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A View To A Kill

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#1 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:41 AM

First published in February 2013 by GelderdFilm Ltd.


This adaptation is 100% unofficial and has been written for the James Bond fan community at www.commanderbond.net. The author doesn’t own any rights of names, characters, locations and other elements of this story.


This has been published as a work of fan fiction adapted from the official screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson for the motion picture “A View To A Kill” © Danjaq, LLC & United Artists Corporation 1985.

For further information please visit the official James Bond website at www.jamesbond.com.

This adaptation is the intellectual property of Chris Gelderd, whose personal details are listed on the CommanderBond.net website under the username “thecasinoroyale”

© GelderdFilm Ltd 2013





Neither the name ‘Zorin’ nor any other name or character

in this story is meant to portray a real company or actual person




A View to a Kill



Prologue: Snow Job


      They were like brown ants swarming over the frozen wastelands of Northern Siberia. These soldiers were out, armed and in force, patrolling the white plains looking for any signs of international espionage from over-seas in a continent so cold it was almost over-looked. The sun bore down onto the shimmering white peaks and the lapping water, breaking through the wispy white clouds dotted in the sapphire blue sky. The soldiers crunched over the snow on their skis and auto-sleds, speaking to each other in their native tongue about the laborious day ahead and planning their routine operations. It was only two days ago that the border patrols had been put on full alert after reports that an intruder in the Siberian Technological & Environmental Research laboratory had evaded capture and stolen an important piece of equipment that higher powers were trying to keep a secret. The patrols were to spread over the Siberian plateau in an attempt to either capture or kill the intruder who had fled into the snow-capped province, believed to be a member of a foreign intelligence group.  A standard service helicopter armed with a high-powered Gatling gun circled the area, reporting to the men below with what they could see. The blades whirred feverously, causing miniature snow-storms on the ground as the pilots carried out their search.

      The Komityet Gosudarstvyennoi Biezopasnosti, otherwise known as the KGB, were preparing for another deadly game of chance with the Cold War heating up between Russia and Europe once again. The development of technology that would take them ahead in the race for supremacy was forefront of newly elected Soviet General Mikhail Gorbachev’s mandate, and something that the Siberian Processing Plant was leading the way in. New electronic weaponry and technology was now the one thing to take the Russian Communists one step closer to leading a revolution in the modern Capitalist world. The threat of war from both the USA and small European countries was a deterrent from anything major, but also a catalyst in encouraging the KGB to enforce the communist way and protect their county from outside threat. Today was a threat against their enforcement of that order.


      Away from the main KGB activity, towards a group of small ravines formed into the snow, a figure dressed in nothing but white hopped gently down a slope on his custom silver skis. The furred hood hid his rosy face and his protective sunglasses hid his cool expression as he carried out his mission. James Bond held in his gloved hand a small tracker, provided in a field kit by Major Boothroyd, otherwise known as the Quartermaster of MI6. The tracker was able to trace the small electro-magnetic pulse of microchips, which was the sole purpose of why Agent 007 had been sent to Mother Russia. It was less than 1 month ago that 003 had been on assignment to infiltrate a Russian processing plant, suspected of harbouring microchips impervious to electromagnetic pulse. With the threat of nuclear war ever closer, it was an assignment known by few, but upon which rested global security. This invincible microchip would lead a world power to advantage and survival in a nuclear war. Since 003 never made it back, it was now down to 007 to complete the mission, given the title of Operation Blizzard. It had been a blow to Bond to lose a good friend in the field, and being out in the frozen wastelands of enemy territory didn’t make this a particularly enjoyable experience.  The tracker picked up more signals and beeped more frequently, guiding Bond towards his goal. He manoeuvred the skis onto a clearing of snow which seemed unnaturally disturbed. It was the chill of the icy wind that got under Bond’s skin causing him to shiver slightly faced with the sight that literally lay before him in the snow. Falling to his knees and following the beeps of the tracker, his gloved hands dug around a solid mass under the frosty flakes until the outline of a frozen hood, a nose and sunken eye sockets became clear, belonging to 003. Bond was simply taken aback to find a much liked and admired colleague now lifeless and so alien, his skin a pale blue and red from the biting cold and his features all frozen and cracked. He carefully continued to dig away the snow until he found the item he was looking for.


      Suddenly, Bond dropped down to the floor, covering the body with his own as the thunderous whirr of the Russian helicopter came from behind a mountain peak and flew overhead. The snow whipped up around the camouflaged agent as the machine flew past overhead without stopping. He peered up once it had passed and glimpsed the orange chopper circle back on itself and away from the ravine. Bonds’ heart stopped for a moment. A surprise surveillance operation from the KGB instantly put the urgency of finding the chip into higher stakes.  Not sure if he had been spotted or not, Bond took no chance and patted down the lifeless body to find what he was looking for. Pulling open the crisp, frosted jacket covering his chest, Bond saw it, glinting in the sun like a beacon upon the dead agent. It was a small golden necklace in the shape of a heart. Bond took the piece of jewellery in his hand and snapped open the small heart case. Inside was a tiny picture of 003’s fair-haired wife and daughter, smiling at a previous memory now long forgotten. Hidden behind their picture was a small microchip no bigger than a thumbnail. It fell into Bond’s hand as he turned it out, and the satisfaction of tracing such an important and pivotal piece of technology never failed to fill him with triumph. But that triumph was short lived as the crunching footsteps of a lone KGB agent crested the ravine, spotting 007 storing the chip and trying to cover up the body once more.


      The crack of the safety catch releasing on the Kalashnikov gave 007 enough time to grab his ski-poles and avoid the first spit of bullets, causing the ravine itself to collapse and send Bond down with the flow of snow 20 feet down to the slope below. Gun fire spat up the snow behind him as he gained his balance and propelled away from the firing Soviet. Not wanting to count his blessings too early was the wiser choice as the KGB helicopter roared from out of the ravines tailing Bond, reporting to the soldiers the location of the spy. It seemed he had been spotted after all by that first pass. Skiing down the plains to a large opening, showcasing the almost tranquil landscape before him, Bond had to take evasive action as a number of KGB soldiers on skis armed with Kalashnikovs took pursuit. Bond skied in the most effective way possible in his position, bobbing and weaving across plumes of snow as the bullets spat up dangerously close to him, dodging in-between huge ice stalagmites coming from the ground like small spears. The soldiers were keeping steady at the back only thrown off balance with their lack of ski poles, but with one fatal shot could end the chase in a second. A steep and icy incline was Bonds next destination, having to lean back to a near vertical position to balance him out as he flew down the slope to the new plain below. The hungry pursuers came over the lip at such a speed that the leader lost all balance and fell backwards, cracking his body on the hard surface and sliding in a mangled heap, shouting in frustration as his comrades continued the chase with their guns blazing.


      One of the bullets ripped into Bonds left ski, clipping it with such force it came loose, nearly causing Bond to slide off course and into a ravine. Still maintaining as much momentum as possible with one able ski, he shook the defunct one off his foot and somehow could take the snow faster with just the one ski on. He jumped a small mound of snow and took a sharp right up onto a small plateau overlooking the waters below. Crouching down, Bond managed to watch the agents ski past unaware of his location. It was clear they had called out for backup as the auto-sled and a dozen more soldiers crested the hills and came to meet in the open. As their radios crackled with fevered Russian, the soldier’s drifted in different locations as the helicopter circled overhead keeping an eye in the sky. It was clear that Bond needed the auto-sled to gain good speed and get to his rendezvous alive. Wiping the flakes of snow from his brow under the hood, Bond unhooked his grapple hook and cable from his belt, stretching the cord out as far as it would go, doubting he would have time for any scaling ice-mountains in the next day or so. He let the grapple fall down a small crack in the icy floor, looking very deep before pulling it tight on the teeth. Taking the cord, and making sure the coast was clear, he skid down the plateau to a hidden cleft in the snow, waiting with the cord and clip for his prey. His breath was getting colder on every inhale. He could feel the biting cold eating away at his lungs, yet his body was fuelled by the thrill of the chase, which Bond lived for.


      Moments later, the auto-sled came into view driving past at a steady pace. Once it was past Bond, he took up his ski and pushed down after the Russian, trailing the cord behind. Drowned out by the engine noise, Bond arrived directly behind the unsuspecting driver, carefully lined up the clip to the soldiers body harness and clipped it on in with force. The noise and movement alerted the soldier but it was too late for him to register anything. The grapple was pulled taught by the harness as it snapped its teeth deeper into the ice, pulling the soldier hard from the sled with a brutal force. The cord pulled him back over the ice, sliding over the face of the ravine, and left screaming in fear dangling and swaying over dangerously fatal drop to the frozen water below. Still in motion and thundering along, the auto-sled was a big machine, powered by a diesel engine and carrying a good weight behind the caterpillar tracks to traverse the environment with ease. Bond wasted no time in mounting the seat and shaking off his last ski. At last, a chance of making his way out of the area alive. If it wasn’t for the KGB helicopter on his trail, he would have been home and dry in moments. The chopper seemed to be waiting for him as it came flying from nowhere with the Gatling gun firing rounds at the sled. Bond tried to move the heavy machine across the snow to evade the heavy shelling from the Soviets, but it was to no avail. Seeing only one way out staying on the sled, Bond dived off into a small sink hole as the Gatling gun caught up and ripped the sled open, sending an explosion of thick black smoke and fire into the air and hurtling chunks of debris in all directions. His head covered from falling debris, Bond waited until all was quiet again, and only until he could hear the spitting fire from the sled. He slowly raised his head and checked for the helicopter, but it was nowhere to be seen or heard. Instead, only the thick plume of smoke rose to the blue sky, and already he could hear the excited voices and motion from the KGB heading to the smoke signal. There was no clear way out. Obviously fighting his way through was out of the question, and he had no transportation to hand. Looking around, he noticed the runner from the auto-sled was laying just feet from him. A perfect makeshift snowboard.

      The runner was slightly charred and mangled on the upside but it was an invaluable piece of equipment in getting down a mountainside. He picked up the runner. Above the sink hole a number of agents gathered conversing once more and none of them were ready for Bond, launching from the side of the hole from the momentum of the runner upon the freshly iced snow and hitting two agents clear in the torso, flooring them instantly and keeping Bond on his feet. The runner picked up speed and Bond was clearly in control, twisting and turning down the snow as a handful of agents kept on his pursuit. Clearing a small mound of snow, Bond launched into a fast slide down another steep ice face. One agent fell under the sheer speed he couldn’t maintain on his skis, and another lost his balance. Taking the smooth snow down towards the water front where a maze of small icebergs and glaciers greeted him, there was only one way across to near safety, and that was across a small lake. With his speed gaining from the steep decline, Bond pushed out with his feet and hit the water, coasting across with no effort and reaching the other side without losing momentum. The KGB agents behind him panicked and followed but only made it halfway across before sinking under their own weight and clumsy balance from their skis. Across the lake, Bond hopped off the snowboard and kept running, seeking out the large ice mounds and stalagmites as any possible cover from the incoming whirr of the blades he could hear incoming. The helicopter was back across the water front, this time the co-pilot firing a handheld machine gun with dangerous aim. As the chopper swept over the water front to come back towards the pinned down agent, 007 had moments before it was upon him.

      Discarding his sunglasses, he reached into his satchel and pulled out an emergency flare. There was no more of an emergency Bond was facing than this. Holding his head down, Bond waited for a clear shot. The chopper turned to its side for the gunman to fire again on its next pass, and that was all Bond needed. He span out from behind the ice pillar he was behind and pulled the flare fuse with only a split-second moment to take aim at the co-pilots window. With a small explosion, the pink flare whistled out from the container, circling like a crazy firework and impacted in the cockpit of the helicopter. The small cockpit was at once filled with thick pink smoke and sparks, overflowing out of the helicopter like a grotesque cloud of foam. Bond raised his hood and simply watched the show. The pilots were shouting in panic and fighting for control and banging on the window for a way out as the helicopter bucked and reared, spinning dangerously close to the ground below, even hitting the treads on a low snow peak.  With no place left to go for a safe escape, the helicopter gained altitude, unbeknownst to the blind pilot it was heading straight towards a cliff face. The Soviet copter evaporated straight into the wall of rock and ice, exploding instantly in a great fireball, the broken skeleton falling to burn on the snow below. It was hell on earth upon a once peaceful ground. 007 pulled up his satchel and wiped his watery eyes, looking for a way out to evade the predictable reinforcements. He was searching the waters and various array of icebergs when one caught his eye. A small metallic whine could be heard followed by a loud bang. One of the smaller, pure white icebergs had raised a porthole cover with a bright Union Jack flag emblazed on it. So that was the one. Top marks to the Quartermaster for effective camouflage. Bond let out a sharp breath of relief and wasted no time in getting there. Hopping carefully over a couple of larger icebergs, he made his way towards the hatch and lowered himself down, the porthole cover whining as it whirred back down and locked in place.

      It was like a luxury 5-star room at the Savoy inside the iceberg-boat, just deep enough for Bond to stand upright in. Dark cream coated the small walls; a nice claret red carpeted floor. A simple driving system of levers and buttons was erected on the front deck, flashing various colours. Soft spotlights lit the room, and 3 small monitors covered the front control deck feeding live video from external video cameras. Already a group of KGB agents had converged on the wreckage site, scanning around for some sign of the now invisible spy. A comfy leather sofa rested against the back wall with a small refrigerator and glass rack above. All for Bond’s satisfaction, complete with MI6 field agent Kimberley Jones, blond and beautiful, sitting at the driving seat. Bond removed his hood revealing a worn and weary face, but cut with a devilish smile matching with the steely ice-blue eyes. He collapsed on the sofa as she turned to him.


      “I thought you’d never get back,” she grinned,


      “There was a heck of a crowd on the piste,” Bond stated, indicating to the now KGB ridden monitors behind her.


      “So I see,” Jones said, looking up at the soldiers. “Mission accomplished?”


      Bond dug his hand into his satchel. “Best Beluga,” he said pulling out a silver tin. Jones smiled. “Vodka; rather shaken, and one microchip.” The bottle was safe in his left hand, the golden necklace dangled from his right. It was almost as if Bond had been planning this rendezvous for days.


      “Good. I’ll make a signal to M,” she smiled, punching in a code on her control panel. Moving the lever away from her and shifting the gears, the boat rocked and started off through the water with a low growl of the motor. The motion was so smooth it was near un-noticeable. Bond pulled off his thick boots as the melting ice dampened the floor.


      “Be a good girl would you and put her in automatic. And we could do with a couple of glasses.” 


      “They’re in the overhead rack,” Jones stood up and moved towards the sofa area. She reached up to pull them down, but Bond saw his chance and pushed the alternate gas lever by the sofa, sending the boat lurching forward and the girl falling onto the sofa with him by his side.

      “Oh, Commander Bond!” she purred, not fighting the advance. Bond started to make his way to her zipper on her fleece, hiding her curvaceous breasts easily underneath a comfy white jumper.

      “Call me James. It’s five days to Alaska,” He smiled, pulling the zipper down, letting out her dreamy sigh. The boat cleared the iceberg field and set course for an eventful cruise back to the shores of England.





#2 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:54 PM

Chapter 1: The Chips Are Down


London was more alive in the day than at night according those in the city. The April warmth brought out the ever present tourists, hoping to snap a royal face or famous star shopping in the high street. Cars of all shapes and sizes, bright red busses and delivery trucks containing every item you could imagine swarmed around the streets amongst the hustle of everyday workers, shoppers and casual layabouts. Commuters and traders of all ages constantly kept the city breathing from early sunrise to late dusk and today was no other exception. Along the bank of the River Thames, situated at the impressive sand building of Thames House, was the collective home of the British Secret Service. Two horse guards patrolled the streets outside as the chimes of Big Ben echoed from Westminster along the street at 11 o’clock, precise as always.

      James Bond, fresh from his arrival back from Siberia and much more at ease in a dark tan suit and tie, took the elevator up to the 6th floor. His morning had started the same as any other. A freshly made breakfast of green plump figs and Greek yoghurt, freshly squeezed orange juice alongside a black coffee with a brief glance at the scandals in the morning paper. Bond had contacted M from his arrival back in Britain and had a meeting scheduled with both his boss and the Ministry of Defence to discuss the Russian microchip he had recovered. The metal door chimed open with a brisk whine and 007 strolled along the finished corridor leading to M’s office and that waiting, sultry charm from his personal secretary, Miss Moneypenny. The light streamed in through the many windows and gave Bond a moment of peace in the quiet few moments between leaving the lift and entering the office of his cantankerous boss. Not one for knocking or pausing to check his attire for creases, Bond simply turned the gold knob on the door and walking in, smile at the ready. Instantly, he was greeted by the welcome site of Miss Moneypenny sat at her desk, wearing a very attractive, if somewhat inappropriate, pastel pink floral dress.


      “Thank goodness you’re here James,” she beamed, standing up to busy herself. Age had been kind to Moneypenny and for a woman entering her 50s; she still looked and emanated a youthful energy that helped to boost all those who crossed paths with her. Her hair was firmly fixed in place in a tight set of waves and a faint application of foundation, blusher, soft eyeliner and lipstick made her a sight to behold on a chilly spring morning.

       Bond walked around the desk and greeted her with a slight peck on the cheek as he always had done. “That’s very nice Moneypenny. A little overtop for the office?”


       “I’ve been trying to reach you all morning,” she said. “What have you been up to?”


      “Rest and recuperation, my darling,” Bond picked up an even more inappropriate pink floral hat resting on the hat stand and admired it. “The trip back from Siberia took a lot out of me.”

       She gave him a wry smile. “Your dedication while you’re on the job is most commendable James.” Without warning, her desk buzzer sounded rather abruptly, a horrid noise breaking their moment. M.


       “Omit the customary pleasantries Miss Moneypenny, we’re pressed for time.” The tinny and stern voice of Bond’s superior clicked off.


      Bond sighed and turned for the burgundy upholstered door that led into M’s office. “I’ll fill you in later,” he smiled, tossing the floral hat gently back to Moneypenny.  He opened the door and walked through into the office.



      He was greeted by a nudge in the shin and a whirr and chime of electronic noise, coming from a mobile robotic machine what could only be described as a small cyber dog complete with protruding lights and antennae. Bond edged into the grand office which always smelled of rich leather, entwined with strong tobacco from M’s smoking pip. Bond always admired this office, as it had a wonderful view of the city. Sir Miles Messervey and the MOD, Sir Frederick Gray, stood by the large oak desk. Major Boothroyd stood by a grand armchair toying with a remote control for the robot. Looking somewhat embarrassed about the awkward entrance, Bond stood by the door.


      “Minister,” he nodded. “Good morning sir.”


      “Commander.” Gray smiled back.  M simply nodded slightly to Bond.


      “A new pet Q?” Bond enquired.

      Q lowered his remote control with a disgruntled noise. “If 007 you’d ever bother to read any memos sent from my department, you would realise this is a prototype of a sophisticated surveillance machine.”


      M rolled his eyes. “Now we’re all here you can get on with the briefing, Q.”


      “Very good sir.” Q picked up the surveillance robot and rested it on the armchair. He fished in his pocket and pulled out the microchip from Siberia, placing it on an electronic microscope, enhancing the image of the chip to be seen on a small monitor screen erected by M’s desk. “Gentlemen. A silicon integrated circuit. The essential part of all modern computers...”


      “No lecture Q, we’re all aware of the microchip,” M cut in.

      “Well until recently all microchips were susceptible to damage from the intense magnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion.”


       Gray turned to Bond with a worried expression, “Magnetic pulse?”


      “Yes, Minister,” Bond replied, taking stand next to the monitor, keeping his eyes on Gray and M. “One burst in outer space over the UK and everything with a microchip in it, from the modern toaster to the most sophisticated computers and our defence systems, would be rendered absolutely useless.”  The tone in Bonds voice matched the sudden mood in the room.


      “Good god, “ M breathed, his face a picture of concern.


      “We’d be paralysed at the Russians’ mercy,” Gray said, almost to himself. The drawn out tension between both the Russia and the Western Powers has been laid down for years during the Cold War, but now the threat of losing the UK defence system with one strategic hit had caused great concern within the Secret Service and the British Government.


      Q stepped in next to Bond and started to turn the dial on the lens and monitor. “That is why a private defence contractor came up with this; a chip totally impervious to magnetic pulse damage. Now, if I place it on the micro-comparator and compare it with the chip Bond recovered from the body of 003 in Siberia. I can bring the two images together, and there we see,” Q nodded to himself, “they’re identical.”

      “The KGB must have a pipeline into that research company,” M suggested to Bond.


      Bond nodded in agreement, “It would appear so.” He took a close look at the two chips, noting that nothing was different bar a small inscription on the bottom of the chip from the contractor.


      “Six months ago that company was acquired by an Anglo-French combine. Zorin Industries,” M said, as Bond noticed the Zorin logo embedded on chip. Gray came closer to look.

      Bond stood back and looked at M, “There has been a security check of the plant?”


      “A very extensive one, but we have no leads.”


      “What about Zorin himself, sir?”


       Gray stepped forward between the two men, “Max Zorin? Impossible! He’s a leading French industrialist. A staunch anti-communist with influential friends in the government.”


       M traded glances with 007.


      “With due respect Minister, the leak did occur after Zorin bought the company,” said Bond.


      M nodded, “Precisely. And that’s why I’ve initiated an investigation.”

      Gray pondered for a moment. “All right, but let’s be discreet about it.” He nodded, turning to get his coat and make his way out of the office.


      “But of course Minister,” M said, turning to Bond. “You have exactly 30 minutes to get properly dressed, 007.” He left the office with Gray, leaving Bond wondering if he had chosen the wrong colour suit to wear that morning.



      The Royal Ascot Grand National horserace attracted the oddest and weirdly wonderful of designer fashion, top game trainers and breeders and a whole host of royal and celebrity faces. It was a wash of gentlemen in luxury suits and top hats and women in figure hugging silk dresses and lavish accessories. The crowd was a bustling throng of the loud and proud, betting money on their favourites on this special day like it was going out of fashion, and in the hope of winning small fortune. The main place to be for prime position to watch the race was on the fresh green turf, by the horse pens and Royal Box, and amongst the cream of the crop of the wealthy and favourable.


      “Come on Fluke! Move you’re a - oh who’s number one? The grey with him?”

      “That’s Pegasus, Zorin’s horse.”  

       Moneypenny and Q were feverishly watching the race in their formal wear whilst James Bond and M stood facing the crowd, binoculars up to their eyes, almost hidden by their grey top hats looking rather ridiculous facing the wrong way.


      “With the cane, is that Max Zorin?” Bond asked.


      “Yes,” M said, adjusting his vision to find Zorin, “born in Dresden and fled from East Germany in the Sixties. French passport and speaks at least five languages, no accent. Now the talk of the City and the Bourse.”


      Maximillian Zorin was a short man, well under 6ft tall, with striking wavy blond hair and handsome face, with sunken features, against a pale complexion. He was engaged in conversation with some Orientals stood with him, and seemed to be enjoying himself.

       “The old rags-to-riches story.”

      “Made his first fortune in oil and gas, now a second in electronics and hi-tech.” M concluded.


      Bond turned his attention to a strikingly hard looking woman next to Zorin. Dressed in blood red with a stylish black hat, the woman had dark chocolate colour skin that highlighted her glamorous facial features including deep white eyes and chiselled jawbone, plumed up with blusher. Her lips with dark and she looked more like Zorin’s bodyguard than girlfriend.


      “Who’s that with him under the hat? The red dress. A girlfriend?” Bond shouted above the noise as the horses behind him entered the final lap, the crowd too picking up excitement.


      “Ah, we’re not sure about her. American. She’s never far from him. Name’s May Day.”


      “And dressed for the occasion,” smiled Bond, eyebrow raised slightly.

      “Pegasus has come from nowhere as they go for the line…” shouted the race announcer over the tannoy, stirring up the crowd in the final moments of face. The men lowered their binoculars as the crowd became more excitable, cheering on the horses on the final furlong. Moneypenny gripped Q’s arm as she waved her ticket in the air.


      “Come on Fluke!” she cried. All eyes were on the thundering hooves of the horses as they galloped by in a fury towards the finish line.

      “And they cross the line and its Pegasus way clear of Fluke and Cooper Girl! First Number One, Second Number Two and Third Number Five!” announced the excited tannoy.

      The wail of applause and dismay was something to hear in this Great British tradition. A million hopes and dreams had been made and lost in the split second of the thrill of a gamble. Moneypenny wasted no time in tearing up her ticket, dropping the shards to the floor and giving the horses a bitter look, much to Q’s hidden amusement. Bond and M were joined by an older man in his mid-60s, also dressed for the occasion with a rounded face and a cheery smile, tipping his hat to the two men for their return.


      “It’s unbelievable,” the man sighed, “in all my years as a trainer I’ve never seen a horse run such a fast last furlong.”

      Bond turned to face him as he extended his hand.


      “Sir Godfrey Tibbet. Our department,” M introduced Bond who noted a soft handshake.

      “Many congratulations,” Tibbet smiled.


      “He’s a lucky man Zorin,” said M, turning to the boxes. 

      The three men watched as the man in question came down with his lady friend, presented with a shining golden trophy and surrounded by the hungry press, fed by his charming smile and joviality.


      “Could be more than luck, Admiral,” Tibbet suggested.


      “Your guess is as good as mine. The French Jockey Club has a detective, Aubergine, looking into it now.”

      The group watched as the mighty beast Pegasus was led into the winners circle, surrounded by amazed pundits and cheering press as they snapped up shots of the mighty black horse. Zorin simply waved his hat to the crowd as May Day took the reigns of Pegasus, who started to buck and rear. Zorin simply smiled and kept the press at bay as May Day controlled the horse with expert handling.


      “Easy Pegasus, easy girl!” she shouted. Her red wrap fell off under the struggle revealing her toned shoulders and strong arms as she pulled and control the reigns. Pegasus went back on his back legs, snorting and braying loudly as if spooked by some unknown force.


      The crowd gave them room, shouting in awe as May Day talked and controlled the horse down, soothing and patting her until Pegasus eventually stopped, gently breathing as if nothing had happened. Zorin patted his horse down as the crowd clapped.

      “She must take a lot of vitamins,” Q commented. May Day manoeuvred the horse out of the circle.


      “Perhaps Pegasus does too,” Bond said turning to face Tibbet, “I think we should meet with this detective friend of yours.”


      M nodded approval. “Yes, it might have some interesting information for us,” he patted Tibbet on the back, “set it up would you?”

      “Right you are.”


      “Oh Moneypenny,” Bond said as he turned to leave, reaching into his pocket and handing her a ticket, “be a darling would you and collect this for me? I’ll buy you dinner when I get back.”


      She opened the ticket and her mouth dropped.





#3 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:13 AM

Chapter 2: The Eiffel Tower


The timing was perfect for a mid-day rendezvous at the magnificent Eiffel Tower in Paris. Champ de Mars was packed more so than normal due to the weather. It was alive, full of lovers locked in dreamy gazes and tourists walking amongst the quaint market stalls. Expertly sculptured fountains and emerald garden paths were breath-taking to walk along. It was a sight to take in the historical monument standing proud and embodied the culture of the city. Taxi drivers bullied each other for their fare rides and street entertainers provided laughter and music for the masses. The giant steel needle pierced the blue sky and stood looking over the city of love. The two passenger lifts were in full motion in the tower taking people up to the top for either a romantic lunch or an unforgettable photograph. It was here that James Bond was meeting his French contact on behalf of Tibbet. He was seated in the Tower restaurant, Le Jules Vernes.

      The view alone, amongst other things was inspiring, and so too was the décor. Almost all the tables were full with guests dressed up for a minimum $100 lunch with the entertainment provided by the finest that France had to offer. Large chandeliers provided the large room with a warm glow and the atmosphere was one of utter contentment. Gentle piano music lulled the diners into a sense of relaxation and amour.  Bond stood to receive his guest arriving at the table, a stocky man with slicked back thin black hair and matching moustache. He embodied the image of a jolly Frenchman, somehow taking Bond aback at the thought of this man being a professional detective. The two men shook hands and were seated. A young, fresh-faced maître’ d brought the men a bottle of champagne, ordered by Bond, took their meal order and left them a bowl of thick olive oil and complimentary dipping bread. The men raised glasses and toasted. Aubergine took a generous mouthful of the champagne and it brought instant colour to his cheeks.


      “Bollinger, ’74. I see you are a connoisseur, Monsiuer Bond.”


      Bond looked modest as he identified another bottle on their table, “Ensuite, Laffite Rothschild ’69.”


      “Another excellent choice.”


      “I’m please you approve, since you’re paying the bill.”

      Aubergine raised his glass to Bond’s once more. “Cheers!” The champagne tasted dry yet sweet and was instantly well received by Bond’s sensitive pallet.


      “Santé, Monsieur Aubergine,” toasted Bond. Aubergine started on the bread and oil, all the time keeping an eye on the activity around him, nodding to Bond to continue. “The Surete has no information on Zorin before he came over from East Germany?”


      “Through a personal connection I saw his dossier myself. But even Surete records are sometimes incomplete,” replied Aubergine as the house lights dimmed.  Bond noted a shadow moving upon the balcony directly behind them. The audience clapped as the head maître‘ d walked onto the sage, revealing a glamorous string quartet and solo guitarist.


      “Et voici maintenant! The fabulous Dominique and the enchanted Papillions!”


      A beautiful woman in her early twenties wearing nothing but a light blue gown and under garments took to the stage. She kneeled to the floor as the restaurant went quiet in anticipation. The quartet began a soft piece by Mansini, with the guitar echoing a hauntingly tender beat as a flurry of multi-coloured butterflies rose from around the woman and danced around her in flight. A beautiful sight, thought Bond, but basic entertainment done on the cheap. He mused to himself as the shadow with the fishing rod took position and began to send a ‘dancing’ butterfly over to the enchanting woman to dance with her to the music and her soft whistling. It did look memorizing under the lighting, but Bond wasn’t totally impressed, unlike Aubergine who was transfixed on the girl, his sly look turning from awe to infatuation in a heartbeat. The waiter during this time had served their two starters, a rich tomato and herb soup for Aubergine and a small salmon soufflé for Bond. Aubergine didn’t take his eyes from the butterfly girl.


      “Perhaps we should add this butterfly to our collection, no?” grinned the detective.


      Bond simply ignored the comment and tried hard to bring focus back to an as yet uneventful meeting. “Tell me, why do Zorin’s horses beat others with superior bloodlines?”


      “This is a mystery.”


      “Could he be using drugs?”


      “Nothing showed up in his test,” said Aubergine. His eyes flicked to the dancing girl whose routine was nearing a climax, the butterflies gaining height and speed. Bond noted the shadow working hard, almost struggling with his rod.  “Later this month, Zorin will hold his annual sales at this stud near Paris. Security is formidable.” The shadow was now waving the rod quite erratically, the dancing butterfly on the end causing a stir to the young girl, taken aback by the speed of it as the music swelled for her finale. Aubergine leaned in to Bond. “The key to this mystery is there. And I, Achilles Aubergine, intend to find it.”


      The shadow lunged with the rod and the dancing butterfly was flung so hard across the room, it struck Aubergine in the side of neck with a sickening pop as the guitar solo reached its coincidental climax. Bond didn’t have time to register the shock in Aubergine’s face before he collapsed dead, face first into his soup. The dancing girl screamed in terror as she saw the dead man fall with the butterfly stuck in his throat. Soon the whole restaurant was on its feet in pandemonium, trying to get a look at what happened. 007 reached inside his jacket and withdrew his trusty Walther PPK pistol from his left shoulder holster and gripped it tight.


      He checked the pulse but found none. Bond noted the shadow upon the balcony had turned and fled out of the service exit door. Their waiter came running up with sheer panic on his face and horror.


      “Qu’est-ce qu-il ya Monsieur?”


      “There’s a fly in his soup,” muttered Bond, dashing past the crowd and up to the exit, following the assassin. The bloodied butterfly came away from Aubergine.  A plastic dart with a poison coated tip.

      Bounding out the service door, the assassin knocked over two security guards on the way out of the restaurant and vaulted over a railing, leading up a large winding staircase.  As this area was currently closed to the public, the assassin had free reign over the metal structure heading up the outer lattice of the tower. Bond came out of the exit Walther in hand and following the shouts and pointing of the scattered tourists in the court, knew where to go. He headed for the railing, once more shoulder barging the confused guards out of the way who were also in bewilderment of the man in the crisp dinner-suit with a gun chasing a figure in flowing black robes carrying a fishing rod. 007 caught his breath, already finding the staircase tricky to navigate at such height, and trying to apprehend the assassin.

       A billow of black caught his eye from above and he fired two shots from his pistol, impacting on a rung inches below the assassin with a metallic ring. The figure took the rod and cast it down the stairs at Bond. As he covered his face to shield from any other toxic weapon, the wire wrapped around his legs. The assassin pulled hard, causing 007 to be pulled vertically over the side of the railings. Bond had to grip the handrail holding him back as not to fall totally over the edge and to his death. As the rod was flung away in panic, the mystery figure continued to ascend the staircase. Bond collapsed to the floor with a yell of pain as the line went limp. The casting hook was caught in his shin, tearing into his muscle. Losing valuable time, he had no choice to stop and carefully unhook wire and release his legs. He limped to his feet and out of the wire, tossing the rod aside and so to continue the dangerous climb. Paris was looking smaller and more distant with each step. He fired another two shots upwards to hopefully hit or injure the assassin, but to no avail, they echoed through the lattice impacting on the metal framework. In a change of tactic, the assassin cleared a set of stairs now a few levels from the top of the tower itself and climbed over the protective metal railings onto the outer beams with nothing to stop a fall. Expertly and nimbly, the figure climbed out towards the outer edge with no apparent way to go except a fall down to the gardens below. Bond’s footsteps could be heard coming up the stairs. The figure saw him arrive on the stairs and wasted no time. The cloak was flung to the floor. The assassin jumped spread eagle off the tower beam. Bond reached the railing and simply watched the figure fall.


