Based on the works of Ian Fleming
James Bond 007
FIRE WITH FIRE
Back Jacket Synopsis
In the year 2000; a sleeper infiltrated a key organisation in Great Britain’s corridors of power.
The cultivating of powerful roles followed; but the sleeper remained patient; faithful to his destiny.
For a decade there were no prizes to show; no hint of his potential.
The sleeper slept.
In 2010, the spark ignited; and the flames of conspiracy spread.
The designs were grand. As his hatred burned throughout the year the heat became intense. The wait was almost over…
…This Christmas the sleeper will sleep no more.
Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
Threaten the threatener
and outface the brow of bragging horror
William Shakespeare King John 1595:
What doesn’t kill you
Bond’s hand tightened around her taught waist; pulling her into him.
Her body yielded willingly; and she kissed him with an eagerness which hinted of the pleasure to come.
The motion of the black cab allowed their bodies to jostle into each other.
The sounds outside slipped by as they made their progress through the frozen city.
The electricity coursed through her body as she ran her hand down his chest; and snaked her well manicured fingers around his back.
Suddenly she tensed and pulled away “What’s that?”
“It’s a gun; I told you I’m in the security business” The sounds of the traffic filtered into the cab in the silence that followed.
“Oh” she kept her distance “I’ve never actually felt one before”
“Don’t worry; once I get you home; it’ll be gone”
The smile returned to her face; she moulded herself into him again; swinging her silk clad leg over his thigh.
It was at this moment that Bond’s mobile began to vibrate.
“Mmm; that’s clever” she muttered
Bond broke the embrace and withdrew his mobile.
Concern fluttered across her face as he punched the button
“You’re not going to answer it are you?”
“Part of the job”
The girl slid across the seat and rested against the door. Slowly she pulled open her cream silk blouse, and exposed her ample cleavage.
Bond’s eyes never left her as he answered the mobile “Yes?”
Monepenny’s voice came through, like a sudden cascade of cold water.
“Hello James; not interrupting anything am I?”
“Not yet” he said curtly
“How intriguing; how was the theatre?” Bond looked at the girl as she exposed more of her breasts.
“I never knew you were such a culture vulture”
“I think it’s vital to keep abreast of certain cultural activities” The girl ran her tongue over her sensual lips; as her hands cupped her breasts. Bond desperately wanted this phone call to be over.
Moneypenny asked “Tell me James, what play did you go to see?”
“I can’t remember” Bond had actually spent the night at the Grosvenor Casino; where his path had crossed the beauty that sat opposite him.
“And you went alone?” Moneypenny interrupted his thoughts
“I did” It was a true answer, and came across a little too sharply.
“Well that’s a shame; because I’m here all alone”
Bond preyed she would soon get to the ‘Merry Christmas’ sentence; and then hang up; but she seemed to be in the middle of a diatribe. The girl began breathing heavily, stretching her leg across his body.
From a distance Moneypenny’s voice interrupted again, like an annoying fly.
“I was just reading a memo”
‘For god sake Moneypenny’ Bond thought; as he caressed the girl’s leg. She droned on, the words swirled about his brain, touching nerves “Intelligence at Heathrow confirmed the identity of a passenger as Jared Mallic; one of the Ukrainians wanted in connection to the Stockholm bombing” Bond’s hand tightened the grip on the girl’s leg “Go on”
The girl took the comment as a question “Yes please” she answered
Moneypenny continued “Dover also reported that two separate facial verification cameras identified passengers from Calais as members of the same cell; and a further report from Paris that the known terrorist, Janik Costano was seen at Orly airport boarding a flight for London” The name brought Bond back to reality.
Costano was a Russian assassin with known connections to the same Ukrainian terrorist cell thought to have carried out the bombing in Stockholm; and more to the point; it had been rumoured that he had accepted a contract on Bond himself. Moneypenny continued “MI5 believe a hit team is being assembled in the UK”
“Are they all under surveillance?” Bond visualised the MI5 operatives pouring over London’s CCTV footage in the Thames House control room.
Moneypenny stumbled over the reply “They were tracking the suspects; but contact was lost about seven hours ago; in the Old Bailey of all places”
“Any word on a potential target?”
“Ah, so do I have your full attention now?”
“Yes you have it” Bond said quietly.
The girl whispered ‘Thank you” into his ear; as she had moved close to him now; lightly kissing his cheek, urging him to continue the caress. Suddenly her attentions seemed false.
Bond reviewed their meeting with a new slant. He hadn’t won enough to make him believe the girl was only after his money; but she had certainly thrust herself upon him as the night had worn on. He’d fleetingly thought she might be an escort; but at that time he didn’t care. Now he examined her behaviour more closely.
