Have Blue

by John Argo

a romantic techno suspense novel

If you enjoy this free read from 1999, which is offered in the spirit of the Golden Age of the World Wide Web, please consider buying a print or e-book edition as a way of thanking the author. A fine E-book is typically priced at the cost of a latte, yet offers many more hours of enjoyment than a cup of coffee. Thank you (John Argo).

 Introductions   Chapter 1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   Epilog


When Paul returned to the offices in Burbank, Ben was in a funk. Steve, too, was outraged. Paul, Ben Rich, and Steve Rossi were in Ben's office, with the door shut.

"This could be mucking disaster," raged Steve.

"Those SOB's!" Ben fulminated, banging his fist on his desk.

Steve explained: "Some civilian radar quack back east, 3000 miles away, has been sniping at us. We are now under investigation for possible fraud. Ben found out that the SOB who is in bed with companies that make electronic jamming devices that get installed planes to fool enemy radars. We could put his cronies out of business!

"But this clown has the ear of several generals back there, and they may favor Northrop because they are big and they've done business with them, whereas we are tiny and unknown to most Air Force blue-suiters."

"Well, why?" Paul asked in amazement.

"They say you falsified test results. That you may have done something to that pylon. We know that's nonsense because we tested it here and drew up the plans for you."

"Of course," Paul said. "Hah! So I'm under investigation again? Is Mr. Mandigar going to come walking in any minute with his attitude?"

Steve waved a hand. "No, no, this is much bigger. It's not about you, it's about the company. The top brass have been burning my phone with questions. Some of them can't believe we are as good as we are, much less that we might be beating the pants off Northrop."

The phone rang. Ben answered. Steve and Paul waited in quiet distress. "Oh really?" Ben boomed. "Okay then. Send him over. I'd love to. Tell him what I said. Thanks." Ben hung up and turned around with a grim smile. He folded his hands on his desk and announced: "I called your alma mater, Paul. Know a Dr. Lindsay Anderson?"

"Oh yes," Paul said. "Professor Anderson taught mathematical analysis at one time. I think I had him for a course, though he would remember me even less."


Dr. Anderson arrived at the plant the next day, a congenial gray-haired man in his 60's carrying a briefcase. After introductions to Paul and Steve in Ben's office, Anderson opened his briefcase and reached in. He pulled out a little sandwich baggie tied with a rubber band. In it were ball bearings.

"These are the little ones. The big ones are in the briefcase. I have a hard time believing your claims, but they will be easy to test. Got a magnetron?"

"We have a 10,000-watt test facility in the plant, and a 25,000-watt machine at our anechoic chamber in Rye Canyon."

"The ten k will do."

"Okay, Professor. We have the machine ready, and the model on it ready to test."

Anderson's testing was thorough and took all afternoon. First, he tested the integrity of the magnetometer itself by shooting several objects, including the D-21 mockup.

Then he shot the model of the Hopeless Diamond, with the same results encountered in all previous tests—almost zero return.

He gasped, scratched his hair, and shook his head sharply as if to clear it. "I feel like someone who doesn't believe in ghosts but has just seen one. You guys have a really weird effect here. Can you explain the principle?"

"Nossir," Steve said sharply. "That's going to be a closely guarded national defense secret."

"I understand," Anderson said. He opened his briefcase and pulled out a ball bearing the size of a golf ball. "Put this on top of the model and let's see the return."

Ten minutes later he said: "Outstanding. All I see is what looks like a golf ball."

Ben held out a twelve page typed report under see through plastic cover. "Here are the predicted results from our testing and also from White Sands. You may want to compare for consistency."

"Okay. Let's try the next size, which is one inch in diameter."

The result was a one inch ball showing in the radar screen.

Slowly and silently, the testing proceeded until all that resulted from shooting a 1/8 inch ball bearing glued to the skin of the model was a 1/8 inch return. "I think you have a fantastic technology here," Anderson said, closing his briefcase. "I will make my report to the Air Force, and I can assure you that I fully support your claims."

Ben, Steve, and Paul breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Within a week, the Air Force Chief of Staff himself called Ben to congratulate him on winning the competition.

The Hopeless Diamond had outdone its best competitor by ten times.

The Skunk Works was reaching by far the smallest radar returns ever achieved.

The new project name was now Have Blue, funded for nearly $30 million to produce two full-sized, fully functional Have Blue jet aircraft.

The Have Blue project was now the most highly secret project in the United States in 30 years, since the atomic bomb project during World War II!

Ben and Steve shook Paul's hand in congratulations. Ben told Paul: "I want you to go home and take a rest. Take a week off."

Paul started to protest, but Ben said: "No. I need you to rest up, because we're going to be up to our necks in this country's second Manhattan Project. Go home and forget about all this for a week. Go!"


Copyright © 1996 by John Argo, Clocktower Books. All Rights Reserved.

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