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'Not yours. Mine. '

Treadstone?

He knew! Philippe d'Anjou had the answer! Remain calm. Don't let your anxiety show.

'Seventy-one,' completed Jason. 'Just a simple question and I'll disappear. And when you give me the answer - the truth - I'll give you something in exchange. '

'What could I possibly want from you? Except you?'

'Information that may let you live. It's no guarantee, but believe me when I tell you, you won't live without it. Pare Monceau, d'Anjou. '

Silence again. Bourne could picture the grey-haired former Medusan staring at his switchboard, the name of the wealthy Paris district echoing louder and louder in his mind. There was death from Pare Monceau and d'Anjou knew it as surely as he knew the dead woman in Neuilly-sur-Seine was Jacqueline Lavier.

'What might that information be?' asked d'Anjou.

'The identity of your employer. A name and sufficient proof to have sealed in an envelope and given to a lawyer, to be held throughout your natural life. But if your life were to end unnaturally, even accidentally, he'd be instructed to open the envelope and reveal the contents. It's protection, d'Anjou. '

'I see,' said the Medusan softly. 'But you say men watch me, follow me. '

'Cover yourself,' said Jason. 'Tell them the truth. You've got a number to call, haven't you?'

'Yes, there's a number, a man. ' The older man's voice rose slightly in astonishment

'Reach him, tell him exactly what I said . . except for the exchange, of course. Say I contacted you, want a meeting with you. It's to be outside the Louvre in an hour. The truth. '

'You're insane. '

'I know what I'm doing. '

'You usually did . . . You're creating your own trap, mounting your own execution. '

'In which event you may be amply rewarded. "

'Or executed myself, if what you say is so. '

'Let's find out if it is. I'll make contact with you one way or another, take my word for it. They have my photographs; they'll know it when I do. Better a controlled situation than one in which there's no control at all. '

'Now I hear Delta,' said d'Anjou. 'He doesn't create his own trap; he doesn't walk in front of a firing squad and ask for a blindfold. '

'No, he doesn't,' agreed Bourne. 'You don't have a choice, d'Anjou. One hour. Outside the Louvre. '

The success of any trap lies in its fundamental simplicity. The reverse trap by the nature of its single complication must be swift and simpler still.

The words came to him as he waited in the taxi in Saint-Honore, down the street from Les Classiques. He had asked the driver to take him round the block twice, an American tourist whose wife was shopping in the strip of haute couture. Sooner or later she would emerge from one of the stores and he would find her.

What he found was Carlos's surveillance. The rubber-capped antenna on the black saloon was both the proof and the danger signal. He would feel more secure if that radio transmitter were shorted out, but there was no way to do it. The alternative was misinformation. Some time during the next forty-five minutes Jason would do his best to make sure the wrong message was sent over that radio. From his concealed position in the back seat, he studied the two men in the car across the way. If there was anything that set them apart from a hundred other men like them in Saint-Honore, it was the fact that they did not talk.

Philippe d'Anjou walked out onto the pavement, a grey Homburg covering his grey hair. His glances swept the street, telling Bourne that the former Medusan had covered himself. He had called a number; he had relayed his startling information; he knew there were men in a car prepared to follow him.

A taxi, apparently ordered by phone, pulled up to the kerb. D'Anjou spoke to the driver and climbed inside. Across the street an antenna rose ominously out of its cradle; the hunt was on.

The saloon pulled out after d'Anjou's taxi; it was the confirmation Jason needed. He leaned forward and spoke to the driver. 'I forgot,' he said irritably. 'She said it was the Louvre this morning, shopping this afternoon. Christ, I'm a half an hour late. Take me to the Louvre, will you please?'

'Mais out, monsieur, le Louvre. '

Twice during the short ride to the monumental facade that overlooked the Seine, Jason's taxi passed the black saloon, only to be subsequently passed by it. The proximity gave Bourne the opportunity to see exactly what he needed to see. The man beside the driver spoke repeatedly into the hand-held radio microphone. Carlos was making sure the trap had no loose spikes; others were closing in on the execution ground.

They came to the enormous entrance of the Louvre. 'Pull in behind those other taxis,' said Jason.

'But they wait for fares. Monsieur. I have a fare; you are my fare. I will take you to the. . . '

'Just do as I say,' said Bourne dropping fifty francs over the seat.

The driver swerved into the line. The black saloon was twenty yards away on the right; the man on the radio had turned in the seat and was looking out of the left rear window. Jason followed his gaze and saw what he thought he might see. Several hundred feet to the west in the huge square was a grey car, the car that had followed Jacqueline Lavier and Villiers's wife to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, and sped the latter away from Neuilly-sur-Seine after she had escorted Lavier to her final confession. Its antenna could be seen retracting down into its base. Over on the right, Carlos's soldier no longer held the microphone. The black saloon's antenna was also receding; contact had been made, visual sighting confirmed Four men. These were Carlos's executioners.

Bourne concentrated on the crowds in front of the Louvre entrance, spotting the elegantly dressed d'Anjou instantly. He was pacing slowly, cautiously, back and forth by the large block of white granite that flanked the marble steps on the left. Now. It was time to send the misinformation. 'Pull out,' ordered Jason. 'What, Monsieur?"

Two hundred francs if you do exactly what I tell you. Pull out and go to the front of the line, then make two left turns, heading back to the next aisle. ' 'I don't understand, Monsieur!' 'You don't have to. Three hundred francs. ' The driver swung right and proceeded to the head of the line, where he spun the wheel, sending the taxi to the left towards the row of parked cars. Bourne pulled the automatic from his belt, keeping it between his knees, and checked the silencer, twisting the cylinder taut.

'Where do you wish to go, Monsieur?' asked the bewildered driver as they entered the aisle leading back towards the entrance to the Louvre.

'Slow down!' said Jason. That large grey car up ahead, the one pointing to the Seine exit Do you see it?' 'But, of course. "

'Go around it slowly, to the right. ' Bourne slid over to the left side of the seat and rolled down the window, keeping his head and the weapon concealed. He would show both in a matter of seconds.

The taxi approached the saloon's boot, the driver spinning the wheel again. They were parallel. Jason thrust his head and his gun into view. He aimed for the grey car's right rear window and fired, five spits coming one after another, shattering the glass, stunning the two men who screamed at each other, lurching below the window frames to the floor of the front seat But they had seen him. That was the misinformation.



Tags: Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader Jason Bourne Thriller
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