Home > The Doomsday Conspiracy(11)

The Doomsday Conspiracy(11)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

Or perhaps it was when they told Robert he was well enough to be transferred to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington to finish his convalescence, and Susan said, “Do you think I’m going to stay here and let some other nurse have that great body? Oh, no. I’m going to pull every string I can to go with you.”

They were married two weeks later. It took Robert a year to heal completely, and Susan tended to his every need, night and day. He had never met anyone like her, nor had he dreamed that he could ever love anyone so much. He loved her compassion and sensitivity, her passion and vitality. He loved her beauty and her sense of humour.

On their first anniversary he said to her, “You’re the most beautiful, the most wonderful, the most caring human being in the world. There is no one on this earth with your warmth and wit and intelligence.”

And Susan had held him tightly and whispered in a nasal, chorus-girl voice, “Likewise, I’m sure.”

They shared more than love. They genuinely liked and respected each other. All their friends envied them, and with good reason. Whenever they talked about a perfect marriage, it was always Robert and Susan they held up as an example. They were compatible in every way, complete soulmates. Susan was the most sensual woman Robert had ever known, and they were able to set each other on fire with a touch, a word. One evening, when they were scheduled to go to a formal dinner party, Robert was running late. He was in the shower when Susan came into the bathroom, carefully made up and dressed in a lovely strapless evening gown.

“My God, you look sexy,” Robert said. “It’s too bad we don’t have more time.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Susan murmured. Arid a moment later she had stripped off her clothes and joined Robert in the shower.

They never got to the party.

Susan sensed Robert’s needs almost before he knew them, and she saw to it that they were attended to. And Robert was equally attentive to her. Susan would find love notes on her dressing-room table, or in her shoes when she started to get dressed. Flowers and little gifts would be delivered to her on Ground Hog Day and President Folk’s birthday and in celebration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

And the laughter that they shared. The wonderful laughter …

The pilot’s voice crackled over the intercom. “We’ll be landing in Zurich in ten minutes, Commander.”

Robert Bellamy’s thoughts snapped back to the present, to his assignment. In his fifteen years with Naval Intelligence, he had been involved in dozens of challenging cases, but this one promised to be the most bizarre of them all. He was on his way to Switzerland to find a busload of anonymous witnesses who had disappeared into thin air. Talk about looking for a needle in a haystack. I don’t even know where the haystack is. Where is Sherlock Holmes when I need him?

“Will you fasten your seat belt, please?”

The C20A was flying over dark forests, and a moment later, skimming over the runway etched by the landing lights of the Zurich International Airport. The plane taxied to the east side of the airport, and headed for the small General Aviation Building, away from the main terminal. There were still puddles on the tarmac from the earlier rainstorms, but the night sky was clear.

“Crazy weather,” the pilot commented. “Sunny here Sunday, rainy all day today, and clearing tonight. You don’t need a watch here, what you really need is a barometer. Can I arrange a car for you, Commander?”

“No, thanks.” From this moment on, he was completely on his own. Robert waited until the plane taxied away, then he boarded a minibus to the airport hotel where he collapsed into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Seven


0800 Hours

The next morning Robert approached a clerk behind the Europcar desk.

“Guten Tag.”

It was a reminder that he was in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. “Guten Tag. Do you have a car available?”

“Yes, sir, we do. How long will you be needing it?”

Good question. An hour? A month? Maybe a year or two? “I’m not sure.”

“Do you plan to return the car to this airport?”


The clerk looked at him strangely. “Very well. Will you fill out these papers, please?”

Robert paid for the car with the special black credit card General Milliard had given him. The clerk examined it, perplexed, then said, “Excuse me.” He disappeared into an office and when he returned, Robert said, “Any problem?”

“No, sir. None at all.”

The car was a grey Opel Omega. Robert got onto the Airport Highway and headed for downtown Zurich. He enjoyed Switzerland. It was one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Years earlier, he had skied there. In more recent times, he had carried out assignments there, liaising with Espionage Abteilung, the Swiss intelligence agency. During World War II, the agency had been organized into three bureaux; D, P and I, covering Germany, France and Italy, respectively. Now its main purpose was related to espionage operations conducted under cover of United Nations diplomacy, from the various UN organizations in Geneva. Robert had friends in Espionage Abteilung, but he remembered General Hilliard’s words: You’re not to get in touch with any of them.

The drive into the city took twenty-five minutes. Robert reached the Diibendorf downtown off-ramp and headed for the Bolder Grand Hotel. It was exactly as he remembered it: an overgrown Swiss chateau with turrets, stately and imposing, surrounded by greenery and overlooking Lake Zurich. He parked the car and walked into the lobby. On the left was the reception desk.

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