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

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

zenphoenix

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Rewind, Part 3

Anders’ apartment – September 18, 1996, 9:00 PM

Anders continued watching the tape of Isaac Asimov, Karl Sagan, and the RANA astronomers speculating on the existence of extraterrestrial life. He put his head in his hands and started crying. One hand picked up his loaded gun from the coffee table and put it to his head. But before he could pull the trigger, the phone rang. He picked it up, but he didn’t say anything.

“Agent Humboldt?” Michael said. “Agent Humboldt?”

“Yes?” Anders said.

“There’s a matter of security,” Michael said, “Something I hadn’t anticipated. Just after I left your apartment, I was followed by some RSB agents.”

“Who the frak are you?” Anders demanded.

"Are you listening to me, Agent Humboldt?” Michael said. "Are you hearing me? We can't talk now. I have reason to believe they may be listening.”

“Did they give Angie her cancer?” Anders said. “Did they do this to her because of me?"

"They may be listening, Agent Humboldt,” Michael said, "They may be watching you. Everything you do and say.”

Anders looked around his apartment and to the light on the ceiling.

“Are you listening, Agent Humboldt?” Michael said. “Agent Humboldt?”

Anders hung up and saw a small pinhole near the light, which he recognized as a surveillance camera. Anders ran out of the apartment and up to the stairs to the apartment right about him. Kicking in the door, he found a man throwing papers and videos into a fireplace.

“Back away!” Anders shouted, waving his gun around.

The man grabbed a shotgun and aimed at him. A shot rang out.


Angela’s apartment - 10:00 PM

Angela walked into her apartment and locked the door. She walked through the dark and went to get water, but then she noticed Anders sitting in one of her chairs.

“Hey Angie,” he said.

“What are you doing here?” Angela said.

"It was too crowded in my apartment, I couldn't sleep,” Anders said.

"I'm not kidding, Anders,” Angela said.

"Good, cuz neither am I,” Anders said, "There's a dead man on the floor of my apartment, and it's only a matter of time before he starts to stink the place up."

"What are you talking about, Anders?” Angela said. "What's going on?”

"Apparently somebody thinks my life is interesting enough to put on video tape,” Anders said, "My apartment's been under an electronic surveillance for at least 2 months. Look at this, courtesy of the Roman government. His name is Sam Ostelhoff or something like that.”

He handed her Ostelhoff’s RSB badge.

“That's the dead man in your apartment?” Angela said.

"Yeah, he works ... he worked for the Bureau of Defense,” Anders said, “RSB."

"How did he die, Anders?” Angela said.

"Gunshot wound to the face,” Anders said, “Like many RSB agents, he was doomed by his hubris. And by hubris I mean his faith in a 12-gauge shotgun."

"Have you contacted anybody at the Athanatoi?” Angela said.

“Uncle Erich doesn’t have enough influence to help, Schulz is compromised, Di’s in the way of the Director, and I can’t go to anyone else,” Anders said, “Ostelhoff worked for the RSB and the military. Are you beginning to get the picture? Do you see what's happening here?"

"That the hoax is connected to the military, just like Kritschgau said it was,” Angela said.

"This hoax, your cancer, everything!” Anders said. "It just doesn't lead back to the military, it leads right back to the Athanatoi!”

They sat down at the dinner table. Anders switched on a light and showed Angela a phone log.

“Ostelhoff was set up in the apartment directly above mine,” Anders said, "I caught him trying to destroy phone records on which the same number was called 17 times."

"This is a PBX operator at the Athanatoi,” Angela said, "Who would he be calling at the Athanatoi?"

"I don't know,” Anders said.

“Anders, how long has this been going on?” Angela said.

"Maybe since the beginning, since you joined me on the X-Division,” Anders said.

"That would mean that for four years we've been nothing more than pawns in a game, that it was a lie from the beginning,” Angela said, “Anders, these men... You give them your faith and you're supposed to trust them with your life.”

"There are those who can be trusted,” Anders said, "What I need to know is who among them is not. I will not allow this treason to prosper, not if they've done this to you."

“Anders, we can't go to the Athanatoi making these accusations,” Angela said.

"No, but as they lie to us, we can lie to them,” Anders said, "A lie to find the truth.”


Anders’ apartment - September 19, 1996, 6:51 AM

After identifying the body to the police, Angela left the apartment and met Schulz in the hallway.

“Agent Hansen, is it true?” he asked.

Angela couldn’t look him in the face. "Yes, sir."

"Are you alright?” Schulz asked.

"I'm um.... I don't know what to say,” Angela said, "They asked me to come down and identify the body."

"How did you make the ID?” Schulz said. "Word has it from Constantinople P.D. that it was self-inflicted. A shotgun blast to the face."

"I saw Anders earlier this morning,” Angela said, "He was wearing the same clothes.”

"I'm very sorry,” Schulz said.

Angela walked past him to the elevator.

“Agent Hansen, Section Chief Freiburg wants us in for questioning about this,” Schulz said, “He believes you have information you haven’t come forward with.”


Pentagon, Kodima, outside Constantinople

Anders casually walked into the lobby, blending in with the crowds of tourists and officers milling around. He went to the security area and saw everybody was using a keycard to get in. He waved Ostelhoff’s badge over the scanner, which beeped green. The turnstile unlocked, and Anders entered.

Section Chief Freiburg’s office - 8:41 AM

Angela opened the door, and she and Schulz walked into Freiburg’s office. Freiburg looked up from his copy of Die Zeiten and gestured to two empty chairs.

“Agent Hansen, Director Schulz, please have a seat,” he said.

Angela and Schulz sat down. Freiburg looked through a side door at an adjacent conference room, which Angela quickly recognized as the one where she and Schulz had first met the smoking man and his accomplices.

“Some time has passed since you were last here,” Freiburg said.

“Yes, sir,” Angela said, “Almost four years.”

"From all reports, your work on the X-Division has brought you very close to Agent Humboldt,” Freiburg said.

“He was my cousin,” Angela said, “He was family.”

"We're awfully sorry about what's happened, Agent Hansen,” Freiburg said.

"But that's not why I'm here,” Angela said.

"You're here because we've been informed by the Bureau of Defense that prior to Agent Humboldt's accident, you may have been notified by one of their employees,” Freiburg said.

"Yes, that's right,” Angela said.

"And he may have given you classified information,” Freiburg said.

"He had information about the discovery of what Agent Humboldt believed to be alien corpse,” Angela said, "He said the body was part of a hoax."

"He provided evidence?” Freiburg asked.

"No... hard... evidence, no,” Angela said.

"Agent Hansen, I suggest you tell us everything you know,” Freiburg said, "If you have any knowledge of this man, you should speak up now."

"What knowledge?” Angela said.

“His name,” Freiburg said, “I’ve assembled a joint Athanatoi panel on this matter, so if you don’t explain it to me now, you’ll have to explain it to them later.”

Schulz showed her a photo. “Is this the man? Michael Kritschgau?”

The photo was of Michael sitting on Anders’ chair in his living room. The angle was from the ceiling. Angela realized it was taken from Ostelhoff’s surveillance. She gulped.

“Yes,” she said.


Pentagon

Michael walked down the hall. On the other side of a room, he saw Anders. He caught up to him and waved.

“How’d you get in here?” he said.

"Through the front door,” Anders said.

"You can't bypass security,” Michael said.

Anders showed him Ostelhoff’s badge. “I just did.”

Michael looked around him. “Put it away.”

"You knew my apartment was being surveilled, how?” Anders said.

"Come with me,” Michael said.


Michael’s office

Anders and Michael entered the office. Michael turned on the light and shut the door.

"I was followed from your apartment the night we spoke,” Michael said.

"Someone at the Athanatoi is involved, this man Ostelhoff, he was in contact with somebody …” Anders said.

"How'd you get his card?” Michael said.

“He died,” Anders said.

"You know what that is?” Michael said. "What you have in your hand? That gives you Level 4 clearance."

"Level 4 clearance, that means I get to dine at the officer's club?” Anders said. “Free coffee?”

"You have access to everything, Herr Humboldt,” Michael said, "Things I don't, things I can only tell you about."

"I need to know who did this to Angie!” Anders said.

"What you can have, what you may find, is so much more than that,” Michael said.

“What?” Anders said.

"What you want most desperately of all,” Michael said.

“To find Annie?” Anders said.

“No, you idiot, to cure your cousin’s cancer,” Michael said.


Anders’ apartment - 10:02 AM

The smoking man picked the lock and entered the apartment, closing the door behind him. He looked around the apartment and picked up a framed picture of Anders and Annie as kids. He cried softly and put the picture down. He then looked up at the hole in the ceiling from where Ostelhoff had been surveilling Anders.


Angela’s office

Angela walked in and picked up the phone.

“Athanatoi Home Division,” the operator said, "How may I direct your call?”

“Communications Center, please,” Angela said.

There was a click.

"Communications Center, this is Kim,” Kim said.

“Hey Kim, this is Angela,” Angela said.

“Angela, I'm so sorry about what's happened,” Kim said, "I just heard."

"Holly, I need your help on something,” Angela said, "I was hoping you could help me with some information."

"Sure, what do you need?” Kim said.

"I have some calls placed to the Athanatoi on consecutive dates,” Angela said, “From the 12th to the 17th. They came into the pbx operator. The first was at 11:21, the next was at 11:14, 03:07, 02:02, and 05:12. They would have all been transferred to the same extension."

"And you're looking for that extension?” Kim said.

“Yes,” Angela said.

"I've got five calls matching those times and dates transferred to an executive level extension,” Kim said.

“Whose?” Angela said.

"It's a branch extension,” Kim said, "It could be any of them at that level."

"Would Deputy Director Schulz be at that extension?” Angela said.

“Yes,” Kim said.

“Thank you,” Angela said.

“Okay, you take care now Angela,” Kim said.

As soon as Angela hung up, the phone rang again.

“Yes?” Angela said.

"Special Agent Hansen?” Vitagliano said. "This is Dr. Vitagliano over at the Paleoclimatology Department over at the Pandidakterion. You had me look into these ice core samples for you?"

“Right,” Angela said, "I...ah... I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you."

"I think you want to come down here to the lab,” Vitagliano said, "There's something I know you're going to want to see for yourself."


Pentagon - 11:04 AM

Anders and Michael walked down a hall.

