The Collaboration

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Chris Spaghetti

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The Collaboration
« on: February 09, 2010, 02:24:17 PM »
Chapter 1

Some changing moments of history begin with a great man, a triumphant victory, a decisive loss or a heroic speech. One Monday in the frigid landscape of the Soviet Union one trail of white-hot fire and a 23 inch diameter sphere created two histories which would forever shape both the future and the future's image of the past.

Doctor Thomas Bishop couldn't have known the importance of that day as he listened with the rest of the NASA scientists in stunned and almost reverential hush to the distinctive 'beep beep' signal through a crackling short-wave radio.

Eventually Doctor Bishop reached over and flicked the power switch of the radio, sending the entire room into complete and total silence.

"That's it then." A young scientist said at last, breaking the timeless moment "The Soviets win."

"October the 4th, 1957, the day we lost the space race." A dejected man from the drawing of a stereotypical lab scientist said, scratching his beard before adjusting his glasses.

Doctor Bishop fished for the right words. He knew that he had to say something to inspire his team but in reality he was just as shook up as the rest of his team that the damn commies had beaten them to putting a satellite into orbit, especially after the spectacular failures of their own Vanguard rockets just a few years previous.

"We have not lost the race, Raist " Doctor Bishop said at last. He manoeuvred himself to the front of the room, placing himself in front of the large speaker grille "So the Soviets put launched a satellite. Will it transmit back?  Will it successfully orbit? They may may have launched it, but it is far from being a proven Success. I would like to hold out for PROOF... and see them replicate this... with a man. That, Raist, will be the true mark of success in this Space Race."

The team looked at him with faces showing their utter lack of confidence.

"Go." He sighed, knowing he wasn't going to win this fight. "You should all head down the bar. Nasa is paying."

There were mumbles of assent and Tom pulled his coat on, suddenly the phone rang and Tom sighed Looked over curiously.[/b] Right now he didn't need anybody else trumpeting a so called the Soviet victory.

"Yes?" He said dryly into the clunky telephone.

"Doctor Bishop? This is Commander Wilmore--"

"Commander, I'm sorry but this can wait, I've dismissed the team after that signal, and I have much work to do to prepare for our eventual launch." He said, not particularly caring for the base commander's seniority.

"You'll have to join them shortly, I need to speak to you urgently."

Tom pinched the bridge of his nose. Fantastic, another exec meeting with no understanding for science grilling him for an hour on why the Soviet rocket worked and theirs didn't.

"Fine." He said and slammed the receiver down "Enjoy your drinks gentleman. I expect you back working first thing tomorrow. No Excuses."

Today just isn't my day. He thought.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 02:27:28 PM by Chris Spaghetti »

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theonlydann

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2010, 09:22:52 AM »
"W-W-w-w-Wilmore! Wake up! Did you hear? Did you hear the news?? John stuttered over the intercom.

"Ergh. John, what do you want? You know, it.. YAWN.. ugh. It was a long night last night."  
Wilmore rolled out of bed, put his slippers on, and draped a robe over his boxer briefed body.

Then, once again over the Intercom"WILMORE!!!! WAKE UP!"

 "Shit", Wilmore thought  , "I forgot to press the damn button. Damn wine."
"John, What do you want? You know better than to wake me before noon after a night of women and wine. I'll have you know, mingling amongst the...."  He was cut off by a burst of static and a new, less familiar voice over the intercom.

"Wilmore. We have a situation that requires the attention of the entire staff.. Please come to the command room NOW"

Wilmore hadn't heard that voice in quite some time. It had been almost 6 months since the last time he and the Administrator had exchanged even the briefest of words, and almost 4 years since he had seen him in person. The fact that he would go through such informal channels as an Intercom, and he would address Wilmore so informally, Well, Wilmore knew it was time for business.


In the meeting room some of the staff had already assembled. It was a simple matter of everyone taking a hallway to a conveyor, getting on an elevator, and then simply pressing C on the keypad... yet some people just couldn't be arsed to do it. James, John Davis, Levee and Jack were seated at the table. Mr. Truth and Colonel Gayer were absent, per usual. DK was on assignment in Australia, Cinlef had been absent from the compound for months now, and  Divito came and went as he pleased.

Wilmore took his place in the circle, and the briefing began, a bit quickly and albeit unexpectedly, due to the few absences.

"You may be wondering where Colonel Gayer and Mr. Truth are," the intercom voice spoke, "I have dispatched them to their designated crisis spots already."

"CRISIS? Oh no? A crisis??? God, not a crisis! Why WHY WHY!!!" Clamored John. ?Oh god Daniel, I don't know!'

?Shut up John. Your dumb and you say dumb things.? Boomed an unwelcome  voice from the back.

"WHAT IS HE DOING HERE?" James screeched, "He asked to be demoded and decommissioned, and we ALL gladly agreed!"

"Everyone," Daniel said from the privacy of the intercom, "these are extreme times, and we need all the help we can get. I have asked Raist to come back to help us, due to his special relationship with one of the targets. For that same reason, I have sent DK to Australlia and Roundy to America to locate Cinlef and any other Elder Ones who could assist us. Gayer will be in Engerland, and then off to Finland to either round up support, or silence opposition."

"But Daniel," Wilmore queried, "You haven't told us the emergency yet. I would really like to be briefed before we start talking about formulating a plan."

"Fine then. To business. Simply put, Agent Bishop has failed us. He has allowed the damned Russians to launch THEIR craft before we were able to launch ours. With the information they will collect about the earths true form, they will be able to hold us, and by extension the world, in captivity. They know we cannot allow the truth to become exposed, and they will use this knowledge to leverage themselves into becoming the pre-eminent super power."

The room grumbled in disbelief, some in anger that such an important task had been put in the hands of such an eccentric old man, others in awe that the Russians space capabilities had beaten the M.A.G.I.C. funded N.A.S.A program.

"What is the first move Daniel" Asked Jack.

"First, we protect our mistake. Raist, after Mr. Truth finds Hara and ties up THAT loose end, take him to Tom Bishop, and make sure he has a contingency plan. Levee, please find some of the more prominent Flat Earth Theory conspiracy theorists, and make sure they are prepped to present any possible Russian theories in their own, more eccentric light. You others, begin scanning the airwaves for any Russian transmission from Sputnik. Wilmore, please stay here. I have a private and personal matter to query you about."

After everyone left the room, Wilmore stared at the intercom and waited. Would his excessive womanizing be called into question? No, Raist had been with FAR more women than him during his tenure. Would his commitment to the cause be questioned? No, Daniel MUST know he was committed to the Moderation and Administration of Globularist Ideals Conspiracy, and Cinlef had been absent for MONTHS with no repercussions. Would Daniel ask him his opinion on the banning of Hara from the compound? He could't. It was Daniels decision to demod him in the first place. What then? What could he possibly need to speak to him in private about?

"Wilmore. I have a question, and I would appreciate your expertise in this area."

Puzzled, Wilmore responded timidly "Yes Daniel. Anything. It would be my pleasure to assist you."

"Wilmore... this is quite serious, and believe me, if you disappoint me. your fate will NOT be ta pleasant one. If you have any concerns about your ability to advise me, then please, speak now so i may find someone more competent."

"No Daniel. I am confident in my abilities to assist you in anything you encounter." Wilmore tried to sound confident... but... what could have such importance attached to it? What would the question be?

 "Alright. Well, here it is Wilmore," He paused for several moments, then responded in a much lighter and cheerier voice "I am having a delightful little gathering with some very close friends, and, I was wondering if you could recommend me a nice wine to go with my Salmon. Please try to keep it cost efficient! I'm trying to run a conspiracy here, and t-shirt sales have been down this quarter!"

"Wine?" Wilimore instantly relaxed, and felt his cool calm confidence return in full" Well, I guess... Try Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio, for a sharp full flavored wine for a lighter body but still full flavored try a Robert Modavi Chardonnay aged in oak your wine store will be happy to help you. The first is an Italian wine the second is a California wine. ENJOY"

And with Daniels "Important" question answered, Wilmore left to find out just ho much information the Russians had gathered.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 12:36:50 PM by theonlydann »

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theonlydann

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2010, 08:08:57 AM »
"King Mugsy... you must know by now, the difference between meat and vegetables. I mean... Honestly..."

"Peppers? KING MUGSY WANTS PEPPERS ON HIS PIZZA! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!"

"But... they ARE peppers Mugsy..."

"NOT PEPPERS! PEPPERS MEAT! RRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!"

"No... you wanted PEPPERONI... not peppers."

"Not same? Balkno, explain"

"No... They aren't the same. Remember?" Blanko inhaled deeply "King Mugsy, i think we may have to switch to
viking sammiches if you can't be a bit kinder towards the delivery boys, and clearer with the orders. And for gods sake... it's
BLANKO... not Balkno."

"Sammiches with MMMMMMMEAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT! RRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHH!VIKING HEADBUTT!"

Blanko quickly jumped behind the overturned couch in their shared living room. Standing about 6'4" and weighting in at just over
250, a "viking headbutt" as Mugsy called them, could really ruin one Blankos day.

"Mugsy doesn't want pizza now. Mugsy is sad. BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

To see the last of in a bloodline of proud Viking warriors cry over something as simple as a pizza... well... it made Blanko
question a lot of things in life... but one thing he didn't question was his duty to this great man.

"I will make you a Viking sammich and pour you some Ale King Mugsy. Why don't you play your guitar and make us some viking
battle music!"

With those words King Mugsy picked up his Viking axe... not the kind so many before him had used to cleave men in two, but the
kind men of THIS age used to make music that inspires the heart, and he strummed. Suddenly, Blanko was at peace.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

"LET ME OUT! NOW! I Demand to be released from this room! YOU KNOW I DON'T BELONG HERE! THIS IS A GIFT! NOT A CURSE! I AM NO
DEMON! I KNOW THINGS AND I NEED TO FIND THEM!!! I NEED TO BE LISTENED TO!"

A generic doctor walked out of the room and slammed the door shut.

The screaming man was white, maybe early 20's, and the name on his charts was a scrawled out M-o--s, and someone next to it has penciled
Saddam. As the Doctor examined the chart, he gave a sudden chuckle.

"Nurse, you cannot be serious. A white man, named Saddam... who is presenting with  psychic ability? Is Goldstein
playing a joke on me again? I mean... For fucks sake... Psychic? We aren't a mental institution, we're a damned clinic"

Nurse Peach came from around the table and picked up the chart, and skimmed it briefly.
"Yes Doctor. This is the information
given to me by the police officer who brought him in. We have orders to sedate him and keep him here until one of their
transport teams come to pick him up. If it makes you uncomfortable, i can handle it."

The doctor nodded in agreement. "Yes Nurse, i would rather not be bothered with such annoyances. This is the second patient
brought in under such ridiculous circumstances. Do these officers really think we are a holding cell for communists and
the criminally insane? After that Mids incident... well... i'm just sick of it."

After the Doctor walked out, Nurse Peach walked over to Saddam, wiped his forehead with a cloth, and started to gently whisper to him as she began
administering a sedative. "You're going to be ok. I don't know what you did, but I'll make sure you're comfortable while you're with us."

With his last bit of strength, Saddam grabbed her arm and looked up at her. "I've seen you. In here." He pointed to his head.
 "You, and I... we will be going on an adventure. You'll be..." and he trailed of into a violent nightmare filled sleep.

"I wonder," thought the Nurse,"If he knows... that i know."

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 12:10:38 PM »
In a rural town somewhere in New Jersey, USA, at least one of the local first-responders was not in an ideal state of readiness when the call came through.

"YEAH!" shouted Hara Taiki, sliding the ambulance around in a circle in the parking lot.  A dozen empty beer cans slid by his feet as he continued to whirl his machine around.  While some people might have suggested that doing donuts in an ambulance, a vehicle designed for transport of the injured, wasn't a very good idea, Hara had never cared.  Ever since he had been fired from his security job at NASA, no occupation that the portly redhead had tried ever really satisfied him.  If he got fired from this one, then he'd just find another menial job.  He was through caring about his status in life.

The radio crackled, "Hara?"

Hara jerked the vehicle to a stop and grabbed the radio.

"Who the fuck is this?"

"Huh?  This is your boss, Hara.  Who else would it be?"

"What the fuck are you bothering me for?" snapped Hara.  "How many times do I have to tell you?  You people need to fuck off and leave me alone!  If I tell you to stop doing something, stop fucking doing it!"

There was silence for a moment.

"Hara, are you drunk again?  You're on duty right now.  We got a call about a man who's collapsed in public.  We need you to pick him up and bring him to the hospital.  I hope you've got your paramedic with you?"

"Uh..." Hara looked nervously over his shoulder.  The truth was that his paramedic didn't have much more of a work ethic than he did, and had left the ambulance to buy more beer and cigarettes five minutes ago.  Still, Hara was sober enough to realize that admitting this to his boss wouldn't be a very smart career move.

"Yeah, no problem.  We'll pick him up."

His boss gave him the address and clicked off.  Hara drove the ambulance over to the indicated area quickly enough, pausing only to grin at the back of a somewhat attractive woman.  This grin rapidly slipped off his face when it dawned on him that the woman was in fact a man with a mullet.  Shuddering, he wheeled the ambulance up to the victim's supine form.

Hara only had limited medical knowledge, but he could tell that the man wasn't in life-threatening condition; he was breathing and his pulse was normal.  Sighing with relief, he dragged the man on board and hooked him up to a machine that would monitor his heart rate, then jumped in the driver's seat and wheeled off.

The ominous beeping behind him soon caught his attention.  Pulling the ambulance to the side of the road, Hara looked over at the machine's screen to reveal what he was afraid of: The man was flatlining.

Hara wasn't fully clear on how defibrillators worked, but he understood that they were sometimes used on people whose hearts had stopped.  Grabbing a pair from the paramedic's closet, he raised them over the patient's chest and was about to bring them down when the unthinkable happened.  The man's eyes snapped open.

Reaching up, the patient seized the two defibrillators from the astonished Hara, and rammed them into the redhead's chest.  Hara screamed as the volts of electricity ran through his body, then collapsed, stunned, to the floor.

The other man calmly rose from the stretcher, then reached over and turned the heart-monitoring machine off.  Disconnecting himself from the monitor had been enough to trigger the flatline.  Stepping over Hara's gasping form, the patient filled a large syringe of morphine, the ambulance's most powerful painkiller.  The man then knelt down beside Hara and injected him in the neck with all of it.  Hara twitched for a few moments, then lay still.

