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Old 10-13-2013, 09:55 PM   #91
tshiggins
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

So, I got caught up with the thread over at Space Battles. As may have become clear, by now, the fascinating scenarios, for me, involve the interaction between the various people from different Earths, and how problematic those would be, given the profound cultural differences. To my mind, that's what makes the setting so unique, and drives the best stories.

Here's another one, in that vein. I think it would make a good seed for a variation on a "World War II" weird or superhero campaign, set on Dp-Earth.

Operators


<Transcript begins>

“Thanks for stopping by, Captain Rogers. I know you’re busy. Coffee?”

“Of course, colonel. I’m always happy to see you. And I’ll take some of that coffee, thanks.”

“I understand our new assets don’t particularly care for our joe.”

‘Oh, I wouldn’t exactly say that, sir. Nobody in the Army likes the coffee. These guys just seem to have a little different standard about what good coffee should be.”

“They seem to have different standards about a lot of things, don’t they? Don’t smoke, either, most of 'em, except for the occasional cee-gar.”

“Yeah. That was weird, sir. One of the sergeants had to keep ‘em from throwing away the packs. Now, they trade 'em.”

“For what?”

“Weird stuff. They say the Coca-Cola here is much better than back home. Jazz hits, and some of that new boogie-woogie stuff, from Mercury Records. Hank Williams. Baseball cards.”

“Baseball cards…”

“Yeah. Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb and those new kids, the DiMaggios. Bats and gloves, too, and even a woodburning kit.”

“Well, I guess some things aren’t that much different. I heard they had a supply of nylons, too. Did they get those from trading cigarettes?”

“Uh, no sir. They seem to have brought those, with them. One of the guys said they’d done a lot of research before they started this mission.”

“'Mission,' huh? Well, the WACS and USO girls seem to appreciate ‘em. It’s caused a few problems with some of the other boys.”

“That didn’t last too long, sir.”

“No, it didn’t.”

<Pause>

“How are they as soldiers?”

“The word, 'impressive' is not out of line, sir. They consistently break all records for marksmanship and teamwork, and their fitness and tactical awareness is…, well, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Add in that amazing gear, they’ve got, and I think the Nazis have reason for concern.”

“Could you take them?”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“You heard me, Cap. Could you take them?”

<Pause>

“If I had to, yes sir. I’d want the element of surprise, though, and some good troops of my own. Fury’s guys, or Rock’s platoon from Easy Company. Preferably, both.”

“Casualties?”

“With surprise? None. They’re disciplined enough that they’d all surrender, and raise a stink up the chain of command.”

“If it came to a fight?”

<Pause>

“Heavy casualties, on both sides. Why are we talking about this, sir?”

“The war will be over, eventually, but that future Earth will still be up there, and some of the brass are running scenarios. They don’t like what they’re seeing. And what I just said is classified, clear?”

“Yes, sir. But I don’t like what I’m hearing, sir.”

“Just between you and me, I don’t like what I’m hearing, either, especially when we’ve got a war on. Next case. How do you think they’d do if we shifted them over to training, to try to teach our boys their techniques?”

Hell, no. Uh. I don’t think that would work, sir.”

“Why not?”

“Well, for one thing, I get the impression their selection process for candidates is more sophisticated than anything we do, now. I also understand the training program for special operators makes Parris Island look like Coney Island. It also seems to require a lot of logistical support, and includes a psychology element different from anything we’ve got. We’d spend a lot of time and resources trying to build that up from scratch and, like you said, there’s a war on.”

“Okay, you said that’s ‘one thing.’ What’s another?”

<Pause>

“You heard about Sgt. O’Neil, right sir?”

“I did, and so did others up the chain of command. It might even have something to do with why we’re having this conversation. What’s your version of the story?”

“It’s pretty much exactly what I filed in my report, sir. Sgt. O’Neil learned that one of the operators was Jewish, and decided to bust his chops. Called him a ‘Christ-killing k**e.’”

“Then what?”

“Specialist Goldstein demanded an apology, sir.”

“An apology. Someone with a rank equivalent to corporal, demanded an apology from a drill instructor sergeant, and expected to get it?”

“I’d say so, sir.”

“What did his commanding officer do?”

“Lt. Crowley was not present at the incident, sir. My impression is, that might have been deliberate.”

“You didn’t intervene?”

“No, sir. I think these men give me a lot of respect, for whatever reason, but it may have limits. Also, this is sometimes the sort of thing you have to let the non-coms work out between themselves, right?”

