We were like gods once... BIG UPDATE Friday Nov 5!


Herder of monkies

They're comin' out of the woodwork now :)

I will update either this weekend or early next week. Promise. I'll even try to get in two updates next week, as I have a good idea of how I want to write up the next couple 'issues'.

And I will add another shameless plug, if you folks have not read The_Universe's Story Hour then high-tail your backside over there. Now. It is very good stuff, I guarantee it is one of the best D&D Story Hours you'll read.

Oh, I'll also take this opportunity to post up the picture that Captain Claymore put together of Frogbot (see attachment). Thanks Cap.


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Herder of monkies
Vigilance said:
All caught up. Nice Ledded! I really like this. :)


Hey everybody, say hello to Chuck, who wrote Blood and Vigilance that we use for our supers rules <waves> Hi Chuck! :)

('bout damn time you stopped by.... :D)


Herder of monkies
We were like gods once... [Focus on the task at hand]

Smitty felt detached and separate from the world as he moved into the building. There were fires burning, threatening to engulf the entire structure.

He walked right through them without a single feeling.

No feelings at all, for that matter. Every time he thought in this way, and moved in this way, it was the same; he was a ghost among the caricatures of the living. He stepped into his own private stage, as if he were watching the world as it played on a slightly bent cellulose film in the solitary theater of his own mind. Colors softened, blurred, washed out in the grey light. Sound became muted. Feeling became non-existent. Everything seemed so much less important, so cold, so much less… urgent. The draw of this place was palpable, like the scent of Christmas dinner wafting over a field as you walked home slowly through silent, snow-filled fields. Teasing. Drawing you ever closer. Daring you to embrace it, to smother yourself in apathy and removal.

Smitty had often wondered if it bothered other people who could do it, who could walk this place between worlds.

Because it didn’t bother him.

Drawing strength on the quiet, the lack of emotion, the lack of pain and fear and sense and time, he always felt his mind close sharply in on the task at hand, no distractions. Nothing but the task at hand.

They told him that if he used his abilities, if he hunted men instead of meat, that he could help end the war. He could save allied lives, maybe even make the world a better place for all people. He could be a hero, they said, and get medals and cheering crowds and the admiration of good men and women everywhere.

Smitty could give one flying damn about all that.

All he knew was that he was focused, like the tip of a razor-sharp knife. On his job. On the soft neck of the bastards that brought him to this god-forsaken place. And if killing Nazis would bring him home, then he would do it. He didn’t have to like it. But he would do it. And he would do it well.

Nothing but the task at hand.

There was a flicker of something in this place, a flash of warmth and color through his being as he floated up the burning stairs towards a small window set in the stairwell.

A face, for a moment, pale alabaster skin, auburn hair. A smile. Maybe.

Just maybe.

Something more than the task at hand.

Begrudgingly, He pushed the thought away and stepped out of this cold, phantom place.

The world crashed in around Smitty, sound and sight and sensation slamming into him like a piano dropped from a Manhatten sky-rise. Heat on his back, screams below and to the left. Sniper in the tower firing firing firing, movement in the tower and bellows of rage. A blur of movement crashing through the tower window. Rattle of machine-gun fire and yells and flashes of explosions and smoke billowing and roaring and one plane moving out from a hanger.


Two figures inside, one large, one small. Smaller one… the boy. The kid. Psimeld.

Fire. Cycle the bolt. Fire. Spin Smitty move Move MOVE!

Smitty rolled away from the window lightning-quick as flames slammed into it from an unseen but sensed assailant, unharmed as he spun up the steps, outrunning the flames, his breath coming in gasps as the conflagration engulfed the stairwell. He smiled, though, as he ran, clasping a window’s edge and leaping out. In his mind’s eye he had a short vision of a flash of surprise on the Nazi pilot’s face as the first round punched through the canopy and the second right behind it. He was still smiling as the wind whipped against his falling body even as he entered that place again and slowly floated towards the ground, his thoughts flicking to another face, this one much softer. The only thing that brought any warmth to this place.