      Half-way down came the tear of fabric and crack of air. A wasp-like yellow and black parachute unfurled from the assassin’s back and billowed out, slowing the descent and carrying the figure effortlessly through the skyline. Bond could only register amazement at the efficiency of losing a target now so far away. That was until he heard the whine of the tower lift which was coming back down the tracks. Bond didn’t think twice. Climbing over the railing and holding on for dear life, he looked up to make sure he wasn’t going to be crushed by the descending lift as it powered down towards him. It passed by with a loud roar and blast of hot air, and the moment it passed Bond let go and jumped forward, a good 10ft drop to land solidly on the lift roof. There he could only gain his balance and wait to reach the ground level. He spotted the parachute sailing across the sky still high in the air and moving further away from the tower. Bond holstered the Walther and waited until the lift slowed and reached the ground floor level, and thankfully back on solid ground. That would be one mode of transport not favoured by James Bond in future.


      As a few guests came out, he swung himself over the roof and jumped to the floor, causing more bewilderment to the tourists, snapping away with their expensive cameras. He ran from the entrance and scoured the area for something to commandeer. The only thing he could see was a blue Renault 11 taxi, engine running, and ready for pursuit. Passing a lone group of trinket traders on the pavement, Bond appeared at the driver’s window. Unfortunately it was occupied by the driver on his break with a small glass of red wine. Bond banged on the roof for his attention.


      “Follow that parachute!” he shouted, pointing towards the skyward assassin.

      The driver smiled and shook his smug head and replied with a mouthful of what sounded like French, mixed with a mouthful of wine he just swallowed. Bond wasted no time. He opened the door and grabbed the man by his leather jacket lapel.


      “Out!” he ordered, flinging the man aside and stepping into the driver’s seat in one fluid motion.


The driver stumbled back into the trinket stand, knocking over dozens of cheap goods and sending the customers scattering.


      Keeping his eyes on the parachute, Bond hit the accelerator, raised the clutch instantly, spinning the tyre and heading off towards the slipway down to the main centre. Bond could see the taxi driver running after him, waving his arms in anger at the man who had stolen his day’s earnings. Bond swerved to avoid a cyclist and decided to take the low route down to the streets below in the direction of the assassin, now heading in a Westerly direction towards the Seine River.


      He slammed the car into second gear and started down a large set of stone steps, part of the ancient décor leading to the Eiffel Tower itself. The car spun an impressive 360 degree turn on the steps. The people on the stairs screamed in shock and ran to the side of the steps, pushing themselves into the side to avoid being hit. The Renault handled the terrain perfectly, easily saving minutes in reaching the street.  Bond was able to straighten out the car for the final descent off the lower ledge and across the pavement and weaving into the traffic already in full motion in the road. Bond took the car into fourth gear and hammered the gas, taking the car’s engine into full use and drove down the street the wrong way.

Numerous cars sounded their horns in alarm as the blue taxi sped past, expertly weaving between open-topped convertibles and family sized motors all heading across the city. The horns kept blaring and were followed by a mixture of French alarm and abuse as Bond realized he had misjudged the street he was on. Driving slower due to peak time, a mobile transportation lorry was moving steadily down the road. The Renault was pushing top speed through the traffic and had no time to avoid the lorry without a collision. Bond noticed the assassin was descending rapidly over the river and was turning in to a landing position.


      Bond sized up the lorry ahead and kept his foot on the accelerator. He drove onto the lorry’s vehicle loading trailer at speed, driving straight up the rear of the lorry and launching over the cabin. Due to a combination of gravity and sheer luck, the Renault landed onto the roof of a passing tourist bus below, before driving straight off the front and slamming onto the road, crunching the underside of the taxi and shocking the suspension, and Bond’s teeth, at the same time. The timing was perfect and the crowds along the sidewalks were staring in amazement at what the local taxi had just done. He fought to control the car amongst the traffic he had joined, noting the bus behind at a standstill, littered open cases and furious passengers out on the street.

      The parachute was directly above Bond as he looked out of the windscreen, seeing the direction they were both heading. He was just in time in bringing his eyes back to the road as he failed to notice a traffic calming road barrier down in his path, used simply to prevent traffic on the riverbank and make the area safer for pedestrians. Bond’s eyes opened wide in shock as he dropped his head down to the passenger seat. The barrier slammed into the car and ripped the windscreen straight off in shards of glass and buckled the car roof straight off in two pieces. The noise was deafening but over in seconds. Bond shook the glass from his head, bringing himself up facing the whipping breeze through his hair, checking on the parachute still above. The car picked up more speed. Police sirens could be heard across the square, and it seemed that 007 had further attention to contend with. If Bond kept the pace, he was sure of apprehending the assassin in moments.


      Taking a left onto a slip-road by the river, Bond was going too fast to notice the large Volvo driving towards him. He made a sharp turn with the wheel to avoid a head on collision but knew he was going to get hit on the rear. Bond braced himself as the grey Volvo smashed into the tail end of the Renault, taking it clean off and hitting a bollard in the process. The Renault was simply now a bonnet with two front wheels, trailing along with Bond at the driving seat, leaving a spray of sparks as the car dragged along the bumpy floor. Bond came up from the drive onto the main bridge crossing the river as the assassin flew down overhead and landed perfectly onto a floating sailboat coming down river to them. A small grey speedboat was floating near the bridge and came out to meet the assassin coming in on the roof of the boat. The Renault skidded over the street to the end of the bridge, stopping traffic and pedestrians alike in shock at the unconventional Englishman in his unique motor. He jumped out of the car and peered over the edge of the grand bridge. The assassin was now running towards the end of the large cruise boat with what seemed to be a party going on inside, oblivious to their stowaway. Bond stood on the edge and watched as the boat came closer. He stepped forward and fell for what seemed like a lifetime towards the roof. He landed and instantly tore through the canvas roof, straight onto a large wedding cake as the happy couple were about to cut into it. A cry of despair went up from the bride as 007 struggled to his feet, holding the top of the cake, flat and crumbling in his hands.


      “Congratulations,” he smiled, handing it to the groom, red-faced and full of anger.


      Bond pushed his way through the angry crowd of guests and colourful hanging balloons, yards from the rear of the boat, following the assassin’s silhouette on the side of the boat, inches away. The speedboat drew up alongside the cruise boat and the mystery figure jumped in, and the motor roared to life as it pulled away and turned back up the Siene. Bond reached the rear of the boat in time to see it speed away in the distance. Suddenly he was dragged back into the boat by the angry groom and what looked like a rather large chef, taking him back into the chaos he had created for the incoming police.

      Out in the boat, May Day breathed a sigh of relief. She grinned devilishly as she pulled off her black hood. Max Zorin drove in a steady path over the water and looked over to her.


      “Well?” he asked.


      Her head fell forward in a satisfied nod, before she laughed and clapped her hands at the pure chaos she had just caused. Zorin smiled.


      The black Ministry Of Defence car pulled straight out of the Parisian Police Headquarters, speeding away from an embarrassing and unconventional situation. M sat with Bond in the rear of the car as Sir Godfrey listened intently in the passenger seat with their driver to the de-briefing.

      “This operation was to be conducted discreetly,” M sighed, “it took six million francs in damages and penalties for violating most of the Napoleonic Code!”

      Bond turned to face M. “Under the circumstances I thought it was more important to identify the assassin.”


      “What did you learn from Aubergine before his untimely demise?” M asked as Tibbet turned in his seat.


      “Only that Zorin is having a thoroughbred sale at his stud not far from here. I should be there. Can you help me, Sir Godfrey?”


      Tibbet gave a cunning smile to the two men. “I may be able to arrange an invitation. It’s a bit short notice but I might just be able to squeeze you in, Bond.”


      M nodded in approval.

      “Thank-you,” said Bond.


      The car gently came to halt streets away from the Eiffel Tower, backed up by slow moving traffic which had been aided by the disruption and damage caused only a few hours ago thanks to the British Secret Service.




#4 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:28 AM

Chapter 3: Horse Play


      “Sir Godfrey your hat,” Bond reminded his driver as he sat forward admiring the view.


      The grand Château de Chantilly in Oise, 23 miles north of Paris, was where Zorin was holding the stud sales and auction and was the perfect place for a thoroughbred meeting. Built in 1882 by the prestigious Montgomery family, it was surrounded by the Chantilly Forest spreading hundreds of acres around the estate and housing the Grand Stables, there was nowhere else in Europe fit to host such a prestigious event. The grounds even housed its own racecourse, the Hippodrome de Chantilly, a good 3 mile track which even hosted its own Grand Prix in the summer months as the premier training ground for French jockeys. The standard service Rolls Royce, a gleaming silver-bullet colour, slowly drove up the mile front drive surrounded by artistically trimmed bushes, marble statues and the odd horse grazing in the open. It was yet another perfect morning with the clear blue sky dotted by small wispy clouds and a high sun shining over the grounds.


      M’s orders were that Bond and Tibbet gain as much information as possible regarding both Zorin’s involvement with any fixed horse racing and, more importantly, Aubergine’s assassination. There was no surveillance of any sort and no additional contacts in Oise, so they were on their own. Beside the official part of the assignment, Bond was rather looking forward to sampling the life of a rich and well-connected horse breeder with his loyal valet and chauffeur, Tibbet, by his side. Dressed in a basic dark grey uniform, Tibbet looked the part. Matched with Bond’s light cream Brioni suit, they made the perfect pair of English gentlemen. Driving up onto the approach outside the Château, Bond could see two figures waiting by the front steps leading up to the wide open door leading inside. There were stable-hands milling around with horses and porters carrying numerous pieces of luggage from cars parked at the front. Tibbet circled the driveway around a small fountain and pulled up in front of the arrival party as the small gravel crunched under the tyres. It took him just a second to nearly forget his cover, and he killed the engine straight away. Jumping out of the car and walking to the rear, he opened the door gracefully letting Bond out. He straightened his navy tie and looked around in delight. A small Chinese lady dressed in what looked like riding gear walked up Bond with a small card, looking at both him and Tibbet whilst trying to decipher the names written down.


      “Mister Saint John Smith?” she asked tenderly.


      “St. John-Smythe my dear,” he corrected her with a cheery smile. She nodded and started back inside. She passed a blonde haired woman, dressed almost identically, standing outside the large main door with a well-dressed man. As she went inside, the tall man sauntered down the stairs to greet them with no apparent urgency. He had wavy black hair and Bond immediately noticed a small scar on his left cheek under the eye socket, probably due to either a racing incident, or something more dangerous. He held out his strong hand as he came towards the guests. His smile was thin and he matched Bond’s height and build.


      “My name is Scarpine, head of security.”


      That explained the scar. Bond shook hands with a firm grip, “How do you do.”

      “We have a room for you at the Château.”

      “Oh splendid,” smiled Bond, glancing around at the gorgeous surroundings.


      “By the way the preview is in progress at the main stables.”

      Bond looked over his shoulder to another large mansion they passed on the way in, “Is that it?”


      Scarpine smiled. “No, no. Those are the servant’s quarters. The stables are over here,” he turned in the other direction to an even larger, breath-taking building. He led with his arm. “Let me escort you there.”


      Bond nodded to Tibbet who simply waited by the car, busying himself in the boot with the remainder of the luggage. He followed Scarpine across the drive to the Grand Stables, a building that could match St. Pauls Cathedral for sheer scale and décor. Walking along the gravel track leading to the stables, Scarpine led Bond through the open archway into the main courtyard where a dozen or so pens were set up, each housing a different horse and breeder. The stable court itself was a grand design, a good 30 foot high and covered in a manner of ancient carvings, brickwork and sculptures. Makeshift lights were fitted around giving a warm glow to the court. The smell of dry hay and sweet fruit was a rich sensation to Bond’s senses as he was expecting a horrid smell of damp hay and manure, but thankfully finding none. In fact it was quite pleasant. A number of trainers and pundits were walking around perusing the animals, chatting to experts about the quality of racing horses and what makes a good stallion. Scarpine picked up a thick catalogue from a tray, placed on one of a number of wooden tables around the court. He handed it to Bond without looking.

      “Catalogue of the sales.”


      Bond feigned interest in looking through it, “Thank you. Tell me; the Ithacus Colt. Is it here?”

      “You mean the full brother of Pegasus?”


      Scarpine smiled and pointed to a page in the catalogue, indicating to none other than the Colt. “He’s the outstanding horse of the sales. He’ll be shown last. We expect him to fetch over three million dollars.”


       “Sounds quite reasonable,” Bond nodded and slowly turned back on himself and began to leave the stable, pretending to note each horse as he went past to the information in the catalogue.

      “If you need any further assistance please call me,” Scarpine said as he followed behind.


      “Thank you,” Bond simply kept walking.


      Tibbet watched as Bond and Scarpine continued their muted conversation down at the courts. He closed the boot of the Rolls and backed off around the side of the Château. He had seen some activity down by the horse pens as he was tending to the car and a horse that looked like Pegasus was being led around by a young stable hand and an elderly gentleman with wispy white hair and carrying a worn leather briefcase. Tibbet wanted a closer look and waited for the perfect time to investigate, his cover being a simple man with a passion for horses. He walked hurriedly down the side of the building until he reached the side of the pens. This was obviously the grimier side of the stables as the stench of manure filled Tibbet’s nose with full force. The cobbles below him started to lose colour the further down they went to the pens, and it was a lot more untidy than where Bond had been taken to for viewing. He could see Pegasus being led into one of the large wooden pens, followed by the elderly man patting him on the rear, pushing him in.


      “Keep him on a tight rein! Steady now Pegasus, steady!” he shouted in a strong accent, most likely German or Austrian.


      He closed the half-door behind him. Tibbet felt a shiver running up his back. His conscious urged him to continue his spying with the danger of getting caught ever present, the whole thing taking him back to his active days in the field of espionage in the late 1960s. Peering around the corner further still looking around, there was no sign of anyone else. Creeping past a brown horse grazing from a bundle of hay in the pen next to where Pegasus was, Tibbet stopped and listened intently, but there was no immediate sounds coming from inside. Glancing around again, Tibbet leaned further forward to the pen but still heard nothing. Taking off his chauffeur’s hat, he gently moved closer, his head peering around the door. He frowned and stepped out fully to look at what he saw. Nothing. Pegasus and the two men had gone. Leaning forward, Tibbet glanced around but saw nothing except a floor littered with hay and grazing bags on the wall. He rubbed his head in bewilderment and started back to the car, putting on his cap to help hide his puzzled expression. Bond was stood waiting by the car looking out over the ground as Scarpine walked up to him.


      “Monsieur Smythe? Monsieur Zorin has been detained. He’s anxious to meet you at the reception in the Chateau gardens later.”


      “I look forward it,” Bond smiled, spotting Tibbet come walking from around the grounds of the building. “I wish you wouldn’t keep wandering off,” he snarled at his chauffeur.


      Scarpine watched Tibbet coming from the stables. He began to take the luggage from Bond and from the Rolls.


      “I’m sorry sir.”


      Scarpine motioned to the leggy blond girl standing by the main door. She was dressed like the previous Chinese lady, but she filled the outfit far greater. She looked lean and athletic in the riding gear with a wonderfully feminine body. Her blonde hair was bobbed and short, helping to show off her plain face and ruby lips. She smiled at Bond as she came down the stairs.


      “Your driver may stay in the servants’ quarters,” finished Scarpine.


      Bond turned to Tibbet, now holding three bags and an umbrella, “I’m sure that will be more than adequate. What do you say Tibbet?”


      Scarpine headed off to the stables leaving the girl in charge. She came forward to Bond.

      “Welcome sir. I’m Jenny Flex.”


      Bond smiled with warmth at the woman, “But of course you are.”


      “I’ll call a porter.”


      He held out his hand and rested it on her arm, “Oh, no need. My man will take care of it.”

      She smiled softly and motioned up the stairs, “Let me show you to your room then.”


      “Thank you,” Bond said, turning to his man, “when you’re ready Tibbet.”


      Inside the Château, the history and grand scale of the French aristocracy was evident in every turn and in every room. World renowned for housing the princes of Conde, cousins of the kings of France, 007 could see why. The light egg blue carpeted floor was soft to the touch and it complimented the sandy brickwork and marble finishing of the walls and high ceilings. The hall was awash with antique furnishings, famous local paintings and jewel encrusted chandeliers and light fittings.  A large mirror hung on the far wall making the hall appear even larger than it was. Two large staircases with plush burgundy finishing led up, curving one to the left and one to the right, leading guests and dignitaries to other areas of the maze-like building. A number of porters were busying themselves out in the gardens which could be seen leading straight through down the hallway. They were preparing tables and erecting small marquees outside for the reception. Two porters were carrying a large decorative brass sculpture from the grounds through to the garden, and it looked positively hideous to Bond. Jenny Flex led Bond up the set of stairs to the right with Tibbet struggling up behind, still carrying the 3 cases and an umbrella. His face was all flustered and rosy red, sweat was forming on his brow.


      “Well my dear,” Bond said, “I take it you spend a lot of time in the saddle?”


      “Yes, I love an early morning ride,” said Jenny without hesitation.


      Bond felt warm under his collar, “I’m an early riser myself,” he stopped and turned to Tibbet. “Come along Tibbet, stop wheezing.”


      Jenny took them along a long corridor, this time with expensive looking golden pillars and mirrors along both sides, with smaller corridors leading off in both directions further into the heart of the Château. It really was a grand building. She came to an ivory door and opened it with no effort, despite the door looking heavy. Bond strolled inside and was greeted by a luxurious view over the front of the Château thanks to a large open French window leading out to a stone balcony. A cream sofa was situated in the room alongside an oak table and selection of reading material. The large four poster bed took pride of place at the rear of the room draped in what looked like real silk drapes. A couple of arm chairs rested in the corner along with a large wardrobe and drawer space. An open fire lay dormant by the sofa and table. Tibbet barged through the door, near to dropping the cases and Bond caught his eye.


      “Don’t stand there panting Tibbet, start unpacking!” ordered Bond, “here let me help you,” he took the umbrella from under Tibbet’s arm.


      “Yes sir, thank you sir!” he wheezed before dropping the cases down at the foot of the bed. Jenny smirked discreetly and once again gave a bright smile at the two gentlemen as she made her way to the door.

      “The reception is at six.”


      “Thank you dear,” said Bond as she closed the door behind, the latch clicking into place.

      Tibbet immediately took the smallest bag from the floor and placed it onto the bed, opening the side compartment and pulled out a Braun electric razor. He clicked a small button on the rear battery compartment. Bond removed a small tape recorder from the bag also and began to do a custom sweep of the room, something the Intelligence community were trained to do naturally in any room around the world they had been checked into, larger or small scale. A common tracker bug or listening device could be hidden anywhere to monitor the room, and such tactics could lead to a cover being compromised and the mission would be over in a heartbeat.


      “Well you heard what Miss Jenny Flex said. There is a reception at six,” Bond kept in character as he slowly walked around the room with Tibbet, checking under ornaments and around the bed, even in the complimentary fruit bowl by the window, “so I will need a white jacket and a black tie.”


      “Yes sir,” Tibbet moved to the bedside table.


      “And if possible a clean shirt.”

      The L.E.D on the razor turned red as Tibbet moved it under the bedside lamp. He indicated silently to Bond who inspected the lamp and saw a small listening bug planted directly in the middle of the lamp above the light bulb. It was as small as a thumbnail, and easy to look over as a part of the lamp to someone not really inspecting, but unmistakable to a trained eye.


      “Yes sir,” Tibbet continued as Bond took the tape player and gently placed it under the lamp. He hit the play button and a recording of St John Smythe and his chauffeur began to play out.


      “Oh my Lord, Tibbet.  Look at the state of my clothes. How on earth do you pack my bags?”


      “I’m sorry sir.”

      The tape had few hours of various dialogues recorded by Bond and Tibbet before their arrival at the Château. It took patience and a well-crafted skill of talking about neutral conversation that could be used any time. It wasn’t Bonds favoured choice of cover, but necessary in keeping up appearances. They headed out to the window balcony together leaving the tape playing.


      On the ground level, inside a small security office located away from the state rooms, Scarpine stood in silence with a young man who obviously was wired up with the latest in observational and surveillance security equipment. A dozen or so small monitors were linked up in front of him overlooking all secure areas of the Château. Numerous tapes and recorders were linked up to one large computer. As Scarpine checked the monitors for any unusual activity, the young man was listening to a recorder on his large headphones, writing down information on his pad.

      “Mr Faras told his trainer he’ll go to a million for the Ithacus Colt.”


      “Good,” said Scarpine. “Anything from St. John Smythe?


      “Nothing about the sale sir,” chuckled the operator as he flicked on a switch, “but I’d hate to be his valet!”


      Bond and Tibbet’s voice suddenly filled the office in mid conversation. Scarpine smiled.

      “You’ll have to buck up your ideas.”

      “Terribly sorry, sir.”


      “Don’t be so damned obsequious.”


      Scarpine shook his head and sat back on the desk, as the supervisor laughed to himself.


      “Oh my Lord. What the devil’s wrong with these shoes? Were they wiped over with an oily rag?”


      “I’m sorry, sir!”


      “So you blasted well should be. I don’t know how long you expect to remain in my employment -”


      Bond rested his arms on the balcony smiling in satisfaction.


      “Well done my good man.”


      Tibbet sighed, “Must we keep this up when we’re alone?”


      Bond contemplated the idea, “A successful cover becomes almost second nature. Tell me, what’s all this about Pegasus disappearing?”


      “One minute he’s in his stall, the next neither hide nor hair of him. We should look into it.”

      “Well don’t you concern yourself with that,” Bond said, patting him on the shoulder. Tibbet looked over the grounds as a small helicopter whirred into view from above the trees. It was a quiet motor that glided from the distance and descended to land on a helipad away from the front drive, leading onto a lake with a built in walkway, which was yet another exquisite piece of work. Down below them, Bond noticed a small group of people walking out towards the grounded chopper. It was Max Zorin and a small entourage.  Tibbet leaned closer and pointed.


      “That’s the man I saw at the Pegasus stable.”

      It was the elderly man with the wispy white hair, this time without the briefcase.


      “Another wealthy owner?”


      Tibbet scoffed, “Who knows.”

      They watched as Zorin opened the cabin door to reveal a stunning women sitting there. She wore a mauve blouse, jacket and skirt that rested just above her knees. Her blonde hair fell to her shoulders and was thick, shining in the sun. Carrying a small handbag, she shook hands with Zorin as he took her under his arm and led her away from the walkway.  


      “She’d bear closer inspection,” Bond watched the girl with a keen eye.

      “We’re on a mission.”


      Bond leaned forward, turning to Tibbet with a smile, “Sir Godfrey, on a mission I am expected to sacrifice myself.”

      Zorin and the blonde girl disappeared from view into the Château.



#5 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

Chapter 4 – Two’s Company…


      The string ensemble out in the Château Gardens played a wonderful melody of continental and classical music on harps, violins and cellos. Porters walked gracefully around the grounds serving drinks and food to the selection of the royal and wealthy at Max Zorin’s reception. At every turn Bond could see Zorin in conversation with a rich oil Sheikh or an industrial executive. He kept his distance and surveyed the whole proceedings discreetly. There was a marquee that housed the bar serving all manner of drinks from non-alcoholic cocktails to rich sparkling champagne and the finest Ports and Whiskey. Golden silk drapes had been hung across the gardens like a large lattice, criss-crossing over the guests and trailing along the tall frames. A large walkway over the waterfront of the Château Lake had been erected providing a romantic and breath-taking amble out over the water, once again decorated with golden silk and watched over by the regal looking porters.


      Dressed in a white jacket and black tie with a small topaz signet ring on his finger, Bond looked even more so a wealthy British playboy, keen to show off his millions The blonde haired lady was with Zorin as they moved away from talking to burly moustached man with a checked jacket, complete with gold rings which Bond instantly assumed he was involved with the oil business; a typical J.R Ewing.

      “Mister Zorin. Main Strike all set?” the burly man asked in a Southern American drawl

      Zorin sheepishly looked around the man nodding. “We’ll know more after the end of the month. Now, enjoy yourself.” Zorin nodded to end the conversation and escorted the girl into a large conservatory area, shut off from the rest gardens.


      Bond was about to follow when Scarpine stepped over to him from a small behind a small congregation of guests. Bond felt he had picked up an unwelcome shadow since his arrival. He held out his hand once more.


      “Enjoying our little party, Monsieur Saint John Smith?”


      Bond took his hand. “Immensely. St. John Smythe,” he corrected, and walked by Scarpine towards the bar area and the conservatory. Scarpine turned to watch him and then moved away.


      Getting closer to the entrance where Zorin had taken the girl, a figure suddenly stepped into view from behind the woodwork frame and blocked the door. It was May Day in a glamorous purple and black figure hugging dress. Bond nodded to her and gave her a charming smile, which she simply returned with a firm head shake. The hint was obvious as the slightly embarrassed secret agent turned and moved away from the door and sauntered off around the side to the gardens. Bond reached into his inner pocket and pulled out some brown sunglasses. He sidled up to the side of the conservatory and slipped them on, careful not to attract attention. Facing the tinted windows of the small office, Bond discreetly pushed a small dial on the brow of the sunglasses, turning the lenses into a high quality resolution and enhancing the vision through the shaded window. The lenses were so tight in the frame that small fibres around the frame, when activated, would enhance the lenses to become stronger and darker and thus aid in clearing blacked out windows for surveillance. In this case, it was for watching a secret transaction. He could clearly see into the office where Zorin and the girl were sat but was aware to everyone else he was staring at himself in the reflection.


      A cheque was being written out by the business man. He tore it off, said something to her and handed it over. The girl said something back which Bond couldn’t register and smoothly slid the cheque inside her ivory handbag. Bond sidled around the conservatory not wishing to draw attention to himself as Zorin and the girl shook hands and sat up to leave. They did so from another door leading into the Château itself, with May Day following close behind. Bond watched the trio leave and removed his glasses, returning them to his pocket. A handful of guests walked past. Bond acknowledged them as he pretended to be taking a leisurely stroll with himself. As they passed the conservatory, he placed his hand on the brass handle and moved inside quietly but quickly. Checking behind him, he walked into the tasteful office where Zorin wrote the cheque. Wasting no time, he walked over to a small desk where he had been sat and opened the drawers, looking for the book. The small study as it were was well lit from the conservatory leading in and only the soft cream blinds kept the blazing sun out. The room was a dark chestnut colour with few furnishings, but there was plenty of clear wealth and taste on display. Two large paintings of what looked like the mythical horse Pegasus and another fine beast hung on opposite walls taking centre place. A few small tables dotted the room, each with their own centrepiece of either a small flower or decorative bust. The desk that rested on the near wall was small but filled with what looked like files, a modern computer system and a number of small books. Amongst other things there was a lamp made from gold and a figurine of another horse. Two bookshelves flanked either side filled with literature and two leather chairs sat in front, well upholstered in dark burgundy. The threat of someone coming back into the room from either the conservatory or the main door was minimal but not impossible, so Bond moved quickly across the wooden floor.


      Moving to the desk where he had spied on Zorin and the girl, his hands traced over the various papers and clippings over the desk. Bond went to the drawers below which were surprisingly unlocked. He found the evidence he was after sitting in the top drawer, emblazed with the Zorin Industries logo. Whatever Max Zorin was, he was definitely a very confidant business man. He pulled out the cheque book from the drawer and a silver tin that appeared to be a cigarette case from his trouser pocket. Opening the book to the last blank cheque, he opened the case to reveal a manual imprint scanner. There was the sound of applause from outside as the string ensemble finished a set list of music. Bond placed the scanner over the cheque book and swiped it over twice. The imprint from Zorin’s writing left a fresh transcript on the blank cheque. Bond took back the scanner and tore out the new cheque. It was for $5,000 made out to an S Sutton. He slid the cheque book back into the drawer, closed it, and retraced his steps out of the office into the conservatory. He had closed the door and about to step into the courtyard from the gardens when he nearly bumped into the elderly gentleman Tibbet had told him about, coming into the conservatory himself. Bond froze.


      “You were looking for something?” the man asked firmly with a small smile.


      Bond’s eyes flicked to outside and back at the door, embarrassment written over his face. “Yes. I was looking for the bar.” The old excuse never failed if delivered with utter confidence.


      The old man smiled and held out his arm, guiding Bond back out the other door towards the reception, “Come. I will show you.”


      The two men stepped out from the conservatory into the bathing sunlight in the gardens, the guests smiling and chatting feverously and the string music playing even more jovial music.

      “Oh by the way, the name is St John-Smythe. James St John-Smythe.”


      “Doctor Carl Mortner, at your service.”


      Mortner was certainly a frail elderly gentleman and complete with a monocle on his left eye, making him look like a man in a high class profession. In his 70s at least, he had a slight stoop as he walked but didn’t slow down or potter along as most men his age would. If anything he looked quite fit and well, with a slight kiss of sun to his skin and fair locks of wispy white hair. Bond had an interest into what piece of the puzzle Mortner played. Reaching the bar, the burly American whom Bond had last seen talking to Zorin stepped in front of them with a glass of beer in his hand and a busty brunette on his arm. To make the picture complete, he chomped on a small cigar. Mortner sighed under his breath, waving away the smoke.


      “Hiya Doc!”


      “Good afternoon Mister Conley,” Mortner stepped forward. “Mr Conley, this is Mr Smythe.”


      Bond reached out and shook Conley’s hand. The grip was tight.

      “Name’s Bob Conley.”


      “Are you a trainer?” Bond asked, reaching for a glass of champagne.

      “Horses? Hell I can’t even ride! I’m in the oil business.


      “Oh. Texas?” Bond asked, bringing up his glass. His signet ring clicked softly as he did so in front of the oblivious Texan. A miniature camera inside the topaz cover took 10 pictures, instantly sent back to the MI6 database register in London for analysing and identification with Q-Branch.


      “No, Frisco. I handle Mr Zorin’s oil interests out there.” The brunette gently pulled his arm, and Conley took a sip of his frothy drink, smacking his lips together.  “Would you excuse us? This way honey.”

      They drifted away as Bond smiled politely, watching them go. “Are you a doctor of medicine?”

      “No, no. I am Mr Zorin’s breeding consultant,” Mortner smiled, adjusting his small monocle.


      “Oh really. Then can you let me into a little secret? How is it you succeed with breeding bloodlines other experts think inferior?”


      Mortner held onto his jacket lapel as a satisfied professor would do and smiled proudly,  “Selective breeding is important! But more important, is conditioning and the desire! Ja?” he beamed, his German accent coming through thick and fast.


      “Are you talking about people or horses?” Bond brought up his champagne, the ring clicked again.


      Mortner’s smile dropped, “My principles apply equally to human beings.”


      It was at that point as if almost on cue, that Max Zorin came from nowhere behind Bond and stood next to Mortner. 007 immediately recognised it was Zorin by his handsome plain face and his combed back light blond hair, which gave him a very well cut European look. He was dressed in a sophisticated dinner jacket with matching bow tie and carried a sense of confidence and charm it appeared to be second nature. He wore gold rimmed sunglasses that hid his sunken eyes that Bond could feel boring into him. There was an air of sudden alertness as Zorin joined the conversation and Bond fixed his posture in another show of confidence.


      “Mister St John-Smythe. Allow me to introduce myself,” Zorin said. He voice was very soft and smooth.

      “Mister Zorin, it’s a great pleasure,” Bond reached out to shake his hand, another routine formality he had carried out dozens of times in the last hour.  Zorin turned to Mortner in a fluid motion.

      “A groom asked if you’d go to the stable,” said Zorin, dismissing the doctor from the conversation.


      “Of course,” Mortner said, nodding slightly at Bond, “If you’ll excuse me?”


      Bond raised his glass slightly and gave an appreciative smile as the doctor walked past them both and out towards the stables. Zorin watched him go and returned to Bond, continuing to take in in the sophisticated English gentleman with the white dinner jacket.

      “I must congratulate you Mr Zorin. Your stables are rather magnificent.”


      Zorin gave a modest purse of the mouth, looking away in pride, or just boredom, “Built in the early 16th century buy a duke who believed he’d come back re-incarnated as a horse.”


      The tone in Zorin’s voice captivated Bond unlike other people he had met recently. His sentences were dotted with accentuated words and slight pauses, which gave the impression Zorin pondered on some of his own words, giving a more dramatic flair to his sentences.  This was clearly a man who could talk his way into or out of any situation.

      “Have thoroughbreds interested you long?” Zorin asked.


      Bond smiled bashfully, “Oh no. As a matter of fact I had a dotty old aunt die and leave me some stables. I thought it’d be rather fun to breed and raise horses. I take it you ride?”

      “I’m happiest in the saddle,” Zorin smiled, looking more interested this time.

      “A fellow sportsman. What about fishing?”

       Zorin’s smile vanished.


      “Fly casting,” Bond said, flicking his wrist in the motion of casting a rod. Zorin’s expression didn’t change, but at that moment his confident stature retreated.


      “I’m neglecting my other guests,” he said, backing away, “but you’ll find the young ladies stimulating company.”


      Bond smiled, “I’m sure they are.” He watched as Zorin drifted back into the mingling party goers.

       It was clear that Max Zorin was involved in both the thoroughbred doping and, more importantly, Aubergine’s murder. Bond only needed to find out how with the help of any incriminating evidence. Tibbet was already on the lookout for something to use whilst the reception was being held and would report his findings in the late hours. Now that Zorin was fully aware of how inquisitive and somewhat overtly suspicious the character of St John Smythe was, Bond’s guard went up as he knew that surveillance over him and Tibbet would increase, and his shadow would never leave his side. As his goal of meeting Zorin was now done, it was time to enjoy the party. He had seen the blonde haired girl, a Miss S Sutton, according to the cheque, standing on the boardwalk jetting out over the lake by the far end of the garden, away from the main party. She looked radiant with her long thick hair waving slightly in the breeze, her figure was noticeable under her flowing light blue dress and yet she looked distant, her plain face set on the water rippling below her. A couple of guests walked by her chatting away, but she simply ignored them and rested her hands on the wooden jetty. She had glazed eyes that Bond could see were fixed intently on nothing. Seeing a chance, he started towards her. He traversed the small wooden bridge leading onto walkway and casually took two glasses of champagne from a porter stood solidly with a tray full of the sparkling drink. Up close, her fragrance was intoxicating.


