Dig For The Reich

Who: Alice, Henrik, Odette, Pierre
Where: West of Arras
What: Forced labor team sets to work under Nazi instruction
When: June, 1940

All able-bodied, available French men were swept up this morning and encouraged/carted off to the outskirts of Arras. The work crew is gathering along the side of the paved road around Hasenkamp, an SS Todt Organization engineer who is looking at the cracks in the road with general disdain. Other Todt engineers mill about, to keep the French under a watchful eye. Also present is a Luftwaffe commander, who's talking with Hasenkamp in low, rapid German. Truck loads of gravel are parked along the side of the road, and shovels and other tools of manual work are readily available, for all your forced laboring needs.

Alas, all able bodied non-french men were swept up, as well. Thus, the sunny presence of Henrik is standing with the others, arms crossed and the habitual frown on his face as the foreigner turns a slow look over the assembled tools and materials gathered by the germans.

Not every frenchman is availible. Being a homely farmer, Pierre is luckily exempt from forced labor, someone has to provide the food afterall. The farmer rides atop his wagon, pulled by two draught horses. The wagon creaks and groans as it trundles in from the west, where his farm is located. In the bed of his
wagon are several barrels marked to contain milk, there are other crates of foodstuffs as well, including many apples and other locally grown fruits from his orchard.

For some reason, Alice is here too. Likely to keep water about and generally be kept an eye on. She doesn't look too comfortable, peering out beneath blonde curls and a hat to keep herself from getting sunburned. She's trying to vanish into the ground, but seeing as it's not working, she is here, lugging water as needed. The woman is practically cowed though, looking rather subdued.

Odette walks down the road with a basket over her arm. She stops a little distance from the Germans and the tools and surveys the group of forced labourers with a rather severe frown on her face. She presses her lips into a little line of anger then spots Pierre's cart. She walks off towards it with a determined air and, when she reaches it, shields her eyes from the sun and calls up to him. "M'sieur! Do you need any help giving out the food?"

«…It can be done soon enough if these swine apply themselves, do not fret!» Hasenkamp natters in German to the Luftwaffe officer he's in such deep conversation with. «I assure you, I have had more than enough experience with this sort of work. I only hope I get a chance to see it put to use. With our superior numbers, I have no doubt you will have the English's air force defeated within weeks.» The Luftwaffe man merely mutters something stoic, and Hasenkamp turns his attention to the draftees. "Now then!" he shouts, in nasally, tentative French. "All men. Take shovel. This road must be widened if it is to be made fit for the Reich's aircraft." Yes, they're building a runway. "Get to work!" That last is barked in Henrik's direction. The Swede looks sturdy and up to runway crafting. His eyes sweep around the men as they get to work, a look of general dismay for the rustics coming to his face. And then he spots Pierre. He frowns. That just won't do. He marches his stout frame toward the farmer. "You! What is this? Why were you not called to the work crew!?" This offends his idea of good order.

Henrik rumbles wordlessly under his breath, as blue eyes take in the details of the nazis gathered in speech. As Hasenkamp calls in his unsteady french, the swede raises his own strongly accented french to call back, "You have surveying tools? Level, and such? For runway, will need to be very level, yes?" As he asks, the big fellow starts toward the wagon, to select and draw out a long handled shovel, one eye kept on the nazi awaiting answer.

Pierre looks down at Odette, smiling and shaking his head. "No, these are for Arras, must feed the people." he says with a chuckle, frowning as the barking German approaches. "I am a farmer, I am a skilled worker." he says simply, glancing as he hears the talk of aircraft and such. "I do not think it wise to use a road for a runway, monsieur, how will your trucks move west from Arras if the road is for airplanes?" he inquires, gesturing southwards, "Those fields are barren, aircraft can land on fields."

As long as the attention is /away/ from Alice. She looks a bit troubled by the idea of a runway built /here/ of all places. But she says nothing. Water? Anyone? Anyone /not/ German? She keeps hoping that perhaps a sinkhole will open up and whoosh, Alice away! But no such luck. She mostly listens, blue eyes wide and trying not to drop the water.

