Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8/29/11 - All Alone Flesh and Bone

Every once in a while, when I'm feeling social, or really just need to get the !@#$ out of The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G, I'll actually go out for a drink. And since I don't tend to want to drink in a crowd, mostly because whenever I do people either want to !@#$ me or !@#$ with me, I pick bars where you won't be disturbed because everyone there wants to be left alone.

One such establishment is the Black Rat of Armagh, which is one of the darkest, nastiest Irish bars you will ever see in your life. They say the founder was arrested in 1952 after being caught doing something truly horrible with one of the waitresses and a pool cue, and every member of the coroner's inquest was sick for weeks after viewing the evidence.

The atmosphere hasn't improved since. The floor hasn't been mopped in years, the lights are all burned out, the booths may be boobytrapped, and the bartender will smash bottles against his forehead for tips. You don't want anything out of the tap if you value your GI tract, and you'd rather !@#$ in the alley outside than dare to go in the men's.

Every time the Black Rat gets picked up and put down when the city converts, the neighborhood it lands in gets just a little more unpleasant to have it there. It's like it's the bad kid in the back of the classroom, dragging the other students down with him.

So that's where I go for a drink. They keep bottles of Singha there just for me because they know I can't !@#$ stand Guinness. And they know on the night I'm there no one will go home in a bag, because I'll !@#$ SPYGOD VISION anyone who tries anything into permanent incontinence.

Which means it's less fun for the regulars, but that's their tough !@#$. If I don't keep the place at least a little clean there's less chance that he might show up.

You see, sometimes I have an ulterior motive for going out for a drink. Sometimes I go out hoping that I'll run into Aaron, again. And the Black Rat is one of the few places he'll go when he's in Neo York City, for pretty much the same reasons I go there.

Because he's also had more than his share of being !@#$ed with, and just wants to be left alone.

Sometimes people ask me what it's like to be immortal. They read the fact sheet, however bogus and redacted all to !@#$ most of those 'facts' are, and want to know what it feels like. It must be heaven, right?

And I'll them them no, son. It most certainly is not. 

I mean, don't get me wrong. I like having it as a tool in the arsenal. I like the fact that I can wander into a firefight buck naked except for a hat and a gun and walk back out the other side with only a few scratches.

(That's not to say I'm indestructible. Far from it. I have my weaknesses, and canny readers of this blog may have already guessed what a few of them are. Hint: not alcohol.)

But as for the actual reality of living forever, it sucks. It's not what you're promised in the movies or comic books or daydreams that don't involve naked people doing everything you want. Or maybe do, depending.

It's highly and horribly overrated. 

And I know what you're thinking, son. You're thinking 'Gee, SPYGOD, you've only had that eye for, what, maybe fifty years? How on earth would you know that immortality is a crock when you've only had half an extra human lifetime to ponder it?'

That would be an excellent question. The answer is because I got some inside intel on the matter from someone who actually knows.

And Aaron hates it. He really !@#$ hates it.

Buy him a drink and he'll be happy to tell you all about it, provided he doesn't just look at you with that look (the one that once made Dick Cheney !@#$ his pants back in 1984) and then get up and leave. Like I said, he'd rather just be left alone.

Aaron says that immortality is about permanence in an impermanent world. It's about getting to know and love people, only to watch them grow old and die in front of you while you stay exactly how you are. It's about watching people learn from their mistakes and change while you're just standing still and going nowhere but in a little circle.

And the notion that meeting new people and making new relationships somehow salves this pain? It's bull!@#$. It turns out that people have this tendency to be repeated by the world, over and over again. Before long every new face you see has little pieces of a dozen other faces inside of them, and you always remember all those people when you're making new friends.

But then they aren't just like those people, before, and that makes you upset and sad, and more than a little nostalgic for those times long past.

He told me these things back in the 80's, when he was in the White House, guarding Rappin Ronnie. I didn't believe him then. But as the decade went on, I started losing more friends from the War. And when I went to go see the ones I still had, and saw they'd become doddering old men and women, frail and broken and waiting for an end to come around at last.

And there I was, untouched, like a picture on the wall come to life and trying to sneak hooch into the VA rest home.

The next time I saw him, out drinking in a place just like this, I told him he was right. And he looked at me, drunk as !@#$, and just laughed in that evil, window-shattering laugh of his.

I hope he's at the Black Rat tonight. I have some questions I need to ask him. I know he probably won't answer, but I can usually learn more from what he doesn't say about something than what he actually does. He's funny like that.

And I don't feel like joking around with this !@#$ right now.

(SPYGOD is listening to Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode, by way of Marilyn Manson) and is about to pollute his stomach with something truly terrifying.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

8/28/11 - Tea with the Cannibal Dynamo

11:57 AM

Transcript begins:

Oh !@#$ me, can't we get any decent booze in this !@#$ place? I refuse to touch that brown heroin, son. It's worse than !@#$ coke. At least you can get help to quit coke. Coffee? They just laugh at you.

Well, okay, maybe some tea. It's not as bad for you. But I want it black, you hear? None of this cream and sugar !@#$.

That's it. Black as death's big shiny !@#$. Only people who take cream in their tea are steers and queers, and I ain't no bull.

Yes, that was a joke. You can laugh. I won't shoot you.

Okay, incident report. We're live on this, right? Oh, we've been live the whole time? Well !@#$. Okay. Let me adjust my !@#$ tie, here. Oh, wait, don't have one. Never mind.

Yeah, it's not every day I walk back to storm emergency central wearing nothing but waders, a gun, and a smile, huh? Been one !@#$ of a !@#$ed-up morning, son.

So, the report.

It was about 9 in the AM, and I was waltzing through Coney Island, making sure anyone who needed saving got it.The wind and the rain are up, the streets are flooded with water and strewn with trash, and if I were normal I wouldn't be able to see more than five or ten feet in front of my face.

Of course, I'm not normal, so I'm just the right person for this job. I mean, if you're going to look for people who got left behind...

I ran into a few people disobeying the evacuation orders, and I made sure they had no !@#$ kids with them. Anyone with kids got SPYGOD VISIONed to the nearest shelter. Anyone without, I gave them the speech and kept on walking.

Hey, it's like I told you when I took this job, I don't give a !@#$ about civilians and mandatory evacs. You want to stand there in the face of a Hurricane and pretend you're Leonardo DiCaprio and this is the !@#$ Titanic? Have at it. Just don't drag your kids into it, for !@#$ sake.

Anyway. I'm on Sea Breeze, heading for West 5th, and I see one guy I know doing just that. It's one of those Free people. You know, the ones who stay behind and have a party in the park when the city converts?

Well, he's just standing there, arms open in the wind like he's waiting for Kate !@#$ Winslet. I ask him if he's okay and he says yeah, he just wants to make sure the Temple's okay. Guess he used to go there or something.

I don't even give him the speech. I figure he knows what he's doing, so I tell him to get scarce when the water hits his knees. He says he can't promise anything, but that's good enough for me. So I go on my way.

And I swear I don't get twenty feet into the mist and the wet before I hear him scream.

I turn around and all I can see, where he was, is a big dark shape. For a moment I wonder if my vision's failing me, but then the shape stands up, holding that poor guy up along with him, and I see what it is.

Best description? A big brass minotaur, maybe ten feet tall, with metal-strip muscles and black gears inside and out. His eyes are black as, well, black as this tea, at least until his rib cage hinges open on both sides and he stuffs this poor guy inside of it.

The guy wasn't even dead when he put him in there, but suddenly there's this whoomp like a gas stove lighting up, and the shape's on fire on the inside. I can hear the poor guy screaming, and the thing's eyes light up, and fire boils out of its eyes and mouth and ribcage, and that poor guy isn't dead yet.

Jesus !@#$. I ain't forgetting that in a long time. You know how a man screams when he's burning to death? Now imagine him burning and not !@#$ dying.

So what's a guy with a trench gun to do? I start stalking over there, thinking this mother!@#$ gonna get my metal. It sees me coming and starts laughing balls of fire.

And it says "I have been looking for you, little man. Come feel the fire of Moloch."

And I say "!@#$ you you !@#$ !@#$ piece of vagrant eating !@#$ !@#$ !@#$," and let him have it with some SPYGOD VISION.

Which, of course, does not !@#$ work on giant metal supervillains with flames for insides.

Nasty thing decides to !@#$ fire out of its mouth, right at me. So I'm dodging and weaving, trying to get close enough to get a good shot in with the trench gun without getting barbecued. And it's tossing fireballs out of its mouth and throwing them from his hands like something from Super Mario Brothers on Martian Speed, blowing up half the !@#$ neighborhood in the process and laughing fire.

And yes, he gets a good bead on the !@#$ Temple. !@#$ jerk.

At a time like this, a man wonders why he didn't bring a more complete armory with him. But at a time like this, wondering such things is highly !@#$ counterproductive, and likely to get you killed. So you have to take in some facts and improvise.

Fact one, he's fire, but with all the water and steam he's probably not seeing too well, which is the only reason I'm not a big shish-SPYGOD yet.

(Yes, it's shish, not kebab. Shish-kebab is lamb. Shish-taouk is chicken. Shish-SPYGOD is me.)

Fact two, this is the third time in recent times someone's targeted me specifically using fire. It's like they know something maybe they shouldn't.

Fact three, there's trash all over the place, some of which may be useful.

So I duck behind a wall, grab a floating mannequin, and do a quick costume switcheroo while trying to get him to engage in some expositional, pre-kill dialogue that used to be all the rage with supervillains back in the day. Unfortunately, he really wasn't interested in telling me who sent him, or why, or how much he's being paid. But, fortunately, he was really !@#$ slow to get over, and since he was in range of my trenchgun, he was a little more cautious now.

