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Divided, They Rise; Part 12

2020.11.12 07:29 GreenMrSmith Divided, They Rise; Part 12

Preface:
This story takes place in a world that I am currently writing a “book” on which is based on a Hearts of Iron IV match. So, credit goes to Paradox Interactive for this alternate history scenario, I think?
If you don’t like any members of the Axis faction or their ideologies on display, even a warped and diluted version of them, then I recommend not reading this, or at least, don’t go down to the comments to complain about it.
However, if you have any feedback or constructive criticism then I will happily accept that.
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Map
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Divided They Rise
Part 12
It is too damn cold here! I think to myself while shivering, freezing to near-death as I walk out of our base. Of course we had to man a fortress world on a damned frozen tundra planet! No, we couldn’t fight on the nice, war beaches of that tropical world just on the other side of the system. No, not the world where our people would have a distinct advantage. In fact, we’ll send our people--who are born from a tropical world!--to this frozen death-scape! Gods, why does Command do this?!
I hug tightly to my all-weather combat suit, wishing that they sent us cold climate specific gear. And no, coloring our equipment white doesn’t count! I walk through the halls of the ancient ruins of some long extinct native species. Command has determined that it would be easier and cheaper to just fortify these ruins instead of actually building a proper fort. All they did was just plop a drop-base in the middle of the ruins and just said “This is your Headquarters now, good luck!” Thanks!
Gagh! G-g-gods-z-z, I h-h-hate Command s-so-sometimes-z-z-z. Oh-h-h-h, oth-th-ther times I wish th-th-that you would a-a-answer our prayers directly, y-y-you oh-so-d-d-distant deities-z-z-z.” I mutter as I approach a group of primitive mercenaries that we were hired alongside. They are all huddled around a fire. The Thousand Star Federation must be getting their asses handed to them if they are resorting to hiring primitives, not just us Ma’akti. “G-gr-greetings-z-z-z H-hu-humans-z-z-z…” My teeth rattle underneath my combat mask as I attempt to greet them.
“Hahahah! What’s wrong xeno? Your people didn’t equip you with winter clothes? Ha!” One of the humans sneers at me.
Another one stands up to shoo me away. “Well too bad! Find another fire to warm yourself with, or make one yourself! Go, get lost!”
“Then may damnation fall upon you and your people.” I mutter under my breath as I trudge through the snow.
As I continue to wander through the ruins, looking for my post amidst the numbing white, I am called out to by a different group of humans. “Hey, Ma’akti! Come over here! We have room for one more!”
I humbly accept their offer, trudging my way to their fire. As I huddle close to the heat source with them, I notice that they don’t appear to be as well equipped as the other group of humans from earlier. As where the other humans were wearing puffy winter clothes made out of synthetic materials, these humans seem to just be wrapped in several layers of organic, cloth-based clothing. Additionally, unlike the metallic-polymer build of the other human weapons, these humans’ weapons are furnished with wood! Who does that anymore?!
I spend the next minute warming up, content to simply listen as they chat amongst themselves. I notice, however, that they are talking in a language that is not in my translator’s archives. I had assumed that all humans would speak the dominant language of German, but it seems that these humans have a different language that they speak to each other with. After a few more moments, one of them pulls out a rather large and strange looking instrument (I assume). It is half boxy, half stretchy and absolutely covered in strange looking buttons. Anticipating a song, I take this opportunity to rummage through our network to look for a matching language. I keep my audio augment on, linking any words being spoken to any known human languages. After a few energetic seconds of fast-paced rhythms, all of the humans begin to sing together.
[This is Säkkijärven Polkka, I suggest listening to this song for this section.]
On kauniina muistona Karjalan maa
Mutta vieläkin syömmestä soinnahtaa
Kun soittajan sormista kuulla saa
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Se polkka taas menneitä mieleen tuo
Ja se outoa kaipuuta rintaan luo
Hei, soittaja, haitarin soida suo
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Nuoren ja vanhan se tanssiin vie
Ei sille polkalle vertaa lie!
