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Dec 21, 2012


I can't understand these kinds of games, and not getting it bugs me almost as much as me being weird

Operation Gladio run wild?


Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 21: This Can't Be Heaven


The tunnel was very long, its sides white. Bond wondered if he was back in the Arctic Circle. Then he was swimming. Warm and cold by turns. Voices. Soft music, and the face of a girl leaning over him, and calling his name, ‘Mr Bond . . . ? Mr Bond . . . ?’

The voice seemed to sing, and the girl’s face was truly beautiful. She had blonde hair and appeared to be surrounded by a halo. James Bond opened his eyes and looked at her. Yes, a blonde angel with a shining white halo.

‘Did I really make it? I couldn’t have. This can’t be heaven.’

The girl laughed. ‘Not heaven, Mr Bond. You are in hospital.’


‘In Helsinki. And there are people here to see you.’

He suddenly felt very tired. ‘Send them away,’ he said in a slurred voice. ‘I’m too busy now. Heaven is great.’ Then he retreated, back down the tunnel which had turned dark and warm.

He could have been asleep for hours, weeks, or months. There were no guidelines. But when Bond finally woke, he was conscious only of the pain down the right side of his body. The angel had gone. In her place a familiar figure sat quietly in a chair near the bed.

‘Back with us, 007?’ asked M. ‘How do you feel?’

The memories returned like a series of clips from an old movie. The Arctic Circle; snow scooters; Blue Hare; the Ice Palace; Paula’s observation post; the bombs; then the last hours in Helsinki. The eye of the Luger.

The incredible confusion of the last few chapters.


Bond swallowed. His mouth was very dry. ‘Not bad, sir,’ he croaked, then remembered Paula, prostrate on the bed. ‘Paula?’

‘She’s fine, 007. Right as rain.’

‘Good,’ Bond closed his eyes, recalling all that had happened. M remained silent. In spite of himself, Bond was impressed. It was rare enough for his boss to leave the safe confines of the building overlooking Regent’s Park. Eventually, Bond opened his eyes again. ‘Next time, sir, I trust you’ll give me a full and proper briefing.’

M coughed. ‘We thought it better for you to find out for yourself, 007. Truth is we weren’t sure about everyone ourselves. The general idea was to put you in the field and draw the fire.’

Fantastic. MI6 wasn't sure what to do so they just sent their dumbest agent into the field completely blind and hoped he could violence his way out.


‘There you appear to have been successful.’

The blonde angel came in. She was, of course, a nurse. ‘You’re not to tire him,’ she chided M in impeccable English, then disappeared again.

‘You stopped two bullets,’ M said, seemingly unconcerned. ‘Both in the upper part of the chest. No serious damage done. On your feet again in a week or two. I’ll see you get a month’s leave after that. Tirpitz was going to bring Tudeer to us, but you had no alternative in that situation.’ M, uncharacteristically, leaned over and gave Bond’s hand a fatherly pat. ‘Well done, 007, Good job well done.’

‘Kind of you, sir. But I was under the impression that Brad Tirpitz’s real name is Hans Buchtman. He was a crony of von Glöda’s.’

‘It was what I had to let you think, Jimmy.’ For the first time, Bond realised that Tirpitz was also in the room. ‘I’m sorry about the way it turned out. Everything went wrong. I had to stay with von Glöda. I guess I waited a hair too long. It was pure dumb luck that we weren’t killed with the rest. The Russian Air Force did some kind of number on us. Jesus Christ Almighty. It was the worst I’ve ever been in.’

Yep. Tirpitz was a good guy pretending to be a bad guy pretending to be a bad good guy.


‘I know. I watched it,’ said Bond, feeling, in spite of his condition, an irritation with the American. ‘But what about the whole Buchtman business?’

Tirpitz went into a lengthy explanation. About a year before, the CIA had instructed him to make contact with Aarne Tudeer, whom they suspected of doing arms deals with the Russians. ‘I met him in Helsinki,’ Tirpitz said. ‘I speak German well enough, and I had a phony background all set up, under Hans Buchtman. I got to know him under the name of Buchtman and insinuated myself as a possible arms source. I also dropped some pretty heavy hints that I bore a strong physical resemblance to a CIA guy called Brad Tirpitz. That was for insurance, and it paid off. I guess I’m one of the few people living who got to kill themselves, if you see what I mean.’

No, it's even worse! He was pretending to be a Nazi who killed himself and stole his own identity! And it's all being dropped in the last few pages!


The nurse returned with a large jug of barley water and warned them they only had another few minutes. Bond asked if he could have a martini instead. The nurse gave him an official smile.

‘There wasn’t a hell of a lot I could do about the torture, or getting you out any earlier,’ Tirpitz continued. ‘I couldn’t even warn you about Rivke, because I knew nothing. Von Glöda didn’t confide much, didn’t tell me about the hospital set-up until too late. And the information from my own people was pretty half-assed, to say the least.’

Half-assed indeed, Bond thought vaguely. Then he drifted off again, and when he came to, a few moments later, only M was in the room.

Passing out in annoyance at this writing.


‘We’re still rounding up the remnants, 007,’ M was saying. ‘The N-S-Double-A, We’ve scuttled them for good, I think.’ M sounded pleased. ‘I can’t see anyone else reactivating what’s left of it now – thanks to you, 007. In spite of the lack of information.’

‘All part of the service,’ Bond replied sarcastically.

But the remark ran off M’s back like water from the proverbial duck.

After M left, the nurse returned to make sure Bond was comfortable.

‘You are a nurse, aren’t you?’ he asked suspiciously.

‘Of course. But why, Mr Bond?’

‘Just checking.’ Bond managed a smile. ‘How about dinner tonight?’

Shut up, Bond.


‘You are on a restricted diet, but if you fancy something I’ll bring you our menu . . .’

‘I meant you – dinner with me.’

She took a step away from the bed and looked him full in the eyes. Bond thought she was built from a mould long broken. Rarely did they make figures like that any more. Only occasionally. Like Rivke. Or Paula.

‘My name’s Ingrid,’ the nurse said coolly. ‘And I’d love to have dinner with you as soon as you’re fully recovered. And I mean fully recovered. Do you remember what you said to me when you first became conscious after you were shot?’

Bond shook his head on the pillow.

‘You said, “This can’t be heaven.” Mr Bond – James – maybe I’ll show you it is heaven. But not until you’re quite better.’

No! Reject him!


‘Which will not be for a very long time.’ The voice came from the door. ‘And if anyone’s going to show Mr Bond what heaven Helsinki can be, it will be me,’ said Paula Vacker.

‘Ah.’ Bond smiled weakly. He had to admit that, even next to the impressive nurse Ingrid, Paula had the edge.

‘Ah, indeed, James. The minute I turn my back, there you are, getting shot at, flirting with nurses. This is my city, and while you’re here . . .’

‘But you were asleep.’ Bond gave a tired grin.

‘Yes, but I’m wide awake now. Oh James, you had me so worried.’

‘You should never worry about me.’

‘No? Well, I’ve arranged things. Your chief – he’s rather cute, by the way – he says I can look after you for a couple of weeks once they let you out of here.’

Is she calling M cute?


‘Cute?’ Bond said, incredulous. Then he put his head back, drifting off once more as Paula bent over to kiss him.

That night, in spite of all the memories – the Arctic, the terrors, the double and triple crosses – James Bond slept without dreams or nightmares.

He woke around dawn, then drifted into sleep again. This time, as always when content, he dreamed of Royale-les-Eaux. As it had been.

And that's it, and gently caress this book. I've never been more baffled and disappointed. After two books going absolutely bonkers early on, I was hoping this would break the mold. Gardner shot for the moon and landed among the stars of drunken confusion. Was he on a deadline? Did he take ketamine?

Bleh. After this weekend, we'll back with a new book that poses the question: what happens if Bond joins the bad guys?

I'm sure it'll be sensible.

High Warlord Zog
Dec 12, 2012

chitoryu12 posted:

Chapter 21: This Can't Be Heaven
Bleh. After this weekend, we'll back with a new book that poses the question: what happens if Bond joins the bad guys?

This already happened in The Man With the Golden Gun and was horrible

Dr. Sneer Gory
Sep 7, 2005

I really appreciate you doing these Let's Reads, because I doubt I have the patience to read the Gardener books on my own, whereas your inspired me to slowly work through the Fleming ones.

I still think that bio of Bond was the worst one of the non-Fleming so far, but this one was the most disappointing. I want to like Gardner, especially since he seems to do his research and updates the character and setting interestingly (although why he bothered with the whole 'the double 0 agents are disbanded' thing is a mystery, it seems to have had no effect on anything,) but he seems to start strong and then just run out of gas by the end.

The Gardener books do seem to have some influence from the films, which makes sense as more people are familiar with the film version of Bond and doesn't bother me much, a little silliness is ok and honestly Fleming wasn't immune to that either.

Icebreaker was a bummer tho, I wouldn't have minded all the craziness and triple crosses if they were spread out through the book more and didn't all bunch up at the end.

There is also the problem that if Bond didn't go on this mission everything would have turned out exactly the same, except maybe Arnë Whatever would have been captured not killed. He doesn't actually do anything except send messages of extremely quotidian info to M, which I'm pretty sure the first guy could do. Bond doesn't figure anything out or do anything of note except shoot a guy. He's stupidly credulous and distrusting for all the wrong reasons. Bond may be an idiot but he's not stupid, the dumb things he usually does are more exciting, like he figures out a double cross but deals with it dumbly but excitingly. I mean, say what you want about him, but he does stuff, the plot being M sends him in for him meander around and send back intel makes Bond act like and the setting recognize him for a plodder, which is not very interesting to read about.

As I said, I want to like Gardner but he's making it difficult. If he can become less 'oh poo poo word count got to wrap it up' I think these could be fun reads. Right now it's more like character assassination by a thousand cuts.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

There's no glamour to anything. It's all grit and plot twists, and there's a hundred better books to read if that's all you're after.

Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.

“Oh I guess this person is also pulling a double cross”

“Ok it was a triple cross”

It feels very much like the movies, where everyone is doing stuff for no reason (just so that something new can happen to/around Bond). It was bad, but bad with decent potential to have been good.

Dr. Sneer Gory
Sep 7, 2005

poisonpill posted:

“Oh I guess this person is also pulling a double cross”

“Ok it was a triple cross”

It feels very much like the movies, where everyone is doing stuff for no reason (just so that something new can happen to/around Bond). It was bad, but bad with decent potential to have been good.

Yeah, like upon reflection, why didn't Brad just tell Bond he was a double agent? The problem wasn't that he didn't have a chance or thought Bond might be compromised, it's just that it created a needless plot twist.

Gats Akimbo
May 28, 2007

Ignoring this post

Dr. Sneer Gory posted:

Yeah, like upon reflection, why didn't Brad just tell Bond he was a double agent? The problem wasn't that he didn't have a chance or thought Bond might be compromised, it's just that it created a needless plot twist.

Because Bond is so poo poo thick and incompetent he'd've inevitably told the wrong person and every single organisation that's ever worked with the UK knows that.

Apr 23, 2014

Remember that all things considered, Bond lost this one. He was captured, tortured, and effortlessly hoodwinked into spilling the beans into a microphone. The only reason there wasn’t a downer ending is that someone else burst in and saved the day at the last minute.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 1: Robbery With Violets


The robbery of security vans can take place at any time of the day, though, as a rule, the Metropolitan Police do not encounter hijackers attempting a quick getaway during the rush hour. Neither do they expect trouble with a cargo that is sewn up tight. Only a privileged few knew exactly when the Kruxator Collection would arrive in the country. That it was due to come to Britain was common knowledge, and you had only to read a newspaper to discover that March 15th was the day on which the fabled group of paintings and jewellery were to go on display – for two weeks – at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Kruxator Collection is called after its founder, the late Niko Kruxator, whose fabulous wealth arose from sources unknown, for he had arrived penniless in the United States at about the time of the Wall Street Crash in October 1929. By the time he died in 1977, most people thought of him as the Greek shipping magnate, but he still held his interest in Kruxator Restaurants, and the great international chain of Krux-Lux Hotels. He was also sole owner of the Kruxator Collection, which he left to the country of his adoption – all 300 paintings and 700 fantastic objets d’art, including three icons dating back to the fifteenth century, smuggled out of Russia at the time of the Revolution, and no less than sixteen pieces once owned by the Borgias: a collection beyond price, though insured for billions of dollars.

You can tell "Kruxator" is a name Gardner made up because the only other place it appears is in a death metal band.


The two-week London showing of the Kruxator Collection would be the last in its tour of European capitals before the whole consignment was returned to New York. Niko had been shrewd enough to leave an endowment for a gallery in which these priceless objects could be displayed. He wanted to be remembered, and had taken steps to make certain that his name would be linked with those of Van Gogh, Breughel, El Greco, Matisse, Picasso and others. Not that he was knowledgeable about art, but he could sense a fair bargain which would appreciate in value, and had acquired the collection as an investment.

A private security firm looked after the precious paintings, drawings and gems on a permanent basis, though host countries were expected to provide extra cover. Nobody was in any doubt that the two armoured vans that carried the exhibits were at constant risk. When the collection was on display, an elaborate system of electronics protected every item.

The cargo came into Heathrow on an unannounced 747 at six minutes past four in the afternoon. The Boeing was directed to an unloading bay far away from the passenger terminals – near the old Hunting Clan hangars, which still display the name of that company in large white letters.

That would be Hunting-Clan Air Transport, a private airline that began in 1946 under the Hunting Group and combined with the Clan Group investors in 1953. Their contract air services ended in 1960 when they were merged with Airwork Services to form British United Airways; the giant letters for their hangars remained into the 80s, incompletely removed.


The armoured vans were waiting. They had arrived by the sea route after depositing the collection the previous evening at the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Two unmarked police cars, each containing four armed plainclothes officers, were now in attendance.

