Title: So You Want to be a 00?
Warnings: Canon Typical
Word Total: 1476
“How many in this class?” M asked as she stared over the men who were going through the entry tests to enter MI-6.
“Thirty, mum,” Tanner told her.
From the corner of her eye, she saw him looking at the list on his clipboard. M knew he had notes ready on each of the candidates for her to review, but she wanted his opinion. “Which one has your attention, Tanner?”
“Bond and Trevelyan, mum,” her second told her promptly. He hadn’t, she was pleased to notice, hesitated on naming his choices. She had her own, but she wanted to see what about those two men had grabbed Tanner’s attention.
“And they are?” M asked.
“Third row, second from the left is Trevelyan and Bond is fifth row, last one on the right,” Tanner said after scanning the faces below them.
M took a look at the two in question. They had indeed been on her short list. Trevelyan was a tall bruiser of a man, with rugged features, bright blue eyes and a cheeky grin. Bond was just as tall, with finer features and eyes that wouldn’t be out of place on a wolf. Both men stared up at her for several heartbeats before returning their attention to the instructor. “Apparently they have good ears. Very handy for an asset.”
“Yes, mum,” Tanner answered before flicking on a white noise generator. “Both have scored in the top 10% on all tests, especially infiltration and extractions. Bond managed to break two institutional records by himself and the two of them have shattered an additional three when teamed together.”
“Interesting,” M allowed. “And their range scores?”
Tanner finally referred back to his clipboard and nodded once. “Both are excellent marksmen, and they have qualified with the various sniper rifles available in the academy. They have gone through the pistol tests and both men show an almost preternatural ability to hit their targets, as long as they are within the effective range of their guns.”
“Excellent,” M hummed softly to herself for a moment as she took in the men below her. “And their soft skills?”
“For the most part, they excel there too. Both are a bit rough around the edges but trainable,” Tanner reported.
“Well, they sound good on paper at least. Do you think they would be good as potential Double O’s?” M asked. She had qualities that she was looking for to fill out the ranks of her most dangerous spies and Tanner’s picks were interesting. If they stayed interesting, the two men would be moved to her short list for candidates for the Double O program. If they didn’t stay interesting? Well, MI-6 needed regular spies too and she had her eye on several of this class to fill out those ranks too.
“I think they both would make good, but different Double O’s. Trevelyan is blunt to the point of rudeness, but he has shown a polish to him that only seems to appear when he wants it to. I’m not sure that sending him out on classic honey-pot missions would work because he doesn’t strike me as someone who will tumble in and out of beds at will,” Tanner said.
Tanner shrugged one shoulder. “Bond is willing to bend his personality to get what he wants. He’s manipulative, sneaky, quick to exploit any opening he can get or make and ruthless enough to take advantage of any weakness he can sense. He also doesn’t seem to have any hang-ups about being naked in front of anyone. Would I send Bond out on a honey-trap mission? Yes.”
“Interesting,” M said, voice soft. “Have they been through their House training?”
“No, mum,” Tanner said promptly. “None of the candidates have. Today is a cut day and tomorrow the remaining candidates will be taken to the House for evaluation.”
“If they pass, make sure Bond and Trevelyan get lessons and Bond gets the full package. Keep me updated on their progress,” M directed.
“Yes, mum,” Tanner murmured before he stepped back and left her to her thoughts.
“Do you have any idea what was going on earlier, Jamie?” Alec asked, in the one language they shared that he was reasonably certain was private; Scots Gaelic. He was carefully shaving the days’ worth of scruff he carried off his chin.
“There was an older woman observing us,” James said in the same language, voice soft and almost lost in the sound of water from their shower. “She was treated with a great deal of respect by everyone and a lot of difference.”
“Was she paying attention to anyone in particular?” Alec asked after he rinsed his face clean. He vaguely remembered noticing someone observing them as they had run through a workout. Concentrating, he tried to pull up the image of the only strangers in that day.
The brogue that James normally suppressed was clear in his voice as he cut through Alec’s thoughts. “She as looking at us, the two pretty boys we marked and also Rodriguez.”
Alec nodded once before he headed out of the head. “Older lady with mostly white hair, conservative dress, sensible heels, string of pearls, the Doberman at her back and more dangerous than our instructor?”
“That was her,” James agreed.
“Right. Well, the pretty boys are very pretty. God knows, distracting as fuck in and out of clothes. My guess is they will get some interesting training. And missions,” Alec called as he started pulling sleep pants on. He never slept naked. It was too easy to get in trouble that way when drills happened at any time of the day or night.
“Aye, I agree about them,” James rumbled as he turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. “But remember, if we get chosen, we are all likely to be up for those types of missions. Not everyone’s taste runs to the delicate pretty things.”
“Okay, I can see that,” Alec said as he flopped down on his bed. “And Rodriguez? Think he would face a mission like that?”
James walked out of the head already dressed and scrubbing his head with a towel. Not that it would do any good, Alec thought. Both of them were sporting regulation haircuts and that meant short. Pulling the cloth away from his face his best friend looked at him and shook his head. “Rodriguez is a hacker, Alec. That means they want him for something other than his face.”
“Fine,” Alec stared up at the ceiling and sighed. “I can’t believe I miss the Navy.”
“You just miss the waves rocking your grumpy arse to sleep,” James muttered. “Better get some of that. Training starts early.”
“Okay, gentlemen, today is going to be a bit different. We are going to visit a House. You will be allowed full access,” their instructor went on to detail what was expected of them while on their trip and how long they had.
James shared a glance with Alec. Both of them were in agreement, going to a House was a big deal and neither of them had any idea why MI-6 was taking them. However, both of them had gone to one before and knew how to act. From the way some of their fellow applicants were reacting, they were facing something new.
“Gonna indulge, Jamie?” Alec asked quietly as they got on the bus taking them to the House.
“If MI-6 is taking us to a House, it’s a test, Alec,” James returned, voice just as quiet. “Be on your best behavior and treat the House members like the professionals they are.”
“Good point and I will,” Alec said with a nod. “Now, boy or girl?”
James snorted softly as he debated possible partners with Alec for the whole twenty-minute trip. Neither of them had any real preference or hang-ups over the sex of their partners, and they ended with no decision made. Well, other than they would wait to see who caught their eye.
When the lot of them got off the bus, the House was all they had expected it to be. There were somewhere in an older part of town, and the façade of the building they were facing was understated in the extreme. There were no signs of what type of business was run out of it and that more than anything told James there was a lot of money involved in this House.
As they walked in, they were greeted by a smartly dressed gentleman who directed them to a parlor. Once they were all in their hose clapped his hands once to get their attention. “Welcome to my House, gentlemen. I’m sure you’ve been briefed on how to behave. We’re all trained adults, we’ve all been briefed on why you are here and yes, you will be graded.”