The Unforgiving Minute

Featuring the following NPCs:

Originally Posted by Harry Finn/04-13-2009 08:23:37 AM

Demarais Farm
.62 miles northwest of Montauban, France
4:29 AM - Saturday, June 3, 1944

“Bugger this for a game of soldiers,” George Colthurst mutttered, ignoring Mal’s sidelong glance. “What do they think this is? A day at the fair?”

Jawara wisely said nothing and Montand couldn’t respond to the English-phrased question.

Harry checked his watch, making a subtle adjustment to the translator within, while noting the time with a grimace. Almost half-five in the morning and at long last the trio had arrived at the Demarais barn… little thanks to the painstakingly circumspect Jean-Pierre. By 0340, the XO/Major had decided that if the wiry little man took just one more step off the compass point Harry knew led to the farm, he’d shoot the fellow and be done with it.

He was almost sure he’d have used the M23.

But Montand, perhaps sensing Colthurst’s intent, had remained on course and now they were here, along with probably three dozen men: ill dressed, unshaven and reeking of months spent in the wild. These were not the sédentaires: those who trained in the forests then returned to their civilian lives until the time came for a full uprising. These men lived in the wild, wreaking what small havoc they could upon the Bosche who’d taken over their country. They were rough, they were hard and they were reportedly merciless.

And at the moment they were having a party; dancing and singing and proudly displaying to one another the largesse of armaments dropped from l’avion noir. Amusingly, a few of the men had draped themselves in the cargo’s parachutes, silk being an unheard of luxury in occupied France and no doubt these parachutes were well on their way to becoming the latest in Resistance underwear.

But that wasn’t what concerned Harry.

“You don’t want to be playing with that,” Colthurst advised quietly, separating one of the machine guns from a carousing maquisard who looked to be all of fifteen. He shifted the cocking mechanism to Safe, removed the magazine and tossed it to Jawara, who fielded it without a flinch, while George retained the gun. The move had been so smooth that the French lad didn’t realize he’d been divested of his prize until after it was gone.

Striding past the gaping teen, Harry found Fournier’s famed truck and leapt up onto the bed, trying to spy anyone in the mess of humanity who might be considered in charge. Below him, Wekesa and Montand took opposite sides of the fender and likewise scanned the room. If Montand recognized his cell’s commander, he showed no sign of it.

“Écoutez en haut!” Finn’s voice cut across the party. Perhaps five men turned to see who was addressing them.

Harry leaned over the truck. “How likely is it a patrol is near enough to hear a gun shot?" he asked Montand.

Jean-Pierre jumped at the sudden spate of French from the Anglaise. It was clear, he realized, that the Major had understood far more than he let on, during their long trek. "Not likely at all,” he said, then grinned up at the man, “You noticed we took the long way round… just to be sure.”

Sure there were no Nazis about, or sure that Colthurst and Jawara were who they claimed to be? “Excellent,” was all he said, then drew the Colt with his left hand and sent a single percussive shot into the empty hay loft. It had the desired effect: in less time than he would have thought, about twenty-three of the Armée Secrète’s new submachine guns were pointing his way. “Major George Colthurst, des Opérations Spéciales Exécutives,” he introduced himself smoothly, holstering the Colt and nodding towards Mal, “that there is Lieutenant,” he kept the British pronunciation of ‘leftenant’ in tact, just to rile the locals, “Malik Jawara of the Senegalese Rifles. And those are our guns you lot are humping right now so listen up…”

There were a few angry murmurs but gratitude for the weapons won out over Gallic pride. They listened, “Premier,” Harry said, raising the Sten and holding it sideways, “this is a Sten submachine gun. It is also a cantankerous bitch. It will kill you as quick as the Bosche if you do not respect that fact. You must keep it clean, keep it oiled and keep it loaded but do NOT cock it unless you are in the process of killing a Nazi. If you keep any of these bitches cocked when you are not shooting at Nazi’s, she’s just as like to shoot off your foot, your face or, should you be unfastening your trousers to take a leak…”

He left that unspoken image to simmer for a moment, then moved on.

“Deuxième,” he slid the gun down by his leg and pointed to another series of crates, “those boxes contain radios, plastique and detonators. They are not to be used without my or Lieutenant Wakara’s permission. There are targets and timetables which must be adhered to, once we receive the go from the Chiefs. For now, you will learn to shoot, strip, clean and assemble the guns, as well as unjam them in the midst of a firefight. Jawara here will also be coaching any who need in the arming and detonation of the plastique.

“Troisième,” his eyes cut across the mass, “I need to speak to your leader. Who is in command, here?”

“Oh, well,” Montand’s grin widened as, with a wink to Lt. Jawara, he leapt onto the truck’s bed to join Colthurst, “That would be me.”

There was a breathless space in which the two considered one another. Finally, “You speak English,” from Colthurst.

“And you speak French,” Jean-Pierre replied. Then, in a voice meant only for George, “It seems, Monsieur Anglaise, we both carry secrets. Perhaps it is time we shared them with one another.”


Originally Posted by Jenny Anderson/04-14-2009 01:15:01 PM

::4 Kilometers Northeast of Parville::
::1:57 PM - Sunday, June 4, 1944::

"I ain't taking the scenic route on this mission," the Iotian said as he pulled Jenny into the lift. "I'm doing my part then coming straight back to the ship," Ben explained, waiting for the doors to close before kissing Jenny. "Straight back to you, no detours this time." His lips met her full, red lips again, this kiss was deeper and his arms tightened around her body.

Several fairly scenic moments passed before the computer's crisp voice broke in, almost primly requesting their destination. "Nine… deck nine," Jenny gasped out as she held tightly to Ben and the knowledge that, yes, this was something… someone… she would fight for.

"No detours for you, either" Ben stated as his lips placed butterfly kisses down her neck. "Do the job," he said, using her mantra, "then come back..I'll be here..waiting for you."

About eleven hours and 24,000 kilometers away from that memory, a thoroughly rain-drenched Jenny Anderson hunched in a clump of brush, waiting out the passage of yet another pair of German soldiers. As she fought down the shivers which accompanied the rain, she silently apologized to Ben wherever he was. Not that her wanderings had been intentional but, since leaving the de Rouen farm some seven hours past, she’d been making one detour after another… all to avoid the seemingly endless round of Nazi’s crisscrossing the region.

And even though they couldn’t all have been for Lissete, Jenny couldn’t risk a confrontation… not with what she now carried. She quietly put a hand to the pack she’d taken, inside of which was the soft-sided market basket Stores had created, and within the basket were the several loaves of hard-crusted bread DeMarcus Green had baked, by hand, for her cover. And within those were stuffed about four kilograms of plastique and a half-dozen pencil detonators.

The M23 was in her hand.

My name is Bond… Jane Bond…

Endless moments later, the two-man patrol had rounded the curve in the road. Jenny counted to a hundred, then counted to a hundred again before slipping out of the small stand of hawthorn. Two breathless minutes later, she entered the canopied stretch of forest which would take her the roundabout way to Aulney-sur-Iton.

A quick check of Driskill’s compass confirmed her direction and with a hitch of the pack, she began quietly moving through the mossy cavern of green, feeling for all the world like…

“Look who we have, here,” a rough voice growled from behind, followed by the telltale slide and click of a round being chambered. “It's Little Red Riding Hood, off to visit her grand-mère.”

Originally Posted by T'Shaini/04-14-2009 04:22:46 PM

Woods outside of Caen

Loaded down with the cumbersome equipment, the four, led by Andre, hastened away from their previous camp making as little noise as possible. Other than the snapping twigs beneath their feet only the labored breath marked their passage through the dank, primordial terrain. T'Shaini caught herself sliding on wet leaves and narrowly avoided twisting an ankle trying to right herself, no matter what, they must not damage the radio and the 20th century wires and glass tubing were far more fragile than the tech she was accustomed to. They had been making good progress, traveling for about 2 hours when T'Shaini stopped short, put her hand on Nils arm and cocked her head to the side.

The Bajoran CO took meaning of her warning immediately. Her sensitive Vulcan ears had picked something out of the ordinary on through the night sounds. Her ability to deconstruct the white noise of the falling rain and hear anything beyond a few feet's distance astounded him. He tugged her along slowly so they didn't lag to far behind Andre and he went for a 'cigarette'.

"What is it," he asked as he began taking readings on the altered tricorder.

T'Shaini grimaced. “For all I know it is Pasteur or another 'jungle goat', all I can tell you is that I can hear something following from eastward..and they are closing the distance.”

“Confirmed,” said Nils as he scanned his modified tricorder. “Four humanoid life forms approaching from east south east…” He sighed deeply as a look of concern crossed his face. “The readings are muddled and they shouldn’t be.”

"Muddled?" 'Marie' looked over her shoulder and signaled Andre and Giles to hold their positions. "Interference? That cannot be from German technology, can it?"

“It can not,” admitted Nils as he visually scanned the undergrowth in the direction of the anomalous readings. “And generally I’d say the data is too inconclusive to make a determination, but in light of our mission…” He paused and looked at the Counselor. “We should either pick up our pace or find a place to make a stand.”

"Do we have a hope of out running them?" She asked with a gesture to their packs.

“No,” he stated quite plainly. “They’re already gaining.” The tricorder suddenly lost coherence and warbled into static. The Bajoran turned towards Andre and Giles and sprinted in their direction. “We should find a place to rest,” he said as he quickly surveyed their surroundings.

T'Shaini knew what Nils was trying to do, but they did not have the luxury of time regardless of his concern about how the young frenchmen would perceive how they obtained their knowledge. "They are to be trusted…" She watched a flash of concern sweep across the Bajoran's face as it looked as if she were about to divulge their true identity. "We are being pursued, I need you two to make sure the radio is preserved while we," She said, slinging the pack from her shoulders. "take care of who ever it is that is following us." She handed her pack to Giles while Andre relieved Nils of his. Andre looked as if he wanted to argue, but Marie's position brooked no argument. "Quickly, go north west for ten minutes then wait, if we do not join you in a half an hour, go continue on until you can set up camp again."

Mildly stricken, Nils swallowed his reservations and nodded to the two men. Regardless of their Starfleet positions, Marie was clearly in charge in the resistance. “Go,” he urged them on. With only the slightest hesitation, they obeyed. Nils wondered if he should follow to make certain Andre would be safe, but he knew holding off whomever followed them was the priority. “Keep your eyes open,” he said to T’Shaini as he took cover behind a tree.

"Sorry…" T'Shaini whispered as soon as the young men were gone. "I…well….sorry."

