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A Japanese-American Lady
The French Embassy, Washington, D. C., July 14, 1933
It was Mrs. Hiroshi Tanaka's odd fate to be considered ugly in Japan and beautiful in America. She had been sent to an American College, not only because of her strong intellectual inclinations, but because no man of suitable station at home had wanted her. Then, in the middle of her senior year at Wellesley, a marriage was finally arranged. She was summoned home peremptorily without even having a chance to graduate.
As she now explained it to her new friend, she had almost married an American who was trailing after her, just to avoid re-patriation. However, the sheer weight of tradition and family pressure had finally prevailed, and she had returned to Kobe. Her family was a naval one, distantly related to the great Admiral Togo, and the man found for her was, of course, a naval officer.
Lieutenant Hiroshi Tanaka was of impressive family, and his excellent connections made up for his reputedly rather limited ability. It was because of these connections that he had, five years after their marriage, been appointed Assistant Naval Attache at the Japanese Embassy in Washington.
For Mrs. Tanaka, who had never expected to see America again, it was better than a dream come true. Even now, a month after her arrival, she felt positive joy as she relaxed on a couch next to the attractive young American woman.
The rapport which had sprung up so quickly between them was partly due to their laughing discovery that they had something in common. Neither had been invited to the Bastille Day party at an embassy that had been known to eject interlopers rather forcefully down the back steps. Mrs. Tanaka, "Mitsy" to her American friends, had explained:
"Usually these invitations seem to go only to the Ambassador, the Secretaries, and the senior attaches. But the attache brought Hiroshi and myself along. He said no one would object."
"I'm sure they wouldn't to you. I'm with a man who has no business being here at all. He's a lobbyist who hears about these parties and squirms his way in. Then he usually goes about his affairs and leaves me to my own devices until it's time to go home. But I enjoy the food and drinks, and I always meet interesting people."
"You're about the only woman I've met at these parties who hasn't started by asking me about Japanese clothing."
"I imagine they all want to dress up in kimonos. Most of them would look pretty ridiculous."
It wasn't long before they agreed that people who crashed the parties were much more likely to be interesting than the people on the official guest lists. This proposition was established beyond all doubt by pointing out horrid examples of people in the latter category. Then, having gone through the people within immediate view, Mitsy turned to her companion,
"Are you connected with the government here?"
"I work for an admiral in the Navy Department. I'm just a secretary, really."
"I think I'd rather work for our navy than be married to it. I'd see someone besides naval officers and their wives, and I might be able to talk about something else occasionally."
"The American navy's the same. In fact, our officers get on with foreign naval officers much better than they do with their own army officers. Not to mention civilians."
"My husband is dying to talk with American naval officers, but his English isn't very good. He's afraid they might make fun of him."
Much as she was enjoying her conversation with Mitsy, Cynthia felt somewhat disoriented. She had met Japanese women before, but none had been even vaguely like this one. Some had spoken English as well, but they hadn't laughed and gossipped. Above all, none would have revealed as much about themselves in ten years as Mitsy had in ten minutes. She didn't seem to be drunk. She simply acted as if she were a young American woman with a zest for adventure and very few inhibitions. Just as Cyunthia looked closely to assure herself that Mitsy really was Japanese, the young woman jumped up and took her by the arm.
"I see my husband looking for me. You'll find him boring. Let's go into that little lounge by the ladies' room."
As befitted a piece of France in a barbarous land, the elegance of the ladies' room set a much higher standard than the efficiency of its plumbing. The anteroom was, in fact, a private parlor with richly upholstered chairs and a love seat. On the floor there was a large Chinese rug finer than any Cynthia had seen. On the walls were elaborate heavy drapes in a red which carried a bare hint of the most elevated sort of prostitution. There was, in addition to all this, a maid who asked the women if she could bring them something to eat and drink. It turned out that she could. It was immediately obvious to the two that they could have a much nicer private party in the ladies' room than outside with the diplomatic corps.
The sight of two such extraordinary young women talking with such intensity for such a long time excited the curiosity of more than one lady on her way to relieve herself. Some were intrigued enough to report the matter outside to little knots of guests. No one seemed to be able to figure out who the young women could be. Cynthia, of course, was a nobody, and she had come with a nobody. There were too many nobodies at the large party to allow the somebodies to sort them out. Mitsy, while not invited, could have been traced to the Japanese delegation if any of the women who observed her had realized that she was Japanese. These women could have been pardoned for their oversight. Dressed in French clothing with little Italian shoes, Mitsy's luxuriant dark hair half covered her face. Her large dark eyes, made up in the latest fashion, were focussed so closely on Cynthia, sitting across from her, that it was hard to see that their angle of inclination was sumewhat non-standard. The observers noticed only that there was an exotic quality about Mitsy, and wouldn't have been surpised if informed that she was Turkish or Uruguayan.
