The Red Doktor made his way quickly through the vast, labyrinthine tunnels of the Jötunheimr facility towards the Reichsführer's office. He paused only for a moment to wet his lips with his tongue. A shiver traveled up his spine as he stared at the entrance to her inner chamber, flanked by two warrior-women in full SS regalia. His employer had been more eccentric...no, erratic of late, walking around bedecked in the garb of an ancient Nordic viking warrior at her full height, growing her hair out. Whether from the cold of the passageways or from a tinge of fear he couldn't say. He hadn't seen much of Ilsa since arriving at the frozen Nazi fortress, but he knew that she was under considerable stress. The Iron Chancellor had imprisoned and humiliated her, stripped her of her pride and a great deal of her resources. Stories of her already infamous temper being more enraged than usual were circulating and then there was talk of a great war that she was envisioning, the Ragnarök as it was. He had taken it upon himself to deliberately avoid her and focus on setting up his laboratory and exploring the Ahnenerbe facility. It was because of that exploration that it was now urgent that he seek out his benefactor. Henderson crossed over to the guard and they moved to the sides at his approach, giving him access to the inner chamber. The reinforced steel door slid open with a grinding hiss, causing him to duck slightly as he entered. Once inside he breathed a sigh of relief. Ilsa was here, but she was regular sized and wearing her standard uniform. Her chambers were heated comfortably and had all the trappings of a rich library or office owned by someone of expensive tastes. Heavy oak furniture, towering bookcases festooned with old looking books and classical music playing nearby. Wagner no doubt, Henderson had heard it before in her presence and assumed it was her favorite piece. Whatever it was it seemed as if she was in a relaxed mood. The blonde woman took a few steps towards him, her tall black boots clicking. In her hand she held a goblet filled with what smelled like a hearty red wine.
"Herr Doktor!" she smiled, flashing her white teeth which in Henderson's mind felt almost like an animal's threatening gesture: Stay away from me, I'm dangerous. "Can I interest you in a drink?"
"No thank you Reichsführer, though I appreciate the gesture." he smiled softly. "I've heard this music before, Wagner if I'm not mistaken?"
"Jah, yes!" Ilsa said, her blue eyes growing wider for a moment. "It is Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral, from Lohengrin."
"Does it not make your soul sing out in joy and your heart leap in your chest!" she exclaimed, closing her eyes, lost in the haunting melody. Henderson began to speak again, but she waved her hand at him dismissively, shushing him between her clenched teeth. Her head moved in time to the score. It was as if she was suddenly in another place and another time, far away from here. Henderson waited a few more moments, wetting his dry lips again as he watched her. After a time, the music ended and her eyes opened again, a single tear streaking its way slowly down her right cheek.
"My Reichsführer," Henderson dared to continue slowly, seeing that she was out of her reverie, "There is something of great importance that I have discovered. I think it is something you should see immediately."
"Of course." Ilsa croaked out from a hoarse throat, wiping the tear way with her gloved hand. "I apologize for you seeing me in that state Herr Doktor."
Henderson smiled a comforting smile, the one he used when he had to tell patients bad news, "Not at all Reichsführer. Shall we go?"
Flanked by the twin bodyguards, Ilsa Hauppman and the Red Doktor made their way down into the bowels of the fortress to a cavernous chamber that seemed to stretch on forever. Here there were all manner of ancient Nazi instruments of war, preserved for all time. Panzers, Stuka dive-bombers, various artillery pieces and more, all locked away here for a war that never reached them. It was like a museum down here. Henderson led them on a merry chase through this maze of steel and armor, cutting across the room with definite purpose in his step. Further on, more amazing technological wonders came to light, flying wing bombers, robots and more astonishingly, flying gyros, the infamous ‘foo fighters’ that had confounded Allied pilots near the end of the war. Ilsa was sure there were other secrets hidden away in the monstrous complex, just waiting to be rediscovered and used for the advancement of the Master Race…
"An assistant of mine discovered this only a few hours ago," he began, a positively excited tone to his voice, "I've made some preliminary checks but outside of that I wanted to wait for your approval to proceed."
The women were hard pressed to keep up with him as he crossed over to a large series of what could best be described as stasis chambers. A jumble of metal-sheathed cords and cables ran in all directions from them, the dusty tarps that once covered them lay in tangled heaps nearby. Several of the Doktor's staff were here as well with laptops and other electronic devices. The pods all seemed empty and unused all save the one directly on the end, where all the scientists and medical personnel were gathered and setting up operations. The stasis pod here was online and emitted a faint glow of warm, white light. The staff moved quickly out of the way as Ilsa approached, all of them saluting her. The woman known as Genocide gasped as she looked into the glass faceplate of the pod. Inside was a beautiful young woman with long red hair in a single braid down her shoulder. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be in a state of suspended animation. A hand clamped down on Ilsa's shoulder, causing her to jump slightly.
