• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

zenphoenix

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Seems like that’s what happened in this update.:p
I just couldn't resist.:p
Where you not able to see the picture I attached there or are you just trolling me for the memes?:eek:
No, I saw it, I just didn't recognize Trotsky. I don't know why since he's literally on the front page of the HOI3 chapters.
In either case, I was referring to how Colonel Sanders looked a lot like Trotsky before his death.:D
I should really bring that up as a conspiracy theory in-universe.:D
I will say, between Hitlier as Disney, Stalin as Ecumenical Patariach, and Mussolini remaining as a jonuralist, Himmler founding a fast food brand is the weirdest change of them all! But I suppose he could just breed a bunch of chicken.:p
Ironically, Himmler being a chicken farmer is canon to Kaiserreich lore. Makes sense he'd go into fast food.:p
Makes me wonder who took Himmler’s place in either the Angeloi or Rasas since most of OTL’s Nazis like Goring or Speer joined the Angeloi?:eek:
I think Erich Raeder replaced him and a few other real life Nazis.
Also would there be strategy games for WW2 and WW3 in TTL because I´m wondering how strategy games involving the Reich would work considering how powerful it is?
They'd be more focused on the tactical level, with players giving orders to troops and battalions. The Reich's enemies would be given insane buffs which would be gradually removed as time passes.
 

zenphoenix

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Going Postal, Part 1

Post Office, Frankfurt an der Oder, Brandenburg – September 16, 1994, 10:00 AM

The machines were hard at work, as usual, spewing envelopes down the assembly line and past worker Eduard Funsch. He picked up each envelope, typed its zip code into his machine, and passed the envelope back into the assembly line, sending it on to the next worker. His steady rhythm was interrupted when an envelope jammed in the feed. The machine beeped urgently. He walked over to pull it out, only to cut his finger on a sharp edge. He winced and watched as blood dripped from his cut.

His supervisor walked over. “Hey, Ed, you okay?”

Ed nodded. “Blood. There’s blood.”

“It’s just a paper cut,” the supervisor said, “Uh, listen, Ed. I need to talk to you.”

Ed followed the supervisor to his office, where the supervisor poured him a cup of water. The cooler gurgled as the supervisor sat at his desk.

“There you go,” he said, “Ed, uh... this is never easy. Ed, everybody down here sure likes you a lot, Herr Funsch. And I know it's tough 'cause you're new to this area. Ed, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to let you go. I mean, your work is first-rate, and like I said, you're a good guy. But you know the story. Cutbacks and seniority and... you're low man on the pole. I really hate to do this to a man like you, but I had no other choice.”

Ed gulped and tried to save his dignity. “Say, could I work part-time?”

The supervisor sighed, obviously unhappy with his decision. He took out an envelope and handed it to Ed.

“The guys took up a collection today,” he said, “It's a hundred marks. Take it. Look, why don't you stay on till the end of the week?”

The supervisor walked out. Ed sipped his water and slammed the cup down in the trashcan. Rage filled his mind as he walked back to his seat. This job meant everything to him. How could they just get rid of him like that? Did they know how hard it was to get a decent-paying job that could cover rent and utilities?

He walked back to his seat and continued typing, channeling his rage into his work. His fingers flew across the number pad as he processed each envelope’s zip code.

02828

13207

49548

Kill
Ed stared in confusion at the display. It had just one word: “Kill.” But there was no way he could’ve typed any word, let alone that one. The keyboard only had numbers on it. He blinked, and it changed to “93021.” He stared at it longer, unsure of what he saw. Deciding he was just tired and stressed out from the cut and his firing, he continued typing.

10977

15214

Kill.
Ed stared at the display again, completely confused. He blinked, and the next second it changed back to “15214.” He nervously looked around at his coworkers. None of them acted like anything was wrong. He looked back at the display.

Kill ‘em.
He stared closer at the display.

Kill 'em all. Do it.

Civic Center – 10:20 AM

Taber felt claustrophobic in the elevator, more so than usual. The tiny elevator was crammed with more than the usual number of sharply dressed men and women. Despite pressing as far as he could against the wall, they left absolutely no room in front of him. He heard one man coughing incessantly somewhere near the front, followed by another woman, and his mind flashed to worrying about how sick and contagious he might be. Was it HIV? Could HIV be spread by cough? He didn’t know. He focused on the display, watching it tick down from level 11 to 7. The door dinged and opened.

“Is there room in there?” a woman asked.

“Oh, I think we can make some,” a man said.

“Thank you,” the woman said, pushing her way in.

As the elevator continued descending, the woman coughed again.

“Excuse me,” she said.

She continued coughing, as did the man. Taber glanced at the clock above the display, hoping to see how long he had been stuck there. But it didn’t display the time.

Taber looked away and then back at it, unsure if he saw it correctly.

Can’t breathe.
He squinted closer at the display.

Kill 'em all.
The message changed again as Taber grew more agitated, shaking where he stood.


3:00 PM

Anders drove up to the civic center, which had been sealed off by yellow tape and dozens of police cars. Officers milled around the lobby, while photographers took pictures of the bodies lying just outside the elevator. Deputy Reinhardt lifted the tape for Anders as he approached the local constable, Sigmund.

“Thanks, Deputy,” Anders said, “Hey there, Sigmund.”

Sigmund shook his hand. “How you doing?”

“Alright,” Anders said, putting on rubber gloves.

“Yeah, thanks for coming on such short notice,” Sigmund said, “I realize the Athanatoi's Behavioral Science Unit normally profiles murder suspects still at large, and it must be odd being asked to profile our suspects, all of whom are dead. Reinhardt suggested I reach out.”

Anders knelt over a body and pulled up the blue cover to look at it.

“You know, I’m relieved the Athanatoi answered our request and sent you,” Sigmund said, “Because in all honesty, Agent Humboldt... whatever's going on here is way over our heads. Thought you might be able to help us, with your unorthodox experience.”

Anders got up and looked around. Sigmund sighed.

“The suspect's body is out on the sidewalk,” Sigmund said, “We're holding the security guard who shot him. The witnesses in the elevator are down at the hospital. You can talk to them whenever you're ready.”

Anders, still brooding, walked around Sigmund and into the elevator, where he looked at the blood smeared on the walls.

“I've asked all the businesses in the building to close for the day,” Sigmund said, “We've done our best to preserve the area for you. We've thoroughly photographed the scene. The area has been sketched, but we haven't dusted for prints... yet. We wanted to wait for you before we collected further evidence.”

Anders looked at the display, which was cracked. He pointed at it.

“Was this damaged during the incident?” he asked.

“I’ll find out,” Sigmund said.

They walked out of the elevator, and Reinhardt led them to the suspect’s body.

“Things like this aren't supposed to happen here,” Sigmund said.

“A 42-year-old real estate agent murders four strangers with his bare hands?” Anders said. “That's not supposed to happen anywhere.”

“No,” Sigmund said, “Since the Imperial Century, there's only been three murders in this area. In the last six months, seven people have killed 22. Per capita, that's higher than the combined homicide rate of Stuttgart, Constantinople, and Damascus. This town is not any of those places. In Frankfurt an der Oder, you'll never have to pull off the road to make way for a celebrity driving with a gun to his head.”

“In each incident, the suspect was killed?” Anders asked.

“Suicide by cop,” Sigmund said, “Each incident occurred in a public place. The suspect went crazy and refused to desist when ordered. Officers used deadly force in order to save lives.”

“Were autopsies conducted on the suspects for substance abuse?” Anders asked.

“Agent Humboldt, Frankfurt an der Oder is the poster child for the reintegration of the former Occupied Territories,” Sigmund said, “While there’s still a lot of unemployment in these parts, these folks don't drink much, by Roman standards anyways. They certainly don't do drugs. Legacy of the Soviet era, I guess. By the way, coroner's tests were negative.”

They reached the body. Anders knelt down and pulled up the blue cover, looking at it. He examined the fingers closely, as they were covered with blood, and noticed a green substance on two of the fingertips.

“I played baseball with this guy every Oktoberfest,” Sigmund said, “Even played with him and some friends yesterday. He was one of those nice guys... couldn't play and didn't whine about being stuck in right field.”

“What's wrong with right field?” Anders said.

“Always the first one to shake hands at the end of the game,” Sigmund said, “Didn't matter whether they won or lost.”

“Got to have an arm to play right field,” Anders said.

“Bought a round of beers afterwards, even though he didn't drink,” Sigmund said.

“I played right field,” Anders said, scraping off the substance and putting it in a bag. “Let’s have this analyzed by the Athanatoi’s lab.”

“What the hell could bring anyone to do this?” Sigmund asked.

“Don’t know,” Anders said.


Commercial Trust Bank

Ed approached the ATM and inserted his debit card. The machine prompted him to enter his PIN number. As he typed it in, he heard a mother talking to her daughter behind him. He chose his transaction, but before he could choose the account, he heard the mother say something.

“Baby, you’re bleeding,” she said.

He slowly turned and saw the mother tending to the girl’s nosebleed, wiping the blood away.

“Tilt your head back,” the mother said, “I told you to leave it alone, okay? Now, don't touch it or it'll bleed again. Tilt your head back.”

Ed cringed at the sight of the bloody tissue. He looked back at the machine and decided to select the account and get it over with.

Security guard.
He slowly looked at the security guard standing to his right.

Take his gun.
He looked at the guard’s gun.

