Chapter I: Flare for a New Year:
The scent and smoke of the festive fireworks were convivial at five to midnight on New Year’s Eve in the Parisian streets, the excitement beaming out of the reactive impulses conducted by the crowd as they watch the fulminations up ahead in the sky on the incoming celebration of the new year as they wave their farewell to the old. But, for a certain number of people, the pretense of these rejoices over nothing productive mattered the least, as some have been concerned with different compartments to pull and seek into.
Felix Leiter was piloting a Bell Model 412EPI helicopter across the Eiffel Tower as his eyes wander on the streets, searching into the target he was briefed to supervise the protection of. In the back, his fellow CIA colleague, Jack Wade had a green-plated with a blend of oil colour Accuracy International AWM sniper rifle trained in his arms, one hand holding the grip of the artillery, and the other elevating to place his finger against his earpiece, radioing in to the contact on the other side of communication just to check if there is a response. “White knight, do you read me? White knight!” He called, “Report. How much longer? Over.” Wade cursed like he had been given a rotten apple to bite, swiping off the unpleasantry by turning to Leiter, whose recent bionic arm substituted quite well for the lost limb as opposed to the mere prosthetic object he had to wear, guiding the chopper with no difficulties whatsoever.
“Any visuals on the woman?” Wade asked.
“None yet!” Leiter replied, his eyes ahead of the windshield.
“Sounds like I’m gonna marry for the fourth time before this Frenchie turns up!”
“Remind me to sculpt that on your gravestone!” Leiter added, leading the both of them to laugh.
Their interaction, however, was cut short when a white striped red Shelby Cobra bursts into the traffic, alerting everyone on the road, driven by a brunette in a fashionable tight leather catsuit, sprinting the vehicle like her life depended on it. That was rather true. Three black Alfa Romeo automobiles joined the pursuit, with a goon armed with a sub-machinegun leaning across the backseat window opening a nonchalant blind fire at the woman with the purpose of putting her down.
“There she is!” Wade screamed, immediately cocking the bolt of his sniper rifle, aiming for the tires of the Alfa Romeo on the front. “Keep it steady, Felix!” He demanded, fixating his eye through the telescopic sight, the crosshairs deviating onto the front tire. Wade took a deep breath, relying on his instincts, and right at the time he knew he had the balance in his hands, his index finger pulled the trigger to his side, sending the .50 calibre bullet speeding towards its target, defying the notoriety of the wind to derail its path, the bullet poked through the synthetic rubber that surrounded the rims of the wheel, creating an instant deflation, leading the vehicle with all its weight lose control and diverge from its normal rule, the driver trying to control the steering wheel and holding down the pedal of the brakes repeatedly, skid marks drawn all over the road over the panic the people within trying to reduce in a matter of brief two seconds, until the car itself flips over, rolling vigorously upon the ground, its shape destructive as ever, Lord knows whatever happened to the mercenaries inside, who possibly have embraced their demise.
“Any word from him, Jack?!” Leiter shouted loud enough to make his companion hear him through the heavy sound of the engine mainly filtering via the rotor blades to keep the helicopter in the air. “None!” Wade gave him the reply, with a thought in his mind placing a reconsideration of taking the matter in his own hands as the woman driver in the Shelby Cobra was being gained on, the tail lights catching bullets fired from the barrels of many goons in the remaining two Alfa Romeos.
Where the devil was he?
The woman in the red Shelby Cobra was a DGSE operative - or more commonly known as French Intelligence agent - named Dominique Paradis, one of their best, who had recently uncovered a domestic threat overseeing a terrorist plot to occur in Paris on the New Year’s Eve. She was already onto them, but her cover was blown, hence she resorted to NATO to send proper reinforcement back-up in order to prevent a nuclear bomb from going off at the Eiffel Tower, thus killing millions and turning the majority of France into another Chernobyl. Dominique was more concerned about pursuing the bomber and stopping him than she was for her life, weighing on the gas pedal to boost the speed of her car as her eyes intensely watched ahead of the windshield, ignoring the stripes on the road as they go by like a waving speed of light. Her chances, however, were experiencing reduction when three heavily armoured Humvee SUVs joined the chase, on top of them a minigun attached for each.
