Page 24 of Undercover Agent

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“What has Irish told you?”

“Nothing yet.”

“We’ve received a brush pass from Saint.”

“And?” Jesus,why hadn’t Irish said so straight away?

“He’s tracked Benjamin into Hong Kong.”

That didn’t come as a surprise. The man had been hell-bent on using the Hong Kong protests as a stage to further his agenda by way of calling attention to China’s human rights exploitation.

“There’s more.”

“Go on.”

“I’m quoting here, Lynx, so please understand that the phraseology comes from Saint himself.”

“Very well.”

“The message reads, ‘We don’t protect them because they are weak. We protect them because they are strong, and strong people make enemies.’”

It wasn’t unlike Saint to use obscure quotes as messages. He liked to dangle clues without enough bloody information for anyone to decipher it—a trait I was beginning to abhor.

“Any idea what he’s referring to?” Cope asked.

“Not straight away.”

“Irish thinks it’s a reference to Dr. Charles.”

There was a certain amount of logic behind that line of thinking. While not as publicly outspoken as Dr. Benjamin, Emerson was among the leading critics of the Chinese. The policy she wrote often suggested trade sanctions designed to bring them to their knees economically.

Cope went on. “I’m going to tell you something that needs to stay confidential between us. Can you give me your word?”

“You have it.”

“Tread carefully, Lynx.”

“For bloody sake, Cope, get to the point.”

“Irish believes you pose a threat to Dr. Charles.”

“Pull him,”I spat.

“I won’t do that.”

“Then I’ll go over your head.”

“He’s a good man, Lynx. Misguided at times, but nonetheless, a good man and an outstanding agent. I believe his heart lies in protecting Dr. Charles.”

“I’ll not have someone working against me on my own mission, Cope.”

“Then convince him that you both have the same agenda—protecting Dr. Charles.”

I shouldn’t have to convince anyone of a bloody thing.

“Irish may have developed feelings for the doctor.”

Yes, he’d mentioned that himself, but it didn’t make the situation any better.