Breed Book 4, Part 35

Note: Sorry about the posting gap. Had some familial friction that is, hopefully, resolved now.


“So I have a hit,” Mahmoud said, trying to flatten out a dollar so the vending machine would take it.

“Then why are you grimacing?” Rox asked, taking the dollar from him. It went in without any trouble. “And couldn’t you have just told it to give you a snack for free?”

“I could, but I’d feel bad,” he said punching in the number for a bag of pretzels. “Plus this way you get to show off.”

“And try to avoid the question,” she said. “But fail.”

“Right. The grimace. It’s a combination, really. Because I think I’ve found Mira. But she’s almost in D.C. And the reason I found her is that she got flagged buying a gun.”

“Well that’s ominous.”

“Right? And to make matters worse, it wasn’t the kind of flag that kept her from getting the gun- they just sent law enforcement after her later. It meant that she got away clean. On the plus side, I don’t think they intended to get flagged, so they had to leave town quick- means she’s still carrying the phone she bought with the card that got flagged. I’m shielding it from law enforcement- at least in theory- they haven’t so much as pinged a cell tower for it.”

“You keep saying ‘they,’” Rox said.

“She was with someone, according to the preliminary reports. Older, latinx, male. Douche beard.”

“Raif. That complicates things.”

“Oh? Seems like one more mouth to feed a fist to- and we do seem to have a pretty healthy fist to fool ratio.”

“He spikes powers. He’s a walking performance-enhancing drug. Mira on her own I think we could stop. But with him all bets are off. Though it explains the guns.”

“It does?”

“Mira wouldn’t need them. She could probably storm the White House on foot; she redirects energy used against her, so every shot the Secret Service took, every punch they threw, she’d give them back. She could just wade through that carnage. But he’s a leech. One with firearms experience, courtesy of the Army. He wants to be there, either as back-up, or because he wants to take the shot himself. It’s an extra degree of suck, too, because the rest of his entourage likely aren’t far behind. We might be in over our heads. Can you stop a gun?”

“Like a gun, gun?”

“As opposed to what?”

“No. Technopaths control electronics, the more digital the more control we have. Some of us can hear other machines, like that van sounds like it’s on its last legs- but all old cars kind of do. Just like old people that way, I guess. My great uncle, from like age 50 when he had a heart attack, was convinced he wouldn’t live another year. Just turned 92. His sister was the same; heart attack a year to the day after his, died before I was even born. But unless a car has a digital brain, I can’t actually know much, let alone control it or shut it down.”

“What can you do?”

“Well, if they’re using any kind of an electronic scope, I can fuck with that. If they’ve got a phone I can take control of it.”

“But that’s provided we can figure out what phone he’s carrying, right?”


“So we need to get our asses back on the road, then.


Breed Book 4, Part 34


“I’m so glad Mikaela lent us her car,” Demi said, checking her blindspot before changing lanes. “Her car doesn’t smell like the interior is all ashtray, the lights all light, and it starts, too.”

“I’m not sure you’re describing your car as anything other than a very big, impractical paperweight,” Mayumi said.

“Hey, it’s an ashtray and a paperweight,” Demi said with a smile. “I slept in a Honda like this one for a while, though it wasn’t mine. And when the owner found out, he kind of treated me like I was a family of raccoons. Though to be fair it was 1 in the morning and I did not have my face on.”  

“This after you left home?”

“I prefer ‘fled,’ even if it sounds a tad melodramatic.”

“I’m here, if you want to talk about that.”

“Not yet,” Demi said. “Maybe not ever. A part of me kind of likes it where I left it- and that’s why I left. Speaking of… any idea what we’re going to do when we hit Seattle?”

“I’ve got some money. Didn’t even remember it until last year. Should set us up in a decent-ish apartment.”

“I more meant-“

“I know. But I don’t know. I kind of imagine there’s going to be protests for a while. And I also imagine the cops aren’t going to be cowed for long. Some of them are going to have to crack skulls, just to not feel as powerless as they did that night.”

“And we aren’t going to let them, right?”

“Wasn’t planning to. But- we have to tread cautiously. Nothing broken. Nobody dripping blood, if we can help it. We can’t give them the PR win they so desperately want. But a move I think we both can pull off, grab a riot helmet by the strap and back and tear it off, then break it apart like an egg. That’ll take the fight out of them real quick.”

“I like that. And it’s even going out of our way not to hurt them, just to show them if we wanted to, we could. And it shows we aren’t the violent monsters that, well, they are.”

