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Bullfilter

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Another dangerous pickle 11 has got herself into. General Markkur! There’s a name to conjure with. :) I wish @markkur was still with us on the forums. :(

Very high-handed actions by the OSS here, especially with an ally and on neutral territory. If 11 can’t escape, the GRU may need to stage a rescue. Could get untidy, but Moscow is a lot closer than Washington DC! o_O
 

Finshades

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OSS proceeding with the expected American brashness and lack of subtlety. I must say, since Clarke has recently identified her as one of her operatives, and the OSS surely believes her to be a Soviet spy... How do they intend to keep her contained? And, if they do take the appropriate precautions (which would probably include several guns pointed at her at any moment in time), how to bust her out? Perhaps the Soviet Secret Service needs to flex its muscles a bit. Clarke can evidently do very little, so I believe we need a plan, and fast. Who knows how swift those American planes are in getting the General to Stockholm.

Or perhaps we had better capture some American spies and kindly suggest that they could be allowed to leave quietly if she were returned to the Soviet Embassy post-haste.
 

roverS3

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OSS proceeding with the expected American brashness and lack of subtlety. I must say, since Clarke has recently identified her as one of her operatives, and the OSS surely believes her to be a Soviet spy... How do they intend to keep her contained? And, if they do take the appropriate precautions (which would probably include several guns pointed at her at any moment in time), how to bust her out? Perhaps the Soviet Secret Service needs to flex its muscles a bit. Clarke can evidently do very little, so I believe we need a plan, and fast. Who knows how swift those American planes are in getting the General to Stockholm.
Very high-handed actions by the OSS here, especially with an ally and on neutral territory. If 11 can’t escape, the GRU may need to stage a rescue. Could get untidy, but Moscow is a lot closer than Washington DC! o_O
Americans will be Americans, they definitely don't hold back, nor are they very subtle in their methods, but one has to admit, they do get results...
Obviously, the big advantage we have is just that, Sweden is closer to Moscow than it is to Washington, both geographically and Diplomatically. We could try a rescue operation, but if it becomes too untidy, it could endanger our improved standing with the Swedish government, and undermine the hard work of our own diplomats. Let's face it, no one wants a diplomatic incident here. There is also the question of whether they know she's a Soviet Spy, or whether all they know is that she's not who she says she is. We know that a faction of the French military painted her as a German spy for their own purposes and that she had to fake her death to get out. But of course, her performance in Poland clearly disproves this theory. Then again, maybe something was left behind or badly cleaned up at some point, during her many operations, and they do have a suspicion that she's working for us. I'd say that only General Markkur knows, he clearly knows more than all of the other allied operatives, and he seems to have a bit of a reputation already.

In any case, it's all hands on deck for this one.

Or perhaps we had better capture some American spies and kindly suggest that they could be allowed to leave quietly if she were returned to the Soviet Embassy post-haste.
This is an excellent plan, in theory, now we only need to find American spies and successfully grab them, before the General arrives. It's definitely on the table right now.

General Markkur! There’s a name to conjure with. :) I wish @markkur was still with us on the forums. :(
I always expected to introduce some powerful American with the name 'General Markkur', this was finally the right time in the story to do so. I too wish that @markkur was here to see it... He will live on as a very special OSS General in this AAR...
 

Finshades

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Now that does pose an interesting option... What do they actually believe or know of her affiliations? No doubt the Brits will do their best to secure her release, considering she has proved her considerable value for them, but the Americans seem to think there's something else going on. But if they can't connect her to us... Well, the French probably are still eager to have her taken down, and the Americans seem to agree. But if the GRU were to nab Americans and propose a trade, then her affiliations would become known. Could we offer her a way out by demanding that she be turned over to the GRU as a wanted anti-Stalinist who fled to France shortly before the war? That could explain her presence and subsequent escape, as we were still on rather amicable terms with Germans at the time. Though, if they know she visited the Soviet Embassy in Portugal shortly after her and "Mother"s mad dash in Marechal's car, that might blow a hole in the plan unless she can cook up a decent story on the fly... Agh, this is getting terribly complicated. We might need to infiltrate the OSS to figure out how much they know, but there's no time to do that before we need to act, or decide not to act and hope she makes it out.

What worries me is General Markkur. He clearly knows a lot more than we believed the Americans to know (which, to be fair, wasn't all that much). And until we know what exactly they know, every option carries some rather hefty drawbacks. Either we leave her to figure it out on her own entirely or mostly (not the riskiest proposition in the world, as she has proven extremely resourceful), tip our hand and reveal her as our spy, or risk a significant diplomatic incident in the worst possible place at the worst possible time.
 

roverS3

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No doubt the Brits will do their best to secure her release, considering she has proved her considerable value for them, but the Americans seem to think there's something else going on.
But despite their disagreements, the British and the Americans are playing on the same team, so even if the British manage to secure her release, they will be very suspicious, and let's not even ponder what would happen if the British secure her release, but then this General Markkur intervenes and conclusively proves that she's Soviet Spy. The British might forgive her stealing a French Maréchal's car to get out of French North Africa as motivated by youthful panic, in light of her performance since, but one has to wonder, how much will they live with before they pull the plug, and lock her up, hand her to the Americans, or take even more drastic measures.

if the GRU were to nab Americans and propose a trade, then her affiliations would become known. Could we offer her a way out by demanding that she be turned over to the GRU as a wanted anti-Stalinist who fled to France shortly before the war? That could explain her presence and subsequent escape, as we were still on rather amicable terms with Germans at the time. Though, if they know she visited the Soviet Embassy in Portugal shortly after her and "Mother"s mad dash in Marechal's car, that might blow a hole in the plan unless she can cook up a decent story on the fly...
That's the crutch, not knowing what they know, and who knows what and how much is a real problem.
Clearly, the British never figured out that she's the woman who stole the Maréchal's car, nor that she stayed at the Soviet Union's Portuguese embassy. But the Americans do have something incriminating against her. The French Maréchal at the party might give us a clue, his name has to be on the guest list. The fact that the Americans waited until after the party to strike, may mean that they needed some kind of confirmation from him that the woman at the party was the one who stole the car and was on General Markkur's wanted list.
The Maréchal's nod may well have been the final confirmation for the OSS. From the execution, it seems that they came to the party prepared to make an 'arrest'. If the Maréchal is one of the French officers that saw 11 up close in that bar in Alger, that theory would be all but confirmed. We could assume that they know, at least about Alger. But we still don't know if they have made the Soviet connection. Even if the OSS doesn't know, considering how far they've gotten, they would probably find out eventually.

What worries me is General Markkur. He clearly knows a lot more than we believed the Americans to know (which, to be fair, wasn't all that much). And until we know what exactly they know, every option carries some rather hefty drawbacks. Either we leave her to figure it out on her own entirely or mostly (not the riskiest proposition in the world, as she has proven extremely resourceful), tip our hand and reveal her as our spy, or risk a significant diplomatic incident in the worst possible place at the worst possible time.
The problem is that the OSS is not stupid, brash maybe, but not stupid. They must surely realize that having gone through the training without raising any red flags and having survived Poland, she is very tough and resourceful. This means that they will be very vigilant, regardless of what they have on her exactly.

