Alpha Charlie 201 is flying less than steadily in the sky at just about three thousand feet over the ground. Adam Svenson is at the control of the small Cessna plane. Sitting next to him, Richard Fraser repeats the distress call tirelessly over the radio, ignoring willingly the numerous responds coming from both Koala Base and Angel One.
“Alpha Charlie 201, here’s Angel One.” The voice of Destiny is calling. “Your distress call has been received on our private wavelength. I’m on my way to help you. Please acknowledge.”
“Bushwhacker Alpha Charlie 201 calling.” Fraser says in the inboard mike. “Mayday! Mayday! Need help desperately! Please respond, anybody!”
Sitting in the back of the little plane, directly on the floor, Blackburn and Holden look with curiosity as Donaghue, in between them, taps on his computer keys, which he had somehow hooked up to the onboard radio of the plane.
“You’re very good with that kind of toys, aren’t you?” Blackburn notes to Donaghue.
Donaghue does not even raise his eyes from his computer screen. “Yeah, well… Years of studying and working on it, I guess…”
“AND some personal talent, certainly.”
“I know of a guy who’s some sort of a wizard with computers and telecommunications.” Holden says. “Nothing can faze him.”
“Think I could give him some pointers?” Donaghue asks.
Holden scoffs. “Oh no! HE’d give some to you, that I could guarantee! He may be a young guy, but he’s the best there is at what he does.”
“Maybe some day you’ll present him to me.”
“Maybe. When this entire ruckus will be over, hopefully.”
Blackburn shakes his head. “How did you get that wavelength, anyway?”
“Professional secret.” Donaghue says with a distracted tone. “Maybe I’ll sell it to the World Government one day. Could do wonders for all their so-called security. And I will make a fortune before retiring.”
“Retiring from what?” Holden asks with a curious smile.
Donaghue does not even take the trouble to answer. He keys a new series of commands, and then smiles. “All right, now!” He looks at Fraser: “Your information was right on target, Rick! Using the communications between Angel One and Koala Base, I have pinpointed the exact coordinates of the Base.”
“And that is…?” Svenson asks.
“Five degrees North. We’re at about at one hour from there, with present speed.”
Svenson frowns. “One hour?”
“That’s what I said. Why?”
“This old crate will have difficulty lasting that long.”
Blackburn stiffs. “Meaning?”
“Meaning Rick’s message was not so phoney after all. Just a bit premature.”
“What seems to be the problem?” Donaghue asks.
“Everything!” Svenson almost snaps. “This junk is old, not well maintained, and tired. We’re too heavy for it, and it has flown far too long in distance and time… I think today was too much for it.”
Blackburn mumbles. “Oh God… What’s that saying again? ‘Be careful what you wish you had…’”
‘“Because you may end up getting what you wish you had…’» Blackburn glances at Holden who waves his hand: “Or something like that”.
Donaghue looks at his computer’s screen. “Angel One will be with us in ten minutes or so.”
Fraser then cuts his transmission to turn toward the three men in the back. “She just told us that, fellows. But I don’t think it would be any consolation for us if we plough ourselves into the ground before she arrives.”
“And even if she arrives, what good can it do us?” Holden remarks.
“Not much, I’m afraid.” Svenson sighs. He addresses Donaghue: “Perhaps you’re a wizard with a computer, Pat, but you’re sure not very good at choosing a fine reliable plane!”
“Hey! I did the best I could under the circumstances. Would you have preferred to stay stranded in the desert?”
“Maybe we can land somewhere here before it’s too late?” Holden suggests.
Svenson shakes his head. “Nope. I already checked out. There’s no good landing ground underneath us. We REALLY are in trouble here. The only chance we may have is if we can reach Koala Base before crashing in.”
“Fantastic.” Blackburn says between clenched teeth. “Well, YOU are a wizard with planes, Adam. Do your best to keep this thing up until we arrive.”
“This is one time I’d wish you’d be in my place, Steve. I just hope this bloody old pieces of craps won’t disintegrate before we reach our target.”
“Here goes my depot…” Donaghue mumbles gloomily.
The radio was relaying yet another attempts from Angel One to reach them. Svenson waves to Fraser.
