Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I do own the character Annie, Dr. Ivansov, and President Yuri Borkov as well as several of the thoughts/ideas and new gadgets and request that if you should happen to want to use her or anything that is of my own creation in any of your stories, to ask for my permission first.

P/L: While a sinister plan is being unhatched on the unsuspecting world, the Flying Legion Squadron gains a new member who has the potential of unlocking the mystery behind the new world threat.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow 10 octobre 2004

In Which there is a Brief Encounter

The door gave a slight shake. Without much of a sound it was closed. A dim light was shining into the small room, partially showing the room's two occupants. Captain Joseph Sullivan (Sky Captain) sat behind his desk, quickly filling out paperwork. As he worked, he spoke directly to his subordinate (and trusted friend), Dex Dearborn.

"The President keeps inquiring about your new ray guns," Sky Captain said, thumbing through some sheets. "He wants to know if you've composed intelligible instructions on how to mass produce them without the irritating jargon that only chipmunks can understand."

Sky Captain looked up from the paper and offered a small smile, "It was his words, not mine Dex."

"You mean the Russian President, Yuri Borkov, right Cap?" Dex questioned, not looking in the slightest way put-out by the President's remark on his notes.

"That is correct," Sky Captain replied, returning briefly to the paperwork. "He keeps calling us. Day after day; night after night it seems." Again Sky Captain paused to smile at his friend. "I think his record is twelve consecutive calls during the day. Why don't you ever talk to him?"

"I'm busy re-writing my notes," Dex replied, still looking calm and unmoved by the report his superior was giving.

"Well, are you going to receive him today?"

"No, I am not," Dex flatly stated.

Sky Captain looked rather puzzled at Dex. What the blazes was up with him and not responding to a very important man?

Dex continued, frowning as he spoke, "I have to respectfully decline his request."

"What changed your mind?"

Still unmoving, Dex responded, "Don't you find it odd that he calls repeatedly; even in the night? And how we have little knowledge on what he wants these ray guns for. I mean, the Proto-plasma Zigot has two functions that when combined can be cataclysmic."

Impatiently Sky Captain sighed, "Where are you going with this Dex?"

"Don't you find it rather odd that this request came in the day that those threats of destruction with weapons of mass destruction was sent to Gotham City?"

"Not another one of your conspiracy theories," Sky Captain moaned, rubbing his forehead with his fingers. He sighed, looking at Dex, who still was completely void of emotion, "Nobody knows who's sending the threats. You can't possibly conclude…"

Dex cut in, "Paris and Madrid have been threatened as well. No requests for money or anything has been sent and no deadline has been given. Which, in this case, is rather odd seeing how when you're holding a city hostage, you ask for a ransom."

"It's called terrorism Dex and how could you possibly know that those two cities were being threatened as well?" Sky Captain inquired, looking at his friend in disbelief. "The Prime Ministers have not said a word about it to the press or anyone for that matter."

"They sent it to you," Dex calmly and respectfully pointed out.

Sky Captain gave another sigh. "I was informed because we're the world's protectors. The Flying Legion does need to concern themselves with these sort of things. Saving the world, it's our duty." He looked at Dex in wonder. "So how did you find out?"

"When I was in London talking with the Secretary of Defense he asked me if I could decipher a note. He just wanted to challenge me and it was easy enough. The note was in basic Pigpen and I quickly deciphered it," Dex replied. He gave a small smile, priding himself in his excellent cryptology work. "I think the Secretary of Defense was a little disappointed with how fast I solved it. I bet they're already working on a new code for their messages."

"So why Russia?" Sky Captain inquired. "Why do your conspiracy thoughts rest with that country?"

"Well they've been sending a primitive form of Morse Code to someone in Germany for the past month," Dex responded.

"You've been tapping them?"

"Of course," Dex replied with a small smile. "It is necessary when you are making negotiations to distribute plans for a very dangerous weapon to a country whose leader and business you know little to nothing about."

"You make an excellent point Dex, but still," Sky Captain frowned. "Why Russia? What reasons would they have for holding these cities for ransom?" He sank back into his chair and gave another sigh. "Maybe you are mistaken."

For the first time Dex frowned. When he spoke, there was a distinct sound of being put-out. "I don't believe that I am mistaken Cap'n."

"Still," Sky Captain mumbled. He looked at Dex. It was hard to believe that Dex was mistaken about anything. In all the years that they had known each other Dex had never been wrong; so why would he be now? Why wasn't Sky Captain trusting him?

Then Sky Captain remembered. The rest of the squadron felt that Dex had been overworking himself and had been losing his edge. They also didn't trust his ability with cryptology and linguist. They thought that a mechanical genius was only good with tools and mechanics, not cryptolinquists. They wanted someone who had been trained in that field to work on that matter; not Dex. And they had been very forward with Sky Captain. It was the squadron against one man and Sky Captain had to make the final decision.

