The bourne supremacy, p.59
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.59

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 59


  'McAllister said otherwise. He claimed that the best people in US and UK Intelligence were working on it. He said the reason was that if this killer who's posing as my husband -what my husband was in people's eyes - murdered a high political figure on either side, or started an underworld war, Hong Kong's status would be in immediate jeopardy. Peking would move quickly and take over, using the pretext of the ninety-seven treaty. "The Oriental doesn't tolerate a disobedient child", those were his words. '

  'Unacceptable and unbelievable?' retorted Catherine Staples. 'Either your undersecretary is a liar or he has the IQ of a fern! He gave you every reason for our Intelligence services to stay out of it, to stay absolutely clean! Even a hint of covert action would be disastrous. That could fire up the wild boys in the Central Committee. Regardless, I don't believe a word he said. London would never permit it, not even the mention of Special Branch's name. '

  'Catherine, you're wrong. You weren't listening. The man who flew to Washington for the Treadstone file was British, and he was MI6. Good Lord, he was murdered for that file. '

  'I heard you before. I simply don't believe it. Above all else, the Foreign Office would insist that this whole mess remain with the police and only the police. They wouldn't let MI6 in the same restaurant with a detective third grade, even on Food Street. Believe me, my dear, I know what I'm talking about. These are very delicate times and no time for hanky-panky, especially the sort that has an official intelligence organization messing around with an assassin. No, you were brought here and your husband was forced to follow for quite another reason. '

  'For heaven's sake, what? cried Marie, shooting forward in her chair.

  'I don't know. There's someone else perhaps. '


  'It's quite beyond me. '

  Silence. Two highly intelligent minds were pondering the words each had spoken.

  'Catherine,' said Marie finally. 'I accept the logic of everything you say, but you also said everything was rife with illogical logic. Suppose I'm right, that the men who held me were not killers or criminals, but bureaucrats following orders they didn't understand, that government was written all over their faces and in their evasive explanations, even in their concern for my comfort and well-being. I know you think that the McAllister I described to you is a liar or a fool, but suppose he's a liar and not a fool? Assuming these things -and I believe them to be true - we're talking about two governments acting in concert during these very delicate times. What then?'

  Then there's a disaster in the making,' said Senior Foreign Officer Staples quietly.

  'And it revolves around my husband?'

  'If you're right, yes. '

  'It's possible, isn't it?'

  'I don't even want to think about it. '

  Chapter Fifteen

  Forty miles southwest of Hong Kong, beyond the out islands in the South China Sea, is the peninsula of Macao, a Portuguese colony in ceremonial name only. Its historical origins are in Portugal, but its modern, free-wheeling appeal to the international set, with its annual Grand Prix and its gambling and its yachts, is based on the luxuries and lifestyles demanded by the wealthy of Europe. Regardless, make no mistake. It is Chinese. The controls are in Peking.

  Never! It must not be Macao! The order will be swift, the execution swifter! Your wife will die!

  But the assassin was in Macao, and a chameleon had to enter another jungle.

  Scanning the faces and peering into the shadowed corners of the small, packed terminal, Bourne moved with the crowd out onto the pier of the Macao hydrofoil, a trip that took roughly an hour. The passengers were divided into three distinct categories: returning residents of the Portuguese colony - in the main Chinese and silent; professional gamblers - a racial mix talking quietly when they talked at all, continually glancing around to size up their competition; and late night revellers - boisterous tourists, exclusively white, many of them drunk, in oddly shaped hats and loud tropical shirts.

  He had left Shenzhen and taken the three o'clock train from Lo Wu to Kowloon. The ride was exhausting, his emotions drained, his reasoning stunned. The impostor-killer had been so close! If only he could have isolated the man from Macao for less than a minute, he could have got him out! There were ways. Both their visas were in order; a man doubled up in pain, his throat damaged to the point of speechlessness, could be passed off as a sick man, a diseased man perhaps, an unwelcome visitor whom they would gladly have let go. But it was not to be, not this time. If only he could have seen him!

  And then there was the startling discovery that this new assassin, this myth that was no "myth but a brutal killer, had a connection in the People's Republic. It was profoundly disturbing, for Chinese officials who acknowledged such a man would do so only to use him. It was a complication David did not want. It had nothing to do with Marie and himself, and the two of them were all he cared about! All he cared about! Jason Bourne: Bring in the man from Macao!

  He had gone back to the Peninsula, stopping at the New World Centre to buy a dark, waist- length nylon jacket and a pair of navy blue sneakers with heavy soles. David Webb's anxiety was overpowering. Jason Bourne planned without consciously having a plan. He ordered a light meal from room service and picked at it as he sat on the bed staring mindlessly at a television news programme. Then David lay back on the pillow, briefly closing his eyes, wondering where the words came from. Rest is a weapon. Don't forget it. Bourne woke up fifteen minutes later.

  Jason had purchased a ticket for the 8:30 run at a booth in the Mass Transit concourse in the Tsim Sha Tsui during the rush hour. To be certain he was not being followed - and he had to be absolutely certain - he had taken three separate taxis to within a quarter of a mile of the Macao Ferry pier an hour before departure, walking the rest of the way. He had then begun a ritual he had been trained to perform. The memory of that training was clouded, but not the practice. He had melted into the crowds in front of the terminal, dodging, weaving, going from one pocket to another, then abruptly standing motionless on the sidelines, concentrating on the patterns of movement behind him, looking for someone he

  had seen moments before, a face or a pair of anxious eyes directed at him. There had been no one. Yet Marie's life depended on the certainty, so he had repeated the ritual twice again, ending up inside the dimly lit terminal filled with benches that fronted the dock and the open water. He kept looking for a frantic face, for a head that kept turning, a person spinning in place, intent on finding someone. Again, there had been no one. He was free to leave for Macao. He was on his way there now.

  He sat in a rear seat by the window and watched the lights of Hong Kong and Kowloon fade into a glow in the Asian sky. New lights appeared and disappeared as the hydrofoil gathered speed and passed the out islands, islands belonging to China. He imagined uniformed men peering through infrared telescopes and binoculars, not sure what they were looking for but ordered to observe everything. The mountains of the New Territories rose ominously, the moonlight glancing off their peaks and accentuating their beauty, but also saying: This is where you stop. Beyond here, we are different. It was not really so. People hawked their goods in the squares of Shenzhen. Artisans prospered; farmers butchered their animals and lived as well as the educated classes in Beijing and Shanghai - usually with better housing. China was changing, not fast enough for the West, and certainly it was still a paranoid giant, but withal, thought David Webb, the distended stomachs of children, so prevalent in the China of years ago, were disappearing. Many at the top of the inscrutable political ladder were fat, but few in the fields were starving. There had been progress, he mused, whether much of the world approved of the methods or not.

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