Hello everyone! As I have hinted at in the past, the novel is now going to proceed past the current end of the manga. I have just posted Chapter 3, where we get to learn a little more about Adalwolfa. As you’re reading it you might notice a shift in narrative voice…I feel that sometimes it reads better to shift from third person to first…or maybe I am showing the influence of all of these terrific light novels written from the narrator’s point of view…I’m not sure. In any case, thanks for stopping by and please enjoy!
Archive for October, 2010
Chapter 3: Coffee and the Open Road
Berlin, Prussia, German Union
Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Reich Air Ministry Building)
6 January 1940
Wilhelmina stood in a civilian dress in front of the general’s desk, with a defiant look on her face.
General Wever looked straight into Wilhelmina’s burning eyes. His eyes showed sympathy, but he did not waver. He continued, “Please understand that you cannot take independent action. We fight together against the Tower, not at the whims of an individual. I’d add that you are a very important person, to Prussia and the German Union after all. Your father…”
“My father was a great man, but he has nothing to do with this,” Wilhelmina shot back.
“Freiin Schwarzenberg, Projekt MUSE is far too important to jeopardize recklessly. You were not even equipped with proper high altitude gear.” General Weaver spoke slowly, as if carefully debating each word before saying it.
“That gear is a mere precaution. Dr. Brandt informed me that the MUSE system offers us protection, although we are unsure how it works.” Wilhelmina replied, doing her best to hide her increasing frustration.
“Please understand, we cannot afford to have a civilian unit in the middle of a combat zone.”
Wilhelmina could hold back no longer. “Projekt MUSE was established to defend the world from those invaders, not sit back and collect data!”
The General took a deep breath. “Freiin Schwarzenberg, let me be frank. My reports tell me that Dr. Brandt has sent numerous expeditions to collect artifacts, and to date only 29 of these harmonic cores have been retrieved. On top of that, I have been told that there may only be a hundred or so females in the entire world that can synchronize with the MUSE system as well as the three of you can. So, unfortunately, as distasteful as it may be to you, compared to three MUSE units and their Tuners, a few dozen aircraft and pilots are, quite frankly, disposable. “
Wilhelmina could feel the anger building within her. She clenched her fist, but remained silent.
General Wever continued, “This is not just the decision of the German Union. The League of Humanity Supreme Council has come to the same conclusion. Do I make myself clear, Freiin Schwarzenberg? Now, shall we discuss your participation in Fall Weiss?”
Outside the office Adalwolfa waited, arms crossed. Seeing the look on Wilhelmina’s face, she already knew the outcome. “It went that badly?”
The two begin walking down the ornately furnished hallway.
Wilhelmina was silent for a long time. Finally, composure regained, she replied, “I suppose not. All they can really do is verbally reprimand me. I am technically still a civilian. For now I suppose that has its advantages. “
Stopping for a moment in front of a large portrait of Frederick the Great, Wilhelmina paused. “However, I wonder…”
Adalwolfa followed Wilhelmina, who seemed preoccupied in thought. The two paused at the front of the building as a chauffeur opens the door of a waiting limo.
Suddenly Wilhelmina grinned.
“What is it?”
Adalwolfa replied, “Wil, You only get that face when you’re scheming.”
Both women got into the car.
“I think it is time for us to return to school.”
Berlin, Prussia, German Union
7 January 1940
Wilhelmina leisurely strolled in the campus grounds. The air was cold and crisp, but it hadn’t snowed in a while and the ground was still dry. Students, making any excuse to fawn over their headmistress, came up to her to ask questions. With a calm and serene smile, she answered each one and moved on to the next.
Nearby, the roar of an engine cut through the quiet scene. Bundled up in a leather riding jacket, slacks and a skullcap with goggles, Adalwolfa roared by on her motorcycle. Wilhelmina waved to Adawolfa as she road past.
Brunhilde who had been sitting on a nearby bench, walked up to Wilhelmina. Hildy had the latest Mills and Boon romance novel in hand, and a half eaten apple in the other.
“Was that Ada?”
“Where do you think she rides off to all the time? “
“I wonder…” said Wilhelmina, smiling.
Adalwolfa sped down the long tree lined road leading off of campus.