Odette blinks up at Pierre then looks away. She mutters something and blushes then steps away from the cart. The young woman stands by the side of the road and watches in silence.

"Skilled?" Hasenkamp scoffs. "Skilled at shirking your duty to the war effort. I do not how my men missed you in their sweep of the countryside, but consider yourself drafted for the day. Your 'skills' can be put to better use. Grab a shovel! Your woman can make herself useful by watching your cart." He shakes his head, muttering something in German about incompetents. He does not address Pierre's concerns about the location, turning his attention to Henrik when he is finished with the farmer. "We have all the necessary equipment. You seem familiar with this kind of work." He eyes Henrik with renewed interest. More than he shows for the other peasants, at least.

Pierre points towards the loaded cart. "That is my effort for your war." he says in response. A hand goes into his coat pocket and pulls out his identity card, showing it to the official, marking the farmer as that, a farmer. He fights to suppress a grin, "These foods are to be loaded onto a train and transported to German for distribution to the military, would you like me to delay the delivery? I am sure there are officials in town who would want to know why the food did not arrive on time… may I have your name?"

Henrik sets the metal head of the shovel to the stones of the road underfoot with a faint scrape. Both hands settling loosely on the tool's long haft, he eyes the nazi engineer evenly, nodding his head once. "How big are the planes you expect? Will determine how wide landing zone needs to be." A wordless grunt and roll of his eyes skyward at the banter between farmer and overseer.

Alice wants to cover her eyes seeing Pierre argue. Really. Her eyes are wide, watching him now and inching closer to watch what happens. She smiles, spotting Henrik though. Her favorite grumpy Swede! She watches him too, balancing the water she carries until she is called. She doesn't seem /quite/ so nervous, spotting him at least.

Odette's dress' skirt flaps in the warm breeze against her legs. She swallows and licks her lips. She holds her basket tightly to her body and takes a deep breath to quell the tension that's rising in her chest after Pierre's audacious words.

Hasenkamp looks to the Luftwaffe man before answering. "Luftwaffe command wishes it prepared for fighter planes. The bombers shall be directed to the fields but it should handle them as well. What is your…?" But any questions he has for Henrik are stalled by Pierre's continued going-on. He mutters, showing more annoyance than anything else, and reaches out to snap up the ID card to examine. "Pierre Langlais…?" he mutters. He summons over an aid, barking some instructions at him. The name is promptly written down. "I see. I am Siegfried Hasemkamp of the Todt Organization, and the town overseers would be most displeased if this work is not completed." His tone implies they will be displeased with Pierre, not the Germans. "All have been ordered to the crews for the day, as are you. The supply trains are not due for departure for some time. This takes precedence. You will make your delivery after you are finished. Grab a shovel."

Pierre shrugs, taking his ID card back, making a little note of the official's name, just in case he has trouble down the road. With a click of his tongue, he guides the horses off the road, parking in the field to the south as he dismounts, tethering the reins of the horses to a tree, letting them graze lazily in the grass as he moves to pick up a shovel. He offers a smile to Odette, grinning, "Tomorrow we will be here filling in all this work when they realize their mistakes."

Henrik doesn't dive immediately into the work of digging. He's still waiting for Hasenkamp to return his attention to the swede. He settles one hand atop the shovel's handle but doesn't lean on it.

Hasenkamp watches Pierre until he's gotten a shovel in hand, then mutters something to his subordinate again. The underling sets off to town on foot. That done, his attention goes back to Henrik. "Show me your papers." He sounds more curious than aggravated this time.

Odette's deep brown eyes widen for a moment in alarm - what if the Nazis hear Pierre and punish him? Feeling emboldened by Pierre's attitude she giggles and rocks up on her tiptoes and down again. "But m'sieur!" She chides him in a hushed tone, "the Nazis never make mistakes!"

Alice is slowly gravitating towards Henrik, trying to look inconspicuous. She doesn't seem to notice Pierre's comment, or at least doesn't react so no one notices. She balances her water, looking a bit comical almost losing it. Phew! Now, to resume the eavesdropping.

