Q entered the store, his face grave and his gait heavy. Age was obviously catching up to him finally.
Thankfully, this wasn’t the other Q. Anya still had nightmares about her time with him. This was the
British Q, agent of her Majesties government.
He stopped as he saw her. “You’re new.”
Anya forced a smile. “Things change.”
“I knew the last girl for forty years and she didn’t look like she’d changed a bit,” he said. He gestured
toward his aging frame. “I’d been thinking about asking her secret.”
The store had rearranged itself to look like a workshop and test area for several products that looked
like Acme prototypes.
“I doubt you’d care for it,” Anya said.
Indentured servitude for decades or centuries followed by the potential of hell wasn’t most people’s
idea of a good time.
“I called ahead,” he began.
“The MI6 contract,” Anya said. She nodded toward the back. “They are pulling him out of the vat as we
“It still astonishes me…the technology is generations beyond anything we have today, and you were
doing this back in the 1960’s.”
Truthfully, the technology was a hundred thousand years old. They’d retrieved a Cylon resurrection
vat as well as cloning tanks and associated technologies from before the fall.
When the British government had asked for an immortal secret agent, they’d made one.
“This will be what, the eighth?” Anya asked.
He nodded soberly.
“What killed this one?”
“The same thing that usually kills him…sex.”
“Another angry husband?”
“It was an angry girlfriend.” Q paused. “Couldn’t you tone down the obsession with beautiful
women…or at least convince him that telling everyone his real name isn’t very bright for a spy?”
Anya shook her head. “Unless you want to reset him to the base model, you’re stuck. You wanted
somebody with fifty years of experience as a field agent in the body of a thirty year old, you’ve got
him. Change the programming, though, and we risk losing something that makes him as effective as he
“How much does he remember?”
“The uploads occur once an hour. He’s lost the last thirty seven minutes, no more.”
As clones, they all should have looked identical. However, the chaos taint from the dead god’s remains
was enough to affect his DNA. The memories were identical even though the face was different every
Given his tendency to announce his identity to everyone he met, the British government had actually
been pleased at the cosmetic changes.
Of course, they didn’t know about the…failed models, too tainted to be viable.
Her complaints about the taint had fallen on deaf ears. Apparently the dead god was only almost dead,
and it was too risky trying to move him. Moving their entire inventory to another warehouse wasn’t
considered cost effective, considering that the interior space was half the size of Rhode Island.
It was considered cheaper to accept returned product and angry customers than to fix the problem, an
approach that Anya considered remarkably short sighted.
It was yet another reason for her to try to get promoted; there were things she’d like to change.
Anya heard the sound of a clearing throat behind her. She turned and stared at the tall man in the
Tuxedo behind her. He was handsome in a rugged way, but she didn’t like the look in his eye.
“I don’t suppose you could help me with my tie, Miss,’ he said.
“It looks fine,” Anya said. Even if he was in a new body, she didn’t trust that he hadn’t already had sex
with some of the automated attendants in the back. She’d seen the records.
“Come along, James,” Q said, with an embarrassed look toward Anya.
“Bond, James Bond,” the man said. His smile was patently false, and Anya wondered if British women
were stupid enough to fall for it. Although she wasn’t immune to a pretty face, she’d seen and been
repelled by insincerity for a thousand years as a vengeance demon. She wasn’t about to fall for the
first clone with a pretty smile.
Give her a simple, but honest man any day.
“You’ll get the rest of the order as well?” Q asked quietly as the clone preened in the mirror.
Anya nodded. “Modified Aston-Martin, Laser wristwatch, and shoe phone.”
“We didn’t order a shoe phone.”
Anya coughed and said, “Sorry. That was the other guy. Car, watch and poison gas pen.”
He nodded, emphatically.
“We try to produce our own, but insurance is getting rather expensive, as are product testers.”
“Everything here has been extensively tested. You’ll find that we’ve added a small booklet containing
most of the ways things can go wrong.”
“I’ll warn James about the Road Runner exclusion on the warranties.”
“Are you ready to go, Q?” the clone said, having finally gotten his tie situated to his satisfaction.
The old man nodded. “You’ve really got to be more careful, James.”
“My teeth feel different,” the clone said. He smiled. “What do you think?”
“Handsome as ever, old man.”
As the two left the store Anya felt the sudden vibration in the soles of her feet that told her the store
was shifting from one reality to the next.
The store began shifting around her.
The door opened and Anya stiffened as she saw a familiar figure stepping through the entrance.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Buffy, James Bond, the coyote or Cylons. They are all owned by older and hopefully
wiser people and companies who are not me.