Another ebook for your consideration, a pure alt hist this time by Ian Andrew. It has a touch of SS-GB, as you'll see from the chosen extract, but plenty of splodey in the later chapters. It's set in Nazi occupied Great Britain and turns on the Maguffin of a female scientist with a time machine.
Ian Andrew was born in Northern Ireland and joined the RAF as an aircraft technician. He was later commissioned as intelligence officer. I have another extract with some spodey which I'll run later this week.
She stood on the Mall opposite the entrance to Horse Guards and gazed along the flag-lined boulevard towards the Palace. A soft spring breeze gently billowed and caressed its way down the two parallel lines of red, white and black. The folds of the nearest flag shook out and the Swastika unfurled against the turquoise blue of a London sky.
As the ForeFone buzzed on her arm she looked away from the symbol of the Reich to check the screen. The unknown number icon flashed but she reached up to her earpiece and clicked the connect toggle anyway.
“Leigh Wilson, hello.”
“Doctor Wilson, it’s Heinrich Steinmann, I’m so sorry to disturb you on your weekend.” The language was English, the accent clipped, precise and stereotypical of an Ox-Bridge education. Yet just in his vowels there was the trace of mid-Germanic origins. Leigh’s senses sharpened. Mid-Germanic yet educated at the best universities in England normally indicated a particular type of Party operative. That alone would have made her cautious but the fact that she didn’t know who Heinrich Steinmann was added to her foreboding. As a Senior Government Science Officer her mobile number was not in any directory listing, yet here this stranger was calling her.
Leigh responded cautiously, “Guten Tag Herr Steinmann, Wie geht es Ihnen?”
“Thank you Doctor Wilson but English will be fine and yes, I’m fine too, thank you for asking. I was wondering where you were at present?”
“I’m sorry, but would you mind telling me who you are before I tell you where I am?”
“Ah, my apologies, I forgot. You’ve been on leave. I’m Sturmbannführer Lohse’s replacement.”
“His replacement? I didn’t know he was leaving.”
There was a momentary pause and when Steinmann spoke again his accent had softened, subtly. “No. That’s right. It was rather sudden. A family emergency in the Homeland. It would appear his eldest boy was involved in some... Mmm, unpleasantness, at the Munich Institute. We do all trust the Sturmbannführer will return to duty swiftly but,” he paused a beat before continuing, “as you can imagine, it will depend on the outcome of enquiries. Yes?”
“Yes, I see,” and she did, clearly. Although she had no idea what the unpleasantness referred to was, it didn’t matter. A Sturmbannführer in the Reich Security Directorate did not, could not, have members of their family being anything less than model citizens. Depending on what young Lohse had gotten himself into, Lohse senior was facing a halt to his career, perhaps a demotion or two or... She didn’t finish the thought. “So is it Sturmbannführer Steinmann?” Leigh asked.
“Well, no. Formally I suppose I am Standartenführer Steinmann of the Allgemeine-SS, Special Investigations and Security Directorate. But please call me Heinrich, as we shall be working together and I find formality so, um, formal.” Heinrich laughed lightly at his own humour.
Leigh felt a stab of adrenaline in her stomach. Her breathing had quickened and she could feel sweat running down the back of her neck. The temperature was a seasonal fifteen degrees Celsius, the normal average for London in May, yet her whole body convulsed in small shakes more associated with a freezing winter wind. She struggled for control of her voice.
“Oh!” she was high by an octave. She covered her mouth and coughed. Her mind screamed at her to get a grip on herself. She coughed again. “Excuse me Heinrich, my apologies. So, what can I do for you?” she knew he would have expected his title to get a reaction and she was annoyed at herself for allowing it to show so obviously. She imagined him smirking as he spoke again.
“As I said, I was just wondering where you were?” he asked plainly and without offering any explanation as to why he wished to know.
“In the Mall, opposite Horse Guards, I was going for a walk,” she answered quickly. Her mind shouted so loudly to calm down she almost flinched from the noise in her head. “Why do you ask?” she managed to say a little slower and a lot more calmly than she felt.
