A Starsky and Hutch crossover with The Professionals first publish in the zine "Dark Fantasies 1". Comments about this story can be sent to: email@example.com
ODDS AGAINST, PART 1
The Stearman Kaydet bounced on the dusty tarmac. Hutch groaned and grabbed the sides of the open cockpit as the pseudo-pilot in the front seat once again tried to bring the plane down to earth. Again the Stearman bounced and inevitably the novice pilot yanked back too hard on the yoke. Airborne for the third time, the trainer threatened to stall. Lieutenant Kenneth Hutchinson tapped the would-be pilot on the shoulder and motioned that he was taking over. Hutch put his hands on the controls and gently eased the plane back under control by leveling the rate of climb. After circling the airfield, Hutch brought the much-abused little biplane gently back to the flat California desert.
After taxiing down the back runway toward the Quonset huts that made up the only type of human habitation within a hundred miles, Hutch dismounted the plane in disgust. Yanking his goggles and leather helmet off, he left the young trainee to his own devices, fearing that he would say something inappropriate for an officer and a gentleman. As he yanked his silk scarf from his neck, he turned to the sweating trainee.
"Check out this bird then meet me at the debriefing shack, Smith!" the blond lieutenant snapped, running his hand through his closely-cropped, damp hair.
"Yes, sir," the younger man croaked, snapping a crisp salute which his instructor acknowledged then spun on his heel toward the buildings along the runway. With relief, the trainee began making his post-flight checks.
In the shack that doubled as briefing/debriefing center as well as command operations, Hutch voiced his thinning patience to his fellow training officers.
"I've had it!" he snapped to Captain `Wild Bill' Hanover.
"Take it easy, Hutch. They'll learn one of these days," said Hanover soothingly. Hanover could be soothing since he had had time to unwind from his morning training mission over the California desert, and Hutch had had two difficult flights this afternoon.
"What's the point of teaching these idiots all this? For months we've been trying to drill the finer points of night landings and take-offs. Then last week somebody added glider drill." Hutch snorted in disgust as he made for the so-called water cooler. "They can't even land and take off in broad daylight, let alone at night...Christ, it's hot." He snatched a cone-shaped paper cup from the dispenser and filled it with the lukewarm liquid; the cooler gurgled gently.
While Hutch sipped at the tepid water, Hanover concisely summed up the reason for teaching the fumble-fingered idiots (as Hutch was fond of calling all the men sent for training by G2 operations).
"When I was transferred to G2, I had imagined something more exciting than attempting to give flight training in the middle of the god-damned desert."
"Imagining yourself seducing all those luscious frauleins, huh?" Hanover snickered.
"Well, at least I'm scheduled for a few days leave before I go TDY. And you, my laughing friend, have inherited that jerk, Smith. Good luck, I think you'll need it." Hutch started to leave the sweltering Ops room with its despondently humming fans.
"Off to the bright lights again, Lieutenant?" Hanover leered. "She must be something. When do we finally get to meet this doll?"
"Never," Hutch laughed a bit nervously; "not to a bunch of love-'em-and-leave-'em types like you prop jockeys!"
With a sigh of relief, Hutch slipped out of the ops room. The last of the bantering had finished shredding the little patience he had left, and "Jones"--no "Smith"--was waiting sheepishly for the reaming out Hutch was about to give him.
After pointing out in grim detail the flaws of Smith's take off, landing, and flying techniques, Hutch wearily headed for his quarters to strip off his flying suit and leave the isolated desert outpost. In the fading sunset, he packed the Ford Coupe for the desert crossing. He made sure he had plenty of water for the touchy flat-head V-8 engine. Because the motor was notoriously sensitive to heat, Hutch usually planned his trek to Los Angeles during the nighttime hours. Quite often the damned thing vapor-locked as well as simply overheated. But he loved his now somewhat battered little car. The desert had not been kind to Myrtle.
Hutch acknowledged the salute of the Gate MP as he roared into the California twilight. The twisting dirt roads were seldom better than goat tracks, but each mile was sending him closer to his lover in L.A.
Stopping on a small rise outside Barstow, he cut off the straining engine before it could conk out on its own. He relaxed his head back on the seat and recalled his last leave. Starsky had been especially beautiful and sexy on the moonlit beach. It had been such an isolated stretch of gleaming sand that they had snuggled and loved in the moonlight. Over a year he had spent under the spell of one man...one dark-haired gypsy lover that had satisfied him in a way that no woman or wife had. The laughing blue eyes and skewed sense of humor off set his normally overly serious military mind set.
Hutch had to admit that West Point had given him a set of values and sense of honor that had been lacking in his home life. But David Michael Starsky had given him a sense of life. Hutch's hitch with the Army would be up shortly. He was going to resign. He could hear his father saying, "I told you so." But he wouldn't know that the young chemist rather than dissatisfaction with Army life was the reason for his resignation. He needed to spend more time with his lover. He was sure he could find some sort of work, even commercial flying. There seemed to be more flying operations every day. He hadn't told Starsky of his plans to resign from the military. He wasn't sure how he would react. The volatile brunet was concerned about the European situation. However, he would cross that bridge when he came to it.
Sighing, Hutch leaned over the back of the seat to reach the storage area and pulled out the large can of water. He got out of the car and opened the hood. The powerful engine was still steaming. He moved to the fender and carefully began pouring water over the fuel pump mounted on the firewall above the `v' between the two banks of cylinders. The water should cool the fuel enough to return it to its liquid state so the fuel pump could send it on to the carburetor. That was the theory anyhow. Normally it was successful. He would only have to do this a couple more times as the blazing heat of the day rapidly dissipated.
Hours later, after having fought the Ford Coupe through overheating and near vapor-lock, Hutch impatiently slammed the car door in the driveway of the small cottage in the hills above the winking lights of Los Angeles. After stretching cramped muscles, he opened the domed trunk and got out his military-issue flight bag.
Whistling softly, he turned his key in the door of the imitation log cabin that he rented cheaply by the month even though weeks might go by without habitation. Then he opened the softly creaking door and slipped down the short hallway to the bedroom. He noted that his weekend companion was already starfished untidily on the barely adequate double bed.
Hutch's whole attitude brightened as he watched the boneless sprawl of the figure on the bed. Silently he crossed the short distance from the rough-hewn door to the bed. Smiling slightly, he leaned down and kissed the nape of the neck exposed amongst the dark curls. Snuffling, the object of his attentions tried to bury itself deeper into the coverings. Hutch carefully began revealing more and more of the muscular back. He followed the exposure with kisses down the spine while carefully lowering his hip to the edge of the bed. Resting both hands on either side of the now exposed torso, Hutch continued mapping the body with his tongue and lips.
Muttering what sounded vaguely like curses, the figure rolled over and opened bleary, blue eyes. Raising himself up on his elbows, David Michael Starsky, Ph.D., kissed his lover softly on the mouth.
"Mmmm...," Starsky snuggled closer, and rubbed his head against Hutch's neck and shoulder.
"You're late this time," the young scientist whispered, as he offered his mouth for another kiss.
"Nearly wrote off another Kaydet this afternoon," Hutch murmured before responding to the offered lips.
