- "I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war."
- ―Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Stephan Heuss took a shot of Jagermeister, and let the warm feeling in his chest consume him for that moment.
The pubs of Germany where about the only places making a good income with the Zemka presence. People wanting to drain their sorrows in beer and wine came in every night, German men who lost their businesses, German women who lost their husbands and sons in the civil war, men who lost arms and legs in the war, and men from foreign countries who, like everyone else, was bared from leaving the country, and with all ways of contact with the world outside the country one was in when the Zemka took control. In other words, Scandanelli Bar was bringing in more customers than most in the area. Especially since it was stationed next to a funeral home.
Among the weary foreigners were the Old Marine Chris Kelnor, and Tommy Searal, an army boy.they tossed back their pick of alcohol along with Stephan and Hermann Otto. They were having their laughs. The Americans had earned all they could get after so many years of imprisonment. And Stephan had earned it, he'd been combat ready for a good week, with maybe 3 hours sleep. Otto had been off on his own a lot as of late, but he seemed to always come back with new material, so nobody was worried.
Suddenly, a blast came from the door, and a large magma like Zemka with no armor came in. "STAY DOWN!" it bellowed in a garbled alien accent, but everyone ran for the door. He let out his hand, and, to his amazement, lit a fire between them and the door, burning several bystanders.
Three Armed Zemka Walked in behind him. "I want the names of the rebels warriors drinking at this establishment told to me now, or I will kill you all." Sobs rang out across the room. Stephan pulled his Beretta, but stayed his hand after he cocked it.
"Hey, Zemka." said the bartender. The monstrous creature looked at him, and got a shotgun slug straight through his spiral cone of a head. Of course, since the creature was just a parasite in a makeshift body, it didn't do shit, but it served as a distraction. All for soldiers popped over their respective tables and put a bullet in each of their respective heads. He reminded himself to once again thank Chris for his bullet/zemka metal idea, it had been working brilliantly.
The jumped their tables and over to the bar. Together, they took a table and blockaded the door.
"All right, you got a back exit?" asked Stephan. The Americans had slowly been learning German, but it was very cumbersome.
"Yes, back way leads to an alley that leads to the supermarkets trash or up to corner of Hölderlinstraße and Falkertstraße."
"That's all wooded. Okay, Otto, take the civilians into the back alley and..." the table blasted in at the seams and flew across the room.
"Supermarket, make them look like innocents. Got it."
"See you at the base, old friend." said Stephan. "Okay, boys. lets see if you can work out the kinks!"
"What about me?" Asked the bartender.
"Cover fire behind us."
"We know you, you fought in the civil war, you can handle it." He said, as the Zemka rushed in. A raptor like one fired a shot at him, but went down after a bullet from Chris's Desert Eagle pierced his skull.
"God, I love this pistol."
And so they moved on. The back door was opened, and the two groups parted ways. First, of course, they made the bartender relinquish his ammo and shotgun "for the greater good". Stephen took that, being the man with the least fire power.
The three moved up the tree filled alley into a wider clearing, where they took cover behind a shed. Two human Zemka were up ahead. Obviously the Zemka hadn't been thinking that they'd sneak out rather than upright fight, otherwise this alley would be infested with real Zemka, not these traitors. They decided to scare their asses a bit.
Stephan snuck out through the brush toward the car, replacing an unaltered shotgun bullet into the double barrel and clicking it back into place. It wouldn't affect the armor, but it'd knock them on their sorry asses, that was for sure. The Zemka would never arm humans with armor as efficient as their own. He aimed, and with two shots, they were on the ground gasping from a short range burst.
"Yeah... I bet that hurt, buddy." said Stephan as he walked over. "Where are your fascist alien buddies now?"
"Fuck... you..." he breathed, and went for his laser pistol, only to get a round from his Beretta through it. he screamed, and his buddy stopped reach for that rifle as two armed Americans pointed guns at him.
"Asshole, you chose the wrong side. Now, tell me where the Zemka are stationed."
"Back of here, front of here, take your pick."
"What'd the fucker say, man?" asked Tommy.
"He says we're surrounded." then, switching back to German, "Look, we could get you away from this life, my friend. You could still honor your family and friends."
"Fuck you. I honor them by serving and not getting them killed by my actions."
"Okay, asshole, your decision." Stephan pulled his off duty pocket knife, now paved in Zemka metal, and stuck it in the wound. "You can't see how fucking dumb your being, I can't make you see. Where aren't they guarding."
"Sir," said the other, "Sir, ignore him. Most of us do this out of fear for our families."
"Da. I do this out of fear for my family, as well. This is a stand for our very existence, and if you wear that armor without defiling it, you burn every national flag from here to Australia."
"Well, help me up, I'll help you."
Stephan was hesitant. "Friend, I can't say I trust you."
