"The Last Rocketman." A terrifying view of the future that might have been. The future that still could be. And the courage to face it!
The Last Rocketman
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
He stood at the top of Mount Everest, his rocket suit shining a metallic green in the harsh light of the dusk. He was exhausted, beaten up and weary. He had done as much as any one man could ever be expected to accomplish. And yet it hadn't been enough. He still wasn't able to stem the tide of evil sweeping across the world and slowly, but surely stomping on every spot of Light that remained unblemished by the virus of hatred led by Hitler and his regime.
What had gone wrong?
What had he done then, that he could have done differently?
"Jet! I'm getting a very strange reading."
"What's new?" Jet's voice rang in his ears from the inserted receivers.
"No. I mean...really, really strange."
Harry adjusted his altitude and attitude controls, leveling out after his rocketing plunge from the stratospheric heights...his usual ploy to remain unseen until the last possible moment before he attacked his targets. For some reason the targets were getting harder to spot, and faster in eluding him. That wasn't a good thing.
"That isn't a good thing." Jet echoed his thoughts.
"What? Oh yeah. Right!" Harry answered, his eyes focusing on the blurry blip before him. He adjusted his altitude and again plunged deeper into the lower strata of clouds that still veiled the American skies. There were more clouds these days since Hitler had nuked Las Vegas. The one town he had left untouched, even though he had taken out Nellis and Area 51 decades before in his initial attack. He had saved the nukes for the larger cities. Evidently some of his generals had convinced the Fuehrer that gambling was a waste of bombs.
"I see something." Harry hollered, not meaning to.
"Easy on the ear drums, Harry. Remember. You're right in my brain."
"What you see?"
Harry swept through the final layer of clouds over the Mojave Desert and then almost wet his pants at what he saw. Huge towering constructions of metal and highly polished mirrors that stood dozens of stories into the air. The whole complex he was reading was off the charts.
"They've got some kind of weird energy structure built."
"Tez it back to me."
Harry nudged the Tez camera and shots of the desert structures began to line up on Jet's screen back at the base. Einstein and Tesla eyed them solemnly. "They've managed to do it."
"Do what?" Jet almost hollered at them, totally confused by the odd looking structures.
Einstein leaned over Jet's mike. "Harry, you've got to take them out. Now!"
"What are they, Al?" Harry's voice rang throughout the base.
Everyone was watching what he saw through his external Tez on huge screens about the interior of the base. When Harry fought, everyone supported him in prayer and anticipation, because the war effort hinged on whatever he did next. It had come to that.
"Your worst nightmare...and mine." Einstein almost gasped.
Jet looked at him. Al looked back and shook his head. "I'm all right. Chest cold."
Al leaned closer to the mike. "Harry, if those are activated they will create a screen of energies over America which are impenetrable to anything we have. We won't be able to pursue them there anymore."
"I assume they must be doing the same on the other continents." Harry sighed.
"Count on it." Tesla barged in, grabbing the mike.
"See the central tower?"
Harry angled his helmet to glance to his right. "Loud and clear."
"It's the one you must take down for certain. It's the power hub."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked. "I don't see any soldiers around that tower at all."
"It's a trick, Harry." Tesla blasted. "You know they're good for that."
"But what if their trick is to leave the real thing guarded, not the one that isn't."
"It has to be the power hub. The rest of the towers are too diminished. They have to be the ones that feed the energy screen once the power is added."
Harry shook his head as best he could in his helmet. "I have a bad feeling about this."
"You always do, Harry." Jet kidded.
"Suppose." Harry acknowledged. "But something stinks to Nazi hell about this."
Harry sent his suit into a sweeping arc of the complex. As he did he was able to see the complex better, weigh the positions of the guards. "They do look pretty nervous. The guards. I would too if I were standing in front of machines about to blast the skies with mega joules of power."
Al took the mike back. "Harry, you've got to take out the large tower. It has to be the source of power."
Tesla took the mike away from Al. "No. It's the smaller ones. Leave the larger one be. Take out as many of the smaller structures as you can."
Jet looked at the two scientists, took the mike away from Al. "Harry, this has to be your call."
Harry began to sweat profusely, even though the interior of his suit was a cool seventy degrees. "This really, really stinks."
"Okay. Al I'm going to take out the big tower."
Harry launched towards the larger structure. He let go with a barrage of his hand missiles. Below Nazi Storm Troopers looked up at the sound of the approaching rockets. Then they looked towards the large tower. As the missiles struck it, there were no explosions. The large tower shimmered for a moment and the missiles passed through it.
"Harry, get out of there. Get out of there now!" Jet screamed at him.
Harry lit his rockets and shot upwards in arc of power.
Even as he did the smaller structures began to light up one by one, like Christmas tree lights. The soldiers below rushed away from the structures they had been sent to guard and turned to look, cheering and triumphant as the towers spewed massive forces of energy that gathered together in a swirling funnel, vortex of massive energies that slowly expanded upwards and outwards.
"Come on, baby!" Harry coaxed his suit, giving it everything he had as his rear Tez showed him the inverted bowl of energies flaming upwards towards him.
"Jet. Calm down. Worst that can happen is that I'll get stuck here. This suit can handle anything."
"No Harry." Al hollered, taking the mike. "It'll fry every electronic in your suit. You'll fall like the dead piece of metal you'll become."
"Damn, don't go easy on me, Al. I gotta enough to handle." Harry spouted comically.
Then beneath his breath. "Come on, baby. Come on!"
Sheaths of furious energies closed in on Harry as his rocket suit climbed higher and higher. "You didn't tell me those things could reach into the stratosphere!"
"We didn't know. Till now." Al told him.
Harry looked behind him and the energies were hot on his heels and closing fast.
He felt the heat of them through his suit, even with the cooling now turned up sky-high. He kicked at the air beneath him, as if that would help, and then grinned. "Idiot!"
"Not you guys! Me!"
Harry angled his suit and gave it full power towards the rapidly rising curtains of energy that threatened to engulf him.
"What the hell are you doing, Harry?"
"Playing out a hunch!"
Harry gathered speed. The glare of the waves of energy smote his eyes so powerfully that he had to raise the sunshield to protect his eyes. Even so, he could barely see. He eyed his sensors. "Closing in fast."
"Harry turn around. You'll fry!"
Harry did what was probably the most stupid thing he had ever done in his life. He fired his hand missiles into the conflagration about to overwhelm him. For just the briefest of moments as the missiles exploded, the energy bubble wavered.
Rocketman burst through the narrow opening and shot across the skies beneath the flaming canopy of catastrophic forces.
Harry swiped the sweat on his face with an invisible hand that did absolutely nothing to get it off his face, but he still relaxed. "It worked, Jet."
Harry frowned, and then realized he was cut off.
He did the only sane thing he could at that point. He headed for the Pacific. Maybe the shield didn't go deep. He could.
Harry stood on the top of Mount Everest. From there he could see the towering, overarching shields of energy that enveloped Asia, Europe and the Americas. They were so large and massive and so bright and terrible that not even daylight could hide their horrible magnificence.
The Nazis had done it. They had finally won the war.
There was no way he could effectively stop them now. The continents were sealed. He had managed to escape beneath the dome over the Americas, hoping to return the same way, but soon afterwards the Nazi Command had extended the dome to include at least ten miles of offshore sea as well.
He was permanently and effectively locked out of America, Europe and Asia.
There was nothing more he could do.
He couldn't even speak to his friends in the Alps.
