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The new JAMES BOND novel

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#1 volante

volante

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 05:19 PM

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The death of an MI6 asset in Lisbon

draws James Bond into a web of intrigue.
Something is missing from Buckingham Palace.
Something which could destroy the Monarchy.
Whatever it is, 007 must ensure it never surfaces.
It and all involved must be eliminated.
Absolutely.






Previously from ‘A Secret to the Grave’…



James Bond was dead.
Within MI6 all those that had known him had mourned and accepted that fact; all that was except for M.
It was a cold night in London when M met with James Bond in the crypt of St Andrew’s church in Holborn. The rain had drained the life from the city, flushing it down the drains. M’s mood was somber, for a man who held the moral of truth close to his heart, the deception of Bond’s death had come at a price. Their conversation was brief and to the point.
M began “Are you ready to be re born?” the words gently echoed.
Bond shook his head “Not yet”
M looked on expectedly “But you gave the list to the Americans?”
Bond gave a faint nod of his head as a reply.
M continued “Then I’m sure the CIA will…” M stopped mid-sentence, he sensed there was something else.
“…All of it?” he inclined his head, inviting an answer.
“I removed one entry. One name"
“Why?” asked M
“It alluded to certain evidence which could prove to be very embarrassing to the Government, if it ever came to light. It mentions one name that I believe should meet with a career limiting experience before I come back from the dead. Don’t worry I’ll make it look like …”
M held up his hand “Who is it?”
Bond smiled, he moved effortlessly around the room, like a boxer looking for an opening
“You really don’t want to know”
“You’re probably right” they stood in silence; the low level lighting now put Bond’s face in shadow. M was about to continue but thought better of it.
“I’ll get started then” said Bond.

***
At 120 MPH the train punched a hole through the air big enough to produce a shockwave that rippled outward. Buffeting trees, chain-link fences and double glazed windows in buildings that stood close to the track.
Inside one of the first class carriages, in cosseted luxury James Bond read with interest that under the guidance of the French police, arrests of leaders of illegal immigrant smuggling gangs had been made throughout the previous night.
The head of the team investigating the illicit migration said that the five-nation police investigation (the largest ever in Europe), was acting upon information supplied by the CIA.
Within his mind’s eye Bond traced the route the immigrants would probably take across Turkey, Greece and Italy. They would go through Paris, then on to Calais to be smuggled into the UK aboard British-bound Lorries, sometimes with the knowledge of the drivers, sometimes without.
Bond folded the newspaper; finally LeCoyte Chelan’s empire was being dismantled. Bond felt the closure of Operation Domino was almost complete. “Bully for you Felix” He said to himself, knowing it was his crippled friend in the CIA that had supplied the information to allow the arrests to take place.
He imagined Leiter chuckling to himself back at Langley; the final victory over an old advisory. But the Operation still had one loose end to tidy up. Bolstered by the fact he was not quiet alone in his quest, he decided to go to the bar for a drink.
With a whoosh the Eurostar entered the channel tunnel, the windows turned to mirrors. Bond caught sight of his own reflection, the curved surfaces made him look even more haunted than ever.
But it didn’t deflate his demeanor.
James Bond knew there was to be no back-up on this mission; he knew he was on his own.
His mission was simple; kill one man whose activities would cause acute embarrassment for the British government.
Until that man was eliminated James Bond would remain dead.






Chapter One


MILONGA




Three months later…

Within the semi darkness of the room, two figures moved slowly toward each other. The shadows revealed a man. He looked to be in his early fifties, he was tall and slim, dressed in what appeared to be a black pinstripe suit. His hair; darkened and slicked down with gel served only to extenuate his dark features. Menacingly, with eyes like a hawk he moved closer to the girl, his breath was held as the tension mounted within him.
With dark eyes framed by long dark lashes she looked up at him, her eyes widened, as if she had only just noticed his presence. Her skin was pale she looked less than half his age, her tight fitting red silk dress left little to the imagination; a fact that appeared to inflame the man’s desire toward her.
His fingers touched her naked shoulder; she gasped, and turned to accept the touch of his cheek against her own with breathless abandon.
A droplet of sweat ran across his brow. He seized her waist, but she slipped away from his embrace, turning her face away, she stepped back, but the man caught her in one quick step. The girl brought her knee up toward his groin; but then allowed her instep to gently glide down his shin. The man stepped over her outstretched leg and faced her again. His movements were urgent. He pulled her close to him, this time she melted into his embrace.
The accordion player began to play a slow sexual melody. It was the most authentic, gritty, and emotional version of a classic tango tune the audience had ever heard. The crowd let out an audible sigh.
The spotlights intensified, picking out the two dancers within the haze of smoke that filled the club. The crowd watched on expectedly. The music drew in the crowd like a magician weaving a spell.
Moving with speed and skill the girl executed three reverse ‘ochos’, the sexy figure of eight movements accompanied by swaying suggestive hips. As she moved in time to the music, her dark eyes never left those of her dance partner. The audience watched their progress, half voyeuristic, half in awe.
“Wow” the bubbly blonde girl turned to her date, her voice thick with suggestion “I guess the couple that invented the tango dance had a real love hate relationship?” she looked deep into his eyes, trying, but failing to express the look of desire exchanged between the dancers.
“Do you know who first ‘made it up’ so to speak?” the hint of a Welsh accent came across suggestively.
“The exact origins of the tango are lost in myth” answered James Bond.
The girl’s exuberance evaporated instantly, she looked momentarily concerned
“But you know all those moves, right? You can teach me how to dance like that?” Her finger pointed lazily toward the dance floor
“Of course” Bond reached across the small table and took her hand.
“Champagne?”
“Oh yes” She screeched; her own effervesce matching that of any of the great French sparkling wines. Bond winced inwardly at the harshness of the noise. The others in the audience hardly noticed the interruption.
Suddenly she lowered her voice and lent forward, her other hand clasping his. Her eyes became large.
“You think they have any champagne here?” with a flick of her eyes, she gestured at the cobweb- and dust-covered bottles lining the walls of the tiny venue. The crowd pressed forward watching the dancers.
Bond ordered a Bollinger ’61. He knew the generally accepted theory of the origin of the Tango came from the mid-1800s. When African slaves brought to Argentina had begun to influence the local culture.
The word "tango" in African means "reserved ground" Or it may derive from the Portuguese “to touch”.
Whatever its origin, the word "tango" acquired the meaning of the place where African slaves and free blacks gathered to dance. Bond also knew that conveying any of that information would have been lost on the very excitable Carrie Anne McGuire, from Cardiff.
James Bond had chosen this club, known as a Milonga very carefully, after a long night of research. He knew that although “Club 12 de Octubre” (known to the locals as "El Bar de Roberto" after its owner, a giant of an ex rugby international player who presided behind the heavy wooden bar every night), had a reputation for dispatching ginebra (a local gin) to the old-timers and icy beer and cheap wine to the student crowd; it also boasted a magnificent cellar.
As the dancers finished their erotic Tango, the waiter returned with an ice bucket and stand, followed closely by the huge lumbering Roberto himself. His cauliflower ear and broken nose added to the ‘gentle giant’ look. His rough scarred hands worked delicately on the bottle, turning it lovingly easing the cork out. With the patience of a saint he carefully popped the cork.
Carrie Anne screamed with delight. Just before Roberto poured, Bond wiped the scarcely used wine flutes with his handkerchief. Roberto gave him a withering look, but Bond held his gaze. With skill Roberto poured the sparkling liquid into their flutes, the effervescent bubbles foaming right to the very top.
“A very good choice my friend” Bond thought he meant the champagne not the woman. After placing the bottle in the ice bucket Roberto brushed his giant hands over the table, picking at imaginary crumbs from the linen cloth. He lent in close to Bond, his voice was quiet and calm against the thunderous applause for the two expert dancers.
“When the crowd takes over, the real action starts; it gets going at around 2 am it's usually so packed on the dance floor there's no room to breathe, it could get rough…” with a purse of his lips he looked concernedly at Carrie Anne.
“…for a delicate lady, of limited dance experience”
“Thank-you Roberto; but we will be gone before then” answered Bond
Roberto stole a glance a Carrie Anne, and smiled knowingly at Bond.




***

James Bond had chosen his date for the night, not because of her personality, or desirability, although she was passably attractive, but because of her availability. He had chosen her because of her profession, and subsequent living arrangements.
In a means to an end of his lone undercover mission, Bond had observed the girl for the past three weeks, noting not only her work habits and domestic routines, but her preoccupation with the night life of the Tango milongas around Buenos Aries.
Understanding what would ‘press the right buttons’, Bond had approached Carrie Anne with a plausible request for directions to the little known (to non-tango aficionados) club “12 de Octubre”. Immediately her curiosity had been pricked; so over a coffee atLas Violetas Bond turned on the charm offensive and effortlessly invited her out for the evening.
Most cafés in Buenos Aires serve a decent cortado. But few places do it as well as the historically significant café on the Avenue Rivadavia .
Carrie Anne had fallen in love with the place from the first moment she ever set foot in the bar; not long after she first began working for N.S.L. Now, in the familiar surroundings in a place of comfort she began to fall for Bond; or at least the cover name he had given her.
As is the way in Buenos Aries, they took their time drinking the strong rich coffee. Around them other couples chatted, whilst against the back wall of the café a flat screen TV played the local news programme. Bond became aware of the scenes of civil unrest that were broadcast silently, with the bullet points tracking across the screen, on a never ending loop. Bond replaced his cup on the china saucer, and pointed to the TV.
“What’s their problem?”
Her mood became somber; she fidgeted in her chair “Argentina is a major agricultural producer. The entire economy is based on the worldwide demand. As that demand has risen over the past year it’s pushed the processing of these commodities to levels beyond the capacity of the farmers”
Bond pretended to struggle with her statement; then carefully he asked
“How do you increase production of commodities such as cows, wheat, corn, and soy within a 12 month period?”
“You don’t”
Bond took a moment to process the information, he made a measured response. “You seem well informed…”
“…That’s all part of my job” Carrie Anne interrupted
“Really, tell me more”
Carrie Anne took a deep breath, as she looked at Bond fear flashed across her eyes, suddenly she realized she knew nothing about this charming man sitting opposite her, he could be anybody; a reporter, a spy for a rival company.
He had told her he was visiting Argentina to perfect his dancing skills, she wanted to believe him, he certainly looked the part; a well-muscled lean body filled out his expensive suit. When he moved it was with grace and purpose. But to reveal what she knew about the activities of N.S.L. so early in a relationship was potentially dangerous. Bond in turn recognized the look and reacted accordingly, it was important not to spook her. He casually became pre-occupied with the pictures on the TV.
After a minute or so she offered “Whoever pays the asking price gets the product these days. The black market is thriving”
Bond turned back to her; his answer was unrushed, as if he were just making polite conversation

“That would make the exportation of agricultural commodities a huge business for certain companies”
“Yes” She said. Silently she thought about the profits currently pouring into the N.S.L. coffers.





***


Now, naked in her own bed she lay sleeping soundly, helped by the drug Bond had smeared into her glass at the club, her mind at rest.
Quietly Bond took the swipe card from her bag. Recalling the blueprints of the complex, Bond walked quickly from the girl’s apartment to the main house, keeping to the shadows. The cold wind cut through his thin jacket.
He swiped the card through the slot by the door, and the hum changed in intensity, releasing the lock. Bond pushed the heavy door open and silently slipped inside. A bank of lights and an illuminated key pad faced him, it began beeping urgently. James Bond pressed the keys to disable the alarm and made his way across the hall; the portraits of anonymous ‘turn of the century’ farmers looked down upon him.
Remembering the blueprints again, Bond avoided the first and second step on the main staircase, knowing pressure pads were in place under the chocolate brown Wilton carpet. He climbed the stairs, feeling the thrill of the chase course through his taught body. In the main bedroom Bond took stock of the situation. The king size bed contained one single figure.
Bond approached the bed. Through the gloom he looked at the sleeping man, his features matched the photographs. Bond gently pulled down the duvet; and observed the man’s naked shoulder. With precision he jabbed the hypodermic syringe into the fleshy muscle. The cartridge exploded and the contents were thrust into the man’s bloodstream.
“What the?” The man sat bolt upright in his bed, his hand slapped his arm, swatting at an imaginary mosquito. Immediately he saw the figure above him.
“Keep still, keep quite!” Bond said; his voice was steady.
The man reacted well, his hands began to rise.
“Okay take it easy” He answered in English, his voice was nervous but his calm was returning fast.
“I've just injected you with some poison” Bond said as a matter of fact.
“Who are you what do you want?” The question was delivered quickly; he’d ignored the problem and began looking for the solution. Bond was impressed. He stood calmly, his shoulders relaxed. Carefully he put down the syringe.
“Your name is Lincoln Palmer” It was a statement not a question; Bond would not be drawn into answering the questions posed.
The man new his life was in mortal danger, it was pointless to lie
“Yes” Palmer looked about the room, making sure they were alone.
“You work for a company called Nicolas Suszczyk Logistics”
“Yes, that’s not a crime is it?” Nobody else hiding in the shadows.
Bond ignored the question, refusing to be pulled into a conversation which was intended to detract from his objective.
“You knew a man named LeCoyte Chelan” Another statement delivered like a judge passing the death sentence.
Inside his heart thumped. Palmer was aware of Chelan’s death and the arrests of the gang leaders in North America and across Europe. Vanity and a geographical gap had made him believe he was safe, until now.
The understanding of the situation suddenly weighed heavily on his shoulders, his hands began to sag. He inclined his head, and pointed toward the wall safe.
“There’s half a million US dollars in the safe, I’ll give you the combination; just don’t kill me” the plea sounded false, he was playing for time. Palmer had altered his position subtly after the attempted distraction of the safe.
“I already have the combination. But I also have some tools to make it look like a robbery” Bond smiled “Every farmer and local gangster knows how much money you’re fleecing from the country. Everyone in the export business must expect to be a target these days, you’re worse than the bankers”
“But this isn’t about the export business is it?”
“No; I know that cattle aren’t the only livestock you’ve been exporting”
Palmer started nodding, slowly shifting his weight, his eye contact never faltered. “There won’t be a polite arrest by the police will there?”
“No”
“This is about my Father”
“Yes. Having you arrested for being part of Chelan’s people trafficking organisation would have an extremely negative affect on your Father’s position”
Palmer laughed out loud “I always thought my Father’s position was to my advantage. Privileged education, pick of the jobs” He used the movement of his hands to gain purchase on the bed. Ready to spring, ready to fight for his life.
“Police looking the other way on drink and drug infringements” Bond added
The man stifled a laugh “You have done your homework haven’t you. Still that’s what having your Father in the cabinet can do” Palmer lunged at Bond his hands outstretched like claws. Bond twisted to the side and allowed the lunge to pass him by. Palmer lay sprawled on the floor. Bond moved out of range of his legs.
“Looks like Daddy’s job is going to get me killed” he rolled over onto his back
“Yes” There was no emotion in the voice.
Palmer’s eyes narrowed as he looked up from the floor “You’re from the British Secret Service?”
“No”
Palmer stopped debating who had sent his assassin. His hand returned to the mosquito bite of the syringe, his hand gently rubbed the heated skin.
“When will the poison take effect?” He studied the area of his arm where the poison had entered his blood stream.
“I told you your death will look like you were killed by robbers”
Slowly the man’s hand came away from the shoulder. He turned his head to face his assassin.
“There was no poison was there?”
“No” The gun’s retort was loud in the quiet room.


#2 volante

volante

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 01:43 PM

Chapter Two


A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAD




Lisbon, Portugal. Friday Day 1…

Dawn. The sun rose behind the Statue of Christ, illuminating it for all to see across the Tagus River. Citizens of Lisbon who were grateful that Portugal did not join the fight in World War II built the statue as a thank-you to God.

The statue is a replica of ‘Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon offers all the delights one would expect from a modern European capital.

Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colourful cityscape, but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets.

The bright yellow tram lumbered past the curvy tree-lined street behind the main city square. Here and there the early raising Lisboêtas were already strolling through the old quarter, ready for another days work. Much as they’ve done for centuries.

Dressed in black the old lady entered the apartment on Tiago Avenue; she cursed silently, and then, crossing herself for luck she asked god to help her to ascend the impressive staircase which rose above her. Every joint ached as she climbed the stairs; one hand gripped the banister the other held on tightly to the chain that connected the key to her belt. Her breath exited in laboured gasps, her heart beat loudly.

At the bottle green door on the third floor, she inserted the key. Once inside she retrieved her white starched apron from the hall closet. As she crossed the hallway she fastened the apron strings behind her back. She took the broom and a small basket of cleaning equipment from the kitchen. A look of confusion passed over her lined face. She noticed one of the kitchen table chairs was missing. Quickly she scanned the room; no, it was actually missing from the room. Pensive for a moment the mystery of the missing chair soon drifted from her mind. She then decided where she would start the cleaning. The decision was made instantaneously, as it was the same routine every-day. The old cleaning woman decided she would start in the bedroom. She carried her basket and dragged the broom through the lounge. As she entered the bedroom, she noticed that the curtains were still closed. Even stranger the missing kitchen chair was laid on its back.

‘Odd’ she thought. Then she looked up and saw the body of her employer hanging from the exposed wooden beam in the ceiling. The lifeless eyes stared back at her. Her scream was low and mournful. The basket dropped from her hand.

***

The blue and white striped Skoda police car of the Polícia de Segurança Pública(Public Security Police) stood in stark contrast to the pastel shades of the trees in front of Edward Blake’s apartment. A uniformed officer stood in front of the tape which cordoned off the apartment door.

Fresh from their flight from London, Chief of Staff Bill Tanner and MI6 agent Corrine Murphy eased themselves under the police cordon tape.

Bill Tanner was pleased that the temperature in Lisbon was only a few degrees higher than London, as his inability to cope with very hot climates had been causing him a good deal of stress lately. As they climbed the staircase he felt the pits of his white cotton shirt becoming damp with sweat; perhaps he needed to lose a little weight; or at least take a little more exercise. Tanner watched the sprightly female form of Corrine skipping up the staircase.

Her well-toned body seemed to have no problem with the climb. Tanner observed how her calf muscle tensed before she jumped to the next step; a little while ago he would have derived pleasure in seeing a good looking woman in such an activity, now however he was only jealous of her youth.

Inside the apartment they showed their credentials to the officer in charge. Tanner extended his hand, gesturing that Corrine could make the introductions and lead the investigation. The Young MI6 agent was pleased with the confidence her boss had in her to take the lead in the enquiry. How upset would she have been to learn that Bill Tanner was incapable of speaking, and needed a couple of minutes to get his breath back.

“Welcome, please follow me” beckoned Inspector Lopez.

“Nothing’s been touched?” Corrine asked; as they followed the casually dressed officer through the apartment.

“No; the address highlighted a priority code, when the call came in. The response officers, simply walked through the crime scene to ensure the apartment was empty, and there was no one hiding. They took the cleaning woman home. One officer is with her, he is taking a statement”

Corrine looked at Tanner; the look between them confirmed they thought the crime scene would now be contaminated with the physical evidence of the cleaner and a number of Lisbon’s uniformed officers.

Six hours had passed since that call had been made by the cleaner. Within that time MI6 had initiated a lock down on the apartment and a black out on press coverage. The Lisbon office were pouring over the CCTV footage of the area. In London, Corrine Murphy had been tasked with liaising with the head of Section L to ascertain everything that local asset Edward Blake was involved in.

The information was passed electronically to her during the flight.

The ‘Correlation’ officer had been appointed from the Public Security Police by the MI6 Section L chief; and the initial investigation was then handed over to the very experienced Inspector Lopez.

Once on the scene Lopez fed back to MI6 section L; giving his initial impression of the situation. His job was then to ensure everything remained sterile until the investigating officers arrived from London. After his initial recce of the apartment, Lopez had spent much of his time in the apartment on the second floor with a very attractive widow, whiling away the hours of his impotence. The relief had been immense when the pretty dark haired girl in the crisp light grey suit, and the overweight man arrived from London.

As they walked through the apartment, Lopez wondered how she would react to the sight of the bloated dead body.

The corpse still hung from the beam. The face, although swollen was still instantly recognizable as MI6 agent Edward Blake.

A wooden kitchen chair stood upright on the floor to the side of the body.

Corrine viewed the corpse with detached vision, her eyes then scanned the room looking for anything odd which could give the clues as to why this had happened.

“Looks like suicide” Lopez said, breaking the tension in the room.

Corrine ignored the remark “Thank-you Inspector; we will take over from here”

“I will wait outside” Lopez gave a small bow and turned away.

“Please call me when you have finished. I would like to remove the body before the other tenants come home this evening”

“We’ll call you when we are ready; thank-you Inspector” Corrine opened her briefcase and began to put on her latex gloves.

Secretly Bill Tanner was very impressed with the way his latest protégé was turning out.

On the bedside table a blue envelope sat in isolation. Corrine looked at the addressee ‘Sir John Green’

“It’s addressed to M” She held out the pale blue envelope.

Tanner indicated that Corrine she should put it in a plastic evidence bag.

Systematically they went through the apartment, cursing the amount of items that appeared to have recently been moved.

“Do we know what cases Blake was working on yet?” asked Tanner as he sorted through volumes of novels on the bookcase.

“Section chief says his work load was typical. Nothing too sensitive. Mainly intercepting correspondence between known terrorist sympathizers; drug barons, and criminal refugees”

“No need to bring anything home with him then?”

“Hardly”

“Just his briefcase and laptop” Tanner thought about his own work load.

“I suppose…” Corrine realized they had not yet found Blake’s lap top. She pulled out her mobile and punched in the number.

“Do we have CCTV of Blake leaving Section L last night” She asked.

Moments later she nodded in compliance to the answer, she spoke into the phone again “Can you see if he is carrying anything?”

Corrine looked at Tanner “He took his lap top in a black soft sided carry case”

“Well it’s not here” Tanner took the final layer of thrillers from the shelf and exposed the wall safe.

“Do they have the code?”

Corrine asked the Section L analyst “Safe code please”

“Twenty-four Ten” She told Tanner

Tanner punched in the numbers, the door electronically unlocked. Inside a Rolex watch sat on top of Blake’s UK passport, and a plastic bag containing papers. Carefully Bill Tanner extracted the bundle and slipped them into an evidence bag. One more look into the dark confides of the safe revealed a dark grey memory stick. Tanner took the flash pen and put it into another bag.

“I think we can invite Inspector Lopez back in now. See if his team can extract the body before the neighbors start twitching their curtains”

Corrine left the apartment to advise the Portuguese policeman he was back in charge of the case.

Alone, Tanner took the memory stick out of the bag, and on impulse deposited it in his pocket. He folded the evidence bag and placed it back on the pile.

As they left the apartment, officers dressed in pale blue paper suits entered; one carried a heavy black plastic body bag.

On the pavement in front of the apartment block Tanner made a call. Corrine paced up and down behind him; trying to piece together the evidence, or lack of it that they had just gone through. Corrine closed her eyes and thrust her head back to ease the tension in her neck. She rotated her head from side to side. Her mouth opened and she languished in a moment of pure ‘non stress’ pleasure.

Both Tanner and Corrine were pensive, both were pre-occupied; both were totally unaware of the man in the second floor apartment across the avenue taking photographs of them.

After a moment he put down the camera, and looked at the woman his smile was genuine. He touched his fingers to his lips and gently blew a kiss to the woman. Recalling how she had looked a moment ago, when she had thrown her head back in a movement akin to sexual pleasure. He moaned quietly. Then the smile turned to a snarl. In the reflection of the window he checked out his own thick set physique. A Plain grey jumper disguised his large frame.

Would a woman like that ever consider going with a man like him? His hand left his mouth and his fingers ran over his closely shaven head.

“Not voluntarily” He said quietly, the hand left his head as a fist.

Corrine drove back to the airport, the traffic was manic. Tanner sat beside her and fired up his lap top, without ceremony he took out the flash pen and engaged the memory stick into the USB port.

Corrine gave him a quick sideways glance; it was obvious where the memory stick had come from.

Tanner shrugged his shoulders “Call it a hunch! We’ve got precious little else to go on”

The screen flashed Wheatley, but was empty except for three words which were illuminated on the bottom left hand corner. The first tab was titled ‘Bio’ the second ‘Global Witness’ and the third ‘Rotunda’

Tanner clicked on the first tab. The screen filled with four profile photographs. Tanner clicked on the first picture, the screen disintegrated into the biography of Daniel Wheatley. Tanner scanned through the bio.

“Anything?” Corrine negotiated the tight curve from the motorway exit.

“Nothing jumps out at me; the bio says he’s Australian, and has worked as a pilot for the past eight years. Still, there’s more on here” He repeated the operation on all the photographs.

“Any luck?” Asked Corrine; desperate to be involved in the findings.

“The first file is made up of a report which contains four biographies. Daniel Wheatley, Jon Osterman, he’s American, some kind of freelance journalist, although I’ve never heard of him. The next one I have heard of; it’s the French model, Elodie Douro”

“Strange you should have heard of her?” Corrine smiled

“I like the wine” Momentarily Tanner smiled back; then the moment was lost.

“And the fourth name is Adrian Alanby, he’s South African, in security. No wait, he was born in England. Do those names mean anything to you?”

“Not on our radar. Obviously I‘ve heard of Duoro, who hasn’t. Nothing through our work though, she’s certainly not under surveillance. Do you want me to put the names into the computer?”

“Yes get onto Section L will you”

Corrine engaged her mobile and spoke to Section L, she repeated the four names.

Tanner was immersed in the biographies; he could see no link to the four names. Corrine’s phone jingled. The conversation was brief.

“Oh that’s a shame, okay I’ll pass the information on”

“Well, what do we know about these people?” Tanner asked

“Section L confirms the names are not from Blake’s working file. Section L has not put a brief out on any of them”

Bill Tanner pursed his lips, his hunch had been right.

“Their backgrounds and current positions bare no similarities. One is a pilot, one’s a model, one is a journalist” Tanner toggled back and forth over the profiles; gently shaking his head.

“Okay, the second file is entitled ‘Global Witness’ let’s see what this reveals shall we”

As Bill Tanner opened the tab he fell silent. Much to the annoyance of Corrine. After such a bright start at the apartment, she thought that Tanner was gently easing her out of the investigation.

***

Airport Security guards rushed Corrine and Tanner through the concourse, past passport control and into an executive departure lounge, where they handed them over to the waiting British military aircrew. The transfer had been so swift that both MI6 operatives completely missed the Portuguese TV news report, broadcast on every screen; confirming that the British Home Secretary’s son Lincoln Palmer had been killed during a robbery at his home in Buenos Aries. Argentina.

***

Tripoli, Libya. Saturday Day 2…

As he sat back on the private jet, reclining in his comfortable Azure blue leather armchair, Adrian Alanby raised his champagne flute into the air as a gesture of thanks to his benefactor Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for such largesse. It made Mr Alanby’s trip back from Libya an altogether more civilized affair than the regular flights he would have otherwise had to take. With the eyes of a predator Alanby began to read the headlines in the Guardian newspaper. He devoured the story at a phenomenal rate, having been blessed with the ability to speed read, and memorize anything put in front of him.

‘Details have emerged of huge casualties in the Libyan city of Benghazi,

where troops have launched a brutal crackdown on protesters.

More than 200 people have died, with a further 900 injured.

The attacks were reported over the weekend, as funeral marches were said to have come under machine-gun fire.

One doctor, speaking amid the sound of fresh gunfire, told reporters that

"A real massacre" had happened.

Human Rights Watch says at least 173 people have been killed in Libya since demonstrations began.

Benghazi, the country's second city, has been a leading focus of protests against four decades of rule by Col Muammar Gaddafi.

Western politicians condemned the violence in Libya.

During a phone conversation with Col Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, the UK Foreign Secretary spoke of London's "grave concern" at the escalation of violence, and that Libya's actions were "unacceptable and would result in worldwide condemnation"

The US state department said it was "gravely concerned with the disturbing reports coming out of Libya"

In response Libya has tried to use its leverage with the European Union, warning Brussels it could suspend co-operation against illegal migration if the EU encourages pro-democracy protests’

“Whatever” said Alanby, licking his calloused fingers and turning rapidly to the financial pages. Here he devoured the stock market information. Using his I phone, he quickly tapped out an instructive email to his financial advisor.

The Bombardier Challenger 300 jet, hired by the tyrant’s regime at a cost of £70,000 was making its third trip to Europe in as many months with Klivex’s Head of security on board. But today’s flight was the first time that GCHQ had broken the encryption on communications on board. Back in the UK at GCHQ the ‘Signals Intelligence’ team, were listening in on every electronically transmitted word and digital signal to come from the plane during the four and a half hour flight. Using their ultra-sophisticated technology, the texts, emails and phone conversations were gathered and sent, almost in real time electronically to Vauxhall Cross.

Even before the Bombardier had landed in Geneva, the salient points of the gathered intelligence had been fed to Vauxhall Cross, and in particular to MI6 chief of staff Bill Tanner.

The reading proved very interesting. Tanner had no qualms about listening in on personal conversations, after all this was not eaves dropping; this type of surveillance formed the very backbone of national security, military operations and law enforcement activities both abroad and (under the responsibility of MI5) on British soil. And Alanby, of course was a British subject.

The man’s history was quiet diverse; one report described him as a security advisor. Another said he’d trained and was employed as a dentist.

In the main the communications were quite ordinary. Tanner scanned the documents again. Then the next page pinged open.

This one communication set his pulse racing. Without taking his eyes from the report, he activated his desk phone.

“Moneypenny. Can you get hold of M; ask him if he’d be kind enough to see me today”

“Sorry Bill, M cannot be disturbed…” Her perfect English accent meant that sometimes she came across as ‘standoffish’

“Really?” but before he could ask Moneypenny added, in a softer tone

“…He’s on vacation; he’s gone to the races, for the weekend”

“Well set me up with a meeting first thing Monday. I’ll just ping an email to him whet his appetite”


#3 volante

volante

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 10:53 PM

Chapter Three


Resurrection


Cheltenham, England. Saturday Day 2…

The motto of Cheltenham is Salubritas et Eruditio which means Health and Education. This well rounded philosophy on life is why Cheltenham is so highly regarded, amongst the residents and tourists.

Drake House’ is a typical Regency building, one of many in the Montpellier area of this charming town. The pale butter coloured smooth stone blocks convey the regimental rectangular feel of a dwelling built to accommodate the rich socialites from London, visiting the city at the turn of the 19th century. They flocked to the small Gloucestershire town to take the healing spa waters of the Cotswold.

Sitting slightly back from the Malvern Road resplendent behind it’s black and gold spear topped fence, Drake House is now one of the personal residences of Sir John Green KCMG OBE.

From the ground floor study window Sir John noted that the recently arrived black Jaguar XJ looked every inch to be playing the part of a caged animal sitting on the drive behind the same bars that kept the public at bay.

Sir John, known in his official capacity only as ‘M’ turned from the large window, as Bill Tanner alighted from the rear door of the car.

“This better be good” He mumbled to himself, it wasn’t often he had an entire weekend to himself. Lord knew how much time he had already devoted to other work issues since arriving at his home last night. But Tanner’s message had sounded urgent, and, with the other news he knew he must impart to him soon it was quiet timely that his Chief of Staff should be arriving shortly.

M knew one thing for certain the events in Portugal had certainly scuppered his plans to visit the race course this afternoon. So, all in all, his mood was pretty sour. Someone would have to take a verbal beating for this.

Bill Tanner entered the study, it seemed to M that his hair had grown a little more unruly since last they’d met (the day before the Lisbon trip); maybe he should have a word. ‘But not today’ he mused. He busied himself at the old desk. ‘
5,6,7,8 always pays to make them wait’ he recited to himself.

“Good morning sir” Tanner prompted.

M sat behind his dark mahogany desk; he hardly looked up at Tanners’ greeting. Bill Tanner stood motionless, like an obedient hound waiting for his instruction; but he did not miss the opportunity he had been given. Quickly he perused the room; it was a rare privilege to be invited into M’s own personal home. He knew his message had come across as a tad dramatic, but when he raised it, Tanner thought M would have palmed it aside until Monday.

The invitation to join him at ‘Drake House’ this afternoon had come as a shock.

The things that a person surrounds himself with show accurately enough the relationship of the man to himself, the degree of self-esteem and social status. This is true for all of things: clothes, cars, and of course furniture.

Bill Tanner noted just how much M and the desk were alike.

Hard and uncompromising, purpose built for the job; solid and reliable, and completely functional.

“Hello Tanner, sit down”

Tanner sat in the green leather chair which faced the desk. He noted the photograph in a silver frame of a woman and three children. (He is married with two daughters and a son. Tanner recalled)

“I’ve read the preliminary report…” He let the comment hang, wanting to council Tanner about ‘There had better be something more’

Tanner opened his lap top and began to recite…

“The names from Blake’s memory stick are not known to Section L. How he came about the names we don’t know yet. Miss Murphy is visiting the charitable organization Global Witness as we speak. Hopefully they can assist in our investigations. The names are probably pseudonyms, we’re checking with a number of agencies Worldwide to understand if the names are safe aliases for their people. Deep cover agents, Witness protection etc. As you can imagine we needed to tread carefully; don’t want to expose any assets, or screw up any long term undercover operations”

“Of course not”

“As of yesterday, we began monitoring the activities of Wheatley, Osterman, Douro and Alanby”

“And what have you turned up?”

“Of the four Alanby seems a bit of an enigma. His career seems only to have taken off in 2000. Now he’s reportedly the Head of Security for the pharmaceutical giant, Klivex. Yet his activities don’t match the job description. He’s visited Libya many times over the past twelve weeks. His last three visits have seen him return in Gaddafi’s private jet”

M interrupted the flow “With the situation in Cairo and Bahrain, Libya could be the next country to spark a revolution. Having a mystery man from a pharmaceutical company claiming to be in the security game, holding hands with Colonel Gaddafi is hardly a good scenario. I take it we are observing Mr. Alanby very closely?”

“This morning GCHQ picked up the electronic interchange of the data from the private jet in which Mr Alanby was returning to Geneva from Libya”

M’s eyebrows raised, it was another small facial movement that Tanner knew meant continue.

“Alanby’s company has legitimate business ventures in Libya. But we can’t understand why the head of security for a Pharmaceutical company would be going there on such a frequent basis, and meeting with Gaddafi himself”

M stopped writing; his patience had come to an end…

“Something of a mystery, which I imagine you will solve for me”

Tanner offered a single sheet of type written paper

“This is a transcript of one of the emails sent during today’s flight from Tripoli”

M scanned the document. The eyebrows raised again.

“Who’s the recipient?” he growled

“It was sent to Dr. Noel Baines” Tanner said in way of explanation.

“The Secretary of State for Defence?”

“The same”

“What the hell’s going on” M’s Irish accent began to emerge; he continued

“You’ve spoken to the ministry?”

Tanner nodded “Dr. Baines spokesman declined to answer questions about any relationships Dr. Baines has with any Country, company or individual”

“We’ll see about that. What’s Baines up to? Why does someone in his position feel the need to be in contact with the likes of Klivex or Adrian Alanby?

Tanner continued reading from his screen

“Blake’s second file details emails, which he claims were obtained by an anti-corruption campaign group named ‘Global Witness’. They claim that Alanby’s first meeting with Gaddafi was as a representative for Klivex during talks about a multi-billion-dollar deal which was being financed by JP Stanley, the US investment bank”

“The head of security was leading the meeting on arranging a loan?” M showed his dislike for the illogical scenario.

“JP Stanley were trying to broker a £50 billion sovereign wealth fund between the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), and Klivex” Tanner pushed another single sheet of paper across the desk. M scanned the contents, he looked up and asked.

“Klivex, we are talking about the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company, owned by the ex-racing driver Jurgen Hessel”

“I agree with you sir” (Tanner had no idea Hessel had ever raced cars)

“It looks like Mr. Alanby is more than just head of Security. If the likes of Hessel are entrusting him to represent his company in a deal of this magnitude” Tanner let the thought sink in.

M rolled his hand, inviting Tanner to continue. Maybe the interruption of his weekend was going to be worth it after all.

“Mr Hessel is not only rich, his fortune is estimated to be in the region of £87 million; but he is also extremely well connected. His acquaintances include Saif Gaddafi, the dictator’s most influential son”

“Well done Tanner, carry on”

“Global Witness claim that the first JP Stanley email was written during a period when Klivex was in financial difficulties, mired in an attempt to restructure about £4.5 billion of debt owed to foreign banks”

M placed his hands flat on the desk, quietly he made a comment

“If JP Stanley could put a deal together between the LIA and Klivex, its reward would be huge”

“Documents seen by ‘Global Witness’ claim to show Klivex was looking for a loan of around £3 billion in the form of a convertible bond, which would be converted into an equity stake in Klivex at a later date”

“If that deal goes ahead, the bank will net fees of between £25 million and £50 million”

“That’s correct Sir” Tanner revealed the hard copy of an email

“This is the first of the emails obtained by Global Witness from JP Stanley. It’s addressed to Mustafa Zarti, the vice-chairman of the LIA”

M read through the document

“Mr Zarti, is one of Libya’s most powerful men”

“And, I’m sure this is no coincidence, a close friend of Saif Gaddafi, whom he met when the pair were studying in Vienna”

“How much of this did we know about, Tanner?” Asked M; in reply Tanner shook his unruly head. He continued with the conversation.

“Written by Robert Renwick, JP Stanley’s vice-chairman it reads ‘Dear Mr Zarti, On behalf of JP Stanley, we would like to invite you to London to finalize the terms of the mandate concerning Klivex before Mr Alanby’s next visit to Tripoli.

I look forward to meeting you and introducing you to the members of the JP Stanley team. We would like to host a dinner for you while you are here’ best wishes Robert Renwick.”

M leaned back clasping his hands behind his head.

“Immigration records show Mr Alanby subsequently visited Col Gaddafi but details of the discussions between the two men don’t appear in the Klivex records. Two months later, a second email to Mr. Zarti was obtained by Global Witness. Here Renwick enclosed details of the convertible bond deal that Klivex was putting together. Renwick wrote that ‘a number of clarifications are still needed and they (Klivex) are still finalizing their proposal. When they have done so, we will pass this on to you with our analysis of it’ Renwick concluded.

“Has the deal gone through?”

“No. Here’s where it gets interesting. Last month Hessel floated Klivex on the Hong Kong stock market and the LIA bought $300 million worth of shares, the largest single purchase in the flotation. The flotation was a success and, with Klivex’s debt restructured, Hessel’s business was secure”

“No need for the loan; I bet JP Stanley were pissed”

“Undoubtedly, but…”

M interrupted “I know Bill; the real question is what technology, or actual hardware has Gaddafi managed to get his hands on?”

“Whatever Alanby was selling, Gaddafi bought into it in a big way”

The pair were interrupted by a gentle knock on the door. M checked his wrist watch then looked directly at Tanner. Suddenly he was speaking; but his voice seemed higher in pitch than normal. The old man actually seemed flustered. His hands busied themselves with the papers on his desk.

“Bill. I’ve not been entirely honest in the reason I wanted you to join me here today” The usual steel behind his eyes seemed to melt. Tanner had always admired his boss, always thought of him as a man of strong character, proud of his Belfast upbringing. But here he was, speaking like an old friend of the family. Feeling nervous Tanner broke off the eye contact and scanned the book case behind M’s head. Besides the black and red leather bound Law books, Tanner observed some well-thumbed examples with titles relating to ‘medieval churches’ and the bridges of Isamard Kingdom Brunel.

M cleared his throat, Tanner began to panic; was he going to be dismissed for bringing this case to light. What had he unearthed with the information gained in Lisbon?

Bill Tanner had learned to recognize the small changes of tension around M’s mouth as an indication of mood. He knew that in his many years studying law at Queens University M had trained himself to restrict his emotions to a very narrow band of expression. Now Bill Tanner noted that the slight tension around the mouth and a semi focused glazed stare should be viewed as an early warning sign. But this look was something different.
He could not judge the mood. M continued…


“I’m afraid I misled you over some of the events of Operation Domino”

Tanner took a sharp intake of breath Operation Domino, had been seen as a success, but it had claimed the life of his good friend James Bond. Just what the hell was the old man referring to; and why now, why interrupt the briefing he was giving on a potentially dangerous situation escalating in Libya.

Sir John had had a long and distinguished career in the Foreign office, it seemed he had also perfected his poker face more than Tanner had ever realized.

“I’m sorry Bill”

Tanner heard the study door open, but the intruder made no noise; M did not even look at him. He thought he’d gone quiet because of the intrusion, but the silent pause went on too long. After another uneasy moment Bill Tanner turned toward the door

[censored]ing Hell” Tanner stood up, his jaw dropped.

“Hello Bill”

“Come in 007 we’ve been expecting you” M’s voice was steady.

James Bond came into the study; he dropped his chocolate brown leather flight bag to the floor. His face was tanned to a colour of good health, and a thicker than stubble beard covered his jaw line. His light coloured linen jeans and thin dark blue Harrington jacket suggested he’d recently arrived from a warmer climate. And for the second time in his life Tanner found himself asking

‘How am I going to tell Moneypenny”

With a rush of emotion Tanner hugged Bond, but the show of relief and outpouring of emotion was soon gone.

“Why the hell didn’t you tell me?” He demanded

“Sorry Bill but this is the secret service” quipped Bond

“Gentlemen” M waited until both men gave him their attention.

“007 has been reborn at a very fortuitous time”

“What” Tanner erupted “You can’t just walk back in here without any explanation of your movements for the past three months.

“No…” M held up his hand “…The past belongs to another life”

Tanner looked at Bond for some kind of explanation, but the blue eyes of the double agent were empty of emotion. He turned to M

“I’m supposed to be head of staff, how could you allow me to think one of the team were dead?”

“I’m afraid it was a very need to know basis Bill”

Tanner thought of the lies that M had imparted at the end of Operation Domino. And the heartbreak and detrition he had found himself spiraling into. The genuine heart felt grief that Moneypenny had gone through. The rage began to boil over like milk in a saucepan.

“Bill can you prepare a brief for the team about 007’s resurrection; I wouldn’t want the same amount of profanity erupting from the staff in Vauxhall Cross on Monday morning”

“Of course sir, I’d be pleased to” Tanner backed down, it appeared as if he was going to return to his seat, but then without thinking he pumped Bond’s hand in a genuine hand shake between friends.

“Welcome back to the land of the living 007. I hope you don’t make as many mistakes in this lifetime as you did in the last”

“I’ll try to only resurrect the good things in life”

“Who knows you might even take up golf”

“That won’t be for many lifetimes to come”

“Be careful James, I’m told you only live twice”
“Then you’d better give me something simple to ease myself back into”


M cut in, turning the information he had just been given around he pushed it over the desk.

“Take a look at this 007. Tanner here was just outlining a simple little operation. Won’t take much effort to get stuck into”

“Okay Bill, fire away” Bond picked up the email hardcopies.

Tanner checked his watch. “I’ll put an operation summary together, shall we say briefing in one hour?”

“Perfect, that will give us ample time to dress for dinner…” said M. Then, with an extenuated movement of his head, he turned toward the bohemian figure of James Bond “…And for 007 to shave”



#4 volante

volante

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 02:15 PM

Chapter Four


Global Witness



6th Floor, Buchanan House, Holborn.

Corrine Murphy brushed a strand of dark hair away from her face, the movement allowed her to glance at her Omega wrist watch. As she had thought the meeting with Charles Montgomery had lasted well over an hour; and still the man was talking. ‘This was Saturday night for Christ-sake’
“For 17 years, Global Witness has run pioneering campaigns against natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses. From Cambodia to Congo, Sierra Leone to Angola, we have exposed the brutality and injustice that results from the fight to access and control natural resource wealth, and have sought to bring the perpetrators of this corruption and conflict to book”
“I understand the ethics of your organization Mr. Montgomery, and I applaud your commitment. But I need you to understand just how important it is for me to be put in contact with the source of these communications”

“And I have told you Miss Murphy; I cannot reveal my source”

Corrine thought how much easier this would have been just to slap a legal notice on the charity, and trawl through their records. She smiled, and almost fluttered her eye lashes.

“Then I will bid you goodnight and thank-you for your time”

Outside the building, Corrine observed that the clouds had thickened; they had taken on a deep iron colour. She placed her mobile to her ear and waited for Tanner to answer.

“I’m sorry sir, I wasn’t able to access the source” As she reported her failure to identify the contact, she walked doggedly along Holborn.

The thick set man taking photographs of her from the car parked at the road side did so simply to elevate the boredom; after all he’d got plenty of good shots of her in Lisbon.

In the periphery of his vision he saw movement at the main door of the Global Witness office. He aimed his Pentax and fired off a number of shots at a stunning black girl dressed in a deep red coat.

As she jogged along the pavement the man realized she was in pursuit of Corrine Murphy. The click of her heels along the pavement seemed to drown out all other sound. Effortlessly she weaved around the other pedestrians.
He sniffed the air, imagining her perfume.

Abandoning his car, the man took to the streets in pursuit of both of them. The dark grey padded jacket he hurriedly put on extenuated his substantial bulk. For a big man he moved lightly. His feet, and head seemed out of proportion to the rest of his obese body.

The plain black baseball cap put his facial features into shadow. With the collar of his jacket turned up his face was hidden from the CCTV cameras that he knew operated along the busy street.

***

James Bond, M, and Bill Tanner all looked resplendent in their tuxedos. They stood around the glass operations table, onto which the briefing notes were projected.

‘Like a giant I pad’ M had commented when the tool was first introduced. With the skill of a magician, Bill Tanner swept his hand over the screen, coaxing the text boxes and photographs to follow his movement. Quickly and efficiently he assembled the time line and salient points of the operation into a storyboard format. Tapping on a photograph of Alanby, he drew a line to the Libyan folder.

“Alanby’s clandestine relationship with Gaddafi, coupled with his communication to the Secretary of Defence gives us enough reason to launch an operation to understand any potential threat to the UK from activities that have or are yet to take place. The main areas for this investigation are as follows. We need to understand what the Libyans have bought into. Corrine Murphy got no joy with Global Witness; so we’ll send the auditors in tomorrow, get a lead on the source, and their connection to Edward Blake. We also need to understand how and why the ‘Defence secretary’ is involved; and therefore in hindsight we need to understand why Edward Blake was killed. Naturally we will continue to monitor the activities of the other names on Blake’s file.”

“I will see the foreign Secretary tomorrow; and Dr. Baines on Monday. Tanner please make sure our diaries are free” M instructed. Tanner nodded in compliance, and then, as frustration took over he asked…

“Shouldn’t we hold off the investigation until Noel Baines explains what is going on?” Tanner waited for an answer. It wasn’t long in coming.

“No, 007 will investigate Mr. Hessel and the Klivex plant straight away” said M shaking his head, he continued…
“That should dovetail nicely into Alanby’s activities” The look on his face said the matter was not up for further discussion.
Tanner took the hint and picked up the project dossier. He turned away from M, and adressed Bond.
“All the information is in here 007” Tanner gave Bond the buff folder. Emblazoned upon it in bold type were the words ‘Operation Rotunda’
“Rotunda?” Bond asked
“Yes the third of Blake’s files; however when I accessed it; it was empty. I thought it might be a good name”

***

Corrine decided to go straight home; the frustrations of the day had hit her rather hard, and fatigue had set in. She was hoping to have left the office a little early on Friday, but the ordeal in Portugal put an end to that. Now it was Saturday, and no break in the case was forthcoming. Since the flight back there had been endless hours of looking at data pertaining to the three other names on Blake’s list. Urgent phone calls to make an appointment with Montgomery at Global. Everything she had touched seemed to turn to dust.

Tanner of course was having better luck, just after lunch he left for a meeting with M. The tight lipped Miss Moneypenny had remained silent about the content of their meeting ‘Christ we’re all supposed to be on the same team’ she thought to herself.

By now the thick set man with the camera had caught up with the black girl, he kept pace with her; deftly sidestepping the pedestrians flowing the other way. He was now close enough to actually smell her perfume ‘Dior’ he thought, but he lost no energy deciphering the actual name. The girl bumped into a man coming toward her, her hands came up to fend him off. The thick set man was only inches behind her, and they were both only a couple of yards behind the MI6 agent. One by one the sounds of the street dropped away; he swore he could hear the girl breathing.

