So, son, I bet you've been wondering what the !@#$ your old pal SPYGOD has up to, lately?
"Been a bit !@#$ quiet, lately, there, sir. Do you have a rescue plan up and running, yet? The planet isn't going to !@#$ing save itself, now is it?"
And no, son, it isn't. But these things take time and finesse. Especially when you've got the kind of odds stacked against us that we do.
I mean, !@#$. They have Deep Ten, don't they? That's total coverage of the airspace of the entire !@#$ing world, right there. We so much as pop up our heads and they'll !@#$ing vape them from orbit, just to be sure.
And then there's those Falsefaces, and the Imago, themselves. And whatever the !@#$ they turned my beautiful Flier into. And that city that rose out of the waves.
Oh, yes, son -- I know about that, now. I know all about that !@#$, now. And while I may not know exactly what it means, I know enough to know that it's nothing good, and that we're going to have to be just a little more careful about certain things.
And I do not like it -- Not one !@#$ bit.
I do not like sitting on my hands with my thumbs up my !@#$. I do not like this waiting and watching instead of kicking and fighting. I do not like the fact that people around the world are being !@#$ed and enslaved and killed.
And I do not like not being in control at a time like this.
So I've been making plans. Quiet and careful plans. Mostly with friends, sometimes with enemies, and sometimes with people who have no !@#$ idea who I am, or what I'm doing, or what I need them to do it for.
Like today, for example.
Today, I'm sitting in a sun chair on the deserted beach of the Samui Beach Resort, in sunny Koh Samui, off the coast of Thailand. I got here yesterday, after some quiet but necessary business in Bangkok, and I've been sneaking around ever since.
I'm drinking cold, local beer that I liberated from what's left of the resort's kitchen, since the island was evacuated and put to work by the Imago. No one's left here but crabs, birds, and the occasional escapee or thief, but I've got plenty of time before the metal men come looking.
I'm looking Southwest, towards Indonesia, as I drink my beer. On a clear day like today, you can almost see a certain orbital elevator the Imago put together, quite some time ago.
Yeah, son. Almost. It's tall enough to put something in near earth orbit, with a little help, but it's not too wide, or thick.
Or well armored, for that matter.
I'm checking my watch, every so often. It's a nice watch -- heavy, thick, and precise to the last nanosecond. It's also loaded with lots of neat spy tricks, but right now they don't matter as much as just knowing what !@#$ing time it is.
Especially given what's about to happen.
Now, I can hear you asking, son: "Gee, SPYGOD, what is about to happen? What the heck have you been up to since you taught the President how to kill people three times his size with three pennies, a shoe, and a wad of chewing gum?"
And that's a !@#$ good question. But let me answer it by asking you a question, for once. And it's a really simple one, so no cheating, okay?
Son, do you know what today is?
Yes, smart!@#$, it's September 11th. But do you know why that's important?
No? Oh for !@#$'s sake, kid. I know we talked about this last year. It's the day that America was almost attacked by a bunch of cave-dwelling religious zealots. You know, the four-plane hijacking that would have cost us the Pentagon, the Capitol, and the Twin Towers if we hadn't gotten !@#$ lucky?
Oh! Now you remember. Yeah, I did talk about that quite a bit, now didn't I? Something about getting lucky versus getting it right, and what you can only learn from failure. It's an old speech, but a good one.
Well, I'm sure you might remember that, for years afterward, we were always on high alert around that time of year. I may have gone into Afghanistan and turned those idiots' leader into a stain on the cave wall (and his head into a hallway decoration) but they still had lots of friends, and their friends had friends, and so on. And there was a good chance that, if they actually got the faculty together, they might !@#$ing try to attack us again on that day.
Did they? Well, they tried. And we caught them. And they paid for their !@#$ing stupidity.
But not completely.
Yes, we could have wiped them out. We had strategic talents who could hunt them to the ends of the Earth and beyond. We had weapons that could obliterate them from outer !@#$ing space, or from the ground up. We had the tools, the talent, and the intelligence.
We had mad skills, as they say.
But yet, in spite of what they did, and what they kept trying to do, we always let some of them live.
Why? Well, it goes back to the Outland mentality, I guess. That group might not have been the same kind of dangerous as HONEYCOMB or GORGON, but we were worried they might have some kind of doomsday plan, or an alliance we didn't know about. And if we wiped them all out, then maybe some big !@#$ domino would fall down, and we'd be butt!@#$ed before we even felt it going in the backdoor.
And we also wanted to follow them and see where they led. Maybe they'd show us their true masters, or lead us to other criminals and terrorists. Maybe we'd learn about new and emerging groups, or find out that they were splintering. Maybe they'd lead us to something we thought we'd lost, or never even knew we had.
All kinds of possibilities, there, son -- even if it meant being partially !@#$ing responsible every time they hijacked, kidnapped, tortured, oppressed, corrupted, or killed someone in the name of God.
But then, we also wanted them around because they were superstitious, crafty, and easy to use.
Oh, does that bother you, son? Well, welcome to !@#$. This happens all the !@#$ time.
