Wednesday 19 September 2012

Bond Fan Fiction No.5: Part 2

For those of you who've read the previous installments, here's a little more. I'm not 100% satisfied with this one, but what the hey. 
For those of you who may be reading these for the first time, you might need to go back to the first ones, since these are posted up on Blogger in reverse order based on date of posting. So, the installment previous to this one is the first part, needless to say.
Oh, my apologies for the layout. I cut & pasted parts of this from my computer from my second (or was it third?) draft.

"Women of Mass Destruction" Part Two

The RPG-7 was first manufactured by the Soviets in the mid 1960s and was used to devastating effect on battlefields from Vietnam to Iraq. It was primarily designed as an anti-tank weapon and a great deal of its popularity was due to its very low recoil when fired.

The shell zipped in through the open window and detonated just above the door to Room 417. The sound of the impact was deafening. Purdey’s body tensed and Bond felt the entire suite shudder as plaster, wood and steel was torn from the room’s frame-work and smoke filled the air. He heard the sound of steel hitting steel as shrapnel ripped through the sofa’s backrest and collided with the padding and springs within. One persistent fragment had penetrated through the backrest and sliced a deep gutter along Purdey’s left shoulder.

The room became quiet while panicked screaming was heard from the hallway outside. Somebody hit the Fire Alarm button while other guests ran from their rooms in fear. Bond waited a few more seconds then placed his hands flat against the floor. He pushed his body upwards as if doing a press-up and the backrest edge of the sofa lifted off the floor at a right-angle. He used his left elbow to push the sofa high enough until it tilted back with its own momentum and landed to rest on its four wooden feet with a dull thud.
“Was it good for you?” he asked.
“Yes, sensational. The Earth moved.” She replied as she sat up.
He smiled at her then before seeing the shoulder wound that she had sustained. A thick crimson stain ran down the Versace bathrobe’s sleeve.
“That bitch!” he barked, grabbing the damp towel Purdey had used on her hair and tying it around the quietly bleeding cut.
“Press here, darling.” he said.
“You saw her? Did she do this?” Purdey asked with a grimace as she pressed the towel down on the wound.
“It was her alright.” he replied.

Satisfied that Purdey’s wound was under control, Bond reached under the nearby bed and retrieved the weapons case. He and Purdey were fortunate in that the double bed’s mattress and base had taken the brunt of the blast and diffused much of the shell’s impact. Opening the case, he extracted the main body of the dismantled VSS Vintorez sniper rifle and slid the scope off its mounting rail. Bond knelt down onto the destroyed sofa and looked out the window through the scope’s rubberized eyepiece. He scanned across the fifth-floor windows of the Hotel Imperiale across the river. Nothing stirred. Markov was gone.
Of course she was.
Bond swore. He put the rifle body and scope back in the case and shut the lid.
“We need to get out of here. Firstly, we’ll get you patched up. Then we have to get to Danneman’s daughter. She knows more than she’s let on. You need help getting dressed? Shoulder okay?” he asked as he assisted her up from the floor.
“No, I’m alright, James. The shoulder’s fine. I’ll just be a minute.”

Purdey quickly scurried into the bathroom. Without shutting the door, she removed the robe and Bond was momentarily distracted by the sight of her naked form. She was a vision, spoiled only by the narrow ribbon of blood which ran down her arm and now crept over the steel bracelet of her Rolex. She reached down and turned the faucet on. Hot water began filling the white porcelain basin. He turned away and began to assess their situation as he sat down on the battered sofa and slipped his shoes on, but his mind began to fill with too many questions; how did Markov know they were in Paris? What else did she have planned? Was she there to disrupt the NATO Summit? Was she still in their vicinity?

Interpol had recently elevated Markov’s status to ‘terrorist’, to be arrested, if spotted, “with extreme use of force where necessary”. Then there was that young man Bourne from the CIA, with orders to shoot on sight. It seemed that everyone wanted a slice of Irina Markov. She was a fox to be torn apart by hounds.

