Thursday, February 21, 2013

10/04/12 - I Will Never Be Clean Again - pt. 1

Wen Boxiong does not get out of bed to turn his alarm off. He never does.

The piercing noise wakes him up, yes, but he does not leave his bed to be done with its annoyance. Instead he lies in his bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to catch the last vestiges of his dreams before they leave him. To let the final, fleeting strands of them play out as they will, before they are gone forever.

As a young boy he was saddened that his dreams were so quickly forgotten, shortly after waking. He did not want to leave the warm cocoon they had spun around his mind at night., but he could not catch them like this, then. He had to go to school, or to work, or to attend his mother's endless needs, and she was not one to let him lie about dreaming in his bed.

After one memorable occasion, in which the sweetest dream imaginable was shattered by her screaming in his face to wake up, he swore that when he was older, and no longer under her roof, he would not let a single dream go unresolved. He would watch them leave as gently as they came, and only then -- when their edges had blurred and plots had fallen to pieces, and there was no more joy to be had from them -- would he rise to meet the day.

And so he did.

This extended arrangement with his dreams has not always been easy. He has had to rise from slumber earlier than he would like in order to have the time to let the visions leave of their own accord without being late for his responsibilities. He has never had anyone stay the entire night with him, as their presence there would complicate his sleeping and waking. And this lack of total togetherness has all but ensured that his liaisons have been short and one-sided.

(Except for the time with her, but that was strenuous and strange, and left him erotically inspired and politically elevated, but broken inside.)

But he is happy with this. His dreams are his own, now and forever. No one can take them from him. And they come and go at his choosing.

Which is why, when his alarm goes off today, he lets it ring and ring for a full hour, until it shuts off by itself. He watches the dreams until they are shambling parodies of what they were when he first opened his eyes. And he cries to see them leave at last.

Because he knows this is the last day. The last morning. The last dream.

Today he will look in the mirror and see a man condemned.

* * *

SPYGOD doesn't so much wake up as crack himself back into motion, as though someone flipped a switch in his skull. He stands straight up, tenses and relaxes his muscles, cracks every joint in his body in one loud wave, and grunts. He blinks one eye, does a 360 scan with the other, and farts loud enough to wake the dead.

He's spent all night sitting in the corner of the underground bolthole he's sharing with the ex-President of Russia, hovering over the ridiculously-opulent vodka he appropriated for the revolution, yesterday. Why it costs three million dollars a bottle he'll never know; he's had a lot better for far cheaper. He figures it must be all the gold and gems on the outside of the glass, rather than what's sloshing around inside of it.

(Which probably explains everything anyone ever needed to know about life, quite frankly.)

SPYGOD has to be very !@#$ careful when looking at himself in the mirror. If he looks at himself straight on, the Chandra Eye creates an infinite and baffling series of reflections. Its much like being between two mirrors in a fancy hotel elevator, only without the eventual curve into grainy dissolution; he can literally see into the far, deep pit of the eternity inside him, one slightly-more-warped reflection at a time.

The first time it happened, not long after he put the eye in his skull, he stared at himself for days on end, and had to be roughly pushed out of the way to break the spell. Since then, it's only happened a few times, and he's usually been able to pull himself out of it after an hour or two. So he closes his eye to shave, doesn't bother with rear view mirrors when driving, and if he has to argue with himself, he does it while looking into whatever he's drinking at the time.

And he is almost always drinking something.

* * *

The President of the United States of America drinks water as he stands before the bathroom mirror. Two glasses a day, every day, right after he gets up and before he takes his shower. It re-hydrates, gets the digestive system working, and makes sure his vitamins get absorbed correctly.

And, recently, he's been using it to center himself, and hold onto his true identity in spite of everything that's happened. 

He looks at himself in the mirror as he does this, observing the false Asian face he's been wearing since he got to China. He does not like it. He looks like a weird amalgam of his own features and something else. Maybe someone he could have met in his childhood, in Malaysia.

Sometimes, he imagines that he's not the one doing these things, here. All the questionable things he's done since he teamed up with SPYGOD to save America -- to save the world, for that matter -- have been done by this strange character he sees in the mirror. It's been his hands shaking hands with the most powerful man in China. His lips making poisoned promises.

His fingers to be around the trigger of the gun that kills him, today.

He doesn't like having to do this. He knew it was a possibility -- possibly even an eventuality -- but he'd allowed himself to hope that, when it was all over, they could all just go their separate ways and say nothing of it. What would it matter if the leaders of two nations worked together to save the world from an invasion? What did they really do that was so terrible that it might later turn into blackmail or extortion?

