Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Operation American Spring=A WASTE OF TIME

  This is my third blog on "Operation American Spring."

  I'm combining the first two blogs for convenience in explaining what this is allegedly going to do.

   There is call for yet another "protest march" on Washington, DC.
   I will post my observations in red under each comment  taken directly from the Facebook page site "Operation American Spring."

*******************
   Restoration of Constitutional government, rule of law, freedom, liberty “of the people, for the people, by the people” from despotic and tyrannical federal leadership.

Assumptions:

Millions of Americans will participate.
In September 2013 "The Patriots Guild" said they had 5 million people "ready to roll." Only people who were "ready to roll" were the bikers--and that was a last minute effort. The "Patriots Guild" march was a complete cluster-fuck, circle-jerk without a pivot man and a total goat screw.
  Anyone and everyone who has been in the service knows you DO NOT ASSUME!

American veterans and patriots are energized to end the tyranny, lawlessness, and shredding of the US Constitution.

Government is not the target, it is sound; corrupt and criminal leadership must be removed.

Those in power will not hesitate to use force against unarmed patriots exercising their constitutional rights.

Patriots may be killed, wounded, incarcerated.

There is no hope given today’s technology of secrecy for the effort nor do we want it secret.


No argument with the above statements.

Concept of Operations:

Phase 1 – Field millions, as many as ten million, patriots who will assemble in a non-violent, physically unarmed (Spiritually/Constitutionally armed), display of unswerving loyalty to the US Constitution and against the incumbent government leadership, in Washington, D.C., with the mission to bring down the existing leadership. Go full-bore, no looking back, steadfast in the mission.

   This is a mistake, "ASSUMING" millions who will assemble. WHERE are they going to assemble? (Rally points. Who will guide/control the movement of people?)
   The "how" is not exactly clear here. Are we expected to sit on our asses with our thumbs up our bums and minds in neutral? The "Occupy" movement stayed MONTHS and what did they achieve? They achieved zero decimal shit.

Phase 2 – One million or more of the assembled 10 million must be prepared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and Attorney General Holder removed from office. The senior republican in the US House of Representatives will become Speaker of the House and the US House of Representatives will elect a temporary President and Vice President of the United States. The U.S. Senate will take action to elect a new majority and minority leader.
   Again...HOW is the "will of millions" expected to transform into action WITHOUT ACTION? The ACTION is not defined. AT ALL.

   As required, the U.S. Congress will execute appropriate legislation to convene new elections or U.S. States will appoint replacements for positions vacated consistent with established constitutional requirements.
   Again, HOW does the "will of millions" transform into resignations and removals from office without action? The ACTION is not defined. AT ALL.

Phase 3* – Those with the principles of a West, Cruz, Lee, DeMint, Paul, Gov Walker, Sessions, Gowdy, Jordan, Issa, will comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. Attorney General appointed by the new President.

*All actions in Phase 2 & 3 will be consistent with the U.S. Constitution.

  
Again, what are THESE ACTIONS? Stop "hinting" and TELL US WHAT THESE "ACTIONS" are to be!

Date of Operation: “OPERATION AMERICAN SPRING – Beginning Of Tyranny Housecleaning, May 16, 2014, completion to be determined.

We are past the point of no return, thus must move forward with an effort to save our nation, as there is no other choice. We are asking, pleading with you, and any others that have resources, national voices, email lists, blogs, FB, Twitter, to call for a non-violent American Spring on May 16, 2014 in Washington D.C. We must appeal to ten million and more American patriots to come and stay in Washington, D.C. to stop the White House and Congress from total destruction of the United States. It’s now or never. God help us.
   "Stay in Washington D.C. and stop the White House and Congress from total destruction of the United States." How? With WHAT? Good intentions? Waving placards?
The law of nature rules. A fluffy, cuddly lamb gets eaten by a mean old wolf is not an illegal or immoral event…the law of nature. When some greedy, self-serving occupant of the White House or Congress, or elements outside America, is threatening our existence, our freedom, our liberty, our Constitution, our life resources, our America, then we fight back to destroy the threat and there is nothing immoral or illegal about it. When the government becomes lawless, then “we the people” no longer are obligated to follow the government … there is no law when government picks and chooses for political purposes or personal agenda. At this time the government is performing as a lawless entity……
   Show up without guns/the means to back up your talk with force and you're the fluffly, cuddly lamb that gets eaten.
A duck cannot be turned into a fox; an elephant cannot be turned into a flea; the laws of nature will not permit.

Likewise, a nation ordained and principled by the laws of nature, sovereign, free, with liberty for all cannot naturally become a nation guided by royalty, decrees, tyranny, elitist, self-serving criminals. The former has proven desirable, the latter has proven human pain.

“We can become a nation guided by royalty IF “we the people” beguiled by the government in surrender to our lusts for that which we have not earned –for what is not natural –if we have become intoxicated by unbroken success” as Lincoln proclaimed in March 30, 1863 call for fasting, humiliation, and prayer–we can very easily heap to ourselves leaders, and with itching ears, be turned from the Truth to become enslaved by the LIE.”

The United States of America (elephant) while embracing the “LIE” is teetering on the abyss of becoming a sniveling, blood sucking, undesirable nation (flea).

OPERATION AMERICAN SPRING will be a gigantic step in removing the flea infestation that is sucking the blood out of America.

We see no reasonable, hopeful sign that indicates there are honorable, loyal, mature, critical thinking, experienced people in government that understands the chaos about to rain down on America, nor do they care….our only hope is that “we the people” call, organize, and draw a few million patriots to stay in D.C. for an “American Spring”. It would be the catalyst to draw the line and bring to a conclusion a decision on the out of control government, one way or the other. America will rise up or surrender … for me, I only go to my knees in the presence of God Almighty … my knees will not touch the surface as a result of some piss ant occupant of the White House or a corrupt legislator, or outside element … I will fall to my death standing if necessary.

There is not much time and the only planning necessary is to select a starting date, which we will do soon, and then show up in Washington, D.C. on that date, and plan to stay for the duration. The goal is restoring the US Constitution as the law of the land, removing the lawless leadership. Will this be a cake-walk? No, it will be painful, and some people may die because the government will not be non-violent; some of us will end up in a cell, and some may be injured. If that’s what it will take to save our nation, do we have any choice? Freedom loving Americans will say there is no choice, we must begin the second American Revolution. Not with guns, but with millions of Americans demanding a return to constitutional government and the resignation of Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi and Holder as a start … then the constitutional restoration process can begin. An AMERICAN SPRING can be avoided only if the above mentioned officials resign.

Will our national patriot leaders step forward and declare, “send me”, I’ll lead? There are millions of veterans and patriots ready to follow and have said “I will go”.

I urge all organizations, groups, particularly veterans and military retirees begin planning to visit Washington, D.C beginning May 16, 2014. Keep tuned to Constitutional Emergency/Patriots for Americawww.patriotsforamerica.ning.com for updates and guidance.

'INVITE' and BRING EVERYBODY, to Operation "American Spring" who believes in Saving Our Constitution, Our free and sovereign STATES and The Republic by restoring the Rule of our Ninth and Tenth Amendment Supreme Laws of The Land, which limit them to only the eighteen powers and spending granted them as itemized under Article I Section 8 of OUR Constitution, UPON our elected and wannabe elected Republican and Democrat enemies of OUR Bill of Rights. Bring our Rights, wages and salaries back home to our States and the people, which have been incrementally usurped by our elected Republican and Democrat despots since the 1913 Trifecta of Tyranny and Treason.

Please bathe this effort in prayer as there is no personal agenda or gain save liberty, freedom, and restoration of constitutional government for “we the people”.

There are several organizations, in addition to this fb Event, organizing Operation "American Spring".