John had never thought of himself as being that religious of a man, even though his grandma had taken him to church often enough. He’d always been more like his grampa; always had a taste for the wild side, a glint of adventure in his eye. That’s why he took up flying as a teen, sneaking off with gramps to hear stories of his exploits in the The Big One, begging for any excuse to go up in that old biplane they kept in the barn. Dreaming of Daring Deeds and fighting the Good Fight. He’d never given that much thought to church, or religion.

That was swiftly changing.

Because if there was a hell, he was in it now.

And if there was hell, there most assuredly was a heaven.

It just seemed so far away at the moment.

Buildings and planes were burning, blood and bodies were strewn everywhere on the ground and the runway, casting a nightmarish red cast to what little light there was. Thick, oily smoke belched from all over, stinging his eyes and nose. Streaks of flame from the giant Nazi scorched across the sky, immolating people, buildings, planes on the ground. Servicemen and civilians ran panicked, some trying to help others trapped in burning wreckage as their screams pierced his concentration, others merely fled for their lives or fired wildly into the smoldering night sky. Occasionally one would jerk as blood sprayed from a wound from an unseen rifle and collapse to the ground, begging for help, for water, for their mother. Machine guns and small arms rattled and spewed imminent death everywhere, and things exploded as the numerous fires caught flammable contents.

John, the Artic Wolf, tried to steel his nerves, pushing away the cries of the wounded and dying. If they didn’t stop the Nazi’s here, there would be many more before the day was through.

He tried to find the Baron der Flammen, but he was fast and there was just too much smoke and fire. The front machine gun on the halftrack swung wildly into the sky to and fro in his hands, and he would occasionally fire a burst at a hint of movement, but to no result.

Then, he noticed movement on the runway. A lone spitfire had pulled free of one of the hangers and was moving out onto the runway. Yes! he thought jubilantly, sure that they were about to get one in the air and give some back to the Nazi scum. Then he noticed that there were two figures in the plane, saw the canopy spiderweb and crack as he caught a glimpse of Smitty putting two through the top, then spin away from his high window perch. Instantly, a jet of flames roared high over his head to punch hard into the side of the building, sections of brick and wood blowing free with the impact.

Bingo. There was the Baron.

He swung the MG up and depressed the paddles again, the big .50 cal jerking hard with recoil and spitting brass. John tried to lead the immense Nazi, and saw several rounds punch hard into him.

But even as the massive Baron jerked with the impact, he dove low around the air control tower and out of sight, and the belt in the .50 cal ran through the last round. The machine gun clacked hard on the empty bolt.

Damn, what is that guy made of?!?

John remembered the plane, and heard moaning from the driver’s seat of the halftrack as he hastily fed another belt of ammunition into the .50.

“Soldier? Soldier!”, he yelled at the young man at the wheel.

The young man, a boy really, looked up confused and replied with a squeaky voice.

“Sir? Um… sir… wha… wha… happened?”

“Can those questions soldier! Get this halftrack moving!”

John pulled back hard on the priming lever, the machine gun making a loud ka-shink as a new round was pulled into the chamber.

“We got a plane to catch”.

Meanwhile, Frogbot had crashed hard through the door and was literally racing at full speed up the steps of the control tower. He could hear firing from above and the tinkle of brass casings as they bounced across the floor, and also… singing? More like a cheery humming, with an occasional happy exclamation. He accessed his memory core and brought up the song.

QUERY: Lili Marlene. Panzergrenadier version, it would seem.

NOTE: Not a bad tune. If you’re a Nazi.

ASSUMPTION: Nazi still present on the roof. And he sings… badly.

Frogbot tore through the last landing and up the ladder to the roof, stopping on for a few seconds to shred the locked trapdoor at the top before bursting through with a somersault to land on two closely placed feet, arms spread and claws extended.

“Voila! Frogbot eez here, mon ami! The time for your evil ways, and truly tres bad singing, to end is at hand!” Frogbot announced triumphantly.

And was promptly shot in the chest by the waiting, smiling Ein Schuß.
The round hit him and sent him falling back into the trapdoor, Frogbot extending his arms and legs to land spread-eagle over the opening.

WARNING: Structural damage, 18%. Major systems damage avoided.