Corrine looked up for a cab; her mind totally focused on attracting a ride home, it was then that the hand touched her shoulder.
Corrine almost jumped out of her skin, she spun on her heal to face the beautiful black girl; her skin was almost metallic in its glow. Her eyes were a deep almond brown, but there was something else deep within them, they held fear. For a moment the two women stood looking at each other, and then in a trembling voice the girl said

“I heard you talking to Charles about Edward Blake”

“You’re from global?” The girl nodded quickly in reply.

“Do you know Edward Blake?” The fatigue lifted instantly from Corrine’s shoulders. Her blood began to pump purposefully around her body.

“Yes” Her bottom lip trembled, she looked terrified.

“Are you the one that supplied him with the information about Klivex and Gaddafi?”

The girl almost dismissed the question as if she were expecting to hear something else. She looked around as if expecting to be attacked at any moment. Faces of people melted into one as they passed her by. How brave, or stupid was this woman to mention their names out loud.

“Yes I suppose so” she was shaking, after a moment she elaborated.

“But Alanby was always the primary target” The girl looked around again. Every car horn made her jump.

“Can you tell me about it?” She smiled in order to encourage the girl to speak.

“Yes, but not here” her voice was becoming high pitched with tension.

“Okay let’s arrange a time to talk somewhere safe” Corrine looked deep into the girl’s dark eyes, trying desperately to gain her trust.

“Wait. Do you have time to talk now?” She touched Corrine’s arm.

“Yes of course, but you’re right, not here” Corrine replicated the touch. The girl’s eyes were wide, the fear almost bursting out, like a cat from a closet.

“Okay” Corrine held out her hand to a passing black cab. It sped past.
“My place is safe. Would you like to come home with me?” she muttered as she scanned the oncoming traffic for another black cab.
The girl moved closer to Corrine, happy about the reassuring touch on her arm

“Yes that would be nice”

“Okay, what do you do at Global? Corrine asked, just to keep the conversation going.

“Our work at Global has often revealed how, rather than benefiting a country’s citizens, the discovery of abundant timber, diamonds, minerals, oil or other natural resources can increase corruption, and split governments. Greed leads to war”

“Sure, honey your boss told me all about that. What’s your role” The last thing Corrine wanted was another sales pitch.

Another cab drove past, the driver raising his hand in apology. The twilight was almost complete. The rush hour was in full swing. The sound of engines being over revved and car horns being over used formed a background to the smells of the city street. Diesel and carbon monoxide fumes tickled the back of their throats. Corrine smiled, inviting the frightened girl to continue, people gently bounced off them as they skimmed past them; the crowd seemed to swell against them like an on rushing tide, it seemed to cling to them, making a private conversation impossible …

“I'm an investigator. Through our investigations, advocacy and campaigning, we seek solutions to the ‘resource curse’ so that the citizens of resource-rich countries can get a fair share of their country’s wealth”

“Is Alanby involved in some such scheme?”

A black cab flashed its lights and pulled into the kerb. Corrine smiled politely at the girl, and opening the door helped her in.
The thick set man pushed past, barging into Corrine, she felt the stab of pain in her ribs; and then he was bent down trying to get into the cab, his bulk filled the opening. The fast tick of the diesel engine was overpowering.

“What are you doing?” Corrine screamed as she pulled at the assailant’s coat. Her fingers became lost in the thickness of the heavy material.

From inside the cab the girl screamed “Drive on drive on”

“Hey now hang on my love” said the driver. His neck turned at an impossible angle to take in the action.

“Please I have to get away from here” she urged the driver. She felt the man’s breath on her. In a blind panic she tore off the man's cap and grasped the big man’s small bullet shaped head, and pushed him out. Corrine was holding on to his coat, pulling him backward. The black girl saw that the man was free of the cab; quickly she pulled the door closed.

Corrine and the man were face to face, shouting and sparring for a better hold on each other’s arms. The cab drove away from the kerb. A cloud of black diesel smoke bellowing from the rear.

“Are you okay Miss. What about your friend?”

“She’s no friend of mine; I don’t know them, please just drive”

“Okay my darling where to?” The driver glanced in his rear view mirror.

He saw the large bulky man and the slim woman still engaged in what appeared to be a heated discussion on the pavement.

As the cab eased into the traffic flow he turned his concentration from them and on to not hitting anything.

Corrine grabbed at the man. All thoughts of him being just a rude interloper trying to steal their ride had gone now. The pain in her ribs form the blow was crippling, the numb sensation had travelled throughout her upper body. Her hands gripped his coat but she continued to slide down his body. From a distance she heard the man shouting for help. Through a dizzy haze of nausea she heard the words ‘heart attack’ and ‘ambulance’ they were the last words she ever heard.

***

Tanner’s phone beeped into life. Hurriedly he punched the answer key.

“Yes” The words he then heard rocked him to the core. His face betrayed his feelings as he lent against the glass table.

“What is it Tanner?” M asked

“Corrine Murphy has just been killed”

#5 volante

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 04:54 PM

Chapter Five


An accidental Truth




MI6 H.Q. Vauxhall Cross, London. Sunday Day 3

The enlarged corporate photograph of the black girl from Global Witness looked out from the plasma screen on the wall. Bill Tanner composed himself.

“Her name is Juliet Guggler. Pronounced with a soft ‘G’. Thirty one years old. Born Haiti. Both parents served in local government. Privately educated. The family moved to Paris, France in 1993. She moved to London ten years ago. And has been a member of the Global Witness organisation for the past five years. No political affiliations. No police record”

Bond took in the details of her face. Dark almond eyes framed by darker freckles than her mocha coloured skin. The skin tone it seemed; actually appeared to glow. Her beauty would be internationally recognised; and Bond was looking forward to finding her.

“What’s her link to Blake?” Bond asked whilst rubbing his hand over his recently shaved smooth cheek.

“Nothing really; we can’t put a fix on any meeting they would have had. Of course they could have exchanged information over the internet”

“What’s her interest in the four names?”

Tanner shook his head “Our friend Mr. Montgomery has conceded that Global Witness were interested in Alanby’s activities in Libya. He was unaware of the connection to the other three. Apparently Miss Guggler was working alone in understanding where the responsibility of corruption lay.

No one really gets any millage from exposing Gaddafi to corruption; but a reputable Swiss company like Klivex”

“Do we have a fix on her now?” Asked M, determined to keep the focus clear.

“No! The taxi driver dropped her off a just a few blocks away” Tanner tried to continue but the task was overwhelming. He had identified the body. He had also taken the opportunity to examine the needle thin puncture wound to her ribs. Someone had to tell her family; that would probably be him too.

The next picture was an overhead shot of the same girl, same red coat.

The positioning of the arms and the attitude of the body said she was running. Tanner said nothing. He was still thinking of Corrine.

“CCTV picked her up at St Pancras station” Bond offered “Eurostar to Paris, her ticket was bought with cash”

M looked up expectedly but Bond brought his mood down again.

“The French have confirmed there was no CCTV identification of the girl at the Guard Du Nord”

“What about their immigration records?” M asked Tanner, hoping to shake him bake to the present.

“Her passport was not recorded on the outward journey. In total there were three suspect passports from that arrival. All are being investigated. One male two female”

“So our girl has a second passport” said M

“So it would seem. The other female is still lodged in Paris” Tanner clicked the pointer and the photograph of a Caucasian woman in her early twenties came into view.

“This is Kathryn Leon nee Genola, Recently married; it was the first time her new passport was used. I think we could rule her out of the investigation”

M nodded in confirmation, he looked at Tanner again, more in hope than expectation. The silence was crushing.

“Tell me we have more than that” Said M, the Irish brougue was very noticable.

Tanner smiled for the first time in the briefing “The other passenger, the male used a credit card to buy his ticket from London, the ticket was purchased at the terminal just three minutes after Miss Guggler’s; the same credit card was then used in Paris to purchase two train tickets to Geneva”

“So she could have an accomplice, and Klivex HQ is just outside Geneva. We believe Alanby is there to. He has an apartment on the lake” Bond said quietly.

Tanner gathered himself, for his crowning glory.

“The name on the card was Jon Osterman”

“Very good Tanner. Thank-you for that. Now, do we have any leads on the assailant?” M asked, following Bond’s thought that the man who killed Corrine might be the same man as had accompanied the girl to Geneva.

“The cab driver thought all three people were all arguing when he stopped. He assumed the girl was soliciting the man and the wife protested”

“What have we come to” M shook his head. Then he looked at Tanner still looking for the answer he was searching for

Tanner shook his head “No the driver could not give an accurate description of the man, other than to say he looked very overweight; and CCTV gives us only the broad outline. His cap obscured most of his features. We didn’t pick anything up from the railway station”

M took a deep breath, and let it out slowly, allowing time for everyone to take a moment “Well 007; two MI6 operatives have been killed in the past two days. I want you to find out why. Find out what this man Alanby has sold to the Libyans, and find out if he’s working on his own or if he’s backed by Hessel”

Tanner handed over the flight information “You leave for Geneva this afternoon. Your cover and subsequent reason for visiting Klivex is all in here. Make sure you read it before you actually meet Hessel, we don’t know if he’s actually the villain in all this”

“Shouldn’t I be looking for the girl and Osterman, Sir? I understand she had the same files as Blake on her office computer. She’s obviously involved”

“I’m sure she is. But remember the files were exactly the same as Blake’s, we have no idea of the meaning of ‘Rotunda’

“Yet” said Bond

“Get yourself to Klivex, ascertain what Alanby and Hessel are up to. We must assume this is linked in some way to what the girl and Blake found within their communications. I’m sure she will come out of the woodwork soon enough. When she does make sure you know which side she’s on. She will also lead us to this man Osterman, we have no idea about his involvement, he could be Corrine’s killer so be careful”

“I will” said Bond

“And one more thing 007”

“Yes sir”

“Try not to kill anyone before you get the information necessary to put this case to bed”

“I’ll do my best” Answered Bond

“Good” said M “Now if you don’t mind I have a meeting with the foreign secretary”

***

Close to Verbier, on the south side of Lake Leman; Adrian Alanby’s apartment had a commanding view of the lake. Of an evening the area came alive giving a brilliant view of night lights of Montreux. But now the pale afternoon sun had hidden itself behind a thick covering of cloud the wind brought a chill from the lake which Alanby used brandy to keep the cold from chilling his bones. He stood on the terrace, leaning against the rail looking out over the lake. The boats bobbed hypnotically against their moorings.

‘March of the Torriordors’ Alanby’s ringtone sounded “Yes”

“The girl is in Switzerland” The voice held no emotion.

Alanby felt his anger rise. “I want to know what happened in Lisbon?” He hissed

“Can they link you to Blake?” He slammed the brandy glass on to the rail

“Absolutely not” The voice thought back to his experience in Lisbon.

“And yet MI6 made contact with the girl in London”

“It was the same agent as did the investigation in Lisbon, and she’s dead now. Blake must have had a file at the office” The voice took comfort in the memory of plunging the hypodermic needle into the MI6 woman. In the end she had looked upon him with a look of hopelessness. It made a change to the look of loathing women usually reserved for him.

“Or maybe Blake had hidden it too well at the apartment for you to find. Are you quite sure there was nothing else to alert them?”

“Yes” He wiped a droplet of sweat from his neck.

“How can you be so sure?”

“I was never in the apartment”

“Then how did you kill Blake?” Alanby looked at the mobile for an answer.

“I didn’t kill him, he actually committed suicide”

“A real accidental truth then” Alanby let the news sink in “Looks like the creation of death that Hessel has produced actually worked. No matter, the information that the MI6 got was only the same as the girl’s. MI6 will have that now. MI6 will jump all over the Gaddafi angle; we should be safe for the time”

“Ha! Poor Baines, he will take the flak for this”

“He deserves it. Now tell me where is the charming Miss Guggler?”

“Our little ferret has actually done a good job, and brought her here”

“Good”

“I will kill them both for you”

“No, I want to see our little friend Osterman before he dies; and please, please be so kind as to deliver the girl to me in one piece, she has caused us enough problems” Alanby began to laugh, it did not sound human.

“Do you think they are actually going to confront me?”

The laughter was reciprocated at the other end of the conversation

“That would be charming” The thick set man ran his hand over his closely cropped head again.

“Please bring them to the plant tomorrow”

***

To the accompaniment of the rich sounding tick of the walnut grandfather clock which sat in the corner of the study, M sat in a dark leather wing back chair. Opposite him, separated by a Queen Anne table sat Conrad Walker the Foreign Secretary. Wearing jeans and a caramel coloured cable knit jumper, Walker eyed his visitor with a scarcely kept contempt.

“Sunday evening M, nothing better to do?” The question was delivered in the straight talking style associated to the Yorkshire MP. The question was however laced with the sentiment that he had something better to do.

“Two of my agents have died in as many days. One in Lisbon, and one here on the streets of London. There’s no clear understanding why, except we know their deaths are linked to four names found on a memory stick in Lisbon”

“A terrorist cell?”

“We don’t think so Minister. We cannot as yet establish a connection between the four people. Although one of the names has had extensive dealings with Libya in the past three months”

“If the Arab spring progresses as we would like, Gaddafi’s time will soon be running out. He must sense that; I’d be interested to know the extent of this liaison. Who’s he been talking to?”

“The man’s name is Adrian Alanby” M tried to gauge the reaction.

Walker shook his head. M continued, undeterred.

“We tracked his communications during his flight from Tripoli. It would appear he has a contact in London. Someone of quite some influence”

“To whom? Come on now man, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t about to expose another spy in the higher echelons of government. Who is it?” The voice now contained an element of irony. He expected M to play down the importance of the contact.

“Well Minister, you’re almost correct”

The Foreign Secretary stared back at M mouth open “Go on”

“The Secretary of state for Defence, Dr Noel Baines”

“What!”

“He received a communication from Mr. Alanby during his flight from Tripoli”

“What was the context?”

“The message, made reference to ‘successful conclusion to the talks’ it addressed the Defence Secretary as Noel”

Walker steeped his fingers and blew out a long whistling breath of air between his index fingers.

“So who is exactly is this chap Alanby?”

“Alanby works for Jurgen Hessel at Klivex”

“The pharmaceutical giant”

“The same yes”

“Well I have no intelligence of a transaction involving them”

“This man Alanby has been in a number of meetings with Gaddafi in Lybia” M pushed, hoping to incite a response…

“Well there’s nothing official going on!” Walker took on a defensive tone; almost indignant that the Head of MI6 would think he was hiding the truth.

“And unofficially” M looked Walker directly in the eye.

“That’s what I meant” Walker held his gaze.

“What does Baines have to say?” The Yorkshireman broke the silence

“I’m seeing him tomorrow, but his spokesman has declined to give any comment to my office”

“You think this could be some biological weapon sale?”

“Whatever it is, the transaction has already gone through. That was the inference in the message”

“What’s Gaddafi bought?”

“We don’t know, but two of the three people involved in the communication expose of a link between Alanby and Gaddafi, are now dead”

“And the third?”

“Missing; and we don’t know which side she’s on”

“Then you need to talk with Baines. Then appraise me. Missing you say. Do you think you can you find the girl?”

“We’re hoping too. I have my best agent on the case”

The FS lent forward, and tapped his fingers on the table top

“We've set out a mechanism whereby if Baines is culpable this can all be resolved quietly I hope?"

“I’m not sure it can be. Baines has been very vocal on his own trips to see Gaddafi. On his last trip to Libya, Dr Baines announced £500,000 extra funding to help the interim NTC in the fight against arms proliferation”

“Yes” Walker said “I remember Baines said he was ‘incredibly proud’ of the UK forces involved in ‘decisive steps’ taken by the international community that meant a massacre by Gaddafi's forces was avoided in both Benghazi and Misrata. Rather silly that now”

“I think that maybe a very broad generalisation of where that money ended up” M allowed the comment to hang.

The clock chimed nine times, while the two men sat in silence.

“I think it’s about time you left Sir John. If this is dirty, I need some plausible deniability”

***

James Bond’s flight into Geneva was a painless affair. Sorting through the information Tanner had furnished him with Bond was soon able to recite the catalogue of drugs Klivex was currently producing; and projects they were involved in. Although knowing this information was not part of his cover, Bond knew the information would be essential in ferreting out anything untoward. The company now operated in 140 countries, failing only to break even in the American market. Interestingly in September 2010, Klivex agreed to pay USD 422.5 million in criminal and civil claims and entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the US Office of the Inspector General; after being accused of paying illegal kickbacks to health care professionals. The report concluded that aside from pleading guilty to one misdemeanor charge of mislabeling in an agreement the previous February, the company denied any wrongdoing”

Bond made a mental note to professionally pursue the money chain on the claimants, and personally buy some shares in the North American arm of the company; probably now the American market would boom.

James Bond tipped the liveried bell boy and waited for him to leave the lounge, before exploring the seventh floor Crown suite of the Hotel President Wilson.Just steps from one of the most beautiful park in Geneva, the hotel is ideally located facing the magnificent panorama of the lake and Mont-Blanc.

Bond appreciated the panoramic view of the lake from the bedroom, lounge area and bathroom.

Bond pressed the switch to draw the curtains and turn on the light in the elegant marble bathroom with it’s whirlpool bathtub and separate shower.

“Thank-you M” He said aloud as he began to remove his jacket.


#6 volante

volante

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:00 PM

Chapter Six


Klivex




Geneva, Switzerland. Monday Day 4

The taxi took Bond past Geneva's most famous monument, The Jet d'eau. The world's tallest water fountain provides a constant landmark for exploring the city. The taxi continued along the road and out of the city.

Turning onto a small industrial estate east of the city Bond paid off the driver and watched the Mercedes drive away.

***

The Refreshment operation for the House of Commons is responsible for feeding the 650 Members, 1,000 or so permanent staff, and 8,000 pass-holders; plus members’ guests. Dr. Noel Baines stood alone looking out over the river from one of the many marquee windows in the Terrace Pavilion. He suddenly became aware of the sound of approaching footsteps. Without a rush he turned to face the stern looking head of MI6 and a very attractive woman.

“Good Morning Sir John” He extended his hand in a warm greeting

“Good Morning Minister. May I introduce you to my P.A. Miss Moneypenny”

“Good morning Miss Moneypenny glad you could join us”

“Thank-you Minister; I’ve never been in here before, and Sir John thought he would kill two birds with one stone”

Baines smiled at her, so this wasn’t going to be some hard interrogation after all. It was just going to be a pleasant little chat over morning coffee, and an opportunity for the old dog to show off his secretary. Baines gave her the once over. Dark brown hair pushed back effortlessly behind her ear. Clear skin was drawn over a strong bone structure giving her a wanton expression.

“Hope you don’t mind slumming it in here?” Baines gestured around the marquee. Moneypenny followed his gesture. The room was filling up nicely.

“Not at all” M replied. Moneypenny smiled openly, allowing the twinkle in her eye to shine and showing her perfect teeth.

“In the long term, a more permanent structure is required. The Pavilion is some 15 years old and is now showing signs of wear and tear. A decision will soon be required on its future”

“I’m sure” The smile remained frozen upon her face.

“Okay, what do you want to discuss?” He directed his eyes toward M

“Adrian Alanby” M’s craggy features remained unmoved.

“Um, let’s sit down shall we?”

They sat at one of the many bench tables.

“How do you know Alanby?” M enquired.

“Alanby contacted me couple of months ago. Told me he was negotiating a huge deal for Klivex in Tripoli. Gaddafi was after some wonder drug which would kill the bacteria in water when it is transported through the desert. He believed it was cheaper to give everyone a couple of tablets a day than build another huge water purification plant. You are aware of Gaddafi’s pipeline?”

“Yes of course”

“Not everybody is. We still wonder how on earth Gaddafi manages to stay in power? All we ever hear about is his madness” Baines gestured for a waiter to come to their table. “Coffee?” He asked. Both M and Moneypenny nodded in confirmation. The waiter took the order and left.

“Did no one notice that he built a huge freshwater pipeline to the Benghazi region?” Baines used his hands descriptively to embellish his conversation.

“It was on our radar” M tried to let the Minister flow.

“Now we are looking to oust him from power. Makes you think the Americans were just waiting for him to finish?”

“Possibly” A quick smile flashed across M’s face.

“This incredibly huge water scheme is virtually unknown in the West, yet it rivals and even surpasses all of our greatest development projects. Obama can’t bring himself to acknowledge Libya's Great Man-Made River. The West refuses to recognize that a small country, with a population of no more than four million, can construct anything so large without borrowing a single cent from the international banks”

“That would be the Americans’ banks I take it” M made the rhetorical comment, his smile was genuine.

Baines smiled at the comment. He smoothed down his tie “In the 1960s during oil exploration deep in the southern Libyan desert, reservoirs of high quality water were discovered…” He turned toward Moneypenny

“...In Libya there are four major underground basins, Kufra, Sirt, Morzuk and the Hamada basin. They have combined reserves of 35,000 cubic kilometres of water. These vast reserves offer almost unlimited amounts of water for the Libyan people” He sat back.

“You sound envious Minister” Moneypenny said.

“I would be, except by the time it reaches the major cities of the North, the water is so polluted it kills as many as it saves. Gaddafi’s cost cutting on the actual pipeline has been his undoing. He is facing political ruin if he cannot get the water to a safe drinkable standard. The straw that broke the camel’s back on his dictatorship. So to speak”

The waiter arrived with their coffee. Silence remained around the table until the waiter had gone.

“That’s why the LIA bought into Klivex” M directed the conversation.

“Exactly; they need to control the production of the drug necessary to keep them alive. Alanby was on hand to ensure the deal was done without the participation of the Americans. After all we didn’t want all that money going across the pond now did we? Always best to get your enemy to spend his money on something that can’t kill us” Baines lifted his coffee cup.

“Who else knows about this?” M asked, before sipping his coffee.

“It’s not really a secret. Christ by the middle of the year we are expecting the Gaddafi regime to be replaced by a democratic government. We’ve already attacked his compound once. Had to abort a second attempt after reports and civilians were drafted into the buildings surrounding the Bab al-Azizia compound

M nodded in consideration of a plan of which he had no involvement.

“Alanby is just keeping us abreast of the negotiations. Best to keep the old Mad Dog quiet for the time”

“Is Gadaffi a legitimate target?”

“The series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa which have become known as the “Arab Spring” even though not all the participants in the protests are Arab

“I’m more than aware of the demographics Minister”

“Sparked by the protests that occurred in Tunisia in December 2010 following Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation in protest of police corruption and ill treatment”

M took over the official diatribe “With the success of those protests, a wave of unrest struck Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, and Yemen

“Forgive me Sir John I’m not suggesting you’re not aware, I’m just setting the scene for my answer”

“Please continue”

“The largest, most organized demonstrations have often occurred on, what’s described as the "day of rage", usually during Friday afternoon prayers

“The protests have also triggered similar unrest outside the region” Moneypenny offered.

Baines looked impressed at her insertion. He turned his face back toward M


“We believe that the rage will escalate, and by February 2012, governments will have been overthrown in at least three countries. The Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has already fled to Saudi Arabia in January, following the Tunisian revolution protests. Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011 after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is our next target. You understand the sensitivity of my statement?”

“Absolutely” M confirmed. Then subtly he asked the killer question

“Is Alanby affiliated to you in any way?”

“Good god no. Alanby is just a good hearted British citizen that wants to do something for his country”

M screwed his face up in disbelief. Baines allowed the smile to cross his face; he gave a knowing wink to Moneypenny “Your boss is not easily fooled”

“No he isn’t” Moneypenny confirmed her ‘Roedean’ education with a slight arch of her eyebrow.

“Alanby is English; but spent nearly all of his informative years in South Africa, as a dentist of all things. He came back to Europe in 2000, and has tried to smooth a way back into the UK ever since”

“What’s his problem?”

“South Africa; security breaches” Baines let the blanks speak volumes

“Was he a Dentist or a mercenary?”

“Not to clear on that. Best not to delve to deeply though. Let’s just say he wasn’t very friendly toward our cause on a number of occasions” Baines spread his hands across the table.

***

M and Moneypenny left the Houses of Parliament

“Do you think the minister’s explanation changes the dynamic of the operation sir?”

“Not at all”

“You don’t believe him?”

“I’m sure he believes it. I don’t. We need to get back into the Klivex files; I don’t remember seeing any water purification drugs listed in their research”

***

James Bond keyed in the code on the electronic lock pad and entered the small unit. The neon tubes blinked excitedly as they threw their bright light upon the object in the centre of the spotlessly clean unit.

The metallic silver grey Jaguar C-X16 sat in anticipation of being driven.

Bond approached the car as one would a wild animal, slowly but confidently.

He walked the length of the vehicle, letting his fingers trace the sensual lines of the roof. He caressed the door handle for one moment before savagely opening the door. The interior was just as evocative; red leather assaulted his eyes and nose in the way only a new car can. Sliding into the cockpit, his dark suit rubbed over the leather ending in a satisfying sigh as the firm sport seat wrapped itself around him. Bond gave in to a child-like smile as he pressed the start button and the supercharged 3 litre V6 engine roared into life.

Out on the winding road Bond engaged the other method of propulsion that the Jaguar had at its disposal. An electric motor linked to the eight-speed automatic transmission. The battery pack, mounted behind the front seats, was charged using the brake regeneration system. ‘The electric motor can therefore be activated to boost your acceleration’ Q had advised him.

“In a similar way to the KERS system in Formula 1 cars” Bond had replied

“Grow up 007” Q had quipped after expelling all his breath.

Now Bond played with the switch on the steering wheel. Within a couple of miles he had mastered the beast, and was happily using the hybrid engine to the best effect as he powered the Jaguar along the mountain road.

His cover was now complete. The Sat Nav screen blinked green. Bond said “Accept” loudly. The screen dissolved into a HD broadcast from London. Bill Tanner sat at his desk. The sound of his voice was almost in sync with the movements of his mouth.

“James, we have been able to access more research information from the Klivex project files. The name ‘Rotunza’ has come to light. M has had a conversation with Baines. The Defence secretary believes Alanby is kosher; and that Klivex are manufacturing a wonder drug to keep the Libyan people alive and allow them to drink contaminated water. M thinks it’s b…”

The motorbike howled past the Jaguar. The engine noise obliterated the signal. Bond moved his head in sympathy of the machine passing him. The bike opened up a gap to him; the rider leaning into the next corner. Bond checked his own speed. 80KPH. after two more bends the bike had disappeared. Bond’s concentration filtered back to Tanner.

“…So be on the lookout for anything under the ‘Rotunza’ banner”

“M doesn’t believe Baines or doesn’t think Alanby is telling the truth?”

“Alanby has a history of anti-British activity in Africa. He’s either had a ‘road to Damascus’ moment or he’s playing the Defence Secretary for a fool”

Bond toyed with a reply, but plumped for “Do we know what the ‘Rotunza’ drug is really for?”

“No; but it looks like two agents have died because they found out something about it. So please be careful; don’t go in all heavy handed”

“I wouldn’t dream of it”

The Klivex corporate building, looked like nine melted ice cubes, falling in on themselves. Bond saw the building from a number of angles as he swept down the winding road to the campus.

Entering the gate, Bond killed the V6, enabling the electric motor to take over; gliding the silent Jaguar toward the reception building.

A uniformed guard stepped from the building, holding out a large White gloved hand.

“My name is Sterling. I have a meeting with Mr. Hessel” Bond began. The guard looked beyond Bond at the Jaguar. Bond removed his sunglasses, and smiled at the guard.

“Beautiful isn’t she. I’m hoping to sell her to your boss”

“Park over there Mr. Sterling, I’ll see if you have an appointment”

Bond glided the C-X16 into a space next to a Kawasaki Z1000

The matt black twin exhausts were the same colour as the frame and the liquid cooled DOHC 16 valve engine. The rest of the machine was corporate Kawasaki green. It was the same machine that buzzed him on the mountain road. The cooling engine made a satisfying click sound.

In the security building the guard was receiving his instructions. He depressed the phone button and walked over to Bond.

“Along here” He gestured with his Wheatley glove pointing toward one of the melted ice cubes “Main reception is there. You will be met”

“Who does this belong too?” Bond gestured toward the Kawasaki

The guard just smiled and pointed to the reception door.

“Well it’s been nice chatting” Bond replaced his Persol sunglasses and walked along the path.

From his third floor corner office Head of security Adrian Alanby followed Bond’s progress. A feint tap on the door was followed by his PA gingerly coming into his office; she stood close to the door, hoping to retreat as soon as she had delivered the message

“The appointment was made yesterday. Mr. Hessel’s secretary added the event on the company calendar”

Without looking up from the monitor he answered “Okay Gabbi, thanks for the update I’ll take it from here”

Gabbi made a small bow of the head and left the office, closing the door behind her. Outside she breathed a silent sigh of relief.

Alanby didn’t believe in coincidence. On Saturday he had returned from Libya; this morning Baines had been quizzed by the MI6 about his involvement. The politician had faithfully told them about the arrangement the two of them had; and now suddenly someone turns up with a prototype car for sale. The man entering the main reception just had to be MI6.

“Oh well only one way to find out”

The pretty girl with the severe blonde bob extended her hand, and turned on her most charming smile as Bond approached her.

“Good morning Mr. Sterling I am Miss Kandu”

“That’s good to know”

She laughed at the line although she was not quite sure what he meant by it. The smile vanished. Only to be replaced by a concerned look that seemed to be on the verge of breaking into tears at any moment. Bond wondered if the girl, like many actresses could cry on demand, and if so would her dark mascara run.

“I’m so sorry to inform you that Mr. Hessel is unavailable at the present”

“That’s a shame; he seemed so keen when we spoke yesterday” Bond also feigned sadness.

The smile came back on. Her teeth were very White

“Don’t worry, Mr. Hessel is very keen to see you, he will see you very soon; but he does ask that you allow him to finish his meeting. He asks if you would be so good as to wait in the exhibition hall, and view his collection while you wait”

At the prospect of viewing Hessel’s car collection Bond turned on his smile, it was almost genuine.

“Would you follow me”

“Yes I would”

They walked down a short well lit corridor; the walls were adorned with paintings and photographs of Hessel during his racing years.

Miss Kandu entered the six digit code. Bond memorised the sequence. The door sighed open. “Please” she gestured for him to enter.

“Thank-you” Bond brushed past her; she made no attempt to move away.

The room gave the impression of space. The walkway was illuminated like the aisle of an aircraft. Subtle blue toned lighting revealed the sleek shapes of powerful sports cars in two herringbone rows in front of him. As Bond moved along the walk way a powerful overhead light illuminated a black roadster. Bond looked on in awe at James Coburn’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder. Miss Kandu stood in front of the car, bending from the waist she retrieved a small walky talky hand set. Behind her Bond exclaimed one word

“Fantastic”

“Thank-you” The girl stood up straight and offered the hand set to Bond

“Just point it at the car and the provenance will be explained” The smile returned again. Her eyes looked very inviting.

“Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“No, I’ll be fine here. Oh one thing, how long will Mr. Hessel be?”

“He will join you here within the hour. Now if there is anything you want in the meantime” She pointed to a blue call button on the hand set

“Just press my button, and I will come”

“That’s always reassuring to know”

Bond walked down the walk way admiring the cars as he went. Miss Kandu walked seductively back to the entrance, an extra swing of her hips to try and entice the guest to look at her instead of the ancient hunks of metal that had cost the owner a fortune to acquire.

As the next powerful overhead came on the Ferrari light dimed. Bond smiled at the girl and pointed the hand set at a scarlet 250 GTO

“Only thirty-six of these cars were produced from 1962 to 1964 and each was sold for $18,000 to a customer hand-picked by North American Ferrari dealer Luigi Chinetti or Enzo Ferrari himself. Since then, the 250 GTO has attained legendary status. A glut of replicas gave rise to the saying that, “Of the 36 which have been built, all 3000+ of them are still running.” In 1991, this example was purchased for $5.5 million—the highest price for GTO to date. If this is true, it’d make the GTO the world’s most expensive Ferrari”

Alone, Bond quickly made his way to the second fire exit. Shoe horned between a Renault Alpine and a Porsche 911 prototype the fire door was almost entirely hidden by a large plastic fern tree. Bond estimated he would have only forty minutes to search the establishment. Beside the door was the ever present keypad. Bond keyed in the same code that the charming Miss Kandu had pressed to enter the museum. The door hissed open. Bond placed his mobile phone on the floor, in the door jamb. Gently he closed the door onto the phone. Carefully Bond eased his body around the corner. No cameras (just as the intelligence had reported). Bond ran along the corridor; he knew the research labs were above the car museum (which was why the prototype car sale plan had been used) also Q branch’s infiltration of the Klivex computer system had shown the time when Hessel was tied up in a meeting. Now was that time, things were going according to plan.

Bond ignored the elevator (he knew CCTV operated in every lift) he pushed open the service door and charged up the stairs. Two flights later he arrived at the fire exit door to the research labs, he took a deep breath.

James Bond pulled open the door, walking confidently into the research facility, the corridor smelled of disinfectant. Four precious minutes had elapsed; but time was still on his side. His footsteps echoed along the corridor, announcing his presence to anyone in the vicinity. He pushed open the door on which the sign professed ‘Authorized Personnel Only’. He was now just twelve feet away from the stainless steel research lab door.

There was only one problem.

The guard looked up.


#7 volante

volante

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:44 PM

Chapter Seven


Placebo effect


Klivex Research laboratory. Monday Day 4

The guard’s surprise was total. Bond was on him in a flash.

With a right palm heal blow Bond slapped the left ear of the guard. As the man’s hand came up to defend the stinging blow Bond thrust his left hand into the guard’s throat cutting off any chance of the man calling for help, paralyzing the vocal chords. As Bond withdrew his left hand he used the momentum to swing a right into the floating ribs of the stricken man. The guard bounced back against the wall, dropping his radio. Bond dropped to one knee and caught it. He jammed the radio against the outside edge of the man’s left knee and then summoned up all his strength to execute a crushing left punch to the inside of the guard’s patella; breaking the leg. Bond estimated the pain would render the man unconscious for at least fifteen minutes.

The time to search the facility had just been compressed. Plus, Bond’s ability to withdraw from the action undisterbed was now severely compromised. Time was now against him. But Bond refused to throw caution to the wind. With a steely reserve he entered the research laboratories, the door felt cold to his touch.

The first room contained a bank of desktop PC’s against one, neutrally painted wall, in the centre of the room stood a highly polished black plastic table. Bond scanned the table, it held nothing but number of glass containers, test tubes etc. Bond wandered through the room sensing there was nothing of importance in here, except…

…Bond took a White coat from the coat stand.

Decked in his new disguise Bond entered the next room. The three men, all wearing identical White coats, working diligently at their desks looked up as one.

“Mien Herren” Bond nodded curtly and walked through the room. At the key pad he entered the code. He could feel their eyes upon him, if the code was different here; all would be lost. The door hissed open. Once through Bond glanced behind him; the men had already returned to their duties.

He checked his Omega, six minutes had now elapsed.

Bond jogged along the corridor. Every fibre of his body was tensed against the sound of an alarm. Surely his luck could not hold much longer, surely the guard he had disabled at the entrance would soon be discovered. The thought of imminent discovery washed over him like a cold shower. Soon he knew the unconscious guard would betray his presence. Still he forged on, no thought of abandoning the mission.

Around the next corner another White coated man was entering the code into another key pad. The door hissed open and both he and Bond entered together. The man, smiled at Bond, but then his face soured, his eyes drifted down to Bond’s coat “Where’s your badge?” he asked in French.

Bond’s hands shot up to his breast “[censuré]!” Bond replied, his hands patting his pockets. “Ah!” Bond exclaimed; his hand darted into his pocket. The technician looked expectedly for the hand to emerge. The hand did, it travelled up quickly and purposefully crashing into the man’s jaw. His legs buckled, but Bond caught him, and eased him to the floor. This was going from bad to worse.

“Hey are you okay?” Another White coated figure was approaching fast.

“Help me, he just collapsed” Bond looked appealingly at the man. The man arrived on the scene; he was carrying a number of folders in his hands.

Bond swept the man’s legs from under him, he crashed to the floor, the folders scattered around him. Bond adjusted his position and crashed his elbow into the man’s sternum. Bond got to his feet. The mission was fast becoming untenable. It was then that Bond saw the word ‘Rotunza’ at the top of a number of pages, which had spilled from the folders. Quickly he gathered up the folders, and proceeded deeper into the laboratory; his battle clock told him there were only a few minutes of grace until he needed to retreat, maybe he would get away with it again. It was then that the alarm sounded.

The cover of the folder displayed a room number; B17. Bond checked the door next to him B5. Bond sprinted along the corridor. The alarm continued to squeal. The lights flashed.

At B17 Bond entered the code he had learned From Miss Kandu. The pad returned a solemn beep. The door remained locked. Suddenly a man appeared at his side. The lights reflected in his glasses.

“It’s the fire alarm; come on we have to go outside now” the man with the rimless glasses looked incredulously at Bond, his arrival had taken Bond by surprise; but the reaction was only momentarily.

“I have to get my research out; but I can’t think of the new code” Bond answered, his hand scratching his head, in mock frustration. The movement not only served to add credence to the situation, but helped shade Bond’s face.

The alarm was insistent, the man reached out and keyed in the code, the door hissed open “It’s probably only a drill, but don’t be too long. Doctor Katrina doesn't like to be kept waiting” He smiled and left.

Bond entered the office. He closed the door behind him. Scanning the equipment Bond went to a PC sitting on the corner desk. With one hand he flicked through the folder, his other hand danced over the keyboard.

The screen prompted the word ‘Password’ Bond looked at the desk for inspiration. A photograph of a woman with a small child in her arms looked back at him. Bond searched the desk for a name. Nothing sprang to light.

He turned toward the wall; the calendar had a personal photograph of the child. Bond flicked through the previous month; then the one before. In large ballpoint pen print the name Ruban was enclosed in a multi coloured star.

Bond typed in the word RUBAN. The PC went to the home screen. Folder icons adorned the whole left side of the screen, each sat on top of the word Rotunza followed by a series of numbers.

“Happy birthday Ruban” Bond whispered. From his pocket he produced a memory stick, engaging it into the nearest USB port. His fingers danced over the keyboard, finally punching the enter key to begin the download process.

The high pitch of the alarm disguised the beeps from the keypad, so that when the door swung open Bond was unprepared for the attack. The hand grabbed his shoulder. Bond’s own hand flew to the attack clamping down on the offending hand. Bond swung his body inside the attack and with a deft flick of the wrist threw the attacker over his shoulder. The guard tumbled against the desk. The alarm continued to scream within the room, but the noise did not drown out the sound of the machine pistols cocking. Bond turned to face two more grim faced guards flanking a powerfully built man with an uncompromising stare. The eyes seemed to burn into his very soul.

“Mr. Sterling I presume?”

Bond instantly recognised the man form the photograph from the briefing.

“Mr. Alanby so good of you to see me”

Alanby pointed toward Bond. The two guards seized him, snapping a pair of nickel finished Total Control Handcuffs over his wrists. Roughly they dragged him from the office. In the corridor the alarms went silent.

“Take him to the dispensary”

***

The Gulf War of the ‘90s destroyed pretty much everything in the capital city of Kuwait. Since then investments have helped it to rise like a phoenix from the ashes to become one of the most attractive cities in the Middle East.

As she viewed the towering splendour of the new skyscrapers reaching for the skies, Elodie Douro was quickly able to forget the tragic past of the city.

The White stretch Hummer glided past the hourly watered landscaped gardens; their lush green and coloured blooms breaking up the silver and glass of the buildings and the beige of the sand.

“I expected it to be all ‘souks’ and Arabian tents!” Her English was heavily accented, but as with most beautiful French women the resultant sound was not only erotic, but conveyed an innocence that endeared even her most ardent rivals. It appeared to the paparazzi, and impressionable followers around the World that success had come easily for the girl from Nice. But as with most beautiful women, an illogical low self-esteem and failure to be able to form meaningful relationships; meant that Elodie had had to overcome many demons in her fight to make it as a model. Now at 26 years of age she twisted her 5’ 6” body to follow the line of the building as it soared above her.

“Oh no my lovely, Kuwait is no longer grappling with the after-effects of war. That is why we decided to do the fashion shoot here. Show the public that Kuwait is alive and well” Elodie’s host in Kuwait was Vogue magazine’s American editor, Lenny Baker.

As far as ‘super models’ went Elodie Douro was talented in the extreme. Her beautiful face seemed to radiate happiness. She was fresh and wholesome. Her hazel eyes had a quality of trust and love which humbled the most cynical of photographers, and a body that made the ‘airbrush’ artists redundant. Baker watched her from behind his Ray-Ban sunglasses. She was perfect. Skin, hair, eyes, body; just perfect He knew instinctively that her ability to sell whatever she endorsed would take his magazine back to the top. With growing anticipation he looked forward to the next couple of days, which he hoped he would be able to look back on in years to come and say ‘Those were the days that changed history ”

Baker of course meant the history of fashion; those less scrupulous wanted history to recognise them for an entirely different reason.

***

The dispensary was not very aptly named. It was much more like a dental surgery. Two large wicker laundry baskets were casually placed along one wall. A sink unit and medical cupboard sat in sterile solitude opposite. The walls were tiled in a gleaming White.

James Bond found himself strapped securely into the plastic covered electronically controlled chair in the centre of the room. Above him a powerful light was angled into his face, the brightness burned into his eyes, even when they were tightly closed.

Suddenly the light was removed. It took a minute or so for Bond’s sight to return. He blinked rapidly and then focused onto the face of Adrian Alanby.

Slowly Alanby produced a strip of tablets in a silver blister packet from his jacket pocket. He waved them in front of Bond’s face.

“Not necessary, the headache isn’t too bad now” Quipped Bond

“Very funny Mr. Sterling, but I’m not really concerned about your health”

“Oh dear your bed side manner does need improving”

“I’m not a doctor. As you can see from your surroundings I used to be Dentist. Not a very good one I’ll grant you. But I do like to keep my hand in”

“You’re not a very good head of security either, I walked straight in”

“I let you”

Bond gave a sarcastic smile as a reply. Subtly he tried the bonds that restrained him, but there was no give at all. The sound of the drill focused Bond’s mind on the pressing task at hand.

“You’ll be familiar with the term placebo?” Alanby stood just in front of him, the dentist’s high power drill in his hand.

“Of course. It means fake; a little bit like the information you ‘re supplying to Noel Baines”

“Ha! Baines; do you know I have never met such a stupid man. For a corrupt politician he really is stupid. Well let’s begin then shall we. He held the strip of tablets in his other hand. The drill continued to whirr, making a noise that filled Bond with dread

“Four of the six tablets here are just plain sugar and water”

The guard dragged one of the large wicker baskets closer to the side of the chair.

The electronic motors whirred, and the chair was brought into an upright position. Bond looked around the room, appraising his situation.

“This is my play room”

“You need to get out more”

“The fifth tablet contains enough novocaine to numb your mouth from the pain I am about to inflict on you” Spittle formed at the corners of his mouth.

“The sixth tablet however contains a deadly poison” He lent in close to Bond

“Tell me who sent you here and what they know about my operation and I will kill you humanely. Lie or be obstinate and I will let you choose your own tablets one by one; a little bit like a modern day Russian roulette. Depending upon the pain you feel you will gladly accept the next offering”

“Death or death; it’s not really a good alternative is it?”

“Perhaps this will convince you?”

Alanby opened the wicker basket. Stuffed inside was the crumpled form of a man. Alanby put down the drill and lifted the torso of the corpse into a sitting position in the basket.

The body was almost unrecognisable as human. The head was bloated into a grotesque shape like a pumpkin. The lips were black and swollen; they were also ripped and shredded, and covered in blood. Alanby prized open the mouth to reveal a distorted gum line containing broken and badly drilled teeth.

“1,2,3” he counted off the teeth. His eyes penetrated Bond’s reserve

“He took three tablets before finding the poison. You might be lucky and choose the poisoned one first” he laughed.

Alanby dropped the corpse and slammed the lid shut. He dived on top of Bond, his face inches from him “I suggest you start talking Mr. Sterling. Guard, give me the first tablet”

The guards stripped back the foil and extracted a tablet. Bond clamped his jaw shut. But Alanby simply laughed again, this time the noise was high pitched and insane. Bond could see there would be little comfort given by this man

“These tablets are made by the zydis process. He took the tablet and pressed it into Bond’s nostril. “We use them on horses and rabid dogs; also on the insane. You can’t always get a horse to swallow” He withdrew his finger from Bond’s nose.

“So we just rest them against the membranes in the nose” He wiped his finger on Bond’s jacket.

“How do you feel Mr. Sterling. Throat getting tight? eyes beginning to burn?”

Bond tried to expel the tablet from his nose, but it had melted instantly.

The guard tore a second tablet from the sachet.

Alanby took up the drill again. The noise spread dread throughout Bond’s whole body; instinctively he clamped his mouth shut.

“Keep your mouth closed, I don’t care, I’ll just go through your lips. He brought the drill closer. Bond moved his head to the side. The guard clamped his hands over Bond’s head forcing his face up toward the fast spinning metal bit of the drill.

The guard took hold of Bond’s lips and prized them open. The cold air form the drill coated his lips in a fine mist.

The alarm sounded in Bond’s head, he felt the slight change in grip on his face as the sound of the alarm registered with the guard. Bond instantly understood that the timer on the mobile phone that he had wedged into the fire exit had finally expired. It had been his last line of defence when he first embarked on his journey into the laboratories. The mobile contained a small incendiary device that had now ignited. Bond had hoped that he would have retrieved the mobile and made good his escape before the forty minute countdown had expired. However he knew that if he were to fail to return; it would have been a sure sign of trouble. In which case, a fire in the car museum may give him just enough of a diversion so as to make good his escape. This time the fire alarm was real.

Bond opened his mouth and bit into the guard’s fingers. The man howled in pain. Bond tasted the blood as it trickled into his mouth. Like a terrier he shook his head from side to side, the man continued to scream, hopping on the spot. Alanby punched Bond in the solar plexus, the pain shot through his body, the air vanished from his lungs and the burning pain of asphyxiation took over.

Bond held on to his victim, the blood was now flowing freely. Alanby crashed anther punch into Bond’s forehead. The stars twinkled in his brain, and then came the relief of total blackness.


#8 volante

volante

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:42 PM

Chapter Eight


From little pills mighty empires grow




Monday Day 4

“Thirty eight million euros”

Bond registered the voice, his eyes blinked open, as he fought to break free of the nausea that gripped him. Straining his neck he looked for the source of the voice. His whereabouts became abundantly clear. He was still securely held in the dentist chair in the dispensary. The building had obviously not burned down; and he was still a captive.

“If you were wondering how much I have invested in my car museum” said Jugen Hessel. Bond inclined his head and looked at the trio of men at his side. Hessel was a slight man, standing a little over 5’ 3” his dark hair, was worn over long, curly and wavy but very fashionable. Bond studied Hessel’s face; it looked lived in but handsome. The eyes still held a lust for life that comes from living on the edge, and surviving. Dwarfed by the two security guards, Hessel became more agitated.

“And you think you can just burn it down?”

“I don’t know what you mean; I just came here to sell a car to Mr. Hessel”

“Don’t play with me Mr. Bond…”

“…My name is Sterling”

“Your name is James Bond, British Secret service. You were sent here to corroborate or prove to the contrary that I am manufacturing nothing more than water purification tablets for Colonel Gaddafi”

“You’ve got the wrong man”

“I’ll be taking your little toy, for the trouble you’ve caused me. It’s actually a very pretty little Jaguar. Naturally I won’t be able to put it on public display for a few years; but by then everyone in Vauxhall Cross will have forgotten about you” He grasped Bond’s nose between his thumb and forefinger, the natural reaction is to open the mouth, as Bond did so Hessel dropped a tablet into his mouth.

“From little pills mighty empires grow. No jumped up little spy is going to destroy what I’ve built up over the years” With a deceptive show of strength, Hessel clamped Bond’s mouth closed. He maintained the pressure until the involuntary swallow mechanism in Bond’s throat had finished. Hessel released him then turned on his heel and stormed out of the room.

“Go throw him off a mountain somewhere”

The two guards began working on the restraints immediately.

They hauled Bond from the chair, and carried him out of the dispensary.

Now was the time, Bond saw his chance and began to twist within their hold, but his body would not respond. His fingers refused to curl into a fist, and his legs refused to spring onto the opponent. Whatever Hessel had given him it had rendered him totally immobile.

