Jim Crenshaw woke up looking at the biggest policeman he had ever seen sitting across from him. The Cop was not threatening in anyway, just sitting there looking at him.
The two just looked at each other for a few more seconds and then the Cop spoke in a deep rumbling voice.
“Son, you are in a passel of trouble.”
This struck Jim as odd for two reasons. Nobody in the Washington area said “passel” and how could he be in trouble? He was in
“What have I done officer?’
“You broke a long string of laws Boy! Trespassing, theft and what the hell are you doing with all these files rated “Top-Secret”? There is a war going on Boy, and you have a lot of explaining to do. This is a firing squad offense Boy, and you had better start talking and making some sense out of this.”
For the first time, in this endeavor Jim was scared, very scared. He started to stammer incoherent explanations that fell on deaf ears. Finally, the cop had had enough. He hustled Jim upstairs and into the waiting patrol car. His uncle’s neighbor, Mrs. Bode, looked on in horror as they pulled away. All she could think to say was, “Hi Jim.” He answered politely “Hi Mrs. Bode.” He was driven to the police station with sirens blazing.
He had one phone call and used it to call Skinner’s home. Yvonne Skinner answered and this helped to calm him down. He blurted out his story, almost coming to tears. Mrs. Skinner was very adept at calming him down. She assured him that Dr. Skinner would contact the police soon to straighten things out. Speaking with Mrs. Skinner helped focus Jim and he relaxed as he waited in his cell.
He was informed that the FBI was going to be there tomorrow and he should cooperate fully. Jim had no intention of doing otherwise.
Yvonne Skinner reached the Dr. Skinner at his office in-between his classes. He was horrified at what had happened to Jim. Mrs. Skinner had already booked a seat on the 12:30 train going east and had packed his bags. The Dr. Skinner thanked her for the dozenth time and prepared to leave. He made the train by 5 minutes and settled in to plan how he was going to approach this new situation. He was worried sick for Jim’s safety. Then, he remembered that Jim was a minor and that set his mind at ease somewhat.
24 hours later he was at the police station having a heated discussion with an FBI agent. Jim’s dilemma was
The agent’s comment got the proverbial ball rolling. Soon Jim was released into Skinner’s custody and Henderson introduced Skinner to his commanding general. After relating the elder Crenshaw’s theory of how Skinner’s guidance system was being used by the Soviets, it took a while for the General to come around to the concept. Henderson was sitting in on the encounter and mentioned the feathers and parts of birds he had first written about and that seemed to pique the interest of the General.
Skinner was given immediate access to classified reports, flight crew interviews, and after-flight briefings by maintenance crews, etc. A pattern began to appear to someone who possessed an open mind and foreknowledge of his guidance system. It started to sink in, to Skinner just how much of a professional and personal risk he was taking in pursuing Jim’s uncle’s theory. Skinner was undaunted and determined to stop his work from being used to kill American bomber crews.
After the third day, he was dog tired and started to daydream about the Soviet leader who recognized the value of his guidance system. Who was he? How could he be in such a position to institute Skinner’s invention on such a grand scale?
On the fourth day, it became clear that there have been just too many instances of bird parts being found in bombers surviving missile strikes. To him, the evidence was overwhelming. Jim was having a good time in the hotel and ordering room service. Now all Skinner had to do was to convince the Pentagon to once again take his system seriously. He had to secretly admit that a pigeon guided missile did sound rather odd. He knew that he had to put such thoughts to rest and present his case with the utmost conviction.
His greatest fear was that his system would be used for its original purpose and that purpose was to sink ships. A ten percent hit rate on thousands of bomber is bad enough. He was sure the rate would increase to at least fifty percent and possibly higher if used against ships. A bomber had a crew of 9. A major ship had a crew of hundreds. A few hundred of these missiles could force the U.S. Navy to withdraw from European waters and end any hope of liberating Eurasia from communist rule.
Skinner was sure that the same mind that had grasped the concept of his invention and modified it to down bombers would also see the value of attacking the greatest asset to the U.S.
In addition, he had to assist the navy in defeating his own invention. It was a development he had never considered and now must. He had no idea of what could possibly be done to keep his pigeons from winning the war for Stalin’s minions, none whatsoever.