M's OFFICE LONDON
What do you know about CIRC in Geneva, Commander Bond?
Not much sir. Centre International pour la Récherche Circulaire. About says it all. They've built the world's largest Dyson Ball Vac according to CIRC PR, but physicists are a canny bunch. Half the time they don't know what they're talking about. It might look like a giant Dyson Ball Vac but it might not work like one.
Good. That confirms our intelligence. Might not be a Vac at all. Find out for us in case it's anti-British. This is the beast, a hundred meters underground. (unrolling a giant schematic) 27 km around. A great deal of suction.
$10 Billion to date, sir.
Not a total waste we're finding. Picking up dust as far as London. But where are they going to put it all eventually when they shut it down for cleaning? Not our problem fortunately. Touch and go on other fronts. Accidents, some new theories on what might happen at the Doomsday Machine. But they say they've got more baffling concerns. Seems they've found a physicist in the blower, but he's not one of theirs. Looks like the spitting image of one of the Cenral Vac Café waiters, who has suddenly disappeared. Uppity sort who always wanted to be a physicist. It's probably him having a lark at their expense or he's simply lost his marbles. In any case we have a security risk. CIRC wants some answers. Problem is the waiter's spinning stories that are so fantastic they might be creditable like quantum physics theory. CIRC is bamboozled.
Surely it's rather obvious. A personnel problem. CIRC fires the waiter. He finds another job. Hardly a security issue.
In the best of all possible worlds. Not sure where CIRC fits in. Thing is there's a Russian connection. Our friend Dimitri Obolin, the waiter, has some support from the Russians working at the Dyson Ball from FermiBall the rival American Vac. The new Russian Upright Vac project has expressed interest in trading him for one of their waiters. Rather complicated. Camilla and HRH the Prince of Wales are due to visit CIRC tomorrow. Something about Hitler's New Bunker, no not the National Library this time. It could be a new chapter in the Cold Vac War we thought had blown a fuse. Where you come in 007.
GENEVA, HOOVER NOVOTEL LOBBY
Welcome to Geneva, Mr Bond and the Hoover Novotel. I see you're on Dyson business. CIRC will be covering all your expenses. There's a delegation waiting to receive you in the Poussière Dorée Bar. Your suite is ready if you'd like to shower and change. Should I say you'll be down soon?
Bit early. Don't know if I can face physicists before supper. How many?
Four I believe.
Is this standard procedure? A welcome committee?
For VIPs yes and government people.
Then the Hoover is a CIRC hotel?
No, it's a public hotel but we cater largely to a CIRC clientèle and the airport. The Dyson is just down the road.
Very convenient. Think I'll look in on the delegation now. Is the suite big enough for entertaining? Do you have a penthouse available?
Usually booked, but I can check. Yes, we have one coming up. It won't be ready for an hour or so.
Fine, I'll have it then. Rather quiet for a big hotel? Apart from the Dyson noise and dust. I suppose people in Geneva are a bit nervous? Are you?
About the Dyson? It's the press stories, you know, end of the world. We're used to that. Though the Dyson energies are going way up soon, Mach 3.5 if that's what you mean.
Sorry. (turning) Is that you Q--ing? Splendid surprise.
What on earth are you doing in Geneva, James?
Consulting, sightseeing. Time for a drink?
Yes, rather a good idea. Why not?
It will have to be a quick one in the lounge. Otherwise engaged. (to the concierge) Send over a vodka martini shaken not stirred and a Pimm's Number 1 or if that's too arcane, make it a Long Island Iced Tea.
(walking to the lounge) Sorry about barging in. Happened to be shopping at the bijouteries, clocks and watches, partly professional interest, and then I get a call. You know your car at Heathrow? Blown up. Your flat in Kensington burglarized, and you're being audited by Inland Revenue, but we think we can fix that. We don't know who's behind it.
No, but we do have (sitting) a security breach, Q. Well? You have nothing. Is that all?
Isn't that enough? There's a bit more from M if you'll stop being testy. We know now that CIRC owns this hotel. Novotel just runs it. Under the circumstances, better ask for another room. I'll have it hoovered for you later.
Hoovered? Don't forget a box of chocolates and flowers for the maid. No. Listen closely. Don't. CIRC is supposed to be on our side. In the field, things aren't just technical. What else did M say?
Your Dimitri may be from a parallel universe.
Which parallel universe Q? The one in London? Might have mentioned it earlier. I see. Some aliens, some Russians check into the Hoover? To pick him up and take him home?
Cubans, a trade delegation. You might recall the big Vac projects started in Cuba in the 1950's.
Looks like there's a lineup for CIRC's Loony Bin. There's a welcome committee of four from CIRC waiting for me at the bar. Know who they are?
From CIRC evidently, unscheduled it seems. Hadn't heard. Not on your schedule?
Exactly. Are they official or unofficial?
