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unmerged(61356)

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Commander-DK said:
I'm confused. I thought that Otto was trapped in a pocket miles inland and von Kleist and the rest had long since taken that boat home to the fatherland?

:) Jesper

Sorry for the confusion as to who is where. It's my fault as I failed to get screenshots of the war in Spain. General von Kleist led I. Panzerarmee into Burgos which is inland, while General List was in command of troops along the coast (he made the attack from Oviedo to Bilboa). This was post #25. Therefore it was General List and his men who sailed home while General von Kleist was trapped along with Otto and I. Panzerarmee inland(Post #29). I am happy to say that I have solved the whole screenshot thing and that future conflicts will be represented with both photographs and screenshots.

Not that the peace loving German people have any intention of engaging in any conflicts of course. :D
 
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unmerged(28944)

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Damn. Things look... grim for Germany after this little fiasco in Spain. Do I perchance smell an attempt to "remove" Herr Hitler from power?
 

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Draco Rexus said:
Damn. Things look... grim for Germany after this little fiasco in Spain. Do I perchance smell an attempt to "remove" Herr Hitler from power?

Well, it is certainly possible that certain disgruntled elements may view the unfortunate results in Spain as an opportunity. ;)
 

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Hardraade said:
Sorry for the confusion as to who is where. It's my fault as I failed to get screenshots of the war in Spain.

Not at all - I should learn to read ;) I was so caught up in the story that I read Kleist and List as the same... :eek:o

Looking forward to Otto's next move!

:) Jesper
 

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Dec 27, 1936
Berlin, Germany

"Would you like some more tea sir?"

"Of course I would my dear, thank you."

Helmut Wolf smiled as he raised the cups to his lips and said, "Emma, you make the finest cup of tea in all of Germany."

Kurt Strauss' oldest child blushed in delight and replied, "Why thank you sir, would you like a biscuit? I baked them fresh today."

Before Helmut (or Hans as the Strauss family thought of him) could reply, Kurt Strauss strolled into the room. Taking in the situation he said, "I'm ready to go, but if you can't pull yourself away from the tea party I'll understand."

Shooting him an annoyed look, Helmut turned to Emma and said, "I'm sorry but I must be going. Your father and I have business to attend to."

Emma rose and gave him a very convincing curtsy. Indicating a stuffed rabbit seated to her left she said formally, "Flopsy and I have greatly enjoyed your company. Thank you for coming."

With that, she grabbed her stuffed friend and skipped off to find her younger brother. When Helmut turned back to face Kurt, he found him practically hugging himself with glee.

"What's so funny?"

"You are, sitting at that little table in that little chair.", Kurt replied. Between gasps for breath he continued, "You...you should have...seen yourself...knees up to your chin."

Helmut frowned and shot back, "If you can't control yourself I'm going. There are plenty of places I can go and not be laughed at."

Putting his arm around his friends shoulders, Kurt cut off his laughter and replied, "Alright, I'll stop. Anyway, we have to hurry if we want to make the meeting on time."

Helmut nodded and said, "Alright then, let's get going."

Kurt guided his friend out the door and as they were about to get into the car asked, "So, you and Flopsy. Anything there?"


Later that night....


Under a calm demeanor, Helmut looked back on the meeting he had just left and seethed. He had just spent the last two hours listening to German citizens, some of them military men, plot treason against the Fatherland. That was to be expected of course. After all, that was why he was there. What was threatening to unhinge him was the "guest" who had arrived at the meeting.

The man had introduced himself only as a representative of the British Empire. No name, only that. Helmut had nearly jumped out of his chair at that announcement. The treason these men were planning was one thing, to involve a foreign power was going to far! Helmut listened, his rage building, as the top conspirators Admiral Canaris and General Beck outlined their plan to oust the Nazi government to the Englishman. They were requesting British (and by inference Allied) diplomatic and military support if the latter became necessary. They were actually requesting foreign troops. On sacred German soil!