      “Hello, I thought you might like to join the party?” Bond said, holding out a glass to her.


      She turned around slowly, her pouting face looking straight at him. She had a hint of rosy blusher on her cheeks, her eye shadow a light blue. She seemed naturally beautiful with little make-up to hide behind. The girl took the glass and gave a half-hearted smile to the strange man. She turned back to the lake.


      “By the way, the name is James St John Smythe. I’m English.”


      She turned around, “I never would have guessed,” she purred sarcastically. An immediate American West coast accent was clear, making the girl some probable spoilt rich-bitch from a wealthy family out to squander her millions. Bond found this naive lure appealing.


      “Really? Well, are you buying or selling?”




      “No,” she said, bewildered, “I’m not interested in horses.”

      Bond smiled and sipped his champagne, “Well you came to the wrong place didn’t you.”


      Across the water stood Zorin, May Day and Scarpine all watching Bond and his advances on Miss Sutton, the two now engrossed in conversation.

      “May Day, get her away from him,” Zorin said in disgust.


      “I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere before,” She pondered, tapping her long finger against her chin.


      “Have security keep a good eye on him,” he said, turning to Scarpine who simply nodded


      “You didn’t say what part of the States you come from, Miss…?”


      “No. I didn’t.” The complete lack of response from her was tiresome for Bond to try continuing, so he opted for the signet ring camera.

      “I suppose you travel a lot?” he brought up his champagne for a shot. As he reached the desired height for a clean image, the purple threads of May Day broke contact as she swung between both Bond and the girl, almost from nowhere.


      “Your helicopter leaves in 10 minutes,” May Day said  with more conviction than usual in her commanding voice. Bond immediately moved out of May Day’s shadow and walked to the other side of the young woman.


      “Oh, you’re not staying the night? I was hoping we’d spend the evening together. Now I shall be all alone.”

      The blonde girl smiled and left her glass on the walkway, holding her bag under her arm. “I doubt that,” she said, a hint of playfulness in her husky voice.

      Bond turned to her as she walked past, “Well let me walk you to the chopper.”

      May Day once again got between them this time placing a firm arm in front of Bond, “That won’t be necessary,” she hissed.  Stacey walked away.  May Day turned to Bond, “Someone will take care of you.”

      “Oh you’ll see to that personally will you?” Bond smiled, taking the finishing mouthful from his glass.


      May Day glared at the Englishman, backing off slowly before following Stacey into the grounds. Zorin and Bond locked glances across the water, neither wanting to break the stalemate. A group of wealthy looking ladies walked by and broke their line of sight as they sampled more alcohol and chatted dreamily about the surroundings. When the ladies had moved on, Bond could see that Zorin had gone.




#6 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:45 AM

Chapter 5: Pegasus' Stable


The darkness had crept in over Oise. It was quiet on the grounds except for the creatures of the night. The Château was devoid of activity. It had been 3 hours since the glamorous reception had finished and now all that was a memory. The sound of wildlife out in the forests was the only sign of life around. Chirping insects and hooting owls sounded intermittently, and added with the braying and grazing of the horses in the stables, it was a relaxing ambience to be around. There were no patrolling guards breaking silence, so was simply the clouded sky and dotted stars out for company. Under the cover of night was the best chance for Tibbet to start his investigation around the stables and pens where Pegasus had vanished before his very eyes. Dressed in a black jacket, jumper and trousers, Tibbet crept around the outside of the pens where he had last seen the horse and his entourage. There was a fresh smell of hay and the cobbled floor was clean, obviously swept and washed each night. There were a couple of horses grazing from their pens into feeding bags paying him no attention as they ate their fill. Tibbet stood by the pen where Pegasus has been taken and, checking it was clear, slowly unbolted the door from inside, swung the door open and stepped in.

      The wooden floor creaked under his feet. There was still nothing apparent to Tibbet that caught his eye or aroused suspicion. Doing this investigating work without 007 to assist was trickier than he thought, but something he could handle before morning broke. There was fresh hay in the corner and in the feeding bag nailed to the wall, which mean the pen had been in use since. There was a large wooden makeshift box along the rear wall in which was scattered with more hay and grass. Obviously it was the horse’s bed. Tibbet glanced around taking in what he could before moving to the bed which was logically the only place in the pen a horse could go. He started to kick around on the floor, tap the wall with his gloved hand and inspect all the joints, looking for anything to give him a clue as to where Pegasus had gone by way of a secret switch, trap door or any hidden device. He was so involved searching that he didn’t register the tall figure in the shadows watching behind him. Kneeling down to inspect what looked like a metal sheet underneath the hay, Tibbet was caught off guard and large hand came over his mouth to silence the muffled cry of shock. Tibbet’s eyes went wide and the figure pulled him to his feet gently.


      “Sssh,” whispered Bond. Tibbet went limp in his arms and sighed loudly, glad to still be alive. Bond patted him gently on the cheek and moved to the curved arm of the box. There was an indented black niche with a silver button on it. “Looking for this?” he asked, pressing the button. There was a sharp whine of machinery and a low hum as the floor of the box began to slowly descend, “Quite a let-down.”

      It was a makeshift elevator. Another ingenious deception from Zorin. Bond walked around and jumped down to join a bewildered Tibbet. It was only a few seconds before they cleared the stone floor of the pen and came to a metal double door. The elevator came to a stop. Bond stepped off the platform and gently teased open one of the doors.


      Inside the Château, Scarpine was once again sat in his security office checking over the days recordings and written notes. His attention to detail was meticulous as he sat smoking a thin cigarette jotting down observations on the guests. His shirt sleeves were rolled up and a half cup of coffee rested on the desk as it seemed he was going to be there all night. The technical supervisor was still sat with his headphones on.


      “St John Smyth?” Scarpine asked, looking up at the supervisor.

      “Sleeping like a baby,” he replied, flicking the loud speaker. The room was filled with a deep snoring sound, the recording of Bond in his sleep playing in the empty room to help cover the night shift. Scarpine nodded and flicked it off before returning to his document.


      There were no lights on and no signs of activity. The dark room smelt like a hospital surgery. Bond activated the switch by the doors and the lights spat into life. The pastel green and blue shades jumped out when the lights came on giving an eerie surgical feel to the room. There were dozens of gleaming metal cabinets and large covered tables with various loose instruments and bottles covering them. It was an operating theatre for the horses. Tibbet passed Bond and headed straight to the opposite end of the room where a horse was shut in a smaller pen than up in the stable, covered by a large blanket to keep warm. Bond started to look over the various medical cabinets finding an array of glass bottles and plastic containers, filled with various drugs and tablets. Tibbet stepped into the small pen and patted the horse down, rubbing his soft mane.


      “That a boy. It’s alright,” Tibbet whispered, scanning over the animal. He noticed a damp makeshift bandage on the front leg above the hoof. Bending down to peel away some of the bandage tape, there was the sign of pink flesh and raw tissue, bloodied from recent surgery. Tibbet winced at the thought of the animal’s pain, and stood back up to give the chestnut brown a bit more attention. As a horse lover, seeing one in such obvious discomfort was not one wanted to see often. “This is interesting. He’s had surgery on the leg.”


      “Surgery?  That’s how Zorin won the race.” Bond was now at a chiller cabinet, looking at the devices cooled within. Dozens of rows of needles and makeshift injections were lined up under various numbers and categories. The dry ice flowed out as he noted that there were small microchips also cooling with the equipment. Tibbet joined him. Bond picked up a small vial of blue fluid and inspected it. “You see, these microchips are programmed to control an injection of additional natural horse steroids to overcome fatigue during the race.”


      “How?” Tibbet asked, clearly puzzled.


      “The injection itself with that small needle is triggered by a remote-control transmitter small enough to fit into the tip of a jockey’s whip or a cane.”


      There was a dull whine from behind them and they both spun around to see the elevator starting to rise back up to the stables. Someone had activated the hidden switch from above in the pen.


      “Quick; the lights,” Bond hissed, putting the viral back in the chiller cabinet and closing it quietly. Tibbet moved to the switch and turned them off quickly. Bond was already at the rear of the room where another double door led out of the surgery into another passageway. He waved Tibbet over who dashed out as quickly as he could. He followed and silently closed the door behind him. Moving through a small archway, the whir of machinery drew them out into a large warehouse, located underneath the grounds. It seemed that there was far more to Zorin that first met the eye. A conveyor built drawing along wooden crates, filled with microchips and thick layers of padding being packed and rolled along. There were stacks of crates emblazoned with Zorin Industries on shelves standing a good 20ft high. It was surreal to see such a procession factory, full of noise and machinery, to be located under beautiful idyllic Château in Paris.


      Across in the surgery, the elevator eased to a halt and the double doors opened.  Two men gingerly walked into the room with handheld torches illuminating spots in the dark. They were dressed in brown tweed hunting gear and looked like estate caretakers, one big and well-built and the other small and thin. The two guards crossed the room looking for any sign of a break in, but couldn’t see anything.


The cabinets were all closed and nothing had been disturbed. Even the horse was content and unaware of the confusion. They knew someone was around though as the elevator had been used without being sent back up, so they moved across towards the microchip warehouse, their sense alert in the darkness.


      “There’s a world surplus of microchips and Zorin is hoarding them,” Bond said, looking at the conveyor belt of assembled packing crates.


      Tibbet started to walk away looking around further but was stopped by one of the guards grabbing him from behind and wrestling him to the ground. Bond started to advance but was stopped by the other, larger heavy. Up close with his trimmed white beard, thick neck and imposing stature, Bond had nothing on him except skill. He swung a right hook, cracking the guard in the jaw. The blow simply stopped the guard advancing, growling slightly at the punch. He lunched forward, grabbing Bond by the forearms, lifting him up and throwing him back into the conveyor belt with a horrid smack. Tibbet fumbled to his feet and managed to avoid another punch thrown by the thin guard. As he tried to shoulder barge his way out, another blow to the stomach was delivered and Tibbet crumpled back, winded and bruised before falling into a stack of piled up wooden crates. They cracked and splintered under his weight as he gave way to the delirious wave of pain that swept over him, slumping down to the floor. Bond turned around and moved quickly towards where Tibbet had fallen. Throwing a hard punch to the lanky guard, once to the gut and next to the chin in quick succession, he stumbled back into the conveyor belt, dazed and confused. Bond guided him up into a box of small microchips, ready for packing, as he fell into unconsciousness from the beating.


      A think hand pulled Bond away from the belt. It was the heavy guard, this time throwing the agent into a wall. The wind was knocked out of Bond as he fought to cover his throat as the guard came at him, his giant hands wanting to throttle him and crush his windpipe. The guards face was red using all his muscle power. Bond panicked, struggling on his feet under the pressure. With the only weapons he had free, he brought up his knee to the man’s groin and he immediately let go with a cry of pain. He ducked around the guard and delivered a vicious rabbit punch to his thick neck, hearing the dull crack of bone. Bond pulled down on the guard’s jacket and threw him forward with fluid momentum into a unit of hard wooden crates. The guard hit his head on the thick wood and stumbled over, blood oozing from a small gash. As Tibbet groaned and attempted to stand, the guard collapsed over the conveyor belt, once again aided by Bond who activated the machine by pushing a green button on the belt, whirring it once more into life. The guard packed in a crate was immediately wrapped with thick plastic wraps. Seconds after him was the burly guard who was taken across with slabs of wood packed around him in a makeshift human crate, the bands cutting into his arms and feet as if he were a slab of meat. The belt carried them away for stock checking and eventual discovery by an unknowing foreman.


      “Sorry. I wasn’t much help,” Tibbet limped over rubbing his shoulder.


      Bond looked over the two guards, “Don’t worry, it’s all wrapped up.”


      Helping Tibbet out by the arm, he led them up back towards the stable elevator before the alarm was raised, possibly in a matter of minutes. Checking once again for any other heavies in the area of the stables, Bond had the all clear and signalled to Tibbet to follow him out. They jogged past the horse pens and came to a stop between the stables and the main Château. Only a few lights could be seen twinkling in the numerous windows and still the insects chirped and whistled around them. The servant’s quarters were to their right and the main building to their left. Bond and Tibbet caught their breath. The watch on 007s arm quietly beeped once, reminding him to check the time.


      “What do we do now?” Tibbet asked.


      “We better get back. The tape ran out five minutes ago. Goodnight,” Bond said in desperation.  He wasted no time making tracks as fast as he could. Tibbet was slower along the drive back to his quarters. Bond took the main pathway up the Château, avoiding the garden lamps and illuminated fountains. He came to a small bridge that was being hoisted up over the lake which cut of Bond’s route to the building. Not stopping to think another second, he thundered along the path and jumped from the plateau where the bridge was raised. He caught the metallic edge in perfect time with the raw edges of his worn hands, swinging his feet up to gain a better hold from the momentum of his jump. It wasn’t a big height but falling would only impede him further. Using all of his strength and fighting exhaustion, Bond pulled himself up on the sloped bridge and slid down to the ground onto the gravel. He stood up and could hear a muffled commotion coming back from the warehouse.


      Three floors up in the Château, in a luxurious spa room decorated in warm gold and green, Zorin and May Day were engaging in a heated and very methodical exercise of hapkido working on self-defense, breathing and attack. A peaceful glow was cast over the long room by two chandeliers on the ceiling space; those were also decorated in gold leaf pattern. A long mirror was on the back wall for a number of reasons, be it to watch the step during classical dance practice and identify positions in rigorous exercise routines. Two small exercise bikes and rowing machines were along the side wall along with small dumbbells and weights for exercise. There was a walk-in shower unit at one corner and a small table holding a telephone by the main ivory doors. A number of white towels hung from gold railings along the walls. May Day was hardly breaking a sweat as her exotic body was toning and gleaming in a revealing boxers outfit, crafted for an athletic woman. Tight tan shorts and training vest were all she wore, moving like an Amazonian warrior who was focused and intent on the attack. Moving towards Zorin suddenly with three kicks, the final one being a roundhouse kick, she sent him stumbling back onto the floor almost like a toy doll. Her shouts of power were something to be feared.


      Smiling, she extended her hand to him, “Keep your guard up higher. And retain your balance.”

      She was teaching Zorin the basics of hand to hand combat and defense whilst also having fun with her boss behind closed doors.


      Zorin slicked back his sweaty hair, getting to his feet and shaking off the embarrassment of falling over for the fourth time since starting. The black tunic he wore made him look more like an expert than he was. May Day lunged again with a series of jabs and kicks. Zorin raised his arms to block one kick but her arm caught him in the stomach on the return attack.  He retreated, hopping up and down on one spot to gain his breath as May Day grinned at him, working her arms in circular motions to throw him off guard. Zorin wiped his brow and laughed at her, goading her on. May Day let out a shriek as she once more went to attack, this time managing to grip hold of Zorin’s tunic and trip him up with her feet, sending him to the carpeted floor with a crunch. She fell on top of him and had him locked down. She giggled at the struggle between them both and held on as best she could, but using the floor as a hold, he pushed May Day off to one side and rolled over, this time on top of her.  She gritted her teeth and thrashed underneath him as he pinned her arms to the floor with his mittens, watching her like a predator toying with his prey. She growled and hissed, almost like a wild animal, pushing and straining to break free. Zorin had the upper hand, and he knew it. Taking his time, he slowly began to lower his head to hers, avoiding the short snaps of her mouth trying to bite him and all the while smirking at her. He locked eyes and pressed down hard with his lips on hers, slowly defusing her rage and giving into a pent up passion and sexual frustration built up by the two. The kiss was hard and fierce as May Day writhed underneath him, but it was a joyous moment for her too.

      The telephone in the corner broke the eroticism of the moment, billowing out a shrill call tone, echoing around the room.  Zorin pulled back in disbelief and banged his hand on the floor, rolling off May Day to get up. May Day pushed him away, hiding her disappointment and once again losing a moment of sexual fire between them, knowing it wouldn’t be back for another long period. He got to the phone as May Day began dabbing herself down with her towel and robe.


      “I told you not to disturb us!” Zorin yelled picking up the receiver.


      It was Scarpine on the other end of the line, “It’s important. There have been intruders in the warehouse.”


      Zorin turned to May Day listening in, now dressed in her robe, “Put Security on full alert. Let’s see where Mister St John Smyth is.”


      Seeing no way to gain entry through the front door, Bond ambled up to the main driveway and paced around the side of the building, looking for a way in. He found what he was looking for in a window open enough to prize apart with his fingers.  From what he could see, it looked like the kitchen quarters, letting out the smell and steam from a busy day of use. It was either face breaking back in, or face getting caught outside. He held his breath and pulled open the draped window.


      Zorin left the spa with May Day as they started down the main staircase to the bedrooms. Bond bounded up the stairway from the lobby area, dangerously close to bumping in to the two coming down from the opposite side. As Zorin turned a corner, May Day stopped him by the arm, her eyes wide and gleaming.


      “He was the man at the Eiffel Tower.”

      Zorin blew out a frustrated breath, shaking his head in disbelief, “We must find him.”


      “I’ll get dressed,” May Day said as she began back to her room.

      Zorin nodded and turned to leave again but a familiar voice stopped him in his tracks.


      “May Day. Where have you been?”


      The man known as St. John Smythe was stripped off in May Day’s silk bed. She stood at the door in a mix of shock and curiosity, “I’ve been waiting for you to take care of me personally.”


      May Day toyed with her necklace, glancing across both hallways and catching Zorin’s eye who was even more bewildered. He simply shrugged his shoulders and looked baffled at what to do. May Day read the sign, smiled and walked into the room. Zorin stepped back and chewed the inside of his mouth, not expecting spending the night alone. The door closed behind her.


      Inside the room May Day immediately dropped her robe to the floor. Bond smiled at her feminine body. Small, firm breasts atop a well-toned body, full of curvature and power. She gently bit her dark lips as Bond lifted the silk sheets for her and she slid under next to him. She took in his lightly sun kissed body, wavy chest hair, firm muscle structure and deep eyes.


      “You’re a woman of few words,” said Bond.

      At once she rolled over and mounted him, taking him somewhat by surprise and positioning over him.

      “What’s there to say?” she whispered as she went down to his lips, forcing her tongue inside Bond’s mouth for a deep and hard kiss. Bond didn’t expect so much fire so early in the evening.


      Carl Mortner, still in his bed robe and night gown, pulled open the chiller cabinet in Pegasus’ stable, looking over his toxins and vials. He looked flustered and somewhat worried as the discovery of his laboratory. His unkempt hair hung across his forehead. Zorin stood next to him, a concerned look over his face.


      “Is everything here?” Zorin asked.


      “Ja ja,” Mortner nodded, his tiny eyes scanning over every last container. He picked up the pale blue vial Bond had inspected, “Except this. It is in the wrong place.”


      Zorin nodded to himself, “Bring St John Smyth to my study first thing in the morning.” He slammed the cabinet shut.




#7 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:25 AM

Chapter 6: Washed Out


There was a game of polo taking place out on the front lawn of the Château and once again, the grazing horses sauntered around as if this were their own land with the cold breeze blowing alongside the sunshine and birdsong. James Bond was already awake having a small breakfast of scrambled eggs and crispy bacon with wholemeal toast, fresh black coffee and orange juice. As the morning paper was available in a choice of dialect, the English newspaper provided a look out at events unfolding in the world. Today it was a new wave of genocide, multi-million pound industrial developments and a political scandal of some sort.

      A porter had delivered the message to meet Max Zorin with the arrival of breakfast. It was to be an informal meeting about thoroughbred at precisely 9 o’clock sharp. With his morning meal as out of the way, there was enough time for his daily shower of ice cold water, pricking his skin like needles, followed by hot water, as hot as he could take. It was an acquired routine, but one that could drive away the tension and relax the body for the pressure it took daily. Bond pulled out a dark cream suit, fresh shirt and muted blue tie for the meeting with Zorin. There was a wave of suspicion running through Bond’s mind, as the likely hood of someone like Max Zorin wanting a one-to-one chat with a near nobody was slim, so an alternative motive had to be in his mind.

      Leaving the room, making sure to keep his tape player hidden away in a drawer, he made his way down towards the study area by the conservatory. He walked across the front lobby, past two porters polishing some bronze busts and noted the Rolls Royce parked out on the front driveway. Tibbet was rid of his jacket and had sleeves rolled up, arm deep in a bucket of soapy water washing the car. He smiled to himself, knowing that one could always keep up appearances even on a sunny day. He continued across the main hall towards the side of the Château towards the study. It was the same place Bond had infiltrated at the reception, and he felt this could be a ruse to catch him out. Either that or the break in at the warehouse had aroused suspicion. Taking a small corridor by the far stairwell, Bond reached the door to the study and gave a gentle, yet firm, knock. He could make out the tapping of computer keys and footsteps, seconds before the door clicked and opened. The smiling figure of Max Zorin filled the door immediately, wavy blond hair and charming smile intact.

      “Good morning,” Bond smiled, “I understand you wish to see me?”


      “You slept well?” Zorin said, leading him into the study with no sign of a handshake.


      Bond inclined his head softly, “A little restless, but I got off eventually.”

      “I have the Progeny index on the computer; a compilation of thoroughbred bloodlines,” Zorin indicated to a single leather chair in front of his desk, to which Bond sat and made himself comfy. “It might be helpful to you in selecting your purchase this afternoon,” he began hitting random keys on the computer, maintaining eye contact with the screen. “As I see it, you need a stallion for breeding.”


      Zorin’s distinctive speech pattern captivated Bond as he listened with feigned interest. He rested his chin on his hand in thought, “A stallion sounds right to me.”


      Looking around the room, it was not much different to how Bond previously had seen it, bar their only being one leather chair in which he was sat. As Zorin smiled to himself, hitting numerous key buttons, Bond took in the large painting of Pegasus behind the desk, taking up a good portion of the wall. On Zorin’s screen, an image of Bond appeared in grainy black and white taken a fraction of a second before during the conversation. A small camera in the painting frame had snapped Bond on Zorin’s request, now entering details and using the latest security technology to find out who this man really was. Simple questions and choices were all that Zorin needed to answer and to provide two pictures of the suspect, full frontal and sideways. Zorin chuckled to himself at his toy.


      “I find a computer indispensable,” he looked up at Bond and grinned, “I have a stallion, descended from that horse there,” indicating to a small framed picture of a black horse to his right on a large golden easel, “Misty.”


      Bond turned to look. Zorin hit the capture button. The camera got its picture. The computer took a few seconds to process the image into whatever database Zorin had access to and he got the answer he was looking for.


James Bond, British Secret Service. Agent 007.


       Zorin let out a small bewildered laugh, keeping his amusement under control. Bond noticed the look on Zorin’s face through the conversation and felt he was being watched more than just by the man himself.

      “We have several horses that might interest you.”


      “Splendid,” Bond shifted in his seat.


Dangerous. Licensed to kill.


      The wording took Zorin’s breath away. On the monitor, the image of Bond was covered with the bold warning. Nodding to himself, he clasped his hands and turned back to Bond, a satisfied look crossing his face, “Would you be interested primarily in stamina? Or speed?


      “Well a little of both would be ideal,” Bond answered.

      “I think I have just the horse for you,” Zorin concluded. He hit the monitor’s power button and the screen went blank. He stood up, looking at his watch. “It’s time for my morning ride. Why don’t you try him out?”


      “That sounds like a good idea,” Bond stood, buttoning up his jacket and following Zorin to the door, “I shall get into some riding clothes.”


      “Good. Half an hour then,” Zorin smiled and held the door open for Bond, “Scarpine will collect you.”


      “Thank you,” Bond said. He smiled back and began walking away down the corridor as the door closed behind him. Zorin turned and rested his back against the door, tapping his fingers gently, his mind in overdrive. He scoffed once more at the absurdity of it all, and laughed to himself at the thrill of what he had planned to follow.



      Tibbet tendered to the gleaming silver bonnet of the Rolls with pristine accuracy and care, buffering up the headlights and waxing out the streaks. The sun gleamed from the shining automobile and he couldn’t be more satisfied with a hard mornings work. Bond came from the front doors towards him as he doused the small beads of sweat, and soap, from his forehead. He looked up towards the footsteps. Bond had a piece of paper in his hand.


      “Tibbet. Get into town, call M and ask him to put a trace on this cheque,” Bond handed it over to him without hesitating. He started back towards the Château leaving Tibbet a little bewildered. “Be quick. If those guards we laid out identify us we’ll have to move fast.”

      “What shall I say if they ask where I’m going?” Sir Godfrey pocketed the cheque.

      Bond pointed to the Rolls, “Just tell them you have to get the car washed,” He smiled to himself as he walked away.


      Tibbet sighed. He picked up the bucket of dirty water and threw it back over the Rolls with a thick splash.


      Zorin and Mortner stood at the rear stables preparing his mount. To one side, Zorin removed the cap from his jockey’s cane. He pulled a small metal trigger from inside his jacket pocket and placed it inside the cane shaft. Quickly replacing the plastic cap, he snapped it back into place and secured the trigger. He took his jockey’s cap from under his arm and held it in his hand and walked on to the racecourse.


      The Rolls Royce crunched softly over the gravel drive as Tibbet approached the front security gates. They were closed, obviously, and they were a good 15ft high. High black bars and crafted decorative spirals made them appear like something more fitting for a castle rather than a country estate. He eased the brake and brought the car to a stop. Looking out of the window, he could see May Day in the security booth. She was stood watching him, arms folded and leaning against the door frame.


      “Just going to town to get the car washed,” he shouted over, showing a cheery smile.


      May Day didn’t break eye contact. She continued to look at him, hiding any expression under her black and gold jacket she pulled tight to her body. Her white eyes didn’t move from Tibbet, showing no sign of emotion.


      Muttering under his breath, Tibbet opened the car door and got out, making a point of slamming it shut in frustration. Walking along the drive, his boots crunching on the stones, he made his way to the front gate to open them manually but he didn’t have to. A creak groaned from the hinges and the golden gates slowly began to swing open. Tibbet stopped in his tracks watching them. He turned back to see what May Day had done, but she had gone. Looking around the booth as he walked back to the car, he saw no sign of her and presumed she had simply gone back to the grounds. He opened the door, seated himself and steadily drove out of the grounds, down the driveway and out onto road leading into Oise. Tibbet was heading into the main town, a couple of miles out from the Château.


      Scarpine walked along the race track with Bond beside him, now fitted out in a chestnut riding cap, light brown jacket and grey trousers which wouldn’t break his tailors’ heart should he take a fall. He pulled on some tan riding gloves and watched Zorin bring over a horse walking proud.


      “Your mount Mister St John Smyth.”

      “A beautiful beast,” Bond walked over the horse and patted him on his chocolate coloured coat. The horse brayed and pulled against Bond’s hand as he took the reign from Zorin. “A little spirited! What’s his name?”


      “Inferno,” Zorin mounted his own horse which was black beauty with a furred mane over his face.


      Bond heard aintensity in Zorin’s voice and suddenly felt uneasy about the imminent race. He rubbed Inferno’s mane and pulled himself up into the saddle with some ease, settling himself in and mastering the animal’s weight under him as the horses began to move away in the pack to the starting line.


      Keeping at a steady pace down the carriage way, Tibbet took in the countryside around him as he drove. It was almost like an oil painting captured in the springtime, and very peaceful to be in. Rolling hills dived into the horizon and numerous cottages and houses were dotted around the landscape intertwined with numerous farms and small outbuildings, presumably for farmers and their harvests of wheat, grapes and other natural delights. Beside the winding road, there was very little else to find fault with the area. It was already a contender on a retirement plan away from the headache of London.

      Tibbet noted the turn off for the roadway service station where he would contact the secure line of MI6. He turned off and drove carefully into the busy petrol station, unaware of the red Corvette following him in. Customers busied themselves in the forecourt filling up their cars and buying their travel snacks. The Corvette pulled up to a pump and an attractive blond girl got out dressed in riding gear. It was Jenny Flex. She popped the bonnet of the gleaming car and busied herself under the hood, glancing over few seconds at the Rolls. Tibbet noted the public telephone was in use and so decided to wash the car first and make contact after. He slowly moved the Rolls into the automatic car wash. Winding down the window, he glanced over at the Corvette and, for a moment, recognised the blond girl as he could see her only side on, but the court attendant broke his concentration with request for payment. Acknowledging the young man, Tibet handed over what change he had in the arm of the car door for a basic wash. The car wash was activated by the attendant and ready for use. This was the cue to slowly drive the car forward to the holding position and to wind up the car window once more with enough time for a final look over to the blond girl, still stood under the hood of her car.


       The machine whirred to life as the large rollers and jet wash started to move in on the car. Tibbet sat back and let the water and washer start to obscure his view outside. The payphone was the last thing he saw before the water came down, still in use.  As the roller came down onto the bonnet, Tibbet was oblivious to May Day stowed away in the back seat of the car. Silently, she rose up with her thin leather belt in hand. The roller came down to buff the car, and her arms reached around and pulled the belt into Tibbet’s wind-pipe. He yelped a breath of air as he tried in vain to fight free, but his age was against him and May Day simply pulled tighter until he was forced to submit to a horrid death in the driver’s seat. She maintained her pull as she laid him down across the front seat as the car was engulfed from sight under the whirring noise of the washers and water.



#8 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 14 February 2013 - 08:47 AM

Chapter 7: The Final Furlong



       Bond noted a good eight other horses all grouped together with intimidating looking jockeys in the saddle all intent on staring him out with their beady eyes and blank expressions.


      “Friends of yours?”

      “Exercise boys,” Zorin smiled, “jumping together is more realistic training.”


      “Frankly, I prefer cross-country to steeplechase,” Bond brought Inferno alongside Zorin’s horse.


      “As one sportsman to another I’ll make you a proposition. You can have that Ithacus Colt gratis if you stay this course.”


      “And if I’m thrown?”

      “Then you lose.”

      Bond eyed the fellow jockeys, “You leave me little choice.”


      “Splendid. Scarpine will start us,” Zorin moved his horse to the starting line signified by a taught white rope stretched out over the dirt, tied to a post on the opposite side.


      The other horses ambled around Inferno, snorting and digging their hooves ready for the off. Bond started to feel that this wouldn’t be a typical steeplechase. With a slight nod of the head from Zorin, Scarpine cut the rope on his side and it lashed back with a snap, starting the race and startling Bond’s horse as the others sped away in a thunder of hoofs. Trotting back a few steps, it took Inferno a moment to regain his balance and gallop out into the fevered chase, with Zorin already out in front.


      It was a continuous roar created by the hoofs of the ten prime horses, each fighting for position amongst the pack. Bond swiftly brought his horse to the rear and so began his challenge to make it through the course and beat Zorin at his own game. The pack stayed tight together making it hard to pass through, or cut around the outside. Zorin cleared the first jump of a 4ft privet hedge with ease. Turning back, he signalled to a groom who was sat by the hedge. Nodding, the groom pushed a red button on the hedge post and it raised the hedge by a good 2ft more, elevating it to a tricky 6ft jump to clear. Bond’s eyes widened with the realization of the surprise jump. He tightened his reign; pulling back on Inferno and digging his heels in, helping the horse clear the hedge and carry on over the track. Two of the riders by Bond fell at the first hurdle, one being thrown from his horse and the other getting caught up in the bush itself.


      The horses snorted harder and the dust was being kicked up with passion as they crested the first corner of the course. Bond shouted words of encouragement to his ride, carrying them past another rider who was dangerously close to clipping him. Bond could see Zorin still out in front, obviously thanks to his riders keeping Bond back. He cleared another jump, this time a simple jump over a water hole. Zorin turned back again, signalling to another groom manning the jump. The groom nodded and activated a button which pushed the jumping block further back, elongating the distance and a threat to anyone not paying attention. This was exactly what three of the riders were doing, so intent on keeping Bond at bay from Zorin that two of the horses threw them into the water hole with a cry and the other simply lost its bearings after a faulty misbalance of distance and fell before the jump itself, crashing into the dirt. As the others pummelled by, there was now only a handful of riders still hammering down on Bond who was catching up to Zorin.


      Inferno galloped on faster, spurred on by Bond. His heavy frame heaved under the pressure of winning the race and Bond felt a surge of adrenalin as the course fell back to the straight, flying by more ornamental hedges and decorative sculptures on the final turn towards the Château. It was then that the jockey’s moved in for the attack. Moving in to Bond, one of the riders reached out and slammed his fist into Bond’s shoulder blades with a dull thump hitting the bone. Shouting out in pain, the battle to stay atop the horse was too great to maintain rather than fall and be trampled to death. Another rider to his left moved in and swung out with a balled fist, hitting Bond in the ribs as he fought for control, the throbbing pain searing across his already tired muscles.


      The nearest jockey lashed out again but swung too early and missed. Bond saw his chance and as he was leaning forward, he stretched out to the stirrup belt on the jockey’s horse and pulled it free. The saddle came loose and the momentum of the horse coupled with the misjudged punch threw the jockey off the saddle and crashing to the floor, tumbling over in the hard dirt below. Bond brought Inferno in to line as another jump approached. Zorin was clearly across the high bars, once again signalling for a groom to alter the favour. The bars rose up to head height, blocking off a clear jump through. Bond was ready for this one and took Inferno through the jump, ducking down to the mane to avoid the heavy pole above smacking his face. Another rider behind Bond wasn’t so lucky and the horse jumped through and the pole took the rider square in the chin, knocking him backwards and crashing to the floor before he had time to register what had happened.


      Over at the starting line, Scarpine and a few other grooms mounted their horse at the sight of the riders falling behind the Englishman.


      Bond was clear of the final jump with no-one directly on him now and he saw his chance to close the gap between him and Zorin. He kicked into Inferno to push on and the horse galloped faster with a clear view in front. Bond overtook Zorin on his left and kept on going, knowing that this was the chance to make his escape from the dangerous situation. As Bond approached the finish line, Zorin toyed with his cane, watching Inferno, and hit the trigger on the plastic cap he had fixed before the race. It clicked and instantly had a reaction. Zorin had activated a stimulant inside Inferno with the use of the microchip and his cane transmitter, causing an instant rush of steroids and adrenalin which sent the horse crazy.


