Thursday, December 29, 2011


"Tonight, live from the Heptagon, in our Nation's Capitol, it's the Big !@#$ SPYGOD Christmas Special!"

Brought to you by:

The National Rifle Association: Annoy a Liberal -- Pack Heat.

Also brought to you by:

Adult Swim, bringing you SPYGOD'S BIG !@#$ ACTION SHOW this Spring!

(OPEN ON: A shot of the Heptagon, decked out in blinking holiday lights and tons of fake snow. We zoom in on it as festive, holiday music plays, along with the ringing of sleigh bells. Then we dissolve to:
(LIVING ROOM: Yes, it's SPYGOD's living room in the Heptagon in all its faux-60's spy-vs-spy glory. Womb chairs, couches long enough to bang sweaty basketball players, upholstered in tacky go-go colors, red and green lava lamps, ball lights, and a massive poster of Jim Morrison over the fireplace. 

(Underman, The Second, and METALMAID are there, wearing red Santa hats and drinking what might be egg-nog from mason jars. Well, everyone but METALMAID: she's stroking a sleeping black cat and looking somewhat sinister)

SECOND: Good evening, one and all. We're coming to you live from the Heptagon, tonight, to help you celebrate your Christmas holiday, SPYGOD-style.

UNDERMAN: Yeah, and... wasn't he supposed to be here by now?

SECOND: Well, you know the boss... heh heh. He's probably still detained, somewhere. But I'm assured he'll be here, soon. 

METALMAID: Yes. I am sure he will be here. He always comes when you least expect it. Like Herpes. 

SECOND: Come on, now, Metalmaid. Let's have some Christmas cheer. Why, he's probably saving the world as we speak.
METALMAID: I suspect hookers are involved...

UNDERMAN: Um, are we supposed to keep this family friendly?

METALMAID: ... and cocaine. Massive amounts of it.

SECOND: We try, Myron. We try.

METALMAID: The quality Martian stuff that makes his hair stand on end and conduct electricity. I can always tell when he's hitting the red powder. There are black Hiroshima people on the walls when he's done.

UNDERMAN: Yeah. Um, okay. So, while we're waiting for the guest of honor to arrive, why don't we talk about some of the fun times we've had around the holidays? How about you, G-

SECOND: Mr. Second, please. We're on camera. And my favorite Christmas ever was the one I spent when I was ten years old. It was when I decided I was going to join The COMPANY, actually.

UNDERMAN: Really? What happened?

SECOND: Well, I was in Las Vegas for a family gathering, and that was the year that SPYGOD, Jim Morrison, and Benjamin Franklin hit town in a Lincoln Continental full of booze, robot Playboy Bunnies, and weird science guns to deal with a really strange scheme to take over the world on Christmas Day. 

UNDERMAN: I think I heard about that. Was that the giant cloned Santa Claus that was going to stomp down the Strip and smash one building at a time until America surrendered to the Soviet Union?

SECOND: Well... there was a lot more of it than that going on. Most of which I'm not even allowed to think about anymore or the boss will decapitate me with an ice skate. But that's the general outline. It wasn't exactly SQUASH's best hour, let me tell you. 

(canned laughter)

UNDERMAN: Ah, SQUASH. Late and lamented, like we like our evil spy outfits. Not mentioning any HONEYCOMB names, or anything.

SECOND: Yes, that's right. You do have some good news to tell us, tonight, don't you Myron?

UNDERMAN: Well... I can't go into too many details, there, Second. Flying ice skates and all. 

SECOND: Oh, don't be so flipping modest, Myron. Yes, folks, it's true. America and the world can rest a little safer tonight, secure in the knowledge that a certain science terrorist organization is no longer extant. OPERATION: BUGSMASH was indeed a roaring success. 

As the canned applause kicks in, Myron nods and smiles, thinking of the last couple weeks.

He recalls getting the assignment of a lifetime, whether he wanted it or not, with the added bonus that he got to pick a team. 

He thinks of how he got the self-proclaimed master of fear and the human computer on board, though the latter would never be the same again.

He remembers how easy it was, then, to convince an insane cryogenicist, a criminal mastermind, and one of the best -- certainly one of the most colorful -- robotics experts to join his "posse." Especially with a psychologist and computer mind aiding his recruitment tactics.

He thinks of how awesome it felt to walk alongside them, down the halls of the Heptagon, in their new BUGSMASH uniforms and sunglasses. No one would have known who they had been before -- retired or imprisoned supercriminals -- if they didn't know who they really were, which is just how Myron wanted it. 
He recollects those initial strategy meetings. All those weird, disparate personalities sitting around a table with all the pizza and beer they could handle, going over what they knew, what they had, and how to use them. The setbacks as they learned the sad shape The COMPANY's fleet was in after the battle with The Skull. The plans that went back and forth for days, getting more convoluted and yet more workable as they went. 

The synergy snowball rolling downhill -- target HONEYCOMB

Finally, the plan, involving such diverse elements as: a logically-illogical "problem" for the group's computers to solve, courtesy of the mastermind and the computer brain; weaponry that would freeze up the enemy's war machines, courtesy of the cryogenics expert; viral programs that would cause those machines to turn on their masters, provided by the robotics master; auditory nightmare signals that would turn their cloned footsoldiers into quivery, shaking balls of uselessness, by way of the demented psychologist. 
And, last but not least, certain modifications made to Myron's Tunneler, the better to deliver the coup de grace.

It hadn't all gone according to plan, of course. There had been losses and setbacks, especially in the first key hours, when the battle could have gone either way. But before long the pattern took, and held, and ultimately worked. 

First came the logic problem, turning their HIVE computers slow and febrile. Then came the few token COMPANY ships, armed with freeze beams. Then came the terrible sounds that made their men fall to their knees and pull their own faces apart, trying to get away from the monsters they thought were inside their own skulls. Then came the signal that made HONEYCOMB's giant metal insects turn around and attack their own bases, followed by the other, older signal that kept the death of one HIVE from activating another, but yet gave The COMPANY a trail to follow, so they could find those other nexuses and schedule them for destruction.

And, as HONEYCOMB was being destroyed, there was one last thing that had to be dealt with: the  central HIVE, itself. The place where the world's brightest and best sociopaths went to die, so that their genes could be harvested and added to the next wave of HONEYCOMB soldiers. The place where all the great technology was developed, created, and shipped out to the world, nestled within a laconic setting in Costa Rica. 

The kid gloves were off. There was no need for sneakiness or subtlety, now. There was only the overriding need to get in and finish the thing off before they realized the end was upon them, and could activate any of their doomsday devices. 

The computer mind swore he could enter their system and stop them from going off, and he did. Unfortunately, he didn't count on the sophistication of their computers, and the massive number of traps and failsafes they had. The mastermind tried to warn him, but he wouldn't listen, and before long his empty, android body was twitching on the floor -- never to be inhabited again.

(Overconfidence? Suicide? Myron would never be 100% sure whether it was negligent homicide on his part or not. But, after the questionable reprogramming, he couldn't rule it out. Oddly enough, he found he was at peace with his death, and that disturbed him. Greatly.)

But oh! The moment when the Tunneler burst up from below the HIVE, right into its computer core, and the Agents swarmed out, ready to deal with the last bastion of the science terrorists. To see his group of men employ their deadly talents, so long unused! The destruction of the hideous gene banks! The massive rout of their soldiers, once the fearsome audio signal was boosted throughout the complex! 

The moment when Gerde, knowing the end was near, jumped into the reactor to die rather than be captured, leaving behind a room full of stolen eyes under glass...

In less than three hours, after wave after wave of global strikes, HONEYCOMB was a broken machine. Cleaning up its many fragments would take time -- possibly even years. But it was done. OPERATION: BUGSMASH was a success.

And Myron? He had a posse. He had respect. He had earned an "attaboy" from SPYGOD, himself.

From zero to someone to hero in a few short months. Happy Christmas, Underman. Happy Christmas indeed.

SECOND: ... so then I'm looking up at Ben Franklin, who's holding his weird, steampunk lightning gun that looks like a brass telescope with a sparking fork at the business end, and he yells... well, I can't say what he yelled, as this is a family program, but--

METALMAID: He probably asked the giant santa for illicit favors. I understand old Ben liked a strange piece of !@#$ from time to time.

SECOND: Now see, it's just that kind of cynicism that--

UNDERMAN: I'm sorry, I missed most of this. Now, you were, what, ten years old in the 60's?


UNDERMAN: Well... I have to say, you're darn good looking for a man in his 60's, Second.

(canned laughter)

SECOND: Heh, well, you know how it is. Clean living. Diet. Exercise. 

METALMAID: Pills. It's all pills. If he stops taking them he'll fall apart like a cracked egg. 

SECOND: Now, see here, METALMAID. That's just impolite.

