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Story [Hogan's Heroes] Age of Reason (Marya Parmanova Triathlon for the 2023 Fanfic Olympics)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by pronker, Jun 1, 2023.

  1. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Title: Age of Reason
    Author: pronker
    Genre: Varied
    Era: Early to mid-20th century
    Characters: Marya Parmanova, the Russian spy whose motives we are never quite sure of. Other canon characters as they arise.
    Thread Notes: Some stories about Marya, who consistently uses and confuses Hogan and crew.

    Roll Call:

    Tennis Match: 100 words, all conversation.
    Age of Reason
    Marathon Swim: a story of at least 10k words to honor the epic test of endurance that is a 10km swim! It counts for two events, not just one. Bonus challenge elements: a test or trial that requires endurance; the words oxbow, quiver, deluge, current, and adamant; and include or take inspiration from the line of dialogue, "Are you going to stand or are you going to crumble? In the face of everything, stand still." - Gabby Douglas, American gymnast and three-time gold medalist. Enfilade : Second Room : Third Room : Fourth Room : Fifth Room : Sixth Room : Seventh Room : Eighth And Final Room
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2023
  2. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Title: Age Of Reason

    Author: pronker

    Character: Marya Parmanova, born Thursday, August 10, 1911 in new Gregorian calendar per her Red Russian records, but Saturday, July 29, 1911, per old White Russian Julian calendar.

    Era: Monday, July 29, 1918 OR Saturday, August 10, 1918. Choose wisely, dear reader.

    Summary: Marya wants what she wants when she wants it, but times are hard in Mother Russia.

    A/N: Thursday, February 14, 1918, followed Wednesday, January 31, 1918 in Bolshevik Russia. Gregorian July 29, 1918 is a Monday and August 10, 1918 is a Sunday, which is enough to confuse anyone. This drabble starts my non-Star Wars Triathlon in the Fanfic Summer Olympics on theforceDAHTNET, with a rundown on the Hogan's Heroes series here.


    "But Mama, my birthday always is July Twenty-Ninth."

    "Not this year."

    "I want it to be July Twenty-Ninth."

    "A big seven year-old girl like you knows how to wait until August Tenth."

    "Always it's the twenty-ninth. Today."

    "You'll receive gifts as Papa and I can make and honey cake. I've bartered for the honey. Be happy."

    "Where is my pony?"

    "She --- ran away."

    "That's not true!"

    "Maryushka, hear me. Truth is what you make it. Truth is that we make do with what we have. Make truth your words, and your words your bond."

    "I hate truth."

    "Eat your supper."


    The End.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2023
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Fun with her and her mother. A great entry
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    I had to dash over to Wikipedia because I didn't know anything about this fandom. Now I know that I definitely need to know about it (this is right up my alley, thanks for that) but since no background knowledge is required to understand what is happening here, I'm diving right in!

    It's ironic that I live in a country where we still have a few old-calendarists, but I never thought of what switching to a new calendar entails. There's a Pirates of Penzance scenario in the making here [face_laugh] But geez, for a little girl, how to understand that your birthday has been shifted by 13 days into a whole other month? Marya is a pretty spirited kid though, and she knows what's what: "it's always on the 29th!"
  5. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    + earlybird-obi-wan Thanks for reading this brief introduction to the character, young though she is! I've added a TVTropes guide to the series for folks unfamiliar with her or the series, because it's a venerable fandom.;)

    +Chyntuck Oooh, thanks for the reminder because I'd planned to include a primer for the series and have now done so.@};- Yup, the calendar move would be difficult to explain to the youngest ones past the babyhood stage. Marya bends before she breaks, though, and shall cope with only minor bruising of her strong ego. Pirates of Penzance? I'll give it some thought!:D
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2023
  6. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 10

    Mar 26, 2001
    Love the insights on truth juxtaposed with innocence of a child.
  7. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    +DarthIshtar Eeeps, notifications are AWOL, so thanks for reading! :) Marya is single-minded, as sevens tend to be, as they reason their way into getting their own way. She innocently doesn't comprehend politics while Mama comprehends them all too well.[face_good_luck]
  8. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    [face_laugh] I love this kid, and I feel her mom's frustration. Looking forward to reaching more! :)
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  9. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Marya is a delightful little dickens and such darn fun to write! Thanks for reading. :)
  10. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Marya clutches the lapels of her sable knee-length coat high up to her throat and sweeps the murmuring crowd with a mischievous look. She flings her arms wide enough to embrace the shoulders of two and a half well-built men as she drowns out the ooom-pah-pah music. "Darrrlings! I am here! We party now!" She tosses her silver fox ushanka into the air as she pirouettes.

    A pin dropping to the parquet floor would sound like the finale to Tschaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

    Marya knows what to do, as always.

    "What? Do not worry! Fake! These all fake furs! I despise truth, remember?"


