"Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!" Q yelled out in frustration. He had spent the last two hours attempting to track down Penelope but to his annoyance, he had failed every try. James stood on the other side of the table with M and Moneypenny, waiting to hear results.
"Calm down," James told the Quartermaster. "You'll get nowhere if you act irrational."
"This whole situation is irrational!" Q argued. "We don't even know why she was taken in the first place, so I don't know which direction they'd even be going on anything. Not in location, not in technology, not in anything. They are virtually off the map. I can't even find a flaw in that arse's file to see where we went wrong in the background check. It is completely flawless!"
"There has to be something," M said calmly. It was amazing how well composed he had remained since the entire fiasco had been nuetralized. All the men working for Eddie had been eliminated, much to their dismay. They had hoped for at least one to question, but any they tried to capture, had committed suicide. ALongside their deaths, many of MI6's real agents were killed in the shootout. A service would be held the following week. As soon as M knew they were onto Eddie's path, he planned to go back to his office with Moneypenny and begin the neccessary preperations.
"No there's not," Q ran his fingers through his hair before going back to the laptop.
"Are you sure her phone's tracker isn't working?" Moneypenny asked.
"I've checked three times. She doens't even have it. It's in her bag which is at her desk which is here in this office."
"Chin up Q," Bond said. "He won't keep quiet for long. He's going to grow restless. Something will happen and we will get a clue."
"For the sake of my sanity, I hope you're right," Q mumbled. James shot him a funny look, but said nothing.
"I need to go to my office and start the preperations for the service," M annouced. "As soon as any information is gained, I want to be the first to know. Moneypenny?"
As soon as they were gone, James turned to Q.
"Why are you so keen on getting Penelope back?"
"I'd be keen on getting anyone back," Q said, not looking up from his laptop.
"Yes, but you seem particularly stressed over this girl," James looked at him knowingly. He was aware of how Penelope felt for the boy, but as for Q's emotions, he was clueless. Q said nothing, refusing to look up. "Tell me Q, what are your feelings for this girl?"
"I have absolutly no idea what you are talking about," Q said.
"I think you do."
Q finally looked up at him, and knowing that Bond was not one to give up, he sighed.
"I care for her, alright?" He explained. "Is that what you wanted to hear? That I fancy the office secretary? That I have been smitten with her since day one? That I am at fault that this girl is now in the hands of a madman and I have no idea how to get her back?"
He walked to his chair and sat down, putting his head in hands and tried to calm himself. Bond did not know how to respond. He had never dealt with a situation like this.
"It's not you're fault," he said quietly, hoping that was the right thing to say. It was not.
"Yes it is!" Q stood back up and faced Bond. "I sat there while he grabbed her and put a gun to her and dragged her out into the firefight. I stood there and let it happen. And the last time I will probably ever see her face, she looked like she was going to cry from the realization that she might die!"
Suddenly, all the computer screens in the room lit up red. They began rapidly flashing between red and white, before finally settling on white. The words "Want to see your pretty girl?" were typed across the blank space. Then, the color desinigrated into a shot of a dark room. It was live feed from an unknown location, they knew. The room had a single light shining down in the middle of it, and under that single light, Penelope sat tied up to a chair with a tape across her mouth. They could see how beat up she was- bruises all over her face, a trickle of blood streaming from her nose, a nasty black eye. Her hair was a mess, and the top buttons of her blouse had been ripped open enough to reveal a thin red line on the left side of her chest- a knife cut.
"Oh God," Q immediantly began working on the computer, trying to learn where the camera feed was coming from. Bond stood by his side, ready to help at any moment.
"Hello little Quartermaster," they heard Eddie's voice through the speakers. "Did you miss me? I missed you. And I think Penelope here misses you very very much, don't you sweetheart?"
They saw him come into view, standing next to a frightened Penelope. He leaned down close to her face, touching her neck. Q saw her flinch, and could not help but feel inwardly pleased she rejected his touch. But he needed to concentrate.
"Listen to me Quartermaster," Eddie demanded. Q looked up at the screen. "This bitch isn't letting up so I'm forced to turn to you. I want the flashdrive. I don't care if you have no idea where it is, you're going to find it for me. And if I don't have my flashdrive within 24 hours, she's dead. Do you hear me? DEAD. And you'll be next, along with your precious MI6. Are we clear?"