Henrik shifts the shovel into one hand, and reaches into his shirt's worn pocket to draw out a fresh set of papers, bearing the stamp of Arras' ever-so-efficient bureocracy. He doesn't waste time or breath with words. The nazi has the big man's full attention, so Alice' near-mishap is unnoted.

Hasenkamp flits a look up at Alice. Spotting her, and her water. She is eyed beadily but he does not bother her. At present. "Henrik Svensson…" he mutters. As if committing this name to memory as well, though no one is summoned to scribble it down. "A foreigner. What do you do to support yourself in Arras, Herr Svensson?"

Pierre dosen't really mind, winking at Odette, "They're building an airstrip on one of the main roads into Arras…." he laughs, "Does that not say mistake… to you?" he chuckles, digging the point of his shovel into the road, turning up the soil and tossing it aside. It looks like the man is just digging, spreading the dirt around and not widening the strip at all.

Henrik rumbles in even reply, "Since the war closed off travel out of France, I have done common labor along the riverfront. Arras is not a place I wished to remain, but.." Muscled shoulders shrug once. "Little choice."

Eep! Alice smiles apologetically, looking frantically as if she's doing her best to uhm, not tip the water over. She is hiding the fact she's eavesdropping, languidly attending to anyone who calls for water. Ayup, industrious frenchwoman this blonde is.

"It says they'll make you dig a new road as well," Odette says wryly and raises one eyebrow, "Once they've got fed up of taking detours…" She sets the basket down and just stands there with one hand on her hip, quite happy to be doing nothing. "What is your name, m'sieur?"

Eisen is low on the totem pole, and watching his betters bossing people around, boredly, and wishing he was out of this stinking country, where the women are unduly hairy and the beer is crap. However, he's not at the bottom of the totem pole… theres always someone lower. He watches whats going on, and spots a shirker. Indeed, a shirker, who is laughing. He heads over to Pierre, and speaks, in German. "Something funny?".

"Common labor, eh?" Hasenkamp makes a snorting sound, but just nods and returns the papers to Henrik. "Interesting…well, get to work. See that the Frenchman do their jobs properly." He sneers at the poor townsmen that've gathered for the task of digging. Such a deplorable lack of slaving skill. He glances over his shoulder at Pierre but, seeing one of the underlings has chosen to occupy himself with the farmer, he just leaves Eisen to it.

Pierre has no understanding of German, and so merely gives Eisen an ignorant look, going back to his digging. "My name is Pierre." he says to Odette, pushing his foot against the blade of the shovel to drive it into the ground.

Eisen is ignored?

Henrik nods once. "In Arras, a common laborer. A builder before. If you have surveying tools, I can make sure the digging stays level. Lines are straight." Taking back the papers, he returns them to his pocket, and continues to regard Hasenkamp.

Eisen unhauls his submachinegun. And says again to Pierre. In German. "You French piece of shit. Your not here to chat up your untermenschen women. Dig!".

Odette stares at Eisen blankly at first. Then things get turned up a notch. The young woman gasps and freezes for a second as she feels a shiver of cold fear make its way down her back. She raises her hands, palms facing the German, and shakes her head. "What did he say?" She hisses to Pierre out of the side of her mouth.

Alice isn't hairy! Sure, she has thick, curly ringlets of hair… but really. She looks a bit frightened when the submachinegun comes out though. /That's/ a universal message. She iiiinches closer to Henrik, just in case. Her eyes are wide, and she can't seem to look away though.

Hasenkamp gives that some thought, before nodding to Henrik. Why do the work yourself when you can delegate to the local slaves? "Our surveyors will direct you to what you require." He nods curtly in the direction to one of said surveyors, who nods curtly back, then barks some sort of summons in German to Henrik. Another glance back toward Pierre, but he is unconcerned with that situation. Eisen seems to have it well in hand. So he barks at Alice instead. "What are you doing here, woman?"

Pierre continues to dig, ignoring Odette for now. His attention remains on the road, his shovel taking another bite into the ground, the farmer just keeps digging, remaining silent.

