The Hohenzollern Empire 5: Renewed Phoenix - A Roman Reich Megacampaign in New World Order

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Adamgerd

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Either that or she's going to heaven, where she'll reunite with her grandfather.;)
Perhaps. I don't think so, though I might be wrong. By the way, I might've missed it, but what happened to the former governments of the former occupied territories. Were they put on trial?
 

zenphoenix

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I think we found a A̶n̶g̶e̶l̶ M̶a̶x̶i̶m̶i̶s̶t̶ G̶a̶b̶r̶i̶e̶l̶ A̶n̶g̶e̶l̶o̶s̶ E̶q̶u̶a̶l̶i̶s̶t̶ alien traitor
Be careful, because you are very close to summoning him.:eek:
Perhaps. I don't think so, though I might be wrong. By the way, I might've missed it, but what happened to the former governments of the former occupied territories. Were they put on trial?
Most of those "governments," or what was left of them once the war was over, were mostly in favor of reunification. Most of their members were given amnesty and slowly integrated into the Roman government, as were the compatible institutions.
 

Adamgerd

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Michaelangelo

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Too bad Anders didn't take a recorder with him. That line about the Kaiser would be enough to ruin anyone's career, provided anyone actually knows who Cigarette Guy is.
 

zenphoenix

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Too bad Anders didn't take a recorder with him. That line about the Kaiser would be enough to ruin anyone's career, provided anyone actually knows who Cigarette Guy is.
And he had Angela's Walkman with him too...or did he?:p

And more seriously, nobody knows who Cigarette Guy is, so it would be impossible to incriminate him. Even I don't know his name...yet.:D
 

zenphoenix

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CaptainAlvious

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There will definitely be biopics for Otto, though I'm not sure who would play him. Maybe Sebastian Stan could play a young Otto.
That would be ironic since one of Otto’s ephiets is “the Avenger” and I wouldn’t be surprised if memes come as a result of that.:D Also for older Otto, I think we can also have Gary Oldman play in a Biopic that take place later in his life (WW3). I picture there being many biopics about Otto, but I’m thinking the most popular of them would be a trilogy of them in the 2010s since I don’t think one film would be enough with how much happened in his life. The first film would be set between Otto’s acension to the throne and the early years of WW2, with Otto having to deal with tough situations and setbacks to prove himself. Maybe it would focus on Constinople falling and him desperately carrying on, only to push through and retake Constinople against the odds. The second movie would go through the rest of WW2 and the early Cold War, with Otto making triumphs against the Angeloi and leading the Reich through the post war years while having to come to terms with new problems with Equalism and his people being either oppressed by the Soviets or having to come with change, maybe it would go on to Siam or Prague with Otto doubting himself. Then a third film would have Otto lead his people through the changes of the Cold War and him stepping back into the role of pushing the Reich through tough times during WW3, ready for the defining moment of his reign. I’m also thinking it would be directed by Christopher Nolan since he already made WW2 films (Dunkirk) and his directing style would be quite the fit for Otto’s life. Plus I’d merge Darkest Hour (which was about Winston Churchill) and Dunkirk (now focusing on Constinople) and maybe other biopics for at least the first movie.
Now I’m wondering what would be TTL’s equlievent of Dunkirk?o_O
I'm not currently considering other conspiracies besides Inquisition conspiracies, but I can certainly consider them. However, the Illuminati and New World Order conspiracies have technically already been replaced with the alien conspiracy (this will become clearer later), and though the historical Illuminati still exists, I might not use it as a global conspiracy. And as for [REDACTED] conspiracy theories, I don't think I'll even do [REDACTED] since I already did it in my previous AAR.
I see, I am a bit confused about you saying you wouldn’t write [REDACTED] since you already did put a lot of hints towards that event in this AAR before (like mentioning the World Trade Center towers and the description of Religious fundamentalism in the Eimericas) I’d understand if you decide not to do it, but to be honest, nothing you’ve written so far implied you weren’t going to do it so I’m not sure about it really. Just speaking my thoughts here.:)
As for the New World Order conspiracyies, the Alien consipacy taking the place of the the New World Order consipacy doesn’t bode well for Earth does it.:eek: I’m wondering how Pop culture would portray other Global consipacy outside of Aliens and conspiracies of this Storyarch like the New World Order since you said the Illiumnati might be replaced by another global conspiracy.
He is [REDACTED].
Cigarette Man is Angelos in disguise isn’t he. That would explain his statement about the Kaiser and the WW2 movie he was watching.:eek:

Also did VE Day still happen in this TTL since yesterday day for me was VE Day (May 8) and May 8 is a national holiday for the Reich? I think you mentioned it didn’t happen for WW2 when the Angeloi were defeated (since everyone was distracted by the shock of the Nuclear bombs and Soviet occupation over the Reich’s homeland) but I think there might’ve of been a VE Day (Victory in Eurasia or Victory over Equalism both work as names for VE Day in TTL ) for WW3 when the Soviets surrendered on July 9. Also since Dimitry Yazov was captured on July 7, can we call his capturing Double (possibly Triple depending on the time and hour Dimtiry was captured.:p) 7.:D
 