“The big question really is where do we need to be to be most effective as a buffer,” Mayumi said. “Not all protests are created equal, after all.” “And not all protestors can’t handle themselves as well as we can.”

Breed Book 4, Part 33


“I still think we should rent a nicer car,” Rui said. “This van smell’s like Tso’s smelliest part.”

“His feet?” Sonya asked.

“I’m thinking butt,” Anita said, “and I’m now very invested in what he meant.”

“This is not the conversation I want to be happening right now,” Ben said, covering his head with a jacket.

“You don’t hear Mahmoud complaining,” Rox said.

He leaned in from the front passenger seat. “I’m going to be your go-to for a while, aren’t I?” Mahmoud asked, wincing.

“Sorry,” she said. “It’s kind of the elephant in the room. I’m trying not to notice the smell, but it’s a fucking elephant.”

“I think the smell might be Tso’s taint; at least I hope it is, otherwise something died in this car, and it’s really soaked the smell in.”

“Any progress?”

“So, given that there’s a pandemic still raging, I guess Drump’s schedule is kind of no duh,” Mahmoud said. “But he’s on lock down at the White House. I’ve got their emails, too, so it’s something he’s constantly griping about, but so far they’ve managed to keep him from trying to roam wild- though God knows how long that will keep. He’s essentially wild cattle- the moment someone leaves his pen open he’s going to go stand in the nearest road and just dare the next virus that happens along to fucking hit him.” 

“So where does that leave us?”

“Well, nowhere good. Though fortunately, it also leaves Mira up the same shitty creek. They can’t pick him off in a convoy, or getting off a plane or a helicopter. They’ve got to storm Fort Dumb as Rocks. Bricks, rather.”

“Good save,” Sonya said.

“I did also notice that, um, his staff are pretty dumb. I mean, you’d have to be, to work there, but still. Not only are they using unsecured, easily hackable phones, but they spend a just inordinate amount of times on their phones, jotting mean-spirited missives about each other. Each other apparently includes more than you’d think about the security details. I think I see a few vulnerabilities we could exploit- or that Mira and her group might try to exploit- assuming they’ve got either a mildly talented hacker or a kindergarten technopath.”

“Loose dips sinks ships,” Anita said, before turning to Sonya. “Not you, no offense.”

“I wouldn’t have taken offense until now.”

“That’s great work,” Rox said. “I mean Mahmoud. Anita, you’re going behind Tso in the bathroom order.”

“Oh, come on. It wasn’t that mean.”

“Maybe,” Rui said, “but you did follow it up with an additional mean thing. Sort of hurts your case.”

“He treats burrito-eating like a competitive sport.”

“Sounds like sour grapes from someone who keeps losing,” Ben said without emerging from his jacket tent.

“I also feel like you probably should have seen this coming,” Rox said.

“Damnit,” Anita said.

Breed Book 4, Part 32


“I’m still not sure about this,” Mikaela said.

“This about me driving a bus, or?” Tucker trailed off while taking a turn too wide, jumping the curb and nearly smacking into a stop sign.

“Also that, yeah,” Mikaela said. “But more the us meeting clandestinely smuggled quasi-refugees.”  

“To be fair, what ABC did was more human trafficking than smuggling, and it’s more like we rescued them from kidnappers.”

“That certainly sounds more heroic. I guess I also assumed Bellingham’s airport would be more… podunk. It’s a tiny town. Why does it have a massive airport- an international airport? And apparently the third biggest in the state. I was expecting a single airstrip, with one of those old-fashioned windsocks, and probably a bored cow doing the air traffic controlling.”

“It’s the proximity to Vancouver. It gets a lot of traffic from there, because it’s cheaper than flying out of their international airport.”

“Guess that makes sense. You know where we’re going?”

“The Dean just pinged me. He’s walking them through the front doors.”

“I hate telepaths.”

“We dated for a long time… oh, right. That’s why.”

“Not the only reason,” Mikaela smiled slyly. “But it’s probably controlling.”

Tucker pulled the bus to a stop in front of the airport’s revolving front door, and the Dean stepped inside. “I told you I could manage the bus,” Tucker said.

“I wouldn’t brag too much; I can feel the anxiety dripping off Mikaela without poking into her head.”

“How’d it go?” Mikaeala asked, as a stream of young people, mostly children, flowed past them into the seats.