It reached the point where women came in, not out of any natural need, but only to see the pair everyone was talking about. However, Cynthia and Mitsy were much too intent on each other to notice the looks, and even the stares, that they occasioned.
The conversation moved around many corners, suddenly exploding into open uncharted areas. At each stage the women came to feel that they had even more in common than they had realized. Not only that, it seemed that they could actually help each other with many of the problems that most vexed them. The result was that Mitsy became even less inhibited, and, at the end, she seemed willing to reveal to Cynthia any secret she possessed.
Mitsy probably never noticed that Cynthia, even with the help of the wine, never quite reached that stage. Cynthia did tell her about her admiral. She even described, sometimes with humor and sometimes with distaste, all that had been demanded of her in a particular suite in the Mayflower. Anyone, really, would have thought that a woman who had told such things had told all. Mitsy could hardly have known that there were things which were more important to Cynthia than men, clothes, and money.
It was quite late when Cynthia finally returned home. Not wanting to wake Murphy, she set her alarm for six. She wasn't quite sure when he got up, but it seemed better to wake someone just before they got up than just after they had gone to sleep.
Though groggy herself, Cynthia managed to give the operator the right number. Murphy sounded plausible when he claimed to have been up half an hour. She tried not to sound like the movie idea of a female spy.
"I'd like very much to see you today. Something rather strange happened last night, and I think we'd better talk about it."
"Is anything wrong?"
"I don't think so. At least, I hope not. It might be an opportunity. But I'm even afraid to talk about it on the phone."
Murphy had a full schedule, but he prepared to break appointments in order to meet Cynthia at the Gallery when it opened. As he said to his wife, Cynthia wouldn't have called him unless there was something really important.
As they sat down in their familiar chairs, Cynthia came straight to the point.
"I got drunk with a Japanese women last night, the wife of the Assistant Naval Attache. We talked for hours and exchanged intimacies."
Murphy looked alarmed, but, before he could say anything, she continued,
"I'm sure I didn't give away any secrets, but I did tell her that I'm sleeping with Admiral Ricketts. Is that bad?"
"It isn't good. Someone could use that information to blow him out of the water. That would, at the least, be inconvenient for us."
Although Cynthia had known that Murphy knew about her affair with the admiral, this was the first time that it had ever been mentioned explicitly. She replied,
"I imagine, from your point of view, that it's highly undesirable to have a whole operation based on an adulterous affair. But he never would have agreed to most of these things otherwise."
"In Washington, it's always either sex or graft, or else influence trading. From my point of view, sex is the simplest. You supply it and I don't have to do anything but take advantage of the situation."
Murphy smiled apologetically, as if to soften this unpleasant truth. He continued,
"From my knowledge of the Japanese, that information about D. D. will go right to the top. But I don't think they'll use it. To them, he must look like something of a bumbler. He wouldn't seem to be doing anything to rebuild the navy, for example. If they forced him out by leaking your information, he might be replaced by someone better."
"I gave Mitsy lots of intimate details about him, too. None of them favorable."
"Did Mrs. Attache tell you anything interesting?"
"No. She doesn't seem to get told anything useful. Except there was one thing. She gets questioned by special men every time she's seen talking at length with any American. She said she was going to tell them I was a femme fatale who has all kinds of secrets confided to her. That way they'll make it easy for her to see me."
Murphy had a peculiar expression.
"Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? We feed her any information we want, and they, thinking that it comes straight from the bedroom of a key admiral, believe it. But, if it's all a plot, they then know what we want them to believe."
"That was what I thought when I got home last night. But there's more."
At first, Cynthia thought that it would be impossible to get Murphy to take seriously Mitsy's peculiar condition of being beautiful in the west and hideous in the east. Finally she managed to corner him.
"Look, by any ordinary standards, she's extremely good looking. Whether it's true that the crazy Japs consider her ugly I don't know. If there's something wrong, it's there."
Cynthia paused a moment to catch her breath and held up her hand to keep Murphy from interrupting her.
"But I do know this. If the business about looks is true, she has every reason to leave Japan and come to America."
"I can't believe that anyone would betray their country because they're considered ugly."
