John F. McLaren
By John F. McLaren
Jane Devereaux strode to her CO’s office in her measured Marine Corps stride. After ten years in the Corps she found it difficult not to walk this way. Graduating from high school in 2017, she had been at odds about her future. While smart as a whip, she was an underachiever in school. Her teachers, as a group, thought she was habitually bored. She always topped out on the perpetually hated standardized tests they had taken. She took the ACT her sophomore year and scored a 32 out of 36. Seeing no need to add to that she never took it again. Sheworked hard enough to pass with “B” s and occasional “A” s, but never more than she had to, and certainly never stressed about it. Her parents did. Often. Cynthia and Jon Devereaux had been lifetime CIA analysts who met two years after both enlisted. Jane was their only child and had arrived rather late in their lives in 1999. Jane, throughout her senior year in high school, never made any attempt to look at colleges, despite getting academic scholarships from several and a veiled hint that Annapolis and West Point were interested. Jane was not. On her 18th birthday in May, two weeks before graduation, she drove to the Marine recruiting office in Arlington and enlisted. The fact she had not told her parents bothered her not at all. Which was one aspect of Jane that concerned her counselors in school. She had a definite lack of empathy for others. She loved her parents, but the fact she had not discussed this decision with them was of no concern of hers. After five years, as Marine Recon, then being slotted as an “assistant” to various Alpha-bet agencies doing everything from playing nursemaid to political dissidents to “black” ops, she had seen much and done worse. “Get them before they get me” was her motto.
Now 10 years later, the world was in an uproar. Once again. An American NSA agent had arranged to meet the British Minister of Defense. Upon walking in his office, Martin Porchia pulled a weapon and double tapped the Minister, one in the chest, the other in the head. Then he put the 9Mil under his chin and shot himself. Needless to say, the Brits were unhappy. Accusations were flying, and denials were rampant.
She entered the outer office and was admitted by a civilian assistant to Colonel Vic Gaston’s office. Jane marched to his desk and gave a parade ground salute, her eyes five inches above his head.
“At ease, Gunny. You’re not in trouble, this time.” giving her a casual salute in return.
“Aye, aye, SIR”
“Have a seat, Gunny.” As she sat, he continued, “I suppose you’ve heard about the latest shit-storm?”
“No, sir. I hit my bunk at four this morning and your call woke me. I got myself shipshape and came directly here. What happened now?” Jane inquired.
“SecDef was meeting a British MI6 agent to explain how we had nothing to do with what happened in London. The agent walked in and promptly dropped a grenade on SecDef’s desk, killing both instantly. “
“Jesus Christ, Colonel.” she exclaimed. “This will set American-Brit co-operation back to the War of 1812.”
“You’re very nearly right. Both countries have pulled all members of their respective embassies back home. POTUS and the Prime Minister basically had a cuss fight and hung up on each other. We are in desperate times, Gunny. With the European Union barely hanging on, Russia, North Korea, and China rattling sabers, we are looking at World War III with the two most stable governments not talking. There are some cooler heads in the background talking, so we are not in the toilet yet, but it’s not looking good.”
Jane looked at him and asked “Why do I get the feeling you want me to act as a go between?”
“Worse, Gunny. CIA wants you to find out who’s doing this. You know as well as I, neither country committed these acts. The people responsible were subverted or turned somehow. CIA thinks it’s coming from Europe, but they only have small bits of information. They want you and three other military personnel to go across the pond and do some snooping. All four of you have done “dirty” work for them before. All four have contacts in Europe with foreign military and assorted people “off the grid”, so to speak. Use those contacts to dig around and see what comes up. Take 48 hours to visit your Mother. You ship out day after tomorrow on a MAC flight to Europe. The others are already in country. Questions?”
“The obvious one is if WE didn’t do this, who stands to gain from the Brits and the U.S. being at each other’s throats? First guess is the Russians, but that’s too obvious, not to mention, the Russians know if it got out, they would be sanctioned to far up their asses, their economy would be in a cesspool. China still has too many ties to us as far as trade to ever risk something this outlandish. And after li’l Kim’s ass kicking by Trump nine years ago, he’d never try to do something like this. It’s not really their style, anyway.”
