Destroyer of Worlds, Part 3
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Last time on Nexus:
Destroyer of Worlds, Part 2

Elli could not think clearly. In her mind's eye, she relived all her atrocities, how she looked down on the planets below her, or how she stood in front of a fearful fugitive and mercilessly shot him down. She couldn't move and just lay on the ground. Every time she tried to move, she was shaken by convulsions.

It seemed like an eternity until her cell door opened again and Oberst Wolf entered, flanked by several SKP soldiers.

He rolled his eyes and turned to a scientist who had also entered.

"Dr. Hoffstetter. This woman has made an invaluable contribution to the conquest of the Soviet Union. Why is she lying on the ground like a whipped dog?"

"Well, uh, Mr. Stern has instructed us not to enter the cell until you come and-"

The man faltered as the Oberst shook his head in annoyance.

"The K5 may love the man, but I think he's out of his mind. Well, so far it's turned out just as he predicted. Ms. Elli, can you stand?"

Elli just rasped. It sounded like an insult.

"Looks like mental shock. Maybe PTSD," the doctor commented. "Wait a minute…"

He disappeared and returned a moment later with a syringe.

"A sedative," he explained to those present. "This should suppress the episode. I suspect it happened because they took the girl away from her."

The Oberst nodded, whereupon Elli was injected with the drug in her arm. It took a moment, but then she was finally able to think clearly again. And now that she was sober, there were considerably more than when she was drunk….

And then anger flared up inside her.

She began to push herself up, just barely able to keep herself from kicking anyone present between the legs.

"Well, what are you waiting for? Help her up!" barked Wolf when he noticed her intention, whereupon two of the soldiers hastily grabbed Elli under the arms to set her on her feet.

She was a little wobbly, but had enough energy to glare at the Oberst.

"Where are Chloe and Dean?" she demanded to know in an irritated voice.

"I'm very sorry, but I can't tell them," the Oberst apologized.

It sounded sincere.

"Unfortunately, since we must assume that you are hostile to us, we must keep them as hostages for you. I assure you, however, that I personally assured myself of their integrity before arriving here. As long as you cooperate, no harm will come to them."

Elli clicked her tongue in annoyance.

"What do you want?"

"We want you to send a strike force into universe R-3378 for us," the SKP officer explained calmly. "There is a portal to that universe in Kassel, but it is closed by the Foundation in R-3378 at the moment."

"And the strike team is to open the portal," Elli concluded. "All so you can conquer a universe that doesn't really want anything to do with you in any way, shape or form."

"We are liberating this universe, dear miss," Wolf corrected. "You must have seen for yourself how much the Germans are suffering there under the domination of the Americans, the Russians and the Chinese, don't you? Don't you think we have something wonderfull in mind?"

"If it involves wiping out people just because they could be a threat or a nuisance, I would rather call it awfull. And I know what I'm talking about."

The Oberst sighed sadly.

"I was afraid you'd see it that way. But I'm right in thinking that you will help us, aren't they? You will thereby prevent the K5 from resorting to… more drastic means in order to secure your help…. I would then also personally throw my weight to have your companions set free again. But that will probably only be possible with conditions."

Elli audibly expelled her breath.

"Mr. Wolf. If we had met in another universe, we might have become friends…. "

Two weeks later

Chloe hyperventilated and coughed as she was taken to a room that contained what looked like an oversized suction device while she was strapped to a gurney.

By now, she was emaciated almost to the bone and appeared more skeletal than human.

"Don't worry, kid," the nurse who was wheeling her bed said. "I know this may be scary, but we just want to help you. Mr. Stern designed this machine himself to rid people like you of such divine nuisances."

The woman was a rather tall, elderly matron with a smile you just couldn't say no to. Given what Lawrence himself had told her, she put little faith in those words. She had spent the last few days trying to convince the doctors who examined her of his intentions, but she was now too weak to formulate intelligible sentences. Her body was breaking down faster and faster under the divine power.

The nurse readied a syringe.