Hutch's hands explored the reclining body, quickly wiping the last fuzziness of sleep from Starsky. Hutch felt Starsky's response begin to harden against his hip while long-fingered hands rubbed Hutch's flank. Then Hutch squeezed the tight ass beneath the covers as Starsky fumbled with Hutch's shirt and slacks' fastenings. Pulling back from the bed, Hutch rose and stripped hurriedly and slid beneath the bedding. There was just enough chill in the room to make contact with the sleep-warmed body a doubly comforting.
Urgency of long denial made the hurried frottage spiral out of control quickly. Grabbing both hot, hard cocks in one hand, Hutch quickly brought himself and his lover to the edge of need. Reaching from under the covers to the bedside stand, Hutch set the cheap furniture rocking dangerously. Cursing fervently, he steadied the swaying night stand.
"Shit!" Starsky levered himself up to assist in the search for the stuff that seemed as elusive as the "demned Pimpernel." Jammed clear to the back of the drawer, Hutch's reaching fingers finally located the miscreant object. The cap stiff from disuse caused Hutch's fingers to grate on the ridges of the top. The blankets puddled around their hips to be kicked on down to the foot of the bed.
Mumbling under his breath, Starsky took the cream from Hutch and grimaced as it finally gave in to his onslaught. Hutch's fingers intercepted the billowing cream from the metal lip. Grinning in quiet concentration, Hutch leaned forward and began to anoint the rampant shaft in front of him. Starsky sighed as magic fingers restored the urgency to his manhood which the search for a certain tube had nearly destroyed. Finishing the delicate task, Hutch quickly reached behind to lave more of the lubricant upon his own backside.
Turning around, Hutch presented himself in the classic position of submissional preparedness with elbows on the pillows and ass in the air.
"You get to be first all the time," Starsky grieved.
"Get on with it, Starsk. You'll get yours, never fear."
Needing no further encouragement, the young scientist leaned forward to the welcoming body. With short, gentle nudges, he sheathed himself in the lean body. Hutch moaned with pleasure as Starsky finally hit the magic spot.
Leaning back, Starsky squeezed the mounds of fine white ass as his penis nearly slid out. Starsky was fascinated with the slip and slide of his hard, reddened flesh moving in and out of the lean, ivory body. Urgency began to catch up with him, however, and he slammed his cock harder into the compliant tunnel. Moving forward, he rested his hands on either side of the sweat-dampened face. He thrust again and again while watching the tightly closed eyes.
Reaching under Hutch's body with one hand, he squeezed and pulled the hard cock. Then resting on the outstretched back, he used his other hand to massage the furry balls hidden farther back. This last assault caused the cock in his hand to begin to spasm. The tightening of the muscles of the blond's body on his own penis caused his own hard thrust and stiffening which heralded his climax.
Both men dropped limply to the mattress. With a slight squelch Starsky slid regretfully from his lover's body.
"Yummm, that was long overdue, lover," whispered Starsky. Hutch pushed himself off the bed. He padded to the adjoining bathroom for a damp towel. Cleaning himself and Starsky efficiently, he tossed the towel carelessly to the floor beside the bed. He climbed onto the mattress, straightened the blankets, before gathering the precious man into his arms. Spooned together, he drifted briefly on the edge of consciousness, then knew nothing until he heard the shower roaring while late morning light filtered through the blinds. As the shower stopped, Hutch groaned and grabbed the errant pillow to bury his head deeper. There was a measure of peace until he felt a hand tugging on the bedclothes.
"Get up, Hutch. It's nearly noon. And if we don't hurry, we'll miss the Saturday matinee."
Struggling to recover the sheet, Hutch snuffled into the pillow. "Oh shit, what is it this week? Last time not only did I have to put up with the Bijou's version of "Our Gang," but I had to sit through Flash Gordon twice," complained the airman as he made another futile grab for the disappearing pillows and covers.
"It's a great film. Ya'll love it!"
"What is it?" despaired Hutch.
"C'mon, Hutch, ya don't wanna miss `Tarzan and the Green Goddess!'" chortled the curly-haired ruffian.
Finally giving up on fighting the octopus-like hands, Hutch raised himself up and threw his feet over the edge of the bed, tangling the covers even more thoroughly than Starsky had been able to.
"It's all about Tarzan..."
"Spare me the details," Hutch muttered, heading for the shower and slamming the bathroom door on his lover who was extolling the virtues of Johnny Weismueller in the celluloid jungle of South America.
In the shower and while shaving, Hutch speculated on how his purportedly brilliant lover could be so enthralled with B-grade Hollywood flicks.
* * *
After an afternoon of chattering, restless kids, topped off by a swinging, yodeling Tarzan, Hutch broke the news of his temporary duty to Starsky. They were lounging in the small, sparsely furnished living room of the cabin after the exhausting afternoon movie.
"TDY... What's that? Translate it to plain English. This military jargon is a real pain in the ass," Starsky complained, walking to the living room window and enjoying the view of the pines and scrub oak.
"TDY is Temporary Detached Duty. Doesn't mean I've been transferred...only working somewhere else for a while."
"How long is a while?"
"Three months at the FBI facility in Quantico, Virginia." Hutch joined his lover at the window and stroked the Starsky's broad shoulders.
"Shit," Starsky commented, disappointment rampant in his sapphire eyes. "We have so little time together as it is, between you and the Army and me and the damned lab." He turned from the window and rested his arms on the taller man's shoulders.
"Yeah, babe, I know. I don't like it either. But until my hitch is up, I'm stuck being moved at the whim of the Army."
"And you might not be able to get out. There's a war comin', Hutch."
"Yeah, you might be right. But I don't think America is going to get tangled up in another European mess like the last one."
"This one is different. Adolph Schicklgruber just demanded that Poland give up Danzig and the corridor between Germany and Prussia. The Poles ain't gonna do that and the Limeys and the Frenchys will back `em."
"But that's still no reason for America to intervene."
"That damned `Paperhanger' won't be satisfied with just grabbing up Eastern Europe. He's got world conquest on his mind. Then there's what he's doing to the Jews." Starsky dropped his arms and turned back to the window. Now he was gazing blankly at nothing, no longer enjoying the view.
"I think that's just some wild rumors," his lover soothed, reaching for the other man. "Besides, the English and the French seemed fairly convinced that Hitler will be satisfied with the areas ceded at Munich. The British Prime Minister...what's his name? Yeah, Chamberlain seemed to think those concessions would guarantee peace."
Not wanting to be soothed, Starsky shook off the light grip. "I don't think it's rumors. I think there's something to it. I don't want you over there either. And Madrid has fallen to the fascists. It's getting nastier and nastier. I just don't see how the US can stay out of it. And I don't want you involved."
"Aw, Starsky, there's a huge ocean between us and that war. Even Roosevelt can't involve us without the permission of Congress. He may think he's some sort of dictator, but the Congress will keep him in line." Hutch moved closer again and, once more, kneaded the tense shoulders of his lover.
Shaking his head at the occasional stubborn streak that cropped up in his companion, Starsky diplomatically changed the subject.
"Whatcha gonna do in Virginia?" he asked with weary resignation. This argument/discussion had been gone over before. He leaned back and relaxed against the bony frame behind him.