    Title: Enfilade

    Author: pronker

    Era: World War II

    Characters: Marya Parmanova, Colonel Robert Hogan, Corporal Louis LeBeau, Corporal Peter Newkirk, Sergeant Andrew Carter, Sergeant James Kinchloe, Sergeant Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Captain America, Bucky

    A/N An enfilade is a series of rooms formally aligned with each other, common in grand European architecture. The doors entering each room align with the doors of the connecting rooms to provide a wistful vista to the least important guests lingering in the first rooms. Only the most trusted guests proceed to the innermost rooms. This is the story I began during the 2023 Kessel Run; it's taken awhile, but here goes the reverse narrative prompt from that Run for a Marathon Swim in the Olympics.


    April 1, 1945

    Marya wept as she descended, she who never cried. Once she huddled in safety at the bottom of the ladder, Hogan pitched his distrust of the woman out the bomb bay doors as he pressed her head to his shoulder. Typically, she escalated this kindness to wail into his ear while she wound both hands through his hair from scalp to nape. She ground herself onto his hip, practically encircling him as her emotions pierced the dank tunnel air.

    "It is gone! Stolen! We were tricked! How cruel! Красивый вид gone, gone, gone!"

    Newkirk bent to retrieve Hogan's cap as Hogan appreciated Newkirk's minute attentions to the personal appearance of his leader under trying circumstances. Unlike LeBeau, Newkirk was not dazzled by Marya. "Your cap needs blocking, guv. I'll tend to it."

    "Later. LeBeau, get her off me."

    "Oui, mon colonel. Chérie --- "

    Marya detached herself before pushing aside both men hard as her voice gained strength. "Laisse-moi tranquille!" She retreated as far as she could from the three airmen, she who never retreated, but always advanced. She turned her back on them while she fished a large kerchief from her bag. After she wiped her face, the white kerchief displayed a teary tricouleur smudge: red lipstick, slate blue eye shadow and black mascara. The demoralized person she bared now showed elegant bone structure scrubbed clean of powder and paint.

    Hogan dropped his arms as he jolted at that which he'd never seen before; he regained his equilibrium in four heartbeats. Her sorrow for her country's loss could not have been more real, but he had needed to see tears on a damp face before believing her completely. She had taken him in before.

    He replaced his crush cap on his head and recrossed his arms to prevent further embraces, though she slumped against the tunnel's side. "What happened to what?" he asked. "London said only that a national treasure vanished."

    Marya seemed to have regained a portion of her verve. "Darling Hogan, a fiend in a monocle stole our Amber Room. I struggled to save it, oh how I struggled, but he bound and tortured me, see?" True enough, clever makeup had disguised her bruised wrists, currently washed pale by the deluge of her tears.

    "Cochon!" LeBeau threw himself across the distance between them. "Klink shall pay!"

    Hogan pursued that which he knew best: the truth, and how to spin it. "Whoever it was, it was not Klink. He's been here all along."

    LeBeau kissed Marya's fingertips fiercely before dotting gentler kisses on the bruised wrists. "Someone shall pay. I --- we --- promise this."

    "Dearest small one, always my friend." She clasped him to her bosom, where his head just fit between pillowy, creamy swells.

    This would get them nowhere. "Newkirk."

    "Righto, sir, I'm on it. Louis, before you grow roots in your posh nest, d'you fancy telling us about this Amber Room?" Newkirk extracted LeBeau, grasped his shoulders and pointed him away from his ideal woman.

    With a defiant look, LeBeau stepped backwards until he bumped into Marya's front. Without smiling, she dropped a kiss onto his neck before shoving him forward. "Later, красивый мужчина. I refuse to distract you. Tell what you know while I fix my face."

    "The room is not French, though it could be," LeBeau began. "Germany built a palace room with glowing walls of rocaille amber, golden statues and mirrors to reflect it all by candlelight. They kept it only a few years before giving it to Russia, one dictator to another, Frederick to Peter. Friendship, pah."

    "You don't mean that, LeBeau! You can't." Carter joined them, unnoticed until now. "What would the world be without friends?"
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2023
  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Marya's interacting with Hogan and LeBeau is nice.
    The kerchief with the smudges[face_laugh]
    Kahara and pronker like this.
  12. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh dear. I really, really need to watch Hogan's Heroes, because if Marya is anything like what you write, I am going to like her A LOT.
    This prologue! THIS PROLOGUE! She has it all, elegance, mischief and wit, and she despises the truth. I love her so much!

    The below is me pretending to be Steve Rogers:
    "I understood that! I understood that reference!" So am I correct to understand that there is a crossover situation with the Marvel comics here?

    And then, the opening scene. I just love how she can't help it and she's always seducing one or the other, and most of them are competing for her attention – except Newkirk, who apparently sees right through her. And the smudges! I almost expected the Marseillaise to play when I read that!

    Still, she's a brave little thing and her mission went horribly wrong, if she was caught and tortured – or was she? I suspect that there's more to her tale than she's letting on.
    Kahara, Taylor Neir and pronker like this.
  13. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Thanks for reading!@};-
    +earlybird-obi-wan Yes, Marya has been hit hard by circumstances but regains a little poise as the scene goes on ... she's not at all used to being 'natural' as without her makeup.
    +Chyntuck Ooh, if you can find the Marya eps, they are:
    A Tiger Hunt in Paris, Part 1
    A Tiger Hunt in Paris, Part 2
    The Hostage
    The Witness
    The Klink Commandos
    Fat Hermann, Go Home
    The Kamikazes Are Coming
    *gigglesnort* at you being Steve, yes, it's a crossover with Marvel's WW2 versions of Cap, Sgt. Fury and his squad, plus one of their primary foes, the Baron. We'll see how the mission progresses/regresses in the reverse narrative upcoming.
  14. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    March 3, 1945

    "It is not over yet," Marya told von Strucker. She made a face at the wave soaking her puce suede pumps.

