The bourne supremacy, p.128
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.128

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 128

 

  'I myself will be wandering around in vehicle Four. You may hear from me. Stay awake. '

  'Of course, Major. '

  'You've got a dinner coming, young man. ' 'If I may, sir,' said the enthusiastic radio operator, 'and I know I speak for all of us. We wouldn't care to work for anyone but you. '

  'Perhaps two dinners. '

  Parked in front of an apartment house on Yun Ping Road, Lin lifted the microphone out of its cradle below the dashboard. 'Radio, its Dragonfly Zero. '

  'Yes, sir?'

  'Switch me to a direct telephone line with a scrambler. I'll know we're on scrambler when I hear the echo on my part of the call, won't I?'

  'Naturally, sir. '

  The faint echo pulsated over the line, with the dial tone. The major punched in the numbers; the ringing began and a female voice answered.

  'Yes?'

  'Mr Zhou. Kuair said Lin, his words rushed, telling the woman to hurry.

  'Certainly,' she replied in Cantonese.

  'Zhou here,' said the man.

  'Xun su! Xiaoxir Lin spoke in a husky whisper; it was the sound of a desperate man pleading to be heard. 'Sheng! Contact instantly! Sapphire is gone!'

  'What? Who is this?'

  The major pressed down the bar and pushed a button to the right of the microphone. The radio operator spoke instantly.

  'Yes, Dragonfly?'

  'Patch into my private line, also on scrambler, and reroute all calls here. Right away! This will be standard procedure until I instruct otherwise. Understood?'

  'Yes, sir,' said a subdued radioman.

  The mobile phone buzzed and Lin picked it up, speaking casually. 'Yes?' he answered, feigning a yawn.

  'Major, this is Zhou! I just had a very strange call. A man phoned me - he sounded badly hurt - and told me to contact someone named Sheng. I was to say that Sapphire was gone. ' 'Sapphire? said the major, suddenly alert. 'Say nothing to anyone, Zhou! Damned computers - I don't know how it happened but that call was meant for me. This is beyond Dragonfly. I repeat, say nothing to anyone!'

  'Understood, sir. '

  Lin started the car and drove several blocks west to Tanlung Street. He repeated the exercise and again the call came over his private line.

  'Major?

  'Yes?'

  'I just got off the phone with someone who sounded like he was dying! He wanted me to. . . '

  The explanation was the same: a dangerous error had been made, beyond the purview of Dragonfly. Nothing was to be repeated. The order was understood.

  Lin called three more numbers, each time from in front of each recipient's apartment or boarding house. All were negative; each man reached him within moments after a call with his startling news and none had raced outside to a random sterile pay phone. The major knew only one thing for certain. Whoever the infiltrator was, he would not use his home phone to make contact. Telephone bills recorded all numbers dialled and all bills were submitted for departmental audit. It was a routine containment procedure that was welcomed by the agents. Excess charges were picked up by Special Branch as if they were related to business. The two men in vehicles Three and Seven, having been relieved of duty, had checked in with headquarters by the fifth telephone call. One was at a girlfriend's house and made it plain that he had no intention of leaving for the next twenty-four hours. He pleaded with the radioman to take all 'emergency calls from clients', telling everyone who tried to reach him that his superiors had sent him to the Antarctic. Negative. It was not the way of a double agent, including the humour. He neither cut himself off nor revealed the whereabouts or the identity of a drop. The second man was, if possible, more negative. He informed headquarters-communications that he was available for any and all problems, -major or minor, related or unrelated to Dragonfly, even to answering the phones. His wife had recently given birth to triplets, and he confided in a voice that bordered on panic - according to the radioman - he got more rest on the job than at home. Negative.

  Seven down and seven negative. That left one man at the Pagoda Cinema for another forty minutes, and the other at the Yacht Club in Aberdeen.

  His mobile phone hummed emphatically it seemed, or was it his own anxiety? 'Yes!'

  'I just received a message for you, sir,' said the radio operator. '"Eagle to Dragonfly Zero. Urgent. Respond. "'

  'Thank you. ' Lin looked at the clock in the centre of the dashboard. He was thirty-five minutes late for his appointment with Havilland and the legendary crippled agent from years past, Alexander Conklin. 'Young man, said the major, bringing the microphone back to his lips, the line unbroken.

  'Yes, sir?'

  'I have no time for the anxious if somewhat irrelevant "Eagle", but I don't wish to offend him. He'll call again when I don't respond and I want you to explain that you've been unable to reach me. Of course, when you do, you'll give me the message immediately. '

  'It will be a delight, Major. '

  'I beg your pardon?'

  'The "Eagle" who called was very disagreeable. He shouted about appointments that should be kept when they were confirmed and that . . . '

  Lin listened to the second-hand diatribe and made a mental note that if he survived the night he would talk to Edward McAllister about telephone etiquette, especially during emergencies. Sugar brought gentle expressions, salt only grimaces. 'Yes, yes, I understand, young man. As our ancestors might say, May the eagle's beak be caught in its elimination canal. Just do as I say, and in the meantime - in fifteen minutes from now - raise our man at the Pagoda Cinema. When he calls in, give him my unlisted fourth level number and patch it into this frequency, scrambler continuing, of course. ' 'Of course, sir. '

  Lin sped east on Hennessy Road past Southern Park to Fleming, where he turned south into Johnston and east again on Burrows Street to the Pagoda Cinema. He swerved into the parking lot taking the spot reserved for the Assistant Manager. He stuck a police card in the front window, got out, and ran up to the entrance. There were only a few people at the window for the midnight showing of Lust in the Orient, an odd choice for the agent inside. Nevertheless, to avoid calling attention to himself, since he had six minutes to go, he stood behind three men who were waiting in front of the booth. Ninety seconds later he had paid for and received his ticket. He went inside, gave it to the girl at the door, and adjusted his eyes to the darkness and to the pornographic motion picture on the distant screen. It was an odd choice of entertainment for the man he was testing, but he had vowed to himself he would permit no prejudgements, no balancing of one suspect against another. It was admittedly difficult in this case, however. Not that he particularly liked the man who was somewhere in that darkened theatre, watching along with the feverishly attentive audience the sexual gymnastics of the wooden 'actors'. In truth he did not like the man; he simply recognized the fact that he was among the best in his command. The agent was arrogant and unpleasant but he was also a brave soul whose defection from Beijing was eighteen months in the making, his every hour in the Communist capital a threat to his life. He had been a high-ranking officer in the security forces, with access to invaluable intelligence information. And in a heartrending gesture of sacrifice he had left behind a beloved wife and girl child when he escaped south, protecting them with a charred, bullet-ridden corpse that he made sure was identified as himself - a hero of China shot and then burned by a roving band of hoodlums in the recent crime wave that had swept through the mainland. Mother and daughter were secure, pensioned by the government, and, like, all high-level defectors, he was subjected to the most rigorous examinations designed to trap potential infiltrators. Here his arrogance had actually helped him. He had made no attempt to ingratiate himself; he was what he was and he had done what he had done for the good of Mother China. The authorities could either accept him with all he had to offer or he would look elsewhere. Everything checked, except the well-being of his wife and child. They were not being taken care of in the
manner the defector had expected. Therefore money was filtered through to her place of work without explanation. She could be told nothing; if there was the slightest suspicion that her husband was alive, she could be tortured for information she did not possess. The in-depth profile of such a man was not the profile of a double agent, regardless of his taste in films.

 
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