The murderer casually looked over the mess that Hara kept his ambulance in, and decided that no one would find out the truth, at least for a while.  It would be no surprise that a drunk local had overdosed on a commonly-abused drug, and the hospital knew enough about Hara's lack of professionalism not to ask questions.

The man stepped out from the ambulance and walked along the road, smiling to himself.  He had understood for a long time that perfect murders weren't ones where the police never figured out who the murderer was, perfect murders were when the police didn't even know that there was a murder at all.  And this man strove for perfection, in everything he did.

After all, Mr. Truth was MAGIC's primary assassin, and had been for years now.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 07:59:04 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 11:18:54 AM »
A cold wind raced across the rocky open plain, carrying a lashing of dust to coat the skeletal scaffolds towering over the landscape of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, although the trail of smoke and fire had dissipated many hours ago, cosmologist Hristianskiĭ Rokerom Devyanosto couldn't help staring up at the perfect blue void with a smile on his thin, bespectacled face.

"You're still out here, comrade?" A voice beside him sighed "You should come in and help field the phonecalls, everybody from the press and even the Premier himself has been trying to talk to somebody here."

"Nyet, you know that I can't handle telephones, Voĭny, they set off my panic attacks."

Voĭny Sobaki rolled his eyes. Hristianskii had been a problem from day one of the program, if it wasn't for his expansive knowledge of cosmology and the technologies involved in manipulating the dark matter field he would have kicked him off the program as soon as he could. He imagined ripping his nameplate off his pokey little office and throwing it out onto the Kazakh badlands to let nature rip off 'XP90' for all time.

"All right, XP90, I've had enough of this. Don't you have to prepare for phase II?" He grunted irritably.

"Comrade, you forget, until Sputnik has aligned itself to the celestial clockwork there is little I can do apart from to stand here and imagine our creation gliding effortlessly above the Motherland." XP90 explained patiently "Try to keep your 'War Dog' mentality under control and act like a true project Director."

Voiny bristled at that one and he had to control his bunched fists. Who was this little pizda to question his leadership?

"Well I'm going back in there to help Kanadark and Semnadtsatogo, when you feel like not being a sooka you'll find us in there putting in some real work."

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theonlydann

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 05:50:38 AM »
Gayer just loved England. It was a lovely place. Just lovely. She had been sent by Daniel to find a very special man... Chris..etti? She couldn't pronounce it, which had angered Daniel to the point he just wrote SPAGHETTI in large letters across his manila info packet.

"Gayer," he had said, "This man is of the utmost importance. He has ties to many people inside the British Parliament, and his position as Editor of Daily Express and Daily Mirror means he will have influence over Millions of people. We NEED him on our side."

"Oh Daniel, i do hope he joins," she cooed ,"he is such a handsome man. It would be a shame if i didn't get to..."

"Gayer!" He suddenly sounded impatient. "This is not just any bloke! You will do what it takes to complete your mission, and nothing more. DO NOT GET INVOLVED."

"Oh Daniel, i was just going to say, it would be a shame if i didn't get to properly complete my mission. Will i be getting my Equipment package sent to me, or will i have to procure my own?"

"Uh..." He stammered... "their have... been... some mailing issues Gayer. It looks like you're going to be on your own for a bit. I will try to get your equipment to you when you return to Finland to meet up with the venerable viking king. "

"Figures."

That conversation had taken place about a month ago. Daniel had known the Russians would beat the Americans into space... and he also knew the English would be more likely to beleive the Russians than the Americans when it came to the shape of the Earth. For some reason, Stalin and Truman had never been the best of friends... what with the Soviet support of North Korea, and  Mccarthyism running rampant... the Russians could tell the USA that the sky was blue, and the US would in turn nuke it until it turned black, just to say the Soviets were wrong.

Gayer had set up shop in a little flat above a pub across the street from the Daily Express office. she had tailed Chris for the first week she was in town. He had a pretty average routine, off to the Express offices, then off to the Mirror, stop for tea in between. After work he went back to his flat, made himself dinner, occasionally had a friend or three over for a wine party on the weekends. He apparently knew a thing or two about keeping a neat house, because on the occasions Gayer had stopped over to snoop, their was not a speck of dust in the place, and his next days wardrobe was always neatly pressed and hanging in the bathroom.

"This shouldn't be to hard." she thought to herself "He lives alone, doesn't have a girlfriend, and likes to drink. I think it's time to go meet Chris for a spot of tea."

With that, Gayer left her flat to arrange her ""accidental" meeting with Chris at the Bakery. How Gayer handled this meeting would set the tone for the remainder of their lives... be it positive or negative. She looked one last time at his surveillance photo, and found herself hoping deep down inside, that it would be to her benefit to put on some perfume.

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theonlydann

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2010, 11:23:56 AM »
Raist had gotten the phone call from Mr. Truth about an hour ago. The Job had been completed far ahead of schedule, leaving Raist with a lot of time to kill. That was one of the problems with working with the best. Sometimes, you just couldn't keep up with them. He had decided to go troll a local bar, and see if he could pick an argument, or pick up some jailbait. Either or, the end was going to be the same. Someone was gonna be FUCKED.
Little did Raist know what an annoying adventure he had gotten himself into. As Raist walked up to the local Gas station to get some ciggarettes, he was approached by someone very young, and very annoying.

"Hey!" Shouted a kid who could be no older than 15. "Hey! I know who you are man! Hi! Whats up! Can i follow you around? How is it going man? What are you doing here? Whats going on!"

"Who the fuck." Raist started, but he was abruptly cut off by more mindless chatter from this little bastard.

"Hey! My name is Doni, but my friends call me Dino! Why? Oh because i can never spell it right on my schoolwork. My mom says i have trouble paying attention, but i pay plenty of attention! Thats how i know who you are! I've been looking in the back of comic books and trying to order shirts from you guys forever!!"

"Kid, i don't know what you are" he started again, but once again, more chatter.

"Oh, don't be silly! You work for the flat earth society, right? I can tell! You just know that somehow i know! HEY! Can i folow you around? It's gotta be important for you to be around here, and you could use a guy like me to show you around! COME ON MAN! STAP IGNORING ME!" he cried.

"Dear GOD!" Raist thought. He KNEW raising money through t-shirt sales in the back of comic books was a shit way for Daniel to fund the damn society... but NO... Daniel wouldn't listen to Raist. That is how so much faggotry occurred. By ignoring Raist. Well... He couldn't do anything about the t-shirts, but he could tie up this loose end.

"Di... Doni is it?" Raist said, calm as could be. "Doni, i have a job for you. It's simple, and it will prove your worth. Can you do something simple?"

"OH BOY! YEAH I CAN! Hey man, whats your name? Can i ahve a code name? Am i one of the Gang now? Whats going on MANNNNN!"

The kid would not shut up!!! Ugh. Raist was already sick of this.

"Kid, i need you to go into the store, and distract the owner so i can grab some beer. I don't have enough money, and i don't wanna deal with the hassle. Afterwards, we can go back to the hotel i'm at, and i can initiate you into the society. Ok?"

"IM YOUR MAN! SWEET!"

"Hey, Doni, want a piece of gum before you go?" Raist held out a single chicklet to him.

"I love gum! YUM YUM YUM I LOVE GUM!" And Doni popped it in his mouth without thinking twice. "Thanks!"

"Ok, go! HURRY Doni! Get in the store!"

Raist saw Doni run into the store, and didn't need to stick around to see what happened next. He barely heard the shop keeper screaming for someone to call an ambulance. Raist knew Doni was lying in the store, convulsing and foaming at the mouth. Cyanide in gum form was one of James only good ideas. Now Raist had to make sure HE didn't get caught. He was out of gum. But he had also dealt with one VERY annoying problem.

I think i'm going to head up to Michigan, and wait for Mr. Truth to meet me there. Then we can travel to Canada together, stop by Mr. Guess's house, and see what international chatter had to say about Mr. Tom Bishops failures. Then they could all go see how he was doing.

Just then a sixteen year old with pigtails rode by, and Raist was lost in depravity one more time.

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2010, 11:46:08 AM »
The limousine slowly pulled up in front of the clinic.

"Are you sure you want to do this, sir?" asked Blanko, from the driver's seat, peering back at his passenger.  "After all, many people here still remember World War II.  You'd be instantly recognizable as a Finn.  That might lead to some, uh, unpleasant confrontations."

Mugthulhu scowled.  "I'M FAMOUS, DAMMIT!  Those Americans don't know what they're talking about!  I only fight when the honor of Viking warriors demands it, like over pizza.  I didn't fight in that boring war."

Blanko looked at the steering wheel.  "I did."

Mugthulhu smiled at this.  "You were a patriot, Balkno!  You had no choice but to fight for the honor of all Vikings!"

"Well..." stalled his driver, "You know, technically Vikings are Scandinavian, and Finland isn't really part of Scandinavia, so, arguably..."

"NO!" bellowed Mugthulhu.  "I DECIDE WHO IS A VIKING!  YOU ARE A VIKING!  I AM A VIKING!  WE ARE ALL VIKINGS!"

"All right, then," sighed Blanko.  "Let's go."

The two men left the limo and walked to the entrance of the clinic.  Before they could enter, Mugthulhu put his hand on Blanko's shoulder.

"Listen to me, Balkno.  This is something that I just...I just have to do.  To ignore this solemn duty of mine would be worse than...SHAVING MY EPIC BEARD!  OR GIVING UP ALCOHOL!  I hope you can understand the ways of us Vikings."

Blanko nodded, not even bothering with his customary eye-roll every time his boss butchered his name.

They entered the clinic and approached the front desk, where a bored-looking receptionist was sitting.  Mugthulhu lowered his head, hoping to avoid recognition.

"Good morning," Blanko greeted the young woman, doing his best to deflect her inquisitive stare.  "My name is Jon Blanko.  My friend and I need to see a patient you have here."

"Which patient would like to see?" queried the receptionist.

"Uh, I'm not sure if his name is on record.  I believe he only identified himself as 'Saddam'?"

The receptionist frowned.  "Oh, him.  Well, I'm afraid he's in the custody of the police.  They brought him in to us just yesterday on the grounds that he was insane.  He claimed to be a psychic.  Anyway, you'll have to talk to Officer Goldstein.  Room 204."

Blanko nodded his thanks, then led his boss across the lobby to an elevator.  Blanko pushed the button for the second floor.  Although not a word was exchanged between, he could feel the emotions in the great man rising.

On the second floor, the two men were greeted by a very fat police officer, who hastily crammed the rest of his donut into his mouth, then offered a sticky hand to shake.  The two Finns declined to shake.

"What can I do you for?" grunted Officer Goldstein.  "I got the phone call from the station advising me to be cooperative.  Are you...really..."

Thor "King Mugsy" Mugthulhu, one of the most famous rock and roll musicians in the world, raised his head and looked the officer in the eye.

"Yes, I am."
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 12:43:42 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 03:10:39 PM »
Raist arrived in Detroit, Michigan that night.  He hated the city with a passion, although he had to admit that it was the best available for their purposes.  It was close to Canada, and a friend who lived there had agreed to let him stay in his house.  Still, Raist was going to watch his step while he was there.  The last thing he needed was to spend the next few days sitting in a jail cell as he explained to the cops why Mr. Truth had torn the throats out of local riffraff who had dared to bother them.

Arriving at his friend's house, Raist knocked on the door, which swung open.  The man behind the door, however, was not who he expected to see.

"What the fuck?" Raist blurted.  "I thought you said you wouldn't be here for another two days!"

Mr. Truth shrugged.  "I got lucky and finished up early.  Come on in."

Raist stepped into the house, then peered more closely at his partner.  He had only met Mr. Truth a few times before, and the last time had been over a year ago.  A former Marine who had been decorated for valor in World War II, he must have been in his late thirties or early forties now.  From his accent, he was clearly from New York, but his dark eyes, long dark hair, and swarthy complexion suggested perhaps some Hispanic or Arabic descent.  Although not particularly handsome, Mr. Truth was six foot three and powerfully built, cutting an impressive figure.

"Okay," Raist began.  "On my way over here, I was checking the flights to Canada.  I think our best bet would be-"

Mr. Truth shook his head.  "We're not taking a flight to Canada."

Raist blinked in surprise.  "Why the fuck not?"

"It's too risky," commented Mr. Truth.  "We already have people in Britain and Australia, and we're making plans to send agents to Finland and the Soviet Union soon.  Remember, we officially "lost" the space race just the other day.  People are going to get suspicious if there are records of NASA officials travelling all over the globe so soon."

"Records?  Wait...are you saying that we're going to enter Canada illegally?"

"That's right, Doctor."  Mr. Truth smirked.  "Haven't you ever hopped the border before?"

"You know fucking well that I haven't!" snapped Raist, in a tone he normally would never dare to use to a man like Mr. Truth.  Controlling his anger, he continued in a lower tone of voice: "Look, I'm not a goddamn field agent.  Okay?  I don't do the shit that you do.  I don't hop borders, I don't sabotage our rivals, I don't eliminate people..."  Raist's voice trailed off as he remembered young Doni from earlier in the day.  Despite how annoying the kid was, Raist hoped that he would recover from the cyanide poisoning.  He didn't want to become something as cold-blooded and ruthless as the man who stood before him.

Mr. Truth was only a few inches taller than Raist, yet he seemed to tower over him as he approached the young scientist.  "We understand, don't worry.  That's why I'm here, to help you in your duties that you might be...shall we say, less qualified in.  Getting across the border won't be a problem, as long as you do what I tell you, when I tell you."

"Okay," groaned Raist.  "I'm just kind of stressed out right now.  I was imagining that I'd get to spend a couple of days here with Dann, having a few beers, you know, like a quick break or something."

"I'm very sorry for your loss, Doctor.  Maybe you should take a fucking sabbatical.  Now, I think we should get some rest while we can.  We'll hit the road at dawn tomorrow."