“It was a little depressingly simple to walk them through the airport.”

“In fairness, you can make security and anyone else see whatever you need them to- including nothing.”

“Still. There are a lot more telepaths around today than there were. It’s only a matter of time before someone abuses the privilege for more sinister means.”

“That depends,” Mikaela said, “if you’re counting the government using them against the rest of us. We know they’ve been pressing technopaths to work for the NSA. Why not recruit telepaths into the FBI?”

“That’s a chilling thought,” he said. “Though not as chilling as the thought of letting Tucker drive us all back to the school. You’re a passenger for the trip home.”

“Aw, man,” Tucker said. “I read that raccoon I hit; didn’t have a family, and I’m pretty sure he wanted to die.”

“That’s not funny,” Kean said.

“It was, a little,” Mikaela said, stifling a laugh.

Breed Book 4, Part 31


Mahmoud was concentrating, navigating the cell towers in search of any clues.  

“Mikaela said she was using burners, if that helps,” Rox said.

“Only if she bought up all the burner phones on the East Coast, and she even is on the East Coast,” he said, trying to maintain his concentration. “But Mikaela also said she was cautious, bordering on paranoid. I’ve found four phones she used once in the last nine months, no connection, other than a lack of connection. Each purchased on a different credit card, some fake, some stolen, from different chains, in different states at different times of day. The one constant is that they either didn’t have surveillance equipment or it wasn’t functioning that day, as best I can piece together through maintenance records. Worse, the phones were always purchased at the least minute, before she burned an identity and left town, so even if I discovered a pattern, it would lead us to where she had been, not either where she is or is going to.”

“Well we know where she’s going, but that-”

“Do we, though?” he asked. “Because statistically there’s almost even odds that he’ll be in New York or Florida, rather than in D.C.”

“Shit,” Rox said. “We need to start thinking like a terrorist.”

“Start?” Anita asked.

“Bugs?” Rox asked.

“You’re clear,” Mahmoud said. “No one’s mics are on.”

“If we were going to attack a President, how would we approach it?”

“Depends,” Anita said. “You just want him gone, or you want to make a statement?”


“I could slip into the White House undetected, inject him with an agent to paralyze his vocal chords, force him at gunpoint to slash his wrists on the assumption that they can probably save him from that, but not a bullet. You want a statement, you attack the White House, you topple him in his castle in broad daylight with his guards on high alert.”

“That’s… actually a fair point,” Rui said, “if meandering. But I don’t think anything they’ve done to this point suggests they think they can siege the White House. Not even in a quick, smash and shoot style raid.”

“Unless they’ve powered up,” Rox said. “We know part of what they’ve been doing globetrotting is recruiting. If they got their hands on a heavy hitter, all bets would be off.”

“True,” Ben said, “but then, if they did recruit a heavy hitter, we probably couldn’t do much to even slow them down.”

“So I guess we’re left with the choice between assuming we’re fucked, or guessing they keep on the subtler track they’ve been on.”

“Or plan C,” Rox said. We pick our target, and hope we’re right. And to cover our bases, we call the Secret Service to tell them there’s an imminent threat. It’s halfway to a hail Mary, but half a loaf is better than starving.”

“I still say my plan is solid,” Anita said. “I can slip in. I’ve cased the place every few years when I swing through Washington. They’ll never even know I was there.”

“We’re trying to thwart an assassination, not do one,” Sonya said.

Right,” Anita said. “I forgot we’re in the boring draft.” Ben’s head swiveled towards her. “You have no idea how kinky alternate you gets,” she told him.

“So any other insights, then?” Rox asked. Anita’s face lit up, and Rox put up her hand, “Insights not about anyone’s alternet reality sex lives.”

“Pooh,” Anita said. “The problem is they’re doing the exact same kind of guessing game as we are. Probably. Unless this is one of the timelines where… heh, yeah. I have insight. You know how nobody in this administration even bothers using appropriate channels, they’re all on public email and using unsecured phones? Mahmoud.”

“Shit,” he said. “Feel dumb I didn’t think of that- of course, I’ve missed most of what she’s talking about, because I’ve been trapped in an information-free hole. But still, his schedule is on an unsecure phone. Or twelve. Jesus. It wouldn’t even take a skilled technopath to crack this. I’ve got his schedule. Access to his taxes. Bank records. I really think we should have a talk about selectively leaking some of this before November…”

“For now,” Rox said, “we’ve got an idea of where their target will be, and the timeframe, so it should be fairly simple to figure out some approaches.”