He stood on the peak of Mount Everest, storms of snow blasting around him and didn't care. There had to be something he could do. Something he could do to change this horrible course of history.
For there would be no more Rocketman. He knew his friends. He knew their abilities. His suit was the last one they could build with the resource they had. The jump suits didn't have enough reach and would run out of power once they were unable to secure more supplies from the Americas. This was now. This day.
The resistance was over.
Sure, there would still be pockets of resistance. But inevitably, they would be crushed.
He rubbed at his eyes in a futile gesture, but his armored hands could only thunk the hardened glass of his faceplate.
Alone, like a Superman cast off from Krypton, he stood on Mount Everest, again and again trying to figure out what he could have done differently. Then he heard this weird sound. He turned around and looked up. It was Rocketman! Arching down from above, blasting way merrily on its twin thrusters of powerful forces.
"How?" He asked.
Then a voice rang in his ears. "You're not the last Rocketman, you big jerk! Stop thinking with your emotions and use your brains!"
Then the second Rocketman, the one that should not have existed, vanished as if it had never been there.
Harry stared at the empty skies a long time, his Rocketman suit pounded by the almost hurricane force of the winds and snow about him. He finally looked towards the horizon where the glowing domes lit up the skies.
The last Rocketman?
He grinned. "I don't think so!"
He raised his arms and shot up into the sky, accelerating faster and faster. He remembered now. What he had tucked back into the interior of his subconscious. There was a way. A way to get back. To change things.
He shot upwards, higher and higher.
He had tested the theory one other time and it hadn't worked. But then he had chosen the situation and it hadn't been a true risk of his life. This time it was. Whenever he was in mortal danger. About to die, the timelines blurred and he was translated into an alternate timeline. It was his one and only chance.
He took it.
He arced around and shot like the rocket he was towards the nearest of the huge domes of energy. "Well, Harry, no one lives forever!" He cried out as he shot at the nearest of the domes at a speed that broke the sound barrier over and over.
Jet laid down his hand, grinning at Harry, while Al smiled from his side of the table and Tesla from his. They were playing poker. "I win!"
He had three aces and two kings.
Harry slammed down his cards. "You're cheating!"
Jet spread his hands calmly. "Since when have I ever had to cheat at anything, Harry?"
Al stood up and then Tesla.
"Good night, gentleman." Al said, and then exited towards the right, tapping his pipe on his coat sleeve as he walked away.
Tesla swept his chips into a hand and pocketed them. He looked to Jet. "Tomorrow night?"
Tesla nodded to him, then to Harry and rushed to catch up to Al, whom he put an arm around his shoulder.
Harry heard them both laughing and gave them an angry scowl.
"Harry! Lighten up! It's not like you're facing death or anything."
Harry froze for a moment, the flash of huge columns of flaming energy burning in his vision, and just as quickly as the vision flared, it vanished. He let go of his anger. "Sorry, it's just the stress catching up, I think."
Jet swiped all his chips into his hat, and then stood. "Spoken like the man you truly are. Have a good one, Harry."
He strode off, leaving Harry pondering the meaning of his vision for a long time. Finally, Harry also rose. He yawned. "It's been a long day." So saying, he headed for his room. Enough thinking. Enough...everything!
Below the dome a Nazi WarWing was roaring towards its destination. The co-pilot excitedly pointed upwards. "Something's striking the dome!"
The pilot looked and shook his head. "Probably another one of those meteorites."
The co-pilot nodded. "Nothing could ever pass through those monstrosities. Not even us."
They both laughed.
The Nazi War Wing banked and headed for its destination, the lone disruption of the shield above forgotten and filed away as just another meteorite strike.
It was their first and final mistake as a barrage of missiles stroke their WarWing and it exploded.
Rocketman shot through the exploding debris of the demolished plane and headed for the Pacific on a mission to return home.
Death and Destruction
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
He was taking a pounding that's for sure. The swashes were beating the hell out of him and he wasn't able to do a thing about it as long as his power pack was recharging. A couple dozen more charges of their hammer guns and it was all over.
How in God's name had he gotten stuck in the missionary position to the merciless bastards pounding his suit into atoms?
"A swash is a slang term for Nazi foot soldiers." Einstein told him as he sat at the edge of the cliff overlooking Lake Lucerne.
"Beautiful view, pops."
Al ignored his tease and went on. "The tropes are the super swash, genetically enhanced super soldiers capable of pounding you into the ground with one fist behind their back."
"I wonder if they still sell raspberry chocolate down there."
Al ignored this comment as well. "The zoms are civilians who have had their minds wired to remove all sense of self. They are still whole beings, but no longer in control of their senses. That is why we try not to kill them whenever possible. Instead we try to turn them."
Harry turned to eye Al, who was tamping his pipe onto the rock beside him, and reloading from a pack he pried from his jacket.
"Zoms are nominally still human people, just altered so that they have no control over their own body."
"A term I picked up..." Harry paused, trying to remember where he had heard it, and then shrugged. "From somewhere...somewhen."
Al nodded in a kind of fatherly way, and then scooted closer to Harry, examining his eyes. "The time dilation still hasn't worn off."
"Tell me about it. I feel like a taco turned inside out."
Harry turned to Al. "You really need to get out more."
Al laughed, and then tapped Harry on his right knee with his pipe stem. "Your next mission is critical. You must not harm the Zoms, even if they block your way to completing the mission. If it comes to it, you have to turn back."
"What if they're about to kill me?"
Al was silent.
Harry sighed and took a deep breath. "Life sure sucks sometimes, doesn't it?"
"Now that..." Al smiled. "That I understand."
Harry sighted the landing position in the cross hairs of his scope and began banking his rocket suit in that direction. He hadn't seen a single Swash jet since he had entered lower Lithuania, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your sensibilities. He took a quick suck off his water stem, then clicked it shut and eyed the landing trigger. It was square on. He initiated thrusters and his suit slowed, then turned in a quick arc and landed him on his feet. He bent somewhat to absorb the impact, leaving a deep groove in the pavement he had landed on.
"Glad that was you and not me." He told the pavement, and then headed for the rendezvous point. He was meeting with a resistance leader, a pretend Zom, who was known to be faulty by the Swash, but ignored as long as he continued to do his job, which was loading and unloading weapons.
Harry's job. Rocketman's job was to make sure that loading and unloading came to a quick and timely end. The Allieds were mounting a quick thrust into the region in an effort to sweep out all the Zoms and return them to their own control, so they could join the resistance, which was spreading across Europe, however slowly.
Harry dreaded sometimes the work he did, because it kept him from returning to America, where the brain of Hitler ran everything. New Nazi New York it was called. The skyscrapers, the Empire State Building and the Monarch Building were now the headquarters for the Nazi party in America, which now led the war on the rest of the world.
When America fell during the last days of World War Two, it had ushered in a long period of subjugation and experimentation by the Fourth Reich, the reborn Nazis, led by a brain only Hitler, who lived through a robotic counterpart. It was Harry's determination to end that body that drove him on every mission in this alternate timeline.
Sometimes he missed the real timeline, but these days he wasn't so sure any timeline was real anymore than the other. No matter which one he lived in, he was getting shot at, battered and bruised, and the love of his life was dead.
But funny enough, the person he missed the most, was Jet, who had survived in the first timeline to be his best buddy and helper, but in this one, somehow didn't exist.
Harry parked his rocket suit inside the designated building, and then headed for the meeting place.