*

Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2010, 02:37:19 AM »
Commander Michael Wilmore sat in the conference room of the NASA base at Houston, Texas, reading and rereading the file of the lead scientist on their project, Dr. Thomas T. Bishop, although he already knew it all by heart.  Born on July 13th, 1922, in Dallas, Texas.  Enlisted in the Marine Corps in January of 1943, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, even though his student deferment from his college studies in geology was protecting him from being drafted.  Tom Bishop soon earned the highest rank that an enlisted Marine could receive, Sergeant Major, and a chestful of medals for heroism to go with it.  The commanding officer of his regiment, Colonel Matrix, had singled out Bishop as being the best Marine he had ever commanded, and publicly expressed his disappointment at the fact that Bishop could only be promoted so far, seeing how he wasn't an officer.

Wilmore sighed and dropped the file on the table, then rested his face in his hands.  For such an excellent soldier, Bishop had shown himself to have an intellectual side as well.  Just a few years after the end of World War II, Bishop completed his education and earned a Ph.D. in geology, with a focus on geophysics. He had been lucky to find a job at NASA relatively close to his home, and frequently commuted home on the weekends to visit his extended family.  The rest of the staff lived on the base almost all of the time, and a few senior officials, most prominent among them Levee and James, had objected to Bishop's desire to occasionally return to the outside world.  Eventually, Daniel had put his foot down and decreed that Tom Bishop deserved to visit his family, that he could be trusted.

That is, until now.

The sudden loss of the space race had sparked an enormous amount of concern among the senior NASA officials who ran MAGIC behind the scenes.  There were wild conspiracy theories that Bishop had been bribed by the Soviets, that he was somehow related to the Rosenbergs, that he was a communist, or that he was just incompetent.  Wilmore didn't believe any of those theories were true.  Still, though, any attempts to try and deal with the Soviets would go no further with a project director ignorant of the truth about the world.  Daniel had made it very clear to Wilmore that Tom Bishop would either cooperate fully with MAGIC's agenda or else be eliminated like Hara was.

The problem was that Wilmore had no idea how Bishop would react to learning the truth.  On the one hand, Wilmore fully believed that what MAGIC did behind the scenes was for the greater good of the United States, and he hoped that the patriot in Bishop would recognize that.  On the other hand, however, they had done some fairly terrible things over the years.  Lying to the American people, embezzling public funds, and even murder.  What would a man of Tom Bishop's morality and honor say to that?

The sound of approaching footsteps snapped the base commander out of his reverie.  He looked up to see Dr. Thomas T. Bishop enter the conference room.

"You wanted to see me, Commander Wilmore?" Tom asked.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 11:51:22 AM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2010, 12:39:22 PM »
Mugthulhu and Blanko followed Officer Goldstein down the hallway of the clinic until they reached the room of the patient.  Inside, the two Finns saw the bed containing Saddam, the patient they were interested in, along with a man in a white lab coat bending over it, making notes on a clipboard.

"This here is Dr. Joe-hans," Officer Goldstein said to the visitors.

The doctor scowled.  "That's Johannes, Officer.  The "J" is silent."

"Oh, right, whatever," grunted the cop sulkily.

Johannes looked over the men, his eyes widening when he saw Mugthulhu's face.

"K-K-King Mugsy?  I mean, Mr. Mugthulhu?  Sir?  It's an honor to meet you."

Mugthulhu boomed with laughter, but didn't bother replying.  He and Blanko had agreed beforehand that the less he said, the sooner they could get out of there.

Blanko spoke instead.  "Dr. Johannes, what can you tell us about this patient?"

The doctor turned his gaze to him and frowned.  "Well, I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid that's confidential.  It's between me and him."

Mugthulhu quickly decided that silence was not good enough.  "I'M A CELEBRITY, DAMN IT!  YOU CAN'T JUST DENY ME!"

"Look," Blanko hurriedly intervened, "We're not asking for his medical history here, we're just wondering what you plan on doing with him long-term."

Johannes shrugged.  "We don't really have any plans for him.  Officer Goldstein dropped him off here and said we had to sedate him until a transport team arrived to take him off our hands."

Mugthulhu glowered furiously at the doctor.  "You sedated him!?"

"Hey, Goldstein insisted on it."

"I did not!" snapped Goldstein.  "Well, okay, I did, but I got orders from the station.  They said he had to be sedated."

"Why?" asked Blanko, incredulous.  "Does he have a history of violence or something?"

"I don't give a shit.  I was just doing what I was told.  Why do you give a shit, anyway?"

At that moment, Goldstein's radio crackled.  Snatching it up, the police officer listened to it intently.

"Yeah, looks like they're here.  I'll go talk to them now."

"Look," commented Johannes, "With all due respect, would one of you please tell me why you're so interested in that guy?  He calls himself Saddam, for God's sake!"

Mugthulhu stared defiantly at him.

"That guy is my son."
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 01:03:51 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2010, 09:38:42 PM »
Blanko and Mugthulhu stood by themselves in the clinic room, gazing down on the one thing that neither of them had ever expected.  The long-lost son of the rock legend.

Mugthulhu's mind raced as he thought through the events that had led him to this spot.  Just a few weeks ago, this young man's mother, a prostitute he had known back from long before he was famous, had contacted him and begged him to come and help their son.  Before that fateful letter, Mugthulhu hadn't even known that he had ever fathered a child.  But here he was, staring down at a man that could only be described as a failure of parenthood.  A street criminal, and from the sound of it, a lunatic as well.  What kind of a father was he?

Mugthulhu was spared from any further feelings of guilt by the sound of footsteps behind him.  Two tall men dressed in dark suits and sunglasses entered the room and approached the bed.

Leaving his boss to stare at his only son, Blanko turned to greet the two men, doing his best to put on a smile.

"Good morning!  You two are from the police, then?"

The two men quickly glanced at each other, then back at Blanko.  Almost instantly, they both removed pistols from their hidden shoulder holsters and aimed them both at the two Finns.

"Not exactly, Mr. Blanko," one of the men calmly replied.  "To be truthful with you, the police actually have no interest in this patient at all."

Mugthulhu and Blanko raised their hands and backed slowly away, as Blanko's mind raced through the possibilities.  Those men could be federal government agents, and they could have been able to suitably pressure the local police into demanding that Saddam be restrained until they arrived.  But then why were they pointing their guns at them?

"Give us the psychic," snapped one of the agents.

"What?" blurted out Mugthulhu, genuinely confused.

"The boy!  Give him to us, now!"

Mugthulhu set his jaw and scowled down at the men.  "NEVAR!  This boy is my only family!  If you want him, then you'll just have to kill me first!"

The agent shrugged and raised his gun.  "We can do that, too."

It was then that Blanko sprang into action.  Seizing the talking agent, the one closest to him, Blanko smashed his right fist into his jaw, dazing him.  At the same moment, he used his left hand to wrench the pistol out of the man's slack hands and spun him around close to his body to form a human shield.

The other agent turned and opened fire wildly, apparently without any regard for his partner's life.  Blanko felt the pressure as the body he held absorbed the gunfire, but did not hesitate.  Aiming the weapon he had just confiscated over his body shield's shoulder, he fired three times at his attacker, killing him.  Then he threw the dead body he held to the ground.

"Let's go!" shouted Blanko, turning to leave the room.  However, he wasn't prepared to see what was behind him.  Or rather, what wasn't behind him.

The bed was empty.  No Saddam anywhere.

"He must have slipped out just now," mumbled Blanko.

"We have to go get him, Balkno!" boomed Mugthulhu.  "If more of those thugs are looking for him here, then we'll be relying on you and your tough guy routine to get him out!  ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MY SON!"

"You could try helping me," Blanko suggested.

Mugthulhu looked shocked.

"All right, never mind," muttered Blanko.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 02:45:58 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 12:43:33 AM »
Franklin peered through the scope of his Springfield sniper rifle and tried to focus on his target.  "Let's see, he looks to be pretty tall, heavily built, he's bald...no, wait, he might just shave his head...hmm, here's something interesting.  He's got something on his head, I think it might be a scar..." Franklin turned the dial on his scope quickly, trying to get a better view.  "Yeah, it's an old bullet wound.  Looks almost like a crater."

On the other side of the phone, Jack straightened up in his chair and listened attentively.  "A bullet wound on his skull?"

"Yeah.  You know who he is?"

"I believe I do..." Jack flipped through the pages of a dossier on Soviet operatives.  "Here we go.  Colonel Voĭny "War Dog" Sobaki of the KGB.  Forty-seven years of age.  He has a long and decorated career, having fought through the entire Second World War, where he received both his nickname and his scar.  When the KGB was formed just a few years ago, he was apparently one of the first agents ever recruited to join."

Franklin lowered his rifle slightly as Sobaki turned and walked back into the cosmodrome.  "So the KGB is involved?"

"Looks like it.  Anyway, Lt. Franklin, you've done well.  Patch me through to Ichi, and keep a watch on the building."

Benjamin Franklin muttered his thanks, then pushed the button on his radio to patch Jack through to his commanding officer and friend, Captain Patrick "Ichi" Ichimaru, who was running the mission to spy on the Baikonur Cosmodrome.  In spite of Jack's assurances that he was doing a good job, Franklin was sick of this mission, and wondered why it was so important.  Yes, the Soviet Union had admittedly scored a political victory over the United States by beating them to space, but what business of this was the military's?  Franklin didn't even want to think about the consequences if he or Ichi were caught spying on the Soviets.

Shivering, the lieutenant rested his sniper rifle on the snowy ground next to him, and patted his body up and down with his gloved hands in a frantic effort to keep warm.  He was currently perched on a snowy hill overlooking the cosmodome entrance, had been for over two hours now, and the cold was getting to him.  Such a change in scenery from a few years ago, where he and Ichi had fought in the steamy jungles of Korea.  But just six months ago, they had been reassigned to NASA, of all places.  Why?  And what were they supposed to be looking for, spying on the cosmodrome?

**********

Hristianskiĭ Rokerom "XP90" Devyanosto continued to gaze up at the sky after Sobaki had left him to it, until he decided that a walk around the cosmodrome would do him some good.  It was during this constitutional that he heard a voice.

"Psst!  Comrade!"

XP90 turned to see one of the soldiers who guarded the cosmodrome.  He stood in full uniform several yards away, just out of eyeshot from the cosmodrome.

"What is it?" XP90 called to him.

"Come here!  I need to show you something!"

Shrugging, XP90 walked over to the soldier.  He was about to ask what he wanted to show him when the soldier suddenly slammed his fist into XP90's stomach, winding him, then seized him by the shoulders and flung him to the ground.

"Stop...this..." wheezed XP90.  "I will contact...law enforcement..."

The soldier casually turned XP90 over with his foot, then began patting him down, apparently looking for something.

"This is your last warning!" gasped XP90.  "Consequences will never be the same!"

In answer, the soldier punched XP90 in the chin, knocking the diminutive scientist unconscious.  Then he continued his search of his person, until-

"This is what I need," muttered Ichi to himself, examining XP90's keycard.  Already disguised as a soldier, that keycard would allow him access to places deep inside the cosmodrome.  And Ichi knew that he would have to search all over the cosmodrome if he was going to find the direct recording of what Sputnik was currently seeing in orbit.  He had a mission, and he was going to accomplish it.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 01:49:35 AM by Saddam Hussein »

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2010, 05:43:48 AM »
"How long have we known one another, Tom?" Commander Willmore sighedas Tom took the seat opposite him.

"Can we cut the dramatic buildup, sir? Frankly I don't have the time or the energy to waste. You want to know about Sputnik? You want to know how it is that the Reds beat us?"

Willmore sat back in his chair and nodded. Say what you liked about Doctor Bishop, he was refreshingly straight and to-the-point; a rarity in the beaurocracy-choked circles he operated in.

"Officially it's an atmospheric monitoring satelite and a testbed for Soviet space-technology, as well as a potent 'fuck you' to the US."

"...and unofficially?"

"Unofficially, sir it could be a death ray planning to wipe us out or a flying stash of banana seeds or a transmitter to an alien mothers--"

"--Tom." Wilmore cut in.

"We don't know. What we do know is that heading up the project is Colonel Sobaki, originally of the VVS, the Soviet Air Force. He is known over there as the 'War-Dog' and is one of the few senior Soviets to publically support war against us."

"So he's been put out to pasture where he can't do any harm?"

"Unlikely, that isn't the Communist way, more likely, the leadership have decided to put him somewhere he can be useful, that is to say that it is likely that Sputnik has some serious military application."

Wilmore shook his head slowly.

"Tom, I have some information I need you to understand. I also nede you to realise that not a word of this is to leak outside these walls?"

Tom nodded...

(Work in progress)

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2010, 05:55:42 PM »
Colonel Sobaki stood alone in the command room of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, going over and over the events of the past few days in his head.  He only had to wrap up a few loose ends, and his country would be in a perfect position to show the rest of the world that the so-called "moral high ground" of the Americans was all a lie.  They would reveal that the Americans were no better than the Germans and Japanese that they had fought less than two decades before, greedy, cynical, and incompetent.  The rest of the planet would side with the Soviets for once, and the Americans would suffer a political humiliation that they would never recover from.  Sanctions would no doubt follow, and given the potential of space travel, possibly even military action.  And once America had been shunned into the corner, the Soviet Union would rise to become the preeminent superpower of the world.

"Comrade Colonel, sir?" Sobaki's musings were interrupted by one of his officers, Captain Yuri Mizsla, who had just entered the room.  "I'm afraid I have some bad news.  Our teams have not yet been able to locate the wreckage of Sputnik."

Sobaki furiously slammed his fist into the table.  "How can this be?  Siberia is part of our country!  It belongs to us!  And yet, even with the full might of the KGB at our disposal, we cannot locate a simple crashed satellite?"

"Please, Colonel, you must understand," pleaded Mizsla.  "Siberia is wild and harsh terrain, covering a vast area.  And it has only been three days since we dispatched the teams.  Given our limited numbers, you have to know that this may take a while."

Swallowing his anger, Sobaki nodded in acceptance.  After all, it had been his insistence that relatively few agents, only the most senior and trusted ones, be searching the tundra for Sputnik's remains.

"Very well, Captain.  But make sure to remind the men that speed and secrecy are of the essence here.  Without the raw footage that we can lift directly off of Sputnik's computers, we have no way of proving that it really recorded what we see on the computers.  The Americans will simply claim that the tapes are doctored otherwise."

Captain Mizsla looked up hopefully.  "That's it, then?  We find Sputnik, and we can expose them finally?"

