The weather over the town of Thetford in northern Norfolk was nice on that day in mid August 1942, but the people who were meeting in the modestly large villa on the edge of town had no mind for that. After travelling along King's Street the car that carried them there instantly left the limits of Thetford for a while as the road snailed along the edges and for a mile or two through the countryside before approaching the grounds of the Villa from behind. The long-since failed industrialist who had built the villa as a country retreat had decided that he wanted a delivery entrance on the back and now the conspirators made use of this handy arrangement as the drove the green car and hid it between the shed and the bushes. At the door of the villa the current owner of the house greeted them.
“Welcome, Gentlemen. I hope your ride here was more or less comfortable?”
Nods were given, even if the ride hadn't been, because everything was better than walking that more and more people had to do when their semi-legal stocks of petrol ran out.
Once situated in one of the rooms the four men looked at their leader.
With an accent that was one of the Boston Area but by now tinged with the one of the area around Norfolk he asked the others several questions, but in the end everything came down to the one:
“Sir, the Limeys aren't suspecting anything so far. They are closing on our man in the Royal Engineers though, and that might lead to troubles, and...”
The man at the head of the table interrupted him with a wave of his hand.
“No matter yet, old friend, we will merely have to keep our heads and act with great caution.”
With a hint of desperation in his voice one of the other men spoke up.
“How can we be sure of that?”
The man at the head of the table waved the concerns away. “As I said, if we act cautiously then everything will go to plan. And anyway, the British would never expect things to be as they are, and without one of us telling them.”
With that he looked at the small copper engraving copy of the painting depicting Washington's crossing of the Delaware River that formed the centre of the table.
“Gentlemen, we shall be successful.”
The man pressed a button under the edge of the table and a butler came in, serving glasses filled with an amber liquid that turned out to be the product of one of former Kentuckies best distilleries.
“Gentlemen, to the United States of America."
George Washington crosses the Delaware. The original painting vanished during the chaotic fall of Washington DC to the Red militias.
Meanwhile on the other side of Britain, Captain Ian Fleming DSO, RN, was about to scream out in frustration. The last few days had been incredibly frustrating. The talk with the Parents had, as Felix suspected, yielded absolutely nada in terms of usable clues, and in the days since the simple truth that there definitely had to be a conspiracy had emerged, because whenever they had tried to speak to the original team it was as if they had evaporated into nothingness. As much as this was frustrating it still told Ian that whoever was the big Villain this time was getting cold feet and began to make mistakes. If the team had been left in place and stuck to whatever story that they had cooked up then Felix and himself would have run against a concrete wall, but like this they had laid an irresistible lure not only for the 'PM's firebrigade' as Felix had deadpanned a few hours ago but also for the remainder of the law enforcement community of the United Kingdom.
While they did the footwork of trying to track down the men by conventional means, Felix had asked for a bit of patience, permission to milk a contact within the community and disappeared this morning after exchanging his RN uniform for a civilian suit. Ian had a good idea about where his friend was going and why, but there was little he could do. If anyone could blend in there it was Felix, and Ian knew that he himself would only arouse undue suspicion. “You'd never pass for a Yank.” was what Felix had said and only smiled mysteriously when Ian had asked what the bloody hell Felix was on about.
Felix on the other hand was cycling along the Thames and heading towards London's West End. The exile community might have it's spiritual centre in the old Embassy on Grosvenor Square, but most of them were actually living in the West End of London, as true to form those that could afford to leave the United States behind during the troubled and chaotic days when all order and administration had collapsed weren't exactly those that were the poorest of the poor. The man Felix was about to see was himself not among those huddled masses. Even so, the six blocks of London City streets around Grosvenor Square were the cultural heart of the American Exile Community, even Coca-Cola had their new Head Office a block down from the Old Embassy, making the nickname of 'Little America' that a humerus Londoner had coined a very apt description. But Felix passed through the Square without even looking at the symbols of his youth and instead made his way through the side streets to a small restaurant that had specialized in 'genuine American cuisine' before the war but that now was on the list of so-called British Restaurants with only the knowledgeable (to which the man he wanted to see counted himself) knew where to get the things that they had eaten there during the peace. The fact that Felix knew him at all was a bit of an accident, but now fir the first time this accidental knowledge would come in very handy. If someone knew what was going on behind the scenes in the community it was this man.
There he saw him at the far edge of the room.
“Colonel, I'm glad you could make our appointment.”
