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Freedom's Dawn

Chapter 1
The Untimely Death of Deiter Heinmann

Lucas sat at a small table on the sidewalk outside a café across the Bonngasse from Beethoven’s birthplace, reading an English-language brochure, his street map spread out in front of him on the table, looking like every other tourist in Bonn, West Germany’s capital city. He was good at this, completely natural, enjoying the slightly cooler air that hinted at an early Fall and preceded the onset of evening. The sun was already low on the Western horizon; the nearby Namen-Jesu Kirke was tolling vespers, and the tourists who had come to pay homage to Beethoven had begun to wander homeward.

Lucas didn’t like Germany—too many bad memories. But even he had to admit that this pleasant evening, on this quiet street, was meant to be savored. So he sat back, took a deep breath of the cool, fresh September air, and tried as best he could to be what he was pretending to be—an American tourist, and not what he was—an American spy.

He had never intended to become a spy. It was only about a year earlier that he had come to Europe, thrilled and excited to have been selected as an Eisenhower Student Ambassador, with a promising career in the diplomatic corps looming before him. Instead, he wound up in an East Berlin prison charged with espionage and murder. The murder part was right; the espionage part was wrong. But the net result was that following his repatriation and recovery, he was recruited to join the CIA as a field agent.

Now, here he was in Bonn, a good posting for a 22-year-old rookie, and one that suited his skills. He spoke German, and already had experience (albeit unwanted an unexpected) dealing with the communists. There weren’t too many people his age with his combination of intelligence, talent, and experience.

Thus far, his life as an agent had been relatively uneventful, which was just a little disappointing—not that he had any illusions about an 007-type career, he hadn’t. He knew that a spy’s life was mostly tedium, and he had already experienced more than enough violence and intrigue in his young life. On the one hand, he thought, I should just enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts, and on the other hand, a nervous energy gnawed at his consciousness—a desire for more, to be doing more. He hated communism and communists with a passion, and longed to do something more than carry messages. But this was a cold war, not a hot one, and except for the occasional assassination, nobody killed anybody. He was reminded of a line of poetry dredged up, no doubt, from some long-forgotten college literature class. “They also serve,” the poet had written, “who only stand and wait.” But it was little comfort. Standing and waiting was boring.

Besides, he wasn’t standing and waiting. He was sitting and waiting—waiting for Herr Deiter Heinmann to come around the corner from Freidrichstrasse—which he would do, just as soon as the last chime from the church bells faded away. Heinmann was as dependable as a Swiss watch. A little too dependable, Lucas often thought. It bordered on predictability and routine, and for a spy that could be a deadly combination. Lucas had spoken to Fleming about it. (He never exchanged a word with Heinmann. Three months of drops, and they had never shared even a glance much less a word.)

Lucas didn’t know if Fleming or anyone of the higher-ups had ever mentioned his concerns to Heinmann. He didn’t even know if anyone had ever spoken to Heinmann. Was there a Frau Heinmann? Little Heinmanns?  Did they speak to him? Or did he live his entire life shrouded in silence? Lucas had a vision of the Heinmann family sitting in their living room mutely staring at the TV. He wondered if Heinmann could speak—or hear. No, Lucas reasoned, he must be able to hear, or he wouldn’t be able to time his arrival by the bells.

The last chime of vespers sounded, and the Bonngasse began to sink into silence. He’ll come now, Lucas thought, around the corner, turning from Friedrichstrasse onto Bonngasse, crossing the street to enter the café behind me, his newspaper tucked protectively under his arm. He’ll sit at a table, order a coffee, and leisurely read his newspaper, just like an ordinary office worker at the end of an ordinary day’s work. His coffee finished, Heinmann will summon the waiter, Hans, who will slide the chit on a small silver plate onto the table. Heinmann will then slip a microfiche under the bill, drop a few coins onto the plate and leave without a word to Hans or a glance in my direction. After few minutes, Hans will place the microfiche under my bill on the same little silver plate and deliver it to my table. I will palm the microfiche while I pretend to examine the tab. Then I will place a neatly folded 100 Deutschmark note under the plate, and I, too, will leave without a word or a glance. Hans, who has done this many times, will wait a discrete amount of time before going to the table to retrieve the money.

That’s the way it works. That’s the way—Lucas had been told—it had always worked. Until today, when it didn’t.

The man seated at a table behind Lucas rose. Lucas heard the scraping of the chair, heard the coins clink in the silver plate, sensed the man as he walked behind him, felt a slight jolt as the man bumped into the back of his chair. He would have turned to look at the man, but then everything changed.

Lucas had selected his table with care. From his perch, he had the Bonngasse directly in front of him, and he could look down its length to where it intersected the Freidrichstrasse. He usually did not sit so far forward, preferring, instead, a more secluded, less obvious table closer to the café entrance where he could hide in the shadows. He took precautions. He never sat in the same place twice; he dressed differently—one day a laborer, the next an office worker—he always wore a hat of some kind and kept his face buried in a newspaper, or, as it was today, in travel folders. Beethoven’s birthplace was always crowded with tourists, all carrying cameras. Anyone of them could be a communist agent. He was paranoid; he knew it and accepted it. As a child, he had witnessed his father’s assassination at the hands of the Bosheviks and escaped the Nazi SS, I have a right to be paranoid, he told himself.

