Friday, August 28, 2015

The Harp Incident-09

We kept Carrano under while we went over the intelligence. The arrays, known in the fringe world as "HAARP", turned out to be a Squid operation. Before we turned him over, we hooked him up and scanned his brain using the backup technology otherwise reserved for Special Branch operatives; I'd later argue that this breach of protocol was justified- and get away with it. The reason? Once we finished running through his brainmeats as if he were a miniaturized Internet to himself, we got actionable intelligence about the very arrays in question.

The arrays were weather-control operations, coordinated by deep-cover Squid operatives networked throughout the U.S. Establishment, but not at all intended to be used against other populations. Instead, they were used to manipulate the U.S. itself- a loophole in the array of treaties that did address such things (but they thought it was about cloud-seeding and old crap like that). By keeping various parts of the nation in varying levels of environmental stress, the base players cashed in on insurance fraud at a scope and scale heretofore impossible while the Squids got to set up a global environmental threat through the melting of trapped methane gas in the poles- and they had a super-fast remedy ready to go as soon as they had de facto global power in their hands.

We handed off Carrano and then mapped out the full array of the operation, thanks to Carrano's memories telling us all we needed to know to act on it. As we realized that our jet intended to have us go over the Bohemian Club in California, we knew that this was by no means a subtle operation; this was a combat op from the get-go, and we were air-dropping into a forest. Not an easy thing at the best of times, and this was nothing of the sort. Our goal was simple: to nab a known and well-connected Squid during his visit to the club.

What we figured, but had not confirmed, was that this was a Squid front. Since everyone was a Squid, we were in a free-fire zone and we took that opportunity to cull the opposition significantly. We bagged our prey, and cut a bloodly swath through the rest of them to get a car and get away; we knew where the jet awaited us, so we were in the air once more by the time that Squid-controlled cops and Feds could get to the Club and make any effort to do anything about it.

Once we got back to the Oubliette, we already debriefed the prisoner; the weather manipulation information we got from Carrano got independently confirmed (which would back me up at the discipline hearing after the fact), and we got a better picture of what the Squids intended to do with their plan. Specifics--people, places, properties, etc.--filled in the holes that we had in the information to date made Control a happy enough man; the Agency went on Apocalypse Protocol as we moved against the Squid and moved for the long-awaited extinction of that enemy organization.

Getting everything into place took moving Heaven and Earth, but the Agency has the means and the people to do just that. Even so, we could not do a globally-simultaneous assault due to--of course--the weather ensuring that just enough time disruption occurred that some part of their network did get a heads-up. Some of our teams ran into unexpected resistance, which forced us to deploy our trump card early: Epyon, fully-certified and ready for action. He turned the tide single-handedly, as they could not counter him without countering themselves, and he could be--and was--rapidly deployed and redeployed to where we needed him.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Harp Incident-08

Whatever the subject's life was before, it's over and so was his legal identity. Control had him declared dead; his new code-name was all that was left for him now: "Epyon".

Epyon trained hard, his powers allowing him to push himself further faster than anyone else possibly could. Under Agency guidance, and control, he acclimated quickly; Jan's preliminary profile of him served as the basis for a complete and comprehensive profile through which Control ensured the loyalty of Epyon to our cause.

Meanwhile, the others and I headed out to track down Carrano and his fellow Squid. Carrano came up in Argentina, so off we went. We caught up with him at the home of a major drug cartel head, so we assumed covers as FBI and DEA agents using international treaties and other agreements to pull off a covert operation in a foreign state in a manner deniable to the Agency. That wasn't the hard part; the hard part was to keep our operation under wraps in a country with notorious corruption issues- amongst other known issues.

Jan and Aaron did the talking, again. As the lead agents, they handled the local officials and bullshat U.S. assets into assisting us- with Matt backing them up on the electronic end. Eric and I did the heavy lifting, as it were; we had to clean up some local messes to buy assistance from the more reluctant--but otherwise friendly--assets, and do it cleanly, but that didn't take long and we kept our shirts tucked in while we did it.

The operation, once we had what we needed ready, went as I expected. We came in at dusk, when we knew that the host would be hip-deep in women while partying with other guests and otherwise playing the Good Host expected of a high-rolling cartel kingpin. Jan worked her way through the crowd to get to the host, while Aaron networked his way towards Carrano. Eric stood by with the getaway, Matt monitoring by way of a drone in the sky overhead, and I was well away watching Jan and Aaron with a rifle trained on the scene.

