Otto Interviewed

"Interview: Otto & Herr Kommissar"

Who: O'Callaghan, Konstantinov, Otto & Gonzales
When: October, 1936
Where: Plaza de Toros, Albacete

What: After some oh-so-friendly banter with O'Callaghan, Konstantinov
interviews Otto and asks him to keep an eye out for subversive
elements.

Plaza de Toros
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The bullring of Albacete resembles the Colosseum of Rome, and in truth
its
function is not too different. Of classic design, it has a central open
space of hard packed earth on which in happier times bullfighting was
performed, surrounded with tiered rows of stands for the spectators.

The bullring has been commandeered by the XI International for use as a
barracks. The winter nights under the stars are deathly cold, and in
the
absence of a barracks the soldiers huddle together for warmth. During
the
day, in theory, training goes on here.

It is currently daytime.

(Item 1) Lebel Ranged Weapon
(Item 2) 8mm x 50 Ammo

West East
South North

Captain O'Callaghan steps out from the HeadQuarters Tent. His newly
issued,
but battered Star SI35 hangs over his shoulder. The weapon looks to
have
been recently cleanedup, but small nicks throughout the stock show its
a
battle proven weapon. Over his other shoulder is a dark green satchel
bag.
The Captain peers out about the camp watching the soldiers conduct
their
business.

Konstantinov is striding back toward the Head Quarters tent as
O'Callaghan
is exiting it. He inclines his head to the man, offering him a cordial,
"Comrade." He eyes the man's submachine gun, with some approval. "You
know
how to use that, I trust? It is not so simple as a pistol, such a gun
as
that."

O'Cal looks at the other man who happens to be beside him. His initial
responce is, "Captain." Then a glance is made down to the rifle as he
fiddles with the sling allowing it to stay in place comfortably. "Its a
nice
improvement over the bats and rocks some us be using back home."

Konstantinov nods deeply to O'Callaghan at that. "Indeed, Captain.
Indeed.
We are not so different, you and I. We had barely more than that when
we
toppled the Tsar. But we did so with our courage, and our knowledge of
what
was right. Things were not so different, I understand, back in your
Ireland?"

The Captain looks at the Commissar not really sure what to say at
first, or
perhaps holding his tounge. It could be difficult to determine which.
After
a moment, the Captain crosses his arms at this chest then states, "On
some
levels the same, while completly different on others. Our fight for
freedom
was to regain our heritage, something a bit different then the Red
Army.
However, a fight for freedom is a fight for freedom."

"It is, Comrade," Konstantinov agrees with that last, mildly. His
little
gray eyes locking on the Irishman. "It is." He's done with the
pleasantries
after that. "I have the papers of the new recruits, but there are still
men
I need to speak with. We must be careful, Captain. This country, it is
crawling with fascist eyes and ears. I will not allow such to get a
foothold
in our camp."

Security would always be an issue in a war like, the enemy could be
anyone.
The Captain simply nods, "I agree fully. I never trusted a man till I
witnessed him kill a solider on the other side. Civil War is different
then
conventional fighting. Its difficult to draw the front lines of the war
when
it comes to the guirella fighters." The Captain takes a short pause to
collect this thoughts before speaking again, "Did you get my memo
conserning
the uniforms. If not, here is the summery. Once the troops recieve
their
physic eval they'll be issued their gear. No need on waisting money on
those
that dont make the cut."

Konstantinov nods again to O'Callaghan. "That is prudent, Captain.
Though
simple physical fitness is not enough. Our comrades must be committed
to the
cause, fully. The Communist soldier must be an exemplary warrior, even
moreso than in any other army. He must always be in the forefront of
the
battle, he must try to lead others to the places of greatest danger, he
must
be a model of discipline, conscientiousness and courage. Only such a
model
soldier has the right to the name of Communist. Otherwise he is a
wretched
pretender who must be called to account with…severity."

The Captain listens to commissars words carefully, and takes the time
to
respond with, "Some of the finestes soldiers I've met have been in the
IRA
and never bored the title communist. We will watch for traitors on our
unit,
but we must be careful not to weed out exceptional soldiers based on
the
beliefs of political certin political parties." The Captain continues
to
stand there with his arms crossed taking up a defensive posture to the
Commissars words.

Otto comes walking through the encampment, a cup of steaming coffee in
his
hand and a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He steps softly for such a
large man. As the only son of a WWI veteran, the large German was
taught the
basics of combat in case the time would arise when he could participate
in
recapturing his now dismantled homeland. Otto, on the other hand,
couldn't
care less. He just wanted to fight, and fighting fascists seemed like
the
right thing to do for him.