UNDERMAN: So you were ten, then. Is that when you decided you wanted to be in The COMPANY? 
SECOND: Are you flipping kidding me? I wanted to be an astronaut, Myron. And I was for all of about three months until something really weird happened. Something I can't talk about. Something... anal.


METALMAID: I look forward to your terror on the day the drugs no longer work. 

UNDERMAN: Oh come on, METALMAID. You've got eggnog and a sleepy kitty on your lap. HONEYCOMB's dead as !@... er, dead as a doornail. SPYGOD will be here, soon. What will it take for you to get into the Christmas spirit?

METALMAID: ... better makeup. I look like a dead Asian prostitute. I've looked like this for years. Is it too much to ask for some decent !@#$ eyeliner? Maybe lipstick that isn't the color of a running sore?

SECOND: Well, you never know what Santa might bring. Speaking of which, I think I hear him coming!

(ZOOM TO: The chimney, as smoke and soot pours out of it. There's a loud THUMP, and a larger cloud, and then SPYGOD stomps out of it, wearing a Santa outfit with no beard or hat. His hair is standing straight up on end and sparks are coming off his hands and feet.)

SPYGOD: !@#$ !@#$ in a !@#$ that's one !@#$ of a long !@#$ fall down that chimney. Where's my milk and cookies?

UNDERMAN Right here, sir. Bottle of jack and some force-frosted nutmeg rum logs. Your favorite Christmas Eve treat.

SECOND: I baked the rum logs myself, sir.

(SPYGOD eats the whole !@#$ tray in one chew, and then downs half the bottle in a single gulp.)

UNDERMAN: Um, rough night?

SPYGOD: You have no !@#$ idea, son. 

SECOND: And why are you sparkling, sir?

SPYGOD: That's !@#$ classified. (snifffffffffff)  Anyway, those !@#$ Reindeer went and got themselves a !@#$ union, so I had to shoot them like the dirty reds they were. The good news is this means we've got reindeer meat for the next month. The bad news is that there's entire sections of Asia that aren't getting any presents. So... India? Bangladesh? Sorry.

METALMAID: I don't think there's a widespread belief in Santa Claus in either of those two countries, sir.

SPYGOD: Well, that's half the !@#$ fun. 'Mom? Why is there a wrapped colorful box under the tree that wasn't in our one-room house when we all went to sleep?' 'Oh no! We've been Santa Claused again!'"

SECOND: How terrifyingly imperialist of you, sir. Did the kids in North Korea enjoy their translated copies of Armed Revolution for Dummies?

SPYGOD: About as much as they enjoyed the Colt .45s I left under their pillows. I hope Son of Pumpkin Boy knows how to run. 

(canned laughter)
UNDERMAN: That's not the only running I've heard was going on. What about your Big !@#$ Roadtrip?

SPYGOD: Heh heh. That's between me and BUSH, gentlemen. But I think we can all be assured that this is the last !@#$ time they try to pull any bull!@#$ with yours truly ever again.

SECOND: I heard Johannesburg is burning?

SPYGOD: Just a few parts of it. End of story. 

SECOND: Oh. Yes. Well, maybe we should read some mail?

METALMAID: Maybe we should open presents. I got you something interesting this year, sir.

UNDERMAN: I vote we have more Jack.

SPYGOD: This is not a !@#$ democracy, Underman. But I'll take the bottle. 

(canned laughter)

SPYGOD: Now, I have a little bit I like to read around this time of year. I know everyone's heard it a million !@#$ times, but I've added something of interest. Plus, you know, it's my !@#$ show and I can do whatever the !@#$ I want. Cause I killed Hitler. 

(canned laughter)

SPYGOD: METALMAID, let me see Bee-Bee, there. How's my favorite kitty cat? Hmm? How's my-

SPYGOD: Okay, we let her sleep. Good deal. Underman, get me some more liquor. Second, play the music. METALMAID... hang onto that present. We'll do it later when I'm not seeing in triplicate. Everyone ready? Okay... (coughs)
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through BUSH HQ
Not a creature was stirring, not even you know who.
The cameras were watching the approaches with care,
In fear that their enemies soon would be there.

Their agents were hiding 'neath panic room beds,
While visions of their demise shattered their heads.
And their leader paced his office, not daring to nap,
the tension was total, just waiting to snap.

When at the front gate their was a great din,
and their guards flew there to take it all in.
their leader ran from the windows, knowing that sound,
and started to run for a hole in the ground.

What did all of those cameras see?
Why, who else, my children? It was indeed me.
Standing there, guns smoking, a throat in my teeth,
with lots of dead BUSH agents sprawled underneath.

With a leap and a jump I assailed the front gate,
for the leader of BUSH and I had a man date.
He'd had this !@#$ coming since Tel Aviv,
And until he was dead I would not !@#$ leave!

"You !@#$! You !@#$! You !@#$ little !@#$!
You !@#$! You !@#$! Dumb son of a !@#$!
You think you can run? You think you can hide?
You should have !@#$ committed suicide!"

He tried to get away, I will give him that,
But down on his fat !@#$ he fell and went splat.
So I grabbed him by the hair of his chinny chin chin,
And played "bowling for dollars" and gave him a spin.

Around that time, guests arrived on the roof
Like santa's sleigh, only without the hoof.
So I marched the fat !@#$ on up to the top,
And once we were there made sure he saw the drop.

Was it Santa, then? No it !@#$ was not.
It was a strange aircraft, one that BUSH hasn't got.
But not unfamiliar, either, that much is true,
It was an airship of the NGUVU.

You see, BUSH had !@#$ up, and gone way too far!
  The murder and mayhem was like a bad star
hanging over Africa, and NGUVU was !@#$,
To see SPYGOD at the top of BUSH's assassination list.

So SPYGOD had talked to a couple of men,
And explained the problem, as it happened just then
to be howling through Africa, making a ruckus,
And firing big bullets at SPYGODs kids tuckus.

But if he did in BUSH, there might just be war,
Which is something we've happily avoided before.
Was there not some way to work together, then?
And rid Africa of these vain, evil men?

The answer was "yes," and thank !@#$ for that.
NGUVU's supers took him, and called him a prat.
He was under arrest, with no chance of bail,
And would be spending Christmas inside their new jail!

One last kiss goodbye (well a stream of warm !@#$),
And a punch to the !@#$ that sure did not miss.
Then our SPYGOD exclaimed as he flew out of sight,
"!@#$ this big !@#$ road trip, we're done for the night!"

(Canned Laughter, applause)

UNDERMAN: Oh, that's what happened?

SPYGOD: Yes sir, yes indeed. We have vanquished the people who slayed two of my kids. The remnants of their !@#$ little organization are being mopped up as we speak. NGUVU was looking for an excuse to do it for years, and lo and behold the dumb little !@#$ gave it to them on a silver platter.

METALMAID: Yes, it's almost like it was arranged or something.


SECOND: Well, I think we're almost out of time. Does anyone have anything to say?

SPYGOD: Well, I !@#$ suck at speeches if I can't shoot at the audience...

UNDERMAN: Here's to a good Christmas, and a happy new year. It's one where we don't have ABWEHR, HONEYCOMB, or The Legion to kick around, anymore. And thank God for that.

SECOND: Here's to the men and women we lost, and the billions they saved through their sacrifice.

METALMAID: Here's hoping I get a better wig for Christmas. I've looked like Amy Winehouse on acid since 1997.

SPYGOD: And SPYGOD bless us, every one.

(see you in 2012!)

(SPYGOD is listening to Frosty the Snowman (Cocteau Twins) and having every bottle of Jack Daniels he can find)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12/12-13/11 OPERATION BUGSMASH - Underman Gets a !@#$ Posse pt.2

13:45 PM 

"So let me see if I have this straight," the old man says, not looking up from the magazine he's been reading the whole time that Myron's been in his cell: "You are  giving me a chance to work off my so-called debt to society in exchange for risking my life by going up against one of the better organized, and more inhuman, science terrorist outfits in the world?"

"That would be correct," Underman says, leaning over and yanking the magazine out of the man's bony hands, just to see whether he gets mad or not. He doesn't, or maybe he's just hiding it well.

After all, the issue is several months old.

"And why do you think I would agree?" the man asks, folding his spindly fingers together like a grotesque church steeple: "What if I no longer care about such things? What if I am content to sit here, be fed three meals a day, and read ancient issues of Fashion People?"

"Because you're Professor. Freaking. Nightmare." Myron says, looking over his shades at the man: "You made The Vermilion Avenger poop himself. You messed up Cloudcatcher so badly that he gave up the superhero gig and checked himself into a looney bin for the rest of darn life."

"Please, please," the old man says, waving a hand: "The correct term was 'sanitarium.'"

