The Landings at Valle del Sol.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation; Written in glorious English-English, which is different to American-English. Also please excuse my appalling Spanish.
Timeline: 1949 Alternate Universe.
Words: Seven chapters of 3500+ words.
Warnings: Some strong Language and some scenes of a possibly adult nature
Summary: A Corsican dies nine years early; the USA losses a war and everything changes. In 1949 a Commando raid on a sleepy Californian town brings some familiar characters together.
Darkness lay over the Pacific Ocean as the warships of Force ‘V’ steamed steadily southwards. Blacked-out, their presence only betrayed by the whiteness of their bow waves and the phosphorescence of their wakes. Their radars scanned the horizon for any vessel that might spot them and give away their position; while destroyers dashed about like excited terriers from one location to another in their never ending search for submarines. Aboard the great aircraft carriers crewman worked in the predawn darkness to bring aircraft up on deck in preparation for the dawn airstrikes. These would pummel the Imperial Mexican Air Force’s bases around Los Angeles and distract the Mexican military from the real target of Force V’s attack.
Aboard the Commando Carrier HMS Bulwark paratroopers and commandos made their final preparations; checking weapons, drawing extra ammunition and ‘blacking up’, an act which always coursed a certain amount of amusement amongst the troops. Deep within the bowels of the converted aircraft carrier General Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat (known as ‘Shimi’ to his friends) stood up and turned to face his battalion commanders for a final briefing.
“Good morning gentlemen,” he called cheerfully to the assembled officers.
Lovat was a tall man with handsome features who still radiated health and extreme fitness even though he was approaching his fortieth year. There was a muttered chorus of groans and ‘good mornings’ in reply from the officers gathered in the briefing room.
“As I’m sure you gentlemen are aware,” the General grinned at the more bleary eyed officers, “but I’m going to explain everything again anyway.” There was a murmur of amusement from the body of the briefing room. “Operation Thunderbolt is in retaliation to continual Mexican agitation of the Red Indian tribes in Oregon Territory. This has resulted in attacks on the foreign population in Portland and acts of sabotage as far north as Seattle in King George Province.”
“At a very basic level,” continued the General, “Operation Thunderbolt is an exercise in ‘frightfulness’ to teach the Imperial authorities not to pull the tail of the Commonwealth lion.” there were mutterings of agreement from the soldiers and marines. “I’m sorry it’s had to come to this but the Mexicans have brought this on themselves…and we’re here to show them that the British Commonwealth is not to be trifled with.”
“Alright then gentlemen,” Lord Lovat turned on a switch and a spotlight illuminated a large scale map of the target area, “this, as I’m sure you will all recognise by now, is our target; the town of Valle del Sol…which I think translates as ‘valley of the sun’?”
The general looked at one of his staff officers for confirmation; the man nodded his head.
“In just under,” Lovat checked at his watch, “forty minutes Colonel Frost’s 7th Para will be flown by helicopter to block these routes leading in and out of Valle del Sol to the north and south.” The general pointed to several roads on the map, “While this is happening the Fleet Air Arm will launch attacks on the airfields around Los Angeles here, here and here.”
Lovat pointed to several obscure locations around the Mexican seaport.
“At the same time air attacks will be launched on the submarine base here at San Diego.” Lovat indicated a town south of Los Angeles, “With any luck these attacks will throw the Mexican forces in the area off balance and confuse them as to our actual target. Once the aircraft have recovered to the carriers and rearmed and refuelled, we can launch our main attack.”
The general went on to detail the main part of the plan; but, before dismissing the officers back to their units he had one last point that he wanted to make.
“Although, as I’ve said, this is an exercise in ‘frightfulness’ we are not going to act like barbarians.” Lovat watched the faces of his officers. “I must stress that civilian casualties and collateral damage must be kept to a minimum. This is particularly true for the units detailed to attack the university. While I expect to hear that the labs and research facilities have been destroyed I do not want to hear of piles of dead students and burning libraries. I would rather you abort your missions than risk excessive civilian casualties, do I make myself clear?”
