by Captain W. E. Johns



III.                   TUG TAXIS IN  (Pages 35 - 45)


Biggles asks Tug if he is free and he is.  He gets Tug to come over to deal with the newspaper vendor.  Then Biggles rings Air Commodore Raymond and says they need to move to operational headquarters.  He want to use the airfield in Delmar, in Hertfordshire.  The service has closed down there leaving only a care and maintenance party.  Raymond will organise that.  Biggles has been thinking things over and suspects the criminals may have started a special air line, ostensible operating for the public, but in reality working for themselves.  The Air Trades Directory told him that in the past year, eleven new companies have been registered.  Biggles is able to eliminate many of them.  "One is Air Freight Limited, of which our old friend Wilks is a director.  He wouldn't stand for any shady business, so that one goes out."  Eventually, they are whittled down to one called "Stellar Skyways Incorporated".  Biggles has already had cause to keep a record of the company in any event.  Biggles says he ran into their old friend Johnny Crisp in Piccadilly about a month ago and he said he had been working for Stellar Skyways but had given it up.  When asked why he said "It stinks".  Then three weeks ago Brigadier-General Sir Henry Carding had been killed by a lion which on a big game hunting trip in Central Africa.  He had been a member of a tour conducted by Stellar Skyways.  Finally, about three months ago a Stellar Skyways plane crashed during a sandstorm in Upper Egypt.  The machine had not caught fire but later it was found burnt out, the two passengers burnt with it.  At precisely 6.00 pm, Tug arrives and picks a fight with the newspaper seller.  "Why, you're the rat who pinched my wallet the other night".  When the man denies it, Tug says "So I'm a lair, am I?".  "Tug's fist met his jaw with a crack that could be heard by those above.  The man went down again, and this time he stayed down".  Biggles and Co. all pile into Tug's taxi and they collect the box with the suspected radio in as well.  They set of to Delmar, Herts.  Tug hand Biggles a camera that he had picked up off the floor.  The newspaper mans job was to photograph them amongst other things.  Biggles asks Tug if he wants to stick around for a bit and Tug agrees.  The taxi speeds on its way.