The Schuylkill County Chronicles: Never Forgive and Never Forget. That's right. I'm rollin' old school.
Welcome to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania Wilderness.Heil Himmler.
June 4th, 1944...
Richard Robertson led his platoon onto Omaha Beach. His captain's helmet almost blew off immediately as a shell went off next to him. His men, all good friends and neighbors from Schuylkill County, followed bravely into the German machine-gun fire. Men were going down left and right in the intense barrage. Other men from other platoons were hobbling and crawling back toward the Higgins boats, while other fresh meat hit the beach behind the ''Fightin' Schuylkillers." Richard rubbed his eyes quickly to get sand out, which the shell had blown into the air. Several troopers knocked him to the ground just in time to keep a sniper from taking his head off. Richard gave a quick motion of his hand for the others to advance to the shingle embankment. More men clutched various parts of their bodies as they screamed and fell. Richard rose up and fired off a few rounds from his M-1 and advanced.
"Bring up the bangalores!" screamed Sergeant Michael Randall, popping up from behind his tank-trap cover just long enough to fire his Thompson in the direction of a bunker.
"Kraut reinforcements incoming!" warned Private Murdoch, who was huddled under some rocks and debris as he tried to pry a piece of shrapnel out of his leg.
Sure enough, about fifty Waffen SS elites were coming at them, carefully stepping their way through a minefield. They opened fire with MP40's and bolt-actions, and took cover behind some sandbags and in blown-out foxholes.
"Where are the bangalores, da'gonnit?!" asked Richard, reloading his M-1 and pasting a German right in the forehead. Richard felt a bullet glance off his own helmet as he hit the ground again.
"Sergeant Rodriguez was carrying them, sir, and I think he got killed over by the tank traps," answered one of the men, his bright white helmet marking him as a medic. "Captain Billy Randall in the next platoon has some with him."
Sure enough, as if on cue, Billy Randall and his men came slogging over to the shingle embankment. Randall hit the ground next to Richard and fired a few pistol rounds at the SS troops. "Stand back! Private Robertson is coming to plant the bangers!" Right as he said that, a bullet tore through Richard's cousin Jake's throat. The explosives trooper died before he hit the sandy, bloody ground.
Private Poniatowski circled around and picked up the explosives and headed back to the embankment. Then, several bullets ripped into his guts. He kept going. Another three hit his leg. He kept going. More and more. He kept going. Then, he threw himself down.
"WATCH OUT!" someone screamed. The bombs went off, and the embankment exploded. The shock wave crashed into the minefield. The SS men had been careful not to step on any mines, but they went off now, killing most of them.
Richard and the others scrambled over the remains of the defenses and blasted mindlessly into the air. The Americans lost a few more men before finally being able to take decent cover behind some ruined fragments of a stone wall.
"Rick!" Billy Randall crawled next to his fellow captain. "Allied Command wants us to take out those Kraut MG's before Adolf's armored vehicles arrive to support them. We need to get in that bunker, there. There's a heavy artillery piece on top, and we can use that."
Knowing what they had to do, the men charged over the wall toward the huge concrete structure that loomed like a castle overhead. An American lobbed a grenade at the steel door at the base of the bunker, blowing it in and killing the occupants. Richard grabbed a dead German's MP40 and gave the room a good spray of lead, making sure they were dead. The rest of the troops followed him in.
"Billy, you take your men and head up that staircase. My men will take the other one," said Richard, reloading his new weapon. "Let's move!"
The men in Richard's squad eagerly followed him up to the next story of the building, where a quick few blasts of gunfire cleared it of fascist troopers. Up they went, one floor after another. On the floor next to the artillery piece, however, the German concentration was thickest. Richard's platoon opened fire with all they had.
Richard saw more Germans coming up from a corridor. "More Krauts! I got 'em!" He used his teeth to take the pin out of his pineapple grenade, and lobbed it down the hall."Rick, you da'goned fool!"
Those words, from Captain Billy Randall, were the last that were heard before the explosion. Billy and his men, all of them cousins with last name Randall except for two, were killed instantly. Richard watched in horror as his mistake turned seven Randalls into piles of meat jelly.
Morale plummeted, and the Americans fell back and the Panzer divisions advanced and supported the machine-gun nests. Robertson just stared, a single tear running out of the corner of his right eye.
Richard heard the news about another failed Allied assault when his plane touched down at the London Airport. He walked slowly down the steps to the runway and then to a nearby taxi. He got in and said, "General's headquarters, pal," to the driver. He threw in his duffel bag and hopped in the back. The driver flicked on the radio.
"In other news, General Eisenhower has stat... Wait! Breaking... news. Cor blimey...
United States President Roosevelt has been assassinated.
Repeat, President Roosevelt has been assassinated," gravely reported a BBC newsman. "This morning, a German spy, Hans Schlesinger, shot the President in the chest five times in front of the White House while the President was disembarking an automobile. Assassination believed to be a 'king me' move by Germany following the disaster at Normandy. The time is 4:36 in the evening, June 12th, 1944, and the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has been shot to death by a German spy in Washington. D.C.."
," moaned Richard, putting his hands in his face. He started crying uncontrollably. "Now that ratdastard Wallace is gonna be president. We're gonna lose."
All around, people were getting out of their cars and turning their radios up. Others were going into diners or taverns to mourn with friends and family. Up in the sky, rain clouds were forming. It thundered. It started to pour.
