Operation Caesar’s Folly (Part XI)

Issac was sweating as he climbed out of the flyer. He needed to appear confident and bored if this was to work, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop the sweat from beading up on his forehead. Already there were four Venetian men approaching, three of whom were clearly soldiers, heavily armed. One even had a Russian made lightning-thrower by the look. Issac remembered hearing those were very good at hitting flyers from the ground. He very much hoped Barrington wouldn’t have to test his evasion against it. The fourth man looked like an official though, so Issac walked forward, stumbling only a moment as he got his land legs back, and shoved a small packet of papers at this man.

“I am in need of a valet for my bags, please,” Issac said in german accented Italian. He tried to say it slowly and casually, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to show up unannounced at a skyport and expect to be treated like an honored guest.

The official took the papers baffled, and was about to respond when the cargo hatch of the flyer burst open and 0sc4r noisily unfolded himself.

The guns of the soldiers came up at this surprise arrival.

Issac reacted faster than he could think.

“What in God’s name do you think you’re doing!” He shouted at the men. He tried reminding himself that they were heavily armed, but they flinched at his words, and Issac found himself pressing on. “That is my aide you are pointed your guns at. Is this how the ‘Jewel of the Adriatic’ greets all its guests?”

The soldiers hesitated, but the official waved them down urgently. He had seen the Imperial Seal of the Kaiser on the papers handed to him and was very now much aware that his men had just threatened representatives of an allied government. At least, that is what he thought.

“My apologies, sir. We had no warning about your arrival. My men were merely taking all necessary precautions I assure you. No offense was intended, Herr…,” he glanced at the papers again, “Schultz.”

Issac nodded, “Not at all. And your name?”

“I am Signor Duodo, Chief of Security here, sir. I apologize again, and hope you will not be too offended by my questioning your presence here,” Duodo asked, “I…I hate to seem rude of course, but I must inquire. I just would have assumed we were to be informed previously if you were arriving at our humble skyport.”

“You are right to be cautious, Sig. Duodo,” This part had been scripted, the reasons for their unannounced arrival. Issac recited his line, trying not to speed through it, “In fact, caution is exactly why you were not informed. Try as we might, there are still leaks in the diplomatic channels, and there are things happening that were too important to risk.”

“Yes, yes, the summit. I had heard,” Duodo narrowed his eyes ever so slightly. He was no fool it seemed. He was not going to swallow all this without question. “I will take these with me for just a moment, and contact your embassy. They will want to know you’ve arrived.”

He said this, watching Issac’s face closely, looking for the twitch of nervousness. Issac smiled. There was still some twitching and sweating, but no more than he had been since the moment the plane had landed.

“When you’ve gotten hold of them, tell them to wire Berlin and let the Foreign Minister’s office know I’ve arrived. Oh, and tell them to send a cab as well will you?”

Issac turned and walked back towards the plane. He kept his back straight and his walk casual, but when he met Barrington’s gaze, he conveyed with his eyes how relieved he was that the conversation was over for now.

“So…?” Barrington whispered as 0sc4r finished unloading the cargo, “Going well?”

“Better than I’d even hoped,” Issac sighed, “It’s very much like acting. I’ve done a tad bit of that.”

“Really?” Barrington looked skeptical.

“Oh yes,” Issac said proudly, “You’re looking at the Rosencrantz for the Cambridge Student Dramatic Society production of Hamlet.”

“No lie?” Barrington said in mock surprise.

“Oh yes….well his understudy. But I played the part for most of the run. The first actor caught something terribly foul.”

Barrington laughed and shook his head. “Well good luck Rosencrantz. I’m headed back to the big squirrel nest.”

“Squirrel nest?” Issac was confused.

“Yeah. It…it’s a long story. I’ll tell you when you get back,” Barrington started the plane’s engine.

“Woah, Major, they’re still suspicious of me. I can’t guarantee they won’t risk shooting at you when you leave. Isn’t it better to wait?”

“The longer I stay, the greater the risk they try talking to me, professor. I’m a rotten liar face to face. Can’t even play decent poker. Trust me. I need to leave.”

Issac looked back at the soldiers. They were confused about the flyer starting up, but hadn’t decided how to respond yet. Sig. Duodo was already gone to wire the embassy, and they had no orders to speak of.

“You’re sure you can’t stay until after Duodo get’s back? Just in case.”

“Who? Oh the well dressed bloke. Look, stop worrying so much, professor,” Barrington slapped him on the arm, “Like I said, 0sc4r will take care of you. Break a leg out there.”

Issac backed away so Barrington could turn his flyer around and then he was gone. Zipping up into the air. Several skyward pointed guns (the soldiers’ and the skyports own turrets) followed him as he went, but as the gunners realized they weren’t going to receive confirmation on if it was or wasn’t a German diplomatic plane before it was out of range anyway, the all gave up and lowered their guns.

Nobody want’s to be the idiot who shot down an imperial aircraft, Issac thought, giving a reassured sigh.

With the plane gone, the soldiers were willing to at least escort Issac inside to wait for Sig. Duodo. Issac reiterated a need for someone to bring his bags around to the front when the cab arrived. The soldiers assured him somebody would see to it once the credentials were all sorted, but Issac insisted, he was well into his role as an busy and impatient dignitary, and he figured he should be at least passably rude to his hosts. That was the default for politicians in his experience. Finally, one of the soldiers went to get the luggage moved out to the front, and Issac and 0sc4r settled down to wait for the Chief of Security in a small smoking lounge.

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