(London - April 21, 1945, 2203 hrs.)
The pub at night was filled with an increasingly cheerful atmosphere as many soldiers were taking drinks, chatting with one another, and sharing stories of glorious and heroic acts on the battlefields. With the war slowly closing in on Hitler's doorstep, it's only a matter of time before his Third Reich becomes a shattered dream. One soldier, a paratrooper, was having a round of rum at the bar when another came to his side.
"Hey Travers, what ya' doin'?" He asked.
"Uh, nothing Cross." Travers answered with a calm tone. "Just relaxing myself with a shot."
"Well, we did it man. Hitler is losing everything he's got." Cross commented on the Germans' shocking losses. "And their fancy toys are getting more expensive and rare. I heard from the guys that the Russians were the first to ever knock on Berlin's doors."
"That's good news. Without Hitler in the picture, I would be going to New York and do a little walk in the town in summer."
The other paratrooper patted Travers' back.
"Just relax a little more." His friend continued chatting. "At least you have some very epic moments."
"Like the flak tower I blew up?" Travers replied while remembering his last mission, which, although costly, became one of the final nails of the Nazi's coffin. "It was all hell. Lots of enemies back there. Elite troopers with MG42s, Panzerschrecks and snipers crowded the place, plus some very good AA weapons on top."
"And I have to blow up the entire place when our demo team was gunned down."
The colleague nodded and he began to get the attention of the bartender.
"One rum please." He requested and the bartender began to make his order. Once he got the shot, he began to turn back to Travers.
"To everyone we met and fought together?" Cross asked.
"To everyone we met and fought together." Travers answered before making a toast and drink.
As the tune of the piano kept on playing, merrymaking was still going on.
(Office of Strategic Services, London branch - April 22, 1945, 0203 hrs.)
At the headquarters, officers were busy with their work. Some would go to offices to send information while others are busy decoding it. Today will be a shocker as one officer is carrying information of special interest to the superiors. Once he reached the office of Colonel Richard Balton, he knocked on the door.
"Excuse me, Colonel Balton?" He asked. "Requesting permission to enter."
"Come on in." Balton agreed.
"Thank you, sir." The officer entered the room and both men saluted. Balton was waiting to hear the report.
"What is it that you got, Lieutenant Rolando?" Balton asked.
"Sir, you're not going to beleive this." Rolando explained. "We have disocvered a tunnel 10 miles northeast of Regensburg, on a facility with a runway and underground motor pool. We don't know where it leads, but we have to assume it could lead to somewhere not on any of our existing maps."
"And what do you think the place is?"
"That's why we need to assemble a small team to investigate." Rolando suggested. "A team of hard-earned men forged in fire that can handle the toughest of foes. I would also recommend establishing a main base and a network of small-sized ones to keep our edge."
"That's a good plan." Balton commented. "Who are going to pick for your 'small team'? The Krauts may have explored that area much further than we do."
"I'm already aware of that. The men will be ready in three hours."
"Good work, Lieutenant Rolando." Balton agreed. "I'm counting on you and your hand-picked men."
Rolando saluted before leaving.
While strolling the riverwalks of the Thames River, Boyd was looking at the Elizabeth Tower and the Palace of Westminster that grace the city. Suddenly, a figure arrived towards Travers.
"Are you Boyd Travers?" The figured asked.
"Yes." He answered. "Why?"
"Follow me. We have a lot of explaining to do."
The two then went to a car and the figure began to drive.
"We were impressed with your combat record, so much so that it would equal that of some of Germany's best troopers." The figure commented. "The higher ups were interested with your abilities as well."
"Awwh, no need to thank me. I was just here to inform you that you are selected."
"Selected?" Travers felt baffled. "...by who?"
"By the OSS."
"Yes." He answered. "They did select you."
Travers suddenly felt a bit uneasy.
"Suddenly it's a repeat of the Flak Tower again."
(Office of Strategic Services, London branch - 1117 hrs.)
When the two men arrived at the building, Travers kept quiet as the OSS officer led him to the briefing room. On the way there, Travers saw many personnel doing their work. After a few minutes of walking, they arrived at the room where three more men stood up saluting once they entered. Surprisingly, his friend Cross was with them. Travers and the officer saluted back in response.
"Please be seated."
Travers joined up with the other soldiers as the officer stood up beside a mesh screen. He then quietly got Cross' attention.
"You're with them too?" Travers asked him quietly.
"Yeah, I was." Cross whispered back. "Good to see you again."
Travers nodded before the officer began to talk.
"Good morning, gentlemen." He welcomed the team. "Now I know most of you are wondering why are we in a building while Germany is crumbling towards Berlin. I have the answer."
"Proceed, sir." One of them agreed.
The projector turned on to reveal some information.
