Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Prijavi me trajno:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:

Registracijom prihvatate pravila foruma.
ConQUIZtador
banner
Trenutno vreme je: 22. Feb 2020, 08:29:10
nazadnapred
Korisnici koji su trenutno na forumu 0 članova i 1 gost pregledaju ovu temu.

Ovo je forum u kome se postavljaju tekstovi i pesme nasih omiljenih pisaca.
Pre nego sto postavite neki sadrzaj obavezno proverite da li postoji tema sa tim piscem.

Idi dole
Stranice:
1 ... 15 16 18
Počni novu temu Nova anketa Odgovor Štampaj Dodaj temu u favorite Pogledajte svoje poruke u temi
Tema: Robert Ludlum ~ Robert Ladlam  (Pročitano 56565 puta)
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
31
   "Stop it, David!"
   "My God, he's insane, Aleksei. Sergei, grab him, hold him. ... You, help Sergei! Put him on the ground so I can talk to him. We must leave here quickly!"
   It was all the two Russian aides could do to wrestle the screaming Bourne to the grass. He had raced out through the exploded hole in the wall, running into the high grass in a futile attempt to find the Jackal, firing his AK-47 into the field beyond until his magazine was empty. Sergei and the surviving backup had rushed in after him, the former ripping the weapon out of Jason's hands, together leading the hysterical man back to the rear of the mutilated country inn, where Alex and Krupkin were waiting for them. Forcibly, their charge in a sweating, erratically breathing trance, the five men walked rapidly to the front of the restaurant; there the uncontrollable hysteria again seized the Chameleon.
   The Jackal's van was gone. Carlos had reversed his line of flight and escaped and Jason Bourne had gone mad.
   "Hold him!" roared Krupkin, kneeling beside Jason as the two aides pinned Bourne to the ground. The KGB officer reached down and spread his hand across the American's face, gouging his cheeks with thumb and forefinger, forcing Treadstone Seventy-one to look at him. "I'll say this once, Mr. Bourne, and if it doesn't sink in, you may stay here by yourself and take the consequences! But we must leave. If you get hold of yourself, we'll be in touch with the proper officials of your government within the hour from Paris. I've read the warning to you and I can assure you your own people are capable of protecting your family-as your family was explained to me by Aleksei. But you, yourself, must be part of that communication. You can become rational, Mr. Bourne, or you can go to hell. Which will it be?"
   The Chameleon, straining against the knees pinning him to the ground, exhaled as if it were his final breath. His eyes came into focus and he said, "Get these bastards off me."
   "One of those bastards saved your life," said Conklin.
   "And I saved one of theirs. So be it."
   The armor-plated Citroën sped down the country road toward the Paris highway. On the scrambled cellular telephone, Krupkin ordered a team to Epernon for the immediate removal of what was left of the Russian backup vehicle. The body of the slain man had been placed carefully in the Citroën's trunk, and the official Soviet comment, if asked for, was one of noninvolvement: Two lower-level diplomatic staff had gone out for a country lunch when the massacre occurred. Several killers were in stocking masks, the others barely seen as the staff members escaped through a back door, running for their lives. When it was over they returned to the restaurant, covering the victims, trying to calm the hysterical women and the lone surviving man. They had called their superiors to report the hideous incident and were instructed to inform the local police and return at once to the embassy. Soviet interests could not be jeopardized by the accidental presence at the scene of an act of French criminality.
   "It sounds so Russian," Krupkin said.
   "Will anyone believe it?" Alex wondered.
   "It doesn't matter," answered the Soviet. "Epernon reeks of a Jackal reprisal. The blown-apart old man, two subordinate terrorists in stocking masks-the Sûreté knows the signs. If we were involved, we were on the correct side, so they won't pursue our presence."
   Bourne sat silently by the window. Krupkin was beside him with Conklin in the jump seat in front of the Russian. Jason broke his angry silence, taking his eyes off the rushing scenery and slamming his fist on the armrest. "Oh, Christ, the kids!" he shouted. "How could that bastard have learned about the Tannenbaum house?"
   "Forgive me, Mr. Bourne," broke in Krupkin gently. "I realize it's far easier for me to say than for you to accept, but very soon now you'll be in touch with Washington. I know something about the Agency's ability to protect its own, and I guarantee you it's maddeningly effective."
   "It can't be so goddamned great if Carlos can penetrate this far!"
   "Perhaps he didn't," said the Soviet. "Perhaps he had another source."
   "There weren't any."
   "One never knows, sir."
   They sped through the streets of Paris in the blinding afternoon sun as the pedestrians sweltered in the summer heat. Finally they reached the Soviet embassy on the boulevard Lannes and raced through the gates, the guards waving them on, instantly recognizing Krupkin's gray Citroën. They swung around the cobblestone courtyard, stopping in front of the imposing marble steps and the sculptured arch that formed the entrance.
   "Stay available, Sergei," ordered the KGB officer. "If there's to be any contact with the Sûreté, you're selected." Then, as if it were an afterthought, Krupkin addressed the aide sitting next to Sergei in the front seat. "No offense, young man," he added, "but over the years my old friend and driver has become highly resourceful in these situations. However, you also have work to do. Process the body of our loyal deceased comrade for cremation. Internal Operations will explain the paperwork." With a nod of his head, Dimitri Krupkin instructed Bourne and Alex Conklin to get out of the car.
   Once inside, Dimitri explained to the army guard that he did not care for his guests to be subjected to the metal detecting trellises through which all visitors to the Soviet embassy were expected to pass. As an aside, he whispered in English to his guests. "Can you imagine the alarms that would go off? Two armed Americans from the savage CIA roaming the halls of this bastion of the proletariat? Good heavens, I can feel the cold of Siberia in my testicles."
   They walked through the ornate, richly decorated nineteenth-century lobby to a typical brass-grilled French elevator; they entered and proceeded to the third floor. The grille opened and Krupkin continued as he led the way down a wide corridor. "We'll use an in-house conference room," he said. "You'll be the only Americans who have ever seen it or will ever see it, as it's one of the few offices without listening devices."
   "You wouldn't want to submit that statement to a polygraph, would you?" asked Conklin, chuckling.
   "Like you, Aleksei, I learned long ago how to fool those idiot machines; but even if that were not so, in this case I would willingly submit it, for it's true. In all honesty, it's to protect ourselves from ourselves. Come along now."
   The conference room was the size of an average suburban dining room but with a long heavy table and dark masculine furniture, the chairs thick, unwieldy and quite comfortable. The walls were covered with deep brown paneling, the inevitable portrait of Lenin centered ostentatiously behind the head chair, beside which was a low table designed for the telephone console within easy reach. "I know you're anxious," said Krupkin, going to the console, "so I'll authorize an international line for you." Lifting the phone, touching a button, and speaking rapidly in Russian, Dimitri did so, then hung up and turned to the Americans. "You're assigned number twenty-six; it's the last button on the right, second row."
   "Thanks." Conklin nodded and reached into his pocket, pulling out a scrap of paper and handing it to the KGB officer. "I need another favor, Kruppie. That's a telephone number here in Paris. It's supposed to be a direct line to the Jackal, but it didn't match the one Bourne was given that did reach him. We don't know where it fits in, but wherever it is, it's tied to Carlos."
   "And you don't want to call it for fear of exposing your possession of the number-initial codes, that sort of thing. I understand, of course. Why send out an alert when it's unnecessary? I'll take care of it." Krupkin looked at Jason, his expression that of an older, understanding colleague. "Be of good and firm heart, Mr. Bourne, as the czarists would say facing no discernible harm whatsoever. Despite your apprehensions, I have enormous faith in Langley's abilities. They've harmed my not insignificant operations more than I care to dwell upon."
   "I'm sure you've done your share of damage to them," said Jason impatiently, glancing at the telephone console.
   "That knowledge keeps me going."
   "Thanks, Kruppie," said Alex. "In your words, you're a fine old enemy."
   "Again, shame on your parents! If they had stayed in Mother Russia, just think. By now you and I would be running the Komitet."
   "And have two lakefront houses?"
   "Are you crazy, Aleksei? We would own the entire Lake Geneva!" Krupkin turned and walked to the door, letting himself out with quiet laughter.
   "It's all a damned game with you people, isn't it?" said Bourne.
   "Up to a point," agreed Alex, "but not when stolen information can lead to the loss of life-on both sides, incidentally. That's when the weapons come out and the games are over."
   "Reach Langley," said Jason abruptly, nodding at the console. "Holland's got some explaining to do."
   "Reaching Langley wouldn't help-"
   "What?"
   "It's too early; it's barely seven o'clock in the States, but not to worry, I can bypass." Conklin again reached into a pocket and withdrew a small notebook.
   "Bypass?" cried Bourne. "What kind of double talk is that? I'm close to the edge, Alex, those are my children over there!"
   "Relax, all it means is that I've got his unlisted home number." Conklin sat down and picked up the phone; he dialed.
   "Bypass,' for Christ's sake. You relics of outmoded ciphers can't use the English language. Bypass!"
   "Sorry, Professor, it's habit. ... Peter? It's Alex. Open your eyes and wake up, sailor. We've got complications."
   "I don't have to wake up," said the voice from Fairfax, Virginia. "I just got back from a five-mile jog."
   "Oh, you people with feet think you're so smart."
   "Jesus, I'm sorry, Alex. ... I didn't mean-"
   "Of course you didn't, Ensign Holland, but we've got a problem."
   "Which means at least you've made contact. You reached Bourne."
   "He's standing over my shoulder and we're calling from the Soviet embassy in Paris."
   "What? Holy shit!"
   "Not holy, just Casset, remember?"
   "Oh, yes, I forgot. ... What about his wife?"
   "Mo Panov's with her. The good doctor's covering the medical bases, for which I'm grateful."
   "So am I. Any other progress?"
   "Nothing you want to hear, but you're going to hear it loud and clear."
   "What are you talking about?"
   "The Jackal knows about the Tannenbaum estate."
   "You're nuts!" shouted the director of the Central Intelligence Agency so loudly that there was a metallic ring on the transoceanic line. "Nobody knows! Only Charlie Casset and myself. We built up a chrono with false names and Central American bios so far removed from Paris that no one could make a connection. Also, there was no mention of the Tannenbaum place in the orders! S' help me, Alex, it was airtight because we wouldn't let anyone else handle it!"
   "Facts are facts, Peter. My friend got a note saying the trees of Tannenbaum would burn, the children with them."
   "Son of a bitch!" yelled Holland. "Stay on the line," he ordered. "I'll call St. Jacques over there, then max-security and have them moved this morning. Stay on the line!" Conklin looked up at Bourne, the telephone between them, the words heard by both men.
   "If there's a leak, and there is a leak, it can't come from Langley," said Alex.
   "It has to! He hasn't looked deep enough."
   "Where does he look?"
   "Christ, you're the experts. The helicopter that flew them out; the crew, the people who cleared an American aircraft flying into UK territory. My God! Carlos bought the lousy Crown governor of Montserrat and his head drug chief. What's to prevent him from owning the communications between our military and Plymouth?"
   "But you heard him," insisted Conklin. "The names were fake, the chronologies oriented to Central America, and above all, no one on the relay flights knew about the Tannenbaum estate. No one. ... We've got a gap."
   "Please spare me that crypto-jargon."
   "It's not cryptic at all. A gap's a space that hasn't been filled-"
   "Alex?" The angry voice of Peter Holland was back on the line.
   "Yes, Peter?"
   "We're moving them out, and I won't even tell you where they're going. St. Jacques's pissed off because Mrs. Cooper and the kids are settled, but I told him he's got an hour."
   "I want to talk to Johnny," said Bourne, bending over and speaking loud enough to be heard.
   "Nice to meet you, if only on the phone," broke in Holland.
   "Thanks for all you're doing for us," managed Jason quietly, sincerely. "I mean that."
   "Quid pro quo, Bourne. In your hunt for the Jackal you pulled a big ugly rabbit out of a filthy hat nobody knew was there."
   "What?"
   "Medusa, the new one."
   "How's it going?" interrupted Conklin.
   "We're doing our own cross-pollinating between the Sicilians and a number of European banks. It's dirtying up everything it touches, but we've now got more wires into that high-powered law firm in New York than in a NASA lift-off. We're closing in."
   "Good hunting," said Jason. "May I have the number at Tannenbaum's so I can reach John St. Jacques?"
   Holland gave it to him; Alex wrote it down and hung up. "The horn's all yours," said Conklin, awkwardly getting out of the chair by the console and moving to the one at the right corner of the table.
   Bourne sat down and concentrated on the myriad buttons below him. He picked up the telephone and, reading the numbers Alex had recorded in his notebook, touched the appropriate digits on the console.
   The greetings were abrupt, Jason's questions harsh, his voice demanding. "Who did you talk to about the Tannenbaum house?"
   "Back up, David," said St. Jacques, instinctively defensive. "What do you mean who did I talk to?"
   "Just that. From Tranquility to Washington, who did you speak to about Tannenbaum's?"
   "You mean after Holland told me about it?"
   "For Christ's sake, Johnny, it couldn't be before, could it?"
   "No, it couldn't, Sherlock Holmes."
   "Then who?"
   "You. Only you, esteemed Brother-in-law."
   "What?"
   "You heard me. Everything was happening so fast I probably forgot Tannenbaum's name anyway, and if I remembered it, I certainly wasn't going to advertise it."
   "You must have. There was a leak and it didn't come from Langley."
   "It didn't come from me, either. Look, Dr. Academic, I may not have an alphabet after my name, but I'm not exactly an idiot. That's my niece and nephew in the other room and I fully expect to watch them grow up. ... The leak's why we're being moved, isn't it?"
   "Yes."
   "How severe?"
   "Maximum. The Jackal."
   "Jesus!" exploded St. Jacques. "That bastard shows up in the neighborhood, he's mine!"
   "Easy, Canada," said Jason, his voice now softer, conveying thought, not anger. "You say, and I believe you, that you described the Tannenbaum place only to me and, if I recall, I was the one who identified it."
   "That's right. I remember because when Pritchard told me you were on the phone, I was on the other line with Henry Sykes in 'Serrat. Remember Henry, the CG's aide?"
   "Of course."
   "I was asking him to keep half an eye on Tranquility because I had to leave for a few days. Naturally, he knew that because he had to clear the U.S. aircraft in here, and I distinctly recall his asking me where I was going and all I said was Washington. It never even occurred to me to say anything about Tannenbaum's place, and Sykes didn't press me because he obviously figured it had something to do with the horrible things that had happened. I suppose you could say he's a professional in these matters." St. Jacques paused, but before Bourne could speak he uttered hoarsely, "Oh, my God!"
   "Pritchard," supplied Jason. "He stayed on the line."
   "Why? Why would he do it?"
   "You forget," explained Bourne. "Carlos bought your Crown governor and his Savonarola drug chief. They had to cost heavy money; he could have bought Pritchard for a lot less."
   "No, you're wrong, David. Pritchard may be a deluded, self-inflated jackass but he wouldn't turn on me for money. It's not that important in the islands-prestige is. And except when he drives me up the wall, I feed it to him; actually he does a pretty damn good job."
   "There's no one else, Bro."
   "There's also one way to find out. I'm here, not there, and I'm not about to leave here."
   "What's your point?"
   "I want to bring in Henry Sykes. Is that all right with you?"
   "Do it."
   "How's Marie?"
   "As well as can be expected under the circumstances. ... And, Johnny, I don't want her to know a thing about any of this, do you understand me? When she reaches you, and she will, just tell her you're settled in and everything's okay, nothing about the move or Carlos."
   "I understand."
   "Everything is all right, isn't it? How are the kids-how's Jamie taking everything?"
   "You may resent this, but he's having a grand time, and Mrs. Cooper won't even let me touch Alison."
   "I don't resent either piece of information."
   "Thanks. What about you? Any progress?"
   "I'll be in touch," said Bourne, hanging up and turning to Alex. "It doesn't make sense, and Carlos always makes sense if you look hard enough. He leaves me a warning that drives me crazy with fear, but he has no means of carrying out his threat. What do you make of it?"
   "The sense is in driving you crazy," replied Conklin. "The Jackal's not going to take on an installation like Tannenbaum's sterile house long-distance. That message was meant to panic you and it did. He wants to throw you off so you'll make mistakes. He wants the controls in his hands."
   "It's another reason for Marie to fly back to the States as soon as possible. She's got to. I want her inside a fortress, not having lunch out in the open in Barbizon."
   "I'm more sympathetic to that view than I was last night." Alex was interrupted by the sound of the door opening. Krupkin walked into the room carrying several computer printouts.
   "The number you gave me is disconnected," he said, a slight hesitancy in his voice.
   "Who was it connected to?" asked Jason.
   "You will not like this any more than I do, and I'd lie to you if I could invent a plausible alternate, but I cannot and I undoubtedly should not. ... As of five days ago it was transferred from an obviously false organization to the name of Webb. David Webb."
   Conklin and Bourne stared in silence at the Soviet intelligence officer, but in that silence were the unheard static cracks of high-voltage electricity. "Why are you so certain we won't like the information?" asked Alex quietly.
   "My fine old enemy," began Krupkin, his gentle voice no louder than Conklin's. "When Mr. Bourne came out of that café of horror with the brown paper clasped in his hand, he was hysterical. In trying to calm him, to bring him under control, you called him David. ... I now have a name I sincerely wish I did not possess."
   "Forget it," said Bourne.
   "I shall do my best to, but there are ways-"
   "That's not what I mean," broke in Jason. "I have to live with the fact that you know it and I'll manage. Where was that phone installed, the address?"
   "According to the billing computers, it's a mission home run by an organization called the Magdalen Sisters of Charity. Again obviously false."
   "Obviously not," corrected Bourne. "It exists. They exist. It's legitimate down to their religious helmets, and it's also a usable drop. Or was."
   "Fascinating," mused Krupkin. "So much of the Jackal's various façades is tied to the Church. A brilliant if overdone modus operandi. It's said that he once studied for the priesthood."
   "Then the Church is one up on you," said Alex, angling his head in a humorously mocking rebuke. "They threw him out before you did."
   "I never underestimate the Vatican," laughed Dimitri. "It ultimately proved that our mad Joseph Stalin misunderstood priorities when he asked how many battalions the Pope had. His Holiness doesn't need them; he achieves more than Stalin ever did with all his purges. Power goes to the one who instills the greatest fear, not so, Aleksei? All the princes of this earth use it with brutal effectiveness. And it all revolves around death-the fear of it, before and after. When will we grow up and tell them all to go to the devil?"
   "Death," whispered Jason, frowning. "Death on the Rivoli, at the Meurice, the Magdalen Sisters ... my God, I completely forgot! Dominique Lavier! She was at the Meurice-she may still be there. She said she'd work with me!"
   "Why would she?" asked Krupkin sharply.
   "Because Carlos killed her sister and she had no choice but to join him or be killed herself." Bourne turned to the console. "I need the telephone number of the Meurice-"
   "Four two six zero, three eight six zero," offered Krupkin as Jason grabbed a pencil and wrote down the numbers on Alex's notepad. "A lovely place, once known as the hotel of kings. I especially like the grill."
   Bourne touched the buttons, holding up his hand for quiet. Remembering, he asked for Madame Brielle's room, the name they had agreed upon, and when the hotel operator said "Mais oui," he nodded rapidly in relief to Alex and Dimitri Krupkin. Lavier answered.
   "Yes?"
   "It is I, madame," said Jason, his French just slightly coarse, ever so minimally Anglicized; the Chameleon was in charge. "Your housekeeper suggested we might reach you here. Madame's dress is ready. We apologize for the delay."
   "It was to have been brought to me yesterday-by noon-you ass! I intended to wear it last evening at Le Grand Véfour. I was mortified!"
   "A thousand apologies. We can deliver it to the hotel immediately."
   "You are again an ass! I'm sure my maid also told you I was here for only two days. Take it to my flat on the Montaigne and it had better be there by four o'clock or your bill will not be paid for six months!" The conversation was believably terminated by a loud crack at the other end of the line.
   Bourne replaced the phone; perspiration had formed at his slightly graying hairline. "I've been out of this too long," he said, breathing deeply. "She has a flat on the Montaigne and she'll be there after four o'clock."
   "Who the hell is Dominique whatever her name is?" fairly yelled the frustrated Conklin.
   "Lavier," answered Krupkin, "only, she uses her dead sister's name, Jacqueline. She's been posing as her sister for years."
   "You know about that?" asked Jason, impressed.
   "Yes, but it never did us much good. It was an understandable ruse-look-alikes, several months' absence, minor surgery and programming-all quite normal in the abnormal world of haute couture. Who looks or listens to anyone in that superficial orbit? We watch her, but she's never led us to the Jackal, she wouldn't know how. She has no direct access; everything she reports to Carlos is filtered, stone walls at every relay. That's the way of the Jackal."
   "It's not always the way," said Bourne. "There was a man named Santos who managed a run-down café in Argenteuil called Le Coeur du Soldat. He had access. He gave it to me and it was very special."
   "Was?" Krupkin raised his eyebrows. "Had? You employ the past tense?"
   "He's dead."
   "And that run-down café in Argenteuil, is it still flourishing?"
   "It's cleaned out and closed down," admitted Jason, no defeat in his admission.
   "So the access is terminated, no?"
   "Sure, but I believe what he told me because he was killed for telling it to me. You see, he was getting out, just as this Lavier woman wants to get out-only, his association went back to the beginning. To Cuba, where Carlos saved a misfit like himself from execution. He knew he could use that man, that huge imposing giant who could operate inside the world of the dregs of humanity and be his primary relay. Santos had direct access. He proved it because he gave me an alternate number that did reach the Jackal. Only a very few men could do that."
   "Fascinating," said Krupkin, his eyes firmly focused on Bourne. "But as my fine old enemy, Aleksei, who is now looking at you as I look at you, might inquire, what are you leading up to, Mr. Bourne? Your words are ambiguous but your implied accusations appear dangerous."
   "To you. Not to us."
   "I beg your pardon?"
   "Santos told me that only four men in the world have direct access to the Jackal. One of them is in Dzerzhinsky Square. 'Very high in the Komitet' were Santos's words, and believe me, he didn't think much of your superior."
   It was as if Dimitri Krupkin had been struck in the face by a director of the Politburo in the middle of Red Square during a May Day parade. The blood drained from his head, his skin taking on the pallor of ash, his eyes steady, unblinking. "What else did this Santos tell you? I have to know!"
   "Only that Carlos had a thing about Moscow, that he was making contact with people in high places. It was an obsession with him. ... If you can find that contact in Dzerzhinsky Square, it would be a big leap forward. In the meantime, all we've got is Dominique Lavier-"
   "Damn, damn!" roared Krupkin, cutting off Jason. "How insane, yet how perfectly logical! You've answered several questions, Mr. Bourne, and how they've burned into my mind. So many times I've come so close-so many, so close-and always nothing. Well, let me tell you, gentlemen, the games of the devil are not restricted to those confined to hell. Others can play them. My God, I've been a pearl to be flushed from one oyster to another, always the bigger fool! ... Make no more calls from that telephone!"
   It was 3:30 in the afternoon, Moscow time, and the elderly man in the uniform of a Soviet army officer walked as rapidly as his age permitted down the hallway on the fifth floor of KGB headquarters in Dzerzhinsky Square. It was a hot day, and as usual the air conditioning was only barely and erratically adequate, so General Grigorie Rodchenko permitted himself a privilege of rank: his collar was open. It did not stop the occasional rivulet of sweat from sliding in and out of the crevices of his deeply lined face on its way down to his neck, but the absence of the tight, red-bordered band of cloth around his throat was a minor relief.
   He reached the bank of elevators, pressed the button and waited, gripping a key in his hand. The doors to his right opened, and he was pleased to see that there was no one inside. It was easier than having to order everyone out-at least, far less awkward. He entered, inserted the key in the uppermost lock-release above the panel, and again waited while the mechanism performed its function. It did so quickly, and the elevator shot directly down to the lowest underground levels of the building.
   The doors opened and the general walked out, instantly aware of the pervasive silence that filled the corridors both left and right. In moments, that would change, he thought. He proceeded down the left hallway to a large steel door with a metal sign riveted in the center.
   ENTRANCE FORBIDDEN
   AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY
   It was a foolish admonition, he thought, as he took out a thin plastic card from his pocket and shoved it slowly, carefully, into a slot on the right. Without the pass card-and sometimes even with it if inserted too quickly-the door would not open. There were two clicks, and Rodchenko removed his card as the heavy, knobless door swung back, a television monitor recording his entry.
   The hum of activity was pronounced from dozens of lighted cubicles within the huge, dark low-ceilinged complex the size of a czar's grand ballroom but without the slightest attempt at decor. A thousand pieces of equipment in black and gray, several hundred personnel in pristine white coveralls within white-walled cubicles. And, thankfully, the air was cool, almost cold, in fact. The machinery demanded it, for this was the KGB's communications center. Information poured in twenty-four hours a day from all over the world.
   The old soldier trudged up a familiar path to the farthest aisle on the right, then left to the last cubicle at the far end of the enormous room. It was a long walk, and the general's breath was short, his legs were tired. He entered the small enclosure, nodding at the middle-aged operator who looked up at his visitor and removed the cushioned headset from his ears. On the white counter in front of him was a large electronic console with myriad switches, dials and a keyboard. Rodchenko sat down in a steel chair next to the man; catching his breath, he spoke.
   "You have word from Colonel Krupkin in Paris?"
   "I have words concerning Colonel Krupkin, General. In line with your instructions to monitor the colonel's telephone conversations, including those international lines authorized by him, I received a tape from Paris several minutes ago that I thought you should listen to."
   "As usual, you are most efficient and I am most grateful; and as always, I'm sure Colonel Krupkin will inform us of events, but as you know, he's so terribly busy."
   "No explanations are necessary, sir. The conversations you are about to hear were recorded within the past half hour. The earphones, please?"
   Rodchenko slipped on the headset and nodded. The operator placed a pad and a container of sharpened pencils in front of the general; he touched a number on the keyboard and sat back as the powerful third direktor of the Komitet leaned forward listening. In moments the general began taking notes; minutes later he was writing furiously. The tape came to an end and Rodchenko removed the headset. He looked sternly at the operator, his narrow Slavic eyes rigid between the folds of lined flesh, the crevices in his face seemingly more pronounced than before.
   "Erase the tape, then destroy the reel," he ordered, getting out of the chair. "As usual, you have heard nothing."
   "As usual, General."
   "And, as usual, you will be rewarded."
   It was 4:17 when Rodchenko returned to his office and sat down at his desk, studying his notes. It was incredible! It was beyond belief, yet there it was-he had heard for himself the words and the voices saying those words! ... Not those concerning the monseigneur in Paris; he was secondary now and could be reached in minutes, if it was necessary. That could wait, but the other could not wait, not an instant longer! The general picked up his phone and rang his secretary.
   "I want an immediate satellite transmission to our consulate in New York. All maximum scramblers in place and operational."
   How could it happen?
   Medusa!
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
32
   Frowning, Marie listened to her husband's voice over the telephone, nodding at Mo Panov across the hotel room. "Where are you now?" she asked.
   "At a pay phone in the Plaza-Athénée," answered Bourne. "I'll be back in a couple of hours."
   "What's happening?"
   "Complications, but also some progress."
   "That doesn't tell me anything."
   "There's not that much to tell."
   "What's this Krupkin like?"
   "He's an original. He brought us to the Soviet embassy and I talked to your brother on one of their lines."
   "What? ... How are the children?"
   "Fine. Everything's fine. Jamie's thoroughly enjoying himself and Mrs. Cooper won't let Johnny touch Alison."
   "Which means Bro doesn't want to touch Alison."
   "So be it."
   "What's the number? I want to call."
   "Holland's setting up a secure line. We'll know in an hour or so."
   "Which means you're lying."
   "So be it. You should be with them. If I'm delayed, I'll call you."
   "Wait a minute. Mo wants to talk to you-"
   The line went dead. Across the room, Panov slowly shook his head as he watched Marie's reaction to the suddenly terminated conversation. "Forget it," he said. "I'm the last person he wants to talk to."
   "He's back there, Mo. He's not David any longer."
   "He has a different calling now," added Panov softly. "David can't handle it."
   "I think that's the most frightening thing I've ever heard you say."
   The psychiatrist nodded. "It may well be."
   The gray Citroën was parked several hundred feet diagonally across from the canopied entrance of Dominique Lavier's apartment building on the fashionable avenue Montaigne. Krupkin, Alex and Bourne sat in the back, Conklin again in the jump seat, his size and disabled leg making the position more feasible. Conversation was at a minimum as the three men anxiously kept glancing over at the glass doors of the apartment.
   "Are you sure this is going to work?" asked Jason.
   "I am only sure that Sergei is an immensely talented professional," replied Krupkin. "He was trained in Novgorod, you know, and his French is impeccable. He also carries on him a variety of identifications that would fool the Division of Documents at the Deuxième Bureau."
   "What about the other two?" pressed Bourne.
   "Silent subordinates, controlled by and subservient to their superior. They're also experts at their craft. ... Here he comes!"
   Sergei could be seen walking out of the glass doors; he turned left, and within moments crossed the wide boulevard toward the Citroën. He reached the car, went around the hood and climbed in behind the wheel. "Everything is in order," he said, angling his head over the front seat. "Madame has not returned and the flat is number twenty-one, second floor, right front side. It has been swept thoroughly; there are no intercepts."
   "Are you certain?" asked Conklin. "There's no room for error here, Sergei."
   "Our instruments are the best, sir," answered the KGB aide, smiling. "It pains me to say it, but they were developed by the General Electronics Corporation under contract to Langley."
   "Two points for our side," said Alex.
   "Minus twelve for permitting the technology to be stolen," concluded Krupkin. "Besides, I'm sure a number of years ago our Madame Lavier might have had bugs sewn into her mattress-"
   "Checked," broke in Sergei.
   "Thank you, but my point is that the Jackal could hardly have monitoring personnel all over Paris. It all gets so complicated."
   "Where are your other two men?" asked Bourne.
   "In the lobby corridors, sir. I'll join them shortly, and we have a support vehicle down the street, all in radio contact, of course. ... I'll drive you over now."
   "Wait a minute," interrupted Conklin. "How do we get in? What do we say?"
   "It's been said, sir, you need say nothing. You are authorized covert personnel from the French SEDCE-"
   "The what?" broke in Jason.
   "The Service of External Documentation and Counterespionage," answered Alex. "It's the nearest thing here to Langley."
   "What about the Deuxième?"
   "Special Branch," said Conklin offhandedly, his mind elsewhere. "Some say it's an elite corps, others say otherwise. ... Sergei, won't they check?"
   "They already have, sir. After showing the concierge and his assistant my identification, I gave them an unlisted telephone number that confirmed the Service and my status. I subsequently described the three of you and requested no conversation, merely access to Madame Lavier's flat. ... I'll drive over now. It will make a better impression on the doorman."
   "Sometimes simplicity backed by authority is best in deception," observed Krupkin as the Citroën was maneuvered between the sparse, erratic traffic across the wide avenue to the entrance of the white-stone apartment complex. "Take the car around the corner out of sight, Sergei," ordered the KGB officer, reaching for the door handle. "And my radio, if you please?"
   "Yes, sir," replied the aide, handing Krupkin a miniaturized electronic intercom over the seat. "I'll signal you when I'm in position."
   "I can reach all of you with this?"
   "Yes, comrade. Beyond a hundred and fifty meters the frequency is undetectable."
   "Come along, gentlemen."
   Inside the marble lobby, Krupkin nodded at the formally dressed concierge behind the counter, Jason and Alex on the Soviet's right. "La porte est ouverte," said the concierge, his gaze downward, avoiding direct eye contact. "I shall not be in evidence when madame arrives," he continued in French. "How you got in is unknown to me; however, there is a service entrance at the rear of the building."
   "But for official courtesy it is the one we would have used," said Krupkin, looking straight ahead as he and his companions walked to the elevator.
   Lavier's flat was a testament to the world of haute couture chic. The walls were dotted with photographs of fashion notables attending important showings and events, as well as with framed original sketches by celebrated designers. Like a Mondrian, the furniture was stark in its simplicity, the colors bold and predominantly red, black and deep green; the chairs, sofas and tables only vaguely resembled chairs, sofas and tables-they seemed more suitable for use in spacecraft.
   As if by rote, both Conklin and the Russian immediately began examining the tables, ferreting out handwritten notes, a number of which were beside a mother-of-pearl telephone on top of a curved, thick dark green table of sorts.
   "If this is a desk," said Alex, "where the hell are the drawers or the handles?"
   "It's the newest thing from Leconte," replied Krupkin.
   "The tennis player?" interrupted Conklin.
   "No, Aleksei, the furniture designer. You press in and they shoot out."
   "You're kidding."
   "Try it."
   Conklin did so and a barely discernible drawer sprang loose from an all but invisible crack. "I'll be damned."
   Krupkin's miniaturized radio suddenly erupted with two sharp beeps from inside his breast pocket. "It must be Sergei checking in," said Dimitri, removing the instrument. "You're in place, comrade?" he continued, speaking into the base of the radio.
   "More than that," came the aide's quiet voice accompanied by minor static. "The Lavier woman has just entered the building."
   "The concierge?"
   "Nowhere in sight."
   "Good. Out. ... Aleksei, get away from there. Lavier is on her way up."
   "You want to hide?" asked Conklin facetiously, turning the pages of a telephone notebook.
   "I'd rather not start off with instant hostility, which will be the case if she sees you riffling through her personal effects."
   "All right, all right." Alex returned the notebook to the drawer and closed it. "But if she isn't going to cooperate, I'm taking that little black book."
   "She'll cooperate," said Bourne. "I told you, she wants out, and the only way out for her is with a dead Jackal. The money's secondary-not inconsequential, but getting out comes first."
   "Money?" asked Krupkin. "What money?"
   "I offered to pay her and I will."
   "And I can assure you, money is not secondary to Madame Lavier," added the Russian.
   The sound of a key being inserted into a latch echoed throughout the living room. The three men turned to the door as a startled Dominique Lavier walked inside. Her astonishment, however, was so brief as to be fleeting; there were no cracks whatsoever in her composure. Brows arched in the manner of a regal mannequin, she calmly replaced the key in her beaded purse, looked over at the intruders and spoke in English.
   "Well, Kruppie, I might have known you were somewhere in this bouillabaisse."
   "Ah, the charming Jacqueline, or may we drop the pretense, Domie?"
   "Kruppie?" cried Alex. "Domie? ... Is this old home week?"
   "Comrade Krupkin is one of the more advertised KGB officers in Paris," said Lavier, walking to the long, cubed red table behind the white silk sofa and putting down her purse. "Knowing him is de rigueur in certain circles."
   "It has its advantages, dear Domie. You can't imagine the disinformation I'm fed in those circles by the Quai d'Orsay, and once having tasted it, knowing it's false. By the way, I under stand you've met our tall American friend and even had certain negotiations with him, so I think it's only proper I introduce you to his colleague. ... Madame, Monsieur Aleksei Konsolikov."
   "I don't believe you. He's no Soviet. One's nostrils become attuned to the approach of the unwashed bear."
   "Ah, you destroy me, Domie! But you're right, it was a parental error of judgment. He may therefore introduce himself, if he cares to."
   "The name's Conklin, Alex Conklin, Miss Lavier, and I'm American. However, our mutual acquaintance 'Kruppie' is right in one sense. My parents were Russian and I speak it fluently, so he's at a loss to mislead me when we're in Soviet company."
   "I think that's delicious."
   "Well, it's at least appetizing, if you know Kruppie."
   "I'm wounded, fatally wounded!" exclaimed Krupkin. "But my injuries are not essential to this meeting. You will work with us, Domie?"
   "I'll work with you, Kruppie. My God, will I work with you! I ask only that Jason Bourne clarifies his offer to me. With Carlos I'm a caged animal, but without him I'm a near-destitute aging courtesan. I want him to pay for my sister's death and for everything he's done to me, but I don't care to sleep in the gutter."
   "Name your price," said Jason.
   "Write it down," clarified Conklin, glancing at Krupkin. "Let me see," said Lavier, walking around the sofa and crossing to the Leconte desk. "I'm within a few years of sixty-from one direction or another, it's immaterial-and without the Jackal, and the absence of some other fatal disease, I will have perhaps fifteen to twenty years." She bent down over the desk and wrote a figure on a notepad, tore it off, then stood up and looked at the tall American. "For you, Mr. Bourne, and I'd rather not argue. I believe it's fair."
   Jason took the paper and read the amount: $1,000,000.00, American. "It's fair," said Bourne, handing the note back to Lavier. "Add how and where you want it paid and I'll make the arrangements when we leave here. The money will be there in the morning."
   The aging courtesan looked into Bourne's eyes. "I believe you," she said, again bending over the desk and writing out her instructions. She rose and gave the paper back to Jason. "The deal is made, monsieur, and may God grant us the kill. If he does not, we are dead."
   "You're speaking as a Magdalen sister?"
   "I'm speaking as a sister who's terrified, no more and certainly no less."
   Bourne nodded. "I've several questions," he said. "Do you want to sit down?"
   "Oui. With a cigarette." Lavier crossed to the sofa and, sinking into the cushions, reached for her purse on the red table. She took out a pack of cigarettes, extracted one and picked up a gold lighter from the coffee table. "Such a filthy habit but at times so damned necessary," she said, snapping the flame and inhaling deeply. "Your questions, monsieur?"
   "What happened at the Meurice? How did it happen?"
   "The woman happened-I assume it was your woman-that was my understanding. As we agreed, you and your friend from Deuxième were positioned so that when Carlos arrived to trap you, you would kill him. For reasons no one can fathom, your woman screamed as you crossed the Rivoli-the rest you saw for yourself. ... How could you have told me to take a room at the Meurice knowing she was there?"
   "That's easy to answer. I didn't know she was there. Where do we stand now?"
   "Carlos still trusts me. He blames everything on the woman, your wife, I'm told, and has no reason to hold me responsible. After all, you were there, which proves my allegiance. Were it not for the Deuxième officer, you'd be dead."
   Again Bourne nodded. "How can you reach him?"
   "I cannot myself. I never have, nor have I cared to. He prefers it that way, and as I told you, the checks arrive on time, so I have no reason to."
   "But you send him messages," pressed Jason. "I heard you."
   "Yes, I do, but never directly. I call several old men at cheap cafés-the names and numbers vary weekly and quite a few have no idea what I'm talking about, but for those that do, they call others immediately, and they call others beyond themselves. Somehow the messages get through. Very quickly, I might add."
   "What did I tell you?" said Krupkin emphatically. "All the relays end with false names and filthy cafés. Stone walls!"
   "Still, the messages get through," said Alex Conklin, repeating Lavier's words.
   "Yet Kruppie's correct." The aging but still striking woman dragged heavily, nervously on her cigarette. "The routings are convoluted to the point of being untraceable."
   "I don't care about that," said Alex, squinting at nothing the others could see. "They also reach Carlos quickly, you made that clear."
   "It's true."
   Conklin widened his eyes and fixed them on Lavier. "I want you to send the most urgent message you've ever relayed to the Jackal. You must talk to him directly. It's an emergency that you can entrust to no one but Carlos himself."
   "About what?" erupted Krupkin. "What could be so urgent that the Jackal will comply? Like our Mr. Bourne, he is obsessed with traps, and under the circumstances, any direct communication smells of one!"
   Alex shook his head and limped to a side window, squinting again, deep in thought, his intense eyes reflecting his concentration. Then gradually, slowly, his eyes opened. He gazed at the street below. "My God, it could work," he whispered to himself.
   "What could work?" asked Bourne.
   "Dimitri, hurry! Call the embassy and have them send over the biggest, fanciest diplomatic limousine you proletarians own."
   "What?"
   "Just do as I say! Quickly!"
   "Aleksei ... ?"
   "Now!"
   The force and urgency of Conklin's command had its effect. The Russian walked rapidly to the mother-of-pearl telephone and dialed, his questioning eyes on Alex, who kept staring down at the street. Lavier looked at Jason; he shook his head in bewilderment as Krupkin spoke into the phone, his Russian a short series of clipped phrases.
   "It's done," said the KGB officer, hanging up. "And now I think you should give me an extremely convincing reason for doing it."
   "Moscow," replied Conklin, still looking out the window.
   "Alex, for Christ's sake-"
   "What are you saying?" roared Krupkin.
   "We've got to get Carlos out of Paris," said Conklin, turning. "Where better than Moscow?" Before the astonished men could respond, Alex looked at Lavier. "You say he still trusts you?"
   "He has no reason not to."
   "Then two words should do it. 'Moscow, emergency,' that's the basic message you're sending him. Put it any way you like, but add that the crisis is of such a nature that you must speak only with him."
   "But I never have. I know men who have spoken with him, who in drunken moments have tried to describe him, but to me he is a complete stranger."