At the rear of the building the guards bundled James Bond into the rear seat of a car. Bond thought it was a BMW but he could not be certain. One guard sat in the rear with him the other man got in behind the wheel.

Bond was unable to raise his head to look out of the window. As the car made a sharp turn, Bond slid down the seat. He was unable to move, his brain screamed at his fingers to respond to the signals he was sending, but the hand remained still. As the car continued its journey Bond felt himself slip from the seat, and slip into the space behind the front seat.

His mind and thought process, however had been unaffected by the drug, he calculated the car had been on the move for no more than fifteen minutes when it came to an abrupt halt.

The two guards dragged Bond from his precarious crumpled position in the foot well of the rear seat. They positioned him behind the steering wheel. All through the activity Bond’s chin remained planted to his chest, but at least he was able to establish the car was a BMW. Bond heard the two shots coming from the rear of the car. The he felt the trunk being opened. It slammed close.

One of the guards was suddenly at his side, pressing what appeared to be a gun into his hand. The guard curled Bond’s lifeless finger around the trigger. Bond felt his head being tilted back, and then came the burning sensation of alcohol as it filled his mouth. Bond gagged on the fluid, but it kept being poured down his throat, it spilled out of his mouth. Then the man shook an aerosol canister and sprayed something over the steering wheel, it smelled of salt. Without finesse the guard attached Bond’s hands to the leather rim.

The guard grabbed Bond’s chin and turned his head to face him

“The gun is real, the vodka is real and the glue is water based, and will totally dissolve after your accident”

The second guard commented out of sight, his voice was giddy with myrth.

“Unlike the body in the trunk”

“See. We think of everything”

He tilted Bond’s head back as he laughed solidly.

He let go, and Bond’s head lolled back. The man fastened the safety belt across his lap.

The passenger door was opened. Bond felt the sudden rush of cold air on his cheek and then the overwhelming presence of another person being manipulated into the seat next to him, the guards grunted with the effort of the activity. After a minute of commotion the door was closed again.

Bond concentrated on lifting his head. The sweat began to break out on his forehead as his neck muscles began to respond. His head lifted, agonizingly slow. He observed the handbrake was not engaged. The car was a manual; the gearlever stared back at him. Then he saw that the lights on the dashboard were all lit. He continued to lift his head the effort was tremendous. Suddenly he was able to look out of the windscreen. The scene that greeted him was a small rocky area gently raising to a large a rock face which continued beyond his range of vision. Off to the side sat a battered old grey van. Bond continued to raise his head, the strain was almost unbearable. Momentarily he was able to see the panorama in the rear view mirror. Only sky and clouds greeted him here. His muscles burned with the effort.

With one more push gravity took over and his head snapped back against the head restraint. He wallowed in the luxury of rest. Then he attempted to move his hands, but they were stuck to the wheel, the effort was too much, Bond felt his eyes begin to close.

“Don’t sleep” He thought he heard words but was unable to determine their source. His eyes snapped open. Movement, the two guards were at the front of the BMW, both were still laughing as they began pushing it backward. Bond glanced in the mirror again, and again he could see nothing but sky. His head dropped to the right. Sitting beside him was Juliet Guggler. She held the vodka bottle in her hand. Bond sensed the gun would be close by as well.

“Don’t sleep” she repeated. But Bond’s eyes fluttered closed.

“Wake up” she shouted.

Bond’s eyes flew open; he could feel the motion of the car as the two guards got the momentum going. The rock face was gliding past him, the movement felt as if he was falling, but as in a dream, slowly and without danger.

He knew it was pointless to try to move his hands, so he concentrated on his legs. As if extracting them from cloying mud Bond flexed his thigh. His foot began to lift. Without giving away his intention, he slowly lifted his foot.

Bond traversed his head, movement was becoming easier. He looked through the windscreen. The BMW was now on the road. The grey van was maneuvering away from its parking place.

In an instant Bond understood what was going to happen. The van would be driven into them, a glancing blow to the front left of the car, simulating the effects of and leaving evidence on the road of a hit and run accident. The guards would then push the BMW across the road and into the ravine. Bond looked across at Juliet, then out through her side window. The fact that all he could see was sky was testament to his conclusion.

The van accelerated toward them.

“They’re going to kill us aren’t they?” The girl began to moan softly

“They can try” Bond found his voice.

The van thundered toward them. The impact jarred his head back. The sound of tearing metal assaulted his ears. The van scrapped along the side of the BMW. The window shattered, showering Bond with chunks of safety glass

Bond heard the van strike the rock face. More evidence for the traffic police to conclude the accident. The vodka, and gun were probably to explain the lack of control on the road leading to the accident; the body in the trunk would not be explained so easily. The blame would be leveled at Bond.

With a jolt, the car was propelled forward. The guards were pushing the car forward now. After a couple of yards the road began to dip. The car gained momentum. Bond saw the ravine, deep and empty.

Just beyond the area where he had parked, the road took a gentle bend. The Fence separating the road from thin air looked very frail. The guards angled the BMW at the fence. The car gathered speed. Bond depressed the clutch. His hands were still stuck on the wheel, so he turned to the girl.

“Pull the gear lever back” Her left hand was wrapped around the vodka bottle, probably with the same glue as was on Bond’s hand. She lent across with her right hand. Slowly her fingers crept forward. The tips of her fingers caressing the leather gear leaver. Her strength failed her, the leaver did not move. The BMW careered down the road. The bend ominously close. Bond glanced in the mirror, the guards had let go of the car now. Gravity had now taken over.

“Keep trying” He urged

Bond began to turn the steering wheel, his arms felt like they were encased in concrete. The car left the road. The noise of the tyres on the rough terrain vibrated through the car. Juliet’s hand slipped off the gear lever.

The BMW smashed into the fence. It buckled but held the car within the safety of its perimeter. The sudden change of direction threw Juliet forward; she struggled to regain her balance. Vodka was spilled over her.

The car continued down the road. Bond fought the wheel, it bucked under his grip. If it weren’t for the glue on the wheel his hands would have been thrown off. The BMW hit the fence again, the impact of the crash spread up his arms and into his shoulders, his neck gave way and his head lolled.

Juliet screamed. The front wheel went over the edge. Rocks and dirt sprayed up from the damaged car and tumbled out into the thousand foot abyss.

Bond fought the wheel, anchoring his left hand deep into his groin. His right shoulder groaned under the strain. But the car responded. The rear door smashed into the fence and slewed the BMW back onto the gravel. A shower of rocks cascaded out into the chasm. Bond continued to hold the wheel at an oblique angle. Slowly the car came away from the fence.

In front of them a much sharper right bend loomed up. There would be no chance of taking this cleanly.

The car plunged headlong toward the bend. Juliet seized the gearlever and yanked it back. Bond released the clutch; and the engine fired. The BMW stuttered under the impact of the bump start. The engine came alive. Bond’s foot played on the accelerator. The engine began to scream in protest to the amount of revs going through it.

Bond jammed his foot down onto the clutch and brake. The car slewed to the right, heading into the abyss, Bond lent over the wheel and steered the car left. It skidded. The rear wheels dancing over the stones sent another spray of debris into the void. The BMW grazed the safety barrier, and righted itself. Bond applied opposite lock on the wheel; his hands still stuck to the leather rim, the range of his movement severely limited.

The car bounced along the metal fence. Sparks flew up along the side of the car. Bond glanced in the mirror. The grey van lumbered around the bend behind them. Bond threw the car into a drift around the bend. He looked through the windscreen, horror spread across his face.

The next bend was a left facing hairpin. Bond pulled his hand, and felt it move from the wheel.

“Pull my hand”

Juliet wrapped her hands around Bond’s arm, dropping her weight. Bond felt the skin tear from his palm, as his hand came away. Instantly he depressed the clutch and changed up into third gear, the car accelerated away.

The grey Renault van was right behind them now, the guard, still breathing heavy from his exertion, thrust his foot down on the accelerator. The old van shot down the road. All he needed to do was give them a little nudge.

Bond twisted his left arm to allow the wheel to go full circle; the BMW drifted around the hairpin

“Piece of cake”

The first of the bullets smashed through the rear windows.

Juliet looked back at Bond for a little more reassurance.

“Well they can’t say it was an accident now”

“That’s good to know”

Another hairpin bend came upon them frighteningly fast. Bond slewed the car around. Then the Renault van hit them. The rear of the BMW smashed into the barrier. The rear wheel dipped over the edge.

“I don’t think they care about it looking like an accident”

More bullets ate into the bodywork.

“You could be right” Bond floored the accelerator. The next bend was a right hairpin; Bond was able to see the ‘v’ shaped crevice in the rock face in front and below, evergreen trees and naked branches grew precariously from the inhospitable face. All around them ‘slow’ and ‘danger’ signs mocked the speed they were arriving.

Bond drove peerlessly, edging the car close to the rock face, the door mirror smashed and was ripped from the bodywork, then the awful sound of the doors scrapping along the rocks, then he span the wheel. The BMW cantered over the road and aimed for the exit, the maneuver was perfect. Juliet let out a sigh of relief. It was then that the van hit them.

The car hit the barrier which snapped like a twig, the van continued to push the BMW toward the precipice. Bond slammed on the brakes, but the damage was already done. The body of the van edged them to the point of no return. For one heart stopping moment the car remained balanced on the edge.

Then in lurid slow motion, like being on the crest of a rollercoaster, the BMW slipped over the edge. The panorama unfolded beneath them.

Juliet screamed. The car plunged over the edge at some seventy five degree angle. Bond saw the tangle of branches and rocky outcrops which threatened to summersault them out into the abyss. The car smashed through the thin branches, shaking the foliage loose. The branches cracked and snapped as the car plunged through, falling headlong with a swooshing of leaves shaking in the aftermath. Then to a crescendo of noise it landed on a thick branch, the BMW held firm. “Oh my god” Juliet screamed. She looked at Bond willing him to tell her everything would be ok. The car held firm in the cradle of branches.

But then gravity took control and the BMW began to slide along the length of the branch. “Oh god no. Please no” Juliet twisted in her seat, panic telling her to get out, but the position telling her to stay put.

The car settled again, the branches and thick foliage snuggled around the stricken car as it nested in the trees. They looked out into the void.

“This might just hold long enough for me to get mobility back, then I can get us out of here”

With one almighty crack, the branch broke. The car settled onto more branches. Steam and smoke rose from beneath the bonnet.

“Oh my god we’re going to die”

Bond checked the possibility of climbing out of the side window.

“At least tell me your name before we die” Juliet held on to Bond’s shoulder

“The name’s Bond…”

The BMW smashed through the bushes and slid down the ravine. More branches cracked, and roots were unearthed as the car poured down the mountainside. The road loomed up at them, and then the car took off.

With an earth shattering crunch the car hit the road. The suspension rocketed through the body. The airbags deployed. Bond and Juliet were thrown around like rag dolls. Bond’s hand was torn away from the wheel, leaving a bloody smear on the steering wheel.

The car stalled, and an unearthly silence engulfed them.

Then the roar of the debris from above, as all around them rocks and earth cascaded down upon the BMW.

Calmly Bond depressed the starter and drove away. The girl looked at him in utter disbelief. Bond returned the look and smiled

“…James Bond”

The tyres had burst, and at least one wheel was broken off, but the BMW crabbed down the road. Bond rotated his neck. His movement was nearly all within his control again.

The girl smiled at him “My name is Juliet Guggler”

“Pleased to meet you Madam”

"It's Miss Guggler. But my friends call me Juliet" Juliet extended her hand. The French accent molded the words into little erotic whispers that poured from her mouth.
Bond toyed with the smooth velvet sound of her voice.
"Guggler" He pronounced it almost perfectly, his accent hinted of Breton. The word sounded like 'Juggler'
"Juliet Guggler, now there's a name to conjure with"


The bullets ripped into the back of the BMW. The guards in the Renault had simply driven down the road and were now closing the gap to the wounded BMW. The last of the shots took out the final driven wheel, and the car came to rest. The battered old van bumped over the fallen tree branches, and came to a halt behind them. Bond observed the guards jumping out of the van.

“We can’t outrun them. Open your legs” Bond looked directly at her

“What?”

“There’s one thing I’d like to do before they get here”

Bond lent over on to the girl. The Guards arrived at the window.

As they jerked open the door Bond shot the first guard in the leg; then as he sat up again he shot the second guard in the head.

Bond looked at the first guard “Looks like you didn’t think of everything”

Bond shot him in the head. The man dropped. All was quiet.

The BMW was completely wrecked, but it had saved their lives.

Bond helped Juliet from the car

“Stay here”

Bond checked the trunk, only to discover that the body which he had heard being shot at the beginning of the ordeal was in fact the corpse he had seen in the dispensary.

“Is he dead?” Juliet asked

Bond looked at her, he nodded in confirmation

“I saw them shoot him up there” She gestured up above.

“Come and take a look. Do you know him?” Bond lowered the trunk lid so that the head was hidden from view.

Juliet saw the clothes and nodded, only the sound of her sobbing could be heard.



#9 volante

volante

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:11 PM

Chapter Nine


Jigsaw




MI6 H.Q. Vauxhall Cross, London. Monday Day 4

Bill Tanner paced up and down beside the table. His eyes never left the large plastic envelopes containing the evidence collected in Lisbon. The forensic team had come up with nothing. No evidence to suggest Blake had been murdered.

“Penny for them?” M appeared at his side. He had entered the room without Tanner even noticing.

“There’s no evidence of murder, and that leaves us with the conclusion that Blake took his own life” Tanner balled his fist “Why would Blake commit suicide? There’s nothing in Section L or nothing that he passed on to Juliet Guggler that would indicate he wanted to escape from anything”

M picked at the nearest bag, carefully he examined the contents through the clear plastic; he shrugged his large shoulders “What intelligence have we gathered on the other names on the list?”

Tanner let out a long sigh “Can you give me an hour to prepare everything?”

“So we have something?”

“Precious little actually, but I want to double check everything. I must have missed something”

“What is there?”

“Osterman is a second rate journalist, been working out in the States for the past year. Daniel Wheatley is a commercial airline pilot, can’t even find a parking ticket on his record; keeps himself to himself. Elodie Douro, the French fashion model. Usual tabloid hype; but nothing to link her to Osterman or Wheatley”

“Or Alanby!”

M understood the death of Corrine Murphy had knocked Tanner.

“Take your time Bill. Just make sure we have all the facts, hopefully we will be able to work out this jigsaw puzzle together” M smiled in encouragement.

Tanner returned the smile; he had understood the help that M had offered.

As he was about to leave he suddenly remembered the other piece of evidence that he and Corrine had collected in Blake’s apartment. He brought out the blue envelope from his suit jacket pocket.

“Oh I almost forgot. This was addressed to you sir” He held out the envelope.

M opened the envelope and read the contents. M’s face went ashen.

“It’s Blake’s suicide note. It’s the suicide note, we found in Lisbon” Tanner added, trying to figure out the look of terror on M’s face.

“Have you read this Tanner?”

“Of course”

“How did you find it read? As suicide notes go”

“Well, it’s certainly not the typical ‘Goodbye cruel World’ note that one expects. It actually reads more like a poem”

“Strangely enough I once thought the same, but I knew it wasn’t a poem”

Tanner waited for M to continue, the atmosphere was suddenly tense.

“This is a suicide note?” Tanner asked, after all it had been addressed to M

“So it would seem”

Tanner asked “You’re not convinced it was a suicide? and yet nothing points to anything else”

M closed his eyes, and shook his head. “No” his eyes snapped open

“You see Bill; I’ve seen this note before”

Tanner reached for the sheet of paper again

“The report confirmed it was Blake’s handwriting…” Tanner interjected M shook his head “Not the exact note I grant you; but the words, the actual message it conveys”

Tanner tried to play down the news as a coincidence

“Maybe Blake had seen the original note too; he could have been influenced over the original victim”

“Hardly; you see the person in question didn’t die. The security service intervened when they realized what was happening, the note was taken away from the scene”

“Is this person still alive then?” Tanner asked

“No Bill she is not. After the security service made their intervention it was decided she was to be taken into care. However there was a terrible accident that night. And the upshot of it all was that she died”

Tanner read the note through again.




There is no grey between love and hate


Like the million shades between black and Wheatley


No Crimson dawn or sweet sunset


No rainbows end?


A shattered life and a twist of fate


Like a million words that haunt the night


A living nightmare I can’t forget


Fairy-tale end?


Fate will guide my hand


Friends will understand


That I have always…


…Loved you


I saw the beauty in you. You saw the good in me


With a love so bright even the Blind could see


No tender touch can dry these tear filled eyes.


No happy end?


See the tree how big it’s grown


Think of me you’re not alone


Happy tears fall to the ground


Grow the love that we have found


Happy tears soak in the earth


You have my all for what it’s worth


Happy tears in your eyes


Love goes on when the body dies


M looked at Tanner “You better get on to MI5; I think they’ve had a breach of security”

“At Thames House?” Tanner enquired

“No Bill, at Buckingham Palace”

***

The battered old Renault van limped through the city center. Juliet sat in stunned silence as Bond drove. Quietly in his own space Bond began to put the pieces together, by the time they’d reached the hotel, he was ready.

The doorman looked on incredulously as Bond dropped the keys into his hand.

Once in his suite Bond went straight to the bar “Drink?”

Juliet shook her head “Shower?” her ears were still ringing from the gun shots

“Through there”

Bond poured himself a large measure of Smirnoff, and threw himself into a comfortable bottle green leather chair. He telephoned the reception.

“Can you send the couturier up please?”

“Of course sir. What selection would you like to see?”

“An evening dress, business ensemble, and a full range of lingerie”

“For the young lady you arrived with, sir?”

“Yes” Bond replaced the receiver onto the cradle. His bloody hand print remained on the telephone. His body ached; he hadn’t felt this bad since he’d last played rugby.

Long after the sound of running water had finished Juliet came back into the lounge. She wore one of the hotel robes, and a turban towel on her head.

“I think we need to talk. Are you ready?” Bond asked

Juliet flopped into the chair opposite. She raised her eyebrows to indicate she was ready.

“Who was the man in the trunk?”

“Jon Osterman” Juliet dried up. Her face became set.

Bond suddenly grew weary of the thought of dragging every piece of information from her.

“Okay. You tell me everything you know from your investigations, from the very start” He downed the vodka, and challenged her with his steely blue eyes.

“I was born in Haiti. It is a very poor country. My family were rich, and privileged. We moved to Paris to further my education”

Bond poured another vodka and returned to the chair. Juliet was lost in her own romantic version of her life, Bond watched her with growing interest.

“My Father did not approve of my decision to throw away my education and go to work for a charity organization. So I moved to England” She went to the bar herself, and opened a can of Diet Pepsi. Bond noticed how tight the robe was tied around her waist, and how alive her skin colour was.

“After some false starts I joined Global Witness. I had always thought that my work there was helpful to the people on the street, in breaking the bonds of natural resource exploitation” She sat on the chair opposite Bond, her long smooth legs tucked up under her robe.

“You see rather than using their wealth wisely as building blocks for development, countries that are rich in natural-resources, frequently end up blighted by inequality and bad governance” Bond nodded, encouraging her to continue. He was enjoying hearing her talk, and looked forward to a time when her voice would ring with laughter, and they could discuss more the intimate details. He hoped the evening dress they would bring, would be in electric blue.

“In spite of increasing international recognition of this phenomenon, we call it ‘the resource curse’ governments, and global companies have failed to do enough to tackle it. In fact, they are often part of the problem”

“What led you to Klivex?” Asked Bond

“I was checking the research from the US Office of the Inspector General. Last year Klivex had been accused of offering bribes to healthcare companies to use their products in a number of test cases. Klivex paid up pretty damn quick; but you can bet your life that the profit margins in the companies implicated will go up over the coming years, as Klivex products hit their shelves”

Bond’s inner sense of justification rose a little higher, he had already come to the same conclusion. Juliet continued…

“But I don’t care about those scams going on in the USA; I’m only interested in the fair distribution of wealth in the country where the natural resource is extracted” Bond felt his guilt rise a little. He smiled to encourage her to continue.

“I cross referenced the Klivex product catalogue” She paused to take a drink of the cola. “Pretty soon I stumbled across an anomaly. The measured tonnage from the extracted sites didn’t stack up to the volume of the drug produced. However, another commodity, mined from the same country seems to have vanished from the Klivex stock sheet!”

“And what does that mean exactly?"

“From my point of view, only a fraction of the profits gained from the mining was actually ploughed back into the country of origin” Her smile was succinct, she knew she had gotten her point over well enough for this brutish killer to understand the real plight she was trying to combat. Bond took the smile to be one of pleasure, derived from his company.

“From your point of view. Klivex were trialling a different drug than that which was prescribed”

“What were the drugs? And what were the results?”

“The one that Klivex wants to keep secret is something they call Rotunda”

“And the results of the trials?” Bond did not correct her on the name.

“At that time I was unable to see the results. But I did manage to see the name of the Klivex man in charge of the distribution in the States”

“Adrian Alanby” Bond guessed. Juliet smiled and nodded in confirmation.

“I began to track Alanby’s movements. Ostensibly I wanted to trace money which should have gone to Kuwait.

Bond inclined his head, in order to understand the Kuwait connection.

“The country where the Rotunda is cultivated” She continued “However my IP address was soon identified as tracking Alanby, and I was contacted by MI6”

“Blake”

Juliet answered “Yes”

“Where did you meet?” Bond was eager to understand how Blake had slipped through the screening process.

“I met Edward Blake just the once. It was last Thursday night, in Lisbon.

He was terrified, but then he would have been. He gave me his lap top and told me everything he knew about Alanby was on it”

“We found your files in London. Did Blake have anything other than what we found on your files”

She shook her head “No, that’s everything”

Bond confirmed “Just the four names, and the Global Witness, information”

Juliet nodded reluctantly

“How had you communicated previously?” Bond knew there must be more.

“Through telephone conferences in various chat rooms over the net. That way there was no email trail” Her tone became easier.

“Chatted about what?”

“About the conspiracy of course” Juliet said as if everyone would know.

It was then that the door bell sounded.

***

M swirled the Brandy around his glass, the woody aroma wafted through the air. He sniffed at the rich aroma.

“Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in Paris August 31st, 1997 doubts surrounded the official story that the paparazzi independently chased her car toward an inevitable and tragic accident. The number one conspiracy theory has always been that MI5 or MI6 killed Diana”

“The inquest agreed we were not keeping files on her”

“The inquest was a decade after her death; let’s go back to the theory. The main conspiracy bounces between the killers being no more than a rogue cell within the British secret service, to an official campaign by MI6 to assassinate Diana, this action sanctioned by elements of the establishment.

The rogue elements in MI5 or MI6 decided that Diana was a threat to the throne, and therefore the stability of the state, the official campaign was supposedly driven by a fear of Diana's possible conversion to Islam and the implication on the Church and State were the two Princes, William and Harry, to follow their mother's lead.

Circumstantial as it maybe, when put together the evidence is capable of raising sufficient doubt that it was an accident? Take into consideration there was no post mortem. The disappearance of the damaged white Fiat Uno seen entering the tunnel with the Mercedes, which given the exposure of the event has never been found, nor has the owner ever come forward”

“I take it this discussion means there was no operation”

M glared at Tanner, as the moments became seconds he mellowed.

“Technically that is correct. Although the actual circumstances are a lot stranger than the conspiracy could dare to imagine”

Bill Tanner took the unprecedented action of sitting without being invited. M over looked the action.

Tanner challenged his boss “Go on then”

“Diana had been pregnant, but had miss-carried. Her state of mind was particularly delicate. She attempted to take her own life. Her personal security guard Cathy Carrington found her and raised the alarm. Although they stabilized her; it was evident she needed emergency hospital treatment. Dodi Fayed agreed to create a diversion. This involved Cathy, who also acted as Diana’s body double.


They left from the rear of the hotel, the Rue Cambon exit. After crossing the Place de la Concorde they drove along Cours la Reine and Cours Albert 1er (the embankment road running parallel to the River Seine) into the Place de l’Alma underpass. At around 12:23 am at the entrance to the tunnel, their driver lost control; the car swerved to the left of the two-lane carriageway before colliding head-on with the 13th pillar at an estimated speed of 105 kph. It then spun and hit the stone wall of the tunnel backwards, finally coming to a stop. The impact of the crash caused substantial damage, particularly to the front half of the vehicle. There was (and still is) no guard rail between the pillars to prevent this. The Place de l'Alma underpass that has roof-supporting pillars

Fayed and the driver Henri Paul were killed instantly. Trevor Rees Jones, who had no idea of the deception and Cathy were only slightly injured. Both Fayed and Paul were taken directly to the Institut Médico-Légal, the Paris mortuary.

Then of course fate dealt the hand that would ignite the world’s conspiracy theorist. A Dr. Maillez chanced upon the scene and kicked off the whole conspiracy theory by reporting that Diana had no visible injuries but was in shock. He even supplied her with oxygen. His concern over her death was of course genuine.

The real Diana was taken to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital arriving at 2:06 am. The other ambulance departed the crash scene at 1:41 am and arrived at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital at 2:09 am. Cathy Carrington was taken into a private ward and the substitution took place. The doctors naturally worked upon Diana, but tragically she died. The only conspiracy was that the secret service tried to save the reputation of Diana. Staff at the hospital reacted correctly believing the first ambulance had arrived from the crash scene. At that time only three people knew of the subterfuge. Now, including you only seven know the truth.

At around 2:00 pm the following day as the potential scandal accelerated Prince Charles, and Diana’s two older sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, arrived in Paris; they left with her body just 90 minutes later.

Only Prince Charles was informed of the subterfuge”

#10 volante

volante

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:16 PM

Chapter Ten


The creation of death




Hotel President Wilson, Geneva. Monday Day 4

Juliet sat at the dining table in the Crown suite, across from her sat James Bond.

The rugged good looks of the man that had saved her were beginning to grow on her. Wearing a black silk shirt, he looked every inch the suave sophisticated gentleman she had been looking for all her life. Only the bandage around his right hand give any indication of the near death experience he had guided her through today on the mountain road.

The dress she had chosen was simple in design, and shocking pink in colour. Bond approved. The gown was cut low, and revealed that Juliet’s décolletage was as vibrant in colour, and perfect in tone as the rest of her body (that which he had thus far seen)

He’d ordered dinner for both of them. Suggesting they eat in the room, in order for her to continue her story.

The meal would not have been her choice, but she allowed herself the guilty pleasure of the rich texture of the meat to subdue the indulgence. The venison was cooked to perfection, the honey and orange zest juice complemented the fresh seasonal vegetables which adorned her plate.

As the meal was devoured Juliet continued her recollection of the events surrounding her communications with Edward Blake; her voice took on a lighter tone as the wine relieved the stress from her body.


“Blake was a conspiracy nut. He believed that AIDS was a man-made disease. The research he conducted in an effort to prove his theory was extensive to say the least. But very private, considering his line of work”

“Absolutely”


“He introduced me to so many theories surrounding the virus that I too believed to could be possible. Some alleged that HIV was created by a conspiratorial group or by a secretive agency such as the CIA. It is thought to have been created as a tool of genocide and/or population control. Other theories suggest that the virus was created as a biological warfare drug, and then escaped into the population at large by accident” Her dark eyes opened to express the horror of such an occasion.

“How very careless”

“Now you’re mocking me” Her laughter tinkled, extenuating the wine induced glow to her cheeks.

“No, just taking the practical approach to biological warfare”

“Edward said that the CIA deliberately administered the disease in Africa as a way of crippling the development of the continent”

“A lot of theories take history and twist the facts to make them fit”

Juliet realized Bond was just indulging her. She put down her fork, and became serious. Her freckles seemed to stand out proudly on her beautiful face.

“Rotunda is real Mr. Bond”

Bond recalled the files at the laboratories, and the deaths of the two MI6 agents. He believed she was referring to the Rotunza.

“I have no doubt of that. When I was at Hessel’s plant I saw some files about a drug named ‘Rotunza’. I believe Blake was referring to that drug. That’s why I’m here, Juliet. I’m sure you must have information which Blake passed to you; that I will find very useful in my investigation. So please tell me what you know” Bond wiped his mouth with the napkin.

She looked triumphant. She recognized that Bond must have seen the hard evidence at the laboratories, but she suddenly wondered what proof he had. After all he had left as a captive. Juliet knew that he needed her to assist.

They continued to look at each other for a few moments.

In summarizing the situation Bond recognized that Juliet Guggler had been in contact with the MI6 agent that had led them to Alanby. Edward Blake had been responsible for monitoring drugs traffic in Portugal. She had revealed that he was terrified the night he committed suicide. Maybe Blake was a dreamer and a conspiracy nut, but he had uncovered something which had cost him his life. Whatever it was, Hessel believed it had been passed to Juliet and Jon Osterman. Both were intended to be dead by now. But with the way Juliet had just reacted and the daring way she had attempted to contact of Corrine Murphy; Bond knew that there must be more hard evidence about Rotunza other than the vague information of the four names Blake had passed on to her.

Juliet’s eyes narrowed, Bond knew she had made her mind up to impart all the information to him.

“Edward Blake told me that he was investigating Alanby in connection to activities he was conducting in Libya. I was delighted that my investigation notes; and findings were being put to use by MI6. We knew something very fishy was happening with Klivex and Gaddafi, and JP Stanley…” suddenly she stopped talking, the memory of Edward Blake becoming too much for her.

“Go on” Said Bond, he maintained eye contact. Soon she was back on track.

“Blake believed that this Rotunza drug was a new type of disease. Like a new strain of AIDS or something. He told me that Gaddafi had been in contact with Klivex. Together they were looking for funding for the project to produce a selective cleansing drug. Gaddafi was going to release it in his country to stop any plot to oust him from power. Alanby was sent there to ensure the deal went through. His experience of administering the drug in Africa and the trial results from America would have given him credibility at the Gaddafi court”

“Alanby’s cover was the water purification process. His connection to Noel Baines gave him freedom of movement” Bond also wondered if the banking involvement was there to ensure the deal would go through, in which case there was maybe another power involved in the production of the drug.

“Go on”

“Blake informed me there were three other names on his investigation list”

“Daniel Wheatley, Elodie Douro and Jon Osterman”

“Yes, I made contact and quickly met up with Osterman. He was a freelance journalist, but had been working on an article for New Scientist magazine. He was investigating some of the individual criminal claims brought against Klivex. He explained about the deaths of the people involved in the trials”

“What about the other two names on Blake’s list” Bond still felt uncomfortable about not figuring out the connection of the four people.

“Daniel Wheatley and Elodie Douro. That’s an easy connection; they were the only two people to survive the Rotunza trials”

“How many people were used in the trials?”

“Take away the placebo element, and we believe 300”

“So the other 298 died?”

“Yes. Jon said that Alanby called the drug ‘The creation of death’. We knew we had to expose it”

“Do you happen to know the drug works?”

“Yes. It attacks the immune system, similarly to the HIV virus. But the attack is much more violent. After a matter of just days, the weakest element of anyone’s system is triggered to fail. The virus then replicates the effect of a natural attack and wears down the body”

“So if somebody had schematic heart disease?”

“It would induce a heart attack”

Bond quickly thought through the process “If somebody was suffering from paranoia, what would be the result”

“They would probably become so terrified that they would commit suicide”

“Someone like Blake?”

“Yes, that’s what happened I think. Someone gave him the drug”

“So the medical results would confirm only that the people had died due to the causes which killed them, nothing would be attributed to the drug?”

“I guess not or at least it would be difficult to piece together evidence to point toward Klivex; but in a war zone, an advancing army would be stricken down in a matter of days. It seems there is no cure”

“Except for the two people that have survived the trials. I think we should find them, and quickly”

“Yes we need to be quick. I know Hessel is also after them”

“How do you know that?” The question was delivered hard and fast

“I overheard Hessel ask Jon if he knew of their whereabouts?” The look of fear returned to her beautiful eyes, Bond thought he may have gone too far

“That must have been awful for you” His tone was much softer

“But Jon didn’t know” She forced back the tears

“Why did you come here with Jon?”

“After the MI6 woman was killed in London, I went to Jon. He told me that Blake was already dead. He thought that both Blake’s death and the attempt to either kill me, or just stop me talking to someone else was all down to Alanby. He thought that if we confronted Hessel, he could force him into giving Jon an exclusive on the drug…”

Suddenly she was in Bond’s arms sobbing. Bond held her close to him. He began to stroke her hair. He’d already figured out that Juliet wasn’t in love with Osterman, but he knew enough about post-traumatic stress to understand when you are involved with someone and that person is killed suddenly, then the emotions can sometimes become raw.

“Wait here”

James Bond took his travel bag from the wardrobe. In a Kevlar lined secret compartment at its base, he withdrew his back up mobile and replacement Walther PPK. Punching in the numbers he tried to work out his next move.

“Universal Exports, how can I help?”

“Good evening, can you put me through to your order tracking department please” A moment’s delay was followed by a piece of indeterminable music.

“Good evening sir, can I take your order number please?”

“K459 dash 007” Another delay, and then (as the line became secure) a more familiar voice

“Good evening 007, so pleased you found the time to call in. We lost the signal on your original phone a couple of hours ago…”

“Yes, the battery must have gone flat” Bond interrupted, he wanted them to know that everything was okay

“Just after the incendiary device was activated” Bond new the voice belonged to Kulbir Kandohla, the brilliant new mind in the I.T. department. The man that had single handed forced his boss to rethink a lot of the secret service IT strategies.

“Well, it can get cold out here” Kandohla and Bond had a mutual respect, which is why when the IT expert spoke again, Bond became crestfallen.

“Sorry 007 I need to transfer you to the old man”

Bond moaned inwardly, the old man in question was the head of MI6’s technical facility. His name was Boothroyd, Major Boothroyd code name Q. There was a history between himself and the dainty bird like man which bordered on a love hate relationship. Q never quite seemed to be able to keep his frustrations under control when discussing things with Bond. Naturally Bond played on the Major’s weakness, delighting in the pleasure of watching him venting his anger by looking for problems which only existed in his mind.

But Bond also felt the illogical frustrations as well, wanting to shake the man with the stiff upper lip and Harris Tweed jacket out of his comfort zone and force him into making an instant decision, without calculating and analysing 50 different scenarios.

During their first meeting Bond had taken a devilish dislike to the man; and ever since he had enjoyed the guilty pleasure of seeing the stiff upper lip tremble. Bond could hardly keep a straight face when Q had accused him of smashing his brand new Morgan 2+2 car with a horsebox.

Bond had infuriated Q even more by throwing back all the calculations and formulas, which Q had imparted to him on the explosives course; in order to prove he could not have had any plastic explosives left, in order to blow up the linkage between the Range Rover and the horsebox.
“Am I through yet?” Q’s voice burst through the ear piece “I’ll give you ‘old man’ your pay review is due next month” Although Q was incredibly intelligent his inability to master the phone network at Vauxhall Cross was legendary.


“Good evening Q” Bond thought he would break the torrent of insults that would soon be heading Kulbir’s way.

“Ah 007 glad you found the time to contact us. We thought you might be dead… again”

Bond fought back the urge to wind up the old man; after all there was still the score to settle about the failure of the equipment on a mission in Bulgaria.
Don’t worry it will hold you” Q had said with a reassuring nod as Bond was leaving Vauxhall cross. Bond remembered how the wire had snapped on the mission. The thought that Q had deliberately given him an inadequate piece of equipment often crossed his mind.


“Sorry to disappoint you Q, but I’m alive and well thank-you. Now what did you want to talk to me about?” Bond thought it best to get the bad news out of the way first.

Juliet joined him in the bedroom; her eyes were dry now, but still held the look of sorrow. As Bond was on the phone, she began admiring herself in the full length mirror. Checking her reflective appearance she smoothed her dress down over her thighs. Her head moved sensually checking out the curves, all the time appraising her body, whilst one eye appraised what reaction the little show was getting out of James Bond.

Bond was always intrigued by the speed of which a woman could recover from an emotional outburst. Juliet was basically a good person who had been thrown into a world of death and terror.

“Ah! Yes that. There’s been a development in your mission. You’re to break off all contact with Hessel; and pursue another target”

Bond thought the news could not be any worse. This would make it even more difficult to convince Q that he needed to see M and countermand the instructions to allow Bond to find Daniel Wheatley and Elodie Douro. Q droned on. Bond only just, with the help of looking at Juliet’s shapely bottom managed to stop interrupting.

“You are to apprehend a man called Daniel Wheatley”

Bond felt the relief spread over him, he had an overwhelming urge to hug Juliet. Instead he rubbed his hand over his face and quietly said

“Do you know where can I find him?”

“Oh!” Q was genuinely taken aback that the change of orders wasn’t met with the usual rant (as he had convinced himself) Bond always childishly used.

“You’re new mission objective notes are waiting for you at the airport 007. Along with your new cover and appropriate clothing… including a new belt!”

Bond felt the message was clear. It was a belt that had contained the defective equipment before. ‘Well, well. You old rogue’

“Thank-you Q” He depressed the end call button.

“Looks like we might have to get you out of that dress sooner than I’d thought”

“Oh!” Juliet looked a little taken aback, but there was no fear in her eyes at the suggestion of being undressed. Bond moved close to her.

“We have a lead on Daniel Wheatley. I have to leave immediately”

“Where to?”

“The airport”

“But where are you going, when will I see you again?”

“I don’t know where Wheatley is, but I’ll be back before you know it”

Please James you can’t leave me here alone Hessel knows I’m here”

Bond saw the logic in the plea and was prepared for the next question

“Please James take me with you”

And then the connection hit home. Suddenly she was in his arms, the outburst of emotion channelled from her lips into his. Bond kissed her back, his hands went to her face, and he gently caressed her cheeks. Slowly one hand slid over her neck and down her naked back. He felt her shudder as his hand reached her waist. He brought her closer to him. Her hands reached up and twisted around his neck. Her lips ground themselves into his. Bond lent his body into hers and they remained locked in the passionate embrace for what seemed an eternity.

Then he scooped her up and carried her into the bedroom.

The hour passed quickly and passionately. Afterwards, as they showered together Bond remarked “You said Blake gave you his Lap top?”

“Huh huh” She squeezed the sponge over her throat; the effervescent suds cascaded down her body.

“Where is it?”

“In a locker at the railway station. We didn’t want to leave it in the hotel room”

“With Osterman’s gear?”

“Yes I suppose so. Why?”

“We can stop off and get it on the way to the airport”

“Really? Do we have time?”

“Yes, our flight isn’t for a…”

Her arms reached for him again. His fingers probed his flesh.

“Mmm come to think of it, it could be tight”

“Very tight” Her smile lit up her face.

They kissed. The water cascaded over their bodies.


#11 volante

volante

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:44 PM

Chapter Eleven


By Royal decree.




Clarence House, London. Monday Day 4


As an Intelligence Officer in MI5, you can never say your day is ever really planned. One minute you could be assessing some threats to national security, analyzing digital intelligence, working on vital legal policies the next you could be carrying out a very sensitive investigation with the head of MI6 in the London residence of Prince Charles.

It was almost eleven o’clock at night now, and Tom Stephenson found himself sat next to Sir John Green on a sofa in Clarence House, their coats and scarves lay between them. It was very late, and his partner and Basset Hound would be worried.


Situated on The Mall in the City of Westminster, Clarence House was for almost 50 years, home to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. But since her death in 2002 it has become the official residence of the Prince of Wales.

Across from Stephenson and M sat Sir Peter Marwick, the Prince’s Principal Private Secretary. He sat upright on the burgundy leather Chesterfield sofa in the second of the south facing reception rooms. His hair was a dirty grey, slicked back severely over a wrinkled brow. Sitting on his hawk like nose was a pair of glasses which sparkled like crystal.

The arrangement of the room and contents remained much as they were in Queen Elizabeth's time.
“You will find Sir John, Mr. Stephenson that Clarence House still displays much of Queen Elizabeth's famous art collection, including this outstanding work by John Piper” Sir Peter gestured to the large painting on the wall behind him. M and Tom followed the direction of his hand.


“Magnificent” Responded M

“Absolutely, yes” Confirmed Tom. His voice betrayed his nervousness. He’d been about to leave for the night when the call came in. Immediately he volunteered to accompany a senior MI6 officer to an MI5 controlled establishment in London, just to ensure that protocol was observed. Now here he was sitting in the centre of a political storm.

All around them the buzz of chaos from the internal security and MI5 agents threatened to spoil their conversation. But Sir Peter refused to allow the lateness of the hour and the disruption to the house to interfere with his monolog. His accent made Moneypenney’s accent sound common.

“A Superb examples of Fabergé. Don’t you think?”

“I do indeed” Answered M, finding his refrain from laughing was slipping every second the investigation became more hopeless.

A man stood before them his head was bowed. He coughed to attract Sir Peter’s attention. The look of pure disgust from Sir Peter was directed fully at Jason Rye, the household’s head of security, the man looked disheveled and lost. Sir Peter looked resplendent in his royal blue pin stripped suit.

“Your conclusion Mister Rye?”

“According to the itinerary, certain items are missing”

Sir Peter held out his hand for the itinerary list.

“Please send everyone back to their station Mister Rye”

“Thank-you Sir Peter” Rye summoned his entourage together and herded them from the room.

“If you will excuse me gentlemen” Sir Peter left the room himself.

“We had no idea of the gravity of the situation here” Stephenson offered as to the reason why such a low ranking officer was representing MI5

M looked reassuringly at the young agent from Thames House.

“Look I have no idea what’s going on” Stephenson offered

“Good keep it that way” M turned his head away, to halt the conversation.

“But you know what it is they’re looking for”

M turned back to face Tom, the look confirmed the conversation was over.

Tom Stephenson looked around the room in silence.

Sir Peter came back into the room and took up his perch on the corner of the chesterfield.

“I’m afraid you don’t have clearance for what I’m about to say young man” He looked directly at Stephenson. Tom took the hint, picked up his coat and left the room, smiling and waving his hands in way of apology, and compliance. The heavy oak door closed firmly behind him leaving M and Sir Peter alone. The ticking of the clock was loud, therapeutic, but loud.

“I have taken instructions” He swallowed lightly as if the words he was about to utter had become lodged in his throat.

“I can confirm that several items are missing. The instruction is that you need to ensure they are retrieved and destroyed” Sir Peter bowed his head, indicating that the conversation was over. The silence between the two men was heavy, punctuated by the ticking of the clock.

“I will need more details of the items that were taken” M remained calm.

“I’m not at liberty to reveal any more information. But we have decided; and that is the Royal we, that the items are too sensitive to be kept. Your man must destroy everything he finds. Do I make myself clear”
“Yes, but without an understanding of the exact nature of the items, just how will my man know if he’s got everything?”


Sir Peter looked down for a moment. Then slowly his head came back up. The look of pure disgust came back to his face.

“Because when he retrieves the items he will describe them to me. To me and me alone. He will explain just what it is that he has destroyed. I will then determine if everything has been recovered”

M shook his head “That simply won’t do Sir Peter. My agent may have to kill the person or persons responsible for this theft. If he doesn’t know the extent of the items stolen, he may lose the trail of their recovery”

“My instructions were very clear Sir John.I will give them to you again so you have no misunderstanding” Again the disgusting swallowing motion in his throat, reminded M of a python devouring its prey.

“Something is missing from the Royal household. I am not prepared to reveal what that something is. However if that something becomes common knowledge it could damage the prestige of the Royal Family; it could indeed destroy the Monarchy”

“I need to know the details of the items that are missing” M was insistent.
Sir Peter held up his hand “Whatever it is, you must ensure it never surfaces.
It and all involved in this theft must be eliminated. Absolutely”


“You have my personal assurance that I will put my best man on the case” M said with his hand on his heart.

“You have no problem with sending a man to his death I take it?”

“All my staff are aware of the risks” M was deadly serious.

“Then I repeat. All those involved must be eliminated; once your man understands what the items contain, he will fall into that category as well”

“Then you better give me the details as well, because I won’t let someone do something that I’m not willing to do myself”

“As you wish” The swallow was even more pronounced.

M sat back, he wondered if he had just signed his and Bond’s death warrant.

“Four items. Number one is a box. Dark mahogany, blue and gold pin stripes. steel box, more like a small safe actually; about the size of a shoe box. It contains ten pieces of paper and also the second item, which is a video cassette. As long as this box is secure your man will be safe. The third item is the original of the copy of the suicide note that you appraised me of. This will be separate to the box. Hopefully they will not be able to access the contents of the box; so if you use your suicide note as the example, it will be easy for your man to identify it. The fourth is even simpler to identify. It’s a man. You won’t know him, but you will be able to identify him as Daniel Wheatley”

“You’re classifying Daniel Wheatley as missing. Is that correct?”

“Yes” The answer was sharp, with a hint of frustration.

“You’ll have to explain that” M’s anger was just below the surface, itching like a shaving rash trying to get out in the open.

Again the slow mastication of the mouth began, to ease the words as they came up through his throat. His Adams apple wobbled.

“The success of our actions to hide the truth about the condition, mental state and subsequent death of the Princess of Wales was partly down to the smoke and mirrors of the ludicrous theories that MI6 were behind her death”

“And yet half the World still believes it to be the truth”

“Let them, because the other half knows it to be a dream, nothing more than a conspiracy theory. More importantly, the truth was concealed because of the limited number of people involved in the subterfuge”

“Seven I believe” M interjected.

“It would have been twenty in total…” Sir Peter began to reminisce.

“The Prince’s” M concluded, but then Sir Peter regained his composure.

“Others have died…of natural causes! In total fifteen people now know the truth”

“Daniel Wheatley?”

Sir Peter shook his head, his jowls wobbled, giving way to a knowing smile.

“What Mister Wheatley knows has nothing to do with Diana’s death. The information he was privy to is far more sensitive. When we released him from service here, we wiped his memory”

The words caught M unaware, and his surprise showed. Remaining upright Sir Peter swallowed again; this time the movement was supported with an adjustment of his spectacles.

“As I explained; the revelation of what Mr. Wheatley knows is potentially damaging to the Monarchy”

“You had his memory wiped?”

“Yes. Unfortunately the effects of the treatment he received isn’t permanent, it can be reversed. It is possible that the truth could be…extracted”

“…and you’re worried that someone could get the intelligence”

“No! We are worried that he has already given some information away. Hence the theft. He also knows the code for the box; or at least he did, and therefore could do again”

Outside Clarence House M adjusted his emerald green cashmere scarf.

His driver opened the rear door of his Jaguar XJ; but before he could get in Tom Stephenson caught his attention. The MI5 agent spread his hands in front of him.

“I’m so sorry; I was no help to you in there at all” He stood between M and the open car door. M gestured to his driver that it was okay, and the man returned to his driving seat.

“Don’t worry young man; there was nothing you could have added to the events”

“Is there anything you can tell me” Tom asked, M started to shake his head, but Tom continued “I can’t go back to my boss and say I have no idea about what was discussed, I will look….stupid”

M squeezed past him, Tom moved out of the way, guiding M into the car by way of his hand on his shoulder. M sat in the car, already he could feel the heat rushing out of the open door. M smiled at Stephenson, empathising with his plight. He knew he had to give him something.

“The palace have confirmed there’s has been a theft from Clarence House”

“Was it an inside job?” the breath ballooned from his mouth as he spoke

“Yes. But be advised the perpetrator is not in the UK, MI6 will handle the recovery” and with that M closed the door. The driver eased the Jaguar away from the kerb. Tom Stephenson was left alone; at least he had something to tell his MI5 boss the next morning.

As the red tail lights drove away from him Tom took out his mobile.

He turned away from the retreating jaguar and walked back toward his own car.

The ring tone sounded in his ear. As he brought up his other hand he twisted the object that he held between his thumb and forefinger. He looked at the small transmitter he had just plucked from M’s coat. The ring tone was soon replaced with a voice.

“You’ve woken me up Tommy, tell me something nice”

“MI6 know about the theft. They know about Wheatley. They are putting their best man on the job”

Adrian Alanby reached over and turned on his bedside lamp. The warm golden glow was so soft it did not hurt his eyes.

“That was inevitable. Thank-you for the information, now go home and give your little doggy a treat” Alanby broke the connection. He scrolled down his contact list and hit the screen.

“Sorry to wake you; but you need to put your big coat on and get me something”

“What would you like?” The man answered, rubbing his hand over his closely shaved head.

