Willie dropped Jinnie off a few hundred metres from the apartment. A quick glance at her watch told her that it was nearly 01:30. Despite the fact, she had dressed warm as had been suggested, riding on the back of the BMW had left her “chilled to the bone” as her old granny Welsh used to say. She had only walked a few metres when the Mercedes pulled up alongside her, decanted Simone and disappeared into the distance. The two girls hugged and Simone, who had been told to dress for a date, shivered. They hurried to the halls, where the night porter asked if they had had a good evening, winked and without waiting for a reply wished them good night.
Entering the flat they both had the same idea, a hot shower, a warm drink and bed. Simone got to the shower first but promised to be quick, so Jinnie set about making tea and unloading her gun. She had concluded that coffee that late might keep them awake, so Simone would have to lump it and drink a mug of tea for once. Simone was quick, as promised, and soon appeared in a towelling robe. She took the proffered mug, turned up her nose, but still drank the hot liquid anyway. Jinnie took her gun and mug with her to the bathroom, where she returned the gun to its hiding place, before getting in the shower where the hot water soon warmed her up. A few minutes later, when she had towelled herself dry, she saw the lights were off and Simone’s bedroom door was shut, so she took the remains of her Tea into the bedroom with her.
Jinnie was woken at around 08:30 by a banging on the door to the flat. Not something that ordinarily happened as visitors normally buzzed in from the hall main entrance. Throwing on a robe she got to the door a pace ahead of Simone. Opening the door revealed the girls from the flat next door. They both started talking at once one in Italian and one in German, then realising that they were talking over each other they both stopped. Jinnie took them through to the kitchen area and sat them down and asked them what the problem was. One of the girls, the German, it being Sunday had been going to spend the day with her parents in Dresden. But getting to the station she had found a notice saying there was no service due to “planned maintenance”. She knew this was not right, but with no service she had returned to the halls.
On her way back she had noticed a plume of black smoke rising over the north of the city. Then she had noticed many more ambulances, fire engines and police cars rushing around. Back in her flat she and her flatmate had tried the internet on their phones but could find nothing. Knowing that Simone and Jinnie had a proper radio they had come to see if they knew what was happening. The girls looked at each other before Jinnie explained they had been out late last night and the banging on the door had woken them, but they were welcome to try their radio.
The radio initially confused the next-door neighbours even more. A national station was reporting an accident at a chemical works outside Frankfurt, a local Berlin station was reporting power cuts in large areas for Berlin following a breakdown at a power station and another local station was reporting a freight train derailment last night had ripped up half a kilometre of track and brought down overhead power lines on the line to Dresden. The German girl satisfied that all the activities were explained they headed back to their own apartment.
Now they were up, Simone and Jinnie decided to get dressed and prepare for their lunch guests. Not being sure of the rules about having male guests in the apartment, yesterday Jinnie had checked with Fritz the porter. Male visitors were permitted in the common TV lounge until eleven every evening and in apartments until eight. So a Sunday lunch date was perfectly OK. The girls were putting two and two together regarding the radio news. They knew only too well that the reported derailment of a ‘freight train’ was not the truth, so they suspected the other events that were being reported had been subject to the efforts of the Ministry of Information. Still, they listened closely to the radio to see if they could read between the lines. The only thing they did pick up was a passing mention of a multiple pile-up on an Italian autostrada. This of course might have had nothing to do with the resistance and be a genuine accident.
The boys arrived on Paolo’s motor scooter and were bearing two bottles of red wine. Simone suggested that the wine might just make her beef edible. The food was ready for them, it had only needed to be reheated and they had prepared potato dumplings to go with it. While Simone served, Jinnie found wine glasses and cutlery.
Sitting down to eat the boys were quick to tell the girls of their action last night. They had been part of a seven resistance fighter cell tasked with attacking a large coal-fired power station on the northern edge of the city. They had been supplied with many slabs of plastic explosive. Paolo and Jan were there to carry the explosives and to act as guard/lookouts. Two of the party were demolition experts and had positioned the charges on the steam turbines and the boiler circulating pumps. The cell had withdrawn without detection and were over 2 kilometres away when the fuses set off the charges. The explosions had sent massive flames into the sky and set light to oil and gas lines, hence the smoke seen by the neighbour.
The preliminary word was that the power station would be out of commission for at least a year. As for the girl’s attack, the train had been a regular movement taking SS troops to the New Territories in the east and had been badly damaged with many deaths and serious injuries. An agent in the railway police had passed on the information that the initial investigation suggested that it was a points failure but because of the numerous other incidents last night it was still being investigated. Fortunately, the control box had been virtually destroyed by one of the power cars hitting it and then the wreckage burning fiercely.
The ‘accident’ at the chemical factory was the work of yet another resistance cell and they knew of several other incidents from all over Greater Germany and the New Territories. The autostrada incident had been caused by a fuel tanker exploding in a tunnel, a bridge had been brought down in Spain, a dam had failed in the Ukraine, a busload of German military police had run off a motorway bridge and fallen in a river in England and in France several fast patrol boats had burned in Marseille. The Ministry of Information had speedily put out local cover stories where necessary, but had clamped down on news wherever it was possible. For instance, the bus incident in England was being reported locally as an accident and completely blacked out in other regions. In reverse, the power station was only on local Berlin news, where it couldn’t be ignored, but hadn’t happened if you were in England.
