The Spy With a Scalpel

By Vaar Aragon

 

"Good morning, Ms. Lota." The panther-woman looked up from her computer. The speaker was a tall, thin man in a severely elegant black suit. She blushed.

"Victor! You're still alive!"

"Where else would I be?" Frankenstein favored her with his most devastating smile, the one that made women forget that he was nearly fifty and looked like he had been carved out of ice.

The phone rang. Lota picked it up a bit awkwardly, due to her claws. "Yes, Dr. M. Yes, he is. Yes, I'll send him right in." She hung up and turned to Victor. "The Doctor will see you now."

**

"What seems to be the trouble, M?" Frankenstein asked after lighting a cigarette with a single flick of his Ronson.

 "Dracula," Moreau answered gloomily.

Victor blew two smoke-rings and a seven. "Can't be," he said, "I killed him last week."

"They've gotten the Count a new avatar already. We've no idea what the avatar looks like, although he's been on television several times."

Victor got up and started straightening the pictures on the wall. "Never understood why vampires don't show on camera, when mikes pick up their voices perfectly well." He said.

"When can you start?" M asked.

Victor moved onto the pictures on the opposite wall. "Well, that all depends," he said, "on whether you can make it worth my while."

M sighed. "Full license to kill and organ harvest."

"Not good enough," Victor started sorting the pens on M's desk. "You seem to forget that I am the only member of the Mad Science Syndicate capable of handling these little errands."

"Very well, I'll throw in my latest tissue regeneration technique-Dammit, Victor! I don't *want* every object on my desk at right angles to each other!"

"Sorry, old boy, I got a bit carried away." Victor tried to look innocent, but his laser-blue eyes and angular features made it an uphill battle. "Any leads?" He asked.

"The one description we have of the new avatar makes him sound rather like your old friend Scaramanga-tall, dark, ominous."

"Too bad," said Victor. "Scarrie's rather good company, despite his deplorable taste in servants."

"Don't let your friendship interfere."

"It won't," said Victor, his voice like ice.

***

Victor landed his yacht on Scaramanga's island without much trouble. That in itself was troubling, as Scaramanga always welcomed visitors with several blasts from his deadly sun-laser. A large poodle awaited Victor on the beach. A shaken-not-stirred martini stood on the tray strapped to its back. Victor accepted the martini and watched the dog scamper away. An improvement on the midget, anyway. Finally, Scaramanga strolled up. Victor was relieved to note that it was still daylight.

"Victor!"

"Scarrie m'boy!" After a decent and manly embrace, the two friends stood back and commented on how well the other looked.

"You're the very man I wanted, Victor," said Scaramanga, "Ruddy sun-laser's on the fritz again."

"Let's have a look at it."

The problem proved to be a misaligned lens, which Victor put right in a jiffy, with a good-natured quip about Scaramanga's ignorance of machinery.

"So what brings you here, little friend?"

Victor took a puff off of his twelfth cigarette. "Scarrie, they're saying the new Dracula looks just like you."

Scaramanga burst into tears. "Those Renfield bastards kidnapped my twin brother, poured the blood down his throat and turned him into Dracula. Victor, please bring my brother peace!"

Victor patted him on the shoulder. "There, there, old man," he said. "I'll get the job done. But I was wondering, since vampires are vulnerable to expensive metals like silver or-" "

No, you can't have the Golden Gun, not even to save brother Timmy," said Scaramanga, "But if gold and silver are good against vampires, I believe I have something even better..."

"A Platinum Gun?" Victor said when Scaramanga showed it to him.

"The ammunition's a bit steep even for my pocketbook, which is why I seldom use it. But I do have one or two bullets."

"That's all I'll need. Thanks, Scarrie."

***

Victor stood in the alley behind the Dracula State Building. He pulled out a silver dog whistle and blew a silent note on it. A great gray bulk loomed out of the shadows.

"Kiwi, old boy! How's the missus's new brain holding up?"

An affirmative grunt accompanied the square-headed nod.

"Good to hear that-would you mind terribly breaking a hole in this wall?" The creature complied.

***

Anna, the Bride on guard, was surprised to find a hole in the back wall with a black-clad man stepping gingerly through it. But she knew her duty. "Can I help you?" She purred, with her sultriest smile.

"Certainly," he replied, with a smile that made hers look innocent. As she put his arms around his neck, she began to wonder if she'd done the hypnotism bit quite right. He somehow kept eluding her little nips, and his odd way of using his mouth but not his teeth was positively distracting, to say nothing of what his hands were doing. She wondered if maybe there was more to love than just biting and being bit. She could sense the Master approaching-jealous and outraged-but she didn't care. Suddenly, the man shoved her out of the way. There was a roar of noise, and she saw the Master fall and disintegrate with a bullet in his chest.

"No organs, blast it." The stranger set a cigarette to his lips and lit it coolly. Then he seemed to notice her. "Come on," he said, putting a proprietary hand on her waist. "I know an excellent place for your first solid meal."

COPYRIGHT VAAR ARAGON 2001