Join Date: Nov 2008
Part 39 (cont)
“Isn’t it true that you have no real jurisdiction here?” Marian said coolly. “The FBI has no power here, if I see things correctly. We are in Bolivia, not New York, Mr. Henley. You can’t tell me what I can and can’t do. I can go wherever I like.”
“Of course you can,” said Henley almost immediately. “But-“
“How good of you to finally realize that,” interrupted Marian. “There is no reason to discuss this further. Now I’ll pack my things and wait for you in the hallway.” She gave the FBI officials a cool look, then turned and left rapidly for her room to get changed and packed.
Reuben looked at Indiana shaking his head. “You should talk to her, Jones. It can really be damned dangerous.”
“I know that better than you,” Indiana said. Reuben turned to look at him again. “But I also know Marian. Don’t be fooled by her appearance. Once she has an idea in her head, she does it. And she was right – we are in Bolivia, not the USA. You really can’t prevent anything at all. On the contrary, those guys we’re after could give us considerable difficulties if word gets out to the right people.”
Again Reuben was visibly put in his place. Indiana had made a point. The relations between Bolivia and the USA had never been good, and in reality, at this point in time, they were at a very low point. Reuben had let slip on the way to La Paz that not only were they there without approval, but also there without the knowledge of the Bolivian government. They had left their FBI-authority behind, and were now just private individuals just like him and Marian – and they had undertaken this journey for nothing more than private reasons. And Marian had made it perfectly clear that under no circumstances would she be deterred from searching for her husband. It was really questionable whether they would find Professor Corda’s trail anyway. The two FBI agents could not afford to waste energy trying to keep an eye on Marian Corda while they were gone anyway.
“Did you really find any trace of Corda?” Indiana made an appreciative movement to change the subject. “It seems to have disappeared rather quickly.”
Reuben sat down on one of the two chairs in the dingy hotel room. Henley moved to the window and lit a cigarette. “Too be honest, we didn’t. But Ramos…”
“Ramos?” Indiana said keenly.
Reuben made a calming gesture. “He arrived a few hours before us and left almost immediately. And before you ask – the description of one of his companions matched that of Mr. Brody.”
“Are you sure?” asked Indiana.
Reuben shrugged, but Henley responded from the window without turning. “He won’t do anything to him, Dr. Jones. Brody’s safe.”
“How do you know?” Indiana asked, doubtful.
Henley took a drag on his cigarette, then blew out the smoke – a gray-blue cloud encircled his head, emphasized by the light seeping in through the blinds from outside.
“I know it.” He turned around this time and smiled at Indiana like a scoundrel as he leaned with his arms crossed on the wall next to the window. “I know Ramos’s type too well. Marcus Brody is much too valuable to him. He would never hurt him. Not as long as he believes he can use him as leverage against you.”
“I hope you are not mistaken,” said Indiana somberly. “Ramos is anything other than a fool.”
“Precisely,” said Henley with a smile. “You see, Dr. Jones, it is also a mistake to think this type of criminal is difficult for a detective to capture. It is easier to catch an intelligent criminal than it is an idiot.”
Indiana looked at him questioningly, and Henley continued in a tone like that of a teacher to his student: “You are completely right. Ramos is no fool. But the thoughts of an intelligent criminal can be reconstructed. On the other hand, an idiot who can barely write his name is difficult to read. Men such as Ramos may have a few surprises in store, but fools are erratic, undecipherable. That makes them more dangerous.”
Indiana was pretty sure he could find a half-dozen holes in this argument if he took the trouble to think for about it for a moment. But it seemed hardly worth the effort. He only hoped Henley was right.
He stood up. “Exactly when do we leave?”
Reuben shot his partner a quick, unenthusiastic glance before he answered. And when he did answer, he avoided the question. “I still do not think it is a good idea for you to accompany us, Dr. Jones. Please, think it over again. You know very well how dangerous a trip into the jungle can be. And with your injured arm, you will be severely handicapped.”
“I promise, you won’t have to carry my weight,” replied Indiana mockingly, but Reuben remained serious.
“I could force you.”
“Oh,” Indiana played along. “Could you really do that?”
Reuben nodded. “Save it, and tell me again how we are not in the United States; that my FBI card doesn’t apply here. But believe me, if I wanted, I could ensure that you do not leave this hotel for the next two weeks. But I would prefer it if you would decide this voluntarily.”
Indiana wanted to grab the man, but held himself back. He stared at Reuben very seriously for a few seconds before asking: “Why?”
“Because...” Reuben began.
“The real reason,” Indiana interrupted calmly, but his tone betrayed his seriousness. For a moment fright flickered in Reuben’s eyes, like Indiana was on to his secret. Henley stepped closer, almost imperceptibly. Indiana knew they were hiding something.
“What do you mean…?” asked Reuben evasively.
Indiana made an annoying twist of his good hand. “Just as I thought. Don’t play me for a fool, Reuben. I know you aren’t after Corda because of a couple of art treasures he stolen from some tomb. Why are you really after him?”
“It is better if you don’t know,” said Reuben.
“I could find out,” replied Indiana.
“Reuben nodded. “I believe you could. But it would be better for you and everyone else if you don’t. I give you my word. I will do everything in my power to ensure Mr. Brody returns safely and uninjured. But that is all I can promise you.”
“I thought we had a deal,” said Indiana.
Reuben nodded again as he stood up. “That we do. And I will keep it, Dr. Jones. But there are things that I will not tell you, even if I wanted to.”
“Such as the Manhattan Project?” Indiana asked off-handedly.
Henley winced visibly, and Reuben lost control of his facial expressions for a second as he looked with a mixture of horror and astonishment. He quickly recovered with an uncertain smile. “What do you mean?”
“The atom bomb you’re building,” said Indiana with the same casual tone in his voice. “What does Stan have to do with it?”
“I really have no idea what you are talking about,” said Reuben. “What is an atom bomb?”
“I think you know better than I do,” said Indiana. “But don’t worry – it really doesn’t interest me. I am an archeologist, not a soldier. But I can say this much, if it concerns Stanley Corda, you are on the wrong track. Stan might be a thief and a cheat, but he’s no spy.”
Reuben stared at Indiana for several seconds, his gaze penetrating. “That may be,” he said coolly. “The truth will come out. And believe me, Dr. Jones, I only hope you’re right.”