But Bond needed her alive. There were too many unanswered questions to this puzzle and Markov had the answers. That was clear.

Purdey emerged from the bathroom five minutes later dressed in black Levi’s and a blue Balenciaga shawl-collared woollen sweater. Attached to the left side of her waistband was an empty black leather holster. On her feet was a pair of black Nike trainers. Her left shoulder was padded with a small hand towel. The bleeding had slowed, but it hurt like all hell. She didn’t let on to Bond just how bad it felt.

Bond flung open the sliding door of the hotel room’s wardrobe and took out his navy blue single-breasted Kilgour jacket and Burberry trench coat. He turned to Purdey.
“Which jacket do you want, leather or denim?” he asked.
They would be traveling light. She knew she could only take one. But she was a woman after all. The thought of leaving any of her clothing behind mildly incensed her. With any luck, however, the front desk would organize to have her property returned to the London offices of Universal Exports, attentioned to Mr. James Bond.
She was fond of the Armani denim jacket that she had bought to celebrate her appointment with MI6. However, the black leather Rick Owens jacket was an item she would never be able to afford again. She had bought it on sale at Harrods a few months earlier and was incredulous at the low ticket price when she took it off its rack.
“No, that’s the price alright. Grab it…or I will!” the salesgirl had said at the counter after scanning the tag. Purdey’s Amex card almost ignited at the speed with which she withdrew it from her purse.
“Leather.” she replied as she quickly stepped forward and snatched it from the wardrobe. Besides, she reasoned, this jacket would provide a thicker layer than denim, and it’s slightly tighter fit would keep the towel in place on her shoulder.
She slipped it on, trying not to wince in front of Bond. If he had looked at her then, he would have noticed her biting her bottom lip.

Bond took his Tod’s suede overnight bag from the wardrobe, opened it and extracted his Walther P99 and its nylon holster. He quickly strapped it on. He then put on the Kilgour jacket, knowing that the gun’s bulge would be noticeable, but then the Burberry trench coat would cover it up. He also took the Lenovo ThinkPad notebook from the bag, flipped the screen lid up and pressed the Shift key. The computer powered up from hibernation mode quickly. Bond pressed a series of keys in sequence. A small notepad screen appeared. He typed in the phrase “Burn, baby, burn!” wondering if the tech-boys in Q Branch who created these silly commands had girlfriends. Bond then turned the notebook upside-down, depressed a latch underneath and slid the hard drive out of it. This he put into the overnight bag. He lay the computer down onto the bed.

The sound of other guests heading for the Fire Escapes grew fainter as Purdey reached under the bed and retrieved the weapons case. She had already picked up her Chanel overnight bag from a stool next to her suitcase in the bathroom. This she would not leave behind. From it, she removed the Beretta PX-4 Sub-Compact and slid it into the holster on her hip.
“Ready, darling?” Bond asked.
“Ready, darling.” Purdey replied.
“Here.” Without waiting for a response, Bond took the Chanel bag from her and placed it inside his overnight bag which had ample room. He then zipped it closed. Purdey smiled at his thoughtfulness.
“Come on, then. We’ve got to get down to the car park. Stay sharp.” Bond said as he tapped the Enter key on the notebook that sat on the shredded mattress. A timer appeared on the screen and commenced counting down from 0:30.

They left the room, stepping over the blackened door which had been ripped from its hinges by the blast. The smell of smoke still hung in the air. The sprinkler system did not activate when the Fire Alarm sounded. Because the system was in fact inactive. This was due to a mix-up by the hotel’s Maintenance Division. The company hired to program the sprinkler units were due to come in earlier that week, but someone had forgotten to write up the booking time for the work so it had to be rescheduled for the following month. Heads would roll because of this blunder.

Up and down the hallway outside their room, all was silent. The fourth floor of the hotel had cleared. Bond and Purdey quickly made their way to the Fire Escape exit door and headed downstairs towards the basement level car-park.

