It was a world vastly different from our world with different laws of nature. Magic was nothing more but a law of the world. It has been harnessed by the people for the good of the world as well as for the destruction of each other.
The shrill whistle of the steaming locomotive barely noticeable to the commuters of the Ulstereich’s train station. Tens of thousands of people came to this place each day, for it was the biggest and grandest train station of the Empire. Any words that were ever uttered would simply be lost in the incoherent sea of noises, a creation of the rowdy crowds minding their own business as well as the thundering of the steam locomotives.
As one of the trains came to a full stop, a single man stood out from all of the other people in the station. Kurt Weissens was a man in his mid twenties. Dressed in his dark olive green military uniform, his dark black hair and brown eyes contrast with the blond hair and blue eyes common of those who were borned in the Empire. His stature was average when compared to the people around him. However, you can tell by the disciplined way he stood there in front of the train car that he was a well trained and hardened soldier. His eyes scan around the train station, as if searching for any threats. And there he found what he’s looking for, even before the other person realized that he had been spotted.
“Sergeant Major Weissens!” the other man called.
Tall and thin was the other man who was trying to get to Kurt through the sea of crowds. He had medium blonde hair and green eyes that were behind a pair of glasses. He too was wearing a military uniform, although it was the kind with a military blazer and a black necktie, the kind that were provided for those who are not in frontline duties.
“It’s actually First Lieutenant Weissens now, Mark.” Kurt swiftly corrects him with a smug smile on his face.
Mark Hansens, the Intelligence sergeant, took a moment to digest the fact that his friend, whom he met for the first time sevens years ago, had made it to be a First Lieutenant.
“Oh, you got promoted, eh?” Mark finally returned to reality. “I see that you’ve been using your connections.”
“And I see you’re still running errands for the Intelligence.” Kurt retorted, not feeling too pleased with Mark’s accusation.
“You don’t have to be so blunt!”
The two men walked out of the train station to where Mark parker his black, four seater car. After Kurt put the luggage in the trunk, Mark got into the driver’s seat.
“So, Kurt, what brings you back to the capital? Did the Colonel have enough of you?”
“Well you can say that.” Kurt replied as he looked out his passenger window. His mind began to replay a particular moment three weeks ago.
Kurt, currently serving in the Imperial 304th Division out in one of Ulstereich’s overseas colonies, opened the door into Colonel Fredrich’s office. Fredrich was a man in his late 50s. His slightly gray hair was neatly trimmed. He made sure his uniform was straight and his medals arranged carefully. Despite this, the soldiers under his command were not particularly fond of their commanding officer. Fredrich, to them, was too strict of a command who did not understand his men. To make matters worse, everytime he called someone to his office, he usually made sure that he knew every single detail of the man’s life. This gave him an aura of total control over everyone he met. These stories were no stranger to Kurt, who now has to face the Colonel.
“Sergeant Kurt Weissens,” Colonel Fredrich starts detailing Kurt’s profile as he usually did with thousands of other soldiers whom he had called to his office. “Borned in Lichenstein in 1902. There’re not much information about you during this time, but we do know that you served in an elite mage unit. You moved to Ulstereich in 1922, a month after Lichenstein’s fall. You and some of your old comrades were taken in by the Intelligence because you have valuable intelligence. What this ‘valuable intelligence’ was is quite closely guarded by the Intelligence Office. But that doesn’t matter. Because after the people at Intelligence are done with you, you voluntarily joined the Ulstereich’s Mage Corps while most of your old squad mates didn’t.”
Leaning backwards, Fredrich continues.
“Sergeant Weissens, for all of the thirty years I’ve been in the military, I found out that people don’t usually run right back to the battlefield right after they see something traumatic unless they have a strong motive. I imagine that seeing your country fell to invaders while your friends died around you is quite a bad memory. So tell me, Kurt, what’s your motive?”
“Is this what you called me here for?” Kurt, with a threatening look on his face, glared at the Colonel without even caring that he may get in trouble should the Colonel feel like doing so.
“Oh, of course not,” Fredrich replied as if he hadn’t noticed Kurt’s threatening face. “I was told to hand you this.”
Kurt reached out his hand for the letter that Colonel Fredrich put on his desk. The letter has a seal with a cross underneath a crown, behind the cross was two crossed swords. This is the Imperial High Command’s seal. Disregarding formalities, Kurt broke the seal and opened the letter. The letter inside was folded into thirds, and at the end, it was signed by Ulstereich’s Grand Field Marshal. What the letter says is unimportant, because even for Kurt, there’s really only two important details in the letter. It seems that Colonel Fredrich, through some means, had already known the first detail.
“Congratulations on your promotion, First Lieutenant Weissens. I have no wise words or advice for you. However, whatever your motive or goal is in doing this, I wished you good luck.”
Kurt nodded at the Colonel, not feeling sure if the Colonel really wished him good luck or merely doing so for formality. Kurt walked out of the office and returned to his bunk, where he began gathering all of his stuff into a suitcase. He would soon head for the port to return to the capital for the second detail of the letter is the following:
“Effective immediately, First Lieutenant Kurt Weissens is to leave for the capital as soon as possible where he shall be transferred to a new unit. More details will be explained at the Spezial Mische Kömmand’s Headquarter due to security reasons.”
“We’re here, Kurt, wake up.”
