Welcome ladies and gents to another year of ION theater! This thread will be used to post the main story line of the game as well as hints and clues that can be used by both the Germans and Allies.
Certain characters and individuals will post on this thread with vital information from time to time. Both command staff's can contact me at any time if they are unsure which is which.
Also if you are interested at getting into story making or want to create your own characters history/story here then by all means go ahead! We French love a good story or two Without further time wasted, here is your first part of the story.
Some cases were easy to solve, others provided the inspector with what was a challenge for his field, of which he was one of the best. This, however, was a whole different animal. This case he felt, was never meant to be solved. But that still didn't stop him...
The authorities had brought him in because he was suppose to be the best. That, and he was French. The German caretakers who watched over the Vichy Gov. of which he worked for believed it to be a much better idea to let the French people handle such a delicate situation. For any misstep and they could have a full blown revolution on their hands.
"Wouldn't that be ironic..." laughed Chief Inspector Javert, the man sent to "Get to the bottom of this travesty that had befallen the French people."
The chief inspector was assigned to finding the stolen casket of the former Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The public was enraged and confused as to simply how it happened or for what purpose. The message that was left only added to the confusion, which is what Javert was subscribed to at the moment. He was a few days into the investigation and the only thing they had found was that this impossible feat was achieved by more than twenty people.
"Inspector? Sir? Are you alright?" asked Captain Renault, the man assigned to him by the Paris police to aide him in whatever he needed.
"Yes yes, just talking to the walls a little captain..." Responded Javert. "And myself" he whispered.
The inspector eyeballed the ripples of cream in his newly acquired cup of coffee. Of which this was at least his 10th cup... Or at that's what he remembers, he'd been up for nearly 24 hours attempting to find witnesses and any evidence; of which there was little of both. The guards had been "mugged" and there almost nothing left of the massive tomb. How "they" did this was surely a mystery. Looking up from his coffee he saw the space that was where the casket once laid. Now it was surrounded by men and women searching for anything that could make a breakthrough in the case.
Javert was an old veteran of the French Police force, he had been solving cases even before the war had started and now do to its results he was working for a new master, or "masters." He now worked for the Vichy Gov. who in turn worked for the Germans. He was not fond of their methods, but they did pay well and he had a family to support.
What was obvious, was that the casket was broken and opened. It appeared that there was residue of the quarzite and stone on the floor but the pieces were so small you could barely see them in your hand. There was also some marks on the floor from some form of equipment being brought in. As to what it was that was still a mystery.
It was starting to get late, and the majority of Javert's staff was heading home for the evening. Running of caffeine alone the inspector was thinking of doing the same. His people were moving around cleaning up and prepping to leave going here and there. Javert looked at his coffee again, and watched the swirls of the cream go round and round.
"That's how I feel..." he thought to himself. "Round and round we go."
He took another drink of his coffee and when he brought it down he noticed something on the ground in front of his feet. It was a note, on the same sort of card, with a large red blotch on it. Javert looked around in amazement seeing if anyone looked out of place. Nothing...
He examined it closer and realized that the blotch was blood! He looked around again slightly more franticly this time and he stood up examining everything around him. But nothing seemed out of place, and now the people that were leaving were looking at him, they noticed too that something was wrong.
The Captain Renault, who was the head officer of the group approached Javert, "What is it Chief Inspector?"
Still amazed by the ghostly appearance of this paper Javert noticed that there was something on the other side of it. He flipped the card and on the back it side in three finely printed words:
"Follow the lines..."
Looking at the floor below his feet Javert saw lines everywhere. He gave the card to the Captain and started to pace looking at all the lines surrounding him. The captain and those around him read the note and did the same.
Javert stopped, looked around again at everything surrounding him.
He walked over to the evidence table and picked up the note that was left and then took the card from the Captain. Looking at them both side by side, the Inspector examined them and read and re-read what they said.
Then he saw the blood splotch...
"Blood...Follow the lines... Follow the Bloodlines! Captain Renault, Napoleon II's tomb is here correct!?"
The Captain's eyes widened, "Yes of course it is, it's down this way sir."
They both rushed to Napoleon the II's resting place, and low and behold, wrapped around his hand, was another card which was still flapping back and forth from probably just being placed there.
Javert and the captain simultaneously un-holstered their pistols and cautiously approached the now settling card that was attached to the statue of Napoleon the II's extended hand. The Inspector tilted his head from side to side of the card and read it:
"To the victors went the crown, but not the blood. The blood denied, went on, wronged by histories ink."
To be continued...
Member of [ISH] & Team Yeti
ION 2010/2011/2012/2013 French XO/General MVT: Moblonians PTW 44' ~ French ION 2008 ~ Sportsmanship Award-Stalingrad 10
MVP: ROME 2045 ~ French Indian War 2854
The sun had recently set but left an orange glow on the undersides of the feathery clouds skimming the horizon. The small squad of soldiers silently navigating the dusky forest paused in the cover of a cluster of fir trees. The six men each hunkered down on one knee and scanned the sky as the last traces of the day's light bled out. No one had spoken for hours - all communication was via hand signals. The leader of the group knelt in the center of the column and took a small plastic-coated map out of his pocket. Taking readings from a compass and comparing them with notations on the map he was satisfied they had reached the location of the last known sighting.
