Jinnie was sorely tempted to tell her close friends at work that she was pregnant but didn’t, instead she stuck with the plan to tell them at Christmas and decided that as her next antenatal appointment was at 16 weeks and that was just after Christmas she would only say something if she began to show. As she was expecting twins this was a distinct possibility, but she decided if it happened to try to bluff her friends by saying she was putting on weight as she was no longer supposed to be on active duty.
Belinda was as good as her word and completed the work on her department’s offices bang on time and Jinnie was absolutely delighted, particularly with the Nice scene on her office’s feature wall. The whole department was bright and smart and the staff loved their new desks and chairs. Jinnie called the department together and explained that unfortunately she would not be moving in for a few weeks as her office had been commandeered by ‘C’ while his office suite was being refurbished. But she did have some good news for them, because the refurbishments had been done so much more cheaply than the in-house crew could do, the leftover budget was to be spent on buying new computers for the department.
Jinnie settled back into her old office and took up running the department. She let Alan get on with the day-to-day stuff and given the opportunity he proved to be very good at it. She had no worries that when it came to her maternity leave he could run the office perfectly. She then turned her attention to the SMG. Gretel and Carol were both capable of running the group while she was away but as yet she felt they were neither experienced enough, so she decided to start pushing them harder on planning special missions and perhaps by the time she started her leave she could recommend one of them to David. One other thing bothered her, two in the group was not enough, they would really need someone else to replace her.
Sitting on the train one evening, chatting with Emma, it suddenly struck her why not try to get Penny in as the third SMG person. She was fully familiar with the job, having been on several operations already. She knew the other girls and she would be finishing university about the time Jinnie expected to have to go off on maternity leave and she would be a full-time employee then. Jinnie let out a big satisfied sigh and grinned. Emma looked at her and asked, “Are you OK?” Jinnie replied, “Perfectly, I’ve just worked out the perfect solution to a problem.” “Are you going to enlighten me then?” Asked Emma. “No,” said Jinnie, “But I promise you will be one of the first to know.” Emma looked at her and said, “Don’t tell me you’re pregnant.” At first Jinnie didn’t quite know what to say but recovered quick neither confirming or denying, instead saying, “I was thinking about office organisation.” To which Emma replied, “Really?”
Around 10 days later, as they finished lunch, Emma invited Jinnie up to see the new director’s suite. It was very nearly finished. Peter was just doing the last of the snagging, sticking down a seem in the vinyl that had spread, touching up a few spots on the paintwork and sorting out one of the StorageWall doors that was sticking. Emma explained that the new office furniture was due in the morning and Peter and Jason, another one of Belinda’s men, were going to install it as the manufacturer’s people were not yet security cleared. That left the IT department to reinstall the computers, printers and phones and they would move back in.
Jinnie had a look around the suite. It was spectacular, Melissa and Andrew had pulled out all the stops on the design. The paint job employed muted colours that made the best of the natural light, the wall vinyl matched perfectly and the carpet was thick and a neutral grey. ‘Cs’ office now had a run of double glazing across the front and both its and the door onto the corridor from Emma’s outer domain were now polished oak with what Jinnie recognised as acoustic seals. David had got his electronic whiteboard and it was installed and waiting to be connected to his desktop and laptop computers.
Emma excitedly said to Jinnie, “Watch this,” and pressed a button on a tiny remote control, instantly darkening the double glazing so that it became completely opaque. Pressing it again and it became perfectly transparent. “David just loves this,” she said adding, “He has already demonstrated it to Anne from HR and the head of IT. I think we might well be calling in Belinda again.” Jinnie said, “I should be asking for commission.”
A couple of days later a very happy David phoned Jinnie and told her that the maintenance department and IT had just completed moving them back in and he had told them to move her the next morning. Jinnie immediately called Greta and Carol and told them to drop everything and pack up. In truth they had been ready for a while and had been operating out of plastic crates and had only the bare minimum to put away.
