James Bond felt the sweat pouring down his face and neck. He took a chance and quickly wiped his hands down his sides and then got them back to the rifle, his finger inside the guard, just lying along the curved trigger. “There’s something moving in the room behind the gun. They must have spotted him. Get that Opel working.”
Bond heard the code word go into the microphone, heard the Opel in the street below start up, felt his pulse quicken as the engine leaped into life and a series of ear-splitting cracks came from the exhaust.
The movement in the black cave was now definite. A black arm with a black glove had reached out and under the stock.
“Now!” called out Captain Sender. “Now! He’s run for the wall! He’s up it! Just going to jump!”
And then, in the sniperscope, Bond saw the head of Trigger-the purity of the profile, the golden bell of hair-all laid out along the stock of the Kalashnikov! She was dead, a sitting duck! Bond’s fingers flashed down to the screws, inched them round, and as yellow flame fluttered at the snout of the submachinegun, squeezed the trigger.
The bullet, dead-on at three hundred and ten yards, must have hit where the stock ended up the barrel, might have got her in the left hand-but the effect was to tear the gun off its mountings, smash it against the side of the window frame, and then hurl it out of the window. It turned several times on its way down and crashed into the middle of the street.
“He’s over!” shouted Captain Sender. “He’s over! He’s done it! My God, he’s done it!”
“Get down!” said Bond sharply, and threw himself sideways off the bed as the big eye of a searchlight in one of the black windows blazed on, swerving up the street toward their block and their room. Then gunfire crashed, and the bullets howled into their window, ripping the curtains, smashing the woodwork, thudding into the walls.
Behind the roar and zing of the bullets, Bond heard the Opel race off down the street, and, behind that again, the fragmentary whisper of the orchestra. The combination of the two background noises clicked. Of course! The orchestra, that must have raised an infernal din throughout the offices and corridors of the Haus der Ministerien, was, as on their side the backfiring Opel, designed to provide some cover for the sharp burst of fire from Trigger. Had she carried her weapon to and fro every day in that cello case? Was the whole orchestra 长沙桑拿服务 composed of KGB women? Had the other instrument cases contained only equipment-the big drum perhaps the searchlight-while the real instruments were available in the concert hall? Too elaborate? Too fantastic? Probably.
But there had been no doubt about the girl. In the sniperscope, Bond had even been able to see one wide, heavily lashed, aiming eye. Had he hurt her? Almost certainly her left arm. There would be no chance of seeing her, seeing how she was, if she left with the orchestra. Now he would never see her again. Bond’s window would be a death trap. To underline the fact, a stray bullet smashed into the mechanism of the Winchester, already overturned and damaged, and hot lead splashed down on Bond’s hand, burning the skin. On Bond’s emphatic oath, the firing stopped abruptly and silence sang in the room.
Captain Sender 长沙桑拿夕阳休闲会所 emerged from beside his bed, brushing glass out of his hair. Bond and Sender crunched across the floor and through the splintered door into the kitchen. Here, because the room faced away from the street, it was safe to switch on the light.
“Any damage?” asked Bond.
“No. You all right?” Captain Sender’s pale eyes were bright with the fever that comes in battle. They also, Bond noticed, held a sharp glint of accusation.
“Yes. Just get an Elastoplast for my hand. Caught a splash from one of the bullets.” Bond went into the bathroom. When he came out, Captain Sender was sitting by the walkie-talkie he had fetched from the sitting room. He was speaking into it. Now he said into the microphone, “That’s all for now. Fine about 272. Hurry the armored car, if you would. Be glad to get out of here, and 007 will need to write his version 长沙桑拿可以选 of what happened. Okay? Then over and out.”
Captain Sender turned to Bond. Half accusing, half embarrassed he said, “Afraid Head of Station needs your reasons in writing for not getting that chap. I had to tell him I’d seen you alter your aim at the last second. Gave Trigger time to get off a burst. Damned lucky for 272 he’d just begun his sprint. Blew chunks off the wall behind him. What was it all about?”
James Bond knew he could lie, knew he could fake a dozen reasons why. Instead he took a deep pull at the strong whiskey he had poured for himself, put the glass down, and looked Captain Sender straight in the eye.