The girls had bought Bienenstich Kuchen (bee sting cake) at the Supermarkt for dessert and followed that with cups of strong coffee. They sat finishing the wine and talked for ages, discussing the resistance, why they joined, what they had done in the past and who they could trust. In the end, they realised that they had similar experiences. They had all been brought up in middle-class families and had started to question recent history as it became obvious that events were being manipulated. A girl in Simone’s school had got pregnant at 14 and her whole family had disappeared. It suddenly became as though they had never existed. Simone had tried to talk to her parents about it but they had just told her to forget it and that it was a dangerous topic to mention. She had started to not just accept as fact everything her teachers told her and had tried to do her own research, particularly in modern history as some event just didn’t fit the official narrative. A teacher had realised what she was doing and started to feed her the occasional old book or wartime newspaper. Before long she had been introduced to a recruiter who had suggested she applied for Adolph Hitler University.
Paolo and Jan both had similar experiences, both had questioned how news was being manipulated and managed by the state and had been pushed by teachers towards a recruiter and then to AHU. The boys had been eased into resistance operations in their first year at the university and had been encouraged to become friends. They had been tasked with getting friendly with the two girls and had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
As they talked it became apparent that the education system had been thoroughly infiltrated by the resistance and questioning youngsters were being recruited. The brightest and the best were then being manoeuvred into going to AHU, which was being used as a finishing school for agents. The question they all had was just who could they trust. Their list at the moment was limited to each other, Dirk, Fritz, Willie and the snack seller. The others who had been involved in last night’s action were all strangers to them. Dirk obviously was the man at the top of their little cell but who else worked for him and who he worked for were totally unknown.
Jinnie asked them just how much the other three new of what happened in the war and the millions murdered. The answer was very little, although they all suspected there was a dark secret. Without mentioning names or how she came by the knowledge she gave them a very rough and ready explanation of the doings of the SS and the Gestapo in the New Territories and how they were prepared for German settlers. How the Jews and other groups were removed from England and what became of the political leaders who had not escaped to Scotland. Jan was the first to speak. His parents had told him of a cousin who had a mental breakdown and had been taken away by the authorities for treatment never to return. Now it all made sense to him.
Jinnie began to postulate a theory. Where did the money to run the resistance organisations come from? In her view, it had to be the British Commonwealth of Nations or the North American Alliance or both. As the four of them sat drinking wine and talking it through they came to the conclusion that she was almost certainly correct. Of course, Jinnie had another reason to think it so, her mission to find out about German nuclear research. The only other group that information would be useful to would be the Russians and she couldn’t believe she was working for them. In her heart she saw herself as a British patriot and hoped it was the BCN, she would even be happy if it was the NAA as they were closely associated with the BCN.
Simone pointed out the time and reminded the boys it was nearly time for them to leave. At the door, Paolo kissed Jinnie goodbye. For the first time this wasn’t a peck on the cheek but full on the lips and then she found herself sinking into his arms and returning the kiss. Looking over Paolo’s shoulder she saw Simone in a similar clinch. As one of Paolo’s hands wandered down her back on to her bottom she had a sudden vision of Mike and pulled away and said goodnight.
Monday morning was two lectures in one of the main theatres before lunch. At lunch, rumours were rife among the students in their cohort. One, so far unconfirmed, was that Alexandre had succumbed to his injuries and it was now a murder case. Some of the day students were unhappy that they were suffering from a prolonged power cut in their part of Berlin. They were hearing that the damage to the power station was much more serious than the authorities had admitted and that it was still burning 36 hours later. The rumour mill was beginning to ask if it really had been an accident. One of the students mentioned the train accident and said it looked like it wasn’t a freight train. His mother was a doctor in the casualty department of a major Berlin hospital and had treated numerous SS soldiers from the train derailment. This started a discussion as to whether the two incidents really were accidents or where they connected. Jinnie and Simone listened intently and said little.
By Tuesday lunchtime the discussion in the cafeteria had brought in the fire at the chemical works and even those who yesterday had been doubtful that the events where unconnected were changing their minds. However, everyone was being very careful with what they said as they never knew who was listening. By Wednesday lunchtime there was open speculation that there were terrorist attacks happening across the Third Reich. Everyone knew about the bombing campaign in Spain, these attacks had been widely reported due to the number of German tourists killed and had been blamed by the media on the Basque and the Catalan separatists. The question being asked around the lunch table was were these attacks by Spanish separatists or was this homegrown terrorists?
