She is 5'1, of mixed French and Castilian Spanish ancestry, weighs perhaps a hundred-fifteen pounds but doesn't look it (muscle is dense)
Monique Chevalier-de Calderón
Born in Paris in 1920, Monique is a product of a highly moralistic and socialist upbringing. Her uncle on her mother's side, Lope Aguilar, took her to her first ComIntern meeting when she was twelve, and she has been a member of the Young Communist International ever since. An avid student, she was raised speaking French and Castilian Spanish and learned passable English at an early age. She was always something of a tomboy, being an avid tree climber, swimmer and occasional brawler, much to her parents' chagrin.
In July of 1936, her uncle Lope, concerned about the decaying situation, returned to Spain to visit Monique's Grandmother. Monique, in an impressive display of disobedience even given her known precociousness, managed to sneak out and convince him to take her along. Monique's Grandmother was a member of the Spanish branch of the Comintern (SRI) and had already volunteered as a nurse. They arrived at her Grandmother's house in Madrid just in time to accompany the elderly lady to a local SRI rally. The mood of the rally was electric, tense with awareness that open revolution was imminent. Monique had been raised in a Red family, but this was the first time that she really felt she could see the future of the Party, and the way towards the better world which her parents had always talked about.
The Coup began the next day, and, it was clear that there would be no train back to Paris. Lope joined other men of the Comintern and Republican-supporters when Giral gave the order for the opening of the armories and the distribution of weapons among the civilian population. Monique's Grandmother had registered with the IRA (ComIntern red cross) as a nurse, and Monique refused to be left behind, and once at the aid station her grandmother was appointed to, Monique set about making herself useful.
Unfortunately, the aid stations did see immediate use. When the newly armed civilian Republican loyalists put down the Nationalist troop insurrection in Madrid that week, Lope was killed. Monique found herself accompanying her grandmother (a woman whose stubborness may well have been the source of Monique's own) when the sixty-year old woman joined other members of the ComIntern, bandaging the wounded and ministering to the dying.
The Republicans controlled most of the Southwest of Spain but were barely holding onto Madrid. In the night, the sound of cannon in the distance never truly ceased. Rumors came that the Nationalists were about to invade, food became scarce in the city and several units were mustered by various Republican groups including anarchist and communist regiments. As the month wore on, Monique's grandmother appeared to become convinced (as many residents did) that the fall of Madrid was imminent. She encouraged Monique to find a way out.
On July 31st the SRI ComIntern announced the formation of the Batallón Femenino del 5th Regimiento de Milicias Populares
- the Fifth People's Militia Regiment's Women's Battalion. Monique was far from the only fifteen-year old girl that day who lied about her age and received a uniform and a rifle. The women were trained alongside the men, receiving the same drills and the same weapons, and within a month Monique found herself in the front lines, bitterly holding to the shallow trenches West of the city, and by the end of the year falling back into the city itself, contesting the Nationalists and their German and Italian Fascista
allies street by street and house by house. Monique had discovered a new skill; she was an exceptionally calm and collected rifle shot, and while never trained in the art of sniping she became a fairly successful self-taught hunter of Nationalist officers. Some evenings, she received permission to visit her weary grandmother. The elderly woman was being worn down even as the city was. There were too many deaths at the stations; the bodies were stacking up, and medical supplies were few and far between.
By the end of the year, Monique was a dedicated veteran of the Spanish Red Army, so used to the grindingly incessant combat and the never-ending exchange of gunfire along the trenches of the front line that she could sleep through a German air raid or an artillery salvo. The city of Madrid was divided and surrounded, and would remain so until the end of the war. Monique celebrated her sixteenth and seventeenth birthdays among her comrades in the trenches.
By 1938, the majority of the Batallón Femenino
had broken up and become interspersed with other Red brigades (as had many other units due to casualties). Although she held no official rank, Monique became an outspoken and recognized representative of the Communist International Brigades and local SRI fighters in her zone, frequently traveling back and forth between the front and the Salamanca district where the Republican army headquarters were located. She spoke often on behalf of other troops left leaderless in the chaotic tangle created by the absorption of the myriad different international and militia units and the loss of officers during the long siege. Her grandmother, who had been in the ComIntern since its founding, wrote several letters to the immediate staff, urging them to give more attention to integrating the fragmented brigades, and Monique, who delivered the letters, found herself sharing in some of the respect which her grandmother's name and Party rank commanded in the ComIntern.