A couple of weeks before Christmas ‘C’ sent for Jinnie. It was the first time she had seen the furniture and she approved, it was definitely a big step up from the desks and cupboards in her area. David was leaning back in his chair which was obviously a work chair but was electrically adjustable and black leather. He waved Jinnie into one of his matching leather visitor chairs and Emma sat in another armed, as usual, with a notepad and what Jinnie had been brought up to know as a Biro, but since liberation, when they had to be imported from the US, they had become ‘ink pens’.
Jinnie said to David, “This is very nice, Belinda has done a terrific job.” David replied,“Yes, I’m delighted and everyone who sees it is impressed. The PM was in this morning and he asked who did the work. When I told him, he nodded sagely and said he knew of her and had seen other examples of her work. I think he is going to ask her to quote for refurbishing the party offices. He says they are still very Germanic!” He continued, “But I didn’t call you in to chat. I need your opinion. The PM has been approached by the president. To cut the story to its bones, the Yanks detected a German spy in the Pentagon but he got away before they could arrest him. He got over the border to Mexico then flew to Argentina and finally back to Berlin. The Yanks want us to assassinate him.”
Jinnie thought, ‘Hell, I’m meant to be off active duty and I’m pregnant, I can’t do this.’ However ‘C’ continued, “With you off active duty, do you think Penny is ready for the mission? Dirk says her German is fluent and she is the second best non-native speaker he has ever known. She is in the building for her Christmas holiday placement and quite honestly she is wasting her time in forgers. She is a natural agent and that is where I see her when she joins us full-time after her exams. I suggest we could get your old partner Steven to babysit her, just to be on the safe side.”
Jinnie replied, “Yes I think she is more than ready. Can I suggest she is moved into the SPG this afternoon and she can be involved in planning the mission? I like the idea to bring in Steven, he is reliable and the Germans don’t know him. However I have one question, why can’t the Yanks do their own Wet Work?” ‘C’ chuckled and said, “The official reason is that they think their agents might all have been compromised by the German spy, but Nigel thinks the Yanks want to see if our agents are as good as their reputation and in any case Dirk says they all speak German with a New York, or deep south accent .” Jinnie said, “I have come across the accent problem.”
Alan had been as good as his word, he had reorganised the planning department into groups and a pool and although the company-wide database wasn’t yet ready he had built his own rudimentary spreadsheet from the departmental data he had accumulated. When Jinnie told him of the new mission he performed a couple of sorts on his spreadsheet and pulled up a couple of names he said had the experience of planning German missions. After lunch, when Penny arrived, a desk and computer had been set up for her in the SPG office and the two department members had been moved to one corner of the office.
Jinnie called the quickly built team and Alan into her office to brief them. The spy needed to be located in Berlin and eliminated quickly, before he had time to be fully debriefed. Jinnie proposed using her contacts in the Berlin resistance to find him. The Americans had sent over photos and what information they had on him, including what they believed to be his real name and his parent’s address. They even had details of what they claimed was his old flame and his favourite restaurant. Jinnie outlined the plan as it came into her head. Get Steven up from Hereford as soon as possible. Get him and Penny into greater Germany as soon as possible, perhaps via Poland or maybe directly into northern Germany. Travel to Berlin by public transport. Stay in a safe house until the hit could be arranged. Then extraction by a route to be decided.
Everyone headed for their desks to start work fleshing out the plan, only Penny remained in Jinnie’s office with the door shut so that they could talk. Now the office was less crowded, Penny looked around and said, “This is very nice, you have done alright for yourself.” Jinnie said, “If you think this is nice you should see what Belinda’s team have done to ‘C’s’ office it is positively sumptuous.” Penny asked, “Look Sis, did you put me up for this job because you are pregnant?” “No, no one here knows yet,” replied Jinnie, “It was not my doing, it was all ‘C’. He did ask me if I thought you could handle it and of course I said yes. But he knew all about you and had even talked to Dirk, which reminds me I need to chat with Dirk, he has far better contacts in Berlin than I do.”
Penny went back to her new desk where Carol started showing her the intricacies of planning how to get into Poland, while Gretel started looking at possible extraction routes with a loanee specialist on what had once been Yugoslavia. Jinnie rang Dirk and left a message on his mobile asking him to contact her as soon as possible. She knew he would be busy on campus and she didn’t expect him to get back to her quickly and then she expected it to be a very tentative message as Dirk didn’t trust open phones. But this time she was wrong, within 15 minutes her scrambler phone rang and on answering it Dirks’s voice said: “Go to scrambler”.
