Move, friends and minions one and all! Why do you think, Adrienne? He's likely to be rather miffed about that bullet I put through his agent's head. How does any right-thinking English gentleman respond to such gross disappointment? No, a good solid dose of hyperviolence. Raised adrenaline levels, testosterone flowing o ho!

Well, I know its hard to believe, but I was young once. I'll not hear such slander! I was a dashing fellow. I'd have been all the rage if anybody knew who I was. Downside of an Agency life, I think.

Ah, helicopter. Quaint. Nice gatling gun. Oh, they're chainguns now, are they? No, no, no, keep your millimeters and calibres to yourself. It's a big gun and it shoots things, at my age that's all I need to know. Missile racks on the wings? Well, yes, I suppose that's inevitable isn't it? Any other toys? What do you mean 'why'? My dear hummingbird, I couldn't give two figs what bucket of bolts you like flying around in, but I have standards to upkeep. At the very least I'd like to know a bit about something that - ostensibly - is meant to be saving my life so I can judge whether to take my chances with the mountain-shaking explosion that's going to be going off in a minute or two.

Yes, I suppose so. Ugh. Mercenary minion, what kind of interior design is this? There's not even a lamp! All right I'm going. Oh, what does this do? I wasn't going to, I'm just curious. They do make them large these days, don't they? That said, they seem to make mercenaries larger as well. Do you eat beef?

What? I'm just asking a basic dietary question! This fine gentleman carried me on his back with much the strength of a cow, so it only seems fair to ask if he eats them! He may well have saved my life, I'll make no aspersions on his intelligence. I said no such thing. I merely commented that he could use a better dentist. Oh, don't grin at me. Like the rictus grin of death itself. You don't play chess by any chance, do you? Good, good. No reason. Man of my age needs to be cautious.

It's very quiet! I'm impressed. Last time I was in one of these it screamed like a banshee. Speaking of which. Could someone kindly shoot at Master Essex? Good, good. Now then, to poke these buttons. How long's the timer, Adrienne? Superb. Do we have some kind of speaker or megaphone? Excellent. Hmm? Oh please. Not even hummingbird's going to hit him there. Oh, darling, once we're in the air could you fire a volley of missiles at him? We have other tricks too? I'll be looking forward to them. Teeth, make sure I don't fall please?

Hello again, my dear boy! Master Essex, you do look dashing getting riddled with bullets. Practicing the old 'duck and cover', eh? It looks positively marvellous on you, a wonderful tactic, I think you should teach it to those other imbeciles who work with you, while reminding them of a few old maxims. Number one, never try to compete with a greater mind, you'll always come up short. Now then, if I'm not mistaken, you've come a long way away from your helipad, haven't you? Not a rescue craft in sight! Pity that the facility's about to explode, isn't it? I daresay half of this mountain's going to fall on you in about a minute's time. So I must say goodbye, my dear, dear old friend, and wish you a merry, merry death from all of us at the Agency. Always look on the bright side, Master Essex. At least you won't have to fail to catch me anymore. Ta-ta.

Those missiles now, hummingbird. I do like to end such speeches with an exclamation mark. Oh yes, very pretty. Quite stylish. What was that other surprise you said you had? Carpet bombing! Fantabulous! You really would think he'd get a bit hurt out of all that wouldn't you? Heh. Remarkable fellow, truly remarkable. Ah, let me see him. Oh look at him, dashing and dapper as ever, a little singed, his hair's undone, blowing in the wind. He does look so very defiant and determined, doesn't he? And I do believe this is when the mountain explodes.

Good grief! How's the helicopter? Really? Oh yes, I suppose that makes sense. Tough old bird, eh? Heh. No craft on our scanners? Good, good. Fly low, just in case. All right, all right. I'll let you do your job. Far be it from me to offer good advice to one so stubborn. It was like that when I tried to get her out of her nappies as well. Oh yes, teeth, she loved her nappies, hated switching to 'grown up's as she called them. Oh dear. That's the evil eye, inherited that from her mother as well. It's the signal to be quiet. She is driving and all, and I don't think I'd like to get out at a few hundred feet over a mountain slope. A-hem.

Ah there we go, another chapter closed. I wonder when we'll be seeing him again? If only there was some tea...

Oh, we'll be seeing him again, hummingbird. Takes more than an explosion to take out a man like that. After all, he's my opponent, and I never did settle for less than the best. Forward, hummingbird. I have an Agency report to make, and some extremely dubious gentleman from East Asia to contact. I think they'll be wanting to buy something from me. You can come along, if you like, I'll be needing some personal escort anyway, in case Master Essex shows up.

Hmm? Oh, you'll understand one day, Adrienne, if you live long enough. Heroes and villains, that's our game. Just remember to steal the show whenever you're on, and I assure you, you'll be fine in the end. After all, the heroes are why they come, but it's the villains that keep them coming back.

Don't you think?