His first day at MI6 has been more than ever reasonably anticipated, and now at 5am Charlie LaCroix is keeping pace with a woman who he’ll freely admit scares the crap outta him on multiple levels. Ronni can handle a motorbike with an ease seldom seem from anyone of either sex: keeping pace is proving an exercise in nausea. She corners almost at 90 degrees, and how she’s not come off the bike in such wet conditions is still a mystery. They stop several blocks away from where the DB10 is now reported to have stopped, grey and anonymous industrial estate near the railway, mix of modern concrete and Victorian brickwork.
The new 009 is having to think on the run, and is enjoying the freedom he’s been afforded. He’s similarly amazed that his partner takes time to padlock the bikes together with a Service-provided chain, before looking for a way to approach their target from above. Walking in the front door is hardly practical, and Charlie’s immediately alert, staring skywards for fire escapes and buildings as ladders. He’s watched enough videos of the guys who free run this city to know that there’s a whole different climb and jump game above ground level, if you know where to start.
She’s spotted a fire escape, down the side of a disused brick building: 004 is waiting, ready to give him a boost, so he can grab bottom rung and pull himself up. Arms complain until feet are firmly established, and only then does he think how she will cover the gap: turning back to look down, Ronni’s sprinting across the road, jumping up to the bottom rung by using an adjoining wall as a springboard before grabbing it with balletic ease. Flemmings’ parkour skills make Charlie grasp he needed more time watching You Tube as a matter of priority.
Yeah, I shouldn’t be surprised at anything this woman can do.
They cover the last block on the edge of roofs, skipping from building to building, cat like grace in the early morning calm. Ahead there is the sound of an argument, voices in dissonance that become clearer and more strident, and then what is undoubtedly a gunshot. The Walther’s in Charlie’s hand from instinct, not as comfortable as the SIG he’s used to, but no matter. He’s ready, dropping behind a concrete balustrade as Ronni moves past, crouching to his left.
‘Set your watch to Comms, let’s see if I can make it to ground level for a better view.’
There’s not been much time to check out the smart watch that Q issued him with, but because he’s a good boy and has read all the briefing documents on the transport from DC, it’s already making sense. This thing makes commercial efforts to create a truly interactive companion to his phone appear to be designed by fools: Q’s ability to shove everything and anything he might need onto his wrist and make it easy to access is nigh on astounding. Mostly, it’s the fact he can draw on the face for Comms Mode and a series of symbols activates all manner of clever trickery on his, and in this case Ronni’s paired unit. This connection allows the almost seamless switch to eavesdropping away from distorted speech up on the roof down to the clarity of 004’s wrist, which will now conveniently become microphone to his earpiece.
She’s close, managing to get within range of the altercation below. There’s a voice in his ear recognised from an initial briefing on the flight to London: strident, French-accented and surprisingly seductive.
‘I’m sorry, Christian. I only did what I thought would be for the best.’
‘I apologise for getting mad. It is frustrating knowing we’ve lost our advantage because of my failure and this dinosaur. I’m still not sure why I don’t kill him now.’
That has to be Christian, because only a Spectre bad guy’s gonna talk about not eliminating Bond. The fact the man’s silent is a brief worry to LaCroix: who had the shot been at?
‘Because nobody makes your sister as happy as I do.’
Bond is very much still in the game, although doesn’t sound utterly in control: the thump that follows is undoubtedly a punch to somewhere, and Charlie’s fairly certain by the cry he hears that’s not his stomach.
‘You won’t fuck anyone for quite some time, Mr Bond, I will personally make sure of that. That was never my primary focus of interest, you only remain alive thanks to my sister’s assertion you’re worth more as collateral. I find it especially depressing how clearly devoted your prodigy appears to be, after tonight’s performance at your flat. That you would let her do such a thing whilst your lover slept? It is both depressing and utterly predictable. Flemmings was impossible to seduce, yet you make these things look so easy. I fully intend to ensure she’s captured alive so I can make you watch me enjoy her at my leisure.’
Christian’s a psychopathic douche, and I need a better vantage point, Charlie concludes, searching for a spot where there’s a chance of at least a shot at the pair, to reinforce his presence and plant the belief there’s a plan to eliminate them. Felix had been clear: everybody needs to leave, but it needed to look as if the reasoning for intercepting them still isn’t obvious. LaCroix can think of many places on either Swann that he could stick a bullet and still allow them escape reasonably unhindered. That would be his aim.
Make them bleed, at least for a while.