Thursday, April 11, 2024

WoAF - Game Session 61

Moon Princess
There they were, floating in space, not far from the moon.  The three spaceships hovered among the fifty Giant Nuclear Missile Robots, known as The Phalanx, as Karl Capek, their creator, christened the Doomsday Fleet.  The monstrous machines were now, thankfully, floating inert, but headed on a trajectory that would cause Earth's gravity to pull them down into the atmosphere in seven short days.  If they continued thus, and nothing were done about it, fifty nuclear Cobalt Bombs would extinguish all higher orders of life on the surface of the planet. During the five days, however, our heroes planned to accede to the request of the technicians of Eisenhelm.  They would be allowed the time to disarm and reprogram the robots, then to gift them to Federation Command upon their arrival.  It would take, they estimated, five days, perhaps more, to get the job done, now that they had found a way past the robot's cryptographic defense mechanism.  

Ling contemplated what to do next, as she moved her delicate fingers over Shadow Hawk's alien control panel.  The lights were a soft green, and the helm hummed beneath her hand.  They needed to figure out how to supply the technicians with food, water, and other provisions they might need.  She discovered earlier that she could fill the UFOs with oxygen from her own environmental suit every four or five hours over the course of their stay in space, and so that at least was settled.  The men would not asphyxiate.

"Vallnam," she said, "you are not part of the Federation."

"That's correct," he replied as he sipped on a pleasant tasting liquid he had retrieved from Shadow Hawk's lounge pantry.  He wasn't at all sure what it was, but it tasted good, and he felt a bit more enthusiastic for it each time he sipped.  

"When I signed up for the Silver Eye mission, I did so under, ahem... what you might say were slightly spurious circumstances.  Though, to be technically accurate, I did join the Federation by virtue of my joining the mission... if you think about it."  

He remembered vividly how this all had come about.  While still studying at the Castaneda Academy in New Mexico, he had had a series of incredibly vivid dreams, all of which featured a mysterious Moon Princess whose beautiful face he fell in love with.  The dreams laid out a path by which he would find his way to her side.  Thus guided, he left the school one dark night, and made his way across the desert alone.  In a few days he found himself on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona.  There he used his Warlock powers to "inquire" from the locals what he needed to know.  A mission was soon set to depart from Kitt Peak Space Port for the moon.  Realizing this was his chance, he acquired a Federation Command uniform, and with adroit use of his powers, he insinuated himself onto the flight team. The short story is that he achieved all of this against the odds, and with no shortage of dangers, but his quest to meet the Moon Princess was such that he would spare himself no risk or adversity to achieve it. 

When the Silver Eye I mission took off for its fateful journey, he was aboard, sitting happily next to Ling Brisbane, the woman of his dreams.  Together they were soon to be stranded on the moon, and afterwards rescued by the mysterious Modroni, the most secretive aliens in the Galaxy. And there they remained for a long time together.  And that would have lasted forever, except Ling's father, Lt. Roger Brisbane, organized a second expedition, Silver Eye II, determined to find out what had happened to the first expedition, and find out if there were any survivors.  In addition they were to explore Aristarchus Cater and ascertain the nature of the anomaly that had been the objective of Silver Eye I.  It was this mission that brought Jacob into their company, along with Pita, Bruin Hilda IV, and Lexi.  But that tale is told elsewhere in our story, so we won't dwell on it now. 

Thinking on this, Vallnam warmly reminded himself of his wonderful good fortune to be with Ling now, their adventures across the galaxy only just beginning now that they had procured ownership of Shadow Hawk. And there she was at the helm, looking adorable as she picked her nose.  She casually wiped her finger on his sleeve.  "So sweet," he thought as he buffeted her playfully.  "She's beautiful no matter what she does," he said to himself.  She smiled at him, and then got back to business.

"Vallnam," she said, "we need to find a way to resupply the Nazi technicians, but I don't think we should go directly to Federation Command at this point."

"Hmm... um... where else could we get supplies from?" he asked.

"What community were you a part of before you joined the Federation?"

"Ah... the Castaneda Academy," he replied, raising an eyebrow.  "I see.  Yes, we could go to my fellow Warlocks and procure supplies, and bring them back to the technicians.  If the old school is still there, I don't see why not."