"That's because you're not a woman. I'd have an entirely different life if my nose or mouth or something was a little bigger or smaller. Not just men, everyone would react to me in all kinds of different ways. You can't imagine what it's like."
It was the first time that Murphy had ever seemed dense to Cynthia, and she felt herself becoming angry. At that moment, she waited for him to laugh at her with violence in her heart. It was fortunate that he didn't. He replied, more or less thoughtfully,
"My wife has never been considered pretty, but it doesn't seem to have made much difference."
"No one would think her ugly, and no man would be ashamed to be seen with her. That's what we're dealing with here. Mitsy thinks that her father managed to somehow bribe or pressure this Tanaka into agreeing to marry her sight unseen. When he saw her, he was horrified. He's treated her like dirt ever since, and she hates him. But there's no way that she can get away from him and stay in Japan. She's waiting for an invitation to defect."
"Of course, we don't want her to defect. We want her to stay where she is and pass on what we tell her."
"Sure. I mention this only because it suggests to me that she's not playing some complex double game for the Jap intelligence service. She hates all Jap officers almost as much as her husband. They all treat her the same way."
"There are some other reasons for thinking this isn't a game. It wouldn't be a terribly good one for them. When I was in intelligence this sort of thing used to come up. When you feed the other side information, eighty per cent has to be stuff that they already know. An additional ten per cent consists in things that are true and reasonably valuable, but which they don't yet know. The remaining ten per cent is the bum steer."
"Okay as long as they don't penetrate inscrutable occidental mind and guess what we're doing."
"The point is that, even if they do know or guess that we're feeding them information, they still don't know which ten per cent is real and which isn't. I can't see them going to all the trouble of isolating you and setting you up for so little potential gain."
"I'd still like to check that one thing. Mitsy's being ugly in Japan."
Murphy replied as if he had come to take the question seriously.
"I don't know how we could. We certainly can't go around asking the Japanese we meet at parties."
"We could check Japanese magazines, and see what the models and movie stars look like. They might all turn out to look like ten year old boys. It wouldn't surprise me if your traditional Jap man is embarrassed by a woman who has curves and looks feminine."
"I know a man quite well who was stationed in Japan for many years. He was a trade official in our embassy there. I could ask him to go around and try to sell her an encyclopaedia. He ought to be able to give us some guidance."
"Wouldn't he think that bizarre?"
"Probably. But he's used to secrecy, and I've asked him many other questions about Japan. He knows the country about as well as a foreigner can."
The Bureau of Construction and Repair, July 18, 1933
For the last five weeks, the talk in all the bureaus had centered around the sudden death of Admiral Moffett, chief of BuAero. Never before had a bureau chief been killed on active service. The very idea that duty, for such a man, could pose greater dangers than heart disease or cirrhosis of the liver was itself shocking. But, then, Moffett had always been a little strange. He had personally taken command of the airship Akron and, against all advice, he had sailed the big dirigible directly into a storm. When, as predicted, it broke up, Moffett was lost with all hands.
Quite apart from the admiral, the loss of the Akron was the most dramatic event that had overtaken the navy in years. But, in the end, violent death was never quite as interesting in its own right as in its tendency to create vacancies. It was just that morning that the news had reached BuCon of the appointment of Rear Admiral Ernest J. King to head the Bureau of Aeronautics.
Moffett had been in an unprecedented third five year tour in charge of BuAero. Despite his administrative failings and his irrational liking for blimps relative to planes, he had been the father of American naval aviation. There were many who thought that they could have been better fathers, but, until now, they hadn't had the chance.
The early betting for his replacement had been on Captain Towers, a long-time naval aviator who was the choice of almost everyone in the bureau. The then Captain King hadn't even been in BuAero, and had most recently commanded a cruiser. Shortly before Moffett's self-destruction, he had decided to try for command of a carrier. He had thus gone to Pensacola for flight training, a requisite for carrier command.
Within a month of Captain King's having received his shiny new wings, the vacancy had occurred. King evidently then scaled up his aspirations from a carrier to BuAero, the command of which carried a promotion to Rear Admiral. No one at BuCon knew how he had managed to bring it off in the face of so much opposition.
D. D. Ricketts was sitting in the lounge with Cynthia, Howard Pardoe, and Captain Townsend, his assistant chief of bureau. He was taking exception to a vaguely favorable comment about the new admiral.