Adolf Hitler stood, pudgy arms behind his back, gazing steely-eyed through a one-way window into the room where Speer's top men were working on creating atomic weapons.
Wilhelm Gottfried stared at the German leader through small spectacles. Gottfried had participated in the Beer Hall Putsch, and counted himself Hitler's personal freund. Be that as it may, he was anything but informal with the Fuhrer: "Mein Fuhrer
, progress is coming along at a clipping rate. The technology scavenged from the crashed alien craft is speeding up progress 122.5 percent."
Hitler brushed an oily hair out of his eyes and nodded, taking a deep breath. "Ser gut.
How soon will our first bomb be ready?"
Gottfried's Kaiser Bill mustache twitched, and he opened the binder he had under his left arm. The scientist flipped to a chart that had many dates written on it. "We should be ready to use an atomic warhead by... November, mein herr
Hitler grinned. One of the few times he ever did that in front of Gottfried. "Good. Good. London and Liverpool shall taste the power of the Bomb. And then- do you know what will happen then, Herr
"Victory in Europe! Und dann, Amerika! Und die Welt!
Richard Robertson sat in front of General Eisenhower's desk. The middle-aged, balding American general sat silently, staring at him, fingers steepled in thought. "Well, Captain Robertson, you heard the news, I suppose. And I just got news that Vice-President Wallace was sworn in an hour ago. America has a new Commander-in-Chief."
"That a fact?" Robertson said nervously. "What is going to happen to me, sir?"
Eisenhower grinned. "I need you to do me a favor," the general stood up and went to stare out a window in the spotlessly spiffy office. He continued: "The US-of-A isn't going to take the assassination of the president sitting down, by jingo. We're going to hit back. Do you pick up what I'm putting down? Or do I have to spell it out for you in big bold letters?"
Eisenhower sighed. "Hitler!" he said, as if it were the vilest of curses. "Hitler, by jingo! We're going to assassinate that dastardly little cur." He whipped around and sat back down at the desk. Then, Eisenhower plopped down a big stack of papers. "This," his hand waved over the stack, "is your service record. Spotless as this office. Except your little... accident
... at Normandy. That accident cost us more than nine men, Captain Robertson. It helped cost us the battle. Don't blame yourself too much, though; the Huns were using some sort of new thingamajig tank vehicle. Our boys say they've never seen anything like those vehicles in their lives. Anyway, I'm going to give you the chance to erase that stain on your record forever. One chance. I want you to kill Hitler."
"Sir?! Me? By myself, sir?" Richard's mouth gaped as he heard the unbelievable idea.
"You, Captain. You. And a team. A special forces unit will infiltrate Nazi Germany and take. Him. Out.
" Eisenhower seemed to savor dragging out the last part.
"Sir, do you think it's a good idea? Might that not make the Krauts target Prime Minister Churchill or somebody?"
"Don't think too much, Captain Robertson. You follow orders and leave the results of said orders in our laps. Clear?"
"Yessir. When do we shoot the bastard?"
Eisenhower craned across the desk and ripped the page with Richard's friendly-fire accident on it. "Next week."
June 17th, 1944. Adolf Hitler is assassinated when his car blows up. Two Americans are killed in the ensuing manhunt. Robertson escapes across the English Channel. He is a hero, but he has to keep it to himself. The only people who know he accidentally killed the Americans at Normandy are the people who were in his squad. As far as anyone knows, the only Americans behind the Hitler Assassination were the two that were killed. Robertson is given a comfortable desk job in Philadelphia. Little does he know of what sinister plot he is engulfed in.
Heinrich Himmler smoothed the wrinkles out of his new uniform. As new Fuhrer, he was wearing a resized carbon copy of Hitler's tan uniform, but with added SS insignias. Twice the absolute power.
It had all worked out quite nicely. Eisenhower had been given a private information package about Nazi Germany's advanced technology hacked from a crashed alien vehicle in the Black Forest. Eisenhower and the rest of the US government had known about aliens, and kept it from the public, for years, but they had never known just how much could be reverse-engineered. Now, Nazi Germany had used alien technology to hold the line at Normandy. Eisenhower had worked himself out a nice little deal: allow FDR to be killed, help Himmler depose (or dispose of) Hitler, and then Himmler would beat the US and the Allies. Wallace, already immensely unpopular, would be toppled in an Eisenhower-led coup d'etat. The war would effectively be over, and "Ike Imperatore" would get to rule his little backwater under Himmler's thumb. Any attempt to overthrow Eisenhower would be crushed, and if the Americans couldn't do it, the Nazi Army would.
Himmler walked out on the balcony to watch Hitler's body, in a magnificently ludicrous casket, be carried down the main road in Berlin. The sobbing masses wore all black, just like the pickelhauben-wearing SS pallbearers. Himmler gave a Hitler salute. It would be the last time he would salute the old boss-man. The next day, everyone would be shouting "Heil Himmler!
" The new Fuhrer tapped the crystal-clear bullet-proof glass around the around the balcony, just to make sure it was there. It was yet another new invention from reverse-engineering alien technology.
Wilhelm Gottfried stood sobbing off to Himmler's right. Such a devout follower and friend of Hitler's surely could not be trusted in the new government. It was time for a purge. While everyone was concentrated on the funeral ceremony, two more spike-helmeted SS guards escorted Gottfried away, took him out to the countryside, and shot him dead, one among many members of the Old Regime.
Himmler smiled and said to himself, "Und so beginnt es.