It's cold up here, on top of the Flier. Freezing, even. You wouldn't know we're cruising above Las Cruces, New Mexico for the frost on my suit.
I figure we're cruising along at 45 miles an hour, 1500 feet up, judging from how the pistols feel in my hand. Nice and cool and slim, just how I like them for this kind of work.
Israel might be lousy neighbors, worse landlords, and be the Ecstasy capitol of the world, but they do some very good things. I especially like their taste in handguns. Whoever would have thought of sticking a 50 caliber bullet in an automatic pistol?
Gods bless IMI. They're too big to juggle or trick shoot with, and slipping one down the back of your pants makes you look like a gangster, but when you need maximum stopping power, or a large floating cloud where someone's noggin used to be, the Desert Eagle AE is your handgun of choice.
I remember the first time I got one of these babies, back in the 80's. The Gunsmith handed me over a pair and told me to sleep with them, that night, arms crossed over my chest right over left, like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. He told me that the riddle of the gun is a lot like the riddle of Osiris, who lived so he could die and died so he could live.
Once I understood the riddle of the gun, he said, every bullet in the world would become my friend.
I have never understood the Gunsmith's riddle. And I think his messy shotgun suicide at age 67 after losing the farm at a craps table in Atlantic City kind of gives the lie to his whole zen gunman shtick. But I still like to meditate on those thoughts with these guns in my hands.
Crossed over my chest, leaning over the port side of the Flier, I feel like they're talking to me. They've got something of a limited vocabulary, of course, but all you need to know about some things in this world can best be expressed with a big, loud bang.
One loud bang on the podium the other day, when I told my people we were going after GORGON. One loud bang this morning when one of my trustier assistants came to tell me that they'd intercepted a lot of chatter between us and a known GORGON operative. One more loud bang when I learned who was sending the messages, and heard what he was typing.
That's why we're up here, the three of us. I'm looking at my watch, looking at the ground, and judging our speed. I'm listening as COMPANY Agent Bradley Munger (37, single, apparent double-dealing snake) is telling his paymasters at a certain bad science outfit all the nasty plans he thinks we're putting into place in five days.
But I'm also thinking of Pharaohs, bullets, and margaritas. That and the craziness that was Cold War Soviet brain research.
Another reason I like Israel is because, back when they were serious players in the Cold War, they were the ones who warned us about the Nebylitsin machine. I guess some of their people had been victimized by it. It's bad enough when they wait until you're dead to sic it on your brainmeats, but apparently some of their Mossad agents had been given the N while they were still alive.
Not a great way to go, and I've seen a lot of them.
That's Vladimir Dmitrievich Nebylitsin, one of the guiding lights of Soviet 60's neuroscience. Brain functions reseacher extraordinaire. Discoverer of Dynamicism. Factor Analysis pioneer.
Mad !@#$ scientist with a penchant for wiring people's heads up like a Christmas tree for fun, profit, and science.
The Nebylitsin machine was a nasty thing that fit in a large, black suitcase. They tied you down and opened it up, so you knew what was coming. Then they rammed electrical leads into your ears and nose, clipped some onto your tongue and cheeks, and put metal Clockwork Orange clips on your eyes. When they turned it on, it electrically leeched every sense memory you ever had in your entire life out of your brain over the course of an hour or so, recording it into magnetic tape.
They say your life flashes before you when you die? Imagine it running backwards out of you, too fast to really see, with all senses strobing into overdrive. Some people who had the process interrupted at some point described it as having your brains scrambled by lightning bolts, and said it was the most painful thing they'd ever been through.
They never fully recovered. Most of them are incapable of forming new long term memories. The rest are little better than vegetables, occasionally shouting "No!" and then losing control of their bowels.
The worst thing is that you can't even scream. The pain is just that disorienting.
Unfortunately, death is no barrier. The machine will work on dead people, too. In fact, it was originally designed to drag the memories out of dead geniuses so the state could continue to benefit from their knowledge after their weak, proletariat bodies finally broke down. Using it on live folks was mostly just done as a punishment weapon, or dealing with possible spies. That and fun.
Fortunately, there is a solution. Cremate the body or at least destroy the brain. But if you don't have the time or inclination to do either, there's one really simple trick that makes the N machine just not work at all.
Shoot their eyes out.
Yes, it's true. We favor our optics above most other senses, and the brain tends to agree. People can deal with deafness or anosmia, but you strike them blind and most of them think their lives aren't worth a plugged nickel. That's our lizard brains telling us it's time to go sit on an iceberg and let the polar bears eat us before the tribe suffers.
It also makes the N machine not work. Which is why, when you're dealing with spies, you shoot them in each eye either pre or post-mortem. It not only scrambles their brains all to !@#$, making scientific or mystical necromancy almost impossible, but makes it totally impossible for someone with one of those devices to get a darn thing out of them.
Which is why we call it the N-xit, or, in my telling, the 50 Caliber Retirement Plan.
Charon asked for two oboli before ferrying the dead across the river, so the Greeks buried their loved ones with a coin over both eyes, or at least under the tongue, to pay his toll. Here at The COMPANY, we put steel-jacketed bullets through their noggin, and tell the Ferryman they're adjusted for inflation.
Three seconds, now. Bradley's almost done typing. I'm leaning further forward. At this angle, at this speed, from the way he sits, facing the window, I should have no trouble putting one in each socket with a shot from each of these lovely guns.
And then, that done, I will air surf down to Black River, which is well known amongst American intelligence personnel to have the best Margaritas in the whole of Arizona. It's often customary to come here and have a drink whenever you have to deal with someone in this fashion.
If Bradley'd been more on the ball, and aware of his surroundings, he might have realized something was up. But he's typing "what do I do now?" and I'm falling and aiming to provide him the answer.
You can die, !@#$ face. And tell Charon I said to feel free to use you as fish bait.
(SPYGOD is listening to Welcome to Planet Mother!@#$ (White Zombie) and drinking the best Margarita he's had in years)