The 21st century moves too fast and its threats are too big for most to even acknowledge.
-Steve Rogers; Captain America.
Chapter 1: The Exchange
Location: Burgenland, Austria
10:33pm (local time)...
The cargo hold of the Boeing 747 LCF Dreamlifter jostled about as the massive aircraft soared high above the Austrian countryside as James Bond prepared to parachute into the Landing Zone. It had been a month since the GoldenEye Incident, where Alec Trevelyan's bitter betrayal of both queen and country had been expose. It was had been a bitter pill to swallow, but the bastard was dead and that's all that mattered to him.
"Prepare for drop in six minutes," the pilot reported via the intercom.
Bond stood up and checked his parachute for the second time and slipped on a full face helmet before approaching the loading ramp. The nature of the mission in question wasn't clear to him, which meant that the mission was urgent enough to require him to go in blind. At least when he landed he would receive a full mission briefing. The door to the loading ramp descended and the cargo hold was filled with the frigid alpine air as Bond raced forward, his boots pounding against the metal floor as he leapt out of the plane. Free falling was an adrenaline rush as he caught a glimpse of the twinkling lights of the town of Forchtenstein, but his destination lay in the shadow of Esterházy Castle. James pulled the ripcord and the chute deployed, slowing his decent until he was close enough to the ground to ditch the parachute and land in a snow bank. Watching as his chute drifted away in the breeze Bond immediately pulled he helmet off and tossed it aside, before tapping the screen of his smart phone that was strapped to his left arm. It took several seconds for the device and waited for it to connected to the MI6's servers before speaking.
"Bond to MI6, I've arrived at the insertion point."
"Acknowledged," Tanner replied as M came on the line.
"Listen up, Bond. Three days ago six prototype T-38 Halbech ballistic missiles were stolen from the Americans while en route to a military reserve in the mid-western United States. Intelligence indicates that the missiles were sold during a Black Market Auction in Gibraltar and were bought for an untold sum of money by this man."
Bond glanced at the phone as the image of a bald headed man with a full grey beard and somewhere between the age of forty to sixty appeared on the screen dressed in a dark suit.
"This is Arkady Yayakov; a Serbian-born Terrorist whose been linked with various rebel groups operating in Chechnya," M explained.
"What's his story?" Bond asked.
"His INTERPOL file stats that he's the mastermind of numerous bombings within the Russian Federation," Tanner stated, "Most recently he was responsible for the derailment of the Nevsky Express in November 2009."
"The missiles will be changing hands at Esterházy Castle tonight, which is hosting a charity dinner for the World Refugee Fund," M continued.
"Coincidence?" Bond asked.
"I don't believe in coincidences," M replied, "Yayakov is using the event as a cover and those party guests don't even know it."
"What is the potential fallout for this?" Bond questioned.
"If Yayakov uses those weapons against the Russians they will undoubtedly place the blame at the feet of the US Government, which is why the CIA has dispatched one of their agents to assist in this operation."
The image of a strawberry blonde haired woman appeared and James was instantly intrigued by her beauty.
"This is Zoë Nightshade, your friend Felix Leiter suggested her for this operation. She's logged numerous hours engaging in domestic counter-terrorism operations. This'll be her first overseas mission," M stated, "you are to infiltrate the castle and meet up with Miss Nightshade in the library."
"I'm guessing that it won't be as easy as simply walking through the front door," Bond said sarcastically.
"Agent Nightshade has reported that Yayakov's men are disguised as members of the event's security detail, you are to enter the castle through a side entrance and make your way inside," M said as a map appeared on his phone.
"What about the missiles? Is this mission about securing or destroying?" James questioned.
"Langley has given permission to dispose of the missiles," Tanner chimed in, "Q Lab has fitted your wristwatch with a high power explosive that when detonated should cause a chain reaction that will destroy the other missiles."
"Understood, Bond out."
Double-0 Seven climbed to his feet and slid his Walther P99 out of his hip-holster and screwed on the silencer before immediately beginning his long trek towards the looming castle in the distance.
Location: Esterházy Castle
Twenty minutes later...
Bond really wished there had been a better way to infiltrate Esterházy Castle, but he had had no choice in the matter since being getting dropped in a nearby gorge was the closest they could get him to the castle without drawing unwanted attention. The path to the castle was a treacherous climb to the top and often times he had had near fatal slips that would have sent him plummeting to the ice and rocks below. James kept his body pressed as flat as he could against the castle's cold brick wall as he slowly inched his way along the exterior before reaching a window and peered inside. Patrolling the interior was a man armed with a Deutsche M9K Assault Rifle with a silencer. Yayakov definitely was playing around, not when he potentially hadmillions of dollars on the line. Bond waited for the guard to pass by the window before slipping past and continued the rest of the way mostly unhindered. Bond reached an area of the castle that had crumbled over time and slipped inside and immediately removed his smart phone, placing it on a pile of bricks along with his P99 as he unzipped his combat attire and discarded it to the ground. He stood in the chilly air dressed in a dark suit and adjusted his tie and placed his pistol into the pocket of his coat and activate his phone.
