Ian Swann, On Her Majesty's Secret Service

[ Shaken, not stirred ]

Melodramatic Hook: His former partner (Kitty Darling), who, on his last mission, posed as his wife, has "gone native" and bad, too. While looking for her, he was trapped in the Netherworlds.

Attributes:
Bod 5 (Mov 7)
Chi 0 (For=6)
Mind 5 (Cha 6)
Ref 5


Skills:
Deceit +10 (= 15)
Fix-It +2 (7) (Max 13)
Guns +8 (13) (Max 13)
Info/Fashion +6 (11)
Info/Food and Drink +6 (11)
Info/Politics +4 (9)
Intrusion +4 (9) (Max 12)
Martial Arts +6 (11) (Max 13)
Seduction +5 (11) (Max 13)

Gun Shtick: Eagle Eye (1)
Weapon: Walther PPK

Prelude Story

The glittering Casino Royale was abuzz with activity and sound, the clink of glasses, the murmur of speech and laughter, the clatter of dice, the whirr of the roulette wheel. The short man with the horn-rimmed glasses perched by the craps table and watched with beady, calculating eyes. He breathily laid down a few chips. As he watched the dice tumble across the table, a hand gripped his shoulder and he leaped, reaching for his coat.

"Now now." said the man in the white tuxedo, swiftly also taking his arm. "No need for that. We just need to talk."

"I don't think so." whined the short man. He had a thick accent. "I've got nothing to say to you, Swann."

"So you know who I am," said the man in the tuxedo. "My wife and I would like to chat with you, in our hotel room."

"Wife? Oh, ho." said the short man, slipping down from his stool and crossing the floor. "They sent a handler with you, did they? All right. I suppose I don't really have a choice."

"No." said Swann. "You don't."

The short man skipped up the steps a half-step ahead of Swann. "Just a minute." Swann said, leaning in briefly to pluck the tiny silenced gun from inside the short man's coat. "A bit of lint, old man. Go ahead."

The short man laughed and Swann looked surprised. "You seem very sure of yourself." Swann said as the elevator's gilt doors slid open.

"Confidence is always attractive to women, I find, Swann." said the short man.

"But I fear your confidence is misplaced." said Swann. "This is a dangerous place. The whole of Monaco has become dangerous. Four important British citizens have disappeared in as many weeks, and the kidnappers do not seem to be very particular about who they take."

The short man sniggered. "Oh, they're particular. Very particular indeed. But not by nationality, Mr. Swann. No, not at all. You are correct in that respect." The elevator heaved its way upwards.

"So you know the kidnappers? Well, that makes things ever so much easier." said Swann, tugging down on his vest a little, brushing a stray bit of hair out of his eyes.

"Oh, and they know you, Mr. Swann. And they do not appreciate you nosing into their affairs."

Swann gave a crisp little smile. "I will be sure to send them a sympathetic apology note."

"Or you can tell them face to face. May I ask you a personal question, Mr. Swann?"

"You may ask, of course."

"Do you honestly believe you will be able to play the game forever?"

"The game?"

"The great game. Isn't that what your English poet Kipling called espionage? The great game. Do you expect that it will go on forever, England and France and Russia and America, prying into each others secrets?"

"It hasn't stopped for centuries."

The short man sniggered. "Well, well. I suppose that does answer my question, doesn't it?" He sneered as if he knew very well that it did not.

Swann knocked on the door three times, then paused, then knocked again.

"Ianů" said a female voice from beyond the door. It was a broken, sad voice.

"Kitty!" he said, shouldering the door, hard. "What is it? It's me, Darling, open up, hurry." The short man started to backpedal out of the corner of his eye. Swann leapt for him just as a shotgun blast tore through the door behind him.

The short man laughed even as Swann smashed his face into the carpeted floor, wheeling around with his Walter PPK. A man in saffron robes and a pair of aviator's goggles shoved the barrel of the shotgun through the wreckage of the door and fired again, but Swann rolled to one side and the blast tore into the short man, who started gurgling. The Walther PPK was cool and familiar, as Swann came up on one knee and took careful aim. The gun kicked and the man in the robes died. Swann barreled into the room, diving across into the bathroom to avoid the spray of machine-gun fire from the man in the drab grey Chinese-Army uniform. "Ian!" Kitty said, sobbing. "I'm sorry!"

A tiny canister clanked down into the bathroom's porcelain tile, a stun grenade with a lipsticked kiss on it. One of her shades, one of her grenades. There was a crash and a thump and the world went away.

Ian awoke in a puddle of toilet water, the pipes spraying across the ceiling. The hotel was ominously quiet. The dead bodies were gone. He pushed himself woozily to his knees and stared out of the hotel balcony at where Kitty, held aloft by the Chinese-Army man and another, thinner, black man, levitated across the black Monaco night towards a scintillating black and purple portal and disappeared. Who could have that kind of technology? What could they have told or shown to Kitty to make her turn against him, against the Service?

Only one group could have done it, the international crime cartel: NEMESIS. He got to his feet and lifted his gun. But they were gone. Without hesitating, he ran for the edge of the balcony and threw himself over in a somersault, arms outstretched for the edge of the portal which obligingly expanded a few feet to encompass him, then slid shut behind him.


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Jason Corley -- corleyj@cobweb.scarymonsters.net