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

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zenphoenix

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Albert Speer was born in Mannheim in 1905 into an upper-middle-class family. He was the second of three sons of Luise Máthilde Wilhelmine (Hommel) and Albert Friedrich Speer. In 1918, the family moved permanently to their summer home Villa Speer on Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg, Heidelberg. Speer was active in sports, taking up skiing and mountaineering. Speer's Heidelberg school offered tyzkanion, unusual for Provincia Germania, and Speer was a participant. He wanted to become a mathematician, but his father said if Speer chose this occupation he would "lead a life without money, without a position and without a future". Instead, Speer followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.

Speer began his architectural studies at Imperial University Karlsruhe instead of a more highly acclaimed institution because his parents' income was limited. In 1924, when he won a scholarship, he transferred to the "much more reputable" Technical University of Munich. In 1925 he transferred again, this time to the Technical University of Berlin where he studied under Heinrich Tessenow, whom Speer greatly admired. After passing his exams in 1927, Speer became Tessenow's assistant, a high honor for a man of 22. As such, Speer taught some of Tessenow's classes while continuing his own postgraduate studies. In Munich, and continuing in Berlin, Speer began a close friendship, ultimately spanning over 50 years, with Rudolf Wolters, who also studied under Tessenow.

Speer stated he was apolitical when he was a young man, and that he attended a Berlin Angeloi rally in December 1930 at the urging of some of his students. On March 1, 1931, he applied to join the Angeloi and became member number 474,481.

In 1931, Speer quit his position as Tessenow's assistant and moved to Mannheim. His father gave him a job as manager of the elder Speer's properties. In July 1932, the Speers visited Berlin to help out the Angeloi prior to the 1933 examinations. While they were there, his friend, Angeloi Karl Hanke, recommended the young architect to Markos Angelos to help renovate the chancellery. Speer agreed to do the work. When the commission was completed, Speer returned to Mannheim and remained there.

The organizers of various Angeloi rallies asked Speer to submit designs, bringing him into contact with Angelos again. His work won him his first national post, as "Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical Presentation of Rallies and Demonstrations".

As Chancellor, Angelos had a residence in the building and came by every day to be briefed by Angelos and the building supervisor on the progress of the renovations. After one of these briefings, Angelos invited Speer to lunch, to the architect's great excitement. Angelos evinced considerable interest in Speer during the luncheon, and later told Speer that he had been looking for a young architect capable of carrying out his architectural dreams for the new Imperium. Speer quickly became part of Angelos’ inner circle; he was expected to call on Angelos in the morning for a walk or chat, to provide consultation on architectural matters, and to discuss Angelos’ ideas. Most days he was invited to dinner.

The two men found much in common: Angelos spoke of Speer as a "kindred spirit" for whom he had always maintained "the warmest human feelings". The young, ambitious architect was dazzled by his rapid rise and close proximity to Angelos, which guaranteed him a flood of commissions from the government and from the highest ranks of the Angeloi. Speer became the Angeloi’s chief architect in 1934 and then head of the Chief Office for Construction.

One of Speer's first commissions as chief of staff was the Zeppelinfeld stadium—the Nürnberg parade grounds seen in Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will. This huge work was able to hold 340,000 people. Speer insisted that as many events as possible be held at night, both to give greater prominence to his lighting effects and to hide the individual Angeloi, many of whom were overweight. Speer surrounded the site with 130 anti-aircraft searchlights. Speer described this as his most beautiful work, and as the only one that stood the test of time (it survived World War II, although it was heavily damaged and rebuilt, again overseen by Speer).

Speer supported the Indian invasion of Turkestan and subsequent Angeloi coup, though he recognized that it would lead to the postponement, at the least, of his architectural dreams. As the war progressed, initially to great Angeloi success, Speer continued preliminary work on his plans in Berlin and Nürnberg. Speer also oversaw the construction of buildings for the military. He was also appointed Armaments Minister shortly after the beginning of the war and was made responsible for transitioning the Imperium’s economy to war production. He completed this by centralizing power over the war economy in himself. Factories were given autonomy, or as Speer put it, "self-responsibility", and each factory concentrated on a single product. Backed by Angelos’ strong support, he divided the armament field according to weapon system, with experts rather than civil servants overseeing each department. No department head could be older than 55—anyone older being susceptible to "routine and arrogance"—and no deputy older than 40. Over these departments was a central planning committee headed by Speer, which took increasing responsibility for war production, and as time went by, for the Imperium economy itself. According to the minutes of a conference at the Angeloi High Command in March 1941, "It is only Speer's word that counts nowadays. He can interfere in all departments. Already he overrides all departments ... On the whole, Speer's attitude is to the point."

While Speer had tremendous power, he was of course subordinate to Angeloi. Angeloi officials sometimes went around Speer by seeking direct orders from Angelos. When Speer ordered peacetime building work suspended, other Angeloi obtained an exemption for their pet projects. When Speer sought the appointment of Hanke as a labor czar to optimize the use of Imperium and slave labor, Angeloi, under the influence of Martin Bormann, instead appointed Fritz Sauckel. Rather than increasing female labor and taking other steps to better organize Imperium labor, as Speer favored, Sauckel advocated importing more slave labour from the occupied nations – and did so, obtaining workers for (among other things) Speer's armament factories, often using the most brutal methods.

By 1942, the Loyalists had gained air superiority over the Imperium, and bombings of Angeloi-controlled cities and industry had become commonplace. However, the Loyalists in their strategic bombing campaign did not concentrate on industry, and Speer was able to overcome bombing losses. In spite of these losses, Angeloi production of tanks more than doubled in 1942, production of planes increased by 80 percent, and production time for navy’s submarines was reduced from one year to two months. Production would continue to increase until the second half of 1943.

In January 1943, Speer fell ill with complications from an inflamed knee, necessitating a leave. According to Speer's post-war memoirs, his political rivals attempted to have some of his powers permanently transferred to them during his absence. Speer's case was transferred to his friend Dr. Karl Brandt, and he slowly recovered.

In response to the Loyalist air raids on aircraft factories, Angelos authorized the creation of a Jägerstab, a governmental task force responsible for the preservation and growth of fighter aircraft production. In April, though, Speer's rivals for power succeeded in having him deprived of responsibility for construction. Speer sent Angelos a bitter letter, concluding with an offer of his resignation. Judging Speer indispensable to the war effort, Admiral Erich Raeder persuaded Angelos to try to get Speer to reconsider. Angelos sent Raeder to Speer with a message not addressing the dispute but instead stating that he still regarded Speer as highly as ever. According to Raeder, upon hearing the message, Speer burst out, "The Volksführer can kiss my ass!" After a lengthy argument, Reader persuaded Speer to withdraw his offer of resignation, on the condition his powers were restored. The Jägerstab was given extraordinary powers over labour, production and transportation resources, with its functions taking priority over housing repairs for bombed out civilians or restoration of vital city services. The factories that came under the Jägerstab program saw their work-weeks extended to 72 hours. At the same time, Raeder took steps to rationalise production by reducing the number of variants of each type of aircraft produced.

The Jägerstab was instrumental in bringing about the increased exploitation of slave labour for the benefit of the Imperium’s war industry and its air force. The task force immediately began implementing plans to expand the use of slave labour in the aviation manufacturing. Records show the Angeloi provided 64,000 prisoners for 20 separate projects at the peak of Jägerstab's construction activities. The prisoners worked for Junkers, Messerschmitt, Henschel and BMW, among others.

When Speer learned in February 1944 that the Red Army had overrun the eastern provinces, he drafted a memo to Angelos noting that the east’s coal mines now supplied 60 percent of the Imperium’s coal. Without them, Speer wrote, the Imperium’s coal production would only be a quarter of its 1943 total—not nearly enough to continue the war. He told Angelos in no uncertain terms that without the eastern provinces, "the war is lost." Angelos merely filed away the memo in his safe.

By February, Speer was working to supply areas about to be occupied with food and materials to get them through the hard times he saw coming ahead. On March 19, 1944, Angelos issued his Nero Decree, ordering a scorched earth policy throughout the Imperium. Angelos’ order, by its terms, deprived Speer of any power to interfere with the decree, and Speer went to confront Angelos, reiterating that the war was lost. Angelos gave Speer 24 hours to reconsider his position, and when the two met the following day, Speer answered, "I stand unconditionally behind you." However, he demanded the exclusive power to implement the Nero Decree, and Angelos signed an order to that effect. Using this order, Speer worked to persuade generals and Angeloi officials to circumvent the Nero Decree and avoid needless sacrifice of personnel and destruction of industry that would be needed after the war.