“It wasn't difficult, Commander.” 'Colonel' Thadeus Hoffman, late of the 225th California Volunteer Infantry Regiment and more recently of the law firm of former US Attorney of West New York, now ordinary lawyer and personal confidant of Roosevelt, William Joseph Donovan said in reply.
“Last time I actually saw you, you were a fresh Lieutenant who looked like he'd just passed out of Annapolis. Whatever happened to that bobby from Portsmouth?” Hoffman asked.
Felix was a far too old Sea Dog to blush at this, but he still wished to forget the Episode that had happened when he had stepped off the boat so many years ago.
“That isn't important I'm afraid.” With that Felix sat down opposite to Hoffman at last.
“What I always wanted to ask you Ted, how on earth did you manage to get to bloody California of all places?” Hoffman had been a bit of a mentor and fellow member of the US Embassy back then, but as soon as the war had broken out for real, Hoffman had deserted his post, jumped onto the last Trans-Atlantic Clipper that had been diverted to Bermuda as New York had fallen while it was in-flight.
“And from there?” Felix asked as Hoffman paused.
“Well, the Clipper was still the property of Pan-American Airways and we still had enough fuel for the hop to Florida. From there I joined the first Loyalist unit I could find, but Florida fell so fast that soon enough we were retreating over the Ol'man River. When the boys there found out that I came from Los Angeles and that I had a Law Degree from Harvard they made me an Officer and sent me to the 225th.”
Felix once more felt that familiar pang of Guilt that he had decided against going back, but then again....he would most likely have died somewhere in the mid-west.
“Anyhow Ted, I need you to give a message to your boss.”
“How come you don't bring it yourself?”
Felix paused for a second, pondering how much to tell Hoffman. “Donovan is far too high profile to approach directly I'm afraid. This whole thing has the potential to be a massive bomb up our collective backsides, and I and my...principals can't risk it.”
Hoffman suffered a record scratch. If his suspicions were correct then young Felix Leiter was involved with things that had to potential to get very dangerous, and if he was anything like the young Officer off the boat then he feared for him. Of course he didn't know that Felix had long since done and experienced things that most pre-war pulp writers would have loved to put into their work, but one glance at the posture of the 'young' Leiter told him a lot about him. He clearly had seen a lot since the war had begun.
“Alright, what do you want me to tell him?”
“That we wish to track down certain people within the community because they disappeared without notice when we simply wanted to ask them a few questions.”
Hoffman did his best to pick up his jaw from the floor, because there were only a few things that would make the British thread so lightly, and if his suspicions were correct then they had all reason to.
“I'll talk to him. Tell your principals that the American Association will look into this. We are all in this together after all.”
[Notes: I'm not one to yell 'Death to America', but the chance of screwing around with the established political, economic and military realities of our world is far too much fun.]
 The official body representing the interests of the American Expats in the UK.
Neither I. Anyway, let's solve this in a civilized way. Drop and a-bomb over every US city above, let's say, 500 citizens. Wait some time until the radation is gone and then recolonize the country with good Britons. It may take a heck of a time, but the result is worth waiting.
Well, so my for my view is was rogue Irish.o Sounds like some hard line Americans want to drag Britain into a war with the communists to 'liberate' the US. Which might have worked, if they aren't found out, but it's the last thing the empire needs at the moment. If they had waited until the Axis were defeated and possibly Torchwood was operational [although I bloody well hope they know nothing about that] it might have made sense but there's no way, even in a computer game, that Britain can take on another powerful enemy at the moment.
Of course, if and when it becomes public that the king and queen were murdered there will be hell to pay for whoever's held responsible.
This of course assumes that the group doing the murders aren't actually patsy's being played by something else.
Kurt_Steiner Wouldn't that fall under overkill? Besides, the Brits won't have that kind of Arsenal until the mid-60s anyway.
stevep I admittedly neglected the Irish a bit lately. Methinks an update on the domestic Irish situation is in order. Anyway, the Expats don't know anything about Torchwood (yet *evil smirk*) which is considerably smaller than the Manhatten project (yet lacks any Soviet spies ) and can by my estimation yield at most two bombs by the end of 1945, both of those being of the Hiroshima Gun design, anything else is too costly and complicated for now. But you are also correct in thinking that war with America is the least thing I need now. I took great pains to keep my relations with them in the positive..
