فصل 08

مجموعه: جیسون بورن / کتاب: اولتیماتوم بورن / فصل 8

فصل 08

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Chapter eight

The Soldier’s Heart

Bourne had moved to a cheaper hotel and changed his appearance. He was wearing faded pants and an old French army shirt. He had a day’s growth of beard and his hair and eyebrows were colored red. Out on the street, he knew he had to walk a number of blocks before he found a taxi; taxis were not the fashion in this section of Montparnasse… Neither was the noisy crowd around a newspaper kiosk at the second corner. People were shouting, many waving their arms, holding newspapers in their fists, anger and puzzlement in their voices. He walked faster, reached the stand, threw down his coins, and grabbed a newspaper.

The breath went out of him as he tried to control the shock waves that swept through him. Teagarten killed! The assassin, Jason Bourne! Madness! What had happened? Was he losing what was left of his mind?

He broke away from the crowd and leaned against the stone wall of a building, breathing hard. Alex! A telephone!

“What happened?” he screamed into the mouthpiece to Vienna, Virginia.

“Calm down,” said Conklin quietly. “Where are you? Bernardine will pick you up and get you out. He’ll make arrangements and put you on a plane to New York.”

“Wait a minute!… The Jackal did this, didn’t he?”

“We’ve been told that it was a contract from some crazy people in Beirut. That may be true or it may not. But to answer your question, of course it was the Jackal!”

“So he blamed it on me. Carlos blamed it on me!”

“He’s smart, I’ll say that for him. You come after him and he uses a contract that keeps you there, hidden, in Paris.”

“Then we turn it around! While he thinks I’m running and hiding, I’m walking right into his nest.”

“You’re crazy! You get out while we can still get you out.”

“Sorry, Alex, this is exactly where I want to be.”

“Well, maybe I can change your mind. I spoke to Marie a couple of hours ago. She’s flying to Paris. To find you.”

“She can’t!”

“That’s what I said, but she wouldn’t listen. She said she knew all the places you and she used thirteen years ago. That you’d use them again. She’s on her way.”

Bourne put down the phone and walked away.


Morris Panov sat in a chair by a window, looking out over the green fields of a farm somewhere, he assumed, in Maryland. He was in a small second-floor bedroom, his bare right arm confirming what he already knew. He had been drugged repeatedly, his mind emptied, his thoughts and secrets brought chemically to the surface.

The damage he had done was incalculable. He understood that, but what he did not understand was why he was still alive and being treated so well.

The door opened and his guard walked in, a short, well - built man with an accent that Panov placed somewhere in the north-eastern United States. Over his left arm were the psychiatrist’s clothes.

“OK, Doc, you have to get dressed. I made sure everything was cleaned and pressed.” The guard handed Panov his clothes. “Come on, put them on, Doc, we’re going on a little trip.”

“I suppose it would be foolish to ask where,” said Panov, getting out of the chair.

“Very foolish.”


“Valuable?” cried the Mafia boss in his living room in Brooklyn Heights. “Of course, you fool. Panov has worked on the heads of some of the top people in Washington. His files must be worth the price of Detroit.”

“You’ll never get them, Louis,” said the middle-aged man in an expensive suit. “They’ll be taken out of your reach.”

“Well, we’re working on that. Five million is still the price for this Bourne-Webb character, right?” Louis De Fazio said.

“With a condition.”

“I don’t like conditions, Mr. Lawyer. I don’t like them at all.”

“I don’t think you’ll be offended.”

“Go on.”

“There’ll be two million dollars extra, because we insist you include Webb’s wife and his government friend Conklin.”

“Agreed.”

“Now, to the rest of the business.” He laid an envelope on the table. “This contains payment for Armbruster and Teagarten.”

“According to Panov,” interrupted the Mafia boss, “they know about two more of you. An ambassador in London and that senior officer in Washington. You want us to take care of them?”

“Possibly later - not now. They both know very little, and nothing about the financial operations. I’ll let you know.”

Bryce Ogilvie, of the Manhattan law firm Ogilvie, Spofford, Crawford, and Cohen, rose from his seat and left the room.


Morris Panov sat in the front seat of the car with his guard, his hands loosely, almost politely tied, and with a cloth around his eyes. They had been driving for about thirty minutes in silence when the guard spoke.

“You know, Doc, I have a nephew, my sister’s kid, who’s a doctor, too. I paid for him to go through medical school. He keeps asking me where the money came from.”

“That’s very generous of you. But I’m surprised he hasn’t said anything about your mouth.”