“We need to make sure Wheatley is able to fulfil his destiny”

“I’m on to it”

“Oh! You should know MI6 will be competing for the prize. I think the agent entrusted to eliminating Wheatley will be James Bond”

“The man that broke into, and then escaped from the ‘Ice cube’ today” The tone was slightly mocking

“Yes, I should never have let Hessel take over. Still now is your chance to go up against the best that MI6 have to offer. Does that frighten you?”

“No!” the breathing became heavier “It excites me”

***

James Bond opened the matt grey double depth locker in the ‘Kiel’ executive lounge at Geneva airport. He pulled out a green and tan leather flight bag, the aroma from the leather led him to believe it was brand new. From the bottom level he extracted a black canvas lap top case, the yellow post it note attached to the flap explained his new mobile was inside. Bond took out his current mobile phone and deposited it inside the locker. Slamming the door closed he opened the lap top case and pulled out the Xperia Arc S smart phone. He offered the case to Juliet. She took it with a smile and deposited the Lap top and files they had picked up from the station.

Bond pressed the receive button. Bill Tanner’s voice was there to answer him, the voice was a little shaky; he hadn’t slept in more than two days. As he spoke Bond scrolled through the photos and note overviews.

“The man we know as Daniel Wheatley has some very sensitive information which could damage the monarchy” He thought Bond didn’t need to know any more details at this stage. Bond didn’t believe a word of it.

“I’m reading that he’s an airline pilot, has been working in the open for the past eight years. What makes his information so sensitive now?” Bond probed for the truth, or at least an explanation of the anomaly.

“He doesn’t actually know that he has the information”

“Sorry Bill you’re not making sense”

“Trust me James; this man must be eliminated, before he is forced to reveal the information he has”

“I do trust you Bill. I also suggest you check out if Wheatley ever underwent any treatment, or took drugs developed by Kilvex” said Bond

“That could answer some questions, and provide us with the first link; thanks I’ll look into it. Now your turn to listen, I’ll explain what you need to be on the look out for”

“I’m all ears”

“It’s a small box that was taken” Bond looked at a photo of a similar box; he was impressed with the state of the art locking device. Tanner continued…

“The perpetrators of the theft cannot access the contents of the box without the codes. Amongst other things it’s the code which is the basis of the information which Wheatley has” Bond pursed his lips in acceptance of why his information would be necessary, but he really wanted the truth.

“The ‘Palace’ have issued a very clear instruction that when this package is found it is to be destroyed, but under supervision”

“That sounds sensible”

“Also anyone and everyone who has had contact with it is to be eliminated”

“I do understand the 00 section’s purpose”

“Then you have all the background information you need on your phone. Especially in the music files. Good luck 007” …and with that Tanner was gone.

***

The Airbus A310 glided through the night sky. Juliet was sleeping soundly at his side, the smooth blue blanket pulled up around her neck. Bond took regular sips of his vodka as he scanned through the files on his newly acquired lightning fast phone.

The flight attendant inclined her head and whispered…

“Can I refresh your drink sir?”

“Yes please, I’d like a dry martini. Preferably in a martini glass"

"I’m so sorry, but its airline policy to serve all drinks in the standard glass"

"I’m sure it is, but at least you can get the ingredients right. Three measures of Gordon's, one Smirnoff, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold; then add a large, thin slice of lemon peel"

"I’ll see what I can do" The girl glided up the aisle.

"Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Juliet, stretching her neck.

Bond laughed and helped her into a sitting position

“Sorry I didn’t know you were awake; can I get you a drink?”

"Just a Pepsi" she snuggled in close to his arm “I think you drink too much”

"I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like it to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything”

“Yes I know” She kissed his cheek, his aftershave made her think of a mountain stream, fresh and invigorating.

Bond refrained from disclosing that the drink was his own invention; some memories are not for stirring.

The attendant returned. She placed the tumbler on his table.

“One measure Absolute vodka, one measure Gordon’s gin, one measure Triple sec, one measure Bianco vermouth”

“Thank-you”

“With an Olive”

“Makes all the Difference”

“First time anyone has ever had such a cocktail. You can name it if you like it”

“He’ll give it some thought” Juliet cut through the banter and took a gulp of the cocktail. The girl left, her bottom swayed a little less than previously.

Bond went back to his files.

The opening page was a brief explanation of Public Interest Immunity order.


“A principle of English common law under which the courts grant an order allowing one litigant to refrain from disclosing evidence where disclosure would be damaging to the public interest.

In making a Public Interest Immunity order, the court has to balance the public interest in the administration of justice and the public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of certain documents whose disclosure would be damaging”

Bond wafted his fingers over the screen and flicked over the page. The reason for the explanation became abundantly clear. Suddenly the connection to the Royal family was revealed. He took another drink of the un-named cocktail, ‘Not bad’ he thought, ‘Not bad at all’

“On April 3, 2002 at the suggestion of Sir Peter Marwick, the Prince of Wales's private secretary; Sir Robert Jarrett, the Queen's private secretary attended a police briefing at St James's Palace. During this briefing the police outlined their investigations into the theft of items from the estate of Diana Princess of Wales.

Further allegations had now come to light that a former member of the royal household was now selling the items that had been stolen from the estate. Following this meeting Sir Robert reported back to the Queen.

On October 25, 2002 The Queen, recounted to the Prince of Wales that she had had a meeting with Paul Burrell five years previously. During the course of this meeting it was disclosed that the Princess had given Burrell certain items for safekeeping. Given the importance to the prosecution’s case to the question of whether or not Mr. Burrell had told anyone that he had taken certain items from Kensington Palace, the relevance of the Queen’s information was quickly realized and brought to the attention of the police. The contents of the items given to Burrell were never disclosed”

Bond touched the screen to return him to the home page. He pressed the music file icon. The first album featured was entitled ‘M people’

Bond plugged in his ear phone, and pressed play.

M’s voice came through loud and clear.

“When you recover the box, you need to return it to Clarence House intact. If there is evidence that the box has been opened…”

Bond could not quite determine what was coming next, so he took another drink. The taste pleased him.

“If anyone views the contents, they must be eliminated. Be sure you understand 007. If the box is opened it will be regarded that you may well have seen what is inside. It’s a Royal Decree I won’t be able to do anything about it. I do hope you understand” Bond pressed stop. His thumb hovered over the next icon. The threat was thinly veiled, and if M had felt the need to stress it at this stage it was one not to be taken lightly.

“Wouldn’t have it any other way” Bond pressed the next music icon and was instantly hit by the opening bars of ‘One Vision’ by Queen

“Absolute vodka, gin, Triple sec, with one measure of Bianco vermouth”

“And an olive”

“I’ll call it a Decree Absolute”

“I’ll drink to that” Juliet took another long gulp.

Then he looked through Osterman’s files.

One name was highlighted a number of times, all instances seemed to be in connection to the criminal cases brought against Klivex in the USA. The name was Robert Renwick, from JP Stanley.


#12 volante

volante

    Lt. Commander

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:09 PM

Chapter Twelve



Glitter-ball.





Kuwait City, Kuwait. Tuesday Day 5



James Bond threw his bag onto the rear seat of the Fuji White 2.2 diesel Range Rover Evoque. The tan leather seats with Ivory contrast stitching made an elegant contrast to the rich Espresso instrument panel that Bond now sat behind. Juliet tipped her porter and waited for the very appreciative boy to open her door. “Boys and toys” She said to herself as she settled into the seat beside him, she put the lap top case, which she was using as a handbag, in the foot-well. “So where are we going?”

Bond looked up from the smart phone, which had just informed him of his reservation in the city. The Bluetooth facility then transferred the information to the Range Rover’s Sat Nav system, so that as Bond started the engine the calming tones of the GPS devise told him the best route to take to the hotel.

“The Al Manshar Rotana Hotel. Apparently we have a premium suite”

“Sounds nice” Juliet took the smart phone from Bond’s hand, she tapped in her request, and looked suitable impressed.

“The Rotana is situated in the Al Manshar Shopping Complex overlooking the Al Kout Waterfront. It’s about 25 minutes from the airport”

“At the roundabout take the second exit. Journey time to destination 23 minutes” The Sat Nav voice announced.

Bond pressed the mute button “One back seat driver’s enough”

The road from the airport was scrupulously clean; soon the modern skyscrapers rose to greet them, small executive helicopters darted between the landing pads of the buildings, rushing the captains of industry to their next meetings. The sun reflecting from the steel and glass buildings turned the city into a gigantic glitter-ball. As they drove past the construction of a double helix skyscraper twisting out of the ground Bond noticed a helicopter in the distance.

It’s silhouette seemed oddly out of place against the Bells that were as common as the Toyotas on the road. Bond glanced in the mirror to see the helicopter emerge from behind the cobra snake shaped tower. His initial thoughts had been correct the chopper was an Apache AH1

The Apache AH1 carries the
fire-control radar and Radar Frequency Interferometer, providing an integrated surveillance and attack system

“We’re being followed” Bond expressed without concern

Juliet turned in her seat to look out of the rear window “Which car?”

Bond simply pointed toward the sky as an answer. They took the left branch in the road, Juliet saw the Helicopter “I’d ask if you were sure, but I know what the answer would be”

Bond swapped lanes, looking for the nearest exit. He also accelerated

“Good thinking” said Juliet “Try to outrun them”

“They can cruise at 150 MPH. I’m looking for a place to lose them”

“Maybe they know where we are going?”

“Then maybe they would have just turned up at the hotel in a car. They’re going to try to stop us. We need to hide”

The soft popping sound behind them suddenly got louder; Bond understood what the effect of the 200 rounds per minute Hughes M230 Chain Gun mounted on the Apache would do to their car. Bond swerved over as the 30mm shells ripped into the road beside them. The shells from the single-barrel electrically operated
chain gun smashed into the road, the tarmac exploded all around them. Bond pulled hard on the wheel and skidded the Range Rover across the freeway the bullets thudded into the car next to them, igniting it’s fuel tank, it exploded in a bright orange cloud and a snap of thunder which rolled throughout the canyon of skyscrapers. The shock wave sent the Evoque into a spin. They glanced off another car and scrapped along the central reservation. Another hail of gunfire tore up the barrier and road in front of them; large chunks of tarmac were dislodged turning the road into an impassable ditch. Bond skewed the car through the torn barrier over to the other side of the road, the jagged edge of the barrier ripped a gauge along the side of the bodywork; thankfully it missed the tyres. The oncoming traffic rushed toward them like a snowstorm. Above them the Apache banked to cover off the move. The fast approaching cars opened up before them, only to reveal a further layer of on rushing traffic. Bond swerved and threaded the car through the avalanche of metal that threatened to rip the car to shreds. Had he looked in the mirror he would have seen the cars ploughing into one another, exploding into a massive wall of smoke and flame. Bond gunned the Evoque down the entrance ramp, squeezing between two oncoming cars. Another car screeched to a halt to avoid the collision, only to be smashed into by a truck. Bond picked his way around the carnage. At the entrance to the ramp he executed a handbrake turn and drove back upon himself, using the elevated section of road as cover. The silhouette of the helicopter shimmered in the reflection of the building next to them like an image on a flag, for a moment he thought he was seeing double, then he realized there were two of them. Bond bounced over the kerb and shot down a narrow side street. People scattered before them, but their escape speed was cut to a crawl. The Range Rover tip toed through the pedestrians as they panicked in front of them. The explosions and balls of fire bellowing from the freeway was driving them into a frenzy of fright. Bond saw the alleyway to his left at the same time as he saw the Apache level itself off at the far end of the side street. In addition to the 30mm chain gun, the apache boasts 4 hellfire missiles. Bond pointed toward the alleyway

“Out”

Juliet grabbed the lap top case and leapt for the Range Rover. Bond guided her down the alleyway. The explosion came without warning, evaporating the Evoque. Bond hurried Juliet down the alleyway, hunting for a doorway. And there it was, Bond grabbed the girl and threw her into the narrow passage of the apartments. The fireball bellowed along the alleyway belching fire as it consumed the oxygen around it. Bond kicked the door closed just as the flames licked the entrance where they had tumbled. Scrambling to their feet Bond pushed Juliet up the stairs. The building was small, and smelled of decay. With only one flat either side of the old wooden staircase. Bond tried the doors on the first floor, both were locked. The second floor doors were similar. Bond tried the first, and then the second. Juliet began to slide down the wall. Bond grabbed her and half carried her up the old rickety staircase. On the third floor Bond twisted the door knob and it opened, Juliet was on the other side of the stairs when quickly she turned and said…

“…This one’s open” She tumbled into the apartment

Bond ran to the room she had entered. One small living space led to a bedroom and Kitchen and bathroom, the window here was too small to escape by, but there was a large kitchen knife which Bond toyed with the idea of taking, but decided against it as it would be a futile weapon. In the living space, a fire escape extended from the wall next to the window. Bond knew they could climb down from here, but they would be exposed. Too risky.

Bond made an instant decision that the room was no good to hide in, or escape form. He grabbed Juliet and pulled her across the hallway. The sound of the fireball had died down now. The chaos on the streets was forgotten in here.

Bond twisted the door knob leaving a blood stained smear and entered the flat. This one was larger. Two bedrooms each with a large window overlooked the front of the property; the living accommodation was to the side and had a small balcony, which made it no more than eight feet to the opposite apartment. Bond took a small mirror from the kitchen and angled it so that he could look down into the street. Juliet sat hunched in the fetal position against the kitchen wall. Bond crawled to the window and looking into the mirror scanned the alleyway below.

First there was a shadow, then the hard blackness of a helmet. Slowly, and with Heckler & Koch machine pistol extended from his arm the commando crept down the alleyway. The Apache would have dropped the commando to confirm the kill. Bond scanned the room again; it was totally inadequate to protect them from an assault. He looked for an escape his eyes came to rest on Juliet. With growing certainty he realized Juliet could not make the jump to the flat opposite. He had no more than a couple of seconds to make his decision. Stay here and risk the jump, or go back to the other flat and risk exposure from the ground when they made their attempt to escape.

The mirror revealed a second commando approaching from the other direction. The two met, and using simple sign language confirmed that their prey had not left the alley. Both men looked up. They both wore full face masks, making them look like giant beetles, only a tiny area of flesh was exposed between mask and neck, and then there was the full body armour.

Bond observed another signal, and then the two commandos entered the building.

Bond crawled over to Juliet; she held the lap top case close to her chest as a child does a comfort blanket.

“Can you make the jump?” Bond inclined his head toward the window.

Juliet’s eyes betrayed the fear she felt, her head began to shake from side to side, and for a moment Bond thought she was going to scream. He put his hand over her mouth. “Shhh”

They maintained eye contact until she was calmer

“Okay, we will go back to the other room, and try the fire escape”

“My room, the one I found” Juliet implored him

“Yes the one you found” Bond whispered. His arms encircled her waist. Juliet gathered up her lap top case and slowly got to her feet. She looked at the balcony and the eight foot gap to the other flat, it might as well as been a mile. Her eyes closed and she held on to Bond for dear life.

They crossed the landing.

On the first floor the commandos checked the doors. The first man noticed the blood smear on the handles, they checked the doors. Silently they went up the stairs, their deadly guns probing like the antenna of an insect, or the tongue of a snake. At the second floor the commando felt his gloved hand around the door knob. He raised his finger to his colleague, to show the blood, the second man indicated there was also blood on his. Gently they tried the doors. More signals passed between them. Slowly and silently they climbed the stairs to the third floor.

James Bond crouched by the wall to the side of the door. The lock was broken, which was why the door was open, he’d looked at the furniture in the room and pronounced it too flimsy to stop an assault by the commando’s, all he could do was wedge his body against the door if they tried to open it.

In his hand he held the kitchen knife. Hopefully after they had found his door to be locked they would then try the other door and find it open, when they went in Bond and Juliet would make their escape down the fire escape.

Bond focused his hearing to the sounds that were coming from outside. The tell-tale creaks of a floor board, or the brush of metal against wood. He knew they were coming.

The commandos checked the door knob for blood. The first commando shook his head. The second man could plainly see the blood smeared on the door knob that he stood close to. He readied himself to go in. But the first man signaled him to stop. He pointed back toward the door without the blood.

Working quickly the two commandos gently placed the plastic explosive against the door, and against the wall. Then they retreated down the stairs. The first commando flicked the switch and detonated the explosives.

The room was consumed. The massive explosion ripped through the fabric of the room destroying everything in its path. The floor gave way under the enormous pressure, and blow out the side of the building.

With the boom of the explosion still ringing in their ears, both commandos rushed back up the stairs and entered the room, their guns were at the ready, but it was to no avail, there was no life in the room, the dust and smoke swirled round, caught in the breeze from the street.

Where the floor had collapsed, the first commando found Juliet’s lap top bag. As the smoke cleared from the violated room, the second commando switched on his microphone “Targets destroyed”

“Return to ‘copter”

***

The bulky man with the closely shaven head felt very sad. The MI6 agent and the girl were dead “Targets destroyed” he’d just heard those very words. He put down the radio, and ran his hand over the stubble of hair on his head and felt something more than sadness; it was anger. He jumped up from his chair.

For a big man he moved quickly to the wall, where he punched the soft plaster repeatedly. The wall broke away in large chunks.

“Their best man? I don’t think so. I so wanted you to be a worthy opponent for me Mr. James Bond” On the table sat a bowl of fruit, which he now hurled into the mirror. “Useless. No one can stop me”

It shattered. He looked at his reflection, the thousand splinters of mirror made it impossible for him to see his face clearly, but he knew what he looked like, he knew how people perceived him. ‘Fat and useless’ Then the anger turned to rage, his fists smashed against the wall.

“The girl is also dead. The girl with the beautiful skin, and those wonderful eyes. I wonder would you have looked at me twice if you had known I was the one that controlled the moment when you died” He ranted, it was as if he expected the mirror to reply. But all he could see was the giant grey bulk of the large grey jacket he was wearing. Slowly his hand went to this wrist and pulled back the heavy sleeve, he checked the time.

“45 minutes until Wheatley arrives, maybe I have time to speak to Doctor Katrina” He drew in a lungful of air.

Composed once more the big man left the room, and contemplated the hot sticky drive to the airport.

***

Adrian Alanby turned to Jurgen Hessel, he too had been listening to the live radio reports from the commandos.

“The MI6 agent and the girl are dead”

“Very good. Mister Adonis has done you proud”

“So it would seem. He has destroyed the main highway into the city, and blown up a block of flats, but he got the job done”

“Good, if the Sheik wants some recompense get Renwick’s bank to drop a few more million off next time one of their parasites visits him. Oh by the way when does Wheatley’s ‘plane arrive?”

Alanby checked his oversized TW Steel wrist watch “Forty five minutes”

“Good I don’t want to be in Renwick’s company for more time than I have to”

***

Bill Tanner depressed the ‘speak’ button on his desk phone, after only two rings M answered “Yes”

“Daniel Wheatley. Records have come up with his real name. It’s Timothy Williams. He served five years in the RAF as a Helicopter pilot. Went into service for His Royal Highness, as a sort of chauffeur come pilot”

“Is there a link to Klivex, under either of those names?”

“Nothing directly, but 007 was also of the same opinion”

“Not really surprising, with regard to the nature of the treatment. So what do we have Tanner?”

“Klivex have declared development of a drug that blocks the effect of adrenaline upon areas of the brain involved in memory formation, It seems Mister Hessel has discovered away to disconnect emotion from memory”

“I’ll take that as a yes then”

“Yes Sir”

“At last Tanner we have the connection. Find out where the trials took place, and if any of our other names took part. Now is there any word from 007. Has he arrived in Kuwait City yet?”

Tanner switched over to the Middle East news screen. The text bar was going wild, scrolling from left to right, reporting on a terrorist attack that had just been reported on the main highway from the airport. Over twenty people dead. Tanner read with growing horror, about the massive damage sustained to the highway and a number of residential buildings in the area.

“Yes sir it looks like 007 has arrived” Tanner punched in Bond’s number.

“When does Wheatley arrive in Kuwait?”

“ETA 45 minutes to landing” Tanner looked at the screen.

The EygptAir flight EA953 was shown as a bright orange blob against the velvet green of the screen. At the bottom left hand corner the details of the aircraft were shown.

· ‘Airbus 330-200’

· Passengers 290

· Crew 10

· Captain Daniel Wheatley

“Excellent, that will give 007 plenty of time to identify a good spot to isolate Wheatley without drawing any undue attention”


“I’m very confident of that sir” Tanner looked at his mobile, willing it to light up, but Bond it appeared was not answering his phone. Then Tanner pressed the ‘end call’ button, his mouth dropped open.
The text bar along the bottom of the screen started a new message.
‘FLIGHT EA953 REPORTED HIJACKED’
***
Irritable, bored; and tired Robert Renwick, JP Stanley’s vice-chairman fastened the seat belt around his substantial girth moments after the sign lit up. ‘At Last’ he thought as the United Airlines Boeing began making it’s final decent into Kuwait International. As the ground rushed up to meet them, Renwick was able to study the portion of the airport complex that was out of bounds to the vast majority of the 13 million annual normal passengers. This was the area designated as Al Mubarak Air Base, which contains the headquarters of the
Kuwait Air Force.
From his window, Renwick fleetingly saw the new fleet of six supersonic all weather multi-role F/A 18F Hornets lined up in front of the military tower.
Then they were gone as the plane finally made land.
It was his banks’ money that was going to make their purchase possible for the Kuwaitis. In real terms the eight million US dollars wasn’t an excessive loan, but Renwick’s personal bonus would be substantial. Suddenly the long tedious flight seemed worth it, after all the bearer bond would be signed within the hour, the Syrians would be happy with the money and then the night was all his.
The pretty little flight attendant form Charlotte escorted him from the front door and down the gangway (all the other passengers were made to wait). All the way down the steps he held her hand a little too tightly; so that her smile was genuine as he left her for the sumptuous rear seat of the dark green government Mercedes Benz 500.
The Major sitting next to him, resplendent in dress uniform, waxed lyrically about the jets as the car made the short journey to the air base with a hiss of luxury the car came to a silent halt in front of the tower.
“The F/A-18F has a top speed of
Mach 1.8. and carries a wide variety of bombs and missiles, including air-to-air and air-to-ground, supplemented by the vicious 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon” His smile was like that of a child on Christmas morning. The six man guard of honour came to attention as they passed. Renwick made a half-hearted attempt to look interested in the soldiers.
“Yes, I’m sure they are just what you wanted” Renwick replied.
The two men walked quickly into the military control tower. Thankfully the air conditioning was working. Once inside, Renwick’s face dropped.
“Mr. Robert Renwick” Adrian Alanby extended his hand.
“Alanby? Well I certainly didn’t expect to see you here”
“You have the ‘Bearer bond’ Mr. Renwick?”Renwick spun around to see the diminutive figure of Jurgen Hessel sitting on one of the white leather sofas. Alanby closed in behind him and administered the drug via the skin graft.
The world seemed to melt before his eyes.
***
M ran his fingers through his hair, and then interlaced them behind his head. Bill Tanner came into the office, aiming the remote at the monitor on the wall.
“Do we know what happened?” M asked. Before Tanner could reply M launched into a tirade of abuse “All the so called airport security, and yet still these terrorists can board a plane as and when they want. Do we know if Wheatley was hurt during the take over?”
Bill Tanner shook his head slowly; he screwed his eyes up and began to explain the circumstances of the hijack.
“It’s Wheatley that’s hijacked the plane. He killed the co-pilot and locked himself in the cabin”
“And just where the hell is he going?” M sat back in his chair.
“Reports from the airline confirm he doesn’t have the fuel to go anywhere else. The only place to land would be the ex- allied forces airstrip at ‘Al Jaber’
“Tanner, see if you can advise 007 to move location, it would be good to have him at the airstrip when Wheatley arrives”
‘Good!’ thought Tanner, it would be ‘Bloody marvellous’
“Yes sir, I’ll contact him straight away"


#13 volante

volante

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 09:12 AM

Chapter Thirteen

Desert Storm


Ahmed al Jaber air base, Kuwait. Tuesday Day 5
Once the home of the Kuwaiti air force; Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base sits 25 miles south of Kuwait City, and 75 miles south of the Iraqi border. Its strategic worth was to protect the western border form Saudi insurgents. However attacks on the National Guard in the Khobar Towers living compound in June 1996 changed the way in which the Kuwaiti government regarded terrorism in the Persian Gulf forever. Personnel and equipment were upgraded and moved to their present location within the international Airport.
15 years later the base was all but consumed by the desert. Only the main air strip and the administration block remained useable.
The two Apache gunships, fresh from their success in the city hovered over the make-shift helipads. The desert sand clouds lifted in sympathy to greet them. Gently they touched down.
The engines died and the rotors stopped spinning, suddenly the desert base became a hive of activity as two fuel tankers eased their way to the rear of the choppers. Within one minute fuel pumps were the loudest thing to be heard on the base. The Pilot and commando from each helicopter climbed down to the ground and were quickly escorted to the large camouflaged tent that dominated the whole side of the administration building. Once inside the tent the first pilot removed his helmet. The man was typically north African, the defining moustache punctuated his large hooked nose; on his right cheek bone he had a small scar, neat enough to be deemed interesting. The look was completed by the fact he had an American crew cut hair style.
***
From the control tower the man in the olive green fatigues brought down his binoculars
“I see him”
Another similarly clad soldier sat at the radio table. The communications were basic, but as long as the powerful diesel generator did its job, the link to the plane would be sufficient.
“Flight EA953 you are cleared to land”
Outside the fuel trucks had withdrawn from the helicopter pads, and were parked with a couple of DAF transporters. The soldiers that had cleared the runway of sand now began to return to the control tower.
At first it was just a pin prick, and then an aircraft shape, and then the massive bulk of the Airbus 330-200 came screaming into the base. The white plane with the blue tail, depicting the hawk head of the god Horus touched down. Once all the wheels were in contact with the runway, the pilot reversed the engine thrust and applied the brakes. Rapidly the airliner slowed.
At the end of the runway Daniel Wheatley taxied the plane in a tight arc.
The jet turbines whined to a halt and the plane stood still. Brilliantly white against the beige of the desert and the azure blue of the cloudless sky.
An assortment of vehicles left the control building and headed out onto the runway.
Soon they were approaching the Airbus, sending a plume of dust into the air as they raced toward the plane.
The squat ungainly ‘gangway’ truck was trundling toward the side of the aircraft, followed by two olive green DAF trucks. The first of the trucks was full of soldiers, and the second carried ten civilians. Each of the ten men in the second truck was dressed individually. Some were in western clothes, some in traditional crisp white Jebeles.
A large white catering van and two fuel tankers were driving toward the rear of the Airbus. The mighty plane stood in silent splendour awaiting them.
The gangway truck eased into position by the door, two soldiers ran up the steps. As they arrived at the side of the aircraft the doors were thrown open.
“Stand aside” They shouted and entered the plane.
The flight attendants who had been losing the battle to keep the passengers calm, backed away. The initial sight of the armed soldiers sobered up most of the passengers’ enthusiasm to leave the plane.
***
The Lear Jet carrying Hessel, Alanby and a semi-conscious Renwick landed at the air base. Majestically the plane taxied to a halt in front of the control tower. The small steps tumbled from their aerodynamic slot. The small door sighed open. Immediately the commander of the air base went on board. Soon a number of items were being carried from the plane.
As the soldiers began to manhandle Renwick from the plane he regained consciousness. The olive green dressed soldiers dragged him past a smiling Hessel and Alanby, who was speed reading some notes.
“Why?” Renwick pulled his hands apart to feel the strength of the handcuffs
“You were instrumental in raising the cases against us in the US cost us 4 million” Hessel spat back at him. As the soldiers dragged him to a waiting truck, Renwick shouted back over his shoulder.
“That was because you cut me out of the Libyan deal. No one does that to us. We decided to probe into your crooked little business deals in the US. What a dirty little empire you run Hessel”
“You are in no position to question me Renwick. Very soon you will learn what it is to go against me” Hessel watched the activity at the Airbus
“You’re sick Hessel”
“Not as sick as you are going to get, Mr. Renwick” Hessel whispered as he turned away”
The metallic silver Toyota land cruiser, pulled up behind the truck. Alanby saw the driver and smiled.
“It’s the man that killed James Bond” he said to the retreating Hessel. At the window Alanby shook the man’s hand.
“Tell him well done and give him his instructions. Hurry, that plane needs to be in the air in the next ten minutes” Hessel disappeared into the control tower.
***
Those passengers that had been freed by the soldiers now filed down the gangway. Other soldiers helped them into the trucks. Once clear the ten civilians went up the gangway and boarded the Airbus. They took up position in the first class compartment.
The passengers remaining on board were each given a bottle of water, an apple and a salad roll. The soldiers smiled and told them everything would be ok. Beneath the plane, other soldiers removed suitcases and filled the hold with the new cargo.
The well-built man in the big grey jacket boarded the plane; he danced up the steps on the balls of his feet.
Two soldiers dragged the now unconscious Renwick to his seat in first class.
The big man took up position at the front of the passenger compartment.
He raised his hands to calm the passengers.
“Ladies and gentlemen; I am pleased to announce you ordeal is almost over”
The news should have been received with joyous rapture, but he could tell everyone was repulsed by his body. Everyone was quiet. From the cockpit, Daniel Wheatley walked through the first class area. He nodded a curt greeting to the ten men in their luxurious seats, and paid a passing glance at the sleeping Renwick. He saw the back of the big man, as he approached the middle section.
The small bullet head sitting atop the massive shoulders.
“Ladies and gentlemen, your Captain”
The applause was spontaneous. Making the big man sick with jealousy.
“Thank-you ladies and Gentlemen” Wheatley’s voice was calming
“As my colleague, Mr. Adonis has just announced I am pleased to tell you the attempted hijack has been thwarted” More applause.
“We are currently re-fuelling; once that is complete we will be transferring you to the international airport” The news that the plane was about to take off was accepted graciously.
***
Jurgen Hessel watched the Airbus take off. The roar of the jet engines reverberated in his head
“Destiny” he whispered. With a satisfying snap he pulled down the visor on his helmet and gunned the Kawasaki down the airstrip, revelling in the wind that tore at his body, reminiscing in the speed which kissed his skin like a lover.
Adrian Alanby watched his boss scream past on the powerful bike; then made his way into the camouflaged tent, his intention to give his congratulations to the Apache pilots. He wandered through the main area and pulled back the curtain into the pilot’s quarters.
The scene that greeted him was one of carnage. The two pilots were both sprawled on the floor; a dark blood stain spoiled the ground around one man’s head, his crew cut soaked in blood. The discarded black fatigues and body armour of the commandos lay on the bench. The scene unfolded in his head with the same rapidity as his ability to speed read. He turned and ran from the tent.
Still in view were the twin vapour trails of the receding Airbus. Alanby spat onto the dry desert sand, and shouted out one word, he made it sound like swearing.
“Bond!”
***
The first pilot removed his helmet. He ran his hand over his nose and moustache. Without warning one of the commandoes delivered a vicious kick to the side of his knee. As he felt himself falling the commando’s hand came around his face, and he felt the sting of the sharp blade bite into his throat.
James Bond pulled the razor sharp blade across the man’s throat. He used the inert weight of the dying man as a balance and thrust back his right leg into the midriff of the second pilot. Bond pivoted and delivered a cruel left hook into the man’s face. As he dropped to his knees Bond grasped the man’s face in his palm, and twisted the head, instantly breaking his neck. Quickly he stripped off the helmet; mask and body armour, and unzipped the fatigues. Urging Juliet to do the same, Bond went to the rear wall of the tent, using the knife he slit an opening in the canvas wall and stepped out.
Using the tent as cover Bond surveyed the base. The giant Airbus thundered past him, landing on the dusty airstrip. Bond knew Wheatley was expected in Kuwait on an Egyptair flight. To accept this as anything other than Wheatley’s plane was unacceptable to Bond. He knew he had to get on the plane.
Next to the tent, the main electricity supply was hooked up to a portable diesel generator. Bond’s eyes followed the cables.
Juliet stood in the slit in the tent wall. Her thin vest and underwear extenuated her vulnerability.
“Pass me your utility belt” Bond held out his hand for the commando belt.
Opening a pouch Bond withdrew the small plastic explosive charge.
Raised voices alerted him to a new danger. Bond squeezed back inside the tent. Outside in the main area of the tent Bond heard the sounds of the assembled men disembarking. Bond peeped around the door curtain.
Six men in western attire and four in Arabian robes were preparing to leave.
Bond, summoned up the words from his memory, and called out in Arabic
“One moment my friend, can you help?”
Two of the Arabs came to the pilot quarter.
James Bond was back in business.
***
Adrian Alanby charged into the control tower, two at a time he hurtled up the steps. Bursting into the control room he shouted at the radio controller.
“Contact the plane”
The explosion, although not massive, rocked the building. All power was lost.
***
The Airbus had been in the air for 45 minutes, it had reached a cruising height of 30,000 feet. The gentle swish sound of the jet engines filtered into the first class compartment. Six hours to London.
Daniel Wheatley came out of the cockpit. He walked purposefully through the first class compartment, drawing the curtain aside he disappeared.
The big man in the grey jacket was wedged into a seat; he looked up at the suave sophisticated pilot.
“We’ve lost contact with the tower”
Mister Adonis scratched a hand over his head; it was like rubbing his hand on soft sandpaper, his fingers moved in small circles.
“Maybe the Kuwaitis attacked the base?”
Wheatley rubbed the stress from the back of his neck.
[censored] something is wrong”
“Shhhh you’ll wake everybody up” the big man held his finger to his lips. Wheatley looked around at all the passengers who were now sleeping soundly after drinking their drugged water
“You do know what to do don’t you?” Asked Adonis.
“Of course, but I was expecting the tower to keep me informed of the communications with London. When we reach European air space they will have a distinct advantage” Wheatley said
“All you have to do is land the plane. You can do that can’t you?”
Wheatley turned around in disgust, and stormed back to the cockpit.
***
“How long has 007 been out of contact?” M’s mouth was tense, his lips tight against his teeth.
“Ever since the terrorist attack on the road” Tanner slumped into a chair, he had a bad feeling about this mission.
“What’s the word on the hijacking?” M tried to remain upbeat.
“When the Kuwait anti-terrorist squad arrived, the plane was already in the air. It appears they’ve set a course for London. The Kuwaitis say there was evidence of recent helicopter and large troop movement activity from the base”
“And we thought Wheatley was an innocent bystander in this” M threw down his pen it skidded along the top of the desk coming to rest a couple of millimetres before the edge.
“We’ve not been able to contact the plane yet, no one has taken responsibility for the hijacking, we have no idea what to expect when that plane get’s here”
M nodded “I know, but we have to anticipate the worst. Let’s face facts. We have one hijacked plane approaching the United Kingdom. It’s being piloted by a man who’s had his memory wiped by the establishment. The same man who we sent an agent to assassinate”
“The plane was totally out of contact for a period when it was on the ground; god knows what they’ve put on board”
“Undoubtedly whatever it was Gaddafi bought from Hessel. I’ve spoken to the ‘Foreign secretary’ he has informed the RAF. When that plane gets over the channel, we will have just 3 minutes to intercept it”
“Well it’s less than six hours away now; all we can do is wait for someone to contact us”
“Where the hell is 007?”


#14 volante

volante

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:39 AM

Chapter Fourteen

Thin Air



Tuesday Day 5
Jurgen Hessel, and Adrian Alanby sat in the back of the Learjet 60. Alanby’s love of speed was far less than Hessel’s, so he remained cosseted within the fragile safety afforded by his seatbelt as his boss moved freely within his seat, seemingly unaffected by the sudden movements of the plane. Hessel shrugged out of his black leather racing suit. His body rolled with the movement of the aircraft.
The two Pratt & Whitney Canada 305A turbo fans were producing their maximum 4,600 total pounds of thrust, as the plane rose to its optimum altitude. Hessel had told the pilot not to spare the horses. The roar was a constant buzz. Alanby looked up from the manual; a technical maze of information, which he had read through since the plane had taken off.

“The manufacturer states the ultimate range is 2,405 nautical miles, with 4 passengers and 2crew. I estimate we are lighter by 200 kilos, even with your motorbike on board. Therefore we could extend that range at this speed by a further 200 miles”
“Where will that take us to?”
“Close to Istanbul”
Hessel pulled a black Boss T shirt over his head.
“Okay, if the worst comes to the worst find us a place to refuel. But I’m sure we will have the Airbus on our radar long before then”
As he began to make the call Alanby thought how best to broach the next topic
“Do you believe a chase beyond Istanbul is necessary? Once we are in range we should instruct Adonis to detonate”
“Gaddafi paid us to get the nerve gas to London, and I’d love for it to explode at JP Stanley’s”
“If this man Bond is on board, he could disarm the device”
“Gaddafi put his best men on the plane to ensure it reaches London. They will deal with Bond I’m sure” Hessel looked toward Alanaby for approval of his prognosis. Then his face softened.
“If not I agree there’s always Adonis”
“And the hostages” Alanby offered.
Hessel laughed, it was high pitched and girl like, he thought of their faces when they realised they were not being liberated but merely transferred to a Hercules C130. Perhaps this would be a good compromise. Gaddafi would be able to use the hostages to his advantage, and the carnage in whatever city the plane came down in would be a good demonstration as to the resources Gaddafi had at his disposal. It would be a pity to lose the opportunity to humiliate JP Stanley. But the resultant autopsy would send a shiver through the World.
“The trait of a great leader is to be able to adapt to any given situation. We’ll pursue the plane until we get into radio contact. Then we’ll tell Adonis to detonate. Contact Tripoli tell them we have the situation in hand”


***
Daniel Wheatley ignored the special ops team as he sulked his way back into the cockpit. Something felt wrong; he looked up only to discover one of the ops team sitting in the co-pilot seat. Instinctively his hand reached for the dart gun, on the shelf
“Hey don’t you touch anything” he warned, as his fingers groped against the empty shelf.
“Looking for this?” The door slammed shut behind him, and the cold mouth of the gun kissed his neck. James Bond grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, as he locked the door.
“Sit down, exactly where you are”
Wheatley slumped to the floor behind his seat. Juliet took off her headdress.
“Who are you?” Wheatley looked directly at the mouth of the gun.
“All things being equal, I’m the one asking the questions. I can land this thing so don’t think you’re not expendable”
“You might be trained to land it, but there’s eight Libyan Special force commandos outside trained to stop you”
“Well that answers one question. So why hijack this plane?” Bond toggled between screens on the small CCTV monitor showing the different passenger areas. The Special ops team were lounging in their seats. The rest of the passengers were unconscious. A big man in a grey jacket had his back to the camera. The profile matched that to the killer of Corrine Murphy.
“I’m being paid to fly it into London. Once there I’m free to go”
“Well that’s debateable”
“Anyone tries anything with me and some very dirty washing will be aired in public, I assume you are aware of what I am referring to” he inclined his head, inviting an answer. When no response came, he continued…
“So I can assure you Mr. MI6 that you and all your Thames House friends will be falling over themselves to let me go once we arrive in London”
“That would indicate that you’ve already told your employers how to open the little black box”
“Bravo, you know my secret, but not my strength”
“If you’ve told them it makes you worthless to them. You’ll be dead the moment the plane touches down. If it’s ever intended to reach land in one piece”
“My new employer has a little more faith in my integrity”
“Then they’ll kill you after you tell them. Anyway there’s no guarantee you’ll get to London. These guns indicate you’re expecting trouble”
“The hostages may become violent toward the end of the flight”
“You really are a vindictive little man” Juliet chipped in.
“Doctor Katrina said that” He smiled as he shook his head clearing the memory from his mind. Then he looked up, pure hatred was written on his face. “My old employer tried to wipe my memory clean you know. They thought I was a threat to the monarchy” The head shook again “I had done nothing wrong. I can assure you of that”
“Something like that, anyway that explains how you got into bed with Jurgen Hessel. Tell me did you find the experience pleasant?”
“Yes indeed. Best thing I ever did. Hessel understood how best to use my information. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”
“Yes I’m sure he has drugs that will make that possible. And for all his trouble he now has a small bitter man with an imagined score to settle. So what’s in the hold. A bomb? a virus?”
“I told you I really don’t know, I told you all I have to do is fly the plane into Heathrow. Gaddafi is sponsoring this little trip; he’s pulling the strings on what we have in the cargo hold”
“The RAF will bring you down in the channel”
Wheatley shook his head, a wry smile passed across his lips.
“I don’t think so. Not with all those innocent passengers on board; and all the other hostages we have back in Kuwait”
“Why did they choose you to pilot the plane?”
“As you said I have a score to settle. If you knew what I know, you’d never put your life on the line for Queen and country again. I’m sending a message”
“So you chose Gaddafi as a role model” Bond checked the monitor again.
“The establishment kicked me out. Short of having me killed, they tried to wipe my memory to protect their precious reign. Gaddafi is only doing something similar. He knows his days are numbered. He too can open a few cans of worms. He knows that when push comes to shove someone like you will pay him a little visit in the night. All Gaddafi is doing now is making sure everyone knows what will happen to them and what information he will release should something happen to him. After this little show of strength, he is banking on being removed from Tripoli and allowed to live the rest of his days in cosseted luxury, courtesy of the British Government”
“What did Gaddafi buy from Klivex?”
“A very, very nasty bitter little pill”
“Very apt” Bond quipped.
“He believes the British are behind the insurgency. And if the UK won’t play ball he wants to go out with a bang”
“So that’s why Alanby was in negotiation with Gaddafi” Juliet popped the question. Wheatley stretched his neck around to look at Juliet
“You must be Blake’s little pen pal. I thought you were dead”
“You knew Blake was on to you?” Juliet said in amazement
“Of course, MI6 are hardly subtle” He smiled at Bond.
Bond then knew without a shadow of a doubt that whatever Klivex had sold to Gaddafi was on board the plane. He was certain that none of the passengers was intended to get off alive; which meant that if Wheatley was unaware of the ultimate purpose of this one way only flight, there must be another member of Hessel’s junkies who was able to detonate the ‘whatever’ independently of Wheatley. Finding him or finding the bomb meant having to leave the safety of the cockpit, it also meant tackling the eight Special forces men sat about ten feet away from him. He examined the gun in his hand. Six projectiles were stored in the handle. The ammunition was similar to the darts used as tranquilisers for big game. It was the perfect weapon for using on board the pressurised aeroplane. Obviously all the special ops team would be similarly armed. Bond wished he’d checked his own flight bag before coming to the cockpit. He dismissed the faux pas.
“Who’s got the box?” Bond asked
“Hessel of course!” His smile was condescending.


“Then we better go and get it back” Bond watched the monitor. Two of the special force team, had gone through to the rear compartment. Bond switched screens and saw them approach the fat man. The bulk of the special-forces men obscured the big man’s face. Bond knew it was his best chance.
“Let’s go” He grabbed Wheatley and pulled him up. Bond pointed his finger at Juliet “You, stay here lock the door. Watch the monitor. Let me in when I come back”
“And if you get killed?” Her eyes posed the question”
“I’ll think of something” His smile was reassuring
Thrusting him forward Bond opened the cockpit door and rushed him out into the first class area.
The first Special ops man raised his head, followed immediately by his hands as Wheatley was sent crashing into him. Bond turned and fired two darts into the men sitting behind them; their robes billowed out like sails in the breeze.
Bond then fired into the struggling man and sent another dart into Wheatley’s neck. He had purposefully waited until this man had drawn his own dart gun.
Bond now eased it from the man’s hand, noting with some relief that the tranquiliser was almost instantaneous. Using the man’s gun Bond fired at the fourth special ops man. The dart caught him in the hand, just as he was aiming at Juliet. Bond was caught in two minds, one was to shout at Juliet and insist she return, and secure the cockpit. The other was to thank her for causing a diversion which probably saved his life.


The final two commandos were already on their feet. Bond had to think fast, but Juliet was already ahead of him. Juliet had reached the man who had tried to fire at her. She took his gun, lifted it, aimed and fired the dart gun. The first target dropped back in his seat, a look of pure shock on his dark face. The feather tailed dart sticking out of his shirt. The last of the six commandos in the first class area shouted out the alarm.
Bond ran down the aisle, making himself the target; the man aimed and fired his gun. The dart buried itself into the pillow that Bond had picked up, and thrust out in front of him. Bond returned fire, the commando turned to run, but the dart caught him in the cheek. He dropped like a stone. Bond was almost at the curtain when the rich blue drape was pulled aside and a snarling special ops commando came rushing through. The powerfully built man rushed forward, large hands extended in front, the left palm up seeking the midriff area. Bond knew the judo attack well. With one slight side step Bond used the man’s own momentum to transfer his weight and spin the man around. His arms flailed from his sides, and his body crashed into the seat next to them. Bond finished the man off with a palm heel to the side of his jaw. The second man now came through the opening, gun in hand. Bond made a full step forward and launched a front kick that resembled a rugby swing kick rather than a drilled karate thrust. With his toes curled back the ball of his foot took the gun form the man’s hand. It went spinning through the air. Bond pivoted on his standing foot and extended his hip, delivering a vicious side kick into the man’s solar plexus.
The air rushed from his mouth. Bond caught the gun and fired it into the falling man’ face. The dart penetrated his ear lobe.
Bond pulled aside the curtain and went into the main passenger compartment. Where was the big man? Bond looked at the passengers, they were all sleeping soundly. His eyes darted from one area to another. Juliet came through the other curtain. Her dart gun was held out in front of the chest, she held it in both hands; sweeping from side to side, imitating Bond’s own pose. Bond gestured for her to stay behind him. Carefully they went down the narrow aisles, stepping over outstretched legs, or fallen bags and bottles.
Some passengers had fallen forward when the drug took effect; their faces were buried in the back of the seat in front of them. But none of the tangled sleepers resembled the fat man. Bond looked for the light grey jacket and the close cropped shaven head he had seen on the CCTV monitor in the cockpit.
Illogically Bond wondered if the man could have hidden in the overhead lockers, but he dismissed the idea instantly, he was far too big to have gotten into the confined space. Therefore he must be in the rear galley area.
Bond marched down the aisle. He had to be there, either that or the big man had simply disappeared into thin air.
In one swift movement he snatched the curtain aside. Aiming the gun and going in low Bond entered the galley. Empty.
Bond gestured for Juliet to thread her way through the rows of seats, and join him.
“If anything moves from that direction” He pointed into the galley.
“Shoot it”
“Yes sir” Her lips pouted
Bond smiled to himself at the way the girl was taking to the situation. Carefully he went to the other side of the cabin, and gently pulled back the curtain. Empty.
“Okay let’s check these out” Bond and Juliet opened up the cupboards and food trolleys. There was no sign of the big man with the shaven head.
Slowly, carefully they made their way back through the compartments to the cockpit. Bond collected all the guns from the commandos.
He stopped at the only none commando looking man in first class; and took his pulse. It was slow and even. Obviously the man had been drugged. Bond went through his pockets. The name on his credit card was Robert Renwick.
It was the name of the JP Stanley director involved in Alanby’s activities in Libya.
“Come on let’s tell someone we’re here, and ask them where they want us to park this thing, hopefully someone will be able to talk me down”
“Hey you said you could land it?”
“Poetic licence”
Once in the cockpit Bond locked the door. He took Juliet by the shoulders and stood her in front of the monitor.
“If anyone moves in first class, open the door and shoot them. Aim for the neck or hand”
“Okay you make sure you land this thing in one piece”
Bond smiled; he lent forward and gave her a soft kiss on the forehead
“I’ll do my best” Bond settled into the pilot’s seat and cranked up the radio.
“Mayday, mayday. This is Egypt Air flight 953 requesting assistance” Bond issued the distress signal twice on each of the band waves. On the third call the radio crackled back.

