Bill Meilen
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pocket. “Now it only remains for you to honour your promise of safe conduct back to France,” he said, shifting his position. “and of course the vow you accepted regarding the politics of France.”

Reynal turned to Gadda. “Michel, see that this party of gentlemen have safe conduct as far as the frontier. No harm must befall them.”

Leduc took a pace forward. “Général Reynal?”

“Yes?” the Général looked at the fat man in surprise, it being the first time he had spoken on the journey.

”It is the matter of our pistols.”


“They are expensive items of personal equipment, sir. They will be hard to replace on our meagre alaries.”

Reynal nodded to Gadda. “He is probably right. Disarm the magazines and hand them back to their owners immediately.”

Reluctantly Gadda gave the order and there was a shicking of magazine catches as the things were slid out of the butts, the shells pocketed, empty magazines replaced, and pistols handed back to their owners.

Leduc bowed gratefully. “Merci, Général. You are most gracious.”

Reynal nodded without humour. “Now about turn and go. Michel, see that they have an escort.” Turning on his heel he took his wife's arm and led her towards the Delahaye. Behind him he heard Gadda shouting commands, and the crunch of feet on scree. At the car he looked back to see the backs of the barbouzes disappearing up the path, surrounded by Schmeisser-bearing Delta Two commandos who would see them on their way.

Gadda broke away from the rest of the men and moved towards them. Reynal held out a hand.

“Thank you, Michel. Efficient training, I must say.”

Gadda almost blushed. “Thank you, mon Général. For our new Delta Commando, simply an excellent tactical exercise.”

Opening the door of the car he helped the couple in, then dropped into the capacious driving seat, Reaching beneath it he withdrew his red-topped Légion képi with its seven-flame grenade and placed it on his head, swivelling to throw a grin at his old Commanding Officer.

“And now, Madame et mon Général, we will take you to your new home in our own valley—the complex of Bir Hakeim!”