"Then you can put me in the line of fire, if that is what you wish. Come now, sir, you are out numbered, and I have advanced tech."
"Fine." He switched to English. "The one you have will aid us, the other is a a traitor to humankind. Tie him and ditch his rifle, give any and all alien ammo to the new boy."
A loud wheeeeer sounded overhead, and suddenly Stephan realized that, amazingly, the Zemka had taken them so seriously they'd dispatched one of their precious fighters. "Whiskey-tango to Dog House, we have birdies on our 12, dispatch transport to the old metal roads, over?"
"Whiskey-Tango, this is Dog House, we'll send a van ASAP. Assume you mean the old tracks near Herdweg where the old school bus used to be?"
He smiled to himself. Code was so often humorous. "Roger that, Dog House, Whiskey-Tango out."
Right, he thought to himself. If it weren't for the new problem of the alien ship. Going through the brush between houses was their best bet for survival. That left the rail road as the most plausible option for a get away spot. The problem would be getting across the street.
The four boys moved up, all three resistance fighters with rifles trained on the new boy. he led them to the corner before they hit the street, then signaled them to stop.
"They have their alien vehicles all over this street. If one was to fire a grenade into the cluster, a bright explosion equal to that of a flashbang will erupt from it. Shall I?"
Stephan nodded, and the armored soldier ran out from cover, hurling a grenade in. He quickly got back under cover, then, suddenly, a large explosion and a light brighter than any Stephan had ever seen issued from around the corner.
They got up and sprinted across the street, past the confused Zemka that guarded the street. They ran into the brush across the street, and along the forest filled alley ways. The sound of the alien fighter suddenly came over them, and before they knew it, the building behind them was blown apart by a laser shot.
"Move your asses, boys, or we're gonna get picked off by the ship!" yelled Chris, as they sprinted into a parking lot. They were met by fire from a group of five Zemka. Tommy and Stephan hurled two grenades into their midst, blowing three sky high. Chris and the new guy shot the remaining two as they struggled to get up. They ran into another gap of trees as the fighter flew over and disapeared over the treetops. They came out into the street to be met by laser fire from the ship. They struggled to take cover from the ship as it flew by, Stephan missing one bolt by barely a meter.
The ship turned around and came diving down for another go, only to be met by three stinger missiles. The big, burly figure of Colonel Ostermein appeared through the trees, throwing aside an empty stinger. He pulled out an MP5 and aimed it at the new kid.
"No, colonel, he's with us. A defector."
Ostermein scoffed. "Right. Well, know ahead of time your gonna be interrogated."
"Figured I would be coming in sir."
"Hey, either one of you want to clue us in on the conversation?" cut in Tommy.
"Nothing to it. We're getting out of here. Wear is the get away van?"
Ostermein spoke through broken English, "Through next patch at rail road."
"Right. Well, we'd better get out of here before more of the bastards show up, eh?"
"This is good point." said Ostermein as he ran through the brush to the van.
Stephan crawled in, wondering if Otto was alright. All he could do was hope, for that moment, he'd been mistaken for a civilian.
Hope was all he could run on now.
Otto was escorted in cuffs into the old Wilhelm Palace. For many generations now this building had been a city library. Once, however, it had been the palace of Wilhelm II. The alien in charge of the forces in the Baden-Württemberg area, Rotken, had taken it up as a Zemka military base. They led him through and up a flight of grand stairs to Rotken's personal quarters. inside stood the short stature of the Zemka's ruling class.
He was five feet two inches, a tall one for his species, and decked out in Zemka armor, minus the helmet, that dwarfed his tiny face. "Sit." it barked at him, and he was pushed into a recliner on the other side of the room from the rat. "Leave us." said Rotken, and the two large insectoid like Zemka skulked out on four legs, let in two robots made of similar metal to the Zemka's, and slammed the door behind them.
"Your progress with the rebels has been to slow to my liking." said Rotken quietly.
"Sir, with respect, I've tipped you off every time they've left the base..."
"Ah, you refer to the diner. I believe you were there. I believe you shot one of my men, did you not.?"
Otto hesitated. "It was my only chance. I saw them making their moved. Is it not paramount I keep my cover, sir?"
"Indeed, it is. It is not paramount, however, to let old friendships get in the way of your duty to us. Do you not want to save your country from the destruction that our ships will bring if we deem it necessary? Do you want Germany to be another America? And, of course, if this keep up not only will you not be made the General of the Germans brigade in the Human army within the Zemka, but you will also lose your life."
"Sir, Stephan is not of any concern..."
"On the contrary. We hear what you hear. That's the only reason we needed an inside man. While we can not watch what happens inside there, we can hear it. We know you are conflicted, Otto, but you chose your path long ago. Now, Stephan and your other friends, they've chose their fate as well. Now, the times come for you to lead us straight to them. Because if we do not have the location of your base by morning, I will burn this city to the ground!"