Old Ventures 2, Ch. 3

Three, Outside Paris, France, 4/10/45

Jack was tense. His contact in the resistance was late, and he’d never known her to be anything but punctual. From the roof he could see past the outskirts of the Parisian suburb into the forests beyond.

“Sorry, chap,” a man’s deep voice said from behind him, closing the only door up onto the roof quietly behind himself. By his accent he was British. “Unforeseen setbacks.”

“Where’s Marion?” Jack asked, turning to see a well-dressed Black man. He had a pistol, inside his jacket, where his hand was, but was trying not to be conspicuous about it.

“We were detained at a Nazi checkpoint. Ian and I managed to sneak away from the car, but… Marion will be late, and we’re on a tight schedule.” For the first time, Jack noticed a small boy hiding behind the other man. “Captain Simon, Fleming,” he said, and held out his hand. “And this is our son, Ian.”

“Didn’t realize Marion had one.”

“Yes, knowing her these four years, I can agree that’s a shock. But, war makes for strange bedfellows, resistance fighting still moreso.”

“He’s got her eyes,” Jack said. “But I don’t think this raid is any place for a child.”

Fleming smiled. “He’s been with the Resistance from the day he was born, while a Nazi search party ransacked the building looking for us. Silent as a church mouse, even from a babe; they would have killed us several times over, otherwise.”

“He’s shy,” Jack said, as the boy clung to his father’s pant leg.

“He’s not certain he likes Americans. You did, after all, take your sweet time riding to the rescue. He has… reservations about trusting you now.”

“Smart kid,” Jack said. “I can’t speak for my country,” he said, and knelt down in front of Ian, “but I’m here now, and I’m not leaving until we set things right. My friends call me Jack,” he said, and held out his hand.

The boy took it, and his hand disappeared when Jack closed his hand it and shook it.

“Now what can you tell me?” Jack asked, rising to his feet.

“The camp is to the north of here. Originally, the plan was for Marion to be your prisoner, but desperate times, and all that. So Ian’s going to wait here, this rooftop, for her, and you’re going to take me. Resistance member, suspected Jewish heritage, that ought to be enough, but the dark skin should put us over the hump. We have a nearly pristine Nazi uniform for you, and your cover is Nazi intelligence, if you’ll indulge me the oxymoron, with orders to interrogate me within the prison’s walls.”

“That’ll work?” Jack asked.

“I have no reason to believe it won’t,” Fleming said with a grin. “Everything prepared on your end?”

“The Colonel’s sending men. How many make it through is an open question, but the plan is for us to secure the prisoners as best we can, to keep them safe while American troops liberate the camp.” Jack took his pack off his back and unzipped it. “The signal is the flag- we take down the German colors and raise Old Glory.” Jack pulled an American flag from the pack, folded into a triangle. “That’ll tell our back-up that they’re clear to take the camp. And your intel is solid?”

“Well, you must always consider the source, but insofar as you can trust the word of a Nazi, this concentration camp functions largely as a transit station, for moving prisoners deeper into Nazi territory. If the rumors are true, you’ll find your answers at the other end of those rails.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *