The next morning, Wang decided to use Chen’s computer to contact the expatriates. He drove to Chen’s Georgetown apartment.
Chen met him at the door. “Come into the den and sit while I make some tea.”
Wang began to look at the numerous photographs that Chen had collected over the years. His gaze rested on a picture of Chen with General-Secretary Zhao surrounded by the other student leaders: Wang, Tian, Dong, and several others. Many were never seen again. After a few minutes, Chen returned with a teapot and two cups.
Pointing at the picture, Wang said, “I remember when we posed for this picture. We thought it would soon be over. Look at Tian. She was so beautiful. You two dated about this time didn’t you?”
Chen put the tea down. “Yes. I called her my ‘My Little Flower.’”
Wang felt a chill run down his back, “Why did you call her that?”
“That is what her name means in English. Miao literally means a ‘plant’ and Tian means ‘soil’. A flower is a plant, so I called her ‘My Little Flower’.”
“Holy shit!” shouted Wang. “That was what Dong was trying to tell me in his note!”
“What note?” asked Chen.
“His suicide note! In the note, he said for me to place a plant on his grave. I thought it odd at first, but Dong was trying to warn me. Miao killed Dong!”
“I disagree,” said Chen. “You are reading too much into it. Relax! Have some tea.”
Chen poured two cups of tea. After a couple of minutes, Wang said, “Wait a minute! You told me, and I told the CIA, that Tian checked out. You said she worked at the university.”
“That is right,” answered Chen. “She is a recruiter.”
“The CIA said that she did not check out. That she is working for the MSS. They also thought that we had a snitch in our group.” Wang stood up, knocking over the tray of tea. “Her running into me at the Azure Dragon was no coincidence. You told her where to find me. You are the snitch! You lied about checking on Tian. You told her where to find Dong. You helped kill Dong. Why?”
Chen leaned back against the sofa with a sigh. His body convulsed with sobs. “Yes! Yes! I did it! I feel terrible about it. Tian approached me in Taiwan when I attended a conference there. She had pictures of my family in China. The MSS knows where all my family lives. She said if I did not help them, terrible things would happen. What could I do?”
Wang tried to take it all in. After a minute, he said, “A great man once said that there are some things that are worth dying for; things that are more important than family, friends, or even our own lives.”
Chen looked up, “Who said that?”
“You did! In one of your lectures. That is when I decided to join the Students for Democracy. I looked up to you. I admired your willingness to sacrifice everything for our cause. Now, in the final test, you are a traitor.” Wang pulled out his cell phone.
“What are you doing?” asked Chen.
“I’m calling the CIA.”
“No you are not!” Tian said from the doorway. She was holding a Chinese 9 mm pistol and pointing it at Wang. “Put the phone away.”
Wang did as he was told. Tian motioned with the pistol for him to sit down, and he did. “You always were the clever one. I slipped up on Dong’s suicide note. I let him put in that last line. It never occurred to me until now that Dong was trying to warn you. No matter. I put a bullet in his head. I should have done it years ago.”
Wang asked, “You spied for the MSS even back then?”
“You are clever, but slow. You guys escaped before I could arrest you.”
Putting his head between his knees, Chen said, “I think I am going to be sick.”
Tian laughed, “Then you had better leave, sweetie. Things are about to get messy. Bring some towels when you come back. Tomorrow you need to start taking over Wang’s web site.”
Chen left the room. Wang sat on his hands to keep them from shaking. “You won’t get away with this. The CIA disarmed the bomb you placed in my computer.”
Tian shrugged her shoulders, “Too bad. It was a clever idea, but I never liked long distance killing - so impersonal. I prefer the nearby and personal.”
“The expression is ‘up close and personal’”
“Whatever! Now lay on the floor face down!”
Wang lay face down on the floor. Tian grabbed a throw pillow from the sofa, and placed it over Wang’s head. She removed a silencer from her pocket, and attached it to her pistol. She placed one foot in the middle of Wang’s back, and took aim at his head.
Wang heard and felt the blast. For a second or two he lay still, unsure if he was dead or alive. He felt numb. He reached up and felt his head and then his face. Nothing! No wounds! He removed the pillow, and rolled on to his back. He saw Chen holding a shotgun. Next to him, he saw Tian’s body on the floor with the top of her head missing along with the back of her head. He could see part of her brains still in her skull, the rest dripped from the wall. She lay face down in an expanding pool of blood. Wang quickly got up, and backed up against the wall. He looked at Chen, not knowing if Chen was going to kill him next.
Chen saw the look on Wang’s face, and dropped the shotgun. “I couldn’t let her kill you,” he shouted. “She killed Dong, but I could not let her kill you too.”
Wang said, “I know. Sit down.”
As Chen sat down he asked, “What do we do now? Should we call 911?”
“No! Let me call the CIA.” He fished Sean’s card out of his pocket, and dialed the number.
Within the hour, Sean arrived. The CIA took Wang and Chen away in separate cars. After several hours of debriefing, Wang was released.