Four days later, on the 18th, Felix was again sitting in the same little room, only that that today he was the one waiting for someone to arrive. He had a strong hunch that today he would get little in the way of information that was of any use, but with the original UXB Team having fallen off the edge of the Earth there was preciously little that could be done, and Felix strongly disliked the idea of having to report failure in this particular case. He knew that Ian felt similar and this was probably their last chance to get a handle on them, because if one knew where to look it was easy for someone to discard one's identity papers and get new ones for a different name through the shady side of the American Community and the pre-existing British underworld. Traitors may still be seen as the lowest scum in HM Prisons, but on the outside no one refused fresh Pound Notes.
When Hoffman came into the room Felix was prepared for the 'sorry, we couldn't find anything' that was probably the most likely answer, but instead Hoffman carried an attaché case and after a few minutes of pointless small talk asked Felix to follow him outside.
“Donovan is more than willing to help, Felix. Say what you want about Roosevelt, but at least the upper echelon knows that they depend for more on you than you on us. You will have to move fast though.”
“Tell him my thanks, will you?”
With that Felix gave his thanks back.
Back at the Office Ian's first comment was what had worried Felix too over the last few days.
“You know mate, technically this could all be a sham.” Ian said while he gestured at the case on the desk that Felix yet had to open.
“True that, but I know Hoffman well enough to tell you that he isn't part of the Harvard Five, and from what I've heard about Donovan he isn't either. Somehow I can't see either of them working for the Reds.”
“Probably true.” Ian replied. “Sitting around won't help us, so let's get cracking.”
Inside the case they found folders from the department of the former Embassy that assisted the immigrating Americans with all the Red Tape of the 'reverse Mayflower' as some had called it, even though since the war had begun what had been a flood had become a trickle, and most of those went no further then Canada these days.
Felix quickly looked them over and at first he couldn't find anything out of order.
“'twas the Night before Christmas....”
“Oh nothing,” Felix said, looking up from the papers. He held up an issue of Action Comics #1, printed in 1939 and said: “I used to collect those as a kid. Back then it was mostly Wild-West and World War One stories, and my dad gave me an issue I had been looking for for years on my last Christmas in the US.”
He pocketed the Comic Book, not knowing that decades later it would be found and loaned to a museum in spite of it being worth a small fortune by then and the two then went on to examine the files.
“Well lookie here...” Felix said after a while. When Ian looked at him without saying anything Felix went on. “Get this. All but one of them changed their names after they arrived here.”
“Good Show. But then again, that's hardly something special.”
“I grant you that, but how many of them not only come from the same area of Colorado, but also how many brothers end up in the same UXB team?”
“None, not after these four Brothers died on that Destroyer in the Med.”
“What's more, how often would you find two brothers and someone else come in from the same city in the United States, each one week after the other and change their names into a group of names where the last names read like an Alphabet substitution code?”
“Well, John McNamara became John Noman, Karl Osterhagen became Karl Sandhoven, Micheal Osterhagen, became Micheal Saywer. All of them have an Engineering background and all of them were of course asked if they wanted to join the Engineers.”
“When did that happen...” Ian asked and looked for the date in one of the files. “March '39? Bloody hell, that's some sleeper operation!”
Felix nodded. “One thing that's puzzling me though is what can they hope to gain? If they knew anything about our mentality then they'd know that we'd only fight harder after all of this.”
“Well, I could put it all down to Commie irrational thinking, but the best chance to know is to find these blokes and ask them.”
Over the next half hour they decided that most likely the men were slipping back to their old identities before arranging to leave the country, most likely to Ireland and then into the budding Irish Merchant marine that was virtually exploding with British-built Liberty Ships and that therefore tended to ask fewer Questions than most other government institutions. Within seconds after that Ian was on the phone with Admiral Edwards and the Admiral, after listening to their reasoning for a minute arranged for quiet and unobtrusive surveillance of the ferries that crossed the Irish Sea.
“The Brothers are probably in the area around Glasgow, so we'll have to leave it to our people there for the moment,” Ian said, “but the third guy lives in Norwich. If we move fast we can be there to pick him up before the locals do.”
Felix nodded even as Ian called for a Car.
The Bentley 3.5 Litre Sports Saloon raced along the roads south of Norwich for hours later. Ian had driven all the way with a parade example of a lead foot to make as much of the distance before they had to slow down on the blacked out roads, and as they entered Norwich the blackout and cloud-reinforced darkness was enough to swallow the rest of the world except two small beams of light coming from the front of the Sports Car. As they passed through the centre of the city towards their destination on the northern edge of the same, the clouds receded and the Moon shone it's light onto the streets.