It almost seems that the best outcome here would be for her to vanish without a trace... but how to pull that one off... I guess we'll have to ask 'Shest', he can be very devious and resourceful if he sets his mind to it.
 

Bullfilter

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Ah, the unknown unknowns are even worse than the known unknowns! ;):confused:
 

Wraith11B

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Goah, I finally caught up with everything... a wild ride! Can't wait to see when the GPW starts for real!
 

roverS3

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Ah, the unknown unknowns are even worse than the known unknowns! ;):confused:
Exactly. Very astute observation... I've been on a roll with this narrative, the next part is getting along nicely. I won't promise any release date or time, but it'll be up soon.

Goah, I finally caught up with everything... a wild ride! Can't wait to see when the GPW starts for real!
I admire the dedication and am happy you enjoyed the ride. Glad to have you fully on board as a brand new external member of Stalin's Secret Committee. As for the GPW, I'd like for it to start soon too, I'm thinking of ways I could possibly hasten its start without declaring war on the Axis outright. I'm not sure how the German AI is programmed, but as the Germans have wrapped up all their loose ends on the continent now, and they've been massing more and more units on the Soviet Border, I'd expect them to attack soon, as the weather is quickly improving. Otherwise, going by the letter of the Non-Aggression pact, they can only attack after May 1943... If they haven't attacked by then, I'd think the Soviet Union would just declare war on them as nothing is holding it back. Also, if the allies, probably the British in this case, manage to set up a serious beachhead somewhere in Europe, and thus create a big enough distraction, we may also take that opportunity to strike.
 
2nd of March 1942, 'Odin', 'Shest', 'Tri': General Markkur goes to Stockholm.

roverS3

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The 2nd of March 1942, Stockholm, 1,3°C, 2 pm local time (3 pm Moscow Time)

In the morning, 'Shest' joined me and 'Tri' in the embassy. He just appeared at the door of the cultural attaché's office. As usual, no one saw him enter the building, or the country for that matter. He quickly took charge of the emergency meeting:

Let's go over the facts. The Americans are holding 'Odinatsat' in the American Residence. The British don't like it but won't do anything about it, at least not in the next couple of days. A certain 'General Markkur' is on his way to Stockholm, and if he's as good as I think he is, he'll be here by tomorrow. That means that the last chance to get her out before the General arrives is tonight.

We know that the Americans know that she's not who she says she is, we don't know what they think, know, or believe to know she is.

She was recognised by a French Maréchal, from the guest list and witnesses, it seems not to have been Maréchal Weygand, but it was Général de Division Le Gentilhomme. You didn't see that wrong though, he was wearing a Maréchal's uniform. GRU spies in French Indochina believe that Le Gentilhomme was named military Attaché to the French legation in Stockholm after he escaped from Northern Africa. But, this position seems to be a cover for French intelligence, more specifically the 'second bureau' of military intelligence. I believe he hoped that he would not be recognised by wearing a Maréchal's uniform, and putting his name on the list as Maréchal Pretelat. This suggests that he was prodded by the Americans to go to the party, and to hide his identity as to throw 'Odinatsat' off the scent.
That still doesn't prove or disprove whether the Soviet Embassy was used as a convenient crowded venue, or because they suspect her of working for the GRU.

The question remains: How to act? We need to strike a balance here. We want to find out more about this 'General Markkur', and we want 'Odinatsat' to get out of the American Residence alive. From the transcripts, and your last report, it seems evident to me that she won't be able to recover the trust of the OSS, and once the OSS shares it's evidence, whatever it is, with MIR, the latter probably won't trust her either. This means that, whether they know of her Soviet affiliation or not, her cover is essentially blown.

This 'General Markkur' isn't likely to give anything of note away while interrogating 'Odinatsat', though we would probably still learn something about the man, what he looks like, his interrogation style. Now, for the chances of 'Odinatsat' talking her way out. I don't think she has a chance. Don't get me wrong she can spin narratives and tell lies like the best of them, but crucially, she has the same problem we have, she doesn't know how much they know, not even approximately. A great believeable lie builds on the truth your opponent already knows and then adds on to that in a plausible fashion. The perfect example was her hoodwinking of the SS-Grupenführer in that Polish palace. She went in there with a very good idea of what the Gruppenfüher knew, and not being a spy, he probably gave away the extent of his knowledge in conversation, allowing her to spin a very elaborate tale, of which the only real truth was what he already knew, therefore making him feel like the rest was also the truth.
Now, we also want to avoid letting the Allies know that she works for the Soviet Union, in case they don't know. This means that any rescue operation needs to be disguised as something else, or as the doings of another nation.

To sum things up, I see few possible courses of action here, all of them carry risks, and all will be difficult to pull of convincingly.

The first is to wait the Americans out. We leave everything as it is, let the General arrive, and keep the residence under constant surveillance. Only once they attempt to move her, we pounce, and grab her before the Americans can get her out of the country. Now, this could get messy, and we probably would have to kill American agents on Swedish territory, but, if we disguise it as the actions of a terrorist group, or of German spies, we could get away with it.
The biggest problem with this plan, is that we don't know when, or how, they will move her out of the country. There are several possibilities here. They could hold her in a diplomatic car or a lorry, drive her to the Airport, and fly her out. They could move her by sea, with a small boat, or a seaplane could pick her up in the bay, right next to the Residence. They would probably also use decoys to make sure, so we would need a lot of manpower, a lot more than what we have now, and they would have to be trained operatives who can speak Swedish, or German, it all seems a bit impossible to pull off at short notice, especially considering that we only have one decent GRU operative in Sweden, and the OSS seems to have quite a lot more than that.

Now, another option would be to act first, instead of reacting, meaning a rescue operation targeted at the static target that is the American Residence. This kind of operation could be executed using military special forces, something of which we have some relatively close-by. The guards Rifle corps is far away, but we have Airborne Riflemen within range. Now, if these guys go in in full VDV uniform and with the latest soviet-produced weapons, we'd be outing 'Odinatsat' as being a rather important Soviet operative, and we'd cause a diplomatic incident with Sweden that will definitely reflect badly on our diplomatic rapprochement. That's why I think we should dress them up as Fallschirmjäger, and if at all possible have them jump out of a 'borrowed' Ju-52. I'm sure we can fill a plane with VDV who speak enough German for this to be somewhat believable.

We shouldn't forget the key fact that it is plausible that the Germans still want to interrogate her, and execute her. Seeing as the Gestapo definitely didn't find her body in the dead Vistula, it's possible the Germans believe that she might still be alive, as it is equally possible for someone at that party, besides the Americans, to have recognised her from a German intelligence brief or maybe even a German diplomatic service internal publication. The Gestapo would certainly have spread her picture around as soon as her escape was discovered. Even though the German ambassador didn't stay at the party, the Italians and Hungarians were there, and one of them might have recognised her and notified the Germans etc.

