'Who killed him?'
'The speculation was Communist fanatics; he'd managed to block some legislation or other that favoured the extreme-left wing. After he was murdered, the ranks fell apart and the legislation was passed. Many think that's why Villiers left the army and stood for the National Assembly ... That's what's so improbable, so contradictory. After all, his son was assassinated; you'd think the last person on earth he'd want to have anything to do with would be a professional assassin.'
'There's also something else. You said he was welcomed back to Paris because he was never directly implicated in the terrorism...'
'If he was,' interrupted Marie, 'it was buried. They're more tolerant of passionate causes over here where patriotism and the bed are concerned. And he was a legitimate hero, don't forget that.'
'But once a terrorist, always a terrorist, don't you forget that.'
'I can't agree. People change.'
'Not about some things. No terrorist ever forgets how effective he's been; he lives on it.'
'How would you know that?'
'I'm not sure I want to ask myself right now.'
'But I am sure about Villiers. I'm going to reach him.' Bourne crossed to the bedside table and picked up the telephone book. 'Let's see if he's listed or if that number's private. I'll need his address.'
'You won't get near him. If he's Carlos's connection, he'll be guarded. They'll kill you on sight; they have your photograph remember?"
'It won't help them. I won't be what they're looking for ... Here it is. Villiers, A. F. Pare Monceau.'
'I still can't believe it. Just knowing whom she was calling must have put the Lavier woman in shock.'
'Or frightened her to the point where she'd do anything.'
'Doesn't it strike you as odd that she'd be given that number?'
'Not under the circumstances. Carlos wants his drones to know he isn't kidding. He wants Cain.'
Marie stood up. 'Jason? What's a "drone"?'
Bourne looked up at her. 'I don't know ... Someone who works blind for somebody else.'
'Blind? Not seeing?'
'Not knowing. Thinking he's doing one thing when he's really doing something else.'
'I don't understand.'
'Let's say I tell you to watch for a car at a certain street corner. The car never shows up, but the fact that you're there tells someone else who's watching for you that something else has happened.'
'Arithmetically, an untraceable message.'
'Yes, I guess so."
'That's what happened in Zurich. Walther Apfel was a drone. He released that story about the theft not knowing what he was really saying.'
'It's a good guess that you were being told to reach someone."
'Treadstone Seventy-one,' said Jason. 'We're back to Villiers. Carlos found me in Zurich through the Gemeinschaft. That means he had to know about Treadstone; it's a good chance that Villiers does too. If he doesn't, there may be a way of getting him to find out for us.'
'His name. If he's everything you say he is, he thinks pretty highly of it. The honour-of-France coupled with a pig like Carlos might have an effect. I'll threaten to go to the police, to the papers.'
'He'd simply deny it. He'd say it's outrageous.'
'Let him. It isn't. That was his number in Lavier's office. Besides, any retraction will be on the same page-as his obituary.'
'You still have to get to him."
'I will. I'm part chameleon, remember?'
The tree-lined street in Pare Monceau seemed familiar somehow, but not in the sense that he had walked it before. Instead, it was the atmosphere. Two rows of well-kept stone houses, doors and windows glistening, metalwork shining, steps washed clean, the lighted rooms beyond filled with hanging plants. It was a monied street in a wealthy section of the city, and he
knew he had been exposed to one like it before, and that exposure had meant something.
It was 7:35 in the evening, the March night cold, the sky clear and the chameleon dressed for the occasion. Bourne's blond hair was covered by a cap, his neck concealed beneath the collar of a jacket that spelled out the name of a messenger service across the back. Slung over his shoulder was a canvas strap attached to a nearly empty satchel; it was the end of this particular messenger's run. He had two or three stops to make, perhaps four or five if he thought they were necessary; he would know in a moment. The envelopes were not really envelopes at all, but brochures advertising the pleasures of the Bateau Mouche, picked up from a hotel lobby. He would select at random several houses near General Villiers's residence and deposit the brochures in letterboxes. His eyes would record everything they saw, one thing sought above everything else. What kind of security arrangements did Villiers have? Who guarded the general and how many were there?
And because he had been convinced he would find either men in cars or other men walking their posts, he was startled to realize there was no one. Andre Francois Villiers, militarist, spokesman for his cause, and the prime connection to Carlos, had no external security arrangements whatsoever. If he was protected, that protection was solely within the house. Considering the enormity of his crime, Villiers was either arrogant to the point of carelessness or a damn fool.
Jason climbed the steps of an adjacent residence; Villiers's door no more than twenty feet away. He deposited the brochure in the slot, glancing up at the windows of Villiers's house, looking for a face, a figure. There was no one.
The door twenty feet away suddenly opened. Bourne crouched, thrusting his hand beneath his jacket for his gun, thinking he was a damn fool; someone more observant than he had spotted him. But the words he heard told him it wasn't so. A middle-aged couple - a uniformed maid and a dark-jacketed man - were talking in the doorway.
'Make sure the ashtrays are clean,' said the woman. 'You know how he dislikes ashtrays that are stuffed full.'
'He drove this afternoon,' answered the man. 'That means they're full now.'
'Clean them in the garage; you've got time. He won't be down for another ten minutes. He doesn't have to be in Nanterre until eight-thirty."
The man nodded, pulling up the lapels of his jacket as he started down the steps. Ten minutes,' he said aimlessly.
The door closed and silence returned to the quiet street. Jason stood up, his hand on the railing, watching the man hurry down the pavement. He was not sure where Nanterre was, only that it was a suburb of Paris. And if Villiers was driving there himself, and if he was alone, there was no point in postponing confrontation.
Bourne shifted the strap on his shoulder and walked rapidly down the steps, turning left on the pavement Ten minutes.
Jason watched through the windscreen as the door opened and General Andre Fracois Villiers came into view. He was a medium-sized, barrel-chested man in his late sixties, perhaps early seventies. He was hatless, with close-cropped grey hair and a meticulously groomed white chin beard. His bearing was unmistakably military, imposing his body on the surrounding space, entering it by breaking it, invisible walls collapsing as he moved.
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