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Thread: Empire of Fu Manchu

  1. #1
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    Empire of Fu Manchu

    This AAR has been awarded:
    ***AARland Choice AwAARds 2006 Q2-Best Overall HOI 1/2 AAR***
    ***AARland Choice AwAARds 2006 Q2-Best Narrative HOI 1/2 AAR***
    ***Weekly AAR Showcase (July 7th, 2005)***





    DISCLAIMER: While this work has been inspired by the characters and stories of Sax Rohmer (and a few others, as will soon become apparent), it makes no attempt to be consistent with the original Fu Manchu (or other) stories. This is an alternate history world, and anything that differs from the original in it, simply didn’t happen that way here.

    This AAR is a sequel and continuation to “Master Plan of Fu Manchu”, an AAR that ran in the HO1 1 AAR forum 2003-2005 and covered the time period 1936-39. As a word of warning, the game is completely immersed in a by now quite convoluted story involving the travails of arch-criminal mastermind Fu Manchu to gain control of the world and of a motley collection of heroes taken from history and early 20th century fiction (or fiction set in the 20s, 30s & 40s) who oppose him. While I shall strive to make the story enjoyable and understandable for newcomers as well as old hands, it might be a good idea to read the original story.

    PROLOGUE
    This has happened:


    The diabolical arch-criminal, head of the Si-Fan secret society and scientific genius Fu Manchu has slowly infiltrated the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-Chek. Beginning as a humble advisor to the Generalissimo of the Kuomintang, he eventually shed this unassuming mask to claim his proper role as master, with Chiang as a mere extension of his will. Under his ruthless leadership, China has built up a formidable German-trained host, armed with an exotic biological weapon, a debilitating influenza-based plague known as the Jade Fever, and fortified by a drug known as the Soul of the Dragon, as potent in the short term as its long time effects are horrific to the user. Thus equipped, the armies of Nationalist China have quickly brought Tibet and the Warlords of the Sinkiang to heel. When the Empire of Japan attacked in 1937, the Chinese counterattacked furiously. The war has then degenerated into an extraordinarily bloody stalemate, where Chinese numbers and exotic weapons are roughly balanced by fanatical Japanese determination, superior weaponry and martial skill.

    Meanwhile, by covert orders from resigning premier Stanley Baldwin, British Intelligence mastermind and long time nemesis of Fu Manchu, Sir Dennis Nayland Smith has collected a select group to thwart the evil plans of the Devil Doctor. The Secret Service Section FM (for Fu Manchu) is centred around the field operatives Lieutenant James Bond and Dr Henry “Indiana” Jones, the virus expert Dr Jonas Salk who battles tirelessly to find an antidote against the Jade Fever and the intelligent and efficient secretary to Sir Dennis, the curvaceous Miss Monneypenny. Together, this formidable team has began to uncover a conspiracy of monstrous proportions, threatening to bring about nothing less than a new Great War – The Master Plan of Fu Manchu.

    Nayland Smith, aided by Dr Jones and young Bond (who turned out to be father and extramarital son), parachuted into occupied Sinkiang where they uncovered the existence of the Jade Fever and the Soul of the Dragon. But the full horror of the Master Plan was only revealed to the Secret Service through the efforts of another pair of intrepid adventurers. Jealous of the disproportionate influence Hitler’s quack doctor Ferdinand Morrell, Reich Marshall Goering and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler sent out a pair of private investigators, Austrian fencer and Nazi militant Otto Skorzeny and aviatrix extraordinaire Hannah Reitsch to discover the how’s and why’s of Morrell's influence over Hitler.

    What they found, to their misfortune, was the chilling fact the Adolf Hitler, Führer of the German Reich, was nothing but a puppet, wielded through the mind-altering drugs of a hypnotically enslaved Dr Morrell by none other than Fu Manchu’s beautiful and ruthless daughter, Fah Lo Suee, whose extraordinary hypnotic skills surpass even those of Fu Manchu himself.

