Funeral Cake Factory

Prologue – A Glimpse of the Future

1945th Year of the Imperial Calendar – Leiterbunker, Aldebaran

It was a sweltering summer day outside a certain granite-walled apartment located at the outskirts of the city of Aldebaran. The apartment's owner, a man around his fifties, was convinced that the outside was filled with darkness, death, and helplessness. He considered the outside as a mere illusion, and his room could in fact, for all purposes, be the safest place in the world.

Quietly and firmly seated upon his finely-chiseled pinewood armchair, this man known to his subordinates simply as "Leiter" deftly flipped the pages of the briefing documents that were neatly stacked on the table in front of him. He had been inside the room for about half an hour – eagerly waiting for someone's arrival. The frustration was slowly driving him to the edge.

In his boredom, this man, with a mild build and stature for someone in his age, gradually took the documents apart. Silently and neatly, he unbound each parchment. He then sighed after finishing the last of the paperwork, as if the act lifted a tremendous burden from his shoulders. Staring at the documents for one last time, he admired the wall of text built by the blocks of words printed on the paper. Without another thought, he picked up a batch of the documents and flung them out of the only window available in the room. No wind passed freely inside the man's room, but the documents drifted ever so slowly despite their substantial weight.

He picked up another batch of documents, and another one, and then another… until all but one piece of paper remained in his hand. He then examined the final piece of printed text, perhaps for him to create a vivid reminder of his actions.

Then, as if an attack coming from behind him, aggressive knocks on the door echoed across the dimly-lit room. Having lost his concentration and solace, he decided to answer the person waiting for him on the other side. He had been expecting an important visitor – terribly late, considering the things he wanted to discuss.

A grim and expressionless face greeted Leiter upon opening the heavy wooden door. It wasn't the man's expected visitor, rather it was his subordinate – his adjutant, to be exact – who carried with him a standard-issue assault rifle and a loaded cartridge. The man gladly accepted the armaments from his adjutant, and ordered him to leave him at peace for the time being.

The adjutant, being rather persuasive, asked for a few moments to at least report the situation from the outside. It was this information that the man ever so wanted, yet dreaded for its ability to be able to push him into a corner. Any compromised detail would mean a direct distortion from his carefully laid-out plans.

Leiter remained silent, and waited for the adjutant to finish his report. It was but another of those typical correspondence in the military, which he painfully listened to every single day despite hating all of its aspects. He believed that correspondence is all but a scripted pile of deception, especially if the message came from people in the service that he barely even trusted.

The adjutant however, wasn't only carrying typical correspondence – he had another message. It was something the man wouldn't want to hear. But news was news and its spread was inevitable, for no information could be hidden forever unless all the vital and necessary fragments of the story were destroyed.

The adjutant finally finished his report. Though the aged man wanted to leave and ignore the message, his ears couldn't forget the words which were apparently burned in his memory with the speed of thought. The supposed visitor, his right-hand man – which his subordinates call the "Vice Leiter," died together with the members of the 88th Infantry in defense of the southern border of Aldebaran. The man shivered in fear, for his enemies were but a stone's throw away from his primary base.

He then heard the sound of artillery fire coming from the window, as if warning him of the time he had remaining.

(Notes: Leiter is the German word for Leader.)