"Bond to MI6, I've reached the entry point," he reported.
"We'll need photos of the exchange as it goes down," Tanner said.
Bond approached a nearby door and switched his phone to an MRI function and began scanning in order to insure that there wasn't anyone waiting for him on the other side before hacking the electronic lock and slipping inside. Double-0 Seven took a quick glance at the castle blueprints that was displayed on the screen of his smart phone before slipping it into his jacket pocket and weaved through the crowd of partygoers, making mental notes of the armed security guards that were busy patrolling about and made sure not to draw attention. James slipped into a side room and strolled down the emerging hallway until he reached the door to the castle library and stepped inside. The walls of the room were lined with a number of dusty book while in the center of the room stood a woman with strawberry blonde haired that was done up in a bun and wearing a shimmering red cocktail dress with red gloves that reached all the way to her elbows, red high-heels, and a gold choker around her neck. She whirled around and regarded him for a moment before he finally spoke.
"Agent Nightshade?" he asked.
"I'm guessing you're Double-0 Seven," she said, mildly amused, "otherwise you wouldn't have just addressed me like that."
"Have you managed to locate the missiles?" Bond questioned.
"No, but Yayakov's already arrived, he'll be meeting with the seller in the conference room in-" she said looking at her watch, "-six minutes."
"MI6 wants surveillance photos of the exchange," James said.
"Agreed. We're still in the dark about who stole the missiles in the first place. Hopefully the seller will be at the exchange," Zoë stated, "and maybe we can learn where the missiles are being kept."
"We can't allow these civilians to get caught in a firefight with Yayakov's men."
"I can give you a distraction," Zoë said, "buy you enough time to formulate a plan."
"I think I have an idea," Bond said.
"Use the door behind me to reach the conference room," Agent Nightshade said as she strolled past him, "There's a staircase that'll take you to the balcony that overlooks it. I'll give you a head start before giving you your distraction."
Bond nodded as he watched as Agent Nightshade exited the room before heading through the door that she had indicated. A single guard was milling about in a large hall with a single staircase that Bond found himself standing in and quickly ducked into a shadowy alcove to avoid detection. He waited and watched as one the guard moved towards his position allowing him to reach out and seize the man, pulling him into the shadows and rendering him incapacitated before he moved towards the staircase. There were two sentries standing guard at the door at the top of the staircase, forcing Bond to crouch down and slowly creep his way up each step as he removed his P99 from is jacket pocket and put a single bullet into the head of each sentry before they had a chance to notice him. Double-0 Seven stood up and climbed the rest of the way, opened the door as he dragged the bodies inside so as to not cause a ruckus and hid them behind the door before removing his smartphone and crept towards the banister. Bond immediately recognized Yayakov and snapped a photo as he stood in front of a large wooden table pair of armed guards were standing on either side of him, each holding a leather briefcase. One of the doors below opened and he watched as a dark haired man dressed in the fatigues of the US Army strolled in with two guards of his own. Double-0 Seven immediately photographed the newcomer as he took his place at the opposite end of the table.
"General Blake," Yayakov said, "how nice of you grace us personally with your presence."
"I'd much rather oversee an exchange of this nature, Mr. Yayakov," the general said, "do you have the money?"
Yayakov nodded to his guards who immediately stepped forward and placed the briefcases on the table and opened them, revealing an obscene amount of money inside as Bond quickly snapped a pic.
"One hundred fifty million US dollars, all in small bills, untraceable," Yayakov said, "you have the merchandise?"
"We've stored them in the castle's wine cellar," General Blake replied, "now if you'd be so kind as to hand over the money we can both be on our way."
Yayakov slammed his hand on the table and snarled in the General's direction as his men aimed their weapons at him.
"You don't think I know what you're doing?" Yayakov roared, "I want to see the merchandise or no money."
The General was about to speak when the door was thrown open and he heard the voice of Agent Nightshade as she was led into the conference room at gunpoint by a guard.
"Get your hands off me!" Zoë shouted.
"What is the meaning of this interruption?" Yayakov demanded.
"We found her in the hallway, sir," the guard reported.
"I was looking for the powder room," she said.
"With lock picks and a nine millimetre?"
"Hey, it's a rough neighbourhood."
"Take her to the cable car station," General Blake ordered, "I'll personally see to her once I prove to Mr. Yayakov that I'm not trying to rip him off."
"What kind of party is this?" Zoë demanded as she was led away from the room.