Sen kanssa on vaikka mierontie
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Siinä on liplatus laineitten
Siinä on huojunta honkien
Karjala soi - kaikki tietää sen -
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Tule, tule tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin
Kun polkka niin herkästi helkähtää
Hoi! Hepo surkoon ja hammasta purkoon
Kun sillä on ihmeesti suurempi pää!
Tule, tule, tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin
Kun meillä on riemu ja suvinen sää!
Säkkijärvi se meiltä on pois
Mutta jäi toki sentään polkka!
Kun rakkaimmat rannat on jääneet taa
Niin vieraissa kulkija lohdun saa
Kun kuuntelee soittoa kaihoisaa:
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Se polkka on vain, mutta sellainen
Että tielle se johtavi muistojen
On sointuna Karjalan kaunoisen:
Säkkijärven polkka!
Nuoren ja vanhan se tanssiin vie
Ei sille polkalle vertaa lie!
Sen kanssa on vaikka mierontie
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Siinä on liplatus laineitten
Siinä on huojunta honkien
Karjala soi - kaikki tietää sen -
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Tule, tule tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin
Kun polkka niin herkästi helkähtää
Hoi! Hepo surkoon ja hammasta purkoon
Kun sillä on ihmeesti suurempi pää!
Tule, tule, tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin
Kun meillä on riemu ja suvinen sää!
Säkkijärvi se meiltä on pois
Mutta jäi toki sentään polkka!
Kun rakkaimmat rannat on jääneet taa
Niin vieraissa kulkija lohdun saa
Kun kuuntelee soittoa kaihoisaa:
Säkkijärven polkkaa!
Se polkka on vain, mutta sellainen
Että tielle se johtavi muistojen
On sointuna Karjalan kaunoisen:
Säkkijärven polkka!
I get lost in the magical music, the quick-spoken lyrics and energetic playing of the strange instrument. After the song finishes, I get an automated message on my HUD:
“Attention user, We have found the language that you are looking for, it is known as ‘Finnish’. Downloading application now. Charging automatic fees from your account… Thank you for your purchase! Please rate your experience in the survey below!”
I sigh in disappointment for how monetized our network service is. “Decline survey.” I tell my HUD.
“Review declined. Have a nice day!” The auto-message tells me before disappearing.
As my HUD clear up from the clutter of accessing my network, I find that the humans are all staring at me. Some are looking expectedly, but a few are looking a bit worried.
“Uh… good song. I like it.” I try to say in their strange, non-German language through the translator.
“Oh! We didn’t realize that you spoke Finnish. So you liked the song?” The human with the instrument says.
“Yes, I enjoyed listening to it. If I may ask though, what is the importance of the song to your culture?” I lean closer to the fire, enjoying the heat as much as possible.
The human puts the instrument away before answering. “Oh, well uh, I think it's about a piece of land that was taken from our forefathers by their enemies. I believe they wrote this song in remembrance of that land… before they went and took it back of course. It is one of the last surviving pieces of our culture though…” A somber quiet follows their words, almost as if everybody present were mourning the loss of something.
“What do you mean by ‘surviving piece of your culture’?” I squint at them through my mask.
“Germanization.” Another human speaks up, spitting as they say the word. “The Nazis are intent on imposing their culture on everyone else, even their so-called ‘allies’. And, it turns out that they don’t actually intend on respecting the sovereignty of other Axis members, except for Italy of course. But what about us? Why would the Nazis try to assimilate our people and culture into theirs? Because they think that we are just another weak, small, insignificant Eastern European nation.”
Yet another human chimes in. “But they forget what we did for them.” The humans around the campfire all nod in agreement.
“And what could a, relatively, weaker country contribute to what sounds like a dominant force?” I tilt my head to the side, now sizing up the humans that surround me. Now that I look at them, I think these humans are shorter than the other ones.