"We can stealthily fly to Earth, use Shadow Hawk's teleporter to beam down to the surface. Fortunately, our environmental suits allow us to turn practically invisible," she said, "so we should be able to do this without anyone discovering Shadow Hawk."

"The teleporter range is 100 miles, so we can orbit above pretty far above the atmosphere and keep her in stealth mode.  Shouldn't be a problem," added Vallnam.

With this in mind, our heroes bid the technician's good luck on their endeavors, and sped swiftly along an elegant line into Earth orbit.  As the spaceship's Helio-Drive was capable of gliding along the magnetic waves of the solar system at the speed of light, their journey from the moon took only a few minutes.  Behind them the technician's went diligently to work.

They glided the ship over New Mexico.  Eighty miles below the found the Castaneda Academy, to which Vallnam teleported, alone.  The school was am antiquated pueblo design, with a courtyard, a dormitory, and a main building in which there were a number of small classrooms, a stuffy little library, a main hall, and the teacher's private room.  Outside was a field through which a dirt road led away from the school towards the tiny town of Grenville.  A batch of students were toiling in the midday sun.

Vallnam beamed into a small wooded area that was concealed from view.  He shaped his environmental suit into an elegant black uniform and began his walk to through the trees.  The old teacher, Master Carlos, Vallnam knew, would be at the school, most likely in the library where he spent a good portion of his time.  The students were busy toiling in the field, tending the vegetable garden and uprooting weeds.  They immediately took note of him, and one of them, wiping the sweat from his forehead, put his shovel over his shoulder and approached him. The other students stopped working and watched.

Vallnam recognized the students.  He had grown up with them, and knew each of them well.  The boy who approached was named Hernandius, who was looking at at the stranger with squinting eyes and a furrowed brow.  As they got closer Hernandius recognized his old comrade. 

"Vallnam!  Is it really you!?" he shouted with a laugh as he ran forward to greet him with a great bear-hug.  The others ran forward and greeted him with shouts of excitement.  It had been over a year since they had last seen each other.  Everyone was overjoyed.

"Where have you been, brother?!" asked Hernandius, seconded by everyone else with a host of questions.  

"I will answer you all soon," replied Vallnam, "but first I must speak with Master Carlos.  Is he still here?  Is he well?"

"Yes, of course," replied Hernandius, "he is as well as the hills and as strong as the mountains, as ever.  With him, nothing changes, the unshakable old goat. He is at his books, as usual."

Vallnam walked into the old school, and made his way to the library.  There was the old master, sitting at a low table, an open book before him, a ray of sunlight beaming onto it from a high window above.

"Ah, Vallnam, so you return at last," said the old teacher, his white beard waving gently and concealing a his smile as he extended his greeting.

"I have come from the great beyond," replied Vallnam.

Master Carlos

"A dark spirit follows you," said the master, his brow furrowing suddenly, and his gaze falling some great distance behind him.

"Yes, I know of what you speak," said Vallnam, "but that's a story for another day.  Right now, I come to request of you some supplies by way of food, water, and medicine for our eighteen engineers, toiling in the far reaches of space to save humanity from encroaching disaster."

"You shall have all that you need," replied Master Carlos.

"If you will allow me to take my leave, my mission is urgent.  I promise to return soon so that we may talk, and I will tell you of my adventure, and we can hopefully figure out what to do regarding the dark spirit that you have seen."

"Beware of the dark spirit," replied Master Carlos, "it is far more powerful than you know," he said with a shudder.

And with that, Vallnam procured a wagon full of supplies, and carting it a little ways toward the woods, required of his fellow students that they turn their backs to him, which they politely did.  And with that he beamed up to Shadow Hawk with the wagon, none of them the wiser as to where he disappeared to, or how he had vanished so suddenly without a trace.

Food, water, medical supplies were plentiful.  With that they sped back to The Phallanx, six thousand miles from the lunar surface, and travelling on its trajectory towards the Earth at a stately 1,420 miles per hour.  

Once the supplies had been provided to the technicians, Vallnam sat with Ling in the quietly humming cockpit of Shadow Hawk.  Jacob, for his part, was still snoring, his flight suit draped over his chair, having been utterly exhausted by the recent day's activities.