#15 volante

volante

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:50 AM

Chapter Fifteen

Aleppo



Tuesday Day 5
Hailed as the second capital city of Syria, Aleppo sits 350 km north of Damascus. Ever since the 3rd millennium BC, Aleppo has been a flourishing city.
James Bond banked the Airbus over the ancient citadel and looked down
upon the medieval fortress. Standing in timeless glory was the wonder that is the extraordinary Umayyad mosque, resplendent in a colour akin to flint, or burnt orange. History dictated that this city was; and still is a historical masterpiece. It will always be remembered as the far distant trade centre mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Othello, but to see the city now in the 21st century, literally takes ones breath away. Bond took more speed and height out of the aircraft. The frame juddered as the wind buffeted the once slippery shape of the fuselage. Bond could now clearly see the individual stones that made up the old city wall incorporating the defence towers and fortified gates built during the Islamic period. He felt he was travelling back in time.
“Looking good Flight 953” The high pitched quirky voice came over the radio. Bond checked the dials and eased the rudder slightly right to compensate for the wind. The voice from the tower was enthusiastic and encouraging.
“Very good, final approach”
James Bond sat at the wheel of the Airbus 330-200 he knew and hoped that this would be the first and last time he was ever going to be put in this situation. Behind him sat nearly 200 passengers. Innocent bystanders in a game of revenge played out between the minions of Colonel Gadaffi and the British Government. Bond thought about the diminutive Jurgen Hessel. His lust for power had led him to deal with Gaddafi, supplying him with some type of nerve gas or mind altering drug which was intended to be released on the people of Great Britain. Bond also thought about the coincidence that had presented Daniel Wheatley into the arms of Hessel, presented him with another twist of fate which threatened the very existence of the monarchy.
All Bond needed to do now, was land the plane. He would let the bomb disposal squad deal with the contents of the hold. Then he knew he must set out on his most important mission. He must get to Hessel and retrieve the box.
Being a double 0 meant that he would have carte blanche to deal with Hessel, whether he’d seen the contents of the box or not.
“More flap. Please lower to 20 degrees” The voice came through again. Bond adjusted the flap.
“Well done. Lose more speed”
Bond eased off the throttle. In just a few moments they would be down.
“James, someone’s moving”
“One of the guards? Do you feel able to go out there and shoot him again?”
“No it’s a passenger at the rear of the plane”
The alarm bells sounded in his mind. He knew that Wheatley believed that Hessel, and ultimately Gaddafi wanted the plane to land in London; just to show what type of chemical warfare items he had at his disposal. The mere thought that such an attack could be launched was supposed to send the British Government to the nearest travel agents and book Gadaffi safe passage to some Caribbean hideaway. Bond had always thought this intelligence was suspect. He believed that someone on board was going to detonate whatever was down in the hold. Probably as close to London as possible, maybe even after the plane had landed; maybe whilst it was still in the air.
Bond knew that if it wasn’t Wheatley that was going to do it, there must be another member of Hessel’s team on board. As the fat man had disappeared Bond thought him the most likely candidate. But now suddenly another player had been thrown into the mix.
“Describe him to me” Bond eased back on the throttle. The Airbus dropped. Juliet regained her balance, and looked at Bond the way a back seat driver stares at the originator of a small error in parking.
“Keep your eyes on the screen; let me know what he’s doing”
Juliet checked the screen. “I can’t see his face. He’s crawling between a row of seats. He’s wearing jeans and white trainers, that’s all I can see”
“Is it the fat man?”
“No, he’s crawling between the seats; he must be thin to do that”
“Check that all the guards are still there in First class, and the man Renwick is still…”
“…Robert Renwick, of JP Stanley?”
“Yes, he’s the man the soldiers brought on board”
“Osterman believed he was behind the criminal enquires in the States. Did it out of revenge for being cut out of the Libyan deal”
“Yes that’s him. Looks like Hessel wanted his revenge”
“Well he’s still there. So are the guards; and Wheatley”
“Okay, what’s the man doing now?” Bond lined the plane up with the runway. The flat squat three story sand stone coloured main building was large in his view. The jet engines whistled like a door frame in winter, as the Airbus made it’s final descent into the ancient city.
“The curtain is moving. He’s crawled into the rear galley”
It was then that the engines cut out. The alarm sounded loud in the cockpit. Bond pulled on the wheel to keep the nose of the aircraft up; but it was a hopeless situation. The Airbus dropped out of the sky with alarming speed. Juliet fell to the floor. The airstrip was just ahead but they would never make it.
The eerie silence came with the lack of jet engine whine. Then the noise of the wind buffeting the plane became all consuming. Bond fought gravity, and hauled back on the wheel, his feet fighting the pedals to keep the plane straight. Then the wheels bounced on the ground. The rough terrain short of the airstrip ripped the tyres from the wheels. The plane jumped up as if scalded. Bond’s stomach was left behind, in the whoosh of the movement. Then the plane crashed into the ground. The front wheel buckled and shattered under the impact, the nose dropped to the ground. As the cockpit shook Bond saw that the runway was just a tantalising few meters away. The plane shuddered, started to skid to the left. The giant Pratt & Whiney jet engine encased in its Horus headed blue cover smashed into the ground. Instantly it severed from the wing. The noise was almighty, and the crash, forced the aircraft to swing to the left. The body of the plane scrapped onto the runway. Its smooth flat surface began to stabilise the motion of the plane. Bond went through the motions of standing on the brakes and reversing the jet thrust; but without power the massive beast continued to slide. As the metal ground itself on the runway, the sparks ignited the fuel in the severed wing. The explosion knocked the body of the plane clean across the runway. The massive wide bodied jet began to spin. The right engine caught in the ground and smashed through the wing. The terrible wrenching sound brought another terror, as the pieces from the jet engine shattered and flew toward the body of the plane. Slivers of carbon, and composite metal peppered the body, skewering the plane with deadly barbs. The window smashed in the cockpit, and a huge javelin of metal jetted through. Its progress stopped as it exited. It remained like a bannister inched behind Bond’s seat. The airport terminal flashed past as the plane skidded along the runway. Another explosion rocked the body as the second fuel tank exploded.
The wingless plane emerged from the fireball, smoking and smouldering. Bond could do nothing more than hold on to the controls. Juliet slid across the floor, her screams punctuated with cries of agony as she slammed into the back of the seat. Some sixth sense told Bond the plane was slowing. He looked through the smashed windscreen, and saw the end of the runway approaching fast. Too fast.
The giant Airbus continued to slide. The nose shivered as it left the smooth runway and ploughed into the sand beyond.
Then it stopped. The dust began to settle. Bond reached forward and flicked off the alarm. All was quiet. Behind him Juliet got to her knees.
“We’ve landed” Bond jumped out of his seat, bent under the bar of steel and gave Juliet a quick check over “You’ll live, just be careful when you open your overhead locker” He glanced at the monitor, but as he thought it was blank. Bond unlocked the door and ran down the aisle. The special ops men had been thrown about the cabin, and now lay like broken dolls. Shattered limbs lay in pools of blood. Bond went through to the main passenger compartment.
Those without seatbelts had suffered the same fate. Yet still none of the passengers moved.
At the rear galley curtain Bond paused for breath, then ripped it back. The service hatch was gone, leaving a gaping hole in the floor. The metal cover was embedded into the side of the plane. Bond took a cursory glance into the darkness and began to climb down the service ladder.
The sound of breaking glass brought his head up. Suddenly the rear door swung open, black armoured clad commandos entered.
“Freeze” The dislocated voice shouted. Bond froze. Two commandos covered him with their Heckler & Koch machine pistols. Efficiently they indicating he should come out of the hole. Bond climbed back out of the service hatch, he raised his hands and allowed them the frisk him.
“I’m British secret service”
“What’s your code name?” The second commando asked in English.
“007”
The Commando raised his thumb to his colleague. The man stood back.
“Commander Bond, good to see you”
“There’s a girl in the cockpit she’s with me. Everyone else has been drugged. Eight men in first class are Libyan Special ops; they need to be taken into custody. The older man with them is Robert Renwick; he needs to be checked over. I believe the trigger man is down there”
“Okay Commander, we’ll take care of that. Come on let’s get you out of here” The accent was Canadian, probably Ontario.
“I can’t do that, I believe he’s trying to detonate a bomb”
The commando took off his mask. He was decidedly Canadian; dark blond hair and pale green eyes. “Guess this won’t protect me then” He threw the mask on the floor. “What do you need?” Bond guessed he was of European ancestry.
“A flash light and a real gun, and a name”
“It’s Lt Commander Wye. But you can call me Jeff!” The first commando handed over a Glock 16 hand gun, and a small halogen flashlight. Bond dropped down into the hold.
The tangle of baggage and creates made progress difficult. Bond was crouched double, he held the flash light in his left hand, he held it away from his head (should the enemy decide to fire directly at the light). Bond moved like a skier, his powerful legs bent at the knee, absorbing the shock and testing the fragility of the surface. He placed his weight sure footedly and scanned the area for the man and the bomb.
One of the restraining nets had been ripped from it’s mooring. The cargo held within it had moved unrestrained during the crash landing, and now boxes and cases alike teetered precariously. Bond stepped beneath the luggage as one steps upon thin ice. Each step seemed like an eternity waiting for the baggage to settle beneath his weight. He passed under the boxes which were now held in place by just one stretched metal fastener. Jeff was behind him, the man moved like a cat.
Bond swept the flash light from side to side. Maybe it was luck or just instinct; Bond recognised the shade of grey fabric sandwiched between two heavy creates. It was the fat man’s jacket.
Jeff approached the body. He prodded the lump.
“He’s not going anywhere” As they progressed the rip in the skin along the right side of the plane let in enough light to allow the flash lights to be turned off. Outside the sirens whaled, and the sound of people running cascaded into the hold, the bangs and pops of the fires a constant crackle. One by one Bond filtered out each sound. As his senses heightened he homed in on the one sound that was out of place in the aircraft.
Tick, tick, tick.
Bond scrambled down the heap of suitcases and came to a halt beside a large packing case. He pressed his ear to the side, the ticking was louder.
“Get me something to open this” As he looked up at Jeff he realized that should the fastener snap on the cargo net the whole jumble of creates would crash down upon him; crushing him the same as the fat man.
Jeff produced his standard issue K bar knife, and together they prised off the lid.
Bond looked at the bomb. Jeff began to rip the side wall from the case. The case was addressed with the JP Stanley corporate logo. London branch.
“That explains why they wanted Renwick on board” Bond said.
The bomb itself looked to be housed within an antique bird cage. Two feet in diameter, three feet high. Inside the thin stainless steel bars sat a gleaming silver flask, domed at the top. Bond thought it similar in shape to a cocktail shaker. At the very top sat the arming device. Circular in shape, black plastic in construction. Bond released the clamps that held the cage in place.
“I’ll call in the bomb squad” Jeff jammed his knife into the floor of the case, and pulled out his radio.
Bond threw the cage aside and flicked open the black plastic cap. Staring back at him were the red luminous eyes of the digital clock. The tick, tick, tick, sounded very loud.
“I don’t think there’s time”
The digital countdown revealed 1 minute 43 seconds.
Bond unscrewed the clock.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Jeff asked
“Unscrewing the fuse locking ring. If I can remove the fuse from its pocket I can disarm it”
“It’s going to go off in one minute…”
“…And 35 seconds. Well we can’t get far enough away to stop it killing us, so I don’t see any alternative to trying to disarm it”
“Be careful my friend”
“Sound advice. Do you have a field medical pack?”
“Of course” Jeff felt for the pack in his belt. The floor of boxes moved beneath their feet, it was like standing in the middle of an earthquake.
As he looked up. Bond had extracted the arming devise.
“It’s fitted with a ZS 40 type fuse…”
“…You’ve done this before?” Jeff stared at the timer.00:01:02sec
“Just the once”
“Where’s the fuse? One minute to detonation”
“There’s a render-safe process. It’s easy to disarm, just hook the fuse out through the access slot”
“I’m pleased there’s no complication” 00:00:56sec
“Well…”
“…Well. What?”
“Removing the main time-delay fuse from the pocket without neutralizing the anti-handling device underneath releases the firing pin, causes detonation of the bomb” Bond removed the cover. The slot looked very small. Beneath it sat a tangle of wires.
“That’s the anti-handling device I take it?” The clock read 00:00:48sec
“At least they haven’ clogged up the safety port”
“That’s something” The digital clock countdown read 00:00:46sec
“Scissors” Bond held out his hand. Jeff reached out to place them in Bond’s palm. The boxes moved again and the bomb slipped over the edge of the case it was stood on. It fell straight down. Bond allowed his hand and arm to go with it, keeping hold of the arming device, to snap the wires would mean certain death.

When it came to rest on the floor of the plane, Bond was at full stretch, nearly half his torso was over the edge. He looked down at the clock; it read 40 seconds to detonation. Bond reached back with his hand to receive the scissors. It was then that the retaining fastener broke on the cargo net. The mountain of boxes slid down. Jeff wedged his feet into the deck and braced himself to meet the onslaught. The first box bounced over him and crashed down beside Bond. The second box caught him on the shoulder Jeff adjusted his stance and held the boxes. But he was unable to pass the scissors down to Bond. 00:00:31sec.
“Drop the scissors. I’ll catch them” Bond held his position as another box toppled over and crashed down beside him.
“Decisions, decisions” Bond looked up from his precarious position. All he could see were the white trainers and blue denim clad legs.
“Persistent little fellows aren’t you?”
“Jeff, drop the scissors” Bond shouted, whoever this person was, he had no control over Lt Commander Wye’s destiny, in just thirty seconds he would be dead anyway.
“Move and I’ll shoot you”
“We’ll all be dead in…” Bond read the clock 25 seconds remained.
“14 seconds” The dart gun made it’s tiny firing sound, similar to a silenced pistol. Above him Bond heard Jeff grunt as the dart entered him. The movement was slight but Bond put out his hand and caught the scissors. The gun fired again, but the dart embedded itself into a box that wedged itself between Bond and the bomb. Others began tumbling down all around him.
Bond reached down into the hole; the boxes had cut out most of the natural light. He thrust the scissors into the slot feeling for the small fuse. Above him Jeff had collapsed. The boxes he had been holding back cascaded down a like an avalanche. One large create bounced off the box that was by his head. Bond threaded the scissors into the hole. Eighteen seconds to detonation. Bond felt the next box knock him sideways. Unable to stop, he slipped over the edge.
“10, 9” The man in the jeans and white trainers stood above the pit that Bond had fallen into. The powerful flashlight beam shone into Bond’s eyes obscuring his vision of the man’s face.
“8, 7. Maybe you would have proved to be a worthy opponent after all. Still I guess we’ll never know 5 4 3 2 1” He counted down the seconds.
Nothing happened. The man shone the flashlight into the pit. The light flashed on the clock face there was still seven seconds to go. Bond used the light to hook the fuse from the holder. The clock stopped at 00:00:06sec
Realizing he’d been tricked the man in the jeans aimed the dart gun at Bond; but Bond had already picked up Jeff’s K bar knife. Although it was cramped in the pit Bond was able to throw the knife upward. Once it had left his hand he hoped it would find its target, either that are fall back and kill him.
The heavy grunt and little moan said the knife had found it’s target. Suddenly the flash light in his eyes was gone.
James Bond eased himself out of the pit and clambered over the chaos of the cargo hold. He crawled to the rent in the side of the plane. Out on the ground the blood stain told Bond that his unknown advisory had jumped through the jagged jaws of metal.
“Why had there been two trigger men on board?” The bomb squad arrived.
One of the commandos escorted Bond, who had insisted on carrying the unconscious Lt Commander Wye out of the door and down the steps. The carnage he saw back along the runway told him how lucky he was to be alive.

#16 volante

volante

    Lt. Commander

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

Chapter Sixteen

The fear factor

Tuesday Day 5


“007 making contact sir” Tanner hit the button.
M held down the call button “You’ll be pleased to know that the hostages on C130 heading toward Tripoli have been intercepted and diverted to Cairo. I trust that because you’re still alive you can give us some good news about the passengers on the Airbus?”
“They’re safe. Gaddafi had placed a nerve gas bomb on the plane; he intended to detonate it in London. Hessel sought his revenge on JP Stanley by having it detonated at their head-quarters” Bond basked in the sunshine. The fires were under control; and the passengers were being removed from the broken Airbus. The team of commandos were looking for the wounded young man that had threatened to kill their leader, Jeff. The bomb squad had gone on board to retrieve the weapon.
M took a moment to think about Bond’s information “Hessel? You think the hostages were just a diversion to make it easier for the package to be delivered to London”
“I do yes” Bond watched a black clad commando exit the plane from the rip in its body, he was carrying something, but Bond could not believe what he was seeing.
“If that bomb had gone off in central London there would have been carnage”
Bond thought about the airbus landing, he thought about the way the big heavy killer had disappeared into thin air. As the black clad commando approached Bond began to understand how the trick had been executed. M continued…
“That explains a lot. The Canadian special forces ops team that we sent to help you; checked Mr. Renwick over; they found him to have developed a nasty case of something akin to Ebola”
“I think they gave him a shot of Rotunza, apparently it kills in the same way, only quicker”
“Yes, he’s dead” There was little emotion in M’s voice, just a slight tension around the mouth. The commando presented the object to Bond.
“I do believe Jurgen Hessel wanted to send us a message, he used Colonel Gadaffi as an introduction” Bond felt the object. Silently he seethed.
“Don’t worry sir, the killer won’t get off this base” The commando saluted.
“You think the bomb was Gadaffi’s two fingered final salute?” M asked
“To us, yes I do. I believe he intends to use the ‘Rotunza’ drug on his own insurgents”
“That’s what he bought from Hessel?”
“Yes”
“Then we better send some military muscle in there and destroy it. That will be our final message to him”
“Wouldn’t you rather I delivered the reply?”
“Hardly 007; we’ve already explained to him that there will be no deals and no assistance to get him out of his country. We’re sending some people over there to help the revolution get started”
“His people will hunt him down like a dog” Bond smiled at the prospect.
“Now he has no hostages to bargain with things should begin to move quiet quickly” M allowed himself the luxury of a slight smirk.
“I don’t like the idea of him and the drug being at large”
“Well no need to worry about that now”
“What are you saying, Sir?”
“I’m saying well done 007” M sounded almost reluctant to give the praise.
“I think you know what comes next”
“Hessel” Bond held the padded grey suit at arm’s length.
“Yes. Mind you I’d still like to understand how Edward Blake made the connection to Wheatley”
“Blake was investigating the drugs traffic. He stumbled upon Alanby dealing in Libya. He traced the drug through Klivex to its trials in America and discovered only two people had survived the trials. Wheatley and Elodie Duoro. He also discovered Osterman was investigating Klivexs’ activities. When he made the connection to JP Stanley; the email trail highlighted that Juliet Guggler and Global Witness were also investigating the same activity. The girl says she only met Blake on the night before his death, but they discussed a number of theories over the internet”
“Then how did Blake come to have the evidence that Wheatley had removed from Buckingham Palace?”
“They must have met”
“Blake and Wheatley?”
“Check Blake’s movements over the previous weeks, when was Wheatley last in Lisbon?”
M considered the statement. Bond continued…
“I believe Hessel was onto Blake. The killer probably gave him a dose of the drug; which sent him crazy, and given to his conspiracy bent, made him suicidal. Wheatley may have fed him more evidence of the Diana conspiracy”
“We have Wheatley staying at the Corinthia. Just receiving photographs now” A few precious seconds ticked away. Tanner’s voice became tentative.
“Somehow I don’t think it was Wheatley. We have CCTV footage of Blake meeting with a man, on four occasions in the week prior to his death” Tanner fed through the footage to M’s screen.
“Describe him” Bond threw the fat suit to the ground.
“Sorry to disappoint you 007, but the man claiming to be Wheatley, always had his back to the camera; still I know what you’re thinking” Tanner had hoped for a positive ID
“Do you?”
“You think the man was Corrine’s killer. Well I can quell that thought. The man that killed Corrine was shaven headed, a large, obese man; the…”
“….Blake’s contact was young, athletic and wore jeans and white trainers”
M looked at Tanner “That’s uncanny; tell us 007, where do you get your intelligence from?”
“Corrine’s killer was on the plane; he works for Hessel. I thought there were two trigger men on board; and that the big man was dead”
“And?”
“I was wrong”
“Explain” ‘There’s a first’ thought M
“The killer was wearing a fat suit to disguise his appearance. I must have walked right past him on the plane. I’m sorry to say he escaped”
“Not for long” The commando at his side mouthed at Bond.
“Where do you think he’ll go?” M asked
“They still need Wheatley to open the box” Bond turned his back on the Canadian commando. He spoke urgently.
“We’ll double the guard on him” Tanner began to make the call to the safe house. It was essential to keep Hessel away from Wheatley.
Bond thought back to the original four names on Blake’s list. He beckoned the commando back to him. The commando responded swiftly.
Bond conjured up the images of the four. Alanby. Was he really the target of Blake’s investigations. Osterman. He was an ally, also investigating Alanby’s previous actions over in the States. Duoro and Wheatley; the only two people to defy the killer drug. Bond looked at the commando.
“Can you get me transport into town?” He asked the commando
“Sure thing Commander” The commando set off at the double. Bond raised the mobile again. The thought process clear now.
“Suppose for just one moment that the information given to Blake indicating that Duoro and Wheatley were the only people to survive the Rotunza drug is false. Now if we believe that the killer was the man that met Blake…”
“…Go on 007 I like this picture. After all Hessel was presented with Wheatley by the establishment. He wouldn’t want to risk his life until he’d milked him for everything little piece of dirt that he had”
“As the investigation got deeper, Blake would have delved deeper into their histories. Soon he would have made the Royal connection. His need to prove the conspiracy would have made him oblivious to the danger of going after Klivex”
“You’re onto something Bond, keep probing”
“Hessel persuaded Wheatley to steal the information”
“Why not kill him as soon as he had it?”
“Hessel needs Wheatley to open the box. So far he’s resisted giving him the code”
“Hessel wanted him to fly the plane into London. No Wheatley would have demanded he fly the plane, before giving up the secrets of the box”
“Which he would have done after the London trip. Hessel now had the box. But what of the girl Duoro. What is her role in this?”
“Granted if she had survived the drug test she would be vital for research” Tanner cut in
“But we’re told that Wheatley survived. I don’t think that’s true, I think he’s on Blake’s list because of his link to the Royal family. Blake was a conspiracy nut” Bond wondered what secret the French super model held.
Juliet appeared at his side. She smiled and tucked herself under his protective arm. She sighed at the safety afforded by him
“Where’s the girl Elodie Duoro now?”
Tanner lifted the phone to his ear again. After a few moments he made his reply. “Kuwait City”
Bond didn’t understand the connection yet but he wanted the answer all the same. “And where’s Hessel?”
The commando, still clad from head to foot in black pulled up in front of them in an open top Land Rover Defender. Dust billowed from the ground as the car stopped amid a squeal of brakes.
Tanner already had the information that Bond wanted. The GPS signal from the jet was giving a constant read out. “Flight plan destination Istanbul”
“He’s only going there because he was following the plane. Once he knew it would not reach London, he would have given his hit man the signal to detonate. Where did the flight plan begin?”
“Kuwait City”
M cut in “JP Stanley confirmed Renwick went to Kuwait to broker a deal with the Syrian government for a fleet of six supersonic all weather multi-role F18 Hornets”
“You better see if the Syrians have taken them back yet?” said Bond.
Tanner lifted the mobile to his ear again.
“Are you intending to head back to Kuwait? M asked.
“No. I’m going to see Wheatley, my guess is that the killer will be going there as well, I’ll try to kill two birds with one stone”
“No way will he ever get off this base, alive” The commando reported. He took off his helmet; and placed a pair of Oakley sunglasses over his eyes. With the black bandana he wore on his head he looked every inch a hells angel.
“Let’s roll, commander” He gave a mock salute.
Bond and Juliet climbed into the Land Rover. The commando drove out of the airport and back in time toward the ancient city of Aleppo.
***
The Aleppo citadel is the same now as it was in the thirteenth century. The Land Rover threaded it’s way through the sole entrance to the Citadel toward the safe house. The engine note echoed as they went through the outer tower. The stone-arched bridge spanned a 72.2-foot-wide moat. The magnificent gateway is almost a castle in itself with the doorway placed on a sidewall, with another close wall facing it. This effect had been designed to limit the space available to ram the door down. The commando engaged first gear to slot the vehicle through the tight space. Further in they encountered another bend that weaved several times. The chicane was meant to slow down attackers.
Continuing through the cold stone tunnel, they came to the next jaw dropping beauty.
Three wooden gates with gloriously coloured carved figures welcomed them into the inner sanctum. The Land Rover emerged into the sunlight of the master court-yard. They pulled up by the large elaborately engraved Byzantine cistern. Each detailed fresco depicting a scene from the city’s history.
“The safe house is just down there. Access is by the door in the golden cistern. Go down the steps and past several brick vaults, probably dungeons…” The commando began stripping off his jacket as he spoke.
“You stay here; watch our backs. I’ll find it” Bond helped Juliet from the car.
The pitch dark of the inside of the gateway strengthened the contrast between light and dark so that would be attackers would not be able see. The walls in the cistern had seen extensively damage over the years, so that the ancient stonework was now a patchwork of cement and plaster. The hollow sound of dripping water accompanied every one of their tentative steps.
Juliet held on to Bond’s shoulder as they made their decent down the smooth age worn steps.
***
It was at this precise moment that, back on board the Airbus the Canadian special ops team found the naked corpse of one of their colleagues. His windpipe and been crushed, and his neck broken. His face had been slashed with a sharp knife, for reasons unknown. But it was apparent that the fact that he was naked was to satisfy the need for the killer to be fully disguised as a Canadian commando.
A fully recovered Lt Commander Jeff Wye made the call to warn Bond.
The commando with a bandana took the call.
“Oh [censored]” He exclaimed and sprinted toward the cistern.

#17 volante

volante

    Lt. Commander

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:51 PM

Chapter Seventeen

Man in the Mirror



Tuesday Day 5


The dark figure stepped out in front of Bond. Juliet screamed. The noise echoed throughout the cistern. A series of halogen lights bloomed in front of them, etching their silhouettes upon the curved wall behind them. Now that they could see, Bond quickly scanned the circular shaft they were in. Just a couple of feet to his right a rickety old wooden rail, which cordoned off the well stood in testimony to safety.
“I’m sorry sir access is forbidden. Please return to the square” There was no mistaking the Heckler & Koch machine pistol in his hands. He wore a black uniform with the bronze dagger upright upon the red circular badge. His tan beret confirmed he was previously with the Canadian Royal Air Force.
“I’m British Secret Service; I’m here to see the prisoner”
“And I’m here to see that you don’t”
Bond reached behind him for his wallet; the pistol safety was released.
“Hands where I can see them please” The man adjusted his stance to lessen the impact of firing the pistol. He meant business.
“This is my authorisation” Bond pulled out his credit card. Carefully the man reached forward to take it. It was at that moment he saw the movement behind Bond and Juliet. The Heckler & Koch came up, but the quiet rush of air stopped any other movement. The man dropped to his knees, the neat little bullet hole was dead centre on his forehead. Bond pushed Juliet to the ground as he dived forward to retrieve the gun. He wrestled it from the dead man’s grip and executed a forward roll coming up in a stance with the gun aimed. The lights were in Bond’s favour. And now they lit up the commando with the bandana.
“Thank goodness I got here in time Commander. I just had word from the air base that the killer had escaped the airport; your boss thought he would come here” He inclined his head toward the dead Special Ops man.
“I expect he was waiting to get his hands on your authorisation card before killing you both” The commando edged his way closer to them; he bowed forward to pick up Bond’s fallen credit card.
Bond kept the gun trained upon him. The commando holstered his gun, and continued toward Bond. Bond stood up and placed the muzzle of the gun against the man’s chest.
“And how did you know he wasn’t just a Special Ops man?”
“I told you commander, I just received the call. The Lt Commander explained that Wheatley has been moved to another safe house. They moved him soon after we had left the airport. Your killer wouldn’t have known that” The commando pointed to the man he’d killed. “He was the only one down here”
Bond brought the gun up to a resting pose.
“Where have they taken Wheatley?”
“That’s information I’m not privy to. You’re gonna have to contact your boss to get that information sir” He held out a mobile phone.
Bond went to the dead man. He put down the gun, and started to rifle through his clothes. The ring tone sounded in his ear.
“Tanner”
“Hello Bill; a little bird tells me Wheatley has flown the nest”
“That’s right 007. Our Canadian friends have reacted very well to the news that the killer escaped from the base”
“We think I found him”
“Ah good. I mean, is everything alright?”
“Of course; you don’t have to worry about my Bill”
“That’s good, looks like I can call off the Syrian cavalry”
“They want to get involved too?”
“Yes” Tanner laughed “They’re sending the Hornets to Aleppo to provide a substantial military presence”
“Very good” Bond wished the light was better. From this angle there was no sure means of identifying the dead man.
Juliet stepped forward into the light. Suddenly the man with the bandana reached out and grabbed her. His powerful arm cut off her cry of alarm. Quickly he dragged her backwards over to the lip of the well. Bond took in the event and went for the machine pistol.
“No, no, no. Please don’t insult me commander. Raise your weapon and I’ll kill the girl and then you” They struggled on the very edge of the well.
“Now be a good fellow and toss your gun into the well”
Bond slid the Heckler & Koch across the floor; it disappeared over the rim of the well. For a long time nothing happened, then the splash, echoed up the walls and reverberated around the chamber.
“I’d say a good sixty feet”
“What do you want?” Bond slowly got to his feet.
“I want to kill Wheatley. I have your entry card. Then I’m going to put this little beauty on ice; then I’m going to take a lot of pleasure killing you. Then…” His face moved in close behind Juliet’s ear “I’m going to take a lot of pleasure with our Juliet here. Teach her some manners”
She looked at him, terror slid across her face. Suddenly his hand came up to shield his face from her glare “Don’t look at me like that, I’m not a monster”
He pulled the leather basket across “Get in”
Juliet stepped in. In one effortless movement he pushed the basket over the side. Slowly he let out the rope; Juliet slowly sank out of sight. As soon as she had completely disappeared into the well, she let out a muffled yell. Her scream was pitiful.
“Don’t worry my dear, you won’t fall” He tied off the rope and looked at Bond
“It’s just the fear factor you know. Shall we dance” He put down the gun, and stripped off his shirt. The wound along his ribs, where Bond’s knife had sliced a piece from him was expertly bandaged. Except for the wound his body was a work of art; lean muscle was sculptured upon a fine bone frame. He ripped off the bandana, to reveal his close cropped head. Rotating his neck he tensed his shoulders and stepped forward into battle.
“I was so hoping that you would prove to be a worthy opponent”
“I’ll try not to disappoint”
Bond let the pieces of this opponent’s jigsaw puzzle fall in front of him. The fat suit wasn’t just for disguise. Although he was in excellent athletic condition, his mind had been conditioned to believe there was something wrong with the way he looked. More of Hessel’s drug regime.
Bond edged slowly away from the dead commando. Keeping the bright lights at his back. Tiny plumes of dust rose from the soles of his shoes as he moved.
The man attacked with a full cross over step, which turned into a full blooded side kick. The heel was aimed at Bond’s face, which he only just avoided; his left hand guided the kick past. Bond dropped his weight and hooked his foot around the attacker’s leg, bringing the man down beside him. Bond rolled in to him and executed an elbow strike into the man’s sternum. The killer took the blow and instinctively reached up and got an arm around Bond’s neck. In a lightning fast manoeuvre he wrapped his other arm onto his fist bringing a vicious choke hold to bear. Bond turned within the hold and brought his knee up into the man’s face. As the choke hold was released Bond followed his attack with a head butt to the man’s chest. Both rolled over and got to their feet. Neither seemed out of breath. Both waited for the other to make the next attack.
“May I call you James?” His voice was even.
“Only if you give me your name?” Bond’s voice held no trace of breathlessness.
“Gladly” He smiled, spitting out a gob of blood. “It’s Adonis”
“Well I wouldn’t go that far”
“I know it’s such a cruel twist of fate for someone with such a grotesque body as mine to have such a beautiful name” Another well-disguised step brought him inside Bond’s guard. Bond unleashed an elbow strike, which caught Adonis on the cheek bone. His head snapped back with the blow, as his body went through a 180 degree turn, his next attack was a reverse elbow, delivered with extra power because of the momentum. Bond fell back. Adonis came on again. Two punches to the head which Bond blocked, but could not find a gap to counter attack. Adonis feinted right, Bond moved accordingly, but realised the move had put him facing the lights. Adonis came forward again. Bond spun around allowing his outstretched fist to catch Adonis on the temple. Caught in mid step Adonis had to go forward, as his foot touched the ground and his weight began to bear Bond stamped down behind his knee. The well-muscled man fell to the floor. Immediately rolling out of range he came up as if the blow had been nothing. As if performing a conjuring trick he produced a small blade. He slashed from right to left, but the move was only to disguise a knee shot. Bond cross blocked the attack; then caught the knife hand as it reversed its arc. Bond twisted the knife hand forcing the wrist back against the joint. Adonis lost his balance and fell back. As he went down he slashed wildly with the knife. Holding the knife in front of him he carefully got back to his feet, the lunge came without any preparation. The knife was aimed at Bond’s groin. Bond fell back a pace; knowing Adonis would be drawn forward. Bond judged his moment and fired two head shots into the undefended face. Adonis rocked back on his heels. Both men were close enough to the lip of the well for Juliet to see them, she moaned again, and moved in her little basket. It shivered about her. She tugged at the cloth covering one half of the side of the basket. It fell away to reveal a highly polished mirror. In the dark, she could make out her own reflection. Juliet understood that this would be the way the drawers of the water were able to see down into the shaft. The trick had also been used in Egypt to project sun light into the tombs and pyramids. She looked at her terrified face and, as the two men began to fight again, she clung on the old rough rope for dear life.
Adonis thrust his knife hand forward; Bond wrapped his arm over the top, and locked the elbow. He smashed his left fist into Adonis’s face.
Adonis brought his knee up; Bond had to release the hold to defend the attack. Adonis turned firing a reverse elbow strike. Bond blocked the strike with a double handed sweep; then brought his elbow back into Adonis’s face.
Another knife thrust to the face was blocked upwards, allowing Bond to drop his weight and deliver a punch to Adonis’s ribs. Bond held on to the knife hand and twisted the wrist over, bringing the arm down in front of him. He attacked the wrist with his other hand trying to wrestle the razor sharp blade from his grip. Adonis brought his leg up, attacking with a reverse roundhouse kick, the heel caught Bond on the forehead, he was forced to back off, but the space allowed him room to deliver another sweep, which put Adonis down. Without pause he rolled into Bond slashing at his ankles with the knife, Bond jumped back to avoid the blade, and as he landed, Adonis executed his own sweep, to bring Bond crashing to the ground. The dust of many centuries rose like a fountain of steam. Bond was now on the very edge of the well the old wooden guard rail grazed his outstretched hand. As he struggled to get back to his feet a small amount of stones and gravel fell over the edge. Adonis was already on his feet again, charging in for the kill, he raised his foot to deliver a vicious kick. Bond ducked under the boot, and forced himself up from the ground. They weighed up their next move. Neither man wanting to put their back against the guard rail.
Adonis attacked again, Bond blocked using his forearms and elbows; but the blows continued to reign in upon him. Bond countered the blows with punches and straight finger thrusts, but the agile fighter was up to blocking all the attempts. Then the attention changed Adonis moved in closer and attacked the body. Bond blocked the first thrust with his knee; immediately straightening his leg to deliver a side stamping kick to the knee. Adonis tried to stop his momentum and step back, but he stumbled and fell backward. When he came up he held the gun in his hand.
“Finders keepers James” As he straightened his arm, Bond lunged forward. The gun spat death; buy the shot went harmlessly wide. Bond came up inside his guard. Adonis fired another shot. Bond wrestled him to the ground. Adonis tried to turn the gun inward but Bond had brought his arm up, and began applying pressure to the wrist. The veins began to stand out on Adonis’s head. Moments passed as the struggled to force the gun toward the other. Then suddenly the gun went off again. Juliet screamed. The bullet had passed through the rope holding the basket. The fibres twinged and twanged unravelling and stretching. The basket began to swing stretching the rope to breaking point. Bond fired in another elbow shot which got through. Adonis rolled away, the gun slipped from his hand and toppled over the lip into the abyss. Adonis crawled after the gun, but knew it was lost; quickly he scrambled back to his feet. He pointed down at Juliet. The rope began to fray.
“Well done James; if she dies before I have the chance to taste that little beauty…” He sucked in a lungful of air
“…Well let’s just say I won’t be too pleased”
“Let’s see what we can do then” Bond broke off the attack and went to the tie off point. Quickly he pulled the rope up over the brass wheel. Juliet began to emerge from the hole. The rope in this area was whole again, supporting her weight. Bond winked down at Juliet; then turned to re-engage. With one lightning fast step Adonis was on him again, thrusting the knife hand forward.
Bond allowed Adonis’s right arm to go past his head and past the wooden post, Bond caught the wrist and yanked the arm into the wooden post, the arm broke at the elbow. Adonis howled in pain. He fell onto his back. He lay rolling in the dirt clutching at his arm.
Ignoring the screams Bond pulled on the rope. The basket came up. Bond pushed down on the bar and pulled the basket over the ground. Juliet jumped out and clung to Bond. She watched the struggling Adonis with a sense of horror. His twisted face was more like an animal’s than a man. She buried her face into Bond’s shoulder.
Behind the pair, and whilst maintaining the same pitch in his screaming, Adonis got to his feet. His shattered arm hung worthlessly at his side. But his eyes were still alive. He took in the touching scene of James Bond and Juliet Guggler embracing. Adonis decided the fight was over, he felt the blood draining from his body, choked by the crushed bone in his arm. He knew he was going to die, but if it was over he would take both his advisories with him. He kicked off charging forward. His intention to scoop both Bond and Juliet into this one handed grip; his intention was to run them over the edge of the well, and into the abyss.
As he gathered speed he came level with the mirror, he looked into the mirror on the basket; his own reflection stopped him dead.
“Arggh” He exclaimed. His good hand came up to cover his face from the cruel stare of the man in the mirror. Bond and Juliet turned to face him.
The man they both saw was not what Adonis saw in the mirror. The handsome face, and well fit athletic body, bathed in a light sheen of sweat looked, to Adonis like a withered and charred corpse.
Adonis stopped. His breath would not inflate his lungs. Gone was the protective layer of clothing that he had hidden behind since meeting the Doctor that had helped him overcome his phobia. Here stood the aberration that was the hideous body that he always saw reflected.
A body that he had had to keep covered so that none would see his shame.
“Hideous” he shouted and flung himself into the well. As his scream descended, Bond thought the word he was saying sounded like ‘Katrina’

#18 volante

volante

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:11 AM

Chapter Eighteen

Each journey begins with the first step

Tuesday Day 5


Like giant grey balls skewered onto snooker cues the Kuwait towers sat beyond the tree lined promenade. Jurgen Hessel raised his hand in recognition to the girl that was waving to him. His mirrored aviator sunglasses reflected the towers as he walked with his chief of security.
“What a beautiful sight”
“The girl or the towers?” Answered Alanby
“Both I suppose. Meeting different people and seeing the sights is such an ordinary experience. People don’t take in the splendour of the event anymore”
“We’ve seen a lot today, but for these people…” Alanby glanced at the locals going about their everyday duties. The look of disgust was un-mistakable.
Hessel followed his action, regarding the people as mere insects.
“Most daily events are quickly forgotten. They are memories written in pencil; never made permanent” Hessel spat out the words.
The girl climbed down from the bonnet of the red Ferrari Daytona. In her hurry to break free from her small group the stiletto-heal from her shoe scratched the red paint work on the bonnet of the car. Lenny Baker saw the incident in lurid slow motion, drinking in the inch long scratch as money off his bonus at the end of the shoot.
“Hey baby, what gives, look what you’ve done” He reached out an arm to halt her progress, but Elodie’s eyes had taken on a sterner look. She broke free of his half-hearted attempt to stop her and began to run toward the two men.
“But some events provoke an emotional response. In these moments of joy or sadness, terror or surprise, the body is flooded with stress hormones released by the adrenal glands” Hessel watched the scene with detached fascination. The almost uncontrollable desire of the girl to get to him. And the un-provoked reaction of the American.
“Part of the ancient "fight or flight" response” Alanby added. He watched the girl coming closer. The photographer turned his camera around to snap the girl as she glided past him. Her sheer silk wrap billowed out behind her. The shot caught the girl in motion, blurring her outline but showing the bonnet and headlight of the silver birch Aston Martin DB5 in stark contrast.
“Jesus Christ” Lenny Baker took off his white cotton trilby hat and threw it to the ground. The girl was running toward the two men, she was only about 50 yards away now. Her eyes were bright with love.
Hessel watched Baker’s petulant outburst; he inclined his head toward Alanby
“The adrenaline washes over the amygdala portion of the brain. That’s the part that processes all emotions, most notably fear. Adrenaline tells the amygdala that what's happening at that moment is worth remembering, so that it can prepare a better response if one should encounter the same situation again. That this is a memory that is written in neurological ink”
“And with that we can re-write a person’s life history”
From the group, the photographer continued to take shots of the girl as she ran.
“And it is with that we can create a memory of someone being a homicidal manica. Or the sure knowledge that one is safe in the arms of a loved one”
As she reached Hessel; Elodie Duoro embraced him with a genuinely open worship “Daddy” she cried.
Hessel held her by the hips; he held her at arms-length and looked at her.
“Hello my darling. My you look beautiful today”.
“Thank-you daddy” she kissed him lightly on the cheek, touching him with her delicate fingers.
Still holding the girl, Hessel turned to Alanby.
“Adrian, please can you ask Mr. Baker and the photographer to indulge me five minutes with my daughter”
“Of course”. Alanby took in the scene. Elodie’s fingers splayed against Hessel’s cheek. He noticed the ring on her finger; the word Liberté, followed by the letters e.g.a. Alanby remembered speed reading that Elodie always wore the gold ring engraved with the national motto of France. Liberte, égalité, fraternity. He’d looked up the tripartite motto’s origin. Naturally it began during the French Revolution, but it was not until the Third Republic at the end of the 19th century, that the motto was adopted as the national motto.
Alanby strolled over to the group, casually he informed the sulking Lenny Baker and the photographer that their super model would be unavailable for a short while. Situated on 123m above sea level, experience a
The viewing sphere at the top of the tower offers wonderful panoramic views of Kuwait City. Hessel relaxed in the city’s charming vicinities and the serene blue waters of the Arabian Gulf within the glass enclosed pavilion.
Elodie was resting with her back against the chrome rail, her eyes never left her father. Rotating 360° every 30 minutes, the Viewing Sphere’s revolving platform offers an empowering city view with or without telescopes, but for Elodie Duoro, she had eyes only for the man she knew as her Father.
“Things have happened since last we spoke” Hessel continued to drink in the view.
“Yes. Tell me everything”
He turned his head, and smiled lovingly at the beautiful girl. Instantly he was transported back to when they had first met. She had come to the clinic seeking advice on a course of drugs, which she hoped would boost her confidence. The doctor’s had groomed her mind to believe she was part of tragic life, which was made bearable by the love of her true father. As the real memory was wiped, the engineered dream became the truth.
“Your brother wants to meet you”
She took a sharp intake of breath, and then propelled herself from the rail, launching herself into a loving hug. “Thank-you daddy. I love you. When? When can we meet?”
Hessel’s arms encircled her waist “Soon, my darling, very soon”
Elodie buried her face into Jurgen Hessel’s shoulder, very softly she sobbed. After all this was what her mind had been programed for just this moment. Her memory had been moulded to know that this was the action which would define her.
“There is something I want you to see before we all meet”
“What?”
“Don’t worry. All the information you need to know is contained in a small box. I have it. I will show it to you; and you can take it back to Harry” Hessel looked out of the window at the amazing view; suddenly he recognised that he was seeing the same sight as when they first arrived. Thirty minutes must have passed. He must now take Elodie back to the gross American to finish off her glitzy photo shoot. He also knew he needed to check the progress on the hit team that would soon be extracting Daniel Wheatley from the MI6 safe house.
***
James Bond and Juliet Guggler travelled in silence to the new safe house address on the outskirts of the city. As Bond drove, the architecture around him began to modernise. When he saw the TV dish he knew he had returned to the 21st century. When he saw the first sniper on the roof he knew he’d arrived at the real safe house.
The fight with, and sudden suicide of the man known as Adonis had shaken Bond. Not because of the physical effort, but because of the deep psychological trauma that the killer must have been infected with. The fact that Edward Blake had also committed suicide led Bond to believe that Jurgen Hessel and his team of scientists had developed a drug so powerful it could remove and replace someone’s memory.
Bond swung the Land Rover into the parking space in front of the office block. At least the attempted terrorist attack on London had been thwarted. If the Rotunza drug had been released in the capital; thousands would have died.
As they entered the building Bond brought himself back to the task at hand. He reached out and took hold of Juliet.
“I have to satisfy myself that Wheatley has not given the code to Hessel. Once that is established, I will be going after him myself”
Juliet opened her mouth to protest about what she knew was coming next. If Wheatley had already given the code his life would be forfeit.
“I will be going alone” Bond looked at her, and suddenly she knew it was no use protesting. The journey in the elevator was one undertaken in stony silence.
The MI6 agent met them at the door. “Commander Bond” He held up, what looked like a pair of opera glasses. Bond lent into the retinal scan machine. It bleeped once and the man let them in.
“Perhaps you could offer my colleague a drink” Bond guided Juliet into the path of the man. “Certainly Commander” They left the room.
The 50th floor suite was well appointed with full ceiling to floor windows offering a wonderful view over the city. One MI6 agent stood with his back to the window keeping a watchful eye on his ward. Daniel Wheatley sat on the champagne coloured leather sofa. The towel around his neck and ruddiness of his complexion told Bond the man had just completed his daily workout.
“Ah Mr. Bond I’ve been expecting you. Come to apply the thumb screws?” He poured chilled water from a carafe, the ice cubes clinked.
“I don’t think that’ll be necessary. We have some drugs of our own” Bond sat opposite him. Wheatley held the carafe mid-point to returning it to the table.
“Does Jurgen Hessel know about that; I’m sure he could do you a better price” Wheatley placed the carafe on the table.
“Possibly; we might even buy a job lot in his closing down sale”
“Oh, he really has got under your skin” Wheatley took a sip of the water.
“Not really, I just don’t take to any megalomaniac who gets off at the misery of thousands of others”
“Um I bet Gaddafi falls into that category too. So where do we begin?” He replaced the glass on the table, and sat back. Fingers inter laced behind his head. Bond ignored him; quickly rising and going to the window. The MI6 agent withdrew a small leather case from his pocket. Bond took it and unzipped the case. An array of syringes and small vial of liquid sat in leather holders.
“Convince me that Hessel hasn’t had access to the box that you stole”
The Mil MI-24 helicopter rose into view. The commando jumped from the open door; the twin ring of suckers attached themselves to the window, giving the impression he was a leaping frog. The laser gun zipped around the ring of suckers, shearing through the glass. The glass fell inward trapping the agent and Bond beneath it. The explosion was instantaneous, as the commando crashed through the window, into the suite. Two zip lines whooshed into the room from the open hatch of the Mil, and embedded themselves into the far wall. Another commando swung from the helicopter his Heckler & Koch spitting covering fire. Disengaging from the zip lines and the laser sucker ring the two commandos were still held secure by the umbilical cords them kept them tethered to the helicopter. The wind swirled around the apartment.
One man grabbed Wheatley, clamping a sling around his body. The umbilical retracted and the two men were sucked out of the window into the waiting arms of the helicopter crew. The second commando looked around the room for signs of life. Nothing; then as he activated the retract button Bond heaved the glass away and launched himself at the man. Bond held on to the cord with one hand as the other pummelled the face of the commando.
In the helicopter the crew had seen the surprise attack and were attempting to sever the umbilical cord. The razor sharp knife cut through the cord. The impetus of their flight changed, both began to fall. Bond let go of his victim and reached out for the rung of the helicopter. The commando tumbled out of control grasping Bond’s ankle as he fell. The extra weight of the man plus the momentum of the swing loosened Bond’s grip. He knew that holding on for much longer was not an option. The helicopter rose. Bond saw the reflection in the glass of the building. Himself dangling from the rung of the chopper, the commando holding on to him, the cords dangling beneath like some bizarre jelly fish. Then, suddenly there was nothing. The helicopter continued to raise above the top of the building. Below him, the commando was increasing his two handed grip on Bond’s leg, pulling at him trying to shake him free of his hold. Bond looked up. Another commando was leaning out of the helicopter. He sprayed the air with bullets. Abruptly the helicopter changed direction. Bond guessed that one of the snipers on the roof of a neighbouring building was mounting a counter attack. The helicopter skimmed over the roof of another building, then suddenly beneath the dangling men was nothing but a hundred story drop. Then another roof top threatened to tear the cord from the commando as he stubbornly clung on to Bond’s leg. The edge of the building came on them with tremendous speed, in just one more second the chance would be gone. Bond took the opportunity and let go. The two men dropped to the roof of the building. Upon impact Bond tucked his knees into his chest and crashed down on the commando. Bond rolled off and came to rest like a sprinter in the blocks. The helicopter swayed in the air. Bond took in where the sniper was firing from, it was the next building, but as he locked on to the man’s position, return fire from the chopper cut him down.
The helicopter now wobbled, turning lazily in the air looking for another target. Bond was trapped on the roof; he looked about for some way to get to the next building. From inside the chopper the spitting death of the Heckler & Koch began to rake the roof top.
James Bond dragged the unconscious commando to the edge of the roof wedging him into the guttering. The chopper hovered above the commando taking his time to lock on to his target. Then taking hold of the umbilical cord Bond jumped out into the space between the two buildings. Bullets tore into the roof top behind him. Bond swung into space. At the arc of his leap he let go of the cord. The roof he was aiming for still looked a long way away. Bond’s momentum changed from a leap to a fall; the edge of the roof was too far away to make a grab; beneath him nothing but a plummeting death. Bond arched his body, throwing his hips forward like a long jumper striving for an extra millimetre. Now his upper body came forward. The roof was just beyond him; he was going to make it. Then the building grew larger in his vision, the edge of the roof was already halfway down his body. Bond crashed into the wall. The impact winded him, and he lost his balance and began to slide off the roof. His body slid down the wall. He dug his elbow into the roof. The slide stopped.
James Bond had but one elbow and shoulder on the roof, the rest of his body dangled over the side of the 60 story building. Behind him he heard the helicopter approach. Soon he knew the sting of the bullets would tear him off the roof and down into the abyss below him.
When the first shot came, the sound was something he had not expected. The shot came from the roof. Behind him the sound of the engine increased, the down draft threatened to suck him away from his perch.
With soaring hope Bond realized the sniper he had seen felled on the roof had not been killed. Another shot provoked anther change in rotor pitch.
A steady hand clamped down on Bond’s forearm.
James Bond looked up into the pained face of Lt Commander Jeff Wye
“Glad I could lend a hand” He pulled on Bond’s arm and slowly pulled him over the edge. Bond could now see that Wye had been wounded. Jeff looked at the blood on his uniform jacket “Sorry I can’t shoot straight anymore”
Bond looked at the retreating helicopter, it blocked out most of the sun. Boyed by the fact that Hessel had come for Wheatley, he knew he only had to kill him to halt the opening of the box. Bond looked around for Jeff’s rifle.
Advanced design and lightweight manufacture make the Barrett M107A1 the most precise sniper rifle ever made. The rear-barrel stop and front-barrel bush are bolted and bonded with a compound similar to that used on space shuttles. Bond picked the gun up by its titanium barrel.
“I’ll see what I can do” Bond jogged over to the edge of the roof.
The heavily armored body of the Mil can resist impacts from the famous .50 caliber (12.7 mm) assault rifle. Rounds from all angles just skip off the body even the titanium rotor blades are strong enough to resist gunfire.
Bond lifted the rifle to his shoulder. The Mil was side on, but the target was not in sight; then the miracle happened, one of the commandos moved forward revealing Daniel Wheatley. Bond put his eye into the rubber cap and aimed and fired in one fluid movement. He had but a moment to see the target jerk back in his seat as the powerful bullet tore into his skull before the Mil changed course banking hard.
Bond put the rifle on the floor. As he straightened up he couldn’t help a broad smile passing across his face.
Lt Commander Wye looked at Bond, his head gently shaking “No way”
Bond nodded to confirm he had made the shot.
“Let’s go and get that shoulder seen to”
“I don’t think I can walk” Bond helped Lt Commander Wye to his feet. “Come on I’ll help, don’t forget every journey begins with the first step”

