I heard the faint beating of the rotor blades long before I saw the approaching helicopter.
It was a cool spring morning, a little after sunrise, and I'd just stepped out onto the porch of my rambling farmhouse in rural northern Virginia. I gazed toward the east, past the grass airstrip my crop-duster father had built thirty years earlier and the farm fields he no longer owned. Searching the horizon, I finally saw it. A speck, coming out of the glow of the sun. I checked my watch. Almost seven-twenty. Right on time, and I wondered what I was getting myself into.
My regular job is chief of...