Breed Book 4, Part 30


“I kind of feel like we should have stayed,” Demi said, as Seattle shrunk in their rear window.

“I get the sentiment,” Mikaela said, “but I need a shower. And a change of underpants. And outerpants, for that matter.”

“I reverse them,” Iago said, “Then it’s like I’m wearing a whole new pair.”

“He better not be back there with his underpants on the outside,” Tucker said, “or I’m burning the upholstery.”

“There are other ways to agitate for change,” Drake said. “Marching in Seattle isn’t the only one.”

“Maybe not. But you can’t tell me that wasn’t… something,” Demi said, her voice light.

“Oh, it definitely was,” Tucker said, glancing at her in the rearview mirror. “But you can’t get caught up chasing that feeling, either. Sometimes change is marching through the streets of your podunk little college town, protesting police some nonlethal discrimination on a Tuesday. It’s the little, seemingly insignificant shit along with the big, important shit.”

“That’s profound shit,” Mikaela said.

“Oh, bite my brother’s inside-out underpants.”

“Not even with your teeth.”


“I think I’m going to go back,” Mayumi said. “You’re right, that change is cumulative, and what happens in smaller towns impacts the bigger picture, too- but this is different. Because Seattle is the biggest city close to the school, itself he biggest collection of Breed- it’s a flashpoint. I think the cops and the city know it, too- I think that’s part of why their response was so aggressive so quickly. It got there in basically every city, but it added fuel. I need to be here, right now.”

“I think I’m going to come, too,” Demi said.

“I can’t,” Mikaela said. “The Breed Rox liberated from Cuba are already in the air, on their way to Bellingham. I promised I’d watch over them.”

“That’s okay,” Mayumi said. “I don’t think this is an either or thing. I think both are important, and necessary. Just because I feel like I need to go back, doesn’t mean anyone else should feel compelled to. Plus, I, too, need a change of underpants, too.”

Breed Book 4, Part 29

Note: Jesus Christ, we’re already back full circle. Well, like I said two weeks ago, I’m going to try and keep going, til the wheels come off. Might start taking Saturdays off, just so I can have a little more me time (by which I mean family time, and not literally me time- nothing gross should be inferred from this); I think I’ve been de facto doing that unintentionally because I keep getting caught up over the weekend and missing a posting. Also, just a note on continuity, I think the chapter with Mahmoud is going to be first, so 29 brings us back to Rox’s group, and we’ll be going back and forth going forward.


Rox couldn’t sleep. They drove all night to get over the border into Texas, but now that they were back in the US, she couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being pursued.

Mahmoud felt it too. At least, that would explain the way his breath kept hitching, and the way he was twitching. He was sharing the other Queen bed with Rui and Ben, nearest the Queen she was sharing with Sonya and Anita. Suddenly, he sat bolt upright, screaming. The lights went off, the alarm, the television- every electronic in the room shut down at once. Rox was already on her feet, running to the window, and watched as a shockwave washed through the nearby city, killing every light in its path.

“Goddamnit,” Mahmoud muttered, standing beside her.

“I don’t blame you- I don’t. But you just lit a signal flare even the Drump Administration dummies could see from space. We can’t be here when they get here.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice dripping with self-loathing.

“Shut up.”

“Sorry. You don’t need my whining right now.”

“No. I mean shut up,” she grabbed him aggressively and his instinct told him to fight, to get away, hit her if he had to. His fists were balled, without even thinking about it; a wave of shame shook through him when he realized she was hugging him. “You have every right to be upset, to be traumatized. It’s going to take time for things to even approach a semblance of okay. So don’t take it out on yourself. I want to collapse into a weeping ball just thinking about what you’ve been through- and I know I can’t truly understand it without having lived through it. So if you need to freak out sometimes, if you need to cry, if you just need to be held,” she squeezed his ribs tighter for emphasis, “we’re all here for you- at least as best we can be. We’re all dealing with this open wound of a world, and we all have days and nights like the one you’re having. But the absolute last thing you need to do is apologize. We’ve been there. We are there. We’ll be there again tomorrow. But we’re here for you, whatever you need, whatever we can do to help.”

“Yeah,” Rui said, yawning, “what she said.”

“Shit,” Mahmoud said. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”

“If it makes you feel any better, Rox was the one who woke us up,” Ben said from beneath a pillow. “Just as well,” Rox said. “We need to be in the van in 5-” she was interrupted by Sonya, snoring loudly. “And somebody wake Sonya.”