Lucas saw it all, even before it happened. He saw it unfold in ultra-slow motion. He saw Heinmann come around the corner, step off the curb to cross the street, heard the roar of the truck’s engine, saw the large, green unmarked truck as it flashed past, saw the driver, his eyes focused on the man with the newspaper stepping into the street. Lucas knew before he saw it, what would happen, rose to shout to Heinmann who was purposely not looking at him, and probably couldn’t hear him anyway, and watched as the truck plowed into him, dragging his mutilated body half a block before depositing it, a now-bloody corpse in the middle of the Bonngasse, scattering bloody shreds of newspaper up and down the street as it drove off.

Lucas heard the sound of a police whistle as people ran to the scene, some to help, some merely to look. He remained standing by his table, where he was joined almost immediately by Hans, or at least that’s what he said his name was. Nobody in this business used their own name, and Hans was a good choice. Every male in Germany was named Hans.

“What has happened?” Hans asked.

“A man has been run down by a truck,” Lucas answered.

“Good Lord! Do you think he survived?”


“It’s terrible. These young people drive much too fast.”

“Yes. May I have the check please? I should like to go now.”

Lucas glanced at his bill, dropped a few coins on the table and left, walking in the opposite direction from the scene of the accident. He took several turnings, and when he was sure he wasn’t being followed, went to the nearest public phone and told Fleming he was coming in.


* * *


“You did the right thing,” Fleming said.

He didn’t look like a CIA Station Head. He was past middle-aged, lean, haggard, with black-rimmed glasses that seemed too big for his head, and a few thin strands of nondescript hair combed sideways in a failed attempt to cover his bald spot. His fingernails were bitten down to the quick. He had started his career with the OSS, before the CIA even existed, and was, despite his appearance, well-regarded in the Agency. Lucas wondered if he were looking at himself 20 years in the future.

“You’re sure you weren’t followed?”

“Yes, sir. Absolutely.”

Fleming mumbled, “that’s good, that’s good,” but he seemed to be worried about something. He looked down at his desk, picked up a paper, put it back down.

“Something wrong, sir?”

Fleming straightened. “When you called out a warning, did you call Heinmann by name?”

“No sir, I simply shouted ‘Look out!’”

“That’s good. That’s good,” he repeated, and again fumbled with papers on his desk.

Lucas waited. He was good at waiting.

“So you are sure you weren’t made?”

“Not then sir, but I’m sure the commies had been on to Heinmann for some time. They had to have been to know exactly when he would be crossing the Bonngasse. And if they had been watching him for a while, then they most certainly would have seen and deciphered the entire operation. A child could have done it.”

He refrained from reminding Fleming that he had warned him about this on several occasions, apparently to no avail.

”I was afraid that might be the case.” Fleming looked like he might be sick.

Lucas was getting angry. By ignoring his warnings, Fleming had almost guaranteed Heinmann’s death, and put his life at risk. But if he was good at waiting, he was even better at hiding his emotions. He stood in front of Fleming in silence. If Fleming were struggling with some difficult decision, then he would have to get it out on his own. Lucas wasn’t going to help him.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to put you on the shelf for a while, Hamilton. I’m sorry, but I can’t risk using you if the commies have your number….”

Lucas was beyond angry. He was furious. Fleming had fucked up, and now he was going to take the fall. Lucas couldn’t help but wonder how many fuck-ups Fleming had in his past, and how many good men he had sacrificed through his incompetence.

“…I realize that this is a bit of a blow, but you’re young, your career will survive. You’ll have many years of successful service ahead of you…” Fleming was rambling on, not even looking at Lucas as he spoke, pouring one platitude on top of another in an attempt to make Lucas feel as if he were acting in Lucas’ best interest.

But Lucas knew what being ‘put on the shelf’ meant—a transfer, in disgrace, to some outpost where he could do no more harm, a black mark on his career after only his first assignment.

He knew something else too. He knew that the real reason for Fleming’s actions was to get rid of him before too many questions could be asked. Fleming hadn’t even bothered to fully debrief him. He never asked about the truck, which Lucas could describe in detail, or the driver, whose face was etched into Lucas’ memory. Nor did he ask if Lucas had taken any precautions to protect his identification in the days before Deiter Heinmann’s assassination.

Lucas’ entire life experience had taught him to be cautious, and now he had begun to have questions about Fleming. Suppose he had run Heinmann out there every day with the express purpose of getting him killed? Lucas was finding it hard to believe that a senior CIA officer would not have recognized the danger to Heinmann and failed to act on it, unless he wanted Heinmann dead. So he held back what he knew, refused to defend himself, and accepted Fleming’s bumbling excuses without comment.

Finally, after a few more meaningless words, Fleming asked if he had any questions.

“Did he have any family, sir?”

“Heinmann? No, I don’t believe so. He was a fairy.”


* * * *

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