J IS FOR JYVÄSKYLÄ, FINLAND

J

A STORY OF JEOPARDY IN JYVÄSKYLÄ

Jyväskylä is the Athens of Finland, so they say, due to its role as an educational centre. It was the name given to it in the The Kalevala, the epic poem of collected folk lore and songs by Elias Lönnrot that is considered the national epic of Finland.

Juriitta was one of the current students at the University of Jyväskylä. Her parents had tried to convince her to stay in Helsinki in order for them to keep an eye on her, but she convinced them that Jyväskylä was the only place she could realise her ambitions. Teaching, she had told them when they had asked what those ambitions were. The University began life in the mid-1800s as the first Finnish-speaking Teacher Training College. Juriitta declined to mention the more recent expansion into courses in Cyber Securities, in cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces.

She had been offered a deal when they had tracked her down. Five-to-ten years in jail or get a degree and come and work for them. She told them it was a difficult thing for her to decide, she pretended she was wrestling with her conscience. She was anti-establishment, sick of the political class and the economic struggles they had overseen. She said she was filled with regret. She was just a naïve girl, mucking about with computers. She had hacked the national defence intranet almost by accident. She told the Finnish Defence Department officials exactly what she had been trained to tell them.

It was difficult to tell if they believed her. She was sure they had not made the link back to Konstantin. He had seduced her in her final year of school. Ten years older than her, with money, a flash car, dark hair and a charming smile. He didn’t try to lie to her, he told her straight out. He was Russian and he worked for the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation – the SVR, although many still called it the KGB.

Why her? Juriitta had asked. She had been talking to a colleague of his online, he said. Veeti, a sixteen year old boy from Vantaa was actually Mikhail, a fifty year old watcher in Moscow. Mikhail had steered their online chats towards politics and noted her discontent with her country, her loner and counter-culture status and her ability with computer programming. He had sent a flag up the chain in SVR headquarters. A potential recruit, there weren’t many in Finland that suited their needs. Finland had been ranked as the happiest place in the world to live by the United Nations in 2018, it was hard to find discontent. Eventually headquarters told Konstantin to make contact.

He met her one day as she left school, bumping in to her on the crowded train home, smiling and holding eye contact, alighting at the same stop. They walked together, he paid her the sort of close attention she was unused to. They met up that weekend. He seduced her easily and told her the truth. She followed their instructions to the letter, and allowed Konstantin to train her.

All that was four years ago. Now she was close to graduating and taking up her position within the Finnish Government’s Cyber Security Department. How long she would have to wait after that she didn’t know. Would it be Konstantin that would get in touch with her again? She hadn’t seen him since she had left Helsinki, but their love still lived on in a discrete, encrypted corner of cyberspace.

All she knew was the malware programme she had been given. When the time was right she would infect the Finnish network with it. To what end she couldn’t guess. Somewhere in Russia there were some old men who still dreamed of empire. Somewhere in Moscow someone wanted to restore Russia’s place in the world.

All Juriitta dreamed of was Konstantin and the promised life together in Moscow.

It never occurred to her that his name wasn’t really Konstantin and his other notable attributes included assassination, elusion and a sociopath’s lack of emotion.


Written as part of The A to Z Challenge 2018. Click HERE for more details of the challenge.

 

Each day in April we will visit a different town or city in the European Union, whose name will begin with the letter of the day – today it’s a trip to Jyväskylä in Finland for some political intrigue – for a story based on a theme also corresponding to the same letter.

Over the course of the month and 26 stories, we will visit all 28 member countries to complete a farewell tour before Britain leaves the political union next year, touching on the history, politics, culture and people at the heart of Europe.

For a full list of stories and the places visited, visit here: THE A TO Z CHALLENGE 2018.

Tomorrow, 2 countries for the price of 1.

 

93 responses to “J IS FOR JYVÄSKYLÄ, FINLAND”

  1. Oh, poor J! Is this based on a true story? 😲

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The characters are fictional in this one, although the places are real – Finland has a long history of Russian aggression and espionage along its border, and quite a few of these recent cyber attacks seem to have come from Russia, or so we’re told. So I guess it’s not inconceivable that it could happen!