Outskirts of Berlin, Prussia, German Union
7 January 1940
I love riding my motorcycle. It gives me a complete sense of freedom.
I love playing music, but there are days when I just have to get on my motorcycle and ride. When I was back in Vienna, I would get on my motorcycle and just ride.
I would never go too far, my parents were quite strict. I would tell them I was going to the library to do research, but instead I would hit the open road.
It would be nice to just ride by myself. You might think it would be lonely, but I never felt that way. It just felt so good to feel free.
I would sometimes stop by a caffeehaus and see other motorcycles. That always got me excited. Then, before heading home, I would hit a café like Café Glorietta or Café Sacher for pastries.
Having a motorcycle was like having my own secret world. I could never tell my parents, of course…That was a secret just between Suzanne and I.
Vienna, Austria, German Union
12 May 1937
It all started one spring day when I was 16 years old. As part of a school project, I was supposed to bicycle to the outskirts of town to collect some flowers.
It started raining, so I ducked into an open garage.
“He…hello? May I come in?” I asked, cautiously. The rain had muffled the noises coming from the inside, but once I was out of the rain, I could hear the sound of metal clanking on metal. I peered into the back of the garage, which seemed to be a machine shop of some kind.
That is when I saw her. She was a beautiful girl, with fashionable short brunette hair. She wore a simple jumpsuit. She was crouched down, working on what looked like an engine.
“Hello. Please do. Don’t mind me, I have my hands full at the moment.” the girl responded with a kind, gentle voice and very refined language. Her graceful elegance surprised me, since her hands, face and jumpsuit smeared with grease.
I peered over to see what she was working on. On a tarp on the floor she had the parts of an engine spread out next to a motorcycle. I had never seen one up close, and my curiosity got the best of me.
Without even looking at me, she said, “A Dunelt Model K Sports-de-Luxe. It has a 250cc, 2 stroke supercharged engine.”
I nodded enthusiastically, not really understanding what she was talking about. She let out a short laugh. “Here sit down, let me explain how this works. Oh, my manners. My name is Suzanne. “
Every chance I could, I would stop by the garage that Suzanne worked. I knew my father would never approve of me running off to spend time looking at motorcycles so I always told them that I was going to the library to study engineering. That always impressed him enough to not ask too many questions, particularly when I started talking about how two stroke engines worked, or how to adjust the compression of an engine.
Suzanne didn’t tell me much about herself. Whenever I would come by, she would just start talking about motorcycles. How they worked, how to fix them, and how to ride them. She seemed to know them inside and out. After a few visits she had completely reassembled the motorcycle.
One day, when I showed up, she had a wide grin on her face.
“Just in time. Get in.”
My eyes widened when I saw that the motorcycle she was walking with had a sidecar attached. I rarely spoke, but this time I couldn’t hold back. “Really, is it OK? Are you sure? Is it OK for me to ride? Just tell me what to do I’ll lean over or whatever you tell me to do.” I blurted out the words so fast that I almost stumbled.
Suzanne laughed again. “Adalwolfa, I think that is the most you have ever said to me at once…get in, I’ll tell you what to do.”
We rode around the countryside all that afternoon. I thought we had only been gone for a few minutes, but by the time we came back the sun was starting to set.
“An old maid like myself can’t afford too much petrol. Let’s do this again next Sunday. Is that OK? Do you have to go to Sunday services?”
I pulled out a Star of David pendant.
Suzanne chuckled. “OK, then. It sounds like Saturday would be more of a problem for you. Good, I’ll see you on Sunday, OK?”
That continued for months. I would ride with her, getting to feel how it was like to lean on a turn. If the weather was bad, she would spend the afternoon inside her garage, taking the engine apart, then putting it all back together again.
A few months later, I had really begun to open up. I would buy some pastries in town, then bring them over to her place and talk before we went riding.
One day, when I walked in, Sue had a grin so wide, I knew she had something to show me. “Today, I have something special,” she said.
We walked out to the familiar garage. Only this time there were two motorcycles. I looked at her, unable to speak.
“Ah, well, this is only temporary. In exchange for fixing it up, I get to borrow it once in a while. But this way, I thought I could teach you how to ride.”
