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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"   Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:26 am

Sam Neill in “Die Another Day”

Following on from events in “Death Is So Permanent”

CHAPTER ONE

“An Incident”

The Yellow Sea, forty miles due west of Inchon (South Korea)
August 1990


The sleek profile of HMS Portsmouth was etched against the setting sun that August afternoon with the Union flag fluttering freely in the wind. The Type-23 was a Falkland veteran currently on assignment as part of UN obligations to South Korea. The recent collapse of the Soviet Union had left an air of uncertainty over North Korea. For years she had relied upon Russia for aid but now with Russia imploding under the threat of civil war North Korea had to rely on itself.
Captain Hadleigh prowled the bridge of his ship passing his female yeoman as she scribbled on a clipboard. “Penny for your thoughts, yeoman?”
“Fuel consumption report, sir.”
“Joy,” Hadleigh paused to gaze out to sea. Portsmouth would be his last command he suspected before he got a desk job in Portsmouth or Plymouth. What a way to go, patrolling the Yellow Sea. He noticed the radar officer flagging his attention. “Yes, sub?”
“Aircraft on scope, coming from the north. Three of them.”
Eyes flashed forward as the fighter jets screamed across the ship’s bow speeding off into the distance. “Mig-23’s, sir I think.”
“You’re likely right. Go to General Quarters.”
Maybe it was overkill but better safe than sorry, Hadleigh thought as he went to his chair. The jets made two more passes before they vanished for good. They had good reason for a ship was approaching. “North Korean destroyer. Some piece of Russian crap from the 40’s.”
Hadleigh’s gaze settled on the radar sub-lieutenant in his blue and white overalls. “Sub, do you mind?”
“Sorry sir.”
“Sir, they’re sending a signal. Request we heave to for we are in their waters.”
“Tell them we’re in South Korean waters and if he wants that to change he should send it in writing,” Hadleigh growled. The smudge that was the North Korean destroyer grew in size. It was one of their Russian one’s but then the North Korean navy was not known for performance. “Anything, lieutenant?”
“Just static.”
Suddenly the sea either side of the Portsmouth erupted in plumes of white water. Hadleigh jumped off his chair dashing to the windows. “Hard to port! Ready fore guns. Signal the Admiralty that we’re under attack. Pass it onto military command, Seoul.”
Two more shells impacted close by the Portsmouth now turning to port. The signal officer reported that the lines were jammed. “I can’t make it out, sir. They don’t have anything that could jam our communication equipment.”
“Well, they are lieutenant!” Hadleigh gritted his teeth. “I’ll be damned if I go out of this world at the hands of the North Koreans. Return fire, full broadside.”
The guns fore and aft of the Type-23 were never really meant for action owing to the nature of modern warfare. They were for ‘old fashioned’ fighting if anything at all. Nonetheless they flashed orange as the shells erupted from the turrets. The shots bracketed the Korean that now dragged itself to match the Britishers course. At the rear of the bridge the signal officer was now using Morse code. Anything to raise the alarm.
A wave crashed over the raked bow of the Portsmouth as she ploughed onwards. A shell bounced off her bow exploding over to one side. The Britisher scored a direct hit but the North Korean kept on. The signal officer held his headphones in place.
“Sir, I think I’ve got through.”
“Repeat the message and co-ordinates until your wrist bleeds,” the captain was thrown off balance as the ship took a hit. Flames blew up past the bridge windows.

