Escape From Stalag VIIIB

"How many Finns...?"

November 8th, 1943

OSI Staging Base, Somewhere in England

“Now that you’ve been debriefed on that jaunt around the Med that General Thomason sent you on, we have a new mission for you, Gentlemen.” said Admiral Barrington, looking around the table at the faces of an OSI team that was, in his opinion, the best the Allies had.

“Damn.” muttered Terry, almost quite enough for the Admiral to miss it. Almost

“Soldier?” the Officer shot the American Tanker a stern look.

“Sorry, sir.” answered Terry, “But ya see, I been around these louses so long I’ve been having dreams where I see Betty Grable, and she’s in the shower ya know? And then, when I pull back the curtain, she’s beautiful and all, but then I look up, and she’s got Lodd’s face…”

Around the room chuckles could be heard.

“I know you need some R&R, lad. We’re working on it.” said Barrington.

“Thing is, that dreams not the one that scared me, sir.” Terry said with a smile.

“Yes?” the Admiral asked.

“Well, in last night’s dream Betty had Taffy’s face…” quipped Terry with an over dramatic shiver, “and that one’s got me thinking I’m ready for an insanity discharge…”

Laughter erupted around the table.

“Well, and good, lads. We’re working on a rest for you, but then Jerry doesn’t seem to want to take one, so how can we?”

Barrington continued.

“In the meanwhile, we’ve got a little problem. You lads remember Kustaa, the Finnish priest who was working with the SS Blood Mages on Kvalen Island?”

At the nods of recognition from the assembled team he went on, “Well it appears that Himmler had a backup plan, in case we mucked up the goings on at the Kvalen shrine.”

“Kustaa has a brother, Larse, who is also a Runic Priest, and we’ve discovered that he and the SS have been working at another site along the Norwegian coast, not far inland fron Bergen.”

“From the snaps and drawings you provided of Kustaa’s runes on the pillars at the Kvalen shrine, we’ve confirmed that they’re trying to summon someone, though we’re still not sure who.”

“Now, before the war exposed us all to Nazi Blood Magic, I know no man in this room would’ve taken rumors of the Occult seriously, but I daresay we’re well beyond that know, and I hope I don’t have to tell you that the possibility of Himmler’s boys summoning a Norse god is probably worth pushing back your leave a wee bit…”

As the Admiral’s voice trailed off, the men before him glanced around at each other, suddenly serious, and Pyotr asked, “What are the details of the mission, sir?”

""You’re to land at a Fjord just inland from Bergen, a little North of Haus. There’s a pass into the mountains there that you’ll use to get to the shrine that Larse and the SS are using. But first, at the mouth of the Fjord, there is a radio station, which relays messages from the interior, where Larse is based, and the coast, where the Kriegsmarine brings in supplies and reinforcements. Take out the radio installation and you’ll have a 6 hour head start on any Nazi reinforcements, more if one of your German speakers," here he nodded at Taffy and Pyotr, “can fool Jerry into thinking everything’s alright but that the transmitter needs repair. That might buy you another day.”

“How long will the trek inland take?” said Bob, adding hastily, “Sir.”

As the Flag Officer glanced down at his notes, Terry shot the Canadian a look, smiled, and silently mouthed ‘kiss ass’.

Putting a beefy hand on the Sniper’s arm to restrain him, Lodd glared at both of them, as Barrington resumed the briefing.

“Good question Corporal. The passes are treacherous, the snow is already deep in many places, and we’ve no solid intelligence on how the Germans have arranged their patrols. Given the amounts of supplies we’ve witnessed coming into the Fjord, we expect there is at least a reinforced company of SS storm troopers, perhaps more, detailed to Larse and the Mages…” pausing, “I’d say it’ll take you at least a day, maybe two, to get the two dozen Kilometers from the radio station on the coast to the mountain shrine.”

“Other than the stint on Kvalen, we’ve no experience in arctic conditions, sir.” interjected the Padre.

“Yes, and the Private’s Commando training notwithstanding,” here the officer nodded at Terry, “you’d hardly be expected to last the first day, as harsh as the conditions are shaping up to be in Scandinavia this Winter. That’s why you’ve been assigned an Alpine specialist, mountain climber, cross country skier, that sort of thing, to assist you. He’ll be waiting for you at the docks when you depart. He’s currently seconded to the OSS as a ‘civilian subcontractor’ or some such Yank euphemism, but, if he performs well, we may add him to your team…”

“What’s his name, sir?” asked Taffy.

“Wulf Behr Kartoffelpuffer.”

All eyes turned to Bob, who turned a light shade of red.

Unconcerned, or perhaps just unaware, of the Canadian sharpshooter’s reaction, Barrington concluded, “Now, obviously with Jerry’s reinforcements coming in hard at your back, you can’t be expected to use your infiltration route to get back out, so we’ve arranged for a ski equipped plane, flown by a seasoned bush pilot, to exfiltrate you after you dispose of Larse and the Blood mages. And now, as that concludes the briefing, I’ll leave you gentlemen to your planning. Godspeed.”

Rising from his chair, the Admiral executed a sharp salute, turned, and strode out of the conference room, his previously unnoticed aide trailing him like a well trained dog.

“I hav one question, only.” rumbled the giant Slav, “Vat kind uf boat we travel on?”

“It’ll have to be a submarine, mate.” replied the Padre, “Only way to avoid detection.”

Lodd’s groan was lost in the background noise, as Bob exclaimed, “Wulf Behr Kartoffelpuffer? Wulf Behr Kartoffelpuffer? That name sounds pretty fuckin’ German! He better not be a Nazi! Why the hell should we put our trust in a damn Nazi guide?”

As the others filed out of the briefing room to get their kit ready, Bob shuffled out behind them.

“Doomed,” he muttered, “we’re doomed…”

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