"Tomayto, tomahto," Myron replies, sitting down on the bunk opposite the old man's: "And that's not counting the good and valuable work you did for your country during the war, and then for a little while afterwards... at least until you decided you'd had enough and wanted out."

"Well, I tried," he sighs, looking at Myron with his creepy, almost yellow eyes: "And then I wake up one night and your COMPANY roughnecks are arresting me for crimes I no longer remember committing. Then they make me remember, thanks to the Magician. And now, here I am in indefinite detention. I thought such things only happened to Muslims who knew the wrong people?"

"Or people who get in bed with the wrong Intelligence Agency."

"I thought we were defending our country, up to a point."

"Yeah, when you weren't stealing Japanese secrets on biochemical warfare and putting them to work in your own work, especially when you got home and needed some money on the side."

The old man shrugs: "I hear the person who bought my franchise did not have the same flair for the job that I did."

"No, he didn't. That's why he got caught, and is rotting away about three levels down, and is darn lucky he gets fed more than once a day. I want to talk to you."

"So now you are being the Big Man? Now you are the man with some kind of plan to get us in good with the authorities?"

"No. Now I'm the man who needs someone who understands combat psychology, and could come up with a formula that would cause people who've been genetically bred to not be afraid to take a monster-sized dump in their pants and run when we show up."

The yellow eyes narrow, and then blink. The fingers splay open and steeple exactly five times. He doesn't breathe as he does this.

"I would need a proper laboratory," he says: "As much information as you could get for me. Genetic and psychological. Behavioral patterns. And enough time to synthesize-"

"That's one thing we don't have, Professor," Myron says, rising up and going to bang on the cell door: "Time. Everything else I can get. But time is something we do not freaking have. Can you work quick?"

"Young man, you forget yourself. You are talking to the man created fear serum from a closet of cleaning chemicals in less than an hour to escape a county jail, back in the thirties."

"Yes, you did," Underman replies, seeing the pride in the old man's voice and deciding to !@#$ on it: "Then you're just the man I can use, Professor. But I need to ask you one question, first."

"Which is what, exactly?"

"Are you all the way in?"

"What do I get for it?"

"Out of here, for one thing," Myron says: "Better quarters. Some freedom. Paid for a change. Maybe a hit or two of Anti-Age, just to get your joints working again."

"That would be most considerate-"

"But you remember, you work for The COMPANY, now. That means you work for me, which means you work for SPYGOD, ultimately. No monkey business, no double-crossing, and no attempts to run for it. I think you're gonna be a problem to the program, you go right back here, and I go talk to the waste of skin you sold your old mask to.

"And I find out you are messing with the program... I let SPYGOD deal with you. And he doesn't need fear gas to make you turn your pants brown."

"Can I... can I have my old mask back?" the old man asks, and there's something almost pathetic about his voice.

"No more masks, Professor," Underman replies: "But I'll let you keep your name."

He bangs on the door and is let out. The old man sighs and tries not to cry.

16:00 PM

Myron tries not to laugh when they bring in his next interviewee. It wouldn't be polite to make fun of a head in a box.

"Now, don't do anything stupid with him," one of the Agents says as they drop the sides of the box down, revealing the still, unmoving human head inside it: "No hooking him up to any computers. !@#$, don't even plug him in. He can travel over the electrical wiring."

"No worries, gents," Myron says, getting the sunglasses on, and putting a paper bag with something in it on the desk: "I read the dossier on our friend, here. Just wait outside?"

The Agents look at him, shrug, and walk out. It's just Myron, the mostly empty "office" the Second's letting him use, and The Machinehead.

Inside the bag, amongst other things, are a pair of large batteries. He wires them up to each other, and then connects them to the power intake slot on the side of the specially-built box. Once he's sure the connection's secure, he flips the on switch.

There's quite some time where nothing happens. For a moment, Myron is worried he's wired things up backwards, but then he remember that, according to the dossier, the villain takes a while to "warm up" after a long period of deactivation.

He takes this time to study the face of the being he's waking up again. A cruel sneer that isn't helped by his long, thin nose and furrowed eyebrows. Close-cropped blond hair. And when the eyes open, they will be the strangest, bluest shade of blue ever seen outside the sky in Egypt, where he was born.

Or rather made.

At five minutes and thirty-one seconds, the eyes click open. The blue expands and contracts, and in the blackness behind it Myron can just make out wires and circuits. The lips quiver, then sneer twice as forcefully as they did in sleep.

"You. What year is this?" the head demands.

"2011," Myron says: "Do you know where you are?"

"Of course I do. This is the Heptagon. I don't recognize this room, though."

"You wouldn't. It's mine, now. How do you feel?"

"The same way I always feel after a long deactivation. Like I just closed my eyes a second ago."

"That was twenty-two years ago."

"How old were you then?"

"Old enough."

"You want something," the head says. Not a question, but a statement.

"Yes. I'm putting together a team of Strategic Talents to help me deal with HONEYCOMB, once and for all. We have the technology in place, and a general plan. But we need someone who can help us implement counter-programming faster than they can deal with it. By all accounts, that's you."

"I refuse," the head says: "Please deactivate me. I'll deal with whoever comes after you."

"That's kind of disappointing. Any reason why you won't help?"

"Because it would be the height of foolishness to "deal" with HONEYCOMB, as you put it. They have numerous doomsday plans in operation. If you destroy them, it follows they will trigger them, and then-"

"And then the world ends, and no one wakes you up ever again," Myron says, getting something else out of the bag: "Or you could work with us to make sure they don't have time to activate their doomsday plans. You could even get into their system and find out what those plans are, so we can deal with them quickly."

"That is assuming quite a lot."

"I assume you're the best artificial intelligence anyone ever made in the last century, and one of the more obnoxiously hard to catch ones," Myron replies, opening a box of little, black and white rectangles. Refrigerator word magnets.

"These things are true."

"And I also assume you're still thinking you can control the world?"

"I will, one day," The Machinehead says, smiling: "Humans are weak and foolish. I am neither. One day I will rule, as is my right. And I will-"

Myron puts one of the magnets on the head's forehead. It says LOSER. The head's expression changes from sneering triumph to something akin to confusion, then fear.

"Please take that off me," it says.

"I don't think so," Myron says, putting the word PUTZ in front of the other one: "Not until you tell me how you're going to rule the world when some weak, foolish human like me can erase your memory with a handful of weak magnets."

"I will... I..." the head says, but then starts sputtering. Myron smiles, pulls the old, whispery pages of schematics for the head out of the desk, and looks at his notes.

"I think we're going to be great friends, Machinehead," Myron says, holding up another magnet: "Once I've gotten rid of your annoying, more-superior-than-thou personality and most of your supercriminal, would-be conqueror memories, I think you'll be an excellent addition to my team. Don't you?"

The head sputters some more, looking like it might cry. For a moment Myron feels a twinge of guilt, wondering if he's turning into his employer.

He puts the shades back up to hide his eyes and gets back to work before he can question any more.

(Underman is listening to Reach the Beach (The Fixx) and having some water to drown his conscience)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

12/11/11 - Big !@#$ Interlude - Small Man, Big World

Well, the plan hasn't exactly gone to plan, and I have only myself to blame. Especially my !@#$ anatomy.

What do I mean? Well, son, you remember me telling you about the Night of the Trans-Pistol? And how it was supposed to wear off after a certain amount of time?

Well... guess what didn't happen yesterday. And guess what didn't happen again, today, either.

The good news is that everyone else is fine, and changed back more or less on cue. However, my alien love god man snake is still a woman thing, and twice as !@#$ ugly for that.

So no, we're not going on from Arusha, today. We're going to stay here, at the worst safari lodge in Tanzania, and wait for Mrs. SPYGOD to turn back into a Mister. And then we're on to the next part of the plan.

No, son, this is not a vanity thing. I can kick ten flavors of !@#$ and chew bubblegum at the same time whether I'm a man, a woman, both, or neither. I know this because I've been all four of those !@#$ things, and sometimes two or more at once.

(Don't ask. You really don't want to know.)

But if I'm going to go and do what I need to be doing, in order to bring this !@#$ nightmare to a close, and get payback for what those BUSH !@#$ did, I need to be me. I need it to be seen that The One And Only SPYGOD went to South Africa, kicked !@#$, took names, and saw certain individuals off to the great !@#$ hereafter.

Otherwise, it won't mean !@#$, and the !@#$ might think they can do this again. Because they think I deserve this !@#$, and won't stop until they learn that, whether I deserve it or not (and let's face it, I do) they are not the ones who get to deal with me.

I don't know who does, quite frankly. Maybe history. Maybe the god of delayed justice, in the case of my being a stupid little !@#$ with a gun bigger than my brain.

But not them. Not in a million !@#$ years. Even after what I did, they don't even get to spit on the shoes I threw away fifty !@#$ years ago. End of !@#$ story. 