ASSUMPTION: Nazi sniper has a very large gun.

RECCOMENDATION: Try not to get shot again.

Frobot drew his legs up over his head, suspended over the open trapdoor by his clawed hands jammed into the roof’s floor, then quickly arched his back and snapped to his feet. The sniper firing a close shot directly at the spot he landed, missing him as he immediately dove to the left and rolled, coming to his feet close to the Nazi.

“Oh, ve have ze quick one, ya?” the smiling Nazi taunted, cycling the action on an unfamiliar sniper rifle with a very large scope. “No matter, you vill die like ze ozzers” he stated flatly, with a shrug of his shoulders as he brought the rifle to bear.

Frogbot dove in on him like a rabid mongoose, slashing once to glance against the mans ribs, a second time finding nothing but stone wall as sparks flew from his skittering talons.

Ein Schuß, amazingly fast, slid to the side and rolled, coming up 15 feet away from Frogbot with the rifle leveled at him .

WARNING: This may sting a bit.

STATEMENT: Unit is not amused by Kernel system’s attempt at humor.

Frogbot coiled to spring at the Nazi again, knowing that the shot would go off before he could get there, watching the man’s finger depress the trigger when….


There was a flash of metal as Bulwark’s shield careened into the man’s side, the rifle flying wide and discharging into the ceiling, tearing a dinner-plate sized hole. It slid across the roof near Frogbot, out of the man’s grasp, as the blue-flame trailing Bulwark soared through into the open tower roof, slamming hard into the Nazi, roaring “Take one for the U-S-of-A!!!” as he came.

Bulwark smashed into a column on the other side, hitting the roof’s floor rolling.

Ein Schuß, clutching his side, eyed Frogbot and then dove for his rifle.

Frogbot sprang at him, claws tearing into the man’s arm as he rolled with Frogbot’s blow.

Blood sprayed again, and Frobot rolled on top of him, holding the Nazi down with one hand and raising the other for a killing blow.

The slippery Nazi brought both legs up to his chest between them, braced his feet against Frogbot, and kicked the heavy android off with a grunt to sail into Bulwark, who had raced up from behind to aid him. Both allies fell in a tangle of arms, legs, and equipment.

Ein Schuß, bleeding from several wounds and panting, snatched up his rifle and leapt to the edge of the high tower.

Frogbot and Bulwark regained their feet, and just as Bulwark readied a throw and Frogbot began to charge, Ein Schuß, grinning, saluted them and then just stepped off into the air.

The allied ESSes raced to the edge and looked down, Bulwark yelling “look out Frenchie!” and yanking Frogbot behind him as a stream of liquid fire jetted into his upraised shield, spraying the tower around them.

Baron der Flammen had circled the tower and caught Ein Schuß as he stepped off, sending a blast of flames at the spot of his departure. The huge nazi carried two men with him now, and streaked away from the tower.

Bulwark immediately reared back with his smoldering shield arm, clothing and flesh smoking from the heat of the der Flammen’s blocked attack, and let fly with the shield.

The shield was till red-hot and flaming as it streaked towards the Nazi trio, and it was probably the rapid cooling of it as the shield rushed through the air that threw off his aim. It shot past them and arced back towards a disappointed Bulwark to smack into his grip.

“At least you have cooled eet off, no?” Frogbot asked him, smiling. Just then, he noticed the Spitfire attempting to depart, and as his visual actuators and sensors clicked into place he noted not only that the boy, Psimeld, was in the cockpit but also another entity streaming an aura of power.

WARNING: Enemy talent attempting to escape with mission-critical allied personnel.

STATEMENT: He shall not do so.

Frogbot looked up at Bulwark, who nodded to him.

“I’ll get the Krauts… you save the boy”, Bulwark said, then clapped Frogbot on the shoulder, smiling.

“Ya know, you’re not so bad… for one o’ them frog-eaters.”

“Monsieur! Ze French also eat many fine cheeses, and ze best wines in the world…” Frogbot began indignantly, but was cut off by the ignition of Bulwark’s jetpack and scream of “Ho there, Nazi dogs! Leaving so soon? You haven’t had your second helping of JUSTICE yet!” as he soared after the airborne Nazi trifecta of evil.