He turned to look at Penelope. Leering down at her, his face grew a smug grin. He raised a hand back, and with a strength they did not realize he possessed, he brought it down across Penelope's face. A loud, thick slapping sound echoed, followed by Penelope's muffled screams. She looked back up, tears pouring down from her eyes. This infuraited him. He felt sick and angry and he could not tell if he wanted to scream or throw up.
"Do hurry with the drive," Eddie said calmly, looking at the camera. "I'm not a patient man."
He reached back and grabbed a handful of Penelope's brown curls and yanked back on them, causing her to cry out in pain again, chocking on her tape gag. Before they could see anything else, the camera went black and the screens returned to their original sites.
"Bugger! I couldn't trace it. The signal keeps bouncing all over the map. I can't pinpoint it."
"What flashdrive Q?" Bond demanded.
"I don't know, I've never heard anything about some flashdrive. Penelope should not even be involved with anything of this sorts.. According to her contract, she's not allowed to do anything relating to code until she's been let go by MI6, and even then I doubt they'd let her."
"Well, she's done something and we need to figure it out now or we loose one of the most reliable people here."
"Do you think I don't know that?"
"Well, I was just reminding you," Bond said, trying to keep the young man calm. He knew Q's calm exterioir was a mask. Inside was a scared man who was afraid of loosing the only girl he's ever had any sort of connection with with the memory that he could have stopped it.
"What about her flat?" Bond suggested. Q looked at him.
"Well, that seems like the only thing we have to go on," he said. "We need to go now. And we need to tell M what's happened."
"I'll tell M," Bond said. "Meet me in the parking lot."
He hurried away as Q began closing down his station. He grabbed his coat and began walking out when he remembered Penelope's purse. He went to her desk and began looking for it. His eyes drifted over her workspace, taking in all the details. He was always one for details, and Penelope's seemed intriguing. She keep her things clean, and organized, but not pristine and stuffy. Her personality was splashed everywhere. A cup holder for a collection of colorful pens, some file folders in delicate prints, a teal tray for collecting things that came in. Two tiny picture frames sat to one side, a black-and-white shot of an elderly couple in one, and a color of a cat in the other. A small owl figurine stood next to the computer, which sat in the midst of it all. He noticed a piece of paper peaking out from the under the base of the screen. He picked it up and saw that it was a note from himself.
On his first day at MI6, he had been extremely anxious and nervous. He had been snippy with everyone, not realizing how patronizing he was being. Penelope had sensed that he was overstressed, and had made him a cup of peppermint tea and written him a note letting him know he did not need to be so mean. He had immediantly felt terrible and wrote her back a note, explaining he was sorry and that it was from his nerves. He also mentioned he did not actually like peppermint, but instead perferred Earl Grey. Two days later, he found a steaming cup of Grey in a mug with a prominent Q on the front waiting for him at his desk. He did not need to ask to know who had gotten it for him.
Q smiled as he read over the note he had given her a year ago, secretly glad she had kept it all this time. He had kept her note as well, hidden in his favorite book that he always kept at his desk. Whenever he had time to spare he would pick up where he had left off and always seemed to find the note. It never failed to make him smile. She had been so daring, telling off her boss on his first day. He wondered what would have happened to her had he had been anyone else, like M or somebody like that. She probably would have been sacked.
Sighing, he placed the note in his pocket, not wanting to leave it. He picked up Penelope's peacoat from her chair, and her purse from under the desk. He laughed when he saw the purse, just as he did everytime he saw it. It was a small, bright neon pink satchel, and Penelope had had it since before he worked there. He liked to tease her on it, and she always claimed the same thing- she bought a bright bag so she would never lose it.
He checked the bag to make sure her flat key was in it, along with her wallet, and then made sure her computer was turned off before walking out of the room. He made is way to the parking lot like Bond had instructed him and found the agent waiting by a sleek black Range Rover.
"Do you know where she lives?" Bond asked.
"Yes, I do," Q replied, getting into the car.
"Oh?" Bond raised his eyebrows, as if implying something. Q caught it.
"God, is sex the only thing that comes to your mind when women are brought up?" He asked. James only chuckled. "No. I only know where she lives because a few months ago she was sick and had forgotten the notes from a meeting that she was supposed to type up so she asked me to deliver them to her. So, being a good person, I did."
"And you just happen to remember exactly where her flat is, after all this time?"
"I have an eidetic memory," Q stated. He heard Bond mumble, "of course you do."