    Von Strucker's jackboots lost their precisely buffed shine in the same wave. He, too, made a face. "I fear it is, Puppchen. The Howlers have tracked us fair and square."

    Marya screeched hot denial in Russian too fast for von Strucker to follow. She meant him to catch only three words: "not" and "fair" and "fool." She slapped at his chest with her bedraggled feather boa and he trapped her hands in his. She gathered spit to thrust at his impassive face, thought better of it and spat into the Pacific Ocean instead. Why was this morning so sunny in mid-winter Pacific, why was it not stormy to match her mood? Why, why, why? With all her might, she twisted from his grip and faced her prospective captors, seven soldiers with three day's stubble bobbing in an eighteen-foot rubber raft.

    Only the breeze displayed changeability, now brisk, now wispy. The Rising Sun flag rose and fell, its halyard snapping against its pole without rhythm.

    She turned back to von Strucker, who had distanced himself from her to stand tight against the submarine's conning tower rail, next to the two sailors. From below him, she could see his knuckles whiten against the gray steel. She used the tone of voice she'd used on him to great effect, low and sultry and penetrating. "You coward. Defend me."

    The knuckles tightened. "I know the Howlers. They'll not harm you. Can you ask more?"

    Marya could. "Bind me, for your honor's sake and mine, Wolfgang." The lower lip he liked so well jutted forth. She riveted her gaze on von Strucker's, who did not flinch.

    A rising breeze brought the murmured question by the corporal to her ears. "Orders, Sarge?"

    "Orders stand: we only pick up her."

    "But Sarge, he's right here --- "

    "And so are 75 Imperial Japanese Empire sailors! And two Type 96 AA guns! And us in a dinky rubber raft! Cap knows what he's doing. Do you doubt Captain America? Do you doubt Bucky?"

    "Nah, guess not. Us corporals leave that to sarges."

    "I'll tell Sergeant Bull McGiveney you approve and we'll dance the Dipsy Doodle, me leading. Come on, lady."

    Marya pressed her wrists together to hold them up to von Strucker. "You shall have the amber treasure you stole from Russia. Would you steal my honor, too?"

    She had to admit that another would have laughed in her face, ordered the two sailors to open fire and descended through the hatch to safety.

    The senior sailor prodded von Strucker in the gut with his rifle. Did the sailor divine that honor, Japanese, Prussian, and Russian, was the subject here? Marya didn't know. Only Captain Okada had spoken directly to her in their shared language, which was English. All others aboard the Dragon of Death just uttered Hai! in her presence.

    The Baron ignored the jab into chiseled abs that she liked to strum in better times. He slipped a jackknife from his jackboots, sliced the halyard supporting the Rising Sun flag and vaulted over the railing to clomp beside her. The sailors trained both weapons on him, and then the senior sailor barked an order. The junior sailor gathered up the dishonored flag on one arm before aiming at Fury's heart.

    The Dragon of Death reared its horned head pridefully above the tense group, Howlers in their rubber raft with six weapons pointed at the four people on the enormous Japanese submarine's deck. Sunshine glinted from the anti-artillery guns fore and aft. The two sailors' determined faces and even more determined bolt-action Arisakas guarded the standoff between two giant powers.

    An outsider would have sworn that sparks flew between nobleman and commoner, Russian and German, man and woman. Fury was closest to them and lived to tell the tale of a proven enemy and an unproven friend battling for who would prevail between whatever-they-were-to-each-other.

    Von Strucker bound Marya's wrists tightly with five feet of halyard, lifted her like the Romanov princess she was not and tossed her down into Fury's arms.

    "Hey!" Fury dropped his carbine as he lost his footing while the raft slewed with the impact and added weight. He plotzed onto the raft's front seat with an armful of furious femininity.

    Von Strucker appeared to ignore the surging submarine as it lifted and fell to some undersea upheaval. He clasped his hands behind him and planted his feet. "Auf wiedersehen."

    "Nein, schatzi, niemals," replied Marya. A heel click and her friend disappeared down the hatch.

    Fury shifted Marya away from his chest, where she had been leaning. "Away all boats, you swabbies, in case the dragon submerges."

    "Not bloody likely," avowed Pinky. "I blinded it." He turned to rowing with his oar paired with Gabe's as the raft headed back to the last recorded position of the beleaguered Adamant and Captain America.

    "So you did, but there's still sonar." Fury cursed and slid Marya from his lap to sit beside him. "Stop that."

    Marya considered it good manners to establish a beach head of camaraderie. "You did well, gentlemen. Without periscope, the Dragon must heave to at friendly port for repairs, possibly Madripoor, and that is long ways from here. It will cost the enemy time, but I say we cannot waste time but only spend it."