"I know you'll want to know what we're going to do now. We will first have to see where exactly this tormentor is hiding inside you. That will take a few hours, but then as soon as Mr. Stern gets here, we can get started and should be done fairly quickly. The machine has already been successfully tested with demons and angels, gods are just a small step according to Mr. Stern. First, though, you'll get something to calm you down."

Chloe didn't know exactly what it was, but it didn't calm her down in any way. It just made her body stop showing it…

The war materiel the SKP mustered just to capture one city would have been enough to incinerate small states, according to Ellis's assessment. It was currently amassing in a square on the outskirts of Kassel. A massive triumphal arch had been chosen to hold Ellis's portal.

K5-1 had joined in via live stream and was in the midst of a discussion with Oberst Wolf.

"And you're sure you don't want to make a spectacle of it?" asked Wolf. "I'm sure the German people would be happy to share in how we liberate an oppressed German Reich. We could establish a base in the Nexus first."

"Maybe so," K5-1 answered, "but with the way our last attempts to find an alternate path to this reality have gone down the drain, I'd rather be cautious. Besides, Stern has advised us not to store anything in the Nexus to minimize attempts at manipulation on her part. We can't have the SKP embarrass itself!"

"Hmm, agreed," accepted Oberst Wolf.

Elli stood a little bit away, viewing the whole event with disgust. She had been put into a black military uniform of the SKP, complete with cap, sleeve band, and boots. Inadequately suppressed anger seethed inside her.

"Where's Lawrence?" she asked after the Oberst finished.

"He has other commitments. Has, however, drawn up a protocol as to how we should proceed with you. If I may, I'll start with step one. Do you know what this is?"

He held up a small radio. There was no antenna or anything like that. Just a button and a speaker. Elli could guess what it was.

"This is an interreal transmitter. It's connected to an identical device across dimensional boundaries, allowing communication across realities."

"Exactly so," Wolf confirmed, nodding.

"You are hopefully aware that we use it to notify our people if we find you to be uncooperative," the SKP officer said. "We also put out a radio message every five minutes from a secret sequence of messages that goes directly to the management of the facility where your companions are staying. They'll know what to do if we stop sending anything, at intervals that are too small or too large, or even send the wrong thing."

A soldier stepped up to them and saluted.

"Oberst, we are ready for the invasion. We are waiting for your command."

"How are things looking inside Kassel?" asked Wolf.

"We have gathered the necessary material for Operation Fenris. We can start immediately as soon as SKP-028-C opens."

"Very good, get going. Now, uh. Elli, is there anything else we should know before we head out to the nexus?"

"Your normal radio link into this universe will break down as soon as I close the portal, because I'm only going to lift the signal lock for your interreal transmitter. And I have to close it so I can synchronize with the time flow of R-3378. Otherwise, your troops will be shredded by the temporal gradient as they step out. But I'm sure you already know that."

The Oberst just nodded and left Elli in the care of some soldiers to give a blazing speech in front of his soldiers. It was about courage, bravery, honor, responsibility, and the extermination of anything that should stand in the way of the army, whatever it might be.

Mr. Stern had thoroughly thought out the protocol. First, a few soldiers with the interreal transmitter stepped through the portal, then, when they had deemed everything safe, Elli and the rest of the mostly Slavic forces followed. She stumbled as she walked through, but Wolf had specifically ordered his men to the utmost cavalier etiquette toward the heroine of the Werewolf Bunker. He was sure they would help her back up immediately. In fact, she was already standing again when he entered the Nexus and checked on his troops.

It took a little while for all the tanks and off-road vehicles to roll through the portal, but finally there was a whole army waiting on Elli's lawn.

The Oberst finally took the time to let this dimension sink in on him and was overwhelmed by the sight that presented itself. An endless meadow, a blue sky and… uh…

"This is a very strange house," he remarked.

"Mind your own business," Elli commented gruffly, "Is everyone here?"

General nodding followed.

"Then I'll close the portal now in three…. two… one!"

The portal went out. Shortly thereafter, a much smaller, rectangular portal formed in front of the army, just large enough to stick one's hand through.

"That one leads to Baunatal1," Elli explained. "I suppose you want to do a little scouting first. Because I can't get to Kassel itself, the city is plastered with Reality anchors."

