Health Advisory

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If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know I have a medical issue that’s now become something that requires fairly swift intervention. As a result, I may be in Hospital for surgery as early as next week, but it is more likely that I’ll be dealt with around the 16th. This had the potential to but a bit of a crimp in my plans for the Patreon, but I refuse to let that happen.

I am planning to launch regardless on June 1st.

What this does mean is that I am a bit behind on the Blogging Guide, but the plan is to publish two parts this weekend and effectively get up to date that way.

If you want to keep informed on developments, following the @AlternativeChat Twitter feed will keep you in the loop šŸ˜€

IW Update :: Patreon

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This week has been rather overshadowed by personal health issues, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my eye on the ball in terms of preparation, which should step into high gear starting on Monday. What that has meant in practical terms is preparing my Patreon space and finally pinning down what rewards will be available on ‘launch.’

Stage One Patreon Rewards have arrived šŸ˜€ #photographer #InternetofWords

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Right now I’ll be offering what I consider as a pretty decent set of physical incentives. OnĀ  order are Enamel Badges with the IW ‘logo’ plus special ‘Thank You’ cards, with these rather snazzy wristbands already in hand. On top of that there will be 10 ‘Founders Rewards’ which represent my top tier of participation, which are being routed in solid wood and which I will hand finish myself. Having read some stories about how there are those who unscrupulously pledge only for rewards and then leave, I’m hoping what I’m giving here is unique enough to simply appeal to those with a genuine interest. It has also been suggested I wait for a month’s pledges before anything goes out and that might also be a wise move on consideration.

The nuts and bolts of the tier rewards themselves are now sketched in a notebook, and I’ll exclusively reveal them to my Twitter feed this weekend, not simply as an early incentive but to check whether people think they’d be interested in what is being offered. To see what else is on offer apart from the physical rewards it is time to

where you can be actively involved in lots of cool stuff ahead of time.

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After that, next week will see my back end planning shift up a gear, and there’ll be areas appearing on the site to cover the body of work that will be produced under the Internet of Words ‘concept.’ I’ll be introducing each ‘strand’ as we go, and looking for feedback and interest at the same time. I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank everybody who has encouraged and supported me thus far. I’ve been literally gob-smacked that not only are there those of you willing to take a chance on my ideas, but that you’re already offering help and support for the journey.

Thank you so very much indeed.

All I Want for Christmas is You

My husband phoned me this morning, and the conversation went as follows:

– What do you want for Christmas?

Cuddles

– You have a standing order for cuddles. This is not helpful. Really, what do you want for Christmas?

– … Cuddles?

Honestly, this year there is nothing I really want. Except maybe this chair but it costs Ā£2000 + and I’m not that dumb.

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Then I thought about it. I’d like the Novel done (which I’m working on so you know, it’s going to happen.) I’d love a publishing deal. After that, honestly, there is nothing I want. I don’t crave anything. This is not about aggressive consumerism and never was. I’m remarkably simple to please. Treat me with respect, make me tea now and again and offer some cake and honestly, we’re utterly good.Ā The Man with the Bag can skip me and go give someone else the cheer.

This is a roundabout way of me telling you guys that come the New Year I’m hoping to be a lot more active with general posting, and that the whole process of writing is still going on despite a daily word count update. I have a ton of stuff I’d like to discuss involving process too, quite apart from the other things I’ve promised myself to write. I just gotta get it all organised and out there and that’s always been half the battle.

If I’m quiet, you can guarantee at this point it’s because I’m working.

DEFAULT :: Part Sixty-Two

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London positively rejoices in the understanding that not only has Summer arrived, but it intends to remain firmly in charge of the city for as long as possible. Ronni owns no qualms over sitting in traffic either, windows open in the DB5 which was her only concession to keep as the new Poster Girl. She could have ridden the bike in, or even free run, but had worked late last night pouring over paperwork and assessments in bed. Her flat’s due for redecoration early next month, changes she’d wanted to make but never gotten around to implement, and now with the hike in salary? She could move, but there’s no point. The original accommodation that came with the promotion’s got a squatter who refuses to leave, and who’ll own the deeds outright anyway come the Autumn. Once her tenure’s done, and assuming nothing changes? She’ll just move down the river a bit and spend extremely long weekends in Scotland. Ronni’s beginning to warm to the idea of holidays in the north, especially as she can be flown there and back with the minimum of fuss.

The future, as it stands, is packed with possibilities that make her vibrate with excitement.

It’s the first time she’s been back to the Barracks since the refit was completed, and the place looks particularly well packaged with fresh paint and understated signage. Ronni parks in her space and stands, looking at the rectangle of tarmac that remains the only external concession to what she has now become. Being the first woman to hold the 007 designation might sound like the amazing made real, but in truth there’s only a few people who’ll ever get the relevance. To everybody else, she’s just the female in the suit.

That’s all she’s ever wanted to be: anonymous, yet useful.

She signs in without ceremony, new receptionist giving her scant attention. He’s more interested in social media on his phone, until registering sign-in details illuminating on screen. Then Q’s now standard issue custom unit is almost dropped in surprise; Alistair Greer is staring at her, Ronni waiting for brain to catch up with understanding.

‘Good Morning Ms Flemmings. I’m sorry, we weren’t expecting you until 10am: I have internal mail and messages for you, one moment please.’

They’d offered her full name back, but Ronni’s not bothered. The question of using Bond’s had been raised, then dismissed, because as Tanner pointed out keeping that legacy associated with the number is not anything a sane person would get involved in. Instead this is just what it always was, except the designation’s increased by three. This morning’s schedule should include a Senior Staff meeting, routine small arms assessment and then lunch with Q, because they now make the time to go to expensive London restaurants to spend their Civil Service wages on things that matter to them both. He’s standing, looking at her with amusement, wearing a Spencer Hart suit that would have been off the radar a year ago. There’s gym time too, on the quiet, she knows because the man wants to be ready for her next mission, whatever and whenever that might be.

Any chance they have to work together from now on will be seized with customary thoroughness.

‘Good morning 007. I’m going to keep referring to you by designation because I think it really does suit you. I assume you don’t have an objection?’

‘Q, you’re still in charge, so who am I to ever contradict?’

He hugs her as the receptionist returns with a file and some envelopes, handing them over with what probably passes for starstruck awe in MI6. The Quartermaster accompanies her into the large open-plan reception area, all stripped chrome and live news feeds, world running its course as they pass. Emmanuel is at his station, smiling as she acknowledges his presence, watching the growing team in Data Encryption standing front and centre, defending the country electronically. The future however is him with a gun, because she’s seen his scores and is well aware that prestigious talent won’t ever go to waste here again, not while Andrew holds the reins. Rachel dominates the whole left side of the Facility now, Lizzie her ultra efficient PA, pretending to be in charge of one thing but instead owning so much more. Her demeanour and enthusiasm is brilliant, carried with the confidence of a woman who finally found, embraced and beat the hell out of her true calling in what many would consider the twilight of her career.

Finally, they turn the corner to where M now resides full time, as he maintained that you didn’t keep the man in charge away from where the action happened. He’d sensibly given up the 1950’s for good, but this area’s less chrome and more wood and warmth. The office is still obscured, but instead of fake padding and Whitehall veneer the dividing wall is a living, breathing representation of London itself, permed from the range of security footage the Department keeps tabs on across the capital. It is an ever-changing collage of the city, alive and vibrant in an early June morning, and Ronni is temporarily distracted by the beauty of montage.

‘This wall is beyond impressive, Q. I could stand and watch for hours.’

‘I’ll do the same with the view from here.’

Bond is staring from his desk, smile her immediate reward. She’s not seen him since Friday morning, as he’d insisted on spending time acquainting himself properly with Q’s new technology suite. The glasses are a surprise too: she knew he’d been never be truly comfortable with the contacts. If he wasn’t a field agent, then it didn’t matter, besides they make him lookā€¦ distracting. There is the lightest of touches to her hand and Q is gone, leaving her to wait while he goes and gets M for the Staff Meeting, and Ronni approaches one of many new mission briefs. James looks oddly comfortable sitting with his effective demotion, and that’s a surprise that will take some getting used to.

‘Good morning, 007.’

‘Bond. I approve of the eye wear.’

‘I thought you might, I’m just grateful to not have to do contacts ever again.’

‘Who knew you’d be squeamish?’

‘You live and learn, as I have in the last three days. Been a long time since I pushed myself into something new. I’m looking forward to being the unchallenged geek in this relationship.’