The Colonel asked “You have any thoughts on the subject?”
“Revenge? What do you mean, Gunny?”
“I think it’s revenge for something. Payback. Someone or some country who the Brits and the US have injured in the recent past. Considering who we’ve been at odds with since 9/11 it’s a pretty damn long list.”
“Well, shit, Gunny. You’re just a ray of sunshine. Get your affairs in order, Grace has your orders cut and your two-day pass. Your flight lifts at 0600 Thursday. Dismissed, Marine.
Jane went to her quarters, and got her gear packed, then changed into a 21 Pilots t-shirt, jeans, and sandals. Climbing into her vintage 1969 Dodge Super Bee, she roared off the base and began the 20-minute drive to her Mother’s home. As she dialed the phone, she thought of her Dad. His death 3 years before from lung cancer had been a devastating blow to both Jane and her Mother. Jane, despite her apparent neurotic/psychotic behaviors, loved her parents very much, and she knew they loved her. As Jane had grown, it became apparent she was a giant compared to her parents. Her Mother was 5’2”. Maybe, if she stretched. Her Dad, Jon, was 5”6”. Jane was 5’ 11” and a half and was well built. Years of weight training, running and PT had sculpted her body into a Marine’s dream. Most men she worked with wanted to have her babies. The women, too.
The phone buzzed twice, and her Mother picked up. “Hi, Jane. Are you back on base?”
“For 48 hours I am. I’m coming over to spend a couple of days with you if that’s ok?”
“Of course it is, sweetie. Bring your leather-neck self over here. Let me call you back. The dog’s yapping like crazy outside.”
“Ok, Mom. I’ll be there in ten.” The phone disconnected, and Jane shifted down a gear and accelerated. The family rescue dog only barked at strangers. Jane got that feeling in her neck. She pushed to Dodge to 95 in seconds. She would get there in five.
As she pulled into short drive to the secluded house where she had grown up, she saw several things she did not like. The most obvious, a grey Chevy van in the driveway, doors open. The doors to the house, open, which her Mother never allowed to happen. Mollie, the dog, always came to meet Jane. There was no sign of her. Jane stopped the car, closely behind the van, shutting off the engine, and taking the keys. She pulled her privately owned .45 caliber Sig Sauer P220 from between the seats and jacked a round in the chamber.
She started to the house, and she heard a pop of a weapon. Jane then burst into a dead run to the house, leaping the steps to the porch. She entered the house, and looking to her left saw a strange man, a gun pointed at her mother on the floor. Hearing Jane enter, the man turned, and trained the gun toward Jane. Jane dropped to a firing stance and fired. The big .45 round hit the man in the right side of the chest, going through him and throwing him back to the wall where he slid down slowly, blood painting the wall. His weapon had fallen where he had been standing over her mother. Jane ran to her Mother and checked her pulse. There was a faint heartbeat and she could see her chest moving fast, as if she couldn’t catch her breathe. There was blood covering her chest. Jane pulled her cell and punched 911.
When the operator answered, she calmly said, “This is Gunnery Sergeant Jane Devereaux. There has been a shooting at 15225 Ridgeway Road. I need ambulance and police. My mother has been shot. I have shot the assailant” Then she disconnected.
Sitting on the floor beside her Mother, she took her Mother’s hand and whispered, “Hang in there, Mom. Help is coming.”
She Mothers eyes fluttered open. “Jane.” she said quietly.
“Be still, Mom. It’s going to be ok. I’m here, I’ve got you.”
“No Jane. I’m dying. I know it. I’ve seen this type of wound before. I know how it works.”
“No, Mom, it can wait.”
