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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Mar 13, 2016
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The RSB was an agency of the government so arrogant and incompetent that...
They let a killer AI be rebooted. The had such a knowledge and mastery of being ***holes that
Well, memes are already nigh. Kilroy was here, anyone?:p
YAY!
True. The Inquisition doesn't neutralize the entities that are harmless or friendly, but it does keep them from getting into trouble. For other entities, it deals with them in an effective manner.
Ah jeez the SCP needs to step up it's game
N e i n
UNLIMITED MEMES!
Rian Johnson gets thrown out of window
"The tyranny of Dracula will never return," Anders joked.
You have lost!
Be careful, because you are very close to summoning him.:eek:
Who are you-

Nyet.
 

zenphoenix

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Occult.
Someone call the Inquisition.
Looks like the Inquisition's been...expected.:p
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.
Well, if it's mildly unexplained, the X-Division is called. Once the investigation is found to be supernatural in nature, it is usually handed over to the Inquisition. But the X-Division has to notify the Inquisition first, and therein lies the leeway.;)
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.
People tend to call secular authorities for most things in the 90s, instead of the organization that is responsible for the Fifty Years' War.:D
They let a killer AI be rebooted. The had such a knowledge and mastery of being ***holes that
They could be jerks to everybody. The dark side of the government is a pathway to many actions some consider to be...incompetent.
Another happy landing!
Ah jeez the SCP needs to step up it's game
Yeah, because they need to [REDACTED].
J a !
Rian Johnson gets thrown out of window
George Lucas: What have I done?
You have lost!
No, no, no, no, YOU WILL DIE!

dracula summons army of bats
Who are you-

Nyet.
Da.
 

zenphoenix

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Lords of Darkness, Part 2

5:00 PM

The police canvassed the room, putting everything movable in bags of evidence. Angela talked with Zadok and took notes, while Anders looked at the snake's tank. He stood up and looked over at Angela and Zadok.

“I heard the crash, and the chair, and came running out of the office,” Zadok said.

“Did you see anybody leaving the room?” Angela asked.

Without being seen, Anders walked into Zadok’s office. Zadok shook her head.

“Did you hear the door open?” Angela asked.

“I lock the doors after school, when I'm alone,” Angela said, “I... I get afraid.”

In the office, Anders picked up Sarah’s bracelet.


5:00 PM

Jacob, Deborah, Vitaris, and Calcagni stood in the rain, huddled under umbrellas, watching the police cars and other activity near the school.

“I feel a dark power is amongst us,” Jacob said, “It wants a sacrifice.”

“It's been years since we've done that,” Vitaris said.

“Exactly, exactly,” Calcagni said, “We haven't kept our faith.”

“Are any of you... responsible... for my daughter?” Jacob snapped.

“We all are,” Calcagni said.

Jacob glared at him.

“She was sacrificed for us,” Calcagni said, “It’s a portent. Her death gets rid of the police, the Athanatoi too, and whatever suspicions the Inquisition may have. It can all be blamed on her.”

“But—” Jacob sputtered.

“Jacob, you tell them she had a thing for Joey Stephen,” Deborah said, “She killed him out of jealousy.”

“She cut out his eyes, because she couldn't stand to have him look at another girl,” Vitaris said, “And his heart, because she was heartbroken.”

“Are you mad?!” Jacob said.

“When they leave, and they're gone, we must rekindle our faith rather than lose it,” Calcagni said.

Jacob stormed away, the lightning illuminating him as he walked.


Science lab

“I never imagined she would hurt herself like that,” Zadok said, “I'm old-fashioned, Agent Hansen, I can't bring myself to believe children are capable of such things as they are these days.”

She looked away, stifling a sob, as Angela remained impassive. Zadok looked up and noticed Anders holding the bracelet.

“She wanted me to hold that for her,” Zadok said.

“Excuse me,” Angela said, joining Anders.

They walked to the other side of the room.

“Her office has a faint odor of incense,” Anders said.

“She says it's to block the smell of formaldehyde,” Angela said.

“It's also used in Black Mass rituals,” Anders said, “Demon summoning.”

“Well, I've got to admit there are some oddities to her story,” Angela said.

“What do you mean, oddities?” Anders said.

“Well, the man she replaced has taken two sick days in a fifteen-year career,” Angela said, “The morning of Joey Stephen’s murder Herr Kingary developed necrotizing fasciitis.”

“Flesh-eating bacteria?” Anders said. “That's very rare.”

“I know,” Angela said, “And when I questioned the other staff members about Frau Zadok’s background, no one can even recall hiring her.”

Lightning flashed again. At her desk, Zadok stared at them before focusing on Angela’s pen.

“Oh, look, I'm even getting caught up in this,” Angela said, “Probably need more time to get used to being in the field again. I mean I'm... I'm sure that Frau Zadok’s arrival and the teacher's sickness is just a coincidence. And the fact that no-one can recall hiring her -- it's just a bureaucratic oversight. They have plenty of those in the eastern Länder, right?”

“No, I've got a feeling this is something we both should get caught up in,” Andres said, “I'm going to get a search warrant for the Augsburg house. I've been told they're staying with friends.”

He glanced at Zadok. “You check deeper into Mrs Paddock.”

The lights suddenly went out. As Angela and Anders left, Zadok grabbed the pen.


Augsburg house – 6:00 PM

The power was out here too, making the house very dark. Anders walked to the cellar door with his flashlight, noting it was bolted shut. He forced it open, and shone his torch down the staircase. He walked down the stairs and looked around, seeing the walls were red. He turned around and found Jacob standing behind him.

“Oh hey there, Herr Augsburg,” Anders said, “You scared me there.”


Calcagni’s office

Angela sat at her laptop again, searching Yahoo’s databases for “Zadok, Philippa H.” She found no prior arrests or outstanding warrants connected to that name or its variants.


Augsburg residence cellar

Jacob faced the wall and didn’t answer Anders’ greeting.

“Uh, hello?” Anders said. “You’re creeping me out a little.”

Jacob sighed. “My religion, my family, Agent Humboldt, goes back in this town seven generations, from the Inquisition’s terror during the Fifty Years’ War. They fled persecution in Germania from people being persecuted, all in the name of ‘religion’.”

Jacob said that last word with distaste. He turned to Anders.

“I was raised to believe Christianity was synonymous with hypocrisy,” Jacob said, “The Soviets taught me all faith is nothing but superstition, but I went further. Man's natural tendency was to do as thou wilst, not do unto others.”

He walked around Anders, who turned to maintain eye contact. “We believe... Man is nothing but an animal, no better, no worse, than those who walk on four legs. And though I believed our faith kept us powerful in the community, wealthy, good health, I... I came to see hypocrisy in the others.”

He looked at Anders, his voice filled with a strange empathy. “In me.”

Anders nodded.

“When they told me to blame my dead daughter for Joey Stephen’s death, my reaction...” Jacob said, tearing up, “I was sick that they would villify an innocent... someone I loved... just to protect themselves. And at that moment, I knew... I am better than an animal! That my... previous beliefs were responsible... for her no longer being with us. And that it was time to talk to you.”

Anders nodded again.


Science lab

Zadok chanted as she held Angela’s pen over the candle.


Calcagni’s office

Angela searched Yahoo for Zadok’s work history, finding a list of legitimate-looking jobs in the education sector stretching back to 1974.

“Absolutely nothing,” she said to herself.


Augsburg residence cellar

“Did you abuse Sarah?” Anders asked.

“Never sexually,” Jacob said.

“The rituals, though,” Anders said.

Jacob sighed. “The blood of the young is considered very powerful. We'd include them in the ceremonies... against their will.”

Anders looked away in disgust.

“They were too young to be trusted not to talk,” Jacob said, “But we never physically hurt them. We'd slip over the ancient rituals that we didn't want to do.”

“Like... drinking grape juice instead of wine at Communion? Anders asked. “What about Sarah’s memories?”