Welp, great…

"Looks like the Foundation again," the SKP officer commented. "Well, it'll be all right somehow. Men, send out the scout drones!"

In Sondereinrichtung-12, far away from Kassel, a broom closet opened. Out stepped a person who seemed to be wrapped from head to toe in a figure-hugging servo battle suit….

Lawrence was in good spirits. Everything was going according to plan and if I773 did what he expected her to do, he would experience his ultimate triumph.

At the moment, he was on his way to see Chloe Winter and right now he strode into the room with the resonance energy extractor.

Resonance energy, people here had the weirdest names for all kinds of things….

"Nurse Johanna, how is our little patient doing?"

"She tried to bite me, but otherwise she's doing quite well," was the dry comment.

Lawrence feigned sympathy before getting back to business.

"Did you find the center?"

The nurse nodded dutifully.

"We were able to narrow it down to her heart. And we have to hurry, this god is eating away at her whole existence. She doesn't have long."

The former Logos supervisor cracked his knuckles.

"Then we should move quickly-"

A tremor ran through the building.


"So, let me get this straight," Dean summarized at about the same time. "You want me to tell you how I work?"

If he could have made a face, it would have expressed mild derision, however, at the moment he was just his black box connected to a laptop. His body lay a little bit away on a table and got examined. Without success, as it turned out. He was communicating through a microphone, with the laptop camera and a text chat, which allowed him to make at least a ',:| emoticon.

"Well," began the engineer with the graying half bald head Dean was talking to. "Let's put it this way, we're not getting anything out of this that we don't already know. But your technology is so advanced that we can't even comprehend how it works."

"You think I can?" asked Dean. "Elli put this together for me from various robot parts all over the multiverse. I don't get the operating principles of all the parts myself."

The engineer frowned.

"Yes but, it's your body, you should know that."

"Do you know all the components of a human heart? ", Dean asked.

"No, I'm an engineer, not a doctor."

"But you have one! Same principle."


The building rumbled and the engineer fell off his chair, startled.

"What was that tremor?"

"I hope you guys have good health insurance…. <:|", Dean commented with honest concern.

The guards of Sondereinrichtung-12 were in an uproar. Because of the highly important hostages being held here, two MEKs had been called in to provide security.

A power armor unit was currently targeting the sole intruder with a plasma gun, who looked as if he was wearing only an all-covering metal plate suit that glowed greenish in some places, especially in the facial area. Along with the artillery, several normal weapons were also pointed at the stranger. Nevertheless, he walked with running steps through the corridor.

"Halt!" the commander ordered. "One more step and we will open fire!"

"One more word and I'll smash your fucking face in!" was the reply.

Which settled directly in the minds of those present, without taking a detour via the ears. This was also the case with the wearers of the power armors.

Wait a minute, shouldn't a power armor make one immune to psionic influence?

The men and some of the other power armor wearers present, who were holding in reserve, looked at each other in confusion before shrugging their shoulders. Warning was warning.

"Infantry, fire!"

A considerable hail of bullets pelted the armor. And changed direction abruptly just before it hit its target.

Unless deflected by follow-up projectiles, the bullets hit their shooters, who sank to the ground screaming.

"A kinetic reflection shield!" the commander barked. "Plasma cannon, fire!"

"Kinetic?" the intruder asked.

A power armor wearer fired. And promptly got his projectiles back. His coating prevented the worst of it, but some of his chest armor began to melt.

"I think you mean spatial," the stranger corrected. "You can fire all you want, this armor has a force field that rotates the spatial and energetic orientation of all small-caliber projectiles one hundred and eighty degrees-"

"Something bigger, then. Panzerfaust! Power armors, give cover!" came from the commander, closely followed by the requested projectile.

Immediately, several of the power armors positioned themselves in the path of the projected trajectory when the thing came back.

Only, it didn't come back.

It exploded as intended, enveloping its target in lots of smoke.

There were sporadic cheers, but they died down almost immediately.

"My turn…"

The opponent stormed out of the cloud, apparently unscathed, but was abruptly grabbed by one of the scaffolders and slammed into the wall.