"No," answered Sobaki reluctantly.  "That will not prove that the Americans lied, only that they were wrong.  Before we can release everything, we will also need the tapes at NASA's base in Houston, Texas, as well.  Naturally, NASA will not willingly hand them over, so their theft will be disguised as a paramilitary terrorist strike."

Mizsla gasped.  "Colonel, an attack on a government building on American soil could be construed as an act of war!"

"I know.  But they won't be able to prove it was us, at least not until it's too late.  In any case, you do not need to concern yourself with that.  A team is already standing by at the NASA base, waiting for my orders."

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2010, 01:28:04 PM »
Blanko and Mugthulhu charged through the hallways of the clinic, searching desperately for any sign of Saddam.  However, they could not find a trace of anyone.  There were no patients, no staff, not even any more of the mysterious agents.

"Where is everyone?" wheezed Mugthulhu, bending over to catch his breath.

"Well," commented Blanko, "If those men we saw back there were able to get the local police to hold your son for them, then they're probably working for an agency of the federal government.  It wouldn't be too hard for them to order an evacuation of this place, with a bomb threat or something."

Mugthulhu raised his head.  "What did they call him - a psychic?"

"Yeah."

A loud thumping noise from an adjacent room stopped their conversation instantly.  Blanko drew the pistol he had taken from one of the dead agents instinctively, putting a finger to his lips to signal his boss to stay quiet.  Then he crept closer to the door and waited...until he saw a blurry shape pass the entrance.

As fast as he could, Blanko slammed his shoulder into the door, which burst open, knocking over the person hiding behind it.  Blanko stepped over the threshold, gun held high, aimed at the corpulent figure sprawled on the ground.

"Officer Goldstein, huh?" grunted Blanko, lifting the police officer up to be on equal eye level.  "You mind telling us what's going on here, sir?

Goldstein trembled in Blanko's grasp.  "I don't know shit about this crap!  Honest, those government folks just came in and said that the patient we called "Saddam" had to be turned over to them.  I don't know why, they didn't look like the kind of men you talked back to, so I didn't ask 'em!  Then we heard gunshots and some more of them came charging in and ran around, and I didn't know what to do..."

"Enough!" snapped Blanko.  "What agency did these government men come from?"

Goldstein looked nervous.  "That newfangled space group.  NASA."

Blanko shook Goldstein angrily.  "NASA?  They're not a law enforcement agency!  You had better not be bullshitting me!"

"I swear it's true!" gasped Goldstein.  "They weren't scientists or nothin', their badges said they were security!  They had this long explanation of a secret group designed to protect NASA!  They said it was about national security or something!"

"And so it is," a voice cut in.

Two agents had walked into the room, dressed just like the ones back in Saddam's room.  One of them pointed a pistol at Blanko and fired.  Blanko tensed, until he realized that he had not been the target.  He slowly opened his arms, and Goldstein, with a bullet hole in his forehead, slid to the ground.

"You can drop your weapon now, Mr. Blanko."  The agent nodded at the gun Blanko held loosely by his side.  Blanko released it and it fell to the ground with a clatter.

"The two of you should never have run," muttered the man, as he and his partner slowly lowered their own guns.  "We're just trying to help you and your son."

Mugthulhu stepped forward, his jaw set.  "The other two thugs back there just tried to kill us!  And you just murdered a police officer!  You must think we're stupid!"

The two suits glanced at each other briefly and shared a laugh, as though Mugthulhu was missing out on some big joke.

Blanko spoke up.  "So, would either of you like to tell us what NASA has to do with national security?  And more importantly, what it has to do with us?"

The agent leveled his gun at Blanko immediately, all amusement gone.  "Shut your damn mouth, Mr. Blanko.  This has nothing to do with you.  To us, you're just a dumb grunt who got in the way, nothing more."

Blanko bristled, but the great Mugthulhu stepped forward, his jaw set.  "I'll come quietly."

"No!" shouted Blanko.

"It's all right, Balkno," answered Mugthulhu, with more calm in his voice than the bodyguard had ever heard.  "I...actually think I might know what this is all about.  On one condition, though."  He turned to face the agents.  "You let this man go.  He knows nothing about any of this."

A voice cut in.  "Or what?  You won't go quietly?"

Another man slowly walked into the room.  His face was very familiar...

"Johannes!" hissed Blanko.  "You're terrible.  Just terrible."

Johannes smirked, then produced a pistol, which he loaded and cocked, then aimed at Blanko.  "I'm sorry, King Mugsy, but your man is just going to have to die.  It's one less witness..."

"BALKNO!" bellowed Mugthulhu.  "RUN!  SAVE YOURSELF!  SAVE MY SON!  HURRY!"

Johannes swung the pistol around at the musician and fired.  Mugthulhu caught the round in his left shoulder, and roared with rage and pain as he sank to the ground.

Both of the other agents immediately opened fire at Blanko, who bolted into action.  As gunfire raked the wall behind him, he rolled from his spot and hurtled as low as he could towards the open door, then jumped through and disappeared down the hallway.

"Let him be!" ordered Johannes, noticing that his men wanted to pursue him.  "He'll kill you with his bare hands out there.  Let's keep the bird we have in the hand right now.  I'm going to order a paramilitary sweep of this building with a black ops unit."  He glanced at Mugthulhu's fallen form.  "Their mission objectives will be to capture Saddam alive, and eliminate Blanko the moment he's found.  Understood?"

"Yes, sir." replied one of the agents.

"Good.  Let's get this sack of shit back to base."

The two agents hurried to scoop up Mugthulhu, and followed Johannes down the hallway to leave the clinic.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 08:02:26 AM by Saddam Hussein »

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2010, 04:19:06 PM »
Wilmore clicked a button on his desk, causing the lights to dim and a projector to start reeling against the wall. The flickering image steadied and paused.

"You must have worked out by now that the world is not as the public believes it to be?" The commander stated "And since you haven't raised any questions I assume you realise the lie is perpetuated for a reason?"

Tom Bishop stood and stared at the black-and-white image on the wall,  it was a diagram of a disk, criss-crossed by latitudinal and longitudinal lines. The scientist nodded solemnly.

"It was immediately obvious after our first missile test launch, I considered raising the issue but... a secret like this must be protected for a reason?"

"Well done, Doctor Bishop. The world is flat, we learned that for sure from the remnants of the Nazi's secret moon landing project. It wasn't the only thing we learned..."

The projector clicked and the picture was replaced with a map of the night sky, the constellations bright and marked with thin lines like the front cover of an occult book.

"Newton discovered it first--the Celestial Clockwork. Of course he got it wildly wrong, he assumed it must be gravity acting as the force driving the clockwork of which the Earth is a part, but as we now know, Gravity is not a force."

Tom pointed at the screen,

"I pondered this to myself often in the long dark nights. How could the stars appear to move over our heads if the Earth is a disk? Are you saying Hitler and his space programme discovered it?"

"More than that." Wilmore declared, grimly "Hitler not only discovered the power behind the Celestial Clockwork, he found a way to harness it! Imagine the power of the stars themselves in the hands of that madman! Clearly it belonged in the hands of a sane madman, Roosevelt was to be that madman. We discovered too late in the war that the Soviets had learned of Hitler's power, too and they pushed to capture Berlin and her secrets before we did."

Suddenly it all seemed to fall into place. Sputnik, the Celestial Clockwork, Sobaki the Russian War-Dog.

"The Soviets discovered Hitler's power before we did."

"All we know for sure about the power is that it can give some humans almost supernatural powers, telekinesis, clairvoyance. This is why we hushed the space programme up, Americans are already paranoid of a nuclear-armed Russia, imagine the pandemonium over a solar-powered USSR!"

Doctor Bishop shuddered. He wasn't a religious man but he wished he was when he considered the implications of the Soviet's plans--whatever they might be. Suddenly he brought himself back from his reverie and looked Wilmore squarely in the eye.

"You called me up to your office, Commander. What do you need me to do?"

"The main Sputnik unit crash landed shortly after launch in the Siberian wastes, our spies report that the Russians are going hell-for-leather to find it. So are you." Wilmore leaned across the table and placed a hand on Tom's in a clich?-warming gesture "We're going to put you together a team, find Sputnik and discover the secrets behind the Celestial Clockwork--before it's too late..."

END OF CHAPTER I

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2010, 04:10:43 PM »
Chapter II

Colonel Voĭny Sobaki was proud to consider himself first and foremost a patriot.  To him, there was no higher honor for any man than to serve one's country.  The ancient legend of the Chinese general Yue Fei, the man with the phrase j?n zhōng b?o gu? tattooed on his back, genuinely brought tears to his eyes whenever he thought of it.   Those four Chinese words roughly translated to "serve the country with the utmost loyalty."  And like the great Yue Fei, Sobaki had served his country with nothing but loyalty.

During the first World War, Sobaki's parents both participated in the war effort - his father as a soldier, and his mother as a nurse.  Unfortunately, they were both killed by German troops during the final years of the war.  With no other family to raise him, young Voĭny became a child of the state.  As the Russian Revolution commenced and V.I. Lenin transformed Russia into the Soviet Union, Voĭny grew older and decided that the best way to honor his parents' sacrifice was to join the military himself, and fight for what they had fought for.

Along with thousands of other young men, Sobaki fought in the invasion of Poland in 1939.  There, he proved himself an excellent soldier, a natural with all weapons and skilled in hand-to-hand combat.  When Germany doubled crossed his country and attacked them in 1941, Sobaki didn't blink, but simply turned his destructive skills on every Nazi he could reach.  He had frozen in mountains, hidden underwater, sniped important targets from miles away, and once personally held off almost an entire squadron of Germans armed with nothing more than a flare gun.  The bullet wound he received to his skull during one skirmish was enough to guarantee him a permanent medical discharge, but Sobaki refused to leave the war, and within three months he rose from his sickbed to fight again.

Although Sobaki had never sought glory or reward, his feats of heroism had caught the attention of many important people higher in the government than him.  In 1953, shortly after the death of Comrade Stalin, Sobaki was approached by two men who explained that due to political clashes with Stalin, the country's intelligence agencies would soon be merged into one, destined to become the world's most powerful and influential in short order.  The next year, the Committee for State Security, otherwise known as the KGB, was formed, and Sobaki quickly joined.

Having taken a sharp dislike to the arrogance and greed of Americans during the war, Sobaki was delighted to have them finally as his enemy.  Over the past three years, he had worked diligently to try to uncover anything incriminating on them.  It was his hope that perhaps one day he could uncover sufficient grounds for a possible invasion of the United States.  However, Sobaki's patriotism was accompanied by a firm sense of logic.  If war between the two superpowers ever occurred, then the rest of the world would want to take sides, and the Soviets would need a good reason for why they should join them instead of the Americans.  It was Sobaki's hope that such a reason might be found in Sputnik's wreckage.

In his office in the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Sobaki strolled over to his window and gazed up at the night sky.  For the first time since he had been briefed of his mission, he suddenly felt a surge of genuine anger at the Americans.  Everything that they knew about the world - the entire universe, in fact - was a lie.  Sobaki thought with regret about all the scientists working hard just one floor below him, all duped into thinking that the launch had gone just as planned, with no idea of the world of lies they had just stepped into.  For the sake of those academics, and for all those who had been deceived, Sobaki vowed that no matter what political spin his superiors eventually decided to put on this, he would make the Americans pay for what they had done.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 05:37:07 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2010, 12:56:41 PM »
Commander Wilmore spread a number of photographs and documents onto the table in front of him.

"Our first order of business is to assemble a team.  Aside from you and me, there are only a few people currently on base that I anticipate going with us.  I'll introduce you to them shortly.  In the meantime, though, you can take a look at their files."

Tom picked up the first file.  The photograph on top was of a tall, handsome man in full military uniform.  His face was rugged and lined with a five o'clock shadow and a strong, confident expression.  In short, he looked like Hollywood's version of a soldier.  However, Tom knew better than to judge a man based on first appearances.  He had known many heroic-looking soldiers who had proved to be cowards or otherwise ineffective in battle, and many unimpressive-looking men who had shown themselves to be among the best soldiers of them all.

"That's Captain Patrick 'Ichi' Ichimaru, who's officially with the Army Rangers, although one of our contacts in the military has allowed us to place him and the platoon he commands on 'special assignment' to work for us for a while," explained Wilmore.  "Thirty-five years old.  Fought in WWII, and later on in Korea.  He's a damn good soldier, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to keep this country safe."

Tom nodded, reading over Ichi's history.  It seemed as though the soldier really did live up to his powerful appearance.

"Ichi will also bring along one of his men.  As much as I'd like to take on the Russians with an entire platoon of Rangers, we simply can't allow for a full-scale firefight on foreign territory in circumstances like these.  Stealth will be our main weapon here, not firepower."

Nodding again, Tom picked up another file.  This photograph showed an attractive young brunette practicing with a bow and arrows.

"Natasha Gayer," commented Wilmore.  "Don't let her appearance fool you, she's one of our best agents.  She has experience in-"

"She's NASA's official archer?" interjected Tom, looking up at Wilmore quizzically.

Wilmore laughed.  "No, no, archery is just a hobby of hers.  That picture is an old one we never updated, and eventually we decided to leave it there for sentimental reasons."

"No, not the picture, Commander.  It says right here that her position is 'Official Archer of NASA'.  Apparently, she has successfully assassinated over twenty people around the world from afar with nothing but her bow and arrows.  And it says that she's six months pregnant, and that she and Stalin once-"

"It says that?" Wilmore incredulously asked.  "Let me see-"

Tom handed him the file and Wilmore quickly skimmed through it.  "The fuck?  Gayer is the long-lost Anastasia?  Tracked down and killed Hitler after he faked his death?"  Wilmore slammed the file on the table angrily.  "I'm sorry, Tom, it looks like Gayer is pulling another one of her pranks.  She has an odd sense of humor like that."

Tom raised an eyebrow.  "And she's coming on this very important mission?"

"I assure you, Tom," replied Wilmore, in his best attempt at an appeasing tone, "Gayer will be professional when the situation requires it."

"I hope you're right," Tom muttered.

"Moving on..." Wilmore was about to hand Tom another file when the door burst open.

"Commander Wilmore, Dr. Bishop, I apologize for interrupting like this."  The intruder was James, a high-level official at NASA whom Tom knew fairly well, but had never particularly liked.

"What is it, James?" asked Wilmore with a sigh indicating that this intrusion was most unwelcome.

