Introducing "For King & Country"
A little preamble before you start reading this fiction serial.
First of all, it's very different to anything else I've written, which tend to be surreal, very personal stories based on my own life experiences. As you can probably guess, this one has very little to do with my life experiences! Unless you count being glued to the telly-box everytime a Bond film came on during my childhood...
For King & Country started out as a commission for a friend who was publishing tranny erotic fiction books back in the 90's. He wanted a spy thriller in the mould of the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films. Hi-tech, action packed, with superficially dramatic characterisation.
I sketched out a story outline and wrote the first chapter (which youll see below) and most of the second chapter, but he went out of business so the book was never completed. In the initial version, Jane was called "Fiona" and, for obvious copyright reasons, all the direct Bond references had been removed and replaced with fairly unsubtle copies. So 'M' was called "C", Q Branch was the "Special Projects Division" or "SPD", Bond was Jack Blunt, Agent C7, etc. It was originally entitled "On His Majesty's Secret Service".
The main setting and intended resolution were also very different - the story taking place in a mafia and terrorist ridden former Soviet Republic (much like the movie Goldeneye) rather than a decaying, near-future Japan.
I came to rewrite and complete the story in 2000 as I felt it needed finishing, and published it on my own website (the pre-blog version of the draGnet). At this point, I relocated it to Japan and restored the proper Bond Universe nomenclature as well as renaming Fiona Michaels to Jane Masters, which just seemed more of a "female Bond" name. When I pulled down that version of my site and replaced it with my weblog in 2004, the story didn't really fit into the more 'serious' writing I felt I was doing there so it lay unseen for a while, then appeared in 2007 on Fictionmania with minor rewrites and now here, again, with minor tweaks.
I don't claim to know anything about the espionage community or how the military operates. So apologies if my lack of research shows as it often does. Also, the Bond world I depict isn't directly drawn from either the books or the films, many of which I love very much. It's more of an amalgam in my head of my retained impressions of those very different universes.
At about 43,000 worlds, it's a slim novel and it has many flaws, but I'm pleased with it on the whole. It's unashamedly written as a pornographic diversion. It gets pretty explicit later on, and I will flag those chapters accordingly.
For a while espionage media seemed to fade out of fashion, but now we're in a bit of a golden age again, with the fantastic Bourne movies, Spooks on the BBC and of course, the superb reboot of the old franchise itself with Casino Royale (slightly let down by the rather vapid sequel).
I'd also urge fans of the genre to go and check out the excellent old BBC serials Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley's People, based on the John Le Carre novels and starring the marvellous Alec Guinness. Also highly recommended is Greg Rucka's brilliant series of graphic novels called Queen & Country after which this story was homagefully renamed.
Prologue: Tangier - Heathrow - Vauxhall
I heard the sea breaking below my window just before dawn and woke. I knew I was to fly back to London that morning. My leave of absence was over and I was to return to work. I lay in bed, feeling the grumble in my belly and rubbing the stubble on my chin from three days' growth.
The heat was rising now, inexorably moving the coolness of the night aside as the blinds rippled in the rising haze.
I raised myself up, wincing from the pain in my side, and drew the blinds and sat, watching the sun rise slowly over the rim of the bay, the smells of the waking souks spiralling up through the stillness of the morning air.
Sweat sprang over my body as the temperature climbed, and I watched a gecko scuttle over the plaster ceiling, little sticky toes, as I lit my last cigarette. I closed my eyes.
Seven hours later, I was stepping onto the tarmac of a rainswept Heathrow apron.
Henderson awaited me.
"Afternoon, Commander," he said, flipping me a sheaf of papers, "and welcome home, sir. How was Tangier? You're fully recovered, I hope, sir."
I grunted a noncommittal reply and took the papers. Just the usual port of entry documents. As a member of His Majesty's Secret Service, it was customary to bypass the usual immigration channels when re-entering Britain. I signed the papers without studying them and handed them back. Henderson led me back to his parked department Focus. I eschewed the front seat and clambered in the back, allowing him to take my bags.
The journey up the M4 was punctuated only by the metronome of the windscreen wipers and the spark of my duty-frees; every time I lit one, apparently oblivious of the sign on his dash that read 'thank you for not smoking', I took pleasure in seeing the back of Henderson's neck stiffen. It was a way of kicking downwards in the pettiest possible way, just as I fully expected would happen to me back at Vauxhall.
At Heston, we pulled in to take on fuel.
The rain was increasing; the sky brightening behind us, to the West, but London to the East was obscured by sheets of darkness.
I sat opposite Doctor Amanda Marsden, head of 'M' Branch, watching her read through my report for the third time. She closed the file and paused. At length, she stood and walked over to the large bay window overlooking the Thames, so she stood framed by light, her back to me. She clasped her hands behind her, and finally spoke.
"Thank you for your report, Pierce. Very thorough. Very interesting"
She turned to look at me. I could make out nothing in her expression.
"I had the opportunity to glance over your service record earlier this morning," she continued, walking back to sit and face me, her heels clicking over the oak flooring.
"Lieutenant Commander Anthony Pierce. Age 32. Honours in Artificial Intelligence, Imperial College, London. Top of 1998 graduate pool at the Royal Navy Officer Training College, Dartmouth. Rose to become youngest head of the cryptography division of the RN Communication Corps within two years and subsequently transferred to the 'service' at my predecessor's request."
She opened up her laptop and punched a couple of keys, viewing God knows what about me, or nothing to do with me at all, perhaps.
"Notable successes included the decoding of the Santander armament cartel encryption key algorithms, leading to information which proved crucial in the seizure of 20 kilos of Uranium intended for Russian Mafia use on Merseyside in December 2005. You requested transfer to field ops in 2008 and completed basic in six months. Transferred to 'M' division in November 2010, where you received your license to kill and took over as agent 004 in early 2012."
She looked up.
"You've shown yourself to be dedicated, self- motivated and ruthless in the execution of your license to kill. In short, 004, you were a high- flyer in the Service."
Here it comes...
I listened to Marsden's measured breath as she again consulted her screen. She typed a few words and hit the 'send' button, then raised her eyes.
I met them.
"I'm debriefing you personally, Lieutenant Commander Pierce, because your failure to complete your mission has not only jeopardised our chances of retrieving the goods in question, but your actions have severely compromised the cover of many of our people in the field.
We've been receiving fragments of encrypted material that your home team has been sifting; we believe that they indicate that Lime has been compelled to break cover and make a border run. We also know that Hignett is dead and of Section Chief Grice we have no intelligence."
I endeavoured to maintain eye contact with her, but this information was causing a spiralling sink to drain in the pit of my stomach. Marsden continued.
"These events have all been precipitated by your break of cover and subsequent extraction by 'F for Freddie'."
She paused again, looking intently into my eyes.
I finally dropped my gaze for a moment, then met it again with resolution. I took a breath.
"I accept full responsibility, ma'am. I will, of course immediately tender my resignation."
Marsden smiled tartly.
"I'm afraid not, Pierce. That would be contrary to our interests and for you, if I may be permitted a cliche, an easy way out."
She decisively closed her flip terminal and pressed the tips of her fingers together. When she next spoke, I knew I was expected to give my life for my country.
"We're going to reinsert you."
As I drove to the 'Q' Branch facility in Oxfordshire, my mind mulled over the contents of the rest of my debrief. 'M' had informed me that I was 'dead' - standard operational procedure for field agents whose cover had been compromised during the course of an uncompleted assignment. I had signed the release papers and was now effectively at the mercy of His Majesty's Government with all its vagaries and whims; to refuse to comply now would be seen as treasonous and punishable in suitable fashion. I was to be allocated a new identity and reinserted into the operation in Japan; the precise details remained opaque.
