The news that the couple in the bombed car were Professor Wolff and his wife hit the university hard. There was a memorial service attended by many of the students. As a member of the shooting team, Jinnie felt obliged to attend. But Simone didn’t go as she didn’t know Uwe and thought it best not to be connected to him in any way. No one could think of a reason for a terrorist attack on him, the direction of his research was not widely known outside his department and it was generally accepted that target had been the Reichs Minister. The Gestapo had been sniffing around the University for a few weeks after the attack and several of the females from the research team were said to have disappeared, it was rumoured that they had been some of the Professor’s conquests. However, neither Simone or Jinnie had been spoken to and towards the end of November the presence of the Gestapo was no longer obvious on the campus.
The intervening weeks had been devoted by the girls to their studies, their boyfriends, and in Jinnie’s case, the gun club and several shooting competitions. The weekly meetings with Dirk had proved informative. He had updated them on several resistance attacks in other parts of the Third Reich and warned them that the Gestapo were still on the campus, just not in plain sight. He revealed that the research effort had been put back badly. The Professor had been a secretive control freak and Dirk’s agents inside the Gestapo had reported that no research notes existed and the removal of several of the senior members of the research team had happened before it was realised the effect it would have on the program.
Jinnie was getting good grades for her work and enjoying student life. She was growing closer to Paolo and was wondering how the Christmas break would affect their relationship. She didn’t want to make it physical until she had been home and seen Mike. She wasn’t sure how she felt about him now she had been away nearly three months. In two weeks she would be home for the Christmas break and sorting things out.
At a weekly meeting with Dirk he surprised her by telling her that he had a number of actions planned for the coming weekend and he had her pencilled in for a team that was to blow up the Mariendorf gas works. Other teams were to attack other gas works in the city at the same time crippling the gas supply as the weather turned colder. The resistance would coordinate attacks all over the Third Reich with many of the countries being hit. Jinnie asked if England was included as she didn’t fancy a cold Christmas. Dirk said yes but due to the diversity of supplies in England the result would not be as bad. As the English got much of their gas from the North and Irish Seas and from many on land fracking sites it would be almost impossible for an attack, like the ones planned on Berlin, to have any lasting effect. Dirk said, that as per last time, she was paired with Willie. She was to dress very warm, as once again they would be travelling by motorcycle, and the nighttime temperatures were getting down to nearly zero. To help her acquire warm clothing Dirk handed over a bundle of used Reichsmarks.
Jinnie didn’t want to mention Saturday evening’s venture to Simone, the fewer people who knew, the better the security. However, on Saturday morning Simone told Jinnie she needed to cut short the morning gym session as she had some urgent shopping to get. Jinnie said that was strange as she also did and they ended up both shopping for warm winter underwear. Realising they were both going to on the backs of motorcycles that evening they helped each other choose long johns, thermal vests, hiking socks, chunky sweaters, fleece-lined trousers and padded gauntlets. Both paid for their purchases from their wads of cash.
That evening, shortly before their partners for the evening were due to arrive, they dressed in their new clothes, both adding lighter sweaters under the new thick ones and laughed at each other’s appearance. They both had warm waterproof jackets and lightweight waterproof overtrousers as drizzle was forecast. Jinnie had carefully chosen her winter Jacket several weeks before and had deliberately picked one with big patch pockets to pop her pistol and magazines in. At exactly the appointed time the door intercom buzzed and Willie asked them both to come down to reception. Willie was there on his own and didn’t look prepared for a bike ride. He quickly explained that the bikes were in a nearby quiet side street, being looked after by Simone’s partner for the evening and his gear was there. He didn’t want to draw attention to them in reception so had tried to dress the part.
When they arrived at the bikes Simone was delighted to see that she was paired with Axel, the same man she had been paired with on the last action. This time the transport was a pair of powerful looking Hondas. Willie explained the BMW bike had been crushed and the car had been dumped in a disused quarry and set alight. The girls both donned their overtrousers and Willie opened one of the big panniers on his bike and handed Jinnie a silencer for her Glock which disappeared into one of her cavernous pockets. Willie also had helmets for them, but this time they had Bluetooth installed so that they could all communicate with each other while in close proximity.
