You're probably !@#$ing wondering why I'm drinking a little more of my daily ration than usual son. And by "a little more," I mean !@#$ing all of it, down in about three !@#$ gulps?
Well, while you weren't !@#$ing paying attention, I just got a big !@#$ wonderful surprise at the door. That's "wonderful" spelled !-@-#-$ T-H-I-S !-@-#-$ I D-O-N-T !-@-#-$-I-N-G N-E-E-D.
The big !@#$ surprise? My new big !@#$ babysitter. One of the Three, and not one I'm particularly happy to !@#$ing deal with, either.
Oh yeah, son. Nailed it in one. The !@#$ in red who crashed my New Years party, and spent far too !@#$ long !@#$ing dragging me through my recent poor-seeming choices.
Ciel Rouge. Red Sky. Ally of Tempete Bleu and Foudre Blanc. One of the three big guns of the Terre Unifee, and a leader of Le Compagnie.
And, as of now? The person assigned to make !@#$ing sure I don't do anything naughty before my trial comes up. Naughty as in "use the Nthernaut to be somewhere else, again." Like I did at the !@#$ party.
She came in, had a few words, direct from the !@#$ President, or so she says. Not that I don't believe her, given how !@#$ angry he is with me, right now. But I don't need the Chandra Eye to know she's not exactly telling the whole !@#$ truth, either.
No, Red's !@#$ing getting something out of this, son. And normally I'd say "time will tell," but I don't have a whole !@#$ of a lot of it.
So I stood there and !@#$ing smiled while she searched the whole !@#$ apartment in a few heartbeats, and took a few things that maybe I wasn't supposed to have. Like the RPG I had in the closet for emergencies. Maybe a few of the bigger handguns... the limpet mine I forgot I !@#$ing had, mostly because it was !@#$ing diguised as a Russian tea-tray.
You know, son. Things like that.
(To her credit, she left Bee-Bee's gun alone. I think the kitty !@#$ing scared her. Good call, !@#$.)
Oh, and no more !@#$ dial-up katooeys, either. Some of those tender young call-girl-boys might be smuggling in !@#$ing weapons or something. Plus the door guards are getting really !@#$ uncomfortable searching them, before and after.
Anything else? Oh sure, son. She made some rather snarky remarks about what she !@#$ing thinks about me, and the COMPANY, and how I went about saving the !@#$ world while she was !@#$ing screwing up famine relief in southern Africa and making a hash of trying to "liberate" women from Islam in the North.
Got a long and big !@#$ list of complaints, that one.
What to do? I listened. I smiled. I asked if she wanted a beer.
And then, when she was !@#$ing done, I asked her if she knew who Foudre Blanc was oppressing, right now.
And when she just !@#$ing looked at me like I was nuts, I looked over in that direction of the world, and I !@#$ing told her.
So that was the end of that visit, but I !@#$ing know she'll be back soon. Especially when some more aspects of the plan kick into place.
But yeah, son. After New Years I figured there was a chance the big !@#$ gauntlet was going to be !@#$ing thrown down. Turns out I was right to be !@#$ing worried. The TU isn't messing around, anymore.
And I bet I know why, too...
But anyway, you're probably !@#$ing wondering why you haven't heard much about the Big Three from me? Well, son, up until recently there hasn't been a !@#$ of a lot to say.
Nothing good, anyway.
But yeah, let's talk about Direction Noir's Les Trois Grands. Especially that Red !@#$, as she seems to be the glue that holds their !@#$es together.
What's her story? She grew up on the island of Mayotte, which you probably !@#$ing never heard of. It's one of those tiny, French colonial holdings they gobbled up because it was either !@#$ing strategic, or might !@#$ing be strategic, or was just on the way to somewhere a lot more !@#$ing important and they said "what the !@#$, we need a buffer, anyway."
Difference being, they're so !@#$ poor, that when France was doing it's !@#$ing best to shrug off its Imperial past, the island actually !@#$ing fought to stay a part of them. Still is, in some ways.