The darkness hid the Bajoran’s smile as he hunkered down. “No need to be sorry, Marie. Down here you’re…” A flash of light and a stream of particle energy illuminated the forest and a bush disintegrated in a small plasma storm and cut off Nils attempt at humor. He dropped to one knee and returned fire, almost randomly. “Ah damn…” he cursed, switching his rifle to ‘phased’ mode.

T'Shaini stilled, rifle in hand and waited. She could hear the Terra Prime operatives shifting through the underbrush to flush she and Nils from their cover. Sipping in a long slow breath the Vulcan held it to listen and was rewarded by thepreternaturally loud crack of a branch beneath a careless foot. Sliding gracefully from behind the tree, she let out the breath and fired. In the darkness all she knew was that a figure dropped to the ground and ceased to move. Biting back the nausea that the wet thud of his fall caused, she ducked back behind the tree.

One down, thought Nils as he quickly burst from behind his own cover and fired off a few ‘random’ shots. Movement caught his eye off to the right and he shifted and rearranged himself to fire off a few more less random shots. The shadow in the distance crumpled as his phaser bolt connected. “And thank you Usher Tenanji,” whispered Nils to himself. His training sessions in holodeck clearly benefited the Captain who once struggled with hitting the dorsal view of a starship from forty meters.

Zealous they may be, but the Terra Prime operatives…at least these, did not seem to be all that skilled in combat. Or maybe they had just underestimated the Chimera crew. Whatever the reasons, T'Shaini was grateful for the result as another figure dropped to the ground.

Feeling utterly confident in himself, Nils jumped from his perch and called, “Cover me,” as he dashed into the darkness. Bolts of energy flashed by his head and singed the foliage around him. Not until he was halfway to his objective did he realize how haphazard the action had been. In the hysteria of the moment he chuckled and thought, Javi would be proud.

T'Shaini swung the rifle towards his voice, holding to make sure she did not shoot at him in attempting to acquiesce to his request.

Nils slid on one knee and turned around a thick underbrush firing madly into the spot where the final Terra Prime member lay hidden. Only, the terrorist was not there. And the CO had given away his position. He rolled onto his back, but it was too late. A tall man stood over him and leveled his gun at the Bajoran’s face. A moment of joy erupted in his chest as he anticipated seeing Jillian.

Time slowed and he chastised himself for such a strange reaction. He had no idea that death had become a seductive mistress but he prepared for the inevitable…

Then the tall man crumpled and feel to the ground. In his place, stood one pissed off looking Vulcan counselor.

"I could not be certain of your position, so firing on him was not an option." T'Shaini looked down at her hand and shook it. "I do not believe I have ever done that…certainly not outside of a training ring."

For a moment, the young man just laid there and peered up at the Lt. Commander. “The Vulcan Nerve Pinch? You never cease to amaze me, T’Shaini…” Hauling himself from the ground he fought off the unnerving sense of disappointment that he’d survived. He considered bringing it up with the counselor but decided that it wasn’t the time. “Let’s catch up with Andre and Giles,” he said as he dusted himself off. “Hopefully they missed the lightshow…”

"Well, I certainly hope they did…I would hate to have to use 'the pinch' on them as well…" T'Shaini said, waving her clawed hand at Nils like a Terran T Rex, feeling considerable lighter at the surmounted obstacle.

Oh yeah…we bad.

Originally Posted by Simba Wekesa/04-14-2009 11:43:01 PM

Cellar of the Demarais Home
.62 miles northwest of Montauban, France
4:29 AM - Saturday, June 3, 1944

In the dank basement, three men considered one another by the dim light of a candle. The small taper had done double duty, lighting the English cigarette's Colthurst had passed about before they'd settled around the table. Now he leaned back, quietly smoking and waiting for Montand to speak.

Simba leaned forward and propped his chin on his hands as he rested his elbows on the table, trying to conceal his own anxiety and give off the right mix of calm and confidence that Jawara would have. He wondered at Finn's ability to take on Colthurt's persona so thoroughly, then took a drag of his cigarette and slowly blew the smoke out through his nose. Montand had taken several large rolls of paper from a cabinet on the wall and was spreading them out on the table's surface, revealing a map of the region.

The Frenchman paused for a moment and studied the map, whose creased and worn surface indicated that its details had been examined many times before. "We are in a uniquely important position," he began slowly in heavily-accented English. "As I am sure you already know, any German movements between the north and south will most likely pass through Toulouse, meaning that they will also pass very near to us here and will no doubt make use of the fuel and ammunition depot in Montauban."

Harry allowed a slow stream of smoke to fall from his lips before leaning forward, "No doubt we do… otherwise we'd not be here, at all." He then tapped the map, considering, before rising to stride about the small space, "However, before we consider what targets we are to take out," he glanced back at Jawara, "I want to know what you're hiding. I want to know why you, the leader of this cell, were not at the set rendezvous and why you meant to shoot us at our landing site."

"Time for secrets then," Montand offered the young lieutenant a small shrug before he straightened to face the major. "Though it is only a secret from my own people… most of my own people. We have captured a Milice agent… Emile Girard is the name he is using… and it is our belief he was to contact…" here the man fell silent.

"One of your people?" Finn inserted quietly before dropping the remains of his cigarette and crushing it out with his boot.

Montand nodded solemnly, then leaned in closer and lowered his voice. "Only a few of my most trusted associates know of my suspicion, but I have reason to believe that we have been… compromised. I do not know who it is or to what end, but we must find out." He paused and made a face as though he'd just smelled a spoiled camembert. "This occupation has been a dark time. We are a proud people, and the Germans have made us second class citizens in our own country. We have all suffered for many years. The people on this farm are more than just my countrymen, they are my brothers. I can't understand how any of them could betray us all on the eve of our liberation."

Colthurst merely shrugged, "Fear, lust, greed… love, if the Adwehr holds someone's family over them. There is no point in speculating why… the time is too short. And you'd best stop trusting even your closest associates," he pulled up the sleeve of his jacket and shirt to reveal a series of scars… some long and thin, others small round puckers… burn marks. "I owe these to one of my most trusted associates…" He left that hanging and crossed back to the map, knowing what the target would be, and when it was to go up but as Harry, not George. "Your men must be prepared to move on the instant… should we get the go from Command. That's why Mal is here… to get them up to snuff…"

"When my own country was under Vichy control, we had to take out many similar targets before the Allies were able to successfully drive the collaborators out. Your men have done very well, but it's going to be necessary to take bigger, bolder moves if the liberation is to succeed." He took another puff of his cigarette. "They must become soldiers, and learn to work not alone but as a team. We must strike quickly, precisely, and with the element of surprise."

"You make it sound as though we'll be taking on the entire German army," Montand replied gruffly.

Malik took a final drag from his cigarette and pulled it out from between his lips, studying the softly glowing ashes for a moment before tossing it to the floor. He smiled slightly, almost mischievously. "For all practical purposes, Monsieur, we will be. It will take months for the invasion troops to reach here in any real numbers, and our ability to halt the Germans here may have a tremendous impact on their success. All we have to rely on is ourselves. The bravery, motivation, and local familiarity of your men, and the experience of Major Colthurst and myself… but it will be enough if we plan our actions precisely."

"And prevent word of those actions reaching the Gestapo," Harry added darkly. "This Girard of yours… where is he and how much has he told you thus far?"

At that there was a shift in Montand's features. Finn actually thought he was… embarrassed. "He is in a cottage… one we have never used as a safe house and… and so far all he told me was that his contact would be waiting for him… at the location where we found one another."

Harry and Simba looked at one another, understanding lighting in both their eyes. "Well… I suppose his lie was our good luck," George said. "But now we need to discover the truth. One thing," he looked into the maquisard's eyes long and hard, "what makes you believe you have a traitor in your ranks? What," he added, his voice getting rather, difficult, "would make it worth my… questioning… this man you've taken?" Not that there was any way out of it… it had happened, after all.

Montand stuffed his hands in his pockets, "A few things… a meeting place we used was raided, just after we'd left… supplies have dried up… some of the friends we had in town have… disappeared. No one outside the cell would have known where and who to pinpoint."

Malik frowned. "I can certainly see where you would suspect a collaborator. But it still raises the question of how they could possibly have known precisely where we would land." He cut a glance to Colthurst, knowing that they were both thinking the same thing, and trying to hint at it without being too obvious.

Harry gave a quick shake of the head… if the fellow in custody were Terra Prime, he'd know soon enough but it wasn't something they could let on to Montand. "Bad luck," he grunted, "given we didn't even know we would be landing there," he added as a reminder of their 'off course' status.

"Let's hope our luck is better in the days to come, then. Though it appears that our bad luck turned out conveniently enough for the moment," Malik replied, looking back at the Maquisard. "Time is very short, though, and we cannot afford to have any more bad luck. We need to stop at nothing to find this individual. And, more to the point, we can't tell anyone our specific plans. Nobody who does not absolutely need to know." He sat upright and leaned over the table, studying the map under the dim flicker of the candle. "Where do you suggest that we concentrate to slow the Germans down?"

Montand took a moment to look at the map, then pointed to two different points along the river. "Both of these bridges are along major roads, and we probably have enough men and explosives to take them out. That would certainly slow them down."

"Slow them down, yes, but what we need is to grind their war machine to a halt. If we take out those bridges, they can simply use one of these other routes." Malik pointed at several other locations on the map. "And we have no way of knowing which road they would take. We need to think bigger." He paused for a moment and then circled a location on the outskirts of the town with his finger. "We should consider the supply depot here. We would destroy the local fuel supply and a lot of their equipment and cripple the railroad line. It would take them days to move in enough replacement supplies to get the Panzers moving again." Malik sat back in his chair and looked over at Montand, who seemed nervous at the idea of such a large and well-defended target.

George watched the internal struggle and decided he'd need to add some weight to the younger man's argument. "It's a solid target," he agreed, as if considering it carefully, "And has the benefit of rousing the populace to your side, once done. A great success early on will feed the resistance… and bring more supplies, more of our operatives and more volunteers to your cause." He didn't mention the reprisals which would also be born of the bold attack. The villages burned, the children slaughtered… there was still so much darkness yet to come, before the French people came back to the light.

