You know the drill by now.

Story so far: I had left the service. Not on active duty. Toyed with reactivation. Brokered a deal for said, on noting the rise of Hugo Drax (old villain; unfinished business) and falling in love with actual WOMAN, codenamed ‘Gala Brand’. But something did not add up on the case or my motivations on said. So I started digging..

De todas formas. I took a weekend at the home of an old friend and field colleague of 25 years. Colonel Johnson. Think Ross Kemp, via Jason Statham. He runs all finance and business ops for the military, having seen action in at least 3 or 4 warzones. The man oozes authority and I trust him, with my life. So, a spell with him and his beloved wife / dogs? Solved my bout of acidity.

‘Mate, I am NOT going there‘, he says, handing me the tools to help fix his vintage car.

‘What if I NEED to ‘go there’?’.

‘Okay. You’re my friend. top-secret.’.

He droops his eyelids with the authority of action that is always there. This is NOT a man to cross. He outranks me in every sense, whilst remaining a most trusted ally. The Col takes me for two separate car rides, one in an Aston Martin and then, a Lotus. He gives an operational summary to me, over a post car fun pint.

You wanted to know. And I will tell you, James, mate. Because we are friends. Ok, here goes. About 20 years ago? Your wife, Tracey, was killed. You were a broken man. So the service deployed you for the most boring work, possible. They also gave you some dangerous stuff, to match. Somewhere between those extremes?

James, you foresaw a time whereby Britain would be threatened, not by some outside force. But by itself. War zones erupting, worldwide. But No UK involvement, directly. As in: an entire generation of males, middle class warriors, in waiting. But lost? You dreamed up a scenario whereby our enemies would exploit that. A new cultural Marxism. So you designed operation GALA. Infiltrate professions, universities, the works. Take the media and social weapons back. Locate possible assets; have women to be out the best in them.‘.

Part of me HAS to push this man. JUST to the wire of him losing temper and giving me a beating..


But I forget it all, somehow? And why ‘GALA’? If Tracey was the catalyst?

Gala Brand was, to you? The one that got away, mate. A perfect girl. You had one operation. Together. Pre Tracey. Before Blofeld. She liked you but she did not ‘love’ you. And you never let that go. She was: engaged. Classy. Red-ish curly hair. Stylish. Professional. So you designed that as some sort of template. I begged you not to. She even threatened you with a kicking.

But you had to be you. Your theory was an army of ‘Galas’ could gather intel, in civilian life, winding up the ambitions of men in the event of a need to be suddenly more mobile. A kind of cellular organization, outside Mi6 yet answerable to it. And dammit, mate? You designed a model that WORKED.

Our very own answer to SMERSH, SPECTRE, QUANTUM: you name it. We now had it. A war. But within the peace. But you HAD to meet one of the leading operatives and you HAD to fall in love. I begged you, like I said, NOT to join intel: it is dirty, grimy work and you are a good man, James. But talent is talent and it seems, though you repressed the memory? Your plan..was perfect’.

Feeling refreshed from my time with the Colonel and his wonderful property/dogs/cars/wife/wine set/home cinema, there is but one course of action. Full return to Mi6. Research operation GALA. Find out EVERYTHING. Negotiate a return to service, albeit on consultancy retainer. Allows me to do other things, whilst claiming total dedication to the job in hand. Find out if this idea has legs.

Audit and assess this army of Gala Brands. And sit down, one by one, with its current leader. The one I have been talking, thinking and blogging about for weeks. We must still call her ‘Gala’, of course, despite that now being a code-name. Her real name of her? Well, frankly, dear reader, you know it, already. I just daren’t type it for fear of breaking macho cover and falling into floods of inconsolably effete tears.

The negotiation is not easy. I meet our finance and tech guru. Hungarian. Saved him, myself, from Russian attention, a few years back. Honest and brilliant but very matter of fact. ‘MEEESTER BOND…If you MUST investigate this op? Zen we vill pay for JUST the ops; Hotels and expenses are NOT going to be negotiable’.

Translation? New 3 month contract and fine and dandy; consulting for Mi6; focus on merits of an op I devised, years back (ie; Operation GALA). But I must therefore visit my actual ‘Gala’ du jour, in action, via much reduced budget.