*********************

   Now that you've seen it, here's my OVERALL view:

  On the surface, it sounds all wonderful and inspirational, yes, millions of UNARMED citizens milling about, hoping to do something creative and positive.
  Get fucking REAL.
   There is no provision to respond to government violence. NONE. Is this the "plan?" Set up a Tianamen Square kind of massacre to justify a call for ARMED REVOLT? That's what it looks like to me. Prove me wrong. Explain HOW this works. I see this as a sacrifice of trained, motivated people.
   Here's an issue that MUST be addressed in order to successfully remove corruption from DC.
   Until the politicians are caught and removed from their office they are still office-holders. Government is THE PEOPLE, not buildings and cities. No politician loses his office or the authority of their position simply because they are not in the capitol. To remove a corrupt goverment, you must get hold of those IN government.
   From 1775 to 1781, the Second Continental Congress moved SIX TIMES.
   May 10, 1775 – December 12, 1776, Philadelphia
   December 20, 1776 – March 4, 1777, Baltimore, MD
   March 5, 1777 – September 18, 1777, Philadelphia
   September 27, 1777 (one day only), Lancaster, PA
   September 30, 1777 – June 27, 1778, York, PA
   July 2, 1778 – March 1, 1781, Philadelphia

   They still remained the government, even though they were on the run from the British.
   The second the politicians get on a plane or out of town, Operation American Spring becomes useless as the Pyramids of Egypt. What's the point of being in DC if the politicians are not? Think about it like this. Obama is President no matter where he is. Unless you get him and all the other "corrupt" politicians, you're wasting time.
   If these people want to hold tribunals, then that means they have to arrest HUNDREDS of bureaucrats and politicians and do it QUICKLY and efficiently. I don't see this happening WITHOUT GUNS. It is a sure bet those "politicians, appointees and bureaucrats" will be percieved as being "more important" than "mere citizens."  That means the DHS, DCPD, and any and every other acronymed agency will USE GUNS to defend those people. Would it not make sense to BRING GUNS to counter the guns of those defending the aforementioned corrupt politicians and ensure the safety of these citizens performing their arrests? Unless of course, people want to offer themselves up as targets.
   Trials "in absentia" are a joke and a sign of weakness.
   I don't see this happening as the VERY second the Secret Service percieves a threat, they scream for help, choppers come, whisk away as many of the key politicians and Cabinet members as possible and that's it. End of the "Operation American Spring." Obama goes to Hawaii and rules America from his Hawaiian paradise, 2500 some miles of open ocean away from mainland America. The OAS people can forget loading up on planes and flying there. Few airports, easily controlled. Get on a boat? Good luck getting close to Hawaii with the Navy watching the oceans. So much for a tribunal for Obama. Meanwhile, Il Douche remains President and there isn't dick that can be done about it.
  Showing up in DC without guns IS. PLAIN. STUPID.
   You MUST have the MEANS to defend yourselves and enforce your will. Those without guns get pushed around and ignored. Ask the students at Kent State or Tianamen Square how not having guns helped them further their protests and causes. Those with guns make the rules. If you don't have guns, you're screwed.

   Some people who are reading this will be shocked, but I've been burnt once. I openly, eagerly supported the Patriot Guild's "March on DC." They said 5 million people were expected to show up. The expected patriots didn't show up.
   I was planning on going, but I had an auto accident and couldn't. But that didn't stop me from participating. I did what I could and started a (now-discontinued page) called "EMarch on DC" where angry cits would send petitions via phone, Email, FB, Twitter, etc., to get their point across. I only got 60 or so supporters. About 1/3 didn't send anything. Most sent something, which is better than nothing.
   If this march is SERIOUS about "Spring Cleaning" they won't waste time with BS speeches, petitions, etc. They will bring GUNS and have NO PROBLEM WITH USING THEM to save America. That's what the Founding Fathers intended.
   Wake me when the REAL revolution gets started. I'm tired of broken promises and false starts from the bullshit artists and wannabes.
   Until then, stop wasting my time!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snippets from "Grandpa's Friends" an unrefined work...

   Many people believe extraterrestrials have visited Earth in the past and guided us for some purpose.
  "Grandpa's Friends" is the working title of the story of such a contact--starting at the Battle of the Bulge and ending 50 years later.
   What if....

Chapter 1

December, 18, 1944:

   Sergeant Amos Ralston raised his fist up and dropped to a crouch behind a tree. He listened against the rising wind and decided that the sound was a figment of an overactive imagination. He started to stand when he heard it again.
   He looked to his left and saw Corporal Ruben Jerwinsky, a Polish-born medic who managed to escape the growing encirclement of two regiments of the 106th Division. Private Stephen James’ unit had been virtually decimated during the onslaught and had managed to escape. Between them on a jury-rigged stretcher was Private Tom Ferrell, who had been left for dead. Jerwinsky looked around, and knelt over Ferrell. He checked the large abdominal bandage. He frowned as he saw blood was seeping through the bandage. He knelt and began to apply another bandage in the hopes of stopping the bleeding.
   To his right, Corporal Harvey King and Private First Class Terrence Morgan waited with their M1 Garands.
   Terrence moved to him. “Krauts, Sarge.”
   “Get back in place,” Amos said as he stared at the young draftee they had come across three hours previously. Terrence looked hurt at the rebuke, but moved quietly back to his place behind King.
   Amos motioned to James, who ran at a crouch to him. He smoothly dropped to a knee and rested his weight on his rifle. “How’s Ferrell?”
   “Worse. Doc says we only have a few morphine syrettes left. After that--” James said as he sniffed. “Smoke. Someone just started a fire.”
   “I know,” Amos said as he made his decision.
   “What are we going to do?”
   “We check it out. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”
   “And if we don’t?” James asked as he jerked his head towards Jerwinsky and Ferrell.
   “Keep moving west, and hope we run into friendlies or a doctor,” Amos said. “Bring ‘em in.”
   “Right.”

***

   Jean and Michelle Renau listened to the screams upstairs. Jean gripped the Walther P38 tightly.

***

   Seventy meters away, a faint light from a lantern could be seen through the thick trees. Amos stopped the group and had them take up a defensive position.
   With a skill developed from childhood, Amos quickly circled the lone house. A kubelwagen command car with the dreaded runes of the Waffen-SS on the left front fender was parked by the side of the house. A mighty frown formed on his face, for the Waffen-SS were the toughest troops the Third Reich could field.
   A sentry stood by the car, his STG44 slung from his shoulder. He looked around guiltily and lit a cigarette as another scream tore the snowy night.
   Amos quickly rejoined the men.
   “All right, we got a problem. At least three Krauts, probably Waffen-SS in or around the house. Sounds like they’re interrogating someone. One sentry with one of those storm-rifles by the car. I’ll take him. After I take him, we move and enter through the front door. Jerwinsky, stay here with Ferrell.”
   “Yes, Sergeant.”
   Amos handed James his M1 Garand. “Won’t need this for what I have to do,” Amos said as James took the rifle. Amos pulled the long bayonet from its scabbard mounted on his field pack.
   “I’ll go first. James covers my back. King and Morgan, you follow us. Watch the corners, and check your targets, we might have some civvies there. But when in doubt, shoot. Clear?”

***

   Obersturmfuhrer Heinrich Baum studied the subject tied to the kitchen table. “Ach, this is getting us nowhere. Heinz, are the knives ready?”
   Major Pauken looked at the knives embedded in the glowing coals. “Nein, Herr Obersturmfuhrer.”
   “Schiesse!” Baum growled as he hit the subject again.

***

   Amos lowered the body of the sentry to the ground slowly and looked around. He picked up the STG44. A smile formed on his face as he eased the cocking handle back. The reassuring glimmer of brass greeted his eye. He eased the cocking handle forward and decided to use the newfangled storm-rifle as his primary weapon.
   He hefted the new rifle quietly and flipped the safety down with his right thumb.
   He looked towards the woods and saw a faint outline of Terrence’s helmet as he stuck his head up over a bush rather than lay on the ground and look from under it.
   Draftees.

***

   A piercing scream hid the sound of the opening door. The rush of cold wind preceded Amos.
   Baum looked up from the wood-fired stove impatiently. Amos fired five rounds into Pauken’s chest, the automatic rifle rising upwards to place the last round in the hollow of Pauken's throat.
   Deafened by the roar of the STG44, Baum hastily reached for his holstered pistol, his back slightly turned. Amos fired a short burst into his back that slammed Baum face-down on the stove.
   Heavy footsteps passed Amos and James. “Behind you!” King said as he moved forward, his Garand leveled.
   “Cover,” Amos said to James as he pointed to a door. The smell of burnt flesh grew heavy in the room as Baum’s uniform began to burn.
   “Cover.”
   Amos moved forward at a crouch warily and jerked the door open to reveal a poorly-stocked pantry. “Clear!”
   Amos stood up and heard Baum’s face sizzle. Idly he grasped the wide leather pistol belt and jerked Baum’s corpse backwards and looked at the figure on the table.
   But it wasn’t a man. The head was too large and too round, the neck too long, the ribcage too pronounced. “You’re a strange looking feller, aincha?” Amos said gently as he saw the large, pain-filled, almond shaped eyes.
   Belatedly, Amos remembered where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. “We’ll be back,” he said as he put a hand on the not-man’s shoulder. He moved his hand and looked at James. “Go get Ruben and Ferrell. Tell Ruben to start working on the umm, not-man, there. I’m going to watch King and Morgan.”