"Not that it matters.", he thought grimly. "Your little uprising will fail before it can begin and those of you who aren't shot will see nothing ever again save a prison cell."

Helmut had already delivered to his superiors a list of nearly a hundred conspirators that he had personally come into contact with or was sure of beyond doubt. All that he needed to complete his assignment was to verify who the ringleaders were. Now that he had seen Canaris and Beck with his own eyes, his job was done. The names on the list would be arrested in a sweeping operation. Once in custody they would be... persuaded to give up still more names until the whole cabal was brought to justice.

Smiling in satisfaction, Helmut turned his mind to the Englishman. Helmut was unsure if he was a diplomat or British Intelligence. His only impression of the man was that he was exceedingly arrogant and genuinely felt that he knew better than everyone else in the room about everything. From this Helmut was only able to conclude that the man hadn't been lying when he said he was British. Helmut shrugged, he would get all the answers he needed from the Englishman later. He had gotten close enough to hear him tell Canaris and Beck where he was staying in case they needed to contact him.

His ruminations were brought to a halt as Kurt brought the car to a stop in front of the Strauss household. Helmut shook hands and bade him goodnight before walking two blocks over and ducking into an alley. As he climbed into the back seat of a waiting car the driver turned and asked, "Back to the office Hauptsturmfuhrer?"

After settling himself in Helmut replied, "No, I have another stop to make tonight."

Giving the driver the address of a nearby Berlin hotel, Helmut leaned back in his seat. Before long, his mind turned to Kurt Strauss as it often did. To Helmut's perception, he was a good man. He loved his wife, doted on his children, and was kind to his neighbors. In short, everything you expected of a good German man. "But he's a traitor.", Helmut thought. " Good man or no, he belongs before a firing squad with the rest of them. Helmut would have continued examining his conflicted emotions on the subject, but the car had stopped and he had more immediate concerns.

Helmut walked into the hotel lobby and showed his credentials to the desk clerk. Once he calmed down the desk clerk and assured him that he was not here to see him, he asked, "Have any of your guests returned to the hotel within the last half hour."

The clerk thought and replied, "Yes sir, a man and a woman. The woman earlier and the man just a few minutes ago."

"Take me to the man's room and bring your key."

Once inside, Helmut sent the clerk away and stepped deeper inside. He could here someone moving around in the washroom. Drawing his weapon, he waited for the man to emerge.

The man, who Helmut immediately recognized as the "mystery guest", came out of the washroom wearing his nightclothes. Upon seeing Helmut he asked, "Who the hell are you?"

"SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Helmut Wolf of the SD.", came the reply.

"What do you want?", the Englishmen asked barely reacting to the gun pointing at him.

"So, British Intelligence it is.", thought Helmut. A diplomat would have messed himself by now." What he said was, "I want to know what you passed on from that meeting and to whom."

"What? What meeting? Speak sense, I don't know what you're talking about."

Helmut sighed and fired a round into the man's shoulder. "Do not lie to me Englishman, I was there. I saw you with my own eyes."

Clutching his wound and looking daggers at Helmut he replied, "Alright you bastard. I was there, but I haven't contacted anyone. I was sent in solo, my orders were to return to England tomorrow."

"So you haven't passed details of the meeting, nor do you know any other operatives?", asked Helmut.

"No."

"Well then, I don't see what use I would have for you in that case." Raising his pistol Helmut continued, "You may have a moment if you wish."

"Just do it."

Helmut nodded and fired.
 
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unmerged(61356)

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germanpows15ce46yg0.jpg

German POWs held at Gijon, Spain

Dec. 31, 1936
Gijon, Spain

Otto Wolf stood at rigid attention with the rest of the captured officers and wondered what they had been summoned to the yard for. For nearly two weeks he had endured captivity while the German and Spanish governments dickered over the terms of the peace treaty that would formally bring an end to the conflict.

Two weeks, and the wear was beginning to show. The Spanish treated them well in general and did their best to feed them. Their best, however, was not enough due to the devestation wrought by the conflict. Signs of malnutrition were beginning to show in many of the men here, and Otto knew that if a treaty was not signed soon men would begin to die.

