The room chilled him to the bone. Aesthetically it was bare - a single bookshelf lie adjacent to the windowless port opposite the door, where one could grasp the sparkling Mediterranean. A squat writing desk sat in the center of the room. Sitting there was a Man.
"Close the door, please." The coarse, booming voice that he and his compatriots heard so routinely - and yet here it was mild, even pleasant.
He shut the door - a drab, wooden thing, battered by time.
The Man spoke again, "Come, make yourself comfortable. We have much to speak of." He moved away from the door, sitting across from Him.
"I called you here today," He spoke slowly, "because I heard you've been having some trouble with our friends in the east."
"Why is that?"
He tried to summon an appropriate response, but his mind blanked. "I'm afraid I don't know, sir."
At this, He scratched his chin. "Might I ask you for a recitation? My mind is not what it once was."
He perked up, spectacles gleaming. "Certainly."
"The Theories, then. Chapter three - lines two through six."
With the precision of a perfectly tuned instrument, the words fell from his mouth, "'The Asian race, being a paragon of discipline and morality, duly noted as Aryan in ethic if not physique, is bound by their natural will to possess and dominate their hemisphere, and may be of great benefit to the new order.'"
"Exemplary. Mastery of memory is the first step to knowledge. But it seems you have not walked far enough."
The already-frigid room dropped a degree. Sweat ran down his forehead. He clenched his jaw.
But to his surprise, He sighed and leaned back, looking a good deal more world-weary than He had a moment ago.
"You misunderstand. I am nothing if not a teacher. Your education has merely been lacking thus far. That can be corrected."
He relaxed, adjusting his spectacles. "What do you suggest, sir?"
He smiled - a pained, unnatural grimace - and opened a slot on His side of the desk. "Tell me what you know of the Foundation. They are, as I understand it, your specialty."
"What would you like to know?"
He drew out a parcel from the slot, and began to unwrap its contents. "Indulge me. What do you think of them?"
He thought for a moment. Waves crashed on the shore outside.
When he was ready, he spoke: "They are the greatest threat to humanity's final ascension to an insurmountable form."
The parcel fully uncovered, He removed a thin file from its depths, and handed it to him.
He adjusted his spectacles and withdrew a single page from within the folder. He looked up at Him, and back at the sheet. He blinked.
"This is their seal. And the watermark - leader, why would you have this?"
"Why would we seek to improve what our greatest enemy has spent years perfecting?" He relaxed in his chair. "Go on then - edify yourself. I assume you can read English?"
He nodded, unwilling to let his eyes leave the glossy black insignia.
"Then we will not speak again, till you are finished."
Group #: 39-7, "The Militia of Blue Sea White Water"
Membership: Formerly 200+
Resources: Unknown; assumed to have been significant.
Description: The Militia of Blue Sea White Water [sic] was an esoteric espionage unit comprised of politically important Japanese officials during the second world war. Its ranks were filled with IJAMEA operatives, Kempeitai commanders, and inaugural members of Unit 731 who were bribed, blackmailed, or otherwise coerced to support the Ahnerbe's operations in Japan.
The idea of such a force originated in a meeting of the Thule society in Munich, soon after the Imperial military conducted their attack on Pearl Harbor. [REDACTED], the Obskurakorps General Appointed1 proposed a group composed of ethnic Japanese that would be instrumental in converting the empire to a puppet state after the war. This was eventually passed on to Himmler, who authorized it under the explicit order it be placed under the absolute oversight of [REDACTED].
The group's designation is not a mistranslation. The original intent was to produce a name that would appear natively Japanese on any internal documentation.
Select conspirators were occasionally smuggled to the black room2 by way of U-boat. Here they were exposed to anomalous equipment capable of enhancing their physical traits, such as speed, stamina, bone density, and psychic ability. They were also partially lobotomized, and thusly became known throughout the fellowship as 'thralls'; any who were not deployed on the front lines returned to the home islands, and were used as a means of keeping other, less loyal Militia in line.
The collective's purpose throughout the war was threefold. First and foremost was retrieving any paranormal assets the Imperial government were keeping hidden from the rest of the Axis powers. By all accounts they were most successful in this regard; reports give a range of 27 to 99 objects falling into Nazi hands by the end of the war.
The second objective involved copious amounts of character assassination. Contrary to public bestowments of honorary purity and proclamations of group unity, sections of the schutzstaffel and others were not happy with the political situation in Japan. Many feared the population's fanatical devotion to the Showa emperor would prove difficult to quell in a post-war invasion of the archipelago. To prepare for this eventuality, the Miltia was tasked with using its considerable political influence to affect the outcome of elections on the national level - producing libel, arranging scandals, and the like. In turn, politicians singled out as being manipulable and sympathetic to the German cause were built up and funded with gold shipped to the southern coast of Honshu.
Finally, the Militia were ordered in certain instances to execute raids, assassinations, and other hostile actions against the Imperial court. Mainstream recruits were almost always excluded from these operations, while thralls received the opposite treatment. At least three attempts were made on the emperor's life; each time they were thwarted by his personal bodyguard.
The IJAMEA were the Militia's most grievous enemies within the government itself. After several major artifacts were lost in a series of thefts and engagements, they began cracking down on moles within the military's power structure. A number of members committed suicide once their ties to the Nazis had been uncovered - though evidence of a wider conspiracy was never found. Instead of demanding that Berlin cease their acts of sabotage immediately, they chose to wait until the war was finished before pressing the issue.
In June of 1943, Himmler ordered that [REDACTED] and the other architects of the Militia begin liquidating the project. Instead, they and many of the Obskurakorps absconded to the home islands with stocks of bullion, a number of thralls, and a small supply of the objects they had recovered while the group was functional. For years they lived under the radar off the coast of Honshu, where they were sheltered by members who had grown devoted to [REDACTED] over the course of the program. As the war in Europe began to resolve itself, the renegades returned for a time to assist with ODESSA's evacuation effort, while the Militia either fled for fear of capture by the Americans or stayed on with what would eventually coalesce into OBSKURA. Conspirators who were not hunted down and executed by AOI3 assassins lived out the rest of their lives in peace or were absorbed by various paranormal agencies, including the Foundation.
1. The branch supreme commander. Roughly equivalent to the rank of a major general.
2. The Obskurakorps' science division headquarters, in Berlin.
3. The Allied Occult Initiative. One of the parent agencies of what would eventually become known as the Global Occult Coalition.
He looked up from the document. "So then," He said, "You understand?
"Explain it to me. Tell me why what you did was wrong."
Again, he thought for a moment. He thought of the man he struck. He thought of the fire he saw, the breadth of his hatred; its unique hue, branded with a history of violence. "A man who would face a dragon, might enlist the help of a lion."
The Leader laid His hands flat on the table and stood up. "I believe we're finished here." The supplicant remained seated. "Rise." He did as he was ordered. "There is a horse waiting for you outside. She knows where you must go."
"As you say."
"I am pleased with the progress we made here today, Miles. But if I must see you again, it will be at the point of a sword."
They saluted. "You are righteous. Thank you."
"You are welcome."
He left the room, and the Leader sat back down. He still had some daylight. The harvest was coming; in the meanwhile, there was much to be done. He had records to sort, water to draw. The weather was fair, and the tide moreso.
It would be a glorious evening.