12 DEC. 1960 (10:15 A.M./UTC +8)
Having been born in the German enclave at Hankow, China, just a year after the Boxer Rebellion, Werner Petermann had learned to speak Mandarin Chinese as easily as his parents drank beer or Schnaps. Now, he was the KGB's special operations liason to Peking. And, it was in this capacity that he now visited the office of the Soviet Union's chief "commercial agent" in this British Crown Colony.
"Guten morgen, kamerad," he said as they shook hands.
"Spashiba, tovarisch. Please to sit down."
When this had been done, Vassily Alexandrov got right to the point.
"When the People's Army occupied Berlin, at the end of the Great Patriotic War in Europe, a number of Gestapo files were discovered and confiscated. This is one of them. Please to read it."
Petermann did so. As the seconds ticked by, his eyes widened in astonishement.
"Is this true?" he finally asked.
Alexandrov nodded: "The Gestapo wished to demoralize both the United States Army and the American public by assassinating him. Though they failed with regard to the former, they succeeded beyond expectation at the latter. Fifteen years later, the world still believes he died of natural causes!"
"The KGB now wishes to employ the services of this Japanese secret society," Alexandrov continued: "...with regard to President Eisenhower's successor! But, they wish one of our comrades to have the privilege of performing the actual deed. You will be the intermediary, who secures their...unique form of training for him."
"Ja wohl, Herr Kamerad! And, this privileged one...?"
Alexandrov pointed to Petermann's right. And, once again, the East German was wide-eyed with astonishment. Only this time, it was at not having noticed the young man sitting there any earlier!
"Tovarisch Petermann? Meet Tovarisch Sergeant Park Kim Jung, of the North Korean People's Army."
* * * * *
SOMEWHERE IN THE RYUKYU ISLANDS, THREE YEAR LATER
"Guten morgen, Herr Jonin," said Petermann, as he ritually bowed as far forward as he could. The elderly blind ninja master (who was rumored to be a full century old!) smiled and bowed just as deeply.
"Are you ready to witness Park-san's final examination, Herr Petermann?"
"Ja wohl, Herr Jonin."
Whereupon, the ninja master turned and shouted for the North Korean to begin. The latter bowed in compliance, before putting a dyed-black pillow case over his head. The chunin standing next to him then handed him a very long bow and a quiver of arrows. After which, the former signaled to some genin to begin pushing five strung-up watermelons back and forth. At least, until momentum had taken over.
The North Korean angled his head, as if listening to something. He then nocked his first arrow.
TWANG! TWANG! TWANG! TWANG! TWANG!
Petermann whipped his sunglasses off in disbelief. The North Korean had scored five bull's-eyes in a row!
"Impressed, Herr Petermann?"
"Somewhat," replied the East German, half-truthfully: "He is going to be using a bolt-action rifle, however. How can zen archery be applied to that?"
The ninja master merely smiled.
The black pillow case remained in place, as Park was now handed a Chinese crossbow with a T-shaped lever and a box full of quarrels under the barrel. Park braced the crossbow against his left hip, as he pulled the lever towards him, loading a quarrel in place.
What happened next was nothing less than jaw-dropping.
The ninja master knelt down, on his right knee, left thumb and index finger forming a capital "l." And, his bamboo bo-staff held at a right angle over his right shoulder. He then ordered the North Korean to fire!
Four quarrels flew out, at eye-blurring speed. The first two were batted to the ground by Jonin-sama's bo. The third he caught in his right hand, and the last one with his left!
Petermann's reaction could only be summed up in one word.
"Banzai!" shouted the ninja master, as Park whipped the black pillow case from his head, revealing a triumphant smile. Two genin then helped Jonin-sama back to his feet, as the latter looked in the East German's direction.
"Imagine, Herr Petermann, if those quarrels had been bullets fired at someone far _less_ well-prepared than myself."
Petermann's shocked facial expression changed to a feral grin as the ninja master's words sank in.
"It looks as if the final phase of Ordnung: Mordred...can now proceed."