    After a pitched battle in a Shanghai night-club, Skorzeny and Hannah Reitsch were captured by Si-Fan acolytes, but not before Hannah had been able to communicate the essence of Fah Lo Suee’s control over Hitler to Indiana Jones. Fah, who once loved Sir Dennis and helped him against her father, allowed the British agents to leave and then set to work on the minds of her Nazi prisoners.

    His iron will subdued through hypnosis, drugs and refined torture, Otto Skorzeny was made a love-slave of Fah Lo Suee, after which he was sent to learn the secrets of Sinanju, the mother of all Martial Arts from the Master of Sinanju himself, the nasty and grumpy old Korean Chiun. Hannah Reitsch, her personality flawed by the incongruence of her strong catholic faith and fanatical Nazi beliefs fell more easily under the hypnotic influence of the Lady of the Si-Fan and was made to forget all about her experiences in China. She was then sent back to Germany to reassure Himmler and Goering that there was nothing more to Dr Morrell than met the eye. After that, Fah Lo Suee used her as an unknowing spy, using subconsciously planted commands to make her pawn collect German military secrets for her. First, through her position as a Luftwaffe test pilot and later through becoming the Mistress of Luftwaffe General Ritter von Greim and rocket scientist Werner von Braun.

    Meanwhile, Skorzeny had completed his training with Chiun, and was sent on a mission to murder the Japanese Imperial Army commander in Manchuria, during which he had a brief but violent encounter with James Bond, who had been assigned the mission of collecting a sample of the Jade Fever for Dr Salk. Bond later procured the sample from a disaffected Japanese doctor, who objected to his own country’s research into biological weapons, while Nayland Smith and Indiana Jones, posing as war correspondents gained a sample of the Soul of the Dragon drug through aplomb and ingenious deception.

    Skorzeny’s next assignment was to kidnap the former Emperor of China now turned puppet Emperor of Manchukuo, Pu-Yi, for Fu Manchu. The Devil Doctor claimed he would alter the hapless Pu-Yi into a war-winning weapon against the Japanese, through means that are as yet obscure. Using advanced Sinanju sexual techniques learnt from Chiun, Skorzeny tried to thaw the ice-cold heart of Fah Lo Suee into setting him free, but was only partially successful, in that he was sent back to Austria to act as a top spy for the Si-Fan.

    In this capacity he enrolled into the Austrian SS under Ernst Kaltenbrunner, played a small but important role in the Anschluss and was later rewarded by Himmler with a command within Hitler’s Praetorian Guard, the SS-Liebstandarte, with the understanding that he would be acting as the Reichsführer-SS’s eyes and ears near Hitler.

    Acting on orders from Fah Lo Suee, who in turn had been instructed by her father, Skorzeny, Hannah Reitsch and the sinister SS-officer Günther Duhrn of Sonderkommando H (for Hex, the SS occult specialist division) traveled to Antarctica where under cover of the 2nd German Antarctic expedition they were to investigate an ancient ruined city, rumoured to hail from the mythic civilization of ancient Thule.

    Along the way, they picked up Indiana Jones who had been forced to jump ship off the Azores after his own quest to find the lost continent of Atlantis had floundered due to the piratical nature of the crew of the ship he had hired.

    Together with a group of German scientists and a squad of crack SS-Liebstandarte soldiers, the four mismatched adventurers confronted the mind-crushing horrors of the primordial city of the Old Ones, a pre-human space faring race. Only through the magic of the alien city builders, inexpertly wielded by the desperate Duhrn, did they barely escape with their lives and sanity intact. They had also acquired a mystic black orb, much coveted by Fu Manchu and the real reason behind the expedition.

    As the Orb, an Old One navigational device, was sent back to Fu Manchu, Duhrn became suspicious of Skorzeny and embarked on a personal quest to expose him as an enemy of the Reich.