Henrik gives a short, sidelong glance toward Eisen and Pierre, but the big man's narrow regard does not linger there. As he is directed and delegated, worn out boots bear him toward the german surveyor, signature frown well in place.

Eisen seems a bit happier now Pierre is putting his back into it, and has his mouth shut. He snorts a snort which manages to convey his distaste for Pierre, and Odette, and indeed all of France, and then slowly wanders past, his submachinegun no longer quite at the ready, but slung comfortably under one arm. His eye periodically wanders over the scum though.

Erk. Uh oh. She's been spotted. "Ah. Helping bring water, herr, but I can leave-" She would be /happy/ to leave. Oh yes, Alice would. She is trying not to seem alarmed though, even if her heart is beating quickly and she's frightened of the man barking at her.

Pierre continues digging, just making a hole in the road, maybe a foot deep by now. It is hot work, having to dig up a road, sweat beading on his forehead as he finds himself trying to dig to china.

"No, no, Frauline. The properly-placed assistance of your womenfolk in the war effort is most most correct." He turns his head, to eye Odette, as if pointing her out as a bad example of improperness. Then he's back to Alice. "We have to make certain of your intentions, of course. We cannot abide sedition. Papers?" The men are getting in need of water by now, but he has to make sure Alice intends nothing underhanded before she can see to them. All of concern for French welfare, he is.

Odette stares at Eisen mutely. When the soldier passes by she drops her hands and licks her lips nervously. She watches his back for a few seconds, then lets out a soft breath as she finally relaxes. Perhaps she heard Hasenkamp, perhaps she didn't. She reaches into her basket and pulls out a bottle of water and a tin cup. "I'm Odette," she murmurs to Pierre. "Would you like some water?"

Pierre smiles, letting his shovel rest against his shoulder as he nods to Odette, taking the cup and quenching his thirst for a moment, "Thank you." he says, not wanting to say anything more lest he upset the toy soldier and his gun.

"Of course, monsieur," Alice is a mighty cowerer. Or something like that. She does pull out her papers. Alice Chevalier, seamstress. Nothing unusual at all there. She smiles politely, keeping her water balanced. She's not looking too comfortable though.

Henrik prompts the surveyor whom he approaches for a myriad of little details which may or may not have already been prepared: stakes and string to mark out the perimeter of the field, which zone should be marked out for the fuel depot, and whether an additional area should be set aside for storage of planes after landing. In short, the swede has a collection of efficient little questions applicable to the work at hand.

"Chevalier…?" The name is familiar to Hasenkamp. Unfortunately. "You are some relation to the police Brigadier?" He fixes her with a beady look when she cowers, to increase the cowering. Though half an eye is still on Henrik. Interesting…

Eisen is swaggering past. He feels like a big man now.

There's no right way to answer this, is there? Alice tenses. She doesn't look comfortable. "… Yes, monsieur," She nods quietly. "I am." How, she's not saying, perhaps to gauge his reaction to the fact she /is/. His stare is making her uneasy, even more so is the Eisen swaggering past.

"You're welcome," Odette says a little louder now the soldier has gone. "I've got some bread, too…"
Hasenkamp is not about to let it go at that. His eyes narrow at Alice's reticence. Hardly proper for a compliant woman! "And how is that, Frauline?"

Pierre shakes his head, declining the bread. "I would prefer you keep your bread." he says, "I feel the people of Arras will be going without soon… I know how war is, in the Great War rationing was very hard."

"I am his … wife," Alice finally admits. Alas, being vague has gotten her nowhere has it? She is doing her best not to look fidgety, or nervous. But it's hard, with the German's narrow-eyed stare at her.

"I don't remember the war much," Odette says with a shrug. "But I was in Paris with my mother and I remember being hungry all the time…" She pauses and lets her gaze sweep across the fields. "At least we are in the countryside."

Pierre nods, "Indeed…. and I am able to provide for my family with my farm, I am not too worried.. this airfield bothers me.. frightens the cows." he says, ahhh such a simple man.

