1943: Part 1

June 1943, Germany. Somewhere in the Black Forest:

The castle stood on top of a hill. From his position in the forest, Joe wasn’t impressed. It didn’t match up to the castles he’d imagined when he’d read Ivanhoe. This castle wasn’t much more than a big tower connected to a house. Both were made of stone, but at the end of the day it was smaller than the old monstrosity of a house that Giles Hardwick had grown up in.

He found it hard to make out details in the darkness, but the moon gave enough light for him to notice the two soldiers standing at the top of the tower.

He’d have to kill them both, and he doubted it would be quiet.

Well, if they wanted quiet, they’d have sent Chuck in. As Night Wolf, Chuck could have been in and out of the castle, or taken out all the guards before they had any hint that anything was wrong. Choosing to send in a man wearing powered armor with rockets on the back argued that they didn’t expect stealth.

Softly, he said, “You ready, Al?”

“I’m in position all around the hill. The Jerries aren’t expecting anything, or they’d have put more guards outside the house.”

Joe turned the Rocket suit’s helmet toward where Albert Nakamura crouched behind a bush. If it had been lighter, he’d have looked like any other GI (even though he was a Jap)–olive green uniform, M1 rifle, helmet and belt of pouches.

“How many of you?”

“Twenty. I’ll split a few more off if it gets bad.”

“How’re John and Giles doing?”

“They’ve placed the charges. John just told the other me that he’s ready to blow the bridge any time.”

“Let him know he can. I’m going in… Oh, and just like we said before, if I manage to get in quietly, don’t attack right away.”

Al grinned. “Think that’s likely?”

“Not a chance in hell, but I’m hoping.”

“Good luck.”

“You too. All of you.”

One step at a time, he walked away, keeping as quiet as he could. No sense in revealing Al’s position when he took off.

Once he couldn’t see the castle through the pine trees anymore, he stopped and started the rocketpack, shooting upward, past needle covered branches, and into the sky.

He didn’t give them time to think. He shot toward the tower, grabbing a guard’s arm, dragging him off the tower, and letting go.

The soldier fell four stories while Joe turned around, aiming himself at the top of the tower again.

By the time he returned, the other guard had pulled his rifle off his back, and begun to aim. He never got the chance to fire.

Moving at nearly two hundred miles per hour, Joe punched him in the helmet. The Rocket suit protected Joe from feeling the impact of the hit.

The soldier slid across the floor, his neck at an impossible angle.

Joe flew past him, turned around again, and landed on top of the tower.

Six months ago, when he’d first gone to war, he might have reflected on how the soldiers he’d killed were people doing their jobs just like he was, and been saddened by their deaths.

Now he merely felt relieved that he’d been quiet.

Compared to normal, anyway.

23 thoughts on “1943: Part 1”

  1. Strangely, I’ve had teachers that fought on both sides in WW2. My sixth grade history teacher was in in the Army Air Corp (US), and one of my profs in grad school (sociological theory) flew for the Luftwaffe.

    Getting either of them off track enough to tell war stories made for an interesting class.

  2. Eli: Right. Jenny’s grandfather. He was briefly mentioned in “Three.” He’s one of the people who didn’t relocate to Grand Lake after WW2.

    Japanese-Americans ended up in segregated units that were used in Europe, but not Asia. One of my friends helped Virgil Westdale (a Japanese-American veteran) write his memoir.

    Bill: I like it too. I’m hoping everyone does. I end up referring to things they did a lot, and it’s good to see them do them instead of hearing about it secondhand.

  3. Y’know, Jim, in my opinion; I think that that your best best toward getting an established media company interested in the story would be to write about the Original Heroes League.

    They simply tick too many checkboxes, Super Hero, check. World War II, check. Nazis, check. Non-white characters, check.

    I’d read that book, quick fast.

  4. How the heck is falling four stories supposed to be quiet?

    Heck, if the guard was smart and dedicated, he could probably start shooting (not to hit anything, but to alert people, at least)

  5. It’s not quiet. It’s more quiet than usual.

    As soon as you hang a rocket on your back and fly around with it, you’ve pretty much lost any chance you had at secrecy. That’ll be more obvious in the next bit.

  6. Screaming during a four story fall is probably more quiet than a rocket pack powerful enough to propel a man around. I don’t know, I’d like to see if we can test that. Someone, write an email to the Mythbusters.

  7. Yay! History+Rocket! Rockstory! Histocket? Whatever!
    And yet this is still more stealthy then how I would have attacked this tower. Then again, I don’t know if they need something inside, or just need the tower empty, or what.

  8. I think some of the “adult” supers are using some of Gunther/Lee’s alien “everyone dies” tech — that’s the power device. This is probably the story introducing it — the piece in the tower will be the final piece that completes the device.

  9. Bart, I like the way you think. The only way this gets better is if a certain trans-phase Nazi super-spy with smokin’ hot looks shows up…….

    Jim, that’s totally NOT a hint…..

  10. This is great; the old League had reSPECT amongst the other heroes, enough to make these kids feel the pressure to measure up to them. Now we get to see them in action!

    I’m sending you a donation my friend. All of these stories have added up to more than one book, quite frankly.

    🙂 !

  11. Jim J.: Thanks, both for the donation and for your enthusiasm.

    In case you’re curious, I’ve got one story in the works that is going to alternate between the old and new Leagues in complementary story lines. Don’t know how soon it will appear, but you’ll see a lot of everybody there.

    Bill: Can’t promise you that Romy will appear much in this story, but see the paragraph above this one…

    Bart/Kavu: We’ll see.

    Psycho Gecko: Forget the Mythbusters. We can do this ourselves. Anyone want to jump off a tower? I volunteer to measure the noise.

  12. “Anyone want to jump off a tower? I volunteer to measure the noise.”

    If you place an air cushion at the bottom along with a six-pack of Coronas and a supermodel of my choice, I’ll do it.

  13. You know what? Just put the air cushion down and prove to me I’ll survive and I’ll do it without beer or a supermodel. In fact, if you put the beer at the top, that’ll make me want to get away quicker.

  14. Jim, gotta ask you this; are we gonna get a time-travel story featuring the old and new League? I mean, how NUTS would it be, Joe Van Der Sloot and Nick Klein both going up against Red Lightning?

  15. I can’t say that something like that won’t ever happen, but it’s not in my current plans. Time travel loops can really mess up stories (“But wait, if he went back and stopped [insert plot element here], logically, he’d never have been born.”).

    I try to avoid that unless I’m deliberately doing a time travel story. That being said, there is the odd “alternate history” idea I’ve had that might make stuff like that possible.

  16. Well, with time travel, there’s also always the option of both of them traveling to a time when they can’t mess each other up, i.e. the far future (after they are both dead), or the far past (far enough that no hint of their activities survives into their normal timelines). And if you have alternate or pocket dimensions, then they could both end up in the same dimension where neither of them would normally exist, and where access between LoN space and the alt space is not always correlated through time.


  17. The Rockets teaming up would be pretty neat if done well. You could go the route of Joe figuring out who Nick is which would explain why he spent all that time teaching his grandson about the armor. He wouldn’t even have to figure it out at the time. It could dawn on him when his son announces the birth of his grandson named “Nick”. And he’d be smart enough not to mention anything about becoming the Rocket to Nick while he was growing up.

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