Suddenly, I'm the responsible adult at the party, because half the people I went to Paris with want to !@#$ing kill Mr. USA, and the other half are helping me hold them the !@#$ back. All because America's greatest hero admitted, in court, that he'd been !@#$ing helping the Imago all along.
Not because he wanted to, of course. But the piece of !@#$ wrapped in human skin that's supposed to be me from Alter Earth was pretending to be me, and making him do and not do things on their behalf, or else he'd kill his wife and kids. And since he thought he was !@#$ing me, and he knew what I could do if I put my !@#$ing mind to it, he was sufficiently scared enough to do !@#$ing nothing to stop it.
But while Mr. USA had no idea what was really !@#$ing going on, he knew he was doing wrong. But he couldn't help it because he was in love, and scared, and worried for their lives.
Yeah, it sounds like a !@#$ing spandex soap-opera plot, son. But it's real. !@#$ing !@#$ real. And yours !@#$ing truly had to !@#$ing drive the bus on it, which meant I had to put myself between people who had been friends less than a day earlier and keep things from !@#$ing degenerating into a !@#$ing Jerry Springer episode.
I think I actually used the phrase "We're !@#$ing doing their work for them" at least three times. And if that doesn't !@#$ing qualify me for a seat in cliche !@#$, I don't know what does.
Luckily, that was the end of the Imago testifying, right then and there. So no more nasty revelations came out, at least from them.
(I mean, they !@#$ing tried to get the guy that was the former head of the CIA, aka The Sight, up on the platform to talk. But he was plugged into the Internet when we pulled the !@#$ plug on it, and it !@#$ing fried his brains. So we wound up with a wasted !@#$ day of weird answers, word salad, and the occasional scream when it all came together for him, again.)
After that, they got us back on the !@#$ing stand, over the next few days And it was pretty much by the numbers. The Owl talked about what happened to her family, what she saw in LA, and what happened during the Reclamation War. New Man talked about how they !@#$ing infiltrated the COMPANY, and what they did to him afterwards. My man talked about what they'd tried to do to him, and explained exactly what the !@#$er that had been pretending to be him had been using his weapons platform for.
(Nothing about what happened on Alpha Base Seven, though. We'd agreed to keep that quiet.)
Myron telepresenced in and told about what he'd seen, and had to do because of it, but he did it without looking at me. I think he !@#$ing knew that I knew, by then.
And yes, son, Winifred brought the house down with what she had to say, as expected. She actually !@#$ing managed to keep it together for most of it, in spite of her ordeal. I think being massively !@#$ing angry at Mr. USA and me helped.
By the time it got to me, I was looking out at an !@#$ing empty courtroom, friends-wise. The Owl and Talon left after her deposition, and New Man left after Winifred's. So it was just me, Straffer, Mr. USA, and Winifred in that courtroom, and Straffer was having to sit between Mr. USA and Winifred to keep her from having a direct line-of-sight for her patented Death Stare.
So I !@#$ing got up there, smiled, tried not to !@#$ing threaten the !@#$ Prosecution with a gunshot to the !@#$ing face when he asked for my full name, and answered their questions as best as I could. I told them about Unit 731, GORGON, and Imago, and the big !@#$ connection between the three. I told them about the things we knew about, what what we didn't know until just now. And I told them how we'd been fooled, and how we'd fooled them, and a lot of what had been done to !@#$ing save the world from them once I got back and moving.
And throughout it all, the Imago were just !@#$ing looking at me, as if they were waiting for me to say something. I did my best to not !@#$ing look at them, just because I didn't want to give them the satisfaction of acknowledging their presence any more than I already !@#$ing had.
So this went on for two whole !@#$ing days, them asking questions and me talking and trying to avoid looking at the defendants. And it's three in the !@#$ing PM on the day before we break so us American witnesses could have Thanksgiving at home (which the TU was !@#$ing nice enough to do for us) and I'm so !@#$ing talked out it's a wonder my !@#$ing jaw hasn't fallen out of my !@#$ mouth.
And that's when I !@#$ it all up.
* * *
Prosecutor: Now, there is one thing I am curious about, and perhaps you could enlighten the court.
SPYGOD: Ask away, Jacques. I got all !@#$ing day.
Judge: The witness will kindly keep decorum, and a clean tongue.
SPYGOD: My apologies, your honor. Long day.
Prosecutor: I know, and we do appreciate your willingness to tell us as much as you have, or at least as much as you can. My question is regarding these so-called White Boxes. The ones that the Imago told us were schools, but were actually... harvesting camps.
SPYGOD: Yes. I don't think there's anything I can add to what that piece of... what the defendant known as Dark Star had to say regarding them. She pretty much told you the whole story.
Prosecutor: So you did know what they were?