(Fact four.)

He did say one thing, though, which both amazed me and got me the perfect moment to prop that mannequin up. Then he blew the !@#$ out of it before he realized it wasn't me. And then I stood up and returned the favor.

Silly me, I aimed for his mouth, and it didn't do a whole !@#$ of a lot. Lucky me, I hit his chest instead, and the poor fellow inside of him took the brunt of the damage. He died, right then and there, and promptly stopped burning.

Which meant that Moloch lost his mojo.

Now, maybe he didn't have a backup plan, maybe he's just another coward who's useless without his gimmick, and maybe didn't like the looks of my alien love penis, but he really looked !@#$ surprised and scared without all that fire. He took two steps back, pointed the finger of I'll Be Back, and pressed something on his chest that made him go all Star Trek.

And that leaves me standing there in the rain, buck naked except for the waders and a gun. Someone staggered by and gave me the WTF look, and I said "I said mandatory evacuation!" And that got everyone heading out and off to their nearest shelter, including a few kids I'd missed.

So yeah, that's my report. One decent dead guy who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, one supervillian assassin with one !@#$ of a nasty gimmick, and one more for the power of improvisation in the face of impending doom.

Gotta love this town, huh?

Hey, got any more of this tea? This !@#$ is actually pretty !@#$ good.

Transcript Ends:

(SPYGOD is listening to Lunchbox (Marilyn Manson) and drinking all the black tea he can get his cold hands on)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

8/26-27/11 - Come on Irene

Nothing like a !@#$ hurricane to un!@#$ your head.

That and our ongoing investigations as to the whereabouts of GORGON, which bore some strange and disturbing fruit last night, thanks to Thurl. But I'll get to that !@#$ soon enough!  We have a slightly more pressing problem right now.

The problem, in case you've been locked up in your master's basement for the last few days, is that mother nature, grand !@#$ queen that she is, has decided to visit some fun on our Eastern shores. Her name is Irene, she measures in at a few hundred miles across, and her category 1 !@#$ just slammed into North Carolina this morning.

And guess where she's heading? Right up the coast to us, taking in New Jersey along the way. Which may or may not be a terrible thing, depending on your opinion of the !@#$ Garden State. Me, I always associate it with second rate mobsters, drunken casino bums, and playgrounds full of toxic waste, so I suppose a 75 mph cleanup wouldn't hurt too badly.

Except of course for the fact that, when idiots decide to hole up and brave the elements, they invariably have their children with them. And they're not any !@#$ better at surviving idiot-killing storms than their !@#$ parents are. So I have to temper my normal lack of sympathy for denizens of the Trash Can State with the fact that there's kids involved.

Fortunately for them, a number of our strategic talents are at work as I speak, shoring up beaches and streets, battening down hatches, zipping up and down the coastline and trying to rescue idiots ahead of the storm. I hear there's a running, one-sided gun battle with some fools out the Outer Islands who are insisting they're going to wait it out, but that should end right the !@#$ quick as soon as we have Tank walk in and explain where they're spending the night, tonight.

(He has to stick a 30-ought up his !@#$ and pull the trigger in order to get off. No joke.)

But that leaves Neo York City, smack in the !@#$'s path.

The good news is that they must still have hurricanes 500 years in the future. The city's defensive grid handles high winds the same way it handles bombardments, space lasers, and hijacked passenger planes, which to say pretty !@#$ well. Once the storm gets to the point that it starts doing damage, the grid essentially forms a bubble around the entire city, and we have the privilege of watching the wind and rain roll right past us, like we were watching it on TV.

The bad news is that, much like giant metal insects coming up from under the harbor, the defensive grid isn't worth !@#$ against flooding. Which means that we're still in danger of major water damage, especially in the low-lying areas. We have some pump systems in place, of course, but we're still looking at the water level rising and spilling into the streets, which means washed out basements, disrupted services, stranded folks, possible drownings, exposure, the whole !@#$ seafood dog.

Which is why hizzoner is telling people to get the !@#$ to the shelters, right the !@#$ now.

Now, you'd think we could fine-tune the defensive grid. There is something that looks a lot like a control room, right in the middle of the city. It's a big sphere that's made of the same metal that's coated the other buildings and streets. No matter what happens during the conversion, it always stays just where it is, right at the center of the storm of streets and buildings, which would indicate it's got some kind of sway in things, right?

But all that's in there is a big chair and a lot of screens. The screens flip through the streets in a swift, endless loop that's too fast to really watch, and don't connect up with any cameras we've ever seen, which is kind of spooky. And sitting in the chair does abso!@#$inglutely nothing but give you a good view of the screens.

Dr. Yesterday tried working on the chair and the screens, back in the day, which means to say he put his wife on the job. She got absolutely nowhere. And that's saying something.

But all that really means is that the city isn't going to completely save our bacon. That means it's up to us to handle this, like any other city would. However, no other city has yours truly as a proud, civic-minded citizen.

So, once again, I have been named first assistant storm warden. This essentially means I get to prowl around the streets in the areas most likely to be affected with my trusty megaphone and scream abuse at people who are not getting a !@#$ move on. Tragically, I am not allowed to shoot anyone for not complying, as apparently not evacuating a dangerous area in time of civic emergency isn't a shooting offense.

Looting, on the other hand, is. So you better !@#$ behave, certain people who I just know are going to take advantage of a bad situation. SPYGOD sees all.

Well, okay, not as much as I'd like. There's still that issue with GORGON and where they decamped to after they ran from West Papua. But thanks to yet another waterlogged favor to the Kingdom of Atlantis, we have something approaching an answer.

It seems that one of GORGON's subs went down on the way. Crashed and imploded well north-west of their starting destination, right around the middle of the East Mariana Basin. It was barely recognizable by the time his people found it, but I guess some things remain as they are, even 6000 meters down on the ocean floor.

Which means, unless it was really !@#$ lost, we have a general heading. And that makes finding them a little easier than before. Not a lot, to be truthful, but at least now we have something of a starting point, rather than "anywhere but where they left from."

(Unless it's a ruse, or they doubled back)

Anyway, that's for another day. For now, I've got my Versace waders on, a trench gun across my back, and I'm out telling people to get back in, or get to the shelters. No one's questioned why I'm wearing a rubber dress so far, and with any luck they'll remember what happened the last time some drunk !@#$ tried.

Come on, Irene. We're !@#$ ready for you.

(SPYGOD is listening to Here Comes the Rain Again (Eurythmics) and staying sober until this is over. Maybe)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

8/25/11 - Tinker Tailor Soldier !@#$head

I have an announcement. God has taken a massive, honey-flavored dump in my skull. I am pushing these thoughts past gooshy, sickly sweet brain turds and am barely able to function in what could be considered an adult manner.

This happens every time I drink Barenjager. Every. !@#$. Time.

You see, you're only supposed to sip it, son. Not gulp it. And if you gulp it then you're supposed to pass around the bottle. And if you don't pass around the bottle then you're supposed to drink about three gallons of water before you even think about going to bed.

So what do I do? I drink three bottles of it in one go, maybe have two sips of water (I hope that was water) and forget to take a tjbang stick before I crash out. There may have even been a few lines of amyl nitrate and a six pack of something questionable and cheap in there, too, but after bottle 1.5 everything became a honey-colored blur of lights, noise, and fun things to do with ladyboys and emergency gravity generators.

This, son, is why I'm sprawled out on the floor of The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G. and unable to move. METALMAID has already run over my feet twice and BeeBee has sniffed my face, licked my nose, spat in disgust, and walked away to leave me in my sorry state of self-made mental ruin. Furry !@#$ didn't even purr.

Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to this kind of cloying punishment? Mostly because that stuff is so !@#$ good that you don't even notice how !@#$ up you are until the point of no return was ten treacherous miles back.

(Which is how a lot of things in life work, come to think of it.)

I first got a taste for this stuff in Eastern Europe, back during the early cold war days. Chugging it reminds me of freezing, dark days in sooty, decaying cities whose only colorful spots were the endless parade of propaganda posters. Even the blood you spilled in the back alleys and deserted buildings looked dull and muted, as though the regime had sucked all the life out of it.

And there was a lot of blood spilled back them. Tons of it. Used to be you couldn't turn a corner, make a phone call, or even go out for a peroigi without someone winding up face-down in a snowy field, somewhere, because of it.

One wrong word and boom, sometimes literally.

That was back in the early SQUASH days, when all we really had to worry about was the Soviets, ABWEHR, and what the strategic talents leftover from the War were going to do now. We didn't have too long to wait, as Korea showed us. But for a time it was fun to pretend we were all just secret policemen, trying to take at least one inch for every one the other side snuck past us.

SQUASH was a hybrid creation of Uncle Joe's, taking a few aspects of their anti-spy (really anti-traitor) organization, SMERSH, and melding it with his need to keep a few strides ahead of us Capitalists in the exploitation of strategic talents.

What did SQUASH mean? Well, it wasn't actually spelled that way, son, and I forget what the original Russian phrase was. But whatever came out the other end sounded a lot like "squash," so we just used that name for simplicity's sake.

(Plus, when Stalin found out what a squash actually was, he supposedly had someone shot out of pure pique. You gotta love it when that happens.)

But however goofy their name was, SQUASH was no joke. They had come of age fighting the Wehrmacht in what seemed a losing battle, and had lived, fought, and died to retake Mother Russia from the Fatherland, foot by bloody foot.

The tin-teethed, bloody-minded warriors who couldn't just slip back into what would become the KGB were rounded up and put to work policing their own supers, and drafting their unique talents to the cause of the world revolution. They also went out of their way to deny all information to the enemy, except for what they wanted us to know.