   "All the stronger for it," broke in Conklin, turning to Bourne and Krupkin. "In this city he's got all the cards, all of them. He's got firepower, an untraceable network of gunslingers and couriers, and for every crevice he can crawl into and burst out from, there are dozens more available to him. Paris is his territory, his protection-we could run blindly all over the city for days, weeks, even months, getting nowhere until the moment comes when he's got you and Marie in his gun sights ... you can also add Mo and me to that scenario. London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome-they'd all be better for us than Paris, but the best is Moscow. Oddly enough, it's the one place in the world that has a hypnotic hold on him-and also the one that's the least hospitable."
   "Aleksei, Aleksei," cried Dimitri Krupkin. "I really think you should reconsider alcohol, for it's obvious you've lost your senses! Say Domie actually reaches Carlos and tells him what you say. Do you really believe that on the basis of an 'emergency' in Moscow he'll up and take the next plane there? Insanity!"
   "You can bet your last black-market ruble I do," replied Conklin. "That message is only to convince him to get in touch with her. Once he does, she explodes the bomb. ... She's just heard an extraordinary piece of information that she knew should only be conveyed to him, not sent through the message tunnels."
   "And what in God's name might that be?" asked Lavier, extracting another cigarette and instantly lighting it.
   "The KGB in Moscow is closing in on the Jackal's man in Dzerzhinsky Square. They've narrowed it down to, say, ten or fifteen officers in the highest ranks. Once they find him, Carlos is neutralized in the Komitet-worse, he's about to lose an informer who knows far too much about him to the Lubyanka interrogators."
   "But how would she know that?" said Jason.
   "Who would tell her?" added Krupkin.
   "It's the truth, isn't it?"
   "So are your very secret substations in Beijing, Kabul and-forgive my impertinence-Canada's Prince Edward Island, but you don't advertise them," said Krupkin.
   "I didn't know about Prince Edward," admitted Alex. "Regardless, there are times when advertisements aren't necessary, only the means to convey the information credibly. A few minutes ago I didn't have any means, only authenticity, but that gap has just been filled. ... Come over here, Kruppie-just you for the moment, and stay away from the window. Look between the corner of the drapes." The Soviet did as he was told, going to Conklin's side and parting the fold of lace fabric from the wall. "What do you see?" asked Alex, gesturing at a shabby, nondescript brown car below on the avenue Montaigne. "Doesn't do much for the neighborhood, does it?"
   Krupkin did not bother to reply. Instead, he whipped the miniaturized radio from his pocket and pressed the transmitter button. "Sergei, there's a brown automobile roughly eighty meters down the street from the building's entrance-"
   "We know, sir," interrupted the aide. "We've got it covered, and if you'll notice, our backup is parked across the way. It's an old man who barely moves except to look out the window."
   "Does he have a car telephone?"
   "No, comrade, and should he leave the automobile he'll be followed, so there can be no outside calls unless you direct otherwise."
   "I shall not direct otherwise. Thank you, Sergei. Out." The Russian looked at Conklin. "The old man," he said. "You saw him."
   "Bald head and all," affirmed Alex. "He's not a fool; he's done this before and knows he's being watched. He can't leave for fear of missing something, and if he had a phone there'd be others down in the Montaigne."
   "The Jackal," said Bourne, stepping forward, then stopping, remembering Conklin's order to stay away from the window.
   "Now, do you understand?" asked Alex, addressing the question to Krupkin.
   "Of course," conceded the KGB official, smiling. "It's why you wanted an ostentatious limousine from our embassy. After we leave, Carlos is told that a Soviet diplomatic vehicle was sent to pick us up, and for what other reason would we be here but to interrogate Madame Lavier? Naturally, in my well-advertised presence was a tall man who might or might not be Jason Bourne, and another shorter individual with a disabled leg-thus confirming that it was Jason Bourne. ... Our unholy alliance is therefore established and observed, and again, naturally, during our harsh questioning of Madame Lavier, tempers flared and references were made to the Jackal's informer in Dzerzhinsky Square."
   "Which only I'd known about through my dealing with Santos at Le Coeur du Soldat," said Jason quietly. "So Dominique has a credible observer-an old man from Carlos's army of old men-to back up the information she delivers. ... I've got to say it, Saint Alex, that serpentine brain of yours hasn't lost its cunning."
   "I hear a professor I once knew. ... I thought he'd left us."
   "He has."
   "Only for a while, I hope."
   "Well done, Aleksei. You still have the touch; you may remain abstemious if you must, much as it pains me. ... It's always the nuances, isn't it?"
   "Not always by any means," disagreed Conklin simply, shaking his head. "Most of the time it's foolish mistakes. For instance, our new colleague here, 'Domie,' as you affectionately call her, was told she was still trusted, but she wasn't, not completely. So an old man was dispatched to watch her apartment-no big deal, just a little insurance in a car that doesn't belong in a street with Jaguars and Rolls-Royces. So we pay off on the small policy, and with luck cash in on the big one. Moscow."
   "Let me intellectualize," said Krupkin. "Although you were always far better in that department than I, Aleksei. I prefer the best wine to the most penetrating thoughts, although the latter-in both our countries-invariably leads to the former."
   "Merde!" yelled Dominique Lavier, crushing out her cigarette. "What are you two idiots talking about?"
   "They'll tell us, believe me," answered Bourne.
   "As has been reported and repeated in secure circles too often for comfort," continued the Soviet, "years ago we trained a madman in Novgorod, and years ago we would have put a bullet in his head had he not escaped. His methods, if sanctioned by any legitimate government, especially the two superpowers, would lead to confrontations neither of us can ever permit. Yet, withal, in the beginning he was a true revolutionary with a capital R, and we, the world's truest revolutionaries, disinherited him. ... By his lights, it was a great injustice and he never forgets it. He will always yearn to come back to the mother's breast, for that's where he was born. ... Good God, the people he's killed in the name of 'aggressors' while he made fortunes is positively revolting!"
   "But you denied him," said Jason flatly, "and he wants that denial reversed. He has to be acknowledged as the master killer you trained. That psychopathic ego of his is the basis for every thing Alex and I mounted. ... Santos said he continuously bragged about the cadre he was building in Moscow-'Always Moscow, it's an obsession with him'-those were Santos's words. The only specific person he knew about, and not by name, was Carlos's mole high up in the KGB, but he said Carlos claimed to have others in key positions at various powerful departments, that as the monseigneur he'd been sending them money for years."
   "So the Jackal thinks he forms a core of supporters within our government," observed Krupkin. "Despite everything, he still believes he can come back. He is, indeed, an egomaniac but he's never understood the Russian mind. He may temporarily corrupt a few cynical opportunists, but these will cover themselves and turn on him. No one looks forward to a stay at the Lubyanka or a Siberian gulag. The Jackal's Potemkin village will burn to the ground."
   "All the more reason for him to race to Moscow and put out the brushfires," said Alex.
   "What do you mean?" asked Bourne.
   "The burning will start with the exposure of Carlos's man in Dzerzhinsky Square; he'll know that. The only way to prevent it is for him to reach Moscow and make a determination. Either his informer will elude internal security or the Jackal will have to kill him."
   "I forgot," interrupted Bourne. "Something else Santos said ... most of the Russians on Carlos's payroll spoke French. Look for a man high up in the Komitet who speaks French."
   Krupkin's radio again intruded, the two piercing beeps barely muffled by his jacket. He pulled it out and spoke. "Yes?"
   "I don't know how or why, comrade," said the tense voice of Sergei, "but the ambassador's limousine has just arrived at the building. I swear to you I have no idea what happened!"
   "I do. I called for it."
   "But the embassy flags will be seen by everyone!"
   "Including, I trust, an alert old man in a brown automobile. We'll be down shortly. Out." Krupkin turned to the others. "The car's here, gentlemen. Where shall we meet, Domie? And when?"
   "Tonight," replied Lavier. "There's a showing at La Galerie d'Or in the rue de Paradis. The artist's a young upstart who wants to be a rock star or something, but he's the rage and everyone will be there."
   "Tonight, then. Come, gentlemen. Against our instincts, we must be very observable outside on the pavement."
   The crowds moved in and out of the shafts of light while the music was provided by an ear-shattering rock band mercifully placed in a side room away from the main viewing area. Were it not for the paintings on the walls and the beams of the small spotlights illuminating them, a person might think he was in a discotheque rather than in one of Paris's elegant art galleries.
   Through a series of nods, Dominique Lavier maneuvered Krupkin to a corner of the large room. Their graceful smiles, arched brows and intermittently mimed laughter covered their quiet conversation.
   "The word passed among the old men is that the monseigneur will be away for a few days. However, they are all to continue searching for the tall American and his crippled friend and list wherever they are seen."
   "You must have done your job well."
   "As I relayed the information he was utterly silent. In his breathing, however, there was utter loathing. I felt my bones grow cold."
   "He's on his way to Moscow," said the Russian. "No doubt through Prague."
   "What will you do now?"
   Krupkin arched his neck and raised his eyes to the ceiling in false, silent laughter. Leveling his gaze on her, he answered, smiling. "Moscow," he said.
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
33
   Bryce Ogilvie, managing partner of Ogilvie, Spofford, Crawford and Cohen, prided himself on his self-discipline. That was to say, not merely the outward appearance of composure, but the cold calm he forced upon his deepest fears in times of crisis. However, when he arrived at his office barely fifty minutes ago and found his concealed private telephone ringing, he had experienced a twinge of apprehension at such an early morning call over that particular line. Then when he heard the heavily accented voice of the Soviet consul general of New York demanding an immediate conference, he had to acknowledge a sudden void in his chest ... and when the Russian instructed him-ordered him-to be at the Carlyle Hotel, Suite 4C, in one hour, rather than their usual meeting place at the apartment on Thirty-second and Madison, Bryce felt a searing-hot pain filling that void in his chest. And when he had mildly objected to the suddenness of the proposed, unscheduled conference, the pain in his chest had burst into fire, the flames traveling up to his throat at the Soviet's reply: "What I have to show you will make you devoutly wish we never knew each other, much less had any occasion to meet this morning. Be there!"
   Ogilvie sat back in his limousine, as far back as the upholstery could be pressed, his legs stretched, rigid on the carpeted floor. Abstract, swirling thoughts of personal wealth, power and influence kept circling in his mind; he had to get hold of himself! After all, he was Bryce Ogilvie, the Bryce Ogilvie, perhaps the most successful corporate attorney in New York, and arguably second only to Boston's Randolph Gates in the fast track of corporate and antitrust law.
   Gates! The mere thought of that son of a bitch was a welcome diversion. Medusa had asked a minor favor of the celebrated Gates, an inconsequential, perfectly acceptable staff appointment on an ad hoc government-oriented commission, and he had not even answered their phone calls! Calls put through by another perfectly acceptable source, the supposedly irreproachable, impartial head of Pentagon procurements, an asshole named General Norman Swayne, who only wanted the best information. Well, perhaps more than information, but Gates could not have known about that. ... Gates? There was something in the Times the other morning about his bowing out of a hostile takeover proceeding. What was it?
   The limousine pulled up to the curb in front of the Carlyle Hotel, once the Kennedy family's favored New York City address, now the temporary clandestine favorite of the Soviets. Ogilvie waited until the uniformed doorman opened the left rear door of the car before he stepped out onto the pavement. He normally would not have done so, believing the delay was an unnecessary affectation, but this morning he did; he had to get hold of himself. He had to be the Ice-Cold Ogilvie his legal adversaries feared.
   The elevator's ascent to the fourth floor was swift, the walk over the blue-carpeted hallway to Suite 4-C far slower, the distance much closer. The Bryce Ogilvie breathed deeply, calmly, and stood erect as he pressed the bell. Twenty-eight seconds later, irritatingly clocked by the attorney as he silently counted "one one-thousand, two one-thousand," ad nauseam, the door was opened by the Soviet consul general, a slender man of medium height whose aquiline face had taut white skin and large brown eyes.
   Vladimir Sulikov was a wiry seventy-three-year-old full of nervous energy, a scholar and former professor of history at Moscow University, a committed Marxist, yet oddly enough, considering his position, not a member of the Communist Party. In truth, he was not a member of any political orthodoxy, preferring the passive role of the unorthodox individual within a collectivist society. That, and his singularly acute intellect, had served him well; he was sent to posts where more conformist men would not have been half so effective. The combination of these attributes, along with a dedication to physical exercise, made Sulikov appear ten to fifteen years younger than his age. His was an unsettling presence for those negotiating with him, for somehow he radiated the wisdom acquired over the years and the vitality of youth to implement it.
   The greetings were abrupt. Sulikov offered nothing but a stiff, cold handshake and a stiffly upholstered armchair. He stood in front of the suite's narrow mantel of white marble as though it were a classroom blackboard, his hands clasped behind him, an agitated professor about to question and lecture simultaneously an annoying, disputatious graduate student.
   "To our business," said the Russian curtly. "You are aware of Admiral Peter Holland?"
   "Yes, of course. He's the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Why do you ask?"
   "Is he one of you?"
   "No."
   "Are you quite sure?"
   "Of course I am."
   "Is it possible he became one of you without your knowledge?"
   "Certainly not, I don't even know the man. And if this is some kind of amateurish interrogatory, Soviet style, practice on someone else."
   "Ohh, the fine expensive American attorney objects to being asked simple questions?"
   "I object to being insulted. You made an astonishing statement over the phone. I'd like it explained, so please get to it."
   "I'll get to it, Counselor, believe me, I'll get to it, but in my own fashion. We Russians protect our flanks; it's a lesson we learned from the tragedy and the triumph of Stalingrad-an experience you Americans never had to endure."
   "I came from another war, as you well know," said Ogilvie coolly, "but if the history books are accurate, you had some help from your Russian winter."
   "That's difficult to explain to thousands upon thousands of frozen Russian corpses."
   "Granted, and you have both my condolences and my congratulations, but it's not the explanation-or even the lack of one-that I requested."
   "I'm only trying to explain a truism, young man. As has been said, it's the painful lessons of history we don't know about that we are bound to repeat. ... You see, we do protect our flanks, and if some of us in the diplomatic arena suspect that we have been duped into international embarrassment, we reinforce those flanks. It's a simple lesson for one so erudite as yourself, Counselor."
   "And so obvious, it's trivial. What about Admiral Holland?"
   "In a moment. ... First, let me ask you about a man named Alexander Conklin."
   Bryce Ogilvie bolted forward in the chair, stunned. "Where did you get that name?" he asked, barely audible.
   "There's more. ... Someone called Panov, Mortimer or Moishe Panov, a Jewish physician, we believe. And finally, Counselor, a man and a woman we assume are the assassin Jason Bourne and his wife."
   "My God!" exclaimed Ogilvie, his body angled and tense, his eyes wide. "What have these people got to do with us?"
   "That's what we have to know," answered Sulikov, staring at the Wall Street lawyer. "You're obviously aware of each one, aren't you?"
   "Well, yes-no!" protested Ogilvie, his face flushed, his words spilling over one another. "It's an entirely different situation. It has nothing to do with our business-a business we've poured millions into, developed for twenty years!"
   "And made millions in return, Counselor, may I be permitted to remind you of that?"
   "Venture capital in the international markets!" cried the attorney. "That's no crime in this country. Money flows across the oceans with the touch of a computer button. No crime!"
   "Really?" The Soviet consul general arched his brows. "I thought you were a better attorney than that statement suggests. You've been buying up companies all over Europe through mergers and acquisitions using surrogate and misleading corporate entities. The firms you acquire represent sources of supply, often in the same markets, and you subsequently determine prices between former competitors. I believe that's called collusion and restraint of trade, legal terms that we in the Soviet Union have no problems with, as the state sets prices."
   "There's no evidence whatsoever to support such charges!" declared Ogilvie.
   "Of course not, as long as there are liars and unscrupulous lawyers to bribe and advise the liars. It's a labyrinthine enterprise, brilliantly executed, and we've both profited from it. You've sold us anything we've wanted or needed for years, including every major item on your government's restricted lists under so many names our computers broke down trying to keep track of them."
   "No proof." insisted the Wall Street attorney emphatically.
   "I'm not interested in such proof, Counselor. I'm only interested in the names I mentioned to you. In order, they are Admiral Holland, Alexander Conklin, Dr. Panov and, lastly, Jason Bourne and his wife. Please tell me about them."
   "Why?" pleaded Ogilvie. "I've just explained they have nothing to do with you and me, nothing to do with our arrangements!"
   "We think they might have, so why not start with Admiral Holland?"
   "Oh, for God's sake ... !" The agitated lawyer shook his head back and forth, stammered several times and let the words rush out. "Holland-all right, you'll see. ... We recruited a man at the CIA, an analyst named DeSole who panicked and wanted to sever his relations with us. Naturally, we couldn't permit that, so we had him eliminated-professionally eliminated-as we were forced to do with several others who we believed were dangerously unstable. Holland may have had his suspicions and probably speculated on foul play, but he couldn't do any more than speculate-the professionals we employed left no traces; they never do."
   "Very well," said Sulikov, holding his place by the mantel and gazing down at the nervous Ogilvie. "Next, Alexander Conklin."
   "He's a former CIA station chief and tied in with Panov, a psychiatrist-they're both connected to the man they call Jason Bourne and his wife. They go back years, to Saigon, in fact. You see, we had been penetrated, several of our people were reached and threatened, and DeSole came to the conclusion that this Bourne, with Conklin's help, was the one responsible for the penetration."
   "How could he do that?"
   "I don't know. I only know that he has to be eliminated and our professionals have accepted the contract-contracts. They all have to go."
   "You mentioned Saigon."
   "Bourne was part of the old Medusa," admitted Ogilvie quietly. "And like most of that crowd in the field, a thieving misfit. ... It could be something as simple as his having recognized someone from twenty years ago. The story DeSole heard was that this trash Bourne-that's not his real name, incidentally-was actually trained by the Agency to pose as an international assassin for the purpose of drawing out a killer they call the Jackal. Ultimately, the strategy failed and Bourne was pensioned off-gold-watch time. 'Thanks for trying, old sport, but it's over now.' Obviously, he wanted a great deal more than that, so he came after us. ... You can see now, can't you? The two issues are completely separate; there's no linkage. One has nothing to do with the other."
   The Russian unclasped his hands and took a step forward away from the mantel. His expression was more one of concern than of alarm. "Can you really be so blind, or is your vision so tunneled that you see nothing but your enterprise?"
   "I reject your insult out of hand. What the hell are you talking about?"
   "The connection is there because it was engineered, created for one purpose only. You were merely a by-product, a side issue that suddenly became immensely important to the authorities."
   "I don't ... understand," whispered Ogilvie, his face growing pale.
   "You just said 'a killer they call the Jackal,' and before that you alluded to Bourne as a relatively insignificant rogue agent trained to pose as an assassin, a strategy that failed, so he was pensioned off-'gold-watch time,' I believe you said."
   "It's what I was told-"
   "And what else were you told about Carlos the Jackal? About the man who uses the name Jason Bourne? What do you know about them?"
   "Very little, frankly. Two aging killers, scum who've been stalking each other for years. Again, frankly, who gives a damn? My only concern is the complete confidentiality of our organization-which you've seen fit to question."
   "You still don't see, do you?"
   "See what, for God's sake?"
   "Bourne may not be the lowly scum you think he is, not when you consider his associates."
   "Please be clearer," said Ogilvie in a flat monotone.
   "He's using Medusa to hunt the Jackal."
   "Impossible! That Medusa was destroyed years ago in Saigon!"
   "Obviously he thought otherwise. Would you care to remove your well-tailored jacket, roll up your sleeve, and display the small tattoo on your inner forearm?"
   "No relevance! A mark of honor in a war no one supported, but we had to fight!"
   "Oh, come, Counselor. From the piers and the supply depots in Saigon? Stealing your forces blind and routing couriers to the banks in Switzerland. Medals aren't issued for those heroics."
   "Pure speculation without foundation!" exclaimed Ogilvie.
   "Tell that to Jason Bourne, a graduate of the original Snake Lady. ... Oh, yes, Counselor, he looked for you and he found you and he's using you to go after the Jackal."
   "For Christ's sake, how?"
   "I honestly don't know, but you'd better read these." The consul general crossed rapidly to the hotel desk, picked up a sheaf of stapled typewritten pages, and brought them over to Bryce Ogilvie. "These are decoded telephone conversations that took place four hours ago at our embassy in Paris. The identities are established, the destinations as well. Read them carefully, Counselor, then render me your legal opinion."
   The celebrated attorney, the Ice-Cold Ogilvie, grabbed the papers and with swift, practiced eyes began reading. As he flipped from one page to another, the blood drained from his face to the pallor of death. "My God, they know it all. My offices are wired! How? Why? It's insane! We're impenetrable!"
   "Again, I suggest you tell that to Jason Bourne and his old friend and station chief from Saigon, Alexander Conklin. They found you."
   "They couldn't have!" roared Ogilvie. "We paid off or eliminated everyone in Snake Lady who even suspected the extent of our activities. Jesus, there weren't that many and goddamned few in the field! I told you, they were scum and we knew better-they were the thieves of the world and wanted for crimes all over Australia and the Far East. The ones in combat we knew and we reached!"
   "You missed a couple, I believe," observed Sulikov.
   The lawyer returned to the typed pages, beads of sweat rolling down his temples. "God in heaven, I'm ruined," he whispered, choking.
   "The thought occurred to me," said the Soviet consul general of New York, "but then, there are always options, aren't there? ... Naturally, there's only one course of action for us. Like much of the continent, we were taken in by ruthless capitalist privateers. Lambs led to the slaughter on the altars of greed as this American cartel of financial plunderers cornered markets, selling inferior goods and services at inflated prices, claiming by way of false documents to have Washington's approval to deliver thousands of restricted items to us and our satellites."
   "You son of a bitch!" exploded Ogilvie. "You-all of you-cooperated every step of the way. You brokered millions for us out of the bloc countries, rerouted, renamed-Christ, repainted-ships throughout the Mediterranean, the Aegean, up the Bosporus and into Marmara, to say nothing about ports in the Baltic!"
   "Prove it, Counselor," said Sulikov, laughing quietly. "If you wish, I could make a laudable case for your defection. Moscow would welcome your expertise."
   "What?" cried the attorney as panic spread across his face.
   "Well, you certainly can't stay here an hour longer than absolutely necessary. Read those words, Mr. Ogilvie. You're in the last stages of electronic surveillance before being picked up by the authorities."
   "Oh, my God-"
   "You might try to operate from Hong Kong or Macao-they'd welcome your money, but with the problems they currently have with the Mainland's markets and the Sino-British Treaty of '97, they'd probably frown on your indictments. I'd say Switzerland's out; the reciprocal laws are so narrow these days, as Vesco found out. Ahh, Vesco. You could join him in Cuba."
   "Stop it!" yelled Ogilvie.
   "Then again you could turn state's evidence; there's so much to unravel. They might even take, say, ten years off your thirty-year sentence."
   "Goddamn it, I'll kill you!"
   The bedroom door suddenly opened as a consulate guard appeared, his hand menacingly under his jacket. The attorney had lurched to his feet; trembling helplessly, he returned to the chair and leaned forward, his head in his hands.
   "Such behavior would not be looked upon favorably," said Sulikov. "Come, Counselor, it's a time for cool heads, not emotional outbursts."
   "How the hell can you say that?" asked Ogilvie, a catch in his voice, a prelude to tears. "I'm finished."
   "That's a harsh judgment from such a resourceful man as you. I mean it. It's true you can't remain here, but still your resources are immense. Act from that position of strength. Force concessions; it's the art of survival. Eventually the authorities will see the value of your contributions as they did with Boesky, Levine and several dozen others who endure their minimal sentences playing tennis and backgammon while still possessing fortunes. Try it."
   "How?" said the lawyer, looking up at the Russian, his eyes red, pleading.
   "The where comes first," explained Sulikov. "Find a neutral country that has no extradition treaty with Washington, one where there are officials who can be persuaded to grant you temporary residence so you can carry on your business activities-the term 'temporary' is extremely elastic, of course. Bahrain, the Emirates, Morocco, Turkey, Greece-there's no lack of attractive possibilities. All with rich English-speaking settlements. ... We might even be able to help you, very quietly."
   "Why would you?"
   "Your blindness returns, Mr. Ogilvie. For a price, naturally. ... You have an extraordinary operation in Europe. It's in place and functioning, and under our control we could derive considerable benefits from it."
   "Oh ... my ... God," said the leader of Medusa, his voice trailing off as he stared at the consul general.
   "Do you really have a choice, Counselor? ... Come now, we must hurry. Arrangements have to be made. Fortunately, it's still early in the day."
   It was 3:25 in the afternoon when Charles Casset walked into Peter Holland's office at the Central Intelligence Agency. "Breakthrough," said the deputy director, then added less enthusiastically, "Of sorts."
   "The Ogilvie firm?" asked the DCI.
   "From left field," replied Casset, nodding and placing several stock photographs on Holland's desk. "These were faxed down from Kennedy Airport an hour ago. Believe me, it's been a heavy sixty minutes since then."
   "From Kennedy?" Frowning, Peter studied the facsimiled duplicates. They comprised a sequence of photographs showing a crowd of people passing through metal detectors in one of the airport's international terminals. The head of a single man was circled in red in each photo. "What is it? Who is it?"
   "They're passengers heading for the Aeroflot lounge, Moscow bound, Soviet carrier, of course. Security routinely photographs U.S. nationals taking those flights."
   "So? Who is he?"
   "Ogilvie himself."
   "What?"
   "He's on the two o'clock nonstop to Moscow. ... Only he's not supposed to be."
   "Come again?"
   "Three separate calls to his office came up with the same information. He was out of the country, in London, at the Dorchester, which we know he isn't. However, the Dorchester desk confirmed that he was booked but hadn't arrived, so they were taking messages."
   "I don't understand, Charlie."
   "It's a smoke screen and pretty hastily contrived. In the first place, why would someone as rich as Ogilvie settle for Aeroflot when he could be on the Concorde to Paris and Air France to Moscow? Also, why would his office volunteer that he was either in or on his way to London when he was heading for Moscow?"
   "The Aeroflot flight's obvious," said Holland. "It's the state airline and he's under Soviet protection. The London-Dorchester bit isn't too hard, either. It's to throw people off-my God, to throw us off!"
   "Right on, master. So Valentino did some checking with all that fancy equipment in the cellars and guess what? ... Mrs. Ogilvie and their two teenage children are on a Royal Air Maroc flight to Casablanca with connections to Marrakesh."
   "Marrakesh? ... Air Maroc-Morocco, Marrakesh. Wait a minute. In those computer sheets Conklin had us work up on the Mayflower hotel's registers, there was a woman-one of three people he tied to Medusa-who had been in Marrakesh."
   "I commend your memory, Peter. That woman and Ogilvie's wife were roommates at Bennington in the early seventies. Fine old families; their pedigrees ensure a large degree of sticking together and giving advice to one another."
   "Charlie, what the hell is going on?"
   "The Ogilvies were tipped off and have gotten out. Also, if I'm not mistaken and if we could sort out several hundred accounts, we'd learn that millions have been transferred from New York to God knows where beyond these shores."
   "And?"
   "Medusa's now in Moscow, Mr. Director."
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
34
   Louis DeFazio wearily dragged his small frame out of the taxi in the boulevard Masséna, followed by his larger, heavier, far more muscular cousin Mario from Larchmont, New York. They stood on the pavement in front of a restaurant, its name in red-tubed script across a green-tinted window: Tetrazzini's.
   "This is the place," said Louis. "They'll be in a private room in the back."
   "It's pretty late." Mario looked at his watch under the wash of a street lamp. "I set the time for Paris; it's almost midnight here."
   "They'll wait."
   "You still haven't told me their names, Lou. What do we call them?"
   "You don't," answered DeFazio, starting for the entrance. "No names-they wouldn't mean anything anyway. All you gotta do is be respectful, you know what I mean?"
   "I don't have to be told that, Lou, I really don't," reprimanded Mario in his soft-spoken voice. "But for my own information, why do you even bring it up?"
   "He's a high-class diplomatico," explained the capo supremo, stopping briefly on the pavement and looking up at the man who had nearly killed Jason Bourne in Manassas, Virginia. "He operates out of Rome from fancy government circles, but he's the direct contact with the dons in Sicily. He and his wife are very, very highly regarded, you understand what I'm saying?"
   "I do and I don't," admitted the cousin. "If he's so grand, why would he accept such a menial assignment as following our targets?"
   "Because he can. He can go places some of our pagliacci can't get near, you know what I mean? Also, I happen to let our people in New York know who our clients were, especially one, capisce? The dons all the way from Manhattan to the estates south of Palermo have a language they use exclusively between themselves, did you know that, cugino? ... It comes down to a couple of orders: 'Do it' and 'Don't do it.' "
   "I think I understand, Lou. We render respect."
   "Respect, yes, my fancy rendering cousin, but not no weakness, capisce? No weakness! The word's got to go up and down the line that this is an operation Lou DeFazio took control of and ran from beginning to end. You got that?"
   "If that's the case, maybe I can go home to Angie and the kids," said Mario, grinning.
   "What? ... You shut up, cugino! With this one job you got annuities for your whole passel of bambinos."
   "Not a passel, Lou, just five."
   "Let's go. Remember, respect, but we don't take no shit."
   The small private dining room was a miniature version of Tetrazzini's decor. The ambience was Italian in all things. The walls were papered with dated, now faded murals of Venice, Rome and Florence; the softly piped-in music was predominantly operatic arias and tarantellas, and the lighting indirect with pockets of shadows. If a patron did not know he was in Paris, he might think he was dining on Rome's Via Frascati, at one of the many commercialized family ristoranti lining that ancient street.
   There was a large round table in the center covered by a deep red tablecloth, with a generous overhang, and four chairs equidistant from one another. Additional chairs were against the walls, allowing for an expanded conference of principals or for the proper location of secondary subalterns, usually armed. Seated at the far end of the table was a distinguished-looking olive-skinned man with wavy dark hair; on his left was a fashionably dressed, well-coiffed middle-aged woman. A bottle of Chianti Classico was between them, the crude thick-stemmed wineglasses in front of them not the sort one would associate with such aristocratic diners. On a chair behind the diplomatico was a black leather suitcase.
   "I'm DeFazio," said the capo supremo from New York, closing the door. "This is my cousin Mario, of who you may have heard of-a very talented man who takes precious time away from his family to be with us."
   "Yes, of course," said the aristocratic mafioso. "Mario, il bola, esecuzione garantito-deadly with any weapon. Sit down, gentlemen."
   "I find such descriptions meaningless," responded Mario, approaching a chair. "I'm skilled in my craft, that's all."
   "Spoken like a professional, signore," added the woman as DeFazio and his cousin sat down. "May I order you wine, drinks?" she continued.
   "Not yet," replied Louis. "Maybe later-maybe. ... My talented relative on my mother's side, may she rest in the arms of Christ, asked a good question outside. What do we call you, Mr. and Mrs. Paris, France? Which is by way of saying I don't need no real names."
   "Conte and Contessa is what we're known by," answered the husband, smiling, the tight smile more appropriate to a mask than a human face.
   "See what I mean, cugino? These are people of high regard. ... So, Mr. Count, bring us up to date, how about it?"
   "There's no question about it, Signor DeFazio," replied the Roman, his voice as tight as his previous smile, which had completely disappeared. "I will bring you up to date, and were it in my powers I would leave you in the far distant past."
   "Hey, what kind of fuckin' talk is that?"
   "Lou, please!" intruded Mario, quietly but firmly. "Watch your language."
   "What about his language? What kind of language is that? He wants to leave me in some kind of dirt?"
   "You asked me what has happened, Signor DeFazio, and I'm telling you," said the count, his voice as strained as before. "Yesterday at noon my wife and I were nearly killed-killed, Signor DeFazio. It's not the sort of experience we're used to or can tolerate. Have you any idea what you've gotten yourself into?"
   "You ... ? They marked you?"
   "If you mean by that, did they know who we were, happily they did not. Had they known, it's doubtful we'd be sitting at this table!"
   "Signor DeFazio," interrupted the contessa, glancing at her husband, her look telling him to calm down. "The word we received over here is that you have a contract on this cripple and his friend the doctor. Is that true?"
   "Yeah," confirmed the capo supremo cautiously. "As far as that goes, but it goes further, you know what I mean?"
   "I haven't the vaguest idea," replied the count icily.
   "I tell you this because it's possible I could use your help, for which, like I told you, you'll be paid good, real good."
   "How does the contract go 'further'?" asked the wife, again interrupting.
   "There's someone else we have to hit. A third party these two came over here to meet."
   The count and his countess instantly looked at each other. "A 'third party,' " repeated the man from Rome, raising the wineglass to his lips. "I see. ... A three-target contract is generally quite profitable. How profitable, Signor DeFazio?"
   "Hey, come on, do I ask you what you make a week in Paris, France? Let's just say it's a lot and you two personally can count on six figures, if everything goes according to the book."
   "Six figures encompass a wide spectrum," observed the countess. "It also indicates that the contract is worth over seven figures."
   "Seven ... ?" DeFazio looked at the woman, his breathing on hold.
   "Over a million dollars," concluded the countess.
   "Yeah, well, you see, it's important to our clients that these people leave this world," said Louis, breathing again as seven figures had not been equated with seven million. "We don't ask why, we just do the job. In situations like this, our dons are generous; we keep most of the money and 'our thing' keeps its reputation for efficiency. Isn't that right, Mario?"
   "I'm sure it is, Lou, but I don't involve myself in those matters."
   "You get paid, don't you, cugino?"
   "I wouldn't be here if I didn't, Lou."
   "See what I mean?" said DeFazio, looking at the aristocrats of the European Mafia, who showed no reaction at all except to stare at the capo supremo. "Hey, what's the matter? ... Oh, this bad thing that happened yesterday, huh? What was it-they saw you, right? They spotted you, and some gorilla got off a couple of shots to scare you away, that's it, isn't it? I mean what else could it be, right? They didn't know who you were but you were there-a couple of times too often, maybe – so a little muscle was used, okay? It's an old scam: Scare the shit out of strangers you see more than once."
   "Lou, I asked you to temper your language."
   "Temper? I'm losing my temper. I want to deal!"
   "In plain words," said the count, disregarding DeFazio's words with a soft voice and arched brows, "you say you must kill this cripple and his friend the doctor, as well as a third party, is that correct?"
   "In plain words, you got it right."
   "Do you know who this third party is-outside of a photograph or a detailed description?"
   "Sure, he's a government slime who was sent out years ago to make like he was a Mario here, an esecuzione, can you believe it? But these three individuals have injured our clients, I mean really hurt them. That's why the contract, what else can I tell you?"
   "We're not sure," said the countess, gracefully sipping her wine. "Perhaps you don't really know."
   "Know what?"
   "Know that there is someone else who wants this third party dead far more than you do," explained the count. "Yesterday noon he assaulted a small café in the countryside with murderous gunfire, killing a number of people, because your third party was inside. So were we. ... We saw them-him-warned by a guard and race outside. Certain emergencies are communicated. We left immediately, only minutes before the massacre."
   "Condannare!" choked DeFazio. "Who is this bastard who wants the kill? Tell me!"
   "We've spent yesterday afternoon and all day today trying to find out," began the woman, leaning forward, delicately fingering the indelicate glass as though it were an affront to her sensibilities. "Your targets are never alone. There are always men around them, armed guards, and at first we didn't know where they came from. Then on the avenue Montaigne we saw a Soviet limousine come for them, and your third man in the company of a well-known KGB officer, and now we think we do know."
   "Only you, however," broke in the count, "can confirm it for us. What is the name of this third man on your contract? Surely we have a right to know."
   "Why not? He's a loser named Bourne, Jason Bourne, who's blackmailing our clients."
   "Ecco," said the husband quietly.
   "Ultimo," added the wife. "What do you know of this Bourne?" she asked.
   "What I told you. He went out under cover for the government and got shafted by the big boys in Washington. He gets pissed off, so he ends up shafting our clients. A real slime."
   "You've never heard of Carlos the Jackal?" said the count, leaning back in the chair, studying the capo supremo.
   "Oh, yeah, sure, I heard of him, and I see what you mean. They say this Jackal character has a big thing against this Bourne and vice versa, but it don't cut no ice with me. You know, I thought that fox-cat was just in books, in the movies, you know what I mean? Then they tell me he's a real hit man, wadda y' know?"
   "Very real," agreed the countess.
   "But, like I said, him I couldn't care less about. I want the Jew shrink, the cripple, and this rot-gut Bourne, that's all. And I really want them."
   The diplomat and his wife looked at each other; they shrugged in mild astonishment, then the contessa nodded, deferring to her husband. "Your sense of fiction has been shattered by reality," said the count.
   "Come again?"
   "There was a Robin Hood, you know, but he wasn't a noble of Locksley. He was a barbaric Saxon chief who opposed the Normans, a murdering, butchering thief, extolled only in legends. And there was an Innocent the Third, a pope who was hardly innocent and who followed the savage policies of a predecessor, Saint Gregory the Seventh, who was hardly a saint. Between them they split Europe asunder, into rivers of blood for political power and to enrich the coffers of the 'Holy Empire.' Centuries before, there was the gentle Quintus Cassius Longinus of Rome, beloved protector of the Further Spain, yet he tortured and mutilated a hundred thousand Spaniards."
   "What the hell are you talkin' about?"
   "These men were fictionalized, Signor DeFazio, into many different shadings of what they may actually have been, but regardless of the distortions, they were real. Just as the Jackal is real, and is a deadly problem for you. As, unfortunately, he is a problem for us, for he's a complication we cannot accept."
   "Huh?" The capo supremo, mouth gaping, stared at the Italian aristocrat.
   "The presence of the Soviets was both alarming and enigmatic," continued the count. "Then finally we perceived a possible connection, which you just confirmed. ... Moscow has been hunting Carlos for years, solely for the purpose of executing him, and all they've gotten for their efforts is one dead hunter after another. Somehow-God knows how-Jason Bourne negotiated with the Russians to pursue their common objective."
   "For Christ's sake, speak English or Italian, but with words that make sense! I didn't exactly go to Harvard City College, gumball. I didn't have to, capisce?"
   "The Jackal stormed that country inn yesterday. He's the one hunting down Jason Bourne, who was foolish enough to come back to Paris and persuade the Soviets to work with him. Both were stupid, for this is Paris and Carlos will win. He'll kill Bourne and your other targets and laugh at the Russians. Then he'll proclaim to the clandestine departments of all governments that he has won, that he's the padrone, the maestro. You in America have never been exposed to the whole story, only bits and pieces, for your interest in Europe stops at the money line. But we have lived through it, watching in fascination, and now we are mesmerized. Two aging master assassins obsessed with hatred, each wanting only to cut the other's throat."
   "Hey, back up, gumball!" shouted DeFazio. "This slime Bourne's a fake, a contraffazione. He never was an executioner!"
   "You're quite wrong, signore," said the countess. "He may not have entered the arena with a gun, but it became his favorite instrument. Ask the Jackal."
   "Fuck the Jackal!" cried DeFazio, getting up from the chair.
   "Lou!"
   "Shut up, Mario! This Bourne is mine, ours! We deliver the corpse, we take the pictures with me-us-standing over all three with a dozen ice picks in their bodies, their heads pulled up by the hair, so nobody can say it ain't our kills!"
   "Now you're the one who's pazzo," said the Mafia count quietly, in counterpoint to the capo supremo's raucous yelling. "And please keep your voice down."
   "Then don't get me excited-"
   "He's trying to explain things, Lou," said DeFazio's relative, the killer. "I want to hear what the gentleman has to say because it could be vital to my approach. Sit down, Cousin." Louis sat down. "Please continue, Count."
   "Thank you, Mario. You don't object to my calling you Mario."
   "Not at all, sir."
   "Perhaps you should visit Rome-"
   "Perhaps we should get back to Paris," again choked the capo supremo.
   "Very well," agreed the Roman, now dividing his attention between DeFazio and his cousin, but favoring the latter. "You might take out all three targets with a long-range rifle, but you won't get near the bodies. The Soviet guards will be indistinguishable from any other people in the area, and if they see the two of you coming in to the killing ground, they'll open fire, assuming you're from the Jackal."
   "Then we must create a diversion where we can isolate the targets," said Mario, his elbows on the table, his intelligent eyes on the count. "Perhaps an emergency in the early hours of the morning. A fire in their lodgings, perhaps, that necessitates their coming outside. I've done it before; in the confusion of fire trucks and police sirens and the general panic, one can pull targets away and complete the assignments."