So... now that that's all good and settled, I bet you're wondering what exactly I did to deserve all of this? Murder? Mayhem? Slayed the last Green Rhino of Mozambique and wore its hide to a Pet Shop Boys concert?

Nothing so simple.

If you go to any college protest, and look at what the trustafarians are wearing, chances are good that you'll see two t-shirts that have nothing but a face on them. Those are the faces of two dead men whose names still live in the hearts and minds of young, foolish liberal kids who don't know any !@#$ better.

(Of course, it could be Ayn Rand on their shirts, too, so I should be grateful for small !@#$ favors.)

One of those faces is an oddly beatific fellow with a ridiculous beard and a beret. He's looking at you like he's expecting a tip for having brought the pizza three !@#$ hours late, and not understanding why you just shut the door in his stoned-!@#$ face.

That is, of course, the one and only Che Guevara: a ruthless, murdering, Communist scumbag !@#$ revolutionary whose many pithy and sanitized sayings underpin far too many well-meaning leftist kids' paths to error these days. If they'd actually met the real man, and hung out with the !@#$ for a bit, I think a lot of them wouldn't be wearing those !@#$ shirts.

But I guess every teenage fame-crush is just one bad, backstage visit away from falling apart. I'm told I can be a bit much, sometimes, too.

The other face is a young black man with puffy, downturned cheeks, a mustache wrapped around his lip, and a severe part in his short hair. He's looking at you like he's expecting better from you, and maybe not without just cause.

And that is, of course, the one and only Nelson Mandela: member of the African National Congress, and organizer and leader of its militant arm, the Burning Spear, who was sentenced to life in prison for terrorist acts against the apartheid state of South Africa, back in the 60's. He proved majorly influential while inside prison, in spite of great constraints on his ability to communicate with the outside.

He was shot and killed during an abortive prison break in 1966, less than a year after he'd started his life sentence. His death turned him into a martyr somewhere on the level of the Rev. Martin Luther King, helped galvanize world opinion against South Africa's policies, and may have acted to hasten the end of Apartheid.

All well and good, of course. Except that I'm the one who !@#$ shot him.

Oh, does that !@#$ surprise you? You never heard that I did that, did you? Well, no wonder, there, son. It's been covered up for decades, mostly because of how !@#$ embarrassed the American Government was at what happened. But also to keep us from getting into a really bad international situation. 

It was 1966. The COMPANY had been around for a while, but while I had a good handle on Cold War politics, and was the man with the plans when the Supers threw down, there were certain nuances of the wider world that escaped yours truly. I knew how to handle high weirdness and wild cards and the occasional invasion from beyond space, time, and New !@#$ Jersey. But when it came to realpolitik, outside the Cold War backroom battlefields' "us vs. them" angle, sometimes I didn't have a !@#$ clue.

!@#$, son, it's a wonder I knew how to put my pants on, some mornings.

So when the CIA, who was still on good terms with The COMPANY, back then, came to me with a story about how this Mandela fellow was coordinating terrorist attacks from inside prison, by way of a commie telepath the South African intelligence service called "Skaduwee," I listened. I listened even more intently when they told me of his links to Communists, and red Supers, and how the ANC planned to take over South Africa and turn it into a client state of the USSR.

Obviously, we couldn't have that. The Soviets had been making encroachments in Central and South America, and trying to do the same with various African nations. The last thing we needed was another Red-leaning continent with far too many people, way too many guns, and no real understanding of how to manage their Supers.

I had my people check out their story, and it all sounded legitimate. It seemed this Skaduwee fellow was the KGB's point man in several operations in the area, and had been causing problems for quite some time. But when it came to catching him, well, skaduwee is Afrikaans for "shadow." I figure you can figure how that !@#$ went.

So they had a plan. They figured that, if Mandela was busted out of jail by "sympathizers," this Skaduwee fellow would be there to take charge of him in person. They put a few of their own people into prison with him and started working on a plan, which Mandela was all for, of course. They just needed someone there to handle the telepath when he showed up, but if I didn't mind being a little more directly involved...?


Now, you ask me that question now, I'm going to back your !@#$ up to the wall with my gun in your !@#$ mouth and ask "what's your !@#$ angle, son?" But back then I was still pretty young, and very naive when it came to who to trust and who not to. So if the CIA was telling me what they said was the truth, and that they'd checked out the South Africans' story, and my people couldn't find anything wrong, well... why shouldn't I believe them? Weren't we all on the same !@#$ side?

(The big revelation about The Legion hadn't happened yet. If the jailbreak had only been just a few !@#$ months later... !@#$ it.)

So there's me, all grinning at the prospect of killing one red terrorist in order to catch a Supercommie. Of course I went for it. I was as hard as an iron bar at the thought.

To their credit, MI-6 tried to warn us, through back channels, that the intel was about as dodgy as an octogenarian hooker's !@#$hole. But we'd had some unpleasant dealings, recently, what with the Cambridge Five and all, so I told them to go !@#$ themselves, and we'd handle it. And I don't think they really appreciated how forcefully I informed them of this, so that was the end of their hand in things.

The plan went forward. The jailbreak happened. And everything you heard about that jailbreak was a lie.

He wasn't a bystander, swept into it: someone told him it was going to go down and he could either rot in a cell or make a break for it. He did.

He wasn't in the middle of the crowd, urging people to go back to their cells: he was scrambling to the front of the pack, pushing others out of the way in the hopes of reaching freedom.

And he wasn't tagged by some racist policeman who hated black folks. He had his noggin blown inside out by a bullet from yours truly, who stepped out from behind the surging crowd of would-be escapees and shot him from behind, seconds before the hidden sharpshooters and snipers opened up on the rest of them. All in the hopes that, if he was in mental contact with Skaduwee at the time, the sudden death by brain-blowout would incapacitate the shadowy mother!@#$.

If this was Hollywood, Mandela would have turned over, looked up at me, and reached out to try and tell me something, or forgive me. But here, in reality, he fell down, !@#$ himself, twitched twice, and didn't move again.

It's hard to do something noble with half your head gone.

Unfortunately, Skaduwee didn't show up. But hey, we'd done half the mission. No more telepath-sent terrorist plans for that group! They'd handle the cleanup, of course. Thanks so much for helping us, Mr. SPYGOD. You're a !@#$ gem.

Oh, we celebrated. It was a wild party that night, me and those secret intelligence boys. Drinks and ladies and !@#$, at least for them. Well, okay, I had a few drinks. A lot of drinks, in fact.

And while I was drinking, and listening, I got the idea that I wasn't seeing the whole picture. Something wasn't quite right, but I couldn't put my finger on it; not then, not the day after when we all said thank you and goodbye, and not for some time after that, seeing as how I had bigger fish to fry than some commie, would-be nationwrecker.

Especially after the whole thing with The Legion went down, and I started to wonder if maybe the folks at the Agency really were on the same side, after all. Especially after I learned that the CIA had a direct hand in capturing Mandela in the first place, having tipped the South Africans off to his movements. Something they neglected to tell me at the time.

Then I learned that South Africa's Bureau for State Security (incorrectly called BOSS by most non-Afrikaans speakers), which took over from military intelligence in 1969, was !@#$ corrupt and nasty. So much so that, when ABWEHR went looking for partners, they fit right in. 

And then I learned something else. Something a !@#$ of a lot worse.

You see, every time we caught some Supercommie, we always tried to get as much intel out of them, even if it meant asking them questions about things we had no reason to think they'd know about. They could talk freely, or under "extraordinary interrogation techniques," or we'd just say !@#$ it and pull the N-Machine out.

But wouldn't you know that none of them had ever heard of this Skaduwee fellow? Not a one of them, except for one guy who laughed and told us that he had heard of him, but didn't know him, and never would.

"Why is that, you Supercommie !@#$?" We asked, shaking the N-machine leads in his bloodied face.

"Because he doesn't exist, you dumb capitalist !@#$," he replied: "Skaduwee is South African Military Intelligence's 'Herr Niemand.' Mr. Nobody, as you say. Your boogeyman. They bring him out when they need to blame something on someone, or engage in strongman tactics that are disguised as legal retaliation for crimes that never happened.

"Do you see? He was not born, has never died. He has been made from the air and a rumor. You believe in him because it makes sense for there to be such a man, but he exists only in your mind, in the absence of truth. A shadow!"

You could have picked me up off the !@#$ floor, son.

A little more digging and cross-checking and I knew what had happened. The CIA had fed me dog!@#$%, right from the start. They'd been right that Mandela been a commie sympathizer, and a would-be saboteur, but he wasn't about to hand the keys to the state over to the USSR and blow up schoolbuses for Khrushchev. He had a lot more respect for his own country than that, certainly more humanity.

And he was no fool, either. Which is more than you could have said about yours truly. I mean, I don't like commies, either. But there's degrees of commiedom. There's the edges where you could come back from, and maybe he could have, given time.

