... and that, in the words of one of my English superfriends during the War, was a bloody damn bewildering episode.
(He used that to describe the time we were chasing ABWEHR spies who were chasing us while someone else was chasing both groups, and someone entirely different was trying to keep us all from meeting at all. I can't explain how it ended without a big damn floor chart, visual aids, and several stiff drinks, so don't ask.)
I should be dead, right now. I know that. !@#$, for a while there I thought I was dead.
The bitch had me where she wanted me. I had no idea she didn't need to touch you to take your memories, anymore. She must have gotten stronger as she got older (and uglier). And she was stripping entire years from me like skin off a whipping boy's ass, cackling all the while.
I think I heard the upper atmosphere part, like angels singing. That meant The COMPANY got my message and was working on carrying out my last order. And the flash thereafter, and the pressure change, well, that had to be the rod hitting.
Old twist on a new idea, those rods. You don't need nukes, anymore. You just need a big, metal rod in orbit, launched from a spring mechanism that looks like some abstract, rube goldberg-designed mousetrap. The rod flies down through the atmosphere, hits the ground, and BOOM -- massive devastation, no radiation.
Launch a whole gaggle of them and you're looking at big time bad news. Launch just one, and you've got a hole where a small city used to be. And that's what I was going for, just then.
I floated in and out, after that I won't take you on a tour of my own, private fantasy island behind the eyelids, both out of a sense of national security and some vestige of shame. But I was in a happy place, there, with guns, Thai hookers, and sexy sycophants aplenty.
No big bad science terrorist !@#$ groups. No high brass bull!@#$ coming down the pipes in my direction. Just me and the B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G., mysteriously uplifted to a crystal beach in Polynesia, me on that beach drinking rocket fuel drinks with umbrellas like they were going out of style, and Metalmaid shooting door-to-door religious salesmen in the junk with a big damn gun and a laugh track.
If it was heaven, I could live with it.
Then I wake up here, in Cikini Hospital, in Jakarta. I come to in a private room with a bucket of lukewarm Bintang by the bed and a "do not disturb" sign on the door. The people that work here can only tell me two Indian fellows checked me in three days ago. And they showered the night help with much-needed, off-the-books money, on the condition that my stay here be equally off-the-books.
That and they deliver a message, in Hindi: "Thank you, goat-!@#$er."
I think I know what that means. I'll have to send Dosha a little token of my esteem next time we don't meet, again.
The day I woke up I think I went a little crazy. Chandra Eye or not, I wasn't sure if this was real or just another dream. So while, in retrospect, organizing a randy little shin-dig on this wing might have been an extreme reaction, at the time it made perfect !@#$ sense.
The Jakarta police might not see it that way, of course, but I managed to get the charges dropped on most of the other revelers. I told told them an as-yet unknown super-science terrorist had used some kind of weird mind-control ray on them.
(I just neglected to tell them that the terrorist was yours truly.)
I think they mostly bought it. Part of the deal was me getting my obviously well-enough-to-travel ass out of the country as soon as travel can be arranged. The American ambassador's been very helpful in that regard, but I think it's because someone's breathing down his neck.
Not hard to imagine who, either. This is going to be an interesting two or six years, now.
Nice night, here in Jakarta. Smelly and noisy outside my window, a thousand cars and bajaj flying every which way down a road with no rules. It's worse than driving between cities in India, sometimes. But the locals make it work, somehow.
It's only when pasty, white guys like me get behind the wheel that someone gets hurt.
(SPYGOD is listening to Bintang di Surga (Peterpan) and sucking on a warm Bintang)