A groom, in the course of his service to the private stables of a much-admired ambassador, found himself in the vibrating belly of a specialized cargo jet. He was not alone in that place. A veterinarian and an armed guard were there as well, all three men secondary to the purpose of the flight, an entourage for the ambassador’s horses. Three fine hunter mares stood quiet as cargo, neatly slotted into caution-yellow container stalls; a black, a blood-bay, and a sun-golden sorrel, all pedigreed and proven, sound and glossy. In a fourth stall, also breathing grassy warm into the caustically clean atmosphere of the jet’s interior, was a new acquisition of the ambassadorial stables; a piebald pony gelding intended for the use of the great man’s young daughter.
And the plane’s nose pointed east like a weathervane in an unwavering wind, seeking the capital city of the nation of the ambassador’s new posting.