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Thursday, August 4, 2016

On the Leader’s Zephyr Zeppelin

The Urmx-7 technicians were found years later, mummified – desiccated. They must have died instantly, in the flash right at the beginning of the global war, when the first nuclear blasts detonated over Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, and Des Moines. Their bodies weren’t burnt, but baked. And when the Urmx-7 vault was finally excavated, their dried out husks were still there, hunched over their terminals. The Urmx-7 system was still functioning, as if nothing had ever happened, the hexagonal decryption codes and the ENCOM end of line MCP transmitters still broadcasting the Leader’s secret messages to agents around the world.

This is why the orbital nuke platforms continued on path – over the earth, always ready to reign down fire on the surface dwellers. 

The Leader of the Right Government™ ignored his advisors, and fired those who refused to release the nuclear codes. Dressed in a suit of regenerated cellulous, like a rabid fox in rayon, he snipped and yapped at the roadkill remains of the intelligence community. “Just nuke ‘em,” he said. “Nuke ‘em. Why can’t we just nuke ‘em?”

And then …

Aloft in his Zephyr Zeppelin, the Leader stayed above the crisis – through the weeks and months that most of the rest of the world was drinking sulfur water and bleeding in the gutters of the globe. The Urmx-7 flight program kept the Zephyr Zeppelin out of the fallout streams, with stops in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. He kept his flesh fresh with spleenfruit fizzy drinks while we broiled under the sun and sipped at industrial run-off.

I watched the Leader’s Zephyr Zeppelin dock at the top of the Empire State building. He debarked calmly, stalking down the gangplank with his hair whipping in the wind. He was flanked by a new pair of top of the line sternodogs – Andalusian dogs with razor blade eyes. The Leader stepped into the elevator and was whisked away from my sight.

I waited five minutes to be sure that the platform was clear, then… Something tickled at me to wait.

And then I saw him again. The Right Government™'s continuity editors must have been slipping. His distortion clones were here with him. But why? Why were they here instead of leading a Gila monster chase through the blastlands of the glowing southwest? Instead of hiding like a leech at the bottom of swampy basement in Babylon?

This was something new. Something unpredicted. The plan was off. I signaled the abort code to the rest of the team secreted within the lower floors of the Empire State building. And I held my place, held my tongue. If I were caught here, the long fall and the sudden splatter at the bottom would be infinitely preferable to the Leader’s Torture Teams.

The Torture Teams competed on live television using “enhanced euphemisms” to extract confessions and intelligence information from captured subversives and wounded combatants while viewers at home voted for and wagered on their favorites. Dr. Mindy Mengele, the sexy sadist was the crowd favorite. Torquemada the Terrible used a mixture of classical devices (the Heretic’s Fork, the Judas Cradle, etc.…) along with modern chemical pain inducers to distress and harass his ‘contestants.’ 

But I couldn’t linger on the zeppelin platform. I was too exposed, and the wind was picking up. I replaced my only weapon (small blade) within an occult body cavity. If I were caught, there was a chance they’d miss the abdominal vault in the frisking. One could hope, anyway. I snuck on board the Zephyr Zeppelin and hid in its lower decks, in the gear rooms. It would be cold and loud, but better than being hurled from the landing platform, or tortured on live television. If the Zeppelin flew low enough, I could slip down one of the trailing electromagnetic frequency feelers. It was risky, but…

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