"He's really the worst son-of-a-bitch I've known in the Navy. His ambition is so huge you can't believe it. Even after you've seen it. He makes no attampt to hide it, and he somehow always gets what he wants."
Cynthia had talked with Murphy since the appointment, and knew that he took a much more favorable view of King. She now said,
"Some horrid people are very smart. Is that how he manages?"
"He's a smart man, certainly. But he's no genius, and there's nobody worse when it comes to inspiring loyalty."
Captain Townsend added,
"I heard he had an affair with Bob Farmer's wife."
Ricketts summoned up a look of distaste that would have done credit to a man who had never even considered committing adultery.
"He does that all the time. I've heard him virtually proposition women right in front of their husbands, not to mention his own wife. He generally gets them, too."
It wasn't long before the conversation turned to the subject of mutual concern, OPERATION TEST. It was Cynthia who was in closest touch with Murphy, and she reported,
"Murph doesn't expect him to want to cancel it or anything like that. But Moffett had been giving him a totally free hand. He now expects much more supervision."
"I'll guarantee that he gets that. One good thing is that Murphy doesn't have the kind of wife King would want. Although he's been known to lay a woman just to humiliate the husband."
"I know Mrs. Murphy, and I can reassure you there."
"That's good. There's something else we can expect. Within days, if not hours, I'll get a call from King. He'll want us to continue funding the program, but he'll insist on making all the decisions himself without even consulting us."
It was Howard Pardoe who quietly asked,
"Are you going to let him?"
"Not on your ass. I'm going to name the head of the program and all principal personnel. We'll attempt to comply with his requests on operational matters."
Cynthia was somewhat surprised. It had been some time since she had seen this side of Ricketts. She knew, too, that having so spoken in front of Pardoe and Townsend, he wouldn't be able to back down later. She asked,
"What will he do then?"
"Scream. Try to get control in other ways. But I don't think he'll go public and ruin everything. He'll think that it's just a matter of time before he gets his way."
The Bureau of Aeronautics, July 25, 1933.
Murphy was kept so busy that Cynthia wasn't able to see him for a week, except for change passings in the corridors of the building. Murphy had looked surprisingly happy each time, and he later confirmed it in his office.
"I bet on the right man. I talked with Admiral King before he was appointed. Among other things, I told him about our operation. Things I haven't told anyone else except you. It was a risk. If he hadn't been appointed, he might have leaked the whole thing. I wouldn't be here either, of course."
"D. D. said his first move would be to demand complete control."
"He did mention that. I told him that BuAero already had control in practice, and that there was no point in making waves. He wants to meet you, incidentally."
Murphy's last remark caused Cynthia to experience an old feeling, a kind of excitement which had once constituted her main reason for living. It still affected the rate of her pulse, but made her feel a little as if she were to be executed at dawn. Her feeling was also reminiscent of the time in New York when her boss had torn up a letter she had typed and thrown the pieces on the floor. Admiral King wouldn't care about the quality of her secretarial work, but, in other respects, the best she could do wouldn't satisfy him. In the end, she'd have to pick up the pieces while others looked on, probably with no great sympathy.
In that moment Cynthia knew what would happen. But she wondered how and why. The suspense didn't rest on whether Admiral King would succeed, but on how he would do it. Had other women submitted to him merely out of curiosity? To see how he would do it? That sounded like human nature. She tried to imagine the usual scene.
It would begin at one of those dreadful drunken officers' parties. An attractive young woman, all dressed up, would come with her husband, a junior officer. The trouble was that such girls were all so prim to begin with, sitting extra straight with their knees and ankles pressed together. This one would drink a little too much out of nervousness. She would hope that the alcohol would allow her to relax enough not to embarrass her husband with her stiffness. Then she might wobble just a tiny bit as she carried her plate from the buffet to her chair. Or she might sit without getting her skirt properly arranged.
Captain, now Admiral, King would make his approach. Both the girl and her husband would be tremendously flattered at first. King would be witty and charming. Then, he would be more interested in the wife than the husband. And then, before either realized what was happening, the older man would offer to show the young lady around the town. They were new there, were they not? The husband would be fully occupied with his duties. Well, then, the captain would be most happy to show Janice (or Sue or Linda) around. There would be protestations. He must be too busy. It was too much to expect. Nonsense. Not in the least. He insisted on it. He would call shortly. The husband wouldn't be able to object, or be able to protect his wife. Janice-Sue-Linda, alone with the captain, wouldn't stand a chance.
