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Undercover at Money2020, our man in Las Vegas ls lost in booths, babes and benjamins. But can agent 0111 stop a killer new technology from falling into the wrong hands? It’s Main Street vs Infinite Loop in the major new blogbuster from CHYP End… welcome to… Pay Another Day

Part 4. The Spy Who Paid Me

Seb drew on his Gauloise and told James not to worry, he would make a few calls. Sure enough, when Bond returned to his room, the invitation was already under his door. It wasn’t the Bavarian Illuminati, it was a new group that was so secret it wasn’t even on the service’s radar: the Payments Illuminati.

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So they were right. Despite the cover of banal, nauseating and repetitive transparency, there were a lot of secrets behind the @dgwbirch facade.

Bond showered and changed. He thought carefully about the evening wear and eventually decided on his favourite Buffalo Exchange charcoal grey Ralph Lauren shirt, set off nicely by the Eddie Bauer chinos and the Clarks’ Walking Boots. As he rode the escalator down to the casino, Bond was pleased to see how much he looked like two-thirds of the delegates. Perfect. He went straight to the bar and found a woman standing by herself. “Gin and tonic please” then, as she turned, “stirred not shaken”. When she came back with the drink and the bill on her tray, he handed her the card that S. had assured him would mark him out as one of the crowd.

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She handed it back. “Picture ID please’.

Flattered that she thought he was under 21, Bond flashed her a cheeky grin, thinking she was having fun with him. She stared back with a poker face. “Picture ID please”.

Now he had a problem. Yes, S. had given him a driving licence in name of “David Birch” before he left, but like any normal person he had left it locked up in the safe in his hotel room. He could go and get it, but the waitress might be an agent or a terrorist or a fraudster. He didn’t want to give her a fake ID that she might detect, nor did he want to leave her with details including his date of birth and home address.

While he was stroking his chin wondering whether to start a disturbance and make off with the gin and tonic in the ensuing chaos, he realised that a raven-haired beauty was gesticulating from the bar. The simple, two-fingered gesture was known only to the Brits, so she must be one of the American operatives put in place to keep an eye on him he guessed, and walked over. He pretended to stop for a moment to check his phone. In a practiced almost invisible move, he snapped her picture and sent it up to Division F. By the time he reached her, her details had been flashed across his laser-powered secret display spectacles.

“Hello Miss Simon. I don’t suppose you could help me out?”

He explained the identity predicament. She paid for the drinks and invited him on to the sofa with her, where he was surprised to see N. from HQ nursing a drink. Clearly the powers-that-be saw this operation as a big one if they’d sent N. to keep an eye on him.

“So”, she said after a moment or two, shaking her curls as she did so, “what are you doing in Vegas?”

After a stiff one or three, Bond set off to the secret location in the Hakkasan restaurant at the MGM Grand. Seb had given him the right phrase to get in — “Rodger Desai knows me and Bruce Parker soon will” — so in a few minutes he was sitting at a long table, being served exquisite Asian delicacies one after the other. Dim sum that split open to give stunning flavours, roasted pork that melted in his mouth, fluffy rice fragrant with herbs and spices.

As the evening wore on, Bond kept glancing along the table toward the inscrutable Parker and tried to pick up what intelligence he could without asking any questions that might raise suspicion. None of the people round the table had much in the way of answers, but he did come across a wise Indian guru who whispered “electronic gift cards” and then carried on talking as if he’d never met Bond before in his life which, of course, he hadn’t.

But he did pick up one nugget that he determined to pass back up the chain as soon as he had the chance. One of the charming dinner guests had said that a bank he knew had been “negotiating” with A.P.P.L.E about putting the bank credit card in some sort of mobile wallet. It was real.

[Part 5. The Man with the Golden iWatch]

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