The Soldier, as Klaus Oster: Nazi assassin, doesn't know which of the dignitaries is about to kill General Volochisk (see part one http://pulphero.blogspot.com/2009/04/star-spangled-war-stories-195.html ). He's already in mid-karate kick and decides to slam that boot into the Russian General, displacing him just as a shot is fired.
The General is saved, and the assassin Gherner, disguised, breaks for his freedom through Russian troops. For his trouble, Oster gets beaned by a Russian rifle butt (he is still in a Nazi uniform, after all) and can only shout out at Gherner. The shout causes Gherner to hesitate, and the Russian soliders kill him. The soldiers are about to kill Oster too when he manages to say, "Mazeltov." This is a recognized codeword for the Soldier to the Russians, saving his life.
Later, the General reveals to the Soldier that the Russians have leaked that the assassination of the General was successful, and that Gherner escaped. The head of the School of Assassins, the Count Witschenbach, has returned to his villa in Germany to continue plotting for Nazi supremacy. The Soldier creates a mask of Gherner's face and is dropped into Germany, using a cane and pretending to be wounded. He's spirited to the Count's villa, where he's congratulated. Wishing to know the Count's "next project" for him, Gherner is stonewalled by the Count, who doesn't trust Gherner's short disappearance and keeps the new plot secret.
Irked, Gherner activates a trigger on his cane, which leaks a line of phosphorus on the floor as he walks. The phosphorus reacts with the air and billows smoke, signaling a fire. Gherner slips away to investigate the villa for possible hints of the Count's new mission, when he runs into a young woman with a pistol. He's about to kill her when the woman runs into his arms, revealing herself to be Anna Gherner, his sister. Six months had passed since their mother died, but Anna has been held prisoner in the villa, writing letters to Gherner to convince him their mother was yet still ill, and still in need of medicines. This, to keep Gherner's top-flight abilities in line with the Count's wishes. Anna has come with pistol in hand, after hearing of Gherner being "lost" in the Odessa mission, to kill the Count herself for the evils against their family.
At that moment, the Count and some soldiers arrive, and Anna attempts to shoot him but her aim is thrown off by Gherner. This convinces the Count that Gherner is loyal beyond doubt and can be trusted. The Count brings Gherner to the South Wing of the villa, where Gherner runs smack into General Volochisk, who can now reveal Gherner is a spy. However, it turns out the General and the other Russian commanders are disguised surviving members of the assassin school, and their mission will be to kill and replace the officers they represent.
Gherner realizes his mission has taken another turn. He decides on a course of action, reporting to the other assassins that a change in plans has occurred and the Count expects them in his office in twenty minutes. This gives Gherner time to reach the Count, who has just finished torturing Anna Gherner. Knocking out the Count, Gherner ties him to a chair, plants a German grenade on him, pulls the pin and shouts an alarm to the arriving assassins. Leaping free with the girl, the room, the Count, and the assassins are destroyed.
Gherner carries Anna to a secluded spot, where she swoons in pain and expresses gratitude for at least still having her brother, after all their family has perished in the War. The Soldier tries to be reassuring, but he is about to tell her her brother is dead, as the story closes.
Again, more superb economy from Micheline and Talaoc, who nail the evergreen beats of their offbeat War story and offer up another painful episode. The emotional turmoil is never entirely forgotten with the introduction of Anna Gherner, who again reminds the Soldier of war's true face, and the costs.
Out of Five 3D Men