“…and her shores, they are zo beauti… ah damn eet”, Frogbot finished to no one in particular, then leapt onto the wall’s edge.

Extending his claws and hidden edges on his boots, he literally scampered down the side of the stone-and-wood tower like a spider, hitting the ground and tearing off after the plane.

Bulwark’s valiant aerial charge turned sour quickly, as not only did he miss the heavily-laden flying Nazi, but took a big German boot to the ribs as he shot past which also deeply dented his jetpack. The kick sent him gasping for breath and spinning out of control, slamming into the soft grass past the runway to plow an earthen furrow into the ground before pin wheeling several times in a mess of flailing limbs and jetpack pieces.

“Gaaaah…”, he mumbled incoherently as his head spun and whirled and clods of grass fell out of his mouth, “….deeggghhh… you didn’t even wait for… desert…”

He then promptly fell onto his face, spit out a large piece of turf, and threw up.

John saw the big Nazi appear again, catch the falling sniper, and soar off over the escaping plane as his driver kicked the halftrack into movement.

“The Spitfire! After that Spitfire!” he screamed as the driver rammed the gas pedal to the floor.

Carefully, he aimed at the plane as it turned onto the main runway and then began gaining speed.

“Where ya goin’ guys, this party’s just getting started”, he mumbled through clenched teeth as his machine gun stuttered a long burst at the plane, several rounds punching into the tail section. He was having trouble getting a clear shot, because he didn’t want to risk hitting the boy, but needed to disable the plane.

“Faster! We need to go fas…” he began, then stopped short as he noticed Frogbot tearing down the vertical surface of the air control tower and taking off after the plane, outrunning the halftrack and rapidly gaining on the Spitfire.

“Holy… jeez that guy is fast”, he said to himself, and then lined up his next shot.

Smitty found another nest in a nearby building, and then plinked a shot at the gigantic Nazi just as Bulwark spun off bellowing, the yell cut short as he presumably nosed into the ground somewhere ahead.

The shot went wide, and Smitty looked surprised at his Springfield, presumably guilty of such a betrayal. He made a minute adjustment to the scope, lined up a shot, and saw the big Nazi’s flinch as the round found a home; Baron der Flammen swept low, into a huge cloud of thick smoke and disappeared from sight. “Must have banged the scope on something, sorry about that old girl”, he told the rifle as he patted it and then brought the Spitfire up into his sights.

He saw the boy, Psimeld, looking directly at him from the cramped cockpit, then heard his voice in his head.

Help me Smitty. The bad man is trying to take me away.

Doin’ what I can, son. Poke him in the eye or somethin’, Smitty thought back in reply, not sure if the lad could hear him.

He moved with the Spitfire’s increasing acceleration until he saw the engine cowling come up in the crosshairs. Deep breath. Release slow. Squeeze.

He was rewarded with a neat hole punching through the plane’s exterior, quickly followed by thick oil and a stream of black smoke.

“That oughtta slow him down a bit”, said Smitty as he made ready for another shot.

And it did, just enough for Frogbot, galloping on all fours behind it spraying dirt and debris, to barely catch up.

He gauged the distance, his internal processors making the necessary adjustments, then on his last gallop gathered his limbs in close and sprang at the plane just as its wheels were starting to lift off of the runway.

Frogbot landed on the right wing of the plane, perched precariously on the slippery surface, and noted the look of shock on the pilot’s skull-like visage under his pilot’s leather helmet and goggles.

Frogbot smiled, and waved at the Nazi. Psimeld waved back. The Nazi drew a pistol.

Bonjour, abruti! Tickets please! No ticket? Oh well I believe zees is where we get off then!” he yelled at the Nazi.

Frogbot raised both clawed hands dramatically, then plunged them into the side of the plane and ripped as hard as his artificial musculature would allow him.

The wing parted with a screech of tortured metal, spraying fluids and sparks as it separated from the plane and immediately dropped to the runway.

The plane canted sharply, sending up a huge shower of sparks as the Nazi fought to keep in under control with one of the wings torn off.