The play was simple enough. The cover operation was a blackbag job. Jan slipped a tracker on the host; he would later get killed by a missile fired from the drone. I popped one of the high-profile guests, the son of another high-roller gangster there to work out an arrangement from the Golden Triangle to Argentina--heroin for cocaine, as I recall, w/ some guns mixed into it--and in the panic Aaron would taze and take Carrano.

Hours later, as we took off back for the Oubliette with Carrano in custody, taking pleasure in a well-executed plan we got word from Control.

"Debrief from Epyon incidents a bigger problem regarding the arrays. I've sent a flier to take your package; you and your team will proceed to new coordinates."

Well, that escalated quickly.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Harp Incident-07

Eric and Aaron harried Carrano, wounding him twice, but had to break contact once he dove out a window and into a pool far below. As they linked up with us, I got the heads-up: "Carrano made a scene. Security's on its way up."

Jan, wisely, kept close to the subject and thus under control. Eric went ahead with Aaron and retrieved our car; we piled in and made our way out.

"It's okay." Jan said, "My people and I have a safe place to hide near here." and then kept his head buried in her chest while we returned to the safehouse so he wouldn't know the way.

"We can't keep him under." Matt said, "Not if he recovers that fast."

I put the shield up to divide the passenger seats from where Eric and I sat up front. "Change of plans. Eric, airport. Matt, call Control and let him known we have an Emergency Package to drop off at the Oubliette, then bug out of there- link up with us later. Jan, keep him occupied; you've got to go the distance."

We got to the airport and Jan kept him from paying too much attention. "My friend called in some favors." she said, keeping him close, "We're going someplace where they can't find us- but once we're there, you'll be able to call home."

That was enough. He may be superhuman in body, but between his ears he's still a naive college kid with little real world experience. Jan played him like a fiddle.

We got up into the air, and Control confirmed the Package so we got priority in airspace. We arrived a few hours later, without incident (for which I was thankful) well into the Canadian wilderness at a hidden airstrip where Control met us at the hangar.

"Welcome, son." Control said, shaking the man's hand, "We're sorry to have you out in the middle of nowhere, but things are very dangerous right now and until we've got a handle on the situation you remain a target. While you are quite capable of taking what's thrown at you, that's not so for everyone else- like all the innocent people that tend to be around the places you want to be."

"How long?" he said.

"That depends."

"On what?"

"On how soon you become ready for action." Control said, "You're in the Great Game now, son. Welcome to The Agency."

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Harp Incident-06

Jan successfully got a hold of our subject, and she met him at the Excaliber. Making him talk was easy; keeping him away from Squid Carrano and Dr. Goro long enough to get him talking was the hard part, and that's where Aaron and Eric made their part of the plan work. They kept Dr. Goro talking about himself, and Carrano bragging about how awesome he is, while Jan demonstrated why she's one of our best honeypots. Pillow talk revealed what I suspected: the professor tagged him as an easy mark to recruit, got him alone just often enough to turn his head, and then manipulated him into a situation where he'd be away from family and friends for an extended period of time. The reason? To monitor the weather tracking station in Baja California.

Remember, this kid wanted to be a weather man. He had no idea what was going on there. What he found was a massive array of power transmitters that directly affected the atmosphere in a targetable manner. In short, he found a HAARP array; no, the one in Alaska is not the only one. It turned out that he was there when the last mission I led--which was to take that array out--blew it up while he was present. He had already been subjected to a medical cocktail of untested treatment candidates, and enduring the effects thereof, when the power banks blew up and some of that power surged through the place. That much electricity should have fried him to a crisp, but between his fear of death and his bewilderment at his situation he found himself alive and able to walk--stumble, really--out on his own.

Then he wanted more fun time with Jan. Jan obliged.

Meanwhile, Aaron kept Dr. Goro talking as Goro got back the results from the DNA sample he took from the subject. The long-story made short is that a lot of "junk" DNA got turned on somehow and that not only turned his healing ability into something out of a comic book (which means he's never going to age again), he's been made into a brick outhouse akin to other sorts of comic book heroes.

"We have, gentlemen, the first truly superhuman individual in known history." Dr. Goro said, smiling, "And soon he will be the sole property of The Order."

Carrano cheered. "Hail!"

Aaron and Eric nodded at each other. "Boss, time to break up the party." Matt said, and I broke into the room with my Browning Hi Power in hand- and, of course, with a suppressor attached.

"The Order has expelled you both." I said, and I shot Dr. Goro dead where he stood. Eric and Aaron drew their own suppressed pistols, but Carrano fled out a side door.

"Follow." I said, and they did. I went to Jan- "Get dressed!" I said, "The hitmen are here. We have to go."