Becker’s Vespa was no doubt the smallest vehicle ever to tear down the Seville runway. Its top speed, a whining 50 mph, sounded more like a chainsaw than a motorcycle and was unfortunately well below the necessary power to become airborne.
In his side mirror, Becker saw the taxi swing out onto the darkened runway about four hundred yards back. It immediately started gaining. Becker faced front. In the distance, the contour of the airplane hangars stood framed against the night sky about a half mile out. Becker wondered if the taxi would overtake him in that distance. He knew Susan could do the math in two seconds and calculate his odds. Becker suddenly felt fear like he had never known.
He lowered his head and twisted the throttle as far as it would go. The Vespa was definitely topped out. Becker guessed the taxi behind him was doing almost ninety, twice his speed. He set his sights on the three structures looming in the distance. The middle one. That’s where the Learjet is. A shot rang out.
The bullet buried itself in the runway yards behind him. Becker looked back. The assassin was hanging out the window taking aim. Becker swerved and his side mirror exploded in a shower of glass. He could feel the impact of the bullet all the way up the handlebars. He lay his body flat on the bike. God help me, I’m not going to make it!
The tarmac in front of Becker’s Vespa was growing brighter now. The taxi was closing, the headlights throwing ghostly shadows down the runway. A shot fired. The bullet ricocheted off the hull of the bike.
Becker struggled to keep from going into a swerve. I’ve got to make the hangar! He wondered if the Learjet pilot could see them coming. Does he have a weapon? Will he open the cabin doors in time? But as Becker approached the lit expanse of the open hangars, he realized the question was moot. The Learjet was nowhere to be seen. He squinted through blurred vision and prayed he was hallucinating. He was not. The hangar was bare. Oh my God! Where’s the plane!
As the two vehicles rocketed into the empty hangar, Becker desperately searched for an escape. There was none. The building’s rear wall, an expansive sheet of corrugated metal, had no doors or windows. The taxi roared up beside him, and Becker looked left to see Hulohot raising his gun.
Reflex took over. Becker slammed down on his brakes. He barely slowed. The hangar floor was slick with oil. The Vespa went into a headlong skid.
Beside him there was a deafening squeal as the taxi’s brakes locked and the balding tires hydroplaned on the slippery surface. The car spun around in a cloud of smoke and burning rubber only inches to the left of Becker’s skidding Vespa.
Now side by side, the two vehicles skimmed out of control on a collision course with the rear of the hangar. Becker desperately pumped his brakes, but there was no traction; it was like driving on ice. In front of him, the metal wall loomed. It was coming fast. As the taxi spiraled wildly beside him, Becker faced the wall and braced for the impact.
There was an earsplitting crash of steel and corrugated metal. But there was no pain. Becker found himself suddenly in the open air, still on his Vespa, bouncing across a grassy field. It was as if the hangar’s back wall had vanished before him. The taxi was still beside him, careening across the field. An enormous sheet of corrugated metal from the hangar’s back wall billowed off the taxi’s hood and sailed over Becker’s head.
Heart racing, Becker gunned the Vespa and took off into the night.