“We'd perform a sort of post-hypnotic suggestion that repressed their memories,” Jacob said, “When they came of age, eighteen, twenty-one, then they were made aware of the religion, and brought into its practice. When she recalled the past events, she must have mixed up reality with... with that crap that's on Geraldo, the tabloids, and whatever those religious right groups are peddling these days.”

“Did the others kill Joey Stephen?” Anders asked.

Jacob shook his head.

“Sarah?” Anders asked.

“No,” Jacob said.

“But you are responsible,” Anders said, “You knew the possibilities contained in your beliefs, no matter how watered down. That is why the Inquisition does what it does. Did you really think you could call up the Devil and ask him to behave?”


Science lab

Zadok picked up the phone and jerkily stabbed out a sequence of numbers.


Augsburg residence

Anders’ phone rang. “Yeah?” he said.

“Anders... the school... I'm in trouble,” Angela said.

The connection cut off.

“Angie?” Anders said, packing away the large phone. “I’ve got an emergency.”

He ran up the stairs and left the cellar, bolting the door shut from the outside. Then he got into the car, started the engine, and drove off.

Back in the cellar, Jacob sat on the floor next to the stairs, crying. The cellar door suddenly unlocked itself and swung open. The snake from the lab slithered down the stairs as the door slammed shut and bolted itself. It lunged for Jacob, who yelled in fright and tried to shake it off, but it wound around his neck and body, choking him and slowly crushing his bones. Once Jacob was dead, the snake slid onto the floor and turned to face his foot, extending its jaw and engulfing it in its mouth.


Biala High School – 7:00 PM

Anders pulled up to the curb and ran out, his gun drawn. He stormed the reception area outside Calcagni’s office, finding Angela sitting at her desk.

“Angie!” he shouted.

Angela looked up. “What’s wrong?”

“Didn’t you just call me?” Anders said. “Said you were in trouble?”

“I never touched my phone,” Angela said.

Anders’ eyes widened. “We need to get back to Jacob’s house. He confessed to conspiracy.”

“I’m driving,” Angela said.

“But—” Anders protested.

“That’s how it always is, Anders, I drive,” Angela said, walking past him and taking his keys.


Augsburg residence

Anders and Angela walked through the kitchen, their flashlights and guns raised.

“So, I checked on Frau Zadok’s background,” Angela said, “I don't think she's involved.”

Anders looked down and found the cellar door open. He looked at Angela and then descended. Angela followed him down to the cellar, where they found a crushed and bloody skeleton, folded in on itself multiple times.

“Mein Gott,” Angela said, “Looks like it was doused in acid or something.”

“There's no evidence of any reaction of the wood from the acid,” Anders said, “There are tracks in the dirt... they're from a snake.”

“It would take a large python hours to consume and weeks to digest a human being,” Angela said.

“How many hours of the Learning Channel did Demetrios subject you to after waking up?” Anders asked, holding up shed snakeskin.

“Oh, Frau Zadok had a python, didn’t she?” Angela said.


Biala High School conference room – 7:30 PM

The office was lit by three candles. Vitaris, Deborah, and Calcagni stood around the candles.

“Constable Branicki called me,” Vitaris said, “Jacob Augsburg is dead. He was talking to the Athanatoi agents.”

“Did they kill him?” Deborah said.

“You know who killed him,” Calcagni said, “Augsburg was no believer. He had no real faith, no devotion. He was punished for his doubts. We have to act. Or the same thing will happen to us. If it's not already too late.”

Deborah gulped. “We have to assume Jacob told them who we are.”

“If Humboldt knows, it will make the offering all the more meaningful,” Calcagni said.

They heard a car approaching, and Deborah walked to the window, seeing Angela driving up to the school.

“They’re here,” she said, “Lock the office.”

Vitaris blew out the candles. Calcagni walked to the door and opened it. He reached into his pocket and cursed.

“No keys,” he said, “They were in my pocket!”


Science lab

Anders and Angela walked through the trashed lab, where they heard choking groans. They found Zadok lying on the floor next to the snake tank, which was broken and empty.

“Frau Zadok?” Angela asked. “What happened?”

Zadok bled from her mouth. Her glasses lay in pieces on the floor, and she clutched her abdomen.

“I... I... I came back... they were taking the snake...” she said feebly, “Frau Deborah, Herr Vitaris, Herr Calcagni... I think they killed that boy!”

Angela pulled out her phone and dialed a number. “We know about that.”

“Conference room,” Zadok whispered, “It’s all there!”

Angela hung up. “Storm’s messing with my connection. Stay there, Frau Zadok, I’ll lock the door so they can’t come back.”

They ran out of the room. Zadok sat up and smiled, her eyes now pitch black.

---

Angela kicked down the door and stormed into the conference room, gun drawn, Anders following behind. The room appeared empty. They swung their flashlights around while Angela tried the filing cabinets, which were locked. She opened the drawer and found a glass jar containing eyeballs. She was about to say something when there was a bright light and a loud crashing noise from behind Anders. Anders turned around and in time to be hit with a chair held by Vitaris. He stumbled and knocked down a set of bookshelves which Angela avoided. Vitaris charged at Anders again but instead hit the desk. Angela tried aiming her gun, but Deborah slammed a chair against her head, knocking her out. Calcagni hit Anders on the head with another chair, knocking him out too.

Angela woke up to find herself and Anders tied by both the hands and legs and being dragged across the gym. Calcagni followed them, a shotgun in one hand. He turned on the water in two of the stalls, washing their heads.

“I swear I need to electrocute a cadaver when I get home,” Angela muttered.

“It'll make the blood easier to clean up,” Calcagni said.

Deborah raised a large dagger. “Dominus inferus vobisum!”

“Et conferum!” Vitaris and Calcagni said.

She raised the dagger higher, preparing to strike, while Calcagni loaded the shotgun.

“Zeine ist die hand die verletzt,” Deborah said in that archaic German dialect, “Forun dubai.” Calcagni opened fire.


Science lab

Zadok lay on the ground, her neck snapped.


Gymnasium

Deborah looked down and found she had been shot in the back. She turned around and saw Calcagni aiming his smoking shotgun at her, his eyes pitch black. He fired again, blasting Deborah’s head apart. He then turned to Vitaris and shot him in the head too. Then he dropped the shotgun and twisted his head all the way around, snapping his own neck. As his body thudded to the ground, a thick plume of black smoke emanated from his mouth and disappeared into an air vent.

“Mein Gott,” Angela said, “Anders, did you see his face?”

“Did you see the smoke?” Anders said.

“It was like something was possessing him,” Angela said.

“That’s a textbook case of demonic possession,” Anders said.

“Demons don’t exist,” Angela said.

“Well, while you were gone I found out vampires exist, so…” Anders said, cutting his ropes.

“I thought you thought that was just psychological,” Angela said, cutting her ropes as well, “And that still doesn’t explain the existence of demons.”

“Or the frogs,” Anders said.

“Or Jacob’s inexplicable death and regurgitation by python,” Angela said.

They walked back to the science lab and found both it and the office empty.

“Frau Zadok?” Angela asked.

She noticed the blackboard and Zadok’s body on the ground. “Anders, take a look.”

They shone their flashlights on the blackboard, where Zadok had left a message.

"Goodbye. It's been nice working with you."

The power suddenly returned, and the lights turned back on.

“What the frak just happened today?” Angela asked.

“I don’t know,” Anders said, getting out his phone, “But I know someone who might know.”


9:00 PM

Inquisitor Dieter got out of his car and approached the school. Inquisitor Munster got out of the passenger’s seat, carrying a small device. More Inquisition vehicles pulled up behind them, tactical teams getting out and readying their weapons.

“The anomalous readings are coming from inside,” Munster said, “No sign it’s trying to flee.”

Dieter picked up his walkie-talkie. “Alpha and Beta Teams, prepare to lay down a standard salt ring around the campus. We cannot let the target escape.”

“You sure it’s a demon?” Munster said. “Thought we got rid of them all back in 1886.”

“There are rumors a few managed to remain in the mortal world after the Gates closed,” Dieter said, “If what Humboldt told us is true, then we may have a Class 1 situation here.”