“Jane, it can’t. There are things you need to know. No, don’t stop me, let me talk. Jon and I were not analysts. We were field agents. Those times you had to stay with your Aunt Patricia? We were on assignments. After you reached 13 we gave up field work and stayed with you. On one of our last assignments we discovered evidence of a Neo-Nazi movement in Germany. Very secret, very covert. They learned that we were investigating and put out a kill order on us. That’s when we came home for good. Now 15 years later they found me. They killed Jon too. Only slowly. They exposed him to radioactive gas. A lethal dose. That was the cause of his lung cancer.”
“Mom, please. Take it easy. You can tell me this later.”
“Jane. My lovely, lovely Jane. I’m dying. If I don’t tell you now, I never will and you deserve the truth.”
“What truth, Mom?”
“Jon was not your father. He and I met while I was pregnant. We fell in love in our own way and he agreed to raise you as his child. Jon was gay, but we loved each other and you like any loving parents would. Jane? I don’t have much time left and I’m losing strength. Lean forward, so I can tell you who your father really is.”
Jane leaned over putting her ear to her Mother’s mouth. Her Mother kissed her then whispered. Then she breathed her last shuddering breath.
Jane leaned back. Stunned. She sat there for a full minute. Then she heard the first sirens in the distance. She turned her head toward the man who had shot her Mother. Rising, she walked to him, squatting beside him with her weapon hanging between her legs, looking at him.
He looked at her. “What?” he snarled.
“What? You’re going to tell me who ordered this, then I will kill you quickly. If you don’t, I swear to God I’ll make these last few minutes pure Hell for you, then I’ll kill you anyway.” She shot him in the knee. He screamed with pain. “You ready to talk? All I need is a name.” He shook his head. She shot him in the groin. If possible, he screamed even louder. “In the next few minutes, I’m going to make sure you go to Hell with no legs, no hands, and I’ve already taken your balls. You ready, NOW?”
“Reinhardt. Gunther Reinhardt.” he gasped out in pain.
“And where would I find Herr Reinhardt?”
“Amsterdam, you bitch. They are going to destroy you. They will destroy everyone you care for”
“You have already done that.” Jane said, tonelessly. Her handgun fired once more, taking the top of his head away. She rose and went outside to find the body of her dog.
“Gunnery Sergeant Devereaux, you do not have to continue this mission. You need time to grieve.” the Colonel offered
“No, Sir. I need to complete this mission. Somehow, my parent’s death is connected to all this. I need to find out how.”
“Gunny, you know revenge is not all it’s cracked up to be? If we weren’t in such a desperate condition, I would scrap you from the mission, but we need you and your contacts.”
Jane looked at him with cold blue-grey eyes, and stated “With all due respect, Sir, I would go AWOL and go on my own. You know I would.”
“I know, Jane. I know.” It was the first time he had ever used her first name. “Go. Find out what you can. Get the information back to us. Do NOT take things in your own hands. That is a direct order.”
“Aye, aye, Sir!” she turned and left.
Anna-Maria Valjas wanted patiently at the gates of Chièvres Air Base in Belgium. Considering her occupation as a “procurer” of exotic items, patience was a necessary trait. This was the nearest US Air Base to Amsterdam that Jane could be flown in. Anna-Maria had agreed to meet her there and get her to Amsterdam. Their friendship (more “Don’t tell on me, I won’t tell on you”) was cordial, if not sisterly. Jane, being the way she was, wouldn’t have handled that well in the first place. Anna-Maria simply had WAY too many skeletons in her closet. Born in Estonia with a severe muscular defect in her left leg, she and her mother had moved to Germany in hopes of finding a medical cure for the pain she had. Finally, at 10, it was decided there was no hope to fix her leg or stop the pain, so the offending leg was removed and, after a time, she was fitted with a prosthetic. After reaching adulthood, finding that she loved the underbelly of society, and after 20 years of less than legal activities she had begun to take prosthetics to another level. Her left leg was renowned in Europe among many circles as being pieces of art. She heard a vehicle approaching from inside the base and slyly looked, seeing an American Humvee stopping inside the gate. When Jane emerge, she rose and waited as she passed through the gate and walked to her. They met and exchanged a hug.
