A Deadly Pathogen, Millions Of People, a Race Against Time.

It’s 1944 and in the closing stages of the war, Nazi scientists finally perfect a nerve gas that has the potential to cripple the invading Allied armies and turn the tide of the war in favour of Germany. But before it can be put to use, the war is over and the unused gas canisters lie dormant and hidden in a sealed underground concrete bunker.

Now in 2017, the bunker and the canisters are found by construction workers. But the gas is suddenly stolen by members of the 1970’s-era terrorist Red Army Faction, otherwise known as the Baader-Meinhof gang. They threaten to use the gas on the German population if their demands are not met.

Refusing to make any deals, German Chancellor Claudia Meyer orders Department 89 and its ruthless spy chief, Major Sophie Decker, to recover the gas canisters and kill all those involved in its theft. But Decker only has 24 hours before the deadline from the RAF expires.

The clock is ticking…..

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Exceptionally well written, a pleasure to read and highly recommended to anyone looking for good reading.
Amazon reviewer

August 1944

It was past three o’clock in the morning when the German staff car arrived at the bunker.

Bright light illuminated the car’s arrival and as the the car approached, the senior officer in the back leaned forward and looked out of the window. He could see a line of officers waiting for him, all of them looking extremely anxious and worried.

He knew why. A couple of days before, the German military governor of Paris had surrendered the German garrison to the French, liberating Paris from four years of Nazi rule. General de Gaulle arrived to a rapturous welcome, while Adolf Hitler flew into an uncontrollable rage in Berlin.

With the Allies massing in France, and the Russians sitting on the Eastern front preparing to steamroller their way to Berlin, things were not looking good for the future of the Third Reich.

What the Germans needed was a last minute miracle, and the scientists here at the bunker claimed to have finally found one.

The car turned ninety degrees and stopped. The senior officer in charge of the bunker stood nervously as a junior officer stepped forward to open the back door of the car. When he saw who emerged, the senior officer almost lost control of his bowels.

“Herr Reichsleiter Bormann” said the bunker commander, Heinrich Wegmann, “we were told to expect someone senior, but we didn’t realise it would be you. It’s an honour sir.” 

He quickly raised his arm in the Nazi salute.

Martin Bormann was Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man. His secretary, the paper-pusher, the man constantly whispering in the Führer’s ear. He could have any document signed by Hitler, simply by putting it in front of him.

He was the Deputy Führer. In practical terms, the most powerful man in Nazi Germany after Hitler.

“Save the flattery” said Bormann, returning the salute then removing his leather gloves, “the Führer wants a progress report. That’s what I’m here for. Not to have your tongue up my ass.”

“Yes sir” said Wegmann nervously, “this way please.”

Wegmann walked towards an open door and Bormann followed, with the other officers taking up the rear.  As they walked through the door, a humming noise could be heard. As they descended down a staircase, Bormann suddenly realised they were going down underground.

“Is it finished?” he asked gruffly, mainly to conceal his slight fear of confined spaces.

“Yes sir” said Wegmann, “it was tested this morning on inmates at the local concentration camp. One hundred percent accuracy.”

Bormann grunted. “Very good Colonel. The Führer will be pleased. After the disaster in Paris, he could use some good news.”

The group eventually arrived at a closed door which was guarded by two SS men. Wegmann waved them to one side, produced a key from his pocket, and unlocked the door. Reaching inside, he flipped a light switch and the small room suddenly revealed lots of metal canisters.

Bormann walked forward and looked at the first canister. He frowned and looked at what was stencilled on the side.

Beethoven? Why on earth is that on each canister?”

“Well, we needed a name for the gas” said Wegmann, with a small smile on his face, “since it makes people permanently deaf, we thought it was poetic that we name the gas ‘Beethoven’.”

Bormann just stared at Wegmann, unable to figure out if the colonel was clever or just an imbecile. Finally he shook his head.

“So it works?” he said finally.