Last edited:

zenphoenix

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That would be ironic since one of Otto’s ephiets is “the Avenger” and I wouldn’t be surprised if memes come as a result of that.:D
It's going to be weird when they make a movie with Robert Downey Jr. as Trotsky.:p
Also for older Otto, I think we can also have Gary Oldman play in a Biopic that take place later in his life (WW3).
Now that you bring that up, I think Otto should be played by Daniel Day-Lewis.
I picture there being many biopics about Otto, but I’m thinking the most popular of them would be a trilogy of them in the 2010s since I don’t think one film would be enough with how much happened in his life.
A trilogy would be the best way to cover Otto's life. Ideally, it would be made with Otto involved in the writing, providing the actors and producers with some stories of his life to make the movie as accurate as he can.
The first film would be set between Otto’s acension to the throne and the early years of WW2, with Otto having to deal with tough situations and setbacks to prove himself. Maybe it would focus on Constinople falling and him desperately carrying on, only to push through and retake Constinople against the odds.
I think the first film would begin with a montage of World War I and the funeral of Franz Joseph. Then the action would begin with the assassination of Karl I and Otto's ascension. The child Kaiser is expected to be the next ruler of the Reich, but at the same time he just wants to be a kid. Meanwhile, court intrigue by Markos Angelos and the generals opposing him creates conflict. After finishing his education, Otto ascends to the throne, gets married, and starts ruling in his own right. But now the Reich is in an economic crisis, radicalism is on the rise both around the world and at home, and his responsibilities are piling up. He remains reluctant to be Kaiser. World War II forms the bulk of the movie, spanning the last half. Otto must deal with defeat after defeat in the first two years, culminating in his outburst during the fall of Constantinople. After being exiled from the capital, Otto comes to accept his destiny as the Kaiser of the Romans and gives a rallying speech to the troops, ultimately retaking Constantinople from the Angeloi. The rest of the movie sees a newly determined Otto retaking as much of the Reich from the Angeloi as he can before the nukes drop and Papen leaves office. The movie ends with Otto giving a speech before the newly restructured Diet in 1946.
The second movie would go through the rest of WW2 and the early Cold War, with Otto making triumphs against the Angeloi and leading the Reich through the post war years while having to come to terms with new problems with Equalism and his people being either oppressed by the Soviets or having to come with change, maybe it would go on to Siam or Prague with Otto doubting himself.
The second movie would span from 1946 to 1986 and would be more political than personal. However, some themes are still present, like Otto now trying to balance his responsibilities as Kaiser with raising his daughter, the young Elisabeth Alexandra. Adenauer proves to be a close friend and a major character for the first half of the movie, providing advice and some moral support for Otto, until he resigns and then dies. His successors aren't as influential on the Kaiser as he was (while Scheel provides some comic relief in this otherwise serious movie), and Otto watches as his country careens from crisis to crisis, from Budapest to Cuba to Siam to Prague. Like the previous movie, this movie's second half is also taken up by a major war, World War III. Otto is distraught over his wife and daughter being trapped in Vienna, but he ultimately regains his nerve and provides the guidance and leadership the Reich needs in the war. The movie ends with Otto visiting Valentin before his trial for war crimes, which is played simultaneously with Elisabeth Alexandra signing the Belavezha Accords.
Then a third film would have Otto lead his people through the changes of the Cold War and him stepping back into the role of pushing the Reich through tough times during WW3, ready for the defining moment of his reign.
While I like your idea, I think a third film would mostly focus on Kaiser Otto's postwar years, spanning from 1986 to his death. He would preside over an era of peace and prosperity for the newly reunited Reich, and he would also have to deal with many new problems created in the aftermath of the war. A major theme of this movie would be Otto coming to terms with his coming death and making peace with his enemies and personal flaws.
I’m also thinking it would be directed by Christopher Nolan since he already made WW2 films (Dunkirk) and his directing style would be quite the fit for Otto’s life.
I think Steven Spielberg would be a better fit, because he does very well with historical dramas. While I like Nolan, he would be more suited for a war movie.
Plus I’d merge Darkest Hour (which was about Winston Churchill) and Dunkirk (now focusing on Constinople) and maybe other biopics for at least the first movie.
Now I’m wondering what would be TTL’s equlievent of Dunkirk?o_O
There would be no direct equivalent (though I will have a direct equivalent in my next AAR after this megacampaign). Instead, Dunkirk and Darkest Hour would be combined into a movie about the fall of Constantinople, alternating between Otto and Ludendorff's collapsing Loyalist government in exile and the troops fighting in the streets and suburbs of Constantinople.
I see, I am a bit confused about you saying you wouldn’t write [REDACTED] since you already did put a lot of hints towards that event in this AAR before (like mentioning the World Trade Center towers and the description of Religious fundamentalism in the Eimericas) I’d understand if you decide not to do it, but to be honest, nothing you’ve written so far implied you weren’t going to do it so I’m not sure about it really.
I know I put a lot of hints towards [REDACTED] previously, but my decision to not do that was made long after I made those hints. And just because I'm not going to exactly do [REDACTED] doesn't mean I'm not going to do something similar to [REDACTED] somewhere and sometime else.:D
As for the New World Order conspiracyies, the Alien consipacy taking the place of the the New World Order consipacy doesn’t bode well for Earth does it.:eek:
You'll get more details as I get further.;)
I’m wondering how Pop culture would portray other Global consipacy outside of Aliens and conspiracies of this Storyarch like the New World Order since you said the Illiumnati might be replaced by another global conspiracy.
Just because I don't have an actual Illuminati/New World Order doesn't mean pop culture can't have Illuminati/New World Order as well.;)
Cigarette Man is Angelos in disguise isn’t he. That would explain his statement about the Kaiser and the WW2 movie he was watching.:eek:
As I said above, Cigarette Guy is [REDACTED].:p
Also did VE Day still happen in this TTL since yesterday day for me was VE Day (May 8) and May 8 is a national holiday for the Reich?
May 8 is now Reunification Day (before it was remembered as the day the Angeloi rebelled and split the Reich). I think I mentioned that back in the reunification update. An actual VE Day (taking place on July 19 I think) would not have been celebrated because of the atomic bombings that day.
I think you mentioned it didn’t happen for WW2 when the Angeloi were defeated (since everyone was distracted by the shock of the Nuclear bombs and Soviet occupation over the Reich’s homeland) but I think there might’ve of been a VE Day (Victory in Eurasia or Victory over Equalism both work) for when the Soviets surrendered on July 9.
A VE Day for World War III would work.
Also since Dimitry Yazov was captured on July 7, can we call that his capturing Double (possible Triple depending on the time and hour Dimtiry was captured.:p) 7.:D
We could have both Double 7 (ignoring the Chinese "holiday") and VE Day at the same time. Though it would be kind of awkward to have a non-holiday in between them though.:p
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Cigarette Guy is gonna turn out to be Anders from the future, egging his former self on to prepare him for what's to come. We haven't had time traveling sci-fi, after all. :p
 

zenphoenix

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Cigarette Guy is gonna turn out to be Anders from the future, egging his former self on to prepare him for what's to come. We haven't had time traveling sci-fi, after all. :p
What is this, the Flash now?:D
 

CaptainAlvious

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I am a BOLD ONE!:p

I also think it would be a good idea to include that recent description of that series of Biopics about Otto and VE Day in the table of contents since that post now has more than one helpful rating.:) I think we could also merge the King Speech with Darkest Hour and Dunkirk since I think Otto would also be well known for his speeches during World War 2 and World War 3.
 

zenphoenix

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Purple Rain, Part 4

7:00 PM

Anders carried his box towards his car. As he reached the door to the parking lot, X appeared in front of him. He handed Anders a ticket.

