• Published 25th Nov 2012
  • 15,995 Views, 986 Comments

For Queen and Country - Gherkin

After disastrous events in Istanbul, 007 ends up in Equestria.

  • ...

01: Another Way to Die

"Vesper, she gave everything for you. Forgive her. Forgive yourself."


Many people wonder what death will be like. How painful it will be, and what will happen to them after. Some believe they go to heaven, others believe they are reincarnated as another form of being. However, no one could be one hundred percent certain what kind of experience death will be.

James had never been much of a spiritual or religious person, so the thought never really crossed his mind. Death for him was just another workplace hazard, considering that killing was one of the main reasons for his employment. It was bound to happen one day however. As he himself had said, "double-ohs have a very short life expectancy." Still, it came as a surprise when he found himself rapidly losing consciousness, plummeting from the roof of a moving train to the ravine below with a bullet in his chest.

And yet, for him, death felt distinctly... alive.

His eyes fluttered open tentatively. By the powers that be, 007 had somehow survived. Surprised, but confused, the secret agent took a moment to observe his surroundings. He seemed to be contained within a dark and dingy cell, the only source of light coming from a barely lit candle that sat on a table, on the other side of a set of iron bars. The cell was old, like the kind of thing people would pay to see in old medieval castles. There was a draft too, and Bond found himself shivering as he pulled himself up.

He sat up slowly, rubbing the back of his head. He had no idea where he was, or how he had gotten there. The last thing he remembered was plunging into a river, bleeding out from a bullet wound. The events leading up to then began to leak back into his mind. He was fighting that bastard on the roof of a moving train. Damn it, he thought. She must have taken the shot and missed. A list of possible scenarios ran through his head. He could have been brought here by someone, but who, he was not certain. Hell, MI6 could have dragged him back to the Tower of London for all he knew.

Standing up, he began to notice more about his surroundings. Namely, the roof of his cell was very low, so low in fact that he could only just stand without hitting his head. Secondly, he was still wearing the same suit, however it was perfectly clean. There were no traces of blood, and no bullet hole. No indication to the fact that he had been shot at all.

Speaking of which, why wasn't he in pain? He had been shot straight through the chest, no one could shrug that off. He tried to feel for his bullet wound, only to find nothing there.

As confused as he was, his mind was pulled towards more important matters when he heard two male voices, rapidly approaching from somewhere outside his cell. Quietly, he leaned against the wall by the door, trying to make out what they were saying.

"How's he doing?" came one voice.

"Fine," replied the other, "But I haven't checked on him in a while."

"This is perfect. Now we have the ultimate weapon, we can finally reclaim what is rightfully ours!"

The two voices were right outside his cell by now. "Of course. From what I've read, human beings were complete savages, and yet they submit easily to pressure. It will be easy for him to do as we wish. But we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves, there is still much to do." Bond heard the sound of something being picked up off the table. "What is this?" the second voice asked.

"I'm not sure. I think it's a weapon, but we'll check properly later."

007 couldn't help it any longer, he had to get a look at who had imprisoned him; the people who obviously had such malicious intentions for him. He peeked through the iron bars of his cell. What he saw was probably the last thing he expected.

Two pastel coloured equines were busy inspecting his handgun. Both of them had dark colour palettes, one with a grey coat and black mane, the other a navy blue coat and dark red mane. One of them seemed to have wings. Overcome with the absurdity of the situation, James burst out into laughter.

Caught by surprise, they both turned around, looking at the spy with confusion. One recovered his composure quickly, despite the fact that James was still in a fit of laughter. “So,” he said, trying to put on the most menacing voice possible. “You’re finally awake. You were in there for hours, we thought you might be dead.”

Bond took a few deep breaths, calming himself down, before looking the pony in the eye. Smiling again, he looked at the other one, the one with wings. “Does he always pull this?” he asked. “Seriously, you couldn’t intimidate a five year old with that.”

The grey pony snorted in anger. “Shut up. You forget, you’re the one behind bars here. You’re going to do as we say.”

Bond burst out laughing again. “Me? Taking orders from a talking horse?" he managed to say, still in hysterics. "So this is where people go when they die? Imprisoned forever by a talking little girl’s toy?”

