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Ouistreham, Normandy, France 22 September 1972 0300 hours local

The faint trail of bubbles was almost invisible among the billows. THe 
wind was up and the Channel was active. The watchers on the seawall could 
make out a faint glint as four figures rose to their feet in the shallows 
and, hefting rucksacks, made their way to the water's edge, where two took 
up firing positions, cradling stubby machine carbines, one faced back to 
sea and flashed a subdued light signal and the leader whistled softly 
while staring intently into the night. One of the watchers whistled an 
odd, two-tone note in reply and the group on the shore dashed up the 
beach to the seawall to join him.

No greetings were exchanged as the whole party - the six watchers and the 
four wetsuit-clad men from the sea - made its way inland at a rare pace to 
a large waiting loke, parked some two or three hundred yards back on a 
metalled road behind the seawall. They boarded the loke which set off at 
once for Caen.

Company Sergeant Martineau of the Scandinavian 1st Fremmedregiment had 
come home. He had left Caen twenty-five years earlier to seek his fortune 
elsewhere, away from the Boche and the Royalists and was returning, if not 
in triumph, at least armed, trained and prepared to spread disadvantage 
among the Germans - secure both in the knowledge that his family was safe, 
well-fed and well-provided for if the worst should happen and that his 
skills and experience would go a long way towards making life for the 
local Boche far less pleasant than it had been. Despite the discomfort of 
the close-fitting wetsuit and the knowledge that he would be shot out of 
hand as a terrorist if detected by the Boche, he was as close to being a 
perfectly happy man as he had ever been.

****************

12 km NNE Nordkapp, Kingdom of Scandinavia, 22 September 1972 0530 hours 
local

SMU Hajen, third in the Delfinen class, had been lying on the sea bottom 
off North Cape for a week, waiting for a particular signature on the 
audiofon [1]. The briefing at Elduvik had stressed to the entire company 
that the signature was unique and that, once intercepted and located, a 
specific audio signal should be given, which would be returned. Once 
received, Hajen would take the lead by two miles and escort the transient 
to St Thomas. The transient was expected to have similar performance and 
characteristics to Hajen. Should the correct audio response not be 
forthcoming, Hajen was to cut and run "as if the Devil himself was coming 
to eat them", as the Kommodore had vulgarly said.

There had been little speculation. As far as the boat's company knew, 
there were two Powers which disposed of submersibles sharing performance 
and characteristics with the Delfinen class - the name class itself and 
the "Taiwanese" Mendoca and Adam Smith classes. The Mendocas were 
shipkillers like the Delfinens; the Adam Smiths were a "strategic asset" 
[2] with a different role altogether. Historically, they they were thought 
to have patrolled in Arctic waters and the chill North Pacific; if they 
were now to be home-ported out of the giant submersible havens in St 
Thomas, there was much in the future for an innocent neutral Scandinavian 
submersible man to ponder on.

****************

Bayeux, Normandy, France 23 September 1972 1212 hours local

The four-man Schupo [3] patrol, with its supporting Gendarmerie team, was 
strolling down the middle of the main street, utterly oblivious to the 
long queue of traffic building up behind it. The German police, carrying 
their sabre scabbards in their left hands, their right hands resting on 
the huge MHFW 41[4] holsters on their Sam Browne belts, paid little 
attention to their surroundings, leaving that to the black-clad Gendarmes 
around them. The Oberwachmeister in the lead was a large man, his belly 
straining against the green cloth of his uniform and his whiskers 
startlingly white against his rubicund complexion. He wore a typical 
collection of campaign ribbons - France, Egypt, India, Russia, Indo-China 
- two wound badges and the blue-and-white ribbon of the Bavarian Bravery 
Medal in Gold.

A hundred yards further up the main street, a small black cargo 'bus was 
parked, with its rear doors facing the oncoming patrol. Only close 
inspection would show the four-inch hole in the right-hand cargo door. 
Inside the loke, resting comfortably on a pile of sacking, Martineau, 
dressed in comfortable and well-worn bleu de travail, was in a firing 
position, cradling a Mauser SLG 66 [5], with a huge suppressor and an 
optical sight. He hissed lightly between his teeth in irritation as a 
passer-by obscured his line of sight. Seconds later, his view cleared and 
he lightly squeezed the trigger. The shot was a low thump, barely audible 
outside the loke and he kicked the back of the driver's seat. He sat up 
and started to disassemble the long rifle as the driver fed power to 
wheels viciously and the loke howled away, making an immediate left turn 
to get straight out of line of sight of the now-alarmed 
patrol.

Oberwachtmeister Karl-Heinz Schuschnigg was confused. Suddenly he was 
lying on his back and he felt terribly sleepy and, in an odd way, as if he 
should be in pain but was not. He brushed his hand across the chest of his 
jacket and was surprised to find that it was wet. He reached down to his 
side and discovered that he was lying in a huge pool of warm, sticky 
liquid. He looked up to see his comrades, Lorenz, Manfredi and Rosenbaum 
looking down at him. It seemed darker than it should have been at just 
past midday on a fine autumn day in Normandy. He had only a few 
seconds to think, apropos of nothing, of his grandchildren, before 
suddenly, with no drama and no pain, he died, without realising that 
Martineau's 8.5mm softnose bullet had blown his spine out through an exit 
wound the size of a tea plate in his back.

[1] audiofon - OTL sonar

[2] Typical Kramer euphemism for an atomically-propelled submersible 
missile platform.

[3] Schupo - Kaiserliche Schutzpolizei - the German Imperial Police. 
Further branches included the Marechaussee - roughly, a paramilitary 
gendarmerie - the Kaiserliche Kriminalpolizei - the detective branch and 
the Kaiserliche Sicherheitsbuero - the Imperial Security Service. *All* were 
subject to the Imperial Ministry of Justice. Individual states had local 
police services.

[4] MHFW 41 - the stubby Maschinenhandfeuerwaffe Modelle 41 was a 
erviceable, if heavy and inaccurate beyond 20 yards, blowback-operated, 
automatic machine pistol.

[5] SLG 66 - the Selbstladegewehr 66 was a specialist marksman's weapon, 
using the standard 8.5mm German imperial round but fired through a 
self-loading, gas-operated long rifle which could be fitted, as here, with 
a suppressor and optic sight. The standard German long arm at this time 
was the SLG58, commonly known as the "Muskete", which was a fairly 
ordinary analogue to OTL's more complicated and difficult to manufacture 
assault rifles. Think SiG or SA-80, with larger rounds.