Tuesday, November 27, 2012

9/18/12 - An Echo And a Stranger's Hand

Ah, Harbin. Lovely !@#$ city, especially at night. From up on this rooftop, looking down and out at all the lit up streets and buildings, it looks something like a city a kid would make from all the pieces of all his different toy sets, doesn't it?

No? Well, maybe your childhood was different. I know mine sure as !@#$ was. We didn't even have proper toys, back then, so we made our own out of what was left of the Irish kids up the block...

Oh !@#$ - Duck!

Ah, that was !@#$ing close. You can't be too !@#$ careful when you're across from a high-tech, very !@#$ secure building made to safehouse things you really don't want to !@#$ing talk about, now can you?

That's right, son. That's where the !@#$ing trail leads. End of the gods!@#$ yellow brick road, right in that old, repurposed, classical monstrosity. And all the information the Chinese got on Unit 731 is stuffed right up the Wicked Witch's !@#$, and guarded by enough flying monkeys to make a couple of pro football teams.

My job, tonight, is to sneak in there, get what I need to see, and then get the !@#$ out. And I need to do it in such a way that they can't !@#$ing connect it to me, the COMPANY, or anyone I'm currently working with. And I also need to see to it that they never !@#$ing realize that I took what I'm going to take, just so the Imago can't figure that someone's looking into their dirty little secrets.

And that means, son, that tonight we infiltrate.

Oh, yeah. I !@#$ing bet you were wondering about that. When's the last time you saw SPYGOD put on a fake beard, walk into a Soviet embassy, and walk out again with a microfilm canister shoved up my !@#$? All that crazy-!@#$ superspy stuff you see in the movies where Lestat, Hawkeye, and Shaun of the !@#$ing Dead put a million crazy gadgets to good !@#$ing use?

Well, son, most of the time that's just bull!@#$.

Yes, son. BULL!@#$. Flashing font, red color, capital letters. Why would we risk our !@#$es when we have perfectly good dupes and traitors to do it for us? Especially when they can do it in such a way that people have no !@#$ing idea that anything was stolen, much less copied or photographed?

But tonight, I don't have a Harold who can get in there, get out, and get me what I need. I have to actually go in and retrieve a few things, and they will notice they are missing within 24 hours. And that would bring the Imago parade down on my !@#$ing head, as well as this area of the world, which I'm not keen to have happen for reasons I'm trying to drink myself into !@#$ing forgetting.

So, just this once, no bull!@#$. I'm going in there, and coming out with the goods.

Now, there's a couple different ways you can play this infiltration game, son, and I've !@#$ing done them all.  Which one you choose generally depends on how much !@#$ time you have, what your ops budget is, and how badly you do or don't want them knowing it was you that squeezed their !@#$ing charmin.

The first way is all sneaky, with all the "Mission Impossible" gadgets you can carry on your person, and a few crammed right up your !@#$ butt for good measure. You walk slow, have two keys for every lock, holograms and glue guns and duct tape for the rest, and something nice and quiet for every !@#$ing guard you run into.

Good news is that you can be as !@#$ quiet as you can be, and no one will ever know anything's missing or wrong. Bad news is that, sooner or later, one or more of those gadgets are just not going to !@#$ing work. And then you're !@#$ed, son.


The second way's also sneaky, but not as reliant on those !@#$ crazy toys. You worm your way into the place by using information you either stole from the !@#$ers, or got one of your Harolds to make for you. That and a few gadgets, or maybe just your !@#$ hands, and a convincing disguise, and you can walk in like you !@#$ing belong there, and walk back out again before anyone realizes you've stolen their !@#$ing flag.

Sounds great, but takes more time than just gadgeting your way through. And there's always the chance that some overzealous guard might notice you just don't "fit," or see right through that cheap-!@#$ ID badge you xeroxed and x-actoed together last night at the Kabul Kinkos. And there's always the chance that Harold might have grown some !@#$ balls and decided to turn you over to his masters, or a third party that's got better !@#$ payouts than the two of you combined.

And then, you guessed it, you're !@#$ed. Again. Hard.

The third way? That's where you just say "!@#$ it in the !@#$ with a god!@#$ chartreuse flamethrower" and muscle your !@#$ way in. Kill the power, nuke the computer security, and shoot the place up before anyone can do a !@#$ thing to stop you. Then you just get what you came for, step over the bodies you made on your way in, and pray you don't have ten divisions of the Iraqi National Guard out the front.

