A small town is transported to an alien world
A Nazi officer walked from among the SS men and spoke hastily to the large Viking who had instructed Monday's party to land at the docks. The huge red bearded Viking at first begin to shake his head in anger but soon started grinning from ear to ear at something the officer said, a hopeful smile lighting up his fierce countenance. Then the officer walked over and stood looking at Monday with a steady appraising stare.
"Uncle Monday, I presume?" stated the officer in perfect English, seeing the hint of surprise in Monday's eyes. "I am Oberst Heinreich Wohlmar Doenitz of the Third German Reich, and you are my prisoner of war. Please have your party lay down their weapons?"
Monday looked into the eyes of the officer then signaled for his party to do as he said and place their weapons on the ground.
"You have us at a disadvantage Colonel," he stated, "we come in peace and wish only to retrieve two of our children who were kidnapped by the Vikings."
"You are the leader of your people?" Heinreich asked more a statement than a question.
It was obvious to Monday that this Nazi Colonel had been talking with the children. His smug look of hidden knowledge betrayed his intentional ignorance. He was a tall man around six feet, weighed around two hundred pounds, with sandy blond short cropped hair, and handsome Nordic features. His eyes were a steel gray like Monday's and he carried himself with complete self-assurance.
"I am," Monday replied, "but we are no longer at war with Germany." He was curious as to how this officer, who appeared to be in his late thirties, and his men had not aged over the past fifty years since the end of World War II. All of them should be well into their eighties or nineties, old men near the twilight of their lives. "The war has been over for almost fifty years and Germany is now one of our closest allies."
It was his turn to see complete shock on the face of the German Colonel who continued to stare at him in slack jawed disbelief. He finally collected himself and stammered, "fifty years! What year is it, or what year was it when you were transported to this crazy world?"
"It was 1992," Monday replied, "about a year and a half ago. What year were you dislocated or whatever it was?"
"July 31, 1944," replied the Colonel, "and we've been on this world for no more than eight months."
They both looked at each other in surprise and wonder at this extremely odd news. How could two separate groups be transported to the same world, one from 1944, the other from 1992, yet the latter arrive almost a year before the Germans.
"Evidently the space temporal warp or whatever it is also manages to twist time as well as distance," Dom replied, having overheard the amazing conversation. "Who can say what year it is back on Earth; it very well may be 1944 and not 1993 or even 1993 B.C. I remember reading somewhere where a Free French Pilot by the name of Antoine de Saint-Exupery disappeared under mysterious circumstances on July 31, 1944 somewhere over the Mediterranean. Where were you when you were transported to this world Colonel?"
The Colonel looked at Dom with a sheepish look, the color draining from his face. "My battalion was flying over the Mediterranean south of Italy," he stated, "in six heavy transports, two of which we never found."
Monday looked closely at the Nazi selecting his words before he spoke. He replied in German instead of English for the benefit of the still shocked man.
"Since the war is over and Germany and America are now close allies, there is no reason we cannot be the same," he stated, his German flawless. "We each have a larger enemy to deal with in the unknowns of this vast new world."
"Please bring your party and come with me," Heinreich stated, saying something to the Viking Chief as he turned to order his Sergeant to have his men stand down. The Chief yelled at the mob who begin to disperse, then headed with Monday and Heinreich towards a long building. As they entered the building the rank stench from unwashed bodies assaulted his nostrils. The place was filthy from sour smelling ale, spoiled food, vomit, and the waste from domestic chickens and pigs. Monday's impression of the adventurous Viking life took a quick nose dive.
Before he'd taken three steps into the room, he heard someone yell his name and the two children ran and jumped into his arms.
"What took you so long?" questioned Jimmy, "these bad guys could have kilt us or something."
Talia said nothing but simply laid her head against his chest and sobbed in relief.
"We got here as fast as we could Jimmy," he replied, "you appear to be unharmed?" he questioned, looking the youth over then slapping him on the back. Jimmy's two brothers, Chris and Gary, took him aside to hug and talk to him and to relieve his anxiety.
"Couldn't we talk outside?" Monday asked Heinreich, indicating the offensive smell in the long house.
"Follow me," Heinrich laughed, taking them across the clearing to a smaller house which was still large enough for all of them. The place was clean and spotless and smelled of fresh pine. He indicated they should sit down and rest on wooden benches covered with clean animal skins. He then removed his holster and ammunition belt and threw it over a peg in the wall and signaled to three young females, obviously slaves, to bring food and drink. Monday looked at the three slaves in obvious displeasure at their status in life.
Heinreich noticed his disapproving stare and spoke up. "Yes, they are slaves," he stated, "It’s the Viking way of life. However, they are not treated as slaves in this home and they are much better off with me than they'd be with one of their brutish Viking masters. I do not strike nor beat them and what comfort we share is agreed upon by both parties."
This unnecessary confession from one of Nazi Germany's, deaths-head commanders, surprised Monday.
"Your attitude is not in keeping with your appearance and reputation," replied Monday, pointing to the SS insignia on Heinreich's collar, "unless of course I'm mistaken in my history."
"You are not mistaken," Heinreich replied, "the SS are the monsters of the Third Reich. Fortunately for me and my men we were assigned to oversee the regular German army as political advisors and trainers in special combat tactics. We never took part in the atrocities which were rumored to be going on in the conquered lands, especially Poland. I spent several years in America attending the University and several of my junior officers and Non Commissioned Officers were originally from the United States, drafted by Germany when the war broke out. No, we are not your regular Nazi SS storm troopers, and even by July 1944 we knew the war was lost."
"And where do you stand with the Norsemen or Vikings or whatever they're called?"
