فصل 05

مجموعه: جیسون بورن / کتاب: هویت بورن / فصل 5

فصل 05

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Chapter five

The Man is Cain

In a small bookstore, they found three old magazines with stories about Carlos, bought them, and returned to the hotel. Minutes passed as they read, and then Marie sat up straight.

“It’s here,” she said, with fear in her face and her voice. “Listen. ‘It is believed that Carlos and his soldiers commonly punish people by shooting them in the throat, leaving them to die in terrible pain. The punishment is for disloyalty or a refusal to give information.’” Marie stopped, unable to continue.

“He refused to tell them about me and he was killed for it.” She stared at Bourne.

“But you knew about the gunshot in the throat. You said it!”

“I said it. I knew it. I don’t know how. Am I one of Carlos’s soldiers? Did I break the code of silence or loyalty? Is that how…”

“Stop!” Marie shouted. “You are you. Don’t take that away from me.”

“Test me,” Bourne said unhappily. “Take another of these magazine stories about Carlos and give me names from it. Let’s see if I can tell you anything.”

Marie looked at him, then picked up another magazine and looked through it. “Beirut,” she said.

“Embassy,” he answered. “CIA chief shot in the street. Three hundred thousand dollars.”

Her voice shaking, Marie continued, “Novgorod.”

“A Russian training school for spies. He spent time there.”

“Tehran.”

“Eight killings. Two million dollars.”

“Paris,” Marie said quickly.

“All contracts are agreed in Paris.”

“What contracts? Whose contracts?”

“The contracts - killings. Carlos’s.”

“Carlos? Then they’re his contracts, his killings. Not yours.”

“But I knew - I know all this without reading the stories.”

“What are you trying to tell me? You’re Carlos?”

“God, no. Carlos wants to kill me, and I don’t speak Russian. The only explanation is that I was with him and I left him. That’s why I know too much about him to live.”

Marie thought about it. “There’s a problem with that,” she said slowly. “Why haven’t you just taken the money - all that money - and gone somewhere safe? Why don’t we do that now?”

“Stop it!” Bourne cried. “I can’t run. I have to know.”

Marie took him in her arms. “I know. And I want to help you.”

At the lawyer’s office, arrangements for receiving the money went smoothly after Bourne increased the amounts that would be paid to both the lawyer and d’Amacourt. A messenger would carry the money from the bank in a leather case at 2:30 that afternoon and meet Bourne at 3:00 on a bridge over the River Seine.

“We understand,” Marie told the lawyer finally, as Bourne’s financial advisor, “that the special instructions with the account must be followed, but the timing must be to Monsieur Bourne’s advantage. If not, I would have to report unacceptable activities that I have witnessed in the banking and legal professions here.” Back in the hotel, Bourne checked his gun while Marie phoned the Canadian embassy and spoke to Dennis Corbelier.

“That’s strange,” she said after their conversation. “He didn’t know about Peter. He did find out about the telephone number that d’Amacourt gave you, though. It’s a private line belonging to a fashion house called Les Classiques. It’s a store, really, but all the clothes are designed by a man called Rene Bergeron.”

By 2:15, Bourne was sitting in a taxi opposite the bank when a van drove out of the car park and parked in front of him. Fifteen minutes later, a man left the bank with a leather case and climbed into the van.

“Follow that truck,” he told the taxi driver, “but keep two cars behind it.” The driver looked worried. “I work for the bank,” Bourne explained. “I need to watch the truck.”

When the van stopped in traffic, in a small street, he jumped out and ran to the van door, gun in hand. He shouted the code words through the door and ordered the van to stop.

“I’ve been told to meet you at the bridge, Monsieur!” the van driver said, opening his window slightly.

Bourne heard the low voice of a man in the passenger seat: “It must be at the bridge. We have orders.” And then another man - the messenger? - “I want to keep my job. I’m getting out.”

The messenger stepped out into the street, and Bourne threw himself against the door, knocking the second man back inside.

“Give me the money,” Bourne shouted at the messenger.

“It’s yours, sir. They wanted to find you. I meant no harm.”

The van door crashed open again, and Bourne saw the face of Carlos’s soldier, one of the killers from Zurich, and a gun staring into his eyes. He threw himself on the ground, turned, and fired twice. The killer fell. Bourne pulled the leather case full of money from the hand of the terrified messenger and ran.

Soon after passing the money to Marie and changing into more expensive-looking clothes, Bourne was at Les Classiques. It was a beautiful store on one of the best streets in Paris, employing beautiful women. Only a middle-aged man sitting in front of a switchboard at the bottom of carpeted stairs looked out of place there. Bourne walked around, admiring the clothes, until he saw her. It had to be her - a tall, cold-looking older woman who was walking down the stairs.

Immediately, Bourne started to play the part of a rich man choosing the most expensive clothes for his girlfriend. The woman looked interested and she waved the younger assistants away.

“You have good taste,” she told him. “These are some of our designer’s finest works.”

“I’ll take these three,” he told her. “And maybe you could choose a few more similar ones. I’ve had a long flight from the

Bahamas and I’m very tired.”

“Would Monsieur like to sit down?”

“A drink would be nice,” he replied. “And I’ll pay cash.”

A smile appeared, but did not reach the woman’s eyes. “Then why not have that drink in my office? It’s private, and I shall bring more clothes for you to look at. I am Jacqueline Lavier, manager and partner in Les Classiques.” She held out her hand.

“Thank you,” Bourne said, taking it, but not offering a name. He was sure that the woman in front of him was the carrier of messages of death.