“Your plane ticket,” he said.

“But we barely know each other,” Anders said.

“I can’t tell you why she was taken,” X said, “It’s too close to me. I’m giving you the men who took her.”

“How?” Anders said.

“They believe you’ll be out of town,” X said, “They believe you information about your cousin being kept in your desk in your apartment. At 8:17 tonight, they’ll search your apartment. They will be armed. You will be waiting.”

“Waiting,” Anders said.

“To defend yourself with terminal intensity,” X said, “It’s the only way, Humboldt. The law will not punish these people.”

Anders sighed and took the ticket.

“After tonight, we cannot make contact for several weeks,” X said.

He ran off.


Anders’ apartment – 7:30 PM

Anders sat alone in the dark, his gun on the table. He spotted a shadow covering the light under the door. He looked at his watch, which read 7:30. He picked up the gun and approached the door as there was a knocking.

“Anders?” Melissa asked.

Anders opened the door and looked around the hallway. Melissa sighed.

“Sorry, I came by,” Melissa said, “You weren’t answering and your machine wasn’t on. Can I come in? For a second?”

He led her inside and locked the door.

“Why is it so dark in here?” Melissa asked.

“Because the lights aren’t on,” Anders said.

“There you go again, Anders,” Melissa said, “Okay. I just came from the hospital. Demetrios says she’s weakening. It could be anytime. So I figured you’d want to come down and see her.”

“No, I can’t,” Anders said.

“Well, I’d think that you would,” Melissa said, “She’s your cousin.”

“Yeah, I would,” Anders said, “I can’t, not right now.”

She walked up to him.

“Listen, Anders,” Melissa said, “I don’t have to be psychic to see that you’re in a very dark place... not just literally, but much darker than where my sister is. Willingly walking deeper into darkness cannot help her at all. Only the light...”

“Melissa, you’re not saying anything to me,” Anders said.

“Why don’t you just drop your cynicism and your paranoia and your defeatism,” Melissa said, “You know, just because it’s positive and good doesn’t make it silly or trite! Why is it so much easier for you to run around trying to get even than just expressing to her how you feel? I expect more from you. Angie expects more from her family.”

She angrily unlatched the door. “Even if it doesn’t bring her back, at least she’ll know. And so will you.”

She left. Anders locked the door and sat down again.


St. Eudokimos Hospital – 8:17 PM

Anders slowly walked up and pulled up a chair. The respirator on Angela’s face was gone. Anders stared at her for a while before putting his hand on hers.

“I feel, Angie... that you believe... you’re not ready to go,” Anders said, “And you’ve always had the strength of your beliefs. I don’t know if being here... will help bring you back. But I’m here. I’m here for you, Angie.”

His watch read 8:17. Not caring anymore, he took out the Walkman and pressed play. Prinz’s “Purple Rain” started playing.

“I know how much you liked this song,” Anders said, “I’ve been thinking a little about it. The title…it’s like there’s blood in the sky. Red and blue making purple. Purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the ones you love, letting your faith guide you on. I’m here for you Angie, and I’m going to let my faith guide me on.”


Anders’ apartment – December 28, 1994, 8:00 AM

Anders walked into his apartment and found it in the same condition as last night. There was nothing out of place. It seemed like nobody had ransacked it at 8:17. He checked his desk just to make sure, even though he didn’t have anything on Angela’s condition in his apartment. Everything was still there. He booted up his computer and checked if his files were there. None had been deleted or accessed recently. He sighed.


St. Eudokimos Hospital – 9:00 AM

Angela lay on a bed in the Vienna hospital room. A chair was in the corner. She slowly pulled herself up, and the empty and war-torn hospital room slowly faded away, being replaced with the hospital room at St. Eudokimos. Doctors and nurses walked around, looking at the machines.

“I’ll look at the chart,” a nurse said.

Angela opened her eyes and blinked. The nurse dropped her clipboard and stared at her.

“Call Dr. Papadopoulos, now,” she said.

“Hello?” she said. “What? Where am I?”


Anders’ apartment

The phone rang, but Anders didn’t get up from his couch.

“Hello, this is Anders Humboldt,” his answering machine said, “Leave a message...”

There was a beep.

“Hey, Anders, it’s me,” Demetrios said, “It’s Angela.”

Anders immediately picked up the receiver. “Yeah?”

“She’s recovering,” Demetrios said.

Anders immediately put on Hans’ coat, got the Walkman, and ran out the door.


St. Eudokimos Hospital – 9:30 AM

Angela lay on her bed, looking at the flowers and balloons on the side. Magda, Erich, and Melissa sat next to her bed. Demetrios sat at a computer, monitoring her vitals. Anders walked into the room, and Melissa got up to make room.

“Hi, Spooky,” Magda said.

Angela laughed. “He doesn’t like that name.”

Anders smiled widely. “How are you feeling?”

“Anders, I don’t remember anything,” Angela said, “After Daniel Burkard and the mountain…just a faint memory of me wanting to electrocute a cadaver.”

Everybody laughed. Erich sighed.

“Doesn’t... doesn’t matter,” Anders said, holding up a blue plastic bag, “Brought you some presents.”

