadow fell on Westminster Bridge, and Billy Hammond shivered. "Get yer papers here," he shouted out. "Papers!"
A man approached the plucky newspaper lad. "Are these British papers?"
"Yessir," Billy replied. "I got the Sun, I got the Daily Mail, the Star ... "
The man sneered. "All the ... so-called nativist publications, I see. None of the ones recommended by our Leader. Are you sure you know what you're doing, selling those so openly?"
Billy looked around, "I been working these routes for months, sir, I know what I'm doing."
"No, you don't know," the man replied. "Or you wouldn't have picked a Condorman on a security detail."
Billy paled at the name of the occupation secret service. "S-sorry sir, I ... my distributors don't give me much choice on what to carry ... "
But the man no longer appeared to be listening. Instead, he extended a hand and snapped his fingers loudly. Bursting from an alley came a quartet of armed men, all clad in the uniform of the occupation security forces.
"Argies," Billy whispered under his breath, fear in his voice.
"You should know better than to slur my friends to their faces," the man said, his voice hard. "Your masters are called Argentines, as you well know. Now young man, it's time for your punishment."
Each of the four men grabbed Billy by one of his limbs, and forced him to bend over. The man reached into his greatcoat, and pulled out a switch. Yanking down Billy's trousers, he began to apply the switch ferociously to the lad's bare bottom. "Spare the rod, spoil the child!"
"Ow, ow, ow," Billy cried out, tears staining his face as he struggled against the hard grip of the Condormen.
Then, from out of nowhere, as if descending from the sky, another man appeared: his face covered behind a helmet, patriotic British colors adorning his clothing, submachine gun in hand. "Yea, all which it inherits shall dissolve and like this insubstantial pageant faded," he said.
"Who the heck are you?" retorted the man with the switch, pausing in his attack on poor Billy. "I'll have you know we are Condormen and you are interrupting a ... gack!"
The man's protests were cut short, the result of a barrage of bullets from the sten coursing through his throat.
As bullets flew around him, Billy scrambled for shelter, the other Argentines drew their guns and fired wildly at the newcomer. "Leave not a rack behind; we are such stuff as dreams are made of," the man responded as a cloud of gaseous smoke appeared around him, obscuring his placement and leaving his opponents' bullets piercing empty air.
"Throw down your weapons and surrender!" screamed one of the Argentines, as his fellows started to fan out around the smoke cloud. "We've got you surrounded."
The man appeared on a rooftop, laughing at them. "How the heck did he get up there?" said another of the Argentines.
"Always obliged to follow my master's orders," said the mystery man, throwing a hand grenade down at the Condormen.
"This is not quite what I had in mind ... " said the lead Argentine as he watched the bomb tumble down, before it exploded amidst them, leaving them deader than a llama without water on the plains of Lima.
The man descended to the ground and looked at the ruined bodies as Billy raced toward him. "Our little life is rounded with sleep ... "
Billy ran over to him, "Wow, you just took them all out! Like you were 'Sam Strong' or something! What's your name, sir?"
"Call me Battler Bunn," the man said. "Do you know the significance of this special day?"
Billy squinched up his face. "Second of June? Nossir ... "
Battler Bunn nodded, "Of course, you wouldn't have had the benefits of a proper education, and you're too young to remember the events of the Falklands War. When the Argentines impinged first on our empire, before then invading our homeland. That makes today a very special day. And all very special days ought to be marked with fireworks, shouldn't they?"
He took Billy by the hand, and pulled him up the the rooftop. It was like he was flying. Battler Bunn knelt down, placing a hand on Billy's shoulder, and pointing to indicate where the lad ought to look - toward what was once the headquarters of MI6, converted into a base for the Argentine Command. Almost immediately, there followed an explosion which shook the ground.
"Argie H.Q.! You blew up Argie H.Q.!" The boy cheered, and then marveled as the sky was illuminated with fireworks. "Wow, they're beautiful."
"You showed a lot of guts, standing up against those Condormen, Billy. I think I could use a sidekick like you. I have a special lair called the Britcave, from which I plan to launch my campaign against the Argie invaders. You needn't return to the government orphanage, anymore."
And Billy sobbed like the child he was. Sobbed because at long last his nightmare was over.
[[And that is the face of London, and this is the Voice of Fate signing off and bidding you a pleasant morning.]]
In the office of the Leader, Von Bork saluted smartly. Despite his white hair and advanced age, his spine was still as straight and his eyes still as sharp as they had been in his youth. His face was stern, its handsomeness marred by an ancient dueling scar.
"At ease, Von Bork," said the Leader. "Tell me what you've learned."
Von Bork polished his monocle. A Nazi who settled in Argentina after World War II, he found it most satisfying to be acting as their enforcer in the conquered England, a nation which had given his own people so much frustration in years past. "Ve fount ze launch for ze firevorks. It vas at a nearby bakery."
"Excellent work, von Bork." The Leader smiled, "So you have a suspect?"
Von Bork scowled. "Ve haff rounded up ze usuals. Unfortunately, zese devices were all home-made vith over ze counter chemicals, making zem impossible to trace, despite zere level of sophistication."