The rest of the squad looked to their leader as he stowed his map and compass. He nodded affirmatively, raised his hand in the air and twirled his finger indicating it was time to "gear up" for the mission objective.
In the short time it took for the twilight to fade and full blown darkness to settle in, the men had exchanged their machine guns for strange, bulky looking weapons. They each appeared to be armed with a sixteenth century blunderbuss firearm. The item was short, stocky, and the end of the barrel flared out like a horn. It looked like the old weapon of choice of the Amerikaner pilgrims. Those guns were renowned for their ability to load and fire anything from broken glass to gravel.
Still maintaining strict sound discipline, one by one the men "broke open" the breech and loaded a round that resembled a tennis ball with a bean bag sprouting from the back. After all the weapons were loaded the men looked to their leader and gave a "thumbs up". He nodded to the group and then raised his hands chest high. He formed circles with his index fingers and thumbs and brought them to his eyes. He was telling his men to don their night vision goggles.
Bulky and uncomfortable, the goggles were still in the "testing phase". They amplified available light 100 times - prototypes of the future starlight scopes that magnified light 4000 times - which in 1944 was a scientific breakthrough. Considering that such devices were rare this elite squad of German soldiers had a significant advantage over any enemies they may encounter in the dark.
The goggles had batteries that lasted only for one hour of constant use. Each soldier had one back up battery for an additional hour. After that, the advantage was gone. The squad leader, CRAPGAME, decided that only two men at a time would activate their goggles. This would prolong the squad's ability to see in the dark. Once the team encountered its prey all the men would turn on their "eyes" and execute their mission.
CRAPGAME signaled everyone to turn their goggles on for the moment and form a circle close around him. The group quietly hunkered down around their leader while he used a finger to trace a large circle in the dark soil. Next, he stabbed little dots in the circle - about a dozen - and then made a smaller circle within all the other marks. He was indicating to his team that the group was in "ground zero" of the last dozen recent Yeti sightings. This was the most likely location of their objective. The team solemnly nodded acknowledgement back and gripped their non-lethal weapons a little tighter.
CRAPGAME brushed his "dirt diagram" away with his hand and indicated everyone but CAPP and Shag77 to turn off their night vision. Next, he had his squad set up a forty yard perimeter and proceeded to the center. Once there, he silently unwrapped a hefty slab of fresh beef jerky and laid it on a rock the size of a recliner. He took a few steps towards his spot in the perimeter and froze. He walked back to the rock and stuffed as much of the jerky into his mouth as he could and took a huge bite. The hike out here had made him hungry.
Chewing the mouthful of meat CRAPGAME turned off his goggles and waited for his eyes to adjust to the pitch black forest. After a couple of minutes he lifted his foot to start walking to the perimeter and that is when the blood curdling cry of the Yeti shrieked forth from the darkness. All the men tensed and held their weapons tighter. The silence that followed seemed to amplify all their heart beats and each man wondered if he was hearing his own or the man's next to him. All the night vision goggles were activated.
There were a few more moments of silence and then the sound of someone running through the dead leaves could be heard. The activity was still out of blunderbuss range. It was way out of goggle range for that matter. CRAPGAME couldn't make out anything beyond the tree twenty feet away. He had to rely on his hearing to survive! The squad leader swiveled his head in the direction of the crunching underbrush and discerned that the sound was getting closer as it circled and vectored towards the beef jerky. The bait was about to be taken - everything was going to plan when a second set of fast approaching foot steps could be heard in the opposite direction.
This entity was much closer than the one that howled. CRAPGAME realized THEY were being hunted and broke out in a sweat. Desperately removing a second strip of beef jerky from a cargo pocket he threw it as hard as he could in the direction of the new enemy. He actually heard it strike the creature only a few feet away. The beast abruptly stopped, said "Ow!", and raised a hand to its eye.
The sound of it speaking literally bowled CRAPGAME over. He fell onto his butt in a sitting position but brought his blunderbuss up to bear...and fired. The projectile "thoomped" out of his weapon and the non-lethal round struck his bushy-silhouetted adversary in the forehead, deflected into the overhanging tree branches...where it's non-lethal netting finally deployed and got hung up. His target froze for a moment and then toppled over either stunned or wounded.
The second set of rushing footsteps bore down upon him from the rear. He heard two more thoomps but the creature lost no speed. Frantically breaking open his breech and reloading his weapon CRAPGAME looked over his shoulder and saw a massive humanoid shape racing past the rock and grabbing the beef jerky off of it. Without losing stride it proceeded through the perimeter and smashed through the undergrowth and branches beyond. More thoomps echoed after it into the night but that one got away...