"The operation at the clinic, Wilmore.  Haven't you heard anything about it?"

"Of course not!" Wilmore snapped.  "I'm a little busy here dealing with the Russians as it is!"

James looked uneasy, but continued: "The operation went to shit.  The target is still on the loose on the clinic, and to make matters worse, King Mugsy has a hired gun there as well.  He killed two of our men and went dark."

Wilmore stared openmouthed at James in horror.

"Fortunately, we apprehended Mugsy himself.  Johannes and his team just brought him in now.  I was wondering how you planned to proceed with the interrogation, given his limited knowledge of what's at stake here."

"First things first," answered Wilmore, "I'll need to talk to him.  James, take Dr. Bishop and myself to see King Mugsy."
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 08:34:08 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2010, 09:32:01 PM »
Wilmore and Tom followed James down the hallways of the NASA base.  Along the way, Tom craned his neck in curiosity to see all the sights.  Having worked for seven years at the base, he was suddenly surprised by how little of it he had actually seen.  They passed the area where he worked, headed through more hallways, and went down several flights of stairs, passing several security desks along the way.  Wilmore and James had to show their identifications on multiple occasions, and assured the security guards who stared at Tom suspiciously that his "clearance level" had been raised.

Eventually, the trio came to a row of cubicles where men hard at work were bent over their computers.  Advanced-looking machinery lined the walls behind them.  Tom tried to look at the workers' faces, but none of them looked up, or even acknowledged his presence.  Gone were the enthusiasm and idealism that were usually seen among the scientists of NASA.  Here, Tom reasoned, the dirty work of NASA must be done.  The lies and manipulation were formed here.

At the end of the row, a heavy metal door stood, looming ominously before them.  James swiped his ID card through a slot built in next to the door.  With a loud, grinding noise, the door slowly slid open, and the three men stepped through the threshold.

Tom first felt the sudden drop in temperature, and then heard the loud echoes as their footsteps thundered beneath them.  The room they were walking through now was poorly lit, and it took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust.  When they did, the sight took his breath away.  He wasn't sure what he had been expecting - a pantry, a dungeon - but certainly not this.

They were standing in a vast open area, as large as a basketball court, and the walls, ceiling and floor all appeared to be stone.  From one side of the room to the other, there were at least thirty rows of the same kind of machinery Tom had seen upstairs.  In between every two rows, there was enough room for a few people to walk through, almost as an "aisle" of sorts.  It gave the entire room the look of a bizarre, futuristic library.  The most disconcerting feature of the room, however, was the lighting.  The only lights that the room had were a number of small lights blinking on each row of computers, apparently indicating that the power was on.

"This is our storage area, Tom," explained Wilmore.  "Our computer technology is far more advanced than that of the general public's, and, we hope, the Soviets' as well.  Here, we keep almost every piece of information we've gathered that cannot be released to the public - at least, not yet."

"Beautiful, isn't it?" commented James.

That wasn't quite the word that Tom would have used to describe the room, but he had no desire to get into a debate, so he simply remained silent.

James continued, "This was all the work of Levee, you know.  It was his idea, his design, and he directed the construction.  He named it, too.  We call this room the Columbarium."

"What?"  Tom was baffled.  "Do you have any idea what a columbarium even is?  It's a place where they store people's ashes!  Why in God's name would you call a place like this a columbarium!?"

"You don't need to be so pedantic, Dr. Bishop," James snapped, sounding genuinely offended.  "Levee felt that this name honors the many fallen scientists who devoted their lives to studying this world and the universe around us.  Some of what you see here are the records of scientists who recognized the true nature of the Earth, and were scorned by the academic world as their reward.  Their lives will be remembered and honored here far more than they were in their official funerals."

"Well...okay," muttered Tom, although he still felt that "the Columbarium" was a little too melodramatic a name for what was essentially a storage unit for digital information.  However, he did have to admit that the dark, soulless features of the room were far more similar to those of a house of death rather than any library.  The blinking lights, the stone walls, the cold metal of the machines, and the deathly silence beyond their footprints.

Tom Bishop was not a man who was easily unnerved or intimidated, and yet, as he stood in that strange dungeon and stared at the mysteries contained within, he felt not a trace of his usual academic inquisitiveness that would normally want him to investigate further.  All he wanted to do was to leave the Columbarium behind and never return.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 03:13:30 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2010, 05:05:30 AM »
"So...will you help me?" Gayer asked, smiling as sweetly as she could at the man sitting across from her in the pastry shop.

Chrissetti thought about it for a moment.  The request was strange, yet ultimately harmless.  Besides, after all the useful information this young lady had given him, there was no doubt that he owed her a favor.

"By all means," the journalist answered.  "I'll only report on the Soviets, not us or the Yanks.  It's no more than my patriotic duty in a major crisis like this.  It doesn't look like they've done anything wrong, anyway.  Although..."

Gayer raised an eyebrow expectantly.  "Yes?"

Finding and persuading sources to talk, Chrissetti knew, was one of the most difficult parts of his job.  Any reporter would have killed to have a source like this woman, and the fact that she had come to him, out of all the journalists in the country, was most flattering.  He didn't want to scare her away.  But he had to discuss with her a concern he had thought of several times over the past few days.

"Everything that you're telling me," Chrissetti began, choosing his words carefully, "will be a positive for this government, and for the Americans, our allies.  So why are your masters so determined to sweep this under the rug?  What do they have to lose from leaking this?"

He wisely decided to keep his follow-up thoughts, namely, that the entire leak had been ordered by the government under cover of a whistleblower, to himself.  After all, that would mean that Gayer had either been tricked, or else was lying to him.

Gayer had been expecting this question, and delivered a rehearsed answer.  "My masters aren't planning on letting this alone.  I think they're going to use this to try and start a war with the Russians.  I can't prove this," she added quickly, seeing Chrissetti's mouth drop.  "It's just some rumors I've heard around the office.  But without your story, there will be nothing to stop them to twist this around into some new Armageddon scenario.  You could be stopping a war here."

Shocked, Chrissetti almost imperceptibly nodded his head.

Smiling in gratitude, Gayer kissed Chrissetti on the cheek, then rose from the table and hurried off, leaving the baffled reporter behind.

**********

Captain Ichimaru casually walked through the main floor of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where the mood was jubilant.  The soldiers providing security were in the festive spirit, joking with the scientists as their rifles were left leaning in a corner precariously.  Someone had even opened a few bottles of champagne to share around.  Only a few people were posted on the phones, gleefully accepting praise and accolades from everyone from Fidel Castro to the Pope.

Don't get used to it, boys.

Ichi had been prepared to face high levels of security at the cosmodrome.  He was dressed in the uniform of a Soviet soldier (a captain, in fact), had authentic-looking identification papers, and could speak Russian perfectly.  The precautions hardly seemed necessary now, though, what with the current state of affairs.  Ichi even briefly considered how easy it would be to seize one of the discarded rifles in the corner and open fire wildly, wiping out everyone and everything in the room.  That would certainly put a dent in the Soviets' space program.

But of course, that wasn't exactly his mission.

Passing through the control room, Ichi followed a corridor leading deeper into the cosmodrome.  He saw no people here, and even the sounds of the revelry were fading away.  Having studied the plans of this building in preparation for this mission, Ichi knew what he was looking for, and eventually spotted it: A small metal door, with a bright red light situated directly above it.

Ichi swiped the card he had stolen from XP90 through a slot next to the door.  The light turned green, and the metal door slid open.  The captain stepped through the threshold, entering a dark room filled with machinery and one glowing computer terminal.

Clearly, access to this area was reserved for scientists only, and presumably the KGB as well.  Ichi knew that his disguise probably wouldn't be of much help if he were caught.  His goal was to be as quick as possible, and then get the hell out of this building.

Switching on the terminal, Ichi flipped his radio headset on.  He spoke two words to Jack:

"I'm in."
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 03:25:12 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2010, 12:48:07 PM »
In a corner of the mysterious Columbarium, a single break was present in the never-ending wall of stone, a small wooden door.  Wilmore, James and Tom stepped through it, and like that, the environment abruptly changed again.  The cold temperature remained the same, but they were now standing in a dark, dusty corridor, one that more resembled the workspace upstairs.

James led the other two into an old office off the hallway.  Behind a desk that an official of NASA may have once used, there sat a man, his left arm in a sling, whose very presence was both baffling and alarming to Tom.

Thor Mugthulhu.  King Mugsy.

Two young men with grim expressions and Thompson submachine guns stood on either side of the rock star.  A slightly older man with an impatient expression stood in front of the desk, his arms crossed.

"Johannes," Wilmore addressed this man, "Well done.  I'd like you and your men to wait outside, please."

Johannes didn't move.  "This son of a bitch was responsible for killing two of my men.  Are you going to just ignore that?"

Before Wilmore could reply, Tom stepped in.  "Commander Wilmore just gave you an order, soldier.  What he plans to do next is not your concern, or he would have told you already.  You can leave now."

Astonished by the tone of authority and anger emanating from a man who looked more suited to academic than military matters, Johannes's mouth opened wordlessly, then closed.  Finally, scowling at Tom, he and the other two men left the room, closing the door behind them.

"Mr. Mugthulhu," Wilmore began, "The first thing I owe you is an apology."

"Got that right," Mugthulhu answered angrily, glaring at the commander.

Wilmore continued, "Johannes back there and his men are not actually official government agents.  They work for a - uh, security firm that we have contracted the services of in the past.  They are used to situations slightly more, confrontational, shall we say.  I did not, and do not now, endorse their paramilitary assault on a health clinic, murder of a police officer, or attempted murder of your bodyguard, Jon Blanko.  Neither you nor Mr. Blanko will face civil or criminal charges for the deaths of two of the agents; you were clearly acting in self-defense.  I understand that this may seem rather inadequate at this time-"

"Fuck you."

Wilmore closed his eyes and silently counted to ten.  He could hardly blame the musician for being angry.  He would have been angry himself, had he been in this situation.  But he had hoped that his explanations might have been treated with a little less hostility.  Producing a file, he slid it across the table to the prisoner.

Mugthulhu snatched it up and read the heading.  "M.O.O.B.?  What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"It stands for Movarch, Ordered Operations Bravo," Wilmore explained.  "That's the code name for Karl Movarch, an agent of the Soviet Union."

"What does he have to do with -" Mugthulhu's breath caught in his throat as his question died.  He laid down the file to reveal a picture of the man himself, dressed in a Soviet uniform and talking with several other men dressed alike.  Something about him looked very familiar.

Wilmore commented, "We've had Movarch under surveillance for weeks now.  One of our own agents, a reliable lady we call Mrs. Peach, tracked him to that clinic.  He must have staged it all himself, from his arrest to his commitment.  Identifying himself as 'Saddam' and claiming to be psychic were no doubt his methods of playing the part."

Mugthulhu clenched his fists and glowered menacingly at the commander. "This is bullshit!  Do you really expect me to believe that my son is some KGB thug?"

"No."  Wilmore shook his head.  "He's not your son.  That would be impossible, seeing how he's thirty-seven years old.  But he was posing as your son, as a lure for you.  He wants you, for some reason.  The former prostitute, the woman who sent you the message, must have done so under duress."

Mugthulhu stared at Wilmore quizzically.

"I mean she was forced to send the message."  Wilmore bowed his head.  "We found her body two weeks ago, Mr. Mugthulhu.  I'm sorry."

The rock star's mouth twitched.  His eyes closed, leaving the three others present to only guess as to what was going on inside his head.  Finally, he opened his eyes and spoke, his voice sounding surprisingly stoic:

"What about my son?  If that wasn't him in the clinic...don't tell me he's dead too."

"No, that's not it."  Wilmore looked uneasy as he lowered his voice to deliver the unpleasant news.  "It was all a lie, King Mugsy.  You never had a son."
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 02:50:05 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2010, 05:00:36 PM »
Even for someone who could speak the language, navigating a foreign computer network wasn't easy, especially for someone who - like Ichi - was not very well trained in computer science.  Still, with the help of Jack, Ichi was making excellent progress on decrypting many of the Soviets' classified files.  Pursuant to his orders, he was also downloading as much as he could onto a special portable hard drive that had been provided to him for the mission.

Jack's voice crackled in his ear.  "Anything else you can see there?  Something that might be of immediate use to us?"

"I don't think so," replied Ichi, browsing quickly between document after document of what appeared to be scientific material and mathematical code.  "There's just more of this same shit about Sputnik currently being in orbit.  It looks like the KGB never bothered to let their own people know the truth."

"Right.  Well, finish the download and get yourself out of there.  We'll see what we can pull out of it back at base."

"Roger that.  Going dark now."  Ichi flipped off his headset and waited until the downloading was complete, then pulled the hard drive free and powered down the computer.  It was then that he heard the ominous sound of footsteps coming closer.

As silently as he could, Ichi stepped backwards into the shadows of the room.  No one would be able to see him there unless they were very close to his position, giving him plenty of time to preemptively attack if the need arose.  At the moment, however, Ichi felt it would be better to observe rather than strike.

The metal door opened with a familiar whoosh sound, and three men stepped inside.  One was wearing the uniform of the KGB; the other two were regular soldiers.

"Devyanosto!" the KGB agent called.  "XP90!"

"There's no one here, Captain Mizsla," one of the soldiers commented.  "Perhaps you made a mistake."

"No mistake," snapped Mizsla.  "The computer records show that he signed into this room twenty minutes ago.  We've been searching for him for hours now.  He should be here!"

"He could be using the bathroom," the other soldier suggested.

"I have a man stationed in every bathroom.  Their orders are to contact me immediately if they see him.  The War Dog needs to talk to him as soon as possible."

The first soldier cocked his head slightly at this.  "Does this have anything to do with the assault on the NASA base?"

Ichi stiffened.

"NASA base?!  Assault?!" shouted Mizsla angrily.  "Who said anything about that?!  Who have you been talking to?!"

The soldier fidgeted.  "It was just a rumor I heard."

Mizsla glared at him.  "Just focus on your own duties in future, understand?  Now...we are going to wait here to see if XP90 comes back.  If he does not return in the next ten minutes, I will alert security and we will-"

Ichi had heard enough.  Stepping out of hiding, he seized the two soldiers by their collars and slammed their bodies together.  Their heads connected with a satisfying crack, and both men crumpled to the ground.