Also of concern to Otto was that he had no idea how Hoff was faring in the enlisted men's part of the camp. He worried constantly for his friend as conditions were worse there due to the larger size of the enlisted camp.

Most prominent in his thoughts were his loved ones of course. He hoped that Helmut was managing to stay out of trouble and worried for his wife. "What must she be thinking?", he thought. "She must have heard of the battles and the surrender by now. What is it like for her, not knowing if I am alive or dead?" Tears stung his eyes at the thought of the pain he was putting her through.

He pushed thoughts of his wife and home aside as the camp commandant Colonel Martinez began to address them, "Yesterday, a treaty of peace was signed by representatives of the Spanish government and the German Reich. As per the conditions of this treaty, you are all to be released immediately. Transport ships of the German navy have been given permission to dock in the harbor to facilitate your return. In one hour you will fall in by the main gate for the march to the harbor. That is all, dismissed."

As Colonel Martinez walked away, the stunned silence he had left them in was shattered as thousands of cheers went up all over the camp. Otto was not alone in shedding tears of joy as he raced to make ready for the trip home. It was going to be a wonderful new year after all.


At that same moment, back in Germany, Helmut Wolf's mood was far less jovial. The operation that he had made possible was well underway, and arrests were being made all over Berlin. Grimly, he checked his weapon and banged on Kurt Strauss' door.
 
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Kurt_Steiner

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How is your war gearing?
 

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*lol*

Hardraade said:
he was exceedingly arrogant and genuinely felt that he knew better than everyone else in the room about everything. From this Helmut was only able to conclude that the man hadn't been lying when he said he was British.

:rofl:

Excellent updates!

:) Jesper
 

unmerged(28944)

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Awesome. However, I fear that I have developed an extreme dislike for dear Helmut. And I fear even more that when Otto comes home the two brothers are going to be at odds with each other.

'Tis sad... but makes for interesting readin'! :D
 

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An interesting contrast between illusions and realities there.
 

unmerged(61356)

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I had intended to have a note attached to that last update and I just realized I had forgotten to do so. First, some feedback to the responses that I am happy to see have been posted.

Kurt Steiner: Are you implying that the peaceful German Reich intends to go to war? Let's just say that Germany will be far more prepared than in Spain.(I will try to work a force report into the narrative if you like.)


Commander-DK: I was unsure of adding that little joke as I didn't want to upset anyone(I appear to have few enough readers as it is), but I decided to just go for it :D .


Draco Rexus: Wait....you're saying that you don't like Helmut? I'm shocked sir, shocked. :rolleyes: Is he not just doing his job? I will say that Otto and Helmut are very different men, perhaps even more so after what Otto has experienced.


stnylan: I am happy you saw where I was going with that last post concerning Helmut. I have never written anything for public consumption before and am always nervous when I post a new update. I never know if what I'm trying to express is fighting it's way through my limited ability. I wanted to show that "Hans Reuter" is a mask, and that a very different man was lurking beneath it.

Thanks to all that have commented and stopped by.

Now the note:
I'm sorry for how short my last post was. Originally, it was much longer and went into more detail about both Otto and Hoff's experiences in the prison camp and the effects it was having on them. I had typed it all in when I remembered that discussing POW camps was against the forum rules. Thus the post was stripped down and basically became "Otto is in a POW camp and is sad. Now he's going home and is happy. Hooray." Again, sorry for the brevity and general crappyness of that last post.
 
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Kurt_Steiner

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Hardraade said:
Kurt Steiner: Are you implying that the peaceful German Reich intends to got to war? Let's just say that Germany will be far more prepared than in Spain.(I will try to work a force report into the narrative if you like.)


Just asking about the preparation for a possible war... a defensive one , you one...
 

unmerged(61356)

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Kurt_Steiner said:
Just asking about the preparation for a possible war... a defensive one , you one...

