Chapter Two Thousand Ninety-Six
11th October 1971
“They do realize that these movies are fiction?” Helene asked in exasperation.
“Normally you would think so, Ma’am” Her Aide replied, “But these men are not known for being the brightest sort even if they don’t have something setting them off.”
“Yes, I get that” Helene said, “These books and movies were intended as satire.”
“The Nationalists are not known for their keen sense of humor” The Aide said, “Their idea of funny is usually along the lines of fart or ethnic jokes.”
Helene could feel a stress headache coming on just listening to the latest news about a protest outside a television studio that had turned violent in Potsdam. It seemed that one of the major networks had adapted the speculative fiction books that she had read years earlier at the insistence of her friend Judita which had depicted the rise of a disturbing version of Germany that has risen after a defeat at the hands of the Triple Entente, eventually being led by a madman named Martin Seiler. What follows is grotesque kaleidoscope of human misery where every available means is used to kill those Seiler and his cadre view as of the enemy until it was being done on an industrial scale. Jews, Homosexuals, Gypsies, Freemasons, Communists, Slavs, the disabled, anyone who disagrees with Martin Seiler… The final book had featured Seiler in a bunker under the streets of Mitte as the Russians were overrunning the city deluded about the state of the war, thinking he was winning because he had been liquidating those that he considered the real enemy by the millions in the midst of a war.
Later, after Seiler blows his brains out and the victorious Allies are dividing Germany up, even as they are making moves against each other clearly setting up what will be the next war, Seiler’s henchmen start getting put on trial. They get paraded through the courtroom and laughably try to place all the blame on Martin Seiler, that they were just following orders. The Judges were not impressed by that, and the comment gets made that the need to obey orders doesn’t negate the conscience. Most of them get hung like common criminals in the end.
The trouble was that these were men, mostly members of the Royalist and Nationalist Parties but several Industrialists and Military Officers as well, who had names and families who took exception to how they were being depicted. After they had exhausted legal avenues and had been unable to stop production they had resorted to protests outside the studio where production had taken place and those had turned violent. As the Minister of the Interior, Helene found herself having to contend the aftermath and was very much aware that most of the groups in question really didn’t like her. As a woman with a career and the leader of political Party that they felt was repackaged Communism, she was basically everything they hated in the world. The detail that she was the daughter of the Kurfürst of Silesia somewhat muted their outspoken dislike of her, but not by as much she would have liked.
With Manny still in South America, probably taking as many stupid risks as his father had thirty years earlier, Helene had enough to worry about. Especially because Suse Rosa was incredibly tight lipped about the state of her relationship with Manny. God help her, but this was one of those times when Helene wished that Suse was more like Gerta. The last thing she needed right now was a bunch of blowhards upset that an author and a television studio had made them look like easily led fools in a work of fiction.
“Potsdam has a Criminal Court, yes?” Helene asked.
“Yes, Ma’am” Her Aide replied, “But I was thinking that…”
“Whatever your idea is, forget about it” Helene said, “This is hardly a matter for us to get involved in. Brandenburg is among the States that doesn’t like how heavy-handed the BII and the Federal Police can be at times. I think that this is one of those times when we should listen.”
“Yes, Ma’am” The Aide replied.
Near Los Quenes, Romeral, Chile
The idea was preposterous.
That the President of Chile had contacted their own Government through back channels and the BND had confirmed that the communication was legitimate. Supposedly, Salvador Allende had realized that one man was the single biggest obstacle to peace. Allende had offered to serve him up on a platter because while he wanted him gone, he preferred a dead martyr to a living threat so he couldn’t arrange it himself. Instead, he had turned to the BND through intermediaries. The shadowy Hunter/Killer teams were occupied elsewhere, but they had heard about the raids that Manny had conducted during the siege of Rio Gallegos, and they had asked him if he would volunteer to take the mission. They even let him pick his own team.
The rub was the team in question was less than thrilled about being volunteered for this. They had not even been informed of the details until just hours before they departed from Córdoba. Einar had made a point of reminding him that the first rule of being in any Army since the dawn of time was to never volunteer.
Manny understood the perspective of the Estonian Stabsgefreiter, he knew that Einar Tann was a good gunner with a reputation of being unflappable, and they would need every bit of firepower at their disposal if things got hairy and they wanted to get out alive. The selection of Christian was easy enough. The two of them went back to Basic Training. Ralf was an easy selection; he was a maestro with radio equipment. The fifth member of the team, Rook, wasn’t even going to be leaving Berlin but could still provide them with intelligence. If they made it out alive, Manny figured that he ought to have Einar fire some shots over Rook’s head so that he felt he was a part of the action.
As the helicopter flew through the narrow passages through the Andes Mountains, Manny thought about how he had been asked if he had any moral qualms about shooting an unsuspecting man far from the front lines. Manny had told them that if it got him home one day sooner after spending more than a year in South America, he would happily shoot a dozen.
As the helicopter set down in a clearing and they jumped out and headed cautiously towards the tree line. Only a minute later they could hear the sound of the helicopter’s engine fading in the distance. Just like that, the real mission had begun.