"Raspberry." Harry whispered in the ruins of what was once a beautiful church, its gothic spires marred by bullets and bombs, its beautiful stained glass windows shattered, its pews broken and scattered across the interior of the once magnificent structure.
"Chocolate." Came the counter answer.
Harry grinned, and stepped forward, and then as he lifted his hand to shake with the other person, he almost had a heart attack. It was Jet!
The person facing him gave him a blank look. "Who is that man?" He turned to see if he had been betrayed by Harry, someone hiding in the shadows perhaps.
Harry's emotions battered him. "Don't you know who I am? Your best friend. Your battering ram. Your personal line of envy."
Jet, a tall and well muscled black man, with deep brown eyes and a face marred by a slight scar on the left side of his neck frowned. "I've never seen you before in my life."
Harry didn't see the scar at first, but when Jet turned to look to his right, he did. Harry tensed. A Zom! Then he relaxed. Of course he was. He was an underground Zom, one who the rewiring had failed in.
"Where's your suit, Captain?"
Harry ignored the question and came closer, looked into Jet's eyes. The man stood stock still, as if frozen in place for a moment, and then he backed up. "I need to see the suit."
"Why would you need to do that?" Harry asked, his worry radar going full blast now. Something didn't pickle right in his brain. He gave Jet a closer examination. "The man I met was supposed to have a scar on the left side of his neck. Yours is on the right."
Harry ran for the exit of thee building, just as ten Swash entered, carrying their hammer guns ready to fire. Harry dove out a stained glass window that had been shattered to his right, and landed on his back, rolling to his feet. In seconds he launched himself swiftly towards the hiding place of his suit.
He felt, rather than heard the hammer guns fire. Their weaponry was so powerful that it fused the air about him, causing the skin closest to the blasts to blister from the intensity of the heat caused by their searing beams of energy.
He dove to his right, then threw himself into a cellar, crawled swiftly across it as quietly as possible, then levered himself to another window, and crawled out. He looked round, listened a moment, hearing nothing, he ran towards his hiding place. He reached it, just as the sound of alarms rang out and Swash lanced the air about him with their hammer guns. He landed inside the hiding place in a ball, rolled to a stop at the foot of his suit, then climbed inside of it. He clamped it shut, sealing it against the outside, then turned it around to exit.
That was when a trope stormed into the building and landed a hammer like punch to Harry's helmet. Harry stumbled backward and with the weight of the suit so great, he couldn't maintain his balance. He fell onto his back, just as the swash burst inside.
"The Fuehrer wants the Rocketman alive." The trope ordered, and then grinned. "But he didn't say in what condition...alive."
Stunned by the blow still, Harry shook his fog away and launched a mini-rocket into the midst of the swash, blowing up half of them, but the rest plowed through the death and destruction, trailing guts and blood, then dove on him and began pummeling him.
He could no longer move, or resist. Several of them had placed some kind of magnetic clamp to his arms, causing them to seal together. He was helpless as a baby. He couldn't fire rockets, couldn't get out. In other words his ass was cooked!
Harry looked at his charge. Not enough to launch horizontally without frying every circuit. And no way to know if the magnetic clamps did anything else than hold his arms together. He might become a flying torpedo and hammer himself to death against a wall, his stabilizers and softeners running at low ebb.
He watched his charger begin to renew his power supply. It was a new one altered from the last by Tesla, who had used a new form of energy to power it.
"It will make you nearly invincible." He had promised.
"Yeah." Harry quipped to himself, unheard by the swash or the trope. "At least my suit. Meanwhile, I'll be turned into soup inside this bell!"
The Trope shoved the remaining swash aside and grinned into Harry's face. In a very bad imitation of German...even though he was German...he said, "And now I shall smash your face into atoms."
"I thought you needed me alive!" Harry joked.
"Not you. Just your brain."
"Then you better aim a bit lower, as now you're aiming right at my brain pan."
The trope gave him a confused look.
Harry's suspicions were confirmed. The trope couldn't see through the helmet plate glass. It was too dark inside the room. Harry glanced at his charger. Almost full. "I bet you're so strong you could handle me all by yourself, even if I had my arms free."
The trope grinned. "Yes. And still take your brain."
The trope laughed, and then smashed Harry's midsection, breaking the clamps.
The suit rang like a bell, even more so than when the swash had been pounding him.
The trope yanked Harry to his feet as effortlessly as if the Rocket suit was just a suit of clothing, instead of armor and stuck his face into the Helmet's glass, peering inside.
Harry's eyes went round with horror.
The trope had no pupils.
The trope swung its fist back, preparing to complete its death stroke.
Harry smiled, and then flicked a switch with his tongue.
A horrible screeching sound rang throughout the building. He had planted the resounders shortly after he landed, just in case. It was the just in cases you had to be the most cautious about, not what might be's.
The trope clamped its ham sized fists over its ears and screamed, joining the screams of the swash.
Harry saluted the soldiers. "Say bye-bye."
The trope gave him a blank look. "Bye-bye?"
Harry launched a mini-rocket into the trope and the swash, launching straight up and through the ceiling of the church. He wasn't there long enough to see them explode, or hear them scream. As he raced from the building's roof, he turned to the south and there below him stood the zom Jet.
The zom stood there watching him fly off, making no move to fire the hammer it held in its hands. Just watching, a hand over its eyes to watch him as he blasted into the skies.
Harry's heart pounded in his chest.
"I'll be back, Jet. I swear it!" He promised, his eyes watering from the pain of leaving the only real friend he had ever had. He blinked the tears away, and then accelerated across the skies, towards Switzerland and home base. Away from death and destruction. And away from a friend who meant more to him than life itself.
"I will return." He swore to himself, as he fired the rockets that steered him north towards the Alps.
"I will, Jet. I swear it by everything I hold Holy. I will return for you. Or die trying." He said, his eyes misting even more as he shot up above the clouds and became a speck of light to those below.
The zom, who might be Jet, dropped his weapon and put fingers to his eyes. They were wet.
"Why? He asked no one, and then leaving his weapon behind, he marched away, a lone figure in a land of war and destruction.
Alpha and Omega
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
A slice through the shadows. Fall back deeper.
Heartbeat so loud his chest feels like it's going to explode.
Maybe this time.
Maybe the search has ended!
"Come on, bucket head." Jet whined.
Harry swiped at the sweat pooling across his brows, his concentration unwavering as he studied the battle plans before him.
Jet, leaning over the plans, anxious to get going, fretted like the little child he was sometimes. Got to love him, mused Harry as he finally swept his pawn across the board to block the only exit that Jet's king had.
Jet grinned so big that Harry immediately knew he had made a tactical error.
"You should have blocked the rook, not the castle." Einstein said, as he hovered over his shoulder, the sweet smell of his cherry blend whispering between his teeth from the pipe he was smoking.
"Easy for you to say." Harry complained. "You plan a hundred moves ahead."
"Well, one tries." Einstein replied humbly.
Harry gave him a scowl, then waited for Jet to close the game.
Instead, Jet yawned, stretched real big and got to his feet, stretching like a lion does before leaping upon its prey.
"I'm whacked. Think I'll catch some shut eye. 'Night!"
"Hey!" Harry complained.
"You win, Harry. As always." Jet said, the hint of a snicker in his voice as he swept off to the right and their bunks deeper in the underground fortress. A fortress that was deep inside a series of natural caverns inside the Swiss Alps. Left there by ancient Romans on their way to defeating the rest of Europe. You could still see some of their statuary in deeper pockets of the fortress, where even some of their simple columns supported the cavern roof with beauty, while not actual need.
