November 9th, 1989. East Berlin. The last time it will ever be called that.
At a press conference announcing new, more liberal travel regulations for the German Democratic Republic, unprepared spokesperson Günter Schabowski inadvertently declares that the Berlin Wall will be opened for transit immediately.
Six hours later, there is jubilation across the city as “Ossies” flood into the West without permission or plan. Crowds mingle in the streets, cheering, drinking, and singing. For so long the two halves of one people have longed to know one other. Now that call is answered in a burst of passion that sweeps the world. Finally.
For all the fuss about parascience, the Cold War ended pretty much as it was supposed to. A ten-year war in Afghanistan gnawed away at the Soviet Union from the inside. Economic stagnation wiped out what little tolerance for repression remained in the Communist Bloc. Across a dozen countries people took to the streets, a dozen revolutions signaling what would famously be called the End of History.
Issues and ideologies which seemed so crucial in the heat of past decades vanished in moments. In retrospect, the passions which sent half a million Americans to Vietnam had waned long before the first crack appeared in the Berlin Wall. Within a decade of the end, communism was a punchline, and what Cold Warriors remained were no more than relics of a quaint and confusing age.
One last great espionage drama took place far from the public view. Without their great rival, the United States had no desire to carry on the expensive work of mass parascientific containment, and the leaders of the new Russian Federation had no such capability. After arduous negotiations, the Foundation returned to moth-balled sites and slumbering facilities long occupied by forces of the two great combatants. The jailors recovered their wayward charges – their long exile was over.
There came a time of joyous reunification. Amidst the swirling crowds of Berlin, families came together, often for the first time – brothers embraced sisters they had never met, while children grown into unrecognizable adults searched out parents who were only memories. A hundred miles of concrete wall and forty years separation had not sundered the bonds of family and kinship.
No longer needed, The Coldest War passed into the dust bin of history.
Around the Brandenburg Gate some of the largest crowds gather. Already the “Wall-Woodpeckers” have begun chipping away at the once-fearsome barrier and by morning almost everybody and their aunt will have a piece.
Two figures, a man and a woman, slip away from the revelry unnoticed. Strangers, but who is a stranger on this singular night? Darting around the nearest corner, they fall into a drunken embrace. Swept up in a haze of alcohol and hormones, the man does not notice the wafting smell of citrus, and remains oblivious to the sudden sharpening of his consort's features as she prepares to consume him.
Ensnared and now sedated by his not-quite-human companion, the luckless man slips into unconsciousness. He does not see the four masked men who rush out of the darkness to subdue the shape-shifter, and does not remember the otherwise unremarkable Polizei van into which they wrestle her. But he lives to see the first day in a new Deutschland.
A white and green police van rolls down the quiet streets of West Berlin in the early morning, far from the pandemonium of the western border.
In the reinforced rear compartment, something less than human struggles against specially prepared restraints to no avail. If its head were not locked within an iron cage it would glare at the grey-haired agent who sits across from it, the agent who has hunted it relentlessly for so long, since Oslo, since Berlin, through a hundred other cities. Helpless with its semi-skin locked and pheromone pods plugged, the creature settles for a blistering stream of multilingual obscenity.
“Yell as you please, Twenty-thirty,” laughs Agent Franklin, now an old man. “I told you I'd be waiting. Yell as you please!”