Just after dinner, Astrid called her cousin Gloria.
“Are you going to Detroit this week?”
“I have to,” said Gloria. “I wanted to go to Puerto Vallarta for Spring Break, but Mom says she misses me or something.”
“And you’re too young to go to Mexico for Spring Break.”
“She might have said something along that line too.”
“So, when are you going to Detroit?” asked Astrid.
“Tomorrow at 10:00 AM.”
“Do you mind if I catch a ride?”
“It’s a free country. I mean, I don’t mind.” Astrid could almost hear the strain of trying to be pleasant in her cousin’s voice.
“Great,” said Astrid. “See you then.”
“Plans?” asked Kate Maxxim.
“I’m shooting up to Detroit for a couple of days.”
Her mother raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything.
Astrid arrived just before ten at the Maxxim airfield, with Priyanka Sharma in tow, and stepped up into the cabin of the Starcraft 170 commuter plane. Gloria was already seated about mid-plane, and standing in the aisle was Maxxim Industries pilot Carl Williams. Agent Sharma took a seat by the door.
“You’re flying us, Carl?” asked Astrid.
“No, you are.”
“I don’t know,” said Astrid. “I haven’t flown anything bigger than my hoverbike since my brain surgery.”
“And you crashed that,” added Gloria.
“Time to get back onto the horse,” said Williams. “Don’t worry. I’ll be right there next to you the whole way. I’ll make sure everything’s fine.”
“Please do,” said Gloria. “If we crash with her, your name probably won’t even make the papers, and mine will be at least a half column down.”