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Authors: Ib Melchior

Tags: #Action & Adventure, #Mystery & Detective, #Juvenile Fiction, #General, #Fiction, #Literary Criticism, #English; Irish; Scottish; Welsh, #European

Sleeper Agent

BOOK: Sleeper Agent
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THE GERMAN

Rudolph Kessler
—Entrusted with the best kept secret in the Nazi hierarchy. Trained to withstand pressure, torture, or anything resembling human sentiment. A man who would literally kill his mother for the Reich. The day Germany was declared the loser, Rudi started to make his way toward America, where the revival of the Third Reich was to take place so subtly that no one would even know it was going on.

THE AMERICAN

Tom Jaeger
—U.S. Counter Intelligence. Born in the USA of German ancestry, a link with the enemy he could never quite break. Patriotic, strong, smart. He knew something lethal was going on, but could he put the pieces of the puzzle together in time to stop what was happening? And would he risk his life at the very moment when a beautiful woman had finally made it all seem worthwhile?

SLEEPER AGENT—A PLOT SO REALISTIC IT MIGHT JUST BE TRUE!!!

SLEEPER AGENT

Ib Melchior

Premier Digital Publishing - Los Angeles

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SLEEPER AGENT

Copyright © 1975 by Ib Melchior

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

eISBN: 978-1-938582-13-4

Published by Premier Digital Publishing

www.PremierDigitalPublishing.com

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@PDigitalPub

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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious or are used fictitiously.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 74-15882

TO CLEO-AGAIN

AUTHOR’S NOTE

A “sleeper agent” is a highly trained, totally dedicated secret agent placed in a country by a foreign power well in advance of any contemplated action. His cover will be impenetrable. He will assimilate completely, becoming a citizen of the target country. He will marry, work—and wait for the day his native land may call upon him to carry out at any risk any task demanded, be his wait as a sleeper years or decades.

Although the novel
Sleeper Agent
is fiction, the existence of such agents is fact, and many of the elements and incidents of the story are based on actual events and upon the author’s personal experiences.

NAZI WAR CRIMINAL HUNT PRESSED IN U.S.

U.S. officials have begun a new investigation of immigrants and naturalized American citizens suspected of being Nazi war criminals, according to Sol Marks, district director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. A list of 38, including 25 naturalized U.S. Citizens, was compiled from a larger list submitted by Jewish organizations, Marks told the
New York Times.

Los Angeles
Times

December 31, 1973

I swear to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and Reichschancellor, loyalty and valor. I vow to you, and to those you have named to command me, obedience unto death, so help me God.

SS LOYALTY OATH

PART 1

18 APRIL 1945

PROLOGUE

SOMEWHERE IN BAVARIA

Twenty-two hours and seventeen minutes ago it had begun.

He knew it exactly. To the minute. The big clock with its lighted face hung on the bare wall before him like a mocking moon. It was the first thing he’d seen when he entered the room twenty-two hours and seventeen minutes ago. They had made certain the ordeal of time oozing on would be inescapable.

He stood at attention. His legs trembled painfully. He had long since given up trying to hide the fact. His mouth was dry, his lips parched. They’d given him nothing to drink, nothing to eat since he took up his position facing the glowing clock. It was perhaps just as well, he thought. His gut ached with the dull, leaden pressure of his swollen bladder. That was another thing the bastards had forced him to endure. Damn them to hell!

His eyes burned with fatigue. He blinked and stared at the two men sitting behind the solid table before him. Their pale faces swam in the murkiness like bloated balloons. One of them was glaring back at him. The man had a look on his naked round face as if he enjoyed himself immensely. He had come to loathe that look with a growing hatred during the last several hours. He was careful not to show it. The other man was poring through a thick file, frowning in displeased concentration.

The room was quite large, the walls bare concrete.
The room.
When he thought of it, it took on a menacing personality, a presence as of a thing alive, holding him inexorably in a massive stone fist. It was dark, except for the pool of glaring white light in which he stood before his interrogators.

There was the sudden noise of a door opening behind him. The two men at the table looked up.

He almost turned. With the chilling surge of adrenalin shock shooting through his aching body, he caught himself in time. He stood stock still. He knew what would happen to him if he moved without permission. But his heart beat faster. Was it over? Had he reached the end? Could he—could he at last—rest?

The two men got up from the table. The one with the file folder closed it with a thud of finality. The other one yawned and stretched. He glanced at his watch, and back at the clock on the wall behind him.

Twenty-two hours and nineteen minutes ago . . .

Without a word the two men walked away from the table. Two others took their places. Like all the rest they wore black SS officers’ uniforms. Carefully, as if performing a sacred ceremony, they placed their caps on the table before them. The silver death’s-head emblems gleamed malevolently.

With cold curiosity the two officers stared at the young man standing leadenly before them.