    Back in Europe, after being spotted and not recognized by Hannah Reitsch during an espionage mission against von Braun's rocket test facility at Peenemünde, young Bond’s infatuation with the lithe German aviatrix grows, convinced as he is that she purposefully hid his identity from the German authorities. In fact, Hannah’s memory of Bond had been suppressed along with all her other memories from Shanghai by Fah Lo Suee’s hypnosis.

    As tension in Europe rises after the Munich crisis, Bond and Nayland Smith embark on a desperate mission to secure proof of Fu Manchu’s power over Hitler. They are caught and threatened with torture but are saved and set free under humiliating forms by Skorzeny, who thereby effectively discredits Nayland Smith before the eyes of his superior Sir Hugh Sinclair (C) and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

    In Rome, the horrific visions of clairvoyant nun turn out to match chillingly with the apocalyptic prophecies of the Voynich Manuscript (written in a code known only to the Church) and of Nostradamus. Alarmed, the dying pope sends forth a junior agent of the Vatican Intelligence, Sister Irene, to prevent the disaster by any means necessary. Her first suspect as the agent of this apocalypse is none other than Adolf Hitler.

    As the German annexation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia once more brings Europe to the brink of war, Fu Manchu harshly orders Chiang-Kai Chek to win a great victory against the Japanese, or face a life plugged into a pain amplifier. After a gruelling long summer and autumn of slaughter, the Japanese lines finally crack, and Fu Manchu demands to negotiate directly with the Japanese Emperor. To provide an equal party with which to talk, the Chinese Empire is temporarily reinstated with Pu-Yi returned to his throne, now altered by Fu Manchu’s science to wield the same kind of strange hypnotic power as he does.

    Hannah Reitsch is suffering from Fah Lo Suee’s hypnotic alterations. Her Nazi beliefs have been subconsciously reinforced (in order to squash any hint of memory about Hitler being subjected to the will of Fah Lo Suee) but it has the unexpected consequence of Hannah being unable to accept the slightest fault with Nazism. As she learns in Antarctica about Sonderkommando H and their dabbling in Black Magic, her Catholic faith and Nazi beliefs enter into a frontal collision. After talking about her anguish in Confession, she is presented to Sister Irene, who upon learning her story decides that Duhrn and his group must be involved with the upcoming apocalypse. Aided by the Vatican intelligence network and Hannah, Irene starts to map the activities of Sonderkommando H until she has a pretty clear picture of what’s going on in the gloomy Wewelsburg SS-order castle.

    Meanwhile, Fu Manchu’s daughter Fah Lo Suee who had been planting evidence to encourage the Soviet purges, is arrested by her last victim, Nicolai Yezhov, and sent to a cell in Lubyanka, the feared headquarters of the NKVD. Yezhov’s own arrest follows shortly but the new head of the Checka, Lavrentij Beria sees no reason to set Fah loose. Fu Manchu himself, wary of the growing power of his daughter in the Council of Seven decides to let her stay were she is.

    Without her, the carefully crafted network of hypnotic slave agents in the German Reich is lost to the Si-Fan, as nobody but her knows the hypnotic code words given to prepare the agents to receive instructions. In the case of her two conscious agents, Otto Skorzeny and Dr Theodor Morrell, the former chooses – emphatically – not to cooperate further while Dr Morrell, being a complete nervous wreck, willingly accepts orders directly from Fu Manchu in the desperate hope of garnering the favour of his Mistress. Because of this, Hannah Reitsch is able to break of her affaires with Werner von Braun and Luftwaffe General Ritter von Greim (relationships that were used by Fah Lo Suee to steal German military and scientific secrets). Instead, as war erupts in Europe, she seeks transfer to a combat squadron, which she is granted through the interference of Fu Manchu, who expects her to be killed shortly, being a woman in a men’s war.

