Flight 402, Burmese airspace
Lily Na knew she was in trouble. All intelligence agencies kept
a few beautiful women on the payroll, and Lily was the most
beautiful spy Taiwanese intelligence had embedded in the
People’s Republic of China. But jade-green eyes, breast augmentation
and the 108 acknowledged Taoist methods of seduction
would not save her from the heat-seeking missiles of the PRC
jet fighters flanking her flight.
Her bodyguard returned from the consulting the pilot. Jun-Sui
was nicknamed “Ox Boy” for the breadth of his shoulders and his
massive strength. He was a master of white-ape kung fu and a
deadly shot with the silenced machine pistol in his shoulder holster.
He bowed to Lily with profound respect. “The pilot believes the
jet fighters are about to fire upon us. He and I both agree you should
bail out now while the opportunity still presents itself.”
The short flight from Kunming Airport in China to Calcutta
should have been a breeze. Then the laptop containing the PRC
ballistic missile reentry vehicle guidance technology would be
turned over to the CIA station office, after which Lily had
planned a well-deserved yoga retreat in Costa Rica. The arrival
of a pair of Chinese SU-30MKK fighters had ended her dreams
of hot yoga, hot tubs and the pink sand beaches of the Nicoyan
Peninsula. The former Union of Burma had nothing in its air
force capable of dealing with the massive Chinese fighters
invading Burmese airspace, nor would they risk their beleaguered
economy by protesting to their biggest trading partner.
The People’s Republic wanted this flight, and they were going
to have it. They wanted it turned around and landing across the
border at Baoshon Airbase. They would settle for a smoking
crater in the Kumon Highlands.
Lily inclined her head slightly at Ox Boy. “I will bail out.”
Ox Boy bowed again. Lily slipped her laptop into a padded
pouch and followed him back to the galley. Terrified passengers
followed their progress but stayed strapped into their seats as the
pilot had directed. Ox Boy yanked open the hatch that dropped
into the luggage compartment below. They climbed down, and he
pulled a parachute rig out of a locker and helped Lily shrug into
it. “Wait until the last possible moment to open your parachute.”
Lily slapped the buckles of her rig and tightened the straps.
“When would that be?”
OxBoy clicked open his cell phone and had a short, cryptic conversation
with the pilot and then clicked it shut. “Count to twenty.”
Ox Boy shoved night-vision goggles down over her eyes as
Lily checked the loads in her Browning Hi-Power pistol.
“Turn on your transponder.”
Lily pulled her crucifix out from under the high collar of her
dress. She gave it a hard squeeze at the apex of its arms and then
tucked it back in. Once the tiny transmitterwas activated, certain
surveillance satellites of the United States, the United Kingdom
and Taiwanwould be combing Southeast Asia for its tiny but distinctive
signature. The lurid red lights turned off, and the baggage
compartment whirled into a hurricane as the loading door opened.
The pilot’s voice spoke over the intercom in Mandarin.
“Agent Na, we have been given our last warning.We are about
to be fired upon.”
“Very well, I will—”
Ox Boy slammed both hands against Lily’s back and shoved
her out the door.
She gasped in shock, but training took over. She arched her
body hard and thrust out bent arms and legs as the jet wash flung
her about like laundry. Flight 402 shot away westward with a roar
as she stabilized her free fall. She jerked involuntarily as the two
SU-30MMK fighters screamed past, but a tumbling human body
was virtually no target to a fighter’s air combat radar. Lily
plunged through space as the jets flew on toward India at six
hundred miles per hour.
The clouds flashed as if they were lit up by lightning as both
fighters cut loose with their 30 mm cannons. The cloud cover in
the west went from orange to white and then to red as Flight 402
broke apart and exploded beneath the automatic cannon onslaught.
Lily winced against the sonic booms as the fighter jets
turned and went supersonic to return to base. She had lost her
drop count, but the Kumon Mountains were rushing up beneath
her with disturbing speed. Lily brought her feet together, kicked
off her high heels and faced facts.
Regal, voluptuous and green-eyed as she was, her problem
was that from the get-go she had been designed to be insertable,
deniable and expendable. Any extraction assets in the civil-warridden
mountain and river valleys of Burma would have to be the
same. The upper tier of the jungle canopy of the Kumon Mountains
rushed toward Lily’s silk-stockinged feet and she wondered
what, if any, kind of man might be sent to save her.