Ever since last week’s “Whist Night” Jinnie had been thinking over what she had heard. How could it be true that the Germans had exterminated all those people and nobody in England talked about it? Did people know or was the propaganda just that good? Was Pandora just spinning a yarn, or was it true? The more she thought about it, the more she came to think it could be true. The MSM was full of stories about evil Jews, but there were none in England from what she understood, how could that be? Come to think about it there were no Black people, lunatics, Gypsies or Slavic people. She had heard of gays but didn’t know of any and the Communist Party was banned. All that fitted with the facts as she knew them. She had been to the fabulous shopping centre next to Golders Green tube station and had been told that the area had been rebuilt after the invasion because it had been so badly damaged in the fighting. But London had been declared an open city so that didn’t seem likely.
Jinnie had seen black people on the TV, but only in documentaries where they were portrayed as ignorant savages living in Africa or the United States. The school books hardly mentioned them, but Slavs were talked about and how vigilance had to be maintained on the eastern border against the vile peasant communist hordes of Russia. Then she remembered neighbours who had disappeared shortly after having a new baby. Her Mum and Dad said they had money troubles and had run away to the Irish Free State. However, the rumour had gone around at school that something had been wrong with the baby. Had they gone to neutral Ireland before the baby was taken away? There were stories of people smuggling across the Black Mountains into the UK controlled area of Wales from where ferries ran to Ireland. The more she thought about it the more she realised Pandora’s tales were likely to be true. But as much as she wanted to ask her parents for confirmation the more she realised how dangerous it could be.
Pandora’s car wasn’t in the car park when Jinnie arrived at the residential home but Ethel and the others were in Ethel’s flat as usual. Ethel suggested that Jinnie should sit down as she wanted a word before Pandora arrived. She said what Pandora was going to tell her that evening would change her life and might even put it in danger. If she was in any doubt about what she already knew or felt the risk might be too great she should tell her now and nothing more would be said. Jinnie didn’t have to think about the decision, she was now convinced that what she had been told was true and the only way Pandora could know so much was if she was in the Resistance. Jinnie had already decided she was willing to risk everything.
Shortly after the chat with Ethel, Jinnie heard voices in the corridor, one was Pandora but the other was Male and not one she recognised. Pandora walked into the flat followed by a young man of about her own age maybe just a little older. He was about 1.85 metres tall, muscular, with fair curly hair and good looking. Pandora introduced him to Jinnie and the oldies as her friend Mike, but Ethel obviously knew him as she greeted him like an old friend. Jinnie nipped into the kitchen to make mugs of tea and could hear Ethel talking but couldn’t hear what was being said, but she guessed Ethel was passing on the result of her earlier words with Jinnie.
Once they were all seated with their mugs of tea and Ethel had directed Jinnie to a packet of digestive biscuits, Pandora cleared her throat and started to talk, addressing Jinnie. She said that she was sure that Jinnie had guessed by now that she was in the English Resistance Army. It was her job to find new recruits and that Ethel had suggested that Jinnie might make a good agent. Jinnie was amazed, she hadn’t supposed that Ethel was involved. She seemed to be such a sweet, innocent old lady. Pandora saw the look of surprise on Jinnie’s face and went on to explain that Ethel had been in the Resistance ever since volunteering when her husband had been sent to a camp in France. She had been a recruiter, just like Pandora, and had brought well over two hundred into the ranks during her active career. When she had retired she had chosen this particular residential home as she had recruited the manager many years before. Fred, Bert and Jimmy had all, unknown to each other, been ERA agents but were now too old for that life and it had been suggested to them individually that this home was a suitable place to retire as Ethel was already there and the manager was one of them. They hadn’t known each other before moving in but the manager had arranged for them to dine together. That way they could all watch each other’s backs. The whist evening had always been an excuse for them to meet and talk over old times. Ethel’s old instincts were still sharp and she had targeted Jinnie from the day she had first come to volunteer in the home. A quick word with the manager had ensured that Jinnie had been regularly scheduled to help Ethel.
When she was more certain of Jinnie, Ethel had passed the word up the line via the home’s manager and a plan had been hatched to bring in a current ERA recruiter to assess her. Of course, Pandora wasn’t Ethel’s goddaughter, that was just a cover story, but she was a trusted journalist working for the national broadcaster ZDFUK in the censor’s office. Hence she knew a lot about what was happening in the Third Reich and was able to feed uncensored news to the ERA as well as act as a recruiter.
Pandora explained that like all secret organisations the ERA worked through a series of cut-outs so that if one cell was discovered it was hard for the investigators to move to another cell. It was only on odd occasions that a number of people came together like this. The home manager was a dead end, his only connection with those above him was a constantly changing mobile phone number. The four oldies knew each other, but any information they may have was now years out of date so they were expendable. Pandora, was of course not her real name, and was another dead end as after this evening they would probably never see her again and the mobile used to contact her would be disposed of.
Mike, who had hardly spoken up to now, held up his hand for Pandora to stop before she explained more than he felt safe with. He explained that he had been just about the last person recruited by Ethel before she retired and he was now living under a new name and in a different area and nobody here had any way of contacting him directly. If Jinnie agreed to be an agent he would contact her and she would not be able to contact him. Jinnie was now fully engaged and immediately said, “Yes, count me in”. Mike then called an immediate halt to any further talk of the ERA, explaining that he didn’t want to possibly compromise anyone in the room. He suggested another mug of tea and a chat about last nights televised football where Arsenal had beaten Bayern Munich 5-0 in the Third Reich Cup Final in Berlin. That would pass enough time for them to leave without looking suspicious for being early.
