City Series:Volume6b Chapter1
Chapter 1: The Wheel Activates
7/26/1939 20:31 – 21:07
People have begun to gather
At the place
Where it all began
For everyone, for me
A plan to place 412 Vaterland ley line acceleration reactors across Germany to modify the ley lines and alter the Tons of Germany as a whole. Including secondary factors, the following three stages will be completed:
Stage 1: The climate and the people’s Tons will be tuned for ley line stabilization.
Stage 2: The stabilized ley lines will be extracted from the acceleration reactors and processed into high-purity Phlogiston.
Stage 3: That Phlogiston will be used to build city defense weapons and to construct Germania.
According to the German military’s announcement, the Panzerpolis Project’s name is in reference to Germania from the Stage 3.
An animal cry rang through the rainy July darkness.
The roar resembled the rumbling of thunder in the chilled summer air as it descended from the cloudy night sky.
Only one animal of sufficient size to produce such a deep roar could also fly: a dragon.
The dragon roared again, its voice reverberating through the sky, the air, the rain, and the ground below.
There was a city on that ground.
The rainswept city had a collection of scarlet lights in each of the four cardinal directions.
Each of those was a Vaterland tower and the lights illuminated a construction site that worked through the night.
The city surrounded by four giant towers was Berlin.
Either because it was late summer or because of the rain, the city lights looked awfully calm and meek this night.
Tension filled the entire city.
One place other than the Vaterland towers shined lights into the night sky: Tempelhof Air Base on the southwestern side of Berlin.
A few beams of light stretched from the base into the sky. They were searching for the source of the roaring. The wandering of the lights showed they could not find their target.
Another roar sounded, as if mocking the lights.
The bestial voice rumbled down from the sky.
The airport’s buildings shook and windows rattled. Not even the transport ships waiting for their next assignment could escape that tremor. Both the ship’s capable of vertical takeoff and the larger ships.
There was a dragon overhead.
The aircraft could not carelessly take flight, but carelessly fighting back could lead to an international incident.
The air base prepared to fight back if need be while trying to work out the dragon’s intentions, hoping it would simply fly away. Would their patience run out before the control tower gave up trying to communicate with whatever was up there?
The same went for Neue Silber, a large transport ship awaiting takeoff on the apron.
The vertical-takeoff strategic transport ship was a giant rectangle more than 100 yards long colored black. The silver reinforcing armor that gave it its name was slick with rain as it shook from the rumbling.
Neue Silber trembled as it waited for the takeoff order to arrive.
As did the people onboard.
Neue Silber’s cockpit was located in the flat nose.
Six men were in the surprisingly large room covered in instruments and controls.
The three illuminated by the instruments glowing in the dim light were the pilot, copilot, and navigator.
The other three were not part of the pilot crew. They remained in the shadows away from the glowing instruments and they carried an atmosphere very different from the pilot crew who were impatiently awaiting the takeoff order.
Theirs was a calm and unshakeable atmosphere.
One of them was a large elderly man sitting in a special seat giving him a commanding view of the cockpit. He turned back toward the two standing behind him. As he turned his powerful gaze toward them, his green German Air Force coat rustled and his two prosthetic arms rubbed against his seat.
His long gray hair and long beard swayed as he spoke to one of the men.
“The rain is really coming down. Isn’t it, Lieutenant Hellard Schweitzer?”
The enormous man named Schweitzer nodded. He wore the black coat of the Geheimnis Agency and a large prosthetic arm emerged from its right shoulder. He held the hand of that arm against his chest.
“We believe that is a dragon scout sent all the way from the UK, Lieutenant General Heiliger. There have been more of them since late last year, but we believe they are either monitoring the progress of the Panzerpolis Project or smuggling in some kind of materiel.”
When he nodded again, the women’s earring on his left ear gave a flash of its red stone.
Schweitzer ignored that and Heiliger did not mention it.
“I see,” said the gray-haired and gray-bearded general. “Your Geheimnis Agency’s Panzerpolis Project is not something they could monitor from high in the rainy sky. I believe the official announcement said it was a national modification project that will use the Vaterland ley line acceleration reactors to modify the ley lines and extract Phlogiston over the course of three stages. And during the third stage…”
“The Geheimnis Agency has already begun Erklärung adaptation training at various bases centered on Berlin and our HQ.”
“How valiant of you. But…as a member of the military, my primary interest is in the construction of that new Berlin you call Germania. The military has already begun construction of the underground city surrounding the four Vaterlands around Berlin. I hear the Phlogiston extracted from those Vaterlands will be used to create a fortress city capable of running indefinitely.” He remained entirely expressionless. “If the Panzerpolis Project based on the Vaterlands is completed and Belin can be used by the military…perhaps it will become known as the Eingeweide City.”