Or, worse, Strategic Talents. Because nothing makes a good plan go bad in 60 seconds or less like the untimely arrival of some !@#$er in long underwear who wants to foil a perfectly legitimate bout of espionage, or actually got ordered to go stop your !@#$ theft.

Oh, and then there's the problem with the fact that you just killed a whole !@#$ of a lot of people to get what you needed. Good guys aren't supposed to do !@#$ like that, apparently. And while I've never really been what you might call a straight-shooting good guy -- especially not that "straight" bit -- I always preferred to do my shooting of faceless guards when I'm up against science terrorists, bad guys, rogue nations, and merciless Soviet client states.

And China, for all its many problems and tyrannies, isn't so much !@#$ing evil as it is misguided. Or so they !@#$ing tell me, anyway.

(That and we owe them way too much !@#$ money to be picking a fight -- even now.)

So, you guess which door I'm picking tonight, son. It ain't gadgets and a silent entry, because I don't have them. And it ain't sneaking in with a fake ID because they'd !@#$ing spot me in a minute. And I sure as !@#$ ain't gonna shoot my way in there after I've spent all this !@#$ time -- and killed way too !@#$ many people -- making the Imago look somewhere !@#$ing else.

Oh, right. That's all three of my options gone right there. How about that?

Well, I guess you !@#$ing know what that means. And that means, son, that SPYGOD's just gonna get !@#$ing creative.

You see, this is an old building. It has a lot of high tech security !@#$, and its guards are carrying all the latest toys and bells and whistles, but the building itself is a sorry piece of !@#$ that probably should have been torn down a dozen years ago. !@#$, it's a wonder it hasn't fallen down, itself.

But they can't, because of what's in there.  They don't dare risk moving it, much less admitting it's there to be moved in the first !@#$ place. So much needed renovations and fixes have not really taken place to the outside structure in a long !@#$ time.

Which is why I snuck up on top of the building, earlier, dressed like a worker, and had some fun with their ventilation systems.

Oh no. Not like that. There's no !@#$ing way I am even going to try squeezing into one of those !@#$ air vents. Life doesn't always work like "Doctor Who," son. They're too !@#$ing small, and I'm too !@#$ing big. And they're probably boobytrapped, anyway, just for good !@#$ing measure.

But they sure didn't seem to !@#$ing mind when I slowly lowered some !@#$ing radio-controlled smoke generators down into them, now did they?

No, son. They did not.

So in about ten seconds or so, here, I am going to light the building up. The information I need is on the top floor, and the apparent fire's going to start on the bottom. Which gives me quite some time to be sure it's all good and !@#$ing evacuated before I slip on in during the confusion, run up the stairs, get what I want, and then slip on out via the roof.

Sounds !@#$ing crazy? Son, these are very special smoke canisters, courtesy of our now-deceased friend down on Xiosanmen island. They put out enough haze to cover up a !@#$ing tank battalion, generate enough heat to fool thermal sensors, and smell exactly like what you'd expect to smell if your building was on fire.

The alarms will sound, the people will panic, and I'll just take advantage of both. Once I'm up there, I'll drop a few incendiary devices behind me, and that'll start a nasty, white-hot fire that'll burn right through the !@#$ing floor to the god!@#$ basement, and turn the whole !@#$ building into ash before the fire department can even get its !@#$ out of the station.

And if I'm really !@#$ good, and really !@#$ing lucky, I can be in and out without having to !@#$ing kill anyone, tonight.

Getting soft? Me? No !@#$ way, son. I just don't need to hurt anyone to do what I need to do, tonight. Especially since dead people will bring those metal-suited !@#$s around faster than flies to a fresh piece of dog!@#$.

And as long as they don't come up here, and no one has to ask our latest Harold any uncomfortable questions, we can take the time to find out what we need to know. Which would be really !@#$ nice for a change.

So, ten seconds, son. Watch the !@#$ birdie. This is gonna be fun.

"Hot in the city... hot in the city tonight..."

Yeah, son. I sing Billy !@#$ing Idol before I do infiltration gigs. You got a !@#$ problem with that?

Okay then. And off... we...


(SPYGOD is listening to A Short Term Effect (The Cure) and having a Fire Island Lighthouse Ale)

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