"When we appeared here shortly before winter settled in, the Vikings as you call them attacked us, at first killing several of my men. We countered their attack with modern firepower, strictly in self-defense, killing a large number of them. They stopped fighting and offered us peace terms thinking we had been sent by their chief God they call Odin. I've managed to explain our presence to their King, Thongar, and the large red bearded man you see sitting across from us, using a dialect of the Norwegian language I learned as a young boy and improving over the months. They're an extremely ignorant bunch of people, superstitious and filthy, yet they are exceptionally brave and dangerous warriors. I explained to Thongar that you were long lost people of the earth I came from and that you were allies to Germany and would be allies to the Vikings. I think he understood my meaning."
"How many people do the Vikings number," Monday asked, still worried at this unexpected threat to the security of their new settlement.
"There are about six thousand of them," Heinreich replied, "if you count the women and slaves. There are no more than two thousand warriors at best count."
The slaves had placed large platters of freshly roasted meat and loaves of warm dark bread on the tables in front of them accompanied by heavy jugs of what smelled like green beer. General Zanik and Thongar greedily helped themselves to the mouthwatering meat and started to eat heartily. The others in the room took small portions and begin to break their fast. A jug of white liquid was placed on the table next to the beer, which Heinreich identified as fresh goat's milk.
"And just how many people do you have under your command," Heinreich asked, breaking off a piece of the delicious smelling bread and chewing on it?
Monday realized he had no option but to trust this man whom he was beginning to like and he really had no need to lie to him. Hoping to gain his confidence and pressure him into becoming an ally, he answered.
"At the present time I can field about two hundred fifty men with modern weapons, another twelve hundred with new muskets, and about three thousand with primitive weapons."
"We just defeated an attack by forty thousand Tyberians," Jimmy blurted, his mouth full of meat and bread, "kicked their asses good."
"Very impressive," Heinreich replied, "then I assume you have other heavy weapons of advantage?"
"A lot of luck and plain old Yankee ingenuity," Monday replied, looking at Jimmy with a warning to keep his mouth shut. The new settlement hadn't had a chance to rebuild their industrial base and were a long way from self-sufficiency. "We're working on it."
"How long have the Vikings been on this world," Dom asked, watching as Thongar drank down a full mug of the smelly ale, belched, then went back to stuffing his face with heaping handfuls of steaming meat and cheese which had also been provided.
"As near as I can tell, they've been here as long as they can remember," Heinreich stated, "however, their memory isn't that long for the most part."
"If they've been here since the ninth or tenth century when their race flourished on Earth you'd think there'd be a lot more of them," stated Chief Kendricks, looking questioningly at Monday.
"Therein lies the problem," replied Heinreich, "the Vikings have an enemy which manages to keep their number under control. In fact, if I'm correct in my interpretation of what Thongar says, the Viking culture is slowly being killed to extinction by these enemies. There were well over twenty thousand Vikings in these hills at one time. That's another reason they've accepted me and my men so readily. They see us as strong allies against this enemy."
"What kind of enemy," Monday asked, looking suspiciously at the belching Chief.
"Neither I nor any of my men have seen them," Heinreich replied, "however; Thongar says their number equals the stars. They occupy the lands to the east of here and attack the Viking villages from the air stealing babies and abducting young men for unknown reasons."
"From the air? What kind of flying machines do they have?"
"Like I said, we've never seen them. Every time I bring up the subject with Thongar or any of the other warrior chiefs they give me the evil eye and hasten away."
"This could be a potentially serious threat to my people," Monday stated, looking at Dom as he translated the information for Dhar into sign language. He also translated it into Latin for the benefit of the young Tyberian who was still trying to master English.
"You did mention the word allies," stated Heinreich, looking over his mug of milk at Monday, "we are prepared to join forces with you if you will have us?"
"What will the Vikings say if you leave them?"
"What can they say; they cannot stop us from leaving. If they wish to remain in alliance with us they can send a delegate back to your people to form an official treaty or agreement. Although they're small in number, they'd be a strong asset in any fight."
Monday thought of the irony of the situation. He already had allies who were previous Tyberian Slaves called Achaeans, who dressed like Spartans, a company of one time Tolec Slaves who resembled fierce Aztec warriors, he had a Century of Tyberian Legionnaires who had deserted and joined him with their families, he had his Ionar allies, a non-human race of cat like people, plus his own farmers, truckers, bikers, National Guardsmen, some who had reverted to frontier dress, and a hodgepodge of others. Now, he was to inherit a half battalion of Nazi SS Storm Troopers and quite possibly a contingent of ancient Viking Warriors. What strange quirk of fate could unite such an unlikely bunch of people?
Suddenly, a slave hurried into the room and prostrated himself in front of King Thongar, speaking very rapidly. Thongar laughed as he pushed the slave over with his foot, then turned and addressed Heinreich in his guttural tongue.
"Looks like you've made an enemy," Heinreich stated, turning to Monday.
"Who hasn't at one time or other," Monday replied, "who is it this time?"
"A Chief by the name of Bjorn states that you threw him to the ground and smeared his honor. He has demanded from Thongar that he be permitted to challenge you according to Viking law."
"Must have been that big blond headed guy that struck you when we arrived," Tom Thumb stated, "let me take care of him for you Top?"
"It cannot be," Heinreich replied, "according to their law only Monday can fight his own battle or he will forfeit the challenge."
"And if I forfeit the challenge, what then?"
"This is a death fight," stated Heinreich, "you would automatically be executed and all your possessions given to Bjorn."
"And if I fight the lug head?"
"If you don't kill him, you will still be executed and your possessions given to Thongar."
"Catch-22," Monday replied, "when do we fight?"
"Immediately," replied Heinreich.