And now there came two quick shots from the direction of cabin Number 1, followed by a bloodcurdling scream that stopped my heart, and Sluggsy came backing out onto the lawn, firing from the hip with his right while his left hand dangled down at his side. He continued to run backward, screaming with pain, but still firing his machine gun in short bursts, and then I saw a flicker of movement in one of the carports and there came the deep answering boom of the heavy automatic. But Sluggsy switched his aim, and James Bond's guns went silent. Then they began again from another place, and one of the shots must have hit the machine gun because Sluggsy suddenly dropped it and began to run toward the black sedan, where the thin man was crouching, giving long-range covering fire with two guns. James Bond's hit on the sub-machine gun must have jammed the mechanism, for it went on firing, jerking round like a flaming Catherine wheel in the grass and spraying bullets all over the place. And then the thin man was in the driving seat, and I heard the engine catch, and a spurt of smoke came from the exhaust, and he flung open the side door and Sluggsy got to it and the door was slammed on him by the forward leap of the car.
Against the background of this luminous and sparkling stage Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark profession an affront to his fellow actors.
Further, the actual symbols of mathematics were gradually acquiring mystical virtue. As intelligence deteriorated, the time-honoured operations continued to be used both in industrial research and in religious ritual, but they were performed with ever-dwindling insight. In the final phase mathematical understanding had vanished altogether. The operations were still called rational, but their rationality was said to be patent only to the divine reason. This was proved by the fact that the whole of physical nature ‘obeyed’ mathematical laws. Human reason, however, could not possibly detect the occult necessity of the higher mathematical processes. Any attempt to do so was sacrilegious.
Almost at once they were over the Rhine and Basle lay ahead under a thick canopy of chimney-smoke. They reached two thousand feet and the pilot held it, skirting the town to the north. Now there came a crackle of static over Bond's ear-phones and Swiss Air Control, in thick Schwyzerdьtch, asked them politely to identify themselves. The pilot made no reply and the question was repeated with more urgency. The pilot said in French, 'I don't understand you.' There was a pause, then a French voice again queried them. The pilot said, 'Repeat yourself more clearly.' The voice did so. The pilot said, 'Helicopter of the Red Cross flying blood plasma to Italy.' The radio went dead. Bond could imagine the scene in the control room somewhere down below - the arguing voices, the doubtful faces. Another voice, with more authority to it, spoke in French. 'What is your destination?' 'Wait,' said the pilot. 'I have it here. A moment please.' After minutes he said, 'Swiss Air. Control?' 'Yes, yes.' 'FL-BGS reporting. My destination is Ospedale Santa Monica at Bellinzona.' The radio again went dead, only to come to life five minutes later. 'FL-BGS, FL-BGS.' 'Yes,' said the pilot. 'We have no record of your identification symbol. Please explain.' 'Your registration manual must be out of date. The aircraft was commissioned only one month ago.' Another long pause. Now Zurich lay ahead and the silver boomerang of the Zьrichersee. Now Zurich Airport came on the air. They must have been listening to Swiss Air Control. 'FL-BGS, FL-BGS.' 'Yes, yes. What is it now?' 'You have infringed the Civil Airlines Channel. Land and report to Flying Control. I repeat. Land and report.' The pilot became indignant. 'What do you mean "land and report"? Have you no comprehension of human suffering? This is a mercy flight carrying blood plasma of a rare category. It is to save the life of an illustrious Italian scientist at Bellinzona. Have you no hearts down there? You tell me to "land and report" when a life is at stake? Do you wish to be responsible for murder?' This Gallic outburst gave them peace until they had passed the Zurichersee. Bond chuckled. He gave a thumbs-up sign to the pilot. But then Federal Air Control at Berne came on the air and a deep, resonant voice said,' FL-BGS, FL-BGS. Who gave you clearance? I repeat. Who gave you clearance for your flight?' 'You did." Bond smiled into his mouthpiece. The Big Lie! There was nothing like it. Now the Alps were ahead of them - those blasted Alps, looking beautiful and dangerous in the evening sun. Soon they would be in the shelter of the valleys, off the radar screens. But records had been hastily checked in Berne and the sombre voice came over to them again. The voice must have realized that the long debate would have been heard at every airport and by most pilots flying over Switzerland
Scaramanga held up a hand. For the first time his face showed emotion. "Okay, fella." The voice, amazingly, supplicated. "I'm a Catholic, see? Just let me say my last prayer. Okay? Won't take long, then you can blaze away. Every man's got to die sometime. You're a fine guy as guys go. It's the luck of the game. If my bullet had been an inch maybe two inches, to the right, it'd be you that's dead in place of me. Right? Can I say my prayer, mister?"
'YOU hold your tongue, mother,' he returned; 'least said, soonest mended.'
'And you will be right,' said Mrs. Steerforth. 'My son's tutor is a conscientious gentleman; and if I had not implicit reliance on my son, I should have reliance on him.'
'I suppose I have,' I replied.
The imperialists still dared not enter the country, for fear of the virus. They first undertook what must have been the greatest of all decontamination operations. Aeroplanes systematically sprayed the whole vast area with a strong disinfectant which destroyed not only the virus but every trace of animal and vegetable life. The home of the world’s most developed community was thus turned into a desert.