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GATE: and so the Iron Pact Fought

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
There was a comment on the SB thread that IP!Adolf Hitler's speech to Rory was not as good, so I decided to see if the revamp would work:

(____________________________________)
Adolf Hitler simply sighed at Rory’s answer, and looked towards the skyline again, thinking of an answer that would melt Rory’s doubts.

“When I came back to Germany after the First World War, I would undoubtedly go down that path with abandon,” Hitler answered with a depressing chuckle, “I was one of many men that was hurting and angry. Feeling that we’ve been betrayed somehow. Yet… when word came that the French and British were to destroy the Fatherland so completely, we jumped at the call but not because of the government, but because of the Fatherland.” Rory simply sat down in the grass, knowing that this is going to take a while. “That is when I was assigned a bunch of Poles, Jews, and Old Prussians with very few Germans. I spent them like bullets. Threw the dice far too many times and threw their lives away… yet more came to fill the ranks.” Hitler simply looked like he was reminiscing, as he shed a tear. “I… at first I couldn’t believe that those I considered inferior were jumping at the chance to do what they thought was the most good. They fought with such bravery and such ferocity that I couldn’t understand it with the path I choose between the Great War and the Great War of Resistance.” Rory was in apt attention as Hitler continued. “Slowly, I started to see the bravery and ferocity for what it was: Magnificence. It took me years to finally see it, years that where I would have made better tactics and strategies. Picked better targets… and probably save my closest comrade in arms.”

Egon simply sat there in understanding.

“Yet, it was when my XO died in my arms that I vowed to remember him and those who died in our small part of the Great War of Resistance. I found myself changing, Rory. Changing in mind and in spirit,” Hitler continued, “I saw many horrible things, Rory. Horrific in ways you couldn’t imagine. I saw the path that my anger and hate was heading to. It was then I changed completely. I was no longer Adolf Hitler, an angry and hurt soldier upset of how the Fatherland lost a war that by all rights should have won. I was Adolf Hitler, a humbled man that has seen the life that his old self would have led.” Rory was amazed, as such radical change is rare within Falmart in general. “There is an old virtue from a nation called Japan, made specifically for it’s militant noble class: “The decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of who you are. You cannot hide from yourself.”. I inadvertently understood this after the Great War of Resistance, despite not reading the virtues of Bushido myself. I began to find myself and found many things that scared me. I kept that spiritual weight the rest of my life.”

Rory was astonished at what she was hearing. No leader in their right mind would outright admit their weaknesses and follies unless there was no other choice.

“I decided, afterwards, that after the war I would retire from military service and simply become an artist while writing a memoir about those who were in my unit during the Great War of Resistance. I was just outside of Hamburg when I met a man that would change my life,” Hitler reminisced, “He wasn’t famous at the time, but he, too, had talent in art. I had seen him during the War driving a Red Cross ambulance hauling injured and sick civilians plastered with his ‘cartoons’. At the time he was at Hamburg waiting for his ship to arrive, so he can go back home to America when he saw me drawing the skyscape of Hamburg at the time. He commented that I had actual skill and talent. I never had been told that I had talent or skill. I was told that my art was lifeless… that I had no talent or real skill, but to have someone say that I did changed things. So, we started to talk about things, reveal little bits of our lives… and the more we’ve talked, the more we talked, the more we exchanged, and the more we exchanged, the more we became friends. Eventually we decided to keep in contact with each other, effectively being there for each other during the other’s darkest time. While I would eventually only do art as a hobby, Walt would become world renowned for his cartoons.”

Then Hitler’s visage became a bit dark.

“It was around 1932 that I started to go into politics. It was at this time that men that still had hate and anger within them formed their own party and decided that they would rule the Fatherland by any means necessary. I became a target when my memoir was published in the previous year,” Hitler remembered sourly, “I couldn’t stand the idea of the Fatherland that I helped in saving to become a twisted image of itself. With some help in speeches, I quickly became the leader of the newly formed Progressive-Socialist Party, and eventually we made great strides in many things, but eventually that made me into a target that those monsters couldn’t ignore.” Rory got the feeling that she wouldn’t like what would happen next. “They decided to try to assassinate me… in front of the entire nation… and that signed their death warrants.”

“That was when what people called ‘Day of Death’ happened,” Egon butted in, “Kaiser Fredrick was rightly fed up at what they attempted to do and gave them an ultimatum: either hand over the conspirators of the assassination or get a Royal Ban. Instead, they decided that a coup was in order… and began a day-long rebellion against the Kaiser and Germany itself. The Nationale Reaktionspartei’s militants fought across Germany but was crushed by the army and marines. The few of the NRP’s leaders that survived got the death penalty and executed and the party and those like it were permanently banned by royal decree.”

“I was the man that influenced Kaiser Fredrick in going through with that ban,” Hitler stated flatly, “I had seen what they did to those of the Jewish Quarter. The mangled bodies of Jews scattered across the streets, the bodies of raped Jewish women, the children hanging from ceilings and streetlamps… I yelled at the Kaiser to never let those monsters to have a voice ever again. I even threatened to pull a coup on him if he didn’t… but he just sat there, laughing.” Rory’s eyes widened to comical size as Adolf remembered. “He told me that I had guts to say that in front of him… and that he was convinced that if such people were able to foster such conviction in the various parties and the military, then he had no choice than to ban them… although he stated that I was the first to tell it to his face but warned me about my temper.”

“Sir… I…” Egon started, trying to comprehend what Hitler had said… but Hitler stopped him from speaking further.

“I vividly remember the sacrifices that the Jews made during the Great War of Resistance Egon,” Hitler answered, “… and I would not allow them to be in vain.” The very atmosphere started to become deathly cold, sending shivers down Rory’s spine. “I will not allow the sacrifices we’ve made be for nothing. I will not see all that we have worked for turned to ash. If my life is the price I shall pay to ensure that Germany prospers, then so be it.” Rory was now starting to get scared, as she was seeing a conviction that bordered on a cultist’s.

“Sir,” Egon exclaimed, “You’re scaring Rory half to death!” Hitler then looked at Rory, seeing the fear develop in her face.

“I…” Hitler started but failed to continue. He just sat there, scared of what he had done.

“Now you’ve done it,” Adolf Senior commented, “You’ve got Hitler worked up again and had him realize it through Egon. Those two act like an old couple in ways that would have gotten them into immense trouble in our day… but here that doesn’t matter. They’ve always been said to be practically made for each other back in the Great War of Resistance, and now I can understand why.” That was when Rory heard Itami and Centurion Neumann yelling at the top of their lungs.

)___(
Is this any better?
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
A prototype 'Hauptmann Neumann, Itami, and Rory get into a shouting match' snippet:

(__________)
“Rory!” Itami exclaimed, “You are supposed to stay next to us!” Rory simply rolled her eyes in annoyance Itami continued. “Have you ever thought what will happen if something were to happen? This isn’t like the Empire, you can’t simply wave your statue as an Apostle like it’s some sort of immunity.” Itami then frowned. “If you go galivanting around and doing whatever you felt like, I’m going to be the poor sap that gets in trouble.”

“Itami, chill a bit. We’re in one of the most sensor-dense locations on the entire planet,” Centurion Neumann commented as he tried to calm Itami down, “See, she’s… oh hey Great Grandpa Adolf.” Itami looked at Centurion Neumann like he was verifiably insane.

“Neumann-san, you’re starting to sound like my mother,” Itami replied in a worried tone, “Are you sure that you aren’t clinically insane?” Centurion Neumann looked at Itami like he was a racist bigot… before he quickly remembered that Itami wasn’t from this world and sighed.

That was when Rory exploded in anger. “Itami!” Rory yelled in Saderian in a tone reminiscent of an angry god, “You are to apologize to Centurion Neumann this instant or I will kill you where you stand!” Itami was shocked -and deathly afraid- at Rory who was acting in a way he never saw before. “Do you know who you are insulting Sir Itami? Do you!?! Who you are insulting is someone that you never insult if you value your life in this life and the next! Someone that is rare even by our standards! One of the few things we Apostles respect are Shamans, and you have made a grave insult to one! Even Emory doesn’t mark a shaman with madness!” That was when Rory transformed into her ‘adult’ body. A very well endowed and well-muscled body. “I can interact with spirits as well, and what I’ve seen and heard here is more than enough to prove that he is a Shaman!”

“But.. but..” Itami mumbled as his body started to freeze with fear. The others had just arrived and everyone, but Leo, were floored at what was happening before them.

Apologize!” Rory ordered, “NOW!” Leo knew what was happening at that moment, Itami had to gravely insult a shaman, which is usually the last thing one can do in their time with the living. All Apostles, no matter who their patron god was, gave their respect to shamans… which is usually more than what the Apostles usually do with mortals. Rory is especially strict on giving shamans respect, given that a good six centuries ago she was saved by a shaman in a particularly nasty bit of business with a necromancer.

“Rory,” Centurion Neumann said in an authoritative tone, “you apologize to Itami.” Then Centurion Neumann’s voice morphed into legion and his eyes turned a dark blood red. “Now.” Rory now felt absolute dread going up and down her spine… as the last word that came out of Centurion Neumann’s mouth was not something a Shaman can do. If Centurion Neumann is what Rory (now) fears… then nothing but death itself can stop him. Nothing.

“… but Centurion Neumann, he…” Rory stammered as she tried to explain to Centurion Neumann why she was being so strict.

But nothing, Rory,” Centurion Neumann flatly stated, stomping out Rory’s chance to explain herself, “Leutnant Itami didn’t know that he insulted me. He doesn’t have the context and understanding necessary to know that he was insulting me. I am willing to let it slide, but apparently you aren’t.” Centurion Neumann’s colleges at that point were trying to explain to everyone else what is going on while everyone else were in a state of muted panic on what is going on.

“But Centurion,” Rory said as she found her courage, “I am forcing Itami to apologize because what you are is something that I give my uttermost respect to. The few shamans that I have met in my travels were all nice people, and even one of them was powerful enough to help me with a necromancer over six centuries ago, saving me in the process and…” Yet, apparently, Centurion Neumann was having none of it.

That still doesn’t excuse what you have done,” Centurion Neumann verbally slammed, “Once Itami has the proper context and understanding, he will apologize. If he apologizes now, it won’t be sincere, it will be empty.” Rory shuddered as Centurion Neumann’s eyes stared into hers, acting -if not actually- looking into her very soul. “Now, from what Itami has implicated, his mother might be a Speaker of Spirits, but that can’t be confirmed until Wolfenstein takes a good look at Itami’s case. Now, apologize.” Rory had to relent, as she started to see every spirit in the ‘memorial park’ staring at her in anger… although Hitler, Adolf Senior, and Egon were trying to explain the context of what happened to the assembled spirits.

“I…” Itami spoke up, steeling himself for his own verbal onslaught that he is about to give, “You’re right Captain Neumann, I don’t understand what is going on. I don’t know the context of what is happening. What I do know is that the mere fact that I implied that you are insane has shown a side of Rory that I haven’t seen before. A very demanding side that I doubt many have seen back in the Empire.” Rory looked at Itami in surprise. “And you captain, I have seen a side that few people have seen before and you have caused Rory to sit down and shut up… which I believe no one has been able to do before. Yet I can see where Rory is coming from. I have saved lives in my time in the military, and they all give me as much respect as they could give me. Now we are going to stay here until we all apologize to each other or we miss the inquiry. Your choice.”

Everyone stood there, stunned, at Itami’s outburst. This was a side of the otaku officer that no one had seen. Rory felt, aroused, from the sight of Itami showing his dominant side… and that made her attraction to him increase significantly.

That was when Centurion Neumann started laughing.

“Now that is the steel I felt within you Itami!” Centurion Neumann laughed out loud, “I haven’t seen anyone get verbally smacked down that hard since I started to train with Big Boss!” Centurion Neuman’s and Itami’s comrades looked at each other like Centurion Neumann was howling mad. “Now, as an apology I’m going to give you two an all-you-can-eat buffet!”
 
Chapter 5: Plans of Politicians, Higher Beings, and Assholes

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
10,993 words, that is how many words are in this chapter. 10,993 words.

(_______)
Chapter 5: Plans of Politicians, Higher Beings, and Assholes…
The Celestial Realm


It is so good to be back again! For eons I’ve been forced out of my post as Celestial Caretaker (a post that I was originally shanghaied into via my own inquisitive mind) of the planet below. Damn Hardy and her band of hooligans! Still, I wouldn’t have met all sorts of interesting beings on the other side of the Celestia Porta if I was able to wrestle back control.

Seeing Confucius hammer out reconciling the ancient ancestral religions of China in the various timelines while allowing it to be flexible enough to allow other religions to be applied was an irresistible pleasure. Even when he accidentally ascended (even I was surprised on his ascension, because from a handful of others that I’ve meet this is incredibly rare) into the Celestial Realms he simply took a hands -off ‘rule without ruling’ approach and this influenced other beings in the Celestial Realms… which would lead to the various Chinas across the timelines to quickly find Daoism which is pretty much based on that ideal.

Then there is this particular fellow who is probably the humblest out of the lot and utilizes the ‘rule without ruling’ ideal to its logical conclusion. Would rather simply push a little here, pull a little there, and let it all sort itself out and only do rather overt things when there is no other option (yes, he helped Moses part the Red Sea, sent a giant pillar of fire, and send the Plagues at Egypt, mostly due to Ramses’s own insecurities and his inner council using those insecurities to manipulate Ramses for their own ends). … and for the most part the religion takes care of itself, although he is rightfully pissed that secular politics always make a mess of things and the messages have a tendency to get ‘garbled’. The poor guy now is pretty overworked in trying to push back all that corruption and garbling of messages.

Now that Hardy actually fucked up and allowed me to go back home, I can work out who is still aligned with me, who are neutral, and who are my enemies. Hopefully two of my patrons -a genie couple- are still around… they always make me laugh and understand me the best.

