The bourne supremacy, p.43
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.43

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 43


  The taipan's second man required no such tactics. He was off to the side of the crowd by himself, shouting into his radio. Bourne approached, his sorry figure presenting no threat, and he held out his hand, as if he were a beggar. The guard waved him away; it was the last gesture he would remember, for Bourne gripped his wrist, twisted it, and broke the man's arm. Fourteen seconds later the taipan's second guard lay in the shadows of a mound of garbage, his radio thrown into the debris.

  The third guard was in conference with the 'snake bitch'. To Bourne's satisfaction, she, too, kept shaking her head as the fishmonger had done; there was a certain loyalty in the Walled City where bribes were concerned. The man pulled out his radio, but had no chance to use it. Jason ran up to him, grabbed the ancient, toothless cobra and thrust its flat head into the man's face. His wide-eyed gasp, accompanied by a scream, was all the reaction Jason Bourne needed. The nerves in the throat are a magnificent network of immobilizing, cordlike fibres connecting the body organs to the central nervous system. Bourne played upon them swiftly, and once again dragged his victim through the crowd, apologizing

  profusely as he left the unconscious guard on a dark patch of concrete. He held the radio up to his ear; there was nothing on the receiver. It was 9: 40. One head-head man remained.

  The small, middle-aged Chinese in the expensive suit and polished shoes all but held his nose as he raced from one point to another trying to spot his men, reluctant to make the slightest physical contact with the hordes gathered around the vendors' stalls and tables. His lack of height made it hard for him to see. Bourne watched where he was heading, ran ahead of him, then quickly turned around and sent his fist crashing into the executive's lower abdomen. As the Chinese buckled over, Jason reached around the man's waist with his left arm, picked him up and carried the limp figure to a section of the kerb where two men sat, weaving, passing a bottle back and forth. He placed a Wushu chop across the banker's neck and dropped him between his new companions. Through their haze the drunken men would make sure their new associate stayed unconscious for a considerable length of time. There were pockets to ransack, clothes and a pair of shoes to be removed. All would bring a price, whatever cash there was a bonus for their labours. 9: 43.

  Bourne no longer stooped, gone was the chameleon. He rushed across the street overflowing with humanity and raced down the steps and into the alley. He had done it! He had removed the Praetorian Guard. A taipan for a wife! He reached the staircase - the third staircase in the right wall -and yanked out the remarkable weapon he had purchased from an arms merchant in the Mongkok. As quietly as he could manage, testing each step with a foot, he climbed to the second level. He braced himself outside the door, balanced his weight, lifted his left leg and smashed it into the thin wood.

  The door crashed open. He sprang through and crouched, the weapon extended.

  Three men faced him, forming a semicircle, each with a gun aimed at his head. Behind them, dressed in a white silk suit, a huge Chinese sat in a chair. The man nodded to his guards. He had lost. Bourne had miscalculated and David Webb would die. Far more excruciating, he knew Marie's death

  would soon follow. Let them fire, thought David. Pull the triggers that would mercifully put him out of it! He had killed the only thing that mattered in his life. 'Shoot, goddamn you! Shoot?

  Chapter Eleven

  'Welcome, Mr Bourne,' said the large man in the white silk suit, waving his guards aside. 'I assume you see the logic of putting your gun on the floor and pushing it away from you. There's really no alternative, you know. '

  Webb looked at the three Chinese; the man in the centre cracked the hammer back on his automatic. David lowered the gun and shoved it forward. 'You expected me, didn't you? he asked quietly, getting to his feet as the guard on his right picked up the weapon.

  'We didn't know what to expect - except the unexpected. How did you do it? Are my people dead?5

  'No. They're bruised and unconscious, not dead. '

  'Remarkable. You thought I was alone here?

  'I was told you travelled with your head man and three others, not six. I thought it was logical. Any more it seemed to me would be conspicuous. '

  'That's why these men came early to make arrangements and have not left this hole since they arrived. So you thought you could take me, exchange me for your wife. '

  'It's obvious that she didn't have a damn thing to do with it. Let her go; she can't hurt you. Kill me but let her go.

  'Pi ge!' said the banker, ordering two of the guards out of the flat; they bowed and left quickly. 'This man will remain,' he continued, turning back to Webb. 'Apart from the immense loyalty he has for me he doesn't speak or understand a word of English. '

  'I see you trust your people. '

  'I trust no one. ' The financier gestured at a dilapidated wooden chair across the shabby room, revealing as he did so a gold Rolex on his wrist, diamonds encrusted around its dial matching his bejewelled gold cufflinks. 'Sit down,' he ordered. 'I've gone to great lengths and spent much money to bring about this conference. '

  'Your head man - I assume it was your head man,' said Bourne aimlessly, studying every detail of the room as he walked over to the chair, 'told me not to wear an expensive watch down here. I guess you didn't listen to him. '

  'I arrived in a soiled, filthy kaftan with sleeves wide enough to conceal it. As I look at your clothes, I'm certain the Chameleon understands. '

  'You're Yao Ming. ' Webb sat down.

  'It is a name I've used, you surely understand that. The Chameleon goes by many shapes and colours. '

  'I didn't kill your wife - or the man who happened to be with her. '

  'I know that, Mr Webb. . . '

  'You what?' David shot up from the chair, as the guard took a rapid step forward, his gun levelled.

  'Sit down,' repeated the banker. 'Don't alarm my devoted friend or we both may regret it, you far more than me. '

  'You knew it wasn't me and still you've done this to us!'

  'Sit quickly, please. '

  'I want an answer? said Webb, sitting down.

  'Because you are the true Jason Bourne. That is why you are here, why your wife remains in my custody, and will remain so until you accomplish what I ask of you. '

  'I talked to her. ' 'I know you did. I permitted it. '

  'She didn't sound like herself - even considering the circumstances. She's strong, stronger than I was during those lousy weeks in Switzerland and Paris. Something's wrong with her! Is she drugged?'

  'Certainly not. '

  'Is she hurt?

  'In spirit, perhaps, but not in any other way. However, she

  will be hurt and she will die, if you refuse me. Can I be clearer?

  'You're dead, taipan. '

  'The true Bourne speaks. That's very good. It's what I need. '

  'Spell it out. '

  'I am being hounded by someone in your name,' began the taipan, his voice hard, his intensity mounting. 'Far more severely - may the spirits forgive me - than the loss of a young wife. From all sides in all areas, the terrorist, this new Jason Bourne, attacks! He kills my people, blows up shipments of valuable merchandise, threatens other taipans with death if they do business with me! His exorbitant fees come from my enemies here in Hong Kong and Macao, and up the Deep Bay water routes north into the provinces themselves!'

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