    As the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is made known to the world in late August 1939, Skorzeny seeks the help of Günther Duhrn in the hope that his occult powers can help him save Fah Lo Suee from the clutches of the NKVD. Duhrn agrees, but claims preparations will take time. In the meantime he gives Skorzeny an enchanted SS-Rune Sword, which Skorzeny takes with him when he goes to war in Poland. In the lull between the Polish surrender and the German offensive in the west, Skorzeny returns to Duhrn who informs him that they will travel through the Dreamland, a parallel dimension where modern technology doesn’t work (hence the Rune Sword). As the two SS-officers fall into magically induced sleep, Hannah Reitsch, Sister Irene and a platoon of Swiss Guard in French uniform led by a Grand Inquisitor prepare to assault Wewelsburg.

    Acting through Dr Morrell, Fu Manchu has Hitler squash the Manstein plan, resulting in the Wehrmacht repeating the Schlieffen plan in the great offensive in the west, which takes place in early November 1939. Fu expects this to lead to a protracted war of position as in the Great War, but unexpectedly, the Wehrmacht wins a stunning, if bloody victory through tactical and aerial superiority. Meanwhile, the Peace of the Two Emperors is under way. After a week of solitary confinement with Pu Yi, Hirohito is completely under hypnotic control. Together the two Emperors announce the creation of a new joint Sino-Japanese Empire going by the name of the Pan-Asian Empire. Fu Manchu is the new Empire’s Prime Minister and the real power behind the hypnotically enslaved Emperors, and from the start its clear that Pan-Asia intends to live up to its name… or more.
    Last edited by The Yogi; 18-01-2008 at 16:24.
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  2. #2
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    Yes! Fu Manchu is now brought to us in the HOI2 format!!!
    Last edited by cthulhu; 19-07-2005 at 14:10.
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  3. #3

    Great

    Just great stuff Yogi - as is to be expected from you.
    The greatest evil is not done in those sordid dens of evil that Dickens loved to paint but is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.

    C. S. Lewis

  4. #4
    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

    We observe the machinations of the nefarious Fu Manchu with great interest.

  5. #5
    Comrade Great Old One cthulhu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tskb18
    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
    Indeed. "In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." Iä! Iä!

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  6. #6
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    OK, now somebody who knows about these things is going to have to explain what this "Iä! Iä!" bussiness is all about. Trying out the word in Swedish (which has ä) it sound incredibly silly, somewhat like a baby being sick. But then again, I suppose its not Swedish but GreatOldOneian, and I'm not very clear about its rules of pronounciation...
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  7. #7
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    Maybe it's connected with the crawling chaos in your home...
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  8. #8
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    That says it all.
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  9. #9
    Nice summary of everything that has happened so far, hope the modding goes quickly so that we can get to the new material. Remember my threat to write my own AAR if you take too long...
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  10. #10
    Dad of two Korppi's Avatar

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    Great! First part of this story was great I hope this part is as good or even better

  11. #11
    I can only imagine how long it'll take 2 set up game through 1939...lol

  12. #12
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    Excellent! Assuming Fah Lo Sue is freed she is NOT going to be happy with her father. I can't wait to what happens next.

  13. #13
    yay I just catched up in about three days (and that after taking about a week to read Where the Iron Crosses Grow)... and all I can say is...
    actually, I can say nothing that could accurately describe it's greatness
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  14. #14
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    Great, a Fu Manchu spinoff!

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  15. #15
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    Thanks to all, I hope I'll be able to live up to all your expectations. I haven't even begun modding, but here is the first in a series of updates about Duhrn's and Skorzeny's quest in the Dreamland. Enjoy!
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  16. #16
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    The Gate of the Silver Key
    Earth’s Dreamland

    Night between October 21st and 22nd, 1939



    When Skorzeny could see again, he and Günther Duhrn were standing before an enormous iron gate, set in a frame of black stone. The basalt wall it allowed passage through was like a towering mountain side, extending upwards and in both directions until it dimmed from sight in the distance. Behind them, dark clouds were chasing with unnatural speed across an even darker sky, where a sickly pale moon shone with unholy bone-white luminescence. The land about them was dark and without features. Needless to say, the gates were closed.