"Vallnam and I have the advantage of having been on the moon for ten months," thought Ling. "The time allowed us to acclimate to the moon's gravity, and so we could exert ourselves without as much strain as Jacob," she commented to herself as she put a blanket over him.

"I would imagine the technicians are on our side by now," Vallnam was saying.

"Well, you have to consider they don't know who we are, yet.  What they do know at this point is that we were impersonating Nazi officers, and that during our escapades, we saved their lives, but it could not have escaped them that we may also have been instrumental in the destruction of Eisenhelm," Ling replied.

"True, but, as you say, we did save their lives," answered Vallnam, "and furthermore, they might come to realize that in destroying Eisenhelm we liberated them from a life of cruel slavery to the Nazi Regime."

"It may take some time for them to draw that conclusion," suggested Ling.

"Yes," agreed Vallnam, "and it would likely be best to leave it up to them to draw that conclusion on their own, I suppose.  At this point, I would hope they have a sense of trust, given that we've been their benefactors so far, and provided food, and medical assistance, and saved the life of at least one of their members...", 

"Well, delayed the death, thereof," interrupted Ling, speaking of Dietrich who was frozen in the cryo-pod with an alien shard planted in his neck.

"Yes, but they don't know that. So far as they know, well, at least we tried!" answered Vallnam.  "And from the standpoint of what they would think of us, it would probably not be negative, I wouldn't imagine."

Out in the darkness of space, a sinister smile crept over ethereal lips. "How limited is the imagination of these pitiful creatures," thought the shadow-sphinx from within its pool of blackness.

"Let's just say, as far as I can tell," said Ling, "they are uncertain. While we are actually helping them, and our intentions are good, from their point of view, everything they thought that they knew about us turned out to be false.  Not to mention the telepathic link that four of them experienced which revealed the details of our psychic combat against the four UFOs, and how devastating that was.  I think it understandable that this was shocking, and at least some of them are likely to have reservations about whether or not we are the good guys here."

"Ah, yeah," added Vallnam, "the fact is, we smashed their people into the moon. They're not necessarily big fans of that."

"And, to add to the mix," said Ling, "while you were getting the supplies, I had a brief telepathic conversation with one of the technicians who revealed that Dietrich's father was Captain Keller, an officer who happen to be commanding one of the UFOs we destroyed."

"Oh geese... well, that's a tomorrow problem, as they say," quipped Vallnam. "For now, we need to keep going, and finish disarming the robot fleet, which means keeping the technicians fed, and on schedule."

"We have five days," said Ling.  "We can use that time to start discussing what has happened to Earth, and what we represent, and how best they can integrate with Earth society.  The idea they have is to reprogram the robots in order to provide a good-will gesture for Earth.  It may not matter to them who we turn out to have been, so long as they wind up living happier lives than they could have hoped for in Eisenhelm.  Their intention to show up on Earth bearing gifts is a good sign that they want to become beneficial participants in the rebuilding of Earth civilization."

Ling surmised that the technicians were most puzzled about what actually happened to Eisenhelm.  After all, it had been their home for their entire lives, albeit a cruel one.  They were born, bred and trained there.  It had it's problems, and there was always the threat of annihilation hanging over everyone for as long as they could remember, but the threat and the actual destruction were two different things entirely.  Earth still appeared a long way off through their view ports, nothing had been settled, and they were still actually far from safe in reality.  Who our heroes were still remained a mystery, and the fact that they witnessed the most brutal and decisive annihilation of twelve superior officers, and the entire fortress-complex, had to have a profound effect on their thinking.  She knew that at least a few of them harbored deep seated anxieties, and were probably inclined to believe that they would never make it to Earth alive.

"As for the question of what happened to Eisenhelm," said Ling, "the most obvious explanation, and one that fits best their own historical understanding is that the fierce competition of their top Commanders, Admiral Ludendorf and General Hertling, was ultimately responsible for the Civil War, and that is what destroyed Eisenhelm.  I think we can and should leave it at that.  After all, we had only the slightest role in the whole affair, wouldn't you say?"

"Well, when Jacob and I were looking for a way to escape the UFOs chasing us back from Earth, we planted a simple suggestion in the mind of Captain Helmund to attack his commanding officer, which he was only too happy to do, anyway," explained Vallnam.  "And that domino started the entire avalanche."  

