The bourne supremacy, p.135
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.135

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 135


  'I'm flying it!' replied the man, studying his instruments, visibly snaking at each eruption of static from the radio, each reporting communication from commercial aircraft. 'As you may or may not know, I have no flight plan. We could be on a collision course with a dozen different planes!'

  'We're too low,' said Bourne, 'and the visibility's fine. I'll trust your eyes not to bump into anybody. '

  'You're insane? shouted the co-pilot.

  'On the contrary. I'm about to walk back into sanity. Where's your emergency equipment? The way you people build things, I can't imagine that you don't have any. '

  'Such as?' asked the pilot.

  'Life rafts, signalling devices . . . parachutes. '

  'Great spirits'


  The compartment in the rear of the plane, the door to the right of the galley. '

  'It's all for the officials,' added the co-pilot dourly. 'If there are problems they are supplied. '

  'That's reasonable,' said Bourne. 'How else would you attend to business?'

  'Madness. '

  Tin going aft, gentlemen, but my gun will be pointed right back here. Keep on course, Captain. I'm very experienced and very sensitive. I can feel the slightest variation in the air, and if I do, we're all dead. Understood?'


  'Tell me about it. ' Jason got up from the deck and walked back through the fuselage, stepping over his roped-up, splayed-out prisoner, who had given up the struggle to free himself, the layers of dried blood covering the wound at his left temple. 'How are things, Major?'

  'I made a mistake. What else do you want?'

  'Your warm body in Kowloon, that's what I want. '

  'So some son of a bitch can put me in front of a firing squad?' That's up to you. Since I'm beginning to put things together, some son of a bitch might even give you a medal if you play your cards the way you should play them. '

  'You're very big with the cryptics, Bourne. What does that mean?'

  'With luck, you'll find out. '

  Thanks a lot!' shouted the Englishman.

  'No thanks to me. You gave me the idea, sport. I asked you if, in your training, you'd learned how to fly one of these things. Do you remember what you told me?'


  'You said you only knew how to jump out of them. '

  'Holy shit!'

  The commando, the parachute securely strapped to his back, was bound upright between two seats, legs and hands tied together, his right hand lashed to the release cord.

  'You look crucified, Major, except that the arms should be extended. '

  'For God's sake, will you make sense!'

  'Forgive me. My other self keeps trying to express himself. Don't do anything stupid, you bastard, because you're going out that hatch! Hear me? Understood?'

  'Understood. '

  Jason walked to the flight deck, sat on the deck, picked up the map and spoke to the flight officer. 'What's the check?' he asked. 'Hong Kong in six minutes if we don't "bump into anybody". '

  'I have every confidence in you, but defection notwithstanding, we can't land at Kai Tak. Head north into the New

  Territories. '

  'Aiya!' screamed the pilot. 'We cross radar! The mad Gurkhas will fire on anything remotely mainland!'

  'Not if they don't pick you up, Captain. Stay below six hundred feet up to the border, then climb over the mountains at Lo Wu. You can make radio contact with Shenzhen. '

  'And what in the name of the spirits do I say?

  'You were hijacked, that's all. You see, I can't allow you to be part of me. We can't land in the colony. You'd draw attention to a very shy man - and his companion. '

  The parachutes snapped open above them, the sixty-foot rope connecting them by their waists stretched in the winds as the aircraft sped north towards Shenzhen.

  They landed in the waters of a fish hatchery south of Lok Ma Chau. Bourne hauled in the rope, pulling the bound assassin towards him as the owners of the hatchery screamed on the banks of their squared-off pond. Jason held up money - more money than the husband and wife could earn in a year. 'We are defectors? he cried. 'Rich defectors! Who cares! No one cared, least of all the owners of the hatchery. 'Mgoi! Mgoissaair they kept repeating, thanking the strange pink creatures who fell from the sky as Bourne dragged the assassin out of the water.

  The Chinese garments discarded and the commando's wrists lashed behind his back, Bourne and his captive reached the road that headed south into Kowloon. Their drenched clothes were drying rapidly under the heat of the sun, but their appearance would not attract what few vehicles there were on the road, fewer still willing to pick up hitchhikers. It was a problem that had to be solved. Solved quickly, accurately. Jason was exhausted; he could barely walk and his concentration was fading. One mis-step and he could lose - but he could not lose! Not now!

  Peasants, mainly old women," trudged along the borders of the pavement, their outsized, wide- brimmed black hats shielding withered faces from the sun, yokes spread across ancient shoulders supporting baskets of produce. A few looked curiously at the dishevelled Westerners, but only briefly; their world did not invite surprises. It was enough to survive; their memories were strong.

  Memories. Study everything. You'll find something you can use.

  'Get down,' said Bourne to the assassin. 'On the side of the road. '

  'What? Why?'

  'Because if you don't you won't see three more seconds of daylight. '

  'I thought you wanted my warm body in Kowloon!'

  'I'll take a cold body if I have to. Down! On your backl Incidentally, you can shout as loud as you want, no one will understand you. You might even be helping me. '

  'Christ, now?'

  'You're in trauma. '


  'Down! Now!'

  The killer lowered himself to the pavement, rolled over on his back and stared into the bright sunlight, his chest heaving with awkward gulps of breath. 'I heard the pilot,' he said. 'You are a fucking maniac!'

  To each his own interpretation, Major. ' Suddenly, Jason turned in the road and began shouting to the peasant women. 'Jiuming!' he screamed. 'Ring bang mang!' He pleaded with the ancient survivors to help his hurt companion, who had either a broken back or crushed ribs. He reached into his knapsack and pulled out money, explaining that every minute counted, that medical help was required as soon as possible. If they could give assistance, he would pay a great deal for their kindness.

  As one, the peasants rushed forward, their eyes not on the patient, but on the money, their hats flying in the wind, their yokes forgotten.

  Wo gunzi lai! yelled Bourne, asking for splints or sticks of wood that would hold the damaged man rigid.

  The women ran into the fields, returning with long bamboo shoots, slicing away the fibres that would give the poor man in pain a measure of relief when he was strapped in place. And having done so amid much shrieking expressions of sympathy and in spite of the patient's protestations in English, they accepted Bourne's money and went on their way.

  Except one. She spotted a truck coming down from the north.

  ''Duo shao qian?' she said, leaning into Jason's ear, asking him how much he would pay.

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