Victor Frank and Ivanna Legova
Victor Frank was born in the Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, in 1897. He gained a scholarship to Victoria University at the age of 16 and studied anthropology, archaeology and classics. His superior intellect saw him graduate at the age of 18, and on his birthday he enlisted as an officer in the Wellington regiment in order to serve in the Great War.
Vic saw plenty of service in the first half of 1918 and gained a reputation as a brave and capable leader of men. In his downtime he learned German and in the latter half of 1918 was moved to the staff. It was here that he was seconded to a classified section of the British Army, namely the Office for the Investigation of Strange Happenings, or OISH for short. He was introduced to a new war, the occult war, being waged in secret in the background.
Vic was put in charge of a mission to be flown into Germany and locate and destroy a laboratory in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) that was suspected of working on new terror weapons for Germany, akin to their chemical warfare programme. The team that Vic lead into Germany uncovered a project to create automatons out of the body parts of deceased soldiers. Vic’s team put the laboratory out of commission but the scientist in charge, Dr von Kleinewanger, managed to escape.
After several more similar missions the war ended and the New Zealand troops went home. Vic decided to stay in his work with OISH, which now faced even greater threats form the godless Communists of Russia. It was well known that Imperial Russia was in possession of many objects of great occult power, some of which had been captured by Germnay (the focus of at least 2 wartime missions for Vic) but others that were unaccounted for. Vic was despatched to Russia with a highly skilled team, and was soon engaged in a number of missions to thwart the Soviet Occultists. From the Caucasus to the Siberian wastes, to Africa and South America, Vic clashed with top Soviet agents,and none more bitterly than Commissar Ivan Legov.
Legov and Vic fought some famous battles, the British usually getting the better of their counterparts, until in 1931 Stalin suspended the operations of the Soviet Secret Investiagtions Committee (SIC). Vic retired from active service and took up a post lecturing at Oxford University. Not long after the First World War ended he had begun to drink in order to cope with some of the bizarre sights he had seen. Gradually he became an alcoholic, and ran into quite a bit of trouble from being intoxicated at inappropriate times, like in the middle of lectures. Fortunately, he was still incredibly lucid even when totally drunk, and his students loved him.
In 1936 OISH received a message from their old adversary, Commissar Legov. Legov said that he had noone else to turn to, and that he needed help. It turned out that Legov was a likely target of Stalin’s purges, due to his friendship with Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskii. Getting wind of this, Legov realised that his whole family was in danger, and was asking for help in defecting from Russia. He had turned to his old enemies and OISH was keen to gain his expertise.
With OISH short of agents due to budget restrictions, Vic was called back from retirement and asked to lead the team that would rescue Legov. Vic arrived too late to save Legov’s wife, but managed to get the Commissar and his daughter Ivanna out of Russia. But on arrival in London they were surprised by an NKVD agent and Legov was shot. Vic managed to defeat the Agent, but Legov was mortally wounded. As a last act he made peace with his old foe, and asked him to look after his teenage daughter. The only condition was that Vic had to raise her to maintain her Communist ideals. Vic soon found this was easy enough, as the 16 year old Ivanna could quote Marx and Lenin verbatim, and often fell into rants about the Capitalist Imperialist powers and their fundamental flaws. She didn’t like the decadence of the west, but she hated Stalin more, and so made up her mind to go along with the capitalist system until Stalin was removed and the world could become freely and happily Communist.
OISH now needed as much help as possible. The Occult threat had raised its head again, but this time the enemy was Nazi Germany. And the the Nazis were pouring huge resources into their Occult division. OISH was reluctant to enlist an alcoholic and a raving red into their field office, but the two ended up in a situation where they were fighting against the Nazis to recapture the Golden Fleece (a mission that Vic had already undertaken for OISH against Soviet Russia 18 years earlier). It was a stunning success. OISH were convinced. In 1937 Vic was asked to assemble a team and return to active service… after he finished his drink…