"For now," he added, focusing on George's needs, not Harry's, "where is your radioman? I have to give him the codes we'll be waiting for… not the meaning… not until we find your mole, but he needs the codes. Then," he looked at Wekesa and envied the younger man's assignment, "then I'll want to meet this Girard fellow…"

A joint venture between George, Malik, and our new friend Montand

Originally Posted by Javier Costala/04-16-2009 01:09:06 AM

-2 miles East of Picauville-
-June 6, 1944, 0548-

The small group of soldiers had avoided patrols all morning and managed to arrive at the Picauville intersection withe the group intact. Javier and the other paratroopers secured the causeway, waiting in a muddy ditch as the sun rose feebly in the east. The engineer wiped the face of the ancient chronometer free of grime and noted the hour. "The landings will begin soon," he remarked to the others. What they had initially thought to be thunder in the north-east was actually the naval artillery barrage battering at the mined beaches and German coastal defenses.

"Do ya think our guys will win?" one of the paratroopers from the 101st asked him. The man's name was Edward Bailey and he'd said he was from South Philly. "I mean, I know they'll fight hard.." Private Bailey frowned and stopped speaking.

"Can't really tell at this stage," the transport pilot said. For some reason the man looked nervous but Javier knew that they were all anxious to link up with their units. And he was probably expecting to be home in England by now. the engineer thought to himself as he watched the man. The pilot had been fidgeting for the past hour. Javier had noticed that the pilot, who had introduced himself as Second Lieutenant William Arnold when asked, could never stay in one place. Even as he studied the man, Arnold's leg began to twitch in an anxious rhythm. The pilot had gone through at least half a pack of cigarettes in an hour's time.

"I figure we're gonna whoop them Krauts' asses," Rice commented from his position near the lip of the ditch. The soldier who claimed to 'hail' from somewhere called 'Are-can-saw' was chewing on a blade of grass while he watched the intersection. Rice's bazooka was laying next to him and the rocket ammo for the weapon were stacked close at hand. Javier had no doubt the paratrooper would unleash hell on whatever German vehicle traveled the road that morning.

"What do you think Lieutenant? You think we can beat these Germans? They've beaten almost every army in Europe," the soft-spoken Nebraskan named John Flint asked the person impersonating Malcolm Branden.

"Too bad none of the battles were fair fights," Bailey interrupted, "The Krauts never fought no one with an army that matches their own."

"Until now," Rice chimed in, his eyes on the road. "There's a car a-comin'."

Four pairs of eyes were on the road almost immediately. The car was some distance away and Javier instinctively reached to where his tricorder would have been before realizing he didn't have the instrument with him. Idiot. the Starfleet officer thought as he took a pair of binoculars from the pack he carried. "It's a German command car," Javier informed the others as he focused on the vehicle and the trademark Iron Cross on the door of the car. "Get that bazooka ready Corporal," he ordered. 'Branden' heard a rocket being loaded in the pipe of the weapon, the metallic fins scraping along the tube's interior. He could see two people in the car. Klausen and his driver..

"Wait for my signal, then open fire," Javier told the paratroopers before he heard Arnold speak.

"I'm sorry I can't allow you to do this.."

Turning to face the man, Javier heard rifle fire and saw Rice crumple forward as he was shot in the back. Bailey, tugging at the pin of the rocket, fell to the ground as he was shot in the side. The rifle barked in the ditch and Flint took a bullet as he turned to face the pilot. Javier found himself staring down the barrel of the M1 Garand. Arnold's eyes were blazing with anger and..hatred Javier realized as he stared at the pilot.

"See what happens when you interfere!" William Arnold growled at Javier. "Three men killed! Three Humans! Because of you and Starfleet's alien agenda." Arnold said as he leveled the rifle at the engineer and leaned forward, the kill in his eyes.

Javier looked upon Death's visage.

Originally Posted by Jenny Anderson/04-16-2009 11:36:56 AM

::3.8 Kilometers Northeast of Parville::
::2:39 PM - Sunday, June 4, 1944::

“Look who we have, here,” a rough voice growled from behind, followed by the telltale slide and click of a round being chambered. “It's Little Red Riding Hood, off to visit her grand-mère.”

“Monsieur… s'il vous plaît… you don’t need to shoot…”

“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Drop your weapon and turn around, Little Red,” the gruff voice continued, “Let me see your face.”

She did as he asked, wincing as her sidearm splashed down into a puddle. Jameson was going to kill her… well, if this guy didn’t do it for him. Turning, she found herself looking up, wayyy up, into the face of… “Un ours!”

At that, the man burst out laughing, though he didn’t put down the gun. “My second wife said much the same,” he told her, chortling. “A bear, she called me… but with worse manners.” He rubbed a hand over his gnarled beard. “And less patience. What brings you to these woods, Little Red? Not your grand-mère, I think.”

Jenny shook her head, eyes wide on his, “No but… it would… I shouldn’t say.”

“If you took that pack from the man I was to meet, you should say… if you had anything to do with him not meeting me, you should say you are sorry.” The growl became, again, as menacing as any true bear’s.

“I am sorry,” she said, “for he is dead. He died… he died while he and I hid from the patrol which had already killed his men. He… and my father,” her voice broke then… it didn’t matter that Benoit hadn’t been her own father, or that she’d spoken only five words to young Frank Driskill. "My father… he was burned,” she explained in a choked whisper, memories crashing upon memories in the rain-drenched forests of the past.

“de Rouen,” he muttered, “We’d heard of this…” Eyes so dark they were almost black considered her, “And now… what do you mean to do?” the bear asked, not unkindly, though she noted his gun didn’t waver.

“Now I will go to Aulney-sur-Iton,” she said, firmly, “and I will finish the lieutenant’s work.”

“A little slip like you?”

“Not so little,” she replied, with real anger. This was her mission and by God she meant to complete it. “He showed me how… I know what to do and I know where to do it…” When Monsiuer L’Ours merely looked skeptical she added, “They burned him… while I was hiding only a few meters away… they burned him to find this,” she gestured towards the pack, “He died for it… they all did…. Monsieur…”

“Maurice,” he said, softly, finally lowering his weapon. “You may call me that… of the Saint Sebastien cell.”

“Maurice… I have to do this thing…”

“Yes,” he nodded, “you do. My men and I are committed elsewhere and that bridge must come down. I was only to set Driskill and his team onto the correct road.”

Relief ran through her limbs faster than the rain which continued to fall but, “I cannot take the road,” she told him.

“Not that one,” Maurice gruffed as he holstered his Walther and nodded to her to retrieve her own gun. “The road through the forest,” he pointed to the tree next to him, “See this… here?”

Taking up her M23, Jenny joined him at the side of the ancient oak, where there was a small mark… a fleur-de-lis, carved below a man’s knee level. She looked up, waiting.

“You will follow the trees which carry this sign. Stay as close to them as possible and try — very hard you have to try — to not move from a marked tree until you’ve spied the next mark. It is important that you do this, that you stay on the path Little Red, for the Germans have mined the forest.”

Swallowing against a mouth gone suddenly dry, Jenny nodded, “Stay on the path. Yes.”

“Very good.” Maurice the bear smiled at her and his grin was no less disconcerting than his frown, filled as it was with blackened, ragged, teeth. “There is your first step,” he pointed to another oak, this one younger.

“Merci,” she said, then turned to step, rather warily, towards her first signpost.

“Be careful, Little Red,” she heard but, when she turned to say good-bye, the bear was already gone… faded into the greenery as if he’d never been.

By now I bet everyone knows they're speaking French.

Originally Posted by Emily Star/04-17-2009 05:25:13 AM


The moon cast an eerie shadow over the town, greeting them with a ghostly glow. Emily took in the buildings and the surrounding, now black, forest. Her eyes fell on the steeple of the church that stood as the centre of the town.

David stopped and pointed in the direction of the church,"It is beautiful. That Chuch has been a haven for hundreds of years. A beacon for all who believe and seek shelter. " David said quietly as they walked past,"Do you believe?"

Emily cocked her head and looked at him,"Believe in?"

"Believe in our Savior, Jesus Christ." David gave her an odd look, "OH! I get it…I am sorry. I didn't think! With the arguement of religions I can understand why you would be hesitant. I promise I won't judge based on your choice of religion. Whether Reformed or Catholic. It is the same God we both serve. "

Emily didn't really know how to respond without offending. The only faith that had been in her family was the one her father felt was appropriate to keep her in check. They moved through his commandments and rules depending on how the times edited them. She'd had friends who attended church and invited her along once in awhile but she wasn't interested. Her teenage years and even StarFleet years were difficult enough without adding more rules of how to be and how not to be.

Even in space, as they met new races with their own goverments and belief systems. Emily found it easier to categorize them and label them according to their similarities than to ever think of following one.

"I am sorry. I've made you uncomfortable..again.." he said, interrupting her thoughts, "It is a very forward question and a personal one as well."

[color="darkslateblue"]"Not really," [color="darkslateblue"]she said shrugging,"I was just thinking of how to respond. Truth is, I've seen too much to believe that one being is in charge of it all. If there is one in charge, he has a horrible sense of logic and his decisions of what is right and wrong are skewed." she thought back to the documentaries she'd seen on the Q, having wished to meet a Q in person so much as a young cadet. Their 'god like' powers caused chaos and pain throughout the known and unknown universe. Why would she pray to something like that?

"In times like these faith is easily extinguished." he stopped infront of one of the buildings," That home was Daniel Trocmé's. He was a local teacher. A good man, with a strong faith. Last year, he was arrested by the German Police and sent to a camp. We recieved news of his death less than two months later."

"Why arrest a teacher?" Emily asked.

"Five of the students were identified as Jews." he simply said and walked on.

Emily watched him walk, a sudden change in his posture. Death had been to this town many times and no life was left untouched. She could feel it. Willing her feet to move she hurried to catch up with him. No other words were said until he stopped at a house on the corner and opened the door, ,"After you…"

Emily entered the house, primitive in comparison to what she grew up in. The interior wasn't decorated, the walls showed their age and the few bright colors around the room were fading. No televisions, no radios, no computers and very few personal decorations.

"Sorry, its not much but it keeps one warm." David shut the door quietly.

"You live here alone?" she asked.

"Now I do. I use to live with my mother and sister but…" His eyes seemed fixated on an unknown place, lost in a spec of dust as his mind went elsewhere. Emily could sense his loss, could almost read the pain in his features.

"It's ok, I understand." she said with a small smile, touching his shoulder gently.

He nodded and walked over to another door,"You can sleep in here, kitchens down the hallway. There's some bread and water, not sure if the fruits any good."

"Thank you," she said interrupting him,"It's fine and I'm more than grateful just to rest my feet."

"They hurt?" he asked, his eyes darting to he feet.

"A little.." she nodded, shifting on them a little. She suddenly became aware of the pain after acknowledging it.

"One moment," he disappeared down the hall for a second before returning with a basin of water, a cloth and a tin, "Let me see."

