Good. Wouldn't want you to leave you hanging while I'm bobbing and weaving here. I just had to do a gun-fu maneuver or two with Whisper on one side and a Machinemarine on the other, and the only reason no one's fired a shot, yet, is because we've been !@#$ing !@#$ lucky.
Well, that and I think Chinmoku's keeping them from firing. One of his Hungry Ghost Technique things, apparently.
(And trust me, son, the less you know about that, the better.)
But, bullets or no, we're doing massive damage to poor Lady Gilda. Bee-Bee's howling that this fight needs to stop right the !@#$ now, or else we're going to lose her. I tell the !@#$ing cat to shut up and fly, but it's probably only a matter of time before she loses her !@#$, puts her on autopilot, gets her AK-47 out, and fills us all full of lead, just to save her own, furry !@#$.
And, seeing as how that gun came straight from Hell, I don't think Chinmoku's ghosts are going to be much help.
How did it come to this ridiculous, three-way tag-team fight in a cramped, stolen Supernazi UFO? Well, let's turn the clock back a few days, and look over yonder at Gitmo.
* * *
Guantanamo Bay's one of those amusing quirks of history. How else could you account for having a 43 square Kilometer chunk of land under American control in a country that, by all accounts, officially wants your sorry, capitalist !@#$es gone?
Now, we say we have a valid lease, going back to well before Castro took over, so too !@#$ing bad. Castro's regime says that the lease isn't any good, anymore, because it was with the previous regime that they displaced in the Revolution. Plus, they don't like us, because we're greedy, decadent, bourgeois, capitalist pigs and all that.
But good luck getting the UN to take you up on that, because you're just one or two steps above a pariah nation, being a naked Communist dictatorship with a !@#$ing abysmal human rights record and all. Plus the fact that the UN, however Communist they may be, are about as powerful as a defanged, elderly chihuahua that's had its barkbox removed.
And good luck taking it out of the hands of the !@#$ing United States Marine Corps, which prides itself on taking on all comers with a stare that can kill. And if you managed to take it from them, by some monumentally obscene stroke of luck? Well, good !@#$ing luck keeping it, commie, because you know that reinforcements would shortly be on the way.
A whole !@#$-ton of reinforcements.
This is why, in spite of having once had the open support of the USSR, and having some of the People's Protectors along for the ride, and still maintaining a relationship with the Vampires of Cuba (up until just the other night), there is an American outpost openly occupying a small patch of land on one end of an openly hostile nation, just daring the Cubans to take a swing at it.
You gotta love the place, really. It's got a !@#$ing McDonalds and a KFC, along with an open-air movie theater, and numerous other attractions. But the reason I sent Chinmoku and Whisper there wasn't for burgers or a chick flick. It was to infiltrate one of the most heavily-guarded American installations in the Western hemisphere, there to snatch-and-grab the most dangerous person currently in existence.
Which, like I said earlier (while I was dodging another, less fortunate Machinemarine) is Detention Camp Zebra, also known as The Z. It's a fenced-in concrete slab, covering up an elevator that goes down about fifty feet, and then sideways for another hundred, and opens up into a series of high-tech cells that are run by a Strategic Talent who prides himself on being the greatest escape artist on Earth.
So, of course, when Mister Freedom retired, back in the 60's, he became the nation's preeminent jailer. And if that doesn't strike you as being downright !@#$ing funny (and, yes, more than a little sad) you just have no sense of humor, son.
But the bottom line is that, courtesy of that man's outright-astounding comprehension of how to escape from !@#$ing anything, he was able to create prisons for people and things that simply could not be held. He made the Panopticon in Oklahoma for the FBI, worked on the truly secure cells in the Heptagon, and, after a few unfortunate incidents at both installations, created the infrastructure for The Z.
The Z is where we send things that are too !@#$ing powerful to be contained, and simply unable to be reformed or controlled. Would-be alien conquerors and extra-dimensional imps. Psychotic space gods and superpowerful ancient menaces. Rage monsters that get more powerful when you hit them and walking megaton bombs. Plague carriers, life eaters, world-beaters, and foes whose powers are so beyond our ability to deal with that you might as well be a butterfly in the wake of a MOAB.
Somehow, we've beaten them. Then we've had Mister Freedom carefully analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and carefully craft a tailor-made cell just for them. And those cells are then teleported into The Z, never to be opened again.
At least, not until someone who was looking over Mister Freedom's shoulder without his knowing about it told a certain, Cuban super-thief both how to get into the camp and The Z, as well as how to get another pair of operatives in from the outside, and pull off a prisoner removal without anyone getting killed, much less hurt.
Hence the very quiet, very successful, and very non-lethal infiltration and extraction from the other night. Hence Dr. Krwi and I leaving Havana on foot, stealing a car, rendezvousing with Bee-Bee in Jaruco, and taking a cloaked UFO from there to Gitmo. Hence our hovering over The Z while Whisper, Chinmoku, and Ombra got the payload up and into Lady Gilda.
Hence what we're !@#$ing fighting over, right now.
* * *
So what's in the briefcase, and why are we fighting over it?
Well, first of all, you have to understand this is no small, thing. We're actually fighting around the sucker in here, and it's strong enough to put up with most damage that's being done. In fact, half the trouble of getting it out of The Z was that it's so !@#$ing big that you can't just sneak out with it under your arm, or dress it up.
