Eames receives both of his guns at the same time: a Sig Sauer .40 calibre P228 (with a .357 barrel extra) and a Heckler & Koch HK417 rifle. They are plain and ugly weapons, designed specifically for their purpose, and the first time Eames disassembles them, he lets the metal warm in his hand as he cleans them, and when he puts them back together, they are alive. Eames is loyal to his guns, and they in return are loyal to him.
He scores in the 99th percentile for all target based tests, and in the 98th percentile on all written examinations. He is only twenty-one.
Flight Sergeant Keats tells him, "Be careful, Eames, or you'll get more attention than you might want."
For Eames, there is no beginning. His first memory is of him surrounded by too many goats at a petting zoo, and crying for his mother. If he remembers earlier than that, he doesn't know.
Eames hikes up the rifle to a rest position on his shoulder and grabs his crotch as his regiment hassle the new American Marines. Afghanistan is a shit hole, and apparently the American base had been flooded by a busted sewage pipe, making it become more of a literal shit hole. The Lieutenant-Colonel had told the SAS to "not be bloody gits", but there were so many ways to take that.
"This is my rifle, this is my gun," Eames and his regiment chant as they thrust their hips forward. "This is for fighting, this is for fun!" A few of the Marines echo their gestures, one of them stepping forward to turn around and moon Eames's regiment.
"Hey oh, soldier! Didn't think poufs were allowed on your side!"
"Unlike y'all," one of the Americans call out. "Need some dick to get the job done?"
"Don't you talk to your superiors that way!" Eames calls, pulling rank, because pulling rank on American gits seems appropriate.
"Yeah, what kind of rank you got?" says a man labelled Browning, who Eames notices carries the silver bar of First Lieutenant. He doesn't know who Browning is at the time, though he would regret knowing him later.
He steps forward. "Squadron Leader Eames," he replies, raising his eyebrow at Browning. "Stand down, Looey, take your boys outta here before we can't help our British pricks."
Browning flicks him off, and gestures to his group. "Decamp, soldiers, to the bunks. And don't forget to show your appreciation for our hosts later. Just don't drop the soap."
The sand is everywhere, in everything. They brush their teeth with sandy toothbrushes, they eat their Wayfarer chicken curry pouches with sandy utensils. Eames enjoys trading his pouches with the Americans; they get his curry, he gets their beef ravioli. It all tastes like sand anyway. But everyone fights over the powdered chocolate pudding. It makes the coffee taste better.
Eames brushes sand out of his hair and checks his Sig, clicking out the .40 calibre barrel and sliding in the .357 before replacing the magazine, scratching his cheek.
There's a scuffle on the American side of the camp, and Eames ambles over to watch.
"What's the scuffle?"
"Don't worry about it. None of your concern."
"Well, then, you can stop kicking all the bloody sand about, can't you?"
The two men stare at him for a long moment before Eames turns on his heel and walks away.
It isn't that Eames is necessarily…obsessed with weapons. In dreams, he can handle anything, knows how this obscure Russian anti-tank gun works, or that World War Two gunner plane. In the real world, it actually takes some time and motivation to learn weaponry.
So he starts, obviously, with Bond.
He chooses a Walther PPK as his personal weapon, runs through hoops to become a Registered Firearms Dealer. The only time Eames regrets not living in America was the moment he started collecting his Bond guns.
It is even more difficult to get a permit to carry his Walther concealed. "Being in a war zone has affected your mentality," the Home Office says.
"Of course it hasn't," Eames says. It's easier to lie than to say I sleep in my bathtub, my finger waiting on the ready.
A fortnight later, he receives special permission. As a member of SRR Company 14, it is realised that it may be necessary for Captain Daniel Charles Eames to carry a Walther PPK, Issue Number 35671 in a concealed fashion. Find attached a permit and rules regarding carrying requirements.
When Eames straps the shoulder holster on, standing in front of the mirror, he most assuredly does not say, "My name is Bond. James Bond," and he most certainly does not give the mirror his most devastatingly charming smile.
He would deny it to the end of his days.
On the back of Eames's helmet--where other soldiers write the names of loved ones, or the popular US Marine saying Death Before Dishonour,a Bible verse or some patriotic mess—he writes:
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.