Of course, a lot of people have wanted his equine !@#$ shot full of holes, minced fine, and thrown in a riding bag over the years. Back when we were !@#$ing with the Commies, in the 80's, there wasn't a province in Mongolia that didn't have his smiling face up on the wall at every police shack worth a !@#$, and more than a few that weren't. The Chinese, the Russians, the Mongolians, even the CIA from time to time when he burned them on a deal.
(A trick he learned to relish after dealing with me, let me tell you.)
But this time, he really dodged the !@#$ing bullet.
On March 15th, close to midnight, Altan was supposed to be at Choibalsan's airport, waiting for a plane to land with certain things an employer wanted a !@#$ of a lot more than the legitimate buyer. The plan was to wait for the cargo to be loaded up by his men on a certain truck, and then pull a switch with that truck on the way out of the airport, taking advantage of the dark. By the time the new hired drivers got the cargo to Baruun Urt, many !@#$ing miles away, the real cargo would be halfway to a rendezvous point on the other side of the country, there to lay low for a couple days until they could take it out of Ulaangom.
It was a risky move, to be sure, but that's what Golden Horse does best. He always figured that the crazier the plan, the less !@#$ing likely anyone would suspect it was going to go down that way, which meant he could get away with it. I always liked that about him.
But he also had some inside intel, which made it sound like that day was going to be really !@#$ good to slip under the radar. Apparently some group of crazy Commie !@#$heads were going to try and pull a coup in Ulaan Baatar that evening, which would keep the authorities tied up like !@#$ing pigs for quite a while. In the confusion, there'd be no one to call for help, and he and his men could go party like dogs in Ulaangom while the dust settled.
What could go wrong? Well, son, by now you should know how this !@#$ goes.
The plan went sideways at !@#$O'clock in the evening, which is what it usually !@#$ing does. The decoy truck blew a tire on the way in to town, and the spare tire was as flat as a worn-out nag. After shouting at the idiot responsible, and threatening to !@#$ him to death with his hooves, Golden Horse changed and galloped off to find a new one.
So that meant that, when the giant beam of light came down from the sky, far away to the southeast, he wasn't close enough to be hurt, and was able to gallop for cover. And when a second giant beam of light came down and turned Choibalsan's airport into a smoking hole in the ground, not only was he not !@#$ing there to be atomized, but he was hiding in a gulley, and avoiding being blinded.
Eventually, he figures the big !@#$ deathray part of the show's over, and he gets his horsey !@#$ back up and heads back into town. Come to find out that his men back at the decoy truck weren't all so lucky, and were looking in the wrong !@#$ing direction when the beam hit Choibalsan. There were quite a few folks in town who weren't too lucky, either, but he didn't find out about them just yet.
Of course, it goes without saying the deal's !@#$ing off. They fix the truck with a tire they steal off a car whose driver's had his eyeballs melted, and head back to their hideout, only to find that the plane they were going to heist's waiting for them halfway there, in a wide field of debris. Not !@#$ing much of it left, though, but there's enough for them to salvage a little of what they'd intended to get.
And while they're doing it, Altan realizes that it's a military plane. Not that it would have mattered during the theft, itself, but it's one of those facts that lodge in your brain like a sticky bomb, waiting for the right moment to go the !@#$ off.
* * *
Once they get back to the tunnel, the people they left behind have the radio on, and they're about halfway through this weird!@#$ broadcast. Some group calling itself "Imago" are telling them how they're going to save the entire world from itself, as we can't be !@#$ing trusted to do it ourselves, anymore.
Needless to say, that doesn't make my friend all that happy, as he's heard that !@#$ before. But the radio goes dead before he can get any more out of them, and then it's just static on every channel.
That's about when his men decide to tell him what's been going on, at least according to the voice on the radio. And that's what he was operating on when he decided to try and kill the !@#$ing President, right in front of me.
In the world according to Imago, whoever the !@#$ they are, the American government was involved in a massive plan to destabilize all the governments of the world, in order to gain access to their mineral resources. Peak oil was on its way, and we apparently decided we'd rather launch a !@#$ing preemptive strike rather than suffer through the inevitable gas wars to come.
