“Gareth come back, please come back to me, why is it always you who gets sent on these things it isn’t fair, why can’t some one else go.”
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The nightmare had started the same as usual, as regular as clockwork the image of Karen creeping back into his mind reminding him, torturing as per usual. She was beautiful not beautiful in modern terms e.g. as thin as a garden rake and ninety percent plastic. Nope she was a classical beauty with lovely full hips and full breasts she wasn’t tall about medium height with dark brown hair flowing over her shoulders and in the gloom of the approaching dusk she looked more beautiful than ever, angry and upset but as beautiful as ever. He was being sent on another assignment back into occupied territory yet again he was putting his life on the line for king and country like so many others in time of war he was a solider he couldn’t help it. He smiled that reassuring smile at Karen that same reassuring smile that got her into bed with him and got her in front of the altar with him and made them husband and wife. In the silence he could hear the rain begin to hammer down on the sides of the small cottage that they owned in the middle of the black mountains, the rain started rattling the windows as the storm intensified, the driver in the awaiting jeep lent on the horn irritably the piercing screech shattering the silence in the small room.
“ Look Karen I’ve got to go, but I’ve told charmers that I want two weeks leave when I get back and we’ll spend every minute of it together… I promise.”
“ You always promise but that bastard always screws it up by calling you in.”
“This time will be different I have his word on it.
“ Yeh right, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“ Karen… I PROMISE. I’ve told him that if I hear from him while on leave I’m out, I’ll quit and go back to my old regiment.”
“Ok, ok… just make sure you come back to me in one piece… ok.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way. I love you, you know that don’t you.”
“Of course I know that and I love you too. So take care and come back.”
She kissed him on the lips not wanting to let him go, as he pulled himself away he smiled. The door slammed behind him, not because he slammed it but a storm was raging the wind knocked him from side to side as he battled towards the awaiting jeep parked in the driveway, he thought to himself, praying that the weather was a bit calmer over France. The rain soaked through his uniform causing his skin to goose pimple but he hardly noticed, over time his body had adapted to all sorts of adverse weathers, he threw his case into the back of the jeep catching the driver on the shoulder, as he sat next to him he turned to him and snarled at him.
“Corporal the next time you sound your horn after I’ve told you I’d be out in a minute I’ll have you training to jump into occupied territory before you can say the words “A transfer sir why sir?” understand me.
“Right move it then lets get to the airfield.”
The jump had been perfect, the weather had cleared up as they reached the channel and even though there was no moon at all so thick was the cloud cover. The landing had gone without any problems and within minutes the chute was buried and covered, he met the contact in the right place at the right time without a single hitch. He’d been dropped off a mile from the docks in a quiet side street, the walk to the docks itself had been uneventful only passing drunken sailors who were making the most of they’re precious shore leave for soon they’d be back at sea, facing possible death from drowning, burning in oil and numerous other types of horrible deaths that faced sailors in war time, but that’s the dangers that most of them had chosen freely. Garth walked along the wet concrete of the dock towards the awaiting sentry, he scratched at the uniform where it was still itchy from being cleaned, he prayed the last owner hadn’t had lice or nits, unconsciously he tapped the identification paper in his top pocket, he was dressed as a kaptainleutnant of the kriegsmarine He had all the papers and documentation to prove that beyond all shadow of a doubt that he was Kaptainleutnant Johann Steiner with service record and life history to go with it, on his way to Brest to take command of a new type of U-boat and to take her out on patrol with her crew. SOE (Special Operations Executive) must have been out of they’re collective minds, but here he was and he’d spent two months training for this mission, the hardest part was lying to Karen making her think it was an emergency job that had come up, when it had been in planning and preparation ever since the allies had received word of the U-boats development and how it could turn the tide of the war at sea back towards Germany’s favour, then some genius had come up with this idea and here he was.
The sentry turned when he saw the figure approaching.
“HALT show me your papers.”
In perfect German with a slight Berlin accent Gareth said “ The last time I checked it was customary to salute a superior officer.”
As the sentry made out the collar tags and epaulettes of the visitor in the dim light, he snapped sharply to attention and gave parade a ground salute that would of brought tears of delight to any RSM and barked out.
“ I’m sorry sir I could not see your rank in the dark.”
Returning the salute Gareth handed over the identification papers to the sentry who flashed on a torch to check that they all matched up.
“No problem this time, you’re only doing your job. I’m Kaptainleutnant Steiner here to take command of U-boat U666 is the base commander about.
“Yes sir he’s been expecting you, he’s in the office across there.”
The guard pointed to a row of grey painted buildings across a small courtyard, he returned the papers and saluted and after he’d received the return salute raised the barrier. Gareth headed across to the base office not even knocking he walked through the door, the guard and the secretary stood rigid at attention as the officer entered the room.
“At ease I’m here to see the commanding officer at once.”
The secretary stood at ease and said.
“Sir, who may I ask wishes to see him and may I see your papers please.