The loaders were trusted employees of the Kruxator Agency who knew their task so well that the entire cargo was off the aircraft and packed into the vans in less than an hour. The unremarkable convoy, led by one of the police cars, the other taking up the rear, set off to make a circuit of the perimeter before joining the normal flow of traffic through the underpass and out on to the M4 motorway. It was just after five-fifteen and the light was beginning to go, with traffic starting to build up both in and out of the capital. Even so, within half an hour the procession would arrive at the end of the motorway where the road narrows to two lanes, taking vehicles on to what is dubiously known as the Hammersmith Flyover, and then into the Cromwell Road.

Later reports from the police cars – which were in touch by radio with the armoured vans – showed a certain amount of confusion during the early part of the journey. An eye-catching black girl, driving a violet-coloured sports car, managed to come between the leading car and the first van just as the convoy climbed the ramp on to the Flyover; while an equally striking white girl, in a violet dress, driving a black sports car, cut in between the second van and the police car in the rear.

Oh no, we're in a Tarantino movie!


At first nothing alarming was reported over the radios, though the police vehicles and the armoured vans were being separated even further by the manoeuvres of the two girls who had tucked the violet Lancia and the black Ferrari neatly into the convoy. The trailing police car made two efforts to overtake and get back into position but was thwarted by the Ferrari. Each time it either swung out to prevent the police car from getting in, or pulled over to allow other vehicles to overtake. The Lancia was carving up the front part of the convoy in a similar way. By the time they reached the Cromwell Road not only had the gap widened between the police cars and the armoured vans, but the two vans had also been parted.

The route had been chosen to ensure maximum security. The convoy was to swing left off the Cromwell Road and proceed into Kensington High Street, then turn right before Knightsbridge, reaching Exhibition Road via the one-way system so as to gain access to the rear of the Victoria and Albert Museum, well away from the exposed main entrance.

One police car had reached the Royal Garden Hotel, on the High Street side of Kensington Gardens, and the other was only just entering the far end of the High Street, when radio communications ceased.

The car in front broke all security regulations, activating its Klaxon and U-turning across a blocked mass of traffic to make its way back along Kensington High Street. The rear car, also in some panic, began to move aggressively. A chaos of honking, hooting vehicles was suddenly smothered in a thick pall of choking, violet-coloured smoke. Later, the drivers and shotgun riders of the two vans gave identical accounts of what happened: ‘The coloured smoke was just there. No warning, no bombs, nothing, just dense, purple smoke out of nowhere. Then everything in the cab went live, as though we’d developed some terrible electrical fault. When that happens you turn off the engine, but the shocks kept coming, and we knew we could be electrocuted. Getting out was a gut reaction . . .’

And that's about it for the robbery. By the time the smoke cleared, the two vans had vanished with the guards unconscious on the road, neatly lined up. The investigation hit a dead end, as the sports cars had completely fake number plates.


The Kruxator robbery was daring, exact, brilliant and very costly. The lack of progress made by the police investigating it remained in the headlines for the best part of a month. Even the sly comments suggesting a breach of security, and the sudden resignation of a senior member of the Secret Intelligence Service – by name, Commander James Bond – were relegated to a corner of page two and soon lost altogether to the public eye.

Jul 23, 2000

An eye-catching black girl, driving a violet-coloured sports car, managed to come between the leading car and the first van just as the convoy climbed the ramp on to the Flyover; while an equally striking white girl, in a violet dress, driving a black sports car, cut in between the second van and the police car in the rear.

Oh no, we're in a Tarantino movie!

Did anybody get a good look at their feet?

Dec 24, 2007

Gumby posted:

An eye-catching black girl, driving a violet-coloured sports car, managed to come between the leading car and the first van just as the convoy climbed the ramp on to the Flyover; while an equally striking white girl, in a violet dress, driving a black sports car, cut in between the second van and the police car in the rear.

Oh no, we're in a Tarantino movie!

Did anybody get a good look at their feet?

I guess the lady in the purple car had a white dress but Gardner forgot to mention it.

Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.

Liking the setup so far, so I can't wait to see how he drops the ball this time.

Also taking bets on whether Bond will be inhumanly competent or a complete fuckup this time.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

These kinds of high-value robberies have mostly gone out of fashion in the UK since the 90s, there's just too much money to be made far more easily and discreetly in the drugs trade. At the time, it would definitely have been a major press sensation; this book would have been published about 10 months after the Brink's Mat bullion robbery. The police response would also have been heavily scrutinised; not only is this coming close on the heels of Brink's Mat, it's only been seven years since the head of the Flying Squad and twelve of his officers were imprisoned for truly epic levels of corruption and collusion with the people they were supposed to be catching.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 2: Outer Darkness


In the beginning, Standing Orders were quite clear. Paragraph 12(c) instructed that,

Any officer classified as being on active duty who is subject to any alteration in private financial status will inform Head of A Section giving full details and providing any documentation that is thought either necessary or desirable by him.

Section A is, of course, Accounts, but confidential information – such as James Bond’s Australian legacy – automatically went personally to M, Records, and the Chief-of-Staff as well.

Ah, when he took out Irma Bunt and her genetically engineered carnivorous gerbils!


In the ordinary commercial world, Bond would have received numerous warm expressions of congratulation on his unexpected windfall. Not so in the Service. Those who work for Records are tight-lipped by tradition as well as training. Neither M nor Bill Tanner would think of bringing the matter up, for both were of the old school which rightly considered details of private money to be of a personal nature. The fact that they both knew would never stop them pretending they did not. It was, then, almost a shock when M himself mentioned it.

The months immediately prior to Bond receiving the news of his legacy had been dull with routine. He always found the paperwork part of his job debilitating and boring, but that summer – now eighteen months ago – was particularly irksome, especially as he had taken all his leave early, a mistake which condemned him to day after day of files, memos, directives and other people’s reports. As so often happened in Bond’s world there was absolutely nothing – not even a simple confidential courier job – to alleviate the drudgery of those hot months.

Then, early in the following November, came the legacy. It arrived in a thick manila envelope with a Sydney postmark, falling literally out of the blue with a heavy plop through his letter box. The letter was from a firm of solicitors who for many years had acted for the younger brother of Bond’s father, an uncle whom Bond had never seen. Uncle Bruce, it appeared, had died a wealthy man, leaving every penny of his estate to his nephew James, who hitherto had enjoyed little private money. Now his fortunes were drastically changed.

The whole settlement came to around a quarter of a million sterling. There was one condition to the will. Old Uncle Bruce had a sense of humour and decreed that his nephew should spend at least £100,000 within the first four months, in ‘a frivolous manner’.



Bond did not have to think twice about how he might best comply with such an eccentric proviso. Bentley motor cars had always been a passion, and he had sorely resented getting rid of the early models which he had owned, driven and loved. During the last year he had lusted after the brand new Bentley Mulsanne Turbo. When the will was finally through probate, he took himself straight down to Jack Barclay’s showrooms in Berkeley Square and ordered the hand-built car – in his old favourite colour, British Racing Green, with a magnolia interior.

Finally (if briefly) Bond returns to his old Bentleys. The Mulsanne was a limited production luxury car based on the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, with the Turbo only produced from 1982 to 1985. It fits the car's standard Rolls-Royce V8 with a turbocharger, giving it a 50% performance increase that makes the seemingly sedate vehicle perform like a sports car. A test by Motorsport Magazine found it to have a 0-60 MPH time of 7.5 seconds and could get to 130 MPH faster than a Jaguar XJ12. Combined with very light power steering, grippy tires, and powerful brakes, this is a proper 1980s successor to Fleming's preferred cars.


One month later, he visited the Rolls-Royce Car Division at Crewe and spent a pleasant day with the Chief Executive. He explained that he wanted no special technology built into the car apart from a small concealed weapon compartment and a long-range telephone which would be provided by the security experts at CCS. The Mulsanne Turbo was delivered in the late spring, and Bond, having put down the full price with the order, was happy to get rid of the remaining £30,000 plus by spending it on friends, mainly female, and himself in a spree of high living such as he had not enjoyed for years.

The lack of gadgets was reportedly a Bentley request to Gardner.


But 007 was not so easily brought out of the doldrums. He longed for some kind of action – a craving that he tried to curb with too many late nights, the excitement of the gaming tables, and a lukewarm affair with a girl he had known for years; a small romance that sputtered out like a candle flame after a few months. His period of lotus-eating failed miserably to remove the unsettled edgy sense that his life had lost both purpose and direction.

There was one week, in the late spring, when he found some pleasure with the Q Branch Armourer, Major Boothroyd, and his delectable assistant Q’ute, testing a handgun the Service was toying with using on a regular basis. Bond found the ASP 9mm, a combat modification of the 9mm Smith & Wesson, to be one of the most satisfying weapons he had ever used. But then the ASP had been constructed to specifications supplied by the United States Intelligence and Security Services.

The ASP is one of the guns of mythology, known more for its reputation than its usage. Most people today know it from its use as one of the basic handguns in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Because of its use by Bond, however, a number of hardcore Bond fans have bought these rare pistols and provided much more information about them than is normally known.

The ASP is a heavily modified Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol, generally a Model 39, based on a design by Paris Theodore originally for the Walther PPK or Browning Hi-Power. Theodore had tried to introduce the design to Smith & Wesson, but they rejected the sale potential of a subcompact 9mm and Theodore instead produced the guns on commission by people who provided them.

The slide, barrel, and frame are all shortened and have every corner smoothed to prevent snagging on clothes, the barrel is fully ramped and throated for more reliable feeding, the Smith & Wesson collet bushing is replaced by a fixed one, the trigger guard is hooked to allow the index finger of the supporting hand to help pull the gun back into the hand and control recoil, the metal is all coated in Teflon-S for durability, and the pistol is fitted with clear Lexan grip panels (to allow the user to see the remaining ammunition) and a unique Guttersnipe sighting system: a tapering U-channel with fluorescent yellow panels that will form 3 triangles pointing at the target when aligned properly. A customer-supplied pistol was modified by Armament Systems & Procedures for $475 and supplied with a patented magnetic dual magazine pouch for two 7-round magazines.

About 450 pistols are known to have been made. Pictured above is the "Quest for Excellence" special edition ASP, which was provided in a special leather book presentation case with a throwing knife and gold lapel pin. A handful of Model 59 double-stack pistols were submitted for conversion, but the widening of the frame resulted in the subsequent cut-down ASP frames to be weakened and suffer distortion when firing. The Lexan grip panels are also prone to cracking if the screws are overtightened. None of the guns are rated for +P ammunition and 9mm pistols of the exact same size are now commonly available on the market (with Smith & Wesson releasing the suspiciously similar Model 469 in 1983), leaving the ASP as a collector's curiosity.


In the middle of August, when London was crowded with tourists, and a torpor appeared to hang over the Regent’s Park Headquarters, there was a summons from M’s secretary, the faithful Miss Moneypenny, and Bond found himself in his chief’s office, with Bill Tanner in attendance. It was here, on the ninth floor, overlooking the hot, dusty park, that M surprised Bond by bringing up the matter of the Australian legacy.

Moneypenny was far from her usual, flirtatious self while Bond waited in the outer office. She gave the distinct impression that, whatever the cause of M’s summons, the news could not be good. The feeling was heightened once he was allowed into the main office. Bill Tanner was present, and both the Chief-of- Staff and M looked wary, M’s eyes not even meeting Bond’s and Tanner hardly turning to acknowledge his presence.

‘We have a pair of Russian ambulance chasers in town,’ M stated baldly and without emphasis once Bond was seated in front of his desk.

‘Sir.’ There was no other possible response to this opening gambit.

‘New boys to us,’ M continued. ‘No diplomatic cover, French papers, but definitely high quality ambulance chasers.’ The Head of Service was talking about Russian operatives whose specific task was to recruit potential informants and double agents.

‘You want me to put them on the first aircraft back to Moscow, sir?’ Bond’s spirits rose a little, for even that simple chore would be better than sitting around the office shuffling papers.

It appears that despite the Double-O section no longer existing, Bond's job has changed not one iota.


M ignored the offer. Instead he looked at the ceiling. ‘Come into money, 007?

That’s what I hear.’

‘A small legacy . . .’ Bond found himself almost shocked by M’s remark.

M raised his eyebrows quizzically, muttering, ‘Small?’

‘The ambulance chasers are high-powered professionals.’ Bill Tanner spoke from the window. ‘They’ve both had some success in other parts of the world – Washington, for instance – though there’s never been hard evidence.

Washington and Bonn. These fellows got in very quietly on both occasions, and nobody knew about them until it was too late. They did a lot of damage in Washington. Even more in Bonn.’

‘The orders to expel arrived after the birds had flown,’ M interjected.

‘So, now you know they’re here in the UK and you want some solid evidence?’ An unpleasant thought had crept into Bond’s mind.

Bill Tanner came over, dragging a chair with him so that he could sit close to Bond. ‘Fact is, we’ve got wind at an early stage. We presume they think we don’t know about them. Our brothers at Five have been co-operative for once . . .’

‘They’re here and active then?’ Bond tried to remain calm, for it was not like M or Tanner to beat about the bush. ‘You want hard evidence?’ he asked again.

Tanner took in a deep breath, like a man about to unburden his soul. ‘M wants to mount a dangle,’ he said quietly.

‘Tethered goat. Bait,’ M growled.

‘Me?’ Bond slipped a hand into his breast pocket withdrawing his gunmetal cigarette case.

"If they set a trap, you'd probably run right into it on purpose anyway."


‘By all means,’ said M in acknowledgment that Bond might smoke, and he lit one of his H. Simmons specials, bought in bulk from the old shop in the Burlington Arcade where they were still to be had.

‘Me?’ Bond repeated. ‘The tethered goat?’

‘Something like that.’