As one, the squad cautiously encircled the dark, furry figure sprawled on the ground. They all could see it clearly with their goggles in black and white. It was man-like but there was no sign of clothing and it was laying on its stomach. It appeared to still be breathing. One thing about the creature that was immediately clear was that it was much smaller than the one that got away.
CRAPGAME crawled up to the prone figure and rolled it onto its back. The thing smelled unwashed but there was also the strong scent of pine. He switched off the power to his goggles and raised them onto his forhead. Blinking, he turned on a small flashlight and beamed it onto the creature's face. It's eyes flashed open and they looked extra bright in contrast to its dirty confused face.
The squad leader smiled and said "Mr. Ralph Dimlott I presume..."
It was a typical rainy London morning as Colonel Frack stepped out of the staff car in front of the US Embassy at Grosvenor Square. He shook his head slightly as he looked up at the home of US diplomacy in Europe. "I still think it cheeky of the old boy to send a soldier to do a diplomats work." A young Captain from the War Department's Special Operations Executive who exited the car behind Col. Frack maintains a stoic expression and does not say a word, a thick diplomatic dispatch case tucked under his arm.
The embassy halls are bustling with staffers to various diplomats and Allied Forces officers. The sound of muffled talking and the click clack of typewriter keys fills the air and the overpowering smell of strong coffee wafts from every office. Frack and the Captain with him are led through a maze of hallways until they reach the corner office of Ms. Kelly Bonselaar. Ms. Bonselaar looks up from a pile of papers and smiles slightly seeing British officers step into her office. Colonel Frack salutes and offers a hand. "Colonel Frack, 1st Special Service Brigade at your service, Ambassador Bonselaar. This is Captain Heer from SOE" Frack says as he motions to the still stoic faced Captain. "A pleasure, gentlemen. May we get you some coffee?" Bonselaar says with a cordial smile. "Tea, please" Frack says with a slight look of disappointment on his face.
With the formalities and cordialities of greeting each other over, Frack takes the dispatch case and opens it, pulling out a stack of papers and folders stamped "Secret" and sets them on the already full table in the rooms center. "A bugger of a situation, I must say, Ambassador" Frack says as he hands her a French newspaper, the Tri-Color Times from April 16th. "Yes, a most troubling situation for the French people, to have a national treasure stolen in the dead of night" Bonselaar says as she looks at the headline about Napoleon. "I assume you have a bit more for us then a newspaper that we have already seen?" Bonselaar says, a smirk on her face. Frack nods as he opens another of the files and shuffles around some papers. "Our sources in France have given us transcripts of conversations involving the French and German governments as well as the Paris police investigating the crime. It seems the Germans are terrified that this crime might be pinned to them by the French people. They have brought in a special investigator, a Frenchman named Javert whom they feel will lend transparency to the investigation." Frack takes a sip of the tea he was given by a secretary and sets it down, hiding his disgust with the Yank way of tea making.
Ambassador Bonselaar nods, flipping through the folder that Frack gave her. "President Roosevelt and your Prime Minister are fully committed to helping the French in this matter, as I am sure you are well aware by your assignment to this post, Colonel. General de Gaulle is also very keen to have this matter resolved as expediently as possible with a favorable outcome for the French people. He has personally asked us to offer the full assistance of our offices to Inspector Javert in Paris. Colonel," Bonselaar says, her expression becoming more serious. "It is imperative that Inspector Javert understand the Allied Forces have the interest of the French people in mind by aiding in the search for Napoleon. The OSS has offered its full assistance in aiding Mr. Javert in his investigation." Frack's expression becomes a bit emotionless as he glances at Captain Heer and then looks back at Ambassador Bonselaar. "Bletchley Park agrees that the full weight of the intelligence gathering and processing power of the OSS and SOE should be offered to the French to aid in the search. Baker Street has already begun making the necessary arrangements."
April 23rd, 1944
US Embassy - Office of the US Ambassador
The day was abnormally chilly, and the sun seemed to be afraid to come out of the clouds. Kelly Bonselaar reclined slightly in her chair, the motion rewarding her with a quiet creak. The steam from her coffee still slowly rose when she picked it up, and took another small drought. The door to her office opened and a younger, slightly larger woman with glasses stepped in with a sense of urgency. " Ma'am the radio, seems another broadcast is occurring," she fumbled.
Kelly shot her a glance of annoyance, but then rose from her chair and stepped across the room turning her radio on. It squelched to life, and she turned the dial until the sound of a Frenchman could be heard. She turned it up, and retreated to her seat, and picked her cup back up cupping it in both of her hands.
"Ici Londres! Les Francais parlent aux Francais..." came across the radio to every household in France as the nightly broadcast of Radio London began.