"Encryption," Hutch answered, silently agreeing to the truce. He raised one hand to run his fingers through the springy curls on Starsky's head.
"Codes and coding machines. This is the first training that I've had since G2 tapped me a couple of years ago. The only contact I've had with those spies are the idiots that come in for flight training. I'm not much impressed with that bunch."
"Oh." Starsky wiggled against the stroking hands. Hutch thought of a big, black alley cat. He was expecting a purr momentarily.
There was an uneasy pause while Starsky moved away and unconsciously ruffled his own curls. "So how long before you leave?"
"I got a week then I'll catch the train back to the east coast."
"A whole week, huh? I gotta teach four classes next week, but I'll put the lab on the back burner. I'll say I'm not feeling very good," Starsky said thoughtfully.
"What's going on in your lab?"
"Oh, a bit of this and bit of that. Some research contracts for the government," Starsky evaded. They walked back to the couch and sat down knee to knee.
"Yeah, I know. I don't wanna know."
"Somethin' like that," Starsky responded. "Say, whaddya say to Chinese tonight? Got this great recipe from my lab assistant."
"No. The last time you had a `great' recipe from her, I had heartburn for a week. How about I treat us to real Chinese in town?" Hutch countered.
"Great! Thought you'd say something like that!"
"Oh God, another plot!"
Starsky snickered and dove for the kitchen before the blond could grab him.
* * *
The all too-short week was passing in a kaleidoscope of images for Hutch. Lazy days spent relaxing on lonely beaches were his favorite times.
Now he gazed fondly as his lover strutted down the quiet boulevard. Starsky had mentioned something about a hot dog stand just outside the zoo that made the best "dogs" outside of New York. Indulgently Hutch followed the intent man in front of him. Secretly Hutch disliked the plump "dog" with "everything" that Starsky seemed so enthralled with.
"There it is!" gushed Starsky as he pointed to a gayly painted pushcart situated under a grove of orange trees. "Ya'll love `em. Real New York hot dogs!"
Hutch allowed himself to be tugged along to the cart. Enthusiastically Starsky ordered two dogs with all the trimmings along with two large fresh orange juices.
Watching his lover sigh over the hot dog swimming in onions, sauerkraut, mustard and other items that didn't bear reflection, Hutch nibbled gingerly at the strings of kraut hanging from his sandwich. He gulped down the orange juice, savoring the freshness and natural sweetness. He surreptitiously dumped the offending dog in the convenient trash can. To distract Starsky from his heinous crime, he started a conversation. His mouth seemed to run amuck.
"My hitch with the Army is up this summer. I think I'll resign."
"Huh?" Starsky gulped down the last massive bite of hot dog. Gulping and wiping his mouth with a paper napkin, Starsky looked at Hutch. "You're serious, aren't you, buddy?"
"Yes, I don't get off much anymore on war games. Then I think I'd rather be in L.A. Great climate...and it has other attractions too."
"That'd be great," Starsky mumbled around the last of his orange juice. "Say, whaddya think of a European tour this summer? Elise is in Paris with that band. I'd like to see her."
Hutch looked momentarily puzzled.
"Elise, my sister!"
"Yeah, I know; I just thought she was in New York with your Mom."
"Nah, she met up with some schmuck who convinced her that her future was in his band. So they toured the Catskills for a while, but didn't make much of a splash. Now they're in Paris. I'm kinda worried about what kind of a mess she's gotten herself into."
"Okay, Paris in the summertime. Somehow that just doesn't have the romance of springtime in Paris."
"I'll give you springtime in L.A., you blond bombshell," the scientist muttered starting to amble down the street.
"Where to now?"
"Where do you think, dummy?" Starsky purred, sidling back to his tall, lank lover.
"Yeah, that's a good idea," the flier agreed, following his lover to the car. They slid into opposite sides of the car then Hutch turned the key and pushed the starter button. Releasing the clutch after a few moments to let the engine warm up, he was startled to find a very warm hand on his thigh. His foot released the clutch suddenly and the Ford lurched away from the curb and died.
"Damn," Hutch muttered, restarting Myrtle under the trying circumstances of the roving hands of his lover. Finally he had the coupe moving down the quiet streets that were lined with orange groves and an occasional home. The orange groves gave way to heavy brush as the Ford wound up the road away from the valley. Hutch stopped the car for them to watch the brightly burning disk of the sun slip down below the horizon. Starsky slid over to rest his head on the blond's shoulder. No words were necessary as Hutch gently turned the dark head toward him. Their lips touched then the kiss deepened.
Pulling back, Starsky murmured, "Home, James, and don't spare the horses."
* * *
Starsky stood on the concrete platform and watched until the El Capitan was completely out of sight. With a sigh, he turned and went out to the street with the rest of the dispersing farewell-makers. He looked at the little coupe and shook his head over the dust and dents that never seemed to bother Hutch. But Myrtle was in his care for the next three months. Perhaps he could spiff her up a bit. He settled on the lone bench seat, shoved the clutch to the floor, and ground on the starter until the engine caught. Reaching for the knobbed column, he shifted gears and backed the beast out of the parking space, heading for his own place near the campus. He had put his worries about the experiments on hiatus until the glorious week with Hutch was over. Now it was time to get back on track and see what should be done.
He sat in the parking space outside his small bungalow, thinking of the final experiments of a week and half ago. The effect of the drug on the rats and mice in residence at the lab had been devastating. The stuff was effective as a vapor, or in direct contact with skin. He wasn't sure if it ever lost its effectiveness. But he had burnt all the rats, mice and containers that had been in contact with the stuff. He was lucky that he was normally such a careful scientist, belying his normal recklessness in private life. The one time he had breathed a minute amount he had been terribly ill, suffering dizziness then vomiting. All this from the residue left after the laboratory rats had died in convulsions. And he had been wearing rubber protective gear. Now he had come to the decision. Why wait any longer?
Starting the engine of Hutch's coupe, he backed away from the curb and made the short run to the campus. Using his campus parking space (that was usually empty), he strolled toward the lab and his office.
Entering the building that was normally empty on weekends, he was slightly amazed to find that Anna was at her desk typing away on his notes. He frowned at this, but said nothing. Her dedication was phenomenal. He greeted her congenially.
"What are you doing working on Sunday, Anna?"
"Just catching up your notes for you."
"Not necessary," Starsky said, turning toward his door. "But bring what you have in to me. I need to do a bit of catching up myself. Then go home, for God's sake. Enjoy your Sunday. You spend too many hours here as it is."
"Yes, sir. Right away, sir," Anna clowned, gathering up the scattered sheets of paper.
After handing over all the scribbled papers, Anna went to gather her jacket and purse. "Are you sure you don't want me to stick around and help a bit?"
"Nah, go enjoy your afternoon."
Starsky studied the pages that Anna had typed. She hadn't reached the part about the extended life of the toxin, but she had seen the parts about all the rats and mice that had died so quickly and painfully. Luckily, she also hadn't reached the nitty gritty of the formula. However, if his notes disappeared, it didn't matter much what she thought she knew. In the quiet moments of the past week, he decided to hang the consequences. The implications of the toxin in the wrong hands was just too scary for words. He gathered up all his files, stuffed them into his briefcase and went to the basement.
