The bourne supremacy, p.159
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.159

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 159

 

  Silence. For nearly a long Macao block. 'You think I don't know that, Mr Bourne?

  'What?

  That they'll throw me out. '

  Again Jason looked down at the meticulous bureaucrat at his side. 'You know that?

  'Of course I do. I'm not in their league and they don't want me in it. Oh, I've got the credentials and the mind, but I don't have that extraordinary sense of performance that they have. I'm not prepossessing. I'd freeze in front of a television camera - although 1 watch idiots who do perform consistently make the most ridiculous errors. So, you see, I recognize my limitations. And since I can't do what these men can do, I have to do what's best for them and for the country. I have to think for them. '

  'You thought for Havilland! You came to us in Maine and took my wife from me! There weren't any other options in that swollen brain of yours?

  'None that I could come up with. None that covered everything as thoroughly as Havilland's strategy. The assassin was the untraceable link to Sheng. If you could hunt him down and bring him in, it was the short-cut we needed to draw Sheng out. '

  'You had a hell of a lot more confidence in me than I did. '

  'We had confidence in Jason Bourne. In Cain - in the man from Medusa called Delta. You had the strongest motive possible: To get your wife back, the wife you love very much. And there would be no connection whatsoever to our government-'

  'We smelled a covert scenario from the beginning!' exploded Bourne. 7 smelled it, and so did Conklin. '

  'Smelling isn't tasting,' protested the analyst, as they rushed down a dark cobble stoned alley. 'You knew nothing concrete that you could have divulged, no intermediary who pointed to Washington. You were obsessed with finding a killer who was posing as you so that an enraged taipan would return your wife to you - a man whose own wife had supposedly been murdered by the assassin who called himself Jason Bourne. At first I thought it was madness, but then I saw the serpentine logic of it all. Havilland was right. If there was one man alive who could bring in the assassin, and in that way neutralize Sheng, it was you. But you couldn't have any connection to Washington. Therefore you had to be manoeuvred within the framework of an extraordinary lie. Anything less, and you might have reacted more normally. You might have gone to the police, or government authorities, people you knew in the past - what you could remember of the past, which was also to our advantage. '

  'I did go to people I knew before. '

  'And learned nothing except that the more you threatened to break silence, the more likely it was that the government would put you back in therapy. After all, you came from Medusa and had a history of amnesia, even schizophrenia. '

  'Conklin went to others-' 'And was initially told only enough for us to find out what he knew, what he'd pieced together. I gather he was once one of the best we had. '

  'He was. He still is. '

  'He put you beyond-salvage. '

  'History. Under the circumstances, I might have done the same. He learned a lot more than I did in Washington. '

  'He was led to believe exactly what he wanted to believe. It was one of Havilland's really more brilliant strokes and done at a moment's notice. Remember, Alexander Conklin is a burned-out, bitter man. He has no love for the world he spent his adult life in or for the people with whom he shared that life. He was told that a possible black operation might have gone off the wire, that the scenario might have been taken over by hostile elements. ' McAllister paused as they emerged from the alley and rounded a corner in the late-night Macao crowds; coloured lights were flashing everywhere. 'It was back to the square-one lie, don't you see?' continued the analyst. 'Conklin was convinced that someone else had moved in, that your situation was hopeless and so was your wife's unless you followed the new scenario run by the hostile elements that had taken over. '

  That's what he told me,' said Jason, frowning, remembering the lounge at Dulles Airport and the tears that had come to his eyes. 'He told me to play out the scenario. '

  'He had no choice. ' McAllister suddenly gripped Bourne's arm, nodding towards a darkened storefront up ahead on the right. 'We have to talk. '

  'We are talking,' said the man from Medusa, sharply. 'I know where we're going and there's no time to lose. '

  'You have to take the time,' insisted the analyst. The desperation in his voice forced Bourne to stop and look at him, and then to follow him into the recessed storefront. 'Before you do anything, you have to understand. ' 'What do I have to understand? The lies?' 'No, the truth. '

  'You don't know what the truth is,' said Jason. 'I know, perhaps better than you do. As you said, it's my job. Havilland's strategy would have proved sound had it not been for your wife. She escaped; she got away. She caused the strategy to fall apart. ' 'I'm aware of that. '

  Then surely you're aware of the fact that whether or not he's identified her, Sheng knows about her and understands her importance. '

  'I hadn't thought about it one way or the other. ' Think about it now. Lin Wenzu's unit was penetrated when it and all of Hong Kong were searching for her. Catherine Staples was killed because she was linked to your wife and it was correctly perceived that through this mystery woman she either had learned too much or was closing in on some devastating truths. Sheng's orders obviously are to eliminate all opposition, even potential opposition. As you saw in Peking, he's a fanatic and sees substance where there are only shadows - enemies in every dark corner. ' 'What's your point? asked Bourne, impatiently. 'He's also brilliant and his people are all over the colony. '

  'So?'

  'When the story breaks in the morning papers and on television, he'll make certain assumptions and have the house in Victoria Peak as well as MI6 scrutinized every minute of every hour, even if he has to hold hostage the estate next door and once again infiltrate British Intelligence. '

  'Goddamn it, what are you driving at?

  'He'll find Havilland and then he'll find your wife. '

  'And?'

  'Suppose you fail? Suppose you're killed? Sheng won't rest until he learns everything there is to learn. The key is undoubtedly the woman with Havilland, the tall woman everyone was looking for. She has to be because she's the enigma at the centre of the mystery and is connected to the ambassador. If anything happens to you, Havilland will be forced to let her go and Sheng will have her picked up - at Kai Tak, or Honolulu or Los Angeles or New York. Believe me, Mr Webb, he won't stop until he's caught her. He has to know what's been mounted against him, and she is the key. There's no one else. '

  'Again, your point?'

  'Everything could happen all over again with far more horrible results. '

  The scenario?' asked Jason, bloody images of the glen in the bird sanctuary assaulting him.

  'Yes,' said the analyst firmly. 'Only this time your wife is taken for real, not simply as part of the strategy to recruit you. Sheng would make certain of it. '

  'Not if he's dead!'

  'Probably not. However, there's the very real risk of failure that he'll remain alive. '

  'You're trying to say something but you're not saying it!'

 
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