‘With respect, sir, that’s like talking of a woman being slightly pregnant.’ He gave a bleak smile. ‘Either I’m to be the bait, or I’m not.’

‘Yes.’ M cleared his throat, plainly embarrassed by what he was about to suggest. ‘Well . . . it really came to us because of your . . . your little windfall.’ He stressed the word ‘little’.

‘I don’t see what that’s got to do with it . . .’

‘Let me put a couple of questions to you.’ M fiddled with his pipe. ‘How many people know you’ve, er, come into money?’

‘Obviously those with need-to-know in the Service, sir. Apart from that only my solicitor, my late uncle’s solicitor and myself . . .’

‘Not reported in any newspapers, not bandied about, not public knowledge?’

‘Certainly not public knowledge, sir.’

M and Tanner exchanged glances. ‘You have been living at a somewhat extravagant pace, 007,’ said M, scowling.

Bond remained silent, waiting for the news to be laid on him. As he had thought, it was not good.

Tanner took up the conversation. ‘You see, James, there’s been some talk. Gossip. People notice things and the word around Whitehall is that Commander Bond is living a shade dangerously – gambling, the new Bentley, er . . . ladies, money changing hands . . .’

Goddammit Bond.


‘So?’ Bond was not going to make it any easier for them.

‘So, even our gallant allies in Grosvenor Square have been over asking questions – they do, when a senior officer suddenly changes his habits.’

‘The Americans think I’m a security risk?’ Bond bridled. ‘Damned cheek.’

"I've never done a risky thing in my life!"


M rapped on the desk. ‘Enough of that, 007. They have every right to ask. You have been acting the playboy recently, and that kind of thing always makes them suspicious.’

‘And if they get touchy, then there’s no knowing what thoughts are running through the minds of those watching from Kensington Gardens,’ said Tanner with a forced smile.

‘Rubbish,’ Bond almost spat. ‘They know me too well. They’ll ferret out the legacy in no time – if they’re interested.’

‘Oh, they’re interested all right,’ Tanner continued. ‘You haven’t noticed anything?’

Bond’s brow creased as he shook his head.

‘No? Well, why should you? They’ve been very discreet. Not a twenty-four-hour surveillance or anything like that, but our people on the street have reported that you’re under observation. Odd days, occasional nights, questions in unlikely places.’

Bond swore silently. He felt foolish. Even at home, behave as though you’re in the field, they taught. Elementary, and he had not even noticed. ‘Where’s this leading, then?’ he asked, dreading the answer.

Note that this is specifically a mistake Fleming's Bond did not make. In From Russia With Love, he's so suspicious about a TV man showing up unannounced that he starts contemplating if he needs to ask the service for a new flat.


‘To the dangle.’ Tanner gave a half-smile. ‘To a small charade, with you as the central character, James.’

Bond nodded. ‘Like I said, I’m going to be the bait.’

‘It seems reasonable enough.’ M turned his attention to his pipe. ‘The situation is ideal . . .’

This time Bond did explode, voicing his feelings with some force. It was the most stupid ploy he had ever heard of. No recruiting officer from any foreign agency would seriously consider him – and, if any did, their masters would put a blight on it in ten seconds flat. ‘You’re not really serious about this, are you?’ he ended lamely.

‘Absolutely, 007. I agree, on the face of it they’ll steer clear of you. But we have to look at the facts – they are more than interested already . . .’

‘Never in a thousand years . . .’ Bond started again.

‘We’ve already formulated the plan, 007, and we’re proceeding with it. Do I have to remind you that you’re under my orders?’

"Also you've helped me before on an extrajudicial execution in Canada, so I have you over a barrel here."


There were no options, and Bond, feeling the whole business was sheer madness, could only sit and listen to the dialogue as M and Tanner outlined the bare bones of the scheme, like a pair of theatrical directors explaining motivation to a rather dull actor.

‘At an appropriate moment we haul you in,’ said M with a sour smile.

‘Enquiry in camera,’ counterpointed Bill Tanner.

‘Making certain the Press are tipped off.’

‘Questions in the House.’

‘Hints of scandal. Corruption in the Service.’

‘And you resign.’

‘Giving the impression that, in reality, we’ve cast you into outer darkness. And if that doesn’t lure the ambulance chasers, then there’s something else in the wind. Wait and do as I say, 007.’

Yeah, the suspense from the first chapter's final line lasts less than one more chapter.


And so it had happened – though not because of the ambulance chasers, as they had told him. Rumours ran along the corridors of power; there was gossip in the clubs, tattle in the powder rooms of government departments, hints to the Press, hints by the Press, even questions in the House of Commons, and finally the resignation of Commander James Bond.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 3: Riotous Living


In the month before the Kruxator robbery Bond himself had been following a hedonistic routine. He stayed in bed until noon and ventured forth only in the evenings, to restaurants, clubs and gaming houses, usually with a pretty girl in tow. Since the Paymaster General’s lamentable performance in the House, attempting to make light of certain scandals associated with one of the Foreign Office’s field operators and to dismiss Opposition charges of a security coverup, the Press had, perhaps surprisingly, hardly approached Bond again. He had no contact at all with his former employers. In fact, they went out of their way to avoid him. One evening he found himself at the Inn on the Park seated only two tables from Anne Reilly, the attractive and talented assistant to the Armourer in Q Branch. Bond caught her eye and smiled but she merely looked through him as though he did not exist.

Gardner gives up on the whole "Q'ute" thing pretty quickly after trying to set her up as a recurring love interest.


Then, towards the end of April, around noon one mild, bright Thursday, the telephone rang in Bond’s flat. Bond, who had been shaving, grabbed at the handset, as though he would have liked to strangle the trilling.

‘Yes?’ he growled.

‘Oh!’ The voice was female, and surprised. ‘Is that 59 Dean Street? The Record Shop?’

‘It’s not 59 anything.’ Bond did not even smile.

‘But I’m sure I dialled 734 8777 . . .’

‘Well, you didn’t get it.’ He slammed the receiver back, irritated by what appeared to be a misrouted call.

At the time, 59 Dean Street was home to Good Earth Studios, a recording studio and record shop owned by Tony Visconti and managed by Paul Cartledge. Artists like T. Rex, David Bowie, Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy all recorded there and Visconti was Bowie's principle producer until his death. The studio still exists under the name Dean Street Studios and is home to many other small recording businesses thanks to a set of long-term rental agreements. A former shop manager posted a decade ago about some of his time running the record store portion for a few years before the events of this book, mentioning that Brian Blessed was a regular customer and celebrities as famous as Martin Scorsese were often seen.


Later in the afternoon, he telephoned his date, a favourite blonde stewardess with British Airways, to cancel their evening out. Instead of dinner for two at the Connaught, Bond went alone to Veeraswamy’s, that most excellent Indian restaurant in Swallow Street, where he ate a chicken vindaloo with all the trimmings, lingered over his coffee, then paid the bill and left on the dot of nine-fifteen. The magnificent uniformed and bearded doorman gave him a quivering salute, then loudly hailed a cab. Bond tipped the doorman and gave the driver his home address, but at the top of St James’s he paid off the taxi and set out on foot, to follow an apparently aimless route, turning into side streets, crossing roads suddenly, doubling back on himself a number of times, loitering at corners, making certain he was not being followed.

Veeraswamy, at 99-101 Regent Street, is still in operation and has the prestige of being the oldest Indian restaurant in the United Kingdom. It was opened in 1926 by Edward Palmer, the son of a British general and a reputed Indian princess who became an officer in the British Indian Army himself. The restaurant led to a separate food business under the Veeraswamy brand, which sold the first canned curry in the UK.

Despite its prominence in British culture, and his willingness to try far more exotic cuisine on his travels, this is the first time Bond has eaten Indian food! The English East India Company had maintained dominion over a significant part of the Indian subcontinent from 1757 to 1858, when the British government stepped in and took over until 1947. In addition to areas administered directly by British government officials, there were 565 "princely states" by 1947 ruled by locals under British guidance.

The imperial control over this region led to a trickle of foreign culture into the islands. Clothing styles like khaki uniforms (now mostly in pants form today) and cummerbunds came from returning soldiers and politicians who had adapted to the local climate and customs, but most prominent was food. Curry had become so popular that Hannah Glasse's 1747 edition of The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy includes a recipe for it, though obviously these were much more mild than their authentic Indian counterparts (I've seen Glasse's recipe compared to a modern butter chicken) and generally used commercial curry powder to speed things along. Other dishes like kedgeree, Mulligatawny soup, and chutney became so embedded in British cuisine that many don't even acknowledge their Indian roots. Whole new Anglo-Indian dishes that are mistaken for authentic have also come into existence, like Chicken Tikka Masala (which was possibly made by a Bangladeshi chef in the 60s or 70s).

The funny part about this is that vindaloo is a Portuguese colonial dish. A traditional Portuguese dish is carne de vinha d'alhos, a heavily spiced dish of meat marinated in garlic and vinegar or wine. The Portuguese colonized the Goa region of India in the 16th century and introduced their native cuisine to the locals, who adapted it into a notoriously hot dish with Indian seasoning and lots of imported American chili pepper. This became so popular once it hit the UK that it's now considered a standard Indian restaurant dish, but it's often just a standard restaurant curry with more chili and the addition of vinegar and potatoes now (as is the chicken vindaloo I ordered today to eat while typing this). The original recipe from Goa also uses pork, but chicken, goat, and lamb are the most common now.


Eventually, clinging to this devious routine, he ended up in a doorway near St Martin’s Lane. For two minutes Bond stood looking up at a lighted window across the road. At precisely ten o’clock the oblong of light turned black, then lit again, went black, lit and stayed on.

Quickly Bond crossed the road. He disappeared through another doorway, took a narrow flight of stairs, went across a landing and up four more steps to a door labelled Rich Photography Ltd. Models available. When he pressed the small button to the right of the lintel the chimes associated with a well-known brand of cosmetics ding-donged from far away inside. There were faint footsteps and the click of bolts being drawn.

The door opened to reveal Bill Tanner who nodded, indicating that Bond should enter. He followed Tanner along a small passage, its paintwork peeling and with a cloying smell of cheap scent hanging in the air, and through the door at the far end. The room was very small and cluttered. A bed partially masked by a hideously patterned coverlet stood in one corner, and a mangy teddy bear lounged on a bright orange, heart-shaped imitation silk nightdress case. A small wardrobe faced the bed, its door half open, displaying a pathetic row of women’s clothes. The tiny dressing table was crammed with bottles and jars of cosmetics. Above a popping gas fire, a print of The Green Lady looked down from a plastic frame upon a pair of easy chairs which would not have been out of place in a child’s Wendy house.

The painting is officially called Chinese Girl, and was painted in 1952 by Vladimir Tretchikoff. Born in 1913, Tretchikoff's family fled the Russian Revolution for Harbin, a northeast Chinese city that became such a major enclave for fleeing Whites after the Bolshevik victory that it was practically a Russian city plopped in the middle of Heilongjiang. He became a scenic painter for the opera house and moved to Shanghai, then to Singapore with a fellow Russian émigré wife. He worked as a propaganda artist for the British Ministry of Information, being captured after his evacuation ship was bombed and spending months in solitary confinement in a Japanese prison camp, and by 1946 made it to South Africa to reunite with his wife and daughter.

This is why we have a painting of a Chinese girl by a Russian man sitting in a British government office. Chinese Girl was one of the best-selling prints of the 20th century, to the point of appearing in a Monty Python episode. The infamous band Chumbawamba used it as their cover art for their 1990 album Slap!


‘Come in, 007. Glad to see you can do simple mathematics.’ The figure in one of the chairs turned, and Bond found himself looking into the familiar cold grey eyes of his Head of Service.

Tanner closed the door and crossed to a table on which were set several bottles and glasses.

‘Good to see you, sir,’ Bond said with a smile, holding out a hand. ‘Seven and three equals ten. Even I can manage that.’

‘Nobody in tow?’ the Chief-of-Staff asked anxiously, sidling towards the window which Bond had viewed from the far side of the street.

‘Not unless they’ve got a team of a hundred or so footpads and about twenty cars on me. The traffic’s as thick as treacle tonight. Always bad on Thursdays – late night shopping, and the commuters staying up to meet their wives and girlfriends.’

The telephone gave a good old-fashioned ring and Tanner got to it in two strides.

‘Yes,’ he said, then, again, ‘Yes . . . Good . . . Right.’ Replacing the receiver, he looked up with a smile. ‘He’s clear, sir. All the way.’

‘I told you . . .’ Bond began, but Tanner cut him short with an invitation to take a gin and tonic with them. Bond scowled, shaking his head. ‘I’ve had enough alcohol to float several small ships in the past few weeks . . .’

‘So we all noticed,’ M grunted.

"For your entire career, 007."


‘Your instructions, sir. I could remind you that I said at the outset nothing would come of it. Nobody in our business would even begin to believe I’d left the Service, just like that. The silence has been deafening.’

M grunted again. ‘Sit down, 007. Sit down and listen. The silence has not been so deafening. On the contrary, the isle is full of noises, only you have been on a different frequency. I’m afraid we’ve kept you in the dark, but it was necessary – that is, until we had established to the various intelligence communities that you were persona non grata as far as we’re concerned. Forget what we told you during our last meeting. Now we have the real target. Look at this picture – and at this, and this.’

Like an experienced poker player, M laid out three photographs, of one man and two women.

‘The man,’ he said at last, ‘is presumed dead. His name was Dr Jay Autem Holy.’ M’s finger touched one photograph, then moved on to the next. ‘This lady is his widow, and this’ – the finger prodded towards the third photograph – ‘this is the same lady. Looks so different that should her husband come back from the dead, which is on the cards, he would never recognise her.’ M picked up the final photograph. ‘She will give you the details. In fact, she’ll give you a little training as well. She answers to the name of Proud. Persephone Proud. Ms.’

