The bourne supremacy, p.170
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.170

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 170


  `I forgot the words. '

  `Your thoughts, you mean. I'm sure they'll come to you. '

  `Something about "old man Reilly" . . . Oh, yes, I remember. First there was "Shag, shag and shag some more, shag until the fun was over", and then came old Reilly . . . "Two horse pistols by his side, looking for the dog who shagged his daughter". I did remember. '

  `You belong in a museum, if there's one in your home town . . . But look at it this way, you can research the entire project back in Macao. '

  `What project?. . . There was another that was always great fun. "A hundred bottles of beer on the wall, a hundred bottles of beer; one fell down-" Oh, Lord, it's been so long. It was repetitious reduction- "ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall"-`

  `Forget it, they're out of earshot. '

  `Oh? Earshot? Thank God?

  `You sounded fine. If any of those clowns understood a word of English, they're even more confused than I am. Well done, analyst. Come on, let's walk faster. '

  McAllister looked at Jason. `You did that on purpose, didn't you? You prodded me into remembering something �anything � knowing I'd concentrate and not panic. '

  Bourne did not answer; he simply made a statement. `Another hundred feet and you keep going by yourself. '

  `What! You're leaving me?

  `For about ten, maybe fifteen, minutes. Here, keep walking and angle your arm up so I can put my briefcase on it and open the damn thing. '

  `Where are you going? Asked the undersecretary as the attach� case rested awkwardly on his left arm. Jason opened it, took out a long-bladed knife, and closed the case. `You can't leave me alone!'

  `You'll be all right, nobody wants to stop you � us. If they did, it would have been done. '

  `You mean that could have been an ambush?'

  `I was counting on your analytical mind that it wasn't. Take the case. '

  `But what are you-`

  `I have to see what's back there. Keep walking. ' The man from Medusa spun off to his left and entered the woods at a turn in the road. Running rapidly, silently, instinctively avoiding the tangled underbrush at the first touch of resistance, he moved to his right in a wide semicircle. Minutes later he saw the glow of cigarettes, and moving like a forest cat, crept closer and closer until he was within ten feet of the group of men. The intermittent moonlight, filtered through the massive trees, provided enough illumination for him to count the number. There were six, each armed with a lightweight machine gun strapped over his shoulders . . . And there was something else, something that was strikingly inconsistent. Each of the men wore the four-buttoned, tailored uniforms of high officers in the army of the People's Republic. And from the snatches of conversation that he could hear, they spoke Mandarin, not Cantonese, which was the normal dialect for soldiers, even officers, of the Guangdong garrison. These men were not from Guangdong. Sheng had flown in his own elite guard. Suddenly, one of the officers snapped his lighter and looked at his watch. Bourne studied the face above the flame. He knew it, and seeing it confirmed his judgement. It was the face of the man who had tried to trap Echo by posing as a prisoner on the truck that terrible night, the officer Sheng treated with a degree of deference. A thinking killer with a soft voice.

  `Xian zai,' said the man, stating that the moment had come. He picked up a hand-held radio and spoke. `Da li shi, da li shir he barked, raising his party by the code name marble. `They are alone, there is no one else. We will proceed as instructed. Prepare for the signal. '

  The six officers rose together, adjusted their weapons and extinguished their cigarettes by grinding them under their boots. They started rapidly for the back country road.

  Bourne scrambled round on his hands and knees, got to his feet and raced through the woods. He had to reach McAllister before Sheng's contingent closed in on him and saw through the sporadic moonlight that he was alone. Should the guards become alarmed they might send a different `signal' � conference aborted. He reached the turn in the road and ran faster, jumping over fallen branches other men would not see, slithering through vines and linked foliage others would not anticipate. In less than two minutes he sprang silently out of the woods at McAllister's side.

  `Good God!' gasped the undersecretary of state.

  `Be quiet!'

  `You're a maniac!'

  Tell me about it. '

  `It would take hours. ' With trembling hands, McAllister handed Jason his attach^ case. `At least this didn't explode. '

  `I should have told you not to drop it or jar it too much. '

  `Oh, Jesus I. . . Isn't it time to get off the road? Wong said-`

  `Forget it. We're staying in plain view until we reach the field on the second hill, then you'll be more in view than me. Hurry up. Some kind of signal's going to be given, which means you were right again. A pilot's going to get clearance to land � no radio communication, just a light. '

  `We're to meet Wong somewhere. At the base of the first hill, I think he said. '

  `We'll give him a couple of minutes but I think we can forget him, too. He'll see what I saw and if it were me I'd head back to Macao and twenty thousand American, and say I lost my way. '

  `What did you see?'

  `Six men armed with enough firepower to defoliate one of the hills here. '

  `Oh, my God, we'll never get out I'

  `Don't give up yet. That's one of the things fve been thinking about. ' Bourne turned to McAllister, quickening their pace. `On the other hand,' he added, his voice deadly serious. `The risk was always there � doing things your way. '

  `Yes, I know. I won't panic. I will not panic. ' The woods were suddenly gone; the dirt road now cut a path through fields of tall grass. `What do you think those men are here for?' asked the analyst.

  `Back-ups in case of a trap, which any low-life in this business would think it was. I told you that and you didn't want to believe me. But if something you said is accurate, and

  I think it is, they'll stay far out of sight � to make sure you won't panic and run. If that's the case, it'll be our way out. '


  `Head to the right, through the field,' replied Jason without answering the question. `I'll give Wong five minutes, unless we spot a signal somewhere or hear a plane, but no more. And that long only because I really want the pair of eyes I paid for. ' `Could he get around those men without being sent?' He can if he's not on his way back to Macao. ' They reached the end of the field of high grass and the base of the first hill where trees rose out of the ascending ground. Bourne looked at his watch, then at McAllister. `Let's get up there, out of sight,' he said, gesturing at the trees above them. `I'll stay here; you go up farther but don't walk out on that field, don't expose yourself, stay at the edge. If you see any lights or hear a plane, whistle. You can whistle, can't you?' `Actually, not very well. When the children were younger and we had a dog, a golden retriever-`

  `Oh, for Christ's sake! Throw rocks down through the trees, I'll hear them. Go on' `Yes, I understand. Move. '

  Delta � for he was Delta now � began his vigil. The moonlight was constantly intercepted by the drifting, low-flying clouds and he kept straining his eyes, scanning the field of tall grass, looking for a break in the monotonous pattern, for bent reeds moving towards the base of the hill, towards him. Three minutes passed, and he had nearly decided it was a waste of time when a man suddenly lurched out of the grass on his right and plunged up into the foliage. Bourne lowered his

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