       The horse brayed and screeched loudly, as if suddenly stabbed with pain. It came to a disjointed halt, nearly throwing Bond off as he desperately held on in an attempt to control him. Bucking and rearing, shaking off the shock of the sudden impact, Inferno regained balance and Bond finally regained control.


       Inferno suddenly broke into a gallop and bounded over racetrack fencing, made from metal piping, and into the forests surrounding them away from the grounds. Shouts from Scarpine went up as a number of grooms pulled away a section of the fence, allowing a number of the riders to give chase to the escapee.

       The forests turned into a deceptive gauntlet of low tree branches, fallen tree trunks and thick bushes, Bond maintained Inferno’s speed and agility and spurred him on through the greenery, ducking to avoid protruding branches and thick leaves. The sound of the riders behind him was drowned out in his head by the sound of his own voice and the thrashing of the forest under Inferno’s heavy hooves. He jumped a small log and headed for the main driveway, visible now through the trees only yards away.  It was then Bond saw it; the Rolls Royce coming back from town and driving towards the Château. Bond shouted to Tibbet who clearly wouldn’t be able to hear him, but the urgency of the situation took over. Clearing the forest and hitting the gravel track, Bond kept the speed steady as he rode alongside the Rolls.


      “Keep going!” he shouted as he slipped free from the stirrups. With a push, he slid from Inferno and fell onto the side of the Rolls, keeping his stance on the car’s foot ledge under the passenger door. Inferno slowed to a trot before wandering away. Slipping his arm in through the open window, Bond leaned in to the car.


      “Sir Godfrey let’s get -”


      He froze in mid-sentence. He was looking down the end of a small pistol, held by May Day, wearing Tibbet’s hat at an angle like some obscure fashion statement. Bond’s face contorted to anger as he saw the dead body of Sir Godfrey slumped in the back seat, as if he were in a deep sleep. May Day brought the car to a halt as Zorin’s entourage cleared the forest at an amble pace. Bond quickly ripped off his riding gloves and cap, tossing them to the ground and opened the passenger door. He pulled down Tibbet’s collar to check for a pulse, but it had been extinguished. A rough pair of hands grabbed Bond from behind, pulling him away and forcing him back against the car. Scarpine held him at gunpoint as Zorin casually stood in front of him.


      “You lost, 007.”


      “Killing Tibbet was a mistake,” Bond said icily, finally dropping the ridiculous façade of John Smythe.


      “I’m about to make the same mistake twice.”

      One of the grooms patted Bond down but his eyes never left Zorin’s gaze, “My department knows I’m here. They’ll retaliate.”

      Zorin laughed, “If you’re the best they have, they’ll more likely try to cover up your embarrassing incompetence.”


      “Don’t count on it Zorin.”


      Zorin cocked his head and grinned, “You amuse me Mister Bond.”


      “Well it’s not mutual.”


      Scarpine intervened before anything other than words was exchanged. He led the secret agent away to the other side of the car and opened the door. “Get in.”


      Bond stooped down and was met with a sharp pain on the back of his head. It felt as if fire had engulfed his skull, and he crumbled down as his view of the car’s interior went black. The butt of Scarpine’s gun connected with a dull thud against the back of Bond’s head. His body went limp next to Tibbet. As May Day started the engine once more, Zorin got in next to her and gave the nod to leave.


       The engine growled to life and pulled away, making a turn in the drive to head out from the grounds. Behind them came a shiny black 4x4 with Jenny Flex at the wheel. Coming to the main drive of the grounds, the entourage made a right turn and took the road away from Oise and into the countryside.


      The cars pulled off into a long country road with sparse open fields on both sides. It was a peaceful area with a small morning mist rolling across a nearby reservoir. Turning off into a public driveway, the Rolls Royce came to a stop in front of a small steep incline leading into the water, presumably for boating or fishing, with the 4x4 bringing up the rear. May Day and Zorin got out, tossing the chauffeurs hat onto Tibbet’s lap. Bond was still out cold. May Day walked behind the Rolls Royce and rested her hands on the boot as Zorin watched. The wheels of the Rolls slowly began to turn and the car moved forward, creeping over the gravel towards the slope. May Day was pushing the car with all of her strength, breathing hard and digging into the ground with her strong legs, but she made it look effortless. Picking up the momentum, she pushed the car down the incline and stood back as it rolled away and entered the water with little disturbance. The weight of the car and the pull of the water sucked it down deeper and further out into the reservoir. The water began to pour into the car through the open rear windows and it began to sink steadily. It was the ice coldness of the water splashing over 007 that brought him back, instantly disorientated and in pain. Back on the ground, Zorin grinned with satisfaction. He took hold of May Day and kissed her; a lingering kiss of gratitude and pleasure.


      The car was near submerged. Bond moved quickly with little breathing space left. He sucked in the air and let the water shake off his grogginess. He was then submerged with no air and no way out. He took the door handle and slowly pushed it open easily with equal pressure on both sides. He swam out and held onto the door frame so not to rise to the surface. His oxygen was waning and he could make out the figures of Zorin and May Day stood on the bank.

      The group on the surface watched the back end of the Rolls submerge under the water completely leaving only escaping air bubbles splashing on the surface. Bond noticed the back tyre closest to him and immediately began to unscrew the dust cap on the air vent. Squeezing it gently, the air began to flow out and Bond covered the vent with his mouth. He took in small mouthfuls of cold air and felt alive once more, letting it fill his lungs and calming his heart rate down as not to panic. He simply had to wait it out.


      With his plan and the imposters executed perfectly, Zorin rounded up the two ladies and escorted them to the 4x4, getting in the front and starting the drive back to the Château.


      007 watched the blurred vision of the figures leaving and began to rise to the surface slowly. He broke the cold water and took in a lungful of fresh air. Treading the water, he looked around and saw no sign of life. He swam to the shore and collapsed on the bank, letting the solid ground absorb his pain and frustration, and utter exhaustion. The loss of Tibbet was painful, and he felt sick at the thought of his resting place being inside a company car at the bottom of a deep, dark waterhole. Sweeping a cold hand over his wet hair, he let out a sharp breath and prepared for the hitchhike back to Oise as soon as possible.




#9 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:21 AM

Chapter 8: The Rise of Max Zorin


       A lone jockey galloped up the Hippodrome de Chantilly course, beating down on freshly cut grass and firm ground. It was another perfect day in Paris with a light breeze bringing freshness to aid the morning sun glaring down. It was the jockey’s second attempt at besting the personal record set for the course and although the Grand Prix wasn’t for another 4 months, the training on this sort of course was well received. Max Zorin stood in the audience stalls watching him through his binoculars out of sheer interest at the speed and power of the stallion.


       It had been almost 3 days since Zorin had taken care of the imposing James Bond and his partner for trying to show the authority British Intelligence, but this had since aroused interest in Zorin’s ever present commander, General Anatol Gogol of the KGB. It had been Gogol whom had encountered James Bond on numerous times over the previous years on various assignments where the KGB and British Intelligence had crossed paths.  Their ideas and goals had clashed, but also he took pride in the uneasy alliance with Intelligence in London, and hope it would continue for their benefit into the future. Now two of his greatest officers, Major Anya Amasova and General Maximillian Zorin, had encountered 007 on assignments, but as Major Amasova had succeeded in his mission, Gogol was worried that the uncontrollable Zorin had helped ruin all future alliances. He had arranged a meeting with Zorin to be held at the course for early afternoon, and he was as punctual and blunt as ever.


      “Good morning, Comrade Zorin,” Gogol said, his voice husky and monotone with a thick Russian accent.


      Zorin sensed Gogol’s prescence after he had heard the helicopter landing moments ago. He brought the binoculars down from his face, but didn’t meet his gaze, “General Gogol. This meeting is ill-advised.”


      “A calculated risk, but necessary as you refuse to answer your control.” Even though Gogol was in his early 60s, he looked fit and healthy. He had a worn face from years of intense politics and continuous hard work. His olive skin gave him a sun-kissed look and he wore thin spectacles on a thinning head of hair.


      “Come to the point, General,” Zorin’s disapproval for being lectured to was evident, once again appearing bored with his arrogant tone of voice.

      “You disregarded procedure,” Gogol snapped, stepping forward onto one of the wooden benches, nearer to Zorin. May Day folded her arms. “You did not request approval before eliminating 007. Reprisals might jeopardize our operations!”


      “You jeopardize mine!” Zorin shouted back. He took a moment to regain his calm, toying with his binoculars. “Letting the British penetrate the Siberian research centre?”

      “That was regrettable. Your racing activities attract unnecessary attention, but more disturbing are your unauthorized commercial ventures. We cannot tolerate this.”

      “The issue is irrelevant,” Zorin dismissed with a wave of his hand, smirking once again, “I’ve made new associations. I no longer consider myself a KGB agent.”


      One of Gogol’s bodyguards, a stern faced man with a mop of black hair, stepped forward. “We trained you. Financed you. What would you be without us; a biological experiment?”  Zorin just laughed. “A physiological freak?”


      Those words stung. May Day immediately grabbed hold of the bodyguard and lifted him over her head like a children’s toy. Gogol stepped back as the remaining younger bodyguard pulled out his sidearm, aiming it at May Day. Behind Zorin, two of the entry doors burst open, with Scarpine in one and Jenny Flex in the other, both aiming their own pistols at the KGB. It was a stand-off, with May Day holding the panicking bodyguard in the middle and the young bodyguard not knowing where to aim.


      “Enough of this,” Gogol shouted, waving his hands to both parties, “control yourselves!”


      Zorin gave a flippant nod to May Day, who turned and dropped the shocked bodyguard down the wooden seats. He fell two flights, coming to a crash against the wooden railings, looking totally defeated. The younger bodyguard knelt by him in comfort as May Day simply glared at them both.


      Gogol stepped up to Zorin, “You will come back to us General. No-one ever leaves the KGB.”


One week later, Max Zorin was in the lap of the gods. His Zorin Industries airship was flying high over the skyline of California, the only dot in a clear blue sky which stretched for miles.  The small airship had taken off from just outside of San Francisco Bay where Zorin had been inspecting one of his many oil rigs stationed in the Atlantic. This was his comfort area, far greater and dramatic than the pomp and garishness of the forgotten French Château.

      In the airship, Zorin was holding a meeting that required complete secrecy and total isolation, so what better place to hold it. With Scarpine at the helm, the airship was taking a long flight around the Bay and around the famous landmarks such as the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge down to Silicon Valley and along parts of the Eastern coast of California itself. With the sun beating down and the glorious day-to-day activities of Californian’s taking place below, it felt good to be riding so high with so much power at your fingertips.


      The power Zorin had over the 10 industrialists in front of him was godlike. He held the floor in sharp charcoal grey suit, his every word punctuated with rhythm and meaning. In the airship boardroom, which took up most of the ship itself, he stood at the front of a large steel business table. There were five speakers on each side, all middle aged, American by birth but representing various industries and national countries with whom he had dealings with.


      Bob Conley; American oil tycoon.


      Jon Sang; China’s leading developer of microchip technology.


      Nik Spano; Italian oil miner and explosives expert.

      George and Charlie Higson; British brothers in construction and computer programming.


      Benedict Poplas; Russian oil tycoon.

      Simon Offer; South African oil tycoon and leader of the South African Mining Strike of 1978.


      John Axten; former American microchip creator and designer.


      Shane Connolly; Australian seismic scientist and computer programmer.   

      Maytagi Hirosh; Japanese developer of microchip and computer technology.


      May Day stood by the exit, watching over the meeting. Documents and charts were in front of each speaker and two containers rested in front of Zorin. One was containing sand, the other held dozens of small microchips.

      “Gentlemen, for century’s alchemists tried to make gold from base metals. Today we make microchips from silicon which is common sand, but far better than gold,” he tipped the sand out onto the steel table.

       “For several years we’ve had a profitable partnership. You as manufacturers while I passed on to you industrial information that made you competitive. Successful. We are now in the unique position to form an international cartel to control not only production but distribution of these microchips. There is only one obstacle,” Zorin took the container of microchips and scattered them over the table. At once, the table folded in on itself swallowing the chips and revealing a large miniature model of what looked like San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, which started to rise up to the top of the table with a soft whir. Zorin raised his hands, imitating a god once more; bring the city to the surface from the depths. The businessmen let out gasps of fascination as they strained to look at the ingenious display. May Day smiled to herself at the boys and their toys.


      “Silicon Valley; over one hundred plants employing thousands of scientists and technicians. This is the heartland of electronic production in the United States which accounts for, what, 70% of the world microchip market. I propose to end the domination of Silicon Valley. And to leave us in control of that market.” Low chatter could be heard amongst the men, looking at all areas of the model.


      “What is it you propose?” Sang spoke up for the others.


      “Project Main Strike. For which each of you will pay me one hundred million dollars.”

      The table broke out into shocked and deflated conversation. Zorin rubbed his hands together in anticipation.


      “A hundred million dollars,” Sang said almost speechless, “plus half our net income?”


      Zorin smiled enthusiastically, “Under an exclusive marketing agreement with me.”


      “These are outrageous terms!”


      “Perhaps a demonstration would convince you?”


      “I want no part of it, thank you.” Sang softly closing his paperwork. May Day glanced to Zorin.


      “As you wish,” Zorin looked disappointed, but simply shrugged. “The rest of our discussion of course must be confidential. Would you wait outside?”


      “If you’d like me to; yes. Excuse me.” The businessman stood up, taking his notes and edging past the others.


      Zorin softly patted him on the back as he walked past, directing him to the door out of the room, “May Day will provide you with a drink.” He turned back to the table.


      “This way,” May Day slipped on some sunglasses and gave Zorin a little grin as she followed Sang out of the boardroom.



      They walked out into a small grey corridor, as small as an airplane aisle, which led to other rooms and the lower deck. May Day took his notes and gestured to him to head down a small set of steps. He started down as May Day stayed at the top.


      She pushed a small black button on the wall of the corridor and the metal crunch stopped Sang in his tracks. The grey floor below emblazoned with the Zorin logo retracted into the ship revealing nothing but blue sky and the piercing light and whistling wind from outside. The loud roar of the engines could be heard. Sang turned sharply, locking eyes with May Day knowingly as she pressed the button once more with a sly smile. The stairs retracted in an instant and created a small slide. Sang was unfortunate enough to still be standing as they went and he went sliding down and out of the trap door and out into Californian sky. He fell from the airship, screaming helplessly. She pressed the button one final time and the stairs flicked back up and the retractable floor came back into position, covering up all evidence of Sangs departure. He crashed into the shallow waters of the San Francisco Bay seconds later at fatal speed.


      Back in the boardroom, Zorin watched as his partners inspected the microchips and May Day came back. He gave her a satisfied wink. “So does anyone else want to drop out?”


      The airship glided over the Bay at a steady speed. Zorin and May Day opened the cockpit door and stepped inside. Numerous dials were reading air pressure and the amount of fuel the ship had, whilst the many more switches and buttons activated other areas unbeknownst to even Zorin himself. They crouched down and looked over Scarpine’s shoulder at the magnificent sight before them as he handled the airship expertly. Cresting over Angel Island, San Francisco came into full view. The lush waters shimmered with the bright light and the hazy summer sunshine reflected the many vibrant colours of the bustling city below. The Golden Gate Bridge was to their right and it stretched over the water in awe of itself.


      “Wow,” May Day smiled, clearly in awe, “what a view.”

      “To a kill,” Zorin whispered, nodding to himself, smiling as the airship crested the valley.




#10 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:40 AM

Chapter 9:  Bond in Frisco


James Bond rode one of the famous San Francisco cable cars across the Municipal Railway, leading into the famous San Francisco Port. The air around him was humid, even though the clouds shadowing the mild sunshine as it was getting late in the afternoon. The tall buildings were steadily being eaten up by the evening mist, hovering over the city. One of the most famous ports in all of America, the Frisco Port was simply enormous. An enormous scale of large shipping and industrial imports and exports spanning nearly 100 years was a magnificent sight. Smaller boats and ships belonging to fishermen, miners and other trades populated the ports and provided a rich and prosperous culture for the city. One of the best places in the city for fresh and local produce was at the ports themselves and a number of fresh fish stalls were set up along the jetties enticing the passers-by with that rich, salty sea smell and rich, mouth-watering smells.


      Bond waited until his car had stopped at the port and he hopped of, pulling his dark green bomber jacket tight around him as he walked along one of the docks towards Fisherman’s Wharf. The cry of seagulls above was mixed with the shouts and busy conversation from traders and fisherman along the boardwalk. The sun was fighting to break through the patches of cloud and low mist but it was a losing battle, and it was far cooler than earlier in the day. A couple wrapped up in each other’s company nearly walked into Bond had he not twisted to one side, jostling as the boardwalk become busier thanks to the popular stalls ready for the evening rush. The breeze whipped through his thick brown hair and he inhaled the fresh air, making him feel refreshed and at ease in the city. As he was now fully prepared for his time over in America, he felt more relaxed being able to work to his own pace and to his own means, and on his own.


      Dozens of fishing boats were moored up along the jetties, a manner of shapes and sizes each with masts reaching high into the sky, softly chiming against each other as the wind blew across the Wharf.

       Coming across a Chinese fishing stall which was bustling with people buying up bizarre yet tasty foods fresh from the waters, Bond stood to one side taking in the sights and smells for a moment, waiting to catch the eye of the middle-aged Chinese man packing crates behind the counter. The man noticed he was being watched after a few seconds and stood up with a friendly smile.


      “Looking for something special?”


      “Yes,” Bond said,“soft-shell crabs.”


      A sly smirk crossed his face, “Might have some in the back.” He took off his gloves and opened the side door to the stall. ”I’ll be a few minutes,” he called back to his colleagues taking a brown envelope from under the counter with him.


      Meeting with Bond at the side of the stall they began to walk across the jetty. The man pulled a card from under his blood-stained apron and handed it to Bond. “Chuck Lee, CIA. It’s a pleasure to be working with 007.”


      Bond let the comment go like water of a ducks back. “Thanks, now what about Zorin?”

      “He’s here in town. I can have him tailed.”


      “No not yet.”

      Lee nodded and opened the envelope, pulling out a handful of glossy black and white pictures. It was the shots taken from Bond’s signet ring at the reception in Paris. M had been able to acquire all relevant information from Bond and Tibbet’s investigation and send it on to their CIA allies in Washington and then on to San Francisco for his arrival to where Zorin had arrived days earlier. Lee was in his mid-thirties and quite athletic with receding black hair and American accent. He was smaller than Bond but had a very friendly face, round and cheery.


      “Conley is a geologist,” Lee said, handing Bond the picture of the burly American. “Runs Zorin’s oil reclamation project in the East Bay. Last job was chief engineer in a South African gold mine. Left in a hurry after a cave-in killed 150 miners.”


      “Zorin’s kind of man,” Bond muttered. “What about the girl and the cheque?”


      Lee chuckled to himself, sidestepping to avoid stepping in a box of crabs on the jetty. “You know how many S Suttons there are in the US? We watch Zorin’s account. The cheque hasn’t been cashed.”


      Bond chewed over the information. “Mortner?”


      “Ah. You got a real winner here,” Lee pulled out a picture of the doctor. “His real name is Hans Glaub, a German pioneer in the development of steroids.”


      “That ties in with the horse injections.”


      “In World War II,” Lee continued, “he used steroids on pregnant women in concentration camps in an attempt to enhance intelligence.”

      “With any success?”

      Lee shook his head. “Virtually every mother aborted. A handful of children were produced with phenomenal IQs. But there was a side-effect. They were psychotics.”

      “Why wasn’t this Mortner, or Glaub, tried by the War Crimes Commission?”


      “The Russians grabbed him. Set him up in a laboratory. He spent years developing steroid for their athletes, then vanished 20 years ago.”

      Bond stopped walking gradually, “That’s about the same time Zorin came over to the West.”


      The look on Lee’s face was one of confusion, “Could Zorin be one of the steroid kids?”


      “He's definitely the right age, and he’s certainly psychotic. What about his oil operations?”


      Lee looked out over the port where a number of boats were moored up unloading their catch. Lee leant out and cupped his mouth, “Mister O’Rourke!”


      One of the sailors stood up from tending to his catch and waved. “Aye!”


      “Can you spare a minute?”


      “Sure thing!” O’Rourke shouted.


      Lee turned to Bond, “The oil operation looks clean, except for a problem with the crab fishermen.”


      On cue O’Rourke stepped over the wall from the steel ladder fixed on with rusty bolts. “Good morning!” He had a sea worn face, thick stubble and a moustache. He wore a thick green woolly hat and blue jumper, contrasting his rosy red face.


      Lee pointed to Bond, “Here’s that reporter I told you about.”


      Bond shook his tight hand with a warm smile, “Mr O’Rourke, I understand you have a problem.”

      “That Zorin oil pumping station ruined one of the best crab patches in the Bay,” The fisherman growled under his husky voice.

      “Scared them away?”


      O’Rourke sniggered, “They didn’t go anywhere. They just disappeared.”

      Bond looked at Lee, “Well, I’d like to look at that oil pumping station.”


      “That’ll be tough. It’s very heavily guarded,” O’Rourke sighed.


      Lee gave 007 a reassuring nod. The wheels were already in motion.



#11 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:13 AM

Chapter 10: Underwater and Overkill


A good mile out from the San Francisco Bay, a Zorin Industries oil pumping refinery stood erect in the water as the calm evening waves lapped around the thick iron and steel pipework and foundations emerging from the deep muddy water bed. The night-time had crept in and a full moon shone down giving out plenty of light to match the small floodlight and LEDs moving over the small station. The weather was now warm and humid so far out and the water was warm to touch. A black speedboat was moored up beside the access stairway where a lone armed guard stood keeping a watchful eye over to the Bay.


      It was lucky for the two Russian agents underneath the refinery that the guards were not expecting any trouble so far out at sea. Clad in figure hugging black outfits, they blended in with the shadow as they emerged amongst the lower foundations of the stations. One of them was sat in a small black dinghy holding a small cassette player whilst maintaining control of the boat. The other, hanging onto a steel pipe, was holding a long thin pole up to the wooden decking of the refinery where audible conversation and footsteps could be heard, and the microphone was picking it all up. The figure was male, his soft voice breaking silence to let his colleague now to start cassette recorder. All they had to do was now wait.


      Unaware and up above, Zorin stood with May Day, Scarpine and Bob Conley in the main station’s control room. Surrounded by blinking lights, small pipelines feeding out to the sea and various gauges and readings coming through, it was the heart of a technical operation in full swing.


      “We’ll be testing new equipment shortly,” Zorin said to a nearby guard, “keep a sharp lookout. I don’t want anyone near this dock.”


      The guard nodded, tapping his service hat briefly, “Very good, sir.”


      Zorin pulled his casual leather jacket tight around him as he stood back watching the proceedings, hands in pockets.


      Conley pulled a clipboard from the wall. “Valves 11 to 15 are open. Report from the wells?”


      A technician stood by at least five pressure gauges, tracing them with the pressure readings coming through, “Wells report valve open and ready to receive water.”


      “Good. Open valves 16 to 21.”


      The technician hit six red buttons in order, “Valve 16 is at half capacity sir.”


      Zorin nodded softly, “Give me an update on valve procedure for the Main Strike programme.”

      “We’ll have a field crew check it out in the morning,” Conley said, moving next to Zorin. He started to busy himself with a series of written charts on a small desk behind where May Day was, looking to impress the man by him. “Right, activate pumping procedure, 30 percent power.”



      Below the refinery and beneath the dark warm waters, 007 swam low and steady making his way to the pipelines. Equipped in a standard diving suit complete with one oxygen tank, goggles, flippers and underwater torch provided by the CIA, Bond had been dropped out in the waters a good distance from the refinery thanks to Lee and his personal motorboat. With a good mile stretch of water before the shore, Bond had enough oxygen to investigate the refinery and make it back to the Bay. He was more than warm enough in the wetsuit thanks to the heat preservation fibres keeping his body temperature constant and taking energy from the warm water he swam in. The water was lit enough naturally to illuminate his path without the torch. Small pockets of seaweed, shoals of tiny fish and sand banks decorated the seabed. Bond could see the floodlights from the refinery a few yards above him, meaning he was more or less directly underneath the station. A number of pipes fed into the seabed, leading to unknown areas of the San Francisco area, but two larger pipes were simply drawing in the sea water, covered by rusty grates which housed a lone crab or two. Bond swam to one of the larger pipes and noticed it was not functioning. Getting up close, amazed how large it actually was, he looped his free fingers through the grate and pulled it down steadily, the water making it harder to move.

      He pulled it down fully and swam inside, using his flippers to keep the grate away from snapping back as the torch light bounced around the rusty bolted pipe. It was a narrow passageway and the dregs of corroded pipe and sludge floated by Bond’s goggles, drifting in and around his view like a strange underwater dance. He didn’t make it far into the pipe before he noticed a large fan blocking further access, obviously for drawing in sea water once it was activated. The blades were as long as Bond’s arm and too large to squeeze through. Bond looked around in the cramped confined space but could see no way to progress. The torch beam settled through water as he took a moment to think of a new strategy to infiltrate the refinery. A solitary crab ambled along the grate; now back in place and covering the pipe.


      In the control room, Zorin leaned over and looked at the charts, squinting at the jargon written down. He made a small humming noise to himself as dismissal and walked over to the technician sat in his seat, watching the pump gauges fluctuate steadily, “Increase the procedure; maximum.”

      A silence fell briefly in the control room and only the clicks and whirrs of the machinery could be heard for a split second. The older technician looked over to Conley, who stood up tall, his brow creased in concern.


      “The new seals aren’t fully tested.” he said firmly.


      “Main Strike’s in three days,” Zorin turned to face him, “any delays, I hold you responsible.”


      May Day and Scarpine both looked at Conley, who in turn looked at the floor. He quickly scratched nervously at his stubbly face before nodding, “Yes sir. Bring it to full. Slowly.”



      Moving inside the pipe was the equivalent of trying to navigate through a sewer system but more difficult with the water. Bond struggled to turn around with his oxygen tank and start to move away to another area of the refinery when his ears started to hum. Starting as a dull ring which he thought could be water pressure; the whine got louder and soon filled the whole of the pipe, surrounding Bond in a vibrating chamber that echoed through his suit. He looked around, gasping at the air as his heart started to beat faster and thump in his ears.

      The fan groaned and started to turn. It was like a nightmare, to be trapped in a confined space with no way out and being pulled to certain death. Bond dropped the torch and turned to swim out quickly but an invisible force held him back. The fan was spinning as a blur now, foaming up water and spitting out air bubbles as the water was sucked through the pipe. The pulsating of Bond’s blood and the roar of the fan in his ears was deafening. He strained against the current pulling him steadily back and lunged out to grab onto the grating but it was no use. The fan was at full speed and sucking water through the pipe by the second. Knowing what he had to do, Bond inhaled one last lungful of air and pulled away the oxygen tank strapped onto his back whilst using all his leg muscles to keep away from the fan, the gap ever decreasing between the blades and his feet. His head felt it was going to explode as the pressure gained instantly. The oxygen tank slid from his back and was sucked into the blades, immediately exploding in a burst of bubbles and escaping air.

      At that instant the warning alarm activated over the refinery, blaring through the tannoy and sounding in the control room. Blood red lights flashed and the pressure gauges stuck halfway, vibrating erratically. All their heads turned in shock at the sudden disruption.


      “Shut it down, the propellers jammed!” Conley shouted, watching the gauges fluctuate. Throwing down his clipboard, he briskly walked over to the technician who was wrestling with the controls.

      “Fix it!” Zorin shouted.


      May Day and Scarpine quickly followed the guard to the platform outside.


      The fan grinded to a halt as the pierced tank blocked the rotation and the whine of gears and motors boomed out like a groaning ship. The pressure dropped and the suction ended, letting Bond grasp hold of the grate and use his fading body strength to push it back down. His breath was waning, but he managed to get a hand through the gap and use his body to edge out and push the grate down, letting him out. Pushing with his weary legs, he swam out of the pipe as far as he could, heading away from the station above until he had to gently break the surface

      “You there, get a man down there!” Scarpine shouted to one of the refinery maintenance team who were preparing to climb down the service hatch into the pipe, equipped with their scuba gear.


      “Move it, come on!” The security team started down the wooden stairs leading to the steel foundations with May Day close behind.

      The two Russians were already making their way out of the maze of foundations when the alarm sounded. Dropping the microphone back to his colleague with a cassette full of evidence, he conversed in their native dialect before the figure in the dinghy handed him a large limpet mine. Standing on the pipes jutting from the sea, he positioned himself underneath the decking and began to attach the mine.


      “Give him hand down there and get those alarms tuned off,” shouted Scarpine, once more taking charge.


      Zorin was now outside the control room in the cool night air. Walking over next to Conley, he fixed his eyes on the perspiring American.


      “Hurry up, god-damnit! Clear that pump!” Conley shouted, feeling Zorin’s eyes on him.


      The severed oxygen tank emerged from the service hatch, leaking water from a deep cut, severed by the blade, buckling the cylinder if it were paper. The alarms went quiet and the diver emerged, handing the severed tank to Scarpine. He placed it on the floor and rolled it over with his foot, spilling water out. The chatter of guards could be heard below between the awkward silence on the decking.


      Zorin looked at his watch casually. “We’re behind schedule.”


      Bond crashed through the water, gasping for the cool air to fill his lungs. He tore off the goggles and let them float away. Treading the water, keeping his head low on the surface, the refinery was lit up and he could see the scrambling figures over the different areas, crossed with the floodlights and flashing red beacons. He made sure the surrounding area was clear from any inward patrols, and started back to the Bay a good half-mile or so away. The shouting grew faint behind him as he pushed on with his aching legs and the determination of not giving way to the tiredness.


      The limpet mine was in place as his wet hands turned the dial for priming the explosive. The Russian’s colleague in the dinghy was making their way around the rear of the refinery. It all was happening so fast that he failed to see May Day drop down from the stairs behind him. She landed hard and immediately wrapped her arm around his throat, pulling him backwards and choking him. He gasped as she started to pull him onto the stairway.


      “Guard!” May Day shouted for assistance in bringing the saboteur to the deck. Her strength was more than most men, and it was clear she was in charge.

      “Tell Conley to resume pumping,” Zorin barked to an ambling technician, who deftly returned to the control room.

      The guards retrieved the limpet mine from the base of the refinery as the saboteur was held tight, arms restrained, in front of Zorin. It was Anatol Gogol’s bodyguard, the stern faced KGB agent who had once before got on the wrong side of May Day. He held his head high, his damp hair hanging over his eyes. A timid and somewhat bewildered expression crossed his face as the limpet mine was handed to Zorin, as if he were a naughty child faced with evidence of a minor crime.

      “This is yours I believe?” His voice was scarily calm, “Defuse it.”


      The agent swallowed gently and tentatively reached out to the dark green explosive device. He twisted and removed the middle section of the mine, a thick metal block, and dropped it in Zorin’s palm. Scarpine watched the proceedings with a thin smile. Zorin turned his back to the agent and nodded to the service hatch. Three pairs of hands immediately dragged the agent across the decking to the hatch as Scarpine opened it. The agent shouted in fevered Russian, squirming to break away from the inevitable, but it was no use.  The sound of the whirring blades from the pumping fan echoed below, sounding like a horrid monster in the darkness below. His head was held down over his chest, the guards forcing his weight down and guiding his thrashing body over into the hatch, lowering his squirming feet and dropping him into the water below.


      He barely had time to register hitting the water before he was dragged headfirst into the propeller blades, slicing into him and churning his body and bone as if he were a soft piece of fruit. The frothy mixture of blood, tissue and bubbles filled the pipe, fragments of clothing and human remains drifting out from the discharge behind the fan itself. Inside the control room, Conley looked up as the pressure gauge clicked and hovered around the half-way mark of 50% pressure, debating whether to go up or down, as if something was stuck in the pump. When the gauge went smooth again, continuing to maximum pressure, he let out a small sigh of relief.  


      Outside on the deck, the hatchway was closed and the mine tossed over into the dark water below, dead and defunct.




#12 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:36 AM

Chapter 11:  Beautiful Detente


She dragged herself onto the beach like a mystical figure emerging from the sea. It looked like a dark shadow fighting the strain and biting chill of the water and the pain in her muscles. Having ditched her dingy to evade detection, the Russian girl knelt on the soft sand of the Bay as the waves softly crashed around her, the hazy night sky dancing with the moonlight and clouds. She fought for breath, calming her racing heart and shaking hands. Evading capture had been due to leaving her friend and colleague behind, but she had a job to do and it was more important she act for the good of her nation rather than her heart. Removing her thick black diving mask, her short blonde hair was matted to her head with the water. She unzipped her diving vest and pulled it off, flinging it aside, revealing her fine olive skinned body, petite and firm, under a thin white sports vest and tight navy hot pants.


      The young agent scanned around the bay with her wide alert eyes, getting to her feet and heading to an outcrop of thin, wavy long grass which led from the beach and onto the main road into the city. She ran along the sand and onto the soft stone clearing where she had her escape route. Sleek, silver and unashamedly American, her Chevrolet Corvette ZR-I was parked up, hidden by the night and waiting for her. She pulled herself up to the clearing, thankful to see the car in one piece, and moved to the driver’s door where the keys were hidden inside the car, which was unlocked. All of a sudden, a sharp noise coming from behind made the KGB agent lash out with her arms, fist balled at whatever what, or who, was behind her. A heavy hand clamped down on her arm, causing her to wince in pain as she pulled the figure out from the grass into the light. It was James Bond, looking down on her with a look of surprise  on his face, still moist from the water.

      “Pola Ivanova,” Bond hissed.


      “James Bond,” Pola gasped, still holding onto his arms.

       Their stares were broken off by the sound of what sounded like guard dogs and security officers shouting across the Bay getting closer down the beach.


      “Let’s get out of here,” Bond whispered, letting Pola go and dashing round the car to get in the passenger door.


