(Bridget's been sitting in my family room again, tossing down Irish whiskey and talking about her adventures. She had hinted about this one before, what she did in England after her rescue mission to France in WWII. So here it is. For those of you who don't know her, I refer you to Chapter 1 of "Bridget's Nights" where she first appeared and explained a lot about herself. This story contains both Male/Female and Female/Female sex. Thank you Marian as always for the errors you caught and the reminder to everyone that I keep changing things till the last minute and any and all errors are solely my responsibility.)
The French call them "Pilchards". Americans usually refer to them as "Sardines", the young ones anyway. Regardless of what you call them, being covered by thousands of them fresh from the waters off the French Coast, is anything but an olfactory treat. They STINK. When you have the heightened senses of a vampire, they REALLY stink. And so do you after hiding in them for a few hours.
There was a perfectly good reason I had been buried in sardines and it made me mad enough to declare a personal war on the German Navy. Of course as an agent of the OSS I was already involved in the war my adoptive country was fighting with the Reich, but now I was specifically furious with the Nazi E-Boat fleet.
I had been a part of a combined French/OSS Jedburgh operation to free an important leader of the Resistance whom the Gestapo had captured. Jacques Lorimar was as brave a man as I had met in my four hundred odd years on the earth, but even the bravest person had a breaking point and the Gestapo was superb at finding those. He carried the names of a number of agents and Resistance operatives in his head. We needed him out.
In the days before night vision goggles and thermal imagery, if you wanted to do something sneaky, you did it at night. A darn good thing for me, as exposure to about 15 seconds of direct sunlight was guaranteed to turn me into "Bridget Flambeau". So the parachute drop from the belly of a British Lancaster bomber took place at night. So did the successful raid on the prison and the ex-filtration of Jacques and myself once the Underground doctor had patched him up enough to travel.
The status of the French fishing boats was one of those curious anomalies that exist even in an all out war. The Germans were quite aware that the Frenchmen manning those boats were making occasional contact with the British SOE (Special Operations Executive). But the catch those boats made was badly needed by the Nazis. At the same time, the British knew the fish were supplied to the Reich, but the contacts afforded by the fishermen with the Underground were too valuable for THEM to stop. So everyone turned a semi-blind eye. After all, this unofficial commerce had been going on since at least the Napoleanic Wars. I had taken advantage of it back then.
Still, it didn't mean that the boats were completely free to do as they wished. The Germans didn't have the manpower to post a watcher everywhere, but they conducted random searches at the docks, planted informers and, as I found out, sometimes stopped and inspected the boats.
In this particular case it was an E-boat, the German equivalent of the American PT Boat. The crew was reinforced by an even dozen German soldiers with one of those ubiquitous leather-coated Gestapo Agents in charge. They had swept down upon the slow-moving trawler that Jacques and I were hiding on and boarded us.
There was a secret compartment in the hold. Unfortunately, all of Jacques' injuries and bandages made it a one person hiding place. An engine crewman and I scrambled to cover the lid. Jackboots were already clumping down the ladder, giving him barely enough time to dart back into the engine room and me to burrow myself as deeply as I could in a large, smelly, cold and wet pile of little fish.
Eventually they gave up. Not long after we were met by a British Motor Gunboat, which whisked us away and to safely land before daylight. However there was no place to shower on that speedy little boat and even the imperturbable Brits were giving me a special salute, one that involved the thumb and forefinger clamped firmly over the nose. I haven't smelled like that since my first days in America in the early 1800's. Well, nobody told ME there was a reason everyone kept far away from those cute little black animals with the white stripe on their backs.
Jacques was taken to a hospital. My plan was to find a way to the OSS safe house and set a new world's record for the longest hot shower followed by a short nap that I hoped would last all day. Of course that wasn't going to happen. Should I have been the least bit surprised that everyone and her brother seemed to have a different idea?
I had four messages waiting for me at the pier, summoning me to four different places. The OSS Station Chief wanted to see me, as did the SOE, SHAPE G-2 and interestingly enough, SHAPE G-1. The first three made sense, but I wondered why the Personnel Officer needed to see me.
My preference would have been to report to the OSS first. However, the SHAPE G-2 had accompanied his message with a Lieutenant Colonel who loftily reminded me that I was a Captain in the US Army. As tempted as I was to toss him off the wharf to see if the cold water would shrink his ego, I restrained myself and accompanied him, happy in the knowledge that he could only hold his breath for so long in the enclosed staff car he had brought. The Corporal who was driving, made of sterner stuff, was actually enjoying the discomfort of the stuffed shirt beside me. Once we had arrived he even winked at me as he gravely held the door open for us. I winked back. He was cute.
It turned out that what the Colonel wanted was for me to give him a full report on my little excursion to the continent. Apparently his idea was to submit it immediately through channels ahead of everyone else. I figured that somehow he was going to try to claim some credit for an operation he wasn't even aware of before it took place. I made a mental note to tell the Station Chief there was a leak somewhere.
In the meantime, I stalled. I demanded proof of his security clearance, his need to know, everything but his birth certificate. I made a great deal of noise. The fact that he was trying to stay as far away from me as possible made it hard for him to stick his face in mine and threaten my career with any real degree of effectiveness. He did keep at me, enough that for the first time in my unlife I was considering eating someone that was on the same side as me.
I didn't, of course. I didn't even show my fangs. However I was saved from a really serious contemplation of that maneuver when a knock sounded on the door. Without waiting for any answer, the door opened and a WAC officer wearing the same silver leaves as my interrogator strode briskly into the room.
"Captain O'Brien?" Still without waiting for an answer, she continued. "You're a hard woman to find. I have orders to conduct you to Southby House immediately. General Donovan has been looking for you."
"Just a moment," the Intelligence Colonel sputtered. "I'm not finished with...". He broke off as I stood up and started for the door. At the same time, the WAC lifted an eyebrow.
"Surely you heard me Colonel? Major General Donovan commands Captain O'Brien's presence. Shall I call him to tell him you feel your business is more important? Or would you prefer to do that yourself?"
From the sounds coming from the office once we had closed the door behind us, the intelligence officer was still trying to find the right words to express his outrage. I smiled gratefully at my rescuer.
"Thanks. I don't know who exactly you are and where you come from, but I'm very happy that you showed up. I'd offer to shake hands but I'm not sure you want to get that close."
"Bridget, I'm Jill Shelby and I'm from the training station. Colonel Stevens sent me in search of you when you didn't show up. I found from the Brits that you had been carried off in a staff car and tracked it down. The driver was happy to tell me where and with whom you had been taken." Seeing my expression she hastened to reassure me. "Don't worry. As soon as we get back I'm planning on making arrangements to transfer him to us. I believe he can keep his mouth shut, but at the same time he has the judgment when to open it."
We walked to another staff car. Jill surprised me by opening the driver's side door and indicating I should get in on the other side of the front seat. I grinned as I saw an Army raincoat had been stretched across the seat. Apparently the young corporal had fully briefed Jill. I climbed in and closed the door as Jill slid in behind the wheel.
"No driver?" I inquired.
"Nope," Jill grinned at me. "I like driving myself. I enjoy driving and it eliminates anyone who knows just what I do and where I go and who I might be with."
"A good security precaution," I commented.
"Yes," she replied. "And for more than one reason." Jill bit off the end of the afterthought as though she suddenly realized she had said more than she should have.
I considered what else she could have meant. I kept sneaking looks at her. She was taller than me by a good four inches and had a much fuller body. I noticed her uniform was of excellent quality and cut to flatter her figure. The stockings encasing her legs, which I rested my weary eyes on a good bit, looked to be pre-war material.
.... There is more of this story ...