And you did not !@#$ with them lightly.

I remember one time, in Minsk, when I was supposed to meet up with one of their people who was actually one of our people, sort of. The truth was that he had so many allegiances sewn up inside his vest it was a wonder he could even !@#$ breathe. I have to hand it to him for pulling off that act for so long, given the trouble most people having with being merely double agents, but we knew that sooner or later he was going to get popped.

So it was no surprise that, when I saw him, he was already dead.

I was walking towards the Railway Station Square on a misty day, pretending to be minding my own business, and looking for a man on a park bench with reddish brown shoes. I thought I saw him, and then a crowd got between me and him, and there was this weird noise that sounded like a horse stomping a watermelon.

I knew what had happened before I saw it. But I had to keep moving like nothing had happened, even when I saw what had. To do otherwise would have given away the whole game, and while I could have fought my way out of town with both hands behind my back and the mother of all matrioshka dolls shoved up my !@#$, I was under orders to lay low.

As for my contact, well, do you know what a punishment weapon is, son?

No it is not the name of an East Coast punk rock group, though someone really should have come up with one by that name. It's got a nice ring to it. I can imagine them really blowing up the stage, if you'll excuse the phrase.

A punishment weapon is a small, easily concealable means of !@#$ annihilating someone that leaves no question that that someone made someone else really !@#$ mad. There were a lot of them, but they tended to involve innocuous objects and shotgun shells. Like those bang sticks divers use to kill sharks, only hidden in an umbrella or a suitcase.

Well, judging from what little was left of the front of his skull, my contact had been punished just before I could get to him. A crowd was already gathering, the police were stomping over, and any number of the people walking away from the scene with umbrellas could have been the one who did it.

And even if I did figure out who popped him, what was he really going to be able to tell me? Dirty little commie !@#$ rat probably got his orders slipped to him in his tea that morning, and wouldn't have had any idea who he was really killing, or why. Just that it had to be done, and he was the one to do it.

So I called the op a wash, got onto a train, and got the !@#$ out of town before my need to kick someone's !@#$ overwhelmed my need to follow orders. Just another !@#$ day at the office.

Years later, after the Berlin Wall fell and a whole lot of documents were now available for us to peruse, we learned that my contact the octo-agent was actually one of their people, all along. And not only did they know I was in town, and going to meet him, but they set up the drop in the first place. He thought he was going to give me something important, but it was actually just useless "secrets" we already knew, or thought we did.

They killed their own man in front of me just to show us they meant !@#$ business.

That was when a lot of us, my now-immortal self included, were !@#$ glad that, due to some accidents of history, SQUASH was just an empty echo of its former self. For all the kooky spy-vs-spy nonsense they got up to, there was a measure of Soviet steel behind riding behind it that could justify !@#$ anything, so long as, at the end of the day, the inch they took from us was just a hair longer than the one we took from them.

I could tell you other stories about that time, too. But right now I think I'm going to lie here and see if I can mentally will some tjbang sticks into my !@#$ mouth from across the room.

(SPYGOD is listening to Goroda (Virus) and not drinking a !@#$ thing)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8/24/11 - HONEYCOMB pt.4 - Fear of a Machine Planet

So I'm in the middle of eating leftover donuts outside the cell of a very repentant supervillain, deep under the Heptagon, and I get a phone call from the COMPANY's labs, upstairs. Can I come up immediately? They seem to have found something very interesting hiding inside some of those giant metal insects we shot down over Neo York City, last weekend.

What can I do? I leave the bag just outside of his reach (not that I think he's going to touch a donut for the rest of his life after that forced-feeding jag) and get topside, just in time to see something that takes me back to the last Parliament/Funkadelic concert I snuck into, years ago, before George made that awful song about my choice in !@#$less chaps.

That's right, kids. Something tore the roof off the mothersucker. And we were at ground !@#$ zero for the whole thing.

That something was caused by an unfortunate coincidence. It just so happened that the insect remnants were in the same lab as the computer drives we got out of that HIVE the other week. They're not entirely sure what happened, but the best bet we have is that someone accidentally turned the insects on at the same time the drives were running, they talked to one another, and started trying to turn the Heptagon itself into a new !@#$ HIVE.

This involved taking control over every airware-connected machine in a ten-room radius and putting it to work trying to restructure the rest of the building to suit its' needs. Why this involved making giant, mega-pneumatic waldos and ripping the roof off the building is something that's just going to remain gods' little !@#$ mystery, but it sure made us look like !@#$holes on the 6 O'Clock news, let me tell you.

Fortunately, the casualties were minimal. It turns out some other young genius was working with some complicated anti-earthquake thingamabob that kept buildings from collapsing when their structure gets weakened by seismic waves. Fortunately, it was not connected up to the wireless network, and he was able to get it working in time, which is why the roof seemingly came off in one piece, and came down the same way.

As for the waldoes, the drives, and that giant !@#$ metal insect, I X-57ed them into metal and plastic confetti before anyone got any stupid ideas about preserving them for science, or some other bull!@#$. There's science, there's reason, and then there's the basic human need to save your own !@#$ when one goes amok and the other fails in a major way.

Which is, I might add at this point, the big problem with HONEYCOMB.

We talked a lot about those !@#$, before, but I don't know if I really touched on the huge problem with them. Other than the fact that they were made by a bunch of disgraced eugenicists, assembled by an eyeball-stealing Nazi war criminal freak who just happens to be one of the smartest people on the !@#$ planet, of course.

That and they're the very definition of scientific terrorist outfits, which earns you a special seat in SPYGOD !@#$ when I catch up with your sorry !@#$. And I will, eventually. No doubt about that.

The problem isn't that they're trying to make a better world. We're all trying to do that, in our own way. Some more effectively and altruistically that others, of course.

(Some a lot more fun that others, come to think of it.)

And yes, it's more than a little disturbing that they're doing it by decanting their own perfect people in their HIVEs. But to hear some scientists talk that's what we'll be doing when we actually start sending out colony ships to other planets, however many centuries away from now. So maybe they're actually just really !@#$ ahead of the curve on that one?

The problem is the means. The problem is that they steal, suborn, coerce, poison, kidnap, and murder to get their way. The problem is that they hook up with supervillains, would-be alien conquerors, and even weirder and deadlier things to get what they want when the previous methods get their disposable soldiers shot in the noggin.

The problem is that they have no recognizable ethics or moral concerns in bringing their vision of the future to the unwashed, dorito-eating masses at gunpoint, and advocating the effective genocide of those masses in order to do it.

Yes, son, that means you. If you don't have a .5 Einstein rating or higher, aren't relatively free of genetic defects (including a family history of cancer or other such maladies), and can't do fifty pull-ups without collapsing into a whiny ball of snapped muscle, then the only thing you're good for is a trip to a reclamation plant, where your useless bodies will be sterilized, picked apart, and recycled for useful parts, nutrients, and leftovers.

We know this because they have told us this. Several times. Every so often Gerte releases a public statement extolling the virtues of their bold, scientifically-run world to come. She gets all rapturey about how great it will be, how beautiful, and how peaceful, and how well run.

So long as we don't mind when the hammer comes along to pound the stuck-out nail.

The scary thing is that this vision has people who agree with it. Top scientists, sociologists, and media darlings actually think there's some merit to the notion of a future where everything is planned out for you. At last, everyone would get a fair shake! No prejudice, no inequality, just one happy, sunshiny day in the sun for the whole world.

All it would cost us is our souls.

All it would cost us is a future where no one could dream except what they were allowed to dream. No one would be allowed to make mistakes or be a step out of line. No one would look to the stars and wonder, or walk into the gutter and laugh.

Just one endless, perfect dance routine on HONEYCOMB's machine planet.

Me, I say we were meant to be imperfect. We have to be. It's who we are and what we do.

I know I don't seem to have much tolerance for failure, but in reality it's the parade of lame excuses and attempts to shirk blame that make me want to cap you in the !@#$. If we don't !@#$ up we don't learn from it. If we don't learn from it, we don't grow.

And if we don't grow, we go nowhere, and just wind up sitting on the couch, eating corn dogs and watching "America's Got Chutzpah," or something incredibly worse.

That's not to say we can't work for a better world. But perfection isn't in our nature. We always side with the hidden flaw. And sometimes this is answerable with pain and punishment, but usually we just call it the price of being human.

And take it from someone who only just barely qualifies, anymore. Humanity is not overrated.

So no, HONEYCOMB does not get to win this one. I will stomp them down like I did to ABWEHR, and will do to GORGON when I finally figure out where those slimy, false-faced !@#$ slunk off to.

The secret's in their technology. I know it is. That's why, once we get the roof back on the Heptagon, and I have a few words with the science corps about basic caution while dismantling mad science devices in a weapon-rich environment, we're going to get back to work on taking their tools apart, the better to !@#$ them in the !@#$ with.

Well, that and a few drinks and some mindless !@#$. I feel the need to be very imperfect, tonight, and no one's going to !@#$ stop me.

(SPYGOD is listening to Nemesis (Shriekback) and having a tasty bottle of Barenjager, and not !@#$ sharing)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8/23/11 - Who Are the Lizard People in Your Neighborhood?

It's a boring day, and nothing happened except for that earthquake that didn't have anything to do with us fighting Underman, again.

I know what it sounds like, son, but you're just going to have to take it on faith that he didn't even get to use that fancy, tectonic-plate shattering superdrill of his this time around. That's because some patriotic citizen called us up with a tip when he saw the aforementioned superdrill parked outside a Dunkin Donuts. And by the time Underman came out with his pre-terror sugar and coffee supplies in hand, we'd already surrounded his portly, donut-stuffed !@#$ with enough firepower to turn him inside out about a million times over, to say nothing of that !@#$ science terror relic he still thinks can score him chicks when the Legion throws a mixer.