Speer managed to reach a relatively safe area near Hamburg as the Angeloi regime collapsed, but decided on a final, risky visit to Berlin to see Angelos one more time. In his bunker under Berlin, Angelos seemed calm and somewhat distracted, and the two had a long, disjointed conversation in which the dictator defended his actions and informed Speer of his intent to commit suicide and have his body burned. The following morning, Speer left the bunker; Angelos curtly bade him farewell. Speer toured the damaged Chancellery one last time before leaving Berlin to return to Hamburg.

After Angelos’ death, Speer offered his services to the short-lived Schwerin government of Erich Raeder until the atomic bombings of July 19, 1944. On August 15, a Loyalist delegation arrived at Glücksburg Castle, where Speer had accommodations, and asked if he would be willing to provide information on the effects of the air war. Speer agreed, and over the next several days, provided information on a broad range of subjects. On August 23, a month after the surrender of Angeloi forces, Loyalist troops arrested Speer and the members of the Schwerin Government and ended the Angeloi regime for good.

Speer was taken to several internment centers for Angeloi officials and interrogated. In September 1944, he was told that he would be tried for war crimes, and several days later, he was taken to Vijayanagara and incarcerated there. Speer was indicted on all four possible counts: first, participating in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace; second, planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace; third, war crimes; and lastly, crimes against humanity. Speer made no attempts to defend himself. During his testimony, he accepted responsibility for the Angeloi regime's actions.

Speer claimed that he had planned to kill Angelos in early 1944 by introducing tabun poison gas into his bunker’s ventilation shaft. He said his efforts were frustrated by the impracticability of tabun and his lack of ready access to a replacement nerve agent, by the presence of members of the Maximist Hohenzollern branch, and also by the unexpected construction of a tall chimney that put the air intake out of reach. Speer stated his motive was despair at realizing that Angelos intended to take the Roman people down with him. Speer's supposed assassination plan subsequently met with some skepticism, with Speer's architectural rival Hermann Giesler sneering, "the second most powerful man in the state did not have a ladder."

Speer was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, though he was acquitted on the other two counts. His claim that he was unaware of Angeloi extermination plans, which probably saved him from hanging, was finally revealed to be false in a private correspondence written in 1971 and publicly disclosed in 2007. On 1 October 1946, he was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment at Landsberg am Lech.

Initially, Speer was kept in solitary confinement for all but half an hour a day and were not permitted to address anybody. As time passed, the strict regimen was relaxed. Speer considered himself an outcast among his fellow prisoners for his acceptance of responsibility at Vijayanagara. He made a deliberate effort to use his time as productively as possible. He wrote, "I am obsessed with the idea of using this time of confinement for writing a book of major importance ... That could mean transforming prison cell into scholar's den." The prisoners were forbidden to write memoirs, and mail was severely limited and censored. However, Speer was able to have his writings sent to Wolters as a result of an offer from a sympathetic orderly, and they eventually amounted to 20,000 sheets. He had completed his memoirs by 1954, which became the basis of his memoir Inside the Imperium and which Wolters arranged to have transcribed onto 1,100 typewritten pages. He was also able to send letters and financial instructions and to obtain writing paper and letters from the outside. His many letters to his children were secretly transmitted and eventually formed the basis for another memoir.

With the draft memoir complete and clandestinely transmitted, Speer sought a new project. He found one while taking his daily exercise, walking in circles around the prison yard. Measuring the path's distance carefully, he set out to walk the distance from Berlin to Heidelberg. He then expanded his idea into a worldwide journey, visualizing the places that he was "traveling" through while walking the path around the prison yard. He ordered guidebooks and other materials about the nations through which he imagined that he was passing so as to envision as accurate a picture as possible. He meticulously calculated every meter traveled and mapped distances to the real-world geography. He began in northern Germania, passed through Asia by a southern route before entering Siberia, then crossed the Bering Strait and continued southwards, finally ending his sentence 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Tenochtitlan.

Speer devoted much of his time and energy to reading. The prisoners brought some books with them in their personal property, but Landsberg Prison had no library; books were sent from Landsberg’s municipal library. From 1952, the prisoners were also able to order books from the West Berlin central library in Wilmersdorf. Speer was a voracious reader and he completed well over 500 books in the first three years at Landsberg alone. He read classic novels, travelogues, books on ancient Egypt, and biographies of such figures as Lucas Cranach, Édouard Manet, and Genghis Khan. He took to the prison garden for enjoyment and work, at first to do something constructive while afflicted with writer's block. He was allowed to build an ambitious garden.

Speer's supporters maintained a continual call for his release. Among those who pledged support for his sentence to be commuted were Karl von Gallia and Chancellor Willy Brandt. Brandt sent flowers to his daughter on the day of his release and put an end to the denagelification proceedings against him, which could have caused his property to be confiscated. Speer served his full sentence and was released at midnight on October 1, 1966.

Speer's release from prison was a worldwide media event, as reporters and photographers crowded both the street outside Landsberg and the lobby of the West Berlin hotel where Speer spent his first hours of freedom in over 20 years. He said little, reserving most comments for a major interview published in Der Spiegel in November 1966 in which he again took personal responsibility for crimes of the Angeloi regime. He abandoned plans to return to architecture, as two proposed partners died shortly before his release. Instead, he revised his Landsberg writings into two autobiographical books, and later researched and published a work about the Angeloi. He found himself unable to re-establish his relationship with his children, even with his son Albert who had also become an architect.

Following the publication of his bestselling books, Speer donated a considerable amount of money to Jewish and Muslim charities. According to Siedler, these donations were as high as 80% of his royalties. Speer kept the donations anonymous, both for fear of rejection and for fear of being called a hypocrite.

Speer made himself widely available to historians and other enquirers. Speer went to Constantinople in 1981 to participate in the IBC Newsnight program; while there, he suffered a stroke and died on September 1.

Even to the end of his life, Speer continued to question his actions under Angelos. He asks in his final book Infiltration, "What would have happened if Angelos had asked me to make decisions that required the utmost hardness? ... How far would I have gone? ... If I had occupied a different position, to what extent would I have ordered atrocities if Angelos had told me to do so?" Speer leaves the questions unanswered.
 
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CaptainAlvious

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Just to let you know, there’s a 1945 reference in the Bio for when Angelos issued the Nero decree when it should be 1944. Just a heads up.:)
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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Temple's and Castro's segments were brilliant and Speer's is just outright powerful, but with the career you've given him, I'm pretty sure Siegfried is one of the most important actors in this timeline. Really hard to top all that.

As for main story, Anders actually being dead is about as likely as the smoking man kicking his habit.
 

zenphoenix

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Just to let you know, there’s a 1945 reference in the Bio for when Angelos issued the Nero decree when it should be 1944. Just a heads up.:)
Alright, I fixed it. :)
Temple's and Castro's segments were brilliant and Speer's is just outright powerful, but with the career you've given him, I'm pretty sure Siegfried is one of the most important actors in this timeline. Really hard to top all that.

As for main story, Anders actually being dead is about as likely as the smoking man kicking his habit.
I haven’t even gotten to the other Doctor Who actors and MCU actors yet.;)

Who said I even wanted the smoking man to cut his habit? Because then I would have to call him something other than the smoking man. :p
 

CaptainAlvious

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Quick questions here and these aren’t biography questions, but when did Morzort and Beethoven die since they lived a lot longer than they did in OTL?

Also how would the film Ameadus go since Morzart lived a longer life and it would be awkward if Salieri claimed he killed Morzart here since going off Morzart’s last appearance in Vicky 2, Morzart would out live Salieri in TTL (Salieri died in 1825)?:p Through I expect that Morzart would have the eccentric personality he desplayed in the movie and real life in his youth before maturing with age and being mellowed out by Beethoven. Plus in OTL, Salieri did seem like an unreliable narrator in the movie so that would justify some of the creative liberties in the story (I like the Nostalgia Critic’s point that most of the film‘s inaccuracies involved Salieri while most of the accuracies focused on Morzart).

