فصل 07

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فصل 07

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Chapter seven

Paris

Steven DeSole, keeper of the deepest secrets for the Central Intelligence Agency, forced his overweight body out of the driver’s seat. He stood in the deserted parking lot of the small shopping center in Annapolis, Maryland, where the only source of light came from a closed gas station. DeSole looked at his watch. It was three-thirty in the morning.

The headlights of an approaching limousine shot through the darkness at the far end of the parking lot, turning toward the CIA analyst, causing him to shut his eyes. He had to make the process of his discovery of the information clear to those men. They provided the money that was the means to a life he and his wife dreamed of - education at the best universities for their six grandchildren, not the state colleges that came with the salary of a government worker. The new Medusa had offered money, and he had come running.

Two men got out of the limousine and approached him.

“What does this Webb look like?” asked Albert Armbruster, as they walked along the edge of the parking lot.

“I’ve only got some old photographs and physical details from his army files,” DeSole said. “He’s rather large - tall, I mean - and now he’ll be in his late forties or early fifties -“

“Can’t you be more exact than that?” The other man, short and strong with dark eyebrows beneath dark hair, looked at DeSole. “Be specific,” he added.

“Now, just a minute,” protested the analyst. “The information I’m giving you is the best I can get and, frankly, whoever you are, I don’t like the tone of your voice.”

“He’s upset,” said Armbruster. “He’s an Italian from New York and he doesn’t trust anybody.”

“Who can you trust in New York?” asked the short, dark man, laughing.

Armbruster looked at DeSole again. “Does he have gray eyes?” he asked.

“Well, yes, that was in the files.”

“It’s Cobra,” Armbruster said.

“Who?” DeSole said.

“He called himself Cobra, and he knew all about us.” Armbruster and the man from the Mafia climbed back into the limousine.

“Where’s the other car?” Armbruster asked. The Italian looked at his watch. “It’s parked less than a kilometer down the road. The driver will pick up DeSole on his way back and stay with him until the time is right.”

“But this Cobra - this Webb! Why is he coming after us? What does he want?”

“There’s a connection with that jackal character, maybe.”

“That doesn’t make sense. We have no connection with the Jackal.”

“Why should you?” asked the Mafia man, grinning. “You’ve got us, right?”

“It’s a very loose association and don’t you forget it… Cobra - Webb, whoever he is, we’ve got to find him! With what he already knew, plus what I told him, he’s dangerous!”

“You said Swayne was dangerous. We took care of him. Do you want to discuss a price?”

Armbruster turned and looked at the calm Sicilian face of his companion. “You mean a… contract? On Cobra - on Webb?”


“I’ll close for six months, change the name, then start advertising in the magazines before reopening,” said John St. Jacques to his brother-in-law.

“Meanwhile, it’s best to say nothing,” said Bourne.

“Well, we have to give some explanation, I’ve put out a story about a huge gas explosion, but not many people believe it. Of course, to the world outside, an earthquake down here would only get a few lines on an inside page.”

“It will pass. People will find something else to talk about. Meanwhile, it’s time for me to leave.”

“Where are you going?”

“Paris.”

“But what can Paris solve?”

“I can find him. I can take him.”

“He’s got friends over there.”

“I’ve got Jason Bourne,” said David Webb. “Lie for me, Johnny. Tell Marie I’m fine and that I have information about the Jackal that only Fontaine could have provided - which is the truth, actually. He told me about a cafe in Argenteuil called the Soldier’s Heart. Call Marie in a couple of hours and bring them back here. It’s the safest place they can be.”


The next day at ten twenty-five in the morning, Washington time, Dr. Morris Panov, accompanied by his guard, walked out of Walter Reed Hospital after seeing a patient. Panov, thinking about the case, looked at his guard, suddenly surprised.

“You’re a new man, aren’t you? I mean I thought I knew all of you.”

“Yes, sir. We’re often sent on short notice.”

The psychiatrist continued across the sidewalk to where his car was usually waiting for him. It was a different vehicle.

“This isn’t my car,” he said, puzzled.

“Get in!” ordered his guard, politely opening the door.

“What?”

A pair of hands from inside the car grabbed him and a uniformed man pulled him into the backseat as the guard followed. The one who had been inside pulled Mo’s jacket off his shoulder and pushed up the short sleeve of his summer shirt. He stuck a hypodermic needle into Panov’s arm.

“Good night, Doctor,” he said. “Call New York,” he added, to the guard.


“Mr. Simon?” said the Frenchman, an older man with a small white beard.

“That’s right,” replied Bourne, shaking hands in a narrow deserted hallway in Paris’s Orly Airport.

“I am Bernardine, Francois Bernardine, an old friend of our friend, Alexander.”

“Alex mentioned you,” said Bourne, smiling.

“How is he? We hear stories, rumors… out of Beijing, Hong Kong - some concerning a man named Jason Bourne.”

“I’ve heard them.”

“Yes, of course… But now Paris. Alexander said you would need a place to stay. A hotel?”