Ah, in that case. At this point in the game(beginning of 1939) Germany is prepared to defend itself with about twice as many infantry divisions and four times as many tac and cas bomber wings as there were described in the first posts. I have also greatly expanded the surface fleet and am constructing a large sub fleet as well. In addition, a priority is on panzer divisions with the loss of three of them in Spain making we worried about how I will fare in case of Polish aggression. (refusing to cede Danzig is to be viewed as aggression just so we are on the same page ;) .)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Hardraade said:
In addition, a priority is on panzer divisions with the loss of three of them in Spain making we worried about how I will fare in case of Polish aggression. (refusing to cede Danzig is to be viewed as aggression just so we are on the same page ;) .)

I fully agree. We must be ready to defend ourselves from those aggressive neighbours that we have. :D
 

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Dec. 31, 1936
Berlin, Germany

"Look Mommy, all done!"

Greta Strauss glanced over as her daughter proudly set down the last of the dishes she had been drying. She smiled and said, "Very good Emma, do you want to help Mommy put them away?"

Emma nodded her head and put her arms out so that Greta could lift her up to reach the cabinets. Before she could, there was a forceful knock on the door.

Emma immediately raced for the door and flung it open to see who their visitor was. "Mom, it's Uncle Hans.", she called into the kitchen. Looking up at Helmut she asked, "Uncle Hans did you bring us any chocolate today? I'm sure Mom would let me have some, I just helped dry the dishes."

Helmut glanced down and replied, "No Emma, I have no chocolate today. I am here to see your parents, where are they?"

Emma thought and said, "Mom is in the kitchen and I think Dad is in the other room. Hey, do you want to play tea party again? It was so much fun last time. Daddy doesn't have a lot of time to play and Eric won't play at all."

Helmut pushed past her saying coldly, "No Emma, I am too busy to play with you step aside."

As he moved into the house, leaving the two men who accompanied him on the step, Greta moved to meet him.

"Hans, what a pleasure. Would you like-"

She broke off as she saw what Emma had not or did not understand. Her blood turned to ice as she took in the black uniform, the runes on the collar, and the SD patch displayed on the forearm. This man had Hans' face, but it was different somehow. It was hard and his eyes cold.

Something is wrong, she thought. Holding her hand out she said, "Emma get away from him and come to Mommy." Turning her head slightly she called, "Kurt get in here."

Kurt Strauss walked into the room with his son riding on his shoulders and asked with a smile, "What is it honey?"

Seeing Helmut, the smile slipped from his face. He set Eric down and told him to go to his mother who clutched both of her children tightly. Turning to face Helmut he said, "What is this? If coming here in that getup is your idea of a joke, it's not funny Hans."

"It is no joke.", replied Helmut. Stepping deeper into the room he continued, "Kurt Strauss, for conspiring to commit treason against the Reich and the Fuhrer, you are under arrest. You will come with me."

Kurt turned white and said, "No, I don't believe you. This...you can't do this to me Hans, we're friends."

Helmut sneered, "You are no friend to me, you are a traitor and will be punished." Nodding his head toward Greta he added, "Her too."

Looking to his weeping wife and confused children Kurt screamed, "What? You can't do that! Leave her out of this."

"By failing to come to the proper authorities with her knowledge of your activities, she is just as guilty of treason as you.", came the reply.

"That's insane", shouted Kurt," you can't arrest a wife for not incriminating her husband."

"The law is clear. For the sake of the children I suggest you both come peacefully. I am prepared to use force, but I would prefer not to in front of them."

"No, you'll just take their parents from them, leave them orphans. That's all.", sneered Kurt.

"The children will be well provided for, I have seen to it personally."

Filling his voice with all the scorn he could muster Kurt replied, "Well, how gracious of you. Tha-"

He was cut of by the sound of his wife's voice asking, "What will become of them? What will you do with my children?"

Helmut turned to her and replied, "I have gotten Emma a place in the local Bund Duetscher Madel, and I managed to pull enough strings to get Eric assigned to the Deutsches Jungvolk despite his age. From there he will continue into the Hitler-Jugend."

