Klaus had just made a mistake he seldom made: underestimating his opponent.
Not that he hadn't known that the painted-up tart was working for the KGB. If she had only been after Schloss Eberbach, she'd have been less brazen. Even an empty-headed bimbo had to realize that wearing a short red cocktail dress to a formal (and boring) party that called for a long-skirted evening gown was no way to become Frau Eberbach. Nor had he failed to guess that she and her hussy friend – whose shiny pink dress was a somewhat more appropriate length, but made up for it by exposing as much of her probably artificial bosom instead – were luring him into a trap. But he had known the room was empty – no large, armed menfolk lurking within – and if he couldn't handle a couple of girls, he'd turn in his Magnum.
His mistake had been in assuming that these tramps planned to entice him into drinking a Mickey Finn. He had been casually refusing the various drinks the first hussy offered him while he debated whether he should lure them into a trap of his own just for the satisfaction of seeing their outraged expressions when they realized that their supposed "wiles" had failed, or just arrest both floozies on the spot.
Then he felt the sting in his shoulder. Instantly he knew what had happened: the second would-be Mata Hari had given him an injection where he'd been expecting a drugged drink. He said a few words one shouldn't say in front of ladies, not that there were any of those present, as he hit the ground.
When he regained consciousness, he was in a barren room someplace, tied to a chair. At least the silly strumpets knew how to tie knots, he thought grumpily as he tested the ropes. There was just a little bit of give in the one binding his left wrist. Since both hussies were standing there watching him, he didn't let the discovery show. Instead he said some more bad words and gave up struggling. For the moment.
"Where the fuck have you floozies taken me?" he demanded, glaring at them. The shameless tramps actually laughed at his best glare.
"Now, now," the one in the red dress said. "You know we aren't going to tell you that. You just sit tight; our friends will be here soon."
"The KGB is nobody's friend," the Major informed them. They didn't deny that was who they were referring to. "Untie me right now and you can cut a deal with NATO. You can get all this taken off your record in exchange for information." He didn't care that the offer sounded desperate; following through on it wasn't his plan anyway.
The pink-dressed one snickered. "NATO couldn’t afford us, mister."
"The Cub said to get him ready," Red Dress said, opening a drawer. The only furniture in the room was a desk and a few chairs. There was one window, but it wasn't helpful; the blinds were lowered.
Red Dress took a pair of scissors out of the drawer. Klaus assumed a sarcastic expression. "Oh, no! If you cut my hair, my strength will be gone and the Philistines will get me!"
Pink Dress frowned, puzzled. "Why would stamp collectors come get you?"
Red Dress smirked and sauntered over to him. "Some men would enjoy this, you know," she simpered. Klaus didn't doubt that she was right when he realized what her relatively benign plan was. With the scissors, she cut along the sleeve of his dinner jacket.
"Dammit! Do you have any idea what this suit cost?" he demanded. She snickered and cut open the second sleeve. At least he had a cover as he worked on the rope on his left wrist now. The hussies would assume he was only squirming because he was pissed off at having his clothes cut off.
Red Dress pulled off his now useless jacket and started cutting off his shirt. There was already a little more give in the rope. Klaus kept tugging on it. If he was lucky, he would get his hand free while he still had some of his clothes on.
He wasn't lucky.
Despite his profane protests, the silly tramp had cut off his boxers and was leaning over him making uncalled-for remarks about his proportions when he finally got his left wrist loose. Before she had time to do more than gasp in shock, he had one of her wrists in an iron grip. Easily twisting it behind her back, he ordered, "Undo the ropes, floozy."
"Eek!" she shrieked, at a pitch painful to the ears. He twisted a little more and she obeyed while Pink Dress babbled. "Mischa and his men will be here any minute, there's no escape, you just have to let us tie you back up or you'll be in huge trouble!" Mein Gott, where had the KGB found these dimwits?
Once he was untied, he simply tied each of the floozies to a chair and then looked around for something to cover himself with. His clothes were in ribbons. There were no curtains. In fact, the only pieces of cloth in the room that might reasonably cover him were the dresses these KGB hussies were wearing. The pink one looked like it might be large enough to fit on him.
It was wear a dress or else walk out that door naked.
Sometimes Klaus hated his job.
He opened the door and discovered that he was in an ordinary office building. The sign on the door said "K & G Business". He snorted, drew a deep breath, and stepped naked into the hall.
He had only gone a few yards before a couple of people emerged into the hallway, probably on their way to lunch or something. They stopped and gaped at him like idiots. "I was robbed," he grumbled at them. "Where is a phone so I can call the, ehm, police?"
The man recovered his voice first. "Er, why don't you use the one in my office. Um. Right back here."
Glaring at the world in general, Klaus stalked in. Unfortunately, there were at least half a dozen people in the room. All of them goggled as if they had never seen a naked man before.