Let’s see what Hardy and company did while I was gone.


… …
… … …

WHAT THE FUCK! THEY’VE TURNED THIS WORLD INTO THEIR OWN SANDBOX AND ARE TRYING TO GET EVERY OTHER PANTHEON OR CELESTIAL FACTION TO EAT OUT OF THEIR CROTCH! THOSE FUCKTARDS! THOSE VIOLKIN! GAGH!

IT’S TIME TO EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MINATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!

… ok, I don’t know how that get over me but… Hardy and company have fucking triggered me! Me, the 82nd Ultima Researcher of the Chozo Confederation, triggered into genocidal rage! Even in our darkest days, it takes a lot to push a Chozo into such a rage. The two species that did it deserved it from an objective standpoint! Even the enigmatic Minbari and their infamous bipolar attitude on war simply nodded in understanding of the whole situation.
Ok, calm down Jade Wing… just breathe in, breathe out. Find your inner peace and rebalance yourself. Inner peace… inner peace… inner peace… inner peace… INNER PEACE… INNER PEACE…

Oh, fuck it. Time to scream in a primordial universe to vent my anger because of my trigger induced genocidal rage. I grabbed a primordial universe and yelled into it, venting all my profanities and rage into it.

Ok… that made me feel a bit better. Better reset that universe just in case all that rage causes problems. There, done… Now, where was I? Ah yes, finding my old allies…

Fort Portal, Alnus Province; September 20th, 2017 - 10:30 Hours

Lieutenant Itami sighed as he and a small portion of his platoon -alongside Rory Mercury, Lelei La Lalena, and Tuka Luna Marceau and her father- went through the fifth checkpoint -and set of automated turrets- that day. From what Itami the small portion of his platoon has seen, the Iron Pact had been incredibly busy. Rail lines were being built towards the border between ‘Alnus Province’ and other local provinces, the ancient highways were being upgraded into what looked like autobahns, villages being completely rebuilt with a mix of old and new architecture, and -as Itami’s little two-vehicle convoy got into visual range of the base- saw zeppelins -admittedly small ones but still, fucking Zeppelins- of all things starting to lift off for kami knows where.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Private Richards said, “It looks like they’re settling in for the long term here…” No one could fault Richards’s outburst… as all the sights right now are insane.

“Yeah, and what does that mean for the locals?” Itami sighed with a frown, “Forcing cultures to march through centuries of evolution or match another’s rarely ends well.” Itami learned enough history to figure that much.

“Alright Leutnant, you and your convoy are cleared to enter the base,” the guard at the checkpoint said in heavy German-accented Japanese before turning to one of his compatriots, “Hans, let them in!” As the gate opened, the guard turned to Itami. “Alright, the Central Administration complex is at the end of the central road with the internal motor pool on the left. Just don’t get into trouble of your own accord and things will be fine.”

“Understood sir,” Itami responded politely, “we’ll try to ensure that we don’t cause any trouble.” With that, Takeo Kurata took the vehicle down the main road towards the massive prefabricated structure. Akira Tomita and the others looked around, absorbing everything they could while taking mental notes of the various vehicles and weapon systems. While it is clearly apparent that this is only a mere fraction of the base and its contents, it didn’t make help the feeling of dread with the JSDF and US soldiers.

It didn’t take too long for the convoy to get to the administration complex, and what everyone saw was simply awe inducing. The hustle and bustle of base personnel simply astounded the few locals that Itami manage to persuade to come with, but everything he saw simply pointed to one thing and one thing only: The Iron Pact is planning to stay until whenever their objectives were done.

That… can be troubling… to say the least.

“Ah, Leutnant Itami!” a familiar voice said cheerfully, “I hope that your trip to our base was uneventful.” Itami quickly recognized the voice as Captain Neumann’s, Itami didn’t recognize him immediately due to the dress uniform that he was wearing. It was like the old Imperial German uniform in a sense, as it was ‘field grey’. The uniform was also expertly tailored to match the physic that Captain Neumann had, an oddity compared to their field uniforms which were clearly mass produced. Captain Neumann’s chest, however, was worrisome as it was laden with medals… including what looked like the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with oak leaves, swords, and diamonds.

“It was,” Itami answered in German, “far better than what we have over the course of the last few months.” Captain Neumann chuckled a bit.

“True, too true,” Captain Neumann replied, “Now, before you and your fellows go to Berlin, General Forsythe wants a word with you about some civilians that we rescued from a mining town northeast from here.” Itami raised an eyebrow at this, what little information that the Japanese-US coalition had indicated that civilians that were sold into slavery were dead already… given the poor conditions.

“Alright then,” Itami sighed, “Old Man, get everyone ready for the trip… I’ll have to meet up with General Forsythe for something.” Souichirou Kuwahara sighed as he got everyone ready for the trip while Itami was escorted to General Forsythe’s office.

General Forsythe’s Office; a few minutes later

General Forsythe raised an eyebrow at the JSDF lieutenant in front of him. He was the opposite in terms of physical stature he assumed he would be. His voice was somewhat nasally and higher pitched, the opposite of what one would think would have a commanding voice given what Hauptmann Neumann’s Aufklärungsabteilung company’s AARs had implied. Itami’s stance, to be frank, is probably one of the weirder ones that Forsythe has ever encountered. What he did notice was a suitcase at his side.

“First Lieutenant Youji Itami, JSDF Ground Forces, here as requested,” Itami said politely, “May I ask what the reason for your request is?” Forsythe smirked slightly, Itami appeared to be someone that likes to get to the point of things and waste little time for anything… although there is a slight undertone that he didn’t want to be here anyway, and that suitcase was the reason.

“The reason for my request Leutnant,” Forsythe explained, “is the fact that we’ve liberated a lot of slaves a while back, and so far, ten of them were from your world.” Itami’s eyes widened almost comically, knowing straight away about the implications of what has been said. “We’ve already debriefed them and ensured that they’re at peak health.” Forsythe then pulled out a tablet. “This is the full list of people from your world that had been liberated from slavery so far.”

“Ah, so these are the people I’m supposed to pick up?” Itami replied as he looked through the detailed list as he put the suitcase down, “I’m just surprised that you’re so forthcoming about this General.” Itami sighed a little bit, remembering a few instances he had with various generals be his home nation or abroad. Usually they’re generally incredibly strict or simply leave things out is a common stereotype for generals in Itami’s experience… but this man wasn’t either, which is rare in Itami’s experience. Especially for a German general.

“Ah, I understand,” Forsythe answered, “and yes these are the people your superiors want to be picked up after the entire inquiry is finished.” Itami mumbled something about ‘meddling politicians’ under his breath, and Forsythe was understanding about it. He had encountered similar politicians in his incredibly long career as a general, although in his case they rarely survived politically when they meddle too far.

“I’m thankful,” Itami said in a somber enthusiastic tone, “that we don’t have to create more graves… we’ve already have enough of them as it is.” Forsythe understood completely, if the Empire’s invasion of Itami’s homeland was anything like the one that invaded Berlin, then there were literal hills of bodies to burry. “Well, I do have something for you. We’ve been getting strange information from informants in one of the nations from my world and my superiors decided that you might know something about it.”

“Oh, and what would that be?” Forsythe asked politely, intrigued.

“It’s in the suitcase,” Itami answered, “My superiors told me that under no circumstances that anyone would look into what is in the suitcase until I give it to you or your staff.” Itami frowned as he carefully placed the suitcase on the desk. “It’s my superiors’ hopes that you’ll respond quickly on this matter.”

“We’ll see to it then,” Forsythe replied as he picked up the suitcase, “You should get back to your group, they should be starting the last few procedures before going through the portal.” Itami quickly thanked Forsythe and left, escorted by an MP. Forsythe sat there for a moment, remembering when he himself first joined the military. “Well, well, well Youji Itami…” Forsythe muttered to himself, “you remind me of myself when I was your age. I know you’ll be going places soon enough…” That was when Forsythe opened the suitcase. “Now, what has your superiors bamboozled…”

Checkpoint Portal - Berlin, Germany – Iron Pact Earth; September 20th, 11:00 Hours

Words fail to describe the sights that Rory Mercury is seeing in ‘Berlin’. While the Empire fiddled with structures of tall stature outside of forts and castles, they were hard to maintain and construct, not to mention somewhat ugly in terms of looks in the skyline. Yet here, this Iron Pact -and from what Itami and his fellow soldiers said, the world beyond the Gate on Alnus Hill- not only solved them but had them in abundance. An impressive feat of engineering to say the least. The towers are atheistically pleasing as they were practical… and looked more like they were sculpted than built.

“Hauptmann Neumann, Leunant Youji, papers please,” a man said out of a window. Itami had explained to them to keep a bunch of papers and a booklet-like object called a ‘passport’ at hand or be refused entry. This is an alien concept to Rory. Her station as Apostle gave her exceptions, allowing her to freely cross borders with ease. Yet here, you had to have travel documents.

“Your documents are in order,” the man said, “I’ll just need to get everyone into the system. Everyone, please bring your documents and I’ll get everything set up.” Slowly the assembled lined up and gave the documents to the man, who then looked through the documents with unnatural precision. With a few strokes on his device, he was done. This went on for the next ten minutes before she was next.

“Ah, Rory Mercury,” the man said as he politely took the papers and passport out of her hands, “I’m sorry about the wait but there were a few problems getting everything into our system, please excuse any delays on my behalf.” The man made a few strokes on his device. “Your listed occupation is Apostle. Due to what your occupation is described, I’m required to tell you that you’ll be with an escort for the duration of your visit.” Rory frowned a little, she never needed an escort

“Why would the Apostle of Emoly require such an escort?” Rory asked with some distain, “Few have tried to harm an Apostle, and fewer have survived to tell the tale.” The man simply frowned intensely at Rory. Uncharacteristically, Rory felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

That is why the escort is being assigned to you,” the man answered flatly, “They are going to be keeping you and your magic using friends in line.” The man quickly finished up and gave Rory’s documents back. “Now, please get out of my line so the next person can get their data in.” Rory left in a huff, knowing that the man was eyeing daggers into the back of her head.

“Well, then, with that out of the way,” Centurion Neumann said, “we’ll have lunch before ensuring that everyone is ready for the inquiry.” Itami simply shrugged, as if he was in his opposite’s position, he would do something quite similar as well. “Now, this way to the charter bus…”

“So,” Richard Steiner asked, “what is our lunch destination?” Centurion Neumann thought for a moment before giving his answer.

“We’ll go to Bert, Tetsui, and Hans International Bar,” Centurion Neumann answered, “Gives our Falmart natives a taste of a bit of everything culinary that the Iron Pact has.” Richard Steiner raised an eyebrow at that. “It doesn’t help that they’ve got some of the best steaks and second-best burgers in town for their price either.” The Iron Pact soldiers chuckled a little at the last comment, knowing their commanding officer a little too well. “However, we’ve got to make a small stop at the Memorial first.” The Iron Pact soldiers simply nodded in understanding the reasons why their superior had always tried to ensure he makes a stop at that memorial, mostly because his great-great grandfather and great-grandfather had been buried there.

Soon enough, the long horseless carriage entered the streets of Berlin, and towards their destination…

Memorial to the Fallen Park; 11:45 Hours

Everyone but the Iron Pact soldiers were surprised in the majesty of the large park that they’ve entered, and everyone then had a good snicker at Centurion Neumann’s foresight to have their lunch just down the road from the park itself. The ‘Americans’ of Itami’s world soon saw the correlations with a place called Arlington.

Yet… Rory couldn’t help but feel that things were… off… about this place. She couldn’t put a finger on it, but it had this odd air about it. Yes, the Saderians -the people that dominate much of Falmart with an iron fist- have graveyards but they were specifically designed with countering necromancy in mind but the Saderians never had something like this

Rory’s musings ended when they saw Centurion Neumann stopping at an ornate granite wall that had names engraved on it and polished to a sheen that outdid anything that even the best grave masters in the Empire could do. That was when she noticed the words on the top of the wall: “Für die heroischen Männer und Frauen, sollen ihre Opfer für immer in Erinnerung bleiben”. The wall was divided up into sections by thick lines, and Centurion Neumann went to a section with ‘2. Weltkrieg’ at the top. It was here that everyone saw tears flow from the Centurion’s eye’s.

That was when it hit Rory. Centurion Neumann was paying respects to a family member. Someone further up the familial line for certain, but certainly not his father…

That was when Rory heard… humming. She quickly and stealthily split off from the group to search for the source of this humming. Weaving through the stones and graves, through families paying their respects, Rory’s search started to become frantic as a few simple words kept repeating, seemingly without end.

Wir sind verloren!

Wir sind verloren!

Wir sind verloren!

Wir sind verloren!


Those words kept sending chills up Rory’s spine as she looked for the source. The longer she took in finding the source, the more she felt like she was descending into madness... and this went on for a good half-hour.

That was when she saw them. Thousands of men -and some women- were marching down an avenue garbed in uniforms she couldn’t recognize, armed with weapons that she couldn’t make heads or tails of, and they were all marching to the west…

Now seeing spirits isn’t something that surprised Rory -by Hardy (as much as Rory hated the Goddess of the Underworld’s guts) part of her job was to work with restless spirits- but it was the sheer numbers in one spot that broke her preconceptions. Rory simply stood there in amazement as the thousands of soldiers walked down the avenue, singing a song that she couldn’t fully understand the context of…

Wo alle Straßen enden, hört unser Weg nicht auf. Wohin wir uns auch wenden, die Zeit nimmt ihren Lauf.

Das Herz verbrannt, im Schmerz verbannt. So ziehen wir verloren durch das graue Niemandsland. Vielleicht kehrt von uns keiner mehr zurück ins Heimatland.

Words couldn’t truly describe what Rory was seeing. Sure, on numerous battlefields you could see hundreds of soldiers and warriors still residing in the world of the living, either still fighting their battles or trying to find a way to the afterlife. Having thousands all in one place, however, is unheard of in the history of Falmart. As the soldiers marched onwards, Rory started hearing voices, conversations, and more.

