The bourne supremacy, p.108
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.108

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 108

 

  'Surely there is room for negotiation. Think of the money, the contributions'

  'Not from Satan!' Bourne rose from the chair, picked up the gun and shoved it under his belt, then buttoned his jacket and tugged at the cloth as though it were a military tunic. He approached the distraught businessman. 'You are not the enemy but you're close, monsieur. Your wallet, please, and your trade papers, including the names of those with whom you negotiate. '

  'Money. . . ?'

  'We do not accept contributions. We have no need of them. '

  Then why?

  'For your protection as well as ours. Our cells here must check out individuals to see whether or not you're being used as a dupe. There is evidence we may have been infiltrated. Everything will be returned to you tomorrow. '

  'I really must protest-'

  'Don't,' broke in the chameleon, reaching under his jacket, his hand remaining there. 'You asked who I was, no? Suffice it to say that as our enemies employ the services of such as the PLO and the Red Armies, the Ayatollah's fanatics and Baader Meinhof, we have mounted our own brigades. We neither seek nor offer any quarter. It is a struggle unto death. '

  'My God!'

  'We fight in His name. Do not leave this room. Order your meals from room service. Do not call your colleagues or your counterparts here in Beijing. In other words, stay out of sight and pray. In truth, I must tell you that if I myself was followed and it is known that I came to your room, you will simply disappear. '

  ''Unbelievable. . . !' His eyes suddenly unfocused, Ardisson's whole body began to tremble.

  'Your wallet and your papers, please. '

  Showing the full array of Ardisson's papers, including the Frenchman's list of government negotiators, Jason hired a car under the name of Ardisson's consortium. He made it plain to a relieved dispatcher at the China International Travel Service on Chaoyangmen Street that he both read and spoke Mandarin, and as the rented car would be driven by one of the Chinese officials, no driver was required. The dispatcher told him the car would be at the hotel by 7:00 pm. If everything fell into place, he would have twenty-four hours to move as freely as a Westerner could in Beijing, and then some. The first ten of those hours would tell him whether or not a strategy conceived in desperation would lead him out of the darkness or plunge both Marie and David Webb into an abyss. But Delta One knew the Oriental mind. For a score of centuries it had not varied in one respect. Secrecy was worth ten thousand tigers, if not a kingdom.

  Bourne walked back to the hotel, stopping in the crowded shopping district of Wang Fu Jing around the corner from the hotel's east wing. At number 255 was the Main Department Store where he made the necessary purchases of clothing and hardware. At number 261 he found a shop named Tuzhang Menshibu, translated as the Seal Engraving Store, where he selected the most official- looking stationery he could find. (To his amazement and delight, Ardisson's list included not one but two generals, and why not? The French produced the Exocet, and although hardly high fashion, it was high on any list of high-tech military equipment. ) Finally, at the Arts Store, numbered 265 on the Wang Fu Jing, he bought a calligraphy pen and a map of Beijing and its environs, as well as a second map showing the roads leading from Beijing to the southern cities.

  Carrying his purchases back to the hotel, he went to a desk in the lobby and began his preparations. First, he wrote a note in Chinese relieving the driver of the rented car of all responsibility in turning the automobile over to the foreigner. It was signed by a general and amounted to an order. Second, he spread out the map and circled a small green area on the outskirts of northwest Beijing.

  The Jing Shan Bird Sanctuary.

  Secrecy was worth ten thousand tigers, if not a kingdom.

  Chapter Twenty-five

  Marie leaped out of the chair at the shrill, jangling bell of the telephone. She ran, limping and wincing, across the room and picked it up. 'Yes!'

  'Mrs Austin, I presume. '

  'Mo? . . . Mo Panov! Thank God. ' Marie closed her eyes in gratitude and relief. It had been nearly thirty hours since she had spoken to Alexander Conklin and the waiting and the tension, above all the helplessness, had driven her to the edge of panic. ' Alex said he was going to ask you to come with him. He thought you would. '

  Thought? Was there a doubt? How are you feeling, Marie? And I don't expect an answer from Pollyanna. '

  'Going mad, Mo. I'm trying not to, but I'm going mad!

  'As long as you haven't completed the journey I'd say you were remarkable, and the fact that you're fighting every step of the way even more so. But then you don't need any chicken soup psychology from me. I just wanted an excuse to hear your voice again. '

  To find out whether I was a babbling wreck,' said Marie gently, making a statement.

  'We've been through too much together for such a third-rate subterfuge - I'd never get away with it with you. Which I just didn't. '

  'Where's Alex?'

  Talking into the pay phone next to me; he asked me to call you. Apparently he wants to speak with you while whoever it is he's talking to is still on the line . . . Wait a second. He's nodding. The next voice you hear, et cetera, et cetera. '

  'Marie?'

  'Alex! Thank you. Thank you for coming-'

  'As your husband would say: "No time for that. " What were you wearing when they last saw you.

  'Wearing?'

  'When you got away from them. '

  'I got away twice. The second time was in Tuen Mun. '

  'Not then,' interrupted Conklin. The contingent was small and there was too much confusion - if I remember what you told me. A couple of marines actually saw you but nobody else did. Here. Here in Hong Kong. That'd be the description they'd start with, the one that would stick in their minds. What were you wearing then?'

  'Let me think. At the hospital-'

  'Later,' broke in Alex. 'You said something to me about swapping clothes and buying a few things. The Canadian consulate, Staples's apartment. Can you remember?'

  'Good Lord, how can you remember?'

  'No mystery, I make notes. It's one of the by-products of alcohol. Hurry, Marie. Just generally, what were you wearing?'

  'A pleated skirt - yes, a grey pleated skirt, that was it. And a kind of bluish-grey blouse with a high collar-'

  'You'd probably change that. '

  'What?

  'Never mind. What else?'

  'Oh, a hat, a fairly wide-brimmed hat to cover my face. '

  'Good!' 'And a fake Gucci purse I bought in the street. Oh, and sandals to make me shorter. '

  'I want the height. We'll stick to heels. That's fine, that's all 1 need. '

  'For what, Alex? What are you doing?'

  'Playing Simon Says. 1 know perfectly well the State Department passport computers picked me up, and with my smooth, athletic walk even State's wart-hogs could spot me in customs. They won't know a damn thing, but someone's giving them orders and I want to know who else shows up. '

  'I'm not sure I understand. '

  'I'll explain later. Stay where you are. We'll get there as soon as we can make a clean break. But it has to be very clean, sterile in fact, so it may take an hour or so. '

  'What about Mo?'

 
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