Proud was plump, with mousy brown hair, thick-lensed spectacles, thin lips and a sharp nose too big for her rather chubby face. At least that was how she looked in the photograph taken some years ago when she was married to Jay Autem Holy. M maintained that Bond would not recognise her now either. That did not surprise him when he studied the third photograph.

We will assume that Ms. Persephone Proud is now stereotypically hot.


‘You’re sending me on another course?’ Bond mused rather absently without looking up.

‘Something like that. She’s waiting for you now.’


‘In Monaco. Monte Carlo. Hotel de Paris. Now listen carefully, 007. There’s a good deal for you to absorb, and I want you on the road early next week. You must, naturally, still consider yourself as one cast into outer darkness. But this is what we, together with our American cousins, planned from the start.’

M talked earnestly for about fifteen minutes, allowing no interruptions, before Bond was escorted through another elaborate security routine to get him safely clear of the building and on his way home in a taxi without being followed. Not for the first time, Bond had been given another life, a double identity. But of the many dubious parts he had played for his country, this was to appear more than any as a role of dishonour.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 03:08 on Mar 27, 2021

Oct 9, 2012

Autem ("however" in Latin) was slang for a church in British "thieves' cant." An "autem bawler" was a priest, for instance; some dictionaries I've seen say the term was specifically used to mean a con artist who posed as clergy to bilk people out of donations. So Jay Autem Holy is trying rather too hard to be a quirky, unusual Jamesbondish name -- especially since Jay inevitably reminds me of Jay Gatsby, which I doubt is the association Gardner was going for.

Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.

Accordion seems completely absurd but it works here.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 4: Proud Percy


Bond particularly enjoyed the drive through France, down to the South, for it was the first time he had been able to let the huge Mulsanne Turbo off the leash. The car seemed to revel in the business of doing its job with perfection. Bentley had certainly produced another true thoroughbred from their stable. The Mulsanne pushed its long, elegant snout forward, and then, like some runner in peak condition, gathered itself together, effortlessly reaching well in excess of the 100 miles per hour mark and eating up road without fuss or noise, as if it were floating over the tarmac on a silent cushion of air.


Bond had left London early on the Monday morning, and he had been told Ms Proud would be in the Casino each evening, from the Tuesday, between ten and eleven.

At a little after six on Tuesday the Mulsanne slid into Monaco’s Place Casino, and up to the entrance of the Hotel de Paris. It was a splendid, clear spring evening, with hardly a breath of wind to stir the palm trees in the gardens which front the Grand Casino. As he switched off the ignition, Bond checked that the small hidden weapon compartment below the polished wooden dashboard to the right of the wheel, was locked and that the safety key was turned on the powerful Super 1000 telephone housed between the front seats. Stepping out, he glanced around the Place, nostrils filling with a mixture of mimosa, heavy French tobacco and the soft sea air.

Unfortunately, I think Bond is referring to the mimosa flower. We're not that close to brunch yet.


Monte Carlo, like the neighbouring cities and towns along the Côte d’Azur, had a smell that was all its own. Bond reckoned a fortune could be made if someone could only bottle it, to provide nostalgic memories for those who had known the principality in its heyday. For the one-time gambling legend of Europe was no longer the great romantic fairytale place remembered by those who had won, and lost, fortunes and hearts there. The package holiday, the weekend break and the charter flight had put an end to that. Monaco managed to keep up its veneer of sophistication only through the presence of its royal family and the high prices speculators, hoteliers, restaurateurs and shopkeepers charged. Even those had not created a safe buffer against some of the more garish encroachments of the 1980s. On his last visit, Bond had been horrified to find one-armed bandits installed in the exclusive Salles Privées of the Casino. Now he would not be surprised if there were space invader games there as well.

We do get a reference to arcade games, though!

Monte Carlo is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco, a sovereign city state on the southern coast of France. Monaco can attribute its modern day fame and success to one thing: gambling. Princess Caroline, wife of Prince Florestan I (and de facto ruler of Monaco, as Florestan was an actor who had no idea how to run a principality), proposed opening a casino in the 1850s to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy after other regions went independent and stopped paying taxes. The casino and the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo fully opened in 1863, named after their son Prince Charles III. The resort was further expanded and improved in the 1870s with the aid of Charles Garnier, architect of the Palais Garnier, and Monte Carlo was now a resort destination.

Until recently, Monte Carlo was the only source of income for Monaco. The Climax! TV adaptation of Casino Royale with Barry Nelson changed the setting to this casino, and it appeared in Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye. The ward surrounding the casino has a permanent population of about 3500, almost all of whom exist to keep the resort going. Ian Fleming had visited the city for his Thrilling Cities book, but found it somewhat seedy by the 1950s. Since the city basically exists to take tourists' money to support an entire sovereignty, it's no surprise that slot machines would start popping up everywhere.


His room faced the sea and, before taking a shower and preparing for the evening, he stood on the balcony, looking out at the twinkling lights and sipping a martini. For a moment he wondered if it were possible to recapture the sounds and laughter of former, brighter days.

After a modest dinner – chilled consommé, grilled sole, and a mousse au chocolat – he went down to check the car, then walked over to the Casino, paid the entrance fee to admit him to the fabled Salles Privées and bought 50,000 francs’ worth of chips – around £4,000 sterling.

A modest dinner, but not a modest visit to the casino. That's about $18,000 today.


There was play at only one of the tables. As Bond crossed the floor, he saw Persephone Proud for the first time. M had understated the case when he said even her husband would not recognise her. Bond, who had hardly credited the ‘after’ photograph, as M had called it, found it difficult to believe that this woman, undeniably the one from that photograph, could ever have been either plump or mousy.

She stood, bare-shouldered, her back against the bar, a tall, almost willowy figure, head tilted, small breasts thrusting into relief against the flimsy material of her blue dress. Long ash-blonde hair just touched the tanned skin at the nape of her neck, and her light blue-grey eyes, twinkling with amusement, were intent on the play at the table. A half-smile hovered around her mouth, full lips having replaced the original, while the angular nose was now almost a snub.

Fascinating, Bond thought. Fascinating to see what strict diet, a nose job, contact lenses and a dedicated course of beauty treatment could accomplish.

Some very great thoughts on female beauty from Gardner here.


He did not pause on his way to the table, where he took a seat, acknowledging the croupier, and studying the game for three turns before dropping 25,000 francs on Impair.

The croupier called an almost ritual ‘Faites vos jeux’. All eyes watched, as the little ball bounced into the spinning wheel.

Rien ne va plus.’ Bond glanced at the three other players – a smooth, American-looking man, late forties, blue-jowled and with the steely look of a professional gambler; a woman in her early seventies, he judged, dressed in last season’s fashions; and a heavy-set Chinese whose face would never give away his age. Everyone followed the wheel now as the ball bounced twice and settled into a slot. ‘Dix-sept, rouge, impair et manque,’ the croupier intoned in that particular plainchant of the tables. Seventeen, red, odd and low.

Roulette is actually the very first game Bond ever plays in the series: his introduction on the first page of Casino Royale has him stepping away from the table, and the narration uses a second session to discuss the gambler's fallacy.


The rake swung efficiently over the green baize, taking in the house winnings, and pushing out plaques to the winners, including Bond, whose Impair bet had netted him even money. At the call, he again placed 25,000 on Impair. Once more he won, eleven coming up. Impair for a third time, and the ball rolled into fifteen. In three turns of the wheel, Bond had made 75,000 francs. He was playing the easy way, high stakes for even returns. The other players were betting complex patterns – A Cheval, Carré, and Colonne – which made for higher odds. Bond pushed the whole of his 75,000 francs on to Pair and fourteen – red came up. Stake plus 75,000 francs. Time to call it a night. He flipped a 5,000 franc chip across the table, muttering ‘Pour les employés,’ and pushed back the chair. There was a little squeal as it touched the girl’s legs, and Bond felt liquid run down his left cheek where her drink spilled. It was a natural enough incident, for the Englishman had not sensed her standing behind him. The move had been carefully pre-arranged far away in London, in the safe flat near St Martin’s Lane.

‘I’m terribly sorry . . . Pardon, madame, je . . .’

‘It’s okay, I speak English.’ The voice was pitched low, the accent clear and without nasality. ‘It was my fault, I shouldn’t have been standing so close. The game was very . . .’

‘Well, at least let me get you a fresh drink.’

Bond finished drying his face and took her elbow, steering her towards the small bar. One of the dinner-jacketed security men smiled as he watched them go. Hadn’t he seen women pick up men like this many times? No harm in it, as long as the women were straight, and this one was an American visitor. Silently he wished them luck.

‘Mr . . . ?’ She raised her champagne cocktail to his.

‘James Bond. My friends call me James.’

What? That's not your intro at all!"


‘And mine call me Percy. Persephone Proud’s too much of a mouthful.’

Bond’s eyes smiled over the rim of the glass. ‘Percy Proud,’ he said, an eyebrow cocked, ‘I’ll drink to that.’

Percy was a relaxed young woman, an easy communicator blessed with a sense of humour, and of the ridiculous.

‘Okay, James . . .’ they were at last seated in her room at the Hotel de Paris, armed with champagne cocktails ‘. . . down to details. How much have you been told?’

And we're suddenly in a completely different location!


‘Very little.’ She’ll give you the fine print, M had said. Play up to her; trust her; let her teach you. She knows more about all this than anyone.

‘You’ve seen this picture?’ She extracted a small photograph from her handbag. ‘I just have to show it to you and then destroy it. I don’t want to be caught with it on me.’

The photograph was a smaller print of the one they had shown Bond in the St Martin’s Lane flat.

‘Jay Autem Holy,’ Bond said. The man looked very tall, his thinning hair failing to disguise a domed head, and he had a large, beaky nose.

Ah, the Scientist Look.


Doctor Jay Autem Holy,’ she corrected.

‘Deceased. And you are the widow – though I wouldn’t have recognised you after some of the photos I’ve seen.’

She gave a quick, infectious giggle. ‘There have been some changes made.’

‘I’ll say. The other identity would not have been attractive in black . . . You’d look good in anything.’

"I remember when you were ugly!"


‘Flattery could get you everywhere, James Bond. But I don’t really think Mrs Jay Autem Holy ever needed widow’s weeds. You see, he never died.’

‘Tell me.’

She began with the story already told by M. Over a decade before, while Dr Jay Autem Holy had been working solely for the Pentagon, a US Marine Corps Grumman Mohawk aircraft had crashed into the Grand Canyon. Dr Holy and a General Joseph (‘Rolling Joe’) Zwingli were the only passengers.

‘You already know that Jay Autem was way ahead of his time,’ she said. ‘A computer whizz-kid long before most people had heard of computers. He worked on very advanced programming for the Pentagon. The airplane went down in a most inaccessible place – wreckage dumped deep into a gully. No bodies were ever recovered, and Jay Autem had a nice bundle of significant computer tapes with him when he went. Naturally they were not recovered either. He was working on a portable battle-training program for senior officers, and had almost perfected a computerised system for anticipating enemy movements in the field. His work was literally invaluable.’

‘And the General?’

‘Rolling Joe? A nut. A much-decorated and brave nut. Believed the United States had gone to the dogs – the commie dogs. Said openly there should be a change in the political system, that the army should take control. He figured politicians had sold out, morals had gone to pieces, people had to be made to care.’


Bond nodded. ‘And I gather Dr Holy had a nickname – like Rolling Joe was Zwingli’s nickname.’

She laughed again. ‘They called Zwingli “Rolling Joe” because in World War Two he had this habit of air-testing his B17 Flying Fortress by rolling it at a thousand feet.’

Don't do this, by the way.


‘And Dr Holy?’ he prompted.

‘His colleagues, and some of his friends, called him “The Holy Terror”. He could be a tough boss.’ Percy paused, before adding, ‘And a tough husband.’

‘Late husband.’ Bond gave her a close, unblinking look and watched her drain the last of her champagne cocktail and place the glass carefully on a side table as she slowly shook her head.

She literally just told you he didn't die!


‘Oh no,’ she said softly. ‘Jay Autem Holy did not die in that airplane wreck. A few people have known that for some years. Now there’s proof.’

‘Proof? Where?’ He led her towards the moment for which M had prepared him.

‘Right on your own doorstep, James. Deep in the heart of rural England. Oxfordshire. And there’s more to it than that. You remember the Kruxator robbery in London? And the £20 million gold bullion job?’

Bond nodded.

‘Also the £2 billion hijack? The British Airways 747 taking foreign currencies from the official printers in England to their respective countries?’

‘Of course.’

‘You remember what those crimes had in common, James?’

He waved his gunmetal cigarette case at Percy, who declined with an almost imperceptible gesture of the hand. Bond was surprised to find the case being returned to his pocket unopened. His forehead creased.

‘All large sums,’ he said. ‘Well-planned . . . Wait a minute, didn’t Scotland Yard say they could almost be computerised crimes?’

‘That’s it. You have the answer.’

‘Percy - ’ there was an edge of puzzlement in Bond’s voice – ‘what are you suggesting?’

‘That Dr Jay Autem Holy is alive and well, and living in a small village called Nun’s Cross, just north of Banbury in your lovely Oxfordshire. Remember Banbury, James? The place where you can ride a cock-horse to?’ Her lips tightened a little. ‘Well, that’s where he is. Planning criminal operations, and probably terrorist ones as well, by computer simulations.’

This nursery rhyme dates to the 18th century. Banbury even has a statue of the lady on her horse.



‘Well . . .’ Again a pause. ‘To say that no bodies were recovered in the airplane is not quite true. They got out the pilot’s remains. There were no other bodies. Intelligence, security and police agencies have been searching for Jay Autem Holy ever since.’

‘And suddenly they found him in Oxfordshire?’

‘Almost by chance, yes. One of your Special Branch men was in that area on a completely different case. He was on to a pair of well-known London crooks.’

‘And they led him to . . . ?’

Percy got up and slowly began to pace the room.