I was to be briefed by an unidentified superior upon reaching Bicester.
Bicester, Oxfordshire - 'Q' branch Special research facility
A 'Q' branch man called Dennis met me in the anonymous looking waiting room of the divisional facility. Like all really top secret establishments, it was hidden in plain view, in this case in the cover of a large and rambling country house in four acres of deciduous British woodland. A couple of semi- retired agents ran it as a perfectly normal house and answered the door to me as if I was a long awaited friend.
The pretence was short-lived and they had soon ushered me into the cellar. As the cellar door shut behind me, I saw a man dressed identically to me take his leave, and soon after, the sound of my car being driven away.
At the bottom of the cellar was a two way airlock door hidden behind a false brick party wall.
Penetrating this facade led me to the waiting room and the waiting Mr. Dennis.
Dennis appeared to be the personification of the waiting room, carrying as he did no perceptible hint of personality or character save the faint whiff of detergent and antiseptic, as well as the slightly shabby air of a well thumbed Sunday supplement. He had an irritating and apparently unnecessary habit of pushing his completely immobile black rimmed glasses back onto his face with his middle finger and a definite problem with pronouncing the letter 'r'. He was as anonymous as this facility, with its air of cleanliness and its look, positioned somewhere inbetween lab complex and industrial park unit. A faint but pervasive reek of disinfectant was the only thing that distinguished it from the IT facility at Denham. The staff, from what I could see, were all dressed in laboratory coats, and there seemed to be more than the usual complement of clean areas, in which I glimpsed masked figures in white one-piece overalls.
As we toured the facility, Dennis efficiently pointed out the various amenities at my disposal, including a nautilus room, a swimming pool and a well stocked library cum lounge, before conducting me to my quarters. He left me, informing me that I would be collected for a briefing and medical at 16:00. I glanced at my TAG. It was one thirty in the afternoon.
After unpacking and familiarising myself with my drab confines - "Holiday Inn for agoraphobes" - I left my room to wander and gain my bearings. I very soon realised that there was a compelling reason for the efficiency and brevity of Dennis' tour.
There was really very little freedom to be had for 004.
After a few fairly fruitless minutes peering in at various depressingly restricted areas, I sat for a while in the deserted library, eating some fresh fruit from the food dispenser (sadly no junk food in sight), drinking spring water and leafing listlessly through a copy of Vogue that had been left on the table. After contemplating a swim, I decided against and went to the gym to try and loosen up. I returned to my room and changed into sweat gear, and returned to the nautilus room, where I was surprised to find I had a companion, an attractive young woman with a fit air and a cascade of red curls surmounting a pretty freckled face. She completed a set of bench presses as I began to go through some stretches, and then looked up and smiled.
"Commander Pierce, isn't it?"
"That's right," I replied, unsurprised by her perspicacity.
She stood and extended a hand, which I shook, before climbing onto a treadmill. She continued in a voice which carried a pleasant hint of Irish.
"I'm Doctor Dwyer - Mary Dwyer". I nodded assent as she continued, "I'm afraid we're going to be seeing rather a lot of each other. I'm on the away team working on your reinsertion project."
At this, I looked up at her more closely, and smiled. "In which case, I wish we could have met under more pleasant circumstances."
She moved onto a set of standing weights and started a rather radical set as I went on, "I presume that there's to be some sort of plastic surgery involved?"
"Yes..." She paused, finishing her set again before proceeding.
"There will be a fair amount of reconstructive work..." She paused again and I was aware that she was looking over thoughtfully at me now, examining where she had previously been conversing. Then she put down the weights and stepped away from them, continuing in a more formal fashion.
"You'll receive a full specification at your briefing this afternoon.
Speaking of which -" She glanced at the clock above the door "- I'd better get going so I can go over the major points with the team before Commander Bond briefs you."
I was surprised. "Bond's in charge here?"
She laughed. "No, no. But I understand that 'Mandy' Marsden's assigned him to supervise your reinsertion project". She lowered her voice, her eyes twinkling. "- which I gather he's none too pleased about. I don't think Commander Bond's at all fond of 'Q' Branch."
With that, she turned and left. I watched her recede down the corridor for a while, then turned back to the machines.
Commander Sir James Bond, VC, MBE, KCMG, perhaps the most celebrated, certainly the most flamboyant of all the Cold War MI6 operatives, had aged exceedingly well. The musculature was still evident under the classic lines of the charcoal grey bespoke Hardy Amies suit; the silk Old Etonian tie; the Alfred Dunhill cufflinks; the shock of silver hair surmounting the deeply-lined but still strikingly handsome face with those infamous steel grey eyes that had reputedly turned many a beautiful spy's allegiance, not to mention her heart. A mythological collage, or some sort of antediluvian PR spin? Perhaps. I had thought so, but now, in his presence for the first time, I could see that his equal reputations for charisma and cruelty were indeed founded in reality.
Bond's evident displeasure at his current assignment didn't make the briefing any more pleasant for me. He was flanked to his left by the primly white- coated Dr. Dwyer and a middle aged Q Branch operative called Easton, who did not utter a word during the whole two hour meeting, but was constantly looking at me and tapping away at her flip terminal. To his right was a young and dazzlingly beautiful brunette called Miss Loth, who was clearly everything but, judging from the obvious enthusiasm with which she took notes of the Commander's utterances and leaned over to pass him various papers.
Bond wrapped up the formal introductions and stubbed out his third Cartier of the session, smoked in flagrant disregard of the overzealously deployed signage, and turned to face me.
"Well, Commander Pierce, I suppose you're wondering exactly how we're intending to reinsert you into the situation in Fukui."
Bond proceeded at great length to brief the room on the strategic and technological significance of the situation that had arisen in Japan, which was an effective and calculated slap in the face for myself, being the operative closest to the principals in the operation.
It had begun when we received a triple blind 128-bit encrypted message via an anonymous server in New Zealand.
It arrived in a top secret ministerial eyes-only mailbox marked urgent, which is why myself and my hastily hand picked away team had been assigned to decrypt it. This happened in due course and the contents and the implications had proven to be the proverbial dynamite.
The message was part of a string of secret correspondences between a research Physicist at the MRC in Cambridge and a Japanese terrorist organisation called the Red Fist of Justice, whose objective was to bring about the total collapse of the Capitalist powers by a shady process they called attrition deconstruction, whereby they would systematically degrade and destroy European, Asian and American civilisations through the continued supply of drugs, prostitution, gambling and armaments and the active encouragement of military and civil insurrection in sensitive areas.
Once the ordained collapse had been engineered, Red Fist argued, then they would mobilise a global return to permanent Revolution, and the second international Supreme Soviet would reign for eternity. The Red Fist had storefronts everywhere, and links with the major crime lords throughout the globe and, more dangerously still, was actively bankrolling the expanding sphere of armed unrest in the former Soviet bloc states. Being a diffuse and amorphous organisation made them difficult to pin down, let alone prosecute, so any possible lead was welcome.
The correspondence told how the MRC scientist, Professor Adrian Lime, currently seen as the world's foremost authority in the burgeoning field of molecular engineering, popularly referred to as nanotechnology, and being a good Marxist with little regard for the late capitalist landscape of Europe, was on the verge of agreeing to sell his research on the applications of nanotech and brain chemistry to the Red Fist.
Naturally, we stepped in and naturally, during the course of protracted 'negotiations', Lime conceptually re-defected, pledging undying allegiance to the King and mammon. Having been "induced" to realise the error of his ways, it was now put to him that he would be serving his country best if he proceeded with the sale and, better still for the technocracy of the Red Fist, agreed to a physical defection. It would then be a matter of simplicity for Lime to insist on bringing his brilliant young assistant (yours truly) with him on his journey.