“Maybe you’d better responded to her, now, Rick. No sense in playing dumb right now. After all, we have nothing to hide.”
Holden snorts. “Yeah, right! Except that we have escaped from the desert where possibly one of her boyfriends had left us!”
“We don’t know the extend of theses pilots’ activities with Captain Black’s gang, Brad.”
“I continue to say that we’re going right down into the lion’s den. Maybe we did wrong by letting Rick make all theses researches, in the first place. We shouldn’t have taken upon ourselves to go to this Koala Base. We should have warned the proper authorities.”
“Which should have been what?” Donaghue replies. “The police? Or the military, maybe?”
“Even with Rick’s input, they would have difficulties believing in hour story.” Blackburn remarks. “Heck! I don’t even believe all of it myself!”
“Will you pipe down, all of you?” Fraser snaps. “I will contact the Angel One craft, now. And if I were you, I’d kept very quiet and very still back there. Stay away from the windows if you don’t want to be seen when she comes near us.”
“You’re right.” Blackburn sighs. “I thought I recognized that accent: That’s Juliette Pontoin who’s piloting that craft.”
“And she knows you.” Svenson notes.
“And she’ll wonder why there is a WASP officer in uniform right in the middle of the desert.” Fraser continues.
“Point taken.” Holden nods. “I’m not really in my element, here.”
“What about me?” Donaghue asks.
“Well, you look normal enough…”
Donaghue sniffles over Fraser remark. “Thank you!”
“Put yourself in front of Brad and Steve, and be as wide as you can be.” Fraser continues, smiling. “So that girl sees only you and not them.”
“Alpha Charlie 201, this is Angel One calling.” The voice of Destiny is continuing over the radio. “I’ve received your distress call. Please acknowledge.”
Fraser sighs and finally answers. “Angel One, this is Bushwhacker Alpha Charlie 201. Mighty good to hear your voice. Where’s your position?”
“I would be with you in less than five minutes, Bushwhacker. Keep your cap. What is your exact situation?”
“The engine is experiencing serious problems. We’re having backfires and losing altitude. Control commands are not steady and the cabin’s shaking like crazy. And we see no place to land.”
“How are you on fuel?”
“Fraser glances at Svenson with an interrogative look. The blond man shrugs. “We’re low on it. We’ve been flying for hours, now, with no good landing grown to find. I predict we will fly on fuel for another forty-five minutes or so… and then, we will get down, like it or not.”
“Your heard that, Angel One?” Fraser says over the radio.
“I heard.” Destiny responds. “Was that the pilot?”
“Yeah, it was him.”
“How is he doing?”
Svenson himself answers with a loud voice: “The best I could under the circumstances. At least I keep her up in the air.”
Donaghue, who has come closer behind Svenson and Fraser, points suddenly toward a white spot in the sky, which is approaching quickly, at a steady speed. “Here she comes… I think.”
The white Angel fighter craft, sleek and fast, fly by the distressed Cessna, and goes to turn around somewhere behind it. The five men in the older plane gaze at it with appreciative looks. Especially Fraser.
“Yes, it is one of the Angels jets fighters.” Blackburn nods, with a low voice.
“What a beauty.” Fraser utters under his breath, admiringly. “I must have it in my collection.”
Svenson frowns. “What are you talking about? What is that collection of yours, anyway?”
Fraser waves away the question: “Later.” Then, he returns to his mike: “Angel One, was that you a second ago?”
“It is I.” Destiny answers. “I’m coming next to you, now.”
Blackburn and Holden get as far away in the back of the cabin as the can, while Donaghue makes himself as wide as possible, like Fraser has instructed him. They see the fighter jet coming slowly to the left side of their plane, and keeping itself to the pilot level. The Angel is so close that they can see the young woman behind the cockpit, looking thoughtfully at their craft.
“She’s examining it.” Donaghue whispers.
“Yes, as if she’s suspecting something.” Svenson says, from the corner of his mouth.
“Let’s hope she won’t send us a missile or something like that.” Fraser mumbles.
“You think she’s armed?” A worried Donaghue asks.