“God damn it, Jack! This is turning into a war zone, how far is our man?” Leiter inquired with a terrified throttle playing out in his voice as he watches the SUVs in horror opening fire on Dominique’s vehicle who was merely dodging them.
“How the hell would I know?” Wade aggressively replied, right before shooting the tire blown at the second car behind Dominique, creating a similar effect to the one car he distorted earlier. “At times like this, I wish I was twenty years younger and ten times more physically agile in shape!” He added. Though it bought the French agent a little time, there were three behemoth of vehicles and a gullible minion - that being the third and last Alfa Romeo - targeting the woman. Of course, the Alfa Romeo was faster than the SUVs, hence it was the first to gain on the Shelby Cobra, and viciously slammed its robust side against the latter, putting Dominique’s balance behind the wheel into jeopardy. But, she did not hesitate to draw an immediate aim at the gas tank with her .50 AE caliber Desert Eagle she picked up from the leather-bound passenger seat, and pulled the trigger the moment her other hand steered the wheel to guide the car away from the assailant’s vehicle. And the explosion occurred in a flashy manner one would’ve thought the festivity of the New Year’s welcoming got out of hand.
“That’s one capable woman!” Leiter remarked with a smirk on his face, but that expression was long gone when his eyes witnessed the appearance of a military Bell AH-1 SuperCobra helicopter rivaling his own, its modified Missile Approaching Warning system informing him of his entity alongside his rotorcraft targeted in the crosshairs of an enemy incoming. “Wade, brace yourself!” he shouted directly to his colleague who was fixated on the road through the telescopic sight of his sniper rifle, lifting his eyes to look at Leiter questionably as to what he meant. Spotting the rival chopper with heavy artillery attached to it in horror, Wade held on to a strap for safety as the both of them were demonstrated with a flash in their eyes, a wind approaching them slowly, and making its speed feel like robust raindrops attacking their helicopter. Damn those heavy bullets. Leiter rotated the helicopter as much as he could to avoid being shot at, which in the process led to Wade’s sniper rifle fall out of the helicopter.
“White knight, I repeat! White knight! Where the hell are you?! We’re taking fire! Over!” He shouted through his earpiece, tackling onto the straps as tightly as possible in order not to fall as Leiter was shaking the helicopter from left to right.
“White knight to White rook,” a deep voice spoke from the other end of the earpiece to Wade, surprising him after the radio silence for a long while, “I’ll be in position in three... two... one...”
In the heat of the moment, just as hope was starting to fade away, right amidst the pursuit, an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish steered with ninety degrees angle from a crossroad, finding itself on the tail of the three Humvee SUVs, releasing a hellfire rocket from its grill, blowing up the nearest of the land vehicle up to ascension, sending its contained members to possibly the afterlife. It appears the driver had more tricks up in the sleeve reserved for the assailants as he intensely watches ahead of the windshield, his finger pressuring against a button on a custom-placed control panel with ‘Armour’ labeled on it, thus activating the potent shape of the front bumpers in its effective role. “And that’s one mishandled grill up in the smokes.” He spoke through his earpiece with a smug hint in his voice as well as jocular, referring to the Humvee he extinguished. Or Vanquished.
Dressed in the finest of the tailored Italian suits, a black two-buttoned Brioni Roma with a white shirt from Turnbull & Asser, as well as a blue tie and a white triangular pocket square, British Intelligence agent, James Bond - also known by his codenumber: 007 - raced through the traffic hurriedly, keeping his presence unquestionably intact in the pursuit, as well as vehemently in control of his re-issued Aston Martin from the Icarus mission, modified enough to meet the standards of a domestic threat in civilian circles. The matter at hand considerably required his full attention as two objectives have been placed under his orders:
- Eliminate all threat regarding the safety of Dominique Paradis.
- Neutralize and stop the nuclear bomb from going off.
“Well, that certainly should keep them afloat for a spell.” Bond remarked smugly, watching the vehicle raft up by the narrow of his eyes before turning his attention straight ahead.