“Jane, my dear. I am so sorry to hear of your mother. It is most saddening.”
“Thank you, Anna-Maria. And thank you for meeting me.”
“You are most welcome. When is the funeral, if I may ask.
“It was yesterday. It was simple and followed by her cremation, as were her wishes.”
“You did not want time to grieve, my Jane?”
“What was my mother is gone. Her soul, her spirit. Whatever you wish to call it. That is how Dad and Mother wanted it to be. I had to respect her wishes. Carrying on with my duties was simply the next step in life.”
Anna-Maria looked at her and said, “Sometimes you concern me. Many would call you callous and uncaring, but I think that is not it. I am not sure what it is about you. Know that my thoughts are with you. Now. What is it you need of me? My resources are available to you.”
“What can you tell me of Gunther Reinhardt?” Jane asked bluntly.
“Ah, the Die Rechte Hand des Teufels. The Devil’s right hand. He is known to be vicious, and entirely devoted to someone in Germany. No one knows who other than he and a few others. It is said it a rise of Nazism again. I think you Americans call it Neo-Nazi.”
“Neo means new, young, or fresh in ancient Greek, and yes that is how we refer to it. And there is no one who knows the leader of the group? What they are called?
“None that I have heard,” replied Anna-Maria. “I can make some calls, whilst you drive if you wish.”
“That would be great, Anna-Maria. I wish. Where’s the key?”
“There is no key. Only the fob.” she clicked the fob to open the doors and Jane got in and adjusted the seat for her long legs. After she was settled, Anna-Maria reached over and put her thumb on the starter control and the Audi R10 rumbled to life. Jane looked at Anna- Maria. “What? I wanted an extra layer of protection for my baby.”
Jane nodded and put the Audi in gear and roared away from the gate, the guards hearing screams as they sped away.
As they drove the three hours to Amsterdam, Anna-Maria made calls to contacts to gain some information. This, when she wasn’t looking at the speedometer. Jane focused on driving and semi-listening to Anna-Maria, mostly lost in her own thoughts.
When they neared the outskirts of the city and Jane slowed for the increasing traffic, Anna-Maria relaxed and gave Jane a rundown of what she had learned.
“Our friend lives at Biltseweg 7, Bosch En Duin, in the Utrecht district in the south of the city. We will be within a few kilometers of his home if we stay on this road.”
“Can we make a drive-by to see the house and grounds?” asked Jane.
“Ja, but we will not see much. The house is surrounded by trees, a privacy wall and has a private drive from the street leading into the property. In this part of the city, it is common. These homes sell for 12million Euros and higher. That is something like 14million USD. I suspect this home is more, perhaps double.”
Jane whistled and let Anna-Maria give directions to the house. As she said there was little to see. “Security?” Jane wanted to know.
“What I have gathered it is quite extensive and well-trained as far as private goons go. What I hear is they are members of the same group of which he is part. Like many of this sort, they have an inflated sense of superiority. There is a Hilton northeast of the property, perhaps 5 or 6 kilometers away. I suggest we go there.”
“Sounds like a plan. Give me directions”
Two nights later, after Anna-Maria had scrounged up some “sneak and peek” gear, Jane was ready to infiltrate the home of Gunther Reinhardt. Jane was dressed in Marine Marpat camo. She didn’t ask how Anna-Maria got it. Her face was blackened with coal black and she had a Beretta 9MM semi-automatic with 6 extra clips. There was no such thing as overkill when it came to ammo. Included was a suppressor, which contrary to popular belief did NOT silence a weapon, but made it less noisy than normal. Anna-Maria drove Jane to the secluded street Reinhardt lived, slowed to a crawl, and Jane dove out of the car into the tall grass across the way.
