Belgium, Brussels, 1962
It was the dead of night and the royal museum of art in Brussels was empty. At the entrance a man dressed in a grey trench coat over a light blue jumper, burgundy trousers and light brown shoes. His orange hair had been combed back with a youthful and energetic face. He looked up at the building wondering why he was there as he fiddled with a piece of card in his hand. By his feet there was a small bright white dog which just sat there looking up at his master with a bemused face. Folding up the piece of card the man put it back into his coat pocket as he walked towards the doors of the building. He gently pushed it and it opened. It seemed strange that the doors of such an institute would be open at that time of the night. Slowly walking through he saw the building was in complete darkness. Everything about the meeting point seemed very strange. The lights to the main entrance of the building flickered on and the door behind the entrance desk opened to reveal a stairwell leading down wards.
Going through the doorway and walking down the spiral staircase he came to a strange door with no handle. With no obvious means of opening it he knocked on the front and waited. The door slid open and inside was something he didn't expect. The room on the other side was almost like a lounge with a bar, seating area and table with seven chairs around it facing a projector screen. In the room were two people, one of which the man recognised the other he didn't, "Haddock?"
Sitting at the bar was a man in a jet black navy coat and wearing a captain's hat with a big bushy black beard. He turned and a big grin appeared on his face, "Tintin; good to see you again boyo"
Behind the bar was a young man about nineteen years old wearing a white woolly jumper who was cleaning the glasses with a piece napkin, "Friend of yours?"
Tintin approached the old sea captain and greeted him before sitting down on the bar stool next to him, "So why are you here?"
"I got a message a calling card," Haddock said as he showed Tintin the same piece of card he had.
"Strange," the man behind the bar said, "I got a letter"
Reaching into his pocket the young man pulled out a letter and unfolded it to read it out to the group, "Listen to this; dear Mr Ryan. His Majesty's government invites you to join a special task force of which the payment will be higher than you're the income of your father's company"
Tintin then realised who he was talking to, "Ryan; don't suppose you're the son of businessman Andrew Ryan by any chance?"
"His one and only son,"
Putting down the glass and napkin and reached out his hand as Tintin shook hands, "The names Jack"
Footsteps came from the stair well and the group all turned to face it to see who it was. After a few moments the door slid open and standing on the other side was something they didn't expect. They saw a small cat with light and dark orange stripes across his body. He had on an overcoat and hat as he stood up on his hind legs holding a cane. The cat walked through the doorway he twirled his cane, "Let me guess; I'm not too late for the party"
Tintin and Haddock just sat there with their mouths wide open in shock while Jack went back to cleaning up. The small white dog saw the cat and began barking and after a few moments the cat got annoyed, "Hey there mutt. Cut a guy some slack will ya?"
Tintin got up from his chair and picked up the small animal and held him in his arm, "Sorry…it's just he doesn't like cats"
The talking animal lifted his cane and placed it on his shoulder and looked up at Tintin with a sly look, "Yer; well I don't like communism but you don't see me marching over to Russia and given the soviets a good talking to now do ya?"
From the same stairwell that group had used to enter the underground complex a woman walked through in a white puffy shirt, burgundy skirt and black shoes. Her hair was long curls and she wore her glasses low on her nose. She was middle aged and had an eastern European look. She held a number of files under her arm. Once she entered she looked at the group, "Gentlemen. Velcome to Brussels"
"Oh great," the cat said, "I knew this whole operation had the word 'fascist' written on it"
"You say that because I am German, yes?" the woman replied, "Let me tell you agent Top-cat. I'm in charge and if you don't like it you may leave"
The cat then had to literally put his tail between his legs and tipped his hat to the woman, "My apologies Ma'am"
The woman then looked towards the rest of the group, "Best not to vaste time. The fate of the world depends on our actions"
"What do you mean?" Tintin asked.
Approaching Tintin she looked at him and his dog, "You vill see. Would you all make your way over to the table?"
"What's your name if you don't mind me asking," Haddock said.
"You may address me as Tenenbaum or Ms," the woman replied.
The group then slowly moved across the room to the seating area where members sat around the table and the woman sat at the head of the table to address them all, "You have all been brought here for one reason. You are all extraordinary individuals. Because of that your services are needed"
The lights in the room then dimmed and a beam hit the projector screen. The group all turned their attention towards it and watched. The first image that appeared showed a bizarre symbol which showed a swastika in a circle with a small dragon on top with its wings stretched out breathing fire upwards wearing a crown in its head. Tenenbaum pointed towards the image, "Do any of you know vhat that image means?"
Most of the group had looks of confusion on their faces. Tintin then closely examined it, "That is the symbol to represent Project Ragna Rok"
Tenenbaum took out a cigarette and light it before placing it in her mouth and breathing out a big cloud of smoke, "Do you know vhat Project Ragna Rok is?"
"During the war it was Germany's sector which investigated the occult; dark magic and such,"
Reaching for a button under the desk Tenenbaum pushed it and the slide changed. The new image was of a man in a black military uniform which looked like that of the Third Rich but instead he had on some sort of gas mask and a black trench coat, "Anyone vho this man is?"
Top-cat then gently tapped his paws on the board, "That…is Karl Ruperchet Kroenen. Colonel in the German special tasks force and he was the head of the Thule society. He worked for Hitler and he led Project Ragna Rok"
"He was Hitler's top man. In 1945 on the day Germany surrendered he vanished along with years of research, advanced technology and nearly two thousand soldiers,"
Clicking the button again the image changed to show an image on some remote landscape looking upwards to a hill where Karl stood, "This picture vas taken just two months ago in the Falkland Islands. Shortly after that picture was taken strange events began to happen vorld vide"
"I heard some of the buildings in London just disappeared over night," Haddock said.