Einstein sat down and pondered the board a moment. "Actually, he's right. You do win."
Harry looked at Einstein. "You're kidding, right?"
Einstein gave him a stony face, then broke into laughter. "Night, Harry."
He walked off slowly, heading a different direction, probably to work with one of his fellow scientists on suit modifications Harry had suggested. He just found it harder and harder to fly the damn thing. He felt like a walking tank. Not like a bird flying. More like a bomb flying the wrong direction.
Brenda, one of the Nurses on station, slipped into a chair opposite him and set down two cups of Java. "Thought you'd need this."
"Thanks." He said, grasping its warmth, allowing it to warm his numb fingers. While the base was comfortable enough, no amount of work could change the temperatures inside, which were usually just this side of freezing. You could always see your breath. When he complained about it, Einstein laughed. "Would you rather it got hot and our electronics blew up, causing a thermal nuclear meltdown of our reactors?"
"Boom!" Einstein made a cute explosion sound, then laughed.
So that ended that.
"Harry. Base to Harry. Come in, Captain!" Brenda teased.
Harry focused on her face, the hint of a smile on his lips. "Sorry, just thinking."
"Ask me flight boy, you ding that old noggin a bit too much for comfort. Some day you're likely to turn into one of those steel brains like Al."
Harry barked with laughter. "He'd love hearing that. Then he could have a real partner to beat chess with."
She smiled, then took a sip of her Java.
Harry did the same. Then his eyebrows rose. She gave him the hint of a mischievous smile. "Woke you up, did it, fly boy?"
"You shooting for bedpan duty, Nurse?" Harry quipped.
"No skin off my back. I've been doing that for years, Penguin."
He laughed. "Sometimes I wish I were."
"Yeah. Read you loud and clear."
They both sat there lost in their thoughts a moment, then Harry said what was really on his mind. "Do you think they're still alive...out there...somewhere?"
Betty's face grew impassive. "Facts are not always pleasant, flyboy."
"Atta girl, fast thinking. But not as fast as my jenny."
"Your jenny is nothing more than a firecracker with metal slung around it." She countered, then put a hand on his hand, not liking the direction their talk was taking.
"Sorry, Harry. Didn't mean to blow out your tanks."
"Likewise." He said with a grin.
She softened. "We would all like to think she was still alive, but..."
He grew somber with that thought. "So many gone. So many."
"You still seeing the split?"
"Must feel like being stuck in a Mae West double barrel salute when that happens."
"Worse." He admitted.
She looked into his eyes. "What's it like in that other world?"
"We were winning."
He didn't say anything more. What more could he say? On his own timeline the Allies were beating the crap out of those brown shirts, but here...they were on the run...hiding in rabbit holes and taking pocket shots, hoping for a big break.
"You live back then sometimes, don't you?"
"Yes." He sighed, put his head in his hands a moment, then looked back at her. "It's like a dream...this world...when I'm there, but now that world..."
"Like a dream?"
"Al or Nicolai come up with anything yet?"
"Not a damned thing."
She put a hand on his wrist and he could feel the warmth of her seeping into his body. He flinched at first, but she didn't let go. "Whenever you want to talk more about it."
She got up and smiled. "Why don'tchu come up and see me some time, big guy?"
"You been looking at those old reels, have you?" He smiled at her.
"Oh yeah. Those movie stars had it all down." She returned the smile, then walked off, the same time as klaxons blared throughout the underground cavern.
Harry bounced to his feet, spilling his Java on the table top. He ignored it as he ran as fast as he could to the rigging area. He, along with a myriad of penguins, who supported the operations, raced in every direction. Checking power. Checking radar. Checking entrances and exits. Checking fuel. Checking supplies. Hauling out fire equipment. All the things that penguins did to make sure the flyboys were safe and the secret base secure.
He mused over the term penguins a moment, thinking it funny that his fellow airmen would be called something as cute as that, but such was the slang of the times...even in this alternate reality. Which brought him back full circle to the klaxons blaring. Either there was a major battle coming, or something had gone terribly wrong.
"Suit up, Captain!" Ordered his commanding officer of the day. Colonel Windser. The man was an uptight asshole, without the slightest clue of good manners or mercy. He would just as readily swap a fellow airman down into the ground as a Nazi storm trooper.
Harry ignored him as always, leaped up the ramp into his suit, twisted around and slipped inside. The ground crew sealed him in quickly and made sure his electronic network was active and ready. Others manned the new electronic consoles that kept track of his heart rate, his air, his munitions and more importantly his amp out if need be. He'd only amped once, and it had cost him a month in rehab from the shock of impacting the ground. He was determined...not to let that ever happen again.
Amping was a term for bailing out, but in his suit, it just meant being enclosed with a super inflated cushion that was supposed to protect him from earth impact. It did, but it usually left him in shock for weeks from the violence of the impact. They had tested it once without him and deemed it okay, but he knew better. It was experimental. Which was why he was begging them for lighter suit.
As his helmet sealed off and his scanners lit to life, his screens for monitoring the outside of the suit, his armament, his flight navigator, his communications gear came to life as well. "Rocketman, loud and ready." He quipped.
"Gotcha, Harry." Jet rang in from a receiver near his right ear.
Harry activated his legs and began disconnecting from the ramp. He turned and faced the ramp he would be launching from. He began racing up it as the mountainside ahead began to part like the fabled walls of Ali Baba's forty thieves.
"Rocket!" Harry shouted, then shot up into the midnight black of the Swiss night. No moon, no stars. Clouds thick and dreary. Perfect for his flight to stay hidden from the Nazi base below, but bad for his systems readouts, as the fog caused a lot of false readings.
"Jet, what's going on? Nothing in range."
"This is Colonel Windser, you are to stay air born until further instructions. We have a bogey. I repeat we have a bogey."
"Colonel, that tells me zero!"
"Heads up." Jet ordered.
Harry turned his helmet up.
The clouds were thinner there. As he flew higher, they thinned further and he became aware of something metallic coming into view. It was larger than him, and armed to the teeth. Another Rocket suit...with a huge Swastika on its chest.
"Jet, we have a problem."
"What is it?"
Static blasted into his ears, then Colonel Windser's voice blasted through. "Shoot it down. Now!"
"Captain, are you disobeying a direct order?"
"No sir, just not interested in shooting my own self."
Long silence. "What?"
"It's me. Rocket me."
"Holy crap, Harry, how's that possible?"
"How are you possible, how am I?" He shot back. "Some kind of new split in the timeline. Jeepers, you're rattin' up the wrong tree, if you wanna make sense of this."
"Other suit is arming, Harry."
Harry did the only thing he could, he amped.
Inside his suit, he became compressed in a soft substance that would save him from any impact. The suit was made of a highly resilient metal that nothing short of an atom bomb could destroy. He was the only breakable part.
"Harry, you crazy!"
The last thing he saw was the face in the other suit as it closed in. His own. The eyes were in shock, then it shot to the right and vanished as he plummeted towards the earth.
That was the last thing he remembered for about a week. The next thing he remembered was Nurse Brenda's voice talking to Jet in a low murmur. Then he realized it was just him surfacing from dreamland.
He opened his eyes. He was hooked up to all kinds medical scanners and body fluids. "Hey!"
They both gave him looks of relief.
