You know what the worst thing about fleeing for your life is? Having to flee for your life while carrying a whole bunch of !@#$ civies in tow. But after yesterday's little fun in Tel Aviv, I'm having to do exactly that.
Now I'm sure what you're asking, right about now: "Gee, SPYGOD, you are SPYGOD, right? Why don't you just pull a nuclear-powered hover platform out of your !@#$ and head someplace a little less hostile, like !@#$ Italy, and whistle up transport back to the US of A?"
And that's an excellent question, son. Except that there's two problems.
The first problem is that SPYGOD forgot to bring an ATP* along with him in the hurry to get over here. I had just been using that hole, not to long before, and it sort of slipped my mind in the rush to get the Man Missile across the !@#$ Greenwich Line before the Israelis killed the rest of my kids. In fact, I didn't think of it until I realized my best guns were out of ammo and had to kill the last !@#$ with his own.
The second problem is that we don't dare poke our heads up and call for help, right now. From the beginning, I've been operating on the assumption that if I can track them, they can track me. Molchanie has Strategic Talents, after all, and if they're in on this (and why wouldn't they be?) then it's only a matter of time before some Super Nazi Hunter with radar ears comes to kick in our skulls.
General rule of the battlefield: do not stick your head up out of the trench. It's the best way known to have a few inches taken off the top, or side, or wherever the other guy's bullet smacks you.
So we're on the lam, officially. Which is good because, while we're running, it'll give me time to figure out who the !@#$ authorized this little tea party, and come up with an appropriate response. Bad because the kids along with me aren't used to this kind of thing, and I really did not want them exposed to it.
Right now we're in Lebanon. This is, of course, after looting my safe house of every bullet and gun I could get my hands on. This is also after having some friends of mine take care of the mess back at the hotel, which, unfortunately, means the two dead kids are going to vanish into a dumpster, somewhere.
Saying that Randolph was not happy about that is something of a colossal understatement. I listened to everything he had to say, and then, as calmly as possible, explained to him that he didn't get a say in this, anymore. Namely, he took these kids where I told him not to take them, and now he knew why.
So if he's upset about that, he needs to have a word with himself, and not me. I didn't get our kids killed. He did. I'm just saving the rest of them as best as I can. He doesn't like that, well, here's some Shekels. Go get a bus back to NYC.
(He didn't take the money. He also didn't take the gun I offered. Hopefully he won't need it, anyway, but at this point if he gets his bleeding heart shot the !@#$ out of his chest I'm not really going to cry a river. !@#$ idiot.)
After that, it was on to the border. I know some people who know some people who smuggle Palestinian refugees and contraband back and forth, and it was relatively simple to get ourselves included in the shipment. That took a couple hours, though, and it was very tense waiting. Every time the truck stopped I was convinced someone was going to see us on the way out, and then it'd be killtime.
But no one did, which has me !@#$ spooked. I know they're out there, watching, somewhere. So why are they waiting? Don't they know I don't sleep at times like this?
Of course, there is just the chance that they did lose us. Lebanon's the perfect place to get lost, after the last fight with Israel, and in the aftereffects of the revolution. There's been a number of shakeups, and things that used to be frowned upon are now yours for the taking as long as you've got the Pounds to pay for it.
In our case, it was just to make a few official eyes in Tyre go blind for a while. Of course, I didn't tell them who I was, or what the problem was, or what was going on. And I sure as !@#$ didn't tell them where we were really going, which means that when they inevitably sell us the !@#$ out, the people who are after us will be going to a safe house that isn't actually a safe house, but a big !@#$ bomb in a building that's been officially abandoned since the Civil War.
The real safe house in Tyre's not far from the shore. It's a nice little villa I've had since the 70's, which is currently owned by a drunken !@#$ of a movie star who's infamous for saying things so outrageously stupid that he can't get any roles, anymore.
I think Tarantino keeps calling him up and asking him to be in his next film, but he's wasting his !@#$ breath. The star's been dead for years. I have an android pretending to be him when needed, which means that, as far as anyone here knows, the house is still occupied.
