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On His Majesty's Secret Service (14)
Eye
hwrnmnbsol
For the record, I am projecting completion at part 20.

Bond blinked rapidly. There was a pounding in his head. No, the pounding of footsteps. Perhaps both?

Bond clutched his head and forced his eyes to focus. He had lost consciousness. How long? Minutes? No. Seconds. Only seconds.

The orientation of gravity shifted, and Bond pitched forwards. His face hit something hard, blooding his nose. It was the steering wheel, the wheel of the Cadillac. He was still in the car.

The car had punched through the side of the yacht. The deck it was resting on wasn’t made to hold the weight of a car, especially a luxury American car, which was built with more metal than the atomic bomb. It was falling through the deck. The car lurched again, and the nose slid down another two feet. It was pointing down now at greater than a forty-five degree angle.

Bond fumbled for his revolver and clumsily drew it out of his holster. His eyes still weren’t quite seeing clearly. There were men standing above him. Bond peered up at them, blinking owlishly. They were standing on the deck above, machineguns pointed down at him. The Cadillac was crawling into the hold of the ship like a wounded beast, trying to find a dark place to hide. Bond patted her dashboard fondly. Good girl, he thought. Loyal girl.

A form swam into view behind the men with the guns. It was a hulking figure – a man in a greatcoat, twice as big as a normal man. The man had a huge furry hat, and a bandana masked the lower half of his face. But for all his size, the mass of his head seemed too small somehow, like big man wearing a comically small hat.

The car lurched violently, and Bond braced himself to avoid breaking his nose. Now the car really was vertical. The windshield had snapped off on a bulkhead, and the front bumper was resting on the bottom seam of the boat.

Bond frowned. What had Q said? The bumper. The bumper could break down a wall.

Ah.

“Easy, boys,” Bond said, slurring his words a bit. “Just let me get unbuckled.”

Bond triggered the explosives.


The bottom of the ship blew apart. Bond saw the metal underside of the boat unfold like an origami flower. The car slid into the hole just as the river leapt in. Bond rolled out of the car and into two feet of water. No, three feet. The river was wasting no time in swamping the hold. Bond scrambled as far back from the car as he could, making it impossible for anybody to have a line of sight on him.

The boat canted, and improperly stowed gear in the hold shifted. Bond only narrowly avoided being crushed by metal shelving. He could hear cries coming from the men on the level above, and a few wild shots; probably they were encountering similar troubles. Embattled as he was, Bond took the time to sneer at the poor seamanship of Zoeller’s gang. Even on a placid river, good sailors should tie things down better.

The back bumper of the Cadillac dropped below the rising waterline. Bond saluted the noble car with his revolver, keeping his gun dry. Then he looked around for a way out. The twin screw engines of the boat were behind a chain-link fence at the aft, and a companionway was in the bow. Bond waded to the stair and pulled himself up by the railing. He threw open the hatch at the top and came out with the Model Ten in front of him.

Two very surprised crewmen were coming down the hall towards him. They had guns drawn, but clearly didn’t expect anybody to be coming up to meet them. Bond shot them both at close range. Beyond them was a long corridor with many doors opening onto it. The crew compartment, most likely. The kitchen would be rear, above the engine room. Bond had crashed through amidships. The bulk of the men would be there, and Guk-Guk too.

Bond tried three doors before he found one that opened for him. It was a messy cabin with bunks for two, but nobody was at home. It had a single porthole that opened. Bond unlatched it and peeked outside. The boat was going down, there was no denying it. Which was exactly what Bond wanted to happen.

To his right, Bond saw the line securing the bow of the boat to the pier. It might just be strong enough to keep the front of the boat suspended. He took careful aim and shot through it; the line parted, snapping under the strain. Immediately the vessel lurched. Bond saw the waterline rising towards his porthole.

Bond squeezed the front of his body through the window and pulled his buttocks through. He sat up, his eyes on the same line as the deck above. Men were running everywhere; some were jumping the gap to the pier, but as it sank the boat was swinging away from its mooring. Bond surveyed the general panic with satisfaction. One thing he could say for Guk-Guk: without a mouth, the fellow couldn’t give orders.

During a break in the chaos, Bond pulled himself up and hopped over the railing. He was now on the passenger deck, which listed at a ten degree angle. Deck chairs slid past him, and Bond had to jump to leap over a rolling cylindrical ashtray.

A window broke next to Bond; he was taking fire. Bond ducked down and analyzed where the shooter had to be; it couldn’t be on the boat. He looked in the direction of the pier and saw that some men were in the pilot compartment of a speedboat. Their angle wasn’t good for sighting on Bond while he stayed low, but since his boat was sinking, eventually they’d have him.

Bond lay on the deck that ran along both sides of the passenger compartments. Clipped to a wall just above him was a flaregun. Bond reached up along the wall for it, but a spray of bullets forced him to jerk his hand back. If he exposed himself, Zoeller’s men would cut him to pieces.

More detritus slid by Bond. Something hit him in the head; Bond craned his neck to see a trio of shuffleboard biscuits sliding by. There was a tang, too; one of the shovels used to push the biscuits from one side of the board to the other. Bond grabbed the pole and used it to knock the flaregun loose, groped for it on the deck, and then stuck it through the railing and fired at the speedboat. The flare entered the pilot’s compartment and exploded with much fanfare and colored lights, to Bond’s immense satisfaction.

