Captain Franz walked in the room – his second in command was requested to wait outside the room until the meeting is over. Looking at the SS soldiers, Ernst would rather on the outside too.
Upon entering the room, Captain Franz saw many high ranking officers, some are sitting down whilst others are standing explaining something to someone at the far end of the table.
The Fuhrer, who has been listening attentively, suddenly looked up and saw the captain standing attention.
“Please sit down, captain. We have been waiting for you. I heard that you performed excellently with the Bismarck task force. By the way, how was the trip from Saint-Nazaire?
Captain Franz froze with both fear and nervous replied that the trip was tiring but other wise was good. It is not every day you will come face to face with the Fuhrer and catch him on a good mood.
“Now that the captain has joined us, shall we start?”
Captain Franz had a look at the men who were sitting around the table. He knew most of the high ranking officers but there were also men who were not in uniform. Captain Franz gathered that they must be from the Gestapo although some did not look so.
The light was dimmed and short film was projected on the wall. A man in uniform narrated the film.
“What you are seeing here is Malaya. It is in the Far East just above Singapore and near Australia. It used to a British stronghold together with Singapore until the Japanese ran over and occupied it couple days ago. There are still some pockets of resistance in the country side as the Japanese is fortifying the main towns”
“With the German forces tying down the British forces in Europe and Africa, it is unlikely that reinforcements would be sent to Malaya to fend off the Japanese forces” added one of the generals who were sitting right in front of the captain.
“Don’t forget about the British in India” remarked another
“The British has also lost their stronghold on the coastal waters and we have mainly Japanese’s destroyers and main battle ships patrolling the main shipping lanes to China, India and Australia”
“If one is to sail to Malaya via U Boat…” continued the narrator and immediately the whole attention of those in the room turned to Captain Franz.
“If one is to sail to Malaya via U Boat, it will take a good three months with several stops in Africa, Middle East and Burma. Of course supply ships also need to arranged for the trip”
Captain Franz at this point started to wonder why the focus of the talk is on a U Boat making a long journey to a place called Malaya. A place that Captain Franz had only heard only in some books and newspapers – he never been to the Far East.
Immediately Captain Franz noticed the Fuhrer’s attention was on him.
“The captain looks lost; perhaps we should start from the beginning. Professor, tell us about your findings”
An old man stood up from Captain Franz’s left seat and walked to the front.
“I need to bring you back to events that unfolded two weeks ago and before the Japanese’s successful occupation of Malaya”
“As some of you may have heard about a rumour called “nuclear propulsion”, let me assure you that it is not just rumours. In fact, we are already working on the project on a full time basis and we have built several models to test. Of course, a working model still has a long to go before we can deploy it to the military but we need to make sure that it is safe to use it”
“The German High Command has set a deadline for the working team to complete testing but as I have explained to the Fuhrer, there is a risk when we rush on things – experiments no 12 and 15 clearly proved my point”
There were murmurs when the word “nuclear propulsion”, “experiment 12 and 15” was mentioned. Captain Franz was surprised that such thing really exists and he wondered about the experiments that the professor had just mentioned. But no one talked about the experiments in the room.
“We are caught between rushing to complete the propulsion system and making sure no men is killed or injured during testing” the aged professor continued
“Then two weeks ago, we got a break through”
“An historian who been working with the African Corps discovered an ancient cave in Tunisia and found some ancient books, dating from the time of the Romans. The books was brought back to the Berlin University for further study and we were surprised to discover a paragraph describing an energy source very similar to “nuclear” was being used by people in the Far East. At first, we disregarded this text as fairy tale but we found another text describing the detail of the place where the people used this energy source and it points back to the place we now know as Malaya’
The professor must have gone mad” thought Captain Franz and he sat down, getting more uneasy with the progress of this meeting. He wondered why he had to be flown hundreds of miles just to hear an old man talking something that is not possible. All that testing with nuclear must have affected the professor. Surprisingly how the Fuhrer could still be listening to this?
The captain’s attention started to drift. He wished he was back in his U Boat, doing the normal things expected of him. Finish his job and go back to his family.
The captain inattention did not escape the notice of the aged professor.
“It looks like the good captain does not believe on whatever that I am saying. Perhaps he thinks I must have gone mad. The truth is I thought the same when the news first mentioned to me. It does not make sense for people to using a highly sophisticated technology hundred years ago but think about it again, great monuments and building have been built in the past without any current technologies. How did they do it then?”
“Through the ravages of war and nature, some ancient secrets are lost forever. Who knows what the ancient people know?”
“Anyway, I needed to verify this myself before I could mention it to anyone else. More so if I am going to see the German High Command about this. So, a couple of us at the university started to dig more information. We got some leads but it was not enough. Malaya is a big area and after hundreds of years, a lot would have changed.”
“With some leads and some old friends in the German High Command, we started to talk on getting the military involved. We started to look for more links in Italy and Spain and of course in Malaya. A couple of secret agents who are attached with the Japanese occupation forces have started to do their own investigations. The Japanese High Command has not suspect of anything yet”
The Captain despite his best effort to keep track over the briefing by the professor was still looked lost.
“Professor, exactly what we are looking for in Malaya?” asked the captain.
The professor was silent for a moment but before he spoke, the Fuhrer stood up and said “We are looking for this”. On the wall was a picture of a U Boat. It looked totally different from the normal German U Boat designs but there was no doubt about it – it was a U Boat.
“One of ours?” asked the captain curiously
“No captain, it does not belong to our time. No one knows where came from but we believe the U Boat is still in unchartered Malayan waters”
The professor took an old book and asked everyone’s attention to what has been written.