"What am I looking for?” Anders said.

"Level 4 is a biological quarantine wing,” Michael said, "It houses a series of labs and medical facilities, and an elaborate facility for the storage of mass quantities of DNA."

"DNA from whom?” Anders said.

"Virtually every Roman born since 1946,” Michael said, "Every immigrant, every minority who's ever given blood or tissue to a government donor. This is what I was telling you. This is the hoax into which you've been drawn. The roots go back 50 years to the end of World War II. Playing on a virulent national appetite for bogus revelation and a public newly fearful of the Soviets’ atomic bomb... the General Staff began to fan the flames of what were called flying saucer stories. There are truths that can kill a nation, Agent Humboldt. The military needed something to deflect attention away from its arms strategy - global domination from the capability of total enemy annihilation. The nuclear card was fine as long as we alone could play it. But the generals and politicos knew they could not win a public relations war. Those photographs from Warsaw and Dresden and Koenigsberg were not faces Romans wanted to see in the mirror. Neumann knew it, of course, but we silenced him. When the Chinese developed the bomb after us, the fear in the military was not for safety at home, but for armistice and treaty. The business of the Reich isn't business, Agent Humboldt, it's war. Since the Maximists, nothing has driven the economy faster. We needed a reason to keep spending money, and when there wasn't a war to justify it, we called it a war anyway. The Cold War was essentially a fifty year public relations battle... a pitched game of chicken against an enemy we not much more than called names. The equalists called us a few names, too. 'We will bury you', Khrushchev said, and the public believed it. And after what McCarthy had done, they ate it with a big spoon. We faced off a few times in Cuba, Mitteleimerica, Siam, but nobody dropped the bomb - nobody dared, at least until World War III, when we just dropped the charade and started a real war anyways."

"But what does all this have to do with flying saucers?” Anders said.

"The military saw a good thing in '47 when the Agadir story broke,” Michael said, "The more we denied it, the more people thought it was true - aliens had landed. A made-to-order cover story for generals looking to develop the national war chest. They opened official investigations with cool-sounding names like Grudge, Twinkle, Project Blue Book, Majestic 12. They brought in college professors and senators and fed them enough bogus facts and fuzzy pictures and eyewitness accounts that they believed it, too. They even hooked Hugo Doukas, for God's sake. I can't tell you how fortuitous it was. Do you know when the first supersonic flight was, Agent Humboldt? 1947. Soon every experimental aircraft being flown was a UFO sighting. When the abduction stories started up, it was too perfect. We almost got caught in Mitteleimerica, an ambitious misstep. China and the Soviets knew it. The UN got all heated up at us."

"Germ warfare,” Anders said, "We were accused of using it in Mitteleimerica."

"It was developmental then, nothing like what we and the Russians have now,” Michael said, "The bio-weapons used in the Gulf War were so ingenious as to be almost undetectable. Developed in this very building."

"What about all the reports of abductions?” Anders said. "You’re saying they've all been lies?"

"Not lies exactly, but citizens taken unsuspecting and tested,” Michael said, "A classified military project, above top-secret and still ongoing. You've heard the recent denials about Agadir by the military, the RSB, and the Athanatoi Foreign Division. What's been the effect? Even wilder and more widespread belief. The Roman appetite for bogus revelation, Agent Humboldt."

"But I've seen aliens,” Anders said, "I've witnessed these things."

"You've seen what they wanted you to see,” Michael said, "The line between science and science fiction doesn't exist any more. This is about control, of the very elements of life. DNA - yours, mine, everyone’s."

"Then why a hoax?” Anders said. "Why create hard evidence, a body that could be disproved?"

"The body you found was so good, so believable, that only a directed scientific examination could have proven the fraud,” Michael said.

“Angie would have known,” Anders said.

"The timing of the hoax was planned so Agent Hansen wouldn't be alive to do the examination,” Michael said.

"You went along with all this,” Anders said, "You let them do this to Angie."

"I paid the price, Agent Humboldt,” Michael said, "When my son came back sick from the Gulf War, that was my retribution. I'm helping you now, but not unselfishly."

"You believe there's a cure for him in here, too,” Anders said.

"I have to think there is,” Michael said, pointing to a door marked “Level 4 Clearance Only.”

Anders used Ostelhoff’s badge to enter the door. Michael walked away and was quickly met by two soldiers.

"Michael Kritschgau...may we talk to you?” one soldier said. “We're detaining you for questioning. Would you come with us, Herr Kritschgau?"


Race track, [REDACTED] - 12:11 PM

A rider was leading a horse onto the track. The stands were empty except for the first elder. The smoking man sat down next to him.

"I was told that you needed to see me, that there was some urgency,” the elder said.

"It seems I've been left out of the loop,” the smoking man said.

"Left out?” the elder said.

"You've been watching Humboldt,” the smoking man said, lighting a cigarette, "You had a man on him. No one bothered to inform me of this."

"I know nothing of this man,” the elder said.

"I will not be cut out like this,” the smoking man said. "You need my expertise. Is this being run from the Bureau of Defense? Sentinel?"

"If it is, I am unaware of it,” the elder said.

"I've always kept Humboldt in check,” the smoking man said, "I put this whole thing together. I created his career. I own him.”

"Agent Humboldt is dead,” the elder said, "Our Athanatoi source confirmed it this morning. Humboldt killed himself. Humboldt was an asset. Without his partner, you may have underestimated his fragility."

"I've never underestimated Humboldt,” the smoking man said, "I still don’t."


Paleoclimatology Lab, Pandidakterion

"As you've asked, I've tested some of the cellular material found in the ice core sample,” Vitagliano said, "Because we couldn't classify it as either plant or animal, only as some kind of chimeric hybrid, I put some of the cells in media containing fetal bovine serum. And the cells began to divide."

"Well then they were animal cells that you found,” Angela said.

"They are not classifiable,” Vitagliano said.

"What do you mean?” Angela said. "You said there was mitotic cell division."

"When the cells began to divide they didn't just multiply, they began to go through the stages of morula, blastula, gastrula,” Vitagliano said.

"They began somatic development?” Angela said.

"The beginning of a life form,” Vitagliano said, "Growing into what, I don't know."


Pentagon

Anders tried a couple doors, but they were locked. A door at the end of the hall opened, and two soldiers entered. Anders frantically tried more doors and finally found an unlocked one, hiding himself behind it as the soldiers walked by. He looked behind him and saw the room he entered was a big, dark one filled with tables holding the bodies of aliens. He walked to the other side of the room and saw unconscious women on tables, connected to strange devices.

“What…the…frak…” he muttered.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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I'll take another red herring if it means Anders is still breathing. His progress into this Level 4 clearance and Angela's side of the investigation are interesting, but the segments with the smoking man have my attention. Before he confirmed Anders was in fact alive, he was genuinely upset over the apparent suicide.
 

zenphoenix

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I'll take another red herring if it means Anders is still breathing. His progress into this Level 4 clearance and Angela's side of the investigation are interesting, but the segments with the smoking man have my attention. Before he confirmed Anders was in fact alive, he was genuinely upset over the apparent suicide.
He's been unchallenged for so long he's genuinely excited to have a competent opponent who has a chance to destroy everything he's been working for. And now that his opponent has (allegedly) offed himself, he's sad he won't have anybody to protect his work from. And it helps that Anders is the grandson of his close friend and colleague of fifty years.
 

Brigadier44

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What would the Lithuanian and Norse occupation of Roman territories during the Maximist War have been like? I imagine that they would have been under military rule, and despised by the people of those territories. I also imagine that future historians would make comparisons to the Occupied Territories and how they were treated.

What respective Roman cities would be the San Diego, Sacramento, Reno, El Paso, and Austin parallels? Just wondering, as you never mentioned them.

What would be the Ambassador Bridge equivalent? As the Windsor, Ontario, parallel is unknown, and Stuttgart is nowhere near the Scandinavian border, where would it be?
 

zenphoenix

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What would the Lithuanian and Norse occupation of Roman territories during the Maximist War have been like? I imagine that they would have been under military rule, and despised by the people of those territories. I also imagine that future historians would make comparisons to the Occupied Territories and how they were treated.
It would have been a military occupation. There might be comparisons to the Occupied Territories, but people have generally forgotten about it.
What respective Roman cities would be the San Diego, Sacramento, Reno, El Paso, and Austin parallels? Just wondering, as you never mentioned them.
San Diego could be Aden, Sacramento could be Amman, Reno could be Grindelwald (the Swiss town, not the evil wizard:p), El Paso could be Lagos (on the Malian border) or some city on the Russian border (to keep with the Russia = Mexico theme), and Austin could be Nuremberg (or some other city in Bavaria).
What would be the Ambassador Bridge equivalent? As the Windsor, Ontario, parallel is unknown, and Stuttgart is nowhere near the Scandinavian border, where would it be?
There might be one in Memel, somewhere, between the Reich and Lithuania/Livonia.
 

zenphoenix

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Rewind, Part 4
Paleoclimatology Lab, Pandidakterion - 2:04 PM

Vitagliano drew blood from Angela.

"I'm still not sure what you're trying to find here,” Vitagliano said.

"I need to do a Notios Blot to run a culture of what you showed me against my own DNA,” Angela said, “You said the cells were full of an unidentified chemical or microorganism under the EM."

“Right,” Vitagliano said, "What are you looking for?"

"A match,” Angela said, "And I need it before seven."

“Tonight?” Vitagliano said. "Not going to happen. Not unless we have a blazing hot probe."

"It's got to happen,” Angela said, "Everything in my life depends on it.”

Vitagliano nodded and left with the vial of blood. She looked out the window and saw Schulz looking at her and leaving. She got up and ran after him.

"What are you doing here?” Angela demanded.

"I was going to ask you the same,” Schulz said.

"No, you weren’t,” Angela said, "You followed me here. Why are you following me? Is this more dirty work you're doing for Cigarette Guy and his RSB minions?"

"Why don't you tell me something, Agent Hansen,” Schulz said, "Why don't you tell me what you're doing here?"

"I want an answer from you,” Angela said.

"I want an answer from you!” Schulz said.

"This isn't your job!” Angela said.

"My job is to direct the agents under me, to question their motives when they're lying about investigations,” Schulz said, "To take steps to cease or censure their actions. Your lie is on record, Agent Hansen."

