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- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 11

Sergeant Trevor's men were staring at the Germans again. A bunch of them had landed a little while ago, and Trevor had received orders not to bother them. They were allies. Apparently a German criminal had been the one who had taken Washington, but it was all very shady.

Trevor grabbed one of his privates.

"Dammit, Lake, stop looking at them. They're helpin' us out. How would you feel if they were staring at you?"

Lake scratched his head.

"They are staring at us, sarge."

The private pointed. Some of the Germans were indeed looking back at the Americans.

"Leave 'em alone," said Trevor, in a Biblical tone.

Private Lake nodded and ran off.

Trevor thought this could only lead to trouble. First it would start with staring, just out of curiosity. Then one side or another would start poking around at the other side, and before long it would come to blows. And when there were weapons laying around, no good could come of it.

"Well, that's it then," said Trevor, "Better break the ice before there's an avalanche."

David Trevor knew about these kinds of things. He'd been in the United States army for sixteen years, and planned to be in it until he died. He was a born non-com; he had never had any ambitions to be an officer. Trevor knew the best way he could serve the army was as a sergeant, and that he would do.

He was a simple, one-dimensional man. His dimension was this: soldier. His resume included such things as pulling triggers, wearing uniforms, and holding a flamethrower. More importantly, though, he led a squad. He had bounced up and down the ranks a few times, mostly due to his temper, but he preferred being a squad leader anyway. And the sergeant would be damned if each and every man and woman in his squad didn't turn out exactly like him.

Trevor marched stalwartly towards his own troops. He gave a shrill whistle. All of the soldiers looked up.

"Come on, we're goin'."

Trevor started off in the direction of the German camp. Reluctantly the group got to their feet and followed him.

"Where are we going, sarge?" asked one of the corporals.

"Goin' to go talk to the Germans."

There came some chattering and moaning in apprehension. Trevor swiveled around and looked at them fiercely.

"Now I don't want to hear it! You were all interested enough to look at them all like you never learned any decent manners. How would your ma feel, any of you? Well, in this army, I'm your ma, with one little difference, and that's that I kick your ass if you make a mistake. Now I am going to end this before there's a problem, and you are all going to be proper human beings, and not a bunch of slimy shits!"

The troops straightened up their ranks and followed behind him, growing cautious and perfectionist out of fear. The Germans were all eating when they entered the camp. Many of them looked up in wonder. Trevor stopped and looked around. The soldiers scratched themselves and shifted from foot to foot.

"Anybody speak German?" asked Trevor.

None of the soldiers said anything. A German sergeant stood up. He looked rather sly. He had a hatchet face and beady eyes and shadowy dark hair. He did not, however, look malevolent, in fact rather amiable. He was wearing a strange leather uniform which Trevor had never seen anything like before.

"I am Feldwebel Michael Gruber. I have a little English," he said.

His accent was perfect, though. He was probably better than fluent in English. Trevor nodded. The Germans all suddenly leapt to attention. A captain in the same peculiar leather uniform as Gruber was walking down the rows of tents. She was not tall, had blue eyes and short black hair. Her bearing was that of an officer, aloof and thoughtful, but she looked as though she had the potential to be as pleasant as Gruber. The captain stopped in front of Trevor. She said something in German.

"The Hauptmann is introducing herself," said Sergeant Gruber, "She says she is Hauptmann Marianne Totschläger, Motorradkorps. And she asks who you are and what you want."

"Sergeant Dave Trevor," he said, shaking Totschläger's hand violently, "We've come over to, ah, better acquaint ourselves. We'll be working together in the future."

Gruber said some things to his captain. She seemed a bit puzzled.

Trevor looked around for something. He saw a giant asphalt structure. It was an inclined plane, and it stretched very high. It was hooked to a sort of jack so that the level of the street could be changed. It stood up on wheels, and two handles were on it's side. It was like a huge, mobile, adjustable, diagonal street.

"What's that thing?" asked Trevor, pointing at the huge device.

Totschläger seemed suddenly happy.

"Gruber, go introduce Feldwebel Trevor's men around," she said in English.

"Jawohl, Frau Hauptmann," the sergeant replied, and then he took Trevor's troops away.

"I'm glad you asked about this," she said, with a much more pronounced accent than Gruber, "This is a siege device for the Motorradkorps. We think it may be the key to taking Washington D.C. My orders are to stand by on using it, though."

"What is the, ah, Motor..."

Trevor shrugged and gave up.

"Motorradkorps. I'm not sure how it goes in English. Motorized bicycle, maybe?"

Comprehension dawned on Trevor's face.

"Oh, a motorcycle squad. I see. This would be to get your bikes over the walls."


Trevor looked at his troops. They seemed to be integrating with the German troops nicely. A lot of them were trading things. Lake had procured a deck of cards. Trevor knew that Lake probably had a whole other deck planted on his person.

"There doesn't seem to be much of a language problem," said Trevor.

"Most of my troops speak English. It's common enough."

"You for instance. I noticed you were speaking German and having your man translate earlier."

"Oh, well," she seemed a bit embarrassed, "I don't mind pretending about things, especially when they give me an advantage. I wanted to be sure you Americans weren't here to start trouble. I could tell you were just trying to..."

She couldn't seem to find the expression.

"Break the ice," said Trevor.

Totschläger nodded.

By the end of the night the Germans and the Americans were talking and drinking together like old friends.

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