Authors: Newt Gingrich,William R. Forstchen,Albert S. Hanser
Tags: #Science Fiction, #Fiction, #General, #War & Military, #World War; 1939-1945
William R. Forstchen
Albert S. Hanser
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 1995
Newt Gingrich & William R. Forstchen
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.
A Baen Books Original
Baen Publishing Enterprises PO Box 1403 Riverdale, NY 10471
Cover art by Gary Ruddell
First mass-market printing, September 1996
Distributed by Simon & Schuster 1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020
Library of Congress Number: 95-14080
Printed in the United States of America
To the generation that fought the Nazis in the real world, especially our parents:
Bob and Kitt Gingrich, and
John and Dorothy Forstchen
Many people have been most helpful in making this novel a reality, but particular thanks are due to Joseph Hanser, Bill Fawcett, and especially David Drake, who in more than one instance corrected our nomenclature, and for whom we stretched a point.
September 1,1945 Washington, D.C.
Germany and the United States are not at war. What harm is there if we share the occasional bit of... gossip? Surely you don't think that I, a loyal Swede . . The question trailed off in a lethal pout as his beautiful and so very exotic mistress stretched languidly, mock-innocent appeal in her eyes.
Still, he mustn't let her see just how much she moved him. A relationship had to have
balance. He stretched in turn, reached over for his cigarettes and gold-plated Ronson on the art deco nightstand with its Tiffany lamp. Since he wasn't sure what to say he made a production out of lighting up and enjoying that first luxurious after-bout inhalation.
His continued silence earned him a small punishment.
"Darling... isn't it time for you to leave?"
Playfully, to drive home the potential loss, she bit his shoulder, then kissed it better.
"Aw, hell, I don't want to ... I wish I could just
Mrs. Little Goodie Two-Shoes!"
"I like this arrangement." She laughed softly. "Mistress to the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States. Nice title, don't you think?
a book I could write."
Mayhew shuddered at the thought. "Don't even joke about it." But he could trust her to be discreet.... He was sure he could trust her.
More to cover his moment of doubt than for any other reason, he harked back to her initial gambit. "One thing we really don't have to worry about is a war between Germany and the United States. It just isn't in the cards. There's no way it could happen within the next year or so, and after that—well, just take it from me, nobody is going to dream of messing with the United States, not even Adolf Hitler."
"I don't think there is going to be a war either, but you seem so sure. What is your big secret? You were so excited about it when you came in here, and now you won't
me." Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. "Tell me," she hissed.
Mayhew looked at his delicious interrogator. For a moment her intensity almost frightened him. Then he was overcome by it, by her. His had been a strict and starchy upbringing, and his marriage had not been born of love but of political opportunity, though his wife didn't know that. So he capitulated. Besides, he wanted to tell. What good were secrets if you couldn't share?
"Okay. I surrender."
"Lucky for you," she purred, then laughed. "Such games we have," she whispered in his ear. "You play wonderfully. Now tell!"
Having given in, characteristically he stalled. "Sure you're not looking for a story for your Swedish newspaper?"
She just looked at him. He could tell she was tiring of the delay.
"Our interests are different," he announced as if he were the first to have that particular insight. "Germany won its war in Europe and will be busy consolidating its gains for years. Our situation in the Pacific is much the same: We've won; now it's time to consolidate. There just isn't any significant conflict of interest between us, and there won't be for a long time.
"Hell, by the time they've consolidated their hold on Western Russia and the Ukraine and practically all of Europe, we'll be looking at the next century. Same for us, especially now that we have this China mess to worry about. We have no reason to interact with each other. Our paths don't cross. It's that simple."
"What about the death camps we're hearing about?"
"What about them? It's a shame what's happening there, but it's not something to start a war over." Personally he couldn't care less about the camps, but he wasn't about to admit that aloud to anybody—not when his President felt about it the way he did. Continuing with that line of thought he added, "Even my boss isn't about to throw away millions of American lives over it, and even if he wanted to Congress would never allow it. Victory in a war with Germany would not be a sure thing. Remember 1918? Germans are tough. Right now the only thing that could move us would be an invasion of England. That might do it."
"I know it for a fact. I heard my boss talking about it with the House Minority Leader and the Speaker. They agreed. We don't dare lose England."
"This is so exciting. You really do hear about everything, don't you?" Her fingers twined the fur on his chest.
John maintained a smug silence.
"But there's something more. I know there is. that nobody else knows. Now you must tell. Or..."
"Okay! Okay! There is something more," he said hurriedly, laughing with just a hint of nervousness. He stirred at the movement of her fingers, which were no longer on his chest.
"Can't it wait just a little while?" he panted, suddenly wanting her very much.
"If you promise faithfully..."
"I promise. Everything!" She was truly an artist....
His next coherent words were:
"We're making this new kind of bomb..."
October 3 Berlin
"The Nazis may be crazy, but they sure can throw a parade."
Lieutenant Commander James Mannheim Martel, head of Naval Intelligence at the American Embassy in Berlin, nodded silendy in grudging agreement to Major Wayne Mason, his Army counterpart, then turned back to the spectacle.
The thundering engines of the Tiger and Panther tanks, the cheering of the crowds and the insistent beat of the "Horst Wessel," theme song of the Nazi party washed over him in waves. Martel hoped it wasn't his German heritage that set his pulse to pounding in response. The thought was deeply distasteful.
After a while the Waffen SS division
passed in review, flowed around the sides of the Brandenburg Gate and down the broad Unter den Linden thoroughfare in a dark gray torrent. These were the heroes of the Russian front, the victors of Stalingrad, Astrakhan, and Baku. On this, the second anniversary of final victory in Russia, they were still heroes of the present rather than aging icons of former glory. Now more tarda, rank after rank, three abreast, roared by. Dark clouds of exhaust fumes spewed heavenward. The thunder nearly drowned the roar of the multitude.
Across the boulevard a thin line of black-clad SS guards, arms interlocked, swayed back and forth in response to the pressure of the ecstatic mob. The SS men were friendly enough, but they were also beginning to look a little desperate; it would never do to have some of the most enthusiastic patriots of the Third Reich pulped beneath the treads of a Panther—especially in front of the Führer and the international press — something that could well happen if the crowd broke through. The scene brought to Martel's mind the absurd image of a cobra tenderly protecting a baby.
The last of the tanks passed by. Next came half-tracked APCs, armored personnel carriers. Their squads of camouflage-clad infantry sat at rigid attention, immobile as statues, until they turned as one to salute the Führer, who stood on the reviewing stand, right arm outstretched.
roared the crowd.