Merciless Ice, Part 2
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Last time on Nexus:
Merciless Ice, Part 1

Chloe had never thought about what war felt like. Now she got a first-hand experience. Soldiers fired their MPs at an approaching enemy that came rushing through the undergrowth, only to be mowed down. Grenades flew through the air and exploded, eviscerating the opponent in a hail of shrapnel.
That wasn't even the worst for Chloe. The worst was against what the soldiers were actually fighting.
In itself they were human statues, roughly carved and without a face worth mentioning. They were made from white ice and carried weapons also made from ice, machine guns, grenades and mortars. And all of them functioned as if made from normal steel, with normal ammunition. The squad invading from the south had rushed through the underwood on motorcycles and fired at its opponents while in motion. Those, of course, could endure a great number of hit. Grenades were able to shatter them in one hit, but they otherwise seemed not to be greatly perturbed by wounds. As opposed to those which they attacked. Around Chloe, many soldiers gut hit by bullets and fell.
Before she could watch the fight further however, she got grabbed by the hand by Kulzer and pulled into cover behind a bunker.
"Watch out, little one, if they get you, they'll crush your skull."
He fired a one of the only silently crunching motorcycles, which broke apart afterwards. Its driver got sent flying and shattered against a bunker wall.
"A hit," he rejoiced, while Chloe frantically searched for Dean and Elli without being able to spot them.
The ice-men meanwhile continued with their massacre, unfazed by the death of their comrades, mowing down soldiers and bombing them out of their hiding spots.
Kulzer supported the defenders as well as he could, until one of the ice-men walked in front of him from his blind spot.
"Oh dear Lord!" the soldier exclaimed while he hastily pulled Chloe behind himself, probably in a desperate attempt to protect her. The ice warrior raised his machine pistol unmoved and took aim. Chloe noted, that it was an exact replica of the same rifle the Nazis used.
In doing that, she realized too late how Dean laid his hands on its head to abruptly break it off. His victim fell down immediately.
"Golly!" Kulzer exclaimed. "Good thing the child wasn't actually abducted…"
"Stop gawking and shoot at something!" Dean bellowed while, literally pulling the soldier from his cover to get to Chloe.
"Everything okay with you?" he asked.
Chloe just nodded.
"Where is Elli?"
"No clue," Dean said. "When I saw her last -"
The rest of his words was drowned out by the thundering of tank threads, when three of the rather odd tanks made their way onto the battlefield with astounding velocity.
And fired.
Chloe couldn't make out a projectile but something blew everything located in a distance of fifteen meters from the tank barrel in the air. Three ice warriors got caught in the strange pulse and crumbled into white snow immediately.
Further enemy units tried to surround the tanks on their bikes but the turrets had an extreme turning speed and fired in five directions in succession, eradicating all hostiles.
Relative silence followed, only disturbed by the banging and thundering from the west.
After a while the tank entrance opened and a visibly annoyed tank driver poked his head out.
"How the hell did they get in?" he fumed. "That was the seventh time!"
Some of the scattered soldiers that did not attend to the wounded or dead gathered at the tank.
"They seem to have flanked us. With their motorcycles they are faster than the main force with their T-34 or T-55 or whatever ice tanks they have," Kaiser presumed.
He held his right arm, from which blood dripped down. A field medic rummaged through his first aid kit besides him.
"Now lie down already," he growled.
"Why did the guard post not say anything, then?" the tank driver asked.
"The radio contact was lost," a soldier replied who seemed to be of higher rank than the others. "They were probably sacked. But we get to that later. Tend to the wounded first, recover the fallen and make a damage report. The commander wants to be informed about this. "
"Where is Elli?" Dean asked into the gathering.
Kulzer, who stood besides him, looked around searching.
"Your wife, uh, ah, she's coming from over th- WENKMANN! CUT THIS CRAP!"
The soldiers and the tank driver turned to Kulzer and then looked to where he looked. Chloe as well. The soldier had in fact found Elli but she was held by Wenkmann, who held a pistol against her neck. Elli also held a futuristic looking barcode scanner in her left.
"Can somebody remove this cad from me?" Elli jangled. "I don't know if that's his holster that's poking my butt."
"Silence, wench!" Wenkmann bellowed.
Pure rage was written in his eyes.
"And you, arrest these saboteurs!"
Some soldiers sized up Chloe confusedly and payed Wenkmann only incomprehension.
"Wenkmann, stop this bullocks, just because-" Kulzer begun, only to be interrupted by the madman.