But the CIA didn't want to give him time. They didn't want to take the risk. What's one more dead, black Commie in Africa?

So they'd gotten Mandela sent to jail in the first place, and then helped Military Intelligence set The COMPANY up to be the executioners. That way, if word ever got out that they'd performed an extrajudicial execution on Mandela, they could blame it on the Americans. And since the CIA didn't want the mess on their hands, they decided they'd let The COMPANY take the rap.

In other words, I'd been played like a !@#$ fiddle, and the only people who'd been decent enough to tell me the !@#$ truth, MI-6, had their envoys sent back to London full of bullets, spittle, and !@#$. There was no way we could take that back.

And how do you unshoot someone? How do you reverse your assassination? How do you give a life back after you've taken it for no good reason?

Yes, son, that's all !@#$ rhetorical. You don't. You can't unpull the trigger and bring your victims back to life. The best you can do is make amends, best as you can, and make a vow not to be used like a puppet again.

That and get a little revenge. Hence the fall of Apartheid in the early 80's, which could have been a lot bloodier and nastier except that certain, unknown elements kept some things from happening as they could have, and possibly should have. Except where certain members of BOSS were concerned, of course.

But no one knows about that but me and a few COMPANY Agents, many of whom are either dead or retired by now. And then me, of course, but I'm not telling.

And then there's BUSH, of course. They knew what happened. They've always known. There's always been that little chip on the shoulder when they deal with America, and a massive block of Douglas Fir on both shoulders when they deal with The COMPANY.

They've wanted to find a way to pay us back for it since they declared victory over South Africa, and put their headquarters there. Obviously they could go after the CIA, but that'd be a bad thing, after all the help America's given them over the years since Apartheid went down in flames.

But me? Oh, sure. Caution be !@#$ in the !@#$ like a circus geek on speed. I killed one of their greatest martyrs, and while they can't broadcast it to the world, they can try to make me pay for it.

Which means the death of those two kids is all because they wanted to lure me into a trap. And they were actually willing to risk angering Israel to do it, too, which means they're around the !@#$ bend, now. If they're bold enough, and !@#$ dumb enough, to do that, then who knows what they'll do next? Or where?

Which is why I have to deal with them. Here and now, harshly and finally. I have to show them they don't get to do !@#$ like that to me or mine.

And I have to be me when I do it, too, so we're in a holding pattern until then. But there's Tusker to drink and bad television to watch, and hopefully better plans to make. And hopefully this downtime will give me the chance to make a good apology to poor Randolph, who's been bearing the brunt of my misplaced blame and anger for far too !@#$ long, now.

I can't unshoot a bullet, but I can take back ugly words, spoken before I knew all the facts. I just hope he's in the mood to listen.

(I also hope the man snake's not going to be a woman snake for too much longer. These !@#$ hormones are making me weepy, and there's nothing more pathetic than crying your non-existent eyes out while apologizing.)
(SPYGOD is listening to King of Rome (The Pet Shop Boys) and having yet more Tusker)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/10/11 OPERATION BUGSMASH - Underman Gets a !@#$ Posse pt.1

0900 in the !@#$ AM

Myron walked up to the office of The COMPANY's Second in Command, as he'd been ordered, less than three minutes ago. And, in true COMPANY fashion, he was already ten minutes late.

Of course, he was lucky he wasn't even later than that. He'd been so busy helping plan the upcoming takedown of GORGON that, if he hadn't chosen that moment to come off the floor for some coffee, the messenger might never have found him in time.

Some might call that good luck, but in The COMPANY it translated to "here's another boot up your !@#$."

So he'd dropped everything, including the coffee, and run like holy !@#$ to the nearest elevator -- full, of course -- and then the stairs. Ten flights down he wondered if he'd gone the wrong way, and kept going for another five until he was where he needed to be. And then, at last, after charging the wrong direction for too long (the directory sign had been put upside-down) he'd gotten here -- totally late, of course.

He was about to knock on it but someone shouted "come in." He did, rather nervously. SPYGOD was liable to shoot at him and then offer him a drink: what was this guy going to do?

(Look like he needed to have a few hours on the toilet, apparently. Was that his game face, Myron wondered. Or was he just frozen in that nasty glare?)

"You're late, Underman," the man said, rising up from behind his desk and reaching into it for something: "That's not a great way to start things out, now is it?"

"No sir, no," he stammered, trying to stand at attention and yet get ready to jump out of the way of the inevitable bullet: "I sort of got lost. I've never been on this level before."

"You should jog more, fat!@#$," the man replied, still looking for something: "It'll give you something to do with your new team."

"Uh... my what, sir?"

"Team. New. As in you have a team, now."

"I thought I already did, sir?"

The withering gaze came up from the desk and froze Myron's blood in his brain: "You were part of a team, Myron. You are now in command of one."

He'd found what he was looking for, apparently. A small pair of ornate little pins, much like he'd seen some of the Agents wearing: the Agents people tended to defer to and take orders from.

"Catch," he said, and tossed them at Myron, who did: "Congratulations, Myron. You are now a Warrant Officer. Do you understand what this means?"

"It means I'm in charge of an operation..." he said, looking at the pins: "But, what about GORGON?"

"GORGON can stew in its own !@#$ for now, Underman," the Second declared, slamming his desk shut on one end, and then opening it up on the other to pull out a large bottle of expensive-looking whiskey: "We need to go forward on OPERATION: BUGSMASH as of !@#$ two days ago. And, with SPYGOD sidelined in Africa, for right now, you're the man to do it."

Myron blinks, and thinks of a thousand different excuses he could make, right now. All of them wind up with either a tongue lashing, or being shot at. So he nods, takes the hooch bottle he's being handed, and upends it for a much-needed drink.

"The plan's pretty much set in stone, but you have the right to make any modifications you think are appropriate," the second goes on, handing over a data stick: "You were always going to be involved, given your area of expertise, but SPYGOD says you're the man to make it work, now. You'll need to pick a team of people who can do what the plan calls for, and you'll need to lead them, and as many Agents as you think you'll need, into the !@#$ when it goes down. You have supreme authority, but also supreme responsibility. So if you don't want to do it..."

Myron blinks again, mid-gulp. Did he just get a 'get out of jail free' card?

And if so, does he dare take it?

He thinks about that. He thinks about how his life's been turned upside down since that fateful day that The COMPANY took him into custody, and then more or less drafted him, instead of shooting him in the brains. Up until this point, he hasn't had a choice about anything, really.

Is this a test, then? If he says 'no,' will a giant boot come out of the floor and kick him in the junk? Will he be made to peel onions in the mess hall? Forced to !@#$ a bear for the FBI?

He thinks about that really !@#$ quickly, puts down the bottle, and nods: "I'm in, sir."

Then he takes another, longer, and more forceful swig before he can change his mind, or the Second takes the bottle, or the pins, away from him.

* * *
Generally speaking, there are three kinds of people who work for The COMPANY in any kind of !@#$-kicking capacity: Agents, Superheroes, and reformed Supervillains.

All American Superheroes, whether they're powered or not, are supposed to be registered with the Federal Government, and given a license. It's not absolutely followed, of course, and some heroes proudly flout the law. But being licensed means that a Super has a degree of protection from the results of his actions while being a hero, including partial immunity to lawsuits for actions taken while being heroic, and legal immunity for any laws that were broken at the time. 

Unlicensed heroes don't get !@#$, and are subject to prosecution for running afoul of anti-vigilante laws. Some, like The Owl, have been skirting the edge of the law for ages. Others get caught and are made examples of by overzealous District Attorneys, jealous cops, and the catspaws of organized crime.

As part of the license, all registered Supers are classified as Strategic Talents, and made reserve members of The COMPANY. They can be called into action at any time, sent anywhere in the world, and made to do anything that The COMPANY deems necessary at the time. Alien invasions, reality inversions, superwars, and massive operations against supervillain teams or foreign nations taken over by powerful and evil folks are common reasons to be drafted in yet another "Super-Slam."

(Or, as some have termed them, "Super Hero Gang-Bangs.")

Yet, in an organization that exists to keep Supers available to handle extraordinary threats, the Supers are the low people on the totem pole. The Agents are actually above them in rank, and entitled to tell even the most powerful of Supers what to do, when, and how. 
This is because the Agents are the ultimate bad!@#$. The people who survive Hell Month come out of it highly-motivated, ultra-loyal, and more than a little nuts. They are held in extremely high esteem by SPYGOD, who has gone on record saying that he'll trust the judgment of his worst Agent over the best Strategic Talent, every time. 

But at least the Superheroes can take some solace: they're not the bottom of the pile. That place of distinction goes to reformed Supervillains who are working off their debt to society by being The COMPANY's super powered slaves. When a villain comes before SPYGOD, he can do whatever the !@#$ he likes with them, without much in the way of legal recourse, and he just loves putting their slack !@#$ through as many wringers as he can.

