Ghost in the Machine


It sucked in a great deal of air through its nose (like it was breathing) and shrugged, still blinking. A nervous tick? Perhaps Bond could be pardoned for not realising Q's true nature at first glance because this persocom behaved so much like a human. "Every now and then a trigger needs to be pulled."

(Or: Bond's journey to living with his perfect Companion. From the beginning to the end.)


Title from a famous anime wiki/Ghost_in_the_machine

The fanarts from Qbond tumblr! Persocom (personal computer)-Q doesn't want to leave my brain ever since!


"Because you still have spots," Bond watched the boy for his reaction. Would there be aggravation? More snark?

The blinking was expected. What he said next, however, was not. "The design's meant to be charming."

Bond scanned the stranger from head to toe (again. He'd given him a cursory look earlier) and discovered a glint of metal from the thick bush of bird-nest-dark curls. So that's what the thick volume of hair was for.

"You're a persocom," Bond stated in disbelief.

He, it did not reply, only gave the smallest of nods as confirmation. "That fact is hardly relevant." Its voice hardened.

"Your competence is," Bond could not believe that MI6 had awarded a robot such an important role. Bond had seen persocoms before. The first generation was already in the market, and many prototypes in R&D. They were ridiculously expensive for human-shaped laptop-cum-smartphone (who could be programmed to do anything for you like cleaning your house, driving your car or cooking your meals). Most of the rich utilised them as status symbols and/or personal assistants (they are ridiculously efficient).

Granted, MI6's persocom must have artificial intelligence that surpassed humans', but quartermasters had to be more than an ultra fast processor. They needed to design weapons, using the kind of innovation Bond thought only humans could possess.

"I'll hazard I can do more damage plugged to the mainframe, before my battery's full, than you can do in a year in the field," the wit it responded to Bond's disdain with was astounding.

"So why do you need me?"

It sucked in a great deal of air through its nose (like it was breathing) and shrugged, still blinking. A nervous tick? Perhaps Bond could be pardoned for not realising Q's true nature at first glance because this persocom behaved so much like a human. "Every now and then a trigger needs to be pulled."

"Or not pulled," Bond faced his colleague. Perhaps there was hope. "It's hard to know which without a full battery," he finally offered his hand, "Q."

The persocom must have understood the weight of Bond's acknowledgement, because the smile on Q's face was so wide. "007."

He was warm, and his skin was soft as a human's.


Bond stepped into Q-branch, giddy from Silva's capture, only to lose his breath.

Q was connected to the mainframe through perhaps more than a dozen wires connected to its ear ports, the cables pulled taut as long limbs were illuminated by the blue lights of the screens. White flickering figures danced around the persocom as the largest monitor displayed a shape-shifting model, always unraveling like a slippery eel the moment it was almost wrangled into something vaguely resembling a geometric form. Bathed by digital hues, Q looked ethereal.

"007," the robot detected his presence. "You can come closer, just don't accidentally snag the wires off." Q's eyes were vacant, like any other persocom Bond's seen whose processor was occupied, but the smile on the lower half of Q's face looked human. The persocom looked…somewhat excited, even, to be tackling this challenge.

"…It's like trying to decode a Rubik's cube that's fighting back. There are only about six people in the world who could set up fail-safes like this," [1] Bond realised Q had been talking, and missed most of it because he was distracted by the glow of the persocom's eyes.

"Can you get past them?" he remarked at what he managed to hear.

"I invented them," the little smirk on Q's face was so, so confident. Bond had never seen any other persocom as expressive as this.

He observed the monitor for a while before he spotted a pattern the name of a Tube station and told the quartermaster. [2] The way that face lit up into a triumphant expression when a detailed map of the British underground unfurled should not have looked that…endearing.

That was before all hell broke loose.

"Q!" Bond exclaimed as the persocom jerked, as though it had been shot, and dropped to the floor, some of the cables disconnected as it fell. Bond was alarmed when Q convulsed off the ground, as though having seizures. The agent grabbed his quartermaster's shoulders only to recoil as electricity passed through him. "Q!"

