فصل 06

مجموعه: جیسون بورن / کتاب: هویت بورن / فصل 6

فصل 06

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Chapter six


Rene Bergeron threw down the telephone on his desk. “We’ve tried every cafe, restaurant, and bar that she’s ever been to!”

“And no hotel in Paris recognizes his name,” said the switchboard operator. “It’s been more than two hours now.”

“She can’t tell him much,” Bergeron said. “She knows less than we do.”

“She knows enough - she has called Parc Monceau, and she knows why.”

“Tell me again - why are you so sure he’s Bourne?”

“I don’t know that. I said he’s Cain.”

“Bourne is Cain. We found him through the Medusa papers.”

“Then he’s Bourne, but he didn’t use that name in Vietnam. Of course, many men had criminal records, so their identities were hidden. I know it’s him. I was on an operation that he commanded, and I’ll never forget it.”

“Tell me.”

“We went into an area called Tam Quan to save an American prisoner called Webb. On our way there, two members of the team disappeared - lost or killed, we thought. Then enemy gunfire surrounded us for two days and two nights. How did they know we were there? At night Cain went out alone to kill in the darkness, so we could move closer. I thought he was mad. On the third night we found the man, Webb, only just alive. We also found the two missing members of our team. They had been paid by the Vietnamese. Cain shot them in the head, then he got four of us and Webb - the others were killed - out of there. He was the coldest, most dangerous man I ever saw. Everyone was his enemy, even his own leaders, and he didn’t care about either side in the war. But the pay was excellent, and there were many opportunities for us to make money.”

“So he didn’t use the name Bourne? What was his name?”

“We didn’t use real names. To me, he was Delta.”

“And then he became Cain… And now he wants to take Carlos’s place. All over Europe, people know. He can be hired; contracts can be made; his price is lower than Carlos’s. But we’ll find him. He found us. And then Carlos will kill him.”

“I think we should talk about special instructions from Zurich,” Bourne told Jacqueline Lavier as they sat in a restaurant twenty kilometers from Paris.

“My God…!” she cried. He had to hold her hand tightly to stop her leaving the table. “Why didn’t I guess? Who are you?”

“My name isn’t important,” Bourne said, “but I’m not him. We’re looking for him, too.”

“Who is ‘we’?”

“A company that wants its money. A lot of money. He has it.”

“So he didn’t earn it?”

“There’s a disagreement,” Bourne said carefully. “But why do you want him? Why is the telephone number of a Paris clothes store on special instructions in Zurich?”

“I am saying nothing,” Jacqueline Lavier said. “Get out of Paris. You made the mistake.”

“Mistake? He stole from us.”

“Your choice was the mistake. You chose the wrong man.”

“He took millions from us,” Bourne said, “But you’re not going to have it. I want you to stay away from him, all of you, or we’ll pass information to the police about Zurich, the bank here in Paris, Les Classiques, everything - and start a big manhunt. We have friends in very important positions and we’ll have the information first. We’ll catch him.”

“You won’t. He’ll disappear again! He’s escaped once, twice, but we’ll get him now. He won’t escape a third time.”

“We don’t want you to have him. So stop your hunt tonight.”

“You can’t talk to me like that! Who do you think you are?” Bourne paused, then attacked. “A group of people who don’t much like your Carlos.”

The Lavier woman’s eyes opened wide. “You do know,” she whispered. “And you think you can beat Carlos? You’re mad. He has men everywhere. They will kill you in the street.”

“You forget,” Bourne reminded her, “that no one knows who I am. Only you, and you aren’t going to tell anyone.” Madame Lavier’s eyes showed her knowledge that she was now fighting for her life. “I can carry your message,” she said. “What more do you want?”

“Why does Carlos want Bourne?”

The woman looked shocked. “You can ask that? He’s Cain - you know that. He was your choice, your mistake.” Cain. Bourne heard deafening thunder in his ears, felt pain in his head. The darkness was there again. Cain… Delta! “You insulted Carlos, and you are doing it again now.”

Tell me. Tell me everything. At the end, there is only my beginning. I must know it.

“But why is Carlos so angry with Bourne? Pretend that I know nothing, and explain it to me.”

