The Machine
Chapter 4

Copyright© 2010 by Wandering Lanes

Susan was watching her guard; it was the driver, Perkins. It seemed that he wasn't too interested in his duty as he munched on a sandwich while reading a newspaper. She tested the bonds that held her hands behind her back.

'At least they aren't like the women back at the Police Station, ' she thought. There she was, completely naked, but they hadn't searched her clothing too closely. She still had ... she managed to manoeuvre her fingers around to the cuff of her blouse, finding the small blade that was secreted there. Carefully – oh so carefully so that she didn't cut herself – she brought the sharp end against the coarse fibre of the rope and began sawing away.

Perkins glanced over at her, and Susan kept her head down and hands motionless, watching Perkins though slitted eyes as he shrugged and then returned to his paper. Susan resumed her sawing until she felt the rope part.

She held the ends of the rope in her hand and began to make sounds of coming around, "Huuhh, what ... where am I?" she said, slurring her words and sounding weak. Perkins just looked at her.

She looked around the room. "Hey ... you ... I asked you a question. Or are you the strong silent type?" she said a bit louder.

"Listen, babe, you're staying here until the captain and the others have finished questioning your boyfriend," Perkins said, which made Susan a bit mad. As if she thought of Jack as a boyfriend.

"Well, could you bring me a drink of water? My throat's a bit dry," She said looking at a nearby sink.

Perkins looked around and then shrugged. "Could do. It's been a bit boring here anyway," he said. He took a cracked cup from a shelf and filled it with water, carrying it over to where Susan was seated. He put the cup on the table in front of her and then walked away.

Susan raised an eyebrow. "And how am I supposed to drink that? You've tied my arms," she pointed out.

Perkins sighed and then took the cup. He brought it up to Susan's lips and then as she drank it she managed to bring her arms up and over to strike Perkins on the neck, cutting off the flow of blood for a second before releasing it. The blood rushed on into his brain, causing him to lose consciousness.

"Sorry about that," she said, and then used the blade to cut through the ropes holding her legs to the chair. Looking around she saw some handcuffs. These she used on Perkins, attaching him to her previous seat. Taking the cup, she filled it with water and then threw it onto Perkins's face, the shock of the cold water bringing him around.

Perkins tried his bonds and then glared at Susan. "So what happens now? Are you going to call your friends to interrogate me? Just to put me in front of a firing squad. It ain't gonna happen lady. All you're going to get is name rank and serial number." He sounded defiant, but the sweat on his face belied his bravado

"Relax, Perky. I only want to ensure that you can't escape. Now where is Jack?" She asked.

"I'm not going to tell you anyfink!" Perkins said angrily.

"Perky, Perky. The word is 'anything'. Now you just sit there and keep quiet. I take it the room is soundproof?" She asked, but Perkins just glared at her.

"Good. Now, just what is happening here?" She asked but was only answered by silence, so she looked around the room, noticing a briefcase on the floor. She picked it up and, after checking for booby-traps, she opened it.

Reading a file inside, she whistled. "Good grief, Perky. Why was this left here? It should be kept in a safe. Troop locations, inventory of all the weapon dumps ... plans ... the only problem is it's out of date. These are 1939's figures." She looked through various other papers and a notebook, which she read quickly, and then looked up at Perkins as he struggled to free himself.

"You guys are in trouble; only 5 sections left working. Things aren't going too well for you." She looked at her watch, "Well I've got other things to do ... don't go away." She said to Perkins and opened the door, glancing outside before she left it.

Susan walked around opening doors and looking into rooms. She seemed to be in an old hotel; one that wasn't in use, judging from the amount of dust on the doors. Entering one room, she found a radio setup, she checked it over and noticed that there was a Morse-key attached to the radio and at times she could hear code being received. Taking a note-pad and pencil, she began writing down the message.

'... .age stop urgent message stop believe agents know location stop imperative that you vacate stop repeat in 2 hours stop... '

Susan waited for a moment but, there was nothing else. "Why wasn't there anyone listening to this?" she thought to herself. Then she noticed a boot underneath the desk. Looking closer, she saw that it was attached to a leg and then a body. The operator had been killed and just dumped there.

This didn't feel right anymore. She knew she hadn't done this, so either there was someone else here, or somebody was working two sides. Checking the body, she found he had a pistol. She took it, checked the bullets and ensured that there was one in the chamber before leaving the room, carrying the message with her.

In other rooms, she found more dead bodies, but these were old, as if placed there and forgotten. The skin was desiccated and mummified. She quickly closed the door, shivered, and moved on.

At another door, she listened to a conversation, " ... on their level of science, just think what equipment they might have that we could use." She knew the voice as Professor Blythe's.

"That's an idea; we're running low on Mills bombs and could do with some updated ordinance ... What could you supply us with?" Another voice, which she thought sounded like the captain.

Jack's voice said, "Me? I'm just a copper. I can't get to anything like that..." Susan opened the door.

"But I might be able to help you," she said, keeping the pistol pointed at the three men standing in the room.