After you past the 2010s, will you still continue writing culture updates or would they just become World updates like in previous segments of the AAR? It would be ashame if the culture updates had to come to end due to not being able to write them past the 2010s, so I have a few suggestions. I’m thinking that you could either write a general cultural summary for the 20th Century or write individual summaries to the decades before the 1940s (1900s-1930s) after the turn of the century and the 90s update to make up for the decade summary you won’t be able to write for the 2020s-2100s and to cover the decades in the 20th Century that weren’t covered in the culture updates. I understand if that’s too much or you won’t be able to write them. I’m just offering suggestions.:)

I now wonder what the Nostalgia Critic would be like in TTL.:p Doug Walker doesn’t sound like a German name to me. Through there was a funny joke involving the Nostalgia Critic’s grudge against a Nickelodeon cartoon that shared his name if I recall.

Also can we please have Micheal Bay not exist here because the transformers films and that Pearl Harbor movie among other movies would be better off without him?

How do people feel about Atheism now, especially since the Soviet tried to implement state atheism and they were a Totalitarian dictatorship?

When did Nikola Tesla die too by the way since I’m pretty sure he lived a bit longer past 1943 In TTL?
 
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Quick questions here and these aren’t biography questions, but when did Morzort and Beethoven die since they lived a lot longer than they did in OTL?
Mozart died in 1865 (I last mentioned him being alive in 1863 at the age of 107, and he'd be the oldest man in the world for many decades). Beethoven lived until 1868.
Also how would the film Ameadus go since Morzart lived a longer life and it would be awkward if Salieri claimed he killed Morzart here since going off Morzart’s last appearance in Vicky 2, Morzart would out live Salieri in TTL (Salieri died in 1825)?:p Through I expect that Morzart would have the eccentric personality he desplayed in the movie and real life in his youth before maturing with age and being mellowed out by Beethoven. Plus in OTL, Salieri did seem like an unreliable narrator in the movie so that would justify some of the creative liberties in the story (I like the Nostalgia Critic’s point that most of the film‘s inaccuracies involved Salieri while most of the accuracies focused on Morzart).
Salieri wouldn't be in the movie. The movie would follow Mozart's personal growth from a child prodigy into an experienced composer and worldwide celebrity. Beethoven would be present as the narrator, though he would often express his frustration at Mozart getting most of the credit for their work.
After you past the 2010s, will you still continue writing culture updates or would they just become World updates like in previous segments of the AAR? It would be ashame if the culture updates had to come to end due to not being able to write them past the 2010s, so I have a few suggestions. I’m thinking that you could either write a general cultural summary for the 20th Century or write individual summaries to the decades before the 1940s (1900s-1930s) after the turn of the century and the 90s update to make up for the decade summary you won’t be able to write for the 2020s-2100s and to cover the decades in the 20th Century that weren’t covered in the culture updates. I understand if that’s too much or you won’t be able to write them. I’m just offering suggestions.:)
I never considered what I would do with the cultural updates, but I do think I'll run out of material for cultural updates after 2020. I might just make them into regular world updates. As for cultural updates for the decades before the 1940s, aside from the 1920s and 1930s (which I would need to go back to the Victoria 2 updates to get information for) I don't think I can write much about other decades. I'll probably just do some world updates.
I now wonder what the Nostalgia Critic would be like in TTL.:p Doug Walker doesn’t sound like a German name to me. Through there was a funny joke involving the Nostalgia Critic’s grudge against a Nickelodeon cartoon that shared his name if I recall.
I don't watch Nostalgia Critic, so I can't really say anything about what it would be like here.
Also can we please have Micheal Bay not exist here because the transformers films and that Pearl Harbor movie among other movies would be better off without him?
Michael Bay doesn't exist, done. The Transformers movies would instead be made by Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. For good measure, I'll have M. Night Shyamalan retire after releasing The Sixth Sense. There is no movie made from Avatar: The Last Airbender. None at all.
How do people feel about Atheism now, especially since the Soviet tried to implement state atheism and they were a Totalitarian dictatorship?
Atheism would still exist, but it wouldn't be as popular (Karl Sagan, Bill Nye, Stephen Hawking, and other atheist scientists would instead be just nonreligious). Most people would be nonreligious in the sense that while they don't see religion as superstition and don't generally believe there is no higher power, they don't really belong to any religious institution or observe religious traditions.
When did Nikola Tesla die too by the way since I’m pretty sure he lived a bit longer past 1943 In TTL?
Tesla was already 87 in 1943, so I don't see him living much longer. He might live to see the end of the war, but anything else would be pushing Mozart levels of longevity.
I will do anything you ask.
Go to the Lucasfilm studios. Kill all the directors for Solo.
busts out a new one
destroys bible again
J A
God damn it
As Quicksilver would say, you didn't see that coming, did you?;)
 

zenphoenix

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Syndicate, Part 6

Eibar, Euskadi – April 18, 1995, 6:00 AM

It was a bright and beautiful morning. The men who had barged into Alberto’s house and threatened him did not return, but the following day, two boys from the village came to tell him they saw buzzards flying over the quarry where Pablo had first found the men. Alberto woke up his son and Pablo, and with some neighbors they went to the quarry, where they watched the buzzards circle.

“The buzzard is a large but cowardly bird,” Alberto said to Pablo, “It does not work for its prey, letting others provide the kill. When I see them circling in the desert, this can only mean that something has died and they are going to pick its bones... or that death is close and they are waiting for it to do its work for them.”

Alberto did not see what the buzzards saw, but he remembered something he had seen as a younger man. A long time ago, he stood in the middle of a field, looking down at the body of a boy his age, killed by a bomb during the war. He had denied him entry to a bunker, and he heard the boy’s panicked shouts as the bombs fell. He still remembered the look on the boy’s face, the look of terror that accompanied knowledge of impending inevitable death. The buzzards would not touch it. The buzzards were here again. Alberto knew what the buzzards knew…the smell of death was upon whoever was buried there.

He and Pablo walked over to a pile of rocks, seeing a hand jutting out. Calling the other Basques over, they started unburying Anders.

“This is not a desert,” Alberto said to Pablo, “But it still does not forgive man his weakness. Weak or strong, nature takes no mercy and can kill a man in less than a day, if he is not careful.”

Pablo looked at his father, who said something in Basque. They hauled Anders out of the rocks.

“To survive, one must develop skin like leather, know where to find water and when to take shelter, like a turtle,” Alberto said.

He looked down into the hole and saw the body of an alien buried below. The Basques put Anders in a car and drove back to the village, where they entered a church. Alberto stood back and thought to himself as the local friar arrived. The Athanatoi man would’ve died if he hadn’t stayed underground, protected like a fox. However, death was still near, and they couldn't take him to a hospital, because the government men could be waiting for him there. In accordance with the ancient traditions of the Basques, he started ringing the church bell. Priests and civilians filed into the church, carrying Anders on a stretcher. They lay him down in front of the altar and surrounded him. Alberto lit incense and waved the smoke around with feathers, while doctors placed ice packs on his body and connected him to IV drips.

“Only God can save the Athanatoi man now,” he said.


Angela’s apartment – 10:00 PM

Angela twisted and turned in her bed, unable to sleep. The doorbell rang twice. She groggily got out of bed and looked through the peephole. Confused, she unlocked the door and found Rudolf Froniker outside. Rudolf held up a bottle of wine.

“I know it's late but I heard the news,” Rudolf said, “Maybe I should go. Pardon my presumptuousness.”

“How much have you had to drink?” Angela said.

Rudolf held up the bottle, showing it was nearly empty.

“Do you recycle?” he asked.

Angela opened the door and let him in. They sat down at the table. Angela poured him a cup of coffee.

“He was a good friend,” Rudolf said, sipping his coffee, “A redwood among sprouts. I guess this means he's passing you the torch.”

“Uh, I'm afraid not,” Angela said, “I'm soon to be out of a job. Dad can’t do anything.”

“Those jerks,” Rudolf said, “They're rigging the game.”

“And like rats, they just scatter back into the woodpile,” Angela said.

Rudolf took out a newspaper article and handed it to her. The headline read: “Homeless Woman Fights off Attempted Murderer.”

“What’s this?” Angela said.

“A news item about Skye, also known as ‘The Thinker’,” Rudolf said, “The woman who hacked the files and gave them to Anders. She’s in witness protection now, thank goodness.”

“What’s the date on this?” Angela said.

“April 16,” Rudolf said.

“This was the day before yesterday, after Anders disappeared,” Angela said, “Could they be so stupid?”


