Wildside 2020: Scattered

Chapter Three: One Goose Step Beyond
by R.W. Lander


As Cindy careened through dimensional space, she heard a familiar voice. It was a man's voice, screaming as if in complete agony. Against her better judgement, she opened her eyes.

Her stomach wrenched to the left and then twisted into a knot, forcing her to close her eyes again quickly. But in the split second she had to glance out, she could swear that she saw Golden Dragon passing through the dimension stream.

* * * * *

Prologue 2:

Samsara gazed up at the projection of his old friend Golden Dragon tearing through the dimensional stream. His eyes blazed with the fires of enlightenment.

"I've finally found you. Ironically enough, I have Azathoth to thank for it. And now, Wildside 2020 will find you too."

Different dimensions began to appear above Samsara. They disappeared abruptly as Dave Hunter limped into the room.

"Did you find them?" he asked anxiously.

"I'm afraid not, Dave," Samsara replied. "Not yet."

* * * * *

The soft voice of the computer came over the cabin speaker. "We have entered a new dimension. Dimensional flux equipment powering down."

Cindy opened her eyes and looked out. She and all the rest of the Mecha were at a stand still in the middle of a flat shiny surface. For as far as she could see, the surface was smooth, and it looked almost like glass. She noted a flashing light on her command chair and tapped it. In response, the heads-up-display gave her a readout of abnormally high background radiation.

Her proximity alarm sounded and she looked up to see one hundred and fifty armored men flying in formation towards them. Each of them was fully covered in metal, with an iron cross centered on their chest. The suits were sleek and streamlined, and they each had some kind of large metallic glove on their right hands.

Some of the other Mecha began firing, but they managed to hit only two of the small moving targets before they got in close. The armored men raised their gloved hands and touched a sequence of buttons. All Mecha stopped firing. Cindy tapped the comm switch on her armchair.

"Any Mecha units still reading me?"

There was dead silence. Cindy watched as the armored men began landing, two to a Mecha, and working on opening the entry hatches. Cindy heard the hatch behind her snap open.

She turned and saw Karl climbing up into the cockpit. He gave a her a surprised look when he saw her.

"Oh, thank God," he said, walking towards the chair. "Whatever they just fired must interfere with the neural net somehow and knock out the pilots. But how did you know?"

"I'm a telepath," she replied. "But you forgot that, didn't you? Or at least, you didn't think I would read your mind."

Karl's smile disappeared. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You sick Nazi bastard," Cindy snarled. "You murdered Marin because she found out about you, and you killed your own daughter to spark this attack. And now you planned to come up and slit my throat after I was knocked out by those weapons."

Karl pulled a pistol from underneath his coat. "True," he said. "But a gun shot will work just as well."

Cindy responded by concentrating and yanking his gun out of his hands with her telekinesis. It landed in her right hand and she pointed it at him.

"You must really think I'm stupid," she said. "Or you are, to pull a gun on me after I've just told you that I know all about you."

"No," Karl said, stepping forward, "I just think you are a weakling and a coward!"

He lunged for the gun and Cindy fired twice, hitting him in the heart and the head. He fell to the ground with a look of surprise frozen on his face.

"Your mistake," she said.

A scratchy voice began speaking in German. Cindy searched Karl's jacket and found the communicator that it was coming from. She didn't respond, but watched the activity outside her carefully. Most of the armored Nazis had gotten into the Mecha by now and had no doubt killed all of the pilots. The two who were assigned to her vehicle were floating just outside.

Cindy focused her thoughts on one of them and tried to reach into his mind. She succeeded, and searched for the root of his messages, in simple terms, before they were encoded into German.

She found a growing annoyance and a wish to know if the pilot was taken care of. "The pilot is dead," she said, trying her best to mimic the voice of Karl. "Proceed."

She worried that the Nazi would wonder why she didn't sound right or why she didn't respond in German, but to her surprise, he simply waved and flew over to the other Mecha. Once everyone was inside a Mecha, they began marching. Cindy followed them.

