“The enemy, if any one!” he thought, with a start, halting quickly. Straining his ears, he listened. Undoubtedly there were voices somewhere ahead, though he could distinguish no word that was spoken.
“As I haven’t seen an enemy yet, I’m going to do so if I can,” the young captain instantly resolved.
Stepping to the end of the traverse, he peered around the jog. That next length of trench appeared to be deserted, yet certainly the voices sounded nearer.
“I’ve got to have that look!” Dick told himself, exulting in the chance.
Softly he strode forward, then halted all in a flash. And no wonder! For he found himself standing close to the entrance to a frontline dug-out that sloped down into the earth. And the voices came from this dug-out.
Inside, as Dick peered down, he made out two figures. Yet he pinched himself with his unoccupied hand, so certain did it seem that he must be dreaming.
Of the pair below, while the older man wore the uniform of a German colonel of infantry, the younger man wore the garb of a French sub-lieutenant of the same arm. What could this infernal mystery mean?
DICK PRESCOTT’S PRIZE CATCH
It was the older man, he of the German uniform who now spoke.
“So Berger was really caught in the act of signaling us?”
“Yes, excellenz (Your excellency),” replied the younger man.
“And he is to be shot for treason?”
“It is so, Excellenz!”
The language used by both was German, but Dick followed every word easily.
“Too bad! And our commander will regret the loss of Berger much,” sighed the German colonel, “for Berger has served us long and usefully. Strange that he should be caught, when he has so long and safely used that electric light pencil of his. I suppose Berger grew careless.”
“It was an American officer who caught him at it and denounced him,” said the younger man.
“Ah, well! At least we have you still in that regiment, and you are more cautious. You will not be caught.”
“Not alive, at any rate, Excellenz,” the younger man assured the enemy colonel.
“Wrong, there!” spoke a low, firm voice.
Both men started violently, with good excuse, for before them stood Captain Dick Prescott, a cocked automatic pistol held out to cover both.
“You will both put your hands up!” Dick ordered them sharply, in German. “You will be shot at the first sign of resistance, or even reluctance. This trench is no longer German!”
Dully both men raised their hands. Quietly as Prescott spoke there was that in his tone, as in his eye, which assured them that their lives would not outlast their obedience.
“You will pass up before me,” Dick continued, “and neither will attempt any treachery. I assure you, gentlemen, that I shall be glad of the slightest excuse for killing you!”