Colonel Windser stormed into the room, his face bright with anger, but instead of hollering at Harry, he wiped at his eyes, which were clearly wet with tears. He touched Harry gently on his shoulder. "Damn you, Harry!"
"Damn me, sir!" Harry joked back.
Colonel Windser jerked his eyes to Jet and Brenda. "You make sure he has everything he needs to recover fully."
He looked back at Harry. "And then you got a lot of explaining to do." He smiled. "I'm glad you made it, son."
He paused as if about to say more, then left in a storm as he had entered.
Jet whooped it up. "Harry, you just got cussed out by the meanest guy on the earth and survived."
"Didn't sound that way to me."
Brenda laughed. "You should have heard him when you amped. My ears are still healing from all the swear words."
"So what happened?" Harry asked, genuinely confused.
"You survived." Jet said gently, his smile warm and soothing. "You made it, fly boy!"
Harry laughed. "You should have seen the look on the other guy's face."
"I'll bet." Jet snorted. "Bad enough to have one loser in the air, let alone two!" He laughed. But what he was really thinking was "How could Harry be sure the other Harry would recognize the gesture of surrender and not blast him to kingdom come?"
Brenda joined the laughter, but Harry didn't. What had happened to the other him? Did he realize that Harry was not the enemy like he had the other? And why was he flying a suit with a swastika on it? Those questions boiled in his mind as he slipped into a much needed, and deep rest.
The Giants of the Nazi World
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
"The cardinal sin of any good soldier is to put all his trust in his weaponry. Any weapon can fail, but he can't." -- Words of General Wishtower
"Men, what you see before you is a representation of the Nazi super cooling tower being built in San Francisco." Colonel Brighton told the troops assembled.
Harry and Jet stood behind them, watching as well. They were the team that would be responsible for making the advance as safe as possible, knocking out any power lines, or other obstacles. Most of the time obstacles were as simple as a few lead lined super lasers with automatic targeting cannons that could wipe out a platoon with one swipe. Sometimes more difficult. Ten foot Nazi Sturm Giganten, built like tanks. Living breathing nightmares of Third World War technology pioneered by Hitler's best scientists.
Oh yeah. And in case you were wondering this isn't the world where the Allies won World War Two, but where they lost it.
My name is Harry. In my world I was a Captain, here I am known as Rocketman and sometimes Captain Harry, which I prefer. I don't always remember my last name or much else, when I'm crossing over between the two alternate realities. Sometimes I don't even remember there is an alternate reality. Only that I have a mission to accomplish. As Rocketman.
I fly this rocket suit. On my real earth it's a huge tank of a thing, well, maybe not that huge, but it weights a lot and is tall and cumbersome, and I ride in it. In this world I have a lighter suit that I can strap on like the old movie serials. And it's hellishly fast. Like Superman fast. But without his strength or protection. I can still die, get shot down and generally hurt a lot.
"Captain!" He gestured to me.
I went forward and stood next to him, then used the pointer he handed over to indicate three roads that curved into the cooling tower, all bordered by warehouses and bunkers. "These." I indicated the roads. "These are the way the main carriers and transports enter the cooling tower base structure."
Jet played the devil's advocate. "So how likely am I to just waltz in there and get what I want, say a nice hotdog or a glass of fresh lemonade?"
Everyone broke into laughter. General Wishtower scowled at Jet, who hurriedly began counting fingers, which made the men laugh even more. I quickly went on. "Not likely. The road is hotwired."
The soldiers stopped laughing.
Hotwired meant it was genetically marked and all the Nazis were genetically marked. We were not. We'd get fried hotter than a buttered piece of toast in an oven left on too long if we touched those roads.
Jet slowly put a hand up. "Uh."
"Can I bring marshmallows?"
General Wishtower burst into laughter before he could catch himself, then looked to me, trying to hide his face.
"Jet, you can, but they'll do you no good. We're flying in."
"Do I have to?"
Everyone broke into laughter again.
I shook my head, smiling, and then turned to indicate the warehouses. "Interconnected. Each door is hard wired and without the right code will send an electric shock instantly frying anyone who touches it."
"Barbies anyone? Jet asked.
After the laughter died down, I went on. "Al." I indicated a grey haired man standing to the right of us. "Al and Edison have cooked up...pardon the pun...a device that when you wear it, will automatically trigger the codes. Only one small problem."
Jet raised his hand. Everyone tensed for laughter.
"If you don't get past the Zombies it won't make much difference."
Jet squealed. "I hate them things!"
With that the platoon was dismissed and headed off to barracks to prepare for the coming assault.
General Wishtower took me and Jet side to meet with Einstein.
Our combat headquarters was deep in the heart of a Swiss Mountain, only visible if you knew where to look. And no one did, because it was carefully cloaked by electronic devices and other modern war gear. Einstein and Tesla had rigged a kind of stealth cloaking device that kept our entrance and exit well hidden. Even if a Nazi Soldier stumbled upon the entrance he'd only think it was a simple slope with rock and snow. No more.
And if he got too close. Well, there were considerations for that as well. None of them good for the luckless soldier who had made the wrong turn.
"Everything's hanging on you two getting into that tower and jamming up its power."
Jet looked at me. "Long as I don't have to ride the buggy wagon beneath this guy."
I laughed. "Jet, you know you love it."
"Hell no. Last time you dumped me in Lake Lucerne. I almost became a popsicle."
The General looked at Jet.
"It's a stick with frozen juice or water on it."
General Wishtower shook his head. "Your world is so strange."
"Hey, General!" Jet told him quite frankly. "This one sure ain't no bell ranger, that's for sure."
"What's a..." The General started to ask, then shook his head and headed off to join the team in Control. He was overseeing the mission.
Einstein smiled at us. "You two boys sure know how to get his panties in a wad."
We both laughed. I put a hand on Al's right shoulder. "Al, its underwear, not panties. Panties are what women wear."
"Oh." Al said with a blank face.
As agreed I scouted the cooling tower one more time while Jet and the platoon got into position for the attack. Jet was along because he was handy in figuring out the various death traps the Nazis inevitably laid out for unexpected guests.
And yes, we were a major pain in their black hearted bottoms.
These Nazis were not the ones of your earth, but of another earth. This earth had been won by them when the Allies failed to stop their launching of a deadly barrage of nuclear weapons, which had wiped out very major Western city around the planet. The Nazis, prepared for the strike, had swept into the countries with advanced weaponry that they had kept off the radar in secret bases and moped up most of the resistance.
Some of our military survived. Some in other countries. They got together and created a base in the Alps, and used it to make life miserable for the Nazis.
When I first got here, I was in total shock. The Nazis used civilians like robots, prepping them in some kind of genetic formula that converted them into mindless zombies that would do anything. Some of the Nazis were physically enhanced...the Sturm Giganten, and others...well, I shudder to think of the others.
When the coast seemed clear. No new Nazi movement, only the steady flow of fuel trucks into the basement, I felt we were ready to go. Our goal was to detonate the fuel. It was highly charged radioactive materials that only needed a little tampering and would go boom, taking out the entire facility and probably a few square miles around it as well.
Our scouts had already warned the locals of what might happen. Most of the locals preferred to stay, not believing they were safe anywhere, but the smarter ones beat it. The Nazis had brainwashed the masses so thoroughly, that most had few thoughts of their own anymore.
And we kept an eye on who went in and out of the cooling tower, in case some of the natives thought of giving us up. Not that it didn't happen sometimes. The natives usually were more than happy to take out a few Nazis, but sometimes they were too far gone and like the zombies many became, were better off dead anyway.
