1943: Part 3

They’d sent him in because intelligence said the Nazis were building a superweapon. This wasn’t technology. The Nazis were summoning demons. Joe knew he didn’t know anything about magic, and he’d never heard of a Sunday School that went into the specifics of demon summoning.

His hadn’t for sure.

And anyway, he needed to know more about exorcism than summoning now, assuming you could exorcise something that had already been caught.

It started talking again. “You can look at me now.”

Joe turned his head slowly, following the corner of the helmet’s eyeholes. By the time he reached the creature, it had changed.

A man stood in the middle of the circle. With the brush cut, blond hair, and bulging muscles, he looked like a stereotype.

“Call me Gunther. It’s as good a name as any, and while you’re at it, step on the circle.”

Joe thought about it. “Aren’t I supposed to ask for three wishes first?”

It laughed. “I don’t do wishes.  I do contracts. Think of it as one wish with multiple points if you want. And make it quick. Meeting the man who summoned me will be a lot more fun if I’m outside the circle.”

From outside and below came the noise of men shouting in German and English and the sounds of automatic weapons firing.

Joe said, “OK. First, you don’t attempt to hurt me or my family, or any of my descendants.”

“I wouldn’t anyway. You’re helping me out, right? But think about it, given enough time everyone will be descended from you, and I’m an immortal mercenary. See how that might cause problems? How about we cap it at three generations? You won’t even know them after that.”

Joe was nineteen years old. He’d broken up with his last girlfriend before the war even started. With a shrug, he said, “Sure.”

He thought about it some more. “Immortal mercenary? So could I send you on a mission? Could I have you kill Tojo, Hitler, and Mussolini?”

“Yeah, but that would be it. Nothing else, and then I’d be done. No protecting future generations. I’d take a list of my targets and go.”

And then whatever he was, Joe thought, he’d be free to do anything he wanted.

“Uh… Skip that then. How about you work on my side for the rest of the war, and if anything else comes up after that, you stay on my side.”

“That works for me. I’m not particular about sides.”

The voices below them in the house began to grow louder. The sound of feet thudded against stairs.

“If you’ve got anything else,” Gunther said, “you’d better hurry.”

With the threat of immediate combat, Joe could only think about getting into position to fight whatever and whoever would be coming through the door.

“Tell you what, it seems like you’re having a hard time with this. I’ll make it easier. I’m good at two things, killing people, and making music. I’ll teach you, or whoever you want how to fight better, or play music or both.”

“You’re offering me piano lessons?”

“Piano, guitar, Hawaiian nose flute, whatever. And don’t forget the fighting.”

They were nearly to the door.

Joe pointed both arms at the door, fingers ready to tap his palms and start firing. Nodding, he said, “I’ll take it. I agree.”

“Then we’re in agreement. Break the circle.”

The door to the room shattered, and pieces landed on the floor, none of them crossing the circle.

The man ducking his head to step inside couldn’t be a normal human being.

24 thoughts on “1943: Part 3”

  1. Hi, been reading The Legion of Nothing for ages, though I better comment and say how awesome your work is. Definitely a highlight in my week. Keep it up. 🙂

  2. WOOT! First! — I’ve never been able to say that so I thought I should get it out of the way.

    Anyway — I like seeing Nick’s grandfather in action for sure, and I find Gunther’s dialogue hilarious, in that he’s just as casual and to the point as he ever was — no big demonic Shakespearean speeches for this guy!

    I think the real Ubermensch just showed up.

  3. Gavin: Alas, it looks like Lanky’s post was under moderation while you wrote yours. You’ll have to wait and try again.

    I thought after all the waiting people had to find out was Gunther/Lee was in the first place, we might as well get to see the moment where he met Nick’s grandfather.

    Lanky: Thanks. Out of curiosity, do you remember what storyline you came in on?

  4. welcome to the league fanbase Lanky. Always nice to have a new commenter joining the ranks.
    I loved Lee/Gunther/whatever all of his many names are.
    I have two skills fighting and music. Best line

  5. Piano lessons seem funny? Just think if Lee’s hobby had been something less refined…
    “I’m good at two things, killing people, and making farting noises with my armpits.”

