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(Author: Friendly Fire, Isn't)

Note: This story will have numerous editions. Chapter one when it was first added might be much different than when the story is complete.

Chapter One, Crash Land

"Today is 1944, April 2nd. Welcome to Keroman IV base, which is located on an unnamed island in an unnamed archipelago. The archipelago is located somewhere in the Norwegian Sea, north of Britain and west of Norway. It has some fortifications, a few fairly large submarine pens, small airfield with several fighter aircraft including a ME-262 jet fighter, a small empty harbor, an abandoned rocket research facility, and many other common features of a modern fortified military base. Well, features of a half-abandoned base. It was built early in the war, when Hitler hoped that a rocket could be developed, manufactured, and fired at the Yankees' homeland, such as New York City.

Sadly, his dream came nowhere true. Resupply ships were starting to become a rare sight here ever since the Brit and Yankee naval forces tightened their grip on the Atlantic Ocean. Since our rations were getting worse in terms of quality and quantity, we also had fishing, hunting, and livestock raising. The research project was scrapped and the entire research team was sent back to Germany.

The U-boats used to be a very common sight here, until we couldn't supply them anymore. However, that did not deter the Yankee and Brit aircraft from bombing our base repeatedly.

A lone Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter aircraft was flying away from the base's airfield on an early yet clear morning. Another Bf 109 aircraft was also seen taking off, but instead of joining the first one, it proceeded to dive at several anti-aircraft guns that were manned by half-asleep crews, then pulled steeply up right before smashing into them. Unsurprisingly, this spooked the trigger-happy crews into firing shortly after the first dive, and somebody turned on the air raid siren. The other anti-aircraft crews that were sleeping in their barracks came sprinting out to their battle stations, many of them still in their pajamas or underwear and undershirts, some were buttoning up their shirts or pants.

The pilot turned on the radio's microphone and asked, "Herr Schmidt, is that you?"

"Good morning Daniel! Just playing a little prank on the anti-aircraft gunners." Herr replied.

"You know that even as a friend, I'm required to punish you for such action, that may include ordering you to wash all of the gunners' underwear for two days. Assuming you don't become a firework show." Daniel warned as he piloted his aircraft to cruise in a large circle at slow speed to get a view of Herr's stupidity and recklessness in action.

Herr's plane was nicked by a large 128mm shell, then quickly came tumbling out of the sky after eating several hails of flak, and then it nearly crash landed on the runway when he attempted to land. A few of the anti-aircraft batteries were already turning their attention to Daniel's aircraft and caught his attention with hails of flak.

"You are shooting at a friendly aircraft! Cease fire! Cease fire!"

The radio crackled, "This is Oberstleutnaut Schleicher. Hauptgefreiter Eisenhauer, were you the dummkopf who attempted to spook us? Because only one aircraft was suppose to take off this morning, not two, and we have a downed aircraft with German insignia."

"No sir, but I'll deal with the pilot once I'm done with my mission. Now please get the anti-aircraft guns to stop shooting at me."

"Already ordered them. Have a nice patrol." the Oberstleutnaut replied while Daniel chuckled at a mechanic's angry rant in the background about how he just finished repairing the troublesome ME 262 and was in no mood to repair an even more chewed up aircraft.

Daniel continued to fly for the next hour or so, trying to look for anything suspicious. He flew through a few low clouds, close to a steep mountain on an another island that was surrounded by the Atlantic sea. It was a very beautiful morning, bright blue sky with a few white clouds dotting it, a beautiful red and orange sunrise, and the islands below him were covered with green vegetations.

"Our radar station noticed something flying around on the edge of their radars' range for the past week or so, after numerous troubleshooting and calibrations of their constantly malfunctioning radar systems. They claimed the detected object was rather large, but smaller than an aircraft. I was sent out to search for the unidentified object and neutralize it if it was hostile, but I hadn't seen anything yet. I'm pretty sure they screwed up the calibration or something."

He then noticed something very dark blue flying below him. He pushed on the controls to send the aircraft into a slow dive. As he neared the large unidentified object, the tail, the head and flapping of what appeared to be wings were apparent, but he still wasn't quite sure what he was looking at. The thing had no feathers and shared little resemblance with birds. He then did a tight turn around the unknown thing while decelerating just above the aircraft's stall speed and flew in a circle around it to try to get a closer look. The object then increased its speed and dived toward another island, through a narrow gap between two steep mountains. Daniel positioned his aircraft behind it and proceeded to stalk the object.