   "It's a fine strategy, Mario, but there are still the Soviet guards."
   "We take them out!" cried DeFazio.
   "You are only two men," said the diplomat, "and there are at least three in Barbizon, to say nothing of the hotel in Paris where the cripple and the doctor are staying."
   "So we outmatch the numbers." The capo supremo pulled the back of his hand over the sweat that had gathered on his forehead. "We hit this Barbizon first, right?"
   "With only two men?" asked the countess, her cosmeticized eyes wide in surprise.
   "You got men!" exclaimed DeFazio. "We'll use a few. ... I'll pay additional."
   The count shook his head slowly and spoke softly. "We will not go to war with the Jackal," he said. "Those are my instructions."
   "Fairy bastards!"
   "An interesting comment coming from you," observed the countess, a thin insulting smile on her lips.
   "Perhaps our dons are not as generous as yours," continued the diplomat. "We are willing to cooperate up to a point but no further."
   "You'll never make another shipment to New York, or Philly, or Chicago!"
   "We'll let our superiors debate those issues, won't we?"
   There was a sudden knocking at the door, four raps in a row, harsh and intrusive. "Avanti," called out the count, instantly reaching under his jacket and ripping an automatic out of his belt; he lowered it beneath the overhang. of the red tablecloth and smiled as the manager of Tetrazzim's entered.
   "Emergenza," said the grossly overweight man, walking rapidly to the well-tailored mafioso and handing him a note.
   "Grazie."
   "Prego," replied the manager, crossing back to the door and exiting as quickly as he had arrived.
   "The anxious gods of Sicily may be smiling down on you after all," said the count, reading. "This communication is from the man following your targets. They are outside Paris and they are alone, and for reasons I cannot possibly explain, there are no guards. They have no protection."
   "Where?" cried DeFazio, leaping to his feet.
   Without answering, the diplomat calmly reached for his gold lighter, ignited it, and fired the small piece of paper, lowering it into an ashtray. Mario sprang up from his chair; the man from Rome dropped the lighter on the table and swiftly retrieved the gun from his lap. "First, let us discuss the fee," he said as the note coiled into flaming black ash. "Our dons in Palermo are definitely not as generous as yours. Please talk quickly, as every minute counts."
   "You motherfucking bastard!"
   "My Oedipal problems are not your concern. How much, Signor DeFazio?"
   "I'll go the limit," replied the capo supremo, lowering himself into the chair, staring at the charred remnants of the information. "Three hundred thousand, American. That's it."
   "That's excremento," said the countess. "Try again. Seconds become minutes and you cannot afford them."
   "All right, all right! Double it!"
   "Plus expenses," added the woman.
   "What the fuck can they be?"
   "Your cousin Mario is right," said the diplomat. "Please watch your language in front of my wife."
   "Holy shit-"
   "I warned you, signore. The expenses are an additional quarter of a million, American."
   "What are you, nuts?"
   "No, you're vulgar. The total is one million one hundred fifty thousand dollars, to be paid as our couriers in New York so instruct you. ... If not, you will be missed in-what is it?-Brooklyn Heights, Signor DeFazio?"
   "Where are the targets?" said the beaten capo supremo, his defeat painful to him.
   "At a small private airfield in Pontcarré, about forty-five minutes from Paris. They're waiting for a plane that was grounded in Poitiers because of bad weather. It can't possibly arrive for at least an hour and a quarter."
   "Did you bring the equipment we requested?" asked Mario rapidly.
   "It's all there," answered the countess, gesturing at the large black suitcase on a chair against the wall.
   "A car, a fast car!" cried DeFazio as his executioner retrieved the suitcase.
   "Outside," replied the count. "The driver will know where to take you. He's been to that field."
   "Come on, cugino. Tonight we collect and you can settle a score!"
   Except for a single clerk behind the counter in the small one-room terminal and an air controller hired to stay the extra hours in the radio tower, the private airport in Pontcarré was deserted. Alex Conklin and Mo Panov stayed discreetly behind as Bourne led Marie outside to the gate area fronting the field beyond a waist-high metal fence. Two strips of receding amber ground lights defined the long runway for the plane from Poitiers; they had been turned on only a short time ago.
   "It won't be long now," said Jason.
   "This whole damn thing's stupid," retorted Webb's wife. "Everything."
   "There's no reason for you to stay and every reason for you to leave. For you to be alone here in Paris would be stupid. Alex is right. If Carlos's people found you, you'd be taken hostage, so why risk it?"
   "Because I'm capable of staying out of sight and I don't want to be ten thousand miles away from you. You'll forgive me if I worry about you, Mr. Bourne. And care for you."
   Jason looked at her in the shadows, grateful for the darkness; she could not clearly see his eyes. "Then be reasonable and use your head," he said coldly, suddenly feeling so old, too old for such a transparently false lack of feeling. "We know Carlos is in Moscow and Krupkin isn't far behind him. Dimitri's flying us there in the morning, and we'll be under the protection of the KGB in the tightest city in the world. What more could we want?"
   "You were under the protection of the United States government on a short East Side block in New York thirteen years ago and it didn't do you much good."
   "There's a great deal of difference. Back then the Jackal knew exactly where I was going and when I'd be there. Right now he has no idea we even know he's in Moscow. He's got other problems, big ones for him, and he thinks we're here in Paris-he's ordered his people to keep searching for us."
   "What will you do in Moscow?"
   "We won't know until we get there, but whatever it is, it's better than here in Paris. Krupkin's been busy. Every ranking officer in Dzerzhinsky Square who speaks French is being watched and is under surveillance. He said the French narrowed down the possibilities and that something should break. ... Something will break; the odds are on our side. And when it does, I can't be worried about you back here."
   "That's the nicest thing you've said in the past thirty-six hours."
   "So be it. You should be with the children and you know that. You'll be out of reach and safe ... and the kids need you. Mrs. Cooper's a terrific lady, but she's not their mother. Besides, your brother probably has Jamie smoking his Cuban cigars and playing Monopoly with real money by now."
   Marie looked up at her husband, a gentle smile apparent in the darkness as well as in her voice. "Thanks for the laugh. I need it."
   "It's probably the truth-your brother, I mean. If there are good-looking women on the staff, it's quite possible our son's lost his virginity."
   "David!" Bourne was silent. Marie chuckled briefly, then went on. "I suppose I really can't argue with you."
   "And you would if my argument was flawed, Dr. St. Jacques. That's something I've learned over the past thirteen years."
   "I still object to this crazy trip back to Washington! From here to Marseilles, then to London, then on a flight to Dulles. It'd be so much simpler just to get on a plane from Orly to the States."
   "It's Peter Holland's idea. He'll meet you himself, so ask him; he doesn't say an awful lot on the phone. I suspect he doesn't want to deal with the French authorities for fear of a leak to Carlos's people. A single woman with a common name on crowded flights is probably best."
   "I'll spend more time sitting in airports than in the air."
   "Probably, so cover those great legs of yours and carry a Bible."
   "That's sweet," said Marie, touching his face. "I suddenly hear you, David."
   "What?" Again Bourne did not respond to the warmth.
   "Nothing. ... Do me a favor, will you?"
   "What is it?" asked Jason, in a distant monotone.
   "Bring that David back to me."
   "Let's get an update on the plane," said Bourne, his voice flat and abrupt as he touched her elbow and led her back inside. I'm getting older-old-and I cannot much longer be what I am not. The Chameleon is slipping away, the imagination isn't there the way it used to be. But I cannot stop! Not now! Get away from me, David Webb!
   No sooner had they reentered the small terminal than the telephone on the counter began to ring. The lone clerk picked it up. "Oui?" He listened for no more than five seconds. "Merci," he said, hanging up and addressing the four interested parties in French. "That was the tower. The plane from Poitiers will be on the ground in approximately four minutes. The pilot requests that you be ready, madame, as he would like to fly ahead of the weather front moving east."
   "So would I," agreed Marie, rushing to Alex Conklin and Mo Panov. The farewells were brief, the embraces strong, the words heartfelt. Bourne led his wife back outside. "I just remembered-where are Krupkin's guards?" she asked as Jason unlatched the gate and they walked toward the lighted runway.
   "We don't need them or want them," he answered. "The Soviet connection was made in the Montaigne, so we have to assume the embassy's being watched. No guards rushing out into cars, therefore no movement on our part for Carlos's people to report."
   "I see." The sound of a small decelerating jet could be heard as the plane circled the airfield once and made its descent onto the four-thousand-foot runway. "I love you so much, David," said Marie, raising her voice to be heard over the roar of the aircraft, rolling toward them.
   "He loves you so much," said Bourne, images colliding in his mind. "I love you so much."
   The jet loomed clearly into view between the rows of amber lights, a white bullet-like machine with short delta wings sweeping back from the fuselage, giving it the appearance of an angry flying insect. The pilot swung the plane around in a circle, coming to a jarring stop as the automatic passenger door sprang out and up while metal steps slapped down to the ground. Jason and Marie ran toward the jet's entrance.
   It happened with the sudden impact of a murderous wind shear, at once unstoppable, enveloping, the swirling winds of death! Gunfire. Automatic weapons-two of them; one nearby, one farther away-shattering windows, ripping into wood, a piercing screech of pain erupting from the terminal, announcing a mortal hit.
   With both hands Bourne gripped Marie by the waist, heaving her up and propelling her into the plane as he shouted to the pilot. "Shut the door and get out of here!"
   "Mon Dieu!" cried the man from the open flight deck. "Allez-vous-en!" he roared, ordering Jason away from the spring-hinged door and the metal steps, gunning the jet's engine as the plane lurched forward. Jason plunged to the ground and raised his eyes. Marie's face was pressed against the window; she was screaming hysterically. The plane thundered down the runway; it was free.
   Bourne was not. He was caught in the wash of the amber lights, the glowing rows a cyclorama of yellowish orange. No matter where he stood or knelt or crouched he was in silhouette. So he pulled out the automatic from his belt-the weapon, he reflected, given to him by Bernardine-and began slithering, snaking his way across the asphalt toward the bordering grass outside the fenced-gate area.
   The gunfire erupted again, but now they were three scattered single shots from within the terminal, where the lights had been extinguished. They had to have come from Conklin's gun, or possibly the clerk's if he had a weapon; Panov did not. Then who had been hit? ... No time! A shattering fusillade burst out of the nearest automatic rifle; it was steady, prolonged and deadly, spraying the side of the small building and the gate area.
   Then the second automatic weapon commenced firing; from the sound it was on the opposite side of the terminal's waiting room. Moments later there were two single shots, the last one accompanied by a scream ... again on the other side of the building.
   "I've been hit!" The voice was the cry of a man in pain ... on the other side of the building. The automatic rifle! Jason slowly rose to a low crouch in the grass and peered into the darkness. A fragment of blacker darkness moved. He raised his automatic and fired into the moving mass, getting to his feet and racing across the gate area, turning and squeezing the trigger until he was both out of bullets and out of sight on the east side of the building, where the runway ended and the amber lights stopped. He crawled cautiously to the section of the waist-high fence that paralleled the corner of the small terminal. The grayish-white gravel of the parking area was a gratifying sight; he was able to make out the figure of a man writhing on the stones. The figure gripped a weapon in his hands, then pushing it into the gravel, raised himself to a half-sitting position.
   "Cugino!" he screamed. "Help me!" His answer was another burst of gunfire from the west side of the building, diagonally to the right of the wounded man. "Holy Christ!" he shrieked. "I'm hit bad!" Again the reply was yet another fusillade from the automatic rifle, these rounds simultaneous with crashing glass. The killer on the west side of the building had smashed the windows and was blowing apart everything inside.
   Bourne dropped the useless automatic and grabbed the top of the fence, vaulting over it, his left leg landing in agony on the ground. What's happened to me? Why do I hurt? Goddamn it! He limped to the wood-framed corner of the building and edged his face to the open space beyond. The figure on the gravel fell back, unable to support himself on the automatic rifle. Jason felt the ground, found a large rock, and threw it with all his strength beyond the wounded man. It crashed, bouncing into the gravel, for an instant like the sound of approaching footsteps. The killer spastically rose and spun his body to the rear, gripping his weapon, which twice fell out of his grasp.
   Now! Bourne raced across the stones of the parking lot and lunged off his feet down into the man with the gun. He tore the weapon from the killer's grip and crashed the metal stock into his skull. The short, slender man went limp. And, again, suddenly, there was another crescendo of gunfire from the west exterior of the terminal building, again accompanied by the shattering of glass. The first and nearer killer was narrowing down his targets. He had to be stopped! thought Jason, his breath gone, every muscle in his body in pain. Where was the man from yesterday? Where was Delta from Medusa? The Chameleon from Treadstone Seventy-one? Where was that man?
   Bourne grabbed the MAC-10 submachine gun from the unconscious figure on the gravel and raced toward the side door of the terminal.
   "Alex!" he roared. "Let me in! I've got the weapon!"
   The door crashed open. "My God, you're alive!" shouted Conklin in the darkness of the shadows as Jason ran inside. "Mo's in bad shape-he was shot in the chest. The clerk's dead and we can't raise the tower out on the field. They must have reached it first." Alex slammed the door shut. "Get down on the floor!" A fusillade raked the walls. Bourne got to his knees and fired back, then threw himself down beside Conklin.
   "What happened?" cried Jason, breathless, his voice strained, the sweat dripping down his face and stinging his eyes.
   "The Jackal happened."
   "How did he do it?"
   "He fooled us all. You, me, Krupkin and Lavier-worst of all, me. He sent the word out that he'd be away, no explanation even with you here in Paris, just that he'd be gone for a while. We thought the trap had worked; everything pointed to Moscow. ... He sucked us into his own trap. Oh, Christ, did he suck us in! I should have known better, I should have seen through it! It was too clean. ... I'm sorry, David. Oh, God, I'm sorry!"
   "That's him out there, isn't it? He wants the kill all to himself-nothing else matters to him."
   Suddenly a flashlight, its powerful beam blinding, was thrown through a shattered window. Instantly, Bourne raised the MAC-10 and blew the shiny metal tube away, extinguishing the light. The damage, however, had been done; their bodies had been seen.
   "Over here!" screamed Alex, grabbing Jason and diving behind the counter as a murderous barrage came from the blurred silhouette in the window. It stopped; there was the crack of a bolt.
   "He has to reload!" whispered Bourne, with the break in the fire. "Stay here!" Jason stood up and raced to the gate doors, crashing through them, his weapon gripped in his right hand, his body prone, tense, prepared to kill-if the years would permit it. They had to permit it!
   He crawled through the gate he had opened for Marie and spun on the ground to his right, scrambling along the fence. He was Delta-of Saigon's Medusa ... he could do it! There was no friendly jungle now, but there was everything he could use-Delta could use-the darkness, the intermittent blocks of shadows from the myriad clouds intercepting the moonlight. Use everything! It was what you were trained to do ... so many years ago-so many. Forget it, forget time! Do it! The animal only yards away wants you dead-your wife dead, your children dead. Dead!
   It was the quickness born of pure fury that propelled him, obsessed him, and he knew that to win he had to win quickly, with all the speed that was in him. He crept swiftly along the fence that enclosed the airfield, and past the corner of the terminal, prepared for the instant of exposure. The lethal submachine gun was still gripped in his hand, his index finger now on the trigger. There was a cluster of wild shrubbery preceding two thick trees no more than thirty feet away; if he could reach them, the advantage was his. He would have the "high ground," the Jackal in the valley of death, if only because he was behind the assassin and unseen.
   He reached the shrubbery. And at the moment he heard a massive smashing of glass followed by yet another fusillade-this time so prolonged that the entire magazine had to have been emptied. He had not been seen; the figure by the window had backed away to reload, his concentration on that task, not on the possibility of an escape. Carlos, too, was growing old and losing his finesse, thought Jason Bourne. Where were the flares intrinsic to such an operation? Where were the alert, roving eyes that loaded weapons in total darkness?
   Darkness. A cloud cover blocked the yellow rays of the moon; there was darkness. He vaulted over the fence, concealing himself behind the shrubbery, then raced to the first of the two trees where he could stand upright, view the scene and consider his options.
   Something was wrong. There was a primitiveness he could not associate with the Jackal. The assassin had isolated the terminal, ad valorem, and the price was high, but there was an absence of the finer points of the deadly equation. The subtlety was not there; instead, there was a brute force, hardly to be denied, but not when employed against the man they called Jason Bourne who had escaped from the trap.
   The figure by the shattered window had spent his ammunition; he reeled back against the building, pulling another magazine out of his pocket. Jason raced out of the cover of the trees, his MAC-10 on automatic fire, exploding the dirt in front of the killer, then circling the bullets around his frame.
   "That's it!" he shouted, closing in on the assassin. "You're dead, Carlos, with one pull of my finger-if you are the Jackal!"
   The man by the shattered window threw down his weapon. "I am not he, Mr. Bourne," said the executioner from Larchmont, New York. "We've met before, but I am not the person you think I am."
   "Hit the ground, you son of a bitch!" The killer did so as Jason approached. "Spread your legs and your arms!" The command was obeyed. "Raise your head!"
   The man did so, and Bourne stared at the face, vaguely illuminated by the distant glow of the amber lights on the airfield's runway. "You see now?" said Mario. "I'm not who you think I am."
   "My God," whispered Jason, his incredulity all too apparent. "You were in the driveway in Manassas, Virginia. You tried to kill Cactus, then me!"
   "Contracts, Mr. Bourne, nothing more."
   "What about the tower? The air controller here in the tower!"
   "I do not kill indiscriminately. Once the plane from Poitiers was given clearance to land, I told him to leave. ... Forgive me, but your wife was also on the list. Fortunately, as she is a mother, it was beyond my abilities."
   "Who the hell are you?"
   "I just told you. A contract employee."
   "I've seen better."
   "I'm not, perhaps, in your league, but I serve my organization well."
   "Jesus, you're Medusa!"
   "I've heard the name, but that's all I can tell you. ... Let me make one thing clear, Mr. Bourne. I will not leave my wife a widow, or my children orphans for the sake of a contract. That position simply isn't viable. They mean too much to me."
   "You'll spend a hundred and fifty years in prison, and that's only if you're prosecuted in a state that doesn't have the death penalty."
   "Not with what I know, Mr. Bourne. My family and I will be well taken care of-a new name, perhaps a nice farm in the Dakotas or Wyoming. You see, I knew this moment had to come."
   "What's come now, you bastard, is that a friend of mine inside there is shot up! You did it!"
   "A truce, then?" said Mario.
   "What the hell do you mean by that?"
   "I have a very fast car a half mile away." The killer from Larchmont, New York, pulled a square instrument from his belt. "It can be here in less than a minute. I'm sure the driver knows the nearest hospital."
   "Do it!"
   "It's done, Jason Bourne," said Mario, pressing a button.
   Morris Panov had been rolled into the operating room; Louis DeFazio was still on a gurney, as it was determined that his wound was superficial. And through back-channel negotiations between Washington and Quai d'Orsay, the criminal known only as Mario was securely in the custody of the American embassy in Paris.
   A white-frocked doctor came out into the hospital's waiting room; both Conklin and Bourne got to their feet, frightened. "I will not pretend to be a bearer of glad tidings," said the physician in French, "for it would be quite wrong. Both lungs of your friend were punctured, as well as the wall of his heart. He has at best a forty-sixty chance of survival-against him, I'm afraid. Still, he is a strong-willed man who wants to live. At times that means more than all the medical negatives. What else can I tell you?"
   "Thank you, Doctor." Jason turned away.
   "I have to use a telephone," said Alex to the surgeon. "I should go to our embassy, but I haven't the time. Do I have any guarantee that I won't be tapped, overheard?"
   "I imagine you have every guarantee," replied the physician. "We wouldn't know how to do it. Use my office, please."
   "Peter?"
   "Alex!" cried Holland from Langley, Virginia. "Everything go all right? Did Marie get off?"
   "To answer your first question, no, everything did not go all right; and as far as Marie goes, you can expect a panicked phone call from her the minute she reaches Marseilles. That pilot won't touch his radio."
   "What?"
   "Tell her we're okay, that David's not hurt-"
   "What are you talking about?" broke in the director of Central Intelligence.
   "We were ambushed while waiting for the plane from Poitiers. I'm afraid Mo Panov's in bad shape, so bad I don't want to think about it right now. We're in a hospital and the doctor's not encouraging."
   "Oh, God, Alex, I'm sorry."
   "In his own way, Mo's a fighter. I'll still bet on him. Incidentally, don't tell Marie. She thinks too much."
   "Of course not. Is there anything I can do?"
   "Yes, there is, Peter. You can tell me why Medusa's here in Paris."
   "In Paris? It's not according to everything I know and I know a hell of a lot."
   "Our identification's positive. The two guns that hit us an hour ago were sent over by Medusa. We've even got a confession of sorts."
   "I don't understand!" protested Holland. "Paris never entered into our thinking. There's no linkage in the scenario."
   "Sure, there is," contradicted the former station chief. "You said it yourself. You called it a self-fulfilling prophecy, remember? The ultimate logic that Bourne conceived as a theory. Medusa joining up with the Jackal, the target Jason Bourne."
   "That's the point, Alex. It was only a theory, hypothetically convincing, but still just a theory, the basis for a sound strategy. But it never happened."
   "It obviously did."
   "Not from this end. As far as we're concerned, Medusa's now in Moscow."
   "Moscow?" Conklin nearly dropped the phone on the doctor's desk.
   "That's right. We've concentrated on Ogilvie's law firm in New York, tapping everything that could be tapped. Somehow-and we don't know how-Ogilvie was tipped off and got out of the country. He took an Aeroflot to Moscow, and the rest of his family headed to Marrakesh."
   "Ogilvie ... ?" Alex could barely be heard; frowning, his memory peeled away the years. "From Saigon? A legal officer from Saigon?"
   "That's right. We're convinced he runs Medusa."
   "And you withheld that information from me?"
   "Only the name of the firm. I told you we had our priorities and you had yours. For us, Medusa came first."
   "You simple swab jockey!" exploded Conklin. "I know Ogilvie-more precisely, I knew him. Let me tell you what they called him in Saigon: Ice-Cold Ogilvie, the smoothest-talking legal scumball in Vietnam. With a few subpoenas and some research, I could have told you where a few of his courtroom skeletons were buried-you blew it! You could have pulled him in for fixing the army courts in a couple of killings-there are no statutes, civilian or military, on those crimes. Jesus, why didn't you tell me?"
   "In all honesty, Alex, you never asked. You simply assumed-rightly so-that I wouldn't tell you."
   "All right, all right, it's done-to hell with it. By tomorrow or the next day you'll have our two Medusans, so go to work on them. They both want to save their asses-the capo's a slime, but his sharpshooter keeps praying for his family and it's not organizational."
   "What are you going to do?" pressed Holland.
   "We're on our way to Moscow."
   "After Ogilvie?"
   "No, the Jackal. But if I see Bryce, I'll give him your regards."
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
35
   Buckingham Pritchard sat next to his uniformed uncle, Cyril Sylvester Pritchard, deputy director of immigration, in the office of Sir Henry Sykes at Government House in Montserrat. Beside them, on the deputy's right, was their attorney, the finest native solicitor Sykes could persuade to advise the Pritchards in the event that the Crown brought a case against them as accessories to terrorism. Sir Henry sat behind the desk and glanced in partial shock at the lawyer, one Jonathan Lemuel, who raised his head and eyes to the ceiling, not to have the benefit of the tropic fan that stirred the humid air but to show disbelief. Lemuel was a Cambridge-educated attorney, once a "scholarship boy" from the colonies, who years ago had made his money in London and returned in the autumn of his life to his native 'Serrat to enjoy the fruits of his labors. Actually, Sir Henry had persuaded his retired black friend to give assistance to a couple of idiots who might have involved themselves in a serious international matter.
   The cause of Sir Henry's shock and Jonathan Lemuel's disbelief cum exasperation came about through the following exchange between Sykes and the deputy director of immigration.
   "Mr. Pritchard, we've established that your nephew overheard a telephone conversation between John St. Jacques and his brother-in-law, the American Mr. David Webb. Further, your nephew Buckingham Pritchard here, freely, even enthusiastically, admits calling you with certain information contained in that conversation and that you in turn emphatically stated that you had to reach Paris immediately. Is this true?"
   "It is all completely true, Sir Henry."
   "Whom did you reach in Paris? What's the telephone number?"
   "With respect, sir, I am sworn to secrecy."
   At that succinct and totally unexpected reply, Jonathan Lemuel had lifted his astonished eyes to the ceiling.
   Sykes, regaining his composure, put an end to the brief pause of amazement. "What was that, Mr. Pritchard?"
   "My nephew and I are part of an international organization involving the great leaders of the world, and we have been sworn to secrecy."
   "Good God, he believes it," muttered Sir Henry.
   "Oh, for heaven's sake," said Lemuel, lowering his head. "Our telephone service here is not the most sophisticated, especially where pay phones are concerned, which I presume you were instructed to use, but within a day or so that number can be traced. Why not simply give it to Sir Henry now. He obviously needs to know quickly, so where is the harm?"
   "The harm, sir, is to our superiors in the organization-that was made explicitly clear to me personally."
   "What's the name of this international organization?"
   "I don't know, Sir Henry. That is part of the confidensheeality, do you not see?"
   "I'm afraid you're the one who doesn't see, Mr. Pritchard," said Sykes, his voice clipped, his anger surfacing.
   "Oh, but I do, Sir Henry, and I shall prove it to you!" interrupted the deputy, looking at each man as if to draw the skeptical Sykes and the astonished attorney, as well as his adoring nephew, into his confidence. "A large sum of money was wired from a private banking institution in Switzerland directly to my own account here in Montserrat. The instructions were clear, if flexible. The funds were to be used liberally in pursuit of the assignments delegated to me. ... Transportation, entertainment, lodgings-I was told I had complete discretion, but, of course, I keep a record of all expenditures, as I do as the second highest officer of immigration. ... Who but vastly superior people would put such trust in a man they knew only by an enviable reputation and position?"
   Henry Sykes and Jonathan Lemuel again looked at each other, astonishment and disbelief now joined by total fascination. Sir Henry leaned forward over the desk. "Beyond this-shall we say-in-depth observation of John St. Jacques requiring the obvious services of your nephew, have you been given other assignments?"
   "Actually not, sir, but I'm sure that as soon as the leaders see how expeditiously I have performed, others will follow."
   Lemuel raised his hand calmly a few inches off the arm of his chair to inhibit a red-faced Sykes. "Tell me," he said quickly, gently. "This large sum of money sent from Switzerland, just how large was it? The amount doesn't matter legally, and Sir Henry can always call your bank under the laws of the Crown, so please tell us."
   "Three hundred pounds!" replied the elder Pritchard, the pride of his value in his voice.
   "Three hundred?" The solicitor's words trailed off.
   "Not exactly staggering, eh?" mumbled Sir Henry, leaning back, speechless.
   "Roughly," continued Lemuel, "what's been your expenses?"
   "Not roughly, but precisely," affirmed the deputy director of immigration, removing a small notebook from the breast pocket of his uniform.
   "My brilliant uncle is always precise," offered Buckingham Pritchard.
   "Thank you, Nephew."
   "How much?" insisted the attorney.
   "Precisely twenty-six pounds, five shillings, English, or the equivalent of one hundred thirty-two East Caribbean dollars, the EC's rounded off to the nearest double zero at the latest rate of exchange-in this case I absorbed forty-seven cents, so entered."
   "Amazing," intoned Sykes, numbed.
   "I've scrupulously kept every receipt," went on the deputy, gathering steam as he continued reading. "They're locked in a strongbox at my flat on Old Road Bay, and include the following: a total of seven dollars and eighteen cents for local calls to Tranquility-I would not use my official phone; twenty-three dollars and sixty-five cents for the long-distance call to Paris; sixty-eight dollars and eighty cents ... dinner for myself and my nephew at Vue Point, a business conference, naturally-"
   "That will do," interrupted Jonathan Lemuel, wiping his perspiring black brow with a handkerchief, although the tropical fan was perfectly adequate for the room.
   "I am prepared to submit everything at the proper time-"
   "I said that will do, Cyril."
   "You should know that I refused a taxi driver when he offered to inflate the price of a receipt and soundly criticized him in my official position."
   "Enough!" thundered Sykes, the veins in his neck pronounced. "You both have been damn fools of the first magnitude! To have even considered John St. Jacques a criminal of any sort is preposterous!"
   "Sir Henry," broke in the younger Pritchard. "I myself saw what happened at Tranquility Inn! It was so horrible. Coffins on the dock, the chapel blown up, government boats around our peaceful isle-gunshots, sir! It will be months before we're back in full operation."
   "Exactly!" roared Sykes. "And do you believe Johnny St. Jay would willingly destroy his own property, his own business?"
   "Stranger things have happened in the outside criminal world, Sir Henry," said Cyril Sylvester Pritchard knowingly. "In my official capacity I've heard many, many stories. The incidents my nephew described are called diversionary tactics employed to create the illusion that the scoundrels are victims. It was all thoroughly explained to me."
   "Oh, it was, was it?" cried the former brigadier of the British army. "Well, let me explain something else, shall I? You've been duped by an international terrorist wanted the world over! Do you know the universal penalty for aiding and abetting such a killer? I'll make it plain, in case it's escaped your attention-in your official capacity, of course. ... It is death by firing squad or, less charitably, a public hanging! Now, what's that goddamned number in Paris?"
   "Under the circumstances," said the deputy, summoning what dignity he could despite the fact that his trembling nephew clutched his left arm and his hand shook as he reached for his notebook. "I'll write it out for you. ... One asks for a blackbird. In French, Sir Henry. I speak a few words, Sir Henry. In French-Sir Henry."
   Summoned by an armed guard dressed casually as a weekend guest in white slacks and a loose, bulky white linen jacket, John St. Jacques walked into the library of their new safe house, an estate on Chesapeake Bay. The guard, a muscular, medium-sized man with clean-cut Hispanic features, stood inside the doorway; he pointed to the telephone on the large cherry-wood desk. "It's for you, Mr. Jones. It's the director."
   "Thanks, Hector," said Johnny, pausing briefly. "Is that Mr. Jones stuff really necessary?"
   "As necessary as 'Hector.' My real name's Roger ... or Daniel. Whatever."
   "Gotcha." St. Jacques crossed to the desk and picked up the phone. "Holland?"
   "That number your friend Sykes got is a blind, but useful."
   "As my brother-in-law would say, please speak English."
   "It's the number of a café on the Marais waterfront on the Seine. The routine is to ask for a blackbird-un oiseau noir-and somebody shouts out. If the blackbird's there, contact is made. If he isn't, you try again."
   "Why is it useful?"
   "We'll try again-and again and again-with a man inside."
   "What's happening otherwise?"
   "I can only give you a limited answer."
   "Goddamn you!"
   "Marie can fill you in-"
   "Marie?"
   "She's on her way home. She's mad as hell, but she's also one relieved wife and mother."
   "Why is she mad?"
   "I've booked her low-key on several long flights back-"
   "For Christ's sake, why?" broke in the brother angrily. "You send a goddamned plane for her! She's been more valuable to you than anyone in your dumb Congress or your corkscrew administration, and you send planes for them all over the place. I'm not joking, Holland!"
   "I don't send those planes," replied the director firmly. "Others do. The ones I send involve too many questions and too much curiosity on foreign soil and that's all I'll say about it. Her safety is more important than her comfort."
   "We agree on that, honcho."
   The director paused, his irritation apparent. "You know something? You're not really a very pleasant fellow, are you?"
   "My sister puts up with me, which more than offsets your opinion. Why is she relieved-as a wife and mother, I think you said?"
   Again Holland paused, not in irritation now, but searching for the words. "A disagreeable incident took place, one none of us could predict or even contemplate."
   "Oh, I hear those famous fucking words from the American establishment!" roared St. Jacques. "What did you miss this time? A truckload of U.S. missiles to the Ayatollah's agents in Paris? What happened?"
   For a third time, Peter Holland employed a moment of silence, although his heavy breathing was audible. "You know, young man, I could easily hang up the phone and dismiss your existence, which would be quite beneficial for my blood pressure."
   "Look, honcho, that's my sister out there, and a guy she's married to who I think is pretty terrific. Five years ago, you bastards-I repeat, you bastards-damn near killed them both over in Hong Kong and points east. I don't know all the facts because they're too decent or too dumb to talk about them, but I know enough to know I wouldn't trust you with a waiter's payroll in the islands!"
   "Fair enough," said Holland, subdued. "Not that it matters, but I wasn't here then."
   "It doesn't matter. It's your subterranean system. You would have done the same thing."
   "Knowing the circumstances, I might have. So might you, if you knew them. But that doesn't matter, either. It's history."
   "And now is now," broke in St. Jacques. "What happened in Paris, this 'disagreeable incident'?"
   "According to Conklin, there was an ambush at a private airfield in Pontcarré. It was aborted. Your brother-in-law wasn't hurt and neither was Alex. That's all I can tell you."
   "It's all I want to hear."
   "I spoke to Marie a little while ago. She's in Marseilles and will be here late tomorrow morning. I'll meet her myself and we'll be driven out to Chesapeake."
   "What about David?"
   "Who?"
   "My brother-in-law?"
   "Oh ... yes, of course. He's on his way to Moscow."
   "What?"
   The Aeroflot jetliner reversed engines and swung off the runway at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. The pilot taxied down the adjacent exit lane, then stopped a quarter of a mile from the terminal as an announcement was made in both Russian and French.
   "There will be a five– to seven-minute delay before disembarkation. Please remain seated."
   No explanation accompanied the information, and those passengers on the flight from Paris who were not Soviet citizens returned to their reading material, assuming the delay was caused by a backup of departing aircraft. However, those who were citizens, as well as a few others familiar with Soviet arrival procedures, knew better. The curtained-off front section of the huge Ilyushin jet, a small seating area that was reserved for special unseen passengers, was in the process of being evacuated, if not totally, at least in part. The custom was for an elevated platform with a shielded metal staircase to be rolled up to the front exit door. Several hundred feet away there was always a government limousine, and while the backs of those disembarked special passengers were briefly in view on their way to the vehicles, flight attendants roamed through the aircraft making sure no cameras were in evidence. There never were. These travelers were the property of the KGB, and for reasons known only to the Komitet, they were not to be observed in Sheremetyevo's international terminal. It was the case this late afternoon on the outskirts of Moscow.
   Alex Conklin limped out of the shielded staircase followed by Bourne, who carried the two outsized flight bags that served as their minimum luggage. Dimitri Krupkin emerged from the limousine and hurried toward them as the steps were rolled away from the aircraft and the noise of the huge jet engines began growing in volume.
   "How is your friend the doctor?" asked the Soviet intelligence officer, shouting to be heard over the roar.
   "Holding his own!" yelled Alex. "He may not make it, but he's fighting like hell!"
   "It's your own fault, Aleksei!" The jet rolled away and Krupkin lowered his voice accordingly, still loud but not shouting. "You should have called Sergei at the embassy. His unit was prepared to escort you wherever you wished to go."
   "Actually, we thought that if we did, we'd be sending out an alert."
   "Better a prohibiting alert than inviting an assault!" countered the Russian. "Carlos's men would never have dared to attack you under our protection."
   "It wasn't the Jackal-the Jackal," said Conklin, abruptly resuming a conversational tone as the roar of the aircraft became a hum in the distance.
   "Of course it wasn't him-he's here. It was his goons following orders."
   "Not his goons, not his orders."
   "What are you talking about?"
   "We'll go into it later. Let's get out of here."
   "Wait." Krupkin arched his brows. "We'll talk first-and first, welcome to Mother Russia. Second, it would be most appreciated if you would refrain from discussing certain aspects of my life-style while in the service of my government in the hostile, war-mongering West with anyone you might meet."
   "You know, Kruppie, one of these days they'll catch up with you."
   "Never. They adore me, for I feed the Komitet more useful gossip about the upper ranks of the debauched, so-called free world than any other officer in a foreign post. I also entertain my superiors in that same debauched world far better than any other officer anywhere. Now, if we corner the Jackal here in Moscow, I'll no doubt be made a member of the Politburo, hero status."
   "Then you can really steal."
   "Why not? They all do."
   "If you don't mind," interrupted Bourne curtly, lowering the two flight bags to the ground. "What's happened? Have you made any progress in Dzerzhinsky Square?"
   "It's not inconsiderable for less than thirty hours. We've narrowed down Carlos's mole to thirteen possibles, all of whom speak French fluently. They're under total surveillance, human and electronic; we know exactly where they are every minute, also who they meet and who they talk to over the telephone. ... I'm working with two ranking commissars, neither of whom can remotely speak French-they can't even speak literate Russian, but that's the way it is sometimes. The point is they're both failsafe and dedicated; they'd rather be instrumental in capturing the Jackal than re-fight the Nazi. They've been very cooperative in mounting surveillance."
   "Your surveillance is rotten and you know it," said Alex. "They fall over toilet seats in the women's room when they're chasing a guy."
   "Not this time, for I chose them myself," insisted Krupkin. "Outside of four of our own people, each trained in Novgorod, they're defectors from the UK, America, France and South Africa-all with intelligence backgrounds who could lose their dachas if they screw up, as you Westerners say. I really would like to be appointed to the Presidium, perhaps even the Central Committee. I might be posted to Washington or New York."
   "Where you could really steal," said Conklin.
   "You're wicked, Aleksei, very, very wicked. Still, after a vodka or six, remind me to tell you about some real estate our chargé d'affaires picked up in Virginia two years ago. For a song, and financed by his lover's bank in Richmond. Now a developer wants the property at ten times the price! ... Come, the car."
   "I don't believe this conversation," said Bourne, picking up the flight bags.
   "Welcome to the real world of high-tech intelligence," explained Conklin, laughing quietly. "At least from one point of view."
   "From all points of view," continued Krupkin as they started toward the limousine. "However, we will dispense with this conversation while riding in an official vehicle, won't we, gentlemen? Incidentally, you have a two-bedroom suite at the Metropole on the Marx Prospekt. It's convenient and I've personally shut down all listening devices."
   "I can understand why, but how did you manage it?"
   "Embarrassment, as you well know, is the Komitet's greatest enemy. I explained to internal security that what might be recorded could prove most embarrassing to the wrong people, who would undoubtedly transfer any who overheard the tapes to Kamchatka." They reached the car, the left rear door opened by a driver in a dark brown business suit identical with the one worn by Sergei in Paris. "The fabric's the same," said Krupkin in French, noting his companions' reaction to the similar apparel. "Unfortunately the tailoring is not. I insisted Sergei have his refitted in the Faubourg."
   The Hotel Metropole is a renovated, prerevolutionary structure built in the ornate style of architecture favored by the czar who had visited fin-de-siècle Vienna and Paris. The ceilings are high, the marble profuse, and the occasional tapestries priceless. Intrinsic to the elaborate lobby is a defiance aimed at a government that would permit so many shabby citizens to invade the premises. The majestic walls and the glittering, filigreed chandeliers seem to stare at the unworthy trespassers with disdain. These impressions, however, did not apply to Dimitri Krupkin, whose baronial figure was very much at ease and at home in the surroundings.
   "Comrade!" cried the manager sotto voce as the KGB officer accompanied his guests to the elevators. "There is an urgent message for you," he continued, walking rapidly up to Dimitri and thrusting a folded note into Krupkin's hand. "I was told to deliver it to you personally."
   "You have done so and I thank you." Dimitri watched the man walk away, then opened the paper as Bourne and Conklin stood behind him. "I must reach Dzerzhinsky immediately," he said, turning. "It's the extension of my second commissar. Come, let us hurry."
   The suite, like the lobby, belonged to another time, another era, indeed another country, marred only by the faded fabrics and the less than perfect restoration of the original moldings. These imperfections served to accentuate the distance between the past and the present. The doors of the two bedrooms were opposite each other, the space between a large sitting room complete with a copper dry bar and several bottles of spirits rarely seen on Moscow shelves.
   "Help yourselves," said Krupkin, heading for a telephone on an ersatz antique desk that appeared to be a cross between Queen Anne and a later Louis. "Oh, I forgot, Aleksei, I'll order some tea or spring water-"
   "Forget it," said Conklin, taking his flight bag from Jason and heading into the left bedroom. "I'm going to wash up; that plane was filthy."
