Mike and Jinnie had decided that the easiest way to explain to her parents who he was and why she was spending so much time with him was to tell them that he was a new boyfriend. This was rather easy for Jinnie as she liked him a lot, but her parents weren’t happy with this at first as he was older than her and they rather liked Hans and saw him as future son in law material. Jinnie, however, was only too happy to dump Hans who was turning into a full-on Nazi. But as they saw more of Mike, the more her parents began to like him and accept the situation. Contact with Mike was all one way, he gave her a cheap basic mobile phone which he used to contact her but his number was always different every time he called. He warned her he was using a series of burner phones and he would dispose of them as soon as their conversations were over. He wanted to maintain a cut out should anything go wrong, so he drummed into her that if he called her “Treacle” in a call, she was to take the chip out of the phone, cut it up, and lose the pieces in different places before dumping the handset. If she was under duress she was to call him “Sweetpea” and he would know something was wrong. If either of these things happened that would be the end of her resistance career.
Mike would call and arrange to collect her for a “date” and pick her up in his car. He was obviously in touch with the retirement home manager because none of the “dates” ever clashed with her work at the home. Just about every visit it was a different car, a different make, a different model. He explained that it was to put off any possible watcher. He had a colleague in the secondhand motor trade and the cars all came their auction business. A quirk of the system meant that the cars remained registered to the previous owner until the auction buyer re-registered them in a new name. Jinnie explained this to her parents, when they questioned Mikes many cars, embellishing the story with Mike being a director of the company to make it more plausible. Dates with Mike were a mixture of him teaching her more about the world outside the Third Reich, physical training and military training. Fortunately, she was already physically pretty fit as she had been a keen school tennis player and cross country runner, so the evenings in the gym were not too strenuous. Whereas at first she struggled a bit was in the firearms training. She simply couldn’t get her head around stripping down a rifle or pistol although her marksmanship was quite good. But she really enjoyed learning about spycraft, which she proved quite adept at. By the time she got her exam results in the middle of August, she had got it and even understood and followed range craft to the letter. Mike was anxious that she wouldn’t get the results necessary to get into AHU. But he need not have worried, her 3 A*s were far better than 3 A’s she had been expected to get and the 2 A and a B she needed. Mike was delighted, his investment in Jinnie was not going to be wasted, so he pushed on with more intensive training.
Jinnie was due to travel to Berlin in the middle of September to give her a week, or so, to settle in before the university year started later that month. She also needed to practice her schoolgirl German as lectures were all in German. As the date of her departure got nearer Jinnie suddenly started thinking about things. If she was going through all this firearms training would she be expected to take a gun with her to Germany? Who would be her controller in Germany? Would she be reporting to the British or German Resistance? Would she be introduced to German nuclear researchers or would she have to find someone on her own? Mike tried to keep her calm, she would have access to a gun once she got to Germany if she needed one, the German resistance would be in touch once she had settled in and they would sort out everything.
A few days before she set off for university Jinnie worked her last volunteer shift in the retirement home. The oldies had all gathered in Ethel’s flat to wish her bon voyage. They insisted that as Ethel was her last call of the evening and it was only to get her supper and to ensure she took her heart medication, she had time to join them in a cup of tea and a chat. Jimmy said he had never seen her looking so fit and when Jinnie explained she had been going to the gym they all nodded sagely but didn’t say anything. After the tea Jinnie said she had better leave before anyone became suspicious. They all kissed her goodbye and made her promise to come and see them in the Christmas holidays. As she went out of the door Ethel squeezed her hand and whispered “Good luck” and gave her a big wink. All the way home Jinnie wondered just how much Ethel knew and was she simply the retired recruiter or something much more important.
The evening before Jinnie was to travel to Germany Mike arranged another date. As it was a normal gym night Jinnie was unprepared when Mike took her into a rather upmarket French restaurant on Potters Bar High Street. Mike explained that he wanted to show her that he appreciated how much effort she had put into her training and as her “boyfriend” it would have looked strange if he had not taken her out on their last evening in England. The meal was superb she had pate as a starter while he had French onion soup. They both had fillet steak and finished with crème brûlée and a coffee. As Mike was driving he didn’t want to chance drinking alcohol so they decided to stick with a jug of iced water. They talked of all sorts of things from TV programs to the latest news that the Fuhrer was reported to be very ill and the speculation that her son would be appointed as her regent. They were very carefully not mentioning the real nature of their relationship. At the end of the evening, Mike paid the bill with cash from a wad of Reichsmarks, adding a sizeable tip, much to the surprise of the waiter. A Deutsche Bank card was becoming the normal way to pay in restaurants, although cash was still perfectly acceptable, Jinnie realised that it was just another way for Mike to remain anonymous.
Mike drove Jinnie home and stopped outside her house and wished her good luck saying he would phone her when she came home at Christmas. Just as she was about to get out of today’s BMW Series Seven they both saw the curtains twitching in her parent’s bedroom. Mike grabbed her and gave her a long passionate kiss. When she finally got out he said, “Well I am supposed to be your boyfriend”. As she walked up the front path she was in a daze. She really liked Mike, but he had never given an inkling that their relationship was anything but professional. Did he actually like her? He had kissed her like he did. By the time she was brushing her teeth, with the new Braun electronic toothbrush her sister Penny had bought her for her birthday, she decided it wasn’t worth worrying about Mike’s intentions, as she wouldn’t be seeing him until Christmas and she had a mission to undertake.