Anyway, Red was born there, the child of seriously-underpaid French civil workers. Grew up part of a real small minority, went kind of !@#$ing native. Guess her !@#$ parents didn't approve, but it's not like they could pack her up to a girl's school back on the mainland, now could they?
Then, at some point, she has something you might !@#$ing call a "spiritual experience."
Turns out that, while the island's mostly Muslim, they hold to some old !@#$ beliefs. The kind that have you !@#$ing standing staring at the sky, talking for something else. Possession, you might say.
Well, one of these spirits takes a taste of her white !@#$ and decides it !@#$ing likes it, and decides to stay. And the next time Red's parents see her, well, she isn't quite their little !@#$ girl, anymore. She's got muscles you wouldn't believe, the ability to catch bullets in her !@#$ hands, and moves so !@#$ fast it's like she can !@#$ing teleport, or something.
(And maybe she can, too. My Direction Noir moles weren't too !@#$ sure about that.)
But she's also got this other ability, which is probably why the TU's got her !@#$ing looking after Straffer and me. And that's that, when she looks you right in the !@#$ eyes, you really find it !@#$ hard to !@#$ing lie to her. She looks at you long enough, you just feel you want to tell her !@#$ing everything, no matter how secret, incriminating, or flat out !@#$ing embarrassing.
Which is kind of why she walked out of here with the !@#$ RPG, and the limpet mine, and a few other things besides. Not because she it works on me or my lovely boyfriend, courtesy of the special nature of our eyes.
But because we didn't want her to know it didn't work.
Yeah. Pretty !@#$ clever, huh? Though I have to !@#$ing admit, it's a bit of a !@#$ struggle at times, even with this crazy !@#$ rock in my noggin. But now at least we've lulled those French !@#$s into something approaching a false sense of security.
The trick now is keeping it that way, which might be even more !@#$ difficult.
Anyway, so this girl takes off from Mayotte, goes to Africa, and starts trying to "help." Her idea of helping is messing with things she doesn't !@#$ing understand, or trying to replace something she doesn't like with "freedom," which doesn't always !@#$ing work so well.
But France was !@#$ happy to have her !@#$ing around with the continent, for one reason or another, and eventually came to get her !@#$ on board. Gave her a proper name, other than the one she was !@#$ing going by, which only made sense if you came from Mayotte or !@#$ing spoke "possessed."
And that was the birth of Red Sky.
The other two? Well, you've !@#$ing met Tempete Bleu. And you know how well the smug !@#$ handles himself, both on and off camera.
You remember when I !@#$ing told you about how the forerunner to Direction Noir was stumbling all over the !@#$ French landscape during the war, looking for strategic talents in small !@#$ villages and farmhouses? Well, they never !@#$ing stopped, and Tempete Bleu was one such find.
The way the story goes, some family calls up the French Government a few years back, telling them that they've got this !@#$ing kid that can pull school buses out of !@#$ing rivers and !@#$ like that. Can't fly just yet, but he can hop really !@#$ far. Sometimes sleeps above the !@#$ bed.
That and he's got this tendency to bring down the !@#$ing house when he claps his hands, which is about when they figured they'd better talk to the !@#$ing government.
Well, Direction Noir shows the !@#$ up, and is just pleased as punch to have this country bumpkin under their wing. They take him to the big !@#$ city, show him around, test him and train him, and turn his smiling, foie-gras-fed !@#$ into a French national symbol. Here to fly into your dens of contrary action and thunderclap them to
pieces in the name of Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood. All that !@#$.
Except when we really needed him, starting on about, oh, 3/15?
But hey, forget the !@#$ alllllllllll about that, son. Now he's the !@#$ing national symbol for the whole !@#$ country, especially now that they're in charge of most of the !@#$ world. And you better not !@#$ing forget it, either.
Of course, that's the official story.
What's the real story? Well, son, that's a !@#$ good question. It goes without saying that I don't !@#$ing trust Direction Noir's sweet-as-bee-!@#$ story any further than I could !@#$ing spit it in a big !@#$ hailstorm.
But I have to admit that, up until now, I really didn't make a !@#$ing priority out of it because, up until now, he wasn't a !@#$ing priority. I figured he'd eventually out himself as a joke, and that would be the end of that !@#$.