Kill 'em all. Do it.
Ed shrieked, as if he’d gone insane, and shook his head wildly. He frantically punched the keyboard and screen with both fists. The guard ran over.

“Hey!” the guard shouted. “Hey, what the hell's wrong with you?”

Ed ran off, leaving his card behind. The guard took his card and looked at the machine, which was working normally.


Athanatoi Academy, Adrianople – 7:30 PM

Angela sat in front of her computer and put on her glasses, reading the report Anders had emailed to her.

"Perpetrators of mass murders are divided into two classifications," she read, "The spree killer and the serial. The sudden violent outburst in a public locale and the suspect's disregard for anonymity or survival define the Frankfurt-Oder—can I call it that, right? Frankfurt an der Oder is a bit long—incidents as spree killings. The confounding element of the profiles is, given their backgrounds, the perpetrators would be, statistically, more likely the victims of violent crimes, rather than the originators. The killers were all middle income, responsible people. None with a history of violence. Relatives and friends reported only minor displays of dysfunctional behavior. Sleep disorders, headaches, eating difficulties... but witnesses did report the last suspect displayed a claustrophobic reaction. I'm convinced an outside factor is responsible, but I must concede frustration as to a determination of the cause. A residue discovered on the fingers of the most recent perpetrator was analyzed and reported to be an undefined but nontoxic organic chemical found on plants, perhaps remaining from gardening or pesticides. There have been reported abductee paranoia in UFO mass abduction cases...”

“I was wondering when you’d get to that,” Anders said, sighing, “I find no evidence of this to be the case.”

“I thought you were focused on aliens or something,” Angela said, “Wasn’t that what the X-Division was about? UFOs? Whatever Sentinel is?”

“The X-Division covers all unexplained cases, not just aliens or UFOs,” Anders said, “I suppose this is one of them. It’s technically unexplained, right? The single, connecting trace evidence to the killings is the destruction of an electronic device at the crime scene. A pager, a fax machine, a cell phone, a gas pump digital display.”

He sat down and sighed again. “In all honesty, Angie, I've never had a more difficult time developing a profile. There is no way to know who will be a killer... or who will be killed.”


Frankfurt an der Oder – 7:35 PM

Frau Ruprecht apprehensively walked towards the mechanic garage, where she heard the mechanic whistling. Inside, the garage was dimly lit, mostly shadowed by the car hood. She heard a clattering of tools.

“Hello?” Ruprecht asked, stopping far from the car. There was no answer, just the sound of a ratchet turning.

The mechanic remained behind the hood. “You're late.”

“I'm sorry,” Ruprecht said, “I called earlier. A deadline came up at work. If it's ready, I'll just pay you and... get out of here.”

The mechanic walked out from behind the hood. “How did you manage to break that anyhow?

“Oh, it's a long story,” the mechanic said, “Did you fix it?”

“It's fixed,” the mechanic said.

Ruprecht got out her wallet. “What do I owe you?”

“I'll tell you,” the mechanic said, “In fixing that, I found some other problems. Serious problems, Frau Ruprecht. Come back here, I'll show you.”

Ruprecht gasped in fear. “I'm sorry. My husband's waiting for me. I have to go.”

“Okay, but you ain't going to go very far unless you get this fixed,” he said, “Come here.”

He walked behind the hood. Ruprecht tensed up and followed, pushing her fears to the back of her mind. This wasn’t the old Occupied Territories anymore, she told herself. She now lived in the Reich, and there were rules people lived by. Meanwhile, the mechanic continued whistling, pushing a button on a read-out. The engine started up, causing Ruprecht to jolt.

“Alright, this is a diagnostic test of your engine,” the mechanic said, “You're supposed to have an output of a hundred and sixty-eight horses at sixty-two hundred R.P.M.s. You're nowhere near that. Come over here. Next to me. I want you to take a look at this.”

He pointed under the hood. “Well, first of all, you're leaking oil like crazy. Your throw rods are chattering, valves need adjustment.”

Ruprecht looked over at the read-out monitor, trying to see the diagnostic, but it had been replaced with one word.

“Over here, you've got a couple of engine mounts that should be replaced,” the mechanic said.

He's a liar.
“There's some arching off your coil wire,” the mechanic said, “To tell you the truth, I think we should replace all the ignition wires.”

He'll rape you.
Ruprecht barely heard the mechanic by now. Her eyes were locked on the monitor, reading the strange messages. She couldn’t even blink.

He'll kill you.
Kill him first. Do it.
“If you don't believe me, take a look here,” the mechanic said, putting his hand on her shoulder.

Ruprecht gasped and shrieked. She picked up the ratchet and slammed him over the head. The mechanic screamed in pain and fell, his head hitting the light. She reached up to hit him again, but he kicked her leg out and grabbed a hammer. Before he could swing it around, she grabbed a nozzle for an oil can and stabbed it into his stomach. He gasped and screamed, his eyes wide, and fell over. Ruprecht ran away.

The monitor now displayed “Analysis Complete – next.”


September 17, 1994, 8:15 AM

The photographer moved away from the body, and Anders knelt down and inspected it. He stood up and looked at the nozzle, which he had put in a bag. He looked over at the computer read-out, which worked as normal. As he looked at a clipboard hung on the wall, Sigmund and another man walked over to him.

“Agent Humboldt?” the other man asked. “Leopold Winter, county supervisor.”

They shook hands.

“Uh, pardon my rubber,” Anders said.

“Can you tell me if this murder is more of the same?” Leopold asked.

“They don't seem to be connected,” Sigmund said.

“Well, Sigmund, should I be relieved or more scared?” Leopold said. “I mean, is this the start of copycat killers?”

Anders flipped through the clipboard, which stated an oil change had been done.

“No, Leo, it's not a copy of the other homicides,” Sigmund said, “This wasn't committed in a public area. The suspect fled, covering his tracks.”

Anders read the next page, which said the air filter was repaired. The next said the digital dashboard had a problem.

“And the killer appears not to have had a premeditated weapon,” Sigmund continued.

Anders looked at the dashboard. All of the screens were smashed.

“They are connected,” he said, pointing at the dashboard.


Ruprecht’s house – 9:00 AM

Ruprecht opened the door, revealing Anders and Sigmund.

“Frau Ruprecht?” Anders asked.

“Yes?” she said.

Anders held up his badge. “This is Constable Sigmund, and I'm Agent Anders Humboldt with the Athanatoi Behavioral Sciences Division. May we come in?”

“I'm late for work,” Ruprecht said.

“You can blame me,” Anders said, walking inside, “Ask your boss to call me. Been having some car trouble?”

“That's my husband's department,” Ruprecht said.

“May I speak with him?” Anders asked.

“He just took the car to Danzig for a business meeting,” Ruprecht said, taking out a brown bag from her refrigerator, “Is it okay if I have my breakfast?”

Anders shrugged. “It's the day's most important meal.”

She put the bag inside the microwave and started it up. Her eyes wandered to the display screen.

He knows.
Ruprecht gasped, while Anders took out an invoice.

“Um... this invoice?” he said. “It was, uh, signed by you. Did you pick up the car last night?”

Kill 'em both. Do it.
Ruprecht gasped and pulled herself away from the microwave.

“Yeah,” she said.

Anders walked over and looked at the microwave. It read 9:05 AM. She took out her food and put it on the table.

“Can you describe to me exactly how the dashboard read-out was damaged?” Anders asked.

Ruprecht hesitated, her hands shaking.

“Frau Ruprecht?” Anders asked.

“I did it,” she said, “I broke it.”

“Why?” Anders said.

Ruprecht pulled open the drawer and reached for her butcher knives. Neither men noticed.

“Frau Ruprecht?” Anders said. “Did you see something in the read-out?”

Ruprecht was almost crying, as if she didn’t want to do it, as she grasped the handle of a knife.

“I can help,” Anders said, putting a hand on her shoulder, “Frau Ruprecht?”

Ruprecht shrieked and slashed his arm, knocking him down. She pinned him down and raised her knife to slash his throat. Sigmund charged into the room and drew his gun.

“Stop!” he shouted.

“Sigmund, no!” Anders shouted.

Sigmund opened fire.


Athanatoi Academy, Adrianople – 3:00 PM

Angela pulled back the sheet to reveal the body of Frau Ruprecht, laid on her operating table. She put a surgical mask on and turned on the light, a scalpel in her hand. Her Walkman sat on a nearby table, recording her voice.

“Several anomalies were discovered in post-mortem analysis that were undetected in previous autopsies,” she said, “Levels of adrenaline are known to be high in cases of violent death, twice as much as in victims of natural death. This subject's levels were two-hundred times normal. The adrenal gland displayed extensive adrenal hemorrhage, yet not from disease, but rather from wear. Other physiological evidence present indicated intense phobia. Analysis of the vitreous humor extracted from the eyeball indicated the presence of high concentration of an undetermined chemical compound. This compound, at its base, is similar to the substance analyzed earlier on a perpetrator's finger. Although further qualitative analysis must be performed, it is my opinion that this chemical, when reacting with adrenaline and other compounds secreted during phobic episodes, creates a substance similar to lysergic acid diethylamide... L.S.D.”


Shopping Mall, Frankfurt an der Oder

Ed, wearing his Sunday best, walked up to the customer service counter.

“Pardon me, ma’am,” he said, “I'd like to apply for a job.”

“Sorry,” the clerk said, more focused on her Rentiantang Game Boy, “They're not accepting applications at this time.”