Jane crouched and ran across the street, then cut left hugging a rock wall. After 50 meters, she came to a tall tree that hung over the wall. She threw a rope and hook into the branches. It easily caught and she hoisted herself up and swung to the wall. Dropping into the compound all she saw were trees. Which meant that was all the guards could see. Jane carefully made her way through the trees till the home came into view. It was a huge home, very modern in design. White with odd angles. Someone’s idea of architectural art, Jane guessed, thinking they were a modern-day Frank Lloyd Wright. She watched for an hour noting the times of guards wandering the compound. As Anna-Maria, had said, they were far too relaxed and inconsistent, believing in their innate superiority. They never reckoned on a Recon Marine who had no sympathy for them, being in their midst. It would be like an angry tigress in the jungle. When the time frame for the guard routes were at its maximum, she darted out, using shrubs as cover and reached the house. Again, using bushes as cover she approached the door the guards had used to go into and out of the house finding it unlocked. She stood and turned the knob entering the room. A man sat in a chair, in front of a computer, with his back to her and said. “Du bist früh, Victor. Ich habe 30 Minuten.”
Jane stabbed him in the base of his neck, pushing the K-Bar in and scrambling his brain. He slumped over. Jane knew she had 30 minutes before the guard would be found, so she quickly moved to the stairs and went up. Upstairs, there were only two doors in the hall. the rooms were bigger than most entire homes. She went to the right one and pressed her ear to the door, hearing nothing. She crossed the hall doing the same and heard conversation. Only hearing one voice, she figured whoever was in there was on a phone. She heard a curse in German, then the sound of a phone being dropped in anger. This was her time.
She opened the door and stepped in the room, the only light a lamp on a reading table. The man turned and Jane knew it was Reinhardt from photos Anna-Maria had gotten. Before he could say anything, Jane rushed him and punched him in the solar plexus knocking the breath from him. As he collapsed she grabbed him, dragging him to an ornate bed. Dropping him she quickly stuffed a ball gag in his mouth and used zip ties to bind his hands and feet. Then she went and locked the door.
Reinhardt looked at her with fear. Jane grimly said, “Do you have any idea who I am?” He shook his head. “Jon and Cynthia Devereaux were my parents. You had them killed. You WILL tell me what I want to know before I leave.” Jane took the military grade knife and thrust it into his left kidney. He screamed behind the ball gag.
“Tell me about your leader.” She removed the gag.
“Why do you do this is?” he asked in a heavy German accent. “You cannot hope to stop our movement.”
“What? Nazis?” she saw his eyes widen. “Yes, we know. Well, I know. The Nazis were stopped before, we will again. She moved the knife to his right side. “I just ripped a huge hole in your left kidney. Now if I like what I hear, I can help you and you will still have the other. If I must poke a hole in the right one, there’s a good chance you’ll be on dialysis the rest of your miserable life. Now, shall we start at the beginning? Don’t forget, the longer you take, the more blood you lose.”
“Adolf Hitler had a son.”
“Wait. No way. That son was born around 1918, and it was never proven Hitler was his father. He would be 110 now.”
“No. With Eva Braun in 1940. The Fuhrer knew that keeping him safe and secret would be best, so he was Christened Otto Hiller, a common German surname, and sent to live with trusted relatives of Eva. As he grew older and was told of his real father, he renounced the relationship and changed his surname to Weber. In 1962 he had a son he also named Otto. When Otto, the younger, found he was the grandson of Adolf Hitler at the age of 27, he was incensed, and killed his father, burning his father’s house around his body. His mother had died some years before. He retained the Hiller surname and pledged to return Germany to the Socialist ideal and restore the Hitler name to prominence. His father had invested his money into steel and when he was killed, young Otto inherited his companies and riches. He also inherited his Grandfather’s zeal and fervor. He and our organization are in the process of rebuilding the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and restoring the proper order in the world.”
“And that included irradiating my father and killing my mother?” Jane asked angrily.
“Otto learned that they had found evidence we were rebuilding. He ordered them killed. Your father was exposed to radiation while on a CIA trip to California. We finally found the location of your mother.”
“And murdered her.” commented Jane.
