London - 1949

"I've got a mission for you, Major." Said Wisdom, handing Falsworth a dossier. Inside, he saw a picture of a man in a watchmaker's shop, wearing an apron.

"Eric Schmitt. Jerry scientist, believed dead since '41. Actually living under the name Richard Klauser in East Berlin. You're going to get him out."

"May I ask what is it about him we need?"

"Suffice to say the Americans and the Soviets would descend upon him like thieves in the night if they ever knew what we did, which I believe is only a matter of time."


1948

Deciding where to have diner was as difficult as any command decision he'd made in his career. The restaurant he picked wasn't his favorite, but it provided quality meals, and had class, but wasn't too flashy. He figured that was what Peggy could like.

She seemed to like the place enough, or just being polite. Then came the question of what to do with the rest of the night, namely, what to say.

Walking Peggy home, Falsworth was realizing he'd spent too much effort into taking her out, and not enough into planning the actual date.

"So, tonight was… fun."

"Yes. I was…. It really wasn't, wasn't?"

She smiled the way women like smiled when it was hurtful to say yes.

"I swear I used to be better at this sort of thing."

"I'd heard."

"Have you?"

"Simon Aubrey from SSR went to University with you. When the Howling Commandos were being reviewed, he regaled me with a few tales of your less heroic past."

"Oh." He said, embarrassed.

"Oh, yes. I know all your dirty secrets."

"Well, I feel quite naked."

"It's alright. I've heard of far worse from our esteemed peerage."

They stopped in front of her building.

"Would you like to have dinner some other time? I'll be on excellent form. Won't spill anything on you at all."

"I thought you'd be discouraged."

"You don't inspire discouragement."

"You know, some women like persistence. Others actually want you to leave them alone."

"I know." He said, "But some women are worth making an arse out of oneself."

"Goodnight, James." She said, and then walked up the steps to her front door without another word or a kiss goodnight.


Three months later, he went to her home to meet the family. James went in expecting a hardened, military-bred father, a handlebar-mustached Sergeant Major, or something, and a taciturn and stern mother, the hard-nosed parents to sire a child like Peggy. Instead he found the warmest, kindliest British couple he could imagine.

Peggy's father, Brian, was a bald, bespectacled little man, a cheerful type with a large heart who worked at the post office. Peggy's mother, Eleanor, was a broad-bodied, auburn-haired woman of a loquacious nature who worked as a school librarian.

Also welcoming him were Peggy's older sisters; Rose and Maud, who eyed him with intrigue tinged with suspicion, while their husbands, Paul and Bill, remained taciturn, a little bit intimidated by their sister-in-law's aristocratic suitor, and minded their combined passel of children.

One thing James noticed was how similar the Carter girls were to each other. They weren't quite identical, but they shared more features than he and his brother John had shared, and at a quick glance, any of the sisters could be confused for another. A picture hung on the wall of Brian's mother, which could've easily been one of Peggy in a Victorian dress.

The youngest of the Carter children arrived fifteen minutes after he did, Brian's only son and Peggy's only younger sibling, her brother Harrison.

He was average sized and well built, and had the same good natured humor as his father. Later, when the men spoke among themselves, he learned Harrison had fought Rommel's forces in North Africa as a Corporal in the Special Air Service.

He reminded James of Sgt. Barnes, perhaps that was why he took an instant liking to him. While Bill and Paul only stuck around long enough to size him up, and Brian eventually left to talk to the missus, he and Harrison remained for a short while longer, talking about the regiment as it was then and now.


"Getting married to a Carter girl." Harrison said, "I'm so sorry life has taken such a turn for you, Jimmy."

James didn't really register his best man's joking remark. He was too busy watching the most beautiful woman he'd ever known walk towards him. He wished Brian could hurry along and deliver her already.

He'd retired from the Army as a Major, opting to join what was now being called MI-6 full time. In a short time he'd made quite a name for himself in British intelligence as a special operations man, while Peggy continued her own, far more discrete role in the planning and analysis side of things.

It was late 1948, and after having known Peggy for five years, he was marrying her at the Falsworth ancestral home in Scotland, before god and their friends and families.

Howard Stark couldn't make it on account of business. Gabriel Jones could not be reached. Jim Morita apologized profusely for having end of the term exams on the day of the wedding.

Dernier and Dugan however made it, and stood as his swordsmen alongside Harrison. They'd brought their wives along, who were over the moon due to the opulent surroundings and splendor they'd never experienced before.

General Philips was also there. He'd been primed to walk Peggy down the isle if Brian's health didn't allow it, but James' father-in-law to be had pulled through. Dozens of friends and associates he'd not seen since the war or before had arrived to see them tie the knot.

While Peggy blushed for the few times in her lift, and he smiled, beaming with pride, as the priest began to speak, a horrible thought flashed through James' mind.

'You're not the one she was meant to, Falsworth'

"Dearly beloved…"


"Falsworth. Happy New Year, and welcome back." Said Wisdom as James entered his office, "How was the honeymoon?"

"It was excellent. Venice is truly remarkable."

"Was it? The missus keeps badgering me about taking a break from work. Though I imagine a Honeymoon'd be an awfully bland affair when you've spent years traveling the world, playing our game."

'It is if it's the sights you're after' Falsworth thinks, but doesn't divulge.

"I'm afraid marital bliss will have to wait for a bit. I've got a mission for you, Major.

"Eric Schmitt. Jerry scientist, believed dead since '41. Actually living under the name Richard Klauser in East Berlin. You're going to get him out."

"May I ask what is it about him we need?" asked James as he looked at the man's picture.


"You've earned the right to know, Falsworth." Said Wisdom three weeks later, observing the recently obtained Schmitt from behind a one-way mirror as Schmitt was being questioned by an agent.

"You want know what Eric Schmitt did during the war? He worked for Hydra. Specifically, he worked alongside Dr. Abraham Erskine. Do you recognize that name?"

"Can't say I do."

"Your wife would. He was the intellect behind the creation of your old friend Captain Rogers."

"You mean…?"

"Yes."

James stared at the man beyond the glass in amazement.

"Where has he been all this time?"

"In hiding. Cleaver fellow; recognized he was working for a madman working for an idiot and when the time came, he managed to get away."

"How cleaver? As cleaver as Erskine?"

"Unknown at present, but according to everything we know, he was a subordinate. However, he knows more than anybody else, of that we can be sure.

"You've done fine work, Falsworth. Truly, England has gained a great weapon."

"Has it?"

"The Soviets and the Americans have helped themselves to the minds of the Third Reich and are building an arsenal, but neither really dares resort to it. We live in a world of assured mutual destruction, of potent weapons and sophisticated countermeasures, but the whole thing, as it always has, comes down to infantry.

"England is to develop a super-soldier program of its own. We have our Erskine, and we have our Steven Rogers."

"Sir?"

"Welcome to Operation Union Jack, Major."


R&R