"Ah. I see. So we can't even assume our terrorists won't strike again."
"He may haff already. I investigated reports uff a fatal attack against several uff our Condormen, who appeared to haff fallen under a military attack. Traces of ze same chemicals vere at both uff ze sites vhich leads us to conclude zat ze same agencies vere at vork."
The Leader templed his fingertips, resting his chin upon them in thought. "So we're left wondering whether the terrorists will indeed declare this a victory, or whether there some other motive?"
"Whoefer zey are, Leader, zey're gut at vhat zey do; I think it is premature to assume they haff completed zere agenda."
"Last night someone did the unthinkable. Someone hurt us," the Leader said. "I want you to dog their heels, Von Bork. Run them to the ground."
Von Bork clicked his heels. "Yes, mein Leader."
The plump man exited the government building accompanied by a routine of bodyguards. He turned to the man on his right. "Where's my limo?" he asked, just as the sleek black car pulled into the driveway.
"Right here, sir," the bodyguard said, opening the door for him. "I wish you'd let us accompany you, Senor Mendoza."
Mendoza smirked, "Hardly necessary. The public thinks the Voice of Fate is generated by the Fate computer that the government uses to tally all its data ... that it's infallible. So far as the public knows, I don't exist. I am hardly worth assassinating." He slid into the back of the car, and allowed the bodyguard to close the door behind him.
The limo slid out into the city streets. Mendoza opened his briefcase, pulling out Fate's estimates for the afternoon broadcast. He sorted through them for several minutes, before he glanced up and out of the window. His eyes widened, and he rapped on the window separating him from the driver. "Say ... say you ... this isn't the way to my house! Turn around, this instant!"
The driver turned around, and Mendoza saw that his identity was hidden behind a helmet. "Good evening, Commandant Mendoza."
"What," Mendoza fell back in his seat, his face pale. "What did you call me?"
"Commandant Mendoza," Battler Bunn said. "That was your title at Stalag 13. You remember the Stalag, don't you, Commandant? The P.O.W. camp where they sent those who fought against the Argie invaders?"
Mendoza sucked in air through his teeth. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Maybe I can help your memory. Let's see. Stalag 13 opened in the winter of 1983. You were appointed its Commandant. You made sure the Stalag made all its quotas, especially the oven quotas even though they required an excessive amount of maintenance."
Mendoza's eyes bulged. "The oven quotas ... You! You're him, aren't you? You're the ... the baker!"
Battler Bunn nodded.
"That was years ago," gasped Mendoza. "What do you want from me now?"
Battler Bunn opened a small case at his side. "That last day ... the day I escaped, the day I burned the Stalag to the ground, I baked one last bun. Just for you." He held it up. "Pity if it's gotten a bit stale since then."
Mendoza reached for the inside door handle, only to find it missing. He started hammering away at the windows as the limo slid into a parking lot. His activities were halted as Battler Bunn reached back, and grabbed him by the jaw in order to force his mouth open. The stale bun was crammed into his mouth, shattering his teeth.
Mendoza struggled to breath through the stale bread. The driver flicked a switch, and Mendoza's door opened, causing the man to fall out of the car and onto the ground, unable to breathe. A currant bun... a hideous British invention to which he was obscenely allergic, as the Baker well knew!
Battler Bunn stared down at Mendoza, unmoving as the man struggled for breath, then choked his last.
"Looks like the Fate will require a new Voice, won't it?" he said, calmly, then dropped a British flag pin on the twitching body and strolled slowly away into the descending London fog...
To Be Continued in the next issue of Warrior magazine. p
Battler Bunn trademark and copyright Alan Moore, John Freeman, and Michael Norwitzp
The Argies are of course Argentineans (or 'Argentines' as they quickly became, the name 'hardened' by the tabloid press to make even the country sound tougher). This is a play on the way most UK newspapers sold the Falklands War and people all got caught up in it in a very Them and Us way, just like DC Thomson portrayed battles between Us and the Hun/Nazi/Japanese...
Condorman is a tip of the hat to "Operation Condor" a campaign of political repressions involving assassination and intelligence operations officially implemented in 1975 by the governments of the Southern Cone of South America in the 1970s.
D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd publish children's comics in the UK, and have a penchant for rather strident wartime characters. Further context for the above from a quotation from Alan Moore:
"V for Vendetta started out partly in the Marvel UK Hulk Weekly and partly in an idea that I submitted to a D.C. Thomson's Scriptwriter Talent Competition when I was a tender 22 years old. My idea concerned a freakish terrorist in white-face makeup who traded under the name of 'The Doll' and waged war upon a Totalitarian State sometime in the late 1980s. D.C. Thomson decided a transsexual terrorist wasn't quite what they were looking for and wisely opted for an entry submitted by a green-grocer from Hull entitled 'Battler Bunn (He Bombs the Hun!)' or something very similar."
This fanfic is based on John Freeman's attempt to estimate how they might have chosen to edit a "V for Vendetta" proposal had it been submitted to them.