    "Hoo, listen to the philosopher why doncha!" Izzy said in an American accent she did not recognize.

    "Pipe down and row. Lady, your honor is satisfied as of right now because I'm cutting you free. There. Now pick up that oar and row. It's about two nautical miles and ain't it a bee-yootiful day for rowing?"

    Marya shrugged as she scanned the raft's occupants. Briefings had described each Howler: first Dino Manelli, who'd manned the tiller as he steered the craft to nudge the scaled sides of the sub with the skill of a gondolier and who now guided them to where Marya could establish a base for further travels. Romantic Italian-American, he'd be simple to shape. She smiled in his direction at the tiller as she sized up the rest: Dum Dum Dugan? married Nicholas Fury? committed to some lucky lady Pinky Pinkerton? I don't think so Reb Ralston? too stalwart and also too young I will not have the time to teach him anything worthwhile Gabe Jones? unlikely. That left Manelli likeliest and Izzy Cohen possible if I play my Preferans cards right.

    Distaste oozing from every pore, Marya hefted the oar. She glanced at the horizon, ever alluring, ever receding. A homily from dear Matushka Galina surfaced from Marya's Sunday School attending past: "Are you going to stand or are you going to crumble? In the face of everything, stand still."

    I shall sweet talk them into transporting me to Germany, thought Marya. I will reach out to the only one who can help.

    Marya picked up the rhythm and rowed to match Fury.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2023
  15. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Marya got away from von Strucker and the sub but what will follow?
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  16. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    +earlybird-obi-wan It's what's behind because this is a reverse narrative story - a challenge for a marathon swimmer! Yup, I began this opus in the 2023 Kessel Run and then wimped out writing it. I hope to finish the tale in the Swim ... *glub glub* Soooo, Marya wound up with Hogan and Company to ask for help and this is what she needed help with. More explanations to follow. Or precede. Or something. *crosses fingers*
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2023
  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    I love how Marya is constantly scheming and managing appearances, from screeching in Russian for von Strucker to catch only specific words to sweet-talking the Howling Commandos to take her to Germany and "reach out to the only one who can help", which is presumably Hogan.
    I laughed out loud at the idea that Fury catches this weird vibe here, but can't really define what it is.

    However, what made me giggle throughout this entry were the fantastic visuals you included! To give but two examples:
    I can just see her, standing in the sea, her boa soaked, and still pretending to be a lady.

    I'm sorry it took me so long to come and update; with the second child now I have less time for myself, but be sure that I'm reading and laughing and waiting for more!
    Kahara, earlybird-obi-wan and pronker like this.
  18. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    +Chyntuck First and foremost, many good wishes on the little one joining the family!@};- You're doing well to read and enjoy ... I neglected reading for *swallows hard* three years when mine arrived ...:rolleyes:

    Next, writing backwards broke my brain, but yes, Marya has tremendous faith in Hogan, his abilities, his charm, and well, her charm to charm him into helping. Fury's commandos are another story, yeah ... but hey, they did add their $.02 to enable her to obtain a return to Germany, shortly after she "persuaded" them to.[face_party]

    Thanks so much for reading!@};-
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2023
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  19. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    March 3, 1945 just after dawn

    "Keeeeyyyyy-ripes with a clutch purse, it's as big as an I-180!" Bucky hollered. The lad in blue and red hunkered hard over the Adamant's railing to take in the astounding sight of the Dragon of Death, ignoring Cap's restraining hand on his bicep. "What a shame it's an enemy sub!"

    "We're in trouble," Cap said quietly enough that Nick Fury knew the words were meant to escape Bucky's eager ears. The captain of them all gestured to the sergeant at his left. "Fury, get your squad below. Let our Navy have first crack at the sub, but grab your weapons."

    "It" possessed a dragon's head that appeared to spout flame. Fury hadn't a clue how the illusion worked, but it did. Days had become weeks as the Cannon Class destroyer escort Adamant earned its name APD High Speed Transport while its skipper pushed his ship to the limit pursuing the Dragon of Death from Gotenhafen.

    The last people Fury saw topside was the skipper hustling over to Cap and the still-entranced Bucky. He looked up to the sky's bright blue, which he preferred as the color of a pretty girl's eyes before he met Pam, and then the hatch clanged shut. He hustled down the ladder, and the squad must have read his mind because they high-tailed it with clattering boots through the narrow corridor for their quarters. Sailors that he had gotten to know a smidgen in past weeks thundered past him to where the action was, either in the ship's guts or on top to man the guns. How did negotiations about the dame get so confused? Fury wondered. Once Okada realized that his oh-so-secret sub got tailed by a lowly destroyer escort burning after it around Africa through to the Pacific using the cutting edge LORAN-G tracker and top of the line sonar blockers in the chase, he'd surfaced to semaphore questions and answers back and forth with Cap in better English than Fury's.

    The skipper of the Adamant forged an agreement to hand over the Russian spy in return for allowing the Dragon to head on her way. Or had it been too easy? Somebody got mad. Fury still wondered about the Captain America-Okada chinwag upon reaching the generous quarters given them. He suspected Captain America arranged the roomy expanse, though Cap and Bucky shared a tiny space.

