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                                By: Alexander Auric Dust


            James Bond had never felt comfortable around those of wealth, he had once be-friended the former Governer of Jamacia, but that was years before and sadly the Governer had passed. Bond had always found the rich and powerful to far from interesting to be of any use to him.

            But now he found himself wedged between a lather large bodied and large mouthed woman, and, what Bond reffered to as a "Bowler and Umbrella" Englishman, at themassive dinnertable of the former M, Sir Miles Messervey's flat, Quarterdeck. Sir Miles had invited him to a small dinner party he was having. Bond would have chosen not to come, but the more he refused the more Sir Miles insisted.

            "Come along, James my boy." He had said jovily. "It'll be fun, there'll be some nice girls here too."

            Bond cleared his throat, it wasn't like M, no matter hard he tried Bond couldn't get used to Sir. Miles  friendliness toward him. Still Sir Miles didn't approve of Bond's womanizing, though one couldn't tell from his invitation.

            So, now Bond ate hi dinner of the tenderest steak and potatoes of his life, and listened silently to the boreing drivle around him. When it finaly ended Bond had settled into Sir Miles' living room with a glass of the Admiral's treasured chery.

            "007, may I have a word with you in my study?" It came as a whisper in his ear. He didn't turn, he knew the Seadog voice as well as he knew his own, he merely nodded and finished his chery.

            As he walked slowly into the study, "M", closed the door and motioned to a chair across from a large oak desk. Bond sat and began to feel the flutter of danger and excitment in the pit of his stomach.

            "Well, 007," Sir Miles said, taking his chair. " 'Bit like old times, eh?"

            Bond nodded and noticed his excitment continue to grow . "007", it was odd to hear Sir Miles reffer to him as anything but, "James, my boy."

            "I've no need to tell you I feel terribly awkward about saying this, but, I've a favor to ask, 007." He looked up, Bond said nothing, so he continued. "I don't know weither or not you noticed, 007, but there was a gentlemen at dinner tonight you may not have recognized."

            Bond thought for a moment. Indeed, there had been a largish man across the table from him. He was large, softening around the jowls, and had a thick mustache, a Bulgar most likely.

            "Well," Sir Miles continued. "That was a fellow by the name of Carlof Gradski, he's former Stasi."

            Mentaly Bond went through the services file ont the Stasi. An abbreviation for Staatssicheheitdienst, it was founded in 1950, dissolvedin 1989, it was East Germany'sstate security, also conducting foriegn intelligence, and Spy networks.

            "To be frank," Sir Miles broke into Bond's thoughts. "I think the mans up to no good." He rattled through his dinnerjacket for his matches.

            "Well, Sir." Bond cleared his throat and corrected himself. "Admiral, with all do respect why is he here?"

            The Admiral gave a curt laugh. "You know as well as I that since the end of the Cold Warthe line between enemy and allie is more blurred than ever." Bond nodded silently and watched his old chief lit his pipe, it all ways did take four to five minutes, Bond reflected. This was no exception, after a good five minutes, "M" looked again at Bond.

            "And he's married to a good friend of mine for the matter of that." Sir Miles tilted his head and watched the pipe smoke rise to the celing. "I believe you know her, James. Simeon Mcgrath."

            Bond thought for a moment, yes, he remembered the always cheerful face, the, now graying, blonde hair, He had always thought of her as Sir Miles's second daughter.

            "But I'd only met the man once before, at the wedding. But tonight I noticed something that I hadn't before." Bond slipped a hand into his jacket pocket. Sir Miles nodded and continued. As he listened, Bond removed a three ringed Dunhill from his gunmetal case and lit it silently. He still didn't dare smoke in Sir Miles presence unless given permission.

            He smiled and ran his thumb over the almost unseeable scar in his cigarette case, and remembered the assassin's bullet, and how his case had saved his life. Yes, just like the old days.

            "Do you remember the Stasi Lapel Pins, 007?"

            He thought back, remembering the Stasi of old, the "Big Brother" of the Cold War. He could remember few personal encounters with the Stasi, he shook his head slowly. "Sorry, si-" Bond caught himself, after years of calling his old chief "Sir" it had become almost involentary, he still found it hard to stop himself. "I don't."

            "H'm, well, perhaps i can jog your memory. During the height of the Cold War Stasi agents wore lapel pens with small colored identification dot, this dot identified agents to each other, and informants."

            "Bond nodded slowly, he did remember the method of ID, however vaguely.

            "What I saw was the man's watch." Sir Miles waited for a reply.

            "His watch?" Bond repeated. "An interesting Rolex Sir Miles?"

            The Admiral grunted and sat forqward, his palms flat upon his desk. "Don't be daft, 007," He snapped. "His watch caught my eye when I shook the man's hand, it's interesting because the last quarter of the watch face is gold , in the center of which is a small blue dot. This design is almost identical to that of the Stasi pens."

            Bond sat straighter. "What are you suggesting , Admiral?"

