The bourne supremacy, p.152
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.152

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 152


  'What about the body? asked Panov. There are medical procedures-'

  'Overruled by MI6,' said the ambassador. This is still British territory and communications between London, Washington and Government House were swift. The impostor's face was too shattered for anyone who saw it to give a description and his remains are in custody, beyond scrutiny. It was Edward's thinking and he was damn quick about it. '

  'There's still David and Marie,' persisted the psychiatrist. Too many people saw them, heard them. '

  'Only several squads of marine guards were close enough to see and hear clearly,' said McAllister. The entire contingent is being flown back to Hawaii in an hour, including two dead and seven wounded. They've left the premises and are sequestered at the airport. There was a great deal of confusion and panic. The police and the firemen were occupied elsewhere; none were in the gardens. We can say anything we like. '

  That seems to be a habit with you,' commented Webb. 'You heard the ambassador,' said the undersecretary, avoiding David's gaze. 'We didn't feel we had a choice. '

  'Be fair to yourself, Edward. ' Again Havilland looked at Webb while addressing the undersecretary. 7 didn't feel we had a choice. You strenuously objected. '

  'I was wrong,' said McAllister firmly, as the diplomat snapped his eyes over at him. 'But that's irrelevant,' continued the undersecretary quickly. 'We've got to decide what we're going to say. The consulate's been swamped by calls from the press-'

  The consulate?' broke in Conklin. 'Some sterile house!' There wasn't time for a proper leasing cover,' said the ambassador. 'It was kept as quiet as possible and we prepared a plausible story. So far as we know there were no questions, but the police report had to list the owner and the lessee. How's Garden Road handling it, Edward?'

  'Simply that the situation hasn't been clarified. They're waiting for us but they can't stall much longer. It's better that we prepare something than leave the circumstances to speculation. '

  'Infinitely,' agreed Havilland. 'I suspect that means you have something in mind. '

  'It's stop-gap but it could serve, if I heard Mr Webb correctly. '

  'About what?'

  'You've used the word commando several times, I assume not as a figure of speech. The assassin was a commando?

  'Former. An officer and a mental case. Homicidal, to be accurate. '

  'Did you get an identity, learn his name?'

  David looked hard at the analyst, recalling Allcott-Price's words, spoken in a warped sense of sick triumph. . . If Hose and the story blows, how many practising anti-socials will be fired up by it? How many other 'different' men are out there who'd be only too happy to take my place, as I took yours? This bloody world is crawling with Jason Bournes. Give them direction, an idea - and they'll be off and running. . . 'I never found out who he was,' said Webb, simply.

  'But nevertheless he was a commando. '

  That's right. '

  'Not a Ranger or a Green Beret or Special Forces-'

  'No. '

  T assume therefore that you mean he was British. '

  'Yes. '

  Then we'll put out a story that implicitly denies those specifics. Not an Englishman, no military record - go in the opposite direction. '

  'A white, male American,' said Conklin quietly, with even a measure of respect, as he looked at the undersecretary of state. 'Give him a name and a history from a dead file. Preferably fourth-rate garbage, a psychopath with a hang-up so heavy he goes after someone up here. '

  'Something like that, but perhaps not entirely,' said McAllister, awkwardly shifting his position in the chair, as if he did not care to disagree with the experienced CIA man. Or something else. 'White male, yes. American, yes. Certainly a man with an obsession so compelling that he's driven to wholesale slaughter, his fury directed at a target - as you say -up here. '

  'Who? asked David.

  'Me,' replied McAllister, his eyes locked with Webb's.

  'Which means me,' said David. 'I'm that man, that obsessed man. ' 'Your name would not be used,' continued the undersecretary, calmly, coldly. 'We could invent an American expatriate who several years ago was hunted by the authorities throughout the Far East for crimes ranging from multiple murders to running narcotics. We'll say I cooperated with the police in Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Sumatra and the Philippines. Through my efforts his operations were effectively shut down and he lost millions. He learns I've returned and am posted here on Victoria Peak. He conies after me, the man who ruined him. ' McAllister paused, turning to David. 'Since I spent a number of years here in Hong Kong, I can't imagine that Peking overlooked me. I'm sure there's an extensive dossier on an analyst who made a number of enemies during his tour of duty here. I did make enemies, Mr Webb. It was my job. We were trying to increase our influence in this part of the world and wherever Americans were involved in criminal activities, I did my level best to help the authorities apprehend them or, at the least, force them out of Asia. It was the best way to show our good intentions, going after our own. It was also the reason State recalled me to Washington. And by using my name we lend a certain authenticity for Sheng Chou Yang. You see, we knew each other. He'll speculate on a dozen possibilities; I hope the right one, but none remotely connected to a British commando. '

  The right speculation,' interrupted Conklin, quietly, 'being the fact that no one over here has heard from the first Jason Bourne in a couple of years. '

  'Exactly. '

  'So I'm the corpse that's in custody,' said Webb, 'beyond scrutiny. '

  'You could be, yes,' said McAllister. 'You see, we don't know what Sheng knows, how deep his penetration went. The only thing we want to establish is that the dead man is not his assassin. '

  'Leaving the way open for another impostor to go back up and draw Sheng out for the kill,' added Conklin respectfully. 'You're something, Mr Analyst. A son of a bitch, but something. '

  'You'd be exposing yourself, Edward,' said Havilland, his gaze levelled at the undersecretary. 'I never asked that of you. You do have enemies. '

  'I want to do it this way, Mr Ambassador. You employ me to render the best judgements that I can, and in my judgement this is the most productive course. There's got to be a convincing smokescreen. My name can provide it - for Sheng. The rest can be couched in ambiguous language, language that everyone we want to reach will understand. '

  'So be it,' said Webb, suddenly closing his eyes, hearing the words Jason Bourne had spoken so often.

  'David-' Marie touched his face.

  'Sorry. ' Webb fingered the file folder in front of him, then opened it. On the first page was a photograph with a name printed underneath. It was identified as the face of Sheng Chou Yang, but it was far more than that. It was the face. It was the face of the butcher] The madman who hacked women and men to death with his jewelled ceremonial sword, who forced brothers to fight with razor sharp knives until one killed the other, who took a brave, tortured Echo's life with a slash to the head. Bourne stopped breathing, enraged by the unimaginable cruelty, as bloody images overcame him. As he stared at the photograph, the sight of Echo, throwing his life away to save Delta, brought him back to that clearing in the forest. Delta knew that it was Echo's death that had made the assassin's capture possible. Echo had died defiantly, accepting his unbearably painful execution so that a fellow Medusan could make good not only his escape, but with a final gesture telling him that the madman with the sword must be killed!

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