The bait proved irresistible and soon Lime and I found ourselves in the back of a Red Fist Mercedes on the way to our new accommodation on the outskirts of Fukui, a bleak post-industrial coastal city pockmarked by pollution and waste, where a Red Fist research complex had been set up.
I was detailed to break the ice surrounding Red Fist's mainframe and squirt the data on their global whereabouts and operations back to London, while Lime made suitably distracting foreground noises.
In any event, it all started promisingly, with Lime wowing the local Red Fist commissars with some spectacular results using nanotech smart drugs on several "volunteers".
This induced the Red Fist to work their hardest to procure many more loyal 'volunteers' from the local community of petty criminals, failed Red Fist-niks and the down and outs, and Lime kept them amused while I made steady progress on the network security surrounding the Red Fist central core. Two and a half months passed in this happy state.
Then the unhappy event happened.
I was close to securing the desired information when I saw the local cell leader, a frighteningly efficient sadist called Sato, shepherding the latest batch of volunteers into the complex. I was shocked to see that among their number were Grice and Hignett, two agents with whom I was familiar from the Osaka field office. My mistake was clear. I reacted visibly, and Sato noticed.
I then made one of the most cowardly decisions in the history of espionage. I collected all the data I had amassed, left the compound directly after lunch, and requested extraction. Bond went to great lengths to explain exactly what this action implied to the continuing good health of Lime, Grice and Hignett. He was very emphatic on the fact that I should not have left, but stayed and worked it out. But I had seen one thing that he hadn't.
I had seen what Lime's smart drugs had done to the 'volunteers'. Now they were going to send me back.
Having completed the ritual humiliation, Bond lit another Cartier and prepared to continue. Dr. Dwyer looked a little bored and Miss Loth was making coffee. Easton was still tapping into her terminal.
"As you'll no doubt have gathered, Pierce, an opportunity has emerged which will allow for your reinsertion. You know the Fist systems better than anyone else, which is why it has to be you." Bond smiled, showing immaculate white teeth. "As you know, the Red Fist central committee chairman has a private residence in the mountains down the China Sea coast, which he visits at least once a month. He also entertains there and his two children are there most of the time. The staff is all female." He walked over to stand by Dr Dwyer. "Now, part of the cachet with this place is that a lot of the staff are Western women. You can probably understand why this is a big thing with the Fist, Pierce?"
"Now, obviously there is an extensive vetting process that goes on to ensure that the girls he hires are clean. This is," he smiled again, "where you come in. We've managed to place operatives in his screening organisation here in London".
So that was it.
I was going to be helping insert a female agent into the Red Fist dacha to spring a honey trap. It wasn't as bad as I'd feared. Just sit in an enemy office in London and ensure that one of our agents was on the next plane East. I stayed quiet and listened.
Bond lit another cigarette and exhaled a cloud of blue smoke.
Dwyer and Easton looked on expectantly.
When Bond next spoke, it was to utter the most surprising ten words I'd ever heard in my entire life.
"You are going to become one of those girls, Pierce."
I must have sat in complete and stunned silence for quite a while as Bond, who was clearly expecting a reaction, was forced to continue.
"Doctors Easton and Dwyer will be the principals you report to from now on, Pierce. I'm also leaving Miss Loth here to help with your reorientation. I'll return to finish your brief when your time here is complete. To answer your question, that will be 120 days from tomorrow."
He began to collect his papers, then looked up, with a faint smile on that cruel, handsome mouth.
"Good luck, Pierce. It's an unusual mission."
With that, Commander Bond nodded smartly to Dwyer and Easton and left, accompanied by Miss Loth.
For a moment, there was silence. I was unable to make eye contact with Dwyer or Easton, nor make any sense of the thoughts tumbling freely through my head. Finally, I rose.
"It's impossible!" I shouted. "How can you do what he said you were going to do to me! I refuse to co-operate."
"I'm afraid the release you signed at Vauxhall leaves you with very little option, Commander, as you well know," said a voice from the doorway. It was Miss Loth, re- entering the room with a clipboard and a quietly efficient air quite at remove from that she had exhibited in Bond's company.
Sadly, she was right. I had signed my life away in a few seconds of remorse. I felt a bitter coldness churn in my belly when I realised quite how skilfully 'M' had manipulated my guilt this morning.
I sat down again, and tried to gather myself. I looked up at Loth, who was smiling quite pleasantly at me.
"So what happens? Am I going to have a sex change? Is that it? Then what? I'm not sure that a whore in the Red Fist dacha's going to have much access to sensitive information-" I choked as I realised what I was saying.
"Is that what I'm going to become..?" I buried my face in my hands, unable to continue.
Loth came over and put her hand on my shoulder, knelt by my face, and spoke in a surprisingly sensitive tone.
"I'm sorry. I really am, but it's been decided that operational details such as those aren't going to be divulged to you until we've completed your transformation.
"You're going to be in a very fragile state mentally, and we don't want that to prejudice how you view your new mission objectives until you stabilise. Please understand. It's for your good and the good of the mission.
I nodded dumbly.
"Good." She rose and leant back on the desk, crossing her black tights- clad legs at the ankles. I again noticed how beautiful she was, quite dark, with big green eyes, long, straight brown hair and unbelievable legs. She noticed me looking and smiled unselfconsciously. She glanced over at Easton, who paused very slightly in her note-taking, then went on.
"To answer your first question, no you are not having a 'sex change'." She parenthesised the words deliberately. "We will be carrying out some of the therapy associated with gender reassignment techniques, but none of the non- reversible surgical work."
She could see the relief in my face as she went on, "in fact, there's absolutely no reason why you wouldn't be able to revert to a completely normal male life after the completion of the mission.
Now, are you ready for a brief medical? I realise it's been a long day, but time is of the essence."
With that I realised that it was this morning that I had awoken in Tangier. Amazing how your life can change in a day. I took a deep breath and nodded.
"Excellent," smiled Miss Loth.
Doctor Easton was a cosmetic surgeon. During the briefing, she'd been taking initial notes on my appearance and physique. Doctor Dwyer was explaining this as she conducted a brief medical examination in a room adjoining one of the clear areas. A pretty blonde nurse called Kirsty Reeves has taken my clothes a sample of blood and some urine from me and given me a powder blue gown to wear. Now I was breathing in and out as Dwyer examined my thoracic area from behind a radial PET scanner. Dwyer kept up a constant stream of chatter as she tapped away at her terminal.
So I discovered that Easton was a plastic surgeon and Dwyer was a research endocrinologist. I knew enough to be able to translate this in my head as 'hormone doctor'. In the glass partition behind the endocrinologist' s head, I could see the reflection of the 3D colour display of the inside of my chest cavity as she directed the cursor around.
After a while, she paused and clicked an icon which allowed her to freely rotate my physical position so that my genital area was on display. She looked up, with an apologetic look on her face.
"I can do most of the internal examination on the computer, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to do a very quick cavity inspection to check the state of your prostate."
I closed my eyes and nodded. She went on, "it's good that you're still quite young, you know."
Good for whom? I wondered.
"Your body will be more tolerant to the therapy.." she tailed off, concentrating on the screen for a moment.
"What exactly is the therapy to entail?" I asked pointedly, sick of the magical mystery tour.
Dwyer sighed, looking up. "I'm afraid I'm under instructions not to tell you. Commander Bond and Miss Loth are insistent on that. I'm sorry."
"Not as sorry as me," I muttered.
I decided to change tack.
"What's your background, Dr Dwyer? How did you end up on this mission?"
She didn't look up from her work, but answered promptly, "This is the perfect job for me. I wanted to do security work - my father was in the Service. When the endocrinological research post came up, I went for it."
