JAMES BOND OO7
I would like to thank all those who have encouraged me in my writing and helped me in the production of this novel, especially Simon, Gordon and Steve. Thanks, guys.
This novel is inspired by, but is not intended to be compared to, Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I have included some of my favourite scenarios from across the world of James Bond literature and film to help me create the story. I’m sure you’ll spot the similarities. As they say: ‘There are no original stories, just original ways of telling them’. CS
ALSO BY THE AUTHOR ON COMMANDERBOND.NET
Icebreaker (A screen treatment of John Gardner’s 1983 novel)
The Steel Wolf (A short story)
The Humming Bird
The Blink of an Eye
Those Who the Gods Love Die Young
Past Times (A short Story)
Never Kiss a Stranger
Apollo’s Tears (A Short Story)
This novel is 100% unofficial and has been written for the James Bond fan community at www.commanderbond.net. The author acknowledges all copyrights for products mentioned in the document and for the James Bond character as created by Ian Fleming. The official James Bond books are copyright Glidrose/Ian Fleming Publications Ltd and are available to purchase. The motion pictures are created by EON productions/MGM. For further information please visit the official James Bond website at www.jamesbond.com.
All characters and situations in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely co-incidental.
This novel is the intellectual property of Chris Stacey, whose personal details are listed on the CommanderBond.net website under the member ship name “chrisno1.”
© Chris Stacey Esq 2013
A WHISPER OF DEATH
1: CHAMPAGNE AND DEATH
2: WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER?
4: THE WHITE ROOM
5: TWICE THE TROUBLE
6: AN EYE FOR FASHION
8: HUNTER OR HUNTED
9: SAFE HOUSE
11: A CHORUS OF SLAVES
13: PATIENTS, PLEASE
14: THE GOOD DOCTOR
15: A CLOSE SHAVE
16: ‘WE GO WELL TOGETHER, DON’T YOU THINK?’
17: NON-SAFE HOUSE
19: ALL OUR YESTERDAY’S
20: KILLER’S INSTINCT
21: FLIGHT AND FIGHT
23: SKY RIDERS
24: A WHISPER OF DEATH
25: THIS TIME FOREVER
Champagne and Death
The watcher on the terrace of the ski lodge saw through the binoculars why James Bond was considered the most dangerous of men.
He was completing the last in a series of long spectacular swooping runs down the slopes towards Donovaly.
It was like watching music. His timing was perfect. His skis aligned as if along bars of script. His limbs moved so sweetly he could have been the bow on Du Pre’s cello. The sound of slats on soft powder, inaudible to the watcher, must surely have rippled in applause. His neat stop in a flurry of snow was like the cut of a baton in the air, sharp, affirmative, direct. This was a man in total control of all his muscles, from the anterior to the femoris, the deltoid to the biceps, the triceps to the tensors. The movement and harmony of the man’s body was in tune with its surroundings. Every gesture, every gaze, every word spoken, was a calculated, rhythmic decision, one which started behind those steel blue eyes, inside the mind, inside the brain, the one muscle in the body which, like the heart, never stops working.
But, also like the heart, it was a muscle the watcher considered was always susceptible to outside influence.
Bond had come to rest next to a startlingly attractive red head, her hair pushed back behind a peaked fur cap, spreading away in the mountain breeze like a curtain from her neck. The snow goggles were around her throat, dangling, and she laughed as Bond moved closer. The pink ski suit she wore was a tight affair, all in one, and no imagination necessary. She clung to Bond, shook the contents of her outfit admirably to and fro and offered her giggling face for a kiss.
They turned away and he managed to nuzzle the girl’s neck as they slid towards the waiting gondolas. She wasn’t worried by the bumpy ground. If she fell she would be effortlessly saved by falling into Bond’s arms.
The watcher lowered the binoculars. No man had the right to such success, such easy pleasure. His own pleasure, due for immediate fulfillment, would lie in stopping it.
***** ***** *****
Bond had first met her three days ago in the hotel lounge.
He’d just ordered a bottle of champagne when she entered, her hair like Rapunzel, deep natural red, almost to her buttocks, her slim figure encased in a barely-there mini-dress that exposed acres of long, lithe leg and ample creamy cleavage. She took the table next to his, delicately crossing her legs as she sat. One raised stiletto-heeled foot swayed and her hands idly flipped across the screen on her i-phone.
Was she waiting for someone - a girlfriend maybe, or a lover, an affair, perhaps? He put her at maybe twenty two. He was wrong on all counts.