“That’s a fighter jet, nitwit.” Fraser replies dryly.
“I don’t know of this sort of thinks, mate. That’s no reason to insult me!”
“Be quiet, you two!” Svenson commands.
The voice of Destiny Angel then comes from the radio speaker, with a tone of concern about it: “Alpha Charlie 201, here’s Angel One. Forgive me but… How can you fly in that?”
Annoyed by the remark, Svenson snatches the radio-mike from Fraser’s hand. “It wasn’t in such a state when we first picked it up, Angel One.” He answers with an angry voice. “Now if you don’t present us with more constructive inputs, I suggest you go your way and leave us be!”
Fraser jumps. “Adam, are you crazy?”
“Forgive me, Bushwhacker.” Destiny sighs. “That was out of line.”
“Yes, it was. Now, will you direct us somewhere we could land safely?”
“I’m sorry, Bushwhacker. There isn’t much choice around here… You are flying over a restricted military area, which was mostly left in the wild.”
“Well, YOU came from somewhere, isn’t it?” Svenson insists.” Is it too far for us to reach before we crash?”
There is hesitation in Destiny’s voice. “As I said, this is a restricted area, here. And the Base you’re referring to is strictly prohibited from unauthorised civilians.”
“I don’t care if it’s the Red Place, the Vatican, or even Area 51!” Svenson snaps angrily. “Lady, I don’t think you understand our situation here: if we don’t land safely soon, we’ll become a permanent part of the scenery. Don you want that on your conscience?” He pauses a second, trying to calm down a little. “Now, tell me, is that base far from here? Can we reach it in time?”
There is a short moment of silence as Angel One is obviously weighting the options presented to her. Then her heavy accented voice comes once more on the receiver:
“Koala Base is full west from here. At your present speed, we could reach it in less than an hour.”
“That would be a tad tight, but at least that’s a chance.” Svenson sighs.
“Can you take a little more altitude?”
“Yeah, I think so. And I can push the engine a bit more, without disintegrating it.”
“Good. Climb up, then. I’ll escort you to Koala Base. Follow my exact instructions, Alpha Charlie 201.”
“Will do, Angel One. Please, lead the way.”
The Angel aircraft takes the lead, but keeps near the little Cessna as they climb together a few hundreds feet more. The men in the older place exchange glances, as they head full West, toward Koala Base.
“Here we go, boys…” Svenson announced between his teeth. “And we’ll make it in one piece. You’ll see.”
* * *
The sun is very close to set when the two crafts arrive in view of Koala Base. Right within the time Destiny had predicted.
She has flown very closely to the little Cessna, making sure it wasn’t about to drop suddenly to the ground before arrival. It has constantly loose altitude, though, and it was shaking like hell. It’s still shaking, Destiny notices gloomily. But at least it’s keeping together.
The pilot’s a cool one. In succeeding to keep that piece of junks up in the air, he must be one of the best Destiny has ever encountered… Well, not counting any of the Angels pilots, Destiny muses with a fond smile.
She has had time to contact Koala Base and announced to the girls what was happening. She was quite puzzled when she thought she heard a hesitating doubt in Melody’s voice, when she had told the distressed plane was coming to land on the base. Melody has even insisted that a security guard would be present at the landing ground.
Now Destiny’s wondering what’s going on exactly. Melody’s not a cold one, habitually. It’s certainly not the restricted status of Koala Base that could stop her from letting that distressed Cessna land safely… She’s not that kind of person. To the contrary, she would fight claws and teeth to give them safe arbour.
Then, what is it? Destiny remembers the call from the Base, before the distressed call. Melody AND Rhapsody sounded rather in a hurry to see her coming back. Urgent matter, as Destiny understands it.
Well, whatever it is, all will be said and done in a matter of minutes, now.
The two planes are about to land. Destiny calls the Cessna’s pilot, to give him her latest instruction:
“Alpha Charlie 201, this is Angel One. You can now make your approach to the landing ground.”
“Receive, Angel One.” Svenson responds. “I will do my best not to crash on landing.”
I’m sure you will, mon ami, muses Destiny as she looks at the Cessna going down, surely if not steadily. There is now black smoke coming out of the engine. Must have giving out its last resources. Not a second too soon.