So proxy fighters were armed, trained, and sent in to murder and kill all foreign heads of state, and disrupt their houses of government. And while that was going on, we'd use orbital weapons to destroy all airpower, everywhere, so that no one could threaten us as we stomped our way across the !@#$ing globe like Alexander the !@#$ing Great.
Fortunately, Imago saved the world from American imperialism, but not before the entire world was left defenseless in the wake of an oncoming cosmic threat. Seeing as how we were now !@#$ing helpless, they took pity and decided to aid us, so that we may survive the coming storm.
And the best thing we can do is help them help us.
Needless to say, this is complete !@#$ing bull!@#$, but it made a certain kind of sense to my friend, seeing how many times he'd had his tail burned by the !@#$ing CIA. Thankfully, I talked him down from doing the obvious thing with the apparent architect of the world's current misery, but he isn't completely sure his men won't try their hand at trying to collect a reward from the Imago, next time they show up in Choibalsan and see how their !@#$ factory is going.
More details came as the night went on, and the kumis started getting passed around. Every major city in Mongolia's a !@#$ing factory of some kind, now. People were rounded up, told to leave their homes and belongings behind, and housed in high-tech tent cities not far from their workplace. They get worked ten hours a day, and then let loose to do whatever the !@#$ they want, within reason.
He says they look well fed and rested, and he can hear what might be radio or TV coming from the camp so he figures they've got entertainment. No one tries to sneak out, but he doesn't know if that's contentment or fear.
Why fear? Well, according to Altan, all the kids in all the cities were taken somewhere else, nearby. Altan's never gotten close enough to those tent cities to see what's going on there, because those, unlike the factories, are actually guarded by Imago, themselves.
He described what they look like, and told me that he felt a small piece of himself wanting to trust them, for some reason. That says a lot coming from a smuggler like him. He's old enough to remember what things were like in the 70's, and something about them reminds him of those amazing heroes.
Until they smile, anyway. Then he wants to cram his hooves into their mouth and kick up till their heads come off at the !@#$ neck.
At some point in the evening, the President asks what's happened to America. After all, if the government's being blamed for all this, then they must have exacted some kind of retribution.
Altan says that they've gotten radio broadcasts of war crimes tribunals. People have been tried for their crimes and, when found guilty, executed. Taken up into space and left to suffocate or explode, apparently.
The President, looking more than a little panicky by now, asks who was found guilty.
And Altan looks at the man, and, as matter of factly as he can, tells him the truth.
* * *
While the President's been off, dealing with that, I've come to grips with something I didn't really want to hear. The !@#$ing date.
It's July, apparently. Early July, 2012. Simon !@#$ing flung me a few months into the future, well past the date I was trying to come back by.
Four months, son. Four !@#$ing months I've been !@#$ing sidelined while these Imago !@#$ers have been in control of my !@#$ing planet. Turning it into a !@#$ing work camp, snatching up kids for !@#$ knows what reason, and selling people on some !@#$ing cosmic doomsday scenario.
Of course, as we both know that scenario might actually be !@#$ing real. Do they really know about it? Or are they just piggybacking? !@#$, are they in league with the !@#$ing thing, somehow?
What's happened to GORGON? Are all the Legion criminals still locked up? Is HONEYCOMB still squashed? ABWEHR?
I don't know, son. I just don't.
But I'm safe, here, at least for now. I have the President of the United States of America, and he's safe. I'm with an ally that, while he's shifty as !@#$, knows better than to betray me.
Best of all, I'm the one thing the enemy doesn't want me to be.
Imago's gonna go down like a Thai hooker on a Marine, son. You can bet your sweet !@#$ on that.
But for now, I have a President to comfort, and a plan to make, and three bottles of fermented radioactive mares milk to drink before I can even consider shedding a tear for the people I just know I've lost.
So if you'll excuse me, son?
(SPYGOD is listening to Dream Attack (New Order) and having dangerously radioactive Kumis)