فصل 15

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فصل 15

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Chapter fifteen

Novgorod

Novgorod. It was a work of great inventiveness cut out of the immense forests along the Volkhov River. From the moment Bourne appeared from the deep underground tunnel below the water, with its guards, gates, and many cameras, he was close to being in a state of shock.

The American compound, presumably like those of the other countries, was broken up into sections, built on areas up to a kilometer square, each distinctly separate from the others. One area, on the banks of the river, might be the heart of a Maine village by the ocean; another, further inland, a small Southern town; another, a busy city street. Each was completely “real,” with the appropriate vehicles, police, stores and drugstores, gas stations, and office buildings. The people Tass: the official news service of the Soviet Union who worked there dressed as local people would.

Obviously, as important as the physical appearances was language - not just the use of excellent English, but the mastery of regional differences. As Bourne wandered from one section to another, he heard all around him the distinctive sounds of New England, of Texas, of the Midwest and the large Eastern cities. It was all unbelievable.

Bourne followed the signs - everything was in English - to the “city” of Rockledge, Florida. He was going to meet a man called Benjamin at a lunch counter in the local Woolworth store. He was looking for a man in his mid-twenties, with a Budweiser baseball cap on the high chair beside him, saving the place. It was time: three thirty-five in the afternoon.

He saw him. The sandy-haired Russian was seated at the far right end of the counter. There were half a dozen men and women along the row talking to one another over soft drinks and snacks. Bourne approached the empty seat, glanced down at the cap, and spoke politely. “Is this taken?” he asked.

“I’m waiting for somebody,” replied the young KGB trainer.

“I’m just having a quick Coke. I’ll be out of here in a few minutes.”

“Sit down,” said Benjamin, removing the hat and putting it on his head. A waiter came by and Bourne ordered. His drink arrived, and the KGB trainer continued quietly. “So you’re Archie.”

“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 don’t approve of you being here. I’ve lived in the United States and I sound American, but I don’t like Americans.”

“Listen to me, Ben,” interrupted Bourne, his eyes forcing the trainer to look at him. “I haven’t the slightest interest in the purpose of Novgorod - although the whole complex is a lot more impressive than Disneyland.” Benjamin tried hard not to laugh and failed. “Come on,” said Bourne. “Let’s take a walk.”

Eight hours later, at exactly 12:02 A.M., the telephone in the Command Suite screamed. Benjamin leaped off the couch, and grabbed the phone. “Yes?… Where? When? And he’s inside?… Yes!” He put the phone down and turned to Bourne. “It’s unbelievable! At the Spanish tunnel - across the river two guards are dead, and on this side the officer of the guard was found fifty meters 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 bag! In a guard’s uniform!”

“What else?” asked Bourne coldly.

“On the other side was a dead farm worker holding torn papers in his hand. He was lying between the two murdered guards, one of them only wearing his shorts and shoes… How did he do it?”

“The farm worker was working for him. Carlos must have paid him a lot and sent him in with rotten false papers, then run in himself. The officer appeared at the right time and caught the farm worker, and in the confusion Carlos got through the tunnel.”

“But the papers he used - everything had to be checked against the computer. Those were Krupkin’s instructions.”

“I think you have to accept that Carlos has somebody inside here, somebody with authority.”

“That’s possible,” agreed the young trainer rapidly.

“So let’s go, and when we get outside we stop somewhere and you get me what I need.”

“OK. That’s been approved.”


The Jackal braked the huge fuel truck at the “West German” border. He adjusted the coarse shirt that covered a Spanish general’s uniform, and as the guard came out of the gatehouse Carlos spoke in Russian, using the same words he had used at every other crossing.

“Don’t ask me to speak the stupid language you talk here! I deliver gas, I don’t spend time in classrooms! Here’s my key.”

“I barely speak it myself, comrade,” said the guard, laughing as he accepted the small, flat object and pushed it into the computerized machine. The heavy iron barrier moved up into the vertical position; the guard returned the key and the Jackal sped through into a small “West Berlin.”

