Chapter 4! Q gives agent 007 a few lessons in SCIENCE. A number of these quotes come from my actual Chemistry class. (notably the one about moles, and the one about carbonic acid)
Q prided himself on being a rational thinker. He didn't make hasty decisions, and he worked well under pressure. Q was one of the most skilled hackers in the world, certainly England. On most nights he came home from work, settled down with a movie or a nice book and then went to sleep. This was definitely not one of those nights.
Usually it was Bond who drank and Q who laughed and set up the telly. On this particular night Q was the one totally smashed. It was unlikely he had been this inebriated since his brief experimentation during his college days.
007 smiled fondly as Q paced back and forth on the rug in front of him, waving his hands wildly as he spoke. Well, pacing would be being generous, it was more of a lurching zig zag.
"And now," Q slurred in Bond's general direction, "I'm going to teach you science! Today's lesson is chemistry!"
James raised an eyebrow, "I was a Naval Commander Q, I did take a couple of chemistry courses."
"Nope nope nope, you think you know but you don't," Q stopped for a few seconds looking at James like a kicked puppy, "you really don't know."
James quickly decided that getting a chemistry lesson from a sloshed Q would be much more enjoyable than trying to dissuade him. Even intoxicated he was stubborn as a mule.
"A'right, a'right, settle down class, I'm gonna to start with a history lesson," Q began enthusiastically before stopping. A nudge from Bond was enough to get him back on track.
"See, once upon a time there was a sad little man named Gilbert Lewis. He named the photon, invented the Lewis dot structure, named after him ya see, right got it? And he should have been super duper famous." Q rambled, stopped again, and then got back on track.
"Anyways, he should have been really famous, but he wasn't!" the Quartermaster appeared visibly upset, nearly prompting James to give him a hug or something.
"I mean, if you ever feel bad about not being recognized for what you've done, just remember that Lewis was nominated for a Nobel Prize 35 times!"
Bond chuckled at Q's frazzled state, "Hmm, poor thing." Some people were silly drunks, some sad, and some angry. It had quickly become apparent that Q was a nerdy drunk. Not entirely surprising.
Q flopped down on the couch next to James and laid a hand on his arm. "Now that I've taught you all about moles it's time to teach you about molar concentration."
This sparked momentary confusion in James, who yet again decided to just go with the flow.
"You gotta remember about the total volume. Like, if you had a bathtub full to the top of water." Q motioned wildly in front of himself, as if playing charades, "and then you put a mole in the bathtub! You know what you'd have then?"
Q didn't give James time to respond, "Well, you'd have water all over your floor, and a mole in your bathtub going 'Don't dissolve me! I'm a mammal!'" By the time Q was done his short speech, he'd ended up lying on the carpet, due to excessive flailing.
A short while later, Q was slightly less drunk, and James slightly more so. James had sneakily (in his mind at least) switched Q's drinks with apple juice (out of concern of course) and, well, it all had to go somewhere right?
James was really starting to get into the whole 'chemistry lesson' idea. Even going to the extent of asking questions, and trying to show off. Just a little bit.
"So, carbonic acid, that's what makes pop fizzy. We all know that of course, but did you know that it's in our blood too?"
Q sniffed imperiously, cutting him off, having obviously regained some of his cognitive capacities, "Don't be stupid 007. Carbonic acid doesn't exist. You've been fooled by the media."
James was absolutely flabbergasted. He asked, very sceptical, "Carbonic acid doesn't EXIST?"
Q, still sitting on the floor, nodded gleefully. "It doesn't exist. It never has."
He was like the cat who got the canary, so pleased with himself. 007 couldn't tell whether it was because he'd been tricked, or because Q was right, and carbonic acid really didn't exist.
"I don't believe you. It's on soda labels for christ's sake."
"Ever heard of false advertising?" Q somehow managed to look down on James, even from his low vantage point on the floor. "They made it up so they didn't have to explain the complex chemical process that occurs. What are they teaching you lot in secret agent class these days, haven't you been told to trust your Quartermaster?"