Splitting hairs aren't we?
What do you think field agents do while you people have your endless meetings and cucumber sandwiches?
Besides crashing cars and blowing things up? Can't say. Plenty of sweaty sex? Don't envy you Bond. It's a hard life. Not a casino girl in sight. (drinks arrive) Alright, I've finished. You're right. Looking tiresomely suspicious, this CIRC business. Did you know a CIRC helio landed on the roof here about 40 minutes ago?
Is it still there?
Was 10 minutes ago. Ingenious really, a special helio screw to avoid turbulence. Modified Sikorsky--
Why the helio? CIRC is a stone's throw away. There's the Dome out your window.
Traffic snarl. Security is very tight around the Dyson. Been here a few days. Shouldn't have bothered really. All roads closed. Some protesters packed off in Police vans. CIRC said they might try Mach 3.5 today. Rather more dust around. And that nerve-wracking woo-woo-woo. Imagine all this nonsense to save the environment? Anyway, no choice but to fly in your delegation.
Then everything makes sense. Everything's fine. Just some extra security for their Dyson and the VIP, me. I don't like it.
If that's all, I'd better be off. Bond? Maybe it's all routine, except for your Morgan.
Blast you Q, you're a big help. Is M convinced I've walked into a trap? Have my orders changed?
Don't think so?
Can I trust CIRC?
Think back. What did M say?
Hornet's nest, don't spare the horses, provide assistance. 005 fell off a building.
Fine. Now cover my back and tell London it's Jack. Do you have a wire with you? Any sort of transmitter? Can you track me?
No, not officially on duty. Brought my wife along. She still thinks I work in insurance.
I'm activating you Q. Now provide assistance. Think.
Think? You mean I'm Triple-0? This is a nice surprise. Or is it? You've got your mobile? Good. Call Universal Export and slip me your Bluetooth earpiece. It's only good for 10 meters, a bit dodgy, not encrypted but keep talking and London and I will know what you're doing.
Charming. I've changed rooms by the way for a penthouse suite, but I might be in the bar next. Keep in range if you can. I don't want to disappear. Hang around the gift shop. Buy a paper. Company's coming. (both stand to shake hands) Nice to see you again. Do keep in touch.
Right you are, James.
(as Q leaves the concierge brings a woman over) Mr Bond, this is Dr Ersuite from CIRC. She's with the delegation.
(shaking hands) A pleasure Mr Bond.
Just on my way. An old school friend waylaid me.
We're running late. The café is full of some noisy Cubans. Hope you don't mind. Our delegation has gone up to your penthouse. Just follow me. (walking to the elevators) We'll be changing elevators up on the last public floor. You'll like the DG's suite. It's very private.
A nice bonus. (Q comes up) Oh it's you again old boy. Feeling your oats?
You'll never guess. Forgot this bit. Manchester United is in town. Can't make out when they're playing. It's these French papers. (unfolds his newspaper for display) Imagine, calling them boozy bastards. See about tickets if you like and call me.
Manchester United en faillite. Les comptables en justice, ces «Boozy Bastards»
Alien décovert à CIRC
Nouvelle scandale Dyson, la «X Machine»
Sorry my French isn't up to yours. More meetings on tap. Call me in London when you get back.
Right you are. Thought I'd hang around for supper. Superb brasserie on the tenth floor with a view, tables outside when the Dyson's off. Think I'll call Doris and make a night of it. Drop by if you can old sport. Did I tell you I found a Rolex for 50 quid? So real it might be hot, probably a knockoff, but who can complain? Here it is. A beauty. The Swiss must be slipping. Knockoffs in Geneva, what next? Here's an idea! What about going to the island later to watch The Spout? They light the thing up, rather splendid.
Not on I'm afraid. Give Doris my regrets. If you like let's try tomorrow. Meet me here at the bar 2 PM.
Ever try the Grosvenor for high tea and croquet? Camilla and Charles might drop by. Doris would love it.
Perhaps the hippodrome. Now if you'll excuse us? Can't keep the lady waiting.
So sorry. (to her) Dreadfully sorry. Thought you wanted the elevator. (smiling, wandering backwards) Well tomorrow then. I'm off.
I can't seem to shake him. Have to keep him happy. He's on the Board of my Club. You were saying, Dr Ersuite?
(elevator arrives) Yes, I hope you're enjoying Geneva? CIRC knows how to make their guests very comfortable. After our meeting, I might have a surprise for you?
PUBLIC ELEVATOR INTERIOR
(doors close) Quite. While I freshen up, you can shave your moustache, Dr Borovda.
I don't know what you are talking about.
Who's with you? (Bond shoves his Beretta into her neck) Where is Dimitri?
I'm trying not to. What's in your shoulder bag? A Glock. Not standard CIRC issue. Talk. (karate chop, she falls heavily) Three seconds.
