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The War that Never Was

Introduction

March 13, 1943 - "The Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, is dead". Operation Spark, carried out by several high ranking officers of the German Wehrmacht, culminates in the successful planting of a plastic explosive aboard his aircraft as it left Smolensk, Ukraine. We live in the immediate aftermath of this successful plot.

A new regime has taken over Germany. Loyalist SS forces combat those fighting for newly installed junta - who have opened the Western front and allowed allied forces a free march into the capital. Now a race against time has begun. With the US and Britain have broken their treaty with Stalin, the angered soviets have declared total war against Europe and push ever forward toward Berlin. What was once a clean-cut war between good and evil - for many at least - has become a swirling chaos threatening to burn Europe to ashes.

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

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Character Portrait: Marcus Daluth
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Over the rolling hills and across the flat plains of Northern Germany, the fiddling tunes of 'Dixieland' swept over the conquered nation - though conquered was far from the complex truth of the last few weeks. Marcus Daluth, dragging chipped nails through his scalp, looked out over the smoking landscape - eyes lingering over the thick fog that hung over all of God's creation. The burned out chassis of hulking German Panzers littered both sides of the cratered battlefield.

The flickering husks of trucks, half-tracks, and bikes smoked intermediately between the behemoth tanks - corpses of German soldiers filled the spacious voids between them.

"Look at bossman here, teary-eyed over some dead Germans!" A firm hand slapped Daluth on the shoulder, "don't tell me you feel bad for the Nazis, sarge"

Jeremiah Clein flung himself to the ground beside Marcus, taking a wad of chewing tobacco and fingering it between his gums.

"Hell, Jeremiah, guess I wasn't expecting them to all be dead by the time I got here." Daluth countered, taking dry eyes from the battlefield to look Clein in the eye. The man was about his age, mid-twenties, but you wouldn't ever guess by looking at him. As he chewed his tobacco you could see clean to his tongue through the missing teeth and the holes in the ones that were there. His hair was thin and wiry and eyes sunken in from years of who knows what. Drinking, if Marcus had to guess.

"Hell of a thing - ain't it? Weren't enough to get whooped by us, had to start whoopin' themselves I guess." Clein spat, tucking the collar of his jacket closer to his neck - hiding the corporal bars on his lapel, "guess they hated Adolf-o more then we thought"

For a moment the men sat in a silence, the celebratory cheers, and music from the camp behind them filling the absence. They had said Operation Overlord was going to be the hardest and perhaps deadliest landing in military history. The Germans all but gave up when they Army landed. France was little more than a handful of street-level shootouts with retreating Wehrmacht soldiers. The March to Berlin yesterday was filled with gunfire - but none of it was aimed at the United State military.

Sure, the men of 132nd had heard the gunfire and the shells - but by the time they'd come within the area of the danger, it'd long since passed. In the wake of the battle were only the piled corpses of S.S and the white-flag bearing men of the German Wehrmacht. The war was over in Europe before the Americans and the Brits had even got their licks in.

"Maybe they just got smart - heard we was coming and decided 'fuck that'" Marcus reached into the front pocket of his uniform shirt, dug for a cigarette and his lighter and pulled both out. Taking a drag, Daluth kept the lighter in hand and flipped the steel lid absently.

"Guess the Reds will be pissed too - seeing as shits over before they even got here"

"Yeah." Marcus said, still flipping the lid as he looked over the horizon "guess they will be."

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Character Portrait: Maria Deleanu Character Portrait: Marcus Daluth
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"Do you really think Hitler's dead?" It was the question they'd all been thinking since news had broken over the British radio that the Fuhrer of Germany had been assassinated, but no one had been willing to put a voice to those thoughts just yet. Footsteps crunching through snow filled the silence as they all pondered that, no one wanting to jinx the best thing they'd been told since the war started. That would, after all, mean a large part of the fighting was over. The Russians would come wipe out the remainder of the Germans, and with the Americans and British entering from the west...well, at least there was one less enemy to worry about.

Maria reached up to push the too big helmet she wore off her forehead, her fingertips catching on the roughness where once the Wehrmacht Iron Eagle had once been. "Dunno. I mean, it would explain why they're killing each other now." In the past week they'd witnessed extensive German infighting and come across the remnants of even more, stepping over bodies of SS and German military alike as they made their way west. It felt wrong to be marching directly into enemy territory, but all they had was the hope that they'd reach the Americans before the Russians closed in, or a lingering squad of Germans found them first.

The plan was, in actuality, not much of a plan at all. They had just about made it to the western Polish border, and from there would set up a temporary camp in the forest and wait out the eventual meeting between the Russians and Americans. The Soviets were like to want them dead just as much as the Germans had, but apparently the British and their friends had more faith than their ragtag group. Either that, or they were just stupid. She tried to be optimistic about it.

When they neared the edge of the woods she stopped walking, indicating the small clearing they stood in. "We'll stay here for the night. The Americans should be here soon, and then we'll see what happens next. Maybe the Russians won't try to kill us." Her final statement was met with quiet, bitter laughter as they went about setting up camp, two heading off somewhere to find food as another started a fire.

Sitting cross-legged near the growing flames, she took off her helmet and laid her rifle on the ground beside her. If all the reports they'd heard were to be believed, then the war was already on its way to being over. It felt surreal, but she was cautiously positive about these new circumstances. Maybe they would all finally be able to go back home, and return to whatever lives they had left over.

If the Americans showed up.

