GOODNIGHT MR. BOND
James Bond and Mary Goodnight boarded the red eye train to Switzerland in Nantes, France. Bond put a small wad of euros in the porter's hand after he had checked the pair's tickets, silently nodding to him before boarding the train. "Thank you, sir," the porter said.
Once on the train, they were immediately met by another porter who proceeded to escort them to their room aboard one of the sleeping cars. Goodnight could feel Bond's hand on the small of her back as they walked, pressed against the black fur coat that she was wearing. This was welcome physical contact between the two, considering she still sensed that he was angry with her over the botched mission in Istanbul only two weeks earlier.
The porter unlocked their room, holding it open for them as they stepped inside. He followed closely behind with their luggage. "This is lovely," Goodnight said, taking a step into the massive luxury room that housed a queen-sized bed as well as a small sitting area. The wooden interior of the room was gorgeous, as were the green fabrics and carpeting that accented it quite well.
"Don't make yourself too comfortable. We're not going to be spending much time in here," Bond said.
"You sure do know how to ruin a good time, don't you James?" she asked playfully, pecking a kiss on his cheek before moving over to her carry-on to make sure that she was prepared for the evening's events.
"Did you want to go over the plan again or did you just want to free-style it like the last time?" Bond asked.
"Are you still mad about that?" she asked, clearly noting the irritation in his tone.
"I think we both know the Istanbul job didn't go as smoothly as it should have."
"Fine. Let's go over it again," she said, expressing her frustration with Bond over his apparent lack of faith in her at times. She chalked it up to him overcompensating due to their on-again, off-again romance that, she felt, left him looking for an upper hand in their professional dealings when she felt he should view her more as a professional partner and less of a subordinate.
Bond removed his black overcoat and draped it over the back of one of the chairs in the sitting area. He loosened his tie before reaching into his briefcase to retrieve one of the several dossiers he was carrying with him. He placed it on the table, motioning for Goodnight to join him. He flipped the folder open, revealing a detailed account of a man named Vincent Shaw. "This man," Bond said, "is carrying on him several dossiers that are filled with state secrets and weapons blueprints that, if in the wrong hands, could severely compromise our national security."
"I know all of this. It may come as a surprise to you, but I did actually read over the paperwork that we were given before we left on this assignment," she said pointedly. "I even paid attention during the briefing."
Bond didn't reply, opting to continue, but not before giving her a look that stopped her in her tracks. "Do continue," she said.
"Our mission, well, your mission, is to get Shaw to invite you to his room for the night. Once you're there, press the button on your watch," Bond said, pulling an exquisite gold watch from his briefcase. "This will let me know where you are and that you're ready to proceed to the next phase of the assignment."
"Courtesy of Q Branch, I take it?" she said, holding it up.
"I'm afraid so," Bond said. "Which means you'll have to return it when we're done."
"That's a shame," she said, feigning outrage. "It's a beautiful watch."
The dining car was crowded when Goodnight made her way to the bar to take her position for the first phase of the mission. The size of the crowd in the car gave her a reasonable assurance that she would be safe, even in Shaw's presence, at least until she made it back to his room. She knew that Bond wouldn't be present in the dining car with her, the fact of which provided her with a mixed feeling of anxiety and calm. She wanted to prove to him that she was a capable field agent, a fact that he already knew but had perhaps forgotten after the Istanbul debacle which had nearly gotten them both killed.
"Can you hear me?" she heard Bond say through the earpiece.
"Is the mark in the room?"
"Let me know when he is. I'm still setting things up on my end."
She had not noticed how much her palms had been sweating until the bartender approached her and asked her what she would like to drink. She hadn't anticipated being this nervous, but still found her fists clenched tightly enough. "Just a glass of red wine, whatever kind you've got," she said, wiping her hands on the skirt of her skin-tight black dress, which Bond had picked out for her. She had allowed him to pick it out for her, primarily because she knew that he had an eye for the finer things, and who was she to argue with him on that.
"Come on, Goodnight. You can do better than that," she heard Bond interject in her ear.
She waited until the bartender had moved away from her to respond. "What are you talking about?"
Your drink order is what I'm talking about. 'Whatever you've got'. If we're going to work together you're going to have to learn to order a proper drink."
"Then why don't you come on out here and order one for me," she said, growing tired of the constant nitpicking.
The bartender returned with her wine, which she slowly sipped down, enjoying the taste after what had already been a long day of travel. The wine was nothing overly fancy, to be sure, but she didn't find herself with a compulsive need for an overly elaborate drink like Bond did.
She turned around in her seat to survey the room, half hoping to see Shaw already there. He wasn't, which allowed her to turn her attention to the large windows on the opposite side of the car. The darkness didn't allow her to see much, but the little that she could see by the light of the full moon was breathtaking. This would have been the perfect setting for a romantic getaway, she thought, and it was a shame that it was being wasted on the matter at hand.