Konstantinov's eyes narrow at O'Callaghan. That was not a good answer,
from
his point of view. But his reaction to it is, on the surface, mild. "I
do
not know your…I-R-A men. They do not concern me. I do know that
weakness
and treachery take many forms, Captain. I have seen it, in my own
country,
eat at an army from inside like a parasite. Soldiers must have the
proper
motivation, the proper understanding, of why they fight. Otherwise,
they
will not be committed as they should." Otto is noticed, receiving a
sharp
look from the little gray eyes the commissar. The big German is
studied.

Marchand is polishing a Mosin-Nagant rifle further in the distance, not
directly involved in the discussion between the commanding officer and
the
Commisar. For the moment he can hear a bit, but becoming familiar with
the
Russian weapon seems to be his priority task.

Captain O'Callaghan's eyes lock with the Commissar's for a short stear
down. In his mind, he was the big dog around here and it would take
something drastic to backdown. His body posture expresses this point
perfectly. As the large German begins approaching in the General
direction,
the Captain takes his attention from the Commissar looking towards
arrivel.
His facil features are still hard and intimidating from situation just
moments before.

Konstantinov stares right back at O'Callaghan. His own face remains
smooth.
He even keeps that oh-so-cordial smile on his face. But his cold little
eyes
don't blink.

Marchand turns from looking over, and keeps to himself as he performs
the
necessary maintenance. Once his own Russian rifle is polished, he rises
to
walk over and lay out the weapons store, moving the armaments into a
more
proper storage shelf that the Spaniards had kept them before. Higher
and
drier, not exposed to the weather and seepage of water.

Otto glances up from his coffee, "Was habe ich gemacht?" He pauses in
his
forward momentum returning the captain's stare. "What did I do?" The
cigarette lays between the fingers of his left hand and is burnt most
of the
way down. "Was ist es, dass Sie wollen? What do you want?" Otto's heavy
accent and slowness at anything other than his native tongue make him
hard
to understand by some, especially the Spaniards.

Watching Otto carefully, Captain shakes his head from side to side,
"Nothing is wrong Private unless ye haven't reported in to Captain
Konstantinov for your phsyc evalutation yet."

%r "Psychologisch?" the German queries. "Nein, I have not had
evaluation."
He stumbles through the last word, trying to make sure he is
pronouncing it
correctly. Otto looks to the Konstantinov, "Herr Kapitan," he says as
he
gives a slight bow and click of the heels.

Konstantinov turns away from O'Callaghan, to direct his full attention
to
Otto. "Yes, Comrade. I am your commissar. Captain Ivan Grigorevich
Konstantinov." But, after a second of staring at him, a slight frown
comes
to his lips. "Captain." What he says next clearly pains him, "My German
is
not proficient. I will need assistance with this one."

Like a light switch, Captain O'Callaghan's posture changes from
intimidating to something a little more cheerful. O'Cal even manages to
smirk a bit, "Well Captain, ye be look'n at the wrong jaffa. I know not
a
lick of German."

"I understand English," Otto says with an irritated look on his face.
"I
sometimes search for words but I can sprechen it alright." He looks to
Konstantinov. "I am not a Trottel."

Konstantinov grits his jaw at O'Callaghan. "I hope you are not taking
this
matter lightly, Captain. In any case, it is of no great moment." He is
smiling when Otto says he can speak English. "Very well, then. I can
evaluate you now." He seems eager to get on with it, with O'Cal
smirking
nearby. It takes him a moment to succeed in smothering his annoyance.
"We
shall use the Head Quarters Tent. It allows some privacy. We must be
able to
talk freely, after all. You and I." He smiles.

Otto gives a nod to the Kommisar. "Let us get this over with," he
states
coldly. He tosses the butt of his cigarette on the ground and stomps it
out
with hit boot. "I hope there is Kaffee in there." He looks towards the
command tent and turns to begin walking that direction.

Konstantinov smiles at Otto in that oh-so-cordial manner of his. "You
wish
coffee, comrade? You shall have coffee. There is some left from what I
made
for myself, not long ago. We shall share, as brothers should do." He
heads
into the command tent, holding the opening of it open for Otto. The
commissar has arranged a little area for himself in one corner of it.
Just a
small table and a couple of chairs, where he can conduct his interviews
easily. "Sit," he instructs the German. "I shall get your coffee."

The German takes a seat, nestling in comfortably and sucks down what
little was left in his own tin cup. "Danke, Herr Kommisar." He sighs
and
leans back in the seat trying to get comfortable. "What is it you wish
to
discuss? I do not quite understand evaluation." He lights up another
cigarette while waiting for his fresh cup of coffee.

