The bourne supremacy, p.130
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.130

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 130


  'She was nuts,' said Alex. 'He would have told you to shove it. '

  Thank you for that. ' The diplomat nodded his head.

  'Just hold it,' Conklin broke in. 'He would have said that to you not because he thought you were wrong, but because he didn't think he could do it. What you did- by taking Marie away from him - was to make him go back and be someone he wanted to forget. '


  'You really are one son of a bitch, you son of a bitch. '

  Sirens suddenly erupted, ringing throughout the enormous house and the grounds as searchlights began spinning through the windows. Gunfire accompanied the sound of smashing metal as tyres screeched outside. The ambassador and the CIA man lurched to the floor; in seconds it was all over. Both men got to their feet as the door was crashed open. His chest and stomach drenched in blood, Lin Wenzu staggered in carrying two dead bodies under his arms.

  'Here is your traitor, sir,' said the major, dropping both corpses. 'And a colleague. With these two, I believe we've cut off Dragonfly from Sheng-' Wenzu's eyes rolled upward until the sockets were white. He gasped and fell to the floor.

  'Call an ambulance? shouted Havilland to the people who had gathered at the door.

  'Get gauze, tape, towels, antiseptic - for Christ's sake, anything you can find? yelled Conklin, limping, racing over to the fallen Chinese. 'Stop the goddamned bleeding?

  Chapter Twenty-nine

  Bourne sat in the racing shadows of the back seat, the intermittent moonlight bright, creating brief explosions of light and dark inside the car. At sudden, irregular, unexpected moments he leaned forward and pressed the barrel of his gun into the back of his prisoner's neck. Try crashing off the road and there's a bullet in your head. Do you understand me?'

  And always there was the same reply, or a variation of it, spoken in a clipped British accent. 'I'm not a fool. You're behind me and you've got a weapon and I can't see you. '

  Jason had ripped the rearview mirror from its bracket, the bolt having cracked easily in his hand. Then I'm your eyes back here, remember that. I'm also the end of your life. '

  'Understood,' the former commando officer repeated without expression.

  The government road map spread out on his lap, the penlight cupped in his left hand, the automatic in his right, Bourne studied the roads heading south. As each half hour passed and landmarks were spotted, Jason understood that time was his enemy. Although the assassin's right arm was effectively immobilized, in sheer stamina Bourne knew he was no match for the younger, stronger man. The concentrated violence of the last three days had taken its toll physically, mentally and - whether he cared to acknowledge it or not - emotionally, and while Jason Bourne did not have to acknowledge it, David Webb proclaimed it with every fibre of his emotional being. The scholar had to be kept at bay, deep down inside, his voice stilled.

  Leave me alone! You're worthless to me

  Every now and then Jason felt the dead weight of his lids closing over his eyes. He would snap them open and abuse some part of his body, pinching hard the soft sensitive flesh of his inner thigh or digging his nails into his lips, creating instant pain to dispel the exhaustion. He recognized his condition - only a suicidal fool would not - and there was no time or place to remedy it with- an axiom he had stolen from Medusa's Echo. Rest is a weapon, never forget it. Forget it, Echo . . . brave Echo . . . there's no time for rest, no place to find it.

  And while he accepted his own assessment of himself, he also had to accept his evaluation of his prisoner. The killer was totally alert; his sharpness was in his skill at the wheel, for Jason demanded speed over the strange, unfamiliar roads. It was in his constantly moving head, and it was in his eyes whenever Bourne saw them, and he saw them frequently whenever he directed the assassin to slow down and watch for an off-shooting road on the right or the left. The impostor would turn in the seat - the sight of his so familiar features always a shock to Jason - and ask whether the road ahead was the one his 'eyes' watched. The questions were superfluous; the former commando was continuously making his own assessment of his captor's physical and mental condition. He was a trained killer, a lethal machine who knew that survival depended on gaining the advantage over his enemy. He was waiting, watching, anticipating the moment when his adversary's eyelids might close for that brief instant or when the weapon might suddenly drop to the floor, or his enemy's head might recline for a second into the comfort of the back seat. These were the signs he was waiting for, the lapses he could capitalize on to violently alter the circumstances. Bourne's defence, therefore, depended upon his mind, in doing the unexpected so that the psychological balance remained in his favour. How long could it last - could he last?

  Time was his enemy, the assassin in front of him a secondary problem. In his past - that vaguely remembered past - he had handled killers before, manipulated them before, because they were human beings subject to the wiles of his imagination. Christ, it came down to that! So simple, so logical - and he was so tired . . . His mind. There was nothing else left! He had to keep thinking, had to keep prodding his imagination and make it do its work. Balance, balance! He had to keep it on his side! Think. Act. Do the unexpected!

  He removed the silencer from his weapon, levelled the gun at the closed right front window, and pulled the trigger. The explosion was ear-shattering, reverberating throughout the enclosed car, as the glass splintered, blowing out into the rushing night air.

  'What the hell was that for?' screamed the impostor-killer, clutching the wheel, holding an involuntary swerve in control.

  'To teach you about balance,' answered Jason. 'You should understand that I'm unbalanced. The next shot could blow your head away. '

  'You're a fucking lunatic, that's what you are!'

  'I'm glad you understand. '

  The map. One of the more civilized things about a PRC road map - and consistent with the quality of its vehicles -was the system of stars to indicate garages which were open 24 hours a day along the major routes One had only to think of the confusion that might result from military and official vehicles breaking down to understand the necessity; it was heaven-sent for Bourne.

  'There's a gas station about four miles down this road,' he said to the assassin - to Jason Bourne, he reflected. 'Stop and refill and don't say a word - which would be foolish if you tried, because you can't speak the language. '

  'You do?'

  'It's why I'm the original and you're the fake. '

  'You can bloody well have it, Mr Original?

  Jason fired the gun again, blowing the rest of the window away. 'The face!' he yelled, raising his voice over the sound of the wind. 'Remember that. '

  Time was the enemy.

  He took a mental inventory of what he had and it was not all that much. Money was his primary ammunition; he had more than a hundred Chinese could make in a hundred lifetimes, but money in itself was not the answer. Only time was the answer. If he had a prayer of a chance to get out of the vast land of China it had to be by air, not on the ground. He would not last that long. Again, he studied the map. It would take thirteen to fifteen hours to reach Shanghai - the car held up and if he held up, and if they could get by the provincial checkpoints where he knew there would be alarms out for a Westerner, or two Westerners, attempting to pass through. He would be taken - they would be taken. And even if they reached Shanghai, with its relatively lax airport, how many complications might arise?

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