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I sat in the corner, and could not stop the tears. Hanna sat down next to me and put her hand on my shoulder. Hans sat next to her, and I guess we looked like a pretty sad lot.
"Hanna, you and I get the top loft, the rest of you, fend for yourselves. There are more blankets and coats in the storeroom," Ida said, as she and Bronsilaw wiped off the last of the dishes.
I and the others woke up with Bar scratching at the door. We all mustered to our feet, and looked out the windows. Another group of partisans were standing at the point the bushes stopped, and they sent one guy to the door. Emeryk recognized him.
"Come, come," Emeryk said in a quiet voice and waving them in.
After hearty hugs and slaps on the back, they got down to tales of action updates.
"The bastards are adding men to their patrols. I guess they got tired of getting whipped out," one of the new commers said with half a laugh.
"A week ago, we were about to cross the Odra when a squad of regular troops stepped out of the brush and asked us what we were up to, and Grzegorz said, "Oh, not much, just here to kill Nazis. They were sort of setback, so we cut them down before they had chance to react."
Stanislaw relayed our yesterday's activities, then we all Andrzej turned the stairs as Ida stepped down from the loft.
Ida stopped half way down, and asked, "Where is Piotr and Andrzej?"
Grzegorz stepped forward, and stated that Andrzej was shot two days ago. Piotr is taking care of his body, and notifying his wife, sense she was just 10 or so miles away.
Ida slowly turned her head and looked down the stairs, then made her way to the bottom.
"Who are these three?" asked Grzegorz.
Ida gave a short version in a subdued voice.
After a meek meal, and discussing several options, it was time to decide on what to do next.
"They will be looking for groups. I think we should be in smaller teams, like in one's and two's that can quickly meet, act, disband and fade away," Hanna stated.
"A young tactician. What is your background?" Grzegorz asked.
"Well, my family background is in banking and politics. My schooling is physics and psychology," Hanna answered.
"This one could prove to be a real asset. Keep her safe," Grzegorz said.
"They will be monitoring all frequencies. So, don't use radios for the time being," Ida ordered.
"How about codes?" asked Jakub.
"If there is an increase in transmissions, they will put more patrols in that area," Ida stated.
"That could be a great diversion tactic," said Hanna.
"Yes, but it should be used for very special operations only. It wont work too many times," added Tomasz.
"I think we should contact the United States consulate. They could coordinate all the different groups without any group knowing anything about the others," said Hanna.
"Why the United States consulate. They are not even in this war," asked Tomasz.
"Not yet, but they will be," Ida injected.
"How do you know that? They have expressed their isolationism many times," Jakub asked.
"Hitler wants the whole continent. After he takes France, he will go for England. Then the United States will come into the war, if they are not already, surreptitiously of course. My parents have many contacts in the United States banking system, and they think it's inevitable that the United States will enter the war," said Hanna.
"We must take our time. This war is going to go on for a long time, years and years," Ida said, in a weathered voice.
"The United States can't take on Germany and all the resources they have acquired as of late, plus Stalin," Tomasz stated.
"Hitler is not fooling Stalin. Stalin knows Hitler needs his resource's, and that he is just stalling until he can concentrate his forces for an effective attack," Hanna explained.
"Why do you think that?" asked Jakub.
"Not much happens without the banking system," Hanna replied.
"Like I said, she's an asset," Grzegorz said, with a smile.
An hour later we had paired off and decided a lost dog named Konig flyer would be the call to return Hollow 3. Hans and I would be too easily spotted if together, so Hans went with Jakub, I left with Tomasz, and Hanna left with Ida and Bar.
Hans, Hanna, and I made a pack to meet in Paris by placing an ad after the war. Hans and I knew we might not make it. I could see in Hanna's eyes she thought the same.
Tomasz and I went over the top ridge, and spotted six Nazis working their way up the trail. We decided to lay an ambush, even though the noise would bring more of them.
"Don't fire until I do. Stay behind those bushes," Tomasz whispered.
When the Nazis reached the top, Thomasz opened fire, so did I. The Nazis made easy targets.
"Get their ammunition," Thomasz said, pointing to the three closest to me.
I hesitated for a moment. I had only fired a gun on hunting trips, and I just killed three people. Knowing they were Nazis helped, but I was still sort of nauseous and shaking.
"It gets easier. Quick, their buddies will have heard the shots," Tomasz said, waving his hand to follow.
We went down taking the same path that the Nazis had come up.
"We can set up here. We must give the others as much time a possible to get away," Tomasz said.
An hour later we could hear them coming up the trail.
"Fire when they get across from you. I'll open up at the same time," Tomasz ordered, as he made his way further down through the trees alongside the trail.
I lost sight of him, and I was still sort of num.