Heiliger’s somewhat irritated comment received a response.
It came from the dragon roaring up in the sky.
Heliger looked up at the cockpit’s ceiling as if viewing the unseen sky beyond.
“Have they still not decided to fight back? Would your Geheimnis Agency immediately fight back against any who intrudes on our airspace?”
Just as Schweitzer prepared to respond, the aide by his side, a tall and gaunt elderly man in a black coat, spoke for the first time.
“I believe that question would be better suited for General Graham than for the Lieutenant, Air Force Lieutenant General Heiliger. We are no more than Neue Kavaliers, so we have no command authority.”
“You’re a strict one, Bermark, but that is not why I asked.”
“Then pardon me.”
Bermark nodded and Schweitzer sighed at his aide’s usual way of speaking.
Then Heiliger turned his gaze toward Schweitzer.
The power of his gaze had changed somewhat. It was now a searching look.
Schweitzer asked a question in response.
“Lieutenant General Heiliger, may I ask something?”
“This military ship will soon be on its way to the Geheimnis Agency HQ in southern Germany, but why? We were only given approval to accompany you since we were headed there anyway, but I would still like to know the purpose of this ship.”
Heiliger responded with no expression on his face.
“There is a reason I must visit there once a year. …Do you find it that unusual for a military man to visit your HQ? I do visit every year at this time, even if they are not official visits.”
Schweitzer looked to his aide. Bermark was one of the oldest members of the Geheimnis Agency and he spoke without turning toward Schweitzer or providing any kind of emotional response.
“Lieutenant General Heiliger is the only member of the military allowed to enter the Geheimnis Agency HQ.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that earlier, Bermark?”
“You did not ask.”
Heiliger smiled at that response. A small but genuine smile.
“Lieutenant, this discussion is not yet over. It is my turn to ask you a question. Why were you summoned to your HQ?”
“Our orders were to provide a report on the recovery of components from the Sylphide from that incident two years ago, to attend the commissioning of the first ship for the Gard-class Eingeweide aerial warship at Base #8, and…”
He paused to choose his words.
“To inspect the excavation at the Alfheim Meteorite Pit located near Base #8.”
“The Alfheim Meteorite Pit?” asked Heiliger.
Bermark nodded and explained.
“Excavation of what remained of P. Wagner’s lab began two years ago, but the other day, some Geheimnis Agents were suddenly instructed to visit the excavation site.”
“The agents given that order,” added Schweitzer, “were the ones involved in the Sylphide Incident two years ago.” He crossed his arms. “According to the Unreif Germane, the Heidengeist Messiah who once saved Germany was born by falling to Alfheim along with a meteor and she returned there once her work was done.”
“I am aware. A one-armed youth is said to have protected where she slept and died. But I thought historians were still divided on whether or not the meteor impact site really was in the depths of Alfheim.” Heiliger smiled. “Lieutenant, I heard you met the girl with the Messiah implant two years ago. What was she like?”
“She insisted she did not want to run away.”
“I see. Your tone suggests you do not oppose the idea of taking her as your leader.”
Heiliger’s seat creaked as he stood up.
He was tall. His eye level was even higher than Schweitzer’s. His chest was not as thick as Schweitzer’s, but his shoulders were broader thanks to the two prosthetic arms. The cockpit immediately felt more cramped.
He looked down at Schweitzer.
“Your father was my right-hand man during the Great War. I still remember Bertecht Schweitzer, the Barrier Master who protected his territory with barrier spells instead of piloting a Panzer as a Neue Kavalier.”
“My family name is all I inherited from my father, but-”
“You also inherited his spells, his will, and his Titel. You are Der Held and the Schallmauer Zerstörer who fulfilled the Messiah’s prophecy. A messenger informed me that the Sofort Leser who leads the Geheimnis Agency made another prophecy two weeks ago.”
“Her prophecy was identical to the Unreif Germane’s 3rd Section of Daily Life.”
“Yes, one of the six sections that has been passed down as a poem. I hear the Messiah will be revived if this poem is fulfilled. …It is a strange prophecy, but it must be true. So, Lieutenant, I have something important to tell you, who have received some small glimpse of the future.” A breath. “We are a military of the ordinary people who cannot see into the future, but we believe the Panzerpolis Project will produce Germania and become a key to our national defense. And it is your generation that must face the tragedy that the Sofort Lesers have prophesied will occur in ’43.”
“That is the true meaning behind your summons this time. I guarantee it.”
Then a voice came from the navigation seat in the center of the cockpit. It sounded panicked.
