The bourne supremacy, p.61
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.61

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 61


  He does not appear himself, of course. He uses whores from the street.

  Bourne left the bar and followed the woman. Out in the dark street, which had a number of people in it but was deserted by Hong Kong standards, he stayed roughly fifty feet behind her, stopping every now and then to look into the lighted store windows, then hurrying ahead so as not to lose her.

  Don't accept the first relay. They think as well as you do. The first could be an indigent looking for a few dollars and know nothing. Even the second or the third. You'll recognize the contact. He'll be different.

  A stooped old man approached the whore. Their bodies brushed, and she shrieked at him while passing him the note. Jason feigned drunkenness and turned around, taking up the second relay.

  It happened four blocks away, and the man was different. He was a small, well-dressed Chinese, his compact body with its broad shoulders and narrow waist exuding strength. The quickness of his gestures as he paid the seedy old man and began walking rapidly across the street was a warning to any adversary. For Bourne it was an irresistible invitation; this was a contact with authority, a fink to the Frenchman.

  Jason dashed to the other side; he was close to fifty yards behind the man and losing ground. There was no point in being subtle any longer; he broke into a run. Seconds later he was directly behind the contact, the soles of his sneakers having dulled the sound of his racing feet. Ahead was an alleyway that cut between what looked like two office buildings; the windows were dark. He had to move quickly, but move in a way that would not cause a commotion, not give the night strollers a reason to shout or call for the police. In this, the odds were with him; most of the people wandering around were more drunk or drugged than sober, the rest weary labourers having finished their working hours, anxious to get home. The contact approached the opening of the alley. Now. Bourne rushed ahead to the man's right side. The Frenchman^ he said in Chinese. 'I have news from the Frenchman! Hurry!' He spun into the alley, and the contact, stunned, his eyes bulging, had no choice but to walk like a bewildered zombie into the mouth of the alleyway. Now!

  Lunging from the shadows, Jason grabbed the man's left ear, yanking it, twisting it, propelling the contact forward, bringing his knee up into the base of the man's spine, his other hand on the man's neck. He threw him down into the bowels of the dark alley, racing with him, crashing his sneaker into the back of the contact's knee; the man fell, spinning in the fall, and stared up at Bourne.

  ' You! It is you!. ' Then the contact winced in the dim light. 'No,' he said, suddenly calm, deliberate. 'You are not him. '

  Without a warning move, the Chinese lashed his right leg out, shoving his body off the pavement like a speeding trajectory in reverse. He caught the muscles of Jason's left thigh, following the blow with his left foot, pummelling it into Bourne's abdomen as he leaped to his feet, hands extended and rigid, his muscular body moving fluidly, even gracefully, in a semicircle and in anticipation.

  What followed was a battle of animals, two trained executioners, each move made in intense premeditation, each blow lethal if it landed with full impact. One fought for his life, the other for survival and deliverance. . . and the woman he could not live without, would not live without. Finally, height and weight and a motive beyond life itself made the difference, giving victory to one and defeat to the other.

  Entwined against the wall, both sweating and bruised, blood trickling from mouths and eyes, Bourne hammer-locked the contact's neck from behind, his left knee jammed into the small of the man's back, his right leg wrapped around the contact's ankles, clamping them.

  'You know what happens next!' he whispered, breathlessly spacing the Chinese words for final emphasis. 'One snap and your spine goes. It's not a pleasant way to die. And you don't have to die. You can live with more money than the Frenchman would ever pay you. Take my word for it, the Frenchman and his killer won't be around much longer. Take your choice. Now!' Jason strained; the veins in the man's throat were distended to the point of bursting.

  ' Yes-yes!' cried the contact. 'I live, not die!'

  They sat in the dark alleyway, their backs against the wall, smoking cigarettes. It was established that the man spoke English fluently, which he had learned from the nuns in a Portuguese Catholic school.

  'You're very good, you know,' said Bourne, wiping the blood from his lips.

  'I am the champion of Macao. It is why the Frenchman pays me. But you bested me. I am dishonoured, no matter what happens. '

  'No you're not. It's just that I know a few more dirty tricks than you do. They're not taught where you were trained, and they never should be. Besides, no one will ever know. '

  'But I am young! You are old. '

  'I wouldn't go that far. And I stay in pretty good shape, thanks to a crazy doctor who tells me what to do. How old do you think I am?'

  'You are over thirty?

  'Agreed. '


  Thanks. '

  'You are also very strong, very heavy - but it is more than that. I am a sane man. You are not]' 'Perhaps. ' Jason crushed out his cigarette on the pavement. 'Let's talk sensibly,' he said, pulling money from his pocket. 'I meant what I said, I'll pay you well. . . Where's the Frenchman?'

  'Everything is not in balance. '

  'What do you mean?'

  'Balance is important. '

  'I know that, but I don't understand you. '

  There is a lack of harmony, and the Frenchman is angry. How much will you pay me?'

  'How much can you tell me?'

  'Where the Frenchman and his assassin will be tomorrow night. '

  Ten thousand American dollars. '


  'But only if you take me there. '

  'It is across the border?

  'I have a visa for Shenzhen. It's good for another three days. '

  'It may help, but it is not legal for the Guangdong border. '

  Then you figure it out. Ten thousand dollars, American. '

  'I will figure it out. ' The contact paused, his eyes on the money held out by the American. 'May I have what I believe you call an instalment?'

  'Five hundred dollars, that's all. '

  'Negotiations at the border will cost much more. '

  'Call me. I'll bring you the money. '

  'Call you where?'

  'Get me a hotel room here in Macao. I'll put my money in its vault. '

  The Lisboa. '

  'No, not the Lisboa. I can't go there. Somewhere else. '

  'There is no problem. Help me to my feet. . . No! It would be better for my dignity if I did not need help. '

  'So be it,' said Jason Bourne.

  Catherine Staples sat at her desk, the disconnected telephone still in her hand; absently she looked at it and hung up. The conversation she had just concluded astonished her. As there was no Canadian Intelligence Force currently operating in Hong Kong, foreign service officers cultivated their own sources within the Hong Kong police for those times when accurate information was needed. These occasions were invariably in the interests of Canadian citizens residing in or travelling through the colony. The problems ranged from those arrested to those assaulted, from Canadians who were swindled to those doing the swindling. Then, too, there were deeper concerns, matters of security and espionage, the former covering visits of senior government officials, the latter involving means of protection against electronic surveillance and the gaining of sensitive information through acts of blackmail against consulate personnel. It was quiet but common knowledge that agents from the Eastern bloc and fanatically religious Middle East regimes used drugs and prostitutes of both sexes for whatever the preferences of both sexes in a never-ending pursuit of a hostile government's classified data. Hong Kong was a needle and meat market. And it was in this area that Staples had done some of her best work in the territory. She had saved the careers of two attaches in her own consulate, as well as th
ose of an American and three British. Photographs of personnel in compromising acts had been destroyed along with the corresponding negatives, the extortionists banished from the colony with threats not simply of exposure but of physical harm. In one instance, an Iranian consular official, yelling in high dudgeon, from his quarters at the Gammon House, accused her of meddling in affairs far above her station. She had listened to the ass for as long as she could tolerate the nasal twang, then terminated the call with a short statement. 'Didn't you know? Khomeini likes little boys. '

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