Was that a battle of wits?
I think I won the battle of wits, or whatever it was.
A few moments later he sat on the other side, pushing the chair back from the table, and me, as a deliberate act.
Besides adopting the speak when spoken to route, I was also adopting that age old modus operandi of not volunteering anything. If they knew anything they would have to tell me what they knew.
So, to begin with, another round of silence.
Then, after a few more minutes, s thin knowing smile, as if he knew everything I’d do before I did. Perhaps he was a psychology professor.
“What we you doing in a no fly zone?”
Well that answered at least two questions right there. We were where we were not supposed to be, and, as a stab in the dark, knowing how good the pilot was, we had deliberately strayed there.
On orders, or curiosity. No, orders.
Reason, suspected enemy or other activity in a designated area being used as cover. Had the Commander known about this and ordered a discreet incursion.
It felt more like a routine operation.
“I was not the pilot. You’d have to ask him, although that might be difficult now he’s dead.”
“The nature of you pre op briefing, then?”
“There wasn’t one, or if there was, I wasn’t included.”
“That would be a violation of regulations would it not?”
“You’d have to ask the military lawyers. I just make up the numbers, and do as I’m told.” I could add more but don’t volunteer information. Let them dig for it.
“Then why were you on board?”
He asked that question as if it was a surprise to him or someone else.
I think at that moment I realised there might be bigger fish that might get fried from this interview. There was an arrangement in place that if the pilot wanted to go up for extra hours, he had to take someone like me along, for situations like that which had happened.
This had been sanctioned by the Commander, but I don’t think it included heading out to hot spots. If this man was from our side, he might be on a witch hunt.
I looked at him in a new light.
This man was trouble of a different sort.
© Charles Heath 2019-2021