   "I trust you found the fare agreeable," responded Krupkin, raising his voice and dialing. "Incidentally, you ingrate, you'll find your weapons in your bedside table drawers. Each is a .38 caliber Graz Burya automatic. ... Come, Mr. Bourne," he added. "You're not abstemious and it was a long trip-this may be a long conversation. My commissar number two is a windy fellow."
   "I think I will," said Jason, dropping his bag by the door to the other bedroom. He crossed to the bar and chose a familiar bottle, pouring himself a drink as Krupkin began talking in Russian. It was not a language he understood, so Bourne walked to a pair of tall cathedral windows overlooking the wide avenue known as the Marx Prospekt.
   "Dobryi dyen. Da, da pochemu? ... Sadovaya togda. Dvadtsat minus." Krupkin shook his head in weary irritation as he hung up the telephone. The movement caused Jason to turn toward the Soviet. "My second commissar was not talkative on this occasion, Mr. Bourne. Haste and orders took precedent."
   "What do you mean?"
   "We must leave immediately." Krupkin glanced at the bedroom to the left and raised his voice. "Aleksei, come out here! Quickly! ... I tried to tell him that you'd just this second arrived," continued the KGB man, turning back to Jason, "but he was having none of it. Leven went so far as to say that one of you was already taking a shower, and his only comment was 'Tell him to get out and get dressed.' " Conklin limped through the bedroom door, his shirt unbuttoned and blotting his wet face with a towel. "Sorry, Aleksei, we must go."
   "Go where? We just got here."
   "We've appropriated a flat on the Sadovaya-that's Moscow's 'Grand Boulevard,' Mr. Bourne. It's not the Champs-Elysées, but neither is it inconsequential. The czars knew how to build."
   "What's over there?" pressed Conklin.
   "Commissar number one," replied Krupkin. "We'll be using it as our, shall we say, our headquarters. A smaller and rather delightful annex of Dzerzhinsky Square-only nobody knows about it but the five of us. Something's come up and we're to go there immediately."
   "That's good enough for me," said Jason, putting his drink down on the copper dry bar.
   "Finish it," said Alex, rushing awkwardly back into the bedroom. "I've got to get the soap out of my eyes and rest rap my lousy boot."
   Bourne picked up the glass, his eyes straying to the Soviet field officer who looked after Conklin, his brow lined, his expression curiously sad. "You knew him before he lost his foot, didn't you?" asked Jason quietly.
   "Oh, yes, Mr. Bourne. We go back twenty-five, twenty-six years. Istanbul, Athens, Rome ... Amsterdam. He was a remarkable adversary. Of course, we were young then, both slender and quick and so taken with ourselves, wanting so desperately to live up to the images we envisioned for ourselves. It was all so long ago. We were both terribly good, you know. He was actually better than me, but don't you ever tell him I said so. He always saw the broader picture, the longer road than I saw. It was the Russian in him, of course."
   "Why do you use the word 'adversary'?" asked Jason. "It's so athletic, as if you'd been playing a game. Wasn't he your enemy?"
   Krupkin's large head snapped toward Bourne, his eyes glass, not warm at all. "Of course he was my enemy, Mr. Bourne, and to clarify the picture for you, he still is my enemy. Don't, I beg you, mistake my indulgences for what they are not. A man's weaknesses may intrude on his faith but they do not diminish it. I may not have the convenience of the Roman confession to expiate my sins so as to go forth and sin again despite my belief, but I do believe. ... My grandfathers and grandmothers were hanged-hanged, sir-for stealing chickens from a Romanov prince's estate. Few, if any, of my ancestors were ever given the privilege of the most rudimentary schooling, forget education. The Supreme Soviet revolution of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin made possible the beginning of all things. Thousands upon thousands of mistakes have been made-many inexcusable, many more brutal-but a beginning was made. I, myself, am both the proof and the error of it."
   "I'm not sure I understand that."
   "Because you and your feeble intellectuals have never understood what we have understood from the start. Das Kapital, Mr. Bourne, envisages stages toward a just society, economic and political, but it does not and never did state what specific form the nuts-and-bolts government will ultimately be. Only that it could not be as it was."
   "I'm not a scholar in that department."
   "One does not have to be. In a hundred years you may be the socialists, and with luck, we'll be the capitalists, da?"
   "Tell me something," said Jason, hearing, as Krupkin also did, the water faucets in Conklin's room being turned off. "Could you kill Alex-Aleksei?"
   "As surely as he could kill me-with deep regrets-if the value of the information called for it. We are professionals. We understand that, often reluctantly."
   "I can't understand either one of you."
   "Don't even try, Mr. Bourne, you're not there yet-you're getting closer, but you're not there."
   "Would you explain that, please?"
   "You're at the cusp, Jason-may I call you Jason?"
   "Please do."
   "You're fifty years of age or thereabouts, give or take a year or two, correct?"
   "Correct. I'll be fifty-one in a few months. So what?"
   "Aleksei and I are in our sixties-have you any idea what a leap that is?"
   "How could I?"
   "Let me tell you. You still visualize yourself as the younger man, the postadolescent man who sees himself doing the things you did only moments ago in your mind, and in many ways you are right. The motor controls are there, the will is there; you are still the master of your body. Then suddenly, as strong as the will is and as strong as the body remains, the mind slowly, insidiously begins to reject the necessity to make an immediate decision-both intellectually and physically. Simply put, we care less. Are we to be condemned or congratulated on having survived?"
   "I think you just said you couldn't kill Alex."
   "Don't count on it, Jason Bourne-or David whoever you are."
   Conklin came through the door, his limp pronounced, wincing in pain. "Let's go," he said.
   "Did you strap it wrong again?" asked Jason. "Do you want me to-"
   "Forget it," broke in Alex irritably. "You have to be a contortionist to get the goddamned thing right all the time."
   Bourne understood; he forgot about any attempt on his part to adjust the prosthesis. Krupkin again looked at Alex with that strange admixture of sadness and curiosity, then spoke rapidly. "The car is parked up the street in the Sverdlov. It's less obvious over there, I'll have a lobby steward fetch it."
   "Thanks," said Conklin, gratitude in his glance.
   The opulent apartment on the busy Sadovaya was one among many in an aged stone building that, like the Metropole, reflected the grand architectural excesses of the old Russian Empire. The flats were primarily used-and bugged-for visiting dignitaries, and the chambermaids, doormen and concierges were all frequently questioned by the KGB when not directly employed by the Komitet. The walls were covered with red velour; the sturdy furniture was reminiscent of the ancien régime. However, to the right of the gargantuan ornate living-room fireplace was an item that stood out like a decorator's nightmare: a large jet-black television console complete with an assortment of tape decks compatible with the various sizes of video cassettes.
   The second contradiction to the decor, and undoubtedly an affront to the memory of the elegant Romanovs, was a heavyset man in a rumpled uniform, open at the neck and stained with vestiges of recent meals. His blunt face was full, his grayish hair cut close to his skull, and a missing tooth surrounded by discolored companions bespoke an aversion to dentistry. It was the face of a peasant, the narrow, perpetually squinting eyes conveying a peasant's shrewd intelligence. He was Krupkin's Commissar Number One.
   "My English not good," announced the uniformed man, nodding at his visitors, "but is understanding. Also, for you I have no name, no official position. Call me colonel, yes? It is below my rank, but all Americans think all Soviets in Komitet are 'colonel,' da? Okay?"
   "I speak Russian," replied Alex. "If it's easier for you, use it, and I'll translate for my colleague."
   "Hah!" roared the colonel, laughing. "So Krupkin cannot fool you, yes?"
   "Yes, he can't fool me, no."
   "Is good. He talks too fast, da? Even in Russian his words come like stray bullets."
   "In French, also, Colonel."
   "Speaking of which," intruded Dimitri, "may we get to the issue at hand, comrade? Our associate in the Dzerzhinsky said we were to come over immediately."
   "Da! Immediate." The KGB officer walked to the huge ebony console, picked up a remote control, and turned to the others. "I will speak English-is good practice. ... Come. Watch. Everything is on one cartridge. All material taken by men and women Krupkin select to follow our people who speak the French."
   "People who could not be compromised by the Jackal," clarified Krupkin.
   "Watch!" insisted the peasant-colonel, pressing a button on the remote control.
   The screen came alive on the console, the opening shots crude and choppy. Most had been taken with hand-held video cameras from car windows. One scene after another showed specific men walking in the Moscow streets or getting into official vehicles, driving or being driven throughout the city and, in several cases, outside the city over country roads. In every case the subjects under surveillance met with other men and women, whereupon the zoom lenses enlarged the faces. A number of shots took place inside buildings, the scenes murky and dark, the result of insufficient light and awkwardly held concealed cameras.
   "That one is expensive whore!" laughed the colonel as a man in his late sixties escorted a much younger woman into an elevator. "It is the Solnechy Hotel on the Varshavkoye. I will personally check the general's vouchers and find a loyal ally, da?"
   The choppy, cross-cutting tape continued as Krupkin and the two Americans grew weary of the seemingly endless and pointless visual record. Then, suddenly, there was an exterior shot of a huge cathedral, crowds on the pavement, the light indicating early evening.
   "St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square," said Krupkin. "It's a museum now and a very fine one, but every now and then a zealot-usually foreign-holds a small service. No one interferes, which, of course, the zealots want us to do."
   The screen became murky again, the vibrating focus briefly and wildly swaying; the camcorder had moved inside the cathedral as the agent operating it was jostled by the crowds. Then it became steady, held perhaps against a pillar. The focus now was on an elderly man, his hair white in contrast to the lightweight black raincoat he was wearing. He was walking down a side aisle pensively glancing at the succession of icons and the higher majestic stained-glass windows.
   "Rodchenko," said the peasant-colonel, his voice guttural. "The great Rodchenko."
   The man on the screen proceeded into what appeared to be a large stone corner of the cathedral where two thick pedestaled candles threw moving shadows against the walls. The video camera jerkily moved upward, the agent, again perhaps, standing on a portable stool or a hastily obtained box. The picture grew suddenly more detailed, the figures larger as the zoom lens was activated, thrusting through the crowds of tourists. The white-haired subject approached another man, a priest in priestly garb-balding, thin, his complexion dark.
   "It's him!" cried Bourne. "It's Carlos!"
   Then a third man appeared on the screen, joining the other two, and Conklin shouted.
   "Jesus! "he roared as all eyes were riveted on the television set. "Hold it there!" The KGB commissar instantly complied with his remote; the picture remained stationary, shaky but constant. "The other one! Do you recognize him, David?"
   "I know him but I don't know him," replied Bourne in a low voice as images going back years began filling his inner screen. There were explosions, white blinding lights with blurred figures running in a jungle ... and then a man, an Oriental, being shot repeatedly, screaming as he was hammered into the trunk of a large tree by an automatic weapon. The mists of confusion swelled, dissolving into a barracks-like room with soldiers sitting behind a long table, a wooden chair on the right, a man sitting there, fidgeting, nervous. And without warning, Jason suddenly knew that man-it was himself! A younger, much younger self, and there was another figure, in uniform, pacing like a caged ferret back and forth in front of the chair, savagely berating the man then known as Delta One. ... Bourne gasped, his eyes frozen on the television screen as he realized he was staring at an older version of that angry, pacing figure in his mind's eye. "A courtroom in a base camp north of Saigon," he whispered.
   "It's Ogilvie," said Conklin, his voice distant, hollow. "Bryce Ogilvie. ... My God, they did link up. Medusa found the Jackal!"
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
36
   "It was a trial, wasn't it, Alex?" said Bourne, bewildered, the words floating, hesitant. "A military trial."
   "Yes, it was," agreed Conklin. "But it wasn't your trial, you weren't the accused."
   "I wasn't?"
   "No. You were the one who brought charges, a rare thing for any of your group to do then, in or out of the field. A number of the army people tried to stop you but they couldn't. ... We'll go into it later, discuss it later."
   "I want to discuss it now," said Jason firmly. "That man is with the Jackal, right there in front of our eyes. I want to know who he is and what he is and why he's here in Moscow-with the Jackal."
   "Later-"
   "Now. Your friend Krupkin is helping us, which means he's helping Marie and me and I'm grateful for his help. The colonel here is also on our side or we wouldn't be seeing what's on that screen at this moment. I want to know what happened between that man and me, and all of Langley's security measures can go to hell. The more I know about him-now-the better I know what to ask for, what to expect." Bourne suddenly turned to the Soviets. "For your information, there's a period in my life I can't completely remember, and that's all you have to know. Go on, Alex."
   "I have trouble remembering last night," said the colonel.
   "Tell him what he wants to know, Aleksei. It can have no bearing on our interests. The Saigon chapter is closed, as is Kabul."
   "All right." Conklin lowered himself into a chair and massaged his right calf; he tried to speak casually but the attempt was not wholly successful. "In December of 1970 one of your men was killed during a search-and-destroy patrol. It was called an accident of 'friendly fire,' but you knew better. You knew he was marked by some horseshit artists down south at headquarters; they had it in for him. He was a Cambodian and no saint by any means, but he knew all the contraband trails, so he was your point."
   "Just images," interrupted Bourne. "All I get are fragments. I see but I can't remember."
   "The facts aren't important anymore; they're buried along with several thousand other questionable events. Apparently a large narcotics deal went sour in the Triangle and your scout was held responsible, so a few hotshots in Saigon thought a lesson should be taught their gook runners. They flew up to your territory, went into the grass, and took him out like they were a VC advance unit. But you saw them from a piece of high ground and blew all your gaskets. You tracked them back to the helicopter pad and gave them a choice: Get in and you'd storm the chopper leaving no survivors, or they could come back with you to the base camp. They came back under your men's guns and you forced Field Command to accept your multiple charges of murder. That's when Ice-Cold Ogilvie showed up looking after his Saigon boys."
   "Then something happened, didn't it? Something crazy-everything got confused, twisted."
   "It certainly did. Bryce got you on the stand and made you look like a maniac, a sullen pathological liar and a killer who, except for the war and your expertise, would be in a maximum security prison. He called you everything in the rotten black book and demanded that you reveal your real name-which you wouldn't do, couldn't do, because your first wife's Cambodian family would have been slaughtered. He tried to tie you in verbal knots, and, failing that, threatened the military court with exposing the whole bastard battalion, which it also couldn't allow. ... Ogilvie's thugs got off for lack of credible testimony, and after the trial you had to be physically restrained in the barracks until Ogilvie was airborne back to Saigon."
   "His name was Kwan Soo," said Bourne dreamily, his head moving back and forth as if rejecting a nightmare. "He was a kid, maybe sixteen or seventeen, sending the drug money back to three villages so they could eat. There wasn't any other way ... oh, shit! What would any of us have done if our families were starving?"
   "That wasn't anything you could say at the trial and you knew it. You had to hold your tongue and take Ogilvie's vicious crap. I came up and watched you and I never saw a man exercise such control over his hatred."
   "That isn't the way I seem to recall it-what I can recall. Some of it's coming back, not much, but some."
   "During that trial you adapted to the necessities of your immediate surroundings-you might say like a chameleon." Their eyes locked, and Jason turned back to the television screen.
   "And there he is with Carlos. It's a small rotten world, isn't it? Does he know I'm Jason Bourne?"
   "How could he?" asked Conklin, getting out of the chair. "There was no Jason Bourne then. There wasn't even a David, only a guerrilla they called Delta One. No names were used, remember?"
   "I keep forgetting; what else is new?" Jason pointed at the screen. "Why is he in Moscow? Why did you say Medusa found the Jackal? Why?"
   "Because he's the law firm in New York."
   "What?" Bourne whipped his head toward Conklin. "He's the-"
   "The chairman of the board," completed Alex, interrupting. "The Agency closed in and he got out. Two days ago."
   "Why the hell didn't you tell me?" cried Jason angrily.
   "Because I never thought for a moment we'd be standing here looking at that picture on the screen. I still can't understand it, but I can't deny it, either. Also, I saw no reason to bring up a name you might or might not remember, a personally very disturbing occurrence you might or might not remember. Why add an unnecessary complication? There's enough stress."
   "All right, Aleksei!" said an agitated Krupkin, stepping forward. "I've heard words and names that evoke certain unpleasant memories for me, at any rate, and I think it behooves me to ask a question or two-specifically one. Just who is this Ogilvie that concerns you so? You've told us who he was in Saigon, but who is he now?"
   "Why not?" Conklin asked himself quietly. "He's a New York attorney who heads up an organization that's spread throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. Initially, by pushing the right buttons in Washington, they bought up companies through extortion and leveraged buy-outs; they've cornered markets and set prices, and in the bargain they've moved into the killing game, employing some of the best professionals in the business. There's hard evidence that they've contracted for the murder of various officials in the government and the military, the most recent example-with which you're no doubt familiar-is General Teagarten, supreme commander of NATO."
   "Unbelievable!" whispered Krupkin.
   "Jeez-Chrize!" intoned the peasant-colonel, his eyes bulging.
   "Oh, they're very creative, and Ogilvie's the most inventive of all. He's Superspider and he's spun a hell of a web from Washington through every capital in Europe. Unfortunately for him, and thanks to my associate here, he was caught like a fly in his own spinning. He was about to be pounced on by people in Washington he couldn't possibly corrupt, but he was tipped off and got out the day before yesterday. ... Why he came to Moscow I haven't the vaguest idea."
   "I may be able to answer that for you," said Krupkin, glancing at the KGB colonel and nodding, as if to say It's all right. "I know nothing-absolutely nothing-about any such killing as you speak of, indeed of any killing whatsoever. However, you could be describing an American enterprise in Europe that's been servicing our interests for years."
   "In what way?" asked Alex.
   "With all manner of restricted American technology, as well as armaments, matériel, spare parts for aircraft and weapons systems-even the aircraft and the weapons systems them selves on various occasions through the bloc countries. I tell you this knowing that you know I'd vehemently deny ever having said it."
   "Understood," nodded Conklin. "What's the name of this enterprise?"
   "There's no single name. Instead, there are fifty or sixty companies apparently under one umbrella but with so many different titles and origins it's impossible to determine the specific relationships."
   "There's a name and Ogilvie runs it," said Alex.
   "That crossed my mind," said Krupkin, his eyes suddenly glass-cold, his expression that of an unrelenting zealot. "However, what appears to disturb you so about your American attorney, I can assure you is far, far outweighed by our own concerns." Dimitri turned to the television set and the shakily stationary picture, his eyes now filled with anger. "The Soviet intelligence officer on that screen is General Rodchenko, second in command of the KGB and close adviser to the premier of the Soviet Union. Many things may be done in the name of Russian interests and without the premier's knowledge, but in this day and age not in the areas you describe. My God, the supreme commander of NATO! And never-never-using the services of Carlos the Jackal! These embarrassments are no less than dangerous and frightening catastrophes."
   "Have you got any suggestions?" asked Conklin.
   "A foolish question," answered the colonel gruffly. "Arrest, then the Lubyanka ... then silence."
   "There's a problem with that solution," said Alex. "The Central Intelligence Agency knows Ogilvie's in Moscow."
   "So where is the problem? We rid us both of an unhealthy person and his crimes and go about our business."
   "It may seem strange to you, but the problem isn't only with the unhealthy person and his crimes, even where the Soviet Union is concerned. It's with the cover-up-where Washington's concerned."
   The Komitet officer looked at Krupkin and spoke in Russian. "What is this one talking about?"
   "It's difficult for us to understand," answered Dimitri in his native language, "still, for them it is a problem. Let me try to explain."
   "What's he saying?" asked Bourne, annoyed.
   "I think he's about to give a civics lesson, U.S. style."
   "Such lessons more often than not fall on deaf ears in Washington," interrupted Krupkin in English, then immediately resuming Russian, he addressed his KGB superior. "You see, comrade, no one in America would blame us for taking advantage of this Ogilvie's criminal activities. They have a proverb they repeat so frequently that it covers oceans of guilt: 'One does not look a gift horse in the mouth.' "
   "What has a horse's mouth got to do with gifts? From its tail comes manure for the farms; from its mouth, only spittle."
   "It loses something in the translation. ... Nevertheless, this attorney, Ogilvie, obviously had a great many government connections, officials who overlooked his questionable practices for large sums of money, practices that entailed millions upon millions of dollars. Laws were circumvented, men killed, lies accepted as the truth; in essence, there was considerable corruption, and, as we know, the Americans are obsessed with corruption. They even label every progressive accommodation as potentially 'corrupt,' and there's nothing older, more knowledgeable peoples can do about it. They hang out their soiled linen for all the world to see like a badge of honor."
   "Because it is," broke in Alex, speaking English. "That's something a lot of people here wouldn't understand because you cover every accommodation you make, every crime you commit, every mouth you shut with a basket of roses. ... However, considering pots and kettles and odious comparisons, I'll dispense with a lecture. I'm just telling you that Ogilvie has to be sent back and all the accounts settled; that's the 'progressive accommodation' you have to make."
   "I'm sure we'll take it under advisement."
   "Not good enough," said Conklin. "Let's put it this way. Beyond accountability, there's simply too much known-or will be in a matter of days-about his enterprise, including the connection to Teagarten's death, for you to keep him here. Not only Washington, but the entire European community would dump on you. Talk of embarrassments, this is a beaut, to say nothing about the effects on trade, or your imports and exports-"
   "You've made your point, Aleksei," interrupted Krupkin. "Assuming this accommodation can be made, will it be clear that Moscow cooperated fully in bringing this American criminal back to American justice?"
   "We obviously couldn't do it without you. As the temporary field officer of record, I'll swear to it before both intelligence committees of Congress, if need be."
   "And that we had nothing-absolutely nothing to do with the killings you mentioned, specifically the assassination of the supreme commander of NATO."
   "Absolutely clear. It was one of the major reasons for your cooperation. Your government was horrified by the assassination."
   Krupkin looked hard at Alex, his voice lower but stronger for it. He turned slowly, his eyes briefly on the television screen, then back to Conklin. "General Rodchenko?" he said. "What shall we do with General Rodchenko?"
   "What you do with General Rodchenko is your business," replied Alex quietly. "Neither Bourne nor I ever heard the name."
   "Da," said Krupkin, nodding, again slowly. "And what you do with the Jackal in Soviet territory is your business, Aleksei. However, be assured we shall cooperate to the fullest degree."
   "How do we begin?" asked Jason impatiently.
   "First things first." Dimitri looked over at the KGB commissar. "Comrade, have you understood what we've said?"
   "Enough so, Krupkin," replied the heavyset peasant-colonel, walking to a telephone on an inlaid marble table against the wall. He picked up the phone and dialed; his call was answered immediately. "It is I," said the commissar in Russian. "The third man in tape seven with Rodchenko and the priest, the one New York identified as the American named Ogilvie. As of now he is to be placed under our surveillance and he is not to leave Moscow." The colonel suddenly arched his thick brows, his face growing red. "That order is countermanded! He is no longer the responsibility of Diplomatic Relations, he is now the sole property of the KGB. ... A reason? Use your skull, potato head! Tell them we are convinced he is an American double agent whom those fools did not uncover. Then the usual garbage: harboring enemies of the state due to laxness, their exalted positions once again protected by the Komitet-that sort of thing. Also, you might mention that they should not look a gift horse in the mouth. ... I don't understand any more than you do, comrade, but those butterflies over there in their tight-fitting suits probably will. Alert the airports." The commissar hung up.
   "He did it," said Conklin, turning to Bourne. "Ogilvie stays in Moscow."
   "I don't give a goddamn about Ogilvie!" exploded Jason, his voice intense, his jaw pulsating. "I'm here for Carlos!"
   "The priest?" asked the colonel, walking away from the table.
   "That's exactly who I mean."
   "Is simple. We put General Rodchenko on a very long rope that he cannot see or feel. You will be at the other end. He will meet his Jackal priest again."
   "That's all I ask," said Jason Bourne.
   General Grigorie Rodchenko sat at a window table in the Lastochka restaurant by the Krymsky Bridge on the Moskva River. It was his favorite place for a midnight dinner; the lights on the bridge and on the slow-moving boats in the water were relaxing to the eye and therefore to the metabolism. He needed the calming atmosphere, for during the past two days things had been so unsettling. Had he been right or had he been wrong? Had his instincts been correct or far off the mark? He could not know at the moment, but those same instincts had enabled him to survive the mad Stalin as a youth, the blustering Khrushchev in middle age, and the inept Brezhnev a few years later. Now there was yet a new Russia under Gorbachev, a new Soviet Union, in fact, and his old age welcomed it. Perhaps things would relax a bit and long-standing enmities fade into a once hostile horizon. Still, horizons did not really change; they were always horizons, distant, flat, fired with color or darkness, but still distant, flat and unreachable.
   He was a survivor, Rodchenko understood that, and a survivor protected himself on as many points of the compass as he could read. He also insinuated himself into as many degrees of that compass as possible. Therefore, he had labored diligently to become a trusted mouth to the chairman; he was an expert at gathering information for the Komitet; he was the initial conduit to the American enterprise known to him alone in Moscow as Medusa, through which extraordinary shipments, had been made throughout Russia and the bloc nations. On the other hand, he was also a liaison to the monseigneur in Paris, Carlos the Jackal, whom he had either persuaded or bought off from contracts that might point to the Soviet Union. He had been the ultimate bureaucrat, working behind the scenes on the international stage, seeking neither applause nor celebrity, merely survival. Then why had he done what he did? Was it mere impetuousness born of weariness and fear and the sense of a plague-on-both-your-houses? No, it was a logical extension of events, consistent with the needs of his country and, above all, the absolute necessity that Moscow disassociate itself from both Medusa and the Jackal.
   According to the consul general in New York, Bryce Ogilvie was finished in America. The consul's suggestion was to find him asylum somewhere and, in exchange, gradually absorb his myriad assets in Europe. What worried the consul general in New York was not Ogilvie's financial manipulations that broke more laws than there were courts to prosecute, but rather the killings, which as far as the consul could determine were widespread and included the murder of high U.S. government officials and, unless he was grossly mistaken, the assassination of the supreme commander of NATO. Compounding this chain of horrors was New York's opinion that in order to save a number of his companies from confiscation, Ogilvie might have ordered additional killings in Europe, primarily of those few powerful executives in various firms who understood the complex international linkages that led back to a great law firm and the unspoken code name Medusa. Should those contracted murders take place while Ogilvie was in Moscow, questions might arise that Moscow could not tolerate. Therefore, get him in and out of the Soviet Union as fast as possible, a recommendation more easily made than accomplished.
   Suddenly, Rodchenko reflected, into this danse macabre had come the paranoid monseigneur from Paris. It was imperative they meet immediately! Carlos had fairly screamed his demand over the arranged public telephone communication they employed, but every precaution had to be taken. The Jackal, as always, demanded a public place, with crowds, and numerous available exits, where he could circle like a hawk, never showing himself until his professional eyes were satisfied. Two calls later, from two different locations, the rendezvous was set. St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square during the height of the early evening's summer tourist onslaught. In a darkened corner to the right of the altar where there were outside exits through the curtained walkways to the sacristy. Done!
   Then, during that third telephone call, like a crack of thunder over the Black Sea, Grigorie Rodchenko was struck by an idea so dramatically bold, yet so patently obvious and simple, that he had momentarily lost his breath. It was the solution that would totally distance the Soviet government from any involvement or complicity with either the Jackal or Medusa's Ogilvie should such distance be necessary in the eyes of the civilized world.
   Quite simply, unknown to each other, bring the Jackal and Ogilvie together, if only for an instant, just long enough to get photographic evidence of their being seen within the same frame. It was all that was needed.
   He had gone to Diplomatic Relations yesterday afternoon, having requested a short routine meeting with Ogilvie. During the extremely innocuous and very friendly conference, Rodchenko had waited for his opening-an opening he had engineered with precision, having done his research.
   "You spend summers on Cape Cod, da?" the general had said.
   "For me it's weekends mainly. My wife and the children are there for the season."
   "When I was posted in Washington, I had two great American friends on Cape Cod. I spent several lovely, as you say, weekends with them. Perhaps you know my friends, the Frosts-Hardleigh and Carol Frost?"
   "Of course I do. Like myself, he's an attorney, specializes in maritime law. They live down the shore road in Dennis."
   "A very attractive lady, the Frost woman."
   "Very."
   "Da. Did you ever attempt to recruit her husband for your firm?"
   "No. He has his own. Frost, Goldfarb and O'Shaunessy; they cover the waterfront, as it were, in Massachusetts."
   "I feel I almost know you, Mr. Ogilvie, if only through mutual friends."
   "I'm sorry we never met at the Cape."
   "Well, perhaps, I can take advantage of our near meeting-through mutual friends-and ask of you a favor, far less than the convenience I understand my government willingly affords you."
   "I've been given to understand the convenience is mutual," said Ogilvie.
   "Ahh, I know nothing of such diplomatic matters, but it is conceivable that I could intervene on your behalf if you would cooperate with us-with my small, although not insignificant, department."
   "What is it?"
   "There is a priest, a socially oriented militant priest, who claims to be a Marxist agitator well known to the courts of New York City. He arrived only hours ago and demands a clandestine meeting only hours from now. There is simply no time to verify his claims, but as he insists he has a history of legal 'persecutions' in the courts of New York, as well as many photographs in the newspapers, you might recognize him."
   "I probably could, if he is who he says he is."
   "Da! And one way or another, we will certainly let it be known how you cooperated with us."
   It had been arranged. Ogilvie would be in the crowds at St. Basil's Cathedral close to the meeting ground. When he saw Rodchenko approach a priest in the far corner to the right of the altar, he was to "come across" the KGB general casually, as if surprised. Their greeting would be brief to the point of discourtesy, so rapid and blurred as to be meaningless, the sort of encounter civilized but hostile acquaintances cannot avoid when they run into one another in a public place. Close proximity was also required, as the light was so dim and so cluttered with shadows that the attorney might not get a good look at the priest.
   Ogilvie had performed with the expertise of an accomplished trial lawyer verbally trapping a prosecution's witness with an objectionable inquiry and then shouting "I withdraw the question," leaving the prosecutor speechless.
   The Jackal had instantly turned away furiously but not before an obese elderly female, using a miniature camera that was the handle of her purse, had snapped a series of automatically advanced photographs with ultra high-speed film. That evidence was now in a vault in Rodchenko's office. The file was titled Surveillance of the American Male B. Ogilvie.
   On the page below the photograph showing the assassin and the American attorney together was the following: Subject with as yet unidentified contact during covert meeting at St. Basil's Cathedral. Meeting covered eleven minutes and thirty-two seconds. Photographs sent to Paris for any possible verification. It is believed that the unidentified contact may be Carlos the Jackal.
   Needless to say, Paris was working up a reply that included several photographic composites from the Deuxième Bureau and the Sûreté. The answer: Confirmed. Definitely the Jackal.
   How shocking! And on Soviet soil.
   The assassin, on the other hand, had proved to be less accommodating. After the brief, awkward confrontation with the American, Carlos had resumed his ice-cold inquisition, his burning savage self just below the frozen surface.
   "They're closing in on you!" said the Jackal.
   "Who is?"
   "The Komitet."
   "I am the Komitet!"
   "Perhaps you're mistaken."
   "Nothing goes on in the KGB without my knowledge. Where did you get this information?"
   "Paris. Krupkin's the source."
   "Krupkin will do anything to further himself, including the spreading of false information, even where I am concerned. He's an enigma-one moment an efficient multilingual intelligence officer, the next a gossiping clown in French feathers, still again a pimp for traveling ministers. He can't be taken seriously, not where serious matters are concerned."
   "I hope you're right. I'll reach you tomorrow, late in the evening. Will you be at home?"
   "Not for a phone call from you. I'll dine alone at the Lastochka, a late supper. What will you be doing tomorrow?"
   "Making certain you are right." The Jackal had disappeared into the crowds of the cathedral.
   That was over twenty-four hours ago and Rodchenko had heard nothing to upset the schedule. Perhaps the psychopath had returned to Paris, somehow convinced that his paranoid suspicions were groundless, his need to keep moving, racing, flying all over Europe superseding his momentary panic. Who knew? Carlos, too, was an enigma. Part of him was a retarded sadist, a savant perhaps in the darkest methods of cruelty and killing, yet another part revealed a sick, twisted romantic, a brain-damaged adolescent reaching for a vision that wanted nothing to do with him. Who knew? The time was approaching when a bullet in his head was the answer.
   Rodchenko raised his hand for the waiter; he would order coffee and brandy-the decent French brandy reserved for the true heroes of the Revolution, especially the survivors. Instead of the waiter, the manager of Lastochka came rushing to the table, carrying a telephone.
   "There is an urgent call for you, General," said the man in the loose-fitting black suit, placing the phone on the table and holding out the plastic knob of the extension cord that was to be placed into the walled receptacle.
   "Thank you." The manager left and Rodchenko inserted the device. "Yes?"
   "You're being watched wherever you go," said the voice of the Jackal.
   "By whom?"
   "Your own people."
   "I don't believe you."
   "I've been watching all day. Would you like me to describe the places you've been for the past thirty hours? Starting with drinks at a café on the Kalinin, a kiosk in the Arbat, the Slavyanky for lunch, an afternoon walk along the Luznekaya?"
   "Stop it! Where are you?"
   "Come outside the Lastochka. Slowly, casually. I'll prove it to you." The line went dead.
   Rodchenko hung up and signaled the waiter for his check. The aproned man's instant response was due less to the general's status than to the fact that he was the last diner in the restaurant. Leaving his money on top of the bill, the old soldier said good night, walked through the dimly lit foyer to the entrance and let himself out. It was nearly 1:30 in the morning, and except for a few stragglers with too much vodka in them, the street was deserted. In moments an upright figure, silhouetted in the wash of a streetlamp, emerged from a storefront, perhaps thirty meters away on the right. It was the Jackal, still in the black cloth and the white collar of a priest. He beckoned the general to join him as he walked slowly to a dark brown car parked directly across the street. Rodchenko caught up with the assassin, now standing on the curb side of the vehicle, which faced the direction of the Lastochka restaurant.
   Suddenly, the Jackal snapped on a flashlight, its powerful beam shooting through the open window of the car. The old soldier momentarily stopped breathing, his heavy-lidded eyes scanning the horrible scene in front of him. Across the seat, the KGB agent behind the wheel was arched back, his throat cut, a river of blood drenching his clothes. Immediately beyond the window was the second surveillance, his wrists and feet bound by wire, a thick rope strapped around his face, yanked taut against his gaping mouth, gagging him, permitting only a rattling, gasping cough. He was alive, his eyes wide in terror.
   "The driver was trained at Novgorod," said the general, no comment in his voice.
   "I know," replied Carlos. "I have his papers. That training's not what it was, comrade."
   "This other one is Krupkin's liaison here in Moscow. The son of a good friend, I'm told."
   "He's mine now."
   "What are you going to do?" asked Rodchenko, staring at the Jackal.
   "Correct a mistake," answered Carlos as he raised his gun, the silencer in place, and fired three bullets into the general's throat.
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
37
   The night sky was angry, the storm clouds over Moscow swirling, colliding, promising rain and thunder and lightning. The brown sedan sped down the country road, racing past overgrown fields, the driver maniacally gripping the wheel and sporadically glancing at his bound prisoner, a young man who kept straining at his wire-bound hands and feet, his rope-strapped face causing him enormous pain, attested to by his constant grimace and his bulging frightened eyes.
   In the rear seat, the upholstery covered with blood, were the corpses of General Grigorie Rodchenko and the KGB Novgorod graduate who headed the old soldier's surveillance team. Suddenly, without slowing down the car or giving any indication of his action, the Jackal saw what he was looking for and swerved off the road. Tires shrieking in the side-winding turn, the sedan plunged into a field of tall grass and in seconds came to a shatteringly abrupt stop, the bodies in the rear crashing into the back of the front seat. Carlos opened his door and lurched outside; he proceeded to yank the blood-drenched corpses from their upholstered crypts and dragged them into the high grass, leaving the general partially on top of the Komitet officer, their life fluids now mingling as they soiled the ground.
   He returned to the car and brutally pulled the young KGB agent out of the front seat with one hand, the glistening blade of a hunting knife in his other.
   "We have a lot to talk about, you and I," said the Jackal in Russian. "And you would be foolish to withhold anything. ... You won't, you're too soft, too young." Carlos whipped the man to the ground, the tall grass bending under the fall. He withdrew his flashlight and knelt beside his captive, the knife going toward the agent's eyes.
   The bloodied, lifeless figure below had spoken his last words, and they were words that reverberated like kettledrums in the ears of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez. Jason Bourne was in Moscow! It had to be Bourne, for the terrified, youthful KGB surveillant had blurted out the information in a gushing, panicked stream of phrases and half phrases, saying anything and everything that might possibly save his life. Comrade Krupkin-two Americans, one tall, the other with a limp! We took them to the hotel, then to the Sadovaya for a conference.
   Krupkin and the hated Bourne had turned his people in Paris-in Paris, his impenetrable armed camp!-and had traced him to Moscow. How? Who? ... It did not matter now. All that mattered was that the Chameleon himself was at the Metropole; the traitors in Paris could wait. At the Metropole! His enemy of enemies was barely an hour away back in Moscow, no doubt sleeping the night away, without any idea that Carlos the Jackal knew he was there. The assassin felt the exhilaration of triumph-over life and death. The doctors said he was dying, but doctors were as often wrong as they were right, and at this moment they were wrong! The death of Jason Bourne would renew his life.
   However, the hour was not right. Three o'clock in the morning was not the time to be seen prowling the streets or the hotels in search of a kill in Moscow, a city in the grip of permanent suspicion, darkness itself contributing to its wariness. It was common knowledge that the night-floor stewards in the major hotels were armed, selected as much for their marksmanship as for their aptitude for service. Daylight brought a relaxation of the night's concerns; the bustling activity of the early morning was the time to strike-and strike he would.
   But the hour was right for another kind of strike, at least the prelude to it. The time had come to call together his disciples in the Soviet government and let them know the monseigneur had arrived, that their personal messiah was here to set them free. Before leaving Paris he had collected the dossiers, and the dossiers behind those dossiers, all seemingly innocuous pages of blank paper in file folders until they were exposed to infrared light, the heat waves bringing up the typewritten script. He had selected a small deserted store in the Vavilova for his meeting ground. He would reach each of his people by public telephone and instruct them to be there by 5:30, all taking back streets and alleyways to the rendezvous. By 6:30 his task would be finished, each disciple armed with the information that would elevate him-and her-to the highest ranks of Moscow's elite. It was one more invisible army, far smaller than Paris, but equally effective and as dedicated to Carlos, the unseen monseigneur who made life infinitely more comfortable for his converts. And by 7:30, the mighty Jackal would be in place at the Metropole, ready for the early movements of awakening guests, the time for the rushing trays and tables of room-service waiters and the hectic confusion of a lobby alive with chatter, anxiety and bureaucracy. It was at the Metropole where he would be ready for Jason Bourne.
   One by one, like wary stragglers in the early light, the five men and three women arrived at the run-down entrance of the abandoned store in the back street known only as the Vavilova. Their caution was understandable; it was a district to be avoided, although not necessarily because of unsavory inhabitants, for the Moscow police were ruthlessly thorough in such areas, but because of the stretch of decrepit buildings. The area was in the process of renovation; however, like similar projects in urban blights the world over, the progress had two speeds: slow and stop. The only constant, which was at best a dangerous convenience, was the existence of electricity, and Carlos used it to his advantage.