Once again the general studied the faces of the men under his command, and nodded to himself. They would all do their jobs with the usual high level of professionalism that he expected from them.
“Any final questions?” he looked around the room, there were none, “Right then it just remains for me to wish you good luck and good hunting.”
As the meeting broke up Captain Charles, the General’s aide came up behind him and whispered in his ear. The General, who had been talking to the C/O of the Royal Navy Commando whose unit had been assigned to attack the docks, turned and nodded to his aide before making his excuses and leaving the room. There was one more small group of people he needed to speak to before the events of the day got too hectic for him to spare the time.
“Right you are Johnny,” Lovat gestured to his aide, “lead the way.”
“So this Mex bitch has been screwing a ‘vore, right?” she tossed the photo aside and went back to checking her weapons.
“I don’t know about the shagging,” Sergeant Blair, a stocky dark haired man in his late twenties, looked up from the magazine he was loading, “but our sources say she’s been in a relationship with this particular bloodsucker for some time.”
“Disgusting is what I call it,” this came from Constable Weatherby a tall prematurely balding man in his mid thirties, he checked the action of his sniper’s rifle as he spoke, “she’s betraying 'er sacred heritage…just shows these dagos can’t be trusted.”
“Oh come on John,” Constable Amy Collins spoke up from across the compartment, “she’s just a kid…”
At twenty-five Amy was the youngest member of the Nightwatch Covert Action Team (apart from Faith) and one of the organisation’s few female operatives.
“That’s no excuse,” Hobson, a heavy set man in his late twenties said as he fitted a full magazine into his rifle, “Miss Faith here wouldn’t let a ‘sucker touch her like that, would you Miss?”
“Jeez no-way!” Faith gasped as she pushed her hair up under the black cap-comforter she wore, “I don’t understand why he hasn’t tried to turn her yet.”
“Maybe he’s got a cunning plan?” suggested Hobson with a grin, everyone smiled at the reference to the popular radio show.
“Whatever,” Faith stopped what she was doing and looked at the other members of her team; slowly everyone halted their preparations and settled down as they felt her eyes on them. “Look whatever the reason, we’ve got to capture or neutralise this ‘El Asesina de Demonios’ asap before this ‘vore can put any cunning plans into action, okay?”
Once again everyone smiled at the idea of a ‘cunning plan’ but not as widely as before; they all knew that ‘neutralise’ meant kill. It’d been explained to them that Nightwatch command would much prefer a live prisoner, but when push came to shove they’d make do with a dead one. The Imperial Mexican authorities had arrested one of their ‘Special Operatives’ and they needed something to use in an exchange to get their girl back; if they couldn’t use a live La Asesina de Demonios they’d find something else the Mexicans wanted.
“Ya got the tranq’ Trev?” Faith looked over to where her sergeant sat; he picked up a small wooden box and nodded his head, “Okay ya might as well hand it out.”
The NCO opened the box and handed each team member a glass syringe with a long needle. Each syringe containing a mixture of muscle relaxant and tranquilliser that would knock the Asesina de Demonios out and make it possible for the team to capture her. Checking the cork on the end of the needle, Faith slipped the syringe into the specially reinforced pocket on her equipment harness.
There was a noise from the companionway outside, looking up Faith watched as someone knocked on the door and a tall, handsome, senior officer walked into the compartment. Everyone except Faith sprang to attention; she was a ‘Special Operative’ she didn’t have to stand to attention for anyone…well maybe the King.
“As you were,” Lord Lovat looked around the room at the five black clad commandos, “just thought I’d pop down and wish you all good luck.”
There was a chorus of ‘thank-yous’ from the team as Faith looked the officer up and down; she saw a tall fit man in his late thirties. An amused, devil-may-care smile played around his lips and a piratical sparkle glinted in his eyes. In spite of herself Faith was impressed. The things she’d read in the lurid war comics she favoured as reading material, seemed to be true, she stepped forward and held out her hand to the man.