There, he opened the door of the furnace and tossed the contents of the briefcase into the flames. Standing motionless, he watched the flames lick at the mass of paper and finally engulf it. He slammed the heavy door and bolted it.
With a much lighter heart he ascended the stairs, and whistling softly, headed for the front door of the building. The damned stuff was gone in all its glory. He wasn't sure he could ever redo the research, and he wasn't ever going to try. He would tell Stannick to go fly a kite. In fact, he would probably enjoy it. The more he thought about it, the more he was SURE he would enjoy telling that egghead to stuff it.
He left the campus not planning to return until class on Tuesday morning. It would be a relief not to have to haunt the lab. Simply being with Hutch had cleared his head on the issue. He didn't feel he could talk to Hutch about it even obliquely, but he could think clearly in his company. He was sure Hutch would back him on this decision, but he felt the ultimate responsibility was his alone.
* * *
Unbeknownst to Starsky, Anna had not left the building but had watched him leave his office and go to the basement with his briefcase. She had then observed him coming back. After he left she used her key and searched the office. He had been quite efficient. There was not one scrap of paper relating to the toxin that he had been working on. She found nothing to enlighten her when she made a quick search of the basement.
Quickly leaving the office, she hurried down the street to a filling station. At the station's pay phone, she dropped a nickel in the machine and called a number she had memorized long ago.
"I think he burned some of his notes this afternoon," she said with no preliminaries. "At least he went to the basement with his briefcase. The furnace is located there."
After listening to the male voice on the line, she replied, "No, I don't think that will do any good." Anna listened again, then answered, "You don't understand! I think he only likes boys. I don't think I have the equipment! I tried that before, and he just walked off."
Another pause while she listened again. "Yes, that's his place."
Again she listened and nodded, "Yes, yes, I quite understand." Anna imagined her contacts would find what they needed at the professor's place. She couldn't conceive of anyone getting completely rid of something as valuable as his experiments could be.
* * *
Watching his Chem 101 class gathering their books and muttering about the upcoming test, the young professor sorted his notes and started gathering up his materials. Finals were next week, so he had to go back to his office and see if Anna had typed up the test.
Heaving the bulky chemistry books into his arms, Starsky moved toward the door of his classroom and noticed that Dr. Stannick, head of the Chemistry Department, was watching him with a steely glint in his brown eyes. "I want to talk to you about the Q-11 toxin that you have been working on," the gray-haired individual commanded.
"How about now? I have another class in the physics building at three."
Settling himself a little while later on the arm of a student desk, Stannick began, "I understand that you have dropped the line of research you were so enthusiastic about last fall. I thought it seemed rather promising as well."
"Yeah," Starsky replied, running a hand through his dark hair. "Oh, it killed the fleas and lice. But it also killed the hosts. I decided it was just too dangerous to keep around. Some of it made me feel a bit funny for a while, even in full protective gear."
"You decided! You young punk; that is something for the head of research to decide; namely me."
"Well, I trashed all my notes," countered the young man.
"I would assume that even a careless scientist like you would have kept a sample. I want it."
"No. No sample. No notes. No nothin'." Starsky was highly insulted. He was never a careless researcher. He kept meticulous records and was very careful of safety. His care in research was probably why he was alive.
"Shit! Your work in that lab doesn't belong to you. It belongs to the people funding the research, namely the United States Government."
"Well, I don't have anything to show you." Starsky shifted the books in his arms and made for the door.
"Damn you, I'm talking to you," the professor hissed as he stood up. "You don't have tenure, and I damn well will see to it that you don't get it if you don't produce those notes or the Q-11 toxin."
"I guess you'll have to do what you have to do since I don't have either the notes or Q-11," Starsky snarled, going out through the door to the hall. He had not anticipated this. But suddenly he knew he was doing the right thing.
Following the young man, Stannick said, "I think you might as well clean out your office. A teaching assistant can give the tests next week."
"Right," Starsky snapped, hurrying down the hall, suddenly anxious to be free of this place.
* * *
Muttering under his breath, Starsky began filling boxes with his possessions as Anna came through the door.
"Professor Starsky, what is going on?" she whispered as she watched him carelessly tossing reference materials and teaching notes into the cardboard boxes. Looking at the half-full containers, Anna surmised, "You're leaving."
"At the request of the Head of the Department."
"Heavens! I had no idea," Anna paused. "Let me make it up to you somehow."
"Not your problem."
"Let me cook your dinner tonight, at least," she insisted.
Feeling a bit lonely and at loose ends, Starsky agreed.
Starsky finished his packing wondering where he was going to get a job. Teaching jobs at the university level were not that easy to come by. He had gotten this one with his uncle's help. Now that his uncle was gone, he was on his own. Well, he could go back to working on cars. Working as a mechanic on the side had gotten him through college. He loaded Hutch's car while ruminating over his somewhat chancy future. He did have a small nest egg which would get him by for a few months. By the time it ran out he should have landed some sort of job. No matter if he ended up standing in a bread line, he felt sure he had done the right thing.
As he was leaving the campus parking lot, he decided he would get rid of the bungalow and move into the cabin in the hills. He was glad that he was on a month-to-month lease. That was one place he could cut a few corners. Imagining Hutch's expression when he came off TDY occupied the drive to the house.
He called his landlord and made arrangements to move out the next week. The landlord was not unhappy. Property around a university was always rentable.
Humming, Starsky pulled into the driveway of Anna's apartment building. He hadn't been here since the disastrous night that she had decided to seduce him. He snickered again at her reaction to his getting up abruptly and pleading sudden indigestion--not all that impossible considering her cooking skills. Maybe she had improved, but probably not. Oh well, he had come for the company, not gourmet cooking.
Sauntering up to the second floor of the apartment complex which was surrounded by palm trees, Starsky rang the bell. He leaned back on the balcony and looked at the pool. It was a nice touch, though he wondered briefly how a lab assistant and secretary could afford a place like this. Perhaps she had independent means.
Anna Gerhardt answered the door in loose white dress simply belted in turquoise with matching high heeled sling pumps that accented her shapely legs.
"Whee," he whistled, leaning against the door jam and motioning her to turn around.
"Good evening, Doctor," Anna replied. She stopped posturing and gestured him into the apartment. "Can I fix you a drink?"
"Yeah, sure. Actually I'd prefer a beer if you have one."
"One beer coming up."
Starsky prowled the apartment, half afraid to sit on the pristine white couch and chair. Everything was determinedly modern. What he could see of the kitchen through the swinging doors gleamed spotlessly.
Anna returned from the ice box with a frosty bottle of beer which Starsky gulped gratefully. He was now regretting his decision to come. He would have been better off moving up to the hills and getting a good night's rest. He watched Anna drinking her martini as she deliberately settled her dress and legs. Starsky supposed that hope springs eternal. He sat gingerly on the edge of the heavily stuffed winged chair. Anna licked the edge of the glass and looked at him over the rim. He was wondering exactly how to get out of the situation this time. She shifted slightly, showing even more shapely leg.
"Actually, Professor. I had an ulterior motive for asking you here."