That was when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Rory quickly turned around and saw two spirits looking at the city beyond.

Rory nearly jumped a few feet into the air as she turned her head to get a look on who was laying their hand on her shoulder. It was a tall, lanky man with a pair of framed glass planes resting on the bridge of his nose. There was two more men beside him, one was an average-sized man that had a slightly thick middle and the other was also average but much more fit… but the mustache was something that she never saw before.

“Sorry for scaring you, Mädchen,” the man with the framed glass planes apologized, “It’s a rarity to have anyone with the ability to speak to the dead visit here.” Rory raised her eyebrows at that tidbit of information, as it implied that the shaman ability is extremely rare in this world as well. “The only regular is Leutnant Adolf Neumann’s great grandson.”

“All of this is rather different than anything I’ve ever experienced, I’ll admit,” Rory spoke truthfully, “To see so many spirits marching like they were still alive, to see so many buried here in one place… it’s something that I or anyone else back in the Empire ever experienced.”

“It always is,” the mysterious being said, “… getting out of what you know I mean… your comfort zone.” The other two beings chuckled a bit. “Still, it is a pleasure that has no words to describe to see the very nation that you’ve sacrifice your life for prosper. My family told stories of when they arrived with the first settlers, turning a village in a swamp into the center of a great nation. To see it prosper before your very eyes. A feeling so exquisite that words can’t truly describe it.” Then the man slapped his own face like he forgot something. “I’m so sorry, I forgot to ask your name and give us ours.”

“It’s alright,” Rory answered thoughtfully, “It isn’t the first time I’ve had spirits forget to introduce themselves…” Rory quickly shook her head. “The name’s Rory Mercury, Apostle of Emory.”

“My name is Egon Spangler,” the mysterious being said.

“My name is Adolf Neumann Senior,” the rotund being introduced himself, “Pleasure to meet you Mädchen.”

“I’m Adolf Hitler,” the third and last being introduced himself, “It’s a rare pleasure to have someone else talk to us despite leaving the mortal coil.” Rory mentally calmed herself reminding herself that this is a vastly different world than Itami’s, and thus the people there are vastly different. Their histories and paths through life could be different than their other-world counterparts. “Is something the wrong Mädchen?” That sentence broke Rory out of her mental marathon.

“Um… sorry,” Rory answered, “It’s just that the people that I’m staying with had a man named Adolf Hitler… and… he was a monster.” Hitler sighed knowingly, like if it was something he half-expected. “Went out to exterminate millions just because they were a different people than him.” Hitler shook his head in understanding with that sentence.

Adolf Hitler simply sighed at Rory’s answer, and looked towards the skyline again, thinking of an answer that would melt Rory’s doubts.

“When I came back to Germany after the First World War, I would undoubtedly go down that path with abandon,” Hitler answered with a depressing chuckle, “I was one of many men that was hurting and angry. Feeling that we’ve been betrayed somehow. Yet… when word came that the French and British were to destroy the Fatherland so completely, we jumped at the call but not because of the government, but because of the Fatherland.” Rory simply sat down in the grass, knowing that this is going to take a while. “That is when I was assigned a bunch of Poles, Jews, and Old Prussians with very few Germans. I spent them like bullets. Threw the dice far too many times and threw their lives away… yet more came to fill the ranks.” Hitler simply looked like he was reminiscing, as he shed a tear. “I… at first I couldn’t believe that those I considered inferior were jumping at the chance to do what they thought was the most good. They fought with such bravery and such ferocity that I couldn’t understand it with the path I choose between the Great War and the Great War of Resistance.” Rory was in apt attention as Hitler continued. “Slowly, I started to see the bravery and ferocity for what it was: Magnificence. It took me years to finally see it, years that where I would have made better tactics and strategies. Picked better targets… and probably save my closest comrade in arms.”

Egon simply sat there in understanding.

“Yet, it was when my XO died in my arms that I vowed to remember him and those who died in our small part of the Great War of Resistance. I found myself changing, Rory. Changing in mind and in spirit,” Hitler continued, “I saw many horrible things, Rory. Horrific in ways you couldn’t imagine. I saw the path that my anger and hate was heading to. It was then I changed completely. I was no longer Adolf Hitler, an angry and hurt soldier upset of how the Fatherland lost a war that by all rights should have won. I was Adolf Hitler, a humbled man that has seen the life that his old self would have led.” Rory was amazed, as such radical change is rare within Falmart in general. “There is an old virtue from a nation called Japan, made specifically for its militant noble class: “The decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of who you are. You cannot hide from yourself.”. I inadvertently understood this after the Great War of Resistance, despite not reading the virtues of Bushido myself. I began to find myself and found many things that scared me. I kept that spiritual weight the rest of my life.”

Rory was astonished at what she was hearing. No leader in their right mind would outright admit their weaknesses and follies unless there was no other choice.

“I decided, afterwards, that after the war I would retire from military service and simply become an artist while writing a memoir about those who were in my unit during the Great War of Resistance. I was just outside of Hamburg when I met a man that would change my life,” Hitler reminisced, “He wasn’t famous at the time, but he, too, had talent in art. I had seen him during the War driving a Red Cross ambulance hauling injured and sick civilians plastered with his ‘cartoons’. At the time he was at Hamburg waiting for his ship to arrive, so he can go back home to America when he saw me drawing the skyscape of Hamburg at the time. He commented that I had actual skill and talent. I never had been told that I had talent or skill. I was told that my art was lifeless… that I had no talent or real skill, but to have someone say that I did changed things. So, we started to talk about things, reveal little bits of our lives… and the more we’ve talked, the more we talked, the more we exchanged, and the more we exchanged, the more we became friends. Eventually we decided to keep in contact with each other, effectively being there for each other during the other’s darkest time. While I would eventually only do art as a hobby, Walt would become world renowned for his cartoons.”

Then Hitler’s visage became a bit dark.

“It was around 1932 that I started to go into politics. It was at this time that men that still had hate and anger within them formed their own party and decided that they would rule the Fatherland by any means necessary. I became a target when my memoir was published in the previous year,” Hitler remembered sourly, “I couldn’t stand the idea of the Fatherland that I helped in saving to become a twisted image of itself. With some help in speeches, I quickly became the leader of the newly formed Progressive-Socialist Party, and eventually we made great strides in many things, but eventually that made me into a target that those monsters couldn’t ignore.” Rory got the feeling that she wouldn’t like what would happen next. “They decided to try to assassinate me… in front of the entire nation… and that signed their death warrants.”

“That was when what people called ‘Day of Death’ happened,” Egon butted in, “Kaiser Fredrick was rightly fed up at what they attempted to do and gave them an ultimatum: either hand over the conspirators of the assassination or get a Royal Ban. Instead, they decided that a coup was in order… and began a day-long rebellion against the Kaiser and Germany itself. The Nationale Reaktionspartei’s militants fought across Germany but was crushed by the army and marines. The few of the NRP’s leaders that survived got the death penalty and executed and the party and those like it were permanently banned by royal decree.”

“I was the man that influenced Kaiser Fredrick in going through with that ban,” Hitler stated flatly, “I had seen what they did to those of the Jewish Quarter. The mangled bodies of Jews scattered across the streets, the bodies of raped Jewish women, the children hanging from ceilings and streetlamps… I yelled at the Kaiser to never let those monsters to have a voice ever again. I even threatened to pull a coup on him if he didn’t… but he just sat there, laughing.” Rory’s eyes widened to comical size as Adolf remembered. “He told me that I had guts to say that in front of him… and that he was convinced that if such people were able to foster such conviction in the various parties and the military, then he had no choice than to ban them… although he stated that I was the first to tell it to his face but warned me about my temper.”

“Sir… I…” Egon started, trying to comprehend what Hitler had said… but Hitler stopped him from speaking further.

“I vividly remember the sacrifices that the Jews made during the Great War of Resistance Egon,” Hitler answered, “… and I would not allow them to be in vain.” The very atmosphere started to become deathly cold, sending shivers down Rory’s spine. “I will not allow the sacrifices we’ve made be for nothing. I will not see all that we have worked for turned to ash. If my life is the price I shall pay to ensure that Germany prospers, then so be it.” Rory was now starting to get scared, as she was seeing a conviction that bordered on a cultist’s.

“Sir,” Egon exclaimed, “You’re scaring Rory half to death!” Hitler then looked at Rory, seeing the fear develop in her face.

“I…” Hitler started but failed to continue. He just sat there, scared of what he had done.

“Now you’ve done it,” Adolf Senior commented, “You’ve got Hitler worked up again and had him realize it through Egon. Those two act like an old couple in ways that would have gotten them into immense trouble in our day… but here that doesn’t matter. They’ve always been said to be practically made for each other back in the Great War of Resistance, and now I can understand why.” That was when Rory heard Itami and Centurion Neumann yelling at the top of their lungs.

“Rory!” Itami exclaimed, “You are supposed to stay next to us!” Rory simply rolled her eyes in annoyance Itami continued. “Have you ever thought what will happen if something were to happen? This isn’t like the Empire, you can’t simply wave your statue as an Apostle like it’s some sort of immunity.” Itami then frowned. “If you go galivanting around and doing whatever you felt like, I’m going to be the poor sap that gets in trouble.”

“Itami, chill a bit. We’re in one of the most sensor-dense locations on the entire planet,” Centurion Neumann commented as he tried to calm Itami down, “See, she’s… oh hey Great Grandpa Adolf.” Itami looked at Centurion Neumann like he was verifiably insane.

“Neumann-san, you’re starting to sound like my mother,” Itami replied in a worried tone, “Are you sure that you aren’t clinically insane?” Centurion Neumann looked at Itami like he was a racist bigot… before he quickly remembered that Itami wasn’t from this world and sighed.

That was when Rory exploded in anger. “Itami!” Rory yelled in Saderian in a tone reminiscent of an angry god, “You are to apologize to Centurion Neumann this instant or I will kill you where you stand!” Itami was shocked -and deathly afraid- at Rory who was acting in a way he never saw before. “Do you know who you are insulting Sir Itami? Do you!?! Who you are insulting is someone that you never insult if you value your life in this life and the next! Someone that is rare even by our standards! One of the few things we Apostles respect are Shamans, and you have made a grave insult to one! Even Emory doesn’t mark a shaman with madness!” That was when Rory transformed into her ‘adult’ body. A very well endowed and well-muscled body. “I can interact with spirits as well, and what I’ve seen and heard here is more than enough to prove that he is a Shaman!”

“But.. but..” Itami mumbled as his body started to freeze with fear. The others had just arrived and everyone, but Leo, were floored at what was happening before them.

Apologize!” Rory ordered, “NOW!” Leo knew what was happening at that moment, Itami had to gravely insult a shaman, which is usually the last thing one can do in their time with the living. All Apostles, no matter who their patron god was, gave their respect to shamans… which is usually more than what the Apostles usually do with mortals. Rory is especially strict on giving shamans respect, given that a good six centuries ago she was saved by a shaman in a particularly nasty bit of business with a necromancer.

“Rory,” Centurion Neumann said in an authoritative tone, “you apologize to Itami.” Then Centurion Neumann’s voice morphed into legion and his eyes turned a dark blood red. “Now.” Rory now felt absolute dread going up and down her spine… as the last word that came out of Centurion Neumann’s mouth was not something a Shaman can do. If Centurion Neumann is what Rory (now) fears… then nothing but death itself can stop him. Nothing.

“… but Centurion Neumann, he…” Rory stammered as she tried to explain to Centurion Neumann why she was being so strict.

But nothing, Rory,” Centurion Neumann flatly stated, stomping out Rory’s chance to explain herself, “Leutnant Itami didn’t know that he insulted me. He doesn’t have the context and understanding necessary to know that he was insulting me. I am willing to let it slide, but apparently you aren’t.” Centurion Neumann’s colleges at that point were trying to explain to everyone else what is going on while everyone else were in a state of muted panic on what is going on.

“But Centurion,” Rory said as she found her courage, “I am forcing Itami to apologize because what you are is something that I give my uttermost respect to. The few shamans that I have met in my travels were all nice people, and even one of them was powerful enough to help me with a necromancer over six centuries ago, saving me in the process and…” Yet, apparently, Centurion Neumann was having none of it.

That still doesn’t excuse what you have done,” Centurion Neumann verbally slammed, “Once Itami has the proper context and understanding, he will apologize. If he apologizes now, it won’t be sincere, it will be empty.” Rory shuddered as Centurion Neumann’s eyes stared into hers, acting -if not actually- like if they were looking into her very soul. “Now, from what Itami has implicated, his mother might be a Speaker of Spirits, but that can’t be confirmed until Wolfenstein takes a good look at Itami’s case. Now, apologize.” Rory had to relent, as she started to see every spirit in the ‘memorial park’ staring at her in anger… although Hitler, Adolf Senior, and Egon were trying to explain the context of what happened to the assembled spirits.

“I…” Itami spoke up, steeling himself for his own verbal onslaught that he is about to give, “You’re right Captain Neumann, I don’t understand what is going on. I don’t know the context of what is happening. What I do know is that the mere fact that I implied that you are insane has shown a side of Rory that I haven’t seen before. A very demanding side that I doubt many have seen back in the Empire.” Rory looked at Itami in surprise. “And you captain, I have seen a side that few people have seen before and you have caused Rory to sit down and shut up… which I believe no one has been able to do before. Yet I can see where Rory is coming from. I have saved lives in my time in the military, and they all give me as much respect as they could give me. Now we are going to stay here until we all apologize to each other or we miss the inquiry. Your choice.”

Everyone stood there, stunned, at Itami’s outburst. This was a side of the otaku officer that no one had seen. Rory felt, aroused, from the sight of Itami showing his dominant side… and that made her attraction to him increase significantly.

That was when Centurion Neumann started laughing.