She took the bag and took out a video tape. "‘Superstars of the Uberbowl’." Anders helped cover her body with Hans’ jacket.

“And by the way, you’re right, vampires do exist,” Anders said.

Angela laughed again. “I knew there was a reason to live.”

“I know you want to get some rest, I... just came by to see... how you were doing and say hi,” Anders said, “Oh, I almost forgot.”

He took out the Walkman and handed it to her. “I’ve been holding on to this for you.”

Angela smiled and took the Walkman. “I had the strength of your beliefs.”

“That’s what family’s for, right?” Anders said.

Angela looked at Melissa, who smiled at Anders. Anders nodded to everybody and then left.


10:00 AM

Angela played “Purple Rain” again as the nurse from before approached her, handing her a cup of water and some pills.

“Excuse me, could I see the Crown Princess?” Angela asked. “I’d like to thank her for dropping by and being with me.”

“The Crown Princess?” the nurse said. “Angela, I’ve worked here for ten years, and the Crown Princess never once visited. I heard she sent her condolences, but she’s been busy the whole week at the AIDS clinic in Cologne.”

The nurse left the room. Angela stared at the door, wondering who she saw in her coma.
 

zenphoenix

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imlft10mbf901.jpg

I am a BOLD ONE!:p

I also think it would be a good idea to include that recent description of that series of Biopics about Otto and VE Day in the table of contents since that post now has more than one helpful rating.:) I think we could also merge the King Speech with Darkest Hour and Dunkirk since I think Otto would also be well known for his speeches during World War 2 and World War 3.
I'll get right to it. And adding the King's Speech would be great (the soundtrack alone would be epic).
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Yeah! Power of friendship and family! Good to have her back.
 

zenphoenix

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Yeah! Power of friendship and family! Good to have her back.
Bad news, I'm going to have her abducted in the next update again. Or just shot in the head.:p
 

zenphoenix

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Lords of Darkness, Part 1

Parent Teacher Committee, Biala High School, Bialystok, Podlasie – January 13, 1995, 9:00 PM

“All in favor?” said Augsburg.

“Ja,” said Deborah.

“Aye,” said Calcagni.

“Starting Monday, the track around the athletic field will be closed to joggers at 8:30 pm instead of ten,” Augsburg said.

He looked up. “Any other items before we call it a night?”

“Yeah,” Calcagni said, “Um, I got wind that for the spring drama productions, Heinrich Reinhard intends to put on Jesus Christ Superstar.”

He suppressed a smile.

“You know how he is,” Augsburg said, “Heinrich’s just trying to do things the kids like.”

“My point exactly,” Calcagni said.

“Um... I don't think that play is appropriate for this high school,” Deborah said.

“If he wants to be young, I have no problems with ‘Grease’, or ‘Annabel’, or...” August said.

“Doesn't Grease have the F word?” Vitaris said.

"Look, I'll talk to Howard," Augsburg said, "Okay, let's adjourn till next week. Deborah, why don't you lead us in a prayer?"

He took out a red candle.

"Jacob, the game is on," Vitaris said.

Calcagnis sighed. "It'll only take a minute, Paul. We've been... letting it slip."

Augsburg struck a match to light the candle. Thunder rumbled in the background.

“Paul, why don’t you get the door?” Augsburg said.

Vitaris got up and closed the door.

“In the name of the Lords of Darkness, rulers of the Earth, kings of the Underworld, I command the forces of darkness to bestow their infernal power upon me,” the teachers chanted.

“Sein ist die Hand die verletzt,” Deborah chanted, using an archaic German dialect.

“Sein ist die Hand die verletzt,” the others repeated.

HIS IS THE HAND THAT WOUNDS.

“Sein ist der Ort genannt Hölle,” Deborah chanted.

“Sein ist der Ort genannt Hölle,” the others repeated.

HIS IS THE PLACE CALLED HELL.

“May the black powers of our forefathers make us strong,” Deborah chanted.

“Hail, hail the Lords of Darkness,” the others repeated.


Bialystok woods – 9:30 PM

The rain came down heavily, but that didn’t deter Joey Stephen and David Wroclaw from trekking deeper into the woods with Kate and Jadwiga. At least they had their umbrellas with them. Joey carried a bulky package in a brown paper bag. Inside were some vodka bottles.

“How much further?” Kate complained.

“Up there a ways,” Joey said.

“Not far,” David said at the same time.

The boys answer simultaneously

“I heard the altar is a hollowed stump, just up here, where the pagans used to worship before the others coopted it,” Joey said, whispering to David, “OK, when they get freaked, you get Kate, I got Jadwiga.”

David nodded. “Alright, I need a personal object from everyone.”

They gathered around a tree stump, the girls still clutching their umbrellas. David pulled out a black candle and lit it.

“Now, Jadwiga,” he said, “You got to stand over here and face Joey, like this. Closer.”

Jadwiga looked nervous. “Why like this?”

“Well that's so... er... so we're calling the spirits up of every direction,” David said, “OK now Kate, stand here and face me.”

“Do you really think someone used this place for black magic?” Kate said. “Or is it just a rumor?”

“Hey, the Slavs and Lithuanians used this place for centuries before they stopped, right around the time the black magic started up,” David said.

Joey sighed. “C'mon Dave!”

“Shh!” David said to Joey.

He took out a piece of paper, torn from a book, and started reading from it, trying to keep his expression serious.

“In the name of the Lords of Darkness, rulers of the Earth, kings of the Underworld, rise, rise to this place. Ah... Azazel,” he read.

There was a sound like a sigh as the candle flickered out. David wasn’t bothered, but Jadwiga looked scared.

“Know ye all who dwell in the light of professed righteousness that the others who know the keys and the angels have opened the gate,” David continued.

A sound like groaning voices filled the air, startling David. Kate looked scared. Jadwiga hugged Joey for protection. Joey simply smiled. Jadwiga looked down and saw dozens of rats running around her feet. She screamed and ran into the forest.

“Oh frak this!” Joey shouted, running after Jadwiga. “Jadwiga!”