Goodnight turned back around in her seat, returning to her wine, which she just managed to finish when a man took the seat next to her. "Hello," he said in a rather raspy voice.
She turned to him, immediately recognizing him as Shaw from the dossier photo. "Good evening," she said with a smile, exaggerating her slight Australian accent for effect.
"My name's Vincent," he said, extending his hand, which she took in a firm handshake. "Nice grip. I like a woman with a firm grip."
"And why exactly is that?" she playfully inquired.
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's because it lets me know that she's not going to be pushed around, that she can handle herself."
She fixed her gaze on him, noting that he wasn't at all how she had imagined. Maybe this was due to a relative lack of field experience, but she had imagined Shaw as a hard-edged and overly ruthless individual that one would be able spot as a 'villain' from a mile away. If she hadn't known him to be what amounted to a terrorist in the eyes of Her Majesty's Government, she would have taken him for a relatively charming individual.
"Trust me, I'm more than capable of handling myself," she eagerly fired back.
"I don't think I got you name," he said, motioning for the bartender to come over.
"It's Mary," she said.
"What can I get for you sir?" the bartender asked.
"I'll have a Bourbon and Mary here will have..." he said, waiting for Goodnight to put in her order.
"I'll just have another glass of wine," she said, pushing her empty glass across the bar.
"Just a moment," the bartender said, retreating to the other end of the bar to fix the drinks.
"So, Mary. Where are you headed?" Shaw asked.
"Remember to keep your answers short and sweet," she heard Bond comment through the earpiece.
"Switzerland," she said. "Well, really, I'm just heading East. Anywhere but where I've been living for the past few years is really where I'm headed. I might try Switzerland for a while, then maybe somewhere else."
"Sounds like you're running away from something."
"You could say that. I'm just looking for a fresh start."
"Wouldn't that be a second fresh start? Your accent is Australian, if I'm not mistaken. What brought you here to Europe in the first place?"
"Work. I deal in imports and exports," she said.
Goodnight and Shaw kept the conversation going for a while longer, leaving an irritated Bond waiting on the other end. "Would you hurry this up?" he said impatiently.
Goodnight reached for her ear, trying to discretely remove the earpiece without Shaw noticing. She waited until he turned his attention away for a moment to order another drink, allowing her time to remove it and place it in her purse. The remarks from Bond were beginning to go from being mildly annoying to rather irritating for Goodnight. Had she botched the Istanbul job? She would admit to that, and had done so on several occasions already. In her mind, his holding it against her for as long as he had was beginning to verge on being unprofessional. It was also starting to intrude on the relationship the two of them had forged away from the job as well.
She finished off another glass of wine with Shaw before deciding to push the night's events towards a conclusion. "I hope I'm not being too forward," she said, "but would you mind if we took this party back to your room for the night?"
"Absolutely," shaw said, sounding a bit flustered by the proposition yet strangely in control of the situation at the same time. He extended his arm to her, escorting her back to his room.
Bond had begun to pace back and forth across the small space he had in his room. He reached for the bar and poured the entire contents of the miniature bottle of vodka into a glass. He had no idea what was taking Goodnight so long. Perhaps she was intentionally dragging this out in an effort to get back at him for the way he had been treating her lately, which even he would have to admit had been a bit cruel. He would never admit this to anyone, though, especially her.
The vodka was not up to Bond's usual high standard. "They always stock the cheap stuff in the rooms," he muttered under his breath.
He checked himself in the mirror, noting how much he despised the porter's uniform he was stuck wearing for the assignment. Granted, the uniforms were designed to look good by the standards of society at large, but to Bond, the fabrics just felt cheap, a far cry from the tailored suits he was accustomed to wearing on a regular basis.
A few drinks later, which included a sampling of the other cheap amenities of the bar, the red light on Bond's watch lit up, indicating that Goodnight had activated her tracking device. "About bloody time," Bond grumbled.
Bond retrieved his mobile phone from his pocket, syncing it up with the homing device on his watch. The mobile indicated that Goodnight was in a room located in the car attached to the other side of the dining car from where Bond was located. He reached into his carry-on and produced a Walther pistol, shoving it into the holster he was wearing underneath his porter's vest.
The dining hall was still rather crowded, which Bond thought to be a bit odd considering how late it was getting, but he shrugged it off as an unimportant detail. He saw an ice bucket with a tall champagne bottle stuck in it sitting atop the bar. "Is this for Room 12?" he asked the bartender.
"Yes. Would you mind taking it there? I don't know what happened to the other guy," the bartender said.
