Wednesday, June 9, 1943, England
U.S. WAVES LT. OLIVIA “Livvy” Delacourt took a deep breath of fuel-laden air permeated by a light mist from overcast skies. She was standing at the open hatchway door of the TWA Airlines C-54 plane that the White House commandeered for their mission to Great Britain.
Livvy rolled her neck and shrugged her shoulders several times to relieve the tautness from a nerve-racking and seemingly endless 22-hour trans-Atlantic flight. Despite the Newfoundland respite for refueling that provided an opportunity to eat and catch a few hours of sleep, she continued to be tense and apprehensive during the entire flight by wondering whether the C-54 would be shot down by the Germans. She was cognizant that twenty percent of the military planes crossing the Atlantic these days never made it.
Pushing her glasses more securely on the bridge of her nose, she settled her navy-blue uniform over her hips, smoothing out the wrinkles. Fleetingly, she longed to be stateside where she knew she could get a hot bath and a freshly laundered uniform. A lifetime spent fussing over “details” extended to her appearance, as well as to her assignment as facility manager of The Watch’s Philadelphia headquarters. She and her team had recently uncovered Nazis operating on the East Coast. One spy was a magician who dabbled in the Black Arts and was trained by Hitler’s occult practitioners named der Mumm. They were emitting mind control threats towards stateside headquarters, which is why her mission was so important. She needed to find her family’s grimoire, an ancient book with cures to dispel Nazi efforts.
Her superior officer and childhood friend, Cmdr. Barrington Drew, III—Trey to his friends—spoke from just inside the aircraft. “I’ll be glad when we’re done and heading home.”
She glanced over her shoulder and marveled that his face didn’t show her level of exhaustion, but then, he’d flown before. His family’s pocketbook could afford airplane flights.
“Preferably on an ocean liner,” she answered him.
“Some of them are getting torpedoed.” He’d upped the ante on her anxiety, but his voice was teasing.
Livvy made a face at him.
It had all seemed so much easier while sitting around the conference table in Hamilton House, the Philadelphia mansion housing the top-secret Operation Delphi team of talented psychics that she led in a search for Nazi spies. There, she had other psychics to back her up. In England, she was on her own. This search in a foreign country was a massive challenge for someone like her who was never farther from home than the end of a trolley line.
“We’d better get going,” Trey said.
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