“Then it should be easy to handle,” Munster said.

Dieter drew his gun and an anti-demon dagger. “It’s been a while since the Inquisition had a demon to kill.”

Munster smiled. “Let’s get started, then.”
 

TheAnguishedOne

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For not knowing much of what they're dealing with, I'd say Angela and Anders handled this demonic cult fairly well.
 

zenphoenix

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For not knowing much of what they're dealing with, I'd say Angela and Anders handled this demonic cult fairly well.
I think you mean the demonic cult handed itself pretty well.:p
 

zenphoenix

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Reunion, Part 1

I have lived with a fragile faith built on the ether of vague memories from an experience that I can neither prove nor explain. When I was twelve, my sister was taken from me, taken from our home by a force that I came to believe was extraterrestrial. This belief sustained me, fueling a quest for truths that were as elusive as the memory itself. To believe as passionately as I did was not without sacrifice, but I always accepted the risks... to my career, my reputation, my relationships... to life itself... Angie, anything that happens to me out there justifies every belief. If I should die, it would be with the certainty that my faith has been righteous. And if, through death, larger mysteries are revealed, I will have already learned the answer to the question that has driven me here... that there is intelligent life in the universe other than our own... that they are here among us... and that they have begun to colonize.


Arctic Circle, north of Iceland – February 13, 1995, 9:00 PM

A light shone through the snowy mist, accompanied by a whirring sound. A helicopter emerged from through the snowstorm and landed on as a Kaiserliche Luftwaffe ambulance pulled up, sirens blaring. The back doors opened up, and men filed out.

“Let’s move out!” one of them shouted.

The men hauled Anders out of the helicopter. He was in a body-bag on a metal stretcher. They rushed into the hospital, and a nurse connected him to an IV drip.

“We need a frostbite bay, stat!” he said.

They rushed to the operating room, where a doctor put an oxygen mask on him. Other doctors cut off his clothes and attached medical devices.

“Alright,” she said, “Let’s get ready, please! Basal temp’s 86 degrees.”

“Right eye dilated, left eye dilated,” the nurse said, shining a flashlight in his eyes

“Let's get him into that tub or we're going to lose him,” the doctor said, gesturing to a frostbite tank in the corner, “On three. One…two…three…”

The doctor and her assistants lifted Anders up and carried him towards the tub. Meanwhile, Angela burst through the doors and was stopped by a security guard.

“Hold it, ma’am,” he said.

“An Agent Humboldt was brought here?” Angela asked.

“This is an authorized area, military personnel only,” the guard said.

“I'm an imperial agent!” Angela said, trying to push past.

“Hold on, you're not going anywhere until we can see some I.D.,” the guard said.

Angela held up her badge. “There’s no time, that’s my cousin in there, and he’s dying.”

She burst into the emergency room just as Anders was lowered into the tank with warm water. “I’m Angela Hansen, Agent Humboldt’s partner and close family,” she said, “What are his vitals?”

“He's suffering from extreme hypothermia,” the doctor said.

“No, you've got to get him out of the tub,” Angela said.

“He's dying, he's lost all his body heat,” the doctor said.

“You've got to listen to me!” Angela said. “If you keep him in there, you're going to kill him! The cold is the only thing that's keeping him alive.”

Andres flatlined.

“His heart stopped!” the nurse shouted.

“Give me one amp of epinephrine in a cannula!” the doctor ordered.


SMS Alfred Ritscher, North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Greenland – February 2, 1995, 11:00 PM

An officer climbed down from the upper lookout deck and opened the door. The captain walks out and joined him on deck.

“You got to see this captain, we got a UFO or something buzzing us,” the officer said, “Right up here.”

The captain put on his hat and climbed up the ladder, joining the officer and two other men on the upper deck. They looked at a circular light hovering in the distance.

“It's been just hovering up there for about twenty minutes,” the officer said.

“Could be a helicopter,” the captain said.

“Not the way it flew over us,” the officer said.

The second officer murmured and stopped looking through the binoculars.

“It’s coming at us again,” the officer said, as it grew larger and raced by the side of the ship, “It’s going to crash!”

They watched as the light crashed into a distant iceberg and exploded.

“Reverse engines!” the captain shouted. “We’re going after it.”


Women’s Care Family Services and Clinic, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg – February 4, 1995, 9:00 PM

“Thank you very much,” a woman said.

“You’re welcome,” a nurse replied.

A doctor, Leoben Prinz, walked down the hallway towards the lounge, where he poured himself a cup of coffee. The TV was on.

“...has been covering this story and files this report,” the anchor said.

“Two days ago, the crew of a Kaiserliche Marine ice cutter working the Arctic Circle thought they had seen a UFO when a strange aircraft plunged into the waters just north of Greenland,” the reporter said, “But a short time later, they recovered what is now believed to be a Chinese fighter pilot from the icy water where he miraculously survived the extreme arctic temperatures.”

Leoben paid close attention as he watched the crew of the ship hoist a figure onto the boat.

“The man was airlifted to a military hospital in Iceland where he was listed in stable condition,” the reporter continued, “But while authorities have been trying to determine just who the pilot is, we've learned that he's apparently walked out of the hospital...”

The camera focused on the pilot’s face, and Leoben’s eyes widened in fear. He knew who the pilot was.

“...and is now listed as missing. Reporting from our field...” the reporter said.

Leoben ran out of the lounge and towards the door, where the pilot had just walked in and walked towards him. The pilot grabbed him and slammed him against the wall by the neck.

“Where is he?” the pilot demanded.

“I don't know!” Leoben said. “And why would I tell you, bounty hunter?”

The bounty hunter slammed him against the floor and took out a gimlet. A long, sharp blade extended from the front of the gimlet, which he stabbed into the back of Leoben’s neck. Green fluid bubbled up from the wound. The bounty hunter got up and ripped off the cover to the electricity box, which sparked and caught fire. He walked away as the building burned down.


X-Division, Constantinople – February 5, 1995, 9:00 AM

Anders was leaning over his desk when Angela walked in and took off her coat.

“I’ve been looking for you,” Anders said.

“I was just down the street,” Angela said, “Someone fired more shots at Bukoleon last night.”

“You got to wonder about a country where even the chancellor has to worry about drive-by shootings,” Anders said, “Someone’s still salty about Kohl getting another inauguration, I bet. You attended it?”

“No, Demetrios and I were in Nicomedia,” Angela said, “What are you working on?”

Anders pointed at his computer. “I found these in my e-mail this morning... three obituaries.”

“Sent by whom?” Angela asked.

“Probably X,” Anders said, expanding the text in the email.

“Why?” Angela said.

“The deceased are Doctor Leoben Prinz of Ulm, Baden-Württemberg...Doctor Daniel Gerhard of Frankfurt, no relation to the other Dr. Gerhard who died...and Doctor Heinrich Burkard of Stuttgart. All worked in abortion clinics. They died in separate arson fires.”

“Sounds like the work of militant right-to-lifers,” Angela said, “RAF’s acting up again lately.”

“Sounds like something right up their alley,” Anders said.

“Why would somebody send them to you?” Angela asked.

“It's taken me all morning to figure that out,” Anders said.

“What did you find?” Angela said.

Anders handed her three pictures.

“These are their pictures,” he said.

They were all identical.

“Triplets?” Angela asked.

“Nope,” Anders said, “I can't find any blood connection between them. In fact, I can't find any records on them at all. It's as if before they died, they never existed.”

“Oh, we’re doing another of those cases, huh?” Angela said.


Ulm – 3:00 PM

“Doctor Prinz performs legal, clinical abortions which seems to be having its own share of occupational hazards these days,” Imperial Marshall Michael Tamsin said, looking through his files and reports.

“You don't know anything else about him?” Anders asked.

“Nah, he went about his work quietly,” Michael said, “None of his family's come forward. If he even has family.”

“What about the man you arrested, this, uh, preacher?” Angela said.