    Duhrn, who still wore his black Allgemeine-SS uniform, complete with Death’s Head, SS-runes and Sonnenrad on the lapel, looked at Skorzeny and arched an eye-brow. ‘Well, well. Isn’t that an exotic outfit you dreamed yourself into? I wonder what that means?’

    Looking down at himself, Skorzeny noticed that he was wearing a black SS-Leibstandarte dress uniform, much like Duhrn’s except in minor details. This in itself was mildly surprising, since he had been wearing a Feldgrau field uniform when he had gone to bed, identical in every way to those of the Wehrmacht except that it had the SS-runes on the collar. He still wore his Iron Cross, 2nd Class at the neck, but looking at his hands, he saw that they were covered with black cloth, and touching his face, he found it was covered too, except for a small slit over the eyes. He realized with a start that he was wearing a Si-Fan assassin’s hooded black coveralls under his uniform! Where had they come from?

    Quickly, Skorzeny removed his officer’s cap and pulled the hood from his face, leaving it hanging out over the neck of his uniform jacket. ‘Well, it is a dream, after all, isn’t it? Maybe it has to do with some kinky stuff I enjoyed in a Berlin brothel before I came here, what do I know?’

    ‘I guess that is possible.’ Duhrn conceded. ‘While he was a degenerate Jewish quack, there’s no denying Freud had a point about the importance of sex in our dreams… but personally, after exploring parts of the Dreamland, I’m more partial to Jung.’

    ‘Isn’t that just lovely? Now, instead of debating psychology, will you figure out a way to get us through yonder big ass door!?’

    ‘But of course. Nothing could be easier!’ Duhrn answered, producing a large silver key from a pocket. ‘This is the key to the Dreamland, every dedicated Dreamer has one. It represents our ability to enter the Dreamland at will, either through normal dreaming or arcane magic.’ Without further comment, Duhrn inserted the key into the lock of the gate, which immediately swung open on huge but silent grates. Beyond was a bleak and rocky landscape, a labyrinth of towering cliffs and narrow, tortuous canyons. Set in a mountain side, straight in front of the Gate of the Silver Key, a door surrounded by carven pillars and grotesque arabesques yawned. Beyond, was a deep black darkness with just a hint of flickering red.

    Always with Duhrn in the lead, the two SS officers walked boldly into the darkness and descended a winding spiral staircase with seventy steps. At it’s end, they entered into an enormous cavern temple, whose domed ceiling was sustained by dozens of titanic pillars. But instead of solid marble or basalt, the mighty pillars were blazing columns of fire. A lurid orange light cast flickering shadows dancing between the stalagmites, rocky crags and altars adorned with terrible and repulsive carvings. Two men, dark and bearded and wearing high slender hats resembling the ancient Egyptian pshent, or double crown, stood a way into the temple, and towards these Duhrn steered his steps.

    The priest of the Temple of Flame were called Nasht and Kaman-Thah, and they adored the Gods of the Dreamland called the Great Ones, feeble things who had supposedly retreated from the prying eyes of humanity to the very peaks of the mightiest mountains of the Dreamland, and were now said to live in Kadath, in the cold waste. Duhrn saluted them respectfully, and Skorzeny imitated the SS necromancer. With a start, he realized Duhrn and the priests were talking in a language unknown to him, but which he still understood perfectly.

    The Priest called Nasht nodded benevolently. 'We have no objection to your passage! The way down is open to you – descended the seven hundred steps to the Gate of Deeper Slumber at your peril.’

    ‘Seven-hundred steps!? I beg your pardon, isn’t there an elevator?’ Skorzeny wondered indignantly.