Hasenkamp nods sharply to Alice. That answers that. "I hope your husband is adjusting to the new regime well, Frauline. The cooperation of local law enforcement makes things much…pleasanter. See that he understands this. Now, see that the men are watered. They are losing energy!" With that he turns to eye Odette. Still messing about near Pierre, are we?

Of course. "Of course," She replies meekly. Alice is not at all eager to stick around. "Yes, sir," Murmur. With that, the water woman is off. Water anyone ? She's not about to dally and not at all wanting to stick a round the Nazi any longer than she /has/ to. She even offers Henrik some water.

Henrik nods curtly once to some quiet answer he is given and turns his eye back to Hasenkamp and Alice. As the two part ways, he briefly follows the nazi's eye toward Odette and Pierre. "Mademoiselle!" he raises his deep, rough voice toward Odette, motioning once for her to approach. He shakes his head to Alice's offer of water.

Eisen eyes the muscly Henrik. And decides he doesn't like him. Not that he likes anybody else, admittedly. His lip curls a bit, and he shakes his head, with a sigh, missing the parades and the schnapps back home. Still, he's working, so he doesn't amble over to screw with Henrik… yet. He's clearly thinking about it though.

Henrik often inspires dislike in fascists. Can't imagine why.

Odette doesn't know much about cows. "Oh, I uh, hope their milk doesn't-" she stops short when she sees the senior Nazi staring at her. She freezes and stares at him for a second then glances at Pierre, picks up her basket and hurries over to Henrik. "Yes, M'sieur?" She says when she reaches him and appears a bit confused. If he's just refused Alice's offer of water, what /does/ he want?

Pierre smiles as Odette rushes off, the man chuckling as he doffs his cap, letting it hang from a branch as he goes back to digging his hole, working at a nice pace, not too fast but not too slow, hearts and minds.
Hasenkamp eyes Odette a bit less beadily when she leaves Pierre's side but his eyes remain on her. "Your papers, Frauline?" he barks in her direction. More harshly than he barked at Alice. Odette seems less cowery. Can't have that!

Henrik rumbles in his accented french, "Set the water down for a moment and place this stake in the ground where you are told." Lower he mutters, "And dont stay talking with anyone for too long. The-" he cuts off his words, as Hasenkamp barks at the woman. Without comment, he looks back at the nazi surveyor, and prompts curtly, "Ready?"

A little nod at Henrik, and Alice scampers away a bit. She's looking a bit less cowery once she's away from the Nazis. Water? Anyone? She watches Henrik and company a moment, quickly. Then she turns her gaze away. She is a thing of the background, darting here and there. Ayup, inconspicuous!

Odette starts to obey Henrik's instruction. She the bottle of water and her basket down and takes the stake off Henrik. The young woman jumps when Hasenkamp snaps at her and drops the stake. She bobs down to pick it up, then thinks better of it and manages to regain her composure while she pulls out her ID papers and carefully unfolds them. She holds them out for the Nazi to examine and the breeze makes them flutter as it tries to tug them out of her hand. She stares at Hasenkamp's nose with a neutral expression on her face. "Here you are."

Hasenkamp examines the papers. Thoroughly. But he can't really point to anything out of order. He seems disappointed. "You should be careful in your associations, Frauline Follet," he says simply. "Now, make yourself useful." As if he hadn't interrupted her and Henrik before, but he turns her back to the big Swede.

Alice is useful! And … well, stuff. She is tending to anyone who asks for water, keeping a little smile. She seems brighter left alone.

Odette waits patiently for Hasenkamp to finish with her papers and takes them back, "Naturally," she murmurs as she folds them and puts them back into her pocket. She picks up the stake and looks at Henrik. "Where do you want this?"

Henrik points off to the road a ways south. "That way. Will wave left or right, until in right place." He regards the woman a long moment, but says nothing further, before motioning for her to move off. Laying out the footprint of the airfield must come before the serious digging.

The dig goes on until a couple hours before sunset, at which point the Frenchman and hangers-on are dispersed. And told sternly to make it home before curfew. Just because it's the Nazis keeping you out late doesn't mean you can flout the rules! Pierre is offered an escort into town to he can get his shipment of food in. He's not getting out of that just because he's put in his work.

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