“My mouth? What the hell’s wrong with my mouth?”

“The yellow on your teeth, and the fading pink of your gums.”

“So? They’ve always been like that.”

“It might be nothing, but he should have spotted it. It could be serious. When did you last see a dentist?”

“I don’t like dentists.”

“You should see one. You could have problems.”

Silence. Then seven minutes later: “What kind of problems?”

“Anything from infection to more serious stuff.”

Silence. Four minutes later: “What’s the most serious?”

“Mouth cancer. If it’s caught in time, it can be stopped with minor bone removal. If not, the entire jaw might have to go.”

Panov could feel the car swing to one side as the driver momentarily lost control.

Silence. A minute and a half later: “The whole jaw?”

“It’s either that or the whole of the patient’s life.”

“You think I could have something like that?”

“I’m not a dentist. I can’t say for sure.”

“You’re a doctor, aren’t you? I mean you went to medical school?”

“Yes.”

“So look at me!”

“I can’t. I can’t see anything.” Panov suddenly felt the guard’s thick strong hand pulling the cloth off his head. The car was dark inside. Except for the front window, the windows were almost black.

“Go on, look!” The Mafia man turned his head toward Panov, his thick lips parted and his teeth showing.

“It’s too dark in here,” replied Mo, seeing what he wanted to see in the front window; they were on a narrow country road. Wherever he was being taken, he was being driven there by an extremely indirect route.

“Open the window!” shouted the guard, his head still twisted, his eyes still on the road.

Panov lowered the window on his side, seeing nothing but trees and bushes.

“There we are,” he continued, raising his loosely tied hands to the Mafia man’s mouth - his eyes, however, not on that mouth but on the road ahead. “Oh, my God!” he cried.

“What?” screamed the guard.

“Infection - it’s everywhere. In the upper and lower jaws. The worst sign.”

“Oh, God!”

A huge tree. Up ahead. On the left-hand side of the empty road! Morris Panov put his tied hands on the wheel, lifting his body off the seat as he pushed the wheel to the left. Then at the last second before the car hit the tree, he threw himself to the right, curling up for protection.

The crash was enormous. Broken glass and crushed metal accompanied the rising mists of steam, and the growing fires underneath that would soon reach a gas tank. The guard was still breathing, not dead, his face bleeding. Panov pulled him out of the wreck and into the grass as far as he could, just before the car exploded.

Panov released his loosely tied hands and picked the pieces of glass out of the guard’s face. He then checked for broken bones, but it seemed that the man had been lucky. Panov searched the guard’s clothing, astonished at the money that was there - about 6,000 dollars - and the various driver’s licenses - five different identities from five different states. He took the money and the licenses to give to Alex Conklin, but he left the wallet. There were photographs of the man’s family.

Goodbye, my friend, thought Panov, as he crawled over to the road, stood up, and smoothed his clothes, trying to look as respectable as possible. He started to walk, continuing north, in the direction the car had been taking.


The Soldier’s Heart was not on a boulevard or an avenue. Instead, it was in a dead-end alley around the corner from a closed factory in what had to be the ugliest part of Argenteuil. Bourne limped through the door and made his way to the crowded bar. He bought a beer and looked around. The place was full of men who looked like soldiers or former soldiers. Fights started from time to time, and were stopped by the muscular waiters.

Bourne took out a piece of paper and wrote on it:

The nest of a blackbird is worth a million francs. Object: private business advice. If interested, be at the old factory around the corner in thirty minutes. Where is the harm? An additional 5,000 francs for being there alone.

Bourne folded the paper over a hundred-franc note and signaled the barman. Slowly, the man moved his large body forward and leaned his thick tattooed arms on the bar.

“What is it?” he asked.

“I have written a message for you,” replied Bourne. “I am a man who carries wounds but I’m not a poor man.” Bourne passed the paper and the banknote, then turned and headed for the door.

Outside, he hurried up the broken sidewalk toward the alley’s entrance. He stood still, moving only his hand to feel the hard steel and the security of his automatic. Ten minutes passed, then fifteen, then the door of the cafe opened and the barman came out. Bourne watched as he walked across the street.

“I am here,” said the barman.

“And I am grateful. Your name?”

“Santos. I believe you mentioned 5,000 francs in your note.”

“It’s here.” Bourne held out the money.

“Thank you,” said Santos, walking forward and accepting the bills. “Take him!” he added.

Suddenly, Bourne heard running footsteps behind him. Before he could reach his weapon, something heavy crashed down on his head.

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