As if to answer him, he heard the clatter of its engine high up in the mountains and in a moment the ungainly black shape crossed the moon and disappeared down the valley. Bond smiled to himself. They were going to have a tough time arguing themselves across Swiss air space this time! But Marc-Ange had thought out an alternative route over Germany. That would also not be fun. They would have to argue the toss with NATO? Well, if a Marseillais couldn't blarney his way across two hundred miles, nobody could!
And now, up the road from Samaden that Bond knew so well, came the iron hee-haw warning of the local fire-engine. The blinking red light on its cabin roof was perhaps a mile away. Bond, carefully approaching the corner of the darkened cable station, prepared his story. He crept up to the wall of the building and looked round. Nobody! No trace except fresh tyre-marks outside the entrance door. Blofeld must have telephoned his man down here before he started and used him and his car for the getaway. Which way had he gone? Bond walked out on to the road. The tracks turned left. Blofeld would be at the Bernina Pass or over it by now, on his way down into Italy and away. It might still have been possible to have him held at the frontier by alerting the fire-brigade, whose lights now held Bond in their beam. No! That would be idiotic. How had Bond got this knowledge unless he himself had been up at Piz Gloria that night? No, he must just play the part of the stupidest tourist in the Engadine!
The shining red vehicle pulled up in front of the cable station and the warning klaxons ran down with an iron groan. Men jumped to the ground. Some went into the station while others stood gazing up at the Piz Gloria, where a dull red glow still showed. A man in a peaked cap, presumably the captain of the team, came up to Bond and saluted. He fired off a torrent of Schwyzerdütch. Bond shook his head. The man tried French. Bond again showed incomprehension. Another man with fragmentary English was called over. 'What is it that is happening?' he asked.
Bond shook his head dazedly. 'I don't know. I was walking down from Pontresina to Samaden. I came on a day excursion from Zurich and missed my bus. I was going to take a train from Samaden. Then I saw these explosions up the mountain' - he waved vaguely - 'and I walked up there past the station to see better, and the next thing I knew was a bang on the head and being dragged along the path.1 He indicated his bleeding head and the raw elbows that protruded from his torn sleeves. 'It must have been the broken cable. It must have hit me and dragged me with it. Have you got a Red Cross outfit with you?'
'Yes, yes.' The man called over to the group, and one of his colleagues wearing a Red Cross brassard on his arm fetched his black box from the vehicle and came over. He clucked his tongue over Bond's injuries and, while his interrogator told Bond's story to the Captain, bade Bond follow him into the toflette in the station. There, by the light of a torch, he washed Bond's wounds, applied quantities of iodine that stung like hell, and then strapped wide strips of Elastoplast over the damage. Bond looked at his face in the mirror. He laughed. Hell of a bridegroom he was going to make! The Red Cross man cluck-clucked in sympathy, produced a flask of. brandy out of his box, and offered it to Bond. Bond gratefully took a long swig. The interpreter came in. 'There is nothing we can do here. It will need a helicopter from the mountain rescue team. We must go back to Samaden and report. You wish to come?'
'I certainly do,' said Bond enthusiastically, and, with many politenesses and no question of why he should attempt the icy walk to Samaden in the dark instead of taking a taxi, he was borne comfortably to Samaden and dropped off, with the warmest gestures of goodwill and sympathy, at the railway station.
* * *
By a raiding Personenzug to Coke and then by express to Zurich, Bond got to the door of the flat of Head of Station Z in the Bahnhofstrasse at two in the morning. He had had some sleep in the train but he was almost out on his feet, and his whole body felt as if it had been beaten with wooden truncheons. He leaned wearily against the bell ticketed 'Muir' until a tousled man in pyjamas came and opened the door and held it on the chain. 'Um Gottes Willen! Was ist denn los?' he inquired angrily. The English accent came through. Bond said, 'It's me that's “los”. It's 007 again, I'm afraid.'
'Good God, man, come in, come in!' Muir opened the door and looked quickly up and down the empty street. 'Anyone after you?'
'Shouldn't think so,' said Bond thickly, coming gratefully into the warmth of the entrance hall. Head of Z closed the door and locked it. He turned and looked at Bond. 'Christ, old boy, what in hell's been happening to you? You look as if you'd been through a mangle. Here, come in and have a drink.' He led the way into a comfortable sitting-room. He gestured at the sideboard. 'Help yourself. I'll just tell Phyllis not to worry - unless you'd like her to have a look at the damage. She's quite a hand at that sort of thing.'
'No, it's all right, thanks. A drink'll fix me. Nice and warm in here. I never want to see a patch of snow again as long as I live.'
Muir went out and Bond heard a quick confabulation across the passage. Muir came back. 'Phyllis is fixing the spare room. She'll put some fresh dressings and stuff out in the bathroom. Now then' - he poured himself a thin whisky and soda to keep Bond company and sat down opposite him -'tell me what you can.'
Bond said, 'I'm terribly sorry, but I can't tell you much. The same business as the other day. Next chapter. I promise you'd do better to know nothing about it. I wouldn't have come here only I've got to get a signal off to M, personal, triple X cipher to be deciphered by recipient only. Would you be a good chap and put it on the printer?'
'Of course.' Muir looked at his watch. 'Two-thirty am. Hell of a time to wake the old man up. But that's your business. Here, come into the cockpit, so to speak.' He walked across to the book-lined wall, took out a book and fiddled. There was a click and a small door swung open. 'Mind your head,' said Muir. 'Old disused lavatory. Just the right size. Gets a bit stuffy when there's a lot of traffic coming or going, but that can't be helped. We can afford to leave the door open.' He bent down to a safe on the floor, worked the combination, and brought out what looked like a portable typewriter. He set it on the shelf next to the bulky teleprinter, sat down, and clacked off the prefix and routing instructions, winding a small handle at the side of the machine at the end of each word. 'OK. Fire away!'
