Chapter no 85

Quantum Radio

Ty descended the steps, toward the tarmac and the waiting delegation. Peenemünde’s small airport terminal and tower loomed behind them.

He was first to reach the bottom of the stairs, followed by Kato. No one in the delegation paid any attention to them. Their eyes were fixed on the jet’s outer door, waiting for Maria to emerge.

Ty couldn’t help staring at his mother. She stood stock still, eyes fixed on the open door. It was so strange for her not to acknowledge him. It hit him then that she truly was a different person—perhaps the same in many ways, but a person who had absolutely no idea who he was.

When Maria emerged and stood at the top of the stair landing, the audience lit up like a cluster of stadium lights.

Helen Klein began marching forward as Maria descended the stairs. They met just as Maria reached Ty and Kato.

Still Ty’s mother didn’t acknowledge him. She smiled at Maria. “Miss Santos, it’s nice to finally meet you in person. Welcome to Peenemünde.”

A strong wind blew across the tarmac as Maria spoke, drowning out her voice, which was already shaky and weak.

“Thank you.” Maria swallowed. “It’s an honor.”

Ty thought Maria was hating the attention and scrutiny. He had gotten to know her well enough to have a good idea of what she was thinking at this moment. Nora was standing behind her, and Ty could almost sense her wanting to reach a hand out and place it on Maria’s back to give her a silent show of support.

Kato was scouting the terminal and buildings beyond like a bird of prey searching for threats.

Ty marveled at how in tune he had become with his three fellow travelers in such a short amount of time. It was like they shared a connection, one that grew stronger with each passing minute.

“Let’s get you to your accommodations,” Ty’s mother said, turning and holding a hand out to guide Maria.

They walked away from Ty, Kato, and Nora, ignoring them.

Ty had always thought being attacked by someone you loved and trusted was one of the most unsettling things a person could endure. At that moment, he realized there was something worse: being ignored by someone you loved and cared about. He knew it wasn’t the fault of this world’s Helen Klein—she had no way to know who he was. Still, the experience unsettled him, and as he followed the group, he tried to process the emotion, the wind from the Baltic Sea whipping across him.

He sensed someone to his left, standing on the tarmac, but when he looked, there was no one there.

Nora came to a stop beside him. “What is it?”

“I thought…” Ty stared at the emptiness, at the inlet with its scattering of sandbars and the vast harbor beyond. “It’s nothing,” he said, continuing toward the airport terminal.


Inside the small airport, Reich Europa security personnel searched Ty, Nora, Kato, and Maria thoroughly, including their bags.

On the wall behind the security station, there were four photos. The first was Adolf Hitler. The second was Reinhard Heydrich. Ty didn’t recognize the other two people, though he assumed they were the subsequent supreme leaders of Reich Europa.

The security guard studied Ty’s South American ID, then set it on the counter and typed at the SIEMENS computer terminal. Finally, the man handed the card back to Ty and waved him on.

A tram transported them from the airport to the old power plant, and as Ty stepped off, he found another surprise waiting for him: Penny Neumann stood at the main entrance to the power plant, holding a clipboard to her chest, smiling bright enough to light up half the world.

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