I tell you, the standards of science terrorists and supervillains has just gone down the toilet, recently. Is it too much to ask for for competent yet cartoony villainy that doesn't involve nasty leftovers from World War II?

Anyway, speaking of patriotic citizens, 1st Class SPYGOD SCOUT CJ Tremlett of Lansing, Michigan recently asked the immortal question: "Who all is actually a lizard person?" 

I told her, at the time, that the answer was way the !@#$ above her current paygrade, but that I'd see what I could do. "What I could do" is tell you a few things that may help answer the question on your own, without me having to come right out of my office with a metric !@#$ton of paperwork for her, her family, and her as yet unborn descendants, and her !@#$ cats to sign stating, effectively, that none of them will even think about thinking about thinking about the answer I might give, ever again, on pain of being grabbed off the street, kidnapped, and forced to watch Hee Haw reruns until all trace of memory goes away for good.

Hee Haw is !@#$ evil, kids. You can trust SPYGOD with that much, at least.

So, Lizard People. Yes, they are real. When I talk about the fact that there are several alien races currently living on the Earth at any given time, they are one of the ones we know about. 

In fact, we actually have a decent working relationship with them, given that they can't hide from us worth a !@#$. Their pathetic attempts to infiltrate the great royal families and power structures of the world all failed badly, centuries ago, and they've been relegated to dependent status ever since.

So, rather than telling you who is a lizard person, because we do value their privacy as long as they don't try to do anything stupid ever again, let me tell you how to detect them.

1: They don't blink. At all. Either that or they blink way too !@#$ much to make up for it. 

2: They smell a little funny. Like wet dog, only with scales. They often wear lots of cologne or perfume to mask the scaly dog smell, also, so this can be a dead giveaway.

3: Their skin looks way too perfect. This is because it is. They wrap themselves in vat-grown skin suits that were engineered from the finest families the world had to offer in an attempt to infiltrate them. The bad news is that it doesn't heal worth a !@#$ because they're essentially wearing a skin condom. So if you prick them, they'll bleed, and then wear a bandaid from now until doomsday, or until they can save enough lizard dollars to buy a new suit.

4: Some of them have never mastered the intricacies of human speech. Their sense of conversational timing is way the !@#$ off. Sometimes they pepper their conversation with phrases they think are appropriate, but really aren't. The last time I had an extended conversation with one, he kept slapping his knee and saying "breakfast cereal!" over and over. So I !@#$ him with my foot.

5: Lizards do not have human genitals. If you get one in the sack they won't know what the !@#$ they're doing, except from a sheer textbook standpoint. If they ask who gets to lay the clutch, you need to fake an emergency phone call and run. 

6: Oh yeah, and they're cold blooded, so playing havoc with the air conditioner will usually smoke them out. 

Lizard people can be found in numerous urban habitats. They usually hang out at places where they're only marginally welcome, trying to ingratiate themselves with up and coming folks who may or may not have a good idea as to who's a star!@#$, who's a friend in need, and who's a lizardman trying to hustle their way up the ladder. 

When in doubt, see if they'll open a tab for you, and keep the beer going into the wee hours of the morning. If it gets to be 4, and they still haven't complained about the four-figure tab, then you've got a lizard on the hoof. Turn up the heat, sneak off to the bathroom, jump out the window, and run like !@#$.

So yeah, Lizard People are harmless. It's the Spider People you have to watch out for, but I am in no mood to talk about those !@#$ tonight. I have a broken down super-drill to find a way to dispose of, and an aging, portly supervillain who needs some more donut holes crammed down his throat, Se7en-style.

Goodnight, sweet world. Goodnight.

(SPYGOD is listening to Eating Donuts (DJ Coone) and having some yummy coffee) 

Monday, August 22, 2011

8/22/11 - Plausible Denialibya

Okay, son. This is really !@#$ important.

I want you to look me in the eye. Yes, this eye. The glass one. And I want you to listen to what I am saying, here.

I was not in Libya, today.

Not. In Libya. Today. No.

You did not see me leave the Flier this morning. I was not wearing an aircraft shell when you didn't see me leave. I was also not carrying just about every big hand cannon I didn't have available at the time, clanking behind me like tin cans on a newlywed's car.

I did not almost shoot down a passenger plane by mistake, as I thought it was another one of James Joyce's !@#$ pink elephants, come back for revenge. That's what that !@#$ carrier gets for painting their fleet pink, anyway, god!@#$ it. But it didn't happen so it's a moot point. 

I did not leave a fairly visible crater when I didn't land just outside of Tripoli this morning, close to the contacts I don't have in the area. I did not proceed to get drunk and then sober the !@#$ up, as is my custom when having to not use an aircraft shell, in spite of the fact that Libya, where I wasn't, is a Muslim country. That would have been extremely disrespectful since it's still Ramadan, though since they're fighting I think a few other rules are out the window, too.

I did not get in touch with (REDACTED) and (REDACTED) while the major mayhem was going on downtown. I did not rendezvous with various Company agents (as opposed to COMPANY Agents) on the ground in the south of the city in order to hook up, in turn, with some of the strategic talents we have most definitely not had in the region since this whole Arab Spring thing took off, and a few supers that are native to the area.

I was not with El-Matraqa, La-Kobda, or El-Asid. We did not engage in guerrilla tactics to pull some of Khaddafy's house supers and science mercenaries away from the rebels, get them down darkened alleyways, and skull!@#$ them with our fists and feet. We certainly did not engage the the entirely uncivil game of "right of return," whereby we take turns trying to toss the dead or broken bodies of our foes back to the palace of the man that sent them.

(I certainly did not win big by betting on La-Kobda having the best aim.)

When the fighting got really bad, and really close to the Capitol, did not bag some non-Duranium sniper skulls with that lovely new X-57 I was, admittedly, test-firing last night at the post-conversion Luau. They are not on my wall, back at the B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G., right now.

We did not withdraw once the rebels got close enough, and leave the country to its rightful liberation now that the super elements were dealt with. We certainly would not force our views or beliefs on a people who've spent too !@#$ long dealing with someone like Khaddafy and his army of cloned fembot dyke bodyguards.

(And if I find out the Company's got too firm a hand on the tiller, I'm going to cut it off and wrist!@#$ the stump. These people deserve an honest chance.)

We did not stop off in Algieria to celebrate. I did not break my nonexistent fast with El-Asid's extended family in scenic, downtown Algiers, and if I did I certainly did not do anything that would embarrass my host, other than maybe show some of his grandkids some of the skulls I wasn't bringing home as trophies. If I did I may or may not have helped reinforce some unfortunate local stereotypes about Americans and their pastimes, but I guess that's what happens when you let infidels come to your Iftar table.

I did not sneak away after we said goodbye to buy three times my weight in Tango, and down them like pixie sticks while waiting for a pickup on the coast. I did not then order Octopussy to head for the coast of Tripoli so I could watch the city burn and shriek with what may be freedom, or just a new kind of tyranny.

I did not accidentally shoot down what looked like an escape pod, trying to get out of the country. I did not see who was on it and laugh like a hysterical mother!@#$ on martian speed for a whole minute and a half. I did not subsequently order us the !@#$ out of there before the media converged on the wreckage.

I did not just get back to the Flier, drunk as !@#$ on Algerian beer, and run into poor little you, who was silly enough to ask me if I'd been to the Middle East, today.

So... any questions, son? Or can I take this gun out of your !@#$ and we'll just pretend I was not here?


(SPYGOD is listening to Rock el Casbah (Rachid Taha) and drinking Tango)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

8/19-21/11 - The Great Giant Metal Insect Turkey-Shoot

Been a crazy couple of days, but I am happy to say that things have turned out even better than I'd thought. The city's stopped moving, everyone's just about back where they belong, and me and some of the top people from The COMPANY are having a Luau on top of The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G., now in its new home overlooking Central Park.

The good news, besides the wonderful new view, is that very little was damaged in the move, and I still have structures behind me to help hide the back elevator. The bad news is that, when I play "air stairs," I'm going to have to drop them over the left side. The right side is now hosting a retirement village, and I think it would be kind of rude to ruin their afternoon with splattered, would-be assassins. 

After all, a lot of them are probably fellow veterans.

Ah, luau, SPYGOD style. Atomic skirt steaks, Hawaiian beer, my ultra-black-top-secret mystery punch, sweet boys in grass skirts, tiki torches, and the opportunity to do some live fire shooting with some of our new and improved handguns.

We're especially proud of the X-57. It's the size of a Saturday Night Special, but has the kick of a rampaging hippo. These babies will skull!@#$ anyone without a duranium noggin at about fifty feet, and I think we've finally gotten the recoil issue solved.

(Not necessarily the noise, judging from the windows I'm hearing shattering across the way, but that's why we wear earpieces on the job. Right? Right.)

So the move started on Thursday evening, and we got everyone evacuated well ahead of the actual total conversion's start, late Friday morning. We lost a few people along the way, as usual, but most of them were heart attacks, transfers from intensive care wards, or involved in accidents that occurred on the way to the convergence in the park. There were also things that happened in the tent towns we threw up to house everyone while it was going on.

Not to sound too callous, but these things happen during any evac. As sad as it is you have to realize that they probably would have died at home, anyway. Otherwise you're going to blubber all over the place and be no use to anyone. And we do not have the !@#$ time for that.

