The bourne supremacy, p.100
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.100

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 100

 

  'What the devil is happening? Has that damned lock broken again?' a naked man shrieked as he came racing out of the bathroom, his genitals shielded with an inadequate towel.

  Both stood gaping at the mad intruder, who lurched about with unfocused eyes as he swept articles off the nearest bureau, yelling in a coarse, drunken voice. 'Rotten hotel! Toilets don't work, phones don't work! Nothing - Jesus, this isn't my room! Shhorry. . . '

  Bourne weaved out, slamming the door shut behind him.

  'That was fine!' said d'Anjou. They'd already had trouble with the lock. Hurry. One more. That one!' The Frenchman pointed to a door on the left. 'I heard laughter inside. Two voices. ' Again Jason crashed into a door, smashing it open, roaring his drunken complaints. However, instead of being met by two startled guests, he faced a young couple, both bare to the waist, each drawing on a pinched cigarette, inhaling deeply, their eyes glazed.

  'Welcome, neighbour,' said the young American male, his voice floating, his diction precise, if at quarter speed. 'Don't let things trouble you so. The phones don't work but our can does. Use it, share it. Don't get so uptight. '

  'What the hell are you doing in my room?' yelled Jason even more drunkenly, his slur now obscuring his words.

  'If this is your room, macho boy,' interrupted the girl, swaying in her chair, 'you were privy to private things and we're not like that. ' She giggled.

  'Christ, you're stoned?

  'And without taking the Lord's name in vain,' countered the young man, 'you're very drunk. '

  'We don't believe in alcohol,' added the spaced-out girl. 'It produces hostility. It rises to the surface like Lucifer's demons. '

  'Get yourself detoxified, neighbour,' continued the young American liltingly. Then get healthy with grass. I will lead you into the fields where you will find your soul again-'

  Bourne raced out of the room, slamming the door, and grabbed d'Anjou's arm. 'Let's go,' he said, adding as they approached the staircase. 'If that story you gave the brigadier gets around, those two will spend twenty years deballing sheep in Outer Mongolia. '

  The Chinese proclivity for close observation and intense security dictated that the airport hotel should have a single large entrance in the front for guests and a second for employees at the side of the building. The latter was replete with uniformed guards who scrutinized everyone's working papers and searched all bags and bulging pockets when the employees left for the day. The lack of familiarity between guards and workers suggested that the former were changed frequently, putting space between potential bribes and bribers.

  'He won't chance the guards,' said Jason as they passed the employees' exit after hastily checking in their two canvas bags, pleading lateness for a meeting due to the delayed plane. They look as if they get Brownie points for picking up anyone who steals a chicken wing or a bar of soap. '

  They also intensely dislike those who work here,' agreed d'Anjou. 'But why are you so certain he's still in the hotel? He knows Beijing. He could have taken a taxi to another hotel, another room. '

  'Not looking the way he did on the plane, I told you that. He wouldn't allow it. I wouldn't. He wants the freedom to move around without being spotted or followed. He's got to have it for his own protection. '

  'If that's the case, they could be watching his room right now. Same results. They'll know what he looks like. '

  'If it were me - and that's all I've got to go on - he's not there. He's made arrangements for another room. '

  'You contradict yourself!' objected the Frenchman as they approached the crowded entrance hall of the airport hotel. 'You said he'd be receiving his instructions by phone. Whoever calls will ask for the room they assigned him, certainly not the decoy's, not Wadsworth's. '

  'If the phones are working - a condition that's a plus for your Judas, incidentally - it's a simple matter to have calls transferred from one room to another. A plug is inserted in the switchboard, if it's primitive, or programmed, if it's computerized. It's not a big deal. A business conference, old friends on the plane - read that any way you like - or no explanation at all, which is probably best. ' 'Fallacy!' proclaimed d'Anjou. 'His client here in Beijing will alert the hotel operators. He'll be wired into the switchboard. '

  'That's the one thing he won't do,' said Bourne, pushing the Frenchman through a revolving door out on to the pavement, which was crawling with confused tourists and businessmen trying to arrange transportation. 'It's a gamble he can't afford to take,' continued Jason, as they walked past a line of small, shabby buses and well-aged taxis at the kerb. 'Your commando's client has to keep maximum distance between the two of them. There can't be the slightest possibility that a connection could be traced, so that means everything's restricted to a very tight, very elite circle, with no runs on a switchboard, no calling attention to anyone, especially your commando. They won't risk wandering around the hotel, either. They'll stay away from him, let him make the moves. There are too many secret police here; someone in that elite circle could be recognized. '

  The phones, Delta. From all we've heard, they're not working. What does he do then?'

  Jason frowned while walking, as if trying to recall the unremembered. Time's on his side, that's the plus. He'll have back-up instructions to follow in case he's not reached within a given period after his arrival - for whatever reasons - and there could be any number considering the precautions they have to take. '

  'In that event they'd still be watching for him, wouldn't they? They'd wait somewhere outside and try to pick him up, no?'

  'Of course, and he knows that. He has to get by them and reach his position without being seen. It's the only way he retains control. It's his first job. '

  D'Anjou gripped Bourne's elbow. Then I think I've just spotted one of the spotters. '

  'What?' Jason turned, looking down at the Frenchman and slowing his pace.

  'Keep walking,' ordered d'Anjou. 'Head over to that truck, the one half out on the street with the man on the extension ladder. '

  'It follows,' said Bourne. 'It's the telephone repair service. ' Remaining anonymous in the crowds, they reached the truck.

  'Look up. Look interested. Then look to your left. The van quite far ahead of the first bus. Do you see it?

  Jason did, and instantly he knew the Frenchman was right. The van was white and fairly new and had tinted glass windows. Except for the colour it could be the van that had picked up the assassin in Shenzhen, at the Lo Wu border. Bourne started to read the Chinese characters on the door panel. 'Niao Jing Shan. . . My God, it's the same! The name doesn't matter - it belongs to a bird sanctuary, the Jing Shan Bird Sanctuary! In Shenzhen it was Chutang, here something else. How did you notice it?

  The man in the open window, the last window on this side. You can't see him too clearly from here but he's looking back at the entrance. He's also somewhat of a contradiction - for an employee of a bird sanctuary, that is. '

  'Why?

  'He's an army officer, and by the cut of his tunic and the obviously superior fabric, one of high rank. Is the glorious People's Army now conscripting egrets for its assault troops? Or is he an anxious man waiting for someone he's been ordered to pick up and follow, using a rather acceptable cover flawed by an angle of sight that demands an open window?'

 
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