The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Secret Mission
at the ti for tu

You can rely on me.' Well, easier said than done, because a stowaway would not be allowed to leave the ship. However, dressed as a beggar, he could make his getaway without being recognised.

So, Mickey snipped his trousers all around with a pair of scissors till they really looked worn out. Using a handkerchief, he tied a turban around his head and hid the packet in the folds of his turban. Then he crept across the deck to the bow and with a heavy dew all around, lowered himself down to the quay.

Mickey almost felt a little as if he were on holiday in the old city, with its small, white-washed houses and people standing in front of their doors chatting with each other. Unfortunately, he had no time to even look around here.

So, he searched a lonely lane and very carefully opened the packet. 'I hope the formula is in here,' he murmured full of expectation. Fiddlesticks! It was a chain of precious stones! This Crosspatch was really a villain of the worst kind. It was not enough for him to steal highly explosive chemical formulae, it had to be jewellery as well! He was clearly a thief!

Mickey put the chain back in its packing and made his way through the labyrinth of lanes and bylanes. He had to absolutely be on time at the meeting point.

The Ti for Tu was a small caf', in which a few men sat and drank peppermint tea. Mickey cast a discreet look inside, Crosspatch was nowhere to be seen.

After he had been waiting for half an hour, he decided to speak to a soldier, who also appeared to be waiting for someone a couple of metres away from Ti for Tu. Perhaps he was also waiting for Crosspatch. Mickey walked hopefully towards him.

'Excuse me soldier' Surprised, Mickey stopped. The soldier was Cuthbert Crosspatch. He wore a uniform of khaki trousers, leather boots and a cap. It would never have occurred to Mickey to wear such a disguise.

'Quick, the packet!' Crosspatch acted impatient, as if he had something urgent to attend to.

'I would not have recognised you, why this disguise'

'Because I am after a criminal,' murmured Crosspatch. 'Incognito, you understand' And now, beat it!' he added in a brusque tone and then rushed away from there with the packet under his arm.

Naturally, Mickey followed him at a safe distance through the quiet lanes.

'Strange costume' he thought to himself. 'That would seem to me to be too much risky. He could be arrested for unlawfully wearing a uniform. Unless' of course! He has enlisted as one of the legionaries, who are defending the Barrokkan mines against attacks from the nomads. Not a bad idea at all.'

From the distance sounded like the voice of a muezzin giving the call for prayer. For a moment, Mickey was fascinated by the plaintive song and wondered what the words of the muezzin meant.

But Crosspatch had already entered some barracks. Above the entrance hung a board on which was written:


So, he was right and his trip would not be in vain. He rubbed his palms together and looked around for a telephone booth because he wanted to deliver an interim report to Colonel Wetter, and above all, telephone Minnie who would surely be so happy to hear his voice.

The next day, he registered with the Legionaries. There he stood in khaki trousers, tunic, boots and cap. Minnie would fall over with observation if she could see him now.

After he enlisted as a Legionary, he got into a Jeep which was supposed to take him to a post in the middle of the desert, where they guarded iron-ore deposits that had just been discovered.

'If I'm lucky, Crosspatch will also be here,' thought Mickey. 'Then I can soon convict him.'

When he arrived at the camp, he proceeded with his rifle on his shoulder, to the office of the camp commander, to register himself.

'Legionary Mouse, always at your service,' he called smartly and opened the door.

'Who's there' bellowed a voice in the office. Mickey entered and couldn't believe his eyes ' there behind the desk sat Black Pete, dressed as a perfect legionary (or better put, as the perfect chief of legionaries). There was no question that the bandits of today stopped at nothing. 'Pe-Pete! You' stuttered Mickey.

'Mi-Mickey,' stammered Black Pete. However, hardly had he recovered from his initial fright, when he snarled, 'Here, I am not Black Pete. Here, they call me Slavedriver, Sergeant Slavedriver. And I expect respect from my legionaries, so' halt!' he bellowed and couldn't help laughing about it himself.

'My poor Mickey. You've really let yourself in for it. Now, you're totally in my power and have to do exactly what I tell you to. Harr! Harr! Say 'Yes, Mr Slavedriver'.'

'Louder! I did not hear it.'

'Yes, Mr Slavedriver!' growled Mickey and left the office, while Black Pete was slapping his thighs with laughter. Goodness gracious! Who could have foreseen this'

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