SPYGOD: Yes, I did.
Prosecutor: How long did you know for?
SPYGOD: Well, I had a really nasty idea, right from the beginning. Generally, whenever anyone wants to take a whole group of children away from their parents for what's supposed to be their own good, there's something !@#$ suspicious going on. I think there's any number of indigenous people around the world that could-
Prosecutor: That issue aside, could you tell us how you learned for certain, and when?
SPYGOD: How is going to remain a secret. But as for when, that would have been towards the end of September. Maybe the 23rd.
Prosecutor: You cannot say or you will not say?
SPYGOD: The date or how?
Prosecutor: How, Msr. SPYGOD.
SPYGOD: The how involves a very long !@#$ story, more than half of which is classified. Let's just say that someone who could get into something you couldn't just walk into went in there, for me, and told her story to someone who was used to dealing with people like that. And then I heard it from him, and adjusted my plans accordingly.
Prosecutor: Are either of these two persons able to testify?
SPYGOD: No. They're both dead.
Prosecutor: I see. How did they die?
SPYGOD: That's classified.
Prosecution: I think that, in the interests of the overall search for truth, some redactions can be made to the testimony for public consumption-
SPYGOD: No. No redactions, no black lines. You want the truth? I'll give you as much as I'm able to give you. You want to nail them to the wall with that truth? I'll help as much as I can. But either we clear the courtroom and it's just you, me, the judge, the dancing monkey, and the three pieces of filth sitting down behind him, and I'll tell you the whole !@#$ story, you just accept that I can't tell you certain pieces.
Prosecutor: Well then.
Defense. Dancing monkey?
Judge: The witness will kindly refrain from referring to the defense as a circus attraction.
Judge: Order! The court will remain in order!
SPYGOD: So are we done asking about that?
Prosecutor: Very well. Let's proceed on the fact that you knew what these things were before you put the plan to retake the world together?
SPYGOD: Sounds good to me.
Prosecutor: I have read the reports of how the fight went that day. The beginning, the changes of the battle, the climax, the end result. It is quite a terrifying thing.
SPYGOD: It is, yes.
Prosecutor: And all of this went according to plan?
SPYGOD: Well, since we're being honest? We lucked out, to be frank. If it hadn't been for the bravery of quite a few people that I hadn't been counting on, or that I thought were out of the game, we might not be having this conversation right now.
Prosecutor: Yes, I've looked at the movements, especially as regards the White Boxes. At first, you were telling your people to attack some of them, but not all of them. And then, at one point, you tell them all to attack all of them.
SPYGOD: Yes. That is what happened.
Prosecutor: What is the difference between the boxes?
SPYGOD: Well, the ones I had them attacking initially were the junction boxes. They had some that harvested energy from their... prisoners. And then they had ones that collected the energy from other White Boxes and redirected. When... Dark Star was talking about the cars that ran on children, they were getting their energy from those junction boxes.
Prosecutor: So why did you tell them to attack all of them?
SPYGOD: There was a point where things went badly, and I decided we couldn't take the risk of them being able to draw any power from any of them.
Prosecutor: Did the people attacking the boxes know what they were attacking?
SPYGOD: No. They did not.
Prosecutor: Why did you not tell them of this?
SPYGOD: Because I didn't feel it should make any difference.
* * *
Yeah, son. That's right about when I !@#$ing realized that I'd just said something I shouldn't have. Between the gasps and how the Prosecutor was looking at me the same !@#$ing way he'd looked at Green and Yellow and Dark Star. I also caught the Judge just !@#$ing glaring at me, right about then.
But you know, when you're down on your face and you're getting kicked in the !@#$, you know you have to take a few more kicks to the !@#$ before you can get up and kick back. So I rode it, figuring I could turn the thing back around.
I really shouldn't have done that, though. I really should have !@#$ing put my foot down and said no more questions. But I didn't !@#$ing think...
Yeah. So he looked at me like I was Hitler and he'd just caught me at the gay rodeo while wearing a Little Bo Peep costume, stammered a bit, and went on.
* * *
Prosecutor: They should not have known that the structures they were attacking were full of children?
Prosecutor: In God's name, monsieur. Why not?
SPYGOD: Because they weren't children, anymore. They were raw material for the enemy to use. I had to deny the enemy that raw material in order to win the war-
Prosecutor: That is...
SPYGOD: Monstrous. Is that what you're going to say?
Prosecutor: At least.
SPYGOD: What did you do, that day?
SPYGOD: Yes, you. We were fighting to free the entire world from an enemy that was willing to put your children in energy removal machines and turn them into walking scarecrows. What did you do that day?
Prosecutor: I hid in our apartment's basement garage.