“This book is an exact replication of an ancient book that was lost when the Romans invaded North Africa. Almost that is. We managed to reconstruct only twenty percent of the ancient book but the key information is available. Listen to this passage from the ancient writing – we have translated so that it will be easier to understand it”
“A large black object appeared in the waters in the late morning, frightening the fishes and other marine life. It drifted slowly towards the beach. We thought it must been a big fish and were frighten to go near and attack it. The object was silent and there was no noise. There were long poles on the top of the object and it has black fins like a whale fish. The object turned into one of the smaller rivers and stopped. We did not dare to go near it for several days. One fine morning, the bravest of us decided to go near and see whether the object was dead. When he reached near and touched, the skin of the object was hard and metal alike. There was no life or movement but we scared to go nearer. The next day, it was raining heavily and powerful wind was blowing from the sea. We thought of the black object and we rushed to see it the next day. We found the object was almost buried by a large mud flow. Several days later, the object had sank into the mud pool and was no where to be seen”
“We believe this narration from the ancient books is talking about a U Boat. We found rough sketches in another book but this we believe is only a recreation from the writer’s imagination based on the eye-witness’ story. Perhaps more facts was available to the writer back then because the sketch was quite accurate if one matches the design plan of a U Boat”
“And we believe this ancient U Boat is using a very advance and safe nuclear propulsion. And we want the thing back in Germany for analysis” added another aged man in a brown suit.
The Fuhrer looked at the captain and told him that he wants the technology to found and brought back to Berlin to be used in the current project and he does not want anyone to know about it, not the Japanese and certainly not the Allies.
“The only way we can sneak into Malayan waters and look for this ancient U Boat is by using a U Boat sailing to the coast of Malaya and landing a small research team who then proceed to extract the technology from this ancient U Boat. But before that, we need to reach Malaya first and return without anyone knowing about it. And you are one of the more experienced captains around”.
“What, you want me to sail all the way to Malaya and hunt for an ancient U Boat and get the technology back without the knowledge of our allies or our foes. How sure you are that this ancient U Boat still exists in one piece and its resting place is somewhere near to the sea?” the captain asked in doubt.
“We plan for this mission because we have found the ancient U Boat. There is a river that leads to the sea on the Eastern Coast of Malaya surrounded by dense jungle. The only way one can reach the river is through the sea. One of our agents managed to work his way though the river and found a partially buried craft. It fits the description of the black object mentioned in the ancient books”
Captain Franz was startled!
“That’s true and we have a plan for it” added a Kriegsmarine admiral
“The waters surrounding this area are deep enough for German U Boats to operate and it is hardly used by the Japanese Naval fleet for patrols”
The Kriegsmarine admiral laid out large map on the table and called for everyone’s attention.
“Captain, you need to sail through the south of Africa and head towards the Middle East and thereafter to Burma before you can head to east of Malaya. We have arranged a long line of supplies ships to resupply U-133 during its journey. We have taken care to ensure that the supplies ships are from countries that are not in war with anyone” continued the admiral as he pointed the various rendezvous point for resupply on the map.
“You need to reach this point and from which you will allow a team to disembark for the extract mission. The river is not marked or chartered in any maps. Aerial reconnaissance does not show the river as it remains hidden under the dense jungle. I have to say that the fact that the river was found by our agent is nothing but a mere luck”
“The agent was suppose to return through the Japanese’ destroyer Akin but on his last day in Malaya, he managed to talk to a local who mentioned about lost river and a myth of a black object buried in the river. The locals don’t dared to go to look for the river as they believe it will bring them bad luck but our agent managed to get boat and confirmed that the black object that we are looking for is the ancient U Boat”
“For now, we hope that the propulsion technology remains intact. We will only know once we have extract onsite”
The captain was in deep thoughts – nothing seems impossible these days and why not. After all, his role in this mission is nothing but to transport the extraction team to the place called Malaya and bring them back. But the trip to Malaya will be a history in the making. No U Boat has gone that far and certainly there is a doubt whether U 133 will remain robust enough to last the journey. The captain decided to talk to the Kriegsmarine High Command on this issue, after this meeting have ended.
“Other than your crew, there will other passengers in your U Boat, namely several scientists who are involved in the project and the specialised extraction team. The Gestapo is insisting to follow as well but we managed to shoot down this ‘dangerous’ idea from Gestapo” smirked the admiral as he looked at the Head Gestapo in the room. Clearly the friction between Gestapo and the Kriegsmarine has not lost. But for now, Kriegsmarine has an upper hand and the admiral is exploiting it to the maximum.
The Head of Gestapo was clearly looked upset and immediately he confronted the admiral. He asked the Fuhrer to intervene and allow Gestapo agents to be board the U Boat. It is for security purposes, claimed the Gestapo Head. The Fuhrer looked back at the admiral for his reasoning.
“My Fuhrer, the available space in a U Boat is already limited and in addition to the crew, we have already added more passengers. Further we do not know how big the mechanics of the propulsion system from the ancient U Boat is. We need all the available space. There is no place for unproductive Gestapo agents on board the U Boat. Besides, Kriegsmarine have the fullest confidence on Captain Franz on maintaining the security and confidentiality of the mission. We do not need anyone to remind us of that” replied the admiral in an angrier voice
The Gestapo Head stood up to protest – clearly the word unproductive Gestapo Agents had hit his nerves. But the Fuhrer asked the Gestapo Head to stand down and stop this nonsense. Seeing the Fuhrer being angry was all that was needed to silence the Gestapo Head and others in the room.
“I agree with the admiral. The final output of this mission is what more important. We need the U Boat to have enough space to carry out the mission. Besides I know the attitude of your men. They will only get in Captain Franz’ way to captain the U Boat” said the Fuhrer, glancing at the Gestapo Head unhappily.
Captain Franz remained silent but was relieved. The last thing he need in his U Boat is Gestapo agents giving wrong and unwanted instructions to his men.
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