Actions

Work Header

Plight of the Budget Cut

Work Text:

Because the very first time I saw this commercial I thought of James and Q. It's been around for a while and that's still the first thing I think of.


 

  It was frustrating to say the least that agents under his command didn’t take care of their equipment. Perhaps it was because they seemed to think that new gadgets made themselves or that really, all Qbranch was doing was making new toys. As if IT were able to sustain all the technology in the building and on the field as well as innovate new projects which could feed into their new toys after being adapted by the minions. Because all computer code was magically adaptable to all situations now- or at least that’s what the 00s seemed to think.

 

               Fortunate for the agents, Q wasn’t much for pulling triggers himself outside the firing range. After all, that’s what agents were paid to do. They could sleep around and run places and come home battered and bruised and not think anything of the fact that a high tech weapon was left with a bloody komodo dragon where just anyone could get their grimy hands on it. It was a blessing really that Q had locked 007’s gun to only activate on his handprint and that the casing had been crafted in a way that made it nearly impossible to get the thing apart if you weren’t authorized to do so. It kept both his agent and the technology safe.

 

               Q tried to explain that agents leaving behind their equipment was honestly the biggest reason their budget was so high. He thought he’d done a good job of it too, until the accountants and CFO gave him a 30% cut and a warning that next time it would be greater if he didn’t make some improvements. And that yes, they’d like to see a bit more paperwork in the requisition of materials, particularly from the agents who were supposedly taking so much equipment with them.

 

~

               To say that Q was pissed was an understatement. He went down to his office and ruthlessly cut projects that he had been working on, anger building as he tried to find cheaper solutions to the problems they had to address. Needless to say, it was not a good time for 007 to waltz into his office and request a new piece of equipment.

               “It’s a really good idea, Q. I know we’ve had them in the past.” James pointed out, oblivious to Q’s anger.

               “If by ‘good idea’ you mean that it’s a good enough idea to spend my budget on, then no. It’s not a good idea.” Q told him flatly, not even looking over from his computer screen.

               “Think of the effectiveness, Q. No one would ever suspect that you could write your name with something and blow things up too.” James said, trying to be persuasive.

               “If you need to blow something up, I’m sure you can shove together a bit of powder and a couple of loose screws and an embassy will fall. You’re supposed to be resourceful, Bond.” Q countered.

               James frowned a bit and changed his approach, leaning forward in his chair and smiling in the way that always made his targets’ wives follow him to bed. “But Q, you have to admit it would be fun. Someone as smart as you needs to take time to create and invent and show off your skills.”

               “007?” Q asked and looked over at the agent with a chilling stare.

               “Yes, Quartermaster?”  James asked, smirking in satisfaction and thinking he’d won.

               “Your flattery will get you nowhere in this office. Get out and let me do my job.” Q said and after a moment’s pause Bond stood and quietly walked out the door. Once it closed Q sighed and muttered to himself “Before I decide to shove an exploding pen up your arse.”

~

               Putting in an order to Apple was next to blasphemy, but Q did it anyway, ordering four Apple Watches fitted with the technology to track and report on the location and the vitals of his agents. When the personal trackers injected into their arms couldn’t be replaced due to the stupid 30% cut, Q had protested of course, but it didn’t go well.

“Get them a fit-bit or something.” One of the budget officers had suggested.

Q could have strangled her when the other members of the budgeting team agreed.  A fitbit? Really? As if something that could easily be removed was a reliable option for tracking the whereabouts and wellbeing of his agents. There were a million and one reasons this was a bad idea, but even after going to M there was no resolution.

“Take this as an opportunity to innovate.” M had said, as if innovation didn’t require time and money.

Q left the meeting in a strop and began searching catalogues not for parts to supplement an item that already did a decent job of tracking agents, but for a pre crafted piece of monstrosity that would likely break within moments of being put in the field on the arm of 006 and would certainly be sneered at for the fact it wasn’t bespoke to fit a particular cover by all the agents.

With a sigh Q came to the realization his agents were spoiled children.

Q tested the watches as best he was able, coated them with a polymer that would help prevent breakage, and sent 006 out in the field with an apology in advance. When he returned with a bullet in his shoulder but an in-tact watch, the budget team didn’t hear a word of his explanation about needing to upgrade their system. Instead they told him it was working fine. Q could have pointed them to an agent who would certainly have argued otherwise, but kept his mouth shut knowing his protests would fall on deaf ears.