"From there, the inter-faction expanded into a full-scale Civil War between Hertling and Ludendorf's commands," added Ling.  "So, your role was really quite slight, and no need to hash over that point with the technicians, is there?"

"So, never-the-wiser, eh?" said Vallnam, tapping his forehead with his finger.

"Not for now," proposed Ling. 

"Oh, I expect those technicians are not quite so dim-witted as that," thought the dark cloud hovering not far off in the blackness of space.  "No, most certainly not," it concluded with a malevolent sneer as it watched one of the 500 Megaton nuclear bombs being guided by a technician out the portal door of robot #29.  "Most certainly not."

"Of course, since they were witness to how we destroyed the UFOs when we smashed them into the moon, they are not going to be impervious to the idea that we are ultra-manipulators," said Ling thoughtfully.

"True, true," replied Vallnam, fingers rubbing his chin. "In that case, after they finish de-activating the robot we'll have to kill them all."

Ling laughed at this silly idea, since she knew Vallnam was kidding.  But outside a sudden thrill filled the sphinx-shadow to the core of its being.  "Silly, or not, we shall see, young lady," it thought. "We shall see!"

"Ok, yeah," said Ling as she finished chuckling.  "Maybe they pieced together that we destroyed Eisenhelm through psychic trickery, but there's no proof that we did it."

In the quest to establish trust, which is what they were trying to figure out how to do, this comment probably did not bode so well.  Shadow Hawk was failing to see the humor involved in their banter, as so many lives hung in the balance of the decision making process being exercised here.

"Well," said Vallnam, "as they say, if you can't inspire trust, inspire fear," with a slim smile.

Jacob, had he been awake, would definitely have said a resounding "Yes!", and had a laugh, but he was snoring in his chair during this exchange.

Ling stared at Vallnam, her smile wavering.  "We don't need to inspire fear, but we don't have to reveal... oh gosh.  Why can't we just hit Orcs with swords?"

"Really!" replied Vallnam.  After a short pause he went on. 

"Anyway, I think we can understand what their point of view is likely to be about all this. So how do we turn the tide?"

They were watching the technicians on Shadow Hawk's multi-frequency view-screen as they worked on the giant robots.  One would disappear inside a port hole, while another flashed a light on a photo-sensitive plate to activate a control panel and began keying in codes.  Another group hauled a crane-bot into place.  Further out, sunlight flashed off of two helmets as the technicians climbed slowly along a robot's gigantic exterior.  The work went slowly, but steadily.  

"I'd offer to go talk with them," said Vallnam, "but my first inclination is to Mind-Control them with a command to love me."

"Yeah," said Ling.  "I better handle this myself.  I know."

"Well why don't you go in there naked?  That works every time."

"Ok, jerk," she said, "you'd like that."

"Well, yeah, that's a fact.  But seriously, what are you going to say to them?  We need to persuade them that we're the good guys."

"I'm trying to think," she said, thrumming her fingers on the softly glowing control panel.  "I need a rational reason why we happen to show up on the scene.  I was thinking we could say we came for Shadow Hawk, but that's only going to raise more questions.  Hmmm..."

She was perplexed.  How to explain who they were and why they were there, without giving away the real reasons.  After all, Shadow Hawk was a creation of the Modroni, which happened to be discovered in a corridor that the Nazis uncovered by accident a few months prior.  No, no, no, it was too complicated.  She couldn't explain any of that.  The goal was to find a way to establish trust.  An overly complicated true story wasn't going to help at all.  She sighed.

"We have to explain how we were already on the moon," said Ling, "and couldn't get back to Earth without steeling a spaceship from them.  Geeze.  Too complicated.  Heck, I can't even remember why we were there.  Can you?"

"Actually, no.  For some reason all I remember is that we crash landed Silver Eye I, and somehow we survived in some sort of underground living space for a while.  There was a garden, or a farm, or something, and we had a view of the inside rim of Aristarchus Crater through a giant picture window.  But, why there was a complex there, or whether or not that was just a dream, or hallucination, I can't remember.  And what's even stranger is the more I think about it, the less I want to think about it."