Now, to go one step further, we could fake her death, and disguise the rescue operation as a kill mission. If we manage to fool everyone, the diplomatic repercussions should be to our advantage, with the German ambassador likely being asked to justify this brutal show of force. The Germans are used to getting their way with Sweden ever since Sweden gave them Military Transit Rights, it seems plausible to me that enraged Germans would not care about Sweden's response, ready to try and get their revenge by any means necessary. They would then simply threaten to invade if Sweden rescinds the transit rights.

The very plausibility of this scenario also makes me worried about a possible real German assasins targeting her. If she was recognised, it's also possible, considering the noisy exit the Americans organised, and the ease with which our cultural attaché managed to follow them, that he wasn't the only one following.

Let's hope the American Residence's security has flaws we can exploit, while being able to repel a German frontal attack. So, which route shall we go, do we attempt to get her out in transit, or do we hastily organise a large-scale false flag operation to assault the facility? Without any informants in the new OSS, nor in the American residence, I can't see how a stealthy infiltration could be successful, so those are the two main options.”
We were all interrupted in our thoughts by the ringing of the phone. It was the cultural attaché again, still watching the American Residence:

Sir, a seaplane is landing in the bay, it's got US markings. Wait a minute, a small motorboat is going towards the seaplane, I've got a feeling someone wanted to make a swift entrance. All right, the plane is moving slowly, in the water, towards the embassy, the motorboat has reached it. Let me grab my binoculars. Yes, a man in a US Army General's uniform is stepping out of the plane, and into the boat. This has got to be him, the General has arrived. A lieutenant is carefully transferring a heavy metal case into the boat, oh and there is a second case as well, and a small attaché case... Now the motorboat is coming back to deliver it's shipment to the embassy. The seaplane is throwing out it's anchor. What do I do now.”

Wait by the telephone, and keep looking, I'll come up with something.”

Yes sir”

440px-G44-Grumman-min.jpg

The General's seaplane, a Grumman G-44 'Widgeon', military designation OA-14 (USAAC & USAAF), or J4F (US Navy & Goast Guard). It was originally designed as a civilian aeroplane. The first flight was in 1940, and the aeroplane soon peaked the interest of all sorts of military buyers. They served in many branches of the US Military, as well as in the Royal Navy, the Portuguese Navy, the Brazilian Air Force etc. Of the 276 that were built in the US, 176 ended up in the military. (After the war, France license-produced 41) The aeroplane was mostly used to scout, and to ferry people around, it could carry four passengers. The US Navy modified a number of them to carry a 90kg anti-submarine bomb. With it's twin 200hp engines it's top speed was 246 km/h, and cruising speed 220 km/h, needless to say it was never going to break any speed records. It shined in other areas, it's range of close to 1,500 km was excellent for it's size, and it needed only little space for landing and take-off, which allowed it to land in many places where larger flying boats, like the PBY Catalina would simply not have the space to do so.
'Shest', being used to rapidly developing spy-related situations reacted as soon as I had put the telephone down.

Interesting development, they flew the General in with that aeroplane, and it's staying right there, in the bay. If I was the OSS General, what would I do now?”
'Shest' stood there, silent, with his eyes closed, for a full three seconds, then he continued, as if he was the General:

All right. I think I've got it. First, I would interrogate the suspected operative in an effort to gain extra information, right there in the American Residence. Second, I would invite the British to convince them to officially hand over their operative into my custody. Third, I would get her as far away as possible, to England, or even better, to America. How would I get her out?

I would think the seaplane would be too obvious, it's great because you can fly below the radar and land on any large body of water, but anyone watching would assume that's how she'll be extracted, as it is the most convenient way. That would make it a great decoy. I don't want her leaving with me, because it would also be too obvious.
I don't know how much manpower my potential enemy has, so I would probably not consider multiple cars making a run for it. If the enemy, most likely a nation, has enough resources available they would be able to follow all of the cars simultaneously. So that puts the advantage back on the aeroplane, though the boat-ride over to it could prove very dangerous, and the most vulnerable part of that entire operation.

Unless... Yes, I could use the British, if I can convince them, I would have them take her to the airport, or the harbour, where I would arrange further transport in US custody. The point being that, as the British probably don't like the fact that their operative was taken, it would seem unlikely to an observer that I would trust them. That makes them the perfect way out, as long as I trust them.”
Then, he paused, and he was 'Shest' again.

My best educated guess is that she will be extracted by the Brits when they leave the compound for the second time. To throw whomever is keeping an eye on him off, the General will leave the way he came, or in a car, possibly with a dummy, or female OSS operative standing in for 'Odinatsat' as a 'prisoner'. Depending on how much time everything takes, that gives us a couple of hours, half a day tops to string together an operation to get her out. This means that the airborne operation is definitely off the table, we need more than a day to prepare for that. I already started preparations before I left, but that's beside the point, they won't be ready in time. We have to do this with what we have here, in Stockholm, right now.”
'Tri' responded:

I'm confused, what are we doing exactly to get her out?”
'Shest' replied:

We're intercepting the British on their way out. With any means necessary, but without giving ourselves as Russians. I expect the Cultural Attaché speaks fluent Swedish, and that he has a reasonably powerful, untraceable, Swedish-made automobile on hand? That should be all we need.”
At that point, the telephone rang once more. This time 'Shest' picked up the telephone, with all the appropriate code-words. When the call was over 'Shest' said, with purpose in his voice:

The British have just arrived at the American Residence. They didn't take the Jaguar this time, but a Rover 16. Makes sense, as there is no space in the Jaguar to hide a prisoner. We're on. Let's get over there. 'Odin', you drive.”

rover_16_3-min.jpg

The Rover 16/50, a modern car, introduced in 1936, sporting a 2,1l straight six putting out 50hp. Thanks to the relatively slippery body, that could propel the vehicle to a respectable top speed of over 120 km/h. It seems doubtful however, that one used by military intelligence, and especially one used by Cecil Clarke, would be entirely unmodified. It's probably reasonable to assume that the vehicle in question is at least somewhat more powerful.
At that exact moment, the telephone rang again. 'Shest' picked up:

What now!”
but it was for 'Tri', and when 'Tri's call ended:

We've got a problem. The Swedish government has started making overtures towards the Allies. It seems a significant enough part of the Swedish government and/or diplomatic felt that they were getting too close to the Comintern, or too far from the Allies. This will definitely negate our own diplomatic efforts, as long as this goes on. I need to go make some calls to try and fix this. No offence to your rescue operation, but the fate of the Soviet Union is at stake.”
And 'Tri' left the room.