She put up a sign saying “Back in an hour” and walked away. Disheartened, Ed wiped some sweat from his forehead and walked down the aisle to the Tesla Dynamic store, where some volunteers had set up a table with a sign that said “Frankfurt-Oder Community Blood Drive.”

“Sir?” a woman said, extending a clipboard and pen to Ed. “May we ask you to sign up for the blood drive?”

Ed uneasily focused on the word “blood” typed on a banner on the front of the table. It was colored dark red.

“Sir?” the woman said, maintaining her smile. “Are you alright?”

Ed walked away quickly. Entering another electronics store, he walked past a set of monitors playing a soccer game. Suddenly, the monitors went white and then turned to static. They flashed to various scenes: the cult leader Karl Manson, a scene from the riots occurring in Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, and Alexandria, the Rudolf Koenig beating, the burning compound in the 1993 Ulm seige, another riot scene, Russian drug cartels executing prisoners, and the famous O.J. Samson car chase through Damascus. The scenes cycled in front of Ed, who felt increasingly agitated and confused. The middle monitor went black.

Behind you.
He looked behind to see the gun section, where shotguns and assault rifles left over from the Soviet era and the war were on sale.

Ed slowly made his way to the counter in the gun section, taking out his wallet, as the TVs reverted to playing the soccer game.


September 18, 1994, 9:00 AM

As Anders left his motel for his morning jog, he noticed a truck pulling up to a house. A man seated on top took a spade full of flies and threw them onto the lawn and gutter, then tapped the side of the truck with the spade. Anders watched as the truck drives off. He then bent down and picked up one of the flies. It was dead.
 

Santik97

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Well, I took a look at the converter, and it only worked for games started in vanilla HOI3, last I checked. Plus it was out of date, and Simsulla had put it at the bottom of his priorities.

If you have a programming background, I wrote a program which copied over the province ownership information from my last Victoria 2 save file into my mod files. The province maps are roughly the same, but a lot of provinces regardless were moved/added/split, so I had to manually fix the rest, not to mention make the changes HOI3 made (one of the reasons the map didn't change much in HOI3 and from "vanilla" NWO in some places). Furthermore, the program I wrote was hardcoded to my specific file directories and save files, not to mention a lot of my code made assumptions (in assigning province ownership) that meant it would only work for the setup in my save file. I'm sure you could write something like that, if you have the background of course (and I think it can still be done even without writing a program), but that's not even talking about the cultural demographics, populations, religions, economies, governments, reforms, army/navy names and locations, generals/admirals, diplomatic relations, and a bunch of other stuff I had to manually fix before I even started work on modifiers, events, and decisions. If you're willing to put in several months of work for that, though, go ahead. But I have to apologize, because there is no guide, and I had very few instructions. Most of this was just done by hand. Personally, I'd recommend against doing a NWO megacampaign because of the time required to set it up, unless you want to make an AAR. Perhaps you could ask @Idhrendur (who works on the converters) about creating one for NWO, though I think he's quite busy at this point.

Hope this helps!:)
At me some question has arisen: How to make mapping from HOI4 to NWO? Or it is currently impossible?
 

zenphoenix

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At me some question has arisen: How to make mapping from HOI4 to NWO? Or it is currently impossible?
It is theoretically doable, but I have barely played HOI4 and am unfamiliar with how the provinces are done there. I think it can be done, though. As I said, you would probably need a programming background to write the code to translate province ownerships into NWO.
 

zenphoenix

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TheAnguishedOne

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Oh boy... things just keep getting more and more complicated. Ed, I've got hope for you.
 

zenphoenix

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Going Postal, Part 2

Lone Gunman Office, Constantinople – September 18, 1994, 3:00 PM

While Reinhard Lander and Ragnar Biers watched from a distance with Anders, Rudolf Froniker looked at the fly through a magnifying glass.

“Hmmm...” he said.

“In our April edition, we ran an article on the Foreign Division's new CCDTH-21-38 fiber-optic-lens micro-video camera,” Ragnar said.

“Small enough to be placed on the back of a fly,” Reinhard said.

“Imagine being one of those flies on the wall of the Chancellery,” Anders said, “Or Kohl’s office in Bukoleon. Or the Kaiser’s office.”

“Been there, done that,” Rudolf said, “Especially the Kaiser’s office.”

He took the fly to another desk. “Okay, that is a Eurasian cluster fly. They infest vegetation like, uh, apples or cherries and can inflict a great deal of damage to crops.”

“This one's probably been irradiated to control propagation,” Reinhard said.

“Or agents of competing Tawantinsuyuan agricultural corporations posing as Frankfurt-Oder city employees are releasing fertile flies to destroy the crops,” Ragnar said.

Rudolf stared at the fly, which he held with tweezers, and then dropped it into a petri dish.

“Nope,” he said, “This bug's been nuked.”

“It was a fine effort, though,” Anders said, patting Ragnar on the back and picking up a folder, “Have you ever come across this chemical compound?”

“LSDM,” Reinhard said, “Obviously, you haven't read our August edition.”

“Oh, I'm sorry, boys,” Anders said, It arrived the same day as my Star Trek Magazine.”

Reinhard laughed.

“Come over here,” Ragnar said.

They walked over to a TV, where Ragnar shuffled through a number of videotapes. Rudolf, meanwhile, messed around with night-vision goggles.

“So, Anders, where's your cousin?” Rudolf asked.

“She wouldn’t come,” Anders said, “Her dad would disapprove.”

“She's tasty,” Rudolf said.

“You know, Froniker, it's men like you that give perversion a bad name,” Anders said.

Ragnar took out the tape he was looking for. “Here... toxic pesticides. The chemical you have in that report is called lysergic dimethrin.”

He put the tape in the player.

“Like LSD?” Anders asked. “My dad used to drop acid in college, I was told.”

“It's an unreleased experimental synthetic botanical insecticide,” Ragnar said, “It attempts to act as a natural pheromone. Not much like LSD, if you were wondering.”

“LSDM is sprayed on the plant, which invokes a fear response in the pest,” Reinhard said, “You know, ‘get out of here, there's danger’. The insect reacts and leaves the plant.”

“Why won't they release it?” Anders asked. “Is it possible it affects humans in the same way?”

“Possible?” Ragnar said.

He and Reinhard smiled.

“Let me show you something,” Ragnar said, pressing play.

On the TV, a chemical was being sprayed out of a truck onto people’s lawns.

“This is actual newsreel footage taken in the 50's,” Ragnar said, “They're spraying DDT... a chemical the government did release and determine to be safe. Thirty years later...”

The chemical was now being sprayed on a crowd of smiling women.

“...they found out that women exposed to it had higher rates of breast cancer,” Ragnar said, “Not to mention the environmental effects.”

The chemical was now being sprayed on children swimming in a pool.

“But they convinced local officials it was even safe to spray on children,” Ragnar said, “It took a decade of bureaucratic and industry heel-dragging before it was banned. And that was because of Silent Spring, not the decade of research presented to the Diet.”

“Different chemicals, same stunts,” Reinhard said.

“They just learned how not to be so obvious,” Ragnar said.

Anders stood up. “Definitely not something Dad would get high on,” he said, “Hey, Froniker, can I borrow these?”

“If I can have Angela’s phone number,” Rudolf said.

Anders stared at him. Then he grabbed the goggles and walked out.

“I’m still taking it,” he said.


Frankfurt an der Oder – 9:00 PM

Anders sat on a hill, looking out over a field. He looked through Rudolf’s night-vision goggles and saw nothing. Then he heard an approaching helicopter, but he still saw nothing. He walked down the hill and drove closer to the field. Walking slowly, the only sound he heard were the crickets and a dog barking. The wind picked up, and there was a muffled rumbling. Anders looked up in time to see a helicopter fly over, spraying chemicals on him and the crops. He fell to the ground, coughing and rubbing his eyes.


Community Hospital – September 19, 1994, 8:00 AM

Angela finished taking Anders’ blood as Sigmund talked with Leopold.

“Stealth helicopters?” Leopold said. “Experimental pesticides responsible for violent behavior?”

“I saw the chopper from two different locations,” Anders said, “Look at my skin, feel my hair. The insecticide is still on me.”

“I checked up on you,” Leopold said, “You have a penchant for... ‘Spooky’ evidence.”

Anders looked at Angela. “Don't start with that tired crap. Don't start diverting blame.”

“Hang on a second here...” Leopold began.

“Look, if you're the one responsible for the illegal spraying, then the sooner you take responsibility, the sooner people will stop dying,” Anders said, “The killers all resided near heavily sprayed areas.”

“You don't live here, Humboldt, I do,” Leopold said, “I have my heart in this town. I have three children. I'm not going to dump poison on them. The Soviets did enough when I was a kid.”

“Yeah, well, if it's so safe, why was it done in secret?” Anders asked.

“What kind of a crusade are you on?” Leopold said.

“Answer the question,” Sigmund said, “Are we spraying?”

Leopold looked away from them, took a few steps, then looked back.

“This county lives on money generated from its crops,” Leopold said, “Reintegration left a heavy toll on this county, you know. We’ve been so used to Soviet control over everything it’s hard for us to stand up on our own. Those crops are the only things separating us from high unemployment and economic collapse. The irradiated flies were not effective. The delays to get approval to spray would have caused millions in crop damage. Look at the hell they raised in Israel over malathion. Meanwhile, people's lives were being ruined by a... a damn bug.”

