“Q!” The office door slammed open hard enough to rattle the glass wall despite the hydraulic hinges.
Startled, Q held up a hand, saying, “Calm —”
“Bond’s been compromised.” TJ didn’t stop running until he hit Q’s desk.
Q looked back down at his computer, pulling up Bond’s current mission file. “Elaborate, please,” he said calmly, looking over the summary.
Human trafficking ring, male and female victims, primarily well-educated Europeans and Americans in their twenties. The victims were sold not to brothels nor as labourers but to private buyers, with a guarantee that they’d never talk. Never try to escape.
TJ took a deep breath. “His contact’s body was just recovered. Tortured. Tongue cut out.”
Sadly, that was nothing extraordinary in Q’s experience since joining government service. “It could have been unrelated to the mission,” Q said, playing devil’s advocate, even though he knew that wasn’t the case. They were never that fortunate. Most of his mind was already focused on damage control or extraction, though he knew Bond would resist abandoning the mission unless there was no other choice.
“The tongue…” TJ shuddered. “He talked, Q. They know it.”
“Did you send word — Oh,” Q said, frowning. Full comms blackout. Bond, idiot that he was, had notified HQ that he’d be going in dark. They were back to 1980s spycraft, with message notifications delivered not via email or secure radio but by dead drop.
“I’ve got the Americans on hold,” TJ offered.
Q huffed, clicking through the mission file to skim each document. “If you recall, two FBI agents were on the CIA’s list of involved suspects. We’ll have to… to contact…” His finger froze as he stared at his own photo, and he vaguely recalled signing off permission for MI6 to use his likeness in background paperwork for missions.
Staring at the monitor, Q didn’t hear whatever TJ said next. The background document for the photo explained that ‘Ethan Davies’ had been taken a year short of graduating Cambridge, sold, and trained to obedience as a sexual companion by ‘Rhys Sterling’. Bond’s cover identity.
“Shit,” Q whispered, realising there was only one way to guarantee that Bond received the exfiltration order.