Eibar, Euskadi

“This healing ritual has been passed down by our ancestors,” Alberto said to the assembled Basques, “Its songs and prayers must be followed just as they have been for centuries.”

Shirtless, he traced a design on a cloth with sand. The other Basques bowed their heads in prayer and locked hands in a circle around Anders.

“But my fear for the Athanatoi man is that his spirit did not want to be healed,” Alberto said, “That it wished to join the spirit of his own grandfather, who had died, and did not want to return to the world of the living.”

Alberto knelt over him with a feather and waved it in the air. He then dipped the end in a small black liquid and painted a dash over Anders’ eyebrows.

“His body has become tired and weak and it searches for rest,” Alberto said.

The assembled Basques started chanting a prayer in Basque.

“If the struggle to continue is too hard or the wish to join his ancestors too strong, the body will give up, but if the desire to resume life burns brightly enough, God will be merciful,” Alberto said, “Just as He has been merciful to me for the last fifty years. The days and nights now will be long and difficult, for the Athanatoi man has familiar faces come and help him to choose.”

---

Anders found himself in a black void, lit only by starlight from far above. He saw figures approaching him. One stepped in front of him, and Anders recognized him as Hans.

“I was first struck by the absence of time, having depended on it so completely as a measure of myself and my life,” Hans said, “Moving backwards into the perpetual night that consumes purpose and deed, all passion and will. I come to you, old friend, with the dull clarity of the dead not to beckon you but to feel the fire and intensity that still live in you... and the heavy weight of your burdens which I had once borne. There is truth here, old friend, if that's all you seek but there's no justice or judgment without which truth is a vast, dead hollow. Go back. Do not look into the abyss or let the abyss look into you. Awaken the sleep of reason and fight the monsters within and without.”

Anders saw the boxcar, back before it was buried. Aliens, or people who looked like them, ran around inside, screaming and pounding against the wall as canisters of hydrogen cyanide were thrown in. The hatch closed, and they frantically screamed.

“Help me!” they shouted in German. “Let me out!”

Anders returned to the void. Hans faded away, and Conrad appeared.

“Hello, Anders,” he said, “I did not dare hope to see you so soon nor ever again hope to broker fate with a life to which I gave life, eventually.”

He sighed. “The lies I told you were a pox and poison to my soul, and now you are here because of them. Lies I thought might bury forever a truth I could not live with. I stand here, ashamed of the choices I made so long ago, when you were just a boy. You are the memory, Anders. It lives in you. If you were to die now, the truth will die. And only the lies survive us.”

“What about Annie?” Anders said. “Is she here?”

Conrad shook his head. “This is all in your head. If you think she’s dead, she will be here. But you do not. The thing that would destroy me, the truth I felt you must never learn is the truth you will find if you are to go forward.”

Conrad vanished back into the void. Anders looked back up at the stars, wondering.


Omar Mukhtar Building – April 19, 1995, 10:00 AM

A tour group walked into the lobby as Angela slipped in towards the back of the crowd.

“Okay, I just need everyone to step through the metal detector and we'll begin the tour,” the tour guide said, “The facility you're in is called the Omar Mukhtar Building. It was finished in 1974 and built on the site of the original Athanatoi building, which was destroyed in World War II. We'll also see a display on the ten most wanted, you might see a few of your relatives there.”

The crowd laughed. Angela stepped in line for the metal detector. She put her keys in the holder, and the security guard smiled as he recognized her.

“Making you come in the front door these days, are they, Agent Hansen?” he said.

Angela smiled back. “For now.”

She walked through the metal detector. There was a buzzing.

“Are you carrying your weapon?” the guard said.

“No,” Angela said.

The guard waved a handheld detector around her, finding nothing.

“That was weird,” she said.

“Yeah, well, I've had a straight pin left in a shirt collar set this machine off but, uh, you can go on through,” the guard said, handing her a clip-on badge.

“Thanks,” Angela said.

She walked to Erich’s office and sat on the couch. Erich opened the door and noticed her.

“Angie, come in,” he said.

Angela walked in and closed the door behind her.

“You said you needed to see me concerning the investigation?” Erich said.

“Yes, Dad,” Angela said, “I came across a news article. A woman was attacked in Thessaloniki and I have reason to believe she was targeted by the same man responsible for Anders.”

“Can I see it?” Erich said.

Angela handed him the article.

“The date postdates Anders' disappearance,” Angela said, “Now, you already have the ballistics data from Conrad Humboldt on file. I would like you to run it against the ballistics from this man's case.”

“Trying to prove what?” Erich said.

“Well, if both were attacked with the same weapon, we could prove that Agent Humboldt didn't kill his grandfather and it could also help us find the man who did,” Angela said.

“You've been relieved of your investigative function,” Erich said.

“Yes, I know that, Dad,” Angela said, “I just thought this might be helpful.”

Erich handed the article back. “I’m sorry, it’s not.”

“What?!” Angela said.

“This case would have been handled by the Thessaloniki P.D.,” Erich said, “They're on our drug-fire ballistics database. If there was a match in the two slugs, all the bells and whistles would have gone off by now.”

“You don't want to check?” Angela said.

“Angie, I think you underestimate the duties and responsibilities of my position as assistant director,” Erich said.

“I was just trying to cooperate with your investigation, Dad,” Angela said.

“To mitigate your situation and then add to your chances of reinstatement, isn't that right?” Erich said. “Using our personal connection?”

“No, I just want answers,” Angela said.

“And so do I,” Erich said, handing her a warrant with the RSB seal on it, “I want to know why I was asked to execute a search warrant on your apartment to look for a digital cassette.”

“I don’t have it,” Angela said.

“Is this tape what Anders died for?” Erich said.

“I believe so,” Angela said.

“You want to bring me a smoking gun, Angie?” Erich said. “You bring me this tape. Otherwise, I would ask you to go home, sit tight and let us do our job. I can’t do anything else.”

“Is that all, Director?” Angela said.

“Yes, that’s all,” Erich said.

Angela walked away. Afterwards, the smoking man walked through the other door. He took out a cigarette.

“Did you ask her about the tape?” he said.

“She says she doesn't have it,” Erich stammered.

Is that what she says?” the smoking man hissed, lighting his cigarette.

“Yes, that's what she says,” Erich said.

The smoking man sighed. “Well, that's unfortunate for everyone.”

Angela walked out of the elevator and entered the lobby again, tossing her clip-on badge on the security desk. She tentatively walked through the metal detector and looked at the guard.

“Back again?” he said.

“I'm just curious about something, would you mind if I went through here again?” Angela said.

The guard shrugged. “Sure, if you want.”

Angela put down her keys and walked through. It went off. The guard cursed.

“This thing is more sensitive than a toothache,” he said, "Damn budget cuts. We had better stuff during the war."

“Would you mind running the wand over me one more time?” Angela said.

The guard stared at her. “…okay?”

He waved it around her. As he waved it over the back of her neck, it went off.

“You wearing a necklace or something?” he said.

“No, not today,” Angela said.

“Then what the hell is that?” the guard said.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Hmm... some kind of tracker implanted on her?

For good measure, I'll have M. Night Shyamalan retire after releasing The Sixth Sense. There is no movie made from Avatar: The Last Airbender. None at all.

There is no war in Ba Sing Se. Actually, I've tried to avoid asking too many questions of, "What is X like in this timeline?" but as it did come up here, what are the major changes to Avatar? Or would some of that still be spoiler territory as we're a few decades away from this, and it could be influenced by events we haven't seen yet?
 

zenphoenix

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Hmm... some kind of tracker implanted on her?



There is no war in Ba Sing Se. Actually, I've tried to avoid asking too many questions of, "What is X like in this timeline?" but as it did come up here, what are the major changes to Avatar? Or would some of that still be spoiler territory as we're a few decades away from this, and it could be influenced by events we haven't seen yet?
It's only about 20 years away. I think it would largely be the same, only some plot elements (especially in Legend of Korra) might be more influenced by World War III. I think I remember the villains of the first season actually being called Equalists or something.

Edit: Stupid Autocorrect being Dai Li.
 
Last edited:

zenphoenix

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Syndicate, Part 7

St. Eudokimos Hospital – 2:00 PM

Angela and Demetrios looked at an x-ray of Angela’s neck. There was a small piece of metal in the back of one of the vertebrate. Demetrios stared at the x-ray.

“What do you think it could be?” Angela said.

“I have no idea,” Demetrios said, checking her neck, “It's embedded in your soft tissue here. Looks like maybe a piece of buckshot or something.”

