The hertzog effect, p.1
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       The Hertzog Effect, p.1

           T J Kinsella
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The Hertzog Effect

  The Hertzog Effect


  T.J. Kinsella

  Copyright 2017 T.J. Kinsella

  The Hertzog Effect


  T.J. Kinsella


  Chapter I: Once Upon a Time Machine

  Chapter II: A Brief History of the Future

  Chapter III: Planning for the Past

  Chapter IV: A Stitch in Time Saves…Nien

  Chapter V: Fate Fights Back

  Chapter VI: To Die a Dozen Deaths


  Once Upon a Time Machine

  The crew of the Erloser barely noticed the first explosion as it crashed against the ship’s energy shield. The second and third impact made the craft tremor slightly, causing one or two of them to casually look up from their data screens. The massive barrage that followed, however, caught the attention of the entire crew, as the ship was buffeted violently by a flurry of huge blasts.

  “What the hell is that?” yelled Gillitzer, from the captain’s chair.

  “Primitive Anti-aircraft fire,” replied Commander Braal, as he activated the view screen, “Just explosives and large calibre projectiles…nothing that can penetrate the shield.”

  “That’s not what I’m worried about,” said Gillitzer as he watched the strobe like barrage light up the screen, “where, in God’s name, are we?”

  “I don’t know,” answered Braal as he stared at banks of data above him, “the computer is still calculating the telemetry. It should only take a few more seconds.”

  “What about manual control?”

  “We’re on automatic re-entry...landing cycle…for some reason the ships systems are trying to scan for a beacon,” said Braal, “we won’t have control until the sequence has finished.”

  “These new flight protocols will be the death of us, Commander, I swear to God!” growled Gillitzer “Can you override them, Ross?”

  “I’m trying to, Captain,” replied the young Lieutenant, “but many of the automatic flight systems are hard wired… It may be possible to by-pass them, Sir, but it will take a little time”

  “So, until then we’re going to be seen, and shot at, by every fool within a fifty-kilometre radius,” said Gillitzer grimly, “Cross reference the date as soon as we get it, Lieutenant, and pray to God that this is a recorded event.”

  Gillitzer’s concern lay not in the fact that they were being fired upon, but rather in the fact that they had been seen. One of the prime directives of ‘Operation Phoenix’ was to avoid any kind of detection when travelling in a previous time period. Failure to do so, it had been feared, could cause a change to the past, leading to a catastrophe in the future.

  Ironically, on the previous occasions where Zeit Korp craft had been detected, this fear had proved unfounded. Each time one of their craft had been spotted or, in some cases, had even crashed, the event had been historically misinterpreted and recorded as a U.F.O. encounter. Although this had so far proven to be an excellent cover story, there was no guarantee that every future sighting would be a recorded event, and so detection was still to be avoided at all costs.

  So Gillitzer nervously waited, as his craft drifted slowly across the night’s sky, brightly lit by searchlights and shell fire. If the encounter proved to be a documented U.F.O. sighting, they would have nothing to worry about. If not, the consequences for both his and mankind’s future, could be disastrous.

  “Location coming through now, Captain.” said Braal, as the Erloser shook once more from a fresh volley of explosions, “West coast of America, directly over the city of Los Angeles.”

  “And the date?” Gillitzer asked impatiently.

  Braal didn’t answer immediately. His gaze was still transfixed on the streams of data before him, as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. After a moment, he lifted his head and looked over to Gillitzer with an expression of shock etched across his face.

  “Twenty fourth of February,” he said, soberly, “Nineteen, forty-two!”

  Braal words had an immediate impact, not only on Gillitzer, but on the entire crew. Upon hearing the date, each one of them stopped what they were doing momentarily, before exchanging disbelieving glances.

  “Forty-two?” repeated the Captain, with a tone of doubt, “Are you sure, Commander?”

  “Positive, Captain,” Replied Braal, looking back to his screen, “The data’s clean.”

  For a brief moment, despite the ongoing turbulence from the barrage, Gillitzer forgot all about the ships present predicament. He was temporarily stunned as the full gravity of Braal’s statement started to sink in. The Erloser had just become the first Zeit Korp ship to travel beyond the infamous, ‘Minute Zero’.

  “Have you checked the date in the database? Is this a recorded event?” He said as his thoughts returned to the problem in hand.

  “No need,” replied Braal, “I recognise the date…we’ve just caused the battle of L.A.!”

  “The what?”

  “The battle of Los Angeles, Sir.” repeated Braal, “It’s a little known U.F.O. sighting that occurred during World War two, where American forces fired thousands of A.A. rounds at an unidentified object…namely, us. It’s not particularly well documented but, nevertheless, it’s a recorded event.”

  As was usually the case in such matters, Braal was one hundred per cent, correct. In the years that they had served together, Gillitzer had learned that the young commander had an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject. The event, although not widely known, was indeed historically documented, taking place years before the term U.F.O. had even been coined.

  At the time, the mysterious object that had been seen in the sky over Los Angeles was believed to have been a unknown type of Japanese aircraft. It was only in later years that ufologists started to claim that the sighting was proof of an alien visitation. Absolutely none of the proposed theories, however, had ever suggested that the craft was a Fourth Reich time machine, sent from the future.

  The fact that every sighting of a Zeit Korp craft turned out the cause of a historical U.F.O. case, was beginning to raise some serious questions. Many of the Operation Phoenix scientists were beginning to support the theory of ‘Fixed Causality’, which essentially meant that it was impossible to make any changes to the past. Unfortunately, if the theory proved to be true, it would mean that the primary goal of Operation Phoenix might prove to be impossible to achieve.

  Nothing, at that point, could have further from Gillitzer’s mind, however. Upon learning that their current encounter was a recorded event, his thoughts immediately returned to the fact that the ship had arrived at a point before ‘Minute Zero’. To him, the mission goals now seemed more achievable than ever.

  ‘Minute Zero’ was known to occur sometime between Three and four o’clock in the afternoon on the thirtieth of April, nineteen forty-five; just three years away from the Erloser’s current point in time. If Gillitzer and his crew could bridge the gap, they could complete the operation’s primary goal, and return home as heroes. However, despite the fact that he was in control of a time machine, travelling three years into the future was not as simple as it sounded; Time-travel was still far from an exact science.

  “We have manual control back, Captain.” called out Lieutenant Ross.

  “Then get us out of here, Lieutenant.” replied Gillitzer, his chain of thought temporarily interrupted.

  “Where to, Sir?” asked Ross.

  “Up!” said the Captain.

  Ross instantly pushed his left control lever forward, sending the ship into an immediate and rapid ascent. Within a matter of seconds, the ship had shot up through the clouds, to the edge of the planet’s atmosphere. With the ship, free from both prying eyes and prying gunfire, Ro
ss then locked it into a low earth orbit, before engaging the autopilot once again.

  In accordance with basic procedure, Gillitzer then issued the order to begin a tachyon analysis of the time period. The analysis would secure valuable telemetry data, which would help future missions travel to the past with greater accuracy. It also offered the captain the additional benefit of giving him time to weigh up his options.

  With most of the crew otherwise occupied, Gillitzer started to discretely run a few calculations through the ships computer. Using the console that was set into the arm rest of his chair, he began to punch in a number of flight projections, before scrutinising the subsequent results. As he carried out his task, he was unaware that Commander Braal was watching his every move.

  In the weeks since the crash of the Kolibri, Braal had noticed a subtle change in the Captain’s temperament. The accident, the enquiry that followed, and the ceaseless mockery Gillitzer had received from the other crews had all taken their toll. Although outwardly, the
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