The bourne supremacy, p.83
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.83

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 83


  What! Where!

  The enormous 747 starship of the People's Republic came into view like a great silver bird, its jet engines roaring through the deluge, whirring down as it was manoeuvred into position on alien ground. The doors opened and the English and Chinese guards rushed down the steps and into position. Then the parade began. The two leaders of the British and the Chinese delegations emerged together. They waved and walked in unison down the metal staircase, one in the tailored clothes of Whitehall, the other in the drab, rankless uniform of the People's army. They were followed by two lines of aides and adjutants, Occidentals and Orientals doing their best to appear congenial with one another for the cameras. The leaders approached the microphones, and as the voices droned over the loudspeakers and through the rain the next minutes were a blur for Jason. A part of his mind was on the ceremony that was taking place under the floodlights, the larger part on the final search - for it would be final. If the impostor was there, he had to find him - before the kill, before the chaos! But, goddamn it, where! Bourne moved out beyond the ropes on the far right to get a better view of the proceedings. A guard objected; Jason showed the man his clearance and remained motionless, studying the television crews, their looks, their eyes, their equipment. If the assassin was among them, which one was he?

  'We are jointly pleased to announce that further progress has been made with regard to the Accords. We of the United Kingdom. . . '

  'We of the People's Republic of China - the only true China on the face of the earth - express a desire to find a mutual communion with those who wish. . . ' The speeches were interspersed, each leader giving support to his counterpart, yet letting the world know there was still much to negotiate. There was tension beneath the civility, the verbal placebos, and the plastic smiles. And Jason found

  nothing he could focus on, nothing, so he wiped the rain from his face and nodded to the guard as he ducked under the rope and moved once again back through the crowd behind the stanchions. He threaded his way to the left side of the press conference.

  Suddenly, Bourne's eyes were drawn to a series of headlights in the downpour that curved into the runway at the far end of the field and rapidly accelerated towards the stationary aircraft. Then, as if on cue, there was a swelling of applause. The brief ceremony was over, signified by the arrival of the official limousines, each with a motorcycle escort driving up between the delegations and the roped-off crowd of journalists and photographers. Police surrounded the television trucks, ordering all but two preselected cameramen to get inside their vehicles.

  It was the moment. If anything was going to happen, it would happen now. If an instrument of death was about to be placed, its charge to be exploded within the timespan of a minute or less, it would have to be placed now!

  Several feet to his left, he saw an officer of a police contingent, a tall man whose eyes were moving as rapidly as his own. Jason leaned towards the man and spoke in Chinese while holding out his clearance, shielding it from the rain with his hand. 'I'm the man from the Mossad!' he yelled, trying to be heard through the applause.

  'Yes, I know about you!' shouted the officer. 'I was told. We're grateful you're here!'

  'Do you have a flashlight - a torch?'

  'Yes, of course. Do you want it?'

  'Very much. '

  'Here. '

  'Clear me!' ordered Bourne, lifting the rope, gesturing for the officer to follow. 'I haven't time to show papers!'

  'Certainly!' The Chinese followed, reaching out and intercepting a guard who was about to stop Jason - by shooting him if necessary. 'Let him be! He's one of us! He's trained in this sort of thing!'

  The Jew from the Mossad?'

  'It is he. '

  'We were told. Thank you, sir. . . But, of course, he can't understand me. '

  'Oddly enough, he does. He speaks Guangzhou hua. '

  'In Food Street there is what they call a Kosur restaurant that serves our dishes-'

  Bourne was now between the row of limousines and the roped stanchions. As he walked down the line, his flashlight directed below on the black tarmac, he gave orders in Chinese and English - shouting yet not shouting; the commands of a reasonable man looking, perhaps, for a lost object. One by one the men and women of the press moved back, explaining to those behind them. He approached the leading limousine; the flags of Great Britain and the People's Republic were displayed respectively on the right and left, indicating that England was the host, China the guest. The representatives rode together. Jason concentrated on the ground; the exalted passengers were about to enter the elongated vehicle with their most trusted aides amid sustained applause.

  It happened, but Bourne was not sure what it was! His left shoulder touched another shoulder and the contact was electric. The man he had grazed first lurched forward and then had swung back with such ferocity that Jason was shoved off-balance. He turned and looked at the man on the police escort motorcycle, then raised his flashlight to see through the dark plastic oval of the helmet. Lightning struck, sharp, jagged bolts crashing into his skull, his eyes riveted as he tried to adjust to the incredible. He was staring at himself - from only years ago! The dark features beyond the opaque bubble were his! It was the commando! The impostor! The assassin!

  The eyes that stared back at him also showed panic, but they were quicker than Webb's. A flattened, rigid hand lashed out, crashing into Jason's throat, cutting off all speech and thought. Bourne fell back, unable to scream, grabbing his neck as the assassin lurched off his motorcycle. He rushed past Jason and ducked under the rope.

  Get him! Take him. . . Marie! The words were absent, only hysterical thoughts screaming silently through Bourne's mind. He retched, exploding the chop in his throat, and leaped over the rope, plunging into the crowd, following the path of fallen-away bodies that had been pummelled by the killer in his race to escape.

  'Stop. . . him Only the last word emerged from Jason's throat; it was a hoarse whisper. 'Let me through? Two words were formed but no one was listening. From somewhere near the terminal a band was playing in the downpour.

  The path was closed! There were only people, people, people! Find him! Take him! Marie! He's gone! He's disappeared] 'Let me through!' he screamed, the words now clear but heeded by no one. He yanked and pulled and bucked his way to the edge of the crowd, another crowd facing him behind the glass doors of the terminal.

  Nothing! No one! The killer was gone!

  Killer? The kill!

  It was the limousine, the lead limousine with the flags of both countries! That was the target! Somewhere in that car or beneath that car was the timed mechanism that would blow it to the skies, killing the leaders of both delegations. Result -the scenario. . . chaos. Take-over]

  Bourne spun around, frantically looking for someone in authority. Twenty yards beyond the rope, standing at attention as the British anthem was being played, was an officer of the Kowloon police. Clipped to his belt was a radio. A chance! The limousines had started their stately procession towards an unseen gate in the airfield.

  Jason yanked the rope, pulling it up, toppling a stanchion, and started running towards the short, erect, Chinese officer. 'Xun su!' he roared.

  'Shemma?' replied the startled man, instinctively reaching for his bolstered gun.

  'Stop them! The cars, the limousines! The one in front!'

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