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This chapter plays exclusively in Berlin. Petersholme tries to understand the reality of the New Order (yeah, the Bushies borrowed that one from Hitler, Goebbels, and friends) he's seen and, later, seeks to understand how his friend from uni could possibly fit into the fascist state. Von Kys, on the other hand, attempts to explain the unexplainable -- how an intelligent man could be an integral part of a concerted effort to destroy intelligence (at least make it unimportant). The story will be told in rotation from one to the other side of the channel. The atmosphere of the story will be considerably darker in those parts of the story that has his Lordship in Germany.
The copyright to Flight belongs to me. It cannot be reprinted in any medium without my express permission. If you're under 16-18 yos, you shouldn't be reading stories from the Nifty archives -- however, this story will not lead you into orgasmic prurience (mum and dad can read it over your shoulder, in other words). If you enjoy reading stories stored at Nifty and are delirious that they are free, donate a couple of bucks to Nifty so that those stories will remain free to you.
It was with more than a bit of trepidation that I rode the lift to the top floor of the Metropole Hotel in the centre of Berlin. The Graf von Kys seemed well-satisfied with his country's government and his position within the Party ruling things. That was the only explanation I could find for his being a field grade officer in the army that the National Socialists had created for themselves, an army that co-existed with the regular army.
Waffen-SS. Black leather jodhpurs and black heavy-cotton uniforms, silver epaulet insignia -- and those damned double lightning bolts on either side of the collar. I had to admit it was a dashing uniform. Even formidable. Von Kys with his blond good looks was particularly dashing in it.
The uniform, however, went hand in hand with that other arm of the SS I had already seen at the train station -- the Geheimestaatspolizei. The secret police. The Gestapo. Together, they represented this new Germany that would bully the world for past slights, real and imagined. And force its people to live in fear. Janus von Kys was decidedly a part of this new order -- he wore his party's military uniform and was a Colonel in the Waffen-SS, after all.
Molloy had wanted me to gather information on the German rocket programme from this man? I was beginning to suspect there was considerably more danger to fulfilling my school chum's request than Molloy and the Foreign Office had led me to believe. And the danger could well come from von Kys himself, rather than some common sod in an ill-fitting suit.
As the lift operator opened the gate for me, I had decided that I would do well to gain a much better picture of the geography through which I was about to thread before I exhibited any interest in rockets of any sort.
Before me was a semi-circular lounge facing the lift, with corridors leading into wings to my right and left. Comfortable looking sofas stood against the far wall, side tables with soft lamps separating them. In the centre of the lounge stood a large, imposing desk and seated at it was von Kys' young guardian of this morning.
Corporal Jorsten jumped to attention immediately when he saw me step out of the lift. "Heil Hitler!" he called as his right arm shot out from his body, fingers straight out and tight together.
"Has the Graf finished his lunch?" I asked as I stepped towards him, refusing to stiffen my body or otherwise recognise the lad's salute.
He dropped his arm and studied me for a moment. "I shall announce you, Herr Baron Petersholme," he said, pivoted, and marched to the first doors on the corridor along the left wing.
I watched as he knocked. Almost instantly both doors pulled inward and he spoke to someone I could not see. He nodded at something that was said to him and turned back towards me. "Herr Baron, come please. The Graf is expecting you."
I entered the suite's antechamber. Ceiling to floor windows covered the far wall, the sun streaming through them lighting the room warmly. The inner walls were papered in a pale green. On my left, a black leather-covered sofa sat against the wall and, on my right, was another desk with a typewriter on top of it. Hanging on the wall behind the desk was a large, framed photograph of der Führer seeming to frown down on anyone in the room.
The doors were pulled closed behind me by Jorston and I faced a grizzled, middle-aged chap. These new Germans had proved to be more than just gaudy -- except for the Party's imitation of the army's preference for the old Prussian understatement in their uniforms. The man before me had only the SA signia that showed that he was an old fighter on the sleeve of his uniform. His collar held the twin lightening bolts and his epaulets announced his sergeant major rank. His arm shot out in salute, stuck out there for a moment, and dropped back to the hem of his tunic.
"The Graf will be with you in a moment, Herr Baron Petersholme," he said in Bavarian-accented German. "Would you care to have a seat while you wait for him?" He motioned towards the sofa to my left. "Have you just arrived in Germany?" he asked as I sat down. He still stood before his desk.
"I only arrived this morning."
The non-commissioned officer nodded. "You shall be surprised at how well the new order has already taken hold in Germany -- we work together to build the future, all of us do. It began as the vision of the Führer less than twenty years ago and has become the order by which the people of one of the two great Teutonic states structure their lives."