"Before we begin, please listen to a few personal messages. Violette finds the weather warm. Francois has bought a new hat. Claude must buy a toothbrush. Samuel has lost his bicycle, Samuel has lost his bicycle. The bread is baked but the butter is not churned. My coffee was very salty, my coffee was very salty. Jean-Bari has gone to buy onions." The sequence of personal messages is followed by a few beeps with varied tones.
"Fellow Frenchmen, the German occupiers have allowed our beloved Napoleon to be stolen from under their noses, taken from Les Invalides while they stood by and did nothing. It has been days since the theft and there is no word of the thieves, no sign of where they took Napoleon, and nothing but empty promises from the Occupiers that they will find who is responsible. If they do not know how to keep our national treasures safe, how can they possibly know what is best for France," the voice demanded.
"General de Gaulle is working with the Allied armies to uncover the truth behind who broke into Les Invalides and robbed the grave of our beloved Napoleon. He asks all Frenchmen to do their patriotic duty and report any information, whether first hand knowledge or speculation, to the Resistance. Now even more than ever the Germans should not be trusted with such a delicate task. Finding our beloved emperor demands finesse and affinity for the safe return of his body," the voice says in a rousing tone.
The broadcast switches over to music, with Rina Ketty singing "J'attendrai"
The assistant turned the radio off, and stared or a moment at the Ambassador who didn't at all move. She sat affixing her gaze at the window, still holding the warm cup in her hands. The assistant looked around, then asked, " so what does this mean?"
"Well, it means that someone in London is sending messages for the Resistance. It also means that we are not alone in our endeavors to win the French to our side in this conflict. More than anything, it means that some French do not trust the Germans, Violette is daft, someone is going to be eating poorly tasting bread, and who in the world puts salt in coffee? “She mused, with a small side grin.
"Ma'am I think that was code..," the assistant started.
"I know what it was, " Kelly interrupted, " Get in touch with Col. Frack and inform him of this broadcast. See if he can do a meeting, I am thinking lunch maybe somewhere Downtown.I would like to know where we are with Javert and if there are any further leads in the investigation."
The assistant was scribbling fast, then paused and scribbled a bit more. She slowly moved towards the door, her face buried in her notepad still furiously writing notes.
"TODAY, for the LOVE of FDR.. TODAY!" Kelly exclaimed.
The door closed behind the hurried assistant, Kelly spun around and again looked out the window, she took another drought on her coffee and smirked. She said with a dry grin. "Salty coffee. Perish the thought."
Late in the evening of April 23rd a small silhouette separates itself from the picked-over trash bins and dumpsters in the dingey alley. Weak with hunger, the orphan shambles towards the opening leading to the main boulevard. Once she reaches the sidewalk the waif pauses to see if other scavengers are foraging for food scraps in the dark. There is very little movement in Paris tonight.
Due to Allied bombing raids all is dark. Lighted windows attract death - the girl's family found this out the hard way. Now an orphan, the child is on her own.
Somewhat street smart, Marie realized the train station was a good place to beg for help. Even in war, Paris attracted many travelers. Lots of people on the train platform took pity on an orphaned girl and gave her money or something to eat. A couple of times nuns tried to take her to an orphanage but she bit the 'old bag' and ran away.
Yesterday, she noticed a man in a long leather coat watching her beg. He pretended he was reading the PVN Paris Journal but she caught him with his eyes on her several times. Finally, he got up and walked past her deliberately flashing a 50 Franc note and nodding his head in the direction behind the train station. Even at her young age the girl knew men could be "bad" but that 50 note could feed her for a long time. The desperate child decided she had nothing to lose and followed the man off of the platform.
They were behind the building for less than a minute. He looked at her intently and took a rock out of his coat pocket. There was paper tied to it with string and the man asked her to take the rock and throw it through the window of a new building tonight. If she did that, he would meet her here tomorrow on the platform and give her another 50 Franc note! 100 Francs!
It was too easy and the orphaned child agreed to all of it.
Just after midnight the girl was standing in front of a newly constructed building. This section of Paris had been badly bombed by the Allies and much of it still lay in waste. But for some reason this building was rebuilt better than before.
Above the front door there were five letters: P-V-N-P-J. Since the girl was too poor to attend school she couldn't read and didn't know what they stood for. Instead, she went with what she knew, which was what any kid surviving on the street learns quickly...how to accurately hurl a stone. With amazing precision, she got the stone onto the PVN mail room desk and was two blocks away before the glass had settled onto the pavement.
The next day the man was indeed waiting behind the train station...dead. A bullet wound in the center of his forehead. The girl ran for nearest convent and disappeared until after the war.
For several days the rock remained on the floor untouched. Had anyone noticed it...this is what they would have wound up seeing:
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General Jezebel dropped into the plush leather chair behind the ornate desk in her Berlin office. She tossed a small velvet case on top of a pile of files and folders weighing down her desk. The case contained her latest award - she earned it with her recent victory in Stalingrad. She had barely gotten back from Russia when the rushed ceremony was held!