***

   “Allo?” Jean said hesitantly from the closed door as he heard footsteps.
   “Sarge! Got one hiding!” King shouted loudly, thinking Amos had been upstairs.
   “Raus! Kommen Sie here! Hande hoch!” Amos shouted as he pointed the STG44 at the door. King jumped in surprise.
   “Sortez avec vou mains vers le haut!” Terrence said. Amos raised his eye curiously at the private’s words. The door opened slowly.
   A short man stepped out, his empty hands high in the air.
   “Amis!” he shouted eagerly as he started to move forward.
   “Halt!” Amos shouted authoritatively as he raised the STG44.
   “Nous sommes resistance!” the man said as he halted. “I speak the English to you.”
   “Against the wall,” Amos ordered as a brunette woman peered cautiously around the doorframe. “You too!”
   The woman stepped out carefully. Harvey grabbed her and pushed her against the wall roughly next to the man.
   “We mean no harm to you!” the man protested as Harvey put the couple in a spread-eagle position, leaning far forward. As an afterthought, he kicked their feet wider apart until he was satisfied.
   “Stay there,” he said roughly as he stepped back and leveled his Garand, his voice filled with malice. He turned to Amos. “Want me to search them?”
   “Yes,” Amos said flatly. “Morgan, check that hidey-hole for weapons. Let’s see what they got. King, if they move, blast them.”
   Terrence moved far more cautiously than he had as he looked around the corner. He stepped inside and turned on his flashlight. “Got a pistol,” he said as he stepped out, the P38 in his hand.
   “Cover them, and let’s get this over with.”
   King searched the man quickly. “Sarge--”
   “Yes, the woman too. Old Kraut trick to hide weapons on the women because we’re gentlemen and afraid to cause offense by touching a woman.”
   “Okay,” King said. He frisked the man quickly, and lightly frisked the woman’s arms and legs.
   “Did you check her tits and box?” Amos asked irritably.
   “No.”
   “Check them. That’s where a Kraut would plant a piece,” Amos said.
   “Right, Sarge,” King said tiredly as he looked at the woman. “Sorry.”
   “Desole,” Morgan said.
   “What’s that?”
   “Sorry,” Morgan answered.
   “Des-o-lay,” James said as he quickly frisked the woman, his hands fast and efficient. “Clean.”
   “Desole,” Morgan said.
   “I speak the English good, amis. I could have told you we are unarmed,” the man said.
   “Who are you?” Amos asked.
   “I am Jean Renau, this is my wife, Michelle. Can we get away from the wall now?” he said as he looked over his shoulder at Amos.
   “Yes,” Amos said as he lowered the STG and saw Michelle’s look of anger directed at James. “James, go back upstairs and see how Ruben is doing with the not-man.”
   “Not-man?”
   “You’ll see what I mean. Go.”
   “Okay, Sarge.”
   “Sorry about having to do that,” Amos said carefully. “But it’s war.”
   “I understand, Sergeant,” Michelle said, her voice tinged with acceptance and anger.
   “Sarge! Ruben says get your ass up here now!” James shouted from the top of the stairs.
   “Let’s go,” Amos said as he gestured to the top of the stairs.

***

   “Amos, what is going on? What is this?” Ruben asked as he tied another bandage to the not-man.
   “Damned if I know,” Amos said as he looked at the not-man. “But the Krauts were cutting on him something fierce. How’s Ferrell?”
   “Not good. He needs a doctor.”
   Amos looked at Jean. “Is there a doctor nearby?”
   “No. The Boche shot him a year ago,” Jean said as he stared at the not-man.
   “Shit!” Amos said as he kicked Baum’s corpse in frustration. “James, you and Morgan toss the bodies in the kubel out there. King, go out and watch their backs. Strip ‘em for useful gear and intel. We’ll have to get rid of it before their buddies come looking for it.”
   “Shit,” James said disgustedly as he saw Baum’s scorched face. “Too bad this ain’t Texas. We’d left such shit for the vultures.”
   “Yeah, we know,” Morgan said as he slung his Garand.
   “Anything you can do for him, Doc?” Amos said as he looked at Jerwinsky.
   “I don’t know. I don’t want to give him anything--hell, we don’t have enough for Ferrell. I don’t know if the sulfa will do him more harm than good. This is beyond me,” Jerwinsky said helplessly.
   “Do what you can,” Amos said. “Ma’am, can you help here?”
   “Yes,” Michelle said as she stepped forward and looked at the not-man. The not-man turned his head slowly and looked at her, his almond eyes filled with pain, yet filled with understanding as Michelle smiled gently at him.

***

   “I hate these bastards,” Morgan growled as he helped James put Baum’s corpse into the back seat.
   “Me too. I say we should just bomb this place from one end to the other or let the Russians have it. Leave Europe to the damned Europeans.”
   “No argument there. This is twice we’ve had to clean up their mess. I don’t want my kids doing this again,” Morgan said as he straightened up. “Where’s the kraut Sarge knifed?”
   “Over there,” James said as he stepped back.
   The two men grabbed the sentry’s corpse and carried it to the car quickly, the blood dripping from the wound in the kidney.
   “Hope we get out of this,” Terrence said as they stuffed the corpse into the back seat.
   “Take some mighty strong praying for that. See the marks on the fender? Waffen SS. Know what that means?”
   “No.”
   “Well-trained fanatic bastards still willing to die for Volk und Vaterland. They think the sun rises because Adolph orders it.”
   “So?”
   “Some of these old boys been at it since ‘37 when Hitler sent troops to Spain. They still believe in Adolph and their Third Reich. Gonna have to kill every one of them to end this war.”
   “Let’s get the other Kraut,” Terrence said as he heard a strange clicking noise.

***

   “You two move slower than--” Amos said as a cylindrical object flew into the room.
   “Grenade!” Jerwinsky shouted.
   A bright white flash filled the room followed by a loud bang.

***

   “Savages!” Galuug snarled as he stepped into the room, his blast-pistol leveled. “Disarm them quickly!”
   “Galuug,” the not-man said weakly, his clicks and whistles difficult.
   “Cavool,” Galuug said as he moved to the table.
   “Disarmed, Warrior Leader! Stun or kill before the effect wears off?” a Warrior asked as he pulled the STG44 from Amos’ hands.
A second Warrior led James, King, and Morgan into the room.
   “Stun them,” Cavool groaned as he gestured with his head to the standing soldiers and civilians. “They tried to help me.”
   “As you wish,” Galuug said as he gestured to the Warrior, who brought out a small box from a container on his waist-belt and pressed it against Amos’ forehead. He repeated the act with the others. The stunned Americans and civilians stood as if they were mannequins.
   “Medic, in here!” Galuug shouted, his clicks and whistles full of anger.
   The medic entered quickly, his chameleon camouflage changing from black-gray-white to mimic the décor of the dimly-lit kitchen. He stepped over Ferrell and moved Jerwinsky aside. “The humans in the car are beyond salvage, Warrior Leader,” the Medic said as he focused his attention on Cavool. “Did they put anything in your wounds?”
   “No. I think they wanted to, but did not,” Cavool said tightly as a spasm of pain lanced through his body.
   “Good,” the Medic said as he opened a pouch and brought out a tube. He pressed the tube against Cavool’s head and waited a few seconds. Cavool smiled as the pain faded away.
   “Cavool, what happened?” Galuug asked. “Where is Helloov?”
   “We were hit by a meteor shower. Internal systems control and navigational computers were damaged. While the crew began repairs, I decided to see if I could establish our location. This is not England,” Cavool laughed bitterly as the Medic applied a skin graft patch to his forearm.
   “When I was spotted by the dead men, I told Helloov to return to the ship."
   “He had not returned to the ship when we arrived,” Galuug said as he pinched his throat-mike. “Warrior Elements, Mission Specialist Helloov is missing. We must find him. First Team, follow the road of the car to see if you can find him.”
   Galuug looked at Cavool and was amazed at the Cultural Assessment Specialist’s courage and foolishness. “Why did you take Helloov?”
   “He spoke English. In addition I felt security of the ship took priority over myself,” Cavool said. “We had to know if we were in danger.”
   Galuug hid his exasperation at risking twenty expertly trained Warriors for the foolishness of a Cultural Assessment Specialist who violated his standing orders to remain with the ship.
   “Where is your ship?”
   “Four cirts from here. The others were there five hours ago.”
   “Jyystriin help me now!” Galuug said as he looked up at the ceiling for divine guidance. “Quaruuth, Simoom, take the humans outside. Use their weapons and execute them humanely.”
   “Yes, Warrior Leader,” Quaruuth said as he grabbed Amos’ arm.
   “Hold,” Cavool said authoritatively.
   “What do you want me to do with them? We cannot leave them alive, lest they give away our presence. They are even more violent than the Bewabs,” Galuug protested. “We have to move quickly before our presence is discovered!”
   Cavool looked at the Medic, who had applied another skin graft. “Scan their memories. Find out why they’re fighting.”
   The Medic looked at Galuug uncertainly, for the memory-scanner was used to preserve the personalities of dying Meretians, not as an interrogation tool. He knew scanning a non-Meretian mind often took time as the required memories could be lurking anywhere. Time was the one thing in short supply on this frozen world.
   Galuug saw the uncertainty on the Medic’s face. “Scan them. Cavool has his reasons.”
   “Yes, Warrior Leader,” the medic said as he opened a pouch and brought out a square box with two tubes on opposite sides of the square. He walked to the nearest man, a thin man with stripes on his sleeve. He put one tube against Amos’ head and pressed his own forehead against the other and waited.
   His eyes widened in amazement as the memory-scanner quickly found the tendrils of memories. A moment later, the required memories had been located.
   The Medic closed his eyes and directed a thought into the memory-scanner.