“Now that is the steel I felt within you Itami!” Centurion Neumann laughed out loud, “I haven’t seen anyone get verbally smacked down that hard since I started to train with Big Boss!” Centurion Neuman’s and Itami’s comrades looked at each other like Centurion Neumann was howling mad. “Now, as an apology I’m going to give you two an all-you-can-eat buffet!”

Itami and Rory simply stared… their brains trying to comprehend what just happened.

Itami was the first one to shake himself back to reality. “Alright then,” Itami chuckled, “I’ll hold you up to that… now let’s go before we miss out on that buffet!” Everyone but the Itami, Rory, and Centurion Neumann simply stared in confusion. “What are you guys waiting for? We’ve got an all you can eat buffet to get to!” Itami quickly started jogging towards the long horseless carriage.

Everyone else quickly followed suit…

Combined Chamber of the Reichstag, Berlin; 15:30 Hours local time

Itami frowned as he and the entourage entered the main chamber of the alternate Reichstag. The chamber is packed as news crews readied their cameras while those who wanted to be physically see the proceedings sat in the banisters that are now filled to the brim. From what Itami could tell, this Imperial Germany adopted a tricameral legislative body. One was clearly the various noble families, given their ware, and stood on the left-most side of the chamber. Then there is a series of politicians that looked like they were elected who sat in the center of the chamber, they came in two by two and Richards commented that they acted like the US Senate. Then there was the large crowd that filled the right-most side of the room, Itami quickly lost count after four hundred… which meant that they were like the Diet members and are probably almost as bad in general…

“All rise!” Chancellor Joseph Steiner ordered, “Kaiserin Sophia the First of the House of Hohenzollern, Chief of State of the Empire of Germany and it’s commonwealths presiding!” That was when a rather regal song started playing as a woman dressed in a mix of something straight out of a fantasy and something modern entered the room with four guards armed with ancient -well, compared to the ones that both the Iron Pact and the JSDF/US coalition are using in Falmart- submachine guns.

The Kaiserin briskly walked to her seat on an elevated platform in the center of the back wall and stood by her chair while the guards took up positions beside the platform. The song went on for a short while longer before it ended, allowing Kaiserin Sophia to speak.

“I, Kaiserin Sophia the First, will preside over the Inquiry of the battle that took place on July 19th, 2017 in the lands held by the Holy Empire of Alnus,” Sophia began in a regal tone, “Witnesses include personnel from an alternate reality, soldiers from the Iron Pact now in campaign in those lands, and locals from the Holy Empire of Alnus. This Inquiry has been called, as per protocol for loss of civilian life in combat with Iron Pact soldiers, by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chancellor Joseph Steiner.” Itami, his comrades, and the Falmart locals practically held their breath as the Kaiserin looked through the crowd. “You now may take your seats.”

Everyone simply sat down… and Itami and his comrades simply sighed a sigh of relief.

“Chancellor, you may begin with the proceedings,” Sophia ordered, “Let us begin with the context of the situation.”

“Well, here comes the boring part,” Aaron Neumann forewarned in a whisper, “Every Iron Pact inquiry always starts with the situational context to minimize causing improper outrage and political intrigue.” Itami and his comrades raised their eyebrows at Aaron’s warning. An inquiry like this -while it took time to setup- is easy to manipulate to score easy political points back in Itami’s Japan. Here, the context is laid bare for all to see… like US military/security inquiries, just without the Itami’s US’s politics before Mattis became the head of the Coup.

The several projectors soon showed the combat footage while analysts filled in any blanks that the footage couldn’t fill. It showed things like combat conditions, attack vectors, among other things. In addition to the combat footage there was material analysis from the Fire Dragon’s scales, the breath of the Fire Dragon, to what little of the Fire Dragon’s recorded capabilities was displayed in full. The explanations took an hour to complete, and oddly enough, it answered a few questions that bothered Itami; like how the scales were able to shrug off 55mm HVAP rounds but were able to be penetrated by the Javelin. Itami quickly filed all of this away in his mind while making a note to himself to ask for the analysis… which would come in handy with his own inquiry.

Several of the politicians in the Diet-side of the room rolled their eyes in contempt at the deluge of information.

“Who are those politicians that are rolling their eyes in contempt?” Itami whispered to Aaron, wanting to know the political situation in this Germany.

“Oh, they’re the few seats that the Isolationists managed to scrounge up in the last elections,” Aaron answered in a whisper, “They’re the sort that wants to disband the Iron Pact and pretty much go isolationist. They’re well known to be idiots and their constituencies are made up of geopolitical idiots… so they’ve been continuously elected there. Thing is they’ve been under investigation by the Federal Police for various political and financial fraud, something they’ve been trying to keep out of the spotlight.” Itami sighed and forced himself to not bang his head against the desk. Apparently, no matter what, there are those idiots having some political sway. If these individuals had their way, then they would eliminate the military completely. Thus, Japan would be vulnerable to the many enemies it made over the decades and -pragmatically- would put Itami and many like him out of a job to support their hobbies. It also didn’t surprise Itami that these Isolationists were being investigated… given what had happened back home.

“Ah,” Itami whispered in understanding, “They sound a lot like the far-left politicians back home.” Itami sighed a bit, knowing who called the inquiry that is going to happen within the next month. “Could you pull a few strings to get the analysis on the Flame Dragon’s scales because that’ll be a lot of help on making sure my inquiry goes smoothly.” Aaron smirked at Itami, understanding his plight.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Aaron answered, “It’ll probably happen if I get sent over to provide the Pact’s side of the story.” Itami shrugged a little in understanding.

It was then that the inquiry got to the testimony stage. Itami sighed as this was perhaps almost -if not more so- as tedious as the context setting. Aaron was up first, as he was the overall commander during the battle. Everyone practically started murmuring as he took to the stand, what was being said were intelligible to Itami, but it appeared that Aaron is quite significant to this alternate reality.

“Hauptmann Neumann,” the Chancellor began, “Describe the events leading up to the subject of this inquiry to the best of your abilities.” Itami sighed, it was going to be one of those inquiries… and prepared for a long inquiry…

Equestria, Ponyville – Castle of Friendship, Office of Twilight Sparkle; September 25th, 2017

Twilight Eventide Sparkle -Princess and Goddess of Friendship, current heir to the House of Sparkle-Armor, Bearer of the Element of Magic, Former and most Powerful Student of Celestia, Vanquisher of Tirek, leader of the Elements of Harmony, and -if her ascension didn’t happen- the best (and youngest) prospect for title of Grand Magus of Magic- sighed as she signed yet another piece of paperwork. Right now Twilight felt the hankering for cake -a weakness that her mentor and now-equal Celestia imparted to her during Twilight’s many years as her student and, after her ascension, her instructor of all things Princess related… now that she thought about it, many of Celestia’s students had a weakness of cake including the temperamental Sunset Solus Shimmer- to break not only the doldrums of paperwork (thank Faust for inkwell pens!) but to get rid of all the stress she had been having.

… and one of the sources of stress -the humans from worlds that weren’t connected to the Mirror-Portal that is now a fixture of Twilight’s new and improved basement-laboratory- is why Twilight had called her friends for this impromptu meeting for. At least, those that haven’t left for a Friendship Quest.

“So darling,” Rarity Paragon Belle questioned in her impressive approximation of the Canterlot accent, “what has gotten you all riled up today?” The remaining four of Twilight’s friends -and her first ‘special’ student Starlight Shimmer Stormgale- were going to ask that very same question. Starlight grew immensely ever since she was captured by Twilight’s own Royal Guard during the entire Equal Town fiasco… but trust had to be earned both in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of Twilight’s cadre of friends, thus her status as ‘special student’. “I mean, darling, it couldn’t be the paperwork…”

“While Ah would rarely agree with Rarity here,” Applejack Chartreuse Apple said in her very thick Southern Equestrian-Big Macintosh Mountain accent, “Y’all know that things have been rather hectic around here ever since the slaves from that Imperial slave ship shipwrecked by Manehattan was sent here.” Everyone nodded in understanding, three months back a Holy Empire of Alnus slave ship heading towards the only Imperial ‘colony’ on the Equestrian continent shipwrecked just south of Manehattan. The slavers were quickly apprehended and put to work in the mana crystal mines in the Canterlot Mountains while the slaves were freed… which has landed Ponyville in its current situation. “Now trying to open up has been hard for all of us, even when we have to juggle not only our duties to the Map but our own lives as well.”

“It is rather overwhelming,” Fluttershy Stormwing commented in her new shy-but-steely tone, “Although some of the humans I’ve been working with have been a great help… it is just too much. What they have suffered for six months in the hands of the Empire had created such deep scars in their minds…” Everyone else sighed at that comment. The treatment for non-Imperial slaves -or enslaved Imperials for crimes such as high treason or breaking certain by-laws of enslavement given what Luna’s intelligence network had uncovered- is simply horrendous by any measure. ‘Training’ specifically designed to break the will and hope of those in bondage, so they do anything they want -with few fields foregoing the training only because of practicality and need- and do whatever job they’ve been assigned. These slaves were only fortunate enough that they only got ‘light training’ before being shipped out to the Imperial colony on the continent Equestria resides on.

“Ah can’t argue with that,” Applejack commented, “They’ve been doing quite well all considerin’. Even Granny Smith is a bit surprised at the better condition of the farm since they’ve arrived…” Applejack sighed a little. “… but she is worried that their condition isn’t improvin’. Whenever she went out to see how they’re doin’ work, they seem a little broken in the noggin’… much like them Warrior Bunnies that washed ashore in that shipwreck just a few months after you’ve became a princess Twili.” Twilight sighed and frowned, remembering one of her first duties as Princess of Equestria. A large Imperial slave ship was shipwrecked near Neighton, loaded to the brim with a species known as the ‘Warrior Bunnies’. Despite the doctors on-site and setting up a field hospital, a good third of them died of their injuries. The head slavers were quickly turned into stone by an enraged Celestia and Luna while the crew was sent to the mana crystal mines for the next two decades. A sixth would commit suicide thanks to the horrors they’ve witnessed, another sixth would be forever institutionalized in the Grand Mental Hospital of Canterlot to try to rehabilitate them with little success, the rest would be effectively shut-ins, although Twilight and her friends have been slowly getting them out of their self-imposed shells.

“They’re pretty good petty good ponies,” Sunset Solus Shimmer sighed, “Especially since one of them was able to relate to Starlight and help her improve leaps and bounds.” Twilight raised an eyebrow at that, as now a question she had been developing with Starlight had been answered. “The biggest problem is that they’re still hurting, even if they don’t know it yet.” Everyone could at least agree on that.

“Yeah… they’re pretty awesome,” Rainbow Dash Blitzer commented in a somber tone with her characteristic hybrid of Big Macintosh Mountain and Cloudsdale accents, “but I’ve seen it with the army side of the Wonderbolts whenever they raid some bandit or slaver camp. Some of them have it so bad that Spitfire had taken them off the active roster.” “Sometimes permanently,” Rainbow thought to herself, leaving it unsaid. “Tartus, the doctors within these non-Imperial human ranks been helping Scoots with getting her to be able to fly! I haven’t seen Scoots so happy since… ever.” Most of the doctor-speak went over Rainbow’s head, but from what she could understand, Scootaloo’s body had been stunted in various ways but if they had a specific family of algae and the ability to process it -or a supply of ‘biological rejuvenators’ from their home-, they can kickstart it, so she would be on her original low-end and not a runt.

“Really?” Rarity asked in an astonished tone, “They must be pretty good if they can do something like that… but focus Rainbow, we need to find ways to get these rather cultured humans to get out of their shell and actually heal instead of simply stay in their shells and bottle their horrors up.” Rarity pondered for a moment before getting an idea. “Doctor Wolf and Doctor Sound Mind have their practice in-town, and they’ve been amazing at helping all of us with our own problems. Perhaps we can have them help us with this. They did convince most of those Warrior Bunnies that were on the fence that it wasn’t worth it.” Everyone pondered for a moment at what Rarity was saying, when Doctor James Wolf and Doctor Sound Mentat Mind came to Ponyville before Twilight’s ascension, they vastly improved the relationships between the Elements -and Spike- and prevented a few problems from arising. Their biggest claim to fame is their ability to persuade the suicidal Warrior Bunnies to not commit suicide even if it took a lot of work on their part.

“That… sounds like a good idea,” Twilight admitted, “… but that still runs into the problem that we need to get them out of their shells more.” Twilight frowned slightly as she tried to rake up something to help them. Ideas kept flashing in her head, all to subtly push them towards getting the help they need…

“Well, there is that celebration that they’ve been preparing for the last few days,” Rainbow suggested, “… maybe we can participate and try to coax a few to get the ball rolling?” The last part was uncharacteristically shy and downtrodden for the normally boastful mare of incredible self-esteem… even though the idea is perhaps the smartest one so far. “I mean… it’s worth a shot…”

“No need to act like Fluttershy Rainbow,” Applejack congratulated, “Ah may hate the slight underhoofenness that your idea has, but it is probably the best shot we’ve got to get them to open up.” Everyone nodded in agreement with that statement. “However, we might sour things if we try it too hard… we might have to contact Dr. Wolf and Sound Mind about setting everything up before we do anything.”

“That’s… a pretty good idea Rainbow,” Starlight Shimmer complemented meekly, “it’s far better than anything I could have come up with…” Starlight Shimmer had been reprimanded for her tendency to force magic to solve her problems which have gotten her into a lot of trouble over the better part of a year since the Equal Town fiasco and her new status as a ‘special’ student of Twilight Sparkle. She was getting better, especially with a non-Imperial human by the name of Wilhelm Asperger.

“Don’t fret sugar cube,” Applejack said in an apologetic tone, “You’re working on it and that is all that matters.” Then Applejack tapped her chin. “It isn’t like we are all Princesses. There was the one time that Ah out stubborn’d a mule…” Applejack then took Starlight Shimmer aside to recount one of her more embarrassing moments.