“Ruined?” Sigmund said. “23 people are dead.”

“There is no proof whatsoever of the spray caused violent behavior,” Leopold said, “It was proven to me to be safe.”

“By who?” Anders asked. “Who proved it to you?”

Leopold looked at him angrily and then stormed out.

“I'm sorry, Anders, but he's right,” Angela said, “I'd love to tell you that I flew several hundred miles in the middle of the night to perform tests that prove that you're about to become the next Karl Manson…but I find little physiological evidence that LSDM has toxically affected you... even after massive ingestion.”

“Angie, your own autopsy reported the killer had chemical anomalies,” Anders said.

“Yes, but you are proof that it wasn't from exposure to LSDM,” Angela said.

“May I see that chart, Angie?” Anders asked.

“Sure,” Angela said.

He walked over to Angela, but his eyes wandered up to the TV.

“These are normal, right here...” Angela said.

DO IT NOW
“...subjected to successive LSDM sprays...” Angela continued.

“Angie, are you familiar with subliminal messages?” Anders asked.

“‘Join the Navy’ and satanic messages in heavy metal?” Angela said. “That's paranoia.”

“No, it's a fact that some department stores use subliminal messages in their ambient music to deter shoplifting and encourage people to buy stuff,” Anders said, “And the Chinese have been using advanced electroencephalographic techniques to influence behavior.”

“And how is this connected with the spraying?” Angela asked.

“Electronic devices were destroyed by every perpetrator,” Anders said.

Sigmund stared at Anders.

“I'm still waiting,” Angela said.

“The insecticide LSDM is known to invoke a fear response in cluster flies,” Anders said, “What if the chemical causes the same reaction in humans? All the perpetrators were phobic. Taber was claustrophobic. Ruprecht’s husband stated she had a paranoia about rape. The insecticide heightened their already existing phobia to an unbearable level. Then the electronic devices relayed messages that told them specifically what to do with their fear in order to alleviate it. The messages were relayed purposely.”

“By who?” Angela asked.

Anders sighed. Sigmund walked out.

“Yeah, he's probably one of those people who think Trotsky is dead and didn’t found SBC,” Anders said, “Finger-licking good, huh?”

“Anders, I was wrong,” Angela said, “Exposure to the insecticide does induce paranoia.”

“I think this area is being subjected to a controlled experiment,” Anders said.

“Controlled by who?” Angela asked. “By the government? By the RSB? By Sentinel?”

“They've done it before,” Anders said, “DDT in the 50's, Agent Orange in Siam, germ warfare on unsuspecting neighborhoods.”

“Yes, but why, Anders?” Angela said. “Why would they intentionally create a populace that destroys itself?”

“Fear,” Anders said, “It's the oldest tool of power. If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above.”

Sigmund walked back in. “I just had a talk with Herr Winter. I persuaded him to a compromise. He's agreed to stop the spraying immediately and to blood testing extensively the people exposed to the spray area.”

“But?” Anders said.

“But... the official explanation of the testing cannot be linked to the side-effects of LSDM,” Sigmund said.

Anders sat. “Of course he’d want that.”


Ed’s house – 9:00 AM

Ed watched a commercial on the local blood drive, which read “Free Cholesterol Testing.”

“Frankfurt an der Oder and neighboring Dammvorstadt are participating in an important nationwide study on cholesterol,” a woman on the TV said, “Volunteers will be coming to your door, or you may report at your convenience to Frankfurt-Oder Community General. The procedure is very simple and painless.”

On the television, the doctor pricked the patient's finger with the needle.

“Just a little prick on the fingertip, and your participation is complete.”

The camera focused on the drop of blood from the patient’s finger. Ed cringed, biting his nails. He reached for the remote, but he couldn’t bring himself to turn off the TV.

“And appreciated. So remember, cholesterol screening can save your life.”

Ed looked back at the AK-47 and the many cartridges he purchased.

“So when those volunteers come to your door, answer readily, or you may report at your convenience to Frankfurt-Oder Community General. Thank you.”

The doorbell buzzed loudly, startling Ed. He ran to the window and looked out to see one of the volunteers for the blood drive. She pressed the doorbell twice. Ed pulled the blinds shut and retreated to the TV.

Ed grew more agitated as the letters grew larger on the screen. He screamed and slammed the television down onto the floor, face first, shattering the glass front. The volunteer continued pressing the doorbell rapidly, almost in a pattern. Ed looked down at the gun, covering his ears from the annoying buzzing and the distorted sound from the broken TV. He ran his fingers over the scope and then closed the case. A small calculator dropped to the floor. He picked it up and read the screen.

He smashed it against a table and stood. Looking out the window nervously, his watch beeped. He looked at it.

Kill. Do it.

Sigmund’s office – 9:15 AM

“And your test results on the blood samples were double-checked?” Sigmund said. “Are you sure? Uh-huh. Alright, thanks.”

He hung up the phone and walked to Angela and Anders, who stood by a map of the area. “Last area just reported in. Okay, these are the sectors that have tested negative.”

He circled an area with his finger. “This is a list of people who, for one reason or another, haven't checked out. There's about twenty-five.”

Anders turned to Angela. “Looks like we’re Imperial Scouts today.”


Ed’s house – 10:30 AM

Angela crossed off two more names. The next on her list was “Funsch, Eduard.”

“Only seven more to go,” Anders noted.

Angela looked at the doorbell, which had been ripped off the wall. She picked up the buzzer.

“This is odd,” Angela said.

Anders looked at the frayed wire. “Frustrated Imperial Scout?”

Angela opened the door. “Door's unlocked.”

They drew their guns and walked inside, finding the apartment was a complete mess. Angela looked down at the broken TV, which covered the floor. Anders opened up the gun case, finding the gun missing.

“Oh, great,” he said.


11:00 AM

Anders and Sigmund stood in the doorway, while police officers combed every square inch of Ed’s apartment for evidence.

“Are gun laws really that bad here?” Anders asked.

Sigmund sighed. “You don’t understand this place, Agent Humboldt. Most folks, they got a gun to protect themselves from the Soviets. The rest, they got it to defend against the bandits during and after the war. They still got that mentality in their heads. We’ve made little progress strengthening the laws. And the manufacturers want the military to sell off its surplus guns. They know this is a good market.”

Angela walked up to them and handed Anders a folder.

“Here it is,” she said.

“Eduard Funsch, age fifty-two,” Anders read, “No diploma—People’s University of Dresden expelled and blacklisted him for ‘subversive values’ after participating in a protest—no vehicle or driver's license issued by either an Occupied Territory government or the Reich, served two years mandatory conscription in the DDR navy, wife died in the war. Only son also killed in the war, Battle of East Berlin. No known family, just laid-off.”

Anders looked at Angela. “Medical history?”

“Nothing,” Angela said, “I mean, he hasn't seen a doctor in decades. The county’s last doctor was sent off to a gulag in the 70s and never replaced.”

“When was the blood tester here?” Anders asked.

“About 9 this morning,” Angela said.

Anders picked up the small bag containing the crushed watch. “The blood test. I know what he's afraid of... and I know where he's going.”


Outside Frankfurt-Oder Community General Hospital – 11:30 AM

A few people got off the bus, and then two more got on. The bus started off as Ed desperately ran after it.

“Hey, wait!” he shouted. “Stop! Stop! Stop! Hey!”

The bus stopped. Ed ran up to the door and banged on it.

“Alright, hold on a second,” the bus driver said, “Can’t you wait a bit? This isn’t the Occupied Territories anymore!”

The door opened, and he boarded, clutching his bag. He deposited some change into the coin machine and took the first seat, putting his bag next to him. He looked around, paranoid, then over to the electronic display.

They're waiting.
Ed leaned in and looked at it.

He clutched the bag tighter and walked up to the driver.

“Pardon me,” he said.

The bus driver rolled his eyes. “Wait for the next stop.”

“Please!” Ed screamed. “I'm on the wrong bus.”

“Wait for the next stop,” the bus driver repeated.

Ed lost his mind. He banged on the windows and screamed at the top of his lungs.

“Open the door! Open the door! God, open the door, damn it!”


11:35 AM

Sigmund walked out of the hospital, motioning for Leopold to head the other way.

“Uh, C-one, this is X-ray-four,” his walkie-talkie said, “Negative on that North-South line.”

“Copy that,” Sigmund replied.

He walked up to Anders and Angela. “If he's on it, it's going to be this line.”

They turned to see the bus pulling up.

“Here it comes,” Anders said.

“Get the uniforms out of sight,” Angela said.

Sigmund nodded and walked away, ducking behind a car. Anders and Angela ducked behind a wall as the bus stopped at the curb. Passengers filed off, and two got on. Angela approached the bus and knocked on the door, showing her badge. The driver opened the door. Angela held up a picture of Ed Funsch.

“Have you seen this man?” she asked.

“Yeah, I picked him off,” the driver said, “Drove four feet, then he went apewire. Never seen anything like it, and I fought in the war.”

“Where'd you let him out?” Anders asked.

“Near the college,” the driver said.

“We'll have to wait him out,” Angela said, “Thanks.”

The driver shut the door and drove off.

“I don't think he's waiting,” Anders said, pointing at the sign for the blood drive at the college.


Frankfurt-Oder Community College

A large crowd had shown for the blood drive. Dozens walked by and signed up at tables, where orange juice sat ready for them. Ed looked around and then at an electronic sign.