They went upstairs. On the seventh step, Bourne paused. Below him, the middle-aged man was speaking on the telephone. The back of his head, the way his hair fell over his ear - Bourne had seen that man before. Explosions, darkness, and then sudden light. Where was it? Why was his head again filled with pain?

“I see that you are interested in our switchboard,” Madame Lavier said. “When a customer phones Les Classiques, the telephone is answered by an educated man with a full knowledge of all our products. Gentlemen, especially, like that.”

They reached the office and Bourne was given a drink before Madame Lavier left him to find more clothes. Bourne looked quickly at the desk. Bills, receipts, an address book - he could not memorize that. Then he noticed the corner of a small card showing from under the telephone. He moved the telephone to one side. There were two telephone numbers on the card, one for Zurich, the other clearly Paris. He stared at them, memorizing them, then moved the telephone back.

He was sitting comfortably again, his drink in his hand, when Madame Lavier returned with a thin-lipped man of uncertain age. Both were carrying boxes.

“This is our designer, Ren Bergeron,” Madame Lavier introduced him. “He helped me choose these clothes. And you are Monsieur - “

“Briggs. Charles Briggs,” Bourne replied, having no idea where the name had come from.

After Bergeron had left, he made his final choices and handed Madame Lavier six five-thousand-franc notes.

“Have you thought,” he asked, “of opening a store in the Bahamas. In one of the finer hotels? I have contacts there, of course, and might even be prepared to put some of my own money into the business.” Seeing Madame Lavier’s interest, he continued. “I’m only in Paris for one evening, but would you like to have dinner?”

She thought about it. “I think I could be free,” she said.

As they walked back downstairs, the man at the switchboard was taking a break from calls. Enough, the man thought. It was not many years since people were taking calls for him. Sitting at the switchboards of his companies in Saigon, and in the communications room of his house by the Mekong River in Vietnam. He looked up and noticed the customer on the stairs. His heart stopped as he stared in disbelief. Oh, my God, it was him! From the living, dying terrors of thousands of kilometers away. The ghost who was a killer. It was him!

He watched as the customer opened the doors for Jacqueline Lavier and waved to stop a taxi. Oh, God! She was going with him! He raced upstairs and into Bergeron’s office.

Bergeron looked up in surprise.

“That man with Jacqueline - who is he?”

“Oh, probably the American. A man called Briggs.”

“Where did they go?”

“She left with him? She’s always been a wise woman.”

“Find them! He’ll kill her!”

“What?”

“It’s him. That man is Cain.”

Far away from Paris, in Washington D.C., a group of four high-level officials and a politician were also discussing Cain.

“Our information is that he was in Brussels, not Zurich, ten days ago,” said an officer of the CIA. “A man was killed there, and the method was Cain’s.”

“But we have a report from Zurich,” re-stated an army officer from the Pentagon. “Four men were killed there, including a man called Chernak. He is, without doubt, connected to Cain. Cain used him for payments for his kills.”

“My worry is that too many recent assassinations are being blamed on Cain,” said the third man. “What happened to Carlos, the most skilled assassin of our time?”

“We shouldn’t forget him, but Carlos’s time has passed.” David Abbott belonged to the secretive Special Group of five men who were responsible for the country’s relationships with foreign powers. “Cain is the new man. We must use all our informants, ask for the help of all European police forces, and catch him now. There have been too many killings. It has to stop.”

The only politician in the room was looking confused. “I’ve been listening to you discussing an unbelievably dangerous professional assassin. My question to you is: Who is he? Who is this Cain?” The silence lasted for seconds, while eyes found other eyes and saw agreement.

“He’s a professional assassin, and his skills are for sale,” the CIA man told him. “We can be certain of thirty-eight killings that he is responsible for, and twelve to thirteen more - many of them the deaths of other killers - are probable. For a few months recently, we thought that he, too, had been killed.”

“But you don’t know who he is?” the politician asked. “You have informants - they must know something.”

“No two descriptions have been the same. We do know that he holds meetings at night, in dark rooms or streets. He speaks English and French - and Vietnamese.”

“You know more.” The politician moved forward in his chair. “You know where he came from.”

“From South-east Asia. We believe, from Operation Medusa.” The CIA officer pointed at an envelope on the desk. “These are the Medusa papers that might have information about Cain. Medusa was a very dangerous secret operation behind the enemy lines during the Vietnam war in the late 1960s. Teams of people - well-educated, but all a little crazy and often even criminal - destroyed enemy communications, looked for prisoners, and even assassinated village leaders who were working with the Communists. Most of them were killed, but some stole a lot of money from Medusa. Cain’s codes and method of killing make us think that Cain is one of the men who worked for the United States on Operation Medusa in Vietnam.”

“So his identity is in those papers?”

“Yes, but more than two hundred white males disappeared during Operation Medusa, and we don’t know which one he is. We think he’s American, but we don’t even know that. Cain was working in South-east Asia until a year ago, when for some reason he moved to Europe.”

“I wonder,” said Abbott, “if he was jealous of Carlos. In my opinion he moved to Europe to show Carlos that he was better than him. If that’s true, we should find Cain and then sit back and wait. When Carlos tries to kill him, we can take both of them.”

The others agreed and the meeting soon ended.

While they were preparing to leave, Abbott pulled the Medusa papers toward him and looked quickly through the list of names. Where was it? He was the only one in the room who knew the name. Yes, it was there: Bourne, Jason C. Last known position: Tam Quan

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