Note: This episode continues from part 4 of the series. -ed.
I was seized and manhandled into the back of a lorry that trundled over the dusty island for a time, the tablet long since pried from my grasp. Flinging the tailgate down, a group of German soldiers led me down to an inflatable raft on the beach. In the bay was a U-boat, menacing the local fish with its dark profile.
They put me in the captain's stateroom. I'll give them that - they knew how to treat a prisoner who was an officer. Of course, if they knew I was an officer, something had already gone horribly wrong. I hoped they were just playing safe.
I don't know how long I was in there. I had certainly fiddled with all the knick-knacks on the captain's desk by the time the Gestapo arrived. Not the actual Gestapo, of course, but it was someone I recognised. It was the man in the suit, who had been discussing the tablets back in France. I took a leap of logic and assumed that this little Greek excursion was somehow related to the "Aktion Eisschloss" that had been mentioned then. It meant "Operation Ice Castle", but what did that signify? I really had no idea.
The man in the suit stepped into the cabin and sat down on one of the captain's hard-backed chairs.
"Good morning," he said, "I trust you are well, Herr Fielding?"
He knew my real name. Something had gone horribly wrong after all. He introduced himself as Doctor Behrens. We made small talk of the I-know-we're-on-opposite-sides-but-we-can-still-be-civil variety. Then he got down to business.
"What do you want with the tablets?"
"Same as you, old boy," I said. I decided to play it as though I had a strong hand. "A bit like your Aktion Eisschloss programme."
He grinned, and not in a good way. My bluff had been called.
"Aktion Eisschloss, Herr Fielding," he said, "Is related to the Thera project only tangentially. You don't even know what the tablets do, do you?"
"Well, no." I couldn't help but admit it.
"I'll tell you," he said. That was unexpected. "Over a thousand years ago, the Minoan island of Thera was destroyed by a devastating series of tidal waves. In collaboration with the triumphant forces of the Third Reich during their voyages, the Thulegesellschaft has discovered the cause of these underwater earthquakes. The proper incantations and formulae, in this case voiced as an invocation of the god Poseidon, allow the owner of the Theran tablets to direct the powers of the deep against his enemies. And now we own those tablets."
"And you actually believe that?" I asked, "I mean, really?"
He turned his nose up at me.
"You will see soon enough," he spat, "Though of course, I do not mean you personally. You're being dropped in the sea as soon as we get under way."
To be continued...
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