She sat demurely, her hands in her lap and her eyes to the front, as Drax climbed in, pressed the starter, and pulled the gleaming lever on the steering wheel back into third. The car surged away with hardly a purr from the exhaust and Bond watched it disappear into the trees before he climbed into the Bentley and moved off in leisurely pursuit. Drax waved towards the dense mathematical tables and columns of compass readings which filled the right-hand side of the map. “Wind velocities, atmospheric pressure, ready-reckoner for the gyro settings,” he said. “That’s another complication,” said M. The central chandelier, a cascade of crystal ropes terminating in a broad basket of strung quartz, sparkled warmly above the white damask tablecloths and George IV silver. Below, in the centre of each table, branched candlesticks distributed the golden light of three candles, each surmounted by a red silk shade, so that the faces of the diners shone with a convivial warmth which glossed over the occasional chill of an eye or cruel twist of a mouth. The ninth was the top floor of the building. Most of it was occupied by Communications, the hand-picked inter-services team of operators whose only interest was the world of microwaves, sunspots, and the ‘heaviside layer’. Above them, on the flat roof, were the three squat masts of one of the most powerful transmitters in England, explained on the bold bronze list of occupants in the entrance hall of the building by the words ‘Radio Tests Ltd.’ The other tenants were declared to be ‘Universal Export Co.’, ‘Delaney Bros. Ltd.’, ‘The Omnium Corporation’, and ‘Enquiries (Miss E. Twining, OBE)’. Two days of dockets and files to plough through. And week-ends were generally busy times abroad. People were photographed in compromising positions. Motor-car ‘accidents’ looked better, got a more cursory handling, amidst the week-end slaughter on the roads. The weekly bags from Washington, Istanbul, and Tokyo would have come in and been sorted. The beach resort is renowned for its upmarket hotels, shopping centres and golf courses, as well as the Aquapolis water park which is considered one of Eastern Europe’s best and designed in a Mauritian-Mediterranean style. Golden Sands Nature Park is home to dense oak forests, together with manna ash and yoke elms, while natural water drinking fountains scatter the park. Deer, badgers and squirrel inhabit the woodlands, while woodpeckers, tawny owls and green-headed duck can all be spotted. To the west of Golden Sands is the medieval Orthodox Christian cave monastery of Aladzha which served as a religious centre dedicated to the Holy Trinity during the Second Bulgarian Empire. It is hewn into a 25-metre high karst cliff face on the Franga plateau, with the remains of a 5th century cave monastery nearby. The surrounding forests are known as the Mount of the Cross and are regarded as sacred, with the local legend stating they are home to a mythical treasure keeper known as Imri Pop. This charming hotel is set in Golden Sands. Guests will find the airport within 18. The hotel comprises a total of 60 snug rooms. In addition, Wi-Fi access is offered at the establishment’s common spaces. This hotel offers a 24-hour reception service, so that guests’ needs will be fully met at any time of the day or night. Some services may be subject to additional charges. When you stay at Hotel Holiday Park in Golden Sands, you’ll be near the beach, within a 10-minute walk of Golden Sands Beach and Aquapolis. Featured amenities include dry cleaning/laundry services, a 24-hour front desk, and luggage storage. When you stay at Kristel in Varna, you’ll be near the beach, within a 15-minute walk of St. St. Konstantin and Elena Monastery and Saints Constantine and Helena Central Beach. Featured amenities include limo/town car service, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a 24-hour front desk. Free self parking is available onsite. A stay at Hotel Panorama places you in the heart of Varna, within a 10-minute walk of Varna Aquarium and Ethnographic Museum. Featured amenities include a business center, express check-out, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. This hotel has 323 square feet of space consisting of conference space and a meeting room. Located in Golden Sands, HVD Viva Club Hotel & SPA is by the sea, a 5-minute walk from Aquapolis and 12 minutes by foot from Golden Sands Beach. Featured amenities include complimentary newspapers in the lobby, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a 24-hour front desk. A man went on a shooting rampage in the streets of this western Montenegro city Friday, killing 10 people, including two children, before being shot dead by a passerby, officials said.
