Chapter 222 - Annina's Death

A taxi stopped by the side of the road at the airport. The door opened and Markus alighted first, then opened the back passenger door and waited for Annina to get out. Ralf paid the driver and was the last to alight. The two of them stood to either side of Annina, controlling every movement of hers. 

In a black car in the airport car park, Long Bing and Xia Lei stared at Ralf, Markus and Annina as they headed to the airport terminal. Ke Jie, Long Bing’s subordinate, was also in the car. Markus and Ralf thought they had Annina under their control but they were unaware that every movement of theirs was being monitored by someone else. 

As Markus and Ralf were taking Annina to the terminal, Long Bing spoke, “Ke Jie, go in. Keep watch. Report to me immediately if you see anything.” 

“Yes.” Ke Jie said, then alighted and walked to the airport terminal. 

Long Bing looked at Xia Lei. “Have you thought about how you’ll settle her matters?”

“I’m thinking of getting her to help me. She’s an excellent mechanic and can even disassemble and fix a Leopard 2. She’s very capable.” 

Long Bing shook her head. “I knew you’d think that but let me tell you that she cannot show her face for at least a year, much less appear at your company and work for you. You get what I’m saying?” 

Xia Lei smiled wryly but said nothing. He did understand what she meant. Annina was acting out her death so how could a dead person come to work at Thunder Horse Manufacturing? More importantly, the CIA of America wanted her; the CIA would surely send someone to investigate if she suddenly died at the airport. It would be big trouble if someone saw the dead Annina working. 

Long Bing sighed. “I actually feel that she’s rather pitiful for having met you.”

Xia Lei rolled his eyes at her. “Can you not say that? I know I owe her but wasn’t it because I needed to complete the mission? That was for the betterment of country and nation, so what does it have to do with me owing her personally? I’ll make it up to her later. But before that, I’d like to ask you to take good care of her. Only you can do this.” 

“Rest assured,” said Long Bing. 

Ke Jie’s voice came over the transmitter at that moment. “Boss, they’re approaching the security checkpoint now.” 

Long Bing and Xia Lei ceased their chatter in the car and waited quietly for events to unfold. 

At the security checkpoint, Markus was the first to pass through. There were no problems with his identification documents and his luggage. 

“Come on,” said Ralf to Annina, “Don’t resist. You know that it’ll be useless. Cooperate with us and we will help you.” 

Annina sneered, “You’ll help me? Oh, I know, you’re helping me go to hell.” 

Ralf pushed Annina lightly, “Enough chatter.” 

Annina walked to the security checkpoint. There was nothing of Germany or the Germanic people in her heart now - just her parents and Xia Lei. Xia Lei’s face appeared in her mind and a tiny smile appeared on her lips. Stay in China? To be with the person she liked most? Why not? 

Ralf and Markus exchanged looks. To them, and to their understanding of their American ‘friend’, Annina would be passing through the gates of hell once she stepped through this security checkpoint. There was no pity in their hearts, however. If an agent sympathised with the target, then he was a failed agent. 

The airport security personnel waved at Annina, gesturing for her to move faster. 

Annina increased her pace and stood inside the body scanner. The alarm sounded. 

“There’s something in her stomach! Detain her!” The tone of the scan-operator was stern. 

Two airport policemen came rushing over, blocking Annina off in the scanner. She was in their custody in the next second. 

“What’s going on?” Markus’ expression changed. 

No one answered his question. The two airport policemen held Annina by her arms and walked her to the police room. 

Markus, who had passed the security checkpoint, went to chase after the two policemen to ask angrily, “What is this? She is German. What right have you to arrest her?” 

One of the policemen looked back at Markus and said in English, “What are you saying, sir? Please use English.” 

Markus switched to English and said, “Why have you arrested her?” 

The policeman replied, “She has illegal drugs in her stomach. Who are you to her? Why are you so concerned?” 

Markus’ expression changed again at those words. He knew full well what the penalties for drug possession were in China - it was the death penalty if one exceeded a certain amount. There was no saving a person who had gone over the limit. How could he dare to make any false moves in this situation? 

“What is your relationship with her?” The policeman probed further in English. 

Markus shook his head. “We have no relation. We’re just fellow Germans in a group of business representatives. I’m just concerned for her and we have no relation whatsoever.” 

“I see. We are a country which follows the rules and illegal activity here will be governed by our laws. You can contact your consulate but do not interfere with our law enforcement.” The policeman walked off after he was done speaking. 

Ralf cleared the security checkpoint and walked over. He said in a low voice, “Dammit, I heard the scan-operator say that there are two condoms filled with a powdery substance in her stomach. She’s been under our surveillance all this while - where did she get that from?” 