“I don't know how it could have gotten there,” Angela said.

Demetrios rubbed his fingers over the spot. “I can just feel it under the skin. And now that I'm looking at it closely, there's a tiny little scar over it. If you want, I could, uh, do a local and pull it out of there.”

“Sure,” Angela said.

“Expense on me, as usual?” Demetrios said.

Angela playfully hit him. “Hey, you can afford it.”

“Yeah, I’ve got no problem with that,” Demetrios said, “You were probably wounded in the line of duty and you didn't even know it. Probably better than what I could do.”


Eibar, Euskadi – April 22, 1995, 8:00 AM

Alberto walked into his guest room and over to the bed, where Anders lay. He was awake now. Alberto handed him a glass of water and some pintxos. For the last three days, they had done the prayers. Anders had suffered significant fevers, but that was handled by the over-the-counter medicine they had. His physical condition, though, was easier to manage than his spiritual condition. There was doubt he would recover, but God was watching, Alberto thought, because in the evening of the 21st, he opened his eyes and asked for water. He slowly recovered that night. It would take time to regain his strength, of course, but he could manage that.


Leza Atsumi’s office, Constantinople – 10:00 AM

Leza placed the small piece of metal under the microscope with tweezers and looked at it.

“Well... it's not buckshot, so your boyfriend’s wrong,” she said, “I, uh... I know what it looks like to me but, uh... I couldn't tell you how it got there. Take a look.”

Angela looked through the microscope. The small piece of metal was highly detailed and had intricate lines crossing it, like the ones found in the Normandy corpse, Max Fenig, and especially Daniel Burkard.

“It looks like a computer chip,” Angela said.

“That's what it looks like,” Leza said.


Melissa Hansen’s house

Angela sat on the couch, while Melissa looked at the implant in a vial.

“I don't even know how long it’s been in there,” Angela said, “I have absolutely no recollection of it being put there. Maybe it was put there during my so-called abduction, but why?”

Melissa sat down. “That is frightening. Angie, this is very serious. You've got to find out what this is.”

“I don't have access to the Athanatoi labs, and Leza’s putting her career at risk letting me in,” Angela said.

“No,” Melissa said, “I'm, I'm talking about access to your own memory.”

Angela looked away, not wanting to put up with her sister’s philosophy.

“I mean, obviously, you have buried this so deeply, you can't consciously recall it,” Melissa said.

“Melissa, please...” Angela said.

“I know someone, someone who can help you...” Melissa said.

Angela slammed her fist on the table. “NO!”

She walked away.

“What are you so afraid of, Angie?” Melissa said, walking up to her. “You afraid you might actually learn something about yourself? I mean, you are so, you are so shut off to the possibility there could be any other explanation except for your scientific view of the world. It's like you've lost all touch with your own intuition. You're carrying so much grief and fear that you can't see you, you've built up these walls around your true feelings and the memory of what really happened. Just do this for me. As your sister. Please.”

Angela sighed in frustration.


Heitz Werber’s office, Smyrna – 4:00 PM

Angela sat on a chair as Heitz Werber sat next to her.

“What I'm going to do is induce an non-ordinary state, a modified form of hypnosis which involves what is called holotropic breath work,” Heitz said, “This will quiet your interpretive mind so that we can cut through the interference with your memories and perceptions. Now, what I want you to do is to maintain a focus on your breath... relax your breathing.”

“Now, I want you to close your eyes and think of a place where you've always felt completely comfortable and safe,” Heitz said.

Angela closed her eyes and imagined her childhood home in Nantes.

“You told me of your experience of being taken away and losing time,” Heitz said, “Do you remember how you felt just before this happened?”

“I was afraid...” Angela said.

“Do you remember what you were afraid of?” Heitz said.

“Um... that I would die...” Angela said.

“But you didn't die,” Heitz said, “Someone must have cared for you. Do you remember who that someone was?”

“There were men... um, a man took me and, uh... there was a light and... loud sounds, my, um... my ears were pounding,” Angela said.

“They performed a procedure on you,” Heitz said, “Do you remember any pain during this?”

“I'm trying,” Angela said, “The, the sound is all screwed up. There was an alarm. They, they were under attack, I think. Th, I remember, um... they wanted to know if I was all right.”

“Maybe you trusted them not to hurt you,” Heitz said, “Could this be possible?”

“I don't know,” Angela said.

“At the Athanatoi, you work with people you must entrust with your life,” Heitz said, “Could it have been one of these people?”

“I had to trust someone... I was powerless,” Angela said, “I couldn't... I could not resist them.”

“If this is too painful, I want you to go back to that comfortable place where we began and try again,” Heitz said.

He put his hand on hers and she gasped, startled. “No!”

She gathered her thoughts and realized she was back in the office.

“I'm sorry...” she said, “I'm trying, I'm trying. I don't think this is working. I don't think we're getting anywhere.”

She got up.

“Thank you, but you'll have to excuse me,” she said.

She left.


Angela’s apartment – 4:30 PM

Angela parked in front of her apartment and found Erich leaving the building. He got in his car, which was a few cars back from hers. He drove away as Angela watched him.


Eibar, Euskadi

Anders sat among a group of Basque elders, Alberto at their head. He was draped in a blanket.

“You should be careful,” Alberto said, “You are still weak. The ritual may have healed you spiritually, I hope, but it is up to you to maintain your physical health. You must not do any work for the rest of the week.”

“That's really going to cut into my social life,” Anders joked.

Everybody laughed.

“The boys have a gift for you,” Alberto said.

“Is it Sentinel?” Anders said.

The youngest boy walked up to Anders and handed him a pouch of sunflower seeds. He smiled.

“You asked for them during your worst fevers,” Alberto said.

“During my fever, I... I left here and traveled to a place,” Anders said.

Alberto pointed at his heart. “This place. You carry it with you. It is inside of you. It is the origin place.”

“It wasn't a dream?” Anders said.

“It is whatever you think it is,” Alberto said, “It may be a dream. It may not be. That is not for me to decide.”

Anders stared at him. Alberto stood up.

“We are done now,” he said.

Everybody stood and left, except Anders, who remained seated.

“Herr Garcia-Diaz?” Anders said.

Alberto turned around. “Yes?”

“You aren’t a code-talker,” Anders said, “Your name didn’t appear in the public files. And there is no record of any Alberto Garcia-Diaz or his family prior to 1945.”

“You are perceptive,” Alberto said.

“What is your real name?” Anders said.

Alberto looked at Anders with a calm and slightly sad expression.

“Are you Ludwig Angelos?” Anders said.

Alberto slowly nodded.

“Do they know?” Anders said.

Ludwig nodded again. “They have always known.”
 

CaptainAlvious

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“Are you Ludwig Angelos?” Anders said.

Alberto slowly nodded.
Well that’s an unexpected face l didn’t expect to see again! :eek: That reminds me, how is the Angelos bio going so far since you said you weren’t sure if you gave him a backstory in Vicky 2/Hoi3?

By the way, I think I found some discussions on Deromanization in WW3 on page 43 so I recommend looking at that.:)

Just to let you know, While you listed the Kaiserreich timelines in the table of contents and mentioned Fuherreich, I think you forgot to list the Fuherreich timeline in the table of contents. It was on page #69 if you need to know where to look.:)

I’m not sure if this is a spoiler, but since you had Putin replace Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted, what would the Matrix films, especially the sequels, be like here? I imagine the first Matrix film being the same but I think the sequels have the potential to be better, both in terms of plot and in terms of story and philosophical themes. I think they could be really good if they were given a little edits and rewrites just like how the Star Wars prequels had the potential to be really good. I also assume that the actual Keanu Reeves died in the war, giving Putin the chance to replace him. Would that be correct?
 

zenphoenix

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hat reminds me, how is the Angelos bio going so far since you said you weren’t sure if you gave him a backstory in Vicky 2/Hoi3?
I'm still working on it, but it will be delayed for a while, since I'm still searching the Victoria 2 and HOI3 threads for any references I may have made to Angelos' personal life.
By the way, I think I found some discussions on Deromanization in WW3 on page 43 so I recommend looking at that.:)
I thought I got them all already. I don't think the discussions on page 43 need to be put in the contents, since it's not really a detailed description of deromanization (nothing that's not already in that part of the End of History arc).
Just to let you know, While you listed the Kaiserreich timelines in the table of contents and mentioned Fuherreich, I think you forgot to list the Fuherreich timeline in the table of contents. It was on page #69 if you need to know where to look.:)
I've added it now.
I’m not sure if this is a spoiler, but since you had Putin replace Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted, what would the Matrix films, especially the sequels, be like here? I imagine the first Matrix film being the same but I think the sequels have the potential to be better, both in terms of plot and in terms of story and philosophical themes. I think they could be really good if they were given a little edits and rewrites just like how the Star Wars prequels had the potential to be really good. I also assume that the actual Keanu Reeves died in the war, giving Putin the chance to replace him. Would that be correct?
I think it's better for Keanu Reeves to not exist here. His mother was English and his father was mixed Chinese, English, Irish, Hawaiian, and Portuguese, so the circumstances leading to the birth of his parents (and his own birth) might not exist. Then again, if I do see another movie to fit him in, I might reconsider.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Ludwig? He has quite the tale to share, I suspect.
 

zenphoenix

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zenphoenix

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Syndicate, Part 8

Erich’s office – April 22, 1995, 5:00 PM

Erich’s phone rang. He picked it up.