The huge Mariendorf Gas Works was visible from some distance off with its two huge balloon-like gas holders floodlit in the night sky as was a strange looking tower, reminiscent of a flying saucer on the top of a pole. As they had travelled Big Willie had explained, over the Bluetooth link, that they were part of a number of groups who were taking part in tonight’s attack. They were to wreck the gas pumping station. Willie and Markus were to plant C4 demolition charges which were in the panniers, while Simone kept lookout and Jinnie was to be their armed guard. They pulled up near the works and parked the bikes with several others outside a cafe/bar hiding them in plain sight. All four collected slabs of C4 and timers and headed off towards a spot in the perimeter fence where a concealed opening had been prepared for them the previous evening.
Inside the works they made their way to the pump house. Simone stayed outside, concealed behind a pile of crates while the others went inside. There, Willie and Axel started placing charges on the Pump bodies, their drive motors and the mass of interconnecting inlet and outlet valves. Four of the six pump sets were complete and the fifth nearly finished, with only its motor and the motor and pump on number six to complete, when the Bluetooth warning came from Simone that two armed guards were heading their way. Jinnie was hidden in the shadows, but the two men were in plain sight when the armed guards entered.
Jinnie watched as the demolition charges were quickly spotted and the automatic rifles came up pointing at Willie and Axel. Jinnie acted quickly and fired two silenced rounds into the head of the leading guard, switched to the second guard and fired another two rounds into his head before he realised what was happening. Jinnie was surprised how quiet the shots had been, more of a “phut” than the sharp crack she was used to. Willie and Axel rapidly completed their tasks, set the timers and withdrew. As they made their way to the opening in the fence the sound of gunfights could be heard from three or four parts of the works. They kept moving, every team had been told that they were to look after themselves and could not rely on any other team helping them.
They were on the road back to the university when they heard the explosions start. Willie pulled over and they watched as the two gasholders went up in a huge explosion lighting up the sky, followed by the flying saucer tower toppling. Alarms started sounding and the sound of sirens racing to the site became a cacophony. As she watched the enormity of the evening hit Jinnie, she had been involved in a major action and she had killed two men. How did she feel? Surprisingly OK. It was something that had to be done, it was them or two colleagues. Back on the bikes they saw other fires on the skyline and knew that there had been other successful actions in other parts of the city.
On Sunday morning the media was full of stories of a major “breakdown” in the city’s gas network, there was no mention of the attacks, but the streets seemed to be full of police patrols and the sound of sirens was everywhere. The girls were sticking to their regular routine, the boys were coming over for lunch and staying the afternoon. Shortly after 9 am the building heating went off. Fritz the Portier did a round of the building knocking on flat doors and telling all the girls that the communal gas-fired heating boiler had tripped out due to low mains gas pressure. It could only come back online when the gas pressure was back and no one knew how long that would be. Luckily the flat was equipped with an electric hob, oven and microwave. The girls had found a small electric fan heater in a cupboard in the flat so they would have some warmth for the next few days until the end of term and they went home for Christmas. That was of course provided the electric power supply held up.
When the boys arrived for lunch, Simone opened the door and hugged Jan, who yelped. Slipping into the flat he explained that he had been winged by a bullet on Saturday night. It wasn’t life-threatening, it had only clipped his left arm, but it was painful. On the bright side, he had been seen overnight by one of the resistance doctors, who had stitched up the wound, bandaged it and given him pain killers and a course of antibiotics. He had hidden the injury under a loose sweater so it wasn’t obvious, but it hurt when he was hugged. Today’s main course was Sauerbraten (roast beef stew) and, as usual, Simone had excelled herself and it was delicious. Paolo had brought two bottles of Niersteiner Gotes Domtal and they toasted the resistance and each other as this was their last Sunday lunch together until next term. They had also got each other small Christmas gifts which they exchanged and vowed to open on Christmas Day.