After marching the Mecha along at a good pace for about five hours, they reached a beach. The Mecha stopped and waited.

From beneath the water, a periscope rose. It was soon followed by a tower, and then another, until eventually what looked like an aircraft carrier rose from the water. It was bright silver, and bristled with guns and rocket launchers. It was clearly a massive submarine.

A door slid open on the side and the Mecha began marching in. Cindy followed, until eventually everyone was packed into a cargo bay like sardines. A message came over the comm in German, and Cindy was about to reach out for the mind of the sender when the lights went out and she got a sinking sensation. They were going underwater, she realized. And she was alone on a Nazi sub.

Cindy didn't know it, but a very close friend and ally was on board the sub with her. He was dressed in stolen Krieg Komando armor, but Vincent Pillar had made his way onto the bridge of the last surviving Nazi U-Boat. He glanced both ways to make sure no one was following him into the communications room and then he ducked inside.

Once inside, Vincent removed his helmet and grabbed the radio. The boat was sinking below the water, and very soon the antenna would be submerged, so the communications officer was not on duty. Vincent tapped out a message in Morse code to the coordinates Dave Hunter had given him.

"Nazis have Mecha...70 or so...send help to South American base."

Vincent put his helmet back on. It was easy to maintain his cover, since all of the Nazis believed that the Wildside spy was dead. Once he had recovered, Vincent had simply slipped back inside and killed one of the Krieg Komandos. He didn't like doing it, but he knew full well what kind of a situation he was in, and acted appropriately.

Stepping back onto the main bridge, Vincent saw another Krieg Komando walk up to the U-Boat commander, General Helmut Trenchant. He said, "Karl has not contacted us from inside his Mecha. Should we investigate?"

"No," Trenchant replied, "I'm sure Karl is fine. He probably needed a rest after arriving."

Vincent went back to standard patrol duty, keeping up with the others on board the sub. Like all the others, he marched with stiff precision, but unlike the others, his mind was not on his duty. His mind was on figuring out a plan to capture seventy Mecha before the Nazis could destroy the Council of the Free World with them.

* * * * *

"General Hunter, this just came in for you." The young corporal snapped off a quick salute and walked off after handing the yellow piece of paper to Dave Hunter.

Dave stepped away from the other two generals in the room and looked over the paper. "Damn," he muttered.

"Something wrong?" one of the others asked.

"Vincent, the metahuman from the other dimension, says that the Nazis got their Mecha, about seventy. He requests assistance."

"Our conventional military would be wiped out by those monsters, if the Nazi reports are correct," one of the generals noted.

"Agreed," Dave said. He thought for a second, and then said, "General, let me take Wildside down there for back-up. We're a small unit, and we can take on these things without having to resort to overt warfare."

The two generals looked at each other and nodded.

"Okay, General Hunter," the older one said. "But be careful. If Wildside can't stop them, we'll need you in the fight ahead."

"Understood, sir." Dave saluted and walked out of the room. He tapped his comm badge and said, "Wildside, this is Hunter. Report to the Vagabond in five minutes. We're going to South America to fight some giant robots."

No one responded, and Dave said, "It's not the beer talking this time. There really are giant robots."

The affirmations started coming in from his team after that.

* * * * *

Cindy carried Karl's body with her down to the cargo area. She stuffed him in with the extra ammunition for the chain guns and sealed the chamber. She went to the exit door, but it wouldn't unlock.

"Computer, unlock hatch," she said.

"Hatch is unlocked," the computer replied.

Cindy pushed, harder, and found that the hatch was actually giving way, but it was running into something before it could really open. Probably another Mecha, jammed in tight against the Victory. Frustrated, Cindy sat against one of the walls and fell asleep.