“I said shut up!” the stallion barked, staring daggers at the agent. His friend, the one with wings, managed to suppress a snigger. Regaining his composure, the grey one continued. “You make no sense, but that doesn’t matter. We didn’t ask for an intelligent creature, and we don’t need one.”

“Well, tough luck,” Bond muttered, having finally calmed down. “Looks like you picked out the short straw.” Stretching, the human stood up and faced his assailants on the other side of the iron bars. “Well, fine,” he said to them. “If I’m going to be your puppet, or whatever it is you want me to be, then you can at least tell me what the hell you are and what pitiful hole you crawled from.”

The blue one with wings snorted with amusement. “Heh, you weren’t kidding, it really is stupid.” He chuckled, nudging his friend. “Well, since you’re so damn interested, we’re ponies. I am a pegasus, and my friend here, Brute Force, is an earth pony. The mare who brought you here is a unicorn.”

James sighed and looked away, laughing slightly. “Of course. So how did she bring me here, this unicorn friend of yours?”

“You don’t need to know the details,” the pegasus replied flatly. “In fact, the less you know, the better.” He went to leave before turning to the grey earth pony. “I’m going back to Quill to go over our plans. You stay here and watch... it.” He sneered at James and trotted out of the room.

Bond sat down again, trying to think of a plan. There weren't many options for his escape, and even if he did, he didn't even know where he could be escaping to. He studied his cell for a moment, thinking. He could escape if he somehow got the stallion keeping an eye on him closer. He had an idea, but whether it would work was a mystery.

"So," he started, standing back up and leaning casually leaning against the wall. "Where you from?"

"Shut it," the pony grunted, busy reading a dusty old book.

Bond persisted. "Oh, come on. A proud stallion like you can't have just come from any old two-bit town."

The trick worked. Smirking, the earth pony looked up from what he was reading. "You're right. Las Pegasus isn't just any old two-bit city. More exciting than the pathetic capital we call Canterlot, and more sophisticated than a cesspit such as Ponyville." The stallion stood up, advancing towards 007, who now stood in front of the bars of his cell. "And when we are done, Pegasus will be a shining beacon in the middle of the San Palamino Desert. No city shall be more magnificent!" By now he was inches away from Bond's face.

"Really?" the spy deadpanned, before quickly thrusting both hands through the metal bars and slamming the stallion's head into them. The pony collapsed, knocked out cold. "I'm happy for you."

Satisfied with his handiwork, 007 began to look around for the key to his cell. He started by checking his assailant's unconscious body, but there was nothing there. He got up and scanned the room, before his eyes fell upon a set of keys next to his gun. "Shit," he muttered, looking for an alternative way out. He glanced around his room frantically, but there was nothing that could aid him. Instead, he grasped the bars of his cell door, giving them a firm tug. The door shifted slightly.

An idea forming in his mind, Bond stepped back, taking a deep breath, before kicking the door with all of his might. There was an ear-splitting screech, and the door flew open, almost coming off it’s hinges. Smirking, he stepped out of his cell and over the body of his captor. Reaching the table, he scanned a few papers that were scattered around, but they were irrelevant to his situation; mostly just out of date newspapers. Deciding to make haste, he picked up the set of keys and his handgun. Strange, he thought. I remember dropping mine on the train. Still, I'm not complaining.

Before leaving, he checked over his weapon. The Walther PPK, the standard issue firearm for all MI6 operatives. It was mostly clean, and fully loaded. Looking in the desk’s drawer, he found the spare magazines he was carrying before and stashed them in his holster. Satisfied, he swiftly left the room, entering a dimly lit hallway. Keeping his gun ready, he crept further away from his cell room. As he neared the next doorway, he could hear two voices. One belonged to the pegasus he had talked to previously, while the other was unfamiliar.

"He was asking questions," the pegasus stallion growled. "Tell me, how exactly did you get him here again?"

"A complicated teleport spell," came a female voice, who sounded fearful. "This castle is where the Elements of Harmony were originally located, so there is a lot of ambient magic energy floating around here."