"T-the cables," Q pointed at the terminals, its arm shaking all the while. Bond could barely hear him amidst the blaring 'SYSTEM BREACH' announcement around him. "D-dis-" Q was rapidly losing the timbres of human's voice. Bond yanked the dratted wires connecting MI6's system to Silva's laptop off in half a second.

'NOT SUCH A CLEVER BOY,' a text appeared on the monitor and mocked them.

Bond cursed and ran as fast as he could to the cell holding Silva captive.

("Be careful," later, when Q's voice entered his earpiece, even and humane, Bond just realised how relieved he was that the persocom was all right. He didn't know that he…cared for it so much. "This plan has been orchestrated years in advance."

"I know," Bond retorted absently, "now tell me where to go."

He was so relieved he almost didn't mind that Q nearly caused him to die. Almost.)


Bond checked-in a hotel in London at three a.m. on a Sunday (he didn't get a new flat yet, didn't think he ever would, he's out of the country too often), expecting to lie in bed with bottles of scotch until his body shut down in exhaustion, only to see Q sitting on the edge of the mattress.

He blinked at the persocom. "What are you doing here?"

"You hate medical," the bespectacled robot stood and a box of first aid kit which had been hidden by Q's frame was revealed.

The AI had infiltrated the booking systems of all five-star hotels in London. Why was Bond even surprised? "You know how to treat wounds," he regarded the persocom.

"The relevant programme has been developed and installed."Q shrugged, and answered the question in Bond's mind. "I'myour quartermaster."

Bond sat and let Q carefully peel off his shirt and sterilise his wounds, the touches of those thin, spindly fingers gentle and precise. As Q stitched a particularly large gash on his torso carefully, Bond thought about making this arrangement permanent. No more hospitals. Q had no idea what it had signed up for.

In the comforting silence, Bond drifted to the North, to the rolling hills of Scotland and the cold as he nearly drowned. He fought very hard to not think about M, he did, but he was not very successful.

The feeling of a pair of lips pressed softly against his left shoulder, above the wound, made Bond open his eyes. "Q…?" he was befuddled.

"I was meant to be a Companion unit, you know," Q murmured, air hitting his skin as though the robot exhaled (though it did make sense, sound needs a medium to be transmitted after all), "to be everything my purported owner needs: a servant, a secretary, a friend," the persocom paused, "a lover."

Bond took a sharp breath. "You're saying…"

Q wrapped thin, long arms around the agent's neck. "If you need me to," Bond felt the words whispered against his earlobe before it was engulfed by a hot, wet mouth.

Arousal pooled low in his gut.

So Bond fucked Q into the mattress, first a little weirded out about having sex with a machine (isn't it, like, masturbating?). But Q felt just like any other human being, warm and wet and tight around him. Q's skin bruised after Bond worried it between his teeth. Q bit and scratched and caressed, passionately and unpredictably. Bond didn't see any difference.

Afterwards, as Bond lied beneath his blankets, a little dazed, his eyes fell on the spectacles on the bedside. Q looked older without them, not younger, his long narrow nose and high cheekbones more pronounced. His eyes were dark blue, and when Bond looked into his pupils, he didn't see cogs and wheels.

"Your glasses," Bond muttered absently as he toyed with the contraption, "Must be superfluous. Your eyesight is perfect, I imagined."

Q was quiet. Bond thought he must have fallen asleep (wait, that's not the right term…should be 'hibernated', because his battery ran out?), but after a couple of seconds he replied, "Habit. Sebastian Elliot [3]."

Bond was confused.

"One of my developers – an orphan, coincidentally – deceased in an accident. My AI is based on his personality," Q continued, "The manufacturer was very thorough. Wanted to ensure the Companions behave like humans. Implanted snippet of his memories."

Bond imagined a nerdy Londoner, brilliance and a snarky tongue concealed by horn-rimmed glasses, plain G2000 suits and pinstripe ties, and nearly smiled. "What happened?" he asked on a more serious note.