Monday and Tuesday were bright and cold but thankfully the electricity held out. All the discussion in the cafeteria were about what was really happening. Most of the students were not convinced by the official network failure story, but were very careful not to voice what they really thought was happening in public. Most felt fairly safe around those who had been on the same course from the start of the year, but there were one or two new faces who were hanging out on the periphery of the year group. Having been warned weeks ago by Dirk the girls were very careful what they said, joining in the general conversation, but talking about things like “software problems”, which should not alert any listeners.
Wednesday was the last day of term and Jinnie and Simone were in earlier as their end of term grades were to be posted on a notice board. Both were delighted to see they had achieved excellent grades and were very near the top of the class, despite their external activities. The girls were due for their weekly sessions with Dirk that morning but they were the last classes of term. They planned to pack that afternoon and both were booked on trains the following morning. Jinnie was on the direct Eurostar to London, while Simone had a long journey, with two changes in Switzerland and wouldn’t arrive in Nice until nearly midnight.
Simone was grinning when she came out from her session with Professor Dirk, whispered to Jinnie that she would talk to her back at the flat later and that Dirk was ready for her. Jinnie walked in and Dirk pointed at a chair. She was anxious to hear just how well the raid had gone. Dirk quickly explained that their attack had been very successful, the gasworks complete with the control centre (the flying saucer) had been totally wrecked and would take ages to rebuild. The coordinated attacks across the country had destroyed every target, there had been two minor injuries, she knew of one, and one death in Frankfurt.
Fortunately, the party had managed to take the body with them when they withdrew and it had been disposed of. The only problem was that two of the bullet she had fired had been recovered as had a single casing. Forensics would easily tie them to her Glock if it were ever found or used again, so that it was going to be recovered from the hiding place in her flat in the next couple of days and disposed of.
Dirk then shocked her by telling her that this was almost certainly going to be their last meeting. Jinnie asked why. Dirk explained that a major event was planned in England in the early new year and that travel to the continent would almost certainly be shut down. He told her that this was to remain their secret and she was to tell nobody, not even Simone or Paolo. But she should take anything she really valued back to the UK with her the next day, to leave enough in the flat to make sure it looked like she was planning to return but had been trapped in England by circumstances. Jinnie pressed him on what was planned in England, but he replied she would be contacted when she was back in England. He kissed her on the cheek, said how much he had enjoyed working with her and that her German was already good enough to pass as a native of Munich. He wished her well and said he hoped to meet her again one day in a free Germany or a free England.
Back at the flat Jinnie found Simone already nearly packed. She was literally throwing things into a suitcase. When Jinnie asked why she wasn’t folding them, she told her that her mother would throw them into the wash as soon as she got home, so there was no point. She explained that she had been smiling because Dirk had praised her work and told her that she should easily achieve a first-class honours degree. She said that as Jinnie was so much better at German he must have told her the same. Jinnie thought a white lie wouldn’t do any harm and told her that he had said a similar thing to her.
The cab came for Simone to take to the Sudbahnhof about an hour before Jinnie was due to go to the Nordbarnhof. As she said goodbye to Simone, wished her a Merry Christmas and said that she would see her next term, she hated herself for lying. She thought it was the last time she would see Simone and I can’t tell her. Jinnie got her last few bits and pieces together and lugged her suitcase down to reception where she joined several other girls waiting for cabs or lifts. Fritz came over to them and wished them all a Merry Christmas and said see you next year. When her cab arrived Fritz carried her bag out to it for her and said goodbye and see you next year, but at the same time, he gave her a great big wink. What did he know? She looked around at the halls for one last time, settled back in the taxi and for the first time in months thought about her little sister Penny and how much she had missed her.
In Chapter 14 – Jinnie discovers what is planned for England.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file