USS John Adams, Yellow Sea

“Got anything chief?”
“Nothing, sir. What signal there was just faded out. I think the message was old anyway. Couple of hours.”
The captain of the Perry-class frigate stroked his bearded chin. The John Adams was powering her way northwards towards the 38th parallel having heard flashes of distress on the radio. A mayday was a mayday whether it was a British destroyer or not. “Alert CINCPAC that we’re responding, pass it onto Seoul and tell them to pass it onto the British Admiralty.”
The sun was growing red over the sea but they continued. The skipper kept pacing until after half an hour a cry went up on the bridge wing. “People in the water!”
“All stop!” the captain ran onto the bridge wing with his binoculars lifting them to his green eyes. He picked out the bodies in the water. Some wore blue shirts and all were thrashing about trying to keep above water. The John Adams slipped past them as it came to a stop. The skipper had ropes lowered as well as a dirigible speedboat to look around the area. A young woman was shown to the bridge wearing a blue shirt and navy blue trousers. Her clothes were starting to show white with the salt. “Sir, I’m captain’s yeoman HMS Portsmouth.”
“Welcome aboard the USS John Adams, what happened yeoman?”
“We were attacked by a North Korean destroyer. Skipper ordered a counter attack but they caught us amidships. They blew our stack off which then broke our back. We sank about an hour ago.”
“Christ,” whispered the radio officer standing close by.
The American captain bit his lip. “The North Koreans just left you?”
“Yes.”
“Sir,” an ensign walked onto the bridge saluting smartly. “We got everybody from the water. I make about eighty in total.” He paused seeing the British yeoman. “Erm...plus twenty dead.”
“That’s half our crew. The rest...must be on the wreck.”
“I’m sorry,” the captain was about to add something when the sonar officer called to him. “Sonar?”
“Underwater contact, sir. One screw...I think it’s a Russian Kilo-class,” the sonar operator pressed a headphone close to his ear. “Yep. Kilo-class. Wait...sir, she’s opening torpedo doors!”
“Full ahead both engines. Ready the decoys!”
The first torpedo missed the John Adams as she sluggishly moved off but the second hit right on her stern blowing one propeller off as well as a chunk of hull.
“Taking on water,” an officer reported a moment afterwards. “Compartments closed. We can keep on, sir.”
“Contact moving ahead of us sir. Probably for a bow shot,” added the sonar operator.
“Keep going and ready depth charges.” The American captain was conscious of the British yeoman by his side. “I wish I knew what the hell was going on. Almost fifty years and now blatant aggression.”
“Contact sluggish, breaking up on radar,” sonar’s voice betrayed his annoyance. His voice broke as he warned. “Torpedo in the water.”
“Break starboard, full on the engines,” the captain wondered if he asked too much of his ship considering it was damaged. The surviving propeller spun like the devil to get the ship moving but the torpedo struck the stern all the same. Any other ship might have broken in two with the impact if not blown up but the John Adams shouldered the blow like a prize-fighter. Decent torpedoes must have been hard to come by in North Korea.
“I want a full damage report,” the captain got up moving into the sonar room. “Anything, lieutenant?”
“She’s coming to the surface. Sound of the hull adapting to the pressure.”
“Slit eyed devils!” the captain returned to the bridge ordering his comm’ officer to request assistance. He was told in return that the ship was making water but the pumps were managing. “Get the gun crews on deck!”
In the warm evening air men ran to the guns at the bow and stern training them on the black submarine that now broke the surface half a mile to port. The heavy machine guns could fire shells capable of damaging the Kilo much like deck guns on old ships and submarines. The skipper went out on deck with his binoculars training them on the sail –the conning tower- of the Kilo. A flag was raised, the battle ensign of the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Figures appeared amongst them a man with epaulets on his shoulders.
“American navy! You have ventured into North Korean waters. Turnabout or be sunk!”
Eyes looked at the captain whose jaw clenched. He dropped the binoculars ignoring the impact on his chest. “Anything from CINCPAC?”
“We’ve been advised to wait,” the captain’s own yeoman said almost apologetically.
“Have the gun crews ready. Pass the word by mouth. Get me a loudhailer!”
“American navy! You will be sunk!”
The captain hoisted the loudhailer leaning over the railings as if calling from a balcony to performers on stage. “This is the captain of the USS John Adams responding. We are in South Korean waters. The parallel is many miles north. I ask YOU to turn about or be sunk!” the captain lowered the loudhailer. “Suck on that you piece of...”
“You have trespassed and now you must pay the price. Surrender and be prepared to be taken in tow!”
The first officer shook his head; the British yeoman’s face a mask of anger. She had just been sunk and wasn’t about to be sunk again. Not today. The captain weighed his options up. The destroyer was damaged it might not make the tow home or to North Korea. She might even be under soon anyway. CINCPAC were their usual helpful selves and Military Command in Seoul useless.
It all took a second.
“Ready torpedoes.” The captain raised his loudhailer. “Could you repeat? Your English isn’t the best.”
During the repeat the captain ordered his gun crews to wait for his signal. Once the Korean finished speaking the captain turned loudhailer to mouth: “Guns!”
The four deck guns chattered into life spitting high calibre shells towards the Kilo-class submarine. The streams of tracer tore into the sail mowing down the four men on deck. Seconds afterwards the submarine began to turn as she began to dive. Torpedoes dropped off the side of the US destroyer making metallic plopping sounds before bouncing just under the surface. Three struck the Kilo under the sail. The first two broke the pressure hull whilst the third penetrated the submarine exploding violently. The broken Kilo fought to stay on the surface but after a short fight sank. Cheers went up from the deck crew but faded out as orders were given.
“We’ll search for more survivors then head for Inchon,” the captain said to the British yeoman who simply nodded and vanished inside. The captain turned to stare at the watery grave of the North Korean submarine.
He hoped he had not fired the first shots in a new war but knew deep down, that he most likely had.
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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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