The British military is planning to attack the island chain of Socotra near Arabia. I get to convey the orders to one officer "Flint Jack", who appreciates having me as a go-between. (19 Feb)
- What's Socotra? It's a group of islands somewhere between Yemen and Somalia. Due to its unique ecosystem, the United Nations has declared it a biosphere preserve.
- Of course, various pirates and terrorists who inhabit Yemen and Somalia are respecting the biosphere and leaving the islands alone... well, no they aren't. Socotra is great to run away to after you've just sent a boat full of explosives and machine gunners to bomb a nearby port or intimidate a freighter.
- The islands are astride the shipping lane through the Suez Canal. Britain's even more interested in this than the U.S. is. So they're leading the assault.
- Why am I here? Because I've worked with the Royal Army and with Flint Jack before. And he's gone native in the former British Somaliland.
A woman is driving a van in the desert, while lions and tigers attack. She gets it into town for dinner and the beasts lay off. But dinner is boring with lots of kvetching, and some submarine staff won't let me talk. (20 Feb)
- Aww, shit. It seems I had to go to Somalia to find Flint Jack.
- The woman is his old teammate "Faerie Queen". And despite her poofy former name, she's incredibly tough for her size. People finally convinced her to call herself "Titania".
Some U.S. patriotic hero is telling a German how great it is to work with the U.S. Navy. (22 Feb)
- It seems I have to catch a ride home with my nation's military. Well, that figures.
- En route, I see three superhumans deploying. One's a Super-Marine, another's just watching, and the third is suspected to be about to defect. But then a werewolf comes somersaulting through to beat up the defector! A Gov agent phones in the werewolf's bonafides. (26 Feb)
A cyber-mystic has gone crazy and thinks he's a space heater. I get a djinn named Vesper to take him, hopefully for a cure. (27 Feb)
- Having gone to the Horn of Africa on a military mission, I deserve some downtime. But the cyber-mystic I rescued from a disk drive in NYC is in trouble again. And there I am, nearer the land of Djinni than any other online mystic is.
- Okay, I know a djinn, and I'll do the summoning. But I won't be responsible for the results.
In the news, while I travel: A smuggler is loading up on synthetic British "boneless gas" at a dock near Dover. Four missile boats are attacking a tanker full of the gas, but the smuggler has orders to take his load to Gabon and synthesize it instead. (28 Feb)
- Ostensibly the assault is in reprisal for the British raid on Socotra... like the assailants hadn't planned to assault something with missile boats anyway. Best guess is, they came from Algeria via France, and got hand-held missile launchers from obscure parts of the ex-Soviet Union.
- The target is called "boneless gas", just because it doesn't come from dinosaurs. Some scientist who hung out with Heroes of the New Present has found a way to enhance the energy content of alternative fuels. Could be we don't just have superhumans, we have superscience. The smugglers have their own sensible agenda, to steal the good stuff instead of just destroying it.
- What does Gabon have to do with it? It's on the equator in Africa, and is not usually suspected of being important for anything. But it does have a petroleum industry. What better place for fuel smugglers?
Satanic Paris Day:
- Having gone to the Horn of Africa on a military mission, I finally get that downtime I deserve. I'd prefer to go to Munich, but some relatives of mine would rather it be Paris. Oh, I suppose.
- In the hotel I'm standing before the bathroom mirror, deciding whether to take some drugs, when horns come out of my head. I guess that's a sign.
- ... Drugs? Yeah. For bladder control. It sucks to be old. I've tried to give up the beverages that make me want to pee too much, but that's not only no fun, it doesn't work. Apparently Lucifer wants me to be dependent on prescription drugs instead.
- Then my aunt and brother and I go for breakfast. I have only dollars with me, but the waiter will let me use my credit card - with a 33% markup. That's just evil.
- Later that day, the best entertainment I can find is a Russian movie with French subtitles. Not necessarily evil, but still not terribly helpful.
- You'd think evil people would have more respect for me when I've channelled Luciferpower that day. But I suppose evil people all want to overthrow their evil rivals, not cooperate with them. (1 Mar)