      Pola opened her door and got in, immediately starting the car which let out a satisfying growl as she hit the accelerator hard and lifted the clutch. The car’s rear wheels spun for an instant, kicking up wisps of sand and grit thanks to the power of the sporty engine. She drove away from the clearing and joined up with the quiet road leading into San Francisco, lit up ahead by the nightlife and the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge hanging ominously over the water. A second car, a black Mercedes, pulled out from a side road to follow them.



      It was just turning 11pm, but San Francisco’s heart was still beating, thriving with nightclubs, restaurants and entertainment. Within the city was China Town, the largest base for Chinese culture and style outside of the native country itself, in which there was plenty of busy restaurants, market stalls, tacky replica decor and bright lanterns littering every possible space. Down one of the side-streets, a quaint bathhouse and spa was lit up warmly, set out in the ancient style of traditional wooden chalets. The house was made modern by blinking, flashing neon signs advertising the reasonable hire of relaxation spa-tubs and soothing, private massage sessions. The Chevrolet was parked up outside.


      The private spa room was quite large considering the pokey exterior. Fashioned in traditional Chinese style, it was lit by small, warm spotlights on the ceiling and in the walls. The wooden floor was gleaming and populated with small cream rugs. Silk robes and fluffy towels were hung along the walls and small leather sofas, plumped up with plush burgundy cushions lined the rear of the room. The large, steaming hot tub built into the floor took up the centre of the room, lined with two full glasses and a bottle of champagne, the condensation dripping from the bottle neck. Bond sat directly behind Pola, gently soaping and rubbing her shoulders. She grinned softly as her neck went limp as Bond’s strong, wet hands massaged her tense muscles. The bubbles foamed gently around them, the steam rising softly easing away the previous few hours.


      “That feels wonderful,” Pola purred, her silky Russian accent broke through her English.

      “It feels even better from where I’m sitting,” Bond smiled, tenderly kissing her neck. “Would you like it harder?”

      Pola giggled softly, “James you’ve haven’t changed.”


      “Well you have. You’re even lovelier.”


      She pulled some of the lavender and soft peach scented bubbles into her hand, rubbing them gently down her arm, her face glistening with the water, tanned and beautiful. “James. Remember, that night in London when I was with the Bolshoi?”

      “What a performance,” Bond whispered into her ear, caressing her lower body with his hands, tending to her back.


      “In my dressing room later did you know I was an agent with orders to seduce you?” she asked softly, a sly grin hidden on her face.

      “Why do you think I sent you three dozen red roses?”


      “Now that was a performance.”


      “Quite a coincidence, us running into each other like this,” Bond worked up her back, using a large sponge to douse her neck in warm water, flowing down her body. “Come on now, tell me the truth - ”

      “Let’s not talk shop!” Pola sat up and tilted her head back, “Let’s put on something more…inspirational?” She flashed an innocent looking smile.

      Bond sighed, “Why not.”  He kissed her neck in defeat, pulling himself out of the warm tub, his naked body dripping water and bubbles on the carpet.


      He slid into a black robe, clinging to his wet body, and walked over to the complimentary cassette player. Inside was a tape of relaxing staccato harp music that had run its course minutes ago. Bond took out the tape, but noticed another cassette in with her messy pile of clothes. He took out the Chinese harpist and replaced it with another, more classical cassette. Bond used the cover of conversation and music as he sat busying himself switching Pola’s tape for one of his own, pocketing it into his robe pocket. Pola lay back in the bubbles, washing her legs as they broke through the foam. Bond pushed a button on the tub’s control panel which caused the bubbles to foam and jet out even more. Pola let out a squeal and giggled once more, blowing foam from her hand.


      “Are you alright?” Bond said, casually dropping his robe and slipping back into the tub in front of her.


      “The bubbles tickle my-” she stopped giggling and broke into a smile, “Tchaikovsky!”

       The classical rendition from the great composer filled the room with romantic music played out on a whole orchestra. Pola looked pleasantly surprised at the choice.


      “Détente can be beautiful,” she sighed as Bond moved in closer to her.


      He put his arms on either side of her, pinning her in, “This is no time to be talking politics.”

      She pulled into him, locking lips and feeling the rush of the bubbles around her skin, mixed with the passion of once more feeling Bond so close to her. Her arms locked around his neck and they steadily let the water engulf them.


      Pola dried her damp hair, hanging down in flicks over her face. She was now wrapped in an ivory silk robe searching for her pile of clothes. Bond was engulfed in warm water and steam in the shower room just to one side of the spa. The water spray rushed over him as he washed away the soap.



      “Yes darling?” Pola called out, finding her tape amongst her now dry clothes beside the cassette player.


      “You know something? Tomorrow I shall buy you six dozen red roses.”


      Pola slipped the tape into her inner breast pocket and edged towards the sliding door silently, “How lovely darling. I can’t wait.” That was all the pleasantries she had to exchange. Pulling back on the wooden frame, the door slid open and she hurried out. Her shadow passed by the thin dividing walls as she ran out from the spa and down to the front of the house.

      Bond came around from the shower room dressed in his robe rubbing his wet hair with a towel. His eyes went from the door to the cassettes on the floor, not surprised to find he was all alone.


       The pedestrians giggled and pointed in amusement as the blonde haired girl in a flowing ivory robe, half naked and wet underneath, ran from the spa and across the main street. Cars slowed down to let her pass, causing a busy road to slow down. She ran to the now parked Mercedes across the street and opened the passenger door and got in. The street regained momentum once more as the car pulled away into the traffic flow out of China Town. Inside the blacked out car, General Anatol Gogol sat driving, a look of pride on his face as Polo caught her breath beside him. Looking over at the fresh faced girl, he gently rubbed her cheek, his smile beaming.


      “The tape?”


      Pola fished inside her robe and removed the tape with one hand, casually handing it to Gogol with a satisfied smirk. She had seduced 007 once more and obtained the recording of General Zorin’s motive for hording microchips. Gogol looked like an expectant child at Christmas about to unwrap a present. He put the tape in the car stereo and settled in his seat ready to listen as the passing headlights of cars illuminated his cheery face.


      The sounds of a Chinese staccato harp filled the car; it’s off beat tempo sounding like a bad dream. Pola’s mouth dropped in disbelief, while Gogol looked at her in a mix of sheer bewilderment and confusion. The KGB had been duped by James Bond once more.


      Sat in his black oriental dressing gown, the silk soothing to his freshly purified skin, Bond sat on the edge of the empty tub in the private spa room, still lit by the numerous warm lamps. He was writing down notes on a small pad with a pencil, rewinding and pausing the cassette player at certain intervals. It was the recording of Zorin from beneath the oil refinery. Bond hit the play button once more to go over the notes he had written down, short-hand.


      “The Silicon Valley operation must not be delayed. Main Strike’s in three days. Any delays, I hold you responsible. It’s essential the remaining pipelines are open on time.”


Silicon Valley. Main Strike. 3 Days.


       Bond made sure to accentuate the large question mark he had drawn underneath his notes.



#13 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:36 PM

Chapter 12:  Meeting S Sutton


Outside of China Town, between the San Francisco central freeway and the Downtown district, located to the north-east of the city resided the architectural gem that was San Francisco City Hall.  The eye striking building was the apex of Van Ness Avenue and a striking monument of the California state. The afternoon sun was high in the blue sky, giant white cloud drifting across intermittently. A cool breeze kept the temperature down as City Hall took in hundreds of civil officers in all departments, from stock brokers to restaurant chefs to local politicians.


      Bond was sat in the office of San Francisco current Mayor, GW Howe, in the comfortable and elegant Rotunda block on the 8th floor of the building.


      “Our economy needs investors like Mister Zorin,” Howe continued, mid-way through an engaging interview with Bond, sat neatly opposite Howe’s clean desk, in a light cream suit, taking notes on a journalists pad. “California welcomes him with open arms.”


      Bond nodded gently, looking up from his work, “May I quote you on that, Mister Howe?”

      Howe latched his fingers together with a smile, “Certainly. Is there anything else I can tell the Financial Times?”


      Bond’s cover was now that of a reporter for the renowned London newspaper, printing all things economical and industrial in the modern world. He had enjoyed meeting Howe who appeared very genuine and pleasant from the moment he had contacted him for a formal interview. Howe was a good 10 years or so older than Bond and looked a well presented and a very knowledgeable and clever politician. He was a simply interesting and exciting man to talk to.

      “Yes,” Bond continued, “my readers want to know why Zorin is pumping sea water into his pipeline instead of pumping oil out.”


      Howe smiled, sitting forward, clearly enthused on the subject, “Sea water is used to test the integrity of the pipeline. It’s a lot safer than oil just in case there are any leaks.”

      “Well, I didn’t know that,” Bond mused, jotting down a few more notes as Howe looked on satisfied. “Well thank you Mister Howe. That about wraps it up,” Bond slipped the notes into his satchel bag, standing up as Howe came around his desk.


      “Would you come this way, please?” Howe indicated to the rear door, just as Bond started to walk towards his secretary’s office. Bond unbuttoned his jacket, smiling politely and leading the way out of the large office to the outside hall. “If you’d like any further information, just call me, Mister?”


      Bond took his hand and shook it firmly, “Stock. James Stock. Thank you Mister Howe.”

      The outer hall of the Rotunda block was gleaming and well decorated with soft works of art, fresh green plantation and hanging lights, illuminating the sheer height and space of the building. Turning across the polished marble floor, avoiding the numerous businessmen and women walking in mid-flow, Bond made his way towards the lifts across the way. Howe stood in his doorway watching Bond leave. As he stepped inside the waiting lift a familiar voice halted Bond closing the door.


      “Mister Howe!”


      Bond hit the door open button on the lift, allowing more people to squeeze in steadily as he saw the blonde girl from Zorin’s reception in Paris, looking even more beautiful in a light turquoise dress complimenting her long blonde hair. She looked far more casual and relaxed out of the ivory suit.


      “Stacey. What do you want?”

      “Mister Howe I have some porosity tests I want to show you.”

      The people in the elevator were waiting for Bond to shut the door, still intently trying to listen and watch Stacey and Howe, and still pressing the open door button.


       “I can only spare a couple of minutes,” Howe said, leading her into his office.


      An abrupt cough brought Bond back to the realm of the waiting passengers of the elevator behind him.


      “Sorry,” he smiled, letting the door finally close, watching Howe’s door as it did.


      Bond stood patiently at the top of the grand interior staircase leading down to the main plaza. He blended in to the crowds of people stood talking about their days work or plans for the evening. He’d been waiting for about 15 minutes, watching the monotonous line of men and women file up and down the staircase. Finally Bond spotted Stacey coming from inside the main chamber, where the lifts were located, and started down the stairs. She was carrying a small purse, slung over her shoulder. Her face looked radiant and almost angelic, plain and innocent, highlighted by her big long blond hair. Bond took up following her down the stairs, across the plaza and out into the bright sunshine and into the front car park outside of City Hall.

      He kept watching as she walked over to a large state Cherokee Jeep, blazed with the Californian Geologist logo. She started chatting to some colleagues, tossing her hair and laughing at their comments. Bond strolled over casually to his silver 1983 Ford LTD, provided by Chuck Lee at small expense from the CIA, and got inside. Starting the engine and leaving his satchel on the front seat, he watched Stacey from his wing mirror as she stood talking, obviously itching to get away and get home. A couple of minutes later, she was able to get in and drive away into the rush hour traffic. The warmth from the evening sun was cooling down as the drive through the city was steady and relaxed.  Stacey had her window down and let the breeze lap her hair. She had the radio playing the latest music and weather updates, tucking into a bag of plain potato chips as she drove. A few cars behind was Bond, keeping a steady distance as he followed, also enjoying the drive.


      It took only around 15 minutes to reach the outskirts of the Richmond District, by Golden Gate Park and to a pleasant county estate. Leaving the city, Stacey turned into the estate and drove between the lush greenery and up the gravel path, arriving at one of a few large houses. Surrounded by giant fresh trees reaching into the sky and clean cut gardens, Stacey pulled up into her driveway. It was like a picturesque dolls house from the outside, perfect white brickwork with a sand-coloured tile roof, a good 3 stories high and decorated with small hanging baskets and a small porch on both floors outside the windows. Three large pillars stood on the front porch holding up the front overhanging roof, while six smaller pillars stood either side holding up the first floor porch. It was a beautiful house, made more beautiful by the greenery tended around it.


      Bond pulled up softly a few yards back from the house, allowing Stacey to get out and go inside her house, carrying what looked like a brown shopping bag full of groceries. Bond killed the engine and got out, crunching his shoes on the stones below. He didn’t notice the black saloon car driving up the path slowly behind him.


       The front door was surprisingly unlocked, and Bond turned the bras knob and stepped inside gingerly. Bond immediately took in the sparse and empty interior with some degree of disappointment. The hall was empty, spare from a large antique picture of an old war general, a wooden table holding a small vase and a couple of cardboard boxes, overflowing with packing tape and bubble wrap. The light pink and cream décor stood out with no furnishings. Polished wooden floorboards stretched out across the whole width of the house. A large staircase hugged the far wall winding up to the second floor, which looked even more devoid of life. The surrounding ivory doors were all shut and there was no noise except the chirping of the birds nesting outside the windows. His footsteps clicked softly across the floor as he walked across to the stairs where he could hear the sound of running water from a shower up in one of the rooms. Touching gently down on the first wooden step leading up, Bond kept his eye on the upper floor. His heart raced as the plant pot next to the stairs suddenly rocked, the plastic plant shook and a fluffy cat ran out between his legs and away to hide from the intruder. Bond cursed gently at the sudden shock, quickly regaining composure and continuing up the stairs. He passed an expensive looking chandelier hanging down from the second floor balcony, glinting in the sunlight coming from outside.


       Following the sound of the shower, Bond moved onto the upper floor where there were more doors, all closed, except on which was open ajar, inviting Bond. He looked over his shoulder to check no-one was around and stepped slowly inside. Carefully peering around the corner, it was evident this was Stacey’s bedroom with an en-suite bathroom where the shower was. Pastel pinks, lavenders and creams made up the colours of her room. A comfy looking bed rested on the near wall filled with plush pillows and soft toys. A desk with a modern computer was on the far wall with a wicker chair by it. A canary tweeted statically in a large cage by the bedroom window, draped with soft curtains. The house was eerily quiet and the sudden threat of bumping into Stacey innocently going about her business was exciting for Bond in a strange way, his heart thumping hard inside as he stepped through the room and peered into the small bathroom. The shower was running into the small bath but nobody was in there. Looking behind the door, Bond saw no-one. It was a decoy of some sort, and Bond heard the bedroom door close behind him by the time he realized it was a trap. Turning around quickly, he was faced with Stacey Sutton aiming a shotgun at him, holding it with an air of expertise, blocking off his route.


      “Come out real slow,” Stacey ordered him, her voice quiet and calm. Bond stepped out of the bathroom, keeping his posture neutral. “Just another Zorin stooge, Mister- whatever your name was.”


      “Actually my name is James Stock; London Financial Times.”


      Stacey edged towards her desk where the phone was. “Oh you can tell the police which.”


      “And you can tell them about the 5 million payoff you received from Zorin” Bond countered, stepping towards the bed facing the window. He stepped forward gently, posing an intimidating frame to her shotgun toting persona. “I saw the cheque.”


      Stacey picked up the phone and held it to her ear. She slammed it down instantly with one hand. “You cut the line!”


      Bond’s eye was caught by a shadow moving behind Stacy past the window, and it looked like it was a figure holding a pistol. Stacey saw his eye and turned to the window, seeing the figure moving.


      “Get back!” Bond leapt forward, grabbing the shotgun from Stacey and pushing her to the floor. His finger squeezed the trigger, aiming the barrel at the half open window. The shotgun blasted out, splitting the window and the frame and hitting the thug outside. He grabbed his face, stumbled back and fell over the balcony, landing into some shrubbery below, groaning in agony. Bond ran to the hallway outside Stacey’s room as she followed him, hiding herself in fright behind the door. He was met by a mean looking man holding a thick chain vaulting up the stairs. Another man was down in the hall with a pistol. The rough thug was heavily built with grey hair and stubble, dressed in dark brown jeans and jacket. He swung at Bond’s head, but he ducked to the side, bringing up the butt of the shotgun and thrusting it into the thug’s stomach. He fell back with the force of the blow. Hitting the wooden handrail of the walkway, the thug’s weight took him through the weak frame, forcing him to leap onto the chandelier, swinging as he held on over the floor. Bond brought up the shotgun and fired once more at the chandelier. The thug was hit and fell to the floor, tumbling over and bringing shards of the once priceless ornament with him.


       Stacey whimpered in fear at the intruders in her home and followed Bond to the stairs, where the other intruder was jogging up, aiming his pistol. He fired two shots. Stacey dropped to the floor as Bond expertly forward rolled to avoid the bullets, bringing up his shotgun at the top of the stairs and fired down at the intruder from between the wooden bannisters. Specks of blood appeared on the side of his face and shirt as he fell back down the stairs, tumbling over himself and collapsing dazed on the floor. He sat up on his elbows, shaking his head to rid the disorientation after his fall, and also the shock of being alive. Bond started down the stairs looking at the shotgun in bewilderment at such an ineffective weapon.

       “What’s this thing loaded with?” he shouted.

      Stacey followed down, hugging the wall. “Rock salt.”


      “Now you tell me!” Bond groaned.


      The barrel came up for another shot but the weapon was pulled out of Bond’s hands and slid across the floor. The chain from the heavy thug had been thrown out and coiled around the gun, disarming Bond and leaving him to face the two men with no weapon. He leaped over the low banister and jumped at the thug, bringing his knee up into his stomach once more. The second intruder was on his feet, stained with shards of rock salt and specks of blood. As he moved forward, Stacey screamed in fear and pushed herself into him, using all of her feeble strength against the well-built brute, hitting him in the arms and trying to pull his hair. He simply batted her away, throwing her over to the floor as he moved over the join in the scuffle. Bond threw the heavy thug over his shoulder as the suited thug came in from behind, holding his arms behind his back, letting the heavy thug turn around and land a heavy punch to Bond’s stomach. He howled in pain, struggling to throw his captive off balance. Reaching out, he grabbed the vase from the small wooden table as a weapon

        “No!” The scream of disapproval from Stacey put him off using it.


      “Hold this,” Bond gasped, handing it back into Stacey’s open arms, using the shift to throw his elbow back into the suited thug’s kidney. As he let go in pain, Bond managed to block another inward punch from the heavy, sidestepping and throwing a curled fist into his jaw, sending him sprawling on his knees. Spinning around, he saw the suited thug making his way for another attack which he was ready for but failed to see the heavy thug leap on him from behind, the chain wrapped around his fists used as a make shift garrotte. It seemed this was a fight he couldn’t get the upper-hand on. The thug pulled Bond back, digging into his windpipe and causing him to struggle for breath. Bond could smell the sweat coming from the thug as he pulled hard, the warm chain pressing down against his skin. His knees started to give way, the suited thug coming in for what could be a fatal blow. Stacey looked at the apparently now defenceless news reporter and then to the antique vase, and then closed her eyes.


      “Aw, hell!” Raising the vase high above her head, she brought it crashing down onto the skull of the heavy thug. The vase shattered on impact, spraying what appeared to be dust and dirt over the man’s head and opening wounds from the sharp fragments, as he let out a groan and fell amongst the debris and dust.


      The suited thug looked down at his fallen colleague. He shook his head and ran past Stacey who was frozen in fear, looking at the remains of the vase in her hand. Bond was already on his feet, running over to the shotgun as the thug was staggering out of the front door, following the other. The black saloon was already running outside the house when the intruders jumped in through the open doors, one even making a leap into the open window as the driver hit the gas to pull away at speed. Bond ran out of the house and quickly fired two warning shots towards the car. The dust was still swirling as the saloon skidded out of the drive and away. His cold eyes watched the car flee. He lowered the shotgun. Peace once more reigned supreme around the house.


      Bond shut the door behind him and snapped the catch lock into place. Stacey was crouched down on her knees collecting the vase fragments amongst the dust as best she could. He picked up a large piece by the door, walked over and handed it to her as she stood up, holding them in her small hands, a sheepish smile on her face.


      “Thank you,” Stacey said.


      “My pleasure,” Bond smiled back gingerly. “I’m afraid all the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t do much with that.”


      “That’s all right,” she laughed, walking over and placing them on the small table, “it was Granddad’s ashes. But he always loved a good fight.” She held out her hand, dusting them down on her skirt. “I’m Stacey. Sutton.”


      “Yes,” Bond smiled to her. They shook hands, both were warm and gentle.


      “And you’re a reporter. What was it?”

      “Stock. James Stock.”

      “Right.” She smiled once more, her sour tone all but dissolved now they were on the right side of each other. Bond was smitten instantly.


      “Yes, I’m researching an article on Zorin. I used a friend’s name to get an invite to the Château.”

      Stacey began to walk towards the rear of the house, “I can tell you a few things about Zorin.”


      “I’d like to hear them.” Bond followed her, still carrying the shotgun. He stopped as the cat who previously scared him now sauntered out from along the stairs, dancing between his legs. The cat meowed softly at Bond.

      “I have to feed him.” Stacey chuckled, picking the cat up. “Are you hungry?”


      “What are you serving, Whiskers?”


      “I only have leftovers in the fridge. I’m a pathetic cook.”


      Bond opened the door leading to the dining room, “I’ll lend a hand.”


      “You can cook?”

      A smile crossed his face as he followed her fine figure. “I’ve been known to dabble.”



#14 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:23 AM

Chapter 13:  Bonding with Stacey


The cat ate greedily from a full bowl by the door, finally content. Stacey sat at the small dining table, covered with a plain cloth and dotted with three thin candles and two glasses full of red wine. She wore an elegant black halter-neck dress; her hair pulled back and tied up in a bun. The limited amount of make-up complimented her face and she looked ravishing. A thin pearl necklace and earrings shimmered in the soft light. Delicate fingers toyed with the rim of the wine glass as she watched Bond slip on some oven gloves, taking out his masterpiece from the large oven.


      “Et voilà,” Bond placed the hot tray onto the table, “Quiche. Served.”

      “Oh, smells delicious,” Stacey leaned in to take in the mouth-watering smell of melted cheese, sizzling pepper and onion, and the warm ham and pastry, “what is it?”


      Bond looked up at her. “An omelette.”


      He took a knife to the omelette, slicing it on the hot plate and serving a generous portion on Stacey’s plate, accompanied by a small helping off fresh salad.

      “Now you were telling me about your grand-father?” Bond said, handing her the plate.


      “He left Sutton Oil to Dad who expected me, as the only child, to take it over. So at college I studied geology,” Stacey took the wine in her hand.


      Bond sat down with his plate. “And then what happened?”


      “Zorin. He took over Sutton Oil in a rigged proxy fight. I fought him in the courts. It’s taken all I had. All the cash and the furniture. Everything.”  Stacey took mouthful of wine, “So I took this job as state geologist and I’ve just managed to hold on to the house and my shares.”

      “And that’s what the $5 million were for, your shares?”


      “Ten times more than they’re worth. Just drop the lawsuit and shut my mouth. I haven’t accepted yet.” Stacey took her purse and pulled out the cheque, neatly still folded. She toyed with the edges, still not touching her food.

      Bond watched her, finishing of a mouthful of salad. “So Zorin sent along his gorillas to help you make up your mind?”

      “They have,” She looked up at Bond. She ripped the cheque up into pieces, letting them fall to the table. Bond looked quietly surprised at her actions. A satisfied smile crossed her face. “I’d sell everything and live in a tent before I give up.”

      She pushed her chair out from the table and stood up, quickly walking away back to the front hall, leaving Bond alone.



      The mood was brighter than when their meal had started over an hour ago. Stacey sat hugging her knee in the chair, now dressed in a baggy pink blouse, her hair down to her shoulders and face bright from the food and wine. Her plate was empty and her glass was in her hand, swilling around as she laughed with Bond, now sat with his jacket off and in full conversation, far more relaxed than earlier.


      “You know, that was delicious,” Stacey sighed, “and also the way you handled those men.”


      “Well, those baboons could come back.” Bond said, sipping his wine.

      “I hope not.”

      “Then I’ll check the windows and doors. And reconnect the telephone.” Bond stood up and took his jacket.


      “The box is outside my bedroom window.”


      Bond stopped in his tracks by the door, looking back with a smile. “I should be able to find that.”

      Making his way back up the stairs with Stacey following, Bond walked into the bedroom. Stacey sat down on the edge of the bed, watching. He placed the shotgun down on the armchair by the computer desk and stepped out of the half-open window onto the outside balcony, still peppered with rock salt from the intruders. He opened the metal box which was filled with different fuses and wires connecting to all appliances in the house. It only took Bond a few moments to rewire the wires, causing a spark that reconnected the phone line. There was no other sign of tampering with the fuse board itself, so he was satisfied. Closing the fuse box back into place, he stepped carefully back into the bedroom, pulling the window down fully and flipping the latch over, locking it down firmly. He turned to Stacey who was now laid out on the bed, her arms draped over her chest. She was sound asleep. Bond smiled to himself, walking over and kissing her gently on the forehead, wisps of hair tickling his nose. He softly tucked her smooth legs under the thick mauve duvet and pulled it over her chest to keep her warm. Sighing softly to himself, Bond moved over to the arm chair, taking the shotgun in his arm and sitting down, getting comfy for the night.

      It was a mix of the tremor and the frantic screeching of the caged birds that woke Bond with start, his eyes batting open, his elbow propping himself up on the chair groggily and his hand gripping the shotgun butt. At that moment, Stacey walked into the bedroom, fresh faced with slight bed hair, carrying a plastic tray packed with slices of toast, scrambled egg and orange juice.

      “Good morning,” she greeted, setting the tray down on the desk.

      “Oh I say, breakfast out of bed,” Bond let go of the gun and stood up to stretch his aching body, taught from an awkward sleep. “What’s wrong with your pets?”


      “We had an earth tremor. They’re extremely sensitive to seismic activity. Let’s see what the Earthquake Centre has on it.” She tapped some keys on the computer, the green and red data flashing across the screen, forming a basic map of California and San Francisco. “Just a minor tremor, measured 2.5 on the Richter scale. Location was- oh, that’s odd,” she pointed to the screen, “the epicentre’s near Zorin’s oil field.”


      Bond leaned in closer, tracing the epicentre to the outlying areas of the state. Red circles highlighted the radius of the tremor. “I told Howe yesterday that Zorin was pumping sea water into his wells. Is there a connection?”


      Her head immediately shot up to meet Bonds, her brow furrowed. “Sea water? Those wells are in the Hayward fault.

      “Are you sure?”


      “I checked it myself. That’s incredibly dangerous!” She shook her head, “Howe has to stop Zorin now.”


      Bond was stood on the opposite wall outside G.W Howe’s office. It was just as busy in the morning as it was in the evening at City Hall; men and women walking, even running, to their respective offices or meetings. Phones buzzing elevators constantly brought and collected people from various floors. Howe’s office door was suddenly pulled open and Stacey came out carrying a mess of paperwork. The loose green top and white pencil skirt she wore once more effectively highlighted her feminine figure, but he immediately saw her face flustered and streaked with tears. Bond pushed through to get to her, as he could see the anger on her face.


      “Stacey, what happened?”

      “I got fired,” Stacy sobbed, dropping the papers, her voice breaking, “he fired me!”

      Bond knelt down with her to collect the papers, “It’s all right. Calm down,” he helped her up, leading her away as she wiped away her tears, “this evening we’ll meet a friend of mine from Washington. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll come up with a few answers.”


      She linked her arm through his as he walked her to the elevator and away from the foul stench of corruption he could smell.


      It was early evening when Chuck Lee arrived at Stacey’s home in his brown 4x4. Stacey had already provided hot drinks for them all as they sat around the kitchen table. Bond had bought some new clothes, changing the formal suit for a more covert and casual black trousers and bomber jacket with a grey jumper. Lee was sat with Bond as Stacey joined them; she too had changed into something more comfortable for the evening, another light pink blouse and wrap.

      “I wish we could be more specific about Zorin’s intentions before I go to the top,” Lee said, sitting back on a chair.

      “Flooding a fault could cause a major earthquake,” Stacey said as she handed him a cup of light tea. He smiled briefly as he took it.


      “But what would Zorin have to gain?”

      “On the tape Zorin mentioned Silicon Valley. Could that be affected?” asked Bond.


      “No, not severely,” Stacey sat on one of the side worktops, “Silicon Valley’s too far away.”


      “But if we knew how many wells were involved, we might get a clearer picture,” Lee said, sipping his tea.


      Bond looked at Stacey, “That information’s available at City Hall.”

      “I still have my security pass.”

      “Then let’s go to City Hall,” Bond said, standing up.

      “Let me go get it,” Stacey jumped down and left the room, her footsteps running up the stairs.

      Lee also stood up, leaving his drink and pulling on his jacket from over his chair. “I’ll tell Washington we need more help.”


      “Don’t waste any time,” Bond said to him, “there’s only 48 hours.”

      Lee nodded and left the room, leaving Bond to follow and wait at the stairs for Stacey. Lee zipped up his jacket and toyed with his car keys as he shut the front door behind him. He walked out across the porch and down to his car parked on the drive. Opening the door, he pulled himself inside and started the engine. His radio blared to life with heavy rock music. This was a brilliant way to muffle his shouts of panic as a thick wire was suddenly thrown around his neck pulling against his throat from the seat behind. In that moment, all his years of training were wasted thanks to the brutality of the assassin. Struggling didn’t help as the strong arms pulled tight, digging into his flesh and draining the life from him.


       Stacey came out of the house followed by Bond who was just in time to see Lee’s 4x4 pulling out of the drive, taking a left turn and out onto the path to the main road out of the city. He didn’t pay it second thought the music was so loud it could be heard from the house. Stacey locked the front door and held her coat over her arm as she walked with Bond over to her jeep, ready for a light evening’s investigation and hopefully, another quiet candle lit dinner with James Stock afterwards.




#15 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:13 AM

Chapter 14: Hell at City Hall


It was late dusk when Bond and Stacey walked up the front stairs on the South Entrance of City Hall. The San Francisco city lights were twinkling over the city majestically and the Golden Gate Bridge could be seen in the distance across the Bay, a pleasant sight to see in the light evening. City Hall itself was lit up; various lights were on around the different floors.


      Bond opened the swinging glass doors into the lobby and allowed Stacey through to the front desk. The elevators were dormant and the whole place was eerily quiet compared to the bustling activity of the previous hours. Stacey led Bond up the normally packed marble staircase leading from the gloriously decorated lobby. Up on the next floor, a pleasant faced security guard was seated at the desk, passing time with his paperwork and various CCTV monitor watching.


      “Good evening Jeff,” Stacey said, smiling at him as she signed in to the visitor’s book.


      “Evening ma’am.”

      Bond moved to the elevator call button and pressed it, bringing a carriage down from the 3rd floor.

      “Shouldn’t be too long,” Her pass was taken from her as Jeff scanned her in.


      “Ok.” Jeff handed it back and carried on with his business.


      Bond was already inside the elevator, holding the door as Stacey joined him inside. The ride up to the 8th floor was silent as Stacey held her head down, possibly in fear or apprehension. Bond watched the led display of numbers counting towards the floor. 5. 6. 7. 8. The door chimed open into the dark hallway, quiet and desolate. Stacey walked out, followed by Bond who carefully kept a keen eye for security staff on the prowl. Only the sounds of Bond’s footsteps and Stacey’s white stiletto heels clicked softly on the marble, ominously moving in the shadowy hallway. Across the way, there was a light coming from under the door of Howe’s office, which meant he was still there. Stacey indicated to another door down, leading to a study room, adjacent to his own.

       The door was unlocked and Stacey crept inside, the room black with only the light outside spilling in through folded blinds. Bond walked past her and switched on a small desk lamp, aiming the bulb down to the floor giving enough light for them to see. Searching the room as the door closed behind them, the two made their way over two small desks, a handful of folders and eventually to a set of filing cabinets. Bond pulled open the top drawer, flicking through the files as Stacey searched with him. It took a few more moments of silence before Bond stopped and pulled out a dark green file.


      “Main Strike,” Bond whispered, opening the thin file.


      Stacey leaned in closer, her fragrant perfume tickling Bond’s nose, “Hey I know that place. That’s an abandoned silver mine by the San Andreas Fault.”


      Bond nodded and pulled out a number of papers, what looked like pencil drawings of the mine and stuffed them in his jacket pocket. He pushed the drawer shut but it made a louder noise than expected. The bang startled Bond, who suddenly realized it wasn’t the drawer but the door opening behind them. The lights came on, causing Bond and Stacey to squint briefly and adjust to the figures in the door way.

      “Alive and well I see,” Max Zorin’s’ distinct voice said almost gleefully, “still bungling in the dark.” He stood aiming a small Magnum revolver at the two. May Day was next to him, as always.

      “Well then why don’t you enlighten me Zorin,” Bond watched the group at the door as Jenny Flex and the Chinese lady, Pan Ho, whom he had last seen at the Château, made their way in. They were now dressed in more casual attire and carrying clear plastic containers, obviously ready for an eventful nights work.

      Zorin laughed, “You’re out of your depth. And you Sutton, you should have accepted my more than generous offer.”


      Stacey stepped forward, her face devoid of emotion. “You can take your offer and shove it-”

      “Don’t bother Stacey,” Bond said, holding her back, “he’s a psychopath.”


      Zorin turned his head slightly, a small grin appearing, “You two have joined forces? This simplifies things,” He motioned with his gun to Bond. “He’s probably armed.”


      May Day walked over and frisked Bond, taking his Walther as he watched her, memories flooding back from Paris. She ran her hands over Stacey but found nothing. She aimed the Walther at them both and pulled Stacey by the arm over to the adjoining door where the Mayor’s office was situated. Bond chose not to test May Day’s gun toting temper, so he stood back, motioned on by Zorin towards the door. May Day turned the door knob and pushed Stacey on through with a bang. The door slammed open into the office, hitting a small bookshelf. G.W Howe was sat reading a small book, clearly clocking up overtime, his shirt sleeves rolled up and tie loosened around his neck. His thin glasses rested on his nose. He jolted at the noise and stood up, seeing Stacey tumble in, her face tinted with a look of fear. Howe held out his hand almost in regret, his voice suddenly tender and soft.


