The bourne supremacy, p.156
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.156

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 156

 

  'I told him the truth because he would have known it if I tried to lie to him again. McAllister, of course, went farther, emphasizing the organized crime factor which is all too true,

  but a sensitive issue I'd prefer not to bring up. Nobody does. But then I didn't tell Edward everything. He hasn't yet put enough distance between his ethics and the demands of his job. When he does, he may join me on the heights, but I don't think he's capable. '

  'You told David everything in case he was taken,' went on Conklin, not listening to Havilland. 'If the kill doesn't happen you want him taken. You're counting on the amphetamines and the scopolamine. The drugs! Then Sheng will get the message that his conspiracy's known to us and he'll get it unofficially, not from us but from an unsanctioned mental case. Jesus! It's a variation of what Webb told you!'

  'Unofficially,' agreed the diplomat. 'So much is achieved that way. No confrontations, very smooth. Very cheap. No cost at all really. '

  'Except a man's lifer shouted Alex. 'He'll be killed. He has to be killed from everyone's point of view. '

  The price, Mr Conklin, if it must be paid. '

  Alex waited, as if he expected Havilland to finish his statement. Nothing was forthcoming, only the strong, sad eyes peering into his. That's all you've got to say? It's the price - if it has to be paid?

  The stakes are far higher than we imagined - far higher. You know that as well as I do, so don't look so shocked. 'The ambassador leaned back in his chair, somewhat stiffly. 'You've made such decisions before, such calculations. '

  'Not like this. Never like this! You send in your own and you know the risks, but you don't set up a field man sealing off his escape route! He was better off believing - believing -he was bringing in the assassin to get his wife back!'

  The objective is different. Infinitely more vital. '

  'I know that. Then you don't send him! You get the codes and send someone else! Someone who isn't half dead from exhaustion!'

  'Exhausted or not, he's the best man for the job and he insists on doing it. '

  'Because he doesn't know what you've done! How you've boxed him in, made him the messenger who has to be killed!'

  'I had no choice. As you say, he found me. I had to tell him the truth. '

  Then, I repeat, send in someone else! A hit team recruited on the outside by a blind, no connection to us, just payment for a professional kill, the target Sheng. Webb knows how to reach Sheng, he told you that. I'll convince him to give you the codes or the sequence or whatever the hell it is, and you buy a hit team!'

  'You'd put us on a level with the Qaddafis of this world?"

  That's so puerile I can't find words to-'

  'Forget it,' broke in Havilland. *If it was ever traced back to us - and it could be - we'd have to launch against China before they dropped something on us. Unthinkable. '

  'What you're doing here is unthinkable!'

  There are more important priorities than the survival of a single individual, Mr Conklin, and again you know that as well as I do. It's been your life's work - if you'll forgive me -but the present case is on a higher level than anything you ever experienced. Let's call it a geopolitical level. '

  'Son of a bitch!'

  'Your own guilt is showing now, Alex - if I may call you Alex - since you call in question my immediate family line. I never put Jason Bourne beyond-salvage. My most fervent hope is that he'll succeed, that the kill will take place. If that happens, he's free; the Far East is rid of a monster and the world will be spared an Oriental Sarajevo. That's my job, Alex. '

  'At least tell him! Warn him!'

  'I can't. Any more than you would in my position. You don't tell a tueur a gages-'

  'Come again, elegant ass?

  'A man sent in to kill must have the confidence of his convictions. He can't, for a second, reflect on his motives or his reasons. He must have no doubts at all. None. The obsession must be intact. It's his only chance to succeed. '

  'Suppose he doesn't succeed? Suppose he's killed?

  Then we start again as quickly as possible, putting someone else in place. McAllister will be with him in Macao

  and learn the sequence codes to reach Sheng. Bourne's agreed to that. If the worst happens, we might even try his conspirator-for-a-conspirator theory. He says it's too late but he could be wrong. You see, I'm not above learning, Alex. '

  'You're not above anything,' Conklin said angrily, getting out of the chair. 'But you forgot something - you forgot what you said to David. ' There's a glaring flaw. ' 'What's that?'

  'I won't let you get away with it. ' Alex limped towards the door. 'You can ask so much of a man but there comes a point when you don't ask any more. You're out, elegant ass. Webb's going to be told the truth. The whole truth. '

  Conklin opened the door. He faced the back of a tall marine, who upon hearing the sound of the door opening did a precise about-face, his rifle at port-arms.

  'Get out of my way, soldier,' said Alex.

  'Sorry, sir!' barked the marine, his eyes distant, staring straight ahead.

  Conklin turned back to the diplomat seated behind the desk. Havilland shrugged. 'Procedures,' he said.

  'I thought these people were out of here. I thought they were sequestered at the airport. '

  'The ones you saw are. These are a squad from the consulate contingent. Thanks to Downing Street's bending a few rules, this is officially US territory now. We are entitled to a military presence. '

  'I want to see Webb!'

  'You can't. He's leaving. '

  'Who the hell do you think you are?'

  'My name is Raymond Oliver Havilland. I am ambas-sador-at-large for the government of the United States of America. My decisions are to be carried out without debate during periods of crisis. This is a period of crisis. Fuck off, Alex. '

  Conklin closed the door and walked awkwardly back to his chair. 'What's next, Mr Ambassador! Do the three of us get bullets in our heads or are we given lobotomies?'

  'I'm sure we can all come to a mutual understanding. '

  They held each other, Marie knowing that he was only partly there, only partly himself. It was Paris all over again, when she knew a desperate man named Jason Bourne, who was trying to stay alive, but not sure he would, or even should, his self-doubts in some ways as lethal to him as those who wanted him killed. But it was not Paris. There were no self-doubts now, no tactics feverishly improvised to elude pursuers, no race to trap the hunters. What reminded her of Paris was the distance she felt between them. David was trying to reach her - generous David, compassionate David - but Jason Bourne would not let him go. Jason was now the hunter, not the hunted, and this strengthened his will. It was summed up in a word he used with staccato regularity. Move!

  'Why, David? Why?'

  'I told you. Because I can. Because I have to. Because it has to be done. '

  'That's not an answer, my darling. '

  'All right. ' Webb gently released his wife and held her by the shoulders, looking into her eyes. 'For us then. '

  'Us?'

  'Yes. I'd see those images for the rest of my life. They'd keep coming back and they'd tear me apart because I'd know what 1 left behind and I wouldn't be able to handle it. I'd go into tailspins and take you with me because for all your brains you haven't the sense to bail out. '

 
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