Slowly he stretched, muscles long ago replaced by artificial substances, dormant after little use for such a long period. His brain, having just completed an inventory check, carefully detached itself from the network that had been his home for so many years. The display that housed him had been removed, and stored in a back room, had been slated for disassembly but mysteriously kept missing a completion date.
His senses, on high alert, discreetly inspected the immediate area for any threat before allowing him to move. Satisfied that he was alone, and not threatened in anyway, James carefully slipped free of his prison and into the shadows of the room. ”
I have been out of circulation for too long” he thought. “The world has changed, but changed by how much? I just can’t tap into a portal, they would find me in an instant. Yet something triggered my systems.”
He quickly reviewed the circumstances that had lead to his current state. He had been on the hunt for the labs of Dr. Noseworthy, a geneticist that been working on a new strain of a virus that threatened the very existence of his kind. One that would wipe them out forever, destroying decades of work in a single blow. But it had gone cold. All leads had simply ended. Both Q & M felt that the world was safe, for now, and had ordered he stand down, until needed again. His programming would alert him to any changes, his protocols would awaken him ready to start the hunt afresh.
He was model 007-A2567I, created with the latest science to be a fully automated secret agent. He was the brainchild of the original Q’s great, great, great granddaughter, an expert in the AI field. He knew there were more greats in there but suddenly his head hurt trying to remember how many there were. She had mastered the technique that was used to create him, and that destroyed all the research before CHAOS could get their hands on it. Even the Russians had failed in their attempts. Others had tried and only the Israelis had come close, but they couldn’t quite master the technology. Some said she had committed suicide, others thought she had just disappeared, but no one knew for sure and without her nothing would ever make sense.
James carefully assembled his travelling pack from the display, ensuring that he carried extra ammunition for his Walthers PPK energy gun. This had been adapted to fire short bursts of energy that could cut through any substance. During his long years of sleep he had watched as museum curators picked up, imagining themselves on some sort of mission, playing out as they, the super spy, got the women and easily thwarted the evil forces. What they didn’t realise was, this James never got the women, wasn’t setup for the romances, and was about as warm as an old stand alone refrigerator on a good day.
It was hard work just staying alive, and there was no room in his programming for the necessary changes. The sleeker the program the harder it was to hack into or crack.
Slipping everything into place, James slipped out the back of the museum, careful not to trip any alarms, as he followed a carefully laid out route.
Once outside he continued on his route to an old cafe, located several blocks over, where many nostalgia buffs continued to meet. Preferring the garb of their heroes from previous lives. He saw an Al Capone sitting with his back to the wall as he entered. Baby Face Jimmy in another corner, Bromfield sitting amongst a small group of listeners who hung on his every word. They all jumped, startled to see him walk in, preparing for the battle they expected to follow shortly.
“Gentlemen” he said in his precise British accent. “Nothing to worry about tonight. We are just old acquaintances sitting down for a drink or two. Right?”
Each of them nodded and watched him carefully as he settled into the last booth at the back, commanding a clear view of diner. “Is it too late for a martini?” he asked. “Shaken, not stirred.”
“We haven’t had those spirits since the wars of 2245” said the owner. “I can make you a synthetic one, but it don’t taste anywhere as good as the original, at least that’s what I have been told.”
“Our guests are closer than I would like. They are pressing us as if they have someone inside my organization on their payroll. But I have a few of my own surprises in store for them that will delay Them and hopefully flush out their plants.”
She turned and worked her way through a series of corridors that wound like a maze, with no direction intended. They quickly left the new part of her complex into the older, and most likely original sections. Small rooms with multiple exits appeared at irregular intervals, their exits sometimes well exposed, other times carefully concealed.
Kitty entered a room and held her hand against James chest to stop him. “Follow my steps exactly. I am counting on your enhanced vision to step exactly where I do. Do not enter the room until I exit it. You do not want to find out what will happen if you are too fast or miss the pattern. Even your systems won’t be able to save you.”
He watched as she wove an intricate pattern across the floor, quickly memorizing her steps and direction. When she reached the other side, she raised her finger to her lips and then waved him on. He slipped, slid and pirouetted his way across the floor, not as gracefully as Kitty but with all the right steps as he reached the door on the other side the door they entered closed. Stepping through the door, Kitty pushed him against the wall and onto a narrow ledge.
“If they make it through the room, and come charging through the door they will be in for one hell of a surprise.” she said with a sarcastic grin on her face pointing down. The room was 25 x 30′ with a narrow ledge running around a wall 20′ above the surface below. Moving around below were a number of large gray shapes.