I followed 'Shest' out, and in an alley a few streets from the embassy was an unassuming black on black Volvo PV653. We fitted-in nicely in Stockholm's traffic with this relatively unassuming car. As I was driving, I noted that it felt uncharacteristically powerful. Before I could say anything, 'Shest' answered my question:

Volvo_PV653-min.jpg

A Volvo 1933 PV653, part of the PV65 series, of which thousands were produced. In stock form, this particular model had a 3,3l straight six putting out a maximum of 65hp from the factory. However, this one is far from stock. The engine was replaced by a more recent 86hp 3,7l straight six, used in the newer PV659 and PV53 models. Some additional modifications increased power output further to over 90hp, and the top speed of our vehicle was thus significantly higher than the stock 110 km/h.
This car is great, it fits in, but it's really quite powerful, it's got the 86 hp engine and the transmission from the PV659 and the PV53-56. Moreover there has been some further tinkering under the bonnet to increase it's power output even more. It may not look like it, but despite the boxy shape, this car can go over 130 km/h.”
We got to the American Residence, and found the Cultural attaché, somewhat stressed out:

Will someone explain to me what's going on?!”
'Shest' answered:

No time to explain, we need to move my car into position to t-bone any car coming out of the Nobelgatan. Your car should be parked on the far side of Nobelgatan for our escape. Let's go.”
Once the car was in position, with me at the wheel, we had to wait. 'Shest' explained the mission to the cultural attaché. Half an hour later, we were joined by 'Tri', who isn't much of a fighting man, so 'Shest' put him on lookout. We waited for an hour. But then our patience was rewarded, the Garage-door of the American residence was opened, and the Rover 16 emerged, driven by Captain Clarke, with Richard on the passenger seat. They looked a bit tense. 'Shest' turned to us, and said:

Gentlemen, this is it. She's got to be in that car. Here are your Luger P08s, we will use only German weapons on this one. Ivan (my codename for this mission), you will not speak, you're the driver. I will speak Swedish with our friend the cultural attaché, and you will drive them off the road. If you do it right, they won't have time to pull out their weapons, and no-one will have to die.”
I started the car, and keeping my eye on the Rover, I steadily accelerated, building momentum, it had to be timed perfectly. As I got to the intersection, I braced for impact, I was doing a good 80-90 km/h. It was perfect, hitting just at the right spot, right in front of the front axle. The Rover's front wheels lost all grip, and it ploughed off the road, into a tree. The Volvo, was flung out onto the road, and as I applied the brakes, I noted that those too had been improved on by the GRU. Before I even came to a standstill, 'Shest' and the attaché jumped out. Then we heard a single gunshot, in the distance. It sounded like rifle fire from across the bay. It was followed by several shots being fired the other way, and soon we heard the seaplane engines come to life.

'Shest' was quick and efficient, exchanging but a few words in Swedish with the attaché while they searched the Rover. To our shock, the car was empty. 'Shest' had been wrong after all. If she wasn't here, were was 'Odinatsat'? And what was that gunshot? There was no time to find out, Captain Clarke was starting to come round, and we could hear Police sirens blaring a few blocks away. All of us jumped into the Volvo the cultural attaché had driven there, while 'Shest' raced off to dispose of his damaged car, and he was soon followed by a couple of V8 fords, definitely OSS cars.

As we drove off, after 'Shest' had drawn the attention of the Americans, and Swedish law enforcement, we passed several Swedish police cars going towards the American Residence. In the rear-view mirror, I could sea the seaplane, already in the air. I drove around the block to pick up 'Tri', who was still posted near the bay. As he got into the passenger seat, binoculars still in hand, he looked shocked:

Ivan, I don't know how to say this, but she was shot. The General was planning on moving her in his seaplane after all. They were all on the motorboat going towards the plane. The General, our operative, the lieutenant with one of the General's metal cases, and the US cultural attaché. She was being held at gunpoint by the cultural attaché and the Lieutenant, and she was tied up. Then, as they slowed down, there was a loud gunshot from across the bay, and she fell down, going overboard before the Americans could do anything. I don't know if this attack was meant for her, or for the General, but I think she's dead.

The General didn't wait to find out if the attack was meant for him or not. He got into the aeroplane as quickly as possible, while US Marines were firing their rifles towards the spot the shot had come from. Then, the seaplane hastily took off, and that was that. The US Marines arrived to shut the place down, and now the Swedish Police, and look, they're even bringing in the Swedish military.” - As he said this, a Swedish military convoy composing of several staff cars, and a lorry filled with soldiers passed us going the other way, towards the American Residence.

800px-Diplomatstaden_1925-min.jpg

The 1930s neigborhood of diplomatic residences along the Djurgårdsbrunnsviken, in Östermalm, Stockholm. The American residence is just to the left of the frame.
After taking every possible precaution to make sure we weren't followed, we made it back to the Soviet embassy in one piece. Somehow, 'Shest' was already there, he had lost his numerous tails, hidden the damaged car, and gotten back to the embassy before us. 'Tri' told him what had happened, and his expression quickly went from smugness, to sadness and guilt. He just said:

This is all my fault. I made a judgement call, and I was wrong. I could have prevented this...”
Always the one with his head in the game, 'Shest' was uncharacteristically shaken by the demise of our colleague. I tried to calm him down, but it was clear that 'Odinatsat' wasn't just another operative to him, wasn't just another operative to us.
Then 'Shest' started shaking his head ever so slightly:


Something here doesn't add up. We're missing a piece of the puzzle. I know this sounds like wishful thinking, but I think she might not be dead. I was wrong about the way she would be extracted, and I was worried about a German assassination attempt. If I was worried about an assassination attempt, the General must have been too. By having the British come in with a larger car, he clearly played me, and anyone else attempting to figure out where 'Odinatsat' would be. Maybe this was all a show... oh... listen to me, I'm rambling now, I can't think straight, I just want her to still be alive. I have a feeling there is something fishy about this entire situation, but I'm not sure that I can trust my gut right now, and I'm in no state to think any of this trough. I'm going for a walk to try and clear my head. I'll see you at dinner.”
As he left, I tried to confort him:

This isn't your fault. We had to act, and you made the call, a very tough call, someone had to make it, and none of us could have done it better. If we hadn't done anything, the outcome would not have been different. You didn't shoot her, none of us did.”
What a mess, 'Odinatsat' is dead, that's what seems to be the case. But 'Shest's doubts have given me some hope, I will keep you appraised of any new developments.

Greetings,

'Odin'
 
Last edited:

Finshades

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Damn, someone should write a book about this! The spy game keeps getting more and more complicated. Should the American embassy be kept under watch, in case the assassinated target was indeed a decoy and she's still being held?
 

roverS3

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Damn, someone should write a book about this! The spy game keeps getting more and more complicated. Should the American embassy be kept under watch, in case the assassinated target was indeed a decoy and she's still being held?
Probably. That seems like a definite possibility. Can we trust 'Shest's gut, or 'Tri's eyes? Both? Neither?
I already know where this is going, but of course, I won't reveal anything here, and I love to see you all speculate... I'll try not to make the suspense last too long.
As for the complexity of the spy game, I love that kind of life or death intrigue. I have read quite a few John le Carré novels, not to mention Horowitz's Alex Rider series, which I read throughout my teens, and then there are the many espionage movies new and old that I have seen. ('The spy who came in form the cold' comes to mind, but there have been many more)
 

Finshades

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Observing it might be worth it anyway just to establish the American response to the events. Considering they figured the car would be hit, it's not a stretch they would also have anticipated an assassination (or they anticipated neither, in which case one would expect them to be scrambling to secure the embassy). Also, one more option to consider: While either Odinatsat or a person pretending to be her was shot on the boat, there's no confirmation whether they actually were lethally wounded or not. Considering how resourceful she has proven, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that she'd have taken that window of opportunity to escape if she weren't fatally hit. And if we can secure the body, even temporarily, we can either confirm or rule out the possibility of that having been a decoy. Or if 11 actually did use that as a convenient escape method and lives, it would not do to have her end up in the hands of the Allies, and she's going to need medical attention sooner rather than later. Further, now that Swedish sense of security has been shaken, perhaps we could take the opportunity and offer them the support of the GRU in solving this mess...