The Cessna makes a rather shaky touch down. Destiny sees it shaking like never before and swaying a bit on the runway. Smoke comes heavily out of the engine, now, and she wonders if it’s not going to blow.
It does not, and the Cessna’s finally coming to a halt, right in the middle of the runway.
In the Cessna’s cabin, Svenson turns off the engine, with a heavy sigh of relief. They have made it. Just. He’s under the impression the plane is still shaking. No, he notices. That’s not the plane. It’s ME.
“I can’t believe it.” Fraser says with a rasping voice and bewildered eyes. “We’re on the ground. Safely, in one piece.”
Donaghue pats Svenson’s shoulder. “You’re a hell of a pilot, Adam.”
“I concurred.” Blackburn says from the back. “You’re the best, Adam… Well, right next to me, of course.”
Svenson is a bit pale, but succeeds in smiling lightly. “Thank you. I must admit, there were moments I thought we were done for.”
“Oh? When?” A curious Fraser asks him.
“About all the way through here.”
“All that smoke coming from the engine…” A very worried Holden remarks. “Isn’t it any danger for it exploding?”
“No. Not anymore.” Svenson sighs. “Where’s that Angel jet?”
“Must be on its way to land.” Donaghue answers. “Shouldn’t we get the plane out of the way, somehow?”
At about fifty feet in front of the Cessna, the Angel craft is landing vertically, right next to two others crafts, the exact replicas of itself. The men in the older plane watch, fascinating. Svenson address a smile to Donaghue.
“It’s a VTOL model.” Svenson explains. “Lands and takes off that way. No need to use a runway, as you can see.”
Fraser looks at the white jet with an admiring glance. “It really IS a beauty.”
“You’re seeing that girl from over here?” Donaghue asks him.
“I’m talking about the plane.” An annoyed Fraser retorts.
Donaghue laughs. “I know that!”
“Well, guys, the girl is too.” Blackburn replies, nodding. “You’ll see by yourselves in a little while.”
“Maybe we should get out of here.” Svenson says. “Steve, Brad, stay well hidden. I think I saw some blankets over in the corner. Get under them.”
“In this heat?” Holden mumbles back.
“When night comes, it won’t be that warm anymore.”
Blackburn scoffs. “You don’t suppose we will spend the night here, like this?”
“Yeah. Cramped in here, it will do no good to my back.”
Svenson, Donaghue, and Fraser get out of the Cessna. While Svenson goes to open the hatch over the still smoking engine, followed by Donaghue, Fraser only has eyes for the Angel aircraft. A hatch has opened under it, and the seat with the pilot still in it is now sliding down slowly toward the ground. That’s quite an ingenuous concept, thinks Fraser who, wanting to see more of it, steps toward the fighter jet.
A woman’s voice then comes calling him sternly from behind:
“Hold it right there!”
Fraser stops in his track and swirls. A young Black woman, accompanied by a man wearing a grey uniform and holding a rifle, is coming toward him. Svenson and Donaghue have raised their heads at the sound of the woman’s voice. She stops in front of Fraser.
“Forgive me, sir, but the Angel is a highly classified aircraft. Please, I will ask you not to come too close to it.”
“Sorry, miss. I didn’t mean to do any harm.” Fraser opens his jacket: “You can see you have nothing to fear from me: I do not have any camera. I was just curious, that’s all.”
“Nevertheless, please stay away from the fighter jet.” The woman insists.
Fraser shrugs, as if unconcerned. “All right. I’ll do as you ask. Er… How should I call you?”
“You may refer to me as Melody Angel.”
Fraser smiles. “The name befits you well.”
He hears footsteps from behind. Looking over his shoulder, he sees Angel One pilot coming at him, taking off her transparent helmet. She’s every bit as beautiful as the other one, he thinks, only she has wondrous long floating blond hair.
“Are all of you all right, monsieur?” She asks stopping in front of Fraser.
“Yeah, sure. A bit shaken, but otherwise fine.” He glances to the armed man: “Is that guy really necessary?”
“It’s only a matter of security, sir.” The pilot says. “This is a restricted military base. I have told you so before bringing you here.”