The dark blue object pulled up hard and disappeared from Daniel's line of sight. He realized his aircraft could not match the object's maneuverability and decided to give up chasing it, figuring that it was probably something else that was getting the radar station's attention. He gently accelerated and pulled up his aircraft, before tilting it towards the left to get out of the gap by flying over a portion of the mountain that was lower than the rest. Suddenly, a fireball came from behind and slammed into one side of the mountain, exploding in bright flames, throwing hot gravel everywhere and rocking the aircraft. It spun in a brief barrel roll as a dark blue blur zipped past him and flew back up. The aircraft' wings' tip scraped the other mountain side, sending sparks flying. "We got hostiles at..." Daniel was about to finish when he realized the radio was dead, most likely from the explosion or the gravel.

Daniel rightened the aircraft and pulled up harder while mashing the accelerator and scanning the area viewable through the canopy. Another fireball appeared from the side and slammed into the rocky surface that was several meters below and behind the damaged aircraft, sending more hot gravel into the aircraft. A large rock ricocheted off the canopy, leaving a large spider web of fractures in the glass. The explosion and the hot air it generated tilted the aircraft into the rocky ground, nose first. Cursing, he yanked hard on the control to pull up, but the aircraft's propeller and part of the engine ended up biting into the rocks and crumple into an useless twisted metal mess before he managed to pull up to prevent a crash land. He turned off the broken engine and piloted his aircraft towards a sandy beach of an another island about half a kilometer away, hoping to make a soft landing. He tried to ignore the increasingly hot cockpit, especially the floor.

The dark blue object reappeared into Daniels' line of sight as it dived toward the troubled aircraft from the right and slammed its claws against the aircraft's nose and fuselage, leaving deep dents into the two sections and nearly completely shattered the canopy. It then begin to push the aircraft down and towards another part of the island that Daniel wanted to fly towards. The other part of the island had a cliff only a very short distance away from its rocky beach. At the base of the cliff was a very small gravel beach, littered with boulders.

"Landing on large rocks and ramming into the cliff side at high velocity, what a nice way to die peacefully."

He pulled out his pistol and attempted to jettisoned the canopy by pressing on a red lever. When the canopy only came off halfway, he punched at it, shattering the glass, and fired a few rounds at the murderous object, but the sheer wind resistance threw off his aim considerably. The object spun around as it backed off from the aircraft. His and the object's eyes locked onto each other's eyes for a split-second, both staring at each other. He realized it was one of those childhood fantasy dragons, though the eyes with green pupils were cat-like and somewhat squinting, strongly indicating that it was clearly not pleased to meet him. It's skin seemed to have faint appearing scales on it, or scale-like patterns. It also had some sort of a scar on a side of its face and a few centimeters left-below of its left eye. As the dragon flew away, it smashed and broke off about half of the aircraft's right wing, sending the aircraft spinning in a corkscrew. Daniel unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped out with his parachute backpack as soon as the airplane was upside down. He then pulled the string of his backpack, releasing the parachute.

Almost immediately, the dragon spat a weak fireball from a distance, and it burned through the parachute, leaving a gaping hole into it and setting the parachute's remains on fire.

"Oh, it's going to be a good day..."

The dragon dove down, grabbed onto his shoulder, smashed him face-first into the water, and kept his face underwater for several seconds while flying at high speed. What appeared to be a very short period of attempted drowning was an eternity for him. The dragon then pulled up, threw him onto the rocky beach and flew off. With his pain nerves firing all over on and in his body, he slowly got up, coughing up the salty water. He looked up and noticed the dragon entering another dive. Acting on instinct, he dove for cover behind one of the groups of large rocks as a fireball slammed into the beach.

Chapter Two, Flashback of a Human

"Oh, by the way, we MIGHT plan on using you as a punching bag after school. Enjoy the rest of your day." a bully sitting next to a young boy snickered. The boy had a miserable time in school for the past several weeks. He had seen the three notorious bullies pick on other kids for months, but lately, they decided gang up on him. He knew they were going to go after him as soon as he stepped off school's grounds. When the dismissal bell ranged, all of the kids cheerfully gathered up their schoolwork and raced out of the classroom. Except for the boy.

