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Webb gone, the Monk gone, the Yachtsman and his wife . . . who could deny the instructions Delta received, since these four alone relayed instructions to him? He had removed the millions and distributed them as ordered. Blind recipients he had assumed were intrinsic to the Monk's strategy. Who was Delta to question the Monk? The creator of Medusa, the genius who had recruited and created him. Cain.

The perfect solution. To be utterly convincing, all that was required was the death of a brother, the proper grief to follow. The official judgment would be rendered. Carlos had infiltrated and broken Treadstone. The assassin had won, Treadstone abandoned. The bastard!

". . . so basically I felt the game plan should come from you. " The First Secretary in Paris had finished. He was an ass but Conklin needed him; one tune had to be heard while another was being played.

'You did the right thing,' said a respectful executive in Langley. 'I'll let our people over here know how well you handled it. You were absolutely right; we need time, but Bourne doesn't realize it. We can't tell him, either, which makes it tough . . . We're on sterile so may I speak accordingly?'

'Of course. '

'Bourne's under pressure. He's been . . . detained . . . for a long period of time. Am I clear?"

'The Soviets?'

'Right up to the Lubyanka. His run was made by means of a double entry. Are you familiar with the term?"

'Yes, I am. Moscow thinks he's working for them now. '

That's what they think. ' Conklin paused. 'And we're not sure. Crazy things happen in the Lubyanka. '

The First Secretary whistled softly. That's a basket. How are you going to make a determination?'

'With your help. But the classification priority is so high it's above embassy, even ambassadorial level. You're on the scene; you were reached. You can accept the condition or not, that's up to you. If you do. I think a commendation might come right out of the Oval office. '

Conklin could hear the slow intake of breath from Paris.

'I'll do whatever I can, of course. Name it. '

'You already did. We want him stalled. When he calls back, talk to him yourself. . . '

'Naturally,' interrupted the embassy man.

Tell him you relayed the codes. Tell him Washington is flying over an officer-of-record from Treadstone by military transport Say D. C. wants him to keep out of sight and away from the embassy; every route is being watched. Then ask him if he wants protection, and if he does, find out where he wants to pick it up. But don't send anyone; when you talk to me again I'll have been in touch with someone over there. I'll give you a name then and an eye-spot you can give to him. *

'Eye-spot?'

'Visual identification. Something or someone he can recognize. '

'One of your men?'

'Yes, we think it's best that way. Beyond you, there's no point in involving the embassy. As a matter of fact, it's vital we don't, so whatever conversations you have shouldn't be logged. "

'I can take care of that,' said the First Secretary. 'But how is the one conversation I'm going to have with him going to help you determine whether he's a double entry?'

'Because it won't be one; it'll be closer to ten. '

Ten?'

That's right. Your instructions to Bourne - from us through you - are that he's to check in on your phone every hour to confirm the fact that he's in safe territory. Until the last time when you tell him the Treadstone officer has arrived in Paris and will meet with him. '

'What will that accomplish?' asked the embassy man.

'He'll keep moving . . . if he's not ours. There are half a

dozen known deep-cover Soviet agents in Paris, all with tripped phones. If he's working with Moscow, the chances are he'll use at least one of them. We'll be watching. And if that's the way it turns out, 1 think you'll remember the time you spent all night at the embassy for the rest of your life. Presidential commendations have a way of raising a career man's grade level. Of course, you don't have too much higher to go . . . '

"There's higher, Mr Conklin," interrupted the First Secretary.

The conversation was over; the embassy man would call back after hearing from Bourne. Conklin got up from the chair and limped across the room to a grey filing cabinet against the wall. He unlocked the top panel. Inside was a stapled folder containing a sealed envelope bearing the names and locations of men who could be called upon in emergencies. They had once been good men, loyal men, who for one reason or another could no longer be on a Washington payroll. In all cases it had been necessary to remove them from the official scene, relocate them with new identities - those fluent in other languages frequently given citizenship by co-operating foreign governments. They had simply disappeared.

They were the outcasts, men who had gone beyond the laws in the service of their country, who often killed in the interests of their country. But their country could not tolerate their official existence; their covers had been exposed, their actions made known. Still, they could be called upon. Monies were constantly funnelled to accounts beyond official scrutiny, certain understandings intrinsic to the payments.

Conklin carried the envelope back to his desk and tore the marked tape from the flap; it would be reseated, re-marked. There was a man in Paris, a dedicated man, who had come up through the officer corps of Army Intelligence, a lieutenant-colonel by the time he was thirty-five. He could be counted on; he understood national priorities. He had killed a left-wing cameraman in a village near Hue a dozen years ago.

Three minutes later he had the man on the line, the call un-logged, unrecorded. The former officer was given a name and a brief sketch of defection, including a covert trip to the United States during which the defector in question on special assignment had eliminated those controlling the strategy.

'A double entry?' asked the man in Paris. 'Moscow?'

'No, not the Soviets,' replied Conklin, aware that if Delta requested protection there would be conversations between the two men.

'It was a long-range deep cover to snare Carlos. '

The assassin?"

'That's right. '

'You may say it's not Moscow, but you won't convince me. Carlos was trained in Novgorod and as far as I'm concerned he's still a dirty gun for the K. G. B. '

'Perhaps. The details aren't for briefing, but suffice it to say we're convinced our man was bought off; he's made a few million and wants an unencumbered passport. '

'So he took out the controls and the finger's pointed at Carlos, which doesn't mean a damn thing but give him another kill. '

That's it. We want to play it out. let him think he's home free. Best, we'd like an admission, whatever information we can get, which is why I'm on my way over. But it's definitely secondary to taking him out. Too many people in too many places were compromised to put him where he is. Can you help? There'll be a bonus. '

'My pleasure. And keep the bonus, I hate fuckers like him. They blow whole networks. '

'It's got to be airtight; he's one of the best. I'd suggest support, at least one. '

'I've got a man from the St-Gervais worth five. He's for hire. '

'Hire him. Here are the particulars. The control in Paris is an embassy blind; be knows nothing, but he's in communication with Bourne and may request protection for him. '



Tags: Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader Jason Bourne Thriller
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