After asking a patrolling ARP warden for directions and finding that they were only a few blocks from their destination, Ian shut off the lights and slowly moved the car through the dark streets. The stakeout consisted of three Special Branch Officers in a Butcher's Van that was parked outside a garage as to simulate the wish of the owner to have it converted to gas at last, as petrol was as hard to come by as ever.
Ian and Felix approached from the corner as to minimize their exposure to anyone watching the road, and knocked at the door. The door opened after a few seconds. Ian and Felix had taken off the caps of their Naval Uniforms, but the men looking at them were as obviously Special Branch as it was dark, and once Ian and Felix had identified themselves they were let in.
“Would you gents like a cup of tea?” asked the DS in charge.
“Don't mind if I do, it was a bloody long drive from London.” Ian replied while Felix just nodded.
Metal mugs with steaming hot wartime Tea were passed around.
“We've been watching that house for a couple of hours now since we went on duty. Basically no one has come or gone.”
Felix sipped from his Tea and pulled out a photograph.
“This is the bloke we are after.”
“Oh, it's just that their Lordships would like to have a little chat with him.”
“Interview without Tea and Biscuits, eh?”
“In a way, Sergeant.”
With that they settled down for a long and cramped night, but at leasts the small cooker supplied them with enough Tea to last things through.
In the morning just after Dawn Felix was the one watching. The rest had decided to catch some sleep before in half an hour the local plod sent some Officers around to pick the man up.
“Gentlemen, I think we have a problem.” he said and woke everyone up with that.
Ian glanced out and saw that the man they wanted to grab had opened a side door and now the front of a van not unlike the one they were sitting in was nosing out.
“Bloody hell, he's bugging out!”
“It's a fair chance he spotted the Stakeout. Ian, let's get cracking.”
The DS at first wanted to protest, but when he saw the determination on the faces of the two Naval Officers he stopped.
“Sergeant, I'd be very obliged if you called your Office and told them not to try and apprehend him. If they ask why is that we want to know who he is working for. Tell them....” Ian paused and made a decision on the spot that had the potential of being a career ender in peacetime. He had no ambition to rise any higher anyway so he went on: “Tell them that it is extremely important.”
With that Ian and Felix hopped out of the back of the van and ran down the road to where they had parked the car. The engine of the Bentley caught immediately and off they went.
Keeping a respectable distance they followed him out of Norfolk on a south-westerly heading road...
[Notes: Comments, Questions, rotten Tomatoes?]
 No Superman, no Superheroes in the sense we know them. Instead what we would call Dieselpunk pulp, which will take the place of Superhero comics ITTL, even though of course the term will be different. Why? Because 1) I absolutely love 1930s pulp and Dieselpunk in general and 2) because it's as good as anything else.
Great chapter, i love the groundwork you put into these parts i can't wait for the next part of this mini saga.
I hope the boys get to the bottom of this conspiracy as it's just not done going around Assassinating our Royal Family! Speaking of Royals, it would be interesting to check on the state of the royals right now, i can't imagine they are particularly happy to lose 3 members in such short succession.
On another note, while i never cared for Superman, it just hit me that we lost all the heroes we are familiar with, unless someone comes up with a similar character. the thought kind of makes me sad.
out of interest of those people that fled the states, how many were famous? and did they maintain their fame in the british empire?
Dunno why, but anytime I read -or heard- "let's get cracking" I think about pearl Harbour (the film) and Ben Affleck. Well, never mind. I fear that our American expatriate is going to get a nasty surprise -and, by extension, the whole Empire.
Dunno why, but anytime I read -or heard- "let's get cracking" I think about pearl Harbour (the film) and Ben Affleck. Well, never mind. I fear that our American expatriate is going to get a nasty surprise -and, by extension, the whole Empire.
This is one of those stories where the truth is not the best option. The plan makes no sense unless they have an Amercian Communist patsie ready to take the fall. Ian and Felix have to eliminate the possibility of any credible claim for responsibility being fabricated by the American "Loyalists" to blame the Communists.
Equally they want to avoid any blame being laid on the American community at large (given the large number of expatriates fighting for the British right now).
It's going to be a "black", "wet", messy and totally deniable operation either way.
Deathsheadx The boys will get to the bottom of this soon-ish, depending on how the next chapter develops. I have two potential plotlines lined out and I'll go whereever fancy takes me while writing.