"And what about yours?” Angela said.

"On my desk, I have the pathology and forensics reports for the body found in Agent Humboldt's apartment,” Schulz said, "Now you have to answer for yourself in an hour. As you compound the lies, you compound the consequences for them."

"All lies lead to the truth, isn't that right?” Angela said.

"And what about your lie, Agent Hansen?” Schulz said. "What does it lead to?"

"The truth,” Angela said, "About the men behind what happened to me, about my abduction and the tests, about being exposed to something against my will, about being put on a table and having something implanted in me, and then having my memory stolen, only to have it return along with a disease that I was given."

"Is that your justification?” Schulz said. "Is that what you're going to tell the joint panel this afternoon?"

"Are you afraid of that?” Angela said.

"Well, considering the dead man in Humboldt's apartment was murdered in cold blood and you willfully misidentified him, yes, I am afraid,” Schulz said, "But I'm afraid only for you. Like your father is."

"You're going to use that against me, aren't you?” Angela said. "You're going to use me as I've been used all along. To preserve the lies."

"Where is Agent Humboldt?” Schulz said.

Angela walked away.

"Your silence won't save you, not with these people,” Schulz said, “I can still help you, you know. And if you lie, I don't know if anyone or anything can."

"Except proof,” Angela said.


[REDACTED]

The smoking man smoked a cigarette in a dark room. The phone rang. He picked it up.

“Yes?” he said.

“Sir, I had orders to contact you in the event Sam Ostelhoff entered the building,” a soldier said.

"Is he there?” the smoking man said.

"His keycard was scanned through the level four entrance,” the soldier said, "He used the subterranean access to breach the Pentagon."

"Are you sure it's him?” the smoking man said.

"I can't ascertain that,” the soldier said, "Do you want me to apprehend him?"

"Don't do anything, don't say anything,” the smoking man said, "I'm on my way. I’ll handle it myself."


Pentagon holding room

Anders walked through a hallway and down several flights of stairs, descending into the bowels of the earth. It was quite ironic that the truth of the visitors from the stars (or the truth of their alleged nonexistence) would be found deep underground, but he had no time to dwell on it. As he walked through each level and descended further, his surroundings grew more spartan. By the bottom floor, the ceilings were just a couple feet about him, and rusted air ducts and pipes were exposed. The place gave off the smell of an ancient tomb.

Finally, he reached a metal door and opened it using Ostelhoff’s badge, revealing a large room of shelves and filing cabinets. A nearby metal sign bore the faded words “INQUISITION SECURE CONTAINMENT FACILITY - SITE 47” under the newly painted words “BUREAU OF DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECT FACILITY REPOSITORY 71.” The room was so large it stretched out into the distance, the furthest rows swallowed up by darkness.

He went inside and walked past the rows of shelves, stopping at a cabinet whose drawers were labeled with archangel names. He opened one of them and found the implant Angela had found in ‘Ragnar Sigeric’ back in Normandy in 1992. They had hidden it here after their assignment, he realized. This was the place where they hid every piece of evidence they had taken from the X-Division in the last four years. Curious, he opened the other drawers, but they had nothing beside a few old files (and not the alien fetus he was looking for, the one that got Uncle Hans killed three years ago). He stuffed the implant in his pocket and closed the drawer, even though that wasn’t what he needed. What he needed was a cure for Angela’s cancer. Searching through the other cabinets, he found nothing. He walked across probably a quarter of the room (taking him roughly half an hour) before he found cabinets that were alphabetized. He ran to the S section and climbed up a ladder to the highest shelf of drawers. He opened the one labeled “HAN-HAM,” finding two rows of index cards inside. He flipped through and found the one labeled “Hansen, Angela Alexandra,” with her date of birth 2-23-66, her Athanatoi identification number 2317-616 and four rows of other numbers. He took the card and opened another one labeled “Kritschgau, Manfred.” It was blank.

Climbing down to the floor, Anders walked through another aisle and opened a larger cabinet, looking for drawer MN 1068-06. He found it and opened it, finding a tray of metal tubes inside. He took the tube that matched the number on Angela’s card and left the room. He went back up the stairs to the ground level and into the strange room of aliens he walked through earlier. He reached the door on the other side and waved the badge over the scanner. The scanner buzzed and turned red.

“Damn it,” he said, “Not now.”

Two soldiers entered and walked across the room towards him. He tried the card again, but it didn’t work. He winced and looked at the soldiers. He tried it again. No good. He tried it one more time, and it finally worked. He ran out the door, not noticing the smoking man waiting in the hallway outside, watching him run away. The soldiers stopped in front of the smoking man.

“We’ll have security stop him at the entrance,” one soldier said.

“No, it’s okay,” the smoking man said, “Let him go. I’ll take care of it.”


Pandidakterion - 2:34 PM

Angela pointed at the computer screen. “There it is."

"I don't understand,” Vitagliano said.

"My DNA hybridized with the anomalous DNA from the cell culture,” Angela said.

"But that means the material form the ice core sample you'd have to have DNA from the unclassified chimera cells in your own body,” Vitagliano said.

"I know,” Angela said.

"But how?” Vitagliano said. "How did you know?"

"I believe that I was exposed to this material and that it is responsible for giving me a serious illness,” Angela said.

"What kind of illness?” Vitagliano said.

"An incurable one,” Angela said.


Omar Mukhtar Building - 3:15 PM

“I had reached Agent Humboldt at a warehouse just outside of Constantinople in Skoutarion,” Angela said, “They had managed the frozen corpse by helicopter down the side of the mountain and across the Reich in a refrigerated truck. After conducting a limited physical examination Agent Humboldt was ready to believe that the body was that of an alien. That he had finally found the proof which had eluded him. Which would confirm not only the existence of alien life but of my cousin Annie’s abduction.”

“You were contacted by a man who claimed that he worked for the Bureau of Defense,” Schulz said, “A Michael Kritschgau. He told you that Humboldt had been taken in by a hoax.”

“He told me a story which detailed, point by point, the systematic way in which Agent Humboldt had been deceived and used and how I as his partner I had been led down the same path,” Angela said, “Losing my sister, both grandfathers, and my fiancé due to my allegiance and contracting a cancer which I was told was engineered by the men who responsible for Agent Humboldt’s deception.”

“Were you able to convince Agent Humboldt of these facts?” Freiburg asked.

“What I couldn't tell Agent Humboldt, what I had only learned myself, was that the cancer which had been diagnosed in me in July had metastasized,” Angela continued, “And the doctors told me, sort of a miracle, it would continue to aggressively invade my body, advancing faster each day toward the inevitable. Earlier this morning, I got a call from the police, asking me to come to Agent Humboldt’s apartment. The detective asked me ... he needed me to identify a body...”

“Agent Hansen, could you please—” Freiburg said.

“Let her speak,” Schulz said.

Angela took a deep breath. “Agent Humboldt died late last night from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”

The door opened, and Erich walked in, holding the autopsy results from Schulz’s office.

"Agent Hansen, these accusations you've made…” Freiburg said. "You've been given a disease?"

"Yes, sir,” Angela said.

"They're extremely serious charges,” Freiburg said.

"Yes, sir,” Angela said, "But I have proof against the men behind this... of the lies that I believed. What I have here is proof undeniable... that the men who gave me this disease were also behind the hoax. A plot designed to lead to Agent Humboldt's demise and to my own, thus eliminating the X-Division and the threat it poses to their control. Planned and executed by someone in this room…”

She opened her file on the table, showing the result of her blood test. “What I have here is scientific evidence—”

Blood dripped on the table next to the file. She looked at Schulz and then Freiburg. One hand reached for her nose, blood dripping on her fingers. She suddenly felt dizzy and fainted. Erich immediately rushed over and caught her.

“Somebody get a doctor!” he shouted.


Lone Gunman

Ragnar Biers opened the metal tube and poured its contents into a vial. He typed some commands onto a computer as Rudolf Froniker, Reinhard Lander, and Anders watched. A graph appeared on the screen. Ragnar looked at Anders.

“What?” Anders said. “What is it?”

“It's just deionized water,” Ragnar said, "It's nothing more than that.”

“Frak,” Anders cursed.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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What's real? What's fake evidence? At this stage, the only reason I still have any hope that it's not all just in Anders' head is because we know this is part of you setting the stage for Stellaris.
 

zenphoenix

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What's real? What's fake evidence? At this stage, the only reason I still have any hope that it's not all just in Anders' head is because we know this is part of you setting the stage for Stellaris.
How do you know I'm not actually part of a conspiracy where this entire megacampaign is in Anders' head and wiil end when he dies?;)
 

CaptainAlvious

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How do you know I'm not actually part of a conspiracy where this entire megacampaign is in Anders' head and wiil end when he dies?;)
He must have a damn good imagination if he could imagine centuries of events both on the grand political scale and on the individual level all the time countiously even before he is born!:p

I’m wondering what would Heathers be like here? Considering it deals with Teenagers dealing with psychology issues and Its set in the 80s (1989) I think it would be a good idea if it took place in the Occupied territories in the aftermath of WW3 (actually it probably throughout WW3 and be even darker than OTL, then again the musical is already dark so who knows.:D)

Also what would Mean Girls be like since I know it has a musical too.

Actually, what’s life like for the average Roman youth that experienced WW3 and how would they deal with childhood trama if, let’s say, their parents, other realtives or friends died in WW3?

I wonder what Spongebob will be like here? Outside of Sandy making references to Bavaria instead of Bavaria (through I’m not sure if they have squeriels in Bavaria so I’m not sure about her) I can’t imagine what the other spongebob characters will be like in TTL.

Also what is the ranking of nobles again since you’ve mentioned that before in a Hamilton discussion and I’m not sure how their ranked in the Reich? Also what do they do currently since outside of the Kaiser and his family they don’t have power?