The humans all smile and look at each other. After a few moments, one of the humans looks me square in the eyes, even through my mask. “We were the Axis’ spear-head into the heart of the Soviet Union! Our expertise in frozen environments, our previous experience fighting the Russians, even Motti Tactics! We gave the Axis everything we had, so that we could get revenge on the Communists. But there is also one other thing that we gave them. A weapon, an entity of unrivaled power, merciless slaughter, and near infinite patience. We gave them… the White Death.”
“The what?” I tilt my head to the other side inquisitively. So they wish to tell me a story? This should be good.
“The White Death was a man.” A different human from the group says. “His name was Simo Häyhä, and by all accounts and surviving records, he led a humble and simple life. However, even early on he was recognized for his excellent marksmanship. So when the USSR invaded our lands, he took up arms.”
“Now tell us something, alien.” The human who held the instrument from before cuts in. “What is the general accuracy grouping of one of your snipers?”
I think for a moment, remembering the many presentations and competitions that I have witnessed. After a few moments of thought, I finally hold up a small circle using both of my hands, just smaller than a human face. I have witnessed many amazing feats accomplished by a single, well-placed shot. However, the humans all chuckle at this, several of them gripping their weapons and looking them over.
“Aright, alright. Now, how many confirmed kills have these snipers ever got? What was the most, hm?” The same human continues.
I smile under my face-mask, these primitives are going to love this. “148!” I declare. “I have met a sniper who had 148 confirmed kills. And, they were declared the most deadly sniper in this arm of the Galaxy! I was even there for their award ceremony.”
I straighten my shoulders and puff my chest out. It was a wonderful party, so many important people and such great food! Ah, I miss those days. Heh, and I dare bet that these humans never thought that could be possible! How can you top 148, you primitives? You can’t! However, I return to reality only to find that the humans are not reacting with the dumb-founded expressions I was expecting. Instead, they are all howling in laughter.
“Did my translator fail?” I desperately ask, utterly confused as to what is going on.
Only one of them calms down just enough to answer me though. “Hahaheheheh. Oh, oh, is that, haha! Is that this galaxy’s most accomplished sniper? Really? Only 148?” They then return to their maddened laughter.
“Well, no.” I say in a rather defensive tone. “They are not the whole Galaxy’s most accomplished sniper, that honor falls to someone else; a Qua’Vinchi by the name of Tur-ur’Elm Meach’d 48. He had almost a thousand confirmed kills throughout his extended career.”
After making that statement the humans all stop laughing, choosing silence as they think.
“Why did you all react that way? Why were you so quick to downplay the status of an accomplished professional?” I ask in a near-condescending voice.
“The White Death is heralded as the most deadly sniper of human history.” One of the humans finally speaks. “He has at least 259 confirmed kills. But he himself was believed to have claimed upwards of 500. However, what is believed to be his greatest accomplishment was hitting the shot that, effectively, ended the war against the Soviet Union.”
“Please, tell me…” I lean closer to the human, my arms and hands held beneath my chin to support my head.
“They say he killed Stalin…” The human says, almost whispering.
“Who is that?” I ask.
“Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union. And as the war was becoming more and more dissfavorable to his people, he tried to flee eastwards aboard a train. However, this was no regular passenger train, this was Stalin’s personal transportation. I was covered in layers of steel and fitted with all kinds of guns meant to drive off anyone crazy enough to chase him down.” The human continues. “However, it had windows. You know, so you could see outside and appreciate the natural beauty of miles of frozen tundra in the middle of winter.”
“However, however… This isn’t a universally accepted fact.” The instrument human cuts in once more.
“Oh, here we go again.” The story-telling human groans.
The instrument human gives the story human a dismissive glance before continuing. “You see, Simo Häyhä was not comfortable with invading other people’s lands. In fact, he only took up arms to protect his own. He has been quoted as saying that he felt no joy in killing all of those men, he simply did what he was good at doing: hunting. Furthermore, there are conflicting records that stated that Simo Häyhä never joined the Continuation War in the first place, yet most people claim that he killed Stalin. And-”
“And this has led to a conspiracy amongst certain people that the Finnish government created a special sniper group that took on the White Death’s name and fought in the Continuation War instead. As opposed to the official story of the White Death Specialist Sniper’s Group being created after the Continuation War. A group that was established in honor of the skill and dedication that not only Simo Häyhä displayed during the Winter War, but also that of other Finnish snipers, and of the Russian snipers throughout the Conquest of Russia campaigns.” The story human finishes for the instrument human.
