Ok, now for the next (supposedly) exciting installment in the adventures of Hauptmann Ryan Lautenslager and Oberwachtmeister Mark Eichenlaub:
Hauptmann Ryan Lautenslager shifted his grip on his Sturmgewehr 50 assault rifle as he stretched back in the passenger seat of his Kubelwagen while Oberwachtmeister Mark Eichenlaub let out a little sigh of relief... They had made another successful delivery of weapons and ammo to the New York City garrison, and after a day of R&R for the men, were headed back to Harrisburg with a load of the latest consumer products from Germany. Most would be sold to civilian retail stores, but a few would be kept for the Wizards in the Penn State Harrisburg Engineering department to reverse-engineer and find additional uses for the technology. A prime example was the Audio Laser Disks (ALD's), which were all the rage in Germany in the 80's, but the Freischteet Pennsilfaani electronics engineers had recently found another use for the digital discs: Storing video, meaning that the local TV studios (and the more well-to-do citizens) now had the means to make almost infinite, crystal-clear copies of their shows and old movies (particularly the ones that their nominal Nazi overlords would not want them to have) on the new Video Laser Disks (VLD's). The latest haul included some compact, portable computers and wireless telephones, which, most likely, would see general use in the region within the next 5 years or so...
The convoy had crossed the New York state line about 20 minutes ago, and was safely away from the prying eyes of any real Nazi loyalists, so Ryan switched on the Shortwave transciever, and dialed the tuner to the usual frequency used by K-ROCK, one of the local "Pirate" radio stations that, in fact, was secretly sponsored by the Freischteet government. The radio crackled to life and the afternoon announcer, "Rockin' Blackbeard's" voice came in, "...And in other news, we have received preliminary reports from Radio Free Moscow that Russian Resistance forces, led by none other than Ivan Stalin himself have either seized or wiped out several key Nazi garrisons in the region! I say good for them! The weather tomorrow is expected to be sunny and warm, with a high in the mid-seventies and an overnight low in the upper 50's... Now back to what you all have been waiting for: The best Rock and Roll music in the badlands! We'll start things off with 'Rock and Roll Music' by the one and only Chuck Berry!"
Hauptmann Lautenslager grinned as the notes of the Chuck Berry classic blared out of his speakers.... The Nazis had tried numerous times to capture and execute the wily rock and roller, and had failed every single time. The funniest part was the fact that the elderly musician was hiding out in Pittsburgh, a city that was NOMINALLY loyal to the Nazi occupational forces, but was in reality run by the Mafia, or "A Council of Honest Businessmen and Concerned Citizens" as they preferred to call themselves. Despite their criminal bent, the Mafia dons who ran Pittsburgh were honest when it came to keeping up their end of a deal, provided that the other party kept theirs. This trait and the fact that the city sat on a key trade hub meant that they were regular trading partners with the Freischteet, providing Pig Iron ingots in exchange for agricultural products and manufactured goods.
That thought caused Lautenslager to mentally cringe... Not only was he in charge of the monthly convoy to New York City, but he also ran the bi-weekly convoys out to Pittsburgh and back. Needless to say, the trip to NYC wasn't exactly easy, especially since they had to pass through Schuylkill County, or "Spruce County" as the two feuding clans who fought over it called it. The one clan, the Randalls, if Ryan remembered correctly, were the reason they had a Jagdpanther attached to this convoy: Years ago, the crazy SOB's managed to use their aging Stuart Tank to take out an entire convoy, except for one of the Kubelwagens that managed to somehow limp back to Harrisburg with the info.
Still, as bad as having to potentially deal with some hillbillies armed with a tank was, the NYC run wasn't anywhere near as bad as the Pittsburgh run. To make it out to Pittsburgh required going through Fulton, Bedford and Sommerset counties: Some of the most lawless regions in the state... Pittsburgh convoys added two more Kubelwagens, another Jagdpanther and two Tiger III tanks to the mix, and even then things could still get hairy, especially if the Perry County Prowlers, a.k.a. the "Hole in the Wall Gang" decided to get in on the "fun"...
Ryan's musings were cut off when the radio set's "Incoming Priority Transmission" buzzer went off. He sighed and switched it from K-ROCK to the encrypted Freischteet Pennsilfaani military channel.
"....Flam Man, over.... I repeat, Any Friendly, this is the Flim-Flam Man, over," a voice crackled over the speaker.
Ryan's eyes widened as he reached for the microphone: "Flim-Flam Man" was special agent William Welch's codename. He keyed the mike and replied, "Flim-Flam Man, this is Long-Haul, I read you, over."
"Long-Haul, roger that, I've just observed a dust-up between the Renfields and Mc Roberts, and the Mc Roberts got a shutout... They even busted the Renfields' Louisville Slugger, over," came the reply.
Ryan sat bolt upright, and even Mark and the MG-42/3 machinegunner in the back seat perked up... What Agent Welch just said about the Robertsons' finally winning a decisive and final victory over the Randalls had serious implications, which, quite frankly, were over Ryan's pay grade. This, of course, left him in somewhat of a bind since, as commanding officer of the closest friendly unit available, it was his duty to assist the special agent in any way possible. After a moment's thought, he keyed the mike once again, "I copy that, Flim-Flam Man... I'm going to proceed to your twenty if I can get approval from the proper level..."
As he was finishing his sentence, another, even more unexpected voice broke in on the conversation, "Long-Haul and Flim-Flam Man, this is Adler-Eens... You are authorized to proceed with 'Plan: Olive Branch,' over."
