The bourne supremacy, p.147
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.147

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 147


  There's nothing left. ' Bourne cocked the hammer of his automatic. The assassin did the same. Then let's have a feel around,' said the commando, his left hand slowly reaching out, softly touching the knapsack strapped on Delta's right hip, their eyes locked. The killer felt the canvas, squeezing the harsh cloth in several places. Again slowly, he withdrew his hand. 'With all the "shalt-nots" in the bloody big Book, none ever mentions a lie, does it? Except false witness, of course, which isn't the same. I guess you took the lapse to heart, sport. There's a shell-framed automatic repeater in there and two or three clips, I judge by the curves, holding at least fifty rounds a piece. '

  'Forty, to be exact. '

  That's a lot of firepower. That little beast could get me out of here. Give! Or one of us goes right here. Right now. '

  The fifth plastique explosion shook the ground; the startled assassin blinked. It was enough. Bourne's hand shot up, deflecting the killer's gun, crashing his heavy automatic into the commando's left temple with the force of a hammer.

  'Son of a bitch!' cried the impostor hoarsely as he fell to his left, Jason's knee on his wrist, the killer's gun wrenched free.

  'You keep begging for a quick demise, Major,' said Bourne as pandemonium reached its height within the grounds of the Victorian sterile house. The squad of marines that had charged the collapsed sidewall were ordered to assault the rear of the gardens. 'You really don't like yourself, do you? But you've got a good idea. I will empty my bag of tricks. It's almost time now. '

  Bourne removed the straps and upturned his open knapsack. The contents fell on the grass, the flames from the ever-expanding fire on the first floor of the sterile house illuminating them. There was one firebomb and one plastique left, and, as accurately described by the assassin, a hand-held repeating MAC-10 machine pistol that needed only its stock frame and a clip to be inserted in order to fire. He inserted the frame of the lethal weapon, cracked in one of the four clips and shoved the remaining three into his belt. He then released the spring of the launcher, put the canister in place and reset the mechanism. It was ready to go - to save the lives of children, children called to die by the ageing egos of manipulators. The firebomb remained. He knew where to direct it. He lifted it up, tore off the shield, and threw it with all his strength towards the A-framed apex above the french doors. It clung to the wood. It was the moment. He pulled the trigger of the launcher, sending the canister of gas into the stone to the right of the french doors. It exploded, bouncing off the wall to the ground, the vapours spreading instantly, clouds of gas swirling, choking men within its billowing periphery. Weapons were clung to, but free hands rubbed swollen, watery eyes and covered inflamed nostrils.

  The second firebomb exploded, tearing away the elegant Victorian facade above the french doors, shattering the panes of glass, whole sections of the upper wall plummeting down into the tiled foyer beyond. Flames spread upward towards the eaves and inside, firing curtains and upholstery. The marine guards scrambled away from the thunderous explosion and the flames into the clouds of tear gas, A number now dropped their rifles, as all lurched in every direction, colliding with another, trying to get away from the fumes; gagging, coughing, seeking relief.

  Delta rose to a crouch, the machine pistol in his hand, yanking the assassin up beside him. It was time; the chaos was complete. The swirling gas in front of the shattered french doors was being sucked in by the heat of the flames; it would dissipate sufficiently for him to make headway. Once inside, his search would be quick, over in moments. The directors of a covert operation that required a sterile house in foreign territory would stay within the protective confines of the house itself for two reasons. The first was that the size and disposition of the attacking force could not be accurately estimated and the risk of capture or death outside was too great. The second was more practical: Papers had to be destroyed, burnt not shredded, as they had learned in Teheran. Directives, dossiers, operational progress reports, background materials, all had to go. The sirens in Victoria Peak were growing louder, nearer, the frantic race up the steep roads was nearly over.

  'It's the countdown,' said Bourne, setting the timer on the last plastique explosive. 'I'm not giving this to you, but I'll use it to advantage - both yours and mind. Thirty seconds, Major Allcott- Price. ' Jason arced the packet as far as he could towards the right front wall. 'My weapon!. For Christ's sake give me the gun!' 'It's on the ground. Under my foot. ' The assassin lurched down. 'Let go of it!' 'When I want to - and I will want to. But if you try to take it, the next thing you'll see is a cell in the Hong Kong garrison, and - according to you - a scaffold, a thick rope and a hangman in your immediate future. '

  The killer looked up in panic. 'You goddamned liar! You lied!

  'Frequently. Don't you?'

  'You said-'

  'I know what I said. I also know why you're here, and why instead of nine shells, you have three. '

  - 'What?'

  'You're my diversion, Major. When I let you free with the gun, you'll head for the gate or a blown-out section of the wall - whichever, it's your choice. They'll try to stop you. You'll fire back, naturally, and while they concentrate on you, I'll get inside. '

  'You bastard!'

  'My feelings are hurt, but then I don't have feelings any longer, so it doesn't matter. I simply have to get inside-'

  The last explosion blew up a sculptured tree, its roots smashing into a weakened section of the wall, stones falling out of place, the wall itself half crumbling, splitting rocks forming a V at the centre of secondary impact. Marines from the gate contingent rushed forward.

  Wow!' roared Delta, rising to his full height.

  'Give me the gun! Let go of it!'

  Jason Bourne suddenly froze. He could not move - except that by some instinct or other he crashed his knee up into the killer's throat, sending the assassin over on his side. A man had appeared beyond the shattered glass doors of the burning foyer. A handkerchief covered his face, but it could not cover his limp. His limp! With his club foot the silhouetted figure kicked down the left frame of the french doors and awkwardly walked down the three steps to the short flagstone patio fronting the once stately gardens. He dragged himself forward and yelled as loud as he could, ordering the guards who could hear him to hold their fire. The figure did not have to lower his handkerchief, Delta knew the face. It was the face of his enemy. It was Paris, a cemetery outside Paris. Alexander Conklin had come to kill him. Beyond-salvage was the order from on high.

  'David! It's Alex! Don't do what you're doing! Stop it! It's we, David! I'm here to help you!'

  'You're here to kill me! You came to kill me in Paris, you tried again in New York! Treadstone Seventy-one! You've got a short memory, you bastard!'

  'You don't have any memory, goddamn you! You became Delta, that's what they wanted! I know the whole story, David. I flew over here because we put it together! Marie, Mo Panov, and I! We're all here. Marie's safe!'

  'Lies! Tricks! All of you, you killed her! You would have killed her in Paris, but I wouldn't let you near her! I kept her away from you!'

  'She's not dead, David! She's alive! I can bring her to you!

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