    M-1s formed a teepee in one corner of their quarters. Each Howler grabbed his weapon without checking closely that it belonged to him because, really, wasn't it SOP that after so long together they arranged their arms in the same compass rose position each time? Fury's was always northwest, assuming the wall --- or bulkhead --- was north.

    He hefted his rifle, aware that all eyes rested upon him. "We'll come through fine or my middle name ain't Joltin' Joe." He expected griping.

    He got it.

    "All this fershlugginer crap for some dame we never even heard of before," growled Izzy.

    Fury had his mouth open to reply when a kaboom! lifted him from his feet.

    "Torpedo!" He adjusted to the rippling deck and so did his men, balancing on the balls of their feet while gripping their M1s as horizontally as a high-wire artiste hoists a weighted pole.

    In the awful timeless time between a baby's hurt and her first scream, there comes the realization that this is just the beginning of bad. Fury felt the deck slant ever so gradually and by the looks on their faces, so did Dugan, Manelli, Cohen, Jones, Ralston and Pinkerton.

    "We don't wait to take our Saturday night bath cuz we leave now. Grab your gear."

    Before he could add, "Cap needs us," another kaboom! split the morning air, which was followed by cries in the corridor using Navy lingo that not one of them understood. Fire from one 3"/50 caliber deck gun answered the torpedo attack. Wait, only one gun? This sounded like more bad.

    Part of his mind didn't worry about their safety because several ships lurked within call; one or two or three of them, quite close because orders stood to allow Adamant to negotiate with Okada via Cap and the skipper. Even if the Adamant sank, her crew would be picked up. The mission to secure the Russian woman proved a washout, though, and that rankled. Cap had his reasons for wanting her taken aboard.

    As the slant worsened, Fury jerked a thumb upwards. As orderly as ever, the clot of Howling Commandos proceeded calmly to the ladder, but they opened the hatch to chaos.

    The tail end of the ship --- the, the stern, rather --- wasn't the tail end anymore. The growing slant would knock them off balance if the scurrying sailors didn't do it first. What the hell were Cap and Bucky doing, not even taking cover except behind Cap's shield? The Dragon's deck guns ceased fire, the Dragon backed off the faltering Adamant, its threatening dragon head now flameless. If anything, the sub looked like a tourist taking Kodak Brownie shots of a doomed vessel for the folks back home. No one remained visible on deck, when international maritime law declared rescue efforts to an enemy ship's survivors ought to begin.

    Fury wasn't holding his breath on that one.

    Cap and Bucky cried out, no that was just Bucky yodeling defiance or something and then Cap grabbed his young pal to clamp his hands to the rail under his brawnier ones. The rail also slanted down as far as possible without actually being upright. The Howlers grabbed onto those cleat things studding the deck that sprouted everywhere.


    "Fury! Chase that sub! Get the woman!" Cap roared. "I don't care how!"

    "Sir, yessir!" Fury paused. "How?"

    "Ask Pinkerton!"

    And then Cap darted towards the bridge, towing Bucky against the slant though it seemed impossible. Cap vaulted over an unsecured canister the size of a beer keg for a whopper promotion party to send it rolling towards his troops.

    The canister unfurled partway as it rolled with paddles sticking out for legs. It reminded Fury of a gray roly poly bug, but he saw it to be a rubber raft. Everyone's footing currently resembled climbing into your bunk when you were drunk as a skunk. He slung his M1 over his shoulder and straddled the now smaller cylinder like he did a horse he had ridden once on a posh bridle path with Pam.

    Since he couldn't fly over the slanting deck and he was almost sure Cap couldn't fly either, he grabbed hard onto the railing to soccer kick the raft towards his squad. The Howlers formed a chain with Gabe looping his great arms around the railing and various other Howlers anchoring onto him with their feet. Those guys, aw those guys, inflated the raft and stuck oars into oarlocks before you could say Jack Armstrong. When the sea bubbled beneath the Adamant just before Fury figured she was a goner, he and his squad hauled freight to follow the Dragon of Death.

    What next?


    "Don't look at the wreck, I said."

    "Sergeant, numerous lifeboats surround our ship."

    "Noted and logged, Pinkerton. Now why would Cap say you know a tactic to stop a sub?"

    Since everyone was in excellent physical shape, rowing at their top speed winded them not a whit. Pinky pulled at his oar in unison with his squad as he answered.

    "I bally think he's considering our little chat about naval warfare while you Yanks played handball on deck with Bucky last evening."

    To gauge their course, Fury looked over his shoulder at the Dragon of Death, whose leisurely rate of speed kept the raft's occupants busy as a jitterbug at the Roseland Ballroom and having one sixty-fourth as much fun.

    "Yeah, spill it while you stroke. I need time to tacticize."

    Pinky's prim tones told of a Great War battle only Fury had heard of. "Gallipoli turned out bloody awful except for --- "

    "Gallipoli? You pick Gallipoli as inspiration? Aussies, Kiwis and you Brits failed --- "

    Pinky could shout when he had to. "Indubitably! Except this strategem worked!"