Emily sat down and bent down to undo her shoe laces, grimacing in pain. The tiny bit of pressure she had to use to undo the laces and touch the shoes caused fire to coarse up and down her ankle.

"May I?" he asked quietly.

"Its a little embarassing. I'm not use to strangers touching my feet." she said before adding,"But it would be appreciated."

David didn't reply, instead he simply lent down and gently removed both her shoes. Her toes were bleeding and raw from chaffing against the solid leather, her heels wore a band of blisters and her ankles were bruised from falling.

"It looks as if you're a child learning to run," he laughed quietly, bringing the basin underneath her feet and gently placing them inside the cold water. Emily yelped a little at the cold water and the feeling of having it hitting her sores.

"Something like that." she nodded,"I guess I haven't done as much walking as I should have."

"Its dangerous." he scowled,"You should be more careful"

"I'm looking for someone." she said quietly,"I have to find her, my feet will heal in time."

"Your aunt?" he said with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes..if you must know."she wiggled a sore toe in the water,"She disappeared, I heard rumour that she might be around here and my mother would cry a little less if she knew how she was."

"Family..I understand that well. I'll help if I can. If you want..that is." he said taking her feet out and placing them on the towel.

"You've already done too much." she said wincing as he rubbed a salve from the tin on her toes, heel and ankle.

"There's no such thing as too much." he said quietly, looking at her feet instead of her eyes,"I am called to help, it's my duty to my God and I feel no burden in doing it."

"Your god expects you to put yourself out for strangers?" she said with a roll of her eyes,"Sounds like a good way to welcome trouble."

"I don't hear your feet complaining." he said looking up,"Are you going to bring me trouble?"

Emily wasn't sure what was going to happen. There was no way of knowing or saying. She had to protect Virginia Hall, had to find her and keep her alive. Had to let that amazing woman do whatever she needed to.

"I can't say," she smiled slightly,"Your definition of trouble might be my different than mine."

David nodded and gently dried any excess water from her feet. He then quietly stood up and brought the basin and tin back into the kitchen. Outside the wind howled, a sound Emily wasn't use to hearing. THere was no wind on Starships. There were no strange animal noises. Even with growing up on Earth the sound was so foreign.

"Here, lean on me. We don't want your feet to get too dirty walking across the floor. Especially with that salve on." grabbing her arm gently he wrapped it around his neck.

"Thanks." she said, pulling her body up trying to put as little pressure on her feet as possible.

"Your aunt, what's she look like?" David asked while helping her towards the bed.

"She's a large lady, sometimes has a limp but not very noticible. I heard she's staying in an attic around here. In a farmhouse." she saw a change come over his features,'he knows..'

"Ah, yes..I have heard of someone who matches that description. I didn't know about the attic though." he let her go, helping her settle in,"Rest, in the morning the sun will help us find the woman your looking for."

Emily nodded and rested her head against the pillow. An uneasy feeling growing in her stomach. David knew something, there was a sudden change in the feeling she got when around him. Suddenly Emily wasn't so sure she'd met an angel..perhaps a devil in disquise.

Originally Posted by Harry Finn/04-17-2009 08:43:54 AM

Cellar of the Demarais Home
.62 miles northwest of Montauban, France
5:28 AM - Saturday, June 3, 1944

*The following scene is spoken entirely in French.

While Wekesa was organizing the munitions and setting up his strike teams, Harry waited in the basement to speak with Montand’s radio man. He had only the one, it seemed, the second being one of the ‘disappeared’ the cell’s leader had mentioned earlier.

“I heard you were looking for me.”

He started at the sound of the voice… the surprisingly feminine voice. “I’m almost certain I wasn’t,” George said, taking in the view.

The view laughed and continued to descend the staircase in a way which made Harry think he should order up some stairs on the Chimera, just to get Kerrin to walk down them. He told himself to get a grip as the view was speaking, again.

“Perhaps not specifically, but you wanted to speak to Jean-Pierre’s radio operator… I am called Odile,” she paused, considering him. “I hope you are not disappointed by my sex?”

He almost choked, “No, not disappointed at all, just, a bit ahh… Odile,” he repeated her name as the flaxen blonde approached, “that’s quite a pretty name. Did you choose it?” The way she’d introduced herself, it was clear that Odile was her nom de guerre… a way of keeping her family safe in case of capture.

“It was chosen for me, but I enjoy the contradiction.” At his blank expression she smiled, “Odile… she is the black swan in the ballet.” A pretty moue appeared as his expression remained perplexed, “Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Odile was the black to Odette’s white, evil to her good… Odile is the one who tempts the prince away from his love and betrays them all.”

“Fascinating,” he said, though it wasn’t the ballet he was referring to. “Major George Colthurst,” he added, hoping to reinstate some level of formality… or distance.

“A pleasure, Major.” Odile crossed to the table and noticed the pack of cigarettes which lay upon it. After looking to Colthurst for permission, she took one and then leaned over the candle to light it.

Harry’s brain went blank.

Turning back to him, exhaling that first, languid sigh of smoke, she was amused to see his eyes dart upwards again.

“Have no fear, Major, I am not offended by your looking.”

“And, I assure you, I am not offended by what I see,” he replied, wondering how a woman like this survived with the rough and ready crowd he’d met in the barn, earlier.

“Nor am I,” Odile’s eyes, blue as early morning, took in the Anglaise where he stood so very still, “Perhaps, when our work is done, we may find time to do more than look.”

Shit, crap, fu…. “Perhaps,” George said, “when all the work is done,” he redirected the apotheosis of bombshell to the table, withdrawing a folded sheet of paper from his jacket. “But first, these are the codes you’ll need to learn, and the hours to expect transmissions. Each code indicates a different objective and timeframe, which either myself or Lieutenant Jawara will translate upon receipt.”

All business, Odile sat and began to review the codes, and the response she was to send upon their receipt, so that the FANY’s* would know the message hadn’t been intercepted by the Nazis. She studied them for a few moments while Harry watched quietly, then gave a short nod and pushed the sheet back to him.

“That’s it?” he asked, taking the paper, “You have them all?”

“I am an eidetic,” she told him simply, “It is part of what makes me so good at this particular job.” She crossed one trousered leg over the other, “I am good at other things, too.”

“I’ll just bet you are…” which sounded, despite the translator, altogether too like Harry. Pulling himself back, he held the small paper over the candle’s flame until it caught, then dropped it to the earthen floor, where in moments the codes were nothing more than a few wafting bits of ash. Looking up, he realized with a bit of a shock that Odile had joined him, standing close enough that he could feel the heat radiating off of her. “Is there anything else you needed?”

“You’ve seen Jean-Pierre’s men,” she said, sliding in closer, smoke and sin wrapped in a rough flannel package, “It has been long,” she whispered, “too long since I have seen a… civilized man.”

“You still haven’t,” he told her, seriously, hoping she’d take the warning.

Odile’s smile only deepened and she lifted her cigarette up to his lips, waiting for him to take what he needed.

Ohhh boy…. Since it was there, he took a hit off the cancer stick, all the while wondering what George had done just now. Not that it would matter a damn to Kerrin what George had done when confronted by… this… it was what Harry chose to do that would matter.

“Major,” Montand’s voice preceded the cell’s leader down the stairs, “Major Colthurst, it is time to deal with Gir… to take the men further into the woods for training,” he amended hastily, realizing at the last moment that Colthurst was not alone. “The sun will rise soon… best to get into the wild quickly.”

Thank all the gods and prophets, “Very good,” Harry extricated himself carefully and had come even with Montand before Odile called out, but not to him.

“Jean-Pierre, may I have a moment?”

Montand waved Colthurst on, “This won’t take long,” he assured and George, with one look back at the woman, was up the stairs and out the door and blessing the cold dawn air that slapped him back to sanity. He stood for several long minutes, watching the western sky above the trees move from indigo to violet.

Finally Jean-Pierre joined him, looking almost as uncomfortable as Harry had felt, in Odile’s provocative presence.

He cast a sidelong glance at the maquisard, “Some warning would have been appreciated.”

Montand seemed to shake off her spell and shrugged, “With Odile, I an not sure any warning could be sufficient.”

Thinking back to the cellar and the smoke and the heat of the fair woman with the dark name, Colthurst felt compelled to agree.

*First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, many of whom were assigned to wireless transmitters for the SOE.

Originally Posted by Benjamin Hyde Pierce/04-17-2009 01:26:55 PM

::0.7 miles West of the La Barqutte Lock::

"Five-oh-Sink?" the officer queried, using the nickname for the 506 PIR, as he studied BHP and McMennan. The two soldiers had fought their way towards his platoon's position, crawling the last 200 yards face down in the muddy ditch that lined the hedge row, while under murderous fire from a German machine gun. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised though, half the men with me are from some other regiment. Welcome to the Five-Oh-One," Major Allen told the two newcomers, "we're mustering all the men we can for a push at the central railway bridge in St Come Du Mont, we have to blow that bridge to stop reinforcements from getting to the Lock. I'm glad you came along when you did, we need all the help we can get.." The officer instinctively ducked as fire searched the far wall of the barn that served as his temporary CP. The war raged on outside the small stone building while the men spoke. The machine gun nest gave them hell until the sound of explosives heralded the destruction of the German emplacement.

"We'll help anyway we can Sir," Sgt. Wade Devlin answered as he stood to his feet, spitting muddy straw from his mouth before asking, "Was there a designated marksman with your unit by any chance and does he have a spare rifle..I lost mine on the way down."

"Marksman? No, we didn't have one in our group, but.." Allen replied, looking around the barn, "Kosinsky?"

"Here Major," a small, wiry soldier answered from beside the barn's entrance. The man took aim and fired three shots out the doorway before moving over to the officer.

"Didn't you say you had to clear a German sniper out of the chateau across the road?"

"Yeah, he was up in the attic, firing out of these tiny slits in the window, Major," Private Kosinsky replied. "Took down three men before Jimenez settled his hash with the B.A.R."

"Right, take Sgt Devlin and retrieve the weapon that German was using," the Major ordered, "we're going to need a marksman when we take the bridge." Allen turned to Devlin and Private Gallo. "The bridge was constructed to deflect bomb damage and has a cage of steel trusses built over it. We're gonna take it out from the bottom but I'll need you to cover my men while they set the charges."

"It's what I trained for Major," Devlin answered as he grinned at the officer. "With Joey calling out my targets, I'll make sure your men are able to do their job."

"Excellent, Kosinsky show them where the sniper was, we're moving out," Major Allen said as he charged the Tommy Gun he was carrying. "Pack it up people and get ready to move."