#19 volante

volante

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 02:42 PM

Chapter Nineteen

Air Bridge


Day 6

“Our neuroscientists believed there was an opportunity to dilute potentially traumatic memories before they dried hard and fast” Jurgen Hessel‘s image appeared on the 50” plasma screen in M’s office. The slick corporate video showed Hessel moving slowly through the labs at the Klivex Geneva HQ.
"We've developed a drug that can prevent the memory system from working. We’ve developed a drug that blocks the action of stress hormones, and as a result is able to prevent the making of painfully strong bad memories,"
Suddenly the image of a shark biting into a swimmer flashed on the screen, followed instantly by the broken body of a child on the motorway. Hessel smiled casually at the camera, concern oozed from his pours
“What if your child witnessed an atrocity like this; could you as a responsible parent allow your loved ones to harbour such a bad memory?”
The camera switched to the white coated scientists working on test tubes.
“Memory-altering drug research is currently focused on propranolol, one of several so-called beta blockers widely used to reduce blood pressure. The family of drugs treat abnormal heart rhythms and prevent migraines. The Klivex brand name for propranolol is Inderal” The screen now superimposed the word ‘Inderal’ over a wonderful clear mountain stream video.
Bill Tanner paused the film. He looked at the assembled guests. Now it was his turn to speak.
“Our people have completed some experiments with Inderal. Results indicate the properties of propranolol also block the effect of adrenaline upon areas of the brain involved in memory formation, including the amygdala. Inderal seems to disconnect emotion from memory. In taking away one memory it is possible to introduce a false memory” Tanner opened his hands inviting comments.
Secretary for Defence, Noel Baines juggled a pen in one hand whilst tapping his fingers against the desk in perfect unison to rocking back and forth on his chair, his frustration at having to watch the film and listen to Tanner’s diatribe was now at breaking point.
“You believe I have been subjected to this drug Inderal?”
“Yes we do” M held his gaze. Baines shook his head in disbelief.
“We believe your memory of the information passed at the meetings you had with Adrian Alanby was altered. You believed him to have nothing but honourable intentions. You give him carte blanche to negotiate with Gaddafi on behalf of the British Government” said Foreign Secretary Conrad Walker. Wearing the sharpest of Savill Row grey suits, Walker eyed Baines with a look of scarcely kept contempt.
Dr. Baines’s hand slapped down on the table. “But I gave him no secrets; what did he gain by using me in this way?”
“You probably signed a document confirming support from the British Government for spiriting Gaddafi away from Tripoli when the heat got too much”
“Damn”
“That leads us nicely onto Miss Duoro” M defused the tense atmosphere
“Elodie Duoro may have thought she was undergoing treatment with Rotunza for something else but she could have been infected with the mind altering drug Inderal. God knows who she thinks she is, or what she thinks she’s doing”
Tanner continued to feed the fire “Edward Blake had four names on his list. Wheatley was his guilty pleasure feeding his compulsion for the Diana conspiracy. Alanby was his interest in connection to the drug trade which formed his working life objective”
M looked at Baines as he interjected “It was his preoccupation with Alanby got him killed. Alanby understood Blake was onto him; and that he’d been in contact with Global Witness. That connection led to the introduction of Osterman”
“Osterman was also on Hessel’s hit list then?” MI5 Tom Stephenson added
All eyes turned to the young MI5 man. He’d been so quiet up until that moment that all the others in the room had forgotten he was there.
“Undoubtedly; as was Renwick” M answered. He gauged that Stephenson was counting his lucky stars that he had been asked to continue his involvement in this case.
Tanner answered “The man known as Adonis posing as Wheatley turned Blake’s attention onto Duoro”
“The Guggler woman confirmed that Blake believed that Wheatley and Duoro were connected to the Klivex’s drug trials”
“Adonis posing as Wheatley fed Blake with the information that both he and Duoro were the only survivors of the Rotunza trials”
“But we know that to be a lie” Dr. Baines said quietly
“Yes, the question still is what is Elodie Duoro’s connection to Alanby” The Yorkshire accent came over very strongly
“Yesterday she met with Jurgen Hessel and Adrian Alanby in Kuwait” Tanner offered “After the meeting she withdrew from a photo-shoot, leaving the rest of the crew behind”
“Find her” Walker spat out the instruction.
“And now she’s disappeared” M said quickly
“She’s our number one priority” Walker said
“But you still intend to send Bond after Hessel?” Baines asked
“We have no option. We have no information about the level of threat posed by Duoro. But the drug Inderal or Rotunza to call it by it’s constitute name, is deadly. We have to eliminate it”
“Send 007 back to Kuwait. Have him eliminate Hessel. Then he can go after the girl” Walker gave the instruction calmly.
“Yes minister” M had waited penitently until Walker had come to the conclusion that sending Bond back to Kuwait would be the best solution.
“Until this is over; I suggest you take a couple of weeks’ vacation” Walker looked at Baines.
M looked at Bill Tanner. Tanner hit the send button on his mobile. The text had already been typed before the meeting even took place.
***
James Bond’s mobile beeped to announce the arrival of the text, but as he lifted the mobile it began to ring
“Yes”
“James?” Bond recognized the voice
“Juliet; nice of you to call; I thought you’d be on your way back to the UK”
“I was at the airport. I saw her getting onto a plane. So I bought a ticket and got on after her”
“Who?”
“Elodie Duoro”
“Where are you?” Bond’s interest was pricked
“On a plane”
“Going where?” His tone still even.
“Cyprus. Limassol to be exact”
“How long have you been in the air?”
“No more than five minutes”
Bond checked his Omega. The plane would be landing in a little over thirty minutes. Quickly he weighed up the arrival time of a passenger plane, and the mode of transport he had in mind.
Bond walked toward two of the battle hardened pilots of the recently returned Hornets.
***
The 255 mile journey took a little over fifteen minutes. Add to that the time spent negotiating with the Syrian commander, and Bond believed he was only three minutes behind Juliet’s plane. By the time the big jet had taxied into it’s terminal slot; Bond would be in the main building.
The Hornet touched down. The kiss against the tarmac had been as light as a feather; Bond was pleased they’d given him one of their best pilots.
The canopy rose into the air. Bond jumped out and skimmed down the ladder.
His helmet was off, and he was shaking his body out of the flight overalls as the silver grey Range Rover Sport pulled up in front of him. The pilot stood by his side. Bond noticed the Captain’s insignia on the shoulder of the man’s drab olive green uniform. Such a slight frame for such an expert pilot.
The driver’s door opened, and MI6 agent Scarlet Goodnight stepped out. Looking more confident than when he’d last seen her, Scarlet walked toward him. Her hair was pulled back in a severe pony tail. Her clear skin still looked an angry red as if she’d spent too long in the sun. Her light grey suit clung tightly to her body.
Without embarrassment James Bond stepped out of his flight gear, he stood waiting for his contact in just his pale blue Sunspel underwear.
Goodnight held out a black nylon suit carrier for Bond…
“Looks like you’re pleased to see me couldn’t you wait?”
Bond took hold of the black nylon bag, and immediately began to pull out his clothes.
“Scouts motto. Be prepared” He grinned mischievously.
Goodnight leant back and appraised his body “And armed”
Bond stepped into the light beige linen trousers. He pulled out a dark blue polo shirt “No vest?” She asked as he pulled it over his head. It was then that the pilot took off his helmet. Bond wanted to thank the man for the super human effort of getting him to Limassol in such good time “Thanks for the ride Captain”
Bond pulled his shirt down over his chest. The pilot replied “No problem Commander; you can ride me again anytime”
Bond looked at the pilot; the woman was in her early twenties, oil black hair was thrown with a toss of the head. Her full red lips were only slightly less perfect than her dark limpid pool eyes. Bond checked the name badge. He said the name out loud “Sabeen”
“Commander…” she replied with a sultry smile.
“Bond…”
Goodnight thrust Bond’s shoes into his chest “Make sure you put the tongue in” Bond grasped them.
Goodnight had already turned back toward the Range Rover. Bond looked at the beautiful Syrian pilot.
“…James Bond. I might just hold you to that” Bond jogged after Goodnight.
“Anytime Commander James Bond. You have my number” She inclined her head back toward the Hornet jet
The number 210 sat just below the cockpit.
Once in the car Goodnight made a frosty comment “Well you certainly made an impression on her”
“I think she just struggled with the translation” Bond removed the Walther PPK from the holder in the glove compartment.
“Well you’ve obviously never taken her to dinner” (Goodnight was referring to the aborted attempt to dine that they had experienced in Ghawar field, Saudi Arabia see A Secret to the Grave)
“As soon as this mission is over, I promise you’ll be the first number I call” Bond checked the gun’s mechanism.
“Your promises are like babies. Easy to make hard to deliver”
As Bond looked enquiringly at Goodnight he squeezed the trigger the firing pin fell on the empty round, the gun made an empty hollow metallic thud.
“Have they landed yet?” He asked changing the subject.
“Yes, whilst you were doing your striptease for the lovely Sabeen” Her tone was still uncompromising. Her pride still scratched.
“Take me to arrivals” Bond looked out of the window. Maybe after this mission he would be giving Scarlet a call. The idea pleased him.
Bond dialed the number. Bill Tanner answered.
“Why here Bill?”
“We think it’s the air bridge” Tanner answered.
“Troops returning from Afghanistan?”
“Based on the royal decree I’d say this is only about one of our troops”
Bond quickly made the mental connection.
“I don’t suppose he’s roughing it at the Akrotiri air base is he?”
“No. Ever since 2008 Prince Harry has been badgering the Government into allowing him to return to active duty in Afghanistan”
Bond pursed his lips “I think I can guess who authorized his return”
“Yes, it’s a good job Baines has just gone on vacation; otherwise I think he’d be in the tower right now”
“So where is he?”
“Last week Prince Harry resumed his role training young soldiers in the techniques he learned in battle during his 10-week tour of duty in Afghanistan. The base, and therefore his living quarters are just outside the city. A place called Kolossi Castle”
“What’s security like?”
“Usually there’d be twenty to thirty seasoned soldiers guarding the fifty or so undergoing training from the ten or so military experts”
“Usually?” The lack of response made Bond think that Baines had been busy making other arrangements for the rest of the troops.
“There was a delay in shipping out this week’s guards. Plus the Tri-star from Kabul broke down. But not to worry because it tied in nicely with the medal ceremony that Prince Harry wanted to be low key”
“How many?”
“Five from the Royal body guard; twenty trainees”
“Can’t we just call off the so called medal ceremony?”
“Sorry James, there’s been a leak to Fleet Street (Tanner used the old term reference for reporters or paperatizi)”
“Go on”
“There’s always been rumours about Harry’s heritage” Tanner cleared his throat “Seems the ministry of Defense, and the Prince himself want this ceremony to go ahead in order to quash those rumours once and for all. And it seems young Harry is quite looking forward to meeting Miss Duoro”
Another silence was broken with Bond saying “Elodie Duoro?”
“She’s presenting Harry with his medal; dovetailing the whole thing in with a photo-shoot. However you stop this you’ll need to be tactful”
“I’ll see what I can do”
Instantly recognizable even behind the large Prada sunglasses Bond watched Elodie Duoro exit the terminal. Her simple grey silk trouser suit hung on her body like a string of pearls. The porter pushing the sack truck containing her luggage, made a comment, as a dark blue Maserrati Quatrapole eased to a halt in front of them. The chauffer jogged around the car and opened the rear door to allow Elodie to disappear in its opulent interior.
“That’s her, stay on her”
“Yes James I do know Elodie Duoro when I see her. The allure of a beautiful woman is not totally lost on me”
From the terminal Juliet Guggler spilled out into the warm sunshine; mobile clamped to her ear. Bond took but a moment to make his decision, he pointed at her, and spoke to Scarlet.
“Go and pick her up, make a big fuss, hide in plain sight”
“Who’s she?” It was spoken the same way a wife asks when a pretty girl says hello. Bond’s mobile rang.
Her name is Juliet Guggler, she’s the contact from Global Witness; she’s been following Duoro from Kuwait. Now get her, before someone notices she’s taking down the number of the Maserati” Bond answered the phone, cutting off Juliet’s desire to communicate.
“My colleague will bring you to me, when she greets you make a big fuss of her” Bond watched the two girls embrace. At the trot they returned to the Range Rover. Bond had taken over behind the wheel.
“James, it’s so good to see you. Did I do right?” Juliet held his shoulder
“Absolutely”
Scarlet asked “What now?”
“Simple, we follow that car”
Bond eased the Range Rover sport into the thin flow of traffic. The driving position allowed him an excellent view of the Maserati in front.

#20 volante

volante

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:26 PM

Chapter Twenty

Homecoming


Kolossi Castle, a few miles outside the city of Limassol, Cyprus
Day 6

Kolossi Castle or tower as it’s referred to by the locals is a plain stone grey; square shaped fortress dating back to the 12th century. The grounds evoke a peaceful feeling, but are hardly the most luxurious of hideaways or residence for Royalty. Behind the castle, stretching into the gently sloping hillside were the various training grounds. From a mock city street, used for ‘fast response’ house to house combat simulations; which used to house the sugar mills in the 14th century; to the live mine fields used for actual disarming.
In front of the tower the silver birch Aston Martin DB5 had been causing quite a stir. All the young soldiers had given it the once over as they passed it on their way to the training ground. Now only a few people remained.
The car parked behind conversely was attracting no interest at all. But then again everyone has seen a white Citroen Picasso.
Adrian Alanby sat behind the wheel. On the passenger seat to his side sat a small box, about the size of a shoe box. Dark mahogany in colour, with blue and gold pin stripes on the lid. Behind him sat news reporter Kaylee Dean. Her anticipation level was at overload. The intelligence had said this was going to be the scoop of the century. Her bosses had sent her and the crew on the next available flight. Initially this was to cover the medal ceremony. But specifically they were there for the scoop. Secretly Kaylee hypothesized about the information which was going to be divulged.
With the Castle forming a suitable backdrop to the car, the cameraman set up his placement markers. Within the small group that surrounded him was Staff Sargent Jon Woodman of the Cold Steam Guards.
Noted for the elaborate dress uniform, today Woodman was wearing his camouflaged fatigues. The prickly loo brush moustache was neatly trimmed, keeping it off his top lip by just less than a millimetre. The man was proud to be in charge of today’s medal ceremony. He watched the scene unfolding before him with intense anticipation.
From inside the castle the soldier put on his fatigue jacket. Above the left pocket was the patch declaring his name ‘Wales’ but Wales wasn’t his real name. Henry Charles Albert David; born 15 September 1984, is more commonly known as Prince Harry. He is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, and fourth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As such, he is third in the line of succession to the thrones of sixteen independent sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Consequently, he is also third in line, to the position Supreme Governor of the Church of England. He looked out of the window, observing the news cameraman talking to his staff sergeant. Idly he checked his G-Shock watch; soon the supermodel, Elodie Duoro would arrive. She would certainly be a welcome distraction for the day’s work ahead. Then when the small private ceremony was over he could get back to work. Without a number of the other experts to back him up, it was going to be a busy day. Prince Harry left the castle and walked confidently down to the Aston Martin. As he approached he heard the conversation between the group.
“I think you’ll find the lads will give Miss Duoro a rousing welcome. Do you think she will have the time to do some autographs afterwards?” Asked the Staff sergeant.
“I’m sure she will. If we have enough light I’m sure there’ll be time for her to pose for some photos” The cameraman was an Englishman, from the same local area as Woodman, so the two had opened up a good rapport.
Shoulder length black hair held in place by a brown leather band, the cameraman explained the order of photos he would take and then the filming he would do.
“Once the broadcast is out of the way; you will have some time with Elodie”
“Oh!” Said the Staff Sargent, his hand smoothing down his black moustache
“Think I’ll be first in line for that then” The pair laughed.
“Unless of course your Prince Harry gets there first” They laughed again.
Private Wales and two other Blues and Royals hardly paused as they strolled past and carried on down toward the Aston Martin.
Woodman snapped to attention “Sir”
It was then that the Maserati appeared.
From the Citroen, Alanby, box in hand jumped out and waited for the dark blue car to pull up. Kaylee Dean approached the cameraman “Everything ready?”
“Sure is”
She looked around and took in the scene that would make her the most famous TV presenter in the World.
The Maserati stopped. The small group of men waiting by the Aston Martin DB5 waited in anticipation for Elodie Duro to appear.
Alanby opened the rear door. Even in the heat of the day Kaylee felt herself shiver, this was history in the making. The plan was simple. Elodie would pose with Harry. She would then open the box; ostensibly to hand over the medal. But in reality she would reveal the awful truth about her relationship to the Prince.
The leg encased in the grey silk trouser suit swung out. Alanby revelled in the sure knowledge that within two minutes the scoop of the century would be being televised around the World. The chauffer was rounding the car.
Alanby suddenly realized that the quiet was actually disconcerting. Baines had assured him that the regular trainers and guards would not be at the camp. So the lack of troops was expected. But the lack of activities and noise was actually quiet crushing.
The girl emerged from the car. An audible gasp from the Royal party heightened the anticipation. She was shorter than Alanby had remembered. She reached out her hand and took hold of the box. He became aware that the cameraman hoisted the camera onto his shoulder.
Kaylee Dean stood on her marker and tested her microphone. The Royal party had quickly greeted the TV presenter; then they turned. Suddenly all eyes were on the supermodel. Soon she would approach the group.
Alanby tried to look beyond the Prada sunglasses at what those eyes told him. How well the memory altering drug had worked on the susceptible young girl. Soon the secret would be out in the open. Soon her terrible burden would be shared. Elodie was going home.
Her hand was stretched out in front of her. Alanby lent forward and released box into her grasp. From the corner of his eye he noticed the cameraman focusing in on the action. The chauffer was almost upon them. Alanby saw everything in slow motion now. Elodie grasped the box.
She wore no ring. A wave of concern passed over him. The chauffer was almo st upon him ‘why?’ surely the plan was for him to wait with the car.
Elodie was not wearing her ring. Alanby twisted on the spot, striking agent Goodnight with his elbow. She crashed back against the door of the Maserati; the Prada sunglasses flew from her face. Alanby launched the front kick into the ribs of the chauffer. The kick knocked the man back, as he did so, he recognised James Bond. He reached out and retrieved the box. His vision took in the look of anguish on the faces of the Royal party. Alanby looked for his escape route. The Citroen was effectively blocked in by the Maserati.
Tucking the box under his arm Alnaby took off like a rugby player. His first direction was cut off almost straight away. Alanby saw the sentry un-loop the machine gun from his shoulder. Alanby twisted and ran along-side the castle. Bond shouted over his shoulder toward the astonished royal group.
“Get the Prince inside” and with that he disappeared behind the drab grey wall. The foot chase to get the box containing tapes and original letters had begun. Bond sucked in great lungful’s of air. The chase was on.
***
The Royal guard drew their weapons and attempted to get their ward into the safety of the castle, but Prince Harry was having none of it. He ran to the side of the Maserati and took hold of Scarlett.
“Who are you?”
“MI6”
The Prince scowled. Scarlett filled in the gap
“The girl Duoro was intending to kill you”
“Who are those two?” He inclined his head in the direction taken by Alanby and James Bond. The soldiers gathered around them.
“The man with the box is called Adrian Alanby; he’s the mastermind behind the assassination tempt. The man chasing him is an MI6 aged named Bond; James Bond” Scarlett looked after them.
Prince Harry shook her out of her malaise “Come on, he may need help”
Together they ran back to the castle. Haylee Dean tried to remain calm and report on the events but her cameraman was already safely inside the stone building.
Prince Harry and Scarlett made it to the sanctuary of the castle. Once inside Wales issued the orders to close down the main entrance; and get the trainees back to their barracks.
***
From the rear of the castle Alanby faced his next choice. Left would take him down to the mock city street. A quick glance told him that already soldiers were moving back up the pathway. Alanby went right. Bond reached the fork in the path and without hesitation took the right fork as well. Even at full speed Bond noticed the small yellow triangular sign post which read ‘Mine field’

#21 volante

volante

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 09:43 AM

Chapter Twenty One







The last step




Day 6

Bond was spurred on by Alanby’s reaction over the box. He knew without doubt that this was the real deal. Had it been a duplicate or even a bomb, Alanby would have simply taken off without it. Maybe even try to detonate it himself.
But no, he had it tucked under his arm and was fleeing as if the very devil was chasing him. The box was real. Alanby was taking it back for his boss.
Which meant just one thing. Whatever was in the box was their one and only chance at destroying the monarchy. And the box was now in sight. Bond leapt over a fallen branch, the dry leaves swished as he past.
His arms brushed aside more branches that obscured his path, releasing a cascade of pollen and dust swirling in the summer air; nothing would stop him.
Bond got into a fast paced rhythm. The one worrying element was that the timing of their plan meant that Elodie Duoro must have been capable of opening the box during the medal ceremony. Bond reasoned that the code had been breached, the box was unlocked.
Bond surged forward. The realization that Wheatley had already given Hessel the code meant that they had extracted him from the safe house in order to make Bond believe that the code had not been breached. It had been a rouse that had cost him his life.
“No” he said aloud. Then the words formed in his mind. Hessel had extracted Wheatley to stop Bond discovering that Wheatley had given over the code. Alanby was in his sights; he’d not turned around to check if he was being chased, he knew he would be. The man was a professional.
Bond recognised that Wheatley probably never knew he’d given over the code. The drug therapy must have been very through. Wheatley probably believed that he still held the trump card right up until the moment that Bond had shot him.
Bond’s arms pumped and his legs pushed off to keep on the pressure, he was gaining, but only slightly. The sun beat down. The dry earth kicked up from Alanby’s feet, hung in the air.
The signs declaring they were approaching a minefield were un-misable. After all the British army didn’t want to blow up it’s best mine disposable experts; well not until they were in the front line.
Alanby saw the fence. The skull and cross bones were in plain sight, but his pace and direction remained un-wavering. Like a hurdler he jumped the fence. He looked up to orientate himself. Changing his direction, crabbing left like a rugby player dancing around an imaginary opponent. Suddenly he was angling off to the left. He lined himself up with an olive tree. Only then did he look around to see where his pursuer was. Bond leapt over the fence, rolling over upon landing; he came up like a sprinter in the blocks. For a moment they locked eyes.
Alanby suddenly felt a great respect for Bond. The man had just jumped into a minefield; and unlike himself he had no idea of the mine pattern.
The ability to speed read and retain everything was certainly going to pay dividends here in the mine field. He allowed himself the luxury of a smile. Lining himself up with the olive tree he ran ten paces forward and then six to the right.
James Bond watched the eccentric directional changes of Alanby for no more than ten seconds before he knew that Alanby knew where the mines were planted. Bond tried to emulate the exact steps. Keeping both eyes on Alanby meant that Bond had no chance to look for the killer mines. But then again at the speed he was travelling he had no opportunity to scout for mines himself.
Bond knew he had to change the odds. He stopped and took out the Walther PPK. Two deep breaths accompanied his aim. Bond squeezed the trigger. His aim had not been at Alanby himself, but rather two paces to his left. Bond raised his aim and fired again. Alanby continued to run. Bond kept his stance, then executed the same routine again, slightly higher followed by two more shots. The mine exploded. Alanby stopped dead in his tracks. Bond smiled, he had observed Alanby change direction, which, when one knew where the mines were planted meant that where he wasn’t running probably meant the mines were. Bond was convinced that Alanby couldn’t risk losing the box. His quick thinking had slowed down the escape of his prey.
Following the route taken by Alanby James Bond approached his prey.
Adrian Alanby remained as still as a statue as the rock steady gun came closer toward him. The hum of the engine filled the air.
Suddenly Alanby covered his face with his hands. Then from nowhere the stun grenade landed about six feet from Bond’s right foot. The explosion sucked the air from his lungs, the bright light blinded him. Resisting the urge to dive to the ground; which could possibly mean landing on a mine. Bond stood his ground. His ears were still ringing, but a different sound now filtered through. Bond dropped to the floor, in a crouch which meant not touching another inch of the mine field. The noise filled his mind, the wind battered his body; if he hadn’t dropped the second before he would have been blown off balance and forced to make a step to keep his balance.
The helicopter dropped from the sky. Bond risked opening his eyes, his hand shielded his face. The field was a swirling wind around him; the loose stones were being whipped up, sandblasting his body. Through his partial vision Bond saw the Robinson R22 twin-bladed, single-engine light utility helicopter hovering above him. Leaning out from the two-seat R22 was Jurgen Hessel.
The R22 manoeuvred backward, then dropped to just above Alanby. Through the swirling dust cloud Bond saw Alanby reaching up with the box in his outstretched hand. Alanby took the box. In the downdraft another land mine exploded. Clods of earth which had fallen back to the ground had set off the mine. Immediately the helicopter began to rise. Shrapnel speared through the fuselage.
Alanby was buffeted by the blast; the helicopter began to rise. In horror he shouted “Jurgen help me, pick me up”
Hessel held on tight to the door frame; he shook his head, and shouted back down “I can’t risk dropping any further” Sarcastically he waved goodbye
“You know how to get out of the field; I‘ll see you back at base. Don’t be late now” The helicopter banked away. Hessel said one more word before his voice was lost in the wind “Maybe”
Alanby turned in sympathy to the retreating helicopter. He waited in vain with his arms outstretched like a child waiting to be picked up. The Robinson R22 hopped over the olive trees and disappeared from view the trail of the plume of smoke from the engine, said it was a sick machine.
All was quiet.
Bond shook his head, after a moment the buzzing stopped. He drew in another breath and stumbled forward. “That didn’t go to well did it?”
Alanby’s head snapped around, he saw him coming, and orientated himself with the landmarks. Instantly the map came back into his memory. He began to jog forward. Two steps forward. His eyes adjusted as the dust began to settle. Two neat side steps. His foot brushed against a mine. Alanby froze; hastily he looked down, and swallowed hard. Quickly he adjusted his balance ‘That was too close’ He walked forward.
Slowly counting the steps under his breath. He went forward three more normal paced steps before he gave another quick look over his shoulder.
With a sinking realization he recognised Bond was gaining on him “How the…”
Alanby set off again. This time his steps were shorter; his heals didn’t touch the ground. One more step and then he needed to turn 90 degrees to the left. His took the opportunity to turn his head, only to see Bond had gained another couple of yards. He took in a lungful of air. Suddenly the path did not seem so clear, he stumbled forward. “What is it Alanby; short term memory loss?”
Adrian Alanby realized he was lost. He re-orientated himself and set off again, panic now began to spread through his body. Although Alanby was confident that Bond wouldn’t shoot him; the knowledge on how to get out was dissolving around him. He knew he could get out, the gift he had been given would need to serve him one more time. He closed his eyes and took in another lungful of fresh air. The heat of the sun warmed him. As if by magic the plan of the mine field re-formed in his mind’s eye, the gift had returned and the sure footedness of his escape kept him going.
He knew he was Bond’s ticket to the other side of the mine field. But before the smile could set upon his face another doubt set in.
Once he’d made it to the fence; Bond could wound him, and then move in for the kill. Alanby began to shake; there was still over one hundred yards until the other side of the mine field, he needed to concentrate on getting out alive, before he thought about getting out.
Once back in Africa he had wounded a lioness whilst out hunting. He had followed the big cat into the bush to finish it off. Her head would adorn his wall. Somehow in the bush, the animal had doubled back and began to stalk him. It had been the only time he had been afraid in his whole life; until now.
At least Bond would not shoot him now.
The bullet tore into his shoulder; Alanby pirouetted, and fell forward. He scrambled to his knees and then got back to his feet, he stumbled forward. Suddenly all the trees beyond the perimeter fence seamed the same. Alanby looked back again; Bond was only twenty feet away, the gun pointing directly at him.
“Are you crazy? If you kill me you’ll never get out of here alive”
“How do you come to that conclusion Alanby?”
“I’m the only one who knows where the mines are” His voice was triumphant
Bond looked around him; he dropped to the ground and sat cross legged.
“Well, do you know what? It’s a beautiful day think I’ll just sit here until the troops arrive” Bond jerked his thumb over his shoulder.
Alanby glanced over Bond’s shoulder. Two soldiers were sweeping a path for a small group of well-armed British soldiers, who were marching forward.
Alanby panicked. He stumbled backward. He fell. Landing on his hands, the wounded arm gave way and he fell to the ground. Using his good arm to gain purchase he stood up and began to stumble forward. As the foot hit the earth the metallic sheer of the mine sounded loud in his ears.
Alanby looked down to the ground. The mine was armed. He looked up and saw that Bond had got up and was no more than twelve feet away.
“End of the road Mr. Bond, and don’t forget everything ends badly. Well for you it does”
“You’re the one standing on a mine”
“If I wait you’ll kill me, but if I raise my foot the blast will kill you as well. Death or death, not much of an option as you once told me”
“Well at least you’re are getting out more these days”
“Go on shoot me; I’ll fall back and kill you”
“Not if you fall this way. If you fall toward me your body will absorb the blast” Bond shouted. Carefully he aimed the Walther directly at Alanby
“If you shoot me from there I’ll fall backward” Alanby laughed. “Guess this is what they call a Mexican stand-off” Alanby made to step off the mine. He laughed again.
“Oh Mr. Bond who would have thought it would come to this; just the two of us stood in the middle of a mine field”
“Two of us?” Bond inclined his head to the side.
Alanby wagged his finger “Okay I can see the troops are arriving fast; I’m sure they will be able to extract me from this predicament. Then we’ll let the lawyers decide who’s in the right”
The gun never moved Bond inclined his head back toward the troops
“I wasn’t referring to them” Bond looked beyond Alanby
Alanby laughed “Oh Mr. Bond please not that old ‘he’s behind you’ trick”
“A single shot to the base of the spine should suffice” Bond said loudly, he made the comment seem like he was talking to someone behind Alanby.
“You don’t expect me to fall for…” The bullet entered Alanby’s back just above the base of the spine. His body buckled, the force of the shot propelled him forward. As his foot left the mine the contacts met and the mine exploded. The shockwave radiated outward. Alanby’s broken body absorbed the shock wave, and soaked up the shrapnel as it rose spiralling out of the metal mine. Bond fired directly into Alanby’s head, the counter force snapped the man back, and the body dropped to the ground absorbing the full blast. Bond dropped to the ground, the force of the blast washed over him.
Moments later his hearing returned. Bond picked himself up from the ground. Parts of Alanby were scattered on the ground around him. The warm smell of decay was thick in the turbulent air.
Bond looked over to the fence at the far side of the mine field. The soldier stood up from the firing position that he had adopted. He lowered the rifle and raised his hand toward Bond.
James Bond waved back in return “Thank-you…” he looked at the name tag “Wales”
The soldier turned and walked away from the fence.
The soldiers with the mine sweepers arrived. Bond took a mobile phone from one of the soldiers and punched in the number. Quickly the soldiers led Bond to the safety of the fence.
“Hello Bill. We’re looking for a Robinson R22 helicopter. Hessel’s on board, has the box…and it’s open”
“Oh [censored]
James Bond jumped into the back of the Land Rover which was there to drive him back to the castle; it trundled down the track. Bill Tanner returned Bond’s call.
“James we’ve found it”
“Well done, where is he?”
“The helicopter is just a mile down the road. The satellite pictures show it burning”
Bond looked down the hillside; he could clearly see the black smoke rising from beyond the treeline.
“See if the satellite can pick up two men running”
“You don’t think Hessel was picked up from the landing site?”
“I think the chopper crashed, it took shrapnel hits in the mine field”
“Well done James, you were a busy little boy”
“Just find Hessel” Bond threw the phone down.
“Where’s the nearest air field?” Bond asked the staff sergeant
“There’s a tourist field about three miles away sir” The Land Rover pulled up in front of the castle.
Bond looked around “I need to get to where the chopper crashed…and quick”
“Well…” Woodman started to say but Bond had already gone.
James Bond ran to the Aston Martin DB5. The keys hung suggestively in the ignition. Bond turned the keys, and the engine roared into life. Bond gunned the engine, slipping the clutch and spinning the car around, hitting the throttle the Aston took off like a scalded cat, churning up great plumes of dust.
“Well he doesn’t hang about does he” Remarked sergeant Woodman

#22 volante

volante

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 06:13 PM

Chapter Twenty Two

Stolen Property



Day 6

The screen focused on a close-up of the tears as they poured down the beautiful face of Elodie Duoro. She sat on a simple chair in a sparsely furnished interview room. Beyond the double mirror local MI6 agent Georgos Markiou asked the Doctor for the results. The grey haired local police doctor replied.
“The blood sample taken revealed a high percentage of the drug known as ‘Inderal’ or as you know it ‘Rotunza’ in her blood stream”
“Is it worth putting her on a lie detector?”
“No; she has no idea what the truth is?”
“Will it ever come back?”
“She hasn’t lost her memory; she’s had it stolen, and replaced with false memories; she believes what she believes” The Doctor shrugged his shoulders.
“Thank-you doctor” Markiou picked up the telephone.
***
James Bond drifted the DB5 passed the burning wreck of the R22. One quick glance revealed the pilot hanging in his seatbelt. The tyres screamed in protest as the DB5 headed into a corner.
Heading out of the next bend a small Fiat loomed large in Bond’s vision, he flicked the wheel of the Aston, and a collision was neatly avoided. The DB5 tore down the narrow lane to the accompaniment of the Fiat’s horn.
Bond drove single handed; he picked up his mobile and hit the re-dial button.
Bill Tanner’s voice was instantly in his ear.
“Good job James. The satellite has picked up one man running toward the airfield; he’s only about three hundred yards away”
Bond did the calculation, muttering under his breath ‘Three hundred yards for a fit man. Hessel could be at the airfield in maybe ninety seconds. I still have one mile to go. Sixty five seconds at the most until I reach the airfield. Maybe one minute more to locate Hessel’
Bond pushed his foot the floor “Need to change those odds”
“I beg your pardon 007?”
“Sorry Bill I gotta go” He threw down the mobile.
The road opened out. The speedo hit the one hundred mark. Then Bond hit the brakes. The entrance was small, but the Aston rounded the bend and headed into the gap. Bond noted the different road surface through the sounds coming into the car. A large hanger obstructed his view to the right of the airfield. Three small single engine planes were grouped to his left. Bond slowed down to look for Hessel.
But instantly Hessel found him. The Kawasaki Z1000 screamed toward him from the cover provided by the hanger, Hessel low over the handle bars. Leaning over at an impossible angle the bike zoomed past. Bond pulled the hand brake on and spun the DB5. The car span in a dust cloud.
The matt black twin exhausts were the same colour as the frame and the liquid cooled DOHC 16 valve engine. The rest of the machine was corporate Kawasaki green. It was the same machine that had buzzed him on the mountain road in Geneva. Bond engaged first gear and tore after Jurgen Hessel.
The mobile buzzed again, Bond fumbled for the phone.
“Yes Bill?” Bond said in frustration at the interruption. He watched as the Kawasaki began to pull away. The rider moving his body in unison to the movement of the bike.
“Ah James, yes, I just wanted to appraise you of the findings in Limassol. Elodie Duoro has been infected with Rotunza, she believes that Jurgen Hessel is her father, and that she and Prince Harry are brother and sister”
“Cozy” Bond changed the subject “When the next satellite goes over ask them to look for a very fast motorbike”
“Hessel?”
“Of course”
Tanner felt the rebuff, he needed to get back on terms, he cleared his throat
“Anyway James, Miss Duoro confirms she has seen the undisputable evidence of her family connections in a small wooden box which, she was told Daniel Wheatley took from Clarence House”
“Very convenient” Bond held a skid as the Aston Martin drifted out of a tight corner.
“It proves that the box has been opened”
“Not necessarily Bill, we know the Wheatley connection’s not true; but then again if she’s been shown the inside of a box, allowing the false information to be exposed wouldn’t necessitate Alanby and Hessel’s reaction to not exposing the contents to Prince Harry”
“Surely the intention was for Miss Duoro to open the box to actually give Prince Harry the contents”
“Whatever’s in there, Hessel doesn’t want to let it go” The winding road now hid Hessel from Bond’s view. The old Aston leaned over to accommodate another bend. The suspension was not up to the standard of his DBS
Suddenly M’s voice came on the line “Go get it 007”
“I’ll do my best”
“…James; I’ve just had confirmation that Hessel has a private jet and a C130 cargo plane on the tarmac at Limissol” Bill Tanner cut back in
“Any chance we can get someone at the airport to ground him?”
“I’ll do my best”
Bond smiled at the sarcastic response. The DB5 hurtled along the road. James Bond revelled in the heritage of the car; and if he weren’t trying to save the monarchy would actually be enjoying the experience.
***
The Hercules C130 transporter was taxying along the runway, the squat body lending credence to the ‘Fat Albert’ nick name.
Hessel entered the main airport road. The Kawasaki squeezed between a cleaning lorry and the brick wall and sped along the loading bay area. The noise of the engine echoed in the empty recess of the building.
Jurgen Hessel turned out of the ally and zipped along beside a budget airline. Gunning the throttle he quickly accelerated past the porters and cleaning staff. He zipped along the runway and lined the bike up behind the Hercules. The Jet fighters stood to attention at the side of the runway.
“I have arrived” He screamed into his helmet microphone.
In answer to his communication the rear loading tail gate dropped.
Hessel blipped the throttle and the bike reared up in a perfect wheelie. As the front wheel dropped down onto the ramp, Hessel twisted the throttle and the bike shot up the ramp.
James Bond bounced over the grass and slewed the DB5 onto the runway. Fourth gear came with an ear splitting howl as the engine revved. Bond straightened up behind the C130. He saw Hessel climbing off the Kawersaki.
The Hercules was approaching take off speed. The rear load tail gate was still ajar. Jurgen Hessel pulled off his helmet, and waved at Bond as the plane began to rise. Bond slammed on the brakes; the car skidded, spinning out of control. Bond held the skid and then righted the direction, slowing the beast down to a manageable sixty MPH. The Hercules tilted back.
The car came to a halt. Bond got out and watched as the C130 rose into the air. The roar from the engines drowned out all logical thought.
In sheer frustration he slammed his fists down on the roof of the Aston Martin. The wail of the turbo props died away in the distance. The voice behind him made him spin round “You want to fly me again?”
“Sabeen. You’re a real life saver” Bond pointed to the Hercules “Do you think you can catch that plane?”
Her smile told him she could. Together they ran toward the Jet fighter.
Bond whispered to himself as he watched her running just in front of him
“I can understand the attraction of frequent flyer programs now”
***
The Jet screamed down the runway. Take off came with an enormous push to his back, squeezing the spine. Sabeen pushed the throttle forward and the plane jumped into the sky. The acceleration forced Bond back into his seat again. Thankful that he had put on the flight suit the seatbelts threatened to cut off his circulation. My god this girl could fly. Within minutes the F18 had caught up with the C130. Bond’s intercom coughed into life.
“Okay we are with him. What now?”
“Buzz him; force him to land”
The Hercules was still climbing. Sabeen kept the Falcon behind and below the wake of the turbo props.
“Whoo, this is going to be fun” the Falcon accelerated. Immediately the warning buzzer sounded.
“What’s that? Asked Bond
“Bad news Commander, my plane was not attended to as I was promised.
I only have a little fuel; I will not be able to follow the Hercules for more than ten minutes. If we try any fancy moves, our engagement time could be as little as three. It is impossible to buzz him”
Bond thought about the alternatives. Once the impossible was eliminated the rest, no matter how improbable was the solution
“I have to get on that plane”
“We’re flying at “20,000ft the C130 is another 7,000 above us”
“I still have to try”
“How?”
“The ejector seat”
The ejection seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. In most designs, the seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it. An escape crew capsule allows pilots to escape from their craft while it is subjected to extreme conditions such as high speed or altitude...

...Once clear of the aircraft, the ejection seat deploys a parachute. If it were possible for Sabeen to turn around she would. Her high pitched reply hurt Bond’s ears more than the roar of the jet engine.
“That’s crazy; you would rocket straight into the underneath of the plane”
“I could go in through the tail gate; if I could reach it at the top of my arc”
“At this speed and height the assent would kill you, let alone understand who is going to open the tail gate”
“No, six pilots have ejected at speeds exceeding 700 knots. The highest altitude at which a Martin-Baker seat was deployed was 57,000 ft from an English Electric Canberra bomber in 1958. If my memory serves me correctly, following an accident in July 1966 two crew members ejected at Mach 3 at an altitude of 90,000 feet”
“It was Mach 3.25 and an altitude of 80000 ft actually”
“I stand corrected”
“The pilot was actually recovered successfully, however the observer drowned, and you haven’t answered the question about who opens the tail gate?”
"It's all about the drag" Bond knew he would have to lose the parachute.
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...
Sabeen spoke calmly "The English Electric Canberra was a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 ft in 1957. Ejecting from here is a totally different effect"

"Really?"
"Yes, I'm sure you would die trying to eject from the Falcon"


A full minute passed in silence. Then Sabeen asked…
“How would you know the height we would need to be in order to reach the top of the arc at the precise moment that the plane flew over you?”
Bond accessed the radio; he punched in the emergency frequency. The ever-present Bill Tanner answered “Yes”
“Get Q will you Bill” Another minute went by as Bond tried to work out the complicated formula.
“Really 007 this is highly irregular” The bird like twittering’s filtered through
“Q I need you to work out a little sum for me”
“Why, are you cheating at some kind of pub quiz, 007?”
Bond ignored the quip “I also need to know how you can access the controls of a plane…”
“…You get into the cockpit” Q interrupted
“Q I don’t have time for your jokes”
“I never joke about my work 007. But you need to give me precise information to allow me to assist you. Carry on”
“How do we access a plane’s electronics, remotely? I want to open the tail gate on a C130. At 27,000 ft”
“007 What exactly is it that you want me to do?”
“Open the tail gate, so I can eject directly into the hold from a plane flying below”
Tanner made a noise akin to a wounded elephant. Q rose to the challenge, he puffed out his chest. The smile went from ear to ear.
“How long do I have to find the formula?”
“About 4 minutes”
The smile vanished “I was thinking days 007”
“Think again Q. I’m in an F18, and time is running out”
Back in London Q turned to Bill Tanner, the colour had drained from his face
“Do you know the actual position of this aeroplane?”
Tanner could only nod in reply, his finger pointed to the radar screen.
“How long ‘till the next satellite is in position?”
“No Q I can’t allow you to even think about doing this”
Q reached out his frail looking thin hand and held Tanner’s forearm
“Bill, in about three minutes 007 is going to eject from the cockpit of an F18. He will attempt to land in the cargo hold of a C130” Q checked the screen
“At about 120ft above him. His speed will be about 1,400 mph, so I need every second to calculate just how far in front of the plane they need to be to execute the manoeuvre” The two men looked at each other. Q continued.
“Accessing the controls will have to be done via the satellite. Doing that at precisely the right moment will take up most of the remaining time so please Bill; I’d like to know when I will have a satellite connection”
Tanner accessed his screen “1 minute 12 seconds”
“Okay. And I thought I would have about two days at Bletchley” Q’s fingers danced over the keyboard. Tanner and Bond waited for a response
“Good news 007, I have access to the plane’s controls” Q came over the radio “Now you need to climb to 26,800ft. Position yourself directly under the front wheel landing gear…” The communication was interrupted by a high pitch alarm, squealing like a stuck pig.
“I’m at the limit of my travel” Sabeen cut in over the communicator. Back in London Q and Bill Tanner saw that the F18 had begun to climb.
“Gutsy pilot, 007 has got there!” Q turned to Tanner, he’d have expected the F18 to have dropped away.
“Stay with it Sabeen. Open the tail gate Q” Bond activated the countdown.
“007 I really can’t emphasize how dangerous this is”
“Then don’t. Open the tailgate now Q” 30 seconds to launch.
“The figures were just a rough calculus; I need more time to verify them”
“Don’t have the time Q, what speed do we need to hit”
“Increase by 10 knots” Q squeezed his pencil between his fists.
The deviated air flow punched at the Hornet as it rode the wind beneath the Hercules. 20 seconds to launch.
The canopy popped open. At 300 mph the wind buffeted the open cockpit. The nose of the Hornet dipped. The plane began to slow. Without its streamline canopy in place the plane became difficult to handle. Sabeen hit the throttle. The jet bucked under her like a bronco.
Q pressed the enter key “I do hope this works” 10 seconds to launch. The light on Q’s panel remained red. The tail gate was not opening.
“Oh dear” Q’s fingers danced over the keyboard again. He stabbed at the enter key again. The light remained red. 5 seconds to launch. Q stared at the screen, willing it to turn green.
“Do something Q” Tanner demanded.
“I’ve tried everything, all I can do now is try repeating the process” Q went back over the routine to override the plane’s controls. 3 seconds.
“Shan’t be a tick 007, I just need another 5 seconds”
2. 1. Bond pulled the chord, and ejector seat burst from the cockpit. The air tore at his skin as he rocketed upward at 1,400 mph. His body was being forced down at a rate of 3g as he soared upward. It seemed that, every molecule was pushing down on Bond’s skin. The weight of the seat cut into his shoulders. 0.65 seconds after the seat had left the plane the separator system fired the charges to release the lap belt, separating Bond from the seat. Another two seconds and his chute would deploy. Normally a pilot would want to keep the life-saving chute close to him; but not on this occasion.
Q and Tanner both shouted at the same time “Jesus Christ; he’s launched”
James Bond hit the release clip on his parachute belt. Nothing happened. The sound of the C130 filled his ears; the thought of it smashing into him at 300 mph filled his mind. Bond smashed his fist against the release clip. The belt split. The seat detached and so did the main parachute. The loss of the weight propelled him higher. The air pushed him down. Behind him the chute deployed, tumbling in the turbulent air. The Hercules passed over his head. With the bulk of the plane giving him a reference, he realized he was still rising.
Still ejecting; He pressed his arms into his sides and rose like a rocket. The seat and the chute were tossed like matchwood behind the plane.
The bulk of the C130 passed over him, like a giant black cloud. The tail gate was still lowering. There would be only one chance. And this was it.
Bond reached out. The world stopped turning for just a moment. The tailgate continued to drop.
Bond rocketed into the gap.
The tail gate began to close. Bond smashed into the floor. He bounced off the tail gate. The dynamics of physics seemed to desert him, as he seemed to hang in the air, and was propelled backward toward the gaping hole. The whole timeframe seemed to stop, all that he could see was that he was about to fall out of the back of the plane. Bond willed himself to drop; but the gap was getting closer. Then he fell down. The tail gate continued to close. Bond fell against the comforting steel, his fingers dug into the floor. Painfully he dragged himself forward. Fortunately the secondary chute had cushioned his fall.
“Not too bad” His body tilted forward and he slid into the body of the cargo hold. With a satisfying clunk the tail gate locked closed.
“Not too bad at all”
Bond stood up. In front of him stood the Kawaski Z100; firmly strapped in position. Behind it sat the blood red Ferrari Daytona. Bond walked past the beautiful machines without a second glance. His whole focus was on heading toward the passenger compartment as quickly as possible.