      “Stacey, I-” Howe stopped as Zorin walked in behind her, followed by the man known as James Stock,  a tall black woman and two smaller women carrying containers of what looked like water. Both Zorin and the woman were armed. “Mister Zorin?”

      “Call the police, Mister Howe,” Zorin asked.

      Howe tentatively looked at Stacey and Bond, “What’s going on?”


      “Tell them there’s been a break in,” Zorin paused for a moment, formulating his eccentric story in his over-active mind, “ask them to get here as soon as possible.”

      Bond looked straight at Howe, stone faced, “You’re being used Mister Howe.”


      Howe looked at Bond, and then to Zorin.


      “Do it.”


      The confused Mayor picked up the white telephone on his desk and dialled the emergency services. May Day kept her gun pointed at Bond, who in turn was stood by Stacey, watching helplessly at gunpoint as her former boss fell into Zorin’s grip, himself just standing there casually as if he with old friends. Jenny and Pan were stood by the main door.


      “Hello,” Howe was through, “we’ve had a break-in here. City Hall, Mayor’s office. Come at once.” He ended the call and let the phone drop back to the cradle. He looked up at Bond once more, his face devoid of any explanation. “What have they done?”


      “You discharged her,” Zorin began, pointing to Stacey with his gun," so she and her accomplice came here to kill you. Then they set fire to the office to conceal the crime, but they were trapped in the elevator,” Zorin stepped over to May Day and smoothly took Bond’s gun from her and exchanged it with his, “and they perished in the flames.”


      A puzzled look crossed Howe’s face, finding some amusement at the strange notion, “But that means I would have to be-”


      “Dead.” Zorin pulled the trigger of the Walther. The bullet ripped into his heart, a dribble of blood seeping from the hole in his chest. He was dead before he hit the chair, slumping back down, lifeless.


      Stacey screamed at the sound of the gun and seeing her former friend and boss killed in front of her. Bond turned her into him and held her to his chest, her hands shaking and her body rigid with fear, a gentle whimper coming from her.

      “That’s rather neat, don’t you think?” Zorin said, staring at the body.

      “Brilliant,” Bond said, his voice cold, tinged with disgust, “I’m almost speechless with admiration.”

      “Intuitive improvisation is the secret of genius,” Zorin tapped his temple with the warm barrel of the gun.

      “Herr Doctor Mortner will be proud of his creation.”

      Zorin’s smile faded at Bond’s reminder of his past. He started for the door, ignoring the comment. May Day started back, motioning Bond and Stacey to follow. Jenny and Pan unscrewed the black caps from the containers and began spraying the fluid, which was identifiable by the fumes as petrol, over the office. Decades of historical literature and ornaments were soaked, and the body of Howe himself was caught in the dousing, along with his personal belongings on the desk. Stepping out into the empty hallway Zorin pressed the lift call button, waiting for it to arrive on the floor. Bond surveyed the hall, looking for something to give him inspiration for an escape, as he was sure he knew what was to follow. May Day stood with the pistol aimed at them as the lift chimed gently, opening up the doors and waiting.

      “Please,” Zorin motioned to the door with the Walther.

      Bond led Stacey slowly into the lift, the soft light illuminating them both and the mirrored confine of the glossy aluminium panelling.


      “Get back,” Zorin kept the gun aimed high as he back away, letting the door close, trapping them in the lift for the journey down.


      On the ground floor, Jeff had succumbed to unconsciousness, the butt of Scarpine’s gun connecting with his skull before the footsteps had even registered with him. Now lying sprawled out over his paperwork, blood trickled down the gash on his head. Scarpine stood behind the front desk and called the elevator down with the emergency controls, operated by what was a secure system. Scarpine waited until the lift dial moved towards 7 and he hit the emergency stop button. The lift was trapped between the 7th and 8th floor. He smiled to himself and flicked the shaft’s power switch, cutting all power to the lift shaft.



      Jenny and Pan emptied the remaining petrol over the hall outside Howe’s office. Zorin had pulled open the lift door with the help of May Day, bracing it open with her strong arms. The shaft was in darkness and the lift itself was stationary a few yards below. Jenny had three makeshift Molotov cocktails, prepared from ready bottles of liquor and waste paper. She handed one to Zorin. He took a lighter from his trouser pocket and lit the paper. It fanned out to a large flame and the bottle was dropped down to the lift. It smashed on the roof and immediately burst into flames, spitting out thanks to the liquor and dousing the cables and roof, crackling and burning free. Zorin laughed as he heard a scream from Stacey, trapped in the now burning lift. Moving away from the shaft, he took another cocktail, lit the deadly mix and threw it into Howe’s office, once more erupting into a wild fire, catching onto everything in its path. May Day took Jenny and Pan by the arms and pulled them away from the hall to the stairs, running away as the smoke began to thicken from the shaft and the office.  With one more cocktail, Zorin used it on the hall, throwing it to the floor, smashing and setting the marble ablaze blocking off the lift, the office and the stairways up and down.

      “Come on, move. Get out,” Zorin shouted as he followed May Day, keeping them moving as the fire behind them started to spread and smoke began to fan out.


      Up to the ornamental plants, up to the state flags decorating the walls, across to the doors of the adjacent offices, and of course raging in the lift shaft now looking like a fiery pit, the flames illuminated the 8th floor with a devilish orange glow as it roared away.

      The heat came through the isolated lift like a warm tomb. Stacey was crouching low to avoid the heat and the wisps of smoke seeping through the air vent. One single emergency light lit the lift helped Bond to see the escape hatch above his head. He reached up to give the hatch a push but the scalding heat above burnt his fingertips straight away. The pain shot into his hand like a needle and he pulled back instantly, cursing himself for rushing ahead. The fingers on his hand started to throb and sting. The metallic groan and whine from the lift cables under the strain started to become louder, more menacing as the fire ate away at them above. Stacey let out a sharp gasp every time there was a slight movement from the lift itself or a noise from outside. Not knowing how to escape a fiery furnace or how long they had before they dropped nearly 7 floors in seconds wasn’t something she wanted to think about. Bond took a handkerchief from his trouser pocket and wrapped it around his tender hand to both sooth the burning and protect it from the heat. Reaching up once more, this time slightly more tentatively, he used the back of his bandaged hand to pat the hatch and the heat was now more bearable to the touch. He pushed hard and the hatch opened, and the roar of the flames made them both duck down instinctively, as the fire was greater than they could imagine. The heat rushed in and the sound of the crackling fire was much louder. Taking one more moment to compose his strength, Bond pushed again on the hatch and managed to open it, flipping it over on the roof. The smoke started to pour into the lift and the orange glow was now providing the light needed.


      “James, be careful!” Stacey shouted, fighting the roar of the flames to be heard.

      Using his jacket sleeves and elbows, Bond managed to hold onto the lip of the hatch and pull himself up, the heat becoming more unbearable and uncomfortable. As he crouched on the roof of the lift, the cable holding up started to creak more. The fire was eating away at the steel fibres, causing them to buckle and twist under the strain. Soon, they would give way and the lift would fall.


      “James, don’t leave me!” Once more from inside the lift, Stacey’s cry filled the lift shaft. “Help me!”

      Bond had to blank out her scream. It was becoming a piercing noise drilling inside his head, for there was nothing more he didn’t find appealing and that was a woman with a powerful set of lungs. He looked up and saw the lift door open a jar a good 10ft up. The smoke was starting to cloud his vision and he was coughing, frequently, beads of sweat tickling his face. Bond crouched down and extended his hand to Stacey, her blouse now smoky and her face full of desperation.


      “Come on Stacey, give me your hand.” The cables above creaked under the weight.


      Stacey crept forward in the lift, avoiding adjusting her weight too much. She tentatively held out her arm and stretched out her hand, reaching up for Bond who was holding out for her.


      “Stretch!” Bond shouted at the urgency of getting her out.

      The cable holding the lift gave way under the heat and the fibre’s snapped with a loud clang of metal on metal. Stacey screamed as the lift shook and she threw herself up to Bond’s saving hand and clasped it hard, holding onto him for dear life. Bond pulled Stacey with all his strength, using the lift as support for his legs. Stacey helped by climbing out of the hatch once she was clear, her legs getting burnt slightly by the heat of the metal. Bond looked up at the cable. The steel fibres were unwinding and buckling under the fire and were about to give. He ushered Stacey over to the girders on the far wall and pushed her down into a crevice away from the lift. Bond leant over and cleared the roof, and the cable snapped as he did. His balance was thrown for a second but the momentum pushed him forward, slamming into the girders and latching on with his arm. The metallic springing sound of the fibres echoed in the shaft as the flaming lift plummeted a good 7 stories down to the basement, a falling fireball that impacted on the ground with a dull thud, sounding louder thanks to the confined space. A majority of the fire had gone down with the lift, but there was enough smoke and smaller patches of the blaze still climbing up the walls. Stacey knelt down between the girders, wedged in a safe place. Bond looked up at the door and then back at Stacey.

      “Don’t go away,” He said, giving her a small smile. She tried to return it, but the smoke was too much and forced her to cough hard instead.


      Out on the street against the night sky the fire was now visible from the offices and licking out of the windows to the rooftop. It was a devastating yet somewhat memorizing sight to behold as the fire danced into the night sky and the roof started to give off a hellish glare. Bypasses below were crowded on the street and sidewalk looking up helplessly, chatting and shouting in fear and despair. The sirens of the city police and fire department could be heard wailing across the streets and a wave of communal panic was spreading. No-one noticed Max Zorin and his small team of arsonists leaving the grounds and piling into their parked car, ready for the perfect getaway amongst the commotion.


      Avoiding the dots of fire creeping up the cables and on the wall, Bond quickly glanced over the re-enforced shaft. He tested the heat with his bandaged hand, which thankfully was only warm, cool enough to get a grip on. He stretched out and pulled himself up the girders, using the joints as footholds and the girder lips and a grip for his fingers. The fire around him crackled more. Pulling himself up, Bond managed to manoeuvre up the girders and using fixed wires on the wall was able to reach the lift door of the 8th floor. Looking back down, he was able to see the platform below him for the lift to rest on if he needed to fall back, but with so much lack of vision he would probably miss and fall down the shaft. He could see the figure of Stacey looking up at him, the smoke lapping against him.

      “Stacey, hold tight!”


      “James, don’t leave me!” Her voice was becoming hoarse from a mix of her screaming and smoke inhalation.

      With one more push, his body racked with the uncomfortable muscle pain and sweltering heat with the sweat dripping down his back, he climbed up the girder facing the elevator wall and placed his foot on the lip of the door. He reached over with his hand to latch on to the door and pulled himself over, now clear of the shaft. Bond’s arms shook as he prized the doors apart, made stiff by lack of power and only far enough for him to squeeze through. He edged his body between the slight gap, and stepping out steadily into the smoky hallway. The scream of Stacey was the last thing he heard as the door slammed shut behind him from the pressure of the hydraulic springs. Out in the hall, the flames could be heard echoing around the building around Bond and also in Howe’s office, now burnt out with flames lapping out of the window. Bond picked up a fire extinguisher from a nearby fire hose reel and went back to the door, the smoke trailing across the way. He wedged his arms between the doors and pulled them open, using his body strength to prize them apart, the heat rising from below to meet him. Stacey’s shouts were still echoing up. Lifting the fire extinguisher up, his back blocking the elevator door, he wedged it in the gap and created a decent space for Stacey to escape through.

      “Help me!” Stacey was becoming feebler in her cries.

      “I’ll be right with you!” Bond shouted down to her, letting her see his smoke-stained face, a reassuring sight in a hellish situation.

      “Don’t leave me!”

      Bond turned to the fire hose reel and smashed the protective glass with his elbow; thankful for the jacket he was still wearing to protect him. He tapped away the remaining shards and unhooked the thick red hose, taking it from the reel as he pulled away towards the shaft. Bracing his legs against the gold painted door, Bond lowered the hose reel down towards Stacey, a good 20ft below.

      “Try and come this side of the girder,” Bond shouted, fighting the pendulum motion of the reel as he coaxed it towards the white figure of Stacey, “catch this!”


      Stacey slowly rose, holding onto the girder with one hand and steadily reaching out for the silver hose end with her other. “I can’t reach it!” Her eyes were watering and her hair matted to her forehead.


      “Come on! Catch!” Bond knew she could and it was a case of mind over matter to have confidence to reach and grab hold, letting go of the support below her feet.


      “I can’t-” Her fingers teased the hose as it hung just above.

      “Go on!”


      She felt the fire below her heating up and almost swallowing her up, and the fear made her scream and jump to safety, grabbing the hose and pulling it tight, nearly taking Bond down with her were he not prepared for the sudden weight.


      “Good girl!”


      Stacey used the heels of her shoes to assist her climb up the girders, occasional stopping as the flames bellowed out above her. Bond continued to pull the reel up with her holding on tight. “You’re nearly there, go on!”

      Their eyes locked as she neared the elevator shaft door, the figure of the mild-mannered reporter stood in the doorway holding the reel tight. He threw out his hand to her.


      “Stacey, stretch out, quick.” Bond said, steadily and calmly as not to frighten her.

      A small explosion from the basement of the shaft gave Stacey the push she needed once more, screaming in fear and thrusting up to grab Bond’s hand. His firm grip took her in and she broke down nearly in tears, thankful to find herself with him once more. She feebly used what little strength she had left to climb over the lip of the door into Bond’s arms. He pulled her across the hall away from the edge, her blouse stained and her blond hair looking smokier and dirty. Bond lifted her up, carrying her under his arm as he looked around the hall. Her groans and soft whimper was a sign of smoke inhalation. Her body seemed to give up on her. He saw the emergency exit sign leading up to the roof amongst fire stained stairs. From the windows, he could see and hear the flashing lights from the emergency services already in action, battling to reach them.


      The proud red San Francisco fire engines had erected large ladders from two of the trucks reaching to the roof and the windows of the officers on fire. The fireman kitted up their oxygen tanks and protective masks and entered the building from the South Entrance as the jets of cold water sprayed out onto the affected area as the sky was lit by the fire bellowing from the roof and windows with the smoke spiralling into the darkness. A police siren wailed behind the crowd which was bustling on the sidewalk, people shouting and pointing at the blaze. The police car left the lights flashing and the officers got out to keep the crowd at bay. The police captain got out also and fixed his hat square on his head, his leather jacket zipped up tight. He was a big man with a grey mop of visible hair under the hat and a short moustache that made his face appear larger than it was. He battled through the excited crowd.


      “Get that TV crew out of here!” He shouted to his officers across the crowd as he struggled to get through, “Come on, and get out of my way. Back off!” He got to the front stairs of City Hall and ushered back a couple of photographers and journalists reporting to cameras. “Let us through, god-damn it!” His anger rose with his voice.


      The exclamation of a nearby TV reporter and the cry of the crowd turned his attention to the roof where he spotted the unbelievable. A figure of a man carrying a woman dressed in white over his shoulder appeared at the cusp of the roof, the fire behind them highlighting their silhouettes. The figure carried the girl over to a waiting ladder from a fire engine. He stood at the top for a moment, looking to test his balance and grip, then slowly turned and backed onto the ladder. The crowd below gasped in shock at what they were witnessing. The snap of photographers and the flash of emergency lights were dizzying from above. The police and firemen stood helplessly watching with the crowds behind them. Taking it slow and steady, the man came down the ladder taking each rung at a time. Losing his balance a couple of times, he rocked unsteadily on his feet with the weight of the girl passed out over his shoulder. Each time he wavered, the crowd screamed in horror. The climb down took a good few minutes but a safe arrival down to the fire engine and waiting arms of the firemen brought the eruption of cheering and applause from the crowds, smiling and hooting at the heroic man in the black jacket carrying the lady in white covered in soot and dirt. The fireman took the girl in their arms, sitting her down and providing her with oxygen and a towel over her shoulders.

      “Come on, give her some space. Let them through please.”


      “Get a doctor over here someone.”

      “Stacey, you’re safe.” James Bond kneeled down and held Stacey’s trembling hand softly.


      He glanced up at the burning building and caught his breath, thankful to be alive. The firm hand of the police captain pulled Bond up from Stacey and turned him around. Bond spun around, his face contorted to a flash of anger, cooling off when he noted the badge on his jacket. The captain stood directly opposite Bond, matched for height and an imposing stance.


      “I wanna’ talk to you,” The captain snarled.


      “Captain. If you can get to Howe’s office you’ll find him dead.”


      “We found him. And this gun,” The captain held up a clear plastic bag, “this yours?”

      It was Bond’s gun used by Zorin.


      “Yes, thanks,” Bond reached out for the bag. The captain handed the weapon over to an officer behind him.


      “Turn around,” The captain sighed and held Bond’s arm, spinning him around to face the fire truck, arms splayed out. Bond turned his head to see Stacey on her feet, helped by the fireman. She stood by Bond, a good amount of colour back to her cheeks.

      “If you check with Chuck Lee of the CIA he’ll inform you who I am.”


      “We found his body in Chinatown.”

      “What?” The words hurt Bond. Lee was dead, another good man killed by Zorin. His arms dropped and he turned to face the police captain who looked bored at the same old routine.


      “You’re under arrest.”

      “Wait!” Stacey stepped forward next to Bond, now leaning against the fire engine, his hand conveniently placed on the hose connector nozzle. “This is James Stock of the London Financial Times.”


      “Actually I’m with the British Secret Service. The name is Bond. James Bond.”

      The captain looked at Stacey, “Is he?”


      Stacey looked at Bond, “Are you?”


      Bond looked at the captain, “Yes."

      “Well I’m Dick Tracy and you’re still under arrest,” The captain smirked, reaching for his handcuffs.


      On cue, Bond pulled up on the engine’s hose nozzle and a high pressure jet of cold water sprayed out from the engines’ reserve tank, catapulting the captain backwards in a wash of water and taking down a couple of bystanders and officers in the process like human skittles. Bond latched onto Stacey’s arm, running past her and dragging her in shock to the drivers cab.

      “Get in here,” he pulled open the door and pushed Stacey up into the passenger seat. He slammed the door, running round to the driver’s side and getting in, thankful to find the engine still running to provide the water jets. He pulled the gear to first and hit the gas pedal. The engine gave a deep growl as he pulled away past a group of alarmed officers.


      “Hey,” one of the firemen shouted, “where’s that guy going? That ladder’s unlocked!” His radio crackled to life as he called in the stolen engine.

      The ladder lock was swinging, unstable with the motion of the fire engine and obvious it wouldn’t take much for the release lock to come away. A group of police officers ran to their squad cars and the dripping wet police captain followed suit, rubbing his face clear of water. They started their cars and sounded the sirens, pulling away to give pursuit of the stolen fire engine, leaving the City Hall inferno behind.




#16 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:17 AM

Chapter 15: Midnight Run


Driving down the city street, lit up by the night lights and passing cars and street carriages still packed this late in the evening, Bond controlled the fire engine with ease with Stacey sat by him, now full of colour, passion and excitement in her voice.


      “Is it true what you said back there, about the British Secret Service?”


      Bond nodded, “Yes I’m afraid it is. My real name is Bond. James Bond. You must take my word for it.”


      He took the truck out of the single street and out into the main road away from the drama of City Hall. A couple of cars squealed to a stop as the engine sped out without slowing down. The captain’s squad car collided with the rear fender of another slow vehicle, cursing as he pulled away in reverse to get back on track. Two other police cars sped past, swerving to avoid the traffic now held up and stationary. It was already pandemonium on the roads. Inside the fire truck, Stacey learnt forward and flipped the siren switch. The loud wail of the siren came on, blaring out with the flashing red lights through the streets, already clearing for the speeding engine. Bond gave her an amused look, and all she could do was smile and give an innocent shrug. Bond’s peripheral vision of the wing mirrors brought him back to the realization of the chase, seeing a police car on his left flank and leaning over to see another on his right.


       Tapping the brakes slightly, Bond turned the wheel left and then right, swerving the engine across the road, causing the police cars to take evasive action to avoid being hit and also crashing into other cars in the street. Stacey gripped onto the thick dashboard as Bond took a left turn, knocking over a group of mail boxes on the sidewalk and pulling down a small streetlight, showering the cars around with sparks. The road ahead was nice and straight moving down the main street alongside the district towards Market Street, leading them to the Bay area. It was also busier with traffic and lit up establishments on either side. Bond checked his mirror and notice the cars were staying behind, grouping together for a pass.


      “Here, put your hand on this.” Bond said, still looking at the mirror.

      Stacey looked unsure.


       “The wheel, the wheel!”

      She gasped and took hold of the bottom of the large steering wheel as Bond moved over in his seat slightly, making room for her.


      “Take over, and put your foot here.”

      She bit her lip as she slid her shoe over to take the accelerator, now driving the truck forward gently, her face a picture of panic, “James, where are you going?”


      Bond was already half-way out of the cab, pulling his way out on the side of the engine driving down the street. The cool breeze hit him, refreshing him and forcing him to hold tight. He kicked the door shut as Stacey moved to the driver’s seat, keeping the motion of the truck steady. The three police cars were still behind keeping a steady distance, looking for a way to stop them. Passing cars sounded their horns at the drama unfolding. Bond found the engine easier to move over than he thought and was already on the ladder foothold to make his way to the rear of the engine. Using the rungs as grips, he stated to climb across towards the drivers cab at the back.


      The police captain kept behind the fire truck, watching James Bond work across the ladder. He pulled up his radio and pushed in the call button.


      “To all units; intercept murder suspect in stolen fire truck. He may be armed, and he’s sure dangerous!”

      Two officers inside a parked up squad car on the same street exchanged glances at the message on the radio and the sight of the same fire truck being followed by police coming down in their direction at the same time. They revved the engine, activated their siren and pulled out to join the pursuit. Not counting on the captain coming up the street from behind at speed, the new officers had to turn sharply to avoid the oncoming car. Their tyres screamed as the brakes were applied and the steering wheel was turned at the same time, as too did the captain, but they crashed into each other side on, their vehicles colliding and spewing small fragments of glass and metal. The force of the impact carried them on after the fire engine, but they were stuck together side by side, locked by the chewed metal of the fenders, one side hanging off in a crumpled mess.


      “Pull away you idiots!” The captain shouted through his window to the young officer driving next to him.


      “I can’t, the fenders are locked!” He shouted back, fighting to keep on parallel with his boss and avoiding the distressed drivers.


      The pursuit took a steep gradient on another hill. Bond looked up and saw the police locked in a strange coupled dance across the street, their flashing lights creating a dizzying state. Taking a moment to take in the strange sight, Bond simply smiled at the novelty of it all. Below him, the ladder lock was swinging more violently through the movement of the truck.


      “I told you, the fenders are locked,” The irate officer struggled to pull away his squad car from his captain who was getting more frustrated as they took the hill down, gaining speed.


      Sparks began to fly from the fender and the bodywork as the two cars started to grind against each other. Up ahead of the street where the road split into two, a metal sign pole was erected guiding traffic either side. It was the perfect chance to break away for the officer driving. The captain spotted the pole up ahead and didn’t know which way to move, left or right, without taking his whole car out.


      The captain kept a steady wheel as the office brought his car over to keep the pole between the two locked fenders, “Oh my god-”


      The speeding cars drove directly into the pole, smashing it from the ground and splitting the two fenders apart, freeing the cars once more to give chase. The police captain looked over and nodded to the office moving away. He wiped the sweat from his brow with his sleeve quickly. As the cars split up and found their own bearings, the young officer driving the squad car was thrown over the street-car tracks, dangerously close to the rear of the fire engine. He hit a joint in the track and drove into the side of the engine, knocking it to one side and releasing the ladder lock. Bond heard the lock click underneath him and before he could react the ladder swung out over the engine and over the squad car. The cop inside hit the brakes as the ladder came out over the street. He took in the awesome sight and picked up speed, staying the other side of the truck.  The force and sudden speed of the ladder swinging around caused Bond to fall over the edge of the rails, like being thrown across a heavy g-force ride at a funfair. He let out a cry of alarm as he strained his arms holding onto the metal railing, avoiding falling under the wheels of the pursuing police. He looped his arm through a rung on the ladder, keeping an eye on the oncoming traffic and fighting to keep his grip and manoeuvre his feet high enough to avoid being crushed.


      “James!” Stacey let out a gasp of fright as she heard and saw the ladder swing out into the street, hanging precariously over the street rushing past below.

      “Turn!” Bond shouted, hanging from the ladder.


      A flash of light brought Stacey’s attention to the road, and she swerved to avoid a car pulling out into the street. Horns sounded simultaneously. Her panic was leading the engine to veer left and right over the road. She picked out another street to use and turned a corner onto another stretch of road, this time starting down one of the many hills of the San Francisco landmark. The ladder swung further out the wrong way, and the edge of the ladder clipped a large pink and yellow neon sign on the edge of the sidewalk where she had turned by a car garage. The sign buckled like paper from the impact of the ladder. Sparking from the wires ripped out from underneath, the sign fell inwards onto the road, landing on a parked car and causing two others to brake hard, swerving into each other to avoid further damage.


       Bond clung tight into the ladder until the sign had come down. He let out a sigh of relief. Stacey looked out of the window and saw Bond still hanging, raising his legs to avoid an oncoming pick-up truck.


      “Not this way, that way!” Bond indicated with his head the direction he needed to turn.

      Stacey cursed herself and moved the fire engine around another turn, this time in the opposite direction than before, heading right back into China Town. The police cars behind continued the pursuit, one of them clipping a parked car setting off the alarm. Bystanders on the sidewalk looked on in awe at the chase, and the man hanging from the engine ladder. The ladder swung back too far over the engine, and Bond had latch on with his legs up on the rungs at the top of the ladder to avoid being knocked off.


      “Swing me back,” Bond cried out, exhaustion seeping into his voice.

      “Oh S***,” Stacey hit the wheel with her hand in frustration, fighting to keep the engine in a straight line and swerving across the road. Bond looked up the street as he hung upside down and saw an immediate collision ahead. The traffic lights were red and a small truck waiting to move on. His eyes widened in fright as he used his arms to pull himself up the side of the ladder, pushing his foot on the rung to lever himself up over the top of the ladder. Leaping forward as far as he could, the ladder connected with the top of the small truck and took the roof clean off with a violent force, leaving the driver in total shock pinned down in his seat as the fire engine and police cars sped past him.

       With a final turn of the wheel, the engine coasted softly across the street and the ladder swung across back into place, this time more steadily to catch the lock. Bond lay there for a moment and gave a small sigh of relief and composed himself. He wasted no time in climbing steadily up the ladder to the drivers cab at the rear of the engine. He pulled up the lock of the ladder, keeping the latch firmly in place and swung into the small cab, big enough for one man only.


      “Drive on,” Bond shouted down to Stacey, giving her a reassuring wave.


      He gripped the steering wheel and proceeded to battle with the police cars behind him, turning the rear of the engine against the law behind him one way and then the next. He glanced over his shoulder to judge where to turn, and also careful not to sideswipe any passing cars in the process. The young officer in the already beaten squad car pulled up alongside the captain and rolled his window down.


      “I think I can get him!” He shouted across.

      “Go for it!” The captain waved him on, dodging the random turns from the rear of the engine.

      As the cab swerved right, the officer hit the accelerator on his car and sped up on the left hand side moving around to the front, passing the fire truck altogether. Stacey followed the squad car with her eyes, panicking once more at what was happening. The car sharply turned left with a squeal of brakes as it made itself into a roadblock on the crest of the hill, alongside the street-car track. Stacey slammed down on the accelerator and powered the truck on as a street-car came over beside her, ready to turn across onto the track blocked by the police. She turned the engine past the police car inches from slamming into it as the street-car followed suit and turned into the track, blocking off the street. The two police cars following hit the brakes and swerved to either side, stopping to avoid hitting the street-car and their angry, out-witted colleague.


      Bond looked over and smiled to himself at the small traffic jam. “That should keep them on the wrong track.”

      They continued down the street down to the lower side, heading to the Lefty O’Doul drawbridge, named after San Francisco’s own late major league baseball star.



      Traffic was steady over the drawbridge crossing 3rd Street over the lazy San Francisco Bay water at the China Basin, the lower side of China Town. The bridge operator was an elderly man sat in his comfy slacks, shirt and jacket and lucky baseball cap, reading the local paper when he got the phone call through from the San Francisco Police Department. The busy voice on the other line didn’t give him chance to speak, let alone understand what he was being asked to do. Nodding and standing up on his feet, the operator sucked in his chest.


      “Yes, sir,” He shouted down the phone as he placed it back on the receiver.


      Stacey could see the low moon overhead, casting a pale glow over distant harbour. The drive was pleasant now the police were off the scene. Driving down 3rd Street towards the drawbridge, Bond looked past the engine and up ahead to see the red brake lights of the traffic slowing down. The barrier was coming down across the road and the bridge was starting to rise steadily. There was no doubt in his mind that the police had called in the bridge to be raised and block them off.


      “Stacey,” Bond shouted down as their speed started to drop, “keep going!”


      Stacey looked back at Bond and then ahead, seeing the red barrier blocking the bridge. She slammed her heel back down on the pedal. The engine lurched forward, driving past the waiting few cars and the operators cabin who looked on in utter shock. Bond gave a small nod to the operator as they thundered past and up the small incline of the bridged. Stacey pushed herself down in her seat and squealed fear, closing her eyes as the engine smashed through the feeble barrier with ease and jumped the small 5 foot gap the bridge now had. Landing on the other side, Bond controlled the rear bounce as Stacey took them on, easing off the pedal now and following the street ahead with her eyes open, a big grin on her face.


       The police cars behind sped up to try and clear the bridge but already the road was near a 30 degree angle, and there was no way over the other side without incurring a serious injury to themselves or others. The captain hit the brakes, coming to a stop at the base of the bridge whilst two other cars carried on. There was a sound of crunching metal behind the captain and sound of a car alarm. Turning around in his car, he saw that a police car had collided with two others in the waiting traffic. He sighed and stepped out of the car and took of his hat, slamming it on the roof of his car. Walking over to one of his officers, there was nothing but the sound of panic all around. The operator watched the drama and held onto the bridge controls, not knowing what to do. The lead squad car realized their misjudgement of the jump and hit the brakes, skidding forward leaving harsh skid marks on the road and ending up jutting out over the lip of the bridge, their front wheel resting inches from falling over the edge. Behind them, another car lost momentum and started to roll back towards the pile-up below.


      “Oh my god, get out of the way!” A police officer shouted in alarm, running back as the squad car on the rising bridge started head back down. It picked up speed and slammed into the side of another police car backwards, smashing the windows and scattering the road with debris. Sparks flew from the broken lights and mangled metal.

      It was now an awesome sight, the crowd below had left their cars to look up at the trapped police car, held on by the front wheels and now reaching a good near vertical incline as the bridge hit full tilt. The officers inside could be seen jostling around in the front seats, the wheels spinning and smoke starting to come from the burning rubber as the used all the engine power to stop the car falling back.


      “Jesus-” The captain stood craning his neck at the car now hanging on the bridge. It looked like a toy.


       The wheels continued to spin feverously and the burning smoke increased but it was to no avail. Gravity took over the car wheel steadily started to roll even though the brakes were on, and then it fell. The car screeched and the screams of fear from inside the car could be heard as it plummeted back down to the cars underneath.


      “Holy S***! Move!” The cries sounded as the officers on foot dived away for cover, seconds before the car crashed into the bonnet of the second squad car.


      A shower of sparks and steam erupted and the car seemed to bounce as it impacted. The siren died a slow death, battered by a worn out engine and the smell of burning rubber and electrics filled the air. The shell-shocked bridge operator closed his gaping jaw and quickly pushed the lever to bring the bridge back down. The officers inside the smoking car moved slowly, regaining their bearing back on the ground as their colleagues rallied to help them and get them out of the mangled car. A very angry looking captain walked up the wreck.


      “Harris, you can forget about that sergeant promotion,” He pointed his stubby finger at the dazed officer being pulled out of the car, “you’ll have to pay for this vehicle $100 dollars a month out of your pay-check!”


      Behind the captain however, and in full view of the officers, the fixed weight on the bridge was moving down dangerously close to his car, parked on the grass verge underneath the bridge foundation. He turned, following their amused gaze and did a double take as the weight connected and scraped over the car. It crumpled and smashed the back window, smashed the siren lights and popped the electrics and mangled the roof completely, stamping down pressure on the wheels, causing two of them to burst. The engine died in a flurry of sparks, a pathetic whine and shards of glass.

      The captain let out a series of expletives as his officers simply laughed.



#17 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 08:27 AM

Chapter 16 – Daytrip to Silicon Valley


It was a clear sky over Silicon Valley, the heart of microchip technology in America. James Bond had the Main Strike mine map and prints laid out over the steering wheel of the battered fire engine, now taking a nice steady path along an off-road track. Stacey was asleep next to him, her head resting on his shoulder as she had dozed of numerous times since escaping the San Francisco police, and leaving behind her ordeal at City Hall only hours earlier. Bond was awake after only less than an hour of sleep in the cab; ignoring the tiredness due to the fact he had less than 24 hours to find what Zorin had in mind for Project Main Strike, here at Silicon Valley. As the engine navigated across the dusty and rocky plain towards the area where the mine was, Stacey stirred and brought herself around.


      “Stacey, wake up. We’re there,” Bond said, watching the site ahead, “there’s a lot of activity here for an abandoned mine.”


      The entrance to the mine was directly ahead of them. A large Zorin Industries sign dominated the security gate leading through. It was busy with security guards and miners carrying out their work and a number of pick-up trucks were making deliveries inside and also transporting rocks and rubble to the diggers awaiting removal. They casually continued past the gate down the dirt track, watching the activity as they passed a truck driving through, packed high with dusty grey sandbags, with bright orange warning signs dotted the side of the wooden panelling on the truck itself.