The cab slowed to a halt; must be traffic lights. The girl was gyrating; and the city lights beyond the windows of the cab were blurring into a kaleidoscope of colour.
Wait; those weren’t city lights.
The powerful search light lit the interior of the cab. From the other side Bond would be depicted in clear contrast to the dark night.
He grabbed the girl and rolled into the foot well just as the window smashed and the cascade of automatic gunfire rained into the cab.
The glass showered them; and the noise deafened them. Bond felt the door open behind his head; his hand came up caressing his Walther P99.
As the cold night air rushed in; Bond fired one telling shot.
As was quiet. He felt for a pulse; but he knew she was dead. Now he’d never know what part the girl had played in this attempted assassination. He tumbled out of the cab; the traffic had stopped; but the sound of screaming now filled the air. Bond looked down at the would-be assassin; his body lay on a stubborn patch of ice; which became discoloured by his blood. He did not recognise the face.
The flatbed truck, with the high power light accelerated away. Metal tore against metal, as the truck began scraping past the oncoming traffic, in a desperate attempt to flee the scene. Bond had only one fleeting glance of the driver in the cab. It was Costano.
A police siren sounded in the distance. Bond quickly went through the dead man’s pockets; taking his wallet and mobile phone.
“James; James” Moneypenny’s voice was urgent with despair; He put the phone to his ear “Don’t worry Moneypenny; you can tell MI5 I’ve just established the target for their suspects”
…Makes you stronger
The flash bulbs burned as the photographers desperately fought to get tomorrow’s front page shot.
The CNN reporter took her cue and began her piece to camera; just as the hero of the hour exited the Old Bailey.
“Former Veritas CEO Lord Angus Colby is going to have a lot of spare time on his hands in the New Year” She began, the sarcastic tone of her voice fast becoming her trademark; the crowd jostled her, but she kept her position, and smile; the reporter continued “Accused of falsifying expense claims in the House of Lords; Veritas solicitors, Campbell, Monk & Sons threw open Lord Colby’s personal accounts to the fraud squad. Rumours that Lord Colby was also attempting to hide a liaison with a call girl, paid for with Tax payer’s money forced him to resign from his £350,000 per year position at Veritas. That decision, it was decided today, will not be reversed. But if you’re beginning to feel sorry for him; don't. Lord Colby has just been awarded a £2,224,693 severance payment in exchange for agreeing not to sue Veritas. Yep, Angus Colby just got £2 million for fraudulently filing his expenses, and trying to conceal an affair with his mistress. Not a bad trick if you can pull it off. Oh, and he's also having his option to buy 775,000 shares of Veritas stock extended to next September, which is pretty good considering Veritas actually upped its quarterly forecast today. Along with some other assorted stock-related compensation, and 18 months of health and dental benefits. Lawyers believe Lord Colby has walked away with a little over £5 million. Whoever said a little white collar crime doesn't pay?”
she pushed her way through the crowd and thrust her microphone into Lord Colby’s smiling face.
“Lord Colby; any plans for Christmas?”
His answer was only just ‘beeped’ out before the bodyguard swept his hand across her shoulders and knocked the microphone from her hand.
James Bond held up his hand “Hold it there”
Bill Tanner pressed the pause button; instantly the screen froze; the look of shock etched on the reporters face the microphone frozen in mid air.
Bond pointed at the bodyguard, his hand blurred from the violent motion
“That’s the man I shot tonight”
Tanner pointed to a photograph on the table “That’s one of the men that MI5 identified at Dover today”
M tapped his finger on the table “What the hell is he doing with Colby?”
Tanner was already making the call “Get a car over to Beecham House; check on Lord Colby” He replaced the receiver; and turned to M
“Four known terrorists breeze into London; shake off MI5 then go to the Old Bailey; and escort Lord Colby past the World’s press”
M asked “Why on earth would the Russians send a hit team here to associate themselves with Lord Colby? What could he possibly know that the Russians needed to make sure he was unable to communicate to us. And why now?”
“Perhaps Colby was working for them; some sort of sleeper?” Offered Tanner; he pointed at the screen then looked at Bond “But all that happened at four o clock this afternoon; why would they hang around in London and try to kill 007 tonight?”
Bond took a drink of scotch, the ice cubes danced around the tumbler. He answered soberly “Perhaps I was the icing on the cake”
M interjected “We’ll have a better idea when we speak to Colby”
The phone rang Tanner picked up the receiver, he listened intently
“Colby’s secretary reports the family were not planning to return to Beecham House; they were all to stay at their London apartment”
Tanner identified the other people on the screen. “Lady Colby; her daughter Audrey, and her husband David Valdanian; the Financial Director of Veritas.