!@#$, son -- I told you before. You remember the talk about Harold, and how most of our spies actually operated? Well, sometimes Harold wears a cape and steals diamonds. Sometimes he spins genes for HONEYCOMB or goose-steps for ABWEHR. Sometimes he worked for SQUASH, or the People's Protectors.
And sometimes, Harold carries a rocket launcher on his shoulders and a holy book in his pocket.
I've been busy since I got back from that weird-!@#$ future I drank and ghost-screwed my way into, son. Part of it's been intelligence-gathering, and part of it's been making alliances and rebuilding organizations, but part of it's been getting certain loose assets and liabilities back under my thumb.
Hence Thailand, where, down in the South of the country, there are large numbers of militant religious zealots. And while they're mostly all about stomping on people who don't share their unique and cozy point of view, they are also loosely allied with the ultimate successor of the organization that tried to mess with America on September 11th of 2001.
Now, I'm sure you remember my saying that we dealt with that organization with extreme prejudice. We also dealt with its son, and its grandson, and its great grandson, and we did so with such ruthlessness and exacting standards that what's left of it's great great grandson is a shattered wreck of a terrorist outfit. It's got big plans but lousy follow-though, leaders who are corrupt as sin and competent as a braying jackass, and no real handle on what to do or how to do it.
I mean, !@#$, son. On 3/15 the CIA decided to !@#$ing use part of this group as their revolutionary patsies? They failed. The Imago showed up and found that the Thai Junta was still very much in charge, and their proxy army was in pieces on the floor.
(But lucky for everyone, the surviving Junta members were oh-so-willing to cooperate with the Imago because they had similar goals in mind. Hence some of the fun I just had, up North, in Bangkok. But enough on that today...)
So yeah, they're superstitious, easy to lead, not technically savvy, reliant on others for direction, and their communications network is so insecure a ten year old kid could prank-call his way into it.
Which brings us here, to sunny Koh Samui, which is quite the tourist destination. So much so, in fact, that this island has its own, tiny airport -- an airport that the Imago didn't get around to blasting on 3/15 because everyone forgets its there, except for the tourists and travel agents.
Nice little airport. Bamboo huts with wi-fi. Covered golf carts to take you to and from the plane, and deliver your luggage right to the waiting area. Banana republic immigration shacks. And a runway that takes you right past the big Buddha at the North end of the island.
Not that the Southern Thai friends of the great-great-grandson took off that way, son. They went South, and then Southwest, in a cargo plane that was packed full of very sophisticated explosives, and tricked out with certain anti-radar, anti-visibility, and noise-baffling devices that will all but ensure that the Imago will not see, hear, or sense it coming.
At least, until it's right at its target.
September 11th, 2012. Four in the afternoon in South Sumatera, 150 or so miles Southeast of Pontianak. I don't know if they've got anything scheduled to go up, today, or not, but I think after this they'll be having a few problems with that next shipment.
And as soon as I see the explosion, I'm going to send out a statement of intent and responsibility on behalf of their organization, and "mine."
Yes, son. I used air quotes. Those !@#$ing idiots, whose communications network this grown up kid prank-called his way into, thought I was here to help them. They thought I was a fellow zealot, out to strike a blow for our great and terrible God against the evil Satan-worshiping tyrant idolators, Imago. Because we're all massively !@#$ing angry that those tin-suited !@#$s have ruined their chances of taking Thailand, Malaysia, the Pacific Rim, and maybe the whole world for their version of our religion.
And they're so !@#$ angry that they can't even bring themselves to ask questions when someone they can barely see or describe offers them a !@#$ing flying bomb that won't be seen until it gets there.
Oh? You think this is immoral, son? You think it's a bad thing for
me to use a bunch of dumb !@#$s who want to die in a fire for their God?
Well, what do you think I should !@#$ing do with them, then? Shoot them? Put them in jail? Hand them over to the Imago?
I didn't think so. As far as I'm concerned, they're weapons. I'm just the one who gets to aim them and pull their trigger, this time. And that's all this is.
3:58 in the afternoon. Two minutes from now, there will be a Boom. After that Boom, there will be a crash as however many !@#$ing miles of orbital elevator comes crashing back down to the Earth. After that crashing, there will be !@#$ to pay in South Thailand, as the Imago will be crash down here, scour the area, and root out every last bastion of these !@#$ers to find and cripple the ones responsible for blowing up their !@#$ing space elevator.
And while they're doing that... I will be somewhere else, doing something else, and not being seen by them. Because they will be looking here, right where I won't be.
It's an old trick, son. You make them run to get you, but you're not anywhere near there. Close by, maybe, but not here.
And boy do I have some some plans going in that regard...
Well, will you look at the time? 3:59, Son. Time for another beer before it all gets started. You pop, I'll pour...?
Oh? You sure you don't want one? Things are about to go !@#$ing crazy, son. Might be a while before we get to sit on a sunny, deserted beach, have a cold one, and watch fireworks from a long way away.
No? Well, suit yourself. I'll have one for you.
(SPYGOD is listening to A Forest (The Cure) and having a Singha)