The man lingered near the desk and Tony grinned inwardly. Carter had the prying nature of a backyard gossip and the La Honda papers were just an excuse to break in and see what was going on. C. V. dismissed him with an irritated wave of one hand and, when the door closed once more, continued across the floor to a hidden wall safe and withdrew a bundle of blueprints. He tapped them significantly. "These are so important to our country," he said grimly, "that certain agents have already taken the lives of two of my men in an attempt to get them. I want you, Tony, to deliver them to Washington!"
Tony choked. "Me? But … but …"
C. V. waved him to silence "Since you were orphaned by the death of your father in my plant, I've watched you closely. I know I can trust you. Now, here's the plan: Major Conant and I are going to Washington immediately. You will finish your day here as usual, have dinner, then get out to the airport and ask for Lieutenant Harris. Don't pack a bag. Above all, be natural."
Major Conant interrupted softly: "and don't worry boy. You won't know it, but one of my men will be behind you all the way. You see, our idea is that nobody will suspect that a secret so valuable would be entrusted to an office boy. They'll be watching the two of us." He handed Tony a card. "Here's where you go in Washington. Put those plans under your shirt and don't take 'em out until you get there!"
A few more instructions, some money from C. V. and they were gone. Tony tried to act natural as he tidied up around the office, but excitement bubbled mercurially inside him … and as suddenly froze as his eyes caught an open key on the inter-office phone system. To his mind there leapt the picture of the window cleaner, bending over C. V.'s desk. How easy it would have been to press a key down, piping C. V.'s plan into a speaker in another office! Whose? Tony couldn't tell; the keys were not marked. One thing was certain: it had been no accident. C. V. was much too careful for that.