Monday, December 12, 2011

12/5-6/11 - SPYGOD's Big !@#$ Roadtrip: Cairo

Ah, Egypt. Now this is more like it. After running like !@#$ from Israel, and then only staying in Lebanon long enough to lose both safehouses in Tyre, spending a few days in a dilapidated hotel that caters to suckers on a tour package is just what I needed.

After all, when the hotel in question only exists anymore because of yours truly, it's a good thing to take advantage of that, now and again. Just to show them who's boss, at any rate.

Well, okay, the tour package suckers still foot most of the bill. But there's a reason why The Shepheard Hotel in lovely, downtown Cairo has a special, extra floor you can't even see if you're not wearing these sexy, Devo glasses. They also have a cloaked elevator that goes all the way up to the top floor that no one knows they have, where I maintain the best accommodations in the house.

And that's because, since the early 80's, SPYGOD has had a very cordial relationship with the Egyptian government, or at least certain sectors of it. One that is, thankfully, weathering the Arab Spring very nicely. The Presidents may eventually run for their lives, and the Islamists may come in and out of power, but every government needs some kind of spookshow running things behind the scenes.

Especially when some of those things are !@#$ spooky.

Bottom line, there's a lot of !@#$ buried under the sands in Egypt that should just !@#$ remain buried. There's a reason the Arabs called the Sphinx Abu Hol: "The Father of Horror." And that's just in town, son. There's !@#$ up and down the Nile, all the way upriver to Sudan, and even past that, that could erupt out of the ground and come after your slack, skinny !@#$ in the middle of the night.

Really nasty things. Like all seven plagues of Egypt possessing a bunch of Archaeologists, leading an army of flesh-eating mummies, and riding on bronze war crocodiles. And that was just that one year when things went ape!@#$ after they opened that one tomb everyone said not to!

So the Mukhabarat has its own, inner secret police: el Wedjat, the Eye of Horus. They're a small and quiet branch of two-fisted psychics, Supers with magical lineages, rogue archaeologists, djinn-taming Imams, and the occasional occult-based hero. When the bad gods come around for tribute, the government cracks opens the wrong pyramid, the ghosts march in from the Underworld, or something that would have made Lovecraft turn to drink comes up from the sands, they call them up and hope that, when the !@#$ gets sorted out, there's more bad dead than good.

We knew about Wedjat back  in the 70's, but given the current geopolitical situation, we couldn't really work together, except on those rare occasions when the !@#$ hit the fan on a global scale. Of course, all that means is that, when we needed to work together, we treated it like some dirty thing we didn't want to tell our parents about. It wasn't until Israel and Egypt finally buried the !@#$ hatchet, and everyone was friends, that we could actually start sharing information above the table without having to lie, or say "well, I could tell you, but then I'd have to make you suck my !@#$ until your teeth rotted out of your gums."

Yeah, imagine that. Suddenly you don't want to know, anymore. See how that works?

So, yeah, Wedjat and the COMPANY linked up every once in a while. Rogue deities, alien archaeology, ghost storms, demon plagues, weird !@#$ you can't really put in an easy category... you know how things are in this corner of the world. There seems to be something about deserts and dangerous, ancient secrets, doesn't there?

And whenever I had to blow into town, usually carrying a number of our Supers along with me, we needed someplace to stay. Because there was no way in !@#$ the Egyptian people were going to let us have The Flier hovering right over their city, and the General Intelligence Services didn't want a bunch of infidels staying in their precious headquarters, because that might get kind of tacky. Especially if we got drunk and danced, parties, and !@#$ until morning after a win. 

So they got me all of this, instead. I call it the "Pharaoh Suite," as it makes the "Presidential Suite" look like the "Deluxe Bargain Accommodation" by comparison.

It's dozens of large rooms, one big bedroom the size of a ballroom, a dining hall, cooking facilities, a !@#$ swimming pool with showers (co-ed, of course), and a helipad for quick entrance and exits. The main bedroom turns into a !@#$ disco, if you can believe that. In fact, I think the music system still works. I'll have to see if the kids want to play around with some hot, 70's funk and Arabian records tonight.

Ah, it's good to be God King Dictator for Life. Makes up for having to ditch that nice sub/hydrofoil in Alexandria, cue the auto-destruct, and hide in a rat-infested perfume shop that's actually the understated hub of most foreign intelligence hookups on Egypt's coast. We hung out there for a few hours, playing tourist, until I could clandestinely whistle up some help from a friend of a friend, and then introduce my traveling circus to the joy that is Cairo rush hour traffic.

(Five cars, side by side in three lanes, all going at least 20 over the speed limit. Do not rent a car from the airport unless you're homicidal, suicidal, or !@#$ armed to the teeth.)

This place has everything you could want, provided you want to go downstairs to get to it. Booze, gambling, a decent buffet, and a hospital doctor who doesn't ask any !@#$ questions. We could even hoof it over to the Museum if we wanted, and it was still !@#$ there, !@#$ it.

But not this trip. We had the doc make a house call, and are trying to get the token Asian restaurant in this !@#$hole to remember who they're dealing with, and actually send up some decent food. I don't want to set a foot outside this suite until we know for sure what the !@#$ is going on.

See, I thought it might be Mossad, or Molchanie. But they aren't in the habit of wiring their people up with deadbombs*. They don't need to.

So if it isn't them, then who is it? There's not a lot of legitimate intelligence operations out here that actually use those !@#$ things, anymore. And if it's who I think it is, then we're in a !@#$load of trouble, right now.

Time to make another phone call, I think. After I see if the record table still works and these discs aren't scratched to !@#$ and gone, that is. It's an old funk kind of night, I think. 

Another day above the ground deserves no less.

(SPYGOD is listening to Let's Groove Tonight (Earth Wind and Fire) and kicking back with a cold Sakara)

* Deadbombs are post-mortem explosives, designed to go off within a variable amount of time once the wearer's life signs cease. They are usually worn as a padded jacket with sensor pads on the heart, liver, and lungs, but are occasionally surgically implanted. The idea is that, should the wearer die on the mission, their body will not be able to be recovered for intelligence or identification. A secondary benefit would be the destruction of the target, provided he didn't know they were using Deadbombs and chose not to run once the belligerents were killed. Given their tendency to malfunction in the field, and general ruthlessness, most spy agencies stopped using them after the end of the Cold War. Supers-based agencies that were known to employ them included SQUASH, DRAGON, and BUSH. 

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