“Could it be that cleaner?” said Markus. 

“Did you forget? That cleaner was also under watch. I know you’re going to say that the door was closed but that was just three to five seconds. How was it possible to hand it to her in that time?” 

“Shit! This must be the handiwork of that Xia Lei!” Ralf said angrily, “He must be using this method to keep Annina in China and not let the CIA get any information out of her. She’s a critical witness!” 

“I’ll go over and take a look. Contact our consulate and have them send someone over.” Markus promptly made a decision. 

Ralf nodded and took out his phone to make a call. 

Markus walked to the police room and stood in the doorway, watching the airport policemen record Annina’s statement. 

“Can you speak English?” asked the policeman taking Annina’s statement. 

Annina looked very nervous but she nodded. She raised her head to glance at Markus in the doorway; he was looking at her thunderously. Annina looked away from his gaze, as if in guilt. 

“Good, then let me ask you this - there are two condoms in your stomach. What is in these condoms?” asked the policeman. 

“I…” Annina started to say, then stopped. She bit her lip, looking uneasy. 

The policeman snorted. “I’ll say it for you since you don’t want to say it. You have heroin in your stomach. It set off our security alarms. You sure are daring to try to bring this through the checkpoint. Tell me - do you have accomplices?” 

Annina raised her head to peek again at Markus in the doorway. 

Markus grew nervous right away. He was afraid that Annina would say that he was her accomplice. He would be arrested too, if that were the case. He was not afraid that he would be detained in China for the crime of possession of drugs but it would be a lot of trouble for their German side to get himself and Ralf back to Germany. 

Annina shook her head. “I have no accomplices.” 

“Where did you get your drugs?” asked the policeman. 

“I bought it on the black market,” said Annina. 

“Who did you buy it from?” 

“From…” Annina shook her head again. “I don’t remember. Give me some water. I’d like to have some water.” 

“Get her a cup of water,” said the interrogating policeman to his colleague. 

The other policeman went to the water dispenser and opened the cupboard below it to get a paper cup, then handed a cup of water to Annina. 

“Don’t be nervous. Our country’s laws are very humane. If you confess and cooperate well, you will get a lighter sentence. It’s best if you volunteer information about your accomplices and the seller you bought the drugs from,” said the policeman.

Annina nodded but said nothing. She just drank that cup of water. 

Ralf walked over at that moment and said in a low voice in Markus’ ear, “I’ve contacted the consulate and they will be here soon.” A sneer appeared on his lips, “They think they can use this method to keep Annina here. We and the CIA will put pressure on the Chinese side.” 

Markus looked a little relieved. “That’s good, otherwise we’d have no way to report back after our mission.”

In the police room, Annina finished her cup of water and was silent. She suddenly raised her arm and pointed at Markus, who was in the doorway, and said, “My boss is him. His name’s Markus - he’s the one who told me to carry drugs. And him. He’s called Ralf. He’s involved too.” 

The two policemen turned together to glare at Markus and Ralf.

Markus panicked and barked, “You wench! What nonsense are you spouting?” 

At that moment, Annina suddenly fell from her chair. Her body twitched all over and she foamed at the mouth; she looked to be in a very dangerous condition. 

“Oh shit!” The policeman taking her statement stood with a clatter, “The condom in her stomach must have burst! Quick, call the ambulance!” 

The policeman who had got Annina the cup of water used the desk landline to call the ambulance. 

Markus and Ralf could not hold themselves back anymore and the two of them stepped quickly into the police room. 

The policeman who was taking Annina’s statement shouted, “Freeze! Don’t move! You’re under arrest!” 

Markus ignored the policeman’s warning. He squatted by Annina and lifted her eyelid to look at her pupil. Annina’s pupil was dilated. He then felt her carotid artery and his heart grew cold. Annina had no pulse!

A gun was suddenly pressed to Markus’ head. It was the statement-taking policeman. His eyes were icy as he said, “You punk. What do you take this place for? Get on the floor! Lie flat, with your hands on your head.” 

Markus raised his voice, “I am a German policeman. What do you think you’re doing?” 

The statement-taking policeman swung his leg in a kick and Markus fell to the floor. He then took the opportunity to use his knees to kneel on Markus’ back and subdue him instantly. 

Ralf paused, then showed no resistance; he obediently lay on the ground and put his hands on his head. 

A few minutes later, several medical personnel entered the police room and did a quick check. Annina was pronounced dead on the spot and her body taken away. 

The people from the German consulate were a step too late, but they were more concerned about saving the two live people instead of one dead one. 

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