If he still had the Chandra Eye he'd be knocking them all on their !@#$. He doesn't. Somehow it's gone missing, and with it most of his aim, balance, and sense of place.
He's just what he was, years ago. Before the eye. Before there was really a SPYGOD.
Back when he was Sergeant Storm, Nazis needed their !@#$ kicked, and he was just the guy to do it.
Sergeant Storm didn't have ten million technological tricks up his sleeve. He didn't have three times his weight in guns hidden around and about his person. He just had skill and will and the strength that comes from letting a team of scientists hypercharge your DNA for America, and somehow surviving the process.
That's all he needed from D-Day, onward. And he's gonna prove it again by getting through this illusion and breaking into The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G., where, if previous assaults on his mind have any bearing, the key to this ingenious prison will lie.
* * *
Of course, the invisible enemy (HONEYCOMB, he figures) isn't going to make it easy for him. They send all sorts of things to try and distract him.
First it's a gaggle of poorly-trained NYPD officers. They pull up in a police truck and try to bring him down with billyclubs and tasers. He brushes them off like flies and keeps running, not bothering to slow down, even when one of them pulls out an actual gun (against orders, no less) and starts shooting.
He'd had worse at D Day. He keeps running.
Then it's a bevy of COMPANY Agents, who try to corral him with non-lethal weaponry. It's high grade stuff, too: the kind that leaves your average dink shivering, shaking, and !@#$ing themselves on the pavement after a zap or two.
But this is SPYGOD, kids. They should know better.
He doesn't kill them, of course. Illusion or no, they're his people. But a few of them are going to need some time in the infirmary after the knuckle and foot sandwiches he feeds them, one after the other after the other.
After that the invisible enemy's footsoldiers give him a wide !@#$ berth. There's the occasional attempt at a long-range takedown with a taser bolt, or sonic disruptors. There's even a sniper, armed with some kind of knock-out dart that would put a rhinoceros jacked on Martian speed to sleep for a week.
But, again, this is !@#$ SPYGOD. They should know better. He yanks the dart out of his ass and sticks it in one of his pockets for later, imagining it might come in handy while navigating the last few floors of this lie they've made for him to play in.
It's like a videogame, he figures: grab anything they offer you, no matter how ridiculous.
* * *
Then there's The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G., rising up from its new home, overlooking Central Park.
No guards. No defenses. They didn't even change the combination on the front door.
It's like they want him to come on in, so he doesn't disappoint them. He steps in, high-punches the security cameras in the foyer, and starts running up the stairs. No elevators today. Too easy to boobytrap.
Of course, the stairs aren't supposed to be a picnic either. They close off every three floors and need another code to get through. One wrong key and the section clamps down and floods with nasty gas. The kind that strips your flesh off and turns your lungs to salsa.
The good news is that he knows the failsafes and the backdoor keys. The better news is that he doesn't need them. No one monkeyed with them at all, which has him more than a little worried.
What are they buttering his !@#$ up for, here? It's like that one time he played one of those zombie first person shooters, and the disc hit a snag, and didn't give him so much as a single shambler to blow apart. The tension !@#$ near gave him a heart attack until someone risked life and limb by interrupting to tell him that the game was malfunctioning.
The Matrix without agents. !@#$ boring. He liked it better when they were sending ersatz Agents after his fine, gay !@#$.
"Knock knock, mother!@#$" he shouts at one of the few stairwell cameras he hasn't skullcrashed yet: "You gonna come out and play?"
As if to answer him, all the chambers unlock, one after the other. CLICK CLICK CLICK in series, up the stairwell.
Now that is !@#$ disturbing. Either they're sending the fake METALMAID after him, or they're giving him the mother of all red carpets. And no one ever took one of those and came out well.
* * *
About 95% of The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G. is not used, and not just because it really only has two occupants. (Three, if you count Bee-Bee.)
It's been closed down and shut off for safety's sake.
When the Liberty Patrol captured the skyscraper, back in the late 40's, they were stunned by what they found. Entire floors of weird machinery and automated factories. Hallways filled with automatons armed with twisted weapons. Things that had no real understandable purpose, but looked like they would doom anyone who was on the receiving end of them.
The truth was that the entire structure was one big weapon. A monument to carnage built by an evil genius, and ready to go off and reduce New York City to a smoking crater. The Patrol never knew if they got there just in time, or not, but those who believed in a higher power all hit their knees that night and thanked God they got there when they did.
The story of how SPYGOD came to be its caretaker could fill a volume or two, and reveal a lot of things about the Liberty Patrol, the Presidency, and Cold War-era American realpolitik. Suffice to say he was the only one who both wanted the job and could be trusted not to use any of it.
Except, of course, in dire emergencies.
So when SPYGOD finally meets another illusion, here in the closed-off section, he's carrying something that looks like a giant, metal insect strapped to his wrist. He knows exactly what it does (though not how) and is more than prepared to burn this whole fake tower to the ground with it if he has to.
They did good, alright. If it isn't his second in command, he doesn't know who it is. Perfect to the last detail, even the hidden throb in the crotch when he walks up to him.
"Sir," he says, stepping close to a set of double doors SPYGOD hasn't walked through in a couple decades: "I know this is really strange to you, right now."
"You'd best just shut your !@#$ mouth, !@#$bake" he answers, aiming the thing at the man's head: "This stops here and now. You let me out of whatever trap you put me in, or-"
"This is not a trap, sir," he says: "This is not a trick. This is... well, it would be easier to show you."
"Open those doors and I turn you into !@#$stain pate," SPYGOD growls as the man reaches for a knob.
"Well, then," the man says, turning back around to look at him: "All I can say to that is Operation Whack-A-Mole."
There's a weird moment when he's back outside himself, not connected in the moment. It's like he's there, with the gun, but then somewhere else as well. Seeing through two sets of eyes. Feeling through two nervous systems. Here with a gun, and somewhere else with...
"Open the doors, sir," the man says, stepping back: "I'm not trying to trick you. This is not an illusion. This is something we thought would happen when we did this, but you need to see it for yourself."
SPYGOD grunts. The moment of vertigo leaves him, and then it's just him, the hallway, the man, and the gun.
And the door, beckoning.
"Alright, then," he says, reaching for the knob with the gun still trained on the man's adam's apple: "I'll play one more move, but there better be something !@#$ good in here, or..."
The doors are open before he gets to "!@#$" It's as far as he gets.
What's beyond them literally takes his breath away.
(SPYGOD is listening to Right Here, Right Now (Fatboy Slim) and desperately wanting a Bernard Dark Lager)