      “That truckload of explosives should last them for months,” Stacey said, peering over as they drove past casually, attracting no attention.


      Up ahead driving towards them was another truck heading for the mine, identical to the ones in the quarry.

      “Here comes next year’s supply,” Bond hit the siren switch and reaching to the floor beneath his feet, pulling out a fireman’s helmet from the driver’s chair, placing it on his head. “Get down.”


      Stacey lay down on the seat next to Bond as the wail of the fire engine and flashing light came on. Bond leant out of the window, using his hand to wave down the truck passing him. The young truck driver wound his window down, moving his hardhat up to see Bond, looking now like a chief fireman with an official S.F.F.D helmet.

      “Where’s the fire?” said the driver, panic in his voice.


      “On your rear end,” Bond said, drawling out a Southern American accent.

       The driver opened his cab door and practically fell out, running to the back of the truck. He checked underneath the truck, but there was no sign of fire or fuel leakage. Climbing up on the creaky wooden panelling, he checked over the top of the explosives but found nothing. He moved round to the other side of the truck and met Bond’s balled fist, square in the jaw. He was flung back, stumbling over his feet and onto the floor, out cold. His hand throbbing, Bond walked over to the young man as Stacey sauntered over.


      “Give me a hand,” Bond asked, lifting the man’s legs and dragging him back to the truck, grunting to move the weight over the uneven track in the hot weather. Stacey knelt down and picked up his hard hat.



      They were going back on themselves, now following the path the truck was taking; Bond was driving the commandeered explosives delivery truck with Stacey fitted out in the truck driver’s overalls and blue hard-hat. Having left the fire engine back on the dirt track, the Main Strike site was now ready to be infiltrated. Driving down towards the mine itself was simple, along the coast of the Northern Bay District opposite the Golden Gate Bridge. Bond could see the security gate manned by an armed guard and site officer. Beyond that was a hive of activity in the quarry area. Stacey gripped onto Bond’s hand quickly as they were flagged down by the gate security. Bond had to hit the brakes hard to stop in time.


      “Hold it.” The narrow eyed security guard had a questionable expression on his face. He looked at his clipboard and looked back up at the man and woman driving the truck. “Jerry?”

      The guard shouted over to a colleague, Bond stiffened, preparing to reverse out of trouble quickly. A worker in overalls ran up to the gate holding a hard hat.

      “Hard hat area. It’s the rules,” Pointing to the signpost opposite the truck, he handed the hat over.


      “Thanks,” Bond shot back, cool and confident.


      “Just follow the signs.” 


      Knocking the truck into gear, Bond let the wheels roll gently through past the checkpoint, the rattling engine ticking over. The first thing that caught Bond’s eye was the miniature railway system operating in and out of the mine. The small diesel engine was turning over, ready to leave with a good 15 carriages coupled in front of each other. The track started out in the quarry and led inside the dark tunnel, leading into the hillside. Two trucks were parked up, being emptied of explosives and piled onto the carriages. A small number of workers were busy unloading from the trucks and carrying out other menial tasks, shouting orders and running to and fro. There were a couple of rickety and rusty wooden and iron clad huts erected on the outskirts of the mine, most likely the offices and breakout area.

      “You’re late,” The foreman shouted through the window of the truck as they drove past.


      Bond parked up the truck once he had crossed over the wooden boards leading over the railway track and killed the engine. He stepped out of the cabin with his hard-hat on, Stacey following suit looking ready for grafting in her gear. Bond gently coaxed Stacey close by his side, taking in the site of the operation. The foreman, made obvious by his barking orders and expensive looking camel skin jacket, stepped up to the truck, ticking off checklists on his clipboard.


      “Ok, leave it there. Get a coffee over at the hut. Come back in about 20 minutes.”


      As they turned to leave, Bond caught the foreman looking at Stacey’s figure, namely the white stiletto’s crunching over the gravel in the overall, hair tied up in a bun under the hard-hat. He looked up at Bond, baffled.

      “It's women’s lib,” Bond smiled, “they’re taking over the Teamsters!”


      The foreman raised his eyebrows, blowing out a whistle at the shapely sight of a leggy woman. Quickly he snapped back to reality. ”Ok, get this stuff moving. We’re an hour late!”


      The two walked past various groups of chatting miners, thick with dust and dirt drinking from plastic cups. Bond led Stacey inside one of the metal cabins. There was little in the room for inspection. A cluttered desk, jackets and old tools and many pin-ups of the recent Playboy calendar girls. The coffee machine was looking worn and used, ready to produce cups of instant coffee. There was nothing of immediate interest on first sight. Bond turned, peering out of the window looking at the dark tunnel leading into the hillside swarming with activity.


      “I should take a closer look at that mine.”


      “What’s stopping you?” Stacey asked from behind, a suggestive tone in her voice.


      He turned from the window and saw her standing there, holding a grey jacket and overall, emblazoned with the black circular Zorin Industries logo. Her sly smile said it all.


      Kitted out in his hard hat and grey Zorin Industries jacket, Bond stepped out of the cabin first, holding the door open for Stacey as she finished adjusting her overalls, wrapping the straps around her stomach and tying them at the front.


      “That’s a good idea of yours. Pity you couldn’t find one that fits,” Bond said, musing as she looked a picture in her overall, two sizes too big. They started to walk towards the mine up ahead, but Bond reached out and pulled back on Stacey’s arm. “Why walk when you can ride?”


      Bond motioned to the train carriages covered by protective cloth, to guard the content against any small loose debris. He quickly walked over to the end of the line and held the cloth up for Stacey to climb in. She did so quickly and nimbly, letting Bond haul his legs over and fit in. The carriage wasn’t very big, but it had enough depth to keep Stacey and Bond low under the cloth. They had to keep the fetal position, almost tucking into each other to avoid hanging over the side. A few moments passed, and the diesel engine started up with a loud roar, coming to life and into motion. With a slow movement, the carriage rocked and began to move down the track. The train was moving and driving into the mine. Beneath them, the track clicked and rattled, causing Stacey to squirm around trying to get comfy.


      “Will you keep still?” Bond whispered above the engine noise, the light outside dimming as they moved nearer the mine entrance. He peered out from under the cloth watching the tunnel approach.

      “Do you know what I’m sitting on?” Stacey shot back.

      Bond saw the explosives underneath her. His eye couldn’t help take in her firm buttocks, pressing against the bags and shaped well in her overall, “I’m trying not to think about it.”


      The light faded from their view. Darkness crept in. The train had moved into the mine. Hollowed out over the many years of San Francisco mining for coal, minerals and other materials, the Main Strike mine was now populated by dozens of Zorin’s team carrying out their own operation. The railway track ran through further into the hillside and deeper into the darkness out towards San Andreas Lake. The change of mood and light was far greater inside the hill than outside in the quarry. Dull earthy tones of grey, brown and black were all that could be identified with specks of colour coming from lights, cranes and the generators pumping power to all the equipment. The train rounded a small corner and moved into the mine.


       It was an awesome sight to behold, almost like a miniature city, built in a 4-tier layer of earth, fashioned out on two high tier levels that spiralled to the high ceiling, one middle ground level and the lowest part of the mine known as The Pit. The train track ran over a large wooden bridge leading across the large pit itself. The pit was where the main work was carried out in hollowing out the earth and building foundations to keep hillside firm. Large power lines ran across the centre of the mine providing a basic strip of lights running from the generators to illuminate the mine. Off centre by the train track there was a large wooden cabin erected on the lip of a small drop leading into the pit.  Bond peered out from underneath the cloth of his carriage and saw the familiar faces of Jenny Flex dressed in a blue jumpsuit and Pan Ho looking radiant in a black and burgundy outfit, her black hair tied up. Pan was observing and noting each carriage that passed her as they came into the mine and Jenny was busying herself with watching the men at work. Sounds of power tools, engines and conversation filled the mine as a busy hive of activity. The miners were ferrying earth away from the centre of the dig, conveying orders and looking at blueprints of where to work and what to do and when to do it.


      “All personnel not on essential duties leave underground area immediately. Ok, stand clear and let’s go standby crew.” The sound of a foreman boomed through the mine.


      Bond felt the motion of the train slow down, and he peered from under the cloth again to take in the sight of those around him. Max Zorin and May Day were walking slowly down the stairs of the wooden hut. Zorin looked sharp in a black suit jacket and cream trousers, his designer glasses clearly elevating him above the working class of those around him. May Day wore a revealing silver skirt and top with a purple drape over her hair and black thigh high boots teased up her strong legs. Bond carefully stayed out of sight as he watched them in conversation.

      The train started to grind to a halt on the wooden bridge; the engine was kept stationary further back. More voices could be heard, familiar ones, like the American, Bob Conley, shouting orders to his crew.


      “Bring up the gag here and clear the barriers away. Come on let’s go, we haven’t got all day,” Conley’s deep tones echoed around the mine.

      “Hey, on the crane, swing the cradle over here. Come on, move.”

      “Standby forward.”


      Bond tapped Stacey on the back and signalled for her to slide out the opposite side, away from view. He went first, moving gently out of the carriage and onto the gravel floor below the wooden bridge, helping Stacey to follow him down to the floor, using the bridge as cover.


      Bond recognized the Zorin’s imposing thug Scarpine stepping down from the engine, also looking smart in a black suit and hard hat. He was handed a silver tube by Jenny, what looked like a thermal flask of some sort. He held onto it and began talking to Zorin who was now grouped by the train carriages. As Scarpine jumped back onto the engine and let the motor turn over, Zorin nodded in satisfaction and checked his watch. One of the larger cranes with a cradle on the bottom swung over to the train as Conley pulled away one of the cloths covering an oval object on a wooden pallet on the rear carriage behind the engine. A large green limpet mine sat dormant on the pallet. A group of Conley’s miners pulled the mine off the carriage, lowering it gently down and clamping the body of the mine into the vice of the cradle.

       Keeping low and hiding between the wooden foundations of the bridge, Bond and Stacey moved away as the train started to drive away, pushing the carriages deeper into the mine. They crept under the bridge up to the main level. Observing all of the activity around them, Bond and Stacey walked casually towards the wooden hut, with Bond taking the lead and engaging in what looked like a mock conversation, keeping his body turned away from Zorin and his group.


      Zorin knelt by the huge explosive device and manipulated what looked like a silver arming key, turning and twisting it in a combination. The flashing display of a red countdown began on the side of the mine. 3600 seconds. 1 hour, primed and ready for detonation. Conley stepped onto the cradle, grasping the claw with one hand and raising the other in a signal, and the crane slowly hoisted man and bomb. It was an eerie sight to behold. The miners in the pit guided the cradle over to the excavated hole as the crane began to lower the bomb down the hole and into the earth below ground.


      With door of the hut locked behind them, Bond witnessed the whole process from the closed blinds over the plastic window looking over the mine. “You found anything?”


      Stacey was behind him, scanning over an impressive led display of the whole Silicon Valley area, “Yes. I think I have.”

      “Good,” Bond turned from the window. From the large hole outside, Coney and the cradle began to appear, the bomb no longer there.





#18 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:11 AM

Chapter 17:  Operation Main Strike


Directly underneath the San Andreas Lake, where at that moment solitary men sat quietly in their fishing boat waiting for a catch in the afternoon sun, Scarpine was monitoring the progress of the miners erecting wooden foundations and digging away through the gravel and dirt as they unloaded the explosives from the carriages on the train. It was a claustrophobic environment filled with small mine carts and oil lamps. The water from above was leaking through the ceiling rapidly in steady drips and thin streams. Scarpine moved through the groups of miners hard at work with their shovels and small pick-axes. From under his jacket he pulled out a silver cylindrical tube. Checking over his shoulder for anyone watching, he pulled the cylinder out to reveal a packed tube of dynamite and a digital primer. He pushed in a small silver button on the primer, sounding a small beep and activating a flashing red light, another bomb ready for remote detonation. He slid the cylinder back over the dynamite sticks. Scarpine smiled to himself and stuffed the tube down one of the mine carts, covering it with the dirt and stones.


      “The San Andreas Lake is right above us. Lots of seepage and it could flood any minute,” A foreman shouted down to Scarpine as he walked by back to the train.

      “Be ready to move and be careful,” Scarpine shouted back, patting a miner on the shoulder as he straightened his hard-hat. The final bomb had been primed, now he just had to get out of the tunnels.

      “He’ll kill millions,” Stacey gasped, “these green lights; they’re Zorin’s oil wells. The ones he’s been using to pump sea water into the Hayward fault.”


      Bond leaned over looking at the way the lights converged around Silicon Valley. “What are these tunnels for under these lakes?” He indicated to the area of map above the mine itself.


      “These lead straight into this section of the San Andreas fault,” She traced her slender finger across the brightly lit line and across the city by the lake, “Zorin just has to blast through the bottom of these lakes to flood the fault.”


      “And create a double earthquake,” Bond asked, intently looking at the small scale map.

      “Yes, except-” Stacey faltered slightly, “except right beneath us is the key geological lock that keeps the faults from moving at once.”


      Bond glanced at her, “All those explosives, would they be enough to break the lock?”


      “Of course,” Stacey’s eyes went wide with realization and she moved around the map pushing a small button on the display, “if they go off, both faults move at once.” The display flicked a number of lights, and the image suddenly vanished, the blue sea on the map taking its place. “Silicon Valley and everything in it submerged forever. If it happened at the peak of the spring tide for maximum effect-”

      “That’s today at 4:30; that’s less than an hour!”


      The sound of  ootsteps and muffled chatter broke Bond's concentration.

      “We have to go and warn people,” Stacey pushed past Bond to the door, but he grabbed her tight, pulling her back, hearing the voices.



      The door rattled, straining against the metal bolt locked tight. Zorin stood at the top of the stairs, pushing the door with his shoulder trying to break it down. Bond took Stacey to the rear of the cabin and quickly took a metal stool in his hands and smashed the rear window which led down to the silty floor, piled high with soft stones and dirt. He knocked away the glass fragments and took Stacey’s hand.

      “Quick - jump!” Bond shouted, as she climbed tentatively onto the window ledge, before letting herself fall to the floor, rolling down the mound of dirt.


      Zorin pulled out a small revolver from his waistband and aimed the barrel blindly through the gap in the door. Bond threw the metal stool at hand holding the gun poking through the door. The stool crashed into Zorin’s hand and pulled back quickly as the stool hit him.


      “Stand back,” Zorin said.


      Getting a good stance, he brought his foot up to the door and kicked it through. The lock snapped away and the door swung open. Bond saw the group outside and pushed himself through the window as fast as he could, joining Stacey down on the silt as a bullet rang by his head. Zorin ran to the window with May Day and the girls, firing the remaining four shots blindly at Bond and Stacey now running across the lip of the pit and following the train track deeper into the mine, knocking over an unexpected miner in the way.


      “Get him!” Zorin shouted to anyone listening. May Day took Jenny and Pan straight out of the cabin. May Day swung through the gap in the stairs, skipping the final few and landing on the silt, breaking into a run as Jenny and Pan climbed over the banisters and ran to follow. The workers stood rigid in shock at the excitement, looking up at the cabin and craning to see down the mine tunnel at the intruders.

      “Get them back to work,” shouted Zorin down to Conley who was looking up at the window.


      The American nodded and clapped his hands, a show of authority, “You heard him. Back to work. It’s all over.”


      Leaving the cabin and heading back to the front of the mine, Zorin met with Conley, his voice quiet and calm. “It’s Bond,” He tapped his gun on the stair banister, contemplating his moves. “Close up the entrance. Nobody gets out.”


      Back up the main tunnel and running down following the train track, Bond had discarded the hard-hat and was now looking for a way out with Stacey hobbling along behind as best she could. He approached a badly boarded up tunnel bearing off to the right with 5 loose panels nailed over the entrance. The sound of the diesel engine could be heard up ahead, the light bouncing round the ceiling coming down the tunnel towards them. Bond pulled two loose boards away from the hole to create an entrance through, motioning Stacey through and heading for another unknown discovery.


      “Come on!” May Day shouted back to Jenny and Pan, both armed with their pistols, giving chase down the tunnel. Navigating the terrain in flat boots was far easier and she made good time following the track. Scarpine’s engine was now heading out towards them, past the exposed tunnel Bond had taken.


      “Did you pass anyone back there?” she shouted over the motor.


      “No,” Scarpine shouted, driving by, “I saw no-one!”


      May Day looked down both directions and saw the loose boards across the newly exposed tunnel. She didn’t hesitate in taking the pathway through to follow.


      The narrow tunnel was an uneven dirt track leading deep into the underground. Bond and Stacey were running blind under fading light, taking each step steady and wary of the pursuers behind them. Ahead was another fork, turning out to be a deceiving series of catacombs that could carry on for miles.


      “Now which way,” Bond said almost to himself.

      “The map,” Stacey said, facing him.


      Bond remembered the blueprints in his jacket taken from the cabin. He dug his hand into the inner jacket pocket and pulled out the small creased piece of paper. Unfolding it with Stacey holding one end, he took out a lighter from his trouser pocket and lit it, illuminating the tunnel and the map. As he scanned over the intricate details, making no sense of where they were in the larger scale of thing, he noticed the flame flickering steadily, being teased by an invisible force.

      “There’s a draught from up there,” Bond raised the lighter to look ahead in the darkness.

      Stacey tugged his arm, “It must be a ventilation shaft!” Her voice lifted with excitement and she started to move forward.

      Bond had expected Stacey to notice the hazard but she didn’t, “Wait!” He shouted, his voice echoing down the tunnel.


      Stacey lost her footing and slipped over the edge of a small abyss in the floor, the dirt giving way beneath her and falling into the darkness below. Bond dropped the map and reached out, grabbing her arm with both hands. Her scream pierced out in the darkness, again echoing through the tunnel and Bond’s head.

      Behind them, the pursing women stopped in their tracks, hearing the haunting scream ahead of them. May Day narrowed her eyes, and started to hug the wall following the sound.


      Bond tensed his muscles and pulled Stacey up, using the dirt to get a foothold. Stacey climbed up Bond’s chest as she crested the abyss and held him tight, looking back down at the drop. There was a steady flow of water at the bottom, shimmering gently in flow heading into the mine.


      “That must lead to the fault; the water from the lakes,” Stacey said softly.


      “Yes and it will be flooding any minute,” Bond turned her away, taking her hand and walking gently around the drop, “come on.” They headed on down the tunnel towards the ventilation shaft.



      May Day, Jenny and Pan arrived moments later at the fork in the tunnel, looking down both directions.


      “You two that way,” May Day said to Jenny, nodding towards the tunnel continuing ahead.


       The girls ran off in their direction. May Day was left alone and looked around at her path ahead, noticing the small abyss and the crumbling dirt from both above and below, clearly a more unstable tunnel. She tip-toed gingerly around the pit, loose earth crumbling away as she moved. Once clear, she started to keep to the shadows advancing forward, knowing she was closer to finding them.

      The ventilation shaft was directly above them, re-enforced with firm wooden boards and a good 30 foot climb. It was simply a large square hole leading out to the ground above to help provide oxygen as well as an escape route for the miners in the tunnels. Bond didn’t want to carry on any further as the gradient of the tunnel was getting steeper and lack of oxygen was starting to take its toll. Bond quickly encouraged Stacey to get a good grip on the boards and start the climb. He waited until she was in good rhythm and then he followed suit. The fresh, cooling air, mixed with the bright blue sky above them was a welcome point to aim for.

      May Day had them in her sight. She powered along the tunnel and saw the two intruders start their climb up the wooden panels. Coming to a halt underneath them, May Day snarled, grinding her teeth in apprehension of the catch. Bond sensed her behind them, and turned to see her start her climb, navigating across the wooden boards in an attempt to reach him


      “Stacey, keep going!” Bond shouted up to her.


      She looked down. The sight of the lethal assassin May Day ascending faster towards Bond was a frightening sight. Her panic crept in and she froze, in mid climb, gripping onto the wooden panel and praying for a miracle.


      “It’s time to flood the fault,” Zorin said, watching over the mine, his face a picture of calm.

      Conley frowned. He walked up to Zorin, “But May Day, and my men?”

      “Yes; a convenient coincidence.”

      Scarpine stepped up. Conley clenched his fists.

      “Mister Zorin those men are loyal to you-” His voice flared in anger, but he didn’t have time to take action.

      Scarpine brought the butt of a sub-machine gun down on the back of Conley’s skull, stunning him and making him lose his footing, falling forward over the lip of the small walkway onto the ground below. A group of miners ran over to their fallen boss, checking him over and looking up at Zorin for some kind of explanation. He ignored them and stood back from the edge. Scarpine cocked his gun and handed another to Zorin, taken from the train.

      “Give me some spare clips.”


      He took the clips handed from Scarpine and slipped them into his jacket pocket. He held out his hand, again and was given a small remote control in his palm. Tucking the machine gun under his arm and nodding gleefully, Max Zorin slowly twisted a dial on the control, glanced up at the mine itself and pulled it straight down, emitting a flurry of electronic beeps.


      The first cylindrical stick of dynamite responded to the signal with a high-pitched whine before exploding in a large and violent fireball. Placed down a mine tunnel by Scarpine, the dynamite instantly killed the miners around the area, flinging them away and demolishing the surrounding mine carts and tools. The foundations erected underneath the lake were blasted away from the force of the confined blast, crumbling and bringing down the earth above. The San Andreas Lake had been blasted through, now roaring into the mine tunnel and sweeping away panicking miners, racing away as fast as they could from the fiery explosion and watery rapids. Screams of fear could barely be heard above the rushing water that carried away miners and destroyed equipment down towards the main mine. Jenny and Pan had doubled back into the main tunnel and were swept up in the flurry of miners racing back towards the exit. They were suddenly fronted with the wall of water bearing down on them, and all they could is run.



      Zorin counted to himself, hearing the first blast sound, and flicked another dial on the control to detonate the next cylinder bomb.



      The second bomb exploded in another tunnel across in the site, crippling another set of erected foundations and allowed more water from the lake above to flood in. Miners were either swept away, drowning in the battle to stay afloat in the raging rapid, and they were burned alive after being too close to the hidden explosive.

      In the ventilation shaft, the walls shook violently dislodging small lumps of dirt and soil. Stacey clung on a screamed in fright. Bond’s footing was shaken and he lost his balance, falling down next to May Day and through a wooden board into a small outcrop. He lay dazed, covered in debris. May Day looked down at the fallen spy, deciding whether to carry on up or fall back.


      “James!” Stacey shouted loudly to rouse him.

      May Day looked up at the girl and moved up two more boards, reaching out and grabbing Stacey’s lower leg. Stacey winced in pain as May Day’s hand latched on, but she started to thrash her leg, kicking at the wall and shaking away her overall from her shoulders, letting it fall to her waist as May Day ripped away at the material in an attempt to pull Stacey down the shaft. Thankfully her higher position let her shake May Day free and let the overall fall down, momentarily blinding her from above.


      “Stacey! Keep climbing, keep going!” Bond shouted from below, now on his knees looking for a way back up the shaft past May Day.

      May Day looked back down in anger at Bond’s persistence and her white eyes bore into him. As he got to his knees and started back out to the shaft, the walls rocked once more. Another blast sounded and echoed through the mine. The shockwaves from the blast, closer to them in the next tunnel, shook Bond and May Day from the shaft itself. They let out a cry of despair as they fell down, plummeting helplessly into the wild, raging water below. Stacey hugged the wall, closer to the lip of the shaft and could only hold on and watch as they were swallowed up without making a splash.



      The tunnels converged into one, raging down the main track towards the mine. The water broke through the main tunnel and erupted out into the mine with brutal force. Bodies and debris swept into the pit as the water rushed through. The mine broke into chaos as miners dropped their tools and rallied together to get out of the way of the water. Pulling back on the cock of his gun, Zorin didn’t hesitate for a moment before he began firing into the pit. Scarpine joined in and the killing began. The bullets sprayed over the mine as the water from the San Andreas Lake poured through the tunnel, flooding and destroying all in its wake.


       Those trying to escape were brought down by the bullets fired by Zorin and Scarpine, smiling in satisfaction at picking off the miners, not taking his finger of the trigger for anything. The men below fell as the bullets mowing them down as they ran away. There was no escape from the psychotic plan of Max Zorin, laughing like a child at the shouts and awkward situations of the miners around him as if it was a big game. Shouts of panic couldn’t be heard as the water brought down generators and pulled over scaffolding and tore up any loose equipment in its wake. Sparks showered down on the water as the generators and cables came down in the water. The wooden cabin over the pit started to buckle under the pressure of the water bombarding into it from the tunnel, slowly collapsing under the weight on its own wooden foundations, splintering and starting to fall in on itself.


      Zorin spun around, bringing up the gun to take down the fleeing miners up above. They didn’t have a chance against the bullets spitting up the ground all around them, ripping into their bodies and dropping them to the floor, falling over the side into the gravel below.  Zorin laughed once more at the sight of them falling like dolls.


      A miner swam through the water, past dead colleagues but was caught in the live cables of a power line and was electrocuted. Another, climbing up the side of the pit to Zorin, held out his hand for help, but was met by a foot in the face followed by a spray of gun fire as he fell back to the water. Miniature waterfalls were now breaking through the walls of the mine, trickling and flowing over into the pit like a large garden water feature. The gun fire, the screams and gushing water seemed to stop at once.

      The sound of the water was calmer, almost soothing, as the pit was now full with water, brimming with dead bodies and equipment. The cabin had collapsed, hanging awkwardly down half in the water.


       The two business men emptied their last magazines at any movement in the makeshift pool and let the smoking barrels cool down in the deathly silence. It was all over in a matter of moments. The first phase of the operation had gone perfectly. Zorin surveyed his beautiful carnage and once more checked his watch.


      “Good. Right on schedule,” Dropping his gun, he coolly started back to the train, “let’s go.”

      Scarpine followed Zorin and stepped up to the train cabin, sliding his gun back into the engine. He stood up next to Zorin and fired up the diesel train once more, roaring into life and steadily taking it along the track towards the main entrance out of the hillside, leaving the destruction behind. Nothing moved except the disturbed water, and the mine was quiet once more.



#19 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:35 AM

Chapter 18: Bombing Out


The lake was now bare. Dry and cracked, the clay bed was left with amassed old junk from decades gone. A fishing boat sat alone on the bed. The fisherman inside was shaken and shocked, standing up and looking around at the empty lake, a few dead fish in on the bed and a few small puddles of water left from the pot holes formed by the blast.  Outside the entrance of the mine, the diesel engine steadily came out of the darkness, Zorin and Scarpine standing proud in the cabin in the direct sunlight and cool breeze. Scarpine took his hard hat and threw it in the air, yelping in celebration, and Zorin laughed gleefully at the sudden joy of his murderous friend.

      Down in the tunnels, the water was weaker now, a constant flow driving down towards the mine. Bodies were swept along, lifeless and limp. Bond broke the water first, gasping for air. May Day surfaced second, struggling to stay strong against the current and catch her breath at the same time. Bond held her arm and backed into the wall, able to stand upright and hold each other against the water flow now as deep as their chest.


      “And I thought that creep loved me!” May Day shouted, wiping the water from her face and eyes, twisted in anger and frustration.


      A body floated by them. “You’re not the only one he double-crossed.”

      They hugged the wall and waited for a drop in current of the cold water, enabling them to move. Another body floated downstream, dressed in a blue jump suit, blonde hair matted to a young girls face, lifeless.

      “Jenny-” May Day’s voice cracked, reaching out to touch the limp arm of her dead friend.


      Bond held her shoulder, “Come on. There’s nothing you can do for her now.”

      Leading the way, Bond took her arm and started to carefully walk with the current leading towards the mine. May Day whimpered softly, watching helpless as Jenny’s body floated away along with the others into the darkness ahead. She didn’t want to think about Pan’s fate.

      “Look, the water level’s dropping,” Bond pointed towards the mine entrance, their backs still up against the crumbling tunnel wall. May Day clung onto Bond’s strong arm, not letting go for fear of being swept away.


       He took the lead in moving through the tunnel as the water calmed. With the ticking time bomb planted inside the excavated core, Zorin and Scarpine left the diesel engine and ran over the dusty gravel of the quarry to Zorin’s private port-a-cabin office away from the main site, a large white box shining in the sun. The ghostly site of empty trucks and no crew walking around was an eerie site to behold. But they paid it no thought as both men approached the gleaming white cabin. Scarpine turned the handle and opened the door. Inside, he moved into a large pod taking up the whole of the office. The windows of the cabin were covered up and there was nothing of use inside. Scarpine and Zorin stepped into the spacious pod and moved to what looked like a cockpit of an airplane, large windows on all sides fitted with comfy seats. Zorin pulled the pod door shut and joined Scarpine up front, flicking a number of switches and buttons, illuminating dials and starting a faint whine of an engine.


      “All outboard valves fully locked sir,” Scarpine said, slipping on some headphones fitted with a radio transmitter. Smiling, Zorin reached out and pressed a large yellow button on the control panel after all the switches and nozzles had been activated by Scarpine.


      “Pump pressure all good.”


      The plastic roof partitions of the cabin were released and blown out on their hinges over the sides of the walls, flapping down and revealing the secret within. A number of makeshift air units on the walls started to whine and pump air into the cabin, inflating a large white sheet, rising steadily from the roof and billowing out onto the floor. It was the largest zeppelin in Zorin Industries, filling with air, preparing for take-off to the safest place to be when a bomb went off. Zorin watched out of the windows as the zeppelin’s fabric shell inflated and grew to an impressive size. The mooring cables and power plugs were detached from the cockpit as Scarpine gripped the navigating stick and brought the throttle lever forward, the engine and turbines roaring with power as the zeppelin rocked into motion and started to slowly rise out from the cabin.

      “Up and away,” shouted Scarpine, once more encouraging a joyous laugh from Zorin.


       May Day’s nails dug deep into Bond’s arms, ignoring the pain as they traversed through the shallow water of the mine, flooded with water and dead bodies. The steams from the lake seeped through the walls and continued to flow gently over various overturned outcrops of earth and even the wooden hut had been turned into a makeshift funnel with the water flowing over the roof into the mess below. Stained with mud and exhaustion, Bond and May Day battled through the minefield of broken machinery and electric cables dangling below from the fallen power lines above them. Crossing below old train track just out of reach of the water, May Day reeled at the sight of the bodies around her and screamed in fright as a power cable blew and banged close to her, spraying out orange sparks over her and into the water. Bond carried on forward to the base of the bridge and started up the crumbling earth, digging his feet into the sticky mud to pull him up out of the water and onto the wooden track above. He turned around and gave his arm to May Day who took it, her face a picture of panic and eagerness in getting out of the water. She worked with him and used her athleticism to pick her way out of the water and up the bank to the bridge. Bond raced up to the higher tier mine where the excavated hole and bomb were, still safe and dry. Wiping his hands down on his jacket and flicking over his wet hair, Bond stood at the brink of the hole as May Day joined him, feverously thinking of a plan to get the bomb out with just minutes to go before it detonated.


      Floating high above overlooking the whole of San Francisco, the Zorin Industries blimp was gently moving as the white, red and green logo glinted on the side of the shell reflecting the sun. It was the only thing in the sky; no clouds or birds were there.


      “Silicon Valley. Perfect, hold position here,” Zorin said, almost to himself looking at the breath-taking view below him. From behind, Carl Mortner came from the rear of the cabin, waiting for them all along, now standing alongside his protégée. The power decreased from the engines as Scarpine brought the blimp to a gentle stationary position looking towards the city and the fault, the whine of the motors could be heard gently on the side of the cockpit. “Only minutes more, Carl. Nothing can stop it now. The greatest cataclysm in history,” Zorin was distant, his heart pounding in anticipation.


      Mortner smiled and patted him on the shoulder firmly, “And all attributed to natural causes.”


      Zorin turned to him and nodded, smiling, “Exactly.”

      Below them, from the ventilation shaft at the top of the grassy knoll overlooking the quarry, Stacey emerged, pulling herself up over the wooden scaffold and rolling onto the soft grass above. He blouse was stained with dust and dirt; certain areas of the stitching were starting to fray. Certainly this would be one event she wouldn’t forget in a hurry. Staying low in the grass, she hugged the ground and kept her eyes on both Zorin up above and the entrance to the mine a few yards down below. All she could do now was hold on for the outcome, and pray that James Bond was still alive.


      “We must hurry!”


      Bond stood with May Day over the lip of the excavated hole, looking down into the earth. Hundreds of explosive sandbags were packed in amongst the limpet mine, now with less than 10 minutes before detonation. The resulting explosion would destroy the two faults of San Francisco and flood Silicon Valley, killing millions and crippling the global economy.


      “I have to get down and defuse that detonator,” Bond mused to himself.

      “You can’t,” May Day shouted over the noise of flowing water, echoing louder in the cavernous mine, “the timer’s been booby trapped. If you tamper with it we’re going to blow up.”

      Bond looked at her, “We’ll have to bring the whole thing up, but how?”


      May Day turned around looking for the crane, “Get on that rig. I’ll lower you down.”

      She quickly moved over to the manual hoist for the rig, the clamp sat dormant on the dirt. Bond gave her a questioning look, sizing up the clamp he was stood by.

      “Get on!” She persuaded Bond instantly.

      Standing on the two legs of the clamp, he arched his head under the steel hoist and wrapped his arms around the grips, secure and balanced on the makeshift elevator. May Day dug her heels into the ground, gripped both hands on the steel handle and began to reel in the rig, slowly lifting Bond into the air. May Day gritted her teeth and her muscles bulged in her thin, powerful arms, straining to get a rhythm of turning the handle like a large jack-in-the-box. Bond watched her in awe, keeping an eye on his position on the clamp, admiring her strength and willing. She twisted her weight on the rig, turning Bond gently towards the excavated hole. Once Bond was over the excavated hole, May Day, shining from her sweat, reversed direction with the handle, lowering the agent down in good time.