‘You shouldn’t do labels, they’re divisive.’

‘Knowing what you are is useful, a label helps other people understand the context. That’s why when I call you 007, everyone knows that’s their benchmark. I approve that you finally became the metaphor. I feel that, more than anything else, makes all this worthwhile.’

He makes her blush, warming body in ways that are continuing to prove both surprising and fruitful. The long-term plan is that he becomes her handler, but requires a measure of training first. He’ll also keep the desk occupied that used to be Moneypenny’s because he thought the juxtaposition sent exactly the right message to anyone in the building who didn’t grasp exactly what had changed between Spectre’s unmasking and their eventual downfall. This is the new world order not just for the Secret Service, but beyond. It is no longer about an outdated methodology or ancient beliefs: anybody, regardless of their ethnic and sexual background, was capable of doing any job.

Bond stands on cue as M appears from his office, Q at his arm, smiling with a warmth Ronni’s not seen in him before, extending hand to shake hers.

‘Good morning 007, I trust you’re comfortable with your new working space?’

‘I am sir, Q’s done a fabulous job of integrating old and new, and I am looking forward to being an operational part of process as well as in the field. I’ve taken a look at the applications for Active Consideration you sent at the weekend, there’s a lot of good to be considered in the selections.’

‘Indeed, this is possibly the best group of individuals we’ve seen for close to a decade, present company excluded. Bond, I’d also appreciate your insight on this. You can redirect calls back to reception while we’re occupied.’

Ronni’s predecessor is already two steps ahead of the boss, tablet in hand, stenography skills surprisingly adept for a man who couldn’t type with more than two fingers a month ago. That had always been his problem, serially overachieving had become something of an advantage when it came to keeping up with organisational requirements. In fact, nobody did competence now quite as efficiently or stylishly as he did.

No-one understood the importance of Secret Service evolution quite like James Bond.


FIN


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OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:

Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.

DEFAULT :: Part Sixty

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EPILOGUE



The Barracks is in chaos, but this time
as part of a larger plan.

With the site of Milbank now scheduled for redevelopment as both park and outdoor theatre, celebrating the previous M’s love of Shakespeare, there is a need to upgrade a building that has remained largely untouched structurally since the late 1970’s. Money was approved without even a whimper from Westminster, mostly due to the French offering considerable assistance and long-term investment, including a permanent secondment of senior technical director Alex Dubois to a new European Security Taskforce. Q’s happy to share Sundays with someone other than his cats, and the improvement of his demeanour means everybody gets an easier ride. Life continues apace as construction moves forward, Ronni happy to lose herself in process and at Bond’s flat.

No-one presses the issue of promotion until the day after 004’s passed fit for active duty.

Up until that point she’d been assessed daily, passing everything thrown at her with a confidence that never existed before. The psyche scores remained as impeccable as range cards, and Andrew doesn’t ask why she stopped shooting 7’s and replaced them with Q’s. Lizzie maintains a constant narrative on Eve and Charlie’s progress as they mop up Spectre hotspots across Europe, and Emmanuel spends an hour with her at lunchtimes learning Yoga. She alternates sleeping between Docklands and Pimlico, and were it not for the fact this is treading water, everything would be perfect.

On Friday morning there’s another envelope, sticking up between the rows of her keyboard, and the decision becomes inescapable. With a heavy heart Ronni walks to Q’s temporary office and knocks, unsurprised to find M already there with a mug of coffee. He too has a Scrabble letter, gift from Moneypenny on her ‘retirement’ as his PA, and it is good to know the man has softened to his task as well as the Quartermaster. Tanner’s mug sits on a pile of files but the man himself is absent, and that’s all Ronni needs to know. The inevitable can no longer be avoided. Senior Staff has called her here for an answer she still isn’t comfortable giving.

‘Good morning Sir, Q.’

‘We still don’t have an application, Flemmings. Was Andrew wrong about you?’

‘No, Sir, he wasn’t. I knew you’d ask eventually, I just wasn’t sure when. Now you have, I can admit there’s one more problem left for me to solve.’

‘Which is?’

‘At no point since you asked me to apply have I spoken to the previous 007 about how he feels concerning my potential promotion. Whenever I try and broach it, something always comes up.’