Somehow that didn't ring true, but I decided not to press it. How about Dr Easton. Have you worked with her long?
"No. In fact we only met yesterday. But her reputation is brilliant, both in reconstruction and cosmetics. I think you're in safe hands."
"I hope so. I don't want to end up looking like her."
Dwyer sniggered, looking askance at me from her monitor. "I don't think there's any danger of that.
"She told me that from her initial look at you that she was confident of an excellent result."
Excellent for whom? I wondered again. "And what about Miss Loth? She seems an interesting character."
Dwyer pursed her lips.
"Yes... I'll bet you find her very interesting...
"Actually, I don't know her very well either, but she is the Director of this facility, so it doesn't do to argue much."
Noting the surprised look on my face with another of her smiles, she got up and reached for a box of sterile gloves.
As if on cue, Nurse Reeves returned with a tube of lubricant.
It was time for my cavity exam.
Apparently, I was in perfect condition inside and out. Dwyer told me that I could please myself for the next hour, and suggested that I might want to go to the canteen to eat. It was 20:30. She asked me to return at 21:30 to finish my exam. I got up and must have been looking a little confused.
"What's the matter?" she asked.
"I - er, my clothes?"
"You'll be fine in your gown for now, Commander.
"Everyone in this complex is used to it." I looked down at the gown which covered me to just below my groin, and shook my head.
"I don't think so. My trousers please." Again, she looked a little embarrassed, and gave her little sigh.
"I'm sorry Commander. Miss Loth has instructed us that you are not to wear trousers from now on. It's for-"
"The good of the mission. I know.
"What can I wear?"
"Leggings or a skirt."
I sighed. "Give me some leggings then." I guess I wasn't quite ready to lose the seams between my legs.
Nurse Reeves brought in a pair of navy blue leggings, which I struggled into with a great deal of embarrassment. I then turned and left the examining room without a word.
In the corridor leading to the canteen, I passed a couple of security staff, who turned out to be tough-looking RN maritime policewomen. They saluted and I saluted back, feeling foolish.
I glanced back as they passed me but they were either well trained, or completely disinterested in my plight or my ridiculous appearance. The canteen was similarly deserted to the rest of the complex. I got a light pasta from the bored looking girl behind the counter and sat down with a glass of apple juice to eat in lonely silence.
All I could hear was the hum of the omnipresent air-conditioning and the clatter of my cutlery. I wondered what was going on in the house above me. Probably the two old dears were watching the box. Suddenly feeling emotional, I finished my pasta and left the canteen, walking quickly to my room. I lay face down on my bed in the darkness, thinking about my parents.
They'd be doing the same as the old couple above now, settling down for a quiet evening before bed. I wondered if my funeral had happened yet. Probably. I wondered if Dad had cried with Mum. If only I knew either way it'd be a little better. And Christine. We'd split up just before the mission. But she had remained close to my parents. Had she been at my funeral? I thought of her often, still.
Ridiculously, I realised my eyes were watering. I wiped them with the back of my hand and lit another cigarette.
It was nine o'clock, and I was quite alone.
"Are you all right, Commander Pierce?"
I nodded. I must have seemed very subdued after the relative levity of just an hour before.
Dr. Dwyer was looking at something on her flipscreen. I was lying on the examining table in my gown and leggings, looking blankly at the ceiling. I heard her rise.
"You'll be pleased to know that the result of your blood and urine was very positive. We can proceed as planned." She walked over with a glass bottle filled with a clear liquid.
The bottle had a rubber cap into which she was inserting a hypodermic needle. "I'm just going to give you a small injection, then you can go to bed. I'm sure you're exhausted."
She put the hypodermic on a tray exposing my left arm and swabbing it inside the elbow joint. She picked up the hypo and leaned over. In a rapid movement, I grabbed her wrist and dug my index finger into her tendon, painlessly rendering her unable to hold the needle. She gave a startled yell as the hypodermic clattered to the floor. I held onto her arm, careful not to hurt her. I looked into her face, which was set, and beautifully calm.
"I'm sorry," I said. "Just please tell me what it is. Do you have any idea what it might be like for me? I'll take it, but tell me what I'm taking."
I let go of her wrist. She continued to look into my eyes for a moment, then broke off, picking up the needle and throwing it in a sterile disposal unit. She got a new hypodermic out of a vacuum pack and refilled it, before coming over, and sitting down by me so that her head was next to mine. She held up the needle so I could see it.
"This is a dilute solution of the complex of hormones which my away team and I have synthesised for your treatment programme. I'm not obliged to tell you anything, but I'm going to because I respect you and the sacrifice you're about to make. I'm administering this low dose tonight so that we'll know if you have an allergy to any of the constituent drugs in the mixture." She got up again and swabbed my arm.
She looked down at my face. I nodded. I felt the needle enter the vein and closed my eyes as the liquid entered my system. Doctor Dwyer continued, "this dose won't have any effect on your body, but very soon, if the allergy test proves negative, I'm going to start you on an aggressive treatment programme, which, over the next few weeks, will give you the body chemistry of a pubescent girl."
She pulled out the needle and I heard it clatter into the disposal. Dwyer went quiet and I could hear her tapping notes into her terminal. I turned my head.
"Please go on... I don't want to lie in silence.." I heard her come over to me and sit. Her hand took mine. She went on in a soft voice.
"There are four main types of hormone in your personal cocktail.
"They're going to work together in your body to make it all happen. There's the two female hormone types, oestrogens and progestogens which will do the main work of transforming your body shape into a woman's.
"But they need help because of all the testosterone floating round your body which will stop them having the optimum effect.
"We're sending in two more types of hormone to work against these - otherwise we'd have to castrate you. The androgen receptor antagonist will effectively stop the testosterone from being able to have any effect on your body, and the androgen inhibitors will tell your testes that there's enough testosterone already in your body and they'll cease producing any more."
She got up but continued talking as she went back to her terminal. "Once the hormones kick in, you'll notice many changes. Your breasts will grow, maybe by even a cup size or two. Your aureolae and nipples might swell a bit too and everything will be much more sensitive.
"Your penis and testes will shrink. Your face will become more typically female in shape. Your body fat will move away from the waist and toward the hips and bottom. Your body hair growth will slow and becomes less dense, and may lighten in colour. You'll tend to lose muscle tone and be prone to putting on weight with less food. Your skin will become finer and softer, and more sensitive.
"You'll sweat less and smell nicer. Your hair will become fuller and grow faster. You may lose your male sex drive but gain a female one." She sighed. "All these things have been documented, but you might only experience some of them. It's all very unpredictable."
She came and helped me sit up. "There's one thing you should know. We've tried to calculate your programme so that we'll get the best results possible in the shortest possible time.
That was the brief. That means the treatment programme is exceptionally aggressive. You will be very ill for a week or so once we start the course. I'm afraid there's nothing we can do about that."
She paused looking into my eyes, pursing her lips. "I thought you should know."
I took her hand. "Thank you Doctor Dwyer." I said.
She placed her free hand over mine. "Mary," she said.
The terminal in my room woke me with a triple chime. I knew as soon as I awoke where I was and why, and felt curiously more purposeful today. I flipped the screen open and checked the morning headlines. The arms buildup in Kazakhstan was continuing, and fresh combat had broken out in Georgia and the Ukraine. The little red flag waving on my mailbox icon showed that I had correspondence.
I clicked it open and was greeted by a video message from Miss Loth.
"Morning Commander. I hope you slept well. The enclosed document is your agenda for today. We have no items until eleven hundred so please feel free to take a stroll and a swim, and we'll see you at eleven. Please do not shave this morning, Commander."