Breed Book 4, Part 28


“What can I do to help?” Rox asked.

“I just spoke to Mira,” Mikaela said.

“You what?”

“We talked. Not the first time. She’s conflicted. Still more of who we knew than I, at least, might have thought. But that’s why she came to me. She wasn’t sure what to do, and wanted my help. So I’m helping. She needs to be stopped.”

“Agreed.” Rox thought a beat. “You mean something specific, don’t you?”

“They’re going to try to kill the President.”

“Of the school?” Rox asked.

“Of the country.”

“Oh.” She pondered a moment. “So?”

“Okay, I know what you mean. But if one of us kills him, we go from being that minority he oppressed for years because of his massive insecurities to that dangerous group who martyred him and need to be oppressed indefinitely to save society.”

“Oh, right,” Rox said, “because we live in a world where even when a rare good thing happens, the consequences render it actually bad.”

“You know the Secret Service is definitely listening into this call by now, right?”

“Yeah, but I’ve been off their Christmas card list for a while, anyway. But hopefully you have more to go on that that. Because otherwise I don’t see how we can actually help- especially since we can’t exactly move freely about in D.C.” 

“You can help because you know Mira., and that should get you close enough for your luck to take hold. If you can find her, you can stop this, Maybe even stop that bloated asshole from saying so many bigoted things about us.”

“Hah. Thanks I needed a laugh, after all of that. Oh, and do me a favor. There’s going to be a bunch of new students coming to the campus. Help them adjust- because it is going go be one hell of an adjustment. And take care of them. This can be an awful, lonely, shit-filled world. Don’t let them drown in it.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“You know if you don’t I’m coming home and kicking your ass, right?”

“Almost makes me want to half-ass it, just to get you home. You deserve that, you know? You were kids when you left. Nobody deserves to be exiled from their homes like this.”

“We’ve got each other. That’s almost the same thing.” “Yeah,” Mikaela said. “Almost.”

Breed Book 4, Part 27


“You have friends in Cuba?” Rox asked, wiping strawberry milkshake from her lips.

“The Bureau of Breed Affairs didn’t exist a decade ago. When it started, it started in a hurry, recruited from other U.S. Agencies.”

“You were a spook,” Anita said. “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like you.”

“Takes one to know one- or is that why you also hate yourself?” Laren asked.


“That’s a lousy reason to hate yourself,” Laren said, touching Anita shoulders. “You’re beautiful no matter what genitalia you have.”

“But the other refugees?” Rox pressed.

“The Cuban government was happy to take them, at least for now, just to show up the U.S. Gives them a black eye and a half; they didn’t just turn them away, no, they spirited them away to a black site, then lost them into the welcoming arms of the Cubans. Not that we can assume things will stay hunky dory. For now, the Cubans will keep them safe and happy because it fits their propaganda. But hopefully come November we can permanently settle them in the U.S. Though ironically, if we can get Cuba to give them permanent status here the US will welcome them as refugees with open arms.”

“And the Americans?” Sonya asked.

“Those we can take straight back to the states. I’ve arranged a flight directly into Bellingham. Two, actually- one into Seattle- that’s the one on the books, so if Drump does try to intervene, he’ll be at the wrong damn airport interdicting an empty plane. We’ll be going directly to the campus. They’ll be safer there, at least in the short-term. I called the Dean, and he’s offered to give them all honorary status at the school until they can figure out their next steps.”

“How you liking your shake?” Ben asked.

“Well,” Mahmoud said, stabbing his straw into it, “for the last year or so, I’ve eaten nothing but nutritional pastes, first force-fed, then eventually through a hole in my side.”


“But this tastes way better. Plus, it isn’t prison food.”

“How’s that taste?” Rui asked.

“You ever had a dream that felt like it lasted years, and when it took a turn you just felt this heavy, pervasive, suffocating dissatisfaction, like life wasn’t worth living anymore?”

“Yeah.” Rui said.

“And then you wake up. And everything awful- well, maybe not everything, but at least the worst of it, the shit you thought you couldn’t handle- it’s gone. And your life is back, and normal.” A tear slid down his cheek. “I still kind of can’t believe that I’m not going to wake up back in that cell. And that’s everything.”

Breed Book 4, Part 26


Ben was out of breathe, nearly doubled-over from the exertion of running to their position on the beach. “You want the good,” he paused to inhale jaggedly, “or the bad news?”