Ed looked up at a clock tower. Understanding the message, he walked towards it as Angela and Anders drove towards the college in separate cars. Ed slowly made his way up the steps, carrying his heavy bag. Below, Anders got out of his car with Sigmund and called Angela.

“Anything?” he asked.

Angela got out of her car. “Nothing.”

Ed reached the top of the tower, wheezing, and looked around at the windows. He put his bag on the ground, wiped his forehead, and unzipped it. Pulling out a box of ammunition, bullets spilled onto the floor as he tried to pull it out. He finally got it free and started loading his AK-47. Below, more police cars arrived. The officers started checking around as Ed finished loading and raised his gun to the window, staring down the scope. He pulled the trigger.

Shots rang out in rapid-fire. Dirt and grass shot up from the ground as bullets tore through it. The tables shattered, throwing papers and orange juice everywhere. Windows shattered. The volunteers at the tables were instantly cut down, as well as an ambulance driver who had just arrived on the scene. The driverless ambulance plowed into the crowd, running over several panicking bystanders before crashing into a booth. More people started dropping, their heads and chests exploding or being torn apart by the automatic weapons fire. The rest stampeded through the commons, trampling each other under their feet. Sigmund and Anders took cover behind their car.

“Get down!” they shouted, trying to get the crowd to stop panicking.

Sigmund took out a bullhorn. “Please remain calm! Stay away from the building!”

Someone in the crowd, though, drew his gun and started firing wildly, hitting the people around him with his shots. Others drew their own handguns and fired back at each other, shooting more and more people. Angela searched for the shooter and saw the rifle sticking out of the window in the clock tower. She raced to the police car, where more officers took cover, pinned down by Ed. Ed reloaded and continued firing, smiling and licking his lips. Angela made her way towards the building, but Ed fired at her, spraying the ground around her with bullets. She yelped and retreated behind a tree, her fears getting to her head. She found herself back in Vienna again.

Machine gun fire suddenly interrupted their conversation, and the few windows that were still intact were promptly shredded, with dozens of doctors and nurses being cut down instantly. Horst tackled Angela just as bullets zipped through the space where they had just been standing a few seconds ago. The foundations of the hospital shook as rockets slammed into the upper floors with impunity. And then it was all over. When Angela picked herself off the floor, she looked around and found everybody was dead.
“I've seen that all and I've seen that and I don't want to see that again, baby!” Ed shrieked, completely insane.

“All units, forthwith, Community College,” Sigmund radioed, “Shots fired. Send emergency vehicles. Repeat, send—”

At that moment, he screamed in pain as a bullet struck him in the upper chest. Angela silently watched him fall and writhe on the ground, blood spurting from his wound. Another shot to the head put him down for good. Leopold and several officers rushed towards him, but they were also cut down immediately. Angela remained frozen by the tree, still locked into Vienna.

“It was nine years ago,” she muttered, “Nine years. Nine years.”

Had she been dosed with LSDM as well? The adrenaline was racing through her head. It sure felt like her fears had been heightened. But she had to keep going. She looked up at the tower, where Ed continued shooting. Determined to end the slaughter, Angela took one step forward, and then another. Eventually, she entered the tower and started racing up towards the sound of gunfire and Ed’s mad giggling. She drew her weapon and ran faster. On one step, though, she slipped and cut her arm. She gritted her teeth through the pain and ran on. Eventually, she reached the top of the tower and pointed her gun at Ed.

“Put it down!” she shouted.

Ed spun around, a shocked expression on his face.

“Put it down!” she repeated.

“Don't kill me,” Ed pleaded, his voice suddenly full of remorse.

“Then put it down, Ed,” Angela said.

“I can't,” Ed said, “They won't let me.”

“I know they won't, Ed,” Angela said, “I know they won't let you.”

Ed nodded. “Then... you make me put it down, then. You do it.”

He gripped the handle tighter. Angela slowly walked towards him.

“If you don't put it down, I'm going to have to shoot you,” Angela said, “Or you're going to have to shoot me.”

Ed smiled slightly. Angela flashed back to the room in Vienna, where she had a gun aimed at the Russian assassin. The fear she felt back then…it rushed up to the surface.

“There's going to be blood... everywhere,” she said.

Realizing this, Ed started to lower his weapon. Angela reached for his rifle. However, Ed noticed Angela’s cut and screamed. He swung the butt of the rifle at her, but she ducked. He swung it again, but she grabbed the rifle and elbowed him in the stomach, sending the rifle falling down the stairs. In doing that, though, she didn’t notice Ed had grabbed her gun and was now aiming it at her. She backed off.

“You don’t want to do this,” she said.

Ed smiled sadly. “I’m sorry,” he said, “But they do.”

He jammed the barrel of the gun to his chin and shot himself in the head.


12:00 PM

Paramedics wheeled the wounded into the ambulance, while Leopold’s and Sigmund’s bodies were carried away on stretchers. Meanwhile, Anders walked over to Angela, who stood by her bullet-ridden car. Her eyes stared off into the distance. He’d only seen that look once before, after Uncle Hans had died.

“You sure you’re okay, Angie?” he asked.

Angela nodded and wrapped her bandages tighter. “I just watched several dozen people die. The worst mass shooting in recent memory. And I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t save them. I couldn’t save Funsch. I just couldn’t.”

“Angie, it’s Vienna again, isn’t it?” Anders said.

“I can’t blame everything on Vienna!” Angela said. “I look weak that way! I look like I’m too broken to continue my job! And you know what? I think they are right. I should be heading back to Adrianople, you know. My flight’s in three hours anyways."

“Angie, wait!” Anders said.

She stormed off. The ambulance drove away. Anders sat down on the car and dialed Uncle Erich’s number. He put the phone to his ear, but he heard a strange garbling. Was it the mysterious contact again? He looked at the screen.

All done.
He stared at the screen.

Auf wiedersiehen!
The screen now displayed Erich’s number, and the phone rang.

“Director Hansen,” Erich said, “Hello? Anders, is that you? Hello?”

Anders didn’t blink.
 

CaptainAlvious

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decapitates Christopher Lee:p
I think you mean Christopher Anniona!:D
the cult leader Karl Manson
What´s this?! There are heretics/cultists running around!:mad:

Somebody call the Inquisition now! We have some heretics to purge!:D

In all seriousness through, are cults a form of heresy and thus something that the Inquisition deals with since most of them are based on spiritualistic or religious dogma, thus falling under something the Inquisition deals with? Also I´m wondering what are the roles of the Inquisition now a days since the Reich is trying to push towards secularist but is still heavily influenced by religion? Does the Inquisition still rout out heresy like the cults previously mentioned because I´m sure heretics would continue popping up in the Reich in the same way you mentioned neo Angeloi existing in the Reich, through obviously obscure?

Edit: Since Anders got sprayed with that gas, bad things are going to happen in the future aren´t they.:eek: Also something tells me that shooting is going to be mentioned in the 90s summary update for significant events isn´t it. That´s got to be a major event for the 90s at this point like OTL´s Columbine shootings, or maybe that was TTL´s equivalent of Columbine!:eek:
At least we know that Anders and Angela will probably gain attention (or notoriety) from the public for their involvement for their involvement investigation of the cases leading up to that massive shooting, through rather or not it would be good or bad attention due to being agents present in the shooting remains to be seen.

Also what does SBC stand for here since you mentioned that as KFC here?:p:confused:
 
Last edited:

zenphoenix

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dammit Ed
RIP Ed
I think you mean Christopher Anniona!:D
I think you mean Siegfried Anniona!;)
What´s this?! There are heretics/cultists running around!:mad:
Cultists aren't necessarily heretics.:p
In all seriousness through, are cults a form of heresy and thus something that the Inquisition deals with since most of them are based on spiritualistic or religious dogma, thus falling under something the Inquisition deals with? Also I´m wondering what are the roles of the Inquisition now a days since the Reich is trying to push towards secularist but is still heavily influenced by religion? Does the Inquisition still rout out heresy like the cults previously mentioned because I´m sure heretics would continue popping up in the Reich in the same way you mentioned neo Angeloi existing in the Reich, through obviously obscure?
Well, the anti-heresy laws are technically still in effect, but they can't be reasonably enforced anymore. The Inquisition looks into each cult on a case-by-case basis, but unless they start dabbling in the occult and the supernatural (using magic, obtaining magical artifacts, interacting with supernatural beings, etc.) the Inquisition has no reason to interfere with them (and if they start killing people or committing regular crimes, that is the jurisdiction of the Athanatoi). Despite this, the Inquisition is still relevant. They occupy a similar role as the British Men of Letters in Supernatural (though way less brutal and with not as much emphasis on the "Men" part), Torchwood in Doctor Who, and SHIELD in Marvel. That being said, I will be introducing some Inquisition characters soon.;)
Edit: Since Anders got sprayed with that gas, bad things are going to happen in the future aren´t they.:eek: Also something tells me that shooting is going to be mentioned in the 90s summary update for significant events isn´t it. That´s got to be a major event for the 90s at this point like OTL´s Columbine shootings, unless that was TTL´s equivalent of Columbine!:eek:
At least we know that Anders and Angela will probably gain attention (or notoriety) from the public for their involvement for their involvement investigation of the cases leading up to that massive shooting, through rather or not it would be good or bad attention due to being agents present in the shooting remains to be seen.
Maybe. But then again, the message didn't say "Goodbye" for no reason.:D

The shooting will be mentioned in Chapter 448 (which will be posted when I get to 1996) as a major event influencing the 1995 examination campaign, and I'll see about mentioning it in the 1990s update. But Anders and Angela won't gain attention for their involvement in the case, since they're relatively little known agents. National attention would instead focus on the shooter, the victims, and Sigmund and Leopold.
 