Once the formal portion of the evening was over she was informed that the Allies were massing off of the coast of Normandy for their invasion. Normally, the "after action" follow-up reports and debriefings from a battle like Stalingrad took weeks to conclude but the circumstances in France forced her to streamline the protocols so she could begin planning for that ASAP.
The German general had always assumed the Allied Invasion was a foregone conclusion...she just didn't think it would happen so soon after Stalingrad. Nevertheless, she had already started planning and her staff complied a list of priorities that were filed in red "URGENT-TOP SECRET" folders. Her office adjutant had taken the UTS files out of the safe and placed them on her desk as she entered the building. The handsome young officer passed her as she entered her office and she requested a fresh pot of coffee brought up. It was going to be a long night.
This office was the last place Jezebel wanted to be. Out in the field, smelling the smoke, leading the fight...that is where she found her service to Germany most rewarding. No matter how many clerks and office assistants higher command assigned to her, the pile of paperwork seemed like it only got bigger.
Heaving a heavy sigh, the General sat up and pulled the top UTS file from the top of the stack. She opened it and glanced at the top page: SHADOW COMPANY was the title. There were notes and updates about this elite all-woman commando squad. The second file was loaded with details about several French citizens who have joined the "Resistance". The third, was an update from her ambassador in Paris on the theft of Napoleon's casket . She read the latest notes and then rubbed her temples as she placed the files back down.
There were two quiet taps on her door and then Karl came in with a tray holding a pot of steaming hot coffee, a mug, cream, and sugar. He put the tray on top of the credenza and began to make her coffee. While he stirred the java he turned to her and said "There is an urgent call for you on the secure line from Mr. CRAPGAME, madam".
Jezebel looked up at him over the brim of the mug with raised eyebrows.
"It's regarding BIGMOUTH", Karl expanded.
The General snorted and sprayed her mouthful of coffee all over the folders. She coughed and gasped "Connect me immediately"!
Carl rushed out of the office. Seconds later the red "Incoming Call" light flashed on the telephone's console. She raised the handset on the second blink. With obvious concern and urgency she asked "Is he alive"?
"He" was Ralph Dimlott. An outspoken German nationalist and patriot who was employed by PVN International. Most of his work involved investigative, unbiased reporting but he also did some freelance public relations work for the German military. Goebbels loved the guy! his codename - for obvious reasons - was BIGMOUTH.
Whether it was foul play or self-imposed, Dimlott disappeared ten months ago after an assassination attempt against him by a disgruntled Tyrell Corporation employee at a political function. Reports indicate Ralph fought back and fled the scene after wounding his assailant. No one knew if he was dead or alive all this time. Berlin wanted him found one way or another, and CRAPGAME had been leading the search all these months. He's never called about it before, so "urgent" meant some kind of news!
From her response of "That's wonderful!", Karl deduced that Dimlott was indeed alive. He had trouble following the rest of the conversation but then again, he couldn't hear CRAPGAME's side of it:
"That's wonderful.........Feral!?...........BIGFOOT? No! BIGMOUTH! MOUTH! Never mind!.........Why are you at the Paris Zoo?.........Monkey truck?.........Don't hurt him!........(looks at clock on wall)...I'll be there first thing tomorrow morning.........Please do your best!"
Jezebel cut the connection and instructed Karl to have her driver bring the car out front. "Tell him he's bringing me to the airfield", she added. "Please tell the airfield I'm going to Paris and I want a car with a hot engine on the other end ready to take me to the zoo"!
The General slid into her overcoat and headed for the building's foyer. Karl got started on all the arrangements...
The week had proven to be one filled with dreary weather. Rain fell steadily outside the stately appointments of the Savoy Hotel. Inside, the mood could not have been more upbeat with the sound of American Jazz floating from the lobby and the numerous restaurants, the busiest of which was the Savoy Grill. Allied officers in dress uniforms, diplomats and journalists in suits, and British civilians dressed to impress all sat talking and laughing while waiters in bowties and white gloves hurriedly carried trays of food to the tables.
"I apologize profusely for being late, Ambassador" Colonel Frack says with a slightly flustered look on his face as he appears at the small corner table, smoothing out the front of his dress uniform.
"I thought you Brits were known for your punctuality" Ambassador Kelly Bonselaar says dryly, a hint of irritation at being kept waiting for forty minutes in her voice and on her face.
"Again, I apologize. Bugger of a thing, really. My meeting took much longer than I thought. The irregulars bodged together a last minute report for..." Frack says as he takes a seat across from Kelly and suddenly trails off as he realized what he was saying.
"Oh?" Kelly says with an amused smirk.
"Bloody hell..." Frack says with a sigh.
"Colonel, did you hear the radio broadcast last night?" Kelly says, deciding to get to business.
