a/n: sparked by a suggestion from Signy1 to add North Star's POV in "How to Catch a Papa Bear"
Her day was also far from perfect
A rendezvous near midnight
With the underground resistance;
Who were gathered at a farm house,
Tracing rail yards to knock out.
He'd been "volunteered" last minute,
When the Colonel was restricted
By a late surprise inspection.
Just a routine trip, no doubt...
She was waiting at the farmhouse, outward calm belied impatience;
She'd been picturing this chance to show her worth for far too long.
Months of steady infiltration through the layers her foes were wrapped in:
Now the trap was set and ready, she prayed nothing would go wrong.
He had made brief introductions:
To three men and one smart lady,
As they spread unfolded maps
And showed him what the unit knew.
But before they'd finished speaking;
He was stunned as doors burst open,
And he stared in disbelief at armed
Gestapo storming through...
She endured his cheerful banter, and she smiled through introductions;
And she studied every feature of her foe, of Papa Bear
And she feigned surprise and horror at the brutal interruption;
Secret meeting not so secret, and the tightening of her snare.
He reacted to his capture
With instinctive acquiescence;
He could play the hapless prisoner,
Outraged captive, in his sleep.
Hands held high, his thoughts were racing
Through the steps before disaster;
He had fallen in past exploits,
But not fallen quite so deep...
She was hustled with the others, hands held high, she followed orders;
Her accomplice made a feigned attempt at freedom through the trees.
Shouted warnings from the soldiers, rapid shots which missed completely;
She'd succeeded in the first part of her enterprise with ease.
As they bundled him at gunpoint,
Into guarded transport waiting,
He maintained an air of innocent
Alarm at his arrest.
It was clear there was betrayal
At the heart of what had happened.
He would play his part while waiting
For his friends to do the rest...
She suppressed her satisfaction at her fellow captive's treatment
Loaded gun held hard against him, as they left the peaceful farm.
She protested at guards' actions, but her protests went unheeded,
As she gave the false impression she was scared he'd come to harm.
Bleak grey walls, door locked and guarded;
Not the best of situations,
But he reassured the lady
That they should not lose all hope.
Hackles rose at interruption,
And at violent separation;
And he knew what must be coming,
And he prayed for strength to cope...
She continued in her role as frightened captive, as they grabbed her,
And restrained the English prisoner, left alone inside the cell.
She now knew he did not lead the allied group; brief disappointment...
But at least they held a hostage who could bring him down as well.
It was quiet in the barracks
As they waited; all were conscious
Of an unused pack of playing cards;
A silent empty space.
An emergency transmission,
Once repeated and decoded,
Not good news; the mood dropped further
As they saw the Colonel's face...
She tapped out a coded message, on the frequency extracted
From the prisoner, when she'd acted as a damsel in distress.
She described the situation to the anxious listeners waiting;
Hoped to lure them out much further to be certain of success.
Consternation in the barracks;
They arranged a prompt encounter
With a contact, who, remarkably,
Escaped their comrade's fate.
And she gave the North Star code words
During aimless conversation,
And they took her to the Colonel
And they hoped they weren't too late...
A strange nocturnal meeting; then an escort to the tunnels.
She had done it! She had tracked her precious target to his lair.
She would get the honours due her, she would get that prized promotion;
She had persevered, and cornered the elusive Papa Bear!
Rising anger as she told them
Of the ambush at the farm house;
Of the three detained, her thankfulness
That two broke free, alive.
Then she sent the Colonel's message;
To his team's distress and horror,
He would not arrange a rescue;
Three weren't worth the risk to five...
She'd expected mounting fury and all haste to help their comrade;
And a swift, complete acceptance of her well-judged rescue plan.
She did not expect dismissal, and the others' shocked reaction;
For the Colonel did not seem the type to sacrifice his man
Hope and faith restored in minutes,
As the Colonel's plans were altered,
For a vital missing phrase revealed
A double crossing scheme.
There were now two clear objectives;
The destruction of their target
And retrieval of a fundamental
Member of the team.
Message sent, and then repeated; plans adjusted and adapted.
Once transmitted, she looked up, to find the atmosphere had changed
Tables turned; a phrase omitted; marked as traitor; held at gunpoint;
And no chance to let her contact know that all was rearranged.
As they dressed in hand-sewn garments,
Picked from racks of items ready
In the alcove: two Gestapo,
Set to storm a prison cell,
And two figures in dark clothing,
Set to hide amongst the shadows,
Thoughts returned to one deft tailor
Who had measured up so well.
She took note of every detail, as they moved her through the tunnels;
From stacked papers to the uniforms, on neatly pressed display.
There was rising apprehension at her prospects for survival;
And a calm determination to break free and make them pay.
As they held the girl securely
And they strode into headquarters,
They progressed through rooms and stairways,
In a state of high alert.
Once they'd rounded up the guards,
The Sergeant called his missing buddy;
Such intense relief on hearing a response,
It almost hurt.
She was hustled through headquarters, not a chance to raise a warning,
Calm and cold and so efficient, as they hurried on apace.
She had failed this vital mission, she had failed her erstwhile colleagues;
And nothing more awaited than defeat and deep disgrace.
Friend from foe at last untangled,
Worst case outcome circumvented,
Raw emotions swiftly hidden;
A sarcastic, light reply.
A relaxed, amused demeanour,
When united with the others;
But composure briefly vanished
When he caught the traitor's eye...
Face to wall, with fellow captives, she could hear his English accent,
As the Sergeant opened up the cell, which held his missing friend.
And she heard composure falter as he spied her by the Colonel;
And she held his gaze a moment, and she knew it was the end.
A moment of reflection,
Heading home with friends around him,
Who behaved as though he might
At any moment disappear.
His capture had not ended
With the nightmare scenes envisaged.
As a team they'd worked together;
Beaten odds, confounded fear.
They left her to the mercies of the underground resistance;
To the team she'd infiltrated, to the souls she had betrayed.
She expected retribution for her actions from her captors;
Not a submarine to England, final punishment delayed
Safe and sound, inside the barracks,
And their lives returned to normal;
Days of boredom, nights of sabotage
And travellers' aid between.
And they dealt with constant danger
And they rarely dwelt on failure;
And the corporal never viewed
Another mission as routine.
Bleak grey walls, doors locked and guarded, days of harsh interrogations;
All regrets, recriminations; far too little, far too late..
She had come so close to winning what so many had attempted;
Her reward for years of sacrifice; a lonely, dismal fate.