M doesn’t break stride, Q the undisputed queen of impassivity. Ronni knows the banter remains part of her remit: however, should she accept the top job, that’s a situation which will require alteration going forward. On reflection, that’s the first thing that changes. No more innuendo, instead focus on compassion over sexuality. That she can keep for theatre as a last resort, where her first response will always remain a shot to the groin if threatened.

‘We had anticipated this might be the reason, and asked Bond to be here this morning as a result. I’d expected you to come together -‘

‘- until I reminded Gareth there was a good chance you were allowing the man to enjoy his retirement, away from both expectations and innuendo. Rest assured, 004, this will be the last time you’ll be assessed on your ability to out double-entendre your superior officer.’

‘Thank Christ for that, this I will agree is a bloody stupid metric. Who do we have to blame for it?’

‘One has to go back three M’s, if memory serves. The 1970’s were so very depressing, and not simply for the fashion choices. So you see, Gareth, we have a lot more to change than simply ordinance supervision and time management standards.’

Watching these two bicker over protocol is oddly reassuring, and as Tanner appears Ronni’s almost comfortable with the possibility of taking the number. Except there’s a regret that hasn’t yet been vocalised, that she’ll really need James here to discuss. As the younger and older man continue their exchange, Tanner comes to put a hand to her arm, quietly steering them both out of the office.

‘It’s been like this since Q opened Pandora’s Box and told Whitehall half their metric frameworks would have to be scrapped. Needless to say whatever happens, nothing gets to be the same any more now Andrew’s decided to drag everyone into the future. Bond’s on his way, take all the time you need. I think this senior staff meeting’s running all the way to lunchtime.’


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OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:

Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.

NaNoWriMo ::Day Four

Absolutely the best thing about creating a Novel is that it is your rules and nobody else’s. That means, in the last two days, I’ve completely rewritten history. As part of that, I’ve needed to design an icon that will appear all over my ‘World’, which is a visual representation of the organisationĀ in which my main character (and pretty much everybody else I’ve written so far) exists. I’ve been working at this for several weeks, if truth be told, and now I think I’m there:

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The fact it started as lady parts is really important: this is a female-driven hierarchy.Ā It will be the symbol that appears on flags and standards, on the uniforms of the modern-day iteration of this ‘Regiment’and I can imagine it carved into the stone of ancient temples, castle walls and into the prow of ships. It will be a good luck charm, a ward to dispel evil spirits, and so much more. This is the moment where I wished I could draw better than I can, so I could come up with a modern graphical representation of this: I may give it a try as relaxation going forward.

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The word count really isn’t going to be a problem. I’ve stopped for the night, mostly because I need to think through my next scene, and I’m far enough ahead now to not worry about where this is going, because I know my destination. That means I’ve been cheating a bit and going back over earlier dialogue, but it is utterly worthwhile. I’m in a place that I cannot get enough of and utterly love, and the story as a result is just telling itself. That’s the most amazing thing of all, and makes me smile whenever I think about it. I have a story that really works, and the ease at which it’s translating from head to screen is a testament, I think, to the hard work I’ve done in previous months honing my craft.

This process has made me realise that a lot of previous ideas that have never made the light of day (and at least one that did) have come together to produce this story. Mostly, I can see all the influences and derivatives here, I know what has swayed this story to where it now lies. This is a fascinating insight into process for me as a result.

It’s also the most fun I’ve had with a NaNo since I began participating.

DEFAULT :: Part Fifty-Seven

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Ronni wakes and for a moment thinks she’s in Ankara, massive hotel double bed rewarded once her first stint of undercover work was complete. Except this is a part of the French base not yet fully operational, living area that would be used for married staff when the facility was in lock-down. The bed is immense, incredibly comfortable, and she’s alone on the left hand side. Rolling over, Bond remains, pretty much where he’d lost consciousness. Looking at her watch, they‘d managed over six hours without drugs. Rachel had reassured that they weren’t needed anywhere for at least a day, possibly more, and the small bag of supplies she’d provided plusĀ directions and key meant they could effectively live here as they pleased, without observation.

James is still asleep, yet naked, surprise she decides to watch for a while.

