On the Metal Rain, Over Germany, 1944 by James Van Pelt

Movement flickered to my left, so I turned from my calculations. “Are you navigator Lieutenant Lancewicz?” said the voice in my earphones above the B-17 engine roar. He wore a light silver jacket and a funny hat that sported a tiny lensed box, like a camera. “Can you answer some questions?”

How could he be here?

“No, he’s on the Crystal Belle.”

He frowned, annoyed. “Sorry, wrong plane.”

Then vanished.

We dropped our payload.

Six minutes later, anti-aircraft took out the Crystal Belle. No chutes.

Wonder what the guy wanted, but I’ll bet he left before the Belle went down.

James Van Pelt, has been a finalist for the Nebula, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, Locus Awards, and Analog and Asimov’s reader’s choice awards. Fairwood Press recently released a huge, limited-edition, signed and numbered collection of his work, THE BEST OF JAMES VAN PELT.

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