Gods in Crisis

The Olympian gods were powerful, but they could be hurt.

The plane is a small one, and Sophia is uncomfortable. She knows it's irrational, but she feels like smaller jets have a greater chance of falling out of the sky. It's just one of those things—a phobia. She holds tightly to her armrest.

Her father is beside her, looking out the window. He doesn't turn his head, but suddenly she feels a hand rest on top of hers. She closes her eyes and focuses on the warmth of his fingers and tries to ignore the all-too-immediate vibration of the engine.

Once in the air, she pulls her hand away and smoothes her hair, feeling a little bit embarrassed. "I—don't like small planes," she says quickly.

"Obvious," says Bond, not unkindly. "I can't remember how I used to feel. It's all the same now. But I like trains the best."

"Why?" Sophia isn't silly enough to think he won't notice her obvious segue into a question, but she hopes he's relaxed enough to give her some kind of real answer.

"I met someone on a train once," he says, "a girl."

"I see," she says, not wanting to press her luck. He doesn't keep talking, but she's glad she got something.

The flight is a short one, and neither Sophia nor Bond says anything else. When it's time to land, she automatically puts her left hand on the armrest, and just as she expected, her father wraps his fingers around hers and doesn't let go until the engine shuts off.

Bond goes into surveillance mode as soon as he crawls out of his window seat. Sophia is pale, but he's confident she'll be fine as soon as she's walking around on solid ground. His main concern is to get her to the safe house. Until then, he can't relax his vigilance even the tiniest bit.

The problem, he soon learns, is that it's possible to be looking after someone else so intently that you forget to look after yourself. Later on, he will think of it as an ironic comment on parenthood, but as strong hands grab him and drag him into a small room inside the Beauvais Airport, all he can think about is the fact that his daughter didn't see what happened.

Call Q, he screams inside his mind, wishing telepathy were real.

For five minutes, Sophia is frozen. At first, she can't believe her father is actually gone. One moment, he was lightly guiding her through the middle of a crowded terminal; the next moment—she has no idea. She tries to piece together what she heard and saw, but it was too fast and too neat.

She sits on a bench and tries to collect her ragged thoughts. Anxiety threatens to crush her like a wave when she considers her situation: a woman alone in Paris with nothing except her clothes and her passport. Her French is elementary at best.

Her clothes and her passport…and her phone.

She punches the emergency number. "Sophia?" The Quartermaster is reassuringly placid.

Sophia doesn't want to cry. She's good at not crying. It's ridiculous for her to make Q hear her sobs again. It won't help anything.

Nevertheless, she weeps when she hears the sound of his voice.