Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Thirty-Seven
9th November 1974
There were few certainties in life as Sir Malcolm had discovered. There were those which were expected such as death and taxes. There were others though and a big one was that Marie Alexandra Blackwood; she had apparently dropped the von Mischner part when she had enrolled at University, was still very much her mother’s daughter.
Marie commandeering the car that was being used by part of one of the surveillance teams that had been tracking her was unexpected. Malcolm was proud that his granddaughter had acted decisively at a moment which it was called for, yet at the same time he also had to stop himself from yelling at her for acting in such a reckless manner.
The Special Branch of the RCMP wasn’t exactly thrilled that Marie had blown up the CIA operation. They had been able to discern a great deal about the methods of the Americans by tracking them as they had followed Marie around Montreal. All of that had caused Marie to reveal that she paid careful attention to detail and certain patterns. So, she had spotted the men following her and had saved the information for when it might be useful. If Malcolm had to guess, that was entirely the influence of her father. God help anyone stupid enough to follow Katherine around like that. The Tigress would burn their world down and dance in the ashes.
Regrettably, Margot wasn’t taking Marie’s friendship with the Lane family well. She had frozen Patricia Lane out of her social circle after her daughter had unexpectedly become pregnant and her boyfriend had skipped town as too many young men tended to do. Now she learned that Marie had spent the last few weeks helping Henriette and the trip to the hospital was because Henriette’s daughter Alice had gotten sick with an upper respiratory infection that had resulted in an ear infection. The Pediatrician who Malcolm had referred to the family had told them that Alice was responding well to the medications, and they were keeping her under observation for the next few days. By then though, the cat was out of the bag. Margot saw it as her granddaughter undermining her moral authority because that was the lens through which she looked at the world. Malcolm had been married to Margot for decades and had seen how she had become what she was over the years. If he had to guess where the problem started, it was when those around her became afraid to tell her no as she demanded others live as she saw fit.
Then three decades earlier, this strange German woman entered the picture who was just as formidable as Margot and wasn’t in the least bit afraid of her disapproval. The way she lived her life was in almost the exact opposite manner as Margot had. Fortunately for everyone, Katherine had preferred to remain on the far side of the Atlantic most of the time. Now though, Malcolm watched as Marie had quickly figured out that she would never beat Margot at her own game. Instead, she had gone about living her life in a manner which threw all of Margot’s petty vindictiveness and hypocrisy into sharp relief entirely by accident. Malcolm had watched as everyone had congratulated them about how brave and selfless Marie was, while Margot was at a complete loss over how to deal with the matter.
Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
A small group of tourists gawked at Juan as he walked down the street leading his horse past them. To them he was like something from a movie, one going so far as to compare him to the famous Cowboys in the far north. The difference was that the American Frontier had been officially closed decades earlier. Here in Patagonia things had remained wild. However, looking around Rio Gallegos it was obvious that change was coming whether those like Juan liked it or not.
“Go to the arsehole of the Americas and make a new friend” Juan muttered to himself as he walked through the center of town, paraphrasing his grandfather, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life working for your father and older brother?”
The difficulty for Juan was that he knew his grandfather was right about that. He had been the younger brother himself until he had sought adventure and that had taken him around the world. He’d made his fortune and returned to Argentina as one of the most powerful and wealthy men in the country. Now it was Juan’s turn and his grandfather told him that he could start by protecting the family interests in Rio Gallegos.
Turning a corner, he saw the gates of the City Garrison. It also housed the Depot which was where he had been sent in the first place. The rub was that he couldn’t exactly state his purpose here, so as he tied his horse to the hitching post he looked at the sign that was his other point of entry. The one on the building that was offering locals employment to the Kaiser for a season.
The man behind the counter looked banefully at Juan as he walked in.
“Gaucho?” He asked, “Don’t most of you prefer to work out in the sheep stations during the summer.”
“I have my reasons” Juan replied.
“We don’t like legal entanglements” The man said, “So if you think that you can escape authorities this way you are mistaken.”
“Nothing like that” Juan said, but he knew that an exhaustive check on everything he said would take place.
“So, what exactly do you bring to the table?”
“I’ve my own horse, a Caesar Mike rifle, and a forty-five revolver” Juan replied, “I was also a Cabo in the Territorial Volunteers.”
The rifle was one of the 6.5mm CZ Carbines that were common throughout Patagonia, to which somewhere along the line the slang term “Caesar Mike” had stuck. The horse and revolver had been loaned to Juan by his grandfather, but with no set date for him to return them.
“You are proficient in those weapons?”
“Yes” Juan replied.
“And you seem to be a bit young to have been a Cabo” The man said.
“They weren’t picky when they needed every man to fight the Chileans” Juan said, knowing full well that the instant this man got a chance, he would be on the phone confirming what he had just said.
“Well, sign here and then we’ll will see about that” The man said handing Juan several sheets of paper. Juan saw that they authorized the German Army to conduct a background check and that he agreed to accept employment from the German Government for the next six months, or such time as they no longer needed his services. He signed his name; Juan Sebastián Ibarra on the dotted line.