On Royals: The Queen is currently at Balmoral, where she will probably stay for the remainder of the year and recuperate from the injuries she sustained in the attack. For the moment there is a Regency, lasting until 1944 when she turns 18. The entire Dynasty is reeling, but the Queen is said to be very touched by the concern (I haven't mentioned it, but it's become informal practice for everyone to wear a black armband) and since they (the entire House that is) are plotted to go a different path to OTL after the war I can't tell you much more than that for now.
On Celebrities: Off hand I can only think of Charly Chaplin, he is alive and relatively well for now. On the whole the farther west the stars lived the bigger their chances are that they made it out. A lot of Holywood for example has jumped ship and resettled itself around the OTL Pinewood studios in the UK where the above actor is currently doing "The Great Dictator" with United Artists.
Kurt_Steiner How come? WHat that sentence reminds me of is more a sort of "Return of the Jedi" bit where they take off in that nicked Imp shuttle.
Derek Pullem I'd love to give a really detailed answer to this, but due to the above and other things I can't reveal to much beyond saying that you aren't that far off the mark on what I have in mind. Suffice it to say before this is over Ian and Felix get to practice their Pistol Marksmanship, and that both of them are well aware of the possible implications.
He has no other choice. With his 'new' identity he could have tried to leave the country before, but now that he is being watched, going to his principals is the only way out he has as he must believe that both his identities are burnt. Besides, as the next chapter will show he has all reason to be confident that they (his friends) will gain him enough time to grab some papers and bug out via Ireland.
The Cambridge Five were ITTL arrested by Ian and Felix even before the war when they tried to expose Tube Alloys (as it then was) to the Soviets. It's inspired by that.
As for Roosevelt: It's FDR indeed. TTL he never was President and instead US Ambassador to the UK when the USA went kapoot.
“Blimey, where is this guy going?” Ian asked as the van went ever father from the centre of the city. There were the usual checkpoints at the major roads near the many Army camps in the area (in fact the Voltigeurs de Québec and the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada were about to be replaced by two British Regiments and re-join the Canadian First Infantry, and such a movement always brought with it extra checkpoints)
“Beats me,” Felix replied, “but I hope to god he stops somewhere civilized. I am positively starving.”
He patted the pocket with his ration book and then turned to watching the van they were pursuing. This early in the morning only postmen, police and Army were on the road, so Ian hung back enough to keep the van in view but not seem too obvious about what they were doing. Then again it was more than likely that the man knew that he was being followed, but at least everyone involved had to know that a van made in 1927 didn't have much chance at outrunning a 1937 Bentley Sports car. After twenty minutes of what had to be the slowest car chase in history Ian suddenly yelled: “Bloody Hell! I know where he is going!”
When Felix just looked at him with a blank stare and didn't answer, Felix said, without taking his eyes of their prey: “Thetford!”
Felix had heard that name somewhere before, but it took him a few seconds to get it. It was a lesson from way back in Colorado when a twelve year old Felix Leiter had first learned about his former country's history.
“Thomas Paine was born there!”
Felix decided that a lesson about the history of the War of Independence wasn't in order right now.
“Later, Ian.” he said instead. “But why is this so special that you almost give me a heart attack?”
Ian shifted into another gear and then answered: “Well, if my hunch is correct, he's trying to find refuge there. I gather you remember the Eagle Legion?”
“Jesus Christ, you're right!” Felix yelled in reply. The Eagle Legion had been an attempt to create a paramilitary force in the United Kingdom during the late 1930s by several if no longer influential then at least very rich Expatriates in order to try to form a Guerillia Army that had the overthrow of the New Order as it's goal. However this undertaking had drastically backfired when it had become known that several members of the Legion had smuggled weapons, sold to them at a discount by sympathetic British Officials, into the hands of the IRA. They had merely seen the British as a means to an end and quite a few of them had a history of clandestine aid for the IRA. The clamp-down hadn't been pretty, as one of them had opened fire on the police, but the local plod had pulled back, issued shotguns to the qualified Officers and stormed the building, and had raided a training Camp near the town they were heading for now.
What had caused the uproar in the community had not been the fact that the British authorities had reasserted their power within their own country but more the realization that the citizens of a nation were dependent on the good will of others, something that few Americans had experienced before. Having been reduced from a Great Power to a disorganized gaggle of refugees was a lot to swallow, and more than one had reacted like Felix and embraced their adopted nation with gusto.
