Sunday, October 23, 2011

10/15-22/11 - (RANDOLPH SCOTT) Libya: Black Angels and Amazons - pt. 1

Dateline: Sirte, hunkered down in a dusty alley full of garbage and dead Libyans.

I'm hot and tired and genuinely scared for my life. Superhuman monsters are beating each other to pieces less than a block away, and the only thing keeping me safe, much less sane, is standing two feet away smoking a cigarette while putting some impossible gun together.

"It's okay, kid," SPYGOD tells me, holding up some equally impossible bullet: "One hit from this baby and I'll have killed her before she was ever born."

Is it true? Can that even be true? I know better than to ask.

Another scream, another crash. Another building reduced to rubble. People are panicking and running, and he just stands there, holding the weapon ready, a steady trail of smoke floating up from the cigarette.

He's humming a song. I think it's "Gunning for the Buddha," but that would be too postmodern. Even for him.

He steps out onto the street, hefts the gun, and fires once, seemingly without aiming. There's a scream so loud windows shatter, and for a moment I forget how to hear. He doesn't even blink. He just turns on a dime and walks back into the alley with me, ejecting the impossible casing.

He smiles and says something I can't make out, right now. It just makes the scene more horrible and surreal as the creature's death throes crash more buildings, especially since the only way I know it's happening right now is to see the rubble flying, and feel the earth shaking in my feet.

Later on, after it's all over and I've got my hearing back, he tells me what he said was he might have exaggerated a little about the "before she was ever born" thing. I don't need more than my meager lipreading skills to know that's a lie. The truth is just going to have to go under the bridge on that point.

Like so many other things in Libya, this week.

* * *

This is how it begins. I'm asleep and dreaming in Hamburg, Germany, and suddenly I'm in a plane bound for Libya.

I'm awakened from a very pleasant dream involving me and Edward R. Murrow grilling Ronald Reagan in a no-holds-barred interview on the last day of his Presidency. For some reason, this is taking place on the American side of Niagara Falls. Maybe we're going to toss his remaining credibility over it in a barrel when we're done.

But for some reason the waterfall noises are replaced with mechanical thrumming. Then I'm the one going over in the barrel. Then I'm hearing people laughing at me, but not seeing them.

I open my eyes. The thrumming is all around me. I am no longer in my apartment, but in the back of a cargo plane, still in my bed.

Somehow they moved me, bed and all, out of the apartment without waking me. By "they" I mean Agents of The COMPANY, all of whom are watching me wake up and laughing at my expense.

If this was any other time in my life I might have freaked out and demanded my rights. I've lost all semblance of that since SPYGOD decided to take me under his wing, though. He decided he was going to make me his special project, and since then I've had to get used to the fact that, at any moment, I might be abducted by his "roaring boys" and sent somewhere else without any time to pack.

The roaring boys do it for me, which leads to some interesting fashion choices.

* * *
In true SPYGOD fashion, I don't find out what's going on until I'm on the ground. We land somewhere well southeast of Tripoli, at a runway thrown together at mere seconds before we land. As soon as we're down I'm hustled out of the plane, still in my pajamas, by the Agents, and as soon as we're well clear the plane starts up and takes off again, at which point the runway somehow disassembles itself and walks away.

"We're heading for Sirte," the Agent in charge of things tells me, leading me to a nearby tracked vehicle that looks like something out of a 70's G.I. Joe catalog, only a lot larger: "SPYGOD's there with others, dealing with a Black Angel situation. He says he wants you to see this."

"What kind of situation?"

"Black Angel," he repeats, helping me up into the vehicle: "Someone gave Khaddafy the ability to make his own Strategic Talents, and he's done it. This is now a job for The COMPANY."

"Someone?" I ask: "Who?"
"A ghost from the past, Mr. Scott," is all he wants to say in the open. But it's a few hours' ride from wherever we landed to the coast, and in that time they bring me up to speed, so I can hit the ground running. 

Everything I'm told scares me.

