The bourne supremacy, p.144
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.144

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 144


  They stopped back at the car. Delta picked up his knapsack and removed a gun he had taken in Beijing, showing it to the commando. 'You begged me for a weapon at the airport in Jinan, remember?' The assassin nodded, his eyes wide, his mouth stretched under the tension of the cloth gag. 'It's yours,' continued Jason Bourne, his voice flat, without emotion. 'Once we're over that wall up there - you in front of me - I'll hand it to you. ' The killer frowned, his eyes narrowing. 'I forgot,' said Delta. 'You couldn't see it. There's a sterile house about five hundred feet up the road. We're going in. I'm staying, taking out everyone I can. You? You've got nine shells and I'll give you a bonus. One "bubble". ' The Medusan lifted a packet of plastique from the Mongkok out of the knapsack and showed it to his prisoner. 'As I read it, you'd never get back over the wall; they'd cut you down. So your only way out is through the gate; it'll be somewhere diagonally to the right. To get there you'll have to kill your way through. The timer on the plastic can be set as low as ten seconds. Handle it any way you like, I don't care. Capisce?'

  The assassin raised his bound hands, then gestured at the gag. The sounds from this throat indicated that Jason should free his arms and remove the cloth.

  'At the wall,' said Delta. 'When I'm ready, I'll cut the ropes.

  But when I do, if you try to take the gag off before I tell you, there goes your chance. ' The killer stared at him and nodded once.

  Jason Bourne and the lethal pretender walked up the road on Victoria Peak towards the sterile house.

  Conklin limped down the hospital steps as rapidly as he could, holding on to the centre rail, looking frantically for a taxi in the drive below. There was none; instead a uniformed nurse stood alone reading the South China Times in the glow of the outdoor lights. Every now and then she glanced up towards the parking lot entrance.

  'Excuse me, Miss,' said Alex, out of breath. 'Do you speak English?'

  'A little,' replied the woman, obviously noticing his limp and his agitated voice. 'You are with difficulty?'

  'Much difficulty. I have to find a taxi. I have to reach someone right away and I can't do it by phone. '

  They will call one for you at the desk. They call for me every night when I leave. '

  'You're waiting . . ?

  'Here it comes,' said the woman as approaching headlights shone through the parking lot entrance.

  'Miss!' cried Conklin. 'This is urgent. A man is dying and another may die if I don't reach him! Please. May I-'

  'Bie zhaoji? exclaimed the nurse, telling him to calm down. 'You have urgency, I have none. Take my taxi. I will ask for another. '

  'Thank you,' said Alex, as the cab pulled up to the kerb. ''Thank you!' he added, opening the door and climbing inside. The woman nodded pleasantly and shrugged as she turned and started back up the steps. The glass doors above crashed open and Conklin watched through the rear window as the nurse nearly collided into two of Lin's men. One stopped her and spoke; the other reached the kerb and squinted, peering out of the light into the receding darkness beyond. 'Hurry!' said Alex to the driver as they passed through the gate. 'Kuai diar, if that's right. '

  'It will do,' answered the driver wearily in fluent English.

  '"Hurry" is better, however. '

  The base of Nathan Road was the galactic entrance to the luminescent world of the Golden Mile. The blazing coloured lights, the dancing, flickering, shimmering lights, were the walls of this congested, urban valley of humanity where seekers sought and sellers shrieked for attention. It was the bazaar of bazaars, a dozen tongues and dialects vying for the ears and the eyes of the ever- shifting crowds. It was here, in this gauntlet of freewheeling commercial chaos, that Alex Conklin got out of the cab. Walking painfully, his limp pronounced, the veins of his footless leg swelling, he hurried up the east side of the street, his eyes roving like those of an angry wildcat seeking its young in the territory of hyenas.

  He reached the end of the fourth block, the last block. Where were they? Where was the slender, compact Panov and the tall, striking, auburn-haired Marie? His instructions had been clear, absolute. The first four blocks north on the right side, the east side. Mo Panov had recited them back to him . . . Oh, Christ I He had been looking for two people, one whose physical appearance could belong to hundreds of men in those four crowded blocks. But his eyes had been searching for the tall, dark-red-headed woman - which she was no longer! Her hair had been dyed grey with streaks of white! Alex started back down towards Salisbury Road, his eyes now attuned to what he should look for, not what his painful memories told him he would find.

  There they were! On the outskirts of a crowd surrounding a street vendor whose cart was piled high with silks of all descriptions and labels - the silks relatively genuine, the labels as ersatz as the distorted signatures.

  'Come on with me!' said Conklin, his hands on both their elbows.

  'Alex!' cried Marie.

  'Are you all right? asked Panov.

  'No,' said the CIA man. 'None of us is. '

  'It's David, isn't it?' Marie grabbed Conklin's arm, gripping it.

  'Not now. Hurry up. We have to get out of here. '

  They're here?' Marie gasped, her grey-haired head turning right and left, fear in her eyes.


  'I don't know? she shouted over the din of the crowds.

  'No, they're not here,' said Conklin. 'Come on. I've got a taxi holding down by the Pen. '

  'What pen? asked Panov.

  'I told you. The Peninsula Hotel. '

  'Oh, yes, I forgot. ' All three started walking down Nathan Road, Alex - as was obvious to Marie and Morris Panov -with difficulty. 'We can slow down, can't we?' asked the psychiatrist.

  'No, we can't!'

  'You're in pain,' said Marie.

  'Knock it off! Both of you. I don't need your horseshit. '

  'Then tell us what's happened?' yelled Marie, as they crossed a street filled with carts they had to dodge, and buyers and sellers and tourist-voyeurs who made for the exotic congestion of the Golden Mile.

  'There's the taxi,' said Conklin, as they approached Salisbury Road. 'Hurry up. The driver knows where to go. ' 'Inside the cab, Panov between Marie and Alex, she once again reached out, clutching Conklin's arm. 'It is David, isn't it?

  'Yes. He's back. He's here in Hong Kong. '

  'Thank God?

  'You hope. We hope. '

  'What does that mean? asked the psychiatrist sharply.

  'Something's gone wrong. The scenario's off the wire. '

  'For Christ's sake!' exploded Panov. 'Will you speak English?

  'He means,' said Marie, staring at the CIA man, 'that David either did something he wasn't supposed to do, or didn't do something he was expected to do. '

  'That's about it. ' Conklin's eyes drifted to the right, towards the lights of Victoria Harbour and the island of Hong Kong beyond. 'I used to be able to read Delta's moves, usually before he made them. Then later, when he was Bourne, I was able to track him when others couldn't because I understood his options and knew which ones he would take.

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