The Story so far:
James Bond was retired, comfortably so. Then he came back to the service. On his terms. An old adversary, from over 20 years ago, re-emerged and accrued legitimate power.
That enemy was named Hugo Drax and had to be defeated. Bond rose to that challenge. Along the way? He ran into an old flame. Gala Brand. She captured his heart once and proceeded to do so, again. They took down Drax, together. Again. History repeating?
But if that were truly the case, then how could 007 somehow make the most of a doomed romantic cycle? He became more ambitious. Founded his own defence consultancy. Bespoke missions, on his terms. In service; yet off books.
Money. Power. Ambition. Hints of edge and danger but never out of his own control. Gala would perhaps warm to that, in time. And if she didn’t? Then there was a world of new adventure at his fingertips. Romantic. Dynamic. Eclectic. He was readied for any challenge. Except her..
THE STORY CONTINUES..
James Bond felt the cold clasp of the pistol against his skull. Drax had him and was ready to end 007’s life, with one trigger pull. Sweat poured down his brow. Memories flashed before his eyes: Kent, beaches, Scotland, Eton, Oxford, Navy and a montage of missions and loves to match. Perhaps it was time to die?
Yes, it was. Time.
Time to wake up!
James Bond did not tend to dream. Dreamless sleep was his default setting. That had been the case for a number of years. On occasion, things might settle and his subconscious would permit a foray into its deepest of deep dives with James, comatose, like any normal civilian. He had trained himself, nevertheless, to rest and sleep, in blocks, rather than one fell eight hour swoop.
And a concoction of various remedies over the years (after a hideous nervous breakdown, on witnessing the death of his wife on their wedding day) had numbed his ability to enjoy the luxury of dreams somewhat, in any event. Better to be alert. Wiped out, as in dead, for a solid few hours. Resting, lightly, in between. Meditation was a dirty word to Bond. But in a way, he mastered the techniques. Monitoring his own breathing, closing eyes, picturing a sandy beach and so on.
That was what made it so odd that James ought dream about Hugo Drax. Why him? Why now? Fate. It had to be. On the one hand, Bond was not given to primitive superstitious belief. On the other? He was the most paranoid, imaginative and cowering of souls, with the lights finally dimmed for a night or on rising at the dawn. There were sometime coincidences of an almost unavoidably supernatural nature.
Case in point? Recently, he had been thinking of an old colleague. A field medic. Bond had meant to ask Dr Jocelyn June for a drink. Only to hear of the man’s sad death, as James reached for the old phone book. Attending the funeral was a natural step. As was vowing to get to the bottom of what had happened his old colleague. But that’s another story.
Point being: James Bond was somehow both blessed with luck and cursed by fate. Whether that came from genuinely other power above the merest of mortals was not something that he could countenance considering. There were certainly paranormal incidents on record in Mi6 archives. And Russian intelligence alone spent years researching everything from Satanism to aliens, if only to debunk such myths in consolidation of communist power.
There was simply an unknown facet in the shape of all life, pondered Bond. He would remain open to any possibility and keep a fairly blank mind on the subject. Be a card carrying believer in God. Just in case. Wish for some atheist epiphany. Acknowledge the power of everything from runes (an old girlfriend had recently taken up reading the damn things) through tarot and so on, whilst compromising on the idea that there were indeed ‘energies’ as in the infra red signatures and societal patterns that repeat in tandem with those. Hence ‘fate’, ‘ghosts’ and the like. Case closed?
And yet. Dreaming. About Hugo Drax being his assassin? Day-dreaming, about Gala Brand, too: the girl who simply kept bouncing back toward James Bond’s axes, despite nominally resisting his love? Something was setting the hairs of the neck, upright. A sixth sense was indeed, engaged. Paranormal or entirely rational and explicable? A sign was a sign and 007 could not resist the call to action. Premonition, perhaps? People see what they wish, mused Bond.
So it was. James readied himself for the Drax farewell Ball, to which he had secured a contrived invitation.
Routine was activated. Work out: press ups/ sit ups/yoga/ boxing/cardio-vascular/weights/kettle bell etc. Hottest of hot, followed by coldest of cold blast shower. Shaving had been taken care of hours previously, thereby granting Bond some shade to his face, lest he needed to blend in with hired help at short notice, much as he loathed disguises. Eggs. Coffee. Cigarettes. Quick browse of a newspaper/listen to the news headlines; a passing play with his deck of cards. All aided, in each stage by his beloved housekeeper, an elderly Scots lady who kept his Chelsea pad in shape.
Bond donned civvies: ‘smart casual’ /corporate summer chic. Tanned suit. Open neck shirt. Aviator shades. Holstered gun, almost born into the lining of his jacket. Hip flask, with transmitter inside, lest he be captured. Not that anyone would answer the call. He was off the books, after-all. Cue a reconnaissance stakeout of the Drax mansion.
Bond was watching, intently, as the party was prepared. Marquees erected. Caterers assembled. Waiters and waitresses flocking around, amidst musicians, security personnel and so on. Drax’s consort/wife, Roma Baker, was helping to direct proceedings. James smiled as he saw the girl swan around, a queen without a kingdom? Shame. Adorable. Blonde. Svelte. Smiley. Ambitious and determined yet somehow, a lost innocent. Lady Macbeth and Ophelia in one? Villainess meets damsel in distress. Gala would be proud, thought Bond.
He sat at the wheel of his inconspicuous car; taking notes: studiously planning his entrance to the party. Yes, he had an official invitation and cover story, but now, he also possessed a mental map of the entrances and exits. An encounter with Mr Hugo Drax was on the cards. And as part of that (ad) venture, so James Bond would once again, inevitably, have to encounter, Ms Gala Brand.
At that precise moment of recognition in his mind, James’ phone pinged. A message from Gala herself. One word. ‘STRATFORD’. That code-term struck fear into most hearts in the field. It denoted or signified imminent danger and inescapable death. An unwinnable game. A fatal mission. Usually? That would mean mission:abort or call for help. But to James Bond? It was a call to action.
Fate had a way of aligning itself and he simply could not resist. Even if that entailed a deadly encounter with Hugo Drax. Or somehow, admitting defeat, in love, to one Gala Brand. Supernatural? Paranormal? An omen of impending mortality? James Bond simply did not care. Because it was too much damned FUN. So he parked the car; smoked a cigarette, swigged his hip flask and donned a Tux. Ready for the Drax party. Ready for battle with Gala? And available, on demand, for death.
TO BE CONTINUED. JAMES BOND WILL RETURN.
NO IMAGES/CLIPS IN THIS IMPLY AN ENDORSEMENT BY THE PARTIES DEPICTED: ALL PUBLIC DOMAIN!
JAMES BOND 007 = PROPERTY OF EON PRODUCTIONS /DANJAQ / GLIDROSE /FLEMING FOUNDATION.
To stay ahead and think like a Bond villain?
And: City Maps
Or: Augmented World
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