From the remarkable keyboard of allium, in the comment thread for this post:
"Rocky...is that you? My God, what did those Pottsylvanian bastards do to you?"
It was my own government that did this, I think in jagged letters ten feet tall. Of course after the cyborging I can only talk in Bluetooth, 802.11, and half a dozen classified military frequencies, and I left my loudspeaker module back at the base during my escape, so all Agent B hears are the chainsaw buzz of my rotors. He only knows it's me because the boys under Groom Lake painted a cartoon of...what I was...on my fuselage. As a joke. They thought it was hilarious.
So I yaw back and forth, hoping he'll interpret that as a "no".
Steam rises from B's nostrils as he tosses his massive, antlered head back. "When I see Fearless Leader again. I'm gonna pull a can of whoop-ass out of my hat!"
By the Great Acorn Above, he's dense. I dispense some eka-meth from my internal drug reservoirs to focus; two point eight seconds later I come to a decision and warm up the excimer.
"But wait a second...the Admiral told me you were dead! He spoke at your funeral! He..." B trails off as he sees words of fire appear vertically in the bark of the trees in front of him, one word per trunk. My targeting system is very precise - assassination tools generally are.
"PEACHFUZZ BURNED ME. CALL CLOYD AND GIDNEY."
Two hours later and thirty miles to the west, B paws at a nondescript hillock of frozen earth to uncover the squirt transmitter we buried there after the Upsidasium Affair. As dirt flies into the air, I idly wonder whether there's room for a squirrel brain in a Metal-Munching Mouse chassis, and how long it would take to get through a certain flag officer's sternum with its gleaming titanium teeth.
Sean Carroll is a physicist at JPL and the author of many popular, smart books about physics for a lay audience; his weekly Mindscape podcast is a treasure-trove of incredibly smart, fascinating discussions with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
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