The bourne supremacy, p.69
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.69
 

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 69

 

  'Smart corporal,' broke in Staples:

  'Unsmart consulate,' said Nelson. The military boys had gone for the day, and our hotshot security personnel in their limitless paranoia about secrecy hadn't rostered the Victoria

  Peak contingent. The manager said later that the corporal showed a couple of IDs and seemed like a nice kid, so he took a chance. '

  'That was reasonable of him. He probably wouldn't have if the corporal had behaved otherwise. Again, smart marine. '

  'He did behave otherwise. The next morning down at the consulate. He read the riot act in all but barracks language in a voice so loud even I heard him, and my office is at the end of the corridor from the reception room. He wanted to know who the hell we civvies thought they were up there on that mountain and how come they weren't rostered, since they'd been there for a week. He was one angry marine, let me tell you. '

  'And suddenly the whole consulate knew there was a sterile house in the colony. ' 'You said that, Catherine, I didn't. But I'll tell you exactly what the memorandum to all personnel instructed us to say -the memo arrived on our desks an hour after the corporal had left, having spent twenty minutes with some very embarrassed security clowns. '

  'And what you were instructed to say is not what you believe. '

  'No comment,' said Nelson. 'The house in Victoria was leased for the convenience and security of travelling government personnel as well as representatives of US corporations doing business in the territory. '

  'Hogwash. Especially the latter. Since when does the American taxpayer pick up tabs like that for General Motors and ITT.

  'Washington is actively encouraging an expansion of trade in line with our widening open door policy with respect to the People's Republic. It's consistent. We want to make things easier, more accessible, and this place is crowded as hell. Try getting a decent reservation at two days' notice. '

  'It sounds like you rehearsed that. '

  'No comment. I've told you only what I was instructed to tell you should you bring the matter up - which I'm sure you did. '

  'Of course 1 did. I have friends in the Peak who think the

  neighbourhood's going to seed, what with all those corporal types hanging around. ' Staples sipped her drink. 'Havilland's up there?' she asked, placing the glass back on the table.

  'Almost guaranteed. '

  'Almost?'

  'Our information officer - her office is next to mine -wanted to get some PR mileage out of the ambassador. She asked the CG which hotel he was at, and she was told that he wasn't. Then whose residence? Same answer. "We'll have to wait until he calls us, if he does. " said our boss. She cried on my shoulder, but the order was firm. No tracking him down. '

  'He's up in the Peak,' concluded Staples quietly. 'He's built himself a sterile house and he's mounted an operation. '

  'Which has something to do with this Webb, this Marie St Somebody Webb?'

  'St Jacques. Yes. '

  'Do you want to tell me about it?"

  'Not now - for your sake as well as mine. If I'm right and anyone thought you'd been given information, you could be transferred to Reykjavik without a sweater. '

  'But you said you didn't know what the connection was, that you wished you did. '

  'In the sense that I can't understand the reasons for it, if, indeed, it exists. I only know one side of the story and it's filled with holes. I could be wrong. ' Catherine again drank a small portion of her whisky. 'Look, Johnny,' she continued. 'Only you can make the decision, and if it's negative, I'll understand. I have to know if Havilland's being over here has anything to do with a man named David Webb and his wife, Marie St Jacques. She was an economist in Ottawa before her marriage. '

  'She's Canadian?'

  'Yes. Let me tell you why I have to know without telling you so much you could get into trouble. If the connection's there, I have to go one way, if it's not, I can turn a hundred and eighty degrees and take another route. If it's the latter, I can go public. I can use the newspapers, radio, television, anything that can spread the word and pull her husband in. '

  'Which means he's out in the cold,' broke in the attach�.

  'And you know where she is, but others don't. '

  'As I said before, you're very quick. '

  'But if it's the former - if there is a connection to Havilland, which you believe there is-' 'No comment. If I answered you, I'd be telling you more than you should know. '

  'I see. It's touchy. Let me think. ' Nelson picked up his martini, but instead of drinking, he put it down. 'How about an anonymous phone call that I got?'

  'Such as?

  'A distraught Canadian woman looking for information about her missing American husband. '

  'Why would she have called you? She's experienced in government circles. Why not the consul general himself?'

  'He wasn't in. I was. '

  'I don't want to disabuse you, Johnny, but you're not next in line. '

  'You're right. And anyone could check the switchboard and find out I never got the call. '

  Staples frowned, then leaned forward. There is a way if you're willing to lie a bit further. It's based on reality. It happened, and no one could say that it didn't. '

  'What is it?'

  'A woman stopped you in Garden Road when you were leaving the consulate. She didn't tell you very much but enough to alarm you, and she wouldn't go inside because she was frightened. She's the distraught woman looking for her missing American husband. You could even describe her. '

  'Start with her description,' said Nelson.

  Sitting in front of McAllister's desk, Lin Wenzu read from his notebook as the undersecretary of state listened. 'Although the description differs, the differences are minor and easily achieved. Hair pulled back and covered by a hat, no makeup, flat shoes to reduce her height but not that much - it is she. '

  'And she claimed not to recognize the name of anyone in the directory who could be her so- called cousin?

  'A second cousin on her mother's side. Just far-fetched yet specific enough to be credible. According to the receptionist, she was quite awkward, even flustered. She also carried a purse that was so obviously a Gucci imitation that the receptionist took her for a backwoods hick. Pleasant but gullible. '

  'She recognized someone's name,' said McAllister.

  'If she did, why didn't she ask to see him? She wouldn't waste time under the circumstances. '

  'She probably assumed that we'd sent out an alert, that she couldn't take the chance of being recognized, not on the premises. '

  'I don't think that would concern her, Edward. With what she knows, what she's been through, she could be extremely convincing. '

  'With what she thinks she knows, Lin. She can't be sure of anything. She'll be very cautious, afraid to make a wrong move. That's her husband out there, and take my word for it -I saw them together - she's extremely protective of him. My God, she stole over five million dollars for the simple reason that she thought, quite correctly, he'd been wronged by his own people. By her lights he deserved it - they deserved it -and let Washington go to hell in a basket. '

 
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