After we got everyone settled in the tent towns, and internal and external security established, it was up to The COMPANY to keep an eye on the city, itself. The last time it moved there was an attempt by certain members of the Legion to try and hijack it mid-conversion, and hold it ransom. We !@#$ on that little maneuver with extreme prejudice, of course, but I didn't rule out their trying again.

Friday was normal. Maybe a little too normal. We took advantage of the apparent lack of science terrorist bull!@#$ to park the Flier directly over the city and take readings of what was going on down there, inside that weird, metal and brick whirlwind that Neo York City becomes every few years.

After the last few times we've put a lot of effort into improving our observation equipment, and can now take more detailed scans of the process. Also better photos. I think I caught the snap of the year, myself: the Chrysler Building seemingly going right between the Twin Towers.

(It's those little moments that make apparently immortality not seem so bad. Well, that and all the near-mindless !@#$, but let's not tell anyone about that, son.)

So yes, Friday was !@#$ perfect, which could only mean that Saturday was when things were going to turn to !@#$ stew.

10 in the AM and we were in the middle of another observation sweep. Just a little after the hour we started getting messages from the Agents on patrol in the harbor, who reported that they were getting some weird underwater readings down there. That isn't unusual given that the strange energies given off by Neo York City's conversions tend to !@#$ up bird and fish migrations, but this had all the hallmarks what was either a whale orgy, or a submarine invasion.

A quick call down to Thurl assured me that, no, Atlantis hadn't sent up any observation platforms. I hung up on him before he could give me another one of his !@#$ lectures about how much more amazing and awesome his undersea kingdom is, and called up the Octopussy. Unfortunately, they were on maneuvers under the North !@#$ Pole and would be a few hours from getting there.

Right on cue the water erupted with subs. Dozens of them. I didn't recognize their make or model, at least not at first. But when their launch irises opened up and started spraying what looked like a stream of metal insects into the air, I knew it could only be HONEYCOMB.

The metal insects were ingenious little things, I have to say. We later learned that their job was to attach themselves to the buildings and try and hack the city, which is not exactly the sort of thing you can do on the fly. This must have taken years of preparation on their part, and for that I salute them.

With a gun, of course. We opened up on those !@#$ bugs with everything we had. We couldn't use attack drones or mine missiles inside the city, though, so anything that got through the firing line had to be dealt with hand-to-hand by Agents.

I was, of course, the first one to jump off the back of the Flier, guns in hand and knife in my teeth. I was so excited that I almost forgot the jet pack, which would have made for some real high-flying comedy, I'm sure. But I am confident that, in a pinch, I could have leaped from flying building to flying building, grabbed one of those insects, stripped it for spare parts, and cobbled together a makeshift jetpack that'd last at least a few go-rounds.

Impossible? That's all part of the job description, son. Pity we'll never !@#$ know now!

There's some things you can say you've never lived until you've done. Most of them involve death defying feats, leaps of faith, or trips into the dark corners of tourist trap cities, there to witness the strange thing near-dead hookers can do with their junk. But fighting a swarm of giant robot insects inside a city that's re-arranging itself at outrageous speeds is something you just have to try to believe.

I think we got them all. I hope we did, anyway. And something tells me that, even if we missed a few, the city's not going to deal with their !@#$ very kindly. The sight of a few of the subs spontaneously combusting from the radar dish on down kind of bore that notion out.

Of course, they tried to get away. Fortunately, the Octopussy got into mega-torpedo range just in time and nailed the living !@#$ out of them. Whatever it missed was quickly snatched up by the timely arrival of the Coast Guard, who were more than happy to employ those depth charges they only get to use once in a blue moon, and then only on test targets, coke subs, and homicidal giant squids on the warpath.

Not a bad days work if you ask me. We salvaged what was left and were able to get some excellent electronic intelligence to complement what we got from the last HIVE we busted down. I think a few more successful smash-and-grabs like this and we'll be ready for OPERATION: EXTERMINATION.

This morning things started settling down. The buildings slowed, stopped resembling a giant mobile on Martian speed, and began plunking themselves back down from the outside in. A massive cheer went up from tent town, as, free drinks or no, people had had just about enough of !@#$ in portajohns and standing in line for dinner. Once we landed and confirmed the city was stable, again, they couldn't get on those sleds fast enough.

And now, it's Sunday night in Neo York City. Everything old is new again. It'll take a few days for everyone to get used to the new layouts and traffic patterns (I just learned Bangkok Eight is a block closer, oh happy day) and I'm sure we'll have the usual grumbling from the great unwashed.

But if they don't like it, they can get the !@#$ out, and make room for one of the millions of people who, every year, get on a waiting list to get on a waiting list to get to live in what has always been the greatest city on Earth.

New Amsterdam, New York City, Neo York City. Like my favorite pinko said, only the landscape has changed.

(That and the Katooeys are hanging out a little further away, now, but I can adapt.)

Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm going to drink half a bottle of Adolf and see if I can fire one of these X-57s with my penis. A luau just isn't a luau without it.

(SPYGOD is listening to Houses in Motion (Talking Heads) and having some Three Philosophers)

Friday, August 19, 2011

8/18/11 (RANDOLPH SCOTT) By the Fire We Break the Quiet

Dateline Neo York City. I was over in Europe with my charges, but when I heard what was happening at home, I had to come back here. And I had to bring my kids along with me, so they could see this.

We've been spending some time in the worst spots that Humanity has to offer. Auschwitz, Dachau, anywhere the Third Reich stamped its iron foot down and tried to make a hell on Earth. I've walked these kids through the ruins left behind by the amoral monsters that created them in their own image, so they could see where that image ultimately led to.

It's been one hell of an eye-opener for them. I could read them every book, show them every photograph, and maybe they'd know. But just watching them stand in those places and feel the bad history around them, I knew that they finally understood. 

But then I got news that the city was moving, again. And I busted every hump I could to get them here, so they could go from seeing how bad humanity could be to itself to seeing what we look like at our finest.

I didn't always live in Neo York City, but it's always had that name for me. A lot of my neighbors still mess up and call it New York, and some of them don't bother to correct themselves when you look at them funny. But it's the same city they've always known, and always loved or hated or both.

It's just different, now. Much like how the rotund little cousin you saw last summer at family camp's turned into a tall and gangly echo of who he was before, all knees and elbows and raging appetite. It's got different architecture, different street layouts, different economic and social realities, and different opportunities and drawbacks, but it's the same city beneath it all.

Over 8 million people live here, speaking over 800 different languages. Today they're all being herded towards Central Park, where evacuation sleds are parked and waiting to shuttle them outside the city limits. A tent city's already gone up, stocked with all the amenities and comforts that the city can provide, and a few things they had to beg, borrow, or steal from the Federal Government.

(That last bit's SPYGOD's doing, apparently. The last time the city moved there was a mix-up and a toilet shortage occurred, which was a very bad thing under the circumstances. So FEMA was held up at near-gunpoint by The COMPANY, who relieved them of a few hundred port-a-johns from their emergency supplies. They may even be returned clean, though I doubt it. SPYGOD just loves messing with Federal Agencies.)

Speaking of SPYGOD, I think he's in the park, now. I imagine him walking around with that ridiculous, black and gold megaphone he was barking orders through in Antarctica, telling people where to get to if they want to get out in time. He can be very persuasive that way.

There's two distinct crowds outside the city. One's the world's reporters, sitting outside for safety's sake while a genuine wonder of the world is about to take place. "Better than ten 4th of Julys" someone from Boston says. "Better than a million Diwalis" corrects someone from the India Times. I don't quite catch what the fellow from the Gulf News says, but he gets some hefty laughs.

The other's people from all over the United States who had the same impulse I did. Get here and watch it happen. Bring the kids so they can see how an entire city population -- the largest in the world -- gets calmly evacuated.

Not everyone goes, of course.

There's about 40,000 homeless people in Neo York City, at least according to conservative estimates. The actual numbers are probably much higher, as that's just counting the people who take advantage of the numerous shelters. They're being shuttled out, too, since their housing's going to go flying right along with the houses people can actually afford to pay for.

But there are those who are homeless by choice, and don't care to leave, even now.

There's never been a good name for them. Some call them the Free, but that sounds like a bad 70's guitar band. The bottom line is that they choose to call the Neo York City itself their home. They take advantage of the city's stubborn insistence that they live: grabbing the simple food and clean water it makes readily available; sleeping in heated enclaves in the winter and cool pockets in the summer; camping out in the park or in huge cuddle piles in the alleys, knowing that anyone crazy enough to cause any trouble there is going to have to run a gauntlet of unamused Free people and their supporters.

The last time the city moved, most of them stayed behind. They came out of their hiding places once the sleds were gone, lit fires in the park, and watched the buildings fly all around them like something from a waking dream.

Not a one of them was hurt.

The first sleds are starting to leave the city now, like a flock of strange birds soaring in tight formation. They'll leave and return for more in ten minute shifts, taking 500,000 thousand people at a go. SPYGOD will probably leave last, knowing that he'll come home to a whole new ballgame, and yet the same one he left behind.

"Only the landscape has changed," as Ferlinghetti would have said. 

As they leave, I can see the taller buildings starting to shift position, swaying in the digital wind.
Some of the outermost structures are already in motion, shuddering into life like monster robots from a godzilla film. Brick houses and three story buildings shuffle around, waiting for the rest of the city to animate itself so they can leap to their new locations.

Impatient to be a part of a bold, new landscape.

I watch the kids SPYGOD rescued from a living hell in Antarctica hitch a breath as the reporters take pictures and tourists cheer. One of them is crying. I smile and try not to do the same.

Randolph Scott, for Alternet, signing off.