"Adler-Eens, Long-Haul here, Roger that, sir! I will begin implementing 'Olive Branch' immediately! Long-Haul over and out!"
"Adler-Eens, order acknowledged, Flim-Flam Man standing by to monitor the situation, over and out!"
"Good luck, guys, and may God be with you! Adler-Eens out!"
Ryan hung up the microphone as he and Mark exchanged glances. "Well shucks!" Mark snorted, "Looks like we might be able to get some help in defending our Eastern area against those blasted raiders!"
Ryan scratched his back and replied, "Maybe, but DO keep in mind that as far as any of these clans are concerned, we're a bunch of Nazi-loving, traitorous, slimy collaborating sewer rats.... I'm just hoping that they remember what a flag of truce means." His lips then quirked when an idea hit him, "Actually, I think I might know of a way to convince them to not start shooting long enough to at least listen to what we have to say." Ryan then reached into a hidden pocket inside his uniform jacket and pulled out a "bootleg" ALD of "Chuck Berry's Greatest Hits" and said, "As soon as we reach the Schuylkill county line, I'm going to pop this into the kubelwagen's ALD player, and hopefully they'll draw the RIGHT conclusion about what us playing highly banned songs on our radio means.... But first, I'm going to order a halt so I can explain to the rest of the troops what's going on."
As soon as the convoy came to a halt, Ryan got on the Kubelwagen's PA system and said, "Alright folks, I just received word that the long-standing feud between the Randalls and Robertsons is finally over, and according to our man in the field, the Robertsons just won. Now I've been ordered by the Governor himself to attempt to make contact with the Robertson leadership and make them an offer to open up diplomacy and set up a summit with the Governor..." There was some raised eyebrows and murmuring from among the assembled troops, but Hauptmann Lautenslager carried on, "Hopefully they'll agree, but as you all well know, the game we've been playing with our Nazi 'guests' has most of the clans thing we're a bunch of filthy collaborators." This bit got some cynical laughter as he concluded, "The purpose of this mission is to see if we can change that perception and potentially gain an ally against the various bandits and outlaws around here." He swept his glance over the assembled Pennsylvania Grenzschutz soldiers and said, "My Plan is fairly simple: I'm going to leave the trucks, second and third platoons and all but one squad from first platoon at a defendable point along the Little Schuylkill River, and taking that squad with me on the Kubelwagens and the Jagdpanther... I figure, if anything goes wrong, speed and maneuverability will count for more than numbers will. I'm leaving Leutnant Snyder in charge... Leutnant, if you don't get word back within three hours of my departure from the rendezvous point, assume the worst and proceed DIRECTLY back to Harrisburg, do you understand?"
Leutnant Snyder, a short, freckled, red-haired youth snapped a salute and said, "Ja, herr Hauptmann!"
Ryan nodded, "Good! Based on my experience, we should reach the point I have in mind in two hours, so lets get this show back on the road!" With that, the soldiers quickly climbed back into their vehicles and the convoy began rolling down the road once again.
As they ground their way towards the Little Schuylkill River, Oberwachtmeister Eichenlaub said, "Sir, I've been thinking...."
"Well, Oberwachtmeister, there's a first time for everything," Ryan quipped back.
"Yer a real riot, sir," Eichenlaub snorted, "but as I was saying before your blatant attempt to derail my train of thought is this: Don't the fact that the Robertsons managed to somehow JUST now FINALLY defeat their dread nemesis Randals after all the YEARS of Hatfield 'n' McCoy carrying on they've been doing seem kinda fishy to you?"
Ryan tilted his head to one side for a moment and replied, "Welllll..... You DO have a point, Eichenlaub... The only thing I can think of is that SOMETHING happened to drastically shift the balance of power... Either the Robertsons managed to find a cache of anti-tank weaponry OR they got some outside help, or maybe even BOTH! Let me tell you, NONE of those particular scenarios are anything I'd like to run up against, especially with only a squad of troops for backup... I'm REALLY hoping that they'll be willing to talk!"
"You an' me both, sir," Mark replied, "After all, I'm going to be dragged along with you in this hare-brained scheme of yours!" Ryan just grunted in reply and the Kubelwagen's crew fell into a pensive silence broken only by the best Rock 'n' Roll in the Badlands playing over the radio for the rest of the trip to the "rendezvous point".
As soon as the convoy reached the point, the soldiers used the trucks to form a makeshift wall on the land side of the little Schuylkill River while the two Kubelwagens and Jagdpanther were packed full in preparation of attempting to make contact with the Robertsons. As an additional precaution, the 1870 "Reichskriegsflagges" that served in lieu of the Nazi Flag on the Kubelwagens were replaced with white flags, and the "Chuck Berry's Greatest Hits" ALD was loaded into the ALD player in Ryan's Kubelwagen. Ryan then turned to Leutnant Snyder and said, "Leutnant, remember if I don't give any kind of reply in three hours' time, get in contact with HQ and move out quickly!"
Leutnant Snyder saluted and said, "Jawohl, herr Hauptmann! Good luck, sir!"
Hauptmann Lautenslager returned the salute, climbed into his Kubelwagen and his three-vehicle convoy rumbled down the road towards Shenandoah as the first chords of "Roll over Beethoven" blared out of his speakers.
Okay, I'm going to let someone else deal with the particulars of Gunner and James getting exiled....
The above post is Copyleft 2012, Hikaro Takayama, all wrongs reserved.
Hufflepuff badger just takes what he wants....
Last edited by Hikaro Takayama on Thu May 12, 2011 10:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.