***

   Amos sat on the floor in a home. Everyone listened carefully to sounds coming from a large box placed prominently along the wall. “--is a day that will live in infamy.”
   An older man shifted in his heavily cushioned chair. “We’re at war now.”
   “Only with Japan,” a younger woman said from her chair.
   “The Germans and Italians will declare war on us because the Japanese are at war with us. God help America.”
   “Amen,” the others in the room said.
   “I wish I could go,” Amos said from his place on the floor.
   The older man sighed. “It was this way after the Spaniards blew up the Maine. We enlisted in droves and died in great numbers not because of bullets, but because of malaria. War is not a picnic.”
   “I know that, Grandpa. We did not start this war. We did not want any part of it. But it is upon us, and those of us who can do something must do something,” Amos said fervently.
   The Medic repeated the procedure with Jerwinsky.

***

   Ruben sat before a large book called the Torah. He looked around the room and saw other students reading equally large books quietly under the tutelage of a large fat man with a kindly look.
   A distant hum was drowned by loud whistling sound. “Under the desks! Quickly!” the fat man said. The boys grabbed their prized books and dived under the desks. From outside, a bright flash and a louder roar as the windows exploded inwards, showering the boys with glass.
   Three more explosions followed in quick succession before silence came again. Some of the other boys got up from the floor. Other boys didn’t move. Ruben looked up and ran to the man. Youthful eyes assessed the injuries. After a moment, he took a yarmulke and pressed it against the most dangerous-looking wound.
   A moment later, the man’s feet kicked the floor and a deep rattling breath could be heard.
   “Rabbi Goldstein is dead,” Ruben announced solemnly.
   “What do we do now?” one of the boys asked.
   “We bury Rabbi Goldstein. Then we must go to war.”

***

   Nine minutes later, the Medic finished scanning Ferrell’s memory.
   “Well?” Cavool asked expectantly as he looked at the Medic, who stood up over Ferrell.
   “Sir, his readings are affected by some drug. Too disjointed to make any sense out of,” the Medic said as he gestured to Ferrell with a long-fingered hand. “The others have good hearts. Apparently, nobody knows this man.”
   “Yet they took care of him anyway,” Galuug said approvingly. "They are warriors."
   “Let me see,” Cavool said urgently. The Medic pressed the memory-scanner against Cavool’s forehead and activated it. A few moments later, the Meretian pushed the memory-scanner away from his forehead, his eyes closed in thought. Dare he recommend the Cleansing Protocol to the Exploration Council? Dare he recommend Return?
   “Cavool, we must move quickly,” Galuug insisted. “What do you want done?”
   “Bring the humans with us to help guard the ship while we repair it. Then we wipe their recent memories and let them be Guidians.”
   “Guidians?” Galuug blurted incredulously. “You want these warriors to help guide their society?”
   “Yes. They have good hearts. They are young, and if they survive, they can gently influence and guide their society towards suitable advancement better and longer than if we used older men in more influential positions. Where is my equipment?”
   Quaruuth picked up Cavool’s torn clothing that lay on the floor. “I do not see your equipment.”
   “It is here,” Galuug said as he spotted the camouflaged belt that closely blended into the counter. He picked it up and turned off the camouflaging element. The belt turned a dull gray instantly.
   “Give the box in the fifth compartment to the human-woman and have her hide it. Can you do something for the wounded human-warrior?”
   “Not unless we wish to give away our presence by disclosing our technology,” the Medic said. He turned and pointed to Ruben. “That man there has some limited training, and could be guided to perform an operation on the wounded man. We can use fast-heal for internal wounds, but not the external. There would be considerable scarring.”
   “Then so be it. I think he would rather be scarred than dead, don’t you think?”
   “Yes, sir.”
   “Proceed quickly, Medic,” Cavool said decisively and looked at Galuug. “I know you do not approve, but I see a potential in this species. Hand me the implanter. In the sixth compartment.”
   Galuug’s eyebrows rose in amazement, but took the device that resembled the memory-scanner and handed it to Cavool.
   Cavool put the box against his forehead and compared the appropriate suggestions against the memories of the human-warriors. He selected the ones most appropriate and handed the implanter to Galuug. “Put this against the human warrior’s foreheads. That will implant the appropriate suggestion.”
   “And of the two who are not warriors?”
   “Plant the suggestion they saw nothing, did nothing with the warriors other than help them with their wounded companion at this time. Plant the suggestion to all to return in six hundred twenty-four senres to open the box.”

Chapter 2

   Sergeant Hans Toller buttoned his pants quickly and cursed his vile luck at being assigned to an Intelligence officer, not with the fighting SS who were slaughtering the Americans. And the search for whatever Baum had him looking for was fruitless. The footprints had disappeared.
   He heard a strange click and dropped to a crouch, his STG44 aimed in the general direction of the noise.
   He brought his hand to his ear to listen for the sound that sounded like an American carbine chambering a round.
   He saw the white flash and high-pitched whine from the kitchen. In that second, he saw nine shadows outside the house. But there were no trees to cast that shadow.
   Cautiously, Toller worked his way to the front of the house, and saw two Americans standing stock still, then watched their weapons move from their bodies as if being levitated by a magician.
   The rear door of the kubelwagen opened and the bodies of Pauken and Gerlach spilled out onto the ground without help.
   He heard more clicking sounds as the Americans moved like poorly-controlled puppets to the door.
   The door opened up and light spilled out into the night. Toller watched the Americans enter the house. After they went inside, the door remained open, yet there was a shadow cast onto the ground.
   And again, there was nothing in the hallway to cast that shadow!
   The shadow changed as if a second man had joined the first. Toller looked at the doorway intently and again, saw nothing to cast that shadow.
   Then he saw what cast the shadow.

***

   Medic peeled back his camouflage hood to aid his task. “Where is he?”
   “In there, Medic."
   Medic stepped around Hingool and entered the kitchen.

***

   Toller knew in that second that he was up against something even worse than Russians with their political officer standing behind them with a machinegun. He turned and ran twenty feet when he hit a wall.
   Loud clicks and a whistle announced the presence of one of the invisible men. Toller drew his knife and stabbed the source unerringly.
   The whistling ceased instantly. Toller felt a grip applied to his forearm that reminded him of a Russian on the Ostfront.
   The grip intensified as Toller was pulled off his feet.
   In the dim light, he looked over his shoulder and saw several shadows from the open door spill out. The clicking sound came from every direction, it seemed.
   Toller felt the grip release. He saw the invisible man become visible, blue-black blood spilling from his stomach as a smell he associated with electricity hit his nose.
   Must move now. Toller thought as he instinctively cut the waist belt equipment off the thing on the ground. Then he fled into the night as the clicking grew louder.


Chapter 3


Brussels, Belgium, 1994:

   Mark Ralston sighed at the sign of the metal detector.
   “Sir, I will be setting off your metal detector. I have metal plates and screws in my lower left leg,” Mark said patiently.
   The Customs agent nodded. “Please step through, sir.”
   Mark stepped through the arch. A loud beep announced the presence of metal. The Customs agent watched as Mark’s bags went through the fluoroscope.
   “Please accompany this gentleman,” the Customs agent said as he gestured to a large man.
   “Thank you,” Mark said politely as he picked up his suitcase and briefcase and followed the man to a private room.

***

   Anya Gromyko stood in the Arrivals area patiently. He could not have bowed out. Not after all this! She thought as she saw Mark walk down the hallway with a slightly limping gait.
   “Mark!” she shouted happily.
   “Anya!” Mark said as he sped up his pace.
   A moment later, they stood before each other. “Hello Anya,” Mark said with a smile.
   “Your picture does you no justice,” Anya said, her dark brown eyes wide.
   “And you’re even prettier than your picture,” Mark said as he reached out and took her hand. “You’re real.”
   “As are you, my handsome American man.”
   “Where to first?”
   “Well, I was thinking of dropping you off at your hotel, and then a nice whirlwind tour of Brussels if jet lag isn’t going to kill you.”
   “Sounds like a plan,” Mark said with a smile as he picked up his bags.

***

   Claude Fournier was in his early fifties. His demeanor was gentle, yet the wares he sold were not for the faint-hearted.
Claude was a licensed gun dealer who specialized in antique weapons.
   “Mister Ralston, I am happy to finally meet you,” Claude said as he held out his hand.
   “As I am to meet you, Monsieur Fournier,” Mark replied.
   “Would you like some coffee?”
   “Yes, please,” Mark said, remembering the Europeans preferred to mix business with pleasure.
   Claude spoke in rapid-fire French on a phone and hung it up. “Coffee will be here in a moment. How is my friend Amos?”
   “He is doing very well,” Mark said proudly.
   “I am happy to hear that,” Claude said as a blonde-haired secretary entered the room with a tray in her hands.
   “Thank you,” Claude said to the woman.
   “Merci beaucoup,” Mark said politely. The woman nodded and left quietly. Claude poured a cup of dark coffee from the silver pot and held it out to Mark. “Thank you.” Claude poured a cup for himself.
   The two men sipped in silence. “The coffee is excellent, Claude.”
   “Thank you. It is Arabian coffee. Even finer than the Columbian coffee hand-picked by Juan Valdez,” Claude joked.
   Mark set his coffee cup down. He reached inside of his coat pocket and extracted a business card. “He wanted me to give you his Email address, so you can talk more to each other,” he said as he leaned forward and held the card out to Claude.
   “Thank you! The Internet is changing everything, and for the better!” Claude said as he took the card from Mark.
   “It is,” Mark said agreeably.
   “Well, allow me to show you what you’ve come across the ocean for then,” Claude said.

