This is for a flash fiction challenge happening over at terribleminds this week. I rolled a fun number (17, for those who like spoilers), and I decided to take a shot at it. Totaled out at 1,013 words here.
“Harbinger. Do you read me?”
“Harbinger, this is Joni Best. Do you read?”
A voice through Joni’s earpiece, “This is Harbinger III; we read you, Agent Best. What is your location?”
“I’ve infiltrated the base,” she said.
“Perfect,” came the familiar voice. “You’re looking for wing fifty-six. Take the elevator to floor B twenty-five. Once you’re there, you’re on your own. Communication will be blocked.”
“Right,” Joni said.
“Remember: remove the power source and get out. Don’t waste time.”
“And don’t get caught. I got it.”
“Good luck, Joni.”
Joni switched the communicator off. She breathed, then peered out of the room she was in. Coast was clear.
She dashed out, bracing against a metal wall. Titanium, or some derivative of it. Unsurprising. Titanium alloys had become more common the more of space was colonized. Neptune was the furthest our arms reached thus far.
Peering around a corner, Joni caught the massive “51” emblazoned at the end of the hall. Directly beneath that: the red flag of the Nazis, decorated with the all too familiar swastika. Back on earth these guys had pretty much vanished. Yet here they were. Moon Nazis, people joked. Except it wasn’t a joke. These guys learned from their enemies way back when. And they were stronger because of it. Honestly, the last thing Joni wanted to do was confront even one of them face to face.
But she had. Slip in, grab the generator, and get out wasn’t always so easy. She knew firsthand how tough a Nazi was. And when she did get out—because she always got out—Harbinger handled the rest. There was something fancy about the little contraptions she brought back. Neurological receivers. Or something like that. It never fully made sense to her, no matter how many times they explained it.
She was only a couple wings off from number fifty-six. Joni was quick and light on her feet. She practically danced through the metal hallways, the scattered guards hardly an issue. Sliding to a stop at a corner, she checked the hall.
A massive “56” on the wall above the Nazi flag marked it as the right wing. Hopping from corner to corner, she found the elevator down. Hiding in an adjacent hallway, she waited for it to open. No one came out. She stepped into the box and punched “B25” into the keypad. The door slid shut and the metal box began its clattering descent downward.
So much for stealth.
Joni drew a pistol and hid in the corner nearest the door. The elevator came to a sudden stop and opened. For a moment, Joni remained perfectly still. Then, her gun leading, she moved into the open. Nobody. With cautious glances all around, she stepped onto the grated floor. The elevator door behind her slid closed. Joni sighed.
The walls were covered in Nazi propaganda, and the grating surrounded a massive clear tube filled with some unknown, green-tinted liquid with a faint glow. Inside it was a man. Or at least, what was left of a man. The body was almost entirely covered in wires, and many of its parts were modified or replaced with machinery. Joni stared at it for several moments before finally realizing just who she was looking at.
It was Adolf Hitler.
By the looks of it, he was real as real could get. Preserved for years and years, directing the Nazi party even while the rest of the world thought he was long dead. There were several monitors to Joni’s left that displayed strings upon strings of binary data. To her right were more monitors, these displaying vital signs and other important information for the doctors that no doubt were never far from this room.
But where was the power source?
A door opened on the opposite side of the room. Nowhere to hide. Three men came from behind the tube, two in lab coats and the other in military dress. They spoke to each other in German. That is, until they saw Joni. Military man shouldered a rifle and the doctors drew pistols. One of them spouted something German at her.
“No clue what you’re saying,” she replied, “but I don’t want too much. Just hand over the power source.”
“What’s so funny?” Joni asked. It caught her off guard when the response came not from the soldier or doctors, but from the man in the tube.
“Here I am.” The voice spoke in broken, German-accented English. “Come and take me.”
Joni’s eyes slowly found their way to the wire-covered body suspended in the center of the room. Hitler looked down on her with eyes of fire and a twisted grin. What did he mean? Was he saying he would stop her from taking the device? Or was he saying that he was the device?
“What do you mean?” It didn’t come out as steeled as she would have liked.
“I mean,” he said, “come and take.”
Then she saw it. The device protruded from the back of his head, directly where the skull ended. Almost identical to the contraptions that Harbinger III was now full of—thanks to her.
Neurological receivers. And this was what they were receiving. All of them, at once.
Joni spun around and ran for the elevator. Hitler laughed a terrible, maniacal laugh. The laugh of a victor.
After pounding the ground level key several times, the elevator began to rise. Joni fumbled with her earpiece. Finally, it powered on.
“Hello? Hello!? Harbinger!”
Joni shook her head in disbelief. The elevator opened and she rushed back into the titanium hallways.
“Harbinger! Do you read me!?”
Static. She kept running, blood pumping violently through her veins.
“Harbing— David! David, baby, are you—”
The building shook with force so sudden that it knocked Joni to the ground. Her vision was blurry with tears and her limbs shaky with fear. She worked her way back to her feet.
“David,” she cried. “David! No, no, no, no… DAVID!”
But all that came…
… was static.