"And which is the other such state?" I asked quietly.
The man chuckled. "Yours, of course, Lord Petersholme. Great Britain and Germany are brother states." He nodded thoughtfully. "It is our duty -- English and German -- to rule the inferior races that populate the rest of the world."
"There is America," I said unthinkingly. "Quiet English still, you know."
Sternness sculpted his face immediately. "They are a bastard race!" he snarled. "They even have a Jew leading them!"
"Roosevelt?" I asked in surprise.
Fortunately, the inner door opened then and von Kys stepped into the room with us. "Horst!" he said softly. "You would not be trying to convert an English nobleman to National Socialism, would you?"
The non-commissioned officer standing at the desk seem irritated for the briefest moment at his superior's interruption before his face became stonily blank. "Of course not, mein Herr Graf," he answered, clicking his heels and coming to attention.
"Please, Petersholme," von Kys continued, turning his attention to me. He smiled. "Join me. I have a fire burning and a charming Mosel that demands that it be shared between old friends." He turned back to the non-commissioned officer. "Horst, we are not to be interrupted, yes?"
"It has been so long, my friend," von Kys said as he lifted the bottle of wine from its chilled bucket and began to fill two goblets. "I had thought that I left all things English behind when I departed Oxford and returned home almost six years ago." The interior room was lit warmly by the fire and lamps strategically placed about the room.
I sat in a comfortable Queen Anne chair several feet from the fire. Von Kys handed me a goblet and crossed to the other chair facing me. He was still in full uniform, like his sergeant major. "It is so rare that I can relax with old friends any more, Robbie," he said wistfully as he sat himself. "I think the last time was when you, Molloy, and I made a night of it when I was departing Oxford."
"Surely you have friends here?"
Von Kys smiled and nodded. "Of course. But it is not the same. I was a carefree student when you and I knew each other. Since my return, I have become involved in a small way with the building of the new Germany. Somehow, there has been no time for the simple pleasures of life as we had in England."
He sipped at his wine and gazed into the fire. "Your father has died?"
"Yes," I answered. "Almost two years ago now. How did you know?"
He smiled, the gentle, wistful smile that I remembered from our university days. "My entourage -- they called you Baron. It would be on your papers. And, of course, you would not be Baron Petersholme unless your father was no longer with us."
"Your men called you Graf. Does that suggest you've succeeded your father?"
He nodded, still gazing into the fire. "Vati died the summer I returned from England. That was a most difficult year for me -- my father dead, beginning my doctoral programme, joining the Party..." He glanced over at me and cocked his head inquisitively. "Are you married yet, Robbie?"
I thought instantly of Barry and felt my face warm. I forced myself to chuckle. "I haven't had the chance to find the right girl yet. The estate and plants have kept me more than busy." I paused. "Have you found a woman you could give yourself to?"
He nodded. "I met Gisele that first year I was returned to the Fatherland. We married that summer."
"Molloy did too," I told him. "Our old friend now has a healthy son."
"Does he?" Janus asked, allowing his surprise to show through. I nodded. "My son's already five," he said.
I laughed. "I feel as if I'm missing out on something here -- the joys of parenthood."
Von Kys' face became immediately serious. "I would not surrender knowing Wilhelm for anything," he said fiercely. "He has come to mean everything to me. That boy is my life."
Silence grew between us as we each sought to bridge the six years that now separated us and our knowledge of each other. Finally, he looked at me, smiled, and cocked his head. "Why did you come to this conference, my friend?"
"I do have an estate in Northamptonshire, you know, old lad," I parried. "Judging from the last figures I saw, my companies also hold a commanding position in British agriculture." I shrugged. "And I finally had time in which I could take several breaths and call them my own between the disasters that always threaten a businessman."
He nodded, his lips twitching as they resisted a smile. "And, of course, you have already mentioned your interest in Germany's finest breed of milk cows. Do you take a special interest in the breeding of your stock?"
I knew better than to walk into that one. My farm manager had attempted to give me every particular he had ever given father -- until he realised he was putting me to sleep with the boring realities of animal husbandry. "The practical aspects of biology never interested me," I told Janus, smiling. But I have a first class manager who has given me a shopping list."
He relaxed, his face transforming into the smile I remembered from university. "I'm glad you're here, Petersholme. It will be good to relax with a friend once again."
I stood up and moved several feet from the fire before facing von Kys. "You never were one for politics, Janus," I observed, giving into my curiosity. "How have you become so enmeshed in them now?"
