In Dangers Path

Annotation

In Dangers Path

by

W.E.B. Griffin

THE CORPS is respectfully dedicated to the memory of

Second Lieutenant Drew James Barrett III, USMC

Company K, 3d Battalion, 26th

Marines

Born Denver, Colorado, 3 January 1945

Died Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam 27 February 1969

and

Major Alfred Lee Butler III, USMC

Headquarters 22nd

Marine Amphibious Unit

Born Washington, D.C .4 September 1950

Died Beirut, Lebanon, 8 February 1984

and to the memory of Donald L. Schomp

A marine fighter pilot who became a legendary U.S. Army Master Aviator

RIP 9 April 1989

Prologue

At the start of the war in Europe, the Italians, the Germans, and the Japanese had become allies, called the ‘Axis Powers’ soon afterward, the Italians and Germans left Shanghai; yet even before that, it was clear they were not going to challenge Japanese authority in the city in any way. Meanwhile, following their defeat in Europe, the French had withdrawn their troops from China and had signed a «Treaty of Friendship» with the Japanese that permitted the Japanese to use military air bases and naval facilities in French Indochina. Finally, in August 1940, the British had announced their withdrawal from Shanghai and northern China.

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«Good morning, sir,» he said.

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Chapter Two

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Chapter Three

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Chapter Four

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Chapter Six

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Chapter Seven

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Chapter Eight

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Chapter Nine

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Chapter Eleven

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Chapter Twelve

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff

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«You think you're going to be as lucky the next time?» Weston asked.

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Roger H. Walters

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T  O  P     S  E  C  R  E  T

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EPILOGUE

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Prologue

Shanghai, China

November 1941

Countess Maria Catherine Ludmilla Zhivkov, was united in holy matrimony to Captain Edward J. Banning, USMC, of Charleston, South Carolina, by the Very Reverend James Fitzhugh Ferneyhough, D.D., canon of the cathedral, in a 10:45 A.m. Anglican ceremony on 12 November 1941. It was the first marriage for both.

Throughout the ceremony, the tall, black-haired, blue-eyed bride, age twenty seven and known as Milla, wondered when and how she would take her life.

She loved Ed Banning madly; that was not the problem. She had felt something special the moment he walked into her small apartment off the Bund. And this spark had almost immediately, almost frighteningly, turned into excitement and desire.

The problem was that they really had no future; and she was fully aware of that.

Ed Banning was an officer of the United States Corps of Marines, about to leave Shanghai, almost certainly never to return, and she was an escapee from what was now the Soviet Union. In Imperial Russia, she had been born into a noble family.

Now she was a stateless person without a country. Her Nansen passport-issued to stateless Russians who had fled the Revolution and from whom the Communist government had withdrawn citizenship-was a passport in name only. It was not valid for travel to the United States, or, for that matter, for travel anywhere else.

The Japanese army in Shanghai was poised to take over the city. This might happen in the next week or two, or else somewhat later. In any event, it was going to happen, and when it did, she would be at their mercy.

Once American, French, British, German, and Italian troops had been stationed in Shanghai to protect their own nationals-but de facto all Westerners, including the “Nansen people”-against Japanese outrages.  That protection was in the process of being withdrawn.

At the start of the war in Europe, the Italians, the Germans, and the Japanese had become allies, called the ‘Axis Powers’ soon afterward, the Italians and Germans left Shanghai; yet even before that, it was clear they were not going to challenge Japanese authority in the city in any way. Meanwhile, following their defeat in Europe, the French had withdrawn their troops from China and had signed a «Treaty of Friendship» with the Japanese that permitted the Japanese to use military air bases and naval facilities in French Indochina. Finally, in August 1940, the British had announced their withdrawal from Shanghai and northern China.

That had left only the Americans in Shanghai.

Now they too were leaving. War between the Japanese and the Americans was inevitable. Until war actually came, the Japanese in Shanghai would probably behave no more badly than they had when the Americans were stationed in the city. They were still paying lip service to the «Bushido Code of the Warrior» and were not entirely deaf to world opinion. But when war came, that would be the end of any pretense. Meaning: every westerner, except Germans, Italians, and the rare citizens of neutral powers, would be at the mercy of the Japanese. It would be rape in every sense, not just the physical rape of women. They'd ravage bank accounts, real estate, everything.

All the property that Ed had turned over to her—the convertible red Pontiac of which he was so fond, the furniture in the apartment, and the paid-three-years-in advance lease on the apartment—would disappear.

And Japanese officers liked white women. If they were now willing to pay a premium for Russian whores, what would happen to her when rape was the norm?

If her future offered nothing but becoming a whore for some Japanese officer, Milla preferred to be dead.

The first time Milla saw Ed Banning, he had a long, green cigar clamped between what she thought of as perfect American teeth. He was in uniform, tall, thin and erect, and just starting to bald; and, she learned a little later, he was thirty-six years old.

Earlier, Banning had telephoned Milla in answer to her advertisement in the

Shanghai Post

: «Wu, Cantonese and Mandarin Conversation offered at reasonable rates by multi-lingual Western Lady.» On the telephone, he told her that he was an officer of the 4th Marines. His voice was very nice. Deep, soft, and masculine. «You sound British,» he went on to say.

She recognized that as a question and answered it: «Actually, I'm Russian,» and added, «Stateless.»

She knew that any sort of a relationship between stateless people—sometimes called «Nansen people»—and American diplomatic and military personnel w ...

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