‘They led him to a small computer simulations company called Gunfire Simulations, in the village of Nun’s Cross, and there he sees a face from the files. So he goes back and checks. The face is Dr Jay Autem Holy’s. Only now he calls himself Professor Jason St John-Finnes – pronounced Sinjon-Finesse: finesse, as in the game of bridge. The name of the house is Endor.’

‘As in Witch of?’

As in Battle of?

Yes, George Lucas took the name "Endor" (accidentally or otherwise) from the Witch of Endor, a character in the Hebrew Bible who was consulted to contact the spirit of Samuel for advice in battle against the Philistines. Medieval and Early Modern theologists found this passage rather troubling for its implications regarding magic and necromancy. It's an appropriate choice for a dead man doing combat simulations.



Percy paused in her pacing and leaned on the back of Bond’s armchair, her arm brushing his ear. He could not at that moment bring himself to turn his head and look up into the face above his shoulder.

‘They even have chummy little weekend war games parties there and a lot of strange people turn up,’ Percy continued. She moved away and dropped on to a couch, drawing her long slender legs up under her.

‘Trouble was, none of this happened to be news to the American Service. You see, they’ve been keeping an eye on that situation for some time. Even infiltrated it, without telling anyone.’

Bond smiled. ‘That would please my people no end. There are rules about operating on other countries’ soil and . . .’

‘As I understand it,’ Percy interrupted in a husky, drawling voice, ‘there were what is known as frank and open discussions.’

‘I’ll bet!’ Bond thought for a moment. ‘Are you telling me that Jay Autem Holy – strongly prized by the Pentagon and missing, believed dead – just managed to settle in this village, Nun’s Cross, without benefit of disguise or cover, except for some new identity papers?’



Percy stretched out her legs and laid back almost full length on the couch, brushing the floor languidly with her hand.

‘Not an easy man to disguise,’ she said. ‘But yes, that’s exactly what he’s done. Mind you he rarely goes out, he’s hardly ever seen in the village. His so-called wife deals personally with business, and those he genuinely employs just think he’s eccentric – which he is. A great deal of ingenuity and a lot of money went into fixing up Jay Autem’s hideaway.’

Slowly, many of the things M had said back in London started to make sense. As though dawn had suddenly broken, Bond said, ‘And I’m the one who’s supposed to join that happy band of brothers?’

‘You’ve got it in one.’

‘And just how am I supposed to do that? Walk in and say, Hi there, my name’s James Bond, the famous renegade intelligence officer: I’m looking for a job?’

It was Bond’s turn to get up and pace the room,

‘Something like that,’ Percy drawled softly.

They're tailoring their plots to Bond's intelligence now!


‘Good God!’ Bond’s face tightened in anger. ‘Of all the hare-brained . . . Why would he want to employ me, anyway?’

‘He wouldn’t.’ She gave a flicker of a smile and sat up, suddenly very alert and earnest. ‘He’s got enough staff to run the Gunfire Simulations business all legal and above board. And are they screened! It makes the British positive vetting look like a kid’s crossword puzzle. Believe me, I know. He has to be certain, because that side of things is absolutely straight.’ She took a little breath, turning her head slightly, like a singer swinging away from the microphone. ‘No, James, he wouldn’t think of employing you but there are people he works with who just might find you a great temptation. That’s what your people are banking on.’

‘Mad. Absolute madness! How?’ Bond was really angry again.

‘James,’ she said soothingly, standing up and taking both his hands in hers. ‘You have friends at the court of King St John-Finnes – well, an acquaintance anyhow. Freddie Fortune. The naughty Lady Freddie.’

‘Oh Lord!’ Bond dropped Percy’s hands and swung aside. Once, some years ago, Bond had made the error of cultivating the young woman Percy had just mentioned. In a way he had even courted her, until he discovered that Lady Freddie Fortune, darling of the gossip columnists, suffered from a somewhat slapdash political education, which had placed her slightly to the left of Fidel Castro.

Hahahaha he broke up with a girl because she was a communist!


‘You too will have to study, James. That’s why you’re going to be here, with me. To get an entrée into Endor you must know something about the job they do at Gunfire Simulations. How much do you really know about computers?’

Bond gave a sheepish smile. ‘If you put it like that, the technicalities only.’

Had he been asked, computers were the last thing he wanted to discuss just then with the strangely alluring and unsettling Persephone Proud.

Dec 24, 2007

I guess Gardner dropped the Qute character so he could have 007 get schooled by and subsequently bone a different smart girl in every book.

Apr 23, 2014

At the very least it's better than Christopher Wood having Bond constantly mock the idea of a woman ever managing to earn a doctorate in a time when they were a significant portion of all existing doctors.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 5: War Game


With a lucidity born of his years in the Service, Bond outlined to Percy the way a microcomputer works, as they both sauntered about the room in almost a ritual dance, carefully avoiding one another. A complex electronic tool designed to perform particular tasks when a series of commands are read into its two memories, he recited tonelessly, like a schoolboy reeling off Latin declensions to an indulgent master. A machine which could keep records and work out financial problems one minute, process data the next, receive and transmit information over thousands of miles in a matter of seconds; which would design your new house, or allow you to play complicated games, make music, or display moving graphics. A miracle with an ever-growing memory, but only as good as the program it is given.

We've seen lots change in the Bond experience over the decades of reading we've done, but nothing has changed more than the center of this book: computers.

A good example of the kind of computer in use in 1952, when Ian Fleming first created James Bond, was the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC) at the University of Cambridge. It was the second electronic digital stored-program computer (meaning you could give it programs that you wrote instead of needing to rewire the whole drat thing to change its functions) to go into regular service, after the Manchester Baby in 1948. This room-sized monstrosity had a memory of 1024 17-bit words by 1952 (about 1 kilobyte) in the form of temperature-stabilized mercury delay lines that could only have the memory accessed sequentially. Five-hole punched tape was used for input, and a teleprinter for output.

The EDSAC was almost exclusively used for crunching numbers to help university researchers in calculations, but it's also possibly the computer that held the world's first video game. In 1952, Alexander Shafto "Sandy" Douglas programmed a simple tic-tac-toe game as part of a thesis on human-computer interaction, which you can play today on a simple emulator. The player used a rotary telephone controller to select one of nine squares, causing their X or O to appear on the cathode ray tube screen. The computer would then logically respond with a proper move. Because it was only intended as a research project, the game was quickly removed from the hardware and EDSAC was disassembled in 1958.

Meanwhile, IBM on the other side of the pond pioneered high-speed magnetic tape as a memory storage device. The IBM 701 could use the IBM 726 magnetic tape storage system, replacing the 72 or 144 vacuum tubes and their memory capacity of about 9 kilobytes with 4 reels of tape, increasing the memory to an unprecedented 1 megabyte. The computer could be rented for $850 a month, over $8000 today.

The intervening time would also see the most important invention in modern electronics: the transistor. It was discovered in 1947 that a semiconductor material like pure silicon, with an electric current applied to it, could amplify a signal so the output was higher than the input. John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley at Bell Labs would perfect the technology and earn the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for it. The further development of the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) by Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng (made by coating a silicon wafer with an insulating layer of silicon oxide to allow electricity to reach it more reliably) allowed for extreme miniaturization of transistors. Formerly bulky electronic devices could now be shrunk down and made much less expensive, including radios and computers.

And when I say extreme, I mean extreme.

In 1958, Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments further developed an idea he had proposed to the US Army: the use of miniaturized components all wired into a compact grid shape, creating an integrated circuit. Shortly afterward, Robert Noyce at Fairchild Semiconductor revolutionized the idea by finding a way to make the tiniest integrated circuit possible. Rather than external wires connecting components on a germanium chip, Royce used a silicon chip with highly conductive copper trails connecting the components. By simply layering these extremely small components onto a flat silicon wafer and thermally "growing" silicon oxide onto it, it was now possible to mass produce extremely small integrated circuits.

Once the integrated circuit idea hit the market, it set off a revolution.

By Fleming's death in 1964, things were already very different with computers. A joint project between IBM and American Airlines created the Semi-Automated Business Research Environment (SABRE) computer booking system, which by 1964 was handling all bookings for the company. A pair of IBM 7090 mainframes in Briarcliff Manor, NY (at a whopping cost of over $360 million today) powered the system, allowing the terminal staff to have nothing but a relatively compact work station. Rather than needing to handle a hundred thousand phone calls a day, the computers would keep track of bookings and seat availability on all flights and communicate through a teleprinter, which could then print a ticket to hand to the passenger once booked.

Things got even cooler on May 1, 1964. The Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) programming language was created by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz at Dartmouth College. At the time, every computer had its own custom language for coding, requiring anyone who wanted to program a computer to become an expert with that exact computer. BASIC was designed as a simple, universal code that someone who wasn't a scientist or mathematician could learn quickly and easily. They also developed a time-sharing system that allowed the computer to multitask and run multiple programs at once, initially intended to allow multiple users at their terminals to run and edit BASIC programs simultaneously from a single computer instead of having to wait for the computer to finish processing other peoples' requests.

In the span of James Bond's original life on a typewriter by the window at GoldenEye, computers had gone from gigantic custom research tools at universities that could maybe one day be shrunk down for home use to common commercial products. At shows like the 1964 World's Fair, IBM was making promises that would be rapidly exceeded in what computers could do.

In 1984, when Role of Honour was released, Apple released the Macintosh personal computer in a Super Bowl commercial directed by Ridley Scott. This distinctive beige computer went on sale for $2495, equivalent to a bit over $6000 today. Its built-in 128 kilobytes of RAM is an order of magnitude more than the EDSAC that was top of the line during Casino Royale and is capable of random access (any point of data can be accessed without having to go through the whole thing sequentially like the old delay line memory), and it's fitted with a floppy disk drive for a 400kb disk to load a stored program or files. It had a graphic user interface (GUI), allowing a keyboard and single-button mouse to access and control everything necessary for operation. It could be hooked up to an Apple ImageWriter printer for your documents and headphones for audio. The motherboard was now dozens of integrated circuits, all working in conjunction to accomplish tasks of such complexity that they would be the thing of science fiction 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, IBM released the Personal Computer/AT in August. It cost over twice as much as the Macintosh (equivalent to about $15,000 today), but it contained 256kb of RAM and a standard (if unreliable) 20MB hard drive, plus a 1.25MB floppy disk drive. While the computer was expensive and suffered from reliability problems, its incredible power and storage capacity led to six figure sales of just that model. Most importantly, it was running a rebranded version of MS-DOS, licensed from Microsoft. This would serve as the starting point for a new graphical user interface: Windows.

Computers were now a part of everyone's lives. Even if you didn't own an expensive personal computer, you probably saw them in businesses. Bond and Gardner were both too old at the time to be reliable computer experts, hence the necessity for Bond to learn all about them now, but the world had firmly changed and the new generation was turning computers into household items. It would only be a few decades before Bond would have one in his pocket.


‘I know the theory – just,’ Bond said with a smile, ‘but I haven’t a clue how it’s all done by the programmer.’

‘That, as I understand it from your wonderful old boss, is the main reason we’re here,’ Percy retorted. Bond was mildly surprised to hear M spoken of as his wonderful old boss. ‘My job is to teach you programming language, with special reference to the kind of thing my dark angel of an ex-husband used to do, and probably is doing right now. Oh, yes, he is an ex. Dead, missing, whatever, I made sure it was legal.’

As if he cares. This dude will gently caress the villain's wife if he feels like it.


‘Would that be difficult?’ Bond asked with a show of feigned innocence. ‘Learning to program, I mean.’

‘Depends on aptitude. It’s like swimming or riding a bicycle. Once you’ve got the knack it becomes second nature. Mind you, we’re up against a particular kind of genius when it comes to Jay Autem Holy. I’m going to have to tell you a lot about him. Seriously, though, it’s simply like learning a new language, or how to read music.’

Percy walked over to the closet and hauled out a pair of large customised cases heavily embellished with coded security locks. Between them they contained a large, sophisticated microcomputer, several types of disk drive, and three metal boxes which, when opened, revealed disks of differing sizes and quality. She asked Bond to move the television set so that she could plug in the micro. The keyboard was twice the size of that on an electronic typewriter. Percy talked as she set up the equipment. This was the same micro, she said, as she guessed Jay Autem would be using now. Bond had already noticed that she referred to Dr Holy simply as Jay Autem or the Holy Terror.

"Microcomputer" was the common terminology of the time for what we now call personal computers, after IBM's PC line. The term would reach its peak at the time this book was published and then immediately fall out of use. It had only been a few years before that they had started to really permeate households in America and Europe, often using the BASIC language.


‘When he went missing his own micro disappeared with him – or, should I say, at the same time. I guess he had it stashed away somewhere safe. In those days we were just beginning to see the full development of the microcompressor – you know, the chip that put a whole roomful of computer circuits on to a 5mmsquare piece of silicon. When he built his own machine we were still mainly using tapes. Since then there’ve been so many developments, and things have become much smaller, but I’ve tried to keep pace with the technology. I rebuilt his Terror Six – that’s what he called his machine – changing his original design, doing my best to keep one jump ahead, as he would have done.’

Bond stood peering over her shoulder as she made final adjustments. ‘This,’ she waved a hand at the keyboard, ‘is my equivalent of what would now be the Terror Twelve. Since Jay Autem went, the chips have gotten smaller, but the big leap forward has been the incredible advance in the amount of memory a little thing like this can contain. That, and the way more realistic pictures – real video – can be used in the kind of programs he’s interested in.’

‘And what kind of programs are those, Percy?’

‘Well –’ she selected a disk from one of the boxes, switched on a drive, inserted the disk and powered up the machine – ‘I can show you the kind of thing which used to fascinate him when he was doing work for the Pentagon. Then we can take it a stage further.’