I look around my environment and the story reminds me that I hate this deployment. At least I will have good company to spend it with. “So how did this, ‘White Death’ kill this ‘Stalin’ person? He got a lucky shot through the window?”
The story human reclines in their seat, a contented smile painting their face. “Correct.” They say. “However, you must understand something: it was a death blow, a head shot. The White Death managed to land a round on Stalin’s head, through a metal-reinforced glass window, on a moving train traveling about 130 kilometers per hour-”
“I don’t know what a ‘kilometer’ is, so I don’t know how fast that is-”
“Shh! Shut up and listen while I talk. Anyway, he managed to do all of this while absolutely covered in snow-”
“Why?”
“So he can properly hide, now shut up! So, he was covered in snow in well-below freezing temperatures-”
“WHY?!” I receive a series of smacks to the head--helmet--for my outburst from several nearby-humans.
“I just told you! It’s so he can hide properly! Anyways, in addition to the fast moving, well-guarded, target hiding behind light cover, Simo Häyhä was also very far away.”
“How far?”
“You don’t know our system of measurement, so I won’t bother with that. Uhm, let's say that if you were to look down the bare iron-sights of this rifle-” They hold up their weapon, either for emphasis or reference. “-then Stalin's head would be smaller than this tiny little glowing dot on the top of my front-sight.”
I am provided with a clear view of the sights of this weapon. However, upon noticing the glowing dots, I scoff at the miniature size of them. “How is anyone supposed to shoot anything that is so far away with unmagnified sights? Oh, wait. No, if he was a sniper then that means that he used a scope. What was the magnification of his scope though?”
Upon hearing my question the humans all begin howling with laughter yet again.
“What is so funny this time?” I look at the humans, all of them folding over their knees, now gasping for breath.
A different human who hasn’t spoken yet manages to speak through their mania. “There was no scope… Hahaha-*deep gasp* ah, ooh. He- *coughs* -ah, he didn’t use a scope. He only ever used iron sights. In fact, all of us are snipers. Do you see any scopes on our rifles?”
I look around at all of them, then at their “rifles”, then at them again. “Are you all mad?”
They all erupt into another round of laughter again. “No!” One of them shouts through their fit. “We’re Finnish!”
Suddenly I receive an emergency message on my HUD. “Attention! Attention! Qua’Vinchi presence detected in the system. Make appropriate preparations and take immediate action. Planet insertion imminent.”
Soon after, a low, bellowing whine calls down from the mountains. However, the longer the sound cries forth, the louder and more intense it becomes. Furthermore, more voices join in with the cry, some of higher pitch, some lower, yet all from the same sources. The mountains surrounding us erupt with incessant, droning screams. Some of the voices die down as the whining carries on, only to pick up again with greater fervor. The maddening roars sound as though they will go on for eternity as the humans all stand up.
“WHAT’S GOING ON?!” I shout through the oppressive noise, clutching to my helmet to try and block the sound.
“THOSE ARE SIRENS.” One of the humans yells.
I am filled with deep terror, remembering all of our close encounters with the deep-space demons. “WH-WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE?!” I screech in a panicked voice.
“THEY ARE OUR WARNING SYSTEM. NOW COME MY FINNISH BROTHERS AND SISTERS, TO THE MOUNTAINS!” The human proclaims.
The humans all pack their belongings and seem to prepare for a long trek. However, to my surprise, they attach long, extremely flat and thin boards to their feet. Taking up strange-looking sticks which they use to stab the ground with, this seems to assist in their movement. Before they all disappear into the white, one of the humans waves at me as more snow begins to fall from the sky.
“TAKE CARE LITTLE MA’AKTI! TRY NOT TO DIE!” They shout through the Sirens’ wailing.