"…My AI's showing too much independent tendencies," Q pursed his lips. "Its learning potential exceeds the level it was intended to be, as well. The manufacturer ended up auctioning me because the rich don't need a Companion that may go rogue because the owners are way too stupid," the derision in the persocom's voice caused laughter to rumble out of Bond's chest. And it surprised him.

"God, you're precious," he mumbled against Q's hair, one hand carding through the locks, rubbing one of the metal ports softly.

"Mmm," Q hummed appreciatively (he was sensitive there) and pulled a cable lazily from his port. He handed it to Bond. "Plug me to the socket, won't you?"

Bond barely blinked. "Sure."

"Thanks," Q yawned and smiled sleepily as he snuggled against the agent. "Good night, 007."

"Good night," Bond returned, but the persocom had already gone on standby mode.

Holding on to a body that was not breathing felt a bit strange, but Q was still warm enough he didn't feel like a corpse. There were worse things to fall asleep with, really.


Bond was on a mission in Palestine when he received an email which had been sent to him, Tanner and M. It was from an unknown server.

The image embedded inside was of Q, tied to a chair, wires hanging from his port, some of them visibly torn, patches of skin peeling to reveal the circuits underneath. The text said, "We want 007. Or else."

Bond gave Moneypenny a call. "Book me a flight to wherever they want me to be. Now."

"Bond," Moneypenny started, but she was interrupted by none other than M himself. "Agent 007, that is not necessary. Keep your eyes on your current target."

"He is MI6's quartermaster," Bond growled to his mouthpiece. "Aren't you afraid the enemy would gain access to our mainframe?"

"That is not a risk to be considered," M remarked calmly, "Q's data cannot be copied to non-authorised drives, and Q is designed to self-destruct the moment it was taken apart or non-authorised devices and programmes try to penetrate his security coding."

Designed to self-destruct. Bond's heart jumped to his throat. "Q is an expensive piece of equipment," he argued, feebly.

"Its retrieval is going to be as expensive, and entirely unneeded," M's decision sounded final. "Complete your mission ASAP, 007, and report to London for debrief."

Something akin to despair took over him. Bond followed the order, going through the motion like a zombie, before it turned to anger. Q had wormed his way into Bond's heart over the past two years, somehow, and carved a place for himself there. Bond considered deserting. He stopped giving chase and started his way to the airport instead. Before he could board the plane, he was apprehended.

Bond was flown back to London kicking and – perhaps not screaming, but he was an absolute nightmare before he was sedated.

When he came to, Bond was aware that he was at MI6's secret base. A howl almost ripped off his throat, reverberating from a hollow in his chest. As he looked up he saw a computer placed in front of him, and he couldn't for the love of God understand why-

'007,' a white text typed itself on the black screen of the monitor.

Bond stopped breathing. Hope swelled painfully in his chest, and he was so, so relieved after the next statement was typed:

'This is Q. I have my data backed-up every hour, you tosser, and MI6 had my core processors duplicated and stored in the mainframe. I won't die so easily.'

Bond would have cried if he could.

(Q's new 'hardware' – and yes, Bond fully paid for it because while it didn't matter to MI6 whether or not their supercomputer Q had a physical avatar, it frigging mattered to Bond – was slightly different from his old one. His voice was different, for one. Lower, the accent more posh. His wrists were different. The shade of his eyes. Every minute detail, all wrong-

But the words Q said, the way they interacted, the way he canted his hips and moaned, they were the same. That's what mattered.)


James rolled his lover's rosy nipple between his fingers and watched in fascination as the flesh pebbled. "What does it feel like?" he asked in curiousity, "How do you register pleasure?"

Q whimpered. "I-it's like," he stumbled as James palmed the bulge in his trousers. "T-the commands are not transmitted p-properly and – ah, again please!"

James thumbed the head of Q's cock. "And?" he prompted.