“Reverend Calvin Sistrunk,” Tamsin said, “Ties with several religious right organizations, including some neo-Angeloi groups and the right-wing splinter of the RAF. He's got a motive, he's threatened these abortion docs before. He was carrying this when we arrested him.”

He handed Anders a clip from a newspaper with an advertisement that had a picture of Prinz and read “Do you know this man? Call [REDACTED]-2884.”

“We're hoping for an indictment,” Tamsin said.

“As soon as you locate Doctor Prinz’s remains,” Anders said.

“Yes... but that fact hasn't been released,” Tamsin said.

“Well, there have been two identical fire deaths,” Anders said, “Neither body has been found.”

“We're quite certain he was in the building,” Tamsin said, “His car was in the parking lot. Security cameras, those that weren’t destroyed, showed he was in the building. We found his keys in the stairwell where the fire was started. He's been missing since the incident. Could be we'll just be finding teeth and bone.”

The door to the office opened, and an officer led in Reverend Sistrunk.

“Afternoon,” Sistrunk said, sitting down.

“Reverend Sistrunk... these are Agents Hansen and Humboldt,” Tamsin said, “They want to ask you—”

“...if Doctor Prinz burns in hell's fire for his murder of the unborn?” Sistrunk said. “If his damnation is God's will?”

Angela rolled her eyes. She’d had plenty of that hellfire rhetoric last month in Poland.

“Is that what you think, Reverend?” Anders said.

“I guess it's a question of opinion,” Sistrunk said.

“Well, it's my opinion that whoever killed Doctor Prinz will also be linked to two other murders,” Anders said, “How do you feel about that?”

“There are those who endorse the killing of the heathen sinner in God's name, but I, sir, am not one of them,” Sistrunk said.

“Have you been to Frankfurt or Stuttgart in the past two weeks?” Angela asked.

“No, ma’am,” Sistrunk said.

Anders held up the newspaper ad. “Where’d you get it?”

“From the newspaper,” Sistrunk said, “Obviously, there are more of God's crusaders seeking this man for judgement.”

“Which newspaper?” Angela asked.

“The local paper,” Sistrunk said, “Ulmer Mail Today.”


Ulmer Mail Today – 3:30 PM

The receptionist looked at the ad and nodded.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, “I remember this one. The man who placed this paid cash.”

“Would you recognize his face?” Angela said.

“I might,” the receptionist said.

Angela showed him a mugshot of Sistrunk.

“That’s not him,” the receptionist said.

“Do you have a record of his name or address?” Anders asked.

“No, we don't,” the receptionist said, “He wouldn't sign anything. In fact, he called and asked to place that ad a second week, so we did but he never came back to pay.”

“Thank you,” Angela said.

They walked away.

“I've got a bad feeling about this case, Anders,” Angela said.

“What do you mean?” Anders said.

“Well, nothing about it makes sense,” Angela said, “We've got three deaths of identical victims, no bodies, a virtual non-suspect...”

“Sounds just like something we’d work on,” Anders said.

“You don't even know if X sent you that information,” Angela said, “I mean, we've been set up before. And that got Uncle Hans killed.”

She pulled out a map.

“If somebody really wanted to set us up, would they give us this little to go on?” Anders said. “There's something bigger here, Angie. I'd be willing to bet there are more of these guys out there.”

“More victims?” Angela said.

“Unless we get to them first,” Anders said, “The deaths follow a pattern...Ulm, Stuttgart, Frankfurt...”

He put his finger on the map and moved it to the next city up.

“...and then an ad is placed here in Bonn looking for a man exactly like the others,” Anders said, “The killer's moving in a northerly direction.”

He turned to the receptionist. “Excuse me, uh, eh, uh, excuse me, the, uh, number in the ad, would that be a voicemail?”

“Yeah,” the receptionist said.

“How would you access that?” Anders said.

“You’d start by paying the bill,” the receptionist said.

Angela quickly handed the man a one hundred mark bill. “Keep the change.”

She picked up the phone and dialed the number. Anders paced around her, impatient.”

“There's twenty four messages responding to the ad,” Angela said, “The first caller has seen the man in the photo in Sankt-Augustin.”


Athanatoi Field Office, Bonn, North Rhine – 4:30 PM

Bernhard Weiss picked up the phone.

“Agent Weiss,” he said.

“Hey, it’s me, Humboldt,” Anders said, “I need to enlist your help.”

“Shoot,” Bernhard said.

He took out a pen and wrote down what Anders said.

“I’m heading your way with Agent Hansen,” Anders said, “We have reason to believe a man in your area may be in danger. His name is Doctor Aaron Backer, and he's living somewhere nearby in Sankt Augustin. We need you to find him and sit on him until we get there.”

“Got it,” Bernhard said, “I’ll call back with an address.”


5:00 PM

Bernhard drove up to the house, looked at his paper, and then went up to the front door. He was about to knock when he heard talking from inside. Two men were discussing something. The first was probably Backer.

“There were years, years when our people did get along, where we could coexist, share what resources we have left,” Backer said.

Bernhard looked through the window.

“But you seem to be...you seem to be unwilling to share,” Backer said, “I don’t understand, I don’t understand! You did not fail…”

The bounty hunter slammed Backer against the wall, holding him by the neck.

“Your plans will not succeed,” the bounty hunter said, drawing his stiletto weapon and stabbing Backer in the neck.

Bernhard walked around to the back door and barged inside, aiming at the bounty hunter.

“Imperial agent, drop your weapon!” he shouted. “I said drop it!”

He heard a bubbling and looked down to see Backer’s body turn into a green liquid, bubbling and oozing. He staggered back, trying to comprehend what was going on.

“Anders, what the frak did you ask me to do?” he muttered.

The bounty hunter raised his weapon, but Bernhard shot him three times in the chest. The bounty hunter didn’t move. He looked down, and the same green liquid leaked out. Bernhard saw a few sparks and some twisted metal inside the wounds. But he couldn’t observe for long, because he started gagging and choking. He screamed, holding his head.


5:02 PM

Angela drove up to the house and parked besides Bernhard’s car. They walked up to the porch and knocked on the door. Bernhard appeared behind them.

“Agent Humboldt?” he said.

“Agent Weiss?” Anders said. “Did you find Backer?”

“No, I'm afraid not,” Bernhard said, “No one's home. There's two weeks’ worth of mail in the mailbox though.”

“Uh, we may already be too late but we should take a look around anyway,” Angela said.

“Not much to see,” Bernhard said.

Anders and Angela walked inside, while Bernhard walked back to the car. He opened the trunk and looked down on the body of the real Bernhard Weiss, bound and gagged. The bounty hunter looked around. Then his facial features and body shifted back to his default disguise. He tossed the car keys on Bernhard’s body, locked the trunk, and walked away.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Welp. Could be worse, Weiss could be dead.
 

CaptainAlvious

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So I haven´t read the recent updates due to being busy with my final weeks of school, but I did check back on the Hoi3 chapters and I noticed you used a specific picture for Angelos´s portrait in Hoi3. I´m wondering if I can see a enlarged picture of Angelos´s portrait since I never was able to clearly see it due to how small it was and I´m wondering where that picture came from, especially since you use pictures of OTL´s Otto von Hapsburg for Kaiser Otto here? While I´m at it, what picture would Valentin have if this were Hoi3 or Hoi4 since every other leader here has a picture.:p Also why does Hoi3 use the ¨Flamboyant tough guy¨ trait to describe Angelos when he is more like Gandhi and thus closer to a ¨Ruthless Powermonger¨ or ¨Power Hungry Demagogue¨ since he´ś also a Hitler anologe?
 