That was when one of Twilight’s guards entered the room.

“Princess Sparkle,” a pegasus guard said as she entered the office, “The leader of the non-Imperial humans has sent me to come get you for the coming festivities.” The guard in question is part of Twilight’s Sodality Guard… and the newest of Equestria’s Royal Guard units. Right now, Twilight hasn’t designed a proper uniform for them so most of them simply have their original armor painted in Twilight’s colors. This is partially because Twilight made many enemies as a student of Celestia and as the youngest Princess, thus Celestia and Luna giving her a company of their guards each to build her own Royal Guard to protect her. “From what I can tell, the leader wants you to precede over the festivities as you authorized it and it would be perfect to engage in a cultural exchange.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow at this, usually for foreign festivities the planners would simply ask for permission from the Princesses (or in this case, herself) and the interaction pretty much stops there. Yet, they have asked for her to precede over the festivities… unusual in of itself. “Alright then,” Twilight answered, “I’ll just finish up with the meeting I’m having with my friends and student and I’ll be right out.”

“Understood Princess,” the guard said, “I’ll ensure that the leader knows what is happening.” And with that, the guard left as she closed the door.

“Well… that was unexpected sugercube,” Applejack commented as she brought Starlight to her seat, “but unless Ah’m mistaken, we’ve been given an opportunity. A very obvious and most opportune opportunity that we’ve been saddled with.” Everyone in the room raised an eyebrow at Applejack’s line of thought. “From what they’ve told me and my family, these celebrations are quite similar to a celebration from Germania before Equestrian Unification. Between the immense amounts of alcohol, cider, food, and happiness-inducin’ activities, they’ll be likely to open up on gettin’ help.”

“We’ll discuss this further later,” Twilight stated as she got up, “Right now I’ve got a celebration to preside and I can’t keep them.” The others stayed in the office, trying to work on a surefire plan to get at least a few of them the help they needed. “I hope that things don’t go too badly like last time…”

Ponyville Fairgrounds, 11:30 Hours

Twilight sighed as she and her protective entourage flew into the Ponyville Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds were packed with Warrior Bunnies, ponies, the non-Imperial humans, and even the diplomatic envoys -and their families- of the Yaks, Griffons, and even the Hissho… apparently Celestia let it slip that this celebration was going to happen, and the various diplomatic envoys decided to come down and take a gander…

“Ah, my faithful student,” said a voice that Twilight instantly recognized, Twilight immediately turned around and saw Princess Celestia in her regal festive garments with Princess Luna close behind, “It has been too long that we’ve seen each other!” Celestia smiled as she continued. “Sadly, Candance couldn’t make it due to her duties as Queen of the Crystal Empire… but she sends her regards.” Twilight dropped all sense of dignity and quickly ran up to Celestia and hugged her and Luna.

“Oh, Princess Celestia!” Twilight exclaimed as she hugged her former mentor and her sister, “It has been too long!” It was too long since Twilight had met her mentor and her sister in an informal setting -or as close as one could get to an informal setting considering the circumstances- just to talk and be friends. “I’ve missed our time together so much!” Celestia simply smiled at Twilight while Luna made a faint daw to herself at the sight.

“Now, now… I keep telling you we’re equals now,” Celestia playfully reminded Twilight, “you don’t need to call me Princess all the time.” Twilight blushed lightly at the reminder, cursing her excitement causing her to go back to her old habits. “I hope we can see the festivities in all their glory soon because this is shaping up to be something else.”

“Why yes, dear sister,” Luna chuckled, “these festivities are going to be GLORIOUS!” Everyone looked at Luna after she said the last part in the in/famous (depending on how you look at it) Royal Canterlot Voice. Luna quickly became embarrassed at the outburst, despite her having a handle on it since her return. “This ‘Oktoberfest’ sounds like the old festivals that we used to partake in when we first founded Equestria! Great feasts of harmony, bounty, and thanks with our subjects!” Celestia had fond memories about those days… but her face mentally soured as she also remembered the assholes that forced the disbandment of these great festivals. Celestia wasn’t happy when she found out that they pulled that behind her back and it helped Luna along becoming Nightmare Moon.

“I still remember those days like they were yesterday Luna,” Celestia chuckled right back, “They’re one of the few times that we celebrated like family with our subjects.”

“Although the imbecile that spiked your drink with that hallucinogenic that one time had to ruin it!” Luna complained, “I had to do your duties for a month while trying to keep you from harming yourself and our subjects!” Celestia sighed a little, remembering that month of pure strangeness… she never found the perpetrator, nor did Luna.

“Prinzessinnen, please excuse this interruption into your nostalgia but we’re ready,” a human male said in a polite tone, “We’ll be starting the march as soon as you meet up with the organizer.” The three assembled princesses looked at the man with a mix of interest and confusion. The man quickly picked up on this. “Ah, the opening ceremony always starts with a march, Prinzessinnen. It also serves to get everyone to their seats before the main party starts.” With a small contemplative ‘ah’, the three princesses took flight and flew to the man that organized the festivities. “I am not going to get used to that…”

Band Assembly Area, a few minutes later

“Is everything ready to go?” asked Nikolaus Rodenberg as the band made their final preparations. Nikolaus had to admit, the Equestrians can make damn fine instruments -hell they have accordions in roughly a mix of magi-tech industrial revolution and Enlightenment- and the musicians that the Empire enslaved were competent in the music that he was going to have them do today.

“Yes sir, all we’re waiting is for the Prinzessinnen to arrive and we’ll start the festivities,” a woman -one of Nikolaus’s leunants in this endeavor by the name of Samantha Reeds- answered, “we’ve sent Richards to get them… and are they flying?” Nikolaus quickly looked up into the sky and saw the three prinzessinnen flying towards them.

“… you know what?” Nikolaus commented in awe, “I think I’ll never get used to the fact that they can fly.” Samantha simply nodded in agreement. “Alright then, Richards has gotten the Prinzessinnen to the front of the march… everyone make sure everything is ready!” The musicians quickly made their final adjustments and quickly assembled into formation.

“Well, they’re quick,” Prinzessin Luna commented as she landed, “Now Organizer, where are we supposed to be when this festival begins?” Nikolaus simply sighed as a great weight lifted off his shoulders -not as great as keeping everyone that got enslaved by the Empire still alive but still a great weight- and spirited itself away.

“You’ll be with the banner bearer, that would be me, and lead the band into the main tent,” Nikolaus answered, “Since this is also your first Oktoberfest celebration, you’ve don’t really have to have a great speech prepared or anything… unless you want to.” The three Prinzessinnen sighed in relief.

“That is wonderful!” Celestia said with a great smile, “I thought this would be making a speech and made one!” Celestia quickly pulled a small scroll out of her left breast pocket. “Most foreign festivities I’ve been in had that requirement.” Twilight and Luna looked a mite embarrassed at the situation and produced their own scrolls, likely speeches, as well.

“If you want to, I really can’t stop you,” Nikolaus emphasized, “but I’m saying that since it’s literally your first Oktoberfest and you’re the patrons of said Oktoberfest, you don’t have to make a grand speech unless you want to.” Celestia quickly cast a minor flame spell, turning her speech into ash.

“I was never the one for grand speeches anyway!” Celestia joyfully said while Luna and Twilight rolled their eyes a little at Celestia’s antics, “Now, we should start before the crowds get restless!” Nikolaus couldn’t really argue with that and so he signaled the band to begin the march.

--

Now Twilight had been in many festivals in her time -comes with the territory of being a daughter in the minor noble (although if you ask some of the noble families like a significant portion of the Blueblood family, faux noble and barely a step up from commoners) family of Sparkle-Armor and the most powerful student of Celestia to date- but this Oktoberfest had to take the metaphorical cake. The ‘march’ isn’t anything like she had listened to, as it was far too festive to be like the marches she had listened and gotten used to over the years. The band had been playing for the last three minutes as everyone poured into the tent and grabbed seats while beer-ponies in somewhat risqué -apparently no matter how much work Rarity (despite being a practical goddess of fashion) put into the outfits, some ponies simply make them risqué- outfits passed the largest glasses of beer she had ever seen.

The music soon ended, and everyone waited impatiently to start the festival in earnest. Nikolaus simply nodded and began his speech.

“Welcome one and all to the first Equestrian Oktoberfest!” Nikolaus announced through the mana-microphone, “I hope everyone is ready to have a good time because this is going to metaphorically blow your mind. The alcohol and food are ready, the games and activities prepared, and the musicians have a wide selection of music both traditional and modern to choose from. Before we start, I’ll ask the Princesses if they have anything to say before we begin.” Twilight quickly ceased the indicative and raised her hand. Nikolaus simply nodded and allowed her the use of the microphone.

“The humans here today came to me a few weeks ago, asking me if they could set up for this festival,” Twilight began, “I readily agreed, my thirst for knowledge begging me to allow it. While everything was being set up, I noticed something else… this was also something to help them heal from the injustices and horrors that they suffered from the Holy Empire of Alnus.” The humans in the crowd murmured in confusion. “I hope this little slice of home will help you on the road to recovery. As the Princess that authorized this festival, I decree that the First Equestrian Oktoberfest begins now!” Everyone in the tent roared in applause and the band began playing a new song.

“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit!”

“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit!”

Twilight simply stood there as the band played and all the humans were singing along.

“Wir versaufen unser Oma ihr klein Häuschen, klein Häuschen, klein Häuschen!”

“Wir versaufen unser Oma ihr klein Häuschen mit der erste und der zweiten Hypothek!”

Her right hoof started tapping as the song continued. Magical music is a recognized field of magic for centuries within Equestria and the nations on the northern and southern continents. This is partially why the Empire failed in their conquests, as the Equestrian Army’s field music bands can utilize music as numerous support spells. Here, while there is no magic involved, another aspect of the magical aspects of music is being played out.

“Ja, wir versaufen unser Oma ihr klein Häuschen, klein Häuschen, klein Häuschen.”

“Wir versaufen unser Oma ihr klein Häuschen mit der erste und der zweiten Hypothek.”

Twilight started drinking, deciding to be in on the fun… figuring out that this might just work out…
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
So, here's the first part of 'Meanwhile in GATE!Russia' portion of the chapter:
(___________)
Never interrupt an enemy while he is making a mistake. -Commonly attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte since 1836

Artyom, Russia – Gate Earth; September 30th, 2017 – 04:30 Hours Local Time

Captain Nikolai Malashenko frowned as he walked through the town of Artyom. To see the people so depressed and so downtrodden… so hooked on narcotics and drink that they would throw their lives away to end it all… to see families destroyed

It was too much for him to bear. He and his comrades have been trying to give many people here the one thing they truly needed: hope. Hope for a future. Hope for family. Hope to live. It is without that hope that humanity’s life is short and brutal. It is hope that governments create to make people’s lives mean something.

… yet, here, they assume that there is no hope. A situation that the Union will change.

“Sir?” Nikolai’s second in command -one Korneyev Yaroslav Vladimirovich, Slava to his friends- asked as he jogged towards Nikolai, “What’s wrong?” Nikolai simply looked around with sadness miring his face.

Everything,” Nikolai answered in a distasteful tone, “Everything and then some.” Nikolai looked at a family whose vehicle just broken down. “Our glorious Premier’s counterpart here has drained all the people’s hope. Made them effectively lose their will to live.” That was when Nikolai directed Vladimirovich to look at the family. “Slava, call in my command vehicle and have them report to my position as soon as they’re able…”

“Understood captain!” Yaroslav answered, “This is Yaroslav, captain wants his BTR-90K to our position immediately!” Yaroslav heard complaints on the other end of the radio. “I don’t fucking care if your orders are to say at camp! If Nikolai wants to help civilians, not even men like Leninor divines like God can stop him!” Yaroslav heard even more complaints about operational security when the conversation was interrupted.

“This is Sokol One,” Nikolai’s CO stated over the radio, “What is the problem here?”

“Sorry Colonel Orlovsky,” Yaroslav apologized, “Captain Malashenko has asked me to get his command vehicle to help out some civilians whose car broke down. The lieutenant has been arguing about operational security and orders…” Orlovsky coughed to silence everyone on the line.

“This is Sokol One, I’m giving permission for Malashenko to use his vehicle to help civilians. However, I do not want to hear that arguments about operational security and helping the civilians happening on any channel,” Colonel Orlovsky ordered, “We have been given permission to help the civilians any way we can by our Premier. I do not want to hear that an argument like this happens again. Sokol One out.”

“This Dimitri, we’re on our way. ETA: three minutes.”

“Thank you, Colonel,” Yaroslav complemented, “We’ll try to help the civilians as much as we can. Sokol Six-One, out.” That was when Yaroslav ran up to Nikolai. “Captain, our command vehicle will arrive in three minutes.”

“Understood Slava,” Nikolai thanked before he turned to the civilians, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you home in a few minutes.” Nikolai frowned at the fear that the small family of four were showing, especially the two children. “Why are you so afraid little ones?”

“Why are you helping us?” the youngest said. That question wounded Nikolai… had the alternate version of their Premier turned everyone so cynical to the point that they assume that a genuinely helpful hand is to gain a favor of some kind?

“Because little ones,” Nikolai answered with a smile, “it is the right thing to do.” The family’s faces didn’t change much. “You know, you remind me of my first born, Polya. Whenever she was sad or angry she would be so cynical of things… but when she is happy, she could brighten up the entire room with just her beautiful smile…”

The conversation that the two soldiers and the family had went on for three minutes, and within those three minutes everyone got to know each other. Yaroslav and Nikolai told stories of their lives both at home and abroad as part of his world’s UN Peacekeeper Corps while the family told them of what few happy memories that they had. That was when the BTR-90K rolled up.

“Captain!” the driver, Dimitri, exclaimed in joy, “Telling these civies about home?”