***

   Mark looked at the twenty crates of weapons. “Amos told me you would go over them thoroughly, so I arranged for you to have a small area to inspect.”
   “Thank you, Claude.”
   Claude went to the top most crate and opened it up. He reached inside and handed Mark a heavy, grease covered rifle. Automatically Mark opened the bolt and checked the chamber. His eyes took in the immaculate bluing and precise wood despite being made in 1944.

   “How did you get these?”
   “A couple of local boys were playing and found them deep in a cave that had been sealed off. The opening was large enough for a boy to crawl through,” Claude said as he watched Mark study the weapon. “They undoubtedly had visions of lost art and tons of gold.”
   “Undoubtedly,” Mark said with a smile. “But this is gold, whether people realize it or not.”
   “May I ask what happens to these when they reach the United States?”
   “We--Grandpa and I will sell them. Mostly to collectors and reenactors. A few will go to museums for display,” Mark replied as he set the rifle on the workbench.
   “Will any of them be fired?”
   “Probably,” Mark said as he looked at the rifle. “You know, seeing something like this boggles the mind.”
   “How so?”
   “The war has been over for fifty years. And people are still finding unfired weapons and ammo still in original cans.”
   “Do you know what an 'Iron Harvest' is?”
   “No,” Mark said.
   “Every year when farmers plant, they often dig up unexploded bombs, shells and grenades. That’s seventy years after the first war.”
   “Wow,” Mark said. “What do the farmers do with them?”
   “They will place them at the end of driveways or between telegraph poles for proper disposal.”
   “Are there chemical weapons?”
   “Always.”
   “That just boggles the mind.”

***

Leipzig, Germany:

   “Guten Morgen, Herr Toller,” Friedrich Baum said courteously. “I am Friedrich, your nurse. How are you today, sir?”
   “Weak. Where am I?”
   “At Leipzig Hospital. You have had a minor heart attack, and are going to recover. May I get you some water?”
   “Please,” Toller said as he started to sit up.
   “Nein, Herr Toller. You should not exert yourself. Allow me to adjust your bed,” Baum said quickly as he turned the hand crank to raise Toller’s upper body to a sitting position.
   “That is fine, Friedrich,” Toller said as he took in his surroundings. Baum nodded and poured a glass of waver for Toller. He put a straw in it and held the straw to Toller’s lips. Toller eagerly drank the water and smiled contentedly.
    “Sir, it is time for your bath.”
   “Bath?” Toller said.
   “It is regulation that patients are to bathe daily,” Baum said.
   “Fine. I can bathe myself. Help me to the facilities.”
   “I cannot, your doctor has ordered bed rest. I will bathe you.”
   “I will not be bathed by a man.”
   “Herr Toller, I wish I didn’t have to bathe you, but my orders are clear. You may wash your genitals, if that is what you are worried about,” Friedrich said patiently.
   “Very well,” Toller sighed.
   Baum wheeled the cart closer to the bed and began the process of undressing Toller. He instantly noted the heavy scar near Toller’s armpit and a corresponding scar on the underside of the old man’s bicep and made a note to be slightly careful of the area.
   “You stare at my scar,” Toller said firmly.
   “Only to be careful when I wash it,” Baum said as he raised   Toller’s left arm. “What happened?”
   “The war. My unit was attacked by British bombers. A large piece of shrapnel hit me,” Toller said.
   Baum looked at Toller. “A very smooth piece of shrapnel,” he said pointedly.
   “We were captured a short time later by the British, and I was treated at one of their hospitals,” Toller replied as Baum paused and rinsed the sponge.
   “Or this was self-inflicted and a poor story concocted,” Baum said as he looked at Toller. “To remove the blood group.”
   “And you have read too many books printed by fools who were never there. Contrary to popular belief, the blood group was also put on Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine personnel who had been treated in one of their hospitals,” Toller said.
   “I am sorry, Herr Toller,” Baum said contritely. “What was it like?”
   “What was what like?”
   “Fighting the Americans?”
   “British,” Toller said.
   “Same thing. They are the lackeys of the Americans.”
   Toller nodded as he remembered. “They were good soldiers, worthy opponents. Not like the weaklings they pass off as soldiers today.”
   “Hard men?”
   “Very,” Toller said as he looked up at the ceiling. “The hardest fighters except for the Russians. Only Montgomery was weak. If Patton had been in charge of Market-Garden instead of Montgomery, the war would have ended sooner.”
   “I have heard other men say the Americans were tough.”
   “Tough, but nowhere near as tough as the Russians. The Americans won the war because their homeland could not be attacked. We lost the war on December 8th, 1941 when Herr Schicklegruber declared war on them.”
   “Herr Schicklegruber?”
   “Adolph Hitler’s real name. He changed it for legal purposes when he became a German citizen. Can you imagine thousands of people screaming “Heil Schicklegruber” at the Nuremberg rallies?” Toller said with a smile.
   Baum laughed as he wet the sponge. “You may wash yourself there, Herr Toller,” Baum said as he held out the sponge to Toller. Toller took the sponge and carefully raised his knees up. Baum turned away to give Toller some privacy.

***

   “Phoenix” TV broadcast a special called “The Guns of Desert Storm.”
   Toller watched it intently, his old eyes seemingly alight at the sight of the American helmets that resembled the German “coal bucket.”
   An American soldier was shown standing behind his rucksack. On a green poncho in front of the soldier were the contents of the rucksack.
   “--soldier of today is the best-equipped soldier in the world. Armed with the upgraded M16A2 assault rifle, the American soldier carries the equivalent of a World War Two fireteam in his hands.”
   “Bah!” Toller said derisively. “If the Amis had been smart they would have copied the STG44 and been done with it rather than waste time with that pissant weapon.”
Baum entered the room with a steel meal tray in his hands.
   “Good evening, Friedrich,” Toller said brightly.
   “Good evening, Hans,” Friedrich said politely as he placed the meal tray on the ubiquitous stand and pushed it towards Toller. “What are you watching?”
   “An American show on the Desert Storm War,” Toller replied as the camera focus changed to show a platoon of M1A1 Abrams battle tanks racing across the desert, large clouds of dust behind them.
   “The undisputed master of the armored battlefield, the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank can travel at speeds in excess of fifty miles per hour. Its state of the art gunnery system allows the crew to shoot on the move with over ninety percent hit probability, regardless of range or conditions,” the narrator said as one tank fired. The camera view cut to show a burning Iraqi tank, its turret flying into the air.
   “Impressive piece of machinery,” Toller said as he watched the loader pull a large round from the ammunition chamber, twirl it and ram it into the breech.
   “Up!” the loader shouted as he sat in his seat.
   “The Abrams is the first American-designed tank with crew survivability as its primary goal. Protected by a thick layer of British-designed “Chobham” armor, the M1A1 is virtually impervious to all weapons on the battlefield,” the unseen narrator said as the tank fired again.
   “It truly is,” Baum said.
   “How would you know?” Toller asked.
   “I have been inside one. It is truly a marvel,” Baum said as he looked at Toller. “Did you know the gun on the M1A1 was designed by Rhinemetal?”
   “Really?” Toller said.
   “Yes. The American tank gunner I spoke to said the original tank gun 'choked the hairy banana' but said the newer gun is a dream to shoot,” Baum said as he turned. “I am sorry, Hans. I should let you eat before your meal gets cold. I will return shortly for the empty tray.”