“Honoured to meet ya, your Generalship,” Faith smiled impishly at the General thinking if he was just a little younger how she wouldn’t mind getting up close and personal with him at some point.
“The honour’s all mine Miss Lehane,” he shook her hand warmly, “I’ve heard of your work…very impressive.”
Blushing Faith shrugged her shoulders, “Y’know, ya do what ya can,” she mumbled.
Being a little embarrassed at the complement Faith found herself feeling like a schoolgirl being shown off to the board of school governors; ‘most impressive’ was high praise from the man who had been first ashore at Oostende back in ‘44 at the end of the German War. Faith felt her ears turn red.
“Anyway,” the general continued as he shook hands with the rest of her team, “as I say I just came down to wish you luck. I won’t detain you any longer I know you’re busy.” He turned to go, as he stepped over the door combing he stopped and looked back directly at Faith.
“I was wondering Miss Lehane,” he gave her a full power smile; Faith felt her knees turn to jelly, “if you might like to have dinner with me one evening when we get back to Vancouver?”
“Hey, yeah, sure…why not?” Faith found herself stuttering, she didn’t get asked out to dinner by a real live Lord every day.
“Jolly good then,” as the General made his way out of the compartment he called over his shoulder, “I’ll arrange something.”
“Thanks,” was all Faith could think of saying as she found herself facing the grins of her comrades, “What?” she asked turning away to fiddle with her equipment.
“Faith’s got a boyfriend,” Amy chanted in a sing-song playground voice once she guessed the general was out of earshot.
“Look,” Faith replied defensively, “maybe he just wants to talk?”
“Yeah right,” nodded Blair.
“Why, of course,” agreed Weatherby.
“Sounds reasonable to me,” added Hobson
“Should we start calling you ‘Lady Faith’ now?” Collins curtsied in Faith’s direction.
Glaring at her friends and comrades, Faith felt her face flush red again; but what the hell, she thought, getting asked out to dinner by a real live Lord wasn’t bad for the daughter of a prostitute from the Boston slums.
Having had the poor luck to be Officer of the Day, twenty-three year old Lt Fidel Castro FAIM, was lying on his bunk more or less fully dressed when the first aircraft flew over the base at tree top height. Scrambling to his feet he looked with sleep blurred eyes out of his window to see an unfamiliar aircraft fly low over the base. At first he wondered who the hell could be flying today of all days? Most of the base was on local leave for the holiday and Colonel Fernandez (the base commander) would no doubt have a fit when he saw someone recklessly flying over his base. The colonel would also, no doubt, be annoyed at having his ‘sleep’ disturbed. Any uncharitable thoughts about his commanding officer and what he and his new, young wife might be doing were banished from Fidel’s mind when the fuel storage tanks exploded.
“Madre de dios!” Fidel stumbled back from the window as he felt the heat of the explosion on his face from two kilometres away.
Turning towards the door he nearly tripped over his own feet as he grabbed for his flying jacket and flying helmet. He rushed out of the little Orderly Officer’s room on the ground floor of the BOQ, and sprinted down the corridor towards the exit. Several other young officers, woken by the explosion burst out of their rooms and into the passageway.
“What’s going on?” one demanded as Fidel ran by.
“Grab your gear we’re under attack!” he called back over his shoulder as he ran out into the open.
Standing on the neatly tended lawn outside the BOQ, Fidel looked up into the sky and ducked instinctively as two aircraft flew over, they were almost cutting the grass with their propellers they were so low. There was a long burst of canon fire from the aircraft and the neat line of fighters parked on the edge of the runway exploded and started to burn.
Looking around in near panic Fidel started to run towards a fighter parked close to a hanger about fifty metres away. By some miracle the base’s attackers hadn’t seen it yet and some ground crew had managed to get the engine started and were frantically looking around for a pilot. A corporal, who appeared to know what he was doing, saw Castro run towards him and shouted to the officer as he got closer.
