Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dylan Dies

July 29th, 2007

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The Announcement

Drac pulled up the image of the young woman and displayed her on the desk. "And, what happens to dear Melissa when you take her place?"
"I'm afraid she dies."
"Tyr Weapons Systems." He tapped his head. "That's a whole universe of pain and death. Is the price you're getting worth it?"
"I think so."
"Can I be traced through you?"
"Anything is possible, Drac. I can't give you complete assurance on that."
He nodded. Whether he could be traced was a matter of his skill versus those of his opponents, and not up to her. "Who hired you?"
"You know I can't tell you that."
"Worth a shot." He thought for a minute, then nodded. "All right. When do you need to start?"
"I need the body complete by the 14th. And, I'll need to give you updates on her physical condition up to the 13th. All right?"
Drac shook his head. "I'm starting to think this isn't worth it for me."
Sonja leaned across the desk. "I really need this, Drac. You have no idea how important this is."
He reached across and took her hand. "All right, Sonja. For you. Leave me all the information you have, and I'll begin. Will you be able to transmit the updates, or will security require you to bring me those in person?"
"In person. Some things are too easy to pluck out of the air." She transmitted briefly, and he nodded to acknowledge receipt. Then, she got up and took a step back towards the hole. "Coming with me?"
His dark eyes were poring over the data in front of him, and he shook his head. "No, dear, you go ahead. The hole will let you out. I'm going to begin working on this masterpiece." He waved a hand and the hole opened back for her. When she walked underneath it, she was lifted up and passed through, back into the small booth. When she was back on her feet again, the hole closed over and was covered by the rectangular block - the coffin - that Drac kept to greet his customers.
She stepped through the beads and went back into the bazaar. This time, the wash of desires and noises was a welcome distraction from what she would have to do over the next week, and what would be done after that.

Once she was home, she set up a security field and dropped the personal defenses she had been keeping up since leaving. She was exhausted. She hadn't slept since getting the assignment, three days ago. There had been a lot to do, many people to see, and hundreds of preparations to make. She was pretty sure that she had it all in hand, now, and could let it all coast for a few hours while she rested.
She took off the silver jacket and laid it carefully at the foot of the bed. Then, she slid out of her boots and socks, lining them up carefully where her feet would fall when she swung her legs out of the bed. Off came her pants, and they were folded neatly and set on the chair within easy reach. She left on her blouse because she didn't like to sleep topless. She folded back the sheets, slid in, and covered up. The room saw that she didn't want to stay up, so the lights dimmed and the temperature dropped to make her comfortable. Within seconds, she was asleep.
Seconds later, a persistent tickle at her ear woke her up. "What is it?" Her eyelids fluttered open, and a man stood at her bedside, admiring her sleeping form. She drew the sheets a little more tightly around her. "What do you want, Gil?"
"You, of course, Sonja, but a little progress report would do for now."
"I'll give it to you after I've had a chance to sleep for a few hours." She waved a hand at him and pulled the cover over her head. "Go away."
His head lowered within inches of hers. "Our employer wants to know where we stand. This kind of man doesn't wait, baby."
"We're on track. Goodbye."
"Details, Sonja."
"Matilda," she muttered to her computer, "what level of privacy am I on?"
"Emergency calls only, mum," the soft english voice replied.
"Sonja, the guy hasn't heard from you in 3 days. He is friggin' threatening to have the Militia come in and torture me. You know I can't take real pain."
She pulled back the sheet and stared into Gil's eyes. They were bloodshot, as always - Gil never did take care of his appearance - and they were worried. He looked almost as bad as she felt. "Look, Gil, I've got the preparations made, the switchover will take place as planned on the 13th. Now, I need eight hours of sleep, or I'm going to die."
"Who are you using for the prep? He wants to know."
She narrowed her eyes. "He doesn't get to know, Gil. My sources remain anonymous to everybody - even big money types."
"Gil, I'm cutting you off now. If you call me back before eight hours is up, you won't have to worry about being tortured by the Militia."
"You'll give me everything then, though, right?"
She was really regretting ever coming to work with the little weasel. "Yes, Gil. Now you go bye-bye. Matilda, total privacy."
"Yes, mum." Gil's image blinked out, and Sonja settled back again. "Shall I play some music for you, mum? You seem somewhat tense."
"Sure." A few strains of folk music played out over her, and she breathed deeply. "This had better work." She flipped over on her side, trying to get more comfortable. "Hey, Matilda, was that call monitored?"
"There wasn't any discernible trace, mum."
"Can you analyze any unusual traffic that may have piggy-backed on Gil's signal and let me know?"
"Of course, mum." Matilda was silent for a minute, leaving the soothing pipes to work their magic on Sonja. She was almost asleep when Matilda came back. "There was a slight bulge in the amount of data being transmitted, mum, but I couldn't trace where it came from or where it went. The probability is that the call was being monitored."
"Damn it." Gil had been told to make the call and get information from her, and their employer was listening in. "I hate it when people don't trust you. A contract is a contract." She fussed and fumed mentally for a couple of seconds, then asked, "Can you tap into Gil, and find any residuals left in his area?"
"I'll try, mum. But, for what purpose?"
"If you can pick up a residual from anyone associated with Tyr Weapons Systems, bring it back, isolate, and culture it. Then work up an antidote."
Matilda paused, and hesistantly said, "Tyr Weapons Systems is known very widely for their security, mum."
"I have a lot of faith that you can break that reputation, Matilda."
"Very well, mum."
Sonja's exhaustion was weighing very heavily on her. "I've still got to get some sleep. Matilda, keep me posted of any emergencies, but let me sleep uninterrupted for at least five hours if you can. All right?"
"Yes, mum."
She covered herself again and closed her eyes. Everything was abuzz inside her, but she forced that all down. She called up the morpheus image she'd had planted to help her relax.
A muscular man's hands ran down her body, unclenching each muscle, relaxing all her nerves. Then, those wonderful hands smoothed away her hair and massaged her temples, and her breathing deepened. Her eyes closed, but the hands kept working their magic, flying to any part of her that needed to be soothed, and caressing away her cares and tensions. In minutes, she was asleep.
She really liked morpheus.