“Da, lieutenant,” Nikolai answered with a hearty laugh, “I see that you’ve got the car retrieval kit too!” The back of the BTR-90K had a hitch for the various cars in the Soviet arsenal.

“I thought it might be prudent that we do more than simply get them home Captain,” Dimitri answered, “We’ve also got Boris on board too!” Nikolai’s eyes widened a bit, Boris is one of the best mechanics in Nikolai’s unit. If he can’t find the problem, then practically no one can.

“That is taking the initiative Dimitri!” Nikolai chuckled, “Now let’s get these civilians and their vehicle home and see why their vehicle broke down.” Most of the reduced crew of the BTR-90 quickly jumped out and started getting everything ready as Yaroslav and Nikolai got the civilians aboard the BTR. That was when the hairs on the back of Nikolai’s neck started to stand up.

“Captain?” Yaroslav asked inquisitively.

“We better keep our wits about Slava,” Nikolai ordered, “I’ve got a feeling that we’ve wrangled ourselves into something.” Nikolai frowned as he looked around the street. “It might be nothing, but we better prepare if it isn’t. Get Lydia to arm the cannon, coax, and grenade launcher just in case.”

“Understood Captain,” Yaroslav stated in understanding as he entered the BTR.

“Is the vehicle ready?” Nikolai asked politely.

“Yes captain!” Boris answered, “We’re ready to move at any time!”

Nikolai smiled, “Good, let’s get these civilians home.” Everyone acknowledged and entered the BTR…
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well, here's part 2:
(____________________________)
A few minutes later, in the residential block of Artyom


“Nice little apartment,” Nikolai commented as he helped the family move what few groceries into their apartment, “Reminds me of my great uncle’s when he was still alive.”

“It might not be much, but it is home,” the father -a former intelligence archivist by the name of Andreyushkin Nikodim Mikhailovich- answered as he put the groceries down on the kitchen counter, “I inherited it from my father, god bless his soul, and we’ve managed.” Everything has been going quite smoothly, and the family had opened up on the way to their apartment, telling their own stories about their lives.

“That’s good,” Nikolai complemented, “Family is one of the few things that hope brings, in my experience.” Nikolai’s face was soon mired in a frown. “I remember when my grandfather Alexandr died. He had only seen my firstborn for the first time only the day before… and simply collapsed at the family home in Moscow. We discovered that he died happy, as he got to see little Polya and held her in his arms. He left my little brother Urvan with the family home while I inherited the family cabin outside of Vladivostok…” That was when they both heard gunfire. “What is happening?”

“Looks like this world’s Spetznaz!” was the reply over the radio, “Probable target is likely the family we’ve just helped.”

Nikodim cursed loudly as he opened a panel in the nearby wall. “I knew that Putin wouldn’t let me live,” Nikodim cursed as he loaded one of the AK-74u carbines he hid in the hidden gun rack and passed it to Nikolai, “I left the service to be with my family and he allowed me after doing one final mission, looks like he’s making sure that there are no loose ends.”

“Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Nikolai complained as he readied his AK-74u, “The more I hear about your Vladimir Putin, the more I want him dead.” Nikolai quickly got to his radio. “Sokol 1, this is Sokol 6-1: we’re being attacked by enemy Spetznaz, we need support over!”

“This is Sokol 1, say again.”

“Sokol 6-1 to Sokol 1: we’re being attacked by enemy Spetznaz. Probable target is the civilians we’ve helped. Need immediate backup!” Nikolai practically screamed into his radio as a few bullets whizzed by, “Make that confirmed target being the civilians we’ve helped!”

“Understood Sokol 6-1. Reinforcements are on the way. Lieutenant Romanov will be arriving shortly with his airborne infantry.”

“Thank god!” Nikolai praised in relief, “It’s dependable Romanov coming to save us!” Nikolai had worked with Lieutenant Demian Romanov before, worked hard and played harder. Known to be incredibly efficient while prepared for the worst-case scenario. “Just hope that physics will allow him to do so…”

----------

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me!” Han Bo cursed as he and his three-man group of guards and assistants grabbed their combat gear, “How did they find out about us I’ll never know…” Han Bo was assigned by his superior to ‘test the waters’ with one of Putin’s special intelligence archivists. All he had to do was set things up for his escape into China and then sent to America where a joint US-Chinese debriefing would take place. Yet Putin’s personal attack dogs within the Spetznaz have now started to attack the building they’re in.

“Sir, those unknown communists are opening fire,” one of the bodyguards said, “What should we do?” Han Bo frowned, knowing that this is a delicate situation. Orders were to not reveal themselves to the unknown communists, but on the other hand the Spetznaz have already moved in for the kill on their VIP and his family…

“We’ll help them,” Han Bo ordered, “If we stay quiet, we might get caught in the crossfire or lose our only chance to get into the full extent of Operation Deep Fifty. We need that information, and we can’t get it from a body bag.” The bodyguards were pensive, as their superior is right. You couldn’t get information from a body bag… and this had been the most solid lead on Operation Deep Fifty that they had. A dozen operatives and their associates had died to get what little information the rest of the world had on the intelligence operation.

“Understood sir,” Huang Shuyi answered as she loaded her QCW-05 SMG, “what unit of Spetznaz are we dealing with and plan accordingly.” The other two body guards looked at her like she was slightly unhinged, given how clam she was… but then again, she was assigned to this mission because of her talents and being a rising star within the Ministry of State Security as one of the few who always got the VIP(s) back safely.

“We’re probably dealing with those from Directorate V,” the third bodyguard -a man by the name of Cai Zhihao– answered, “… and that means we’re going to have a nasty fight on our hands… and our weapons aren’t going to cut it.” Huang Shuyi frowned at that information.

“Bring everything,” Han Bo ordered, “We’re likely going to have one shot and one shot only to see what Putin had in store for the world, and this man is the key.” Everyone understood what Han Bo was telling them. Whatever this Operation Deep Fifty is, it is so important that Putin would remove anyone that knows about it, even fragments, from existence. Andreyushkin Nikodim Mikhailovich is the key to understanding it all.

The rest of the impromptu squad quickly loaded everything they could and carefully self-destructed what they couldn’t… then burst into combat.

----------

“Chinese Second Division!” Nikolai heard over the symphony of gunfire, “Friendly! Friendly!”

Nikolai cursed his luck, he is now dealing with spooks, and not just any spooks but Chinese spooks. If they were anything like their counterparts back home, they’ll be pretty damn impressive. To have them reveal themselves like this meant that Nikodim is far more important than initially believed.

“Alright, just get over hear and help us!” Nikolai ordered as the four spooks ran towards Nikodim’s apartment as an explosion sounded across the street, “Romanov, where are you!?! They’ve just disabled my command vehicle!” Whatever these Spetznaz were carrying only damaged the drive train of the BTR-90K… but that meant that they’ve got heavy weaponry and what Nikolai had can’t stand up to heavy weaponry for long.

“Pilot, I don’t care if you have to push the engines beyond the red line, just get us there!” Romanov ordered the pilot on the radio, “I know that’s breaking protocol but if we don’t then we might not have anyone to save!” Nikolai sighed a little at the conversation, knowing about Romanov’s willingness to break protocol to save people. “Nikolai, ETA is currently sixty seconds! Just hang on a little longer.”

Nikolai winced as a bullet barely missed his helmeted head. “We’ll try to hold out Romanov!” Nikolai exclaimed through the radio, “But whomever these guys are, they’re fucking determined!”

“Understood Nikolai,” Romanov replied, “We’ll make every attempt to get there as soon as we’re able.” Nikolai sighed as bullets flew around… knowing full well that this would be the longest sixty seconds that he would ever witness.

Nikolai cursed as he checked the magazine of his local AK, only five bullets left… and there were only five magazines between Nikolai and Nikodim, and Nikolai’s crew weren’t in much better shape either. As even AK-07s had their limits.

That was when Nikolai heard the humming of a Hind, and the door opening… and what came out surprised Nikolai half to death: Cyber Spetznaz. Four of them jumped from the Hind, fully armed and ready and literally landing either next to or right on top of the enemy Spetznaz. The rest of the squad parkoured their way down, firing as they went.

There is a common theme to what happens when soldiers with high cyberization fought against those with low or nill cyberization, and that is a massacre. Reaction time is god -or at least one of them- in combat, and the ability to fine tune one’s reaction time to the situation is an invaluable asset. Add in the support of the Hind, and pretty much no one -other than Big Boss, The Boss, or the rising star that is the ‘Junker Boss’, but all three are extreme outliers- will keep fighting. Either they die, surrender, or retreat. In this case? The few that survived managed to retreat, most likely going to tell of their failure and the cause of that failure.

“Damn,” what appeared to be the leader of the Chinese spooks said, “Those guys really cleaned up those Division V Spetznaz rather well. I’m Han Bo, the leader of the local intelligence cell for the People’s Republic of China’s Second Division.” Nikolai sighed a sigh of relief. “We were here to persuade Nikodim to help us in answering a few things and help smuggle him out before Putin decides to tie up loose ends…”

“Thanks for the assist, Han Bo,” Nikolai responded suspiciously, he knew that most spooks would have cover names to reduce retaliation by terrorist organizations or to protect the soldiers themselves, “We were just helping Mr. Andreyushkin getting his family home and getting the groceries in. The… wait, did you say Division Vympel?” Han Bo looked at Nikolai in confusion. “As in internal security?” Han Bo simply nodded yes… causing Nikolai to mutter a rather colorful string of curses. “How far does is this madman willing to go?”

“From what little we’ve seen, he’s of the school of ‘tying up loose ends by any available means’ ever since his failed Active Measures program in the US and Europe,” Han Bo answered, “Various agents and associates have been turning up dead for the last year with various levels of collateral.” Nikolai seethed in rage, good agents and associates are hard to find and cultivate… and to simply kill them because a program went sour is wasteful at best. Add to that this Putin wouldn’t care who got caught in the crossfire… Nikolai quickly got his rage under control as the Hind landed nearby just as two light attack helicopters flew overhead.

“Nikolai, I leave you for an hour and your luck has you fighting Spetznaz,” Romanov laughed as he exited the Hind, “The Cybers have gone out to ensure that the perimeter is secured… and I see that you had a fight on your hands.” Romanov saw the disabled BTR-90K, its transmission and power plant damaged beyond repair but otherwise still capable. “You were lucky that I was on perimeter patrol when you called in. Anyone else wouldn’t be able to arrive in time.”

“Thank you, Romanov,” Nikolai cried in elation, “We were almost ready to start throwing rocks at the bastards!” Then Nikolai saw one of his comrades come out of the apartment with the family. “Get Mr. Andreyushkin and his family to base… if Putin wants them dead, we better get them out of the line of fire.” Nikolai’s subordinates quickly got the family into the Hind alongside the wounded. “Romanov, this is Han Bo and his team, they’re from the local Chinese intelligence service. We would have died before you arrived if it weren’t for them.” Romanov quickly shook Han Bo’s hand.

“Ah, thanks for saving Nikolai, Han Bo,” Romanov chuckled, “It’s been considered a running gag that Nikolai here has some of the schizophrenic luck in the entire military. Now, why are you even here?” Romanov’s visage turned grim as he asked the question, sending a few shivers down the Chinese agents’ spines.

“Well,” Han Bo replied, “We’ve been getting intelligence about a project called ‘Operation Deep Fifty’, and despite our best efforts the various agencies haven’t had any luck on finding it’s contents, Mr. Andreyushkin is the biggest lead on the project.” Nikolai and Romanov looked at each other like it just gotten worse

“Nikodim! Get whatever information you’ve stashed during your time as an archivist! The GRU and these fellows from the Second Division would like to know what you’ve got on Putin,” Nikolai asked politely.

“I was about to do that,” Nikodim answered as he went into his apartment, then came out hauling hard drives and memory sticks.

“Alright then,” Romanov yawned, “Alfa team, we’re taking a VIP and his family back to base, search and destroy any and all enemy Spetznaz in the area to ensure safe transport.”

“Understood Lieutenant!”

“This is so going to cause a headache when we get back to base…” Romanov complained as he got the rest of Nikolai’s crew and the local Chinese intelligence operatives into the Hind…
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
So, we are now in the Viewpoint of the Pina, the competent child of the Imperial Family. Please give constructive critisism on this...
___________
Over Sadera, Zeppelin Vaterland IV LZ-420 – 800 meters above sea level; October 1st, 2017 – 06:30 Hours

Kapitän Abraham Einhorn looked before him in the command gondola at the sight he and his crew are now witnessing. The capital of the Holy Empire of Alnus -Sadera- now stood below them. A city of millions bustling about as the zeppelin came overhead, not knowing that an amazing sight would be coming overhead.

The Zeppelin Vaterland IV had been transferred from long-range cargo and passenger service to the land beyond the Portal -which has been identified as Falmart- for a special mission: to make contact with Equestria and its allies. Apparently -and this had been confirmed by Wolfenstein operatives stationed in Fort Portal- one of Equestria’s rulers can communicate to others via dreams… and that has been something of a godsend for the Iron Pact as there are still a fair number of enslaved individuals still unaccounted for. Apparently due to their hardiness they were going to be sent to the Empire’s colony off their continent before a storm mysteriously caused the ship to run aground near one of their major cities.

The surviving slavers were quickly imprisoned and sent to do hard labor for at least a decade… and the enslaved Iron Pact citizens were sent to a place called ‘Ponyville’. The less said about those slavers, the better.

“We’re now above the outskirts of the city of Sadera Kapitän,” Abraham’s XO -one George Wilhelm Wickler- stated. So far, the Vaterland IV had been cruising rather well, and it was at the perfect altitude to make an old fashioned ‘Zeppelin Spectacle’… without the dragon riders trying to wreck the majesty that is a Zeppelin.

“Very good,” Abraham responded with a smile, “Steady as he goes then.” The command gondola crew responded with ‘jawohl’ as they continued their duties.