He snorted and peered into the fire as if he were searching for an answer to my question there. "My wife was the leader of the university's Bund Deutsches Mädel when I met her." Again, his lips twitched and a wry smile this time played across his face. "Politics became a part of our developing romance." He nodded to himself. "Yes, the reality of political involvement was most unavoidable if I wanted her. And I quickly learnt that even chemistry is a political forum."
"But you became much more than just a member of the party, von Kys. You're a Colonel in the National Socialists' military arm."
"The Waffen-SS Ordnance Corps, Petersholme. We do not go marching around Berlin singing, `Wenn die SA und SS Aufmarschiert'." He chuckled. "We give them the reason and the possibility to sing such songs."
"Gisele, the Gräfin, introduced me to very influential men here in Berlin," he mused. "I was quite surprised at my wife's connections and at some of their suggestions to ensure my future -- and my family's place in history."
"Germany has both the Wehrmacht and this Waffen-SS. Why are there two armies, old lad?" I asked, giving vent to my curiosity.
He laughed and refilled our goblets. "The Wehrmacht is Germany's army -- every country has one. It defends the German Reich against any enemy and wages war if that becomes Germany's political aim at some point."
"And this Waffen-SS you're a member of?"
"It defends the National Worker's Socialist Party of Germany. It carries out the party's objectives wherever the Reich rules -- I suppose that would normally be in conjunction with the Wehrmacht."
I showed my confusion. I could not imagine Neville Chamberlain's Tories fielding an army -- Labour nor the Liberals for that matter.
"Take the Sudetenland, Petersholme. The Wehrmacht has taken up positions to guard the borders of this new addition to the Greater Reich. The Waffen-SS ensures that the population inside the Sudetenland joins in with other Germans throughout the Reich to create the new order that guides the German Volk."
"I see." I did not really but thought it best that my German friend believed that I did.
"Robbie, there will be soon come another war -- one between the inferior Slavic races and us who are Aryan. Hopefully, the German eagle and the British lion shall join together to destroy once and forever the invidious Slavic encroachment on Europe. We must reclaim the very heart of the geopolitical centre of the world.
"The Wehrmacht will destroy the Slavic armies -- because they are enemies of the German State. It will be the job of the Waffen-SS to cleanse that land that is the heart of Euro-asia after the Wehrmacht has won it and make it available to Aryans once again -- so that you or I could stroll along the streets of some reclaimed city and be safe."
I did not like the sound of that but kept my silence.
He chuckled and downed the wine still in his goblet. "I'm not really a part of that, however."
I gazed at him and waited for him to explain.
"I am a scientist, Robbie -- not a military man. The Waffen-SS, however, is as far-seeing as the party is. It is not mired in regulations that stifle intelligent enquiry, as armies usually are. Its one goal is to do what the Führer commands it to do. To find ways to do so." He smiled to himself. "There is so much man has learnt about himself and about the world in which he lives in this century. Because it is not controlled by petty regulations as the Wehrmacht is, the Waffen-SS can bring the brightest men together to take that knowledge and make something useful of it."
"So, that's why you're in this uniform?" I asked brightly.
"Of course, old lad," von Kys chuckled and began to refill our goblets.
A knock sounded at the door and pulled our attention to it. Janus von Kys frowned. "Enter!" he called, and we watched Horst enter the room. "What is it?" von Kys demanded sullenly.
"The opening ceremonies of the conference, mein Herr. You are to lead them through dinner." I noticed the man was studying me as he spoke to his superior.
"How long before this begins?"
"A half hour, Herr Oberst."
"Verdammte!" von Kys growled. "Very well. Call the others. I shall join you in ten minutes." He turned back to me, dismissing the non-commissioned officer. "Wednesday night, after this conference is over, Reichsführer Himmler shall be hosting a small party, Robbie -- will you be my guest?"
"If you would like me to, of course."
He smiled. "Good. Then we can drive out to Schloß Kys for the weekend. I was a guest in your home when I was in your country at university; now, it is time that you are a guest in mine." He paused a moment. "And you may inspect my herd of milk cows -- they are of the purest breed. We can discuss you buying some of them, if you would like."
I suspected that I would be making arrangements to ship cattle to Northamptonshire before I left the German Fatherland.
He stood, finished his wine, and pulled his tunic down. "Now, I must go and be the politician that the party wants me to be," he said with a tight smile. "My corporal will see you back to your floor, my friend."
He stepped to the door and was gone. Within moments, the young Corporal Dagold Jorsten was standing at the door waiting for me.