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'Certainly. I learned it from Bergeron. A residence in New York City, on East Seventy-first Street. Number One-forty. Isn't that correct?'

'Possibly . . . Anything else?'

'Only what you obviously know, the strategy of which I admit eludes me. '

'Which is?'

'That the Americans think you turned. Better phrased, they want Carlos to believe they think you turned. '

'Why?' He was closer. It was here!

The story is a long period of silence, six months to be exact. Coinciding with Cain's inactivity. Plus stolen funds, but mainly the silence. '

That was it. The message. The silence. The months in Port Noir. The madness in Zurich, the insanity in Paris. No one could possibly know what had happened. He was being told to come in. To surface. You were right, Marie, my love, my dearest love. You were right from the beginning!

'Nothing else, then?* asked Bourne, trying to control the impatience in his voice, anxious now beyond any anxiety he had known to get back to Marie.

'It's all I know, but please understand, I was never told that much. I was brought in because of my knowledge of Medusa -and it was established that Cain was from Medusa - but I was never part of Carlos's inner circle. '

'You were close enough. Thank you. ' Jason put several notes on the table and started to slide across the booth.

There's one thing,' said d'Anjou. "I'm not sure it's relevant now, but they know your name is not Jason Bourne. '

'What?'

'March twenty-fifth. Don't you remember, Delta? It's only two days from now, and the date's very important to Carlos. Word has been spread. He wants your corpse on the twenty-fifth. He wants to deliver it to the Americans on that day. '

'What are you trying to say?'

'On 25 March 1968, Jason Bourne was executed at Tarn Quan. You executed him. '

31

She opened the door and for a moment he stood looking at her, seeing the large brown eyes that roamed his face, eyes that were afraid yet curious. She knew. Not the answer, but that there was an answer, and he had come back to tell her what it was. He walked into the room; she closed the door.

'It happened,' she said.

'It happened. ' Bourne turned and reached for her. She came to him and they held each other, the silence of the embrace saying more than any spoken words. 'You were right,' he whispered finally, his lips against her soft hair. 'There's a great deal I don't know - may never know - but you were right. I'm not Cain because there is no Cain, there never was. Not the Cain they talk about; he never existed. He's a myth invented to draw out Carlos. I'm that creation. A man from Medusa called Delta agreed to become a lie named Cain. I'm that man. '

She pulled back, still holding him. ' "Cain is for Charlie. . . "' She said the words quietly.

' "And Delta is for Cain",' completed Jason. 'You've heard me say it?'

Marie nodded. 'Yes. One night in the room in Switzerland, you shouted it in your sleep. You never mentioned Carlos; just Cain . . . Delta. I said something to you in the morning about it, but you didn't answer me. You just looked out of the window. '

'Because I didn't understand. I still don't, but I accept it It explains so many things. '

She nodded again. 'The provocateur. The code words you use, the strange phrases, the perceptions. But why? Why you?'

' "To clean a slate somewhere. " That's what he said. '

'Who said?'

'D'Anjou. '

The man on the steps in Pare Monceau? The switchboard operator?'

The man from Medusa. I knew him in Medusa. '

'What did he say?'

Bourne told her. And as he did, he could see in her the relief he had felt in himself. There was a light in her eyes, and a muted throbbing in her neck, sheer joy bursting from her throat. It was almost as if she could barely wait for him to finish so she could hold him again.

'Jason!' she cried, taking his face in her hands. 'Darling, my darling! My friend has come back to me! It's everything we knew, everything we felt I *

'Not quite everything,' he said, touching her cheek. 'I'm Jason to you, Bourne to me, because that's the name I was given, and have to use it because I don't have any other. But it's not mine. '

'An invention?'

'No, he was real. They say I killed him in a place called Tarn Quan. '

She took her hands away from his face, sliding them to his shoulders, not letting him go. "There must have been a reason. '

'I hope so. I don't know. Maybe it's the slate I'm trying to clean. '

'It doesn't matter' she said, releasing him. 'It's in the past, ten years ago. All that matters now is that you reach the men at Treadstone, because they're trying to reach you. '

'D'Anjou said word was out that the Americans think I've turned. No word from me in over six months, millions taken out of Zurich. They must think I'm the most expensive miscalculation on record. '

'You can explain what happened. You haven't knowingly broken your agreement; on the other hand you can't go on. It's impossible. All the training you received means nothing to you. It's there only in fragments - images and phrases that you can't relate to anything. People you're supposed to know, you don't know. They're faces without names, without reasons for being where they are, or what they are. '

Bourne took off his coat and pulled the automatic from his belt He studied the cylinder - the ugly, perforated extension of the barrel that guaranteed to reduce the decibel count of a gunshot to a spit. It sickened him. He walked to the bureau, put the weapon inside and pushed the drawer shut. He held onto the knobs for a moment, his eyes straying to the mirror, to the face in the glass that had no name.

'What do I say to them?' he asked. 'This is Jason Bourne calling. Of course, I know that's not my name because I killed a man named Jason Bourne, but it's the one you gave me . . . I'm sorry, gentlemen, but something happened to me on the way to Marseilles. I lost something - nothing you can put a price on - just my memory. Now, I gather we've got an agreement, but I don't remember what it is, except for crazy phrases like "Get Carlos!" and "Trap Carlos!" and something about Delta being Cain and Cain is supposed to replace Charlie and Charlie is really Carlos. Things like that, which may lead you to think I do remember. You might even say to yourselves "we've got one prime bastard here. Let's put him away for a couple of decades in a very tight stockade. He not only took us, but worse, he could prove to be one hell of an embarrassment. "' Bourne turned from the mirror and looked at Marie. 'I'm not kidding. What do I say?'

The truth,' she answered. They'll accept it. They've sent you a message; they're trying to reach you. As far as the six months is concerned, wire Washburn in Port Noir. He kept records -extensive, detailed records. '

'He may not answer. We had our own agreement. For putting me back together he was to receive a third of Zurich, untraceable to him. I sent him over a million American dollars. '

'Do you think that would stop him from helping you?'

Jason paused. 'He may not be able to help himself. He's got a problem; he's a drunk. Not a drinker. A drunk. The worst kind; he knows it and likes it. How long can he live with a million dollars? More to the point, how long do you think those waterfront pirates will let him live once they find out?'



Tags: Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader Jason Bourne Thriller
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