“Right.” Judging by his voice, the pegasus only just grasped what she had said. His hooves shuffled along the ground, and he seemed to address someone else. "Keep an eye on her, I'm going to get something to eat."

"Well, save something for me," the stallion he was talking to replied jokingly.

"Ah, screw you." The clopping of his hooves got louder, and Bond found himself pressing back against the wall as the burly pegasus left the room, thankfully not glancing in his direction as he made his way towards the exit.

After his captor was well out of sight and earshot, 007 dared to peek inside the room. He saw a younger looking mare reading through a selection of books and furiously scribbling down notes, all while keeping a wary eye on the muscular earth pony guard on the other side of the room, who was busy entertaining himself by listening to a nearby radio. Taking a deep breath, he strode into the room, advancing towards the guard. Taken by surprise, the earth pony could do nothing as the agent threw him back against the wall, delivering a few brutal punches before the pony went down.

Bond quickly turned to the shocked unicorn scientist, who, while still shaking uncontrollably, was charging up some sort of spell from her horn. James swiftly moved over to her and flicked her horn, which shuddered and stopped glowing.

“Please... please don’t hurt me,” the mare whimpered, trying to scramble away.

007 stood over her, blocking her path. “We’ll see. First, you’re going to tell me three things: where the hell I am, what the hell you are, and what is going on.” He scowled at her. “Now, that won’t be too difficult, will it?”

The scientist shook her head quickly.

“Well, go on.”

The mare looked up at him, and stood up slowly, calming down a little now that Bond had lost the edge of his aggressive demeanour. “Well, you’re in Equestria. The Everfree Forest to be exact. You don’t know where that is, do you?” She asked in response to his clueless expression.

Bond shook his head, before checking on the earth pony guard. He was still unconscious, snoring on the floor.

“And I’m a pony, a unicorn.” She chuckled slightly. “You know, I could ask the same thing about you.”

“I’m asking the questions here.” Bond glared at her, before sighing. “What’s your name?”

“Quill. Lavender Quill.” She glanced towards the doorway, before looking back at him. "Look, I don't know who or what you are, but you have to help me."

James raised an eyebrow. "Help you? And why should I do that?"

"These stallions, they're part of this crazy organization," Quill whispered. "They kidnapped me for this project of theirs, and threaten to kill me if I don't help them!"

Bond scowled at her. "Why should I believe you?"

The unicorn shakily held up an ID card. "I work at the University of Canterlot, I write articles on new types of teleportation spells," she tried to explain. "They grabbed me while I was on my way home, and another one of them cast a spell so I couldn't just teleport away."

Bond pondered this for a moment. "Okay, so you need my help." He held out a hand, which she nervously took. "Then maybe we can come to some sort of mutual agreement," he told the scientist, pulling her to her hooves.

She sniffed and wiped her eyes. "And what's that?"

"You tell me how to get out and where to go, and I'll get you out of here safely."

Lavender nodded. "Yeah, okay." She had managed to calm herself down, and had put on a brave face.

James smiled slightly. "Then let's get going."

He led the mare back out into the hallway, keeping an eye out for any more patrolling guards. He wasn't too worried about the stallions he'd already knocked out; they wouldn't be waking up for some time.

They both hastily made their way down through the hallway to an old door on the far side. Peering through it, James saw what looked like the battered remains of a medieval-style castle. There was some sort of pedestal in the middle, where there was room for six statues of some kind, however it was empty.

007, on the other hand, was more concerned about the five or so stallion guards that stood beyond the door. Of them all, there were two earth ponies, two pegasi, and a unicorn. Fortunately, all of them had their backs to him. Turning to Lavender, he raised a finger to his lips and motioned for her to stay put.

Pushing open the door slowly, he crept out into the room, keeping his eye on the stallion who was closest to him. Smiling, he stood behind the pegasus and cleared his throat loudly. Everypony in the room quickly whirled round to face him.

"Sorry to interrupt," he announced, putting on his best mock innocence tone as possible. “But it was kind of boring back in my cell. Do you do room service?”