In the narrow copy of a main street he slowed down and pulled the gas release. The fuel flowed out into the street. He then reached into the open bag on the seat beside him, took out the small, pre-timed plastic explosives, and as he had done throughout the southern compounds to the border of “France,” threw them through the lowered windows on both sides of the truck toward the wooden buildings he thought would burn best. He sped into the “Munich” section, then to the port of “Bremerhaven” on the river, and finally into “Bonn,” flooding the street, throwing out the explosives. He had barely fifteen minutes before the first explosions took place in all of “West Germany,” followed by explosions in the other compounds, each spaced eight minutes apart, timed to create maximum effect.

And while the fire engines raced here and there, and the frightened people tried to escape, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez would burn “Paris.” Then would come “England” and finally, the largest compound in Novgorod, the “United States of America,” country of the second-rate assassin, Jason Bourne.

Carlos checked his bag. What remained were the most dangerous instruments of death found in the weapons store of Kubinka - four rows of short heat-seeking missiles, twenty in all. When they were sent into the sky, each would seek the sources of fire and do its work.


Bourne stopped the jeep at the entrance to the French compound and handed the guard his computerized card. “Quickly, please,” he said in French.

The guard walked rapidly to the security machine as an enormous fuel truck, heading the other way, passed through into “England.”

The guard returned and the iron barrier was raised. Bourne accelerated, and saw in a matter of moments a three-floor copy of the Eiffel Tower.

“Slow down,” said Benjamin, touching his arm.

“What is it?”

“Stop!” cried the young trainer. “Shut off the engine.”

Bourne drove to the side of the road and switched off. “What’s the matter with you?”

Benjamin was looking around him, his eyes on the clear night sky. “No clouds,” he said. “No storms.”

“So what? I want to get up to the Spanish compound.”

“There it goes again.” Now Bourne heard it… far away, the sound of distant thunder, but the night was clear. It happened again - and again and again, one deep sound after another.

“There!” shouted the young Soviet, standing up in the jeep and pointing to the north. “What is it?”

“That’s fire, young man,” answered Bourne softly, as he also stood up and stared at the yellow light in the distant sky. “And my guess is it’s the Spanish compound. He was initially trained there and that’s what he came back to do - to blow the place up! It’s his revenge!… Get down, we’ve got to get up there!”

“No, you’re wrong,” Benjamin interrupted, quickly lowering himself into the seat as Bourne started the engine and pulled the jeep into gear. “Spain’s no more than eight kilometers from here. Those fires are a lot farther away.”

“Just show me the fastest route,” said Bourne, pressing the accelerator to the floor.

As they came in sight of the “Spanish” border, the explosions were louder and the night sky turned a brighter shade of yellow. The guards at the gate were talking quickly into their telephones and hand-held radios; the sounds of police cars and fire engines were joining the shouting and the screaming.

“What’s happening?” shouted Benjamin, leaping from the jeep and speaking Russian. “I’m senior staff!” he added, slipping the card into the release equipment, sending the barrier up. “Tell me!”

“Madness, comrade!” shouted an officer from the gatehouse window. “Unbelievable!… First, West Germany - all over there are explosions and fires in the streets and buildings going up in flames. Then it happens in Italy - Rome burns down - and in the Greek section, and still the explosions continue.”

Another wall phone rang inside the gatehouse; the officer of the guard picked it up, then screamed at the top of his lungs, “Madness, it’s complete madness! Are you certain?”

“What is it?” roared Benjamin, rushing to the window.

“Egypt!” he screamed, his ear pressed to the telephone. “Israel!… Fires everywhere, bombs everywhere!”

“Get back here!” shouted Bourne.

Benjamin ran to the jeep and jumped in as Bourne accelerated through the gate.

“It was the fuel truck, that damned fuel truck that passed us at the French border. That was him!”

“Yes - but where are we going?” Benjamin shouted.

“It’ll end in the American compound. It has to.”

The copy of the White House fell in flames and “Pennsylvania Avenue” was on fire. Bourne stopped the jeep in the street beside the river, and again there were frightened crowds. The police were shouting through loudspeakers, first in English, then in Russian, explaining that the river was wired and that the electricity would kill anybody trying to swim across. The searchlights showed the floating bodies of those who had tried this in the northern compounds.

“The tunnel, the tunnel! Open the tunnel!”

