Ophelia Adelmann stared at the brightly decorated birthday cake. The cheery colors counter-balanced the boiling torrents within her. She counted the candles yet again, one for each year that could’ve been. Years that could’ve been spent sitting by the fire with her husband, Edwin, and little Elijah at her knee. Instead, the Nazis stole everything for their own in 1934. They killed anyone who disagreed with their fanaticism. They claimed Edwin was a communist rebel. He was merely a scientist with his own ideas and one too quick to admit being Jewish. The sight of Edwin gunned down in their home triggered a miscarriage. The birth of Elijah never blessed her life.
A rage took the place of little Elijah in her belly, and it simmered with fury.
The Nazis thought they captured everything. Edwin’s meta-materials possessed properties indistinguishable from magic. The Nazi fools never realized that the driving force behind his ideas was Ophelia’s brilliant mind. They never knew she was an heiress. The money she commanded in Swiss banks could buy a nation. The strength of Ophelia’s engineering and the force of her incredible wealth empowered a pitiless lust for revenge.
Ophelia blew out the candles and left her cabin, cake uneaten. She walked down aluminum grates to the pilothouse. The winds at 12,000 feet were strong but her airship rode steadily among the gusts. Below, five Nazi Zeppelins covered the invasion force attacking Britain. Ophelia smirked. During ww1, zeppelins enjoyed brief success, then seemed doomed as an offensive weapon. That is, until Nazis killed Edwin for his meta-materials.
The ceramic plates that lined the underside of the German zeppelins below provided a small counter-gravity field. It wasn’t strong. They still possessed the shark-shape dictated by helium sacks, but much less helium was needed. The other effect of the counter-gravity fields was far more important. It created a field impervious to any known weapon. It changed everything, and only the Nazis possessed the technology. Hitler’s Blitzkrieg rampaged across Europe, then zeppelins proved critical in winning the Battle of Britain in 1940.
By then, Ophelia’s airships were complete.
“Come left to 020, Mr. Walinsky,” she told the helmsman. The thousand-foot airship, Edwin Elijah turned smoothly, positioned above the German zeppelins. She watched the eyes of the crew. The British government happily accepted her proposal for a counter to German zeppelins, but they didn’t like its secret weapon in the hands of a woman. In the end, it was her ideas and her money funding the project, or nothing. She became captain of Britain’s first aerial warship. She saw no doubts in the crew’s faces at taking orders from a woman, and a Jew. “Gun Captains. Aim for the top of the enemy airships.” Her smile was predatory. The Nazi technology was stolen, and for that reason they didn’t truly understand how to use it.
They lined the bottom of their Zeppelins with the meta-material, “CouGrav.” It pushed the vessels up into the sky. They never realized with some electrical finagling they could switch polarity of the plates. Ophelia’s airship carried CouGrav plates on the top that pulled up while lower plates pushed up. She moved faster, and the plates made Edwin Elijah invulnerable on the top and bottom. The German zeppelins were vulnerable at the top where they never expected attack.
Ophelia spoke softly, “Fire.”
Ophelia’s meta-materials didn’t stop at counter-gravity. The barrels of her guns were frictionless. Each round exited the barrel five times faster than normal. The 5-inch shells contained no warhead. Instead, they carried a rocket motor that propelled them even faster. Each shell struck its target at Mach 9, hitting with the explosive power of a 5,000lb bomb. A single hit could sink a heavy cruiser. What they did to the naked top of Zeppelins was appalling. In twenty minutes, the Zeppelins were twisted wrecks. Without hesitation, Ophelia turned her guns on the hapless invasion fleet. Two hours later, with the help of the Royal Navy, the invasion was obliterated.
First Officer Ephraim Shapira joined her as she watched the flaming waters of the English Channel. “We’re out of ammo, Cap’n. I’d guess 100,000 Germans died today. Isn’t that enough?”
Ophelia’s eyes narrowed. “Enough to balance the murder of a child before birth? No. It isn’t enough.”
“Seems to me you’ve still given birth.”
Ophelia glared. “What?”
“You’ve given birth to a new kind of warfare.”
She smirked. “Perhaps.” Her eyes narrowed to slits and burned with unquenchable fire. “But this child will be swaddled in the blood of enemies!”
Adolf Hitler seized power of Germany in 1933. In 1934, Germany became a totalitarian state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Germany#Nazi_seizure_of_power
In the real world, Britain won the Battle of Britain. Had they lost, Hitler planned Operation Sea Lion (the invasion of Britain): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Sea_Lion
Meta-Materials are real, and they can do some incredible things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamaterial
If you’re a military historian (I know some of you are), then you’ll notice a fatal flaw in this story. Zeppelins which are not vulnerable at the top could still come under attack by British Spitfires and Hurricanes. Such huge targets couldn’t be missed. I simply didn’t have the word space to address this. With the lifting power of CouGrav plates, zeppelins and Ophelia’s airships could carry LOTS of machine gun nests, making them very dangerous opponents in aerial combat. Plus, all were filled with helium, not our history’s hydrogen-filled Hindenburg. Helium isn’t flammable. Holed helium sacs might force a zeppelin to withdraw, but not destroy it. Ophelia’s airships possessed even fewer vulnerable areas, allowing very concentrated, and thus very deadly, defensive machine gun fire. German Messerschmidts (bf-109Es) would’ve died like flies while attacking.
Written for the Mutant 750 writing challenge at the Grammar Ghoul Press. This week, the media prompt is a birthday cake (seen above). The word prompt is, “birth.” Look here to see what other folks wrote: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-52/