I opened the agenda file:
====================== Agenda - Commander Pierce ====================== 11:00 | Procedural and Welcome | D Loth | Director's Office 11:30 | Initial consultation | Dr S Easton | Room 206 13:30 | Lunch | D Loth | Lake Consequence Room 15:00 | Laser therapy | Dr S Easton | Room 206 17:00 | Consultation | Dr M Dwyer | Room 214 =======================================================================
I bluetoothed the agenda to my personal tablet and then looked in the wardrobe.
There was my first shock of the day. My clothes were all gone. In their place a range of unfamiliarly feminine-looking garments.
Frowning, I picked out a rather fitted black top with a low-cut neck and a pair of black leggings. I looked in the mirror.
Ridiculous, and the leggings did very little to conceal the unfeminine looking bump on my groin. I selected a pair of brand new Fila trainers and left the room carrying my data tablet.
I had noticed one thing. Well, noticed is probably not the right word. A realisation had seeped into me over the last hours suddenly surfaced in me as I waited for Ms Loth.
There were no men here.
Apart from Dennis, who had vanished as quietly as he had entered my life the previous evening, and Commander Bond, who had also, I presumed, left the facility, everyone in the complex, from MP to cleaner, was female. I was in a world of women. Of course, I was no fool and the reasoning behind this situation was obvious, but he realisation hit me with some force nevertheless.
So I sat in Ms Loth's spare but elegantly furnished office, awaiting my appointment.
The small, kidney-shaped desk seemed to be finished in a black, stone- like surface like obsidian. I looked at my pale face in the mirror-like stone, wondering how long it would remain familiar to me.
"Good morning Commander!"
Loth's voice snapped me from my reverie.
Once again she looked spectacular, dressed in a simple but beautifully cut black trouser suit; I found myself admiring her as she poured tea and we made small talk. Then a small thought popped, unbidden, into a corner of my mind...
....I hope I look as good as that by the end of this...
What was that all about? I sipped my Lapsang Souchong and continued to smile and listen, smile and listen.
Pep talk aside, one aspect of my meeting with Ms Loth had been useful. In her schedule overview for the first fortnight, she had indicated that I would be spending most of the first ten days out of commission due to Dwyer's drug therapy.
That in itself was worrying. More so was what I was hearing from Doctor S. Easton as I lay naked under the scrutiny of a vast array of scanning equipment. Ms Loth had walked me to Easton's consulting rooms where I had for the first time spoken to this extraordinary dried out husk of a woman. Tall and exceptionally slender, she was a sinister combination of schoolmarmish frump and vampire glamour.
She spoke in a cigarette-ravaged basso profundo and punched the air with half inch scarlet talons as she made a point. The faded tweeds she sported were an uneasy counterpoint to the black patent stilettos on her feet. Every five minutes or so she would emit a rumbling cough from her red, lipsticked mouth.
"Good. Your body hair is quite fine," she said as I lay naked, cold and embarrassed before her, fearing for the little hair I possessed. She continued her computerised examination of my anatomy, droning on in her bass monotone about the changes I was to undergo.
Much of it sounded a little too permanent for my liking, and I said so.
She paused and walked over to me. "Commander Pierce," she said, "I think you know that we all owe a debt to our country. Some more than others." She turned and went back to her console, then went on to finish her consultation in silence.
That afternoon I had my body hair removed.
Doctor Easton had had me drink a strange, tasteless blue fluid at lunch which she had explained to me was a specially developed enzyme with a radioactive marker attached to it, designed to affix itself to the base of all the hair follicles in the body. This was used to create a targeting matrix for an advanced computer-guided laser system that her laboratory had developed that would quickly and painlessly remove all the targeted hairs.
There was a large machine at the back of her consulting room which comprised of a metallic framework inside which was a suspension harness big enough to accommodate a human body. The framework was mounted on a set of articulated gimbals which permitted 360 degrees of free rotation in all axes. At the top of the framework was the laser projection assembly. It seemed like a pretty efficient solution and I wondered if the government developed these sorts of things all the time. I supposed that they could make quite a lot of money in the commercial market.
"This will be going into production and on sale in the US later this year," said Doctor Easton, clicking over to me in her spike heels, as if reading my thoughts.
"Remove all your clothing please."
Dumbly, I complied, and stood self- consciously, trying to cover my groin. Easton had a tube of a colourless gel in her hand, which she proceeded to smear all over my scalp, eyebrows and pubic area.
"This is a barrier gel which prevents the marker signal from being read by the targeting system," she explained efficiently as I stood in acute embarrassment while she worked the excruciatingly cold gel into my pubic hair. She then gave me a pair of dark blue goggles to put on. "These will prevent removal of your lashes and protect your eyes from the laser mesh".
After a while, she stood back and looked me over. Apparently satisfied, she nodded, and indicated that I should follow her to the depilation machine. I stepped inside the spherical framework and Easton began to strap me into the harness, which attached at the wrists, upper arms, ankles, knees, waist, chest and neck with translucent straps which I supposed would allow the laser mesh to penetrate. Then she went over to the control panel and pressed a combination on the touchpad which made the harness retract into the framework so that I was raised up and suspended in mid-air, my arms and legs wide open. It felt utterly perverse.
I heard her moving around behind me, then a cold sensation in my buttocks, followed by a sharp needle. A coldness seeped out from where she had injecting me, and I realised I couldn't move.
"The targeting computer works best when the subject is immobile," I heard her intone emotionlessly. I heard her pressing another combination of keys and the framework began to rotate slowly. I was bathed in a cold, blue light in which I could just distinguish individual, infinitesimal laser beams. It was not an unpleasant sensation, somewhat like being tickled very gently all over my body; after a while I drifted off into a semi-sleep.
When I came to I was covered in a thin layer of ash. Easton was using a small hand-held vacuum cleaner to remove it all, and I realised that this was the remains of my hair. The paralysing drug was wearing off, and I began to flex my arms and legs, which had pins and needles. Easton went away and came back with a rather nasty looking pen- shaped implement.
"Pen laser depilator. I'm going to sculpt your eyebrows and bikini area."
I thought that that sounded too much. "Wait a minute. I mean, is that really necessary? I thought women did that kind of thing themselves?"
Easton stopped, and shrugged. "I thought it might be more convenient for you. It's your choice."
"No thanks. I'm not going to be wearing any bikinis anyway.
And I'd prefer not to have no eyebrows for the rest of my life." Easton shrugged again and clicked away. After a while, there was a whine from the mechanism and the harness lowered me to the floor.
"Go and shower thoroughly in tepid water," she said, handing me a towel. "Then report to Doctor Dwyer."
The machine had done its work. I was as smooth as a baby all over and it felt very strange. A red rash had appeared on my skin, but Easton had told me this was normal and would wear off overnight. The sensation of clothes on my hairless skin was novel and intense. Mary Dwyer was not in her consulting room when I arrived, and I was puttering about when she walked in.
"Hello, Commander Pierce."
"Doctor Dwyer. What's the news?"
She smiled. "Good. Your blood's come back fine. Any ill effects? Dizziness, nausea?"
I shook my head and sat down.
She stood and looked at me for a while. Then appeared to come to a decision.
"Well, I don't see any sense in delaying." She walked over to a cupboard and came back with a bottle of colourless fluid, with a label that said "PIERCE" on it, and a large syringe. As she was filling the syringe, I began to panic.
She noticed me sweating and shivering, and stopped.
"Afraid?" she asked, gently. I nodded. My mouth had gone dry and I couldn't speak at all. She walked over and put her arm around me.
"You're a very brave man," she said quietly, "and your government doesn't deserve you." I couldn't say anything.
"Shall we proceed," she went on, "or do you want to wait?"
