Published by DSP Publications 1st August 2017.
Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.
Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.
When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.
“He’s late.” Matt glanced toward the door again. Although he was trying to appear nonchalant, hiding his nervousness was growing more difficult.
Their journey to Gernsbach had gone too smoothly, and that made him edgy as hell. After one night there, he’d suggested they keep moving for a couple more hours until they reached Bischweier. He’d been to Bischweier years ago when he’d lived in Germany before the war. The local priest was an old friend of Father Joseph’s, the man who had run the orphanage where Matt had grown up in Pennsylvania after he’d lost his family in a fire.
“Not that late.” Michel shrugged. “If we’re not back by two, Ken knows not to stay in Bischweier.”
Michel and Matt had gone ahead to Rastatt to meet their contact in the back room of a local Kaffeehaus. The owner—a member of the local Resistance—had been kind enough to leave them some coffee to drink while they waited.
“They should be safe if they stay in the chapel,” Matt said. He hadn’t been surprised to learn that Father Markus was working with the Resistance. He was a good man, and Father Joseph had spoken highly of him.
“You didn’t trust our contact in Gernsbach,” Michel said. “Why?”
“Just a feeling.”
Now they were finally heading toward home, he kept expecting Holm or one of his men to turn up. Standartenführer Holm wouldn’t give up easily, and Matt doubted he would have spent all this time looking in the wrong direction. The last few weeks had gone too smoothly, reminding Matt of the way a cat played with a mouse, waiting until the right time to finally pounce.
“Holm is not going to give up until he’s captured his prey,” Michel said. “It’s better that both Kristopher and Ken stay away until we are sure it is safe here.” He offered Matt a cigarette, but Matt declined.
“Kristopher is the one Holm is after,” he said cautiously.
“Officially, yes.” Michel lit his cigarette and took a long puff of it. He wasn’t usually very forthcoming with information, and this was the first time he’d implied he knew about Ken’s history with Holm.
At least to Matt.
“What has Ken told you?” Matt asked. Until they’d met up again in Freiburg, he’d only met Michel briefly in Berlin. He still knew Kristopher better, as he was not as reticent. Matt had gotten the impression Michel didn’t have much time for social niceties. He was pleasant enough, though, and it was obvious as hell he cared a great deal for Kristopher.
“We spoke briefly in Stuttgart.” Michel shrugged. “Holm is a dangerous man, and once he has made up his mind to achieve something, he doesn’t let anyone or anything get in his way. Do not be fooled by his manner. He’s the type who would shake your hand while putting a knife in your back.”
“I’m well aware of Holm’s less than charming nature, thanks all the same,” Matt said. His meeting with Holm was not one Matt would forget in a hurry, if ever. Nor would he forgive him for killing Elise. “He’s a cold-blooded murderer.”
“That’s a polite way of putting it.” Michel narrowed his eyes and swore under his breath.
Although Matt’s French wasn’t that good, he knew enough to appreciate the sentiment.
“I believe Ken was foolish enough to promise not to harm him,” Michel continued in German. “I take it you have no problem in doing whatever needs to be done?”
“No problem at all,” Matt said grimly.