K2 Series - Book 4.
K2 have been tipped off about an underground Nazi complex, sealed since the end of the war and rumoured to contain gold. Johno and Thomas get trapped inside, but this is one complex that does not want to let them go. Each new room reveals a horror worse than the last.
Otto walked briskly into Beesely's office at 11am. Thomas was sat crossed-legged on the floor and struggling with a FN GPMG, a hefty 7.62mm belt-fed machine gun with a bi-pod. He was trying to re-assemble it without any help from 'vanker', to show Grandpa Beesely how clever he was. Johno lifted his head from where he sat overlooking Thomas, tea mug in hand.
'Something interesting,' Otto stated. He stood at the side of the desk looking as if he had something interesting to say.
Beesely looked up from his file, lifting his eyebrows in question.
Otto continued, 'We have been approached by an old man from a small village called Bily Potok in the Czech Republic. It is near the town of Liebere, 65km north east of Prague. He says that he knows of an old Nazi tunnel complex ... where gold is hidden.'
Johno straightened. 'Nazi gold?'
Beesely smiled widely. 'A treasure hunt,' he enthused. 'Excellent. I've always wanted to search for Nazi gold.'
Thomas jumped up. 'Can I have a bar?' he begged in his accented English.
'His English is getting better,' Beesely noted.
'They all study it in school, he's been studying it for years,' Johno informed Beesely as they both studied the lad. 'He can read and understand a lot, just has some difficulty with pronouncing the odd word. I make him explain what he wants in English - motivated self-interest training technique. If he wants a treat then it's got to be in English and correct.'
'Seems to be working,' Beesely agreed, smiling at twelve-year-old Thomas.
Otto stepped to the corridor and waved someone forwards. A manager walked in with a rolled map, followed by a slow moving and hunched old man escorted by a guard. The manager un-rolled the map and weighted down the edges with cups as everyone keenly moved in for a closer look.
The old man, dressed in a black leather coat and matching black leather cap, smiled and waved as he sat down, being ignored as everyone focused on the map. The manager pointed out the village of Bily Potok, highlighting the hills and forest to the south of it.
'It's on the edge of the old German speaking part of the Czech Republic, the Sudetenland,' Beesely noted, studying the topography with a finger.
'There's a railway line not far,' Johno pointed out. 'Ah, so there used to be a rail link to the area,' Beesely
considered without looking up. 'Germans always moved things by rail, heavy stuff anyway.'
The manager pointed out the area of interest.
'Isolated enough,' Johno quietly suggested to no one in particular. 'Only the one access road.' He glanced up at Otto before facing the old Czech man. 'What's that access road like?'
Otto spoke to the man in German, finding the man's explanation oddly accented. The old man spoke in an old Czech derivative of German, most words being fundamentally German but heavy in slang. Finally Otto faced the group. 'It is a gravel track, difficult in winter, but OK now. It is a single vehicle track and a small lorry would use it with no problem, not steep. When he was a boy he helped the German Army moving boxes in and out of the mine.'
'Art treasure?' Johno asked. 'Ask him if the boxes were heavy?'
Otto translated. Finally he said, 'Some small and heavy, some large and not heavy. The German Army sealed the cave at the end of the war, they collapsed the tunnels.'
Beesely considered it. 'Small and heavy could be gold,' he quietly mused. With a slight frown he added, 'But the gold was moved in secret at the end of the war, they would not have used local boys. What else does he know?'
The manager answered, 'People came and tried to access the mine until 1965. He thinks they were searching for the gold. Many attempts were made to clear the main entrance, but always more rocks fell down. But he suggests that there are other entrances.'
'Question is,' Beesely began, 'did they find them and get in?' He leant forwards, his arms on the map. 'Does he know a second entrance?'
'Yes, but it is blocked with rocks, sir,' the manager informed him. 'It would need specialist equipment to move the rocks, which would attract the local authorities. Searching for such material requires a permit, new European safety considerations -'
'What?' Beesely puzzled. 'There are European Union conventions ... on searching for Nazi gold?'