If you had any business on the eighth floor, and your office was not on that floor, someone would come and fetch you to the room you needed and see you back into the lift when you were through.
Along the lateral walls, in the centre of each gilt-edged panel, was one of the rare engravings of the Hell-Fire Club in which each figure is shown making a minute gesture of scatological or magical significance.
Because he was certainly good-looking.
He motored slowly along the new tarmac road that had been laid across the fields behind Kingsdown.
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As far as the eye could reach the Eastern Approaches of England were dotted with traffic plying towards near or distant horizons, towards a home port, or towards the other side of the world. It was a panorama full of colour and excitement and romance and the two people on the edge of the cliff were silent as they stood for a time and watched it all. Clearly a conceited young man like so many of them in the Secret Service. And why had he been sent down instead of somebody she could work with, one of her friends from the Special Branch, or even somebody from MI5? The message from the Assistant Commissioner had said that there was no one else available at short notice, that this was one of the stars of the Secret Service who had the complete confidence of the Special Branch and the blessings of MI5. Even the Prime Minister had had to give permission for him to operate, for just this one assignment, inside England. But what use could he be in the short time that was left? He could probably shoot all right and talk foreign languages and do a lot of tricks that might be useful abroad. But what good could he do down here without any beautiful spies to make love to. Because he was certainly good-looking. (Gala Brand automatically reached into her bag for her vanity case. She examined herself in the little mirror and dabbed at her nose with a powder puff.) Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold. It had been difficult to say last night. Well, at any rate she had put him in his place and shown him that she wasn’t impressed by dashing young men from the Secret Service, however romantic they might look. There were just as good-looking men in the Special Branch, and they were real detectives, not just people that Phillips Oppenheim had dreamed up with fast cars and special cigarettes with gold bands on them and shoulder-holsters. Oh, she had spotted that all right and had even brushed against him to make sure.
He sat back in his chair and for a moment he had the impression that there was a crowd behind him at each elbow, and that faces were peering over his shoulder, waiting to see his cards. He somehow felt that the ghosts were friendly, that they approved of the rough justice that was about to be done. He cut the cards to Drax with his left hand and with his right knocked the ash off his cheroot into the copper ashtray in the corner of the table. Bond heard the faint hiss as the burning ash hit the water. At the far end, above the cold table, laden with lobsters, pies, joints and delicacies in aspic, Romney’s unfinished full-length portrait of Mrs Fitzherbert gazed provocatively across at Fragonard’s Jeu de Cartes, the broad conversation-piece which half-filled the opposite wall above the Adam fireplace. Along the lateral walls, in the centre of each gilt-edged panel, was one of the rare engravings of the Hell-Fire Club in which each figure is shown making a minute gesture of scatological or magical significance.
description of the design for trade-mark 1,598,775
Drax swivelled back to the table and picked up his cards. Bond watched the big blunt hands sort them. “Hell and damnation,” said Basildon. “What’s the queen doing in Meyer’s hand? Well, I’m damned. Anyway the rest are mine.” He fanned his cards down on the table. He looked defensively at his partner.
As the lights went green he gave a blast on his triple horns, pulled out to the right at the intersection, accelerated brutally and got by, shaking his head angrily at the driver of the saloon as he passed it.
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The head steward was already behind Bond’s chair.
The operation had begun that morning and by close of business the firm had managed to sell British currency short to the tune of twenty million pounds.
The tyres churned up the gravel as he accelerated out of the parking place and dry-skidded into the London road.
Sure, you can make real money, but you can also lose real money quite quickly if you aren’t careful. If you are tired and on your phone at night before bed, it might be best to lock out your mobile casino apps, so you don’t get drawn in by the addictive graphics and lose track of your spending due to fatigue. Drax saw the fury in Bond’s eyes and held up his hand. “After that it was just a question of acting a part. They had no idea who I was. The car that had picked me up had gone or been blown to pieces. I was just an Englishman in an English shirt and trousers who was nearly dead.” They passed the lorry at the top of the hill. It was stopped and there was no sign of the driver. Probably telephoning to the company, thought Drax, slowing up as they went round the first bend. There were lights on in the two or three houses and a group of people were standing round one of the rolls of newsprint that lay amongst the ruins of their front gate.