“Yes” said Wegmann proudly.

“And what does it do again?”

“Severe convulsive fits, permanent deafness, serious nerve damage, insanity.”

“In other words, everything except killing them?” said Bormann, sarcastically.

“Yes sir.”

“How charitable” replied Bormann, “we make them insane but we let them live. So…this room? Is it secure to hold these canisters? No chance of any gas escaping under the door? No holes or anything in the walls? We don’t want any accidental leakages.”

“Absolutely not sir” said Wegmann, shaking his head emphatically, “the room has been sealed to prevent accidental leakages from infecting the entire complex.”

“Good” said Bormann, approvingly, “let’s test your claims shall we? I want to see for myself.”

“I will call the camp and have some prisoners sent over” said Wegmann.

“No need” said Bormann, walking towards the door, “we have you.”

Before the officers could react, Bormann had picked up one of the small canisters, left the room and slammed the door shut. On the way in, he had noticed that Wegmann had left the key in the lock. Idiot. Bormann turned the key and locked the door.

The two SS guards stood there, looking uncertain. But they saw the rank patches on the uniform which stopped them from shooting Bormann outright. Behind Bormann, Wegmann could be heard shouting and thumping on the metal door.

Bormann slowly took out his pistol and pointed it at the guards.

“You know who I am?”

“Yes sir” said one of the guards.

“So you will do what I tell you?”

“Of course sir” said the guard, lowering his gun. After a brief moment of hesitation, the other guard followed suit.

“Good” said Bormann, “I want you to take this canister and release the gas through the air vents into the room I just came out of.”

The two men clearly didn’t want to do it, but they were not about to say no to the Deputy Führer of the Third Reich.

“Yes sir” said the first guard, reaching out and gingerly touching the canister. We will be right back.”

“You have five minutes” said Bormann sharply, “unless you and your families want to end up in a camp.”

This made the soldiers run off and Bormann stood by the door waiting patiently. Finally the thumping on the door turned into shouting and swearing. Then screaming. 

The two guards returned with sweat on their brows, looking as if they were going to be sick. They each had a gas mask in their hands, and paled when they heard the men inside the room screaming.

Finally, the noise inside got weaker, and incoherent babbling could be heard instead.

Bormann also had a gas mask in his hand and he pulled it on after telling the guards to wait outside and close the outer door. He also put his leather gloves back on.

He had been told before leaving Berlin that the gas dispersed within a few minutes and became inert. But he wasn’t about to risk being infected. He planned to survive the war.

He waited another few minutes, unlocked the door, and walked in to witness a gruesome sight. Wegmann and the other officers were lying on the floor in obvious agony. They were all drooling from the mouth and muttering to themselves. They were quite clearly insane. One of the officers was still convulsing.

It does work, he thought. Excellent.

Bormann took his gun and shot each officer. A mercy really. There was no place in the Reich for mentally disabled people.

He went outside and closed the outer door. He pulled off his gas mask and breathed the fresh air. Bormann’s driver stood impassively and silently by the car. He smoked a cigarette and waited for his orders.

“Back to Berlin” said Bormann finally, getting back into the car.

“Yes sir” said the driver, flicking the cigarette away and getting into the driving seat. Gunning up the engine, he turned the car and started the long journey back to Berlin.

* * *

Two weeks later, the US Air Force, on a bombing raid, got lost in the darkness and dropped its payload on the wrong target. The target they ended up hitting was the bunker, which itself was not damaged. But the building on top was demolished, sealing the bunker off completely.

The new commandant reported the bombing attack to Berlin and he was assured troops would be sent to recover the gas canisters.

But nobody ever arrived.

Sophie Decker is better than 007!
Amazon reviewer

Books in this series

Sovereign Territory spy thriller
The Assassin's Child spy thriller
The Beethoven Syndrome spy thriller
Peace Emissary spy thriller
Above The Law spy thriller
The Devil Incarcerated spy thriller

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