The bourne supremacy, p.82
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.82

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 82

 

  And the kill was everything. Bourne understood that, especially under the circumstances. D'Anjou was right. All the factors were in place for a spectacular assassination.

  Carlos the Jackal could not ask for more - nor could Jason Bourne, reflected David Webb. To pull it off in spite of the extraordinary security would crown the new 'Bourne' king of his sickening profession. Then how! Which option would he use"? And after the decision was made what avenue of escape was most effective, most possible?

  One of the television trucks with its complicated equipment was too obvious a target for an escape. The incoming aircraft's maintenance crews were checked and double and triple checked; an outsider would be spotted instantly. All the journalists would pass through electronic gates which picked up anything in excess of ten milligrams of metal. And the rooftops were out. How then?

  'You're cleared!' said d'Anjou, suddenly appearing at his side, holding a piece of paper in his hand. This is signed by the prefect of the Kai Tak police. '

  'What did you tell him?'

  That you were a Jew trained by the Mossad in anti-terrorist activities and posted to us in an exchange programme. The word will be spread. '

  'Good God, I don't speak Hebrew]'

  'Who here does? Shrug and continue in your tolerable French - which is spoken here but very badly. You'll get away with it. '

  'You're impossible, you know that, don't you?'

  'I know that Delta, when he was our leader in Medusa, told Command Saigon that he would not go out in the field without "old Echo". '

  'I must have been out of my mind. '

  'You were less in command of it then, I'll grant you that. '

  Thanks a lot, Echo. Wish me luck. '

  'You don't need luck,' said the Frenchman. 'You are Delta. You will always be Delta. '

  Removing the bright yellow rain slicker and the visored hat, Bourne walked outside and showed his clearance to the guards by the hangar doors. In the distance, the press was being herded through the electronic gates towards the roped stanchions. Microphones had been placed on the edge of the runway, while police vans were joined by motorcycle patrols forming a tight semicircle around the press conference area. The preparations were almost complete, all the security forces in place, the media equipment in working order. The plane from Peking had obviously begun its descent in the downpour. It would land in a matter of minutes, minutes Jason wished could be extended. There were so many things to look for and so little time to search. Where! What! Everything was both possible and impossible. Which option would the killer use? What vantage point would he zero in on for the perfect kill? And how would he most logically escape from the killing ground alive?

  Bourne had considered every option he could think of and ruled each out. Think again! And again. Only minutes left. Walk around and start at the beginning. . . the beginning. The premise: the assassination of the Governor. Conditions: seemingly airtight, with security police training guns from rooftops, blocking every entrance, every exit, every staircase and escalator, all in radio contact. The odds were overwhelmingly against. Suicide . . . Yet it was these same heavily negative odds that the impostor-killer found irresistible. D'Anjou had been right again: with one spectacular kill under these conditions an assassin's supremacy would be established - or re-established. What had the Frenchman said? With one kill like that he re-establishes the legend to its full invincibility.

  'Who? Where? How? Think! Look!

  The downpour drenched his Kowloon police uniform. He continuously wiped the water from his face as he moved about peering at everyone and everything. Nothing] And then the muted roar of the jet engines could be heard in the distance. The jet from Peking was making its final approach at the far end of the runway. It was landing.

  Jason studied the crowd standing inside the roped stanchions. An accommodating Hong Kong government, in deference to Peking and in the desire for 'full coverage', had supplied ponchos and squares of canvas and cheap pocket raincoats for all who wanted them. The Kai Tak personnel countered the media's demands for an inside conference by stating simply - and wisely without explanation - that it was not in the interests of security. The statements would be short, an aggregate of no more than five or six minutes. Certainly the fine members of the journalistic establishment could tolerate a little rain for such an important event.

  The photographers? Metal Cameras were passed through the gates but not all 'cameras' took pictures. A relatively simple device could be inserted and locked into a mount, a powerful firing mechanism that released a bullet - or a dart -with the assistance of a telescopic viewfinder. Was that the way? Had the assassin taken that option, expecting to smash the 'camera' under his feet and take another from his pocket as he moved swiftly to the outskirts of the crowd, his credentials as authentic as d'Anjou's and the 'anti-terrorist' from the Mossad? It was possible.

  The huge jet dropped onto the runway and Bourne walked quickly into the roped-off area, approaching every photographer he could see, looking - looking for a man who looked like himself. There must have been two dozen men with cameras; he became frantic as the plane from Peking taxied towards the crowd, the flood- and searchlights now centred on the space around the microphones and the television crews. He went from one photographer to the next, rapidly ascertaining that the man could not be the killer, then looking again to see if postures were erect, faces cosmeticized. Again nothing] No one! He had to find him, take him! Before anyone else found him. The assassination was beside the point, it was irrelevant to him! Nothing mattered except Marie!

  Go back to the beginning! Target - the Governor. Conditions - highly negative for a kill, the target under maximum security, undoubtedly protected by personal armour, the whole security corps orderly, disciplined, the officers in tight command. . . The beginning! Something was missing. Go over it again. The Governor - the target, a single kill. Method of the kill: suicide ruled out everything but a delayed-reaction device - an air dart, a pellet - yet the demands of accuracy made such a weapon illogical, and the loud report of a conventional gun would instantly activate the entire security force. Delay! Delayed action, not reaction! The beginning, the first assumption was wrong! The target was not just the Governor. Not a single kill but multiple killings, indiscriminate killings! How much more spectacular! How much more effective for a maniac who wanted to throw Hong Kong into chaos! And the chaos would begin instantly with the security forces. Disorder, escape!

  Bourne's mind was racing as he roamed through the crowd in the downpour, his eyes darting everywhere. He tried to recall every weapon he had ever known. A weapon that could be fired or released silently, unobtrusively from a restricted, densely populated area, its effect delayed long enough for the killer to reposition himself and make a clean escape. The only device that came to mind were grenades, but he immediately dismissed them. Then the thought of time-fused dynamite or plastique struck him. These last were far more manageable in terms of delays and concealment. The plastic explosives could be set in time spans of minutes and fractions of minutes rather than a few seconds only; they could be hidden in small boxes or in wrapped packages, even narrow briefcases. . . or thicker cases supposedly filled with photographic equipment, not necessarily carried by a photographer. He started again, going back into the crowd of reporters and photographers, his eyes scanning the black tarmac below trousers and skirts, looking for an isolated container that remained stationary on the hard asphalt. Logic made him concentrate on the rows of men and women nearest the roped-off runway. In his mind the 'package' would be no more than twelve inches in length if it was thick, twenty if it was an attach� case. A smaller charge would not kill the negotiators of both governments. The airfield lights were strong, but they created myriad shadows, darker pockets within the darkness. He wished he had had the sense to carry a flashlight - he had always carried one, if only a penlight, for it, too, was a weapon! Why had he forgotten! Then to his astonishment he saw flashligh
t beams crisscrossing the black floor of the airfield, darting between the same trousers and skirts he had been peering beyond. The security police had arrived at the same theory, and why shouldn't they? La Guardia Airport, 1972; Lod Airport, Tel Aviv, 1974; Rue de Bac, Paris, 1975; Harrods, London, 1982. And half a dozen embassies from Teheran to Beirut, why shouldn't they? They were current, he was not. His thinking was slow - and he could not allow that!

 
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