“The dragon is descending! They’re…beginning forced recon!!”
Following that report, a noise rushed by outside.
It was a siren. The long, wailing sound indicating danger was the second alarm.
Schweitzer saw Heiliger turn to look back.
“One of those pathetic dragons that can’t even fly without the Union Jack? When is the Air Force attacking?”
“They are coordinating with the surrounding bases to prepare a counterattack,” answered the navigator. “The attack will begin in 2 more minutes.”
“Not soon enough,” replied Bermark.
His words were answered by the roar aircraft engines as they left the hangars. The sounds of an attack being prepared passed through the rain, the shadows, and Neue Silber’s armor to reach their ears.
But Bermark ignored it and pulled his white gloves on tighter.
“How many people can that thing kill with two unimpeded minutes? And how much can it see? Our land must not be allowed to be defiled by that dragon’s retinas and our skies should only be home to the true dragon that obeys the Messiah.”
“Do you intend to head out and fight, Bermark? After stopping me from doing so earlier?” asked Schweitzer.
Bermark turned toward him to respond.
“It would be foolish to use a mere hypothetical victory as evidence of our Geheimnis Agency’s standing. Once it drops below 1000, my magic bullet can slay it even in this storm.”
“That does sound like what the Geheimnis Agency would do,” said Heiliger. He still had his back to the other two men. “Before erasing his emotions, my brother Graham said your duty is not to national defense but to destiny.”
“Then, Lieutenant General, even a Sein Frau such as myself must ask. What is the purpose of your Tragisch Eingeweide arms which came from below the Karlsruhe home and were later modified by Marsch Gant?”
Bermark pulled out an automatic handgun. It had a fang decoration on the side.
“My Freischütz’s purpose is to defeat my enemy.”
Just as he said that, a roar rumbled down from the sky. It was incomparably louder than the previous ones.
The ship shook as Schweitzer nodded to his aide and prepared to leave the cockpit.
Just then, a new shout came from the navigation seat.
“Hm? Something…something is flying in from the north behind the dragon! Three crafts moving at high speed!”
“Can you identify them?” asked Heiliger.
The navigator was hesitant to respond.
“I cannot! I have never seen readings like this before. One of them is flying out ahead of the others.” He took a breath. “It is approaching the dragon at supersonic speed!!”
The question on everyone’s mind was answered a moment later.
A new voice spoke over the cockpit’s radio. It was a young male voice that sounded a bit hoarse.
“This is the Geheimnis Agency Army Division 1st Division 1st Independent Mobile Grösse Panzer Unit. Beginning counterattack.”
The airport control room said what everyone in the cockpit was thinking.
“Attention, Geheimnis Agent who just made radio contact, the Air Force is preparing to counterattack, so leave this airspace immediately!”
“Shut it. It’s you and your military who let our skies and lands be defiled like this. And the few aircraft you can scramble on such short notice won’t be enough firepower to bring down that dragon, so I will bring it down.”
Only one of the six people in the cockpit managed to respond to that: Schweitzer.
He walked forward, passed Heiliger, and grabbed the radio microphone from the wall.
“Is that you, Alfred!? Have you completed your mission in the North Sea!?”
“That voice…Hellard? How did you let this base grow so negligent on your watch? You too, Bermark. Your brother Nein must be weeping.”
The dragon roared.
“Oh? Loud thing, isn’t it? …Beginning counterattack. We can have our Marsch-less reunion later.”
The transmission was cut off on the other end.
Schweitzer returned the microphone and turned toward Heiliger.
Heiliger crossed his arms and looked back at Schweitzer. He had a fairly sharp look to his eyes, but Schweitzer remained calm and saluted before responding.
“The army is working with the Geheimnis Agency’s development division to improve upon the Eisen Ritter Project with the Panzer Ritter Project meant to develop the strongest Neue Kavalier, but the Geheimnis Agency also has its own strongest Panzer Kavalier.”
“And who is that?”
“Alfred Maldrick, second son of the Maldrick family, the foremost European Buster family, and the man allowed to wield that imperial blade known as the Rein König. He is a Buster capable of destroying an Octave of 10 million.”
Then they heard a voice from the sky.
But instead of another roar, this one was a scream.
And it suddenly dropped down toward the airport.
A great mass fell from the sky faster than the rain and with more force than the wind.
It was a mass of flesh measuring 20 yards long. Its green scales shined even in the darkness.
It was a flying dragon, but it had lost the most crucial feature for that designation.
It had no wings. Its two massive wings were missing and the shoulders that should have supported them were also no more.
It could only fall.