I think the GRU is going to need an increase in funding at the rate we're going :p
 

Bullfilter

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My suppositions:
1. 11 lives.
2. Gen Markkur outsmarted everybody.
3. A decoy was shot.
4. How large were those metal trunks? Big enough to smuggle a suspected double agent safely out to the seaplane? ;)
5. If not in the trunk, then still back at the Residence, waiting for things to calm down.
6. Left field: how reliable is Shest? Who guards the guardian? Could he be working for the OSS as well!? :eek: Who might he see while he’s “out for a walk”?

Great episode - more hair-raising escapades in the Secret War. You need a secret war when there isn’t a real one to report. And even then, it remains fun and breaks up the more technical gameplay stuff. And most of all, you clearly really enjoy writing it. Given we enjoy reading it, that makes everyone happy! :)
 

roverS3

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I see some interesting theories floating around... no comment...

I think the GRU is going to need an increase in funding at the rate we're going :p
If this continues, it may be worth it to invest in sending a full spy team to Sweden... (Though I wonder what we could gain from that in game terms)

Great episode - more hair-raising escapades in the Secret War. You need a secret war when there isn’t a real one to report. And even then, it remains fun and breaks up the more technical gameplay stuff. And most of all, you clearly really enjoy writing it. Given we enjoy reading it, that makes everyone happy! :)
The interesting thing about this is that this espionage narrative slows down the timeline to a crawl, so it actually pushes the start of the real war further away in our time. That said, I am having a lot of fun with this, and I'm glad you are too, and that's what really matters...
 

Finshades

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A full GRU team in Sweden would in game terms probably be a mixed bag. I recall getting spies caught worsens our relations (although it has been a long, long time since I have even booted HoI3) or otherwise makes Sweden less inclined to align with us? On the other hand, they could support the local communists. And, if it turns out our diplomatic efforts will be for naught, we can always get our destroyer support for the carriers the same way we got those carriers - good, old-fashioned espionage.

I'd rather just bring Sweden into the fold diplomatically, though. Tech espionage is a gamble at best, and relying on that should be the absolute last resort.
 

Wraith11B

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Gah, where's Spetznaz when you need them!? "Remember - No Russian."
 

roverS3

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I'd rather just bring Sweden into the fold diplomatically, though. Tech espionage is a gamble at best, and relying on that should be the absolute last resort.
Going back to the gameplay. Tech espionage is likely to be pretty useless in Sweden, as the likelihood of stealing a technology depends on the difference in the number of techs researched. The Soviet Union is definitely more advanced in almost every area than Sweden, giving us a pretty low chance of stealing anything at all. Of course, as the only thing the Swedes have on us is Destroyer tech, if we manage to steal a tech, it is very likely to be a Destroyer tech, as you can only steal techs you don't have yet. It might be worth it, but only if Swedish counter-espionage is rubbish and we can maintain our presence there with minimal investment.

As for Diplomatic means, the Swedes seem to be pulling the same trick on us that the Turkish did. They've started aligning towards the Allies before we could even get them close enough to buy production licenses for those Destroyers. The pull towards the allies is larger than ours (due to ideological similarity and lot's of (realistically impossible) trade with the Allies (sic.)), and even if they were willing to trade more, it doesn't look like we could actually match them. I'm waiting to see whether this is a temporary thing, or whether it will be impossible to drag Sweden into the Comintern, regardless of how hard our diplomats work. I'm thinking about guaranteeing Sweden's independence, but I'm not sure that would do anything, except potentially precipitating the GPW if Germany decides to have a go at them. I'm actually surprised that the Germans haven't started pulling back on the diplomatic front. Sweden in crucial for Germany as it'd their only real way of bringing troops in and out of Norway. If Sweden Joins the Comintern, Germany can wave goodbye to all of Scandinavia once the Comintern and the Axis are at war.

Gah, where's Spetznaz when you need them!? "Remember - No Russian."
Not in Stockholm, that's the problem really. They need a day or two to deploy, and events moved too quickly for that to be a viable option.
 
2nd of March 1942, 'Odinatsat' #13: Resurrection?

roverS3

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The 2nd of March 1942, Stockholm, 3,5°C, 4 pm local time (5 pm Moscow Time)

The Soviet Cultural Attaché was back in his office, as 'Shest' had decided to relieve him from his renewed watch over the American residence. It seems he had wandered over there, and decided he wanted to see for himself where it all happened, and how the Americans were dealing with it. I went to my bedroom to try and catch up on some sleep. The previous night hadn't involved much sleep. As I laid down, the door flew open, not even a knock. It was the cultural attaché:


Sir, I have a high level female GRU operative on the line, she's calling from somewhere in 'Östermalm'. She knows all the code phrases and wants to talk to you specifically. You and no one else, you'll have to take it in my office.”

I sprinted down to his office. Could it be her? Was she alive? I took the phone and motioned to the Cultural attaché to wait outside his own office.
Her voice sounded a bit raspy, but it was 'Odinatsat' all right:


Ivan darling, how about you take me out to a late lunch? Come pick me up I'll be waiting at the usual spot, on Karlavägen outside Gustav Adolfsparken.”
Her delivery was as perfect as ever. She was speaking Russian, but with a distinctive Swedish accent. If it hadn't been for the war and her sense of adventure, she could have been a great actress. I immediately called the payphone close to 'Shest', and simply said:

I'm going to lunch on Karlavägen outside Gustav Adolfsparken”
As I opened the door of the office, the cultural attaché was looking at me questioningly. I simply said:

Get your car, I'm going out for lunch.”
Of course, we had all shared lunch in the embassy upon our return, and by now it was getting really late for lunch anyway, it was almost 3pm., so everyone was quite aware that something else was going on...

The cultural attaché's car, the only one in the Embassy's fleet that wasn't built in the Soviet Union, was another Volvo of the PV65 series. Unlike the car that I had driven at the ambush, this one hadn't been modified to GRU-spec. I really didn't care, I wasn't going to do any driving. I simply told the cultural attaché the pick-up location and off we went. Just another Volvo in stockholm traffic.

As we got to the park, there she was, her blond hair was a bit wild, and she didn't walk quite as elegantly as usual - maybe she was injured - but she was alive. I got out of the car and opened the door for her, without a word, she went to sit on the rear seat. Just as we were about to drive off, 'Shest' arrived at the scene. He stepped off a tramway some 50m away, and quickly walked towards the car. Once he go there, he let himself into the car. He tried to hide it, but as he saw 'Odinatsat', it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from his conscience.