   He stood at the far end of the bare concrete room, a lamp on the floor behind him, silhouetting him, leaving his features undefined and further obscured by the upturned collar of his black suit. To his right was a wreck of a low wooden table with file folders spread across the top, and to his left, under a pile of newspapers, unseen by his "disciples," was a cut-down Type 56, AK-47 assault weapon. A forty-round magazine was inserted, a second magazine in the Jackal's belt. The only reason for the weapon was the normal custom of his trade; he expected no difficulty whatsoever. Only adoration.
   He surveyed his audience, noting that all eight kept glancing furtively at one another. No one talked; the dank air in the eerily lit abandoned store was tense with apprehension. Carlos understood that he had to dispel that fear, that furtiveness, as rapidly as possible, which was why he had gathered eight distressed chairs from the various deserted office rooms in the rear of the store. Seated, people were less tense; it was a truism. However, none of the chairs was being used.
   "Thank you for coming here this morning," said the Jackal in Russian, raising his voice. "Please, each of you take a chair and sit down. Our discussion will not be long, but will require the utmost concentration. ... Would the comrade nearest the door close it, please. Everyone is here."
   The old, heavy door was creaked shut by a stiffly walking bureaucrat as the rest reached for chairs, each distancing his and hers from others that were nearby. Carlos waited until the scraping sounds of wood against cement subsided and all were seated. Then, like a practiced orator-actor, the Jackal paused before formally addressing his captive audience. He looked briefly at each person with his penetrating dark eyes as if conveying to each that he or she was special to him. There were short, successive hand movements, mostly female, as those he gazed at in turn smoothed their respective garments. The clothes they wore were characteristic of the ranks of upper-level government officials-in the main drab and conservative, but well pressed and spotless.
   "I am the monseigneur from Paris," began the assassin in priestly garb. "I am he who has spent several years seeking each of you out-with the assistance of comrades here in Moscow and beyond-and sent you large sums of money, asking only that you silently await my arrival and render me the loyalty I have shown to you. ... By your faces, I can anticipate your questions, so let me amplify. Years ago I was among the elite few selected to be trained at Novgorod." There was a quiet yet audible reaction from the chosen eight. The myth of Novgorod matched its reality; it was, indeed, an advanced indoctrination center for the most gifted of comrades-as they were given to understand, yet none really understood, for Novgorod was rarely spoken about except in whispers. With several nods, Carlos acknowledged the impact of his revelation and continued.
   "The years since have been spent in many foreign countries promoting the interests of the great Soviet revolution, an undercover commissar with a flexible portfolio that called for many trips back here to Moscow and extensive research into the specific departments in which each of you holds a responsible position." Again the Jackal paused, then spoke suddenly, sharply. "Positions of responsibility but without the authority that should be yours. Your abilities are undervalued and under-rewarded, for there is deadwood above you."
   The small crowd's reaction was now somewhat more audible, definitely less constrained. "Compared to similar departments in the governments of our adversaries," went on Carlos, "we here in Moscow have lagged far behind when we should be ahead, and we are behind because your talents have been suppressed by entrenched officeholders who care more for their office privileges than they do for the functions of their departments!"
   The response was immediate, even electric, with the three women openly if softly applauding. "It is for that reason, these reasons, that I and my associate comrades here in Moscow have sought you out. Further, it is why I have sent you funds-to be used totally at your discretion-for the money you've received is the approximate value of the privileges your superiors enjoy. Why should you not receive them and enjoy them as they do?"
   The rumble of why not? and he's right rippled through the audience, now actually looking at one another, eyes locked, and heads nodding firmly. The Jackal then began to reel off the eight major departments in question, and as each was named successively, there was an enthusiastic nodding of heads. "The ministries of Transport, Information, Finance, Import/Export, Legal Procedures, Military Supply, Scientific Research ... and hardly the least, Presidium Appointments. ... These are your domains, but you have been cut out from all final decisions. That is no longer acceptable-changes must be made!"
   The assembled listeners rose almost as one, no longer strangers but, instead, people united in a cause. Then one, the obviously cautious bureaucrat who had closed the door, spoke. "You appear to know our situations well, sir, but what can change them?"
   "These," announced Carlos, gesturing dramatically at the file folders spread out across the low table. Slowly the small group sat down, singly and in couples, looking at one another when not staring at the folders. "On this table are secretly gathered confidential dossiers of your superiors in each of the departments represented here. They contain such injurious information that when presented by you individually will guarantee your immediate promotions, and in several cases your succession to those high offices. Your superiors will have no choice, for these files are daggers aimed at their throats-exposure would result in disgrace and execution."
   "Sir?" A middle-aged woman in a neat but nondescript plain blue dress cautiously stood up. Her blond-gray hair was swept back into a stern bun; she touched it briefly, self-consciously, as she spoke. "I evaluate personnel files on a daily basis ... and frequently discover errors ... how can you be certain these dossiers are accurate? For if they are not accurate, we could be placed in extremely dangerous situations, is that not so?"
   "That you should even question their accuracy is an affront, madame," replied the Jackal coldly. "I am the monseigneur from Paris. I have accurately described your individual situations and accurately depicted the inferiority of your superiors. Further, and at great expense and risk to myself and my associates here in Moscow, I have covertly funneled monies to you so as to make your lives more comfortable."
   "Speaking for myself," interrupted a gaunt man wearing glasses and a brown business suit, "I appreciate the money-I assigned mine to our collective fund and expect a moderate return-but does one have anything to do with the other? I am with the Ministry of Finance, of course, and having admitted that, I absolve myself of complicity for being clear about my status."
   "Whatever that means, accountant, you're about as clear as your paralyzed ministry," interrupted an obese man in a black suit too small for his girth. "You also cast doubt on your ability to recognize a decent return! Naturally, I'm with Military Supply, and you consistently shortchange us."
   "As you do constantly with Scientific Research!" exclaimed a short, tweedy professorial member of the audience, the irregularity of his clipped beard due, no doubt, to poor vision, despite the thick spectacles bridging his nose. "Returns, indeed! What about allocations?"
   "More than sufficient for your grade-school scientists! The money is better spent stealing from the West!"
   "Stop it!" cried the priest-assassin, raising his arms like a messiah. "We are not here to discuss interdepartmental conflicts, for they will all be resolved with the emergence of our new elite. Remember! I am the monseigneur from Paris, and together we will bring about a new, cleansed order for our great revolution! Complacency is over."
   "It is a thrilling concept, sir," said a second woman, a female in her early thirties, her skirt expensively pleated, her compact features obviously recognized by the others as a popular newscaster on television. "However, may we return to the issue of accuracy?"
   "It is settled, "said the dark-eyed Carlos, staring in turn at each person. "How else would I know all about you?"
   "I do not doubt you, sir," continued the newscaster. "But as a journalist I must always seek a second source of verification unless the ministry determines otherwise. Since you are not with the Ministry of Information, sir, and knowing that whatever you say will remain confidential, can you give us a secondary source?"
   "Am I to be hounded by manipulated journalists when I speak the truth?" The assassin caught his breath in anger. "Everything I've told you is the truth and you know it."
   "So were the crimes of Stalin, sir, and they were' buried along with twenty million corpses for thirty years."
   "You want proof, journalist? I'll give you proof. I have the eyes and the ears of the leaders of the KGB-namely, the great General Grigorie Rodchenko himself. He is my eyes and my ears, and if you care to know a harsher truth, he is beholden to me! For I am his monseigneur from Paris as well."
   There was a rustling among the captive audience, a collective hesitancy, a wave of quiet throat clearing. The television newscaster spoke again, now softly, her wide brown eyes riveted on the man in priest's clothes.
   "You may be whatever you say you are, sir," she began, "but you do not listen to Radio Moscow's all-night station. It was reported over an hour ago that General Rodchenko was shot to death this morning by foreign criminals. ... It was also reported that all high officers of the Komitet have been called into an emergency session to evaluate the circumstances of the general's murder. The speculation is that there had to be extraordinary reasons for a man of General Rodchenko's experience to be lured into a trap by these foreign criminals."
   "They will tear apart his files," added the cautious bureaucrat, stiffly getting to his feet. "They will put everything under a KGB microscope, searching for those "extraordinary reasons.' " The circumspect public official looked at the killer in priest's clothes. "Perhaps they will find you, sir. And your dossiers."
   "No," said the Jackal, perspiration breaking out on his high forehead. "No! That is impossible. I have the only copies of these dossiers-there are no others!"
   "If you believe that, priest," said the obese man from the Ministry of Military Supply, "you do not know the Komitet."
   "Know it?" cried Carlos, a tremor developing in his left hand. "I have its soul! No secrets are kept from me, for I am the repository of all secrets! I have volumes on governments everywhere, on their leaders, their generals, their highest officials-I have sources all over the world!"
   "You don't have Rodchenko anymore," continued the black-suited man from Military Supply, he, too, getting out of his chair. "And come to think of it, you weren't even surprised."
   "What?"
   "For most of us, perhaps all of us, the first thing we do upon rising in the morning is to turn on our radios. It's always the same foolishness and I suppose there's comfort in that, but I'd guess most of us knew about Rodchenko's death. ... But you didn't, priest, and when our television lady told you, you weren't astonished, you weren't shocked-as I say, you weren't even surprised."
   "Certainly I was!" shouted the Jackal. "What you don't understand is that I have extraordinary control. It's why I'm trusted, needed by the leaders of world Marxism!"
   "That's not even fashionable," mumbled the middle-aged, grayish-blond woman whose expertise was in personnel files; she also stood up.
   "What are you saying?" Carlos's voice was now a harsh, condemning whisper, rising rapidly in intensity and volume. "I am the monseigneur from Paris. I have made your lives comfortable far beyond your miserable expectations and now you question me? How would I know the things I know-how could I have poured my concentration and my resources into you here in this room if I were not among the most privileged in Moscow? Remember who I am!"
   "But we don't know who you are," said another man, rising. Like the other males, his clothes were neat, somber and well pressed, but there was a difference in that they were better tailored, as though he took considerable pains with his appearance. His face, too, was different; it was paler than the others and his eyes were more intense, more focused somehow, giving the impression that when he spoke he weighed his words with great care. "Beyond the clerical title you've appropriated, we have no knowledge as to your identity and you obviously do not care to reveal it. As to what you know, you've recounted blatant weaknesses and subsequent injustices in our departmental systems, but they are rampant throughout the ministries. You might as well have picked a dozen others like us from a dozen other divisions, and I dare say the complaints would have been the same. Nothing new there-"
   "How dare you?" screamed Carlos the Jackal, the veins in his neck pronounced. "Who are you to say such things to me? I am the monseigneur from Paris, a true son of the Revolution!"
   "And I am a judge advocate in the Ministry of Legal Procedures, Comrade Monseigneur, and a much younger product of that revolution. I may not know the heads of the KGB, who you claim are your minions, but I know the penalties for taking the legal processes in our own hands and personally-secretly-confronting our superiors rather than reporting directly to the Bureau of Irregularities. They are penalties I'd rather not face without far more thorough evidentiary materials than unsolicited dossiers from unknown sources, conceivably invented by discontented officials below even our levels. ... Frankly, I don't care to see them, for I will not be compromised by gratuitous pretrial testimony that can be injurious to my position."
   "You are an insignificant lawyer!" roared the assassin in priest's clothing, now repeatedly clenching his hands into fists, his eyes becoming bloodshot. "You are all twisters of the truth! You are sworn companions of the prevailing winds of convenience!"
   "Nicely said," said the attorney from Legal Procedures, smiling. "Except, comrade, you stole the phrase from the English Blackstone."
   "I will not tolerate your insufferable insolence!"
   "You don't have to, Comrade Priest, for I intend to leave, and my legal advice to all here in this room is to do the same."
   "You dare?"
   "I certainly do," replied the Soviet attorney, granting himself a moment of humor as he looked around the gathering and grinned. "I might have to prosecute myself, and I'm far too good at my job."
   "The money!" shrieked the Jackal. "I've sent you all thousands!"
   "Where is it recorded?" asked the lawyer with an air of innocence. "You, yourself, made sure it was untraceable. Paper bags in our mail slots, or in our office drawers-notes attached instructing us to burn them. Who among our citizens would admit to having placed them there? That way lies the Lubyanka. ... Good-bye, Comrade Monseigneur," said the attorney for the Ministry of Legal Procedures, scraping his chair in place and starting for the door.
   One by one, as they had arrived, the assembled group followed the lawyer, each looking back at the strange man who had so exotically, so briefly, interrupted their tedious lives, all knowing instinctively that in his path were disgrace and execution. Death.
   Yet none was prepared for what followed. The killer in priest's clothing suddenly snapped; visceral bolts of lightning electrified his madness. His dark eyes burned with a raging fire that could be extinguished only by soul-satisfying violence-relentless, brutal, savage vengeance for all the wrongs done to his pure purpose to kill the unbelievers! The Jackal swept away the dossiers from the table and lurched down to the pile of newspapers; he grabbed the deadly automatic weapon from beneath the scattered pages and roared, "Stop! All of you!"
   None did, and the outer regions of psychopathic energy became the order of the moment. The killer squeezed the trigger repeatedly and men and women died. Amid screams from the shattered bodies nearest the door, the assassin raced outside, leaping over the corpses, his assault rifle on automatic fire, cutting down the figures in the street, screaming curses, condemning the unbelievers to a hell only he could imagine.
   "Traitors! Filth! Garbage!" screamed the crazed Jackal as he leaped over the dead bodies, racing to the car he had commandeered from the Komitet and its inadequate surveillance unit. The night had ended; the morning had begun.
   The Metropole's telephone did not ring, it erupted. Startled, Alex Conklin snapped open his eyes, instantly shaking the sleep from his head as he clawed for the strident instrument on the bedside table. "Yes?" he announced, wondering briefly if he was speaking into the conically shaped mouthpiece or into the receiver.
   "Aleksei, stay put! Admit no one into your rooms and have your weapons ready!"
   "Krupkin? ... What the hell are you talking about."
   "A crazed dog is loose in Moscow."
   "Carlos?"
   "He's gone completely mad. He killed Rodchenko and butchered the two agents who were following him. A farmer found their bodies around four o'clock this morning-it seems the dogs woke him up with their barking, downwind of the blood scents, I imagine."
   "Christ, he's gone over the edge. ... But why do you think-"
   "One of our agents was tortured before being killed," broke in the KGB officer, fully anticipating Alex's question. "He was our driver from the airport, a protégé of mine and the son of a classmate I roomed with at the university. A fine young man from a rational family but not trained for what he was put through."
   "You're saying you think he may have told Carlos about us, aren't you?"
   "Yes. ... There's more, however. Approximately an hour ago in the Vavilova, eight people were cut down by automatic fire. They were slaughtered; it was a massacre. One of the dying, a woman with the Ministry of Information, a direktor, second class, and a television journalist, said the killer was a priest from Paris who called himself the 'monseigneur.' "
   "Jesus!" exploded Conklin, whipping his legs over the edge of the bed, absently staring at the stump of flesh where once there had been a foot. "It was his cadre."
   "So called and past tense," said Krupkin. "If you remember, I told you such recruits would abandon him at the first sign of peril."
   "I'll get Jason-"
   "Aleksei, listen to me!"
   "What?" Conklin cupped the telephone under his chin as he reached down for the hollowed-out prosthetic boot.
   "We've formed a tactical assault squad, men and women in civilian clothes-they're being given instructions now and will be there shortly."
   "Good move."
   "But we have purposely not alerted the hotel staff or the police."
   "You'd be idiots if you did," broke in Alex. "We'll settle for taking the son of a bitch here! We'd never do it with uniforms prowling around or clerks in hysterics. The Jackal has eyes in his kneecaps."
   "Do as I say," ordered the Soviet. "Admit no one, stay away from the windows and take all precautions."
   "Naturally. ... What do you mean, the windows? He'll need time to find out where we are ... to question the maids, the stewards."
   "Forgive me, old friend," interrupted Krupkin, "but an angelic priest inquiring at the desk about two Americans, one with a pronounced limp, during the early morning rush in the lobby?"
   "Good point, even if you're paranoid."
   "You're on a high floor, and directly across the Marx Prospekt is the roof of an office building."
   "You also think pretty fast."
   "Certainly faster than that fool in Dzerzhinsky. I would have reached you long before now, but my commissar Kartoshki over there didn't call me until two minutes ago."
   "I'll wake up Bourne."
   "Be careful."
   Conklin did not hear the Soviet's final admonition. Instead, he swiftly replaced the telephone and pulled on his boot, carelessly lashing the Velcro straps around his calf. He then opened the bedside table drawer and took out the Graz Burya automatic, a specially designed KGB weapon with three clips of ammunition. The Graz, as it was commonly known, was unique insofar as it was the only automatic known that would accept a silencer. The cylindrical instrument had rolled to the front of the drawer; he removed it and spun it into the short barrel. Unsteadily, he got into his trousers, shoved the weapon into his belt and crossed to the door. He opened it and limped out only to find Jason, fully dressed, standing in front of a window in the ornate Victorian sitting room.
   "That had to be Krupkin," said Bourne.
   "It was. Get away from the window."
   "Carlos?" Bourne instantly stepped back and turned to Alex. "He knows we're in Moscow?" he asked. Then added, "He knows where we are?"
   "The odds are yes to both questions." In short concise statements, Conklin related Krupkin's information. "Does all this tell you something?" asked Alex when he had finished.
   "He's blown apart," answered Jason quietly. "It had to happen. The time bomb in his head finally went off."
   "That's what I think. His Moscow cadre turned out to be a myth. They probably told him to pound sand and he exploded."
   "I regret the loss of life and I mean that," said Bourne. "I wish it could have happened another way, but I can't regret his state of mind. What's happened to him is what he wanted for me-to crack wide open."
   "Kruppie said it," added Conklin. "He's got a psychopathic death wish to return to the people who first found out he was a maniac. Now, if he knows you're here, and we have to assume that he does, the obsession's compounded, your death replacing his-giving him some kind of symbolic triumph maybe."
   "You've been talking to Panov too much. ... I wonder how Mo is."
   "Don't. I called the hospital at three o'clock this morning-five o'clock, Paris time. He may lose the use of his left arm and suffer partial paralysis of his right leg, but they think he'll make it now."
   "I don't give a goddamn about his arms or his legs. What about his head?"
   "Apparently it's intact. The chief nurse on the floor said that for a doctor he's a terrible patient."
   "Thank Christ!"
   "I thought you were an agnostic."
   "It's a symbolic phrase, check with Mo." Bourne noticed the gun in Alex's belt; he gestured at the weapon. "That's a little obvious, isn't it?"
   "For whom?"
   "Room service," replied Jason. "I phoned for whatever gruel they've got and a large pot of coffee."
   "No way. Krupkin said we don't let anyone in here and I gave him my word."
   "That's a crock of paranoia-"
   "Almost my words, but this is his turf, not ours. Just like the windows."
   "Wait a minute!" exclaimed Bourne. "Suppose he is right?"
   "Unlikely, but possible, except that-" Conklin could not finish his statement. Jason reached under the right rear flap of his jacket, yanked out his own Graz Burya and started for the hallway door of the suite. "What are you doing?" cried Alex.
   "Probably giving your friend 'Kruppie' more credit than he deserves, but it's worth a try. ... Get over there," ordered Bourne, pointing to the far left corner of the room. "I'll leave the door unlocked, and when the steward gets here, tell him to come in-in Russian."
   "What about you?"
   "There's an ice machine down the hall; it doesn't work, but it's in a cubicle along with a Pepsi machine. That doesn't work either, but I'll slip inside."
   "Thank God for capitalists, no matter how misguided. Go on!"
   The Medusan once known as Delta unlatched the door, opened it, glanced up and down the Metropole's corridor and rushed outside. He raced down the hallway to the cut-out alcove that housed the two convenience machines and crouched by the right interior wall. He waited, his knees and legs aching-pains he never felt only years ago-and then he heard the sounds of rolling wheels. They grew louder and louder as the cart draped with a tablecloth passed and proceeded to the door of the suite. He studied the floor steward; he was a young man in his twenties, blond, short of stature, and with the posture of an obsequious servant; cautiously he knocked on the door. No Carlos he, thought Bourne, getting painfully to his feet. He could hear Conklin's muffled voice telling the steward to enter; and as the young man opened the door, shoving the table inside, Jason calmly inserted his weapon into its concealed place. He bent over and massaged his right calf, he could feel the swelling cluster of a muscle cramp.
   It happened with the impact of a single furious wave against a shoal of rock. A figure in black lurched out of an unseen recess in the corridor, racing past the machines. Bourne spun back into the wall. It was the Jackal!
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
38
   Madness! At full force Carlos slammed his right shoulder into the blond-haired waiter, propelling the young man across the hallway and crashing the room-service table over on its side; dishes and food splattered the walls and the carpeted floor. Suddenly the waiter lunged to his left, spinning in midair as, astonishingly, he yanked a weapon from his belt. The Jackal either sensed or caught the movement in the corner of his eye. He whipped around, his automatic weapon on rapid fire, savagely pinning the blond Russian into the wall, bullets puncturing the waiter's head and torso. At that prolonged, horrible moment, the enlarged sight line on the barrel of Bourne's Graz Burya caught in the waistline of his trousers. He tore the fabric as the eyes of Carlos swept up centering on his own, fury and triumph in the assassin's stare.
   Jason ripped the gun loose, spinning, crouching back into the wall of the small alcove as the Jackal's fusillade blew apart the gaudy paneling of the soft-drink machine and tore into the sheets of heavy plastic that fronted the broken-down ice maker. On his stomach, Bourne surged across the opening, the Graz Burya raised and firing as fast as he could squeeze the trigger. Simultaneously, there were other gunshots, not those of a machine pistol. Alex was firing from inside the suite! They had Carlos in their cross fire! It was possible-it could all end in a hotel corridor in Moscow! Let it happen, let it happen!
   The Jackal roared; it was a defiant shriek at having been hit. Bourne lunged back across the opening, pivoting once again into the wall, momentarily distracted by the sounds of a now functioning ice machine. Again he crouched, inching his face toward the corner of the archway when the murderous insanity in the hallway erupted into the fever pitch of close combat. Like an enraged caged animal, the wounded Carlos kept spinning around in place, continuous bursts from his weapon exploding as if he were firing through unseen walls that were closing in on him. Two piercing, hysterical screams came from the far end of the hallway, one male, one female; a couple had been wounded or killed in the panicked fusillade of stray bullets.
   "Get down!" Conklin's scream from across the corridor was an instant command for what Jason could not know. "Take cover! Grab the fucking walls!" Bourne did as he was told, under standing only that the order meant he was to shove himself into as small a place as possible, protecting his head as much as possible. The corner. He lunged as the first explosion rocked the walls-somewhere-and then a second, this much nearer, far more thunderous, in the hallway itself. Grenades!
   Smoke mingled with falling plaster and shattered glass. Gunshots. Nine, one after another-a Graz Burya automatic ... Alex! Jason spun up and away from the corner of the recess and lurched for the opening. Conklin stood outside the door of their suite in front of the upturned room-service table; he snapped out his empty clip and furiously searched his trousers pockets. "I haven't got one!" he shouted angrily, referring to the extra clips of ammunition supplied by Krupkin. "He ran around the corner into the other corridor, and I don't have any goddamned shells!"
   "I do and I'm a lot faster than you," said Jason, removing his spent magazine and inserting a fresh clip from his pocket. "Get back in there and call the lobby. Tell them to clear it."
   "Krupkin said-"
   "I don't give a damn what he said! Tell them to shut down the elevators, barricade all staircase exits, and stay the hell away from this floor!"
   "I see what you mean-"
   "Do it!" Bourne raced down the hallway, wincing as he approached the couple who lay on the carpet; each moved, groaning. Their clothes were spotted with blood, but they moved! He turned and yelled to Alex, who was limping around the room-service table. "Get help up here!" he ordered, pointing at an exit door directly down the corridor. "They're alive! Use that exit and only that one!"
   The hunt began, compounded and impeded by the fact that the word had been spread throughout these adjacent wings of the Metropole's tenth floor. It took no imagination to realize that behind the closed doors, along both sides of the hallways, panicked calls were being made to the front desk as the sound of nearby gunfire echoed throughout the corridors. Krupkin's strategy for a KGB assault team in civilian clothes had been nullified by the first burst from the Jackal's weapon.
   Where was he? There was another exit door at the far end of the long hallway Jason had entered, but there were perhaps fifteen to eighteen guest-room doors lining that hallway. Carlos was no fool, and a wounded Carlos would call upon every tactic he could summon from a long life of violence and survival to survive, if only long enough to achieve the kill he wanted more than life itself. ... Bourne suddenly realized how accurate his analysis was, for he was describing himself. What had old Fontaine said on Tranquility Isle, in that faraway storeroom from which they had stared down at the procession of priests knowing that one had been bought by the Jackal? "... Two aging lions stalking each other, not caring who's killed in the cross fire"-those had been Fontaine's words, a man who had sacrificed his life for another he barely knew because his own life was over, for the woman he loved was gone. As Jason started cautiously, silently down the hall toward the first door on the left, he wondered if he could do the same. He wanted desperately to live-with Marie and their children-but if she was gone ... if they were gone ... would life really matter? Could he throw it away if he recognized something in another man that reflected something in himself?
   No time. Meditate on your own time, David Webb! I have no use for you, you weak, soft son of a bitch. Get away from me! I have to flush out a bird of prey I've wanted for thirteen years. His claws are razor-sharp and he's killed too often, too many, and now he wants to kill my own-your own. Get away from me!
   Bloodstains. On the dull, dark brown carpet, wet driblets glistening in the dim overhead light. Bourne crouched and felt them; they were wet; they were red-bloodred. Unbroken, they passed the first door, then the second, remaining on the left-then they crossed the hall, the pattern now altered, no longer steady, instead zigzagging, as if the wound had been located, the bleeding partially stemmed. The trail passed the sixth door on the right, and the seventh ... then abruptly the shining red drops stopped-no, not entirely. There was a trickle heading left, barely visible, and again, across the hallway-there it was! A faint smudge of red just above the knob on the eighth door on the left, no more than twenty feet from the corridor's exit staircase. Carlos was behind that door holding hostage whoever was inside.
   Precision was everything now, every movement, every sound concentrated on the capture or the kill. Breathing steadily while imposing a suspension of the muscular spasms he felt everywhere throughout his body, Bourne once more walked silently, now retracing his steps up the hallway. He reached a point roughly thirty paces away from the eighth door on the left and turned around, suddenly aware of a muted chorus of sporadic sobs and cries that came from closed doorways along the hotel corridor. Orders had been given couched in language far removed from Krupkin's instructions: Stay inside your rooms, please. Admit no one. Our people are investigating. It was always "our people," never "the police," never "the authorities"; with those names came panic. And panic was precisely what Medusa's Delta One had in mind. Panic and diversion, eternal components for the human snare, lifelong allies in the springing trap.
   He raised the Graz Burya automatic, aiming at one of the ornate hallway chandeliers, and fired twice, simultaneously shouting furiously as the earsplitting explosions accompanied the shattered glass that plummeted from the ceiling. "There he goes! A black suit!" His feet pounding, Bourne ran with loud emphatic strides down the corridor to the eighth door on the left, then past the door, shouting once again. "The exit ... the exit!" He abruptly stopped, firing a third shot into another chandelier, the jarring cacophony covering the absent noise of his pounding feet as he spun around, throwing his back against the opposing wall of the eighth door, then pushing himself away, hurling his body at the door and crashing into it, smashing it off its hinges as he. lurched inside, plunging to the floor, his weapon raised, prepared for rapid fire.
   He was wrong! He knew it instantly-a final reverse trap was in the making! He heard another door opening somewhere outside-he either heard it or he instinctively knew it! He rolled furiously to his right, over and over again, his legs crashing into a floor lamp, sending it toward the door, his panicked darting eyes catching a glimpse of an elderly couple clutching each other, crouching in a far corner.
   The white-gowned figure burst into the room, his automatic pistol spitting indiscriminately, the staccato reports deafening. Bourne fired repeatedly into the mass of white as he sprang into the left wall, knowing that if for only a split second he was positioned on the killer's blind right flank. It was enough!
   The Jackal was caught in his shoulder-his right shoulder! The weapon literally snapped out of his grip as he jerked up his forearm, his fingers spastically uncurled under the impact of the Graz Burya's penetration. With no cessation of movement, the Jackal swung around, the bloody long white robe separating, billowing like a sail as he grabbed the massive flesh wound with his left hand and violently kicked the floor lamp into Jason's face.
   Bourne fired again, half blinded by the flying shade of the heavy lamp, his weapon deflected by the thick stem. The shot went wild; steadying his hand, he squeezed the trigger again, only to hear the sickening finality of a sharp metallic click-the gun's magazine was empty! Struggling to a crouch, he lunged for the blunt, ugly automatic weapon as the white-robed Carlos raced through the shattered doorway into the corridor. Jason got to his feet, but his knee collapsed! It had buckled under his own weight. Oh, Christ! He crawled to the edge of the bed and dived over the pulled-down sheets toward the bedside telephone-it had been demolished, the Jackal had shot it apart! Carlos's demented mind was summoning up every tactic, every counteraction he had ever used.
   Another sound! This loud and abrupt. The crash bar on the hallway's stairway exit had been slammed into the opening position, the heavy metal door smashed back into the concrete wall of the landing. The Jackal was heading down the flights of steps to the lobby. If the front desk had listened to Conklin, he was trapped!
   Bourne looked at the elderly couple in the corner, affected by the fact that the old man was covering the woman with his own body. "It's all right," he. said, trying to calm them by lowering his voice. "I know you probably don't understand me-I don't speak Russian-but you're safe now."
   "We don't speak Russian either," admitted the man, an Englishman, in clipped, guarded tones, straining his neck as he looked at Jason while trying to rise. "Thirty years ago I would have been standing at that door! Eighth Army with Monty, y'know. Rather grand at El Alamein-all of us, of course. To paraphrase, age doth wither, as they say."
   "I'd rather not hear it, General-"
   "No, no, merely a brigadier-"
   "Fine!" Bourne crept over the bed, testing his knee; whatever it was had snapped back. "I have to get to a phone!"
   "Actually, what outraged me was the goddamned robe!" went on the veteran of El Alamein. "Fucking disgraceful, I say-forgive me, darling."
   "What are you talking about?"
   "The white robe, lad! It had to be Binky's-the couple across the hall we're traveling with-he must have copped it from that lovely Beau-Rivage in Lausanne. The rotten theft is bad enough, but to have given it to that swine is unforgivable!"
   In seconds, Jason had grabbed the Jackal's weapon and crashed his way into the room across the hall, immediately knowing that "Binky" deserved more admiration than the brigadier afforded him. He lay on the floor bleeding from knife wounds across his stomach and throat.
   "I can't reach anyone!" screamed the woman with thinning gray hair; she was on her knees above the victim, weeping hysterically. "He fought like a madman-somehow he knew that priest wouldn't fire his gun!"
   "Hold the skin together wherever you can," yelled Bourne, looking over at the telephone. It was intact! He ran to it, and instead of calling the front desk or the operator, he dialed the numbers for the suite.
   "Krupkin?" cried Alex.
   "No, me! First: Carlos is on the staircase-the hallway I went into! Second: a man's cut up, same hallway, seventh door on the right! Hurry."
   "As fast as I can. I've got a clear line to the office."
   "Where the hell is the KGB team?"
   "They just got here. Krupkin called only seconds ago from the lobby-it's why I thought you were-"
   "I'm going to the staircase!"
   "For God's sake, why?"
   "Because he's mine!"
   Jason raced to the door, offering no words of comfort for the hysterical wife; he could not summon them. He crashed his way through the exit door, the Jackal's weapon in his hand. He started down the staircase, suddenly hearing the sound of his own shoes; he stopped on the seventh step and removed both, and then his ankle-length socks. The cool surface of the stone on his feet somehow reminded him of the jungles, flesh against the cold morning underbrush; for some abstract, foolish memory he felt more in command of his fears-the jungles were always the friend of Delta One.
   Floor by floor he descended, following the inevitable rivulets of blood, larger now, no longer to be stemmed, for the last wound was too severe to stop by exerting pressure. Twice the Jackal had applied such pressure, once at the fifth-floor and again at the third-floor hallway doors, only to be followed by streaks of dark red, as he could not manipulate the exterior locks without the security keys.
   The second floor, then the first, there were no more! Carlos was trapped! Somewhere in the shadows below was the death of the killer who would set him free! Silently, Bourne removed a book of Metropole matches from his pocket; he huddled against the concrete wall, tore out a single match and, cupping his hands, fired the packet. He threw it over the railing, the weapon in his hand ready to explode with continuous rounds of bullets at anything that moved below!
   There was nothing-nothing! The cement floor was empty-there was no one there! Impossible! Jason raced down the last flight of steps and pounded on the door to the lobby.
   "Shto?" yelled a Russian inside. "Kto tam?"
   "I'm an American! I'm working with the KGB! Let me in!"
   "Shto ... ?"
   "I understand," shouted another voice. "And, please, you understand that many guns are directed at you when I open the door. It is understand?"
   "Understand!" shouted Bourne, at the last second remembering to drop Carlos's weapon on the concrete floor. The door opened.
   "Da!" said the Soviet police officer, instantly correcting himself as he spotted the machine pistol at Jason's feet. "Nyet!" he yelled.
   "Nye za shto?" said a breathless Krupkin, urging his heavyset body forward.
   "Pochemu?"
   "Komitet!"
   "Prekrasno." The policeman nodded obsequiously, but stayed in place.
   "What are you doing?" demanded Krupkin. "The lobby is cleared and our assault squad is in place!"
   "He was here!" whispered Bourne, as if his intense quiet voice further obscured his incomprehensible words.
   "The Jackal?" asked Krupkin, astonished.
   "He came down this staircase! He couldn't have gone out on any other floor. Every fire door is dead-bolted from the inside-only the crash bars release them."
   "Skazhi," said the KGB official to the hotel guard, speaking in Russian. "Has anyone come through this door within the past ten minutes since the orders were given to seal them off?"
   "No, sir!" replied the mititsiya. "Only a hysterical woman in a soiled bathrobe. In her panic, she fell in the bathroom and cut herself. We thought she might have a heart attack, she was screaming so. We escorted her immediately to the nurse's office."
   Krupkin turned to Jason, switching back to English. "Only a woman came through, a woman in panic who had inured herself."
   "A woman? Is he certain? ... What color was her hair?" Dimitri asked the guard; with the man's reply he again looked at Bourne. "He says it was reddish and quite curly."
   "Reddish?" An image came to Jason, a very unpleasant one. "A house phone-no, the front desk! Come on, I may need your help." With Krupkin following, the barefooted Bourne ran across the lobby to a clerk at the reception counter. "Can you speak English?"
   "Certainly most good, even many veniculars, mister sir."
   "A room plan for the tenth floor. Quickly."
   "Mister sir?"
   Krupkin translated; a large loose-leaf notebook was placed on the counter, the plastic-enclosed page turned to-"This room!" said Jason, pointing at a square and doing his best not to alarm the frightened clerk. "Get it on the telephone! If the line's busy, knock off anybody on it."
   Again Krupkin translated as a phone was placed in front of Bourne. He picked it up and spoke. "This is the man who came into your room a few minutes ago-"
   "Oh, yes, of course, dear fellow. Thank you so much! The doctor's here and Binky's-"
   "I have to know something, and I have to know it right now. ... Do you carry hairpieces, or wigs, with you when you travel?"
   "I'd say that's rather impertinent-"
   "Lady, I don't have time for amenities, I have to know! Do you?"
   "Well, yes I do. It's no secret, actually, all my friends know it and they forgive the artifice. You see, dear boy, I have diabetes ... my gray hair is painfully thin."
   "Is one of those wigs red?"
   "As a matter of fact, yes. I rather fancy changing-"
   Bourne slammed down the phone and looked over at Krupkin. "The son of a bitch lucked out. It was Carlos!"
   "Come with me!" said Krupkin as they both raced across the empty lobby to the complex of back-room offices of the Metropole. They reached the nurse's infirmary door and went inside. They both stopped; both gasped and then winced at what they saw.
   There were rolls of torn, unwound gauze and reels of tape in various widths, and broken syringes and tubes of antibiotics scattered about the examining table and the floor, as if all were somehow administered in panic. These, however, the two men barely noticed, for their eyes were riveted on the woman who had tended to her crazed patient. The Metropole's nurse was arched back in her chair, her throat surgically punctured, and over her immaculate white uniform ran a thin stream of blood. Madness!
   Standing beside the living room table, Dimitri Krupkin spoke on the phone as Alex Conklin sat on the brocaded couch massaging his bootless leg and Bourne stood by the window staring out on the Marx Prospekt. Alex looked over at the KGB officer, a thin smile on his gaunt face as Krupkin nodded, his eyes on Conklin. An acknowledgment was being transmitted between the two of them. They were worthy adversaries in a never-ending, essentially futile war in which only battles were won, the philosophical conflicts never resolved.
   "I have your assurance then, comrade," said Krupkin in Russian, "and, frankly, I will hold you to it. ... Of course I'm taping this conversation! Would you do otherwise? ... Good! We understand each other as well as our respective responsibilities, so let me recapitulate. The man is seriously wounded, therefore the city taxi service as well as all doctors and all hospitals in the Moscow area have been alerted. The description of the stolen automobile has been circulated and any sightings of man or vehicle are to be reported only to you. The penalty for disregarding these instructions is the Lubyanka, that must be clear. ... Good! We have a mutual understanding and I expect to hear from you the minute you have any information, yes? ... Don't have a cardiac arrest, comrade. I am well aware that you are my superior, but then this is a proletarian society, yes? Simply follow the advice of an extremely experienced subordinate. Have a pleasant day. ... No, that is not a threat, it is merely a phrase I picked up in Paris-American origin, I believe." Krupkin hung up the phone and sighed. "There's something to be said for our vanished, educated aristocracy, I'm afraid."
   "Don't say it out loud," observed Conklin, nodding at the telephone. "I gather nothing's coming down."
   "Nothing to act upon immediately but something rather interesting, even fascinating in a macabre sort of way."
   "By which you mean it concerns Carlos, I assume."
   "No one else." Krupkin shook his head as Jason looked over at him from the window. "I stopped at my office to join the assault squad and on my desk were eight large manila envelopes, only one of which had been opened. The police found them in the Vavilova and, true to form, having read the contents of only one, wanted nothing to do with them."
   "What were they?" asked Alex, chuckling. "State secrets describing the entire Politburo as gay?"
   "You're probably not far off the mark," interrupted Bourne. "That was the Jackal's Moscow cadre in the Vavilova. He was either showing them the dirt he had on them, or giving them the dirt on others."
   "The latter in this case," said Krupkin. "A collection of the most preposterous allegations directed at the ranking heads of our major ministries."
   "He's got vaults of that garbage. It's standard operating procedure for Carlos; it's how he buys his way into circles he shouldn't be able to penetrate."
   "Then I'm not being clear, Jason," continued the KGB officer. "When I say preposterous, I mean exactly that-beyond belief. Lunacy."
   "He's almost always on target. Don't take that judgment to the bank."
