The Wiener Staatsoper! I hope I’m not too late!

I’m directed to my seat in the gods just as the Flight of the Valkyries ended. I looked into the crowd and spied an array of very important-looking faces from across the world, who looked engrossed in the performance. Of course ODESSA would be big Wagner fans.

 

The crowd rose in applause, the conductor and the horn-helmeted sopranos took their bows, and Sabine Sabrinolova took the stage in even louder applause.

 

‘Wilkommen, bienvenue, bienvenido and welcome to this special performance!’ Sabine clapped her hands, ‘there are big things ahead of us in the future, and it is only right that we celebrate our great successes these past few years! We pay homage to our friends from Hungary, the Philippines, America, Italy, and now Brazil, whose tireless efforts have allowed our star to shine brighter than ever.’

 

Various industry types and security officials from the parts of the world Sabine mentioned stood up to receive the crowd’s adulation. Jerks.

 

‘But unfortunately we must mix business with pleasure,’ Sabine’s TED talk continued, ‘if you look underneath your seats, you’ll find an envelope with some…suggestions in it, all tailored towards your roles to play in the coming days.’

 

I did as the crowd did and looked under my seat. Sure enough, there was a blank envelope presumably intended for the person whose tickets I received. I’d no idea how the Third Man had got his hands on these tickets and frankly I was better off not knowing. The tickets were for a “Franz Petersen” and the envelope only said “ensure no surveillance in Lichtenburg.” Berlin? What needed to be kept quiet there?

 

‘Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat them, just deposit them in the black bags when you leave,’ Sabine’s dumb joke provoked a chortle, ‘take heart, my friends! Our age in the wilderness is passing! In eight days this world will be our-!’

 

Sabine stopped in her tracks when her eyes locked in mine. I tried to hide in my seat, but it was nothing doing.

 

‘My, looks like our enthusiasm is infectious! We have ourselves a visitor!’ Sabine grinned, ‘GUARDS!’

 

Run! Must run! Need to run now!

 

I leapt off the balcony just as the gods were plugged with a dozen gunshots, landing on a conveniently placed black bag full of envelopes. Which still kind of hurt, but it wasn’t a hail of bullets, so it was still an improvement.

 

I rushed to the doors, guarded by an usher who’d stopped to radio me in. I shouldered past him and ran out the lobby into the heart of Vienna, desperately trying to lose my pursuers.

I had to get to Berlin, stat!