Savoy Hotel becomes Travelodge; ticket to a party is just that; no mess bill fun; I must pay my own bar tab! Fine. It’s a deal.

And there she is. A ‘Gala’ at the..um..Gala? Stealing the show at a party. Raising funds for Ukraine. Infiltrating each and every angle. Gathering intel. Helping those in need, all the while representing HMG at its best. A true pro, owning a room full of London’s great and good, well to do, wealthy and powerful.

I truly love this girl. Whoever she might be, anything short of worship is impossible. Watching her so much as talk to another man makes one’s blood boil.

Tonight? She is not alone. ‘Gala’ has a friend. Writer. Let’s codename her Vivienne Michael, after that sort I rescued from a hotel full of gangsters. Is she a ‘Gala’, too? Could be. They look like sisters. Strawberry blonde. Svelte. Timeless. Vivienne writes fiction, beautifully so. I mention that I enjoy her work from her though she loathe its male protagonist. ‘Do not judge men in fiction or in fact, James’, she warns. Quite right, too.

One longs for the old securities. To Vesper Lynd (congratulations on YOUR novel, btw). to Trainer Girl. Chastain?! Rhoda, the Air Hostess turned socialite. Parisian Queen of Glamor who trained them all. But no.

But there is no escape.

I am in the lion’s den here. Russian oligarchs, Saudi tech industrialists, Brazilian investors, American power brokers. A MASTERCHEF contestant! A fight trainer for henchmen (he took a shine to both ‘Gala’ and Vivienne; as is the Oligarch…but hey…they have taste, at least, right?).

This is a party, layered with power. Think a benign, non orgy take on EYES WIDE SHUT.

Ergo: Nicole Kidman = ‘Gala’?

Which would render Vivienne a Naomi Watts shoe-inif one were casting them as hitchcock blonde sisters/lovers (sorry…imagination got away with me there…I am JAMES. BOND!).

Put simply? I have seen OPERATION GALA in action. And it works, beautifully. A Frankenstein’s monster of peacetime espionage. Black widows, Red Sparrows, Pussy Galore’s cement gang…they have NOTHING on this mobile, social psy-ops weapon. These agents can infiltrate, extract and then master exfiltration in ANY scenario. PERFECT!

But there is a piece missing. Something I MUST confront. For all that ruthless objectivity? I am very much in love with this ‘Gala’ character, whoever she really is. And so; I grasp bull by horns and arrange a meeting, next day. Nominally? Debrief on the op. really? I sit her down, over tea at a London high street Restaurant.

And I tell her. Everything. For the first time, perhaps in my life? I am going to confess all; expose every vulnerability and just allow myself to be human. She listens; she smiles. But is this ‘Gala’ ‘sold? Can she, in like, take off the espionage mask and just escape with me, however briefly and allow that moment of tender intimacy to creep into the fold?

Can we just ‘be’? Is it possible to allow her to continue her ops de ella and me, likewise? But somehow, somewhere, retain just a glimmer of hope for a real relationship, even love, to blossom, or at very least, a lasting friendship? I await the outcome. Without meaning to end on a cliffhanger, dear reader..TO BE CONTINUED.

Time will tell, it always does, in the end..

NB: THIS IS A WORK OF SATIRICAL FAN FICTION. JAMES BOND 007 = property of EON /DANJAQ/GLIDROSE/Fleming Estate. This work can be amended / tweaked to AN OTHER name / property. No direct profit made or copyright/trademark violation either intended or allowed. ALL EVENTS AND PERSONS ARE FICTIONAL, ALL AND ANY RESEMBLANCE TO REAL WORLD COUNTERPARTS IS UNINTENTIONAL! NO ACTOR OR FRANCHISE ENDORSEMENT IS IM; PLIED VIA CLIPS/PHOTOS USED.

To visit real world London party? Try Chelsea Bash

To hire a fight choreographer or kids’ party piece of note/actor who can rise to all kinds of henchman and stunt scene see here.

To read fiction far better than this? I recommend THIS book/author!


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