Last edited:

zenphoenix

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Welp. Could be worse, Weiss could be dead.
Um, about that...
Anders and Angela walked inside, while Bernhard walked back to the car. He opened the trunk and looked down on the body of the real Bernhard Weiss, bound and gagged. The bounty hunter looked around. Then his facial features and body shifted back to his default disguise. He tossed the car keys on Bernhard’s body, locked the trunk, and walked away.
So I haven´t read the recent updates due to being busy with my final weeks of school, but I did check back on the Hoi3 chapters and I noticed you used a specific picture for Angelos´s portrait in Hoi3. I´m wondering if I can see a enlarged picture of Angelos´s portrait since I never was able to clearly see it due to how small it was and I´m wondering where that picture came from, especially since you use pictures of OTL´s Otto von Hapsburg for Kaiser Otto here? While I´m at it, what picture would Valentin have if this were Hoi3 or Hoi4 since every other leader here has a picture.:p Also why does Hoi3 use the ¨Flamboyant tough guy¨ trait to describe Angelos when he is more like Gandhi and thus closer to a ¨Ruthless Powermonger¨ or ¨Power Hungry Demagogue¨ since he´ś also a Hitler anologe?
That portrait was just the default portrait the converter gave me. I had no hand in choosing it, and I couldn't decide on any other portrait to replace it. As such I don't even know whose portrait that is, and I already packed away the HOI3 mod so I don't feel like digging through those files again. As for his traits, they were chosen at random, and I didn't want to put in the effort of changing them when the AI would mess up the cabinets anyways every few days.

As for Valentin, he would use a variation on this portrait:

Evstafiev-Valentin_Varennikov_11AUG94.jpg


Yes, he's a real person.
 

zenphoenix

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Reunion, Part 2

Erich’s office, Constantinople – February 6, 1995, 10:00 AM

“Agent Humboldt has arrived,” Erich’s receptionist said.

“Send him in,” Erich said.

Anders walked in and took a seat. “Sorry I'm late, I just flew in.”

“From?” Erich said.

“Bonn,” Anders said, “Sankt Augustin, actually.”

“Where you were doing what?” Erich asked.

“Angie and I were following up a lead on a case,” Anders said.

“Did anyone authorize this investigation, Anders?” Erich said.

“No, sir,” Anders said.

“Do you have paperwork on this case?” Erich said.

“No, Uncle,” Erich said, “I'd assumed we had an understanding with respect to the X-Division.”

“I'm sure it doesn't surprise you, Anders, that Schulz and the people I have to answer to aren't quite so understanding,” Erich said, “Particularly when one of their field agents is found dead.”

“What?!” Anders said.

Erich tossed him a photo of Bernhard’s body. “Special Agent Bernhard Weiss, out of our field office in Bonn. His body was found stuffed in the trunk of a car in front of a house that you sent him to.”

Anders stared at the photo in disbelief.

“Impossible,” he said, “I spoke to him at the house.”

Erich pounded his fists on Anders’ desk.

“Save it for your report, Anders,” Erich said, “Because until this matter is cleared up, your butt, Angie’s, and mine are in a sling. I would recommend disciplinary actions, but you’re lucky I’m just going to ask you to terminate your investigation.”

“Uncle Erich—” Anders said.

“Don't underestimate the seriousness of this matter, Anders,” Erich said, “A man is dead. I want a full accounting on my desk in the morning.”

Anders nodded and walked out.


X-Division – 10:15 AM

The phone rang, and Anders picked it up.

“Humboldt,” he said.

“Anders, it’s me,” Angela said.

“Where are you?” Anders said.

“At home,” Angela said.

“Bernhard Weiss is dead, Angie,” Anders said.

“WHAT?!” Angela said.

“Someone killed him, and your dad is pissed,” Erich said, “I’d imagine Schulz is even more pissed at us than Uncle Erich. Your dad grounded us. I just want to know what the hell is going on here.”

“Hey, have you checked your email?” Angela said.

“No, why?” Anders said.

“Because I received something, and I’m wondering if you got it too,” Angela said.

Anders sat down at his computer and logged into his email. “What is it?”

“A digitally scanned photograph,” Angela said, “There’s another one, Anders.”

A picture appeared of another identical doctor.

“His name is Dr. Joachim Dietrich,” Angela said, “And Anders?”

“Yeah?” Anders said.

“He’s right here in Constantinople,” Angela said, “Stay where you are. I’m picking you up.”


Outside the Omar Mukhtar Building – 10:30 AM

Angela drove up to the curb and found someone waiting for her. He was a tall old man wearing a plain overcoat and a suit and tie.

“Agent Hansen?” he asked. “My name is Ambrose Kirchner.”

“And?” Angela said.

Ambrose held up a badge. “I work with the Athanatoi Foreign Division. Diana sent me. I was one of her teachers at the Academy. Anyways, I need to talk to you about the case you're working on.”

“What case is that?” Angela said.

“The murder of certain identical victims,” Ambrose said, “I have a story to tell, Agent Hansen. Believe me, you want to hear it.”

He gestured to a table, where Anders sat. Angela followed Ambrose to the table and sat down.

“We've known of their existence since the war,” Ambrose said, “We had no idea they were in the country until last year.”

“Who are they?” Anders asked.

“We're working on vague intelligence reports, but it appears in the 1950s, while working on the Eve program, Soviet scientists stumbled onto genetic anomaly in sets of identical twins,” Ambrose said, “They were able to isolate the specific DNA material that gave the twins their facial features, hair color, texture... and they were able to reproduce it.”

“Clones,” Angela said.

“By all outward appearances,” Ambrose said.

“How did they get here?” Anders asked.

“When the original Eve program was winding down, the Soviets started up a new program by the codename ‘Gregor’, the name given to each clone,” Ambrose said, “We believe the original Gregor came here sometime in the late 1970s on a Danish passport. Using that passport, they brought in a small cadre of clones into the country, several of which have obtained strategic positions in the medical establishment.”

“For what purpose?” Angela asked.

“In the event of war, they were to mobilize simultaneously at different facilities across the Reich to contaminate blood supplies, sabotage pharmaceutical factories, disrupt the logistics of the medical industry…essentially destroy the Reich’s immune system. However, when the war actually broke out, the clones went rogue.”

“If you've known about this since the war, why hasn't anything been done?” Angela said.

“Well, this is where the story gets perhaps even more incredible,” Ambrose said, “In a secret agreement between the Roman and Russian governments, both governments are allowing the Gregors to be systematically eliminated by an agent who I believe is a Russian assassin codenamed Firebird in exchange for the absolute suppression of the program's existence—in addition to the Reich’s failure to contain it and Russia’s failure to control them—and for the Reich to obtain the science that created it.”

“What's your business in this?” Anders said.

“I believe we share similar sentiments on our government's policies of denial, which is why they've been trying to contact you,” Ambrose said.

“Who?” Angela said.

“The Gregor clones,” Ambrose said, “You've obviously got a reputation as someone who might protect them and bring these misdeeds to light.”

“What makes you think we've been contacted?” Anders said.

Ambrose handed Anders a piece of paper. “Your inquiries into their deaths, and your response to the ad I placed.”

On the paper was the same ad as in the newspaper.

“We're talking state-sanctioned murder,” Ambrose said, “If we can find them first, maybe the truth can be known.”

“We know where one of these man may be,” Anders said, without hesitation.

“Good,” Ambrose said, “We don’t have much time.”


3243 Coburgstrasse, Skoutarion, Constantinople (Ostend) – 11:00 AM

A young woman pulled up to the warehouse in a large van. Inside his apartment, Dr. Joachim Dietrich picked up his briefcase and looked at the large vats in his lab. He pushed some buttons on a console and walked outside. He got in the van and looked at the driver.

“Alright, let’s go,” he said.

They drove off.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Well, sorry Weiss. Anyway, clones! Maybe Ambrose will prove helpful, keep that A-theme going.
 

zenphoenix

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Well, sorry Weiss. Anyway, clones! Maybe Ambrose will prove helpful, keep that A-theme going.
You could say they're an...(puts sunglasses on) A-Team.:D
 

zenphoenix

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Reunion, Part 3

Joachim Dietrich’s apartment, Kounopetra, Constantinople (Westend) – February 6, 1995, 2:00 PM

Joachim has just put down his briefcase when he heard someone knock on the door.

“Who is it?” Joachim said.