Edit: Awhile ago I listened to a Percy Jackson musical and it was actually pretty good so I’m wondering if we can have the PJO movies not exist and instead have them adapted to musicals instead (that or animated movies by Hitlier, Dreamworks or Pixar!:p:D)
 

zenphoenix

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He must have a damn good imagination if he could imagine centuries of events both on the grand political scale and on the individual level all the time countiously even before he is born!:p
Plot twist, I'm Anders.:D
I’m wondering what would Heathers be like here? Considering it deals with Teenagers dealing with psychology issues and Its set in the 80s (1989) I think it would be a good idea if it took place in the Occupied territories in the aftermath of WW3 (actually it probably throughout WW3 and be even darker than OTL, then again the musical is already dark so who knows.:D)
After skimming the Wikipedia page, I think your suggestion is great. It would take place in the former DDR, near the old Occupied Territories border. So the town where the school is located isn't affected that much by the war, but there are still scars. One Heather is a rich aristoi daughter, another is the daughter of a war veteran, and the last is the daughter of a businesswoman who made a fortune expanding into the Occupied Territories. Because of this, they act like they own the school. The plot is fueled by the arrival of Jason, whose family had moved from Poland. From there the plot escalates in about the same manner as the original.
Also what would Mean Girls be like since I know it has a musical too.
I think it would be similar to the original.
Actually, what’s life like for the average Roman youth that experienced WW3 and how would they deal with childhood trama if, let’s say, their parents, other realtives or friends died in WW3?
As I said in a previous post, many children would have had family or friends fighting in the war. Those closer to the inner border would've had to deal with air raids and artillery strikes, and some would've lived under Soviet occupation for a few weeks. Psychologists would be busy treating PTSD and other trauma caused by the war for decades to come.
I wonder what Spongebob will be like here? Outside of Sandy making references to Bavaria instead of Bavaria (through I’m not sure if they have squeriels in Bavaria so I’m not sure about her) I can’t imagine what the other spongebob characters will be like in TTL.
In my 1990s update, I have Spongebob lasting three seasons and then ending. Herr Krabs would claim to be from a dynatoi family but is not really noble. Plankton is patterned more on Valentin Varennikov. I don't know about the rest of the cast.
Also what is the ranking of nobles again since you’ve mentioned that before in a Hamilton discussion and I’m not sure how their ranked in the Reich? Also what do they do currently since outside of the Kaiser and his family they don’t have power?
In order from least influential to most, there are new aristoi, old aristoi, and then dynatoi. The new aristoi are made up of people who either had titles granted to them since the 1800s (Neumann's family among them) or industrialists who effectively wielded the clout of nobility through their wealth or used their wealth to get minor titles (the Teslas are among them). The old aristoi consist of minor nobility who received their titles before the 1800s and can trace their lineage back at least a few centuries (the Annionas are one of the most obscure and irrelevant aristoi families). The dynatoi are the major noble families who dominated the Roman government and officer corps until the 1800s and can trace their lineage back to the restoration of the Reich (the Doukai, Komnenoi, Habsburgs, Schweinfurts, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, etc.). Right now they act like the British aristocracy, except without the House of Lords to represent their interests. After their powers were stripped after World War II, generally spend their time going to social gatherings, officiating at public ceremonies, donating to humanitarian causes, serving in the military (with no special privileges granted), running for politics the normal way, and providing counsel to the Kaiser (if they're dynatoi).
Edit: Awhile ago I listened to a Percy Jackson musical and it was actually pretty good so I’m wondering if we can have the PJO movies not exist and instead have them adapted to musicals instead (that or animated movies by Hitlier, Dreamworks or Pixar!:p:D)
I was thinking the Percy Jackson books should be adapted as a live-action TV show instead. That's the only way they can be done properly. A TV show would leave room for spinoffs for the Romans, Egyptians, Norse, and even other mythological pantheons (there might even be a Hindu mythology show marketed to the Indian audience, a Chinese one for the Chinese, and Slavic/Tengri/Romuva ones for Russia, Yavdi, Turkestan, and Lithuania). They'd then have crossover movies or miniseries (the short story about Percy Jackson meeting the Kanes could be extended into a feature-length movie after adding more related material).
 
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zenphoenix

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Just getting back into this, and WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!?
 

CaptainAlvious

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I was thinking the Percy Jackson books should be adapted as a live-action TV show instead. That's the only way they can be done properly. A TV show would leave room for spinoffs for the Romans, Egyptians, Norse, and even other mythological pantheons (there might even be a Hindu mythology show marketed to the Indian audience, a Chinese one for the Chinese, and Slavic/Tengri/Romuva ones for Russia, Yavdi, Turkestan, and Lithuania). They'd then have crossover movies or miniseries (the short story about Percy Jackson meeting the Kanes could be extended into a feature-length movie after adding more related material).
While I don’t see the problem in having it as a show, for awhile I thought it should be in animation form since it adds a bit more potential and options for visuals and action scenes and I’m not sure how the CGI and special effects would do in a live action show (for example, i’ve so far seen the first season of the CW Flash and even through I like it a lot, I find some of the CGI in a few scenes to be bad. Don’t get me wrong I love the Flash, I’m just pointing out my opinion to help build my case) and the fact that the PJO series features Kids growing up over the course of a few years like Harry Potter and maybe it wouldn’t have the problem of having child actors or aging the characters up like a lot of shows and movies with young protagonist have. Also I’m pretty sure we could also have the Lighting Thief musicals and musicals for the rest of the books exist along side the TV Show since a lot of musicals I know are adaptations of another work like Heathers for example. Plus I thought the musical was surprisingly great so there’s that.:)

I know it’s unlikely to exist, but what if it did, what would the Book of Mormon be instead? Since you’ve mentioned Helenistic Pagans as a potential replacement for Mormons I think it would be good if we had musicals follow the Reich’s religious, cultural and ethnic minorities and their experiences.

What would the book Wonder be like here? I remember you said Homeschooling was banned in the Reich (tbh I don’t see why through, that was a thing that confused me. Through I do remember schooling for the most part being free and universal so that might have something to do with it.) it’s going to change the plot somewhat through it does me wonder (heh I made an accidental pun.:p) what happens to Kids that have a reason not to be able to attend school like in August’s case in the book due to his many surgeries and facial deformity. Also it’s the kind of story I see being adapted to a musical, at least that’s my thought.

What would the Other Wes Moore be like here? I’m asking this since it was required reading at my school even through I don’t see it changing much in TTL outside of references to WW3.

Also regarding your recent post what would the History Channel be like here?

Another thing is that I remember you mentioned Kim Jon Un running TTL’s verison of the Info Wars awhile ago and that raises a few questions like what would the Info Wars be like here and what has the Kim family been up to here? Think you can do Biography post for the Kims?
 
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How do you know I'm not actually part of a conspiracy where this entire megacampaign is in Anders' head and wiil end when he dies?;)
I... you know, I honestly can't even act like it's not a possibility after all this.
 

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While I don’t see the problem in having it as a show, for awhile I thought it should be in animation form since it adds a bit more potential and options for visuals and action scenes and I’m not sure how the CGI and special effects would do in a live action show (for example, i’ve so far seen the first season of the CW Flash and even through I like it a lot, I find some of the CGI in a few scenes to be bad. Don’t get me wrong I love the Flash, I’m just pointing out my opinion to help build my case) and the fact that the PJO series features Kids growing up over the course of a few years like Harry Potter and maybe it wouldn’t have the problem of having child actors or aging the characters up like a lot of shows and movies with young protagonist have. Also I’m pretty sure we could also have the Lighting Thief musicals and musicals for the rest of the books exist along side the TV Show since a lot of musicals I know are adaptations of another work like Heathers for example. Plus I thought the musical was surprisingly great so there’s that.:)
From the few episodes my CW-obsessed cousins have shown me, the Flash's CGI is pretty cheesy (and in my opinion the writing declines after the first two seasons, but YMMV). Legends of Tomorrow has equally cheesy CGI, but it embraces it and remains one of the more popular CW DC shows. If Percy Jackson has a similar budget and can't spend as much on CGI (meaning it would be cheesy), it could follow Legends of Tomorrow by embracing the cheesiness. Ideally, it would have a good writing team and show runners like Agents of SHIELD (and definitely not Felicity and Friends Arrow) who could take the focus away from the bad CGI and keep it on the characters. Since Percy Jackson focuses on kids growing up, it could also take a page from Stranger Things, only with more episodes per season. And of course there would be musical episodes, probably because Apollo and some other gods want to mess with Camp Half-Blood.
I know it’s unlikely to exist, but what if it did, what would the Book of Mormon be instead? Since you’ve mentioned Helenistic Pagans as a potential replacement for Mormons I think it would be good if we had musicals follow the Reich’s religious, cultural and ethnic minorities and their experiences.
I'm imagining it would be about two guys in suits knocking on doors and asking people if they heard the good news about Zeus and the Olympians.:p There'd for sure be a lot of musicals for minority groups, especially religious minorities.
What would the book Wonder be like here? I remember you said Homeschooling was banned in the Reich (tbh I don’t see why through, that was a thing that confused me. Through I do remember schooling for the most part being free and universal so that might have something to do with it.) it’s going to change the plot somewhat through it does me wonder (heh I made an accidental pun.:p) what happens to Kids that have a reason not to be able to attend school like in August’s case in the book due to his many surgeries and facial deformity. Also it’s the kind of story I see being adapted to a musical, at least that’s my thought.
Homeschooling is generally banned in Germany in real life (probably because they are concerned what parents might teach their children wouldn't be complaint with education standards), so I just replicated that in the Reich. There would be some exceptions for people who are too sick or developmentally challenged to attend regular school. I will be introducing a character who falls into this category, at least for part of her education. So a situation like in Wonder would certainly still be possible in the Reich. I'm not sure if it could be effectively adapted into a musical though.
What would the Other Wes Moore be like here? I’m asking this since it was required reading at my school even through I don’t see it changing much in TTL outside of references to WW3.
My school never assigned us that book, unfortunately. From what I got on Wikipedia, I think it would be mostly the same, only one boy's father would be revealed to have died in World War III, while the other didn't.
Also regarding your recent post what would the History Channel be like here?
Ancient Aliens does not exist, just like Fox News doesn't exist (but that doesn't mean it won't be replaced by something else;)). The History Channel would remain like it was in the 90s and early 2000s with a lot of historical programming, especially regarding the three world wars (its nickname would be the "Angelos/Varennikov channel"). There would also be some non-historical content with a historical connection (Modern Marvels) and some fictional TV shows (the World Wars miniseries and Vikings, both would be more accurate). The reason it doesn't turn into a reality show and conspiracy theory channel like in real life is because it has better leaders who don't put ratings about standards and also because of a partnership with the Roman government to promote history education which brings significant oversight from historians (much like historical video games must care about accuracy if they want to be called "historical fiction").
Another thing is that I remember you mentioned Kim Jon Un running TTL’s verison of the Info Wars awhile ago and that raises a few questions like what would the Info Wars be like here and what has the Kim family been up to here? Think you can do Biography post for the Kims?
I intended that to be a joke, actually.:p Korea is probably one of the most anti-far right countries in the world because it did suffer under multiple oppressive right-wing dictatorships in recent memory. Kim Jong-Un, if he still exists, would likely be a moderate conservative with a popular YouTube channel generally opposed to authoritarianism on both sides of the political spectrum (but especially fascism). Ironically, his channel would show he's also a big fan of Japanese and Chinese culture, especially anime.:D

As for actual InfoWars, I still don't know what to do with it. Logically, the Roman government would pressure YouTube to shut it down as soon as it makes a false claim alleging the Kaiser's involvement in turning the frogs gay or running pedophile dungeons on Mars which can be accessed through a portal in a pizza parlor basement. Which means it would be banned immediately after its first video is posted. But if that happens, we wouldn't have any memes about it. There might be a lot of religious right YouTube channels promoting an ultraconservative form of Christianity from where the memes could come from.
I... you know, I honestly can't even act like it's not a possibility after all this.
Plot twist, I'm the smoking man, who's actually Anders, who's actually Angela, who's actually the smoking man.:eek:
 

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Rewind, Part 5
St. Eudokimos Hospital Emergency Medical Unit - September 20, 1996, 5:13 AM

Anders walked down the hallway, asking the people around him for directions.

