The military truck dropped Lawrence and Malinao at the only working airfield on the outskirts of town. They were taking what looked like an old fashioned jet across the Medterranean to Europe. Lawrence’s eyes grew wide as they moved closer to the antique.
“We’re taking that?”
“Don’t worry Mr. President.  She’ll fly,” said the Commander driving the truck. Malinao pinched Lawrence and gave him a look. Lawrence felt the incongruous and uncotrollable urge to grin.
“I’m sorry Commander, you misunderstand me.  I’m very excited.  I’ve made a hobby of studying old airplanes.”
Now Malinao looked like she was going to sock him.  It was true he had studied old airplanes.  It was not true that the Presiden tof the Moon had.  In fact the President of the Moon had often mocked him for his avoication when they worked together in the lunar mines.
“You know you can’t fly one of those here,” Chong had pointed out to him over and over, trying to get him to see the futility of his hobby.  Now Lawrence would get the chance.
“I had no idea Mr. President,” said the driver. “This is an honest to goodness Airbus 380.  Pulled it out of mothballs somewhere in France and started using it at a low point  int he war. An American Lieutenant got it working so well it’s been in use ever since.  Perfectly safe, though I imagine it pollutes the hell out of the sky. Can’t imagine they’ll let us get away with it for much longer.  But to fit your schedule it was the best they could do. Figured it might be a treat as well.  Not many people alive ever rode on one of these and not many people will again.”
Malinao shrugged and sighed. Lawrence was supposed to avoid conversations to prevent people from getting a good look at him, and here he was chatting up an antique airplane buff. she only hoped he would relinquish the role when, and if, they got back together with Chong.  Both of them were extremely worried now and Lawrence had issued a low level search order with the few Generals who knew the situation.
The airplane was a bit musty on the inside. Lawrence caught his breath when he saw too wide-eyed passengers staring at them as they came around a corner into the main cabin.
“Dummies,” Malinao pointed out. “Look there’s even a plaque describing them here on the armrest. This thing must have been in a museum. They continued to inspect the cabin and found other plaques describing how people flew back in the old days.  A few of the rows had been taken apart to display the oxygen masks and other safety systems. (In one seat a tray table was glued in its down position with a preserved airplane snack, magazine and beverage.
“I imagine we won’t get that kind of service on this flight.
“No, I imagine not,” said a deep male voice.
Lawrence turned around to greet what he expected to be the Captain.  Instead he found himself face to face with a six-foot tall dark-haired moustachioed man holding a gun.
“I would call you Mr. President, but I’ve heard we already have one of those in our custody in Cana. So whoever you are, and Madame Speaker, please have a seat and fasten your seatbelts. Our flight will be departing momentarily for Algiers, where you will make a transfer to a Lunar-bound ship. For your convenience and the safety of our crew, I’ll be handcuffing you.”
He expertly cuffed Malinao and Lawrence to their seats and then to each other.
“Sorry fot the patter there.  I’ve been hiding in the crew cabin, forced to read the display about flight announcements. I tried to keep it as true to the original as possible.  I hope you enjoyed.  Our flight will take us a few hours. I’m afraid I won’t be able to come back and check on you as I’ll be flying the airplane. But do try to relax and enjoy the flight.”
Lawrence could just see as moustache man and another similarly dressed man dragged the actual military pilot out of the cabin and dumped him on the tarmac. Malinao could see nothing. The other man left the way they’d come in and closed the hatch door, leaving them alone on the airplane with the pilot.
“Did he sound Venezuelan to you?” asked Lawrence.
“No he didn’t, he sounded America,” snapped Malinao. “I’m more concerned with whether he really knows how to fly this thing alone.”
Suddenly something hit Lawrence. “These kind of aircraft require a pilot a navigator and ground control to fly properly.  This guy only has one of the three. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the armrest.
The flight went off without a hitch. Lawrence tried to enjoy the feeling of traveling in old fashioned style despite the hadncuffs, but it certainly wasn’t the way he had dreamed of doing it. They landed in a wide field outside what presumably was Algiers.  The climate felt hot and dry enough for that to be true.  A waiting interplanetary ship took them on board where they were once again cuffed into much more comfortable wide leather seats in the back of a commercial craft of some size.
Malinao and Lawrence had speculated quite  bit on who these people were and now their theories were getting wilder.  The organization would need to employ a pilot expert in flying ancient airplanes and have the werewithal to operate an unlicensed interplanetary commerical craft.
“Well they can’t land anywhere in the UMC without attracting attention.  There are ways to bluff obviously, bu they’re very particular about getting confirmed departure credentials these days and those are hard to fake.”
“Could they land in Cana?”
“Possibly.  The Cana spaceport is extremely small, so they;d be noticed, but they’re not too big for it. Cana’s just as strict as the UMC though. So I doubt they’ll have an easier time. Unless…”
“Unless what?”
“Unless they’ve infiltarted the spaceport staff. There was a lot of fear during the war that Cana would side with the Fundys.  They had some pretty solid support.  Even after the colony joined the alliance, they never did much.  Just some funding and a few peacekeeping troops.  A lot of people felt the Fundys would be able to assimilate into Cana.  Nothing ever came of that.  At least we didn’t think anything ever came of it.”
“All right you two, shut up.”
“An African woman came striding back down the aisle of the ship. Look, I’m monitoring everything you say and I have to monitor everything you say, so let me just give you a reason to shut up.  We’re landing in Cana. There’s no conspiracy, we have a license out of Algiers.  We made a pit stop to pick you up which we’re going to explain as a fuel inefficency. Now I don’t know who you are fake President, but you better save your energy because an interrogator is meeting us at Cana and he’s pretty psyched to practie his trade figuring out your identity and why you’ve been masquerading as Chong.  got me?” She smiled a severly insincere smile and walked back up the aisle.
“OK then,” Malinao managed.
Lawrence kept fairly quiet after that.