“Well, you’re here,” Rox said, “which means you aren’t trying to slow down the Army anymore. Can’t imagine what the good news even would be.”

“I finally stopped throwing up.”

“He’s lying,” Rui said, landing beside him. “He just ran out of things to throw up.”

“And I say that still counts.”

They heard the sound of a bullhorn keying, then a voice blared at them across the sand. “This is Colonel Samuel Peters of the United States Army. You are all under arrest. Lay face down, hands laced behind your head, and you have my guarantee none of you will be harmed.” The colonel and a handful of his executive staff stood at the front of a column of soldiers and armored vehicles.

“Rox?” Sonya asked.

She looked to her left, at the throng of refugees, most of them children, all of them looking worse for wear even after Cris had seen to their worst injuries, then to her right, and a contingent of American forces. As if to hammer home the contrast, a pair of tanks pulled up to either side of the colonel. “We can’t win,” Rox said. “But we can buy them time to get away. I’m going to do that. Anybody who doesn’t feel like facing down a tank, I’m sure they could use someone leading them away.”

“They’ll figure it out,” Ben said. “Because we’re not going anywhere.”

“Duh,” Sonya said.

“I was just going to fly away,” Rui said, “but Tombstone was always one of my favorite movies.”

“And here I was thinking I wasn’t going to get a chance to hurt anyone after what they did in that base…” Anita said, a disturbing grin growing on her face.

“Okay, we were having a moment until that,” Sonya said, wrinkling her nose. “That smile is really creeping me out.”

“Do we survive this?” Rox asked Anita.

“I was so excited,” Anita said, reaching for her holster, “I nearly forgot to- oh. Damnit.” Her hand dropped limply to her side.

“That bad?”

“No. Wait for it.”

“United States forces, you are hereby ordered to stand down by the sovereign nation of Cuba,” they heard, over a second, crappier bullhorn.

“Wait,” Ben said, “is that-”

“Yes, it’s her.” Anita said, scowling. Laren was marching across the sand with a handful of officers from the Cuban Army. She motioned for Rox and the rest to join them.

“Should I?” Mahmoud asked.

“Wouldn’t be a party without you,” Sonya said, motioning for him to follow.

As they approached, they could hear the Colonel yelling. “We have air support, numerical and technical superiority, and the full might of the U.S. Federal Government. You’ve got a bunch of prepubescents, half of which can barely stand up straight.”

Laren looked up at the sky as a drone buzzed them, then turned to Mahmoud. “I want that drone at my feet.” Rox tensed, uncertain he was up for it.

The drone turned to make another pass, but this time kept angling, until it was pointed at the ground. It struck land ten feet from them, digging a trench and throwing sand until it came to a stop just in front of Laren, who put her boot on its hull.

“Do you have any idea how much those cost?” the colonel bellowed. He turned to his men and ordered, “Arms at the ready.”

“Radios,” Laren said, “no permanent damage.”

Mahmoud pinched the air and twisted, and their radios shrieked in unison through the earpieces, loud enough to be heard even ten feet away. Soldiers fell to their knees, or dropped their weapons, before turning off their radios.   

“Now,” Laren said, stepping towards the colonel, “you gentlemen seem to have brought all manner of flyswatters to this thing, but what I think you even to this moment don’t get is this: you’re the flies. Tanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Mahmoud said, raising his arms.

“No way,” the colonel said.

The tanks rolled to an angle, blocking the colonel and his staff from Laren. Their turrets turned towards him and his men, backstopped by the opposite tank.

“Now, given that the U.S. is congenitally prone to swinging its dick around, regardless of the circumstances, even that might not be enough to dissuade you. But let me be clear, boys, we aren’t alone here. Nor are we invaders. We’re refugees, officially welcomed by the Cuban government. You might recognize our welcoming committee coming over that hill, a company from the Cuban military. They’re here, of course, with a dual mission, to welcome us, and to escort you back to your base, which you have clearly mistakenly wandered away from. Because if this isn’t an accident, it’s an armed incursion into sovereign Cuban territory. And that can’t possibly be what happened here.”

“What the fuck is the CIA even doing here?” the colonel gasped.

“I’m sure Langley is on the phone asking your superiors the opposite question as we speak. Now run along home, before we decide to keep your toys, or maybe leave them in Cuba for whoever might want them. Don’t forget your drone.”