He felt despair blanket him. And at the same time rage swelled in him. Another team! Another goddamned tricky-mouthed team. He couldn’t take it. No more! His mind shrieked for relief. His body trembled with exhaustion. He couldn’t face it all over again. Twenty-two hours and twenty minutes they’d hammered at him, taunted him, tormented him. And now . . .

Two more!

Two more well-rested, fresh Gestapo bastards eager to batter him down. He suddenly felt hot tears sting his burning eyes. No, dammit! They weren’t going to get him down. They weren’t going to break him. Not yet Not . . . ever.

He blinked his eyes back into focus. He glared at the two new men settling down behind the table. Had they been there before? He found it hard to think. Hard to remember. He didn’t know if they were new tormentors or simply old ones returned to torture him after a good rest

Suddenly he didn’t care.

One of the men portentously opened the big file. That damned all-knowing file.

The other glanced to the side and almost imperceptibly nodded his head.

He’d forgotten. The other two men. They were still there. They were sitting in the shadows of the dim room where he stood in the pool of light. They’d been there when he came in. He’d been able to make them out but not to recognize them. He’d been aware of them occasionally, quietly leaving—and returning within a short time. At least he supposed they were the same two men. They had been a felt yet unfelt presence all through his ordeal. And they had said not a word. They were only . . . there.

The man with the open file folder looked up at him. He wore steel-rimmed glasses and his hair was close-cropped, shaved high above the ears. “Name?” he rasped. His voice was unpleasantly high. He spoke in English. The characteristic guttural German accent made him sound at once both harsh and shrill.

The young man before him shuddered. Oh, God, not again!
Not

all

over

again!
With a conscious effort he drew himself erect. “Robert Kane,” he said. “First lieutenant, 0324569.” He tried defiantly to make his voice firm. But he heard it crack.

“Very good,” the Gestapo officer commented. He consulted the file before him. “Date of birth?”

“Seventeen July 1915.” He didn’t hesitate a moment

“Place?”

“Muncie, Indiana.”

“Mother’s name?”

“Emily.”

“Father’s name?”

“William.”

“Brothers? Sisters?”

“None.”

“Your parents—they still live?”

“No.”

He felt the weariness engulf him like a giant fist squeezing his strength from him. He knew what was coming, but he couldn’t get himself to face it. Not again.

The Gestapo man leaned back in his chair. The glare from the pool of light glinted in his steel-rimmed glasses with a gleam of mockery. “Tell us about them, Lieutenant Kane. Tell us about yourself.”

He
had
told them. Them. The others. All his tormentors. Over and over again. The same questions. The same answers. How many times? Forever.

He began to talk. Once again. He heard his own voice as from a distance. It sounded hollow—dead. He couldn’t change it. “My mother . . . she died when I was a child. I was ten. She had . . . tuberculosis.”

The pink round faces of the two Gestapo officers seemed to float obscenely—disembodied—before him; indistinct, only their eyes boring into him relentlessly. His vision blurred. He squeezed his eyes tight to clear it. He tensed the aching muscles of his legs to steady them. He would go on. He
would . . .

“My father was—He . . . he took my mother’s death very hard. He was a chemist. Industrial research chemist He . . . wanted to get away from . . . from our home after she died. He accepted an exchange position in Europe. In Denmark. Copenhagen. I went with him.” He swallowed with a dry throat. His many body pains had merged into one dull ache. He was suddenly mortally afraid it would always be with him, would never leave.

“Go on!” The Gestapo officer’s shrill voice cut into him.

He started. Had he dozed off? On his feet? He clenched his fists at his sides, driving his nails into the palms of his hands. It was a delicious, sharp little pain. His mind savored it He felt mentally braced. “We were there for two years,” he went on. “I went to a Danish school. I was thirteen when we returned to Muncie.”

He ran a cotton tongue over his dry lips. He’d never been a habitual lip licker. Why now? When it did no good whatsoever? He continued. “I graduated from high school, and I went to New York. To college. At Columbia . . .”

He had a sudden strange feeling that everything was receding from him. He stood alone, pain-ridden, immobile in space, numbly mouthing words into a mass of gray cotton. There was only the sound of his own distant voice and a rhythmic surge in his ears.

The pain seemed to leave him. He began to feel drowsily detached—and he kept on talking. “I majored in literature—books. Books. And languages. Communication. That’s what we must do. Communicate. And then . . . he died. It wasn’t even his fault. But he died anyway. My . . . dad . . . It was the other driver’s fault They . . . said so.”

He felt good. He was saying the right things. His whole being felt unburdened, soothed by the stream of his own words. And he was alone. Alone in the warm gray glow. He stopped talking. He was tired. So very tired. Perhaps the words would keep on anyway. Keep on flowing around him. Caress him.


Kane!”

The word slammed into him, shattering his cocoon of stuporous well-being. And with it came the pain. The exhaustion. And the defiance.

He—would—not—break!

How long had it been? He tried to look at the face of the big round clock on the wall. His eyes would not focus. “Yes, sir,” he said.