Q glared at him as though James was evil (he really was genuinely curious!). "Like there are sparks exploding behind my eyelids," his voice was soft though.

James smiled. "That sounds very human."

Later, as James indulged in a post-coital smoke and Q had a cup of piping hot Earl Grey sitting on the bedside ("I know I can't drink it," he glared as James teased him, "but Sebastian must have drunk ten cups of it every day so I…find the scent conducive to my processor's speed."), the agent's head in Q's lap with the bespectacled man carding his fingers through graying blonde locks, James said, "Stay."

Q froze. "You know that I'm a persocom." His voice was flat, his frame taut. "I'll never look a day older. Unless you buy me an older-looking hardware, of course." His attempt of a light-hearted tone fell flat.

James sat and reached for his quartermaster. "Q."

"I will not be seen as anything but your possession. A glorified sex toy [4]," Q continued, his chest tight as though he was in pain. James knew he could feel pain; Q could experience emotions even more strongly than some humans. His body might have been made of metal, but it doesn't matter.

"You're an indestructible glorified sex toy," you won't break under my touch James whispered fervently. "You're perfect."

Q stopped trying to move out of the tight confinement of James' arms, and returned his embrace instead.


"Could you ever die?" James eyed his companion. His brilliant persocom, never a day older than the day he first laid eyes on him, and certainly never any slower.

"Maybe not," Q paused from his task of peeling an apple and smiled at the man in the hospital bed, his hair all white and his face filled by so many lines. The retired agent's arctic blue eyes were cloudy and dulled by painkillers. Q reached out to squeeze James' hand, the one without the IV needle piercing his grey, paper-thin spotty skin. "Or maybe they'll replace me with a better, faster, newer AI. I'm considered really ancient too, you know."

James blinked and showed Q a faint smile. "I'm sorry."

Don't be, Q wanted to say, these past thirty years have been wonderful, but his speakers wouldn't work. He only waited until James closed his eyes and fell asleep, as the beeping of the machine in the ward turned to a flat, final tune.

For the first time in his life, Q fiercely wished he could cry.


One day, as Q hunched over his workstation, multitasking over renewing MI6's firewalls, backing up the last hour's data and looking through prototype designs of explosives for 005's next mission, someone approached his desk, the click of her high-heeled shoes rising in volume in a crescendo.

Q looked up to see a dark-skinned woman with thick curls framing her lovely face, her face lined with wisdom and her dark hair streaked with grey. Q stared into Moneypenny's familiar eyes, finding the rest of her expression unreadable. "M," he greeted his boss.

"C00189," M addressed him, and the persocom jolted. He'd never been addressed that since MI6 bought him. Q knew what M was going to say before the words left her lips.

"I want you to meet Q02," she leaned over and pressed something on his computer.

The photo of an auburn-haired girl appeared on his screen. "Hi," a soft, feminine voice exited through the speakers, "I'm to be your successor, Q01."

Something bubbled from within Q, the new emotion threatening to lead him to an overdrive.

"Thank you," Q told M as he handed her a cable he'd pulled from his port. Q was calm as he faced his destruction.

Million terabytes of memories of James flashed through Q's mind as they were deleted, one by one, and Q vaguely wondered whether this was what a human would go through as well.

Everything faded to black.


Moneypenny ('M,' she reminded herself. God, she could never get used to this, couldn't she) thought of placing the shell of C00189's hardware in Bond's coffin, but eventually she decided to lay him to rest in a separate coffin next to Bond's.

'Sebastian (Q01) Bond,' the tombstone said, 'beloved husband and devoted child of England.'

While the persocom could be considered a treasured possession to be buried together with its late owner, Moneypenny knew Q meant more to James than that.



1. Dialogue based on www. imdb title/tt1074638/quotes

2. I don't remember the movie in such detail, eh. I used themoviespoiler. com as assistance.

3. Sebastian Eliot is borrowed from 'That Which We Are' by mikkey_bones at AO3

4. The 'glorified sex toy' line was borrowed from 'Just an idea' by korynn at AO3