فصل 09

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فصل 09

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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متن انگلیسی فصل

Chapter 9

Helen Sandberg stood up to welcome the American and British Ambassadors. The two men were very different. The American ambassador was a short round man with a loud voice which Helen disliked very much. He often wore open-necked shirts, and he had a very hairy chest. She disliked that too. The British Ambassador – a tall thin Scotsman from Edinburgh - was always quiet, polite and well-dressed, but she did not always believe what he said. Once – a year ago – he had lied to her and she could never forget that.

But most of all, she disliked them because they went were both military men and their countries were much bigger than hers. They wanted military bases for their soldiers in her country and she did not want them.

‘So, gentlemen, what can I do for you?’

The American spoke first. ‘Well, ma’am, an American passenger is dead …’

‘Yes, I know. I am very sorry about that. I hope no more will die.’

‘I hope so too, ma’am. There are twenty-eight US passengers on that plane and my Government wants them all alive,’ Helen answered quietly. But the Ambassador did not listen.

‘So the US Government is going to help you, ma’am. We have fifty US Marines at the US Embassy, and they can be here in one hour from now. Then they’ll just take that goddam plane apart.’ The Scotsman smiled. ‘Excuse me, Ambassador, but perhaps one hour from now will be too late. One man is already dead. But, er… perhaps you don’t know this. Prime Minister, but this week six SAS soldier are visiting the British Embassy, and they’re waiting outside in my car now. These men know a lot about hijacks; much more than the US Marines or, probably, your own soldiers, Prime Minister. They know exactly what to do.

So…’

‘Now just a moment!’ The American interrupted. ‘The US Marines are…’

‘Gentlemen!’ Helen’s clear, hard voice stopped them. ‘There’s no time to argue. Firstly, I didn’t know about SAS soldier in the British Embassy, and I am very surprised about it. Very surprise indeed, Ambassador. Secondly, I do not think it is a good idea to attack a plane with a hundred and seven in it, and “take in apart” as you say. I want these people to live, not die. So I thank you for your ideas, but remember that this small country is ours, not yours. We will manage this problem in our own way, with our own people, thank you very much. Now you must excuse me. I am busy.’ At the door, the Scotsman turned back. ‘Prime Minister, I know you want to save lives,’ he said. ‘I understand that. But these hijackers must not go free. My Government does not want that. No Government in the world wants that.’ ‘I know that, Ambassador,’ Helen answered quietly. ‘I know that very well.’

As they went out, the phone rang. Michael picked it up. Helen sat down at the table and watched him. His face was very serious. He wrote on a piece of paper and then put the phone down. For a moment, he did not look at her.

‘What is it, Michael? Tell me.’

‘It was a radio message from the plane, Prime Minister.’

‘Well? What did they say? Didn’t they want to talk to me?’

‘No, Prime Minister. Just the message. It says: “We love our brothers, we hope the Prime Minister loves her husband. He is on the plane, just behind the door.” ’ For a long moment she stared at Michael, but she did not speak. A picture of the American passenger appeared in her head. She saw him jumping out of the door and the girl shooting him. Shooting him for ten, maybe fifteen seconds.

‘I’m sorry, Prime Minister,’ said Michael softly.

‘What? Yes, so am I. I thought perhaps… perhaps the hijackers didn’t know Carl was my husband. But they do know.’

She ran her hand trough her hair and then looked at her watch. But her hand was shaking so much that she could not tell the time.

The phone rang again. Michael picked it up.

‘Colonel Carter is outside, Prime Minister.’ He watched her, waiting for an answer. ‘I’ll tell him to wait, shall I?’

She put her hands flat on the table and stood up. ‘Yes. Yes, Michael. Tell him to wait two minutes, that’s all.’ She walked to the window and stared out at the plane. She pressed her forehead against the cool glass and for two minutes she did not move. Then she turned round and smiled at Michael.

‘Let’s just hope Colonel Carter’s plan is a good one, shall we? Show him in.’

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