Hauptmann Heinz Von Gortz had only just arrived. The stiff young Prussian's buttons shone and his expensive boots, a farewell gift from his father the General, barely gave evidence of the filth mired streets. Colonel Stein, out of uniform, suspenders down around his waist, slumped in his chair, sipping cheap brandy. The overhead fan thrummed with an irregular whining beat.
"My orders Colonel Stein," said the junior officer, laying a sheaf of papers on the fly-specked desk.
Stein ignored the papers. "We have little use for commands from Berlin here in China Station." He poured himself more brandy without offering any. "This is the East, Hauptmann. We are strangers here and the thing you should never forget is that one day we will be gone from this wretched place. Until that time, we stay out of trouble."
Von Gortz should have taken the advice.