Sky Captain continued, "Some of the squadron believes that you still need someone who is professionally trained in that area; not you."

Dex was silent.

He slowly inquired, "What do you think Cap'n?"

"It wasn't my call," Sky Captain stated, avoiding Dex's gaze and instead busying himself with his paperwork once more.

In defeat, Dex inquired, "Well, where do I meet this translator? What's his name?"

Just then the door opened. In stepped the notable British Naval Commander, Franky Cook. The regal naval commander smiled pleasantly at Dex, quickly answering for Sky Captain, "You will find your translator inside your office."

She gave Dex a sharp look with a faint smile, "And her name is Annie. She's a Technician Fourth Grade."

"Her?" both Dex and Sky Captain exclaimed, shocked.

"Yes," Franky smiled knowingly. "She has been waiting over a half hour so she might be in a bit of a mood."

"Thank you Franky," Sky Captain smiled. "And might I say that your hearing is impeccable?"

"Thank you Joseph," Franky accepted. She looked at Dex and told him, "I think you might want to go assign her to something before she falls asleep again. She's always falling asleep. I think she does that when she's bored. She's quite the character."

Dex looked to Sky Captain. He was unhappy at the thought of having to baby-sit. Dex figured that Annie was probably some stuffy rich girl who thought it would be fancy to join the Women's Army Corps and dabble in the intelligence field. Not that Dex had a problem with women being in the military; it was just that he didn't think that he would be assigned one because the squadron doubted him. So they trust a rich woman? Highly irregular.

Sky Captain, catching Dex's disgusted look, told him sternly, "Be nice to her Dex." Dex just frowned at him. "I know you don't like this but please, just go along with it for now. If things don't work out I'll see what I can do to get her out of here. And I'll talk to the squadron."

"I will Cap'n," Dex replied. He added, "And thank you Cap'n for talking to the squadron." He then turned and walked out of the room.

As he closed the door behind him Dex heard Franky telling Sky Captain.

"Paris and Madrid have now been given their ransom note; each city needs to give this mysterious Ivansov one-hundred thousand dollars for each person living in that city or the city will be obliterated."

"Russia," Dex thought furiously in his mind. He already knew the answer. But now, it was trying to prove to everyone that he was right. If Sky Captain and Franky were convinced, the rest of the squadron would surely follow. But wait, there was the matter of this pesky female wanna-be-cryptolinguist to deal with.

Dex forced himself towards his office. As he neared it a small smile spread across his lips. Sky Captain had seen it fit to reward the young man for his part in saving the world from Totenkof and so the squadron had given him his own office. It didn't take long for the walls to be covered with pictures of superheroes, maps, sketches, and all sorts of scribbles. A small desk was at the front of the office next to the door.

On top of the desk was a small lamp that lit up the desk and about half the room. It was the only light Dex ever used as he had tried (and failed) several times to create a lightbulb that would turn off and on by his command. A blown circuit had been the result of his last fiddling and soon Dex had lost interest.

A short three feet from the desk was an army cot that Sky Captain had insisted that Dex have. Many times Sky Captain would come into Dex's office only to find him curled up at his desk, fast asleep. Now, Dex had a "proper" place to rest in-between shifts and late-night imaginative inclinations. Of course, the cot had been a bit uncomfortable so Dex, naturally, fashioned it with several worn Army sleeping bags, a faded black feather pillow, and a couple Army surplus wool blankets.

To an ordinary member of society, one might claim that Dex's office was nothing more than a trash room meant for storage but to Dex, his office was his own sanctuary. A place where only a few select people could ever bother him. It was his own place; somewhere to relax and imagine.

But then there was Annie…

Dex opened the door. The lamp on his desk cast a soft glow in the room. Dex scanned the room, looking for the translator. His eyes easily adjusted to the low light. Then he saw the translator. She was curled on his cot, quietly sleeping. Dex was fascinated.

The young female was about twenty-two years of age. She had soft brown hair that would later compliment her dazzling blue eyes. Annie wore her Women's Army Corps wool uniform but instead of the traditional skirt and dress shoes, Annie wore the khaki pants that went underneath her leggings and tucked into her boots. This struck Dex as being odd. Surely a rich girl wouldn't wear men's clothing.

Dex thought that Annie looked quite lovely. He hoped her personality matched her beauty. Inner beauty would prove itself later.

Stepping back outside, Dex shut the door. He wasn't sure what to do. He wondered if trying to wake her up would be the proper thing to do. But maybe it would seem odd that he would be waking her up. Dex continued pondering his situation. He could always ask Franky to wake her up. Females always responded to one another. And it would save potential embarrassment on Dex's part. But still, what would he say to her then? This whole situation was insane.

Then a single thought struck Dex. He gave it some thought. Then a small smile began creeping across his lips. He stated in a goofy, boyish manner, "There's a girl…sleeping on my cot!" His smile widened. "Shazaam!"

5