“Agents Hansen and Humboldt, we're with the Athanatoi,” Angela said.

The woman, in the process of putting down her coat, suddenly froze, listening to Angela’s voice. Then she grabbed her coat and walked out of the room. Joachim opened the door and saw Angela and Anders, holding up their badges.

“Dr. Dietrich?” Anders said.

“Uh, yes?” Joachim said.

“I believe you’ve been trying to contact us,” Anders said.

“Uh…” Joachim said.

Ambrose stepped into the doorway and glared at Joachim, who recoiled and trembled.

“May we come in?” Angela asked.

“Um…” Joachim said, still staring at Ambrose.

“It’s okay, there’s nothing to be afraid—” Anders began.

Joachim turned and jumped out a window.

“—of,” Anders finished.

They looked out the window and saw Joachim’s body lying on the concrete ground…four stories below them.

“I’ll call the paramedics,” Angela said, getting out her phone.

As they continued watching, though, Joachim got to his feet and started running.

“Uh, never mind, then,” Angela said, “By the way, where’d Agent Kirchner go?”

She looked around, finding Ambrose had already left the room, presumably to get down to the street and chase Joachim.

“We should get going,” Anders said.

“Tell me about it,” she muttered, walking to the door.

As they walked across the room, Anders noticed the woman peering at them from behind a door.

“Angie, did you see that woman there?” he asked.

Angela looked at the other room, but she saw nobody there.

“We have other things to worry about, Anders,” Angela said.

They ran down to the street in time to see Joachim make for the other side, while Ambrose ran along the sidewalk. Anders charged across the street, but an oncoming car honked and crashed into him, slamming him against the windshield. He rolled off and landed on the street, groaning and grabbing his side. Angela ran up to him, helping him up.

“You okay?” she asked.

“I just got the wind knocked out of me,” Anders said, “Don't lose him! Go!”

Angela looked up and noticed Joachim running into an alley. She drew her gun and walked slowly into the alley. Ambrose groaned and appeared from behind a dumpster.

“He's gone,” Ambrose said.

“Where?” Angela said.

“He blindsided me,” Ambrose said, “Went up the fire escape before I could grab him. I'm going to go see if I can find a way up on the roof.”

He walked away. Angela watched him warily, unsure of his behavior. There was something in his voice that sounded suspicious. Maybe she should do a background check when she got back to her office. It was kind of suspicious how he just appeared out of nowhere and gave them classified information without asking for anything.

She walked behind the dumpster and stepped in something. She looked down to see a puddle of green liquid that was roughly in the shape of a fallen body. It started to bubble and fizz as it turned into gas. Angela stepped away and cursed, trying to wipe the substance off her shoe.


X-Division – February 7, 1995, 10:00 AM

Angela walked into the office and found Anders sitting at his desk.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“Like I should've used the crosswalk,” Anders said, “A lot better than my phone, at least.”

He pointed to his smashed cell phone, its antenna twisted clean off. Angela took off her coat and put down her briefcase.

“Maybe we should've dropped this case when you were told,” Angela said.

“Angie, if what our friend from the Foreign Division says is true, this could blow the lid off one of the biggest national security conspiracies ever,” Anders said, “Besides Sentinel, of course.”

“Our friend from the Athanatoi is about as unbelievable as his story, as is everything else about this case,” Angela said, “I mean, whatever happened to ‘trust no one,’ Anders? Didn’t Grandpa tell you that?”

"Oh, I changed it to ‘trust everyone’," Anders said, handing Angela a folder, “I didn't tell you?”

“A background check?” Angela said.

“Just like you asked, Angie,” Anders said, “Ambrose Kirchner is a seventeen-year veteran, special intelligence clearance, decorated service in the war, commended by both the Director and the Kaiser. And he did teach Diana at the academy. He's the real thing, Angie.”

“Did you call Diana and ask if she sent him?” Angela said.

“I tried, but she wouldn’t pick up,” Anders said, “I’m sure she’s worried about me. She expresses it in the weirdest ways, I guess.”

Angela rolled her eyes. “Why would a man with his experience need our help... and how could he let a man that he's been looking so hard for slip away so easily? You know, that doctor wasn't running away from us, Anders, he was running away from Agent Kirchner.”

“I think you're being overly paranoid about him, Angie,” Anders said, “I understand, after what Daniel Burkard did.”

“Paranoid?” Angela said. “Have you stopped to consider that maybe it was Agent Kirchner who killed Agent Weiss? Another of your friends is dead. First Joey, now Bernhard. You’re going to skip Bernhard’s funeral too, like Joey’s and Gisela’s and Uncle Hans’? For what? Another tireless search for some nebulous truth? The more obvious explanation is maybe Kirchner killed Bernhard, but you won’t consider it.”

Anders sat down at his desk and sighed. “Is that what you want me to put on my report? Because I would be more than happy to have you explain that to your dad.”

“Damn it, Anders, that is not my job,” Angela said, throwing down the folder, “You'll pursue a case at the expense of everything, to the point of insanity, and expect me to follow you. There has to be somewhere to draw the line.”

“Three identical men are dead,” Anders said, “A fourth identical man is alive and on the lam. If the pursuit of this case seems like insanity to you, feel free to step away from it.”

“An Athanatos, your friend, died because of our pursuit of this case,” Angela said.

“Those are the risks we take,” Anders said, “You either accept them or you don't. We all draw our own lines. And by the way, I’ve already made plans to be at Bernhard’s memorial service.”

Angela stared at him. “That aside, I have to show you something.”

She took a shoe out of her briefcase. Part of the sole had been melted off around a hole the size of a 1 mark coin.

“Happened when we were chasing Dr. Dietrich,” she said, “Bought it last week. Stepped in something yesterday that ate clean through the sole. Now, maybe I'm being paranoid, but it was in the exact spot where Kirchner said the doctor escaped.”

Anders threw another pencil at the ceiling, where it embedded into the tiles. “Why don’t you send it to our lab guys for analysis? And arrange for an autopsy bay?”

“In putting together my report for your dad, I came across something I think you'll appreciate,” Anders said, “Whoever killed Bernhard was so clever, no clear cause of death can be established.”

“As if my day couldn’t get stranger,” Angela said.


Autopsy bay, Omar Mukhtar Building – 11:00 AM

Angela walked around the examining table, where Bernhard’s body lay with a sheet over him. She picked up a clipboard and started reading the coroner’s report.

“There's no penetrating knife or gunshot wounds,” Angela said, “No ligature marks or abrasions from strangulation. The toxicological is clean... and the blood work... well, the blood work is strange.”

“Strange how?” Anders said.

“Well, there's evidence of polycythemia, excessive production of red blood cells,” Angela said.

“How excessive?” Anders said.

“Extremely,” Angela said, “The doctor who made this report has it in here that the blood was curdled like jelly. As if something caused the blood to thicken or clot prior to death.”

“Due to what?” Anders said.

“Possibly a coagulating agent introduced into the body, but it would've shown up on the toxicological by now,” Angela said.

“Didn't Agent Kirchner say something about these doctors being able to contaminate the blood supply?” Anders said. “Couldn't one of those contaminants have been used to kill this man?”

“I don't know, Anders, I... there was a doctor's bag I took as evidence from the apartment,” Angela said.

An agent walked in. “Agent Humboldt?”

“Finally, someone interrupts me and doesn’t ask for me,” Angela muttered.

“Yeah?” Anders said.

“Assistant Director Hansen’s looking for you,” the agent said.

“Alright, I’ll be right there,” Anders said.

The agent walked out.

“Check the bag,” Anders said, “See if you can find anything that'll connect.”

“Well, Dad’s going to want to know why you didn't file your report yet,” Angela said, “What're you going to say?”

“Just the truth,” Anders said, “I got hit by a car.”

He left the autopsy bay.


Erich’s office, Omar Mukhtar Building – 11:15 AM

Erich sat at his desk, writing something, while Anders walked in, carrying his hastily written half-finished report. He gulped nervously.

