The Flying Cloud, R505 - Season Eleven

Episode 546: Whatever Is She Doing Here?

A checklist

Pierre stared at cell's occupant in astonishment. This was the enigmatic Korean they'd encountered several times before. "Mademoiselle Kim," he whispered, "what are you doing here?"

She seemed every bit as astonished as he was. "Germans holding me captive," she replied. "Why you are here?"

Pierre offered her a bow. "I have come rescue you, mon cheri. If you would follow me."

He turned and led the way from the cell. No one accosted the two as they negotiated the cellars. For some reason it hadn't occurred to Fat Man's minions that a French jewel thief might infiltrate their secret hideout to free their prisoner. It seemed they might reach the surface unnoticed, but as they approached the stairwell, a janitor emerged carrying mop and bucket.

"Was is das..." he began before Pierre laid him out with a savat kick. Miss Kim leapt forward to intercept the man's burdens, but wasn't quick enough to prevent the bucket from clattering to the floor.

"Les Allemandes will have heard that," Pierre warned. "We must be gone before they come to investigate. Vitesse!"

They dashed up the stair, pasued to listen for guards, then hurried down the corridor. They'd just ducked around a corner when footsteps sounded behind them heading the other way. "Welche richtung?" asked a voice. "Unten," answered another.

"They go downstairs," whispered Miss Kim, betraying a knowledge of languages Pierre hadn't known she possessed. "How are we going?"

Pierre consulted his memory of the floor plan. The guards now blocked the path to the back door. The only other way out was through the common room.

"We'll have to go slip out the front entrance without being seen."

They reached the barroom easily enough, but any hope they might have had of passing through unnoticed vanished when they saw it. The chamber was packed with sailors, stevedores, teamsters, and a certain type of professional. Pierre studied the scene in dismay. "Merde," he muttered. "C'est un defi."

As he was trying to decide on a plan, Miss Kim tugged him into the room, threw her arms around him, and raised her face for a kiss. Recognizing her stratagem -- and an opportunity when it presented itself -- the Frenchman replied in the only way possible. The guards, if any were present, made no move to apprehend them. This was hardly behavior anyone would expect of fugitives. Other than a few envious glances, no one paid the couple attention as they wove they way toward door,

"Merci, Mademoiselle," said Pierre after they'd left the building behind. "I hope we will have a chance to do that again."

"Escape from Germans?" she asked artlessly.

"Oui, that too," chuckled Pierre. "Until then, would you wish to accompany me back to ship?"

The Korean nodded. "Oui."

After they'd recovered from their surprise, Everett and Jenkins invited their new guest to the captains' stateroom to explain her reappearance. The venue might have been somewhat cramped, but it was secure against eavesdroppers -- particularly after they'd posted Davies as a guard for emphasis. Now Miss Kim sat on other side of compartment's small desk. Her clothing had suffered during her captivity, so they'd loaned her items from Sarah's wardrobe. The effect was somewhat at odds with the woman's Sphinx-like demeanor.

"Welcome aboard the Flying Cloud," Everett told her. "We understand that Pierre rescued you from the German nationalists."

"Yes," she said softly. "Thank you helping me."

"We're glad we could be of assistance," Everett replied graciously. "Still, I must observe that our previous encounters have not given us unqualified faith in your motives and agenda. You will understand that we must ask you some questions."

She nodded. "What you are want knowing?"

"First, we'd like to learn what you were doing in Sydney and how you become prisoner of the Fat Man's people."

"I come to give them location of Japanese nationalist base," she replied. "They hold me while verify I telling them truth."

The airmen made little attempt to hide their reaction to this announcement. It was hardly the answer they'd expected.

"Why did you offer them this information?" asked Everett. "Are you in their service?"

She shook her head. "Aniyo, but my culture has saying, `nae jeog-ui jeog nae chingu ida'."

Everett didn't need an understanding of Korean to guess that this meant `the enemy of my enemy is my friend`. Some concepts are universal. "I take it you hope to set the Germans and Japanese at odds."

"Yes. Japan my country's enemy. They invaded when fighted China, then forced us to treaties making them rulers. We try revolt after War, but nationalists come with armies, kill many people. Now nationalists ruling much Korea, plan ruling Japan. We make resistance, spy on them. I give spied information to Germans for attacking."

"That is consistent with the story she told us before," Jenkins observed to the .

"So it is, though this may just be a tribute to her tradecraft" " said Everett. He turned to the woman and affected a frown. "Where is this base?"

"Nationalists builded narrow gauge rail line from Yunnan Province Southern China, hided base at end next to Nam Rom River. Near village name Dien Bien Phu. "

A brief check sufficed to establish that none of these places were listed in the Almanac. This was hardly a surprise, since French Indochina lay somewhat outside of its scope. At last Jenkins located the relevant maps in the 1927 edition of`Harmsworth's New Atlas'.

"The site would appear to be the Muòng Thanh Valley, in the high country some distance northwest of Hanoi," he decided. "Judging from this map, I imagine the valley is fertile enough tio serve as source of supply. The French cannot have much of a presence that far from the capital, so it wouldn't have been hard for the Japanese to bribe or intimidate the local officials to keep their presence secret.

Everett studied the topography. "It's also surrounded by some fairly substantial hills," he observed. "This will make it difficult for us to approach by air if they have any substantial defenses. It also remains to be determined if we have mandate to investigate the place, given that our mission is to find the people who kidnapped the Admiral's aide."

"How should we proceed?" asked Jenkins.

Everett shook his head ruefully. "We'll have to contact Commodore Michaelson and ask for instructions."

Next week: So That's Where They Are...

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