‘Care to have a try, James?’. M.’s face was suddenly friendly. It wasn’t friendly often. James Bond felt a quick warmth of affection for this man who had ordered his destiny for so long, but whom he knew so little. His instinct told him that there were things hidden behind this assignment, motives which he didn’t understand. Was this a rescue job on him? Was M. giving him his last chance? But it sounded solid enough. The reasons for it stood up. Hopeless? Impossible? Perhaps. Why hadn’t M. chosen a Jap speaker? Bond had never been east of Hong Kong. But then Orientalists had their own particular drawbacks – too much tied up with tea ceremonies and flower arrangements and Zen and so forth. No. It sounded a true bill. He said, ‘Yes, sir. I’d like to have a try.’

Ian Fleming, You Only Live Twice (1964)

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