“I'm sorry this is so late,” he said, “I had trouble with the, uh, data from the, uh, autopsy, and I was also hit by a car which destroyed my phone...”

Erich got up and walked to him. “That's not why I called you in here, Anders. Uh... your grandfather's been trying to reach you. There's been a family emergency.”

“Uh, thanks,” Anders said, “And you?”

“For Humboldts only,” Erich said, “Sharon’s got an extra ticket.”

“Oh, thanks, then,” Anders said.

He left the office.


X-Division – 11:30 PM

Anders sat down at his desk and picked up the phone. Reaching into the back of his head, he dialed a number he hadn’t touched in a long time.

“Hello?” Elisabeth Humboldt said.

“Mom?” Anders said.

“Anders, is that you?” Elisabeth said.

“Yeah, I, I didn't expect you to answer,” Anders said, “After what happened. What, what are you doing at Grandpa’s? Is he alright?”

“Yes, let me put him on,” Elisabeth said.

Anders heard a slight scuffling.

“Hello?” Conrad Humboldt said. “Anders?”

“Grandpa?” Anders said. “I got a message there was a family emergency.”

“Yes, I received a very strange phone call this afternoon,” Conrad said, “I called your mother. But it's important that you come here as soon as possible.”

“Can you tell me what this is about?” Anders said.

“I'll know more when you get here,” Conrad said, hanging up.

Anders hung up just as Angela walked in, carrying Joachim’s briefcase.

“I didn't find anything much to go on but we've got an address,” she said.

Anders got up from his desk. “Check it out, I'll call you as soon as I can.”

“Where you going?” Angela said.

“Home,” Anders said, “Your mom’s coming along too. Let’s hope my Grandpa isn’t as secretive as yours.”

Anders grabbed his coat and left. Angela looked at the tag on the briefcase:

Name: Dr. Joachim Dietrich

Address: 3243 Coburgstrasse

City: Skoutarion


3243 Coburgstrasse, Skoutarion – 1:00 PM

Angela drove up to the building with the address she wanted. It looked like one in a series of warehouses that stretched up and down the block. She got out and approached the door, her gun in hand. Walking in, she stepped in something and looked down to see more of the same green liquid on the floor. She walked around it and entered a giant room with four large vats, all filled with the green liquid. Suddenly, one of them fell over, and Angela saw Ambrose Kirchner behind it. He was destroying them. Angela ducked behind a corner before Ambrose saw her and made her way back to her car. As she got in, she looked in her mirrors, hoping Ambrose still hadn’t seen her. That man was not who they thought he was.


Angela’s apartment, Deuteron – 1:30 PM

Angela paced back and forth across her apartment, the phone receiver glued to her ear.

“Hello, this is Anders Humboldt,” Anders’ answering machine said, “Leave me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.”

There was a beep.

“Anders, pick up the bloody phone,” Angela said, “It’s urgent. I found new information regarding this case.”

She walked to the window and looked through the blinds, seeing a gray car parked outside.

“I think I’m in danger,” Angela said, “I’m in my apartment, and I think I’m being followed.”

She hung up.


Outside Mainz, Rhineland – 4:30 PM

Anders drove up to the house and stopped the car. He and Aunt Magda got out and ran up the driveway to the front porch, where Anders saw Conrad sitting in a chair, a bottle of beer placed on the floor next to him.

“Your mother needs some time,” Conrad said.

Anders looked at him as he drank again from the bottle.

“You said it was an emergency,” Magda said.

Conrad got up and walked towards him. Magda went to hug him, but Conrad approached Anders instead, extending his hand.

“She wanted you to come,” Conrad said, “It's a difficult time. I appreciate your coming on such short notice.”

“What is it, Grandpa?” Anders asked.

“And where’s the rest of our family?” Magda asked. “Walter and Anna should be here as well.”

“I decided not to invite Walter,” Conrad said, “Best not to reopen those wounds. And he’s in no shape to accept an invitation, I think. As for Anna…she’s busy in India. Or Vietnam. Or Penglai. By the time I’ve located her in one country, she’s already in the next.”

“Grandpa, what’s going on?” Anders asked.

Conrad drank from his bottle again. “The certainty... it becomes a comfort that allows you to move on.”

Anders looked through the window and saw his mother crying as she talked to someone.

“I’ve learned this lesson harder than most,” Conrad said, “We bury our memories so deep after all that has been destroyed…never expecting…”

“Who’s Mom talking to?” Anders asked.

Conrad put down his bottle and looked Anders in the eye. “Your sister.”

Anders looked in the window and then back at his grandfather in shock. Before either Magda or Conrad could respond, Anders bolted into the house, letting the door slam shut behind him. He ran into the living room, and Elisabeth and the woman from Joachim’s apartment stood up. The woman walked towards him, and he quickly recognized her face.

“Hi, Anders,” Annie Humboldt said.

Anders stared blankly at her.

“WHAT?!” he sputtered.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Annie!? Alright, definitely didn't see that coming...
 

zenphoenix

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zenphoenix

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Reunion, Part 4

Mainz, Rhineland – February 7, 1995, 5:35 PM

Elisabeth Humboldt climbed into bed. Anders helped fluff her pillow and adjust her blankets. His mother wasn’t that old, but he couldn’t think of anything else to do. His mind was still trying to remember who he had seen in the living room, racing to come up with explanations. He feared if he thought too much, he might wake up in his apartment on February 3 with a beer in his hand and Star Trek playing on the TV, with all of this happening in his head.

“After all those sleepless nights, now I can hardly keep my eyes open,” Elisabeth said.

“You’re exhausted, Mom,” Anders said, “We all are. It’s after 5:30.”

“Oh, I just need a couple of hours,” Elisabeth said, “I’m like my brother. We both don’t need that much sleep.”

Anders smiled and turned off the lamp, closing the shades. “Try and get some sleep.”

“Anders, it’s really her, isn’t it?” Elisabeth asked.

They awkwardly stared at each other. Anders didn’t know what to say. Part of his mind wanted to think it was her. Another part of his mind remained skeptical. A trick of the mind, a hallucination, an impersonator, a twin, a homicidal Eve clone, a robot, a psychological vampire, a demon…part of him wanted to believe, and another wanted to believe otherwise.

“I... I don't see who else it could be,” Anders said.

He walked out of the room and headed to the porch. He watched the sun set, its reflection present in the waters of the magnificent Rhine, which ran past their house. Down on the banks of the river, he saw Conrad’s cherished black 1967 Chevrolet Impala. He could see his grandfather and Aunt Magda standing next to the car, talking about something.

“Is it too late for a game of Stratego?” Annie said.

Anders looked to his right and saw Annie sitting in Conrad’s chair. She smiled brightly.

“We never finished that game, did we?” Annie said.

Anders laughed. “It’s 22 years too late.”

“I don't think Grandpa can think of anything to say,” Annie said, “He just... sat here.”

“So much has happened,” Anders said.

“I can see that,” Annie said, “What happened to Dad?”

“He’s gone,” Anders said, “We don’t talk about him anymore. You also have a little sister, but she’s distant. Our cousins are fine. Where do you begin?”

Annie got up and leaned over the porch railing, listening to the birds chirping and watching the Rhine churn past on its way to the ocean.

“I must have been nine or ten when I was returned,” Annie said, “I had no memory. I was placed with a family who raised me as a daughter.”

“Who were they?” Anders said.

“I knew they weren't my parents, but I didn't remember Mom or Dad or Grandpa…or you,” Annie said.

“But you came to remember... us,” Anders said.

“I started having trouble several years ago,” Annie said, “It was diagnosed as free-floating anxiety brought on by the war. Lot of teenagers and young adults had similar symptoms. But nothing worked for me. I hit rock bottom... until I underwent regression hypno-therapy. And it all started coming back...”

She started crying. “The abductions, the tests...”

She hugged Anders, who tried holding back tears. It was Annie. It was his sister here. He’d spent so much time searching for her he’d forgotten almost everything about her. But she was back with him again. They’d given her back. His search was over. He could finally leave the X-Division and live in peace with the truth he—

“I'm in danger, Anders,” Annie said.