Wednesday morning, Jinnie had her regular one to one session with Professor Dirk. He took the opportunity to debrief her on Saturday’s action and was obviously satisfied that they had not been detected and had got away with it. The lunchtime discussion brought the news that power had been restored across all districts of Berlin. The radio said the power suppliers had been working day and night to ensure that electricity from alternative sources were switched over the network to make this happen. One lad, whose father worked at the attacked power station, said his dad was busy working on the cleanup and that engineers from the equipment suppliers had arrived to assess the damage. The four steam turbines were damaged beyond repair and only one of the four boilers was in a condition that would allow it to be repaired in under six months. Nearly all the coal pulverisers had been damaged by fire spreading back along the pulverised fuel pipes from the boilers and this had ignited the coal hoppers that fed them. The fires had destroyed most of the control cables running throughout the plant. Perhaps the worst damage was to the control room, that had been totally destroyed in the fire. The question now was if the power station was damaged beyond repair. Many voices suggested that story should not be repeated as it could be considered defeatism and endanger the teller.
Wednesday was sports afternoon, something picked up from the English university system. Jinnie went down to the range to practice. She was particularly anxious to have another session with a rifle, if she could borrow one, as she wanted to get to the same standard as with her pistol. Entering the reception area she encountered Lukas sitting at the desk. He said he had hoped to see her that afternoon and explained that in a short while there was to be a shooting competition with a team from the Free University of Berlin. AHU were short of a team member as one had gone sick that morning. Was she willing to take their place? Jinnie said she would not be happy if she was be using a rifle, but if it was pistols she would be delighted to help out. Lukas said as far as he knew the missing team member was a pistol shot, but he would get the team captain to come down and meet her as he would know exactly what she was being asked to do.
A chubby middle-aged man came into reception and was introduced as Professor Uwe Wolff the team captain. He greeted Jinnie and told her her reputation preceded her. He would be delighted if she could help out today and she could consider it a try out to become a regular team member. The person who had called in sick was one of the teams regular competition pistol shots which suited Jinnie until she became more confident with a rifle.
Professor Wolff explained that for the competition Jinnie was to fire 48 rounds in 4 stages of 12. There were 2 targets in each section that would turn giving a short time to fire before turning back. Stage one was over 10 metres, two over 15 metres, three over 25 metres and four over 50 metres. At stage one the targets turned for a short time and one shot was fired at each before they turned back. For the second turn, the target was available for a few seconds longer and two shots were fired per target. For the third turn, another few seconds were added and 3 shots were fired at each target. This added up to 12 shots each of which could score 10 points giving a maximum of 120 points for the stage.
For the second stage, the basic procedure was repeated, but as the distance had increased the times allowed were all slightly longer and another’s 120 points were available. The third and fourth stages were the same again with still more time allowed at each turn. Four stages of 120 points, a total of 480 points available. Jinnie wondered if she would be able to remember the procedure and asked if there was any chance of a practice. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any time as the opposition was due to arrive imminently. As she was leaving to get her Glock the professor told her if she had a sight she could use it but she would have to use it for all four stages. Then he explained that she had to adopt a ready stance before each stage with the gun held parallel at waist level in both hands.
Before she knew it Jinnie was thrown into the competition as the first match, not giving her time to be nervous. She quickly got into the zone and shot 10 after 10 on stage one racking up the full 120 points for the stage. Her opponent then went and also shot 120. There was then a break while other matches started Jinnie was fascinated to watch the other members of her team shoot, the professor was shooting rifle, and other team members shot air rifle, air pistol and a bb pistol. Before she knew it was stage 2 and her opponents turn to shot first. Jinnie shot another 120 this time her opponent shot 119. For stage 3 Jinnie again shot first and scored yet another 120 and her opponent shot another 119 meaning she went into the final stage 2 points up.
Because the club didn’t have 50-metre competition pistol range the distance was simulated by using reduced size targets. Again it was her opponents turn to shoot first. She shot 118 meaning Jinnie could afford to drop 3 points and still win. On the left-hand third target Jinnie dropped her 1st point. She breathed deeply to settle herself and carried on, finishing up scoring 119 for a winning total of 479. She felt elated. She put her gun away in her locker vowing to clean it before going home as she wanted to support the rest of her team. The professor won his match as did the girl shooting the BB pistol meaning the team won by 3 matches to two and the team captain was delighted. So much so that he invited her to join the rest of the team for a celebratory drink in the student bar. Jinnie was a little surprised, she hadn’t realised there was a student bar.
Jinnie followed the team out of the range, up to the ground floor and into a comfortable bar that she had not noticed before. She accepted a glass of white wine and sat chatting to the rest of the team. The professor asked her if her shooting was normally that good and Jinnie replied that she was a little disappointed not to have scored 480. He chuckled and suggested that she should keep her Wednesday afternoons clear as he would almost certainly need her again. Apart from Professor Wolff, the other team members were in their second years and had been promoted from being last years reserves when established members had graduated. They asked Jinnie what she was studying and about England, two being Spanish and one German. Jinnie was getting interested when the German student mentioned he was studying nuclear engineering. He then continued that he thought he was only in the shooting team because Professor Wolff was his head of department. Professor Wolff just smiled knowingly.
In Chapter 12 – There is a Breakthrough.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file