Bond refilled his glass. He watched as she angrily placed the phone on the table. Her foot twitched agitatedly. She beckoned to a passing waiter and ordered something in a quick short sentence. She sat back slightly slouched, her bottom at the edge of the leather couch, her shoulders resting on the cushion. The tables were very close. Bond felt he could reach out and touch her. She noticed the curious inquiry on his face. A scowl crossed her lips and she picked up the phone again.
He liked her already. It was almost impossible not to, he reflected. She was stunning and, while Bond usually avoided girls who wanted to be ogled, believing this attracted unwanted attention, this time even he couldn’t resist the lure of the long lustrous hair. To prevent himself staring, Bond checked his own mobile and found he had no reception.
“Dreadful isn’t it?” he started, “When the weather moves in.”
It was blizzard conditions outside. Skiing had been suspended since lunchtime. Now, in the dark of evening, the swirls of snowfall caught in street lights or head lamps, made a half-haze of white, a curtain pulled beyond the hotel’s windows.
She flicked her head. The hair which had fallen across her face waved away and she stared at him.
It was a deliciously soft accent. Her tongue seemed to get caught on the word.
Bond smiled and indicated with his phone to the window and the snowflakes, “My reception’s gone too. I missed a business appointment.”
It was a dreadful lie.
“I hope your call isn’t important,” he said.
“I want to contact mother,” she said slowly, “Excuse me; my English, not so good.”
“Your English is fine. Perhaps I can help. Have you tried the hotel telephones?”
“I am not staying.”
“Ask at reception. I’m sure they’d -”
“I will have to pay.”
“All right,” Bond stood up and held out his hand, “Come with me then. I’m a resident.”
The girl pondered his hand, stared up at him with deep lavender eyes then took it, just her fingers touching his. He led her through to the lobby where two old-fashioned phone booths nestled in a corner. Bond swiped his door key card across the slot, lifted the handset and placed it in the girl’s small palm.
Her mother was not coming for dinner. Not on a night like this. Disappointed the girl replaced the receiver. Bond was standing just within ear shot, the freshly filled champagne flute still in his hand. He stepped forward and held it out.
“Why don’t you join me,” he ventured, “My name’s James.”
“James,” she repeated.
“And you are?”
“I’m very pleased to meet you, Renata,” Bond said.
He thought that sounded a little bit too cocky. She didn’t seem to mind and took a pace towards him, her head tilting to one side, her eyes searching for his again.
“I have champagne on ice, Bollinger, the ’76,” he continued, “If you’d care to join me.”
“Why not?” she said slowly, “It will be nice; I know not of champagne.”
“I’m an expert.”
“I see. That is good, yes?”
“You are not here just for the champagne, James?”
It sounded like a leading question. Bond gestured to his table in the lounge. For a moment he considered why such a gorgeous woman should find herself alone at the Hotel Galileo, why she would latch herself onto James Bond. It was only for a moment. Her coconut fragrance swept over him and buried the suspicion.
“No, I’m skiing. The slopes are less crowded in Slovakia.”
“Ah. And you like Slovakia?”
“I like what I see.”
Too cocky again, but the comment met only a smile. They sat down and Bond lifted the bottle, “I’m afraid I don’t know very much about Slovakia.”
“Then you must learn.”
“All right,” he said, pouring her a glass, watching her watch the bubbles fizz and pop, “If you promise to teach me everything about Slovakia, I promise to teach you everything about champagne.”
Four hours later Renata unzipped the mini-dress and slipped it off her shoulders. The smooth outline of her gorgeous bosom was reflected in the floor to ceiling mirror that laced the far side of the bedroom. She ran her hands down her sides. Her fingers hooked into the elastic of the tiny black thong.
Naked, Bond approached her, kissed her neck and helped pull the panties down. This was to be the final lesson of the evening.
Like him, Renata, was polishing up on her skiing. The twenty four year old daughter of a renowned Slovak businessman, this was her local resort. The family had a chalet on the edge of the village, but she neglected it - and her mother - and stayed in Bond’s suite, eating, sleeping, making love and drinking champagne. The maids who scurried in and out delivering caviar for breakfast, Caesar salad for lunch and duck lokša for dinner, thought it all wonderfully romantic. After two days of heavy snow, the skies cleared and Bond decided it was about time they exercised some other muscles, so he persuaded the girl to go skiing.