***

   “How would we have fared against the Americans?” Baum asked quietly.
   “The American Tom Clancy wrote in one of his books that we would have fought for no reason. Given the small size of forces in Germany NATO had against the forces we and our Soviet allies had, I doubt that greatly.”
   “But the same units virtually wiped out the Iraqi Army during Desert Storm.”
   “Ha!” Toller said derisively. “The Coalition had six months to build up forces and train intensely for desert warfare. Then they unleashed the airpower of over forty nations for six weeks against a third-rate army before fighting units that mostly did not wish to fight.”
   “But they did wipe them out.”
   “They did not. The Americans got everything right in that war except for one thing. They did not follow through on a concept known as 'destruction in detail.' The political leadership was afraid of world opinion and stopped fighting when they had the enemy trapped on the highway. The units they let go eventually were reformed into units and ultimately turned loose on the Kurds and dissidents. The Americans still lack the stomach for close-up killing. They prefer to kill from long distance and keep it clean, sanitized, distant.”
   “But they still won,” Baum persisted.
   “Do you want to know why the Americans win wars?”
   “Why?”
   “Their men are no better than ours. The fact they permit homosexuals to serve shows their men are worse and their leadership is uncaring. That they lack the martial spirit we had. They do not serve out of duty, but out of self-interest. Their training is undoubtedly good but they are not hard. What lets them win wars is their unquestionable grasp of logistics and technology,” Toller said.
   “Yes. And the fact they have a large army and equally large reserves,” Baum said.
   “Exactly. All things being equal, the Americans cannot stand up to a real fighter. Their enemies aren’t outfought, they are outnumbered. Would you like an example?”
   “Certainly,” Baum said as he studied the old fighter.
   “The Battle of the Bulge, as the Americans call it. We attacked when they had no airpower. We went through the Americans like a dose of salts. They had more men and equipment, but they did not have airpower to offset our superiority. Only after the weather favored them did they win the battle--and not before. It took them a month to reclaim the ground we had taken in a week. And that was in the final months of the Reich. The Americans winning a conventional World War Three? Ha!”

***

   “May I ask why you became a nurse?” Toller asked.
   “I had done my National Service as a medical orderly. I always wanted to be a doctor. When my service was complete, I attempted to enroll in medical school, only to be rejected because the benevolent West Germans said my academic credentials were insufficient. The best I could hope for at that time was to become a nurse in order to work towards my goals,” Friedrich replied as he continued to change the sheets.
   “Ah!” Toller said. “So you are not homosexual?”
   “Of course not!” Baum said. “Would you like to see a picture of my girlfriend?”
   “Yes.”
   Baum pulled his wallet from his back pocket and extracted a photo that shown him standing next to a short brunette with clear green eyes.
   Toller studied the picture for a moment and handed it back.    “You are a lucky man, Friedrich. Take her to the altar as quickly as you can before some untermenschen sees her!”
   “She hates the Turks who are sucking our country dry.”
“If only we had won the war. Things would be so very different. One Reich. One leader. One people. If only we had more time,” Toller said wistfully as he held out the picture to Friedrich.
   “I will return when my shift is over, if you wish.”
   “Yes,” Toller said brightly. “I would enjoy that.”

Chapter 4

   Toller stared at the apparition of the screen as the little Außerirdisch walked amongst the astronauts. He felt the cold lance of fear enter his stomach as the chosen astronaut smiled benignly at the child-like extraterrestrials that surrounded him and gently guided him from the line of astronauts.
   The cold lance moved upwards and became tiny needles under his left armpit. Toller gripped his chest tightly as he reached for the callbox on his bed.

***

   Friedrich Baum heard the insistent ringing of the phone.
He hastily dried himself off and walked through the apartment and picked up the phone. “Hello?”
   “Friedrich, it is Katrina,” she said, a semblance of gentleness in her normally gruff voice.
   “Yes?”
   “Mister Toller has had another attack. Since he has no relatives and seems to enjoy talking to you, I thought you should know.”
   “Thank you,” Baum said as he started to hang up the phone.
   “Friedrich! Don’t hang up yet!” Katrina said hastily.
   “Yes?”
   “Doctor Fassbender says he will not last the night. He has asked for a priest and a solicitor.”
   “I understand. I will be there shortly.”

***

   Baum entered the room and looked at Toller. The old man’s eyes were no longer bright, but filmy. The skin on his face sagged, and the white stubble made Toller look older.
   “Hans? It’s Friedrich,” Baum said gently.
   “I can see you,” Toller said as he forced a smile. “Come, my friend. Let us converse.”
   Baum pulled the chair to the bed and sat. “I was told you had another mild attack,” he said cautiously.
   “Another attack, yes. Mild, no. My time is coming to a close and that is the way of things,” Toller said philosophically.
   “Nonsense, Hans. You have many years ahead of you.”
   “No. I do not. Tonight is my last, and I shall enjoy it to the fullest with a young man whose presense reassures me all is not lost. All was not in vain.”
   Baum smiled at Toller.
   “I have received my Last Rites, and I go to God with a nearly clear conscience. I must clear my conscience before I rejoin my comrades.”
“Yes?” Baum said expectantly.
   “My scar? You were right from the beginning. I was Waffen SS. Yet you said nothing, why?”
   “Because the war is over. Because you are my friend. I understand why you did not tell me. The Americans and their Jewish lackeys would hunt you in the belief that Waffen SS was the same as those who operated the death camps. A poor reward for a soldier doing his duty to the Fatherland.”
   “Friedrich, you are more than a friend to me. You are the son I never had,” Toller said with a faint smile.
   “Thank you,” Baum said as he hid his unease.
   “The other nurses saw me as an old man who is about to die alone. A physical body to be tended to, nothing more. You saw me as a man. A man who talked of strange topics. You of all people talked to me about the past nobody wishes to hear.”
   “You are my friend, Hans,” Baum said. “And I have learned quite a bit from you.”
   “I have spoken to a solicitor earlier. I have a few simple requests. Would you--”
   “I will honored.”
   “Thank you. My requests are--simple. I only wish to be cremated and my ashes scattered on the Rhine. Would you do that for me?”
   “Yes.”
   Toller’s eyes closed slightly. “Thank you.”
   A moment of silence hung in the air like a guillotine.
   Toller gasped slightly and coughed. Baum stood and pulled a paper towel from the nearby counter. He quickly wiped the spittle from Toller’s cheek.
   Toller nodded appreciatively as Baum balled the paper towel up and threw it at the garbage can.
   “There is one thing left to be said, and only to you will I say it.”
   “Yes?”
   “We are not alone."

Chapter 5


   Gert Breneke stepped out of his apartment as he saw Baum fumble with the keys. “Who are you?” he demanded.
   “I am Friedrich Baum. Hans’ friend,” Friedrich said quietly.
   “Liar. Hans had no friends. He was nobody’s friend. Now be gone before I call the police!”
   Friedrich turned and took a step towards Gert. “You go ahead and call the police, you pathetic excuse of a man. The police will come, and I will produce my identity card and show them the papers saying I am Hans’ heir. The police will take a look at them, apologize to me and chastise you for wasting their time,” Friedrich said in a tone of voice he hadn’t used in years.
   And count yourself lucky this wasn’t seven years ago, the former Stasi agent thought.

***

   The landlord knocked on the door ten minutes later.    Friedrich explained who he was and promised to have the apartment emptied within a few days and the financial aspect closed.
   Alone with the life of Hans Toller, Friedrich saw the old fighter had been content to live with his memories. He categorized most of the belongings as “worthless” to be carted to the nearest curb and disposed of, relics of a world that had gone mad and best forgotten.
   Friedrich Baum started towards the bedroom, and started disposing of Hans’ life.

***

   Hans had no photo albums. No letters from friends. No memories were visible. The old fighter had denied his own past to everyone around until nearly the end. The only thing left to do was clean the apartment, have the landlord inspect it and pay the last month of rent. In a few hours, Hans Toller would become a forgotten memory to all except Friedrich Baum.
   Friedrich picked up his broom and started to sweep the dust bunnies from the floor. The dust bunnies did not cooperate and seemingly avoided his broom. After a few minutes of futile effort of sweeping under the bed, Friedrich stood up and pushed the bed across the room and began to sweep.
   A dust bunny eluded the broom and Friedrich chased it, the bristles trapping it against the baseboard. He pulled the broom to him and scooped the dust bunny into his hand when he noted the baseboard was loose. He pushed the baseboard against the wall and noted it went back into place too easily. Curious, he pried the baseboard loose.
   He looked at the empty space and saw several thick, clear plastic bags. He pulled the first one out, to reveal a forbidden hand gun inside. He stared at it for a moment and then reached inside and pulled the other bag out to reveal a notebook. He reached in a third time and felt a third bag stuffed into the wall. He gave it a slight tug and it fell onto his hand. He pulled it out also and noted it looked like a series of metal blocks connected by webbing straps.
   He harrumphed and checked the false hole once more before replacing the baseboard and the bed. He looked at the bags and put them in an opaque garbage bag he had brought with him. Then he hurried to finish his task.

***

   After returning to his apartment, Baum ensured the door was locked. Ever a disciplined man, he went to the bathroom and showered quickly.
   Refreshed,  he sat at the kitchen table and opened up the bag with the pistol. The pistol was wrapped inside a large sandwich bag and it was apparent Hans had sucked the air out of it to further protect the pistol from rusting.
   The pistol was an old P38, adorned heavily with small Nazi symbols that served as quality acceptance marks. Baum pushed the magazine catch at the bottom of the handle and extracted a heavily oiled, unloaded magazine. Absently, he pulled the slide back, held the pistol to the light and saw it was empty.
   He reached in the bag again and extracted a smaller sandwich bag with ten rounds of ammunition in it. Like the pistol, the air had been sucked out and a small bag of desiccant had been placed inside as further protection against moisture.
   He turned his attention to the second bag, the one with the large squares held together with webbing. Idly he took one square out and saw it was a dull gray and looked like it was a solid piece of metal. He shook it experimentally and heard a rattle from inside. He repeated the procedure with the other boxes and found some rattled, some did not. He went to the living room and returned with a magnifying glass. He sat down and examined each box meticulously for signs of a seam or cleverly hidden latch.
   “Just an oddity,” he said tiredly as he rubbed his eyes two hours later.
   Baum stared at the plastic bag. He tore it open and set the plastic aside. The notebook was brown and brittle around the edges. He opened it up to the first page.

