Henkel’s face was still pale, but Silversmith saw a brightness in his eyes that could have been excitement or welling tears. Henkel’s gaze turned away from the Reich and toward the pod that MacFadyen had called “secret.” Interesting. As an SS officer, Henkel was privy to secrets that were kept from Silversmith.
“You know Max, I never realised how impressed I’d be by this station.”
“I agree. The dominion of the Reich reaches to the stars.”
Silversmith recognised a quote from one of Heydrich’s speeches. He was sure Henkel’s political correctness was a defence against a lonely young man trying to rise to the surface. What did the SS do to its people when it trained them?
“So you’ll be broadcasting on the Party’s own channel? Quite a responsibility.”
Henkel seemed to swell with pride. “I am confident that I will fulfil my duty.”
Henkel’s gaze wandered back to the secret pod. Silversmith wondered how Henkel had ended up in communications. It wasn’t a particularly prestigious job by SS standards, though it was a necessary one since the SS had taken over foreign reporting from the Ministry of Public Enlightenment. Then again, the Penguin’s communications officer had the task of broadcasting directly to the Party channel, which every television in the Greater Reich had to be able to receive. It wasn’t a trivial responsibility for a 26-year old Obersturmführer.
“Do you have anyone to miss down there?” Silversmith nodded at the Reich. He wondered how he could talk to the young man without talking to the Obersturmführer.
“Not really. My family is proud of my posting and I’m not worried about them.”
“They sound like good people.”
“My father was in the original Hitler-Jugend. He was with the Waffen-SS in the Middle East and Russia.”
Silversmith heard pride in Henkel’s voice but little affection.
“Sounds like a lot to look up to.”
Henkel’s face tightened. The Obersturmführer was seizing control after letting it slip for a moment. “I will do my duty as he did his.”
Next week: Beerkellar
Full story available from Amazon in Kindle format.
Cover by Manda Benson