SPYGOD: That's right. You hid. All of you !@#$ing hid. And before that, you were obeying orders. And with some of you it was because you didn't know any better. And for some of you, well, maybe you had an idea or two. But--
Judge: The witness will kindly refrain from calling the trial's audience into account-
SPYGOD: Now you let me !@#$ing finish! All of you. You're all sitting there in judgment of what I did. I made terrible decisions. People died. Men and women in the prime of their lives who knew what they were getting into died. People who had no idea what was going on died. Children died. The weak and helpless and totally ignorant died.
Well, that's war, folks. That's what a world war is. And I have seen enough of them to know that, when you declare total war, and go after an enemy that's taken control of your lands, and your people, you don't worry about who your bombs are going to hit or how many people might get killed when you do this operation or that one. You go forward. You prosecute the war.
And you can only pray that, when you're done, more of you are left standing than the enemy. And that's what I did. And that's why I did it.
Prosecutor: So... would it be fair to say, in your assessment, that there was no other way to win this war, other than killing all these children?
SPYGOD: Oh no. There was a way. There was a primary plan that, if it had gone according to plan, would have dropped every single one of those tin-plated mother!@#$ers right where they stood. But things didn't work out at the last minute, and that plan fell apart. So we had to go with another plan.
Prosecutor: And I suppose the reasons that fell apart are classified as well?
SPYGOD: No, but I don't feel like entering the personal failures of a number of scared and desperate people into the official record.
Prosecutor: ... ?
SPYGOD: That's all I'm saying. And I really shouldn't have even said that.
Prosecutor: So when that plan did not work, you went with the other plan. And this is why these children are dead.
Prosecutor: And you consider those children to have been raw materials, rather than prisoners of war?
SPYGOD: I do, yes. But even if they had been prisoners of war, that would not have deterred me, any more than it deterred the Allies back during the War, or any nation that went after certain groups of religious zealots after the Computer Hell virus. If they put a playground or a mosque in front of the training center, we'll blow it up to get to the training center. That's war.
Prosecutor: Well, that's... an interesting viewpoint.
SPYGOD: It's a sad viewpoint is what it is. And it's sad because it's realistic. It's the total, !@#$ed-up reality of total war, and it takes totally !@#$ed-up people to deal with it. And that's why you have totally !@#$ed-up people like me make those decisions in total war, and people like you hide in their basement garages and !@#$ themselves.
SPYGOD: And I'm sorry for the !@#$ing stream of foul language, your honor. But that's what it comes down to in the end. War is !@#$ing !@#$. And I walked through that !@#$ to save the world because it had to be done. And better me than you to bear those decisions.
Prosecutor: And we do not get a say in how those decisions are made?
SPYGOD: Did you expect me to call you in the middle of the battle and ask for your !@#$ opinion?
Prosecutor: Do we not get a say in how those decisions are made?
SPYGOD: Woah, there, chief. You're not Nathan Hunt and I'm not the Joker. Now, if you don't like the job I do, you can bring that up with your leaders, but-
Prosecutor: How many billions of children are dead right now because you decided they weren't worth saving?
SPYGOD: Too !@$# many. But there was no way they could have been saved. They were dead the moment they walked into those boxes. And if you don't believe me, ask your other witnesses-
Dark Star: Tell them about Hawaii, SPYGOD.
SPYGOD: Excuse me?
Prosecutor: Hawaii? What about Hawaii?
SPYGOD: Now look, that was a !@#$ing fluke. One in a !@#$ing million.
Prosecutor: I'm waiting to hear an explanation.
SPYGOD: You're not getting one. I'm done.
Judge: You will sit in your seat and-
SPYGOD: I am !@#$ing done!
Defense: Your honor, with all respect, as much as I love seeing the Prosecution treat one of his witnesses as a hostile witness without asking the Court for its permission, first, I should point out that this court was not called to lay charges against this witness. It was called to ascertain my clients' involvement in what took place throughout the world over the last several months. And this line of questioning stopped being about that quite some time ago.
Judge: Very well. Prosecution, do you wish to continue treating this man as a hostile witness?
Prosecution: No, your honor. I do not. I suppose these are matters that could be brought up in a subsequent case.
Judge: Very well. The witness is dismissed, and this court will stand adjourned for the next two days. We will convene on Sunday, the 24th, at 8 in the morning.
* * *
And the moment I got out of the stand, I saw the Prosecution and the Judge give each other a really !@#$ing interesting look. I didn't make much of it at the time because I was so angry I was shaking, but I just knew something was up.
Winifred wouldn't look at me. And Mr. USA comes over, puts a hand on my shoulder, and says "I've got your back."
Fat lot of !@#$ing good that's been so far, let me tell you...
Ah well. Here's to the sweet !@#$ing mystery of life and war.
Down the hatch.