  6. “I’m good at two things, killing people, and sex.”

    “Could you teach me the donkey punch?”

    “Regular or lethal?”

    “Surprise me.”

    Rimshot.

  7. Jim: I started reading sometime in ‘Lighting Strikes Twice’. I’m a lurker by nature, but thought you should know that you have fans that don’t comment. Plus I would definitely would purchase book(s) if you ever did publish.

  8. Man Joe is awesome! I only have one issue with him. Do you know how HARD it is for me to not yell “Yo Joe!” every time he talks? I feel like I’m about to explode!

  9. I have read the entire archive and have been following the updates for the last couple months or so. This is an amazing boost to my personal creative juices and watching the twists and turns of the story makes me happy every week.

    Cheers from the Pacific Northwest!

  10. @E McCoy: You touch on an interesting point. As perhaps the only webserial I follow, LON does serve a function as a kind of pointer of what to do right as a webfic author.

  11. Given the similarities between Jim and I as writers, I’m waiting for the day Bill comes over to my website.

    I just realized that Joe was sent in to stop a super weapon, and that was Lee / Gunther — imagine if he’d been on the side of the Nazis? I don’t think the League or even Captain Amercia would have been able to do much about that.

    Superman either, for the 1940s version power levels. Maybe modern Supes might stand some chance, but Lee seems kinda magical and Clarky ain’t so good against magic.

  12. @G.S. Williams: That was the most blatantly shameless author plug I’ve ever seen in my life……..

    I’m TOTALLY gonna check out your story, now, lol!

  13. @Psycho Gecko: I come from an alternate dimension where people reproduce asexually. How dare you suggest one of my brethren is good at sex?!

    😉

  14. …dude’s been living as a human male for a few thousand years. He was a Roman Emperor. I’m just sayin’.

    Maybe he’s been injecting a little immortal DNA into the local population. The better to fight the rest of his race. Wouldn’t be the first breeding program to be a part of this story.

  15. I didn’t think it was that blatant, though there was no shame on my part. 🙂

    I have three stories available — there’s the theological fantasy epic “No Man an Island” that’s complete, the sporadically updating government superhero series “The Samaritan Project” and the ongoing “The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin,” which is updating almost daily and has science fiction elements. Ask Jim his opinion on all three.

    He wrote my April Fool’s Day episode of Diggory, and did an amazing job.

  16. Lanky: Wow. That’s a really long time. I often wonder how many of the people who initially discovered Legion of Nothing when it appeared on Pages Unbound in 2007/2008 are still here.

    Kavu: Hmmn. Mazzon was reminded of Transformers when Prime appeared. Now (with an unintentional GI Joe reference) all we need is a Thundercats reference to complete some kind of early 90’s after school TV lineup…

    Eli/PG: Lee’s body is technically completely normal human, but something weird might carry over given his origin.

    E McCoy: Great. Coming in as book 2 finished would either be ideal or maddening as you’d go from an archive trawl with instant gratification to waiting between installments.

    Bill/Gavin: They’re all good, but you’ll probably find “The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin” the easiest to get into. Just click on Gavin’s name. Also, it’s listed as part of my blogroll.

    Mazzon: You know, Lee’s had plenty of time to pick up how to do disgusting arm noises. Betcha they could be used for percussion in some kinds of music…

    Captain Mystic: Lee’s fun to write. He’ll be around for a while (but not constantly).

  17. Thanks Jim!

    And a comment specifically about the story — after Psycho Gecko’s comment, I started to wonder if Lee/Gunther spreading his immortal seed around might have been possible. And, if so, is that where this story’s superhero population came from?

    Unlike some stories, there haven’t really been origins to the origins. Like the X-men are mutants, Superman is an alien, most of Marvel was made by technology or radiation…

  18. Wait, an even better joke popped into my mind this time…

    Lee and Prime duel, their swords meeting. Lee steps close to prime, breathing heavily and says “Prime, I am your father.” Then manages to cut off Prime’s head, which yells “No you’re not, you can’t be, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

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