Short Story: Enter The Dragon. Later, Enter Another

I recently wrote this story and, like The School previously, felt that it might be better to publish it on my own blog, as it is a little out there…

As before, if you like the story, do consider donating something at the end – just click on the paypal button. I’ll raffle a signed printout of the story amongst contributors just in case you fancy one of those. If you just want to leave a comment, of whatever nature, feel free to do so too.

Enter The Dragon. Later, Enter Another

By Lavie Tidhar

 

To Jared Shurin

 

1.

Julian Assange’s Impenetrable Fortress of Ice lies on top of Mount Terror, on Ross Island in Antarctica.

It is a beautiful, icy desolation, hiding inside it the Planet’s Most Wanted Man. His name is Julian.

The Fortress is patrolled at all times by WikiLeaks guerrillas, battle-hardened veterans of the War on Info, the War on Terror, the War for Family Values and the American Way of Life. Behind its sheer ice walls the WikiLord resides in utilitarian splendour, banks of computers broadcasting a continuous digital signal to overhead satellites, spreading the word. The words.

Data. All, as the faithful say, is Data.

Information wants to be free.

2.

They bred me out of the black vats, deep underground, moulded me out of the greatest warriors of all time, General Schwarzkopf and Chuck Norris with a hint of Idi Amin, a touch of Bruce Lee. I am the Dragon. I kill at the speed of thought. I come to Antarctica as men have done over centuries, by sea. A British ice-breaker deposits me on frozen land. Broken icebergs drift across the ocean. I practice by breaking solid ice with my bare hands. I stare up at the frozen volcanoes, at Mount Erebus and Mount Terror. Erebus is a beautiful cone of snow and ice, but the eye is drawn to Terror, where battle drones fly like dark birds in the sky.

I kill a bear with only my knife and wear its hide.

I am ready for this task, as ready as I can ever be.

I reach the volcano.

I begin to climb.

3.

The Iraq War was a computer simulation. Thousands of sentient ghosts died within its cycles of warfare. Viruses of Mass Destruction wrecked havoc on a sculpted landscape, a PR coup d’état for the American infidels. The truth is everywhere you look, just pick up the signal, reality is not what you see, it is what you think it is.

4.

The first Assange I eliminated was in Paris. He was a version 5.02, without the killer instincts as yet, blond almost white-haired, a charismatic, preaching the word on the Rue Saint Michel.

As I ran away from the scene of my crime Mandela-bots chased me, telling me there is another way. I did not want their truth, nor reconciliation. I escaped by speedboat on the Seine, already I was booked for a second job, in Tel Aviv.

5.

On Dizengoff Street I eliminated the Assange preaching sedition, a later model, war programming upgraded, he put up a fight, his knife routines were beautifully choreographed but I am the Dragon, and I completed my mission and flew to Riyadh.

6.

There had been seven Assanges in Riyadh but none when I left.

7.

Almost the worst time, I think, had been when Wikileaks released the Black Dossier.

We were not yet ready for its truths. Leaked cables, highly secret intelligence. High definition images of armed Yetis in the Himalayas, waging a guerrilla war, bandoliers of bullets slung across their broad hairy chests.

Silver flying saucers landing in the Congo, Greys stepping out in clandestine meetings, arming the rebels in exchange for gold and enriched uranium.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed as an American-built simulacra, hell when the news broke, the men of the simulacra factory in Detroit protesting at the possible loss of their job, images revealing an army of George W. Bushes inside, all packed up carefully in crates, ready to be shipped to South America.

The Black Dossier was bad, but what was yet to come was worse.

8.

I died chasing Assange through the streets of La Paz. This was a new version, I had not expected it. Bolivia was under military lockdown, there was a George Bush simulacra on every corner, armed and grinning, and I decapitated several enemy agents and an alien Grey before I cornered Assange – but it had been a trap. Ches came streaming out of the shadows and left my body a smoking ruin on the warehouse floor and I died.

9.

I was reborn.

10.

I died again in Gaza.

11.

In Beijing.

12.

In Amsterdam.

13.

On the streets of Wells Next the Sea.

14.

The Assanges were improving, redesigning, upgrading. A WikiWar broke out in Azerbaijan. BoingBoing freedom fighters stormed a closed-network centre in upstate New York and liberated the AIs held within. Doctorow went on CNN to disclaim responsibility. E-book pirates off the coast of Somalia declared independence from the Internet.

15.

It was the year the Darknet rebellion failed.

16.

Then they released the Illuminati Dossier.