“Certainly I’m Kaptainleutnant Johann Steiner here to take command of U666.”
For the countless time that night he handed over his papers and had them returned without a problem. The secretary picked up a phone and had a brief conversation with the base commander.
“Very well sir you can go straight through.”
The office of the base CO was warm and inviting compared to the cold Novembers night outside a small stove burned away nicely in the corner off the room giving off a surprising amount of heat, the kettle on it bubbled away giving off a sweet smell of coffee Gareth’s mouth began to water, there was a small bed in one corner of the room and looked very inviting, a spare uniform was hanging above it, behind the document covered desk sat a short well built man in the uniform of a KovertenKaptain, at his neck was pinned the knights cross and on the breast pocket of his jacket sat the Iron cross first class and a silver wound badge which accounted for the empty left arm of his jacket, also was the U-boat badge in silver. Gareth stood smartly to attention and saluted, the officer gave a lazy salute at offered a chair to his visitor.
“Welcome to my humble home Steiner I hope you had a pleasant trip from Berlin.”
“It was long but not too bad Kaptain Bauer, before I forget here are my orders and here is this.”
As he said this he handed over a plain white envelope marked SECRET and Bauer’s name, Bauer’s eyes opened wide when he saw this. After first making sure it was still sealed he tore open the letter and read it through twice. When he’d finished he looked up at his visitor.
“Have you read this at all do you know what it contains.”
“No I was ordered to give it directly to you sir.”
“Well it says I’m ordered to give you every cooperation and that you are order to take U666 on patrol as soon as you arrive and it’s signed Adolf Hitler.”
“My god I knew I was to take command of U666 at once but I didn’t know the rest.”
“Well there it is Steiner, we’d better get you crew ready come with me and you can see your boat.”
Rising from they’re seats Gareth followed Bauer from his office as he barked an order to his secretary to rouse the crew and have them assembled in pen one in five minutes. As they headed across to the U-boat pen holding U666 Gareth caught the salty smell of the sea combined with the acrid smell of fuel in his nostrils and he began to feel the excitement coursing through his veins his every sense was heighten trying to spot the begins of a trap but none came. Inside the U-boat pen was brightly lit by large arch light suspended from the ceiling as the sea doors were closed and it was a hive of activity mechanics performing last minutes checks on the U-boat who sat in the middle of all this chaos, placid and gleaming her squat tower standing alone and proud, she was bigger than most U-boats and faster with eight torpedo tubes for’ard and two aft, Gareth had never set foot on her but he already knew every inch of her from the plans back at SOE.
“Well here she is, beautiful isn’t she?”
“She certainly is I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prettier sight.”
“Well she’s all yours commander, you ship out in ten minutes go black in five. Good hunting commander. Ah there’s your number one he’s a good man Karl come here.”
A clean-shaven man in the uniform of a Leutnant kommander who gave them a brisk salute joined them.
“Good morning sir a bit rushed but we’re ready to go.”
“Excellent Karl, this is your new commander, Kaptainleutnant Steiner, Leutnant Kommander Karl Bergen, well gentlemen you have very little time I suggest you make formal introductions when your under way.”
“Thank you sir. Number one, have the men assemble on deck.”
Gareth saluted Bauer and headed for the U-boat as Bergman bellowed orders to the awaiting submariners; Gareth gave a small smile as they lined up on deck awaiting the usual pre-launch speech.
“Gentlemen the fuhrer has given us our sailing orders we are to perform a mission that is vital to the outcome of the war so I expect the best from all of you. I know we haven’t had chance to get to know each other but I feel we’ll have plenty of time too. PREPARE TO SAIL!”
Suddenly the deck of the U-boat was covered by scurrying men as they headed for the hatches Gareth climbed aboard the bridge and the main lights in the pen shut off and were replaced by red ones so that allied bombers could not tell where the pens were, the fact they already knew was beside the point under orders U666 slowly moved out of the pen and when far enough out Gareth ordered the U-boat to dive. Below decks the u-boat throbbed gently to it’s engine’s and Gareth went and changed into a thick fisherman’s sweater and light weight uniform jacket trousers and sea boots and emerged from his cabin and gave directions to the navigation officer a thin youth fresh out of the academy.
“Inform me when we reach these coordinates. Number one you have the con I’m going to have a look around the boat.”
“Very well sir.”
As he walked around the u-boat Gareth noted how much larger it was compared to others he’d been fortunate to see, he spent equal time in each room checking and inspecting he spent slightly longer in one room though paying particular attention to something he knew was there and checking it worked the same as he thought. Gareth made his way back to the bridge after an hour the navigator announced that they were at the coordinates given.
“Very well, periscope depth.”
He felt the u-boat rise gently as it ascended to periscope depth.
The periscope hummed out of its housing raising until it reached its maximum height, Gareth pressed his eye to the rubber viewfinder and scanned the horizon as he found what he wanted he checked his watch and smiled.
“What is it Kaptain.”
“ Nothing Bergman, nothing to worry about, are you ok you look un-well.”