“Something small, but I know Montmartre. I’ll find a place myself. What I will need is a car - registered under another name, preferably of a dead man.”

“It’s been arranged; it is in the underground garage on the Capucines, near the Place Vendome.” Bernardine reached into his pocket, pulled out a set of keys, and handed them to Bourne. “An older Peugeot in Section E. There are thousands of them in Paris and the license number is on the key ring.”

“Thank you,” said Bourne. “This is very good of you.”

“I must explain that I owe my life to Alexander Conklin - and that I know who you are and most of what you have done, Jason Bourne.” Bernardine again reached into a pocket and pulled out a card. “Here is my office address - I’m just a consultant now, you understand - and on the back I’ve written down my home phone. It is a completely secure line. Call me and whatever you need will be provided. Remember, I am your only friend in Paris. No one else knows you are here.”

Bourne checked into the Pont-Royal on the Rue Montalembert, then walked along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, buying the things he needed. Whatever he could buy now would save time later. Fortunately, there was no need to persuade old Bernardine to supply him with a weapon. During the drive into Paris from Orly, the Frenchman had handed a taped brown box to Bourne. Inside was an automatic with two boxes of bullets. Underneath were 30,000 francs around 5,000 American dollars.

“Tomorrow I will arrange a method for you to obtain money whenever necessary. Within limits, of course.”

“No limits,” Bourne had said. “I’ll have Conklin wire you a hundred thousand. Just tell him where.”

“Of government money?”

“No. Mine. Thanks for the gun.”

Bourne returned to his room and glanced at his watch. It was almost two o’clock, Washington time, and Bernardine had told him that Conklin would be expecting a call. He picked up the phone and called the number in Vienna, Virginia. It was picked up at the first ring.

“Alex, it’s me. What happened? Marie - ?”

“No,” interrupted Conklin. “I spoke to her around noon. She and the kids are back at the hotel and she’s ready to kill me. She doesn’t believe a word I told her and I’m going to wipe the tape. I haven’t heard that kind of language since Vietnam.”

“She’s upset -“

“So am I,” Conklin interrupted. “Mo’s disappeared.”

“What?”

“You heard me. Panov’s gone.”

“My God, how? He’s guarded every minute!”

“We’re trying to find out.”

“But Alex, who? Carlos was on his way back here, to Paris! Whatever he wanted in Washington he got. He found me, he found us. He didn’t need any more.”

“DeSole’s dead,” said Conklin quietly. “He knew about me and Mo Panov. I threatened the Agency with both of us, and DeSole was there in the conference room.”

“I don’t understand. What are you telling me?”

“DeSole was with Medusa. That’s why he was killed - to remove our connection.”

“To hell with them. I’m not interested in Medusa.”

“They’re interested in you. They want you.”

“I couldn’t care less. I’ve only got one priority and he’s here.”

“Then I haven’t been clear,” said Conklin, his voice faint. “Last night I had dinner with Mo. I told him everything. Tranquility, your flight to Paris, Bernardine… everything.”


On a side street in Anderlecht, five kilometers south of Brussels, a military car with the flags of a general stopped in front of a sidewalk cafe. General James Teagarten, commander of NATO, stepped out of the car into the early afternoon sunlight. He turned and offered his hand to an attractive female major, who smiled her thanks as she climbed out after him. Teagarten led her across the wide sidewalk toward the cafe. All the tables were occupied except one at the far end where a small card said Reserved.

The owner, with two waiters behind him, came quickly to meet his important guest. When the commander was seated, a bottle of wine was presented and the menu discussed.

A relaxed hour later, Teagarten and his lady were interrupted by the general’s driver, a middle-aged army sergeant whose expression showed his anxiety. The commander of NATO had received a message over his secure phone, and the driver had written it down. He handed Teagarten the note.

The general stood up, his sunburned face turning pale as he glanced around the now half-empty cafe. He reached into his pocket and dropped some Belgian franc notes on the table.

“Come on,” he said to the woman major. “Let’s go. You”- he turned to his driver - “get the car started!”

“What is it?” asked his lunch companion.

“London. Over the wire. DeSole and Armbruster are dead”

“Oh, my God! How?”

“I don’t know. But we’re getting out of here. Come on!’

The general and his lady rushed across the wide sidewalk and into the military vehicle. The car shot forward, traveling less than fifty meters when it happened.

A great explosion blew the military vehicle into the sky, pieces of glass and metal and lines of blood filling the narrow street in Anderlecht.

Later that afternoon, the waiter in the sidewalk cafe called to his boss as police, firefighters, and ambulance crews continued their bloody business in the road.

“What is it?” replied the upset owner of the cafe, still shaking from the hard questioning he had gone through from the police and the journalists. “I am ruined,” he said. “We will be known as the cafe of death.”

“Sir, look!” The waiter pointed at the table where the general and his lady had sat.

“The police have examined it,” said the owner.

Across the glass top of the table, in capital letters written in red lipstick, was a name: JASON BOURNE.

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