When she woke up, nothing had changed. Her door was still jammed, and as far as she knew, she was still inside the sub. She climbed back into the cockpit and found a ration bar. As she chewed methodically on the hard brown foodstuff, she heard her comm activate. A voice was speaking in German again.

"Great. This not speaking German thing is going to blow my cover fast," she mumbled between bites. "It was just luck that they didn't know Karl personally, or I would already have been nailed."

Visual sensors came on-line and sunlight flooded the interior of the cockpit. Cindy dropped the half-eaten ration bar on the floor and raised her arm to her eyes to block out the sudden influx of light.

When her eyes adjusted a second later, she saw that the sub had surfaced and that the door to the Mecha compartment was open, leading down to a beach. A few miles inland a rain forest started.

Cindy got the hint and moved her Mecha out onto the beach. It sunk lightly into the sand, and she found it slow going to get to a fairly solid patch of ground. She toyed with the idea of making a break for it, but knew that the other Mecha would cut her down long before she reached the forest. Besides, the forest cover would only reach to about the shoulders of the Victory.

Cindy followed the jeeps and armored carriers that also emerged from the sub, walking behind them towards the rain forest. After a few hours march, they reached the Nazi compound. Standing in front of the compound was a makeshift parade stand. About ten Nazis, all of apparently high rank, waited on the stand, and they stood and saluted the Victory as it came into sight.

"Well, this is going to just ruin their welcome ceremony for you, Karl," Cindy said. "But how do you pass up an opportunity like this?"

With that, she set to work remote-programming the fire control system. When she was done, she headed for the escape hatch.

Cindy dropped out of the hatch and fell towards the ground. She knew exactly how exposed she was, and watched as some of the Krieg Komandos started heading towards her. They stopped when they saw the cannons on the Victory power up and draw a bead on the parade stand.

Almost all of the Krieg Komandos dove for the parade stand, sweeping the Nazi command off the wooden platform before the Victory's energy cannons could lay waste to it. The other Mecha began firing on the Victory, disabling its cannons and knocking it to the ground. They stopped short of destroying it when the Nazi commanders screamed in protest.

Cindy watched the Krieg Komando who hadn't rescued Nazi officers swoop towards her. She fired a mental bolt at him, hoping to take him out before he could catch up to her. It didn't work, and he caught her in his arms. His mechanically-distorted voice was full of annoyance.

"Damn it, Hunter, I'm trying to help you! It's me, Vincent!"

The Komando flew them both lower, nearly scraping along the ground. He was headed for the entrance to the Nazi compound. Cindy tried to scan his mind to see if he was telling the truth, but her powers couldn't penetrate his defenses. That could mean it was Vincent, or it could mean that he has good shields, Cindy thought. She decided not to take any chances and blasted him again. Again, the blast seemed to have no effect. They landed inside the compound and the Komando tapped the keypad to close the outer door.

He removed his helmet, revealing long black hair. Cindy was relieved to find that it was indeed Vincent. She almost hugged him, but got control of herself and instead punched him in the shoulder.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

"This is where I landed. I take it you landed in Mecha World?"

She nodded and Vincent gave her a puzzled glance in return. She frowned, and he shook his head.

"It's nothing, I was just thinking...that's awful coincidental." Vincent glanced at the door and said,"We better get moving. They'll be after us any second."

They started running down the hallway, and as Vincent started shedding the components of the Komando armor, she asked, "So what's the plan? How do we get out of here?"

"Getting out of here isn't good enough," Vincent said. "I'm pretty sure we're here to help the Wildside of this time line wipe out this Nazi base. Which means that somehow we have to get control of that Mecha or destroy it."

Cindy gave him a look of disbelief. "Vincent, you clearly have no idea of the capabilities of those Mecha! I don't think our best shots can even scratch them!"

"Well, we'll have to think of something, because unless we do it, the Nazis will take over and they definitely won't let us go home."

There was an explosion at the end of the hall, and just before they turned another corner, they saw Krieg Komandos advancing into the compound in pursuit of them.

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