"My pleasure," Bond replied, grabbing the ice bucket and a towel from the bar.
Once Bond had made his way out of the dining car, he surveyed the hallway of the next car, making sure he was alone before ducking into a small storage area. He put the champagne bucket down on the floor and reached into his vest to retrieve the Walther. He produced a silencer from his pocket and screwed it onto the end of the pistol before draping the towel over it.
Champagne bucket in hand, Bond made his way to Room 12, the last on the hallway of that particular car. He knocked three times before hearing footsteps approaching the door. The door cracked open slightly, not enough for Bond to see who was on the other side. "Who's there?" a voice asked.
"I've got the champagne you ordered, sir."
Bond heard the sound of the door unlocking before it opened fully. he recognized the blonde man as Vincent Shaw from the dossier photo. Shaw had a scar across his face, not dissimilar to the one that Bond was sporting, which must have been from a recent encounter as it was not present in the dossier photo.
"Let me just place this down right over here and I'll be on my way," Bond said, entering the room.
He stepped into Shaw's room, immediately noticing Goodnight on the bed. He hoped that the smile on her face was due to his presence rather than from anything that had already happened in the room that he had not been there to witness. She looked beautiful in the dress, Bond thought to himself, taking in her beauty for a moment as he put the champagne bucket down on the table.
"Don't look at my woman that way," Shaw growled from behind Bond.
"My apologies, sir." Bond said, setting the towel down on the table, revealing the pistol. He turned to face Shaw, training the pistol at him, which caught the blonde man off guard.
"Hold on a second now. If you're that serious about it, then you can have her."
Goodnight got up off the bed, straightening her dress as she walked over to where Bond was standing, standing just behind him to his right. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Mary, would you please secure the documents so we can get out of here?" Bond requested.
Of course, she said, stepping in front of Bond towards Shaw's luggage in the far corner of the room.
"You two are together?" Shaw asked, slowly putting the pieces together.
Before she could make it past him, Bond grabbed her wrist with his free hand and pulled her into a kiss. He maintained his aim and eyes on Shaw, even as Goodnight passionately reciprocated. While Bond was enjoying himself, he had done it primarily to get a rise out of Shaw, which he accomplished. Shaw took a step towards them, prompting Bond to fire a round into the man's leg, sending him to the floor.
"That was lovely," Goodnight said, pulling away from Bond, her eyes catching his for a fleeting moment.
"The kiss or Shaw flopping around like a dead fish on the floor?" he asked, already anticipating her response.
"Get the documents," he said, turning his attention back to Shaw. "And, as for you, if you had just stood still you wouldn't have gotten a bullet in the leg."
"What does it matter?" Shaw groaned. "You're just going to kill me anyway."
"I've got them," Goodnight said, returning from the corner of the room holding a briefcase.
"You see, that's where you've got it all wrong, Mr. Shaw...or can I call you Vincent. Anyway, Vincent, we're going to let you live."
"Why is that?" Shaw asked, genuinely curious to hear the answer.
"First off, you're a bit too small-time to waste the bullets on. Second, I'm sure that once Ms. Knight finds out about your failure here, she'll do the job for us. I hear she's not exactly the forgiving type."
"I think we're all set. Let's get out of here," Goodnight said.
"Just give him the cocktail and we'll be set to go."
Goodnight reached for a small black pouch that was fastened to her thigh underneath her dress, retrieving from it a syringe. "What is that?" Shaw asked, his nerves starting to get the better of him for the first time during the ordeal.
"Don't worry, Vinny," Goodnight said. "This is just going to knock you out for a while. You'll wake up feeling great..."
"Assuming that Ms. Knight doesn't find you before you wake up," Bond said.
Goodnight jammed the needle into Shaw's neck. "Damn you, Mary. I'll get you back for this."
"I look forward to it," she said playfully.
Shaw fell unconscious, his body lying limp in the middle of the floor of his room. "Are we ready?" Goodnight asked.
"Yes," Bond said, checking his watch. "Judging by the time, the next stop should be in about a half hour."
"Where are we getting off?" she asked.
"Have you ever been there?"
"Once or twice."
"Shall we then?" Goodnight asked.
"After you," Bond said, leading her back to their room.
When the train made its stop in Lyon, it had begun to snow. The ground had already been covered by several inches of the powder, which had since become compacted. Now a fresh, loose layer of the powder was accumulating on the ground. "This is really beautiful," Goodnight said, smiling.
"Since our holiday was canceled, what do you say we spend a couple of days here before we head back to London?"
Goodnight nodded her approval, linking her arm with Bond's as they made their way out of the train station to the street in search of a taxi. "Come on, I'll take you to dinner. I know a great restaurant in Lyon," Bond said, helping Goodnight into the taxi.