Kate ran after them, leaving David alone. David threw something at the rats, which burst into flames as it hit the ground. Deciding he’d had enough of this, he ran after the others. Deeper in the forest, Jadwiga sat on a log, reciting a prayer.

“....believe in Jesus Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our deaths...” she said.

Joey ran up to her. “Wait!”

He had almost caught up to her when a line of flame appeared on the ground. He stumbled and backed away, blinded by the light. He put up his hands to shield his face as he heard a groan-like animalistic sound. He turned, and a thin, bony, cadaverous hand grabbed his throat and quickly crushed it.


January 14, 1995, 8:55 AM

The rain continued falling. Angela crouched under her umbrella and looked under the white tarp in faint disgust.

“A hunter found him early this morning,” Constable Johan Branicki said.

“Couldn't have been dead for more than 12 hours,” Angela said.

She got to her feet. Anders and Johan stood on the other side of the, while more officers searched the area in the background. Everyone carried umbrellas. Johan looked at the two agents with the usual “I know this sounds crazy but” look Angela had grown used to in her time working with the X-Division. The forty-year-old man looked shook up and worried, but his nervousness was offset by a seriousness in his tone.

“They say this arena's used for witches' ceremonies,” Johan said.

"They?" Anders said.

“Well.. everybody... everybody who lives around here knows about the things that go on in this town,” Johan said, “They say there are people who control things.”

“Any evidence to substantiate those rumors, Constable?” Angela asked.

“Well, Agent Hansen,” Johan said, “Look at the body... the eyes and heart have been cut out.”

“Many homicides include victim desecration,” Angela said.

“I know he and his friends listened to devil music!” Johan said.

"‘The Night Stuttgart Died’?" Anders said, walking away.

Johan and Angela followed him.

“You know what I mean,” Johan said, “Heavy Metal bands that influence kids...”

Angela held up her Walkman and pressed play. Furen Zeppelin started playing.

“Not just kids, you know,” she said.

“Was Joey Stephen or his friends ever witnessed participating in witchcraft, pagan or Satanist?” Anders asked.

“No,” Johan said.

“More rumors,” Angela said, still listening to her heavy metal tapes.

Johan pointed at the stump. “This stump here is supposed to be the ceremonial altar. Used by adherents of traditional Slavic and Baltic faiths until the Soviets came and sent them all to gulags in Yavdi. The Satanists adopted it for a time after the Liberation in ’86. We know because they themselves told us. But they haven’t used it in about four years or so. Guess they got tired of coming out here in the middle of the night or something. What do you think?”

Anders moved closer to the stump. “I think with a few turquoise chips, a picture of pre-politics Roland Wilson and three cans of shellac it'd make a pretty nice coffee table.”

“Well you see all that wax?” Johan said. “Someone's been lighting candles in there.”

Angela looked at the vodka bottles Joey had been carrying. Next to them was the page torn out from a book.

“Any idea who he was with last night?” Angela said.

“Oh... we assumed he was alone,” Johan said.

“Well, most people don't set out to drink two six-packs by themselves,” Angela said.

“Well, you certainly could,” Anders said.

Angela punched him in the arm. Then she held up the page.

“I also found this,” she said, “It has some purple ink on the edge, like a library identification stamp......and the end of the title says ‘In the Reich’. I'm surprised your people overlooked it."

"I'm sorry, I got to apologize here,” Johan said heistantly, “You're... you're right, I admit we're a little...rattled...here. That's why I called the Athanatoi. This may involve a deeper conspiracy.”

Both agents rolled their eyes.

“See... I grew up around here,” Johan said, “Ever since I was a kid I heard... stories. Yes, the Soviets kept telling us they were just stories, but they’ve never been to this place. This is a weird area, it has a strange air that I could chalk up to imagination... till today...”

Angela handed him the page. Johan looked it over.

“I'll have my staff start checking libraries for you, Agent Hansen,” Johan said, walking off.

“Better hide your Uberdeth albums,” Anders joked.

Angela reached the end of her tape and ejected it, slipping the cassette into her pocket and loading another one. More peaceful music started playing.

“Theories like that are why I can't take him seriously,” Angela said.

“The homicide did have a ceremonial presentation,” Anders said, “The manner in which the body was displayed...”

“Anders, I got the impression you didn't believe him either,” Angela said.

“I didn't want to incite his already clearly aggravated imagination,” Anders said, “But there is a weird feel to this place, so maybe there is some truth to those rumors.”

“I think he incited your imagination,” Angela said, “He’s just a superstitious man free to share his superstitions now that the atheist equalists are gone. I think this case is nothing more than a murderer taking advantage of local folklore. I mean there's nothing odd about…”

Something hit her umbrella. More objects hit the umbrella and then fell to the ground, where Angela found they were frogs. Anders looked a little amused, while Angela simply ducked under a tree. Then the frogs stopped falling, and those on the ground hopped away.

“So... lunch?” Anders asked.

“Anders, the sky just rained frakking frogs!” Angela said.

“I guess their parachutes didn't open,” Anders said, "You were saying something about this place not feeling odd?"

“Please tell me I’m not still in the hospital,” Angela said.

“If you were, Demetrios would have been dropping the frogs,” Anders said, “Though we can just retire to the motel if you still feel—”

“Anders, I’m fine,” Angela said, “The doctors found nothing wrong with me. The Athanatoi cleared me for work. I can take care of myself. And I think I need to get my head back in the game as soon as possible.”

“Yeah, but then again, it’s raining frogs,” Anders said, walking away.

Angela stood still for a moment, looking up at the sky. Then she followed after him.


Biala High School Library – 10:00 AM

Anders stood at the loans desk, flicking through a box of library cards. He flipped past one for Stephen Koenig’s “Four Past Midnight” and settled on one for M.R. Krashewski, "Inquisition: a history of the occult in the Reich." Angela walked inside and joined Anders.

“The Imperial Weather Service says there are tornadoes in eastern Poland,” she said, “The wind probably picked up the animals into the storm.”

