"You see, Dougie, old bean, the thing is, there aren't four candles missing from the stores, I mean Fork Handles of course, not even one, we only ever had a dozen large forks and a dozen spare handles, and all of them are accounted for; and while you seemed to have been roughed up, the Doc says it could easily have been self-inflicted, none of the bruises was very significant and the gash on your head that caused all the blood was superficial and there was no indication of concussion, no symptoms, y'see? you do see where I'm going with this, don't you, old chap? and then the rope that had been used wasn't even tied tightly, we cut you out to save the knots for examination and it took us no time to free you and one of the men in Hut Seven is apparently very knowledgeable about knots, you'll know him pretty well, Jock M'Toole, and he showed us that most of the knots are German – I had no idea that some knots are only used in certain countries – they don't all use our reef knots, which was a surprise – and Jock, who was in the Merchant Marine between the wars, just happened to have a book with illustrations of some of the more complicated knots and, d'you know what? he was absolutely right! the Germans call one the Bavarian Biter and there were four of them on the ropes – and the thing about that Biter is, it can stand a lot of tugging and hold itself damned tight, but if you pull one cord in a particular way, the whole thing falls apart – so it occurred to us that, if for some reason no-one came to check on you, say if there was a Hut on fire at the far end of the Camp and everyone was so busy we forgot about you, you could have easily slipped the ropes off and stowed the rope away and stretched your arms and legs and then just played doggo if you heard your relief coming, you see?" and Captain Buccleuch gave MacDougal another shot of rum, which he downed in one gulp and the Commander continued: "so we pretty well know how they got away from the Brig, but what we don't know, and I'm rather hoping you'll tell us, is did they have access to a wireless and contact a German vessel which came and picked them up? and if not, where have they gone? oh yes, and why did you help them anyway?" and MacDougal gave the Commander a baleful look: "the Gerry ane, Reichsmarshall Herman Goering, he telt me that when they tak Britten, they're goanie split up the fower countries tae whit they used tae be an he wis sure the Fuhrer, Heil Hitler, wud be gratefu fur ma help an wud agree wi Goering tae mak me King o Scoatland, King Dougal the Furst!" neither Commander Abernathy nor Captain Buccleuch laughed at the man's bathetic stupidity and gullibility, though it was a struggle to keep straight faces: "that's very interesting Dougal, I can see the attraction for you; I know the Clan MacDougal was on the receiving end of some pretty harsh treatment after the Jacobite risings in '15 and '45 and I'm sure there's no love lost between your Clan and the Government in London, or even the Royal Family, which you probably think of as German, anyway, so the thought of being upcycled to Royalty is like a dog getting a pat on it's head, am I right?" and the man smiled for the first time: "darn tootin! the rot set in after Jamie II abdicated and King Billy cam ower fae Holland, but when German Geordies cam in, hauf o them couldna even speak English, let alane Scots or Gaelic! sumdy hus tae dae sumpn tae set Scoatland free agin, so hoo no a MacDougal King? hoo no Me?" he asked this quite defiantly and it was all Buccleuch could do to stop himself giving the wee nyaff a guid skelp across his lugs, but it was the Commander who spoke: "so where are they now?" and MacDougal shrugged: "ah think they wis goanie trek across country tae the German base, there's radios and plenty food in a secret bunker, Goering said they could signal their whauraboots an a U-Boat wud pick them up easy peasy – he kens his onions ok, fur a Kraut!" as Abernathy stood, he said to Buccleuch: "get one of the Clerks to take down MacDougal's statement for enciphering and we'll transmit it to London, and post two guards here until further notice," and, at the door he turned and looked at the insignificant wee NCO and wondered if it wouldn't be best if he were just allowed to freeze to death, but then MacDougal said: "an mind, Airchie, if am goanie be King, ye'd mebbe best tell the men tae treat me as the Heir tae the Throne noo, so'ze they dinnae end up as ma prisoners efter the war, eh, no?" but Abernathy refused to respond to the jibe and slammed the door shut after him, swearing as he made his way back to the Headquarters Hut, wondering if there were any knuckle-dusters or cattle prods in the stores! now as it happened, Abernathy was a pretty good chess player and could usually see the game a dozen moves ahead, and he reasoned that MacDougal was a patzer, and like most, a sucker – he'd already betrayed his master's likely hiding place, and that was without the thumbscrews – so if he knew any more, which was by no means certain, it shouldn't take much of a feint to have him spilling the beans and, with any luck, they could have every last man-jack of them in custody before the week was out – oh, pity the traitor's chances when when his erstwhile friends found out how they'd been tracked down and captured!