The bourne supremacy, p.99
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.99

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 99


  'I didn't know you missed it. '

  'I miss it! What's happening?'

  Marie told him, including the unmistakable stamp of government bureaucracy on the part of her captors, and her escape, and the help given by Catherine Staples that turned into a trap, engineered by a man named McAllister whom she had seen on the street with Staples.

  'McAllister? You saw him?'

  'He's here, Alex. He wants to take me back. With me he controls David, and he'll kill him! They tried before!'

  There was a pause on the line, a pause filled with anguish. ' We tried before,' said Conklin softly. 'But that was then, not now. '

  'What can I do?'

  'Stay where you are,' ordered Alex. 'I'll be on the earliest plane to Hong Kong. Don't go out of your room. Don't make any more calls. They're searching for you, they have to be. '

  'David's out there, Alex! Whatever they've forced him to do because of me, I'm frightened to death!'

  'Delta was the best man ever developed in Medusa. No one better ever walked into that field. I know. I saw. ' That's one aspect, and I've taught myself to live with it. But not the other, Alex! His mind! What will happen to his mind? Conklin paused again, and when he spoke his voice was pensive. 'I'll bring a friend with me, a friend to all of us. Mo won't refuse. Stay put, Marie. It's time for a showdown. And, by Christ, there's going to be one!'

  Chapter Twenty-three

  'Who are you?' screamed Bourne in a frenzy, gripping the old man by the throat and pressing him into the wall.

  'Delta, stop it? commanded d'Anjou. 'Your voice! People will hear you. They'll think you're killing him. They'll call the desk. '

  'I may kill him and the phones don't work!' Jason released the impostor's impostor, released his throat but gripped the front of his shirt, ripping it as he swung the man down into a chair.

  The door,' continued d'Anjou steadily, angrily. 'Put it in place as best you can, for God's sake. I want to get out of Beijing alive, and every second with you diminishes my prospects. The door!

  Half crazed, Bourne whipped around, picked up the shattered door and shoved it into the frame, adjusting the sides and kicking them into place. The old man massaged his throat and suddenly tried to spring out of the chair.

  Won, mon ami!' said the Frenchman, blocking him. 'Stay where you are. Do not concern yourself with me, only with him. You see, he really might kill you. In his rage he has no respect for the golden years, but since I'm nearly there, I do. '

  'Rage? This is an outrage? sputtered the old man, coughing his words. 'I fought at El Alamein and, by Christ, I'll fight now!' Again the old man struggled out of the chair, and again d'Anjou pushed him back as Jason returned.

  'Oh, the stoically heroic British,' observed the Frenchman. 'At least you had the grace not to say Agincourt. '

  'Cut the crap!' shouted Bourne, pushing d'Anjou aside and leaning over the chair, his hands on both arms, crowding the old man back into the seat. 'You tell me where he is and you tell me quickly, or you may wish you never got out of El Alamein!'

  'Where who is, you maniac?"

  'You're not the man downstairs! You're not Joseph Wadsworth going up to room three twenty- five!'

  'This is room three twenty-five and I am Joseph Wadsworth! Brigadier, retired, Royal Engineers!'

  'When did you check in?'

  'Actually, I was spared that drudgery,' replied Wadsworth haughtily. 'As a professional guest of the government, certain courtesies are extended. I was escorted through customs and brought directly here. I must say the room service is hardly up to snuff - God knows it's not the Connaught - and the damned telephone's mostly on the fritz. '

  'I asked you when!'

  'Last night, but since the plane was six hours late I suppose I should say this morning. '

  'What were your instructions?'

  'I'm not sure it's any of your business. '

  Bourne whipped out the brass letter-opener from his belt and held the sharp point against the old man's throat. 'It is if you want to get out of that chair alive. '

  'Good God, you are a maniac. '

  'You're right, I haven't much time for sanity. In fact, none at all. The instructions?

  'They're harmless enough. I was to be picked up some time around twelve noon, and as it's now after three, one can assume that the People's government is not run by the clock any more than its airline. ' D'Anjou touched Bourne's arm. The eleven-thirty plane,' said the Frenchman quietly. 'He's the decoy and knows nothing. '

  'Then your Judas is here in another room,' replied Jason over his shoulder. 'He has to be!'

  'Don't say any more, he'll be questioned. ' With sudden and unexpected authority, d'Anjou edged Bourne away from the chair and spoke in the impatient tones of a superior officer. 'See here, Brigadier, we apologize for the inconvenience, it's a damned nuisance, I know. This is the third room we've broken into - we learned the name of each occupant for the purposes of shock interrogation. '

  'Shock what! I don't understand. '

  'One of four people on this floor has smuggled in over five million dollars' worth of narcotics. Since it wasn't the three of you, we have our man. I suggest you do as the others are doing. Say your room was broken into by a raging drunk, furious over the accommodation - that's what they're saying. There's a lot of that going on and it's best not to be put under suspicion, even by mistaken association. The government here often overreacts. '

  'Wouldn't want that,' sputtered Wadsworth, formerly of the Royal Engineers. 'Damned pension's little enough to get by on. This was meant to be a little extra feathering for the old Surrey nest. '

  The door, Major,' ordered d'Anjou, addressing Jason. 'Easy, now. Try to keep it upright. ' The Frenchman turned to the Englishman. 'Stand by and hold it, Brigadier. Just lean it back and give us twenty minutes to get our man, then do whatever you like. Remember, a raging drunk. For your own sake. '

  'Yes, yes, of course. A drunk. Raging. '

  'Come, Major!'

  Out in the hallway they picked up their bags and started rapidly towards the staircase. 'Hurry up? said Bourne. There's still time. He has to make his change - I'd have to make it! We'll check the street entrances, the taxi stands, try to pick two logical ones, or goddamn it, illogical ones. We'll each take one and work out signals. '

  'First there are two doors,' broke in d'Anjou, breathlessly. 'In this hallway. Pick any two you wish but do it quickly. Kick them in and yell abusive language, slurring your words, of course. '

  'You were serious?'

  'Never more so, Delta. As we saw for ourselves the explanation is entirely plausible and embarrassment will restrict any formal investigation. The management will no doubt persuade our brigadier to keep his mouth shut. They could lose their comfortable jobs. Quickly now! Take your choice and do the job!'

  Jason stopped at the next door on the right. He braced himself, then rushed towards it, crashing his shoulder into the middle of the flimsy upper panel. The door flew open.

  'God's teeth? screamed a woman in Hindi, half out of her sari, which was draped around her feet.

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