Agent 007’s halfway admiration of the turnouts he had caused was cut short once he witnessed bullets raining from above on the concrete ground, penetrating through the cement and stabilizing themselves into their respective holes, with the shots from a turret coming his way had a strict intention of taking him out. The same party that almost had a target locked onto Leiter and Wade’s helicopter. It appears Bond had managed to divert their attention from his fellow agents assigned to likewise prevent the nuclear chaos, racing against time while guns ablaze, he did his best not to allow any of the incoming strikes of the allegorical scythe into his tires when they were the only unprotected portions of the vehicle by armour. Just as with the motion slowed down, the first thing that crossed Bond’s mind in the heat of the moment was to ask Boothroyd of the Q-Branch to eradicate that little problem with the next modification of the Aston. That is if he does survive the pickle he was in at the very moment.
Elongating his finger to decide which button to push while driving at a speed of 178 mph, the first to pop up in his undivided attention was the one labeled with ‘Stinger’. Without giving further thoughts, Bond pushed his fingertip against it, which unveiled the stinger missiles behind the radiator pits on the front bumper and a transparent screen pointing at potential targets on the windshield, operable to select by touching either of the crosshairs placed on a computed heat signature. Cutting edge as Q would’ve put it. Bond pressed the one covering the Bell AH-1 SuperCobra, under which a warning message appeared saying ‘incoming missile’. Having to act fast, Bond quickly confirmed the target by commanding the stinger button once more, a rocket was fired from his part, after which he immediately had to resort to the Shotgun button, resulting in two namely shotguns with automatic target-seeking injunction surfacing from underneath the hood air vents of the car, shooting the hostile missile ten feet away, creating a blast of an explosion in the sky at least from Bond’s point of view, which didn’t take to have a further detonation afar that was the helicopter assaulting him and previously his CIA colleagues. The SuperCobra chopper eventually sunk into its fate and descended wildly at heavy speed, yet luckily into the river, generating a rather large splash upon its nosedive.
“How the mighty have fallen,” Bond declared, smirking in the face of the blaze in relief. A blaze of glory for him, especially when he had to look death in the face and dodged the grim reaper’s scythe by the skin of his teeth.
“I’d usually applaud you for such witty remarks, James, but there’s a more important matter at hand we’ve yet to take care of.” Leiter’s voice was heard from Bond’s earpiece. “Speaking of which...” His speech was interrupted by an abrupt yet imminent turnout.
A bullet was directed towards the front tire of Dominique’s Shelby Cobra, the sound of its blowout echoed at a range of at least fifty feet square, which contained both Bond in the chase from behind, following an aggressive Humvee that fired the said bullet, and a still operable helicopter by Felix Leiter from above. Dominique, whose mind was almost on concentration over chasing a stolen military truck afar containing the nuclear bomb, expressed a voiceless baffle at her sports car getting out of control and leaning its weight aside. She cursed in French upon realization, and tried her best to keep up despite the SUV racing close to hit her by the bumper in the back. Spotting the danger incoming from the rear view mirror, Dominique shook the car from a side to another in attempt to confuse her aspiring perpetrators.
“Wade,” Bond communicated through the earpiece, “Could you take out the tires of that Humvee? Or aim for the gas tank if possible?”
“I would, you know?” Wade replied, “Only that I don’t have the sniper rifle with me.”
“What on earth are you on about?” Bond asked.
“It slipped off my hands while we were being attacked.”
Leiter briefly turned his attention aside, intended for Wade at the backseat, and offered his jest, “Isn’t this helicopter a property of the Swiss?” He inquired, “I’d figure this being a Swiss military issue, they’d have something of a useful artillery under your seat, Jack. Perhaps something of a SIG 550 series?”
Without losing a moment, Wade pressured his toes against the concrete ground of the chopper and held on to a grab strap for his safety and turn around and flip the slip seat open in search for the said weapon. Diving his hands beneath, he carried up what appeared to be a locked rifle’s case, brought the seat back to its former post and situated himself on it, leaning across the ground where he lent the case upon to unpin its teeth and open it up. “I’m starting to suspect you’re Santa Claus, Felix!” He chuckled, picking up the rifle parts to assemble it as fast as he could. It was a SIG 552 with a telescopic sight nonetheless. “I sure am keepin' this baby!” Wade added.