"Shut up, Kulzer, I have seen it with my own eyes! Those ice-devils walked straight past this woman to hunt our comrades. And look what she has in her hand, that is a radio device!"
"Did the thought strike your mind that these guys simply have standards?" Elli asked. "Also, that is not a radio but a measuring device, you idiot!"
"Standards?" Wenkmann echoed in disbelieve.
He seemed to not even have heard the last part.
"Those monsters didn't stop in front of anything. Not in front of the sick, not in front of the wounded, not in front of soldiers that surrendered. They are Soviet agents, I swear!"
"WENKMANN," the higher-ranking soldier bellowed. "LET GO OF THAT WOMAN, THAT IS AN ORDER!"
It took a short while but then the soldier released Elli reluctantly but still kept his weapon pointed at her.
"Is that true?" the commander asked then. "That the ice-men didn't do anything to you?"
"Less not done anything, more completely ignored" Elli affirmed. "They left me alone as long as I had none of your soldiers behind me."
"They also left me alone," Dean attested.
"He ripped the head off of one of them with his bare hands," Kulzer butted in. "The man is strong as a bear, I tell you."
Dean became the victim of amazed and partly unbelieving stares.
I have seen it, too," another soldier in the group yelled.
"Yes, and? " Dean asked. "The creature has pointed a weapon at my daughter."
Immediately, a perimeter three meter in diameter around Chloe was evacuated.
"What is going on here?"
Steuer approached, flanked by two soldiers and positioned himself in front of the group. The commander came forward and saluted, while the rst hastily snapped to attention. Even Wenkmann tried to stand as straight as possible while still threatening Elli.
"Commander Steuer, reporting respectfully. There was an ambush. Some men got killed, others wounded. Our scouts were probably eradicated, we can't get into radio contact."
"I am aware, that's why I send the impulse tanks," Steuer put him off. "What is Wenkmann doing with the civilians again?"
"The ice monsters ignored them, he assumes they are saboteurs responsible for the attack."
"Did they have time at any point to make an unobserved radio call?" Steuer asked.
Head-shaking by Kaiser, Kulzer and astoundingly also Wenkmann followed.
"We don't even have a radio device," Dean replied. "That thing there measures something."
"I still believe that we need to talk. Or at least you, with one of our Interrogators. And Wenkmann, just for the record, you are going into the cooler for today!"

"I don't believe it, Elli!" Dean fumed. "Why, for the love of God, did you think it was a good idea to visit 1943 of all things! With how tense nerves are here, it is a given that the AVT can't compete against the attention of the Nazis."
They were in a small room inside a bunker that was still somewhat intact, together with three chairs and a small table. They had been relieved of everything that wasn't clothes. Meaning Elli's purse, her measurement device, Chloe's wallet, her smartphone and the NIVEA. They had actually been placed in different cells, but thanks to Elli's Nexus that was only a small problem. It currently linked all three cells.
Chloe, who had started to process the things she had seen only a brief while ago, squatted in a corner and vomited into a bucket. She had seen dead bodies before but never so many at once. Those images would haunt her in her dreams, provided she would get some again. She still stumbled through this darkness in her sleep…
"I had aimed at Chloe's present time, Dean," Elli defended herself. "Something got me off my target."
"Didn't you have to sneeze?" Chloe asked stertorous before the images and parts of her last meal came up again.
"Very disgustingly, even," Dean affirmed.
"Oh," Elli said. "That's the source of our predicament. Originally, I had not aimed at a shack and not a big tree hole. Whoopsie…"
Chloe could see Dean making a mental note to put Elli over his knee at the next opportunity.
"Shouldn't we get going then, in the next few minutes?" she asked, breathing heavily.
For Chloe it was completely incomprehensible how the two remained so unfazed by the slaughter outside. The only explanation she could think of was that it hadn't been their first time…
"Not without my stuff," Elli replied to the question. "My purse might be five-dimensional, but if they rummage around inside it long enough, they will get to my belongings. And I have quite futuristic stuff in there. The impacts that it could happen have if the Nazis or somebody else reverse-engineer these objects are disastrous for the time-line. In the worst case, a forced split off this universe takes place because time tries to conform to the natural course of things. Our mingling would be decoupled into a branch universe, what would impair the stability of both. They could spontaneously collapse. Also, those ice golems are bugging me. My measurements tell that they are empyrean."
The door squeaked as activity came up on the other side..
"Quick, everybody go back!" Elli ordered but it was already too late.