"This man's been robbed. Let him use the phone," the man Klaus had met in the hall babbled quickly. He acted as if he were more embarrassed about the matter than Klaus was.
Klaus took the phone and called his office at NATO. B picked up the phone. All the alphabets had been required to become conversant in Russian. Guessing that of all the languages he and B had in common, Russian was the one the other people in this room were the least likely to speak, Klaus informed B of the broad outlines of what had happened, announced that the KGB was probably on their way over, and then asked his benefactor for the address. "Get over here immediately," Klaus ordered, still in Russian. "And bring me a suit. They destroyed the one I was wearing."
"I need to visit Germany more often," a woman sitting in the office muttered to her companion in an undertone. The accent was unmistakably American. Never in his life had Klaus been less happy that he understood English.
"Does anyone have, um, a coat or something? A towel?" the man from the hall asked, without much hope. It was the middle of June, and there was no reason for anyone to schlep a towel into an office. Everyone responded in the negative. By now the shock had worn off and they were all tactfully keeping their eyes averted. Klaus considered going back to the office of K & G Business, but considering that Mischa & co. would shortly be there forced him to stay put. He wasn't pigheaded enough to go up against the KGB without a gun, not to mention clothing.
There was only one way this situation could get worse, so of course it did.
The door opened, but instead of a trusty alphabet or two bearing guns and a suit, it was Eroica. Who was wearing his usual insouciant expression as he sauntered in, until he saw Klaus's predicament. He stopped short, his jaw literally dropping as his eyes bulged. Klaus put all the dislike he was capable of mustering into his glare.
"What the-" He remembered that he was in mixed company just in time. "-hell are you doing here? I didn't even know you were in Germany."
The situation would have been slightly redeemed if Eroica had been wearing something he could have commandeered, but this wasn't one of the days when Dorian took it into his head to dress like a man. No, today the verdammt pervert had to be wearing some slinky purple thing covered with sequins. The universe was plotting against him.
"Just got here this morning," the Earl stammered, still in shock. He began to recover his composure, but was still staring in a most ill-bred manner. "Your Director invited me over for a job, and I was just on my way to the office to discuss it when I heard you needed backup – I was closer to here than the alphabets, so I thought it would be amusing to beat them here, but I had no idea…."
Klaus was already plotting revenge on a long list of people, ranging from the foppish pervert currently gawking at him to the KGB floozies who'd caused his predicament to begin with. He considered preserving a shred of modesty by turning his back, but with Eroica, this was a no-win situation.
After a few more eternities, B and C hustled through the door, carrying a suit. Each did a double take; they hadn't realized just how dicey their superior's situation was. As B meekly proferred the suit to the Major, he and C noticed the Earl, and both looked even less happy than usual to see their superior's nemesis. C, the Major noticed, handed him a firearm with visible reluctance. The occupants of the office stared anew when they saw it, but Klaus ignored them in favor of covering himself up as quickly as possible. There was no underwear, but at this point he wasn't going to complain.
"Um, the others are fanning out to secure the building, sir. We don't know if the – if they are here yet," B squeaked.
"Right." The Major finished buttoning up his shirt, released the safety on the gun C had brought, and shouldered everyone aside as he strode for the door as if nothing untoward had happened. "You two stay here with the civilians until the building is secured. And you," he pinned Dorian with an unfriendly gaze, "are a civilian and will stay the fuck here."
Dorian was beaming infuriatingly, winding a stray curl around his finger. "Whatever you say, Major," he answered sweetly.
The next few hours was a thankfully straightforward operation of disarming KGB agents and taking them into custody. Despite what the bimbo had said, Mischa was not among those who came to fetch Iron Klaus; apparently he was in Russia where he belonged at the moment. Klaus fervently approved of storing Russians in Russia. Not to mention Englishmen in England. Klaus saw to it that the bimbos were locked up and gave instructions to have them made as uncomfortable as the Geneva Convention would permit. If he had his way, they would be subjected to a prison diet that would guarantee their femme fatale days would be firmly behind them.
At last things had been made orderly enough for the Director to insist that Klaus go to his office to discuss the mission for which Eroica had been summoned. Eroica was there, sitting back in his chair with a contented smile. Had Klaus seen a cat wearing that expression, he would have checked its whiskers for canary feathers.
The Director was looking smug too, though not nearly to the same degree. He probably didn't know that Klaus had been forced to show himself naked; the alphabets wouldn't have dared repeat such a thing save to each other in whispers, and Eroica was probably enjoying have the knowledge to himself.
"You see, Major, this mission involves a very tricky security system," the Director was saying. Dorian gave the Major a sidelong glance.
"Aren't you ever going to give up, you idiot?" Klaus grumbled at him as he sat down.
The Earl smiled adoringly at him. "After what I saw today, Major, I'm never giving up."
There was definitely a down side to good genes.