CaptainAlvious

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Yep, those answers were helpful in clearing up some things, through I still have one missed question in my previous post.:)
Also what does SBC stand for here since you mentioned that as KFC here?:p:confused:
Also...
They'd be more focused on the tactical level, with players giving orders to troops and battalions. The Reich's enemies would be given insane buffs which would be gradually removed as time passes.
I can picture that being the case for RTS and turn based tactical games, but I´m wondering how Grand strategy games would work due to the Reich´s resources?
 

zenphoenix

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Yep, those answers were helpful in clearing up some things, through I still have one missed question in my previous post.
SaarBrucken (fried) Chicken. The B there totally wasn't a typo.:p
I can picture that being the case for RTS and turn based tactical games, but I´m wondering how Grand strategy games would work due to the Reich´s resources?
Grand strategy might instead be focused on the personal or institutional level instead of the national level. There would be measures to discourage blobbing, since everybody's already a big blob. There would be more emphasis on espionage, trade, and diplomacy. Instead of controlling a country, you'd control a person, company, institution, or political party whose goal is to influence your country's policy. Think of it like a mix of CK2, EU4, and Victoria 2.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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I had just said I had hope for Ed...
 

Adamgerd

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Apologies if this was already covered, but are there any planned game updates or just story updates?
 

zenphoenix

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I had just said I had hope for Ed...
At least he felt sorry for himself, towards the end, in a way.
Apologies if this was already covered, but are there any planned game updates or just story updates?
Yeah, regular game updates will continue. The next one (Chapter 448, covering 1992 to 1996) will be posted once I get the story updates to 1996.
 

zenphoenix

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Preacher, Part 1

Frankfurt, Hesse – October 3, 1994,11:23 PM

Dr. Saul Gerhard sat in front of his TV, watching the latest episode of The Berserker. He heard rumbling outside his door. Walking over, he opened it, and smoke and flames immediately poured in.

“AAAAHHH!” he screamed, reaching for his phone and calling the emergency hotline.

“119 operator, please state the nature of the emergency,” the operator said.

“Yeah, this is Dr. Saul Gerhard,” he said, “There’s a fire outside my apartment. I’m trapped.”

“Are you at 700 East 56th?” the operator asked.

“Yes, apt. 606,” Saul said, “For god’s sake, hurry!”

“Fire units are being dispatched right now, sir. Please stay on the line.”

Saul grabbed a fire extinguisher and aimed at the approaching flames. “Somebody help!”

Below, fire trucks pulled up to the apartment building, and firemen stormed inside, led by Lieutenant Roland. As they reached level 6 and saw no flames, Roland took out his radio.

“This is Lt. Roland,” he said, “We have a possible 23 false alarm in apartment six-zero-six. Let’s confirm that location, 606.”

“Yes, that’s affirmative, 606,” said a woman on the other end.

Roland felt the door to 606. “It’s cold, let’s do it!”

His men kicked down the door and ran inside, but they found nothing but Saul’s body.

“He’s dead,” a fireman said.

“Yeah, I noticed that,” Roland said, “Like he burned to death. But where’s the fire?”


Erich’s office, Constantinople – October 4, 1994, 9:00 AM

Anders sat down in Erich’s office and put the day’s newspaper on the desk. Opening it, the article on Saul Gerhard’s death was circled in red ink, and a cassette tape fell out.

“Did you send this?” Anders asked.

Erich shook his head.

Anders loaded the tape into a radio and pressed play. It was a recording of the 119 call and the firefighters’ response.

Anders pointed at the article. “The article makes no mention of the fire.”

“Yes, Anders, I can read,” Erich said.

“Gerhard’s company had a number of government contracts, which would place this investigation within the Athanatoi’s jurisdiction,” Anders said.

“But that’s not why you want the assignment,” Erich said.

“I think that the circumstances surrounding Gerhard’s death warrant a closer look,” Anders said, “I called FPD, but they won’t even talk to me unless I get the Justice Minister or Schulz to sign off on it.”

“Where’d you get the tape?” Erich asked. “Presumably, someone had led you to believe that there is more here than is being reported.”

“I don’t know,” Anders said, “You said you didn’t send it. You don’t look like the kind of person to send it. And my source is dead.”

“You mean my dad,” Erich said.

“You knew?” Anders asked.

Erich sighed. “Of course. It was quite obvious every time you kept sneaking out and had your butts saved while chasing crop circles or something. And it was a little coincidental, how my dad was killed right around the time I was ordered to recommend X-Division being shut down.”

“I thought that was because of Angie,” Anders said.

“Partly,” Erich said, “But my arm’s being twisted by Cigarette Guy, who left me no choice. Anyways, I’ll look into this further and I’ll let you know. In the meantime, you have 24 hours of wiretap that needs to be transcribed.”

Anders left Erich’s office and went back to his office, where he took out another wiretap tape and loaded it into his stereo, getting out a notebook.

“Are you comin’ over or what? You said you was comin’ over two hours ago and I’m waitin’ here like some stupid [REDACTED] who ain’t got nothin’ better to do with her time. . .”

Anders rewound the tape.

“. . .waitin’ here like some stupid [REDACTED] who ain’t got nothin’ better to do with her time than to sit around here waitin’ for you.”

An agent knocked on the door. “Agent Humboldt?”

“Yeah,” Anders said.

The agent handed him a form. “It’s your 302. Assistant Director Hansen just approved it.”

Anders read the form. “There’s a mistake here. There’s another agent assigned to the case.”

The agent held out his hand. “That would be me. Novak, Pavel Novak.”

Anders shook his hand. “Hansen didn’t say anything about taking on a new partner.”

“It wasn’t Hansen,” Pavel said, “Actually, I opened the file 2 hours before your request, so technically it’s my case.”

“And you already talked to the police?” Anders asked.

“Yeah, just talked with the officer in charge few minutes ago,” Pavel said, “Detective Wolfram. Turns out Gerhard called 119 to report a fire.”

“I heard the tape,” Anders said.

“Did you hear that forensics found a spent fire extinguisher on the floor?” Pavel said. “Gerhard’s prints were all over it. The walls and floor in his living room were covered with ammonium phosphate like you’d find in the fire extinguisher.”

“But no trace of a fire,” Anders said.

“Not even a burnt match,” Pavel said.

“That all you know?” Anders said.

“So far,” Pavel said, “What do you think it means?”

“Listen, I appreciate the show and tell, and I don’t want you to take this personally, but I generally work alone,” Anders said, “I’ll straighten things out with Hansen.”

“It’s my case, Agent Humboldt,” Pavel said, “Look, I’ve been with the Athanatoi since before the war started, so I have seniority. And I had the case first anyways, so while I appreciate your enthusiasm in wanting this case, I can’t give it away so quickly.”

Anders sighed. “Alright, I’ll tell you what, I got a little work to finish up around here. Why don’t you go down to the motor pool and requisition us a car and I’ll meet you down there.”

“That’s all,” Pavel said, “I mean you don’t have a problem with us working together.”

Anders shrugged. “It’s your party.”

“Well, um, I’ll get the car,” Pavel said.

Anders watched Pavel walk away.


Athanatoi Academy

Angela gestured at the cadaver on the table and held up an electrical cable, ominously sparking at the tip, as the students watched.

"Alright," she said, "Now electrocution affects electrolytic conduction, disrupting the heart beat and most autonomic systems. Death actually occurs from tissue damage, and necrosis in the heart itself, particularly in the sinus and the atria ventricular nodes..."

An agent rushed in and ran up to her.

"Agent Hansen, sorry to interrupt, but you have a call from a Georg Haller, says it’s urgent," he said.

Angela rolled her eyes and picked up the phone. "Excuse me."

"Really, 'Georg'?" she said. "Did you really have to interrupt me now? I'm lecturing these kids on electrocution. … Yes, the same lecture that got interrupted last time. … Oh come on! Is it really that bad? … Are you sure I'm not going to be put in the middle of another potentially traumatizing mass shooting? … Alright, where are you?"

"Saint Wilhelmina International," Anders said, "Catching a plane over to Frankfurt in a half an hour. How do you feel about joining me for an autopsy?"

"What’s going on?" Angela asked. "Why are we going to another city named Frankfurt? Especially after what happened when we visited the other Frankfurt."

"I was hoping you could tell me," Anders said.

"I can’t do it today," Angela said, "My last class isn’t until 4:30. And I really want to finish this lecture. I've been waiting almost two years to finish it."

The students shifted nervously.

"That’s fine," Anders said, "I understand how you feel.”

“No you don’t,” Angela said, “I failed to stop that shooting. I failed to save the constable and stop Ed. All because of Vienna. So I’m taking a break from the field, if you don’t mind.”

“I can have the ME wrap the body to go, then,” Anders said, “You’ll get it by five."

Angela sighed. "What’s the name?"


Gerhard Sleep Disorder Clinic, Frankfurt – 2:40 PM

“Dr. Gerhard’s alpha-wave analysis defined the standard,” a nurse told Anders, “He revolutionized the way we think about sleep. His unexpected death was a tremendous loss to the scientific community.”

