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.I refer you to the recent proclamations of your new country -new as a wife, of course.''I'm an economist, Catherine, not a diplomat.''Combine the talents that I know you have, and you could scale the heights in Washington as you would have in Ottawa.But then you wouldn't have the obscurity you so desire in your regained civilized life.''We must have that.It's all that matters.I don't.'Testing again.You were not without ambition.You love that husband of yours.''Very much.I want to find him.I want him back.'Staples's head snapped as her eyes blinked.'He's here!''Somewhere.It's part of the story.''Is it complicated?''Very.''Can you hold back - and I mean that, Marie - until we go some place where it's quieter?''I was taught patience by a man whose life depended on it twenty-four hours a day for three years.''Good God.Are you hungry?''Famished.That's also part of the story.As long as you're here and listening to me, may we order?''Avoid the dim sum, it's oversteamed and overfried.The duck, however, is the best in Hong Kong.Can you wait, Marie? Would you rather leave?''I can wait, Catherine.My whole life's on hold.Half an hour won't make any difference.And if I don't eat I won't be coherent.''I know.It's part of the story.'They sat opposite each other in Catherine Staples's flat, a coffee table between them, sharing a pot of tea.'I think,' said Catherine, 'that I've just heard what amounts to the most blatant misuse of office in thirty years of foreign service - on our side, of course.Unless there's a grave misinterpretation.''You're saying you don't believe me.''On the contrary, my dear, you couldn't have made it up.You're quite right.The whole damn thing's full of illogical logic.''I didn't say that.''You didn't have to, it's there.Your husband is primed, the possibilities implanted, and then he's shot up like a nuclear rocket.Why?''I told you.There's a man killing people who claims he's Jason Bourne - the role David played for three years.''A killer's a killer, no matter the name he assumes, whether it's Genghis Khan or Jack the Ripper, or, if you will, Carlos the Jackal - even the assassin, Jason Bourne.Traps for such men are planned with the consent of the trappers.''I don't understand you, Catherine.''Then listen to me, my dear.This is an old-time mind speaking.Remember when I went to you for the Common Market refresher with the emphasis on Eastern trade?''Yes.We cooked dinners for each other.Yours was better than mine.''Yes, it was.But I was really there to learn how to convince my contacts in the Eastern bloc that I could use the fluctuating rates of exchange so that purchases made from us would be infinitely more profitable for them.I did it.Moscow was furious.''Catherine, what the hell has that got to do with me?"Staples looked at Marie, her gentle demeanour again underlined with firmness.'Let me be clearer.If you thought about it at all, you had to assume that I'd come to Ottawa to gain a firmer grasp of European economics so as to do my job better.In one sense that was true, but it wasn't the real reason.I was actually there to learn how to use the fluctuating rates of the various currencies and offer contracts of the greatest advantage to our potential clients.When the Deutschmark rose, we sold on the franc or the guilder or whatever.It was built into the contracts.''That was hardly self-serving.''We weren't looking for profits, we were opening markets that had been closed to us.The profits would come later.You were very clear about exchange rate speculation.You preached its evils and I had to learn to be something of a devil - for a good cause, of course.''All right, you picked what brains I have for a purpose I didn't know about-''It had to be kept totally secret, obviously.''But what's it got to do with anything I've told you?''I smell a bad piece of meat, and this nose is experienced.Just as I had an ulterior motive to go to you in Ottawa, whoever is doing this to you has a deeper reason than the capture of your husband's impersonator.''Why do you say that?''Your husband said it first.This is primarily and quite properly a police matter, even an international police matter for Interpol's highly respected intelligence network.They're far more qualified for this sort of thing than State Departments or Foreign Offices, CIAs or MI6s.Overseas Intelligence branches don't concern themselves with non-political criminals - everyday murderers - they can't afford to.My God, most of those asses would expose whatever covers they'd managed to build if they interfered with police work.''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.''Who?''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.'15Forty 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 [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]