The television screen had come alive, the disk drive whirred and rasped, and a series of rapid beeps emanated from the speaker. The drive continued to sound after the staccato beeps finally stopped and the screen cleared, showing a detailed map of the border between East and West Germany – the district around Kassel: NATO country.

The CD-ROM wasn't released by Philips until after the book was already written, so Percy is likely using this 5.25-inch floppy with a 360kb capacity. They're called "floppy disks" despite being hard squares because inside the plastic shell is a thin, flexible magnetic storage disk. They first became commercially available from IBM in 1971


Unaccountably Bond suddenly felt hot and flushed. He started to reach a hand out to Percy’s shoulder, but changed to loosen his tie as she drew a heavy black joystick from one of her cases and plugged it into the keyboard, pressing the S key. Immediately a bright rectangle appeared on the map, which Bond saw was as clear as a piece of printed cartography.

‘Okay, this may look like some weird game to you, but I promise you, it’s a very advanced training aid.’

Percy operated the joystick and the rectangle slid across the screen, moving the map as it reached the outer perimeter, so that it scrolled up and down. The entire area covered was about eighty square miles of border and below it on the screen was a blank oblong blue space.

‘I type in co-ordinates and we go immediately to that section on the map.’ Percy suited action to word, and the map jumped on the screen, the rectangle staying in place. ‘Now we can look at what’s going on in a smaller area.’ She positioned the rectangle over a village about a mile from the border and pressed the trigger on the joystick. Bond had suddenly become aware of the perfume Percy was wearing but couldn’t decide what it was. He jerked his mind back to the matter in hand.

Chill, Bond.


It was as if a zoom lens had been applied to the screen, for now he could see detail – roads, trees, houses, rocks and fields. Among this detail Bond could pick out at least six tanks and four troop carriers, while a pair of helicopters sat hidden behind buildings, and three Harrier aircraft could be defined on pads shielded by trees.

‘We have to assume that some form of non-nuclear hostility exists.’

Percy was typing commands into the micro, asking for information, first on NATO forces. The tanks, troop carriers, helicopters and Harriers blinked in turn, as their designated call-signs and strength ribboned out on the lower part of the screen. Percy noted the call-signs on a pad at her elbow and then typed a command for information about Warsaw Pact forces in this tiny area. They appeared to be facing at least two companies of infantry, with armoured support. ‘It’ll only give you available information, the kind of thing intelligence and reconnaissance would actually have.’ Percy watched as the screen flashed up known positions, with data concerning the enemy running out on the blue space below.

Bond could not take his eyes from the soft curl of her hair on an almost exposed shoulder as she began to input orders. Two of the Harriers moved off, as though flying in to attack the enemy armour. At the same time, she activated the NATO tanks and troop carriers.

Individual responses from the tank and infantry commanders came up on the screen, while the tiny vehicles moved to her bidding, the tanks suddenly coming under attack, indicated by shell bursts on the screen and audible crumps and whines. Bond stooped slightly for a closer look, and found himself glancing sideways at Percy’s face, profiled and absorbed alongside his. He looked quickly back at the screen.

They're basically just playing CMANO.


The action, controlled throughout by Percy, lasted for almost twenty minutes, during which time she was able to gain a small superiority over the enemy forces with the loss of three tanks, one helicopter, a Harrier and just under one hundred men.

Bond stood back a pace behind Percy. He had found the whole operation fascinating. He asked if this kind of thing were used by the military.

‘This is only a simple computer TEWT.’ Percy was talking about a Tactical Exercise Without Troops, a technique used in training officers and NCOs. ‘In the old days, as you know, they did TEWTS with boards, tables, sand trays and models. Now all you need is a micro. This is very simple, but you should see the advanced games they use at staff colleges.’

Hehe, toot.


‘And Dr Holy was programming this kind of thing for the Pentagon?’ For the first time Bond noticed a little mole on Percy’s neck.



‘This, and more. When he disappeared, Jay Autem was into some exceptionally advanced stuff. Not only training but specialist programs, where the computer is given all the possible options and works out the one most likely to be taken by an opposing power under a particular set of circumstances.’

‘And now? Given that he really is still alive . . .’

‘Oh, he’s alive, James.’ She flushed suddenly. ‘I’ve seen him. Don’t doubt it. He’s the one I’ve already told you about – Jason St John-Finnes, of Nun’s Cross, Oxfordshire. I should know. After all, I was his watchdog for three and a half lousy years . . .’

‘Watchdog?’ Her eyes really were the most incredible colour, a subtle shade of grey-blue that changed according to the light.

Percy looked away, biting her lip in mock shame. ‘Oh, didn’t they tell you? I married the bastard under orders. I’m a Company lady – from Langley. Marriage to Dr Holy was an assignment. How else would I know the inside of this op?’

‘He wasn’t trusted then?’ Bond tried not to show surprise, even though the idea of a CIA employee being instructed to marry in order to keep surveillance on her husband appalled him.

I love it. Bond didn't even question who this woman is or why she knew so much. She could have been anybody.


‘At that time, with his contacts – he had many friends among the scientific community in Russia and the Eastern Bloc – they couldn’t afford to trust him. And they were right.’

‘You think he’s working for the KGB now?’

‘No.’ She went to the small chiller to get another bottle of champagne. ‘No, Jay Autem worked for Jay Autem and nobody else. At least I discovered that about him.’ Passing another glass to Bond, she added, ‘There are almost certainly Soviet connections in what he’s doing now, but it’ll be on a freelance basis. Jay Autem knows his business, but he’s really dedicated only to money. Politics is another matter.’

‘So what sort of thing do you reckon he’s doing?’ Bond caught another strong whiff of that strange perfume which he would always now associate with Percy.

This dude needs a cold bath.


‘As they say, James, that’s for him to know and you to find out. And it’s my job to teach you how. Tomorrow morning we start in earnest. Eight-thirty suit you?’

‘Hardly worth my going back to my own room.’ He glanced casually at his watch.

‘I know, but you’re going all the same. I’m to teach you all I can about how to prepare the kind of programs Jay Autem writes, and give you a course on how to break into his programs, should you be lucky enough to get your hands on one.’

Percy took hold of his wrist and reached up to kiss him gently on the cheek. Bond moved closer, but Percy stepped away, wagging a finger.

‘That’s a no-no, James. But I’m a good teacher, and if you prove to be a diligent pupil, I have ways of rewarding you that you never dreamed of when you were at school. Eight-thirty sharp. Okay?’

Don't encourage him!


‘You guarantee results, Proud Percy?’

‘I guarantee to teach you, Bond James,’ she said with a wicked grin, ‘and about computer programming as well.’

Promptly at eight-thirty the next morning, Bond knocked on her door, one arm hidden behind his back. When she opened up, he thrust out his hand to give her a large rosy apple.

‘For the teacher,’ he said with a broad smile.

It was the only joke of the day, for Percy Proud proved to be a hard and dedicated taskmaster.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 18:56 on Apr 1, 2021

Dec 24, 2007

So I guess Percy will teach 007 how to SEND SPIKE?

Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.

An insanely old Roger Moore wearing a leather trench coat: “I’m in.”

Dr. Sneer Gory
Sep 7, 2005

Sean Connery yells from a police car window, "Hack the planet!"

Oct 9, 2012

And the next year, 1985, the movie Bond would also encounter video games in A View to a Kill, although in slightly less realistic form.

Apr 23, 2014

Selachian posted:

And the next year, 1985, the movie Bond would also encounter video games in A View to a Kill, although in slightly less realistic form.

Oh, we have a completely different context for Bond and video games that will come up with this book...

Ichabod Sexbeast
Dec 5, 2011

Giving 'em the old razzle-dazzle

chitoryu12 posted:

Oh, we have a completely different context for Bond and video games that will come up with this book...


Does Bond get into a "Tron" situation?

Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.


Dec 24, 2007

chitoryu12 posted:

Oh, we have a completely different context for Bond and video games that will come up with this book...

I suspected his making GBS threads on Space Invaders would come back to bite him as soon as the computer angle was revealed.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 6: Holy Code


The training took a little less than a month and was a tribute to Persephone Proud’s teaching skill. Her pupil’s capabilities were taxed to the limit. The task had been equivalent to learning a new language and several complicated dialects as well. Indeed, Bond could not remember a time when he had been forced to call so heavily on his mental reserves, to focus his mind, like a burning glass, on the subject at hand.

They quickly established a routine, which seldom varied. For the first few days they started at eight-thirty each morning, but, as the late nights began to take their toll, this was modified to ten o’clock. They would work until one o’clock, take lunch in a nearby bar, walking there and back, then work again until five.

Each evening at seven they would go down to Le Bar, the Hotel de Paris’s famous meeting place, where, it is said, the wrists and necks of the ladies put the Carrier showcases to shame.

Le Bar Américain (one of many European bars named and styled after the cocktail culture that originated in the United States) is still around, decorated in a 1920s style. Cocktails cost about $30 a pop with completely standard ingredients like Maker's Mark bourbon or Gordon's gin, a price that makes it very clear what kind of money Monte Carlo expects their average guests to be willing to waste.


If they intended to stay in Monaco for the evening they would dine at the hotel, but they could be seen at L’Oasis in La Napoule when the Cannes Casino took their fancy, sampling the latest tempting dish invented by the master chef, Louis Outhier. Sometimes they would eat a more austere meal at the Negresco in Nice, or even in La Réserve at Beaulieu, or – on occasion – at the modest Le Galion in the Menton port of Caravan. The meal was always a prelude to a night at the tables. Don’t go invisible, M had instructed. You are bait, and it would be a mistake to forget it. If they are trawling there, let them catch you.

Yes, all of these restaurants and hotels still exist and seem to be pretty much interchangeable.


So the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo slid its silent way along the coast roads each evening, and the tanned, assured Englishman with his willowy elegant American companion, became familiar figures in the gambling landscape of the Côte d’Azur.

Bond played only the wheel, and then conservatively – though he tended to double up on bets, plunging heavily on some evenings, coming away thousands to the good on others. Mainly he worked to a system, using big money on the Pair, Impair, Manque and Passe which paid evens, only occasionally changing to a Carré – covering four numbers at odds of just over eight to one. Within the first week, he was the equivalent of a few thousand pounds sterling to the good and knew the various casinos were watching with interest. No casino, even with the reputation of those along that once glittering coast, is happy about a regular who plays systematically and wins.

Basically, Bond is playing very simply at lower stakes. He's usually betting on the ball either landing just in an odd or even slot, or landing between 1-18 or between 19-36. Carré is placing your marker to form a square of four numbers, which is a lower chance but pays out higher. Because unrigged roulette is a pure game of chance with no strategy actually possible, Bond is just betting on whatever has the greatest odds and sacrificing big payouts for consistent wins.


Most nights, Percy and Bond were back at the hotel between three and three-thirty in the morning. Sometimes it was earlier – even one o’clock – giving them a chance to do another hour’s work before getting a good sleep before starting all over again.

From time to time, during those weeks, they would not return until dawn. Driving the coast roads with the windows open to breathe the morning air, they feasted their eyes on the greenery of palm and plane trees, the cacti and climbing flowers around the summer homes of the wealthy, their swimming pools fed by spouting marble dolphins. On those occasions they would get back to the hotel in time to smell the first coffee of the day – one of the most satisfying aromas in the world, Bond thought.

The hotel staff considered it all very romantic, the attractive American lady and the wealthy Englishman, so lucky at the tables, and in love. Nobody would have dreamed of disturbing the love-birds.

The truth concerning their enclosed life in Percy’s room was far removed from the fantasies of chambermaids and porters, at least for the first couple of weeks.

Spoilers, Gardner!


Percy began by teaching Bond how to flowchart a program – to draw out, in a kind of graph, exactly what he wanted the program to do. This he mastered in a matter of forty-eight hours, after which the serious business of learning the computer language, Basic, began. There were extra lessons on the use of graphics and sound. Towards the end of the second week, Bond started to learn various dialects of Basic, gradually grasping the essentials of further, more complex languages like Machine Code, the high-level Pascal, and Forth.

BASIC is a high-level programming language, which means that it abstracts as much of the computer's detailed functioning as possible to make it generic and easy for laymen to learn. This is where you get the famous "Hello world" exercise that just uses PRINT and END or GOTO commands. Machine code is the lowest level language without any of that abstraction, with each command being an extremely specific individual CPU operation. It's pretty much pointless to learn unless you plan on basically living inside a computer, as having to write or read a program one bit of data at a time is incredibly tedious and difficult for little real benefit.


Even in their spare time, they spoke of little else but the job in hand, though usually with special reference to Jay Autem Holy, and it did not take long for Bond to glean that Holy used his own hybrid program language, which Percy referred to as Holy Code.

‘It’s one of Jay Autem’s main strengths as far as protecting his programs is concerned,’ Percy told him over dinner. ‘He’s still using the same system, and the games being produced by Gunfire Simulations are quite inaccessible to other programmers. He always said that if security were necessary – and by God he believed in it – the simplest protection is the best. He has an almost perfect little routine at the start of all his games programs that’s quite unreadable by anyone who wants to copy or get into the disk. It’s exactly the same code he used to put on to his Pentagon work. Anyone trying to copy or list turns the disk into rubbish.’

My God, he invented DRM! The bastard!


Bond insisted on talking about Dr Holy whenever he was given the opportunity, to seek out as much as he could about the man’s strengths and weaknesses before meeting him. There could certainly be no better instructor than Percy in this area.

‘He looks like a great angry hawk. Well, you’ve seen the photographs.’ They were dining in the hotel. ‘Outward appearances are not to be trusted, though. If I hadn’t been on a specific job, I could so easily have fallen for him. In fact, in some ways I did. There were often times when I hoped he’d prove to be straight.’

Someone wasn't keeping up with their slang when they were writing this.


She looked pensive, and for a moment it was as though she did not see Bond, or the magnificent dining hall dating back to the Third Empire and undoubtedly the best restaurant in the principality.