Donovaly sat plumb in the centre of Slovakia, twenty miles north of Banska Bystrica nestling on the edge of the Vel’ká Fatra National Park. It was a picturesque mountain village occupying the dip of a bowl between three mountains, the highest of which was Donovaly itself, almost 10,000 feet high, its broad shoulder seeming to loom over the pretty multicoloured chalets. Seventeen runs converged on the town, serviced by a series of chair lifts. Most were modest fare, slopes for beginners, children and the unambitious. But three of the runs mounted the great peak itself, one traversing its apex, the other two taking steep winding turns to the valley floor.
The Galileo didn’t have the impressive façade of the Hotel Residence or the central location, but that was why Bond liked it. It was a charming, smallish hotel that didn’t pander to hordes of day trippers and groups of ill-behaved children. It was quiet, almost quaint, he thought, a bit how the resort might have been before the onslaught of mass tourism.
Having warmed up with two modest runs, Bond wanted to tackle something more treacherous before the afternoon died. Renata, who was a good nimble skier, agreed, so they kicked off their slats and waited in line for the Tele-mix, the gondola that ferried the brave to the mountain top.
The girl hugged him close. She felt soft and warm, even through the padded ski gear. Bond kissed her as the car jerked away from the cable station and started its ascent. As his lips came away from hers, Bond noted the three men garbed in black who stood to the rear of the car. They didn’t carry skis, but instead hefted bulging back packs crisscrossed with elastic strapping. The men were clearly together, but were not talking. Their stares were blank, expressionless, like the snow. Idly, he gave them a professional once over, decided he was being absurdly cautious and returned to Renata’s tempting mouth.
The valley stretched out beneath them, duck shell blue under the late afternoon sun. Families played in the Fun Park, skating and making snowmen, tossing snowballs. Street lamps started to ember turning snow bound lanes into yellow rivers. Restaurant signs flickered on, the neon casting rainbow colours over tables packed with muffled drinkers and diners. Metres below, the trails from hundreds of skis spun out across the snow scape, making jigsaw patterns on the soft crystal carpet. Dipping over the western peaks, the sun could have been waving at the comfy idyll. Instead Bond felt an unerring chill. He recognized the signs. Something was amiss, intangible, unmistakable, unquantifiable, but real and deadly.
The gondola swung to a halt. The skiers dismounted, strapping on their skis as they tramped along the furlough. Bond stole another glance at the trio of black clad strangers. They were heading away from the slope towards the paraglide run off. Thrill seekers, he thought. Of course, the big rucksacks contained the oblong parachutes, the mass of guide ropes and the harness, the helmet. Bond smiled, reassured, and bent to adjust his retainers.
“Follow me?” squealed Renata as she set off down the run, the snow kicking behind her.
Bond nodded, pulled down his goggles and dug in his ski poles. He followed her wide zigzag pattern, admiring the graceful upright stance she took. Almost perfect balance, he considered, only that hip action, a little too wide. He smirked inwardly. He knew exactly where that sway came from. It gave her a jaunty, haughty gait that he liked. It teased and tempted, just like her amorous mouth.
Bond carved a little tighter on the turn. The incline was sharpening. The mountain side dived away, an almost unbroken expanse of empty snow, banked on each side with pines and conifers. Bond’s skis trembled under the impact of body on snow. His knees and ankles gave with the motion, absorbing the shock. He moved his feet an inch or so further apart, carved a slim question mark in the snow, avoiding a mogul, then as the incline steepened, sank into the backward crouch, his balance bearing to the rear of the skis, ensuring he didn’t tumble. The girl was fast disappearing, cutting into the next turn, swishing effortlessly around the markers, particles of snow lifting into the air from her runners. Despite himself, Bond let her go. This wasn’t a time for competition. He’d let her win. There would be a reward in it for him later.
Into a turn, he dug at the surface with his ski pole, correcting his balance and executing a wide curve, the left ski digging, slicing a trough in the snow, another snake’s tail to be frozen overnight. The skis felt like ice skates, whistling fast over the terrain as if it was glass. The air, bitterly cold, rushed over him, seeming to warm his cheeks, ruffle his neck. There was no sound, only the whoosh of tungsten and fibreglass as it swept over white carpets.
The gradient started to ease into the next turn. The route widened and Bond was able to assume a more upright stance, plunging across the run in big sweeping arcs rather than heading directly downhill. The cable car straddled the left side and the shadows of the big gondolas traversed up and down the piste, interrupted only by the steel stantions, an army of towers holding the Tele-mix afloat. The steel towers and what? What was that? He didn’t recognize it at first, unsure of what he’d seen. It was a wide dark shape, almost eagle like, but much, much bigger, not tapered at the tips. One of them, no, two, three, swooping, like birds of prey, but more like -
The whip crack of bullets snapped across his path.