* * *

Simply put: ABWEHR may be dead, but their diseased legacy lives on. 

Back in the mid-sixties, ABWEHR quietly linked up with various Middle Eastern governments and terrorist outfits. They recognized in them a similar goal in wiping Israel off the map, though their motivations were, obviously, quite different.

Why would Arab governments link up with superpowered racists, who also considered them to be lesser beings? It was, to use the cliche, a case of "enemy of my enemy." The Jewish state has always had a large percentage of Supers living there, and after the Arab-Israeli war, in 1948, their embarrassed governments were hoping the Nazis could even the scales for the next showdown.

That their questionable allies wanted their help completing the Final Solution, avenging the insult of the end of the Third Reich, and getting revenge for the Israel's daring capture, trial, and execution of Adolf Eichmann, was a lesser concern. 

The outlook was good, initially, but the Arab governments made the mistake of showing their hand a little too soon. Once Israel realized who was responsible, they responded to the mobilizations with a massive preemptive strike, spearheaded by Supers. In a mere week they flattened their neighbors' ability to make war for some time, and then swooped into their capitols and military bases to hunt down ABWEHR.

After The Seven Day War, Israel's chastened enemies weren't in the mood to be browbeaten into another losing fight. Add to that the fact that ABWEHR wasn't the easiest of partners to work with, by all accounts, and you can understand why the situation eventually reversed itself.

However, some people were still willing to tolerate their presence longer than others. One such person was Colonel Khadaffy, who was quietly moving towards taking power in his own country.

The Colonel knew that, as soon as he and his people took control, elements in the West and Middle East might seek to remove him in turn. As such, he was looking for any support he could get at that time, and ABWEHR -- still lurking in the region -- was willing to offer a hand.

To his questionable credit, the marriage did not last long, or end well. After the bloodless coup of 1969, and his consolidation of power, the Colonel realized he didn't need a gaggle of demanding Super Bigots to hold onto power. So he quietly informed various international interests -- including The COMPANY -- that they were there, and claimed he'd been threatened into accepting their aid when they were publicly routed.

Whether anyone actually believed him is questionable. I'm pretty sure neither SPYGOD nor the Israelis were fooled. But what they didn't know was that, while the marriage was a short sham, Khaddafy still kept several of the wedding gifts.
Including a handful of Black Pills, in case he needed Supers in an emergency. 

Again, to his questionable credit, he never used them. He didn't pull them out when President Reagan launched cruise missiles at him over the Line of Death incident, killing members of his own family. He didn't resort to them when he had a massive plot to assassinate him by his own military in the 90's, or after Islamic extremists started making alarmingly-frequent attempts on his life.

Part of this was because he had excellent protection. After the American strikes, he surrounded himself with a well-trained cadre of "Amazonian Guards" -- really "Revolutionary Nuns" -- who were reputed to have been altered, somehow. Exact details were never made clear, but there were dark hints of the involvement of Soviet, SQUASH-era replicant technology.

He also cultivated a number of Libyan Supers to rally to his side, and be symbols of his will and determination. That the "Green Brotherhood" was mostly made up of foreign meta-mercenaries with criminal pasts was not reported on by state media. But their presence made it more difficult for foreign governments to justify further attacks.

However, to use another cliche, a people united can never be defeated. Once the revolution took full swing, the "Green Brotherhood" was brought down by defections within their own ranks, angry Libyans, and what might have been quiet intervention by other Arab supers. Worse still, the Revolutionary Nuns were mostly taken out of the equation by forces yet unknown, leaving the Colonel only a handful of loyal soldiers to his name.

So it would appear that Khadaffy, no longer in control of his own destiny, took a long, hard look through his back catalog of unused tricks and decided it was time to roll some dice.

Which is why, when we got within five miles of Sirte, I could hear the earth trembling and the sound of something large and terrible smashing it to pieces.

(Randolph Scott is listening to Turn It On Again (Genesis) and having some water)

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