"The central intelligence agency in America found out that someone had broken into the records and copied a number of files," Top-cat added.
Tintin then looked back towards the German woman, "Are you saying that he is responsible for these events?"
"Yes," Tenenbaum replied, "And we know why"
She pressed the button to change images. The new image showed what appeared to be a massive city which floated in the sky which was hidden behind a cloud. Tenenbaum continued, "This is only known image of city vhich is known as Columbia. Created by the American government in 1900 its purpose was to show America as a superpower; it turned out to be a huge aerial battleship. Back then it vas the most powerful veapon in the vorld, now of course it's a bit out of date"
"What does it have to do with Karl?" Jack asked.
"Columbia underwent some technical decay at which point it crash landed-in the Falkland Islands,"
Tintin then turned to face Tenenbaum, "So this officer has returned to reclaim this relic?"
"How do we even know Columbia is really there?" Jack asked.
Tenenbaum got up from her chair, "Follow me, I vill show you something, yes?"
The group then followed her to an elevator where they all squeezed in and waited. When it got to the lower level they found themselves inside a huge storage house with lots of open space.
"Why are we down here?" Tintin asked.
Tenenbaum broke away from the group and approached a huge metal box which was the same size as a small ship. When she was close enough she knocked on the front, "Mr Knuckles; our guests have arrived"
She took a step back and the front door opened and out came a huge, metallic and monstrous man in what appeared a dark blue suit with black and white splats. He had long wires sticking out from his shoulders to his back. His chest had a green orb filled with liquid and a beating heart. His huge robotic hands were big enough to grab someone then rip them apart and over his head he wore a bowler hat. His face was one of a mean and harsh man with a handle bar moustache on his upper lip. He looked at them all with a look of distrust yet he was polite as he tipped his hat, "Greeting to ya'll. Hope your journey was a pleasant one"
The group just stood there looking at him in silence before Top-cat took of his hat and whistled in shock, "My…I thought officer Dibble was a big fella"
Tenenbaum then looked at the whole group, "Now that you're all here I can give you the mission briefing. Your mission is to travel to the Falkland Islands and find Karl. Throughout this mission Tintin vill be the commanding officer and this task force shall be known as Tintin's Entourage. Captain Haddock will be in charge of transportation and your crew for your ship vill be provided by the Belgium navy. Agent Top-cat is here by permission of the American government and he vill help vith infiltration. Jack Ryan has experience in combat situations and Mr Knuckles will be the only one of the group to know about Columbia as well as other things"
"Tintin's entourage," the young journalist said to himself, "I like the sound of it already"
"Alright," Haddock said, "I'm in"
Everyone else agreed into becoming part of the group and so began Tintin's Entourage in service to the Belgium government.
SS Unicorn, Atlantic ocean, 1962
The ice cold waves splashed against the hull of the vessel. Captain Haddock stood on the top deck looking out towards the sea sniffing the salty air. Ever since the Belgium navy had assigned more staff and marines which was something he wasn't used to. Below deck in the cargo hold Mr Knuckles sat in the cargo hold as Top-cat sat opposite him, "So tell me big fella. How much juice you got pumping through cords of yours?"
"Enough to make your head explode," Knuckles irritably replied.
Taking a hold of his cane Top-cat then took a few steps back and went to stand in the corner singing to himself, "He started Baseball famous score which has got us all a glore. He's just a man and not a freak, Joltin' Joe DiMaggio"
A deep creaking noise interrupted the song as the door to the cargo bay opened. Tintin and Jack walked through followed by Snowy.
"How are you two doing?" Tintin asked.
"Top of the world sir," Top-cat replied.
"So how exactly did you end up…as you are now?" Tintin asked.
Knuckles looked down on Tintin with cold eyes, "Now now. A man's past is his own"
"You're very conservative,"
Haddock walked through door, "We'll be there within seven hours"
"Ah Haddock," Tintin said as he turned to greet the captain, "I think it'd be best to get to know some of our team. Don't you agree?"
"You know in my last job I never needed to get to know my boss," Top-cat commented.
Jack looked down on the cat with confusion, "Sorry; what line of work would that be?"
"Well this may come as a shock to ya kid," Top-cat said as he straightened his overcoat, "I'm an agent of the CIA"
"Since when does the CIA hire talking cats?"
"Since they created me using the research of Dr. Moreau to create special agents, I was made back in 1930 and thirty years later here I am,"
"Cats don't live that long," Tintin stated.
"True. Then again I was created when I was a kitten and given the life span of a human. By your count I'm about thirty years old,"
Tintin was drawn to Jack who just stood leaning in against the wall in the corner, "So what's your story?"
Jack then stood up straight, "My story? Much like yours; I've seen and done terrible things but I got some good out of it"
Jack held out his hand and bolts of electricity gathered around his fingertips, "I gained a number of powers thanks to some genetic modifications"
The group watched in astonishment as the raw energy was within the very skin of this young man. It soon vanished and his hand returned to normal, "So yer. That's my story"
"Dam kid," Top-cat proclaimed with a keen idea he had, "You know you could give free power to a nation. How much could I get from you? I bet I could get people to see you on stage; the living battery here and now-for only sixty cents"
"I take it your get rich quick schemes don't work?"
