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         Half an hour later, the three of them were navigating the pitch-dark streets of Nuremberg in the jeep, heading for the hotel where Reed's Soviet officer pal was staying.

         "I don't think we can bribe the soldiers," said Reed thickly. "They know she'd find out and they could get shot or worse. But Yugrina- We'll have to hope we can make a deal."

         They phoned up to Major Yugrina's room from the lobby while a very nervous-looking night clerk looked on. It took a few minutes for Reed to convince her to come downstairs to talk, and when she did, there was a hulking Soviet NKVD man with her.

         The four of them-Yugrina, Whitecloud, Reed, and the boy-sat around a table in the darkened hotel dining room, with a single candle for light. Yugrina's guard waited near the door.

         "So. What is so important it cannot wait for dawn?"

         "Captain Whitecloud?" said Reed.

         "We've learned the location of a large hoard of SS war loot," said Whitecloud. "Thousands of marks' worth of gold and jewelry. You know they were stashing stuff all over the country, trying to set up a partisan network."

         "Or to finance their escape from justice with help of sympathetic governments," she added. "But what does this have to do with me?"

         "The train," said Reed. "We'll trade you the gold for the train."

         She gave them a look of contempt. "Impossible. This treasure is just rumor. I cannot risk my own life for a rumor."

         "What about just a couple of people? Martin's parents, maybe. Couldn't you just let them go?"

         "And a friend of mine."

         "Operative of yours, you mean. No. Three is too many. Maybe one escape, not three."

         "One person?" said Whitecloud. "Now that's not right. You can't make the boy choose which parent will go. It's inhuman."

         "I'll play you for them," said Reed.

         Everyone else looked at him. "You used to like playing cards back in Yugoslavia, Svetlana. That was just penny-ante, though. Playing for cigarettes. How about some real stakes?"

         The Russian woman actually looked intrigued at that. Whitecloud looked at Reed, hoping this was a plan and not a drunk man's wild talk.

         "What do you have in mind?" she said.

         "Winner take all. We'll play with the gold, you play with people. Last man standing takes the pot."

         "Are you serious? You give up the train and the gold if you lose?"

         "If you're willing to do the same."

              "Reed, do you know what you're doing here?" whispered Whitecloud. The boy Martin was holding Whitecloud's right hand tightly.

         "Very well. Do you have cards?" she said.

         "Not now," said Whitecloud loudly, and kicked Reed under the table. "Reed's drunk and I'm tired. On the 19th. We'll get a table over at the Metropole and play all night if we have to."

         Major Yugrina slid back her chair and stood up. "Then I see you then."

         On the drive back, Reed was quiet until Whitecloud asked him, "So how good is she at playing poker?"

         "Oh, she's a shark. No question about it."

         "How about you?"

         "Me?" Reed looked thoughtful. "I'm going to need some help."


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