Oow. You hurt me!
Broken collar bone. Anything else I can do?
Please! I'm not with them. I was raised in the State Orphanage, indoctrinated. There are two of them. The CIRC people are dead by now. You're the fall guy. Shoot Gyorgi when the door opens.
(elevator door opens, Gyorgi waiting) It might be a seizure. She just fell. Take her down to the lobby and call an ambulance.
(Gyorgi leans into a kick, knocked down, Glock to his head) Ooooh.
But he's not dead.
(Bond throws her flying over the body) Move. No one is dead yet as far as I know. Fix your hair. I'm right behind you. Where's Dimitri?
(she stumbles to her feet) In the helio on the roof. CIRC wanted us to transfer him to you.
(Bond jabs the Glock into her back, shoving her across the hall) Talk!
They panicked, CIRC panicked. The alien story is all over the papers and they want deniability.
Dimitri might be genuine. He says he works for CERN Geneva, a nuclear lab, a particle accelerator, that he thinks will blow up his world.
There is no CERN Geneva. Only in his world. We have his ID, we have strange plastic cards, some phony Euro currency and diamonds, lots of diamonds, large stones, clear and uncut, but polished like ice.
We don't know. Not from the Dyson, not from CERN.
They're genuine diamonds?
What's going on at Dyson?
I don't know. I'm with CIRC PR. They don't tell us anything. It's supposed to be about carbon capture, global warming. The Dyson collects carbon dioxide, dust, cosmic dust is what they want. That's all I know.
Is this the elevator? Who's the Russian waiting for us in the penthouse?
He's an American. Tall, strong like a football player. Wyman Follers. Big W.
Yes, just him.
The helio pilot, is Wyman the pilot?
The helio, what make?
Tell Wyman you had to kill me. Tell Wyman I killed Gyorgi. Tell Wyman you have to take the helio and get out with Dimitri. Will it work?
How many real CIRC people?
Just one, a physicist.
One too few I think. You want Dimitri and me or is it just me? But I'm the fall guy? How many are there!
(bang) You're finally probably right. (pulling out his phone) Bond here. Backup requested now. Hoover penthouse, Hoover roof. Intercept Hoover helio. Are you deaf!
(phone) We don't cater parties. Strictly on our premises.
Yes you do.
(phone) Not on the Hoover Dam.
Hoover Hotel blast it, in Geneva now. Call Q, call the Geneva Police and shut up.
(phone) Geneva New York?
Geneva Geneva, Dyson Vac Geneva, Switzerland! I'm going in. I'm taking Dimitri and the CIRC helio.
PRIVATE ELEVATOR TO PENTHOUSE
(door opens to W waiting) Is there some mistake? You seem to be in my suite.
Where's Dr Ersuite?
No idea. Are you with CIRC?
You met her, you saw her?
No. (Bond shoots through his jacket pocket 3 times) I'm in a bit of a rush.
PENTHOUSE HELIO PAD NIGHT, HELIO LIT AND READY
(Bond running) We have to go now! Bond shot W! The police are coming!
Get out now! We have to run for it! (a man jumps down, Bond fires twice, kicks him over) I'm a British agent with CIRC! Dimitri! Stay inside! I'm coming in!
HELIO INTERIOR LIT NIGHT
(Bond climbs in, two bodies slumped at the back) Anyone dead?
Not dead, we are drugged, don't shoot us.
Yes. Dr Dimitri Obolin, CERN. Are those CIRC people dead? They're crazy. That one said he would kill us if something went wrong.
You're safe with me.
We have to get out of here now. The Dyson Vac. CERN will blow it up.
(a hoarse whisper) It's Q. It's me Q! Bond, it's Q. Don't shoot.
Not now Q. I'm busy.
Not my department. Just a mad scramble. Four penthouses, yours the blasted last.
Did you see Gyorgi? Anyone?
Georgi the one stuck in the elevator?
That's him. Dead?
Gurgling a bit. And your girlfriend, dead I think.
Here, take the Glock Q. Watch the roof. (Bond aims his Beretta) Don't move a muscle Dimitri. No time to be nervous. We're British agents, not CIRC.
We must leave now! Get us out of here. The danger is real. Our Large Hadron Collider is a matter transporter. It wasn't designed for that, but that is why I am here. I'm from CERN. I'm here in your world.
That's a matter of opinion.
How else did I get here?
People believe strange stories. People tell strange stories. Especially in my line of work.
Your Dyson Vac, isn't it dangerous?
Not if it's a Vac.
Is it a Vac? Ask Dr Vander here. He's with CIRC.
Yes, Vander, Dr Vander. I'm a nuclear physicist. Who are you? Let me think.
Is the Dyson a Vac?
Not exactly. The Dyson captures dust and CO2 but there is some strange cosmic energy that CIRC claims it is capturing. It makes no sense to me.
