“What precisely are you guys after?” he shouted back through the open door, straining his voice to combat the rushing air.
“You know,” a voice came back to him, muffled.
“No, I don't,” he screamed back, risking a quick exposure of his hand to squeeze off another warning shot.
“Mr. Rafferty doesn't like thieves.” Three shots thudded into the back of the pilot's chair. Nietzsche offered a silent prayer to whatever deity had given him the foresight to reinforce it with a thick titanium plate.
“Oh, come on,” Nietzsche barked. “You seriously expect me to believe that Rafferty would go to all the trouble of smuggling you guys onto my plane just to get me back for a puffed expenses claim? This is about the plans, isn't it? I told Rafferty I don't have them.”
“Mr. Rafferty doesn't believe you.” Two more impacts, one crackling on the instrument panel. Not too much time, but don't blow this. Keep them talking. Lull them into a pattern.
“I passed them over in Paris, to the guys who won the auction. Not my fault Rafferty is a skinflint and couldn't come up with a winning bid.”
“You must have co...". The voice cut off into a sputtering gurgle as a bullet from Nietzsche's pistol burst through the speaker's throat. Nietzsche burrowed down in his seat and waited until the wild retributive shots from the remaining gunman trailed off. Something fizzled in the depths of the control console. He felt light headed. This was not how Wednesday morning was supposed to go.
“Just you and me now,” he shouted to the remaining gunman.
“Perhaps we can come to some kind of arrangement.”
Still no answer.
Nietzsche glanced back. A bullet whizzed past his ear. He returned fire, breathing hard. The plane was losing height. He needed to deal with the second gunman. Fast.