   "If there were such a bank I certainly would, and I'd negotiate a sizable loan on its efficacy as collateral.. Most of the information is the stuff of the lowest-grade tabloids-nothing unusual there, of course-but along with such nonsense are outright distortions of times, places, functions and even identities. For example, the Ministry of Transport is not where a particular file says, but a block away, and a certain comrade direktor is not married to the lady named but to someone else-the woman mentioned is their daughter and is not in Moscow but rather in Cuba, where she's been for six years. Also, the man listed as head of Radio Moscow and accused of just about everything short of having intercourse with dogs, died eleven months ago and was a known closet orthodox Catholic, who would have been far happier as a truly devout priest. ... These blatant falsehoods I picked up in a matter of minutes, time being at a premium, but I'm sure there are dozens more."
   "You're saying that a scam was pulled on Carlos?" said Conklin.
   "One so garish-albeit compiled with extreme conviction-it would be laughed out of our most rigidly doctrinaire courts. Whoever fed him these melodramatic 'exposés' wanted built-in deniabilities."
   "Rodchenko?" asked Bourne.
   "I can't think of anyone else. Grigorie-I say 'Grigorie' but I never called him that to his face; it was always 'General'-was a consummate strategist, the ultimate survivor, as well as a deeply committed Marxist. Control was his byword, his addiction, really, and if he could control the infamous Jackal for the Motherland's interests, what a profound exhilaration for the old man. Yet the Jackal killed him with those symbolic bullets in his throat. Was it betrayal, or was it carelessness on Rodchenko's part at having been discovered? Which? We'll never know." The telephone rang and Krupkin's hand shot down, picking it up. "Da?" Shifting to Russian, Dimitri gestured for Conklin to restrap the prosthetic boot as he spoke. "Now listen to me very carefully, comrade. The police are to make no moves-above all, they are to remain out of sight. Call in one of our unmarked vehicles to replace the patrol car, am I clear? ... Good. We'll use the Moray frequency."
   "Breakthrough?" asked Bourne, stepping away from the window as Dimitri slammed down the phone.
   "Maximum!" replied Krupkin. "The car was spotted on the Nemchinovka road heading toward Odintsovo."
   "That doesn't mean anything to me. What's in Odintsovo, or whatever it's called?"
   "I don't know specifically, but I must assume he does. Remember, he knows Moscow and its environs. Odintsovo is what you might call an industrial suburb about thirty-five minutes from the city-"
   "Goddamn it!" yelled Alex, struggling with the Velcro straps of his boot.
   "Let me do that," said Jason, his tone of voice brooking no objection as he knelt down and swiftly manipulated the thick strips of coarse cloth. "Why is Carlos still using the Dzerzhinsky car?" continued Bourne, addressing Krupkin. "It's not like him to take that kind of risk."
   "It is if he has no choice. He has to know that all Moscow taxis are a silent arm of the state, and he is, after all, severely wounded and undoubtedly now without a gun or he would have used it on you. He's in no condition to threaten a driver or steal an automobile. ... Besides, he reached the Nemchinovka road quickly; that the car was even seen is pure chance. The road is not well traveled, which I assume he also knows."
   "Let's get out of here!" cried Conklin, annoyed by both Jason's attention and his own infirmity. He stood up, wavered, angrily rejected Krupkin's hand, and started for the door. "We can talk in the car. We're wasting time."
   "Moray, come in, please," said Krupkin in Russian, sitting beside the assault squad driver in the front seat, the microphone at his lips, his hand on the frequency dial of the vehicle's radio. "Moray, respond, if I'm reaching you."
   "What the hell's he talking about?" asked Bourne, in the backseat with Alex.
   "He's trying to make contact with the unmarked KGB patrol following Carlos. He keeps switching from one ultrahigh frequency to another. It's the Moray code."
   "The what?"
   "It's an eel, Jason," replied Krupkin, glancing over the seat. "Of the Muraenidae family with pore-like gills and capable of descending to great depths. Certain species can be quite deadly."
   "Thank you, Peter Lorre," said Bourne.
   "Very good," laughed the KGB man. "But you'll admit it's aptly descriptive. Very few radios can either send it or receive it."
   "When did you steal it from us?"
   "Oh, not you, not you at all. From the British, truthfully. As usual, London is very quiet about these things, but they're far ahead of you and the Japanese in certain areas. It's that damned MI-Six. They dine in their clubs in Knightsbridge, smoke their odious pipes, play the innocents, and send us defectors trained at the Old Vic."
   "They've had their gaps," said Conklin defensively.
   "More so in their high-dudgeon revelations than in reality, Aleksei. You've been away too long. We've both lost more than they have in that department, but they can cope with public embarrassment-we haven't learned that time-honored trait. We bury our 'gaps,' as you put it; we try too hard for that respectability which too often eludes us. Then, I suppose, we're historically young by comparison." Krupkin again switched back into Russian. "Moray, come in, please! I'm reaching the end of the spectrum. Where are you, Moray?"
   "Stop there, comrade!" came the metallic voice over the loudspeaker. "We're in contact. Can you hear me?"
   "You sound like a castrato but I can hear you."
   "This must be Comrade Krupkin-"
   "Were you expecting the pope? Who's this?"
   "Orlov."
   "Good! You know what you're doing."
   "I hope you do, Dimitri."
   "Why do you say that?"
   "Your insufferable orders to do nothing, that's why. We're two kilometers away from the building-I drove up through the grass on a small hill-and we have the vehicle in sight. It's parked in the lot and the suspect's inside."
   "What building? What hill? You tell me nothing."
   "The Kubinka Armory."
   Hearing this, Conklin bolted forward in the seat. "Oh, my God!" he cried.
   "What is it?" asked Bourne.
   "He reached an armory." Alex saw the frown of confusion on Jason's face. "Over here armories are a hell of a lot more than enclosed parade grounds for legionnaires and reservists. They're serious training quarters and warehouses for weapons."
   "He wasn't heading for Odintsovo," broke in Krupkin. "The armory's farther south, on the outskirts of the town, another four or five kilometers. He's been there before."
   "Those places must have tight security," said Bourne. "He can't just walk inside."
   "He already has," corrected the KGB officer from Paris.
   "I mean into restricted areas-like storerooms filled with weapons."
   "That's what concerns me," went on Krupkin, fingering the microphone in his hand. "Since he's been there before-and he obviously has-what does he know about the installation ... who does he know?"
   "Get on a radio patch, call the place and have him stopped, held!" insisted Jason.
   "Suppose I reach the wrong person, or suppose he already has weapons and we set him off? With one phone call, one hostile confrontation or even the appearance of a strange automobile, there could be wholesale slaughter of several dozen men and women. We saw what he did at the Metropole, in the Vavilova. He's lost all control; he's utterly mad."
   "Dimitri," came the metallic Soviet voice over the radio speaking Russian. "Something's happening. The man just came out of a side door with a burlap sack and is heading for the car. ... Comrade, I'm not sure it's the same man. It probably is, but there's something different about him."
   "What do you mean? The clothes?"
   "No, he's wearing a dark suit and his right arm is in a black sling as before ... yet he's moving more rapidly, his pace firmer, his posture erect."
   "You're saying he does not appear to be wounded, yes?"
   "I guess that's what I'm saying, yes."
   "He could be faking it," said Conklin. "That son of a bitch could be taking his last breath and convince you he's ready for a marathon."
   "For what purpose, Aleksei? Why any pretense at all?"
   "I don't know, but if your man in that car can see him, he can see the car. Maybe he's just in a hell of a hurry."
   "What's going on?" asked Bourne angrily.
   "Someone's come outside with a bagful of goodies and going to the car," said Conklin in English.
   "For Christ's sake, stop him!"
   "We're not sure it's the Jackal," interrupted Krupkin. "The clothes are the same, even to the arm sling, but there are physical differences-"
   "Then he wants you to think it isn't him!" said Jason emphatically.
   "Shto? ... What?"
   "He's putting himself in your place, thinking like you're thinking now and by doing that outthinking you. He may or may not know that he's been spotted, the car picked up, but he has to assume the worst and act accordingly. How long before we get there?"
   "The way my outrageously reckless young comrade is driving, I'd say three or four minutes."
   "Krupkin!" The voice burst from the radio speaker. "Four other people have come outside-three men and a woman. They're running to the car!"
   "What did he say?" asked Bourne. Alex translated and Jason frowned. "Hostages?" he said quietly, as if to himself. "He just blew it!" Medusa's Delta leaned forward and touched Krupkin's shoulder. "Tell your man to get out of there the moment that car takes off and he knows where it's heading. Tell him to be obvious, to blow the hell out of his horn while he passes the armory, which he must pass from one way or the other."
   "My dear fellow!" exploded the Soviet intelligence officer. "Would you mind telling me why I should issue such an order?"
   "Because your colleague was right and I was wrong. The man in the sling isn't Carlos. The Jackal's inside, waiting for the cavalry to pass the fort so he can get away in another car-if there is a cavalry."
   "In the name of our revered Karl Marx, do explain how you reached this contradictory conclusion!"
   "Simple. He made a mistake. ... Even if you could, you wouldn't shoot up that car on the road, would you?"
   "Agreed. There are four other people inside, all no doubt innocent Soviet citizens forced to appear otherwise."
   "Hostages?"
   "Yes, of course."
   "When was the last time you heard of people running like hell into a situation where they could become hostages? Even if they were under a gun from a doorway, one or two, if not all of them, would try to race behind other cars for protection."
   "My word-"
   "But you were right about one thing. Carlos has a contact inside that armory-the man in the sling. He may only be an innocent Russian with a brother or a sister living in Paris, but the Jackal owns him."
   "Dimitri!" shouted the metallic voice in Russian. "The car is speeding out of the parking lot!"
   Krupkin pressed the button on his microphone and gave his instructions. Essentially, they were to follow that automobile to the borders of Finland if necessary, but to take it without violence, calling in the police if they had to. The last order was to pass the armory, blowing his horn repeatedly. In the Russian vernacular, the agent named Orlov asked, "What the fuck for?"
   "Because I've had a vision from St. Nickolai the Good! Also, I'm your charitable superior. Do it!"
   "You're not well, Dimitri."
   "Do you wish a superb service report or one that will send you to Tashkent?"
   "I'm on my way, comrade."
   Krupkin replaced the microphone in the dashboard receptacle. "Everything proceeds," he said haltingly, partially over his shoulder. "If I'm to go down with either a crazed assassin or a convoluted lunatic who displays certain decencies, I imagine it's best to choose the latter. Contrary to the most enlightened skeptics, there might be a God, after all. ... Would you care to buy a house on the lake in Geneva, Aleksei?"
   "I might," answered Bourne. "If I live through the day and do what I have to do, give me a price. I won't quibble."
   "Hey, David," interjected Conklin. "Marie made that money, you didn't."
   "She'll listen to me. To him."
   "What now, whoever you are?" asked Krupkin.
   "Give me all the firepower I need from this trunk of yours and let me off in the grass just before the armory. Give me a couple of minutes to get in place, then pull into the parking lot and obviously-very obviously-see that the car is missing and get out of there fast, gunning your engine."
   "And leave you alone?" cried Alex.
   "It's the only way I can take him. The only way he can be taken."
   "Lunacy!" spat out Krupkin, his jowls vibrating.
   "No, Kruppie, reality," said Jason Bourne simply. "It's the same as it was in the beginning. One on one, it's the only way."
   "That is sophomoric heroics!" roared the Russian, slamming his hand down on the back of the seat. "Worse, it's ridiculous strategy. If you're right, I can surround the armory with a thousand troops!"
   "Which is exactly what he'd want-what I'd want, if I were Carlos. Don't you see? He could get away in the confusion, in the sheer numbers-that's not a problem for either of us, we've both done it too many times before. Crowds and anxiety are our protection-they're child's play. A knife in a uniform, the uniform ours; toss a grenade into the troops, and after the explosion we're one of the staggering victims-that's amateur night for paid killers. Believe me, I know-I became one in spite of myself."
   "So what do you think you can do by yourself, Batman?" asked Conklin, furiously massaging his useless leg.
   "Stalk the killer who wants to kill me-and I'll take him."
   "You're a fucking megalomaniac!"
   "You're absolutely right. It's the only way to be in the killing game. It's the only edge you've got."
   "Insanity!" yelled Krupkin.
   "So allow me; I'm entitled to a little craziness. If I thought the entire Russian army would ensure my survival, I'd scream for it. But it wouldn't-it couldn't. There's only this way. ... Stop the car and let me choose the weapons."
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
39
   The dark green KGB sedan rounded the final curve in the sloping road cut out of the countryside. The descent had been gradual. The ground below was flat and summer-green with fields of wild grass bordering the approach to the massive brown building that was the Kubinka Armory. It seemed to rise out of the earth, a huge boxlike intrusion on the pastoral scene, an ugly man-made interruption of heavy brown wood and miserly windows reaching three stories high and covering two acres of land. Like the structure itself, the front entrance was large, square and unadorned except for the dull bas-relief profiles above the door of three Soviet soldiers rushing into the deadly winds of battle, their rifles at port arms, about to blow one another's heads off.
   Armed with an authentic Russian AK-47 and five standard thirty-round magazine clips, Bourne jumped out the far side of the silent coasting government car, using the bulk of the rolling vehicle to conceal himself in the grass directly across the road from the entrance. The armory's huge dirt parking area was to the right of the long building; a single row of unkempt shrubbery fronted the entrance lawn, in the center of which stood a tall white pole, the Soviet flag hanging limp in the breezeless morning air. Jason ran across the road, his body low, and crouched by the hedgerow; he had only moments to peer through the bushes and ascertain the existence or nonexistence of the armory's security procedures. At best, they appeared lax to the point of being informal, if not irrelevant. There was a glass window in the right wall of the entrance similar to that of a theater's box office; behind it sat a uniformed guard reading a magazine, and alongside him, less visible but seen clearly enough, was another, his head on the counter, asleep. Two other soldiers emerged from the immense armory door-double doors-both casual, unconcerned, as one glanced at his watch and the other lighted a cigarette.
   So much for Kubinka's security; no sudden assault was anticipated nor had one taken place, at least none that had set off alarms reaching the front patrols, usually the first to be alerted. It was eerie, unnatural, beyond the unexpected. The Jackal was inside this military installation, yet there was no sign that he had penetrated it, no indication that somewhere within the complex he was controlling a minimum of five personnel-a man impersonating him, three other men and a woman.
   The parking area itself? He had not understood the exchanges between Alex, Krupkin and the voice over the radio, but now it was clear to him that when they had spoken of people coming outside and running to the stolen car, they were not referring to the front entrance! There had to be an exit on the parking area! Christ, he had only seconds before the driver of the Komitet car started up the engine and roared into the huge dirt lot, circling it and racing out, both actions announcing the government vehicle's arrival and swift, calamitous departure. If Carlos was going to make his break, it would be then! After waiting for the standard radio backup, every moment of distance he put between himself and the armory would make it more difficult to pick up his trail. And he, the efficient killing machine from Medusa, was in the wrong place! Further, the sight of a civilian running across a lawn or down a road carrying an automatic weapon within a military compound was to invite disaster. It was a small, stupid omission! Three or four additional words translated and a less arrogant, more probing listener would have avoided the error. It was always the little things, the seemingly insignificant that crippled gray to black operations. Goddamn it!
   Five hundred feet away the KGB sedan suddenly thundered as it swerved into the dirt parking area raising clouds of dry dust while crushing and spitting out pieces of rock from its spinning tires. There was no time to think, time only to act. Bourne held the AK-47 against his right leg, concealing it as much as possible as he rose to his feet, his left hand skimming the top of the low hedgerow-a gardener, perhaps, surveying an anticipated assignment, or an indolent stroller aimlessly touching the roadside shrubbery, nothing remotely threatening, just a sign of the commonplace; to the casual observer, he might have been walking down that road for several minutes without being noticed.
   He glanced over at the armory's entrance. The two soldiers were laughing quietly, the one without a cigarette again looking at his watch. Then the object of their minor conspiracy came out of the left front door, an attractive dark-haired girl, barely in her twenties. She humorously clapped both her hands over her ears, made a grotesque face and walked rapidly to the time-conscious man in uniform, kissing him on the lips. The threesome linked arms, the woman in the center, and started to their right, away from the entrance.
   A crash! Metal colliding with metal, glass shattering glass, the loud harsh sound coming from the distant parking area. Something had happened to the Komitet car with Alex and Krupkin; the young driver from the assault squad had either smashed or skidded into another vehicle in the dry dirt of the lot. Using the sound as an excuse, Jason started down the road, the image of Conklin coming instantly to his mind, producing a limp in his own rapid strides the better to keep his weapon in minimum view. He turned his head, expecting to see the two soldiers and the woman running down the armory path toward the accident, only to realize that the three of them were running the other way, removing themselves from any involvement. Obviously, precious breaks in a military schedule were jealously protected.
   Bourne abandoned the limp, crashed through the hedgerow and raced to the concrete path that stretched to the corner of the huge building, gathering speed and breathing heavily with increasing frequency. Jason's weapon was now in plain sight, slashing the air as he gripped it in the hand of his swinging right arm. He reached the end of the path, his chest heaving, the veins in his neck seemingly prepared to burst as the sweat ran down his skin, drenching his face, his collar and his shirt. Gasping, he steadied the AK-47, his back pressed against the wall of the building, then spun around the corner into the parking area, stunned by what he saw. His pounding feet, coupled with the anxiety that caused his hair-soaked temples to throb, had blocked out all sound up ahead. What he observed now, what sickened him now, he knew had to be the result of multiple gunshots muted by a weapon equipped with a silencer. Dispassionately, Medusa's Delta understood; he had been there many times many years before. There were circumstances under which kills had to be made quietly-utter silence was the unreachable goal, but at least minimal noise was crucial.
   The young KGB driver from the assault squad was sprawled on the ground by the trunk of the dark green sedan, the wounds in his head certifying death. The car had swerved into the side of a government bus, the sort used to haul workers to and from their places of employment. How or why the accident had happened, Bourne could not know. Neither could he know whether Alex or Krupkin had survived; the car's windows had been pierced repeatedly and there was no sign of movement inside, both facts suggesting the worst but nothing conclusive. Above all, at this moment, the Chameleon also understood that he could not be affected by what he saw-emotions were out! If the worst had happened, mourning the dead would come later, vengeance and taking the killer came now.
   Think! How? Quickly!
   Krupkin had said there were "several dozen men and women" working at the armory. If so, where the hell were they? The Jackal was not acting in a vacuum; it was impossible! Yet a collision had occurred, its violent crash heard over a hundred yards away-well over the distance of a football field-and a man had been shot dead at the site of that crash, his lifeless body bleeding in the dirt, yet no one-no one-had appeared, either accidentally or intentionally. With the exception of Carlos and five unknown people, was the entire armory operating in a vacuum? Nothing made sense!
   And then he heard the muffled but emphatic strains of music from deep inside the building. Martial music, drums and trumpets predominating, swelling to crescendos that Bourne could only imagine were deafening within the echoing confines of the huge structure. The image of the young woman emerging from the front entrance returned; she had playfully clapped her hands over her ears and grimaced, and Jason had not understood. He did now. She had come from the armory's inner staging area, where the decibel level of the music was overpowering. An event was taking place at the Kubinka, a decently attended affair, which accounted for the profusion of automobiles, small vans and buses in the vast parking area-profusion at any rate in the Soviet Union, where such vehicles were not in oversupply. Altogether there were perhaps twenty conveyances in the dirt lot, parked in a semicircle. The activity inside was both the Jackal's diversion and his protection; he knew how to orchestrate both to his advantage. So did his enemy. Checkmate.
   Why didn't Carlos come out? Why hadn't he come out? What was he waiting for? The circumstances were optimal; they couldn't be better. Had his wounds slowed him to the point that he had lost the advantages he had created? It was possible, but not likely. The assassin had gotten this far, and if escape was in the offing, it was in him to go further, much further. Then why? Irreversible logic, a killer's survival logic demanded that after taking out the backup the Jackal had to race away as fast as humanly possible. It was his only chance! Then why was he still inside? Why hadn't his escape car fled from the area, speeding him to freedom?
   His back once again pressed against the wall, Jason sidestepped to his left, closely observing everything he could see. Like most armories the world over, Kubinka had no windows on the first floor, at least not for the first fifteen feet from the ground; he presumed it was because the occasional wildly galloping horses and glass did not go together. He could see a window frame on what appeared to be the second floor but close enough to the slain driver to afford maximum accuracy for a silenced high-powered weapon: Another frame on ground level had a knob protruding; it was the rear exit no one had bothered to mention. The little things, the insignificant things! Goddamn!
   The muted music inside swelled again, but now the swelling was different, the drums louder, the trumpets more sustained, more piercing. It was the unmistakable ending of a symphonic march, martial music at its most intense. ... That was it! The end of the event inside was at hand and the Jackal would use the emerging crowds to cover his escape. He would mingle, and when panic spread through the parking area with the sight of the dead man and the shot-up sedan, he would disappear-with whom and with what vehicle would take hours to determine.
   Bourne had to get inside; he had to stop him, take him! Krupkin had worried about the lives of "several dozen men and women"-he had no idea that in reality there were several hundred! Carlos would use whatever firepower he had stolen, including grenades, to create mass hysteria so that he could escape. Lives meant nothing; if further killing was required to save his own, nothing. Abandoning caution, Delta raced to the door, gripping his AK-47 laterally in his arm, the safety unlatched, his index finger on the trigger. He grabbed the knob and twisted it-it would not turn. He fired his weapon into the plated metal around the lock, then a second fusillade into the opposing frame, and as he reached for the smoking knob, his personal world went mad!
   Out of the line of vehicles a heavy truck suddenly shot forward, coming straight toward him, wildly accelerating as it approached. Simultaneously, successive bursts of automatic gunfire erupted, the bullets thumping into the wood to his right. He lunged to his left, rolling on the ground, the dust and dirt filling his eyes as he kept rolling, his body a tube spinning away.
   And then it happened! The massive explosion tore apart the door, blowing away a large section of the wall above, and through the black smoke and settling debris, he could see a figure lurching awkwardly toward the semicircle of vehicles. His killer was getting away after all, But he was alive! And the reason for it was obvious-the Jackal had made a mistake. Not in the trap, that was extraordinary; Carlos knew his enemy was with Krupkin and the KGB and so he had gone outside and waited for him. Instead, his error was in the placement of the explosives. He had wired the bomb or bombs to the top of the truck's engine, not underneath. Explosive compounds seek release through the least resistant barriers; the relatively thin hood of a vehicle is far less solid than the iron beneath it. The bomb actually blew up, it did not blow out on ground level, sending death-inducing metal fragments along the surface.
   No time! Bourne struggled to his feet and staggered to the Komitet sedan, a horrible fear coming into focus. He looked through the shattered windows, his eyes suddenly drawn to the front seat as a heavily fleshed hand was raised. He yanked the door open and saw Krupkin, his large body squeezed below the seat under the dashboard, his right shoulder half torn away, bleeding flesh apparent through the fabric of his jacket.
   "We are hurt," said the KGB officer weakly but calmly. "Aleksei somewhat more seriously than I am, so attend to him first, if you please."
   "The crowd's coming out of the armory-"
   "Here!" interrupted Krupkin, painfully reaching into his pocket and pulling out his plastic identification case. "Get to the idiot in charge and bring him to me. We must get a doctor. For Aleksei, you damn fool. Hurry!"
   The two wounded men lay alongside each other on examining tables in the armory's infirmary as Bourne stood across the room, leaning against the wall, watching but not understanding what was being said. Three doctors had been dispatched by helicopter from the roof of the People's Hospital on the Serova Prospekt-two surgeons and an anesthesiologist, the last, however, proving unnecessary. Severe invasive procedures were not called for; local anesthetics were sufficient for the cleansing and suturing, followed by generous injections of antibiotics. The foreign objects had passed through their bodies, explained the chief doctor.
   "I presume you mean bullets when you speak so reverently of 'foreign objects,' " said Krupkin in high dudgeon.
   "He means bullets," confirmed Alex hoarsely in Russian. The retired CIA station chief was unable to move his head because of his bandaged throat. Wide adhesive straps extended down across his collarbone and upper right shoulder.
   "Thank you," said the surgeon. "You were both fortunate, especially you, our American patient for whom we must compile confidential medical records. Incidentally, give our people the name and address of your physician in the United States. You'll need attention for some weeks ahead."
   "Right now he's in a hospital in Paris."
   "I beg your pardon?"
   "Well, whenever something's wrong with me, I tell him and he sends me to the doctor he thinks I should see."
   "That's not exactly socialized medicine."
   "For me it is. I'll give his name and address to a nurse. With luck he'll be back soon."
   "I repeat, you were very fortunate."
   "I was very fast, Doctor, and so was your comrade. We saw that son of a bitch running out toward us, so we locked the doors and kept moving in the seats and firing at him as he tried to get close enough to put us away, which he damn near did. ... I'm sorry about the driver; he was a brave young man."
   "He was an angry young man as well, Aleksei," broke in Krupkin from the other table. "Those first shots from the doorway sent him into that bus."
   The door of the infirmary burst open, which was to say it was not opened so much as it was invaded, submitting to the august presence of the KGB commissar from the flat in Slavyansky. The blunt-featured, blunt-spoken Komitet officer in the disheveled uniform lived up to his appearance. "You," he said to the doctor, "I've spoken to your associates outside. You are finished here, they say."
   "Not entirely, comrade. There are minor items to attend to, such as therapeutical-"
   "Later," interrupted the commissar. "We talk privately. Alone."
   "The Komitet speaks?" asked the surgeon, his contempt minor but evident.
   "It speaks."
   "Sometimes too often."
   "What?"
   "You heard me," replied the doctor, heading for the door. The KGB man shrugged and waited for the infirmary door to close. He then walked to the foot of both examining tables, his squinting flesh-encased eyes darting between the two wounded men, and spat out one word. "Novgorod!" he said.
   "What?"
   "What ... ?"
   The responses were simultaneous; even Bourne snapped himself away from the wall.
   "You," he added, switching to his limited English. "Understand I say?"
   "If you said what I think you said, I think I do, but only the name."
   "I explain good enough. We question the nine men women he locked in weapons storage. He kill two guards who do not stop him, okay? He take automobile keys from four men but uses no automobiles, okay?"
   "I saw him head for the cars!"
   "Which? Three other people at Kubinka shot dead, automobile papers taken. Which?"
   "For Christ's sake, check with your vehicle bureau, or whatever you call it!"
   "Take time. Also in Moskva, automobiles under different names, different tag plates-Leningrad, Smolensk, who knows-all to not look for automobile laws broken."
   "What the hell is he talking about?" shouted Jason.
   "Automobile ownership is regulated by the state," explained Krupkin weakly from the table. "Each major center has its own registration and is frequently reluctant to cooperate with another center."
   "Why?"
   "Individual ownership under different family names-even nonfamily names. It's forbidden. There are only so many vehicles available for purchase."
   "So?"
   "Local bribery is a fact of life. No one in Leningrad wants a finger pointed at him from a bureaucrat in Moscow. He's telling you that it could take several days to learn what automobile the Jackal's driving."
   "That's crazy!"
   "You said it, Mr. Bourne, I didn't. I'm an upstanding citizen of the Soviet Union, please remember that."
   "But what's it all got to do with Novgorod-that is what he said, isn't it?"
   "Novgorod. Shto eto znachit?" said Krupkin to the KGB official. In rapid, clipped Russian, the peasant commissar gave the pertinent details to his colleague from Paris. Krupkin turned his head on the table and translated in English. "Try to follow this, Jason," he said, his voice intermittently fading, his breathing becoming increasingly more labored. "Apparently there is a walk-around gallery above the armory's arena. He used it and saw you through a window on the road by the hedges and came back to the weapons room screaming like the maniac he is. He shouted to his bound hostages that you were his and you were dead. ... And there was only one last thing he had to accomplish."
   "Novgorod," interrupted Conklin, whispering, his head rigid, staring at the ceiling.
   "Precisely," said Krupkin, his eyes focused on Alex's profile beside him. "He's going back to the place of his birth ... where Ilich Ramirez Sanchez became Carlos the Jackal because he was disinherited, marked for execution as a madman. He held his gun against everyone's throat, quietly demanding to know the best roads to Novgorod, threatening to kill whoever gave him the wrong answer. None did, of course, and all who knew told him it was five to six hundred kilometers away, a full day's drive."
   "Drive?" interjected Bourne.
   "He knows he cannot use any other means of transportation. The railroads, the airports-even the small airfields-all will be watched, he understands that."
   "What will he do in Novgorod?" asked Jason quickly.
   "Dear God in heaven, which, of course, there is neither, who knows? He intends to leave his mark, a highly destructive memorial to himself, no doubt, in answer to those he believes betrayed him thirty-odd years ago, as well as the poor souls who fell under his gun this morning in the Vavilova. ... He took the papers from our agent trained at Novgorod; he thinks they'll get him inside. They won't-we'll stop him."
   "Don't even try," said Bourne. "He may or may not use them, depending upon what he sees, what he senses. He doesn't need papers to get in there any more than I do, but if he senses something wrong, and he will, he'll kill a number of good men and still get inside."
   "What are you driving at?" asked Krupkin warily, eyeing Bourne, the American with alternate identities and apparently conflicting life-styles.
   "Get me inside ahead of him with a detailed map of the whole complex and some kind of document that gives me free access to go wherever I want to go."
   "You've lost your senses!" cried Dimitri. "A nondefecting American, an assassin hunted by every NATO country in Europe, inside Novgorod?"
   "Nyet, nyet, nyet!" roared the Komitet commissar. "I understand good, okay? You are lunatic, okay?"
   "Do you want the Jackal?"
   "Naturally, but there are limits to the cost."
   "I haven't the slightest interest in Novgorod or in any of the compounds-you should know that by now. Your little infiltrating operations and our little infiltrating operations can go on and on and it doesn't matter because none of it means a goddamned thing in the long run. It's all adolescent game playing. We either live together on this planet or there is no planet. ... My only concern is Carlos. I want him dead so I can go on living."
   "Of course, I personally agree with much of what you say, although the adolescent games do keep some of us rather gracefully employed. However, there's no way I could convince my more rigid superiors, starting with the one standing above me."
   "All right," said Conklin from his table, his eyes still on the ceiling. "Down and dirty-we deal. You get him into Novgorod and you keep Ogilvie."
   "We've already got him, Aleksei."
   "Not clean, you haven't. Washington knows he's here."
   "So?"
   "So I can say you lost him and they'll believe me. They'll take my word for it that he flew out of your nest and you're mad as hell, but you can't get him back. He's operating from points unknown or unreachable, but obviously under the sovereign protection of a United Nations country. As a matter of conjecture, I suspect that's how you got him over here in the first place."
   "You're cryptic, my fine old enemy. To what purpose should I entertain your suggestion?"
   "No World Court embarrassments, no charges of harboring an American accused of international crimes. ... You win the stakes in Europe. You take over the Medusa operation with no complications-in the person of one Dimitri Krupkin, a proven sophisticate from the cosmopolitan world of Paris. Who better to guide the enterprise? ... The newest hero of the Soviet, a member of the inner economic council of the Presidium. Forget the lousy house in Geneva, Kruppie, how about a mansion on the Black Sea?"
   "It is a most intelligent and attractive offer, I grant you," said Krupkin. "I know two or three men on the Central Committee whom I can reach in a matter of minutes-everything confidential, of course."
   "Nyet, nyet!" shouted the KGB commissar, slamming his fist down on Dimitri's table. "I understand some-you talk too fast-but all is lunatic!"
   "Oh, for God's sake, shut up!" roared Krupkin. "We're discussing things far beyond your grasp!"
   "Shto?" Like a young child reprimanded by an adult, the Komitet officer, his puffed eyes widened, was both astonished and frightened by his subordinate's incomprehensible rebuke.
   "Give my friend his chance, Kruppie," said Alex. "He's the best there is and he may bring you the Jackal."
   "He may also bring about his own death, Aleksei."
   "He's been there before. I believe in him."
   "Belief," whispered Krupkin, his own eyes now on the ceiling. "Such a luxury it is. ... Very well, the order will be issued secretly, its origins untraceable, of course. You'll enter your own American compound. It's the one least understood."
   "How fast can I get there?" asked Bourne. "There's a lot I have to put together."
   "We have an airport in Vnokova under our control, no more than an hour away. First, I must make arrangements. Hand me a telephone. ... You, my imbecilic commissar! I will hear no more from you! A telefone!" The once all-powerful, now subdued superior, who had really understood only such words as "Presidium" and "Central Committee," moved with alacrity, bringing an extension phone to Krupkin's table.
   "One more thing," said Bourne. "Have Tass put out an immediate bulletin with heavy coverage in the newspapers, radio and television that the assassin known as Jason Bourne died of wounds here in Moscow. Make the details sketchy but have them parallel what happened here this morning."
   "That's not difficult. Tass is an obedient instrument of the state."
   "I haven't finished," continued Jason. "I want you to include in those sketchy details that among the personal effects found on Bourne's body was a road map of Brussels and its environs. The town of Anderlecht was circled in red-that has to appear."
   "The assassination of the supreme commander of NATO-very good, very convincing. However, Mr. Bourne or Webb or whatever your name may be, you should know that this story will splash across the world like a giant tidal wave."
   "I understand that."
   "Are you prepared for it?"
   "Yes, I am."
   "What about your wife? Don't you think you should reach her first, before the civilized world learns that Jason Bourne is dead?"
   "No. I don't even want the slightest risk of a leak."
   "Jesus!" exploded Alex, coughing. "That's Marie you're talking about. She'll fall apart!"
   "It's a risk I'll accept," said Delta coldly.
   "You son of a bitch!"
   "So be it," agreed the Chameleon.
   John St. Jacques, tears welling in his eyes, walked into the bright, sunlit room at the sterile house in the Maryland countryside; in his hand was a page of computer printout. His sister was on the floor in front of the couch playing with an exuberant Jamie, she having put the infant Alison back into the crib upstairs. She looked worn and haggard, her face pale with dark circles under her eyes; she was exhausted from the tension and the jet lag of the long, idiotically routed flights from Paris to Washington. In spite of arriving late last night, she had gotten up early to be with the children-no amount of friendly persuasion on the part of the motherly Mrs. Cooper could dissuade her from doing so. The brother would have given years of his life not to do what had to be done during the next few minutes, but he could not risk the alternatives. He had to be with her when she found out.
   "Jamie," said St. Jacques gently. "Go find Mrs. Cooper, will you please? I think she's in the kitchen."
   "Why, Uncle John?"
   "I want to talk to your mother for a few minutes."
   "Johnny, please," objected Marie.
   "I have to, Sis."
   "What ... ?"
   The child left, and as children often do, he obviously sensed something serious that was beyond his understanding; he stared at his uncle before heading to the door. Marie got to her feet and looked hard at her brother, at the tears that began to roll down his cheeks. The terrible message was conveyed. "No ... !" she whispered, her pallid face growing paler. "Dear God, no, she cried, her hands and then her shoulders starting to tremble. "No ... no!" she roared.
   "He's gone, Sis. I wanted you to hear it from me, not over a radio or a TV set. I want to be with you."
   "You're wrong, wrong!" screamed Marie, rushing toward him, grabbing his shirt and clenching the fabric in her fists. "He's protected! ... He promised me he was protected!"
   "This just came from Langley," said the younger brother, holding up the page of computer printout. "Holland called me a few minutes ago and said it was on its way over. He knew you had to see it. It was picked up from Radio Moscow during the night and will be on all the broadcasts and in the morning papers."
   "Give it to me!" she shouted defiantly. He did so and gently held her shoulders, prepared to take her in his arms and give what comfort he could. She read the copy rapidly, then shook off his hands, frowning, and walked back to the couch and sat down. Her concentration was absolute; she placed the paper on the coffee table and studied it as though it were an archaeological find, a scroll perhaps.
   "He's gone, Marie. I don't know what to say-you know how I felt about him."
   "Yes, I know, Johnny." Then to St. Jacques's astonishment, his sister looked up at him, a thin, wan smile appearing on her lips. "But it's a little early for our tears, Bro. He's alive.
   Jason Bourne's alive and up to his tricks and that means David's alive, too."
   My God, she can't accept it, thought the brother, walking to the couch and kneeling beside the coffee table in front of Marie, taking her hands in his. "Sis, honey, I don't think you understand. I'll do everything possible to help you, but you've got to understand."
   "Bro, you're very sweet but you haven't read this closely-really closely. The impact of the message detracts from the subtext. In economics we call it obfuscation with a cloud of smoke and a couple of mirrors."
   "Huh?" St. Jacques released her hands and stood up. "What are you talking about?"
   Marie picked up the Langley communiqué and scanned it. "After several confused, even contradictory, accounts of what happened," she said, "described by people on the scene at this armory, or whatever it is, the following is buried in the last paragraph. 'Among the personal effects found on the slain assassin's body was a map of Brussels and the surrounding area with the town of Anderlecht circled in red.' Then it goes on to make the obvious connection with Teagarten's assassination. It's a wash, Johnny, from two points of view. ... First, David would never carry such a map. Second, and far more telling, the fact that the Soviet media would give such prominence to the story is unbelievable enough, but to include the assassination of General Teagarten is simply too much."
   "What do you mean? Why?"
   "Because the presumed assassin was in Russia, and Moscow wants no conceivable linkage to the killing of a NATO commander. ... No, Bro, someone bent the rules and persuaded Tass to put out the story, and I suspect heads will roll. I don't know where Jason Bourne is, but I know he's not dead. David made sure I'd know that."
   Peter Holland picked up the phone and touched the buttons on his console for Charles Casset's private line.
   "Yes?"
   "Charlie, it's Peter."
   "I'm relieved to hear that."
   "Why?"
   "Because all I'm getting on this phone is trouble and confusion. I just got off with our source in Dzerzhinsky Square and he told me the KGB's after blood."
   "The Tass release on Bourne?"
   "Right. Tass and Radio Moscow assumed the story was officially sanctioned because it was faxed by the Ministry of Information using the proper immediate-release codes. When the shit hit the fan, no one owned up, and whoever programmed the codes can't be traced."
   "What do you make of it?"
   "I'm not sure, but from what I've learned about Dimitri Krupkin, it could be his style. He's now working with Alex and if this isn't something out of the Conklin textbook, I don't know Saint Alex. And I do."
   "That dovetails with what Marie thinks."
   "Marie?"
   "Bourne's wife. I just spoke to her and her argument's pretty strong. She says Moscow's report is a wash for all the right reasons. Her husband's alive."
   "I agree. Is that what you called to tell me?"
   "No," answered the director, taking a deep breath. "I'm adding to your trouble and confusion."
   "I'm not relieved to hear that. What is it?"
   "The Paris telephone number, the link to the Jackal we got from Henry Sykes in Montserrat that reached a café on the Marais waterfront in Paris."
   "Where someone would answer a call for a blackbird. I remember."
   "Someone did and we followed him. You're not going to like this."
   "Alex Conklin is about to earn the prick-of-the-year award. He put us on to Sykes, didn't he?"
   "Yes."
   "Do tell."
   "The message was delivered to the home of the director of the Deuxième Bureau."
   "My God! We'd better turn that over to the SED branch of French intelligence with a restricted chronology."
   "I'm not turning anything over to anybody until we hear from Conklin. We owe him that much-I think."
   "What the hell are they doing?" shouted a frustrated Casset over the phone. "Putting out false death notices-from Moscow, no less! What for?"
   "Jason Bourne's gone hunting," said Peter Holland. "And when the hunt is over-if it's over and if the kill is made-he's going to have to get out of the woods before anyone turns on him. ... I want every station and listening post on the borders of the Soviet Union on full alert. Code name: Assassin. Get him back."
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Veteran foruma
Svedok stvaranja istorije


