6:33 PM – Rooftop of the New Yorker Imperial Club

Cradling the bird in his hands, Gus looked up. “Look. I know I really good pigeon surgeon.”

“Who does surgery on birds, much less pigeons?” Annabella said. “Look at poor Pidge. He gave it his all but there’s no way he’ll make it.”

“Trust me on this.”

9:11 PM – Room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel

At Gus’s knock, the door had been answered by a well-groomed old man after about twenty minutes of bumps, crashes, and muttering in a language Annabelle didn’t understand. Gus hadn’t even said anything, he’d merely held Pidge up to the peephole.

“Bring the bird in,” the man said. He was gaunt, with a mustache, and must have been about seventy-five at the youngest. “Lay him on the table, under the lamp.”

Gus did so. “Thank you, Mr. Tes-”

“NO NAMES. I do it for the birds.” The old man retrieved a small kit from another room and opened it, revealing an array of what looked like tools for electrical engineering. “These tools are not designed for such work, but they will do so long as I have steady hands, hmm?”

“Can you save him?” Annabelle said. “Can you save our Pidge?”

“Yes, provided I am not interrupted in my work. Please bear in mind that I am only doing this because my favorite bird is in danger.”

“The whole world is in danger if this plot comes to fruition,” said Gus. “We need this pigeon to stop it.

“I could tell you a thing or two about endangering the world, but only at the risk of breaking my concentration for this pidgery,” the man laughed. “There. A few pellets taken out, some sutures, and your bird will live. Allow two to three weeks for full flight recovery.”

“That won’t do,” Annabelle said. “We need him to fly urgently.”

“Well, then, step into the room here and let’s see what we can do for him.”

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