James Bond came round groggily from his heavy sedation.
Twelve hours previously Dr Jacqueline Hyde had injected him with an almost lethal combination of chloral hydrate and glucose. The canceling out effect of the sleep inducing chemical, combined with the stimulation of the sugar, confused the body’s nerve receptors, resulting in disorientating imbalance and severe exhaustion.
Since leaving the conscious world it felt as if a lifetime had passed, his internal organs straining to do ten times the amount of work in order to support him through the ordeal.
As he slowly regained his faculties, the dizziness clearing from his addled brain, he managed to focus on his new surroundings. What he woke up to was a scene which was in striking contrast to the wretched situation that had led to his capture.
It was a bad start to the mission.
The plan had been to start investigations into a shady industrial complex, which was under suspicion of housing an undercover manufacturing operation, producing unsanctioned weapons on a large scale.
It was, for the time being, strictly under surveillance, and still a mystery as to who, or what power, was financing productions. But it was enough of a threat to be deemed a matter of international security, and so Bond, along with the rest of the double-0 section, had been engaged from the outset.
From following the areas of dubious activity, the operation had been traced to several locations overseas, and it was Bond’s job to embed himself within one of these potential sites and investigate further.
Rather unfortunately his initial nighttime reconnaissance had been cut short, partly due to his haste but mainly as a result of his superiors’ underestimation of the levels of security surrounding it. He had been easily caught and swiftly imprisoned, deep within the inner bowels of the complex.
Thrown in a dark cell, where streaks of cold dew ran down the cold stone walls, it felt like a premature defeat. Careless and unnecessary. And things were about to get worse. After the injection administered by his female captor he was left alone, freezing and nauseous. It was a relief when he finally passed out in a drugged stupor.
Bond was now in much more civilised surroundings, strapped firmly to a large solid wooden chair which stood in the centre of a large well lit room. The walls and surfaces were painted in light neutral tones. Strong well angled lighting blazed overhead from the high ceiling fixtures, giving off a generous but warm light.
Bond’s restricted movement extended to his head which was clamped securely, making it impossible to turn or nod in any direction. He was a prisoner, well and truly helpless.
A few feet in front of him stood a surgical operating table, and next to it a side table displaying an extensive range of scalpels, forceps, dilators, saws and various other instruments. All neatly spread out, it looked like a set of butcher’s utensils, only cleaner and much more sinister.
It took Bond a moment or two to collect himself and become accustomed to the feel of the tight bindings around his wrists and ankles. With his limited range of sight he took in the scene as his eyes slowly became accustomed to the light.
Quite a nice room, he thought, ignoring the looming objects of terror. Instead he became immediately distracted by the decor and layout. Large and airy, the minimal space was both functional and clean in its design, aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Bond frequently fantasised about refurbishing his own modest London dwelling in a similar fashion. Although not in the traditional style for the building’s period, it would still be structurally sound to transform the inside space to accommodate an open-plan ambience.
He shifted with difficulty in the chair, which was not as uncomfortable as might be expected. Functional, bland, but still beautifully designed.
Something more angular in structure would, quite understandably, have been better suited for the purposes of physical strain and intimidation, but this was ergonomically pleasing to the form of Bond’s body, it’s smooth edges and light padding supporting his limbs with the minimal amount of pressure.
As well as being well made, however, it was also well worn and had clearly taken some wear and tear in its time, though not as much as its victims who had had the misfortune to be bound to and confined by it. The only ominous thing about it were the large dark patches of bloodstains, a dead giveaway its otherwise domestic innocence.
‘Have a good sleep?’ The sultry Jacqueline Hyde sidled up to Bond and gently brushed away the dark comma of hair which had stuck itself with perspiration to the side of his face.
‘I hope so, for your sake,’ she continued, turning the words around fruitily in her mouth, relishing every moment of her power.
‘Your reputation somewhat precedes you. Very rarely have I heard of such significant and dangerous accomplishments from one single agent. It is even claimed, by those in the highest echelons of criminal superpowers no less, that you remain undefeated by any organisation you are assigned to take on. Un-bested, unmatched.’
To emphasise the point she let out a dramatic whistle of breath, her admiration momentarily betraying the cool, passive facade.
‘Your track record over so many past successful missions leads me to believe that the rumours of your resilience, your endurance, your… mettle, shall we say, are well founded. If indeed such claims are rooted in truth, and I sincerely hope they are, then I anticipate a memorable time together. Exciting for me but quite horrific for you.’
…relishing every moment of her power.
She gave a short cackle.
‘Yes, you will have the misfortune of having my undivided attention. There are many harmful and excruciating procedures which I’ve been waiting to put into practice. Now finally my patience has been rewarded, I have been blessed with the ultimate guinea pig. Whose reactions to better learn from? A masterclass in pain, devised for the most experienced of graduates. Who knows, the pupil might even help the teacher learn a thing or too.’
Licking her lips with a mix of hunger and cruelty she turned away from him and walked swiftly over to her assorted implements of torture.
Through shrill tinny speakers, fitted on the walls, came the hollow sounds of a musical pop group, the grating strains of an electric guitar were unmistakable. Underneath the distorted melody struggled a warbling voice with a Liverpudlian twang, along with the jangling of a tambourine.
Bond’s nerves tightened, he recognised it as a song by a popular band he hated with a passion. The name escaped him, though it had become impossible to escape the ubiquity of this noisy dirge. It was on radios everywhere and seemed set to remain with its popularity increasing. Once, during a recent flight, where one of the passengers had played the song constantly via a reel to reel tape recorder, he had resorted to wearing earmuffs for the duration of the journey. Bond winced at the incongruity.
Which was worse, the physical pain still to come, or having to endure even a second more of this vile musical abomination?
He had held his nerve up to this point. The years of training, followed by years of active service duty in the field, had paid off admirably and stood him in good stead, his mind as sharp and focussed as ever.
In terms of his own personal conduct and punctilious pragmatism he had never yet failed himself as a rational and highly disciplined agent. Every so often his morality might get the better of him, causing a mission to not go as smoothly as it perhaps might have, but he always got the job done. No one could question him of that.
But then came the tipping point. From above, Bond heard the cheerily obnoxious sound of two guitars playing in unison. Together they skittered through an obnoxiously catchy riff, ending the phrase with a flourish. Then they repeated it.
It was more than Bond could take, and he finally snapped. The mawkish sentiment was more than he could bare, and it pushed him past breaking point. Stripped of all dignity he looked up submissively at his female tormentor, his mind already made up.
He spoke. ‘You should know something about me, Hyde. I’m not a strong man, so
I’ll save you the trouble.’ The small, reedy voice came out as weak as the straining falsetto over the speakers. ‘Now, what would you like to know?’