If Ian was correct then this had the potential to be a bomb of the worst kind at the worst time, for the American Expats were a vital part of the British war effort. Douglas UK was building Dakotas by the dozen, Raytheon was building RDF sets (and mass producing the electromechanical decryption Computers used at Bletchley Park, but Felix didn't know that) and thousands had joined the British and Canadian Armed Forces, in fact both Armies had several Regiments that were exclusively manned and Officered by Expats.
In the Van meanwhile Noman was well aware that the Bentley was follwing him and that also in his vehicle he didn't have a chance in hell to dodge them. His boss hadn't been happy that he was coming at all when he had telephoned earlier, much less towing what had to be members of the British security services, but that couldn't be helped. Mind you, his real bosses would be very happy.
He drove through the outer fringes of Thetford and when he looked into the rear-view mirror the offending car was gone. He had no illusions about having shaken his pursuers, but he was happy that he had gained a few seconds on them, little knowing that Ian and Felix had merely pulled back some in the town itself in order to minimize the risk to the innocent. The Van driver only thought of the fact that this would give the men at the villa more time to prepare themselves. That putting up a fight didn't even enter the minds of those at the villa, nor in the van, not even as he took the corner into the main access road to the villa grounds.
When Ian and Felix reached that same corner Ian stopped.
“You do realize that they will be waiting for us?” Felix said even as he rammed a full magazine of 9x19mm Parabellum rounds into his HP.
“True that. We should probably wait for reinforcements.”
“From where? And even if we do, by the time they can get here that place will be empty.”
“Sandra will kill me for this.” Ian said even as he slammed the car into gear and turned into the access road.
The Bentley raced along the road at maximum speed until it reached the gates of the walls that surrounded the grounds. Shortly before the car smashed through the Victorian wrought Iron gates, a series of bangs could be heard as gunfire slammed into the forward portion of the car and turned the engine into a hunk of scrap metal. The car slithered off the road and slammed into the gate and then came to a sudden and violent halt.
Ian and Felix survived, even though both of them had superficial cuts and bruises in various spots. Ian was bleeding from a wound on his forehead where his head had slammed into the steering wheel, while even as he looked over Felix was pulling a fragment of the dashboard from his leg.
“Felix, you still alive?” Ian said even though he still felt groggy from the impact.
Felix let out a stream of unprintables and then merely reached into his pocket, pulled out his gun and just looked at Ian.
Accepting this as an answer, Ian merely followed suit and both scrambled out of the car, always staying behind the wreck for cover. Ian took a quick peek around the edge of the wreck, but pulled his head back almost immediately when he was greeted by automatic weapons fire.
“At least two blokes with Tommies.”
Felix nodded and reached upwards for the driver's side mirror. It came off easily and soon he used it to get a look at the situation.
“I see your two and raise you another one with a Shotgun and one more with a No.4. There's lots of boxes and other assorted things that could give us cover, the van and a lorry.”
“Us two with an FN each against that? I call that good odds.” Ian said with a predatory grin on his face.
“How are fixed for Ammo?” Felix asked. “I have three spare magazines.”
“Cover me.” Felix said, and before Ian could stop him rose behind the car. Knowing that he couldn't stop his friend he instead began to fire blindly into the yard over the smoking bonnet of the Bentley. The fire had the desired effect and the men in the yard were too confused at first to know what was going on and dove for cover. Felix quickly dashed across the open half of the gates and took cover behind one of the crates.
“GET A MOVE ON IAN!” Felix screamed as the goons recovered and Ian prepared himself to run across the open space, but before he could do a step, the engine of the lorry roared to life. It began to move, crashed through several boxes and Ian had only seconds to leap aside before the lorry shoved the wreck of the Bentley aside.
“AFTER THEM!” Felix yelled.
“The Bentley has had it's day I'm afraid.” He looked around and realized that the crates had been filled with weapons of all description. While Felix looked around for some sort of vehicle, Ian picked up a No.4 from the ground and placed a handful of loading strips in his coat pocket.
“Over here!” Felix yelled. Ian ran over and stopped for a second.
“Now that is something special. I drive.” Ian said, opened the unlocked door and jumped behind the wheel of the green Aston Martin Mk.II Sports Saloon.
I know it isn't in British Racing Green or silver, but that was pretty much the only picture of that type of car I could find.
“Keys...Keys....” Ian cursed. “There they are!” He rammed the key into the ignition and Felix who had helped himself to an M1897 Winchester pump-action shotgun climbed into the other seat as the engine roared to life.
“Let's do this.”
The Aston raced down the road with a breakneck speed. They were only fifteen to twenty seconds behind the lorry, so when they reached the main road, they could see it racing aware northwards even as the towns policeman came running.
