Saturday, June 9, 2012

3/15/12 - The Day of The Gorgon - pt. 1

* * *

Beware the ides of March.

What man is that?

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Set him before me; let me see his face.

Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

Beware the ides of March.

He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Julius Caesar - Act 1. Scene II

* * *

It's Thursday, March 15th, and even at 10 in the AM, it's already clear that it's going to be another scorcher. 

The unusually warm D.C. weather continues to confound almanacs and send its citizens out of doors, once they get home from their jobs. Substandard air conditioners overheat and threaten brownouts. Fans are taxed to their maximum. Some rain would be nice, but then it's just make the area even more humid, and no one wants that.

But, safe behind thick, temperature-controlled walls in the Heptagon, Myron -- aka Underman -- is feeling an entirely different kind of heat, this morning. Part of that heat comes from knowing that, someday soon, a temporally-displaced, slightly younger version of his disgraced former Director is going to come here, be captured, and then spirited away due to a carefully-laid plan that Myron's finally got up and running. But the other part of that heat comes from the fact that, as he just learned just a few days ago, the entire Heptagon is crawling with the enemy in disguise.

The "Specials" -- high-tech guards that have appeared at all COMPANY installations since New Man took over -- are all GORGON's False Faces in disguise. They're armored like crazy, carrying some frightening ordinance in their hands, and operating under instructions he doesn't have the paygrade to even get a glimpse of.

So far, it seems that only Myron knows this, but he doesn't dare tell anyone. He has no idea if Second, The Dragon, New Man, or Colonel Richter are pulling the strings on this one, or have been suborned into accepting it. He doesn't even know if this is all some crazy, double or triple bluff, especially since it turns out that Dr. Yesterday's been turned into one of them, too.

But he knows that any single one of those five men could come running down here at a moment's notice, and not only find some excuse to divest him of his new job, but slam him back into a cell, too. And if Myron isn't here, in charge, to play his part when younger SPYGOD shows up, the plan instantly goes to !@#$.

And there are no !@#$ing words for just how bad that is. 

He's kept himself busy, though. After a few drinks to steady his nerves after his new, "They Live," anti-GORGON sunglasses showed him more than he ever wanted to know, he got another idea along those same lines. Since then, when he hasn't had to do official prison warden things, he's been huddled over his desk, working on a little something just in case he needs it. 

Thankfully, that little something is almost done. It just needs a test drive, which could always be arranged, of course. He'd just have to engineer some kind of situation to explain why however many Specials had a peculiar problem, right out of nowhere...

An alarm brings him back to reality. He pushes some of his bits and tools away and flips his computer back up to see what's going on.

"Report?" he asks.

"Intruder down on sublevel twenty, sir," an Agent tells him: "Must have teleported in."

"Well, get on top of it," Myron says: "We've got a few cells down there. I don't feel like having a jailbreak today-"

"Sir, it's him!"

Myron's heart thumps to a dead stop in his chest: "Him who, Agent?"

"It's SPYGOD, sir! He doesn't appear to be armed... they're shooting-"

"Shoot to disable, Agent!" Myron shouts: "Tell them to shoot to disable only! We need him able to talk-"

"Sir, he's... okay, I think the field got him. He's down."

"Are you sure it's him?"

"Yes... I think so, sir. We're taking a look now..."

The screen goes away from the Agent's face and over to the figure, lying prone on the ground, drooling like a drunk and twitching every so often. He's wearing and off-duty uniform, like the kind he'd have worn at that !@#$ty hotel in Costa Rica, and not armed, which is highly unusual, to say the least. But it's SPYGOD, alright. 
"Interrogation room 12," Myron orders: "I'll be right there."

He turns the computer down, and then puts a datastick into it. As soon as he does, a call gets made, and Anil picks up after a dozen, nervewracking rings.

"Hi there," he says: "Do you know what time it is, here?"

"I don't care. It's time, here."

Anil doesn't seem to understand for a moment, and then he does. He nods: "I'll wake Dosha. Anything change on your end?"

"No. But be ready for the plan to change at a moment's notice. I didn't know half of what I know, now, when we arranged things. !@#$ might get !@#$ing bad really !@#$ing quick."

"That's extremely comforting... oh, wait, Dosha's up. Hang on."

Dosha's scarred face looms into the screen and he smiles: "It's that time, then?"

"It is. And I really have to go-"

"You picked a very auspicious moment for this plan to come to fruition, my friend," he says: "My contacts are telling me that something big is going down in India and Pakistan, right now. Known separatist group members are on the move in both countries."

Myron blinks: "Eerie coincidence. The same group?"

"Couldn't be more different," Dosha says: "The Indian one's a radical Islamist outfit that wants to turn the country into a Muslim theocracy. The other's a pro-democracy front that wants to force secularization on Pakistan. Different backers, no crossover members. But they started moving at the same time."

"That's distinctly unsettling," he says: "Do me a favor? Send an untraceable to New Man with that info in it. Whatever happens next, he might need to know about this."

"After this, he'll be your enemy, my friend."

Myron makes a sour face: "I've still got a job to do. You gonna do yours?"

Dosha just smiles, and turns the call off. Myron sighs, takes the datastick out, and puts it back in its hiding place. He takes the finished but untested little something he's been working on for the past few days, and sticks it in his pocket. And then he knocks back a shot of hooch from the bottle he keeps hidden in his desk.

"'Into the abyss I fall,'" he quotes, making sure he's got nothing but trick cuffs on him as he leaves his office for what might be the final time, ever.

* * *

All around the world -- quiet and unseen, save to those who are well-paid to watch -- things are moving into place.

Radical armies get up and go, armed with weapons and technology they have no business handling. The security teams of Presidents and Prime Ministers and the bodyguards of despots have unexpected personnel changes, some of which come at the business end of very large, strange-looking guns. Foresworn spies and excellently-paid saboteurs rise and take well-choreographed positions, awaiting a signal that's soon to come.

"One as bright as the future we're bringing," they were told. 

Everyone thinks they know what's going on, here. Each group has been promised everything they could ever want. Freedom or dictatorship. Free markets or complete control. Religion or its absence. The emancipation of jailed leaders or the incarceration of hated politicians.

Everything or nothing.

The message has varied, but the messengers have stayed somewhat the same. Mysterious benefactors who were able to find their secret lairs and meeting spots, teleport into them, and make an offer they would have been fools to refuse. They offered tools and technology, money and advanced weapons.

And they promised that, on the day it all happened, the lowly would be made high, so long as they believed in their dreams.

"All you need is love," they told them, and while love might not have been high up in their personal vocabulary, they were willing to listen to their excellent proposals.

Their movements don't go unnoticed, of course. But those who are doing the watching are having massive problems getting back to their superiors, right about now. Phones aren't being picked up, email is suspiciously offline, and their messages go unanswered.

All alarms may as well be silent.

So all they can do is break protocol and talk to one another. But even then, the word doesn't exactly go where it needs to. Panicked communiques get scrambled and company computers are ruthlessly attacked by hungry hidden viruses, eager to devour the hard drive of those who type certain key words.

Like "gauss rifle," "impersonation," or "teleporter."


(SPYGOD is listening to Day of the Lords (Joy Division) and having a Dominion Lager )

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