"You say that like you expect gratitude.", Kurt spat.

Rounding on him Helmut countered, "It's better than traitors like you two have the right to ask for! It's certainly more than I had to do. I could have sent them to an orphanage, but I understand that their parent's crimes are no fault of theirs. Count yourself lucky that I intervened personally in this matter."

Kurt stepped toward Helmut and said as he raised his fist, "Count myself lucky? You bastard, I ought to-"

Helmut placed his hand on the butt of his weapon and responded, "You'll do nothing. Do not believe for a second that I will not harm you."

As Kurt backed off he continued, "This has gone on long enough. You two will leave the children with me and exit the building. There are men outside waiting to take you into custody."

Sobs shaking their bodies, Kurt and Greta hugged their children close and kissed them. At an impatient cough from Helmut, they released them and headed out the door.

After the door had closed behind them, Helmut held his hands out to the children and said, "Come over here children."

Slowly, they moved to stand in front of the black-clad man. With tears in her eyes Emma asked, "What's happening Uncle Hans? Where are they going? Why was Daddy yelling at you?"

Stroking her hair in what he hoped was a soothing manner Helmut replied, "Mommy and Daddy have to go on a little trip. It might be a long time before they come back. As for the yelling, sometimes grown-ups just yell at each other. It doesn't mean that anything is wrong."

Emma looked doubtful and asked, "But, why were they crying if nothing was wrong?"

"Because they were sad about not being to see you and Eric for awhile.", he replied.

"What will we do while they're gone?", asked Eric speaking for the first time.

"Well, how would you both like to live in a special place with other little children? You get to wear uniforms,sing, and march a lot. There will even be camping trips and lots of sports. Doesn't that sound nice?"

Eric nodded and said, "That sounds like fun."

Emma asked, "Will you come to visit us Uncle Hans?"

Helmut looked down and smiled, "Of course children, as often as I can. Now we have to hurry, there are people waiting for you two."

Leading the children outside by the hand, Helmut passed them off to representatives of the organizations that would be guiding their development into proper German citizens. As the the cars pulled away he returned the children's waves and called out, "Goodbye children, have a good time. I'll see you soon."

Climbing into his car, he bid the driver take him back to his office so he could compile his official report on the operation that was even now beheading the resistance movement. As the engine roared to life, Helmut leaned back into his seat and reflected on a job well done.
 
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unmerged(61356)

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Jan 5, 1936
Wilhelmshaven, Germany

"Ah, now that hits the spot just right sir."

Otto Wolf grinned over at his companion and replied, "You can say that again Hoff, I'd almost forgotten what beer tasted like."

From his place at a table in the back of the beer hall, Hoff waved his hand to get their server's attention. The young woman who worked this corner of the hall glided over to their table and asked, "You two soldier boys ready for another round?"

Hoff looked up and said with a smile, "Now that would be much appreciated my dear, thank you."

As the young woman moved off to fill the order, Hoff rubbed a hand along his jawline and said with a wink at Otto, "I'm starting to remember something else I've gone too long without. She looks like she could jog a memory right quick."

Otto laughed and replied with false shock, "Sergeant Hoff, I am surprised at you. A married man speaking in such a way."

"Well sir, it's like this.", Hoff began. "Being happily married is like eating bratwurst.", he continued indicating the plates in front of them.

Otto looked from the bratwurst and then back to Hoff saying, "Hoff, I'm afraid I'm going to need you to explain this one. I absolutely do not follow."

"You see sir, I eat my bratwurst with sauerkraut. I do almost all the time, because that's how I like it. Eventually though, it gets a little boring. You can only have the same thing so many times you see. So, sometimes I eat it with mustard instead. Eating it with mustard is very good, but it's not as good as with sauerkraut. So you see, having the mustard every once in awhile makes me want and miss the same old thing."