A map, centring on the London address replaced the frozen news scene on the TV. Bond stood up “That’s just around the corner”
M gestured for Tanner to put down the phone; after he’d done so he began to speak “Better take a look 007; see what you can make of it. Tanner; get hold of someone at the Old Bailey; find out who assigned those bodyguards to the Colby family”
The phone rang again; Tanner snatched the receiver; after a moment he thrust the phone to his breast
“It’s MI5; what shall I tell them?”
M shrugged his shoulders “Tell them Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year” Looking at Bond he pointed toward the door, gesturing for him to leave.
Lord Angus Colby’s apartment stood on the sixth floor of Beauregard Mansions; overlooking the Thames.
At 02.45am the entire block was in darkness; testament to the freezing weather conditions in London this Christmas time. Bond punched in the security code, given to him during his journey.
The staircase was lavishly carpeted; but the wood beneath creaked with heritage on every step.
At Lord Colby’s front door Bond noticed blood stains on the brass door handle; the door was ajar; he drew his Walther P99. Inside the apartment he cast an expert eye over the rooms.
He found Colby sitting at the Kitchen table; they made eye contact, Colby brought up his finger to his lips; he then pointed to a large object on the table. Bond examined it, and understood it was an explosive devise with an acoustic detonator. He gave Colby the once over, and found him to be handcuffed via his ankles to the kitchen chair.
Silently Bond searched through the drawers. He retrieved a writing pad and began to make contact.
He wrote ‘MI6. Give me details’ he gave the pen to Colby.
With a trembling hand he wrote ‘4 men took us. Wife dead. If I make a noise this will explode. They took my daughter and her husband’
Bond took the pen ‘ransom?’
Colby shook his head; he wrote ‘They need David to get them into Veritas HQ. Into the control room on 34th floor’
Colby pointed to his eye ‘Retinol scan needed above floor 32’.
Bond took the pen ‘Help will come’ he made to leave but Colby reached for the pen ‘I must confirm I’m here at all times’
Bond smiled ‘Don’t worry; we’ll defuse the bomb. Don’t stir’
He scribbled on the paper ‘Please save Audrey and David’
‘I will’ Bond left the apartment.
It was 04.30 am; the snow covered streets of London which would normally have already begun to come alive were still sleepy and quiet. After all this was Christmas day. Another speed camera flashed in Bond’s rear view mirror; as the black Aston Martin DBS speed through the East end of London.
Veritas UK HQ loomed large in Bond’s vision; making up the famous Canary Wharf skyline.
Why was this building so important? Bond punched the speed dial; Bill Tanner’s voice seemed weary and thin.
“What’s the answer Bill?”
“Cyber terrorism. They’re going to access the internet”
“What damage can a terrorist do on the Internet; and why Veritas?”
Tanner’s response was measured as he was only just coming to terms with the answer
“The usual terrorist goal is to destabilise the ruling element; in order to enhance their beliefs. Part of the problem is that terrorist organisations have come to realize that removing one official from office only causes another to take over. Without gaining the ultimate power; this may not cause the result the terrorist wished to achieve. By using the internet the terrorist can affect much wider damage or change to a country than one could by killing a certain individual”
Bond’s frustration spilled over “I understand that Bill; I need to know why they’re doing it here in London; what’s so special about Veritas UK?”
Tanner cleared his throat “Veritas is linked in to the UK security grid. They have Telindus”
Bond shook his head in despair, it was like pulling teeth “I need details Bill; and fast”
“After the May 2007 cyber attacks on Estonia, NATO became more attentive to cyber defence; because they themselves realized they were also vulnerable to attack, since they were also out in the open just like all the other organizations that are on the web.
Telindus’s biggest weapon is its intrusion detection system (IDS). This piece of software identifies cyber attacks at the very location of their origin and then sends an active response to best beat their defensive or restorative action”
Bond now understood that the NATO Telindus hardware was housed in the Veritas building “So they’re just going to disable it?”
“That’s right. With Telindus disabled; they would have the whole Christmas shutdown to reek whatever havoc they have in mind”
“In the UK”
“In any NATO Country”
Bond was out of the car and, running toward the glass façade of the building. Tanner went through a number of options open to the terrorists “From disabling a country’s military defence to shutting off the grid in a large area, the terrorist can affect more people at less risk to himself, than through any other means”
“Is the software that easy to disable?”
“No; you need to be very well trained”
“Do either Mallic or Castano possess the skill to hack into the system?”
