In the 1920s and 1930s, in the Quality Universe, the post-World War I hellscape of Europe spawned a significant number of Central European dictatorships, including: Aryania, Barbaria, Bothnia, Darmania, Dunland, Govania, Jarmania, Kampfland, Latavia, Nordicha, North Germany, Tuvania, Wurtberg, and others. When the Second World War began in earnest, all of these countries were not only admitted to the Axis Powers, but politically annexed and absorbed into Hitler's Nazi Germany. After WWII, none of these nations existed again.
In 1940, the Black Guards of Nordicha sought to provoke a war with the tiny, oil-rich, neighboring nation of Ruina, and to that end, sent agents to Ruina's capital Bailu, to gun down Ruina's Prime Minister, sparking an outbreak of riots and executions. Ruina's king meanwhile called for X-5, an American secret agent, to intervene. Using disguises and other espionage techniques, X-5 infiltrated the Nordichan Black Guards, and duped them into prematurely storming the palace, to abduct the king. But X-5's ambush plan also backfired on him, he ended up shot in the back and tumbling down a long flight of stairs. He survived to confront the Black Guards' leader, who did not survive their next encounter.
The main part of the very complicated Nordichan plan was to prevent a particular trainload of oil from being exported, from Ruina to Nordicha, before a critical deadline, thus providing a provocation for an invasion. The freight train's entire crew was in on the plan, and were setting fire to the oil tank cars while the train was in motion. They got all the cars ignited, but X-5 was able to use an overhead trackside sand hopper to extinguish all of the fires, and then deliver the oil, on time, averting the international crisis.