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Character Portrait: Maria Deleanu Character Portrait: Marcus Daluth
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"If the Russians are our allies, why does the Colonel have us digging trenches?" Simmons spoke to no one in particular - eyes darting from man to man, heaving one last pile of moist, rotting earth before digging his spade deep into the dirt. Marcus kept his eyes on the dirt, daring only a small glance so as to not prompt a direct question at him. By the looks of it the rest of the unit was doing the same, so he did himself a favor and started plowing the spade harder and deeper into the ground to try and drown out boy's constant jabber with the peaceful sounds of manual labor.

Last night had been quiet, everyone celebrated - for the most part - but this morning was a different story. Orders had come down from somewhere brass heavy. It wasn't much of a surprise for Marcus that after stealing Berlin from the Soviets, the command wanted to trade in the party hats for bunkers. If he was Stalin, he'd be ripping his mustache out in anger right about now. If anyone had the right to be pissed at the Germans, it was the Reds. Not that Marcus cared for them much either, but fair was fair.

"I mean, why the need for the bunkers and holes if they are going to-

"The fucks it matter, boy?" Jeremiah spat, "how 'bout you just shut up and keep digging your damn hole?"

Simmons, his young features accented by the blazing sun, twisted his face up. Without another word, however, he went back to digging. Soon they'd have a reasonably defensible trench and after that - they'd transition to helping the tank crews shore up their armor. Then...there was nothing left to do but shit and pray, he guessed.

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Character Portrait: Maria Deleanu Character Portrait: Marcus Daluth
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Squinting through the scope of her rifle, Maria strained to make out anything that would identify the soldiers they'd been watching for the past hour as someone that didn't want them dead. They didn't look to be wearing Wehrmacht uniforms, but that didn't mean they were in the clear just yet. There were plenty more than the Nazis to worry about, especially now. "Well, they don't look German." She passed her rifle down to the next person in like so they could get a look. "Don't look Russian either."

"What do Russian uniforms even look like?"

"I don't know, look for a hammer and sickle, or a red star."

"I can't see anything from here."

As they bickered she took her rifle back, taking another long, hard look at the men in the clearing before them. They looked to be digging trenches, which meant something was coming. Whole armies didn't stop and start setting up fortifications for nothing, especially not with how the war had recently turned. "Let's stay down and be ready. Something's coming, or at least they think so."

"Aren't the Russians and Americans supposed to be friends?"

With a shrug, she settled so that she was lying prone in the undergrowth, and the others followed suit shortly. "I don't think many people are friends anymore. Just be ready."

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Character Portrait: Maria Deleanu Character Portrait: Marcus Daluth
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"Ready on the line!" the ordered rolled down the American defenses like a wave, being shouted by each new man who heard it as they jumped from their foxholes. Last nights rain had turned the hideaways into pools of jello, sinking Marcus' boots and refusing to let them go.

"Goddamnit, fucking mud" The sergeant cussed, flinging mud from his rifle and readying it to his shoulder.

"Lighten up bossman, we get to meet Russians today" Clein whispered with a sort of sardonic sarcasm, leaning his own rifle against the edge of the pit. Marcus didn't reply. The buzzing of whispered conversation died out around him as the beating of his heart took over all his senses. He focused down his iron sights, towards the edge black forests just over the horizon. Seconds turned to hours in his mind, his hands drenched in sweat.

"Contact! Hold your fire!" Carthy, the Major on the line, shouted from the ground - his binoculars firmly planted against his eyes. What was he seeing? Marcus peered harder into the darkness - eyes struggling to find a sign of anything out of the ordinary. Then he saw it. Saw them.

Just beyond the edge of the forest, he could see the rustling of bushes, branches, and grass. Was it the Russians? He leaned in closer, over the edge of his pit as much as was safe - well as safe as one could be while laying in a possible battlefield. He could hear a distant cry of metal on metal coming from the forest, far away but not far enough.

His heart jumped into his throat. This was the moment of truth...

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Character Portrait: Maria Deleanu Character Portrait: Marcus Daluth
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When no one emerged from the forest after what felt like ages of nothing but holding their breath and waiting, it became apparent a decision had to be made. While Maria wasn't exactly keen on the idea of risking their lives any more than they already had been, there was a chance here that they might not get in the future, and there was only one way to find out if it would work in their favor.

"Why don't we just go out there?" The others looked at her like she was crazy, and she shrugged. "We've got nothing better to do, and nothing left to lose at this point."

"Yeah, except our lives." A few others voiced their agreement, and there was a lull.

"Look, either we go out there and risk getting shot, or we hang back and definitely get killed by Russians or Germans. At least out there," She gestured with a hand, "We have a chance."

They all shared looks, not one of them willing to make that potentially life-ending decision. Finally, as one, they dissented. "What do we even do? They have a whole army, we're just...us."

"Don't go out there holding your guns, for one." The boy to her left spoke up, and she nodded in agreement.

"He's right. I guess we just go out with our hands up and hope for the best?" Another round of looks was shared, but at this point they'd warmed up to the idea. It was time to make allies, or die trying.

One by one each of them stood, holstering pistols or slinging rifles across their backs. With hands raised high above their heads, they broke from the treeline, taking careful steps towards the American entrenchment. From a distance one would guess them to be German soldiers, but as they approached it became evident any semblance of a uniform was mismatched and ill-fitting at best. It was difficult to tell who they were.

They barely knew themselves, anymore.

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