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 Sam Neill- "Die Another Day"

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Hilly KCMG
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PostSubject: Sam Neill- "Die Another Day"   Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:09 am

Written in the last few months of MI6's existence. The definitive end to 'Sam Neill's tenure' as Bond following on from Shatterhand, A View to a Kill and Death is So Permanent. Folk hadn't liked these as much but it found some fame late on.

JAMES BOND returns...

PROLOGUE

The Dematerialised Zone, Korea
May 15, 1955


The mist swirled across the land like a tissue; it clung to the telegraph poles, the anti-tank barricades and the South Korean flag that hung somewhat limply in the still air. General Sung Tek-Oh checked his watch then the pale woman standing next to him in the cream overcoat.
“Your man’s late.”
The woman said nothing narrowing her eyes staring down the wooden bridge that spanned the gulf between North Korea and South Korea. The edges of her long blond hair were tugged by the gentle breeze. She cast a look about at the waiting South Korean troopers whose faces hid the fear they might be feeling. Hell, she was scared too but for the primary reason that she was on her first ‘big’ field assignment. Just as she was about to reply to General Sung a voice called from the North. “We have the man, Miss...Macpherson!”
The North Korean had butchered the surname but it did not matter right now. The Englishwoman smiled tightly gesturing to Sung. “Now General.”
General Sung barked in Korean at the helmeted troops standing rigidly by the garishly painted Bedford lorry. They unfurled the canvas cover dragging out a blonde-haired man with sharply crafted features. Upon seeing Macpherson he scowled then spat at her. “I should’ve known it was you. Sending me to my death, hmm?”
“No, though I’d imagine a North Korean living is a fate far worse than death,” she smiled smugly. “You wanted to work for the scum you can live with them.”
“Prisoner exchange? How novel,” the blond retorted. He was frog-marched past her. “You bitch, you’re betraying Britain.”
“You’ll find Mr Creed that it is you who betrayed Britain by deciding to blow up six American soldiers in Seoul.”
Creed reached the wooden bridge’s approach and was held fast. Macpherson went to get a loudhailer from one of the waiting South Korean troops. She walked up to a few feet from the bridge. “We’re ready when you are.”
There was no response until from the other side a red flare shot into the air parting the mist for a moment. A red glow settled upon the south side like a Soho club’s lights. The two soldiers holding Creed threw him forward. He cursed the pair before walking stiffly ahead. He vanished into the mist only to be replaced by a shuffling figure. Macpherson waited until the man wearing the loose-fitting British Army uniform was off the bridge before going to him.
“Captain Reilly. Welcome home.”
The man’s gaunt face was pale, his blue eyes sought her. “I’m...I’m free?”
“Yes. Now if you come with me we’ll get you to Seoul, get you some fresh clothing and then home.”
“Blighty?” Captain Reilly smiled weakly. He let Miranda Macpherson guide him towards the Bedford lorry. General Sung was now dispersing his men. “So good to hear English. After Gloucester Hill I didn’t hear much.”
“You’re safe now.”
“Am I?” Reilly seemed out of it which was hardly surprising after four years of being a prisoner. He was helped into the back joined shortly by Macpherson. As the lorry drove off towards Seoul she thought of Maxwell Creed. Accusing her of treason was rich coming from a man who had done what he did in the name of the Soviet Union. Maybe she would now have the last laugh.
Almost thirty years later Miranda Macpherson would be the first female head of the SIS’ Double-Oh section.
Thirty years later the world would have changed.
Thirty years later, the ghosts of Korea would be prepared.

"Far I hear the bugle blow
To call me where I would not go,
And the guns begin the song,
'Soldier, fly or stay for long.'"

"Comrade, if to turn and fly
Made a soldier never die,
Fly I would, for who would not?
'Tis sure no pleasure to be shot."

"But since the man that runs away
Lives to die another day,
And cowards' funerals, when they come
Are not wept so well at home."

"Therefore, though the best is bad,
Stand and do the best my lad;
Stand and fight and see your slain,
And take the bullet in your brain."