(Randolph is listening to Shut Your Eyes (Snow Patrol) and drinking some of the best water on earth) 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

8/17/11 - Computer City Come Alive

Got the call early yesterday AM, still bleary-eyed and flopping all over the bedroom floor like a sucker-punched spidercrab. A spidercrab filled with enough space beer, amyl nitrate, and ladyboy joyjuice to kill a gaggle of East German woman wrestlers, or at least make them really !@#$ happy for all of three seconds before turning their brains into schnitzel-flavored smoke. It was hizzoner, finally on the phone with me at long last, and I was in no shape to handle the inevitable battle over my unique method of assassin disposal.

But this was, to my surprise, not that phonecall. That phonecall can apparently wait until later. Maybe when the bodycount gets into four digits, or I decide to stop being the biggest backer of the Computer Hell Virus Concern. Or it's an election year and he wants to look all butch.

Anyway. The call's first four words after "SPYGOD" were enough to sober me the !@#$ up better than the biggest tjbang stick I ever tossed in my mouth, propel my newly-sober !@#$ out of the five person katooey meat tangle on the floor, and get me moving to rendezvous with Neo York City's emergency services.

"The buildings are moving."

In any other city, that'd mean an earthquake, or maybe some weird science terrorist !@#$ rolled into town with a weirder plan. Some clown actually tried to kidnap Denver, back in the early 60's, using shrink rays and a legion of tanktreaded robots. Strange Justice settled his hash real !@#$ quick.

But in this town, twenty years after Compuconqueror turned it into the city of five hundred years into the future? It means the city's incredibly-slowed-down thought processes just crunched a digit or two, and it needs to move some or all of itself around in order to move into the next computation.

This is life in Neo York City. There's free housing, electricity, heat, A/C, food, and water for everyone, the public transportation is awesome, and the external defense grid kicks serious !@#$. But every three to five years everyone needs to get the !@#$ out of town for a few days while the city literally rearranges itself, and we have to figure out where everyone's old place has moved to.

A little over 20 years ago, it was New York City. It was crowded and dirty and loud and nasty, filled with crime and urban blight and all the bad things they say about cities. But once it held your heart in its concrete hands, and kissed you with its steel lips, you were a New Yorker forever. Bought and sold.

Then came the Compuconqueror, who was (and still maybe is, or at least will be) some time-traveling !@#$ from the year 400 Billion or something like that. Imagine a man-shaped pile of gears and wires with large clocks for joints, and you're kind of getting the picture. That and some really corny dialogue, which I guess goes to show that, 400,000,000,000+ years in the future, some things never go out of style.

What did he want? Like the old joke goes, "he didn't say." What he did do was release some kind of substance out into the central water supply of the city. And this !@#$, after getting everywhere in the grid, blew out of the toilets and taps and fire sprinklers everywhere, turning every street and block in town into silvery metal imprinted with gold circuits, and sending metal supports up the side of the buildings and houses that sit on them. 

The conversion was both fast and total. One minute we're standing around, complaining about the Yankees. The next the streets and buildings are all sheathed in steel and gold and they're !@#$ moving.  


The blessing was that, whatever it'd been turned into, the city was kind. That kick-!@#$ external defense grid must have been looking inward, because it gently grabbed every single living thing inside the city, even birds in the park and stray cats in trash cans, in force fields and sent them outside. A few people died from heart attacks brought on by shock and stress, but as high-tech city-jackings go, it was actually one of the gentlest ever.

(Not that they're too common. See my earlier comment about Denver.)

Our job was to go into the city and find out what had happened, though Dr. Yesterday called it the moment he saw the orbital footage. The city had been turned into a giant Positronic computer, whose circuits were constantly rearranging themselves as it worked on whatever problems its creator had given it. God only knows what that was, as the Compuconqueror had both the mother of all glass jaws and a back door to the future, which he triggered as soon we cornered his weird !@#$.

What to do? Everything in the city was still there, more or less. It was just moving every which way at speeds so insane even the speedsters were getting bloody-nosed headaches trying to watch where they went. But we didn't have a prayer of changing the city back if we couldn't even understand what the !@#$ could effect such a massive conversion in the first place.

Of course, Dr. Yesterday had the bright idea of the hour. He overloaded the computer controls with every single nonsense, impossible equation he could think of. And then, when no one was looking, he had Gertrude come up and put in every crazy thing she couldn't figure out in there, too.

The end result was that, taxed beyond its ability to think, the city's computations slowed down. Immensely. Now, instead of moving at near-light speeds, the buildings were moving only once per hour. And after a few more of the super genius set got done inputting their laundry list of unsolved equations, pet theories, and the occasional mathematical joke, it wasn't even doing that.

Problem solved, we all patted ourselves on the backs and figured out what to do with this weird, super-futuristic pile of !@#$ we'd been handed. There obviously wasn't room to rehouse all the people who'd been kicked out, but none of the surrounding states or cities wanted them. And, strangely enough, most of the people wanted to come back in. Mayor Dinkins was out there with his megaphone and a big crowd every !@#$ day, asking to come back in, and every day the crowd got larger and louder.

So we said uncle, and let everyone back in. They found where their old things were, picked themselves off the ground, and got their lives back as best as they could. It didn't hurt that the city, in spite of being bogged down by massive computational demands, was able to sense that living beings were inside of it, and attended to their needs as best it could. Hence the free food, water, A/C, heat, electricity, and so on.

It was touch and go for a while, and people are still finding "lost" apartments, homes, and businesses, two decades later. But the city pulled together, and before you knew it the town was back in business, only with new rules and a new feeling.

Which is why it's Neo York City, now. Guiliani was the first one to call it that when he ran in 1993. It's stuck like gum on our shoes ever since.

But there are still problems in this paradise. And the chief problem we have is that, ever couple of years, the city gets a little ahead in that big pile of computations we handed it, back in 90-whatever. And when that happens, the city starts twitching, and will soon be moving again.

The first time it happened was back in 95. We had no idea it was coming, and it was not handled very well. People panicked, there were stampedes and riots, and the force fields that had carried everyone off to safety the time before didn't cut in until the very last minute, just before the actual move occurred. I think we lost about 500 people that day, and it's still something of a sore spot amongst the super genius types.

Worse still, once the city stopped moving, it took an act of massive faith to get people to come back. And even then we had a major problem finding everyone's homes and businesses again. Maps had to be redrawn, signs changed, roads repainted. All kinds of messes, big and small.

By the next time, we had everyone's place tagged with a chip, which everyone calls their "drunk beacons" since so many use them to get home after a night at an unfamiliar bar. We also had the warning systems in place, so that when people saw the buildings start to twitch and shift, they knew to contact the authorities and start packing.

Hence the call from Hizzoner this morning, and why I've been downtown with the emergency people all day long, helping to oversee the evacuation. It should all be over in a day or so, and then we can get back to getting back to life as we've made it, here in the somewhat kneecapped city of the future.

All the same, whenever I look out the window, seeing the towers and buildings I remember (and remember them being somewhere else, once upon a time), I can't help but feel uneasy. Whatever that weird robot !@#$ from the future wanted this city for, he got most of what he wanted on that day. And I can't think it was anything good.

Are we living inside a time bomb? If so, when it goes off, will we know it for another shift?

I don't know. All I know for sure is that BeeBee and METALMAID are already up on the Flier, along with anything I don't want getting smashed against the walls when The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G. goes near-luminal. And that's all I can do for now.

That and wait.

(SPYGOD is listening to Erotic City (Prince) and staying sober until this whole !@#$ move gets through. Maybe.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8/16/11 - Brief Notations from The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G.

* Had my post stress-relief sleep interrupted by a gaggle of near-worthless assassins, last night. They abseiled onto the penthouse roof and tried to sneak in through an air duct, not realizing the air ducts are routinely patrolled by The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G.'s defenses. I awoke to the smell of cooking would-be assassins, followed by the screams of the sole survivor as he tumbled out of the central air duct in the main room. He was too out of it for a proper interrogation, so I left him to METALMAID to deal with. Boy was he surprised to see her!

* Tossing the bodies over the edge has thankfully retained its amusement factor, as Neo York City sanitation's on the warpath again. I have had no less than fifteen bags of dog!@#$ set afire on my doorstep over the last week, along with a full mailbag of death threats and incriminating photos of me giving would-be assassins the air-stairs. The Mayor has sent over people to try and intervene, but these have been given the full METALMAID treatment and sent back to City Hall. I'm expecting a person visit from hizzonner at some point. I can't wait. 

* Speaking of METALMAID, the behavior patterns seem to have leveled off. She's no longer oddly cheery about seeing me off or seeing me home. I'm still a little worried about her programs acting up, but with Dr. Yesterday still down at the Ice Palace, still pretending he can't get into The Chamber, there's really no one qualified to took into her brains and see if she's got a problem. So as long as I don't come home to find her making dog!@#$ sandwiches, !@#$ the cat, and singing Conway Twitty, I think we're okay.

* Not that I think METALMAID would get anywhere with the cat. I came home the other day to find Beebee's decided to start sleeping on top of my old AK-47. I tried to reprimand the furry little !@#$ but she was so cute, lying there asleep with that cute "if you wake me up I will end you" look on her face. So I just gave her some catnip, skritched her under the chin, and walked away very, very slowly.

* Yes, gay men can like cats. !@#$ off.

* Ice-Palace-Scapades. The snoops we left behind before we bugged out show that the Bluehelmets are doing what Bluehelmets do best. Namely, not a !@#$ thing. They're trying to make sense of the things we couldn't make sense of, and catalog all the things we already cataloged. To his credit, Mr. USA is aware that he's been saddled with idiot wrangling, and is doing his best to make the best of a bad situation. But he's fixated on getting those Chamber doors open, and they aren't opening, so all kinds of little things are just slipping by him. I'm trying not to laugh, honestly.