"Can you help me?” he asked. "I'm looking for a woman... Excuse me, I'm looking for an Angela Hansen who was brought into ...Excuse me, I'm looking for my cousin, Angela Hansen... Is there an admitting nurse here? Look! Can someone help me here?”

A nurse turned to him. "Look, sir, you're going to have to calm down."

"I will calm down when someone gives me a reason to calm down,” Anders said, "Now I'm looking for a patient who was admitted to the ER yesterday!"

“Angela Hansen,” the nurse said, “I heard you the first time."

"Well, where is she?” Anders said.

"I have her in the ICU,” the nurse said.

"Where is that?” Anders said.

"You have to tell me who you are first,” the nurse said.

Anders showed her his badge. “I’m family.”

“Agent Humboldt,” Schulz said.

Anders turned to see Schulz, Erich, and two suited men walking towards him.

"Where you going?” Schulz said.

“ICU,” Anders said.

"You're looking pretty good for a dead man,” Erich said.

"I'm only half dead, Uncle,” Anders said.

“Tell that to Angie,” Erich said, “You have a lot to answer for, Anders."

Anders went through a door. Schulz turned to the other two men.

"You guys hold here,” he said.

Schulz and Erich followed Anders into ICU, where Anders stopped in front of a room where Angela lay in bed, connected to a respirator.

"What happened to her?” Anders asked.

"She went into hypovolemic shock,” Erich said.

"Due to what?” Anders asked.

Neither of them answered. Erich looked at the floor.

“Due to what?!” Anders repeated.

“She’s dying,” Schulz said, grabbing Anders’ arm, “Let’s go.”

Anders shook him off. “Let go of me!”

“There’s nothing we can do, Anders,” Erich said.

Anders punched Erich in the chest, and Erich punched him back. Schulz grabbed him by his coat while Erich pinned Anders to the wall.

“Get the hell off me!” Anders shouted.

“Anders, stop it!” Erich said. “Stop it!”


Freiburg’s office - 9:15 AM

Schulz and Erich escorted Anders into the office. Freiburg stared at Anders and sighed.

"I'm still at a loss here in going forward,” the Section Chief said, "This situation developing unexpectedly during a formal inquiry into your reported death, Agent Humboldt. The fact of your being here today, very much alive it gives the effect of reshaping this investigation into something all together different. As we're not put upon to verify the identity of this body found in your apartment and the circumstances which led to this. Would you care to enlighten us on these circumstances?"

"Are you suggesting I can?” Anders said.

"Agent Humboldt, we are here informally to give you the chance to help yourself,” Schulz said.

“Help myself, how?” Anders said.

"By allowing any fact or details which might serve to let us go forward with this inquiry in a more informed manner,” Freiburg said.

"That helps you, how doesn't that help me?” Anders said.

"Agent Humboldt, this is going to quickly become a murder investigation,” Erich said, "Criminal charges are going to be made."

"We have only one other suspect,” Schulz said, "But she may no longer be able to testify on her own behalf."

"Agent Hansen lied to us,” Freiburg said, “Why? Who's protecting whom, Agent Humboldt?"

"Your choice is your own, but your failure or inability to answer these questions will reflect poorly on the record of the formal inquiry,” Schulz said.

"Are we finished then?” Anders said.

Anders got up and left the office, Schulz and Erich close behind.

"Word of advice from me, keep playing it the way you are,” Erich said.

"Thanks, Uncle,” Anders said.

"Hey, right now, you need all the help you can get,” Schulz said.

"You should have mentioned that at the hospital when you two were hauling my ass off!” Anders said.

"Hey, we saved your ass, Agent Humboldt!” Schulz said. "I've been withholding forensic evidence about the body found on your apartment floor, with the Director’s support. Until you showed up last evening, I was the one keeping your secret, I had no choice but to bring you in. Hansen'll verify all that."

"That's a good place to lay it, considering her condition,” Anders said.

"You want me to lay it where it belongs, Anders?” Erich said. "Pathology turned up two gunshot wounds to the dead man in your apartment. One fired point-blank through the left temple with a handgun, the second a post-mortem wound to the face to remove the man's identity. Now, I'd be happy to verify the ballistics on that first shot."

"How can you help me?” Anders said.

"Tell us why Angie lied for you,” Erich said.

Anders thought, went to the window, and motioned for the two men to follow him.

"The disease she has was given to her by somebody connected to the Athanatoi, to a mole working here,” Anders whispered.

“Who?” Schulz said.

"I failed to find that out, sir,” Anders said, “But I know it’s not you or Uncle Erich."

"You don't want to forget who your friends are, Anders, to remember who you can trust,” Erich said.


Racetrack, [REDACTED] - 10:00 AM

CNN was playing on a nearby TV as the Syndicate elder sat and watched the empty racetrack.

"I don't think there are any appropriate limits to human knowledge,” a doctor said, "As long as science is done openly, and with free will, then I don't think there are any limits."

“Senator Komnenos?” the chairman said.

“Doctor,” Komnenos began, “You've ah... stated that the ah... cloning humans would be ah... ill considered and technically ah... difficult to accomplish. Can you expand a little bit on what you see as the biggest ah... technical obstacle to human cloning?”

The smoking man walked up to the elder.

“I trust you've heard,” the smoking man said.

“Humboldt is alive,” the elder said, “Damn it. Strughold is pissed.”

"As I said, he's not to be underestimated,” the smoking man said.

"Yes, as you said,” the elder said, "Though I hear he has you to thank in some part for his new freedom."

"Using a stolen ID, Humboldt was able to get inside the Advanced Research Project Facility Repository 71,” the smoking man said.

"And you allowed him to escape,” the elder said, glaring at him.

“Yes,” the smoking man said.

"We're too vulnerable,” the elder said, "Our man in the Athanatoi is exposed and could be outed soon, and what Humboldt may have seen could expose our plans."

"What Humboldt's seen only serves us,” the smoking man said, "Serves to ensure our plans. He's in trouble, he needs help, and we can give it to him."

"In exchange for?” the elder said.

"His new loyalty,” the smoking man said, "To us. As I've said all along, Humboldt's much more valuable to us alive. I have no doubt I could turn him to our side, to take his rightful place in our syndicate as his grandfather’s successor and heir.”

“You’re getting a little grandiose in old age,” the elder said.

“And you and Strughold have not watched Starkrieg yet, have you?” the smoking man said, walking away.

When the smoking man had gone, the elder turned to the crew-cut man, sitting a couple rows behind him.

“You can proceed now,” he said.

The crew-cut man nodded and walked away.


St. Eudokimos Hospital - 11:00 AM

Anders walked into Angela’s room, finding her listening to her Walkman. She took off her headphones.

“Anders, what are you doing here?” Angela said.

"I heard you were moved out of the ICU, that you were feeling better,” Anders said.

“Anders, somebody's going to see you here,” Angela said.

"It's okay,” he said, "I'm officially among the undead. I’m a vampire now. Psychologically, of course."

"What happened?” Angela said.

“We’ll talk about that later,” Anders said.

“Anders, don’t try to protect me,” Angela said, “I need to know.”

"Well, there's not much to talk about anyway, I'm going to testify to everything I know in front of Section Chief Freiburg's panel,” Anders said, "The conspiracy, the men behind it, what I believe is its purpose."

"Did you find out who in the Athanatoi is involved?” Angela said.

“No, but that doesn't matter now,” Anders said.

"Yes it does,” Angela said.

"Hey, Angie, how about those Siegfriedists, huh?” Anders said.

“Anders, Dad and Schulz have evidence against you,” Angela said, “They know you killed that man they found in your apartment."

"Yeah, they're withholding it, and Schulz has the Director on our side,” Anders said.

“Anders, you know Schulz is dirty,” Angela said, "He's not your friend. I'm almost certain he's the man inside on this. Remember how he sabotaged your case with the bees in Vienna?"

“He came clean after I found out,” Anders said, “And I don’t believe he’s dirty anymore, not after I sawed off those serial numbers."

"If you testify, he will use it to ruin you,” Angela said, “And Dad will have to go along with it."

"No, not Schulz,” Anders said.

"He's been in a position to know everything from the beginning, everything that we've done over the past four years,” Angela said.

"But if I don't testify now they'll start to bury the truth,” Anders said.

"Well then, you have to lay it on me,” Angela said, "You have to tell them I was the one who killed that man."

Anders shook his head. "I can’t do that.”

“Yes you can, Anders,” Angela said, “If I can save you, let me. I’m dying anyways. Let me at least give some meaning to what's happened to me. Let me exonerate you before I go.”

Magda, Erich, and Bill Hansen walked into the room at that moment.

“Angie?” Magda said.

“Hi, Mom, Dad,” Angela said.

“Hi, Aunt Magda,” Anders said, “Uncle Erich.”

Erich simply nodded to him.