      Like

  2. I love your theme, Iain. It’s nice to read about the many European countries. Also, thanks for liking my posts. It is a source of motivation for fledgling writers like me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome, I enjoy finding new writers and bloggers through the challenge, it is half the fun. Thank you for reading my posts, it is much appreciated, glad you are enjoying my stories. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. discovering Europe from your posts.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was a new city for me too, I have learned a lot from writing the stories 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. that was a brilliant one again Ian. How gullible people are tricked into working as spies. ts scary to reveal too much of ourselves online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I wanted to try and show the modern world of spying, and it very much is all about online and cyber security.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ouch! Too close to home…
    I really want to visit Finland though 🙂

    The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of countries along the Russian border seem vulnerable at the moment. I would also like to visit Finland one day. Tomorrow = Hungary story time (not featuring any folklore though!)

      Like

  6. Blinded by love (and passion) – she sounds like a quiet bad*ss, too. My most favorite in the series, so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Annie, I reckon she might end up being more than a passive victim too. Glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh no! What a player! If only she knew that one betrayal would lead to another betrayal and this time she would be the victim. I wonder what lies waiting for her in the future- death or life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Moon. It doesn’t look good for her future at the moment, but who knows, perhaps she is a stronger character than Konstantin realises! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s all up to you. I know, you can do it, her creator. 🙂 I look forward to seeing her again.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent again Iain. The art of deception is deceit itself. Very apt if one refers to espionage and governance.

    Hmm, my dissent may have been noted… I may be in for a little bit of peril…wrong movie, I digress…

    It’s a very poignant piece of the imbalance of love and misplaced trust. Find the weakness and exploit it. The conundrum of aftermath too if the target realises this. Really enjoyable read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Gary, be careful, they may be watching…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Undoubtedly algorithms are now at work sending all this to intelligence agencies. Must remember not to do book research on weaponry for a while now!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I often think that when I google some of my research words… I must be on a list somewhere by now!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Do you think “author research” holds up in court?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ouch! Preying on the gullible is just what predators like Konstantin live for. Iain, this has tremendous potential to be expanded into a full length story. Do get cracking on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Varad, perhaps once I have finished the A to Z Challenge! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your final sentence sums up her situation now and hints at what may befall her in the future. Excellent Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Superbly written! I am a big fan of spy stories… Is this based on true events i wonder???? I recently visited Finland and it is a beautiful country..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So jealous that you got to visit Finland, I would love to go. Not true events that I know of, but who knows, certainly plausible 🙂 Thank you for reading.

      Like

  12. How I wish to enter Juriitta ‘s world and make her aware of the real face of Konstantin.
    Was hooked till the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, perhaps a last minute character can be introduced to save her!

      Like

  13. Great post. I was lucky enough to spend a day in Finland in Helsinki. What an amazing place–not brave enough to eat the food though.

    Susanne Living the Dream

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Susanne, I would love to visit some day too.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Finland is the Scandinavian country I know least about, apart from it’s vulnerability to Russia and russian influence due to the geography. Nice call on the cyber security aspect.

    A-Zing this year at:
    FictionCanBeFun
    Normally found at:
    DebsDespatches

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Debs, sounds like we have about the same knowledge when it comes to Finland! Cyber Security is definitely the buzzword when it comes to spy stories in the modern world.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Well played. A talented but undersocialized and naive girl seduced by a covert agent and willing to do anything in the name of a love that doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked this one James.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool spy story. She is so hosed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep, I think she’s a bit of a goner…

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh my goodness!!!
    One of our fellow A-Z bloggers is doing a series on serial killers, you might be on to something here…
    That is something that might happen to me. Not engaging in treacherous activities, but falling for somebody I met online without really knowing their real identity and agenda. How scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t be too careful out there on the web 😉

      Like

  17. A good-old honey trap never fails to deliver, especially when the prey is amenable to it already. Excellent trivia again Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I hoped it would come across as a modern take on the old spy tactics 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow, this is quite an undertaking. You are going to have a busy month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Managing to keep up so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Another great one – perfectly intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow, Iain. That is a great story. That is exactly how master secret agents go about recruiting innocent young people to do their dirty work for them. The young unsophisticated girl full of puppy love is simply wax in the hands of a trained agent who knows exactly how to play on her emotions and render her helpless. Made very interesting reading.