    Duhrn looked as if he was hesitating between strangling Skorzeny there and then, or save it to an occasion where he’d have the time and means for some proper torture but the priests just smiled benevolently and indicated with their arms for Duhrn and Skorzeny to proceed. ‘Go with the Blessing of the Great Ones!’ Duhrn settled for a warning to not so casually insult the denizens of the Dreamland, because not many would be so good-humoured as the Priests of the Temple of Pillars of Flame.

    About an hour later, the two exhausted Germans had reached the bottom of the seemingly endless spiral staircase and walked through the Gate of Deeper Slumber (Skorzeny was already musing over how to make fun of the constant capitalization inherent in these bombastic names), yet another vaulted stone doorway, richly adorned by beings either alien, demented or both.

    As soon as he and Duhrn had left the stairs, Skorzeny looked around with amazement. Expecting to exit into some dank, deeper than deep cavern, he now found himself in a strange forest, where hugely wide but low oaks formed a maze of covered tunnels with their intertwined boughs. But instead of the reign of Stygian darkness in those tunnels, an eerie luminescence was provided by the large and odiously shaped fungi that grew everywhere, shielded from the rays of the sun by the massive forest canopy.

    ‘Let me guess – this is the Forest of Fungus, right?’ Skorzeny muttered absent-mindedly as his right hand went instinctively to the hilt of the Rune Sword.

    Duhrn sighed. ‘The Enchanted Wood, actually. With this attitude, I doubt you’ll ever visit the Dreamland without the help of my incantations. Have you no sense of wonder, Austrian? Or is this just your feeble way to keep what you cannot understand at an arms length?’

    That hit a little to close to the mark for Otto to come up with some properly derisive reply, so he bit his lip and looked about for dangers. Within seconds, the hairs in his neck stood on end. ‘There’s something out there, watching us with nothing good in mind.’

    ‘You’re right,’ Duhrn answered. ‘These woods are crawling with Zoogs, and eventually we’ll need to go where they are the thickest.’

    ‘Zoogs? What the Hell are…’

    ‘You’ll learn soon enough. Quickly now, we will need provisions, and since we couldn’t bring them with us from the waking world, we’ll need to buy them here. There a small town called Ulthar not far from here, beyond the River Skai. There we can get what we need.’

    They started walking, and all the time they could sense more than hear the fluttering of moving leaves as small bodies moved about unseen in the shadows. Nothing attacked them however, and after a while, the rustling subsided.

    ‘They don’t like to go too close to Ulthar’ Duhrn explained. ‘It has to do with the cats there, it’s a long story. Just remember when we’re there – don’t hurt the cats. They’ll kill you if you do.’

    Suddenly Skorzeny stopped in his tracks. ‘But… we have no money in this world! Are we supposed to steal what we need?’

    Duhrn shook his head. ‘Don’t be silly! You’re a big strong man, you’ll simply have to work for it! I’m confident there’s lots of wood that need to be hacked, walls painted, you know, that sort of thing…’

    ‘What!?’

    ‘Perhaps they’ll need a babysitter?’

    ‘WHAT!?’
    Last edited by The Yogi; 26-06-2006 at 07:50.
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  17. #17
    Great update, looks like Dreamland is a fairly interesting place, and the interaction between Skorzeny and Duhrn is hilarious.

    By the way, since Fu Manchu is HoG for the Pan-Asian Empire, what is his HoG trait going to be? My guess at it would be either Backroom Backstabber or Silent Workhorse, either one would fit his shadowy puppet-master role pretty well.
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  18. #18
    Sergeant Dante Essex's Avatar

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    Skorzeny as a babysitter!!!

    Good to se that you are continuing with this story so quickly after the end of "master plan".
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  19. #19
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    I love the contrast between how seriously Durhn and Skorzeny are taking Dreamland. Also, I wonder what significance Skorzeny's Si-Fan assassins outfit has, if any?

    The idea of Skorzeny as a babysitter puts me in mind of "Kindergarten Cop." Well, they're both Austrians at least.

  20. #20
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    Wonderful writing Yogi, just wonderful.
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