            Again came the grunt. "I'm not suggesting anything, just making an observation." He sat back, and tapped his pipe into the ash tray, almost absent mindedly. "What I'm suggesting is that it's pecular, thats all, pecular." Th grunt , once more. "I still think the man's up to no good, never did trust the Bulgar."

            Bond cleared his throat and crushed his cigartette. "You said something earlier about a favor, Sir?"

            Sir Mile's eyes had glazed over and had bcome distant, as if lost in the past. At this he blinked hard and came to his senses. "Yes, it's nothing terrible, I'd just like you to take a look at the man and see what you think, what your take is on this. Just keep an eye on him." He stood. "Perhaps I'm being paranoid but I never cared for the man."

            He opened the door and both men melded out into the crowd. Bond hadn't taken his old chief to seriously, but something nagged at his mind. Be it the ergencey in Sir Miles voice, or the look of Gradski, he didn't know but he would agree with Sir Miles on one thing, he didn't trust this man one bit. Perhaps this was worth a look.

            It didn't take him long to to spot his target. Carlof Gradski stood out like sore thumb in this crowd. Though he stood by the mantle, a good five yards from him, Bond could clearly see the Bulgar sweated profusly and fidgeted quite often , running his thumb along an object in his coat pocket.

            "Herr Gradski?"         

            "Yes?" Gradski had the look of a deer caught in the headlamps of an eighteen wheeler.

            "Sir Miles has told me quite a bit about you."

            "Really?" Th man was becoming the patronizing Bulgar Bond knew he would be. "And who might you be?"

            "Names Bond. James Bond."  As quickly as he knew how Bond stole a glance at the man's watch. Yes, it was just as Sir             Miles had said, identical to the Stasi lapel pens. Despite his patronizing manner Gradski was obviously still sweating openly, and constantly glanced over Bond's right shoulder. It was the latter of the two practices that worried Bond most.

            "Well, Mr. Bond, I hope the Admiral told you something good about me."

            "Nothing but, Herr Gradski, nothing but." He laughed. Now he knew, now Bond knew what he didn't like about Carlof Gradski, it was the way he seemed to be nothing more than a minnow who persisted on posing as a whale. The way he carried himself, the way he looked obviously nervous, yet would still talk down to anyone. Bond had bought the tough-guy act as far as five seconds.

            "Do you know where the Admiral is?" Gradski asked, still fidgeting.

            Bond glanced down at what the man constantly played with in his coat, there it was, the unmistakable flat buldge of a pistol. "No," Bond tried to stay calm, but couldn't keep the edge from his voice. "I don't."

            "If you see him, you tell me, ja?" Gradski matched the edge, and with that turned and walked into the crowd. Bond's mind whirled, he didn't want to confront Gradski, to many people to get hurt. His only hope was to find Sir Miles. Bond rushed into the mingling crowd like a man in race with the devil.He darted from person to person, desprately searching for Sir Miles, his eyesflshed over shoulders, darting from man to woman.

            There, Sir Miles stood by a large Grandfather Clock, and Gradski was faster than himself, he was already two steps from the old man. He had to move fast, pushing through people, and shoulders. But as quickly as he had begun he felt two hands on his elbow and was quickly spun around.

            "In a hurry, James." Ms. Moneypenny cooed. "Don't you want to dance?" They began to sway with the soft music, as they turned Bond glanced over her shoulder  in time to see Gradski disappear into Sir Miles study.

            "Not now, Penny." Bond pushed her away, and dashed toward the study, hi hand already grasping the Walther under his coat. He turned the knob, it was locked.

            He stepped back and shoved a foot hard just to the right of the handle. There came a sharp crack as the wood splintered and the door gave in. The comotion had taken Gradski by suprise. He stood to Bond's right, a silver pistol Bond identified as a CZ27. It was a rare gun, but it still had the same caliber as Bond's PPK.

            Bond had only time to see the suprise on the man's face as he leaped  at Gradski, bringing his knee forward and extending his foot upward at the gun. There came the crack of bone as the steel caps of Bond's shoes connected with the Bulgar's gun hand.

            As he landed on his feet, Bond watched the gun clatter to the floor and Gradski whimper, his wounded hand shoved between his legs. Almost without thought Bond brought his right foot up smashing Gradski's nose, and sending the man reeling.

            "Good job, Bond." Sir Miles slumped back into his chair.

            An hour later all guests had left and the Service's clean-up teamarrived to take Gradski into custody, but one loose end nagged at Bond's mind; the watch. What had it meant? Were the Stasi back? Or had they ever left?






WRITER'S NOTE: It has been my great pleasure to follow in the footsteps of Ian Fleming, and I             have tried to make everything in this story historicly correct. The lapel pins the Stasi used             were indeed real, as were their uses and the history of the Staatssicheheitdienst. I hope             again that I have carried on the tradition of Bond. If you have any questions or comments,             feel free to e-mail me at: 



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