The bourne supremacy, p.45
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.45

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 45

  'He doesn't have to. If you walked out of here, he was to give it to you. A corpse has no need of a gun. '

  What remain of the stately homes from Hong Kong's extravagant colonial era are high in the hills above the city in an area known as Victoria Peak, named for the island's mountain summit, the crown of all the territory. Here graceful gardens complement rose-bordered paths that lead to gazebos and verandas from which the wealthy observe the splendours of the harbour below and the out islands in the distance. The residences that spring up from the most enviable views are subdued versions of the great houses of Jamaica. They are high-ceilinged and intricate; rooms flow into one another at odd angles to take advantage of summer breezes during that long and oppressive season, and everywhere there is polished carved wood surrounding and reinforcing windows made to withstand the winds and the rains of the mountain winter. Strength and comfort are joined in these minor mansions, the designs dictated by climate.

  One such house in the Peak district, however, differed from the others. Not in size or strength or elegance, nor in the beauty of its gardens, which were rather more extensive than many of its neighbours', nor in the impressiveness of its front gate and the height of the stone wall bordering the grounds. Part of what made it seem different was the sense of isolation that surrounded it, especially at night when only a few lights burned in the numerous rooms and no sounds came from the windows or the gardens. It was as if the house were barely inhabited; certainly there was no sign of frivolity. But what dramatically set it apart were the men at the gate and others like them who could be seen from the road patrolling the grounds beyond the wall. They were armed and in fatigue uniforms. They were American marines.

  The property was leased by the United States Consulate at the direction of the National Security Council. To any inquiries, the consulate was to comment only that during the

  next month numerous representatives of the American government and American industry would be flying into the colony at various undetermined times, and security as well as the efficacy of accommodations warranted the lease. It was all the consulate knew. However, selected personnel in British MI6, Special Branch, were given somewhat more information, as their co-operation was deemed necessary and had been authorized by London. However, again, it was limited to an immediate-need-to-know basis, also firmly agreed to by London. Those on the highest levels of both governments, including the closest advisers to the President and the Prime Minister, came to the same conclusion: Any disclosures regarding the true nature of the property in Victoria Peak could have catastrophic consequences for the Far East and the world. It was a sterile house, the headquarters of a covert operation so sensitive that even the President and the Prime Minister knew few of the details, only the objectives.

  A small sedan drove up to the gate. Instantly, powerful floodlights were tripped, blinding the driver, who brought his arm up to shield his eyes. Two marine guards approached on either side of the vehicle, their weapons drawn.

  'You should know the car by now, lads,' said the large Oriental in the white silk suit squinting through the open window.

  'We know the car, Major Lin,' replied the lance corporal on the left. 'We just have to make sure of the driver. '

  'Who could impersonate me?' joked the huge major.

  'Man Mountain Dean, sir,' answered the marine on the right.

  'Oh, yes, I recall. An American wrestler. '

  'My granddad used to talk about him. '

  Thank you, son. You might have at least said your father. May I proceed or am I impounded?'

  'We'll turn off the lights and open the gate, sir,' said the first marine. 'By the way. Major, thanks for the name of that restaurant in the Wanchai. It's a class act and doesn't bust the bankroll. '

  'But, alas, you found no Suzie Wing. '

  'Who, sir?'

  'Never mind. The gate, if you please, lads. '

  Inside the house, in the library which had been converted into an office, Undersecretary of State Edward Newington McAllister sat behind a desk, studying the pages of a dossier under the glare of a lamp, making checkmarks in the margins beside certain paragraphs and certain lines. His attention was riveted. The intercom buzzed and he had to force his eyes and his hand to the telephone. 'Yes?' He listened and replied. 'Send him in, of course. ' McAllister hung up and returned to the dossier in front of him, the pencil in his hand. On the top of the page he was reading were the words repeated in the same position on each page: Ultra Maximum Classified. PRC. Internal. Sheng Chou Yang.

  The door opened and the immense Major Lin Wenzu of British Intelligence, MI6, Special Branch, Hong Kong, walked in, closed the door, and smiled at the absorbed figure of McAllister.

  'It's still the same, isn't it, Edward? Buried in the words there's a pattern, a line to follow. '

  'I wish I could find it,' answered the undersecretary of state, reading feverishly.

  'You will, my friend. Whatever it is. ' 'I'll be with you in a moment. '

  ''Take your time,' said the major, removing the gold Rolex wristwatch and the cufflinks. He placed them on the desk and spoke quietly. 'Such a pity to give these back. They add a certain presence to my presence. You will, however, pay for the suit, Edward. It's not basic to my wardrobe, but as ever in Hong Kong, it was reasonable, even for one of my size. '

  'Yes, of course,' agreed the undersecretary, preoccupied.

  Major Lin sat down in the black leather chair in front of the desk, remaining silent for the better part of a minute. It was obvious that he could remain silent no longer. 'Is that anything I might help you with, Edward? Or more to the point, is it anything that pertains to the job at hand? Something you can tell me about?'

  'I'm afraid it isn't, Lin. On all counts. '

  'You will have to tell us sooner or later. Our superiors in

  London will have to tell us. "Do what he asks, " they say. "Keep records of all conversations and directives, but follow his orders and advise him. " Advise him? There is no advice but tactics. A man in an unoccupied office firing four bullets into the wall of the harbour walk, six into the water and the rest blanks - thank God there were no cardiac arrests - and we've created the situation you want. Now, that we can understand-'

  'I gather everything went very well. '

  'There was a riot, if that's what you mean by "very well". '

  'It's what I mean. ' McAllister leaned back in his chair, the slender fingers of his right hand massaging his temples.

  'Score one, my friend. The authentic Jason Bourne was convinced and he made his moves. Incidentally, you will pay for the hospitalization of one man with a broken arm and two others who claim they are still in shock with extremely painful necks. The fourth is too embarrassed to say anything. '

  'Bourne's very good at what he does - what he did. '

  'He's lethal, Edward!'

  'You handled him, I gather. '

  'Thinking every second he'd make another move and blow that filthy room apart! I was petrified. The man's a maniac. Incidentally, why is he to stay out of Macao? It's an odd restriction. '

  'There's nothing he can't do from here. The killings took place here. The impostor's clients are obviously here in Hong Kong, not Macao. '

 
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