Back in Room 417 of the newly-opened Palazzo Versace Hotel, the notebook’s countdown timer reached zero. The computer emitted a series of five short beeps before the small Q Branch-installed square of C4 detonated, obliterating the notebook and blowing a decent hole in what was left of the mattress.

On the Fire Escape stairs, Bond and Purdey carefully negotiated their way over various items of clothing and baggage that had been dropped by fleeing guests. All was quiet save for the sound of Bond’s black leather Lobb slip-ons ‘click-clacking’ on the steps while Purdey’s footsteps were near-silent.

Moments later, they reached the basement car-park. Bond carefully pulled the exit door open with one hand while he gripped the P99 with his other. After their narrow escape in Room 417, he was taking no chances. The car-park was filled with cars, but devoid of people. He did a quick scan of the row of parked cars and located the Aston Martin Vanquish. It was roughly 40 metres away, parked four spaces from the exit ramp that led to street level. He planned to get himself and Purdey out of Paris and take the coastal road to Madrid. Bond would radio ahead to Sinclair from Station M who would be waiting at the safe-house. Once there, they could properly tend to Purdey’s shoulder.

Bond turned to Purdey who waited in the stairwell doorway.
“The car’s just up ahead. We’re almost there. Stay close.” he said as he took her hand and began leading her towards the Aston Martin. She had the weapons case slung over her good shoulder and the Beretta in her free hand.

Purdey took a long slow breath and momentarily recalled the week of training she had been given with the VSS Vintorez at the Service’s underground rifle range. Her instructor was a man named Major Mallory, a former SAS sniper. “Now, Miss, unless you’re courting a shiner, don’t put your face right up against that scope or you’ll be wearing heavy eye-shadow for a month after the recoil’s done its job.” he had cautioned. His teaching had been thorough and by the end of her instruction, she had attained a score of 98 percent. Mallory was suitably impressed; “Could’ve used you back in the Falklands, Miss. Not that we were there, of course.” he had said with a wink.

A long shadow briefly appeared against the wall of the ramp as the rumble of a car engine quickly grew louder, snapping her out of her reminiscences.
Monica Purdey wasted no time. She raised the VSS, feeling a sharp stab of pain as the rifle’s butt pressed tight against her wounded shoulder. Her left elbow rested on the bonnet of the Audi to stabilise the gun. Seconds later, a black Mercedes-Benz G-Class Gelandenwagen 4 wheel-drive slithered into view.

Looking through the scope, she lined the cross-hairs up against the driver’s side of the G-Class’ tinted windscreen. Purdey took a quick, deep breath and held it. A second later, she fired. There was a fraction of a second’s delay before the sub-sonic round emerged from the barrel, a peculiar idiosyncrasy of the VSS. The round flew from the silenced barrel with a ‘woomp’ sound. Purdey felt the recoil slam into her shoulder, but the mixture of fear and adrenalin masked any sensation of pain. The bullet hit the windscreen, easily shattering it…and the driver’s sternum. His Kevlar vest offered no protection at all. Reflexively, the driver stepped down on the accelerator pedal before he died. The Gelandenwagen veered to the right with a roar of its engine and slammed into a parked BMW, four cars away from Bond’s position. It was now positioned directly opposite Bond’s Aston Martin.

Bond was huddled down behind the Opel and he waited. He could see the 4 wheel-drive well enough through the Opel’s driver and passenger side windows. There was no movement. Ten seconds passed. Then five more before the Gelandenwagen’s driver’s side doors were flung open. Four men exited the vehicle and crouched low. Two of them shook their heads, dazed by their van’s impact with the BMW. Weren’t expecting a sniper round, were you, gentlemen?, thought Bond with a grim smile. They were armed with Heckler & Koch MP5K sub-machine guns. They meant business. Markov had hired the best. Probably recruited from one of the many Private Military Corporations that had sprung up in the years since September 11th, 2001.