Ne tece to reka,nego voda!Ne prolazi vreme,već mi!

Zodijak Taurus
Pol Žena
Poruke 18761
Zastava Srbija
40
   Novgorod. To say it was incredible was to obliquely recognize the existence of credibility and that was nearly impossible. It was the ultimate fantasy, its optical illusions seemingly more real than reality, the phantasmagoria there to be touched, felt, used, entered into and departed from; it was a collective masterpiece of invention cut out of the immense forests along the Volkhov River. From the moment Bourne emerged from the deep underground tunnel below the water with its guards, gates and myriad cameras, he was as close to being in a state of shock while still being able to keep walking, observing, absorbing, thinking.
   The American compound, presumably like those of the different countries, was broken up into sections, built on areas anywhere from two to five acres, each distinctly separate from the others. One area, erected on the banks of the river, might be the heart of a Maine waterfront village; another, farther inland, a small Southern town; yet another, a busy metropolitan city street. Each was completely "authentic" with the appropriate vehicular traffic, police, dress codes, shops, grocery and drug stores, gas stations and mock structures of buildings-many of which rose two stories high and were so real they had American hardware on the doors and windows. Obviously, as vital as the physical appearances was language-not merely the fluent use of English but the mastery of linguistic idiosyncrasies, the dialects that were characteristic of specific locations. As Jason wandered from one section to another he heard all around him the distinctive sounds. From New England Down East with its "eeahh" to Texas's drawl and its familiar "you-alls"; from the gentle nasality of the Midwest to the loud abrasiveness of the large Eastern cities with the inevitable "know what I mean?" tacked on to conversational sentences, whether questions or statements. It was all incredible. It was not simply beyond belief, it made the true suspension of disbelief frighteningly viable.
   He had been briefed on the flight from Vnokova by a late-middle-aged Novgorod graduate who had been urgently summoned from his Moscow apartment by Krupkin. The small, bald man was not only garrulously instructive, but in his own way mesmerizing. If anyone had ever told Jason Bourne that he was going to be briefed in depth by a Soviet espionage agent whose English was so laced with the Deep South that it sonorously floated out of his mouth with the essence of magnolias, he would have deemed the information preposterous.
   "Good Lawd, Ah do miss those barbecues, especially the ribs. You know who grilled 'em best? That black fellow who I believed was such a good friend until he exposed me. Can you imagine? I thought he was one of those radicals. He turned out to be a boy from Dartmouth workin' for the FBI. A lawyer, no less. ... Hell, the exchange was made at Aeroflot in New York and we still write each other."
   "Adolescent games," had mumbled Bourne.
   "Games? ... Oh yes, he was a mighty fine coach."
   "Coach?"
   "Sure 'nuff. A few of us started a Little League in East Point. That's right outside Atlanta."
   Incredible.
   "May we concentrate on Novgorod, please?"
   "Sutt'nly. Dimitri may have told you, I'm semi-retired, but my pension requires that I spend five days a month there as a tak govorya-a 'trainer,' as you would say."
   "I didn't understand what he meant."
   "Ah'll explain." The strange man whose voice belonged to the old Confederacy had been thorough.
   Each compound at Novgorod was divided into three classes of personnel: the trainers, the candidates and operations. The last category included the KGB staff, guards and maintenance. The practical implementation of the Novgorod process was simple in structure. A compound's staff created the daily training schedules for each individual section, and the trainers, both permanent and part-time retirees, commandeered all individual and group activities while the candidates carried them out, using only the language of the compound and the dialects of the specific areas in which they were located. No Russian was permitted; the rule was tested frequently by the trainers who would suddenly bark orders or insults in the native language, which the candidates could not acknowledge understanding.
   "When you say assignments," Bourne had asked, "what do you mean?"
   "Situations, mah friend. Jest about anything you might think of. Like ordering lunch or dinner, or buying clothes, or fillin' the tank of your car, requesting a specific gasoline ... leaded or unleaded and the degrees of octane-all of which we don't know a thing about here. Then, of course, there are the more dramatic events often unscheduled so as to test the candidates' reactions. Say, an automobile accident necessitating conversations with 'American' police and the resulting insurance forms that must be filled out-you can give yourself away if you appear too ignorant."
   The little things, the insignificant things-they were vital. A back door at the Kubinka Armory. "What else?"
   "So many inconsequential things that a person might not consider significant, but they can be. Say, being mugged in a city street at night-what should you do, what shouldn't you do? Remember, many of our candidates, and all of the younger ones, are trained in self-defense, but depending upon the circumstances, it may not be advisable to use those skills. Questions of background could be raised. Discretion, always discretion. ... For me, as an experienced part-time tak govorya, of course, I've always preferred the more imaginative situations which we are permitted to implement whenever we care to as long as they fall within the guidelines of environmental penetration."
   "What does that mean?"
   "Learn always, but never appear to be learning. For example, a favorite of mine is to approach several candidates, say, at a bar in some 'location' near a military testing ground. I pretend to be a disgruntled government worker or perhaps an inebriated defense contractor-obviously someone with access to information-and start ladlin' out classified material of recognized value."
   "Just for curiosity," Bourne had interrupted, "under those circumstances how should candidates react?"
   "Listen carefully and be prepared to write down every salient fact, all the while feigning total lack of interest and offering such remarks as"-here the Novgorod graduate's Southern dialect became so rough-mountain South that the magnolias were replaced by sour mash-" 'Who gives a barrel a' hogshit 'bout that stuff?' and 'They got any of them whoors over there lak people say they got?' or 'Don't understand a fuckin' word you're talkin' about, asshole-all Ah knows is that you're borin' the holy be-Jesus outta me!' ... that sort of thing."
   "Then what?"
   "Later, each man is called in and told to list everything he learned-fact by salient fact."
   "What about passing along the information? Are there training procedures for that?"
   Jason's Soviet instructor had stared at him in silence for several moments from the adjacent seat in the small plane. "I'm sorry you had to ask the question," he said slowly. "I'll have to report it."
   "I didn't have to ask it, I was simply curious. Forget I asked it."
   "I can't do that. I won't do that."
   "Do you trust Krupkin?"
   "Of course I do. He's brilliant, a multilingual phenomenon. A true hero of the Komitet."
   You don't know the half of it, thought Bourne, but he said, with even a trace of reverence, "Then report it only to him. He'll tell you it was just curiosity. I owe absolutely nothing to my government; instead, it owes me."
   "Very well. ... Speakin' of yourself, let's get to you. With Dimitri's authority I've made arrangements for your visit to Novgorod-please don't tell me your objective; it's not in my purview any more than the question you asked is in yours."
   "Understood. The arrangements?"
   "You will make contact with a young trainer named Benjamin in the manner I will describe in a few moments. I'll tell you this much about Benjamin so you'll perhaps understand his attitude. His parents were Komitet officers assigned to the consulate in Los Angeles for nearly twenty years. He's basically American-educated, his freshman and sophomore years at UCLA; in fact, until he and his father were hurriedly recalled to Moscow four years ago-"
   "He and his father?"
   "Yes. His mother was caught in an FBI sting operation at the naval base in San Diego. She has three more years to serve in prison. There is no clemency and no exchanges for a Russian 'momma.' "
   "Hey, wait a minute. Then it can't be all our fault."
   "I didn't say it was, Ah'm just relayin' the facts."
   "Understood. I make contact with Benjamin."
   "He's the only one who knows who you are-not by name, of course, you'll use the name 'Archie'-and he'll furnish you with the necessary clearance to go from one compound to the other."
   "Papers?"
   "He'll explain. He'll also watch you, be with you at all times, and, frankly, he's been in touch with Comrade Krupkin and knows far more than I do-which is precisely the way this retired Georgia cracker likes it. ... Good huntin', polecat, if it's huntin' you're after. Don't rape no wooden Indians."
   Bourne followed the signs-everything was in English-to the city of Rockledge, Florida, fifteen miles southwest of NASA's Cape Canaveral. He was to meet Benjamin at a lunch counter in the local Woolworth store, looking for a man in his mid-twenties wearing a red-checkered shirt, with a Budweiser baseball cap on the stool beside him, saving it. It was the hour, within the time span of minutes: 3:35 in the afternoon.
   He saw him. The sandy-haired, California-educated Russian was seated at the far right end of the counter, the baseball cap on the stool to his left. There were half a dozen men and women along the row talking to one another and consuming soft drinks and snacks. Jason approached the empty seat, glanced down at the cap and spoke politely. "Is this taken?" he asked.
   "I'm waiting for someone," replied the young KGB trainer, his voice neutral, his gray eyes straying up to Bourne's face.
   "I'll find another place."
   "She may not get here for another five minutes."
   "Hell, I'm just having a quick vanilla Coke. I'll be out of here by then-"
   "Sit down," said Benjamin, removing the hat and casually putting it on his head. A gum-chewing counterman came by and Jason ordered; his drink arrived, and the Komitet trainer continued quietly, his eyes now on the foam of his milk shake, which he sipped through a straw. "So you're Archie, like in the comics."
   "And you're Benjamin. Nice to know you."
   "We'll both find out if that's a fact, won't we?"
   "Do we have a problem?"
   "I want the ground rules clear so there won't be one," said the West Coast-bred Soviet. "I don't approve of your being permitted in here. Regardless of my former address and the way I may sound, I haven't much use for Americans."
   "Listen to me, Ben," interrupted Bourne, his eyes forcing the trainer to look at him. "All things considered, I don't approve of your mother still being in prison, either, but I didn't put her there."
   "We free the dissidents and the Jews, but you insist on keeping a fifty-eight-year-old woman who was at best a simple courier!" whispered the Russian, spitting out the words.
   "I don't know the facts and I wouldn't be too quick to call Moscow the mercy capital of the world, but if you can help me-really help me-maybe I can help your mother."
   "Goddamned bullshit promises. What the hell can you do?"
   "To repeat what I said an hour ago to a bald-headed friend of yours in the plane, I don't owe my government a thing, but it sure as hell owes me. Help me, Benjamin."
   "I will because I've been ordered to, not because of your con. But if you try to learn things that have nothing to do with your purpose here-you won't get out. Clear?"
   "It's not only clear, it's irrelevant and unnecessary. Beyond normal astonishment and curiosity, both of which I will suppress to the best of my ability, I haven't the slightest interest in the objectives of Novgorod. Ultimately, in my opinion, they lead nowhere. ... Although, I grant you, the whole complex beats the hell out of Disneyland."
   Benjamin's involuntary laugh through the straw caused the foam on. his milk shake to swell and burst. "Have you been to Anaheim?" he asked mischievously.
   "I could never afford it."
   "We had diplomatic passes."
   "Christ, you're human, after all. Come on, let's take a walk and talk some turkey."
   They crossed over a miniature bridge into New London, Connecticut, home of America's submarine construction, and strolled down to the Volkhov River, which in this area had been turned into a maximum security naval base-again, all in realistic miniature. High fences and armed "U.S. Marine" guards were stationed at the gates and patrolled the grounds fronting the concrete slips that held enormous mock-ups of the stallions of America's nuclear undersea fleet.
   "We have all the stations, all the schedules, every device and every reduced inch of the piers," said Benjamin. "And we've yet to break the security procedures. Isn't that crazy?"
   "Not for a minute. We're pretty good."
   "Yes, but we're better. Except for minor pockets of discontent, we believe. You merely accept."
   "What?"
   "Your crap notwithstanding, white America was never in slavery. We were."
   "That's not only long-past history, young man, but rather selective history, isn't it?"
   "You sound like a professor."
   "Suppose I were?"
   "I'd argue with you."
   "Only if you were in a sufficiently broad-minded environment that allowed you to argue with authority."
   "Oh, come on, cut the bullshit, man! The academic-freedom bromide is history. Check out our campuses. We've got rock and blue jeans and more grass than you can find the right paper to roll it in."
   "That's progress?"
   "Would you believe it's a start?"
   "I'll have to think about it."
   "Can you really help my mother?"
   "Can you really help me?"
   "Let's try. ... Okay, this Carlos the Jackal. I've heard of him but he's not large in my vocabulary. Direktor Krupkin says he's one very bad dude."
   "I hear California checking in."
   "It comes back. Forget it. I'm where I want to be and don't for a moment think otherwise."
   "I wouldn't dare."
   "What?"
   "You keep protesting-"
   "Shakespeare said it better. My minor at UCLA was English lit."
   "What was your major?"
   "American history. What else, Grandpa?"
   "Thanks, kid."
   "This Jackal," said Benjamin, leaning against the New London fence as several guards began to run toward him. "Prosteetye!" he yelled. "No, no! I mean, excuse me. Tak govorya! I'm a trainer! ... Oh, shit!"
   "Will you be reported?" asked Jason as they quickly walked away.
   "No, they're too damned dumb. They're maintenance personnel in uniforms; they walk their posts but they don't really know what's going on. Only who and what to stop."
   "Pavlov's dogs?"
   "Who better? Animals don't rationalize; they go for the throats and plug up the holes."
   "Which brings us back to the Jackal," said Bourne.
   "I don't understand."
   "You don't have to, it's symbolic. How could he get in here?"
   "He couldn't. Every guard in every tunnel up the line has the name and serial numbers of the Novgorod papers he took from the agent he killed in Moscow. If he shows up, they'll stop him and shoot him on sight."
   "I told Krupkin not to do that."
   "For Christ's sake, why?"
   "Because it won't be him and lives could be lost. He'll send in others, maybe two or three or four into different compounds, always testing, confusing, until he finds a way to get through."
   "You're nuts. What happens to the men he sends in?"
   "It wouldn't matter. If they're shot, he watches and learns something."
   "You're really crazy. Where would he find people like that?"
   "Anyplace where there are people who think they're making a month's salary for a few minutes' work. He could call each one a routine security check-remember, he's got the papers to prove he's official. Combined with money, people are impressed with such documents and aren't too skeptical."
   "And at the first gate he loses those papers," insisted the trainer.
   "Not at all. He's driving over five hundred miles through a dozen towns and cities. He could easily have copies made in any number of places. Your business centers have Xerox machines; they're all over the place, and touching up those papers to look like the real items is no sweat." Bourne stopped and looked at the Americanized Soviet. "You're talking details, Ben, and take my word for it, they don't count. Carlos is coming here to leave his mark, and we have one advantage that blows away all his expertise. If Krupkin was able to get the news out properly, the Jackal thinks I'm dead."
   "The whole world thinks you're dead. ... Yes, Krupkin told me; it would've been dumb not to. In here, you're a recruit named 'Archie,' but I know who you are, Bourne. Even if I'd never heard of you before, I sure as hell have now. You're all Radio Moscow's been talking about for hours."
   "Then we can assume Carlos has heard the news, too."
   "No question. Every vehicle in Russia is equipped with a radio; it's standard. In case of an American attack, incidentally."
   "That's good marketing."
   "Did you really assassinate Teagarten in Brussels?"
   "Get off my case-"
   "Off limits, okay. What's your point?"
   "Krupkin should have left it to me."
   "Left what?"
   "The Jackal's penetration."
   "What the hell are you talking about?"
   "Use Krupkin, if necessary, but send the word up to every tunnel, every entrance to Novgorod, to let in anyone using those papers. My guess is three or four, maybe five. They're to watch them, but they're to let everyone come inside."
   "You just got awarded a room made of thick sponge rubber. You're certifiable, Archie."
   "No, I'm not. I said that everyone should be watched, followed, that the guards maintain constant contact with us here in this compound."
   "So?"
   "One of those men will disappear in a matter of minutes. No one will know where he is or where he went. That man will be Carlos."
   "And?"
   "He'll convince himself he's invulnerable, free to do whatever he wants to do, because he thinks I'm dead. That sets him free."
   "Why?"
   "Because he knows and I know that we're the only ones who can track each other, whether it's in the jungles or the cities or a combination of both. Hatred does that, Benjamin. Or desperation."
   "That's pretty emotional, isn't it? Also abstract."
   "No way," answered Jason. "I have to think like he thinks-I was trained to do that years ago. ... Let's examine the alternatives. How far up the Volkhov does Novgorod extend? Thirty, forty kilometers?"
   "Forty-seven, to be exact, and every meter is impenetrable. There are magnesium pipes crisscrossing the water, spaced above and below the surface to permit the free flow of underwater life but capable of setting off alarms. On the east bank are interlocking ground grids, all weight-sensing. Anything over ninety pounds instantly sets off sirens, and television monitors and spotlights zero in on any intruder over that weight. And even if an eighty-nine-pound wonder reached the fence, he'd be electrically rendered unconscious on the first touch; that also goes for the magnesium pipes in the river. Of course, falling trees or floating logs and the heavier animals keep our security forces on the run. It's good discipline, I suppose."
   "Then there are only the tunnels," said Bourne, "is that right?"
   "You came through one, what can I tell you that you didn't see? Except that iron gates literally crash down at the slightest irregularity, and in emergencies all the tunnels can be flooded."
   "All of which Carlos knows. He was trained here."
   "Many years ago, Krupkin told me."
   "Many years," agreed Jason. "I wonder how much things have changed."
   "Technologically you could probably fill a few volumes, especially in communications and security, but not the basics. Not the tunnels or the miles of grids in and out of the water; they're built for a couple of centuries. As far as the compounds go, there're always some minor adjustments, but I don't think they'd tear up the streets or the buildings. It'd be easier to move a dozen cities."
   "So whatever the changes, they're essentially internal." They reached a miniature intersection where an argumentative driver of an early-seventies Chevrolet was being given a ticket for a traffic violation by an equally disagreeable policeman. "What's that all about?" asked Bourne.
   "The purpose of the assignment is to instill a degree of contentiousness on the part of the one driving the car. In America a person will frequently, often loudly, argue with a police officer. It's not the case here."
   "Like in questioning authority, such as a student contradicting his professor? I don't imagine that's too popular, either."
   "That's also entirely different."
   "I'm glad you think so." Jason heard a distant hum and looked up at the sky. A light, single-engine seaplane was flying south following the Volkhov River. "My God, airborne," he said, as if to himself.
   "Forget it," countered Benjamin. "It's ours. ... Technology again. One, there's no place to land except patrolled helicopter pads; and two, we're shielded by radar. An unidentified plane coming within thirty miles of here, the air base at Belopol is alerted and it's shot down." Across the street a small crowd had gathered, watching the disagreeable policeman and the argumentative driver, who had slammed his hand down on the roof of the Chevrolet as the crowd vocally encouraged him. "Americans can be very foolish," mumbled the young trainer, his embarrassment showing.
   "At least someone's idea of Americans can be," said Bourne, smiling.
   "Let's go," said Benjamin, starting to walk away. "I personally pointed out that the assignment wasn't very realistic, but it was explained to me that instilling the attitude was important."
   "Like telling a student that he can actually argue with a professor, or a citizen that he can publicly criticize a member of the Politburo? They are strange attitudes, aren't they?"
   "Pound sand, Archie."
   "Relax, young Lenin," said Jason, coming alongside the trainer. "Where's your LA cool?"
   "I left it in the La Brea Tar Pits."
   "I want to study the maps. All of them."
   "It's been arranged. Also the other ground rules."
   They sat in a conference room at staff headquarters, the large rectangular table covered with maps of the entire Novgorod complex. Bourne could not help himself, even after nearly four hours of concentration, he frequently shook his head in sheer astonishment. The series of deep-cover training grounds along the Volkhov were more expansive and more intricate than he had thought possible. Benjamin's remark that it would "be easier to move a dozen cities" rather than drastically alter Novgorod was a simple statement of fact, not too much of an exaggeration. Scaled-down replicas of towns and cities, waterfronts and airports, military and scientific installations from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, north to the Baltic and up the Gulf of Bothnia, were represented within its boundaries, all in addition to the American acreage. Yet for all the massive detail, suggestion and miniaturization made it possible to place everything within barely thirty miles of riverfront wilderness, at a depth ranging from three to five miles.
   "Egypt, Israel, Italy," began Jason, circling the table, staring down at the maps. "Greece, Portugal, Spain, France, the UK-" He rounded the corner as Benjamin interrupted, leaning wearily back in a chair: "Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries. As I explained, most of the compounds include two separate and distinct countries, usually where there are common boundaries, cultural similarities or just to conserve space. There are basically nine major compounds, representing all the major nations-major to our interests-and therefore nine tunnels, approximately seven kilometers apart starting with the one here and heading north along the river."
   "Then the first tunnel next to ours is the UK, right?"
   "Yes, followed by France, then Spain-which includes Portugal-then across the Mediterranean, beginning with Egypt along with Israel-"
   "It's clear," broke in Jason, sitting down at the end of the table, bringing his clasped hands together in thought. "Did you get word up the line that they're to admit anyone with those papers Carlos has, no matter what he looks like?"
   "No."
   "What?" Bourne snapped his head toward the young trainer.
   "I had Comrade Krupkin do that. He's in a Moscow hospital, so they can't lock him up here for training fatigue."
   "How can I cross over into another compound? Quickly, if necessary."
   "Then you're ready for the rest of the ground rules?"
   "I'm ready. There's only so much these maps can tell me."
   "Okay." Benjamin reached into his pocket and withdrew a small black object the size of a credit card but somewhat thicker. He tossed it to Jason, who caught it in midair and studied it. "That's your passport," continued the Soviet. "Only the senior staff has them and if one's lost or misplaced for even a few minutes, it's reported immediately."
   "There's no ID, no writing or marking at all."
   "It's all inside, computerized and coded. Each compound checkpoint has a clearing lock. You insert it and the barriers are raised, admitting you and telling the guards that you're cleared from headquarters-and noted."
   "Damned clever, these backward Marxists."
   "They had the same little dears for just about every hotel room in Los Angeles, and that was four years ago. ... Now for the rest."
   "The ground rules?"
   "Krupkin calls them protective measures-for us as well as you. Frankly, he doesn't think you'll get out of here alive; and if you don't, you're to be deep-fried and lost."
   "How nicely realistic."
   "He likes you, Bourne ... Archie."
   "Go on."
   "As far as the senior staff is concerned, you're undercover personnel from the inspector general's office in Moscow, an American specialist sent in to check on Novgorod leaks to the West. You're to be given whatever you need, including weapons, but no one is to talk to you unless you talk to him first. Considering my own background, I'm your liaison; anything you want you relay through me."
   "I'm grateful."
   "Maybe not entirely," said Benjamin. "You don't go anywhere without me."
   "That's unacceptable."
   "That's the way it is."
   "No, it's not."
   "Why not?"
   "Because I won't be impeded ... and if I do get out of here, I'd like a certain Benjamin's mother to find him alive and well and commuting to Moscow."
   The young Russian stared at Bourne, strength mingled with no little pain in his eyes. "You really think you can help my father and me?"
   "I know I can ... so help me. Play by my rules, Benjamin."
   "You're a strange man."
   "I'm a hungry man. Can we get some food around here? And maybe a little bandage? I got hit a while back, and after today my neck and shoulders are letting me know it." Jason removed his jacket; his shirt was drenched in blood.
   "Jesus Christ! I'll call a doctor-"
   "No, you won't. Just a medic, that's all. ... My rules, Ben."
   "Okay-Archie. We're staying at the Visiting Commissars Suite; it's on the top floor. We've got room service and I'll ring the infirmary for a nurse."
   "I said I'm hungry and uncomfortable, but they're not my major concerns."
   "Not to worry," said the Soviet Californian. "The instant anything unusual happens anywhere, we'll be reached. I'll roll up the maps."
   It happened at precisely 12:02 A.M. directly after the universal changing of the guard, during the darkest darkness of the night. The telephone in the Commissars Suite screamed, propel ling Benjamin off the couch. He raced across the room to the jangling, insistent instrument and yanked it off its cradle. "Yes? ... Gdye? Kogda? Shto eto znachit? ... Da!" He slammed the phone down and turned to Bourne at the dinner table, the maps of Novgorod having replaced the room-service dishes. "It's unbelievable. At the Spanish tunnel-across the river two guards are dead, and on this side the officer of the watch was found fifty yards away from his post, a bullet in his throat. They ran the video tapes and all they saw was an unidentified man walking through carrying a duffel bag! In a guard's uniform!"
   "There was something else, wasn't there?" asked Delta coldly.
   "Yes, and you may be right. On the other side was a dead farmhand clutching torn papers in his hand. He was lying between the two murdered guards, one of them stripped to his shorts and shoes. ... How did he do it?"
   "He was the good guy, I can't think of anything else," mused Bourne, rising quickly, and reaching, pouncing on the map of the Spanish compound. "He must have sent in his paid impostor with the rotten mocked-up papers, then ran in himself, the wounded Komitet officer at the last moment exposing the fraud and speaking the foreign language which his impostor couldn't do and couldn't understand. ... I told you, Ben. Probe, test, agitate, confuse and find a way in. Stealing a uniform is standard, and in the confusion it got him through the tunnel."
   "But anyone using those papers was to be watched, followed. They were your instructions and Krupkin sent the word up the line!"
   "The Kubinka," said Jason, now pensive as he studied the map.
   "The armory? The one mentioned in the news bulletins from Moscow?"
   "Exactly. Just as he had done at the Kubinka, Carlos has someone inside here. Someone with enough authority to order an expendable officer of the guard to bring anyone penetrating the tunnel to him before sending out alarms and raising headquarters."
   "That's possible," agreed the young trainer rapidly, firmly. "Involving headquarters with false alarms can be embarrassing, and as you say, there must have been a lot of confusion."
   "In Paris," said Bourne, glancing up from the compound map, "I was told that embarrassment was the KGB's worst enemy. True?"
   "On a scale of one to ten, at least eight," replied Benjamin. "But who would he have in here, who could he have? He hasn't been here in over thirty years!"
   "If we had a couple of hours and a few computers programmed with the records of everyone in Novgorod, we might be able to feed in several hundred names and come up with possibilities, but we don't have hours. We don't even have minutes! Also, if I know the Jackal, it won't matter."
   "I think it matters one whole hell of a lot!" cried the Americanized Soviet. "There's a traitor here and we should know who it is."
   "My guess is that you'll find out soon enough. ... Details, Ben. The point is, he's here! Let's go, and when we get outside we stop somewhere and you get me what I need."
   "Okay."
   "Everything I need."
   "I'm cleared for that."
   "And then you disappear. I know what I'm talking about."
   "No way, José!"
   "California checking in again?"
   "You heard me."
   "Then young Benjamin's mother may find a corpse for a son when she gets back to Moscow."
   "So be it!"
   "So be ... ? Why did you have to say that?"
   "I don't know. It just seemed right."
   "Shut up! Let's get out of here."
IP sačuvana
social share
Ako je Supermen tako pametan zašto nosi donji veš preko odela??
Pogledaj profil
 
