The bourne supremacy, p.149
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.149

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 149


  Price, formerly of the Royal Commandos, was gone.

  Bourne started forward, his weapon raised. Marie ran to the border of the patio, the distance between them no more than a few feet. 'Don't do it, David!'

  'I'm not David, lady! Ask your scum-ball friend, we go back a long time. Get out of my way!' Why couldn't he kill her? One burst and he was free to do what he had to do! Why?

  'All right!' screamed Marie, holding her place. There is no David, all right! You're Jason Bourne! You're Delta!' You're anything you want to be, but you're also mine! You're my husband!' The revelation had the impact of a sudden bolt of lightning on the guards who heard it. The officers, their elbows bent, held up their hands - the universal command to hold fire - as they and the men stared in astonishment.

  'I don't know you!'

  'My voice is my own. You know it, Jason. '

  'A trick! An actress, a mimic! A lie! It's been done before. '

  'And if I look different, it's because of you, Jason Bourne?

  'Get out of my way or get killed?

  'You taught me in Paris! On the rue de Rivoli, the Hotel Meurice, the newsstand on the corner. Can you remember? The newspapers with the story out of Zurich, my photograph on all the front pages! And the small hotel in the Montparnasse when we were checking out, the concierge reading the paper, my picture in front of his face! You were so frightened you told me to run outside . . . The taxi! Do you remember the taxi? On the way to Issy-les-Moulineaux - I'll never forget that impossible name. "Change your hair," you said. "Pull it up or push it back!" You said you didn't care what I did so long as I changed it! You asked me if I had an eyebrow pencil - you told me to thicken my brows, make them longer! Your words, Jason! We were running for our lives and you wanted me to look different, to remove any likeness to the photograph that was all over Europe! I had to become a chameleon because Jason Bourne was a chameleon. He had to teach his lover, his wife! That's all I've done, Jason!'

  Wo!' cried Delta, drawing the word out into a scream, the mists of confusion enveloping him, sending his mind into the outer regions of panic. The images were there! rue de Rivoli, the Montparnasse, the taxi. Listen to me. I am a chameleon called Cain and I can teach you many things I do not care to teach you but I must. I can change my colour to accommodate the forest, lean shift with the wind by smelling it. I can find my way through natural and man-made jungles. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta . . . Delta is for Charlie and Charlie is for Cain. I am Cain. I am death. And I must tell you who I am and lose you.

  'You do remember!' shouted David Webb's wife.

  'A trick! The chemicals - I said the words. They gave you the words! They have to stop me!'

  'They gave me nothing! I want nothing from them. I only want my husband! I'm Marie?

  'You're a lie! They killed her!' Delta squeezed the trigger, the fusillade of bullets exploding the earth at Marie's feet. Rifles quickly were brought up to firing positions.

  'Don't do it!' screamed Marie, whipping her head over at the marine guards, her eyes glaring, her voice a command. 'All right, Jason. If you don't know me, I don't want to live. I can't be plainer than that, my darling. It's why I understand what you're doing. You're throwing your life away because a part of you that's taken over thinks I'm gone and you don't want to live without me. I understand that very well because I don't want to live without you. ' Marie took several steps across the grass and stood motionless.

  Delta raised the machine gun, the snub-nosed sight on the barrel centering on the grey hair streaked with white. His index finger closed around the trigger. Suddenly, involuntarily, his right hand began to tremble, then his left. The murderous weapon began to waver, at first slowly- back and forth, then faster - in circles - as Bourne's head swayed in fitful jerks; the trembling spread; his neck began to lose control.

  There was a commotion within the gathering crowd at the smouldering ruins of the gate and the guardhouse several hundred feet away. A man struggled; he was held by two marines. 'Let me go, you goddamned fools! I'm a doctor, his doctor!' With a surge of strength, Morris Panov broke away and raced across the lawn into the glare of the floodlights. He stopped twenty feet from Bourne.

  Delta began to moan; the sound and the rhythm were barbaric. Jason Bourne dropped the weapon . . . and David Webb fell to his knees weeping. Marie started towards him.

  Woa' commanded Panov, his voice quietly emphatic, stopping Webb's wife. 'He has to come to you. He must. '

  'He needs me!'

  'Not that way. He has to recognize you. David has to recognize you and tell his other self to let him free. You can't do that for him. He has to do it for himself. '

  Silence. Floodlights. Fire.

  And like a cringing, beaten child, David Webb raised his head, the tears streaming down his cheeks. Slowly, painfully, he rose to his feet and ran into the arms of his wife.

  Chapter Thirty-three

  They were in the sterile house, in the white-walled communications centre - in an antiseptic cell belonging to some futuristic laboratory complex. Whitefaced computers rose above the white counters on the left, dozens of thin, dark rectangular mouths sporadically indented, their teeth digital readouts forming luminescent green numbers that constantly changed with inviolate frequency alterations and less sophisticated, less secure means of sending and receiving information. On the right was a large white conference table above the white-tiled floor, the only deviation to colour conformity and asepsis being several black ashtrays. The players were in place around the table. The technicians had been dismissed, all systems put on hold, only the ominous Red-Alert, a 3-inch by 10-inch panel in the central computer, remained active; an operator was outside the closed door should the alarming red lights appear. Beyond this sacrosanct, isolated room the Hong Kong firefighters were hosing down the last of the smouldering embers as the Hong Kong police were calming the panicked residents from the nearby estates on Victoria Peak - many of whom were convinced that Armageddon had arrived in the form of a mainland onslaught - telling everyone that the terrible events were the work of a deranged criminal killed by government emergency units. The skeptical Peak residents were not satisfied. The times were not on their side; their world was not as it should be and they wanted proof. So the corpse of the dead assassin was paraded on a stretcher past the curious onlookers, the punctured, blood-drenched body partially uncovered for all to see. The stately residents returned to their stately homes, having by this time contemplated all manner of insurance claims.

  The players sat in white, plastic chairs, living, breathing robots waiting for a signal to commence, none really possessing the courage or the energy to open the proceedings. Exhaustion, mingled with the fear of violent death, marked their faces - marked all but one face. His possessed the deep lines and dark shadows of extreme fatigue but there was no hollow fear in his eyes, only passive, bewildered acceptance of things still beyond his understanding. Minutes ago death had held no fear for him; it was preferable to living. Now, in his confusion, his wife gripping his hand, he could feel the swelling of distant anger, distant in the sense that it was far back in the recesses of his mind, relentlessly pushing forward like the faraway thunder over a lake in an approaching summer storm.

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