“Then find out who that other terrorist is; I’m at the front door now”
Tanner’s voice was urgent “James; be careful; Telundus isn’t just in the computer”
“What?” Bond stopped at the door; his hand but an inch from opening it
“The whole building is wired to combat a terrorist attack; from the control room they’ll be able to see you as soon as you enter”
“I’ll keep that in mind” Bond pushed the door open and entered the lair of technology
The elevator was too risky; so Bond doubled up the service stairs to the 32nd floor. He eased himself through the service door and found himself in a world of glass partitioned offices. The sound of breaking glass came from an area just beyond his vision; Bond took the corridor at a running crouch; he came to the corner just in time to see Mallic run into room; a brief scream was cut off by the sound of a shot. Bond crouched behind the filing cabinet as Mallic backed out of the room, clutching his eye; his mobile ringing. He fumbled for his mobile.
“It was a trap the bitch attacked me”
Bond heard only one side of the conversation; but liked what he was hearing
“Valdanian’s gone” Mallic returned the mobile to his pocket, and began dabbing at his injured eye; then the shadows moved; and a large metal lamp stand swung into his head.
The metal hit home with a sickening thud; and the big man dropped to the floor.
David Valdanian stood over the terrorist like a victorious gladiator.
‘Not bad for a Financial Director’ Bond thought; he observed Valdanian go into the room; a low moan emitted from the interior. Bond followed him in; Valdanian jumped up from the body of his wife and lunged at Bond; a murderous intent in his eyes…
“It’s ok I’m British Secret Service” He said holding up his gun
Valdanian stopped; he turned back toward the dead woman; after a moment his heavy voice broke
“They killed my wife”
Bond knelt at his side and felt for a pulse
The two men made eye contact “Let’s get you out of here”
Valdanian held on to Bond’s arm “I escaped; I thought I hadn’t made a sound but…and now this” He buried his face in his hands
“How many are there; what are they doing here?”
Valdanian turned his face toward him; his expression was one of mistrust “So are you going to rescue me; or play the hero?”
“If I knew what they were doing it would help me make that decision”
Valdanian nodded “Sorry…how can I help”
“Why did they bring you here?”
“They needed my palm print to enter the building and my retinol scan to access the Telindus floors”
“Do you know their plans?”
“I can guess…with the Telindus software down they can launch a number of viruses into strategic servers. Close down the control of a nuclear power station. Empty bank accounts”
“But if the software were working. What does it do?”
“Ha!; the programme defends and counter attacks a virus attack on a hard drive or server. Pin points the IP address and sends a mirror image of the virus to the attackers computer”
“Like fighting fire with fire”
“Do they still need you to access the machine; can they do this without you?”
A dark smile crossed his face; he inclined his head toward the control room “Yes they need me upstairs”
“Then it’s time to leave the party” Bond made ready to go…
Valdanian frowned; he was not intending to go anywhere… “We can’t use the lifts; they can cut the power from the control room”
Bond pushed him forward “Come on; that gives me an idea”
…Sleep in heavenly peace
There were four elevators; two blocks of two. Bond pressed the call buttons.
As the elevators arrived he jammed chairs into the open doors of three of the elevators; softly the doors pressed against the chairs and sighed open. He entered the fourth one; pressed for the ground floor then jumped out.
The doors slid shut; the floor indicator above the door showed the elevator dropping. 31. 30.
Everything went dark; all noise stopped.
It was silent.
The power had been cut.
Bond and Valdanian headed for the service stairs; here the emergency lighting allowed them to descend at a pace.
The idea was to get to the 29th floor and wait for Costano; who, believing Valdanian was alone, trapped in the lift; would simply come to the 29th floor and attempt to re capture the man he needed complete his plan.
They only had a couple of minutes to wait. Cautiously Costano came to the elevator door; a Glock 16 in one hand, mobile phone in the other. “Power on”
The corridor lit up; and the whirr of electricity filled the space. He thrust his finger into the stop button.
The elevator pinged and the doors opened. Costano stepped in and fired; emptying the clip into the empty box and into the ceiling of the elevator. The gun clicked on empty and he rested his back against the closing door as he re-loaded.
Bond thought it ominous that Costano had such a total disregard for keeping Valdanian alive.
It meant that whoever was in the control room had cracked the Telindus defence; suddenly escape from the building was not the top priority.
James Bond stepped forward, Walther P99 at arms length “Drop it!”
Costano’s composure deserted him; and he fumbled the new clip into the Glock; Bond fired a shot which exploded into his shoulder; he dropped the gun. “Step away” he motioned him to leave the elevator. Costano complied and lent against the wall; the doors slid closed.