“How many other kinds of sleep disorder did he treat?” Anders asked.

“There are 38 different dyssomnias and parasomnias,” the nurse said, “Dr. Grissom treated them all with an unprecedented success ratio.”

“Maintaining that kind of batting average must have taken its toll,” Anders said.

“Excellence demands certain sacrifices,” the nurse said.

“Did he ever show any signs of psychological stress?” Anders asked.

“Not really,” the nurse aid, “Except for his own occasional bout of insomnia.”

“But he was never delusional,” Anders said.

“Of course not,” the nurse said.

Anders looked at a nearby patient wearing a strange headset. “What’s his story?”

“This patient’s night terrors prevent him from cycling out REM sleep into the more restful slow wave sleep,” the nurse said, “It’s still experimental, but what we’re trying to do is modify his brain wave patterns externally.”

“How do you do that?” Anders asked.

“Electrical stimulation of the occipital lobe creates simply visual and auditory hallucinations,” the nurse said.

“So it’s actually possible to alter somebody’s dreams?” Anders asked.

“In theory, yes,” the nurse said, “You can thank the engineers at Tesla Dynamic for that.”

Several minutes later, as Anders left the clinic, he noticed Pavel driving up and getting out. He approached Anders, a stern look on his face.

“I paid off your cab,” Pavel said, “Hey, I don’t appreciate being ditched like a bad date.”

“I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings,” Anders said, “Did Diana send you to mess with me?”

“Where do you get off copping this attitude?” Pavel said, “You don’t even know the first thing about me.”

“Your parents died at Vienna,” Anders said.

“Besides that,” Pavel said.

“Exactly,” Anders said.

“You know, when I was at the Foreign Division, some of the guys used to make fun of you,” Pavel said.

“Oh stop it, or you’ll hurt my feelings,” Anders said.

“But there were some of us who followed your work,” Pavel said, “Believed what you were doing because we knew that there was more out there than they were telling us.”

Anders’ phone rang. “Go ahead, Angie.”

“Gerhard didn’t die from cardiac arrest,” Angela said.

“What is it?” Anders said.

“I think you should come back and take a look for yourself,” Angela said, “I haven’t even started on the chest and abdomen yet and I’ll have a lot more to tell you then.”

“I can make it in two hours,” Anders said.

Anders reached for the door, but Pavel held up the keys.

“I’m driving,” he said, “Now where are we going?”

“Angie never lets me drive,” he complained.


Athanatoi Academy, Adrianople – 6:45 PM

Angela dropped a large organ on the scale, where it flopped and splatted messily. The meter went crazy for a couple seconds as it adjusted to the new weight.

“Spleen or pancreas?” Anders asked.

“Stomach, actually,” Angela said, “I was just about to start on it.”

Anders almost forgot about Pavel and pointed at him. “This is Pavel Novak. We’re, uh, working the case together.”

“Novak…” Angela said. “I met your parents—”

“Let’s not talk about that,” Pavel said, “They told me you were there.”

“Yeah,” Angela said.

“And that you saw my dad get shot,” Pavel said.

“Uh, yeah,” Angela said, “Well, I’m sorry about your parents, but can we move past that? It’s nice to meet you.”

She held out her hand, but Pavel walked right past it. Frustrated, she turned back to Gerhard’s body on her operating table.

“Notice the pugilistic attitude of the corpse,” she said.

Pavel coughed loudly into his fist.

“This condition generally occurs several hours after death,” Angela said, “It’s caused by a coagulation of muscle proteins when the body is exposed to extremely high temperatures.”

“Like fire?” Anders said.

“This degree of limb flexion is observed exclusively in burn-related victims,” Angela said.

“But there was no fire,” Pavel said.

“And no epidermal burns to indicate as much,” Angela said, “But when I opened up the skull, I found external hemorrhages, which can only be caused by intense heat. Somehow, this man suffered all of the secondary, but none of the primary physiological signs of being in a fire. He suffered the effects of being burnt, but he wasn’t actually burnt.”

“Any theories?” Anders said.

“I couldn’t even begin to explain what could have caused this,” Angela said. “It’s almost as if…”

“What?” Anders said.

“It’s almost as if his body believed it was burning,” Angela said, “I could make a joke about you wanting to believe.”


Frankfurt – 9:05 PM

Heinrich sat in his chair, a beer in his hand. His TV was tuned to the news. Currently, reporters were talking about the conference in Krasnoyar, where Chinese and Russian diplomats were signing a treaty of détente between the two nations. The ticker showed the latest updates on the examination campaign. The candidates from the SPR, KRA, and the CMU were debating the issue of gun laws after the mass shooting in Frankfurt-Oder which left 54 dead. Both Kohl and Rudolf Scharping (the SPR candidate for chancellor) favored stricter gun laws, especially in the former Occupied Territories, while the KRA candidate, Klaus Kinkel, called for the abolition of all gun laws and the enacting of a law which would require all citizens to own a gun. He was promptly laughed into silence, and Kohl and Scharping continued their debate. Heinrich winced and rubbed the scar on his neck. His injury had been acting up again lately.

“You left the door open, Willig,” a man said.

Heinrich turned around. “Preacher? Augustus Kurt?”

Augustus smiled. “Not a good idea leaving your door open in this neighborhood. You never know who’s gonna drop by.”

Heinrich got up and hugged him. “What are you doin’ here? How long ya been in town? Want a beer?”

“How ya doin’, Heinrich, huh?” Augustus said. “How ya been?”

“How am I doin’?” Heinrich said. “I’m, uh,--tryin’ to forget. You know. I’m trying to get it out of my head.”

“No luck?” Augustus said.

Heinrich laughed. “And I’m, uh, still fightin’ it, you know. I keep seein’ the faces. Every day I see---aw, what’s the difference. We’re all goin’ to Hell, right?”

“Where you think we been the last 24 years?” Augustus said. “After this, whatever you is gonna seem like you get a wine invitation.”

“What do you want here, Preacher?” Heinrich said, his smile vanishing. “You killed them, didn’t you? You killed Gerhard. I saw it on TV.”

“He had to pay, Henrich,” Augustus said, “All of us have to answer for what did over there--can’t get away from it.”

Heinrich suddenly found himself surrounded by Chaw Thai insurgents, wearing bamboo hats and ragged clothes. They aimed their machine guns at him.

“No,” Heinrich pleaded, “Augustus, please.”

Augustus remained cold. “He retains that is anger forever because he delights in mercy. He will turn again. He will have compassion on us. He will subdue our inequities and he will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. It’s all right, Heinrich. It’s all over now.”

The Chaw Thai opened fire.


X-Division, Constantinople – October 4, 1994, 9:00 AM

“The victim’s name was Heinrich Willig,” Pavel said, pointing to a photo of Heinrich’s body, “Unemployed and lived on disability. Police found no indication of force entry of struggle, no abrasions or contusions on the body and cause of death is being listed as a burst aneurysm.”

“So, why did your friend from homicide call us?” Anders asked.

“Because the medical examiner called him,” Pavel said, “The autopsy revealed forty-three small internal hemorrhages and skeletal fragments which doesn’t just happen spontaneously. Not without some corresponding external trauma.”

“So what does the ME have to say about it?” Anders asked.

“He said if he didn’t know otherwise, he would swear they were gunshot wounds,” Pavel said.

Anders pointed at a scar on Heinrich’s neck. “What’s this scar right here?”

“According to his medical history, the only surgery he ever had was an appendectomy,” Pavel said.

“Well, unless they got to his appendix through his neck,” Anders said, “I’m not sure even Angie could do that.”

“Maybe it happened during ‘am,” Pavel said, “Willig did a tour in 1970, and I’m sure they didn’t keep the best of records. Maybe ask Director Hansen?”

“Willig was an Imperial Marine?” Anders said. “So where do all Marines receive basic training in western Germania?”

Pavel pointed at a map of Stuttgart. “Here. The Marines built a training camp near an old Angeloi military base.”

“Where Gerhard was stationed from 1968 to 1971,” Anders said, “I recognize that name.”

“Which means that he and Willig were there at the same time, 24 years ago,” Pavel said.

“Here we go,” Anders said, “Willig was assigned to Special Forces on Recon squad J-7. Of thirteen original members, he’s one of two survivors.”

“Until yesterday,” Pavel said.

“This leaves us with one person who can tell us what happened at that facility,” Anders said.


Bureau of Veterans’ Affairs Sleep Disorder Clinic, Stuttgart – 3:00 PM

“I’ve been supervising Herr Kurt’s treatment since I admitted him twelve years ago,” the doctor said, “‘Fraid you won’t find him very cooperative, though.”

“We just want to ask him a few questions about his military service,” Anders said.

“He doesn’t respond very well to authority figures,” the doctor said.

“Is that why you put him in isolation?” Anders said.

“Oh, we’ve had to house Herr Kurt in this section of the ward because he kept interfering with our treatment of the other patients,” the doctor said.

“How was he interfering?” Anders asked.

“He was disrupting their sleep patterns,” the doctor said, “Psychiatric patients especially, it’s critical that the Circadian cycles be strictly maintained. . .”

“Excuse me, but exactly how would Kurt disrupt their sleep?” Anders asked.

The doctor, realizing he said too much, tried changing the subject. “Here we are. Herr Kurt, there are some gentlemen here to. . .”

However, the cell was empty. A receptionist walked up to the doctor.

