Diary of the dead
They both slept for a good five hours and woke somewhere above Turkey. Richard picked up the satellite phone to check his messages. The first was from his father. He sounded stressed, which was unusual. A highly intelligent man, and though he bore a hot temper, he always made clear precise decisions. “It’s Dad call me back, it’s important.” Frank and to the point that was his father.
The next surprised Richard, “Mr. Chosset, this is Henrik Brunnuer. I have found some more photographs of my grandfather that I would like to share with you please contact me at your earliest convenience.”
Zeus had the plane take them back to Zurich, where they checked back into the same hotel. Zeus broke out the satellite phone and the encryption machine. Richard first dialed his father and put the phone on speaker.
“Dad it’s me, what’s up?” His father was silent for a moment. The snap responses Richard was accustomed to did not come.
“Where are you, I need to talk to you about the business.” His father’s normal solid tone quivered a little when he said “business.”
“What do you need to talk about?” His father was slow to answer again.
“We need to do this in person, where are you?”
Zeus cut in, “Berne, we are in Berne, Switzerland.” His father’s hesitation seemed more of surprise this time but he didn’t seem surprised by Zeus’ voice.
“Berne.” He paused. “Ok, tomorrow afternoon at the Bellevue Palace.”
“Alright sounds like a plan Pops.”
When they disconnected Richard turned to Zeus. “Why did you tell him Berne?” Zeus began pacing the room. “Two reasons, your father was not himself for some reason and our pursuers may try and follow your father to get to us.”
Richard nodded, “I didn’t think that they might use dad to get at us. Zeus placed his hand on his shoulder. “No worries I will call the boys in for backup. Now call Henrik maybe they can get some good news.”
Richard dialed the number Henrik left, it took a moment for the encryption machine to do its work before connecting.
Henrik answered on the first ring. “Hallo.”
“Henrik it is Rick Chosset, we must be brief in case anyone is listening. What kind of pictures have you found?”
Henrik answered quickly, “When the police searched the property they found my grandfather’s diary. It might help you.”
“What’s your schedule for the day?”
Henrik answered, “I have no plans.”
“Good we will send someone to pick you up, they will be there in two hours.”
Richard turned to Zeus, “Can you get a helo to the Brunnuer’s farm?”
Zeus was already picking up the phone, “Consider it done.”
Three hours later in a private hanger at Zurich Airport they met Henrik. Wrapped in a pale cloth Henrik handed Richard the diary.
Richard took it in his left and shook his hand with his right. “I will return this to you as soon as I can.”
Henrik smiled at him, “You keep it, we never even knew we had it. Our family is just happy to have some closure.”
“I promise to return your grandfather to your family.”
“The Federal Police are still looking for you, I think it best you not press your luck inside of Germany.” Zeus and Richard thanked Henrik and put him back on the helicopter for the Brunnuer farm.
Back at the hotel Zeus took the diary and began reading it. It was filled with thousands of entries beginning well before the start of the war and cutting off just before the end of the war. Zeus translated the most important entries beginning with the entry corresponding with Henrick Brunnuer’s accommodation photograph.
“February 12, 1942: I received the Knights Cross from the Fuhrer himself. I feel incredible pride for family and country. Because of my bravery and skill I have been selected to be part of the Wunderwaffe program. It will bring a swift end to the war.”
“March 25, 1942: I completed the first test flight of the Me-262, the first turbo jet engine the world has ever seen. The flight lasted about three minutes. The fixed landing gear affected the planes performance and needs to be reconciled.”
“July 9, 1942: Today, I bore witness to German superiority. They call it a Vergeltungswaffen. It can carry a 1,900 pond warhead a range of 160 miles. We can strike London without risking a single German life.”
“January 5, 1943: Goring has been extremely disappointed with the Wunderwaffe weapon development programs. He and Himmler continue to vie against each other for power. I think Hitler sensing the urgency of the war put Goring in charge of the Sudentenland facility. Goring’s first power play was to place a liaison within the science community, he chose me.”
“August 22, 1943: The Wunderwaffe project suffered a tragic set back today. At the research facility scientists were conducting a demonstration of what has been nicknamed the bell engine. The engine was slowly powered up when it sustained a direct lightning strike. The bell began spinning wildly it lifted off the ground hovered for a moment and shot skyward. They attempted to track it with radar but it went beyond range. It was quite disheartening to observe the loss, and I fear the members of the science team will be deemed traitors to the Fatherland. But some of the scientists felt as though they made a break through and would not make the same folly on the second bell engine.”
“October 1, 1943: The scientists stripped the remaining bell down to its core. They say the bell’s skin is photoelectric sending charges into the core. The core is inherently stable until the introduction of electricity. Depending on the strength of the charge the core produces a multiplying magnetic force. When an extreme amount of electricity is introduced the magnetic force produced can overcome gravity causing it to levitate if not restrained. The scientists are unable to probe the core for fear once the exterior shell is compromised it will cease to function. They speculate that core is made of mercury, and the electricity causes it to become plasma. Even with these breakthroughs there is no application for it yet.”