“Don’t get any ideas, Wade.” Leiter responded. “When we get back, I’ll buy you one myself. It’s enough paperwork to fill up for the loss of that damn sniper rifle. We wouldn’t want another bureaucrat breathing down our necks for two.”
“Won’t you just let a man have fun?” Wade remarked, having finished the assembly process, he loaded the rifle with ammunition, cocked the bolt and aimed down at the SUV heading aggressively towards the Shelby Cobra controlled by the French agent.
“You, chaps, finished with your two-man show, yet?” Bond spoke through the communication link, overhearing the conversation between his CIA colleagues. “Wade, fire at the Humvee as effectively as you can.”
“You got it, Jimbo!” Wade replied with enthusiasm, aiming carefully at the SUV, its telescopic sight isn’t as advanced as the sniper rifle he had which was harder to operate with, relied on his instincts with patience and squeezed the trigger with burst fire.
The bullets have hit the robust body of the targeted vehicle, but the results so far were pointless, since it was not ordinarily but heavily armoured. Ignoring the gunshots, the driver of the Humvee brought the car to the side of the Shelby Cobra, and a passenger door on the back of the SUV was opened, with a mercenary climbing out carefully and jumped up on Dominique’s car, who was alerted by the sound of the thumping on the leather seat in the back and drew her Desert Eagle to shoot at the assailant. But the latter kicked against the pistol with his army boot, disarming Dominique, and entangled the back of his elbow around her neck in a manner of a headlock, trying to strangle her.
Dominique being pre-occupied with controlling a car with a blown tire on the front, struggled against the threat, groaning as she seemed to run out of air. With one hand on the steering wheel, and other trying to detach the arm around her neck, she found the convenience to strike the mercenary in the nose with the back of her head, elongating her free arm to bring his head forward, and headbutted him, took an immediate hold of his head in her palm and slammed it against the glove compartment repeatedly, and kicked him with her high heel in the face off the car, sending him to a permanent set of broken bones injury, or if lucky, death as he stumbled on the road with repetitive roll.
“Resourceful girl.” Bond expressed himself vocally, smirking in the face of attraction he was already developing of her from afar as he watched her work and send a goon to his death, while he himself was gaining on the chase, dodging as much as terrified traffic as he could.
Much to Dominique’s surprise, however, she felt a rather large hand winding up around her head, having very little time to veer left to see it came from himself a large man standing by the side step of the SUV attacking her, and before she could do anything, all she witnessed in a nanosecond was a strike coming on to her face by a single punch, knocking her unconscious, the giant henchman grabbed her by the neck as her car started going sideways, and effortlessly picked her up and transported her inside the Humvee, throwing her in the back next to another underling of a mercenary and ordered him to tie her up.
“Why not just kill her?” The mercenary asked.
“The boss needs her alive!” The henchman replied with an aggressive and no-nonsense tone.
The Shelby Cobra with its flat tire, eventually romped up by the riverside, rolled over and collapsed into the water, creating an explosion from underneath. What a waste of a beautiful machinery, one would’ve thought.
Expressing a dissatisfaction with the turnout, Bond shelved up the roof of his Aston Martin with a computed command by the control panel, and directed a request through the earpiece, “Wade, get a rappelling rope ready!”
Bond activated the ‘Auto-Pilot’ mode at the command compartment, the Aston Martin already nearing the Humvee, 007 found himself climbing up the roof of the car, he measured up the distance between the bumper of the enemy vehicle and the hood of his own. It would’ve been a lot easier if he was wearing tactical shoes rather than formal ones due to the slippery skin of his car body. It all happened out of a sudden. Once the moment was right, and Bond having a short window of time, he acted fast and on instinct, jumping at the back of the Humvee, which thankfully had long enough bumper to stand on while his hands hung on stable handles he could hold on to, and climbed towards the rear left passenger door where the underling of a mercenary was sitting by. Pulling it open with aggression, Bond swung a punch against the mercenary’s face, grabbed him by the collar and threw him out onto the road, leaping inside the SUV for Dominique’s rescue.