Or, it might be different. The same party, but a woman of at least thirty five. One who hated her husband, a man competing with King professionally. She would know just what signals to send, and she would know, by his reputation, who to send them to. She might even go home with her husband that night. But she would make sure that the husband knew that King could have her whenever he wanted her.
Cynthia felt sure that the new admiral's attentions wouldn't be limited to the wives of his brother officers. In the case of a woman with no husband to humiliate, the woman herself would be the target. D. D. Ricketts sometimes humiliated her out of insensitivity, but this would go far beyond anything he was capable of doing. Admiral King, at the least, would unceremoniously drop a woman when he tired of her. Probably it would be a good deal worse than that. Cynthia wondered what he would do to her.
During the time which it had taken Cynthia to run through these thoughts, Murphy had remained silent. He now looked slightly pained. He started to speak, probably to utter a conventional warning about a man who didn't always treat women with respect, but Cynthia stopped him. It occurred to her that there was a bigger question concerning King's procedure than the manner of his seductions.
"D. D. said, if King didn't have total control of our operation, he'd try to get it in some indirect way. We wondered how he was going to do it, and now we know. He's found out that I'm the connection between the navy and the civilian operation. He wants to meet me so he can give me orders direct. Then he can cut out both you and D. D. We can foil him simply by my refusing to meet him. I'm a civilian working for another bureau, and he can't make me."
Cynthia wondered, after she had spoken, whether she had been engaged in a vain attempt to save her own honor. Murphy seemed to understand. For the first time since she had known him, he touched her gently on the arm.
"I'm afraid that he won't be denied that easily. Also, I don't think I have a right to try. He is my commanding officer. If he wants to run the operation single-handedly, he has a right to. But, if I'm cooperative, he'll be reasonable and ask my advice."
Cynthia merely nodded and wondered what she would wear for her meeting with Admiral King. Suddenly, Murphy changed the subject in a way that brought her abruptly out of her wardrobe.
"I met your Japanese lady."
It transpired that Murphy and his friend, the expert on Japan, had both gone to Mrs. Tanaka's home one morning in the guise of Jehovah's Witnesses. They had there sold her a copy of the Watchtower. He concluded with great glee,
"We approached everyone in the street to make it look right, but she was the only one we came near converting."
"I'm afraid she could be converted to almost anything American just now. What did you think of her?"
"I thought she was very beautiful. She'd just gotten up, still in a dressing gown, but she invited us in for coffee."
"You didn't mistake a Japanese kimono for a dressing gown, did you?"
"No, I know the difference. She remarked, incidentally, that she never wears Japanese clothing."
"What did your friend think?"
"Well, he liked her, too. But he did say that she wasn't the Japanese type at all. She has full lips, big eyes, and quite a figure. Afterwards, he showed me Japanese prints and magazines, as you suggested. We concluded that it would take an eccentric Japanese to like her."
"I doubt that there are any Jap male eccentrics. Certainly not whats-his-name Tanaka."
"It seems, then, that we ought to proceed. The problem is who to tell on our side."
"Doesn't it go to Naval Intelligence?"
"You forget that I worked there. Too many leaks. I'll tell King, but my bet is that he won't tell intelligence at all. We can certainly fix up the information to feed them, and I already have ideas for that."
"I assume there won't be anything about OPERATION TEST."
Murphy looked at her pityingly and said,
"Some of the information will come from BuCon, and some from BuAero. The stuff from BuCon will be almost entirely true, except that it will emphasize battleships, as opposed to carriers. Even more than is actually the case. With Admiral Pratt our CNO, they won't have any trouble believing that."
"Even so, I doubt that the few rumors I plant are going to make them go slow on carriers and build a yacht for the emperor instead."
"An accumulation of little things like that might have some effect. And you never know. Even a delay of one week in the completion of one carrier might be enough to decide a great battle."
"I can't pour information out to Mitsy, points one, two, and three. I'm not supposed to sound like a naval strategist."
"No. You're just a pretty rather frivolous girl who talks loosely when drunk. It would be better if you can fake the drunkenness."
"I think I can manage. Mitsy's very bright, but she's in a gullible state. The only real danger is that she'll resent the people who question her enough to withold or alter what we give her."
Murphy was old-fashioned enough to apologize for swearing in front of a lady. He then spoke quite seriously.
"If you ever suspect that she might be doing that, tell me immediately. We'd have to consider telling her part of what we're doing."
"You'd have to promise her eventual American citizenship."
"I could hardly go to the State Department and request that."