Puffs of snow erupted short to Bond’s right. Terror suddenly gripped. Fear, the great leveler, attacked and his body responded. Electricity seemed to snarl at his spine. Instinct took over. He hit a low schuss, making his target smaller, and swung tight across the piste. Vaguely he saw the attackers, three parachutes, the men hanging in the harness seats, like big children on airborne swings, except instead of lollipops they carried silenced machine pistols. He couldn’t tell the make, couldn’t see it, only the black short snub-nosed barrel.
The girl, Bond noted, was gone, far away, cutting down the gorge without even a backward glance. Deliberate? He wondered, cast the suspicion away, and turned his attention back on the chutes.
They were speed riding. The men hovered only a dozen or so metres from the ground. Occasionally they’d sink through a thermal and briefly touch down, pushing off with their snow boots and taking to the air. The chutes were designed for speed and manoeuvrability. Incapable of soaring flight, the men descended in a series of hops and jumps. They kept pace easily with Bond whose twisting S shapes took far longer than their direct route. If one chute fell behind, the others stayed level; when it caught up, another dropped back. Bond recognized the tactic and bared a grimace.
The air snapped again. The bullets ripped into the snow by his left ski, inches away this time. The assassin bounced into the air. Bond swung further to the right, hitting the higher ground, trying to reach the safety of the pines. Bullets scythed across his track, edging closer, snow shoots clattering his thighs. Something gave under Bond’s left wrist. The broken ski pole spun out, the stump swayed useless in his hand. He tossed it aside. Bond felt his calves complain as he cut another swathe down the powder, off balance without the pole, his legs and hips doing all the work. The tree line was bearing up on him. The shadows lunged down. Bond could see the black ski suit, the thick coverall that obscured the pilot’s head, the orange pitted mask over his eyes and nose. The machine pistol swung in his arms. Bond hit a kicker, took it straight, airborne, his feet together. The assassin fired instantly. He was too late. Bond dropped fifteen feet and landed in a flurry of snow. The paraglide sank low and fast, the man’s feet and knees dragging onto the ice. He lost momentum and the sail snagged, hissing as the harness twisted and the canvas started to billow in the wind.
The second glider cut over his stricken colleague and came straight for Bond, the machine pistol flaring. Bond made three sharp parallels and was into the trees. Vaguely he saw the glider change course, flying down the tree line. Bond crashed through saplings and ducked under branches. His sleeve tore. His cheek split open, just above the jaw line. It was all a blur. All he heard was the swish of his skis, the flick and flay of nature on flesh as he twisted and turned, negotiating an insane trail through the dense green fog. Suddenly there was a new sound. The rush of wind as the chute whipped overhead. He might have imagined the soft ‘putt’ of the silenced shots, he might not. The woodland seemed to explode around him. Bullets crashed through the overgrowth. Pine cones, bark and twigs splintered and spun across his path, rapped his back and arms. It was an effort to stay upright. The chute lifted, caught in a fumarole, and came down again, the pilot jerking on the lead reins. Once more the bullets cracked into the trees. Once more Bond denied the deadly missiles, all the time switching left to right, banking to avoid half buried roots, charging through the outstretched arms of the forest.
He found a two metre wide trail, snaking through the copse. Bond took it at full tilt. He was more vulnerable now. Somewhere he knew the assassins were aiming for him, rising and falling, big black predators seizing the moment. He braced himself. But the moment never came. The trail was flattening out. Of course! Donovaly was stepped. Half way down the mountain spread a broad meadow. In the summer there would be coarse fields of long ticket grass. Now it was a shelf of white powder that stretched over the piste. And there hung the paraglides, waiting for him to emerge into the open expanse.
The last of the trees petered out and Bond saw the two chutes converging across the glade, trying to catch him in a pincer movement. Bond glanced left and right. One was closer, the other more side on, struggling with his lead lines, unable to fire. Bond went for the latter and snuck left. Bullets pumped into the ground behind him. Across the broad horizon Bond saw other skiers. They were fading into the twilight, ignoring the deadly play that was taking place a hundred metres behind. He saw the pink flash of Renata’s outfit, still at speed, still trying to win her imaginary race.
