Yes, here it is. We are embarking later tonight!
Just a few words beforehand.
First of all, and most importantly, I am putting the chapters up behind a password, since I keep getting flashes of unsuspecting opera lovers with a blog subscription ending up with steamy love scenes in their inboxes over breakfast. The password is “1944“. If you want to come along for the journey, just sign in to read and discuss.
Second: I am no WWII buff, nor do I pretend to be one. I researched as much as time allowed me to, but I may get details wrong (feel free to point them out to me in the comments or via email at aniklachev [at] web [dot] de). Some liberties I had to take for the sake of the story. Also, when I say that this story is based on the Voyager episode “The Killing Game”, I mean this in the broadest sense. There are a few Über characters, there is France 1944, and some involvement of the Résistance, but that’s about it. I changed and specified both name and location, and both added and omitted some of the side characters.
Third: For a long time – this story has been lurking on my hard drive for a decade, after all – I had scruples about writing a story in this particular setting and using a time of such horrors as a backdrop for a little romance story. I hope to not step onto anyone’s toes by writing this story after all. Rest assured that I do not approach the setting lightly. Being German, my family history is linked with the dark years between 1933 and 1945 and there are stories on both sides of the fence: Of my two grandfathers, one became a member of the SA right away in 1933 to move up the career ladder (and he did), while the other chopped down the flagpole in front of his house so he didn’t have to flag for the regime. There is a leftwing lesbian great-grandaunt who miraculously made it through unscathed on the good side, but on the evil side, there was a granduncle with a special carrying permit who was employed to hunt down and shoot fugitives who had escaped to Scandinavia (he ended up as an alcoholic and ultimately comitted suicide in the 1960s). Another grand-uncle had in-laws who were so fanatic that they preferred to commit suicide when it became obvious that Germany would lose the war. And then there is the story of a great-granduncle twice removed who took his own life along with his wife after his two 18-year-old sons died senselessly during the very last months of warfare.
While developing the storyboard, I had those stories at the back of my mind, particularly the last one. And so, while this is supposed to be a romance story first and foremost (and with some fun thrown in, too, because we never need the warmth and wit of humor more urgently than in times of fear and terror), I had to get this off my chest first and make it clear that I am not using this setting as a backdrop without having given it a lot of thought.
Fourth: There will be weekly updates, generally on Friday nights – some weeks, real life may take over, making chapters late or skipping a week, but if you’ve ever been along on one of my WIP journeys, you know that I always finish my stories and will do my best to keep up. Due to my writing rhythm, this story will be unbetaed for now (if there are volunteers out there who would like to beta, just drop me a line). I will edit it after finishing it and post it in the fiction section (Writing Desk) as well as over on var[title].
Fifth: Since the story includes a singer and references to songs (of the cabaret kind – no mezzo soprano arias in this one, although I did manage to smuggle in some Fauré), I’ll try to include YT links for those interested. Since this is French 1940s, I opted for French 1930s and 1940s repertory (something that the original Voyager episode failed to take into account), mainly Kurt Weill. Much of this repertory is available on the market sung by Ute Lemper, who may not have the exact tone I envision for this story, but I warmly recommend her interpretations.
Sixth: The artwork for this story – both the poster and the teasers – have been designed and created by the wonderful Rykoe (if we nag her enough, she might open up a tumblr or joing deviantart and I can include a feedback address for her here). As a special gift for the J/7 Über crowd, Rykoe has given me access to the original 10MB poster-size version of the titel graphic, which qualifies for a wall print and which you can download here.
Seventh: If there are any further questions or access difficulties, use the comments below or drop me a line at aniklachev [at] web [dot] de.