She didn’t feel very confident about her explanation, though, and her eyes wandered on the library car Anders had settled on. The last borrower was David Wroclaw.


Science Lab

David was restless in class. He tapped his lab equipment with pencils and fidgeted around, looking over his shoulders to Kate, Jadwiga, and Sarah Augsburg. Kate and Jadwiga were also as nervous. The bell rang, and an old woman walked in. She looked like the stereotypical “old maid” kind of teacher, with her white and yellow floral dress. Her hairstyle was unflattering, and her thick glasses sat on a chain around her neck.

“Okay kids,” she said, “People, may I have your attention please? Herr Kingary is off sick today, so I'll be substituting. My name is Frau Zadok. I'm going to take the roll...”

She was interrupted by a knock at the door. David shot to attention, hearing it. Zadok crossed to open the door, revealing Anders and Angela. Angela held up her badge.

“Athanatoi,” she said, “We’d like to speak to a David Wroclaw…”

David bolted for the window, climbing over a bench and kicking equipment down as he tried to jump out. Angela ran over and caught him, dragging him back by the legs.

“Let me go!” he shouted.


Doctor Calcagni’s office

“I'm not into that stuff at all, I swear,” David said, sighing, “Joey was my best friend. Look, I swear, I've never done anything like that. I would never want him to die.”

“What made you go to a place you heard was a witches' altar?” Angela said.

David turned his head, seeing Kate and Jadwiga standing in the corner, silently judging him. He looked back to Angela and sighed.

“We were just trying to get some,” he confessed.

“I told you so,” Jadwiga said.

“Why did you take the book?” Angela asked.

“Because I don't know a thing about witchcraft, and we wanted to make it sound good... but I never thought...” David said.

“You never thought what?” Angela said.

“That it would work,” David said.

Anders turned away from a window. “If you didn't kill Joey, why did you run away from us in the classroom?”

“I'm scared, man,” David said.

“Of us?”

“Of it,” David said, “That ceremony! I'm afraid we called up the devil or something.”

Kate and Jadwiga both looked as scared as David. Outside in the reception, Augsburg, Deborah, Calcagni, and Vitaris stood in a close group, looking at the proceedings.

“One of you killed Joey Stephen,” Augsburg said in a low but furious voice, “Who?”

Everybody looked at each other.

“He was displayed according to the rites of Azazel,” Augsburg said, “Who else would know about the ritual? We stopped doing this because—”

“I went out there,” Calcagni said, “We were supposed to have a Mass, but no-one else showed, so I left.”

“It wasn't any of us,” Vitaris said.

“Something's here... a presence amongst us,” Calcagni said, “Angry, I can feel it. I really think we should call the Inquisition.”

“And frak everything up more?” Augsburg said.

He stopped talking, and they looked to the door as Angela led the kids out of the office, followed by Anders. Augsburg stepped forward.

“You're letting them go?” he asked, incredulous.

Anders shrugged. “There's no evidence to warrant an arrest.”

“They never leave evidence,” Deborah said.

“We heard how Joey Stephen was killed,” Augsburg said, “An occult ritual.”

“They've reached into our area from outside,” Vitaris said.

"‘They’ again," Anders said.

“Those three kids are obviously under occult influence,” Augsburg said.

“They reach into our children,” Deborah said, “In music, television, books...”

“They prey on children's innocence,” Calcagni said, “Just like the equalists.”

“Seriously?” Angela said. “The Athanatoi recently concluded a seven-year study and found little or no evidence of the existence of occult conspiracies.”

“And Omar Mukhtar never admitted to the existence of the Lombard Mafia,” Calcagni smirked.

The others didn’t smile.

Angela felt a little exasperated, but she tried to stay reasonable. “Look, if the number of murders attributed to occult conspiracies were true, it would mean thousands of people killing tens of thousands of people a year, without evidence, without being exposed... it would be the greatest criminal conspiracy in the history of civilization. Worst than the Holocaust, or Nakba, or however you want to call it.”

Augsburg winked to his colleagues. “Finally, you people understand what we're up against.”

Anders glanced at Angela. “Our investigation is ongoing. Angie, let’s go.”

They quickly left and turned into the corridor, where Anders found a drinking fountain. Angela sighed again.

“Anders, this is mass hysteria,” Angela said, “And our presence here on a routine homicide only gives validity to their fears of occult murder. And this is the former Occupied Territories. People are terrified about the equalists coming back or something.”

“But what if their fears are justified?” Anders said.

“How?” Angela said. “Regulations and social institutions are weaker here in the former Occupied Territories than in the western provinces. And they’ve only been liberated from the equalists eight years ago. There’s bound to be paranoia.”

“Does that explain the frogs?” Anders asked.

Angela sighed in frustration. “Tornadoes.”

“You don’t even sound like you believe that,” Anders said.

“I’ve had a long day, Anders,” Angela said, “Do you know how much effort it took me to convince Dad to let me out into the field again?”

“Hey, if you’re tired, we can—” Anders said.

“No, I’m not tired, I’m just confused,” Angela said, “Why are we here if we’re not chasing UFOs or another lead on Annie, or whatever Sentinel is?”

“Frogs falling out of the sky is unexplained,” Anders said, “It isn’t called X-Division for nothing, you know.”

“Fine,” Angela said, “Let’s just go to Calcagni and see what he has to say.”


Science lab – 10:52 AM

The bell rang, and the students filed out, with Kate and Jadwiga out last. Zadok looked up as they walked by.

“Girls... may I have a word?” she asked.

The girls looked nervous and uncertain, but they reluctantly approached her. Zadok smiled and adjusted her glasses.

“I heard on the grapevine what happened, and, well, I know how hard it is to talk to adults sometimes, even though you feel like you want to...” she said. “Well, because you're young adults... What I'm trying to say is, if you feel like talking, I'm here to listen, okay?”

The girls smiled awkwardly, probably terrified on the inside.

“Thanks, Frau Zadok,” Jadwiga managed.

Kate murmured something similar.

“Hang in there,” Zadok said, waving them out.