"How did you manage that? Perkins was supposed to be watching you," Captain Lloyd said, amazement in his voice.

"That's just the problem with your organisation. You think the OSI had only male operators to work in the field? There were quite a few female agents. Many were very successful. Now, you have a problem." Susan said.

Lloyd reached for his pistol, but Susan shook her head. "I wouldn't, Captain. You need to read this. It came in a few seconds ago," She held out the message.

Lloyd took the paper and tried to grab hold of Susan's gun, but she gave him a kick to the shins and moved out of his reach.

"You'd better read it Captain." She said and then turned her attention to Blythe and a third person she didn't recognise.

Lloyd read the note and then frowned, "This isn't Bates's handwriting. How did you get it?" he asked.

"I was in the radio room when it arrived. I also found the body of the operator. You have a traitor in your midst."

"It's obvious, Lloyd. She killed Bates. You should shoot her," the unknown man said.

"If I was the killer, would I come here to tell you? Believe me, Captain. I don't kill when it's not necessary. You can ask Perkins if you don't believe me." Susan asserted, the pistol unwavering.

"If what you say is true, then we need to evacuate the hotel," Blythe said, turning to Jack and releasing him from the chair.

Susan watched Blythe carefully but noticed the unknown man moving his hand to a holster at his belt. "Keep still. If you touch that gun, I'll shoot." She warned.

Lloyd was watching her and nodded. "Keep still, Wilson; she means it," he said, and then turned to Blythe. "Give Mr. Adams his clothes." Addressing Susan, he asked, "Very well, Miss Prague. Now what?"

Susan sighed. "For a start, you can stop calling me Prague. It's Pulse or Susan. I agree that we need to leave here, but can you be sure of these people?" She asked, indicating Wilson and Blythe.

Lloyd nodded. "Of course I can. They've been working for the BFF for years. They're completely trustworthy. The only ones I'm not sure about are you and him." Lloyd pointed to Jack.

Susan nodded. "I know there's only one way to prove that you can trust us." She handed over the pistol to Lloyd.

"Quick, Lloyd. Shoot her now," Wilson called out as he reached once more for his gun.

"Leave it, Wilson. I don't shoot unarmed people. Now, Susan, what do you suggest?" Lloyd asked as Jack joined her.

"We need to get Perkins from where you were holding me and then get out of here. Do you have another secure house?" she asked, seemingly untroubled by the gun in Lloyd's hand.

"There is always my house. I know a back way in that isn't watched by the Britische Polizeieinheit," Blythe said.

Lloyd nodded. "Good. We'll go there now," he agreed.

"I can't. I'm expected back at Headquarters. You're going to have to leave me behind," Wilson said.

Blythe shook his head. "I wouldn't recommend that, Captain. If what Miss Pra – er, Pulse says is true, then Wilson could be a traitor."

"That's preposterous! I've always been a loyal member of the BFF. Why would I betray us?" Wilson defended.

"That, we could find out at my house. Do you have any other plans, Captain?" Blythe asked. Lloyd shook his head, and so the five of them left the room, Wilson being covered by Lloyd's pistol.

They got to the room where Perkins was securely held. He looked up as the door opened, "Careful, Captain. She's dangerous," he called out as Susan entered the room.

"It's all right, Private; she's on our side," Lloyd replied.

"Private? I'm a sergeant." Perkins was slow on the update. "Oh ... Yessir. Sorry, sir," He said, abashed.

"Right. We're evacuating. Get the car ready and we'll be there shortly," Lloyd said.

Perkins looked at the group and then asked, "What about Bates, Sir?"

Lloyd shook his head and Perkins glared at Susan, who shook her head. "Not me, Perkins. Somebody else got there first," She said.

Perkins left the room and then Lloyd noticed his briefcase was opened. He looked at Susan.

"Yes, Captain. I looked," she said, and there was a meaning in her words. Lloyd nodded and closed the briefcase.

The drive to Doktor Blythe's house was done in silence. Perkins was using the time to glare at Susan, whom he blamed for the death of Bates.

"You should do them in, Captain. They're too much trouble for us," He whispered to Lloyd.

"If I thought that, then they would both be dead. Somehow, I believe them. Just keep your eye on Wilson. He's been working in the BP for so long, I think he might have changed sides," Lloyd whispered back.

Perkins nodded, although he still didn't take his eyes off Susan.

Susan, however, took no notice of Perkins and was talking to Jack away from Wilson and Blythe. "They are in desperate trouble. The Waffen SS has been killing off several sections of the BFF. They have a traitor in their midst and don't know where he or she is," she said. "In fact, Lloyd's section is the only one left in London. There are two more in Sussex and two in Berkshire. That hotel we were in was the main control centre. It was used as a hospital until the Germans' takeover was complete, and then they didn't have time to bury the bodies." She shivered again as she remembered the corpses she had discovered.

"But why haven't they found the traitor?" Jack asked.

Susan shook her head. "Don't know. He must be so high up that they wouldn't think of him," she said, sitting back in the seat and thinking.

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