"Radio London. Free French Forces under de Gaulle broadcasting to occupied France. The BBC has been letting them do a nightly broadcast since 1940 when the Germans brought the blitz to France. Through the broadcasts the French in London reassure their countryman that they are not alone in their struggle, instill the spirit of revolution against the Germans who have them under foot, and..." Frack says as he flips through the Savoy Grill menu, his eyes on the pages.
"Did Samuel end up finding his bicycle?" Kelly interrupts, a bit amused.
"It's not a secret that messages are being sent through the broadcasts. The ingenious part of the whole thing is that the Germans spend their time trying to decipher codswallop while the resistance and our agents understand the messages." Frack says as he closes the menu and looks up at her.
"An interesting concept Colonel." Kelly says before taking a sip from her water glass.
"I would call it an effective concept, Ambassador. And yes, Samuel did end up finding his bicycle. It was being used by Claude to deliver a letter for monsieur Chief Inspector Javert." Frack says, glancing around the room either looking for a waiter or a way out of the upcoming conversation.
"There's more you aren't saying, isn't there?" Kelly asks, leaning forward slightly.
Frack sighs softly as he opens the dossier that he brought along and pulls out two photographs and slides them across the table to Kelly. The pictures are nearly identical except for markings on a truck holding Napoleon's stolen casket and the individual standing next to the truck. One shows a Royal Air Force truck with Tyrell Corporation markings and Lieutenant General Eldon Tyrell standing next to it in a tuxedo. The other shows the same truck with markings unique to Predator, the personal guard of Crapgame, a high ranking German officer with the German Occupation forces.
"These pictures were recovered from camera equipment at the safe house of one of our agents who regrettably was, as you Yanks say, on the take. It was a very elaborate picture studio with an extensive array of dark room equipment. We very recently learned that he was working closely with the Gestapo in Paris. Our investigation has led us to believe that the picture with the German Officer, Crapgame, was the original photo based on its position in the tray of film negatives. We have found that a series of double exposures were used to transform it into what exists in the second picture with Lieutenant General Tyrell." Frack says as he pulls out several other photos and arranges them on the table.
"Are you saying this man was running some sort of photo shop that he used to edit the original picture?" Kelly says with a look of shock as she closely examines the pictures.
"Our contact recovered numerous other photos that have the RAF truck and Lieutenant General Tyrell pictured separately from each other. From the recovered evidence it is clear that this double agent used a double exposure process to remove Crapgame and the Predator truck markings and replace them with the RAF markings and Tyrell from these pictures." Frack says with a look of concern on his face.
"The Germans are clearly trying to place the blame for this theft on anyone they can. The only logical assumption for the purpose of this photograph is to frame and discredit the Allied armies." Frack says as he starts sliding the pictures back into the dossier just before the waiter arrives at the table to take their order.
"And the double agent?" Kelly says as she motions for the waiter to hold on.
"The resistance informed us of the matter after it was dealt with. They took the necessary steps to stop this mans betrayal." Frack says as he looks to the waiter.
April 26, 1944
Seamus awoke with a jerk to the sound of a bang on the door. It was quickly followed by another quick knock and an unrecognized shout.
"Door is open" shouted Seamus. He followed this with a quick look at the clock. The time was a quarter to midnight and he had fallen asleep at his desk.
"I knew you would be here" said the man who had just walked in. It was Shawn, Seamus' co-ambassador to the people of France.
"What can I say?" said Seamus "We are running out of time. We know our enemies are coming to crush all the people of Europe. We must convince the free people of Europe that being here in France is only a measure of last resort."
"We'll show me what you have done" Shawn said gesturing to the work bench filled with German information bulletins.
Seamus gets up, limping because of his old injury that was earned in defense of Germany and France. "My best one is still in progress but the flyers from pictures found in London are complete. Take a look" said Seamus passing the flyer to Shawn.
"Marvelous!" said Shawn getting a serious look on his face. "Now all we need is to find the group that stole Napoleons casket. It must have been either an OSS or SOE group. We know that they want our French allies to distrust us. It will make defending Europe that much harder from their Imperialistic reach if we lose the beach head."
"Intelligence says an invasion is coming soon. We must hope that weather holds off the invasion till we are ready to defend against them" said Seamus reaching for a drink of water. "When we catch the thieves we will have to hand them over to Grazi. Lets make sure we keep in communication with him on this. Without him we will lose one of the major supporters in the French."
"Agreed my friend" said Shawn "I will let you get back to sleep or work knowing you."
"Good night Shawn." said Seamus "Just wait until my next flyer for all!"
On the morning of April 26th, Chief Inspector Javert was reviewing a crime scene behind the Paris Train Station. An unidentified male, probably in his mid to late twenties, was found dead by an old man who said he was back here searching for scrap metal. He was probably telling the truth but Javert had him taken into custody on a trespassing violation. The Inspector wanted him accessible until he sorted this latest crime out.
The victim appeared to be French by the way he was dressed. He had no identification or belongings on his person. His clothes looked like they could be found on any local clothiers racks so he wasn't from out of town. Hhhmmm, no obvious answers here.