I couldn't answer for a while, then I looked into her green eyes, and whispered, in the tiniest voice, "do it."
She rubbed my upper arm with alcohol and then the needle went in. I watched the colourless fluid drain into my vein.
I don't remember much of the next few days. Mary told me later that they had to keep me sedated for most of the time as I was too sick to cope. I don't remember undergoing any of the procedures that they completed during that time. I don't remember. All I remember is a sensation of falling into a deep, dark well, revolving slowly until I was utterly consumed...
I woke up and looked at the bedside clock.
It read 6:30. I had no idea whether it was morning or evening. I had a vague recollection of needles and hands manipulating me in my bed. I had a sick, dry taste in my mouth and a sharp pain in my groin. There were dull aches all over the rest of my body, especially around my face, chest, abdomen and bottom. I tried to raise my head but that was too much.
After a short rest, I found that by concentrating very hard, I could raise my hand to my bedside table for the glass of water there. But when I tried to close my fingers, there was no strength there to lift it. I sighed and closed my eyes, drifting into sleep.
I opened my eyes and looked up to see Dr Easton looking down at me. I found it hard to focus on her face. She had taken the sheets off me and was examining me with a terrifying briskness. I felt her hands move over my hairless body feeling my chest and groin, flexing my arms and legs. Then she nodded at someone I couldn't see and covered me up again. I heard footsteps then the light was turned off and my door clicked shut. I let my eyes close again, vaguely aware of a dull pain in my chest.
I woke again, feeling stronger. I could turn my head and raise my arms, and felt very much more alert although still dizzy and nauseous. I noticed the drip in my arm through which a colourless fluid was passing. I identified a sharp pain my groin as I moved, and the same soreness in my chest that I had felt earlier. The clock read 2:00 and I had the feeling that it was early morning. The facility was quiet. I was madly thirsty and wanted to get rid of the stale, chemical taste in my mouth. I reached for the glass of water but couldn't locate it, so I turned on the bedside lamp and sat up, letting the sheets fall from my body. I was overcome by a moment's intense nausea, then realised from the tug that the pain in my penis was caused by a catheter. I found the water and sipped eagerly.
I looked down at my body for any changes, but apart from the strange hairlessness the only thing that was apparent was the shocking amount of weight that I had lost.
I had prided myself on my taut and muscular build, but that was gone, replaced by a pale, fragile gauntness. For the first time I wondered how long I had been out. I looked at my chest. I was no idiot, and I knew what the pain signified, but I could detect no changes there. I felt my chest and was greeted by a sharp pain from my nipples which began to discharge a weak, colourless fluid. Shocked, I moved my hands away and mopped up the secretion with a tissue from my table. I smelt it. It had a musty, familiar smell, like milk and old laundry.
Suddenly exhausted, I dropped the tissue by my bedside and collapsed into a sudden sleep, no dreams.
I woke sometime later to find that someone had come in and covered me again, taken the tissue and refilled my water glass. The light had been turned off and the clock read 6:43. I sat up again and turned the light back on, noting that I felt much less dizzy this time.
I pulled the sheets down and examined my chest closely.
The pain came again, accompanied by the discharge, which seemed more viscous this time. I also noticed that the sudden pain was accompanied by a feeling of intense pleasure running through my body, accompanied by my nipples standing erect, like little brown jelly beans. I felt the area around the nipples and noticed a hard mass under each nipple, which was extremely tender. I realised with a sinking feeling that my breasts were growing more than I had previously thought. I found that the sensation of manipulating my hard nipples was extremely pleasant, sending little jolts of intense feeling down to my groin. Oddly, but probably for the good, I did not get an erection. I turned the light off and lay down, fiddling with my nipples and spreading the mucus discharge around them. I soon fell asleep and had an intense dream of making love to Mary Dwyer in a huge red bed shaped like a heart.
I woke up and was embarrassed to see Mary smiling down at me. I smiled back.
"Good morning," she said, "I hear that you've been waking a bit. How do you feel?"
I thought for a moment. "I feel fine. My nipples are very sore and I think they're growing a bit"
She leaned down and began to examine my naked, hairless body. I noted that the drip and the catheter were gone and I was ravenously hungry, which I took to be a good sign. The sensation of her hands on my chest was driving me crazy and she noticed me squirming.
"Rather an intense feeling?" she said.
"It will be," she continued, "for a while. The development seems to be proceeding fine. Once we get you back on solids, you should experience some real growth."
I didn't know what to say to that, so I said nothing.
There was silence for a while, while she completed my exam. Then she straightened, punching some notes into her tablet.
"Good." She sat down next to my bed. "Let me fill you in on what's been happening.
"You've been in and out of it for a couple of weeks. During that time, the hormone cocktail has done its work and you have the body chemistry of a teenage girl now. What we did a couple of days ago was take you off the aggressive programme and implant a slow release package into your abdomen. This will help stabilise you and get your body used to the dosage which you'll have to maintain for the duration of your mission."
Again, I could think of no suitable response.
Mary rose. "At the same time, Dr Easton has been doing some more work. The body hair is gone for good, and she's started doing some collagen work on your face. it's quite striking actually. Your hair's grown out quite a bit too - that's been accelerated by the hormone programme."
She paused, glancing at her watch. "I have to go now." She started moving towards the door. "Are you cold?"
I nodded. She went to the cupboard and got me something. It was a white silk night-shirt. She helped me put it on. The silk felt fabulous against my hairless body.
"I'll get a nurse to bring you a meal. Liquid for now, I'm afraid." She grimaced. "Bye for now."
After she left, I spent a while feeling myself through the sheer fabric of the nightie. I was assailed by unfamiliar feelings of utter sensuousness and pleasure.
Then suddenly, I felt overwhelmed by fear and anguish and broke down in a racking fit of tears.
I woke again to find that I had made stains in the chest and groin of my nightie. I noticed the glass of Complan by my bedside and felt a wave of shame at the idea that the nurse would have seen the state I was in. But the hunger overcame me and I drank all the Complan and some more water, before drifting off into a confused sleep.
When I woke up next, I felt fitter and stronger. There was another glass of liquid food next to me and I drank it down with relish. I decided to try and get up and was pleased to find it quite easy, with only a little shakiness. I walked to the loo and had a pee, wincing at the pain, which I guessed was from the catheter. Then I walked over to the sink to wash, and saw my face.
I was shocked at the change. The face that looked back at me was gaunt and pale, but the changes that Easton had made were clear to see. She had built up my cheekbones and given me a very noticeable lip implant. I looked, in fact, very petulant and, I'm embarrassed to say, kissable.
Then there were my eyebrows, which were thin and arched, accentuating the blueness of my eyes. With a flash of rage, I looked down and saw that my pubic hair too had been sculpted into a neat triangle, sat incongruously on top of my hairless cock and balls. Bitch. My choice, indeed.
Startlingly, though I had not shaved for two weeks there was not a trace of stubble on my smooth face. My hair also seemed much thicker and longer. I stepped back and looked at the whole picture and was astonished at how female I looked already. From the noticeable bumps in my chest to my reduced waist and my almost entirely hairless body.
Topped by that face. For the first time I believed that they could do it. That I could. And, strangely, it made me feel better. I went to the cupboard and found a pair of black cotton panties, which I slipped on, then put a fitted black v-neck top and a pair of brown flared slacks on top. Suddenly curious, I went back to the mirror to see what I looked like.
"Very good," said a voice behind me. I whirled guiltily. It was Miss Loth. She walked up to me and around.
"Actually remarkable. You look like one of those emaciated and rather strange-looking girls that were popular with the fashion editors a few years back. What do you think? Does it feel all right?"