Frogbot, riding the severed wing, turned with it as it spun down the runway, keeping his balance like a professional surfer on a sparking, burning sheet of metal.

He waved at the Nazi, again, and waggled his claws at him as they both slid down the runway on two different pieces of the same burning plane. The pilot lost what little control he had, and the severed wing edge set down hard into the runway, biting deep and catching fire.

The German pilot yanked back the cockpit and smoothly leapt out, flying up 30 feet into the air and taking aim at Frogbot, leaving a rather calm Psimeld sitting in the seat by himself.

Frogbot gripped the piece of wing with his feet, kicking it back to raise the lip and then bouncing it to skip next to the burning Spitfire that was rapidly beginning to spin out of control.

He jumped sinking his claws into the tail section and hand-over-hand using his claws to rip his way up the airframe towards Psimeld, who was standing up looking at him. Bullets began punching holes in the plane close to Frogbot, and he looked up at the Nazi airman keeping close pace with him. He noticed two things.

One, the airman was out of reach, and he had no time to pull his fantastic French Lebel 8mm to take a shot.

Two, the same airman had a large, familiar book stuffed into the inside of his flight suit, the same book he had taken off of the Cossack priest back in Arnhem.

The airman lined up for another shot, rearing back with a potato-masher grenade in his other hand.

Suddenly, there was a flurry of bullets zipping around the flying Nazi pilot, who broke off his attack to duck and weave out of the deadly rain of lead. John had gotten close in the halftrack and was stuttering fire at him, yelling insults at the Nazi to get his attention.

The airman held up his flight for a second, then threw the grenade at the halftrack.

That moment of stillness was all Smitty needed to neatly drill him right through the kidney from over 200 feet away.

The flying German doubled up in pain, blood seeping around the hand clenched on his side, and then zipped directly up into the clouds and out of the fight.

Just as the engine and propeller of the skidding plane nosed into the ground, biting hard and causing the burning Spitfire to flip forward, Frogbot snaked out a hand and grabbed Psimeld, running up the upraised fuselage and somersaulting over the tail of the plane. He kicked off as the tail reached skyward, the engine igniting into a monstrous fireball of impending death and hot metal fragments, and spun away from the inferno just as it consumed the remaining fuel in a monstrous fireball. Frogbot hit the ground on his back, curled around Psimeld like a rigid flesh-and-metal ball, cushioning the boy as he bounced and rolled away from the shattered, burning plane.

John ducked, breathing a quick prayer for Frogbot as the plane exploded and sent his driver swerving away from the flaming wreckage and shrapnel, which also saved them both from the grenade as it hit the side of the swerving halftrack and bounced once on the runway before exploding.

As he came up, saw the gigantic Nazi for a moment as he broke out of the clouds of smoke to his left, sweeping sweep down near some wreckage near the end of the runway, close to where Bulwark had went down.

As he spun the .50 around, he noticed that der Flammen dropped off one of his passengers, the sniper, who snapped a shot at him and then deftly ran towards the pile of ruined and smoldering jeeps and trucks.

John flinched and then realized he wasn’t hit.

“Ha! Ya bastard! Ya missed me!” he yelled, then noticed the driver was slumped over the wheel in front of him, missing the entire back of his head. Ein Schuß had shot him, on the run, through the vision slit of the armored front hatch of the halftrack.

Dammit… sorry boy, John thought as the halftrack began to swerve out of control.

I better get some cover, and quick!

John grabbed his Garand and jumped clear of the halftrack just as it swerved right, colliding with the wreckage of the plane and flipping. He hit the ground, rolled, and scooted behind an overturned jeep, looking out sharply for the Nazi sniper and the gigantic Baron der Flammen.

Smitty held his breath as he watched Frogbot make his heroic rescue, then speed off towards the edge of the airfield, presumably to take the boy to safety. The Baron der Flammen had landed, dropped off that damn sniper, and moved out of sight, probably because there was less cover from the smoke towards the edge of the airfield, and Smitty had another good vantage point.

Smart move, ya Kraut, or I’d already have ventilated you too.

