Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Five
23rd April 1970
Los Angeles, California
“It might sound strange, but shit that goes down on the other side of the globe has a way of finding its way here” Wilkinson said, “When I first joined the Department, the German Military had been passing out pharmaceutical grade methamphetamine under the brand name Pervitin like it was candy throughout the Second World War. By the time it reached here in late 1946 the Germans had already banned its use outside of direct medical supervision because they had already discovered that it tended to make people who took it for too long psychotic and that shit is highly addictive. No one saw fit to warn us what was coming.”
That got Ritchie’s attention as they sat on the hood of their patrol car eating “Lunch” as midnight rolled around. The Taqueria they had stopped at did brisk business with the late-night crowd, both the Police and the criminal element. Regardless of what was happening out in the neighborhoods, the Taqueria was considered neutral ground so long as no one was stupid enough to attempt to rob the place. Then it would be a race to see who got to that idiot first, the difference being that if the Police won then the skel would live to see sunrise. It was a simple enough meal, mission burritos and Coca-Cola that was bottled down south of the border in Mexico. Ritchie had been around the world and he had been unable to find food like this anywhere else.
The thing that had prompted Wilkinson to tell Ritchie about the past was the bulletin sheets that had been passed around during rollcall about how Intelligence had heard tell that the Civil War in China was resulting in cheap heroin finding its way to the West Coast. There had already been large scale busts in San Francisco and Seattle, so it was only a matter of time until it turned up in Los Angeles. At the same time, there was a potent German Psychiatric Drug that had been found in a raid on a house in Laurel Canyon. The Department had gotten an expert from BASF on the phone and he had warned them that the abuse of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide could trigger a psychotic break and came with a whole host of other risks. Between that and the increasing number of guns that had been finding their way onto the streets, it was looking like they were going to have an interesting summer ahead.
“So, you saw a lot of these Pervitin addicts?” Ritchie asked.
“They were like the zombies from that film that came out last year, except they don’t just shuffle around” Wilkinson said, “They are totally unpredictable, and they will try to steal everything that isn’t nailed down or on fire.”
“You expect that to happen again?”
“Not quite” Wilkinson replied, “Cheap heroin results in a whole bunch of new addicts and a new drug that the cool kids all have to try typically means a lot of money is going to be changing hands. And whenever there is a lot of money on the table, the real crazies come out of the woodwork.”
“Exactly where do you think we fit in?”
“I think that you may have need for that machine gun in the trunk before too long” Wilkinson replied, referring to the M-10 A3 Stoner Rifle that Ritchie had used his Department connections to have issued to him. In a pinch he wanted that sort of firepower as opposed to trying to reload the old-fashioned S&W .38 Special revolver that he had been issued after the shooting started. Ritchie had tried to get a 1911 .45 but he had been told that the streets of Los Angeles were not a warzone and when he was wearing the Police uniform, he wasn’t in the Army, so his weapon needed to reflect that.
For the first time in a long time, Marie Alexandra liked what she saw in the mirror. The silk dress that she was wearing was cornflower blue, the same color as Kristina’s banner which was hanging in the Medical Service Branch Hall in the Berlin Imperial War Museum. It was to be the dress that would wear to Kiki’s wedding in a few days, and Marie was excited that she would be in the wedding party this time. It was an acknowledgement that she was finally a grown up, sort of. Not that it had all been smooth sailing. Marie had almost messed the whole thing up when she had humiliated her cousin Nikolaus without really intending to, at first. She had intended just to show him how wrong he was when he had said that fencing wasn’t for her. Unfortunately for Niko, she’d had been given lessons in fencing, Krav Maga, and had even been taught to use a hand fan made of enameled steel plates that had been given to her as a gift from Mistress Natsumi. Her mother had insisted upon it and had told her that she might consider teaching Marie how to use a pistol this summer if she proved she could be responsible. Lately, she had also been trying to get Herr Kage to teach her because she knew that he was a Shinobi and that there was a lot she could learn from him. Basically, Niko had never stood a chance and when he lost his composure, she spent the next several minutes toying with him.
That whole episode had called into question Marie’s maturity and nearly everyone had been disapproved of her actions. The exception to that had curiously been Opa von Richthofen. The Kurfürst had said that she had taught Niko an important lesson about controlling himself in a fight and how an opponent who can goad him into angerly, rash moves will have already won the fight. He had also made a comment about needing to have a word with Niko’s fencing instructor that had an ominous tone to it.
Then, everyone was forced back to the preparations for that Sunday. Looking in the mirror again, Marie opened her jewelry box, finding the emerald hairpins and pendant that had been gifts from her mother having been passed down to the women of her family for generations. Next, she found the emerald earrings that were a recent addition to the collection. They had been a birthday present from her father after her mother had relented and allowed her to get her ears pierced a few days before her fourteenth birthday. It was something that her mother had never done, and she had been reluctant to allow Marie to. The reason she said was that earrings tended to get caught on things and she wanted it to be an informed choice made by Marie. Taking her time to pin up her hair, she smiled at her reflection.