Inside the lorry the men cramped into the back instantly noticed the green sports car on their tail, but they were mostly armed with shotguns and had preciously little in the way of ammunition.
“How many?” came the voice of their boss' second in Command from the cabin.
“Two in your car, Jack!”
“Goddamn f*cking limeys!”
The chase went on even as it started to rain heavily. Neither the lorry nor the Aston decreased speed, and soon the inevitable happened. The corner came sudden as it was hidden behind a hill. The lorry understeered massively and went off the road and into a field that was currently being used to grow turnips. It didn't roll over as it was too slow and heavy for that, but it still spillt all the contents of the back over the field. Men, crates, guns and ammunition were strewn all over as Ian somehow managed to get the Aston to stay on the road and stop a few dozen yards further on behind the bend. He and Felix jumped out, weapons at the ready and slowly made their way through ever-heavier rain towards the lorry, guns ready at their shoulders and ignoring the rain that made sure that they were wet to the bones within seconds. As they approached the lorry they noticed that the Engine was still running. Wary of anyone trying to kill them again and covered by Felix, Ian approached the cabin and saw instantly that the driver and the man on the other seat were dead. The driver had fractured his his skull when the lorry impacted on its side and a stone had met the drivers head instead of the window, while the other man had broken his neck in the same instant.
“IAN!” Felix yelled in alarm. Ian looked up and saw one of the men running away. Felix ran around to the back to prevent any more escapes while Ian raised the rifle to his shoulder again and fired one single round. He had aimed at the centre of the target as per standard practice, but his aim had been off. Instead of impacting somewhere near where the man's ribs met his spine the .303 bullet smashed into his leg, shattering his kneecap and destroying most of the muscle tissue that made everything work. He would never walk again.
“Damn, I was aiming at something else.”
He lowered his rifle and worked the action before returning to the lorry. When he saw Felix with his gun lowered and seemingly at ease he relaxed himself.
“Most are dead, and the others are wounded to some degrees. None in danger of getting away. What about that one?” Felix said and indicated the wounded man with the muzzle of his gun.
“He won't go anywhere.”
Ian pulled a torch from his pocket and looked into the inside of the lorry. Of course Noman was dead, having somehow managed to impale himself on a spare bayonet, while several of the others were clearly on their last legs from various injuries.
“That one there must have used the others as cushions,” Felix theorized and accidentally hit the mark.
“Well, we better go and ask him. He's the only one who might live long enough to tell us something useful.” Ian decided.
They casually walked over to the place where the wounded man was desperately trying to get away until Ian placed his left foot in the back of the wound which cause the man to cry out with pain.
“You better say us who you are working for.” Felix said and Ian took his foot away.
“F*ck you, limey!” came the venomous reply. Ian in turn kicked the man in the Stomach.
“Are you f*cking telling us or not?” he said in a dangerously low voice even as he stared at the man's face down the sights of his rifle.
“It's....” he revealed the name. If either Ian of Felix were surprised they didn't show it.
“Prove it.” Felix said.
“He owns the house...the village is on his n-name...” the terrified Expat replied. Ian looked at Felix who simply shrugged as if to say: 'That's as good as anything else'. For several minutes the Expat 'spilled the beans' and filled in most of the holes Ian and Felix had still had.
“That's a-all I know..Please, get me to a Doctor, I beg you!” he said, obviously feeling a great amount of pain.
Ian turned to Felix, who nodded before looking down the sights at the expat again. “Thank you.” he said and pulled the trigger.
The man who had instigated the conspiracy was sitting in his rooms and brooding over what had happened yesterday. All he knew for certain was a frantic phone call that had spoken of 'they know where we are' and then nothing more. He had thought about trying to make a break for it, but if the British were able to find the Villa, then sooner or later they would come for him too and track him down. His disturbed mind completely dismissed any idea of being punished for what he had instigated. In his opinion the British would react just like he wanted them to, for he was one of Americas most influential industrialists and the British had a sacred duty to re-establish the United States to her former glory. With that he rung for a cup of the dreadful wartime coffee and was immediately puzzled when his receptionist didn't answer. Instead the door opened and two men wearing Fedoras and heavy greatcoats stepped in.
“Who are you? How dare you interrupt me?”
“Who we are is of no consequence, Mr. Ford.” Ian replied as he and Felix reached into their pockets and produced silenced Walther PPKs.