Purdey panned the scope slightly to her left and saw Bond in her cross-hairs. A few seconds later, he turned to look at her. She saw him hold up four fingers. She turned the gun back to the Gelandenwagen, but opened her right eye as well to allow for maximum peripheral vision. In the event that one of the men tried to move away from the van, she would see them. Then suddenly, one man made a quick dash for Bond’s Aston Martin and crouched behind the car’s sleek metallic silver bulk. But he moved too fast for Purdey to get a lock on him. There was no way they could know that was his car, Bond thought to himself. The other three men stayed behind the safety of the crashed Gelandenwagen. They didn’t know where the sniper fire had come from. Bond had noticed that the man who now hid behind his Aston Martin had a small black satchel slung over his shoulder when he made his dash. These men had brought enough ammunition for a small war, he thought to himself.

Then one of the men did something odd. Bond saw him lie down on the car-park floor behind the 4 wheel-drive’s rear tyre and place his cheek down onto the concrete. The man then brought a hand to his face and Bond saw that he held a small monocular. The man looked through the eyepiece.
Dammit, they’re looking for feet under cars!, thought Bond. He moved back further along the length of the Opel and retreated behind the rear tyre. He hunched down, hoping that, from this angle, both rear wheels of the Opel would provide a wide enough segment of cover to hide his presence from the men four cars away. He prayed that Purdey had seen the man lie down too and was taking precautions.
Too late. The man on the ground yelled out her position to the others.
The eruption of gunfire was instantaneous and the sound of it reverberated around the concrete walls, floor and ceiling of the underground car-park.

The gunman positioned behind Bond’s Aston Martin fired a three-round burst at Monica Purdey. The bullets glanced off the bonnet of a silver Maserati parked four spaces from her. The Heckler & Koch MP5K sub-machine gun was a superb close-quarters weapon with an effective range of around 25 metres. However, the gunman knew that, from this distance of just over 32 metres, his attempts at bringing Purdey down would be futile. He had to get closer to her. He called out to his three associates who were still huddled behind the crashed Gelandenwagen. Bond heard him bark out an order in Russian. The gunman then fired off another two bursts from his MP5K. This gave one of the others enough time to run over and take cover next to him behind the Aston Martin. This man carried a weapon different to the MP5K that his partner held. Bond glanced through the Opel’s window and saw it for an instant, but he recognised the long barrel and thin stock with the padded end. It was a M14EBR sniper rifle. He felt his stomach muscles tighten. A moment passed before the second gunman turned to call out to the other two men behind the Gelandenwagen. Bond saw a small cylindrical tube tossed through the air from the van to the Aston Martin where the second gunman reached up to catch it one-handed. Bond knew the weapon by its distinct, telescopic shape with the flat firing button at its centre. It was a M72LAW Anti-tank rocket launcher. Bond’s mind raced and he felt his confidence dwindle. At just 90 centimetres long, fully extended, the M72 had a muzzle velocity of 145 metres per second and fired a steel-tipped shell that could easily penetrate 2 feet of reinforced concrete. It would make mince-meat of the Audi which sheltered Purdey, leaving her at the mercy of the other gunman’s M14 sniper fire.

Monica Purdey saw it all happen as well, but she was uncertain as to what the hit-team’s end-game was. She peered through the scope of her VSS and couldn’t see Bond anywhere, but she caught a brief flicker of movement near one of the Gelandenwagen’s tyres. She quickly edged herself away from the Audi and pressed her back against the concrete wall next to it and crouched down. In this position she looked through the scope again at the van and saw the heel of one of the gunmen’s feet protruding beyond the curved outline of the tyre. She took another breath, held it and then fired. This time, a stab of pain tore through her wounded shoulder as the silenced round pierced the air of the underground car-park of the Palazzo Versace hotel. The gunman behind the Gelandenwagen let out a scream as the bullet pulped his Achilles tendon.
As he began to fall in agony to the ground, three things happened- Monica Purdey chambered another round, the two gunmen behind the Aston Martin began yelling at the men behind the Gelandenwagen, confused as to what had just occurred, and Bond quickly made a low dash behind the rear of the Opel and, staying low, made his way towards the BMW where the Gelandenwagen had crashed.

