Blood on Thy Hands Forever the Fuhrer Forever the Imperium Forever our Loyalty Forever our Perseverance Forever our viciousness, as well as our Benevolence Eternal our Oath Righteous is our Crusade Forever the Imperium - Oath of the Imperial Soldier November 28, 1945 Imperial controlled Dublin, Ireland Eastern Division Headquarters Oberst Kline strolled out from a building that served as his lodging. His feet parted the veil of mist as dewed grass bowed before him. It was barely dawn in Dublin. The sun hinted at the tree lines, but the city remained in pitch blue twilight. The era of clockwork was the Imperium’s greatest boon. Weapons were created that far exceeded surrounding European countries. Their gears, carefully fitted to rifles, didn’t jam like France’s. The gears on the tank took the brunt of mortar fire. Their air force dominated with the combination of clockwork and steam. Steam. It was relatively new to the world, but the Fuhrer’s scientist were ingenious. Somehow, they had made the two work in tandem. With the rebirth of the Imperium, orders were made anew. Though weary from Europe’s Reunification, the Imperial Wehrmacht’s heart pulsed as strong as ever. Their target was America. Their greatest threat since the damn communists to the west. They, of course, were pacified at the moment. Kline returned a salute to a passing patrol as his boots clapped against paved streets. He was the perfect image of pure Aryan. His hair was a bright blonde, his eyes a piercing ice blue, and his physique so toned that he could model for the recruitment posters and perhaps magazines as well. His uniform was neatly pressed. The Imperial Eagle proudly stitched onto the uniform’s shoulder. Walking with tempered calmness, he still couldn’t ease the pit in his gut. Any day now, the orders would be sent. After longed prepared for a renewed offensive, the Imperium would cross the Atlantic and repay the Americans in kind to what they did to the Fatherland. His people learned from the Allies’ D-Day attack. Though the enemy had managed to gain significant ground, it was the Desert Fox’s tactics which saved them. Trapping the scattered enemy with armor and destroying their footholds one by one. That was what his people had learned to counter and would avoid at all cost on their landing. “Oberst Kline!” Kline looked up, slightly miffed from being interrupted from his thoughts. “Regiment 24, Scout Pod 7, Hamlein reporting sir.” “Scout Pod 7 …” Kline looked up in thought. There were so ma— “From the Eastern bound? Yes. From the East. Report.” “Small pockets of resistance were found, but have been dealt with. We’ve captured several.” “What did you do with them?” The soldier hesitated. “We … spared them. They are being transported to Outpost Fox,” said the soldier. “Some opted for field execution, but I—“ “You spoke against your superior?” Amusement entered Kline’s voice. He tried to keep it neutral, but Imperial doctrine discipline was warranted. The soldier should be executed. “In the future, you’d do well to not voice such objections. Article 5, section 16, principle 13. Are you aware of its contents, Hamlein?” “Field execution of insubordination, mein Oberst.” Kline let the silence linger before breaking it again. There wasn’t a frown creasing his lips but smile instead. “You probably secured a treasure trove of intel.” Kline clapped the man on the shoulder as he felt a visible shrug in relief. “Your pod should be able to manage. Get some sleep.” “Thank you sir!” Soon enough, Kline arrived at the headquarter building. It was a old victorian thing of the past. Surprisingly it remained standing even with all the heavy artillery fire the Auxiliary Corps had used. Though pockets dimpled the building’s clock tower, it was still beautiful. Funny how beauty existed in destruction. The welting gardens enriched this haunting, silent vestige. Within was an entirely different matter. Intelligence personnel were all in a fuss. Handfuls sat at tables looking as if they would fall from the weight of the radios. Aids were attending to junior officers as a large map of the Eastern Seaboard was displayed on the table. Kline recognized the arrows immediately. Five arrows, fire possible attack points. There would be two fleets in total. A guessing game Kline wagered. He wasn’t sure if the gentlemen who suggested this was a mad or not. Where the fleets would go would be announced today to the Admirals. “Oberst Kline,” a rather largely built man stepped towards him as he gestured to the table. “Did you catch the Fuhrer’s speech this morning? Fine oratory, fine indeed.” Kline proffered a smile as he soaked in the map and the pegs on it marking positions. “I’ve requisitioned a new radio. An untimely accident took away its use. How are goes the fleet preparations?” “4th Invasion fleet is nearly complete. 6th is ready to push off when the orders come through.” “Wonderful.” It was then Kline noticed a crossed zero peg. The symbol filled him with a modicum of dread. Of course, they had been sent months before this day to prepare the way. “Any reports from the them?” “They’ve gone dark for some time, mein herr.” “How long have we known each other Gatz?” The large man scrunched his brows together as he breathed deeply. “Since the academy mein herr.” “Since the academy. Conrad will suffice,” said Kline. It was against regulations, but for this instance, regulations be damned. “Lets pray the Zeros have carried out their mission.” “They managed to assassinate Churchill.” Kline nodded as he knew the ears of the other officers were listening. “All the same, Britain and America are two different beasts altogether. Where Britain has undergone years of conflict, the Americans have lost nothing — save for her allies. No Gatz. For the sake of the invasion, I hope the damn assassins are successful. They may save thousands of lives that shall depart the Imperium soon … my humble opinion of course.” — Adrian Schuler, Gray November 27, 1945 Warsaw, Poland Adrian walked amongst the crumbling city of Warsaw. He was dressed in commoners clothes rather than his dress uniform. They were akin to that of the SS. The one exception was the absence of the SS tag on the collar. In its place was a zero with a diagonal slash crossed through it. It was the uniform of the Imperial zeros, Hitler’s answer to the Allies’ commandos. Though wishing he could participate with the infiltration of America — even Russia for that matter — Adrian was ordered to hunt the Polish resistance. At first, he saw the directive as a punishment. For what? He had not a clue. His record was exemplary. From his beginnings in the Waffen-SS transitioning into a zero, he had orchestrated the assassination of Churchill. Absolved Jewish partisans. Even procured intel that ultimately drove out the Americans. High in the ranks of the zeros, he belonged on the main theater of war. But that was then. Having time to reflect, he had seen what the resistance was capable of. Everyday dirty bombs killed his kinsman and those in command had not a clue in fighting against this enemy. They were organized unlike the other groups he had encountered during the period of unrest in Europe, Adrian finally understood why he was here. Someone experienced must’ve been leading them. Turning a corner, soldiers of the Imperium came into view. The officer standing by saw him and hurried over. “This area is closed!” said the Sergeant. “Turn back now.” “But my home…” Adrian replied as he looked around. He had to play pretend for the time being. “It wasn’t blocked here this morning. Please, herr Soldant. I don’t want any trouble.” “We’ve received word that a resistance group is active here. No mercy for the traitors. Now off with you! Or are you a collaborator? Well?” The soldiers were all concentrated in one area. The intersection up ahead. Adrian wanted to berate the officer and have him punished for addressing a superior in such a way, but it’d destroy his integration into the populace. Becoming a part of the enemy was no simple matter. He was here to hunt the resistance independent of the Wehrmacht or SS. It’d destroy everything he had worked for so far. But perhaps the stupidity of the Sergeant would still serve his needs. The resistance would go for a big group. Yes, the soldiers would be his bait. “No trouble Sergeant,” Adrian finally said as he walked back the way he came. Adrian looked back as the officer returned to his squad. When he was confident they weren’t looking, Adrian ducked into side street. With luck, the resistance would show themselves soon. He needed information. He needed only one alive. — Adrian crouched behind a wall as gunfire erupted from the building he hid within. Waiting for for an hour past, his targets finally showed up. Like clockwork, the resistance was predictable. Dangle a piece of meat in front of a crazed, starving animal, it couldn’t resist. Yes, he did use his own comrades as bait, but such were the ways of a soldier. Expendable and usable in every way — the same logic applied for him no doubt. Laying beside him were two dead bodies. Unable to fire off a round, Adrian had dealt with them in a manner befitting his order. Silent and quick. Moving up the stairs, he cradled a steam powered machine gun in his hands taken from one of the freedom fighters. Such weapons were saved for the veteran battalions. He had to find out how they got them. Making it to the top, he peeked around the wall as he saw several figures pop up on the window, fire onto the streets below, then ducking back over. Taking a deep breath, Adrian sighted the first man that came into sight and fired. The man closest slumped over dead as the others began to panic and returned fire in his direction. Adrian threw himself back behind the wall and reached onto his utility belt. He took off the safety pin from his grenade and tossed it in. An explosion rocked the building. Shaking his head, Adrian stormed in as he shot the bodies of those still moving. As he scanned the room, he saw a survivor as he ran up and kicked his weapon away. “Cooperate and your passing will be quick,” he said as he heard shouting from outside. “The resistance. Where are they?” The man laughed. “Sell out the only hope of Poland? You don’t have a uniform … you flithy collaborator!” Adrian settled the nuzzle of the machine-gun on the man’s kneecap and pulled the trigger. The screams were deafening. “This is kinder than what the soldiers outside will do. Now, answer the question!” The look from the man’s eye told Adrian all he needed to know. He knew nothing, must’ve just joined the others on a whim. Cursing out loud, Adrian heard a sound from behind him as he saw a soldier focus on him and fire. Already rolling to the side, Adrian burst through the adjacent room and ran for the window. He heard the order to stop, but he ignored it. Only command knew he was here, and he intended to keep it that way. Vaulting through the window, he landed hard on the ground below as he hissed in pain. Not stopping, he ran further into the city as the footsteps of his pursuers faded away. As his adrenaline wore off, he felt an unpleasant feeling in his side as he looked down. His clothes were stained red. The damn soldier got him after all. Finding a spot on an alley wall, he slumped down as he felt the exhaustion from running and the blood loss get to him. His eyes began to close as shame seeped into him. Failure. He never forgot its thorny touch.