In this,she was particularly fortunate. When the ComIntern evacuated its officers from Madrid in the spring of 1939, she accompanied the Socialist Prime Minister Negrín and his Russian advisors on one of the last flights out of the doomed city. While Negrín stayed in France, he urged her to go on with his advisors who were returning to Russia. France, he said, would soon face the same struggles as Spain, and if Monique truly wished to serve the Party, she would learn more in Moscow than she ever had in Madrid.
Moscow was amazing and terrible. Monique narrowly avoided being made a public hero of the Party, but Negrín's erstwhile advisors, now her guardian angels, suggested that to do so would ruin her for the work they had in mind. She was carefully questioned. The Party was in the process of being strengthened against the needful work to come. Loyalty was an issue. More than a quarter of the Congress of the ComIntern itself had been found disloyal for numerous reasons. Antisocialists, subversives, saboteurs, Trotskyites and factionalists. Did she know any of these people? Not in her Party, Comrade. She had fought among honest workers, loyal to the death, and killed Fascists. One of the other survivors of the 5th Regiment was its Commissar, and he supported her, to her credit.
After several weeks the questioners and their questions suddenly became different. What did she want to do now? Did she wish to return to Paris? Would Monique accept further training to aid the Party? The GRU had smoothly stepped in and snatched her from the jaws of the NKVD wolf, and now proposed that she repay them by undertaking to become one of the new stalwarts of the Party, trained not only to better aid her comrades in the event of Fascist attack upon France, but also to ensure their loyalty by careful communication with Moscow. Her new teachers carefully established for her which doctrines and behaviors were signs of the Trotskyite, the spy, and the subversive. She was educated in the use of dead drops, encryption and decryption, hidden signals and the use and repair of radio-telegraphy sets. She was assigned to the tutelage of men who refined her shooting skills, not only with the rifle but also with the pistol, who taught her the use of the knife and tricks of sabotage. She became moderately capable of expressing herself in Russian but still frequently had to fall back to French. That was fine, they said. It would be just as well if she were not to add a Muscovite accent to her Parisienne French.
Monique returned to France in July of 1939, and promptly found herself all but ousted from the Parti Communiste Français
. They were quite aware of where she had been, and (quite rightly) suspicious that her coming heralded a Stalinist interest in the French communist political scene. She was gently isolated from all but the most set-piece events and carefully fed only those elements of PCF policy and discussion which her handlers felt Moscow would want to hear.
Due to this mistrust, when the Wehrmacht
invaded France, Monique was not assigned to any of the PCF groups, and continues to be shunned by them. She has rather sulkily determined exactly where she stands, but is determined to do right by the Party and has simply tried to find other members of the Resistance who would accept her aid and assistance.
Monique has been employed now for four years as 'Monique Boucher' (who has a fairly well-established identity now, with correct papers), a waitress at the restaurant in Hôtel Meurice. She is careful to not learn too much German, and is getting fairly good at being just competent enough to avoid being fired without standing out as either too smooth or too clumsy. Alas, the Wehrmacht
guarding the Hôtel do not make her life easier, being careful to ensure that she enters only the restaurant and not
the Hôtel. She has effectively decided that, despite the immediate proximity of Paris' Wehrmacht
headquarters, pending some hour of great need, her 'work' must be kept entirely separate from her 'vocation'.
Monique is a passionate, if somewhat stubborn and willful young woman who is far more concerned with results than with appearing ladylike. She can be a firebrand when the mood is on her, but she is capable of biting her lip and swallowing her pride in order to do what the Party requires of her. (She's rather given to lip-biting, particularly when flustered. It might even be considered cute so long as people don't realize that she's not hesitant
but rather is restraining herself
.) Her experience makes her an asset to any resistance cell that will tolerate her, but of course there is that little business of her trip to Russia...Something that, should it come to German attention along with her correct name, would most likely result in extensive interrogation followed by a bullet.
I'd prefer it if she was excused from any sort of painful torture or abuse scenes happening on-screen. I'm not against mixing a bit of pain with pleasures...not at all! But under the circumstances I fear that it would be all the former and none of the latter.
Er...I'm not opposed to death, but as someone else has already mentioned, would prefer if it didn't happen straight out of the starting gate.
Oh my head this is huge. I'm sorry. I think I got carried away.