The trip back to the embassy was silent, but once we got there, we all thanked our Cultural attaché for his services, and promptly locked him out of his office. This was outside his need to know, and he knew it. 'Tri' knocked and was let in before any of us had started talking. He had brought hot tea for all of us, and then, as she had done back on the day I met her, 'Odinatsat' started telling her story, the story of her last couple of days:

"It all started with Captain Clarke growing tired of Richard's antics. He would take a different date to every diplomatic event and had been caught fooling around with more than one at these events. My sulking was not helping him either. He had ordered me a month's rest before he would even consider sending me back into occupied Europe on assignment. When the invitation came for the big party at the Soviet embassy, it seemed to be the perfect solution to both problems. I would go with Richard to the party, as his date, an easy espionage mission to get me out of the British embassy, and to avoid a small diplomatic scandal on Richard's part. We drove there in the Jaguar, and I let Richard drive, not because I didn't want to drive, but because a woman driving her date to a party, in a rare sports car no less, would garner too much attention upon arrival, something that would probably defeat my chances at gleaning any interesting intelligence.

Of course, you remember what followed. The party hadn't really started yet, when I noticed the US cultural attaché keeping his eye on me, and not in any flirtatious way. I was suspicious and pulled you aside to make sure someone would watch over me. You certainly remember that. My head wasn't in the mission, and I didn't manage to learn more than that the Regia Marina had humiliated the Royal Navy by sinking HMS Hood and a host of other ships, but you probably found that out from the newspapers.
As I was leaving, the US cultural attaché introduced me to a man in a French army Maréchal uniform. When he turned around, I immediately recognised him, it was Général de Division Legentilhomme, the commander of the French 'Motorised' Division that I encountered in North Africa. I stayed perfectly calm, hoping that he wouldn't recognise me in such a different setting, with my hair done-up differently, and several barely-concealed bruises, courtesy of the Gestapo. He did recognise me though, he tried to hide it, but he was no hardened spy, I saw it in his eyes.

At this point, I felt the net closing in. It definitely wasn't a coincidence that the US cultural attaché introduced him to me. Richard was entirely oblivious to everything that had just happened, he couldn't keep his eyes of me, I guess my indifference towards his advances only made him want me more. He didn't notice that Legentilhomme recognised me, nor that his US counterpart had been surveilling me the entire evening. I thought that I could potentially escape the situation by leaving quickly, possibly using Richard's now obvious interest in me to create some confusion and buy time to figure out to what extent my cover was blown, and whether the situation was salvageable or whether a sneaky retreat towards the Soviet embassy was my only option. When we got into the car, I told Richard that I wanted to go directly to his place, being tired of living in the embassy. I could see his eyes light up as he was clearly expecting something more than me staying on the sofa, or his spare bedroom, if he had one.
It was not to be, as the OSS, clearly on the initiative of the US cultural attaché, blocked the road, and pointing their guns in true hold-up style, tied my hands behind my back, and forced me into the back of one of the cultural attaché's V8 ford. All I could think of when I felt the gun in my side was that terrible ride in the Gestapo car. I almost felt sorry for Richard, I could see the look of sadness and puzzlement on his face, through the rear window, as I was driven away.

FordDeluxe1940-min.jpg

A 1940 Ford Deluxe V8 sporting a 3,6l flat-head V8 that produces 85hp. The Deluxe model was more luxurious than the standard ford line, but had the same body with a few cosmetic tweaks. The Ford model line-up continued upwards with the Mercury V8 which had a wider body and an even more powerful V8. The absolute top from Ford at this time were the Lincolns all fitted with V12s, the least expensive Lincolns were based on the same frame as the standard Fords, but with yet a larger body than the mercury, and a V12 derived from the flathead V8.

They didn't bother to blindfold me, it's not as if I didn't know who they were. We soon arrived at the American Residence. They took drastic measures to make sure that I didn't have any weapons on me, which of course I did. They even had me strip down to my underwear in front of a couple of women - at least one was an OSS operative. They took the pair of knives I had strapped to my thighs, they hadn't let me take my purse, which held my gun, with me. The dress I was wearing didn't allow me to properly conceal a firearm, the knives was all I could get away with.

Back to the story. I was given more comfortable clothes, that fit me surprisingly well, it seems that they had managed to figure out my size, and one of the women whom I had met upon arrival was probably my size. They took mugshots of my face from all angles, and then showed me to my room. On my way there, I notd the distinctive sound of the SS Jaguar 100, it had to be Richard, for a split second I hoped that he would talk the Americans into letting me go, but I quickly came down to earth.

I was treated rather well, discounting the windowless room and the two agents watching over me at all times, guns drawn, it was rather comfortable. There was a table, a chair and even a bed, not a prison bed, a very comfortable bed. Despite the two men on night watch, I managed to get some sleep. Before I fell asleep, I could make out the Jaguar's engine roar moving away. The Brits were gone, and I was still there. The room wasn't perfectly insulated from the outside world, but it was impossible to hear more than loud noises very close-by.

In the morning, I was allowed a trip to the bathroom, including a hot shower, under the watchful eye of a pair of female OSS operatives, one of whom I had already met the day before. Then, I was served a very nice American breakfast: Bacon, eggs, waffles with maple syrup, orange juice, and a large cup of weak, but real, American coffee. Almost as if there wasn't a war going on at all, I had a feeling this was just as good as the breakfast the Minister plenipotentiary was having upstairs.

No one had talked to me yet, except for practical matters, like asking me if I had weapons on me, or informing me that going to the bathroom was now an option. The security was impeccable, but so was the service and the food. Things became interesting when the US cultural attaché entered the room once the remnants of my breakfast had been taken away.

Welcome to the American Residence. I hope you slept well. I'm the cultural attaché to the United States legation here in Stockholm, that's mister Attaché to you, but I'm sure you know who I am.” - He said that last part with a smirk that said 'I know that you know I'm a spy', and also, 'I know you know that I know that you know that I'm a spy, and all further variations on that theme.

After a pause for a snigger, laugh, or knowing look I never delivered, he continued.

Let's cut to the chase. You're here because you've been a bad girl, and because the General wants you here. I'm sure the General will explain it all better. My orders are to make sure you don't escape, and to make sure that you're as comfortable as possible without compromising the first part of the order.”
I cut him off with a patronising remark:

You did well. I'm sure the General will be as impressed as I am.”
Ignoring the sarcasm, mr. Attaché's face lit up, he hadn't expected a compliment from me. He opened up just a little, and became a lot less formal – maybe it was just an act

Honey, let me tell you. The big honcho is on his way, and he said on the phone that you're a real hotshot spook. He'll be here any minute now. You want anything, a drink or something?”

I'm all right, thank you very much”
We could both hear the roar of what seemed to be aeroplane engines in the distance. Mr. Attaché, or maybe I could call him Cultural now, or was that his middle name... He sprung up from his chair.

He's arrived. I better go say hi. Don't you go anywhere.”
And he left the room, leaving me with my two guards, who guaranteed my lack of going anywhere.

I sat there for what seemed to be about twenty minutes, though as they had taken my wristwatch and the room had no windows, I couldn't entirely relate on my sense of time, so it could have been an hour, or five minutes, for all I know. I used the time I had to make myself look as good as I could. If this General really was a 'big honcho' in the OSS, I wanted to make the best first impression I possibly could.