“Trigger was a woman.”
“So what? KGB has got plenty of women agents-and women gunners. I’m not in the least surprised. The Russian woman’s team always does well in the World Championships. Last meeting, in Moscow, they came first, second, and third against seventeen countries. I can even remember two of their names-Donskaya and Lomova. Terrific shots. She may even have been one of them. What did she look like? Records’ll probably be able to turn her up.”
“She was a blonde. She was the girl who carried the cello in that orchestra. Probably had her gun in the cello case. The orchestra was to cover up the shooting.”
“Oh!” said Captain Sender slowly. “I see. The girl you were keen on?”
“Well, I’m sorry, but I’ll have to put that in my report too. You had clear orders to exterminate Trigger.”
There came the sound of a car approaching. It pulled up somewhere below. The bell rang twice. Sender said, “Well, let’s get going. They’ve sent an armored car to get us out of here.” He paused. His eyes flicked over Bond’s shoulder, avoiding Bond’s eyes. “Sorry about the report. Got to do my duty, y’know. You should have killed that sniper whoever it was.”
Bond got up. He suddenly didn’t want to leave the stinking little smashed-up flat, leave the place from which, for three days, he had had this long-range, onesided romance with an unknown girl-an unknown enemy agent with much the same job in her outfit as he had in his. Poor little bitch! She would be in worse trouble now than he was! She’d certainly be court-martialed for muffing this job. Probably be kicked out of the KGB. He shrugged. At least they’d stop short of killing her-as he himself had done.
James Bond said wearily, “Okay. With any luck it’ll cost me my Double-O number. But tell Head of Station not to worry. That girl won’t do any more sniping. Probably lost her left hand. Certainly broke her nerve for that kind of work. Scared the living daylights out of her. In my book, that was enough. Let’s go.”
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
It was, exceptionally, a hot day in early June. James Bond put down the dark gray chalk pencil that was the marker for the dockets routed to the Double-O Section and took off his coat. He didn’t bother to hang it over the back of his chair, let alone take the trouble to get up and drape the coat over the hanger Mary Goodnight had suspended, at her own cost (damn women!), behind the Office of Works’ green door of his connecting office. He dropped the coat on the floor. There was no reason to keep the coat immaculate, the creases tidy. There was no sign of any work to be done. All over the world there was quiet. The In and Out signals had, for weeks, been routine. The daily top secret SITREP, even the newspapers, yawned vacuously-in the latter case scratchings at domestic scandals for readership, for bad news, the only news that makes such sheets readable, whether top secret or on sale for pennies.
Bond hated these periods of vacuum. His eyes, his mind, were barely in focus as he turned the pages of a jaw-breaking dissertation by the Scientific Research Station on the Russian use of cyanide gas, propelled by the cheapest bulb-handled children’s water pistol, for assassination. The spray, it seemed, directed at the face, took instantaneous effect. It was recommended for victims from 25 years upwards, on ascending stairways or inclines. The verdict would then probably be heart-failure.
The harsh burr of the red telephone sprayed into the room so suddenly that James Bond, his mind elsewhere, reached his hand automatically towards his left armpit in self-defense. The edges of his mouth turned down as he recognized the reflex. On the second burr he picked up the receiver.
He got up from his chair and picked up his coat. He put on the coat and at the same time put on his mind. He had been dozing in his bunk. Now he had to go up on the bridge. He walked through into the connecting office and resisted the impulse to ruffle up the inviting nape of Mary Goodnight’s golden neck.
He told her “M.” and walked out into the close-carpeted corridor and along, between the muted whizz and zing of the Communications Section, of which his Section was a neighbor, to the lift and up to the eighth.
Miss Moneypenny’s expression conveyed nothing. It usually conveyed something if she knew something-private excitement, curiosity, or, if Bond was in trouble,
encouragement or even anger. Now the smile of welcome showed disinterest. Bond registered that this was going to be some kind of a routine job, a bore, and he adjusted his entrance through that fateful door accordingly.
There was a visitor-a stranger. He sat on M.’s left. He only briefly glanced up as Bond came in and took his usual place across the red-leather-topped desk.