Me just back from Nam and war echoes in the steel chambers of my braingun. Blink flashback of Culhane's Insane Unknown Offensive, upriver.
Thwack thwack rotor blades as I ducked under and pushed Culhane onto the deck, enemy hanging onto my leg at 3000 feet and I kicked him free.
Alleybound drugaddled I huddle shrug-hunched against blasted concrete deflecting raw north winds from Canada whistling knife-edged brutal.
Feet. My field of view narrow, eyes peeping tears from minus 30. Feet in snow facing me. I look up to see bearded man, wetblack sunglasses.
We observe each other for an hour, waiting to see who's going to break the silence and speak first. Take your time, I ain't goin' nowhere.
You're Kindred, he told me, he wasn't asking. Yes. Get up, let's go. Followed him into a warm purple doorway and up an industrial elevator.
Call me Gideon. I'm CIA. We've been watching you. Nam. You did good. We want you. You think you know killing? You know nothing. Not yet.
Six months of black ops training. Both arms tied behind my back, stabkilled a 900 pound hog, deadeyestrike with a ball point pen mouthheld.
Highschool gymnasium, midnight dark, me earplugged and blindfolded, handcaught a highflying wild pigeon by feeling its wingwind cheektickle.
Then six months of covert activity. Two assassinations, messy in Mexico. Penetrated rogue gang, major drug ops, knocked down the leaders.
Drowned one in a dirty toilet while a diversionary gasfire took down the building we were inside. Pursued the other into the mountains.
Slipped through six guards AK-47 ready, me ghostlike Red Grange galloping through the line, stiff finger through his ear into the brain.
Gideon officially pleased, unofficially pissed because I walked away clean, wanted more from me, I had my own deathmission ready to roll.
12 Disciples of Kindred the Elder, children of the bomb, worshipping its influence, its ability to transform geopolitics, purify 'n cleanse.
Secret society, political donations, pulling levers of power, rigged elections, America adrift, needing rejigging, stabilization, repair.
JFK roadkill in their way, they took him out of play. Escalated Nam, wanted to nuke the north, grand designs on the Middle East, oil bombs.
And so I got to work. Solo avenger, blue collar assassin, just doin' my job, ma'am. Making my list, checking it twice, naughty or nice?
No tools of the trade, no fancy parade. No remorse, no regret, you ain't seen nothin' yet. No weapons, no fears, no mercy, no tears.
Remy Calumet, Professor Deedle, Danko Drout, Mantell. Stroked out, crossed off, done and done, one by one, Karin Offal's time will come.
I walk through urban canyons slidin' smooth, figures in the dark give me plenty of room to move. What gives me the right? I own the night.