With Manny’s question still ringing in her ears, Selma noticed that the cars ahead had impatiently begun to inch forward.
“Look, Manny. Pay attention. Keep your eyes and your mind on the road, not on fear, trembling and paranoia about what’s going on at the airport.”
“OK.”, was his idle response to her concern.
“We seem to be underway again, but don’t follow that truck too close. You can’t see over it and we definitely can’t see what we are getting into.”
Another, “OK.” And the Renault moved forward to get in line for the checkpoint.
Like a herd of Lemmings, the crowd of cars was moving ahead at turtle speed.
There were four checkpoints stretched across the highway. Drivers and passengers were being asked for identification, where they were coming from and where they were going. The authorities were dispatching the crowd with the usual Dutch efficiency.
As each auto was released, it sped in turn on into the airport long term parking garage or on to the ramp for the appropriate airline departure entrances. Manny lurched the Renault in to the line marked Rental Auto Return.
Since their usage of the rental car had never exceeded the daily mileage allowance and the gas tank was still half full, checking the car in went quickly.
“Don’t forget my briefcase when you get the bags out. It’s got all my Spinoza notes and your Pilgrim stuff in it, too, Manny.”
“Right. Forgetting all that would sort of invalidate our last two weeks together and we would be up a well-known creek without a paddle when we got to the Court House to get married.”, Manny chuckled at his own humorless reply.
On that they walked as quickly as possible to the main concourse in the terminal.The KLM departure counter was checking in and weighing baggage for passengers on Flight 6027 from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City.
Because of the four-hour delay, the passengers in line were talking about the frustrating and scary delay of which they had all been victims.
“The PA system said they were operating under the Netherlands Government’s latest version of their IAIR protocol, whatever that was.”
“Yes. I heard that the Airport Security Forces had isolated, apprehended, interrogated and released the suspect and initiated the all clear.”
Selma’s two-cents worth was,
“Apparently, once again what could have been yet another embarrassing international incident was avoided by using the Netherland’s latest Catch and Release order.”
For Selma and Manny, this idle socialization was interrupted by,
“Rows A27 through E57 now boarding at Gate 3.”
When they finally boarded the aircraft the situation became clear.
As it turned out the young woman that had been the focus and reason for the alert and lock-down, wasn’t a female jihadist terrorist after all. She was a recent professional hire by one of the most prestigious Internet security firms in Silicon Valley. She was in transit from Iran by way of the United Arab Emirates where she had been vetted by the US Embassy officials in Abu Dhabi and issued an employment visa in order to emigrate. After flying from the UAE to Amsterdam with a short stop in Cairo, Homeland Security had signed off on the deal. It included arrangements for her to live with her husband in San Jose where he was working with the same firm as a CIA certified programmer/hacker.
After a brief transitional pause for theatrical effect and emphasis,
“Manny, be sure to put the briefcase under our seats not in the overhead bin.”