Eventually, there was a knock on my door, and a few seconds later, it was opened. It wasn't Mr. Attaché, but a US Army Lieutenant in field uniform who entered the room carrying a large metal case, which he placed next to the table, before opening it towards the empty chair right across from me. The Lieutenant didn't look at me, and didn't speak to me. Once he was done, he knocked on the door once, and went to stand at attention facing me, but not looking at me, right next to the door. A few seconds later, the door opened and a General walked in, well, he looked a little old for military man. He was mostly bald, and had a pair of metal spectacles balancing on his forehead. His uniform clearly hadn't been ironed, let alone pressed, for a couple of days, and I felt like he may have slept in it. Even crumpled, the dark green vest with the khaki trousers fit him perfectly. If he hadn't been a General, I'm sure his superior officer would have reprimanded him for the poor state of his uniform, but he was the General in charge of this whole situation, and the contrast with the perfectly pressed uniform of his Lieutenant only underlined the fact that he was above these kinds of rules.

USArmyUniform-min.jpg

The US Army Officer's Winter Service Uniform.

He was the opposite of SS-Gruppenführer Gudowius who always had his perfectly pressed and ironed black dress uniform on, but then Gudowius was a conventional Military man with aristocratic aspirations. This American General, I would soon find out was neither conventional nor did he seem aristocratically inclined. As all this was flashing through my head, the lieutenant pulled back the General's seat for him to sit down. Once he was seated, he turned towards the Lieutenant:

At ease Lieutenant”

Then, turning towards me,

That's Lt. Johnson, he's a real stickler for protocol, always impeccably dressed, and always at attention when I enter a room. He's very good at his job though, so I've learned to live with it.”

Never did the General mention what Lt. Johnson's job was, though I had a feeling that there was more to it than simply assisting the General with paperwork.

I haven't introduced myself yet. General Markkur, two 'k's, OSS. You don't know me, but I'm a big fan of your work. Now, I have a few questions. For starters. What name would you like to go by today? Sophie, Françoise, Marie, Lisa, Yvonne, Madeleine, or maybe Helene, unless you want to tell me your real name?”
He had just casually listed all the cover names I used for the last three years, off the top of his head, including the ones I had only used for short period of time. He definitely knew a lot more than I expected.

Yvonne will do just fine, General”

Just out of curiosity, what is your natural hair color, blond, maroon, dark brown? I suspect you're a blonde, but I might be wrong. In any case, does it really matter?”
I guess it doesn't, General”

The General pulled a large folder out of the metal crate, he opened it, angled towards him so I couldn't see it. He looked like he was comparing me with what was in the file.

You're even better looking in person than in my many pictures, I can see how you've been able to charm so many men. Had I been forty years younger, I'm sure I would have been all over you, but I'm old and wise now, happily married. You could be my daughter, even my granddaughter, and I know that you can be very dangerous.

I have been going trough a seemingly endless amounts of files and reports, ever since the American entry into the war, putting the dots together, trying to flush out foreign operatives embedded in Allied operations. I must say that you hid your tracks very well. At one point I had compiled files on 4 different potential foreign female agents, it turns out that they were all the same person, you. After reading about your exploits for more than a year now, I'm very impressed, and glad we can finally meet face to face, now that Mr. Attaché and Général de Division Legentilhomme confirmed my suspicions.”

Pleased to make your acquaintance General Markkur of the OSS. Now that you caught me, what's going to happen to me?” - I gave him a playful 'you caught me' look. You know,that look you have as a kid when someone finds you while playing hide and seek.

My superiors, the few I have, want me bring you over to the United States to interrogate you, but now that I'm face to face with you, I don't think that would be the best course of action. We're not at war with the Soviet Union, and besides that time you stole that one car, you haven't actually hurt the Allied war effort, though French incompetence was mostly to blame for the bad state of that particular part of the war effort. From what I've pieced together on your travels, and British reports, you're a great storyteller, and you're very resilient under pressure. That would make you a nightmare to interrogate, even if you break a little and start telling us true information we don't already know, we very probably wouldn't be able to tell fact from fiction. This means that you'd be pretty useless in US captivity, except maybe as a bargaining chip.

The problem is that, right now, the only thing we really want from the Soviet Union is for it to go to war, and start fighting the Axis. You may be highly valued by Soviet Intelligence, but short of us capturing Stalin, the Soviet Union won't start a war over a single person. I will thus settle for strongly suggesting that the Soviet Union guarantee the independence of Sweden. As the Soviet Union is the only nation with the available military power to back it up. At this point the US doesn't care whether Sweden remains neutral or joins the Comintern, as long as it's not in the Axis. I like our little base here, I wouldn't like to loose it. On the topic of a Soviet entry into the war, our interests are aligned, despite our differing politics, and your spying on Allied operations. My superiors don't see it that way, but I certainly do, and that's all that matters right now. I'm in this to win the war, not to do what I'm told by politicians or follow the rules.

It is clear to me that, now more than ever, the Axis, and especially Nazi Germany, is your real enemy. I know that fire in your eyes, I've seen it before. You want revenge, you want Nazi Germany to burn, and that's great. This is why I want you to go home, not that you really have a choice, at least in the short term. I can't allow you to return to MI(R). There is no reason why you wouldn't continue spilling British secrets to the GRU, or whomever you work for in the Soviet Union. Sending you on a US funded black operation would allow you to kill Germans without getting overly frustrated at the Soviet Union's lack of action. I want you, no, I need you to go home. Your hatred for Germany and what it stands for will inevitably bring you to use whatever influence you have within the Soviet deep state to press for the entry of the Soviet Union into the war. I'm sure you know plenty of people behind the curtains of power. Even if you don't succeed in this, you will still find ways to kill Germans. I really don't believe you will be able to stay put for very long, but no Allied intelligence service will help you get back into the action. I want the Soviet Union to get involved. If you can convince them to send you in to kill high ranking Germans, support Communist partisans, or anything of the kind, chances are that you'll be discovered, or at least that your ties to the Soviet Union will be. This will only increase the tension between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, perfect.


See, that's the beauty of my whole plan, I don't need to tell you to do anything, I just need to place you into the right circumstances, and you'll do it all by yourself.”


So, what is your plan? How and when will you release me?”

There are several things to worry about. Firstly, there is the GRU. They don't have much of a presence in Sweden, but whatever resources they have here will surely be concentrated on getting you out one way or another. Of course, they don't know how much I know, so I'd expect it to be a tricky call for them to make. However, in my experience, I believe they will not idly stand by and look as I whisk you to the United States, which is probably what they think the next step will be. I purposefully made a big splash, literally, upon arrival, I'm sure Stockholm's diplomats will still be gossiping about that USAAF float-plane that landed right next to their residences. If they (the GRU) have any sense of spy-craft, they'll expect me not to use the float-plane to extract you. Too conspicuous, too exposed, and too obvious. If they're any good, and I fully expect the GRU to have discreetly sent over a top operative to deal with this situation, they'd bet on me moving you out in a car. If they're really good, they'll suspect the British car the most. To help the GRU along, I asked the British to bring a large car that could conceivably carry a person in the trunk, instead of that tiny jaguar their cultural attaché is so fond of. They're already here, and that souped-up Rover 16 they brought is sure to raise a lot of red flags with any GRU observers.