"Na. The white house didn't like how I kept putting myself on show and so with me here it sort of gets me out of the spot light. Not that I'm complaining,"
Tintin then looked back up at Knuckles, "So you still don't wanna talk?"
"Alright here is my story," the giant snapped, "I used to be like you. I signed up for some experiments and I am as you see me now. I used to live in Columbia then I fell from grace and found by those foreigners"
"Knew I could get you to talk," the young journalist said with a smirk.
The ship then came to a sudden stop sending most of the entourage flying forwards. When they got back up on their feet Tintin led the group through the stairwell up to the top deck. They stood at the stern of the ship to see what appeared to be some sort of ship. It floated in the air which was held up by two rotors two on either side. The ship was a U boat with the symbols of project Ragna Rock on the hull. The marines which had been posted to the ship all ran out on deck armed with rifles and some approached Tintin and Haddock and handed them two. One approached Jack but he declined as he took out his own revolver from his back pocket. Now armed the group waited in dead silence and just looked up at the hulk of a vessel waiting for something to happen. The ship moved closer at which point at the bottom of the hull a long metal boarding ramp lowered at which point Karl walked down to the very edge. He was dressed in the same clothing as he was in the photo the group had seen but instead of the swastika armband he had on one which had the project Ragna Rok symbol on it. He breathed through the gas mask and the black lenses were just menacing to look at even from a distance, "So…this is the task group Belgium have created. Can't say I recognise any of you"
"Colonel Kroenen I presume?" Tintin called out.
"Vhy of course. Vhich one of you is in charge?"
"That would be me,"
Karl then laughed which sounded muffled through his gas mask, "You; you are just a child. My my your König must be desperate to stop me if he is villing to send his nation's young to their deaths"
"A wise cracker just like me," Top-cat said.
"I vill give you a chance to leave. If you go home now, I vill let you live. Take my offer like a good little boy, yes?"
Jack cocked his revolver and pointed it towards Karl. Pulling the trigger the bullet flew through the air but before it could hit Karl with a flick of his writs a blade shot out from his sleeve. He moved fast enough to use the tip of the weapon to deflect the projectile. The blade then slid back into his sleeve and Karl looked down on the group, "Very vell. You have brought this on yourselves"
The cannons on top of the hovering vessel began to ready as the boarding ramp began to rise back up and the moment Karl entered the vehicle the weapons opened fire. Most of the men ducked for cover while some tried to create cover fire. This exchange of bullets continued until Jack go so annoyed that he got out from cover and shot a bolt of lightning from his hand. The light blue beam of light struck through the air and impacted on one of the propellers. The blades caught alight and the vehicle jolted back in through the air and disappeared into the fog. Tintin got up and saw the top deck littered with bodies, "My god; our first encounter and there are more casualties than I thought there would be"
Haddock looked around at the remaining crewmen, "Alright you lot. Clear up the deck and we'll give them a sea burial as soon as we can"
Sedge Island, Falklands, 1962
Looking over the stern of the ship Tintin could see the island in the far distance. Haddock stood next to him with a telescope in his hand. He pointed it towards the island in the distance and looked down it, "There it is. Reports all say that's the island were looking for"
A massive grey cloud covered the sky of the island and when the white fluff faded away it revealed a great floating city of gigantisms proportions. Black flags with red markings depicted the symbols of Project Ragna Rok while workers focused on repairing and renovating the old device. Haddock put away his telescope and looked towards Tintin, "So…what's the plan?"
"We deploy the Entourage, search Columbia and then find a way to destroy it,"
The set course for the shore at full speed and as it got closer and closer the Entourage got ready for the coming battle. Once the ship had approached the shore it dropped anchor and Tintin stood on deck. Groups of crewmen worked to open the hatch which led to the cargo hold where Mr Knuckles waited and the moment the way was clear he didn't waste time. Using the mechanical limbs he climbed the walls in a sort of gorilla posture. Climbed up onto the deck he went from a hunched over mechanical man and straightened himself out into a neat gentleman. Top-cat, Jack and Haddock all stood with Mr Knuckles. Snowy stood by the feet of his master while crewmen brought up a table with weapons piled on top of it with ammunition which amounted to a small hill of copper and brass.
"Alright here's the plan," Tintin said, "Our mission is to board the city of Columbia. Once on-board we are to find a way of destroying the city before Karl has a chance to rebuild it. Mr Knuckles will be our guide to the city on the account of his familiarity with it. Arm yourselves"
Everyone in the Entourage apart from Mr Knuckles went over to the table picked up guns and put them upon their person. Top-cat only took one pistol and hid it within his overcoat while Tintin had one machine gun and took at least seven rounds. Once they were all armed the group stood at the stern of the ship as a metal platform came out of the side and lowered down to the beach. Once the crewmen had finished with it the Entourage charged down it and onto the shore. Tintin was at the front of the group with weapon in hand as Snowy followed at his feet. Haddock and Jack followed behind with the captain armed with a shotgun and Jack with his trusty revolver. Mr Knuckles was at the back with Top-cat sitting on his shoulder, "Hey buddy. Try not to fall behind will ya?"
The group charged in land and made it from the beach up to a grassy field where in the distance they could see Columbia and this time it was closer. The group had stopped to work on a plan as well as discuss how they were going to get on board.
"Alright tin man," Top-cat said, "Where do we go from here?"
