1970, West Germany. Sergeant Talbot, a member of the top secret army intelligence unit, Force 147, is ordered to infiltrate into communist East Germany. His mission: retrieve a stolen field crypto device and the U.S. soldier who delivered it to East German intelligence.
"You’re a thief, a first class shot and God knows what else. I need your skills, the section needs you, the army needs you. You want me to put it to music?”
“For how long sir?” I knew his answer wasn’t going to be to my liking.
“Until the Cold War ends or we both expire. Whichever comes first.” Mac smiled again. It was neither warm or cold. It was just the truth.
“He took the general’s jeep. It was found this morning in the 1 Kilometer Zone near the Tann Pocket.” I whistled. This did sound serious.
“He’s gone over the border, huh? What did he take sir?”
“A Vinson.” Mac fiddled with the slides in the projector. The thing never really worked. Maybe someone, someday would invent something better. I doubted it though.
“What the hell’s that?” My question was answered with a new slide.
“The KY-57, Vinson. The most sophisticated voice and data field crypto device in the world. Compared to the Vinson, Ivan’s using G.I. Joe walkie-talkies. The Warsaw Pact doesn’t have anything that comes remotely close to it. In fact, it hasn’t even been issued yet.”
To those who sent me over, it was nothing more than an academic problem, a simple algebraic equation. In truth, crossing the East German border or the Berlin Wall was a living, breathing nightmare. It didn’t matter how good the odds were or how you were getting across. Things never went according to plan and we were always a tripwire away from death.
My hand was throbbing and I could barely make a fist. It looked like any shooting I might have to do would be done as a lefty. And, no, I’m not ambidextrous. I needed to move around and get my circulation moving. I propped myself up off the ground and walked around in circles, jogged in place and did jumping jacks for about two to three continuous minutes. With my blood pumping, I walked farther into the woods. The sounds of the helicopters had long died. I wondered if the Vopos were still in a frenzy in Meiningen. It was possible, but they might be moving to the west, towards the border or they might be setting up a trap at the base. Or, and what I believed was the biggest possibility; the Stasi had carted Kemp and the Vinson off to Weimar or Moscow or Murmansk with my luck.
Whoever was operating behind that closed cell door, the Stasi or the GRU, or the KGB would beat the daylights out of him and then when they realized all he knew was the price of a Kenwood Hi-Fi set in the PX, they would ship him out. The governments of the East Bloc weren’t too friendly to golden boys either and they would give Kemp a one-way ticket on an eastbound train. Within days, Sergeant David Kemp would be walking in a winter wonderland…forever.
I pulled a Number 10 Delay Time Pencil from the plastic bag I was carrying and crushed the small copper tube. Next, I placed the time pencil inside the C4. I looked at my watch. I would have about ten minutes, but time pencils were notoriously inaccurate.
Jock Lewis served as a military intelligence officer in Europe during the Cold War.