“Hansen,” he said.

“You came to see me today, Dad,” Angela said.

“Excuse me?” Erich said.

“You came to my apartment, I assumed you wanted to see me about something,” Angela said.

“I don't know what you're talking about,” Erich said.

“I saw you come out of my building,” Angela said.

“You've obviously made a mistake, Angie, I'm sorry,” Erich said, hanging up.

He turned to the smoking man, who sat across from him.

“I need some air,” he said, “Excuse me.”

He walked out.


Mitte National Cemetery, Berlin – April 23, 1995, 10:00 AM

A congregation of mourners, many dressed in suits and uniforms, stood around Conrad Humboldt's coffin, which was about to be put in the ground next to the grave of his oldest friend, Hans Hansen. The priest and Elisabeth Hansen stood next to the coffin, while everyone else stood at a further distance.

“So we are here to mourn the passing of Conrad Humboldt,” the priest said, “To join in our grief for our loss but to share also the memories of a man whose life was rich and full and who made his family's and his friends' lives richer and fuller as well. Sadly, I've been informed today by his daughter-in-law that his son, Walter, his daughter Magda, his grandsons Anders, Angelo, and Wilhelm, and his granddaughters Anna and Melissa could not be here to join us in this time of sorrow.”

Elisabeth put a flower on Conrad’s coffin and walked away as Angela approached.

“Aunt Elisabeth?” she said.

“Angie?” Elisabeth said. “What are you doing here? Magda said you were busy.”

“It’s a family occasion,” Angela said, “Thought I’d show up. Anyways, um... I know what you may have heard from the Athanatoi, but I have a very strong feeling Anders is going to be found.”

They stopped, and Elisabeth looked at her in shock.

“Oh, my goodness gracious,” she said.

“I think he's still alive,” Angela said.

“How do you know?” Elisabeth said.

“I just have a very strong feeling,” Angela said.

She noticed the well-manicured man stepping out from behind a large tombstone.

“I promise I'll let you know as soon as I do,” Angela said.

“Thank you, Angie,” Elisabeth said, “Thank you very much.”

Elisabeth got into her limousine, courtesy of her brother, Wilhelm Tesla. Of course, the CEO of Tesla Dynamic was too busy to show up in person for the funeral of his best friend’s father, but nobody expected him to come anyways. It was a mostly private occasion for Conrad's immediate family and friends.

The well-manicured man approached Angela and straightened his tie.

“Do I know you?” Angela said.

“Hello,” the well-manicured man said, “I see you're a friend of the family. So am I. Do you think we might find a moment to speak?”

“About?” Angela said.

“A very serious matter,” the well-manicured man said, “Please... can we find someplace away from the others?”

They started walking away.

“I couldn't help overhearing your conversation,” the well-manicured man said, “You think your cousin is still alive?”

“Who are you?” Angela said.

“I'm a member of what you might call a syndicate,” the well-manicured man said, “Okay, syndicate might not be an appropriate name, but it aptly describes what we do. We represent certain global interests.”

“What kind of interests?” Angela said.

“Interests that would be extremely threatened by the digital tape that you are no longer in possession of,” the well-manicured man said.

Angela stopped.

“Threatened enough to murder?” she said.

“Oh, my, yes,” the well-manicured man said.

“What do you know about my cousin?” Angela said.

“That he is dead,” the well-manicured man said.

“You're lying,” Angela said.

“I'm not here to tell you lies,” the well-manicured man said.

“What are you here for?” Angela said.

“To tell you your life is in danger too,” the well-manicured man said.

“Leave me alone,” Angela said.

“They'll kill you one of two ways,” the well-manicured man said, “They'll send someone, possibly two men. They'll kill you in your home or in the garage with an unregistered weapon which will be left at the scene. Using false documents supplied by associates of mine, they'll be out of the country in less than two hours.”

“You said there were two ways,” Angela said.

“Yes,” the well-manicured man said, “He or she will be someone close to you. Someone you trust. They'll arrange a meeting or come to your house unexpectedly. Do you have someplace else you might stay?”

“Why, why kill me?” Angela said.

“You want something they don't,” the well-manicured man said, “Justice. And because they are now quite certain you don't have the computer copy of the files they're looking for.”

“Why are you protecting me?” Angela said.

“I feel my colleagues are acting... impulsively, and your death will draw unnecessary attention to our group,” the well-manicured man said.

“You're not protecting me, you're protecting yourself,” Angela said.

“Why should that surprise you?” the well-manicured man said. “Motives are rarely unselfish.”

“What kind of business are you in?” Angela said.

“We predict the future,” the well-manicured man said, “And the best way to predict the future is to create it.”

“The Angeloi said that,” Angela said.

“Good day, fraulein,” the well-manicured man said.

He walked away.


Formerly Conrad’s house, Mainz, Rhineland – 3:00 PM

Elisabeth entered her home and put her things down on the counter. She looked at three pictures in front of her. The first was of her, Walter, Anders, and Annie. The second was of her, Anders, and Anna. The third was of just Anders as a child. She heard footsteps behind her and turned to see Anders walking into the room.

“Mom?” he said.

“Oh...Mein Gott!” she said, hugging him and crying into his shoulder. “Oh, Anders. I can't believe it. I expected the worst. I already lost your sisters—"

“I need your help, Mom, but I don't have much time,” Anders said.

“They said something terrible has happened to you,” Elisabeth said.

“I'm okay, but I need your help,” Anders said, “I need you to remember.”

They walked to the attic, where Anders put aside an old 1-mark coin that was Anna’s favorite and a box labeled Sentinel.

“Walter’s unavailable, but I need to know more about Grandpa,” Anders said.

He opened up a small box and took out an old photo. “Especially who these people are.”

Elisabeth shook her head. “It was all so long ago.”

“I need you to try and remember, Mom,” Anders said, “These pictures were taken in 1973. Where?”

They looked at the picture. On the immediate left was the smoking man. To his right were Conrad Humboldt and Hans Hansen. To their right was the well-manicured man.

“I don't know,” Elisabeth said.

“Grandpa was working for Foreign Affairs, he'd go on the road often,” Anders said, “Where would he go?”

“I don't remember, Anders,” Elisabeth said, “Please...”

“He must have talked about his work, about the men he worked with,” Anders said, “Did he ever bring them home? Were they ever here?”

“Yes... but I don't remember their names anymore, besides your Uncle Hans,” Elisabeth said, “What does this have to do with, Anders?”

Anders took out a gun. “I think it has to do with Annie.”

He walked out.


Angela’s apartment – 3:15 PM

Angela walked in just as she heard the phone ringing. She picked it up.

“Hello?” she said.

“Angie, it’s me,” Melissa said, “Where've you been?”

“I was in Berlin for Grandpa Conrad’s funeral,” Angela said.

“Oh, well, I was worried about you,” Melissa said, “Because I haven't heard from you since you saw Doctor Werber.”

“Missy, something strange happened to me today,” Angela said, “I'm... I'm a bit freaked out by it.”

“Okay, well, I, I want to come over,” Melissa said, “I want to talk to you. Are you going to be there for a while?”

“Not really,” Angela said, “I scheduled something with Demetrios.”

“Well, I’ll drop by anyways,” Melissa said, “We can get drinks together.”

“No, Melissa, you don’t understand,” Angela said.