“So… this is what flying in a zeppelin feels like,” the Equestrian Pegasus Comet Tail said in awe as he entered the gondola, “I’ve seen and flew in hot air balloons, but this is something else.” Abraham mentally chuckled, as this sort of reaction is common for those who haven’t ridden or seen a zeppelin before. “Then there was that march that was playing while we were lifting off… and despite that it was a march it was so whimsical and genuinely felt like you were flying in the clouds. Few pieces of music can achieve that feeling…” Thankfully Comet Tail is an expert navigator -despite having training with equipment that is, at best, early industrial- and has been rather helpful with plotting a course to Equestria.

“I understand,” Abraham laughed, “as far as I know, everyone has that sort of feeling when flying in a zeppelin. The feeling has been studied by psychologists the world over and we still don’t know precisely why that feeling is so prevalent.” Abraham then looked towards George. “Any military response to the spectacle?”

“None so far, and from what the observation gondolas have been seeing, it looks like everyone is dropping what they’re doing and coming to see the spectacle,” George answered, “I think they’re too shocked to make a military response…”
-----
Piña Co Lada frowned at her current situation. Her father has been more focused on petty politics than defending the nation, her brother Diablo is trying to create some grand plan with practically no information to go on, and Zorzal has been on a sex-spree while the Empire is at its darkest hour. Her current situation? Waiting for the remaining elements of her Rose Knights to come to the capital so she can move out and start getting information of these new and powerful foes themselves, and not through Piña’s somewhat shaky network of informants and spies. She could never match the network that her grandfather -Emperor Aulus Antistius Iulianus- or -to a lesser extent- the old information network of her father… but right now it is needed despite its frailty and unreliability.

“Princess Piña!” Hamilton Uno Ror – Piña’s trusted aide, and despite her small stature a rather good fighter- exclaimed, “The runner from Lady Beefeater’s Cohort has given us more information on the border between the rest of the Empire and the Holy Hills…”

“Please tell me we have some good news for a change Hamilton?” Piña asked with a scowl on her face, “The last few runners only gave us bad or worse news.” Piña’s informants within the legions were troubling to say the least. So far, the enemy has been holding up on their respective hills while sending raiders of immense power to annihilate entire garrison castra with such ease and surprise that only a handful of legionaries or auxiliaries got out alive.

“Just more bad news I’m afraid,” Hamilton answered, “The Empire lost another castra on the border sometime last week. The runner had taken the canals to get here within a week.” Piña sighed at the information and took a needle with a colored wax rear tip and put it on her special copy of the map of the continent that she had on the adjoining wall. The red-tipped needles were placed on locations of destroyed castra, the blue-tipped needles where the two invading forces were spotted, and the yellow-tipped needles were rumor, but the runners couldn’t confirm what actually happened.

“DAMN IT!” Piña cursed loudly as she pounded the table, tin figurines falling over, “How can these invaders be able to do this?” Piña rattled her brain as she tried to figure it out. “This doesn’t make sense!” She quickly battered the desire to start pulling hairs out as she looked at the situation that is being presented to her.

“Lady Co Lada…” Hamilton spoke up, “the runner that came in has information on the how. We’ve finally got a survivor that is able to tell us what happened to the castra.” Piña was elated to say the least, as the invaders had always struck so hard and fast that there wasn’t much to go on. “From what the survivor can tell us, they always struck at night, came in like ghosts barely visible to sight, used some sort of magic to destroy the castra’s large towers, and that was before the metal dragons started flying in, annihilating everything with great explosive and fire magics unlike anything the world has ever seen outside the Solar Invictus! Most of those who survived were quickly eliminated by these ‘ghost soldiers’ before they vanished without a trace.” Piña’s heart sank as she heard Hamilton summarize the information. That… was bad. The ability to destroy castra with impunity is rare in of itself, only the Diarchs of the Kingdom of Equestria are the only obvious ones with that ability, given that they’re gods… but to have it done so regularly… the implications are disturbing to say the least.

That was when Piña heard a commotion going outside, and looking away from her maps, she saw people exiting their homes and places of work and looking into the sky.

Piña quickly exited her study and looked into the sky herself and saw something that she couldn’t comprehend. The shape in the sky was a shape that shared many similarities to an Unician cigar, but in a near-white grey. It was flying higher than any dragon rider was willing to go, at least any sane one. It was also massive… so massive that it made certain, implications on at least one of the invaders’ abilities.

“Hamilton,” Piña commanded, “we need your best runners, our new rallying point would be the Citadel City of Italica.” She continued to look into the sky in fear. “I fear that’ll be where the invaders will be hitting next…”

“I understand my lady,” Hamilton answered, “I’ll send my best messengers on this task.” Hamilton quickly left, working on the messages as quickly as she could without garbling the messages…
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Now, to explain my mental process of how to portray the Saderans so far:

Now, the Saderans are descendants of Rome, and Rome was created out of conquest. Rome started out with slow, methodical, calculated conquest. After the Punic Wars, this shifted to quick, ad hoc, and basically 'seat of the pants' conquest. To give an example, it took Rome over a century to push their way to the Bay of Naples. Over a fucking century. Hell, the fight for pleabian rights took the better part of two centuries to fully complete. The precursors of the Saderans marched towards their future capital and basically rebuilt Rome from scratch. Now, the Saderans weren't idiots, they understood the value of slow, methodical, calculated conquest and they also understood the value of getting as large as possible as well. So, the ancient Saderans chose something between the two extremes until they effectively conquered/vassalized the continent.

The Saderans, like their Roman ancestors, were of the 'if it works, then steal it and use it yourself... while trying to make sure you do not fall for it again' school of military thought. They would take whatever got their asses planted on the ground and use it against their enemies, or at least create a counter. This is why cities like Rondel have been given far more freedom than otherwise (in the case of Rondel -aka 'the City of Mages' and where the Council of Mages reside- they have been given this freedom when Saderans got their asses handed to them by an opposing kingdom and decided to get their own). That is how the Saderans managed to conquer an entire continent and the surrounding islands. Give the Saderans a problem and they'll try to solve it to the best of their ability.

The thing about the Empire's current situation is that 1) Hardy did a fuck up of biblical (Old Testament grade) proportions, 2) the Empire not receiving word that the Iron Pact and Japan not only were mindbogglingly filthy rich but also outstripped them by orders of magnitude in terms of military power, and 3) the Empire had only recently healed from the Succession War four decades previous. Piña is doing the sensible thing and trying to gain intelligence, information, and consolidate it into a plan of action. Piña and other sensible and intelligent Saderans will be working on a flexible plan of action based on their context -a flawed one to be sure in the grand scheme of things- and what they have for available resources. Sure, Piña and co will get their awe-shock when they first encounter the Iron Pact and the Japanese/American coalition, they will recover and use that new-found information to make even better plans, even if it means that the Empire has to make an unfavorable peace to ensure that the Empire survives to strike back.

Once Piña and her analysts start combing over the vast histories and seas of information that are beyond both Gates, then things get real interesting. ;)
 
NOTICE! Numerous requests/permissions! NOTICE!

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Ok, I'm still working on the next snippet -pertaining to Azibal and her contubernium- even though it's on it's third revision, but I have some requests and permissions I want you -the readers- to know:

  • Requests:
    • I've been combing the internet for music and while I've found many great pieces, I am putting a request for music, particularly lyrics for historical (and future) events on the Iron Pact side by Iron Pact!Sabaton (yes, they are a thing) in the Power Metal genre.
      • If you make the song itself? Then I'll sit here with my mouth agape at your dedication.
    • Art on the characters is immensely appreciated.
      • Art on character interactions is also appreciated.
      • If you can do equipment as well, then you've got my thanks and will be credited.
  • Permissions:
    • You have my permission to make a TVTrope page of this fic... just send me a link when you set it up!
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
@Horton, @Terranallias, @Terra Novan, well here is the latest snippet for you guys, we're returning to Azibal and her conterburnium... in a library.
(_________________)
Fort Portal, Primary Entertainment Center; October 1st, 2017 – 12:40 Hours

Azibal and her contubernium had been in muted awe when Centurion Neumann had gotten them into what the legionaries of the Iron Pact called the ‘Primary Entertainment Center’. Inside, the building had what is called a ‘movie theater’ (which is similar to theaters that she and her contubernium are familiar with, just with moving pictures instead of people), a ‘computer center’ (which confused the netherworld out of Azibal and her contubernium), a ‘gymnasium’ that included what is called an ‘Olympic sized pool’, and things that Azibal and her contubernium didn’t know even existed. Yet, the most awe-inspiring part was when they were introduced to the campus’s library.

For what amounts to be a frontier castra, the library here is only surpassed by the ones in the larger cities, the capital, or Rondel.

Azibal and her contubernium had been learning the various languages of that the legionaries of the ‘Iron Pact’, and now they were going to use it to research the Iron Pact itself. What they didn’t count on was the fact that there was just so many books available to them right off the bat… and that they used a classification system that somewhat baffled them. However, that didn’t deter them, and after getting a ‘crash course in the Dewey Decimal System’ the contubernium got to work reading. Learning. Studying.

Adonyah was nose deep in a book with the title The Analysis of Sun Tzu’s Art of War with the titular ancient treatise nearby, writing notes what the nations of the Iron Pact have learned through their analysis of the ancient treatise as well as the ancient treatise itself.

Then there was Sisa and she was nose deep in another treatise, this time simply titled On War by one ‘Carl von Clausewitz’. The few legionaries that helped Azibal and her contubernium in finding the treatise and the books on its analysis called the book ‘the Western Art of War’.

Shiba and Jesibel were reading stacks upon stacks of history books, thousands upon thousands of pages of history laid out before the two, going through history of pre-written history to what the Iron Pact considered the present. Histories of conflicts and empires laid before them… and was a lot to read and analyze.

Adoniah was looking through various books on what is called ‘science’ within the Iron Pact. While most of them were introductions to the various fields of ‘science’, they were none the less vital to explain their capabilities. … and what Adoniah had shared with Azibal was mind bogglingly through, even more through than the immense tomes that the various Grand Mages of Rondel had created and shared with the world.

The final duo -Nikkal and Adonya- of the contubernium were looking over the various myths and what the legionaries called ‘fiction’, which is mind bogglingly extensive to say the least. Yes, the Empire and its vassals are capable of doing such feats but that is mostly seen in the field of theater, not writing… but then again, not even the Empire could produce so many books. The shear resources needed to do so would be immense

Azibal slumped as she watched several legionaries from the Iron Pact working or playing on their ‘laptops’. Azibal had already did a lot of work on consolidating and analyzing what the rest of contubernium had but so far only those more knowledgeable in various aspects can make any sort of sense about them.

… and what little she could understand is a little frightening and oddly enough humbling.

The Empire invaded one of the most powerful nations within the ‘Iron Pact’ known as Germany -also called the ‘Second German Empire’ and Imperial Germany- and its early history is incredibly similar to those of the tribe of the Warrior Bunnies. Started out as a bunch of fiefdoms, tribes, kingdoms, and micro-empires that eventually were part of something like the Holy Empire of Alnus, but with similar levels of factionalism to the Warrior Bunnies. In addition to military endeavors, the various German States also engaged in untold amounts of competitions in economic, cultural, and scientific fields, unintentionally (or intentionally, Azibal figured) creating the bedrock for a unified German culture.

Yet the Empire invaded their capital when they thought it was ripe for conquest… who then called upon all its allies while simultaneously crushing the invaders. The Empire didn’t step on the griffon’s tail, it woken a nesting Great Dragon from its slumber. That must be sent back to the Empire as soon as possible, likely to Princess Piña. The only real place where Azibal could get it to Piña would be her uncle’s daughter, Myui Formal in Italica. If the forces that now reside on Alnus hill are anything like the ‘Iron Pact’…

Azibal shuddered as she tried to keep her thoughts about it from going crazy and outright Ragnarök-ish. No need to go down that line of thought… would be rather counterproductive for her mission.

still… it would be a fitting end to the Empire if their gods would allow it…

Azibal shook her head again, trying to keep those thoughts from popping up again. While the empire had done horrible things to practically everyone, they’re practically the only group who doesn’t want constant warfare erupting practically every other month.

“… Azibal,” Nikkal said as she pushed Azibal’s shoulder, “are you listening to me?” Azibal shook herself out of her mental stupor and looked at Nikkal.

“Sorry,” Azibal apologized, “you’ve kind of got me deep in thought. What little I could understand is… overwhelming to say the least.” Azibal scratched her head. “So, what has got you all flustered Nikkal?”

Well, Azibal,” Nikkal answered, “I’ve been going through what they call ‘fantasy’ and ‘mythology’… and… well… it has to be seen to be believed.” Nikkal plopped an absolutely thick book right in front of her. “They practically have every species that we know of on Falmart and Equis as creatures of myth… with some that we have only heard from rumor or gained from Imperial raids from the south and the east.” Pictures of creatures that the Empire had only gained through the slave markets of the free cities near the Sultanate of Agrabah were shown, as well as creatures that were only known through rumor from those cities. The Sultanate of Agrabah had always been a major thorn in the Empire’s backside, as it controls the trade routes to the extremely rich Qin Empire in the southeast. “This… shouldn’t be possible…” The more Azibal went through the book, the more confusion took hold. How could these people have rather accurate descriptions for numerous races when they never had them on their world in the first place?

“This… this is impossible,” Azibal muttered as she looked through the pages, “They don’t have magic and yet they have examples of every magical race we know of!” Azibal sighed in confusion before an idea popped into her head. “… Nikkal, remember the rumors about those astro-projection experiments that the current Grand Magus of Magic was doing before he took the position?”

“Yeah,” Nikkal answered, “from what little I could understand from the rumors, he was trying to utilize mental and soul magic to ‘project’ his soul to another location. He discontinued the research because it caused him to ‘ride’ onto other people, which caused discomfort for everyone involved.” Then Nikkal went wide eyed. “You mean…”

“Yes,” Azibal answered, “I think we’ll need to send a letter to the Grand Magus and maybe a copy of this book. Someone has been using his research improperly for their own gain.” Azibal frowned. “Piña is also the only child of the Emperor that the Grand Magus would even listen to… which would help us immensely if he already hasn’t assembled a team to look into who occupies two of the Holy Hills.”

