Ahead of him was Molo IV, a broad stone structure that protruded
into the harbor with quays on both sides and a huge single-storey warehouse
along its spine. He passed through a gate near the old seaplane
terminal, lifting a hand to a man reading a paper in a little cabin, and
turned left to walk up the pier. On the way, he noted the few people
around two workmen stripping something from a roof, a man rigging
a fishing rod, and some teenagers kicking a ball in the vast abandoned
marshalling yard. They all looked plausibly engrossed. He walked on
twenty yards, rounded a temporary fence that protected some pumping
machinery and trudged up the pier, picking his way through the rusting
iron debris and tufts of dead weeds that grew in cracks between the
"Here he is," said Macy Harp, nudging Robert Harland with his elbow.
"Bang on schedule like the bleeding Berlin Express."
They both moved back from the doorway that led onto one of the
heavy iron walkways running along outside the disused warehouse. This
huge nineteenth-century complex lay at a right angle to Molo IV. They
were about 200 yards from Rosenharte, who was moving away from
them. Harland trained his binoculars on Rosenharte and reflected that
both he and his quarry had much to lose if this went wrong. He had only
been British Secret Intelligence Service station chief in Berlin for a year,
and he was still on probation. This operation was one hell of a risk to
take when he knew that most of the senior people at Century House
regarded him as a field man without the necessary reserves of prudence.
They couldnt deny he always got results but these were attributed to
flair and boldness, two characteristics less favored M16 than either the
public or the intelligence service imagined. The head of the European
desk had given him a certain amount of support together with Macy
Harp the best odd-job man and, when required, all-round creator of
mayhem that the service had to offer but Harland knew as well as
anyone that many in Century House were actively hoping for the operation
to fail. Harebrained, wild, impetuous those would be the words
murmured by his superiors across the lunch table at the Travelers Club
and his career would effectively be over.
He shook himself and concentrated on Rosenharte. He was every bit
the specimen that the Stasi had deployed in Brussels all those years ago.
At the time of the Schering operation his fake passport had put him at
thirty-two, which would make him about forty-seven now. He had
looked after himself: he was tanned, still slim and there wasnt a trace of
grey in the sandy hair. But he betrayed a certain edginess and Harland
could see he was moving without enthusiasm to the rendezvous point,
glancing back and to his side every few paces. "How many Stasi have we
got?" he asked quietly.
Harps habitually cheerful face squinted into a notebook. "About a dozen.
Our Italian friends think there are more, as many as twenty, but thats
based on the crossings from Yugoslavia over the last forty-eight hours, not on
observation in Trieste."
"And what do we make of the character with the straw hat?"
"At first we thought he was Stasi because weve seen him a couple of times.
Jamie Jay took a look at him this morning, followed him to a fleapit hotel in
the New Port."
"But how does he manage to be here ten minutes before Rosenharte?"
Macy Harp withdrew one of a ration of five cigarettes from a slender
silver case and lit up. "Its simple. He saw Rosenharte out here when he
did his recce this morning, realized he had started off on the same route this
evening and decided to get here ahead of him." "Right," said Harland doubtfully.
"But what the hells he doing here?" "Steady on, old chap.
will be revealed soon enough."
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...