6

In The Atrocity Archives, part of the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross, the protagonist, Bob Howard finds a Kettenkrad on the other end of a portal.

Some kind of small vehicle, like a weird cross between a tank and a motorbike, is parked against the wall, dusty with a sprinkling that isn't snow.

Some time later, it's gone.

(...) the little half-track thing with a motorcycle's front wheel is missing.

But when

Bob gets home, there's a Kettenkrad engine on his kitchen table.

The front hall is full of petite tank tracks. They're about twenty centimetres wide, covered in dried-up mud, and run past the hulking Victorian coat rack and the living room door to stop just short of the kitchen.

(...)

There's most of an engine block on the kitchen table.

Later it's confirmed that this is the engine block of a Kettenkrad, belonging to one of Bob's housemates.

Where does it come from?


Reading back, I think I just read too much into the missing and resurfacing Kettenkrad, excluding the possibility that it's just a weird coincidence. Also, I thought Morris to be one of the casualties.

8

The implication is that the soldier Morris took it as a souvenir.

"Cool, I always wanted a Kettenkrad," someone remarks on the common channel.

"Morris, shut the fuck up; the cylinder heads are probably vacuum welded anyway. Chaitin, check out the doors. Scary Spice, cover with the M40."

then

Someone's parked that electric trolley next to the wall, but the little half-track thing with a motorcycle's front wheel is missing. "Someone taking souvenirs?" I ask.

A burst of static that I just about decode as "What?" tells me that the interference is worse than before; I glance up and see red stars, a dull red swirl of galaxy overhead . . . a distinct pink tinge to the moon, in fact.

I point at where the Kettenkrad was parked. "There, it's gone," I say. "Who took it?"

Chaitin shrugs.

Since Brains is a member of the same organisation as Bob, and something of a mechanical wizard (although not literally), he's clearly been given the engine to fix by the light-fingered soldier...

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