The bourne supremacy, p.172
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.172

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 172


  The man from Medusa stared at Sheng and McAllister, his self-hatred rising, close to exploding. He never should have let it happen this way. Death by the hands of an amateur, an embittered bureaucrat who wanted his moment in the sun.

  `Kam Pek' It was Wong! He had crossed through the woods on the second level and was behind him, concealed in the trees.

  `Yes? I heard the stones. '

  `You will not like what you hear now, sir. '

  `What is it?

  `The patrol crawls up the hill. '

  `It's a protective action,' said Jason, his eyes riveted on the two figures in the field. `We may still be all right. They can't see a hell of a lot. '

  `I am not sure that matters, sir. They prepare themselves. I heard them � they've locked their weapons into firing positions. '

  Bourne swallowed, a sense of futility spreading over him. For reasons he could not fathom, it was a reverse trap. `You'd better get out of here, Wong. '

  `May I ask? Are these the people who killed the Frenchman?*

  `Yes. '

  `And for whom the Pig, Soo Jiang, has worked so obscenely these past four years? `Yes. '

  `I believe I will stay, sir. '

  Without saying a word, the man from Medusa walked back to his arvelo case. He picked it up and threw it into the woods. `Open it,' he said. `If we get out of this, you can spend your days at the casino without picking up messages. '

  `I do not gamble. '

  `You're gambling now, Wong. '

  `Did you really think that we, the great warlords of the most ancient and cultured empire the world has ever known, would leave it to unwashed peasants and their ill-born offspring, schooled in the discredited theories of egalitarianism?' Sheng stood in front of McAllister; he held his briefcase across his chest with both hands. `They should be our slaves, not our rulers. '

  `It was that kind of thinking that lost you the country � you, the leaders, not the people. They weren't consulted. If they were, there might have been accommodations, compromises, and you would have it still. '

  `One does not compromise with Marxist animals � or with liars. As I will not compromise with you, Edward. '

  `What was that?'

  With his left hand Sheng snapped his briefcase open and pulled out the file stolen from Victoria Peak. `Do you recognize it?' he asked calmly.

  `I don't believe it!'

  `Believe, my old adversary. A little ingenuity can produce anything. '

  `It's impossible?

  `It's here. In my hand and the opening page clearly states that there is only one copy, to be sent by military escort under Ultra Maximum Security wherever it goes. Quite correctly, in my judgement, for your appraisal was accurate when we spoke over the telephone. The contents would inflame the Far East � make war unavoidable. The right-wingers in Beijing would march on Hong Kong � right-wingers there, you'd call them left on your side of the world. Foolish, isn't it?

  `I had a copy made and sent to Washington,' broke in the undersecretary, quickly, quietly, firmly.

  `I don't believe that,' said Sheng. `All diplomatic transmissions, by telephone-computer or by pouch, must be cleared by the highest superior officer. The notorious Ambassador Havilland wouldn't permit it, and the consulate wouldn't touch it without his authorization. '

  `I sent a copy to the Chinese consulate!' shouted McAllister. `You're finished, Sheng!'

  `Really? Who do you think receives all communications from all outside sources at our consulate in Hong Kong? Don't bother to answer, I'll do it for you. One of our people. ' Sheng paused, his messianic eyes suddenly on fire. `We are everywhere, Edward! We will not be denied! We will have our nation back, our empire!'

  `You're insane. It can't work. You'll start a war!' Then it will be a just war! Governments across the world will have to choose. Individual rule or state rule. Freedom or tyranny!'

  `Too few of you gave freedom and too many of you were tyrants. '

  `We will prevail � one way or the other. ' `My God, that's what you want! You want to push the world to the brink, force it to choose between annihilation and survival! That's how you think you'll get what you want, that the choice of survival will win out! This economic commission, your whole Hong Kong strategy, is just a beginning. You want to spread your poison to the whole Far East! You're a zealot, you're blind! Can't you see the tragic consequences-`

  `Our nation was stolen from us and we will have it back! We cannot be stopped! We march!' `You can be stopped,' said McAllister, quietly, his right hand edging to the fold in his jacket. `I'll stop you. '

  Suddenly, Sheng dropped his briefcase, revealing a gun. He fired as McAllister instinctively recoiled in terror, grabbing his shoulder.

  `Dive!' roared Bourne, racing in front of the aircraft, in the wash of its lights, releasing a burst of gunfire from his machine pistol. `Roll, roll] If you can move, roll away]'

  `You]' Sheng screamed, firing-two rapid shots down into the fallen undersecretary of state, then raising his weapon and repeatedly pulling the trigger, aiming at the zigzagging man from Medusa running towards him.

  `For Echo!' shouted Bourne at the top of his lungs. `For the people you hacked to death! For the teacher on a rope you butchered! For the woman that you couldn't stop � oh, Christ] For those two brothers, but mainly for Echo, you bastard]' A short burst exploded from the machine pistol �then no more, and no amount of pressure on the trigger could activate it! It was jammed! Jammed! Sheng knew it; he arvelo his weapon carefully as Jason threw the gun down, pounding towards the killer. Sheng fired as Delta instinctively pivoted to his right, spinning in mid-air as he pulled his knife from his belt, then planted his foot on the ground, reversing direction and abruptly lunged towards Sheng. The knife found its mark and the man from Medusa ripped open the fanatic's chest. The actual killer of hundreds and would-be killer of millions was dead.

  His hearing had been suspended; it wasn't now. The patrol had raced out of the woods, bursts from machine guns filling the night and the field . . . Other bursts came from beyond the helicopter � Wong had opened the attach� case and found what he needed. Two soldiers of the patrol fell; the remaining four dropped to the ground; one crawled back into the woods; he was shouting. The radio! He was reaching other men, other back-ups! How far away were they? How near"?

  Priorities! Bourne raced behind the aircraft and over to Wong, who was crouched by a tree at the edge of the woods.

  There's another one of those in there!' he whispered. `Give it to me!' `Conserve your ammunition,' said Wong. `There's not much more. '

  `I know that. Stay here and pin them down as best you can but keep your fire low to the ground. ' `Where are you going, sir? `Circling back through the trees. '

  That's what the Frenchman would have ordered me to do. ' `He was right. He was always right. ' Jason dashed deeper into the woods with the bloody knife in his belt; his lungs were bursting, his legs straining, his eyes peering into the forest darkness. He threaded his way through the dense foliage as fast as he could, making as little noise as he could.

  Two snaps] Thick twigs on the ground broken by having been stepped on! He saw the shrouded silhouette of a figure coming towards him and spun around the trunk of a tree. He knew who it was � the officer with the radio, the thoughtful, soft-spoken killer from the Beijing sanctuary, an experienced combat soldier: Take to the flanks and outflank. What he lacked was guerrilla training, and that lack would cost him his life. One did not step on thick objects in the forest.

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