The bourne supremacy, p.142
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.142

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 142


  'Good old Delta. ' Conklin's lips formed a thin, half-smile. 'He never missed a trick. And I suspect he had a follow-up, right?

  'Yes,' said Havilland grimly. 'A point of exchange is to be mutually agreed upon-'

  'Not bilaterally?'

  'Shut up! . . . He'll be able to see his wife walking alone, under her own power. When he's satisfied, he'll come out with his prisoner, under a gun we presume, and the exchange will be made. From the initial contact to the switch, everything is to take place in a matter of minutes, certainly no more than half an hour. '

  'Double time with no one orchestrating any extraneous moves. ' Conklin nodded. 'But if you didn't respond, how do you know he made contact?'

  'Lin put a flag on the telephone number with a second relay to Victoria Peak. Bourne was told that the line was temporarily out of service, and when he tried to get a verification - which under the circumstances he had to do -he was relayed to the Peak. We kept him on the line long enough to trace the location of the pay phone he was using. We know where he is. Our people are on the way there now with orders to stay out of sight. If he smells or sees anything, he'll kill our man. '

  'A trace? Alex studied the diplomat's face, not kindly. 'He let you keep him talking long enough for that?'

  'He's in a state of extreme anxiety, we counted on it. '

  'Webb, maybe,' said Conklin. 'Not Delta. Not when he thinks about it. '

  'He'll keep calling,' insisted Havilland. 'He has no choice. '

  'Maybe, maybe not. How long has it been since his last call?

  Twelve minutes,' answered the ambassador looking at his watch.

  'And the first one?'

  'About a half hour. '

  'And every time he calls you know about it?

  'Yes. The information's relayed to McAllister. '

  'Phone him and see if Bourne's tried again. '


  'Because, as you put it, he's in a state of extreme anxiety and will keep calling. He can't help himself. '

  'What are you trying to say?'

  That you may have made a mistake. '

  'Where? How?

  'I don't know, but I do know Delta. '

  'What could he do without reaching us?

  'Kill,' said Alex, simply.

  Havilland turned, looked down the busy hallway, and started walking towards the floor's reception desk. He spoke briefly to a nurse; she nodded and he picked up a telephone. He talked for a moment and hung up. He returned to Conklin, frowning. 'It's odd,' he remarked. 'McAllister feels the way you do. Edward expected Bourne to call every five minutes, if he waited that long. '


  'He was led to believe that telephone service might be restored at any moment. ' The ambassador shook his head, as if dismissing the improbable. 'We're all too tense. There could be a number of explanations, from coins for a pay phone to unsettled bowels. '

  The emergency room door opened and the British doctor appeared. 'Mr Ambassador?'


  'A remarkable man. What he's been through would kill a horse but then they're about the same size and a horse can't manifest a will to live. '

  'Can we see him?'

  'There'd be no point, he's still unconscious - stirring now and then but nowhere near coherent. Every minute he rests without a reversal is encouraging. '

  'You understand how urgent it is that we talk to him, don't you?'

  'Yes, Mr Havilland, I do. Perhaps more than you realize. You know that I was the one responsible for the woman's escape-'

  'I do know,' said the diplomat. 'I was also told that if she could fool you she could probably fool the best specialist at the Mayo Clinic. '

  'That's dubious, but I like to think I'm competent. Instead, I feel like an idiot. I'll do everything in my power to help you and my good friend, Major Lin. The judgement was medical and mine, the error mine, not his. If he makes it through the next hour or so, I believe he has a chance to live. If that happens, I'll bring him to and you can question him as long as you keep your questions brief and simple. If I think a reversal is too severe and that he's slipping away, I'll also call you. '

  'That's fair, Doctor. Thank you. '

  'I could do no less. It's what Wenzu would want. I'll go back to him now. '

  The waiting began. Havilland and Alex Conklin reached their own bi-lateral agreement. When Bourne next tried to reach the number for Snake Lady, he was to be told that the line would be clear in twenty minutes. During that time Conklin would be driven to the sterile house on Victoria Peak, prepared to take the call. He would set up the exchange, telling David that Marie was safe and with Morris Panov. The two men returned to the police emergency room and sat in opposite chairs, each silent minute compounding the strain.

  The minutes, however, stretched into quarter hours and these into over an hour. Three times the ambassador called the Peak to learn if there was any word from Jason Bourne. There was none. Twice the English doctor came out to report on Wenzu's condition. It was unchanged, a fact that allowed for hope rather than diminishing it. Once the emergency room telephone rang, as both Havilland and Conklin snapped their heads towards it, their eyes riveted on the nurse who calmly answered. The call was not for the ambassador. The tension mounted between the two men, as every now and then they looked at each other, the same message in their eyes. Something was wrong. Something had gone off the wire. A Chinese doctor came out and approached two people in the back of the room, a young woman and a priest; he spoke quietly. The woman screamed, then sobbed and fell into the enveloping arms of the priest. A new police widow had been created. She was led away to say a last good-bye to her husband.


  The telephone rang again, and again the diplomat and the CIA man stared at the counter.

  'Mr Ambassador,' said the nurse, 'it's for you. The gentleman says it's most urgent. ' Havilland got up and strode to the desk, nodding his thanks, and he took the phone.

  Whatever it was, it had happened. Conklin watched, never thinking he would see what he saw now. The consummate diplomat's face became suddenly ashen; his thin, usually tight lips were now parted, his dark brows arched, his eyes wide and hollow. He turned and spoke to Alex, his voice barely audible; it was the whisper of fear.

  'Bourne's gone. The impostor's gone. Two of the men were found bound and severely injured. ' He returned to the phone, his eyes narrowing as he listened. 'Oh, my God!' he cried, turning back to Conklin. The CIA man was not there.

  David Webb had disappeared, only Jason Bourne remained. Yet he was both more and less than the hunter of Carlos the Jackal. He was Delta, the predator, the animal wanting only vengeance for a priceless part of his life that had been taken from him once again. And as an avenging predator, he went through the motions - the instinctive logistics - in a trancelike state, each decision precise, each movement deadly. His eye was on the kill, and his human brain had become an animal. He wandered the squalid streets of the Yau Ma Ti, his prisoner in tow, wrists still in traction, finding what he wanted to find, paying thousands of dollars for items worth a fraction of the amounts paid. Word spread up into the Mongkok about the strange man and his even stranger silent companion, who was bound and feared for his life. Other doors were opened to him, doors reserved for the runners of contraband - drugs, exported whores, jewels, gold and materials of destruction, deception, death - and exaggerated warnings accompanied the word about this obsessed man carrying thousands on his person.

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