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Release date: 2022-12-01 07:42:08 Author:HWYCVrIe

"I think this is a bit much, Captain Mallory!" The voice was high pitched in anger, more nasal than ever. "I'm not the duty errand-boy, you know. I've had a damned hard day and-"

Stevens cried out in horror, sent his chair crashing back as be leapt to his feet.

"Captain Briggs has gone to bed, sir. He left strict orders that he wasn't to be disturbed."

"Good God, sir, you can't-"

Mallory looked questioningly at Andrea. The giant shook his head.

Mallory looked questioningly at Andrea. The giant shook his head.

"I think this is a bit much, Captain Mallory!" The voice was high pitched in anger, more nasal than ever. "I'm not the duty errand-boy, you know. I've had a damned hard day and-"

Black, hate-filled eyes glared back at him in silence. Andrea cuffed him again.

"Get Captain Briggs here, will you, Matthews?" he asked. "At once, please."

Matthews saluted and hurried away. Miller cleared his throat and clucked his tongue sadly.

"I think this is a bit much, Captain Mallory!" The voice was high pitched in anger, more nasal than ever. "I'm not the duty errand-boy, you know. I've had a damned hard day and-"

"Maybe he does," Mallory admitted. "A man doesn't spend ten minutes with his ear glued to a keyhole if he doesn't understand a word that's being said. Give Matthews a call, will you, Brown?"

Stevens cried out in horror, sent his chair crashing back as be leapt to his feet.

"Captain Briggs has gone to bed, sir. He left strict orders that he wasn't to be disturbed."

"He says he don't speak English," Miller drawled.

Stevens cried out in horror, sent his chair crashing back as be leapt to his feet.

Black, hate-filled eyes glared back at him in silence. Andrea cuffed him again.

"Kurdistan or Armenian, Captain, I think. But I don't understand it."

The sentry appeared in the doorway a few seconds later.

He broke off and stared in amazement at the sight of the prisoner catapulting himself bodily across the room to crash into a distant corner, one arm up-curved in rigid defence, stark, unreasoning panic limned in every feature of his face. Slowly Stevens looked away, saw the triumphant grin on Andrea's face, the dawning comprehension in Brown's and Miller's. Suddenly he felt a complete fool Characteristically, Miller was the first to speak.

"I think this is a bit much, Captain Mallory!" The voice was high pitched in anger, more nasal than ever. "I'm not the duty errand-boy, you know. I've had a damned hard day and-"

"Eenglish? Eenglish?" Shoulders and upturned palms lifted in the age-old gesture of incomprehension. "Ka Eenglish!"

"My heart bleeds for Captain Briggs and his broken slumbers," Mallory said acidly. "He's had more sleep in a day than I've had in the past week." He glanced at his watch and the heavy brows came down in a straight line over the tired, brown eyes. "We've no time to waste. Get him here at once. Understand? At once!"

Mallory looked questioningly at Andrea. The giant shook his head.

Miller made to speak but changed his mind. The American was a shrewd judge of people. There were those who could be ribbed and those who could not be ribbed. An almost hopeless mission, Miller was quietly aware, and as vital as it was, in his opinion, suicidal; but he was beginning to understand why they'd picked this tough, sunburnt New Zealander to lead it.

"Eenglish? Eenglish?" Shoulders and upturned palms lifted in the age-old gesture of incomprehension. "Ka Eenglish!"

They sat in silence for the next five minutes, then looked up as the door opened. Captain Briggs was hatless and wore a white silk muffler round his throat in place of the usual collar and tie. The white contrasted oddly with the puffed red of the heavy neck and face above. These had been red enough when Mallory had first seen them in the Colonel's office-high blood pressure and even higher living, Mallory had supposed: the extra deeper shades of red and purple now present probably sprung from a misplaced sense of righteous indignation. A glance at the choleric eyes, gleaming lightblue prawns afloat in a sea of vermilion, was quite enough to confirm the obvious.

Matthews saluted and hurried away. Miller cleared his throat and clucked his tongue sadly.

"Kurdistan or Armenian, Captain, I think. But I don't understand it."

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