'You exaggerate,' said the European, his eyes on the brown-stone. 'You haven't done badly there. We never would have contacted you otherwise.*
Gillette scowled. 'If I haven't done badly, it's because I've become indispensable to too many like David Abbott. I have in my head a thousand facts they couldn't possibly recall. It's simply easier for them to place me where the questions arc, where problems need solutions. Director of Personnel Screening and Development! They created that title, that post, for me. Do you know why?'
'No, Alfred,' replied the European, looking at his watch, 'I don't know why.'
'Because they don't have the patience to spend hours poring over thousands of resumes and dossiers. They'd rather be dining at Sans Souci, or preening in front of Senate committees, reading from pages prepared by others - by those unseen, unnamed "damn fine staffs".'
'You're a bitter man,' said the European.
'More than you'll know. A lifetime doing the work those bastards should have done for themselves. And for what? A title and an occasional lunch where my brains are picked between the shrimps and the entree. By men like the supremely arrogant David Abbott; they're nothing without people like me.'
'Don't underestimate the Monk. Carlos doesn't
'How could he? He doesn't know what to evaluate. Everything Abbott does is shrouded in secrecy; no one knows how many mistakes he's made. And if any come to light, men like me are blamed for them.'
The European shifted his gaze from the window to Gillette. 'You're very emotional, Alfred,' he said coldly, 'You must be careful about that'
The bureaucrat smiled. 'It never gets in the way, I believe my contributions to Carlos bear that out. Let's say I'm preparing myself for a confrontation I wouldn't avoid for anything in the world.'
'An honest statement,' said the heavy-shouldered man.
'What about you? You found me.'
'I knew what to look for.' The European returned to the window. 'I mean you. The work you do. For Carlos.'
'I have no such complicated reasoning. I come out of a country where educated men are promoted at the whim of morons who recite Marxist litany by rote. Carlos, too, knew what to look for.'
Gillette laughed, his fiat eyes close to shining. 'We're not so different after all. Change the bloodlines of our eastern establishment for Marx and there's a distinct parallel.'
'Perhaps,' agreed the European, looking again at his watch. 'It shouldn't be long now. Abbott always catches the midnight shuttle, his every hour accounted for in Washington.' 'You're sure he'll come out alone?' 'He always does, and he certainly wouldn't be seen with Elliot Stevens. Webb and Stevens will also leave separately; twenty-minute intervals is standard for those called in.' 'How did you find Treadstone?'
'It wasn't so difficult You contributed, Alfred; you were part of a damn fine staff.' The man laughed, his eyes on the brownstone. 'Cain was out of Medusa, you told us that, and if Carlos's suspicions are accurate, that meant the Monk, we knew that; it tied him to Bourne. Carlos instructed us to keep Abbott under twenty-four-hour surveillance; something had gone wrong. When the gunshots in Zurich were heard in Washington, Abbott got careless. We followed him here. It was merely a question of persistence.' 'That led you to Canada? To the man in Ottawa?' 'The man in Ottawa revealed himself by looking for Tread-stone. When we learned who the girl was we had the Department of Finance watched, her section watched. A call came from Paris; it was she, telling him to start a search. We don't know why, but we suspect Bourne may be trying to blow Treadstone apart. If he's turned, it's one way to get out and keep the money. It doesn't matter. Suddenly, this section head no one outside the Canadian government had ever heard of was transformed into a problem of the highest priority. Intelligence communique's were burning the wires. It meant Carlos was right; you were right, Alfred. There is no Cain. He's an invention, a trap.' 'From the beginning,' insisted Gillette. 'I told you that
Three years of false reports, sources unverified. It was all there!'
'From the beginning,' mused the European. 'Undoubtedly the Monk's finest creation ... until something happened and the creation turned. Everything's turning; it's all coming apart at the seams.'
'Stevens's being here confirms that. The President insists on knowing.'
'He has to. There's a nagging suspicion in Ottawa that a section head at the Department of Finance was killed by American Intelligence.' The European turned from the window and looked at the bureaucrat. 'Remember, Alfred, we simply want to know what happened. I've given you the facts as we've learned them; they're irrefutable and Abbott cannot deny them. But they must be presented as having been obtained independently by your own sources. You're appalled. You demand an accounting; the entire intelligence community has been duped.'
'It has,' exclaimed Gillette. 'Duped and used. No one in Washington knows about Bourne, about Treadstone. They've excluded everyone; it is appalling. I don't have to pretend. Arrogant bastards'.'
'Alfred,' cautioned the European, holding up his hand in the shadows, 'do remember whom you're working for. The threat cannot be based on emotion, but on cold professional outrage. He'll suspect you instantly; you must dispel those suspicions just as swiftly. You are the accuser, not him.'
'Good.' Headlight beams bounced through the glass. 'Abbott's taxi is here. I'll take care of the driver.' The European reached to his right and flipped a switch beneath the armrest. I'll be in my car across the street, listening.' He spoke to the chauffeur. 'Abbott will be coming out any moment now. You know what to do.'
The chauffeur nodded. Both men got out of the limousine simultaneously. The driver walked around the bonnet as if to escort a wealthy employer to the south side of the street. Gillette watched through the rear window; the two men stayed together for several seconds, then separated, the European heading for the approaching cab, his hand held up, a note between his fingers. The taxi would be sent away; the caller's plans had changed. The chauffeur had raced to the north side of the street and was now concealed in the shadows of a staircase two doors away from Treadstone Seventy-one.
Thirty seconds later Gillette's eyes were drawn to the door of the brownstone. Light spilled through as an impatient David Abbott came outside, looking up and down the street, glancing at his watch, obviously annoyed. The taxi was late and he had a plane to catch; precise schedules had to be followed. Abbott walked down the steps, turning left on the pavement, looking for the cab, expecting it. In seconds he would pass the chauffeur. He did, both men well out of camera range.
The interception was quick, the discussion rapid. In moments, a bewildered David Abbott climbed inside the limousine, and the chauffeur walked away into the shadows.
'You!' said the Monk, anger and disgust in his voice. 'Of all people, you.'
'I don't think you're in any position to be disdainful... much less arrogant.'
'What you've done I How dare you? Zurich. The Medusa records. It was you!'
'The Medusa records, yes. Zurich, yes. But it's not a question of what I've done; it's what you've done. We sent our own men to Zurich, telling them what to look for. We found it. His name is Bourne, isn't it? He's the man you call Cain. The man you invented!'
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