The group formed a circle with Mr Knuckles on one side and Tintin on the other. Jack took out a cigarette, "Maybe we should try a full scale assault"
"Now boy that'd be a fool's move," Mr Knuckles commented as he wagged his metallic finger at the boy, "The only way we'd get in is through the disposal system"
"That thing has swears?" Haddock asked in confusion.
"Well whatever it has which can help us avoid what else Karl has up there is the only chance we have to move through Columbia undetected will help," Tintin answered.
Mr Knuckles raised his arm and pointed towards a spire which reached downwards, "We can get to the disposal systems through there"
The group then continued onwards from the grassy areas to a rocky crater which rested underneath Columbia. The group came to a long metal tube which was stationed at the front of a massive pile of rusted metal, broken tools and waste. It was obvious that all of it had come from the construction workers who were working on the city above to restore it to full working order. Top-cat jumped from Mr Knuckles's shoulder and onto the ground before he leaped up onto the rim looking upwards. It was completely dark with a single beam of light at the very top; as the group all slowly climbed upward they soon made it into the light. C
Climbing out into the other side, the group arrived into the streets of Columbia. Looking around at the building designs and the sorts of posters that were all around, the group felt as if they had taken a step back through time.
Mr Knuckles looked around and said under his breath, "Some things never change".
New Germany, Falklands, 1962
The group walked through the town square where they stood looking at the statue of the last German emperor with a metal plate at the base which read;
Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany, König of Prussia
"Why is there a statue of a monarch in a city founded by a Nazi?" Jack asked.
"To honour him of course,"
The group looked towards where the voice came from to see Karl standing at the right side of the town square, "I see mine Kaiser has interested you, yes?"
The Entourage drew their weapons and pointed them towards their target. Tintin then put Snowy on the ground and drew his machine gun, "Alright Karl. If you surrender then we'll let you live"
Soldiers dressed in what appeared to be German Imperial army uniforms with gas masks ran out from the buildings with guns all pointed towards the Entourage. They stood with eighty men surrounded them. Karl looked with his hands behind his back, "No…let me tell you my terms of surrender"
"Screw this!" Jack let out.
Dropping his gun Jack focused on his abilities. Bolts of lightning gathered in his right hand and sparks of fire gathered in his left. Raising them over his head they mixed to create a bright blue inferno which spread outwards throughout the square. Karl had managed to get ahead the wave but the soldiers didn't. When it hit them they were either burned alive or electrocuted instantly and everything that came into contact with it. The blue barrier which originated from Jack faded away and where once a nice and elegant town square with a bronze statue of the Kaiser was now a scorched land with a twisted cracked bronzed figure with smoking bodies of dead soldiers scattered around the place.
Jack dropped to his knees but none of the Entourage went over to help him. Top-cat took of his hat and rubbed his arm across his forehead, "Remind me not to tick that fella off"
Tintin walked over and tried to help Jack back up but he stopped when he noticed something strange about him. Across his wrists were what appeared to be chains tattooed on in black ink but he didn't saying about it, "Are you ok?"
Jack fell into a coughing fit before he replied, "Yer…I'm fine"
As Jack got back up the group were ready to chase after Karl. The bolted through the town square and out to one of the streets. It felt as if they were darting through the streets of Brooklyn back in late nineteenth century. Top-cat looked up at the tall buildings with a fright as he saw how many windows the buildings had.
"Should someone be keeping an eye out for snipers?" Top-cat asked.
"If he wanted to pick us off by now he would have given the order," Haddock replied.
The group made it to the end of the road where draped on one of the buildings a big blank piece of white cloth. A bright light shined out from one of the windows which showed an image of Karl which caused the group to stop in their tracks.
"You do understand vhat I'm trying to accomplish here do you?" Karl's booming voice asked.
"Let me guess," Jack replied, "Turn the population of the world into the master race"
Karl sighed in disappointment, "You don't see the bigger picture. I tried to get mine Führer to see what I could see. But no; he was too blinded by his hunger for power. This is your last varning. Turn back now and I shall let you live"
Bolts of electricity gathered at Jack's finger tips. He raised his arm and a beam of raw energy shot out blasting a hole in the wall. With a cloud of dust bursting out and the image of Karl vanished behind it, "So… let it be var"
When the image was gone the group continued their journey. Passing through the streets they approached what appeared to be the town centre which looked like the Bellevue Palace. The altered flag of the German Empire which had been designed hung over the roof.
"Alright team we have our target," Tintin said.
"Why would someone go through so much trouble to recreate Imperial Germany in a floating city?" Haddock asked.
"A guy who really misses the old days," Top-cat answered.
Tintin took a few steps forwards then turned back towards the rest of the group, "Alright listen up. We're going to search the building. Knuckles you stay out here and keep guard. Everyone else follow me. We're going in"
"Yer cause breaking into some fella's house is never a bad idea,"
"If that is a replica of the German palace then it would be Karl's headquarters. We might find some clue in what he intends to do next,"
Haddock then readied he weapon, "Well what are we waiting for? Lets go"
The door to the palace was kicked open. Jack and Haddock ran through shortly followed by Top-cat and Tintin. Stepping inside the foyer everything was just as it would have been in the late nineteenth century down to the tiniest detail. A great chandelier hung from the ceiling and it made it impossible for Top-cat to take his eyes off it, "Dam that's a blinder"
"Eyes peeled at all times," Tintin ordered.
The group slowly moved through the foyer. The group made it to the door in the left corner of the foyer at which point they stopped.