They ran out the door. Zadok straightened the papers in her hand. She reached into her desk drawer, which she opened to reveal a dissecting tray with a fresh and bloody human heart and two eyeballs. She put a lid over the tray and then put the papers on top before shutting it. She smiled to herself.


Calcagni’s office

Angela sat at a desk, working on her newest laptop computer, while her headphones played soothing music from her Walkman, toning out the chatter from the faculty around her. Over by Calcagni’s desk, Anders and Calcagni sat down. Anders looked through some notes.

“Your records indicate a high incidence of students complaining of depression, headaches, eating disorders...?” Anders asked.

“This is high school, and this is the former Occupied Territories,” Calcagni said, nodding, “It's normal for students to display abnormal behavior.”

“I'm assuming you're familiar with the early indications of repressed memory?” Anders said.

“Just because a student has a headache doesn't mean he's repressing a memory,” Calcagni said.

“In your counselling you've found no evidence of past ritual abuse?” Anders asked.

Calcagni shook his head. Anders got up and opened the door.

“Would it be possible for me to speak to any of the students who've had chronic complaints?” Anders asked.

“That would be a betrayal of the doctor-patient relationship,” Calcagni said, “Sorry.”

Anders looked at him again and then left, closing the door behind him. He approached Angela, who noticed him but continued surfing the web.

“For the body of student of complaints, he was pretty quick to dismiss my concerns,” Anders said.

“Maybe there's nothing here,” Angela said.

Anders looked back at the office. “Well, he's hiding something.”

Angela pointed at her screen. “Take a look at this. I found this on the Internet.”

She was on a newspaper’s digital archives, looking at an article from 1934.

"‘The discovery yesterday of a mutilated teenaged boy in the forest has police officials distressed about the possibility of a conspiratorial organization of Dark Forces’," she read.

“Where's that pulled from -- the local paper?” Anders asked.

"‘The Muslim is known to remove organs and sacrifice teens in their religious ceremonies’," Angela read on, "It's taken from Volkischer Beobacter, an Angeloi newspaper in 1934. The rumors are the same, but the blanks have been filled in with whoever must be feared or persecuted at the time. In this case, it's Satanists."

Anders looked at Angela seriously. “Modern witches and occultists are mostly adherents to organized pagan religions like Romuva and Slavism. They have a great reverence for all of Nature, they do not cast harmful spells, and they definitely don't worship Satan or his analogues in other religions. Even the Church of Satan—which I should remind you is also a recognized religious institution—has renounced murder and torture. Their influence here wouldn't account for the frogs, or most importantly, the murder. And most of the pagans were deported from this part of Poland in the 1950s. You’d more likely find their descendants in eastern Yavdi than in this area.”

“Well, if not witches, then what?” Angela said.


Science Lab – 11:15 AM

Zadok wheeled around the classroom a trolley holding a large glass tank filled with what appeared to be dead piglets, handing them out to students’ dissection trays as she went.

“For your midterm examination, one-half of your grade will be based on your diagram of a dissected pig embryo,” she said, handing one to Sarah Augsburg, who looked at it with revulsion, “Of course, these are actually hog embryos, belonging to the order of the Artiodactyla, or creatures with hooves. Be sure to remove the heart and lungs and draw a diagram of each. Be neat. You will be docked for sloppy work.”

She stopped her trolley by another glass tank containing a large python and tossed a dead hog in as she continued talking. The snake hissed and eagerly slithered over to its lunch.

“Extra credit will be given for dissecting the heart,” Zadok said, not caring about the students groaning around her, “You have until the end of the period.”

Sarah looked quite ill. She twitched a little and took deep gulps, as if she were trying not to vomit all over the classroom. She closed her eyes and dug her scalpel into the pig, trying not to focus on the squelchy and icky sounds of it being cut open. Her palms sweated as she unexpectedly opened her eyes and gasped. Zadok looked up at her. Sarah looked down and focused on the pig’s heart. It was beating. She gasped again, as if she couldn’t breathe. As she watched the pig, it moved its head from side to side and squealed as if it were alive. Sarah screamed at the top of her lungs. Zadok continued watching from her desk, her cold and objective expression unchanging.


Calcagni’s office – 11:20 AM

Sarah sat on a couch, wrapped in a blanket, still obviously distressed but quiet. She rocked gently back and forth, murmuring prayers, oblivious to everything around her. Zadok sat next to her, stroking her hair.

“I've had this happen before,” Zadok said, “Some kids just have trouble dissecting things.”

Calcagni walked over to them and addressed Sarah. “Sarah, I'm trying to reach your father and get him to pick you up.”

Sarah snapped to attention and focused on Calcagni, recoiling immediately. “NO!”

Anders and Angela, still staring at Angela’s laptop, noticed the commotion. Calcagni crouched down in front of Sarah and took her hands reassuringly.

“I'm sure he'll be here soon,” Calcagni said.

“No!” she repeated.

She wrenched herself away and ran out of the office. Anders ran after her.

“Sarah!” he shouted. “You’re remembering!”

Sarah stopped near the drinking fountain, her tears subsiding. Anders walked slowly towards her, very concerned.

“Tell me what you're remembering,” he said.

They walked out to a bench at the edge of the soccer field, where she sat down next to Anders as Angela approached.

“You know who my stepdad is, right?” Sarah said, sobbing.

Anders and Angela nodded.

“Jacob Augsburg on the PTC,” she said, taking a deep breath, “All right, well, my Mom, she's a teacher. Well, was a teacher. My real Dad, he uh, he ran away, and my Mom met Jacob at some seminar or something... and they um, they got married. My sister and I moved up here when I was about... um, four. She was about two. Anyway... a, a couple of weeks ago, for Christmas, my class, we took a field trip to Stonehenge... and... and.. I remembered when I was four years old, Jacob took me in his car near there, and he um... he made me... in the back seat...”

Anders and Angela looked at each other. Sarah’s voice grew more distressed.