“You paid the wrong… assassin. Because Cain has tried to take his place, Carlos will follow him to the ends of the earth and kill him. Let him have Cain and it is possible - only possible - that he might take your contract, the one that you gave to Cain. He has the contacts that Cain can never have - information that is always correct, from the highest places.”

“That’s Carlos,” Bourne said, trying to control himself. “What else do you know about Cain? Where did he come from?”

“South-east Asia, of course. From the American Medusa…” Medusa! The darkness, the sudden lights, the pain. Delta becomes Cain! “Cain is American - we have a positive identification, bought in Washington. He has studied Carlos’s methods and he copies them. He is very skilled, a machine trained for Medusa. Before that, we know nothing. All records have been destroyed.”

Bourne had one final question. “What happened in Marseilles?” he asked.

“Leland? The contract was accepted by Carlos.”

“But many people think that Cain was responsible.”

“Lies! The final insult. It was what Cain wanted people to think. He went there to do the job before Carlos could. Then it was said that he had been killed - taken from a city street to a fishing boat and later thrown into the water. Not true, of course. Now I need to use the ladies’ room. You can stand outside the door.”

Jacqueline Lavier was in the restroom for ten minutes before the pain in Bourne’s head allowed him to notice. A light suddenly blinded him, and when he could see again a woman was standing in front of him with a camera in her hands.

“I met your girlfriend in the restroom,” she said with a smile. “She asked me to give you this note.” She walked quickly away.

…You may be what you say you are, but you may not. The photo is on its way to Paris. If we have our agreement, that need not worry you. We will talk again….

He raced outside. “Taxi! Taxi!”

In the taxi, Bourne made a difficult decision. He would continue his search for his identity, but he would continue alone. He loved Marie too much to ask her to spend her life with an assassin. He would write her a note and find a way to disappear.

When he reached the hotel, he held her, running his fingers through her dark red hair. He lied to her about events at Les Classiques and said only that the store did seem to be an answering service and that he had arranged to meet the man at the switchboard later that night.

“Where did you leave the money?” he asked.

“At the Meurice Hotel. I took a room there.”

“Let’s collect it and then have some dinner.”

As Marie used the bathroom, he wrote a quick note:

Go back to Canada and say nothing. I know where to find you.

He put the note on the table as they left the room. I love you so much. But you cannot die with me. You must not. I am Cain.

They collected the leather case and then stood in the street waiting for a taxi. Bourne looked at Marie. She was staring at something - in disbelief, in terror. Without warning, she screamed. He looked around, trying to find the reason, and then he saw the newspaper stand. He realized that he could not leave her now - not yet.

The front page of the newspaper read:

Woman hunted for Zurich killings

Suspect believed to have stolen millions

Under the words was a picture of Marie St. Jacques.

Bourne found some coins in his pocket, passed them to the newspaper-seller, took two papers, and pulled Marie away.

Back in the hotel, he poured Marie a drink. He heard her cry out, turned quickly, but was too late. She had the note in her hand. “You were leaving! My God, you were leaving me!”

“Not now. Listen to me. I won’t leave you now!”

“Why, Jason? Why?”

“Later. Just hold me. Let me hold you.”

The minutes passed and Marie became calmer.

“Why did you do it?” she asked.

“To protect you. I’ll explain. But first, let’s talk about this.” He pointed to the newspapers. As they read the story, Bourne saw the hand of Carlos behind it. Marie was a way of reaching Cain.

The report was in fact two stories. The first part placed the Canadian government employee at the scene of three murders. Fingerprints had, it said, been found and checked. The second part moved away from fact to fiction: Millions of dollars had, it was believed, been stolen by the Canadian woman and an American man from a secret numbered account at the Gemeinschaft Bank belonging to an American company called Treadstone Seventy-one. Bank codes had been broken using highly-skilled computer work and detailed knowledge of Swiss banking practices. A bank official, Herr Apfel, had agreed that a crime had been committed, but was unable to give any more information.

Marie let her copy of the newspaper drop to the floor.

“Lies,” Bourne said. “Find you, and Carlos finds me. I’m sorry.”

“But so much is true,” Marie said. “The Gemeinschaft, Treadstone, Apfel. Swiss bankers don’t talk. Apfel was ordered to talk, by someone very powerful. Why? Why was the bank made part of the story? This isn’t one story - it’s two. The second story was added to the first. Someone is trying to send us a message.”

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