    "Simmer down, Pinky!" Gabe could yell, too. "Sarge, what choice do we have?"

    "Shut up and row, Jones. Pinkerton, out with it."

    Pinky looked over his shoulder once at the enormous sub as he rowed. "Periscopes prove vulnerable to damage when sailors sneak up to it and break it. The submarine chaps won't submerge blind so they stay at surface. Subs make better speed up top, but their chief defense against ships' guns or depth charges is going down deep after attacking. I postulate arrogance from Okada when he selected to stay up top after attacking us. He's showing off, the bounder."

    "And this tactic you know, how?"

    "A ex-Navy chap I knew at Southsea resort told me he did just that in 1915. I believe him. He used a flogging hammer to break the periscope when his mates rowed him to a submarine."

    Fury stroked harder. "And me forgetting my flogging hammer back on the Adamant!"

    "Sergeant, I have just the tool." Pinky managed his oar with one hand and picked up his bumbershoot with the other. Still rowing, he passed it over his shoulder to Fury.

    Fury matched Pinky's feat of rowing one-armed as he grasped the umbrella, fingered the icepick-sharp tip and then handed it back. "Hmmph. Your M1's sturdier --- "

    "My M1 I shan't risk dropping into the briny if I overbalance. My brolly means piffle."

    "All right, all right, gimme five. I'll think it over. Row, you 4F rejects." Nobody talked for four minutes as the sub proceeded in a disciplined fashion and they trailed twenty feet behind its periscope. At the fifth minute, Reb whispered something to Pinky and Pinky nodded.


    Junior Juniper always smiled. That was one thing which made Sarge certain he and Junior could never be friends. The boy grew into a man's shape but not into a man's mind. This was all right with Sarge because he could think for the two of them, in fact, for the seven of them: himself as leader Sergeant Nick Fury, along with Juniper, Manelli, Dugan, Gabe, Reb, and the ever lovin' Izzy Cohen.

    "I say, sergeant --- " began Pinky, and that was when Fury remembered that Junior was dead. Pinky was Junior's replacement, straight from the repple depple. Pinky upheld the best traditions of his original unit and now Fury's unit. Fury jolted back to the present and an onlooker would have said the lines on his face appeared smoother following his brief excursion to the past.

    An errant wave sloshed over the gunwale of the rubber dinghy. Izzy, Pinky, Dino, Reb, Gabe and Dum Dum continued to paddle with grim faces, but then Izzy's grin gave him away. Those five read him all too well, Pinky less well. They knew that cruising on waves soothed Fury in one way, and that memories surfaced whether he wanted them to or not. Well, he didn't want them to. Let Junior rest in peace because life was for the living and so was deciding.

    "Yeah, yeah, go to it on my mark."

    Reb and Pinky shipped their oars. Pinky, who had gripped his bumbershoot in both hands, nodded at Reb and whispered, "Yahoo."

    "Yahoo, pilgrim," Reb whispered back.


    Reb undid the lasso cinching his waist, twirled the pre-formed honda thrice and aimed perfectly for the periscope that zzzzrhsssted through the foam twenty feet away. He tied off the rope in record calf-roping time to the dinghy's front docking ring. The seven let out a breath they did not know they had been holding when ten minutes passed with no change in trajectory, speed, or depth. They upped paddles and sluiced along in a Nantucket sleigh ride, all arms and legs inside the craft, facing the sub now with all hands ready for action when word was given.

    The dark steel shape beneath them could have been sharks or whales or some goofy critter straight out of the comic books, but Fury could handle those. This Dragon of Death he could handle, too, now that he had a tactic. Maybe the enemy tricked her out to scare the scareable, with a dragon's horned head, armored scales and suchlike, but she relied on a periscope like any other sub. Leave it to Pinky to crack open a battle tactic from the War Before and discover a way to disable the beast and leave it to Pinky to use a bumbershoot as a weapon. They'd been tasked by Cap to complete this mission and by George VI, they'd do that piffling thing. Their ship called the Adamant torpedoed from under them was piffle.

    It couldn't be this easy. It couldn't. Fury gave the signal.

    The dark shape smoothed its way through the current as six Howlers hauled themselves hand over hand on the rope to edge the dinghy closer to the periscope. The seventh clambered from his seat, jutting proudly into the sea just like an old timey figurehead on some British sailing ship bound for glory. Pinky placed one foot on the gunwale to gain height, grabbed the periscope and levered back his bumbershoot.

    He stabbed the glass eye in one swift, sure stroke.

    When the Dragon of Death slowed and then stopped to surface, the unmoored dinghy bobbed in place safely twenty feet away while Fury prepared to make sure that Cap's wishes regarding the Parmanova woman were carried out. It helped some that Cap had briefed him on the basics; he could make up the rest as he went along.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2024
  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Great action, getting the dinghy and being able to catch the sub.
    Now what's next?
    Kahara and pronker like this.
  21. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Thanks for reading - the action sprang into being first and next comes more answers ... why was Marya with von Strucker? what was the trouble between Okada and Cap? I don't mind saying writing a story backwards strains the brains! 8-}
    Kahara and earlybird-obi-wan like this.
  22. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm here, I'm here! Before I get to the story proper...
    Thanks! We actually adopted, so I'm not here reading and reviewing fanfic with a newborn on my lap. He's 5 years old, so he sleeps at night and goes to summer camp in the morning, and I still have a me-life :D

    On to the new chapter! That was some fantastic humorous action writing, and I alternated between excitement and hilarity while reading. Disabling a submarine's periscope with an umbrella? Really? [face_rofl] Also, I loved the Brit's dialect you used, like "My brolly means piffle."