In response, he calmly wrapped his hands around his attacker's forearm, clawed at it in such a way that the metal was dented and ripped off his hand with no apparent effort.

The soldier gawked in disbelief at his now naked hand, while his opponent held out the flat of his hand to him and his comrades.

Weapons, armor, tools, communications, uniforms, underwear, and even the hair of all the soldiers instantly dissolved into gray dust.

The men looked at the stranger, stunned.

"This will grow back," the intruder reassured them. "Now get out of here, next time I'll set it to 'kill'!"

The soldiers immediately complied with the request and moved the wounded away.

A grenade landed behind the stranger, and when it exploded, it covered the surrounding walls with cracks.

Normal human targets would have been flung away. This one turned annoyed to the thrower, which began to scream as the armored one sprinted at him.

Only to be taken into a headlock this time by not one but two servo suits, who pounced and ran down from side corridors.

"Indeed, the same trick twice," one commented. "Watch where his palms are pointed!"

"Don't worry. I have no desire to be labeled a nudist."

"How about 'Killed in action'?" suggested the downed one with biting derision.

The two didn't know what hit them as they suddenly flew away from their victim as if seized by a ghostly hand and were first slammed against the walls and then driven into the ground with such elemental force that the whole building complex trembled briefly.

The grenade launcher took to his heels and ran.

He didn't get far, though, because a space portal opened up beneath him, through which he smacked onto the floor right next to the attacker. He picked him up by the collar and held it right in front of his face.

Even without seeing his face, the soldier felt the murderous intent…

"Come to think of it, I do require directions, would you be so kind?"

The soldier nodded in agony so hard that his head almost fell off.

"That's all we can get, Oberst. For more, we'd need bigger drones that are faster. Otherwise, they'll run out of power before they even get near Kassel."

The soldier presenting the results to Oberst Wolf on a portable computer looked at him with a stoic expression.

This was a quandary. The Foundation certainly had Kassel well in sight in case the SKP found another way into their reality. Consequently, scouting couldn't be too conspicuous or they would be noticed and the defensive umbrella would be further extended. However, he couldn't quibble forever either; after all, there were forces in his Kassel waiting for an invasion to begin.

He looked to Elli, who was eyeing him with a look she probably normally saved for bugs in the kitchen.

"An honest opinion, dear miss. What do you think the chances are for our force if we had to take on the entire Republic.

There was a brief silence.

"Remember, we have hostages and they will want a truthful report from me when we are done here," the SKP officer waited. "I'm afraid I can't avoid that, even if I'd like to. You know what you mean to me."

Elli sighed.

"Against all of Germany? I'll put it this way, as long as you don't try to invade the East, you might last three weeks. For what you want to know, yeah, you'll probably make it as long as the German military doesn't swoop in with ground troops before you reach your old facility."

"Hmm… Open up something big. Into an underground garage or something. Hegel. Give the troops orders to head north on the other side immediately. We're using the Bifrost Formation."

One of his subordinates nodded and began issuing instructions while Elli opened the requested portal.

Only moments later, the German shock troops fell in on the other side and moved inexorably north. Passersby and motorists hastily moved out of their way, many making incredulous faces. Wolf only caught this on cameras, as he stayed behind in the Nexus with an elite squad, once to command safely and the then also to keep Elli from doing anything stupid.

It was not long before the scouts sighted the first jet fighters approaching the gray platoon. One of the tanks casually fired a couple of anti-air homing missiles, destroying the planes with spectacular explosions.

Wolf sucked in a sharp breath of air. He knew his men were in enemy territory, but they were still fighting Germans. Misguided Germans, but Germans nonetheless. It stung him to see them fighting each other.

Other forces of the Foundation, or even already of the Republic, approached and suffered a similar fate. Sometimes by missiles, sometimes by lasers, sometimes by rail guns.

Kassel had apparently been evacuated before the SKP could invade. This reassured the Oberst immensely, as it meant fewer civilian casualties.

"Soon you will be free," he whispered as his troops suffered initial injuries from enemy shells and rockets as they marched toward what had once been the SKP headquarters.

Next time on Nexus:
Last Will, Part 1

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