Chinese experiments in time travel led to the third great Middle Kingdom empire. Zheng He discovered America and Chinese ships followed en masse, colonizing the new continent.

Bloodied wars with the Inca Empire. The release of bubonic plague in Europe cleansed the world of Caucasians and freed up real estate.

But the Americans struck a bargain with the Greys, allowing them to use American soil for extraordinary renditions of other alien races. Guantanamo Bay as an alien detention centre, waterboarded Yetis, photos WikiLeaked of young American soldiers posing with a grin and a cigarette next to Bigfoot with a sack over his head, his genitalia exposed.

The Greys traded time travel tech to the Americans.

Zheng He returned from the new continent empty handed. The Middle Kingdom closed in on itself. Scores of CIA trained agents were sent back in time to assassinate Hitler. All failed.

Time became a thing in constant flux. The past changed from one day to the next. Secret conspiracies rewrote the world in their image. Jesus married Mary and had children and lived the rest of his days in the Galilee, dying at last of old age. The Da Vinci Code was eradicated from history. Von Daniken’s body was found, perfectly preserved in a four million year old block of ice.

Those were the bad times.

17.

Slowly time was patched together. Thankfully we had Wikipedia, so we knew what to keep, what to throw. Bruce Sterling clones were sent out to all major Jonbar Points, those places where history diverged, in order to keep them on a single time-line. BoingBoing cadets recruited from the massive geek ghettos of North America served as time troopers. The Gulf War never happened – happened – never happened – happened – the Iraq War ended prematurely – never ended – never began. It was hard to keep track since so few of us ever paid history much attention in the first place.

18.

I penetrated a nest of Assanges in East Berlin and smashed their eggs. They had began utilising alien biotech for their breeding programmes. A WikiWar erupted in the Philippines. Self-replicating Mandela bots spread out in most major urban areas. Cory Doctorow was elected President For Life of Simcountry. I died in Mexico.

19.

In Cairo.

20.

In World of Warcraft.

21.

In Mafia Wars.

22.

In the geek ghettos they bred new soldiers for the word, it didn’t matter how many George W. Bush simulacras you shipped to market or how many WikiSoldiers bought it on the download, new ones always emerged. A WikiWar broke out in Pennsylvania. Virtual Yakuza hunted down virtual Assanges in Japan. Celebrity sex tapes were WikiLeaked: Adolf and Eva, the Peróns, Amin’s orgies, Kennedy and Monroe, the Pamela Anderson clones and Yetis Gone Wild.

The world was drunk on data, choked on its own information vomit, we believed everything and thus nothing. So they sent me.

Then they replaced me.

Then they sent me out again.

23.

Julian Assange’s Impenetrable Fortress of Ice lies on top of Mount Terror.It is a beautiful, icy desolation, hiding inside it the Planet’s Most Wanted Man. His name is Julian.

A British ice-breaker deposits me on frozen land. Broken icebergs drift across the ocean. I practice by breaking solid ice with my bare hands. I stare up at the frozen volcanoes, at Mount Erebus and Mount Terror. Erebus is a beautiful cone of snow and ice, but the eye is drawn to Terror; always to Terror.

I am ready for this task, as ready as I can ever be.

I reach the volcano.

I begin to climb.

THE END.

 

13 thoughts on “Short Story: Enter The Dragon. Later, Enter Another

  1. The planet welcomes a good 90% reduction in population, and the Yanks Chinese and Russian privileged super rich Mafia will comply as resources are extinguished. The next 100 years will see changes unimaginable, and a new Earth. But will the human learn? Probably no need for a poll on this. I enjoyed your dream. :)

  2. dsr: ok, but _apart from that_ you must admit that everything else in this story is factually accurate or a plausible extrapolation from known reality.

  3. Pingback: Short Story Highlight: “Enter The Dragon. Later, Enter Another” by Lavie Tidhar « The World SF Blog

  4. insqne. But Hitchens always said the Iraq war was developed in Korea. That’s why the Egyptians killed him. To protect the Luxor undersea time portal.

  5. Right on with the zoo fail. Totally down tho with Chinese time travel… with alien time travel… with Chinese time travel…
    But that zoologyfail? Strains my suspension of disbelief.

  6. Agree with Sea Wallace re: the mention of the bear at the beginning. It struck me as “wrong”, but by the end I understood that it’s a mark of it being an altered world. Agree with others that it’s a fun read; nice amalgam of Wikileaks and conspiracy theories. Paul DiFilippo did a fun piece in F&SF in Feb(?) also Wikileaks inspired.

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