When Jinnie came down to breakfast very early the next morning her mum was loading the Bosch dishwasher with her and her father’s breakfast things, but he was nowhere to be seen. Her train was the 07:55 out of St Pancras International and he had promised to drive her to Potters Bar Station which also served St Pancras. After her big meal the night before she wasn’t very hungry but she agreed to the bowl of cereals, toast and tea that was suggested. After a while, Jinnie’s mother joined her at the kitchen table with her own mug of tea. The first thing she said was “You were a long time sat in Mike’s car last night”. Jinnie didn’t want to leave for Germany on a row so she replied, “We had a lot to talk about.” adding quickly, “Where’s Dad, he promised to drive me to the station and I need to go soon”. It transpired that he had gone to fill up the car and had been told to get some fresh bread from the 24-hour supermarket for Jinnie’s sandwiches. Jinnie didn’t want any sandwiches as she intended to skip lunch and treat herself to a meal out in Berlin that evening. So as not to upset her mum, Jinnie just didn’t say anything and decided to leave her mum’s ham sandwiches behind on the Eurostar.
Jinnie’s father returned with the fresh loaf and as Jinnie expected her mother made her a couple of ham sandwiches, one with mustard and one with fresh tomatoes from the greenhouse and popped them into a plastic bag with a four-finger Kit-Kat. Jinnie checked her case was locked for the fifth time and that her laptop was safely in it. Dad took it downstairs and put it in the boot of his Audi 80, which was parked on the other side of the green, in front of the house. As he rearranged the boot to get the lid to shut, Jinnie took one last chance to check she had all her paperwork. Identity card, travel permit, e-train tickets, bank details so she could access her grant, letter of invitation from the AHU, smartphone, old fashioned address book, ebook reader, money and many other bits and pieces. Her mum who had decided not to come to the station kissed her a tearful goodbye and waved them off. Even Penny had got up to say goodbye and surprised Jinnie with a sisterly kiss on the cheek and a whispered, “I’ll miss you, big sister”.
Potters Bar Station was only five minutes away by car, but it was long enough for her dad to ask if she thought Mike was serious. She gave him the same answer as she had given her mother, that they would know by Christmas. Her father dropped her off at the station back entrance. The main front entrance to the station was off the bus station so was not accessible to cars. He gave her a hug, kissed her on the forehead and slipped 200 Reichsmarks into her hand saying he was sure it would come in handy. Jinnie kissed him on the cheek and quickly turned and wheeled her cases through the tunnel under the tracks and up the slope onto the London platform before she cried.
Jinnie only had a few minutes to wait before the Thameslink train arrived and she stood on the platform were the markings showed where the train doors would be. This service ran fast to Finsbury Park, before diving down into the tunnel under London and stopping at St Pancras International from where she was to catch the Eurostar. Jinnie had often used this route to get into the centre of London, but usually changed onto the Underground at St Pancras or Finsbury Park. Consequently, she knew her way around the station and while others struggled on the escalators with their bags she used the lifts up to the intermediate level and then up the gate line.
The only problem with travelling by Eurostar was that check-in closed 30 minutes before departure so there was a lot of hanging around. She could have flown, on paper it looked faster but she had to get to Heathrow and then from Tegal into the city. However, the train went from city centre to city centre. The real clincher had been that she could take any weight suitcase on the train, but only one light one on the plane! There was no way she could get all her clothes in one light case. She was in plenty of time for her direct train to Berlin but check-in was open so she waved the e-ticket on her smartphone at the reader on the ticket gate and much to her surprise it let her through.
The other side of the ticket barrier where firstly passport control and then the security check. As she was travelling inside the Third Reich she didn’t need a passport, her ID card was sufficient. The officer fed it into a card reader which beeped and showed a green light. The officer double-checked her photo on the card against her face, pressed an acceptance button and waved her on. The security point was manned by two Gestapo officers who were giving the man ahead of her a hard time, they even had him take his shoes off. The man was eventually cleared and it was her turn. The Gestapo officers attitude immediately changed, they were polite and friendly. They gave her paperwork a quick once over wished her luck with her studies and waved her on. Sometimes it was an advantage being a pretty, blue-eyed blonde.
She found her reserved table window seat on the train, got her case into the luggage rack by the door and settled in with her e-reader. It was still 40 minutes before departure but the man with the snack trolley was coming through the carriage. She decided to have a coffee and to eat the Kit-Kat. This service was operated by Deutsche Bahn using one of their ICE3 high-speed trains and the snack man asked her if wanted to book lunch in the restaurant car. She smiled sweetly at him and explained she planned to eat out that evening so she wouldn’t bother. He suggested she might like to get a hot snack from the ‘Bistro’ later as it was a long journey but he would be though several times with coffee and sandwiches. The train went via Brussels, Cologne and Hanover and took about 8 hours. By lunchtime, Jinnie was getting hungry but she still didn’t fancy the ham sandwiches so she decided to blow a few marks on a drink and a snack. The bowl of chilli and the cappuccino she had in the bistro were just right. Back in her seat Jinnie settled down again with her e-book, but dropped off to sleep, which was a great way to pass the journey. Bang on time at 16:00 hrs the train pulled into the Berlin’s Nordbahnhof.
In Chapter 7 – Jinnie starts University.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file