As Bond suspected, the pilot was out of position. He was caught in a down draft and had overshot his target. The man was turning the reins, closing the flaps, but he kept sinking lower, no more than two or three metres from the ground. Bond gauged the trajectory, ignored the salvo of bullets that came from the rear, and charged for the paraglide. He grabbed at the hanging ankle and dragged the body down. The pilot gave a muffled yelp. The canvas overhead screamed. A massive tear appeared on one side, the chute ripping under the extra weight. Bond dragged the man downhill with him, his skis gradually sinking too deep, sticking in the rutted powder. They collapsed in a tangle of limbs and harness and sail. Bond grappled for the gun, tore it free and swung the butt viciously down. It plunged into the man’s neck. Bond heard the bone snap. He pushed himself away from the assassin, clambered out from the rucking canvas. As Bond righted his skis, dead man and chute found themselves caught in the mountain squall and were dragged pitifully across the piste.
Bond discarded his remaining ski pole and hefted the machine pistol. It was a Heckler-Koch MP5K, a good, efficient model. The butt-stock had been removed, making it compact and light. The other pilot seemed to be reloading. Uphill, sweeping rapidly towards him was the original paraglide, the one that had toppled over the kicker. Bond skate-skied for a few metres, gaining speed, before sweeping into a long arc, attempting to outflank both assassins, finding the one point of relative safety. Now armed, he felt confident. The men were good, but so was Bond. One mistake had gifted him an opportunity. He had to take it. The MP5 felt warm in his hands. The trusted instinct for survival was pumping the adrenaline, forcing his lungs, his heart, his brain to work faster and faster. It was their death or his. But he had too many questions. Would Renata have the answers? Had she been a stooge for him all along? The flutter of pink had vanished. She might not be there when he returned - if he returned. No. It had to be one of the assassins who held the answer.
Bond zipped across the terrain, buckled by the tracks of other skis. He saw the two chutes coming fast, one at the side, one behind. Bond had positioned himself under the cable car wires. The chutes couldn’t get close. The man behind, still playing catch up, bounced down, rose startlingly fast and adjusted his angles. He wasn’t Bond’s concern. No, the danger man was swinging alongside, gun raised. Bond shot first. The reply was instant. The two men exchanged salvos. The air tore apart at Bond’s ears. He crouched into a schuss. Bullets whipped around him. He fired again, higher this time and saw the body jerk. The chute lifted dramatically. Out of control it hung for a moment before an updraft sucked it sideways over Bond’s head towards the trailing cables. The body seemed to claw at the drapes, half alive, and then the canvas wrapped itself over the oil-slick wires and the body sunk until it hung lifeless and helpless a few feet off the ground.
Bond was well away, dipping off the meadow and taking the next slope in a sharp traverse, leaning into the hill, pressuring the skis. The final paraglide was clattering behind him. The chute rumbled like an unfolding sail. Once more Bond sensed rather than saw the shots come. He took evasive action, heard the thump of bullets on snow, and twisted, first skiing laterally then backwards, facing the on-rushing assassin. Bond went for the harness and the chute. The bullets seared through the canvas. Two of the guide lines split. The chute almost folded in on itself.
Bond watched as the pilot crashed to earth in a spray of angry snow, the chute flapping madly behind. He skied toward the stricken man. The assassin was rolling out of the harness, the MP5K still in his hands. Bond tried to say something, to warn him, but the man was on one knee, the pistol was barking silent deadly cries.
Bond was still moving. His blood was still pumping fast. The instinct was still hot. Red hot like fractious bullets. Bond’s trigger finger squeezed.
The watcher took the bullets in the chest.
It was agony for a second. Afterwards there was only relief and a warm, wet sensation in his throat. He tasted blood. The sky was a dark orange. It looked like it would be a beautiful sunset. A pity he wouldn’t see it.
James Bond knelt beside him and pressed his hands over the wound, trying to stem the blood that poured out of the jagged hole in his chest.
“Who sent you?” he asked urgently.
He could only cough.
“Who sent you? Who wants me dead? Is the girl in on it?”
“Girl?” he whispered.
“Yes, the girl.”
“Girl,” he repeated, sickly, “Not girl.”
The words wouldn’t come.
“No girl,” he croaked, “Loki.”
Bond flinched. So that was it. He was back. Bond took his hands away. Blood bubbled out of the man’s mouth and his head dropped quietly onto an ice white carpet stained vivid red.
Edited by chrisno1, 14 July 2013 - 02:02 AM.