“Excellent, I’m so pleased to have caught you nearby. My apologies for interrupting your walk, but I was wondering if you could come into work? Just for a short while. We have a little query with regard to the experiment Professor Faber has left running and I’m afraid he isn’t available. I realise my request is terribly inconvenient on a Sunday evening but I would appreciate your input.” Heinrich spoke in such a non-confrontational, pleasant and almost charming way, that anyone with no knowledge of his professional specialisation would have felt flattered to be asked.
Leigh knew it was all just for effect. She knew from his title exactly what Heinrich Steinmann was and no one, not even the Chiefs of Staff of the Reich forces, would have turned down his ‘request’ for ‘input’.
“Of course,” she heard herself say. “I can be there in half an hour.”
“Oh no, please. Please allow me to have a car pick you up. Just stay where you are and we’ll save you the walk. I’ll see you shortly Doctor Wilson,” and with that he hung up.
The call had already disconnected but she distractedly pressed the end call button on the wireless earpiece. Continuing to stare at the Fone’s blank screen she played out the scenarios in her head. There was nowhere to run to and nothing to do but wait for the car. If, at last, they had finally caught up to her then the best she could hope for was a swift processing. At worst, if they thought she had information on others, then her next seventy-two hours would not be so pleasant. She reached inside the concealed double lined pocket in her light jacket and fingered the small gelatine capsule that nestled there. She would wait for the car. It wouldn’t take long to figure out what was going to happen.
If they travelled east to her work in the Todt Laboratories then maybe things were not as bad as she feared. Although there was a newly built detention facility in the compound she would know straight away if they headed for it. She would stay alert to the possibilities that Standartenführer Steinmann was playing a game with her, but she would wait. However, if they took her north-west to the Harrow Holding Centre, then there would be nothing to wait for.
Leigh smiled. For her thirty-five years of life she had worked her way through the system, gained academic honours and achieved a senior government role. She was a leading scientist on the most far-reaching scientific experiment ever undertaken in the eighty years of the Greater Germanic Reich, or arguably in the whole history of humanity. She had run a good race. If it ended now, well that was what God intended. If not, she would continue her work to undo everything; in His name.
Ah, what the hell. I'll throw the splodey extract in too:
The shaped-charge explosive that had been placed around the bay window detonated with a force that took all sound away.
Simultaneously the front door to Thomas’s house was blown off its hinges, the back door was put in by a leaden entry ram and all power was cut, taking away what little light had been in the lounge room. In a smooth, well-practised and much used manoeuvre the black-clad Kommando moved into the house through the ingress points. Three of the soldiers entered directly into the lounge room through the remnants of the shattered window and shredded drapes. Each man knew the target he was responsible for. After studying the surveillance photography for the last forty-eight hours and having watched the arrival of the targets that evening they knew exactly who was who. As they moved into the room they trained the laser sighting of their Heckler & Koch MP19 machine pistols onto the head of their designated target.
Four more Kommando entered through what was left of the front door frame. One covered the hallway and bottom of the stairs whilst the rest moved swiftly into the house, turned right and entered the lounge room through the door directly opposite the bay window. They also trained their weapons on their designated targets. The four Kommando personnel who entered through the back door cleared the empty rooms on the ground floor before moving up the stairs, clearing each of the bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor. The securing of the six targets in the lounge room took less than fifteen seconds from the first blast. The rest of the house was secure in little more than a minute. It was swift, professional and brutal in its execution.
The six targets were not expected to put up any resistance. Even if they hadn’t been guided by their God, the friends could not have resisted. In the noise and shock wave caused by the initial explosions Thomas had his eardrums ruptured. He had instinctively crouched at the noise but had stayed up on his feet. As he looked through the dust and the swirling black shapes around him he could see Ben lying on the floor. A piece of window frame had smashed into his friend’s face and he lay bloodied beside the debris. Thomas looked left and right and saw the rest of his friends crouching like he was. Frightened, shocked, cowed in submission. Except Christine.
Christine stood tall looking down at him. In the faint blue-black light of dusk that was filtering in through the obliterated window he saw a smile on her lips. He tilted his head in a query and looked at the woman he had loved deep in his heart for the last fifteen years. She looked back at him and then down at the table. He followed her gaze but stopped as he saw the stain of red spreading across her shirt. What looked like a finely crafted crystal spear jutted out of her right breast. He couldn’t understand what he was looking at. He frowned and looked back at Christine’s face. She gazed into his eyes and then he saw her lips move.
