Chapter 5 – Remembrance
United Airlines flight, somewhere over Oklahoma
Friday evening, 2345, August 3, 2007
…Silverstein grasped the sides of his seat, palms and body now sweating, even though all those around him snuggled in blankets. Raw memories he had struggled all these years to forget still plagued him. Far worse than the possibility that Fitzby might be involved in the SST mystery was Fitzby’s crime at Penn State and its consequence just before Silverstein headed to California.
Silverstein brought his seat to the vertical position, lifted himself quietly to avoid waking Kipling, plodded the short distance to the forward lavatory, shut the door, crouched to his knees and threw up. Silverstein hoped the dull roar of the jet engines masked the sound of his sickening pain.
Chapter 7 – History
Westbound on Interstate 10, Mississippi, toward New Orleans
Monday morning, 1045, August 6, 2007
…Silverstein didn’t move. “For twenty-five years now I’ve avoided Fitzby, making sure he wouldn’t be at any meetings or conferences I attended. Once in Miami, I didn’t find out he’d be attending until I got there. I returned home that very night. That was a hard one to explain to Travel.”
Kipling turned away from Silverstein.
“The worst of it, Linda, is that I’m afraid if I were to meet Fitzby face to face today, I would kill him. I’ve been fighting that urge for a quarter of a century. It hasn’t gone away.”
The two of them stood quietly for minutes, looking into the distance.
Finally, Kipling broke the silence. “It’s not right that you carry that entire burden, Victor. If I’m there when you confront Fitzby, I’ll pull the trigger myself.”
Chapter 12 – Criminal Intent
Halcyon Heights home subdivision, Monterey, California, USA: 36°33’30″N Latitude, 121°46’29″W Longitude
Friday evening, 1800, August 17, 2007
…He heard the sound of a starting engine. The left-most garage door opened slowly, the one behind where his Porsche normally sat. Had he inadvertently triggered the button? No, it hadn’t worked a minute ago. There was trouble to be had and soon!
Silversteins hand leaped to the key. The 911’s engine and twin turbochargers spooled to life. Before the garage door rose more than halfway, he jammed the transmission into reverse, took one last look through the windshield, turned to look out the back window, let out the clutch, and floored the throttle.
All four tires squealed as Silverstein flew down the driveway at more than forty miles per hour, backward. Just prior to exiting onto the street, he glanced up and saw a black Mercedes rushing to meet him head-on. For an instant, he caught the eyes of the driver. In the subsequent microsecond, his vision caught the face of a surprisingly similar-looking passenger, his hand now extending from the window. It cant be!
Chapter – Turbulence
Chartered Cessna Citation, 560 miles southeast of Washington, DC.
Thursday morning, 0725 EDT, September 20, 2007
…Aside from the cracking and moaning sounds emanating from the airframe itself, the fury of the storm added more. An occasional lightning bolt would light up the outside as if an old-fashioned flash bulb had exploded outside each of the jet’s windows. Silverstein recalled the old rule of thumb: For every count to five between the lightning strike and thunder meant one mile of separation. Unfortunately, with the last strike, that separation had decreased to zero.
The ensuing detonation sounded as if they had ringside seats inside an exploding bomb. Simultaneously, Lopez screamed aloud, barely audible above the accompanying melee. Tears streamed down her face, even though her eyes closed tightly. Silverstein looked over and saw her lips forming words, probably a prayer.
Winds howled against the aircraft from the starboard side. The aircraft crabbed significantly into the wind; the pilot was skidding the plane sideways, doing his best to follow the electronic signal that would guide them to the end of the runway. To complement the wind and thunder, bullets of rain hammered against the aluminum skin.