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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright 2021 by Lawston A. Pettymore

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For more information on this book, the author, the editors, or the screenplay, contact lawstonpettymore@gmail.com

Jacket design by Damonza


Revelation 8:10 King James Version

And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;


And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.


Amerika Rakete

A stack and cluster configuration of advanced versions of Germany’s Aggregat 4 rocket, known in the West as the V2, resulting in two boost stages and two final stages believed capable of placing payloads in Earth orbit.


Numbers Station

A shortwave radio station, many located in Czechoslovakia, reciting a sequence of numbers on a set time schedule, often in a female voice, most prolific during the Cold War era, thought to be a means of communication between intelligence agencies and operatives in the field.


Aggregat 1: Normalization of Deviance

Aggregat 2: The Amerika Rackete

Aggregat 3: Sequelae

Aggregat 4: Dead Man Switch

About the Author


Almost none of the events in this story actually happened. Almost all of them could have.

Lawston A. Pettymore


To my siblings



April 30th, 19451

Sister Kathe, of the 35th Teutonic Order of Olaf, dispatched by the Vatican for the management of undesirable children, and subsequently weaponized by the Reich, as the Reich had weaponized everything else, came for my twin brother, Pyotr, during what should have been our period of Schlaf und Ruhe2, though the assault by the battalion of Soviet soldiers above made any Schlaf impossible, and Ruhe pointless.

Pyotr, with the rest of her brood of 9-year old’s pressed ourselves into the smallest possible a pile of interlocking elbows, knees, and leg braces forming a scrum of cripples, using one another as shields against the spray of concrete shrapnel bursting from the far wall in our dormitory, now bare, their posters and plaques of party slogans and propaganda having been stripped and burned days ago for heat.

The Soviets were depth-charging us from above with some unholy explosive, determined to break into the four-thousand square meter, four-pointed star-shaped underground concrete city, called Die Kuppel3, with its distinctive dome-shaped structure at the center, itself the size of a factory, our home for the last three years, and which we usually just called “the Bunker.”

I saw, rather than heard Sister Kathe’s lips mutter “Pyotr, Pyotr,” over the crash of sinks knocked off their mountings, doors twisting off their hinges, lightbulbs bursting with each detonation, as she sorted through what resembled in the browning light more a tangle of sweaty leather straps, bridles, and other sundry tack of a horse stable than a tangle of boys seeking shelter.

Without waiting for Pyotr to declare himself, or for one of us to surrender him, she jerked forearms free to expose the tattooed serial number inscribed on them, comparing it to one written in pen on her left hand. She would have recognized Pyotr easily under normal circumstances, him being the star of the training sessions over the last three years, but in this light and with our malnutrition, no one looked the same anymore.

Her order’s habit was darkened at the hems from the puddles of various fluids seeping onto the concrete floor. The Eagle and Swastika embroidery, unique to the Daughters of Olaf, were barely recognizable on her guimpe and wimple4, the guimpe looking more like a rag on the floor of a tractor repair shed than a holy vestment, but of course no one in Die Kuppel had seen soap nor fresh water since the Soviet siege began ten days ago.

At the time, none of the children knew what the Soviets prized as trophies inside the Bunker. After their first demand for us to surrender, Sister Kathe was overheard saying that the prize was “her vagina,” though this was not much of a trophy in our minds as she shared it regularly with the SS guards, and even some of the scientists, for various favors. Her battlement could be breached with a mere sip of wine, a brick of real chocolate, wurst of any type, even the occasional kielbasa for which she and her trophy vagina would entertain Die Kuppel staff, and afterwards eat. We heard that the Russians would take anything that was not nailed down, blow up anything that was, and fuck both either way. Were we the trophies today? Was that her mission, to trade Pyotr for fresh air, water, and kielbasa?

When she finally found Pyotr’s matching tattoo, she extracted his entire bony self from the tangle assisted by the rod always hanging from her Gürtel5, swat wrists and cheeks when we made mistakes in our therapy training - too slow to close a switch – smack! Rotate the wrong knob or the right knob in the wrong direction – jab between the ribs!

Except for Pyotr. He never once felt the business end of that damn stick. He was the star. He learned the sequences of responses to the shapes on the view screens with just one demonstration from the scientists. He was better than me at everything. Surely, he would be cured of polio, even though neither of us had any polio symptoms. We were never certain why we were separated from our parents on that train platform three years ago and brought here. Some doctor was convinced we shared some congenital or genetic flaw, and the Sisters explained that this “flaw” was polio.

My dorm mates were all too happy not to be chosen for whatever Sister Kathe’s

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