The bourne supremacy, p.75
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.75

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 75

 

  'Catherine!' shouted Marie. 'He saw me!'

  'Worse,' said Staples. 'He saw the car. '

  'A two door green Mitsubishi!' shouted Wenzu into his handheld radio. 'The licence number is AOR-five, three, five, zero - the zero could be a six, but I don't think so. It doesn't matter, the first three letters will be enough. I want it flashed on all points, emergency status using the police telephone banks! The driver and the passenger are to be taken into custody and there are to be no conversations with either party. It is a Government House matter and no explanations will be given. Get on this! Now!' Staples turned into a parking garage on Ice House Street. The newly-lighted bright red sign of the Mandarin could be seen barely a block away. 'We'll rent a car,' said Catherine as she accepted her ticket from the man in the booth. 'I know several head-boys at the hotel. '

  ''We park? You park?' The grinning attendant obviously hoped for the former.

  'You park,' replied Staples, withdrawing several Hong Kong dollars from her purse. 'Let's go,' she said, turning to Marie. 'And stay on my right, in the shadows, close to the buildings. How are your feet?'

  'I'd rather not say. '

  'Then don't. There's no time to do anything about them now. Bear up, old girl. '

  'Catherine, stop sounding like C. Aubrey Smith in drag. '

  'Who's that?'

  'Forget it. I like old movies. Let's go. '

  Marie hobbling, the two women walked down the street to a side entrance of the Mandarin. They climbed the hotel steps and went inside. 'There's a ladies room to the right, past the line of shops,' said Catherine.

  'I see the sign. '

  'Wait there. I'll be with you as soon as I can make arrangements. '

  'Is there a drug store here?'

  'I don't want you walking around. There'll be descriptions out everywhere. '

  'I understand that, but can you walk around? Just a bit. '

  'Bad time of the month?'

  Wo, my feet! Vaseline, skin lotion, sandals - no, not sandals. Rubber thongs, perhaps, and peroxide. '

  'I'll do what I can, but time is everything. '

  'It's been that way for the past year. A terrible treadmill. Will it stop, Catherine?'

  'I'm doing my damnedest to see to it. You're a friend and a countryman, my dear. And I'm a very angry woman - and speaking of such - how many women did you encounter in the hallowed halls of the CIA or its bumbling counterpart at the State Department, Consular Operations?'

  Marie blinked, trying to remember. 'None, actually. '

  There was a woman in Paris-'

  'There's always is, dear. Go to the ladies' room. '

  'An automobile is a hindrance in Hong Kong,' said Wenzu, looking at the clock on the wall of his office in the headquarters of MI6, Special Branch. It read 6:34. Therefore we must assume she intends driving Webb's wife some distance, hiding her, and will not risk taxi records. Our eight o'clock deadline has been rescinded, the chase now takes its place. We must intercept her. Is there anything we haven't considered?'

  'Putting the Australian in jail,' suggested the short, well-dressed subordinate firmly. 'We suffered casualties in the Walled City, but his were a public embarrassment. We know where he's staying. We can pick him up. '

  'On what charge?'

  'Obstruction. '

  'To what end?'

  The subordinate shrugged - angrily. 'Satisfaction, that's all. '

  'You've just answered your own question. Your pride is inconsequential. Stick to the woman - the women. '

  'You're right, of course. ' 'Every garage, the car hire agencies here on the island and in Kowloon, they've all been contacted by the police, correct?'

  'Yes, sir. But I must point out that the Staples woman could easily call upon one of her friends - her Canadian friends - and she would have a car we could not track. '

  'We operate on what we can control, not what we can't. Besides, from what I knew before and what I have subsequently learned about Foreign Service Officer Staples, I would say she's acting alone, certainly not with official sanction. She won't involve anyone else for the time being. '

  'How can you be sure?'

  Wenzu looked at his subordinate; he had to choose his words carefully. 'Just a guess. '

  'Your guesses have a reputation for accuracy. '

  'An inflated judgement. Common sense is my ally. ' The telephone rang. The major's hand shot out. 'Yes?'

  'Police Central Four,' droned a male voice.

  'We appreciate your co-operation Central Four. '

  'A Ming's Parking Palace responded to our inquiry. The Mitsubishi AOR has a space there leased on a monthly basis. The owner's name is Staples. Catherine Staples, a Canadian. The car was taken out roughly thirty-five minutes ago. '

  'You've been most helpful, Central Four,' said Lin. Thank you. ' He hung up and looked at his anxious subordinate. 'We now have three new pieces of information. The first is that the inquiry we sent out through the police was definitely sent out. The second is that at least one garage wrote down the information, and thirdly, Mrs Staples leases her parking space by the month. '

  'It's a start, sir. '

  There are three major, and perhaps a dozen minor car hire agencies, not counting the hotels, which we've covered separately. Those are manageable statistics, but, of course, the garages are not. '

  'Why not?' questioned the subordinate. 'At most there are, perhaps, a hundred. Who wants to build a garage in Hong Kong when he could house a dozen shops - businesses? At maximum, the police telephone banks have twenty to thirty operators. They can call them all. '

  'It's not the numbers, old friend. It's the mentality of the employees, for the jobs are not enviable. Those who can write are too lazy or too hostile to bother, and those who can't, flee from any association with the police. '

  'One garage responded. '

  'A true Cantonese. It was the owner. '

  The owner should be told!' cried the parking boy in shrill Chinese to the booth attendant at the garage on Ice House Street.

  'Why?'

  'I explained it to you! I wrote it down for you-'

  'Because you go to school and write somewhat better than I do does not make you boss-boss here. '

  'You cannot write at all! You were shit-shit afraid! You called for me when the man on the telephone said it was a police emergency. You illiterates always run from the police. That was the car, the green Mitsubishi I parked on Level Two! If you won't call the police, you must call the owner. '

  There are things they don't teach you in school, boy with small organ. '

  They teach us not to go against the police. It is bad joss. '

  'I will call the police - or better you may be their hero. ' 'Good!'

  'After the two women return and I have a short talk with the driver. '

  'What?'

  'She thought she was giving me - us - two dollars, but it was eleven. One of the bills was a ten- dollar note. She was very nervous, very upset. She is frightened. She did not watch her money. '

  'You said it was two dollars!'

  'And now I'm being honest. Would I be honest with you if I did not have both our interests in my heart?'

 
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