"Yes. I know you didn't want to turn your research over to the university. But I have a friend who knows someone who might just be interested in paying you what that formula is worth. I know the school wasn't paying you anything near the value of something like that." Anna ran her hands through her long hair and then tossed it back off her forehead. She never noticed the look of consternation that passed over Starsky's face. "Anyway, I can't blame you for saying you threw it away. Those idiots at school just don't appreciate brilliance when they see it."
"I...er...I don't know what to say," Starsky muttered. "But I'll tell you what I told Stannick. I trashed all the notes and the stuff itself. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't sell what I don't have."
Starsky was stunned that she thought he simply wanted more money. Money for the formula hadn't entered his naive head. Yeah, he guessed there was probably some foreign government or foreign chemical company that might just pay for his research. All that was immaterial, however; Q-11 was burned in the furnace of the Chemistry building. That settled it as far as he was concerned.
Anna leaned forward on the couch toward him and said, "Oh, I'm sure you could redo the work easily--couldn't you?"
"I don't know. What I DO know is that I really don't want to."
Anna rose and went to the record player in the corner beside the balcony. "What about some Harry James?" she tactfully changed the subject. Starsky was grateful as he got up to look over her shoulder at the disks she held.
Starsky excused himself early after dinner, saying he had quite a bit of packing to do since he could no longer afford his cottage. He suspected Anna's contacts weren't the guys in the white hats. He would wait until Hutch was back in a couple of months and perhaps his associates in G2 would be able to help him out. But then he would have to admit that his formula was worth something.
He pondered all the ramifications of the conversation with Anna. She had been passing on information to someone about his research, but he had no idea who it might be. He shook his head over the thought that she was sure he had burned his notes because of the money. That floored him almost as much as her idea at selling it.
Arriving back at the bungalow, he turned on the lights to discover his home had been turned inside out. Literally everything was askew. The stuff he had packed was strewn all over the floor, and things he hadn't gotten to were scattered everywhere. He shoved some papers off the one easy chair, sat down, and put his head on his hands. Coming home to find this was a shock. He had heard about people who had been burgled, but had never experienced it himself. Feeling somewhat light-headed, he searched the rubble of the room for the phone. He put in a call for police headquarters and reported the crime.
Moving to the kitchen, he put the coffee pot on the stove, measuring out the grounds and water mechanically. Going over the living room and bedroom, he couldn't find anything missing. Not that he owned anything of much value. Assistant professors barely made enough money in this day and age to pay rent and buy groceries. His only major purchase had been the radio which picked up short wave and police calls as well as the local bands. It was sitting on its side with some of the wiring and the speaker pulled out. Somehow the poor radio now looked almost obscene.
He looked up as the flashing lights of the police cars drew his attention through the sheer curtains.
Inhaling deeply on her cigarette, Anna continued her stroll through the dimly lit park. Before leaving her apartment she had changed from the flowing white dress and pumps to gabardine slacks and a light sweater. Comfortable oxfords completed her costume. The slight breeze whispering through the overhead palm fronds caused her to draw the sweater tighter around her.
Taking another drag on the Camel, she looked up at the swaying palm trees which vaguely repulsed her. She could never get used to the climate of this sick American town. There was no true winter to settle one's soul, only the continuing sunny days and occasional rain showers which didn't make up for the lack of snow. And in summer there was the stifling heat. However, tonight was pleasant enough, she conceded.
"Fraulein," a voice whispered from behind her.
Turning slowly and without surprise, Anna watched the shadowy, plump figure detach itself from some flowering shrub that she had never bothered to learn the name of. She tossed her glowing cigarette to the ground and rubbed it out.
"I kept him as long as I could. I did as you suggested. I tried to interest him in selling the formula. I couldn't push too much or he would have been suspicious." Anna was nervous meeting her superior. She hoped he wouldn't send too critical a report back to the Fatherland.
"You did well. However, there wasn't a scrap of paper at his house that seemed to have anything to do with these experiments. Are you sure he took everything out his office?" Inaudibly, she sighed her relief at his off-hand praise.
"I'm certain. I searched that place before he was fired and after." With a dawning look of comprehension, she continued, "He must have burned everything. Mein Gott! He really did dispose of the formula and notes! What are we going to do?"
"Not to worry, Fraulein. We have another plan which we will now put into operation." The baldheaded man lit a cigarette. His round spectacles briefly reflected the flickering glow of the match.
"He is going to move. He didn't tell me where." She paced the sidewalk in agitation.
"We will watch him, Fraulein. You go about your work as usual. Dr. Stannick's staff may come up with something else that will interest the Third Reich. Just keep doing your job. Dr. Starsky is now my responsibility.
Anna nodded and continued her stroll through the deserted park. The Nazi agent melted into the bushes. Anna wasn't sure if she would recognize him on an L.A. street. However, that was not her job. She would continue snooping at the lab. Perhaps her contact was correct and there was another formula for the Third Reich. She stopped under a dim street light and lit another cigarette. With a lighter heart, she headed for her parked car. Her superiors would handle that queer little Jew. She smiled to herself considering what might become of him. Without any regrets, she dismissed him from her mind and walked briskly to her car.
* * *
A little less than two weeks after the fiasco of Anna's dinner party, Starsky hummed as he puttered around the small log cabin. He had managed to salvage his radio from the chaos of his burgled bungalow. Wasting no time, he had packed his few belongings and moved the next day. In 24 hours he was completely moved into the cabin that Starsky had always thought of as his and Hutch's refuge from the real world where love affairs like theirs had no place.
Hutch was in a worse position than Starsky; if the Army ever caught up with him, his career was over. Starsky, on the other hand, as a college teacher, might have some colleagues that were a bit more tolerant, though he'd never counted on it. The world of the university ivory towers was a stilted and unreal place. Starsky had always kept his personal life private on campus. This place, nestled in the heavy brush and trees of the California hills, was somewhere he could be natural with his lover.
Squatting down to light a fire in the fireplace, he contemplated the next few weeks of leisure. He would have to start hunting for a job, but for now he was glad to have a while to think things out. He was getting to the stack of books he had been putting by for years. Now he would have time to read "Gone with the Wind." Living so close to the movie capital of the world, he had heard all about the hunt for the stars of the soon-to-be-released movie. Perhaps he could get to a few of Fitzgerald's books that he had been saving as well as Hemingway's.
Watching the hungry flames devour the kindling, he smiled. It would be a lovely vacation even though he was so far from the beach. Back in his cruising, beach combing days, he had enjoyed putting on a cut-off pair of dungarees with tattered canvas deck shoes and wandering the beach. Occasionally he had even met a beautiful young man to share the beach cottage for a night or two; but he had never had anything permanent until that night at the Beverly Wiltshire. It was there he had met Hutch, sitting on a lonely barstool listening to the soft music of Glenn Miller coming from the ballroom. It had been a New Year's Eve to remember.
* * *
Kenneth Hutchinson had been sitting on a padded barstool sipping a drink when Starsky had entered the chic lounge. Starsky had been a bit depressed over his Uncle Benjamin's death. Benjamin Schwartz had raised him after his father had been killed on the streets of New York. His mother in her grief had turned her attention to his sister, Elise, and inward to herself. The teenage youth had been allowed to run wild on the Brooklyn streets, and only after he had been arrested for shoplifting had his mother taken notice of him. To separate him from his wild companions, she had sent him to Los Angeles and his Uncle Benjamin.