"Her name is Oberstabsführerin Brunhilda Adelar." Henderson said conspiratorially in her ear, "Apparently she is, or rather was, with the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, then assigned to Special and Anti-Aircraft Operations. Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. At least that's what it says in the records I managed to find."
"Why is she here?" Ilsa asked aloud.
"That's the best part!" the Red Doktor answered gleefully, "Apparently, she is also a gifted Meta-human. A super soldier, the end result of controlled experimentation. Brunhilda here is gifted with incredible durability, super-strength and flight. It would seem that the Third Reich in this dimension managed to somewhat replicate the same experiment that created the Soviet Superwoman in your dimension."
Ilsa frowned and cut her cold gaze over to the Doktor. The look on her face told him that perhaps he had stepped too far with that last comment and that he had inadvertently stung her pride. Ilsa had attempted to replicate that experiment for years, the fruits of which were the serum that now coursed through her blood and the deaths of thousands of concentration camp prisoners she had experimented on. Despite coming close to matching Olga's strength and invulnerability, she had never been completely successful. "Somewhat perhaps," Ilsa said crisply, "but not enough to win the war it would seem."
Henderson shook his head, averting his eyes from her gaze. "No, apparently not. She goes by the code-name Die TodesEngel."
"Die TodesEngel..." Ilsa repeated looking back at the sleeping woman. "Wake her up."
Henderson cocked his head at her, "Do you think that best Reichsführer? I still haven't studied the..."
"Wake her up now." Ilsa repeated, her tone that of one accustomed to having her orders complied with.
"Yes Reichsführer." Henderson replied softly, motioning to his assembled staff to begin the preparations to bring her online. There was a flurry of activity as the scientists, excited at the prospect of examining this super-powered woman continued setting up their equipment with enthusiastic glee. The Doktor himself moved from Ilsa's side to help bring Die TodesEngel out of her almost 70 year slumber.
"Bring her to my chambers when she is awake, provided nothing goes wrong. I will send Keller down to make certain the operation moves smoothly." Genocide snapped.
Henderson nodded as Ilsa and her black-clad SS guards made their way out of the chamber. "It will be done Reichsführer."
Several hours later, the beautiful red-haired woman was escorted to the inner chamber of the Fourth Reich's leader. She was dressed in the blue-grey uniform of the Luftwaffe, complete with cap. Her sizable bosom was adorned with various medals including the Knight’s Cross nestled in her valley of cleavage. Her emerald eyes widened for a moment as she watched Ilsa stand up from behind her desk, registering her surprise. The sounds of Wagner had once again resumed in her inner sanctum, filling the air with Parsifal.
"Please, have a seat." Ilsa purred in her native German, motioning towards a heavy oak and velvet chair directly in front of her. “No thank you, I think I’ll stand.” Truth be told, Brunhilde felt confined indoors. She’d gotten so used to the sheer exhilarating freedom of flight, hurtling through the skies at hundreds of miles per hour ramming headfirst into enemy aircraft and ships, the cut and thrust of aerial combat, reacting almost instinctively without thinking, that she sometimes felt trapped on the ground. She yearned to be in the skies again. But first, the business at hand, this woman in front of her, the person she ought to thank for freeing her from her icy prison… Ought to.
"Can I offer you some wine? I still keep a few bottles of Bordeaux 1929 for occasions just as this."
"No thank you." Hilde responded, rather curtly to Ilsa's ears. Undeterred, Genocide took the bottle down from a nearby rack and upon opening it, poured herself a glass. The SS security stamp was still visible on the side of the bottle, showing it was taken during the occupation.
"I'm sure you have many, many questions my dear." Ilsa smiled as she sipped her wine and once again sat down in her high-backed chair behind her desk.
"I wasn't told much," she began, "except the year and the fact I had been asleep for 68 years. I'm surprised that the Third Reich is still standing. When I was put into suspended animation in 1945, it seemed as if the end had truly come. It was a last ditch effort to preserve our people and way of life."
"The Third Reich is gone." Ilsa said somberly, "Our beloved Führer is dead and Germany was crushed under the heel of both the Allied powers. Our country was divided between the West and the Soviets, and our people were beaten down and enslaved, forced to forever bow their heads in shame for the supposed sins of their forefathers. Never allowed to raise their eyes, never allowed to proclaim proudly that they were German. Their race, their pride, their kultur, their history, achievements and heritage were demonized… " The SS leader took another drink, more like a swallow this time as if to deaden the pain of such a memory, then spoke again with fire behind her eyes and renewed vigor. "But Der Führer’s legacy lives on, now stronger than ever as long as we, the bearers of the truth, keep fighting and don't give up until victory is achieved. Long Live National Socialism, Long Live Germany!"