* Speaking of laughing, I have received word that Cartoon All Stars are out west, turning a portion of the Nevada desert into something... interesting. My contact (the blue dog I beat down and back up again) tells me that they've managed to get the Tooninators working, and actually permanently tooned one of them so they can shuffle back and forth into our reality without needing any "real" people. This means they are now self-sufficient, and wondering why the !@#$ they didn't think of it before. My answer is "government slavery," of course. I am also invited out for a drink when the something interesting is done.

* The Flaming Patriot, being the homophobic !@#$ who tried to barbecue my delightfully fine behind at the Studio 54.1 the other weekend, has been identified as one Daniel Thomas O'Leary, 45, who maintained a small little apartment in Queens for the last few years. The subsequent raid and dismantling of that apartment by COMPANY Agents revealed that Queens is more than a little ironic. It seems that Mr. O'Leary was a member, user, and exile from several ex-gay ministries, trying to cure his little man-on-man problem through the Bible. Their inability to cure said "problem" was cause for him getting belligerent and nasty with them, hence his eviction from one program and prompt enrollment into another, over and over again. How and when he became a costumed anti-gay science terrorist is uncertain, though his neighbors told us that he'd been unusually excited about something over the last month or so. Nothing in his background indicates technical proficiency, nor a lot of money to buy someone else's, so it looks like we have a villianmaker on the loose. And that is no !@#$ good, son.

* Also no good, I have been informed that SPYGOD'S BIG !@#$ ACTION SHOW is a go. Adult Swim will start showing episodes next Spring. The first episode will apparently have me taking on an entire enemy base by myself, armed with nothing but my fists, someone's detached head, and a weed whacker. I will smash through ten floors of bloody mayhem, occasionally interspersed with random, out of sync backflashes of explanation, and then blow up a giant space robot squid before it can spawn and destroy the world. That's only the bare bones of the plot, of course, but they tell me that hints of things to come will all be there. I can't wait to see how many inappropriate liberties they take with the facts. I may end up making a long list and nailing it to their writers' ball-sacks.

* In better news, my adopted commie pinko Alternet reporter sent me an email yesterday. Apparently he and the kids from the Ice Palace are touring Europe, and he's showing them the remnants of the Third Reich in an attempt to show them what they escaped. Auschwitz actually made them cry. I'm not surprised. You can stand there in bright sunlight on a summers' day and you'll still feel as cold as ice. That much death wasn't meant to be anywhere in the world. Maybe there's hope for those kids, provided Dr. Yesterday can fix their genes so they actually have something approaching a decent lifespan.

* GORGON. I'm not liking how they just slipped away. I have some feelers out towards Atlantis, given that they escaped West Papua by submarine, and they have the monopoly on tracking secret underwater movements. But Thurl's a real !@#$ and I already owe him one for NAZISMASH, so this may take a while. I don't think I have a lot of time, though.

* HONEYCOMB. The data we got is proving invaluable. There may actually be a way to send a remote shutdown code to all their HIVEs, which would effectively cripple the whole group in one bang. Somehow I don't think it'd be that !@#$ easy, but it would be something of a relief. I'm going to have enough problems with GORGON, especially after what Shift told me.

* Speaking of Shift, I paid a teleconference visit to the North Carolina Governor's office regarding the folks from Roanoke Colony, expecting to have to bust his !@#$ up one wall and down the other. Surprisingly, he's actually got competent people on the case. It's too soon to tell but they seem to be adjusting okay, once they had the facts told to them. It's a lot to take in, of course, but with some work they might be able to get adjusted to the 20th century within a couple months. Whether they stay here or go back to England is something they'll have to determine later, but for now things are alright.

* What isn't alright is the question about what the !@#$ the King of Time was doing down there in the first !@#$ place. Knowing him, he had a plan. It probably was not a very good plan, given his general incompetence in things supervillian, but he had some kind of angle. But what?

* Celtic Pirates. Three shots Baileys, three shots Captain Morgan spiced rum, one shot Kahlua. Like chocolate milk that turns your brain to goo. I've been drinking them all day, pondering the pieces I've got in front of me. A plan is forming. Where it goes from here I don't know, but I do know I don't have a whole !@#$ of a lot of time. And since that is a sobering thought, I'm having more pirates to balance it out.

(SPYGOD is listening to Parklife (Blur) and having Celtic Pirates by the shipload)

Monday, August 15, 2011

8/15/11 - SPYGODMAIL - Do Not !@#$ With Buzz Aldrin


Today's mail comes to us from 3rd Class Scout Kenworth G. Thurd of Hope, Arkansas

I recently learned that you and astronaut Neil Armstrong are not friends. In fact, I hear you were responsible for a terrible accident that closed his museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, for almost a full year. Something about a giant fan and a large bag of radioactive dog !@#$?
I'm not going to question your judgment, sir. But I would like to know the reason for this feud. Why are you not friends with this iconic American hero? 

Why indeed?

First of all, son, let's get some facts straight. Number one, that was not an accident. Number two, it was a giant bag of radioactive monkey !@#$. There is a difference.

And number three, Neil Armstrong is a patsy, a pansy and therefore the acceptable face of NASA, especially in these evil times in which good money for space exploration is being flushed down the !@#$ to pay for executive oral pleasure for the United Nations.

You wanna know who the real hero of the Moon Landing was? It's Buzz Aldrin. And don't you !@#$ forget it.

See, you have to understand, son, before we landed on the Moon, we had no !@#$ idea what we might encounter up there. It was kind of like exploding the bomb in uncontrolled, battlefield conditions. We had a good idea, but anything could have been waiting for us.

The lander could have sunk up to its portholes in dust. A giant mouth could have erupted and eaten it up. Missiles could have launched and blown the LEM to shreds. Anything.

We had no idea what was waiting for us. And that's why Buzz Aldrin was on board.

You see, Buzz Aldrin is the Doc Savage of our time. Remember Doc Savage, Man of Bronze? !@#$ was immortal, invincible and too smart for his own good. That's why they stopped writing his life story after a while. It got way too weird for John and Suzy Q. Public after a few years.

(Now he walks the Earth, like Cain, and he vastly prefers anonymity.)

But Buzz? He could have fly-flicked the Doc from across the room and spanked him like a dewy-eyed wanna-be sub in a black stone dungeon. He's just that nasty, and smart.

He flew missions in Korea we'll never be able to talk about, shooting down things that no one should ever even have to see. His published, recognized graduate thesis was something lightweight and pansy-!@#$ about 'Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous,' but his real thesis was so mind-blowing and senses-shattering that the government has had a team of experts sequestered in a secret base, somewhere in the Pacific, trying to understand what the !@#$ he cooked up in that brain of his.

And so far half the team is either insane or missing in action, having tried to put the theory into practice. Not even our own devil may care science corps dares to peek at the pages.

So here's Buzz, and NASA gets to work on him, making him even stronger and smarter than ever before. And they put him in the #2 chair, not because Armstrong needed to be first, but because they needed to send the small fish out on the hook just in case something bit down, and Buzz could take over.

You know that story about communion on the Moon? That wasn't communion wafers. That was the antidote to the failsafe he implanted in himself just in case they were swarmed on landing by Gods-know-what and had to blow themselves to smithereens, just to take the hypothetical bastards out of the picture and avoid a first-strike situation by showing those hypothetical bastards that Earthmen Do Not !@#$ Around.


And all that stuff about personal problems, depression and drinking when he got back? Bull!@#$. It was a smokescreen. That was a body double out getting drunk and having sex with underage pony boys in Thailand. The real Buzz was using the intelligence we got on the Moon to hunt down and splatter numerous alien agents around the globe, including the bastards that really whacked James Garfield.

His life improved after marriage? No, son. That's also bull!@#$. She was his handler. She ran cover for him while he continued to deal with threats from beyond space and time, using only his fists, his wits, and the weird !@#$ he cobbled together in his basement out of tin cans, lawn and garden supplies and "missing" Air Force surplus.

Not that his laying low is any guarantee of safety if you !@#$ with him, though.

Item: One conspiracy theory involving Aldrin stems from a supposed Apollo moon landing hoax by the U.S. government. On September 9, 2002, filmmaker Bart Sibrel, a proponent of the conspiracy allegations, confronted Aldrin outside a Beverly Hills, California hotel. Sibrel called Aldrin "a coward, a liar, and a thief," saying "You're the one who said you walked on the moon and you didn't." Aldrin punched Sibrel in the face. Beverly Hills police and the city's prosecutor declined to file charges. Sibrel suffered no permanent injuries.

That last bit is a lie. He hit Sibrel so hard that the guy !@#$ ceased to exist inside this dimension. He winked out like a !@#$ light. Bang boom gone, just like that.

And in an irony that can only be described as, ahem, cosmic, they had to assemble a film crew to cover a set-up hoax of the incident, and have someone to pretend to go to the hospital and whine to the police about his ouchie-poo.

They docked Buzz a week's pay. His handler was fired and replaced with a cellular replicate with bigger tits. And "Siebrel" does you-tubes about the conspiracy to bring back My Little Pony for furries, yiffers, and people who still live in their parents basement.

So no, DO NOT !@#$ WITH BUZZ ALDRIN. He is cooler than cool, more popular than Jesus. We owe him more than we could ever repay.

And he can kill you stone dead with Martian mind bullets with all three of his brains tied behind his back.