#23 volante

volante

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:06 AM

Chapter Twenty Three

Rude awakenings



Day 6

The gentle hum of the aircraft held him in a light sleep; the motion swayed him like a mother with her child… from somewhere deep within his sub conscious Jurgen Hessel became aware of another presence within the luxury cabin.
Instantly awake he jumped to his feet, and began a reactive lunge for the box. His reaction time was still superb even though he’d been away from competitive driving for over twenty years. The muscle memory kicked in, allowing his arms to react at lightning speed. His strength, during the racing period of his life was his unnerving reliability on his instinct; it was that instinct which forced him forward toward the box.
Hessel had always had the gut feel that allowed him to go for the gap and into a corner that other racing drivers would not dare to attempt.
But this time his instinct was wrong, his eyes deceived him. In lurid slow motion he hesitated in his lunge and pulled up short. He shook his head to clear the nightmare vision before him.
Refocusing on the impossible vision before him, he could not believe what he was seeing. He blinked but the apparition was still there. Hessels’ mouth opened, but no sound was emitted.

Standing before him was James Bond.

“Sorry to disturb you, but I thought I’d drop in to relieve you of this” James Bond held up the mahogany box. Bond looked around the cabin. Decorated in classic art deco style, it was very well insulated, cutting out most of the turbo prop noise. The walls were adorned with paintings of the period. Some of racing cars crossing the finishing line, some of vintage, and classic sports cars.
Most of which Hessel now owned.

“Nice place” Bond commented

“How on earth did you…?” Hessel pointed at Bond. He had of course seen him on the runway as the C130 took off.
Bond put his finger to his lips. But the shock was too great for Hessel to comprehend. He babbled on without any fear of the consequences.

“Last time I saw you; you were on the runway. I know I saw you in the middle of a mine field…I take it Mr. Alanby didn’t make it out of there?”

“Don’t concern yourself with that. Just be certain that your little dream is over”

“Well this is a very rude awakening that I have had. Still it gives me the opportunity to finish what I started in Geneva. Now I have somewhere much higher to throw you from” Hessel moved forward. Bond lifted his other hand, and aimed the gun at Hessel’s head.

“I’ve had my fill of free fall today. Let’s just sit down and talk until this plane touches down” Bond pointed his Walther PPK toward the chair. He gestured for Hessel to sit back down again. “By the way, where are we heading?”

“Libya” Hessel returned to his seat. As he took the seat opposite he smiled carefully at Bond.
007 looked cumbersome in his flight suit.

“Flight suit” Hessel remarked, trying desperately to understand how Bond had made it on board. He looked at Bond in awe. The box remained on his knee.

“Go on open it. You know you want to” His composure was coming back quickly. Hessel had the capacity to hold his imagination in check; how Bond got on the plane would be something he could find out later.

“I don’t need to see what’s inside. The fact that you’ve got it here, means it’s the real deal”

“Oh it’s real alright. What it contains is also real. Go ahead read it. You’ll be baying for the blood of the Royal Family before you put it down”

“I never could bring myself to read on a long journey”

“It doesn’t matter, when you take it to the palace and they see that the code is broken, they will not be able to take the risk that you did not see or know the contents of the box. They’ll cut you down like a dog” Hessel began to laugh.

“I am interested to know how you think the information contained within this box will permeate into the downfall of the Monarchy” Bond refused to rise to Hessel’s comment.

“What did Elodie Duoro tell you was in the box?” Hessel countered…

“She’s told us it contains information proving that’s she’s Prince Harry’s sister…”
Hessel began to chuckle to himself.

“…and that you’re their father” Bond smiled at the ludicrous claim.
Hessel laughed and raised his hands “Guilty as charged… Of course she believes it to be true. She’s read it” he tapped his finger against his temple
“She remembers things about her childhood; she remembers reading things, and remembers meeting people. Royal people that is”

“We both know it’s simply not true. So what’s really in the box Hessel?”

“Open it Mr. Bond, find out for yourself” Hessel gestured with his hands. Bond remained motionless. The wry smile on his face was testimony that he had the upper hand over his host. Bond just needed some quiet time to work out the solution to the problem.

“Can I offer an opinion?” Bond’s tone was even.

“Of course”

“The information that can destroy the monarchy couldn’t be anything that Alanby could trust to be left with Elodie Duoro. You couldn’t chance any of the bodyguards reading it before Prince Harry got to see it…and as you’re very keen to get me to open the box. I’d say it’s nothing more than a bomb”

Hessel clapped his hands “You are so close Mr. Bond. I congratulate you”

Bond picked up the box. His thoughts spilled out…
“Prince Harry knows how to open the real box, doesn’t he? Your plan was that when Elodie opened your box, somehow you’d trick him into giving over the code” Bond stood up and paced the room. His mind was racing now…
If the idea was to see Harry open the real box, then the bomb was nothing which would kill him. Bond took the decision; he marched over to Hessel, and pulled the lid back.
Hessel made no move away from the box. It opened.

“Just as I thought” Bond looked inside the box. The service medal sat on a purple silk cushion. “Your girl was going to pin this on the Prince wasn’t she?”

Hessel nodded in agreement. Now the box was open he knew that Bond would soon figure out the entire plan. Carefully Bond pulled out the medal. The pin on the back resembled a hypodermic needle.
“The medal would have been used to inject the Prince with the Rotunza drug”

“Figured it out yet?” Hessel nodded in encouragement

“The memory altering drug is specifically designed for the individual”
Hessel shook his head, as if disappointed in the solution reached

“Took you long enough. As Doctor Katrina says ‘You can’t just wipe someone’s memory’. The drug doesn’t know what someone thinks is a bad memory. We’re all different. My doctors have to tailor it to the individual’s DNA. Supposing the family pet turned around and bit you after ten years of devotion; and you wanted that memory erasing, fine, but if we gave that to someone who’d never owned a dog. The memory couldn’t cope with erasing something that it didn’t know. Picture it like a jigsaw piece. The piece we lift has to be replaced with a memory of the same shape. When you want to mould multiple personalities, it becomes all the more difficult” His tone became harder his speech became a rant. “I don’t deal in some cheap music hall hypnotism act. My scientists are all artists; even the child prodigies”

“So why did it have to be Elodie that administered the drug?”

“She was just doing what she was told”

“Although she had no idea what she was doing; you were confident that the Prince would react favourably once the drug was administered. He’d even believe she was his sister” Bond smiled at the simplicity of the plan. He clicked his fingers “Then she would get him to reveal the code to open the real box”
Hessel shrugged trying to convey his innocence.

“You haven’t been able open the real box yet have you? Wheatley didn’t reveal the code to you did he?” Bond was happy at the revelation, he inclined his head and allowed the smile to cross his face
“Drug didn’t work on him?”

Hessel simply shrugged as way of a reply. Bond lifted the box.
“This is just a replica isn’t it? Just a simple vessel to get the drug into his system. So tell me where’s the original box?”
The same shrug now signified ‘search me’ Bond looked around the cabin.
As they were on-board an aeroplane there would be no wall safe hidden behind the paintings. Bond began to wander the cabin.

“You’d want to keep it close… You came to this plane instead of your private jet. This is slower, but it’s the one you needed to be on because the box is here” Bond looked about the cabin. The cars in the paintings looked back at him.
Hessel gave him a look of encouragement. The paintings depicting his race wins. The paintings of his beloved sports cars.

“The Ferrari Daytona” Bond waved the pistol, indicating Hessel should move. Hessel clapped his hands, and then made an elaborate move to get up. In a flash he pressed a button on the arm of his seat.

“Bravo Mr. Bond very Sherlock Holmes” The door opened “So please tell me how you will work out this next problem…”

As if on cue, two people entered the room. A thick set man; dressed in a white tee shirt which barely concealed his muscles. In his right hand he held a Glock pistol. His left hand guided Juliet Guggler in front of him.
Bond switched the aim of the gun toward the man. Hessel laughed out loud.
“How easily the balance of power changes Mr. Bond” He clapped his hands together in sheer delight.

Bond squeezed the trigger; the bullet passed by Juliet’s cheek and slammed into the man’s head. It buried itself in his skull as he collapsed to the floor.
Seamlessly Bond switched his aim back to Hessel “Yes considerably”

Hessel looked from his fallen bodyguard back to James Bond. His hands began to raise in the international symbol of surrender.

Juliet picked up the Glock and ran to Bond’s side, she kissed his cheek.
“You shouldn’t have left me alone in Limassol” She nestled into his arm.
Bond smiled but kept his eye firmly on Hessel. Her ‘Dior’ perfume filled his senses. “In hind sight it probably was a mistake I agree, but…”

Juliet lifted the Glock, so that it nestled just behind his ear. It was cold.
“Definitely a mistake to leave me alone I’d say Mr. Bond” She whispered.

From their raised position Hessel waved his hands in a gesture for Bond to lower his gun. Juliet’s tone hardened, her stance fixed.
“Jurgen has explained to me all about your plan to kill Prince Harry”
Bond knew it was useless to try to convince her otherwise, the fight to win back her mind would have to be be fought another time. He lowered his gun.

“Um. Bit of a tell tail isn’t he” Bond tossed the gun on to the chair. Hessel raised his shoulders and opened his hands “Sorry James I just couldn’t help it. She prized the information out of me. Very persuasive she is too” He blew her a kiss “However, now she knows the truth she’ll remember it forever…even after she’s forgotten about killing you”

#24 volante

volante

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:50 PM

Chapter Twenty Four

Slow Death


Day 6

“Come Juliet. Time for Mr. Bond to leave us” The trio left the cabin.
The temperature dropped and the noise of the turbo props assaulted them as they passed into the cargo hold. As they passed by the Ferrari Bond stopped.
He looked appealingly at Hessel
“Let me see the real box…Please”
Hessel looked up at him. His slight build and small physical height had meant that all through his life he’d had to look up to people. But at this moment in time he felt very superior to the bigger man. He looked out of the corner of his eye at Juliet
“If he moves kill him”
Hessel lent into the small tight cabin of the beautiful car, the smell of well cleaned leather was always pleasing. From his position he said…
“Very perceptive of you Mr. Bond” Hessel picked up the box from the passenger foot well, and wiggled it in his hand.

As he began to climb out, Bond turned and grabbed the gun, twisting it in Juliet’s small hand. Simultaneously he kicked out at the car door, smashing it into Hessel.

Pulling Juliet forward, Bond lent into the cabin of the Ferrai and snatched the box. Hessel's grip prolonged the action. Juliet wrestled her hand from Bond’s single handed grip, as her hand came away the gun fired.

The bullet smashed through the fuselage with a screaming exit. In return the wind whistled through the hole deforming the metalwork around it. Instantly the noise became deafening.
Bond twisted the gun in her hand taking it from her.
“Naughty girl” he hissed.
The look of hatred passed over her wax like face. As if to bring her out of the trance Bond slapped her across the cheek. She fell back against the bulkhead, unconscious.

“You’ll thank me for that, one day” Bond, bent into the Ferrari cockpit and manhandled the struggling Hessel. Bond pulled him into a sitting position then smashed his fist into Hessel’s jaw.
Then he depressed the hand brake button and released the brake.

Bond slammed the car door closed. He strolled over to the tail gate controls. Pressing the switch the tail gate began to open. Bond un-hitched the straps holding the Kawaski. He pushed the motorbike over the tail gate and thrust it from the back of the plane. The wind tore at his body, his flight suit flapped in the wind. Keeping one eye on the unconscious Juliet, Bond walked back to the rear of the Ferrari Daytona. He put his shoulder to the rear of the car and began to push.
Slowly the Ferrari began to roll forward. The car hit the tail gate.

Bond pushed like he was directing a rugby scrum. Inside the car Hessel woke up, his jaw hurt like hell. He straightened his body and looked out of the windscreen. The majesty of the situation hit him. His head snapped around, Bond was digging in to the floor and pushing for all he was worth.

As the front wheels dropped over the edge the car body scrapped along the floor. The exertion became immense. Bond strained with the effort.
“Bond please; no. Have you no idea how much this car is worth?” He fumbled to open the door.
Suddenly gravity took over and the car tipped. Bond let go, the Ferrari slid over the lip and fell into the sky.
“Sadly yes” Bond fought to regain his balance, he watched the Ferrari tumble through the air.
Slowly he turned away from the tailgate.

Standing in front of him was Juliet, in one hand she held the box in the a gun.

The Ferrari gently turned in a flat spin. Hessel sat rigidly behind the wheel. The sky span in front of him, his eyes were wide open. From his mouth emitted a mournful wail. Hessel grabbed the wheel, and slammed his foot onto the brake pedal, all to no avail.
As the nose of the Ferrari began to drop he rose out of the seat; his head hit the roof. The realization that he was going to die was all consuming; as the car gained speed his death became slower, and more agonising. His mind burned, hurting him more than any flames could ever do.

***

Back on the plane, Juliet held Bond at bay with the gun, the wind whipped around them. Bond swayed in rhythm to the motion of the plane.

“Time to make a decision Mr. Bond; is this the real box or not. Whatever you choose it’s time to say goodbye” Without hesitation Juliet threw the box out of the tail gate. Bond watched the box float into the distance. Without hesitation he dived out after it.

The wind tore at his body. Bond put his arms by his side and shot after the box. Within moments the C130 was just a distant hum. The air rushed passed. Bond soared out into the wild blue yonder. From his pocket he pulled out a pair of flight goggles. As the wind tore at his arms he fitted the goggles over his eyes. For a moment he lost sight of the box, as it tumbled end over end. Then he fixed his stare to the small black falling object. From the corner of his eye, far below him the red Ferrari tumbled, dropping like a discarded toy, giving Bond the satisfaction that Jugen Hessel was suffering a very slow death indeed.

James Bond focused on the box. As he was getting closer he spread out his arms to change his approach attitude, the flight suit took in the wind and flattened out, and it billowed behind him like a giant sail. Agonisingly close Bond continued to fall, but the box remained tantalisingly out of his grasp.

Slowly he approached the box. He reached out his hand and grasped it. Each of his fingers felt frozen. He found it hard to close his fingers around the freezing cold box. It tumbled and bobbed in front of him. His hand slapped at the box.
Bond forced his hand to close, his hand caught hold. Then he bent at the elbow and began to pull it to his chest. As he did so he started to rotate.
Bond thrust out his other arm, his hand caught the box which he now held in both hands placing it under his chin; his elbows formed the small wings he needed to stabilise. He fixed his body to the horizon and took stock of the predicament he found himself in.
The earth was beginning to become recognisable. Bond ran his hands down his body. Agonisingly slowly his fingers found the emergency chute handle. Below he could make out the dark blue of the ocean, and the brown of the sandy earth. Now was the moment he knew he needed to keep hold of the box, soon the chute would open and the box could be torn from his grasp and lost forever. He clamped one arm around the box and pulled the handle. The chute opened. The straps from his flight suit tore at his body as the wind filled his chute. His body turned, spinning wildly. As his speed diminished he blacked out. His feet dropped and his eyes opened; quickly he established he still had hold of the box, then with relief flooding through his body James Bond suddenly realised he was descending in a classic parachute fall. Only now did he think about the landing.

Given the destination of the C130 Bond recognised the coastal landscape as north-eastern Libya. Controlling his decent with just one hand allowed him a lazy spinning view of the Gulf of Sidra. Two massive white blots dominated the sandy brown landscape. Within moments Bond had identified Libya’s second largest city. The smell of the salt water processing factory on the coast began to fill the very air he was descending into. Buildings began to take shape beneath him. Bond pulled on the directional cords. Slowly altering his drop attitude, the spin stopped and as he dropped through a cloud that felt like a refreshing summer shower the massive Fresh water desalinization plant at Benghazi appeared beneath his feet.

Bond stuffed the box into his flight suit; then took out his mobile phone. His frozen fingers punched the speed dial. The voice from the other end was as welcome as a brandy, and as reliable as the St Bernard that carried it.
“Bill Tanner”
“Hello Bill can you arrange some transport for me?” The wind tore at his voice.
“Sure, where are you, I can hardly hear you?” Tanner answered, his mood was light.
“About 25 miles west of Benghazi airport, Libya. Get someone to pick me up from the desalinization plant in say three minutes”
“James, have you forgotten there’s a revolution going on there?”
“Are we winning?”
“Well yes…but”
Bond tried to bank into the coast, but a sudden burst of wind took him out over the gulf. The sea quickly came up to meet him
“Better get them to bring a towel”
Tanner was silent for a moment. “Any news on Hessel?” He asked expectedly
“Yes, he was involved in a car crash, drove his Ferrari off an aeroplane”
Tanner shook his head and spoke to himself
“Sometime I know exactly what Q means about you 007” Tanner took a deep breath and spoke to Bond again
“Is Hessel still alive?”
“No he’s very dead”
“Do you have the box?”
“Yes” The winds dropped, Bond drifted the parachute inland. Beneath him the waves broke gently against the shore. Bond could hear the swish of the water soaking the sand.
Moments passed. Bond watched the coastline coming up to meet him.
“James, you’ll be picked up by our agent at the main gate of the plant. He’ll be there in about one minute”
“Yes I can see him. Got to go”

***

Better known as Flight BA0154 the British airways Cairo to Heathrow Boeing 777 levelled out at its flying altitude. First class on this plane was a wonderful place to be for anyone, let alone a man who had just been ejected from a jet fighter into the hold of a C130 Hercules transporter. And had made a parachute jump from 27,000ft. And then had been ferried into Cairo in a Lynx Helicopter.

James Bond decided he would not make use of the distinctive lighting system, designed to recreate the subtlety of natural light throughout the day to help him feel at home should he want to work on board. No, Bond decided he would make use of the fully flat-bed; and sleep. As soon as his head hit the crisp white 400–thread Egyptian cotton pillow he drifted off to sleep, pulling up the white duvet around his neck, it smelt clean. He felt in more comfortable and blissfully more relaxed than at any time over the past five days, maybe even than ever.

***

Four and a half hours later Bond woke up feeling refreshed. He washed and pampered himself from the range of well–being products from D.R. Harris & Co., one of London’s longest established traditional pharmacies. He stopped short of using the after-shave balm.
He held the bottle up in front of him. Bond read the label on the slim green glass bottle
‘Only uses the finest natural ingredients’ instantly he thought about Juliet, she would have approved.

She would be in Tripoli by now. Bond knew the government would give her up. A very delicate course of action would be needed to extract her from Gaddafi’s stronghold; and, if succesful, there would be the process of reversing the drugs Hessel had used upon her.

Bond looked at the bottle again, and thought about the things she held dear in life. Her passion for the natural things in life inspired him…he looked at the bottle again ‘Only uses the finest natural ingredients’ and then he upended it into his palm…
“I should think so too” Bond slapped on the balm.

#25 volante

volante

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 04:28 PM

Chapter Twenty Five

Prodigal son


Day 7

James Bond was a mere passenger.
The London landscape passed by his window but he saw nothing. He should have had a thousand things running through his mind. Beginning with the question of whether Wheatley had given up the code knowingly or not to Hessel; to the massive future problem of convincing M that they needed to extract Juliet from Libya.
This problem had been a recurring nightmare from the moment he’d jumped from the Hercules. It’s horror had intensified when Bond had been met at Heathrow by MI6 and MI5 agents, without menace they had told him he was to be taken into London for “Re-evaluation”
But for the time being, on the morning’s drive from Heathrow to Vauxhall Cross James Bond’s mind was filled with one immediate thought, just one all-consuming name.
Moneypenny.
Since his undercover antics at the end of Operation Domino; he’d been thinking about her a lot.

***

The scale and design of the building is perhaps a little surprising for a government department that has traditionally operated under such a tight veil of secrecy. While it can trace its roots back to 1909 as the Secret Service Bureau, MI6 was only officially recognised in 1994, although it should be noted that it is now officially called the Secret Intelligent Service (SIS).
The elevator doors opened, two of the four MI6 agents accompanying 007 to ‘re-evaluation’ held the doors open allowing James Bond to walk out on to the pale blue carpet of the eighth floor. The air conditioning unit hummed gently.
Bond walked in the centre of the five man diamond past the famous glass case containing a misshapen RPG 22 shell. He smiled at the morbid memorabilia. The small brass plate at the base conveyed the legend. ‘In the year 2000, the unthinkable happened. The eighth floor of this building was hit with an RPG 22 anti-tank missile. Damage was superficial. Responsibility was attributed to an Irish Republican group. Know your enemy’
Bond looked at the men guarding him “Know your enemy; how apt”

The lead agent smiled back at him “If you wanted a friend you should have bought a dog” He beckoned Bond to follow him.

“Since the moment Bill Tanner told us you were alive I’ve dreaded this moment” The words chilled him. The four agents seemed to melt away…
James Bond turned around to see Miss Moneypenny standing behind him. Her eyes were narrow and her cheeks were carved in ice.
Bond smiled at her. Her hand came up; the palm formed a barrier between them “Every day this past week I’ve thought about slapping you”
“Um, I could say the same…”
“…Don’t even go there James…you can’t come back here from the dead and act as if nothing’s changed”
“It hasn’t for me?” Bond glanced at the agents at his side.
Moneypenny stepped forward her angry expression was unmistakable…
“Well it has for me” She pointed to the other members of staff in the office
“…and it has for all these too. Did you really think we’d be able to forgive you for what you put us through? Don’t you have any feelings?”
“Yes, I have feelings…”
“…No, no you don’t or if you do they’re only feelings for yourself you have none for anyone else” She realized she was screaming. The words were hot on her lips scalding her mouth as she spat them at him.

The door opened; Bill Tanner came rushing out into the area.
“You two are summoned. Now” He pointed to Bond and Moneypenny. The guards grouped around Bond. “You four stay here”, then he turned on his heel and disappeared back into the office.
Moneypenny turned and followed him. Bond nodded to the girls on the desks; they busied themselves on their keyboards…
“Ladies” and followed them into M’s outer office. The girls returned to their work without a word. The four agents formed a semi-circle around the door.
The office smelt of old wood polish. Moneypenny had already turned ready and was waiting for another conflict, one final assault before M got his hands on his double 0 agent. Bond strode over to her; they squared up like boxers before a bout. Tanner stood between them, like the referee.
“You think there was any other way?” Bond enquired.
“I don’t think you know any other-way. It’s your way or no way. You really expected me to welcome you back like the prodigal son didn’t you?”
“You know nothing of my way” His eyes narrowed.
“That’s your trouble James; you don’t let anyone near you”
“I can’t afford to”
“Why. Do you think you’re stronger alone?” her fists were bunched at her sides. A single tear drop ran down her cheek.
“I think you are” The words escaped from his mouth, for just a moment he thought she might understand why a relationship could never blossom between them. But the anger flushed through her face.
“You don’t even know me James” Her voice was shrill
“You’ve not given me the chance” The olive branch was extended.
“And I never will” Moneypenny stormed out of the office.
Bill Tanner watched her go. He turned to Bond and smiled weakly.
“Don’t worry she’ll come ‘round”
“I thought it went rather well” Bond went toward the inner door to M’s office.
“You think that went well. Maybe you got a knock on the head jumping out of that Hercules?” Tanner followed him.
Bond paused; he held the door handle but turned back toward Tanner.
“If someone that doesn’t even like me gets that emotional when I have to leave for a mission and then feels that their World has collapsed when I don’t come home; the last thing I’d want to do to a woman is have her love me” Bond turned the handle and entered M’s office.
“No chance of that” Bill Tanner followed him in, understanding a little more of the turmoil that surrounded his friend’s life

***

M looked up from the dark mahogany box that sat on his desk. He sat back.
“I’ve read your report, 007” M waved his hand signifying that Bond and Tanner should sit. He waited until both men had complied. At the back of the office another man sat in a winged leather chair. Silently he watched the exchange. M glanced at him, and then launched into his attack.
“I’m surprised that despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary you have made the recommendation that the items removed from Clarence house be regarded as accessed”
“Because of the overwhelming evidence”
“What?” M removed his glasses. ‘Why does he always contradict me? And why do it in such a tone?’ M thought that Bond’s tone always bordered on arrogance and insolence. He glanced at the man in the chair again. The small man returned his glance, but said nothing. Bond continued…
“I made my recommendation because of the overwhelming evidence”
“007 do I have to remind you that they went back for Wheatley. You see they still needed him to open the box” M lent forward, his hands framed the box.
“With all due respect Sir; Klivex have the technology and ability to manufacture a drug which can wipe events and even a particular event from a person’s memory…”
“…Hypnosis can render the same result 007” M interjected
“Under Hessel’s direction Klivex have developed a drug which can induce a false memory and attach itself to the original memory of an individual. The level of complexity that that requires would suggest that Wheatley could have divulged the information to Hessel; and never even known about it. In the case of Elodie Duoro they fabricated her whole childhood. A four minute conversation with Wheatley would have been a walk in the park”
“Listen 007, these people attempted to bring a chemical device into Britain. Wheatley was their pilot. The bomb could have been detonated at any time, killing him; but they didn’t. Why? …Wheatley was the only factor that stopped them from exploding that plane in the air. Hessel needed him. Hessel sold Gaddafi a drug delivery system which the Libyans intended to use on their own people to quell a revolution. It’s as simple as that Hessel doesn’t deal in diversions. Hessel doesn’t care about individuals. They fed this Rotunza drug to Edward Blake knowing it would feed on his paranoia, knowing it would drive him mad, knowing it would drive him to suicide. Trust me 007 if Hessel didn’t need to go back for Wheatley he wouldn’t have”
Bond thought that the recount of his experience with Mr. Adonis may only strengthen M’s perception that Hessel had no respect for the individual.
Bond needed to be succinct to get his point over…
“Hessel wanted us to believe that he still needed Wheatley”
“Why? If he already had the information why the subterfuge?” The small man spoke for the first time, his voice was prickly, like the Desperate Dan goatee beard he wore. Bond slowly turned his head to look at the man. Tweed suit; small intensive eyes, snuggled under a furrowed brow.
“To make us believe that the attack on Prince Harry was his last ditch attempt to find a way to open the box”
“And that failed” The man’s demeanour was not one of a minister; Bond reasoned this would be the doctor that would be re-evaluating his status, after being alone with a man who administered mind altering drugs.
Bond nodded “Yes it failed…” he let the comment hang “…Yet Alanby choose to run away with the drug rather than let it fall into our hands”
“I understand he died” The doctor pursed his lips, waiting for Bond to respond. Looking for how Bond recounted the memory of Alanby’s death. Knowing that Bond had hunted him down in a mine field. Knowing that Bond had watched him die. Knowing that Alanby had been blown to pieces, right in front of him. Bond wondered about how his reaction would be analysed.
“Yes he died. Hessel gave him up. Then Hessel ran for his life. If I hadn’t stopped him he would have high tailed it back to Tripoli”
“Well done 007” M nodded toward the doctor. Quickly he made a note on his pad. The doctor sank back into the chair. The intense eyes glazed over.
“I’m sure we have a unit of SAS in Lbyia to dispose of the threat of the Rotunza drug being used in Benghazi?” Bond added. He wanted to win back M’s attention. The head of MI6 looked up.
“Yes; friends of yours I believe” M confirmed. Bond was about to continue, but M held up his hand to stop him. He slammed the cover closed on the note book.
“The effects of the drug have worn off Noel Baines. Walker will have smoothed everything over in Parliament. Case closed I believe”
“I don’t think so” Bond’s voice cut through the atmosphere.
The tell-tale lines of stress around M’s mouth showed the World that the conversation was over.
Bill Tanner began to get up from the chair. James Bond took a deep breath…Tanner sat back down.
The Doctor with the rough goatee beard had read Bond’s file a number of times. He’d especially liked the hand written notes which previous MI6 heads, Charles Burrows and Barbara Mawdsley had penned against various exploits. Sir John himself knew that to discount Bond’s gut feel was a sure recipe for disaster.
His tone softened, he glanced at the doctor but looked directly at Bond
“Go on 007, impress me”
“Hessel wanted us to believe that he hadn’t opened the box. Wanted us to believe that the drug he intended to administer to Prince Harry would have only given Hessel the ability for him to open the box. But if we believe that he had already had sight of the contents; then the attack on Prince Harry was for a different reason”
“Go on 007” M remained still. The doctor sat forward; his eyes brightening.
“The designer drug would have been prepared specifically to replace a certain memory and infect the brain with a specific false memory. The Palace have made it very clear that anyone who knows the information contained in the box has to be eliminated”
It was the doctor that made the connection “You believe there would have been some kind of instruction to eliminate Prince Harry?”
“I do yes”
“That instruction came from the Palace; what you’re suggesting is ludicrous” M tried to persuade Bond of his folly by simply the power of his intense stare.
“Either way Bond everyone that could have had sight is now dead”
“No, there’s one more” Bond corrected
“Who?” M asked
“Juliet Guggler”
“You believe she too was infected with the drug?” The doctor asked.
“I believe she has always been intended to be Hessel’s secret weapon”
“Willingly?” The doctor raised an un-kept eyebrow
Bond shrugged “We may never know”
“I’m not convinced…but we will put out an alert. Pick her up should she ever return to the UK” M reached for the phone.
James Bond shook his head “Not good enough. I need to go to Tripoli, find her and bring her back. Questioning her is our only way of extracting the information about what Hessel actually knew”
“Out of the question”
“You’d rather have her revealing top secret information to Gaddafi”
“She’s not important to him; she’ll be identified as a captive. She may even be dead”
“Are you prepared to take that risk?”
“Yes 007 I am. And that’s the end of the discussion, or at least until it’s proved to me that the box was opened. Until then Miss Guggler can remain in Tripoli”
“It may be too late by then. Once the cat’s out of the bag even I become a suspect”
“Rubbish…You have my assurance that you will still be on the case should we ever need to extract Miss Guggler”
The doctor let out an audible sign, signifying that Bond was a suspect; and would remain so until the re-evaluation was over.
“… I’m sure your lord and master won’t want me going to Tripoli if there’s even the slightest chance that I know the secret of the contents” Bond tried to assess the reaction from the doctor and M
“Bond you have to let her go. You cannot allow yourself to get involved with every girl you come into contact with” M glanced at the doctor.
“She’s not a consideration; she’s a time-bomb”
“And if I gave the order to eliminate her?”
“Just say the word, you won’t find me wanting”
“This isn’t a game 007”
“Then don’t expect me to stay within your rules” Bond stood up, the chair shot out behind him.
M shook his head. “Why would Hessel have gone to all this trouble? What would be the point?”
“To make us believe that the case is closed. To put our guard down. If Juliet knows the information, she can pass on secrets to Gadaffi, which may alter the course of the revolution. She may, one day come back to haunt your decision”
The silence was hypnotic; M did not want to break it. He desperately wanted to believe that the case was closed. James Bond wanted the silence to continue; the silence meant that M was reconsidering. And reconsidering took Bond one step closer to being able to rescue Juliet.
“If all that you say is true” The doctor’s croaky voice cut through the silence “What was to be gained by Hessel? What do you think he was trying to achieve by injecting the Prince?”
Bond turned on the doctor “Spare me the Freud” His voice was terse “I’ve not been drugged”
“Not that you are aware of… I will determine your state of mind 007”
“Good; let’s get it over with quickly; then I can get on and close this case”
“The case is closed 007” M reminded him “Unless you can convince me that a threat still exists to the Monarchy”
All eyes turned toward Bond.
“With the Prince drugged; he would have been susceptible to giving away information. That would have meant he became a target. This mission was always about eliminating anyone who has seen the contents of the box taken from the Palace”
“Correct” M fed the straight line, allowing Bond to build up the tension.
“Hessel is working hand in hand with Gaddafi; he intended to build his attack from Tripoli. He intends to use Julliet Guggler to execute his plan to bring down the Monarchy”
“A girl, on her own?”
“I think there are other players, we’ve yet to uncover”
“Who do you think we should we be looking at 007?” The doctor asked
“The man that kicked off this entire mission…Sir Peter Marwick”
M took in the detail of the comment. Slowly he nodded his head. With a sharp intake of breath he looked over at the doctor “Thank-you doctor. We’ll be making an appointment to see you shortly; thank-you for your involvement in today’s meeting”
The small doctor stood up, and went to the door, as he grasped the handle he spoke to M “If that’s your decision Sir John; I will of course have to make a report”
“Of course you will. Now if you will excuse us; 007 and I have an appointment with Sir Peter Marwick”
M busied himself with papers on his desk, so that all he heard was the door opening.
James Bond gave the doctor his most charming smile. The doctor gave a small bow of his head in return “See you later Mr. Bond”

#26 volante

volante

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:21 AM

Chapter Twenty Six


The Yard


Day 7

The Palace of Westminster is one of the most famous buildings in London. Tom Stephenson couldn’t help but admire the architecture as they drove past.
“Noel Baines not in the house today?”
They drove past Big Ben.

M glanced up from his lap top, immediately he looked about him, apprising himself of their location. The bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill glided past
“No. It’s not far though” M smiled at the young MI5 agent, he returned to his work. The thoughts of 007 were relating in his mind.
However, because of increasing demands on space in the Palace, facilities for MPs and staff expanded to include a number of buildings nearby. Two of the buildings used by the Commons are the seven-story redbrick buildings on Victoria Embankment known as Norman Shaw North and South.
Between 1889 and 1966 the two buildings were famous as being the home for New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police.
The black XJ Jaguar glided into the reserved parking space. Behind it the dark grey Range Rover eased into the kerb. M and MI5 agent Tom Stephenson got out of the Jaguar; James Bond got out of the Range Rover. Both their drivers stayed in the cars. Stephenson carried a large holdall. The trio mounted the stone steps and entered the redbrick building.
Noel Baines’ office was once occupied by the famous chief superintendent Lockheart. Today however it was the temporary residence of Sir Peter Marwick.
Four members of SO14 the Royal bodyguard stood outside the door.
“Wait here please 007” M’s face conveyed a mixture of embarrassment and guilt, Bond couldn’t see what his eyes were telling him because Sir John couldn’t look at him. The head bodyguard opened the door.
As Stephenson and M disappeared behind the closed door, the four bodyguards crowded around him.
“You shouldn’t be here mate”

***

Prince Charles’s Principal Private Secretary sat with his hands clasped over his pinstriped knees. Behind him Jason Rye the Royal household head of security stood at his shoulder.
“You have it?” He eased his throat, as if the words hurt his mouth when he spoke. The disgusting swallowing motion in his throat, still reminded M of a python devouring its prey.
“Yes” M held out his hand and Tom Stephenson took the box from the hold-all and placed it on his upturned palm.
“All four items?” Marwick’s to lip rose, giving him the look of a rat.
“Obviously the box” M passed the dark mahogany wooden box with its blue and gold pin stripes, to Sir Peter. The weight betrayed its inner steel core.
‘More like a small safe actually’ M thought as he saw Sir Peter struggle with the weight. The smile faded from his face.
“It contains all ten pieces of paper; which I advised you of?”
“I wouldn’t know; I haven’t seen inside it. As you can see its unopened”
Sir Peter lifted the box to his ear and shook the box as if he were trying to ascertain if the video cassette were also nestling in the box.
‘As long as this box is secure your man will be safe’ M remembered the prophecy.
“Mr. Rye” Sir Peter handed him the box “Open it please” The head of security turned his back on M and Stephenson and entered the code.
Carefully he placed the box on a table. Stephenson could see his shoulders moving rhythmically, he believed he was taking the papers from the box.
“Sir Peter!” Rye called without turning his head.
The old man rose unsteadily to his feet and shuffled to the table. In hushed tones the two men spoke. M heard the men counting, and then Rye said
“They’re all here”
“The third item! The original of the copy of the suicide note that you found in Lisbon. Sir Peter spoke without turning; his attention was too occupied to make the effort.
M gave his reply “I’m sorry my agent was unable to discover…”
Sir Peter turned around. He held a lavender coloured sheet of paper. M could see that the quality of the sheet was good, the watermark showed through.
“This was also in the box”
Jason Rye stepped away from Sir Peter, retrieving his Walkie Talkie from his belt.
“It’s the suicide note. When it left London it was not in the box. I’m going to have to insist that we detain the agent that retrieved the box. I assume it’s the man that arrived with you” The accompanying swallow seemed more repulsive than ever.
“I believe the contents of the box have been viewed. What can you tell me about the fourth item?”
M recalled the conversation on the night they’d met.
“My agent eliminated Daniel Wheatley”
“As he did Jurgen Hessel and the man who’d befriended Baines; Adrian Alanby I believe?”
“That’s correct”
“Then all that remains is to eliminate your agent, and …”
The door opened one of the bodyguards fell into the room, blood flowing from his broken nose
“Sorry boss, he took us by surprise” the man collapsed.
Jason Rye switched channel on the Walkie Talkie. “Hostile agent, leaving Norman Shaw buildings. Order is Take down. Repeat Take down”

M jumped to his feet “Hold on Rye, that’s my agent, you have no authority to issue that order…”
“…But I do” Marwick shook the suicide note at him. Tom Stephenson was also on his feet. The once peaceful room suddenly became chaotic.
Jason Rye went to the door to find the other three bodyguards unconscious on the floor “Damn”

***

The two chauffeurs were standing by the Jaguar. One was smoking. Bond dashed down the steps. The man quickly dropped his cigarette. Grinding the butt beneath his foot.
“Keys!” Bond shouted, looking at the Range Rover.
“In the car sir”
Bond jumped into the Range Rover and sped away from the kerb. Jason Rye emerged from the doorway. His hand outstretched his finger pointing accusingly
“Stop that man!”
“You’ve got no chance mate” replied the chauffeur under his breath.
Rye raced back toward Baines’s office; the drabness of the place reminded him that he’d always thought it a bad idea to meet here.

***
“Call off your men Marwick”
“I think not Sir John”
M ran from the room, he picked his way through the tangle of bodies on the floor. He charged down the corridor, Rye passed him, their shoulders collided, knocking M into the wooden panelling. Without a pause to rub the injury M ran on; his only thought was on saving Bond, how stupid had he been to discount the advice of his double 0 agent. Now he understood that Bond had been right. The box had been opened. Hessel had viewed the information it contained; and he had implanted that information into the innocent memory of Juliet Juggler. They would have to retrieve her from Tripoli. Dead or alive that was the question.
Tom Stephenson stood by the table; absently he began shuffling the papers. Sir Peter noticed his actions.
"Explain yourself young man"
Stephenson slowly turned around. He held the papers in his fist. Jason Rye entered the room. He drew his gun.
“These are fake” Tom Stephenson crumpled the papers in his hand and let them flutter to the ground
“But this isn’t” He opened his jacket to reveal the distinct layer of explosives around his waist.
“Katrina sends her love”

***
M danced down the steps, the pain in his shoulder sang at every movement.

He called to his driver “Where’s Bond?”
“Long gone”
M stooped hands on his knees, his breath sent a scalding lump down into his lungs. He punched the buttons on his phone.
“Bond” Bond answered
“Well done James; you knew the truth all along didn’t you?”
“Something like that”
M looked out over the road “Go and get her 007, eliminate her. Absolutely”
“I still think you should be looking at Marwick; I think he’s the one out to discredit The Prince”
“I do believe you’re right. I’ll tackle him. Now don’t get caught at the airport will you”
“Absolutely not” Bond put down the phone.

The explosion blew out the windows; the noise was an all-consuming rage.
A huge ball of flame extended from the red brick building. Sprinkles of glass and stone flew from the building tearing a hole in the very fabric of the wall.
Sir John Green picked himself up from the floor and looked back at the eruption. For a moment he thought it was raining; then he realized it was the red brick dust and stone chippings cascading down upon him. Behind him the Jaguar’s car alarm screamed at him. The air became thick with dust.
The windows exploded in the offices adjacent to center of the raging fire. Thick black smoke was penetrated only by the licking red flames of the fires. The acrid smell of burning was everywhere. The two chauffeurs, guns aimed formed a barrier around M. The men caught hold of his jacket and began to drag him away. Through the dirt on his face his eyes shone brightly. The flames crackled with mischievous glee as they burst from the building. In the distance the sound of a fire engine penetrated the carnage.

***

The following week…

The seven coffins were draped in Union Jack flags, bagpipes mourned beyond their presence. The Foreign Secretary, Conrad Walker and Sir John Green walked slowly past the line of coffins. Walker’s Yorkshire accent was quiet and soft.
“Someone will have to take the blame for this John”
“Are you asking me or telling me?” M asked
Walker held up his hand “This operation cost the lives of Prince Charles’s Principal Private Secretary, and his head of security” His hand scanned the coffins “Four of the Royal bodyguard, and one of MI5’s brightest stars”
Sir John stopped and looked deep into Walker’s eyes, but the Yorkshire man pre-empted the obvious retort. “We don’t want to speak ill of the dead do we?” Walker brushed passed Sir John.
Stunned by the comment M rushed down the line of coffins, quickly gaining on Walker. As he came up to his shoulder he whispered…
“Stephenson was working for Hessel”
Conrad Walker stopped and faced M. He put his hand on his shoulder, as if consoling him. “Hessel is dead. No one wants to be reminded of the past. The official story is that the bomb was detonated when Sir Peter opened the box”
M felt the true pressure of the hand on his shoulder. Slowly he nodded in understanding of the enormity of the statement. His voice was no more than a whisper. “The box brought from Cyprus by 007”
Conrad Walker wiped an imaginary tear from his eye, he looked at Sir John
“The box Hessel intended to kill Prince Harry with. Your man had been captured by Hessel. Who knows what drugs they used on him. Who knows what stories they filled his head with? Face it John, 007 has been turned. Doctor Norris confirmed you aborted the re-evaluation session”
“That’s not what happened” His anger began to rise.
“The girl from Global Witness seems to think it is”
“Is that what Gaddafi told you?” The Irish accent was stronger now.
“He knows things about our Monarchy, things which could have only come from the information taken by Wheatley. Hessel had access to the box. Your counseling suggested otherwise. That information could have only come from 007’s report”
“Marwick instructed me to eliminate anyone who’d seen the contents. It looks like we have two more targets to aim for. Gadaffi himself and the Guggler girl”
“I’ve given the order that that number is three”
“You can’t believe my agent is party to this. Please Minister, persevere with my strategy”
“Or?”
“You may see a side of me that I normally keep hidden from my Minister”
Walker’s voice was filled with anger “Your strategy has compromised our national security. It’s in the country’s interest that I shed some light on the darkness that you and your people operate in”
“You know more than most how this world operates Minister. You go shining lights in dark places and you may not like what you see” M began to retrace his steps. Each coffin he passed was like a slap to his face.
Walker glared at the retreating figure of the MI6 boss. His words carried through the still air of the chapel. Cutting through the somber tones of the bag pipes “Your reputation is beyond repair. The die is cast”
M turned on his heel. His voice was steady but the sentiment carried through the solemn air “You seem to have forgotten one thing, Minister”
“Not really, I’m sure you’re referring to the man whose escape from The Yard you helped facilitate. Your Double 0 agent...”
“His name is Bond....James Bond”

“That’s him. Sorry John the tables have turned. Now this is your last chance, where is he?”
“Don’t worry Minister, I’m sure you’ll be hearing from him soon enough”

#27 volante

volante

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:19 PM

Chapter Twenty Seven

The Splendid Gate



Tripoli, Libya. That night

Bab al-Azizia "The Splendid Gate" is the military barracks and compound, situated in the southern suburbs of Tripoli. As the ‘call to prayer’ echoed over the city, the night time vigilantes took over the defensive positions at the corners of their estates. Coupled to the might of the government troops, security in the city was high. The single shots or volleys of rifle fire that punctuated the night time began. The orange globe of the sun was only just setting.
The scarred and battle torn outer wall of the compound had been the target of two NATO raids over the last week. Russia had denounced the raids, claiming they were a "gross violation" of the resolution. The government supported TV reports showed a background of large plumes of smoke drifting over the city.
In response NATO said the large Bab al-Azizia compound was being used by the regime as a base for troops and vehicles used to carry out attacks on civilians. Tensions between the diplomatic entities rose. Their fear of revolution spilling out over the World and developing into international conflicts were very real.
Libyan authorities maintained that NATO was trying to kill Gaddafi and the night-time strikes were terrorizing Tripoli residents.
The uneasy stalemate had lasted now for two days. Tensions ran as high as the security that surrounded the compound. With air-strikes virtually ruled out, the Libyan government felt that a ground attack was the most likely strategy of the rebels.
The reason for the interest in this 6-square-kilometre base, strategically located to the south of Tripoli City Centre is simple; it serves as the main base for the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
At the northern end of Airport Highway, the first road block channeled the line of vehicles into a checkpoint. Once papers were checked and vehicles cleared of carrying weapons and explosives, access to the city was granted.
Many more home built checkpoints festooned crossroads right up to the compound itself. However getting through the initial checkpoint was difficult. Tension in the drivers, no matter how innocent their reasons for wanting access was close to melting point. Even in the cool of the evening sweat poured from the men sitting behind their steering wheels.
The troops at the checkpoint were not the seasoned veterans waiting like packs of dogs in the compound; these were the young recruits, and the civilian vigilantes. Local men fanatically loyal to their leader. Inexperienced in their newly appointed tasks, but keen to be taken seriously. The wrong word or a mistake within the paperwork could result in a strafing of machine gun fire. Most drivers took the simple option of turning their vehicles around and heading back toward Tripoli International Airport
The once blue coloured Volkswagen Beetle rattled into the checkpoint. Easing between two white Toyota Hi lux pick-up trucks, both converted to be able to carry Rocket propelled grenade launchers.
“As sala'amu alaikum" (peace be upon you) the old hook nosed Arab driver offered his papers.
The young soldier took them, and replied "Walaikum as sala'am" (and unto you also, peace).
The driver smiled through the open window of the Beetle, his hands together in reverence "Wa rahmatullahi" (and mercy) He wore a plain grey keffiyeh with a black agal.
A second soldier appeared, with a mirror attached to a pole, slowly he walked around the car, checking the underside "Wa barakatuhu" (and blessings)

Suddenly the officer in charge shouted. The young troopers returned to their tasks in deadly seriousness. No more banter with the old Arab in the battered Volkswagen.
The gearbox protested with a crunch of metal, as the old Beetle pulled away from the checkpoint. In the distance a small explosion disturbed the scene.
The Volkswagen eased into the traffic within the confides of the city. Youths in football shirts on riding mopeds and motorbikes cruised the roads, buzzing around the cars like angry bees at a picnic.
On the next corner a group of locals stood around an oil drum, the flames warmed their hands. Behind them an assortment of rifles and machine pistols were propped against the wall. The Volkswagen eased into the kerb next to a scarecrow solider wearing a Hi-viz coat. All the residents wore at least one piece of military wear; but the rest of their garb was pure local. No one in Tripoli was wearing traditional Arab robes any more. A trestle table contained an array of locally made bracelets. Entrepreneurs to the last, no one missed the opportunity to sell a trinket to a captured audience.
The man spoke French. “Identification”
The driver provided his documents. As the man scanned the papers; the driver looked at the baubles, bangles and beads on the table; then he looked around.
On the opposite corner of the cross roads two men were getting into a black Hyundai 4x4. The engine was ticking over.
“Merci Monsuer, allez”
The old Arab driver eased across the cross roads, threading his way in-between two motorcycles, both riders were smoking.
There were no women on the streets.
As the Volkswagen rattled down the road; the Hyundai 4x4 pulled away from the kerb and followed the Beetle. The driver of the Volkswagen glanced in the mirror noticing that only one headlamp was working.
Two more blocks, then the Volkswagen turned off the main road. A small mongrel dog skulked away from the noise as the battered old beetle pulled into the kerb. The singular figure of a man lighting a cigarette was momentarily illuminated in the headlights.
The driver was walking across the road toward him when the black Hyundai stopped behind the Volkswagen. The lights were turned off. The street was quiet. Only the smell of decay detracted from the tension.
The two men got out of the 4x4. Jackets and caps disguised their physiques. Quickly they closed in on the Arab driver and the smoking man. The sound of guns being cocked alerted the driver to the danger.
The man threw down his cigarette; stepping back into the shadows he pulled a hand gun. “Kef” (stop)
All three men stopped in their tracks. The smoking man approached the driver. He was an inch or two taller, and perhaps five pounds heavier.
“I’m sorry old man, but you are either in the wrong place at the wrong time; or that’s the best disguise I’ve seen this side of Hereford” The man took off his baseball cap. His hair was very black, and neatly cut. The accent was pure southern England.
In a flurry of arm movement the driver took off his agal and keffiyeh. The two men came closer to each other.

