"Now, to pull this off, we'll have to time it perfectly," the Colonel repeated for insurance. Tiger nodded, carefully hiding a worried smile at her Papa Bear's paranoia.

"Yes, Papa," she retorted. "I understood the first time you told me… and the second… and the third… tell me, chere: what has you so anxious about this mission?"
She gestured in confusion. "You have done much more difficult ones, have you not?"

'Yeah, but they weren't crafted by a thirteen-year-old upstart with one too many cups of sugar…' Though Hogan dearly wished to spill his woes (all by the name of Kits) to the comforting female agent standing in front of him, he knew better than that. Tiger was cautious; he had no doubt she would call off "his" plan and institute a more dangerous one. Amidst this musing, he mumbled a—he hoped—convincing, "nothing".

Apparently deciding it was, Tiger bid adieu to him without so much as claiming a good-night kiss. After standing in the dark for a moment more, lost in his own thoughts, he slipped soundlessly into the forest, praying fervently that Kits's plan would work.

***********************

The three scientists currently huddled in the small, secret panel in the wall tried to ignore the velvety heat crushing them. The darkness was a tangible thing here, so complete their eyes never had a chance to adjust. Occasionally, when danger seemed to have been in search of other prey, the farmer would slide the panel open; the thin shaft of light would illuminate their black existence, if only for enough to slip a wedge of cheese, bread, and a small cask of water through.

Just as Franz was ready to take his chances with the Gestapo (Could they really be worse than the timeless nightmare he and the others were currently trapped in? he wondered not for the first time) the small shaft of light reappeared. His heart beat faster, and he immediately withdrew his last thought, casting a confused and fearful look at his compatriots—so soon? They just had food!—and waited with breath held for the worst.

"We have found a way out for you. Come—time is of the essence!" The familiar voice beckoned to them, and all three men slipped out, stretching their cramped muscles. Time. Franz rolled the word around in his mind. How comforting it was—before he had rushed about, never having enough, now he embraced the entity with heart, soul, and mind.

Turning his thoughts back to the man who had so graciously helped them, he listened intently, willing himself not to waste another moment of his time out of the small room in the wall.

**************************

The dozen other defectors found themselves in likewise similar predicaments, each with different thoughts on what was to happen.

Some with gladness, some with fear, some with confusion, and others… well, that comes later in the story…

A/N: So how'd y'all like it? Review if you would? Please? I am so sorry, again, guys, for not updating sooner!!! Please don't hurt me!

Oh, and yes, this chapter was a little more sinister than the others… but it'll soon return to its light-heartedness in a while. Woohoo!

Kits