On his first time up in the air, Curt Mega had thought to himself, I could get used to this. The piston engine beneath his feet, roaring like a living beast. The ever present smell of cigarette smoke and the sound of light, sophisticated conversation. Free scotch on the hour, delivered by a fashionable stewardess. A view of heaven outside.
On this trip, it finally occurred to Curt that he had gotten used to it. He still dressed up for the occasion, as was the norm, but sitting in a suit for hours was uncomfortable. The smoke made his nose sting and the free scotch only made the turbulence worse. He wasn’t even seated by the damn window.
Still, it wasn’t all bad. It beat traveling by sea. The turkey they served at noon was alright. And unlike his first flight, Curt wasn’t alone. He hadn’t boarded a plane alone for a while. Not since most of his international missions had been with a partner, the same partner who hadn’t spoken a word to him all flight.
A little bit of conversation couldn’t hurt to pass the time. Curt leaned across the aisle to a familiar face. “Do you ever get the feeling air travel isn’t as glamorous as it’s trying to be?”
That familiar face stared back at him, a bit annoyed. “Hello, stranger.”
“Did you forget we’re sitting like this for a reason?” Owen said, curving his body towards Curt anyway. “To not arise suspicion?”
“I didn’t.” Curt said. He did. “But I got bored.”
“You should’ve brought a magazine.” Owen said, turning a page in his own. Curt squinted to read the title. The latest addition of Opera. Typical reading for Carvour, but definitely not Curt’s style. Unless it was just a pulp comic with a very misleading title.
“I said I’m bored, not that I want to fall asleep.”
Owen ignored him and reached into the backpack underneath his feet. He passed a rolled up magazine over the aisle. “Here, chap. Take an Autosport.”
“Thanks.” Curt said, but what he thought was: Maybe I'll need to swat a fly later.
“Don’t mention it,” Owen leaned back and pressed a finger to his lips for a moment. “Stranger.”
Well, that was it on the talking front. It occurred to Curt during the nasty bout of turbulence afterwards that he hated Autosport. At least the cars looked cool. He’d rather be racing to Denmark in one of those than pitched up in a metal bird.
Denmark. Had he been there before? He couldn’t remember through the haze of alcohol and noise. Closing his eyes, Curt went over his assignment again. Arrive in Copenhagen. Take the S-train from the airport. Meet your informant at the first stop in Amager. Or was it the fourth? Set up at your hotel in the harbor district. Keep an eye on the Bella Mansion two blocks away. When the coast is clear, sneak in. Avoid breaking windows if you can. Plant the camera and get the hell out of there. Wait for the further orders. Don’t fuck up.
Those last words rattled around in his head for the next hour as the plane landed and he shuffled off to the nightmare that was baggage claim. Once he’d secured his suitcase full of surveillance equipment, weapons and extra button-up shirts, he continued to the airport’s transit station to meet up with Owen.
Spotting Agent Carvour in a crowd had become the easiest part of these missions. The agent was wearing a suit like every other man on the plane had been, but his tie was in a much looser knot. His long hair was tucked behind his ears, staying put despite the slight breeze. As Curt got closer, he smelled tobacco and noticed Owen was finishing the last few pulls of an Imperial cigarette.
“Didn’t get enough secondhand smoke on the plane, huh?” Curt said.
Owen gave him a wave and ran his free hand through his hair. “Not nearly enough for a mission in the harbor district. God, I hate fish.” He sniffed the air, a dramatic gesture since they were miles from the ocean anyway.
“I’m sure they’ll still have plenty of sausages, or whatever it is that M16 feeds you.” Curt swiped back.
The train pulled up, and Owen showed a great deal of restraint by only responding once they were seated, baggage tucked away.
“Given that we’re paying for our own hotel room, I don’t think they’re feeding me much of anything.” Owen said, taking another drag. Curt wasn’t sure if that cigarette would last the train ride, but he didn’t say anything. “By the way, we’re bunking together again. Hope that isn’t an issue.”
“I don’t mind the slumber party. Two beds, right?”
“Of course.” Owen looked at him incredulously. “I’m not going to sleep on the floor, and I won’t have you doing it either.”
There was a third option that came to Curt’s mind, but he wouldn't dare bring it up. Not worth even entertaining the thought. Especially when his leg was pressed up against Owen’s, closer than it had been on the plane, closer than it had been in months. It was a thought he’d entertained more than he’d like to admit, when his mind should have been on the mission or the price of tea in China or anything else.
But the train was coming to a stop, his leg would soon be cold, and he knew by now there were worse things this mission would bring than the fact he’d be sleeping alone.