Robert’s first job is to protect a major british investment against Baarder- Meinhof faction. A deadly gang of terrorists who want to bring down the West German Goverment. He is also faced with a dominant young lady who tells him it is her job to look afer him. But who appointed her and why.
As the plane landed in Bremen, Robert gazed anxiously out of the miniscule window which was not perfectly aligned with his seat. It was only the fourth flight Robert had ever made and the others had all been associated with family holidays in Spain. Flying was therefore, still a relatively stressful occupation. He was still faintly surprised when planes took off and landed without incident.
As the plane slowed and taxied gently down the runway, Robert’s anxieties slipped away. He leaned forward to get better appreciation of his new surroundings. His attention was immediately drawn to the fact that two tanks were accompanying the plane along the runway. Suddenly one of the tanks turned and accelerated away from the plane towards the boundary fence. Mud and grass spewed from the rear of the tracks. It was obvious that something or someone had attracted the attention of the tank’s commander. There was then a pyrotechnic scream followed by an explosion one hundred meters away in the middle of the airport’s central grassed area. Robert realised the commander of the tank had probably saved their lives. The projectile had almost certainly been an anti tank missile, but its original target was the plane. The commander, by narrowing the angle had made it impossible to hit the plane offering himself and his crew as an alternative target. The aggressors had still tried to lob the missile over the tank, but had failed to hit the plane. Now there were soldiers everywhere, most of them carrying sub machine guns. Robert was amazed that there was little reaction from the other passengers on the plane, perhaps they were hardened by past experience of this kind, or alternatively they had no idea of what had happened.
The passengers were hurried from the plane into the terminal and the immigration formalities completed as fast as possible. On the other side of customs, Robert was identified by the time honoured device of a large card with his name on it. He was bundled into a waiting car and within minutes was on the road to Wilhelmshaven. In halting English his chauffeur explained that the Barder Meinhoff gang had made a threat against the airport, just the latest in a long series which was undermining every aspect of German life. You just happened to be on that plane, Robert was encouraged by the chauffeurs view that he had been lucky to survive. The fact that the airport was crawling with army and police was the reaction which the local authority, Bundesländer Niedersachsen, thought was necessary. In the chauffeurs opinion Robert’s survival was totally attributable to the governments protective processes. Robert wondered whether his Chaffeur knew how relevant this information was to his own task.
This assignment had come as a complete surprise to Robert. He had been recruited by the British Secret Intelligence Service directly from university as expert in Operational Research. His expertise covered the application of computers to solve complex management problems. He was emphatically not recruited as a field operative. But now he had been asked to join a field team. He was to work, here in Northern Germany.
His cover was to work on the financial evaluation and project planning for a new petrochemical project. His real task was to establish a safe house for agents working with the German security services to investigate the Baader Meinhoff terrorist group. The British involvement came because it was known that the members of the terrorist group had received training by Arab terrorists in Palestine, which until recently had been under British Control. The German’s were anxious to use British knowledge of the Palestinian terrorist’s modus operandi to assist in predicting what the Baarder Meinhoff group might do next.
The journey to Wilhelmshaven was not the easiest of journeys as the road was being widened, and there were long stretches of single land traffic and badly deformed interchanges. Germany, thirty years after the end of the war was supposedly the economic powerhouse of Europe, but the landscape outside the window did not present an image of wealth or even vitality. The very extensive road-works seemed to have been awarded to a multitude of small contractors so that the disruption occurred along its whole length. There was a lot of work being done by hand which in Britain would have been mechanised. Each sub contract seemed to have its own cement mixing plant, adding jarring industrial overtones to the landscape and endless swirling dust. The houses either side of the road seemed to have been drawn into the chaos. It was difficult to judge what they would normally have looked like, but in the midst of this intrusion they seemed to be uninspired; utilitarian; both in archietecture and construction. Many of them had boarded up their front windows , possibly as an addition insulation against the construction noise,Possble to keep out the dust or possibly because they were unoccupied.
To Robert it all seemed alien, threatening and unwelcoming. He put it to the back of his mind. This was the career opportunity which had opened up for him, so he must make the most of it. Nevertheless it was unnerving to discover that the hotel which had been selected for him on the fringes of Wilhelmshaven town centre was also rather drab. Half timbered in either the Austrian or Bavarian mode, the woodwork was badly needed painting and the plastered finish was crumbled and peeling.
As he checked in, his eye was drawn to a poster on the wall behind the desk. Sixteen photographs of men and women of varying ages were displayed under the heading “Baarder Meinhoff Bande” There were bold red crosses through four of the pictures. He asked about the poster and the meaning of the crosses “Ungeziefer, ausgerottet”. He hesitated realising that his guest was English. “Vermin, exterminated”. Robert spent the rest of the evening pondering on the circumstances which had lead to the public display of a manhunt and the obvious, almost personal pleasure with which the receptionist had identified those who had been killed. Despite the shock of this first contact with what was,for him, an alien culture, after he had installed himself in his room he felt more comfortable. Internally the hotel was neat and scrupulously clean. It had a distinctly German feeling , perhaps emphasised by the offering for dinner –smoked eel served on pupmpernickle soaked in snapps.
Early the next morning he was driven to an extensive grassy plain on the banks of the river Jade. There was already a car parked by what must have been a farm gate. There was enough activity on the plain for it to be obvious that an industrial development was now underway. He was guided to a stone ramp which led to the top of the dyke separating the land from the river. As he climbed the ramp a mist swirled over the dyke. Through the mist he obtained glimpses of a tall shadowy figure patently waiting on the dyke.
The middle aged man spoke English with a strong German accent. “ Welcome Robert. I am You controller, you will know me as Wilhelm. Can you handle all this?” He waved his hand over the plain and the network of excavation channels cris- crossing its surface.
Robert did not hesitate. “If you mean can I maintain the illusion of carrying out the financial evaluation of the project, yes I can. I have all the requisite techniques at my fingertips. In fact the project owners will benefit from my involvement.”
Wilhelm raised his eyebrows. “Confident, I really like confident. Now in the next few days you must rent a four bedroom
They drove briefly through Wilhelmshaven and pulled up outside of the most utilitarian of all the buildings he had seen. Square, built of concrete blocks, flat roofed and as far as he could see no external windows at all. The car park was badly levelled stone and the entrance was through a small metal door reinforce by a series of thick metal bars riveted over the top. Once inside the door Robert could see they were in qite a large manufacturing plant. It was spotlessly clean , with polished concrete floors and brilliant white walls. There was a large labour force who dashed continually from one point to another delivering or picking up cages of components, there were large roller doors to the rear. Against the front wall were elevated offices looked down. In one of the offices a tall figure looked down. As Robert was guided up an iron staircase against the side wall The figure moved away.
They entered a small general office full of clerks and filing equipment. The clerks looked enquiringly at this young man and his escort. As in most Manufacturing industries the arrival of well