“I love you Thomas.”
He watched as she began to fall but saw nothing else as his world plunged into black. He felt the hood’s fabric around his face and he felt his hands yanked behind his back and tight restraints jolted onto his wrists. He was pushed, pulled, lifted and then forcibly thrown down. He braced for a hard surface but felt the soft yield of a lawn. He lay still and tried to hear through deafened ears. Had he been able to see he would have been amazed.
The quiet suburban street was a changed scene from what was its norm. Three detachments of Special Forces had sealed off both ends of the road. They had quietly and with their normal efficiency moved all the other residents out of their houses. The cordon had been secured before the commander, Johan Lowther, gave the ‘Go’ order. He now stood and listened to the radio chatter from his Kommandos. A small, charred tear of curtain fabric fluttered silently down, twisted in the air and landed gently on Lowther’s lapel. He reached up and with a delicate touch dusted off his pristine uniform. The blackened remnant fell away and revealed again his subdued pattern, double lightning strike insignia.
“Building clear. Tango 3 unconscious from flying debris, Tango 4 is dead from a glass shard. Looks like one of the det cords on the window slipped and blew in the bottom left of the frame. Other targets secured and on way out now, your orders?”
SS-Sturmbannführer Lowther raised his right hand to the throat mike he wore and acknowledged the report.
“Good work and don’t worry about the det cord, it saves us transporting six of them. I don’t want to waste time lifting unconscious bodies, just finish it in place. Leave the corpses, torch the house. Escort the others to the transport. Liaise with the Fire Department so it’s only this piece of shit that is razed. The good citizens of Stanmore might object otherwise. I want you all up and out of here within the half hour. See you back in Northwood. Oh and Carl, remember to post the sign.” Lowther keyed off his mike and turned on his heel towards his transport. He knew the job had been well done and he was very satisfied. He also knew that his senior operators could look after the rest of the night’s necessities without him hovering over them.
SS-Hauptscharführer Carl Schern looked down at the slumped figure of Ben Stevens. He moved the sight of his HK-MP19 so that the small red dot of the laser illuminated on to Ben’s brow and pulled the trigger twice. He then nodded to his remaining squad members to carry out the rest of their orders. The main power switch was tripped back on so they could work with more haste. It also allowed his men to see what was worth ‘saving’ from the house before they set it on fire.
The kerosene cans were emptied throughout the upper and lower floor. Once done the final squad members made their way out through the remains of the bay window. Carl stopped and checked by radio that all his men were clear. He took a last look around and was about to leave when he saw the table in the middle of the lounge room. Its white cloth was soiled by dust and debris and Tango 4’s blood. But sitting upright on it, unharmed in any way, was the six-spoke wheel. He walked over to the table, picked the statue up, smirked and shook his head. He was slightly incredulous that something so fine and delicate and obviously very old could survive the violence that had been visited upon this place. Somewhere deep in his psyche he knew there was a bigger significance to the symbolism but he ignored it. He looked again at the statue and momentarily thought about pocketing it. He smiled as he remembered this little flimsy statue carried a death sentence for anyone found possessing it. The spoils of war were not that important. He dropped it on the floor between the two bodies and crushed it under foot.
Less than twenty minutes after the ‘Go’ order, the street was cleared of Special Forces, the remaining prisoners taken in the raid were being transported to the Harrow Holding Centre, the Fire Department were monitoring the blazing house and a sign had been posted on the front lawn:
This property has been identified
as a gathering place for the
Turner Religious Sect.
Its continued use is outlawed by order of the
Reich High Command.
All citizens are forbidden to congregate
in its vicinity on
Pain of Death.
It was the same wording that had been in use since the beginning of the Reich. It was the same wording that had been posted throughout the world from the German Southern African Colonies to the west coast of the German States of America to the east coast of Germanic Russia. The High Command boasted of two things; the sun never set on the Reich and the Reich never stopped in its hunt of Turners.