      “That’s it, keep going!” Bond shouted as he began to descend into the cavern. She continued the steady movement. Bond swayed gently on the crane as it clunked and groaned, heading further down closer to the bomb. Inside the excavated cavern, the floor was covered in sandbags packed full of explosives, and only the thick walls of earth and glowing orange fires of natural gas pockets leading into the bowels of the earth below could be seen. Seconds passed before the crane finally reached the bomb inches away.


      “Ok, hold it there,” Bond shouted up the hole. The rig stopped moving.


      Jumping down onto the sandbags, Bond carefully placed his feet either side of the explosive and pulled the clamp over. May Day stood at the lip of the hole, watching from above as Bond worked the large clamp over the bomb and fixed the metal prongs to either side, attaching it and preparing it to be lifted up.


      “Take it up,” Bond shouted up, the small head of May Day waving down at him. Standing back, surveying the cavern, Bond could see no way out for him.

      May Day hit the crane with her hand, “Get on!”

      There was no way he could see May Day managing to lift both him and the bomb up 30ft and out into the mine. “It’s too heavy. Go!”

      Her white eyes grew wide, her mouth curled into a snarl of anger, “Get on, damn-it!”


      Bond looked up and didn’t want to waste more time, with minutes left on the timer, there was no time to debate. He stood atop the clamp once more, arching his head through and holding on tight, keeping balance and not disturbing the bomb.

      “Ok, go!”


      May Day vanished and re-affirmed her grip on the handle, this time pulling it hard, reeling in both man and bomb. The weight was considerably more and it took her a moment of sheer brute force and determination that eventually the rig started to wind in the crane holding both bomb and spy.

      “That’s it, keep going!” Bond shouted from below, his voice rising as he neared the hole.

      Her hands gripped tight and were blistering under the tight grip, her thighs were rock solid as she used her strength to clear the bomb from the cavern. Bond jumped off the cradle and waved his arms in direction of the train track.

      “Ok, right swing it over to the truck.”

      She twisted her body and brought the bomb over the train track.


      “Right, gently lower it down.”

      Breathing hard, she lowered the bomb onto the wooden pallet and thankfully released the handle, her hands stinging and her skin beaded in sweat.


      “That’s it, take her up!”


       Ignoring the strain in her muscles she swung the empty rig away from the track once Bond had disconnected the bomb and ran over to join in aiding him. His face was contorted in thought, a sly attractiveness shone over his worn and battered body that May Day easily found appealing.


      “We’ve got seconds before this thing blows, and if it does that powder keg goes with it.”

      May Day pulled back on the handbrake lever resting on the wheels and crouched down, pushing on the wooden cart. Bond instantly went down next to her and took his stance, pushing with all his strength to set the cart of down the track towards the quarry, picking up momentum and gaining good speed. They crossed the switch track and let go, letting gravity take over. A small smile crossed May Day’s face but dropped the second she heard the scrape of metal against metal and saw the flash of sparks on the rear wheel. The cart slowed to an immediate stop.


      “The handbrake’s slipped,” May Day could only look desperately at Bond, and raced after the cart. She jumped on the bomb and gripped the handbrake, pulling it back from the wheel and holding it manually in position, “Push.”


      Bond caught his breath, his muscles starting to shake in his arms. He crouched down and pushed into the dirt beneath him to send the cart down the track. May Day added very little weight to the cart and it began to roll gently down the small incline, once more picking up speed. So much in fact that Bond lost his footing as he tried to keep up and tripped, sliding forward into the gravel beneath the track, his hands digging into the stones beneath him.


      “Ok, jump!”


      “I have to hold the brake off!” May Day was nearing the exit on the rolling cart.


      He pulled himself up and began running as fast as he could down the track, now heading through the tunnel of the mine entrance. “Jump!”

      May Day looked back and raised her free hand, waving it in the air to Bond triumphantly, “Get Zorin for me!”


      The bomb was now seconds away from detonation.


      “May Day, jump!”  Bond could see the fate May Day had resigned herself to. He was losing her down through the tunnel, the daylight streaming through as May Day rolled out of the mine.



      Zorin sat back in his co-pilot’s chair, looking out over quarry and Silicon Valley further ahead. He glanced at his watch. “Only seconds to go.”


      Her laughter was all that kept her going, thankful to have done one righteous thing, saving millions of people and foiling that heartless bastard’s nefarious, twisted plan. Not breaking her smile, squinting against the final sunny day she would see, feeling the rush of cool air against her warm body, May Day noticed Zorin’s airship hovering above, and then her smile faded into a triumphant stare she knew he’d be watching. She was doing this now for herself.

      “May Day.”  Zorin didn’t know whether to laugh or scream as the cart rolled out into the sunshine, with his former lover and the bomb on board.


      As the timer hit zero, the detonator armed and the bomb exploded without May Day registering anything as she was evaporated instantly in the violent blast. Fragments of rock and twisted train track spewed out over the quarry as the thick black cloud and orange fire rose into the sky, staining the surrounding white rock face and scorching the ground around the blast area. Stacey was thrown down on her side in the soft grass as the ground shook under her. Bond was thrown back into the wall of the tunnel, shielding his eyes against the violent blast. Inside the cavern, fragments of loose rock and grit fell from the ceiling as the blast sent tremors out through the earth. The explosive sandbags lay harmlessly dormant as the small piece of debris bounced and rolled off them, kicking up dust and causing nothing more than a slight earthquake.

      Zorin was furious. Hurt. Lost. He didn’t know whether to mourn his failed operation or accept the treachery of what May Day had just done. Mortner’s face collapsed in disappointment, simply turning away and walking softly back to his seat in the rear of the airship cabin. Zorin’s hands were resting on his temples, blood pumping through his veins as he watched the fire burning over the quarry, swallowing up his entire life’s dream of global economic collapse.


       It was then in his peripheral vision that he saw the unmistakable figure of Stacey Sutton moving in the grassy knoll heading down to the quarry. Eyes narrowing, he unclipped his seatbelt.




#20 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:28 AM

Chapter 19:  Airship to the Golden Gate


Stacey fixed her eyes on the smouldering site of the explosion from the grass, not knowing what had just happened. Safe in the knowledge Silicon Valley was safe, she took solace in that for one, but now it was waiting for Bond that would be the hardest part. Her breath was all she could hear, as there was no other noise except the fires crackling below down in the quarry. The smoke curled from an invisible force.  Stacey narrowed her eyes to identify the small yet recognizable figure of James Bond, with his grey miners jacket and matted l brown hair, stagger from the mine tunnel, waving away the swirling smoke around him. Avoiding the burning debris, he spun around looking for that special someone in the deathly quiet of the quarry.


      “James,” Stacey was lost in a flood of relief and the breath took the words out of her mouth. She stood up, her hair blowing in the breeze. “James!”


      Bond heard the shout directly ahead of him and looked up. The site of seeing Stacey alive and already quickly navigating her way down the grassy knoll back to the quarry would have been a welcome moment for him, had it not been for the monstrous site of the large Zorin Industries airship floating eerily into the quarry behind her as she ran.


      “Stacey!” Bond shouted as he broke into a run towards her, the airship descending and moving in fast.




      “Stacey, look out!”


      She turned her head at the thundering noise behind her, the shadow of the ship creeping over her, but it was too late. Zorin was crouching low at the cabin door, his eyes burning into the girl. The airship swept past and Zorin grabbed Stacey with his outstretched arm, pulling her in towards him with the help of Mortner. Scarpine gunned the engines power and pulled back on the yoke gripped in his hands, lifting the airship directly into the air at a steep angle. Bond gritted his teeth and used every ounce of strength to carry his run faster towards the airship before it gained too much altitude as Mortner slid the cabin door back closed. Scarpine brought the airship up as the engines whined under the strain and the mine was left below them, cresting a group of fir trees to come over Silicon Valley, the people unaware of the catastrophe they had been narrowly been saved from. Scarpine started to level out, noting sudden strain on the front of the craft.


      “The ship’s nose is heavy. He must be on the mooring rope.” He shouted over to Zorin as both him and Mortner fought to sedate Stacey and belt her into an empty seat. Zorin brought up his palm, slapping the girl’s cheek hard, sending searing pain through her face, shocking and silencing her. She gave up the fight, giving into the pain and letting Mortner fasten her belt, head slumping to the window, half due to sheer exhaustion and the other to the force of the blow.


      Bond had jumped in mid stride to reach the thick mooring rope hanging from the airships nose, his hands clamped tight around the braided hemp and aching like a dozen needles pricking his skin. The instant he had reached the rope, the airship had risen fast where a fall now would mean instant death. The wind whipped through his hair and made his eyes water as he held on, letting the breeze sail past him and not fight the strain in his arms. The view over San Francisco was a gorgeous site, the rippling waters below shimmered in the sun and the various colours and sizes of the tall skyscrapers and buildings ahead, more visible the closer they came. Bond fought the breeze to amble gently up the rope as the skyline approached fast, with him having to pray that Zorin didn’t want to risk destroying himself by getting too close to the maze of buildings ahead. Thankfully, he wasn’t quite low enough to hit the buildings, but he could identify the small dots of yellow taxis, street cars and the bustling city below as they glided over.


       Stacey, still groggy in the rear of the cabin, sat silently, looking out over the water and towards the horizon, hoping for something more than a miracle to get her out of the nightmare. Zorin smiled contently to Scarpine as the Golden Gate Bridge was the obvious choice of where to permanently detach the spy. The bridge was standing tall over the sea, a proud monument of the state of California. Looking out of the window and reflecting on the past hour, Zorin could see Bond hanging below the airship, the winds keeping the spy sailing through the air underneath.


      He turned in his chair to Mortner, “This will hurt him more than me.”


      Chuckling to himself, he looked over at Scarpine who smiled, and then back out of the cabin, eyeing the bridge looming ahead over the crystal waters of the Pacific Ocean below.


      The Southern Tower of the bridge, nearest to Marin County, was upon them now and Bond could only prepare for what was about to happen. The waves broke against the rocks down below and the horns of cars blared intermittently as they battled the early evening traffic, but the motors of the airship roared louder as it turned, bringing the nose around to the highest point of the bridge, almost in a perfect 90 degree move that Scarpine handled expertly.


       The break in the airship’s flight path swung the mooring rope out towards the sky with Bond gripping on, and gravity brought him back down like a human pendulum, spinning around and slamming into the bridge support, thankfully avoiding the thick wires and bolts. He gripped the rope, holding on for dear life as not to fall to his death. As he came to rest at the top of the tower with the mooring rope wrapped around the wires of the bridge, where Bond had been spun into the structure, he gained an immediate foothold on the large pipework. Exhaling quickly to fight the throbbing pain in his side and quickly scupper Zorin’s escape, he pulled the rope in over itself and tied a thick knot around the wires, pulling down securely as best he could with the seconds he had. He stood holding on, looking up at the giant white ship hovering above him, the two engines whining softly.


      As Scarpine brought the throttle up to move them away from the bridge, they moved forward quick enough but suddenly jerked to a stop. Zorin was flung forward in his chair, his breath taken from him. He slowly gave Scarpine a look of concern, wondering what had just happened. There could only be one real explanation.


        “More. Give it more power.”


      Scarpine nodded and reached down to the throttle lever, gripping it and pushing it gently forward as the engines powered up louder. The strain of the airship and the rope on the tower could be heard in the silence, the groaning of the wire rubbing on the ropes. Mortner was taught in his seat, watching the drama in the cockpit unfold. Stacey was also slightly bewildered.


      “More!” Zorin barked.


      Scarpine looked over, hesitating on the throttle as heard the strain of the ropes on the tower and the ship.


      Zorin thrust his hand out to the controls, “More power, do it!”


      The lever arched forward, the engines grew more intense as they pushed the airship forward, pulling the rope tighter on the bridge which was pulling it back. Bond was still holding on below, moving his way up to the upper pipework of the tower, gripping on for dear life.


      “Full throttle!” Zorin shouted, the throttle at full tilt with the engines thundering out power, but still to no avail even as the yoke was directed away from the bridge.


      Mortner was too busy looking out over the bridge below him, and he failed to see Stacey slip past him up the aisle to the cabin. She was upon Zorin before he had time to protect himself and she threw herself on him like a wild animal.


      “Stop it!” She screamed and began her assault, hitting him around the back and the across his head, fighting with Zorin’s arms as he threw them up to protect himself and throw her off. This was for Howe, for her family and for those innocents he’d killed. She lashed out in anger and hate.


      “Get her off!” Mortner cried out, struggling with his belt, clamping him down in his seat as he panicked to get out. Scarpine battled with the airship to keep it steady, avoiding the flaying arms of the fight next to him.


      “Stop it! Are you crazy!?” Her nails dug into Zorin’s back as Mortner now was out of his seat moving to the front It happened quickly and without realization, but the control of the airship was lost as Stacey pushed forward into Scarpine as she grappled frantically with Zorin. That was enough to distort the yoke and turn the engine turbines the wrong way towards the bridge.


        With a loud crunch of metal, a spark of electric and scraping plastic, the peak of the bridges observation platform on the tower came crashing through the side of the cabin as the airship careered too far to the side, shattering the door and adjoining windows, letting in a gust of fresh air. The airship was now crippled, temporarily clamped onto the bridge.


      Mortner was the first to fall back, hitting the rear of the cabin hard and sliding down to the floor unconscious. Stacey was also thrown to the floor, at the same time releasing Zorin who fell into Scarpine, thrown forward onto the deck by the crash. The engines still hummed with power but the airship was now stuck tight on the bridge, tied up by the mooring rope. Bond, now up on the larger section of pipework on the bridge stood rigid, holding onto the wire cables waiting for a sign that Stacey was still alive inside the wrecked airship. Around him, the view of the San Francisco Bay was an intoxicating and vertigo inducing site, with the bridge spanning across the water below and the tiny cars moving up and down the carriageways like toys.


      Zorin took deep breaths, trying to relax his state of mind at what just happened. He could feel the anger radiating from his flustered face, his airship now stricken to the Golden Gate Bridge, his plans of destroying Silicon Valley gone forever. He looked up from the floor where he composed himself and looked over to a bruised Scarpine, nursing a cut on his head, sat up on his elbows by the intruding section of the bridge.


      “Go get him,” Zorin said coldly, his order coming through totally clear.


      Scarpine lowered his hand, not sure of what he was being asked to do. Risk his life out on the bridge just to finish off a spy? He hesitated.




      Without risking the wrath of this madman, he simply took a deep breath and reach inside his jacket to pull out his Glock pistol. His slender fingers brushed against the butt of the weapon before his vision blurred, his head went heavy and the dull pain knocked him forward and out cold. Stacey dropped the small fire extinguisher as Scarpine hit the floor. Having knocked the evil looking man out of action, Stacey quickly stood up and carefully walked out past the intruding portion of the tower, and out into the blowy air atop the top of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Zorin watched her go, knowing she had nowhere else to escape to. Not taking his eyes from Stacey walking out, Zorin snapped his safety belt off, letting it fall to the floor. Standing from his seat, his face was a canvas of sheer anger and determination for a man intent on revenge. He stepped out into the cabin and reached out to pull a lethally sharp fire axe from the buckled plastic wall next to him.



#21 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:28 AM

Chapter 20: The Fall of Max Zorin


       Bond pulled himself up the widest and longest pipe leading from the tower down to the cabling below just above the freeway. The pipe was the largest formation on the bridge and arched down to the mooring cables, like a large slide, bolted and joined in numerous sections. Bond gripped the cable on the pipe, acting as a secure hand-rail and protection from going over the side. Stacey stepped out and over onto the small platform used for maintenance engineers and stopped dead in her tracks, rigid in shock and fear. The time was not right to stop to enjoy the view or catch a breath. Stacey looked down to see Bond moving up the large pipe towards her. Her heart fluttered, partly thanks to seeing him alive once more and partly due to her being nearly 750ft above the crashing waters below with a psychotic madman chasing her. She looked for a way down to him just as Zorin stepped out of the cabin with the axe, ready in his hand.


      Bond saw it. “Stacey, jump!” His hand skimmed the wire as he bounded up towards her holding out his free arm.


      Stacey didn’t question the order out of fear she knew Zorin was behind her. She flung herself forward off the maintenance platform down to Bond below, but she was too clumsy in her balance and fell forward, knocking him back at her awkward angle. He fell over backwards onto the pipe, sliding onto his front, yet still holding onto Stacey tight as they tumbled. Her silk blouse slid across the smooth pipework and she went over the side with a chilling scream, her mind telling her she was about to die. His muscles tensed and throbbed instantly with the weight of Stacey holding onto his arm, grabbing at his jacket and fighting to find something to hold onto. Bond used the bridge as a weight to balance himself as Stacey swung precariously over the water below, her scream of terror loud and piercing


      “Get a foothold,” Bond shouted above the wind whipping around them.


      Zorin jumped carefully down from the platform onto the thick orange pipe, holding on tight and brandishing the axe with the enormous airship looming behind him still dominating the skyline. He looked down up them both stretching over the pipe, savouring the thrill of being somewhere so dangerous with so much aggression to finally release. Stacey used her long legs to reach out, sliding her feet onto a firm joint of the pipe’s structure which was erected down to the large tower below. She could also hold onto the large bolts with her hands. It was a secure, yet dangerous, foothold. Stacey let go of his arm once she was safe. Behind him, Zorin was side-stepping quickly and carefully down the pipe towards the two.


       Bond didn’t hesitate in quickly pulling himself up and balancing on the pipe. Getting his footing correct was the key for Bond to stay alive as he knew that only the strongest and most stable of them would survive the ensuring confrontation. Zorin was suddenly upon him, ready for the kill.


      Driven by a manic rage, a twisted evil, Zorin swung out instantly with the axe, swiping down to hack Bond in two. Thankfully, Bond was ready for the attack and ducked right, letting the axe swing down through the air and strike into the pipe, sparking and echoing across the bridge. Bond was ready for Zorin after that first strike and reached out for the axe, grabbing the handle with both hands as Zorin fought to pull it back.


       The two were locked in a dangerous balancing act on the pipe, both edging to get the upper hand and push the other one away. Feeling the sheer brutal strength from Zorin’s psychotic driven rage, Bond jabbed out with his fist into Zorin’s chest, hitting his ribs with a dull thump. The punch didn’t seem to halt Zorin and he retaliated with a sharp twist of his body, sending the butt of the axe out into the side of Bond’s head. The blow was brief and sent a wave of pain through his temple, and his strength dropped on the axe, giving Zorin the chance he needed. Bond was forced back onto the wire handrail, his neck dangerously exposed to the axe handle being pushed deeper into the flesh, muscle and his airway.


      Stacey looked on from below in horror, helplessly holding on, as Zorin swept Bond’s feet out from underneath him, causing him to struggle even more in holding onto the wire and fighting for a foothold. His feet slipped on the pipework, and the pressure of the blood thumped loudly in his head. Zorin gritted his teeth as he twisted the axe down harder, willing Bond’s breathing to give way or simply for his grip to go and have him fall off. Bond was near breaking point, gasping for air and losing his stability on the handrail.


      To bring the spy to his end, Zorin brought up the axe quickly and swung it down against Bond’s face with a sickening hit, this time impacting against the side of his head, leaving a crimson blood stain and knocking the spy completely off the handrail. Bond fell back against the pipe and had nothing to hold on to. He stretched out with his hands for balance, and struggled for breath and maintaining his sense of direction, as he was nearly upside down over the bridge looking at a disorientated San Francisco.


       Zorin’s face was red from the intense pressure he was applying to the axe. His crisp navy suit jacket was torn from the fight and his smart blonde hair looking unkempt blowing in the wind, but he didn’t care. As 007 let out a strained gasp of air, Zorin snarled in rage, spitting out droplets of saliva as the wild animal inside him was out for the kill and he could feel it seconds away. Thankfully, with Zorin total focused on finishing of Bond, he didn’t see the left hook Bond suddenly brought up. His fist smacked Zorin across the jaw and pushed him off, down the pipe. Zorin kept hold of the axe as he stumbled back and into the waiting arm of Stacey. She gripped onto his trouser leg the moment his left foot slipped over the edge of the pipe.


      The commotion of peak-day traffic carried on below as the commuters were unaware of the dramatic confrontation being carried out above them on the tower. Bond reached up to the wire and pulled himself up, rubbing away the pain in his neck and steadying himself, looking out at Zorin who was being held back, giving Bond as much time as possible to focus. It didn’t last for long as Zorin shook the girl free, kicking out at her. Zorin threw the axe out again towards Bond, ducking back with the help of the handrail wires.



      As if rousing from a gentle sleep, Mortner slowly came to inside the dormant airship, the engines and motors still running and vibrating on full power. Scarpine was still out cold at the head of the cabin, and the air blew through the gaping hole where the entry door used to be. Mortner was a little confused initially, but as he brought up his monocle over his eye collecting his bearings, the sudden realization that his prodigal creation Max Zorin was outside on the bridge with the British spy. He moved towards the opening.



      A large cargo liner sounded its loud fog-horn as it passed slowly underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The horn would have been heard at the top of the bridge too, but Bond and Zorin were once more locked in a grapple with the axe, and each other, swaying to and fro, pushing each other against the wire railing in a vicious battle of strength. Mortner could do little but watch and pray that Zorin could win this fight.


      Bond threw Zorin back, letting go of the axe and quickly spreading both hands on either side of the railing. He leant out and delivered a powerful kick, using his hands as leverage. But Zorin saw it coming and leant back, avoiding the blow. He brought the axe around his body and swept at Bond’s legs, but again his momentum and balance on the wires helped him pull away from the blade, thanks to his positioning now above Zorin. And as his swing carried him too far over right, Bond swung back in and kicked his legs out from underneath, a tangle of limbs that threw them both off balance.


       Their feet gave way and slipped from the pipe. Bond swung out to the left and held onto the railing with both hands. Zorin was thrown out to the right and too held onto with only one hand, his face a picture of determination with the axe in the other. Seeing another chance at finishing off 007, Zorin brought up his right hand wielding the axe and brought it down towards Bond’s head. All Bond had to do was lean out briefly and the axe sailed past his face and locked onto the cable, thanks to the hooked shape of the sharp blade. Bond moved his hands from the wire to the wooden handle of the axe and held on, pulling down securely with his weight as it rested on the thick metal cable. His hands were now tight and red raw from the severe beating he had taken. Zorin held onto the axe grip as tight as he could with his other hand pressed hard on the pipe to stay on. The moment was on them both as to whom could get the upper-hand fist, and Bond saw his chance. Mortner saw it to, his face aghast.


      Pulling himself up with the axe, Bond knew he was physically higher that Zorin was, as his balance meant he was leaning further back to hold on to both the axe and the cable. With his grip secure on the axe, Bond swung up his leg and brought it down hard on Zorin’s wrist, immediately breaking his grip. There was nowhere else for Zorin to hold onto. He knew it was now over. Bond had no remorse for a killer sentenced to death, and he simply watched Zorin scrabble as best he could to reach something to hold onto. Acting as his own counterweight, his legs were hanging totally off the bridge and gradually pulling him down. His hands burned as he threw them across the steel pipe, fighting for a grip.


      “Max!” Mortner shouted out from the air-ship, his voice breaking, “Max!”


      Zorin knew he looked helpless in front of the British 007, and hearing the cry from the one father he’d ever known, the genius that was his creator, it cracked Zorin up. Everything else had gone wrong for him, and now this was simply laughable. He grinned to himself and let out a chesty laugh, looking out across the Bay, mesmerized on all his chances leading to this moment. His body was wrecked with exhaustion and panic. His strength gave up on him and his arms slipped from the pipe. Bond saw his face turned to fear as he fell.


      The birdge grew smaller. Sky blues and the orange paintwork blurred into one as Zorin fell backwards 736ft down to the waters below. He was weightless for seconds, and his voice gave out moments before he landed in the water, a sickening crack as he broke the water at fatal speed. Mortner collapsed against the side of the airship, his eyes teary as the chilling scream fell fainter with each second, until silence.


      Deathly silence.



#22 thecasinoroyale



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Posted 12 March 2013 - 04:09 PM

Chapter 21: From a View to a Kill


      “James!” Stacey saw the body of Zorin fall. Thankfully, Bond didn’t follow.


      Unhooking the axe and dropping it onto the pipe, Bond pulled himself under the cable and moved down towards where Stacey was balanced. The breeze picked up and cooled him down instantly, and he began enjoying the sensation of being so high up now the confrontation was over. The engines on the airship were the only sounds audible, bar the wind whipping around them and the muted traffic below. He leant down over the welded joint of the bridge tower and reached out for the frightened girl, her hair and blouse blowing in the wind.


      “Stacey, give me your hand,” Bond gave her a reassuring smile through a worn and weary face, dotted with dry blood from his wound and beaded sweat. She stretched up to him.


      With Zorin now dead, Bond had forgotten about the two remaining men in the airship, he hadn’t even registered Mortner at the makeshift opening. It was the sound of the gunshot and the following impact and spark on the pipe just inches from Bond that brought him suddenly back to reality. Mortner was aiming his Luger pistol and looking as psychotic as his deceased creation, his face twisted and mouth snarling in rage.


      “Get under the pipe!” Bond held onto the support and slid down closer to Stacey as she screamed. The bullets were fired with no precise aim, but impacted dangerously close to them both, clanging off the pipe and forcing them both keep still. Bond was laid out near horizontally on the pipe above Stacey, holding on and waiting for the bullets to deplete. The shots came fast; Bond counted down the bullets, praying none of them were a lucky. The gunshots soon stopped ringing out. Bond brought his head up from the safety of his arm and saw Mortner retreat back into the airship, dropping the gun out over the bridge


      “Ok, stay there.” Stacey nodded at Bonds order as he pulled himself up onto the pipe again and got to his feet, picking up the axe still resting on the joinery. He gripped it in his hand and hurried up over to the tower where he had tied the mooring rope.


      Scarpine was back on his feet, watching the proceedings from the cabin. He was stony faced, unaware of what to do and how to escape. Mortner pushed back into to airship and moved to a small cabinet on the back wall, turning a small handle clockwise and pulling the door open with ease. He reached inside, his mouth cracking a smile, to take the large bundle of 6 sticks of dynamite tied together with wire, stored alongside smaller sticks, envelopes of money and a couple of sub-machine gun ammunition clips. Scarpine watched the possessed doctor stagger forward with the explosives in hand, gazing upon it as if it were a precious stone. He held out the explosives with the long fuse protruding and brought out a red lighter from his jacket pocket. Flicking the spark wheel, the flame spat out and lit the fuse with a hiss and stream of embers as it began to burn down. Mortner smiled to himself and moved back to the opening, with Scarpine stood behind him avoiding the smoke fizzing from the explosive.


      Mortner held on to the underside of the cabin and leant outside, holding the explosives in his hand, the sparks fizzing from the fuse. His face was beaming in a twisted smile, his mind fixed on handing out a truly explosive death to the spy and the girl, the most gruesome revenge.


      “James, look out!” Stacey’s shout alerted Bond, now stood upright at the base of the tower, seeing the old man Mortner, now stood outside the airship, grinning and waiting for the fizzing short fuse to burn close before dropping the explosives on them. The axe was tight in his hands and Bond didn’t hesitate to swing the blade down against the mooring rope with his brute strength. Two hard strikes from the axe above the knot he had tied did the job. The rope gave way with a violent snap as Bond dealt the final blow and set the airship free. The continuous power from the engines was still in motion and the moment the mooring rope was free, the ship veered a hard right with full power behind it. The sudden movement knocked Mortner off his feet onto the cabin and back in the airship as it dislodged itself away from the bridge. Bond dropped the axe and quickly stepped down to Stacey on the bridge support.


      “Stacey, hold tight!” He shouted down as he once more took up a low flat position on the pipe, tucking himself in as tight as possible to protect himself from the forthcoming firework. He held tightly onto Stacey’s soft arm, praying one final time that they would make it off the bridge alive.


      The explosives rolled underneath the bank of seats in the cabin, the fuse burning down faster. Mortner was on his side, struggling to get up under the drifting movement of the airship. Scarpine was already on his knees reaching out for the explosives. He pushed harder and his hand wrapped around the bundle, getting warmer in his fingers. Mortner shouted out in frustration for the explosives as he turned over, reaching out to take hold of the bomb. Scarpine waved away the smoke billowing out in his eyes and hesitated with where to throw the explosives, and that was all that was needed for it to be too late.


      The fuse burnt out and the dynamite went off with a thunderous boom, ripping through the airship and incinerating everything and everyone inside in a split-second. The cabin itself evaporated in the resulting explosion and debris was spat out over the Bay, twisted chunks of plastic and metal. The Zorin Industries canvas itself turned black and instantly deflated from the explosion, now falling fast towards the waters below, thankfully with enough distance between them and the bridge. Bond and Stacey heard and felt the explosion without warning, and it took them a while before they squinted out in the daylight to see the crippled airship smoking and alight on fire, drifting down below them.


      “Stacey, are you there?” Bond could feel her, but just had to hear her.


      “You betcha,” She said, almost too casually for his liking.


       Bond pulled himself up onto the pipe and Stacey up from the foothold, now she was able to help him it was a far less effortless task than getting her down there.


      “Are you alright?”


      Stacey was breathless but unharmed, “Yes,” relaxing into his strong arms.


      They sat on the pipe, Bond holding one hand onto the handrail for safety and Stacey with the other. A questioning look crossed over his face, the wind whipping through his hair.


      “There’s never a cab when you want one.”


       Stacey giggled, breaking into a bright smile and leant her head on his chest. The ghostly shell of the Zorin Industries airship came to rest upon the water below, debris scattering across the Bay. The view was even more breath-taking now they were back together, alone and alive.



      Days after the death of Max Zorin and the liquidation of Zorin Industries, there had been an arranged meeting of super-powers inside the MI6 building in London with urgent priorities. The city continued to thrive outside, but it was inside the walls of the British Secret Service that the head of both Russian and British intelligence were locked in a heated debate. Not about the death of an ex-KGB General or the threat of a crippled global economy, but about the finer tastes of a glass of Malt Whisky from the Scottish Highlands, compared to the finest Stolichnaya vodka out of Russia. Inside M’s comfortable office, Sir Frederick Gray and M stood holding their drinks, looking on in pride as General Anatol Gogol produced a burgundy leather case from behind his back, embroidered with fine golden lining. Gray nodded in approval as Gogol slowly lifted the case open to reveal a shiny medal inside


      “The Order of Lenin for Comrade Bond,” Gogol beamed, “the first time ever awarded to a non-Soviet citizen.”


      The medal was affixed to a light orange and green ribbon, tucked in neatly to the black velvet case. Shining in the light, the medal had been inscribed with a historical image of the revolutionary figure of Vladimir Lenin and, no bigger than a coin, had small propagandist Russian dialect carved into the outline.


      Through his wry smile and after sipping his drink M said, “I’d have expected the KGB to celebrate if Silicon Valley had been destroyed.”


      “On the contrary Admiral,” Gogol smiled over his glass, giving a small toast, “where would Russian research be without it?”


      He broke into a chesty laugh. M and Gray joined in.


      “Is Commander Bond here? I’d like to thank him personally,” Gogol said smiling.


      M took a small breath, “Sadly he’s missing. We are continuing our search,” He paused, shaking his head, “but must presume the worst.”


      Next door, listening in through the silent intercom, Miss Moneypenny tried hard not to cry. After M finished, she hit the button, de-activating the intercom. She dabbed the tear running down her cheek with a silk handkerchief and rested her head on her frail, shaking hand.



      Across the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in the comfort of San Francisco’s lush Richmond District and surrounded by the cover of the green trees and the mid-day sun, Q sat in the back of a field surveillance van, on loan from the CIA, by way of a few phone calls and well placed contacts.


       The van looked like it belonged to a small parcel delivery firm, but inside was a different story. Q sipped a bottle of cold water as he sat hunched up on a small chair, fitted out with a mobile headset trailing wires from the receiving ear-piece. He was also surrounded by the latest surveillance gadgetry. It ranged from a computer monitor and tower, numerous recording devices, cassettes and audio recorders, and at least three television screens hooked up to discreet satellites on the roof of the van. His latest piece of equipment, the mobile surveillance robot, had infiltrated the residence of Miss Stacey Sutton, last known contact with Agent 007, thanks to reports left by Chuck Lee.


       Having been silently placed inside the front door by Q moments ago, thankfully with no one to greet him, the machine was now being controlled via remote control, moving across the downstairs area and following a strange trail of clues. A white stiletto shoe. A silk stocking. A white shirt. Q was no expert. Getting the surveillance robot inside the house had been difficult enough, but he knew what this trail meant. Following the clothes along the wooden floor, he squinted at the image on the screen. He drove the robot through a door left open ajar and carried on through following the trail. The image became somewhat hazier, and he noted a white dress and blue towel on the floor and recognized a hand basin, toilet and large ivory bathtub. He was in a downstairs bathroom.


       Operating the robot’s control, Q tilted the camera up and could finally make out a peach shower curtain draped across the bath with the recognizable head of James Bond kissing an attractive blonde woman. The earpiece picked up all of their giggling, laughing and whispering. Q sighed in quiet relief. A sudden chime of a phone call came through the van, and Q leant over and picked up the small receiver. It was the line from back in London.


      “Hello?” He banged the phone against his earpiece. Muttering, he pulled the earpiece up to make way for the phone, “Hello?”


      “Grandfather calling Q,” It was M, “what’s the position?”


      “007 alive.”


      “Where is he?” M sounded irritated, but unmistakably relieved, “what’s he doing?”


      Q glanced up at the steamy monitor. Bond was locked in a kiss with the girl but noticed the robot sat on the floor out of the corner of his eye.


“Oh just cleaning up a few details,” Q sighed almost to himself.


      Not breaking the kiss, Bond’s eyes went wide with surprise. Recognizing the gadget as the Quartermasters, he hooked took a towel from the rack above his head and threw it out to the floor. With a well-aimed shot, the towel landed over the robot’s creepy looking head and in turn turned Q’s monitor black.


      “Oh, James-” The dreamy sigh of the girl came through the earpiece, and even though he couldn’t see, Major Boothroyd had to look away embarrassed.


      All he could do now for 007, as usual, was to wait.



The End of 'A View To A Kill'



James Bond will return...