The spy plane pilot is roughly shoved into a smoky space. He glances around, eyes adjusting to the light. Judging from the shattered coffee table and torn sofas, this used to be a living room. Under control of the Nazis, it serves a far different purpose. In the center of the floor is Keith. He is pale and shaking, but his smile is broad. He has been bound to a chair and blindfolded.
"Hello," Turnbull says, weakly, "Is that John?"
"Yes, Keith." Drake notices with horror the maze of bloody incisions criss-crossing his friend's bared chest.
"They want you to read something to me." Keith laughs, sounding somewhat manic. "A bedtime story, maybe."
"Read this article." The SD-Leiter thrusts a document into John's hands. It appears to be a newspaper clipping, rows of black print wrinkled and torn. A faded picture of a charred building accompanies the text. Eyes narrowing, he briefly scans the document. He glimpses a certain name and freezes. "Out loud."
"No." Drake tosses the paper away. This earns him a forceful blow to the head; the young pilot crumples to the ground.
"What's happened?" Keith asks.
"I'm not reading that," John growls at the SD-Leiter.
"You have no choice." The commanding officer draws his gun.
"Just read it, John," Keith demands.
"I-I… Keith… I can't…"
"You will!" Drake is violently yanked to his feet and handed the article. "Every word, properly. You make it up: we shoot one of your friends downstairs. Either you read it to him, or they die and we read it to him."
"Drake, dear boy, please don't get anyone shot on my account," Keith says, calmly.
"Begin!" the chief Nazi barks.
"'In the latest devastating wave of Blitz attacks in the heart of London,'" John spits out, "'seventeen civilian casualties were sustained outside a South Croydon entrance to the London Underground. So far, the following people have been identified as among the dead: Ben Burke, Kate Gale, James Pike…'" Drake closes his eyes, involuntarily tuning into the infinite humming in his ears. "'Susan Jay.'"
"Thank you, Mr. Drake." The pilot is shoved away before he can see Turnbull's reaction. "That will be all."
"What did they want?" Bernhard inquires. "Where's Keith?" John pauses for a moment, shaken.
"They… they made me read a newspaper clipping…"
"What?" The Resistance agent frowns.
"A British article, about a Blitz attack. Keith's fiancée was listed as one of the dead."
"Oh God." Luke's eyes widen. "Are you certain that it's authentic?"
"It certainly looked real." Drake slumps against the wall. "Oh God… She was the only thing keeping him going. Now she's gone and he knows it. They've broken him. And I've helped."
Bernhard swears, quietly.
"Drake, don't be a fool. They forced you to read it," Luke snaps, "And there's still the possibility that it's a fake."
Haunting screams resonate from above.
"Keith doesn't seem to think so."
"But… I don't understand," the Swiss mutters, "How'd they even find out about Susan? He certainly didn't tell them…"
"I've thought about that too. I think we have a infiltrator in our midst," is the grim response. "A spy amongst spies. They couldn't make us talk to them. But they knew we'd talk to each other." Bernhard and Luke glance at one another, then at the Russian. The tall man appears to be silently sleeping in the far corner. "So they sent in a mole. He's been listening in on our conversations, feeding the Germans the intelligence he collects by living with us."
"That bastard," the Frenchman hisses. In a flash, Luke and Bernhard are pummeling the groggy Russian, attempting to strangle him. Drake hurries over, scrambling to break up the attack.
"Stop it, stop it you fools!" The young pilot manages to pull the astonished target of the assault to safety. "Have you lost your minds?"
"This son of a bitch's been listening this whole time!" growls Luke, "He's sold us! We're all dead men because of him!"
"Would you all just calm down for a moment?" Drake murmurs. The accused collaborator attempts to stand up. The Spitfire pilot gently goads him to sit back down. "We mustn't do anything rash."
With that, he strides over to the badly maimed Brit in the corner, aloofly kicking the man in the ribs.
"DRAKE!" Luke and Bernhard shout, as the heavily bandaged figure writhes in pain.
"Scheiss, scheiss, scheiss!" are the German exclamations of agony. Drake grabs the man, swiftly tearing away the dressings wound about his face. This action reveals unblemished skin. The entire shocked face is distinctly untarnished; with no trace of the scorching, extensive injuries the man was perceived to bear.
"Feeling better?" John smirks. Glaring, the man makes a move for the slight bulge protruding from the side of his swathed hip. Drake anticipates this reach, swiftly delivering the bulky individual a kick to the face. Unwrapping a few more bandages, he reveals a small pistol previously concealed within the layers of sterile bindings. Luke, Bernhard, and even the Russian stare as the pilot hovers over the now unconscious man, examining the weapon.
"Gentlemen," Drake says, coldly, "I present to you, our pet mole."
The portly sentry takes another sip from his secret flask. The scene has already started to melt a bit before his eyes, but the alcohol hasn't really hindered his guarding abilities.
Or so he believes.
Glancing up at the hallway clock, he realizes that it is feeding time for the captives. He sighs, not really caring. Providing these prisoners with a punctual meal won't make his wife sane. Staying sober through his shift won't bring his firstborn son back from the frontlines. The guard knocks back another generous gulp. Taking this goddamn job seriously won't stop the Allied bombs from plunging all over Germany, detonating away his home, his Munich, his little girl, and his will to live...
Tears now sliding down his plump face, the man wills the minutes to tick faster. Let those poor sons of bitches in the basement starve. Let those arrogant bastards upstairs go the night without a proper guard. Let everything in this damned classified house go to hell, just as everything has in his life….