“June 6, 1944: The Allies have landed on the beaches of Normandy. My friends in the Wehrmacht don’t believe they can hold back the onslaught. The enemy have conducted a relentless bombing campaign on the Fatherland. We have suffered countless losses in machine, material, and production. But the biggest loss has been to the Luftwaffe in our prized commodity, pilots. The Soviets have pushed back the advance in the east. I met Karl Dunitz today at the facility. The plan is to use the mercury drive in a ship. Under heavy guard it is being moved to the pens in France. I have been reassigned to Rechlin-Larz airbase.”
“July 21, 1944: There was an attempt on the Fuhrer’s life yesterday. His strategic command is in serious doubt. He will surely be the death of the Fatherland but we have no choice but to blindly follow him. The runways are bombed daily. The planes are no longer safe inside the hangers we hide them in the woods around the airfield. The Swallow has been in service for over a month with varying success. They continue to have issue with maintaining quality trained pilots. I have suggested that they convert the Swallow to a seaplane and use Lake Muritz as a launching platform.”
“August 1, 1944: They have finished construction of the Frederick and the ship was launched from La Rochelle. The Allies presence in France made travel to the event impossible. Hitler summoned all the key figures to dinner this evening to celebrate the culmination of the Wunderwaffe Project, and bringing the war to American shores. Hitler’s order to La Rochelle, no capitulation, they will go down as heroes.”
“November 20, 1944: The Me-262 W has been completed. The pontoons do effect the planes characteristics making it even more difficult to turn. The stream line design of the floats still gives the Swallow the advantage of speed. The concept though sound in theory struggles in war time application. To complete a safe water landing the pilot must bring the plane just above stall speed. The pilot has to cut the engines and ease the plane safely into the water. A wave over a few inches could spell disaster for the plane and pilot.”
“February 15, 1945: The war is swiftly coming to an end. The Frederick’s crew or Fritz as they call her, has vowed to keep fighting. I received a communication that they need a pilot but I am still recovering from my leg injury. They will be only linger off the coast for a few days.”
“March 20, 1945: My brothers came to rescue me from the Soviet oppressors. They are retreating to the Swiss border. This will be his last entry. I am sorry I have to leave my loving family and I cannot tell them where I am going. I am sorry I have to leave his beautiful bride. Our time together was so short and our love so strong. I know I probably will never see her face again in this world but someday we will meet again, and I will never let her go again.”
“What do you make of it?” Zeus was stretched out on a couch tossing a stress ball into the air. It was a quarter to three by the time Richard finished reading Zeus’ selected translation.
“It sounds like whatever they found in Tibet they were able to weaponize. I’ve never heard of the Frederick though.” Having graduated from West Point, Zeus’ degree was in Military History. He could describe in detail every conflict the United States had ever been involved in. He was a student of history which made him a dangerous adversary.
“Even after France was liberated pockets of Nazi resistance were so dug in they did not surrender until Germany capitulated. And even then many U-Boat commanders thought it was an Ally trick. U-Boats turned up all over the world when the war ended, some months after Germany’s fall. The Allies claimed to account for all of them by capturing them, sinking them or the German’s scuttling them. What if one went unaccounted for? What if there was no documentation of the ship, if it didn’t exist on paper the Allies would never even have looked for it.”
“So you think it’s a submarine?”
“That’s what the evidence points at. La Rochelle had incredible submarine pens. We know Henrik Brunnuer ended up in a fighter plane with limited range in a Georgia swamp, the German’s never built an aircraft carrier, and they could never hide a ship that could support airplanes on the surface. The Japanese had constructed super subs, the I-400 class, hundreds of feet long that could hold up to three airplanes. They planned an attack on the Panama Canal but it was too late in the war already. Then there is the story of U-997 which surrendered in Argentina 107 days after Germany surrendered.”
Zeus threw the stress ball to Richard, “Let’s put ourselves in their boots. I am a fanatical German nationalist. I love my country and cannot accept surrender or defeat especially after WWI. And at my disposal is a submarine somehow linked to the Wunderwaffe Project. The war has been lost but they can still inflict casualties onto their enemies.”
Zeus started back up, “So the Germans have a super sub, my guess 400-500 feet long, it carries planes but would have been limited in number due to its size, crew of 75 but that could vary depending on volunteers. And somehow an ancient artifact from Tibet fits into this.”
“We have overlooked something. The Brunnuer’s told us that the photo of Henrik with Hitler and Goring at the banquet table was from the same event. I think the photo is from the Fritz’s launch party.” Richard handed the photo to Zeus and pointed at a bald man with the neat toothbrush mustache that many men sported at the time.
“Walter Dornberger, everyone fits into the mystery but him. Hitler was the absolute authority, Goring and Himmler his right and left hands, Dunitz overseeing the Kriegsmarine, Speer oversaw the boats being built, Messerschmitt built the jet to go inside it, Brunnuer the test pilot and liaison to Goring, Schafer’s people found or should I say stole the artifact.”
Zeus took the picture from Richard examining the man. “At a dinner party for a secret submarine we have every piece to the puzzle including the man who over saw and was the biggest proponent of the German rocket program.” A long pause, “What if it was a missile sub? The first the world had ever seen, loaded with V-2 rockets, torpedoes, and a few Me-262’s.”
Richard dropped the stress ball on the floor. “Where does the artifact or bell engine come in? Do you think they made some kind of warhead out of it?”
Zeus sat up and placed the photo down. “God I hope not.”