'Can we be sure of that? The others may have said something.'

'No possibility,' interrupted the brigadier-general. 'Abbott would never have revealed it and Elliot Stevens wasn't given the address until fifteen minutes before he got there, when he called from a phone booth. Beyond that, assuming the worst, he would hardly ask for his own execution.'

'What about Major Webb?' pressed the senator.

The major,' replied Crawford, 'was radioed the address by me after he landed at Kennedy Airport As you know, it was a G-Two frequency and scrambled. I remind you,, he also lost his life.'

'Yes, of course.' The ageing senator shook his head. 'It's unbelievable. Why?'

'I should like to bring up a painful subject,' said Brigadier-General Crawford. 'At the outset, I was not enthusiastic about the candidate. I understood David's reasoning and agreed he was qualified, but if you recall, he wasn't my choice.'

'I wasn't aware we had that many choices,' said the senator. 'We had a man - a qualified man, as you agreed - who was willing to go in deep cover for an indeterminate length of tune, risking his life every day, severing all ties with his past How many such men exist?'

'We might have found a more balanced one,' countered the brigadier. 'I pointed that out at the time.'

'You pointed out,' corrected Conklin, 'your own definition of a balanced man, which I, at the time, pointed out was a crock.'

'We were both in Medusa, Conklin,' said Crawford, angrily yet reasonably. 'You don't have exclusive insight. Delta's conduct in the field was continuously and overtly hostile to command. I was in a position to observe that pattern somewhat more clearly than you."

'Most of the time he had every right to be. If you'd spent more time in the field and less in Saigon you would have understood that. I understood it.'

'It may surprise you,' said the brigadier, holding his hand up in a gesture of truce, 'but I'm not defending the gross stupidities often rampant in Saigon, no one could. I'm trying to describe a pattern of behaviour that could lead to the night before last on Seventy-first Street.'

The C.I.A. man's eyes remained on Crawford; his hostility vanished as he nodded his head. 'I know you are. Sorry. That's the crux of it, isn't it? It's not easy for me; I worked with Delta in half a dozen sectors, was stationed with him in Phnom-Penh before Medusa was even a gleam in the Monk's eye. He was never the same after Phnom-Penh; it's why he went into Medusa, why he was willing to become Cain.'

The senator leaned forward on the couch. "I've heard it, but tell me again. The President has to know everything.'

'His wife and two children were killed on a pier in the Mekong River, bombed and strafed by a stray aircraft - nobody knew which side's - the identity never uncovered. He hated that war, hated everybody in it He snapped.' Conklin paused, looking up at the brigadier. 'And I think you're right, General. He snapped again. It was in him.' 'What was?" asked the senator sharply. The explosion, I guess,' said Conklin. The dam burst He'd gone beyond his limits and the hate took over. It's not hard, you have to be very careful. He killed those men, that woman, like a madman on a deliberate rampage. None of them expected it, except perhaps the woman who was upstairs and probably heard the shouts ,.. He's not Delta any more. We created a myth called Cain, only it's not a myth any longer. It's really him.'

'After so many months ...' The senator leaned back, his voice trailing off. 'Why did he come back? From where?'

'From Zurich,' answered Crawford. 'Webb was in Zurich and I think he's the only one who could have brought him back. The "why" we may never know unless he expected to catch all of us there.'

'He doesn't know who we are,' protested the senator. 'His only contacts were the Yachtsman, his wife and David Abbott.'

'And Webb, of course,' added the general.

'Of course,' agreed the senator. 'But not at Treadstone, not even him.'

'It wouldn't matter,' said Conklin, tapping the rug once with his cane. 'He knows "there's a board; Webb might have told him we'd all be there, reasonably expecting that we would. We've got a lot of questions - six months' worth, and now several million dollars. Delta would consider it the perfect solution. He could take us and disappear. No traces.'

'Why are you so certain?'

'Because, one, he was there,' replied the intelligence man, raising his voice. 'We have his prints on a glass of brandy that wasn't even finished. And, two, it's a classic trap with a couple of hundred variations.'

'Would you explain that?'

'You remain silent,' broke in the general, watching Conklin, 'until your enemy can't stand it any longer and exposes himself.'

'And we've become the enemy? His enemy?'

There's no question about it now,' said the naval officer. 'For whatever reasons, Delta's turned. It's happened before thank heaven, not very often. We know what to do.'

The senator once more leaned forward on the couch. 'What will you do?'

'His photograph has never been circulated,' explained Craw-ford. 'We'll circulate it now. To every station and listening post, every source and informant we have. He has to go somewhere, and he'll start with a place he knows, if only to buy another identity. He'll spend money; he'll be found. When he is, the orders will be clear.'

'You'll bring him in at once?'

'We'll kill him,' said Conklin simply. 'You don't bring in a man like Delta, and you don't take the risk that another government will. Not with what he knows.'

'I can't tell the President that! There are laws.'

'Not for Delta,' said the agent 'He's beyond the law. He's beyond salvage.'

'Beyond...'

That's right, Senator,' interrupted the general. 'Beyond salvage. I think you know the meaning of the phrase. You'll have to make the decision whether or not to define it for the President. It might be better to ...'

'You've got to explore everything' said the senator, cutting off the officer. 'I spoke to Abbott last week. He told me a strategy was in progress to reach Delta. Zurich, the bank, the naming of Treadstone; it's all part of it, isn't it?'

'It is, and it's over,' said Crawford. 'If the evidence on Seventy-first Street isn't enough for you, that should be. Delta was given a clear signal to come in. He didn't What more do you want?'

'I want to be absolutely certain!

'I want him dead.' Conklin's words, though spoken softly, had the effect of a sudden, cold wind. 'He not only broke all the rules we each set down for ourselves - no matter what but he sunk into the pits. He reeks; he is Cain. We've used the name Delta so much - not even Bourne, but Delta - that I think we've forgotten. Gordon Webb was his brother. Find him. Kill him.'

23

It was ten minutes to three in the morning when Bourne approached the Auberge du Coin's front desk, Marie continuing directly to the entrance. To Jason's relief, there were no newspapers on the counter, but the night clerk behind it was from the same mould as his predecessor in the centre of Paris. He was a balding, heavy-set man with half-closed eyes, leaning back in a chair, his arms folded in front of him, the weary depression of his interminable night hanging over him. But this night, thought Bourne, would be one he'd remember for a long time to come - quite apart from the damage to an upstairs room, which would not be discovered until morning. A night clerk in Montrouge must have his own transportation.

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