(And yes, I had a few narrow escapes on that one, back in '06. Fortunately the Israelis decided to aim for Hezbollah and not has-beens. The house yet stands.)
Once inside, I activated the security systems, got the kids to bed and let Randolph go get drunk and feel sorry for himself. Of course, the kid didn't get drunk, but once he had his bottled water he proceeded to go sulk in his room. !@#$ fine by me.
As I was working on the best route away from our pursuers, I had a slight trip down memory lane. There's a reason I have this house, after all. Back in the 70's and 80's, when we were essentially on the same side, Molchanie and The COMPANY were running ops during the Lebanese Civil War, and this was my little insurance policy, in case things got bad.
Mostly our work involved stopping other countries' Strategic Talents from exploiting the situation to try and get a leg up over Israel. We were concerned about the Soviets, of course, but there were other considerations. One of HONEYCOMB's long-standing plans has been to annihilate everything and everyone within Israel's borders, and then instantly repopulate it with force-grown clones with pre-programmed memories and personalities, there to create an example of a perfect society, and one that no outside force would dare harm.
(Of course, me, I'd burn them all to !@#$, but that puts me in the minority.)
So here we were, smashing SQUASH, ABWEHR, and the occasional Arab Super, and it's me and some Israelis talking shop. And the one thing that impressed me, or maybe scared me, was their absolute dedication to the notion of disproportionate payback. You know: you insult me, I ignore you; you hit me, I shoot you; you shoot me, I shoot you, your family, your village, and the goat you had tied around the olive tree, too.
"You have to understand," one of them told me: "We have always been surrounded by our enemies. Europe? Nothing but hatred. England? They couldn't wait to be rid of us, even while they found excuses not to complete their promise. America? Please. There were laws about us.
"And now, here? Hate on every side. And if we show any weakness, that hate will crush us.
"I would rather be hated for having hit back too hard, as a reminder to not hit us again, than be eulogized for having been gentle and forgiving. Someday, our children may never have to be put in this situation of making that decision. But we have to be sure we have children, and they grow up safe."
And, yes, I couldn't find any fault with that logic. If Canada and Mexico decided we !@#$ sucked and needed to be driven out of our homes so the Native Americans could have the land back, I'm sure we'd be !@#$ bastards about it, too.
But I saw things in that war that made even me wonder what the notion of "too far" meant. And that's !@#$ saying something, even for me.
I don't dare use too many communication devices. I have no idea if they've been compromised or not. And while I'm sure it's only a matter of time before my own people come looking for me, I'm going to have to hide from them, too, if only to ensure they don't get !@#$ in my stead.
So It's enough to get a day or two, here, sleeping with one eye open. A few beers, some decent food, and a laugh at the 70's wardrobe I still have in the closets might help heal the wound those kids have been handed.
And if I hear the explosion go off, we're gone in five.
(SPYGOD is listening to The Lebanon (Human League) and having a raft of Almaza)
* ATP: Anal Transport Package. Thanks to recent advances in miniaturization, it is possible to shrink-ray several sizable objects and place them inside a small, snap-breakable, vacuum-packed capsule. The capsule can then be inserted someplace unlikely to be found (such as one's anus) and removed and broken open when needed. The objects inside the capsule quickly regain their original size when exposed to air, making this an excellent mode of secret transport for Agents. The only problem, other than removing the capsule exactly when you need it, is that the miniaturization process is still a little "eccentric," as Dr. Yesterday puts it. There have been cases where, after 24 hours, the shrink ray loses its effect, and the objects in the capsule return to normal size within seconds while still inside the Agent's anal orifice. Photos of one unfortunate soul who tried to smuggle a Humvee up his behind still make the rounds in the COMPANY, meaning that it will be quite some time before this otherwise-sound, high-tech tradecraft method gains widespread use, except amongst those Agents who are fearless, peerless, and possess !@#$holes of steel.