"Alright now that we've secured the entrance we should set up a field base so we move…"
Music began playing in the foyer with the sound of booming German woman's voice filling the room as it interrupted Tintin.
"What song is this?" Haddock said as he tried to cover his ears.
Top-cat straightened his vest and hat, "Well if I'm not mistaken its Deutshlandied. The anthem of the German Empire"
Jack raised his gun and aimed for one of the speakers, "This guy is just getting on my nerves"
Opening fire he destroyed one of the speakers which caused the music to stop. Tintin then gently took hold of Jack's gun and lowered it, "Don't worry about it. Alright listen up, we'll break up and search the building; Top-cat you stay here with Snowy, Haddock your with me and Jack your own your own"
"I'll take the left wing," Jack replied.
Twirling his revolver in his hand Jack walked away from the group and headed to the doors which lead to the left wing of the building. Just before he walked through he laughed as he mumbled to himself, "Ha… Germans having a left wing"
Jack walked through then closed the door behind him. Tintin and Haddock went through the doors which lead to the right wing of the building.
Jack walked down the corridor with his gun drawn. Making it to the door at the end he slowly opened it and walked through. Inside he found a huge library filled with books and at the far corner of the room with a gramophone. The door then slam closed and Jack turned in fright but then slowly calmed himself.
"Don't vorry," Karl's voice said, "I know it was a cheap scare but its vorth it"
Jack looked around and almost pulled his hair out, "Do you have speakers in every room!"
"Yes; I got the technology from the ruminants of the former socialist party called Ingsoc. Are you familiar with them?"
"I've heard of the,"
"They ruled England from 1945 to 1947. Sadly they lost power and the former government was restored,"
Jack then realised something, "The buildings around England and Scotland have been disappearing. Was that you trying to get the technology?"
"I see that you are well informed with my actions. Tenenbaum has informed you with great detail,"
Jack then lowered his gun, "How do you know about Tenenbaum?"
"Oh ve have quiet the history. But I do not have time to discuss it with you,"
The sound from the microphone stopped and then Jack shot a bolt of lightning to blow the doors of their hinges. Running out he continued his search of the left wing.
Tintin and Haddock quickly moved through the intricate hallways and then kicked down the door at the end which led to a private study. The two then moved over to the desk and rummaged through all the draws to find they were all empty. A painting which hung from the wall then dropped to the ground and behind it a telescreen turned on to show the image of Karl behind it, "I notice you have broken up into small groups; that is a bad idea"
Haddock was about to open fire on the object but Tintin forced his gun down before replying, "What do you mean?"
"With the technology I have with me I can monitor all of what happens across Columbia. Or as I like to call it New Germany,"
"Why don't cha come out and fight like a man!" Haddock shouted at the screen.
The sound of Karl tutting from behind the breathing device of the gas masked echoed throughout the room, "Calm yourself Kaptain. Our time will come"
The screen the flickered off and Tintin and Haddock then continued their search of the room.
Top-cat and Snowy sat in the Foyer. Top-cat was twirling his cane in his paw shaped hand while Snowy lay next to him with his head on the ground. Suddenly waking up he stood up on all fours and growled while pointing towards the balcony just over the doorway.
"Let me guess," Top-cat said, "You saw another cat around here; thanks for the warning buddy"
A figure emerged dressed in the uniform of the New Germany army. He jumped from the balcony and landed a few feet away from the two animals. Once he stood up right he drew an officer's sword which was razor sharp while pointing it at Top-cat.
"Nice blade buddy," Top-cat stated as he held his cane, "I got one of those too"
Twisting the handle on his cane Top-cat then pulled on the lower half to reveal a long blade. Pointing it towards the soldier Top-cat looked the guy up and down, "So we gonna do this thing or what?"
The two then charged towards each other at full speed. Their blades clashed at faster and faster every time one deflected the other. After a few moments Top-cat jumped up in the air so that he was face to face with the officer. With sword in hand he swung the blade around and with one strike he managed to decapitate the soldier and as the body slumped to the floor Top-cat stood triumphant.
Tintin and Haddock returned to the foyer where they were greeted with the sight of a dead body covered in blood.
"I take it you took care of this incident?" Tintin asked.
"He didn't stand a chance," Top-cat said with pride.
Haddock hung his rifle onto his back, "Hey where did Jack get to?"
"He'll be back soon,"
Top-cat then cleaned the blade of his sword and slid it back into its slot which turned the sword back into his small walking stick. The main doors to the buildings split apart as the walls around them crumbled from a strong force on the other side. From the brown smoke Mr Knuckles walked through into the interior brushing off the rubble from his attire.
"Thanks for using the door bell," Top-cat said looking up at the giant.
"Report," Tintin said as he approached Mr Knuckles.
"You're not going to believe this but this city. It's moving,"
"Come again big fella?" Top-cat butted in.
"It just started all of a sudden. It's not moving fast out there but we're defiantly moving,"
The door leading to the left wing of the building flew open. Jack rushed through then closed it behind him, "Didn't find anything. What about you two?"
"Whatever we'd thought of finding in here wasn't here," Tintin said as he slung his rifle over his shoulder, "Alright let's move out".
As the group began to make their way out of the building Mr Knuckles stopped for a moment to admired the building, "I remember when this place used to be run by the Founders". With a deep exhale Knuckles continued with the rest of the group. Going outside a shadow lay across the building. The entourage looked up to see a zeppelin flying overhead with the symbol of Project Ragna Rok painted on the side.
"I remember when they used to be part of Columbia's security force," Knuckles said as he looked up.