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It was only two or three times a year that an assignment came along requiring his particular abilities. Bond took out his black gunmetal cigarette-box and his black-oxidized Ronson lighter and put them on the desk beside him. He lit a cigarette, one of the Macedonian blend with the three gold rings round the butt that Morlands of Grosvenor Street made for him, then he settled himself forward in the padded swivel chair and began to read. Bond opened the inner door to the big office with the three desks and shut it behind him. He went and stood by the window, looking out at the late spring green of the trees in Regent’s Park. Well, he’d just have to wait for news from the only leak in the building–the girls’ rest-room, known to the impotent fury of the Security staff as ‘The powder-vine’. Bond had told her as much, often, and he and the two other members of the 00 Section had at various times made determined assaults on her virtue. She had handled them all with the same cool motherliness and, the day after, she treated them with small attentions and kindnesses to show that it was really her fault and that she forgave them. She was tall and dark with a reserved, unbroken beauty to which the war and five years in the Service had lent a touch of sternness. Unless she married soon, Bond thought for the hundredth time, or had a lover, her cool air of authority might easily become spinsterish and she would join the army of women who had married a career. He walked along to the end door on the right.
At a point eighty miles from the site, between the Friesian Islands and Hull, there was a red diamond in the middle of the ocean. It was a severe room painted pale grey, containing a broad desk and several chairs of tubular metal and dark blue canvas. There were two green filing cabinets and a large metal radio set. A half-open door showed part of a tiled bathroom. The desk faced a wide blank wall which seemed to be made of opaque glass. Drax walked up to the walls and snapped down two switches on its extreme right. The whole wall lit up and Bond was faced with two maps each about six feet square traced on the back of the glass. “Damn fool. Always seeing trouble,” he muttered. And then abruptly, as if he wanted to clear his deputy out of his mind, “Come along to my office. Show you the flight plan. Then we’ll go off to bed.” A hundred yards from the site Drax stopped. “I will explain the geography,” he said. She was far more attractive than her photograph had suggested and it was difficult to see traces of the severe competence of a policewoman in the seductive girl beside him. There was authority in the definite line of the profile, but the long black eyelashes over the dark blue eyes and the rather wide mouth might have been painted by Marie Laurencin. Yet the lips were too full for a Laurencin and the dark brown hair that curved inwards at the base of the neck was of a different fashion. There was a hint of northern blood in the high cheekbones and in the very slight upward slant of the eyes, but the warmth of her skin was entirely English. There was too much poise and authority in her gestures and in the carriage of her head for her to be a very convincing portrait of a secretary. In fact she seemed almost a member of Drax’s team, and Bond noticed that the men listened with attention as she answered Drax’s questions. “Ah, my dear fellow,” said Drax boisterously, striding forward to meet him and shaking him cordially by the hand. “So we meet again. And so soon. Didn’t realize you were a ruddy spy for my Ministry or I’d have been more careful about playing cards against you. Spent that money yet?” he asked, leading him towards the fire. Once through the trees the car was running over a flat concrete apron the limits of which, in the bad light, were out of range even of the huge twin beams of his Marchal headlamps. A hundred yards to his left, on the edge of the trees, there were the lights of a large house half-hidden behind a wall six feet thick, that rose straight up off the surface of the concrete almost to the height of the house. Bond slowed the car down to walking pace and turned its bonnet away from the house towards the sea and towards a dark shape that suddenly glinted white in the revolving beams of the South Goodwin Lightship far out in the Channel. His lights cut a path down the apron to where, almost on the edge of the cliff and at least half a mile away, a squat dome surged up about fifty feet out of the concrete. It looked like the top of an observatory and Bond could distinguish the flange of a joint running east and west across the surface of the dome. Bond heard him telephoning to the next guard point. He motored slowly along the new tarmac road that had been laid across the fields behind Kingsdown. He could hear the distant boom of the sea at the foot of the tall cliffs and from somewhere close at hand there was a high-pitched whine of machinery which grew louder as he approached the trees. The RAF sergeant handed it back to him and saluted. “Sir Hugo’s expecting you, sir. It’s the big house up in the woods there.” He pointed to some lights a hundred yards further on towards the cliffs. There was a patch of low cloud on top of the hill and a spit of rain on his windshield. There was a cold breeze coming in from the sea. The visibility was bad and he switched on his lights as he motored slowly along the coast-road, the ruby-spangled masts of the Swingate radar station rising like petrified Roman candles on his right. Well, thought Bond, accelerating down the straight stretch of road past Chilham Castle, he could see that picture too and if he was going to work with the man he must adjust himself to the heroic version.