[The end]
A. E. Housman's poem: Day Of Battle




(the very same 'banner' I knocked up for the original posting in 2011)


Last edited by Hilly KCMG on Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:46 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Sam Neill- "Die Another Day"   Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:15 am



living to die another day, perhaps
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PostSubject: Re: Sam Neill- "Die Another Day"   Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:46 am

Sam Neill in “Die Another Day”

(2011/2017
)

The ‘series’ (2009-2011)
Shatterhand
A View to a Kill
Death is So Permanent
Die Another Day

Following on from events in “Death Is So Permanent”

Sam Neill
Maggie Smith
Michael Kitchen
Miranda Richardson
Charles Dance
Elizabeth Hurley as Miss Moneypenny
And Michael Palin as ‘Q’

CHAPTER ONE

“Peril, Peril!”


HMS Venus was one of the Royal Navy’s last Leander frigates still plying a trade in a force that had shrank massively in recent years. The Falklands had merely been the nadir of the Royal Navy in the post-war era. Bases had vanished, colonies gone, ships sold or scrapped and successive governments ripping the life out of the Senior Service. This frigate presently was steaming in the Yellow Sea, well within the territorial waters of nearby South Korea. En route to Hong Kong to represent British interests in the dying days of British rule, the Venus was to patrol with her South Korean allies a North that continued to cause headaches for successive US presidents and British PM’s alike (though less so the latter –any such headaches over Korea to a British PM would be via the US president).
Commander Bradley Hadleigh was a young commander, the frigate being seen as the ideal stepping stone to commanding a newer ship or even one of the Invincible-class carriers one day. The setting sun had painted the horizon a vivid red, silhouetting the Korean peninsula.
“Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight.”
“Sir?” asked his waiting yeoman.
“Nothing Rawlings. Pass me that report before you drop it.”
Rawlings handed it over with a blushing face. The term yeoman was outdated in the modern RN, he was officially a ‘writer’ whose main work was paperwork, or bumpf as it was often dubbed. He knew the skipper was joshing but it didn’t mean he wasn’t embarrassed by this.
Beyond the wide bridge windows two shapes suddenly took form and hurtled across the bows of the frigate prompting cursing from some quarter and an alarm to whoop. Hadleigh dropped the report with shock as the double boom from the fighter jets slammed against his ship.
“What in God’s name!?”
“North Korean Mig’s, sir, they came in from nowhere!” reported radar control situated in the ‘situation room’ behind the bridge. No windows in there, here the ship was truly run.
“They’re coming back for another pass, sir,” observed a rating at the windows. Indeed, the Mig’s came back for a low pass before turning sharply to left and away from the Venus.
“Receiving a transmission in plain language, sir,” this now was the communications officer even now hunched over his console in the command room. “Says we are in North Korean waters and we should turn south now or be attacked.”
“Are we?” Hadleigh asked heading across the bridge. The command room was nearly dark were it not for the lights of the consoles. Here every officer and rating wore what was a mesh of overall and regular uniform that had been around for decades. White sleeves attached to a hood that would ordinarily be pulled up during action stations in the event of fire. Hadleigh stood at the radar station. “Well?”
“No, sir, we are well within South Korean waters as recognised by treaty.”
“Bloody tell them that,” Hadleigh snapped and went to sit in his chair that was on a pedestal at the head of the room.
“No response, sir.”
“Sound Action Stations, close all compartments. Message the Admiralty about this, copy our position to them AND the South.”
The jets made two more sweeps before disappearing back to the peninsula. Venus continued on her course. All of a sudden the ocean seemed quite big and endless in spite of the peninsula being nearby.
“Sir, possible submerged contact,” said sonar sitting next to the radar operator. He had his hands pressed to his headphones as if trying to force the sound into his ears. “Judging by the screw I’d say it’s a Russian Kilo.”
“Of course it would be,” the Kilo was Russia’s main submarine of choice for export. Relatively cost-effective to run, it was a diesel sub (what those in the know called a SSK) it had been sold to many countries and not necessarily always a ‘friendly’ state. Iran, North Korea, even Libya had been rumoured to try and get one. “Starboard fifteen, make steady build of revolutions. Report to Admiralty…”
“Torpedo in the water!” sonar shouted almost jumping from his seat. “Bearing green four-double-oh!”
“Evasive starboard, emergency full both engines!” Hadleigh snapped jumping down from his seat and heading to sonar. Beneath his feet the Rolls-Royce engines built in pitch as they attempted to power the frigate to safety. “Where do they get the brass tack to shoot fish at us?”
“Range four hundred metres, three hundred…sir, it’s going to hit.”
“All hands brace, brace, brace!” Hadleigh punched at the intercom switch on the sonar console. “Brace!”
The torpedo slammed into the midships of the frigate exploding on impact. Explode it did with such vehemence that the ship appeared to lift out of the water. Rapidly, the Venus settled and listed to port. Hadleigh was soon inundated by reports from across the ship. Dozens of casualties already listed, men missing, water flooding above the compartments and overwhelming damage control teams.
“Sir, whatever that fish packed, packed a mighty wallop,” sonar said looking up at the skipper whose face was lit by the ghostly green of his console.
“Indeed,” Hadleigh murmured. No skipper liked to lose a ship of course. Even in the recent Falklands Conflict, those who had lost ships faced a court of inquiry. “Damn it. Signal abandon ship. Comms, inform the Admiralty and signal the South Koreans. We’re going to need help. All right chaps, let’s go.”
Hadleigh was the last to leave the command room, the deck already sloping perilously to port.

