"Suck it you goddamn metal motherfucker!" Tiggs vectored hard, straight up, and grayed out for a moment.

He was climbing for all he was worth and still one of the alien fighters slid easily onto his starboard wing. Tiggs turned his head to look and the enemy fighter edged so close that its wingtip nearly touched his. Through the clear V-shaped cockpit he could see the easily identified shape of one of the black-armored aliens. It turned to look at him and then, curiously, raised its armored hand and waved. The gee force of the climb was too intense for Tiggs to return the gesture, and he was unsure whether it was saluting him or mocking him. Tiggs was still looking at his foe's armored form when the other alien fighter put one of the tiny and unerring missiles of their own design up Tiggs' starboard exhaust nozzle. Tiggs saw white and then saw nothing.

"Superiority achieved." The Imperatrixian wing commander stated. "One of the humans proved to be a worthy adversary. Worthy enough to kill a fool like Rg4 at least."

"Your message is received Commander, please provide cover support for bombing operations."

With that the bombers circling in the upper atmosphere began their first attack run on the now defenseless carrier group below.

***************

Tara stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. She had dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep and the skin on her neck was still raw from the radiation. Haushofer hadn't given her any makeup because he assumed, correctly, that she would use anything in a makeup kit to attempt an escape. There was a thump somewhere far off in the Presidential palace and the walls shook almost imperceptibly. Someone was giving Haushofer and his Nazi thugs a hell of a time and it amused Tara.

She wet her lips and met her own gaze again.

"You can do this." She reassured herself.

Tara splashed water on her face from the running tap and then carefully toweled herself off. She was wearing the third in a series of lingerie selections carefully picked out by Haushofer to undermine her dignity. Today's special was a sheer fine-meshed bra fringed with rabbit fur and a hideously uncomfortable latex thong with a ring-pull zipper in the front and a ridiculous rabbit tail covering the cleft of her buttocks. She was willing to do showy. She didn't even mind the ridiculous sexual aspect of the outfit - she'd worn worse in mixed company when she thought it would garner Raylene's attention. It was the fact that someone else was making her wear it. It made her blood boil to think that the crippled pervert Haushofer was dressing her up like his doll. She just hoped her humiliation would work to her advantage for once.

"Hurry up in zer," her guard stated through his thick German accent.

"Almost done." Tara replied, blotting off the last of the moisture on her face.

She cracked the door and peered out at the broad-shouldered Aryan Panzer Kommando. He was certainly a looker in the glossy cover-of-a-romance-novel sense. Bulging muscles, squared chin with just a hint of a dimple, glittering blue eyes, and that terrible shave cut all of the Panzer Kommandos had. In fact, he looked exactly like every other Panzer Kommando she had seen, to the extent that Tara suspected they were all part of some vile vat-growing process the Thule Society had masterminded. She just hoped that his goods were still intact.

"Ummm…" Tara trailed off until the soldier turned to look at her. "Could you give me a hand in here?"

He gave her an icy glare that melted like clockwork butter when he gazed into her carefully practiced doe-eyes. She even fluttered her eyelashes for added effect.

"Ja, okay, but sehr quickly." His iron-shod boots thumped loudly on the parquet floor of the bedroom. He was wearing bits and pieces of the full Panzer Kommando armor, but minus the heavy power frame and helmet that the troopers in the field wore. In place of that immense contraption he wore a simple armored vest over his black uniform and a soft cloth NCO's field cap. Tara had already carefully noted that in addition to his gleaming silver sub machinegun the man also had a holstered sidearm and some form of dagger on his belt.

Tara stepped back into the small bathroom, but just far enough so that her guard had to press his body against hers to get into the room. She slowly slid one hand to his hip and looked into his eyes, biting her lip coquettishly.

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