I looked at the plane; it was shiny, sleek and big. It was bigger than the C130-30 and twice as big as the Bombardier 200s we owned. I could stand in the air inlet to the engine. I was impressed.
When I looked away from the engine there was a group coming towards me; six of our pilots and six of the flight attendants – including Paula, Andrea and Lea – were walking towards me. I guessed that everyone that was off wanted a ride on Lorrie’s new toy while there was still a new smell.
“Howdy Boss! That is one fine flying chariot you bought for us to fly you home in; the saddle is really comfy,” Cowboy said.
“I better not find any spur marks in the leather,” I replied before I broke out laughing, as did everyone else.
I was surprised that none of the girls were here with them.
“Andy, when you get your gear stowed there is supposed to be some hardware under a canvas in the hangar for us to take back to the armory. Check it to make sure it is safe and not booby trapped before you load it into the cargo bay. Please,” I said.
“You are not getting paranoid are you?” he replied.
“We are playing in a much different arena now with a totally different level of players. There is a lot more at stake and they are willing to sacrifice everything and everyone,” I replied.
The fuel trucks arrived and the other pilots went to oversee the refueling operation.
“Cowboy, show me around and point out the good stuff I paid for,” I said.
“It’s a Boeing 737-700ER with seating for up to 128 passengers; seating is easily changed to corporate setting with meeting tables and conference seating. This is one of the preferred planes by the super rich to modify as private jets; long range, good fuel economy, quiet engines and can use airports with as little as 6000 foot runways,” Cowboy said.
“Some of the cargo bay was sacrificed to give it an additional 2000 gallons of fuel for the extended range.”
“Lorrie said you bought it for large business groups and to be able to move the rapid response team and their equipment as a unit. It will be a great plane for that,” he said.
By the time he finished showing me the exterior and interior of the plane, the fuel trucks were finished and leaving.
Back outside the plane I met Andy, “All checked out and loaded; 15 new Stingers and 5 new TOW missiles – all are OK. Boss, is there something going on that you need anti-tank missiles for?”
“I did not know what was there for us and I did not request any TOW missiles. Maybe someone knows something that we don’t. When we land, would you make sure they are put into the armory? I will open the vault door.”
I turned around to look at another group headed my way; Ambassador’s Fauntroy, Morrison and Schmitt and both boys.
“We hoped we would get here in time to see you off,” Ambassador Schmitt said then he added.
“I wanted to tell you that the German government is increasing its troop commitment to the UN peace keepers on the South Sudan border. Hopefully they will keep the war from spreading over the border.”
“That’s good to hear, let me give you my number; please keep me informed,” I replied.
“It looks like Aric is smitten,” I said. Aric was standing with Rachael and they were having – as best as I could say – a happy conversation. They had some papers and were talking excitedly about them with a little touch and feel every now and then.
“Aric is gifted; he has an IQ of 140. It has always been hard for him to make the social adjustment. All he talked about last night after the gala and this morning was his new friend. I think he is going to be sulking for a few days,” he replied.
“I have a secure system at my office that I use to video conference with my college and embassy teams. We allow family members of those assigned in foreign countries to conference with their significant others, there are private rooms.”
“If you will allow them to video conference, I will have my EIT team contact you to set it up. Rachael only lives 10 miles from my office. We can just set up the best times and days and let them chat,” I replied.
“Let’s see if they would like to do that,” Schmitt replied.
They had already exchanged emails and phone numbers but I was pretty sure Rachael’s parents would put their foot down on the cost of international calls.
They both jumped at the idea and wanted to give it a go so I took more information from Schmitt that I was going to give Robert. It would be in his hands now to set up the technical part.
It was time to leave; the final good byes were said. The smitten two actually hugged.
It was interesting to hear Andrea do a new and different sing-song seat belt and safety message. A few minutes later we were third in the departure line and soon airborne.
The flight attendants made busy as soon as the seat belt light went off. Andrea was giving lessons to the four who had never worked on a plane of this size.
Coffee, soda and snacks, peanuts, almonds, pudding, chocolate chip cookies were on the cart when it came down the isle.
Andrea handed me a new color brochure that Lorrie had put together, “Lorrie wanted me to give you this to look over for changes or suggestions.”
The brochure covered the complete aviation division services and all the planes available for charters, business and recreational flights in color photographs. This was the brochure she was going to send to every major business on the east coast.
I wonder if there was a little competition going on between the girls again.
Everyone was spaced around the plane with all the empty seats. Some were kicked back and sleeping, others working on the company issued laptops.
Hanna and Sylvester were putting together several reports to send to their station. So far everything they had sent the past week was getting plenty of air time.
Another good thing was Lorrie had the airborne internet activated; a necessity for business travelers.
Vicky and I were sitting together; that allowed us to talk and work. Lea handed me a package from Lorrie. When I opened the box it was the dozen thumb drives that I asked for. I needed to make copies of the thumb from the gala to give everyone.
I copied while Vicky checked them in her computer to make sure they were OK before I handed them out.
“I hope you are not upset that I set you up with a partner for the gala last night,” I said to Vicky.
“I was a startled a little at first but I realized that it was necessary; otherwise, I would have been sitting there like a bump on a log. Christoffer was nice and a perfect gentleman. I had a lot of fun; I have a feeling he fills that role a lot. If I get back, he wants me to see him,” Vicky replied.
“I glad you had fun; we are going to be back a lot, at least for a while. We are going to have to split up and take two jets in order to comply with the terms of the contract. You need to be looking at Andy’s men for someone to accompany you. There will be official functions you will have to attend and he can be your companion and to act as a body guard,” I replied.
“Make sure he can dance – if not, we will have to train him – looks good in a suit and speak several languages, Arabic should be one of them. I asked Andy to choose one for me; that’s how I ended up with Gordon,” I said then continued.
“As soon as the Minneapolis investigation is done, we are going to have to get started. Don’t forget, we have Victor and Joni’s wedding this coming weekend,” I said.
We talked for another hour then I went to talk with Andy about the investigation; and after that Hanna, Phil and Robin and Bob and then a nap.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.