***

December 16th, 1964:

   “Twenty years have elapsed since that cold night my dreams died. All I can dream about is that night, but why? The dreams are intense and as vivid as any teenage boy’s dreams of compliant female flesh ever were.
   “Always of that night twenty years ago.
   “It started when Obersturmbannfuhrer Baum spotted two men wearing white uniforms on the side of the road. He ordered Gerlach to speed up and told me to get ready to chase them if they were the enemy, for we had captured several Amis the previous day who had been cut off from their unit.
   “One of them took off and ran blindly. The other man stood transfixed as if unsure what to do. Pauken laughed and said “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” so we stopped and took the man prisoner.
   “But he wasn’t a man. We took its equipment belt and tied it up. Baum and Gerlach sat in the front seats and Pauken and I sat in the back with the creature between us. The creature kept making these funny clicking sounds that I have recently associated with dolphins. The clicking was annoying.
   A few minutes later, we came upon a house that was dark. Baum ordered us to stop and said we would interrogate the creature there. How Baum felt he could understand the creature was beyond me, given it only clicked and whistled.
   Gerlach and I were told to search the house. We found it empty, yet recently inhabited. There were no fires lit, no lights, yet there was some food in the pantry. Clearly the inhabitants had abandoned it and fled for safety from the battle.
   After assuring ourselves the house was empty, Gerlach, Pauken and Baum brought the creature in and tied it to the kitchen table while I started a fire in the stove. Baum told Gerlach and I to stand guard outside while they conducted the interrogation.
   I stepped around back and seen nobody. I walked to the treeline. I thought I had heard something and stepped into the treeline to find it.
   I ran towards the front when I saw two Americans enter the house. Gerlach was dead and his weapon taken. I heard a burst of fire afterwards. I readied myself to go inside when an American stepped out and walked into the woods. He returned a minute later helping a second American carry a stretcher. They went inside the house and closed the door.
   I was torn between duty to my comrades and duty to the Reich. Do I avenge them or do I survive to fight another day? I chose to observe for the moment and to wait for the right time to strike.
   I heard nothing until the door opened up and shadows were cast upon the ground. Yet I did not see anything to cause the shadow! It was amazing. Then there was a bright light and a whine that I associate with the ringing in my ears after you shoot a pistol.
   I knew I could not linger, but had to bring reinforcements to the scene. As I went to escape, I ran into an invisible man. Rather than give up my position by firing, I used my knife and killed the Außerirdisch. I took his equipment belt out of habit and ran for my life as the woods themselves came alive with clicking noises. I reached the road we had traveled on and followed the tire tracks to safety.
   The mystery of the equipment belt has caused me many sleepless nights. But not as much as the appearance of the Außerirdisch. Who are they? What do they want? Why did they choose the Ardennes of all places to land?
   “Twenty years of seeing the same round face, the same black eyes. The clicking noise that reminds me of dolphins and porpoises.
   “The Außerirdisch I killed was more than two meters tall and strong. He resembled a human in appearance, however the proportions were different as follows:

1. The head was round with no hair upon it.

2. The eyes were pure black and almond-shaped, like an Oriental’s eyes.

3. The neck was long and thin, at least twenty centimeters long. The neck was tubular shaped and had no Adam’s Apple or other distinguishing features.

4. The arms were longer, yet similar to humans.

5. The hands had six fingers on each.

6. The torso appeared to be disproportionate to the rest of the arms and legs. A barrel with broomsticks would make a poor, yet apt comparison.

7. The blood was blue-black and cool when it hit my hand.”

   Baum scratched his head in amazement as to why Hans would write such nonsense. But the presence of the equipment belt offset the possibility of lying. He turned the page.

   “After I had outdistanced my pursuers, I backtracked in hopes of regaining contact with a more favorable outcome.
   “Within an hour, I heard numerous clicks and whistles again, followed by English. I came as close as I dared and saw two Americans leading two men carrying a stretcher. After the Americans had passed, I decided to pursue when I saw the snow disturbed again!
   The invisible men left only their footprints in the single file. After ten minutes of waiting, I saw no more disturbances in the snow and decided to follow them. I kept a reasonable distance and followed them perhaps six kilometers to a hill.
   The hilltop was flat and four of the Americans stood in front of what was a Raumschiff. The Raumschiff was perhaps forty meters long. Tubular shaped descending to a point at the nose like a fighter jet.
   There were two small wings smaller than I would think something this big would need. I established a position and decided to watch carefully. I could hear a lot of mechanical sounds from inside the ship. So I know the ship had certainly not intended to land in the Ardennes.
   Why had it landed there at all?
   I moved as close as I dared and saw the Americans, one with Gerlach’s weapon, walking around the ship as if on sentry duty. The fourth always stayed near the wounded man, who was now covered by field coats taken from my comrades.
   “After an hour, there was a lot of clicking and whistling and the mechanical noises had ceased.
   “One of the creatures stepped out of the ship and said something to the American with Gerlach’s rifle. The American nodded and gestured to the others. Two picked up the stretcher and they headed southwest without a further word.
   “The creature outside went back in and the ship’s doors closed. Then there was a loud hissing and the ship rose into the night and disappeared amongst the snow.
   “I waited a few moments to make sure they were not coming back. A few moments later, I heard a second hissing, perhaps from one hundred yards away and decided to wait again.
   “After the night became quiet, I checked my watch and saw it was only 0200. I knew I could catch the Americans easily and kill them. It would be easy as Americans usually concentrated their alertness forward and to the sides in the belief that nothing could come from behind.
   “I went to the top of the hill and seen there was no sign of the ship’s presence. I walked to the spot I had seen the creature and looked around. The snow looked as if it had never been disturbed. The footprints of the Americans had gone, but yet there were tracks to the west left by them.
   “In the distance, I heard a loud explosion. I saw the flames flicker in the distance and knew it was the road we had first spotted the creatures. I decided to return to the house, warm up, get some food, and head west to find my comrades.
   “I returned to the road and saw the kubelwagen upside down and on fire, a large hole in the ground as if it had run over an anti-tank mine. The bodies were destroyed beyond recognition and there was nothing useable to be salvaged.
   “How would I explain my survival when I rejoined our forces?
   “I pondered that question in my mind. I returned to the house and seen it was darkened again. I stepped inside and smelled the lingering stench of burnt flesh in the kitchen. I searched the house again, and found nobody was there. Perhaps the creatures left it darkened for their own purposes. Perhaps someone was very well hidden. I did not know, nor did I care. I grabbed a wool blanket from the bed, took food from the pantry and headed west.”

************************************************

Interlude: Friedrich Baum decides to track down the technology and sell it to the highest bidder. Anya turns out to be a former KGB agent who decided to quit when the Soviet Union dissolved. When Friedrich captures Michelle (the old woman), Anya and Mark rescues her and kills Friedrich.
For the record, I had a bit of a problem mentally reconcilling everything in this section, thought I'd "get back to it later," but Kronskye called me first. Back to the story...

***************************************************

Chapter 6


   The five soldiers and the woman sat around the table in the kitchen where it all began and stared at the pristine gray box. As one they reached for it and touched it. After a moment, they moved their fingers away from it and waited.
   The top of the box lowered slightly, and then retracted into itself.
   A green holographic projection appeared, showing a Meretian.
   “Let’s move around so we can all see it,” Ruben said as he stood and moved his chair. The others arranged themselves on one side of the table.

***

   “Greetings. I am Cavool, Cultural Assessment Specialist. Fifty of your years have elapsed since we met.
   “First, I wish to thank you for preserving my existence at great risk to yours. I apologize for not properly thanking you sooner, however, the times were difficult for us, yes?”

   “Yes,” Amos said absently as he studied the not-man.
   “You have many questions, I am sure, and there is not enough time to answer all of them. I will explain the basics to you.
   “In the year 1940, we learned of your planet from a signal that shown the evil ones. A man in a brown uniform was shouting. The decision was made to investigate and assess your world’s social, economic, and technical developments.
   “As we grew closer, we picked up more signals quicker, and quickly learned your world was at war with itself. We decided to land in a place called “England” to begin our assessment. We were hit by a meteor shower and landed in what you call “Belgium.” While my comrades repaired the ship, I attempted to determine our location.

   “After you rescued me, I was rescued from you by a special team of Warriors. You are the first humans to make “First Contact” though this fact will never be recognized. And you have helped advance your society closer to making an official “First Contact” a reality.
   “Do you wish to continue to help? Touch the box to accept.”