“I don’t know sir I feel tried all of a…”
The rest of the sentence was lost as Bergman collapsed on the deck, joining the rest of the bridge crew who had also passed out. Gareth clasped the miniature respirator his mouth and withdrew his pistol from its holster hidden in his jacket and quickly checked the rest of the boat and sure enough the entire crew was sleeping like baby’s, he checked the time 11:30 bang on the nod he rushed into the control room remembering the sequence needed to surface the boat, step by step with practiced hands he brought the u-boat to the surface. The seawater combined with the cold November night sent a shiver down his spine as he stood on the bridge of the u-boat he found himself staring at the barrels of Royal Navy destroyer. A metallic voice echoed from the dark shape.
“Make one wrong move and we’ll blow you from the water, OPERATION!”
Recognizing the password Gareth bellowed back the response.
“Very well keep your hands in the air we’re sending a boat across.”
The sailors from the destroyer’s small landing boat were all armed to the teeth, the destroyer’s commander was taking no chances and who could blame him. They pointed they’re rifles point blank at his head, one thing Gareth never liked was looking down the business end of rifles while he was armed only with a small pistol. From the group of sailors emerged a man in the uniform a Captain of the royal navy whose face was all to familiar to Gareth… Charmers, Captain Roger Charmers, Charmer by name charmer by nature.
“Easy gentlemen he’s one of us, everything ok Gareth?”
“Couldn’t have gone smoother they’re all sleeping like the dead, can I put my arms down now.”
“Certainly dear boy, come along with me. Right chaps get the crew in cuffs and transferred over to the Redemption at once I want to be under way in ten minutes or less.”
The trip back had gone without a hitch Gareth was debriefed on the way back and by three o’clock that morning he was driving back to the cottage the dawn still hours off. Charmers had told him to stay the night in Southampton but he’d refused, simply saying “Remember your promise I’m on two weeks leave as of now so I’m going home to spend them with my wife before she kills me.” Charmers offered no resistance knowing what and outstanding job had been pulled off that night, Gareth had earned some relaxation. As he drove back through the small towns and lanes he came across a car in a ditch, the driver of which was standing in the middle of the road waving for assistance tired and weary Gareth pulled the car up and walked over to see if he could offer the driver some assistance. The last he remembered was looking into the engine when he felt the fangs sinking into his neck then blackness, two days later he awoke in a strange room in a strange city the second he opened his eyes he knew he was different he could feel the strange power flowing through him, feel it in every movement of his muscles, but the biggest change was that it was midnight and no lights on in the room yet through his eyes it looked like daytime. The vampire who’d made him was there and Gareth could tell he was very powerful he didn’t know how he could but he could. The vampire had told Gareth what he now was and that if he ever tried to speak to Karen he would have her killed Gareth not wanting Karen to see what he’d become grudgingly expected after the vampire had left Gareth walked over to the windows over looking the city, despite the blackout he could see some people moving around he figured they were civil defence or looters as he stared into the night one word screamed from his mouth rattling the window pane in its sill.
With a start Gareth awoke, it was nighttime, well of course it would be the dream tortured him all the time he slept, he rose from his bed and pulled the heavy drapes to one side then slowly lifted the blinds and he was greeted by the night sky. Gareth headed over to the fridge in the kitchen and took out a large jug containing a viscous red liquid, blood he took a glass from the cupboard and filled it sipping it quietly he padded over to the easy chair in the corner of the room and flicked on the TV the news presenter flickered into life.
“Police are still baffled at the attack in the early hours of this morning. The incident that involved a young girl, an unknown man and possibly a third man connected it some way to the attack, also the body of a local man Peter Circus was found strangled nearby. This is the second attack of its type in the past week. Even though the teen-aged girl continues to tell the authorities that is was some sort of attack that there was a third party involved who seemed to have drained the victim of blood the police have found no evidence of this third party, but the has the police have released a statement indicating that the man died from severe blood lost, however they refuse to comment on the cause of death the police are still running tests and appealing for witnesses…”
Gareth flicked off the TV. He stood up and went back into the bedroom to dress, he was half way through climbing into the black jeans when the phone rang.
“Yes whose this.”
“Krueger… he wants to see you.”
“No tomorrow… Of course now.”
“Right I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
The phone went dead, Gareth thought to himself, so the old bastard wants to see him to get him to do his dirty work again, what a fucking surprise the seneschal only ever wanted to see him when there was killing or something else unpleasant to be done well what do you expect from the bastard that did this too him what the old bastard didn’t realize was that he was going to die very soon and Gareth was looking forward to doing the job. He finished dressing putting on a plain black T-shirt, making sure that the shoulder holster was comfy and the pistol in it secure and that the knives and extra clips of ammunition were tucked into their cases and snug on the back of his jeans, he put on a shirt which he left undone to allow access to his weaponry. Throwing on a black leather jacket that was hanging over the back of sofa he finished his drink and headed for the door make sure the alarm was activated and the door locked.