"Come to think of it, we could get her a Nevada divorce. And then there wouldn't be any shortage of Americans who'd want to marry her. She could have her pick. Or, if she didn't want any, we could find some unmarried man like Howard Pardoe, and get him to marry her in name only."
"By golly, we're certainly making life exciting for Howard. That would probably work. So, if things work out in a certain way, we could actually promise to make her an American."
"Ok. I can let slip things from BuCon that I clear with D. D., and probably Howard as well. I think the context will usually be to illustrate conflicts I'm having with people. I'm going to have lots of fights."
Murphy winced visibly at the prospect, and Cynthia laughed. He then said,
"The important leaks are going to come from BuAero, and I've got something tailored for the Japanese mind. Consider this: Admiral Moffett, a great believer in lighter-than-air ships, takes personal command of our newest and best dirigible and gallantly flies into the heart of danger. He then dies heroically with all of his men. How do you react to that?"
"I think he was a fool. Both then, and about blimps in general. I'd use it as a reason to stop messing with the stupid things."
"So would I. So would Admiral King. However, I've discovered that the Japanese papers reported the event with great sympathy, and without the scepticism of most of our own."
"Probably they don't have our notions of foolhardiness and pig-headedness. Also, unlike Mitsy, the men seem to have no humor at all. I don't think they'd see anything like that in a ridiculous light. In one of our papers I saw a cartoon of Moffett sailing serenely into the storm, but I doubt that the Japs would joke about such things."
"No. There are only heroes and greater heroes. Moreover, it would be logical to them to persevere with the work of a hero. You redouble your efforts, allocate greater funds, and try to succeed where he failed. Even if, from a purely rational point of view, the whole enterprise was doubtful from the beginning."
"Well, the event was dramatic enough. I guess I can get all starry-eyed over Moffett. I can even take Mitsy to see his grave. Then the other stuff can come out."
"Okay, the main point is that our distant plans emphasize airships over carrier planes, not only for scouting, but for bombing. That's dumb, of course. They're too easy to shoot down."
"Would the Japs believe that we'd believe that? You know, someone like D. D might strike them as a buffoon, but they'd misread him badly if they thought he was a fool. Are they likely to think that?"
Murphy seemed to enjoy the imagined confrontation between the Japanese and Admiral Ricketts.
"I have the greatest difficulty in imagining what the Japanese might make of Admiral Ricketts. But they're more likely to come across other admirals who do believe in blimps. Admiral Pratt himself likes them. He almost went with Moffett on his last trip. You might let it drop to Mitsy that our CNO could easily have been among the casualties. It's true, and that's the kind of thing the silly girl you're pretending to be would remember and talk about."
"Thank you for your tact, Murph. The silly girl I'm pretending to be. I hope the pretense doesn't come too easily. Anyway, I gather the silly girl, following the lead of still sillier admirals, wants to slowly maneuver a blimp directly over a Jap ship. The officers below, having difficulty seeing through their thick spectacles, neglect to notice it. Then the blimp lets go and WHAMMO!"
"Make sure you don't sound cynical in front of that woman. Just so you'll understand about blimps, it's like this. They're part of the battleship mentality. In fact, they're battleships of the air. Big and slow. And if they ever get into a position to bomb, they can deliver an enormous weight of ordnance very accurately. The trouble is, unlike battleships, they don't have armor. Still, they're the easiest part of the air age for people opposed to aviation to accept. I really think that Moffett himself was a victim of this thinking. He hated Billy Mitchell so much that he went off in a crazy direction just to be different."
"Okay, I'll try to become an entusiast about blimps myself."
"By the way, there's something else we might use. Did you know that the Akron had a hangar for a fighter plane? It wouldn't really have helped much. It would have taken more than a single fighter to adequately protect it in action. But it may make more credible the idea that we're putting our money on airships. That's supposed to be a secret, but the Japs can probably confirm it from other sources. It might boost your stock a little."
Murphy's secretary entered, gave Cynthia a hostile look, and pointed out that he was keeping two officers with appointments waiting. After the secretary closed the door, Cynthia got up to leave. Murphy said,
"Now I know why we should be meeting at the Gallery. If I'm not careful, I'll be known as the D. D. Ricketts of BuAero."
"I should have brought a whole pile of papers to lay on your desk. Do you want to call me for our next meeting?"
"Yes. We haven't even begun to talk about the dangers to you in all this. You'll have to have a chance to refuse."
Cynthia made a face as she went out the door.
"I'll give you your chance to warn me and feel honorable."
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