The bourne supremacy, p.66
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.66

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 66


  'Yes, we would have done that in Medusa-'

  'It's why I thought you were him. ' Jason suddenly shouted in fury. 'What have you done?'

  'It's part of the story. '

  'I want to hear it. Now!'

  'There's a flat stretch of ground, several hundred yards, over there to the left,' said the Frenchman, pointing. 'It used to be a grazing field but recently it's been used by helicopters flying in to meet with an assassin. Let's go to the far end and rest - and talk. Just in case what remains of the fire draws anyone from the village. '

  'It's five miles away. '

  'Still, this is China. '

  The clouds had dispersed, blown away with the night winds; the moon was descending yet was still high enough for its

  light to wash the distant mountains with its light. The two disparate men of Medusa sat on the ground. Bourne lit a cigarette as d'Anjou spoke. 'Do you remember back in Paris, that crowded cafe where we talked after the madness at the Louvre?'

  'Sure. Carlos nearly killed us both that afternoon. '

  'You nearly trapped the Jackal. '

  'But I didn't. What about Paris, the cafe?1

  'I told you then I was coming back to Asia. To Singapore or Hong Kong, perhaps the Seychelles, I think I said. France was never good for me - or to' me. After Dien Bien Phu - everything I had was destroyed, blown up by our own troops - the talk of reparations was meaningless. Hollow babbling from hollow men. It's why I joined Medusa. The only possible way to get back my own was with an American victory. '

  'I remember,* said Jason. 'What's that got to do with tonight?'

  'As is obvious, I came back to Asia. Since the Jackal had seen me, my route was circuitous, which left me time to think. I had to make a clear appraisal of my circumstances and the possibilities before me. As I was fleeing for my life my assets were not extensive but neither were they pathetic. I took the risk of returning to the shop in St Honore that afternoon and frankly stole every sou in and out of sight. I knew the combination of the safe, and fortunately it was well endowed. I could comfortably buy myself across the world, out of Carlos's reach, and live for many weeks without panic. But what was I to do with myself? The funds would run out and my skills - so apparent in the civilized world - were not such that they would permit me to live out the autumn of my life over here in the comfort that was stolen from me. Still, I had not been a snake in the head of Medusa for nothing. God knows I discovered and developed talents I never dreamed were within me - and found, frankly, that morality was not an issue. I had been wronged, and I could wrong others. And nameless, faceless strangers had tried to kill me countless times, so I could assume the responsibility for the death of nameless, faceless other strangers. You see the symmetry,

  don't you? At one remove, the equations became abstract. '

  'I hear a lot of horseshit,' replied Bourne.

  Then you are not listening, Delta. '

  'I'm not Delta. '

  'Very well. Bourne. '

  'I'm not - go on. Perhaps I am. '


  'Rien. Go on. '

  'It struck me that, regardless of what happened to you in Paris - whether you won or lost, whether you were killed or spared - Jason Bourne was finished. And by all the holy saints, I knew Washington would never utter a word of acknowledgement or clarification; you would simply disappear. "Beyond-salvage" I believe is the term. '

  'I'm aware of it,' said Jason. 'So I was finished. '

  "Naturellement. But there would be no explanations, there could not be. Man Dieu, the assassin they invented had gone mad - he had killed! No, there would be nothing. Strategists retreat into the darkest shadows when their plans go. . . "off the wire", I think is the phrase. '

  'I'm aware of that one, too. '

  "Bien. Then you can comprehend the solution I found for myself, for the last days of an older man. '

  'I'm beginning to. '

  'Bien encore. There was a void here in Asia. Jason Bourne was no longer, but his legend was still alive. And there are men who will pay for the services of such an extraordinary man. Therefore I knew what I had to do. It was simply a matter of finding the right contender-'


  'Very well, pretender, if you wish. And train him in the ways of Medusa, in the ways of the most vaunted member of that so-unofficial, criminal fraternity. I went to Singapore and searched the caves of the outcasts, often fearing for my life, until I found the man. And I found him quickly, I might add. He was desperate; he had been running for his life for nearly three years, staying, as they say, only steps away from those hunting him. He is an Englishman, a former Royal Commando who got drunk one night and killed seven people

  in the London streets while in a rage. Because of his outstanding service record he was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Kent, from which he escaped and somehow - God knows how - made his way to Singapore. He had all the tools of the trade; they simply needed to be refined and guided. '

  'He looks like me. Like I used to look. '

  'Far more now than he did. The basic features were there, also the tall frame and the muscular body; they were assets. It was merely a question of altering a rather prominent nose and rounding a sharper chin than I remembered you having - as Delta, of course. You were different in Paris, but not so radically that I could not recognize you. ' 'A commando,' said Jason, quietly. 'It fits. Who is he?

  'He's a man without a name but not without a macabre story,' replied d'Anjou, gazing at the mountains in the distance.

  'No name. . .

  'None he ever gave me that he would not contradict in the next breath - none remotely authentic. He guards that name as if it were the sole extension of his life, its revelation inevitably leading to his death. Of course, he's right; the present circumstances are a case in point. If I had a name, I could forward it through a blind to the British authorities in Hong Kong. Their computers would light up; specialists would be flown from London and a manhunt that I could never mount would be set in motion. They'd never take him alive - he wouldn't permit it and they wouldn't care to - and thus my purpose would be served. '

  'Why do the British want him terminated?'

  'Suffice it to say that Washington had its Mayi Lais and its Medusa, while London has a far more recent military unit led by a homicidal psychotic who left hundreds slaughtered in his wake - few distinctions were made between the innocent and the guilty. He holds too many secrets, which, if exposed, could lead to violent eruptions of revenge throughout the Mideast and Africa. Practicality comes first, you know that. Or you should. '

  'He led? asked Bourne, bewildered.

  'No mere foot soldier he, Delta. He was a captain at twenty-two and a major at twenty-four when rank was next to impossible to obtain due to Whitehall's service economies. No doubt he'd be a brigadier or even a full general by now if his luck had held out. '

  That's what he told you?

  'In periodic drunken rages when ugly truths would surface - but never his name. They usually occurred once or twice a month, several days at a time when he'd block out his life in a drunken sea of self-loathing. Yet he was always coherent enough before the outbursts came, telling me to strap him down, confine him, protect him from himself. . . He would relive horrible events from his past, his voice hoarse, guttural, hollow. As the drink took over he would describe scenes of torture and mutilation, questioning prisoners with knives puncturing their eyes, and their wrists slit, ordering his captives to watch as their lives flowed out of their veins. So far as I could piece the fragments together, he commanded many of the most dangerous and savage raids against the fanatical uprisings of the late seventies and early eighties, from Yemen down to the bloodbaths in East Africa. In one moment of besotted jubilation he spoke of how Idi Amin himself would stop breathing at the mention of his name, so widespread was his reputation for matching - even surpassing - Amin's strategy of brutality. ' D'Anjou paused, no
dding his head slowly and arching his brows in the Gallic acceptance of the inexplicable. 'He was sub-human - is subhuman - but for all that a highly intelligent so-called officer and a gentleman. A complete paradox, a total contradiction of the civilized man. . . He'd laugh at the fact that his troops despised him and called him an animal, yet none ever dared to raise an official complaint. '

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