“Yes, so you have.” Fraser looks around thoughtfully: “Not much people buzzing around for a military base, though.”
The pilot does not response. She goes toward the Cessna, in front of which Svenson and Donaghue are standing. Fraser follows, Melody Angel and the security guard on his heels.
“Your friends told me you’re all right, gentlemen.” The blond woman says to Svenson.
“Yes, we are. Thanks to you, miss.”
The pilot smiles. “Call me Destiny.”
“Well, miss Destiny, if you hadn’t come by when you did, my friends and I wouldn’t be alive at this minute.”
“You were the pilot, I think?”
“Then you have only yourself to thank, monsieur. Your skills have saved you.”
“Without a place to land, my skills would have been obsolete.”
“What were you doing in restricted area, gentlemen?” Melody then asks.
Fraser shrugs. “We didn’t know it was restricted to begin for.”
“I guess we have wandered out from the usual course.” Svenson adds.
“And what was supposed to be your usual course?” Destiny asks.
“We’re Americans tourists, out to see the Australian outback.” Fraser answers quietly.
“So, you chartered a plane and go out flying it all by yourselves in a country you don’t know?” Melody notes.
“Well, we had the best pilot around…” is Fraser’s quick respond.
“And we’re adventurous kind of guys.” Donaghue adds.
“Yeah, you in particular.” Fraser says to him. “You’re the one who charters this crate.”
“I didn’t force you to climb aboard!” Donaghue almost snaps.
“Cut it out, guys!” Svenson intervene. He takes an apologizing tone, addressing Destiny and Melody: “ have to excuse my friends. They’re at each other’s since the beginning of this little escapade. Must be the nerves.”
“How’s the plane, monsieur…?”
“Kowalski. Well, the plane’s not about to fly any time soon.”
“The engine’s dead?” Melody asks.
Svenson smiles broadly: “No. Just very tired. I just took a look inside. Some pieces obviously need to be changed… And the fluids refilled. A good complete servicing should do the trick. At least for a couple of trips more.”
“You seem to know your way around aeronautic mechanic, mister Kowalski.” Melody notes.
Svenson shrugs. “Just a few things or so, so I can help myself in case of need. THAT kind of stuff is a bit out of my league, however.”
Melody takes a look into the engine. Svenson waits behind her. He notices how she examines carefully the different pieces that seem the more damage. So, he muses, SHE knows her way too around engines. And very much at that.
“I’d say you need a complete check up and lots of repairs before going up in that crate.” Melody announced, getting her head out of the engine.
Donaghue is very surprise by her diagnostic. “It could still fly?”
“Not right now. Most certainly not tonight.”
“Are you able to repair it, lady?” Fraser asks the young black woman. “You seem to know pretty much about this.”
“I’m due for duty soon, sir, I’m sorry to say.”
“You have another mechanic?” Svenson asks.
Destiny turns to Melody: “How about Harrison?”
“That Cessna’s engine is way older that what he’s used to. But I’ll have a word with him about it.”
“See that he gets to it as soon as possible.” Destiny turns to the three men, with a look of concern on her face. “You find me in quite an embarrassing situation, gentlemen. You are on a restricted military base…”
“Yes, you’ve already said that.” An annoyed Svenson replies. “What’s that got to do with our problem?”
“It complicates it very much, monsieur. We can’t call an air-taxi service so you can return to… er… civilisation. This base location is military secret. YOU shouldn’t even be here.”
“I’ve got a solution for you, lady: why don’t you drop us out in the desert?” Donaghue suggests cynically. “Your military secret will be safe, then!”
“No need to upset yourself, monsieur.” Destiny smiles a little: “And I’m not about to take such a drastic measure. After all, we are not… “ She hesitates, obviously stumbling upon the word she’s looking for, and turns toward Melody: “How do you say “sauvage” in English?”
Svenson smiles. “As in ‘unsociable’? It’s almost the same, actually: you say ‘savage’.”
Destiny’s eyes brighten. “Ah! Monsieur speaks French, oui?”
