“James? What happened? What are you doing?” Henkel tried to struggle, but couldn’t reach anything to push off. He twitched in mid-air as he slowly rotated. Silversmith couldn’t suppress a snigger. The cabinet door sprang open and he laughed aloud.
He kicked back to Henkel and bundled him toward the hydroponics pod. Henkel still didn’t seem to understand what was going on. “What in the name of the Führer are you doing, James?”
Silversmith pulled him so that they were face-to-face. “My name is Seamus Silversmith and I’m half Jewish. I’ve been spying on your space program for fourteen years and I pray every day that you never hoist that filthy flag of yours on Mars. The sooner idiots like you grow up and see Heydrich for the evil bastard he is, the better.”
It felt so damn good! He had to cut himself off before everything he’d wanted to shout for fourteen years came gushing out.
Silversmith shoved Henkel into the hydroponics pod. He hauled himself back to the communications pod and hit the emergency button. With a hiss of hydraulics, the doors at each end of the pod slid shut. Now every other pod would be dimmed with emergency lighting only, and every inessential system would be shut down. The broadcast was classed as essential, so the film kept ticking through the transmitter. If a faulty battery poisoned the crew with chlorine or a micrometeorite left them breathing vacuum, nothing would interrupt the flow of enlightenment to the Reich.
Silversmith laughed as he hurled himself back to the cupboard of secret films. He was twelve years old again, hiding from the farmer whose orchard he’d raided. The trick to enjoying those childhood escapades had been in not thinking about the consequences, and he’d rediscovered the trick exactly when he needed it. He pulled out the tapes and held them up to the red light. Even the grotesque images couldn’t dull his euphoria.
The intercom crackled into life and the duty officer started calling names. Silversmith stopped the tape of the documentary about solar flares and replaced it with film of a woman whose skin had been flayed by one. There was no explanation to be broadcast with it, but she floated in a way that could only place her on the Dancing Penguin. He hoped anyone watching would associate her with the phenomenon they had just been learning about.
Next week: Under the Hooked Cross concludes with Seamus Silversmith
Full story available from Amazon in Kindle format.
Cover by Manda Benson