Captain Mizsla whirled on Ichi, drawing a pistol from his holster.  All in one motion, Ichi shoved Mizsla's gun arm aside and crushed the KGB agent's nose with his fist.  Wrenching the weapon free from the falling man, Ichi spun on the spot and used the butt of it to pistol-whip one of the soldiers, who was getting up, across the face.  As the guard staggered back, Ichi used his free arm to bring down a mighty chop on his exposed neck.  Not a pleasant way to die.

The second soldier was on his hands and knees, trying to get his bearings.  Ichi flipped him onto his back with a powerful kick to the side.  As the supine man lay groaning, Ichi raised his boot and brought it down hard on his head.

Smiling grimly, Ichi turned to face the fallen KGB agent.  Mizsla looked for a moment as though he was about to rise and attack the Army Ranger, but seemed to think better of it.

"So, Captain," remarked Ichi, slowly walking towards Mizsla, "I've gotta say, I'm pretty interested to hear about this rumor myself.  Why don't you just fill me in?"
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 02:02:52 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2010, 01:51:22 PM »
Tom walked with Wilmore through the halls of the NASA base.  James and Johannes had remained in the Columbarium with Mugthulhu, who had eventually calmed down.

"What do you suppose Movarch wants with a rock musician?" asked Tom.

"I don't know," Wilmore replied.  "But we can't afford to write this off as a coincidence.  It's a big risk for any of the KGB to enter this country in these times.  He has to have a good reason to want him.  Anyway, James is going to be interrogating him now.  Hopefully something will come up."

Tom nodded, but he wasn't satisfied.

"If Johannes and his men locked down the clinic, then how could Movarch have escaped?"

"I don't know," Wilmore shrugged.  Tom paused and looked at him skeptically.  "What?  He's evaded capture before.  He's one of the KGB's best."

"I'm seeing a contradiction here, Commander.  If Johannes and his men actually locked down the clinic properly, then Movarch shouldn't have been able to escape. "

Wilmore looked uneasy.  "Are you suggesting that Johannes took a payoff to help Movarch escape?"

"Either that or he's incredibly stupid.  It shouldn't be that hard to lock down a clinic.  Hell, it's just a clinic."

Wilmore shook his head.  "I doubt it, Tom.  No one on foot has left the clinic since we got there, and the only vehicle to leave was the armored truck holding Johannes, his team, and Mugthulhu."

"Then how do you know he escaped at all?  Maybe he's still in the clinic."

"Maybe.  Look, Tom, I don't want you to get distracted here.  We need to focus on the expedition to Siberia."

Tom sighed and nodded his consent.  At that moment, Wilmore's radio crackled.  The commander snatched it up and spoke into it.

"Yes?  All right, I'll tell him."  Tom raised an eyebrow.  "There's a package for you at the mail office, Tom.  Go ahead and get it, then meet me back in my office.  I want you to introduce you to our pilots for the trip."

"I'll do that, Commander," answered Tom, then turned and walked off.

**********

Ben Franklin took a gulp from the bottle of brandy by his side, then picked up his Springfield and continued surveillance on the cosmodrome entrance.  Holding a heavy rifle on one's shoulder was tiring work, and he wished he could detach the scope to simply use it as a rudimentary spyglass.  But Ichi was down there somewhere, and if at the next moment he came bursting out of the cosmodrome with a dozen Soviets behind him, Franklin would need to provide cover.

On that note, Franklin decided to check up on Ichi.  "Is everything going okay down there?" he whispered into his radio.

Ichi came on.  He sounded breathless.  "Yeah.  Well, physically, I'm fine.  But I've got some bad news to share.  Two of the soldiers and one KGB agent are dead.  They were looking for that dumb scientist whose ID I took.  You've still got him, right?"

XP90 was lying bound and gagged inside the Rangers' insulated tent.

"I've got him.  How important is he to them?"

"That's just it.  I don't know.  So we're taking him with us.  But that's not what I'm worried about right now.  I overheard the KGB guy and the soldiers talking, and they mentioned a rumor that they were planning to attack the NASA base in Houston.  I tried to grill him on it once I took out the guards, but then he popped a suicide pill."

Franklin blinked.  "Uh, the NASA base?  They're going to attack the NASA base?"

"I don't know," Ichi snapped, sounding impatient.  "Maybe it's bullshit.  Maybe.  But I want you to get in touch with Jack and let him know about it.  Then pack up all the equipment - and that dumb geek - into the ATV and get ready to roll.  I'll be out in five minutes."

"No arguments here.  See you."  Franklin took another gulp of brandy, then pulled out his radio to contact Jack.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 03:21:37 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2010, 12:27:07 PM »
Tom asked for and received the package he was due at the mail desk of the NASA base.  It was a large, heavy parcel, and the lady who handled the mail looked at him curiously, as if he had an explanation for it.  Tom simply shrugged his shoulders and smiled bemusedly at her.  Then he lugged the box into a nearby vacant office and shut the door behind him.  Slamming the box onto the desk, he sat down behind it and tore open the seal.

Dozens of photographs spilled out.  Tom barely glanced at them before searching the box for everything else inside.  There were a few strange-looking pieces of computer-like machinery, a number of official-looking government files, and most oddly of all...weapons.  There was a small, compact-looking pistol, a silencer lying next to it, and what appeared to be a crudely designed submachine gun.  Extra magazines of ammunition for both weapons lay on the bottom of the box.

Tom was no stranger to guns; he had used many of them in the war, and personally owned a few, yet he didn't recognize either of these.  He was examining the machines more closely when he was jarred by a loud ringing noise emanating from the box.  Startled, he reached in and pulled out another surprise - a cell phone.  Cell phones were still supposed to be in the experimental stage at NASA, and the technology hadn't even been released to the general public yet.  What was going on?

Regardless, Tom reacted on instinct.  He hit the answer button and blurted out, "Hello?"

"Hello, Dr. Bishop."  The voice on the other end had an unmistakable Russian accent.  "How are you enjoying my care package?"

"I - what?  Care package?  Who is this?"

The voice seemed amused.  "Can't you guess who this is, Dr. Bishop?  I know a man of your experience doesn't believe in coincidences."

"Uh..."  Tom's usually sharp mind was overwhelmed.  "Is this some kind of joke?"

"I send you weapons and sensitive intelligence, and your intuition tells you that this is a prank!?" shouted the Russian angrily, in stark contrast to his previously calm mood.  "Did I choose poorly, Dr. Bishop?  Perhaps I should contact one of your more capable associates, then.  Do you have any suggestions?"

Tom was beginning to gather his wits.  "Sensitive intelligence?  Intelligence from who?  Where?"

"I'll spell it out for you, then," replied the voice, sounding calm once more.  "This is Karl Movarch.  You know who I am, don't you?"

"What?" Tom was stunned into silence for a moment, then snapped back to attention.  "Give me some reason to believe you."

"I already did.  Look in the box."

Tom leafed around in the box and pulled out the files.  They appeared to be official documents from NASA.  He examined the first one, a memo from the head of research, John Davis, to Jack, the lieutenant commander of the base.

"Uh, this is from John Davis to Jack..."

Tom's voice died in his throat as he read further.  The memo was about the Celestial Clockwork.  Wilmore had told him that it was a source of incredible power, only to be used wisely.  But this document read like a terrorist's wildest fantasy.  Apparently, John Davis, having spent months studying the Celestial Clockwork, had concluded that not only could it be used as a tool of conquest and intimidation towards other countries, but that it actually should be.  Tom could almost feel the enthusiasm emanating from Davis as he outlined how the power of gravitation could be used to destroy entire cities, and how the radiation of stars could be focused on locations to wipe out all life there.

Angrily, Tom threw aside the file and seized another one.  This one was another memo, from an official whose name he didn't recognize to Davis, ordering him to present two lists of expenditures from now on, one being for "official" expenses, and the other, "miscellaneous".  Miscellaneous?  What did that mean?

It got worse.  At least half a dozen other memos were in the box, each detailing some level of corruption and cynicism.  There were reports on "eliminations" of prominent foreign officials and civilian scientists that Tom was sure had never been ordered officially by the government.  A few financial documents showed that NASA officials had been embezzling funds for years.  Every one bore the official NASA seal, and many had been signed by their authors.

Tom snatched up the phone and opened his mouth to say something, but he wasn't sure what to say.

Movarch filled the silence.  "Save your denials and accusations of forgery, Dr. Bishop.  These documents are all legitimate.  You know they are."

Tom closed his mouth mutely.  He was right.

Movarch continued on.  "If you had a normal working relationship with your superiors, if these people were your friends, you wouldn't believe me.  I wouldn't expect you to.  But I know that none of this is truly a surprise to you.  You have never trusted those you work for.  Your instincts have always led you to suspect them.  And you trust your instincts."

"How do you know I do?" snapped Tom, who was beginning to feel irritated by Movarch's psychoanalysis of him.

"Because, Dr. Bishop," answered the KGB agent, "I am a man who has had to rely on my instincts, too.  And I always recognize those who behave similarly to me."

"Similar?"  Tom's temper flared once again.  "You listen to me, you son of a bitch.  You and I are nothing alike.  Nothing alike at all!  If these documents are legit, if the people here are doing these terrible things, then I will investigate and get to the bottom of this.  You're right.  I don't like many of the people who run the show around here.  I think - I know that they care more about politics than science.  But on the question of my loyalty, that doesn't matter.  It doesn't fucking matter at all."

He paused to breathe, suddenly aware of how agitated he had become.  "So go ahead, Movarch.  Tell me, what does this mean?  You think it's going to change anything?  You send me this shit...and you think, what?  I'll be disillusioned?  I'll suddenly betray my country and start working for yours?  Of course, I mean yours is so obviously morally superior, right?"

There was silence for a moment.  Then a slow chuckle sounded from the phone.

"I'll take that as a no," Tom replied curtly.  "So why did you send me all this?"

"Who said anything about my country, Dr. Bishop?"

"What?" Tom was stunned yet again.

Movarch laughed.  "I went to the clinic all alone.  If I was doing this with the support of my country, then I wouldn't have needed to make the snatch all by myself.  I could have brought in a team and abducted the target in a matter of seconds.  Then I wouldn't need to be bothering you here in the first place, see?"

It made sense.  But Tom wasn't going to take chances.  "Why haven't you informed your superiors about this, then?"

"Because," Movarch answered, "I don't trust my government with the power of the Celestial Clockwork any more than I trust yours.  No country can ever wisely wield that much power.  For the good of this planet, the Clockwork must be destroyed."

Tom was about to ask how it was possible to "destroy" something like the Celestial Clockwork, but then he realized that there was a more important question he needed answering.

"Why go to the clinic at all?  Why do you need Thor Mugthulhu?"

There was hesitation on the line for a moment.  "King Mugsy, the rock musician?  No, Dr. Bishop.  He has nothing to do with this.  The man I was looking to find was his bodyguard, Jon Blanko."

Tom froze as he realized what this meant.  Time ticked by, and he continued to stare ahead, unmoving, as the wild ideas swirled in his head.  He didn't even notice the click from the phone that left Tom truly alone with his thoughts.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 03:04:20 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2010, 11:05:11 PM »
Tom kicked open the door to Wilmore's office, not out of anger, but simply because both of his arms were occupied carrying the heavy box.  He dumped it on the desk, and then turned to talk to his boss.

"Commander, I need to talk to..." Tom's voice trailed off as he suddenly realized that they weren't alone in the room.  Two men were sitting on the other side of the desk, staring at him.

"Tom," Wilmore commented, "I'd like you to meet the two men who will be piloting our expedition to Siberia, Captain David Thork, and his copilot, Flight Sergeant Eddy Bayber.  Both have quite extensive experience serving in the Royal Air Force."

Plastering a fake smile onto his face, Tom reluctantly shook hands with and introduced himself to the two Brits.  Thork was tall and thin, in his late thirties.  Eddy was a little younger-looking, and quite a short man.

"Well, gentlemen," concluded Wilmore, "We aren't quite ready to leave yet.  I hope you can enjoy our hospitality in our bar downstairs.  I've already spoken to the servers there; it's all on the house."

"There's a good man," Thork said with a grin.  "Be seeing you."

As soon as the pilots shut the door behind them, Tom turned to Wilmore.

"I got that box in the mail.  You need to take a look at it."

Frowning, Wilmore reached into the box.  The first things he pulled out were the two weapons.

"Hmm, interesting.  Do you know what kind these are?"

"No," Tom shook his head.  "None of the Marines ever used them in the war.  They're either foreign or else new technology.  Or possibly both."

"Um...I believe these are...some kind of, uh..."

Tom knew that Wilmore was just grandstanding at this stage.  Wilmore might have been a capable officer during the war, but his role was more strategy and planning than combat-based.  He had seldom seen combat, and his knowledge of weapons wasn't likely to be much better than Tom's.  He waited for Wilmore to run through his charade of being a knowledgeable and hands-on soldier, before finally commenting.

"With all due respect, Commander, that's not our biggest concern right now.  Look at those documents."

Wilmore rooted through the box and pulled out a bundle of papers.  He began reading through the memos concerning the Celestial Clockwork.

"Oh, come on, Tom, are you really worried by this?  Look, John gets a little excited when it comes to issues that he's passionate about.  We haven't confirmed if the Clockwork has any military capabilities yet, and if it turns out that it does, then I can assure you that it will be handled delicately.  Look at the Manhattan Project.  The atomic bomb has the power to destroy the world, yet our leaders have never acted so callously.  I see no reason to believe that the Clockwork would be treated differently."

Tom nodded.  He had reasoned that much to himself.  But there was still more to discuss.

"What about the embezzlement?" he asked.

"Embezzlement?"  Wilmore raised an eyebrow, but Tom could see in his eyes a certain tell.  A flash of something, perhaps panic.  Wilmore knew something about this.

"It's all in the documents, Commander.  They look pretty legitimate to me."

The commander flipped through the papers again, reading frantically.  Eventually, he laid the papers on the table and sighed.

"You already knew, didn't you?" asked Tom.

"Not who was involved."  Wilmore scowled at the papers.  "But yes, we knew that someone was embezzling.  It's been going on for years.  Ever since we began this cover-up, millions of dollars have been going missing.  Pretty smart timing, actually."

Tom understood what he meant.  "Leverage."

