Chapter Three: How Martin Finally Outwitted Douglas on Burling Day: Cardiff
"Happy Burling Day to us! Happy Burling Day to usssss!" Arthur sang.
But before he could finish, Martin, who was sitting closest to him at his desk, stomped on the ex-steward's foot, causing Arthur's brain to go elsewhere and he never finished because he was too busy hopping around the porticabin on one foot.
"It's going to be a short trip, boys," Carolyn said, blinking at the way Martin had so nonchalantly shut the cabin boy up.
"Cardiff," Martin said, in a rather bored voice as he turned the page of his book. He was now 4/6 of the way through The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes (one of the older editions).
"Yes. Our very own Sherlock Holmes has it right," Carolyn replied with a small smile on her face. "He should be here any time now—"
Carolyn was interrupted by a large crash, some swearing, and Martin opening the door just as Mr. Burling barged in. "I can't stand that woman, I really can't. Oh." He noticed that the door had been opened for him before he could begin pounding on it.
"Goodbye, Mr. Burling!" came Elizabeth's shrill voice as the car zoomed off.
"I should never let her drive that car again," Burling told his audience. "Well? That aeroplane won't fly itself, come on!"
Arthur was suddenly chattering on excitedly to Mr. Burling, who snarked back in his usual way. Martin grabbed his book, carefully placed it in his flight bag, and followed the two out of the porticabin and into the hangar. Douglas and Carolyn were the last out.
"Douglas, it's time for the Burling Day Frisking of the First Officer…" Carolyn sang, putting a hand on her First Officer's shoulder.
Martin perked up, looking back at his CEO and First Officer, "I'll need to see this…"
"I didn't make you Detective Inspector Martin Crieff for this trip, Martin," Carolyn replied.
"I don't care, Carolyn. Douglas and I have a little bet on about if Douglas is going to win this time or not."
"Better start getting ready for my favor, Martin. I think I'll want you to wear a maid's uniform. The women's version," Douglas crooned.
Martin's eyebrow rose, but he followed Douglas and Carolyn toward Phil of the fire crew, who was looking pensive as they approached him. Phil patted Douglas down, and found nothing. Martin looked over Phil's shoulder as the other man went through the First Officer's flight bag.
"Well?" Carolyn asked.
"On his person, nothing. In his flight bag, nothing out of the ordinary…" Phil replied.
Martin blinked, and turned to Carolyn. Carolyn shrugged, "Have you totally given up, Douglas?"
"Oh no… I will steal the whiskey. I've got something I want from Martin here. I just don't need anything extra to steal the whiskey this time. You've opened the one bottle, I presume?" Douglas asked.
Martin took the whiskey out of his flight bag and opened it with a nice crack noise. "I have now."
"Oh… Martin has the whiskey?" Douglas asked.
"Carolyn gave me the company card to buy it on my way in today," Martin replied, "And I decided to keep it."
He put the whiskey away, but there was a clinking noise as he did.
"All right, Martin, I know you have The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes in your bag, and your usual other-things-I-could-care-less-about. But what is that sound of glass on glass I hear? The Talisker and…?" Douglas asked.
"Just a bottle of wine," Martin replied. "I picked something up for my sister with my own card—" here he gave a look to Carolyn, who had a suspicious look on her face as she overheard her pilots' conversation "—as a thank you present for my collection of Sherlock Holmes stories she gave me."
"That's sweet…" Douglas said, seeming to drop the subject. "How cheap is the stuff?"
"Unlike your… friends, Kaitlin likes the cheap stuff," Martin shot back, and picked up his bag to get into GERTI.
"Is it wise to keep the whiskey in your flight bag?" Carolyn asked, catching up to her captain.
"No," Martin replied, hissing slightly so Douglas wouldn't overhear, "But that's the point."
Carolyn raised both eyebrows, but she smiled a little and nodded. "Well, good luck, Martin—"
"—and may God have mercy on my soul," Martin finished, "I know."
After the post-takeoff checks, Douglas sat back in his chair and asked, "So… what kind of wine did you get your sister?"