‘He has amazing powers of concentration. That knack of being able to close off the rest of the world and allow his own work to become the only reality. You know how dangerous that can be.’

Bond reflected on his own past encounters with the kind of madness that turned men into devils.

We won't get to see it, though, because it's back to the room!


It was after this particular dinner, towards the end of the second week, that something happened to change the even tenor of Bond’s emotions for some time to come.

‘So, are we playing the Salles Privées tonight, or shall we jaunt?’ Percy asked. Bond decided on a trip along the coast to the small casino in Menton, and they left soon afterwards.

The gaming itself did not make it a night to remember, though Bond left with a few thousand francs bulging in his wallet. As they pulled away from the casino to take the road through Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and so back to Monaco, he caught the lights of a car drawing away directly behind him. He knew there had been a car there, but he had seen nobody getting into it. Immediately he told Percy to tighten her seatbelt.

‘Trouble?’ she asked, but betrayed no sign of nervousness.

‘I’m going to find out,’ he said as he accelerated, letting the big car glide steadily into the nineties, holding well into the side of the narrow road, praying the police were not around, then thinking perhaps it would be better if they were.

The lights of the car behind remained visible in the driving mirror. When Bond was forced to slow – for that road twists and turns before reaching the long stretch of two-lane highway – it came even closer. It was hard to tell if anything was wrong. Plenty of traffic used this route, though it was late and the season had yet to get under way.

The car tailing them was a white Citroën, its distinctive rounded bonnet clearly visible behind the lowered headlights. It stuck like a limpet, a discreet distance behind. Bond wondered whether it was just some young Frenchman or Italian wanting to race or show off to a girlfriend. Yet the prickling sensation around the back of his neck told him this was a more sinister challenge.

Citroën is not exactly known for sports cars to compete with the likes of a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, so my best guess is this is meant to be the Citroën CX. It was made in several models from 1975 to 1991 and one of the weirdest space cars of the time, with a unique shape giving it a very low drag coefficient and an advanced hydro-pneumatic suspension giving it an extremely smooth ride. It's not incredibly powerful, but it's at least capable of breaking 100 MPH.


They came off the two-lane stretch like a rocket, with Bond stabbing at the big footbrake in order to drop speed quickly. From there the road into Monaco was not only narrow but closed in on both sides by rockface or houses, leaving little room for manoeuvre. He took the next bend at about sixty miles per hour. Percy made a little audible intake of breath. As he heard her, Bond saw the obstruction. Another car pulled over to the right, but was still in the Bentley’s road space, its hazard lights winking like a dragon’s eyes. To the left and hardly moving, blocking most of the remaining space, was an old and decrepit lorry, wheezing as though about to suffer a complete collapse. Bond yelled for Percy to hang on, jabbed hard at the brake, and slewed the Bentley first left, then right, in an attempt to slalom his way between the vehicles. Halfway through the right-hand skid, it was plain they would not make it. The Bentley’s engine howled as he pushed the lever from automatic drive to low-range, taking the engine down to first.

They were both pressed hard against the restraining straps of their seatbelts as the heavy car came to a halt, the speed dropping from fifty-five almost to zero in the blink of an eye. They were angled across the road, with the oncoming car jamming their right side and the elderly lorry backing slightly on the left. Two men jumped down from the lorry, and another pair materialised from the shadows surrounding the parked car as the white Citroën boxed them in neatly from behind.

‘Doors!’ Bond shouted, slamming his hand against his door lock control, knowing his warning was more of a precaution than anything else, for the central locking system should be in operation. At least three of the men now approaching the Bentley appeared to be armed with axes.

A loving Citroën axe gang?


Bond realised as he reached for the hidden pistol compartment catch that his action was only a reflex. If he operated the electric window to use the weapon, they would have a route in. In fact, they could get in anyway, for even a car built like his would eventually collapse under efficiently wielded axes.

You know what would have a route out? Your bullets.


The Bentley Mulsanne Turbo is a little over six and a half feet wide. Bond’s was not quite at right angles across the road. The Citroën behind, he judged, was within a foot of his rear bumper, but the Bentley’s weight would compensate for that. Ahead, the car with its hazard lights blinking was a couple of inches from his door, the lorry some three inches from the bonnet. Directly in front, eight feet or so away, the roadside reached up a sloping rock face. The Bentley’s engine had not stalled and still gave out its low grumble.

Holding his foot hard on the brake pedal, Bond adjusted the wheel and, as one of the assailants came abreast of his window, placing himself between the Mulsanne and the parked car, raising both hands to bring down the axe, Bond slid the gear lever into reverse, and lifted his foot smartly off the brake.

The Bentley slid backwards, fast. There was a judder as they hit the Citroën, and a yelp of pain from the man about to try and force entry with his axe. Thrown to one side, he had been crushed between the Bentley and the parked car. With a quick movement of his right hand, Bond now slid the automatic gear into drive. He had, maybe, an extra six inches to play with. His foot bore gently down on the accelerator. The car eased forward. The screaming attacker on their right was once again crushed as the Bentley straightened up, then gathered speed and headed for the small gap.

The steering on the Mulsanne Turbo is so light and accurate that Bond did not have to wrench at the wheel. Using a very light touch of his fingers, he eased the Bentley into the narrow gap between lorry and car. More control to the left. Straight. Hard left. A fraction to the right. Then his foot went down, and they were hurtling forward, passing the front of the car, but with less than an inch to spare between the lorry on the left and the rock face to the right.

Quite suddenly, they were through, back on the empty road downhill into Monaco.

That was a very brief and weird attack.


‘Hoods?’ He could feel Percy quivering beside him though her voice betrayed no sign of fear.

‘You mean our kind?’

She nodded, her mouth forming a small ‘Yes.’

‘Don’t think so. Looked like a team out to take our money, and anything else they could grab. There’s always been plenty of that along this coast. In the north of England they have a saying: where there’s muck there’s brass. You can change that to where there’s money there’s lice.’

Bond knew he was lying. It was just possible that the axemen were a group of gangsters. But the set-up had been deadly in its professionalism and sophistication. He would report it as soon as he could get a safe line to London. He told Percy that he would do just that.

The deadly sophisticated professionalism of using axes on cars.


‘So shall I.’

They said nothing more until they got to her room. After that, neither of them would ever be able to say what started it.

‘They were pros,’ she said.


‘I don’t like it, James. I’m pretty experienced, but I can still get frightened.’

She moved closer to him, and in a second his arms were around her. Their lips met as though each was trying to breathe fresh energy into the other. Her mouth slid away from him and her cheek lay alongside his neck as she clung on, whispering his name.

So they became lovers, their needs and feelings erupting, adding urgency to every moment of the day and night. With this new mental and physical intermingling came a fresh anxiety, so that they worked harder than ever towards the final goal of preparing Bond to meet Percy’s former husband.

I think I finally found out how to get a new girlfriend...


By the start of the third week, as he was really beginning to master the intricacies of micro programs, Percy suddenly called a halt.

‘I’m going to show you the kind of thing that Jay Autem could well be writing now,’ she announced, switching off the Terror Twelve and removing the normal disk drives which Bond had just been using.

In their place she fitted a large, hard-disk laser drive and, powering up the system, booted a program into the computer – ‘booting’ being the technical term for placing a program in the computer’s memory.

Remember this was written in 1983. Most people didn't know what booting a program was.

It's not entirely clear from the terminology Gardner uses what kind of media he's referring to, but it could be LaserDisc. The first commercially sold optical disc storage medium, LaserDisc appeared in 1978 and is the direct predecessor to CDs, DVDs, and similar technology. These gigantic 12-inch discs are made of aluminum coated with plastic. Uncompressed analog video signals would be etched into the surface, which could be read by a laser measuring the relative heights, length, and spacing. This created extremely high quality compared to VHS, but the discs and their players were very expensive and there was no ability for consumers to record onto the discs like they could with tapes in a VCR.

Later incarnations of the technology, like the CD-ROM and DVD, would use digital signals (binary dots rather than pulse-wave modulation etched in) to heavily compress the data and make them much smaller. By 2001 the format had been almost completely replaced by DVD, hanging on in Japan for a few more years before manufacture of new players stopped entirely in 2009.


If Bond had found the computer TEWT fascinating, it was as child’s play to the program he was about to witness. What appeared on the screen now was not the standard computer graphics he had become used to, even in their highest form, but genuine pictures, real and in natural colour and texture, like a controllable movie.

‘Video,’ Percy explained. ‘A camera interfaced with a hard laser computer disk. Now watch.’

She manipulated the joystick, and it was as though they were driving along a city street in heavy traffic. Certainly the human forms she produced were less realistic than the background against which she made them move, run, fight and take action. But there was a new and almost frightening conviction about this presentation. It was more a simulation than a game.

‘I call it Bank Robbery,’ she said, and there was no doubt about its effectiveness. By the clever juxtaposition of real film and graphics you could play at robbing a real bank, dealing with every possible emergency that might arise. Bond was more than impressed.

Yes, the massive innovation that this whole plot is centered around is....a PS2 game being made in the early 80s.


‘When I’ve taught you how to process and copy Jay Autem’s work, you’ll have the Terror Twelve and three types of drive to take with you, James. Don’t say I haven’t provided you with all the essential creature comforts.’

Until later that evening, Bond applied himself to the work, but remained introspective, his mind hovering between the tasks on hand and the appalling potential for evil of the tool that Jay Autem Holy – or indeed anyone with the necessary knowledge – had at his disposal.

It should have been obvious, of course. If there were programs to assist the military in learning strategy and tactics, there had to be the potential there for unscrupulous people to learn the best way to rob, cheat and even kill.

‘And you really believe training programs, like the one you showed me today, are being used by criminals?’ he asked much later, when they were in bed.

‘I’d be very surprised if they weren’t.’ Percy’s face was grave. ‘Just as I’d be amazed if Jay Autem were not training criminals, or even terrorists, in his nice Oxfordshire house.’ She gave a humourless little laugh. ‘I doubt if it’s called Endor by accident. The Holy Terror has a dark sense of humour.’

Shortly after 9/11 occurred, it was widely reported that the terrorists had used Microsoft Flight Simulator for training. While this got sensationally reported and Microsoft removed the World Trade Center from upcoming editions of their game, it turned out to not be true at all.

Seamus Blackley, the developer of the Xbox who had worked on games like System Shock and Jurassic Park: Trespasser, had been called up by a Los Angeles Times reporter that he knew personally not long after the event to ask if he believed that the terrorists could have used simulators like MFS to hone their skills. Off the cuff, Blackley (who is an experienced pilot with work on flight simulators) explained that it's not particularly hard to take classes on the basics of flying as long as you had a few grand to drop, and it's not like you need to learn how to take off or land if you plan on seizing a cockpit mid-air and crashing the plane. He proposed that they could have used a realistic flight simulator just to learn the basics of steering the plane into the NYC skyline and avoided professional training altogether.

Blackley was horrified to find himself quoted as an anonymous aviation expert; his friendly chat with a guy he knew was now turned into him blaming his company's products for terrorism. Virgin Megastore pulled any video games featuring the Twin Towers from their shelves. Fortunately, the immediate panic faded and Microsoft moved on to the Xbox launch, but it's created the unproven myth that the terrorists used commercial flight simulators to learn how to kill.


Bond knew that she was almost certainly right. Every two days he received a report from England, via Bill Tanner: a digest of the information coming from the surveillance team that had been set up with exceptional discretion, officers being changed every forty-eight hours, in the village of Nun’s Cross. He asked Percy what she thought had actually happened on the night Dr Holy went missing.

‘Well, he certainly didn’t go by himself. Dear old Rolling Joe Zwingli must have gone with him, and that guy was as mad as a hatter. They had a file as long as your arm on him at Langley.’

‘Dealt with the poor pilot, then jumped, I suppose?’ Bond was almost speaking to himself.

Percy nodded, then shrugged. ‘And did away with Zwingli when it suited him.’

During the final days of study, Bond mastered the art of copying all types of program protected by every method Percy knew to be used by Dr Holy. They saved the last two days for themselves.

Gardner is smart enough, unlike Dan Brown, to avoid going so deep into a field he doesn't know about that he starts to make laughable mistakes.


‘You’re an enchantress,’ Bond told Percy. ‘I know of nobody else who could have taught me so much in such a short time.’

‘You’ve given me a few wrinkles as well, and I don’t mean on my face.’ She put her head back on the pillow. ‘Come on, James, darling, one more time, as the jazz men say, then we’ll have a fabulous dinner and you can really show me how to play those tables in the Salles Privées.’

It was mid-afternoon, and by nine that evening they were seated at the first table in the Casino’s most sacred of rooms. Bond’s run of luck was still high, though he was now gambling with care, rarely going above his winning stake, which had quadrupled since his arrival, and not betting on the rash outside chance, high-win options.

No casino looks more like a stereotypical spy casino than the Monte Carlo.


During the three hours they played that night he was down, at one point, to 40,000 francs. But the wheel started to run in his favour, and eventually, by midnight, the stake had increased to 300,000 francs. He waited for two turns to pass, deciding to make the next bet the last of the night, when he heard a sharp intake of breath from Percy. Glancing towards her, he saw the colour had left her face, her eyes staring at the entrance. It was not so much a look of fear as of sudden surprise.

‘What is it?’

She answered in a whisper, ‘Let’s get out. Quickly. Over there. Just come in . . .’

‘Who?’ Bond’s eyes fell on a tall, grizzled man, straight-backed, and with eyes that swept the room as though surveying a battlefield. He did not really need to hear her reply.

‘The old devil. And we thought Jay Autem had gone for him. That’s Rolling Joe in the flesh. Joe Zwingli’s here, and with a couple of infantry divisions by the look of it!’

Zwingli was moving into the room, flanked by four other men, neat and smart as officers on parade, and looking as dangerous as an armoured brigade about to attack a Boy Scout troop.