Javert regarded the bullet wound in the sprawled man's forehead. There were traces of a powder burn. Whoever pulled the trigger wanted to be looking "John Doe" here in the eyes when it happened. This wasn't a professional hit. Assassins typically shoot their targets in the back of the head - this was either personal or intended to "send a message".
The coroner, A Belgian, had finally showed up at 9:30 AM and did a preliminary examination of the corpse. The time of death was 18 to 24 hours earlier. He based this on the rigor-mortise of the body, the solidification of the blood's hemoglobin, and signs of nocturnal insect activities on the epidermis (mayflies from the River Seine). The coroner told the Inspector all this verbally but promised to have a full report sent to his office by the end of the day next Monday - with his bill, of course.
Javert became engrossed in his thoughts and barely noticed the Belgian walking away. There was so much happening at once! The Allied Invasion, the German Occupation, the desecration of Napoleon's tomb, and now another murder! This dead man could be connected to any of it, all of it, or none of it! The Inspector's head began to spin.
As if that wasn't bad enough, it got worse. He heard a familiar voice call his name as its owner walked towards him. It was one of the last people he wanted to see...on any given day!
Stomping towards him on the bed of gravel between the brick train station wall and a dilapidated wooden fence was PVN intern Christine. She literally had been stalking Javert for the last ten months and pestering him for information on a Missing Person report regarding Ralph Dimlott, her boss. Christine had a very agitated look on her face as she quickly approached him.
The Chief Inspector rushed towards her even faster with his palm straight out, "Stop right there! This is a crime scene investigation and you are contaminating the area"! The constable who was supposed to secure the crime scene came waddling up to where Christine and Javert were standing face to face.
Glaring at the intern - who was glaring right back - the Inspector said with a clenched jaw "There has been no new information on Monsieur Dimlott! We determined months ago he is no longer present in my jurisdiction. Interpol has taken over the investigation".
Christine folded her arms across her chest, "Yeah. They'll be calling any minute now"! she snapped.
Personally, the Inspector believed that Dimlott probably had an experience similar to the one Mr. Doe was going though behind him last July. He had angered the Mob, the Resistance, the Vatican, the Free World....his list of enemies was quite extensive. "Then perhaps you should go to your office and sit by the phone", the French official hissed.
"In a moment," The intern said as she rummaged something heavy out of her hand bag. She got it free and held it out to Javert. At first he didn't react as he regarded the stone. It rested on a silk handkerchief that obscured her hand. "I wanted to bring this evidence to you. It was tied to this rock and thrown though a PVN office window recently". She brought up her left hand and gave Javert the photo that was tied to the rock.
Barely looking at it,the Chief Inspector flashed a classic "French smirk" at the girl and said "This is one of many forgeries I have scene in the last 48 hours".
"That's OK", the intern responded. "I knew you'd say that".
"And....", prompted Javert.
"And so I figured you would need to see this!", she said flinging that morning's Early Edition of the PVN Paris Journal in his face and walking away.
The stunned man caught the newspaper as it was falling towards the ground. He froze for a few seconds as he realized what the photo above the fold was. "How do I know this isn't a forgery too!", he yelled at the distraught intern's back.
She stopped and spun around to face him 30 feet away. Her eyes were puffy with tears and rage. She dragged the back of her hand across the bottom of her nose and screamed back, "Because I took that picture yesterday morning as the boat was pulling away from the pier next to the Pont Alexandre III bridge". With that, she flung her hand out and made a rude gesture with one of her fingers. An instant later she disappeared from view onto the stations platform.....
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Javert's eyes widened for a split second as hundreds of different thoughts rushed to his head, stories, people, possibilities.
And then he heard it, the heavy clops of someone up the stairwell from Napoleon the II's statue moving very quickly from the scene of the note he had just read.
"That's one of the possibilities..." Javert said to himself, then looking to his colleague. "Captain! Let's move!"
Capt. Renault and Inspector Javert quickly moved in a fluid motion up the stairs with their pistols aimed forward clearing the area as they moved. The inspector could hear the person running was fleeing as fast as possibly to wherever they were trying to get to.
As they crested the stairwell he saw the figure rush around a corner; his adrenaline levels spiked and his body started to prepare itself for the coming chase. Every ounce of strength began to move towards his legs. Yelling at the top of his lungs and breaking into a run himself Javert made his presence known: "FRENCH POLICE! HALT!"
It was always the same...Everything went black and white to Javert, as if he were watching a film, the sound of everything around him was muffled. But his senses were on the ends of the sharpest pins. He could see and 'feel' everything going on around him. This was no different.
He felt as if he were gliding around corners and leaping over the chairs and small urns that the suspect was now tossing in the way of his path. With ease Javert glided around them, his man in sight, only a couple of meters ahead of him at this point when he came around the next corner.
