Kato walked in front, his counterpart behind him, the two Gestapo officers bringing up the rear.
They weaved through the halls and up the stairs. At Kato’s door, he paused. It could end right here. If Ty was inside and his disguise was off, Kato’s counterpart could recognize that he had altered his appearance. Same for Nora if she was in the room.
“Halt,” Kato’s counterpart said. He motioned to one of the Gestapo officers. The man stepped forward, scanned what must have been a master key card at the door, and stepped inside, leaving the door ajar.
The room looked empty.
Quickly, the officers scanned the room and pushed open the doors to the bathroom and small closet. The Gestapo officer peered out at Kato’s counterpart and nodded.
The man stepped into the room as the Gestapo officer exited. Kato stepped inside and gripped the door to close it.
“The door stays open.”
Kato hesitated. “This information is sensitive.” He glanced at the two Gestapo officers. “For your eyes only.”
His counterpart exhaled heavily. “Very well.” Kato closed the door.
His counterpart stepped deeper into the room, putting distance between them, staring at Kato, studying his every move, his body bracing like a snake coiling, waiting to strike.
“There is no intel, is there?”
“There’s a team here in Peenemünde.” “Liar.”
Kato knew he would get one shot at this. He knew that if he lost the upper hand, he might lose the fight. He needed a weapon. But he didn’t
have one. He couldn’t reach for one. Not quickly enough.
His only advantage was the element of surprise. That would be hard to achieve. His adversary was backed up to the wall. And judging by his stance, he was ready to fight.
“Where is it?” the man asked. “On a data drive.”
Kato pointed at his wig—at the long blond hair. “It’s here.” His counterpart squinted. “What?”
Kato inclined his head, but not low enough that he couldn’t see his counterpart, who was squinting, leaning forward to see, slightly off balance. Kato reached a hand into the long strands of the wig and ran his fingers through it, as though searching for something. He gripped it and tugged
hard, ripping the wig off and throwing it in his counterpart’s face.
The action served its purpose. The man instinctively reached up to catch the wig, confusion clear on his face.
Kato took a long stride and lunged, slamming the man into the brick wall behind him, hoping to knock the wind out of him so that he couldn’t cry out.
But his counterpart was fast. He twisted slightly before hitting the wall. He rolled off of it, gripping Kato’s shoulders and pushing him away, into the bed nearby.
As his head hit the mattress, Kato felt his counterpart pounce on top of him, right arm raised. Kato was off balance and barely had time to turn his head to the side before the fist hit him, the blow as hard as a sledgehammer.
Kato dug an elbow into the mattress and rolled.
His counterpart kept pummeling him, driving both fists into his head and torso.
The man was strong—and fast. Stronger and faster than Kato. He knew that, in these brief moments of hand-to-hand combat, it was clear who had the physical advantage.
And his counterpart was on top. Kato was pinned down.
He was losing this fight. And ultimately, would lose this fight. Kato knew it.
He again tried to roll, to get free, and finally, he managed to get onto his stomach. He was about to push up, hoping to propel the man off of him,
when a sickening blow landed on the back of his head, at the base of his neck.
What felt like an electric shock went through Kato. His body seemed to go numb. He lost control of his limbs as he collapsed to the bed, unable to move.