Eyes strained, fingers cramped, butt asleep, I have at last completed Nightfire in two marathon days. What did I think of it? What kind of review will I write? Too tired to consider such weighty questions, I stumble from the computer to fall asleep on a nearby couch.
“ and this, 007 are you paying attention?”
I open my eyes and find myself in some sort of lab. Q is holding a keychain out to me. “I’m sorry. I must have drifted off. What were you saying?” I find that I’m speaking with an English accent. What’s the deal with that?
“Very well, 007. To reiterate: The wristwatch fires a powerful laser beam. It has a self-charging battery that is good forever. The same goes for the keychain, which is actually a tazer capable of disabling a man in seconds. The fountain pen fires tranquilizer darts, the PDA cracks computer security systems, the lighter is a miniature camera, and the cell phone fires a grappling hook. Any questions?”
“If the key chain is a tazer, what’s this tazer for?” I pick up a tazer off the lab bench.
“If you rotate the handle, your car keys pop out of the end.”
“Ingenious. And what does this pocketknife do?”
He takes the knife from me. “That’s mine.”
“But what does it do?”
“Two types of screwdriver, a knife, pliers, awl, small saw, fishhook remover, and a toothpick.”
“And nothing. Isn’t that enough?” He shakes his head.
A lab assistant comes up to us, the top of her labcoat open and generous cleavage and breasts are in danger of falling out. She looks at us expectantly.
I turn to her, “Is there something you would like to get off your chest?”
Her eyes are daggers pointed at me. “The human resources director warned you about cracks like that. That’s sexual harassment and I don’t have to stand for it.”
“What is it, Mrs. Goodhead?” Q asks her.
I snicker and Q elbows me in the ribs.
“I need to talk to you about the suppository bomb test results.”
“As soon as I’m done with 007.” He hands me a pair of sunglasses. “These are your Q-specs. Using the little lever on the side you can see in either the X-ray or infrared.”
I slip them on and fiddle with them. “Mrs. Goodhead, are you wearing a garter belt?”
“That’s it!” she shrieks. “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!” I check out her thong as she stomps away and slams the door to the lab behind her.
“Really, 007.” He takes the glasses off my face and stuffs them into the pocket of my blazer. He hands me a gun, my good old Walther PPK. “And finally your gun, complete with removable silencer. Go see M. She’s got a mission for you.”
The slide projector clicks. “This is Mr. Raphael Drake. Industrialist, billionaire. We suspect he’s involved in the theft of a secret missile guidance module.” The slide projector advances to a picture of the doodad. “We have information that he will take possession of the module during a party at his mansion tonight.” A picture of an enormous mansion fills the screen. “We want you to infiltrate the party and observe the exchange.”
“And I should arrest him for receiving stolen goods when the exchange takes place?”
“You could, 007, but we would prefer that you traipse all over the globe, following Drake and watching his plot unfold. We suspect it’ll lead you to nuclear weapons and a plan to take over the world.”
“It usually does,” I observe wryly.
M nods. “Along the way, you can scythe through his various henchmen, bed down numerous women, and finally defeat Drake himself, mano a mano.”
“On board a space station?”
He nods again, “Naturally. Good luck.”
I’m blurry and pixilated as I parachute to a spot near Drake’s mansion, but feel better once I hit the ground. Am I carrying a boom box? Where’s my theme music coming from? I hope the guards don’t hear it.
I miss my chance to sneak aboard a truck into the compound, so must find another way in. A guard quickly spots me despite my dark commando suit. He shoots at me! I shoot back and kill him! Another guard comes and I shoot him too. And another! And then for good measure I pop a guy on a parapet operating a spotlight it was only a matter of time before he saw me; I rationalize to myself as he falls to his death.
I’m not even in the front door yet, and already my license to kill has become a license to slaughter wantonly. My gun sounds pretty loud I screw on the silencer.
I wonder to myself what to do with the guards’ bodies. Someone will see them! As I ponder this, the bodies sort of melt into the ground leaving only the weapons behind. Kinda creepy, but it solves my problem.
I’m more careful from then on, arriving at the front door after killing only another twenty or so guys, and being nearly mortally wounded myself. Still, when I take off my commando suit the tuxedo underneath is freshly pressed, and I slip into the party with ease. I hope no one notices the trail of blood I’m leaving. There’s a huge black bodyguard at the party and I wonder how long it will be before I have to kill him.
While awaiting the exchange I amuse myself by checking out the underthings of the women at the party. I mean, what would you do if you had X-ray specs?