The five stallions before him simply stared at the human, perplexed. Bond laughed slightly, before promptly punching the pegasus in front of him square in the jaw. His friends responded immediately, each adopting a different aggressive stance. An earth pony to James’ left lunged towards him, trying to catch the agent off guard. Bond anticipated the tackle, and quickly sidestepped, before driving the heel of his foot into the back of the brute’s head, sending him sprawling across the floor.

The rest weren’t quite as gullible. They all took up defensive positions, scanning the human as they all stood, waiting for one party to make a move. It was Bond who went on the offensive, quickly approaching the second pegasus, throwing a calculated right hook that sent the stallion spinning. James grabbed him just as a unicorn on the other side of the room sent off a charged bolt of energy. The agent ducked behind his equine shield, wincing slightly as the pony screamed in pain, before going limp.

Three down, two to go. Capitalizing on his opponent’s confusion, he leaped towards the unicorn. The stallion, panicking as he saw the spy barrelling towards him, sent off a wild blast of magic that grazed Bond on the shoulder. It did little to deter him, as he still tackled the unicorn to the ground. His target struggled, trying to break free, but James delivered a quick chop to the neck and snapped his horn off, leaving his assailant unconscious.

All that was left was the final earth pony, who stood on the other room, trying to make himself look as intimidating as possible. Bond could tell, however, that all of his morale had been drained at the sight of his friends being defeated so easily. Still, the stallion reared, and charged towards 007.

“Nice try,” James muttered to himself, before swiftly dodging to the side, whipping out his handgun and firing two point-blank shots into the back of the pony’s skull. The stallion went limp, before crashing to the ground. Wiping off the blood dripping from his hands, he walked back over to the door, where Lavender Quill had been watching the whole time. He opened the old door to let her through, but she didn’t move.

“What is it?” he asked her. “What’s wrong?”

“You... you killed them!” she managed to stammer. “How could you just kill them?”

“It was nothing personal,” Bond answered, without remorse. “Besides, they were going to kill us too, if they found us.” He held out his hand and pulled her to her hooves. “Come on, we need to keep moving. There’s bound to be more of them.”

Stepping over the bodies of the guards, the two of them quickly hurried out of the castle and into what seemed to be some sort of forest. Surrounding the castle was a large, deep gorge, but Bond could see no way across it.

“I think the way out is this way,” Lavender announced, trotting past James. “There’s a rope bridge around here, I think.” 007 watched her canter around the side of the castle, before following. He wasn’t a superstitious person, but he could feel something strange about this place. Something unnatural. Either way, it didn’t matter; he didn’t even know where he was anyway.

The professor lead him to the back of the castle, beyond which lay, as she had noted, a long rope bridge. One thing was for certain. It didn’t look safe at all. “Really?” Bond asked, raising an eyebrow at the mare.

“Do you see any other way out of here?” she asked with a hint of sarcasm, before tentatively stepping out onto the first plank of wood. “Come on. We need to hurry, in case they find out what happened.”

James would be lying if he said he wasn’t apprehensive about crossing the dilapidated bridge, but it seemed to be his only option. “Here goes nothing,” he muttered, tentatively putting one foot onto the bridge. Finding that it held well, he stepped out further. The bridge seemed perfectly capable of holding both the agent and the unicorn, so they made haste to the other side.

“Okay,” Bond called out to Quill once they had finally reached the other side. “Just tell me how I can reach civilization, and you can go.”

“There’s a town north of here, I think,” she pointed out. “I think it’s called Ponyville. The ponies there are really nice, so I think you should be fine.”

James grimaced. He wasn’t sure how the population would react to what was obviously not a common sight in their land. “Fine. And before you go home, tell the guard, or police, or whatever, what happened here.”

Quill nodded, giving a small smile. “Oh, and thanks, Mister...”

“Bond. James Bond.”

“Mr. Bond. Good luck!” She smiled at him sheepishly again, before disappearing in a flash of light.

James just stood there for a moment, pondering the absurdity of the situation he now found himself in, before setting off north further into the woods. He didn’t know how long the walk would be, but, thankfully, the sun was starting to rise.

Well, it’s certainly been a strange day, he thought.

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