He checked the area with his scope, saw John taking cover behind an overturned jeep fifty feet or so from the large pile of wreckage.


Smitty looked hard, his mechanical eye zooming in with a whir on the wreckage, scanning for any sign of movement. He caught a glint of light on something and immediately fired, rolling to his left just as the sniper’s round slammed into the building where his head just was.

He slid low along the edge of the wall and came up at a different window, carefully scanning for movement.


The sniper had moved to get a shot on John, who was inching around his cover trying to pinpoint the Nazi’s location.

Deep breath. Let it out slow. Squeeze.

The round hit the edge of an overturned truck bed, showering the sniper with metal fragments and ruining his shot. John ran forward and dove against the edge of the rubble, peeking up to get close. Smitty could see the ground around John turning white with frost, and knew that the Artic Wolf was preparing to lay down a beating.

The fire suddenly started picking up in the building as heat and smoke poured into the room Smitty was in. Rounds began tearing into his hiding spot and Smitty turned and ran, taking a flight of steps down and then leaping out of the back of a first floor window to roll onto the ground. He flattened against the wall, the sniper around the corner but over 100 feet away.

A british sergeant ran up next to him, Enfield in hand.

“Right-o, I saw that git what took a shot at ya guv. He’s just about right there…”, the fellow told him, edging his head around the corner to get a look.

“Wait dummy, he’s…” Smitty began to warn him.

But too late. The round hit the Tommy in his right eye, shearing off a large section of skull and sending the man spinning to the ground, spraying Smitty with his blood.

“…a bloody damn good shot”, Smitty finished uselessly.

Smitty realized that Ein Schuß probably thought that the poor Brit was him, and smiled mirthlessly as he concentrated and stepped back into his realm of shadows, running across and down the runway unseen and unheard towards another covering position.

John was getting worried. He thought he’d be able to spot the damn sniper, especially as he fired, but every time he peeked up he nearly lost his head for the effort. And not only that, but the Kraut seemed to somehow draw the shadows around him, and the whole pile of wreckage was getting darker than the surrounding night.

He was about to be alone with the best shot he’d ever seen. In the dark. In the open.

Why the hell do I always end up in a situation like this, he berated himself as he tried to slide quietly towards the end of a jeep that he thought he might have heard the last shot come from.

Bulwark noted that the smoke was getting heavier near him as he lay, on his back, wondering why he had not noticed just how pretty the stars could be at night. Did they have different stars here, or were his folks back in the good ‘ol U.S. looking at the same ones, and just not noticing it?

He shook his head as the sound of German voices came to him.

Getting to his feet, he recovered his shield and quietly slipped off the fizzing and popping remnants of his jetpack, trying to avoid the parts of it that were still red-hot.

Moving quietly and trying not to cough, he slipped up on the 9-foot Nazi, Baron der Flammen, and a smaller, weasel-ish SS officer.

“Ve have ze book, Baron. Ve must go. Ein Schuß has chosen his destiny, his death vill give us time to flee! Der Fuhrer vould be proud. Now ve must go! Der Flieger has ze book, and ze boy is lost to us!” the weaseley officer pleaded as the smoke swirled and gathered around Baron der Flammen.

Fella shoulda played more sports as a kid, maybe he wouldn’t be so darn peckish. And nasally, Bulwark thought to himself as he crept closer. Can’t stand those whiney, bookish sorts. I bet a good thump would straighten him right out, his line of thought continued, nodding to himself.

He chose that moment to spring up from his crouch close to the Nazis, shield held forth and right hand curled into a meaty fist, pieces of turf still clinging to his head and uniform.

“Stand down, foul beasts of the Reich! I can shield myself against your horrid flames, for you face the Bulwark of…” he began bellowing.

The SS Officer gasped in surprise and brought his hands up to shield himself, but the Baron der Flammen merely turned and extended a hand at Bulwark, who tensed in preparation of deflecting his streaming flames.

The smoke that had been swirling around the two Nazis suddenly coalesced into a stinking, roiling, congealed mass and shot straight out at Bulwark, rolling around his shield and hitting him full on in the face in mid-sentence.

