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This should be coding decryption time, yet instead Q stares at the Internet with quiet satisfaction because every darkweb security site he has flagged just lit up as if it were Christmas. There’d been anticipation of the potential need to hack his own mainframe, but it won’t be necessary, because right now the picture behind BBC News’ Jane Hill is of Bond, which means Whitehall grasped an opportunity to call it a day ahead of schedule. It might not be in writing for a few weeks, but this truly was the end for 007. A very purposefully engineered demise, once and for all, of both man and designation, planned to the split second and dependant on their enemy’s desire to destroy everything MI6 stood for.

The video runs on his screen that will soon be bouncing across the world; the exposed Spectre assassin working in the Prime Minister’s Security detail taking his opportunity: eyes of the world on the West London crematorium, Bond targeted and crumpling to the ground with blood pouring from a chest wound as he gave the eulogy for Flemmings. Alex West had been planning a high profile hit since C’s demise, M his intended target, but had been scuppered by the intervention of an undercover Metropolitan Police officer. Once she was able to influence his decision Spectre itself would believe they’d corrected its leader’s oversight, Bond finally dead so the game could be afoot for 007 one last time.

Without sound or context the images are sterile, painless for Q to watch, but he notes with satisfaction how two male agents defend Bond’s body with guns drawn whilst it is their female equal who clinically eliminates the assailant. All three are plants, of course, SAS officers who remain unapproachably anonymous, but that won’t matter. This sends the world a warning that Spectre’s scope is all encompassing, and everyone needs to step up their vigilance. The only martyr as a result of this soap opera is now in a body bag on the way to Lynam, where Felix waits to accompany him with all speed to Bangkok.

All in all, the entire exercise has been completed flawlessly. Bond’s ‘ashes’ will remain as fictional as his own and Flemmings’ and the three can again effectively vanish from memory. Having never taken voluntary bereavement himself, the time had come to remove yet another life from the frame. It hadn’t been a wrench: his mother’s death the previous year had made the choice that much easier. Effectively orphaned, with no family to come looking, it wasn’t as if he needed to change large portions of his life anyway. The house that was rewarded is a distinct improvement, no mortgage left to worry over. In that regard, this was a massive promotion. All he needed now was to be in London to enjoy it, except a part of his mind would happily stay here forever.

Despite himself, Q had begun to enjoy the field agent existence.

The phone next to him vibrates, and he’s pleased to see that 004’s on her way back, hopefully with something more unhealthy than fruit sugars for dinner.

‘I need you to do a background check on someone for me.’

‘You were only asked to find dessert, 004, not play vigilante again. I thought we’d discussed just letting the world get on with its own business…?’

‘Had you not trained me so well, I would have done so, but this is at least in part your fault so just look up Alberto Rinaldi for me and make your own judgement.’

‘I am thinking there may be a few of those in the Italian phone book, you have a picture?’

The phone’s camera provides context and Q is already searching, smile as it becomes apparent that again letting her use initiative had provided a scalp of some note as reward. It is a testament to his training he knows this person will be trouble, that Ronni will have picked him out immediately due to undoubtedly suspicious behaviour.

‘Well done 004, you have my attention, as this man’s on Spectre’s active agent database. What’s he done to arouse your concern?’

‘Not done, about to do. He’s intending to rob the Museo del Violino with three accomplices this eveing, hold a number of Stradivarius originals to ransom, and effectively blackmail the museum’s founder for about ten million US Dollars. I happened to eavesdrop on their final planning meeting whilst liberating fresh biscotti in a local bakery, which means success on two fronts.’

‘That sounds exactly the sort of thing I’d expect from Blofeld’s people, in every regard. So, how do you intend to stop them?’

‘I was expecting you to tell me to walk away.’

‘On any other day, perhaps, but now I am officially dead as well as Bond and you, I feel oddly liberated. I also love violin music and appreciate the value of preserving the past from rampaging villainy. You know how much I enjoy handling you, 004, so I say we make a date of it.’

His new found confidence is infectious, and Q’s already looking forward to overseeing this mission off the books. This is his forte, and with Ronni to direct, they are a potent combination. Plus even he could do with a break from staring at code.

After all, what was the worst that could happen?

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Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.

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