TITLE: The Sisterhood of Friends and Enemies
GENRE: Adult Historical Fiction
At eight o’clock on Monday morning, Erica Waller took her seat in Room 214 of the Moore School of Engineering, home to 18 of the 63 girl math sharks working for the school’s new occupant, the United States Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, Philadelphia Computing Section. She felt slightly guilty over having worked this past Saturday, the first day of the Jewish New Year, but knew God would forgive her. After all, killing Nazis by equation took precedence over prayer.
She pulled the plastic dust cover from her Marchant mechanical calculator, reviewed her table of data inputs and results, and identified the steps required for finalizing the bomb trajectory she’d been computing since Friday. Within minutes she began punching numbers into the Marchant and pulling the arm, adding to the clickety-clacks and sweeping clanks that filled the room. Noise for some, music for others, the sound soothed Erica and helped her concentrate. And concentrate she did, so much so that she didn’t notice the gradual reduction in clatter, lifting her head only after silence deafened the room and Norma tugged at her sleeve.
“Unbelievable,” Norma said, her voice dripping with disgust. “Miss Turner must be out of her mind.”
Erica looked toward the chalkboard and there stood Assistant Section Chief Turner with a girl Erica had never seen before. A girl dressed in a smart taupe suit and crisp white blouse, her complexion equal parts coffee and cream, a first for the Philadelphia Computing Section.