“Is that what I think it is?” asked James very quietly.
“Yes, all the way from old Africa. They are the only living ones still in the wild. We keep them fed with trespassers and they stay happy.”
“Those are Nile Crocs! They look like they are 20 – 25′ long” he gasped looking nervously at the water below. “They can jump their length out of the water and pull prey from above them.”
“Follow me, same routine as before, but be very quiet. Falling down there would not be good for your mission.” Slowly they moved from one unseen brick to the next, ocassionally skipping a few. James’ internal clock register only 45 minutes, but it felt like hours. Quietly she opened the door, and they slipped through. Before closing the door she whispered “Watch” as flicked a hidden switch. There was a slight humming and then a loud crack as a paper thin image of a floor was moved into place.
“Memory don’t fail me if I ever have to come back this way.” he said.
Kitty slowly walked along the edge of the hall cocking her head from side to side, listening for something. Her ear device chimed and she stopped, listening lost in thought. “Very good she said. Activate the defenses then evacuate. You know the plan. Re-assemble everyone according to plan Siamese.”
“That’s it. They have breached the outer walls. We need to hurry.” She quickly ran down the hall, leaving James to follow at a much faster pace. Stopping as suddenly as she started she pushed a sequence of buttons and pulled him through the door, which quickly slid shut. They waited, before hearing another subtle click and another door swung open, which she again pulled him quickly through.
James was amazed. Before him stood a control room with feeds from every part of the city. It was a conspiracy junkie’s worst nightmare. Cameras were everywhere, and the images that flickered across the screens moved at such a speed they were a blur to most people. Banks of computers analyzed each image, recorded any significance, and stored away the information.
“How do you protect all this?” he asked. “It is amazing.”
“Protecting it is easy. I am the only one who knows where it is, besides you. I sell information to the highest bidder. Information that is sensitive, destructive and innovative. My network stretches into every business, every government, and every home. I can tell you when a fly craps, a dog burps, or someone cheats on an exam or their spouse. It has taken centuries to build this. Governments are afraid of us, business want to see us toppled. I have a list of employers that would amaze even you. With that comes a longer lists of enemies.” Kitty said as she walked around the screens.
“No one can gain access to my computers, not even you. If I die from anything but natural causes, then the secrets are dumped on the world web for anyone to gain access to. Sever a part of my body, same thing, force me to open or reveal how to open it, same thing. Safest thing my enemies can do, is make sure I stay alive. Except for now. Whatever you have that they want is extremely important to them, and I intend to find out what it is. Sorry James, it was fun while it lasted ……”
He heard a snap crackle followed by a pop, then his legs crumpled under him and everything went black.
James slowly regained consciousness only to find himself strapped to a clinical table, the cold metal causing shivers to run through his skin. He carefully assessed his surroundings trying to find a way out. “James!” squealed Kitty. “You are finally awake. The EMP must have stronger than I thought for you to go down like that, or maybe it was the jolt of electricity, no it must have been drug.” She rushed to his side and planted a big sloppy kiss on his lips. “It was no fun without you being awake” she pouted. “it worked fine, but I missed the finesse, your touch. But time enough for that later. You will never guess what I found while you were in la-la ta boomzia land?”
“No I wouldn’t know. Perhaps that you have gone mad maybe.”
“”Now James, be nice, we can still get through this and be the best of friends you know. Besides I have plans for you, for us, big plans.” she said grinning wickedly.
“Someone has been messing with your programming, and I don’t mean Miss Tight Britches, although I will have to thank her for your enhanced features. Long before she got her hands on you. How she missed it I will never know, must have been distracted by something harder to handle.”
Carefully Kitty reached down and moved him to one side. As he responded to her touch she flicked him, rather hard, bringing a gasp of pain from his lips. “Time enough for that later, now pay attention James.” Kitty reached over and picked up a scalpel, looking at him she smiled saying “Hooded or free?”
He struggled against his restraints, trying to break free.
“Now now James, I was only joking” she said smiling. “But you will need to lie perfectly still, if I
slip it just might hurt, a lot.”
Deftly she lifted his sac and carefully made a small incision in it. He yelped in pain, quickly shutting down the receptors in that part of his body. “None of that” she said smacking him. “Turn them back on, I need to know what is going on. Wouldn’t want to cut too deep now would we.”
He turned the pain receptors back on, grimacing and groaning as she peeled back the two pieces. Setting the scalpel down she quickly picked up two pair of slender tweezers. One set she used to hold the incision open, the other to fish around inside his body. He heard an exclamation of triumph as she found what she was looking for. She set a small cylindrical tube on the surgical gurney before gently closing the incision, deftly stitching it up, and then spraying an antiseptic cream on him.