“A friend of mine is being detained in a building close to here, I’m told you can help” James Bond pulled off the false hook nose.
“Yeah good disguise I suppose, good job you ain’t wearing that fancy aftershave, guess you did learn something in Abu Dhabi after all” Corporal Tom Parker gave a mock salute; beneath the bulky jacket Bond knew he had the hard physique of a rugby player, and beneath the cap his macho appearance was spoiled only by a dated haircut of tight curls. Bond saw through the straggly beard and saw the familiar bent nose above a choice grown straggly moustache.

Distant gunfire punctuated their conversation, provided the back beat to the city; the local dogs barked their replies, and the ever present mopeds whined in the distance.
“Time we were moving guys” said Corporal Craig Dixon; known as Dick. His smile made him look like something from a boy band.

Major Harry Fawkes of 22 Special Air Service picked up his disguarded cigarette, and herded his team into the black Hyundai (best that no local come across the western cigarette).
The 4x4 reversed out of the side street and headed toward the compound.
Harry Fawkes took a neatly folded map from the seat pocket, and spread it.
“If I’m to believe the intel from home; you’ve gone rogue”
“Well you didn’t shoot me on the street, so what do you believe?”
“Me, I don’t matter. We’re not even here” Fawkes’s hands smoothed out the maps.
“No sir” echoed Tom
“And if I said I wanted a valued opinion?” Bond searched Fawkes’ eyes. They glinted in the darkness of the car.
“Then I’d say the foreign Secretary is looking for a Scape goat, for last weeks’ terrorist bombing in London”
Bond nodded in confirmation. He momentarily weighed up the value of giving the SAS sabre team a cover story, but instantly dismissed the idea.
“Someone took some very sensitive material from Buckingham Palace. He did it because he thought he needed revenge against the Royal family”
“Thought he needed revenge?” asked Tom
“Yes, he was drugged at the time. A very powerful drug; which changes an individual’s perception of a particular memory”
“Like whisky” quipped Tom
“He gave the information to Jurgen Hessel” Bond continued the story.
“The CEO of Klivex…” Fawkes exclaimed.
“…The racing driver?” asked Dick, at the same time
“The same yes. Hessel sold it to Gaddafi. The good colonel is intending to use it as his ‘Get out of Libya free’ card when the rebels finally take control”
“So what about the guy that took it?
“Dead…” answered Bond
“…And Hessel?”
“Dead”
“Have you been to Cyprus lately Commander?” asked Tom
Bond ignored the question, but his silence only confirmed the answer. Tom and Dick nodded in confirmation to each other. Bond continued…
“….I was tasked with returning the information to London…and eliminating anyone who’d seen the contents”
“Sounds like you’ve done a good job so far, Commander”
“There’s only two people left with a knowledge of what was stolen. Gaddafi is one of them, but no one would ever believe him. But the girl we’re going to get is the only other person alive with the complete knowledge”
“How does she know all of it?”
“Hessel drugged her and gave her a memory with all the information in it”
“Now Gaddafi has her” Fawkes commented
“Does he know exactly what he’s got?” Asked Dick
“Yes, he’s using her as his reference book” Answered Bond
“So we kill her?” Asked Tom
“No. I was thinking extract her from the Bab al-Azizia compound. Fly her back to England; give her the antidote. And she forgets the whole experience and lives happily ever after” Bond looked from face to face looking for support.
“Shame…” Said Tom easing past an old petrol tanker, which was slowing to turn into a filling station.
“Shame?” Asked Fawkes
“Yeah, it’s a Saturday night. …I like to kill bad guys on a Saturday night”
“He does” Confirmed Dick, nodding gently.
“Well if we see Gaddafi you can take him out. How does that suit you?”
“Thanks Commander”
“Okay with you Harry?” asked Bond
“I told you James we’re not here”
“But you know where they’re holding the girl?”
“I know they have a special female guest. Security is sky high. And it’s not just because of the air strikes”
“Go on”
“Our GPS picked up the location of an IP address on a computer, on line within the compound”
“Just the one?”
“There’s plenty on line; they have a Communications center” He prodded a black cross shape on the map of the compound “But only one computer is sending emails to Conrad Walker”
“Where is it?”
Fawkes pointed to the map. “There’s nothing on the surface. So we used thermal imaging” Fawkes produced a photograph; it looked like an abstract with just a couple of dark splurges in the center
“I’d guess it’s a bunker. Accessed by this door” Fawkes outlined the building
Bond studied the Map of the compound “Then that’s our target”
“Getting in could be tricky” Fawkes drew his finger along the front perimeter fence.
“It’s the getting out I’m worried about” Said Tom
“What’s the plan?” asked Bond
Fawkes shook his head “Hadn’t really got that far; hoped you’d have an idea?”
Bond took the map. Then he looked at the thermal photograph. His finger prodded a line of dark splurges outside the perimeter walls “What are they?”
“That’s the garage and vehicle storage unit. Fighters strafed it the other night. The heat source must be Gaddafi’s fleet of cars”
“Or what’s left of them”
Bond studied the map some more, he visualized the fortifications. The compound was surrounded by three concrete walls each with slits for weapons. The walls were estimated to be four-meters high and one meter thick with complicated gate structures. Inside, there were fields with trees, a fresh water well giving access to water sat to the side of Gaddafi’s private residence.
Fanning out behind this were a number of military barracks used by troops. These troops were the elite of the Libyan army; each battalion was led by one of Gaddafi's sons. To the other side of the property there was a mosque, a football pitch, and a swimming pool. The aforementioned ‘cross’ like building of the communications center and other administrative structures sat to the rear. The compound was more like a small town with roadways interconnecting the various buildings.
Bond decided it would be best not to go in through the side containing the barracks. The second sheet was a blueprint drawing of the inside of the residence. Here the interior walls were thicker to withstand missile attacks.
The next sheet looked like a spider’s web. Fawkes offered a solution
“The buildings are connected by an extensive network of underground tunnels. They lead to adjoining districts and…” His finger traced a line off the map “…Possibly stretch to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea
“That’s about 3.2 kilometers away” Offered Dick
“He means 2 miles” offered Tom.
“The tunnels also spread into the center of Tripoli”
“Ha!!” laughed Tom “all that security, and yet Gaddafi lives in a Bedouin-style air conditioned tent right in the middle”
Bond remembered he’d seen footage of the tent pitched in the cities where Gaddafi had visited.
“So. Any ideas on how we get in?” Asked Major Fawkes.
“I’ll go in through the vehicle storage unit. Use the tunnel here” Bond traced his finger across the map.
Harry Fawkes looked at the entrance to the tunnel. A sharp intake of breath was followed by a cautionary “Tasty place to make your entrance”
Bond pursed his lips “I’ll need a diversion”
Fawkes drew his finger over the open ground Bond would need to cover to get to the bunker.
“You’ll need a bloody big one” The Hyundai pulled off road.
Timidly they went across a rough piece of land. Tom turned off the lights.
“What have you got?” Bond and Fawkes went to the back of the 4x4
Harry opened the tail gate. The load space was empty.
“I told you we’re not here. We ain’t set up for a mission”
Bond put his hand into the empty load space and ripped out the paper photograph of an empty load space. Black metal containers and black canvas kit bags filled the space.
“Oops. Sorry officer I never seen them before”
Bond smiled at the comment “Okay, let’s go through what we do have”
Fawkes pulled out a black attaché case “This is for you…?”
Bond inclined his head, Fawkes finished the statement “…Q branch”
“…It’ll probably blow up when I open it” Bond took the case.
“Well at least it proves we’re not the only gullible mugs who believe you’re not a terrorist bomber”
“It’s got knives and everything” Dick added.
Bond put down the case and looked into the first bag. Just then Dick squeezed past and took out a small toy airplane “Oh good, you got my planes”

#28 volante

volante

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 07:05 PM

Chapter Twenty Eight


Gunpowder, treason and plot.


“Calling ‘Boss’. Strike 1 in position. Visual on targets”
“Copy that Strike 1” Fawkes listened to the observations of his team via a micro radio earpiece. The microphone to speak was a just small ‘sticking plaster’ attached to his throat, just by the Adam’s apple. It was matt black in colour; as was his uniform. Throughout the city all four men were similarly attired.
“This is Boss. Strike 2 report” Fawkes returned to the Hyundai.
“Calling ‘Boss’. Strike 2 in position. Awaiting your firework display” Bond’s calm reply was clear in his ear.
“Copy that Strike 2. You won’t be disappointed” Fawkes started the engine and pulled away. Behind him the empty petrol tanker drove off the service station forecourt. The driver put the cigarette to his lips. He’d had to wait nearly one hour whilst the tanker disgorged its load. He pulled the lighter from his pocket and depressed the lever, the small flame jumped to the end of the cigarette.
It was at this precise moment that Major Harry Fawkes flicked the switch on the detonator.

The massive explosion ballooned out of the ground. The hot flames melted the overhead cables plunging the local area into darkness. The shock wave radiated out from the center, cracking and demolishing buildings, windows blew apart. The roar of the explosion drowned every other noise.
“This is Boss. Strike 1. Code-word is gunpowder. Go” Fawkes never heard his own words, the explosion drowned out all other noise.
Dick and Tom squeezed their triggers in unison. The two bullets rocketed through the air, propelled from the whispering death suppressed Heckler & Koch MP5’s. The two guards collapsed.
As Dick covered him, Tom hurried across the open ground and dragged the two guards into the shadows of the wall of the seemingly impregnable headquarters of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s fortress. Tom attached an apple sized lump of C4 to the gate. Gently he pushed the detonator into the heart of the explosive.
Each completing a 90 degree sweep, the two SAS men ran doubled over along the base of the outer wall to their stash of weapons.
“Calling ‘Boss’. Strike 1 ready to blow”
“Copy that Strike 1. Strike 1 code-word is treason. Go” Fawkes flicked the switch on the second detonator. A second massive explosion shook the very foundation of the city. Plunging more estate blocks into darkness. At the compound, Tom detonated the C4 on the gate. Within earshot of the massive explosion in the city, the gate being blown apart was almost silent.
Flames rolled over themselves in a torrid race to reach the sky. In the distance a thunderous clap of energy preceded the airport and surrounding area being plunged into darkness. Soon only the flames and the associated burning buildings provided light to the wounded city.
“Remember, remember…” Bond quoted the old November the fifth rhyme.
Unseen he slipped between two rows of cars; that was because all eyes in the Qasr bin Ghashir garage were on the firework diversion over the city.
“This is Boss. Strike 2 code-word plot. Go”
James Bond drew his Sig Sauer P228 9mm semi-automatic and headed into the labyrinth of tunnels. As he approached the first branch the lights went out. Bond put on his tight fitting night-vision glasses. The tunnels took on an eerie green glow. Bond took out a marker pen and drew a crude arrow on the wall.
The arrow showed luminescent in the green reflection from his glasses; the arrows would be invisible to the naked eye; should the lights come back on.

***

The alarm bell sounded shrill in the guard room. The damage inflicted to one of their pedestrian gates was the focus of their attention. The troops were on their feet, adjusting uniforms, clutching weapons, jostling for position.
Dick pulled the small joystick back and watched the model aircraft take off. The small drone angled away, and then as Dick pulled the joystick around, the plane mimicked his actions and performed a lazy circle, rising over the outer walls and disappearing into the compound. Dick thrust the joystick forward within a matter of moments the plane would go out of range and plummet to the ground. It’s little cargo of napalm would hopefully make a mess in the trees. The seasoned troops approached the suspect gate with professional caution. Just then the buzz of the toy plane broke their concentration. The plane smashed into a tree, it disintegrated spilling it’s deadly cargo over a wide area.
Troops hit by pieces of napalm screamed as the jelly burned into them. Panicked by the bizarre attack, some troops began firing up into the trees. Their commander desperately tried to get them back under control.
Tom went through the damaged gate. The narrow corridor still smelled of explosive. Tom stood in front of the next door that barred his way…
“Well it’s not my preferred method of entry but when you don’t have a ‘frame charge’ this will sometimes do the trick” He raised and fired the Magnum 870 5 round shotgun at the top hinge. It disintegrated, and then quickly he aimed and fired at the bottom hinge. The third shot smashed through the lock. Tom kicked the door in. At the next corer two battle-hardened troops waited for their prey to come closer. The two men held their machine guns like lovers.
Movement.
The first guard squeezed the trigger. The second man fired low, the trail of bullets rose steadily up the target. When they eased off the triggers the enclosure stank of smoke and cordite. In front of them the wooden man-sized frame scarecrow wearing a Hi-viz jacket stood in tatters on the caterpillar tracked toy tank. The two men looked at each other. It was then that the hand grenade exploded at their feet. Tom sprayed the room with a full 30 round magazine.
Quickly he set up the next robotic toy. The MP5 machine gun was attached to a strut. A series of motion detecting laser beams were reflected around the corner by the mirrors in the base of the toy tank. Should there be movement in the corridor the MP5 would fire a burst, followed by a recording of various gun fire. Making the enemy believe a number of well-armed attackers were waiting just around the corner. Tom hurried back down the corridor and slipped out of the outer wall door. “Calling ‘Boss’ Strike 1 all toys deployed. Over and out”

Bond checked his wrist watch; he’d been in the tunnels for six silent minutes; the door that opened into the compound stood before him. The silence was about to be broken.
Bond walked out into a hellish scene. Soldiers hit by napalm were being treated on the ground; their screams were pitiful. Other soldiers were firing into the trees, chaos ruled supreme. Another small toy plane dropped into the trees, spilling napalm onto the ground. The troops were well away from the spill area, but the burning napalm still spread fear. More troops were heading through the gates, toward the outer gate. Bond marched across the open ground, and into the courtyard, the attaché case swinging loosely at his side. At the door to the bunker a soldier challenged him, noticing the difference in uniform.
Bond held up the black briefcase. The soldier narrowed his eyes not understanding the gesture; as Bond lowered the case he shot the soldier with the silenced Walther PPK. Quickly he moved forward and eased the man to the ground. Bond opened the door, dragging the dead soldier onto the stairs. Bond closed the door; and jogged down the staircase.
Holding the attaché case in one hand Bond opened the door. Two people looked at him as he entered. Juliet Guggler sat, curled in an old arm chair, her eyes adjusted slowly to the new presence in the room. A man in a white coat stood at her side. His eyes were sharp and enquiring, a moment ago he had been looking at his hypodermic needle. Now his full attention was on Bond. He spoke in Arabic, the sentiment was “Who the hell are you, you shouldn’t have disturbed me”
Bond shot the man with the silenced pistol, he dropped like a stone.
Juliet screamed, she showed no form of recognition on her face, then Bond realized why. Quickly he peeled off the black beanie hat and the dark night vision glasses. Juliet’s mouth opened; after all, the last she’d seen of Bond was when he jumped out of a Hercules C130 transport plane at 27,000 ft.
The realization of who had just come into the room dawned on her. Bond of course was not sure on how she would greet him; again, the last time they had been together she’d thought him the villain. If that were still the case, Bond had some drugs to change her point of view, courtesy of Q branch.
“Oh James” Juliet ran to him, burying herself into his chest. She pulled away, Bond held her at arm’s length. Her head shook from side to side “How did you find me?” Bond smiled, but before he could answer she kissed him on the lips.
“…I don’t even know where I am. Or how I got here. They’ve been injecting me every-day, I just sit in the chair helpless. All I could think about was the last time we spoke” She cuddled into him
“When was that?”
Her brow furrowed “At the airport in Limassol”
Relief spread across his face “Yes, sorry I had to leave you there”
“Never mind, you’re here now. Oh James, I thought I’d never see you again, or never see home again”
“Well I’m here now. I’ve come to take you home. Can you walk?”
“Yes I think so”
“OK Let’s go, hold this” Bond held out the attaché case; Juliet grasped the handle. Bond took her out of the room. Before leaving the bunker Bond activated the speaker strip and spoke to Fawkes.
“Calling Boss. Strike 2 I have the ‘guy’ Light the blue touch paper”
“Copy that Strike 2. This is Boss. Strike 1 code-word blue touch paper. Go”
Juliet frowned and was about to ask who Bond was addressing his comments to… When Bond handed her a pair of night glasses.
“…Put these on” He opened the door. She complied “How do I look…”
A brilliant white light explosion illuminated the entire courtyard. Bond grabbed hold of Juliet and ran across the open ground. All around them soldiers were hiding their eyes from the brilliant white glare. One soldier tried to catch hold of Juliet, Bond shot him with the silenced Walther PPK. Another soldier grabbed Bond’s shoulder. Bond blocked the attack and thrust a side kick into the man’s ribs. They dodged around a few more men. Juliet kept a tight hold on her hero. It seemed to take forever, but suddenly they were at the wall. Bond opened the tunnel door and dragged Juliet inside. Once inside the sounds of the battle were muffled.
“Follow me, stay close” Bond led her into the pitch blackness.
“Don’t worry I will” clutching the attaché case to her breast Juliet followed at Bond’s heel.
In the darkness Bond’s arrows showed up like neon signs. They had settled into a good pace sliding around the corners. The entrance could only be a couple of minutes away now. Almost in the clear!
The lights flickered on.
“James!”
“I see them” He’d already dropped to one knee. The Sig Sauer P228 9mm barked death, no need for secrecy now. The big gun took out the first three soldiers. Then the others began to return fire. Bond pushed Juliet back down the tunnel. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as simple as he’d hoped.

Re-tracing their steps would only take them back to the interior of the compound. Suddenly that course was cut off, a barrage of gunfire cut off their retreat. Bond pushed Juliet down another tunnel, while he held off the pursuers. The shots reverberated through her chest. The acrid smell of smoke choked her. Juliet stopped to catch her breath.
Bullets kissed the wall by her head. No way through this tunnel. Juliet dropped to the floor, and began to back track up the tunnel.
“They’re everywhere” Juliet looked helplessly at him. Bond looked around. The machine gun fire was almost constant. Pieces of stone rained down upon them. There was only one more alternative. “Come on”
They ran down a smaller tunnel, after a couple of hundred yards, the light began to fade. A bullet sang down the tunnel. Bond pulled her close to him.
“Where does this lead?” Juliet looked at him
Bond tried to answer, but realized he had no idea of the direction they were heading. “Well…” Another bullet smashed into the wall beside them.
They trudged on into the darkness “James, I don’t like this”
The floor sloped down “We don’t have a choice”
“Why are they chasing us?”
They continued down the tunnel “How much of this do you remember?”
Juliet looked back her eyes blank. Bond took the lead “Who do you work for?”
“Global witness”
“You were working with an American journalist, Jon Osterman. Tracking down some illegal drugs from a company called…”
“…Klivex. Yes I remember it was Klivex. Jon and I went to Geneva to confront Jurgen Hessel” Suddenly she stopped moving as the sad memory dripped back into her mind “Oh my God they killed Jon. They were going to kill me too” Her finger pointed toward Bond “You saved me. The car, the mountain, oh my God” Bond wondered just how much of the memory she had retained. Juliet’s face betrayed the fact that she was recounting their time together; the impish little grin told him she was remembering their love making. The frown and little shudder told him she was recalling their time in Kuwait; and then the plane crash.
“Why are people always trying to kill you James?” She looked very innocent.
“I’m misunderstood” Bond realized that the floor had leveled out.
“The man at the well in Aleppo, he killed himself because he saw his own reflection” Juliet seemed lost within herself; Bond wondered how close she would be able to go before coning upon the time when they altered her own memory. She seemed sad at the thought of Adonis taking his own life.
“I think he must have been under the influence of Hessel’s drugs as well”
A new noise had entered his awareness. Bond noticed the floor was metal, some kind of checker plate. The echo of his boots on the floor seemed excessive. Juliet skipped along beside him.
“Then I saw the French girl; the one that survived the drug test”
Bond nodded; as Juliet went ahead of him, she continued skipping, her turning to face Bond as she recounted their experiences.
“Then it’s just a blank, until I woke up in the bedroom you found me in” Damn, she stamped on the ground. “Damn it I just can’t remember”
He thought about explaining the truth, but then thought that to keep quiet and allow the girl’s misconception to continue would be the best course of action take.
The floor tipped; Bond made two moves simultaneously; he grasped hold of Juliet’s collar as his other hand shot out and grabbed hold of the newly exposed lip of the metal trap door. Juliet screamed as she fell. As the floor rotated through 45 degrees their bodies smashed into the floor. The resultant bang of the case against the metal floor sounded like a gong, the noise resonated throughout the tunnel. Juliet came to a sudden stop as Bond’s arms stretched to breaking point. Their legs dangled over a pit. Juliet’s ragged breath beat in time to her swinging body. Suddenly it became quiet.
Bond looked down…
…In the darkness of the pit, the light reflected off the tips of the razor sharp spikes that grew from the floor.
Bond viewed the drop as lethal; the fall would generate enough speed for the spikes to penetrate a human body. He viewed the pit anew.
Bond picked out the skeletons of three corpses which proved the fact of the theory.

#29 volante

volante

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 04:51 PM

Chapter Twenty Nine

The good Doctor.


Tripoli, Libya. The final day of operation Rotunda.

“James help…” She swung gently below him. The cold air came up from the pit to cool the sweat on his skin.
“…It’s okay just hold on”
“James I can’t”
“Yes you can” His smile was reassuring
“Juliet, can you throw the case up?” Bond spoke with determination.
“What?”
“The case is weighing you down; throw it up”
She realised she was still holding the case
“I’ll just drop it…” her hand began to relax
“….No” Bond was firm. Juliet looked up at him.
Juliet grunted with the effort. She began to swing the case.
“That’s it” Bond encouraged her. His voice did not betray the strain on his arms, he had reached breaking point himself; but still he held on.
Juliet looked up her eyes were wide with fear. Her smile was tainted with tears. Her scream was primal and heart-felt as she swung the attaché case over arm. Bond watched it turn end over end as it travelled past him; he was helpless to help it on its way. For long moments it hung in the air. Then he heard it clatter on the floor. Bond looked up, one corner protruded over the edge. He watched helpless as more and more of the case slid over the lip of the pit. Then it stopped. A nervous single breathy laugh emitted from his mouth.
“Very good. Now hold on to me, and climb up”
Juliet slowly turned around, she sobbed as her hands clawed at Bond’s clothes.
“…Don’t let go of me James” desperation punctuated every word.
“It’s okay, you just need to climb up me; don’t worry we’ll be out of here in a moment” Juliet locked her fingers around his black bullet proof vest. Bond let go of her collar and placed both hands over the rim of the trap door. He knew the pain it caused would not ease until she had climbed over him.
Slowly, for every movement sent pain throughout his body, Bond widened his grip on the lip of the trap door. His chest heaved with one more colossal effort. Then he hung like a parody of Christ on the cross. Only the sound of their laboured breathing could be heard in the tunnel. Bond began to close his mind to the pain. His heart began to slow. Calm washed over him. His eyes closed; his entire body began to close down.
“Arrogance is not exclusively British, but you seem to have cornered the market with it Mr. Bond!” The female voice was loud and chilling from the other side of the pit. Juliet screamed. Her head turned to see the owner of the voice. She lost her grip and her right hand fell away from Bond’s jacket.
From deep within himself, his hand shot out. Bond grabbed her.
His body swiveled away from the metal floor. Pain seared through his shoulder. As he stopped her fall his body smashed against the metal plate, he grunted with pain. The voice from the other side of the pit laughed at their predicament.
Bond looked down at her. “Juliet! Hold on”
Slowly her hand came back and grabbed him. Her body shook against him, her sobs were pitiful. He released her and replaced his hand on the trap door.
As he made his move his fingers brushed against the attaché case. With pain flooding through his body, Bond resumed the position. He hung on the trap door as Juliet began to climb over him.
Slowly he looked up at the figure opposite. Their eyes locked.
“There are limits to what even you can achieve Mr. Bond” Her voice was cold and detached in the emptiness of the tunnel. The lights lit up her face. It was a face that Bond had seen before; yet it wasn’t familiar. In his mind he dragged back the memory of where he’d seen her before. From a far Bill Tanner’s voice echoed in his brain.
“In total there were three suspect passports from that arrival. All are being investigated. One male two female”
“So our girl has a second passport” said M
“So it would seem. The other female is still lodged in Paris” Tanner clicked the pointer and the photograph of a Caucasian woman in her early twenties came into view.
“This is Kathryn Leon nee Genola, Recently married; it was the first time her new passport was used. I think we could rule her out of the investigation”
***
Bond looked at the girl, she could have been no older than 24. Dark blonde hair cropped short, and charcoal grey business suit, the skirt tantalizingly just above the knee. He tried to make sense of her reason for being here.
Then, as the realization took hold he looked down at Juliet. His smile was false he tried to make the smile as reassuring as possible, but failed. Meanwhile his mind was working overtime.
Bond recalled how the man known as Adonis had screamed the name Katrina as he dived to his death. Hessel had told him about his scientists; how had he described them? “Artists, even the child prodigies”
Well if this was one of the scientists that had invented Rotunza, then the image of the old pipe smoking eccentric was well and truly buried.
The weight of Juliet tore at his arms; the metal bit into his fingers.
“Nice to meet you Kathryn; or is it Katrina?”
“Doctor Katrina, if you don’t mind” The voice was very pretentious.
“How was Paris?… Lovely place for a honeymoon”
The girl clapped her hands, the smile was genuine; her teeth were very even and white “Tres bien! How was London? I hear the clever money is on you taking the blame for the bomb. They’re calling you a traitor”
“Sticks and stones…” Bond felt the sinews of his shoulders stretch. His smile had to finish off the saying. He raised his eyebrows, and slightly inclined his head. “Is that your husband?”
Katrina gave a sharp glance at the man by her side, then her head snapped back; a look of disdain on her face. “No way. He’s just another drone. Totally dedicated to me of course” She preened as she lent closer to the edge of the pit, trying to convey privacy in the conversation.
“Totally screwed in the head, but a great body don’t you think?”
“Not for me to say”
She clicked her fingers. “…Where were we. Oh yes, you’re a traitor. So I’ll be doing the tax payer a favour when I finally rid the world of James Bond” The man by her side handed her a gun.
“Thank-you Robin” Bond recognized the gun as a Beretta M9.
“You know my name…” Bond grappled with the situation, he needed time.
“…and your number, 007. The Defense secretary was most informative” She adjusted her stance, holding the gun out in front; classic double handed grip.
Bond inclined his head toward Juliet “Please, will you let her go; let her climb out of this…this…” he struggled for the words, in fact he was stalling for time.
“Hell? Is that what this is Mister Bond? Isn’t this what you got her into?”
“Yes, this is hell” Bond’s voice was crestfallen; he needed to play the girl, make her become overconfident. In reality he knew he was just stalling for time; but how much longer could he hold on?
“Very gallant Mr. Bond but her life is not in your hands. Once she’d escaped Adonis in London; I wanted her death to be something spectacular. You see I’m a girl that likes revenge. You cheated me out of that moment with your cleaver driving on the mountainside in Geneva. Since then I’ve just been biding my time. Still maybe best to not kill her just yet. She will probably be an excellent witness at your inquest. So maybe her death can wait” Her voice was monotone and very boring, but the sentiment was all conquering.
Bond sighed “Climb up” He looked down at Juliet.
Juliet began to climb, her arms shook as she took another hold. Her cheek caressed his face as she clambered over his body.
“When you get to the top, lay on the case, but don’t move it” He whispered into her ear. Her perfume brightened his moment. Bond turned his face to the side as her body slithered over his. From the other side of the pit, Katrina’s shrill laugh was like a slap in the face. “I think I’ll give Juliet the new strain of Rotunza for when she appears in the witness stand”
Juliet panted and grunted her way over the lip of the trap door. She slithered over the attaché case.
“Stay there Miss Guggler” Doctor Katrina shouted. She focused her attention back on Bond “Well, well Mr. Bond, any last words; something for posterity, something for the world to remember you by”
“You seem very sure I’m going to die”
“Well unless you’re immortal, you’ll be dead after I shoot you”
“We’ll only know that after you pull the trigger”
“Is that it; no begging for your life?”
“Not my style”
“Goodbye Mr. Bond” Katrina adjusted her stance, taking careful aim
“Wait. There’s one thing I’d like to know”
“What?”
“Why kill Marwick?”
“Why? Simple he pissed me off. We intended to kill M as well; you would have been held responsible for that as well. Job done”
“How did he piss you off? What was his crime” Bond needed time; he relaxed his hand on the ledge. Calm entered his thought process.
“Good god, you still don’t know do you”
“No I don’t” Bond’s voice was small. It was intended to boost Katrina’s confidence.
“This was all Marwick’s idea. He wanted to kill Prince Harry. He didn’t want to run the risk of him influencing his brother in the future. And god forbid if he should ever be promoted to the throne. I think you know why. Whatever. He thought it would be fitting to have MI6 kill him; as the world already thinks MI6 killed his Mother” She laughed again “Anyway Marwck learned of the work Klivex were doing with mind altering drugs. He actually approached Jurgen, and together they came up with the premise that if MI6 were given the instruction to kill anyone who’d seen the contents of a box stolen from the Palace, all we had to do was put Prince Harry in contact with said box. The mind altering drug was just perfect for the purpose. Marwick set up Wheatley. Hessel offered Osterman and Edward Blake”
“Got a bit too close for comfort did they?” Bond asked
“Duoro would have been compelling as the bereaved sister. Baines would have been hard to silence with an arm full of rotunza, and the ‘truth’ would have come tumbling out. Then as the whole sorry story came out Baines’ relationship with Gadaffi would have brought down the government”
“We’d just elect another”
“Yes, one that we controlled”
“So there was never any evidence in the box?”
“No, of course not” Her voice was triumphant.
Finally Bond had the evidence he’d wanted. He judged his movement to perfection, he changed his grip and swung up his hand to the base of the attaché case; Juliet’s weight held the case in place as the throwing knife slid from it’s scabbard. In one fluid motion Bond threw the weapon.
The knife rocketed across the gap heading for Katrina.
At the last moment the man stepped in front of her; the knife buried itself into his stomach; had it reached her it would have penetrated the good Doctor’s heart.
He fell forward and toppled into the pit. “Katrina I love you” he shouted as he fell. The noise his body made when it became skewered on the spikes was akin to sellotape being ripped from the reel.
Katrina looked down at the broken body; the razor sharp spikes had gone completely through his torso.
“That was unforgivable Mister Bond” She tutted loudly.
“Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable just to carry on living”
“Very Freud!” She fired the gun, the bullet smashed into the metal floor just inches from his right hand. Katrina laughed, and then she settled down into a classic shooters stance.
“I’m going to enjoy this Mr. Bond. I’m going to shoot your hands off and watch you drop” She sounded petulant, slowly she inched forward her toes just over the edge of the pit.
“Good of you to tell me that you meant to miss. I thought you were just a terrible shot”
“Very droll, I’m going to savor this moment for the rest of my life”
The knife sliced through her jacket and buried itself in her shoulder. Doctor Katrina looked down at the handle of the weapon, then slowly as the shock of the pain began to radiate through her body, she looked over the pit. Bond was still trapped in the crucifixion position, but as her eyes rose she saw that Juliet stood above him.
Standing opposite, Juliet looked back at her. In her hand she held the last of the throwing knives from the attaché case.
[censored] you bitch” Juliet threw the last knife.
Katrina side stepped the attack, and the knife landed harmlessly on the floor behind her. The metallic ring echoed through the tunnel.
Katrina returned to her position and painfully lifted the gun and fired; Juliet grunted and fell to the floor.
Bond released his grip and pivoted. He grasped the lip of the trap door and pushed off with his feet. His back was now toward Katrina.
“Good bye Mr. Bond” The shot was loud.

#30 volante

volante

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 08:53 AM

Chapter Thirty

Reading between the lines.



Tripoli, Libya. The final day of operation Rotunda.

No pain. No slam of the bullet into the bullet proof vest…
No spasm, no fall to the shiny sharp spikes below him. James Bond remained frozen in time.
The loud gunshot still echoed throughout the pit, fading in intensity, bouncing off the walls in an anti-crescendo of noise. Bond clung tightly to the lip of the trap door. He looked up; a droplet of sweat ran down his cheek. From his exposed position he could clearly see the prone form of Juliet Guggler, her body lay in a twisted heap. He needed to go to her.
Long seconds ticked by. No second shot. Still no pain.
No taunting call from the good Doctor from the other side of the pit.

Bond tensed his resolve and dug his boot into the metal checker plate, and pulled his upper body over the lip. He flexed his arms for one more push. Only when he was on the edge came the voice from behind him.
“Come on Commander; we ain’t got all night”
Bond swung his leg over the lip, and rolled onto the ground, as he did so he saw Major Harry Fawkes and Corporal Tom Parker standing where the good doctor had so recently tried to kill him.
Tried and failed. Bond looked down into the pit, and saw the broken bloody corpse of Doctor Katrina impaled upon the spikes.
Bond got to his feet and rushed to Juliet’s side, he felt for a pulse.

Now that the trap door was free from weight, it tilted back, forming a solid floor, hiding the horror beneath.
Tom flattened his body against the wall of the tunnel and crab walked along the solid edge, his movement echoed throughout the tunnel.
There was a pulse, it was weak, but she was still alive.
James Bond gathered her into his aching arms and carried her to the edge of the trap door.
“Careful now” Tom extended his hand, pulling Bond along the edge. Holding Juliet changed his centre of balance, so that twice he felt the need to step out to correct his stance. His foot hit the plate, and the groan of the mechanism halted his movement. Slowly they continued.
On the other side of the trap door, they lay her on the floor. Tom administered a shot of adrenalin. Juliet let out an almighty screech and sat bolt upright. Her hand went to her stomach; it came away coated in blood.
She looked into Bond’s eyes “Oh James I can remember…” her voice was weak, her fingers clawed in the air as if trying to catch a snow flake.
“Don’t speak, we’ll get you out of here, we just need to patch you up first” Bond pressed down on the wound.
As Tom began working on staunching the flow of blood Juliet traced her fingers against the wall of the tunnel. She drew a large uneven letter ‘D’
“I remember the drink you had on the plane” Her voice came in un-easy waves, surfing on her ragged breath. Her eyes rested on Bond.

The first burst of gunfire was just exploratory. But it announced the sound of the soldiers scurrying down the tunnel. Their approach was unmistakable.
Juliet didn’t flinch; she was oblivious to the danger, she continued to draw on the wall. Softly she hummed a song, its melody at odds with the ugly sound of the approaching guns.
“Time to go” Fawkes moved into a defensive position in front of them; waiting for the attack.
“We can’t move her till we get this wound shut off” Tom ripped open the medi pack.
Bond picked up a Heckler & Kotch machine pistol “Don’t be slow” He formed a human barricade besides Harry in front of the stricken girl.
“Look James” He glanced at the wall.
Juliet had written the letters ‘ecree’ on the wall, in her own blood.
“Very good, just hang on; we’ll be out of here in a minute”
The first soldier rounded the corner, Bond shot him stone dead.
The grenade bounced over the metal plating. Fawkes jumped up and kicked it back. The explosion sent shrapnel into the walls and roof of the tunnel. In the aftermath the quiet was unnerving.
Then the machine gun fire cascaded around them like hail stones.
“Move it Tom” Fawkes returned the fire. Juliet dipped her fingers into the blood again and began to write again.
“Such fun” she said, but her voice was distant. Her fingers clawed at the wall. Blood dripped to the floor.
Very quietly she said “James, you see I can remember everything. I remember I even tried to kill you…Oh what was I thinking”
“You weren’t feeling yourself”
“Okay, we’re ready”. Tom shouted above the gunfire. He stuffed the medical kit back in his bag.
“Do you want me to carry her?”
Bond threw the gun at him and picked up Juliet. “No, she’s with me”
“Take me home James” She whispered. Blood seeped from the corner of her mouth. Bond began to jog along the tunnel.
Fawkes brought up the rear as they started down the tunnel. The lights were off, but the darkness was not complete.
“How far to the exit?” Bond asked. Juliet snuggled nicely in his arms.
“Two hundred yards” Fawkes shouted back over his shoulder
“All up-hill” added Tom. They charged on. The bullets zinged off the wall behind them, a small sliver of stone slashed a cut across Bond’s cheek. The moonlight reached into the tunnel, drawing them into its safety. Juliet’s head lolled from side to side. The city scape beyond the tunnel showed clearly. Bond sucked in the air. Fifty yards to go. The faint smell of wet sand hit Bond, were they heading for the beach? No it was definitely the city.
Ten yards to safety. Behind him the gunfire was intense lighting the tunnel in a harsh blinding deadly light.
Tom screamed “I’m hit” Bond turned to see if he could help, but Fawkes shouted back
“Keep going James” Bond turned back and came face to face with a Libyan soldier, both men stopped dead. His gun prodded into Juliet’s body. Bond noted it was an Israeli Galil 7.62mm.
Tom and Harry backed into Bond. The soldier opened his mouth and fell forward, dropping to the floor at Bond’s feet. Private Craig Dixon returned his knife to its black rubber scabbard at his waist. Fawkes fired one more burst into the pursuing pack, the gun fell on an empty chamber “I’m out”
“Let me help” Dick lifted Juliet from Bond’s arms and sprinted to the 4x4. Bond grabbed hold of Tom and hurried him along to the 4x4. Fawkes picked up the Galil and followed behind them.
Dick started the engine. Fawkes threw the gun at Bond. He caught it and jumped into the front passenger seat. The tyres squealed. Bond noticed the tunnel entrance had brought them out into a building site. Building sand was all around them. At least that explained the smell.
The first of the soldiers burst out of the tunnel. Their fire raked the back of the Hyundai, zinging and pinging into the metal work, like a hammer on an anvil. Dick changed gear and the car bounced over the rough terrain.
The 4x4 bounced out of the site onto the road, making a rapid withdrawal. The gunfire died in the distance.
“Next stop London” Dick shouted to the team.

The heavily armed Toyota Hi lux came out of the side street twenty yards behind them; its bright lights illuminated the interior of the Hyundai.
It was one of two vehicles that they had seen earlier in the night. Bristling with weapons it took up chase.
“Oh [censored]” Dick grimaced.
The two cars bounced along the street, engines whining in protest. Fawkes could clearly see a soldier stood on the flat bed behind the cab, trying to aim the rocket propelled grenade launcher. His fingers hovered over the trigger, just a moment away from sending a missile into the body of the black Hyundai.
“We need to get out of his line of fire!”
The narrow street offered no opportunity to turn off. At the far end of the street the second Toyota appeared, cutting off their escape. The truck came to an abrupt halt. It stood in defiance, engine revving like a panting dog.
“Weapons?” Bond shouted, as he switched his view from truck to truck.
“We’re all done; there’s only your Heckler and the Galil” Fawkes kept the pressure on Juliet’s wound as he nodded toward the guns in Bond’s hands.
“Slow down” Bond shouted to Dick
“What?” he screamed even though he complied. The 4x4 slithered to a stop. The Toyota screamed up behind them.
“Get down Harry” Bond pivoted in his seat and aimed the Heckler. In the sights Bond singled out the driver. Carefully he pulled the trigger and fired through the smashed rear window. The bullets cut through the air, smashing through the windscreen into the cab of the Toyota. Bond watched as the glass blew out. Now the driver was exposed. Bond switched to the sniper rifle.
The Israeli defence department had taken a standard Galil assault rifle, and re-chambered it to 7.62x51mm NATO. They had added a slick little adjustable stock that folded for transport, mounted a bipod to the front of the receiver (as opposed to the barrel), they added a two stage trigger and mounted a scope on the side of the receiver to avoid mounting to the stamped receiver on top the rifle.
Harry Fawkes knew what Bond was planning, the pressure would be immence.
“I’ve yet to get the opportunity to use that rifle, may I?”
“This is my mess, I’ll fix it”
“My first impression is that the gun will perform like an assualt rifle, and not like a true sniper rifle, you may need a couple of sighters”
Bond raised the Galil, putting his eye to the Nimrod sight.
In the glare of the heaplamps Fawkes never saw the Hi lux driver’s head implode, but he knew the spray of death from the Galil had done its job. The Toyota began to veer across the road. Inside the cab the driver’s lifeless body lost control. His dead hands turned the wheel abruptly, and the Hi lux smashed into the wall, the soldier on the back lost his grip on the RPG. The Toyota flipped over and skidded on its side. The sparks ignited the fuel tank, the car exploded.
“But of course I could be proven wrong”
“Lucky shot. OK you can go now” Bond urged Dick.
The tyres on the Hyundai fought for grip, as the 4x4 skidded away from the Toyota. Flames festooned around the smashed vehicle as it slid along the road behind them, the flames reached out like the grim hand of death toward the Hyundai. One of the rockets exploded upward smashing into the building at their side. Then the other rockets ignited from the heat. The first explosion brought down most of the front wall of the building, the second third and fourth totally demolished the building. The impetus of the explosion spurred the burning truck forward. The front of the Toyota slid into the Back of the Hyundai, which skidded from the impact. The two cars danced together along the road, the flames licked at the back of the Hyundai. Dick caught the slide and spun the wheel, the car shot away from the inferno. They tore down the road, hemmed in by apartment blocks on both sides. Behind them the buildings continued to collapse just like a planned demolition. In front of them the second Grenade carrying Toyota blocked their path; its headlights mocked their progress.
“Now what?” Dick asked.
“Now we take the scenic route” Bond jerked his thumb back at the demolished building.
“Nice one Commander” Dick executed the handbrake turn. The Hyundai charged headlong into the smouldering debris of the demolished building.
“Windows shut please” Fawkes shouted as the 4x4 sped through the flames.
Dick spun the wheel and the car jumped over the bricks and plunged through the dusty remains of the apartment block.
As they emerged from the smoke and dust Dick turned sharp right and gunned the accelerator. Two of the tyres were alight.
“We still got to sort out the RPG carrier at the end of here, they’ll be waiting for us you know” Dick nodded toward the end of the street
Bond checked the magazine. Only one round left. One single bullet.
“How much ammo have we got James?” asked Fawkes
“Enough” Answered Bond slamming the magazine back into the gun.
The 4x4 screamed out of the canyon of apartments. The junction they were approaching was controlled by traffic lights.
“Which way? Asked Dick. The Toyota was approaching fast from the right, like a pit-bull high on a blood lust.
“Turn right” shouted Bond “Then stop” The 4x4 screamed around the corner. The red light was ignored.
Dick executed the turn then slammed on the brakes.
“You’re the boss”
Bond opened the door and climbed out of the car; he jumped up on to the grab rail and stood on the roof of the Hyundai. Deliberately he took up station in front of the advancing Toyota.
The driver of the Toyota gritted his teeth, and ducked down behind the steering wheel. The truck headed directly for Bond.
Bond lifted the Galil to his shoulder, the driver was hidden behind the wheel; there was no clear shot. The cross hairs danced around the cab, searching for the target. The Toyota bore down upon them. Bond changed his aim, and fired the final round.
In modern firearms, all bullets come as part of a cartridge.
The cartridge is the combination of the bullet, the propellant, the propellant casing and the firing cap. The bullet itself is placed on top a brass casing that houses the propellant powder, and at the base of the cartridge is the firing cap.
The bullet from the snipers rifle created a small vortex as it covered the distance between the gun and the target. The bullet slammed into the throat of the soldier aiming the RPG. As he buckled under the pain of the bullet, his dying body slid to the bed. His hands remained gripped around the trigger. The RPG now pointed almost vertically. As the pressure exerted by the dead man’s fingers pressed the trigger the rocket looped into the air. From his cab the driver craned his neck to see where the grenade had gone, certainly not into the black Hyundai. The rocket arced into the sky and then plummeted back toward the Toyota. The driver slowed and watched in fascination as the grenade approached his own cab. As if pulled together by magnetism, the grenade homed in on the helpless driver as the truck meandered across the road into the wall. Bond stood like a statue on the roof of the 4x4.

The grenade exploded, engulfing the pick-up in a ball of flame.
Bond jumped back into the 4x4 “Okay the lights are green now”
Carefully Dick manoeuvred the 4x4 past the burning wreck.
“How far to the extraction site?” Fawkes asked as he slapped another medi pack on Tom’s wound.
“Couple of blocks away. How’s Tom?” replied Dick
“He’s doing fine, just drive”
The Hyundai tilted dangerously as it rounded another corner. Here however the local militia were waiting knelt on both sides of the street ready to open fire.
“Oh [censored], don’t these guys ever give up” Dick, knowing they had no ammo, swerved to one side of the street, smashing into the oil drum. The drum flew into the air spraying burning embers all over the men crouched behind it, before they had a chance to fire. Dick swerved back across the street. Then the locals opened fire. Dick swerved back, but this time the 4x4 missed the oil drum. The burning tyre deflated and the car became trapped the gully at the side of the road. In a flash Bond opened the passenger door and pushed over the next drum. It rolled down the road scattering the local men as it kept pace with the burning 4x4 as it sped past.
“Bye bye” Dick waved as he bumped the car out of the gully. And finally made the lunge onto the pavement. They continued to smash into more untended home-made fires burning in oil drums as they made their chaotic way down the street. In their wake, men their clothes burning, ran in disarray, spoiling the aim of other local soldiers.
“Must be shift change over” Dick commented

***

The small park was very quiet and very still in the moonlight. The 4x4 sighed to a stop.
“Where’s that bloody chopper?” Dick jumped from the car and helped Tom to the edge of the flat grass area. Fawkes stood guard at the rear of the Hyundai
Bond carried Juliet. “James you need to prepare yourself, I don’t think she’s gonna…”
Bond glared back at him. Harry knew the thought had never entered into his mind.

In the cool night air the wind began to stir. Silently the four bladed, twin engine UH-60 Black Hawk, medium-lift utility Sikorsky helicopter dropped to the ground. The down draft stirred up the grass.
Dick shouted over his shoulder “Come on guys, time to go home”
Harry looked over at Bond as they began their crouched run to the chopper
“How’s your girl doing Commander?” He knew Bond would never give up hope.
Bond looked down at the peaceful face of Juliet Guggler. Even in the poor light her beauty was undeniable. Her eyes were shut, and the long lashes touched her cheeks, and seemed to light up her skin.
The darker freckles seemed to glow.
“She’s had a hell of a night; but with a good night’s sleep she won’t remember any of this in the morning”




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