    This, however:
    ... is the real question, and I suspect that the dame in question had a hand in it... [face_mischief]
    Kahara, earlybird-obi-wan and pronker like this.
  23. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    A 5 truly delights!@};- Happy summer camping to the lad.

    Marya adapts to the times and sitches she finds herself in --- when she doesn't make them herself!:rolleyes: More of her upcoming.

    Yes, one blinding incident occurred in the Gallipoli battle, which turned disastrous for the Allies, except the naval maneuvers that historians term "successful." A midshipman later wrote of being commanded to row up silently to hammer the glass in the fashion Pinky used; other memoirs told of securing a bag over the periscope to blind it. It's hard to believe that Allied accounts tell of 16 wartime enemy subs being troubled by such methods!=D=
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2023
  24. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    March 3, 1945 at pre-dawn

    Captain Banko Okada reserved his deepest bow for the photograph of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, sketching a cursory courtesy bow for his current superior, Admiral Koshiro Oikawa. He smoothed his moustache in the stainless steel mirror that his orderly polished daily. The man had not failed him yet. At this moment, with Japan's forces looking to the Dragon of Death for inspiration, failure in the strangest mission of Okada's career was not an option. He would not bend in his resolve to complete it successfully.

    "Are the two of them up and dressed?"

    "I awakened them both with difficulty, sir. I believe they wish to speak with you after they dress."

    "No more than I crave to speak with them. Order them to my ready room. See to it that they not get lost like last time."

    "This shall be done immediately."



    The pair conspired to bluff their way through the interview.

    So be it.

    Each straightened when he stepped into the ready room after a judicious wait to foster proper fear; it was not full attention, but it would have to do. The German surprised him in his laxity since Japan and Germany remained equal powers in the Axis despite Italy hanging onto their coat tails and then dropping away. Von Strucker indeed aligned his thumbs with the seams of his wrinkled trousers, yet every muscle bespoke weariness. Surely rooming with a woman for weeks on end did not tax a full-blooded Aryan? Was she that demanding? Could she not veil her natural female desires for the duration of the war, or at least aboard his submarine? Would she?

    The woman's spine may have been straight and her gaze straightforward, but instinct told Okada not to trust her. She twiddled with a feather boa that had seen better days. She was nervous.


    He affixed a Chesterfield into his cigarette holder and waited.

    Von Strucker flicked his gaze to the cigarette before clasping his hands behind his back. The Parmanova woman fished inside her clothes, produced a lighter and approached with a sure smile. Okada nearly flinched back at her nearness.

    "Allow me, Captain." The lighter flared, he bowed to her slightly and she beamed. "There, comfortable?"

    He refused to take a back seat in his ready room's power dynamics as he dragged deeply before streaming a cascade of smoke into her face. "You are most gracious. I deeply regret to say that no, I am not comfortable."

    "Oh my heavens, Captain! What can be the trouble, dar--- "

    Von Strucker broke in. "Marya, we agreed --- "

    "But Wolf, darling, if there is trouble should we not help our savior?" Okada covered his backward step away from her by turning to von Strucker. There was no time to waste with this woman.

    "Herr Baron, you lied to me when you said you were through with your Fuehrer."

    "Captain Okada, in Gotenhafen I told you that Hitler is kaput. I stand by that statement."

    The Parmanova woman appeared distressed in a way that Okada had never observed in a female. "Dear Captain, you saved Amber Room from destruction! We owe you for that and for our lives, our freedom! Your words cut us to the quick, surely there is misunderstanding --- "

    Von Strucker's hiss of warning failed to stem the flow of speech, but Okada's shouted Stop! did.

    "You two placed a tracker upon my ship! Explain that! You planned to force me to surrender when we were caught off guard, to turn the Amber Room over to the Allies, the enemies of all of us!"

    Von Strucker's monocle glinted under the harsh light that was more suited to studying battle plans than conducting interviews. "Upon my honor as a noble of an uradelig family, I did not place a tracker upon your submarine."

    The Parmanova woman pursed her lips. "Just a small one, what could it hurt?"


    Okada observed without commenting, the smoke from his cigarette spiraling above him towards the air vent. These two initiated radio contact in Gotenhafen, seemingly bound together by whatever binds a man and woman without marriage. Okada would call it friendship if a friendship between a woman and a man were possible. At the moment, they snarled at each other like unfriendly Akitas.

    "Marya, why in the nine circles of hell would you do it? Did your superiors order you to before we met? How could they know we could find passage on this submarine? Where did you get the tracker?"

    "I have no superiors. I just am."

    Von Strucker raised a fist to her face until Okada barked Stop! again.