Martin smirked inwardly as he outwardly opened his flight bag in a nonchalant manner. He took out the wine bottle and handed it to Douglas. Douglas studied it. The top was made of a red wax, and the bottle was hardly see-through, and rather green, like any ordinary wine bottle.
"This is the cheapest I think I've seen, Captain," Douglas quipped.
Martin simply shook his head and turned it forward again. After a few moment of silence from both pilots, Arthur burst in. "Mr. Burling would like his whiskey now, Martin."
Martin nodded, "I'll get it to him," he said.
"You will?" Arthur asked.
Martin smiled at Arthur affectionately, which made Douglas's stomach squirm a bit in jealousy, but he squelched it as fast as possible.
"Yes, Arthur, I will. I'm the only one keeping an eye on the whiskey this time. You sit tight, all right?" Martin asked.
"All right, Skip! Thanks!" Arthur said, hugging Martin tightly before bursting out again.
"Are you sure about this, Captain?" Douglas asked, "You remember what happened last time? In Edinburgh?"
"I actually learn from my mistakes, Douglas," Martin snapped, and hefted his flight bag to the galley.
"Mr. Burling?" Martin asked, handing Mr. Burling a glass.
"Oh? What's happened to the village idiot?" Burling asked.
"Nothing. I decided it was better service if the Captain gave the passenger his drink," Martin replied.
"Oh… well at least your more prompt than that idiot you call a cabin boy."
Martin shuddered as he entered the galley again. He looked in the fridge and saw that his wine was still there and smiled. He had left his flight bag in the galley, though, and he checked it thoroughly. He smirked when the whiskey was gone right out of his bag, but he was concerned that his Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes was missing as well.
Arthur would never touch his flight bag unless he was carrying it for Martin, though, so Martin took the bag by the handles and entered the flight deck. He immediately put on his angry face.
"The whiskey! It's gone!" he shouted, putting his bag down rather hard.
Douglas smirked, the bottle of whiskey in plain view, and the large leather-bound book in his lap as he read where Martin had left off.
"Sorry, Martin. Looks like your pal Sherlock has failed in his teachings," Douglas said.
Martin snatched the book from him, but before he could snatch the whiskey back, Douglas had zipped his bag and put it on the other side of him, out of Martin's reach.
Martin huffed and looked forward, crossing his arms over his chest petulantly.
Douglas should have known it was all a trick, he really should have. But he was too busy gloating to really figure it out. It should have been observed that Martin left the cabin every time Mr. Burling called for his whiskey, and the fact that Mr. Burling kept calling for whiskey should have tipped the First Officer off considerably. Douglas would tell anyone that he thought Martin was just leaving to calm Mr. Burling down at random intervals after telling him that the Talisker had been stolen. They weren't being tipped very well anymore, anyway. Elizabeth Burling had made sure of that back on their trip to Paris a few years prior.
On the way back from Cardiff, however, Douglas made the mistake, he thought, of hinting at what he wanted Martin to do for him as his favor.
"I told you about the maid uniform, right?" Douglas asked.
"I heard," Martin said, a strange expression of pride on his face.
"I have it with me in my flight bag… with the Talisker I won from you thanks to your—"
"Natural bad luck and incompetence?" Martin asked, turning to him.
"Yes," Douglas replied, then blinked.
Martin was still observing and deducing, Douglas thought. Usually Martin gave up on the world, or at least the thing he had been trying to do, when it failed him. Sherlock Holmes had failed him, so shouldn't Martin be… not observing and deducing?
"Something's up," Douglas said, his eyes narrowing slightly.
Martin smirked a bit, but was suddenly called by Mr. Burling, and so he went away again for a brief fifteen minutes. When he returned again, Douglas had partly figured it out.
"You actually won, didn't you, Captain?" Douglas said, but it was completely rhetorical.
"Oh! You are actually smart," Martin replied, grinning.