Five hours later, Matilda woke her with a gentle ringing bell. She sat up in the bed and stretched, feeling much better than she had in three days. She would have liked more, but she got enough to keep her going for a while.
"Find out anything, Matilda?"
"I have four different residuals that I am attempting to cultivate. They are all from different systems inside Tyr, and one of them is being very nasty about being held and cultured."
"Work on that one. I think it'll probably be the most helpful to the task we have at hand."
Matilda almost sighed. "I will try, mum, but you have no idea how difficult it's being."
Sonja smiled at the old girl. "I'm sorry, Matilda, but please do your best. This could make our lives a lot easier."
That almost-audible sigh again. "Yes, mum."

In 1941, at Sidi Omar on the Egyptian border Loose Cannon Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence made a fateful decision for England and his family. The letters he had written between 1931 to 1934, posing as his own Uncle to John Bruce were a threat to his family. A threat to his missionary brother, and anchoress mother who had already lost two sons to the war. The shame washed over him. He swalled two quinine tablets, to disguise his sweating as malaria. Yet he had given his word to do his best for his Arab allies. Before November 1917, he would have consulted with his God, but God was no longer speaking to Thomas Edward Lawrence. "Publish and be damned" he told Skorzeny.

~ variant from Steve Payne: extensive use of Susan Shwarz original content has been made to celebrate the author's commanding genius.

Hey Joe Where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
Hey Joe I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
Well, dig it! I'm goin' way down south, way down south,(Hey)
way down south to Mexico way!
Jimi HendrixAlright! (Joe) I'm goin' way down south,
(Hey, Joe) way down where I can be free!
you better run on down!
(where you gonna...) Goodbye everybody. Ow!

~ Lyrics to “Hey Joe” - Click to Play Sample
Dead Man Walking
Guadalajara 1969 ~ Hendrix apocalyptic warnings about President Richard Nixon (codename “Joe”) and his covert operation to suppress the counter-culture had been largely ignored as paranoia until J. Edgar Hoover had terminated the Woodstock Music Festival on July 6th 1969. Within the next two years, many of the icons of the counter-culture including Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jim Hendrix had mysteriously died and those warnings were seriously re-evaluated.

Counter-insurgency techniques planned for the VietCong were turned on American youth as the white suburbs of America became strategic hamlets. Which made perfect sense, some times you have to destroy the village to save it. Greenwich Village included. The Lyrics are available at Lyrics Freak
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

In 1970, António de Oliveira Salazar had been dead for just forty-eight hours. Dramatic changes that had been held in check for many years were now unleashed; Portugal was no longer “Proudly Alone”. Immediate pressure for independence emerged from nationalists in Mozambique and Anglola. The most fevered speculation focused on the west coast of India. The Administration in Goa faced the very real prospect of losing the whole subcontinent, the Jewel in the Crown of the Portugese Colonial Empire.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 2009, the TV networks presented episode eighteen of So What If?. Historian Mackinlay Kantor reviewed the history of the USA, CSA and Republic of Texas after the death of Grant on the way to Vicksburg and how Lee won at Gettysburg.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1967, explosion and fire on U.S. navy carrier Forrestall in Tonkin bay left 134 US servicemen dead. A Zuni rocket was accidentally fired from an F4 Phantom parked on the starboard side of the flight deck aft of the island. The missile streaked across the deck into a 400 gallon belly fuel tank on a parked A4D Skyhawk. The pilot of the Skyhawk was [the later to be] President John McCain of Arizona, he was able to evacuate the plane and got away safely.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1855, from Mosi-oa-Tunya, known to the European as Victoria Falls, Makololo soul-deeps promoted the continent of Ifriquia to a mega-node in the Mesh, the global network of First Nation consciousness founded in Manna-hata, Turtle Island in 1492.
British witness David Livingstone recorded “the scene as so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” The smoke that thunders burst into the Zambezi River as indigenes around the globe celebrated the dawning of a new age of inter-connectivity.
~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1948, the first Summer Olympics since Berlin 1936 opened in London with the Games of the XIV Olympiad. Several new nations sent teams following territorial alignments either delayed or caused by the Great War. These included East and West Austria, North and South Japan, Palestine and Hindustan.London 1948
London 1948
~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
In 1966, the musician Bob Dylan died in upstate New York. Whilst riding his Triumph 500 motorcycle in Woodstock, New York, its brakes locked, throwing him to the ground. The fall broke his neck and he died instantly. He was sadly missed, even though other artists used the master's lyrics.
In the words of the CBS tag, "Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan”.
~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1981, Lady Diana Spencer married Charles Windsor, Prince of Wales. It was an unhappy marriage for the “Queen of Hearts” which ended with a tragic car crash in 1997, killing the Prince and his lover, Camilla Parker-Bowles. The widow subsequently married Dodi Al-Fayed, finding true happiness at last.Diana Spencer
Diana Spencer

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

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