…Bond blacked out.
It was precisely six days ago when Bond was sat staring at a modern take on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers hanging straight on the wall behind M’s desk at headquarters in London. He had come to the conclusion he didn’t like it: the colours were too bold and dark and the jaunty angles of what used to be elegant flowers stole the natural character from the classic painting. M’s tastes had become increasingly worse with his age, although Bond would never tell him that… not just yet. He was drawn away from the image by the sound of the heavy oak doors to the room opening and the busy shuffling of size nine black loafers treading along the floorboards and eventually the rug upon which Bond’s chair now sat. M appeared at his right, his glasses just peeping off the end of his nose, in deep thought over a document he was carrying.
“Thank you, sir. Your enthusiasm is infectious.”
M smiled wryly. “Hit the nail on the head, Bond, as per usual.” He sat down opposite Bond and removed his glasses before sliding over the document to Bond’s side of the desk. It was the image of a man, perhaps early thirties, Bond guessed, wearing an overcoat in what looked like glaring heat. Bond looked up at M, questionably. “No I haven’t seen him before.” He sat back into the chair, smugly, awaiting M’s reply.
“Well, no I don’t suppose you have,” he said, countering Bond’s wit. “He’s a slippery little bugger at the best of times, and that’s only half the problem.” He got up out of his chair and pondered at the painting Bond had been earlier disparaging. He thought about M’s remark at him ‘hitting the nail on the head’ but it seemed his thoughts penetrated M’s as he suddenly turned round, “I said you hit the nail on the head, that was in reference to your apt use of the word ‘infectious’.” He bit the last word with acidity but despite the sharp twist on the phrase, a shadow fell across his face and the situation suddenly became more serious. He resumed his seat with grave intensity. Bond remained still for a few moments, holding his gaze before picking up the photograph and flicking through the file it came with. As he did so, M provided a commentary.
“His name is Afanasiy Medicos and despite his name he’s a cold bastard. Colder than you, 007.”
Bond looked at the name quizzically. “What is that – Russian? Italian?’
“Both although the man himself is British – his alias is another one of his pathetic attempts to fool us. Loosely speaking it means the ‘immortal doctor’ although we’re more than a little concerned about the sort of drugs he’s been prescribing his patients.”
Bond had dealt with illegal drug traffickers in the past and had seldom enjoyed the encounters. These people dealt only for money and cared little about the effects the produce had on its subjects or indeed the inevitable consequences that came after addiction had oppressed their minds and driven them to madness. By the time any finite links could be made to any source, those responsible had already assumed new aliases and transferred to a district with more desperate victims looking for a material salvation. Bond experienced a bitter taste in his mouth. M continued –
“But these drugs don’t lead to your everyday desperado junkies, Bond. What he’s cooked up in his cauldron is something new and far more dangerous, especially if it goes viral.”
“What exactly are we talking about here?” Bond leant forward, concern clouding his ability to articulate an appropriate guess to the issue. M mirrored his move so that the two of them were but a foot away from each other’s faces. Bond felt M’s cigar scented breath on his cheek. The door behind him creaked slowly open…