Bourne leaped out of the jeep, pocketing three flares, and fought his way through the crowds. Benjamin ran after him. There! In the fenced-off parking lot was the fuel truck! He broke through the guards, holding up his computerized release card, and ran up to a captain with an AK-47 on his waist.

“My identification is with the name ‘Archie’ and you can check it immediately.”

“Of course we know of you,” the officer cried, “but what can I do? This is an uncontrollable situation!”

“Has anybody passed through the tunnel in the last half hour?”

“No one, absolutely no one! Our orders are to keep it closed!”

“Good. Get on the loudspeakers and tell the crowds to break up. Tell them the crisis has passed and the danger with it.”

“How can I? The fires are everywhere, the explosions everywhere!”

“Do as he says!” roared Benjamin’s voice behind Bourne.

“Who gives me such orders?” shouted the officer.

“Check my authority, friend, but do it quickly,” answered Benjamin, holding out his card. “Move, you fool!”

“Attention!” The voice came from the many loudspeakers around the tunnel, as the explosions began to die down. “The crisis has passed. Stay by the banks of the river and we will look after you. These are orders from our superiors, comrades.”

“But we’re being attacked!” shouted a man at the front of the panicked crowd,

“Open the tunnel and let us out or you’ll have to shoot us down! Open the tunnel!” the people cried.

The protesting voices grew louder.

“Can you operate the tunnel’s machinery?” Bourne shouted.

“Yes! Everybody on the senior staff can - it’s part of the job.”

“The iron gates you told me about?”

“Of course.”

“Where are the controls?”

“The guardhouse.”

“Get in there!” shouted Bourne to Benjamin, taking one of the flares out of his field-jacket pocket and handing it to him. “When you see one of my flares go over the crowd, lower those gates on this side - only this side, understood?”

“What for?”

“My rules, Ben! Do it! Then light this flare and throw it out the window so I’ll know it’s done.”

“Then what?”

“Something you may not want to do, but you have to… Take the gun from the captain’s body and force the crowd, shoot it back into the street. Rapid fire into the ground in front of them - or above them. Do whatever you have to do.”

The trainer named Benjamin looked angrily at Bourne, then turned and began fighting his way to the guardhouse. Bourne studied the fenced parking area, counting the other vehicles in addition to the fuel truck. There were nine parked by the fence-six cars and three vans, all American-made or good copies.

Bourne crouched and crawled forward. He reached the waist-high fence, the noise behind him continuous, deafening. Then, from an opening he could not see, two police cars raced inside. Uniformed men leaped out from every door and ran to the open gate that led to the guardhouse and tunnel.

There was a break in space, in time. In men! Three men had come out of the second car but now there were four - but he was not the same - the uniform was not the same! The officer’s cap had a gold ribbon and the shape was wrong for the US Army. What was it?… And suddenly, Bourne understood. His memory went back years to Madrid. It was a Spanish uniform. That was it! Carlos had entered through the Spanish compound, and as his Russian was excellent, he was using the high-ranking uniform to make his escape from Novgorod.

Bourne got to his feet, his automatic in his hand, and ran across the lot, his left hand reaching into his field jacket pocket for a flare. He pulled the release and threw it above the cars. Benjamin would not see it from the guardhouse and mistake it for the signal to close the gates of the tunnel.

“Look out!” roared one of the escaping men, turning around and panicked at the sight of the blinding flare.

“Run!” shouted another, racing toward the open section of the fence. Bourne counted the seven figures as one by one they ran away from the last car and passed through the opening, joining the excited crowds at the mouth of the tunnel. The eighth man did not appear; the Spanish officer’s uniform was not in sight. The Jackal was trapped!

Now! Bourne took out a flare, pulled the release, and threw it with all his strength at the guardhouse. Do it, Ben! he screamed in silence as he took out the last grenade. Do it now!

A thunderous roar came from the tunnel, frightened protests from the crowd, then two rapid bursts of automatic gunfire were followed by commands over the speakers, shouted in Russian.

Bourne dropped to the ground, looking at the undersides of the vehicles. A pair of legs - in boots! Behind the third car on the left. He gripped the grenade in his right hand, pulled the pin, and threw it under the car toward the legs - only at the last moment realizing that he had made a terrible error! The legs behind the car did not move - the boots remained in place, because they were only boots! Bourne threw himself away from the car, onto the ground, and curled his body into the smallest mass he could manage.