“Damn it,” Anders said, “Of course.”

“You've been contacted,” Annie said, “You know there's a man, no, a thing hunting my father and the other doctors.”

“Your f... your father,” Anders said, “Not Walter.”

“My adoptive parents, not Dad,” Annie said, “They're only visitors here. They are what you’d call aliens, Anders. But their masters want them dead now. A bounty hunter has been sent to kill them. You've met it. Its lies to you have caused others like my father to die. He won't stop until he's killed them all and anyone who tries to stop him. He'll come for me soon.”

Anders reached for his phone. “I’ve got to call Angie.”

“Angie?” Annie said.

“She’s Athanatoi, like me,” Anders said, “Took your abduction much better than I did actually.”

He dialed Angela’s number and waited.

“Hi, this is Angela Hansen,” Angela’s answering machine said, “Please, leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.”

There was a beep.

“Angie, it's me, pick up the phone,” Anders said, “Okay, if you're screening, pick up the phone, I need to talk to you. Do not under any circumstances trust Ambrose Kirchner. I don’t think Diana cares enough about me to send him. Your life may be in danger, now call me.”

He hung up.

“She may not be able to recognize it,” Annie said, “It has the ability to disguise itself.”

“Disguise itself how?” Anders said.

“It is primarily a machine,” Annie said, “A machine built with biomechanical parts. It can change its features and behavior to disguise itself as anybody on this planet.”

“Okay, have I been drinking?” Anders said. “Because my sister being hunted by a discount Eliminator sounds crazy, even by my standards. Is this how Angie feels every day?”

"What's a discount Eliminator?" Annie said.

"Never mind," Anders said.

“There is a way to identify it,” Annie said, “I can sense it.”

“And things just have to get crazier, do they?” Anders said. “How?”

“I don’t know,” Annie said, “But I can.”

“It bleeds green substance, doesn’t it?” Anders said. “Like the clones. Why don’t we just prick a finger, and if they bleed green instead of red, we kill it?”

“It would kill you before you got that close, buttmunch,” Annie said.

Anders got his coat. “Then let’s hurry. We have to get to Constantinople as soon as possible.”


Bus Stop, Deuteron, Constantinople – 6:00 PM

Angela reached the bus stop just as the bus pulled up. She got in, deposited her change, and looked around. Not seeing Ambrose, she pulled off her hood and sat at the back. Looking at everybody in the bus, she took out her phone and dialed Anders’ number.

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

There was a beep.

“Anders, pick up the bloody phone,” Angela said, “I just left my apartment, and I don't think I've been followed. I'm going to be staying at the Vacation Village Motor Lodge off Autobahn Route 80 in Kynigos. Now, by the time you reach me, I should have some very important information for you regarding this case.”

She hung up. A few seats away, the alien bounty hunter, in its default disguise, sat and watched her.


3243 Coburgstrasse, Skoutarion – 6:30 PM

Angela didn’t head straight to the motel. Instead, she took the bus to the waterfront and took a ferry to the Ostend, where she boarded another bus for Skoutarion. When she arrived, she walked to 3243 Coburgstrasse, making sure she wasn’t followed. At the warehouse, she walked up to the door and picked the lock. She slowly opened the door and found the lab was still in the condition she left it in (a total mess). She pushed through the liquid on the floor and bent down at one point, looking at a small bag with tubes attached. Picking up a tube, she saw a small alien-shaped figure inside. After a few seconds, it moved, and she put it down. Standing up, she noticed a man looking at her from behind a barrel. He looked exactly like the other clones. The man started running.

“Wait!” Angela shouted, drawing her gun. “Imperial agent! Step against the wall!”

“You won’t shoot me,” the clone said.

“Put your hands against the wall, now,” Angela ordered.

The clone turned around. “You can’t harm us.”

The wall slid aside, revealing a stairway and hallway. Three more clones walked in and joined the first clone.

“We are the last remaining,” the first clone said, “Unless you protect us, we are already dead.”


6:45 PM

Angela walked out of the warehouse and towards the police cars on the curb, where Agent Louise Kazdan stood. Upon seeing Angela, she walked towards her and shook her hand.

“Thanks for coming, Agent Kazdan,” Angela said.

“It’s the least I could do,” Louise said.

“These men are to be held in maximum security protective custody,” Angela said, “No visitors, no press, no anybody... okay?”

“Sure,” Louise said, “But who are these guys?”

“Louise, I'll let you know when I figure it out myself,” Angela said, walking away.

They got into separate cars, both of which had two clones sitting in the back. As they drove off, the bounty hunter watched from the rooftop.


Anders’ apartment, Psamathia – 7:00 PM

“...I should have some very important information for you regarding this case,” Angela said over the answering machine.

Anders hung up and dialed another number.

“Vacation Village,” a receptionist said.

“Yeah, I need to speak to Angela Hansen, please,” Anders said.

“Just a moment,” the man said, “I'm sorry, there's no one registered by that name.”

“Okay, I need her to call an Anders Humboldt as soon as she checks in, okay?” Anders said.

“Will do,” the receptionist said.

“Thanks.” Anders hung up.

“We should go,” Annie said, “The bounty hunter is most likely after her.”

They left the apartment.


Vacation Village Motorlodge, Kynigos

The receptionist hung up and picked up a pencil and pad. The pencil tip broke off. He cursed. The doors spun open, and Angela walked in.

“I'd like a single for one night, please,” Angela said.

“Uh, I’ll see what I got,” the receptionist said, checking his list, “Name?”

“Angela Hansen,” Angela said.

“An Anders Humboldt just called, actually,” the receptionist said, handing her a keycard, “Said to call him as soon as you were available.”

“Sure thing,” Angela said.

She walked to her room and locked the door. When she was sure nobody was listening, she pulled out her phone and called Anders.

“Humboldt,” Anders replied.

“It’s me,” Angela said, “I’m at the motel.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll be there in about half an hour,” Anders said.

“We?” Angela said.

“You won’t believe it,” Anders said, “I found Annie.”

“Annie?” Angela said.

“Hi Angie!” Annie said.

“Long story, but she showed up at Grandpa’s house earlier today,” Anders said, “Don’t know how, but it’s her.”

“Well, that’s great!” Angela said.

“Looks like we’re having a family reunion soon, then,” Anders said.

“Alright, see you later,” Angela said.

She hung up.


Athanatoi stockade, Constantinople (Westend) – 7:05 PM

A guard walked down the hallway past the jail cells, where the clones were being detained. As he watched the clones, Louise walked in.

“Whose post is this?” she asked.

“Mine, sir,” the guard said.

Louise promptly grabbed him and snapped his neck. She then walked to the first clone’s cell and tore off the door with her bare hands. Inside, she drew a stiletto weapon, and she morphed back into the bounty hunter’s default form. The clone backed against the wall in terror as the bounty hunter slowly walked towards him.


Vacation Village Motorlodge, Kynigos – 7:41

There was a knock on the door. Angela took off her headphones and paused her Walkman. She warily approached the door.

“Who is it?” she asked.

“Angela, it's me,” Anders said.

She slightly pulled back the curtain and looked out the window, seeing Anders there. She then opened the door.

“I got your message,” Anders said.

“I got yours,” Angela said, “Where’ve you been? And where’s Annie?”

Her phone rang. She walked away to pick it up.

“Hansen,” she said.

“Angie, it’s me,” Anders said, “We’re stuck in traffic on the U-80, so hold on.”

Angela slowly turned to see “Anders” closing the door.

“Angie?” Anders said.

She began breathing heavily as she stared at “Anders.” That wasn’t her cousin, was it?

“Oh scheiße,” she cursed.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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First things first, "Eliminator" is great. More importantly, Annie being a source of information is nice. Now they just need to save Angela from Not Anders.
 

zenphoenix

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First things first, "Eliminator" is great. More importantly, Annie being a source of information is nice. Now they just need to save Angela from Not Anders.
What makes you think Angela can't save herself?;)