My heart raced as she lowered her own motorcycle to my height. The sidecar was gone, and I struggled a bit to hold it in place.
“OK, lets just start with the basics. I want you to walk with the bike…”
Suzanne was a patient teacher, and I did my best to learn things quickly. My parents were starting to get suspicious, so I could only come on alternating Sundays, making the days between lessons seem agonizingly long. I had begun to ride and the feeling was wonderful. Once I fell particularly hard. I felt my stomach fall through the floor, not because I was hurt, but because of the damage to the beautiful motorcycle. Suzanne just laughed. “I’m glad you’re learning on my motorcycle, not the other one!”
Soon enough, the two of us were racing along the countryside. My heart lept with every curve.
Every time I tried to pay for petrol, or pay for a part, she would flatly refuse.
She would always give the same response, “Adalwolfa, my dream is that someday girls will be able to ride motorcycles proudly and without any reservation.”
Suzanne would say it with such conviction I knew there must have been more to her story, but she would never tell me. She even refused to tell me her last name.
Finally one day I showed up and Suzanne was gone. Not so much as a word. The house and garage was completed boarded up. I fell into a complete slump. I went around asking the neighbors, but nobody seemed to know where she went. I was devastated.
About a month later I got a letter. It had no return address. I opened it up, read the letter and cried for days. My father was furious because he assumed I had broken up with a boy.
I’m so sorry that I had to leave you like that. My family circumstances are a bit difficult to explain, but I will just say that riding motorcycles wasn’t seen as very “ladylike.” For a long time I had a broken heart, too. A man I was in love with told me that I would have to either choose motorcycles or choose him. Well, you can see what my answer was, ha ha! Adawolfa, watching you ride so effortlessly and with so much confidence, I decided that I finally had to make a choice about my own future as well. Spending so much time with you reminded me how lonely I had become when I wasn’t riding. It made me realize how much I miss him. It may be unfair, but I’m passing the torch to you. I’m very sorry. I will miss you.
Please find two keys inside. One opens the garage. I think you know what the other key is for.
My parents never did find out about the motorcycle. Or at least if they did find out, they never prevented me from going to the “library.” Once Wilhelmina heard the story, she of course sent a truck to Vienna to pick up the motorcycle.
Here, I can have that freedom, Suzanne. I’ll ride enough for the both of us.
Berlin, Prussia, German Union
Recktor Wilhelmina’s Office
7 January 1940
Brunhilde burst into Wilhelmina’s office. With her typical energy, Hildy shouted, “I finally figured it out! I bet she is going off to stuff herself with pastries without me!”
At that very moment, Adalwolfa, sitting in a café stuffing pastries into her mouth, sneezed very unexpectedly and loudly.
Hello everyone! Lonewolf has sent me her latest illustration, the lovely Mary Brighton of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. A real expert in mathematics, Mary got her Ph.D. from Cambridge at age 20. Her specialty are mechanical, electromechanical and electric computers. Her involvement with Projekt MUSE began when she started doing super secret work for the Computational Machine Project at Bletchley Park. This program was instrumental working with Dr. Brandt on the first MUSE Computer. Mary’s software makes up the core of the MUSE system, so she was excited to find out that she had tuning abilities. Here we see a Supermarine Spitfire and two Supermarine Spitfire MUSE out on the airfield. The Spitfire MUSE that Mary is sitting on is equipped for horizontal takeoff, with a dropaway set of wheels. In this configuration, the engine nacelles point rearward like in level flight, and the Spitfire MUSE takes off like a conventional push-engine aircraft. This saves fuel, since vertical takeoffs, while possible, burn more fuel thus reducing loiter time.
Hi everyone. As promised, I said I’d do less frequent updates, but provide the whole chapter. I have posted the complete chapter 2 now. The manga ends just before the end of the chapter, so if you read Chapter 2, it actually takes you a little past the end of the manga. From here we’re in all new territory. I had one more chapter written up, with a sketch for several more. I’ll do my best to keep up with frequent posting, but a lot will depend on my work schedule, since I’ll be writing from scratch. Next up, Chapter 3. Thanks for visiting!