My radio comes to life and instructs me to photograph the women at the party. I can handle that. I whip out my trusty lighter/camera and start clicking away. One woman in a gown with a plunging neckline looks at me oddly as I do this.
“Something you’d like to get off your chest?” I ask.
She slaps me. “Why are you walking around with a lighter held up to your eyes making clicking noises?”
“I don’t know, “ I reply. “Why are you standing waist deep in a piano like it doesn’t exist? Why does that guy over there, “ I gesture with my head, “have one leg stuck in a wall?”
“Good point.” She admits.
“Thank you. Say cheese.”
It’s a big mansion I’d better get looking for that meeting. It’s such a big mansion in fact, that I probably would never be able to find the meeting, except for the fact that every door I try is locked or blocked with a velvet rope. Can a velvet rope stop the famous 007? Apparently so. My laser watch, which can cut steel, is useless against velvet, and I find myself wishing I had kept Q’s knife. It turns out that Drake has helped me out by locking or blocking all the doors except those that lead directly to him. What luck! I rescue the girl and get a kiss for my troubles, but Drake gets away Boo! Hiss!
The trail leads me to one of Drake’s office buildings. Despite the fact that I’m armed to the teeth, the guards in this building are civilians, and I can’t chew through them like J. Lo through husbands. My tazer/keychain and tranquilizer/pen sure come in handy. Where did Drake get these stooges? If two guards are having a conversation, and I tranquilize one of them, the other one often doesn’t notice!
The building is decorated in modern cube farm and must be 100 floors tall. There are a million offices to search, but 99% of them are locked and, super spy that I am, simple office locks are beyond me. Fortunately everything I’m looking for has been left in unlocked offices, or offices to which I find conveniently discarded keys, or, worst comes to worst, offices with a window that I can break and climb through.
Guys with guns who want me dead guard the upper floors. So badly do they want me dead that they often stick the barrel of their gun or a foot or arm through the door they are hiding behind, because they just can’t wait to get to me. I get to use a lot of weapons in this mission sniper rifle, machinegun, minigun, chaingun, rocket launcher, and a nifty automated machine gun that fits in a briefcase Q should built me one of those. The rocket launcher does surprising little damage to most office furniture, and I make a mental note to tell Q to build me a car out of the same materials.
Beyond one exciting moment when the bad guys have me pinned down in an exterior elevator and are hammering on it with rocket launchers, my only memories are of nearly endless hallways and offices filled with bad guys. I must have killed over 200 of them. I’m giving my license to kill quite a workout.
Information from the office building leads me to a secret base on a tropical island. I wish the guy following me with my theme music would cut it out it’s a little out of place on this island. An agent named Alura, who is wearing a pair of short shorts and a half shirt that would make Lara Croft blush, meets me there.
“Don’t you want to make some comment about my breasts?” she asks.
“I haven’t been having too much luck with that. How about I comment on your behind?”
“OK.” She turns away and looks back at me over her shoulder. “Well?”
“Ummm. Nice ass?” I say uncertainly.
She frowns, “You’re really losing it, 007.”
“Possibly.” I reply.
She’s a fair sharpshooter, if a little hard to keep alive, and we shortly clean the island of bad guys, about another hundred or so bodies overall. Some of these float away instead of sinking into the ground; perhaps they’re being subsumed bodily into heaven.
Hey, I found a shuttle headed to an orbiting space station
“And that,” I say as I pour the vodka martini from the shaker into two glasses and take my first approving sip from one of them, “is how I got to the space station and defeated Drake, making the world safe for vodka martinis and naked women.”
Alura is sitting on the bed naked. She accepts the second martini glass when I hold it out to her.
“Anyway, you can read all about it in my report to M. It was a very typical mission overall, only took a couple of days, and pitted me against a boilerplate megalomaniac bent on global domination. I regret that I didn’t get to drive any vehicles or even gamble a little really all I did was run around shooting people and flipping switches for the most part with the occasional Q gadget thrown in but the life of a super spy can’t be all glamorous.”
“Very impressive, 007. I wish you could stay, and I could show you some things I learned while undercover with a Romanian acrobatic troupe, but your wife is about to wake you up.”
“How unfortunate.” I frown.
“Wake up.” My wife is shaking me. “Wake up. Did you fall asleep on the couch after playing computer games all night again?”
I roll into a sitting position. “I guess so.”
“Well, take a shower and shave. My mom will be here soon, and she’s spending a week with us. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot, do you?”
“No, I guess not.” I start patting at my pants pockets.
“What are you looking for?”
“My fountain pen.”
“What fountain pen?”
“The one that shoots tranquilizer darts.”
“You don’t have a fountain pen that shoots tranquilizer darts.”