Bond leaned up against the wall. He had toyed with various formulas on his journey down to Samaden. It had to be something that would get through accurately to M and yet keep Muir in the dark, keep his hands clean. Bond said, 'All right. Make it this, would you? REDOUBT PROPERLY
FIXED STOP DETAILS LACKING AS EYE WENT SOLO AFTER THE OWNER WHO GREATLY REGRET GOT AWAY AND PROBABLY ITALICIZED BY NOW STOP FORWARDING FULL REPORT FROM STATION M THEN GRATEFULLY ACCEPTING TEN DAYS LEAVE SIGNED 007.'
Muir repeated the signal and then began putting it, in the five-figure groups that had come off the Triple X machine, on to the teleprinter.
Bond watched the message go, the end of another chapter of his duties, as Marc-Ange had put it, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. What would Her Majesty think of this string of crimes committed in her name? God, it was stuffy in the little room! Bond felt the cold sweat break out on his forehead. He put his hand up to his face, muttered something indistinctly about 'that bloody mountain' and gracefully crumpled to the floor.
Happiness Without a Shadow?
TRACY GAZED at him wide-eyed when she met him outside Passport Control at Munich Airport, but she waited until they were inside the little Lancia before she burst into tears. 'What have they been doing to you?' she said through her sobs. 'What have they been doing to you now?'
Bond took her in his arms. 'It's all right, Tracy. I promise you. These are only cuts and bruises, like a bad ski-fall. Now don't be a goose. They could happen to anyone.' He smoothed back her hair and took out his handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes.
She took the handkerchief from him .and laughed through her tears. 'Now you've ruined my eye-black. And I put it on so carefully for you.' She took out her pocket mirror and carefully wiped away the smudges. She said, 'It's so silly. But I knew you were up to no good. As soon as you said you were going off for a few days to clean up something instead of coming to me, I knew you were going to get into more trouble. And now Marc-Ange has telephoned and asked me if I've seen you. He was very mysterious and sounded worried. And when I said I hadn't he just rang off. And now there's this story in the papers about Piz Gloria. And you were so guarded on the telephone this morning. And from Zurich. I knew it all tied up.' She put back her mirror and pressed the self-starter. 'All right. I won't ask questions. And I'm sorry I cried.' She added fiercely, 'But you are such an idiot! You don't seem to think it matters to anyone. The way you go on playing Red Indians. It's so - so selfish.'
Bond reached out and pressed her hand on the wheel. He hated'scenes'. But it was true what she said. He hadn't thought of her, only of the job. It never crossed his mind that anybody really cared about him. A shake of the head from his Mends when he went, a few careful lines in the obituary columns of The Times, a momentary pang in a few girls' hearts. But now, in three days' time, he would no longer be alone. He would be a half of two people. There wouldn't only be May and Mary Goodnight who would tut-tut over him when he came back from some job as a hospital case. Now, if he got himself killed, there would be Tracy who would at any rate partially die with him.
The little car wove expertly through the traffic. Bond said, ' I'm sorry, Tracy. It was something that had to be done. You know how it is. I just couldn't back out of it. I really wouldn't have been happy here, like I am now, if I'd shirked it. You do see that, don't you?'
She reached out and touched his cheek. ' I wouldn't love you if you weren't a pirate. I expect it's in the blood. I'll get used to it. Don't change. I don't want to draw your teeth like women do with their men. I want to live with you, not with somebody else. But don't mind if I howl like a dog every now and then. Or rather like a bitch. It's only love.' She gave him a fleeting smile. 'Die Welt, with the story in it, is behind the seat on the floor.'
Bond laughed at her mind-reading. 'Damn you, Tracy.' He reached for the paper. He had been aching to see what it said, how much had come out.
There it was, down the central gutter between the first lead, inevitably on Berlin, and the second, equally inevitably, on the miracle of the latest German export figures. All it said, 'from our correspondent', date-lined St Moritz, was 'MYSTERIOUS EXPLOSIONS ON PIZ GLORIA. Cable Railway to Millionaires' Resort Destroyed'. And then a few lines repeating the content of the headings and saying that the police would investigate by helicopter at first light in the morning. The next headline caught Bond's eye: 'IN ENGLAND, POLIO SCARE'. And then, date-lined the day before from London, a brief Reuter dispatch: 'The nine girls held at various British airports on suspicion of having had contact with a possible polio carrier at Zurich Airport, also an English girl, are still being held in quarantine. A Ministry of Health representative said that this was purely a routine precaution. A tenth girl, the origin of the scare, a Miss Violet O'Neill, is under observation at Shannon Hospital. She is a native of Eire.'
Bond smiled to himself. When they were pushed, the British could do this sort of thing supremely well. How much co-ordination had this brief report required? To begin with, M. Then the CID, MIS, Ag. and Fish., HM Customs, Passport Control, the Ministry of Health, and the Government of Eire. All had contributed, and with tremendous speed and efficiency. And the end product, put out to the world, had been through the Press Association to Reuter. Bond tossed the paper over his shoulder and watched the Raiser Yellow buildings of what had once been one of the most beautiful towns in Europe, now slowly being rebuilt in the same old Kaiser Yellow, file by in their post-war drabness. So the case was dosed, the assignment over!