The bourne supremacy, p.126
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.126

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 126


  'Havilland? cried McAllister, stunned.

  'Rest easy, Mr Undersecretary,' said the diplomat. 'Mr Conklin and I know where we're coming from. We've both been there before. '

  There's a difference,' objected Conklin, his gaze never wavering from Havilland's eyes. 'I never took any pleasure from the game. '

  'You think I do?' The telephone rang. Havilland shot forward, grabbing it. 'Yes?' The ambassador listened, frowning, staring at the darkened bay window. 'If I don't sound shocked, Major, it's because the news reached me a few minutes ago . . . No, not the police but a man I want you to meet tonight. Say in two hours, is that convenient? . . . Yes, he's one of us now. ' Havilland raised his eyes to Conklin. There are those who say he's better than most of us, and I dare say his past service record might bear that out. . . Yes, it's he . . . Yes, I'll tell him . . . What? What did you say?' The diplomat again looked at the bay window, the frown returning. They covered themselves quickly, didn't they? Two hours, Major. ' Havilland hung up the phone, both elbows on the table, his hands clasped. He took a deep breath, an exhausted old man gathering his thoughts, about to speak.

  'His name is Lin Wenzu,' said Conklin, startling both Havilland and McAllister. 'He's Crown CI which means MI6 orientated, probably Special Branch. He's Chinese and UK educated and considered about the best intelligence officer in the territory. Only his size works against him. He's easily spotted. '

  'Where-T McAllister took a step towards the CIA man.

  'A little bird, Cock Robin,' said Conklin.

  'A red-headed cardinal, I presume,' said the diplomat. ,

  'Actually, not any more,' replied Alex.

  'I see. ' Havilland unclasped his hands, lowering his arms on the desk. 'He knows who you are, too. '

  'He should. He was part of the detail at the Kowloon station. '

  'He told me to congratulate you, to tell you that your Olympian outraced them. He got away. '

  'He's sharp. '

  'He knows where to find him but won't waste the time. '

  'Sharper still. Waste is waste. He told you something else, too, and since I overheard your flattering assessment of my past, would you care to tell me what it was?

  Then you'll listen to me?

  'Or be carried out in a box? Or boxes? Where's the option?

  'Yes, quite true,' said the diplomat. 'I'd have to go through with it, you know. '

  'I know you know, Hen General?

  That's offensive. '

  'So are you. What did the major tell you?

  'A terrorist Tong from Macao telephoned the South China

  News Agency claiming responsibility for the killings. Only they said the woman was incidental, the driver was the target. As a native member of the hated British secret security arm, he had shot to death one of their leaders on the Wanchai waterfront two weeks ago. The information was correct. He was the protection we assigned to Catherine Staples. '

  'It's a lie!' shouted Conklin. 'She was the target!'

  'Lin says it's a waste of time to pursue a false source. '

  Then he knows?'

  That we've been penetrated?'

  'What the hell else!' said the exasperated CIA man.

  'He's a proud Zhongguo ren and has a brilliant mind. He doesn't like failure in any form, especially now. I suspect he's started his hunt. . . Sit down, Mr Conklin. We have things to talk about. '

  'I don't believe this!' cried McAllister in a deeply personal whisper. 'You talk of killings, of targets, of "beyond-salvage". . . of a mocked-up suicide - the victim here, talking about his own death - as if you were discussing the Dow-Jones or a restaurant menu! What kind of people are you?'

  'I've told you, Mr Undersecretary,' said Havilland gently. 'Men who do what others won't, or can't, or shouldn't. There's no mystique, no diabolical universities where we were trained, no driving compulsion to destroy. We drifted into these areas because there were voids to fill and the candidates were few. It's all rather accidental, I suppose. And with repetition you either find that you do or you don't have the stomach for it - because somebody has to. Would you agree, Mr Conklin?'

  This is a waste of time. '

  'No, it's not,' corrected the diplomat. 'Explain to Mr McAllister. Believe me, he's valuable and we need him. He has to understand us. '

  Conklin looked at the undersecretary of state, his expression without charity. 'He doesn't need any explanations from me, he's an analyst. He sees it all as clearly as we do, if not clearer. He knows what the hell is going on down in the tunnels, he just doesn't want to admit it, and the easiest way to remove himself is to pretend to be shocked. Beware

  the sanctimonious intellect in any phase of this business. What he gives in brains he takes away with phoney recriminations. He's the deacon in a whorehouse gathering material for a sermon he'll write when he goes home and plays with himself. '

  'You were right before,' said McAllister, turning towards the doon This is a waste of time. '

  'Edward? Havilland, clearly angry with the crippled CIA man, called out sympathetically to the undersecretary. 'We can't always choose the people we deal with, which is obviously the case now. ' 'I understand,' said McAllister coldly. 'Study everyone on Lin's staff,' went on the ambassador. There can't be more than ten or twelve who know anything about us. Help him. He's your friend. '

  'Yes, he is,' said the undersecretary, going out the door. 'Was that necessary? snapped Havilland when he and Conklin were alone.

  'Yes, it was. If you can convince me that what you've done was the only route you could take - which I doubt - or if I can't come up with an option that'll get Marie and David out with their lives, if not their sanity, then I'll have to work with you. The alternative of beyond-salvage is unacceptable on several grounds, basically personal but also because I owe the Webbs. Do we agree so far?'

  'We work together, one way or another. Checkmate. ' 'Given the reality, I want that son of a bitch, McAllister, that rabbit, to know where I'm coming from. He's in as deep as any of us, and that intellect of his had better go down into the filth and come up with every plausibility and every possibility. I want to know whom we should kill - even those marginally arrived at - to cut our losses and get the Webbs out. I want him to know that the only way he can save his soul is to bury it with accomplishment. If we fail, he fails, and he can't go back teaching Sunday school any more. ' 'You're too harsh on him. He's an analyst not an executioner. ' 'Where do you think the executioners get their input?

  Where do we get our input? From whom? The paladins of congressional oversight?

  'Checkmate, again. You're as good as they say you were. He's come up with the breakthroughs. It's why he's here. '

  Talk to me, sir' said Conklin, sitting in the chair, his back straight, his club foot awkwardly at an angle. 'I want to hear your story. '

  'First the woman. Webb's wife. She's all right? She's safe?'

  The answer to your first question is so obvious I wonder how you can ask it. No, she's not all right. Her husband's missing and she doesn't know whether he's alive or dead. As to the second, yes, she's safe. With me, not with you. I can move us around and I know my way around. You have to stay here. '

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