"Eighteen hours ago, our troops have spotted a tunnel in a medium-sized Geman base, 10 miles northeast of Regensburg. We are still determining where it leads and we don't know how extensive German activity is on the other side. But we have to assume it could be heavy. That's why we picked you people: Boyd Travers, James Patterson, Harvey Erston and Gallahand Cross."
The men then stood up.
"Sir, we are ready to undertake the mission." Patterson answered. "We'll be deployed in three days time."
"Good, 'cause we will be letting you freely select your weapons and equipment; rifles, anti-tank rockets, whatever you need for your operation. We're counting on you."
"Sir, yes sir!" The men shouted.
(Near Regensburg - April 25, 1945, 0703 hrs.)
In the suspected site, the four men were waiting for an officer and an available truck to pick them up towards the tunnel. Patterson began to talk to Harvey.
"I heard that you were part of the covert sniper force, am I right?" Patterson asked.
"Yes, sir." Harvey responded. "Took part in the Ardennes, protecting the trenches from enemy snipers and provided relief."
"Humm. That's an achievement. Even the snow doesn't bother you." Harvey nodded.
"The only thing bothering me is just the artillery shells and bombs. That's all."
Patterson then turned his attention to Gallahand.
"How about you, Gallahand?"
"I was with Travers here." Gallahand explained. "We first undertook our service in Adanti in Italy."
"I heard. The AA guns were a pain in the back if we leave it alone."
Gallahand nodded before Travers joined in.
"We also took part in D-Day and Market Garden." Travers explained. "I was separated from Gallahand when I took part in the paradrop near and on the Flak Tower in Germany."
"Any elite soldiers you have encountered, Mr. Travers?"
"Yes sir. The Nazi's Storm Elite is one example."
"Yikes! Those guys are walking tanks."
"Don't worry, sir. I took care of them."
"Whew!" Patterson sighed. Suddenly, the officer came.
"May I interrupt your chatter for a while?" He asked.
"You may, sir." Harvey agreed.
The officer began to tell them something.
"Listen, not only you are chosen to go there but also some of the best in the army and the air force. Germany may have everything to use, so those guys are useful should you need help. A base is recently established on the other side for convenience. Alright, hop on-board and let's go."
"Yes, sir." The men replied.
They then board the back of the truck before it begins it's journey. The truck moved towards the tunnel and when it entered, it's dark and the light from the entrance slowly faded. After a while, they exited the tunnel and the men were awed by the scenery of mountains and green plains, not counting the numerous planes, tents, tanks and other vehicles being transported. They left the truck soon after.
"This is heaven." Travers commented. "I could totally move in here."
"You sure?" Harvey responded. "Not with the threat of the Krauts looming above us."
"Enough you two." Patterson talked. "Let's go."
The two nodded and the four men, alongside a couple of others, followed the officer to the makeshift briefing room.
"Gentlemen, welcome to the new world." The officer said. "Now I know that the scenery is nice but we have some important matters to attend. We are standing in a hill named 'Alnus' by the locals. And by that I mean some of our men have encountered the inhabitants at nearby villages during our early recon missions. Then, there is this."
He then showed what looks like an ancient Roman helmet.
"A helmet?" Gallahand asked.
"Yes, a helmet. We found this while constructing our base. It looks like the Germans came here recently and decided to split up so as to not be captured. We also presumed that there is another tunnel like this, but we have no evidence so far."
"So, what now, sir?" Patterson asked.
"In two hours, you will be taking a small convoy consisting of three Stuart light tanks, three trucks and two AA half-tracks to investigate the nearby areas. Men, good luck and Godspeed."
The men stood up and saluted.
(On the other side - 1008 hrs.)
In the armory, Harvey and Travers are picking their weapons and supplies.
"I need a Thompson and a Garand." Travers requested. "Also three frag grenades."
"Springfield for me." Harvey followed. "And a Karabiner."
"I'll be processing your request." The manager accepted. "Wait here."
The manager left to get the weapons, so Harvey decided to engage in a chat while the men wait.
"Travers, I got your back." He assured the paratrooper. "I could also relay some info if you need it."
"I appreciate it Harvey." Travers agreed. "By the way, I'm also a good sniper."
"That makes us great teammates. If we want to clear out enemies, we can do this faster. The Krauts won't know what hit them."
"Yeah." Then the manager arrived with the requested weapons.
"Here you go, you two." The manager said.
"Thanks." Harvey replied.
Harvey and Travers left with the weapons.
"Alright, man. Let's go." Harvey encouraged.
They then went to Patterson and Gallahand who are waiting at a truck.
"All set?" Patterson asked and the troops nodded.
"Good. Let's roll out!"
The two Stuarts at the front moved first, followed by the trucks, the M15 and M16 AA half-tracks and the other Stuart at the back. As they leave the safety of the base, the men were praying and hoping that they can get home alive.
"Please, get us home safe." Travers prayed quietly while moving, knowing that the Germans are in the other world.