Ursula went with him as he went upstairs to the operations room, where he moved his token on the status board from AWAY to ON STATION and learned from Amélie that there were no messages for him. Then, on the way down the hall to the living quarters, he asked,
"How's your colleague from Brandenburg settling in?"
"I haven't seen much of him since we got in," Ursula admitted. "I do hope he and Group Captain Whittle are getting on all right."
By an odd coincidence, the very next people Gryphon and Ursula saw were none other than Group Captain Frances Whittle and her Karlslandic opposite number, Professor Hans von Ohain. They were in the dining room, standing together by one side of the long table, on which a jumble of engineering drawing lay unrolled or partly so, held down with a scattering of heavy-bottomed whiskey tumblers from the nearby liquor cabinet.
"... and no sooner was I on my feet," the Britannian engineer was saying as Gryphon and Ursula came within earshot, "gathering up my 'chute, than there stood Flight Leftenant Raeburn, red-faced and screaming at me, 'Whittle, why don't you just take all my bloody aircraft, make a heap of them in the middle of the aerodrome, and set fire to them?! It's quicker!'"
Von Ohain roared with laughter, banging a hand on the table, at Whittle's arm-waving impression of her furious superior officer.
"Oh, she was cross," Whittle went on. Folding her arms with a sad shake of the head, she added thoughtfully, "We never really got on after that..."
"I can't imagine why not," von Ohain remarked, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.
"Anyway," said Whittle offhandedly, "that's how I got sacked from the stunt squad. In retrospect, I'm lucky they didn't throw me clean out of the RAF. I'm sure anyone who pranged as many kites nowadays as I did back in the '30s would be shown the door forthwith." She sighed wistfully. "It was a simpler time."
In the corridor, Ursula and Gryphon glanced at each other, shrugged, and continued on their way.
"I guess I needn't have worried," Ursula remarked.
"I guess not," Gryphon agreed.