She savored another deep drag of her cigarette, then stubbed out the butt in an ashtray. "You came to talk. We talk. Then maybe you let me go."
This woman had appeared yesterday in Garmisch for a rendezvous that had been arranged through a series of emails to the chancellor's office from a man named Gerhard Schüb. The idea had been to facilitate a transfer of documents from Schüb, with Cress as the messenger. Which happened. Hence, the envelope. Then Cress had been taken into custody. Why? Good question, one that his old friend the chancellor had not fully answered. But who was he to argue with methodology. He was just glad to be in the mix.
"Who is Gerhard Schüb?" he asked.
She smiled, and the expression accented a bruise on the right side of her face. The stain marred what were otherwise striking features. Her skin was a milky white, and the features of her mouth and nose made her attractive in a stark kind of way, though her blue eyes were misty and distant.
"He is man trying to help," she said.
Not an answer. "I'll ask again. Who is Gerhard Schüb?"
"A man who knows great deal." She motioned to the envelope. "And he is sharing some of what he knows."
"Why doesn't he come forward himself?"
"He does not want to be found. Not even for Oma." She paused. "Or ex-presidents. He send me." She stared at him hard. "You don't understand any of this, do you?"
Through the insult he caught the unspoken message.
There is more here than you know.
"There are people and things, from past, that still have meaning today," she said. "Great meaning, in fact. As German chancellor will find out—if she pursues this matter. Tell Oma to be diligent."
An odd answer, but he let it pass. He lifted the envelope. "Inside here is a sheet with numbers on it. They look like GPS coordinates. Are they?"
She nodded. "It is a place, I am told, you need to visit."
She shrugged. "How would I know? I just messenger."
"You didn't bother to mention any of this yesterday."
"Never got chance. Before arrested and hit in face."
Which explained the bruise.
"I read the other papers in the envelope," he said. "They talk of things that have been over for a long time. World War Two. Hitler. Nazis."
She laughed, short and shallow. "Amazing how history can have meaning. Pay attention, Ex-President, you might learn things."
He could see she was going to be difficult.
But he specialized in difficult. "Is Gerhard Schüb my instructor?"
"Herr Schüb is only trying to help."
"To what end?"
She smiled. "To find truth. What else?"
She reached for the pack of cigarettes. He decided another smoke might loosen her tongue so he allowed her the privilege. She quickly lit up, and two deep drags seemed to relax her.
He needed to know more.
Especially about the origins of the documents in the envelope.