DISCLAIMER: The Bond universe is the creation of Ian Fleming. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Moneypenny checked her watch for the third time in ten minutes and silently cursed Bond and her wayward attitude to timekeeping. If she didn't arrive soon, M would be in a snit for days; her humour not the best at the moment as it was. There had been talk, behind closed doors, about the appropriateness of second generation operatives and Moneypenny had taken exception to being lumped together with 009 as an unruly element.
Her mother had warned her about Bond Sr. and his charm offensives but the senior Ms Moneypenny had left the service before Jane took over her father's mantle, and therefore was unable to warn her against the daughter having inherited her father's feckless ways. Moneypenny straightened her spine and prepared to face the lion's den, to report, once again, that Bond was a no-show.
"Good morning, Moneypenny," Jane breezed in, throwing her coat on the nearest chair and perching on the edge of the mahogany desk.
One, two, three seconds and Moneypenny's eyes dipped to the deep V created by Jane's shirt; the four open buttons far exceeded government guidelines on work attire and coupled with the skin tight material and burgeoning cleavage they produced what could almost be considered a deadly weapon. Moneypenny's cheeks flamed and she prayed to Moneypennys past that her dark complexion had masked the reaction.
"Warm in here?" Jane asked, fanning her shirt for emphasis.
Her eyes fixed stolidly on the far wall, Moneypenny flicked the switch on her intercom and announced Bond's arrival to their boss.
M's voice cut glass as it exited the intercom system. "About time. Send her in. Now."
"She's in a bad mood," Moneypenny warned, concerned for Jane's well-being despite herself.
"And you're a dream waiting to happen," Jane drawled, before jumping off the desk to go face the firing squad. "Try not to miss me while I'm gone."
"Nice of you to join us, 009."
Jane smiled towards M before turning her attention to the two men loitering in the shadows; their crisp uniforms reminded her of tin soldiers. She combed a hand through her long, brunette locks and resisted the temptation to undo another button.
"M." She turned to nod at the uniforms. "Gentlemen."
One of the uniforms shuffled his feet impatiently and all at once Jane understood that they were uncomfortable with her being there. Which could only mean that M had overridden their concerns and decided to throw Jane to the wolves. Typical M, really.
"At 7.30 this morning a Japanese freighter was hijacked in the middle of the East China Sea." With the click of a button M dimmed the lights and activated the large monitors lining the back wall. On the middle screen a picture of an attractive looking blonde came into focus, her short hair swept behind her ears and a look of frustrated determination on her face. "Angela Monroe was a passenger on that freighter."
Jane's attentions were aroused. "Was she slipping into or out of the country?"
"Out," said one of the uniforms.
"She is the daughter of Harold Monroe, the Australian industrialist, and intelligence suggests that Angela was kidnapped from her father's estate three days ago." M rapidly clicked through a series of photographs, the images barely registering before she clicked for the next. "A ransom of fifteen million Australian dollars was paid forty-eight hours later and Angela was released."
"And kidnapped again?"
"Possibly." M signalled the two men to leave. "It's also more than possible that she was an unlucky bystander and the hijackers were only interested in the freighter's cargo."
"Weapons grade plutonium."
Jane resisted a sigh; plutonium was so last century. "Do we know the identity of the hijacker?"
The monitor flickered and the blonde was replaced by an equally attractive redhead. "Her name is Josephina Drax."
Jane's raised brow was too reminiscent of her father for M's comfort. When at all possible she liked to pretend that Jane had come fresh from the confines of Cambridge University, just another bright and pretty young thing chosen to represent Her Majesty's government. Acknowledging her connection to James was far too unsettling.
"Her father was killed -"
"By my father," Jane interrupted. "He told me about the case."
"The details of which should have been protected by national security."
"So you think like father, like daughter?"
For a moment M thought Jane was talking about herself but the younger woman's obvious interest in Josephina Drax's photograph quickly brought her back to the conversation. "Despite her father's downfall Josephina inherited a vast fortune upon her twenty-fifth birthday and set about quadrupling that fortune in a very short time. Since then she has amassed a small army of followers, many of whom are ex-servicemen and mercenaries. To quote one of your predecessors, she's 'deadlier than a scorpion's sting'."
"Jane," warned M. "You are to approach this woman and ascertain if she is involved in the disappearance of that freighter. If she is I want her stopped." M passed a folder to Jane. "Her father was a madman bent on world destruction and, from all accounts, she's far more intelligent and determined."
"And Angela Monroe?"
"If she's alive, find her." M's voice hardened. "If she's involved with Drax's scheme. I want you to neutralise the threat."
Jane didn't ask what she meant. Some things were better when not spelt out.
"Ah, Bond, so good of you to join us at last." Q pressed a button on his wheelchair and zoomed out of sight, several lab coated figures scrambling in his wake.
Ignoring the commotion, Jane began to examine the latest sports car to be given the Q Effect. It was a red Lamborghini Spyder, not something she'd have chosen herself but it wasn't as if Q would ever deem to consult any of the agents before he went about creating his little mechanical wonders.
"Don't touch that!"
Jane turned to see the lab techs whizzing past, their quarry already too far in the distance to discern accurately, although she had the sneaking suspicion that he'd acquired a mannequin passenger at some point.
Opening the car door, Jane took a moment to enjoy the new car smell, before sliding onto the soft leather. As the door clicked shut the noise from the lab disappeared and was replaced with the gentle hum of quiet. Jane rolled her hands along the steering wheel and allowed herself a moment of enjoyment before she turned her attention to the flickering yellow post-it notes that covered the car's interior.
One by one she peeled off the notes, quickly memorising the comments; ejector seat, machine guns, flame thrower, microwave jamming device, ashtray, grappling hook etc. It was pretty standard, except for the central notes, with its florescent green wording and sparkly border - she worried about Q at times. She wasn't quite sure if she'd ever need to push that particular button but she slipped the note into the pocket of her trousers just in case.
As the sound of Q crashing into a fake red post box resounded, Jane put the car in gear and eased her way out of the lab. She had a blonde to find. Or was it a redhead?
To Be Continued
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