Smiling fondly, Starsky recalled the tall, imposing figure that had met the fifteen year old's bus. Benjamin had steered the boy's wounded mind to academics and sports. He had graduated from High School with honors. Under his uncle's influence, he'd been accepted at Stanford and graduated in record time with a degree in Chemistry.
The beautiful blond at the bar drew his attention again when he called for a refill. Casually the two men began chatting of inconsequential topics. They continued to drink, with Starsky quickly becoming quite drunk. During the course of the conversation, he decided that his plans for an affair with the blond would have to be canceled once he learned of Hutch's recent divorce. However, he was simply enjoying the company of the young Army officer. Therefore, it was a surprise when the blond offered his hotel room for the young scientist to sleep of his excesses, and even greater surprise when the officer made a pass at him on the couch in the suite of the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel.
* * *
The fire crackled and sputtered, catching the larger logs on fire, startling Starsky from his very pleasant reminiscences. Rising, he put the screen up and moved toward the radio, ready to sit down and listen to "Amos and Andy," one of his favorite comedies. He liked Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, but occasionally he turned on that guy, Orson Wells. He had such a sexy, deep voice.
Just before clicking on the radio to warm it up, he thought he heard a car coming up the drive. He turned and looked for lights out the living room window and wondered who could be coming as headlights bobbed up and down the gravel road. Leaving the radio off, he moved toward the front door, frowning. Not too many people knew where he was now living. Probably someone was lost in the labyrinth of dirt roads scattered through the trees and brush.
He opened his door and watched three men get out of a 4-door Packard of some indeterminate dark color. The men shrugged their jackets straight and headed for his door.
As the three men moved into the light from the porch, he noticed that two taller figures could be advertisements for Hitler's Aryan perfection. One was blond and at least a head taller than Starsky. He looked a little uncomfortable in the dapper pinstriped suit he was wearing, as if he might be more suited to khaki.
The other large man drew David's attention as he cracked his knuckles coming up the steps. He was nearly as tall as the other. His short-cropped, wavy red hair was receding a bit from a high forehead set off by bushy eyebrows.
The third member of the trio was very unimposing in comparison to the hulks accompanying him. He was a small, soft, round figure in an ill-fitting gray suit. His nearly bald head gleamed in the porch light which also reflected off the round spectacles he wore perched precariously on his narrow nose.
When all three men were on the stoop, the shorter of the group cleared his throat. "Dr. Starsky?"
"Yes, that's me."
"We have some business with you. May we come in?"
"Yeah, I guess so," Starsky said, moving back into the house. The three men followed him."What can I do for you?"
"Perhaps we can do something for you. You see, we are friends of Anna Gerhardt. She said she had spoken to you regarding our purchasing something of yours. I am Ulrich Behrman and my associates are Hermann Steinfort and Karl Mueller." Behrman reached into his breast pocket and drew out some official-looking documents. "These are my credentials. We represent the government of Deutschland."
"Well, I have nothing to sell."
"One moment, Doctor. I understand you are unemployed. The German government knows the value of bright young minds such as yours. Our government is quite willing to pay any reasonable fee for your formula. Perhaps even an unreasonable one."
"The answer in plain English is no!"
"You are quite sure, Doctor?"
"Damned sure. I think you'd better just leave."
"We will, Doctor. But first I want you to look at some pictures." The man reached for his breast pocket.
"I don't believe we have anything to discuss. Now, get outta my house before I throw you out."
"Now, now, Doctor. Calm yourself. Look at these," the short balding man said, thrusting a sheaf of papers in Starsky's face.
Grabbing the papers, Starsky started for the fireplace with them.
"Kurt," the fat man snapped.
The redheaded man in the pinstriped suit grabbed the chemist's arm and said, "You'd better do as Herr Behrman says. Look at the pretty pictures." The man leered and his pale gray eyes glittered in the artificial light.
Starsky opened the folded paper. The first one was of Elise, his sister. It was a stock publicity shot, he guessed. The next was his mother taken from the streets of New York while she was gossiping with old Mrs. Rosenberg on the front steps of their apartment building. "What the hell is this supposed to mean?" he demanded.
"Continue looking, Doctor," Kurt growled, breathing tobacco-laden air on the smaller man. Starsky shuddered. Hutch smoked occasionally, but in contrast to the German, the tobacco on Hutch's breath had a pleasant, sweet smell.
Unfolding the next sheet, he saw that it was a United Press wire service release with a wire photo. He grew more agitated as he read the short news story. It stated that Lisa Star, young singer with a jazz combo performing in a Paris nightclub, had been brutally beaten and assaulted. Lisa Star was the stage name that Elise had chosen when she started in show business.
"What the fuck is going on?" he snarled.
"Sit down, Doctor. You have something that the Third Reich could find very useful. You have refused to sell it to us, and we have taken steps to show you that we want what you have very badly. You will give it to us. Or your poor mother in New York may suffer a similar fate to your dear sister. Perhaps a Jew bitch with two large Negroes would be of some amusement to you. This time I am sure we can show you some much better photos than what United Press sent to the LA Times of your lovely sister." The fat balding man laughed nastily, and the two muscular men snickered.
The blond, Herman, wandered the small living room touching and handling photos and mementos, making Starsky feel somehow dirtied. Then the red-headed Kurt crossed his arms and watched the scientist from under bushy brows.
"I don't have the god-damned formula! I burned everything weeks ago. Didn't Anna tell you that?"
"Well, in that case, Herr Doctor, you will simply have to redo your work. This time under the supervision of the Third Reich."
"You guys are crazy!" Starsky shouted, heading for the phone.
"I wouldn't be so hasty, Doctor. What will you tell the police? That we are Nazi spies? Even if that were so, we have diplomatic immunity. And," the fat man smiled, "think of your mother and those two big Negroes. Do you think she will enjoy that? Then there is your sister: Paris is so close to Germany. She could be foolish enough to travel to the Fatherland. You know how women are foolish sometimes."
Rubbing his bald head, he smiled gently at the confused young man. "Now, I am sure that you will make the decision to come to the Fatherland and do that little bit of research."
"Shit! And I'm supposed to believe that you will leave my Mom and Sis alone if I do that?"
"What you can be sure of is that if you don't, what I say will happen. You cannot protect them. Even now those Negroes are following your mother as she shops and visits with that nice Mrs. Rosenberg from across the hall."
"Damn," Starsky whispered, seeing defeat looming before him.
"You will pack a few things. Almost everything you will need will be provided by the Third Reich. You will catch the train early tomorrow. The Wednesday after you reach New York, you will board the SS Hamburg for Bremen." The bald man reached into his pocket and displayed a thick folder. "Here are the tickets for your travel."
Stunned, Starsky listened without hearing as the greasy little man explained how he would travel halfway around the world.
"Hermann, you will stay here with the good Doctor and see to it that he gets some changes of clothes packed. Kurt and I will be back in time to take all of you to the station. Please make sure that our friend does nothing foolish. You might impress upon him that you are in charge of him from now on." The Nazi agent paused then continued, "Make it look like he left on his own--no messes--nothing to arouse suspicion." Herman nodded as the other two agents left through the front door.