I sat down on the bed. "Actually, I'm quite surprised at how un-upset I am." I said, speaking slowly and carefully.
Miss Loth nodded. "I hear that a shift in psychological perspective often accompanies these treatments. Are you in pain? Dr Dwyer said that she spoke to you yesterday and that you seemed to be over the worst."
"Good. We need to build you up a bit now so that we can complete the reconstructive program and begin the behaviour training. The schedule is short and Commander Bond is coming to review the results in a month. Are you reading those?"
She pointed to the pile of women's magazines and catalogues on the coffee table. I shook my head.
"I think you should. I've been authorised to buy you any clothing you see that you like in the catalogues.
"I'll call in later to get your choices."
Then she walked briskly away, closing the door behind her. I sat for a while, then walked over to the mirror again, looking at the feminine figure looking back at me. She was right, the chemicals had changed the way I thought about myself. There was no doubt about it. I should have felt disturbed and outraged at what I saw, but didn't. I walked resignedly to the table, sat down and picked up the copy of Scene that was top of the pile of magazines.
Over the next two weeks, I went back onto solids then was put on a highly pleasant high protein diet that built me up quickly. This was combined with a regular series of gym and aerobics classes that quickly put some shape onto my bones. And I have to say that the shape was quite a good one.
I had not filled out in the areas I was accustomed to. My breasts had grown and I now filled a 36A bra. Weight and muscle had gone onto my thighs and bottom, but my waist remained a trim 28". My hair grew some more.
Doctor Easton had reviewed my progress and told me sniffily and with some disappointment that she did not consider further reconstructive liposculpture necessary in my case.
Mary and Miss Loth both praised me at all turns, and secretly, I took care of my appearance as I found that I valued their praise. Loth also told me that Commander Bond had been called away to The Honduras on security business and had postponed his review and briefing 'till a fortnight's time.
Meanwhile, I began weapons and combat training again in the tactical arena and found to my pleasure that I had not lost any of my edge. Allied with this, I began to take voice coaching and deportment training.
Suddenly, the facility was bustling with feminine activity centred around me. A hairdresser called Mindy visited me and gave me a nice, fashionable cut.
Beauticians attended me to pamper, manicure, massage and treat me. I learned make up quickly and new clothes arrived daily as I became carried away by the adventure. I began to experiment with different styles of appearance and Mary would often find me turning up to our daily check-ups dressed in a crazy variety of costumes, from slinky evening wear to mutton-dressed-as-lamb club-kid style.
I built up a collection of wicked lingerie and learned cunning ways of concealing my cock to a highly convincing degree. I began to realise that a new personality was emerging and "she" was quite extrovert, and enjoyed attention and dressing up.
By the time I was to be debriefed by Miss Loth, prior to the arrival of Commander Bond the next day, I felt that we had achieved the impossible.
I was a mission-ready Miss.
I walked down the corridor to Miss Loth's office. I felt utterly and confidently female. Through aggressive reinforcement therapy, they had turned Lieutenant Commander Anthony Pierce into a convincing analogue of a young, fashionable woman. My mannerisms, my voice, my patterns of speech, everything down to the way that I walked, had been modified and programmed.
So I clicked down the corridor in my red Gucci spikes. I was wearing a burgundy fitted suit from Miu Miu with big lapels, flared cuffs and a pencil skirt with an asymmetric slash up the back. My long, slim legs were encased in sheer pale tights from Jonathan Aston.
My face was made up to match my outfit, with pale shadow, a smudged brown under-eyeline and dramatic carmine lipstick, Rocker from MAC, and matching blusher. There was a coat of clear gloss over my lips which were pouting like they would explode. My bob was pulled back into a severe bun with a diamante butterfly pin from Anthropology offsetting the severeness.
Underneath, I wore black shantung silk underwired bodice and panties from La Perla. My cock was tightly restrained behind. I smelt lusciously of Extravagance d'Amarige, Givenchy.
I knocked and entered. Miss Loth was there, and Mary. Doctor Easton had left the facility a week ago, and most of the other workers were already gone. I suddenly realised that I had not seen another man since Bond had left that eternity ago. I walked over and sat, smoothly crossing my legs at the knees. I smiled.
"Hello Commander Pierce," said Miss Loth. "I must say that you look spectacular as usual." With a pang, I realised that I now must look as good as she did, and thought back to that strange thought that I had had way back when at one of our first meetings.
"Thank you," I said quietly.
"I'm reporting for my debrief, ma'am."
"Yes," said Miss Loth. "First, we have to say goodbye to Miss Dwyer. Her task is finished and she's being relocated back to her research post in Durham. She requested to see you before she went." With a quick smile, Miss Loth left the room.
I got up. Mary walked over to me and we hugged. I was surprised to see that she had tears in her eyes. "Commander Pierce," she began.
"Anthony" I interrupted, aware that this sounded a bit ridiculous now.
"I'm... sorry." she went on.
She looked up, smiling. "Sorry, yes. To change you against your will. You bear it so well, and I'm very proud and happy to have worked with you."
"Mary," I said, taking her hand, "you made it easy for me by being my friend." I was crying now too, "like you said, it's not completely permanent. At least I'm fortunate enough to be enjoying it. I must have been some kind of perv in the first place.
"Please let's keep in touch.
"Once I get back and I'm back to normal, I'll call you."
At that, she looked at me for a while with a strange expression on her face, then nodded and squeezed my hand. "Goodbye Anthony. My car's waiting."
I leant and kissed her softly on the cheek. She started to move away, and I stopped her.
"Lipstick." I said, wiping her cheek. She let go, walking to the door. She turned and looked back at me, a little wave, then she was gone.
A moment later, Miss Loth returned, and gave me a hanky for my tears.
"You and she were close, weren't you?" she asked.
Miss Loth had informed me that Commander Bond would be coming to see me at 0830 to brief me on my new identity and my reinsertion strategy. She had prepared a Navy dress uniform for me as Bond had requested a formal debrief.
I now sat in my room, dressed in my Royal Navy uniform blouse and skirt suit and regulation black stockings, completing my make-up. I'd eschewed the regulation clumpy heels in favour of a pair of black spikes that were still sober, but a little higher. It was 0814. I gave myself a quick spray of Chanel No.5 and waited, trying to gather my thoughts. I was now extremely nervous about everything from the mission, the start of which would conclude what had turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable phase of my life, to a return meeting with Bond, whose presence I awaited with a strange mixture of terror and anticipation.
How would he judge me, this strange neutered thing? Would he treat me with contempt? Or would he like what he saw? I felt hopelessly confused.
For the first time in a long time, I thought about Christina and my parents.
Would they recognise me now? My dad would be horrified, I was sure. It was better that they thought I was dead. Or was it?
Suddenly overcome, I cried, burying my head in my hands. What had I done? What had I let them do to me? I looked up into the dressing table mirror. Mascara running, my face a mess, I suddenly saw Anthony Pierce in there and realised that in serving my country, I had become irrevocably a traitor to myself. I gazed into the mirror, tears running down my face, unable to move.
The phone rang.
I looked at the clock and realised I was late for my briefing. I picked up the phone. It was Miss Loth. I apologised and set about fixing my face, giving myself an extra, defiant coat of red lipstick.
Then I rushed from the room.
Bond said nothing as I entered. He was standing with his back to me, by the desk. I snapped to attention and saluted.
"Lieutenant Commander Pierce reporting as ordered, sir!"
Bond turned, raising an eyebrow as he took in my appearance. A smile twitched across his mouth. "At ease, Pierce. Take a seat."
I sat, crossing my legs. It came naturally now.
Bond sat at the desk opposite me.
"The situation in Japan has progressed since we last met, Pierce. We now have an ideal insertion opportunity for you."