“Hey Bill,” Anders said, “Long time no see. I see you got that promotion.”

Bill shook his hand. “Nice seeing you again. How are you and Diana?”

“It’s complicated,” Anders said, "I'll show myself out."

He left Angela’s room and walked down the hallway. The smoking man walked out from around a corner and approached him.

"Please tell me you're here with severe chest pains,” Anders said, “I mean, why else would you want that dramatic reveal?"

"You should be glad for why I'm here, pay you some respect,” the smoking man said.

“Oh frak you,” Anders said, “Just go to hell."

"For your cleverness, and your resource, what you managed to do for your cousin,” the smoking man said.

"What are you talking about?” Anders said.

"Well, breaching the security at the Pentagon and then my secret warehouse,” the smoking man said, "Finding the cure for her disease."

"What I found was useless,” Anders said.

"On the contrary, it's essential to her survival,” the smoking man said, "If you like, we could step outside and I might explain myself?”

Anders hesitated.

"I'm here tonight as a friend, Agent Humboldt,” the smoking man said, "I’m not going to kill you, at least not today."

He walked away.


Lone Gunman office - 1:00 PM

Anders, Ragnar, Rudolf, and Reinhard sat at a table, looking at the tube.

"He promised me it would be in here,” Anders said.

Ragnar poured the water into a Petri dish. A little metal chip fell out.

“Well I'll be damned,” he said.

He put it under a microscope, which revealed intricate circuitry like in a computer chip.

“It never occurred to me what the deionized water might be for,” he said.

"It was a microchip we were looking for,” Reinhard said.

"This is a cure for cancer?” Rudolf said.

"It may be for Angie’s,” Anders said.

“How?” Ragnar said.

"Shortly after she was abducted she discovered a small metallic chip implanted subcutaneously in your neck,” Anders said, “After she had it removed she developed cancer."

"It's unreal,” Ragnar said.

"Too frakking amazing!” Rudolf said.

"Watch your language, Froniker, and grab me some tweezers,” Anders said.


Omar Mukhtar Building - 2:00 PM

Michael Kritschgau sat at the long table, and Freiburg and his assembled agents stared him down. Angela and Erich sat behind Michael, while Schulz sat next to Freiburg.

“Herr Kritschgau, thank you for being here today and for cooperating with this investigation,” Schulz said, "We hope you can provide information that will allow us to bring charges for the murder of Bureau of Defense employee and RSB agent Sam Ostelhoff. Herr Kritschgau, we have learned you were in contact with Agents Humboldt and Hansen just prior to this man's death."

"That's correct,” Michael said.

"And that you may have given them classified information,” Schulz said, "What motivated this?"

"My knowledge of a government conspiracy against the Roman people,” Michael said.

“Now, before we go into any specifics, I'd like to ask a more pointed question,” Freiburg said, "Do you know who killed Sam Ostelhoff?"

"No I don’t,” Michael said.

"Do you know of any connection between his death and Agents Hansen and Humboldt?” Freiburg asked.

“No,” Michael said, "I'm aware of one death indirectly in connection though. My son, who died early this morning.”

“Herr Kritschgau, you're employed by the Bureau of Defense,” Freiburg said, "Is that correct?"

“Technically,” Michael said, "Part of my remuneration has come from another source. A Bureau of Defense contractor called 'Roush’."

“Roush?” Erich said. "You have any idea what that is?”

“No, sir,” Michael said.

Erich wrote down the name Roush and underlined it on his notepad.


St. Eudokimos Hospital

Anders, Bill, Magda, and Dr. Arno Zimmerman, one of Demetrios’ old colleagues, stood around Angela’s bed as Angela held the metal tube in her hand.

“Okay, I heard you were spooky, but this is downright crazy, Anders,” Bill said.

"Crazy in what sense?” Anders said. "In that it might save Angie's life?"

"You're not a doctor,” Bill said, “You have no place in even suggesting this ... this science fiction…this…"

"This is not science fiction,” Anders said, “This is real life."

"You've never heard of it!” Bill said.

"Bill... I think there's an obvious... difference of opinion,” Magda said.

“Yeah,” Bill said.

"I think ... everybody here has their heart in the right place,” Angela said, "But I need it to be my decision."

“Angie…” Bill said.

"I know you're only looking out for me, Bill, like Demetrios did,” Angela said, "But I don't think you have all the facts."

"Don't you think you should listen to your doctor?” Magda said.

“I already did,” Angela said..

"Would she have to stop her conventional treatment?” Anders asked.

"To be honest, at this point... the only approach I have left... with her particular cancer is quite unconventional,” Zimmerman said, “We’ve run out of options by now."

"I'd like to try this,” Angela said, “I have nothing left to lose."

Anders walked out of the room and sat on a bench. A few minutes later, Bill came out too and sat next to him.

"You see, she's your big defender, but I think the truth is, she just doesn't want to disappoint you,” Bill said.

"If it works, I don't care what you think she thinks,” Anders said.

"You're a real piece of work, you know that, Anders?” Bill said.

"Why is that, because I don't think the way you think?” Anders said. "Because I won't just sit passively back and watch the family tragedy unfold?"

"You're the reason for it,” Bill said, fighting back tears, “You’re the reason for everything happening to our family. And I've already lost one sister to this quest you're on, now I'm losing another, not to mention my two grandfathers and Demetrios, who was almost like a brother to us. Has it been worth it? To you, I mean, have you found what you've been looking for?"

"No…” Anders said, without hesitation.

Bill nodded, silently fuming. "You know how that makes me feel?"

"In a way, I think I do,” Anders said, “Don’t forget, your family is my family too. I’ve also lost a lot because of this thing I’m looking for.”

“Yeah, people riding on moonbeams,” Bill said, “Men from Mars."

“Look, Bill, I’m sorry,” Anders said.

“Tell that to me again at the funeral,” Bill said, “That is, if you would actually go to it, like you went to Grandpa’s or Melissa’s or Demetrios’.”

He got up and walked away. Anders’ phone rang.

“How’s our patient?” the smoking man said. "You did find the chip, didn't you Agent Humboldt?"

“Yes,” Anders said.

"I can imagine there must have been a question as to its medical value,” the smoking man said.

"There still is,” Anders said.

"And so I have yet to earn your trust... in spite of my gesture,” the smoking man said.

“You could say that, yeah,” Anders said, “Your past reputation is…problematic."

"Well I have something else to offer you,” the smoking man said, "I've arranged a meeting I think you'll want to attend, Herr Humboldt."


Arcadia Bar and Restaurant - 9:33 PM

Anders sat at the counter. A waitress handed him a bottle of Tabasco sauce.

"Cures anything,” she said.

"I'll keep that in mind,” Anders said.

She walked away. Anders looked at the clock. A car, a Porsche from the look of its blinding headlights, pulled up outside. He walked to the door. The smoking man, sitting in the driver’s seat, turned off the headlights. The waitress came up behind Anders and looked at the car.

"You know him or something?” she said.

“A friend from work,” Anders said.

The waitress nodded and left. Anders looked at the passenger seat, recognizing the woman sitting there.

“Annie?!” he shouted, running to the car. “Annie?!”

Annie got out of the car and hugged him.

"I was afraid I'd never see you again,” she said, "He always told me something happened."

“Who?” Anders said. "Who told you that?"

"My father,” Annie said, pointing at the smoking man.

“Oh come on!” Anders said.
 

Brigadier44

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Jun 6, 2018
51
0
Are anarchists a major force in the Reich, or are they just as they are in real life, a fringe movement? You mentioned the Soviets funding anarchists to weaken the Reich, but you’ve never mentioned them since.

What would tennis be like in this timeline? Wimbledon was mentioned as still existing, but tennis hasn’t been mentioned since then.

What would SimCity and the Sims be like, respectively? Considering that EA doesn’t exist, I imagine that they would be made by Maxis, which would still exist as there would be no EA to shut them down.

What would Command and Conquer be like in this timeline? Like Maxis, I imagine that Westwood wouldn’t be shut down, as they wouldn’t be bought out by EA.

What would the Crew be like? I imagine that it would start in Stuttgart and feature the Athanatoi instead of the FBI.

What would Watch Dogs be like here? I imagine that it would be set in Darmstadt, as you mentioned that it was the Chicago equivalent.
 

zenphoenix

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Are anarchists a major force in the Reich, or are they just as they are in real life, a fringe movement? You mentioned the Soviets funding anarchists to weaken the Reich, but you’ve never mentioned them since.
Anarchists as a credible political movement died out after the war, and the most moderate ones were claimed by the SPR and other left-leaning parties.
What would tennis be like in this timeline? Wimbledon was mentioned as still existing, but tennis hasn’t been mentioned since then.
It would still exist, I think. No major changes are needed.
What would SimCity and the Sims be like, respectively? Considering that EA doesn’t exist, I imagine that they would be made by Maxis, which would still exist as there would be no EA to shut them down.
It would be the same, only it stays good without EA's meddling. Also, there would be a multiplayer mode where players could connect their cities and conduct trade or launch wars.
What would Command and Conquer be like in this timeline? Like Maxis, I imagine that Westwood wouldn’t be shut down, as they wouldn’t be bought out by EA.
I've only played part of Red Alert 2, but I'd think the Red Alert series would be the main series and not the spinoff.
What would the Crew be like? I imagine that it would start in Stuttgart and feature the Athanatoi instead of the FBI.
Aside from that, I don't think anything would change.
What would Watch Dogs be like here? I imagine that it would be set in Darmstadt, as you mentioned that it was the Chicago equivalent.
The plot would be the same, since it doesn't depend much on outside events or cultural references.
 

zenphoenix

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Rewind, Part 6
Arcadia Bar and Restaurant - 10:11 PM

Annie was eager to talk, especially after the smoking man retreated to the car, where he continued watching them.

"I never really knew what happened,” Annie said, "I could never put the memories all back together. But, as much as I tried to remember, I tried more to forget."

“Why?” Anders said.

"I was 8 years old and frightened to death,” Annie said, "And they told me I was an orphan."

"But you called that man your father?” Anders said.

"Some time later, I don't know how long, my foster parents took me to a hotel room and said that I was gonna see my father,” Annie said.

"But you knew who your father was?” Anders said.

"I thought I knew,” Annie said, "But, he told me that it had all been a secret, and that he and Mom hadn't told anyone to protect the family. Especially after my foster parents were killed."