Purdey took another deep breath while her heart pounded in her ears. Through the scope, she saw the wounded man fall to the ground. He was now framed between the front and rear passenger-side wheels of the van, clutching at his right calf in searing pain. Before he had a chance to get behind cover, she fired again. This second shot hit the base of his neck from behind, killing him instantly. Monica Purdey began to feel nauseous. Through her jacket, she felt a trickle of sweat roll down her left arm before shakily chambering another round in the VSS. Her eyes welled up slightly, but she fought back the release of tears. She quickly wiped them away with the back of her hand, reminding herself that what she had done had been necessary. She had no desire to die in a car-park in Paris. And she would not let Bond die there either.

There was another storm of gunfire aimed in Monica Purdey’s direction. All three remaining gunmen fired at her. This was done to distract her, but it also worked to distract them from Bond’s presence. He took the opportunity to dive out from the cover of the BMW and fire at the gunman behind the Gelandenwagen. The bullet caught him in the right temple, shattering half his skull.

The first gunman behind the Aston Martin scurried low along the wall to the left and halted two cars away, behind a silver Lexus. This maneuver reduced his distance from Purdey by fifteen feet, thus putting him within an effective range of her with the MP5K. But he wasn’t planning on using the sub-machine gun. He and the other gunman armed with the M14 sniper rifle were about to obliterate Monica Purdey from the face of the Earth.

The first gunman, now behind the Lexus, fired four short bursts in Purdey’s direction in an effort to keep her pinned down. This gave the second gunman behind the Aston Martin time to set the M14’s bipod down on the bonnet of Bond’s car.

From behind the BMW, Bond couldn’t see what was happening so he traced his path back to his previous spot behind the Opel. Looking through the windows again, he saw the sniper setting up his weapon on the Aston Martin’s bonnet, but if Bond were to take a shot at him, he would be spotted by the first gunman behind the Lexus parked almost directly opposite the Opel where Bond hid.

Bond knew their game-plan. It was how he would do it. The gunman behind the Lexus would fire a rocket at Purdey. If the blast didn’t wound or kill her, it would surely spook her enough to the point where she would make a dash from the Audi to better cover. However, this would leave her exposed briefly. The nearest cover would either be the car-park’s exit door, through which she and Bond had come earlier, or the other row of parked cars opposite where she was. Either position was a distance of about eight metres. Not much, but with two professional killers lying in wait, it would be a suicide run. If she remained behind the Audi, the first gunman would keep firing rockets until he killed her or flushed her out from hiding.

These men were good, thought Bond. The man behind his Aston Martin was positioned slightly to the right of his associate two cars away, giving him a clear line-of-sight to Monica Purdey’s position up ahead.

But James Bond had one last ace up his sleeve, or rather, in his pocket. It was meant for other purposes, but he knew he had no choice. If he and Purdey were to get out of this predicament alive, then he would have to resort to it. He made his way to the back of the Opel and dropped to his knees.

It was then that multiple things began to happen.
Bond fished his car keys from his pocket.
The first gunman quickly loaded the M72 rocket launcher.
The second gunman positioned himself behind the M14 sniper rifle.
Bond pressed a button on his ignition key. The key flicked out like a switchblade.
The first gunman peered over the bonnet of the Lexus, the M72 on his shoulder.
The second gunman lowered his eye to the M14’s scope.
Bond pressed the button rapidly two more times.

Thanks for reading!

Credits: typecast on an Olympia Splendid 99, an Olympia SM3, and a Smith-Corona Sterling. 

Based on characters created by Ian Fleming.

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