Pandora said a fond goodbye to everyone as she wasn’t going to see any of them again and drove off in her little VW. Mike said goodbye to the oldies and told Jinnie to say a normal good night to the oldies, as she would be back as usual on her next scheduled shift, and to meet him in the car park. A few minutes later Jinnie joined Mike in his Audi and they drove out of the car park. She asked if they were heading for a pub, but he said no, just somewhere quiet where they could sit in the car and talk in private. He found a field gateway off a country lane and pulled in. He told her that if anyone came along they were to pretend to be a courting couple.
Mike then explained that he was an ERA controller and it was his job to run agents, her. He was tasked with finding out just how well the Nazi’s were progressing with their Nuclear Research. Jinnie just looked at him blankly, she had no idea what he was talking about! He realised that like most of the English public she had no idea what was happening in the world outside of the censored news released into England by the Nazi propaganda Ministry. He realised that there was a lot he needed to explain about what was happening in the US and it was going to take a few clandestine meetings before she was ready to go off on her degree course in Berlin.
Mike explained that the ERA was funded from the British Government in Edinburgh but that everyone knew that Scotland was only a figurehead for the British Confederation of Nations in Vancouver and that was where the real money came from. The BCN had grown strong in the years since the war and were part of an alliance of English speaking nations that with the United States. The Americans and the Empire had worked together, in secret, on splitting the atom. The theory had been that splitting the atom would release vast amounts of energy which if uncontrolled would cause a massive explosion. But if the explosion was controlled and allowed to happen very slowly the energy released could be converted to heat and used to generate electricity.
But not just the Alliance had been undertaking this research, so were the Russians, the Japanese and of course the Third Reich. So far only the Alliance had been successful and that had resulted in peace and prosperity for the Alliance. The breakthrough had come in the middle of the 1950s. The Americans had initially set off a bomb, in secret, in the Mohave desert. The resulting blast had been far more powerful than they expected and at first they were not sure how to exploit it. If they just threatened other nations, saying, “Attack us and we will use this new secret weapon against you”, who would believe them? The solution settled on was to create several more bombs and set one off as a demonstration, it would then be a true deterrent against being attacked. The other major nations had no idea of this development and were called upon to witness an explosion on an uninhabited Pacific island. To prove it wasn’t a trick, the witnesses were invited to inspect the island and to pick the bomb to be used at random from a selection. The resulting explosion shocked the other major nations and ensured that they would not attack the Americans or the BCN.
The only time that a nuclear weapon had been used in anger had been against the Turks, who had not been one of the major nations it had been demonstrated too. In 1962 the Turks had launched an invasion of Cyprus, a member of the BCN, that they had always had eyes on, as a number of Cypriots were of Turkish extraction. Unfortunately, there were major British Naval, RAF and Army bases on the island. The British and Americans firstly warned the Turks, and when the warning was ignored, dropped a nuclear bomb in a sparsely occupied area of Eastern Turkey. The Turks started their withdrawal from Cyprus within hours. From that day none of the other nations had dared to attack the US or any member of the BCN. But it had launched several nations into a mad race to develop their own nuclear bombs.
The Allied Nations had continued to develop their nuclear weapons and had simply stood aside when other nations had fought each other. The war between Japan and China had rumbled on for many years until the had fought themselves to a standstill. Eventually, a peace treaty had been agreed with the front line forming the new border. A war between Brazil and Argentina had briefly flared as had several conflicts in Africa and the Middle East.
The spies from all the major nations were soon scrambling to find out the workings of the nuclear bomb and it was realised the supplies of uranium ore were needed. The worlds major sources or uranium were nearly all in Allied countries such as US, Canada, South Africa and Australia. The Russians had a small indigenous source and a major source in Kazakhstan, but Japan and Germany were chasing other sources such as Brazil and Niger. Lack of uranium severely hampered them in the race for a bomb.
Mike continued telling how when Adolf Hitler had died in 1960 Heinrich Himmler had assumed the leadership of the Third Reich and wanted to show his strength once he was in charge. He had planned several small quick attacks to take out some of the countries he considered anomalies left over from the invasion of Britain. Quick moves into Scotland, Wales and Cyprus were the first on his agenda, but it was not practical with the prospect of a nuclear bomb hitting Berlin if he did make the move. The only solution he could see was a nuclear weapon of his own, but his scientists had failed to make progress. When Himmler died in 1975 and his fanatical Nazi married daughter Gudrun Burwitz had succeeded him, she had continued the search. It was now 2019, she was 89 and her health was failing and still only the Allied countries were nuclear powers and they held the balance of world power.
In most of the Allied countries, nuclear power stations generated cheap baseload electricity supply giving them an economic advantage over the countries that didn’t have nuclear power. Their navies had Nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines. While in the rest of the world coal, oil and gas were king. In Scotland, several nuclear power stations supplied nearly all the power necessary. The combined tunnel/bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, constructed in the 1970s had kept the United Kingdom intact when the Republic had started pressing for a united Ireland. The UK had constructed nuclear power stations in Northern Ireland and linked it to the grid in Scotland by undersea cables. The simple expedient of selling the Republic extremely cheap electric power had drawn them into a close alignment with the Alliance countries as their whole economy was now dependent on Power from Northern Ireland. Consequently, the Germans had a huge nuclear research effort going on in Berlin and the Allies needed to know if they were anywhere near cracking the problem and the resistance groups were being asked to find out. Mike explained that as Jinnie was going to University in Berlin in the autumn and her University was one of the major nuclear research centres they would like her to help them.
In Chapter 6 – Jinnie leaves for Berlin.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file