Costano’s mobile began to ring “I should answer this”
Valdanian stood behind Bond “Kill him” his voice was clam and without emotion. His very will urged Bond on to kill the terrorist
“A little information is what we need here” said Bond
Costano laughed “You have no idea what you’re dealing with here Mr. Bond; killing me won’t change anything”
“No? but it would make me feel better”
“Maybe a rush; but not a long term solution to the problem I’m afraid. Time you woke up and smelled the coffee; like your friend here” his phone continued to ring “If I don’t answer soon my friend will detonate a little present back at Lord Colby’s” He pursed his lips waiting for permission to be granted. Bond knew the Bomb disposal unit would have dealt with the devise by now so the message held no threat; he shook his head, without moving his eyes “It wasn’t what he wanted; sent it back hours ago”
Bond knew he needed to restrain Cosatno and then stop the other terrorist at the computer terminal “On your knees” he complied; but as Bond began to tie him (using his belt) he began to bargain for his life “If the allegation by the ICC is accurate, it appears that a UK high street bank bailed out by your Government is holding billions controlled by an indicted war criminal” he inclined his head toward Bond “$9 billion of blood money bolstering the bank’s profits; my goal is simply to see that that money is re-distributed to the poor and needy of that war torn country. We can do it without bloodshed; without war”
Valdanian pushed forward “You murdering scum; you kidnapped my family killed my wife and her Mother; you were prepared to kill another innocent man to buy your own freedom; don’t even think about trying to lie you way out of this” He snatched up the Glock and stuck it behind Costano’s ear.
“Stop him Bond; don’t let him do this…” The shot cut off the rest of the plea. Costano’s dead body fell to the floor; blood from the head wound pooled from the body.
Bond took the gun from Valanian’s hand.
“Not the cleverest thing you’ve ever done…”
“…It made me feel better” he quipped
Bond took stock “Costano intended to kill you in the lift” he let it hang; in order for Valdanian to draw his own conclusion on what was needed to be done next He nodded in understanding.
Bond checked his mobile; which advised ‘no signal’ the Telindus programme was obviously capable of blocking selected signals within the building. He asked “I could get you out of here; call for back up…”
David Valdanian answered with the alternative “…or we could go to the control room and kill the terrorist and restore the defence programme”
The gas hissed through the air conditioning vents; Valdanian looked up in horror
“They’re using the gas”
“Come on” Bond tried the emergency stairwell but the gas had already enveloped the space.
With luck; if they moved quickly he knew they could make it. Valdanian began to choke.
Bond was forced to drag him back to the elevator; he slammed the button on the panel and thankfully the doors slid open straight away. Taking Costano’s mobile Bond jumped into the lift dragging Valdanian behind him.
Bond punched the button for the 34th floor.
The assent was quick. 30. 31. The oxygen revitalised them. 32. 33.
34. The doors sighed open; Bond led the assault; quickly they traversed the corridor, thankfully clear of gas; and made it to the control room door. Valdanian touched Bond’s shoulder and whispered
“Just get that freak away from the terminal; I’ll do what’s needed”
Bond pushed open the door; as his hand touched it the surge of electricity coursed through his body, throwing him back into the centre of the floor.
…On Christmas day in the Morning
The slap to the face revived him. As he regained consciousness; he realised he was tied to a chair.
Slowly James Bond opened his eyes. He heard carols playing.
The control room was smaller than he’d imagined. The air-conditioning units kept the room and the desktops at an optimum temperature. Beyond a bank of monitors; were four large windows which looked out over the helicopter landing pad and then through a toughened glass wind break, over the city.
Snow swirled over the windbreak; it looked more like the arctic than London.
Suddenly his view was obscured “Merry Christmas Mr. Bond” The man was of a slight build with the appealing eyes of a puppy. Music was coming from the speakers of a desktop which displayed the whirling kaleidoscope of a screen saver.
The man lent back against a desk.
“Merry Christmas Mister?...” Bond took in his surroundings; and its commanding view of London.
The light grey fingers of dawn split the snow laden clouds, bring Christmas to the capital.