"Jet." I spoke into my helmet mike.
"Yeah!" His voice came into my helmet.
I adjusted my flight attitude and saw him and the platoon moving into position.
"Good to go!"
In a matter of moments he and the platoon swept through one warehouse after another, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. We had twenty minutes to mop the place up, because a base was twenty one minutes away. And we didn't want to have to mess with the Sturm Giganten. They were tough cookies to kill. Usually, nothing short of a nuclear blast could stop them...or the direct hit of tank cannon.
I shot ahead, landing on the cooling tower roof. The tower was shaped like a pyramid. Why, I didn't' know, but all the important electronics were stashed up there. I took out my laser pistol and began melting a few circuits.
Then I felt a huge vibration. I turned around and looked up, then up again. A Nazi Sturm Giganten.
"Vas tun sie?" It demanded, knowing already what I had done, since the smoke and flames behind me were pretty obvious.
"Getting out of here." I answered, and then turned to leap from the roof.
Before I got five feet in the air, a hand smashed me down to the roof.
I landed on my stomach. Hard. Knocked the air out of me. I rolled over and gasping for breath saw a second Sturm Giganten. The first joined him. Their faces were thick like a Rhino's, and their lips like huge crevices with jagged teeth. Their nostrils flared like tunnels of doom. Their foreheads were high, sloping to a narrow, almost cone shape. Genetics gone wild. They were incredibly smart, but locked in when it came to thinking out of the box.
Me box. Them locked in.
The second Sturm Giganten grunted when something knocked into his right foot. He looked down at the strange object and grunted again. He reached for it. Bad move. Boom! He and his companion were blasted off the roof. The fall might not kill them, but it got them out of my hair. I pushed to my feet, still weak from the blow and leaped from the roof, firing up the rocket suit. I felt it drag a moment, and then push me forward.
I angled downwards; saw Jet and what was left of his platoon winging it swiftly back the way they had come, firing ahead of them to break the electrified road ahead of them.
The two Sturm Giganten who had fallen came around the side of the tower and rushed them. My cue.
Neither one was aware of me until I swept towards them at eye level. Their eyes narrowed in anger and hatred. "Bye bye." I said, and then let them have it with both barrels of my arm rockets. The two giants hurtled backwards, slammed from their feet.
It gave me and Jet and the men enough time to reach shelter, when the cooling tower went big-time.
We peeked out to look as a mushroom cloud hurtled into the sky, spreading wings of destruction, doom and gloom. We were ten miles away. Even from there the heat was tremendous.
"Damn!" Jet said angrily.
"I forgot to bring the marshmallows."
The soldiers about us broke into laughter and I did too.
War is hell, but a little laughter goes a long way to making it less so. Even if it was at the expense of those monsters who thought they were better than everyone else.
"A Jules and Wells Story."
By John Pirillo
"Their destiny is so entwined with that of the threads of time, that were you to unravel one thread, all threads would come undone." A Quote from Einstein.
When he awoke that morning, he neither recognized the bed he lay upon, nor the ornate wooden walls that enclosed the bedroom he slept in. He was stunned. But when he heard a noise beside him, a kind of soft nickering, he turned his head and found himself laying next to another man, whose face had a gentle composure to it. He almost screamed, but then held it back, muffling it as certainly as if his fingers could physically clutch its throat and cut off its air.
Where am I? Was his next thought. He gently untangled himself from the bedcovers and slipped to the floor, his feet touching a rich, plush carpet with thick piles of what felt like silk. He looked down and saw a pair of slippers, but they were ornate like the room and overly bright and gaudy. That alone was enough to send the alarm bells ringing, as if the sleeping man on the bed were not enough. He surveyed the room more closely and saw a tall coat rack like device that held clothes of gold and gold on two hooks. Clothing. But whose? Then he realized his arms were softly draped with a similar color as the cloth on the right of the hanging one.
He stood up and went to it, took it off and examined it. It had a hole in the middle and two arm slits. It was obviously meant to be worn like a dress of sorts. He slipped it on, doing his best not to disturb the sleeping man. He didn't want to make the situation direr than it already felt. He held no malice towards the sleeping one. He didn't know who they were, why they were there, or what they expected of him, though examining the bed sheets in the barely lit room, he could tell what might have been expected from him the night before. Except, that it couldn't have been him. He had no aversion to the male species, he just wasn't...well, male. Or female.
He looked around and saw a door of the most unusual sort. It was almost round with a well padded doorknob. He went to it and turned it quietly. He let himself out into a long corridor, where he could see endless doors stretching off into what appeared to be infinity.
Where in the hell am I? He thought.
Then a strange feeling welled within his body, as if every cell were waking up and about to explode. Ahead of him in the corridor something came. Something large. Something dark. He couldn't tell what it was. He only knew he couldn't stay there another second or he might never leave. He turned to run and as he ran, he felt the breath of something enormous blowing on the back of his body, and a heavy sound like labored breathing, then his feet vanished from beneath him and he seemed to stretch into a band of twisting ribbons of light. Before he knew what had happened, or why he did what happened next, he reached out and grabbed a string and was flung from that corridor of menace into a twisting, weaving inferno of dancing lights.
Stringers are neither devils or angels, but souls whose very essence is made up of the threads of time, such that they can easily dispose themselves from one timeline to another, with but a whisper of a trace of their existence or movement. Those were the thoughts that ran through his mind as he and Wells worked on their latest invention. A kind of radar for detecting movement through time, as well as space. True, they had one before, but it was too general. If they were to protect the fabric of time and space, they must be able to respond within nanoseconds of any disruption.
So the device that he and Wells constructed was enabled such as to pull either or both of them into a Stringer's current, so that they could mark the direction of the traveler, yet be unknown, unseen by them.
"Drats!" Cursed Wells when he accidentally burned his right thumb with the small welding unit he had built the day before. It was a micro welder, and capable of welding particles, even atoms together if necessary, but it also hurt like hell when it went off its course and touched a piece of human anatomy.
Wells could testify to that at this moment and Jules yesterday, when he made a neat little lancet of his own flesh by accidentally getting the beam off-center and drilling into his own palm. It still stuck the dickens every time he had to wash his hands, which was frequently, as he was a very neat and clean man, and the missus expected no less.
He smiled at the thought of his young bride. Even though they had grown children now, their travels through time had hardened their flesh to aging and none of them looked older than their original twenties when they began their time traveling campaigns to save the earth, and alternate earths their work had affected.
"See here, Jules."
Jules turned to look at the spike of golden energies that were spotting the screen that he had constructed for their monitor. "It looks human shaped."
Wells jumped up, grabbed Jules and the two of them danced about their warehouse, causing their wives, who had come over to bring lunches for them to think both had suddenly gone mad.
They stopped, grinned at their loved ones, and then settled back to their work.
"I think we need to test it further." Jules suggested.
The wives both exchanged knowing looks, and began to repack the lunches they had made.
Jules ran over to his loved one, took her close to him and whispered in her ear. "Tonight I shall propose a toast to your fine flesh that will tempt the gods."
She giggled, and allowed him to dimple her cheek with a wet kiss, then she and her friend, Well's wife, took exit from the warehouse, shutting the huge door that locked off their ventures from the outside world, then locking it, knowing full well that both men were likely not to be in the warehouse for long.
And they weren't.