“She’s got full loads of fuel and ammo sir!” he helped Fidel up onto the aircraft’s wing, “Good luck!” he called and took his place by the wing ready to pull the chocks from under the aircraft’s wheels.
Settling himself into the seat of the La-9, Fidel strapped himself in and slid the canopy closed. Easing the throttle forward he felt the aircraft strain against the chocks, releasing the brakes he signalled to the corporal and found himself bouncing down the runway. With his heart in his mouth and expecting to meet a fiery end at almost any moment, he nursed the fighter into the air. Quickly he brought up the undercarriage and tried to gain airspeed and altitude as fast as he could.
Out of nowhere an aircraft flashed by him; in an instant he saw the dark grey upper surfaces and the white underside. His eyes focused on the red, white and blue roundels on the wings; the British? More by instinct than by any conscious thought Fidel’s thumb mashed down on the firing button on his control stick. His aircraft juddered as his four 23mm canon blasted away at the intruder. He saw pieces fly off the British aircraft as it started to trail smoke and bank steeply away to the right.
Remembering to relax his thumb and stop firing Fidel put his aircraft into a gentle right hand turn; he was still too low and hadn’t picked up sufficient airspeed to gain much in the way of height. Very slowly the La-9 picked up some speed and he was able to gain a few hundred metres altitude and see what was happening. The air base was a sea of smoke and fire; he could see swift shapes dart in below him from the direction of the sea as they bombed and strafed the workshops and hangers. Not seeing any other Mexican aircraft in the air and no anti-aircraft fire Fidel decided he must do what he could for honour’s sake.
Picking a target he jockeyed in to get behind the intruder as it jinked from side to side and tried to lose the Mexican fighter. Just as he was drawing a bead on his foe his aircraft started to shake and fall apart. It was as if some giant was smashing his fighter to pieces with an enormous hammer. There was a horrible ‘CLANG!’ as a shell hit the armour plate that made up the back of his seat, his controls exploded in a flash of sparks and smoke and Fidel realised that his aircraft was doomed as the cockpit filled with black acrid smoke.
Pushing back the canopy he pulled the La up into a stall and jumped out into the smoke tainted sky. Moments later he found himself floating slowly towards the ground under his parachute; he watched as his La nosed into the ground and exploded. Glancing around he saw the aircraft that had shot him down…a jet. The pilot of the sleek little craft waggled his wings at Castro before zooming off out to sea at five hundred knots.
Yawning hugely Buffy Summers reached out and silenced her alarm clock; there was a quiet ‘ding’ and a tinkle of breaking parts as the spring escaped from the back of the clock and it broke into a hundred pieces.
“Darn!” Buffy muttered as her head fell back onto her pillow, “Another clock destroyed!”
Rolling out of bed she looked down at the cogs and springs of her latest victim and sighed. One day her mom and dad were going to notice just how many alarm clocks she got through in a month. After sweeping the bits into her little rubbish bin she stumbled out into the corridor and headed for the bathroom before her little sister got there ahead of her.
Buffy lived in a well-to-do, leafy, middle-class suburb of Valle de Sol, with her mom, dad and her little sister Dawn. She went to school with her friends Willow and Xander at the local high school where she was an unremarkable pupil (apart from some minor discipline problems). In every respect she appeared to be a typical Anglo-Mexican girl who liked going to the movies and who out went dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. It just went to show how first impressions could deceive; Buffy Summers was in fact the ‘Asesina de Demonios’ and lived a secret life fighting the creatures that preyed on humanity. But not tonight, tonight was the first day of the ‘Día de los Muertos’ holiday and tradition had it that the forces of evil took the holiday off and stayed home.
Unfortunately her good mood was spoilt by the knowledge that she still had to go to school today. Tomorrow everyone was on holiday so they could enjoy the carnival in the town’s main plaza in front of the cathedral. Tonight she intended to go out with Willow and Xander and raise a little hell of her own.
