The train from St. Petersburg to Moscow is swift and sure, not to mention filled to the brim with people that SPYGOD would rather not be talking to, right now.
He and the ex-President of Russia are sitting in their well-furnished cabin, trying to relax after a rather trying day. Not only did they have to avoid all police, emergency workers, soldiers, surveillance cameras, television screens, and advertisement boards, but the nature of their disguise meant that the captive had to appear to be guiding the captor the entire time. Which necessitated a very long, slow, and complicated route to the Red Arrow station, taken almost completely on foot.
It's just as well that the daily train doesn't leave until a half hour before Midnight, then. And now that they're en-route, they can finally rest, if only a little. SPYGOD's still a little worried they may have been made at the station, and is half-expecting a metal man to appear from nowhere and ask for their tickets.
(He's also wondering when a certain effect is going to wear off on his captive, which could make for some interesting complications, come the morning when they arrive in Moscow.)
Still, the last time he rode this train he was disguised just like this -- a blind and elderly veteran -- and very fearful of being discovered. So this is not only nothing new, but something of a nostalgia trip for him.
"How are you doing, Valentina?" He asks his companion, who sighs and adjusts her headscarf.
"Nauseated," 'Valentina' says, her voice a strange, squeaky amalgam of genders: "Also very achy and sore in uncomfortable places. Did we have to use that !@#$ing gun?"
"No, we didn't," SPYGOD says, dropping his thick, medicinal sunglasses and winking: "But I gotta admit, I was always wondering what you'd look like with !@#$s and no !@#$."
"Please tell me you are joking."
"Yes. Well, mostly."
'Valentina' sighs, closing her lizardy eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose: "I wish you would take this seriously."
"Oh, I am. You see, the transpistol also changes your !@#$ genes, which means they won't !@#$ing identify you on a retinal or DNA scan."
The ex-President blinks: "I did not know that."
"And it also heals up most tissue damage, which is why no one's going to ask me why I've been !@#$ing beating my lovely, young wife."
"Not so young," the wo/man sighs, looking out the dark window as the outskirts of St. Petersburg hurtles by.
"No, I guess not," SPYGOD says: "Not so lovely, either."
"But at least it'll keep people from asking too many !@#$ing questions, which I'm sure you can appreciate?"
The ex-president looks at her captor, nods, and then leans back in her seat, perhaps trying to get some sleep.
SPYGOD gets up and checks the door one more time, then he looks around using his other senses, and only then does he allow himself to relax just a bit more. He plops down on his seat, puts his feet up on the table that divides the cabin, and looks out the window.
"Nice !@#$ing night for it, anyway," he says: "We'll be in Moscow by morning, and then we can see about taking the Express."
"And getting out in Yekaterinburg," she says, eyes still closed: "Unless I can persuade you that this is not a good idea."
"I did, yes-"
"And it hurt."
"Yes... it did."
"And that's only a tenth of what you !@#$ing deserve, 'Valentina,'" SPYGOD says, pointing a finger in her direction: "The way I see it, you're getting off !@#$ lightly."
"Yeah. Be glad I don't have any !@#$ing polonium around. I'd shove it up your !@#$ and leave it there while you change back. Gods only know where it'd wind up, then."
"You know, you really must stop this," the ex-President says, opening his eyes and looking right into SPYGOD's.
"This useless posturing. These threats. Do you really feel that they make you appear fearsome, or frightening?"
"It !@#$ing works pretty well, I think-"
"Yes. You think it does. Others? They are not so generous."
"Says the man who sang like a !@#$ing canary when I threatened his-"
"Any man worth that name will do what he has to when threatened just so," the wo/man says, leaning forward and steepling her hands over her lap: "You should understand this well, given how much you think and act with it."
"I wouldn't know, pal. It just !@#$ing grows back."
"Yes, I had heard," she says with a subtle smile: "And being immortal, within certain limits, you must forget how it feels to be so small, and so limited. You forget that it is not necessary to make a million large and unwieldy threats towards a person. You need only make one, provided it is the right one."
"Something you're !@#$ing intimately familiar with."
"Indeed," 'Valentina' says: "And you as well."