“We could not let her ever tell anyone.”
Jane growled, “She told ME. So, Junior is a sadistic, psychotic, maniac like granddad Adolf and wants world domination? He doesn’t realize in this modern world that is an impossibility?”
“Our party will regain the power that was stolen from us by the Americans and the British.”
“Are you saying you bastards instigated those ops? Bribery? Blackmail? What was it?”
“Moles. Long term moles who believed in our cause. This has been in motion since 1988. Finding willing followers was simple.”
“Where would I find Otto the lesser?” Jane asked sarcastically.
“Why should I tell you? You won’t help me if I do.”
“Unlike you, I am a Marine. I do not lie. I will help you.”
Reinhardt replied, “Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The site of the 1936 Olympics. He has a well-guarded home there. Otto rarely leaves as he trusts few people.”
“For good reason, I would guess. Not to mention he is a raving maniac like Adolf.”
“Do not speak lightly of him. He is powerful and has resources. You said you would help me. You said you do not lie. Help me, bitte.” Reinhardt pleaded.
Jane rose and said, “You are right. I did say that, and I will help you.” She punched him in the throat, collapsing his windpipe. “I will help you die and end all your pains.”
Two hours later Jane rapped on the door of her room at the Hilton. It was opened almost instantly by Anna-Maria. “What have you found?”
“We are going to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.”
One week later Anna-Maria and Jane sat in the dark on a mountainside looking down on an old Bavarian home. Much like Reinhardt’s home, there were guards. These, however, seemed to be more alert and seemed rather nervous. The news of Reinhardt’s death had preceded them.
“Your plan sounds like a suicide mission, my dear Jane.” Anna-Maria commented. “Getting in will be difficult. Getting out, impossible.”
“I have one mission. Rid this world of another Hitler. One was too many. Our world could not bear two and survive. If I die in the process, it will be a good death.”
The enormous home, more a castle, had a hundred guards outside the 5 meter walls. What it did not have were many guards INSIDE the compound. Getting in proved to be easier than Jane or Anna-Maria thought. It merely meant BASE jumping off an overhanging cliff of a very tall mountain. So easy a caveman could do it.
Jane landed in the courtyard quietly, dumping the chute and stuffing it in a large bush. She wore a guard uniform she had “liberated”, along with the information about the house and guards. Putting on the hat and walking to the door was the easy part. Fortunately, part of the guard force was female. She knocked on the door. When the man answered, she grabbed his head and snapped his neck. She stepped in the room and shot the other guard, a cup of tea in his hand. The suppressed handgun made an audible pop. The cup hitting the floor was louder. A woman in a maid uniform came in and Jane shot her, too. She knew where Otto Hiller stayed, a recluse, after interrogating a guard who went AWOL in hopes of getting a girl. He did not get the girl.
She walked across the foyer and reached the stairs without seeing anyone. Going up the stairs quietly, she kept her eyes above her watching for legs of an upstairs guard. She saw them and stopped. She crouched and crept to the edge of the landing on the second floor, then dropped a marble. The marble rolled down the steps. She heard the guard move and when his leg appeared she merely grabbed it and let him follow the marble. By the angle of his neck when he stopped she knew he was dead.
Jane stood and yelled “Eile. Jemand hat die treppe runter gefallen!” Three people came running and she fired three times. They all came to a sliding halt at her feet. Moving to Otto’s room she no longer felt the need to be subtle. She shot the lock three times, then kicked the door open.
The man who turned to her was no doubt the grandson of Adolf Hitler. Down to the stupid looking mustache. She shot him in the stomach. He dropped, clutching his body, the air knocked from him.
He looked at her as she walked to him and groaned, “Who are you? Why are you doing this?”
“Why am I doing this? To save the world from another Hitler bastard. Because you had my parents killed.”
“Who are you?” he asked once again.
Jane leaned over him, looking him in the eye, then shot him in the throat. The last thing Otto Hiller saw and heard was: “My name is Bond. Jane Bond.”
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