“I’m not taking no for an answer,” Melissa said, hanging up.

Angela put down the receiver.

“Scheiße,” she cursed.

The phone rang again. She picked it up.

“Yeah?” she said.

The person on the other end hung up. Angela cursed more. What did the well-manicured man say about her alleged killers? They would make sure she was at home before going after her. This was more terrifying than she expected. She felt her anxiety bubbling up again. It was like the Ed Funsch shooting again, Grandpa’s shooting again, Vienna again. Someone was out to kill her yet again. She had to get out of there.

She took her gun and ran out of her apartment. Outside, a car screeched to a halt in front, and Erich swung the passenger side door open.

“Angie, get in,” he said, “I need to talk to you, it's very important.”

“I was just going over to Melissa’s,” Angela said.

“I'll drop you by there, right now, I need for you to come with me,” Erich said.

“Where are we going?” Angela said.

“To a place we can talk in private,” Erich said.

Angela stared at him. Then she got in, and Erich sped off.


Anders’ apartment – 3:30 PM

Angela shuffled through her keys and reached the door to Anders’ apartment. She unlocked it and stepped aside.

“After you,” she said.

Erich walked in, and Angela drew her gun.

“Eyes forward,” she said, turning on the lights, “Put your hands where I can see them. Don't turn around or I'll blow your head off. Don’t think I won’t do it.”

“Angie, what is this?” Erich said. “I’m your dad!”

“Do as I say then, Dad!” Angela said. “Get inside!”

Erich walked inside and raised his hands over his head. Angela walked in behind him and closed the door.

“Now move slowly towards the couch,” she said, “Turn around and sit down on your hands.”

Erich slowly sat down.

“Are you going to let me tell you why I'm here, Angie?” Erich said.

“I know why you're here,” Angela said, “I want to know who sent you. Whose errand boy you are.”

“No one sent me,” Erich said.

Angela glared at him. “You got the rest of your life to give me answers.”


Angela’s apartment

Melissa ran up the front porch and entered the apartment. As soon as she opened the door, Pavel Novak and a Hispanian man shot her. She screamed and fell. The two men ran out and turned her over. Pavel cursed.

“Scheiße,” he said, “Damn it.”

“What’s wrong?” the Hispanian said.

“Let's... let's get the frak out of here,” Pavel said.

He put his gun next to Melissa and ran out, followed by the Hispanian.


Anders’ apartment

“How high does it go, Dad?” Angela said. “Who's pulling the strings? Is Schulz in it too?”

“You can kill me, Angie, but you'll only be doing their work for them,” Erich said, “Forget about your job and family, especially me and your mother. You'll spend the rest of your life behind bars, and there isn't a judge that they couldn't persuade.”

“What's the alternative?” Angela said. “Let you kill me now?”

“I didn't come here to kill you,” Erich said, “I came here to give you something. I've got the digital tape.”

“You're lying,” Angela said.

“I've got it in my pocket,” Erich said, “I took it out of Anders’ desk.”

Angela heard footsteps approaching and turned to see someone approaching the door. Erich looked at her and pulled out his gun.

“Don’t make me do this, Angie!” he said.
 

CaptainAlvious

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A quick question, but what would Balkanization be called in this timeline since the Balkans are now unified under one nation and that term wouldn’t make sense for TTL? Maybe Eimericanization or Russoization?

I think there where detailed discussions on page 56 that I think could be added to the table of contents, like the general and specific estimates for the casualties of the World Wars. And some discussions on certain aspects on Indian and Chinese culture, like Anime and Cartoons. Just pointing out tidbits and pieces of lore I found.:)
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Angela and Erich's standoff... Such family drama. Seems like tragedy is doomed to follow, no matter what.

I think there where detailed discussions on page 56 that I think could be added to the table of contents, like the general and specific estimates for the casualties of the World Wars. And some discussions on certain aspects on Indian and Chinese culture, like Anime and Cartoons. Just pointing out tidbits and pieces of lore I found.:)

This would admittedly be great, one place to look over every bit of worldbuilding not tied to the main story.
 

zenphoenix

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A quick question, but what would Balkanization be called in this timeline since the Balkans are now unified under one nation and that term wouldn’t make sense for TTL? Maybe Eimericanization or Russoization?
It would indeed be called Eimericanization.
I think there where detailed discussions on page 56 that I think could be added to the table of contents, like the general and specific estimates for the casualties of the World Wars. And some discussions on certain aspects on Indian and Chinese culture, like Anime and Cartoons. Just pointing out tidbits and pieces of lore I found.:)
This would admittedly be great, one place to look over every bit of worldbuilding not tied to the main story.
I'll take a look at that and update the table of contents.
 

zenphoenix

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Syndicate, Part 9

Anders’ apartment – April 23, 1995, 3:34 PM

“Drop your weapon!” Erich said. “Put it down, Angie!”

“No way,” Angela said.

“I said put it down!” Erich said.

“I said no!” Angela said. “You're setting me up! How could you do this, Dad?!”

“I'm trying to help you,” Erich said.

“Then put your weapon down and sit down,” Angela said.

“Not a chance,” Erich said.

“You said you weren't here to kill me, Dad, now prove it,” Angela said.

“I didn't come here to have a gun shoved in my face by my own daughter either,” Erich said.

“Damn it, Dad!” Angela said.

Anders kicked down his door and aimed his gun at Erich, who pointed his gun at Anders. Everybody looked shocked.

“Drop your weapon!” Anders said. “I said...”

“Back off!” Erich said.

“I said put it down!” Anders said.

“What the hell is this, Angie?” Erich said. “What are you pulling here?”

“You okay, Angie?” Anders said.

“Yeah,” Angela said, "Except for the fact you kicked down that door instead of me."

“Get his gun,” Anders said.

“Fine,” Erich said, handing over his gun.

“Now, I want an explanation,” Anders said.

“I was warned that somebody would kill me... someone I trusted,” Angela said.

“I'm going to reach into my coat pocket and end this charade...okay?” Erich said, pulling out the DAT tape. “I assume you both know what this is? Now, I want an explanation.”

“Cigarette Guy killed Grandpa for that tape, and then he killed me,” Anders said.

“What are you talking about?” Erich said.

“I was a dead man,” Anders said, “Now, I'm back, as you can see.”

“What is on this tape?” Erich said.

“Bureau of Defense files that weren't supposed to exist,” Anders said, “The truth about our government's involvement in a global conspiracy of silence about the existence of extraterrestrial life. Maybe even Sentinel. Actually, forget that, those files aren't even there.”

Angela reached for the tape. “Give it to me.”

“No, this tape stays with me,” Erich said.

Anders brandished his gun. “Give Angie the tape, Uncle Erich.”

“If what you say is true, the information on this tape is valuable enough to kill for,” Erich said, “Then it's the only leverage we've got to bring these men to justice. It's not going to do us any good if it falls back into their hands!”

Anders lowered his gun. “Then you better make sure it doesn't. Come on, Angie, let’s go.”

“Where?” Angela said.

“There are truths out there that aren't on that tape,” Anders said.

He walked out. Angela looked back at Erich. Then she put his gun down and walked out, meeting Anders at the elevator.

“I went to Grandpa Conrad’s funeral,” she said, “I told Aunt Elisabeth you were going to be okay.”

“How did you know?” Anders said.

“I just knew,” Angela said.

They walked into the elevator.


St. Eudokimos Hospital – 4:00 PM

Magda Hansen ran up to Demetrios as he talked with another doctor.

“If you’ll wait there, sir, I’ll be right there,” Demetrios said.

He turned to Magda. “Frau Hansen, what are you doing here?”

“My daughter,” Magda said, “Is she okay?”

“Melissa?” Demetrios said.

“No, no... that's Angie’s sister,” Magda said, “There must be a mistake.”

“Well, we had Melissa Hansen in surgery with a cranial gunshot wound,” Demetrios said.

“What?!” Magda said.

Magda shook her head and ran into the hospital room, where she saw Melissa lying on a bed, her face taped up and hooked to a respirator. Her body tensed up. She took Melissa’s hand and cried.

“Missy?” she said. “It’s Mom.”

“We took drastic precautionary measures due to the nature of the head wound,” Demetrios said, “We've induced coma to try and relieve the trauma on the brain.”

“Is she going to be okay?” Magda said.

“We've done everything we can right now,” Demetrios said, “We'll being monitoring her around the clock.”