“…Justiccccaaaaarrgghh koff koff gaaaahhh” Bulwark finished as he doubled over, coughing and vomiting again. The greasy, caustic black smoke burned and stuck to his eyes, sinuses and lungs, stinging and making his entire world spin once more as he gasped for breath.

Bulwark felt like the cloud weighed a thousand pounds as it continued to pour in on him from the Nazi, bearing him down to the ground under its tremendous weight as his vision tunneled in sharply, then turned black with a little pop.

The Baron der Flammen abated his caustic cloud as it overcame the injured American, and then stepped towards him with the intention of stepping on the annoying little insect’s head and ridding himself of this nuisance.

The SS Officer grabbed his sleeve, one hand laid up next to his head as if thinking hard.

“No, Baron, ze android approaches, I sense him. Ve cannot afford any more delay.”

The Baron took one last, longing look at Bulwark’s near-helpless form, then grabbed the SS Officer and sprang away, flying low and gathering the smoke around him for concealment.

Seconds later, Frogbot trotted up, on the scent of the Nazis, and tripped over the choking Bulwark.

“Oui? What is zees? Ze Bulwark has been overcome by ze noxious clouds, yes?” he said, bending to scoop up Bulwark and carry him out of the smoke.

He sat him down, reviewed his utter lack of first aid in his programming. Frogbot shrugged his shoulders, bent Bulwark double, and squeezed his sides as hard as possible. There might have been a couple snapping sounds, but Frogbot was lost to them as black smoke and vomit poured out of the shield-bearing American, who began coughing and sputtering more normally.

“Ha-HA! Frogbot has feexed you, Bulwark! Now I am ze doctor too! Oui, a promotion!” Frogbot happily stated as his rank insignia flipped on his uniform, displaying his self-appointed new status. Bulwark groaned and threw up again. Frogbot heard a shot close by and John yell, then rapidly tore of in that direction.

Smitty took up a new position, watching John move into the near darkness. He brought his rifle up, pointing the scope directly at where he thought the Nazi sniper was. The light was better for the Nazi at this new angle, and glinted dreadfully off of the glass of his scope.

Just as he feared, there was a flash extending from the darkness and the round came straight at him, passing through his scope and on through his right eye.

Leaving him, and his weapon, totally unharmed.

Smitty concentrated, forcing his body and his gear to leave the phantom place where he had straddled it half-way, visible but incorporeal to the touch.

As soon as he felt the warmth and sound of the real world slam into him, he fired.

There was an ‘oofff’ sound and the darkness instantly cleared. He had a view of the bleeding Nazi looking surprised, then smiling and nodding at him as if to say “oh, nice trick”, as John leapt at him.

John poured his cold into the man as he grabbed him, who screamed and batted him away with his rifle. Ein Schuß flipped backwards over the rubble, and John rushed him, leaping at him snarling.

And was hit with a feeling of exquisite shock and pain as the 12.7 mm round the Nazi fired took him hard in the shoulder and flipped him backwards. He could taste his own blood as his entire right arm went numb, and he could feel his body begin to shake as shock raced to catch up with him. Grimacing against the pain and tunnel vison, he swung out wildly at the Nazi, slapping his rifle aside and clipping his chin. The German sniper jumped away again and turned back to John, who swayed unsteadily on his feet, blood starting to drool from the corner of his mouth.

Right into the rushing arms of Frogbot. Ein Schuß smiled at John as he raised the rifle, then two strange, clawed arms reached around both sides of his head and slammed into his rifle.

Ein Schuß looked in shock at the remnants of his custom made tool of the trade, then concentrated to bring the darkness back around the three of them once again.

But not to escape. The wounds he had suffered would keep him from being able to run, the tricky American had punctured his lung with that last shot.

Not that he wanted to. No, he knew he was to die here, for the glory of the Fatherland. For his family, his daughter at home, his honor. And he knew that he had one chance to choose the way of his dying.

Pulling his father’s Luger, he ran out of the darkness, straight at Smitty, laughing and firing at the American as he rushed to embrace the death that he had dealt to so many. With honor, once again.

