The bourne supremacy, p.139
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.139

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 139


  'What's the geographical location?'

  The prefix is "five", therefore it is on the island of Hong Kong. '

  'Narrower! Whereabouts on the island?

  'Digits on telephone numbers have nothing to do with specific streets or locations. I'm afraid I cannot help you any further, sir. Unless you care to give me your address so that I might send an ambulance. '

  'My address . . . ? said Jason bewildered, exhausted, on the edge of panic. 'No,' he continued. 'I don't think I'll do that. '

  Edward Newington McAllister bent over the desk as the woman replaced the phone. She was visibly shaken, her Oriental face pale from the strain of the call. The undersecretary of state hung up a separate phone on the other side of the desk, a pencil in his right hand, an address on a notepad beneath him. 'You were absolutely wonderful,' he said, patting the woman's arm. 'We have it. We've got him. You kept him on long enough - longer than he would have permitted in the old days - the trace is confirmed. At least the building, and that's enough. A hotel. '

  'He speaks very fine Chinese. The dialect is rather northern, but he adjusts to Guangzhou. He also did not trust me. '

  'It doesn't matter. We'll put people around the hotel. Every entrance and exit. It's on a street called Shek Lung. '

  'Below the Mongkok, in the Yau Ma Ti, actually,' said the woman interpreter. 'There's probably only one entrance, through which the garbage is taken every morning, no doubt. '

  'I have to reach Havilland at the hospital. He shouldn't have gone there!'

  'He appeared to be most anxious,' offered the interpreter.

  'Last statements,' said McAllister, dialling. 'Vital information from a dying man. It's permitted. '

  'I don't understand any of you. ' The woman got up from the desk as the undersecretary moved around and sat in the chair. 'I can follow instructions, but I don't understand you. '

  'Good Lord, I forgot. You have to leave now. What I'm discussing is highly classified. . . We're extremely appreciative and I can assure you you have our gratitude and I'm quite certain a bonus, but I'm afraid I must ask you to leave. ' 'Gladly, sir,' said the interpreter. 'And you may forget the gratitude, but please include the bonus. I learned that much in Economics Eight at the University of Arizona. ' The woman left.

  'Emergency, police facilities!' McAllister fairly shouted into the phone. The ambassador please. It's urgent! No, no names are required, thank you, and bring him to a telephone where we can talk privately. ' The undersecretary massaged his left temple, digging deeper and deeper into his scalp until Havilland got on the line.

  'Yes, Edward?

  'He called. It worked. We know where he is! A hotel in the Yau Ma Ti. '

  'Surround it, but don't make any moves! Conklin has got to understand. If he smells what he thinks is rotten bait, he'll pull back. And if we don't have the wife, we don't have our assassin. For God's sake, don't blow this, Edward! Everything must be tight - and very, very delicate! Beyond- salvage could well be the next order of business. '

  Those aren't words I'm used to, Mr Ambassador. '

  There was a pause on the line; when Havilland spoke his voice was cold. 'Oh, yes they are, Edward. You protest too much, Conklin was right about that. You could have said no at the beginning, at Sangre de Cristo in Colorado. You could have walked away but you didn't, you couldn't. In some ways you're like me - without my accidental advantages, of course. We think and out-think; we take sustenance from our manipulations. We swell with pride with every progressive move in the human chess game - where every move can have terrible consequences for someone - because we believe in something. It all becomes a narcotic, and the sirens' songs are really appeals to our egos. We have our minor powers because of our major intellects. Admit it, Edward. I have. And if it makes you feel any better, I'll say what I said before. Someone has to do it. '

  'Nor do I care for out-of-context lectures,' said McAllister.

  'You'll receive no more from me. Just do as I tell you. Cover all the exits at that hotel, but inform every man that no overt moves are to be made. If Bourne goes anywhere, he's to be discreetly followed, not touched under any circumstances. We must have the woman before contact is made. '

  Morris Panov picked up the phone. 'Yes?'

  'Something's happened. ' Conklin spoke rapidly, quietly. 'Havilland left the waiting room to take an emergency call. Is anything going on over there?'

  'No, nothing. We've just been talking. '

  'I'm worried. Havilland's men could have found you. '

  'Good Lord, how?'

  'Checking every hotel in the colony for a white man with a limp, that's how. '

  'You paid the clerk not to say anything to anyone. You said it was a confidential business conference - perfectly normal. '

  They can pay, too, and say it's a confidential government matter that brings generous rewards or equally generous harassment. Guess who takes precedence?'

  'I think you're over-reacting,' protested the psychiatrist.

  'I don't care what you think, Doctor, just get out of there. Now. Forget Marie's luggage - if she has any. Leave as quickly as you can. '

  'Where should we go?'

  'Where it's crowded, but where I can find you. '

  'A restaurant?'

  'It's been too many years and they change names every twenty minutes over here. Hotels are out; they're too easily covered. ' 'If you're right, Alex, you're taking too much time-'

  'I'm thinking!. . . All right. Take a cab to the foot of Nathan Road at Salisbury - have you got that? Nathan and Salisbury. You'll see the Peninsula Hotel, but don't go inside. The strip heading north is called the Golden Mile. Walk up and down on the right side, the east side, but stay within the first four blocks. I'll find you, as soon as I can. '

  'All right,' said Panov. 'Nathan and Salisbury, the first four blocks north on the right. . . Alex, you're quite certain you're right, aren't you?

  'On two counts,' answered Conklin. 'For starters, Havilland didn't ask me to go with him to find out what the "emergency" was - that's not our arrangement. And if the emergency isn't you and Marie, it means Webb's made contact. If that's the case, I'm not trading away my only bargaining chip, which is Marie. Not without on-sight guarantees. Not with Ambassador Raymond Havilland. Now, get out of there!'

  Something was wrong! What was it? Bourne had returned to the filthy hotel room and stood at the foot of the bed watching his prisoner whose twitch was more pronounced now, his stretched body spastically reacting to each nervous movement. What was it? Why did the conversation with the Hong Kong operator bother him so? She was courteous and helpful; she even tolerated his abuse. Then what was it. . . Suddenly, words from a long forgotten past came to him. Words spoken years ago to an unknown operator without a face, with only an irritable voice.

  I asked you for the number of the Iranian consulate.

  It is in the telephone book. Our switchboards are full and we have no time for such inquiries. Click. Line dead.

  That was it! The operators in Hong Kong - with justification - were among the most peremptory in the world. They wasted no time, no matter how persistent the customer. The workload in this congested, frenetic financial megalopolis would not permit it. Yet the second operator was the soul of tolerance . . . I would not know about other numbers. If you have them I will gladly check for you . . . If you will give me your address . . . Unless you care to give me your address . . . The address! And without really considering the question he had instinctively answered. No, I don't think HI do that. From deep within him an alarm had gone off.

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