The bourne supremacy, p.131
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.131

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 131


  There was an option - there were always options. It was crazy and outrageous, but it was the only thing left.

  Time was the enemy. Do it. There is no other choice.

  He circled a small symbol on the outskirts of the city of Jinan. An airport.

  Dawn. Wetness everywhere. The ground, the tall grass and the metal fence glistened with morning dew. The single runway beyond was a shining black shaft cutting across the close-cropped field, half green with today's moisture, half dullish brown from the pounding of yesterday's broiling sun. The Shanghai sedan was far off the airport road, as far off as the assassin could drive it, again concealed by foliage. The impostor was once more immobilized, now by the thumbs. Pressing the gun into his right temple, Jason had ordered the assassin to wind the spools of wire into double slipknots around each thumb, and then he had snapped the spools away with his cutter, ran the wire back and coiled the two remaining strands tightly around the killer's wrists. As the commando discovered, with any slight pressure, such as twisting or separating his hands, the wire dug deeper into his flesh.

  'If I were you,' said Bourne, 'I'd be careful. Can you imagine what it would be like having no thumbs? Or if your wrists were cut?"

  'Fucking technician!'

  'Believe it. '

  Across the airfield a light was turned on in a one-storey building with a row of small windows along the side. It was a barracks of sorts, simple in design and functional. Then there were other lights - naked bulbs, the glows more like glares. A barracks. Jason reached for the coiled roll of clothing he had removed from the small of his back; he undid the straps, unfurled the garments over the grass and separated them. There was a large Mao jacket, a pair of rumpled outsized trousers, and a visored cloth hat that was standard peasant wear. He put on the hat and the jacket, buttoning the latter over his dark sweater, then stood up and pulled the large trousers over his own. A webbed cloth belt held them in place. He smoothed the drab, bulky jacket over the trousers and turned to the impostor who was watching him with astonishment and curiosity.

  'Get over to the fence,' said Jason, bending down and digging into his knapsack. 'Get on your knees and lean into it,' he continued, pulling out a five-foot length of thin nylon rope. 'Press your face into the links. Eyes front! Hurry up!' The killer did as he was told, his bound hands awkwardly, painfully in front of him between his body and the fence, his head pressed into the wire mesh. Bourne walked rapidly over and quickly threaded the rope through the fence on the right side of the killer's neck, and with his fingers reaching through the open squares he swung the line across the commando's face and pulled the rope back through. He yanked it taut and knotted it at the base of the impostor's skull. He had worked so swiftly and so unexpectedly that the former officer could barely get out the words before he realized what had happened.

  'What the hell are you - oh, Christ?

  'As that maniac remarked about d'Anjou before he hacked into his head, you're not going anywhere, Major. '

  'You're going to leave me here?' asked the killer, stunned.

  'Don't be foolish. We're on the buddy system. Where I go, you go. Actually, you're going first. '


  Through the fence,' said Jason, taking the wirecutter from the knapsack. He began cutting a pattern around the assassin's torso, relieved that the wire links were nowhere near as thick as those at the bird sanctuary. The outline complete, Bourne stepped back and raised his right foot, placing it between the impostor's shoulder blades. He shoved his leg forward. Killer and fence fell collapsing into the grass on the other side.

  'Jesus? cried the commando in pain. 'Pretty fucking funny, aren't you?

  'I don't feel remotely amusing,' replied Jason. 'Every move I make is very unfunny, very serious. Get up and keep your voice down. '

  'For Christ's sake, I'm tied to the damn fence!'

  'It's free. Get up and turn around. ' Awkwardly, the assassin staggered to his feet. Bourne surveyed his work; the sight of the outline of wire mesh attached to the killer's upper body, as though held in place by a protruding nose, was funny. But the reason for its being there was not funny at all. Only with the assassin secure in front of his eyes was all risk eliminated. Jason could not control what he could not see, and what he could not see could cost him his life . . . far more important, the life of David Webb's wife - even David Webb. Stay away from me! Don't interfere! We're too close! Bourne reached over and yanked the bowknot free, holding on to one end of the line. The fence fell away and before the assassin could adjust, Jason whipped the rope around the commando's head, raising it so that the line was caught in the killer's mouth. He pulled it tight, tighter, stretching the assassin's jaw open until it was a gaping dark hole surrounded by a border of white teeth, the flesh creased in place, unintelligible sounds emerging from the commando's throat.

  'I can't take credit for this, Major,' said Bourne, knotting the thin nylon rope, the remaining thirty-odd inches hanging loose. 'I watched d'Anjou and the others. They couldn't talk, they could only gag on their own vomit. You saw them, too, and you grinned. How does it feel, Major? . . . Oh, I forgot, you can't answer, can you?' He shoved the assassin forward, then gripped his shoulder, sending him to the left. 'We'll skirt the end of the runway,' he said. 'Move!'

  As they rounded the airfield grass, staying in the darkness of the borders, Jason studied the relatively primitive airport. Beyond the barracks was a small circular building with a profusion of glass but no lights shining except a single glare in a small square structure set in the centre of the roof. The building was Jinan's terminal, he thought, the barely-lit square on top the control tower. To the left of the barracks, at least two hundred feet to the west, was a dark, open, high-ceilinged maintenance hangar with huge wheeled ladders near the wide doors reflecting the early light. It was apparently deserted, the crews still in their quarters. Down in the southern perimeter of the field, on both sides of the runway and barely discernible, were five aircraft, all props and none imposing. Jinan Airport was a secondary, even tertiary, landing field, undoubtedly being upgraded, as were so many airports in China in the cause of foreign investment, but still a long way from international status. Then again, the air corridors were channels in the sky and not subject to the cosmetic or technological whims of airports. One simply had to enter those channels and stay on course. The sky acknowledged no borders; only earthbound men and machines did. Combined they were another problem.

  'We're going into the hangar,' whispered Jason, jabbing the commando's back. 'Remember, if you make any noise, I won't have to kill you - they will. And I'll have my chance to get away because you'll be giving it to me. Don't doubt it. Get down?

  Thirty yards away a guard walked out of the cavernous structure, a rifle slung over his shoulder, his arms stretching as his chest swelled with a yawn. Bourne knew it was the moment to act; a better one might not present itself. The assassin was prone, his wire-bound hands beneath him, his gaping mouth pressed into the earth. Grabbing the loose nylon rope, Jason gripped the killer's hair, yanking up his head, and looped the line twice around the commando's neck. 'You move, you choke,' whispered Bourne, getting to his feet.

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