“Mr. Ford, it has come to our attention that your associates have instigated the explosion that killed their Majesties, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth by placing live bomb under a pile of rubble that was supposedly cleared. The team doing so then all faked a collective food poisoning so that another UXB team was sent to defuse the bomb during the Royal Visit of which you had knowledge from a contact within the Royal Engineers. It might interest you to know that Colonel Carrington has been arrested while trying to board a ferry to Ireland, and that the cash you paid him with was found on him.”
Felix took over. “You then had one of your men stay behind among the crowd with an electric detonator wired to a second bomb hidden underneath the first one who then proceeded to detonate the bomb when the King and Queen were close by. From what we have been told your plan was to blame this fact on the Communist Government of America in order to engineer first a crisis then a full-scale war between the British Empire and the UAPR in order to reinstall the United States of America.”
Ian asked a question that had been bothering him ever since he had first heard the story on a rainy field in Norfolk.
“However did you think that we could defeat the UAPR when we were deeply entangled in Europe and Asia?”
“You make peace.” Henry Ford replied. “After all, the Jewish Conspiracy can only be defeated when the two greatest Democracies stand together, even when one of them is deeply flawed.”
Ian just snorted. “So you have gone off the deep end. In any case our orders are clear. Your receptionist has been arrested as an accomplice to weapons smuggling and various offences under the defence of the Realm Act. Tomorrow one of our men will come to arrest you and find that you have killed yourself with a gun. Nothing personal.”
“No one will believe this story, there will be a public outcry and..”
“Nothing, Mr. Ford. No one will think much of the suicide of a wannabe warlord. No one. You see the world neither rotates around you nor your cause.” Felix said before Ian could even open his mouth. “We have a war to fight and we won't have anything distract us from the task at hand. Your plans failed and I wish you had the backbone and personal courage to take the consequences.”
With that he raised his weapon and fired three shots, all on target.
Henry Ford 30th July 1863 – 20th August 1942
[Notes: Comments, Questions, rotten Tomatoes? And for the record: that Ian got his hands on an Aston Martin was a mere side-effect. It wasn't planned like this when I started this plot, I merely thought of the final showdown where inevitably the car would die and then I realized that Ian had to get his hand on an Aston as early as possible which he will of course keep as his private car.]
 And of course the exterior Scenes of Dad's Army were shot there, which was why I initially selected the town. Imagine my surprise when I look at the Wiki article on it just to entertain myself and then see that they have a statue of Thomas Paine standing there. This is one of these freaky cases where I look for something and just happen to come across something awesome.
 OTL he went senile, TTL he 'just' went completely off the deep end, little knowing that his fantasy world has at least some parallels to OTL. While plotting this out I considered quite a few people to be the big bad, among them also Kennedy the Appeaser while Nelson Rockefeller was also suggested to me, and I quite literally didn't decide this until actually writing this part!
 It was of course the man Ian shot who did the impaling.
Just a thought. with ford's involvement in the assassination of a monarch, and communist america mostlikely repurposing and renaming any industry or institution to dissassociate themselves from their ex-pats. does that mean the Ford name, and it's stranglehold on the motor industry is dead and buried?
Deathsheadx That was the point of the exercise (forgive the pun please).
Lord Strange Actually the Aston belonged to one of Ford's henchmen.
The backdated taxes will be collected the moment the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards march down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Deathsheadx The Ford Motor Company still exists. Like a lot big Industrialists he managed to save a large part of his assets and has since worked out of Ford of Britain. However, now he is dead the Company will be just one among many and the British Government will have a long, very long institutional memory about this, so Ford will have difficulties in getting a foot on the ground, especially since their every move will be watched. To explain: By my estimation the next three of the next four Prime Ministers (Winston not included) already know about this matter and Ford's involvement. No Government contracts ever, their books audited once every two years at least and constant rumours, stuff like that.
Good chapter and nice tie up. I think such prolonged mistrust of Ford Motors would be counter-productive as you can't really blame a company a couple of decades down the line for what a former CE did and it's more likely to mean less competition and the employees of the company having a reason for mistrusting Britain in turn.
One question. Norman on fleeing to Thetford was thinking "Mind you, his real bosses would be very happy". That implies that the people there, who were Ford's mob, were in turn being double-crossed. That while Ford was trying to trick Britain into a war with the American communists someone was playing him. Will we ever find out who?
I think Ian and Felix were rather rash to try crashing the gate like that and very lucky to escape alive. However at least he's got his hands on the Aston-Martin.