A lusty serial in the tradition of the 1930s pulps.

When they arrived at the airport, the guards waved them through, pointing to a sleek aeroliner waiting on the taxiway.

"Jeepers, what's that?" Anna Lee asked, bringing the car to screeching stop next to the plane. The wings swept forwards like an inverted chevron, with jet exhausts nestled where each joined the fuselage. The whole craft gleamed silver in the floodlights.

"I'm not sure. I've never seen that model before." Since the war, he'd been on military flights to Washington before, but never one something like this.

"Dr. Easterly!" Agent Crandall called from the top of the boarding ramp. He descended quickly, a smile on his face that turned to shock as he approached the Thunderbird and saw the bandages on Jack's arm.

"What happened?"

"Long story." Jack said, climbing laboriously out of the car.

Anna Lee came around to join the two men.

"And you are?" Agent Crandall asked sharply.

"One of my students." Jack closed his good hand around Anna Lee's. "Keep the keys. I won't be gone long. Will you watch my place while I'm gone?"

"No way, professor. You won't get anywhere without help. Anyway, trips are always better with a pretty girl along!" She smiled brightly.

"Listen-" Agent Crandall interjected, frowning.

"...pretty girl..." Jack mumbled, his mind finally finding traction in the alcoholic haze. He gave Anna Lee a thoughtful look.

"Don't be silly. You-" Crandall and Anna Lee were still arguing.

"I think...I think she should come." A plan was beginning to crystallize. He couldn't focus well enough to work out all the details yet, but Anna Lee definitely had a part to play.

The other two spun and faced him, mouths open in shock.

"You do?" Anna Lee said. "I mean...super!"

"I'm sure you can arrange some clothes for her on the way, can't you?" Jack asked the other man. When Crandall opened his mouth to protest, Jack took his arm and pulled him aside.

"You can't just-" Crandall began.

"You came to me, G-man, so shut up and listen." Jack overrode him, voice suddenly harsh. He hadn't talked to anyone like that in years and it charged him with a sudden jolt of adrenaline. "I have a plan, and she's part of it. That means she gets on that plane, whether you like it or not."

The black-suited man glared at Jack in silence, and for the first time, Jack stared right back.

"Fine, but you explain first chance we get. And everything is on a need to know basis. Everything. Got that?"

Jack nodded, glad the other man couldn't see his knees trembling as the adrenaline eased. He told Crandall about the body in his house, and the agent promised to have it dealt with.

"Alright. Let's move out." Taking Jack's bags, Agent Crandall led the pair up the boarding stairs.

"So what kind of plane is this?" Anna Lee asked as they climbed, eyes wide with wonder.

"Stop asking questions." Crandall muttered darkly.

Anna Lee turned to look at Jack, who shrugged mutely in apology. Pouting, she followed in silence.

A stewardess met them at the door. A white uniform blouse set off her ebony skin, and her crinkly hair poofed out in a decidedly unmilitary appearance. Even Anna Lee had to admit the colored woman's long, slender legs were hard to compete with. Still, she thought smugly as she adjusted her bra, I've got her beat up top.

While Crandall and the stewardess got Anna Lee and the baggage stowed away, Jack slipped forwards to the cockpit. The pilot was talkative, glad for a change from the close-mouthed spooks he usually flew.

"No kidding, you flew a Dauntless in the War?" He asked after Jack mentioned his own piloting experience. "Buddy of mine flies one in the Confederate Air Force."

"Yeah?" Jack asked, interested.

"No colored girls in that air force." He said with a roll of his eyes and a nod towards the back.

"Who'd he fly with?" Jack asked, changing the subject.

"The Lexington, I think. How about you?"

"I started on the Yorktown."


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