The bourne supremacy, p.167
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.167

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 167


  'I am intrigued, Edward, by your candid, if incomplete, information. '

  'Meet me, Sheng. And bring money, a great deal of money - American money. Our mutual associate tells me there are hills in Guangdong where your people flew down to see him. Meet me there tomorrow, between ten o'clock and midnight. '

  'I must protest, my adversarial friend. You have not provided me with an incentive. '

  'I can destroy both copies of that file. I was sent over here to track down a story originating in Taiwan, a story so detrimental to all our interests that a hint of its contents could start a chain of events that terrifies everyone. I believe there's considerable substance to the story, and if I'm right, it can be traced directly to my old counterpart during the Sino-American conferences. It couldn't be happening without him . . . It's my last assignment, Sheng, and a few words from me can remove that file from the face of the earth. I simply determine the information to be totally false and dangerously inflammatory, compiled by your enemies in Taiwan. The few who know about it want to believe that, take my word for it. The file is then sent to the shredder. So is the copy in Washington. '

  'You still have not told me why I should listen to you!'

  'The son of a Kuomintang taipan would know. The leader of a cabal in Beijing would know. A man who could be disgraced and decapitated tomorrow morning certainly would know. '

  The pause was long, the breathing erratic over the line. Finally, Sheng spoke.

  The hills in Guangdong. He knows where. '

  'Only one helicopter,' said McAllister. 'You and the pilot, no one else. '

  Chapter Thirty-seven

  Darkness. The figure dressed in the uniform of a United States marine dropped down from the top of the wall at the rear of the grounds of the house on Victoria Peak. He crept to his left, passing a sheet of interwoven strands of barbed wire that filled a space where a section of the wall had been blown away, and proceeded around the edge of the property. Staying in the shadows, he raced across the lawn to the corner of the house. He peered around at the demolished bay windows of what had been a large Victorian study. In front of the shattered glass and the profusion of broken frames stood a marine guard, an M-16 rifle planted casually on the grass, the end of the barrel in his hand, a . 45 automatic strapped to his belt. The addition of a rifle to the smaller weapon was a sign of max-alert, the intruder understood this, and smiled to see that the guard did not think it necessary to hold the M-16 in his hands. Marines and poised weapons were not welcome. The stock of a rifle could crash into a man's head before he knew it was into its whip. The intruder waited for the opportune moment; it came when the guard's chest swelled with a long yawn and his eyes briefly closed as he inhaled deeply. The intruder raced around the corner, springing off his feet, the wire of a garrotte looping over the guard's head. It was over in seconds. There was barely a sound.

  The killer left the body where it lay, as it was far darker in this area of the grounds than elsewhere. Many of the rear floodlights had been shattered by the explosions. He got to his feet and edged his way to the next corner where he took out a cigarette, lighting it with the cupped flame from a butane lighter. He then stepped out into the glare of the floodlights and walked casually around the corner towards the huge, charred arvel doors where a second marine was at his post on the brick steps. The intruder held the cigarette in his left hand, which covered his face as he drew" on it.

  `Out for a smoke?' asked the guard.

  `Yeah, I couldn't sleep,' said the man, with an American accent that was a product of the South-west.

  `Those fuckin' cots weren't made for sleeping. Just sit on one and you know it. . . Hey, wait a minute! Who the hell are you?'

  The marine had no chance to level his rifle. The intruder lunged, thrusting his knife straight into the guard's throat with deadly accuracy, cutting off all sound, all life. The killer quickly dragged the corpse around the corner of the building and left it in the shadows. He wiped the blade off on the dead man's uniform, reinserted it beneath his tunic, and returned to the arvel doors. He entered the house.

  He walked down the long, dimly lit corridor at the end of which stood a third marine in front of a wide, sculptured door. The guard angled his rifle downward and looked at his watch. `You're early,' he said. `I'm not due to be relieved for another hour and twenty minutes. '

  `I'm not with this unit, buddy. '

  `You with the Oahu group?'

  `Yeah. '

  `I thought they got you jokers out of here pronto and back to Hawaii. That's the scuttlebutt. '

  `A few of us were ordered to stay behind. We're down at the consulate now. That guy, what's- his-name, McAllister, has been taking our testimonies all night. '

  `I tell you, pal, this whole goddamned thing is weird!'

  `You got it, triple weird. By the way, where's that fruitcake's office? He sent me up here to bring him back his special pipe tobacco. '

  `It figures. Mix some grass in it. ' `Which office?'

  `Earlier I saw him and the doctor go in that first door on the right. Then later, before he left, he went in here. ' The guard tilted his head to indicate the door behind him.

  `Whose place is that?'

  `I don't know his name but he's the top banana. They call him the ambassador. '

  The killer's eyes narrowed. `The ambassador?

  `Yeah. The room's fractured. Half of it's blown apart by that fucking maniac, but the safe's intact, which is why I'm here and another guy outside in the tulips. Must be a couple of million in there for extra-curricular activities. '

  `Or something else,' said the intruder softly. The first door on the right, huh? He added, turning and reaching under his tunic.

  `Hold it,' said the marine. `Why didn't the gate send word in here? He reached for the hand- held radio strapped to his belt. `Sorry, but I've got to check you out, buddy. It's standard-`

  The killer threw his knife. As it plunged into the guard's chest he hurled himself on the marine, his thumbs centering on the man's throat. Thirty seconds later he opened the door of Havilland's office and dragged the dead man inside.

  They crossed the border in full darkness, business suits and regimental ties replacing the rumpled, nondescript clothes they had worn previously. Added to their attire were two proper

  arvelo cases strapped with diplomatique tape, indicating government documents beyond the scrutiny of immigration points. In truth, the cases held their weapons, as well as several additional items Bourne had picked up in d'Anjou's flat after McAllister produced the sacrosanct plastic tape that was respected even by the People's Republic � respected as long as China wanted the same courtesy to be extended to its own foreign service personnel. The conduit from Macao whose name was Wong � at least that was the name he offered � was impressed by the diplomatic passports but for safety's sake, as well as for the $20,000 American for which he said he felt a moral obligation, decided to prepare the border crossing his way.

  `It's not as difficult as perhaps I led you to believe before, sir,' explained Wong. `Two of the guards are cousins on my blessed mother's side � may she rest with the holy Jesus � and we help each other. I do more for them than they do for me, but then I am in a better position. Their stomachs are fuller than most in the city of Zhuhai Shi and both have television sets. '

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