Svenson laughs. “Not really. I know some words, and that’s about all. A friend of mine surely knows much more than me.” He clears his throat: “So, what should we do about our situation?”
As I was about to say, monsieur: we have a problem as to your presence here. Accepting that you land was already quit a departure from the base’s regulations. But we couldn’t very well let you crash in the desert. The circumstances were outside of our control. So, we’ll have one of our mechanics trying to repair your plane… while you’ll be our guests here.”
“But under strict restrictions.” Melody adds quickly.
“Yes, this should be well understood.”
“So you should not wander around the base. You will be escorted to your night quarters, where you will remain until your plane is safely repaired. I expected our mechanic would be able to do the job during the night.”
“You then should be able to leave in the morning.”
Svenson looks at the two women, thoughtful. “And if the plane’s not ready?”
“We’ll simply have to bring you to the nearest civil airport in one of our crafts.” Destiny answers.
“And what about our plane?” Donaghue then interrupts. “We will have to leave it here?”
“Yes, if there is no other option.” Destiny answers.
Svenson frowns. “Why have I the feeling that you’re giving us no choice, miss Destiny?”
“Just Destiny, please. No, monsieur Kowalski, you’re right. I give you no choice.”
“So you will keep us here… like prisoners of some sort?” Fraser says.
Melody twitches in spite of herself. That this man should talk about “prisoner” makes her a little nervous. She has a difficult time concealing her uneasiness.
Destiny smiles. “No, monsieur, not like prisoners. Like I said, you will be our guests.”
“Guests who won’t be able to get out of their quarters, is that right?” Svenson notes.
“Sorry, but that can’t be helped.” Melody replies. “We will give you the officers’ quarters. They’re quite comfortable, and unoccupied for this moment. You’ll like it. And we will have some food served to you.”
“I’m sure you’ll find the accommodations very satisfactory.” Destiny adds.
Svenson is still looking at the two young women in front of him, and then glances at the security guard behind them. His rifle is rather convincing, he thinks. He consults Donaghue and Fraser who nod their agreement.
Svenson then sighs. “All right, we’ll do what you ask. But do we have to go right away to those officers’ quarters? I’d like to get a closer look at that engine… and talk to your mechanic before he’ll get to job.”
Destiny marks a moment of hesitation. To her surprise, though she succeeds in not showing it, Melody answers in her stead:
“Mister Lewman here will stay with you, then. He’ll escort your to hour quarters when you deem it ready.”
Svenson smiles. “You’re really too kind… thank you.”
“We must leave you now, gentlemen.” Destiny announces. “We have… pressing businesses to attend to. Maybe we will see each other’s again, before you leave?”
Svenson answers with an even broader smile: “I think we will, Destiny.”
The two women then take their leave and move toward one of the main buildings near the runway. Svenson, Donaghue, and Fraser watch them go, and then turn to the plane. Lewman, the security guard, stays where he is, but his eyes don’t leave the three men.
“Kowalski?” Fraser whispers to Svenson, his eyes bright with curiosity.
“I couldn’t very well give them my real name.” Svenson replies with the same tone. “ And if I had said ‘Smith’, that would have raised their suspicions.
“Guys, you see that big helicopter sitting on the apron, next to those hangars?” Donaghue asks his companions.
“What about it?” Fraser replies.
“It looks mightily like the one I saw over the warehouse, a few hours ago, after you were send to the desert.”
“You’re sure?” Svenson asks.
“Pretty sure of it.”
“Okay.” Fraser glances over his shoulder, to make sure the security guard is still keeping his distance: “So what do you do now?”
Svenson pretends to take a look at the engine, while answering the question. “There’s no way we’re going to let that security guard escort us to those quarters.”
“You’re right.” Donaghue nods. “Once we will be there, we won’t be able to get out. We would be trapped as rats.”
“So we have to get rid of that security guard.” Svenson continues. “Without anybody noticing his disappearance.”
“And how do you propose to do that?” Fraser asks with scepticism.
Svenson smiles. “We’ve got two other aces up our sleeves, remember?”
Fraser and Donaghue, understanding that he’s talking about Holden and Blackburn, nod thoughtfully.
“Okay, then.” Svenson continues. “Have those two girls entered that building yet?”
