The bourne supremacy, p.162
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.162

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 162

 

  'Wei?' he said softly.

  'Macao lai dianhua' replied the switchboard operator at Headquarters, Guangdong garrison.

  'Connect me on scrambler and remove all recording devices. '

  'It is done, Colonel Soo. '

  'I will conduct my own study of that,' said Soo Jiang, sitting up and reaching for a small, flat, rectangular object with a raised circle at one end.

  'It's not necessary, sir. '

  'I would hope not for your sake. ' Soo placed the circle over the mouthpiece and pressed a button. Had there been an intercept on the line, the piercing whistle that suddenly erupted for one second would have continued pulsating until the listening device was removed or a listener's eardrum was punctured. There was only silence, magnified by the moonlight streaming through the window. 'Go ahead, Macao,' said the colonel.

  'Bonsoir, man ami,' said the voice from Macao. The French instantly accepted as being spoken by the impostor. ''Comment fa va?'

  'Vous?' gasped Jiang, stunned, swinging his short fat legs from under the sheet and planting them on the floor. 'Attendez? The colonel turned to the woman. 'You. Out. Get out of here,' he ordered in Cantonese. Take your clothes and put them on in the front room. Keep the door open so I can see you leave. '

  'You owe me money!' whispered the woman stridently. 'For two times you owe me money, and double for what I did for you below!'

  'Your payment is in the fact that I may not have your husband fired. Now get out! You have thirty seconds or you have a penniless husband. '

  'They call you the Pig,' said the woman, grabbing her clothes and rushing to the bedroom door, where she turned, glaring at Soo. 'Pig? 'Out:

  Seconds later Soo returned to the phone, continuing in French. 'What happened?. The reports from Beijing are incredible! No less so the news from the airfield in Shenzhen. He took you prisoner!' 'He's dead,' said the voice from Macao.

  'Dead?'

  'Shot by his own people, at least fifty bullets in his body. '

  'And you?

  'They accepted my story. I was an innocent hostage picked up in the streets and used as a shield as well as a decoy. They treated me well and, in fact, kept me from the press at my insistence. Of course, they're trying to minimize everything but they won't have much success. The newspaper and television people were all over the place, so you'll read about it in the morning papers. '

  'My God, where did it happen?

  'An estate on Victoria Peak. It's part of the consulate and damned secret. That's why I have to reach your leader-one. I learned things that he should know about. '

  Tell me. The 'assassin' laughed derisively. 'I sell this kind of information. I don't give it away - especially not to pigs. '

  'You'll be well taken care of,' insisted Soo.

  Too well in my book. '

  'What do you mean by "leader-one'? asked Colonel Soo Jiang, dismissing the remark.

  'Your head man, the chief, the big rooster - whatever you want to call him. He was the man in that forest preserve who did all the talking, wasn't he? The one who used his sword with such efficiency, the wild-eyed corkscrew with the short hair, the one I tried to warn about the Frenchman's delaying tactics-'

  'You dare. . . ? You did that?'

  'Ask him. I told him something was wrong, that the Frenchman was stalling him. Christ, I paid for his not listening to me! He should have hacked that French bastard when I told him to! Now you tell him I want to talk to him!'

  'Even I do not talk to him,' said the colonel. 'I reach only subordinates by their code names. I don't know their real ones-'

  'You mean the men who fly down to the hills in Guangdong to meet me and deliver the assignments?' interrupted Bourne.

  'Yes. '

  'I won't talk to any of them!' exploded Jason, now posing as his own impostor. 'I want to talk to the man. And he'd better want to talk to me. '

  'You will speak with others first, but still, even for them, there must be very strong reasons. They do the summoning, others do not. You should know that by now. '

  'All right, you can be the courier. I was with the Americans for almost three hours, mounting the best cover I ever mounted in my life. They questioned me at length and I answered them openly - I don't have to tell you that I have back-ups all over the territory, men and women who'll swear I'm a business associate, or that I was with them at a specific time, no matter who calls-'

  'You don't have to tell me that,' Soo broke in. 'Please, just give me the message I'm to convey. You talked with the Americans. Then what?

  'I listened, too. The colonials have a stupid habit of talking too freely among themselves in the presence of strangers. '

  'I hear a British voice now. The voice of superiority. We've all heard it before. '

  'You're damned right. The wogs don't do that, and God knows you slants don't either. '

  'Please, sir, continue. '

  'The one who took me prisoner, the man who was killed by the Americans, was an American himself. '

  'So?

  'I leave a signature with my kills. The name has a long history. It's Jason Bourne. '

  'We know that. And?

  'He was the original! He was an American and they've been hunting him for nearly two years. '

  'And?

  They think Beijing found him and hired him. Someone in Beijing who needed the most important kill of his life, who needed to kill a man in that house. Bourne's for sale to anybody, an equal-opportunity employee, as the Americans might say. '

  'Your language is elusive. Please be clearer!' There were several others in that room with the Americans. Chinese from Taiwan who said outright that they oppose most of the leaders of the secret societies in the Kuomintang. They were angry. Frightened too, I think. ' Bourne stopped. Silence.

  'Yes? pressed the colonel apprehensively.

  They said a number of other things. They also kept mentioning the name of someone called Sheng. '

  'Aiya?

  That's the message you'll convey and I'll expect a response at the casino within three hours. I'll send someone to pick it up and don't try anything foolish. I have people there who can start a riot as easily as they can roll a seven. Any interference and your men are dead. '

  'We remember the Tsim Sha Tsui a few weeks ago,' said

  Soo Jiang. 'Five of our enemies killed in a back room while a cabaret erupts in violence. There'll be no interference; we're not fools where you are concerned. We often wondered if the original Jason Bourne was as proficient as his successor. '

  'He wasn't. ' Bring up the possibility of a riot at the casino in case Sheng's people try to trap you. Say their men will be killed. You don't have to elaborate. They'll understand . . . The analyst knew whereof he spoke. 'A question,' said Jason, genuinely interested. 'When did you and the others decide I wasn't the original?

  'At first sight,' replied the colonel. The years leave their marks, don't they? The body may remain agile, even improve with care, but the face reflects time; it is inescapable. Your face could not possibly be the face of the man from Medusa, that was over fifteen years ago and you are, at best, a man in your early thirties. The Medusa did not recruit children. You were the Frenchman's reincarnation. '

 
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