The Rebel: Chapter 12
Translated by qikiqtarjuaq
Posted on 2020-09-12
When Lin Nansheng saw Lao Pan in his commissioner's office, he almost couldn't believe his eyes. He waited until the guards escorting Lao Pan left, then furrowed his brows. "What kind of game are you playing?"
Lao Pan smiled. "It's only like this that I can see you."
As it turned out, Lao Pan had been unexpectedly captured during an inspection three days earlier. Normally, someone captured this way would be released after a given period of time even if no one provided them with bail. However, not long after they started interrogating him, he began to confess. While covering his mouth and coughing, Lao Pan said to the officer interrogating him, "I want to see your highest-ranked officer."
The officer interrogating him became a bit unhappy, but he still signaled the guard at the door with his eyes. Soon, the guard returned with a junior officer.
Lao Pan shook his head. "I want the highest-ranked officer."
The junior officer was clearly an experienced and knowledgeable person. He half-sat on the edge of the interrogation table and lifted his chin towards the hired thug. The thug immediately walked forward and punched Lao Pan twice.
Lao Pan didn't make a sound. Bending over, he picked up his glasses and put them back on, then wiped away the blood from his mouth using the back of his hand. He glared fiercely at the junior officer. "My surname is Pan. My full name is Pan Xinmin, my codename is Shizhi."
The junior officer's eyes lit up. "Keep talking."
Lao Pan shook his head again. "That's enough. Report these words to your superiors."
Somewhat doubtful, the junior officer picked up the interrogation records and gave them another look. This time, he didn't act impulsively. Instead, he took the interrogation records and went to the intelligence department. By the time this interrogation record appeared on Lin Nansheng's desk, two days had already passed.
Lin Nansheng shook his head. "You should be very clear on this already. Considering the way you were captured, as long as they can't find any evidence, you would have been released within a few days."
"But I can't afford to wait for a few days." There was no longer a smile on Lao Pan's face. "Now, you have to listen carefully."
Then, he began to give orders, one after another, to Lin Nansheng. It was only after he was done that he let out a long breath of relief and went into a coughing fit.
Lin Nansheng didn't speak for a long time. Instead, he sat motionless at his desk staring at Lao Pan.
Lao Pan smiled again. "Time to carry out your orders."
Lin Nansheng continued to stare fixedly at Lao Pan's eyes. "What if I fail?"
"Then I'll carry this crime of being a traitor for the rest of my life," said Lao Pan, still smiling.
"I won't do anything for the sake of your reputation," said Lin Nansheng coldly. "Nor will I care about your life or death."
"I know," said Lao Pan. "For an intelligence agent, life or death isn't important, nor is reputation. The mission is the most important."
"There's still something you haven't told me," said Lin Nansheng, standing up. "After I've collected the information, how do I send it out?"
"After three days without hearing from me, my telegraph operator will destroy my codebook and automatically leave Shanghai." Lao Pan gazed up at him. "Now, it has already been three days."
Lin Nansheng said nothing more. He gave Lao Pan one last look, then pulled open the door and allowed the guards to take Lao Pan away. After that, he went directly to the archives, where he took out numerous documents. He immersed himself in this until the workday was done, at which point he left the Counter-Intelligence Bureau's building.
That night, Lin Nansheng didn't return home until it was very late at night. Without disturbing Miss Lan, he quietly washed up and quietly slipped into bed. The next day during breakfast, he put down his chopsticks, looked at Miss Lan, and said, "You have to help me with something."
Miss Lan nodded. "Say it."
However, Lin Nansheng did not continue speaking. Instead, he took out a piece of paper, unfolded it, and placed it in Miss Lan's hands. He waited until she finished reading it before opening his mouth. "There should be no problems, right?"
Miss Lan took out a match, struck it, and lit the note on fire before throwing it into the ashtray. She gazed up at him. "The reason you took me in - it's exactly for a day like this."
Lin Nansheng shook his head. "If I had other options, I definitely wouldn't ask you to go."
"Don't worry," said Miss Lan.
"You can ask your questions," said Lin Nansheng.
"I don't have to ask you." Miss Lan suddenly smiled. "From the moment you helped me leave Chongqing, I already knew what kind of person you are."
The first thing Lin Nansheng did after going to work was show up at the chief agent's office. Once they came face-to-face, he handed over the interrogation records. "You should have an impression of this person, right?"
The chief agent glanced over the records. "I haven't heard this name before, but I recognize the code name. Around 1940, he was a barracuda in the CCP's Shanghai intelligence network."
"This person is currently locked in our basement," said Lin Nansheng. "However, I went to check our previous records regarding this Shizhi codename. There were many different descriptions, with some of them even saying that this person was a woman."
"Whether he's Shizhi or not isn't important," said the chief agent. "What's important is what information he can give us."
Lin Nansheng smiled. "He repeatedly insisted on seeing our highest-ranked officer."
The chief agent smiled as well. Glancing at his watch, he said, "Then let's go take a look. I still have a meeting at ten o'clock at the Garrison Command."