Steuer entered together with three soldiers and starred briefly at those present and the two opposing walls that had been blackened by Elli's portals. But he got ahold of himself together rather quickly. One raised his weapon while the second one presented Elli's and Chloe's belongings. The third placed a third chair for his commander at the table.
"You are the interrogator? Whoa!" Elli commented.
"Quiet!" came angrily from Steuer. "I knew something was odd, how did you get in here?"
"If that disturbs you we can go," Dean offered.
As an explanation Chloe put a hand through the portal, causing a few raised eyebrows. Elli signed, upon which the portals closed.
"You are from the SKP, good sir, don't tell me you haven't seen something like this before!"
"How-" slipped from Steuer before he calmed down and took a deep breath. "Alright, onto that later, everything in order. Your souvenirs gave us such a headache that I wanted to take this matter into my own hands. Which was apparently appropriate given… that…"
"Don't you have a battle to deal with?" Elli asked.
The commander put her off.
"Our tank divisions are rotating and our enemy has proven to be rather stupid in terms of tactics most of the time, and after that surprise attack my soldiers are extra attentive" Steuer explained. "My presence is not necessarily required. What interests me the most is this."
He took neither one of Elli's weird devices, nor Chloe's smartphone from the hands of his underlings but Chloe's wallet. He smashed it on the table. Chloe's ID and a few coins were visible.
"Federal Republic of Germany. Euro. And everything from after the two-thousands. And then this thing here," Steuer took Chloe's smartphone, "What is this? This thing requires some sort of Code I don't know, which I can enter it by tapping on glass. And it says 'No Reception'. Then, no clue what this thing is supposed to measure."
He waggled briefly with Elli's particular measurement device.
"And this there beats everything."
He took Elli's purse and sunk his hand up to the stop in it.
"Apparently, it fits more into it than it should. You are obviously not Germans. So I recommend you to have a good explanation in store. Especially after that happening a few moments ago."
He made a meaningful nod towards the man with the machine pistol.
Elli signaled the other two that she would do the talking.
"So," she started slowly. "To make one thing clear, we are Germans. It's just that we do not stem from here but from the future. That we landed here with our portals was all in all an accident."
"From the future, mhm," Steuer growled. "Quite absurd if you ask me."
"As absurd as an army completely made from ice?" Elli asked with a smile. "Or the fact that you found three people in one cell, although they should be in solitary confinement?"
"Point to her," Dean commented.
The commander gave him an evil glance.
"And what is this Republic then? We are the Greater German Reich, Ma'am."
"Hm, what could get a state to have to change the name?" Elli thought loudly.
Steuers face went numb.
"That is a lie," was all he said. "A trick of the Red Army!"
"Your conclusion, not mine," Elli replied dryly. "But how else do you explain to yourself these objects? Technology you have never seen before and should actually be impossible? Money minted at a date that does not exist yet. An ID from a country not found on any map. Quite big strokes to make for the Soviets just to fool you, aren't they?"
"Then you certainly know what's up with those ice-men, don't you?" Steuer inquired furtively.
"Sadly no, but I think they will be the reason why the Red Army will be able to occupy this bunker. Its ruins are a museum in our time, you know? I have a brochure in my pocket, if you don't believe me."
"Destroyed? Does that mean all we do here will have been for naught?"
Steuer sounded desperate.
"Probably, but maybe it's the best in either case if you get away from here. Those ice warriors seem to have incredibly large reserves."
Steuer slumped together on his chair. He had seemingly believed Elli's explanation from the start, and just tried to keep his own world intact.
"We can't get away from here. We can't get into radio contact with our home. And they will follow us, hunt us. And they will eradicate all of us, even if we surrender. Additionally, they are coming from all directions in which we would have to flee."
Elli raised an eyebrow.
"They kill all of you? Without any distinction?"
Steuer and his companions with him only nodded weakly.
To Chloe's bewilderment Ellis fists clenched almost frantically. Anger flashed in her face. And hate?
"I will help you," she then proclaimed.
Dean and also Chloe frowned their brows.
"How do you want to help us exactly?" Steuer snorted with an obvious streak of gallows humor. "You don't even have weapons to go up against those monsters."
"And we don't need them," Elli said. "We got ignored by them remember? And that will be exactly the point we will begin at."
"That is a paranormality, how do you want to understand it?" Steuer asked.
"Your Sonderkommando for the Paranormal also understood how to built an impulse weapon, didn't it?" Elli replied with a grin.
The commander looked up when he suddenly remembered.
"How do you even know-"
"Future," he was interrupted by Elli. "Do you think I do not know you got the tech inside these tanks? And I tell you one thing, I am millions of years ahead of those guys."

