The bourne supremacy, p.3
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.3

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
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  The killer surveyed his work. Satisfied, he knelt down by a large, stagnant pool of blood and moved his index finger through it. He then pulled out a square of dark cloth from his left sleeve and spread it over his handiwork. He rose to his feet and rushed out of the room, unbuttoning the white caftan as he ran down the dim hallway; the robe was open by the time he reached the door to the cabaret. He removed the razor-like knife from the cloth and shoved it into a scabbard on his belt. Then, holding the folds of cloth together, his hood in place, the lethal weapon secure at his side, he pulled the door back and walked inside, into the brawling chaos that showed no sign of lessening. But then why should it? He had left it barely thirty seconds ago and his man was well trained.

  'Faai di!' The shout came from the burly, unshaven peasant from Canton; he was ten feet away, overturning another table and striking a match, dropping it on the floor. The police will be here any moment! The bartender just reached a phone, I saw him!'

  The killer-priest ripped the caftan away from his body and the hood from his head. In the wild revolving lights his face looked as macabre as any in the frenzied rock group. Heavy make-up outlined his eyes, white lines defining the shape of each, and his face was an unnatural brown. 'Go in front of me!' he commanded the peasant. He dropped his costume and the Uzi on the floor next to the door while removing a pair of thin surgical gloves; he shoved them into his flannel trousers.

  For a cabaret in the Golden Mile to summon the police was not a decision easily arrived at. There were heavy fines for poor management, stiff penalties for endangering tourists. The police knew these risks and responded quickly when they were taken. The killer ran behind the peasant from Canton who joined the panicked crowd at the entrance screaming to get out. The coarsely dressed brawler was a bull; bodies in front of him fell away under the force of his blows. Guard and killer burst through the door and into the street where another crowd had gathered shrieking questions and epithets and cries of bad joss - misfortune for the establishment. They threaded their way through the excited onlookers and were joined by the short, muscular Chinese who had waited outside. He grabbed the arm of his defrocked charge and pulled him into the narrowest of alleys, where he took two towels from under his tunic. One was soft and dry, the other encased in plastic; it was warm and wet and perfumed.

  The assassin gripped the wet towel and began rubbing it over his face, sinking it around and into the sockets of his eyes and across the exposed flesh of his neck. He reversed the cloth and repeated the process with even greater pressure, scrubbing his temples and his hairline until his white skin was apparent. He then dried himself with the second towel, smoothed his dark hair and straightened the regimental tie that fell on the cream-coloured shirt under his dark blue blazer. 'Jau!' he ordered his two companions. They ran and disappeared in the crowds.

  And a lone, well-dressed Occidental walked out into the strip of Oriental pleasures.

  Inside the cabaret the excited manager was berating the bartender who had called the jing cha; the fines would be on his fuck-fuck head! For the riot had inexplicably subsided, leaving the customers bewildered. Head boys and waiters were mollifying the patrons, patting shoulders and clearing away the debris while straightening tables and producing new chairs and dispensing free glasses of whisky. The rock group concentrated on the current favorites, and as swiftly as the order of the evening had been disrupted it was restored. With luck, thought the tuxedoed manager, the explanation that an impetuous bartender had mistaken a belligerent drunk for something far more serious would be acceptable to the police. Suddenly, all thoughts of fines and official harassment were swept away as his eyes were drawn to a clump of white fabric on the floor across the room - in front of the door to the inner offices. White cloth, pure white - the priest? The door! The laoban! The conference!. His breath short, his face drenched with sweat, the obese manager raced between the tables to the discarded caftan. He knelt down, his eyes wide, his breathing now suspended, as he saw the dark barrel of a strange weapon protruding from beneath the folds of white. And what made him choke on his barely formed terror was the sight of tiny specks and thin streaks of shiny, undried blood soiling the cloth.

  'Go hai matyeh?" The question was asked by a second man in a tuxedo, but without the status conferred by a cummerbund - in truth the manager's brother and first assistant. 'Oh, damn the Christian Jesus!' he swore under his breath as his brother gathered up the odd-looking gun in the spotted white caftan.

  'Come!' ordered the manager, getting to his feet and heading for the door.

  The police!' objected the brother. 'One of us should speak to them, calm them, do what we can. '

  'It may be that we can do nothing but give them our heads! Quickly?

  Inside the dimly lit corridor the proof was there. The slain guard lay in a river of his own blood, his weapon gripped by a hand barely attached to his wrist. Within the conference room itself, the proof was complete. Five bloodied corpses were in spastic disarray, one specifically, shockingly, the focus of the manager's horrified interest. He approached the body and the punctured skull. With his handkerchief he wiped away the blood and stared at the face.

  'We are dead,' he whispered. 'Kowloon is dead, Hong Kong dead. All is dead. '

  'What?'

  'This man is the Vice-Premier of the People's Republic, successor to the Chairman himself. '

  'Here! Look!' The first assistant brother lunged towards the body of the dead laoban. Alongside the riddled, bleeding corpse was a black bandanna. It was lying flat, the fabric with the curlicues of white discoloured by blotches of red. The brother picked it up and gasped at the writing in the circle of blood underneath: JASON BOURNE.

  The manager sprang across the floor. 'Great Christian Jesus!' he cried, his whole body trembling. 'He's come back. The assassin has come back to Asia! Jason Bourne! He's come back!'

  Chapter Two

  The sun fell behind the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in central Colorado as the Cobra helicopter roared out of the blazing light, a giant fluttering silhouette, and stuttered its way downward towards the threshold on the edge of the timberline. The concrete landing pad was several hundred feet from a large rectangular house of heavy wood and thick beveled glass. Aside from generators and camouflaged communications disks, no other structures were in sight. Tall trees formed a dense wall concealing the house from all outsiders.

  The pilots of these highly maneuverable aircraft were recruited from the senior officer corps of the Cheyenne complex in Colorado Springs. None was lower than a full colonel and each had been cleared by the National Security Council in Washington. They never spoke about their trips to the mountain retreat; the destination was always obscured on flight plans. Headings were issued by radio when the choppers were airborne. The location was not on any public map and its communications were beyond the scrutiny of allies and enemies alike. The security was total; it had to be. This was a place for strategists whose work was so sensitive and frequently entailed such delicate global implications that the planners could not be seen together outside government buildings or in the buildings themselves, and certainly never inside adjacent offices known to have connecting doors.

  There were hostile, inquisitive eyes everywhere - allies and enemies alike - who knew of the work these men did, and if they were observed together, alarms would surely go out. The enemy was vigilant and allies jealously guarded their own intelligence fiefdoms.

 
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