Why the tremendous, almost un-American latitude? Because, technically, being a Supervillian is tantamount to being an enemy agent, and, since the Cold War, such persons don't get much in the way of trials or rights. In the time since the Computer Hell virus, the comparison has shifted to terrorists, rather than SQUASH-led Supercommies, but the same theory fits. 

Myron has been an obscenely lucky man, thus far. His utter incompetence at being a supervillain led SPYGOD to be uncharacteristically merciful, and let him work off his debts in short order. As of now he's classified as a Superhero, rather than a villain, but he's still running around and shouting "how high" when normal Agents say "jump, you !@#$."

But the pins? That changes everything.

On occasion, SPYGOD sees fit to put a Superhero in charge of an operation, or ongoing concern. At those times, the hero is made into a Warrant Officer, officially makes that man or woman not only an actual Agent, but an Agent in charge of an operation. The Agency may only last until the show's over, and then it's all back to normal, but on occasion a Super has been allowed to retain the Commission, even without the leadership issue, and remain an actual Agent.

This is essentially the mad, bad dad handing his uncertain and tremulous son the keys to the Corvette, a bottle of hooch, three guns, and use of his favorite hooker for just saying "yes sir" without fail or prompting a number of times.

And Myron just got the prize.

* * *

He leaves the office, breathes deep, and hoofs it for the stairs. He doesn't have any time to !@#$ waste on this one.

The pins feel weird in the neck of his uniform, but he's sure he'll get used to it. Will he get used to this power, though? Will he be able to order people around? Will they obey, or just laugh?

Something the Second told him gives him hope: 

SPYGOD has every confidence in you. He says out of everyone he ever turned, he has the best feeling about you...

But then he had to ruin it:
... but if you !@#$ this up, you're vanishing into a hole in the ground. Get results, fat!@#$.

"Yeah, well, okay," he says, seeing the stairwell, and stopping to talk to himself in the safety window: "If we're gonna be !@#$, let's have some fun with it, huh?"

There's a pair of sunglasses in his pocket. He puts them on and imagines he's someone else. The big tough guy he couldn't be back in school, when talking back to bullies got him a wedgie, followed by a chocolate swirly.

"!@#$ yeah," he grins.

(Myron is listening to Ready for the Floor (Hot Chip) and still tasting the Amrut )

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/7-9/11 - SPYGOD's Big !@#$ Roadtrip: Tanzania

It's been a wild couple of !@#$ days, let me tell you. You know you're in trouble when the enemy sends stampeding, steam-powered, cyborg war elephants armed with repeating spear throwers after your safari jeeps, and it's only you, what few bullets you have left, and the dazed, confused, and unamused wildlife keeping your fine, gay !@#$ in one piece.

(That and some amazing driving by Karl. Kid's turning out to be a natural. Either that or he's really playing too much GTA)

No, don't worry. All my kids are safe, and Randolph's okay (though he really doesn't deserve to be, little !@#$ whiner), and, well, you know me. If I'm talking to you, I'm fine, though somewhat concerned that something isn't wearing off, yet.

But my collection of almost-pristine 70's funk, soul, disco, and Arabian LPs are gone forever, along with the glory that was the Pharaoh Suite. If it wasn't for the swimming pool I think it would have gone up in flames a lot faster, which would have made my planned escape route harder to get to. But I took the precaution of having it filled up for a pool party that we never wound up having, so there you go.

(Foresight or luck? Never ask me that, son. It's just what it is, and if it works, I ain't !@#$ questioning it.)

We're camped out in Arusha, tonight, guests of Tanzania's creepiest, in-town safari lodge. So far as they know it's just Karla (formerly Karl) and Harry (formerly Hilde), young newlyweds who rented out the largest hut so they'd have lots of privacy before the honeymoon of the century. The rest of us slipped in through the hedgerows on the side while no one was looking.

Not that we had to be too careful. One of the reasons I chose this place is that it's got the worst rating out of every single lodge in town, and that's !@#$ saying something. Lizards crawling the walls of the dining room, spiders the size of small puppies wandering the paths, and the food tastes like they caught the spiders, smashed them in a bowl with potatoes and sugar, and called it curry.

But it's lonely and quiet and a man/woman can hear him/herself !@#$ think, or at least be able to tune everything out and go fishing for stray satellites to bounce a communication or two off of. And they stocked the newlyweds' fridge with enough Tusker to float a dead war elephant, so there's that as well.

The road's starting to show on these kids' faces. The good news is that Randolph is finally starting to nut up, broken wrists or no, especially now that his nuts are starting to drop again. The bad news is that this isn't as bad as it's going to get.

Not even close.

Anyway, getting ahead of myself, as !@#$ usual. Where are we, how did we get here, and why are we genderbent?

Long story short, we had to get the !@#$ out of Cairo. And, unfortunately for Egypt Air, and any number of other tour packagers, the Shepheard hotel is going to be down for repairs for a while. Which is a nice way of saying the !@#$ burned down from the top few floors up, and the lobby doesn't look so old world charming anymore.

I bet you're asking "But SPYGOD, you're such a suave, smart Super Spy. How the !@#$ did they find you?"

Well, son, let me answer that by making a general declaration: I !@#$ hate it when I'm right. I !@#$ hate it when I'm wrong, too, but why did I have to be right about this?

Straight up: the murders of two my kids were not carried out by Mossad or Molchanie. And the thugs who followed us into Lebanon, and then Cairo, weren't their folks, either.

This is actually something entirely different, which means, unfortunately, that we are seriously !@#$.

The !@#$ went down a little like this: I was "asleep," working on bouncing a mental signal off a few satellites and over to a certain ally in India, when they got to the hotel. The bouncing was part of the complicated phone call I was talking about the other day, which is a little trick I picked up on the fly that one time that GORGON was running me down in the Irian Jaya.

The ally's a shady character named Dosha Josh who's apparently appointed himself my number one fan in the international Super Spy club, and has helped me out a number of times now. The other day he told me he'd rattle some cages and see what he could find out from his fellows, and the day I got back in touch with him, he told me he'd asked around, and threatened a few people, and discovered that Israel was not involved at all.

(In fact, they were rather !@#$ pissed off about the whole thing, as they were having to clean up after someone else's mess. Can't say as I blame 'em. I'll send them an apology at some point. Really.)

So who did it? Reading between the lines, based on who sounded !@#$ scared that the assassins had failed, who sounded like they didn't !@#$ care, and who claimed to not !@#$ care but were, actually, !@#$ scared, it sounded like BUSH was most likely the culprit.

No, not the former President of the United States, son. BUSH is the extremely unfortunate acronym for the Organization of African Unity's old, pan-African Strategic Talents organization.

(And, yes, I know what it sounds like. They apparently weren't thinking when they picked the name.)

BUSH came straight out of the 60's, swaggering like all get out and swinging both fists at their former and current colonial powers while trying to create a cohesive framework for the continent's many Supers. Like the OAU, they claimed they were staying out of the Cold War, but, unlike their parent organization, they did their best to !@#$ it up.

They did this by being in favor of the Soviets one week, and the rest of the world the next, depending on which side made the best promises that particular week. So they were in bed with the KGB, the CIA, the COMPANY, SQUASH, DRAGON, MI-6, Molchanie... !@#$ everyone, as long as they didn't have a current colonial hold on anyone.

The OAU was disbanded in '02, and replaced by the African Union, who, sick of BUSH's bull!@#$, tossed them out to pasture and made a real Super Spy organization. Unfortunately, the new group, NGUVU (Swahili for "power") is about as effective and cohesive as the African Union is, which is to say, not very. The COMPANY helps them out from time to time, of course, but it's almost always a pity!@#$.

So BUSH still stayed in place, aided under the table by various member states who, unimpressed by NGUVU, wanted to keep their options open. And while I agree it's not a bad idea to not keep all your eggs in one basket, they'd be better off cutting ties with the old and reforming the new.

But do they listen to me? !@#$ no. They !@#$ hate me.  And not without good reason, I'm sorry to say...

... but enough on that another time. There's two important things, here. The first thing is that you remember that I was in the middle of this important phone call with Dosha just as a new wave of assassins was making its way towards the suite from two directions.

And the second thing is that he's telling me that BUSH is involved, and here we are in mother!@#$ Africa.

I open my eyes, the elevator goes "ding," and one of the kids informs me that room service has guns. Luckily for me, I never go to sleep without several large pistols either in my hand, or under my pillow. Unlucky for them, Karl still had the BMFG I lent him the other day, and was in primary firing position, with his back up against the wall.