When Kurt finally returned to reality, the first thing he saw was Mark trying to wake him up front the driver’s seat.
“Not gonna lie, seeing you as the first thing I saw after waking up is not that comfortable.”
“How rude. I drove you here, bud.”
“Just joking, I’ll buy you a drink later, okay?” Kurt said as he got out of the car to get his luggage.
“At the De Fraulin?” Mark asked from inside the car.
Having gotten his luggage out and is standing next to the passenger side of the car, Kurt simply answered, “Sure.”
“That’s a promise Kurt.” Mark said as he started driving away.
Kurt stood there smiling to himself. Mark is one of those friends who can make those kinds of jokes with and still be good friends. It’s not like Mark is innocent in this matter, either.
Kurt then turned to the guards that stood in front of the steel gate to the SMK’s HQ. All the guards were armed with the Type 91 bolt action rifles. It might have been over 30 years old, but it’s still good as a weapon for snipers and the reserves.
He handed the letter to one of the guards and said, “I’m here to meet Director Gustav Brandt on the order of the Grand Field Marshall.”
But before the guard even reached for the letter, a voice from the other side of the gate interrupted, “I’ll take it from here.”
The voice belonged to a woman. She has slightly curly and blonde hair, reaching down to the base of her neck. She wore a dark olive green military blazer like the one Mark wore with a military skirt for women serving in the army. That and the fact that her shoulder patch doesn’t rank insignia means that it is likely she was a secretary.
As soon as Kurt walked through the opened gate, the woman offered a handshake and introduced herself.
“My name is Marie Schmidt. I’m the Director's secretary.”
Kurt shook Marie’s hand and returned the favor, “I’m Lieutenant Kurt Weissens.”
“Follow me, the Director’s waiting for you.”
Kurt quickly followed Marie inside the main building. The SMK’s headquarter consisted of a main building where paperworks were done out in front. Behind it were various buildings that you would find in a military base. Buildings such as a shooting range, armory, and barracks. Stepping inside the main building, Marie leads Kurt up to the third floor of the building where they continue walking down the hall.
“So you’re new here?” Kurt asked.
Surprised, Marie looked back a bit before answering, “Yes, I’ve only started working here six months ago. How do you know?”
“I didn’t see you when I came here last February.”
“Oh, so you came here often?”
“Just once a year, I came here to meet a friend.”
Before the conversation got any further, they both stopped in front of a door. The dark wooden door has a nameplate on it. The words “Director Brandt” indicated that this is where they’re supposed to be. Marie lightly knocked the door before opening it and peeked inside.
“Director, the Lieutenant is here.”
“Tell him I’ll be out there in a minute.” The voice from inside said.
A few seconds later a man came out. His gray hair and beard along with the wrinkles on his face indicated that he was in his late sixties. Over his uniform was a black overcoat. In contrast to Colonel Fredrich, Director Brandt does not have any medals on him. It doesn’t mean that he has none. Kurt has known the man well enough to know that the Director has a lot of medals. He’s just not the kind of person to show it around.
“Oh Kurt, it’s good to see you again.” Brandt cheerfully said with his arm wide open to welcome Kurt.
“It’s good to see you again sir, how’s your family?”
“Oh they’re doing fine. Karl just got into the Navy.”
“Oh that’s good news.”
“Come, let me take you to your new unit.” Brandt patted Kurt, who is slightly taller, on the back. “Or do you want to see Alina first?”
“I’ll see her later.” Kurt answered briefly.
Brandt signed, “Business as always, huh?”
The three started walking down the stairs toward the training ground at the back of the HQ. As they walked, Brandt started briefing Kurt on his new unit.
“Seven years since your arrival to Ulstereich, we’ve been able to recreate the Umbrius stone medallion using Alina’s medallion as well as the research papers you gave us. We’ve made six prototypes. These prototypes do not require its user’s body to be ‘modified’ in order for them to operate the medallion. This of course, resulted in a weaker output of ‘true magic’, but we find it enough for the battlefield. Theoretically, of course. You’ll be leading them and we’ll see how effective the unit actually is. After all, you’re the only person the military have that is both capable of combat as well as having experience working in a unit with the Umbrius stone.”
Turning toward Marie, Brandt said, “Marie, give the Lieutenant the profiles.”
After Kurt received the papers, Brandt continued as they walked out of the building, “These are the profiles of everyone in your new unit.”
After looking through the list, Kurt finally asks, “So they’re all from the academy?”
“Well, not all, but most of them were. But don't worry, they all know how to use magic to a certain degree.”
“I’m not afraid that they don’t know how to use magic. I’m afraid that they do. You know how arrogance mages can be. It’s going to be hard to convince them to use something they’re not familiar with.”
“Well, you’ll see it yourself.”
They all came to a stop in front of a training field. Out there were seven people, one of which is a training instructor, based on his apparels. As soon as the instructor noticed their arrival, he started giving orders.
And with that the six other soldiers saluted to Kurt and Brandt. One the right arm of their uniform is the unit’s insignia. The insignia consists of a black cross with four wings and three letters in the middle: 013.
Brandt turned towards Kurt and said, “Welcome to the unit, Lieutenant.”
Kurt examined the members of his unit for a moment before replying, “Special Mission Command Unit 013, huh? This should be interesting.”