Prijava na forum:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Zelim biti prijavljen:
Trajanje:
Registruj nalog:
Ime:
Lozinka:
Ponovi Lozinku:
E-mail:
Idi gore
Stranice:
1 ... 15 16 18
Počni novu temu Nova anketa Odgovor Štampaj Dodaj temu u favorite Pogledajte svoje poruke u temi
Trenutno vreme je: 22. Feb 2020, 08:29:10
nazadnapred
Prebaci se na:  

Poslednji odgovor u temi napisan je pre više od 6 meseci.  

Temu ne bi trebalo "iskopavati" osim u slučaju da imate nešto važno da dodate. Ako ipak želite napisati komentar, kliknite na dugme "Odgovori" u meniju iznad ove poruke. Postoje teme kod kojih su odgovori dobrodošli bez obzira na to koliko je vremena od prošlog prošlo. Npr. teme o određenom piscu, knjizi, muzičaru, glumcu i sl. Nemojte da vas ovaj spisak ograničava, ali nemojte ni pisati na teme koje su završena priča.

web design

Forum Info: Banneri Foruma :: Burek Toolbar :: Burek Prodavnica :: Burek Quiz :: Najcesca pitanja :: Tim Foruma :: Prijava zloupotrebe

Izvori vesti: Blic :: Wikipedia :: Mondo :: Press :: 24sata :: Sportska Centrala :: Glas Javnosti :: Kurir :: Mikro :: B92 Sport :: RTS :: Danas

Prijatelji foruma: ConQUIZtador :: Domaci :: Morazzia :: TotalCar :: FTW.rs :: MojaPijaca :: Pojacalo :: Advokat Draganić :: MojaFirma

Pravne Informacije: Pravilnik Foruma :: Politika privatnosti :: Uslovi koriscenja :: O nama :: Marketing :: Kontakt :: Sitemap

All content on this website is property of "Burek.com" and, as such, they may not be used on other websites without written permission.

Copyright © 2002- "Burek.com", all rights reserved. Performance: 0.158 sec za 17 q. Powered by: SMF. © 2005, Simple Machines LLC.