At the base of the vehicle a hatch opened. A metal box slowly descended with the help of a parachute on the top. It landed a few feet away from the group at which point they all drew their weapons. The box opened and inside was something the group didn't expect. What stood before the group was something which looked like Mr Knuckles dressed in an Imperial army officer uniform. He had on a helmet with a spike along with an iron cross upon his chest.
"It would appear Karl has also created more of my kind," Knuckles said.
Tintin, Haddock and Jack all opened fire on the great machine. In defence it raised its arm to form a shield to protect its head from the gun fire. This lasted for a few moments before they stopped at which point Mr Knuckles ran over. He grabbed the arm and then pulled it away and with his over hand he grabbed the head. With one strong pull and a burst of red liquid Knuckles had singlehandedly killed his Germanic counterpart and watched as the body slumped to the ground. He dropped the severed head and then turned around to look at the rest of the group, "Anymore like them here is a hint on how to fight them. Aim for their head or chest. Kill them quickly before they have a chance to strike"
"And I thought I strike hard and fast," Top-cat said, "You got me thinking big fella"
A speaker from the zeppelin lower and was pointed downward, "I knew that the palace vould be a good distraction. Also Mr Knuckles I have many more of my Kaiser-model Handymen. Hope you can fight them all"
The zeppelin then began to break out into patches of flames which began to spread. It was obvious at this point Karl had set it to self-destruct.
"Let's get out of here!" Tintin shouted.
The group began to bolt as fast as they could away from the soon to be inferno. Tintin and Snowy ran side by side followed by Haddock and Jack. Knuckles began to gather speed and just as he passed Top-cat he scoped him up and put him up on his shoulder. The group ran away from the burning Zeppelin as it slowly descended upon the palace. They took a left turn when they came to the end of the street where they came to a road which led up hill. The street was like the others with buildings on either side but it lead up to some sort of park. The group stopped for a moment so some of them could catch their breaths.
"So this guy is now hitting us with fricken' Zeppelins?" Top-cat said as he jumped down onto the ground, "What's next; he's gonna gun us down with shots of Mustard Gas?"
"Unlikely," Jack replied, "If what Knuckles said was true then he might have more devastating weapons hidden throughout the city"
Haddock kept an eye out with his weapon ready, "We should have brought some of those marines with us"
"If we did there would be far more casualties. We need to keep moving," Tintin stated.
"Before we do we should get our bearing. If Karl wasn't in the palace where would he be?"
"If anything Karl is a revolutionary; taking that into account is there any place he could hide?" Tintin asked as he looked towards Mr Knuckles.
The mechanical giant went into a deep think, "During the time I was here there was this radical faction. They were determined to change Columbia; they were called the Vol…Vol something. They had a number of gathering spots but there main one was in the industrial area"
"Why did they operate in the Industrial area?" Top-cat asked, "Where they communists or something"
"I'm not sure what they were but they were defiantly very far on the left I can say that much,"
"Alright then we're going to find the former headquarters of this group," Tintin said.
A shadow descended upon the group and they looked above to see what it was. Slowly flying through the air was another zeppelin.
Tintin, Jack and Haddock reloaded their guns as a precaution then aimed for the zeppelin above waiting for it to attack. The zeppelin didn't really notice them as it just slowly flew over the group. Lowering their weapons in relief the group continued onwards. They walked on the middle of the road it gave them a clear line of sight if there were any sharp shooters in any of the buildings.
"Who would build a floating city anyway?" Haddock asked.
"Columbia was built to house the United States most 'patriotic' citizens," Mr Knuckles replied.
"Patriotic meaning nationalist," Top-cat corrected.
The group came to the top of the hill where they came to what appeared to be some sort of park. The park had real grass and at the very centre was a band stand which had been painted with the German Empire colours. The grass was about six inches tall and it was bright green meaning it was incredibly healthy. In-between the grassy meadows were paths composed of grey stone. The group made their way to the band stand in the very centre of the park. When approaching the structure Mr Knuckles stopped and looked up at the dome and recalled some of his earlier memories, "I remember when this was a place where the Columbian brass band would gather and play music in the summer".
"It doesn't look as if they'll be playing any time soon," Haddock stated.
"Alright listen up," Tintin said as he addressed the Entourage, "We need to…"
Tintin stopped in mid-sentence. From between the gaps in the buildings the same modified U-boat flew through the air and into the park. It hovered in the air as the loading ramp lowered at which point Karl emerged and walked down it. He jumped of the end and after falling two feet he landed perfectly with now injury. He stood up straight then slowly approached the band-stand with his hands behind his back. Jack and Haddock drew their weapons and pointed them towards Karl ready to shoot just in case. Karl stopped and breathing the air through his gas mask, "A beautiful day, is it not?"
"That's all you have to say?" Tintin asked, "With everything you're doing and that's all you have to say to us?"
"Vhat vould you have me say?"
Knuckles then stepped forwards, "How about surrendering!"
"Ve'll have none of that sir,"
Karl looked among the group and noticed Top-cat, "I must say agent Top-cat I was surprised when I heard you were on the team"
"Surprised at what fella?" Top-cat replied.
"I read your file; two tours of service as an intelligence officer in Vietnam, an operative in southern china and even being assigned to execute Stalin,"
Tintin then looked down on Top-cat with shock, "You did that?"
"I was told there were no records of that mission,"
"There vere no American records of the matter. However a number of soviet operative do have records of the account and I managed to attain some copies,"
"What do you want Karl?" Tintin asked.
