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'Get out of here!' yelled Bourne to the terrified driver, as he threw three hundred francs over the seat and wedged his soft felt hat into the well of the rear window. The taxi shot ahead towards the stone gates of the Louvre. Now.

Jason slid back across the seat, opened the door, and rolled out on to the cobblestone pavement, shouting his last instructions to the driver. 'If you want to stay alive, get out of here!'

The taxi exploded forward, engine gunning, driver screaming. Bourne dived between two parked cars, now bidden from the grey saloon, and got up slowly, peering between the windows. Carlos's men were quick, professional, losing no moment in the pursuit. They had the taxi in view, the cab no match for the powerful saloon, and in that taxi was the target The man behind the wheel pulled the car into gear and raced ahead as his companion held the microphone, the antenna rising from its recess. Orders were being shouted to another sedan nearer the great stone steps. The speeding taxi swerved out into the street by the River Seine, the large grey car directly behind it. As they passed within feet of Jason, the expressions on the two men's faces said it all. They had Cain in their sights, the trap had closed, and they would earn their pay in a matter of minutes.

The reverse trap by the nature of its single complication must be swift and simpler still. . .

A matter of minutes . . . He had only a matter of moments if everything he believed was so. D'Anjou! The contact had played his role - his minor role - and was expendable - as Jacqueline Lavier had been expendable.

Bourne ran out from between the two cars towards the black saloon; it was no more than fifty yards ahead. He could see the two men; they were converging on Philippe d'Anjou, who was still pacing in front of the marble steps. One accurate shot from either man and d'Anjou would be dead, Treadstone Seventy-one gone with him. Jason ran faster, his hand inside his coat, gripping the heavy automatic.

Carlos's soldiers were only yards away, now hurrying themselves, the execution to be quick, the condemned man cut down before he understood what was happening.

'Medusa!' roared Bourne, not knowing why he shouted the name rather than d'Anjou's own. 'Medusa, Medusa*. '

D'Anjou's head snapped up, shock on his face. The driver of the black saloon had spun round, his weapon levelled at Jason, while his companion moved towards d'Anjou, his gun aimed at the former Medusan. Bourne dived to his right, the automatic extended, steadied by his left hand. He fired in mid-air, his aim accurate; the man closing in on d'Anjou arched backwards as his stiffened legs were caught in an instant of paralysis; he collapsed on the cobblestones. Two spits exploded over Jason's head, the bullets impacting into metal behind him. He rolled to his left, his gun again steady, directed at the second man. He pulled the trigger twice; the driver screamed, an eruption of blood spreading across his face as he fell.

Hysteria swept through the crowds. Men and women screamed, parents threw themselves over children, others ran up the steps through the great doors of the Louvre as guards tried to get outside. Bourne rose to his feet, looking for d'Anjou. The older man had lunged behind the block of white granite, his great figure now crawling awkwardly in terror out of his sanctuary. Jason raced through the panicked crowd, shoving the automatic into his belt, separating the hysterical bodies that stood between himself and the man who could give him the answers. Treadstone! Treadstone!

He reached the grey-haired Medusan. 'Get up!' he ordered. 'Let's get out of here!'

'Delta! . . . It was Carlos's man! I know him, I've used him! He was going to kill me!'

'I know. Come on! Quickly! Others'11 be coming back; they'll be looking for us. Come on!'

A patch of black fell across Bourne's eyes, at the corner of his eyes. He spun around, instinctively shoving d'Anjou down as four rapid shots came from a gun held by a dark figure standing by the line of taxis. Fragments of granite and marble exploded all around them. It was him! The wide, heavy shoulders that floated in space, the tapered waist outlined by a form-fitting black suit . . . the dark-skinned face encased in a white silk scarf below the narrow-brimmed black hat Carlos! Get Carlos! Trap Carlos! Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain! False!

Find Treadstone! Find a message; find a man! Find Jason Bourne!

He was going mad! Blurred images from the past converged with the terrible reality of the present, driving him insane. The doors of his mind opened and closed, crashing open, crashing shut; light streaming out one moment, darkness the next. The pain returned to his temples with sharp, jarring notes of deafening thunder. He started after the man in the black suit with the white silk scarf wrapped around his face. Then he saw the eyes and the barrel of the gun, three dark orbs zeroed in on him like black laser beams. Bergeron? . . . Was it Bergeron? Was it? Or Zurich . . . or . . . No time!

He feigned to his left then dived to the right, out of the line of fire. Bullets splattered into stone, the screeches of ricochets following each explosion. Jason spun under a stationary car, he could see the figure in black racing away between the wheels. The pain remained, but the thunder stopped. He crawled out on the cobblestones, rose to his feet and ran back towards the steps of the Louvre.

What had he done? D'Anjou was gone. ' How had it happened? The reverse trap was no trap at all! His own strategy had been used against him, permitting the only man who could give him the answers to escape. He had followed Carlos's soldiers, but Carlos bad followed him since Saint-Honore. It was all for nothing, a sickening hollowness spread through him.

And then he heard the words, spoken from behind a nearby car. Philippe d'Anjou came cautiously into view.

Tam Quan's never far away it seems. Where shall we go, Delta? We can't stay here. '

They sat inside a curtained booth in a crowded cafe1 on the rue Visage, a back street that was hardly more than an alley in Montmartre. D'Anjou sipped his double brandy, his voice low, pensive.

'I shall return to Asia,' he said. To Singapore or Hong Kong or even the Seychelles, perhaps. France was never very good for me; now it's deadly. '

'You may not have to,' said Bourne, swallowing the whisky, the warm liquid spreading quickly, inducing a brief, spatial calm. 'I meant what I said. You tell me what I want to know. I'll give you. . . " He stopped, the doubts sweeping over him; no, he would say it. 'I'll give you Carlos's identity. '

'I'm not remotely interested,' replied the former Medusan, watching Jason closely. 'I'll tell you whatever I can. Why should I withhold anything? Obviously, I won't go to the authorities, but if I have information that could help you take

Carlos, the world would be a safer place for me, wouldn't it? Personally, however, I wish no involvement'

'You're not even curious?'

'Academically, perhaps, for your expression tells me I'll be shocked. So ask your questions, and then astonish me. '

'You'll be shocked. '

Without warning d'Anjou said the name quietly. 'Bergeron?1

Jason did not move; speechless, he stared at the older man. D'Anjou continued.

'I've thought about it over and over again. Whenever we talk I look at him and wonder. Each time, however, I reject the idea. '

'Why?' Bourne interrupted, refusing to acknowledge the Medusan's accuracy.

'Mind you, I'm not sure, I just feel it's wrong. Perhaps because I've learned more about Carlos from Rone" Bergeron than anyone else. He's obsessed by Carlos; he's worked for him for years, takes enormous pride in the confidence. My problem is that he talks too much about him. '

Tags: Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader Jason Bourne Thriller