Let me speak, I'm Dr Vander. I think we have found some new energy. We can condense it, but we can't analyze it yet. It is something physical and unknown.
Is it dangerous?
We don't know yet. In our detectors diamond becomes highly radioactive. We call it dark energy.
Dr Vander, do you believe Dimitri?
Yes and no. Well his quantum chromodynamics are interesting. They might apply to ours but it would take weeks of computing and analysis. What he says only a physicist could invent. CIRC is embarrassed. They don't want to find out if he is right or wrong. They want to get rid of him. The DG told me at the last minute we had to transfer Dr Obolin to the British. No one will take us seriously if we have an alien at CIRC.
So we can't trust CIRC?
Of course you can trust CIRC. We are scientists. Our goals are more science, more knowledge. Certainly the Vac is not perfectly safe. It might fall through the earth like a stone through water. Anything is possible in quantum physics. But is the impossible likely? Dr Obolin has to be a fake, but is he lying?
What about CERN, Dimitri? Is what they are doing safe?
Last week I would have said yes. Now I'm very worried. At never before seen energies, the LHC could surprise us. ALICE especially when we fire heavy lead nuclei beams at each other. It is an enormous particle collider, but the end is nuclear fusion. We didn't know, we still don't know about your parallel world. Our physics doesn't predict it. Our physics is obviously incomplete as is yours. If our worlds share the same matter we are mutually interdependent. It might only be clear in nuclear events, the destruction or creation of matter. When something nuclear happens at CERN, the Dyson will be affected. And vice-versa. Dr Vander, do you get unexplained nuclear events?
Listen everybody! (Dr Vander was yelling) Maybe we can prove what Dimitri says! We know about nuclear fission and fusion, but we think it's too dangerous to apply. Everyone knows there are strange events in many places. Energy vortices we cannot explain all over France. Some in Italy, in England, in Russia, China, in the United States. In 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki disintegrated and many people vanished, many were horribly sick.
In my world, we have about 2,000 nuclear reactors, fission reactors using enriched uranium. We're producing plutonium! With nuclear fission weapons in 1945 we destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Dr Obolin, this is theoretically possible. Technically possible. Many years ago we had an experimental reactor in Chicago. We made some plutonium.
Bond! Time for a reality check. Are we waiting for more trouble? CIRC is bloody well going to change their minds about dumping Dimitri when they find out how desperate the Russians are to get him. And what about the Russians? What are they doing now? They're expecting our CIRC helio and Dimitri. Let's get out of here!
(rotors start turning) Right Q. You're making sense. Hop in, we're going. Helmets on everyone. Pass them around Q. Buckle in. Radios on. Hear me?
HELIO LIFTOFF AND FLIGHT
Fine, yes, OK.
Bond, what's Jack anyway?
A bolthole in Evian. We fly south over Lake Leman. We land at the Grand Hotel. We drive away. Just don't want us shot down. Wait! I've still got Universal on the line. Bond here! Do not shoot down CIRC helio! Yell back! Heading for Evian. Take off your helmet Q. Talk to Universal!
You didn't tell them to shoot us down!
Of course I didn't. I asked for backup, for intercept. See anybody Q?
Your phone is dead, Bond. Look! Blinky light flying, port side high. Kill all your lights. Would CIRC shoot us down?
It's their helio.
Good point. Rather expensive piece of equipment. What's the radar say?
(a tense moment) Blinky light closing. We're changing course for Lausanne. Know of any Russian presence in the area?
Small jets fly into Geneva all the time, UNESCO and another half dozen UN agencies. That would be it. Occasional private yacht might have a helio, but I'm guessing.
Yes. It's the Russians. No radio contact. It's their getaway jet. They're fast, faster than us, flying loop the loop to keep behind us.
Why don't they shoot us down?
Maybe they're not sure it's us, or they don't have a missile. If we give them more time, they'll think of something. An RPG, or buzzing us into the drink. Burn us some way. I'm going to radio the airport Lausanne. Mayday! Mayday! Medical emergency. Requesting permission to land. Lausanne, do you copy?
Roger that. Identify yourself over?
UN helio B7471, Uncle Norman Bob 7471 from Geneva. United Nations flight. Request permission to land, over.
Roger that UN B7471. You are cleared to approach. Proceed to helio pad 1, main terminal roof, over.
Roger that Lausanne.
Proceed due west, via runway 40 airspace, over.
Proceeding due west via 40, four zero runway space, do you copy?
ETA in 11 minutes, over.
Roger. Light winds 5 knots North by North West, over.
Winds North by North West 5 knots. Radio static, static building, static total, over. Can't hear you Lausanne, radio static over.
It's not the radio Bond. It's the Dyson Ball. Fire! It's bleeding orange. Over there! The sky is cracking!
Copyright (c) Alan Gillis 2009 All Rights Reserved