The airport lawn lay below. Colliding with that would cause the air Tons gathered to form its body to break apart and scatter.
But someone prevented it from simply falling.
A black form pursued the falling dragon.
The figure looked dark even compared to the shadows of the night and it resembled a winged human.
But this figure stood around 8 yards tall and had black armor resembling a mixture of metal and flesh all over its body.
The shoulder of the Panzer Kleid it wore bore a red dragon emblem and the name Schwarz Löwe.
It was a Grösse Panzer with a full-body Ober Emblem active.
Schwarz Löwe was flying. It accelerated though the rain, the wind, and the shadows. It used the wings on its back to fly forward, seemingly deflecting the air and all else. The shockwave turned the rain to a mist that sprayed outwards.
It caught up to the falling dragon in no time.
It wordlessly faced the dragon and reached out its right hand while just barely above the ground.
The dragon twisted around in an attempt to avoid that hand, but the attempt was futile.
The metal hand grabbed the dragon’s giant throat and dug in its metal claws to maintain a grip.
Then it tilted forward as if preparing for a flip and gave a powerful flap of its wings.
The dragon was dragged through the air as Schwarz Löwe accelerated.
The dragon’s caught neck was slammed into the ground, the momentum caused its body to rise up above its head, and its face smashed the grassy ground rushing by below.
The airport lawn was torn up and blown away in a long line.
The trail of destruction ran across half the length of the airport in a mere three seconds and showed no sign of stopping. The dragon’s body danced in midair as if convulsing, but not even that prevented its face from tearing apart the ground.
The great beast and Schwarz Löwe’s inertia did not allow it to stop.
But then Schwarz Löwe made a sudden move.
The pitch black Grösse Panzer flapped its wings once more and released the dragon as if throwing it.
The reactionary force to being pressed against the ground caused the dragon to hop upwards along with clumps of dirt. Half its body was torn apart and the bluish-white light of the ether forming its body sprayed out like blood.
Schwarz Löwe swung up its right fist to strike the airborne dragon.
It did not even need to hit. The Grösse Panzer’s arm was more than four times the length of a human arm, so a skilled pilot could use that extra length to break the sound barrier and produce a sonic boom.
Its fist flew and instantly launched some white water vapor.
The shockwave struck the dragon and produced a great rumbling.
The impact exploded at one end of the airport with a sound that could only be described as powerful.
The dragon’s body broke, the rain shook, and the air roared. The rain turned to a mist that sprayed out over a radius of 200 yards.
Schwarz Löwe was not within that mist.
It had already flown up into the sky where it dodged the scattering clumps of dirt that seemed to follow after it.
It knew exactly where to land: in front of the Neue Silber strategic transport ship awaiting takeoff.
While in midair, it began to slowly scatter ether light as the Ober Emblem forming its current body was deactivated.
The horn on its head became the original radiator, the black wings shattered and became the rear support wings, and the various muscles and tendons revealed themselves to be cylinders and wire cylinders.
It was now a giant humanoid machine made only of metal.
It landed, sinking down a bit to negate the impact, and a loud metallic noise joined the sound of spraying water. But those were the only sounds. The ground hidden by the mist was a paved road, but its metal feet made no sound as they contacted the asphalt.
Schwarz Löwe came to a stop while standing directly in front of Neue Silber. And with its face turned toward the cockpit window.
After a pause, the door to the secondary cockpit on its back opened.
Someone emerged from within.
Schweitzer looked out from the cockpit window to see a young man appear from within Schwarz Löwe’s back.
He had long brown hair tied back, but it looked red in the airport lights. He wore the black pants of a Geheimnis Agent and even wore the boots, but he only wore a sleeveless black shirt on his upper body.
But the most notable trait was the long drawn sword he held in his right hand.
It was a pure white double-edged sword that allowed no shadows to fall on it.
He climbed on top of Schwarz Löwe’s shoulder with that weapon that resembled a straight line of silver.
His thick eyebrows bent in a smile.
“Alfred Maldrick plus two others here. We decided to stop by for supplies on our way to the HQ.”
His hoarse statement was followed by two roars from the sky.
Two other Grösse Panzers landed behind him with speeds just short of freefall.
They stood back up as pieces of the pavement flew into the air. The one on the right was blue and the one on the left was red. They had both deactivated their Ober Emblems and no longer had wings on their back.
The blue one carried a giant autocannon modeled after an MG 34 in its right hand.
The red one carried a massive shield in its left hand.
Both had shimmering heat rising from the radiators on their back.
Alfred smiled bitterly when he saw it.
