by Captain W. E. Johns



V.                    SECTION TWENTY-THREE  (Pages 57 - 67)


At last Biggles and Ginger are able to talk in private.  Biggles says "His story, as he puts it, not only has the ring of truth in it, but is in the main literally true, and for that reason it is not easy for me, without being offensive, to demand an explanation of his conduct here, as I intended".  Biggles suspects that Angus has been "put where we can't get at him".  "Obviously it wouldn't suit our plausible host to have him spill the beans to us about the place".  Biggles says "I fancy that as soon as the Doctor learned that we were looking for Angus he sent that negro off with instructions to get him out of our reach, and then came over to delay us while his orders were being carried out".  Liebgarten returns but says there is no further news.  It appears Angus has chosen "an ill-timed moment to go off somewhere".  Biggles asks to go to Angus' farm and wait for him.  The Doctor says he'll send one of his foremen with them to show them the way.  Lunch is served.  Liebgarten has even been clever enough to lay a place for Angus as if he was really expecting him.  They have lunch and chat.  "As if by tacit consent the war was not mentioned, which strengthened Ginger's belief that Liebgarten was not only a German, as his name implied, by had Nazi sympathies".  Angus' farm is officially known in the valley as Section 23.  Liebgarten says that numbers are easier than names, but Ginger suspects the real reason would be the constantly changing names due to the deaths of the men who owned them.  The black foreman who Biggles and Ginger first spoke is introduced as Pedro and he takes them to Angus' farm where a piece of ground some two or three acres had actually been cultivated.  Biggles and Ginger look round Angus' hut and see his meagre possessions.  On the wall is a snapshot of a group of officer taken outside 666 Squadron Mess during the war and including Biggles, Ginger, Algy and Bertie.  When Pedro is not looking, Biggles takes it down and puts it in his pocket.  Biggles tells Ginger that Angus is still there.  There is a talisman that Angus always used to carry, a buckled Spandau bullet that once went through his machine and fell in his lap.  It in in the hut on a ledge.  If Angus had left, he would have taken that with him.