Stepping out of the Lockheed and down to the runway, Bond was enveloped in the vast, cold, pine-scented wilderness of Canada. It was, he reflected, walking toward the man standing in the light of an open hangar, a land in which to lose oneself. To disappear entirely, dwarfed by geography and distance. He marveled that such a peaceful dominion should be an arena for such bloodshed.
“Commander Bond?” The craggy-faced man with the salt-and-pepper hair and warm green eyes extended a hand. “Ian Chandler. I believe we met in ’47.”
“Inspector.” Bond shook. He remembered Chandler, representing the voice of a fledgling service to the professionals from London, Paris and Washington. “Thank you for meeting me.”
“We’re glad you’re here Commander Bond. We’ll be catching an Army DC-3 to Montreal. I’ve got some coffee and a room set aside for us to talk in while we wait.”
Bond followed Chandler into the vast, echoing hangar. Their DC-3 was undergoing its final checks. A group of weary Canadian soldiers clustered on benches against one wall, rucksacks at their feet. Chandler walked past them to a door set in a wooden wall of makeshift offices and knocked twice. An RCMP constable in shirt-sleeves opened and stepped aside.
“Joe, this is Commander Bond. Go head and let his station contact at the embassy know he’s arrived safely. And bring that coffee in here when you come back.”
“Yes, sir.” The Mountie let himself out. Bond and Chandler settled at a scuffed conference table. Bond glanced around. It was the sort of room for staff meetings, presentations and the like. Chalked on a portable black-board at the room’s end, the words: Distant Early Warning. Bond produced his cigarette case and gestured at the phrase.
“Seems you lot have already got a jump on Arctic air preparedness. We were briefed in London about the chain of radar stations you’ve built in the Arctic. Should give you a good way to keep an eye on Redland.”
“Oh, we’re very much of the same mind on that, Commander Bond.” Chandler gestured at the doorway. “Those boys sitting on benches out there just came back from an experimental deployment on the DEW line. Part of a preparedness exercise for Arctic response. They’re Vandoos, from Valcartier. They’ll be riding the plane back with us to Quebec.”
Bond nodded. “Glad to have them along. I’m sure the DC-3, even crowded, will be more comfortable than that Lockheed.”
“That’s not hard.” Chandler pulled out his own battered packet of Players and lit up. “Mr. Leiter will be waiting for us in Montreal. He has more detail on the war with SMERSH. The RCMP has pulled back and is letting CIA take point. You’ll take over now that you’re here. My job is to provide you some of the relevant background on the Quebec liberation movement and some of our contacts with Roulette in the past year … I had my own meeting with Felix Leiter this morning at the American embassy. CIA has been very generous with its information, Mr. Bond. Please understand, this is all at ‘C’ clearance level. When I disclose you, you will be one of three people in Canada, including the Prime Minister, who know …”
ROULETTE, a James Bond adventure by Jamie Mason. Coming November 2018.