The two of you rode the elevator down to the lab for Q to prep you for your case.
“Ah, hello you must be our new 009!” A man younger than what you expected greeted the two of you once the elevator door opened.
“Yes, Y/N Gregson.” You smiled.
“Before we get down to the details of your next mission, I’ll need you both to roll up your left sleeve. Just a tracking device, needs to be implanted. M insisted on it after Miami.” Q said, looking to Bass.
“He still mad about that?” Bass asked.
“Just need to keep an eye on you.” Q smiled.
“What happened in Miami?” You asked as the tracking device was injected into your arm.
“007 stopped a bomb from destroying a Skyfleet prototype that was being unveiled.” Q answered.
“Why would someone want to destroy it?” You asked.
“When they analyzed the stock market after 9/11, the CIA discovered a massive shorting of airline stocks. When the stocks hit bottom on 9/12 someone made a fortune.” Q explained.
“So the same thing was supposed to happen with Skyfleet stock. I’m guessing that someone lost around 100 million dollars betting the wrong way. Do we know who?” You asked.
“Jesus, M wasn’t lying about you being incredibly quick. We think it’s a man known as Le Chiffre. Banker to the world’s terrorists.” Q said.
“Are we certain it’s him?” You asked.
“Well it would explain how he could set up a high-stakes poker game at Casino Royale in Montenegro. Ten players $10 million buy in, $5 million rebuy. Winner takes all.” Q said.
“Potentially $150 million. So we’ll know where he’ll be. But you don’t want him dead do you? This Le Chiffre sounds like he doesn’t have $100 million to lose.” You said.
“Has he been playing the stock market with his clients’ funds?” Bass asked, knowing the answer.
“We can’t let him win this game. If he loses, he’ll have nowhere to run. We’ll give him sanctuary in return for everything he knows. We’re putting you in the game Bass, replacing someone who was playing for a syndicate.” Q explained.
“And am I just a tag along?” You asked.
“You’re to keep him out of trouble, learn the ropes, and work as a team.” Q explained, much to Bass’ displeased look.
The two of you were on a train to Montenegro.
“Where exactly is the money coming from?” You asked.
“The treasury will wire it into my account at Montenegro.” Bass explained.
“I suppose you’ve realized that if you lose, our government will have directly financed terrorism.” You quipped. He smirked but didn’t reply.
“I’ve never played poker.” You confessed. “I suppose it’s just a matter of probability and odds. You play the man across from you, not the cards in your hand. I think I’d quite like the game.”
“You’re good at reading people?” He asked.
“You already know that. You’ve read the blog haven’t you?” You rolled your eyes.
“Riveting stuff. Though it’s abnormal for a police officer to upgrade to a double-0, you must have connections. Friends in high places.” He said, waiting for you to confirm his suspicions.
“I’ve gotten to where I am because I’m good at what I do. Much like you. It doesn’t matter where you come from.” You said defensively.
“I knew I liked you.” He smirked.
“Really? That’s surprising since you consider women disposable pleasures instead of meaningful pursuits. Sentiment is a chemical defect found on the losing side Mr. Bass, and I hate losing.” You said. “Your charm may work on every other woman in this planet, but it won’t work on me.”
He only smirked and nodded, he loved a challenge. He didn’t know how truly broken you were, and that no one alive could fix you.
Your train arrived in Montenegro and a car was waiting to take the two of you to the hotel. A contact slipped Charles an envelop before he joined you in the cab. You raised your eyebrow as he opened in on the drive.
“It’s just last-minute details.” He said, while reading it. “Apparently we’re very much in love.”
“Do you usually leave it to porters to tell you this sort of thing?” You joked.
“Only when the romance has been necessarily brief. I’m Mr. Arlington Beech, professional gambler, and you’re Ms. Stephanie Broadchester.” He said casually, hiding a smirk.
“I am not.” You argued, while trying to grab the papers out of his hand.
“You’re gonna have to trust me on this. We’ve been involved for quite a while, hence the shared suite.” He smirked.
“But my family is strict Roman Catholic, so for appearances’ sake it’ll be a two-bedroom suite.” You smirked back, two can play this game.
“I do hate it when religion comes between us.” He smiled.
“Religion and a securely locked door. Am I going to have a problem with you, Bass?” You asked.
“No, don’t worry. You’re not my type.” He answered honestly.
“Smart?” You asked.
“Single.” He answered, looking out the window as the car arrived at the hotel.
The two of you exited the car and approached the reception desk to check in.
“Welcome to the Hotel Splendid. Your name, sir?” The receptionist from the five-star hotel asked.
“Charles Bass. You’ll find the reservation under Beech.” He spoke, arrogantly blowing your cover instantly. Had he no respect for protocol or espionage?
You stormed off the to elevator, leaving him to check in.
“Very funny.” You said, “No wonder M thinks you need a babysitter.”
“Look, if Le Chiffre is that well-connected, he knows who I am and where the money’s coming from. Which means he’s decided to play me anyway. So he’s either desperate or he’s overly confident, but either way, that tells me something about him. And all he gets in return is a name he already has.” Bass argued.
“And now he knows something about you. He know’s you’re reckless.” You spoke as the elevator opened and you entered, quickly hitting the close door button before your partner could enter. “Take the next one. There isn’t enough room for me and your ego.”
That afternoon the two of you met with your Treasury contact, Rene Mathis, for lunch. He was an older man with greying hair and a smooth accent. He informed you and Bass that Le Chiffre had arrived yesterday, and spend the time re-establishing old relationships.
“The chief of police and he are now quite close.” Mathis said. “He’s the one with the mustache over my left shoulder.”
You and Bass both focused your eyes on the man with two woman at his lunch table.
“That could make life difficult.” You said.
“And quite possibly shorter. He’s not a very subtle man. I thought about trying to buy his services, but we frankly couldn’t afford to outbid Le Chiffre.” He replied, and suddenly three police cars surrounded the outdoor patio and you raised an eyebrow suspiciously.
“So I decided it was cheaper to supply his deputy with evidence that we were bribing the chief. It’s amazing what you can do with photoshop these days. I think your odds are improving, Mr. Bass.” He said as the police chief was arrested.
Back at the hotel you were in the washroom getting ready in a silk robe when Bass knocked on the door. He entered with a long gown on a hanger and hung it on the back of the door.
“Something you expect me to wear?” You asked.
“I need you looking fabulous. So that when you walk up behind me and kiss me on the neck, the players across from me will be thinking about your neckline and not about their cards. Do you think you can do that for me?” Charles asked.
“I’ll do my best.” You smirked smugly. He exited the room before quickly returning holding up the dinner jacket you had gotten him.
“I have a dinner jacket.” He argued.
“There are dinner jackets, and dinner jackets. This is the latter. And I need you looking like a man who belongs at that table.” You said, returning to applying some mascara.
“How the f–” He stopped himself. “It’s tailored.”
“I sized you up the moment we met. Don’t look so surprised, I told you I’m good at what I do.” You said, and he left the room. Your smile faded and a memory of Sherlock flooded your mind. You missed being constantly outsmarted by him, it was exhausting being the smartest one the in the room with no one to talk to. Alone in the sky with no way to land, and the only man you could save you was dead.