"Have you gone crazy, Elli?" Chloe hissed quietly while they left the bunker and headed to a scouting position.
They didn't get back their stuff though. Steuer didn't seem to be that easily persuadable. He probably only made a trial run.
"Chloe, create chemical weapons, an atomic bomb if you want but those are weapons that leave you a choice or let you flee if you are faced with them" Elli replied also quietly enough to remain incomprehensible to the guards. "Once fired you can surrender if you survive them. But this here was build with the simple goal of obliterating everyone. Without considering if somebody is ready to give up. This weapon can, other than other weapons, not simply be misused as its only reason of being is pure spite already."
"But Elli, those are Nazis. They killed millions and invaded a bunch of countries!," Chloe insisted.
"These ones certainly not," replied whispering. "There is indeed nothing about the crimes of this regime you should gloss over, but look at these people. Do they look like the incarnation of evil to you?"
Everything Chloe saw was in fact a lot of dirt, torn clothing and long faces. Those weren't the monsters she knew from hearsay. Those were just simple men that actually didn't want to be here.
"Interestingly, history books forget to note quite often that the soldiers of an army only seldom hold the opinions of the leaders. But they can't raise up against them because that is not part of their job and gets punished accordingly. The NS leadership did not use the tool of fear only against its victims, I have you know. And just so you know, this bunker will be abandoned in three months anyway."
Chloe had to remind herself how nice the men here had been, well, except Wenkmann. Sure, she was German, but they had been titled as a spy on a few occasions.
The scouting position they were approaching consisted of a platform between the treetops, reachable over a ladder. In the distance, the thunder of canons and the banging of pistols could be heard.
"Those tanks are refitted Panther V," Steuer explained. "They are superior to enemy crafts with they velocity and rate of fire but keep getting worn down more and more by these continuous attack. Also, slowly but steadily, we run out of fuel."
"Why continuous attacks?" Elli asked. "Is there a factory producing those things?"
"Somewhat similar. Look at the horizon. Hauer, give her the binoculars."
One of the soldiers handed her the visual aid but Chloe didn't need one to see what she was supposed to see. Far away in the distance, grey clouds floated in the sky. Beneath them was white fog, which turned out to be a snowstorm upon closer inspection.
"That is interesting indeed," Elli commented, and gave the binoculars to Chloe.
She didn't see noticeably more but enough the observe how an endless stream of ice warriors and tanks emerged from the flurry of snow, armed to the teeth. Something inside her felt pity because of these creatures, weirdly enough. And she didn't know why.
Emotionally confused she handed Dean the binoculars.
"How long has this snowstorm been here for already?" Elli asked.
"For two months" gave the commander his account. "We were attacked over and over again except when convoys passed nearby. Then we could only get distress signals over the radio. We have to assume that they belong to the Soviets, since they do not bother their military in the area."
"What sort of weapons do they have?" Elli inquired further.
"As far as we know, everything that's part of the arsenal of the Soviets. Even our weapons get copied by them if they get captured by soviet military and then deployed."
"Then some sort of automation is behind it," Elli determined. "Something that does or can only things in specific ways."
"But how does that help us?" Steuer asked.
"If it thinks in specifics then it will not disregard its rules. Through that, we could get the ice men to ignore you. However, for that we need to find out how they determine their targets. Is there any radio contact between them?"
"Well, not directly between them, but…"

Hoffling took a pull on his cigarette while he maneuvered his impulse tank through enemy lines. Those T-34 imitations as well as the other tanks were to slow as to properly fire at his vehicle before they simply got pulverized. That the tank division run over enemy units during its ballet was an additional bonus. He did not hear screams of pain during it, only a quiet crunch.
"Fire at two o' clock," he advised we a look outside.
"Yeah, lookin' good," said gunner Mingel, whose northern German accent was plainly audible.
The impulse canon hissed briefly, then two tanks and several ice warriors vanished in a cloud of dirt. But the work was still far from being done. The snowstorm in the distance had continually spat out new enemies for months and it wouldn't simply stop doing that.
Suddenly, Hoffling saw something weird outside on the battlefield. He squinted his eyes to get a better picture of it before he opened them widely and turned the tank around.
"What's going on?" one of the crew asked.
The tank looked inside his vehicle, scampered.
"Make a radio call to the other tanks, we need to retre-"
Then, their tank was torn to pieces with a loud bang.

Next time on Nexus:
Merciless Ice, Part 3

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