The explosion was deafening, pieces of glass and metal stinging Bourne’s back and legs. He got to his feet in the smoke and fire. As he did so, the ground was torn up around him. He ran toward the protection of the nearest vehicle, a square-shaped van. He was hit twice, in the shoulder and thigh!

“You’re nothing compared to me, Jason Bourne!” screamed Carlos the Jackal, his automatic weapon on rapid fire. “You never were! You’re a pretender, a fraud!”

“Then come and get me!” Bourne moved to the driver’s door, pulled it open, then ran to the back of the vehicle where he crouched, his face to the edge, his Colt .45 next to his cheek. The Jackal stopped his continuous fire. Bourne understood. Carlos faced the open door, unsure, indecisive… only seconds to go. Metal against metal, a gun barrel was pushed against the door, shutting it. Now!

Bourne spun around the edge of the van, his weapon firing into the Spanish uniform, blowing the gun out of the Jackal’s hands. One, two, three; the bullets flew through the air - and then they stopped! They stopped, as the gun stuck, refusing to fire. Carlos dropped to the ground for his weapon, his left arm limp and bleeding but his right hand still strong.

Bourne pulled out his knife and leaped forward, slicing the blade down toward the Jackal’s arm. He was too late! Carlos held the weapon! Bourne’s hand held the hot barrel - hold on, hold on! You can’t let it go! Twist it! Use the knife!

With a last desperate effort, Bourne pushed up and crashed Carlos back into the side of the van, striking his wounded shoulder again and again. The Jackal screamed, dropping the weapon, then kicked it under the van.

Where the blow came from, Bourne at first did not know; he only knew that the left side of his head seemed suddenly to split in two. Then he realized that he had done it to himself!

He had slipped on the blood-covered ground, and had crashed into the side of the van. It did not matter - nothing mattered!

Carlos the Jackal was racing away! With the confusion everywhere, there were a hundred ways he could get out of Novgorod. It had all been for nothing!

Still, there was his last grenade. Why not? Bourne removed it, pulled the pin, and threw it over the van into the center of the parking area. The explosion followed and Bourne got to his feet. Maybe the grenade would tell Benjamin something, warn him to keep his eyes on the area.

Barely able to walk, Bourne started for the break in the fence that led to the guardhouse and the tunnel. Oh, God, Marie, I failed! I’m so sorry. Nothing! It was all for nothing! And then, as if all Novgorod were having a final laugh at his expense, he saw that somebody had opened the iron gates to the tunnel, giving the Jackal his invitation to freedom.

“Archie…?” The young Soviet ran out of the guardhouse toward Bourne. “God, I thought you were dead!”

“So you opened the gates to let my killer walk away,” shouted Bourne weakly. “Why didn’t you send a limousine for him?”

“I suggest you look again, Professor,” replied a breathless Benjamin, studying Bourne’s bruised face and bloodstained clothing. “Old age has damaged your eyesight.”

“What?”

“You want gates, you’ll have gates.” The trainer shouted an order toward the guardhouse in Russian. Seconds later the huge iron gates descended, covering the mouth of the tunnel. But something was strange. The gates appeared to be… swollen somehow, shiny and showing reflections. “Glass,” said Benjamin.

“Glass?” asked a puzzled Bourne.

“At each end of the tunnel, eight-centimeter walls of glass, locked up.”

“What are you talking about?” It was not necessary for the young Russian to explain. Suddenly, a series of huge waves crashed against the glass as the tunnel filled with the waters of the Volkhov River. Then, within the silence of the growing, moving liquid, there was an object - a thing, a body! Bourne stared in shock, unable to release the cry that was in him. He gathered what strength he had left and ran unsteadily to the wall of glass. Breathlessly, he placed his hands against it and looked at the scene barely centimeters in front of him. The dead body of Carlos the Jackal kept crashing back and forward into the steel bars of the gate, his features twisted in hate.

Jason Bourne watched in satisfaction, his mouth tight - the face of a killer, a killer among killers, who had won. Briefly, however, the softer eyes of David Webb appeared, forming the face of a man for whom the weight of a world he hated had been removed.

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