The giant henchman sensed his presence in the heat of the moment, in a matter of a blink or two, rushing to the backseat section of the vehicle and landing a fist onto Bond’s gut, whereas half-unconscious Dominique was swinging against the glass window of her side of the door, agitated from her current state of mind, while the man had received an elbow swipe right in the cheek, sending him backwards at the chair and briefly collapsing upon the woman. “Sorry about that!” Bond apologized nicely while wrestling with a threat, trying to regroup, he found a large hand heavily holding the back of his collar and pulling him away, the giant henchman slammed him against the console center of the car, and punched him twice in the face, blurring his vision due to ominous pain gasping through the nerves and weakening the senses of his brain. Bond, relying on his remaining other sensory faculties, shielded his face with his elbows, defending himself against the almost unbeatable assailant, with his instincts kicking in, he held one wrist upon the swung and missed punch, and elevated himself fast enough to headbutt the henchman in the nose as hard as it could with his forehead, struck him twice back with his fists and slammed his head against the door, while Dominique, already conscious, jumped from the back and attached her flexicuffs against the henchman’s throat, trying to strangle him. The driver, on alert, pulled a SIG P226 off his holster for defense, which Dominique was observant enough to kick his arm away from Bond, thus the firearm releasing a gunshot and wounding the giant henchman in the leg who let out a brief groan over it, repeatedly having sharp inhalations, he held Dominique’s hands, pulled them away from his throat in effort, bringing them to a unison, he unfastened them at once and broke the flexicuffs, freeing both himself off her and her hands in the process, gasping for air.
With all happening fast in so little time, all the four in the car had a short time to act. Bond grabbed the driver’s armed wrist and slammed the pistol against his nose, resulting in a blooded face and half an out-of-control guided vehicle. He took the firearm over, holding it by the flange, and slapped the henchman once on the facial bones next to his cheek by the grip of the pistol, and once over the back of his head with a wrath, reaching for the seatbelt next to Dominique, he wrapped it around his neck and squeezed it, locking its clasp against its buckle, and leaving the victim of it struggle in suffocation.
A glimmer of hope illuminated Bond’s eyes when he saw the light on the helicopter occupied by the CIA operatives signaling in the air, flying closer to the Humvee, with the rope already thrown hanging for both 007 and the French agent to grab onto as they escape. Turning to Dominique, Bond guided her to jump ship, just as the rope itself was closing in to her side of the door. She pulled the handle to unpin the hold of the lock between the car as a whole and its door, pushing the obstacle between her and the road open and felt the wind blow from the outside world right into her face, almost penetrating the vision of her eyes she did not intend to go blind. Pushing her heel against the ground, Dominique made her leap of faith with a chance, aiming her clutches into grappling right onto the rope sent from above and swung from left to right as the speed of the pursuit led her into the measurement.
‘Good girl!’ Bond thought to himself regarding her successful stunt and decidedly followed suit. Before he could proceed, however, he felt a force from behind pulling him back through the lapel of his suit jacket, and much to his horror, he found out the henchman had already broken loose, holding him against the opposite door and blocking his way out. It was as if 007 had another experience of witnessing a glimpse of doom when the aspiring perpetrator of his had his eyes locked on him with rage, anger and ferocity, ready to attack his prey. A shout was heard on the latter’s part, all these taking place on such short notice, the feel of it slowed down in motion for the secret agent, who saw a sturdy fist racing towards his face. Seeking time and convenience while thinking on his feet, he had it pinned down like all the pieces of the puzzle falling into their right places when it required of him to dodge the swing by strafing aside, the henchman tumbled against the vacated region of the seat where Bond was held at, the latter of whom struck his elbow against the back of the behemoth of a man’s neck, delaying the outcome of the madman’s provocation. With limited options around, he resorted to employ the seatbelts for his advantage and strapped it heavily against the wrist of his assailant, acting fast, the same was repeated to embrace the neck, blocking the windpipe, Bond pulled the seatbelt to his side, and the madman stumbled forward with the heave, Bond kicked the back of his head down to the ground with his shoe, finding the opportunity to cuff the henchman’s free wrist and clasp the seatbelt into the buckle behind him. That was halfway to the relief. The driver, who had recovered and steered his attention off the road, pulled his gun on Bond with the intention of shooting him dead. Bond threw himself forward, away from the gunbarrel, grabbed the driver’s wrist and twisted it, releasing the magazine off the pistol, and squeezing the trigger blindly onto the roof, sending the remaining cartridge free. He punched the man in the face as hard as it could have been achieved, indubitably breaking his cheekbone, whose head clashed against the steering wheel, the sound of the thumping heard louder than the screaming engine of the Humvee. The driver being incapacitated, the moment gave Bond enough time to find his way to the door, ignoring the giant henchman who was struggling in the straps holding him back, he counted on his instincts, tracked the rope carefully that still remained close, and jumped right on time, colliding to Dominique in parallel, his hands right above hers entangled to the rope. An explosion was heard from behind, which Bond peeked at with the corner of his eyes, learning the SUV had crashed into a construction site and blew up.