Douglas took the bottle of Talisker out of his bag, ignoring Martin's quip, "This liquid certainly looks like Talisker…"
"Because I found the one white wine in my supermarket that looks like whiskey," Martin replied.
"But the wine bottle was closed! I figured you used the trick I taught you in Edinburgh? With the nail varnish? On the whiskey bottle, at least?" Douglas asked.
"You would be correct on the latter three," Martin replied. "But I took the whiskey out of the bottle and, using a syringe, poured it into the emptied wine bottle, and then took a match to the wax to close the hole I had made. I also sucked the wine out with another syringe, by the way."
"Then you purposefully left the two bottles in your flight bag, and your flight bag on the counter in the galley that first time, and you served Mr. Burling yourself to hide the fact that you were pouring the Talisker from a wine bottle?"
"Yes," Martin replied. "You awe my Professor Holmes an apology."
Douglas blinked, "Is that your favor?"
"Oh no," Martin chuckled a bit, "after landing checks and checking in with Carolyn, you'll get to do me my favor…"
Douglas turned forward once more, but looked at Martin from that position, crooking his head somewhat. "Well played, Martin. It certainly makes future Burling Days more fun."
"Doesn't it just?" Martin asked, eerily like Douglas might.
Douglas shuddered, and Martin made note of it.
"Do we need to drive anywhere for this favor?" Douglas asked, once the crew and passenger of MJN had landed and checked in with Carolyn.
She was pleased that Burling had a nice trip, and that he got his whiskey, and that Douglas hadn't really stolen it. "You are turning out to be a very good observer, Martin…" she told him. "I will call on your powers of reasoning and deduction the next time there is a rather scheduled whiskey theft…"
"Or attempted whiskey theft," Martin had replied.
Martin paused at his van and took the keys out of pocket for his van. "No."
"That's odd… do you need help with another Icarus job?" Douglas asked.
Martin replied, "No."
As he slid the key into the lock and unlocked the side door, he dropped his flight bag and turned to Douglas. "I need your help with something. I can't quite read people in the present. I can take facts from the past and reapply them, but not… present actions. Human nature is a bit of a mystery to me."
Douglas nodded, "Yes…?"
"I need your opinion of certain… changes in one of my coworkers. As my favor, do you think you could help?" Martin asked.
"Be the Watson to your Holmes?" Douglas asked.
Now you're slipping into dangerous territory. Martin thought, trying not to chuckle. "If you see that kind of subtext, then sure."
"A coworker? Arthur perhaps? Or is it Carolyn?" Douglas asked, "You wouldn't be asking me for my opinion of me, so it's got to be the other two… Unless you have a coworker from Icarus?"
Martin grinned, but pulled Douglas by the belt loops closer toward him. "This coworker and I have gotten closer over the years. From shifty-eyed coworkers to dear friends, I hope."
Douglas's eyebrows rose, "Ah…"
Martin suddenly became bashful, "I admit I've had a bit of a crush on him for a while, but I can see that these feelings for him won't go away, so I've just got to know if he feels the same way about me…"
"And what facts have you gathered, Mr. Holmes?" Douglas asked, his voice softening slightly as his hands gravitated towards Martin's hips.
"Oh, my dear Watson, he's more flirty with me, but that's just my opinion. He looks at me with eyes that convey more softness than they do to, say, our CEO or cabin-boy," Martin replied, looking into Douglas's eyes to emphasize.
"Well, he's a lucky bastard for knowing you, Martin," Douglas replied, scoffing lightly.
"Then… he has feelings for me, would you say?" Martin asked, crooking an eyebrow up.
"I would say so, Captain," Douglas replied, smiling. "Can we cut the crap now?"
"I say we can," Martin replied, and launched up on the balls of his feet, wrapping his arms around Douglas's neck to kiss him.
Douglas, in turn, pulled Martin closer by wrapping his arms around the tiny-wasted ginger, murmuring happily as Martin's lips touched his.
When they parted, Douglas was still smiling, and Martin could hide neither his blush nor his grin.
"Dinner?" asked Douglas.
"Starving," replied Martin.