The first shot took him in the chest, the second in the stomach as he flipped backwards with the impact. His legs curled painfully under him as he fell to his knees and then backwards, sprawled on his back in the road. Father’s Luger lay nearby.

Ein Schuß struggled to peer ahead, and saw the American advancing warily with his handgun drawn, watched him kick the treasured Luger away into the mud. He saw the black blood of the newest wound. Yes, the shot to the liver would finish him quick. He felt his doubly-punctured lung fill with blood, knowing that even an Ubermensch’s advanced healing could not save him. And he almost felt relieved.

Smitty stopped short of the crazed Nazi, laying there with at least four rounds in his midsection, the nut laying there smiling at him as he barely clung to life.

The man tried to say something, then coughed, thick gobbets of blood spattering his uniform.

“What was that?” Smitty asked, .45 levelled with both hands at the German’s head. “You so much as move, and I’ll plug ya again, alright?”

The German spit, and then spoke softly, a bubbling of damaged lungs evident in his words.

“I… zaid… nice shot. Zat was a good trick zere… at ze end… <cough> cigarette?”

Smitty tensed, conscious of trickery, but then took out his pack of Luckies and carefully put on in the man’s mouth while keeping him covered with the pistol. He then lit it, and one of his own, with his zippo.

The German took a shaky drag, coughing blood, before speaking again.

“You have ze… talent… boy… <cough>… be… careful...”

The German takes another drag, blood running down the corners of his mouth as he exhales.

“Be careful… you call me ‘monster’ when you fight… but… <cough> ‘When one fights with monsters, on should look to it… that he does not become a monster… When you gaze deep into the Abyss, the Abyss gazes also into you’… "

“Nietzsche said zat… remember it…”

“Damn Hitler and vat he has… <cough> done to us…”

The Nazi then laughed, a horrible sputtering sucking sound coming from his chest when he did. His legs twitched, his hands clenching uncontrollably as blood began running, and not merely pumping in spurts from his wounds.

“I vonder vat… he vould think if he knew that… my grandmother vas a Jew… hah… vould he take back my Iron cross…” he said, and chuckled bloodily at his own personal joke. Then there was a long sigh as his eyes stared off into space, unfocused, and his legs quit twitching as he became very, very still.

Frogbot approached with the broken rifle, a wounded John and Bulwark in tow. Smitty took a long drag off of his cigarette and looked at the others.

“Lemme see that rifle, Froggie”, he said, taking the rifle from him. It was a beautiful piece of work (now ruined) that took special high caliber rounds. There was an inscription on the side, the man’s Uber name “ein Schuß, eine Tötung”, and on the other, “Finger des Gottes”.

“What does that mean”, Smitty asked, pointing to the writing. “I don’t speak Kraut”.

Frogbot and John looked at it, and John spoke.

“I’m not entirely sure, but ‘ein Schuß, eine Tötung’ means ‘One Shot, One Kill’…”, he said, Smitty nodding his head in understanding.

“…and I believe that 'Finger des Gottes' is meant to be the name of the rifle. ‘Finger of god’. Heh. Appropriate, huh?” John finished with a nervous chuckle, clenching his shoulder wound with a pale face, his unnatural healing already stemming the blood flow.

Smitty just looked at it, then back at the dead German, and put it in his pack.

John spoke up again.

“Say Smitty, what was it he was saying to you there, when he was dyin’ and all, and you gave ‘im the smoke?”

Smitty looked back at the body for a moment, taking a long drag off of his cigarette. He crushed the butt out on his heel and dropped it in his pocket.

“Nothin’. Nothin’ important. C’mon, let’s gather up and help the wounded, the rest of ‘em are long gone. We gotta focus on the living.”

Nothing but the task at hand.

As they walked away, Smitty stopped and turned back for a moment, picking up the man’s Luger and his medal and putting them into his pack. Smitty thought once again about that cold, emotionless place, and then about the warmth of a kind face. He shivered once and drew his field jacket closer around him as he caught up with the others.
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First Post
Dang, led, heck of an update. Thanks for your work on Smitty. Every time you post I get the itch to go and play him some more!

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