The journey from RAF Northolt only takes thirty minutes. The canvas is down and so the party members have no idea as to where they are going, but the sound of increasingly heavy traffic would indicate that they are heading into Central London rather than out of it.
Eventually the Bedford comes to a halt and the two MP’s lead everyone out. They all find themselves outside an impressive looking stone building in a busy part of London. Those who know London well realize that they are in Baker Street.
“Great, mates, looks like we’ve got a meeting with Sherlock Holmes,” Bruce comments.
But that is not the case. Instead they are escorted past more MPs into the bowels of a large office complex which is obviously military in nature from the clean, smart uniforms of the male and female staff who the party members pass as they are led through a building.
You are led to a large reception area where a pretty secretary smiles politely.
“If you could please be seated for a moment, the Major-General will see you shortly,” she says. “May I get you some tea?”
It is half an hour later, the tea having been drink before the secretary comes back over to you.
“Follow me, please.”
She leads you into an elegantly appointed board room, with detailed maps of Europe seemingly covering most of the surfaces of the wall.
Shortly after you are seated, four officers enter the room.
“Major-General Gubbins,” the lead officer introduces himself as saluting everyone who quickly get to their feet and return the salute.
The Major-General is in his late-forties, smoking a pipe and seems genuinely pleased to see you.
“Please, at ease, everyone.”
They all return to their seats.
“These chaps are Major Patrick, Colonel Marecki and Colonel Cepa.”
The officers all take their seats after welcoming the party members.
“Now chaps, I believe that you have brought us back a rather nice present from Poland, isn’t that right?”
All of the party’s eyes are on Padre.
He reaches into the inside of the battledress and pulls out the Peenemünde Plans, but doesn’t touch the spellbook in his other pocket.
“Sir, I believe that this is the reason you went to so much trouble to extract us,” Bruce says as he slides the documents over the polished walnut-wood table.
The Major-General picks them up and studies them. For the next ten minutes, the room is silent as Gubbins carefully goes through the documents.
“Don’t understand a bally word!” the Major-General admits. He hands them to the Major sat next to him.
“Can you get these off to the boffins toot sweet, Major?” he asks. “Hopefully they’ll know what to do with them.”
Major Patrick takes the documents, gets up, salutes everyone and then leaves the room.
The Major-General addresses everyone again, his smile now even broader.
“Jolly good show, chaps, all of you,” he says.
“I can’t begin to explain why these documents are so valuable,” he adds, although all present understand that even if he could explain, he still wouldn’t.
“Now, chaps, I am sure that there’s nothing better that you would all like to do after your long and arduous time out behind enemy lines than to hop in a cab to Piccadilly and down some well-earned pints of warm beer. And that’s exactly what you deserve for having done such a fine job.”
“The pints and a little time for R&R are going to have to wait a while longer though, I’m sorry to say, chaps. The thing is – and I’ll be frank here – we haven’t the foggiest idea who the hell you are, where you came from and how the plans managed to come into your possession!”
“You might be Hun double-agents for all we know!” he adds with a chuckle.
Dr. Holdst is not laughing. He looks as to be petrified in fear.
“So I am afraid you’re all going to have to go through a debriefing with the Colonels as you seem to have ended up wrapped up in one of their Polish operations and so they want to find out exactly what happened. So they will be interviewing you individually one by one. They’ll try and get through you all as quickly as possible so that you can be out of here enjoying some well-deserved R&R for a while before rejoining your units.”
Dr. Holdst is looking even more scared now. The story of his being a Polish Jew that he has been carefully learning from Haim for the past 24 hours is now going to be blown out of the water as soon as he is asked to open his mouth with his not knowing a single word of Polish.
He looks at each of the others in turn, his eyes beseeching them all to help him out.
Bob thinks furiously: if we’re split up and questioned, we have a greater chance of one of the questioners being a spy, plus the guud doktor is probably doomed. It seems less likely that a high-ranking officer is a spy, plus Gubbins seems the real deal. Plus, better to raise the spectre of the supernatural when we’re all together.
“Erm, excuse me sir,” he says, “But we’d like to tell you about our experiences as a group and for your ears only sir. Richard recommended that approach sir. You might decide not to have us debriefed by others sir.”
He crosses his fingers that he’s guessed correctly about the General.
Taffy kicks Bob under the table and jumps in.
“Sorry Sir,” says Taffy. “The carriage of the Peenemünde rocket plans was incidental to our mission. Our strict instructions were to debrief only to Richard Gwynedd’s controller, and without being awkward, I think we need to do that first. His orders were very specific.”
The Major-General looks confused.
“Who is this Richard Gwynedd chap, exactly?” Gubbins asks. “I’m pretty sure he’s not one of my boys.”
“We don’t know exactly, Sir,” admits Taffy. “He was a Welshman and he said he was working with British Intelligence, but didn’t go into any more detail.”
“Good man,” nods the Major-General. “He shouldn’t have told you any more than he did without knowing that you had been properly vetted.”
“So where is the chap now?”
“He bought it when we were ambushed at the pick up zone, I’m sorry to say, Sir,” Taffy replies. “His body was returned on the same plane that we arrived on.”
“Oh, that’s very unfortunate,” Gubbins replies. “The pen-pushers in Whitehall have made such a bloody hideous dog’s dinner of the whole organization that ‘British Intelligence’ can mean any one of God knows how many departments these days.”
“And that was before the bloody Yanks started poking their noses into everything as well.”
He is silent for a moment as he thinks. He then picks up the phone and calls.
“Enid? Can you be a lovey and call around all of the competition to see if any of them have a ‘Richard Gwynedd’ working for them? Try the Brits first, but if you haven’t had any joy with them, try the Yanks as well.”
He looks at his watch.
“Can you get some sandwiches and refreshments arranged for the chaps here as well while you’re at it, darling? And send up those couple of security chaps in here as well. I’m off for a spot of lunch with the Colonels.”
He replaces the receiver and returns his attention to the party members.
“Enjoy your lunch, chaps. I’ll be back with you once we’ve found out who this ‘Richard Gwynedd’ chap is and who he is reporting to. Then I’ll had a word with his CO and clear everything up.”
“Hopefully we’ll have the whole thing wrapped up by tea time.”
The MP’s arrive into the room. Once they are there, the Major-General says ‘cheerio’ and then heads off with the two Polish Colonels.
Some half an hour later, the pretty secretary arrives with a large plate of sandwiches plus a large teapot and cups which she serves everyone with a smile.
An hour passes, then another, then one more – with no sign of Gubbins – no sign of anyway other than the secretary who keeps them supplied with tea.
Eventually, around 3.30pm, the door opens. But it is not Gubbins who returns – it’s more of the red-capped Royal Military Police. This time its a Lieutenant and a Staff Sargeant.
“You are all to come with us,” the Lieutenant says in a matter-of-fact fashion.
Everyone gets up as the four MP’s usher them out of the boardroom. They look at the secretary to see her reaction, but she is consciously avoiding their gaze.
They are led through the warren of corridors back the way they arrived. Arriving outside, they are bundled into the same Bedford 15cwt truck that brought them from the airport. The Lieutenant closes the canvas securely with the Staff Sargeant and the other two MP’s inside the truck and, a few moments later, it sets off with the party members literally kept in the dark as to where they are going next.