The bourne supremacy, p.17
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.17

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 17


  'How did you know?' she had asked him.

  'One of my friendly interrogators got hot and tried to provoke me. Mo was out of the room for a couple of minutes and he damn near accused me of faking, of hiding things. I knew you were coming, and so I played it out. I wanted to see for myself how far they would go - how far they could go?

  Nothing had been sacred then, and nothing was sacred now. It was all too symmetrical. The guards had been pulled, his own reactions condescendingly questioned as if he were the one who had asked for the additional protection and not on the insistence of one Edward canister. Then within hours Marie was taken, according to a scenario that had been detailed far too accurately by a nervous man with dead eyes. And now this same McAllister was suddenly fifteen thousand miles away from his own self-determined ground zero. Had the undersecretary turned? Had he been bought in Hong Kong? Had he betrayed Washington as well as the man he had sworn to protect? What was happening! Whatever it was, among the unholy secrets was code name Medusa. It had never been mentioned during the questioning, never referred to. Its absence was startling. It was as if the unacknowledged battalion of psychotics and killers had never existed; its history had been wiped off the books. But that history could be reinstated. This was where he would start.

  Webb walked rapidly out of the bedroom and down the steps to his study, once a small library off the hallway in the old Victorian house. He sat at his desk, opened the bottom drawer and removed several notebooks and various papers. He then inserted a brass letter opener and pried up the false bottom; lying on the second layer of wood were other papers. They were a vague, mostly bewildering assortment of fragmented recollections, images that had come to him at odd hours of the day and night. There were torn scraps and pages from small notebooks and scissored pieces of stationery on which he had jotted down the pictures and words that exploded in his head. It was a mass of painful evocations, many so tortured that he could not share them with Marie, fearing the hurt would be too great, the revelations of Jason Bourne too brutal for his wife to confront. And among these secrets were the names of the experts in clandestine operations who had come down to question him so intensely in Virginia.

  David's eyes suddenly focused on the ugly heavy-calibre weapon on the edge of the desk. Without realizing it, he had gripped it in his hand and carried it down from the bedroom; he stared at it for a moment, then picked up the phone. It was the beginning of the most agonizing, infuriating hour of his life as each moment Marie drifted farther away.

  The first two calls were taken by wives or lovers; the men he was trying to reach were suddenly not there when he identified himself. He was still out of sanction! They would not touch him without authorization and that authorization was being withheld. Christ, he should have known!


  'Is this the Lanier residence?"

  'Yes, it is. '

  'William Lanier, please. Tell him it's urgent, a Sixteen Hundred alert. My name is Thompson, State Department. '

  'Just one minute,' said the woman, concerned.

  ' Who is this?' asked a man's voice.

  'It's David Webb. You remember Jason Bourne, don't you?'

  ' A pause followed, filled with Lanier's breathing. 'Why did you say your name was Thompson? That it was a White House alert?'

  'I had an idea you might not talk to me. Among the things I remember is that you don't make contact with certain people without authorization. They're out of bounds. You simply report the contact attempt. '

  'Then I assume you also remember that it's highly irregular to call someone like me on a domestic phone. '

  'Domestic phone? Does the domestic prohibitive now include where you live?"

  'You know what I'm talking about. '

  'I said it was an emergency. '

  'It can't have anything to do with me,' protested Lanier. 'You're a dead file in my office-'

  'Colour me deep-dead?' interrupted David.

  '1 didn't say that,' shot back the man from covert operations. 'All I meant was that you're not on my schedule and it's policy not to interfere with others. '

  'What others?' asked Webb sharply.

  'How the hell do I know?'

  'Are you telling me that you're not interested in what I have to tell you?'

  'Whether I'm interested or not hasn't anything to do with it. You're not on any list of mine and that's all I have to know. If you have something to say, call your authorized contact. '

  'I tried to. His wife said he was in the Far East. '

  Try his office. Someone there will process you. '

  'I know that, and I don't care to be processed. I want to talk to someone I know, and I know you, Bill. Remember? It was "Bill" in Virginia, that's what you told me to call you. You were interested to hell and back in what I had to say then. ' That was then, not now. Look, Webb, I can't help you because I can't advise you. No matter what you tell me, 1 can't respond. I'm not current on your status - I haven't been for almost a year. Your contact is - he can be reached. Call State back. I'm hanging up. '

  'Medusa,' whispered David. 'Did you hear me, Lanier? Medusa!'

  'Medusa what? Are you trying to tell me something?'

  'I'll blow it all apart, do you read me? I'll expose the whole obscene mess unless I get some answers?

  'Why don't you get yourself processed instead?" said the man from covert operations coldly. 'Or check yourself into a hospital. ' There was an abrupt click, and David, perspiring,

  hung up the phone.

  Lanier did not know about Medusa. If he had known, he would have stayed on the phone, learning whatever he could, for Medusa crossed the lines of 'policy' and being 'current'. But Lanier was one of the younger interrogators, no more than 33 or 34; he was very bright, but not a long- term veteran. Someone a few years older would probably have been given clearance, told about the renegade battalion that was still held in deep cover. Webb looked at the names on his list and at the corresponding telephone numbers. He picked up the phone.

  'Hello?'A male voice.

  'Is this Samuel Teasdale?'

  'Yeah, that's right. Who are you?'

  'I'm glad you answered the phone and not your wife. '

  The wife's standard where possible,' said Teasdale, suddenly cautious. 'Mine's no longer available. She's sailing somewhere in the Caribbean with someone I never knew about. Now that you know my life's story, who the hell are you?'

  'Jason Bourne, remember?'

  ' Webb?'

  " vaguely remember that name,' said David.

  'Why are you calling me?'

  'You were friendly. Down in Virginia you told me to call you Sam. '

  'Okay, okay, David, you're right. I told you to call me Sam that's what I am to my friends, Sam. . . ' Teasdale was bewildered, upset, searching for words. 'But that was almost a year ago, Davey, and you know the rules. You're given a person to talk to, either on the scene or over at State. That's the one you should reach that's the person who's up to date on everything. '

  'Aren't you up to date, Sam?"

  'Not about you, no. I remember the directive; it was dropped on our desks a couple of weeks after you left Virginia. All inquiries, regarding "said subject, et cetera" were to be bumped up to Section whatever-the-hell-it was, "said subject" having full access and in direct touch with deputies on the scene and in the Department. 'and my direct-access contact has disappeared. '

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