Jinnie thanked Dirk for coming back so quickly and expressed her surprise at him having a scrambler phone. He chuckled and said the SAS had supplied him with a new mobile phone that looked like an ordinary iPhone but had all sorts of clever added elements that turned it into a scrambler. However, he only had a few minutes between meetings so was it quick? Jinnie explained that she was planning a mission to Berlin and needed help looking for someone in Berlin and she thought he probably had better contacts there than she did. Dirk grunted and said, “We need to talk in person, I’ll get a train down to you this evening, can you meet me at the station and we can grab a bite to eat in a pub, I will be missing my dinner.” Jinnie said, “OK, what time do you want me at Hadley Wood?” Dirk said, “Not there, it’s only slow trains, Potters Bar at 19:24, at least I can get a semi-fast train there.” And with that he was gone, leaving Jinnie staring at her phone.
Jinnie thought dinner in a pub might be good enough for you, but I’m eating for three and off alcohol for the duration. She got an outside line and in spite of all outgoing calls being monitored, she rang the Trattoria Trevi, announced who it was and asked if there were any cancellations for tonight. A few minutes later Alberto came on the line and said, “Hello Jinnie, we have a table for two at 8 o’clock that have just cancelled, I was just about to let it go to the couple at the head of the waiting list, shall I pencil you and Paolo in?” Jinnie said, “Put it down to me and my guest please Alberto, I’m afraid Paolo is going to have to make do with a takeaway pizza tonight, this is work.”
From the station car park, Jinnie watched Dirk’s Thameslink train arrive bang on time. She waited until he emerged from the foot tunnel under the platforms that ran from the bus station and booking office on one side of the station, to the car park on the other and flashed her company Jaguar’s headlights. Dirk slid into the heated leather front seat and said, “This is nice, I was looking for your Mini.” Jinnie replied, “It’s at home in the garage, this is a perk of the new job. As this is business I think I am entitled to use it.” Jinnie drove up The Walk and turned into the High Street and parked in the staff car park behind the Trattoria Trevi. As she led Dirk in through the kitchen entrance he realised where they were. Alberto greeted them and lead them to a table for two. Jinnie whispered, “Thank you,” to Alberto, he had moved tables around so that they were in a secluded corner away from the possibility of being overheard.
While Dirk tucked into a fillet steak washed down with a bottle of Montefalco Sagrantino 2017, Jinnie ate fillet of sole and drank Buxton Water. Jinnie explained the task in hand to Dirk and that now that she was a director she was officially out of active service unless it was an absolute emergency. She told him that ‘C’ wanted to use Penny for this mission believing she was ready. “Ah, that explains his questions,” said Dirk. Then she gave him the bare bones of the plan, explaining that it all hinged on locating the spy and getting him into a position to be assassinated. At the moment, how this would be done was unknown, it all would depend on circumstances and no method could be ruled out.
Dirk absorbed the information like a sponge and quickly processed it. By the time he had finished his dessert and was drinking his coffee he had agreed to contact the new Berlin resistance team and get them searching for the spy. He also promised to get them to cooperate with Penny and Steven and find them a safe house. Jinnie sipped her water and asked Dirk “‘C’ told me you said Penny was the second best non-native German speaker you had even know. I wondered who was the best?” Dirk looked at her with an ear-to-ear grin and answered, “You of course you idiot.”
Jinnie thanked Alberto and she and Dirk slipped out of the back door and into the car. As she drove back down The Walk to the station Dirk said, “Oh can I offer you my congratulations Jinnie, when are you due?” Jinnie was shocked how could he know? She asked, “How did you guess?” He replied, “Plain fish and Buxton Water, no active missions. Two and two makes four.” Jinnie said, “Well you are right, but no active missions is Mr Farage’s rule. I’m due in late June so I could still go on one if necessary. Please keep it quiet, the office don’t know yet, I’m leaving it until after three months.”
In Chapter 10 – Penny prepares to go to Berlin.
© WorthingGooner 2022