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Korsakova's shadowy outline smiled. "I thought you would have liked a war movie, Bettmann. It certainly isn't my first choice."

Bettmann watched with disinterest as Michelson the Air Force captain flew off the next morning to fight in the Second Gulf War. "Thanks for the thought, but I could use a bigger favor."

"A gentleman who gets right to the point. What might I do for you?"

"Get me on Flight Seven-seven-seven on the Fourth of July." Bettmann cringed at his timing as a supposedly invisible B-2 bomber was somehow taken off the screen by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile.

Korsakova was silent in the darkness, and did not reply until Bettmann looked over to stare at a beauty illuminated by the white light of conflict. "Why do you need me to get on that flight?"

"Because I'm a fugitive. And that's because the CIA has me confused with my clone."

"Who's been kidnapping people."


Korsakova stared straight ahead, her eyes glancing at the ones, twos, and threes of other viewers in seats before them. "And why Flight Seven-seven-seven on Sunday?"

"Because there are a lot of people who have made reservations on that flight, people who I have reason to believe are clones."

"And why would you think they're clones?" Korsakova rubbed her left elbow pit in the semi-darkness.

Bettmann leaned a few inches closer to his neighbor. "They're all citizens of New Zealand, and they're all teenagers."

First Star by W.R. Hammons:

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