“I WILL! AND MAY THE GODS WATCH OVER YOU, FINNISH!” I reply. However, I soon come to a realization as they continue their departure. “WAIT!” I call out. “WHO ARE YOU? WHAT WERE YOUR NAMES?! I AM ZEMLICHIE!”
Zooming in through my HUD, I try to get a good look at the human’s face as the snow continues to thicken in its downpour.
“WE THOUGHT YOU FIGURED IT OUT ALREADY ZEM!” The human says as they turn around. “WE ARE THE WHITE DEATH! GOODBYE!” With that, the human group disappears as the snow falls with thicker and thicker sheets.
By this point, the Sirens’ cries have begun to die down, which is soon followed by a string of orders. I rush to my designated position, following my mini-map for guidance. After dashing through the snow for several minutes, I dive into a fighting position filled with other Ma’akti. I take up my position next to the front of our covered trench. Waiting anxiously, I decide to pass the time with chatter.
“Have any of you met any of the humans yet?” I ask my fellows.
“They are… strange.” A lesser-rank says. “We’ve worked for xenophobes before but, they are usually cold and… hateful. But these humans are almost… prideful? A-and, twisted? They talk excitedly about what they think their scientists are going to do to any prisoners they manage to ‘catch’. And they threatened us that we shouldn’t fall in battle… or else their medics will…”
“That is enough, lesser-rank.” The group master says. “The humans are twisted, yes, but they are fighting alongside us, not against us. And not all of the humans are bad, mostly just the ones called ‘Nazis’, whatever that means. I was having a chat with a group of humans from a region called the ‘Balkans’. Human history is more complicated than trying to figure out who invented Dyson Spheres first. I couldn’t quite keep up though, but do not fear the humans. Just appreciate them as allies.”
“Y-y-yes, sir…” The lesser-rank replies.
“Sir.” I ask, eyeing the sky for obvious signs of transports.
“Yes, bachelor-rank?” He responds, half mindedly.
“The humans that you spoke to, were any of them Finnish?” I ask him.
“What did they finish?” He looks at me, slightly confused.
“No sir, Finnish. Did any of them come from the country of Finland?” I clarify.
“Um…” He looks up at the roof of our trench in thought. “No…? At least, I don’t think so? Like I said from earlier, bachelor-rank; I could barely keep up with them.”
Just then, we feel the ground tremble beneath us like a shockwave. A minute later we are hit with the sound wave of an absolutely deafening explosion. A gust of cold wind blows into our trench. Afterwards, we are only given a few moments of peace before we feel the ground rumble beneath us, but much softer than before. Not long after, a massive, ever growing shadow casts over us, then upon the entire valley that we are holed up in. Several agonizingly long moments stretch past us until the shadow reaches its full size.
“Hunker down fools! It’s firing!” Our group master shouts.
We all fold ourselves down as much as we can, placing our heads in between our legs and gripping ourselves as tightly as possible. We brace for the shot, waiting for the crushing shockwave to come. A second passes, dreading what awaits. Then another second, the ground softly rumbling as the shadow changed a little. It’s reorienting itself. Then a third second passed, still wai-
*BBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!\*
The world is saturated with blinding light, made worse by the white snow reflecting it back at us in the trench. We are thankfully spared from the initial flash since we prepared ourselves. Then, everything shakes violently as the shockwaves reach us. Our HUDs flash us with warnings of extreme concussive forces causing damage to our more fragile equipment. The snow all around us ripples, creases, and even moves, displaying the path of the shockwaves. After the shaking subsides, we peer outside of the trench and look to the sky. All we catch of the mighty projectile that just accelerated out of the local atmosphere is the faint, vaporice trail that it left behind.
“The Spear of Reveck Clolip protects us.” Our group master says.
‘Till the final drop of blood he stood, so that Pashamjar never fell.’” We all recite.
“The enemy of enemies is here, my pack. Make sure all preparations are ready. We must steel ourselves for their defilement of this land.” And from his order we acted with great dedication, preparing for our ultimate demise.
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