This gave Javert his first real glance of the individual...Everything slowed down to a crawl, as the Inspector did what he was the best at: Inspect. Years of previous knowledge of chasing down criminals and "dangers to the state" gave him a developed ability to observe the smallest details in so little time his superiors were almost afraid to spend prolonged time with him for what he could "find" about them.
His powers of observation served him well, at first. Javert began to absorb everything he could in the split second he had a clear view of the person who was running away from him.
They were wearing a police uniform, the color was slightly dulled from usage or storage probably; about 5'3 to 5'5 somewhere around... And that's when things didn't add up.
The inspector saw a pistol in the right hand of the suspect that looked like no pistol he had ever seen before. It was longer than usual, and it had some sort of bulbous chamber below the barrel.
But that wasn't the only thing...
His eyes strained to focus on the person only a few meters in front of him now. He focused as everything else went blurry. The hairline of the individual was odd, it sat funny on the back of the persons head, and the shoes were not those of a police officer, they were shinier and a tad thinner than normal. But the weirdest thing was the way the person ran, the motion was as if...
They were falling! ..But with their feet forward? Why would...
It went right past his year... but it wasn't loud, or sound like the tearing of paper like most bullets did. instead his ear was tickled by the sensation, which was odd. His eyes adjusted slightly and he looked above and past the suspect to see that the door in front of him to the outside was open and two other uniformed "people were aiming the same odd looking pistols and the one fired again.
Time began to speed up as the Inspector realized that whatever it was it was moving too slow to be a bullet since he could SEE it coming! He dove forward and time began to go faster and faster as he watched the projectile go over his head while he slid behind a large pillar in on the left hand side of the hallway.
The sound came back, and everything was back to full speed once again. It was only then that Javert noticed that Renault was screaming at him:
"WHAT ARE THEY SHOOTING AT US?!"
"STAY IN COVER!" The inspector yelled back... Whatever it was it was making a hissing sound when it was being fired. Renault peeked around the corner with his gun aimed and was immediately forced to retreat into cover by a few more of the "rounds" flying by his head.
"They're darts sir!" yelled Renault.
Darts? That confused Javert, and with the thought in his head he aimed around the corner and saw the original suspect had slid back to their feet and ran right out the door which was closed with a huge thud as if on cue.
The two men moved together at once towards the door and kicked the door open to see the three people running across the walkway and grass towards the street on the other side. Javert saw a police car rolling up full speed and he breathed a quick sigh of relief... They would be cut off from...
The car slowed down just enough for the three suspects to climb/jump inside and off they drove.
The two men of the law were stunned, so stunned that they had failed to notice that two of their colleagues were on the ground next to them. They were unconscious. And both Inspector and the Captain saw that they both had darts protruding from their chests.
"So that's what they were shooting at us." commented the captain.
Without a word the Chief Inspector got up and walked back through the doors where the other police were now running from to the scene. He went past them down the stairs back to the statue. He grabbed it from the hands of the Napoleon the II and re-read it again.
"To the victors went the crown, but not the blood. The blood denied, went on, wronged by histories ink."
He walked back where he had come from to where the suspects had escaped. He could hear Renault shouting orders for people to get the word passed around and for the area to be secured and ID's checked to make sure they were all who they said they were this time.
Javert handed the note to the Renault and let him read it.
"This isn't just some simple grave robbery is it Chief Inspector?
Javert just stared at the street where the car had been. This was no simple grave robbery... But he was afraid if what that could mean in so many different ways..."I have a feeling you are right captain...And I don't like the sound of it." He looked around once more. Something just wasn't right about all of this.
Javert and his fellow officers cleared the scene and found nobody else who could possibly be a suspect. Javert decided home would not do it for him this evening. He was not keen on being alone at home tonight so he went back to the station.
There were maybe five people in the entire four story building and thus the place was dark, and very quiet. He made his way to his office where he walked in and flipped on his wireless as he entered. It was playing a song that was almost from a different time... Seule ce soir by Leo Marjane & Brassai.
"Ironic..." he mused. This was not helping his mood... Or his sleeplessness.
He took his coat off and put it on his chair, and his sleepless body nearly fell into the chair. Looking at the two messages he realized he wasn't getting anywhere. He rubbed his temples and let the song slowly lull him off to somewhere else, somewhere he used to be. And then it all went dark and quiet once more...
On top of a building a few blocks away, a man picked up a cigarette from a hidden location below the crest of a building... It's orange-ish light lit up the area around him with a gentle glow.
"Do you think he has any idea?" whispered a second man who had just let a pair of binoculars fall to his chest from staking out the Chief Inspectors office.
"No...But he will." said the first man, without a care in the world.
"And the Allies? The Germans? What about them?" mentioned the second man, a small vibe of tension in his voice.
All he could see was that the first man didn't say anything, but an eerie smile formed on his face as he ground the tip of the cigarette into the cement and the shape of his face and smile were disappeared into the dark night.
To be continued...
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