"I know what you mean," replied Ling.  "I'm having the same problem.  And when I do try to think about it, all I can say for sure is that somehow, I don't want to think about it anymore.  So I won't," she concluded.  "It's not important now.  What matters is gaining the trust of the technicians so things can go smoothly while they disarm the robot armada."

"Well, mostly, the story is solid," said Vallnam.  "We crash landed on the moon.  We needed a craft to get home, and so we stole a one of their UFOs to get home."

"Yeah, but won't they wonder how we knew there was a Nazi base?  After all, Eisenhelm was the biggest secret the Earth has never known.  So, they're going to wonder, aren't they?" asked Ling.

"Good point," replied Vallnam.  

"Let's go over this as best we can, just to clarify what we know," suggested Ling, her chin resting on the knuckles of her right hand.

"Okay," said Vallnam.  "Let's start at the beginning.  You and I, along with our Federation Command Astronaut Team, took off from Earth to investigate a mysterious artifact that the Kitt Peak scientists discovered in Aristarchus Crater.  Our ship, Silver Eye I, crashed, our teammates were killed, and somehow we survived and lived on the moon in some sort of underground complex for some period of time. That's all I can remember about that."

"Right," said Ling, "And then my father sent Silver Eye II to the moon to investigate.  That brought Bruin Hilda, and Jacob to the moon, and their landing module crashed, or was damaged, I think.  Two of their crew returned to Earth, Pita and Lexi, and so Jacob and Bruin Hilda were stranded with us, and we all lived in the dwelling area for some period of time. This is also really hazy for me.  I don't know why."

"Me too," said Vallnam.  "I vaguely remember talking with Jacob about escaping the moon.  He was adamant about that. And that's when we came across the idea of infiltrating the Nazi Base and stealing a UFO.  This part is more clear to me.  I remember going through underground lava tubes, and crossing over the moonscape, in a ship maybe?  I'm not sure but I think we had a vehicle.  I think you weren't with us at that point, but I can't remember.  My mind must be exhausted from lack of sleep, honestly.  But, anyway, we found the base in Mare Frigoris, and Bruin Hilda managed to open the gigantic bay door into Hanger A of Eisenhelm. We slipped inside, caused a ruckus, stole a UFO, and escaped back to Earth."

"Yes," Ling went on, "then we found out that we were being followed by four UFOs that had been sent after us.  We realized their armaments were superior to those of Federation Command, and this was likely going to become a serious threat if they found that out, so Jacob contrived to fly back to the moon before our pursuers had a chance to investigate Earth in the hopes they would follow us.  Which they did.  Fortunately.  At any rate, you and Jacob flew back to Eisenhelm and began playing mind games with their leadership.  And then there was the Civil War, and Helmund launched Plan Delta-Z as a final act of revenge against Earth.  Then we found out that the Nazis had discovered a series of white tunnels which they hadn't built, and in that complex they found Shadow Hawk, and were attempting to learn how to fly it.  Hanna was one of the two pilots that had been training in Shadow Hawk, while the lead pilot, Melita, was killed during the Civil War."

"Well, actually, Jacob shot her in the back, but he didn't know who he was shooting at, so we can forgive him, sort of," said Vallnam.

"Right," Ling went on, "and he also inadvertently killed Hertling, who was apparently on his way to meet Melita through the white tunnels.  And you, happen to have killed Ludendorf in the Shadow Hawk hanger just prior to that, which is why Hertling was running around in the tunnels looking for Melita.  I think that's right.  Anyway, from there we managed to crawl our way through Eisenhelm to find the Primary Command computer for the Phalanx, entered the self-destruct code, and then after a brief firefight, managed to escape in Shadow Hawk.  As it happens, the self-destruct mechanism only neutralized the robot fleet by disconnecting the robot's brains, instead of actually destroy them.  So there are fifty of these 500 Megaton Cobalt Bombs on their way to Earth, any one of which could end civilization, and terminate life on the planet.  Now the technicians are disconnecting the bombs, and as a bonus, they're reprogramming the robots to make themselves useful for Earth civilization.  But we may have inadvertently disenchanted the technicians, and frankly, that could wind up being a real liability.  And so, here we are."

"Okay, that's the brief on how we wound up here, holes and all.  So, what to do?" asked Vallnam.