"And you believed that,” Anders said.

"He was so kind to me, and he was the only one I could remember from before what happened,” Annie said.

"You don't remember anything about that night?” Anders said.

"I remember ... you ... I remember something ... men and ... and then nothing,” Annie said.

"I can help you,” Anders said, "You were abducted, Annie, I can help you to remember."

"I don't want to, Anders,” Annie said, "I don’t."

"Then why come here at all?” Anders said.

"My father told me that he'd found you, you wanted to see me very badly, that you'd been looking for me for a long time,” Annie said, "Is that true?”

Anders began crying.

"I'm so sorry, Anders,” Annie said, "And I wish that I'd known how to find you."

"What you've been told ... I want you to listen to me, okay?” Anders said. "What you've been told by that man may not be true."

"Why do you say that?” Annie said.

"Because the man that brought you here has known where I've been for a very long time,” Anders said.

"I don't understand,” Annie said, "Why wouldn't he tell me?"

"I don't know, but I think he's kept a lot of things from you,” Anders said.

"I don't believe you,” Annie said, "He's been a good father to me. He's given me a life and he cared for me when there was no one else."

"Then I want you to come with me, come with me to see Mom,” Anders said.

"Mom is alive?” Annie said.

“Of course she is,” Anders said, “Though Dad’s out of the question.”

“Good,” Annie said, her tone changing.

“You’re just another clone,” Anders realized, “This is all a test.”

“One of those who escaped the facility in Therapia two years ago,” Annie said, “But I’m not working with him. He thinks he can use me to get to the other clones. But he doesn’t know I’m trying to take down his project from the inside.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Anders said.

The smoking man got out of the car and walked towards them.

“Because it’s never been more dangerous for you than now,” Annie said, "I didn't want to come here at all, Anders. I was afraid to see you, because of him. I can't stay here. It’s too dangerous.”

The smoking man entered the restaurant.

"Alright, just tell me how I can find the clones,” Anders said.

“They're all over the place,” Annie whispered.

"Just ... just where exactly?” Anders said.

The smoking man reached the table and pulled Annie away. “Sorry, but it’s time to go.”

“Please, Anders, please!” Annie said. “Think about it. Think about what I must do. Promise me you’ll help us. Find her! Find the real her!”

She and the smoking man got back into the car, and the smoking man drove off. Anders watched the car as it disappeared into the night.


St. Eudokimos Hospital - September 21, 1996, 8:00 AM

Zimmerman gave Angela a shot.

"Doing okay?” he asked.

"Um... either it's my head or I'm a long way from med school but I can't remember what you're injecting me with,” Angela said.

"Flourodioxyglucose,” Zimmerman said, “And don’t worry, I couldn’t remember that for any exam back in med school. If you're making any progress, it might show up in the PET scan."

"You're not holding your breath are you?” Angela said.

"I'm going after your cancer as aggressively as I know how, Angela,” Zimmerman said, “I’m using everything Demetrios taught me...If I could just start your immune system... If I could get your cidalitic cells to recognize your tumor as something to attack... Then there's a chance."

"Have you ever witnessed a miracle, Arno?” Angela said.

"I don't know that I have,” Zimmerman said, "But I have seen people make recoveries. Come back from so far back, I can't explain it."

"Isn't that a miracle?” Angela said.

"Maybe there are miracles… but I don't dare call them that,” Zimmerman said, “Not after Demetrios died."

“Thanks anyways,” Angela said.


Mese Street - 10:46 AM

Anders met the smoking man, and they walked along the sidewalk.

"My apologies for the rather hasty departure last night,” the smoking man said.

"What do you want from me?” Anders said.

"Want from you?” the smoking man said.

"You give me these things, the only things I ever wanted and I can't think of any reason for you to do so,” Anders said.

"Well that's true, no act is completely selfless,” the smoking man said, "But I've come today not to... not to ask, but to offer. To offer you the truth that you've so desperately sought. About the project, about the men who've conspired to protect it."

"I know the truth,” Anders said.

"Do you?” the smoking man said.

"I spoke to one of your men,” Anders said.

"And you know that he's not a liar,” the smoking man said.

“No, he’s a liar,” Anders said, “I know where you stored our evidence from the Normandy case. I even took that evidence back. This whole thing about aliens being a hoax to cover for the activities of the military-industrial complex is itself a hoax, probably to cover the activities of the military-industrial complex."

"He's seen but scant pieces of the whole,” the smoking man said.

"What more can you show me?” Anders said.

"This man you spoke to, Michael Kritschgau, he has deceived you with beautiful lies,” the smoking man said, "He's told you everything you've ever believed about the existence of extraterrestrial life is untrue.”

“Yeah I know that,” Anders said, “What are you saying?"

"As I said, I'm offering you a chance to know the real truth,” the smoking man said.

“Okay, the ‘real truth’?” Anders said. “Isn’t that redundant? Doesn’t that imply there’s a fake truth that’s an oxymoron?”

“I can answer that question if you quit the Athanatoi and come work for me,” the smoking man said, "I can make your problems go away. Join me, and together we can rule the world…as, um, not father and son, that would be silly.”

"No deal, Cigarette Guy,” Anders immediately said, “Did you really think I’m going to join the dark side that easily, discount Darth Vader?"

"After all I've given you?” the smoking man said.

"What have ... what have you given me?” Anders said. "A claim of a cure for Angie? Well, is she cured yet? You show me a clone of my sister only to take her right back, presumably to kill her. You've given me nothing!"

"I intend to keep my promises, I just need something from you,” Anders said.

"You murdered my grandfather and Uncle Hans, you killed Melissa and Demetrios, and if Angie dies, I will kill you and call Ludwig Angelos,” Anders said, "I don't care whose father or grandfather you are, or what happens to me in the process, I will put you down. I don’t care what happens to me."

"Well, you're certainly capable, so I've been told,” the smoking man said, "I understand you have a hearing this afternoon where you'll have to testify to these murderous impulses of yours. When you reconsider, the offer still stands.”


St. Eudokimos Hospital

Magda walked into Angela’s room and sat by Angela’s side. Angela took off her headphones and looked at her mother.

“Angie?” Magda said. "Dr. Zimmerman called. He ah... he said that you wanted to see me?”

Angela started crying. "I'm so sorry... I fight and I fight and I fight... But I'm so stupid."

“What?” Magda said. "What is it?"

"I've come so far in my life on simple faith, and now when I need it the most I just push it away,” Angela said, "I put something that I don't even know or understand under the skin of my neck. I will subject myself to these crazy treatments, and I keep telling myself that I'm doing everything I can, but it’s just a lie!"

"You have not lost your faith, Angie,” Magda said.

"But I have,” Angela said, "In a way. And when you asked Father Kirill to dinner to administer to my faith... I just closed off to him."

"What's important now is that you save your energy,” Magda said.

"I'm not getting better, Mom,” Angela said, “Dad knows that."

"You don't know that…” Magda said.

"The PET scan shows no improvement,” Angela said.

They hugged.

"I know you're afraid,” Magda said. "I know you're afraid to tell me, but you have to tell someone."


Racetrack, [REDACTED]

The elder continued watching his TV.

"I'll make a statement right here,” the speaker said, "Cloning will continue. The human mind will continue to inquire into this. Human cloning will take place in my lifetime. I think it's right and proper.”

Schulz walked in front of the camera in the hearing. The elder cursed and picked up the phone.

"Turn on your television,” he said, "Are you watching the hearings? Do you see who's there? He's gathering information. For who? Our colleague was supposed to have fixed the Athanatoi problem. You will fix it now. Do you understand me? Then I will fix it for good."

Freiburg’s office - 11:52 AM

Anders entered the office. Freiburg sat at his desk.

"Agent Humboldt, will you please take a seat?” Freiburg asked.

Anders did so.

"Something urgently important has come to the fore,” Freiburg said, "As you're set to testify on your own behalf later today, I've received alarming forensic evidence from the man's body found in your apartment. I have here in my hand ballistic data matching your service weapon, Agent Humboldt."

"Where did you get that?” Anders said.

"I'm not at liberty to say,” Anders said, "But unless you can offer up someone else who might have fired the kill shot, everything points to you as this man's murderer. Are you prepared to give testimony about the man who fired the shot?"

"Why am I here?” Anders said.

"The man worked for the Bureau of Defense and the RSB, Agent Humboldt,” Freiburg said.

"The man was spying on me,” Anders said, “Conducting a wiretap without a court order."

"Do you know for whom?” Freiburg said. "Agent Hansen was prepared to name the man at the Athanatoi who was involved in this plot against you and her. We believe she was about to name Deputy Director Schulz, whom we have learned has been working inside the Athanatoi with a secret agenda."

"I refuse to believe that,” Anders said.

But it all made sense to him, he had to admit. Schulz had been very secretive lately, and Anders did uncover his role in sabotaging his case in Vienna. Schulz couldn’t be trusted. But he didn’t seem like the person who would wiretap him without a court order.

"We've accumulated some substantial evidence against him,” Freiburg said.

"Can you show it to me?” Anders said.

"Agent Humboldt, if you name him today in your testimony, we can file charges against him,” Freiburg said, "Charges which may very well exonerate you."

"Name Schulz, save myself, and promote you?” Anders said.

"That's what I called you here to recommend,” Freiburg said.

Anders hesitated. He took a deep breath.

"I'll see you at the hearing,” Anders said.


St. Eudokimos Hospital - 12:24 PM

Angela lay in bed, her forehead burning up. Anders walked in and sat next to her.

“Afternoon,” he said.

"What are you doing here?” Angela said. "You have a hearing.”

"I've been offered a deal, a deal that could save my life in a way,” Anders said.

"A deal with who?” Angela said.

"It doesn't matter, I'm not taking the deal, I'm not taking any deal,” Anders said, "Not after what happened this morning."

"What happened this morning?” Angela said.

"Section Chief Freiburg asked me to implicate Schulz,” Anders said, "To name him as the man inside in the Athanatoi. Who may have deceived us both. And if I name him, they'll protect me."

"Are you going to name him?” Angela said.

“No,” Anders said.

"Then they'll prosecute you,” Angela said.

"Yeah, they have evidence against me, they know I killed that man,” Anders said.

“Anders, even with the ballistics evidence, I can still be the shooter,” Angela said.