"Oh, we are not playing this game-"
"The 'we're the same' game, you stupid !@#$. I am not you."
"Aren't you?" the ex-President asks: "How many of your enemies have you killed, over the years?"
"A !@#$-ton. But they were enemies, you leering !@#$stain. They weren't dissidents and journalists. They weren't kids who didn't know any better. And they sure as !@#$ weren't political rivals-"
"You say 'political rival.' But you are a man who lives in a country where, if two persons want the same position, it is a strange and terrible thing if one kills the other. In Russia, it is a strange thing if you do not have to put the other man out of the way, one way or another. Because if you will not do it, he will."
"Oh that's !@#$-"
"Is it? You know our history. Always we have been ruled by a man with an iron fist. The only difference is what authority he claims to pick it up. We have been ruled by Tsars, Premiers, and now Presidents and Prime Ministers. All of us have had to kill to get to where we are, now. All of us have had to use that fist."
"And that makes everything you ever did alright?"
The woman looks askance, and then leans back and shrugs: "Perhaps. Perhaps not. But I have prided myself in that I am nowhere near as bad a man as some of the people who could have ruled instead of me."
"I'm sure your victims feel soooo !@#$ing good about that."
The ex-President shrugs again, and looks out the window as another train rolls by: "You know, sometimes, in my dreams, I find myself on a train, like this. I am a small child, and I look across the way as a train goes in the other direction.
"And at every window, looking at me, there is the face of someone I have hurt. Someone who died because of me, either because I killed them or let them be killed, or because I could have held out my hand and stopped their death but did not.
"All these people, on that train. So many cars. So long a train. And I know that, one day, when I die, it will be the dream, only I will not be on another train.
"I will get on to that train, and I will have to walk through it, and be re-introduced to all of them.
"I have done many things. Terrible things. But I always judged them necessary. And one day, when I have to answer for them, I will say-"
"Oh !@#$ off," SPYGOD hisses, leaning across the table and jabbing the ex-President in the left eye with his finger. The woman gasps and holds her hand to her face, astonished at how much that actually hurt.
"This is the deal, pal," SPYGOD continues, hoping he didn't damage his young, lovely "wife" more than necessary: "There is no !@#$ing answering. There is no explaining, no tribunal. You do not get up to the pair of pearly gates and try to weasel your way into the nightclub like some twink who forgot the !@#$ing dress code.
"You do not get to talk to anyone.
"What happens is this -- you die, and you go where you're supposed to. And maybe it's someplace nice, and maybe not. And maybe you come right back, and maybe you stand in line for a hundred years or so. And maybe you transcend all this, and maybe you !@#$ing wink out of existence like someone turned your !@#$ lights off.
"But you don't get to explain !@#$, 'Valentina.' What you did and why you did it is all the explaining anyone needs, and it's all you get, too."
With that, SPYGOD goes back to his seat, scowling and staring a ragged, hot hole through the middle of his traveling companion's forehead.
The ex-president eventually stops gasping in pain, and tries to examine the damage to his eye as nonchalantly as possible. It's going to be red and nasty looking the next day, but maybe the next shot from the transpistol will fix that, too.
It's certainly done its job, so far.
As for SPYGOD, hopped up on glass after glass of strong, tooth-eroding tea, he stays awake all night long, alternating between looking out the window and looking at his captive. At some point he becomes aware that the transpistol's effects have reversed, and that she is now he, once more.
"You're a really ugly woman," he says. His captive snores a little louder at that.
Every so often, when another train goes by, SPYGOD can't help but wonder if there's a train full of angry ghosts out there, waiting for him, too. But then, he knows how that really works, now. After what happened on that strange, parallel Earth's future, just after he used the ultimate weapon, he saw what truly comes after.
And what he saw there...
"You'll all get your due," he says, closing his eyes for a moment: "But you're just gonna have to !@#$ing wait. This world comes first, and then you."
There's no answer, but then he wouldn't expect there to be.
And he has another glass of tea, waiting for the sun to cry morning, again.
(SPYGOD is listening to Descent (The Cure) and having some good, strong tea)