His groans brought her out of her day dream. Smacking him on the hip she looked at him growling. ” Do we feel a little exposed? Suck it up man. Women go through that every year when some jackass, with size 50 fingers scrapes the hell out of their womb. All our advances in science and we still suffer through that.”
She pushed a button and the table lowered itself until he was once again flat on his back then rose until he was almost standing, but still securely fastened by the restraints.
Kitty was busy analysing her latest prize, and wasn’t paying attention to her patient. She had bumped the surgical tray closer to James and he had managed to remove a scalpel, which was making quick work of the bindings for his hands. She didn’t realize what was going on until his feet were free and she was slipping into the blackness, her mouth and nose covered with a cloth filled with ether.
Kitty awoke several hours later to find James dressed in a a dark turtleneck, dark pants and a dark pair of loafers. She tried to move but both her arms and feet were securely fastened to the same bed that held him earlier. Much like he was she found herself naked, strapped in place. The only difference was her mouth had been securely taped shut. Her eyes filled with rage as considered the indignity of her situation. She attempted to scream into the tape, but only muffled sounds were heard.
“What’s that Kitty? Cat got your tongue?” said James smiling. “Now that the tables have been turned, let’s see if I have this right. Bloefeld hired you to retrieve this little container, or should I say you hired yourself to retrieve it. Nice play acting back there. I have analysed your systems and learned a lot, but you are lacking a few important pieces of the puzzle. Let me see if I can enlighten you.”
James walked to a terminal and typed in a password , followed by a voice command. Kitty couldn’t believe her ears. He got it all down perfectly, he had total and complete access to her systems, to her babies. Her rage build, she pulled at the restraints, he noted that the heat of her body had gone up a few degrees as well.
“Simmer down Kitty or we will need to administer the ether again. Can’t have you going off halfcocked now can we?
“Now where were we, oh yes the canister. It seems that the Introspective Virus never really existed. It was just a clever ruse to allow your ancestors to gain control of the growing population of cyborg and AI’s. But it failed. We did find out what you were up and, we managed to quietly shut it down. To keep you in suspense this canister was created, and hidden. The information was leaked out as a dirty little secret, just not the location. What is in this canister was one of Q’s best inventions. Here let me demonstrate.”
James picked up the canister and moved to a clear section of the room. Turning at her, he smiled “Excuse me, how rude of me” before reaching over and pushing the button that stood her up. He was careful to remove any objects that she could use to free herself with, far from her reach. Returning to the center of the room he deftly twisted the canister and let it float to the floor. A 3d image popped out from it showing Q & M in a non-descript office, both in lab coats. They turned towards Kitty smiled and began a long drawn out monotonous speech on the Introspective Virus, explaining how it was a dud and why. Steps had been taken to counter any attempt to use it, and last known samples had been destroyed. As the 3d image finished it’s speech, James smiled and said “There is more, this is my favourite part.
Both Q & M turned their backs to them, flipped their lab coats up onto their backs and chanted in unison “Bloefeld, you have been had, kiss our royal red ruby asses, you ass!”
James was laughing so hard tears were pouring down his cheeks. “It was all worth it” he said gasping for his breath. “I am really sorry they died before I got to see this. I will be off now. By the way, your information system has had a virulent virus introduced into it. It is something they have never seen before, and it has a voracious appetite. It should take about fifteen minutes for it to completely destroy everything, including your several hundred backups. I will leave you to enjoy the hologram. Oh before I forget, I have disabled the voice command systems, and removed all the extra pieces you have added to my programming and body. Have a nice day!” he said topping his make believe hat as he savagely ripped the tape from her mouth. looking deep into her eyes he said “Pity, what a waste, we could have made such sweet music together.” Sliding the surgical table closer he slipped out a hidden door, leaving her screaming vengeance.
“Oh James” purred Q as she arched her back. “What will you do now?”
“Nothing, we are safe enough here, Kitty’s network has been all but destroyed. I downloaded all her data and have set up our own monitoring systems .”
“Not that” she purred stroking him, “this.”
He continued his monologue before she barked at him, “I have waited all these years for this particular moment and you are going to ruin it with that drivel!” came Moneypenny’s voice.
He stopped, startled, looking around for the source. “Moneypenny?”
“You are not the only AI here James” purred Q. “Moneypenny had a hand in designing me. Shut up and let me feel what it would have been like.”
James reached over, flicked the lights out as Moneypenny’s voice sighed “Oh James….”