"You and your Fourth Reich organization." Brunhilda said flatly. "I see you've taken Herr Himmler's rank and title, why not Hitler's?"
"Because I am not Herr Hitler. There will never be another as great and glorious a leader as he and even I am not fit to hold his title." Ilsa explained in reverent tones.
"All women as well...interesting...any particular reason?"
Ilsa put down her glass and adjusted her leather gloves. "My genetic and chemical formulas only have the desired level of effect on female DNA. I have male operatives, just of lesser position such as information gathering and supply."
Brunhilda nodded, trying to keep her irritation in check. She didn't know who this woman was who wore a full SS uniform and drank wine from the occupation as if she had been there. She had never heard of an Ilsa Hauppman during the war (or really any other women of rank sans herself) and besides, the woman was in her thirties. Still, there was something definite about her, something that kept Hilde from stamping her as a counterfeit upstart and dismissing her. Her SS attitudes and demeanor were all too accurate to be reproduction. Hilde always hated the SS with their arrogant views about racial superiority, the way they swaggered about. The supermen of the Reich indeed. Most of the ones Hilde had known were nothing more than sadists and cowards hiding behind a shiny black uniform and a totenkopf pin. They were seldom on the front-lines, instead preferring to move in afterwards and systematically murder the civilian populations. Butchers like Reinhard Heydrich. They must have been better suited for killing old men and children as she had always assumed. This Ilsa fit the bill perfectly, except it would seem she was also a scientist of sorts. It would explain why all the soldiers she had seen in the facility so far had been perfect Aryan models, tall blonde and powerfully built. It meant she was highly intelligent and certainly well-financed. For the time being, she would keep her tongue in check and her personal opinions to herself. She held out hope that this Fourth Reich wasn't just a bastardized SS experiment of this woman.
But something else bothered her, there was something not quite right about this ‘Reichsführer’. Brunhilda assumed that it was simply her keenly-developed senses recalibrating after being in cryostasis for almost 70 years, but she could sense that there was more to Ilsa Hauppman than met the eye. She had always been able to detect other metahumans aside from herself, even from afar. Some like Der Metzger, the Waffen-SS’ monstrous cybernetic killing machine, projected an aura of power and death long before she could see them. Some, like her foe-woman Freedom, gave out a comforting, peaceful aura, even in the heat of battle. She could always tell if Freedom was around, even if she was in disguise. It was a welcome feeling. But this woman Ilsa Hauppman, Brunhilda could sense the latent power stored within her cells, raw brute power combined with an insatiable thirst for blood, she could almost hear the screams of countless victims crying out in torment. She was someone to be wary of, another deranged super-soldier like the ones Himmler unleashed on the Ostfront? Ilsa’s operatives also gave off a similar aura, but on a much lesser scale, obviously they were not as powerful as she was. Interesting.
Hilde’s thoughts continued to drift- during the war, the troops had been directed to uphold the honor and dignity of German women who served as volunteers in the armed forces, to dispel the myth that they were ‘Blitz Frau’, aggressive gun-toting amazons. The term itself was derogatory, implying that German women were somehow unfeminine. How ironic then that here she was, Göring’s Valkyrie and one of Hitler’s favorites, surrounded by scientifically-enhanced warrior women holding positions of power previously held only by men, carrying on the battle to ensure German superiority!
The stone-faced SS officer flanking Ilsa like a statue continued to glare at Brunhilda. She’d gotten the same kind of looks from Himmler’s men all those years ago, it never bothered her. If looks could kill, the bodyguard would be an acht-acht. Big deal, she’d sunk the ugly English battleships Rodney and Nelson at Normandy, one more than Ulli Rüdel! What did interest her however was the real statue positioned just behind Hauppman’s desk. Die Siegesgöttin, by Josef Thorak. She’d seen a version of the statue at the Haus Der Deutsches Kunst. The SS bodyguard and the statue of the Goddess of Victory seemed to bookend the ‘Reichsführer’. Symbolism, Nazi Germany made full use of it to over-awe and impress, did it mean the Fourth Reich leader thought of herself as a goddess? Who or what exactly was she dealing with here?
"I'm certain you have dozens of questions, about this time we live in and about the new Reich," Ilsa started again, smiling, "and I will do my best to answer them. After all I do not have the opportunity to meet many other heroes from the struggle, Die Todesengel."
Hilde smiled back, feeling somewhat nauseous at the way this woman said her name. "Thank you..."Hilde thought for a moment before answering, "Reichsführer Hauppman."
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Ilsa Hauppman and the Fourth Reich are my property and creations.
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