“Angie, I know you’re dying, but can you just lay off the fall on your sword mentality for one moment?” Anders said. “I can’t let you take the blame. Because of our family. Because I can’t live with it. To live the lie, you have to believe it. Like these men who deceive us, who gave you this disease. We all have our faith, and mine is in the truth."

"Then why'd you come here if you'd already made up your mind?” Angela said.

"Because I knew you'd talk me out of it if I was making a mistake,” Anders said, smiling.

The door opened, and Father Kirill walked in. Anders got up to leave.

“You’ll be in my prayers,” Angela said.

“Have Father Kirill say a few Hail Humboldts for me, okay?” Anders replied. “Just remind him not to say Hail Hydra by accident."

He left the room.


Omar Mukhtar Building - 3:00 PM

Freiburg, Schulz, Erich, and the other senior agents had already gathered, but Anders’ seat was still empty. Freiburg slammed his file shut and stood.

"He's a no show,” Freiburg said, "I'm going to ask for a bench warrant. And if not, I’ll charge him in absentia.”

Anders walked into the room and waved. “What’s this about in absentia?”

He sat down in the hot seat.

"Agent Humboldt, the assembled members of this review panel first convened to address your reported death,” Freiburg said, "Only to find shortly that this report had been a lie. That you were indeed very much alive... and that the body found in your apartment, believed to be yours was a murder victim. Killed with a weapon issued by the Athanatoi and registered to you."

"Respectfully, sir,” Anders said, "I've come here today to set the record straight so that this process you've begun came be completed and the guilty parties can be named.”

Freiburg nodded.

"Respectfully, sir, I'd like to ask for a short break,” Erich said.

"I'm... ready to proceed please, sir,” Anders said.

Anders looked at Schulz. Schulz squirmed, and his eyes darted back and forth between Anders and Freiburg.

"Go on, Agent Humboldt,” Freiburg said.

"Four years ago, while working on an assignment outside the Athanatoi mainstream, I was paired with Special Agent Angela Hansen, who I believed was sent to spy on me due to our close family ties, to debunk my investigations into the paranormal,” Anders said, "That Agent Hansen did not follow these orders to the letter is a testament to her integrity as an investigator, a scientist, and a human being. She has paid dearly for this integrity."

"Agent Humboldt, Agent Hansen lied straight face to this panel about your death,” Freiburg said.

"She lied because I asked her to, as her cousin and close family,” Anders said, "Because I had evidence of a conspiracy. A conspiracy against the Roman people."

"We've already heard testimony to these allegations, Agent Humboldt,” Freiburg said.

"AND a conspiracy intended to destroy the lives of those who would reveal its true purpose,” Anders said, "To conduct experiments on unwitting victims to further their secret agenda for someone further into the government operating at levels without restraint or responsibility. Without morals or conscience... Men who pretend to honor as they deceive.. The price of this betrayal, the lives and reputations of those deceived. Agent Hansen... is in a hospital bed right now diagnosed with terminal cancer, the victim of these same tests. Conducted without her knowledge or consent. By these same men who are trying to cover their tracks who suborn and persecute the same people they've used in their plot I will now call by name!"

"Agent Humboldt, did you or did you not shoot the man found dead in your apartment?” Freiburg asked.

"I will answer, sir,” Anders said.

"Did you shoot Sam Ostelhoff?” Freiburg demanded.

"I will answer that question, sir,” Anders repeated.

"Answer the question asked, Agent Humboldt!” Freiburg yelled.

"I will answer the question after I name the man!” Anders shot back.

"AGENT HUMBOLDT!” Freiburg shouted.

"I will answer that question after I name the man who's responsible for my cousin Angie!” Anders shouted. "The same man who directed that my apartment be surveilled by the Defense Bureau. A man I want to see prosecuted for his crimes! Who's sitting in this very room trying to lock me up as I speak!"

"Agent Humboldt, I asked you a question, and you are going to answer!” Freiburg demanded.

"I can't do that,” Anders said.

“You can and you will!” Freiburg said.

“I can't do that sir!” Anders shouted.

“You will comply!” Freiburg said.

“ENOUGH!” Schulz shouted.

The room became dead quiet. Everybody stopped and looked at the Deputy Director.

“I’ve had enough of this show trial,” Schulz said.

“What is going on here?!” Freiburg demanded.

“I’m the Deputy Director of the Athanatoi,” Schulz said, “I outrank you. I order you to cease and desist.”

“You are out of line, Director,” Freiburg said, “I am in charge of these proceedings."

“I know you ordered that wiretap!” Schulz said. “You sent Sam Ostelhoff! I know you are responsible for Agent Hansen’s condition! I know you’re the traitor!”

“And how would you know that?” Freiburg said.

“Because I’m also a traitor,” Schulz said, “I helped you do it. And I have physical proof, which as we speak is being read by the Director herself.”

Freiburg’s eyes shot wide open. Everybody gasped and stared at them. Erich looked at Anders in shock. Anders leaned back in his chair, terrified at what he just unleashed. Schulz looked down at the floor.

“I’m sorry, Agent Humboldt,” Schulz said, “Give Agent Hansen my apologies.”

He got up and walked out of the room, a look on his face like he knew his fate was sealed.


The smoking man’s apartment

The smoking man stood in front of the window holding the picture from Anders’ apartment of Anders and Annie. A shot rang out from across the street. His window shattered. A bullet struck him in the chest. As he fell, a single thought crossed his mind.

“Not again...”


Freiburg’s office - 3:30 PM

Freiburg frantically ran back to his office and slammed the door behind him, breathing heavily. He turned around and saw the crew-cut man sitting at his desk, a pistol drawn. Freiburg recognized the gun as his own. The assassin had taken it from his drawer.

“No, please!” Freiburg pleaded.

The crew-cut man quietly shot Freiburg in the head. He got up and put the gun in Freiburg’s hand. Afterwards, he walked out.


Schulz’s office - 3:45 PM

Schulz sat quietly at his desk. He looked down at the photo in his hands. It was of his brother, Sergeant Schulz, with his platoon in Siam. The picture had been taken soon after they touched down at the Lopburi airbase. Smiling next to Sergeant Schulz was a man he recognized: Private Erich Hansen, standing next to his friends, Martin Georgios and Mark. It would be the last time they would all be happy like that, because the next day, Sergeant Schulz’s platoon would come under attack from a Chaw Thai patrol. Sergeant Schulz and Mark would be killed in the battle. Erich would be almost killed in another ambush, while Martin would be captured by the Chaw Thai. Out of the entire platoon, only Erich and a few other men survived.

Director Schulz never got to see his brother again. While his brother fought and died in Siam, he had been cutting class at college to go protest the war, mostly because his wife (then girlfriend) was doing it as well. His brother died a hero who gave his life for his country. As for Schulz…he was just a guy who exercised his Augustinian right to free expression and association. Schulz was changed by his brother’s death. He dropped out of college and joined the police just in time for the riots of 1968. His performance during the chaos attracted the eye of the Athanatoi, which hired him as a Foreign Division operative in first Prague and then Berlin. He rose through the ranks and eventually became Deputy Director. And every achievement he made with the Athanatoi, every promotion, every triumph, he credited it to his brother, whose sacrifice drove him forward. He still missed his brother, every single day.

He heard the door open and close and looked up, seeing the crew-cut man standing there, readying his gun.

“Go ahead,” he said, “I’m ready.”

“What, you’re not going to beg for your life like the other guy?” the crew-cut man said.

“No, there’s nothing left for me,” Schulz said, “I did what I could to help Hansen and Humboldt. Now it’s up to Erich.”

“They will fail in the end,” the crew-cut man said.

“Will they?” Schulz said. “They’ve survived for four years. I’d even say they’ll win in the end.”

“If you’re stalling, you should know there’s no help coming for you,” the crew-cut man said.

Schulz sighed. “I’m not expecting any help. Except from you. Because I want to see my brother again."

The crew-cut man nodded. “Wise sentiments from a man who is about to die."

Schulz closed his eyes, accepting his fate. The crew-cut man shot him in the head.


St. Eudokimos Hospital - September 22, 1996, 12:00 AM

Anders sat on the bench outside Angela’s hospital room. Erich walked down the hall and sat next to him.

“The smoking man's dead,” Erich said.

“Cigarette Guy?” Anders said. “How?"

"Shot through his window,” Erich said.

He handed Anders the blood-streaked picture of young Anders and Annie. “Forensics found it at the scene. We're assuming it's his blood."

“Assuming?” Anders said.

"Well... no body was found but there was too much blood loss for anyone to have survived,” Erich said.

“That means he survived, of course,” Anders said, “That’s how it always is.”

“By the way, I did some digging into the claims Schulz made,” Erich said, “And it looks like he was right. Freiburg had been on payroll for four years to a biotechnology company called Roush, which is somehow connected to all this. And Schulz…we know what he did."

"I'm sure whatever connections there were, they're being erased right now,” Anders said.

"They found Freiburg and Schulz dead, in their offices,” Erich said, "Made it look like they killed themselves. They're cleaning up, taking everything away.”

Anders sighed. “Schulz was with us from the beginning. And he was Deputy Director. This is going to shake the Athanatoi to the core. I don’t know what we’re going to do without him.”

“At least we got Angie back,” Erich said, “Her cancer’s gone into remission.”

“What?” Anders said. “That’s unbelievable.”

"It's the best news Sharon and I could have heard,” Erich said.

"What turned it around?” Anders asked.

"I don't know,” Erich said, “Maybe it was the treatment, but I don't think we'll ever know."

They went into the room, where Magda and Bill sat next to her. Erich walked over to Magda’s side and hugged her, while Bill looked at Anders and smiled, as if to apologize for his previous behavior. Anders smiled back and walked to Angela’s side. Angela smiled cautiously at him.

“We did it,” she said.

“Schulz is dead,” Anders said.

“We’ll handle it,” Angela said, “We’ll get through it."
 

TheAnguishedOne

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I'll miss Schulz, honestly. He was a good man that made one necessary evil after another until he had dug so deep he was never going to climb out, and he accepted that fate. As for the Smoking Man, I'm with everyone immediately knowing he's alive. Probably pretty mad too, or at least annoyed.
I wonder if all this being brought to the Director's attention will change anything.
As for Angela... it's another win for them, and they've been needing one.