“...he told me that if I ever told anybody that he would hurt me...” Sarah said. “As he touched me, well, I would pretend that I was like, out of my body. Deep in the ocean, down with the fish, in the dark water... Somehow, I don't know, I managed to block out all these things, but... lately it's all been... I'm remembering, you know? The others too.”

“Others?” Angela said, looking at Anders.

“...Yeah... Men and women,” Anders said, “They would... come to the house, you know, when my Mom was away? And they would.. uh... take me down to the basement…It was really dark... it was like painted red, with a dirt floor. They would wear these robes, black and red and they would... sing, and they would chant, and then they would tie me and my sister up, these men and women... they would make us... do things. They called me a breeder… They would get me pregnant, and then they would kill the babies...”

She sobbed uncontrollably as Anders and Angela looked away, not knowing what to think.

“I've had three children, and they're all buried in the cellar,” Sarah said, “One night, Jacob murdered my sister for a sacrifice. She was only eight years old! He told everybody that she died in an accident. And everybody believed him...Today brought it all back, clear like it happened yesterday...”

She hugged Angela and sobbed even more.


Augsburg house – January 14, 1995, 3:00 PM

Angela pulled into the driveway of the Augsburgs’ house.

“Imagine... if what she said is true...” Anders said.

“Why don't we just wait and see what her parents have to say?” Angela said.

“They’d deny it,” Anders said, “Especially if it’s true.”

Angela stopped the car and walked towards the front door, accompanied by Anders. They got halfway along the path when the door opened and Jacob Augsburg walked out, Frau Augsburg staying behind in the doorway.

“Where’s Sarah?” Jacob said. “They told me you were bringing her home.”

“She wanted to remain with friends,” Angela said, “And... under the circumstances, we thought it best.”

“Circumstances?” Jacob said. “Why wouldn't she want to come home?”

Angela told them what Sarah had said. Jacob nodded and invited them inside, though Frau Augsburg started sobbing and withdrew to the kitchen. They sat down in the living room.

“Someone, or something, has obviously put these things into her mind,” Jacob said.

He looked at Anders, who looked at Angela, who looked to the kitchen.

“Frau Augsburg?” she asked. “Er, perhaps you'd like a glass of water?”

Frau Augsburg managed a tiny nob in between her bouts of sobbing. Angela quietly handed her a glass of water.

“Herr Augsburg?” Anders asked, motioning to the kitchen.

Jacob got up and walked to the kitchen. Anders followed him there. Angela shifted in her seat as she looked at Frau Augsburg.

“Frau Augsburg, your daughter has not accused you of any involvement in these activities,” Angela said.

Frau Augsburg shook her head slightly.

“Do you have any idea why Sarah might have said these things?” Angela asked.

“We’ve have been having... marriage problems, lately...” Frau Augsburg said, with hesitation and frequent pauses, “We're committed to working them out. Maybe we haven't been... paying enough attention to Sarah. …She and I don't... we don't get along. We fight.”

“Have you ever known Sarah to be pregnant?” Angela asked.

Frau Augsburg immediately stopped crying and focused on Angela. “Of course not! She's fifteen years old! How can you possibly believe such—"

“Have you ever had another child?” Angela asked.

Frau Augsburg nodded. “A girl. Theresa...She died.”

“At eight years old?” Angela asked.

Frau Augsburg shook her head. “Eight weeks. Radiation from Chernobyl, doctors said.”

In the kitchen, Jacob washed a glass under the table. He turned off the tap and turned around, seeing Anders.

“Did you do it?” he asked.

Jacob stared at him, both shocked and angry. He dropped his glass, letting it shatter in the sink.

“I would kill anyone who did the things to her that she claims,” he said.

He turned and walked to the other side of the kitchen to dry his hand. Anders’ attention was caught by something on the other side of the room, a wooden door. Jacob didn’t notice. He walked towards it.

“That's not a very Christian tenet,” Anders said, opening the door.

“Thou, God of Vengeance, shine forth,” Augsburg said, “After what the equalists did to us, we here need plenty of vengeance.”

Anders looked down a flight of steps into a dark cellar. “Even the Devil can quote scripture to fit his needs.”

Jacob turned and saw what Anders was doing. The door slammed shut by itself, and Anders stepped back in shock. Jacob didn’t notice.

“How dare you!” he shouted. “Get out of our house! As far as I know, you put those ideas in my daughter's head. Now get – out! The Devil travels in many forms. And you may be one!”


Science lab – 4:00 PM

“Are you sure you're up to this, Sarah?” Zadok asked. “I heard about what you said.”

Sarah sat at her bench, with a fresh dead piglet on her tray. Zadok stood at her desk.

“I’m fine,” Sarah said, smiling bravely, “I don’t want to miss the midterm.”

Zadok smiled. “I’ll be in my office if you need me. By the way, you should remove your jewelry so it doesn’t fall into the guts.”

Sarah took off her bracelet and handed it to her.

“I'll hold it for you until you're finished,” Zadok said, walking to her office.

Once she was inside, she looked once more at Sarah and then closed her blinds. She lit a candle, put it inside a pentagram drawn in chalk, surrounded herself with a ring of salt, and raised the bracelet over the flame. Zadok stared at the bracelet, her face sweating, and began chanting in a mix of Polish, Latin, and German.

Sarah picked up her scalpel.

Zadok brought up her free hand and pinched her thumb and forefinger together as if she was holding something.

Sarah raised her scalpel, held between her thumb and forefinger.

Zadok lowered her hand and placed it over the wrist of the hand over the flame.

Sarah put her scalpel over her other hand.

Zadok made a violent slashing gesture, and Sarah slit her wrist. She screamed in agony and fell to the floor, where she bled out and died. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed outside.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Yeah, gotta agree with crisrko here. I get the feeling Anders' Inquisition friends are incoming.

Speaking of, I'm genuinely curious how cases are determined to fall under the X-Division's or the Inquisition's jurisdiction.
 

Michaelangelo

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Is the X-Division called for literally any crime involving mildly suspicious circumstances? The Inquisition must be slacking if they didn't get involved in this one.