“Buffy are you up yet?” her mother cried from downstairs in the kitchen.
“Si Mama,” Buffy called, “I’ll be down soon.”
Her mother and father both spoke English at home as did Buffy. Being quite fluent in both English or Spanish, Buffy had spoken both languages since she was little; she spoke Spanish at school and a strange polyglot mixture of English and Spanish (often referred to as Espanglish) with her Anglo friends. Her little sister Dawn spoke mainly Spanish saying that English was only for ‘squares’. It was a sign of the times; Buffy thought sadly, if she ever lived long enough to have children of her own she expected they would only speak Spanish.
Having finished getting washed and dressed, Buffy skipped downstairs to the kitchen, and kissed her mother good morning before glaring at Dawn who was sitting at the breakfast bar still dressed in her night things; she didn’t have to go to school today, Junior High schools got the day off.
“Mama!” Dawn whined, “Buffy’s staring at me tell her to stop.”
“Buffy,” Joyce Summers turned to her eldest daughter and gave her a mock frown, “stop staring at your sister you know now it upsets her.”
Smiling at her mother Buffy cut a bagel in half and started to spread it with jelly and pieces of banana. Her mother put a cup of coffee in front of her daughter and switched on the radio that sat on the counter by the oven. The announcer was talking very excitedly about unidentified aircraft and explosions around Los Angeles.
“Where’s dad?” Buffy asked around a mouthful of bagel.
“Don’t speak with your mouth full,” Joyce replied absently, “he had to go into work this morning but he’ll be home by the time you get back from school.”
Buffy’s father was a manager of a company that sold typewriters and adding machines, his work kept him busy and Buffy didn’t get to see him as much as she’d like to. She loved both her parents and tried to be a good daughter, but, being La Asesina de Demonios made it very difficult at times.
“Good…” there was the sound of a beeping car horn from the front of the house; Buffy glanced at the kitchen clock, “Good grief! That’ll be Xander and Willow,” she jumped off her stool, “gotta go!”
Kissing her mother and giving her sister a pinch she headed for the front door.
“Have a nice day at school honey!” Joyce called after her eldest daughter while her youngest rubbed at the rapidly developing bruise on her arm.
“My-my,” Buffy smiled up at him as she drew level, “you do look smart.”
“Why thank you Senorita,” Xander gave Buffy a small bow, he looked down at his uniform, “‘Le Supremo’ wanted everyone in uniform today and…I’m told girls always go for a man in uniform.” He gave Buffy a longing look that she totally failed to notice.
Xander was a member of the school’s Combined Cadet Force run by the school principal Señor Snyder, who was better known as ‘El Supremo’ to all his students.
“Hi Buffy,” Willow, Buffy’s best friend stuck her head out of the car and grinned up at her, “it’s like having a military escort.”
“Yeah,” Buffy climbed into the car next to the red-haired girl, “if the military drove beat up old wrecks that is!”
“Oh come on Buffy,” Willow frowned slightly, she was madly in love with Xander a fact that he didn’t seem to notice, “Xander tries his best.”
The three teenagers made up the strangest of love triangles; Willow loved Xander, who in turn loved Buffy, who in turn loved someone completely different.
“Yeah I know,” Buffy watched as Xander ran around the car and jumped into the driver’s seat, “well done Xander,” Buffy patted him on the shoulder, “your efforts are much appreciated. Now do you think it’ll get us to school?”
There was a moment of apprehension as Xander turned the ignition and the engine refused to catch, however, after the third of forth attempt the engine burst into life and they headed on down the road in a cloud of exhaust smoke. As the old car rattled and banged along the street and Willow babbled on about this and that; but Buffy couldn’t help frowning, she held up her hand for quiet, or as much quiet as you could get in the back of Xander’s car.
“Hey guys,” she looked at her friends a puzzled look on her face, “can you hear thunder?”