"How about we come clean and tell them we're from Federation Command, and we're trying to rebuild Earth civilization? We came to the moon on an exploratory mission, discovered their base after being stranded, and needed a way back home, so we hijacked a UFO," she suggested.  "The problem is I don't see how to make the leap from 'we were exploring anomalies in Aristarchus Crater' to 'we conveniently discovered the ultra-super-secret Nazi base when we needed a spaceship to fly home in'.  That's the thing. It just doesn't hang together.  There is a big hole in the middle that I really just can't explain."

"Well, maybe it's close enough to pass muster, if they don't think too hard about it," offered Vallnam.

"I suppose it's the best we can do.  Let's give it a go, and play it by ear," said Ling.  And so they arranged to speak with the four technicians who were the nominal leaders of the technicians, and she explained everything as accurately as she could, with the sole exception of adding in that after they crash landed, they intercepted a radio signal from the lunar north pole, which led them to Eisenhelm.  

To their surprise, when presented with this story, the technicians concluded that it must have been due to their own poor maintenance over the years that lead to a radio leak from frayed wire-shielding.  Clearly, they couldn't imagine any other reason, and it was well known to all of them how the leadership had been in slow but steady decline for quite some time, and maintenance lapse of that sort, from the technician's point of view was simply inevitable. 

"After we took the UFO to Earth, and discovered that Eisenhelm had sent out four pursuers to recapture the ship, we realized that your UFOs have weaponry that Federation Command could not contend with.  So we had to find a way to draw the pursuers back to Eisenhelm."

Gustov Schmitt
As soon as Ling finished that sentence, the leading technician, Gustov Schmitt, glanced at the others in surprise.  Seeing this Ling was alerted to a change in their attitude.  She quietly used her Mind Reading skill to pierce through to the thoughts of the technician, and discovered that upon hearing the Nazi weaponry could overwhelm Federation Command, Gustov concluded that Eisenhelm had been far more powerful than they'd ever imagined, and could have actually conquered Earth, had it not descended into Civil War and self-destruction.  His glance was to indicate a sense of pride to the others that they, the Nazis, were far more powerful than the Federation. Doubtlessly because of their superior technical skills! His thought was along the lines of "Our technology is more powerful than theirs.  We have better weapons systems than they do! And so perhaps we still have an advantage over them that could potentially be exploited!"

On the other hand, the second mind she read had concluded the opposite.  In his view, Eisenhelm was destroyed, and the only hope the technicians had was to make Earth their new home, and try to fit in to the culture and society there by making themselves as useful as possible.  His counter-glance made that point evident to Gustov, but the latter nevertheless harbored the tenuous, but thrilling idea that somehow the Nazis could still come out victorious 'ere the end.  He gave a slight glare back in response.

Ling took this in, and continued without skipping a beat.  As she spoke, she formed a Telepathic Link to Vallnam. She informed him of what had just transpired.  "It seems there are two factions among the technicians.  One faction believes Earth is their new home, and they wish to ingratiate themselves by proving themselves helpful.  The other has surmised that Eisenhelm was the greater power, and is harboring visions of conquest over Earth.  Should I tell them how you two took down Eisenhelm to dissuade them from such erroneous ideas?"

Vallnam's reply, mentally, was with great assurance. "I say we immediately behead traitors in front of the others who are afraid, so that they stay afraid."

Ling ignored this thought.  "I can explain how you and Jacob caused the Civil War, which hopefully would dissuade them from further fantasies of conquest."

"No, I wouldn't do that," replied Vallnam.  "They definitely wouldn't understand this point, and it would be more likely to fuel a desire for revenge.  Don't say anything about it."

Ling continued her narrative to the technicians without missing a beat.  "When we returned to the moon, we encountered mayhem within Eisenhelm.  We landed, we saw massive robots launched into space towards Earth, and other giant robots were firing enormously powerful plasma beams at the foundations of the fortress, threatening to sink the base into pool of molten slag.  We decided we had to stop the robots from reaching Earth, and to rescue as many survivors as we could.  That's how Vallnam and Jacob met Hans and Franz, whom he immediately befriended. When the Obliterators broke into Hanger A, the monstrous machine destroyed the facility while Hans helped them escape down into Sector C3.  That's where they met you, folks and from then on they made it a point to try to save as many of you as possible.  Remember how Jacob went to get space suits so you could make it through the tunnels to Hanger B? From there it was just a matter of getting to Hertling's Command Center to stop the entire catastrophe with the self destruct code, which with Nick's help we managed to do."

