Say the name. Let it roll over your tongue and take you back a few decades. Let it open the scarred memories of the crazed turmoil we called the 60's, back when enemies and allies seemed more concrete, at least on the surface, and when nations fought they did so in gaudy, smaller conflicts that had no real danger of spilling over into the real thing.
(That's what we told ourselves, anyway.)
GORGON showed up, then, muscling its way into the power playing ranks alongside SQUASH, ABWEHR, HONEYCOMB, and the Legion. Their False Faces infiltrated governments and armies, businesses and industries. And when they had enough people in, they'd reveal their true face, and start !@#$ things up in Everydayville, USA.
At the time we all thought "oh great, another group of evil science terrorists with a nasty gimmick trying to ruin the Cold War for the free world," and acted accordingly. If only we'd known that GORGON was worse than the others. Worse than anything imaginable.
!@#$, they were worse than ABWEHR. And believe me, son, that's saying something.
You want to know why? Because all these other jokers had to fall back on was the same old cliche that every other group uses. Wealth, power, revenge, and a yen to take over the world for whatever reason.
GORGON offered its people hope. That and love.
The False Faces were made, not merely recruited. They looked for the broken people. Crushed souls whose existences were marred by others' bad choices or sick problems. Abused children, shattered men and women, the lost, abandoned, and marginally sane.
They took these people in and gave them a home. They loved them, licked their wounds clean, and explained that they were worth something. They were lovable people, worthy of dignity and respect no matter what others might have said or done to indicate otherwise.
They were lowly now, perhaps, but only because of the actions or inactions of others. But they could someday rise above what had been done to them. They could remake themselves, inside and out.
"The caterpillar must bury itself alive and sleep before the butterfly can come out and soar."
That's the line they sold these poor people. They sold it every chance they had, day after day, week after week, until it became as natural as breathing. And then, after they'd lovebombed them so hard that they couldn't think straight, they gave them the kicker.
They could become the butterfly only after they buried themselves alive.
In mythology, the Gorgon was cursed by the gods with an incredibly ugly face for the crime of attracting the wrong kind of attention. But the tragedy is that gods sympathetic to her plight told the Gorgon that she could regain her beauty if she became someone entirely different, thus hiding from those who'd cursed her. But the Gorgon was too hurt to heed this advice, and fate took its toll.
I have no idea if this myth is true or not. What I do know is that, after the poor people had been indoctrinated enough, they were given a chance to join the False Face Society. They were trained in deadly skills according to their natural aptitudes and abilities, taught how to impersonate others and blend into any crowd, and hypnotically programed for certain, long-term tasks and goals.
Then, one night, in a grand ceremony, they were given the opportunity to take the final step to change themselves. They were taught the final secret of GORGON, which was that to become someone different, you have to be willing to let go of every last piece of the old life holding you back.
They were each given a strong topical anesthetic to the head and neck, a liberal amount of styptic powder, a knife sharp enough to shave electrons, and a mirror.
The ceremony had a 57% casualty rate. Some cut too deep and bled out. Some started but couldn't stop, their nerve or the programing failing (usually at the eyes), and were taken away to be shot off camera.
Some went mad and obliterated too much.
But those who survived the trauma and the touch-and-go next 72 hours were the perfect long-term, undercover agents. They were given bionic eyes that changed colors and transmitted images back to GORGON. They wore high-tech masks that seamlessly replicated the faces, expressions, and voices of the people they were impersonating.
And they were so horribly, terribly loyal that they would rather activate the explosive charges in their new eyes than tell anyone anything once they were caught, except that they were with GORGON.
That and the caterpillar had to bury itself.
ABWEHR promised a better world for the master race. HONEYCOMB thinks big science untempered by ideas of mercy will make a better world. The Legion just gives a bunch of costumed idiots and their henchmen an excuse to team up without killing each other. And SQUASH wanted to control the game for its own ends, only to wind up being controlled by the game, itself.
GORGON tells its people it loves them, and that there's hope. And there is no weapon more potent, more evil than that.
(SPYGOD is listening to Eyes Without a Face (Billy Idol) and having a cold Cerveza Quilmes)