“My name is unimportant…like Santa; I’ll be long gone before the sleepy eyed MI5 come to see what I’ve left them”
“Well they’ll be here shortly; so don’t let me stop you”
He pressed a key on the keyboard and the music stopped
“I doubt if you could Mr. Bond” He looked through the window, focusing on the morning skies
“But I am surprised you came back”
“I never left”
A flicker of doubt crossed the thin man’s face; Bond pushed home the thin advantage
“We’ve been able to monitor all the keystrokes you’ve made. The disruption will be very short lived”
“Please Mr. Bond; do not play with me; you have no idea what I’ve done here. I’ve left little gifts for NATO to find in a variety of obscure programmes which will set back your counterterrorism by years”
The smile spread across Bond’s face “David Valdanian; said that’s what he thought you’d been up to”
At the mention of his name the flickering shadow of something close to fear crossed his face again; and again he began searching the skyline for his escape route. Bond was about to say that he believed the RAF would have challenged any aircraft flying over London today; but a small speck on the lightening horizon kept him quiet; he changed tack; inclining his head toward the approaching helicopter “SAS on their way for you”
The thin man ignored the gibe; packing his satchel with technical manuals
“No; this is Rudolph; come to take me home. When you see Valdanian again tell him ‘nice try’ but you gotta be up early in the morning to fool me”
Bond nodded his head, but had no idea what he meant “Thanks for that”
“What?” said the man as he prepared to leave?
“I now know you haven’t harmed Valdanian” He struggled against the bonds that held him tight.
The thin man waved goodbye and made his way to the exit; as he reached the door he said
“Would if I could have; but you got him out before I could gas him”
Bond tried to delay his departure; surely if Valdanian was free he would have gone to summon help
“Is this goodbye then?
“Yes” the door swung open allowing the freezing cold air to seep into the control room.
“No bomb; no gas; just goodbye”
With his hand on the door frame the thin man turned “I had a list of things to do; your death is not on that list; be thankful. Rejoice” and with that he was gone; Bond watched him follow the pathway to the helicopter pad.
He passed through the double maze of glass screens surrounding the heli pad. Beyond the wind break of glass was nothing; just the freezing thin air of London.
The helicopter landed; the thin man crouched double and ran for the hatch.
It was at that moment that David Valdanian stepped out from behind one of the cooling towers and shot the thin man in the back.
James Bond looked on helplessly as Valdanian took three more shots at a rapidly raising helicopter.
The downdraft blew at his clothes; the gun fell on an empty chamber; in a fit of rage he threw the pistol at the retreating aircraft, it bounced off the glass windbreak. Valdanian turned and walked slowly toward him; it was like a scene from a movie.
“Sorry I couldn’t get to you sooner; but there’s no way in here; I had to wait for him to go out” he panted
Bond rubbed his wrists to increase the circulation “No problem; glad you did what you did; job well done”
“Not quite” Valdanian pulled up a chair an began tapping at the keyboard “I need authorisation to clear the commands that the terrorists entered”
“How can I help?” Bond asked
Valdanian inclined his head toward the telephone “Make a couple of calls for me. Going to have to get some people out of bed; and up here straight away” He looked at Bond and winked “Can’t do it over the phone I’m afraid; got to be the old retinol scan”
The screen opened up revealing three names and telephone numbers.
As David Valdanian tapped the keyboard like a demented pianist; James Bond activated the code words which would bring Lord Angus Colby; Head of MI6 Sir John Green; and head of MI5 David Mantis to the 34th floor of Veritas House.
…The sleeper awakes
Bond had been awake, save a few minutes of unconsciousness for over 24hrs; his body craved sleep.
He allowed himself the luxury of resting whilst the helicopters ferrying the ‘key holders’ landed and deposited their valuable cargo.
Bodyguards were sent hurrying back to the choppers; detailed to await further instructions.
In a private moment Sir John presented Bond with a Walther; then in a more animated embrace he congratulated Bond on a job well done; a sentiment endorsed to both Bond and David by Lord Colby who appeared to be moving in an emotional daze; after all his wife and daughter had both been murdered by the hit squad.
Bond watched as the three men sat at the desktop machines around the room.
Pings; buzzers and bells punctuated their keying. A feint whirring announced the positioning of the retinol scanners.
The men seemed well practiced in the use. David Valdanian stood thoughtfully by one of the big windows; absent minded he began playing with the draw string on the venetian blind. Bond began to drift off; he thought about the last 24 hours.
The girl in the taxi; idly he wondered just how much she’d known about the attempted hit…
Something was wrong with the thought process; a sixth sense that had saved Bond on more than one occasion over the years was tingling in his mind; or was it just the lack of sleep. The events began to run through his mind like an old movie. Bond began to dream; in the state of semi sleep; controlling his thoughts with only the minimum of effort.
Back to the beginning; the sexy girl in the taxi, and the attempted hit; by the hit squad.
“your death is not on that list” The words resonated in his mind.
If it wasn’t an attempt to kill him; then what was it?
The movie began to run again; flickering and whirring like an old cine film. Mallic and Costano, known terrorists had abducted the Colby family from the old Bailey, but they hadn’t tried to hide from the camera; in fact Mallic had actually drawn attention to himself.