“You discharged him just a few days ago,” he said.

“I most certainly did not,” the doctor said, “Don’t you think I would remember if I did.”

“Well, I was on shift, ma’am,” the receptionist said, holding up a clipboard, “You signed the order yourself. That’s your signature there, isn’t it?”

The doctor stared at the clipboard. “WHAT?!”

“Let’s get Kurt’s face onto the wire,” Anders said, just as his phone rang.

Stepping away from the doctor, he answered his phone. “Angie, aren’t you supposed to be electrocuting a—”

“Herr Humboldt,” the mysterious contact said, “I have obtained some information that may shed some light on your current work. You must exercise discretion when we meet at [REDACTED] in Frankfurt. If anyone follows you, with or without your knowledge, I won’t be there.”


Abandoned warehouse, Frankfurt – 3:15 PM

Anders walked into the dark warehouse. A man stepped out of the shadows behind a row of large shipping containers. He looked Middle Eastern, but Anders couldn’t tell in the low lighting and with his Panama hat, sunglasses, and trench coat. His outfit was almost exactly like Hans’.

“Who are you?” Anders asked. “Did Uncle Hans send you? I mean, you have the wardrobe.”

“Who I am is irrelevant,” the man said, “But for convenience, you may call me X.”

“Why are you trying to help me?” Anders asked.

“You think I want to be here, Agent Humboldt?” X said, handing Anders a file. “I don’t want to be here.”

“What is this?” Anders asked.

“Data from a top secret military project,” X said, “A forerunner of Sentinel. Borne of the idea that sleep was the soldiers greatest enemy.”

“Of course,” Anders said, “Someone was conducting sleep deprivation experiments here.”

“Not deprivation, eradication,” X said.

“Why?” Anders asked.

“Why else?” X said. “To build the ultimate soldier. Sustained wakefulness dulls fear and other senses and heightens aggression. Dulls smell so they don’t have to smell the blood. Dulls hearing so they don’t have to hear the screams. Dulls sight so they see what their commanders want them to see. Sharpens aggression to kill on command, without hesitation. Science had just put a man on the moon. So they looked to science to win a losing war. To create a blindly loyal killing machine.”

“And Willig and Kurt were the lab rats,” Anders said.

“Lab rats with the highest kill ratio in the Imperial Marines,” X added, “4,000 plus confirmed kills for a thirteen man squad.”

“You think Kurt’s behind what’s happening now?” Anders asked.

“I’m not here to do your thinking, Agent Humboldt,” X said, “All I know is Augustus Kurt hasn’t slept in 24 years. There’s someone else you should see. A member of the squad who was reportedly killed in action.”

“I thought Kurt was the last,” Anders said.

“His name is on the envelope,” X said.

“So how do I contact you?” Anders said.

“You don’t,” X said.

“I may still need more,” Anders said.

“You still don’t get it, do you?” X said. “Closing the X-Division, separating you and Hansen was only the beginning. The truth is still out there, but it’s never been more dangerous. The man we both knew paid for that information with his life, a sacrifice I’m not willing to make.”

X disappeared into the shadows.


Frankfurt – 3:30 PM

Anders sat in his car, looking over the file X gave him. He looked up and saw Pavel approaching from around a corner, a frustrated look on his face. He stuffed the file under his seat just as Pavel knocked on his window.

“Where were ya?” he asked. “Someone matching Kurt’s description just robbed a drugstore in Nordend and the place is located under a motel just around the corner.”

Anders unlocked the door, and Pavel got in. “Is he alive?”

“He was when the night man just saw him,” Pavel said, “So where were ya?”

“Long story,” Anders said, “I’ll explain later.”

He drove to Nordend, where he pulled up in front of the hotel and got out. A police officer waited at the front door.

“Detective Himmel?” Pavel said. “I’m Agent Novak, this is Agent Humboldt.”

“I’ve been waiting for you guys,” Himmel said, “I tried holding the swat guys back, but they’re getting a little antsy. For what it’s worth, Kurt didn’t take any money from that drug store, just a bunch of pills.”

Suddenly, they heard three gunshots and a scream. Anders and Pavel immediately ran upstairs, finding two officers lying on the floor, bleeding from their chests. Himmel and several officers ran in after them.

“Inside, NOW!” Pavel shouted to Himmel and the other officers. “Officer down!”

“We got two officers down, request emergency vehicles, immediately,” Himmel said.

Pavel looked at the wounded men. “What’s going on here, Humboldt? These two officers…they shot each other.”
 

CaptainAlvious

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Looks like we’ve got phyics running around at last!:D I’m wondering if the things causing Anders and Angela (and now Pavel) trouble will benefit the Reich in stellaris.
I think you mean Siegfried Anniona!;)
Now that I think about it, I think you mean (emperor) Claudius Anniona.:p
Grand strategy might instead be focused on the personal or institutional level instead of the national level. There would be measures to discourage blobbing, since everybody's already a big blob. There would be more emphasis on espionage, trade, and diplomacy. Instead of controlling a country, you'd control a person, company, institution, or political party whose goal is to influence your country's policy. Think of it like a mix of CK2, EU4, and Victoria 2.
I know that you mentioned Red Alert and Red Dawn back in WW3 and said that you might eloaborate on the plot outline for them in the 2010s, but Red Alert and Red Dawn did first come out in the 90s and 80s respectively and I’m still wondering things like who replaces Stalin in Red Alert 1. Maybe Trotsky (since Gandhi and Angelos don’t exist in Red Alet, I think he’d still be alive there) or Molotov or even both (since Trotsky seemed to advise and influence Molotov and the Soviets before his death)? I assume Red Dawn would work as war time proganda against the Soviets and emphazie the attorcites the Soviets did commit and are capable of making. You mentioned a RAF terrorist in the 70s using the alias “Tanya Adams” who was, ironically in OTL’s red alert, the commando character for the Allied campaign, so maybe she could be replaced with agent Anne Frank instead since historical figures like Einstein or Stalin already appear in the games. How would the Red Alert sequels go since OTL’s Red Alert 2, weridly, had a Romanov lead the Soviets after Stalin was defeated? I don’t picture a Russian tsarist or Rurikid leading the Soviets at all. I take it that the Empire of the Rising Sun (Japan) would be replaced by the Celestial Empire/Tianxia (China) in Red Alert 3. Also I’m wondering about the main Command and Conquer (Tiberium) series since the Soviet campaign of Red Alert 1 lead into the Tiberium series while the allied campaign lead into the Red Alert sequels. Particularly, what would GDI and the Brotherhood of Nod factions be like here? And would there be alternate histories where the Soviets win WW3 and If so, how would that go?

Dang I wrote a lot more than I thought I would!:eek: I’m sorry if I wrote too much about my questions there, I was just curious.
 
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zenphoenix

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Looks like we’ve got phyics running around at last!:D I’m wondering if the things causing Anders and Angela (and now Pavel) trouble will benefit the Reich in stellaris.
They might bring benefits in Stellaris, but they're going to cause a lot of interesting events in the 21st century.;)
Now that I think about it, I think you mean (emperor) Claudius Anniona.:p
No, I think you mean Christopher Lee.:D
who replaces Stalin in Red Alert 1.
Trotsky, of course. It might actually make Red Alert 1's premise (Stalin invades Europe) much more reasonable, since Trotsky was a proponent of permanent revolution and exporting communism to other countries.
I assume Red Dawn would work as war time proganda against the Soviets and emphazie the attorcites the Soviets did commit and are cable of making.
Red Dawn would most definitely be done as wartime propaganda. A lot of other 1980s "Soviet conquest" movies/miniseries like Amerika (called Rim here) depicting an occupied Reich would work well as propaganda, while movies depicting the aftermath of nuclear war would promote the antiwar cause.
You mentioned a RAF terrorist in the 70s using the alias “Tanya Adams” who was, ironically in OTL’s red alert, the commando character for the Allied campaign, so maybe she could be replaced with agent Anne Frank instead since historical figures like Einstein or Stalin already appear in the games.
That "Tanya" was intended to be an easter egg. In the real Red Alert, she'd be replaced with Anne, I guess.
How would the Red Alert sequels go since OTL’s Red Alert 2, weridly, had a Romanov lead the Soviets after Stalin was defeated?
Instead of the weird Romanov Russia, we'll have the Eimericans invading Europe to avenge the fall of the Soviets.
I take it that the Empire of the Rising Sun (Japan) would be replaced by the Celestial Empire/Tianxia (China) in Red Alert 3.
That makes sense.
Also I’m wondering about the main Command and Conquer (Tiberium) series since the Soviet campaign of Red Alert 1 lead into the Tiberium series while the allied campaign lead into the Red Alert sequels. Particularly, what would GDI and the Brotherhood of Nod factions be like here?
I only played Red Alert 2, so I can't say for sure how the main series would go.
And would there be alternate histories where the Soviets win WW3 and If so, how would that go?
Molotov's plan for deromanization was to break up the Reich into smaller states, which he did in the Occupied Territories. Future general secretaries made plans to do that to the rest of the Reich, and Valentin actively attempted to try it during the war. Obviously, that never happened, but alternate history writers would likely use those plans in their stories (Much like many writers use Operation Sea Lion and Hitler's plans for Britain to help them discuss a hypothetical Nazi occupation of Britain). Read the summary for the miniseries Amerika (in which the Soviets conquer the US and balkanize it). That's basically what most alternate histories about Soviet victories would be like, I guess.