October 1980, East Berlin
The timbre of the engine alternated from a low hum to a piercing whine as the heavy sedan careened through the streets. The wavering note a crude mimicry of the cries emanating from the back seat. Its sole occupant was sprawled across the rumbling bench, her body cloaked in a heavy woolen blanket and a thin film of sweat. As the car leaned violently into another turn her delicate fingers dug into the cheap vinyl; both to steady herself and to brace against the building contractions. Once again sound bearing little resemblance to human speech slipped past her clenched teeth. The driver, adding to his imprudent course of action, took his eyes from the narrow road and glanced at her in the rear view. Their gaze met in the mirror and she could see the determination in his taught face...and the weariness at its edges. As the car hurtled forward the stoic soviet architecture blurred. Her view out the windows now nothing but a looming gray corridor. The contractions were closer and she knew that time was short. "Er kommt...er kommt" she cried as her body tensed The driver took another risk and checked his watch. Instinctively his foot leaned further into the accelerator. The engine raced along with his thoughts. The sacrifices. The bribes. The killing. If they were late...No!...he wouldn't let himself think of failure. Not when they were so close. As the green Volga neared the crossing he knew the timing was right. The expected diplomatic car was stopped just inside the gate. As he watched the barrier lift he jammed the pedal to the floorboards. The border guard was well trained and disciplined. As the speeding car bore down on him he stayed calm and fired three shots. He was too late. The drivers head began to loll loosely upon his shoulders but the cars momentum was sufficient. It barreled through the open gate clipping the soldier as he dove for the safety of the guard house. The official car was still turning out of the checkpoint when the Volga crushed its rear quarter panel. The two cars began to twist and buckle as metal, glass, and rubber danced in the air. When the sounds of rending steel and screeching tires faded a single sound filled the void. The plaintive cry of a child.