Starsky numbly watched as the Nazi agents left what had been his refuge from the real world. The real world had come crashing through the door. He looked up at Hermann. The hulking figure was watching him through narrowed, speculative, watery-blue eyes. Then Starsky looked into the flickering, cheerful flames.
As Starsky stared into nothingness, Hermann went into the bedroom to search out the battered suitcase. After nearly filling it with some hastily found bits of clothing, he moved into the adjoining bathroom. Vaguely Starsky heard the clattering as shaving gear and tooth cleaning implements were tossed into the open bag on the bed. The man even searched through the drawers of the night stand.
Jolted out of his reverie by the clatter of the bedside lamp falling, Starsky stood and fumbled in his slacks for the keys to Myrtle. He pulled the keys out of his pocket and started toward the front door.
Hermann came out of the bedroom, "I wouldn't do anything foolish, Herr Doktor," he said softly.
Starsky kept going. He'd go to the FBI or somebody. Someone had to believe him and protect his mother and sister. Just as he got to the door, a meaty hand grabbed him by the shoulder and yanked him back into the living room. "I said not to be foolish," the Nazi agent snarled.
Starsky spun and threw a punch at the grinning face of the German. The combat trained-soldier easily blocked the blow.
"So this is how it is to be. That's fine with me, Jew Boy."
Hermann lunged toward him as he bolted toward the door. The struggle was lopsided and brutal. Steinfort pulled no punches and his final kick to the groin slammed Starsky to the floor where he cracked his head on the stone hearth beside the dying embers of the fireplace.
Dazed from Hermann's punches and his intimate contact with the hearth, Starsky barely noticed the Nazi picking him up in a fireman's carry and transporting him to the next room where he tossed him on the bed. The case beside him was hastily swept to the floor with a careless swipe of a beefy paw.
Panting slightly from the effort of subduing the young professor, Hermann yanked off the professor's shoes and socks. Then he quickly ripped the light sport shirt off, stopping to look at the glazed blue eyes. His glance traveled down the revealed torso. There was no undershirt to protect the figure from his gaze. Roughly he undid the slacks and slipped them from the slim hips. He fingered the briefs momentarily then pulled them down and ran his hands over the flaccid genitals
The scientist moaned and began to flail his arms. Herman got up and searched the closet for neckties. Finding some outrageous ones in flashy colors, the Nazi smiled, flipped his victim to his stomach, and used them to tie the now moaning man to the bed.
Leaning over the prone figure, he showed Starsky a close-up of his nicotine-stained teeth. Grabbing the dark, curly mass of hair, he pulled the young man's head back as far as straining ligaments and tendons would allow.
"Listen, Jew Boy, I'm going to prove to you who is the `boss' as you Americans say. Understand this Herr Behrman may look an ineffectual, smiling idiot, but he isn't. You will do as he wishes sooner or later. It would be better for you if it is sooner." The German dropped Starsky's head back to the rumpled sheets.
Starsky closed his eyes and tried to believe that this was some B grade Hollywood melodrama. Try as he might he couldn't smell the popcorn or hear the rustling of the kids at a Saturday afternoon matinee at the Bijou.
His first intimation of what Hermann was about was a fiery pain over his buttocks. He yanked back on the iron bedstead which creaked with the strain, feeling another fiery pain on his ass as he turned his head. Hermann had taken Starsky's belt and was using it in the time-honored fashion of fathers the world over. As the heavy strokes continued, Starsky found his eyes beginning to tear. He bit his lip until it bled into his mouth to stop the screams. But eventually nothing stopped his sobs and cries. The beating laced his back and thighs in flame as well.
The next Starsky knew, cool hands were rubbing his inflamed rear. Then the hands were gone and he heard the popping of trouser buttons. The bed creaked as a new weight was applied. He knew what was coming and was helpless to stop it. He sobbed in anticipated pain--a pain perhaps worse than any other. There was heavy weight on his back; he tensed his muscles against the coming invasion.
"I'm not to damage you so bad you can't travel or work when you get to the Fatherland," a deep voice whispered over his shoulder. Then the weight was gone as work-roughened fingers lubed his opening. Then those same hands grasped his hips and pulled him to his knees which nearly refused to support his body.
"Nice tight ass, Jew Boy," the Nazi murmured as he centered himself and thrust with his hips, impaling himself between the welted cheeks in hard, fast motion.
Starsky whimpered as he was pierced and reamed by the thick penis. He struggled against the silk ties, but the knots only tightened and abraded his wrists. The grunting man would thrust then rest, and nibble the nape of the chemist's neck in a grim parody of Hutch's caresses. Finally the agent raised back on his own haunches yanking the other's hips back with him. Head thrown back, he pumped three times and then froze in orgasm.
Flexing his back as he got off the bed, the Nazi agent went into the bathroom and cleaned himself thoroughly. Straightening his clothes, he left the young man tied to the rumpled bed as he went to the kitchen, rummaged around and made some coffee.
With feet propped up on the cheap chair, he sipped his steaming black brew. He watch dispassionately as a car pulled into the drive and two men got out. Behrman and Karl opened the front door and came directly into the kitchen. Karl went immediately to the stove and poured two cups of coffee. He offered one to his superior.
"Where's our scientist?" the rotund man asked, taking the coffee handed him by his underling.
"In the bedroom contemplating his multitude of sins," Hermann smugly returned.
"Enjoy yourself, did you?"
"Ya, nice ass!"
"Get him ready to travel, Karl. The train leaves at 6:00 a.m.," Behrman ordered, turning to the burly man sipping coffee at the counter. Behrman did not envy the young man his trip to Germany. But all Jews were whores, weren't they? He settled his heavy bulk on another of the rickety kitchen chairs.
Turning back to Hermann, he said, "Give him two of these. They'll keep him quiet and happy in public. Then what you do in private is your business, as long as he reaches Bremen in one piece and able to give us that formula. Be very careful of your activities until you get on the ship. Americans will react badly to the kidnaping of one of their own. Even a Jew."
With a sketchy salute, the hulking blond left the room to help his cohort.
Nasty to have to use these Neanderthal types, thought Behrman, getting up for another cup of the coffee still warming on the stove. But the Jewish mongrels had to be disciplined. So it was in the best interest of the Third Reich to leave it in the hands of those who enjoyed their work. And the SS sergeant certainly enjoyed his work.
He sat down on the hard chair, lit his pipe and contemplated how a good security officer got into the business of kidnaping. It had all started with the Fueher's fascination with chemical warfare, which was fast becoming an obsession. He was ordering further developments from I. G. Farben and other chemical companies. And every time a report came across anyone's desk regarding chemical research, it was flagged to be forwarded to Berlin. Anna's early reports had been so forwarded. As the research had become critical, Behrman and his team had been transferred to the United States. It had been quietly speculated in some agencies that this obsession of the Fuhrer's was a reaction to being gassed in the Great War.