“You stayed in the city of New York?”

“Yes, sir.” He forced himself to focus his smarting eyes on the interrogator. “I went to work. In a bookstore. In Greenwich Village.”

“You worked?”

“Yes.”

“Then—in the United States—you would have a Social Security number, yes?”

“Yes.”


What is it?”
It was a crisp, direct question. He went blank. He
had
been given a number. What? What was it?

“Well?”

“I . . . I don’t remember.”

“You don’t remember your own Social Security number?” There was ominous incredulity in the SS interrogator’s voice.

He cast about in his exhausted brain. “No use. “Sir,” he said. “Everyone has a Social Security number. Nobody remembers
it.”

“I see.” The officer obviously was dissatisfied with the answer. He bent over the file. “And where did you live?”

“On West Twenty-fourth Street. Number 429½. Between Ninth and Tenth Avenue. I had a room. In a brownstone.”

He spoke quickly. Perhaps his interrogator would forget about his lapse of memory. He was suddenly incensed. Who the hell ever remembers his Social Security number?

“Brown stone? What is brown stone?”

“It’s a building, sir. A kind of building. An old private home, converted into an apartment house or a rooming house. They were built with a sort of brown stone.”

“I see. Then you lived in a brown stone house, yes?”

“Yes.”

“And the other houses around you they were also brown stone?”

“Yes. No! No—not all. There was a big new apartment house—a whole block—directly across. The . . . London Terrace. It was . . . red brick.”

The other Gestapo officer, who had been silent, suddenly leaned forward. He was a somewhat older man. He spoke in a clipped no-nonsense tone of voice. “I think we ask the lieutenant about his military service,” he said. He fixed the young man standing before him with a cold stare. “You are a professional soldier?”

“No, sir.” He faced the new antagonist

“Well?”

“I . . . I volunteered . . . after Pearl Harbor. I . . . went into the Army.”

“You were sent to a camp?”

“Yes.”

“Its name?”

“Fort Dix. In New Jersey.”

“You were commissioned?”

“Yes. After basic training I went to OCS.”

“What branch of the Army did you serve in?”

“Infantry.”

“Infantry?” The Gestapo interrogator leaned forward intently. “With
your
language knowledge? What
do
you speak, Lieutenant, besides English?”

“Danish, sir. And some German.”

“Ah! Some German.”

The officer smiled a thin smile. He glanced significantly at his colleague. Then he turned back to Kane. “It is somewhat hard to believe that the American Army would not take advantage of your . . . eh . . . special knowledge, is it not?”

“The Army does things its own way.”

“So.”

The Gestapo man leaned back in his chair. He studied his fingernails. He spoke almost casually. “Do you know what is the OSS?”

The young man started. This was something new. The others hadn’t asked about that before. He was suddenly alert. “Yes.”

“It means?”

“Office of Strategic Services.”

The Gestapo officer suddenly sat bolt upright. “And they are American spies. Saboteurs. Terrorists. Yes?”

The young man stood silent


You
are an OSS officer, yes?”

“No, sir. Infantry.”

“So.” The Gestapo man fixed him with his cold eyes. “Then, what is your infantry unit, Lieutenant?”

There was only a slight hesitation.

“Seventy-ninth Infantry Division.”

“Good. Very good.” The officer did not take his eyes from him.

His shoulders sagged. The fatigue washed through him in numbing waves. Nothing mattered any more.

“You will stand at attention!” The interrogator’s voice was sharp.

He straightened up. It didn’t matter. Sooner or later he’d keel over.

The officer with the steel-rimmed glasses contemplated him. He motioned toward a straight-backed wooden chair.

“You must be tired, Lieutenant,” he said, his voice almost kind. “Why don’t you sit down?”

All at once he was aware of how near collapse he was. Every bone in his body whimpered for relief. The hard stiff-backed chair looked like paradise. Now that it was going to be possible for him to sit and rest he suddenly knew he couldn’t stand up for another minute. He swayed toward the offered chair.


No!"

The sharp command shocked his stupefied brain.

“You will
stand!

He looked with dull incomprehension at the older Gestapo interrogator. Stand?

“Sit down!” the other officer ordered.


Stand!"


Sit!
That’s an order!”

His mind whirled. Oh, God, what were they trying to do? He
wanted
to do the right thing. But . . . how could he? What
was
it? The conflicting orders beat on his battered mind. “Stand!” . . . “Sit!” He felt reason ripping, tearing from him. “Stand!” . . . “Sit!” . . . “Stand!” . . . And finally the thundering command, “
Obey!”
But . . . what?
What?
WHAT?

His tortured mind seethed, but he was suddenly aware of a tiny part of him standing aside, observing. Calm and calculating.

There was . . . something. Something from his training. Eons ago. Trying to break through to him. A problem. A hypothetical problem he’d been given. A problem with no acceptable solution. But he’d
had
to make a choice. What was it? He suddenly knew.

BOOK: Sleeper Agent
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