The bourne supremacy, p.101
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.101

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 101

 

  'Can't go anywhere without Echo,' said Jason Bourne, once Delta, the scourge of Medusa. 'Bird sanctuaries -

  Christ, it's beautiful. What a smoke screen. So removed, so peaceful. It's one hell of a cover. ' 'It's so Chinese, Delta. The righteous mask conceals the unrighteous face. The Confucian parables warn of it. '

  'That's not what I'm talking about. Back in Shenzhen, at Lo Wu, where I missed your boy the first time, he was picked up by a van then - a van with tinted windows - and it also belonged to a government bird sanctuary. '

  'As you say, an excellent cover. '

  'It's more than that, Echo. It's some kind of mark or identification. '

  'Birds have been revered in China for centuries,' said d'Anjou, looking at Jason, his expression puzzled. They've always been depicted in their great art, the great silks. They're considered delicacies for both the eye and the palate. '

  'In this case they could be a means to something much simpler, much more practical. '

  'Such as?'

  'Bird sanctuaries are large preserves. They're open to the public but subject to government regulations, as they are everywhere. '

  'Your point, Delta?'

  'In a country where any ten people opposed to the official line are afraid to be seen together, what better place than a nature reserve that usually stretches for miles? No offices or houses or apartments being watched, no telephone taps or electronic surveillance. Just innocent bird watchers in a nation of bird lovers, each holding an official pass that permits him entry when the sanctuary is officially closed -day or night. '

  'From Shenzhen to Peking? You're implying a situation larger than we had considered. '

  'Whatever it is,' said Jason, glancing around. 'It doesn't concern us. Only he does. . . we've got to separate but stay in sight. I'll head over-'

  'No need!' broke in the Frenchman. There he is!'

  'Where?

  'Move back! Closer to the truck. In its shadow. '

  'Which one is her

  The priest patting the child, the little girl,' answered d'Anjou, his back to the truck, staring into the crowd in front of the hotel's entrance. 'A man of the cloth,' continued the Frenchman bitterly. 'One of the guises I taught him to use. He had a priestly black suit made for him in Hong Kong complete with an Anglican benediction sewn into the collar under the name of a Savile Row tailor. It was the suit I recognized first. I paid for it. '

  'You come from a wealthy diocese,' said Bourne, studying the man he wanted more than his life to race over and take, to subdue and force up into a hotel room and start on the road back to Marie. The assassin's cover was good - more than good - and Jason tried to analyse that judgement. Grey sideburns protruded below the killer's dark hat; thin steel-rimmed glasses were perched low on the nose of his pale, colourless face. His eyes wide and his brows arched, he showed joy and wonder at what he saw in this unfamiliar place. All were God's works and God's children, signified by the act of being drawn to a little Chinese girl and patting her head lovingly, smiling and nodding graciously to the mother. That was it, thought Jason, in grudging respect. The son of a bitch exuded love. It was in his every gesture, every hesitant movement, every glance of his gentle eyes. He was a compassionate man of the cloth, a shepherd of his flock which extended far beyond a parish or a vicarage. And as such, in a crowd he might be glanced at but instantly dismissed by eyes seeking out a killer.

  Bourne remembered. Carlos! The Jackal had been dressed in the clothes of a priest, his dark Latin features above the starched white collar, walking out of the church in Neuilly-sur-Seine in Paris. Jason had seen him! They had seen each other, their eyes locking, each knowing who the other was without words being spoken. Get Carlos. Trap Carlos. Cain is for Charlie and Carlos is for Cain! The codes had exploded in his head as he raced after the Jackal in the streets of Paris. . . only to lose him in the traffic, as an old beggar, squatting on the pavement, smiled obscenely.

  This was not Paris, thought Bourne. There was no army of dying old men protecting this assassin. He would take this jackal in Peking.

  'Be ready to move!' said d'Anjou, breaking into Jason's memories. 'He's nearing the bus. '

  'It's full. '

  That's the point. He'll be the last one on. Who refuses a pleading priest in a hurry? One of my lessons, of course. '

  Again the Frenchman was right. The door of the small, packed shabby bus began to close, stopped by the inserted arm of the priest, who wedged his shoulder inside and obviously begged to be released, as he had been caught. The door snapped open; the killer pressed himself inside and the door closed.

  'It's the express to Tian an men Square,' said d'Anjou. 'I have the number. '

  'We have to find a taxi. Come on!'

  'It will not be easy, Delta. '

  'I've perfected a technique,' replied Bourne, walking out of the shadow of the telephone truck as the bus passed by, the Frenchman at his heels. They weaved through the crowd in front of the airport hotel and proceeded down the line of taxis until they reached the end. A last cab rounded the circle, about to join the line when Jason rushed into the street, holding up the palms of his hands unobtrusively. The taxi came to a stop as the driver pushed his head out the window.

  'Shemma?'

  ' Weir cried Bourne, running to the driver and holding up fifty American dollars worth of unmetered yuan. 'Biyao bang zhu,' he said, telling the man he needed help badly and would pay for it.

  'Lao!' exclaimed the driver, as he grabbed the money. 'Bingli bar he added, justifying his action on behalf of a tourist who was suddenly ill.

  Jason and d'Anjou climbed in, the driver vocally annoyed that there was a second passenger entering the kerbside door. Bourne dropped another twenty yuan over the seat and the man was mollified. He swung his cab around, away from the line of taxis, and retraced his path out of the airport complex.

  'Up ahead there is a bus,' said d'Anjou, leaning forward in the seat, addressing the driver in an awkward attempt at Mandarin. 'Can you understand me?'

  'Your tongue is Guangzhou, but I understand. '

  'It is on the way to Tian an men Square. '

  'Which gate?' asked the driver. 'Which bridge?'

  'I don't know. I know only the number on the front of the bus. It is seven-four-two-one. '

  'Number one ending,' said the driver. Tian Gate, second bridge. Imperial city entrance. '

  'Is there a parking section for the buses?'

  There will be a line of many bus-vehicles. All are filled. They are very crowded. Tian an men is very crowded this angle of the sun. '

  'We should pass the bus I speak of on the road, which is favourable to us for we wish to be at Tian a men before it arrives. Can you do this?'

  'Without difficulty,' answered the driver, grinning. 'Bus-vehicles are old and often break down. We may get there several days before it reaches the heavenly north gate. ' 'I hope you're not serious,' interrupted Bourne.

  'Oh, no, generous tourist. All the drivers are superior mechanics - when they have the good fortune to locate their engines. ' The driver laughed contemptuously and pressed his foot on the accelerator.

  Three minutes later they passed the 'bus-vehicle' carrying the killer. Forty-six minutes after that they entered the sculptured white marble bridge over the flowing waters of a man-made moat that fronted the massive Gate of Heavenly Peace - from which the leaders of China displayed themselves on the wide platform above approving the paraded instruments of war and death. Inside the misnomered gate is one of the most extraordinary human achievements on earth. Tian an men Square. The electrifying vortex of Beijing.

 
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