From where she sat Kathy could see the helicopter’s pilot and instrument panel. She forced herself to relax, the fact they were flying right over the surface of the Brahmaputra evidence he was probably an ace. She looked around the interior which was insulated to the point of being silent. The cockpit was beyond state of the art, with flat panel touch screen controls changing like the screen on her iPhone.
Fifteen breathtaking minutes later they came in over scrub bush on the north side of the river. A truck was making its way inland from the river on a dirt track and it stopped as the Colibri cleared the brush and landed next to it. Anne opened her door and called back. “Leave your luggage.“
Kathy and John opened the back doors and jumped out, leaving their four bags where they lay. The back of the truck was full of Western tourists and three had climbed out and were walking toward them. They were two women and one man dressed identically to her, John and Anne, all the way down to their hair, watches, sunglasses and shoes. As they were helped into the truck their doppelgangers got into the black helicopter and it flew away hugging the ground. The truck lurched into a creaky motion making Kathy wonder just how old it was.
Once they in the truck the other tourists sprang into action. In a choreographed sequence the three were helped into hooded jackets identical to what the other twelve people had on. Heavy duty backpacks had been left in front of the three, allowing them to seamlessly blend in with the others. As an intelligence operative herself Kathy knew exactly what had just happened. Quite frankly she was in awe of this operation and whoever was running it.
The ride to Samye Monastery took another fifteen minutes across badly prepared roads in windy conditions. Kathy had read about Samye on her way from Xian. It was the first Buddhist Monastery in Tibet, only built after the great Tantric guru Padmasabhava had supposedly tamed local spirits hindering its construction.
But the truck didn’t go to Samye. It stopped at the foot of Haibu Rishen, a long free standing mountain to the east of the monastery, where the local spirits were supposedly tamed. It was only about four hundred feet high and the entire group soon made its way to the ridge. The half mile long ridge was lined with colorful prayer flags stretching from a meditation hut to a temple on the summit. Kathy, John and Anne were kept in the center of the group as they walked to the temple. Evidently this was supposed to be a group of Americans visiting the mountain. Once again Kathy was in complete of whoever was running this operation.
Finally they reach the temple where two monks in maroon red robes waited. One stayed at the door while the other descended to greet them. As they all clustered around the summit John and Kathy were pushed through a door in a second lower structure, blindfolded and led away.