However, not long after the interrogation began, the chief agent told the aide standing by his side to reschedule his meeting. Like a captivated audience member, he was completely drawn in by Lao Pan's words. Lao Pan seemed a little exhausted, constantly asking for water and constantly coughing. Starting from his birth in Manchuria, he recounted his life, listing many people, events, and places.
When it was almost noon, the chief agent became a little impatient and interrupted him. "Mr. Pan, it's better if you talk about something that can help you and us both."
Lao Pan nodded and let out a wracking cough. After listing two addresses and two mailbox numbers, he shut his mouth.
The chief agent said, "What we want is a big fish. We have little interest in these small shrimps."
Lao Pan smiled and looked at his surroundings. "How can you find any big fish in a place like this? There are only small shrimps here."
The chief agent turned things over in his head and rang the bell on the table, letting the guard take Lao Pan back. Afterward, he turned around and ordered head of interrogations to book two rooms in the Cathay Hotel, transfer in a few more people from the field team, then put the entire building on a second level alert.
"If he wants to show off, then we'll play along and show off too."
After the head of interrogations received his order and left, the chief agent went into the monitoring room next door. Looking at Lin Nansheng, he asked, "What do you think?"
"I still can't understand… He's such an experienced operative, how could he sell out his contacts so easily?"
"No matter how experienced he is, he's still human," said the chief with a smile. "Don't forget Gu Shunzhang."
"Still, let's have the field team first scout out the two locations. The two mailboxes we can place under surveillance," said Lin Nansheng. "Towards these small shrimps, it's better not to startle the snake by striking the grass. This might be a secret distress signal."
The chief agent nodded. "Let's have the field team set things up."
The afternoon interrogation was even more like a negotiation. Inside a luxurious suite at the Cathay Hotel, all the fans were turned on. Lin Nansheng sat next to the chief agent, and other than taking an occasional sip of coffee, he looked wordlessly into Lao Pan's eyes.
However, Lao Pan seemed only interested in the chief agent. Sitting across the table, he continuously coughed and raised his demands.
"But what do you have that you can exchange for these demands?" The casually dressed chief agent looked like an experienced businessman.
Lao Pan lowered his head slightly. "What day is it today?"
"Today is Friday, August 27th," said the chief agent.
"Tonight at 9:25 PM, in front of a pillar to the left of The Paramount, I have a meeting with a contact." After Lao Pan said this, he let out a long sigh. For the first time, he looked at the three interrogators sitting across from him. Finally, his gaze landed on Lin Nansheng. "We will see the results of our cooperation tonight."
"Who's the person coming to meet you?" The chief agent couldn't help but ask.
"The Shanghai-Nanjing Liaison sent by the East China Bureau," said Lao Pan. "I am supposed to coordinate my work with him."
The room suddenly turned quiet. Even the clerk raised his head. Lin Nansheng, however, closed his eyes as though he were trying to determine the truthfulness of these words.
At this time, the chief agent suddenly stood up and looked at all the people in the room. "Everyone, before nine-thirty tonight, let's stay here and accompany Mr. Pan."
"Do I need the company of so many men?" Lao Pan stood up as well. Looking over the people in the room, he said impolitely, "I'd rather you found a woman to keep me company instead."
However, that night at twenty-five past nine, just as Lin Nansheng left the Cathay Hotel and Lao Pan took his place near the cement pillar by The Paramount, the second bullet flying towards him hit Lao Pan in the forehead. The first bullet had grazed his hair and hit the wall behind him. Lao Pan didn't move. He looked up in the direction where the gunshot had come from, until another gunshot rang out.
The plainclothes agents were suddenly thrown into disorder. One after another, they took out their guns. The team leader in charge of the operation jumped out of a car and pointed to the rooftop of a building across the street.
"Why are you still standing around? Up there!" he yelled.
The plainclothes agents immediately surrounded the building. When they charged in the front door, they ran into Miss Lan in the dimly lit corridor. She wore dark-colored summer wear and held Lin Nansheng's Browning pistol in her hand. After a brief exchange of gunfire, Miss Lan retreated to the rooftop with her emptied gun. She glanced at the plainclothes agents flanking her from both sides, put the gun against her temple, and backed up against the rooftop railings. Then, as though she'd just been shot, she fell over the railing, and with a thud, fell to her death on the streets.
Half an hour later, a veteran detective from the police department arrived at the scene. He dredged up a Mauser 98k rifle with three bullets still in its chambers from the water tank. Last night, after Lin Nansheng had bought this rifle from an arms dealer in the black market, he'd hidden it under the insulation bricks in the rooftop corner. Then, checking everything against his watch, he'd scouted out the entry and exit routes and recorded them all on the piece of paper. For this assassination, he'd made the best preparations he could in the shortest possible time. Unfortunately, a mishap had still happened. The back door, which usually wouldn't be locked until 10 PM, had been unexpectedly locked for no discernible reason that night.
After throwing the rifle into the water tank, Miss Lan had run down from the rooftop, following the stairs all the way to the back door. It was only then that she'd discovered that this night would be the last night of her life.
At that moment in the darkness, she suddenly felt a heart-rending sense of melancholy.