"Yes.  If we got close to them, they could threaten to expose us to the world.  Or worse, sell our secrets to the Soviets.  And in any case, we were busy maintaining our cover and dicing with those commies.  There was no time to start an audit."

"But there is now," Tom replied.  "We need to take care of this situation, immediately."

"Tom, I..." The commander sighed.  "Haven't you been listening to me?  We can't do this.  Money rules these kinds of people.  If they're willing to steal from us, they're also probably willing to sell out.  We put on the pressure, and they'll start talking to outsiders.  The media, the Russians, anyone who'll pay."

"All the more reason to deal with this problem, now, before it gets to that stage," snapped Tom.  "Make it so they'll never reveal anything."

Wilmore frowned.  "You don't want to do this the legal way, then?"

Tom rolled his eyes.  "'The legal way'?  Don't fucking patronize me, Mike.  Look at the rest of those documents.  You guys aren't strangers to this kind of action.  I'm seeing lots of assassinations and paramilitary activities in there."

Wilmore stood up, the anger evident in his features.  "None of those actions were my call or my decision.  But they had to be done, for the good of this country.  You of all people should understand that!"

Tom stood up as well.  "Yeah, I know, Mike.  Believe me, I do.  But this time it is your call and your decision.  And if you ask me, this is one of those times where we have to do something for the good of this country!"

"I don't like your tone, Dr. Bishop.  This may be an unusual mission, but I am still your commanding officer!"

"Then start acting like it!" Tom roared.

The two men glared at each other, faces red, and full of tension.  Eventually, Wilmore took a deep breath.

"Okay, look, let's just...let's just calm down here."

This helped Tom relax a little bit.  "I apologize, Commander.  I shouldn't have gotten carried away like that, or been so disrespectful.  It's your decision, of course."

"You're right, Tom."  Wilmore sat down, and Tom did the same.  "Of course you're right.  These people broke the rules when they decided to steal from us during such a crisis, and we need to respond in same.  Let's see here...okay.  The executive who wrote this memo, his name is Ron Markjo.  He's one of our chief financial officers here, I think.  I don't know him very well.  And he's writing to...John?" Wilmore looked up from the documents at Tom.  "John Davis is involved?"

Tom shrugged.  "I only know what's there, Commander.  You know John better than I do."

Wilmore sighed.  "I hate to think that John is a thief, but, well, he's been in correspondence with Markjo on the subject of embezzling funds.  There's nothing here indicating that he cooperated with him, though.  I don't know, Tom.  I've known John for years.  He's extremely dedicated to his work here.  He just doesn't seem the type."

"Did he ever talk to you about this?" inquired Tom.

"No.  I guess I have no choice, then.  At the very least, I've got to talk to him.  I'll call security, and -"

"Wait," Tom interrupted.  "That's a mistake."

"What are you talking about?"  Wilmore looked confused.  "You don't think that Markjo has moles in security, do you?"

"No," Tom shook his head.  "But I don't think that he's alone in this.  You said this has been going on for years, and that millions of dollars have been stolen in total.  That doesn't sound like one guy with a gambling habit to me.  It seems too profitable.  And too complex."

Wilmore stroked his chin.  "You're talking about a conspiracy."

"Right.  If we get security involved in this, it becomes a big issue.  You know how quickly word spreads around here.  It might just be Markjo and Davis doing this.  But if anyone else is a part of it, they'll start covering up, and fast."

"Uh huh," Wilmore nodded.  "So let me just predict what you're suggesting here.  You and I confront Markjo, quickly and quietly.  We find out from him what John's involvement is, and if he has any partners.  Then we can deal with the Soviets."

Tom grinned.  "Exactly."

"All right, then."  Wilmore got up and opened the door of his office.  "Let's go.  Just leave the stuff there.  No one will be breaking into my office, trust me."

Tom hurried through the door.  As he got up, the cell phone in his pocket brushed up against his leg.  He had almost forgotten about his conversation with Movarch in the excitement.  He hadn't told Wilmore about the call, reasoning that to do so would change the topic of discussion to being about Movarch rather than the package itself, and it occurred to him that Wilmore had never even inquired as to who sent that package.  Tom wondered briefly what the Soviet agent's motivation in all this was.  Was he trying to throw him off his game by pointing to dishonest superiors?  Was he trying to help him?  Was there any truth in his claim of having purely altruistic loyalties?

Worry about that another time.  Tom tried to focus his thoughts on the task directly ahead of him, as the two men hurried down the hall.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 01:01:31 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2010, 04:39:25 PM »
Once again, Tom had to marvel to himself at how much of the NASA base he had never seen in the seven years he had worked there.  Along with Wilmore, he was now on the third floor of the base, walking down a plain hallway with no windows, no upkeep, even no paint on the walls.  There were only open doors, all leading to empty offices.

"We try and make it look like this part of the building is abandoned," Wilmore explained as they continued along.  "It's where our finance department works.  They maintain the records of covering up the truth, work out what financial reports to present to Congress, and most importantly of all, monitor the excess money to make sure that no one gets greedy.  Of course, if someone within the department is the one embezzling money, then they'd be in the perfect position to cover up their crime.  We should have thought of that before."

Tom looked at all the empty offices.  "Is this place supposed to be deserted?"

Wilmore stopped walking.  "No, there should be at least one or two people here.  I can't imagine where everyone has gone.  Maybe it's-"

"Quiet!" Tom hissed.  "Do you hear that?"

Footsteps could be heard in the distance, slowly becoming louder and louder.  It sounded like they belonged to more than one person.

Wilmore motioned for Tom to step into one of the offices.  Once inside, he pulled the heavy door closed, then stood still and waited.  Eventually, they faintly heard the sound of another heavy office door shutting.

"Okay," Wilmore said in a low voice, "These rooms are mostly soundproof, so no one will be able to be hear us if we talk quietly.  Especially not if they're in another soundproof office."

"Then we can't hear them, though," Tom commented.

A smile formed on Wilmore's face.  "Don't be so sure.  After all, this is a secure government facility, and I am its commander.  I can access the footage from the security cameras on my own work account.  And there's a camera in every office up here."

Tom felt a surge of enthusiasm.  "Excellent.  We need to hear this conversation."

The commander quickly flicked on the screen of the computer in the office (which was fortunately already on) and logged into his own account.  The footage of what was currently happening in Markjo's office popped up onto the screen.  The two men crowded around the computer to watch.

**********

Three men were in the office.  Markjo, a thin, mostly bald man who looked to be about fifty years old, sat behind his desk.

Markjo was in the middle of speaking.  "-not the one he was looking to get.  He was very disappointed by that.  He told you very clearly to deliver them both, didn't he?"

One of the big men shrugged.  "We assumed the target was the rocker.  If he wanted just the bodyguard, he should have told us."

"He told you to get them both because he knew you were lazy," Markjo said firmly.  "If you had just got the guard but left Mugthulhu behind, NASA would have known that he was the target, and the cover would be ruined.  Blanko is the one that our client wants, but he wants NASA to think that it's Mugthulhu he's after.  That was the beauty of the plan.  Two men, a rock musician and his bodyguard, both vanish, and NASA assumes that the musician was the target and the bodyguard was just collateral damage."

Neither of the other two men replied to that.

Apparently not finished, Markjo continued his lecture.  "But you got him out okay?"

"Yeah.  We dropped him off at a gas station a few miles out.  He's gone."

"Well, that's one thing you did right," replied Markjo in a sarcastic tone.  He rose from his seat, indicating that the meeting was over.  "Call downstairs and get Johannes to tie up the loose ends, then finish the job."

**********

As the three men walked out of the office on the screen, Tom said nothing.  His mind was whirling with this new information.

"My God," muttered Wilmore beside him, almost in shock.  "We've got the wrong man.  We were duped."

Tom, of course, had already known this, although he wasn't planning on telling Wilmore that.  His focus had shifted to another part of the exchange they had just witnessed.

Loose ends.  Finish the job.

He slowly rose from his crouching position behind the desk, then turned and headed for the door.

"Tom!  What the hell are you doing?"

Paying no attention, Tom kicked open the heavy door and burst through it.  Hearing a loud shout of pain next to him, he turned to his right to see that one of the big men had been hit in the face by the door.  The other thug, standing next to him, stared at Tom blankly.  But the scientist didn't pause.  He threw a punch at the man, hitting him in the chin.  As the man stumbled backwards, groaning, Tom kicked him in the kneecap, hard.  A loud crunching sounded as the guard sank to the ground.  But Tom wasn't done.  He threw another powerful punch at the guard's exposed throat.  Instant kill.

The other man rose from the floor, withdrawing a pistol from his jacket.  Tom used his temporary height advantage to easily kick the weapon from his hand.  But the guard snarled in anger and charged shoulder-first into him.  Tom felt the wind get knocked out of him as the far larger man slammed him into the corridor wall.  Using his only advantage, he shoved his knee into the guard's crotch, then pushed him back into the middle of the hall.

By this time, Markjo had gotten his bearings.  Looking terrified, yet determined, he pulled a gun of his own and aimed it at the grappling combatants.  Tom saw this and ducked just in time.  The guard wasn't as quick, and his bigger size suddenly became a disadvantage.  Markjo pumped four rounds into his body apparently before realizing that he had killed the wrong man.

At that moment, Wilmore emerged from the office, his service revolver held high.  Seeing Markjo with the gun, he aimed at him and fired twice.  Tom slowly got up from the ground even as Markjo slumped down to it, dead.

"Are you all right, Tom?" asked Wilmore, holstering his weapon.  Seeing that Tom was indeed unharmed, he groaned in exasperation.  "What the fuck was that for?  You could have gotten us killed."

Tom put a hand to his head in an effort to stop the ringing in his ears.  It had been a long time since he had heard a weapon being fired outside of a firing range.  For that matter, it had been a long time since he had ever killed anyone.  Eventually, he spoke:

"Mugthulhu.  They're going to kill Mugthulhu.  He's not the one they were looking for.  He's a loose end."

Casting his eyes about on the ground, he soon spotted what he was looking for: A radio.  He pointed to it.

"Look.  They were radioing Johannes down in the Columbarium.  They said they were going to tie up loose ends.  And finish the job."

Wilmore raised his hands.  "Hold on a second, Tom.  First of all, radio signals can't go that far underground.  They couldn't be radioing anyone in the Columbarium.  And there's a security checkpoint right outside it.  Johannes doesn't have the clearance to get down there undetected."

"He doesn't need to be undetected!" Tom snapped.  "He could just blast his way through, couldn't he?"

"Well, yes, but..."  Wilmore looked uneasy.  "Tom, it might not be a good idea for us to interfere."

"What?"

"Remember what Markjo said?  He said that after they tied up the loose ends, they had to 'finish the job'.  What does that mean?"

"We can ask Johannes when we see him," Tom said determinedly, starting to walk down the hall.

"It might be better if we just watched and waited, though.  We can follow Johannes.  Movarch hired him to kidnap Blanko and help him escape from the clinic.  But he's only accomplished one of the two."

Tom froze.  "He's going to try and grab Blanko again.  And then deliver him to Movarch."

Wilmore looked grave.  "We have to let Mugthulhu go, Tom.  It may be the only way to preserve the world as we know it."
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 03:37:07 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2010, 05:17:00 PM »
"That's it, then?  That's your whole story?"

"Yeah, that's it.  You want to take these handcuffs off now?"

The detective rolled his eyes, and then went to talk to the attractive young woman who had been standing in the corner for a while now.

"Could you at least loosen them?" Blanko called after him.  "They're chafing my wrists."

No response came.  Still, Blanko supposed he ought to feel lucky simply because he wasn't already dead.  After reluctantly leaving his boss to the government agents, he had hidden in the clinic, nervously awaiting a government SWAT team to burst into the building and pump hundreds of bullets into him.  Remarkably, that hadn't happened.  In fact, shortly after the agents had left, the ordinary police had arrived, accompanied by the lovely lady, Mrs. Peach.  Blanko had wisely chosen this moment to surrender, and Mrs. Peach, who turned out to also be a government agent, albeit a nicer one than Johannes, had given him a brief explanation of the situation.

The cops, of course, had insisted that Blanko be treated as a suspect, at least to begin with.  After all, three men were dead, including one of their own officers.  They seemed to be angrier about Goldstein's death than the two dead agents, although Mrs. Peach seemed to be handling that part of the confrontation.  NASA was obviously not going to let them charge government agents with the murder of a police officer.  Blanko wondered how the dead cop would be explained away for the record.  No doubt Goldstein would be given a line-of-duty death in writing in addition to a departmental funeral, and his family would be awarded his full pension.  Would that satisfy the department?  Would it satisfy his family?

The detective finally returned to Blanko, mumbled something about the police not pressing charges, and unlocked his handcuffs.  Blanko thanked him and headed over to Mrs. Peach.  The NASA agent was talking on the phone, and she held one finger up to keep him quiet.  Eventually, she hung up.

"Mr. Blanko, I realize that you may not be feeling in a very cooperative mood right now, but we have so far found no trace of the man who claimed to be King Mugsy's son anywhere in this clinic.  Did you see any sign of him after he left his hospital room?"

Blanko shook his head.  "No, not at all."

"Hmm," Mrs. Peach wrote something down in a small notepad she was holding.  "Well, if he is here, we'll find him eventually.  You can't just play hide-and-seek with the government forever.  Anyway, I suppose you'd like to see your boss now."

"Definitely," Blanko agreed, sick of the clinic.

"Great.  We'll head over to the base now."

**********

"We can put a tail on Johannes, Tom," Wilmore was saying.  "When he leaves the base, he's still going to want to get Blanko somehow.  I've received confirmation from our agents at the clinic that they have Blanko in custody, and they should be en route to the base in just a few minutes.  We can arrange an easy interception from Johannes without him realizing that he's being set up.  Once he's grabbed Blanko, he's going to bring him to Movarch...and that's when we strike."

"So we just sacrifice Mugthulhu?" Tom asked incredulously.  "And James?"

Wilmore sighed.  "I'm not saying I like the plan, Tom, but we have no other alternative."

"Yes, we do," Tom replied firmly.  "We can go to Movarch ourselves with Blanko."

"I - what?"  Wilmore stared at Tom, obviously baffled.

Tom hesitated.  "Look, it's a long story, Commander, and I don't have time to explain right now.  But there's a way we can get to Movarch without Johannes.  You have to trust me on this."