They rushed to the Master of the World, whose boarding ramp was already down, raced into its passenger compartment, after in drawing the ramp, and then settled into the cockpit of the massive vessel. Powered by String Energy, the Master of the World, traveled not only through time, but space as well. It resembled a great golden, ornate jewel, so brightly polished and golden was its shape.
"Strings interacting." Wells announced, pleased at the swift response of the ship's engines. They had just serviced them. The battle against the Mummy things had caused a great strain on the engines, which were not supposed to be so close to the earth all the time. They had been fine tuned for space.
"Merci." Jules said. "Weapons?"
Wells checked their power ranges. "Fully charged and ready."
He quickly looked at Jules. "You don't think we're going into battle, do you?"
"Of course not. Do we ever think such, mon ami?"
Wells shrugged, knowing full well, there were few times they hadn't been in a battle when they flew the Master of the World. It seemed to be their fate to always be in the midst of a worldwide calamity, or battle.
"Launch!" Wells told his friend.
"Launching!" Jules said, the tension of doing so knotting the muscles in his neck and back.
They both silently prayed, for their new engines were supposed to be able to tell the difference between a roof and time space, and had been attuned to cross through solid objects by sliding slightly out of normal time and space.
The Master of the World rose like a mighty dragon into battle.
He erupted. More probably exploded through the maze of bursts of light and spectacular colors and found himself standing on a lonely landscape. Everywhere he looked in that cold domain there were collapsed structures, what must have been fallen buildings of some long lost civilization. He then realized his feet were naked, as was he. The clothing he had worn, the slippers, all gone. How? Why?
He shuddered. As much from fear as the cold that was seeping through his extremities into his limbs from the frosted ground beneath his feet. He looked down and saw something bright. He stooped to a knee and felt for it like a blind man might, not wanting to believe what he had found. He lifted it gently, as if it were the most precious thing in the universe, then a tear began to form. He had begun to recognize where he was. His heart pounded with the pain of it, flitting images of women and men whom he had loved, trusted and shared smashed through his mind, shattering on the reefs of cold, unyielding certainty. They were all gone. Forever.
"You know why." Jules voice spoke from behind him.
He turned around.
Jules and Wells stood there, a look of compassion written on their faces. They could feel his despair, for they had known it as well, but perhaps not as frequently as this man or being that stood before them.
"Who are you?"
"Where am I?"
"You already know that answer." Wells told him, feeling a kind of reluctance to speak, but knowing he must to help the man retain his sanity.
"You know that as well." Jules reminded him.
The man looked down at his feet, as if the solution to his questions lay there, then up again. "Can you help me?"
"No." Jules answered sadly.
"Then why are you here?"
"To point you in the right direction."
"Are you angels?"
Wells and Jules gave each other solemn looks bordering on mirth, and then looked back at the man. "If that will help you to understand. Yes."
"Then I will go with you."
"No. You won't." Jules told the man, who was looking more and more distressed as they spoke.
"You have nowhere to go." Wells told him.
The man sat down hard on a broken slab with an attached piece of metal to it. He glanced at the metal. It had San Francisco written on it. What did that mean?
"Do you know why I am here?"
"To escape the past and preserve the future." Wells told him.
"But there is no future here." The man said.
Jules and Wells sat down next to him.
Jules brought out some bread and offered it. The man took it and ate hungrily.
"No. There is no future here, nor anywhere for what you were. But there is a future for what you've become."
The man stopped eating and looked at them long and hard. "What have I become?"
"It sounds strange."
"It is. To us. But not to you."
The man suddenly nodded. He knew what they talked about. "I reached out and pulled myself from where I was with twists of color that stretched into infinity." He looked at Jules. "That is what a Stringer is then?"
"Yes. You can manipulate time and space."
"But why would I want to do that?"
"To save your sanity."
The man rose. "I am not hungry anymore."
Jules and Wells rose as well.
"You two don't belong here either, do you?"
"No. This world can no longer be helped. Its people made bad choices, and now they are gone." Jules responded.
Wells nodded. "It is one of many such chances for worlds."
"Chances?" The man asked, a bit amused at the way Wells said it.
"Yes. In the infinite tapestry of what the Creator has made, he has created many chances for us to learn what we must."
"You could say that our lives are our lessons and the world we live upon, the stage for those lessons to play out."
"You sound like gods."
"We do not feel like one." Jules said with the hint of a smile.
The man reached a hand out. "I think I understand now."
Jules took it and shook. "We thought you might."
"I'm not the first?"
"Then there are others?"
Wells smiled brightly for the first time. "Everywhere."
"How will I find them?"
"Just reach out." Jules said. "Just reach out."
Then he and Wells turned around and headed for what appeared to be a road of destruction, but as they continued a gigantic golden vessel began to become visible, emerging from the shadows like an invisible being thrusting into the light.
The man pondered the mystery of the two men a moment, then he felt something stir in the air near him. He felt a kind of radiance. He turned towards it and reached out. Something reached back towards him and he took hold of it and allowed himself to be thrust once more into bursts of twisting light that strung through infinity like endless coils of dancing laughter.
Wells closed the ramp door, and then he and Jules slid into their pilot and co-pilot positions in the cockpit. "You think we'll meet him again?"
Jules shrugged. "We did what we came to do. What will be, will be."
Wells sighed. "It must be lonely for them."
"I think not." Jules said with a smile. "For they have infinity to roam and forever to live and one can do so much with all of that."
"Yes." Wells said brightly. "That does sound nice."
Then Jules sent the Master of the World stringing back towards their home time and world.
The Dark Master
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
Nordenbrough was a densely populated area of Germany that bordered on the Alps. Its main industry was steel, imported from the south where it was hauled in by train from the frontiers that had been conquered by the Nazi hordes. Its people were untouched by the fanaticism that ran through much of Germany at the time, protected from it in a way as an experiment by the Fuehrer, who was secretly building a base in the nearby Alps for what he was determined would be the fatal blow to the hopes of the Western Allies.
For almost ten years, even before the war took a prominent place in the news and eyes of the world, he was already secretly meeting with a man of dark persuasions. A man dedicated to the Occult. That man exuded such confidence and power that Hitler had immediately allowed himself to be taken on as a disciple of this Dark Master. Even though still in a position to become a powerful force of good for his country, his own ambitions and disappointments, were driving him further and further away from the mainstream of good people and closer and closer into the cult that the Dark Master had built.
Unknown to the world, but known to the top Allied Leaders, Britain and others were waging a secret war against the Dark Master, who was using ley lines of the planet to gather power and force and disrupt commerce and supplies across the planet. You might think this an exalted view of a simple man, for that was his outwards appearance. Small, like Hitler, soft talking and polite to a fault, but his heart was made of mud that swished and ground with hatred and anger towards life that disposed towards anything uplifting and positive. He was a devoted disciple, in his words, of the UberMasters, those beings who rode the flying discs from the central area within our planet.
Hitler, long disposed towards the Occult, was immediately enamored of this fascination and shared it devotedly with his own growing circle of disciples. So in effect, there were two Dark Masters, the one that Hitler gave silent obedience to and his own, that he harbored and nurtured. On one day when Nordenbrough was steeped in its normal routine of smelting iron and producing steel for weapons of destruction, a small parade of black cars with Nazi symbols, drove into the town.
The Dark Master was staying in the Black Hotel, called the Swartzen Haus. Wherever he stayed it always had the numbers 666 and the color black in it somewhere. While he didn't personally believe in Satan, he did believe in the power of numbers. Had the churches realized that this man was gathering power and influence they might have had a stronger influence in the war than they had at the time, knowing that evil was brewing beneath their noses. But they didn't. And they didn't!