"How are you with children, Pierce?"
He rose. "Follow me Lieutenant. We're going for a drive."
Bond's DBX was parked in a country lane a quarter of a mile from the concealed hidden exit of the Q branch facility.
I walked, enjoying the fresh air of a cool late summer morning, realising that I had never before been outside in my female disguise. Bond was silent beside me. I felt very tense and alert, nerves on edge.
Bond held the door for me and I slid into the passenger seat of the bullet grey Aston, legs together, like a lady. Again, the smile twitched across his face. Again, I noticed the scar across his chin, and wondered how he had got it. I glanced up and caught the full attention of his steel grey eyes.
We looked at each other for a moment, then I looked away, confused. Bond shut the door and got in the other side. He started up without fastening his seat belt, lit up a Cartier and we drove on.
As we drove through the hazy sunlight, Bond briefed me on my new cover legend. I kept my eyes fixed on the road ahead, very aware of his presence next to me. My new name was Jane Masters. I was 24, a Cambridge graduate in Oriental languages (that fitted with my almost fluent Japanese, at least) who had been temping as an account executive at a West London media agency for the past two years before leaving this week. Prior to that, I had travelled extensively on a parental inheritance. I was by all accounts the sort of posh, fashionable trash who hung out at 192 and the Fifth Floor of Harvey Nicks.
I had a little flat just off Powis Square in Notting Hill and drove a metallic lime green Volkswagen Beetle. I liked soul music, salsa clubs and New York. Now I had applied for a job at the Red Fist's London recruitment organisation to be an English language teacher for their leader, Akaguchi's twin sons. My interview was scheduled for late the following week.
I was to leave Bicester and immediately to immerse myself in Masters' identity. A network of "friends" had been set up for me to facilitate this. As Bond filled in the details of my new life, I began to feel an increasing sense of panic and loss of control. His powerful car was hurtling down the side roads past sleepy Cotswolds villages and I looked across at him as he talked for the first time. I knew just exactly why I felt nervous.
Commander James Bond was a handsome man, even now. I watched him as he spoke and a wave of fluttering heat passed through my body as he shifted up and down the gearbox. He glanced across at me, then down to my legs, where my skirt had ridden up exposing my lacy stocking-tops and the shiny clips of the suspender-belt that held them up. I looked down then back up, catching his eye, and realised that I was flushed with excitement.
"Something on your mind?" he said.
"Nothing at all sir," I replied, having to catch my breath.
He crunched up into fifth as we hit a long, straight stretch of deserted B road. His hand came off the gearstick and his fingers found the inside of my thigh. I gasped as an electric shock of desire coursed through me.
"What do you want, Pierce?" he asked, seemingly amused.
"I... I don't know, sir. I..."
I tailed off as his fingers moved up my inner thigh towards my groin. I looked at his cruel, beautiful face and realised how much this man and his associates had had me changed.
I knew what I wanted. I wanted to please this man and make him find me pleasing. I reached over and cupped his warm groin in my hand. I felt his cock stir to attention, and I unbuttoned the fly of his blue pinstriped suit trousers, struggling to release him. He popped free as I unbuckled my seat belt with my free hand and bent over to service His Majesty's secret man.
Later he took me back to Bicester and left me in the deserted complex. The facility was to be shut down after my departure.
Invisible secret hands had mysteriously squirreled away the contents of the building while Bond and I had been away.
Miss Loth was gone. My stuff was gone, to my flat in Notting Hill. I had a make-up bag, a small handbag and nothing else to show for my thirty-odd years of existence.
As I walked through the empty halls with my meagre belongings, I thought about what I had just done. I thought about how much I had enjoyed being James Bond's little cocksucker. I thought about just exactly how much I wanted to do it again, and about the little hormone pump in my belly that was releasing the substances into my body that made me think these things. I stopped, and said out loud, "We are all whores."
Bond didn't care about me. He was somehow testing how far and how convincing my transformation had been. He was as much a company man as any of the others. M, Miss Loth, Doctor Easton; even Mary Dwyer, for all her kindness. For a while I wondered how free Lime had felt when trying to betray his country. But it came back to claim us all in the end. Lime was now dead, or a prisoner of a hostile power.
Was I any different? I didn't know. I just wanted to be right back where I had been before this mess had happened. There in that corridor, I resolved that if I ever made it back and became a man again, that I would resign my commission and do something else with my life.
Again, I thought about Bond. I had heard from people at the Service that he had once married. That he had been in love with a beautiful and unusual woman called Tracy who had been assassinated by an agent of that defunct terrorist organisation SPECTRE as they drove to their honeymoon. How she had wanted to take his bulletproof Secret Service DB5 but he had talked her out of it, frivolously wanting to drive her ragtop Alfa Romeo Spyder.
It was as hard to believe that Bond could ever love anyone again as it was to believe that he thought of me as any more significant than that pot plant in that corner, or the moth fluttering there by the flickering fluorescent light. I felt utterly desolate. I too had loved.
Christine. And now she might as well be dead. A tear appeared at the corner of my eye and rolled down my cheek. I brushed it away and started walking again towards the room from where my new life would begin.
I stood at that door and took a deep breath. Once I entered this room the rest of the complex would be a dead, dark shell, no longer accessible. Here was my future. I reached for the handle, turned and pulled, and entered. A dim bulb clicked on automatically. I could sense and encroaching darkness behind as the complex switched itself off. I walked in. The door swung shut behind me.
I heard the deadlock fall into place; there was no handle on my side, just smooth metal, riveted, impermeable. At the other end of the small, narrow room was another door, next to the door an electronic keypad to which I knew the only combination. I sat at the dressing table and ran my hands through my hair, raising it off my face; the face that gazed back at me in the mirror, becoming familiar now, more familiar than I would have thought possible, back then, at the beginning of a chain of events that would lead me here, to this room, here, today, now. It still shocked me, I suppose; but each time the shock was less.
A young woman looked defiantly back at me, face strangely familiar but subtly softened by surgery and hormones.
Beneath my fashionable clothes, the breasts were quite real - perhaps the most striking change, with their definite, graspable, new mass; just how graspable was indicated by the bruise marks Commander Bond had left on them that afternoon.
They had large and definitely feminine aureolae and full, upturned nipples. No hair, of course, and the body, still toned and muscular, noticeably more slender and delicate in posture and balance.
On the table was a Gucci keychain with car keys and a couple of other keys which I knew belonged to a flat in West London. I let my hair drop and used the fitful light to touch up my make-up. Well, Jane Masters, I thought to myself. Welcome to the world.
I got up, smoothing my tweed, Liz Claiborne skirt and went over to the door to punch the keypad as I had seen Bond do earlier that day. I walked confidently up a short, dark corridor and heard locks shut behind me. In darkness, the only guide another faintly luminous keypad.
I keyed in the combination and the second door swung open, allowing the smells and sounds of a warm August night into me. I emerged, strangely calm, from a door concealed in an overgrown brick wall, which swung noiselessly closed behind me. The harvest moon was huge and coppery near the horizon, so utterly beautiful that I was becalmed for minutes, my head to one side, just gazing. Beyond the road, a rippling field of some corn-like crop; there an owl, hooting, melancholy. In the distance the dull roar of the Motorway.
I opened my handbag and found a pack of cigarettes. I lit one and enjoyed the hit, before walking down the road to find Jane's lime green VW Beetle that was surely parked there, and to which my key would surely fit.
The signs read 'London 10'. The yellow sodium lights of the M40 illuminated the inside of my car balefully. I checked my watch. 2.30 AM. I looked at my pretty new face in the rear view mirror, trying a smile. The car sped on towards London.
The end of CHAPTER ONE
Jane Masters will return in CHAPTER TWO
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