The technicians stared with dawning comprehension.  But Gustov asked, "How did you know about the self destruct code?"

"Ah, that," replied Hanna, stammering slightly. "When we met Hanna and were heading towards PillBox C3-A1, we came across Captain Helmund, whom we captured.  Before his final battle with Jacob, while I was guarding him, Helmund had revealed to me that he had activated Plan Delta-Z himself as a matter of revenge against everyone and everything because he thought the Civil War would kill everyone in Eisenhelm.  Having discovered this fact, I was able to extract the self-destruct code from the inner recesses of his mind using the same powers you've been witness to yourselves.  

The technicians nodded, unaware that Ling had lied through her teeth on two key points of her narrative.  She scanned their minds to see how well this information had stuck, and found them ambivalent.  They understood the story she told them, and it was lucid and made perfect sense, but they were not completely convinced they were being told the whole story.  Gustov in particular was suspicious that she was leaving out information, but he didn't dare to say anything outright. 

Satisfied with this, Ling began discussing the Federation, and its history after the Ultra-War.  Her main points were based on her understanding of what the Nazis knew about the Ultra-War.  From their point of view, since they lost contact with Earth towards the end of the conflict, and the Earth had been covered in an impenetrable war-smog, they had an understanding of the start of the war, but not the end.

"The world was decimated by the Artificial Intelligence War-Bots.  Only Altissimus XL-5000 was able to overcome them, and with that the war ended.  The survivors of the US Government tried to rebuild order by creating a new government known as Federation Command to restore law and order. Over the past four years we've been rebuilding sections of North America and trying to make contact with other survivors around the world.  

"What about Germany?" asked Gustov.

"We've had no contact with Europe since the end of the Ultra-War.  Radio transmissions on Earth have been impossible beyond short-range line-of-sight due to the ionization of the atmosphere after the nuclear bombs went off.  We only have three cities on the east coast remaining, and a thin band traversing Texas to Arizona is able to sustain civilized life.  Later we discovered a few survivors to the north in Phoenix, and then as far north as Salt Lake in Utah, from what I understand.  Beyond that, we really don't have any information.  We did send a fleet to Europe, in the hopes of regaining contact, but the fleet vanished without a trace and we never found out what became of it."

The technicians scratched their heads in dismay and fear.  Earth sounded somewhat more horrible than they had hoped.  

And so it was that Ling brought the four key technicians into a view of their future life on Earth, and quelled their misgivings regarding who our heroes really were, and what their involvement with Eisenhelm really was.  Several points she made were lies, but ones that served the purpose of instilling a greater sense of trust among the men for their new leaders, and so she deemed it worth the personal sacrifice of her integrity to do so.  She intended to tell them the full truth at some point in the future.

Later, Vallnam spent time infiltrating the technician's minds as they slept between work shifts.  He discovered four were still harboring thoughts of rebellion and conquest, and whose goal had become to secretly maintain one bomb in working order, with which they intended to blackmail the Federation and gain positions of power over the Earth.  The Nazi dream is difficult to kill.  Yet, dreams are ethereal by nature, and Vallnam made a point to insinuate each of the four's dreams to the effect that they should never consider rebellion and conquest of Earth by any such means ever again.  The first dream he sent them was terrifying.  The technicians secretly armed one of the bombs, and threatened to dominate Earth, but the robots came alive and grabbing the technicians in iron claws flew them back to the moon, landed in a completely dead and desolate Eisenhelm, and then exploded, annihilating them all.  The second dream, delivered a few nights later, featured each of them attempting the same plot, but this time they were quickly and easily overwhelmed by Federations Command officers, disarmed, and imprisoned for the rest of their miserable lives in cold dank cells of utter darkness where they slowly perished in an agony of despair.  The four technicians woke up after these dreams in a terrible state, and from that point on they felt certain that rebellion and conquest were utterly doomed to fail, and completely out of the question.  Even Gustov was convinced that rebellion was futile. Vallnam gave himself a pat on the back for a job well done.  

And that is where we ended things that evening.