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"Engines one and two, check," Morrissey called from behind us. "Engines three and four, check. You can cut the fuel now."

He reached out and took the cigarette from my mouth and put it between his lips. "You know better than that, Jonas. I couldn't keep up with those kids. They'd fly rings around me. If I have to be an armchair pilot, I'd rather do it here, where at least I'm on your general staff."

I looked down. The gray waters of the Atlantic stared back at me. We were a hundred miles off the coast of the British Isles.

I reached for a cigarette. "What's going to happen to us?" I asked, lighting it. I looked at him through the cloud of smoke. "Unless you got a little jealous of the R.A.F. back there and are thinking about going back into the service."

I stared at him. "Try me and see."

I grinned at him. "You worry too much."

"We'll have to get someone to run the Canadian plant."

I didn't answer. Up ahead of us, I saw the Spitfire formation leader waggle his wings. It was the signal to break radio silence. Forrester leaned forward and flipped the switch. "Yes, Captain?"

He reached out and took the cigarette from my mouth and put it between his lips. "You know better than that, Jonas. I couldn't keep up with those kids. They'd fly rings around me. If I have to be an armchair pilot, I'd rather do it here, where at least I'm on your general staff."

"Amos Winthrop."

I grinned at him. "You worry too much."

I didn't answer. Up ahead of us, I saw the Spitfire formation leader waggle his wings. It was the signal to break radio silence. Forrester leaned forward and flipped the switch. "Yes, Captain?"

The idea also had some fiscal advantages. The British and Canadian governments were willing to finance the building of the plant and we'd save two ways. The factory would cost less because we would have no interest charges and the tax on net income could be taken in Canada, where the depreciation allowance was four times that allowed by Uncle Sam. And His Majesty's boys were happy, too, because living in the sterling bloc, they'd have fewer American dollars to pay out.

"O.K., Captain," Forrester said. "Thank you."

"Let them He's a prick and a lush. Besides, he's bombed out on everything he ever did."

"Check." Roger turned down the mixture. "That's what I'm talking about," he said, motioning toward Morrissey, who was acting as flight engineer. "It's stupid - all of us on the same plane. What if it went down? Who'd be left to run the company?"

"Amos Winthrop."

"This is where we leave you, old boy."

There was something in what he said. The war was pushing us into an expansion that neither of us had ever dreamed of. And we weren't even in it yet.

"Amos Winthrop."

"Let them He's a prick and a lush. Besides, he's bombed out on everything he ever did."

"What's stupid?" I asked, looking down behind me from the copilot's seat, to see London dropping back into the early-morning haze. There were several fires still burning from last night's raid. "They didn't buy our plane but they'll buy all the B-17's we can turn out. What the hell, we both know they have to standardize."

He reached out and took the cigarette from my mouth and put it between his lips. "You know better than that, Jonas. I couldn't keep up with those kids. They'd fly rings around me. If I have to be an armchair pilot, I'd rather do it here, where at least I'm on your general staff."

"We'll have to get someone to run the Canadian plant."

The idea also had some fiscal advantages. The British and Canadian governments were willing to finance the building of the plant and we'd save two ways. The factory would cost less because we would have no interest charges and the tax on net income could be taken in Canada, where the depreciation allowance was four times that allowed by Uncle Sam. And His Majesty's boys were happy, too, because living in the sterling bloc, they'd have fewer American dollars to pay out.

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