The bourne supremacy, p.55
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.55

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 55

 

  He was suddenly there, in front of the large vehicle, his expression terrified as he spun to the side beneath the driver's window and slammed the flat of his hand into the door, uttering a cry of pain as if he had been struck, perhaps killed by the van. He lay supine on the ground as the vehicle came to a stop; the driver leaped out, an innocent about to protest his innocence. He had no chance to do so. Jason's arm was extended; he yanked the man by the ankle, pulling him off his feet, and sending his head crashing back into the side of the van. The driver fell unconscious, and Bourne dragged him back to the rear of the van beneath the clouded windows. He saw a bulge in the man's jacket; it was a gun, predictably, considering his cargo. Jason removed it and waited for the man from Macao.

  He did not appear. It was not logical.

  Bourne scrambled to the front of the van, gripped the rubberized ledge to the driver's seat, and lunged up, his weapon at the ready, sweeping the rear seats from side to side.

  No one. It was empty.

  He climbed back out and went to the driver, spat in his face and slapped him into consciousness.

  'AW?' he whispered harshly. 'Where is the man who was in here?

  'Back there!' replied the driver, in Cantonese, shaking his head. 'In the official car with a man nobody knows. Spare my terrible life! I have seven children!'

  'Get up in the seat,' said Bourne, pulling the man to his feet and pushing him to the open door. 'Drive out of here as fast as you can. '

  No other advice was necessary. The van shot out of the Shumchun reservoir, careening around the curve into the main exit at such speed that Jason thought it would go over the bank. A man nobody knows. What did that mean? No matter, the man from Macao was trapped. He was in a brown sedan inside the gate on the forbidden road. Bourne raced back to the taxi and climbed into the front seat; the scattered money had been removed from the floor.

  'You are satisfied?' said the cabdriver. 'I will have ten times what you dropped on my unworthy feet?

  'Cut it, Charlie Chan! A car's going to come out of that road to the pump station and you're going to do exactly what I tell you. Do you understand me?

  'Do you understand ten times the amount you left in my ancient, undistinguished taxi? 'I understand. It could be fifteen times, if you do your job. Come on, move. Get over to the edge of the parking lot. I don't know how long we'll have to wait. '

  'Time is money, sir. '

  'Oh, shut up!'

  The wait was roughly twenty minutes. The brown sedan appeared, and Bourne saw what he had not seen before. The windows were tinted darker than those of the van; whoever was inside was invisible. Then Jason heard the very last words he wanted to hear.

  'Take your money back,' said the driver quietly. 'I will return you to Lo Wu. I have never seen you. '

  ' Why?'

  'That is a government car - one of our government's official vehicles - and I will not be the one who follows it. '

  'Wait a minute! Just. . . wait a minute. Twenty times what I gave you, with a bonus if it all comes out all right! Until I say otherwise you can stay way behind him. I'm just a tourist who wants to look around. No, wait! Here, I'll show you! My visa says I'm investing money. Investors are permitted to look around!'

  'Twenty times? said the driver, staring at Jason. 'What guarantee do I have that you will fulfill your promise?

  'I'll put it on the seat between us. You're driving; you could do a lot of things with this car I wouldn't be prepared for. I won't try to take it back. '

  ''Good! But I stay far behind. I know these roads. There are only certain places one can travel. '

  Thirty-five minutes later, with the brown sedan still in sight but far ahead, the driver spoke again. 'They go to the airfield. '

  'What airfield?'

  'It is used by government officials and men with money from the south. '

  'People investing in factories, industry?'

  'This is the Economic Zone. '

  'I'm an investor,' said Bourne. 'My visa says so. Hurry up! Close in!'

  There are five vehicles between us, and we agreed -1 stay far behind. '

  'Until I said otherwise! It's different now. I have money. I'm investing in China!'

  'We will be stopped at the gate. Telephone calls will be made. '

  'I've got the name of a banker in Shenzhen!'

  'Does he have your name, sir? And a list of the Chinese firms you are dealing with? If so, you may do the talking at the gate. But if this banker in Shenzhen does not know you, you will be detained for giving false information. Your stay in China would be for as long as it takes to thoroughly investigate you. Weeks, months. '

  'I have to reach that car!'

  'You approach that car, you will be shot. '

  'Goddamn it!' shouted Jason in English, instantly reverting to Chinese. 'Listen to me. I don't have time to explain, but I've got to see him!'

  'This is not my business,' said the driver coldly, warily.

  'Get in line and drive up to the gate,' ordered Bourne. 'I'm a fare you picked up in Lo Wu, that's all. I'll do the talking. '

  'You ask too much! I will not be seen with someone like you. '

  'Just do it,' said Jason, pulling the gun from his belt. The pounding in his chest was unbearable as Bourne stood by a large window looking out on the airfield. The terminal was small and for privileged travellers. The incongruous sight of

  casual Western businessmen carrying attach� cases and tennis rackets unnerved Jason because of the stark contrast to the uniformed guards, standing about rigidly. Oil and water were apparently compatible.

  Speaking English to the interpreter who translated accurately for the officer of the guard, he had claimed to be a bewildered executive instructed by the consulate on Queen's Road in Hong Kong to come to the airport to meet an official flying in from Beijing. He had misplaced the official's name, but they had met briefly at the State Department in Washington and would recognize each other. He implied that the present meeting was looked upon with great favour by important men in the Central Committee. He was given a pass restricting him to the terminal, and lastly he asked if the taxi could be permitted to remain in case transport was needed later. The request was granted.

  'If you want your money, you'll stay,' he had said to the driver in Cantonese as he picked up the folded bills between them.

  'You have a gun and angry eyes. You will kill. '

  Jason had stared at the driver. The last thing on earth I want to do is kill the man in that car. I would only kill to protect his life. '

  The brown sedan with the dark, opaque windows was nowhere in the parking area. Bourne walked as rapidly as he thought acceptable into the terminal, to the window where he stood now, his temples exploding with anger and frustration, for outside on the field he saw the government car. It was parked on the tarmac not fifty feet away from him, but an impenetrable wall of glass separated him from it - and deliverance. Suddenly the sedan shot forward towards a medium-sized jet several hundred yards north on the runway. Bourne strained his eyes, wishing to Christ he had binoculars! Then he realized they would have been useless; the car swung around the tail of the plane and out of sight.

  Goddamn it!

  Within seconds the jet began rolling to the foot of the runway as the brown sedan swerved and raced back towards the parking area and the exit.

 
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