Breaking Radio Silence

My head is tipped down. Features hidden by the veteran's baseball cap I'm wearing. My clothes are baggy and worn. The kind truckers would wear. The kind you don't need to replace that often.

I despise walking in places like this. Airports. Even domestic ones are breeding grounds for germs. A sea of bodies cluttering around like cattle.

Businessmen, families, vacationers, old and young... from all across the globe. No rhyme or reason. Wouldn't be a horrible place to hide. Large area. A lot of obscurity. No person you make contact with would remember you.

But a sea of bodies is a sea of bodies and every pair of eyes hides something. Are they human? Stigmatic? Demon? Angel? Mage? Vampire? Who are they working for? Who are they working with? Do they gain anything from noticing me?

I keep my head low and my steps steady. Not too fast. Not too slow. Just be one of the humans in transit. One of the masses.

 

I'm going to board a plane. And then I'm going to do something very stupid.

 

My mind has been racing ever since Igigi revealed himself. Do I waste time to obtain more cover from the VA? Do I book a formal vacation from work or just use the weekend? Government facilities. Got to love the Monday-to-Friday nature of the beast. Where would the eyebrows raise? What defences do I have from oncoming danger?

I think about the present danger.

Blackburn, Igigi and I were banished from the Asphodle club because Igigi is not August at all. He is working with  the Superior group and the god machine.

He is not fallen.

He is a traitor.

But he is worse than a traitor because he is also a coward. Slithering back to his masters and expecting death. Too scared to openly defy them and throw in with us garbage dwellers and too terrified to betray his new demon friends to return to paradise and try to fend off this corruption.

The corruption.

My mind cannot help but go over that. Demons trading with angels. Unsanctuned missions. Gilah... something big that Stefan and Caleb did not tell me. Gilah is working in Washington D.C? Someone is working in Washington D.C. Someone in paradise is calling the shots and is going behind the machine's back.

Can't fall if you don't join us in the dirt.

Are there demons in heaven?

Walking around the inner workings of the machine, throwing orders down to those still connected?

Have I ever connected with Gilah? No. He requested uploads from me. He is an angel.

Can't let agenda warp my mind. Think from the start. Not towards the conclusion.

Demons in paradise? Not unlikely. Igigi could be our courier? Deliver our message?  Run our mission.

Igigi is a coward. He will likely be dismantled or will fall.

His cover was too strong. The way he cowered from the package, freaked out about losing his pawn shop... I was sure he was one of us garbage dwellers. His cowardice during missions... was it because he feared being seen as helping us? Not reporting his findings and claiming he was still looking for an "in"?

Likely.

Doesn't absolve him.

Fuck him.

Fuck them all! I trusted and was burned. Again.

Never trust. Always focus on the mission. On the goals. Use people but don't rely on them. Don't let them know.

If Igigi spoke up during Tambora's interogation my Codec would still be a secret. Tambora wouldn't have offered to fix it. We wouldn't have been put in a situation where Blackburn asked me to aid her in rescuing him.

I declined. Even if my Codec is broken, and I've no evidence of that, I won't trust a marketplace crony. What does he weigh in on my struggle to fight off the forces which may be jeapordizing the machine? At least I could trust Caleb's rage and Stefan's grievance with Gilah. Their motives align with my own. I may not trust them as allies any longer but I trust that they will do what it takes to obtain the same goal as myself.

The purification of the God Machine. Even if it means its destruction. I would kill every angel in paradise than allow corruption to reign from the safety of paradise.

I've faught for too long to believe I did so in service of betrayers.

Blackburn's motives are not impure. She wishes to speak with Gilah. She needs Tambora to achieve that. If it is to knock Gilah into the filth or spread the message, I welcome her attempt. More voices reaching paradise at the same time. Perhaps Igigi will rat out the club and get to be a third voice.

All three of us are blowing whistles at the same time while Caleb and Stefan lick their wounds and bemoan being sold out.

I feel for them. But feelings do nothing in a war.

Action does.

And I will watch every action taken and judge it. Weigh the characters of those making the actions and see if it is worth trusting again. Blackburn is a decent ally. The club has people who can align themselves with me. I was too soft to not be wary of everyone. I let Enkara be discovered on Earth. I was a fool. But I have to own it.

Enkara is in Washington D.C.

And Bob Wilson will return there. But first he needs to take a flight.

Fly out to Ohio. Return via Train. Lose a day and a half. Back to work on Monday.

Easy.

I pass through security with my credentials. I'm just an old veteran who looks like society doesn't give a shit anymore. Only costs a couple hundred bucks and it's a vital trip.

I take a seat by the emergency exit and scope the area.

I watch the luggage being put into the overheads around me. Could be useful in a fight. If hunter angels come down onto this plane I have closed quarters to protect me, my favorite setting. Human witnesses to deter and an escape if I need to ditch cover and  use my wings.

I consider whether I should have made a contract for extra cover before coming out. I've made enough "friends" at the VA. I could have. But I'm on a time crunch. I could do it with a fellow passenger. But this is going too far.

I'm doing this because I assume I will not be attacked. Preparing for the worst is all well and good, but the worst is having confirmation of my worst fears.

If this goes poorly then the only angel I still trust will be dead to me. Facing hunter angels in the heat of learning Machaneh would rather have me killed than hear me out would be a relief.

Anxiously I await take-off.

Land in Cincinati, take Amtrak back to D.C.

I turn to face the window. Codec is discreet. I'll be able to speak without being heard. No one would notice.

I look down on the Earth from above. I've never had the opportunity to do this before. Everything is so tiny.

My finger reaches into my ear and slides across the dial of the tiny device hidden on my demon body, modified to be used in cover. Perhaps 52 years, 11 months and 2 weeks of of running will come to an end, or perhaps the first step in weeding out the corruption will begin.

I question my sanity. I don't answer.

Praying for a connection. For an answer I begin the call and feel Bob Wilson's blood pressure rise. One wrong step. One wrong word and the game will be over. This is the stupidest thing I could possibly be doing, but it's worth it if Gilah is discovered to be corrupt and taken down.

Now I just wait to see if the transmission is picked up.

Machaneh...do you read me?