Gats Akimbo
May 28, 2007

Ignoring this post

chitoryu12 posted:

Citroën is not exactly known for sports cars to compete with the likes of a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, so my best guess is this is meant to be the Citroën CX. It was made in several models from 1975 to 1991 and one of the weirdest space cars of the time, with a unique shape giving it a very low drag coefficient and an advanced hydro-pneumatic suspension giving it an extremely smooth ride. It's not incredibly powerful, but it's at least capable of breaking 100 MPH.

IIRC that's the car a friend of mine had. An interesting feature of the suspension was that when it wasn't running the car would sink a few inches.

This became a problem when he parked it in a very narrow street with high kerbs, came back after a couple of hours and couldn't get the doors open. They'd sunk below kerb level.

He had to break a window to get in and start the engine....

Oct 9, 2012

You know how some authors have the Gift of Names and some don't? Between Bad Brad Tirpitz and Rolling Joe Zwingli, I'm gonna say Gardner does not have the Gift of Nicknames.

Dec 24, 2007

Learning Forth, you say?

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

Easy enough for James Bond to learn how to go Forth and multiply, he's been doing it all his life

Sep 15, 2010


chitoryu12 posted:

Basically, Bond is playing very simply at lower stakes. He's usually betting on the ball either landing just in an odd or even slot, or landing between 1-18 or between 19-36. Carré is placing your marker to form a square of four numbers, which is a lower chance but pays out higher. Because unrigged roulette is a pure game of chance with no strategy actually possible, Bond is just betting on whatever has the greatest odds and sacrificing big payouts for consistent wins.

This makes no sense. Even ignoring the 0 and 00 as options to reduce the odds below 50%, Bond can't have "consistent wins" with a 50-50 chance each time...

Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.

He took a 10 in Luck, op.

And 3 intelligence

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 7: Rolling Home


General Zwingli had been no chicken at the time of his disappearance. He must now be in his mid-seventies. Yet, from where Bond sat, he looked like a man of sixty in good physical shape. The four other men were younger, heavier and not the kind of people you would be likely to meet at Sunday school parties.

Haven't been to many fun Sunday School parties?


For a moment, Bond sat calmly awaiting the worst, convinced that Zwingli and his men were looking for him, or possibly Percy. There had to be a connection. You didn’t need a crystal ball to work that out. Zwingli had been a necessary part of the disappearance plot. If there had been collusion at the time of the aeroplane wreck, there would still be collusion now, for Dr Holy and General Zwingli were tied together for life by a much stronger bond than marriage vows. Conspirators can rarely divorce without one partner seriously damaging the other.

Bond smiled genially. ‘Don’t stare, Percy. It’s rude. It may also call the good General’s attention to us – if it’s us he’s looking for.’ His lips hardly moved as he watched Zwingli and his entourage out of the corner of his eye.

To his relief, the General’s craggy face broke into a broad smile. He was not looking in Bond’s and Percy’s direction but advancing towards a dark-skinned muscular man, possibly in his mid-thirties, who had been sitting at the bar. The pair shook hands warmly, and there were greetings and introductions all round.

‘I think, to be on the safe side, it would be prudent for us to take our leave now,’ Bond muttered. ‘Be casual and natural.’

He went through the business of tipping the croupier, gathering the chips together as they rose. They made their way to the caisse, where Bond opted for cash rather than a cheque. Once outside, he took Percy’s arm, leading her firmly back to the hotel.

‘It could simply be a coincidence, but I’m taking no chances. I don’t for a moment think he could recognise you. How well did you know him, Percy?’

‘Two or three dinner parties. Washington social functions. I knew him, but he always gave the impression of complete non-interest. Not just in me, but in all women. It was him all right, James. I’ve no doubt about that.’

During M’s briefing Bond had studied a number of photographs, including two series in Time magazine, when General Zwingli had made the cover story. ‘For someone who’s been dead that long, he looked in exceptionally good shape. No, the only way he could recognise you is if he was forewarned: if he knew you’d changed your . . . well . . . your image.’

And there's no chance of one of Bond's assignments ever being compromised from the start!


Percy giggled. ‘This is my real image, James. Mrs Jay Autem Holy was the disguise. I put on weight, wore thick clear-glass spectacles and looked the ultimate frowsy computer scientist . . .’

‘And the nose?’

‘Okay, so I had it fixed after Jay Autem went missing. Nobody’s perfect. But you’re right, I’d have had to be fingered directly to Rolling Joe for him to know it was me . . .’

‘There’s always the possibility that someone’s fingered me.’ Bond brushed back the lock of hair which fell, like a comma, over his right eye. They reached the hotel entrance. ‘You recognise the fellow he met? The swarthy man he seemed to be expecting?’


‘The face was familiar. I’ve seen him before or a picture of him. Maybe he’s on file. You?’

‘Same here. I should know him.’ Bond continued to talk, telling her they would have to leave Monte Carlo. ‘It would be best for us both to get away in the Bentley. We can be in Paris by lunchtime tomorrow.’

‘Wait until we’re upstairs,’ she mumbled. When they reached her room, Percy became adamant. ‘My brief was to leave here on my own. I have a car, and orders that we go separately. Under no circumstances are we to travel together. Those are my instructions, and there’s no way I’m going to disobey them.’


‘So I agree with you, James. I think it’s merely a coincidence. It’s also a useful piece of information, knowing that Zwingli is alive. And I think we should leave; the sooner, the better.’


The loving mysterious missing ally of your villain walks right into the casino you're in after a sudden axe gang assault and you think it's a loving coincidence?


For a while she fussed about Bond, like the proverbial mother hen, questioning him on all she had taught him.

He lugged the cases containing the Terror Twelve into his own room, together with the disk drives and utility programs on disks that would help him copy or recover Holy’s listings, should he have the chance to get hold of any. Then they went their separate ways to pack, arranging to meet again for a quick farewell before Percy left a good half hour before Bond. They would both be taking roughly the same route, for Percy had to return to the CIA Paris Station, while Bond faced the long drive back to Calais and the ferry to Dover. They met as planned in the garage after Percy’s luggage had been loaded into the boot of her sporty little blue Dodge 600ES.

Oh yeah, real sporty. Definitely not a rectangle.

The ES Turbo variant of this pretty standard car has a 2.2L turbocharged engine and sport suspension, but only a bit over 10,000 were sold for a few years before they were discontinued. And no performance upgrade justifies looking like that.


‘You think we’ll ever meet again?’ Bond felt uncharacteristically inadequate. She put her hands on his shoulders, looking into the startling blue eyes. ‘We have to, don’t we, James?’

He nodded, knowing they shared each other’s private thoughts. ‘You know how to get in touch with me?’

It was her turn to give a small nod. ‘Or you can call me – when all this is over.’ She rattled off a Washington number. ‘If I’m not there, they’ll pass on a message, okay?’

Percy put her arms around his neck, kissing him, long and lovingly on the mouth. As she started up the Dodge, she leaned out of the window.

‘Take care, James. I’ll miss you.’

Then she was gone, in a smooth, controlled acceleration, along the lane of parked cars, up the ramp and into the streets of Monaco and the night roads of France.

Won't miss you!


Half an hour later, Bond took the Mulsanne Turbo out of the same garage. Within minutes he was out of the principality, heading back along the Moyenne Corniche on the road that would take him on to the main A8 Paris Autoroute.

It was on the first leg of the journey – at about four in the morning – that Bond suddenly remembered the identity of the man Zwingli had met. Yes, there was a file. The thick dossier had been across Bond’s desk on many occasions, and there was a general watching brief on Tamil Rahani. Part American, part Lebanese, and carrying at least two passports, Rahani was usually based in New York, where he was chairman and principal shareholder of Rahani Electronics. He had made several attempts to secure defence contracts from both the American and British governments, mainly for aircraft communications electronics, though there had been some computerisation involved.

Remember when Fleming gave us the necessary exposition for the mission at the beginning of the book?


Rahani had first approached the Service some five years before, handed on to them by the American Service. They had turned him down flat because of his many contacts with unfriendly agencies and uncertain governments. He was wealthy, smooth, sharp, intelligent, and slippery as an eel. The flag on the file, Bond remembered, was ciphered Possible clandestine. Probably subversive.

Once these facts had settled in his mind, Bond pushed the Mulsanne to its limit. All he wanted to do was to get back to England, report to M, and try to move in on Jay Autem Holy. The task was more inviting than ever, now he knew both something of the doctor’s work, and the fact that Zwingli was alive, well, and – unless he was mistaken – working hand in glove with a highly suspect international character.

On the A26 Autoroute to Calais, Bond found himself singing aloud. Perhaps after the enforced idleness, the lack of excitement, the intrigues of M’s plan to use him as bait, he was at last starting to feel the fire of action in his belly once more.

‘Rolling home,’ he sang, remembering far-off days when he would literally roll home, with brother officers,

‘Rolling home,
By the light of the silvery moon;
I have twopence to lend,
And twopence to spend,
And twopence to send home to . . .’


His voice trailed off. He could not bring himself to sing the last line, about sending money home to his wife. For the ghost of his own dead wife, Tracy, still haunted him, even though he now missed Percy Proud’s clear mind and agile, beautiful body. Weakness, he chided himself. He was trained as a loner, one who acted without others; one who relied on himself. Yet he did miss her. Undeniably, there were moments when he thought he could still smell her scent and feel the touch of her skin. Pull yourself together, he told himself.

Not like he ever behaves that way with Gardner.


Among the bills and circulars awaiting Bond at his flat was a letter from a firm of business consultants demanding special attention. Embedded in this seemingly innocuous letter was a series of telephone numbers – one for each day of the week – that he could ring in order to set up a meeting with M at the safe flat near St Martin’s Lane.

The date arranged turned out to be a truly glorious spring evening. Summer was around the corner, and you could almost feel it, even in the heart of the capital.

Like February in Florida!


‘Well, 007, the woman’s taught you all the tricks of the trade, eh?’

‘Some of them, sir. But I really wanted to talk to you about a new development.’

Without wasting words or time, he gave a summary of the final hours in Monaco, and the sighting of Zwingli with Tamil Rahani. Bond had hardly got Rahani’s name out before M ordered the Chief-of-Staff to check.

‘There’s a spot and report order on that joker.’

Tanner returned in ten minutes. ‘Last report of a visit to Milan. Seen by our resident there, who had a weather eye on him. Rahani appeared to be on his usual round of business meetings.’ The Chief-of-Staff gave a somewhat dejected shrug. ‘Unhappily, sir, nobody spotted him leaving, though his airline ticket showed a return booking to New York yesterday. He was not on the flight.’

‘And I suppose nobody’s seen hide nor hair of him since.’ M nodded in reply like a buddha. ‘Except 007, in Monaco.’

‘Well, he was in the Casino,’ said Bond, ‘with General Zwingli and four others.’

"This whole thing got overcomplicated like a quarter of the way through."


M looked at him in silence for a long time. ‘Incredible,’ he said at last, as though someone had hit him in the face. ‘Incredible that Zwingli’s still alive, let alone mixed up with Rahani. Wonder where he fits into all this. You’ll just have to be alert to Rahani’s possible involvement, 007. He’s always been a bit of an unknown quantity, so we’ll inform those who need to know. You see, we’re ready to put you in. Now, here’s what I want you to do. First, your old acquaintance Freddie Fortune has . . .’

James Bond groaned loudly.

For the next week, he was to be seen around his old London haunts. He confided in one or two people that his feelings of disillusion had become considerably worse. He had been in Monte Carlo where things had run true to the old adage: lucky at cards, unlucky in love – except it had been roulette, not cards.

Thanks for the clarification.


Carefully, he laid a trail among people most likely to talk, or those whose connections were right for some salting. Then, on the Thursday evening, in the bar of one of Mayfair’s plush clubs, as if by accident, he bumped into Lady Freddie Fortune, the extravagant, pamphlet-wagging socialite he always called his ‘champagne communist’. She was a vivacious, petite redhead, ‘Red Freddie’, some called her – completely untrustworthy, and always in the gossip columns, either campaigning for some outrageous cause or involved in sexual scandal. Freddie was discreet only when it suited her. That night, Bond dropped a hint that he was looking for work in the computer field. He also poured out all his troubles – an affair in Monte Carlo that had ended disastrously, leaving him bitter and wretched.

She just sounds like one of my normal dates.


Lady Freddie was thrilled to see this man, once a model of good form, become so emotional and she whipped Bond off to her bed, allowing him to cry on her shoulder – metaphorically, of course. During the night, trying to keep up the pretence of having drunk too much yet still able to enjoy himself, Bond longed for Percy and the special smell and feel of her.

The next morning he feigned a hangover and morose, even waspish, manner. But none of this put Freddie Fortune off. As he was leaving she told him that she had some friends who may be of use to him, if he really meant to find a job in computer programming.

‘Here.’ She tucked a small business card into his breast pocket. ‘It’s a nice little hotel. If you can make it on Saturday, I’ll be there. Only, for heaven’s sake, don’t let on I’ve told you. I leave it to you, James, but if you do decide to come, be surprised to see me. Okay?’

On the following Saturday morning, with a weekend case and all the computer equipment in the boot, James Bond drove the Bentley out of London on the Oxford road. Within the hour he had turned off and was threading through country lanes on his way to the village of Nun’s Cross, near Banbury.

Gats Akimbo
May 28, 2007

Ignoring this post

chitoryu12 posted:


That night, Bond dropped a hint that he was looking for work in the computer field.

Because a job history of being a Secret Service assassin is what everyone looks for in a computer programmer?


Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

Gats Akimbo posted:

Because a job history of being a Secret Service assassin is what everyone looks for in a computer programmer?

Counterpoint: he had a very good war, he went to a very good school, and he's a good respectable club man. That's what's really important. Never mind any of this Bolshevik nonsense about merit or competence.

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