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." "I guess that's what I'm saying." "And I guess that's pretty good thinking, Charlie.I'm operating on externals, aren't I? They're triggering instincts, but they're still externals." "I'd trust those instincts of yours far more than I would any polygraph�" "So would I," interrupted Valentino."You saved our personnel in five or six sector crises when all the indicators said you were wrong.However, Charlie's got a legitimate query.Suppose it isn't Carlos? We not only send the wrong message to Europe, but, more important, we've wasted time." "So stay out of Europe," mused Alex softly, again as if to himself."At least for now.Go after the bastards here.Draw them out.Pull them in and break them.I'm the target, so let them come after me." "That would entail far looser protection than I envisage for you and Dr.Panov, Mr.Conklin," said the director firmly."Then disenvisage, sir." Alex looked back and forth at Casset and Valentino, suddenly raising his voice."We can do it if you two will listen to me and let me mount it!" "We're in a gray area," stated Casset."This thing may be foreign-oriented, but it's domestic turf.The Bureau should be brought in�" "No way," exclaimed Conklin."Nobody's brought in outside of this room!" "Come on, Alex," said Valentino kindly, slowly shaking his head."You're retired.You can't give orders here." "Good, fine!" shouted Conklin, awkwardly getting out of the chair and supporting himself on his cane."Next stop the White House, to a certain chairman of the NSA named McAllister!" "Sit down," said the DCI firmly."I'm retired! You can't give orders to me." "I wouldn't dream of it, I'm simply concerned for your life.As I read the scenario, what you're suggesting is based on the questionable supposition that whoever fired at you last night in tended to miss, not caring whom he hit, only determined to take you alive during the subsequent chaos." "That's a couple of leaps�" "Based on a couple of dozen operations I've been involved with both here and at the Department of the Navy and in places you couldn't pronounce or know anything about." The director's elbows were planted on the arms of his chair, his voice suddenly harsh, commanding."For your information, Conklin, I didn't suddenly bloom as a gold-braided admiral running naval intelligence.I was in the SEALs for a few years and made runs off submarines into Kaesong and later into Haiphong harbor.I knew a number of those Medusa pricks, and I can't think of one that I didn't want to put a bullet in his head! Now you tell me there was one, and he became your Jason Bourne' and you'll break your balls or bust open your heart to see that he stays alive and well and out of the Jackal's gun sights.So let's cut the crap, Alex.Do you want to work with me or not?" Conklin slowly sank back in his chair, a smile gradually emerging on his lips."I told you I had no sweat with your appointment, sir.It was just intuition, but now I know why.You were a field man.I'll work with you." "Good, fine," said the director."We'll work up a controlled surveillance and hope to Christ your theory that they want you alive is correct because there's no way we can cover every window or every rooftop.You'd better understand the risk." "I do.And since two chunks of bait are better than one in a tank of piranhas, I want to talk to Mo Panov." "You can't ask him to be a part of this," countered Casset."He's not one of us, Alex.Why should he?" "Because he is one of us and I'd better ask him.If I didn't, he'd give me a flu shot filled with strychnine.You see, he was in Hong Kong, too�for reasons not much different from mine.Years ago I tried to kill my closest friend in Paris because I'd made a terrible mistake believing my friend had turned when the truth was that he had lost his memory.Only days later, Morris Panov, one of the leading psychiatrists in the country, a doctor who can't stand the chicken-shit psychobabble so popular these days, was presented with a 'hypothetical' psychiatric profile that required his immediate reaction.It described a rogue deep-cover agent, a walking time bomb with a thousand secrets in his head, who had gone over the edge.On the basis of Mo's on-the-spot evaluation of that hypothetical profile�which he hours later suspected was no more hypothetical than Campbell's soup�an innocent amnesiac was nearly blown away in a government ambush on New York's Seventy-first Street.When what was left of that man survived, Panov demanded to be assigned as his only head doctor.He's never forgiven himself.If any of you were he, what would you do if I didn't talk to you about what we're talking about right now?" "Tell you it's a flu shot and pump you full of strychnine, old boy," concluded DeSole, nodding."Where is Panov now?" asked Casset."At the Brookshire Hotel in Baltimore under the name of Morris, Phillip Morris.He called off his appointments today�he has the flu." "Then let's go to work," said the DCI, pulling a yellow legal pad in front of him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]