Chapter Nine Hundred Ninety-Five 15th January 1953 Washington D.C. When Finley had been told that Nancy Jensen had been spotted boarding the train to Chicago the day before he had been happy. That was the first leg on the journey that would take her back to whatever rain-soaked Podunk logging town she came from. Today, the Office of the Inspector General had made sure that he wasn’t so happy. He had been forced to explain why Miss Jensen was unavailable for questioning. Then he had to explain why he had suspended her and how he had disregarded Miss Jensen’s dutiful reporting of her contacts with foreign persons. The investigator had been far less than impressed with Finley’s explanations. “Who gives a shit about where her grandmother came from and you wanting to settle an old score is not a good enough reason for your actions” He had said. Then the Investigator had the nerve to say that Finley had jeopardized the entire process. It had gotten steadily worse after that. If Miss Jensen had taken the National Limited to Chicago, then boarded a connecting train to the West Coast it might be several days before she turned up and not necessarily in Spokane or Seattle. She had a brother in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Investigators now had to wait until Miss Jensen turned up before they could subpoena her as a witness and they were blaming Finley for that wait. Montreal, Canada It had taken a few minutes for Nancy to find her contact in when she had stepped off the train at the station in Buffalo, New York. It was a bit of a haze after that as she had been shoved into the back of a waiting truck and driven across a bridge. Then she had been shoved onto an airplane and flown into Montreal. “Welcome to the Special Branch of the RCMP Miss Jensen” Was what Sir Malcolm had said as soon she stepped into his office. She recognized his voice as the man she had been talking to when she had called MacGregor Farms. “Thank you, Sir” Nancy replied. “You’re safe now” Sir Malcolm said, “Our southern neighbors go through periods where they sort of go collectively insane about once a generation.” Nancy held her tongue, she was one of those “southern neighbors” but she could hardly disagree with him after what had happened. “My Daughter-in-Law speaks highly of you” Sir Malcolm said. Nancy almost asked who that was when she made the connection and realized what Sir Malcolm would look like if he didn’t have the beard and was thirty years younger. This was Douglas Blackwood’s father. “I’m terribly sorry” Nancy said, “I haven’t slept in days and…” She trailed off, unsure of what to say. “That was the other thing that Katherine said” Sir Malcolm said, “That you were one of the few innocents who had found your way into our world and that she felt that we owed it to you to help you get out of it if the chance presented itself.” Again, it took a few seconds to understand what that meant. “I’m not a spy” Nancy said, “I am… er, was an analyst in Y&R” “I understand you were a good one too” Sir Malcolm said, “Now you need to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, hopefully with better coworkers in the future.” When Sir Malcolm said that, it was a reminder that the instant Nancy had crossed into Canada she had burnt every bridge back to her old life. But what choice did she have? If she had been questioned it would have taken an interrogator seconds to zero in on the information that she had withheld because revealing it would have hurt the people that she cared about. Then she realized what was going to be said about her to her family. Her mother might understand, she had practically ordered Nancy to do this. Alan would never forgive her. She would probably never see either of them again. “You’ll be my guest tonight” Sir Malcolm said, “Asia Lawniczak is supposed to be coming for you tomorrow.” That was a bit of a surprise, but Nancy supposed that it was inevitable that the Mistress of Keys would need to delegate eventually. London Airport “You really should consider this an honor for you” Manfred said as he walked with Ilse towards the waiting car. To Manfred, who was letting her hold his arm, she felt about as tense as a steel spring. Ilse had been invited to give a presentation about the effects of environmental pollution before the British Parliament and Manfred had come along for moral support. The problem was that every part of the trip involved walking some distance in open air and Ilse would be running the risk of being paralyzed by fear. Recently, Manfred had looked into the place where Ilse had spent her childhood and swiftly regretted it. His thoughts about how there were some things that grown men had difficulty enduring were confirmed. The fact that it had been children the same ages as his grandchildren had endured things that might even be considered worse was something that he considered an atrocity. With a touch of distaste Manfred saw that the Press was out in force. He knew how to deal with them, not having been camera shy in his youth. Ilse was a different matter. “Count von Richthofen, what is your interest in this matter?” One of the reporters asked as Manfred helped Ilse into the car, he then turned and faced the gathered reporters. He repeated something that he had said to Ilse when they had discussed this matter on the airplane. “I think that the events of the last month should be a wakeup call for all of humanity” Manfred said, “The Great Smog killed Kings and Commoners alike with no regard. We need to think about the way we do things and change what we can.” “What is your relationship with Doctor Elisabeth von Mischner?” Manfred had to work to hide his annoyance at that question. Leave it to the British Press to try to find something salacious. “She is the youngest sister of my Son-in-Law” Manfred replied, “I personally think of her like I would any of my other three daughters.” With that Manfred got into the car ignoring the other shouted questions. “Thank you” Ilse said as soon as he closed the door. “What for?” Manfred asked.