Guk-Guk came around the corner and sized up Bond. He was elephantine; his bulk consumed the entirety of the width of the aisleway. Bond scrambled to his feet as the big Russian plodded down the deck. He was unarmed. Bond pointed his revolver at his midsection and fired.

Guk-Guk didn’t so much as slow down. He clubbed the gun out of Bond’s hand with one forearm, and he planted another huge hand in Bond’s chest and shoved. Bond flew towards the bow some fifteen feet and slid until he fetched up against the railing.

Guk-Guk had a hole in his coat where Bond had shot him. He hadn’t heard a ricochet, so in all likelihood the bullet had gone through him. Bond considered that a man whose jaw had been shot off probably was in a tremendous amount of pain all of the time, and more than likely stayed on morphine continuously. Which might mean that Guk-Guk would die eventually, Bond thought, but it might be some time in coming. And that was small comfort for him, as Guk-Guk advanced.

To his left, the deck curved along the front of the boat, uniting with the symmetric aisle on the starboard side. At the front of the boat, and around the curve from where Guk-Guk could see, was a reaching pole for rescues. Bond scrambled for it, pulled it loose and jammed Guk-Guk in the knee. “Guk-Guk,” said the giant in a kind of wheeze, arresting his advance. Heartened, Bond gripped the pole like a quarterstaff and dealt Guk-Guk several ringing blows to the head.

This was less effective. Guk-Guk got his hand up and latched onto the pole after the second blow. Once he had a grip, there was no getting the pole free; Guk-Guk wrenched it away from Bond and broke it in half. Bond dodged the thrown pieces, then rolled under a punch as Guk-Guk lunged for him. The momentum of Guk-Guk’s fist broke down the door at the bow of the boat. A woman screamed.

Bond knew that voice. “Susan!” he shouted, and leapt through the door. He found himself in a luxuriously appointed lounge with comfortable chairs, an elaborate bar and even a small movie screen. Susan lay on a couch, trussed up hand and foot.

Bond felt something take hold of the back of his coat. He ducked and twisted, and the entire garment gave way, leaving Guk-Guk gripping only some shreds of fabric. Bond rolled behind the bar and grabbed a bottle of vodka. “Salut,” he said, standing up and bringing it crashing down on Guk-Guk’s shoulder. The bottle shattered, drenching the man’s heavy coat in liquor.

Guk-Guk slapped Bond with an open hand, sending him spinning to the floor. He saw stars, but he had the presence of mind to draw his lighter from his pocket and spark a flame as Guk-Guk advanced. Bond threw it on his coat, and Guk-Guk found the left side of his body engulfed in flame. Guk-Guk recoiled and lurched out of the lounge – but not, Bond noted, before grabbing a bottle of champagne from the bar. That was curious.

Bond drew his commando knife from his leg and cut Susan’s bonds. “Son of a bitch!” shouted Susan, leaping to her feet. “Where did he go? I’ll kill him!”

“Easy, Tiger,” he said, masking the relief in his voice. “Let’s get out of here.”

Bond led the way out of the lounge. He was surprised to see how high the water had risen; the back half of the boat was entirely underwater, and the waterline had crept up the deck such that it was only twenty feet or so away from where Bond stood. Guk-Guk wallowed in the shallows there, rolling in the water. The fire seemed to be out.

The boat had swung away from the pier. “We’ll have to swim for it,” Bond said.

Guk-Guk stood up and waded inexorably back up the deck towards Bond. He had the champagne bottle in his hand. “Jump,” Bond urged, dropping into a fighting pose with the knife extended. He knew Guk-Guk had the superior reach, and Bond was not at all sure that he could kill a morphine-doped monster before Guk-Guk strangled or battered him to death.

“I’m not going,” said Susan. “Just gotta find something to hit him with…”

Guk-Guk advanced in silence. “Cat got your tongue?” asked Bond grimly. Guk-Guk still stayed silent. The rising water dogged his heels as he walked up the deck. Out of the corner of his eye, Bond watched the champagne bottle in Guk-Guk’s enormous fist. The cork was missing.

And then it hit Bond. In the absence of a jaw, Guk-Guk had no mouth. And without a mouth, he had no way to hold his breath.

Bond swung the knife in front of him wardingly, nearly slipping as the rising water lapped over his feet. Guk-Guk swung the bottle like a club; Bond stepped into the blow, and it merely glanced painfully off his back. But now he was horribly close to the singed, stinking coat of the Russian giant, and Guk-Guk’s other arm closed around him in a bear hug.

“Happy New Year,” grated Bond, and drove his knee into Guk-Guk’s breadbasket with all the force he could muster. With a soft POP, the champagne cork dropped down from behind Guk-Guk’s bandanna. Then Guk-Guk slipped, and he and Bond fell backwards into the water towards the rear of the boat.

Susan appeared with a life preserver and a belaying pin. But there was no sign of Bond or Guk-Guk. The waters had claimed them.
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Especially the name. It's like Gollum only huge.

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