~

007 always had been a troublemaker, and Q knew that it was only a matter of time before that troublemaking came to light again. Bond had raised hell when given his new Apple Watch, complaining about how it wasn’t good enough for a millionaire to be wearing to a gala and didn’t they have anything Omega that he could wear instead? When Q explained that it was to assist monitoring his vitals and there was nothing to be done just yet James grumbled and left the office without a demonstration. The budget team sent an email later that afternoon that they would schedule a new meeting for early next week and to make sure he brought any pertinent information.

Just what he needed.

Not surprisingly, the Apple Watch and 007 didn’t get along very well. James played with it too much and on the flight he’d let someone else wear it just to screw up the data that was running to Qbranch. Four different people had tried on the watch and run the health scan including two flight attendants, a 70 year old Italian man, and a young child, sending their data back to MI6, but a baseline measurement couldn’t be constructed for the agent who was supposed to be wearing it. When James arrived at his hotel, a message was waiting for him ‘from his partner’.

 

Dearest James,
Call me when you get this. X
Yours most affectionately,
Q

 

One long argumentative conversation later Q was sitting with a mug of tea in his office and filling out paperwork, glad to see a steady stream of vitals appearing on his laptop screen. James was apparently sleeping, getting some rest before the gala. Q went home and ate dinner, keeping his tablet on him as well as his own Apple Watch- the one modified as much as possible to be as effective as he could manage.

When the mission went to hell, Q was there to offer support to both 007 and R who had been monitoring while conditions were good. There was a flurry of commotion in the branch, but Q couldn’t waste time traveling to be there with his team, so he worked via his bedroom and solved as many problems as he could from home. Thankfully 007 was a competent agent and managed to pull himself out of a sticky situation involving a pair of begrudging Bulgarians involved in a money laundering case out of Russia, and found the evidence to send to the EU that perhaps it wasn’t entirely Greece’s fault that their economy wasn’t doing so well.  

Injuries included several cuts and bruises and a gunshot wound- thankfully only a small graze- that would have to be addressed upon return to MI6 and medical.

“Your bloody watch is still working.” James grumbled to Q as he pulled himself together to return to the gala for a few moments and gracefully bow out for the evening.

“Well that’s something I suppose. Don’t you dare give it away. I’m monitoring your vitals from home to make sure you won’t be going into shock.”

“Alright, Q.” James said dismissively and rolled his eyes. Naturally he took the watch off as soon as he’d gotten into the shower despite Q’s reminder that this one was waterproof, and the sudden lack of information was unsettling. Had James been attacked in his room? Had his watch been sabotaged? Was Apple’s product as unreliable as Q would have liked to claim to get more of his funding back?

The resurgence of information 20 minutes later prompted a heated exchange of messages.

 

 

I thought you’d bloody died you idiot! I told you to keep the watch on.

I’m fine Q.

You’re coming in right away. I’ll meet you at medical when you get home.

Why are you so worried? One might think you cared.

About my tech? Yes.

You hate these bloody watches. You were worried about me.

Weren’t you?

Q?

Get home before it gets late.

Now you really do sound like my ‘partner’. x

 

 

               When the beating heart showed up on his watch later Q smiled softly to himself and sipped from the mug of tea before him, glad to know that at the very least these watches were good for something. He couldn’t tell if it was the tea and his duvet or the sight of that beating heart on the screen of his watch that made him feel warmer, but he put his reading down and turned out the light, settling down to sleep. But he made sure to tap the heart in reply just before he slipped off to sleep.

 

~~~

During the meeting called by the budgeting branch, Q was subject to a pleasant surprise. When first awarded his Apple Watch, 007 had rallied the troops and for once, paperwork and documentation of what they needed and requested from Qbranch had surfaced. The requests amounted to well over Q’s previous budget, and while not everything was awarded to him, many things were- including funds to update agent’s internal trackers. The new budget came with a note from M to ‘keep up the good work’. Q was thrilled, as were the minions, and many of the project teams were refunded, including a team set up to look into the possibility of exploding pens.

James never did turn his Apple Watch in though. Instead he used it to let Q know that he was okay after each and every mission, and Q slept easier every time.