“I’ve been in this Army since the Great War. I know how it goes.”

“Yes, sir. Anyway, the two men squared off, and gathered up a crowd, and the betting heated up pretty quickly. O’Neil has a reputation as a hands-on kinda guy, and he had four inches and 40 pounds on Specialist Goldstein. So, the men were backing him, pretty solidly. The nylon thing with the USO girls might have played a part in it, too.”

“That matches up with what I heard.”

“It didn’t last long, sir. O’Neil should be out of the hospital in a month, or so, and back on active duty in six. Goldstein got a few bumps and bruises, and Lt. Crowley restricted him to barracks. Our men keep their distance, now, sir, and I think that might have been why Lt. Crowley decided to absent himself.”

“You think maybe they were making a point?”

“I know so, sir.”

“Really? That’s not in your report, Cap.”

“Uh, no sir.”

<Pause>

“You wanna expand on that, soldier?”

“Not really, sir.”

“Do it anyway.”

“You know how the non-coms have those special debriefing sessions, without officers?”

“Those ‘hot-wash’ things? I do. We don’t know too much about what happens in them, not since our bugs mysteriously stopped working.”

“Well, they had one, after the fight, and I thought it might be a good idea to listen in.”

“Did you? How in God’s name did you manage that?”

“I managed it, sir. That’s what matters, and I don’t think they knew I was there.”

“Alright. What did you hear?”

“Apparently, Sgt. Graves had told Spec. Goldstein to not do any permanent damage, and peeled some of Goldstein’s skin off for doing as much as he did. Goldstein responded that he hadn’t done anything permanent, or O’Neil wouldn’t be able to walk, again. Graves said that, next time, Goldstein needed to use a little more boxing, and a little less ‘cravmegga,’ whatever that is. I think it might be some sort of hand-to-hand combat technique, from the context.”

“Was that all?”

“Uh, no sir. That wasn’t even the most troubling part.”

“Really….”

“No, sir. Right after that, one of the other men, Reynolds, asked Graves if he’d heard when they’d be deployed.”

“Okay…?”

“It was the thing that Reynolds said next that stuck with me. He said, ‘We volunteered to come over here to fight Nazi racists, sarge, and not to put up with the primitive, screwhead racists we’re supposed to be helping.’ Sgt. Graves shut him up, right quick.”

“Primitive, screwhead racists.”

“Yes, sir.”

<Pause>

“I find myself in agreement with your assessment, Capt. Rogers. I’ll recommend that we deploy these men to southern Britain, ASAP, with the intention to air-drop them into Northern France as soon as proper objectives are identified. I'll strongly recommend they not be transferred to training details, due to incompatible training methods.”

“Very good, sir.”

“Pass the word along to Lt. Crowley to get his men ready for transport. I want them gone within the week. We’ll put them in touch with the French resistance, drop them in, and after that, they’ll be the Huns’ problem. And yours, at least temporarily.”

“Sir?"

“You’ll drop in with them, with the intent to observe their methods for two weeks, before you catch a sub back to England, or steal a plane, or whatever it is you decide to do. But, you’ll leave them in France.”

“That seems to be their preference, too, sir. Lt. Crowley said his operators were selected for the ability to speak French and German, and for experience with extended detached duty in hostile territory.”

“That’s my understanding, as well. Huh. Wonder if their special selection criteria included a love for baseball?”

“Uh, I don’t think so, sir. I asked Lt. Crowley about that, when I learned the men planned to take the baseball bats, with them on the deployment, which I thought was pretty damn strange.”

“They don’t play baseball, in France.”

“That was my point, sir.”

“What did Crowley say?”

“He said that, given one of the special selection criteria for volunteers, it didn’t surprise him that the men would add the bats to their loadouts.”

“He go into any details, about that?”

“Not really, sir. When I pressed him, he just said all the men were picked, at least in small part, because they’d already memorized something called the ‘Soliloquy of Lieutenant Aldo Raine.’”

“I don’t suppose he recited this soliloquy, for you?”

“No, sir. But he said the men would be glad to recite it for me, once they were on the jump plane, over the English Channel, on their way to Nazi-occupied northern France. He said it just like that, sir. ‘Nazi-occupied northern France.”’

“Did he tell you why the men burned those words into the bats, or why they deliberately misspelled the word, ‘bastards’?”

“No, sir, but I got the impression it’s all related.”

<Transcript ends>
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"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.

Last edited by tshiggins; 10-13-2013 at 11:05 PM.
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