The bourne supremacy, p.44
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.44

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 44


  'You have a lot of enemies. '

  'My interests are extensive. '

  'So, I was told, were those of the man I didn't kill in Macao. '

  'Oddly enough,' said the banker, breathing hard and gripping the arm of his chair in an effort to control himself, 'he and I were not enemies. In certain areas our interests converged. It's how he met my wife. '

  'How convenient. Shared assets, as it were. '

  'You are offensive. '

  They're not my rules,' replied Bourne, his eyes cold, levelled at the Oriental. 'Get to the point. My wife's alive and I want her back without a mark on her or a voice raised against her. If she's harmed in any way whatsoever, you and your Zhongguo ren won't be any match for what I'll mount against you. '

  'You are not in a position to make threats, Mr Webb. '

  'Webb isn't,' agreed the once most hunted man in Asia and Europe. 'Bourne is. '

  The Oriental looked hard at Jason, nodding twice as his eyes dropped below Webb's gaze. 'Your audacity matches your arrogance. To the point. It's very simple, very clear cut. ' The taipan suddenly clenched his right hand into a fist, then raised it and crashed it down on the fragile arm of the decrepit

  chair. 'I want proof against my enemies!' he shouted, his angry eyes peering out behind two partially closed walls of swollen flesh. The only way I'll get it is for you to bring me this all too credible impostor who takes your place! I want him facing me, watching me as he feels his life leaving him in agony until he tells me everything I must know. Bring him to me, Jason Bourne!' The banker breathed deeply, then added quietly. 'Then, and only then, will you be reunited with your wife. '

  Webb stared at the taipan in silence. 'What makes you think I can do it? he said finally.

  'Who better to trap a pretender than the original. '

  'Words,' said Webb. 'Meaningless. '

  'He's studied you! He's analysed your methods, your techniques. He could not pass himself off as you if he had not. Find him! Trap him with the tactics you yourself created. ' 'Just like that?

  'You'll have help. Several names and descriptions, men I am convinced are involved with this new killer who uses an old name. '

  'Over in Macao?

  'Never! It must not be Macao! There's to be no mention, no reference whatsoever to the incident at the Lisboa Hotel. It is closed, finished; you know nothing about it. In no way can my person be associated with what you are doing. You have nothing to do with me! If you surface, you are hunting a man who has assumed your mantle. You are protecting yourself, defending yourself. A perfectly natural thing to do under the circumstances. '

  'I thought you wanted proof-'

  'It will come when you bring me the impostor? shouted the taipan.

  'If not Macao, where then?

  'Here in Kowloon. In the Tsim Sha Tsui. Five men were slain in the back room of a cabaret, among them a banker -like myself, a taipan,. my associate from time to time and no less influential - as well as three others whose identities were concealed; apparently it was a government decision. I've never found out who they were. '

  'But you know who the fifth man was,' said Bourne.

  'He worked for me. He took my place at that meeting. Had I been there myself, your namesake would have killed me. This is where you will start, here in Kowloon, in the Tsim Sha Tsui. I will give you the names of the two known dead and the identities of many men who were the enemies of both, now my enemies. Move quickly. Find the man who kills in your name and bring him to me. And a last warning, Mr Bourne. Should you try to find out who I am the order will be swift, the execution swifter. Your wife will die. '

  'Then so will you. Give me the names. '

  'They're on this paper,' said the man who used the name' Yao Ming, reaching into the pocket of his white silk vest. 'They were typed by a public stenographer at The Mandarin. There would be no point in trying to trace a specific typewriter. '

  'A waste of time,' said Bourne, taking the sheet of paper. There must be twenty million typewriters in Hong Kong. '

  'But not so many taipans of my size and girth, eh?

  That I'll remember. '

  'I'm sure you will. '

  'How do I reach you?'

  'You don't. Ever. This meeting never took place. '

  Then why did it? Why did everything that's happened take place? Say I manage to find and take this cretin who calls himself Bourne - and it's a damn big if - what do I do with him? Leave him on the steps outside here in the Walled City?'

  'It could be a splendid idea. Drugged, no one would pay the slightest attention beyond rifling his pockets. '

  'I'd pay a lot of attention. A prize for a prize, taipan. I want an ironclad guarantee. I want my wife back. '

  'What would you consider such a guarantee?'

  'First her voice on the phone convincing me she's unharmed, and then I want to see her - say, walking up and down a street under her own power with no one near her. '

  'Jason Bourne speaks?

  'He speaks. ' 'Very well. We've developed a high technology industry here in Hong Kong, ask anyone in the electronics business in

  your country. On the bottom of that page is a telephone number. When and if - and only when and if - the impostor is in your hands call that number and repeat the words "snake lady" several times-'

  'Medusa] whispered Jason, interrupting. 'Airborne. '

  The taipan arched his brows, his expression noncommittal. 'Naturally, I was referring to the woman in the bazaar. '

  'Like hell you were. Go on. '

  'As I say, repeat the words several times until you hear clicks-'

  'Triggering another number, or numbers,' broke in Bourne again.

  'Something to do with the sounds of the phrase, I believe,' agreed the taipan. 'The sibilant s, followed by a flat vowel and hard consonants. Ingenious, wouldn't you say?'

  'It's called aurally receptive programming, instruments activated by a voice print. '

  'Since you're not impressed, do let me emphasize the condition under which the call may be made. For your wife's sake, I hope it impresses you. The call is to be placed only when you are prepared to deliver the impostor within a matter of minutes. Should you or anyone else use the number and the code words without that guarantee, I'll know a trace is being put out over the lines. In that event, your wife will be killed, and a dead, disfigured white woman without identification dropped into the waters of the out islands. Do I make myself clear?5

  Swallowing, suppressing his fury despite the sickening fear, Bourne spoke icily. 'The condition is understood. Now you understand mine. When and if I make that call, I'll want to speak to my wife - not within minutes but within seconds. If I don't, whoever's on the line will hear the gunshot and you'll know that your assassin, the prize you say you've got to have, has just had his head blown away. You'll have thirty seconds. '

  'Your condition is understood and will be met. I'd say the conference is over, Jason Bourne. '

  'I want my weapon. One of the guards who left has it. '

  'It will be given to you on your way out. ' 'He'll take my word for it?'

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