The Dark Master met in the conference room with his twelve Dark Disciples, an inverse of Jesus and his own disciples. They wore red Swastikas and their faces were hidden beneath red masks that resembled blindfolds. The Dark Master was the only one not wearing a mask. He stood before them.
"Soon, we shall have a thirteenth disciple. One whose power and dominion shall help us extend our reach beyond the Germanies to the entire world."
The Dark Disciples raised black gloved hands and applauded in an eerie way, no sound emitting from their clapping. He smiled and urged them to stop. They did. The silence in the room grew. "I want you to treat him with the utmost respect, as he is at a tipping point, where he could go our way or to the way of... (with great distaste)...the other."
A low humming filled the room as the men and women of that group made a sound of deep distress that signified displeasure. He had taught them that. It was very disturbing to anyone not aware of its psychological significance.
The door to the room opened and two tall Dark Soldiers stepped inside. Hitler stepped between them, followed by two of his own soldiers, who glanced around nervously, hands on their pistols in case.
"I am here." Hitler announced. "As you requested, Master."
The Dark Master nodded, and indicated a chair to his right next to him. Hitler went to it and sat there, his Soldiers to his right and left, their eyes watching the others of the room nervously. The Dark Master sat down and laid his palms on the tabletop. The moment they touched the tabletop the highly polished surface lit up like a movie screen.
The Soldiers gaped at it in awe, but Hitler remained unphased. "An interesting toy."
The Dark Master smiled at him, his small dark eyes filled with a tender kind of menace. "But a toy that will help you win this war you plan."
"I seriously doubt that, but I'm listening."
The Dark Master swiped his hand across the table top and a view of Nordenbrough from above showed there. Hitler leaned forward with interest when he saw something bright and metallic lancing into view from the right. "Rocketman!"
"Yes. The one block to our ambitions."
Hitler looked at the Dark Master.
"I have not yet made that determination."
Confidently. "You will."
Hitler's eyes locked with the Dark Master's a moment, then looked away. "I'm perturbed by the timing of this event."
"It is not a mistake." The Dark Master announced, his voice trembling with excitement.
"How is this not a mistake?" Hitler demanded, his voice shrill and angry. "You have led me to an encounter with the one man I cannot stop."
"Oh, but I can!"
Hitler looked at the Dark Master. "And who shall aide you, the giants from the center of our earth?"
The Dark Master made a sign above the screen and a flight of saucer shaped devices shot into view in pursuit of Rocketman.
Hitler's eyes widened. He glanced at the smiling Dark Master. "Then it's true!"
"Yes. It is."
Rocketman, Captain Harry or just plain Harry to his friends, navigated the cold and frigid air above Nordenbrough, his eyes on the readouts inside his helmet, as well as the view through the semi-opaque visor he had just thinned so he could see outside with his eyes as well. Tesla had called the visor a String enhanced metal that changed density depending on the energies pouring through it.
Harry didn't understand the rocket science behind it, nor his pal Jet, but they both knew it worked and worked pretty damned well.
"Harry, you in range yet?" Jet asked from his receiver.
"Range and closing."
"It's the tallest building in the village. Not hard to miss at night, but stands out like a big bad boo boo in the light of day."
"I just love your analogies, Jet."
"Yeah. And I love being here safe on my butt, while you pretend to be Superman."
"I'm not pretending anything."
"Tell that to the girls I'm dating that want to meet you."
"Middle name and don't you forget it. Word down from Allied is that the Fuehrer himself is in that hotel at this very moment."
"How would they know that?"
"Shall we say a little birdie told them?"
"Right. Proceeding with drop."
Harry flicked a switch with his tongue and the suit began a plunge towards the quite town below. On its fringes were several factories were the steel and weapons were melted and built. He was more interested in those than the hotel, but he made it a point not to disobey orders too frequently or they might take away his suit.
"Thousand feet and dropping."
"Just like a bomb."
"Hope not. They explode. I intend to come home and date one of those girls you've got compromised."
"Be still my heart."
"Shush or it might be."
"No such luck, fat boy."
"Just because I gained two pounds last week doesn't make me fat."
"Gain another and they'll have to squeeze you into that suit with a pair of giant pliers."
"Funny, ha, ha."
"At your service, through good or bad."
"Jokes that is."
"You got it."
"Two hundred. No signs of anti-aircraft weapons. How's that possible?"
"Cocky Nazis. Dumb Nazis."
"Never met one. Know a dumb ass though."
Harry brays like a donkey. "Got me!
"Preparing to drop."
Harry flicked another switch inside his helmet and his two armor piercing rockets began to open up on his right and left sides of his jet pack. As he swooped lower he noticed the air began to become cloudy, then darker, and then almost smoke like.
"Something's happening, Jet."
"Gotta go to the bathroom?"
"No, I'm serious. I'm losing visibility."
"Impossible. It's clear as a sunny day in the Bahamas right now there."
"Gotta pull out."
Harry flicked another switch and his suit broke from its dive and angled skywards again. He looked down with the help of a screen inside his helmet and the entire town of Nordenbrough was gone.
"Holy crap, Jet!"
"It's all right. I'm safe, but Nordenbrough is gone!"
Harry put on speed and his Rocketman suit shot off like a rocket deep into the Alps towards his home base.
Hitler rose slowly from his chair, a smile on his face. He clapped his hands slowly and precisely. "I would be honored to join my forces with yours, Dark Master."
The Dark Master rose, waved his hand over the tabletop and the image of Rocketman shooting away vanished.
"How soon before we can have this technology for ourselves?" Hitler demanded.
The Dark Master stood silent a long time. Before Hitler could speak out in anger, he waved a well manicured hand and smiled. "When the time is right."
Hitler almost exploded, but instead, he bit the bullet and remained silent. His day would come. He must learn what he could from this man, and then one day, he would be the Master.
The Dark Master rang a small bell and servers came into the room with trays of food and drink. "Now, let's eat and talk about how we shall help one another, shall we?"
Hitler nodded, and then eyed his Soldiers. They fell back against the wall behind him and remained alert, but he sat down and began helping himself to the delicious food being spread before him and the Dark Master and his 12 Dark Disciples. What he had thought was just a mission to expose another occult fake had turned into something much more exciting. He didn't understand the technology he had just witnessed, but he knew it was...technology. And anything this man could build, he would also build.
He had time. He had the patience. Soon his scientists would complete Operation Forever and he would be ready for the next step of his world conquest.
The Dark Master raised a glass of wine into the air. His Dark Disciples did as well. "To our future."
None of the Dark Disciples spoke.
Neither did Hitler.
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All things Rocketman are posted here and then some!
Included are previews of my Rocketman story series as well and some commentary on them by me.
I just published Rocketman, "Between Two Worlds," to Smashwords and Amazon. Amazon title should be available in the next twenty-four hours. Smashwords is available now. 99cents for lots of reading pleasure.
Rocketman: Between Two Worlds.
I'll post the Amazon link once it becomes available.
The story has now officially become a time travel tale as well as a war story. I am going to track Harry as he flies to fight the Nazis in our World War Two and in the future World War Three as well. It should be a lot of fun and hopefully give us some great insights as to what might have happened had America not entered World War Two as it did and let the Nazis take over. That would have been nasty, nasty, nasty!
Have a great night, John.