Except, now, well... let's just say he's given me a few reasons to actively !@#$ing dislike him. And we'll just leave it at that, son.
One thing, though. Someone I had inside at Direction Noir once told me that, when it came to Tempete Bleu, the official story wasn't just a cover story for the truth, but was a cover story for a cover story. Something weird involving a small town in some !@#$ing armpit of the country that got scribbled off the !@#$ maps in a hurry.
Something about a !@#$ing UFO, and what may have been in it...
So we'll just have to look into that, son. And while we're at it, we'll have to !@#$ing look into this Foudre Blanc guy. White Thunder, in case you didn't learn that !@#$ useless language in High School.
Who is he? Well, that's just it, son. We don't !@#$ing know, because I don't !@#$ing know.
And believe me, that is !@#$ing saying something.
What we do know is that he out of !@#$ing nowhere a couple years ago, and started doing that big !@#$ urban vigilante thing. Lots of big !@#$ expensive toys. Skilled in hand-to-hand fighting.
Won't kill, but loves leaving people !@#$ing crippled for life.
Now, I'm no shrieking violet, son. You know that, if someone's coming at me, they better be ready to throw the !@#$ down, because I will !@#$ing !@#$ them up one wall and down the other. Kill or be killed, son. No mercy, no quarter.
But this guy? He tends to spend his times in the suburbs outside of Paris, mostly. The areas where generation of immigrants have set up shop, decade after decade. And there's crime, yes, and sometimes violence. But also a close-knit group of people who feel, and rightly so, that the country that invited them in to make their postwar economy take off really didn't want them there after it got back on its feet, again.
And isn't too !@#$ing shy about making it known, either.
So the question is, is he !@#$ing smashing crime in the immigrant areas because it's just his thing? Or is he smashing crime in those areas because it's being done by immigrants, or their children?
Because I gotta say, son -- all those years I was running the !@#$ COMPANY, I ran across a lot of would-be Owls who talked big about justice and protection, but really just wanted a chance to beat the !@#$ out of people who didn't look like them, and were still struggling with !@#$ ing English however many years off the !@#$$ boat.
And as someone whose parents came to America from Italy, and got the same kind of raw !@#$ing deal...? Let's just say I wasn't too !@#$ appreciative of their initiative.
(Let's also say there's a reason my interview room in the late, much-lamented Flier had a trapdoor under the interviewee's seat. On bad days I forgot to put the automatic parachute in.)
Anyway, at some point this Owl rip-off gets brought in, fists covered in blood and teeth. And they ask him why he isn't working for the government.
What does he say? "The government should be working for me."
Not the sort of thing you want to hear someone !@#$ing drop on you, son. But they arrange a meet with him, Red, and Blue. And they turn out to have enough in common that they can !@#$ing create a team-up, kind of.
Hence Les Trois Grands, and hence my current !@#$ing headache. But I've given them enough to chew on for a while.
See, while I can't quite get a bead on who this White Thunder !@#$er is, I can tell where he is, sometimes, thanks to the magic of Paris' ever-present CCTV cameras. He used to avoid them, back in the day, but now that he's with the Big !@#$ Three he seems to !@#$ing enjoy smacking the !@#$ out of people on film.
So I wasn't kidding about what he was doing, at that moment in time. And when I told her, well, she thinks I'm telling the truth, aren't I?
And I told her the unvarnished !@#$ing truth, too. Every nasty, bloody bit.
Now, while I may not appreciate Red's tendency to liberate people from things they don't necessarily need liberating from, I can appreciate it means her !@#$ heart is in the right place. She genuinely wants to make things better for the Beurs, and people like them.
So it doesn't pay to have her partner out beating on them just because, now does it?
No son, it does not.
And while she's !@#$ing dealing with that, I can work on what I need to. Namely, connecting some big !@#$ dots and making this plan of mine work.
What plan is that? Well, figure it the !@#$ out, son. But don't take too long.
You never know when I might not be here to talk to, anymore...
(SPYGOD is listening to Red Skies (The FIXX) and having a really old can of Red, White, and Blue beer)