Now, before you ask, I can't let you talk to them (The British), I don't want them to get sentimental. As far as they are concerned, I already moved you out some other way and they're supposed to act as decoys. We will be putting up a big show, you and me. The way that this will go down really is a win-win situation. The second thing to worry about is German spies or assasins. I know for a fact that the Germans in Stockholm don't know about your current whereabouts, however, in about 15 minutes, they will. Now, why would I tell them where you are? I won't, but one of my operatives who's trying to work his way up inside the abwehr will, he'll call the German embassy as soon as you appear on the terrace behind the American Residence. He'll be on the other side of the bay, then he will go to his car, and take the rifle that's concealed in the trunk. I'll pretend I'm extracting you with my float-plane, and while we're exposed on the motorboat, he will proceed to shoot you.”

I thought you wanted me to get home alive?! I'm not so sure I want to be part of this plan.”

Of course, he won't use a deadly bullet, but a special rubber bullet. It'll hurt like hell, but you're in good shape, you'll live, and he's a very good shot, so you won't be loosing an eye either. My superiors know nothing about this operative of mine in the abwehr, so the assassination will also be real as far as they're concerned. That'll keep them off my backs for not delivering you. I read in my files that you're a good swimmer, that's how you're getting away. The impact from the rubber bullet will knock you into the water, which is where you will stay, initially at least. It is imperative that you aren't seen by any of the onlookers. Considering what you pulled off in Gdansk, that shouldn't be such a big problem for you. To achieve your own goals, your only real option is to get to the Soviet embassy without being spotted.”

There is one issue here. I guess that I will be tied up on that motorboat? When I get shot, and when I'm in the water. I'm doubtfull I'll be able to pull this off with my hands tied behind my back.”

A fair point, and as I don't want you to die, your hands will be tied with rope, but the knot will be badly made on purpose. You'll be able to pull apart your hands by applying a little pressure to overcome the rope's friction. I must insist that you don't untangle your hands before you are fully in the water. There will be many eyes on you, and me and you both want the entire audience to think that you are dead. Any questions? It's almost go-time.”

Why are you telling me all this? I'm sure that you could have just run this entire show without telling me a thing. I'd probably jump at the fact that I'm not dead, and decide to fake my death anyway. I've done it before.”

Honestly. Professional courtesy. I want you to know that I respect you as an operative, and I want you to know you owe me one. Moreover, I'm hoping to build up some basis for future cooperation. Don't be afraid to call.”
He handed me a piece of paper with a code phrase on it. I memorised it and handed it back, he handed it to Lt. Johnson, who promptly burned it with his lighter.

I'm sure we'll meet again sometime, maybe sooner than either of us would expe...”
Lieutenant Johnson interrupted the General:

Sir, five minutes to showtime. Captain Clarke is waiting for your signal.”
The General looked at his pocket watch, and he pulled a full outfit out of the metal case. He handed me a modest dress, some woollen stockings, and a pair of light everyday women's shoes.

You better get changed. Trust me, that's what you want to be wearing. Johnson will be right outside the door, he'll see you up. You have five minutes. Good luck.”
All the guards left the room, for the first time in days, I had five minutes to myself. I had no reason to spoil the General's plan, somehow I had gone from being a captive, to having a new high level contact in the OSS, and I didn't even have to work for it. Of course, it all fit perfectly, and a few minutes later I was on my way up, and I guess you know the rest.
The plan went exactly as described. The rubber bullet hurt like hell, it hit me in the chest near the bottom of my right lung. I think it broke a rib, but my lung didn't collapse. I let myself fly into the water, staying limp until I was well under water. It was cold, but less so than the water had been in Gdansk. I have to say, the OSS operative took the shot at the perfect moment. The motorboat was far enough into the bay to be visible from just about anywhere around it, but still close enough to the bayside vegetation. I easily found my way towards the cover of the shrubs. I swam slowly, making as little sound as possible, though my movements were definitely masked by the sirens and all the commotion around the American Residence. I didn't dare to look, but it sounded like one hell of a mess.

I swam for quite some time, before getting out of the water in a quiet spot to the East of the diplomatic neighbourhood. I laid there in the dry grass, drying my clothes in the sunlight. Probably not coincidentally, it was close to midday, the sun was close to it's zenith, and the sky was clear. Once my clothes had dried sufficiently, I started walking towards the Östermalm, avoiding the diplomatic neighbourhood altogether. As I got closer to the city, I noticed another advantage of the General's timing. The streets were filled with people returning from lunch. I easily fit in with the crowd, the clothes given to me at the embassy were perfectly appropriate, even bland, and I attracted quite a bit less attention than usual, which was definitely a good thing. I found a telephone booth, and here we are. Now, I'd like to return to Vologda as soon as possible to figure out where we go from here. From what the General said, and I believe him, my time working directly for Allied intelligence services is over. He's effectively blown my cover with all of them. I guess I'm back to working for the Rodina directly. I'm going to get some rest, that was a stressful swim, come get me when we leave for home.

I never thought I'd be this happy to see you again, that I'd be this relieved to go home in one piece."
She gave each one of us a big hug before leaving the room. This would have been out of character for the cold woman I first met more than a year ago, but it didn't feel forced or strange from the woman she had become, despite the distance, we had grown closer through her hardships, our shared stories and shared secrets. We were all relieved. 'Shest' quickly made arrangements for us to leave on a diplomatic Li-2 tonight, while 'Tri' would stay behind to explore the possibility of guaranteeing Sweden's independence. We'll be home before you know it, there is certainly work I need to catch up on. The Soviet Union doesn't simply stand still because I'm otherwise engaged.

Let us all drink to the safe return of 'Odinatsat',

'Odin'
Notes from your writAAR:
@Bullfilter , you were close, 1 & 2 were correct guesses. @Finshades , you were right too, she wasn't close to fatally wounded during the shooting, and the General not only anticipated the possibility of an assassination attempt but orchestrated it himself...
No historical figures in this one, just the entirely made-up ones... Not many pictures either, this is really 11s POV, revealing a lot about what really transpired, so no new pictures for the same events...



 

Bullfilter

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Bravo! Very labyrinthine, and well done making the specifics so hard to figure out. ;) So now we need a war and for 11 to actually be welcomed back in SU - not with the customary Makarov 9mm behind the ear for anyone someone thinks may have been compromised! :eek: Let's hope the Secret Committee can help out there!
 

Finshades

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  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
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  • War of the Roses
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
Whew, that was a wild ride! What intricate webs you weave ;) It appears the General - and our esteemed writer - have, once again, outsmarted us all!

11 now has a rather convenient exit plan, too, which probably warrants keeping an eye on her. Not that I'd believe her to be a traitor, but because she has already shown she will use whatever measures she deems necessary. General Markkur... He seems to be a loose cannon, running his kingdom (that of espionage) as he will with little regard for those above him. Takes a little pressure off us for the time being unless we start directly targeting allied operations and nations, but he will be an extremely dangerous opponent. While Germany remains our focus, keeping an eye on the OSS might still not be a bad idea.