:: An Hour Later::

Ben studied the town through the small scope of the rifle. The lens was less clear than his Unertl, and he had entertained the idea of switching the two, but knew he would not have time to set the scope and also familiarize himself with the new weapon. Kosinsky said that the weapon was a Mosin-Nagant which meant that the German soldier that had carried it had probably been on the Eastern Front recently. Kosinsky had also taken the soldier's knife, saying it was a bonafide Hitler Youth souvenir. Much to the chagrin of Aengus, BHP had helped himself to the soldier's watch, a fancy time-piece if there ever was one.

"Movement along the bridge, three soldiers, might be a small patrol," Aengus said. He and Pierce were concealed in a hedgerow that ran parallel to a low road that was two hundred yards from the bridge.

Pierce moved the rifle so that the scope slid over the French town and came to rest on the bridge. There was a lot of activity on the opposite side of the town where another group of paratroopers were drawing the Germans away from the bridge while Allen's men set their charges. The troops on the bridge were on high alert and now it appeared as if they were checking the bridge for possible saboteurs.

Ben squeezed the trigger, the rifle leaped in his hands then the first German soldier was knocked backward as the threaded eagle and swastika on his uniform was driven into his chest by the round. Pierce worked the bolt, thanking his lucky stars that rifle had been manufactured for a lefty, before sighting on the crouching soldier. The third soldier was running back to alert the others and BHP moved the rifle, waited, then pulled the trigger. The running soldier tripped then fell face forward. Another round was chambered by the manual bolt action. BHP sighted on the soldier crouching in the shadow of the steel girders of the bridge. Holding his fire, Ben waited wondering if he should kill the last man.

"He's not moving.."

"How close is he to Major Allen's boys?"

"Close enough to shoot one if he spots them," McMennan replied. "He's in the shadows though..not likely that he would.." The crack of the rifle silenced Aengus' observations. He glared at Pierce. "Killer instinct kicking in?" Aengus said, his displeasure apparent as he huffed in disgust then returned to his attention to the bridge.

"We're here to protect Major Allen and his group," Ben replied as he worked the bolt of the rifle, McMennan's self-righteous attitude grating on his nerves. He hadn't taken any pleasure in any of the kills he had made but they had been necessary. "If you have a problem with my methods take it up with Commander S'Van when we get back to the ship, until then, shut the hell up."

with Sgt. Wade Devlin played by BHP and Aengus McMennan as Pvt. Joey Gallo.

Originally Posted by Javier Costala/04-19-2009 01:04:39 AM

The only idea, that permeated Javier's thoughts while he stared at the rifle that the Terra Prime member aimed in his direction, was that he had been correct in assuming this was his last mission. Was it a premonition? From the beginning of the mission he'd had a bad feeling about the assignment, the sense that he was going to fail had been so overwhelming that the engineer had made a point to spend as much time as he could with his loved ones.

I suppose Lia's good thoughts have run their course. He stared up at the man who had posed as an American pilot. Good thoughts? Where would she have heard that..T'Shaini..

"Commander Costala, we know all about you," the man who had called himself Arnold spat at Javier. "Oh yes, our agents acquired all of your senior staff's files," the Terra Prime agent said, reading Javier's look of surprise. "Chief Engineer of the Chimera. Decorated officer, formerly of the Hawking and SFMC, you would be a credit to your species. But then you choose to shame us by consorting with a Vulcan female," Arnold raved. The man seemed to give in to a psychotic episode. "Vulcans. Cochrane should have killed the first ones, sent them the message that we don't need them or their vaunted logic. Then maybe all the other species would have gotten the message, don't **** with Earth!"

The engineer took a deep breath, accepting that an argument with the lunatic fringe was useless. "Don't forget my friends, who include Bajorans, a Kriosian, an Iotian, a Cardassian, some Klingons and a few Ferengi," the engineer told the operative. Arnold's eyes blazed with renewed hatred as his finger tightened on the trigger.

Rice fired his pistol at the crazy pilot. His hands were shaking so badly the paratrooper missed and tried for a second shot as the Garand's barrel swung towards him. The Garand barked and a shot slammed into the soldier.

Javier came off the ground in fluid motion. His left arm knocked the rifle barrel aside as his right hand drew his combat knife and buried it in the Arnold's chest. Stabbing downward as the razor-sharp blade sliced through the fabric of the uniform, Javier drove the blade deep. The Terra Prime operative slumped against him. "You're dying and your mission is a failure, you killed three people who shouldn't have died," Javier said bitterly as Arnold stared at him in shocked surprise. The engineer shoved the man away in disgust.

"The mission..I save humanity.." the Terra Prime member gasped as he stared down at the haft of the knife. The roar of the command car's engine could be heard as the driver pushed the vehicle along the road.

"You failed," the engineer said without compassion. Leaving the man to die in the ditch, Javier picked up Rice's bazooka, gently moving the paratrooper aside so he could retrieve the weapon and place the tube on his shoulder. The driver of General Klausen's car saw him and swerved an instant before the rocket hit the side door. The explosion of flame that engulfed the car left no doubt in Javier's mind that his mission had been a success. He returned to Arnold who stared at him with ugly eyes.

"Your..Vulcan will..die.." the operative stuttered as Javier grasped the handle of his combat knife. The engineer withdrew the blade and the light faded in Arnold's eyes. "She'll die.." the man said, spreading hatred even as he took his last breath.

Originally Posted by Emily Star/04-19-2009 07:22:35 AM

Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon - 7 am

Morning came. The warm sun smashed through the bare windows, reflecting off the glass into all the dark corners of the room. Emily stirred as the sun hit her cheek. Warmth. Such a welcoming feeling compared to the cold of the previous night.

'Mm..' she mumbled as she stretched lightly on the bed, wincing as her toes wiggled. Sitting up she removed the blanket and pulled her feet out lightly. They were raw in some places, others just bruised. The salve David had put on had eased a lot of the burning from the blisters and cuts.


The house was so quiet. Emily picked up her shoes, or torture devices as she now thought of them, and put them on. Grabbing her jacket she exited the room and looked around. Heading down the hall she checked the second bedroom. Nothing. The kitchen was empty as well.

"David?"she called out quietly. For a moment she waited to hear something.

'Perhaps he went out for something,' she thought to herself. Walking to the front door she opened it quietly and moved a hand up to shield her eyes from the bright sun. To her surprise the town was quite busy. Stepping out she shut the door and felt a few eyes on her. A stranger coming out of someone elses house would definetly attract attention.

"Excuse me," she said, noticing a neighbor outside their door,"I'm sorry to bother but I can't seem to find David. Have you seen him?"

The man gave her an odd look, glancing her once over before reply, "I'm sorry but there's no one named David who lives there."

Emily felt a cold chill creep up her spine,"Then who does?" she asked quietly.

"That house use to belong to Daniel Trocmé. His son lives there now. A very quiet boy, very secretive. His name is Simon..or something like that." he stopped for a moment as if thinking over his next few words very carefully,"I'd be careful of him. A lady like you doesn't need trouble."

Emily raised an eyebrow,"Trouble?"

"He took his fathers death hard. Death does terrible things to the mind. It makes it weak and open to that which one might oppose originally." the man smiled,"Are you hungry?"

Emily rubbed her stomach,"A little. I got here late and my walk was so long."

"Here, have some, baked fresh this morning." he smiled, offering her a plate of warm bread with butter, "My wife is one of the finest bakers in town. There's nothing she can't make."

Emily happily thanked him and took two slices,"Thank you so much." she took a few bites,"This is amazing. I've never tasted anything like it." The warmth of the bread, the fresh taste added with the warm sunshine and the fresh breeze made her feel as if she was missing out on something. Space was so cold.

"Are you passing through?" he asked.

"I'm looking for my aunt. Da…I mean Simon offered to help. He said he might know who I was looking for." she lowered the bread,"But ..he's gone and I have this feeling i can't shake that he's up to something."

"The woman you are looking for. Who is she?" he asked, offereing her a glass of milk.

"She's an older lady, rather round and has a slight limp. I heard she was staying in an attic around here. Perhaps as a sheep herder or goats or.." she stopped talking.

"What do you want with her?" the old man's tone changed.

"She's my aunt." Emily replied, meeting his curious stare with her own confident one.

He looked around,"Half a mile past the church, outside of town there's a farm. Start there."

Emily was a little confused. According to her research Virginia was hard to track but so far she'd met two people who could pin her location. If they could, why couldn't the Germans catch her?

'Of course!' Emily thought, inwardly smacking her head, 'She was working with the French…of course they supported her.'

"You know her?" she asked quietly, leaning down to get a little closer.

"Your eyes tell a story I'm not use to seeing. Your accent is good but not to these old ears. That Simon, if you've told him what you've told me then she's in danger. Keep her safe. We need her." his voice was raspy as he spoke in a low tone.

Emily nodded and stepped away, thanking him again for the bread. Her feet ached but she broke out into a run.

'Half a mile..' she thought. Simon was probably already there.

Originally Posted by Simba Wekesa/04-19-2009 10:47:50 PM

Loft of the Demarais Barn
.62 miles northwest of Montauban, France
6:17 AM - Saturday, June 3, 1944

*All spoken text is in French

Simba sighed lightly as his eyes scanned a rough sketch of the German munitions depot for what felt like the thousandth time. Fatigue was beginning to catch up with him, and he could tell that the rest of his men were beginning to feel it as well. The morning sun was streaming into the loft through two tiny windows on the east side of the room, creating a surreal glow as its warm light reflected off the golden straw stacked along the sides of the room. They would need to be getting some sleep soon, during the day while the Nazis were out on patrol, so that they would all be rested for a long night of clandestine activities under cover of darkness.

"You're certain that there are only two guards stationed at the north gate?" Lt. Jawara looked up from the crude diagram and addressed Didier Rousseau, a tall, wiry man with a pointed nose and hollow cheeks who had been "employed" by the Germans a year earlier while fortifying and expanding the railroad depot which was now serving as their regional supply base.

"When I was being held there, yes, there were only two. The majority of their soldiers were assigned to the perimeter and the main gates." He leaned forward and pointed at the map. "The whole thing is surrounded by a four meter fence with razor wire and six guard towers. The only way in from the north is by rail."

Malik nodded. "And the supply trains arrive every other night?"

"Well, trains come and go erratically, but as far as we can tell there is always a regular supply train that arrives every other night between nine and ten o'clock."