Magda tried to stop crying, but she couldn’t. “What happened?”

“She was shot in the head, apparently,” Demetrios said, “Almost execution style. Very neat wound, as if professionally done. Like it was a hit.”

“WHO WOULD DO THIS TO HER?!” Magda bawled.

Demetrios looked at a nurse. “Why don't we get Frau Hansen a comfortable chair?”


Lone Gunman office

Reinhard, Angela, Ragnar, and Anders looked at the photo of the Syndicate members under a magnifying glass. From left to right, the men lined up were the smoking Man, Conrad Humboldt, Hans Hansen, a former Angeloi, three other men, and the well-manicured man.

“That’s Grandpa there,” Angela said, pointing at Hans’ face.

“And that’s my Grandpa too,” Anders said, pointing at Conrad.

“This was taken when?” Ragnar said.

“About 1972 or 3,” Anders said.

“Amazing,” Ragnar said, “Lander, take a look.”

Reinhard looked through the magnifying glass.

“Do you recognize any of these men?” Angela asked.

“Are you familiar with a post-World War II project known as Operation Paper Clip?” Reinhard said.

“Our deal with the devil,” Anders said, “The Roman government provided safe haven for certain Angeloi and Rasa war criminals in exchange for their scientific knowledge.”

Reinhard pointed out the former Angeloi. “I know who this man is. Victor Klemper.”

“The man standing next to your grandfathers is one of those criminals, though not the most famous of the bunch,” Ragnar said, “Werner von Braun, designer of the V-2 rockets that leveled Vienna, may be the most notorious, but Victor Klemper certainly takes the prize for the most... evil Angeloi to escape the Vijayangara trials.”

“What did he do?” Angela said.

“He experimented on Muslims,” Reinhard said, “Drowned them, suffocated them, blew them up, put them in pressure chambers. All in the name of science.”

“Together with Von Braun, Klemper helped us win the space race,” Ragnar said, “Using his scientific data on the effects of high-altitude flying, we were able to put men in space and astronauts on the moon before the Soviets.”

“One giant step for humanity,” Reinhard said, sarcastically.

“What would he be doing in a photo with our grandfathers?” Angela said.

“I don't know,” Anders said, “Do you recognize anybody else in the photograph?”

Reinhard shook his head. “No. Operation Paper Clip was supposed to have been scrapped in the 1950s but if this is 1973...”

“Whatever happened to Klemper?” Angela said.

“He's still here, living very well at the expense of the Roman taxpayer,” Ragnar said.

The door opened, and Rudolf entered. He stopped and looked at Anders.

“Unbelievable!” he said, hugging Anders. “We thought you were history.”

“You're going to have to wait a little longer for my Star Trek collection, Froniker,” Anders said. “Where were you? We were looking all over.”

“Down at St. Eudokimos,” Rudolf said, “I was scanning the police frequency when I heard the report of a shooting.”

He took off his hat and looked at Angela. “Agent Hansen…”

“Wait, what is it?” Angela said.

“Your sister's in critical condition,” Rudolf said.

Angela stared in shock at both Rudolf and Anders. Then she got up and stormed out.

“Angie…” Anders said, following her outside. “Angie, wait!”

“I have to go there, Anders,” Angela said, “That bullet was meant for me.”

“If they're trying to kill you, that's the first place they're going to look,” Anders said.

“Those monsters...” Angela said. “Do they think they can take away my entire family without angering me?!”

“We're going to call someone I think can help,” Anders said, “It's the only thing you can do for her right now is try to crucify them.”

“Is he a former Angeloi?” Angela said. “Like Klemper?”

“The son of the Volksfuhrer himself,” Anders said.

Angela punched him in the arm.


Kaiserstrasse, Frankfurt – 7:09 PM

“This is a serious mistake,” the first elder said, “An innocent woman has been shot.”

“Can this be traced?” the second elder said.

“This is your man,” the third elder said, looking at the smoking man.

“There was a mistake,” the smoking man said, “It will be rectified.”

“By whom?” the well-manicured man said. “By whom will this be rectified? Your ridiculously incompetent assassins? Your arrogant RSB agents?”

“These men are professionals,” the smoking man said.

“This is not a profession for men who make mistakes,” the well-manicured man said, “My God, you presume to make us believe you can simply fix it with enough bullets?”

The smoking man shifted uncomfortably in his chair and shook his head.

“This woman...Hansen...” the well-manicured man said. “I know she believes her partner is still alive.”

“Humboldt's dead,” the smoking man said, “I took care of it myself.”

“And the computer tape containing the stolen files you tell us was recovered,” the well-manicured man said, “You can show it to us?”

The second elder leaned against a fireplace and smoked a Russian cigar.

“I wasn't aware that my honesty was in question or doubt,” the smoking man said.

“You have the tape?” the first elder said.

“Of course I have it,” the smoking man said.

“I think I'd like to see it,” the second elder said.

“So would I,” the third elder said.

“I have vouchsafed it for reasons of security,” the smoking man said, putting out his cigarette and standing up, “I'll have it here for you tomorrow... by which time this whole matter will have been cleared up.”

He left the conference room and stopped in the doorway.

“By the way,” he said, “We really should get a better conference room. This one is just too filled with smoke.”

“That’s your problem,” the well-manicured man said.

The smoking man walked out.


[REDACTED], Anatolia – April 24, 1995, 7:15 AM

Victor Klemper worked on his flowers in his greenhouse as Angela and Anders approached him.

“Victor Klemper?” Anders asked.

“Yes?” Victor said.

“My name is Anders Humboldt, and this is Angela Hansen,” Anders said.

“Humboldt and Hansen?” Victor said.

“Yes, I think you knew our grandfathers,” Anders said.

“What’s this about?” Victor said.

“When the Reich restored your citizenship and granted amnesty after the war, you did some work for our government,” Anders said.

“I'm an old man now,” Victor said, “The war was decades ago. History bores me.”

“Because it escaped you or because you escaped it?” Angela said.

“Freud, Salk, Crick, Watson…Spitz, Neumann, Braun, Tesla...” Victor said. “These will be the names they celebrate at the end of this millennium. Great scientists. And Klemper? He will be remembered only as a butcher and a monster.”

“History may be the only justice you'll ever know,” Angela said.

“Do you know my work?” Victor said. “Do you know what we accomplished?”

“As an Angeloi or for the blood money we paid you?” Angela said.

“We were young men caught in a fervor, but our experiments changed the world,” Victor said.

“For a lot of innocent Muslims,” Angela said.

“Progress demands sacrifice,” Victor said, “Discovery requires experimentation. I... I have confronted my demons. And soon I will die too.”

“Like my grandfather,” Anders said, “They killed him and Angie’s grandfather, and I believe you know why.”

“I believe they would kill anyone if it is in the best interest of the work,” Victor said.

"Well, what is this work our grandfathers were involved in?" Anders said.

“I have no answer for you,” Victor said, turning to his flowers.

“Well, you knew him!” Anders said, handing him the photo. “Was he a murderer too?”

“There are some things you don't have to know,” Victor said, “Or want to know.”

“No, I need to know!” Anders said. “I need to know the truth! Isn't that what you want? For the truth to be known?”

“Do you know the formula of Napier's constant?” Victor said.

“Yes, why?” Angela said.

“The photo was taken at the Strughold Mining Company in the Ruhr and that is all I will tell you,” Victor said, “The rest you can find out yourself.”

“Let’s go, Angie,” Anders said, starting off.

Angela glared at Victor for a long time, a deep contempt in her eyes. The old man smiled back at her with an unexpected humanity. She turned away and walked after Anders.


Kaiserstrasse, Frankfurt

The phone rang. An aide picked it up.

“Yes, one moment,” he said, handing the phone to the well-manicured man.

“Yes?” the well-manicured man said.

“It’s me, Klemper,” Victor said.

“Victor?” the well-manicured man said

“How are you, old friend?” Victor said. “It's been far too many years.”

“What is it, Victor?” the well-manicured man said.

“Oh, I was just paid a visit by the grandson and granddaughter of two of our old colleagues,” Victor said.

The well-manicured man silently cursed. “What did you tell him, Victor?”

“I told him that you were the most venal man I've ever met,” Victor said, “Beyond that, I told him nothing.”

Victor hung up.

The well-manicured man turned to the other Syndicate elders. “Humboldt is alive. I think it's time we call our friends who will handle this matter more satisfactorily.”

He put down his coffee and walked away.