Having dozed off, the guard wakes up around half an hour later. He is somewhat more alert. Sighing, the man grasps the sloshing basin of unidentifiable gruel and heads over towards the cell.
"Step away from the door," he grumbles, drawing his gun, "Everyone get back and line up."
Cautiously, the sentry enters the chamber, gun aimed at the row of men standing before the door. He slides the container of food towards them, eyes flickering over the Swiss, the Russian, and the Frenchman. In the corner lies the limp figure of the German spy, disguised as a badly injured Brit. Before the war he had been a professional actor no less; he is certainly playing the part of a disfigured vegetable rather well….
"Where's the other one?" The fat guard counts the prisoners once more, confused. "There's one more!"
"Don't worry, he's accounted for," the Frenchman scoffs, as the security man feels the dull jab of a gun in his gut. He raises his hands, slowly realizing that the fellow in the corner is not an excellent actor, he has in fact been bound with and rendered immobile by the bandages.
"Mein gott." The drunken guard almost laughs as he hands over his gun. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"
The seconds seem to glide carelessly by as the liberated prisoners ascend the stairs. Bernhard and the Russian are in possession of the two weapons; the latter effortlessly shoots the first Nazi they encounter at the top of the stairs. Internally disconcerted by this proximity of death, Drake accepts the guard's gun as the Frenchman swipes this soldier's more advanced weapon. A hail of bullets and shouting punctures the air as they storm down the hallway. Nazis and spies alike are forced to duck for cover.
"Je n'ai pas un pistolet… Hey, where are you going?" Luke calls. Drake whirls around to see the Russian sprinting towards the backdoor.
"You'll see!" the mysterious Russian growls, before the door slams behind him. Just like that, he is gone.
"He talked!" Luke whispers. "He talked and he…he left."
"C'est pathetique!" Bernhard snarls.
"In fairness, you both did try to kill him. Maybe he's a bit miffed." John darts behind a filing cabinet. "Okay, I'll get Keith, you two go about the house and try to pick off the others! If I don't come back soon, just get out like the Russian."
"We're not leaving without you!" Luke asserts, firmly.
"I'm afraid you may have to," Drake mumbles, waving his gun, "I've never been a terribly good shot." Somehow, he manages to maneuver into the living room. As he crawls into the space, a black boot swoops from above, smashing his hand. Gasping in pain, Drake drops his weapon, which is swiftly snatched up by a scrawny German soldier.
"Sorry, is this yours?" the Nazi asks, mockingly. "On your knees." His gaze cold and blue, Drake obeys. Sneering, the private aims the gun at John's head and pulls the trigger.
Drake nearly laughs, watching the soldier's increasingly desperate attempts to shoot him at point blank range. Apparently, the fat guard didn't even bother to keep his gun loaded. The pilot takes advantage of his adversary's shocked pause, using the opportunity to leap up and incapacitate the German with a series of blows to the head and neck.
"Keith?" Drake rushes over to his friend. The young man is conscious, but just barely, hanging listlessly against the ropes binding him to the chair.
"You're just in time, Drake," Keith whispers, shivering. "Another moment and I would've told everything. I couldn't distract myself…" He trails off, lips growing whiter by the second. "Please just go. Tell the others the truth." Bitter droplets slip from his brown eyes. "Tell them I'm dead." Wordlessly, Drake unties his friend, wraps his bleeding wrists in strips torn from the German's jacket, and hoists him up in a fireman's lift. "I'm dead."
"Oh dear." A gravelly voice booms out from the shadows. "I'm afraid we can't allow you to die yet, Mr. Turnbull. You're far too valuable." Drake tenses, hearing the clicking of guns. The SD-Leiter, accompanied by two underlings, steps into the glow cast by the room's dim lights. "Put him down." Drake obeys, gently placing Turnbull on the ground. "Good." The commanding Nazi aims his gun at the pilot. "Now, close your eyes, Mr. Drake. I don't like people looking at me when I shoot them."
"Stop," Keith says, quietly. "You can't kill him."
"Can't I?" SD-Leiter leers.
"You shoot him, and I'll blow my head off." Having discreetly obtained John's discarded, unloaded pistol, the spy presses the barrel against his throat. "I swear to God, I'll do it if you don't let him go. Now."
The bluff appears to work.
"Very well." SD-Leiter's eyes bulge with hatred. "You're more important to us alive than he is to us dead. He walks and you put down that gun, or we'll go right after him."
"Keith," John whispers, "I won't let—"
"John, you have to get out. Remember the code. Go back to England. World Travel. Ask for Hobbes. Tell him what's happened. Please."
SD-Leiter fires into the air. "Be gone, Drake! Before I change my mind!"
"Be seeing you, Keith," John says. It's not a farewell: it's a promise. Nazi guards seize Keith, dragging him towards the front door. The teenaged pilot storms out of the living room and tears down the hallway, on a quest to find a working gun. By the backdoor, he discovers Bernhard and Luke. Backed by the Russian. And an army of forest partisans.
"Where's Keith?" Luke demands.
"They've got him back there." Drake leads the heavily armed group back to the living room. "We've got to hurry!" The large force storms the space, finding it empty aside from a few lingering guards. They are quickly gunned down. Leaping over bullet-riddled corpses, Drake finds himself dashing out of the house.
"Over there!" Bernhard shouts. Drake stares as a large, army vehicle swerves across the front yard. "Stop that truck!"
Gunfire erupts into the night. Swarms of partisans stream up the road, shooting wildly at the truck. John stands silent and helpless as the fleeing vehicle catches fire and explodes. Sparks flare into the dark sky. The flames flicker and dance in his eyes.