Wilmore studied Tom for several seconds.  Eventually, he nodded his assent.

"So be it.  Let's do this."

END OF CHAPTER II
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 03:37:37 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2010, 02:26:44 AM »
CHAPTER III

The security station outside the Columbarium was in ruins.  The desk had been almost destroyed, and both security guards were dead.  Tom could tell that the damage to both the men and the desk had been delivered with automatic rifle fire.

"Jesus," Wilmore muttered beside him.

Tom stepped forward to the entrance of the Columbarium.  The heavy metal door was ajar, and as before, it was too dark to see anything in there.  However, they could hear loud voices sounding from within.  Angry voices, like an argument was happening inside.

The two men slowly stepped across the threshold, and into the shadows.

**********

Johannes shot James first.  Execution style, just like in the movies.  He had forced the NASA official to kneel down while facing away from him, then had fired one shot from his pistol directly into the back of his head.  It was classic.  The fact that Johannes had decided to do the killing within the great Columbarium itself, not the office off of it, was an ironic twist in itself.  It was probably the one place that James had felt the safest in.

Now it was time for Mugthulhu.  Flanked by two armed men, the musician's wounded arm had been roughly torn out of its sling.  He was beaten and bruised, yet the great man was remarkably stoic.  Not one word of pleading or begging had come from him, and he refused to look at his attackers with anything other than contempt.

"You won't kill me like that," Mugthulhu said quietly, staring down at James's body.  "If you want to murder me, then you can look me in the eyes when you do it."

Johannes smirked.  "Yeah, I hear that one a lot.  I'll just tell you what I tell everyone else - no problem."

The gun was shoved in Mugthulhu's face.  He closed his eyes and waited for the bullet.

"Hold it, Johannes!"

Mugthulhu opened his eyes and stared directly at Johannes, who had frozen.

"This is Commander Wilmore.  I've got a gun of my own aimed at you right now, so you drop yours.  This second.  Don't just lower it, drop it!"

Johannes let the gun fall from his fingers.  He turned to face Wilmore, who stood at the other end of the "aisle" between the rows of computers that they now stood.  The flickering lights illuminated his face in an eerie manner, as well as the service revolver he aimed at the three mercenaries.

"Back off, Wilmore!" Johannes shouted.  "You can't stop this.  Too much time and money has gone into everything we're doing for this punk to fuck everything up!  So you back off now, and maybe you can walk away."

At that moment, the two soldiers with Johannes whipped out submachine guns that had been slung over their backs.  It was a deadly sight, seeing them aimed at Wilmore.
   
"These are Tommy guns, Wilmore," sneered Johannes.  "What you've got is a ceremonial piece of shit, one popularized in the nineteenth century.  You're not going to win a firefight, so back the fuck off!"

Wilmore didn't move an inch.  He continued to stare at Johannes, his gun held high.  That was the plan, after all.

Tom struck from behind, and his three enemies had no idea what hit them until it was too late.  He first toppled Johannes with a hammer strike to the back of his head, then stepped forward to situate himself between the two riflemen.  He immediately struck at the guard to his left with a sharp elbow to the face.  The man howled in agony and dropped his Thompson, clutching at his face.

Almost at the same moment, he swung his right fist at the man on his other side, connecting with his face.  As the guard winced in pain, Tom seized the Thompson from his weakened grip, then slammed the butt of it into his stomach.  The soldier bent over from the blow, as Tom knew he would.  He delivered another thrust with the butt of the Thompson, this time into the man's chin.  The loud snap of his neck told Tom that he was dead.

The first soldier drew a pistol from his holster and aimed it at Tom.  Before he could fire, though, the scientist seized his wrist and twisted it around to point the gun at the guard himself.  Tom fired three rounds into the man, killing him.

In the meantime, Johannes had slowly risen from the ground.  Tom whirled and tensed as he faced his opponent, ready for combat.  He was spared from fighting, however, when Mugthulhu's mighty fist crashed into the side of Johannes's head, sending him sprawling once again.

Tom waved Mugthulhu off, then marched to where Johannes lay.  He dragged the mercenary to his feet and slammed him into one of the computer walls, causing the lights to flicker briefly.

"Talk, you son of a bitch," growled Tom.

Johannes glowered at Tom.  "About what?"

Furiously, Tom slammed Johannes into the computer wall again.  "You know what!"

When he was met with silence, Tom angrily drove his knee into Johannes's midsection, then forced him onto his hands and knees.  Then he picked up the pistol he had used earlier to kill the soldier and pointed it at Johannes's head.

"You gonna shoot me, Bishop?"  Johannes muttered.  "Seems kind of counter-intuitive, if you want to ask me questions..."

"Well, you don't seem to know anything, anyway," Tom replied.  "You're useless to me, so, yeah, I might as well just get rid of you.  Kind of the same logic you were using with King Mugsy just a moment ago, don't you think?"

"I didn't say I didn't know anything!"

"Do you know something?  Tell me now so I can either shoot you or let you live."

"Okay, okay."  Johannes seemed to resign himself to the situation.  "It was just a job.  I was approached by a guy who works in finance here, Ron Markjo.  He said he was being blackmailed by this Soviet fuck, Karl Movarch.  He wanted my help."

Tom listened intently.  "Blackmailed?"

"Yeah.  He said Movarch had proof that he and another guy here were stealing money from NASA."

"Who else, Johannes?" asked Wilmore, having jogged up to join the interrogation.

"I don't know, he never said.  It was some big shot, that's all I know."

Tom thought of John Davis.

"What were you planning on doing after this?" he asked.  "Try and find another way to grab Blanko?"

"Maybe.  That's what Markjo wanted us to do, but I was thinking it might be better to just cut our losses and get out of here.  Hell, I got no truck in this.  Markjo was the one threatened by the blackmail, not me.  I only got involved in this because he offered me a cut of the stolen money."  Johannes looked up at Tom.  "You already talked to Markjo, didn't you?"

Tom nodded.  "Not exactly, but we tried to.  He's dead now."

Johannes let out a humorless laugh.  "Then I guess you're fucked if you want to find Movarch.  He was the only one who had contact with him.  I don't know how to find him."

"We'll find a way around that, don't worry," Tom said dismissively.  "Thank you for your cooperation, Johannes, I won't shoot you after all."

Loud footsteps could be heard coming closer.  Tom looked up in alarm, but Wilmore raised a hand to calm him.  A few seconds later, at least a dozen security guards surrounded them, weapons pointed at them.

Wilmore raised his hands again for calm.  "The situation is now under control, gentlemen.  Take this man" - he gestured to Johannes - "into holding right away, he's responsible for the murder of one of our top scientists.  And I want you to place into protective custody -"

"Wait," Tom called.  Wilmore looked curiously at him.  "We need to keep Mugthulhu with us.  He and Blanko are involved a lot more than we thought.  Besides, it's just common human decency to level with them, considering all they've been through."

Wilmore seemed to think it over, then nodded his agreement, and amended his orders to the security personnel.

As Johannes was being taken away, Tom offered his final thoughts.  "Johannes, you're terrible."

"Just terrible," Wilmore added.

When only the two of them, along with Mugthulhu, were left, Wilmore turned to Tom.

"Okay, Tom, explain what you said upstairs about being able to get to Movarch without Johannes.  That better not have been a bluff."

"It wasn't."  Tom removed the cell phone he had been given from his pocket.  "Movarch contacted me.  He's the one who sent me that box, along with the files about the embezzlement."

Wilmore gasped in shock.  "Tom, what the...what the hell is going on?"

"I don't know yet," Tom answered.  "All I have are some theories.  Right now, though, we need to get back to your office.  I want to take another look at that box."
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 03:38:25 PM by Saddam Hussein »

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Saddam Hussein

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  • Former President of Iraq
Re: The Collaboration
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2010, 08:30:03 PM »
All three men settled in Wilmore's office.  The base commander was behind his desk, while Tom and Mugthulhu sat down in two chairs before him.

Wilmore spoke first.  "All right, Tom, this is your show.  Maybe you had better start from the beginning."

Nodding, Tom tried to clear his mind and focus on what to say.  He knew he had to choose his words carefully.  Even though he believed that gaining Mugthulhu's voluntary cooperation was necessary, he had no intention of letting a foreign civilian know about certain details, such as the true shape of the world.

"King Mugsy, uh, Mr. Mugthulhu - just to fill you in on a little background, Commander Wilmore and myself are investigating a serious breach of security here at NASA.  We first thought it was simply corruption, a few greedy officials pocketing extra money, but the truth turned out to be far worse.  Johannes has now confirmed for us that agents of the Soviet Union, having evidence of this embezzlement, were able to blackmail these corrupt officials into working for them.  The space race between our two countries has a lot riding on it, in both political capital and military might.  NASA officials, with access to classified information, being compromised by the Soviets has dire implications for national security."

He paused, fearing that he was confusing Mugthulhu.

"But you don't know who's in on it," observed Mugthulhu.  "That thug downstairs said he didn't know."

"That's right," agreed Tom, pleased to see that the musician was willing to talk to them.  "However, there is someone who does.  Karl Movarch."

This time Mugthulhu did look confused.

"Just bear with me here, Mr. Mugthulhu.  Johannes and his team were hired by NASA to capture Movarch when he surfaced at the clinic.  However, their real plan was to help Movarch escape, as well as to capture -"

"Balkno," Mugthulhu interrupted.  "I mean, Blanko, my bodyguard.  Not me.  They must have thought I was the one Movarch was looking for."

"Right again," Tom answered.

"And that's probably why they were going to kill me just now."

"Exactly."

"And because of that cell phone," Wilmore pointed out, "We have a way of contacting Movarch.  He still has the evidence that will expose everyone in this conspiracy.  But we have something that he wants - Blanko."

"You have Balkno?" asked Mugthulhu.

"Yes, he's perfectly safe.  He should be arriving here at the base soon.  Voluntarily, I might add, not as a prisoner."

Mugthulhu scowled.  "Okay, but I don't like where this is going.  Balkno is a friend of mine and has been for years.  He's a good man.  If you think I'm just going to sit here and let you sell him out-"

Tom held up his hands for peace.  "Relax, Mr. Mugthulhu, that's not what I'm suggesting."

"And why does he want Balkno, anyway?"

"We were hoping you could answer that better than us," Wilmore offered lamely.

"I don't know," snapped Mugthulhu.  "I know he fought in WWII, and did a damn good job, but he didn't do anything that was all that important.  He wasn't some secret agent hotshot like you."

"I'm not a secret agent!"  Tom shot back instinctively.

Mugthulhu rolled his eyes.  "Oh yeah, you must be the Assistant Minister of Produce or some other pompous title, right?  What do you call what you did back there?"

Tom tried to control his anger.  "I'm a geophysicist.  Like your bodyguard, I fought in the war as well.  Any skills that I learned from there are skills that, quite frankly, I'd rather not have.  As for what I did down in the basement, I call that saving your life."

Mugthulhu's contemptuous expression slowly faded.

"Sorry about that.  Thanks, by the way.  I suppose I should have said that from the beginning."

"Don't worry about it.  But right now, we just need you to try and help us."

Mugthulhu shrugged.  "Sorry, but I don't know what he has to do with any of this.  You'll have to ask him yourself."

Wilmore's radio crackled.  The commander held up a finger to keep the others quiet, then pressed the radio to his ear and listened.  After a few moments, he made a comment of affirmation to the person on the other end, then clicked it off.  He turned to the other two men.

"I think we ought to do just that.  Blanko has arrived at the base."

Mugthulhu whooped and leaped out of his seat.  In just a few seconds, he opened the door of the office and set off sprinting down the hallway.  Tom was about to follow, but felt Wilmore's warning hand on his shoulder.

"Where are you going with this, Tom?" Wilmore asked urgently.  "At first I thought you were saying that we could trade Blanko for the incriminating evidence.  But now you're saying that you don't want to do that?"

Tom hesitated.  "I have a plan, Commander, but it's fairly complex.  With all due respect, I'd rather go over it only once."

"Bullshit!" snapped Wilmore.  "I may be granting you a lot of latitude for this situation, but I'm not flying blind into this one.  I need to know what it is that you're planning, right now!"

Sighing in resignation, Tom took the cell phone out of his pocket.  He had no choice now but to be straight with Wilmore.

"I can't be sure of this, but I think Movarch has gone rogue."

"Rogue?"  Wilmore looked genuinely shocked.

"I don't have proof of it beyond his word, but yeah, that's what I think."

"His word?  Why would you take his word - wait a minute."  Wilmore looked at Tom curiously.  "What exactly did Movarch talk to you about, anyway?"

"For one thing, apparently the evidence is his - not the KGB's.  I don't think any NASA officials have been blackmailed into spying for the Soviet Union.  He said he didn't trust his superiors."  Tom paused.  "He wants to destroy the Celestial Clockwork, Mike.  And somehow, Blanko has something to do with it."

Wilmore raised an eyebrow.  "Destroy the Celestial Clockwork?  Destroy it?"

"That's what he said.  Is that even possible?"

"I don't know, to be honest," Wilmore sighed.  "We don't understand that much about the Clockwork right now.  We do believe that there is a physical location on the Earth where its powers are focused.  Anyone wanting to harness those powers would have to find that place.  If that location was, for example, bombed or flooded, the Clockwork could be essentially 'sealed off', if not 'destroyed', per se."

Tom nodded, considering the possibility.

"You still haven't told me what your plan is for Blanko."

"We use him as bait," Tom explained.  "We contact Movarch and pretend to cut a deal with him - Blanko for the evidence.  At the exchange, though, we grab him and make him talk."

Wilmore leaned back in his chair as he thought about it.  "Make him talk about what?"

"He knows something, Commander.  Something about the Celestial Clockwork.  The answer might not lie solely in Sputnik's wreckage.  Movarch wouldn't have gone to all this trouble for nothing."

"All right, then," answered Wilmore, rising from his chair.  "Let's get down there.  The sooner we talk to Blanko, the sooner we'll get some answers."

As the two men began to leave, Tom suddenly reached into the box from Movarch and pulled out the small foreign pistol.  He briefly made eye contact with Wilmore, and then slid the weapon into the back of his pants.  No words were exchanged between them.  A clear message had been sent: Tom no longer felt safe even within the NASA base.  Wilmore couldn't blame him.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 03:42:20 PM by Saddam Hussein »