    Marya lifted her chin. "The cat is out of the bag, Wolfgang. Fill our captain in on our plan." She plotzed onto a bench that was bolted down to stay in place in dirty weather. "We can include him because I trust him." In all their time aboard together, Okada had never heard such a choked sound coming from von Strucker. If Okada had been a smiling man, then he would have smirked at von Strucker's next words.

    "There is no 'our plan'! Well, there is, but only the one I told you about in Gotenhafen before we boarded your magnificent submarine." Von Strucker must be off stride to compliment so, despite the truth in the description of the Dragon of Death.

    "Darling, do not take our captain for a fool," Parmanova drawled. "He knows a weak woman could not have placed the tracker by herself inside the Dragon's crest."

    Okada wondered if von Strucker would catch the slip by the woman through his rage; the crest's tracker location proved a bold move and he had withheld mentioning where thorough cleaners had discovered it. Did she accomplish either its planning or its placement under the shellacked Rising Sun emblem herself? He studied her coolness under pressure as he revised his estimation upwards. On the other hand, von Strucker sounded as earnest as ever Okada heard a Teuton proclaim racial superiority.

    "Our plan is precisely what I told you, Captain, when we met after radioing for support. I realized Hitler's days are numbered. It would be foolish to sink with him. It would also be foolish to escape my homeland without resources, so when I spotted the Amber Room crated on the pier and ready for the Wilhelm Gustloff's cargo hold, the answer was simple."

    Marya Parmanova made much of blowing a kiss in von Strucker's direction, so their volatile exchange must have cleared the air between them. "He cut handsome figure in his private's uniform, Captain. I tell him in Gotenhafen Lose monocle! Grow out hair for better disguise! but you can see he disregards good advice."

    Von Strucker made a visible effort to calm himself before his shaved pate turned any redder. "Captain, the American Howling Commandos worked under cover in Gotenhafen to take me and my friend prisoner for actions which we may or may not have committed in the cause of Germany. If not for your aid, they might have succeeded." He bowed his head stiffly and clicked his heels. "Marya and I are grateful."

    The woman twirled the end of her boa. "Why should I fear commandos? I am innocent."

    Okada laughed in the way of his favorite Noh actor: loud, long, and explosive. He slapped his thighs. He laughed with eyes closed. He opened them when he could laugh no more to find two astonished faces. "Fraulein Marya, you are the least innocent person in this room."

    "So, we are on first name basis? I find I like that, Banko. Tell me more about myself. I fascinate me."

    Okada laughed again, louder and longer. When he finished, the pair sat close together on the bench, as if to gain strength from contact with each other in defense from a Japanese madman who commanded their fate. He ignored the way their hands almost touched because they could not know the proper way to act in public as a couple.

    "You alone will leave my ship, Fraulein. Herr Baron, I believe you about the tracker. Say goodbye to each other."

    Marya's eyes grew round. "The Room! You must not have it! Do not steal it from us! Wolfgang!"

    Von Strucker's voice hovered between a threat and a plea. "You will not thrust her into the Pacific Ocean?"

    "I cannot swim! Do not let him do this, liebchen!"

    Okada stubbed out his cigarette before wiping his spectacles free of the tears of laughter. He issued orders into the intercom that he knew they could not understand. "Captain America wants you, Fraulein Marya. Do you know why?"

    "I cannot guess, Banko. I have not had pleasure of meeting --- "

    It seemed von Strucker pursued information via intimidation. "Captain Okada, Germany will not look kindly on an ally dealing with Captain America."

    "I informed my superiors during surveillance of our esteemed allied power's strategic withdrawal of oppressed citizens from East Prussia to the German mainland, a valuable cargo presented itself for safeguarding, along with its caretaker and his companion. Hanoi is the best destination in my judgment and they agreed."

    Marya's laugh rivaled Okada's own. Had she succumbed to hysteria? "So true, Banko! You hit nail on head! 'Caretaker'! 'Companion'!"

    Von Strucker only looked thoughtful. Okada had assumed scorched pride might lead the man to apoplexy, yet control etched itself onto his features as he addressed what Okada assumed he considered his friend. "Marya, Okada preserves the Amber Room --- for himself?"

    "I have no interest except winning this war. Hanoi awaits you and your treasure, Herr Baron. Marya, I do not expect to meet you again in this world. Farewell." He bowed at a predetermined angle fit for a worthy foe.

    Marya slapped him when he straightened.

    Von Strucker grabbed her with an iron forearm around her middle and backed into a corner to defend them both in battle. Marya's anger propelled her arms to windmill and her feet to kick. She connected more than once with von Strucker's shins that jackboots protected. She snapped her head back, missed his jaw, but she bounced out his monocle.

    "Do not let him see you like this! Control, liebchen!"

    "Eeeeeaaaarrrgh! Let me go! You are on his side, you thief!"

    Okada's incisor had cut his lip from the blow. He daubed at the blood with a pristine handkerchief. "Herr Baron, it is only my honorable word with Captain America that keeps her head on her shoulders. Take her topside, get rid of her and count yourself lucky."
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2023
  25. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I like how Marya interacts with Okada and von Strucker. What will happen next?
    Kahara and pronker like this.