Bond saw the movie through a new pair of eyes.
The scene at the Old Bailey had verified the connection between Lord Colby and the terrorists.
M asked “Why on earth would the Russians send a hit team here to associate themselves with Lord Colby? What could he possibly know that the Russians needed to make sure he was unable to communicate to us. And why now?”
“Perhaps Colby was working for them; some sort of sleeper?” Offered Tanner. Some sort of sleeper!
Colby had directed Bond to Veritas, and primed him to expect David and Audrey to be captives. But…
“It was a trap the bitch attacked me” “Valdanian’s gone”
What if the trap was initiated by David and Audrey. That would explain why Costano had wasted no time in trying to kill Valdanian in the elevator; and David had wasted no time in killing the three terrorists. But why bring in a hit team only to kill them? Only to kill them after they had been identified entering the country and abducting the Colby’s.
Valdanian had readily agreed to return to the control room and tackle the remaining cyber terrorist.
“Just get that freak away from the terminal; I’ll do what’s needed”
The final scene played again; “Would if I could have; but you got him out before I could gas him”
Bond tied to a chair, unable to look away unable to look anywhere else than at the escaping cyber terrorist. Bond now understood why the thin man had not needed to kill him.
Now he understood why a look of doubt crossed his face; when the revelation that Valdanian had not left the building was revealed to him. No; Bond was needed as a witness; Bond was needed to summon the real targets.
Bond tried to move; but the gas had all but paralysed him.
David Valdanian was cursing the fact that he was now unarmed, the over zealous show in front of Bond; with the helicopter had seen to that. He unhooked the cord for the Venetian blind, and surreptitiously un-picked the knot, he then pulled the cord through the slats, giving himself a 5 foot length, folding it, he carefully knotted it in the centre; then at one end fashioned a loop and threaded the other end through it, to give himself a noose, the knot; he knew through hours of training would bite into the throat under the Adam’s apple.
The stun gas was localized around the terminals; but he knew he would have to work fast; once he entered the area.
He slipped the noose over Bond’s head and jerked back against the seat tightening the noose.
In one swift movement he lent over the back of Bond’s chair bracing his legs against the desk.
The knot bit into his throat, Bond reached up and grabbed at his assailant’s face, but Valdanian now swayed out of the way; Bond’s arms were flailing in the air, but the Financial Director was down behind the seat exerting all his strength on choking the MI6 agent.
Bond could not breathe, the air in his lungs went stale his vision began to blur as his arms dropped. Then his fingers touched the Walther in its shoulder holster; he knew he would only get one chance. He reversed the gun, pressing it to the side of his own body; it slid along his ribs. He pulled the trigger and shot through the back of the seat.
The padding took some of the force from the shot but the impact was enough to slacken the tension.
Bond fired twice more and Valdanian dived for the floor; Bond snatched the cord from his neck and followed him.
Sir John, Lord Colby; and David Mantis were still sitting at the desktops; their eyes firmly pressed against the scanners; their arms hung limply at their sides; the stun gas holding them firmer than any rope.
His throat was burning and would not expand to get a much wanted breath of fresh air.
Bond stumbled after Valdanian as he struggled to open the outside door to the heli pad. Both men needed oxygen, now; or the building would win. The sweat was flowing freely on Valdanian’s face even though it must have been minus eight degrees on the roof.
“How did you figure it out?” he shouted; then fell back against the windbreak.
The man appeared to be defeated; the stun gas had affected him more than he knew; Bond moved in for the kill.
Suddenly Valdanian charged, catching Bond in the abdomen; they both fell back and Bond’s Walther slipped from his hand. Valdanian stooped quickly to retrieve the gun, but Bond swept his legs from under him, Valdanian crashed to the floor but still managed to catch hold of the gun; still fighting for breath Bond attacked; head butting Valdanian in the face, he screamed in pain but somehow managed to hold on to the gun, slowly the snub nose directed itself at Bond.
Valdanian squeezed the trigger; two shots echoed on the empty Heli pad and the rush of freezing air assaulted their senses; the glass wind break had been breached by the bullets now falling to the ground some 34 stories below.
The gun wavered between them; weakened by the effects of the gas Bond struggled to overcome his attacker.
Valdanian sensed he was winning the battle “Come on Bond; give it your best shot” he whispered in his ear.
The two men remained locked in combat. Bond, broke the grip and thrust his thumb into the hollow between Valdanian bottom lip and jaw then followed it up with a ridge hand to the base of his nose.
Eyes streaming Valdanian used his weight to turn Bond; they scrambled to their knees; Bond leapt up and put his shoulder into another attack but Valdanian used the momentum to bundle him toward the windbreak they crashed into the glass the cracks gave some more like the sound of tearing silk.