"And all the trains are checked at a checkpoint three miles to the north and don't stop after there until they are inside the depot, so the Germans figure that nobody could get in that way. The only time the gate is opened is when a train is being brought in." He looked up to make sure the men were still with him. It was amazing, really, how much they all knew about all of the Germans' activities around the town. Although it was his idea to go after the supply depot, it was obvious that the resistance had been eyeing it for some time given the wealth of details they'd managed to accumulate about it.

Montand had given him twelve men to complete the mission. It had seemed like a good number, but now that he had learned more about the facility, Malik would have felt better with a battalion of trained soldiers. The men under his command were a grizzled lot, rough around the edges and used to doing things their own way. They were organized, yes, but not prepared for an operation of this magnitude. It was obvious from the start that a number of them were going to have a problem taking orders from an African. But Finn had told him to deal with it… hell, the real Malik Jawara had dealt with it and pulled it off, so Simba Wekesa would too. All he had to do was come up with a good, solid plan that couldn't fail, and he would win their respect.

The depot, however, was well protected and was going to be difficult to penetrate. And the latest intelligence they had from the inside was over a year old, so things may have changed since then. There were a lot of variables that would be out of their control.

"The Germans figure nobody could get in, and they're probably right," another man muttered loudly as he leaned back, putting his feet up on the table, and put a cigarette between his lips.

Malik looked up and studied the man. His clothes were worn, the sole of one of his boots coming apart, and he clearly hadn't shaved or combed his hair in several days. His cold, gray eyes met Simba's and they stared at one another for a few seconds. The man took the cigarette from his mouth and slowly blew a stream of smoke at the younger man.

"I'm sorry, what's your name again?" Malik questioned, blinking as the smoke drifted into his face.

"Claude," the man replied, taking another drag from the cigarette without breaking eye contact.

"Well, Claude…" Malik leaned in and spoke forcefully. "The krauts are not right, and we are going to prove it. Tomorrow night, we're going to get inside that depot and we're going to destroy it. Don't you see? We're on the edge of victory. We've all been fighting for freedom for years, and we are on the verge of getting it. Thousands of allied soldiers are on their way to France right now to help us throw the Germans out, and we need to do everything we can to make sure that we succeed. Blowing up bridges and convoys isn't enough anymore. What we need to do is give them a blow they can't recover from. We need to take out that depot and cripple their movements in this region." He brought his fist down on the table hard, sending a resounding thud through the loft. "We are going to do it. All of us."

Simba looked around the room and made eye contact with each of the men. The loft had suddenly become very quiet, and it was obvious that his words had struck a chord.

Claude coughed, breaking the silence. "Alright, Lieutenant, you've got my attention. I agree… we need to do something significant. But how do you intend to actually pull it off?"

Malik paused to consider that. The details of what had actually happened on the night of June 4 were sketchy at best, most having been lost to the sands of time, but he had at least a rough idea of what they could do to break through the perimeter. He pushed the depot diagram aside and spread out a map of the surrounding countryside. "What's between the checkpoint and the entrance to the supply depot along the railroad tracks?"

"Nothing," one of the Frenchmen replied. "Woodland and a few farms."

Malik nodded. "Perfect. What we need to do is get aboard that train, somehow, after it leaves the checkpoint. It can take us all right through the gates and into the heart of the depot before the Nazis even know we're there." There were a few murmers and grumbles from the men.

"You're crazy," Claude interjected. "How do you suggest we get a dozen men and equipment aboard a moving train?"

"The train won't be moving at full speed. There isn't enough distance between the checkpoint and the depot. We need to find something that overhangs the track… a tree or a bridge, maybe, and jump down onto the roof of one of the carriages. We can take a minimum amount of equipment with us, the supply train will be carrying munitions that we can use. The Germans don't expect an attack from inside the depot, so we can safely assume that most of their troops will be along the perimeter."

Didier jumped in. "Once we are inside, destroying the facility should be doable. There are large quantities of ammunition and explosives stored in the warehouse. If we can detonate those, most of the depot should take care of itself."

Malik grinned, glad that at least some of the men were starting to see this his way. "And the resulting fire would destroy most of the rest of the supplies. It would choke the German movements throughout the whole area."

"Assuming, of course, that this crazy plan to get inside actually would work," Claude added with just a hint of sarcasm.

"You let me worry about that," Malik snapped in response. "Let's get this clear… we're all fighting for the same thing, and Montand says you are all the best men for this mission. We are going to pull this off, but you all need to trust me." He smiled slightly. "I have no more desire to die than you do. We're going to get in, take care of the Germans, and get out in one piece, because this war isn't over yet. Now… who's with me?"

Originally Posted by T'Shaini/04-20-2009 12:02:36 PM

Forest outside of Caen

Running as swiftly as they could over the uncertain terrain, Nils and T'Shaini tried to track their charges…well, technically Andre was their only charge, but the counselor could not imagine a scenario in which they would not protect Giles as well…she knew, at least, that he had survived to lead a group of saboteurs on the Caen rail lines, so her soft spot had justification. She stumbled slightly as that thought triggered a review of the Terra Prime attack they had just countered.

They looked down at the prone figure, now harmless from T'Shaini's attack. The Vulcan could hear her trainer's voice in her head, she knew he would counsel her to dispatch the downed operative so that he could not provide a future threat, bringing up the rifle, she pointed it at the back of his head. Time stretched as she tried to make herself pull the trigger. With a pained expression, T'Shaini glanced at Nils then lowered the rifle. "Surely this is not necessary."

Clearly understanding, the Bajoran reached out for a rare moment of physical contact and squeezed her shoulder before heading off in the direction they had sent the young resistance fighters.

"Marie…Nils…" Andre's whisper was warm with relief, he had seen so many die he found it was safer to expect the worst.

T'Shaini quelled the counselor's urge to comfort and reassure and forced herself into a resistance leaders response. "The ten minutes have passed, you should have continued without us." Holding up her hand to forestall any excuses or protests, 'Marie' gestured to the path ahead. "We can discuss this once we have found a place to safely set up the equipment." Swinging a pack easily on her shoulders to the astonishment of the young men, Marie is human…display the appropriate strength. With a false grunt of exertion, Marie and Nils followed the young men as the glow of pre dawn began to penetrate the darkness.

Several hours later

The company breathed a sigh of relief as the signature crackle and hiss signaled the life of the short wave radio, the equipment had had a rough ride and it was always possible that a component would be inoperable after transport no matter how carefully it had been packed. T'Shaini was perhaps more relieved than the rest, without Lia, she was unsure whether she could be of any real assistance if repairs were needed. She started to run her hands through her hair as small surge of panic welled up within, thinking of Lia, which of course led her to thoughts of…"Javier." The name slipped out, she did not mean it to, truthfully she was not even aware of it until Nils head snapped around to look at her. Her hands pressed to her rapidly darkening cheeks as she glanced over to Giles and Andre, who were thankfully too absorbed in their task to have noticed her misstep. Letting the gentlemen attend to honing in on an acceptable channel the Vulcan stepped outside and pressed her hands against her roiling stomach will ing it to calm as she sent a quiet prayer to whoever would listen.

If something goes wrong, please let it be me that does not come back and not Javier…

Originally Posted by Benjamin Hyde Pierce/04-21-2009 01:43:36 AM

::St Come Du Mont::
::June 6, 1944::

"Gott helfe mir!" Ernst pleaded as he looked skyward. A hoarse cough started in the teenager's shattered lungs, shaking the youth with painful tremors as blood sprayed from his mouth. Through a hole in the crumbling roof he could see the hazy overcast sky. The pain in his chest was unbelievable and a shaking hand found the wet area on his grey tunic. He raised the hand to his eyes. "Mein Gott, das ist bloed," the German soldier whispered as if realizing for the first time how bad he was hit. He could hear movement, the scuffing of boot soles against the wooden planks of the floor. "Amerikaners.."

The youth turned his head and found his karbiner laying beside him. He reached out to take the weapon the same instant that a boot stepped on the rifle. The Wermacht soldier followed the muddy boot up an equally muddy uniform and found himself looking into the barrel of an American pistol over which a pair of cold blue eyes stared at him. "Teufel," the soldier stated before relaxing his arm. Another spasm of pain shook his thin form and Ernst found that he could not stifle the cry that came from inside of him.

Aengus knelt down beside the young man and began to dig in his pack. The Starfleet officer rummaged through the various items until he found a small, square metal box. He pulled the box from his pack and began to open it.

"What are you doing?" BHP inquired as he kept the wounded German covered.

"Giving him some morphine, I have some from our medpacks but we won't need it.." McMennan started to explain before Pierce grabbed the box and wrenched it out of the officer's grasp.

"Like hell you are," Ben stated, "our orders were to kill him.."

"What are you going to do? Shoot him and make sure that it's permanent? Morphine will numb the pain but he'll still die," Aengus retorted as he reached for the metal box which held two small doses of morphine.

Ben pulled the box away. "Give the morphine to those five G.I.'s he left laying in the street."

"They're already dead, morphine is useless to them.." Aengus made another grab for the box but was foiled as Pierce jerked it away.

"You ain't giving it to this chump," BHP said, motioning to the German soldier with his automatic. He glanced down at the soldier, the young man was dead. "He's bought the farm." Pierce tossed the metal box at McMennan. "Save 'em for someone else, someone on our side." He didn't mean to sound so uncaring but the German had killed Private Kosinsky, shot him down in a wet, muddy street on a dismal day in Normandy.

Our side? Aengus caught the box and stared down at the soldier. Anger built up inside of him as he took in the German soldier's age and the cruel fate that had befallen the youth. The path he had taken had surely not been his own but one that had been thrust upon him. I wanted to help..I wanted to help him. He felt the same helplessness set in as when he'd heard Nate had been forced to give up the Hawking. Aengus threw the small box at BHP's helmeted head, it missed and slammed into the wall, scattering its contents around the room. "Forget you Pierce, I was trying to help him," he yelled. McMennan was furious. "You wanted him to die didn't you? You wanted him gone so you could have what he wanted her, Jenny. She left him weakened, left him so he could get picked off by some crazed telepath and no one gave a damn!"

"If that was my plan why did I go on the rescue mission to retrieve the Captain," he answered calmly. BHP knew that Aengus was bitter over what he and Jenny had, but he didn't know how deep that bitterness ran until that moment. "I can understand that you're red because of what happened to Benjamin but I didn't torpedo him, nor did Jenny.."

“I love how you're… that you… that you’re careful with me. I know… it can’t be easy. I know I'm…" her eyes fell and her voice dropped to a whisper, "I know I’m damaged goods…"

It was like a light came on in Ben's thoughts. He glared at McMennan with cold eyes. "You sonuvabitch. You've been taking this out on her!" BHP accused as he crossed the room.