"Is there a problem? You seem worried." the teacher asked.

"No, I'm fine." the boy lied as he slowly left the classroom. He looked around, the bullies were probably waiting outside. The hallway, like the rest of the school, had an old concrete floor with the plaster walls and ceilings chipping and cracking. Everything inside the school seemed to be decaying, just like the rest of the country. As he walked down the hallway, he thought about how he was going to escape from the bullies, and then decided that he was going to stand up to them to see if they would back off.

After he stepped outside of the school building and walked past the rusting flagpole with a black-red-yellow flag on it; he looked behind him and noticed three boys walking at a brisk pace.

"I'm not scared of you wimps!" the boy shouted.

"Eh, well see about that. A broken nose says you'll end up running." one of the bullies sneered.

Fear and panic overwhelmed the boy's mind. Forgetting his original plan, he ran down the streets and entered an alley, his feet crunching on the gravel. The three bullies were unsurprisingly pursuing him and occasionally shouting at him; they liked beating up weaker kids, but they didn't like fast ones.

The boy passed a group of kids that were playing and building stuff, not with blocks or toys, but with dozens of large bundles of extremely devalued Weimar Republic's currency. As he crossed a narrow crowded street to enter another alley, he ran past a group of French and Belgium soldiers who were marching down the street. He never understood what were foreign soldiers doing in the city. A cart full of paper money and liquid adhesives were parked in front of the city of Dortmund's post office building; inside the office were two workers plastering the paper to the walls, it was more expensive to buy the wallpaper. A bakery next to the alley had loafs of bread on sale since yesterday, at 2 billion marks per loaf, and the baker was replacing the sale signs with new ones, 2.9 billion marks per loaf. At a nearby factory, workers were let out early for about half an hour so they can purchase goods before the runaway hyperinflation made their wages worthless in the afternoon.

He tripped over a ragged beggar by accident. "Please, I need food. I haven't eaten..." the man pleaded, his eyes on the verge of crying. The boy, without stopping to listen or apologizing as he had a much bigger concern, got up and entered an abandoned apartment. The bullies chasing the boy gave the same amount of attention or sympathy to the homeless man, none. The weathered main entrance door of the apartment was posted with a pro-Communist propaganda on the outside by the local Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (Communist Party of Germany). To the right of it was a Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei's propaganda poster (National Socialist German Workers' Party). A tattered, weathered and decaying WWI propaganda poster was lying on the ground in a muddy puddle, recently pulled off the wall. The boy ran up the stairs to the rooftop and backed himself into a corner as the three bullies slowed down and slowly walked toward their victim, grinning evilly at their next victim.

"What do we do with this fast punching bag? This thing owes me a broken nose." the first bully said.

"Obviously we're going to treat him as a friend! That's what we came here for, right?" the second bully sarcastically replied.

"I came here to have fun, not to have a boring talk." the third bully said as he viciously punched the boy in the nose. A sickening crunch was heard, the boy's nose was broken and blood was running down his face.

The young boy cried out in pain as the bullies took turns roughing him up and verbally attacking him. A few minutes later, the bullies walked away satisfied. The boy waited for ten to twenty minutes before slowly getting up and walking down the apartment's stairs. He would have a very long explanation for his parents, and would need lots more explanations as the bullying wasn't going to stop anytime soon.

When the second bully returned home, he walked through the kitchen and past a refrigerator with lines of zeros after zeros written on the side. He overheard his mother asking in the living room, "Honey, why did you include several zeros for our address on your letter to your brother?"

His father, an accountant with unusually large amount of gray hair for his age of early 40's, screamed, "I don't know! I can't handle all of the calculating and recalculating every hour! I can't tell the difference between nine and nine billion! A cup of coffee yesterday at noon cost 600 million marks, and as soon as I finished drinking the coffee, it went up to 900 million!" and then broke into violent sobs.

His mother tried to calm down the father without much success as the boy tiptoed past them and to his room, locking the door. He felt distant from his parents, they were on the edge of breakdown everyday from the terrible economy and showed no signs of improving, it would only be a matter of time before their marriage broke up. They rarely talked to him because they were preoccupied, he rarely talked to them in fears of being as sane as they were. As he laid on his bed, he thought about how and when did everything went so terribly wrong, before falling asleep.

Chapter Three, Second Meeting

Chapter Four, Trust Testing

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