But no. I would appear that the Imago have found out what he knows, somehow. They know that he told them about the lockup of information gleaned from Unit 731. They know why that's relevant, and why SPYGOD is in Russia, right now. They have even tried to kill SPYGOD, there, to stop him.

And if they choose to press their hand, Wen might tell them that the President of the United States is in the country, working alongside him. And that would be very bad for everyone involved.

Especially the President.

So today, when the man walks from his apartments to their house of government, as the President knows he will, he will be waiting for him, with a very powerful gun. He will assassinate him from a few football fields away, and then get as far away from Beijing as he can.

And hope it's enough.

He looks at this strange man in the mirror. He remembers the time that, when he wore his own face, he ordered young men and women to go and kill in the name of their country. He wonders if they, too, had some kind of similar ritual, or if they took full personal responsibility for the terrible but necessary things they did for their country.

The man in the mirror doesn't have an answer. Just an alien expression that's going to haunt his wearer for the rest of his life.

* * *

The Ex-President of Russia does not look at himself in the mirror. Not once. Not ever.

* * *

"Alright, President !@#$face," SPYGOD says at some point, pretending to look at his watch: "It's time."

"I suppose it is," his guest says, getting to his feet. He looks terrible, frankly: puffy and red-eyed, with some nasty bruises around his face. Too many transpistol shots over too many days have turned his muscles brittle, and liable to snap and bleed. 

But that part of the journey is done, now. No more reverse gender assaults on his person. He needs to be who and what he is for this next bit to work. 

"Do you remember how to get there?" SPYGOD asks as they step out into the corridor of the unlit tunnel, apparently not worried about all the large, nasty-looking spiders that crawl over the damp and crumbling walls. 

"I do," the ex-President of Russia says: "We go left at the next junction, then right, and then left. And then we walk for some time."

"Any security we need to worry about?"

"No. Not down this deep. The only things you could find down here without someone like myself along would be supply closets and empty rooms."

"Well, good thing I've got you, huh?" SPYGOD smiles, gesturing with his flashlight: "You first."

"I would like a flashlight."

"I would like a billion rubles, ten ladyboys, and a steak the size of a card table. Start !@#$ing walking or I'll drag your sorry !@#$ behind me."
"Very well. But if I slip and fall-"
"Listen !@#$-o," SPYGOD hisses, grabbing the man by the lapel and yanking him uncomfortably close: "All I need to get into this room is directions and one of your eyes. I got the one, and the other doesn't need to be in your !@#$ head, now does it?"
There's a moment of silence as the two men look at each other, and then the ex-President nods, and, as soon as SPYGOD lets go of him, walks forward into the darkness, doing his best to stay in the splash of light his captor's flashlight provides.
There is nothing to do but walk, now. And if he knows he's going to his death, he's doing it rather bravely. 
But that will not deter his killer -- not one !@#$ bit. 
* * *
In Beijing, not too far from the houses of government, there's a building. In that building is a room with a window that, if you strained your eyes just so, you could almost see a decent amount of a certain walkway from. 
And if you had a high-powered rifle scope, you could see that walkway perfectly, and have quite a decent amount of visible space to set up a good killshot.

The President of the United States of America sits there, in that building, in that window, with the rifle in his hands and his eyes in that scope. 

Thanks to the emergency call box they gave Wen Boxiong, all that time ago, he knows that the man is on the move. He knows he and his small security detail will be in sight in a minute or so. And he knows that, with this gun, and the ammunition in it, he only needs one good shot to destroy the man from the neck-up, robbing the Imago of the ability to use his dead brain for any information.

He knows these things, but he does not like them. He also does not like that he planted a bomb back at his apartment that will not only destroy his rooms, but might also cause a fire that will bring the whole building down. He likes that he only needs to press a button to set it off remotely, but he knows that when the moment comes, he'll probably hesitate a few seconds, wondering if he should call in a threat first so that the building is evacuated.
He does not like knowing that, in spite of that hesitation, he will press it, anyway. His training is too strong for moral objections, now. What they have to do is too important to waste time or sentiment over. 

There is nothing to do but kill, now. And as he waits for the General Secretary of China to step into his field of fire, he feels like a !@#$ coward.

But that will not deter him. Not in the slightest. 

(SPYGOD is listening to The Figurehead (The Cure) and having a Толстяк)

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