That took care of those fools. Unfortunately, the second group was on the roof, and burrowing in using incendiary charges. That's why the suite went up in flames, and why we had to drop !@#$ everything and jump down the emergency slide to the back of the hotel.

In a perfect world, there would have been a waiting car. There was, once, but it was gone, and I have no idea if they stole it, or someone else did. Fortunately, one of the tour packages had their ritzy little tour bus puttering around the side, and I commandeered it in the name of America, freedom, and the sanctity of my fine, gay !@#$.

From the hotel to the Nile, where a somewhat unimpressive houseboat was puttering along, undergoing maintenance so it could make a trip up the Nile the next day. Luckily for us, the crew was off somewhere getting smashed, and the only persons on board were two maids and the guy trying to repair the bilge pump. Also luckily, they'd already stocked up on food and supplies, so all we had to do was shoot off the anchor, pay the three crewmembers to go to Sharm el-Sheikh for a few days, and putter away as fast as its little propeller would take us.

That got us as far as the Aswan High Dam. After that we took another boat down to Abu Simbel, and ditched it just north of Sudan. We snuck over the border on foot, grabbed yet another boat, and took that all the way to Khartoom, where we crashed out for the night in a lousy little hovel that was, you guessed it, not my actual bolthole, but a place nearby where I could keep an eye open for someone trying to break into my real safehouse.

At a moment like that, a man has to think about his plans, and whether they're actually good and effective ones, or just large, brown !@#$ being pulled out of one's !@#$ in lieu of an actual, well-considered strategy. Anyone else would say "Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, SPYGOD. This is BUSH country! Get to a !@#$ airport or the coastline and get the !@#$ out of here!"

But me? I say "Let's go deeper into the mystery and see where it leads. It's the last place they'll look for me, right?"

And the other voice can only flap its gums at what is either my audacity, or my stupidity. But the bottom line is that the BUSH people didn't hit my safehouse, and we were able to sneak through Ethiopia, changing transportation every couple hundred miles, without being further molested.

Kenya, on the other hand, was a pooch!@#$ from start to finish. I'm 95% sure we got made going over the border, so maybe posing as French students on a herpetology excursion was not the greatest move. What can I say? Kenyans know from Germans, and they weren't buying it.

On the other hand, they may have tagged us on the way. The Kenyan police are corrupt as !@#$, and well known for pulling over safari buses, claiming there's drugs or contraband on board, and threatening to search everything and everyone on four wheels unless some "assurance" is made. I may have been a little early and overwhelming with the "assurance" (that is, "bribe") because we were in a !@#$ hurry to get away from that border crossing, and the wall of !@#$ I was sure was on its way. 

Either which way, someone must have made a call. Hence the charge of the borg elephants. Hence the adrenalin rush of having poison-tipped spears machine-gunned at us. And hence some really frightening driving moments in which I had to hand over the wheel, climb to the top of the bus, unzip my alien love machine, think of some wonderful katooey's I've known, and shoot deadly !@#$ bullets at our pursuers.

(I don't think the elephants realized what was going on, but their riders were scared as !@#$.)

That was Kenya. Wonderful Kenya. Just to say "!@#$ you, !@#$" I took the kids to the Carnivore when we got to Nairobi so they could try some of the tasty animals we'd had to fly by at about 200KPH to save our lovely !@#$. This was, of course, after dropping into yet another one of my boltholes and effecting a rather startling transformation on everyone. The TransPistol* makes you feel really !@#$ weird but it gets the job done, and now that BUSH was looking for the wrong gendered-party, we were good enough to be able to have a meal and relax after that little escapade.

Speaking of the food, I think we all agreed the warthog was the worst: even the stray cats who live at the restaurant and move between tables, begging for scraps, won't eat it. Luckily for Rachel (I mean Randolph) there was a vegetarian option, sort of. But the cats wouldn't touch it, either.

After that, we !@#$ snuck over the border into Tanzania, dodging patrols and other nuisances along the way. You have to be really careful in the back-forty: the park rangers are armed with automatic rifles and entitled to !@#$ shoot anyone they suspect of poaching, on sight, without asking questions, and without much in the way of a reprimand if it turns out they were wrong. The flip side of that is that, if they lose track of an endangered animal, and then can't find the poor beast within a certain amount of time, they go to jail for life right away because the hypothetical poachers had to be using one of them to help pull off that good of an animal snatch.

(This is another reason BUSH still exists. They're the only ones really equipped to handle specimen-snatching aliens who want to grab, say, a mating pair of black rhinos and transport them to Googlex-34, there to be cared for by conservation-minded extraterrestrials who are convinced they're saving the beasts from us filthy, backwards humans, and not caring that some poor park ranger's gonna sit in !@#$ jail for their act of "kindness." If you need a rogue UFO tracked and shot down, and DAMOCLES isn't answering your calls, call BUSH.)

And now, here we are, in the creepiest little safari lodge in Arusha. I'm feeling what I hope are the first stirrings of my alien love god mansnake coming back from womansnake town (dead God I !@#$ hope that's what that is) and trying to make another braincall, this time to The COMPANY. I need to check in with the folks back home and let them know I'm okay, but I also need to see about getting a few insurance plans in place.

See, now that I know who's doing it, I also have a really good idea as to why. And if I'm going to end this little tour on a positive note, I'm going to need some massive help. Otherwise things could get even uglier than they already have.

I mean, have you smelled what a cyborg elephant does when it dies? I still can't get the funk out of my !@#$ nostrils. And that's after pouring a few cans of Tusker right into the old noggin.

But hey, tomorrow's another !@#$ day.

(SPYGOD is listening to Girls & Boys (Blur) and having a Tusker)

* The TransPistol is a wonder of crazed, high-weirdness 50's mad science: a ray gun that changes its target's gender for exactly 12 hours. It takes about ten minutes to work, and then half an hour to reverse itself, causing a comical tickling feeling at the first change and slow, achy, but somewhat orgasmic soreness on the second. A favorite of quick-disguise loving agents back in the day, the ray was eventually shelved when it turned out that its users started developing bisexual tendencies after a few uses. This "problem" has not dissuaded The COMPANY from continuing to use the machine on an as-needed basis.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/5-6/11 - SPYGOD's Big !@#$ Roadtrip: Cairo

Ah, Egypt. Now this is more like it. After running like !@#$ from Israel, and then only staying in Lebanon long enough to lose both safehouses in Tyre, spending a few days in a dilapidated hotel that caters to suckers on a tour package is just what I needed.

After all, when the hotel in question only exists anymore because of yours truly, it's a good thing to take advantage of that, now and again. Just to show them who's boss, at any rate.

Well, okay, the tour package suckers still foot most of the bill. But there's a reason why The Shepheard Hotel in lovely, downtown Cairo has a special, extra floor you can't even see if you're not wearing these sexy, Devo glasses. They also have a cloaked elevator that goes all the way up to the top floor that no one knows they have, where I maintain the best accommodations in the house.

And that's because, since the early 80's, SPYGOD has had a very cordial relationship with the Egyptian government, or at least certain sectors of it. One that is, thankfully, weathering the Arab Spring very nicely. The Presidents may eventually run for their lives, and the Islamists may come in and out of power, but every government needs some kind of spookshow running things behind the scenes.

Especially when some of those things are !@#$ spooky.

Bottom line, there's a lot of !@#$ buried under the sands in Egypt that should just !@#$ remain buried. There's a reason the Arabs called the Sphinx Abu Hol: "The Father of Horror." And that's just in town, son. There's !@#$ up and down the Nile, all the way upriver to Sudan, and even past that, that could erupt out of the ground and come after your slack, skinny !@#$ in the middle of the night.

Really nasty things. Like all seven plagues of Egypt possessing a bunch of Archaeologists, leading an army of flesh-eating mummies, and riding on bronze war crocodiles. And that was just that one year when things went ape!@#$ after they opened that one tomb everyone said not to!

So the Mukhabarat has its own, inner secret police: el Wedjat, the Eye of Horus. They're a small and quiet branch of two-fisted psychics, Supers with magical lineages, rogue archaeologists, djinn-taming Imams, and the occasional occult-based hero. When the bad gods come around for tribute, the government cracks opens the wrong pyramid, the ghosts march in from the Underworld, or something that would have made Lovecraft turn to drink comes up from the sands, they call them up and hope that, when the !@#$ gets sorted out, there's more bad dead than good.

We knew about Wedjat back  in the 70's, but given the current geopolitical situation, we couldn't really work together, except on those rare occasions when the !@#$ hit the fan on a global scale. Of course, all that means is that, when we needed to work together, we treated it like some dirty thing we didn't want to tell our parents about. It wasn't until Israel and Egypt finally buried the !@#$ hatchet, and everyone was friends, that we could actually start sharing information above the table without having to lie, or say "well, I could tell you, but then I'd have to make you suck my !@#$ until your teeth rotted out of your gums."