(SPYGOD is listening to Hallo Spaceboy (David Bowie, remixed by Pet Shop Boys) and drinking Vostok)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

8/14/11 - The Sadness of Shift

People always ask me if there was really a Murphy behind Murphy's Law. There was. He worked for the early, acknowledged space program (as opposed to the several secret ones we had before the 50's) and he was the guy who got the privilege of remarking, after the third or fourth test rocket blew up on the pad, that "if there is a way to !@#$ this up, he will."

He being the anonymous, long-forgotten guy responsible for not !@#$ up the rockets but !@#$ them up anyway, of course. The program eventually got un!@#$, the rockets flew, the saying got sanitized, reworded, and passed around.

And now we only know of Murphy because of it.

You might be wondering if there's a reason I'm bringing this up now, as I'm standing outside what's left of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, here on scenic Roanoke Island, N.C., lighting up something large and noxious and wondering why life !@#$ on me, sometimes?

Well, son, that's because it never fails. I spend a few days sneaking up on one of the big threats (that would be HONEYCOMB, more on them another day) and when I'm trying to relax I get a priority call from the Heptagon. And when your country calls, there's no use complaining about the amount of time you spent procuring safe and non-exploding ladyboys, good thai food, and enough cold Singha to drown a trained elephant, now is it?

No it is not, son. Especially when they show you some of the footage that made them send you the call, and you just about prolapse everything in your alien love god penis out onto the nearest wall.

(METALMAID was not happy about that mess, let me tell you.)

What you do is get on the horn with the E-squad, sober the !@#$ up, get dressed, tell the night's entertainment to keep himself occupied, start working on a new drunk, mainline some tjbang sticks, instruct METALMAID to play nice with the katooey you left behind, put your guns on, and jump off the balcony into the Flier to go see what the !@#$ is up.

And if it really is what you think it is. 

On the way i get a briefing, and it is as !@#$ spooky as I imagined. Apparently, as soon as it got to be twilight on the island, the caretakers started reporting weird flashes of light coming from the reconstructed fort. Strobing and crackling, it was, with thunder booms and after-images.

They thought it might have been heading from the fort to the shoreside theater where they put on that play about the lost colony, but the rangers all !@#$ themselves and ran at about that time. And that's because they thought they heard voices along with the lights.

Screaming voices. Lots of them.

So why do they call in The COMPANY? Because we have the E-Squad. No other intelligence outfit has a mobile strike team that is trained to deal with ectoplasmic or etheric threats.

You got a ghost in your attic? Don't go up there, and call an exorcist. You got ten ghosts, and they're coming downstairs? Get out of the house and call someone from the trenchcoat brigade. You got some big !@#$ spook thing going on downtown and it's throwing cars around like they were made of cardboard, or sucking the life out of yuppies? Call the Heptagon, and they'll call us.

Except that I wasn't 100% sure this was just another big spook. I had the idea that this was larger scale than that. Possibly even godlike.

Now, admittedly, I've had just about !@#$ enough of gods, what with those !@#$ Etruscans showing up and trying to turn the world back two thousand years the other week. But I didn't think it was one of them, and I didn't think it was one of the other ones we do deal with, out in the world.

And as soon as we jumped down to the island, set up the track traps, and started rolling forward to where the noise and light show was coming from, I knew who this was.

We've talked before about how we had gods on our side, back in the late 60's and the 70's, when things were more cosmic than they are now. It's how we have Deep Ten, and maybe a few other things besides that I haven't been at liberty to talk about before, and might never be at all. And I've told you, or at least hinted, at the fact that Rappin Ronnie and his backers kind of hustled them off the page as soon as he came to power, back in 1980.

Well, he didn't get all of them. And tonight I saw the proof.

They called him Shift. That's it. No super, no genders, no colors or letters or anything like that. Just Shift, and that's all you needed to know.

What did he do? He shifted, son. He was here and then he was there. He was there and then he was here five minutes ago, like he'd always been. He was in several different places at once. He was in several different times at once.

You didn't know you needed him until he showed up, and then it was all over and he was just standing there, silently, maybe smiling under that all-over, silver bodysuit he wore.

Then he was gone without ever making a noise.

I think I liked him the best out of that whole lot. Not that the other guys were bad, but Shift was the only one who never tried to out-monologue you while you were fighting the bad guys. One of them once told me the reason he was so quiet was because he had to concentrate in order to be all those places at once, and maybe they were right.

But somehow I don't think they knew, either. Especially after tonight.

What happened tonight? A god came and went. That's all I can really say.

(publicly, at least)

The screaming wasn't his. It was the voices of a whole bunch of people, all displaced in time as a magnificently !@#$ scary timewar was fought all around them. Men with muskets and women with children sprawling all over, unsure of their surroundings as the world went mad, and two luminous beings traded punches back and forth, each blow shattering the skin of time just a little bit.

I looked into that time and saw things. Things I knew and things I didn't know, yet. Only small glimpses, but still...

And then it was all over. The guy who wasn't the Shift dropped to his knees, his techno-muckety-muck timesuit breaking and smoking. It flaked away like brass dandruff in a windstorm and his hair grew long and white as his face wrinkled and shriveled.

"I didn't want this to happen," he croaked out. Famous last words if you ask me. The skin turned to cracked leather on a skull, the skull turned to powder over a neck, and the suit fell down with a rush of dust and a pathetic noise, like someone breathing their last.

I told the E-Squad to drop their guns and help the people out of there. There was no threat. There never had been. This was just the final moment of a battle that had been happening for a few centuries, crackling and booming all around us with no one knowing what was going on, up until now.

But over at last.

The idiot in the timesuit was the King of Time. He was a supervillain from the postwar boom, more infamous than famous due to the fact that his tech was as wonky as !@#$. He'd show up, fight someone, get beaten, vanish, and repeat the process every couple of years. No one knew where he'd come from or where he was going, only that he stole components he needed for his machines, and probably just wanted to be a criminal because it paid better than a research scientist.

What happened to him? One day in 1968 he sent a message, claiming that he'd gone back to the Roanoke colony, before it vanished. And he was going to disappear the lot of them in the timestream if he didn't get ten million smackers dropped off in Central Park in ten minutes. Cue evil scientist laughter here.

Why he bothered was a big question, as they'd already been missing for centuries. What harm could it have dove? But you don't tend to ask those kinds of questions when there's an emergency in motion and action at hand.

However, by the time we assembled and had a plan to deal with his !@#$, we got the message that the situation had been dealt with. Time had been restored to normal. And no one ever saw the King of Time after that, or really asked what had happened to him.

Now we know. Shift must have gone back and confronted him, and then spent virtual centuries locked in battle with him. To the people who were brought along, only seconds had elapsed, but that time energy was being deflected from them and used to overload the buffers that kept the King of Time from aging backwards or forwards while traveling in time.

Without them, he was dead on arrival, which was no great loss.

So I looked at the dustpile that was a missing supervillain. And I looked at the hero I'd known back in the day, but hadn't seen in decades. And I was about to say something !@#$ funny, or maybe offer him a beer.

But he held up a hand, cocked his head, and actually !@#$ said something. 

He said "I'm sorry, (NAME REDACTED). The times to come are going to be terrible. I cannot say what you will face, for no man must know his fate, lest he go mad. But I will tell you this, my friend, because it is important that you know these things. You will win through at the end, though all hands be against you. But to win all is to lose all, and you have more to lose than you could ever know."

"What happens?" I asked.

"I cannot say, and you know why that is."

"Why does it happen?" I asked.

"I cannot say, but when it happens you will know the answer."

"Well what the !@#$ is the use of telling me anything at all, then?" I asked. "Can you at least !@#$ give me a hint?"

And then, God help me, he told me.

With that deed done, he nodded, turned, and walked into another one of those timebolts. Then he was gone, doubtlessly off to whatever place Rappin Ronnie sent the others, back in the day.

That was a few hours ago. I've been standing here ever since, chain smoking and drinking and ignoring the E-Squad when they come by and ask me stupid questions whose answers are way above my !@#$ pay grade. Like "What do we do with these people?" and "Where did he go?"

Or, my personal favorite, "What just happened?"

I'll tell you what happened, son. One of the finest people we ever had looking out for us just saved a bunch of people from god knows what, and then broke a long-standing code of silence so he could help me save the world from something even worse.

I just realized why the Shift never spoke. It wasn't because he was maintaining concentration. It was because he was in the unique and unenviable position of knowing everyone's fates. He could look at people and see them born, see them live, see them die, and know everything that would happen inbetween.

And he couldn't tell anyone anything, even to warn a friend, because if he did that it would ruin their lives.

He wasn't smiling behind that mask. He was sad. Terribly, horribly sad.

And tonight, with just three words, he's shared that infinite sadness with me.

"Beware the gorgon," he said.

And that's good !@#$% advice, son. Because if there's any way to !@#$ things up, they will make it happen. We've seen that, and they've gone out of their way to let us know that.

But now I'm in a bind. Do I go to town on GORGON, knowing what I know, inviting worse trouble than before? Do I ignore them completely, or leave them for last, hoping they'll become complacent again? Or do I do what I was going to do, anyway, and go after HONEYCOMB next while sifting through options on the others?

This is the sadness, now. I will never be able to look at my actions from here on out and know that I'm making the right choices. I now know too much.

So this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to finish this noxious cigar that costs too !@#$ much money, thankfully none of it mine. I am going to leave the repatriation of the British Subjects of Roanoke Colony to the local authorities, with the express understanding that if they !@#$ with them I'm going to come back and return the favor. And I will go back to Neo York City, see if the entertainment's still awake, and get double my money's worth for the rest of tonight and into the dawn.

If I'm !@#$ed, I might as well be !@#$ed for what I'd do, anyway. And that sounds a lot like me, right now.

(SPYGOD is listening to Time Shift (2Drops) and having a Bad Penny)