The colonel straightened his jacket, "I vasent avare we we're on a first name basis but I guess whatever suits you. In ansver to your question I have come to demand that you leave"
"Oh yer," Haddock said with a quirk, "You and what army?"
From the same entrance to the park the Entourage had used waves of soldiers under Karl's command flooded. They remained where there were while some of them set up mortars but the worst was yet to come. The soldiers made space at which point a huge iron tank drove in. It was a Tiger Mark two model painted a light grey with the symbol of Karl's design.
"That army," Karl replied as he pointed backwards.
"How many soldiers dose this guy have?" Jack asked.
Tintin looked at the soldiers as he loaded his gun, "Enough"
"Enough for what?"
"Enough to for fill my mission and restore the empire," Karl answered.
The masked German looked at his wrist watch, "Ah, right on time"
The whole of the city began to shake and slowly began to rise into the air. The city was now setting off.
Karl then opened his arms wide and looked up towards the sky, "Soon the Empire vill be restored and I vill lead our people to greatness"
Jack then pointed his gun at Karl, "Like hell you will you Nazi son of a…"
Jack then pulled the trigger sending bullets flying through the air and each one of them hit Karl. The impact didn't cause blood to shot out but with each hit a small cloud of grey dust shot out from where the bullets hit. When Jack ran out of ammunition he lowered his weapon Karl stood there. He looked down at his jacket to see the holes then looked back up at Jack, "I had this tailor fitted"
Karl then walked away from the group and towards the group of soldiers in the far distance. Karl then signalled them. The soldiers then charged towards the band stand with weapons drawn. Haddock took Tintin's assault rifle and stood behind the section facing the approaching soldiers. He opened fire with both guns unleashing a hail of bullets. Jack then reloaded his gun and joined in with Haddock as he shot at the soldiers while using his other hand to shoot out bolts of raw electricity at them.
"Snowy stay with Haddock and Jack," Tintin ordered, "Top-cat, Knuckles; come with me"
Just as they were about to leave Jack reloaded his revolver and then threw it to Tintin, "You need it more than I do"
Tintin caught it and held it in his hand, "Thanks"
Tintin, Top-cat and Knuckles then began their charge towards the enemy.
The once beautiful park was now filled with fighting and craters. Haddock and Jack were still at the bandstand holding off waves of oncoming soldiers. Tintin, Mr Knuckles and Top-cat charged towards the enemy. The tank got ready to fire but with a quick shot of lightning from Jack he turned the vehicle into a ruin with burning pieces of metal and a crater in the ground. Haddock created cover fire for his comrade in arms who was destroying the heavy weaponry of the army as well as the soldiers. Haddock and Jack hid behind the section of the band stand to take cover from the hail of bullets as the soldiers pressed forwards. Haddock leant against Jack as he reloaded one of his guns, "How much more of that lightning can you do?"
"Enough to push these Nazis back," Jack replied.
Half a mile away Tintin, Mr Knuckles and Top-cat were pushing through the enemy line. The trio jumped into a pot hole created by cannon fire. Once inside Tintin took out a handful of bullets which he used to reload his rifle, "Alright this is where we part ways. You two need to take out the artillery; Jack and Haddock are strong but they won't last long under cannon fire".
"What about you?" Knuckles asked.
Tintin finished loading his rifle and then placed the stock against his shoulder, "I'm going after Karl. If I can get to him I might be able to stop this New Germany of his. Good luck to the both of you".
With a sudden burst of energy Tintin jumped over out of the pot hole and charged into the heat of the battle shortly before Top-cat and Mr Knuckles climbed out and went to take care of the cannon fire. The leader of the group came to a group of soldiers but moments before they noticed him they opened fire cutting them all down. Passing by the bodies Tintin searched them and took a hand gun along with an extra clip of ammunition. Sliding the gun and clip into his pocket Tintin continued onwards towards the hill where the soldiers were coming from. Getting half way there he saw what appeared to be a troop of soldiers around Karl holding an officer's whip pointing it towards the band stand giving instructions on how to break the defensive Haddock and Jack were holding. The soldiers then charged off towards bandstand leaving Karl by himself making this a clear opportunity to capture the target. Tintin charged towards Karl but the moment he saw the Belgium coming two short silver blades shot out from the sleeves of his coat. When Tintin was close enough the German officer lunged the blade from his left arm at the Belgium's chest. Narrowly missing the blade the young agent took his rifle by the barrel then struck the stock of the gun against the side of Karl's head.
Getting up quickly Tintin looked out towards the battlefield, seeing Karl's soldiers enclosing around the band stand caused his heart to sink. A hand grabbed the back of his head and pulled it backwards. A sharp blade rested against his neck and from the corner of his eye Tintin could see Karl's gas mask.
"Dis vas your plan?" Karl asked, "Your six men against my forces?"
"Pretty much," Tintin replied.
"You are nothing; my skills and tactical knowledge and experience surpass yours to point of vhich point they skim the edge of heaven itself,"
Tintin slowly reached into his pocket and where he rapped his hand around a trigger, "I have a question for you. How do you fight someone who has experience which reaches the sky? Make the sky fall".
Tintin pushed down on the trigger and a red light began to flash from inside his pocket. The light indicated a signal was being transmitted from his location.
"Captain, the signal marker has activated,"
"Fire every cannon on the ship!"