“These two are still inexperienced, but they work for me all the same. Allow me to introduce you to ‘Doppel Panzer’ Bermark Nein, the final form of the Eisen Ritter Project. He was left with me by Karl Schmitt, one of the Fünf Leithammel.”
Schweitzer grabbed the microphone from the wall to respond.
He instructed the pilot crew to have his voice played from the loudspeaker on the outside of the aircraft and then took a breath.
“You are in an awfully good mood, Alfred. The hoarseness of those artificial vocal cords suits you.”
Alfred must have heard that because he smiled a little.
“Hellard, huh? Ha ha. Of course I’m in a good mood. After four long years, my Eingeweide Grösse Panzer is finally complete. The new model that uses my voice as a component.” Alfred placed his hand on Schwarz Löwe’s face. “After all, this Panzer was built for the Geheimnis Agency’s internal anti-air tests, but it’s already outdated. The other countries still haven’t reached this level, it isn’t enough to satisfy my skill.”
“So you are visiting HQ for a new toy?”
“No, I have business at HQ other than that Panzer in Base #8. General Graham summoned me to attend the Gard-class’s commissioning…and I can’t exactly refuse His Excellency’s request when he is suffering from Words Warn.”
Alfred looked away from Schweitzer in the cockpit. The look in his eyes changed from joy to ridicule as he looked to Heiliger instead.
“Oh, if it isn’t Lieutenant General Heiliger. Making your yearly visit to our HQ?”
“Oh? I am honored that a Panzer Kavalier of your caliber knows of me.”
“I’ve heard all about you from your sister, Lady Rose…not to mention the dark rumors spoken of you within our Agency. The rumors that you are a Neue Kavalier who fled to the military and sold out his family.” He smiled bitterly. “Not that I know what it is you do every year when you meet up with His Excellency and Lady Rose.”
“Stop it, Alfred. Have you forgotten that mouth of yours is what led to the incident four years ago?”
“That’s the distant past. And destiny would have worked itself out if not for that man. The one who thinks so highly of himself just cause he’s got a divine name.”
“A divine name, hm?”
“Isn’t that why you let him take care of the Messiah two years ago? Because he qualified as a one-armed man with a divine name?”
Once he got that out, Alfred’s expression changed.
He looked up and suddenly swung his sword up from atop Schwarz Löwe’s shoulder.
Alfred opened his mouth before Schweitzer could even express his surprise.
The shout he produced was a single pure note. It was the Ton note that he used when destroying things as a Buster.
His sword could amplify Tons as a Werkzeug.
It was instantly wrapped in white light, which it then released, becoming a pillar of light.
The relationship between Buster and Werkzeug was the relationship between the will to attack and the manifestation of that will. If the Buster moved to attack, the Werkzeug would amplify the attacking Ton of his will and allow it to manifest.
He made a single attack with the sword he had raised overhead.
He also turned his body around, so the destructive beam of light swept horizontally across the airport.
The mist evaporated as the destructive light grew to 200 yards long and 40 yards wide. The target of the sweeping attack was the dragon regenerating its body within the mist and preparing to leap at the man.
When the light struck the dragon, it scattered with a sound like shattering glass.
It was annihilated.
The light returned to its original Tons and burst, sending threads of light dancing through the air.
The rain shined.
But Alfred did not even bother viewing the dancing and collapsing light.
He rested the sword on his shoulder and turned back toward the cockpit.
“I’m not the man I was four years ago. No one’s a match for me now that I can wield Rein König.”
“Then I have some news you might be interested in: We have received a report of Dog Berger entering Germany. He may be working with the full force of the AIF led by ‘Verräter’ M. Schrier.”
“Is that so? I had received a similar report,” said Alfred. “The Messiah girl apparently entered Germany as a tourist just before entry into the country was locked down. A team from the Army Division is searching for her, but she was apparently on her way to Berlin.”
Alfred smiled a little as he looked up into the sky.
“Things are in motion as war draws ever closer. And I will be joining the chase this time.”
He called out to the two behind him in the rain. The two Panzers stood up and prepared to leave.
“We’ll be right after you once we’ve resupplied. Whatever the man with the divine name, the Messiah, and the AIF are planning, it’s bound to happen where we end up.”
“How can you be so certain, Alfred?”
“Because we’re their opponent, Hellard. How could I be less than certain?”
With that, Alfred turned his back on them. He started to climb back into the secondary cockpit on Schwarz Löwe’s back, but then he stopped.
He rested his elbow on the armor and looked off into the distance. He took a long look at Berlin on this rainy night.
He even reached a hand out toward it.
He wore a ring with a red jewel on his left hand’s middle finger.
He used that hand to clutch at the empty air as if grasping the city before his eyes.
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