The bourne supremacy, p.153
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.153

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 153


  "This? whispered Jason Bourne, 'is the son of your unknown taipan?

  'Yes,' said Havilland.

  'Your revered philosopher-prince? The Chinese saint no one can expose?" 'Again, yes. ' (

  'You were wrong! He showed himself! Christ did he show himself!'

  Stunned, the ambassador shot forward. 'You're certain?'

  There's no way I couldn't be certain. '

  The circumstances must have been extraordinary,' said the astonished McAllister. 'And it certainly confirms that the impostor never would have got out of there alive. Still, the circumstances must have been earth-shaking for him!'

  'Considering the fact that no one outside China ever learned about them, they were. Mao's tomb became a shooting gallery. It was part of the trap and they lost. Echo lost. '

  'Who?' asked Marie, still gripping his hand.

  'A friend. '

  'Mao's tomb?' repeated Havilland. 'Extraordinary!'

  'Not at all,' said Bourne. 'How bright. The last place in China a target would expect an attack. He goes in thinking he's the pursuer following his quarry, expecting to pick him up outside, on the other side. The lights are dim, his guard down. And all the while he's the quarry, hunted, isolated, set up for the kill. Very bright. '

  'Very dangerous for the hunters,' said the ambassador. 'For Sheng's people. One mis-step and they could have been taken. Insanity'!'

  'No mis-steps were possible. They would have killed their own if I hadn't killed them. I understand that now. When everything went off the wire, they simply disappeared. With Echo. '

  'Back to Sheng, please, Mr Webb. ' Havilland was himself obsessed, his eyes pleading. Tell us what you saw, what you know. '

  'He's a monster,' said Jason quietly, his eyes glazed, staring at the photograph. 'He comes from hell, a Savonarola who tortures and kills - men, women, kids - with a smile on his face. He gives sermons like a prophet talking to children, but underneath he's a maniac who rules his gang of misfits by sheer terror. Those shock troops you mentioned aren't troops, they're goons, sadistic thugs who've learned their craft from a master. He's Auschwitz, Dachau and Bergen Belsen all rolled into one. God help us all if he runs anything over here. ' 'He can, Mr Webb,' said Havilland quietly, his terrified gaze fixed on Jason Bourne. 'He will. You've just described a Sheng Chou Yang the world has never seen, and at this moment he is the most powerful man in China. As Adolf Hitler marched victoriously into the Reichstag, so Sheng will march into the Central Committee, making it his puppet. What you've told us is far more catastrophic than anything we've conceived of - China against China. . . Armageddon to follow. Oh, my God!

  'He's a brute animal,' whispered Jason, hoarsely. 'He has to kill like a predator, but his only hunger is killing - not for food but for the kill. '

  'You're talking in generalities. ' McAllister's interruption was cold but intense. 'We have to know more - I have to know more!'

  'He called a conference. ' Bourne spoke dreamily, his head swaying, his eyes again riveted on the photograph. 'It was the start of - the nights of the great blade, he said. There was a traitor, he said. The conference was something only a madman could create, torches everywhere, held in the countryside, an hour out of Peking, in a bird sanctuary - can you believe it? A bird sanctuary - and he really did what I say he did. He killed a man suspended by ropes, hacking his sword into the screaming body. Then a woman who tried to argue her innocence, cutting her head off- her head! In front of everyone! And then two brothers-'

  'A traitor! whispered McAllister, ever the analyst. 'Did he find one? Did anyone confess? Is there any kind of counter insurgency?' 'Stop it!' cried Marie.

  Wo, Mrs Webb! He's going back. He's reliving it. Look at him. Can't you see? He's there. '

  'I'm afraid our irritating colleague is right, Marie,' said Panov softly, watching Webb. 'He's in and out, trying to find his own reality. It's okay. Let him ride it. It could save us all a lot of time. '


  'For ever accurate, my dear, and for ever debatable. Shut up.

  '. . . There was no traitor, no one who spoke, only the woman with doubts. He killed her and there was silence, an awful silence. He was warning everyone, telling everyone that they were everywhere and at the same time they were invisible. In the ministries, in the Security Police, everywhere . . . And then he killed Echo, but Echo knew he had to die. He wanted to die quickly because he couldn't live much longer anyway. After they tortured him he was in awful shape. Still, if he could give me time-'

  'Who is Echo, David? asked Morris Panov. Tell us, please. '

  'Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo . . . Foxtrot-'

  'Medusa,' said the psychiatrist. 'It's Medusa, isn't it? Echo was in Medusa. '

  'He was in Paris. The Louvre. He tried to save my life but I saved his. That was okay, it was right. He saved mine before, years ago. "Rest is a weapon", he said. He put the others around me and made me sleep. And then we got out of the jungle. '

  '"Rest is a weapon". . . ' Marie spoke quietly and closed her eyes, pressing her husband's hand, the tears falling down her cheeks. 'Oh, Christ!'

  '. . . Echo saw me in the woods. We used the old signals we used before, years ago. He hadn't forgotten. None of us ever forget. '

  'Are we in the countryside, in the bird sanctuary, David?' asked Panov, gripping McAllister's shoulder to stop him from intruding.

  'Yes,' replied Jason Bourne, his eyes now floating, unfocused. 'We both know. He's going to die. So simple, so clear. Die. Death. No more. Just buy time, precious minutes. Then maybe I can do it. '

  'Do what - Delta?' Panov drew out the name in quiet emphasis.

  'Take out the son of a bitch. Take out the butcher. He doesn't deserve to live, he has no right to live! He kills too easily - with a smile on his face. Echo saw it. I saw it. Now it's happening - everything's happening at once. The explosions in the forest, everybody running, shouting. I can do it now! He's a clean kill. . . He sees me! He's staring at me! He knows

  I'm his enemy! I am your enemy, butcher! I'm the last face you'll see! . . . What's wrong? Something's wrong! He's shielding himself! He's pulling someone in front of him. I have to get out! I can't do it!'

  'Can't or won't," asked Panov, leaning forward. 'Are you Jason Bourne or are you David Webb? Who are you?'

  'Delta!' screamed the victim, stunning everyone at the table by his outburst. 'I am Delta! I am Bourn! Cain is for Delta and Carlos is for Cain!' The victim, whoever he was, collapsed back in the chair, his head snapped down into his chest. He was silent.

  It took several minutes - none knew how long, none counted until the man who was unable to establish an identity for himself raised his head. His eyes were now half free, half prisoner to the agony he was experiencing. 'I'm sorry,' said David Webb. 'I don't know what happened to me. I'm sorry. '

  'No apologies, David,' said Panov. 'You went back. It's understandable. It's okay. '

  'Yes, I went back. Screwy, isn't it? 'Not at all,' said the psychiatrist. 'It's perfectly natural. '

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