Donaghue takes an inconspicuous look toward the said building and nods. “Yes, they just did.”
“Anybody else about?”
“None that we can see.”
“We’ve got to get mister Lewman to the opposite side of our plane. There, we will be certain nobody would see us act.”
Fraser is a bit puzzled. “What is your plan, anyway?”
He has only just finished his question that Svenson touches a ground on the plane’s battery and sparkles suddenly fly up everywhere. Svenson lets out a loud yelp and gets his hands to his face, to his companions’ astonishment:
“My eyes! I’ve got something in my eyes!”
“Adam! What happened?” A really worried Donaghue asks.
“I can’t see!”
“Calm down, now.” Fraser says. “Let me get a look.”
But as his companions try to help him, Svenson stumbles toward the opposite side of the plane. Alarmed that he may be gravely wounded, Lewman forgets all caution and draws nearer, intended on giving some assistance.
“Sir, are you all right?”
Svenson moans. “I can’t see a damn thing!”
“Here, sir, let me help you…”
Svenson has reached the opened door of the plane and is now leaning near it, Fraser and Donaghue still trying to calm him down. Lewman gets closer still and finds himself standing in front of Svenson.
He’s now out of view from any place.
Suddenly, Svenson grabs Lewman by the shoulders and throws him unceremoniously inside the plane. Fraser snatches the rifle from the security guard who, caught by surprise, has no time to react. He finds himself face to face with a man, awkwardly dressed in a WASP officer uniform, crouched inside the plane. That man smashes his fist violently unto his face.
Lewman drops like a sack of flour, knocked unconscious. Svenson and Donaghue push him completely into the plane.
“Quickly, now!” Svenson urges. “Brad, take off your uniform. You will wear this man’s clothes.”
Holden is already taking off his jacket swiftly. “Right! I’m on it.”
Donaghue smiles. “Boy, Adam! For a second there, I really thought you were hurt!”
“I can’t believe a crook like you could let himself be caught by a trick like that!” Fraser retorts.
“What can I say?” Donaghue answers mockingly. “I’m a naïve, honest, kinda crook.”
As Donaghue and Fraser are undressing Lewman and fling his clothes to Holden, Svenson takes himself his jacket off and hands it to a puzzled Blackburn.
“Put this on. You’ll be playing my role for a little while.” He smiles: “Keep out of sight, though. We don’t exactly have the same hair colour. The important thing is to keep everybody thinking that us three…” He points to himself, Donaghue and Fraser: “… Are still near the plane.”
Holden is pulling up the pants Donaghue has thrown him: “With the security guard, of course.”
Blackburn peels off his own jacket. “And where will you be going?” He asks Svenson.
“To find Paul.”
“Wouldn’t it be wiser if I’d go?” Blackburn notes.
“Absolutely not. You’ve got no experience what so ever about this sort of things. I do.”
“What about me?” Fraser retorts.
“I don’t doubt your capacities, Rick, but I think I’m more suited than you to do this. You’re more of a detective than a field agent.”
Fraser grumbles. “Says you.”
Svenson smiles. “Besides, I elected myself.”
“And if the mechanic should be coming before you’re back?” Donaghue asks worryingly. “He may know that ‘mister Kowalski’ is a blond man…”
“I trust you to do what you can to hold the fort, guys.”
Fraser sighs. “Okay, then. But be very careful, Adam.”
“Don’t you get caught, man.” Blackburn warns his friend.
“I won’t. Now get to your position.”
His friends nod. Holden, dressed in the security guard uniform and cap, the rifle in his hands, puts himself six feet in front of the plane and keeps his eyes on the main building where Destiny and Melody were seen entering. Fraser and Donaghue, with Blackburn, adjusting Svenson’s jacket, too large for him, position themselves near the plane’s nose, Blackburn taking good care not to show himself too much.
Svenson finds some rope in the cockpit of the plane, uses it to tie Lewman swiftly, and gags him with a piece of rag.
He then gets out of the plane. He waits until Holden gives him the signal that nobody’s in sight.
As the sun sets quietly oven the horizon, Svenson runs toward the nearest building by the runway.