***

   “Anya, my love, if Shakespeare could not describe your beauty, how can a mere mortal such as I hope to?” Mark asked.
   “Mark, are you trying to butter me up?”
   “Yes,” Mark replied softly as he looked at Anya’s broad, dimpled smile.
   “It’s working,” Anya said as she let go of Mark’s hand and put her arm around his waist as they walked closer to the house.

***

   “Thank you, my friends,” Cavool said as he bowed formally to them. “This is a historic moment for our worlds.”
   “We hope,” James said as he looked at Cavool’s image.
   “In your time, you have knowingly and unknowingly helped advance your society in various ways.”
   “How?” Michelle said.
   “If my guesses are true, Ruben has helped advance medical science. Terrence has helped advance peace. James has advanced aeronautics. Harvey has helped open minds to the concept of peaceful contact with extraterrestrial species. Amos himself has kept the group in touch with each other in anticipation of this day. It is my sincere regret that Jean is not amongst you, for he had a good heart too. The list of your contributions towards a better world are endless.
   “To make your world a better world for all, you must return to the landing site.”

Chapter

   The men stepped out of the van. Mark walked to the rear of the van and opened it up to reveal the backpack he’d purchased at a store, filled with a local sport-drink. He grunted at the weight, for he had brought enough for everyone, plus a small first-aid kit. Anya frowned, unsure of what was going on.
   “Is everyone ready?” Mark asked cheerfully. “Which way, Grandpa?”
   Amos looked at the distant trees in the fading light. “That way.”
   “Okay,” Mark said as he started walking.

***

   “Here,” Terrence said. “This is the place.”
   “What makes you think that?”
   “Foxholes,” Terrence said. “You made us dig.”
   “I don’t remember.”
   “Trust me. You did,” Terrence said as he gestured to a mostly caved in foxhole.
   “Another one here,” Ruben said as he looked around. “This is where Harvey and I waited with Ferrell.”
   Mark took off his backpack and watched the old men walk around in a wide circle.
   “Hey!” a voice said from the top of the hill, perhaps thirty meters distant.
   All eyes turned towards the voice. An old man came downhill slowly, hanging onto the trees to control his descent.
   “Ferrell?” Harvey asked quietly.
   “Who the hell else would be stupid enough to come back to goddamned Belgium to sit on a goddamned hill?” he retorted.
   “We never heard from you again. We thought you was dead,” Amos said.
   “I’m not,” Ferrell said angrily. “I should have been, but I’m not. Every night I’ve dreamt of this hill, and I don’t know why. Every night I woke up screaming.”
   “I--” Amos said.
   “I was told to come here, put rocks on a spot on the ground in front of a square and go home. Now get the hell out of my way so I can have some peace.”
   “Ferrell,” Ruben said hesitantly.
   Ferrell drew a large-bladed hunting knife and pointed it at Ruben. “You stay out of my way, or I’ll kill your Jewish ass dead. Don’t think I won’t.”
   “Leave him alone, Mark,” Amos said tiredly as he saw Mark move towards Ferrell, his own hunting knife in his hand.
   Ferrell didn’t blink an eye. “Just get out of my way.”
   “Move,” Amos said as the old men moved away from the trampled grass that passed for a trail.
   Ferrell moved warily down the path, his eyes on the old men, fearing them more than the young man following him.
   When he cleared the men, Ferrell turned and ran as if the devils of hell were after him.
   “Grandpa, what the hell is going on?”
   “Mark, you have to see it to believe it,” Harvey said. “I can’t describe it.”
   “Let’s go,” Mark said as he sheathed the knife. “It’s getting dark.”

***

   Ferrell had stacked every rock he could find in a pile some five feet tall and perhaps three feet round. The old men gathered around it. Mark and Anya stood off to one side, watching.
   “Let’s move these rocks,” Ruben said as he leaned forward and started tossing rocks behind him.

***

   “Mark, what is this?” Anya asked as she pointed to a peculiar indentation a few feet from them.
   “Just an indentation,” Mark said dismissively as he glanced at it, and then returned his focus on the old men.
   “But it’s square,” Anya said.
   Mark looked at the indentation carefully and saw it was perfectly square. The square pushed in several inches and had sloped downwards as nature tried to resettle the earth around it, but it was still square.
   “Let’s look for others,” Anya said as she turned on her heel and started walking. Less than a minute later, she found an identical indentation twenty feet away. Mark found one five feet from her, twenty feet away as well.
   “Landing gear,” he said as he knelt to examine the indentation. He took the small entrenching tool from his backpack and opened it up. He knew the blade was exactly six inches wide. He carefully measured the hole and determined it was exactly two feet square. “But from what?”

***

   The old men had removed the rocks to reveal nothing. The ground under Ferrell’s rock pile had been untouched. The old men shook their heads in disbelief. “They didn’t leave whatever for us in the open. They buried it, you dolts,” Harvey said. “Mark, bring your shovel over here, please.”
   Mark complied and started to dig. Eighteen inches deep, the steel blade rang off a large rock. Mark widened the hole and pried the rock out, mindless of the dirt on his clothes.
   A gray box, seven inches wide, ten inches long, and two inches thick rested. Mark pulled it out of the hole and looked for a way to open it. There were no catches, latches, locks, or seams.
   “Is this a joke?” Mark asked indignantly.
   “No. Watch,” Terrence said quietly as he reached forward and touched the box. The others touched it. Again, the top settled into the box and retracted. A blue light came from the box to form a base for a green light.
   A miniature Cavool projected himself. “Greetings, my friends. I am sorry for the deception to reward you for your assistance, but I did not wish for this to fall into the hands of the evil ones.
   “Inside are two tools, that you may use or not use as you choose. The red tubes are what we call “suggestions.” Place the tube against your forehead and you will know of concepts that you can suggest to others who will apply those concepts to technology.
   “The blue tubes are my personal gift to you. Each has a special drug that will slow down your cellular decay. This will give you at least thirty years more life. There are two additional tubes to take to the others. You are free to use or not to use. However, the suggestion tubes are keyed solely to your brain wave patterns and will not activate for anyone else. The drugs are universal, and will give you a longer life-span, should you choose it.

   “I am sorry that we cannot truly honor you as brave men who had the faith to see beyond tomorrow. If there was true justice in the universe, this site would be a monument to you and all of you would be heroes. But your society is far from ready to handle the technology required to make First Contact. This will take a great amount of time, and a great amount of patience. But First Contact will happen. We will not intervene in your world in any way. What you do is up to you, and only up to you.
   “Good bye, my friends. May your lives be all you wish them to be.”


***

   The men and Michelle stared at the box as if it contained all the gold in the world and all the misery the world could create.
   “Do we, or don’t we?” Harvey asked rhetorically.
   “I will not,” Amos said firmly. “I have lived my life according to my conscience, and I will not cheat God by delaying death.”
   “I will not either,” Michelle said. “Ever since Jean died, I have had no desire to live. We live in terrifying times, and I have seen what will come to us in the future. There will be another war, and it will consume all of us. I do not desire to live through another.”
   “I will not benefit from their drugs, I am sure,” Stephen said. “I have terminal cancer. I already know I will not survive the year.”
   “What kind?”
   “Liver.”
   “What about transplants?” Harvey said.
   “What about them? I’m too old, never done nothing famous, don’t have a million dollars, and I don’t know who to bribe to get that kind of treatment.”
  “I will take both,” Harvey said.
   “Why?” Michelle asked.
   “I’m a writer. I will be able to get their suggestions heard by my audience, a small one, but an audience nonetheless. I will need time to get my writings completed.”
   “Good luck,” Stephen said sincerely. “I wish I could be around to watch them turned into a movie.”
   “Thank you,” Harvey said.
   Stephen gestured to the box. “Take my suggestion tube as well. If these are keyed into our brainwaves, maybe they have different ideas in them. Get as much of this out there as you can.”
   “Okay,” Harvey said.
   “I will take the suggestion tube, but not the life-extender tube. I have seen many things and I wish to see them no more. We were meant to die for a reason,” Ruben said as he reached inside the box and took a suggestion tube.
   “Terrence?”
   “I will take the suggestion tube as well. Do whatever you wish with the other.”


Epilogue:

   “He’s crying again. Your turn,” Anya said as Mark sighed and stood up. Mark walked into the baby’s room and frowned at the smell of a soiled diaper.
   “Ugh,” Mark said as he picked Amos up and set him on the small table and began the task of changing his diaper.
   Amos smiled, his immediate need taken care of. Mark folded the used diaper up and tossed it into the garbage bag.
   Anya entered the room, her dark eyes bright with love as Mark placed Amos  into the crib. “Is he hungry?”
   “I don’t think so, love,” Mark replied as he wound up the mobile, a gift from Harvey along with a copy of his 'breakthrough novel' A Friend in Need.
   Amos cooed as his blue eyes focused on the slowly moving mobile. His innocent eyes focused on the miniature shuttle and pointed happily at it as if choosing his path that would be longer than most.