“We got ‘em!” Wade announced happily, only to be interrupted in his ear by a hollering Bond. A courtesy extended to Felix Leiter himself, as well.
“Felix!” Bond called out, “Follow the Aston on the road!”
Getting the gist of it, Leiter piloted the helicopter, looking for Bond’s Aston Martin driven somewhere on the streets of Paris. Meanwhile, with both the French and the British agents hanging by the rope, they exchanged eye contacts, and Dominique’s was an unwelcoming one. “Who the hell are you?” She asked aggressively, her French accent ever as present as her eyes blinking due to the heavy wind. “I work for the British government!” Bond replied reassuringly, his eyes as narrow as hers.
“James, we’re almost there!” Leiter communicated as he approached the vehicle in demand, whilst Bond looking down to see the end of the rope swinging about, and the reflection of the street lights surfacing on the layer of his Oxford shoes, developing visual of the subject racing on the road, its rooftop still open, the Aston Martin significantly seemed like it was calling for him, ready to catch him when he falls. ‘Steady,’ Bond wished for the chopper to be piloted rightfully so he’ll extract himself and a passenger to the vantage point it needed. He lifted his eyes up to look at Dominique and spoke, “Hang on to me!” he told her. Dominique knew what was in the play and decided not to ask any questions, trusting what appeared to be her circumstantial guardian angel. Embracing Bond tightly with her arms around his waist, she looked at him and awaited his course of action. With the insurance that Wade was watching from above as an oversight ready to aid, Bond measured the potential fall and ensure the timing and gravitation was right, he deployed the buckle of the rope by pushing the red button amidst the sophisticatedly formed group of pliers and fell along with Dominique where he aimed at, feeling the slight octane while they floated in a split second in the air.
The next thing they knew, they felt the rather comfortable covers of the seat on support to their backs, the instant filling them with slight bit of a confused consequence as they landed upon the seats into the car from above, Bond was already regrouped, with a brief smirk making appearance on the features of his face as he stared at Dominique who was right upon his lap, arrived on top of him as they descended down to the Aston Martin with a leap of faith. “I wouldn't mind the view, Miss Paradis, but my concentration is better wielded on the danger afoot.” Bond spoke jokingly, only to feel a rather aggressive push of palms on his shoulders, resulting in from Dominique's reaction to the Englishman's remark in the heat of the moment. She rotated herself to the left side of the vehicle where the passenger's seat was located and placed herself firmly as she buckled her seatbelt. “At least, I might have the chance to thank you later for the catch-up...” She exasperated, “If we hurry and catch the damn nuclear bomb on that truck ahead.”
“The thought had flashed across my mind.” Bond replied, pushing his finger down upon the button to replace the roof to its original post with its convertibility, assigning the 'Auto-Pilot' off to regain manual control of his car. “At least we agree on something!” Dominique reported with punctuality, before narrowing her eyes in a questioning manner, turned her gaze to the man in her company and inquired, “Who are you, again?”
“The name's Bond.” The secret agent responded, adjusting his tie and taking a hold of the gear lever, ready to boost the Aston Martin forward, “James Bond.”
To be continued in "Chapter II: An Agent In Need"...