Picture Perfect 105
Dan arrived at Sydney small airport a couple of hours before this flight. He turned the keys of his rental over to the agency office. His shoulder bag and camera equipment bag went through the scanner with no problem but the carry-on set off the alarm.
“We’ll have to ask you to open this up sir.” A security
agent asked him.
He unzipped the bag.
“It’s this box.” The agent said.
“It’s cookie tin.” Dan took it out of the bag. He opened it and the agent looked through the contents.
“Estate sale mystery box?” she asked.
“Childhood memory trove.” he said.
“Ah.” She said. “It must be real metal not some sort of plastic. It was totally impenetrable to the scanner.”
“I see. I hope it isn’t covered with lead paint.”
“Thank you, sir. You may continue on.”
He repacked the carry on. Showed his boarding pass and ID to the next level of security.
“Welcome to flight 555, Mr. James.” The airline check in said. “We will be leaving on time. You can wait in boarding area 2.”
He passed through to the boarding area. There was about a dozen people already there. The snack bar was closed, with machines along on one wall with juice, chips. chocolate bars. At least the wifi was decent here.
He looked through his message. Not many. Since the Cold Canada hiatus the flow from Baxter had been reduced to a trickle. Nothing from the Depot. A ‘good trip’ from Peter.
There was a message from Warszawa with file from the Intelligence Service.
“Dan – this is a for delectation. Rob”
The message was a code for him to be security cautious when reading the the file. He disconnected from the airport wifi and reconnected to the Lifend satellite secure connection. Their service automatically doubled checked on line security.
He opened the attached file. The first page said.
“Dan, here’s the preliminary report from the Amethyst. The devices were simple, internet instruction stuff, but the incendiary material was not so garden variety. It is the same as used in bombs in Paris and Tokyo.
“We’re not saying this was a terrorist incident but whomever did this has access to get such substances. Like the tampering with you car there, there is a high level of technical sophistication at work here. The devices were very controlled in the degree of damage they would do.
“We’ll talk further when you get back to Toronto.”
He didn’t read the technical details in report. His flight was called. It was the type of small plane he was used to from his time in the prairies. A walk across the runway, short stairs into it, single row of seats on either side. At least he didn’t have to worry about anyone sitting beside him.
The flight wasn’t even long enough for him to nap. They did offer a juice & a granola bar. He took pictures from the window.
“There will be slight delay in landing in Halifax.” The pilot announced over the intercom. “Due to a some stubborn seagulls on the runway.”
“Must be Newfies.” Some called out.
The delay cut time out of his Halifax stop over & by the time the plane landed he dashed to the washroom. While he washing his hands the flight to Toronto was called.
His sense of direction took him the wrong way for ten minutes before he realized he was going in the wrong direct. As he was going what he hopes was the right direction the final boarding for his flight was called.
He flushed his boarding pass to the attendant. “Cutting it close Mr. James.” The attendant said.
“I didn’t delay the flight from Sydney.” He said.
“Right you are.”
Dan started to the ramp that lead to the place.
“Mr. James.” The attendant called to him.
“Yes.” He turned around.
“Back to you, John.” The attendant laughed.
Dan struggled to get his carryon into the overhead & sat in his seat, fumbling with the seatbelt.
Buckled in he sighed deeply.
“Don’t fly much.” his seat mate said. “I used be terrified too. Looks like you need a drink? Or have you had one too many already.”
Dan nodded & turned his head to look out the window. He felt drained by the rush to get to the flight & wasn’t in the mood to make conversation.
“They’ll come around with drinks soon enough.” His seat mate said.
“Right.” He answered. “I’ll pass.”
He took a facecloth out of his bag & fished out his eye drops. Once they were airborne he damped the cloth with water from the attendant, reclined his chair back, dropped in the drops & covered his eyes, within minutes he was asleep.
“We’re arriving in Toronto, sir.” The attendant woke him “Put your seat in the upright position please.”
As he hoped Peter was was waiting for him at the exit gate where his chauffeur’s hat & holding up a Mr. James sign. Standing next to him was Jeremy.
“This is an unexpected pleasure Jeremy.” Dan said with a glance to see Peter’s expression.
“I hope you don’t mind.” Jeremy said. “I was here to pick up Ashley. She’s been visiting her mother & I ran into Peter. He glanced at his watch. “Her flight doesn’t get here for another half-an-hour.”
Dan shook Jeremy’s hand. “Good to see you. For a minute I was afraid I’d have to choose between which driver to take home.”
Mentally he was comparing the two men before him. Peter barely out of his teens with a job at a muffin shop & Jeremy in his late 40’s with millions in the bank.
“The car is this way, sir.” Peter took Dan’s carry-on.
“I’ll call you soon Dan.” Jeremy said. “I want to hear about your side of the east coast adventures.”
“Curtis has his own spin on things.”
“I see. Developing his own reality series I suppose?”
“Sir!” Peter said.
“Okay.” Jeremy said. “He’s all yours Peter. For now.”
He quickly disappeared in the crowd.
“Which way?” Dan asked.