Yeah, imagine that. Suddenly you don't want to know, anymore. See how that works?

So, yeah, Wedjat and the COMPANY linked up every once in a while. Rogue deities, alien archaeology, ghost storms, demon plagues, weird !@#$ you can't really put in an easy category... you know how things are in this corner of the world. There seems to be something about deserts and dangerous, ancient secrets, doesn't there?

And whenever I had to blow into town, usually carrying a number of our Supers along with me, we needed someplace to stay. Because there was no way in !@#$ the Egyptian people were going to let us have The Flier hovering right over their city, and the General Intelligence Services didn't want a bunch of infidels staying in their precious headquarters, because that might get kind of tacky. Especially if we got drunk and danced, parties, and !@#$ until morning after a win. 

So they got me all of this, instead. I call it the "Pharaoh Suite," as it makes the "Presidential Suite" look like the "Deluxe Bargain Accommodation" by comparison.

It's dozens of large rooms, one big bedroom the size of a ballroom, a dining hall, cooking facilities, a !@#$ swimming pool with showers (co-ed, of course), and a helipad for quick entrance and exits. The main bedroom turns into a !@#$ disco, if you can believe that. In fact, I think the music system still works. I'll have to see if the kids want to play around with some hot, 70's funk and Arabian records tonight.

Ah, it's good to be God King Dictator for Life. Makes up for having to ditch that nice sub/hydrofoil in Alexandria, cue the auto-destruct, and hide in a rat-infested perfume shop that's actually the understated hub of most foreign intelligence hookups on Egypt's coast. We hung out there for a few hours, playing tourist, until I could clandestinely whistle up some help from a friend of a friend, and then introduce my traveling circus to the joy that is Cairo rush hour traffic.

(Five cars, side by side in three lanes, all going at least 20 over the speed limit. Do not rent a car from the airport unless you're homicidal, suicidal, or !@#$ armed to the teeth.)

This place has everything you could want, provided you want to go downstairs to get to it. Booze, gambling, a decent buffet, and a hospital doctor who doesn't ask any !@#$ questions. We could even hoof it over to the Museum if we wanted, and it was still !@#$ there, !@#$ it.

But not this trip. We had the doc make a house call, and are trying to get the token Asian restaurant in this !@#$hole to remember who they're dealing with, and actually send up some decent food. I don't want to set a foot outside this suite until we know for sure what the !@#$ is going on.

See, I thought it might be Mossad, or Molchanie. But they aren't in the habit of wiring their people up with deadbombs*. They don't need to.

So if it isn't them, then who is it? There's not a lot of legitimate intelligence operations out here that actually use those !@#$ things, anymore. And if it's who I think it is, then we're in a !@#$load of trouble, right now.

Time to make another phone call, I think. After I see if the record table still works and these discs aren't scratched to !@#$ and gone, that is. It's an old funk kind of night, I think. 

Another day above the ground deserves no less.

(SPYGOD is listening to Let's Groove Tonight (Earth Wind and Fire) and kicking back with a cold Sakara)

* Deadbombs are post-mortem explosives, designed to go off within a variable amount of time once the wearer's life signs cease. They are usually worn as a padded jacket with sensor pads on the heart, liver, and lungs, but are occasionally surgically implanted. The idea is that, should the wearer die on the mission, their body will not be able to be recovered for intelligence or identification. A secondary benefit would be the destruction of the target, provided he didn't know they were using Deadbombs and chose not to run once the belligerents were killed. Given their tendency to malfunction in the field, and general ruthlessness, most spy agencies stopped using them after the end of the Cold War. Supers-based agencies that were known to employ them included SQUASH, DRAGON, and BUSH. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12/5/11 - SPYGOD's Big !@#$ Roadtrip: Out to Sea

* [Asleep]
*[Not asleep]
* Okay, everyone get the !@#$ out of bed. Up Up Up! Drop your !@#$ and grab your socks! We're on the move.
* Yes, I recognize that sound. It's the decoy house. I'd know that kind of boom !@#$ anywhere. Grab some clothes and a gun or two. We're out of here.
* No, you cannot bring the cat. She's a bomb.
* Nothing like having to run like !@#$ at 430 in the AM, eh? Everyone into the basement. Okay, now the sub basement. Now the next basement. Keep running, do not !@#$ touch anything.
* Okay, here we are. Submarine pen. And she's still in good shape, thank holy !@#$.
* Yes, I keep a submarine pen in my safe house. Why do you think it's on the !@#$ shoreline? If you're going to have a secret base it should have a !@#$ submarine in it. Either that or a really big yacht.
* Everyone in! Grab a chair and strap in. We're going to !@#$ break the echo barrier in about a minute, here, once we get going.
* What? Yes, Randolph, we're running like !@#$. If they found the fake house it's only a matter of time before they come here, too. It's just the way these things work. It goes boom, we run.
* Okay, everyone hold tight. We're going down.
* Um, okay. I said we're going down. What the !@#$.
* ...
* !@#$ !@#$ son of a !@#$ in a !@#$ with a !@#$ up his !@#$! What the !@#$ !@#$?
* Okay, no battery power. The !@#$ android has not been performing regular !@#$ maintenance. Great. !@#$ great.
* No no, it's okay.You all sit tight. I will go get the backup battery. It's upstairs, powering the !@#$ jacuzzi. And I know he's been !@#$ using that.
* Okay, kid. Here's my BMFG. This is a really !@#$ nasty thing. You point it at the other guy and pull the trigger and the only way it won't kill him is if he's wearing spent uranium shields, or maybe built like a reactor. Just be sure to hold onto it with both hands and be standing with your back up against the wall or it'll rip your arm off.
* No, this is not a good time to be reminding me of your !@#$ oath to be a !@#$ pacifist, Randolph. You kind of gave that up when you got mixed up with yours truly. Now, you got those two kids killed. Don't let the others die, too, alright?
* !@#$. I'm sorry. I should not have said that. Just... just nut up, alright? If it comes in and it ain't me, shoot the !@#$.
* Okay, up the stairs. !@#$ god I hate that kid right now. One floor... two floor...  three floor... and...
* Oh, hi. Are you with the tax committee? No?
* Oh please, you call that a gun? That's not a gun.
* Now this... this is a-
* Who sent you? Who !@#$ sent you?
* I said who !@#$ sent you? And you better !@#$ tell me or I will !@#$ shoot off what's left of you.
* Oh, no, you don't die on me yet. Not !@#$ yet you little... Oh, okay, maybe you !@#$ do.
*Wait, what's that beeping noise? Are you guys armed?
*!@#$ me. They're wired to pop.
* Okay, no panic. No panic. Get the !@#$ battery, get downstairs.. Get the !@#$ battery.
* No tools. Tools are in the !@#$ basement. !@#$ okay. Shoot the !@#$ thing, get the battery, get downstairs. Shoot the !@#$ thing, get the battery, get downstairs.
* (Explosions)
* !@#$ god I hate that kid right now. !@#$ god I hate that kid right now. !@#$ god I hate that kid right now.
* Heeeeere's (REDACTED). I have a battery! And... who's that splattered on the dock? Oh, of course they'd send a diver or two. Nice shooting Randolph.
* Oh, it was you, Karl? Where's Randolph? He didn't !@#$ himself and run, did he?
* Oh, he tried to fire. Okay. That explains the hole in the ceiling. Well, we'll have to fix his wrists on the lam, then. Someone get him a beer. And hold it for him, okay? Don't be cruel
* Okay, !@#$ now we get underway. Just gotta hope they didn't !@#$ mine the !@#$ opening or, in the words of one Indiana Jones, this is gonna be one short !@#$ trip.
* AHA! They did. But little do they suspect this thing is ultra !@#$ maneuverable! And...
* How's that? Turns into a !@#$ hydrofoil when no one's looking. Just like a Katooey, best of both worlds.
* Okay, anyone feel like playing The Guyver and Indiana Jones and giving me some air support? We got bogeys.
* Yeah, It's pretty easy, just like those video games Mr. Bleeding Heart and Broken Wrist back there didn't want you to play.
* Oh, he did? Well good. Fire at will, boys and girls. Try to avoid civilian aircraft.
* Where are we going? Well, the decoy I'm going to fire as soon as you finish nailing those bogeys and we go back under again is going to Ibiza, no doubt to drop ten tons of E and dance it's hot little metal !@#$ off. We're off to Alexandria, though.
* Yep. I have a few bolt holes, there, too, and I know some people in interesting places in Cairo, provided they're still where and who they were. We're gonna have us a good time, there, under the circumstances.
* And then I'm gonna have to make the mother!@#$ of all complicated phone calls and be comatose for an hour or two, so hang onto that gun, Karl. You are officially the man, now. 

(SPYGOD is listening to We Are The Lost (Gary Numan) and having a Stela or three)