The morning sun was fading slowly behind a large group of grey cloud approaching from the West. Nicolai approached the harbour master’s office and stood in a queue behind three other men, waiting at the reception hatch serving the office. Soon it was his turn.
“Yes?” the man at the hatch asked, boredom in his voice.
“I’m looking for work…”
“What kind of work?” the man interrupted.
“Computers, design, technical - or anything to do with electronics,” Nicolai replied, a pleading sound in his voice.
“There’s nothing in the yard at the moment I’m afraid - wait a minute though - we need someone to fill in here in the office, but it’s only for a couple of weeks, could be more. We’ve got a man off sick. Can you work on IBMs?”
“No problem,” Nicolai replied, unable to believe his luck.
“What’s your name?” the man asked.
“Come round to the side, someone will let you in.”
Nicolai gladly obliged.
After a couple of hours he soon got the hang of what was required of him; entering up-to-date information on the comings and goings of naval shipping at Nardvik.
Nobody in the office seemed to notice, but every odd hour, at five minutes past the hour, Nicolai left his computer terminal, walked to the front of the office and looked out of the window.