When he finished Otto looked at him for a long moment and said, "Hoff, I am absolutely speechless. I truly can think of nothing to say to you right now. Except, perhaps, that you had better not tell Ingrid about that little theory of yours. If she ever even suspected that you were unfaithful, I imagine that I'd need a new gunner."

The thought of having to replace a crew member suddenly reminded them both that there was an empty chair at the table. Hoff lifted his newly refreshed beer glass and said with tears forming in his eyes, "To Lindemann sir, a fine soldier and a good k-... a good man."

Otto raised his glass and drank to the young man's memory saying, "May God rest his soul."

The two sat in silence, the air taken out of their celebration. After several minutes they paid their tab and walked out into the sunlight. Shivering against the sudden cold they felt after the warmth of the beer hall, they walked toward the train station.

"Sir, there's something that I've been wondering."

"What is it Hoff?", asked Otto.

"When we left for Spain, there were great lines of people all along the road to cheer us. Women ran up to us and kissed us or handed us flowers, boys waved flags and Great War vets came out in uniform to salute us."

"And?"

"Well sir, where is everybody? We come home and the place is a ghost town. I'm not asking for parades and ceremony now, but most of these people act like we brought the plague home with us. What's the deal sir?"

Otto put a hand on his friend's shoulder and replied, "Hoff, we surrendered. You have to understand that these people aren't happy about that. They think we failed them, and embarrassed the nation. They certainly don't want to celebrate us."

Hoff responded with sadness creeping into his voice, "They have no right to judge us. They don't know what it was like. We were the ones suffering and dying, not them. We deserve respect sir. Our dead deserve respect. We did our best, didn't we sir? We didn't win, but we tried. Why isn't that good enough? I don't know, doesn't it bother you sir?"

Otto shrugged, "No, not really. Nothing these people say or think will change my opinion about the men I served with. As far as I am concerned First Panzer is the finest fighting force that ever existed in the history of warfare. I ask you this Hoff, what other group of men could have fought on for as long as we did under those conditions. No fuel, ammunition, or food. And still we refused to give them an inch. Surrounded with no hope of rescue, we fought on. Bombers above, Spanish on all sides, and Hell below we still spit in their eye and told them to give us their best shot. Who else would have done all that Hoff?"

"No one sir, no one but us.", came the fierce reply.

Otto looked to his friend and was gratified to see he stood a little taller and his mood was visibly improved. Otto knew he was making that last hellish week sound more glorious than it really was, but it was his job to maintain morale both in times of peace and war. He was not about to let Hoff or any other First Panzer man forget that they had nothing to be ashamed of.

As their train pulled into the station Otto and Hoff grabbed their bags and started up to the landing platform. As they waited to board Hoff turned to Otto and said, "Sir, about what I said earlier. You know, about the bratwurst and all?"

Otto smiled at the memory and replied, "I remember Hoff, what about it?"

"Well sir, I... it was just talk sir. I've never been unfaithful to Ingrid, I was just joking around. I figured I would tell you that sir. I wouldn't want you to think any less of me."

Otto grinned and clapped Hoff's shoulder saying, "Never Hoff. Not in a million years."

Together, they boarded the train that would finally take them home.
 
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stnylan

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Tough times are ahead. Tough times indeed.
 

Commander-DK

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Wow. That scene with the children really gave me a knot in my stomach.

Good to see Otto and his men home again.

:) Jesper
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Feb 12, 2005
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Good to see them back and alive. But they wouldn't be surprised. No defeated army has ever been cheered.
 

unmerged(61356)

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Feedback:

stynlan: Too true, too true. For now though, Otto and the rest will be glad for the calm before the storm.

Commander-DK: I'm glad to see that my writing had some effect. Thank you for your continued reading and comments.

Kurt Steiner: I think they expect not to get cheers. However, it is not unreasonable for them to believe they deserve a little respect for risking their lives in service to their country. Win or lose, all soldiers deserve that much.

Once again, thank you to all who stop by and especially to those who comment. I should have something else up later today. If not, tomorrow then. A little preview- we will be reconnecting with a character that hasn't been seen in awhile.
 
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