"You're damn right I did, someone had to.." One moment Aengus was standing and talking, the next moment he was sitting on the floor with blood running from his nose as his eyes watered profusely.

"You better sit there and bleed quietly until we get extracted," Ben ordered, steel in his voice. "If you get up, I'm going to knock you into next week Aengus."

Originally Posted by Jenny Anderson/04-21-2009 07:56:27 AM

::Somewhere between Cote Buquet and Aulney-sur-Iton::
::6:42 PM - Sunday, June 4, 1944::

Jenny lost all track of time as she passed through the forest. Sometimes she would stand in the same spot for what felt like hours… it could have been hours, she supposed… as her eyes began to play tricks in the uneven light. Valuable minutes were lost determining if the tree she was staring at bore the curve of a fleur-de-lis or just the shadow of a fern. The marking’s, which some insanely dedicated maquisard had carved throughout the mine field of a forest, were already dark with the wet and some had greened over with moss while others were lost in a surge of undergrowth.

A tricorder would have aided her journey through the heavily mined territory (she’d seen two examples of the AP’s work so far… both animals and one had been disturbingly fresh) but she’d not been issued a tricorder. It had been assumed that Lissete had traveled by the road on the east side of the Iton, where anyone might be halted and searched and even a disguised piece of technology was dangerous. But the overwhelming German presence, Benoit de Rouen’s death and the subsequent interest in his daughter had closed that route.

There came a time, finally, when she began to feel quite mad… as if it had been years, not hours, spent in this endless green mansion, empty but for the odd fluttering of a bird, or a whispering in the undergrowth. She was on a path that would never end, moving towards a destination which had gone to dust centuries ago while she crept, with halting desperation, from tree to tree until at last she was tempted to abandon the strange trail, leave the appointed path and brave the mines. Hell, maybe she should just admit she’d lost and…

"I believe in you…”

“That makes one of us,” she told Ben’s memory. Those had been his very words, spoken just before she’d left the Chimera and, at the time, Jenny had been warmed by his faith. Now, as she slumped down to sit in the damp, all she could feel was the cold… a cold which fed into the exhausted young woman’s despair. Maybe Aengus was right, she thought as weariness enfolded her completely, I am just a screwup, nothing more than…

“… damaged goods…"

"Not to me," Ben replied as his hand pressed lightly over her heart. "I think you're something precious.." The Iotian struggled to describe how he felt when he was with Jenny, discarding the Iotian slang so that she would realize what she meant to him. "What I feel goes beyond how beautiful you are or what happened in the past. I love you because of who you are..maybe it is because we were friends before this, but these are not feelings that another person could ever take away."

Jenny’s eyes flew open. Did I fall asleep? Then she began to focus on a slender bole just a few meters distant. There… was that…? She crawled her way up the gnarled beast of a tree she’d been resting against and leaned forward to peer at the… yes! A fleur-de-lis, almost delicately etched into the poplar’s shining wet trunk.

Looking at the next step in the journey, she let out a long, slow breath before accepting she had a choice, here. She could either live down to Aengus’ expectations, or live up to Ben’s.

”I believe in you…”

In the end, it wasn’t even a contest and, less than twenty minutes later, she found a break in the line of trees.

She’d made it to the river… and the next step.

“Thank you,” she whispered even as she wondered where Ben was, and wishing he could hear her.

Originally Posted by Harry Finn/04-22-2009 08:26:46 AM

Abandoned Cottage
11.8 miles northwest of Montauban, France
9:23 AM - Saturday, June 3, 1944

*The following scene is spoken entirely in French.

Harry sat and considered Emile Girard. The man was in decent shape, considering he’d been in maquis hands for over two days, now. Most captured Milice would be dead in a ditch… or wishing they were… by this point.

But Montand believed this Girard was the key to an infiltrator in his own cell and that made him too valuable to cut to pieces. So Jean-Pierre had left a dozen men under Lt. Jawara's command (Wekesa's first command… and Harry had no choice but to leave him to it) and led Colthurst into the wild, to this overgrown hovel of a cottage where a frightened man was waiting under the baleful eye of Montand’s second, Ancell Toussant.

They'd ordered Ancell to stand watch, outside.

“Interesting,” Harry said, as the frightened man stared back. Girard’s facial bruises were already fading to a sick yellow, incongruous on the rotund, clerkish face.

“What… what is interesting?” Emile asked, almost in spite of himself as he eyed the tall Anglaise on the other side of the table.

Harry/George shrugged before removing a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket, laying them down before him. He then withdrew a lighter and proceeded to flick the lid open and closed, open and closed, over and again while Girard watched with glassy-eyed fascination. “I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone as well fed as you since…” Colthurst leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes, thinking, “well, since before the Blitz, I dare say. Times are hard, people living on short rations on both sides of the channel, for years, now. But,” he clicked the lighter closed and used it as a pointer, “you, Monsieur Girard? You look as plump as the holiday goose on Christmas Eve.” Then he leaned forward and slammed the lighter onto the table, making the other man jump, “And just as soft.” Rising, he rounded the table, closed in to lean over the Frenchman and, in the softest voice, added, “I’ll bet you were easy to buy.”

From behind, Finn heard Montand shift.

“Monsieur… please… this is a mistake. I don’t know what you mean…”

“Funny thing, that,” still all that was friendly, “that’s exactly what I said to the Gestapo officers when they first questioned me.” Watching, he saw Girard go grey. “Of course, I was lying… and they knew it.” Colthurst straightened abruptly, eliciting another start from the prisoner. Resting his hip on the corner of the table, he reached for his cigarettes, withdrew one and, quite deliberately, lit it. After a satisfied puff, he gave Montand a nod and he, clearly uncomfortable, came forward and rolled up Girard’s shirt sleeve.

“Now, the thing is, Emile,” he continued as Jean-Pierre stepped back, “I don’t have a great deal of time for idle chit chat so there won’t be any of the ‘working up to it’ that you might expect in such a situation.” He watched the greyish tint of Girard’s face go a shade darker… might be green but in the dim light of the hut it was difficult to tell. “Not that I’m going straight to cutting off your Johnson, or digging out your eyes so Jean-Pierre’s boys can stuff potatoes in the sockets,” he kept his tone light as he described some of the more colorful Nazi reprisals, noting as he did that even Jean-Pierre looked a bit ill. “Although they’d like that… they’d like that very much… because they know what you’ve done… they know you work for the Bosche and they want your pain. Youowe them your pain.”

“Monsieur… monsieur, please…” Girard was positively trembling by now.

“But I won’t be doing any of that because I don’t want your pain, Emile. I just want the truth.” He flicked some ash onto the earthen floor, “Who is your contact in the Maquis de Pyrenees?”

“I have no conta…”

“I tell you what,” Harry cut the sweating denial off, “I will make you a deal,” he leaned over and gave Emile a bracing pat on the shoulder, as he looked him in the eye, “I won’t do anything to you, that wasn’t done to me.” He straightened and took another long drag on the cigarette before holding it up sideways to observe the glowing tip as he exhaled a plume of smoke, then looked back at the other man, “Who is your contact within the Maquis de Pyrenees?”

“I am sorry, monsieur, I do not know…”

“I want you to remember, what is about to happen is not my desire and I will make it stop… I will make it all stop… the moment you tell me the truth. Who is your contact in the Maquis de Pyrenees?"

For the first time in the interview, something new arose in the clerkly Girard’s features… something less of the frightened possum and more of the trapped weasel. “I have nothing to say,” he told his captors.

Harry’s blue eyes gleamed cold in the light of the cigarette. “I said that, too.”

Outside the cottage, Toussant continued to monitor the surrounding forest as Girard’s vehement repudiations dissolved into a dissonance of pain.

Originally Posted by Emily Star/04-22-2009 05:15:57 PM

The old house - outside Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon.
Morning :)

The house was rundown, old and like something out of a picture. Old vines grew up the side, the grass was overgrown and to Emily it couldn't look more beautiful. It was natural. There was no pretence when it came to the length of the lawn or house color. The birds sang in glorious harmony as Emily intruded on their quiet morning.

"David?" she called out as she neared the house. She didn't want to use the name the old man had told her. If she startled him then it could mean disaster for Virginia. If Virginia was in there.

The door to the front of the house creaked open, a gun barrel came out first,"Come in quick!" he snapped.

Emily put her hands up and nodded, walking through the door silently, "Are you alright? You were gone when I woke up. I was told you headed this way so I thought I'd try catch up." she lied. She hoped he relaxed a little thinking she was oblivious.

He did. The gun lowered and he looked out the window.

"Are we in danger?"she asked, following his gaze out the window.

"We might be." he looked at her and a spark of something flashed in his eye, "Your aunt, she's not really your aunt."

Emily's head cocked to the side,"Your a lot smarter than people give you credit for." she knew what he was thinking. She didn't have to be empathic to catch on. He was fishing to see if she wanted to kill Virginia or help her. If she played her cards right she could salvage the mess she was making.

Simon turned and put the gun to her head,"What do you need with her?"

Emily looked up and smirked. Such an old gun..what a mess it would make of her hair. In a surprisingly hard effort she spoke in English for the first time,"I need her alive…don't care what condition."

A fleck of surprise crossed his features. Obviously he hadn't been expecting her to be American,"You pull off a good accent."

"Thanks. I'll take that as a compliment from you." she took a step back,"Now are you going to shoot me or are you going to help?"

"Why are you here?" he asked, his french a little broken as he put the gun down.

"She's been too much trouble. We need her brought in." Emily sat down on an old stool,"and you?"

Simon went quiet and stared out the window,"I have my reasons."

"and are they going to interfere with mine?" Emily asked catching his gaze,"I need her to bring back…is that going to be a problem?"

Simon thought for a moment, "No..they don't need her body."

Emily's ears ticked at the word 'they'. So he was working for someone, "Where are the people who own this house?"

"In the basement." he said quietly.

"Alive?" she pushed.

"For now.." he kept his back to her.

"and the woman?" she asked.

Simon turned around,"She'll be here after the sun sets. I hope she enjoys her day, it'll be her last."

Emily felt the chill go up her spine as the malice in his words was almost tangable. However the hatred he felt was not at her but directed towards the town.