Konstantinov gets a cup of coffee for himself, and one for Otto. He
delivers
the latter to the big German, before taking a seat himself. "It is
important, comrade, to ensure that the men in a brigade such as this
are
loyal," he says. "That they are properly motivated. That they
understand why
they are fighting. If they do not, we are lost. That is all my job is
meant
to ensure. Nothing more." He smiles. "Tell me, comrade. How long have
you
been a member of the Communist Party?"

Otto stumbles over a response for a moment, then after a puff of his
cigarette replies. "One Jahr, maybe a little Weniger.. less." He takes
a sip
of the fresh coffee. "I must admit I do not understand everything, but
I
cannot agree with a Faschist rulership and while my people are
starving,
other countries eat on profits of my own countrymen."

Gonzales is somewhere outside, sitting quietly and cleaning his rifle.
Even
though he's not a trained soldier before he joined this, he seems to be
experienced enough with the weapon.

Konstantinov nods deeply to Otto. "Yes, comrade. It is a tragedy, what
is
befalling the workers of Spain. And it is commendable that you have
come to
fight for them." He sips his coffee, regarding the German steadily.
"Especially as your countrymen, they are not so disapproving of the
fascists, are they?"

Otto shakes his head. "There are many who are, blinded by the promises
of
liars." He takes another sip of the coffee followed by a drag from the
cigarette. "I am not one of those who support their lies. I will fight
here
and I will fight there when the war comes, which it surely will."

Konstantinov nods in a sage, even fatherly sort of way, then shakes his
head
sadly. "Indeed, Comrade Richter. It is a tragedy of its own, to me, how
easily men and women can be turned to sheep by lies. I have heard it is
very
hard, in Germany now." He injects sympathy into his voice. "I have
known
hard times. In Russia, under the Tsar, my country was raped and lowered
to
degradation. But we have overcome that. As you shall overcome it, when
the
world is as it should be. Tell me, Richter, what was your life in
Germany
like? What was your family like? Were you a soldier before all this?"

"Mein Father was a soldier in the Great War. Like his father before
him,
he taught his son how to fight. I learned from him as it was to be my
future
to serve my country." He gives a sigh. "Deutschland is not controlled
by
people I would want to serve under. We were not rich, but we were
respected
in my little town near Munchen."

Konstantinov nods again, another of those deep, rather sad nods.
"Indeed,
comrade. My brother fought in the Great War as well. A terrible thing.
The
horrors of it were the push to revolution. I am only fortunate Russia
was
able to get out of that, before my time was called." He seems satisfied
with
the answers Otto has given thus far, and his eyes get a bit less hard.
"It
was your father, then, who taught you to fight?"

Marchand rises from where he'd been repositioning weapons and
armaments,
having placed them now securely away from any threat of moisture and
the
weather. He walks over, holding a Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, and nods
to
Janoslaw, "Jan, Comrade Staszak, let's go." The slightly older veteran
smiles a bit. "Practice Mauser" and points towards the east, "And me,
I'll
practice Mosin-Nagant, ja?"

Janoslaw grins up at the American and climbs to his feet, slinging the
rifle
over his shoulder again. "Practice, set." He nods, still grinning.
Falling
into step alongside Marchand, the young Pole starts toward the east.

Marchand nods back, and with the rifle steps in a confidant stride
towards
the east.

"Ja, Herr Komissar. He wished me to follow in the footsteps of my
ancestors." Otto gives a proud smile. "All Richters were warriors,
dating
back three centuries. I am a soldier of the cause of saving this
country and
then my own when the people follow the example of sie Spanier."

That seems enough for Konstantinov. He nods again, smiles at Otto, and
motions to give him permission to stand. "Indeed you are, Comrade
Richter.
And a prouder warrior than any in your family yet, I do suspect. You
may go,
I think. It is a privilege to see men such as yourself within our
ranks.
With such loyalty, we cannot help but win the day. If there is anything
you
need, do not hesitate to ask it of me. And if there is anything you
hear…"
He pauses, sighing heavily. "We cannot afford dissension in the
brigade. I
trust that, if you hear anything subversive, you shall report it to
me?"

Otto gives a nod. "Ja, Herr Kommisar." With that said, he stands up and
moves towards the door. "We must win, and then take to fight to Germany
to
defeat the fascist government there. We must kill all who would oppose
us or
corrupt our people. Guten Nacht, Herr Kommisar."

Gonzales continues his weapon-cleaning, humming a little to himself in
the
process.

Konstantinov is very pleased with that response. "Yes, comrade. So very
true. A good night to you, as well." He inclines his head to Otto and
allows
him to depart without another word, sipping deeply of his coffee.

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