Behrman rose and tapped his dying pipe on the edge of the kitchen table, then put it away in his breast pocket. The glowing embers of tobacco flickered briefly on the scarred linoleum floor unnoticed by the Nazi agent as he left the room. Glancing through the door of the bedroom, he saw that the young Jew was dressed, but looked somewhat glassy-eyed. Behrman assumed that the drug had been given. Karl and Hermann were tidying up the room, covering up any signs that the cabin had been left without planning.
Walking into the now neat room, he spoke to his two henchmen, "Here are the tickets for the train trip to New York. You will have one change in Chicago. Also, here are the tickets for the Hamburg. Keep him drugged until you are on board ship."
"We have his passport. It was in a drawer," Karl interjected.
"Excellent." Behrman commented. "It will not be necessary to use the one made up by our Embassy personnel. Here is the Visa and notice of employment by Farben Chemical in case there are any nosy American immigration people." Behrman paused and looked at the object of his quest. The young Jewish scientist seemed to be understanding little of the conversation which was just as well. He turned back to the two other men. "Your train leaves in a few hours. Make sure you do not draw attention to yourself or your charge. I must get back to the Embassy. There is a reception there tonight I must attend. Use his car and leave it on the street near the depot."
"Heil Hitler," the Gestapo agents responded, raising their arms in salute.
"Heil Hitler," Behrman answered, leaving the bedroom and the cottage behind. His car could be heard grumbling down the narrow driveway.
* * *
The gentle rocking of the Pullman car set off another round of nausea in Starsky. He began gagging and coughing.
"Gott damn! I told you to take it easy on that drug," Kurt snarled as he began manhandling the semi-conscious scientist to the bathroom. Leaving the young man draped over the john, he rang for the porter.
Shortly, there came a discreet knock from the narrow passageway. Hermann opened the door a crack.
"Y'all rang, sur?" the heavily accented voice said.
"Ya," the blond agent answered. "Our friend has been sick. We need the room cleaned and some fresh towels." Hermann motioned Kurt to the bathroom.
The redhead slid into the tight confines and latched the door, watching dispassionately as his charge continued to vomit. He could hear Kurt telling the porter about their friend who had celebrated their trip a bit too much and was now paying for it.
"Yessa," the black porter said. The vague sounds of his cleaning could be heard over the rush and clack of the train as it picked up speed after its last stop somewhere in the western Arizona desert.
Grabbing a towel and soaking it in the miniature sink, Kurt roughly cleaned up the shaky individual at his feet. He flushed the john and put the seat down, then picked up the limp figure to seat him on the toilet, with back propped against the wall. He used one hand to hold Starsky and unbuttoned his filthy clothes with the other. Efficiently he stripped the man of his shirt and slacks. He was quick and neat considering the cramped quarters in which he had to work.
Starsky moaned and Kurt grabbed his throat and squeezed. "Be quiet, Jew Boy!" Starsky quieted at the overt threat.
Through the rocking wall, Starsky heard the black accented voice of the porter thank Hermann for his tip and leave with a snap as the door closed. He was again alone with his tormentors.
Kurt grabbed him by his hair...one of Kurt's favorite moves...and forced him out into the main room of the compartment. Off balance in the swaying car, Starsky gratefully slid into the seat beside Hermann. He shuddered at the memory of those rough hands as Hermann steadied his body. He pulled away from the hulking blond, who slid a hand down to his thigh. The thin cloth of his shorts didn't absorb much of the heat from the large hand.
Kurt latched the door to the passageway and pulled down his case from the overhead storage compartment. He took out a set of handcuffs and something else that Starsky couldn't see. He threw the cuffs to Kurt, who in turn, shoved Starsky around and cuffed his hands behind him. Starsky struggled, but weakly, the drug having sapped his system of any strength. A heavy piece of cloth was forced between his lips and tied behind his head before Hermann shoved him to the floor on his stomach. He started to gag, then controlled the urge. If he got sick now, he would surely choke which wouldn't be pleasant.
Sharing a bottle of whisky, his two keepers amused themselves with a deck of cards and some sort of gambling game. The rhythmic swaying of the car soon had Starsky dozing even in the uncomfortable position of belly-down on the rough carpeting of the railway car. It wasn't until rough hands were shoving him over the small table that he awoke fully. His shorts had been stripped off and the two men were laughing drunkenly and rubbing his still bruised ass. He tried kicking, but the couch prevented any effectiveness. He tried to blank his mind as the two Nazis took turns fucking him. Inwardly he cringed away from the assault. The pain asserted itself and he tried to cry out, but the gag restrained that outlet.
Finally the two were satisfied and shoved him back to the floor. He lay panting, breathing hard through his nose. He shivered at the chill on the floor and tried to curl in on himself, but again the couch and table prevented him from moving much. Though his mind screamed at his helplessness, he would survive this somehow and get back to Hutch. Aaah, damn, Hutch. When Starsky didn't contact him, Hutch wouldn't know what to think. He got through the rest of the weary day and into New Mexico by envisioning his blond bombshell.
* * *
The boarding ramp beneath his feet kept swinging in and out of focus. David Starsky staggered up the incline leaning heavily on the Nazi agent's arm. The reek of the cheap booze nauseated him. Mueller and Steinfort had liberally doused him in liquor in the men's room of Pennsylvania Station. Due to his drug-induced haze, he only vaguely remembered getting off the Pullman car from Chicago. The vaulted ceiling of the depot had dizzied him. Somewhere in his foggy mind he had heard the metallic voice on the loudspeaker list the trains arriving and departing for the World Fair. He had planned a summer visit east to see his mom and take her to the Fair.
"Well, I never..." A high pitched feminine voice pierced his consciousness. "You should be ashamed of yourself, young man. A gentleman would at least start the trip sober." A heavy-set matron shoved passed Starsky and his escort, knocking him roughly into the agent's arms.
Chuckling evilly, Hermann murmured in Starsky's ear, "My, my, Professor, you've shocked the lady. We'll just have to think of something on board the ship to keep you occupied so you don't continue to upset the lovely woman."
The overweight matron sniffed and grabbed her apologetic husband by the arm, then marched to the top of the gangplank. Smiling smugly, Hermann grasped Starsky's arm painfully to escort him the rest of the way up. The purser at the top of the boarding ramp looked at the credentials flashed by Karl. "Aah, Herr Steinfort and Herr Mueller, we have the cabin ready that our Embassy specified for you and your friend." Turning to a white-uniformed young man, he said, "Show Herr Steinfort and party to cabin 1642." The young steward raised his brows then snapped his heels together and led the three `drunks' below deck. The outraged woman sniffed again and demanded to be shown to her quarters, shrilly protesting that drunks had been waited on before her.
Ears ringing from the loud-voiced woman, Starsky tried to keep track of stairs and corridors, but the way became too confusing to keep track of.
Somewhere in the bowels of the SS Hamburg, the white-coated steward stopped at a leather padded door marked 1642 which he opened. He led the way into a compact sitting room. "I am Jurgen," the steward said in heavily accented English. "If there is anything you need, day or nacht..night, I am instructed to be the only one to service this suite." Jurgen held out an ornate key.
"Very good," Steinfort replied, taking the key from the surprisingly delicate hands of the steward. Holding onto the young professor, he steered him toward the adjoining sleeping room.