A Close Second (edited) By K. Banks
Bond walked into M’s office. He was dressed in his dark navy blue Armani suit, which
complemented his blue eyes. The sight
of MoneyPenny sitting at her desk, eagerly typing, amused him. Moneypenny looked at Bond with her innocent
yet teasing brown eyes.
morning James, have you come here to cheer me up as usual?”
Bond raised his left eyebrow and boyishly smirked at Money
I was running late. And uh, I didn’t
have time for breakfast, so I thought I could come to you for a quickie…cup of
Penny leaned over to him and said, in a flirtatious but playful tone: “Well you know James, it’s the most
important meal of the day.”
A serious voice suddenly interrupted the conversation.
to cut the usual chit chat, but come into my office 007 immediately.”
Sensing M’s sarcasm and impatience, Bond walked over to the
door to M’s office. He adjusted his tie
before entering. He entered quietly and
stood there for a minute or so. M was sitting
at her desk sipping her bourbon. She
was looking over some files. Bond was
mentally guessing what M wanted. She
glimpsed at Bond in her usual manner.
may sit down 007.” She took another
sip of bourbon.
sat down on the leather chair in front of her desk. He noticed the files were labeled trainee personal information.
as you may already know 007, we’re recruiting new agents. Today, they will be given an examination
that would test their motor skills, psychological well being, and physical
abilities. If one of them succeed, they
would be given Double- O status. I was
very highly selective in choosing who fit our criteria.”
just the tip of the iceberg. Series of
rigorous examination was given. There
were only three who passed, only one received perfect score. We even heighten the standards for new
agents. The 36 hour deprivation test
moved up to 40 hours.”
Bond was wondering what does this have to with him. He gave M an inquisitive expression.
you to be at the examination which is about to start in 40 minutes. We must not waste time.”
Bond was annoyed by this assignment. The idea of training new agents was beneath
him. However his respect for M wouldn’t
allowed him to be blunt.
you” Bond walked away slightly displeased.
PART 2: THE TRAINING
As Bond was looking back at the large acres of training
ground, he thought it was the obstacle course from hell. There was a long cement road that turned in
all sorts of directions. It had spikes
raised from the middle of the ground.
Simulated machine guns, filled with blanks, were hidden behind the
walls. Robinson was standing beside
shocking isn’t it James. New course,
new requirements, the British government is looking for very top-notch agents.
At least someone second place to you James.”
many will be tested?” Bond looked at Robinson curiously.
if they pass, they will receive double 0 status.”
job, or some where in our department, since they meet most of the criteria of a
British civil servant. By looking at
this training exercise it’s seems impossible.”
in a black jumpsuit. All the trainees
arrived. They were dressed in a black
jumpsuit as well, but they were equipped with a few weapons that included a
smoke grenade, and a handgun loaded with blanks. All of them were wearing helmets with black goggles. To Bond they looked like young lambs. It was reminiscent of his days starting out
as an agent. However, he was often
cavalier about risky situations.
men, this is our last and final examination. This obstacle course would
determine your improvisational skills, physical ability, and your mental
competence. Each trainee would go
through this obstacle course. If one of
you get shot or killed by the simulated terrorist, you failed. However if you do pass, your assignment will
be given to you.”
M observed the trainee with a
“Even though this is an examination, and the situations are exercises,
you should take into account that situations get difficult in the field. Except, instead of using fake bullets, you
will face real ammo in the field. In
order to complicate it even more, Agent Bond will pursue you in his car. Each trainee will be using a
motorcycle. That’s all. Good luck.”
new recruits were preparing and Bond sensed uneasiness among them.
gentlemen, to be blunt, there is no second place. Let’s begin.”
M sent the first trainee into the obstacle course. Bond entered his car and started to pursue
Trainee one. The trainee was able to
dodge the bullets. However when he ran
through the spikes, and was shot by one of the simulated terrorist, he fell off
got to be joking.” Bond said to
himself. He started to have this mental
conversation. He could have been in his
office looking at files of international criminals, or bothering Q. But no, he had to sit through this.
bloody great” he muttered under his breath sarcastically.
M sent the second trainee into the obstacle course. He got shot the first second he was sent
in. Bond heard Robinson voice on the
car radio. James pressed the button in
order to respond.
that’s two. You probably find this
okay, the secret service needs a few more secretaries any away.”
Robinson laughed quietly.
the third trainee. He shoots out and
dodge the bullets as if he had ESP. Bond was amazed.
lad let’s see what you got.”
Bond sped up to the motor cycle. The trainee looked back and went at a high speed. The spikes were glaring in the
sunlight. The trainee pulled back and
charged towards the spikes. He was able
to leap over the spikes. Bond was
impressed and was relieved that this trainee examination wasn’t a total
loss. He noticed that trainee 3 was pulling something out of his side
pocket. The trainee’s hand looked large
and masculine from far away. He pulled
out the grenade and dropped it on the ground.
It emitted red smoke, which made it difficult for bond to see the
trainee. When the smoke screen cleared, the trainee had driven a few yards
away. Bond sped up again until he
reached in the end of the trainee’s tire.
The trainee looked back quickly.
Bond could see that he was ticking him off, he found it so amusing. Trainee 3 looked hesitant and didn’t know
what to do. He suddenly made a quick
turn, which enabled him to get away from Bond.
The exercise was almost over.
Bond was pleased by the trainee’s determination. The trainee reached the end of the obstacle
course. Bond stopped the car. M and Robinson drove up in a car and
guess this is it, he was the best of the three. If he stuck in there a little longer, I would have gotten him.”
tested the trainee skills well 007.” M
observed the third trainee and gave a respectful congratulatory smile. The trainee walked up to Bond with a little
sir, you didn’t make this exercise a total loss. My name is James Bond.”
The trainee took the helmet off and long brown hair fell
out. Bond was flabbergasted. It was a woman. She took her goggles off and wiped her eyes because of the perspiration.
name is Mara Lovechild. It’s an honor
to meet you sir. You got me worried I
was sure I was going to fail this examination.”
were good. You handle that motorcycle like a man would.”
Robinson approached them.
“Excuse me, Bond I need to speak with Ms. Lovechild for a moment.”
Bond nod to Robinson.
He approached M with a disturbed and annoyed look.
didn’t you tell me, one of the trainees was a woman?” He said in a quiet but disappointed manner.
thought it was irrelevant, besides she had the perfect score on the exam. She fits the criteria as the next man
would. Well that would be all.” She
walked to the trainee. Robinson went to
say, I am impressed. Her profile really
turned M’s head. She's a graduate from
Cambridge, expert marksman or marks woman.
Speak several languages. She has
a little of everything. Compare to the
current Double 0’s I say she has equal skill and some what better than the
as long as I’m around, she’ll be a close second.” Bond return to his car and drove away.