He parked under cover of the central row of taxis outside Boodle’s and settled himself behind an evening paper over which he could keep his eyes on a section of Drax’s Mercedes which he was relieved to see standing in Park Street, unattended. “Now listen.” There was urgent appeal in Vallance’s voice. Now the Treasury wanted to know what it was all about–whether it was Drax himself selling or one of the big commodity interests who were clients of his firm. The first thing they did was to tackle Vallance. Vallance could only think that in some way the Moonraker was to be a failure and that Drax knew it and wanted to profit by his knowledge. He at once spoke to the Ministry of Supply, but they pooh-poohed the idea. There was no reason to think the Moonraker would be a failure and even if its practice flight was not successful the fact would be covered up with talk of technical hitches and so forth. In any case, whether the rocket was a success or not, there could be no possible reaction on British financial credit. No, they certainly wouldn’t think of mentioning the matter to the Prime Minister. Drax Metals was a big trading organization. They were probably acting for some foreign government. Someone with big sterling balances. Anyway it was nothing to do with the Ministry, or with the Moonraker, which would be launched punctually at noon the next day. It appeared that all that day there had been heavy selling of sterling. It had started in Tangier and quickly spread to Zurich and New York. The pound had been fluctuating wildly in the money markets of the world and the arbitrage dealers had made a killing. The net result was that the pound was a whole three cents down on the day and the forward rates were still weaker. It was front-page news in the evening papers and at the close of business the Treasury had got on to Vallance and told him the extraordinary news that the selling wave had been started by Drax Metals Ltd. in Tangier. The operation had begun that morning and by close of business the firm had managed to sell British currency short to the tune of twenty million pounds. This had been too much for the markets, and the Bank of England had had to step in and buy in order to stop a still sharper run. It was then that Drax Metals had come to light as the seller. Supposing her figures had been right all the time for the target eighty miles away in the North Sea. Then she wouldn’t have been aiming the rocket into the middle of France after all. Ninety degrees to the left of her North Sea target? The firing plan in the little black book. They would drop the Moonraker just about in the middle of London. “At once, mein Kapitän,” said Krebs dutifully. This time after two or three coughs the engine started up and began to purr. Drax gave a startled glance to his right. He put his hand quickly down to his hip-pocket, and then, slowly, deliberately, put it back on the wheel. The sharp turning to Mereworth was just coming up on his left. He braked so that the tyres screamed, changed down and wrenched the car into the side-road. A few hundred yards down it he pulled the car into the side and stopped. Gala was jerked back, but she remembered to let the coat with her guilty hand in its folds fall on the seat between her and the driver. Her chance came, as she had thought it might, in the congested traffic of Maidstone. Drax, intent, was trying to beat the traffic lights at the corner of King Street and Gabriel’s Hill, but the line of traffic was too slow and he was checked behind a battered family saloon. Gala could see that when the lights changed he was determined to cut in front of the car in front and teach it a lesson. He was a brilliant driver, but a vindictive and impatient one who was always anxious for any car that held him up to be given something to remember. Casually she laid her folded coat over the space between herself and Drax. At the same time she made a show of arranging herself comfortably, during the course of which she drew an inch or two nearer Drax and her hand came to rest in the folds of the coat between them.
Ltd.’, ‘The Omnium Corporation’, and ‘Enquiries (Miss E. Twining, OBE)’.
Looking for further clues, Bond noticed that Drax was sweating rather freely.
Another fifteen minutes to Dover and then another ten minutes along the Deal road.
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