"I don't see how this is going to vork exactly,"
The sound of a long whistle could be heard then a loud explosion which shook all of Columbia. Karl tripped backwards letting go of Tintin before he fell. The second long whistle followed with an explosion blasting a hole in park. Karl got up to his feet and ran over to see what it was. Looking through the hole he looked down to the sea below. In horror waiting in the ocean beneath Columbia was an American Battleship with all cannons firing. Karl turned his gaze to Tintin to see him with gun in hand who pointed it at him. The agent had a smug look on his face as he pointed his gun towards Karl, "You're not the only one with a few trips up your sleeves".
"You vould undo what I have been planning for nearly half a century?" Karl asked.
"You're a menace to the peace we have just gained over years of war," Tintin replied, "I can't let you change things".
"Dam you! You have ruined all of this. All this planning, timing and effort. Everything ruined because of you!"
"You're not the first to say that to me,"
Karl looked back to see his men retreating and running for their lives. He looked back towards Tintin, "This is not our last encounter, ve shall meet again".
Karl crossed his arms and stepped to the left where he slipped through the blast hole. Tintin dropped his gun and ran over in an attempt to stop Karl but he was too late. He watched as Karl plummeted into the cold waters below. A soft whelping noise came from behind at which point the young journalist turned to see his trusty canine companion who was some dirt in his fur sitting with a bemused look on his face. The ground shook beneath the two and Tintin realised the very ground beneath his feet was crumbling. He picked up his small white companion and carried him under his arm. He raced towards the band stand and with every step he took he could feel the ground crumble. As he looked to his left he saw Knuckles tipping the top off a tank off with Top-cat on his shoulder. Tintin stopped and called out, "You two, get back to the bandstand, that's an order!"
Mr Knuckles stopped and looked towards the Belgian reporter. Top-cat tapped the tip of his cane on Knuckles's ear, "You heard the man, jump to it!"
Knuckles rolled his eyes, dropped what he was doing and ran towards the band stand with the Top-cat clinging to the giant's shoulder for dear life. Making it to the band stand Tintin saw Jack and Haddock standing tall with empty bullet shells amassed around their feet. Haddock rested his rifle on his shoulder and smiled, "What took ya so long?"
Tintin ran in and stood in the middle, "This whole place is breaking apart. I need everyone in here, right now!"
"Relax big man," Jack said, "We won".
"This city is breaking apart; everyone needs to get on this bandstand,"
The ground around the bandstand went up in flames and the ground beneath it began to crumble.
"Alright big man, what's the plan?" Top-cat asked.
Tintin looked towards Jack, "You said you have the ability to move objects through matter to energy or somewhat. I need you to do it with the band stand with everyone on it".
Jack dropped his gun, "What? I've never done it with anything this big!"
"Sonny, if you don't do this we'll all die," Haddock stated.
Jack looked at all of them. Their hope and lives depended upon him and he realised he couldn't let them down. He moved to the middle of the band stand, "Everyone get on".
Mr Knuckles climbed on. The wooden floor began to bend under his weight but it wasn't enough to break it. Jack then closed his eyes and held his arms out and took in a deep breath. Tiny bolts of electricity started to flicker at Jack's finger tips. Slowly and shortly they began to gather around the metal poles of the bandstand and Jack's hands. A transparent bubble of static energy grew around the structure until a perfect sphere had been formed. The pack began to collapse and the group watched in horror as New Germany broke apart and piece by piece fell into the ocean below.
"Uncle Sam isn't gonna be too happy," Top-cat said as he looked over the edge.
Jack's eyes glowed a bright green and with a deep breath he focused. The matter of the structure and everyone within disappeared in a bright flash of light.
Bertix, Belgium, 1962
Within the bright green fields of Belgium farmland an orb of bright light appeared a few feet above the ground. When the light disappeared the crumbling wreckage of the band stand plummeted to the ground and broke apart on impact. Slowly pushing their way out of the wreckage the entourage stood triumphant. Tintin went back and dug through the rusted metal. Underneath a thick metal sheet he found Jack lying on his back with his eyes closed. His nose was bleeding but apart from that he was alright. Carefully dragging him out Tintin brought him over to the rest of the group.
"Dam," Top-cat said as he dusted the powdered rust from his waistcoat and hat, "I haven't been through anything that crazy since my last mission in Vietnam"
Mr Knuckles gently tapped Tintin on the back using his fingertip, "You acted with the courage of a warrior and had the tactics of the founding fathers. Well done, young man."
From out of nowhere a Belgium army transport vehicle pulled up from out of a nearby field. A dozen soldiers burst out and surrounded the Entourage. From out of the passenger seat in the front of the vehicle Tenenbaum stepped out wearing a black trench coat with a black brief case in her hand. She approached the Entrouage and looked at all of them, "This mission vas a success, ya?"
"Well we don't have a man down, apart from Jack," Tintin replied.
Tenenbaum slightly opened the case, reached in and took out a document, "He vill be fine. Now, I have another assignment for Entourage, if you choose to accept".
Tintin then held out his hand as he was passed the file. Opening the yellow folder he saw three sheets of paper and a clipping of a photograph on the first page. The photo was of a man in his mid-sixties who was bolding and had white hair around the sides of his head. His eyes projected his personality, sharp and ready to cause serious damage. There was a name written in black ink on the bottom of the photo, it read ''Genial' Harry Grout'. Tintin looked back, he saw the entourage and he saw they were a strong team. They came from different walks of life but they had what it took to get the job done.
Tintin then turned to face Tenenbaum, "We accept".
End of File