    J is for Jack the Boy Who Painted Ghosts – #A2Z2018

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I could imagine it happening on all sides all over the world.

      Like

  21. People are naive. It’s been proved again and again. Often we are the very people who give the information weapons to the wrong ones. Great post and I am loving reading so much about Europe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yes sometimes unwittingly we give so much away.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Love is the only emotion which drives the world either way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For better or for worse. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  23. How sad to be targeted like this for nefarious purposes and to be so young and naive. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always the young and naive who are targeted. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Somehow I doubt that she’s going to make it Moscow. She reminds me of Penelope off of ‘Criminal Minds’, but the bad guys found her first. So sad. Thanks for the post!

    https://katseaholm.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/j-is-for-journey/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, I don’t see her making it out of Finland to be honest! Not familiar with Criminal Minds, will have to look out for it.

      Like

  25. Ooh, eerie ending. Scary how good he was at playing her like a pawn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He is very good at his job. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Like

  26. Wow. You can make a novel out of that one. So timely with today’s issues, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Denise, always a nice coincidence when the news ties in with a fictional story. If only the news was a bit nicer!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. That story sounds like it could be made into a movie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Carrie-Anne 🙂

      Like

  28. A story of dark lies, and deception. I hope she is able to see the light.
    Another very well told tale Iain. You are rocking it, ain’t you!

    Natasha
    natashamusing

    April Anecdotes
    Kiss

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Natasha, so glad you are enjoying my series, I’m enjoying writing it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. she’s not the first to be fool by men. I have half expected a grim ending.

    thanks for visiting my blog, have a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lissa, she wasn’t the first, she won’t be the last.

      Like

  30. Wow! A thriller, Iain. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Oooh, that was a zinger of an ending! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I want to read more! I have a feeling she is strong enough to overcome all this and maybe turn the tables on her so called lover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Linda, I get the feeling she may not be as naive as she is making out!

      Like

  33. Oooh! Intriguingly creepy! This should be continued into a complete novel!!
    ———-
    Gail Park
    Making Life an Art

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gail – I just need to find the time to write it!

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Juriitta got a good deal I think, very interesting. Great ending.

    Thanks for stopping by my A to Z https://writingiscommunication.wordpress.com/category/a-to-z-blogging/

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I think this is still relevant. Very interesting read this was. I’m loving how you are playing with characters based on places! Great going! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, much appreciated 🙂

      Like

  36. Wow. The ending is truly chilling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, that is as I intended 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Oh dear, the naivette of people that gets manipulated. As I read your posts, I realize that there is so much about the world that I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is still a big wide world out there, even though the internet has brought us all closer.

      Like

  38. Oopsie, hope Juriitta stays safe. Sometimes cyberspace brings us closer with the wrong people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a dangerous world out there in cyberspace!

      Like

  39. Wow, this “Konstantin’s” a scary man indeed. She maybe trained, but I think is innocent and young enough to get out while you she can. Go home and forget, or approach the right person in the government, say she was used. I don’t know where she should start. What a mess she is in, used and indoctrinated by Konstantine & other powerful Russians.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not too late for her but she needs to wake up quick!

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Well Juriitta is truly smitten and ready for a fall. This isn’t going to end well. Once that malware is out I imagine Juriitta will be found having committed suicide, ably assisted of course by Konstantin. A story from which to conjure so many possible endings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think your plot summary is spot on, unless a hero can emerge to save her before it is too late!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is Phillips somewhere in the background?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Funny you should mention him, tune in tomorrow for the ‘P’ story…

        Like

  41. Creepy. And unfortunately, so realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a dangerous cyberworld out there…

      Like

  42. Please please let Juriitta be a double agent. With a fast car.

    Like

    1. Possibly, but that might be too easy 🙂

      Like

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