The briefcase, if you want to hold onto that metaphor, is ten feet long, five feet high, roughly cylindrical, and weighs about a half a ton. It's got gravity assists, thankfully, so someone of average strength can push it along fairly even ground without snapping every muscle in their arms and legs like taffy and throwing their back out all the way down the field for a super-long touchdown. But it's noisy and hissing and thrumming and makes the occasional computer noise.
Not to mention the constant Beep. Beep. Beep. of someone's heartbeat while at rest.
Yes, folks, you guessed it. The object I was interested in was a sleep chamber, which was nestled inside one of Mister Freedom's supposedly escape-proof cells. Inside that sleep chamber is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet in your life. But he's also one of the most powerful people we've ever encountered. And he has a real hard time controlling those powers, which also makes him one of the most dangerous people in history.
His name is Simon Pure. He's 35 years old, but he's spent the last ten years frozen in cryo-sleep. And the reason we did that is because he can't stop himself from altering reality around him.
Well, okay, not really altering it, son. More like swapping it around with other realities. You'll be talking to him, and suddenly you'll be in some weird, alternate universe, and your other self, from that universe, will be where you were, wondering what the !@#$ is going on.
And if your other self's the sort of person who gets off on !@#$ing puppies in their eye sockets, things are going to get messy.
We tried to make him a superhero. We did. A power like that could save the world a million times over, to say nothing of what it could do in the field. Imagine sending people's super-weapons into an empty universe with a mere thought, or slooshing a crowd of hungry feeders with a wave of water from the Earth that never developed dry land.
Problem is, Simon can't focus so well. He doesn't just have the power to look into other realities, he is experiencing those other realities all the !@#$ing time. It's like being in a room with a million million radios on at full blast and trying to listen to one song. That he could function in this reality at all was something of a miracle, but before Dr. Yesterday could perfect some way to keep him glued down, Simon had a nightmare and... well...
Yes, son. It's classified. And this is one of those peeks behind the curtain you do not want in your memory.
So after we cleaned up the mess as best we could, and got him to change or delete as much of the damage as we could, we tricked him into going to sleep. And then we just left him there, in a sleep chamber, hoping that one day we could find a foolproof way to save him.
But one crisis led to another, and one world-shattering event led to another, and before you know it's been ten !@#$ing years and the kid's still asleep, and Dr. Yesterday hasn't even started on that focusing helmet he was going to build for him. The people who liked him have more or less forgotten about him, and anyone who really felt uneasy around him's in no !@#$ing hurry to remind them.
That said, a lot of really evil and !@#$ed up people do remember him. And they remember that he was really powerful. And they have spent the last ten years trying to develop a way to harness his unique talents to suit their really evil and !@#$ed-up needs.
And did I mention that these evil and !@#$ed up people tend to have ridiculously large bank accounts?
So when it transpires that yours truly needs some people to go into a certain detention camp and get him out, certain individuals who are more in love with a payout than the overall safety and security of the world know that there's someone out there willing to make the two million dollars I offered them look like pennies on the dollar. They made contact with some of these !@#$ers, and colluded with each other to go 50-50.
Except, of course, that I !@#$ing knew about the whole thing. One of the colluders, being Chinmoku, was really loyal to yours truly, and let me know, by way of the ghosts that surround him, what Whisper was up to. I thought we could contain that !@#$, once we got the objective on board, but it turns out that Ombra wanted a piece of the action, too. And no sooner did we all start drawing steel and getting ready to throw the !@#$ down than the Machinemarines crash the !@#$ing party.
See, we figured the blow-up in Havana would cover up their entrance to Gitmo, and it did. And I expected the resultant lockdown of the base, and all detention facilities within it, would cover up their already being down there. But we didn't figure that Mister Freedom had a few fail-safes programmed in in case of a lockdown, including seemingly random opportunities to put a password into a computer that, unless you knew about them, would have just seemed like computer glitches to any would-be escapees or breakout artists.
And did my operatives, traitorous as 2/3rds of them were, follow SPYGOD's advice and be able to account for everything, no matter how inconsequential it may have seemed? No they !@#$ing did not. Which is why all the people outside the cells got tagged with passive tracker devices. And that's what the Machinemarines used to follow our cloaked UFO, and how they caught up to us in the middle of the Atlantic !@#$ing Ocean.
So yeah, son, Mister Freedom got me good. I'll have to buy him a beer, next time I see him, when we're all on the same side, again. Provided we don't all splash down in the next five minutes, or get shot to pieces by one of the most dangerous kittycats in existence.
This is how you save the world, son. Not with lofty ideals or mere strength of arms, or even the threat of mere strength of arms. You save it by making a crazy-as-!@#$ plan, knowing full well that someone's going to try and !@#$ you, but trusting that you have enough redundancies, side plans, back-ups, and hidden allies to come and save your fine, gay !@#$ when the !@#$ hits the fan.
And if only these fine, young men didn't have special shielding, I could have SPYGOD-Visioned them all unconscious and drooling sixty seconds ago, !@#$ it...
(SPYGOD is listening to Fugitive (Pet Shop Boys, JCRZ remix) and drinking more fear)