Nikkal simply sighed at that. “A long night Azibal?” Nikkal asked.

“A very long night…” Azibal answered.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Just a little announcement, the next snippet might take longer than usual to complete, partially because of my quirk, partially because the snippet will have elements of politics in it (specifically mage/magic user politics), and partially because a story that I've kept on the back burner has been calling out to me lately.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well, while I was writing a few things (a little worldbuilding here, a little ship designer stuff there, a little story writing way other there), I decided to post this snippet of the weapons demonstration... to judge the reactions and to see if I'm getting it right. Warning, a lot of Roman terms are coming up...

Video of said scene in English Dub:

Jade Royal Estate, Jade Forest; February 5th, 2018 - 11:30 Hours (11:30 AM)

The clearing near the expansive Jade Royal Estate was a hub of activity as various senators saw the legionaries of the Iron Pact, United States, and Japan prepare their demonstrations in earnest. Marcus Cantilius Tasius and Cicero La Moltose stood, mentally salivating at the opportunity to see the invaders' weapons in action. From what little that the extensive spy network that Cicero La Moltose and similarly senior senators had, the US, Japan, and the Iron Pact have abide by the cease fire... but the Iron Pact had cut deep into Imperial territory with the US and Japanese falling immensely behind. By the Netherworld, the Iron Pact had taken Italica and thus threaten to break the entire empire in half. What Piña had said about her experience at the Siege of Italica (against bandits and mercenaries!) and how the Iron Pact, the US, and Japan quickly swept them away (with the words 'Broken Arrow' being especially harrowing) with 'iron elephants', 'iron pegasi', and 'iron dragons' supported by legionaries and iron wagons, all of which had weapons that created great explosions and slaughtered the bandits and mercenaries like cattle.

... not to mention the fact that eyewitnesses stated that the 'iron elephants' formations of the 'Polish' contingent of the Iron Pact were joined by the spirits of armored cavalry that resembled horse-mounted versions of the elite dragon rider formations... That sort of thing hasn't been seen in three generations!

Marcus saw the two centurions -one from the Iron Pact and the other from Japan- talking to each other, and while he couldn't understand a single word of what they were saying he knew those facial expressions. They were bored and wanted to get this entire demonstration done and over with. That was when Marcus noticed that the centurion from the Iron Pact's arms gleamed in the sunlight, indicating that his arms were made out of metal. Showing off something that even the most capable of Imperial alchemists have failed to achieve: creating viable artificial limbs. That was a surprise to say the least, and the other senators knew it.

"Alright, listen up!" the Iron Pact centurion said plainly, "My name is Aaron Wolfgang Thomas Neumann, Hauptmann of Germany; the man beside me is Oberleutnant Youji Itami of the Japanese Self Defense Force, and we'll be the leaders of your demonstration today. Thanks to the efforts of Royal Princess Piña Co Lada, we have managed to prepare this demonstration of some of our infantry weaponry, the first of which is our rifles." All the senators saw a series of life-like dummies were having the last fitting of the standard legionary armor in a series of rows similar to a standard legion formation. "What the JSDF have on the field now is the Type 64 battle rifle, which flings a projectile roughly two-fifths of a digitus in diameter at a velocity of 2872 feet per second with an effective range of 3091 feet and a rate of fire of 500 projectiles per minute. The United States is fielding the M4A1 Carbine, which uses a projectile roughly three-tenths of a digitus in diameter at a velocity of 2982 feet per second with an effective range of 2027 feet with a rate of fire of 700 to 970 projectiles per minute. Then there is the Iron Pact fielding the StG-92 which fires a projectile barely a quarter of a digitus in diameter at a velocity of 4054 feet per second with an effective range of 2027 feet with a rate of fire of 750 projectiles per minute." The various senators conversed among themselves at the stated abilities of the three weapons, mostly believing that they were impossible. "Out in the clearing are replicas of your standard infantry armor over a gel designed to replicate the human body. They are in standard legion formation for extra authenticity. After we fire off a few magazines, we'll show you the sort of damage that would be suffered before showing off our heavier ordinance."

"Schießstand ist fertig Hauptmann!" one of the legionaries from the Iron Pact stated as he and the others in the clearing got behind what looked like a firing line, "Die Demonstranten sind zu Ihrem Befehl bereit!" The senators were puzzled at the strange language before them. It was, to be frank, a very blunt language yet... oddly poetic. Cicero La Moltose mentally earmarked it for future investigation before looking out into the field.

"Verstanden!" Centurion Neumann replied, "Everyone stay on this ridge line for your safety and well being, we don't want you to get your ears blown out." Everyone but Piña looked at the centurion in confusion. "Soldaten, Sie können schießen, wenn Sie bereit sind!" The moment that Centurion Neumann said those words, the air became filled with an immense roar (and it was a mighty roar) of fire of various octaves, tones, speeds, and pitches. Metal armor was ripped apart as the fake bodies were slammed with projectiles. Shields shattered as their wood backing was ripped apart, sending metal and wood fragments everywhere. Helmets were flying off the heads of the targets as the projectiles impacted them. By the end of the demonstration, a few contuberniums worth of legionaries were dead, and they wouldn't be even able to see their foes!

"Demonstranten stellen das Feuer ein!" the same legionary from earlier ordered, "Alle Waffen auf Sicherheit!"

Then came cries of 'Leutnant verstanden!', 'Understood Lieutenant!', and 'Chūi o rikai shita!' were heard on the firing line as the legionaries stopped firing and shouldered their weapons.

"As you can see, the basic battlefield weapon of the three armies make it impossible for your troops to get even close to our position, and with deadly accuracy," Centurion Neumann stated, "We'll look at what the damage is while we set up for the XM-25 and OICW-92 demonstration." Soon six legionaries of the JSDF hauled three dummies onto the ridge line and they were mangled beyond belief. "Now let's start with the Type 64." The middle dummy was moved into the circle of senators. "The Type 64 uses a full power projectile, which gives it it's range and power, but if it isn't slowed down enough it would just go right through the target with minimal -but deadly- damage. If it was only one round that got into this poor sap, then he would need immediate -and proper- medical attention but will live. The M4A1 on the other hand..." Centurion Neumann motioned that the left dummy switched out with the center dummy. "... is specifically designed to maximize soft tissue damage." The various senators assembled were in shock of how dangerous such a tiny projectile was! The projectile ripped through tissue, bone, and organs like a shredder spell! "It might not be as effective against armor as the projectile the Type 64 uses, but it is far less likely to simply go through one side and out the other." That was when Centurion Neumann motioned to have the last dummy into the circle. "This is what the StG-92's projectile did to the target and is the middle ground between the M4A1 and the Type 64, which is due to the fact that body armor is quite effective in our world."

The senators soon realized that these weapons were extremely deadly in the right hands, and those hands were in the invaders!

"Hauptmann, die Granatendemonstration ist vorbereitet," the legionary that led the demonstration setup stated, "... wo ist unser Demonstrator Hauptmann?" Centurion Neumann simply chuckled.

"Oberleutnant, you'll take it from here, I'm going to be on the firing line today," Centurion Neumann answered as he was given the weapon in question, "Bist du bereit für Amerikaner?" As he asked, Centurion Neumann pulled a wire from the back of his neck and into the top of his weapon. The 'American' legionary responded with what the senators assumed to be 'yes' and was at the ready. Centurion Neumann quickly took position beside him and counted to three.

That was when the weapons made a handful of thuds... before explosions rocked the two dummy contuberniums apart. Each explosion was purposeful and deadly, shredding the dummies right in front of the explosions outright with those surrounding the shredded dummies getting ripped apart. That was an eye opener. The projectiles acted like tiny bolts, just going far faster than any crossbow or ballista ever made... but this was like conjuring shaped explosions right in front of their targets!

One of the senators snapped and quite literally picked Centurion Itami up and started yammering questions on the cost and process of such weapons while Centurion Itami was trying to wave them off.

"You guys are already yammering for our weapons and we're barely halfway done with the demonstrations!" Centurion Neumann said as he quite literally jumped over the ridge line and landed nearby, "All we can answer to your questions is no. We are not going to tell you how they are produced, they are not for sale, and they pale in comparison to the next series of weapons that we're demonstrating today." That was when the senators saw several tubes and plates being hauled out of a long horseless wagon.

"What we have here are some of the most powerful infantry weapons available," Itami lectured, "The Iron Pact has the Granatwerfer 45/78 weapon system, which flings a six and a half digitus diameter explosive projectile at great distances with tremendous impact." The senators saw that the weapons in question were being quickly set up. "What the US and Japan is fielding right now are both weapons utilizing a four and a third digitus diameter explosive projectile, the US is utilizing the M252 mortar while the JSDF is utilizing the Type 64 mortar, both of which are capable of sending the projectile at similar distances as the Granatwerfer." Cicero mumbled the word 'Granatwerfer' to himself several times, trying to get a feel of the word. It... oddly rolled off the tongue once you got a hold of the pronunciation which was odd to Cicero. That was when Cicero noted that everyone was watching how fast it took to assemble the weapons in the field.

It wasn't long before the demonstration began. Despite the considerable distance, the senators' ears rang as the weapons fired, and it fared worse when the 'Amerikaner' and Iron Pact crews decided to start throwing as many projectiles as possible down range in what looked like a giant test of bravado. By the time the demonstration ended, Cicero knew why Piña is now so adamant on making peace with the Iron Pact and the US/Japanese Alliance! If their standard soldiers could wield this much firepower, then what would their iron elephants, pegasi, and wagons wield? That was when Cicero took Marcus and several other warhawks aside, telling them that Piña was right to fear the invaders' power... and that for the survival of the Empire, peace must be made, even if it means doing so would mean that the Empire would be at the invaders' whims...
 

Amused Bystander

High Priest of the Smuggest Umu
I always like weapon demonstration scenes in GATE fics. It's fun getting the reactions of the Saderan observers to seeing just how outclassed they are in firepower.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
I always like weapon demonstration scenes in GATE fics. It's fun getting the reactions of the Saderan observers to seeing just how outclassed they are in firepower.
I do too, as it allows the movers and shakers of the Empire's political scene to not simply dismiss Piña outright and that the movers and shakers of the Empire aren't idiots either. This snippet simply has the movers and shakers basically put one and one together with their own information networks to build a more complete picture. Also, this snippet has spoiled aspects of Italica, not completely as I want to keep all of you in suspense on Italica but enough to keep you interested. ;)

Also, whomever understands the phrase 'Broken Arrow' gets a metaphorical oatmeal raisin cookie. ;)
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Broken Arrow? To quote George Takei," Oh My"!

Someone lost a sunshine in a c
No, you're off the mark in that case, there is another, less nuclear, term for Broken Arrow, and it has been used at least once during Vietnam...
 

Amused Bystander

High Priest of the Smuggest Umu
My Google fu has yielded results on a non nuclear Broken Arrow. And since i dont want to spoil your surprise i will just say you have wondering which side is gonna call in a Broken Arrow and what the circumstances were that prompted it.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
My Google fu has yielded results on a non nuclear Broken Arrow. And since i dont want to spoil your surprise i will just say you have wondering which side is gonna call in a Broken Arrow and what the circumstances were that prompted it.
Yeah, let's just say the infamous butterfly effect rears it's ugly head in this instance, causing the Battle of Italica to be vastly different than canon with the appropriate 'throw everything and the kitchen sink at them!' response. It is still at least a few chapters away as we've got plenty of plot threads that need exploring first. ;)
 

MagicalGeek

New member
I used to prank a few people during training with the Broken Arrow call. Even though the Air Force is not part of the training ;P
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
I used to prank a few people during training with the Broken Arrow call. Even though the Air Force is not part of the training ;P
The Iron Pact nations' militaries are far more cohesive as a unit than OTL, partially because of lessons learned from their WW2 which was further reinforced by various police and military actions during the Cold War.
 

MagicalGeek

New member
The Iron Pact nations' militaries are far more cohesive as a unit than OTL, partially because of lessons learned from their WW2 which was further reinforced by various police and military actions during the Cold War.
Like I said, I use the call as a prank, they never updated their location so when they asked why, I replied; Presumed overrun, Airstrike require. They watch too many Vietnam War movies
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Anyway, I've been hitting a few roadblocks with the current snippet as I'm trying to give a viewpoint on several mages (including a certain big sister) seeing the Iron Pact and US/Japanese Coalition doing patrols and building firebases and rebuilding villages among other things. That viewpoint also goes a little into the politics between the various 'colleges' of magic and the headaches that would bring. Yet... I'm finding a hard time doing it. I might have to switch it out for the Old One having tea with some old friends and getting caught up to speed with the entire situation on Falmart and beyond...
 

Kiyone4ever

Member
Author
Another possibility would be to see Celestia and Luna discussing this perhaps with other leaders from say Yakyakistan or Gryphonstone and analyzing the situation as concerned 'Next door neighbors'
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Another possibility would be to see Celestia and Luna discussing this perhaps with other leaders from say Yakyakistan or Gryphonstone and analyzing the situation as concerned 'Next door neighbors'
Yeah, I've got plenty of prototypes for ideas including a sort of 'SB reacts to the Japanese Inquiry about the Great Fire Dragon' in the wings right now, but they're hitting road blocks due to some complexity, something I've never done before, or a mixture of both.

... although, I'll admit that you've given me an idea Kiyone...
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well, I'll be interested to see whatever comes next.
Well, I hope you and the others will like it... although I might also make an omake that might tide people over... because having things go off the rails for some things because the Iron Pact or the JSDF/US coalition was there to cause said things to go off the rails would be not only good practice but also interesting. ;)
 

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