Face to face Bond pushed back, smashing his elbow into Valdanian’s sternum; Bond swung him around smashing him into the windbreak, two more blows to the ribs followed by a palm heel to the shoulder; Valdanian grunted and slid down the windbreak; more pieces of glass detached for the pane; dropping onto him as the wind and snow flakes whirled about them.
Valdanian came up from the floor with fingers of steel searching for the throat and finding their mark.
With the choke hold in place, he pushed forward another two strides; Bond’s shoes slipping on the icy floor.
Bond thrust his left hand down in-between the attacking arms grasping his own right palm, he circled his arms forcing Valdanian’s left arm back against the joint. Bond fired his right hand into the shoulder joint; but Valdanian twisted to the left and changed his grip onto Bond’s jacket. His left arm now guided Bond past him and with the strength of an expert Judo player, hurled Bond against the windbreak. The cracks opened to the full length of the window pane.
The bullet holes merged into one central hole that was large enough for a man to climb through.
Bond’s elbow and upper torso were leaning through the gap and out over the void. More cracks appeared and spread like a starburst at hip height, the metal barrier at the foot of the glass pane already bent with the constant battering began to break free form the roof.
Valdanian attacked, trying to upend Bond, the wind was blowing a gale onto the Heli pad; and flecks of snow attached themselves to their faces. Bond reached down and caught hold of the barrier, and levered himself back; the broken glass sawing at his jacket; in slow motion Bond toppled over Valdanian and back into relative safety.
Realizing his attack was thwarted he stood up and lashed out with a karate kick; but Bond rolled with the kick; the momentum took him back to the hole at the very edge of the roof; the wind pulled at him.
Seducing him to topple over the edge
He attacked again, but Bond simply side stepped and Valdanian slipped, the momentum took him forward, now sliding on the snow covered floor. His head hit the window pane, his arms took most of the force but he still crashed through, shattering the glass panel; although he fought to stop the slide he could only grasp at the broken shards of glass as he slid.
On the brink of losing balance he seized the barrier. Slowly he adjusted his grip and swung himself around; using all his strength he pulled himself upright, standing on the very edge of a 34 floor drop.
Valdanian laughed “That was your best shot?”
Valdanian feinted to the right and struck at Bond’s left temple, the blow blurred his vision; he rained in more blows, Bond dropped his weight and, finely judging his moment fired a straight punch into Valdanian’s solar plexus.
He opened his mouth but the air would not enter; both men stood in the edge of the abyss.
Valdanian moved first forcing his way past Bond; the snow, which was being driven onto the heli pad was turning the floor into an ice rink. Bond scrambled to his feet using the barrier for support; it creaked and gave another inch; a flurry of snow cascaded out into the void. Valdanian attacked again his body crashed into Bond’s and they both toppled over the barrier, out into the abyss.
Bond shook the snow from his face; the wind pounded him against the icy glass smooth building, the pressure was immense, his back was against the building both his arms stretched out in a crude form of the crucifixion, his hands gripped the barrier; which had come away in the fall. The snow was swirling into his eyes and mouth; he fought for breath.
Beneath him David Valdanian held onto his legs.
Bond released the barrier with his right hand and swung out, he grasped for the free end, he caught it; Valdanian’s weight added to the momentum, his face smashed into the building.
For a moment he wondered if the building had finally beaten him.
Valdanian pulled at Bond’s legs trying to dislodge him and send them both crashing to their deaths.
Bond flexed his shoulders; slowly he hoisted himself up. But it was at that moment that the bolts failed and barrier came away with a gut wrenching scream.
Bond lost his grip with his right hand, the pain tore through his left hand; but he held on.
The glass panel shifted above them; slowly sliding out of its frame.
Valdanian shouted up “I’m going to take you with me Bond; It’ll be my present to my masters” He laughed and began shaking Bond lose of the barrier. The glass pane slid out; Bond saw it coming and angled himself into the very wall that was trying to kill him. The glass panel slid down his back, and sliced through Valdanian’s throat; killing him before he lost his grip. Free of the extra weight Bond frantically felt for the barrier again and slowly hoisted himself up.
Fingers numb with cold he climbed hand over hand with strength he had never needed before, he put his elbow onto the edge, swinging his leg up he got purchase with his knee, his body shrieking at him to stop, the icy wet seeping through the suit material and finally with a primeval grunt he stood on the roof; carefully inch by inch he shuffled away from the chasm. “No Mr. Valdanian; that was my best shot” Bond walked slowly back toward the control room
“Besides its better to give than to receive"