|“||I don't know if the Ottomans have a love for beer. But coffee is another matter.||”|
The Coffee shop Alek and Corporal Hans Bauer visit when they are in Istanbul is located in a grand bazaar. The coffee shop is a popular spot for the German engineers working in Istanbul. As a result, Alek decides that this is a good place to try and obtain information about the Germans' plans in Istanbul.
In the seriesEdit
Bauer suggests that he and Alek look for a beer hall, but Alek says that they are more likely to find a coffee shop in the Ottoman Empire. Alek asks a boy carrying glass cups for directions to a coffee shop, and the boy takes them to a German coffee shop popular among the German engineers in Istanbul.
With his Turkish disguise, Alek feels out of place amongst all of the Germans in their work clothes. Alek and Bauer order two cups of rich dark coffee to drink. On a wall, next to them in the shop is a huge anti-Darwinist propaganda poster that reads “Who will protect us from these monsters?” Alek recalls that this is the “crude” propaganda that his father hated when he was alive.
As they sit, Alek gets to know Bauer a little better and realizes that he doesn’t know much about his crew even after they had given up so much for him. He didn’t even know Bauer’s first name. Nevertheless, Alek is grateful for Bauer’s company and encouragement. He finds it interesting to learn that, not just him, but his crew also are all orphans in a way.
Alek notices a strange English speaking man going from table to table. There is a fabricated frog on the man’s shoulder and Alek automatically assumes that the man is a Darwinist. He walks up to their table and asks if either of them speak English. Alek tells him that he speaks a “little” English. The man smiles and introduces himself as Eddie Malone, an American reporter for the New York World.
Malone sits down and pressures them for an interview. Alek obliges and seizes this opportunity to gather information about the Germans from the reporter. Malone asks Alek a series of questions. Alek can’t tell him the truth about why he is there in Istanbul, so he fabricates a story which, ironically, just makes Alek seem more suspicious to Malone.
Alek shifts the conversation to avoid incriminating himself further. Alek asks Malone about the Darwinist frog on his shoulder, which Malone explains is used for recording. From Malone, Alek learns that the Leviathan is still in Istanbul and that the British plan on giving it to the Sultan for political reasons. The news shocks Alek. Malone then explains that the Sultan will be going on a joyride on the ship and reporters are invited to join them. Alek sees the Leviathan still being in Istanbul as an opportunity for Volger to escape the ship and reunite with Alek and the rest of the crew. When he learns that Malone will be going on this joyride, he asks the reporter to deliver a message to the count via his recording frog.
Before Alek can finish telling Malone about Volger, they are interrupted by a glowing screen depicting a shadow play. While the mechanical puppet show goes on, Bauer spots two German soldiers making their way through the coffeehouse trying to match faces with photographs in their hands. Bauer suggests that they leave, but Alek believes that they are in no danger since Alek’s father always refused to have pictures taken of his son. But he soon realizes that the soldiers weren’t looking for him; they were searching for his men.
Alek looks for an escape route, and Malone notices his nervous glances. Malone casually tells him about a door behind the glowing paper screen that leads to an alley. Alek arranges to meet with Malone the next day.
Alek takes Malone's advice and jets towards the screen and slices it, so he and Bauer can escape out the door and into the alley.