**

Heading north at a rate of knots was the American cruiser USS John Quincy Adams. The ‘Quince’ had picked up Venus’ distress calls an hour previously as she herself transited on route to the Mediterranean after a goodwill tour of Australian ports. Her skipper was a seasoned old salt who kept demanding updates and the latest one was brought to him by his number one.
“No further contact from the British, sir. Or the South.”
“Almost as if they never existed.”
The American captain pictured his British brethren in the cold waters of the Yellow Sea. Their original message had been ‘torpedoed by submarine’ towards the middle and he pondered just what would be lurking in the area. Would the submarine be waiting for rescuers? Or would it in true North Korean fashion scuttle for home?
“Cap’n,” a sailor out on the bridge wing called in a Virginian drawl. “Peopl’ in the water.”
The captain went to the bridge windows lifting his binoculars to his eyes as did others. He could just make out in the darkness ahead, shapes defined from the red flares they had lit.
“All stop, port ten. We don’t want to run these poor suckers down.”
As the Adams slowed to a crawl, her momentum carrying her on –the captain ordered radar and sonar to full coverage lest the submarine did what submarines always could do in these circumstances and prey on the rescuer. Rope netting was slung over the grey sides of the cruiser and men took to a whaler to help in the rescue.
All told from the ship’s company of HMS Venus, virtually all of the crew were rescued. They were cold, shocked and stunned at the events that had overwhelmed them. Commander Hadleigh was brought to the bridge draped in a towel emblazoned with the Adams’ crest and motto –‘Preservation is Our Lifeblood’. The American skipper dipped his head in salute. “Captain, I’m sorry we have to meet like this.”
“You and me both,” Hadleigh’s clipped tones reminded the American of Masterpiece Theatre. Shows like Upstairs, Downstairs. “I had hoped…”
“Skipper! Submerged contact approaching at speed, she’s cavitating like you wouldn’t believe!”
The voice from the sonar operator stirred men into action. Cavitating was generally the noise a submarine made outside of her usual remit –i.e, silent running.
“Battlestations, steer zero-four-zero and ready counter-measures.”
Except something did not quite go to plan for the Korean attacker. For one thing, she came to the surface like a beaching whale and even in the darkness could be made out by the foaming water billowing around her. Even as the John Quincy Adams pulled away, the submarine opened a gap.
“Looks like our friends overestimated their own boat,” the American captain said and ordered guns to open fire. In an old fashioned display of firepower the Quince raked the Kilo from stem to stern. Explosions lit the night sky and shortly, quite anticlimactically really, the Kilo was lost from view.
“Sonar, bridge. breaking up sounds…we got her.”
No one cheered though. The American captain saw that Hadleigh had waited near his chair and went to him. “Your ship is avenged.”
“Yes, but at what cost? Have we just started a war?”
The American looked away and ordered his ship to head to South Korea and a relative safe harbour to offload the British survivors. Nice use of ‘we’, implying a collective responsibility, he thought as he hauled himself onto his chair.
Maybe we have, he added to himself.
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