Originally Posted by T'Shaini/04-23-2009 03:26:20 PM

In the forest outside of Caen

Hurry up and wait… They had flown through the murky light of morning to set up the lean to and reassemble the radio and now…three-four hour shifts later, there had been nothing. It had to be no longer than four hour shifts, no matter how attentive or how dedicated the operator, the mind began to drift by the end of the fourth hour and it was wiser to have a fresh ear to sift through the constant chatter and music waiting for the code phrases. Nils and Andre had but a few minutes left and T'Shaini watched as the younger man rubbed his eyes trying to focus. Giles, still asleep at her side, began to shift as if in discomfort, glancing down the counselor debated waking him, but chose to wait noting that he seemed to be in the process of waking on his own.

"No…." The word was soft, under his breath but it caught her attention. "No…please." The pain in his voice made T'Shaini's breath catch. His shoulders rolled forward as if to ward off a blow. "Papa…" Then with a jerk, Giles started awake. "I am sorry madam…" His head hung low, T'Shaini could not tell whether it was with shame or sorrow. She rose to her feet and wordlessly took her place in front of the radio as Nils and Andre moved to the corner to get some rest, Giles hovered uncomfortably a moment before sliding into the seat next to the counselor.

"Pardon, Madame." He ventured softly. T'Shaini met his gaze with a calm acceptance that allowed him to continue. "I did not mean to disturb you."

"There was no disturbance, Giles. We have all seen much that could lead to…unsettling dreams."

His face contracted in remembered pain. "True, madame." The jubilant strains of Benny Goodman's orchestra playing 'Take the A Train' swept over them in stark contrast to the mood of the conversation. "My father suspected…that I was involved with the resistance. He is a teacher and one day while I was passing information in the local cafe to Livou, our local leader…as you know…" He said with a nod to Marie. "my father passed the cafe and saw us sitting together. That evening he said to me, 'How is it that you know my former pupil, LeLievre?'. I said that I knew of no one of that name and he treated me like a liar, 'I saw you in the cafe with him this morning'. He knew, I know he knew…but he never said anything else. Then one day, when I was out scouting the rail lines, the Germans swept through our village, detaining people that they suspected ofcollaboration …my father was taken." His head had drooped downward as he recounted the story to 'Marie' but after that phrase he lifted his eyes to meet hers. "He said nothing…and he never came back."

T'Shaini had read the stories, had viewed the vids, but this young man's simple story brought it home in a way that clinical research never could. The incredible dichotomy of youth and maturity that extreme circumstances had forced on these people, they had seen things and done things that, if T'Shaini had her way, no one ever should. But no matter how much she wished to protect the people that she encountered, she knew it was a foolish wish…adversity brought out the good in a people as well as the bad and the architect of the universe alone had any say in these matters, it certainly had nothing to do with the wishes of one, rather altruistic, Vulcan.

"I could tell you that I was certain that he was proud of you, as I am sure he was," Marie began. "or that your father did no more than was what was his duty for France, which he did." T'Shaini struggled between person and persona. "or even that it may be fate that dictates each move, so he did only what was laid out before him and nothing you could do would change that. But none of these things matter. Not when we feel loss." Her hands clenched in her skirt to fight the urge to grasp his hands. "But know, when we have achieved our objective…when France is free, there will be rewards that, though they will not supplant our sorrow, they will put it in perspective and hopefully make us feel as though their lives were not spent in vain."

Giles looked up with a shocked remembrance. "I am sorry madame, I did not think…you have just lost your husband, have you not?"

T'Shaini had a momentary flash of fear, then the realization that Marie only became leader of the cell after her husband was taken and killed by the Germans pushed to the forefront of her mind. "Ahh, yes…" Ill equipped to discuss this particular event with any specificity, T'Shaini hesitated, then as the Ellington tune faded out to be replaced by the second stanza of Chanson d'Automne…froze. All four rose to their feet in excitement, holding their breath to see if the music would be followed by the phrases they had so long awaited.

"And here are some personal messages."

Andre moved in close to T'Shaini. "Madame, it is time!" In among the other bits of news and innocuous announcements finally came…

"The dice are on the table."

Originally Posted by Jenny Anderson/04-24-2009 12:33:12 PM

::East bank of the Iton River::
::5:18 AM, June 5, 1944::

Koga Masuhiro remained still, well hidden in the tall grasses alongside the river where he watched… and waited. He had been watching and waiting for many hours, avoiding the notice of the German patrols, and was now beginning to doubt his objective would arrive at all.

Bad enough, he thought, scanning the landscape, that all of the Anomaly’s resources had been spent in Europe. But the maths had been done again and again and even Masuhiro had to admit that the greatest impact would come from aborting Operation Overlord.

And, as the Koga, the Yoshida and the Oonishi clans all reasoned, as long as the Axis retained control of the planet, it was only a matter of time before the Nippon nation gained ultimate ascendance.

Still, he chafed at his assignment. Hunting children was… distasteful… for one of the Koga. But this target, he’d been told, at least allowed him to partake in the action, to earn a place in the new history for his family without fear of being seen by any of the indigenous population, there being none so many Asian’s dwelling in occupied France.

So… he had been assigned to intercept the de Rouen replacement.

He stole a glance at his ancient chronometer. Another half hour and it would be too light for the Federation puppet to successfully commit her act of sabotage…

And Masuhiro would be denied his place in history’s turning point.

Before time's warrior could delve into which would be the worser fate, a shifting in the grasses on the opposite bank indicated that, whether he would or no, his place in history had just arrived…

… on the wrong side of the river.

As the rain, which had misted on and off throughout the night, began to fall in ernest, a shadow stole onto the bridge.

Originally Posted by Javier Costala/04-24-2009 04:09:12 PM

::Somewhere in Normandy::

Javier surveyed the carnage in the muddy ditch. "Damn it!" the Starfleet engineer cursed emphatically. Three paratroopers dead because I couldn't recognize an impostor. The reports had not mentioned how many of the soldier's in Branden's original group had survived the day, but Javier could not get past the feeling that the American officer had completed his mission and kept the men under his command alive. You cannot allow grief to cloud your judgment or detract from your duty. T'Shaini's words echoed in Javier's thoughts. The engineer sighed and let the bazooka tube drop into the muck beside the dead Terra Prime agent. Arnold's sightless eyes stared skyward.

There was nothing more for the Starfleet engineer to do, his part of the mission had been completed, and extraction was a tap of his dogtags/combadge away. But his hand never made it to the small metal tabs that were strung around his neck. Something kept Javier from calling the ship, and he sat down on the slope of the ditch beside Arnold's body. Taking off his helmet, which he used to cover Arnold's face, Javier then dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out the pack of cigarettes that he'd been issued. Apparently quite a few of the soldiers had enjoyed smoking the nicotine laced cylinders in 1944. The mystique of smoking the cylinders was lost on Javier, so he'd avoided taste-testing the cigarettes on the ship. But for some reason, that moment seemed like a perfect time to smoke. The engineer removed one of the small tobacco-filled paper tubes and lit it with the Zippo lighter that had been replicated to look like one of G.I. issue. The aroma was not so bad, almost pleasant..Javier inhaled, mimicking the people he had seen on historical vids.


The engineer's throat rasped as he tried to expell the horrible smoke from his lungs. When Javier finished coughing, he stared at the cigarette and wondered what had possessed the people of the 20th century to suck on such a vile cylinder. Tossing the cigarette in the mud, he reached up to press his comlink and request transport away from 20th Century Earth.

"Dammit I could really use a smoke." The voice was quiet, almost a whisper and made Javier start. It had come from Rice's direction. The engineer scrambled over to the paratrooper. The man was alive!

"Corporal Rice, you're alive?!"

"Takes more'n a couple of Kraut bullets to kill a Country Boy, Lieutenant," Rice answered as he tried to sit up. The man winced and leaned back, taking some of the pressure off of the wound in his side. "Arnold..never figgered he was a..Kraut. Got the drop on us didn't he? You git 'im?"

"With my knife," Javier said as he checked Rice's wounds. The man had taken a bullet in the side but it had exited out his back. The engineer broke out the medical kit from his pack and plugged up the entrance and exit holes. the other bullet was still inside of Rice and Javier knew that the situation was far beyond his basic medical training. "We have to get you to sickbay," the engineer stated, breaking character without realizing it.


"Hospital, we have to get you to a hospital," Javier explained. He took a small shot of the morphine from his kit and administered it to Rice. Then he lit another of the tobacco cylinders and gave it to Rice. The man seemed somewhat cheered by the effort to make him comfortable. Javier rummaged through his pack, then finally dumped its contents out and found the map he'd been given on the Chimera. Searching the locations listed on the map, Javier found that the nearest hospital was in a place called Caen. It's too far though..I'll never be able to carry him that far through enemy territory. Javier surmised. The engineer looked over at the German command car. The pride of German engineering was a flaming pile of wreckage. And not the best mode of transport considering that some other Americans may take us for Germans. The officer took a few seconds and went over he and Rice's options.

"Corporal?" Javier said as he stood up.

"Sir?" Rice said looking up at Branden quizzically.

Javier slugged Rice on the chin. The man folded over and the cigarette fell from his lips. He was out cold. "Sorry about that," the Chief Engineer said apologetically before pressing his concealed commlink.

=/\=Commander Costala to the Transporter Chief.=/\=

=/\=Chief Jenkins here Commander, are you ready for Evac?=/\= the chipper voice of Tommy Jenkins replied.

=/\=Negative, I need an emergency transport from my location to grid H16 on our Normandy map.=/\= Javier answered as he proceeded to lift Rice up so he could carry the paratrooper on his shoulder. The extra weight was not an easy burden but Javier was able to get the man around the waist and over his shoulder without too much trouble.

=/\=Commander Costala, what is the meaning of this? You cannot change your mission on a whim because you feel as if you need to check on..=/\= S'Van's voice broke into the conversation.

=/\=I have a wounded man and I need to get him to the nearest hospital. Terra Prime attacked us..=/\= Javier answered, so irritated by the Intelligence officer's interference that he cut him off. S'Van returned the favor though.

=/\=Even so you cannot..=/\=

=/\=Tommy, please.=/\=

The bright light of the transporter washed over the engineer and the paratrooper. In a second their molecules were directed towards the wooded area beside a hospital near Caen.

"I'll see you court-martialed for this," S'Van threatened Jenkins aboard the Chimera.

"I didn't touch the controls," Tommy protested, "Sir, you were standing right beside me, how would I have initiated the transport?"

S'Van grudgingly acknowledged the protest. Jenkins had not moved or spoken. Something is not right here. the Section 31 officer thought. In the recesses of the transporter matrix Atropos smiled and began to play a game of tri-level Battleship with the ship's computer.

Epicenter 1944

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