They’d showered separately, and slept clothed as the room was colder than both were comfortable with. He’d talked about what happened with Blofeld, at length, and that how there was genuine regret being a good man with Maddy. Ronni just listened, until the night in Monte Carlo had come up, and then she’d pushed for details. 007 opened completely, telling truths about brother and sister that made her body feel uncomfortable, around pictures Swann had made so very public. Then there’d been a long and frank discussion on sexual practices, what both of them considered acceptable. It was reassuring to know how sadly conventional they were, right down to Bond never wanting more than one woman in bed with him, despite the fact the offer had been presented on several occasions.

In many ways, he was more old fashioned than Ronni was.

Eyes flicker open and for a moment there’s no reaction, until James rolls onto his side and Ronni is suddenly aroused with a force that comes as a shock, having to consciously hold herself back.

‘Good morning.’

‘Yes, it is.’

‘You slept well?’

‘Amazingly so. I’m awake now, though.’

The desire to couple is sudden and almost desperately overwhelming and she’s struggling to hold it in, really needing to have mouth on him and body wrapped around his. Conscious of the night before, that he needed the space, pushing to break down the distance seems wrong: Bond lies, assessing with a languor that’s almost frustratingly passive.

‘You know, I’d like to think that over the years, my field training’s given the opportunity to pick up intent, grasp what I’ve landed in or woken up to. In this case, I’d guess that your feelings on sex have altered since last night.’

‘They have.’

‘Just how desperate are you, Ronni?’

‘May I demonstrate?’

The nod’s there, almost imperceptible, body language accepting and Ronni stops for a moment to think: does she restrain herself or is this the truth? All the times before genuine passion had been tempered, a part held aside because of the understanding that once she crossed this threshold, there was no going back. Then she became the woman that Bond didnā€™t need to satisfy, and instead became his partner in every respect. Peeling off her shirt, she almost pounces in desperation.

The kiss is sudden and brutal, pushing into a body with urgency unrestrained, capable of swallowing him whole yet remaining unsated. As force meets resistance, body shifts, pinning onto his back, refusing to allow movement from the bed, restraining arms at sides as she devours chest, kisses placed to make him gasp out loud, knowing the sensitive spots to stimulate. He’s gone from relaxed to erect in an embrace and before there is an objection her sex swallows him, audible gasp as erection completely fills space inside, mouth back for an even more desperate kiss. Foreplay is utterly unnecessary, because she’s still in Italy, lying in the cot that was empty alone, entire body wired to explode.

Then there is lucidity, moment of concern, and she stops to stare down: his eyes wide and amazed, clearly loving every moment of dominance. They never speak during sex, not ever, and suddenly there’s a need to grasp willingness, that this use of a body so flagrantly is acceptable. The look galvanises, provides incentive to enter the game as he pushes himself up to sitting. Ronni shifts, no longer kneeling as legs are wrapped around Bond’s back. Then they sit, joined at the groin, staring at each other as energy flows between them at their most intimate point of contact. Now she can register movement, him pushing inside and their next kiss is so hard and forceful she wants to cry out at the pleasure of the moment.

There is no idea how they manage to stay joined but he lifts her from the bed with a strength that belies both age and recent history, almost dropped onto the dresser to their left, almost slammed against first wall then chest in a manner that only strengthens the desire to wrap legs tighter, forcing him further inside. Joint thrusts makes the inside of her body begin to need, over and over, because now the point where they start and end is lost to the business of pleasure. All that matters is that his gasps are more pronounced and vocal than she’s ever heard: Bond doesn’t do overt expression, only action, and it always bothered her. To make the point, Ronni gasps at the moment each stroke brings her climax closer, progressively less articulate as he loses the need to do anything other than friction and repetition.

It doesn’t take long, only a few more strokes and she blossoms, expands and then contracts with a force not recalled for quite some time, enough to make him cry and shudder in short order, and they’re both panting from exhaustion, limbs suddenly heavy and tired because neither of them are as fit as they could be, and that needed to change, as did so much else. Bond is breathless, sweat pouring from a body clearly struggling with effort, and it is Ronni’s turn to be surprised. Finally, he finds the ability to speak.

‘Better?’

‘Needs work.’

‘I’m not as young as I used to be. Give me a minute and we’ll start that again.’

He laughs and she joins, vibrations of them still intertwined enough to begin the process of arousal anew, and Ronni accepts this relationship is no longer just sexual, but has mutated into something far more interesting.


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OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:

Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.