BOOK 14: EMBASSY WAR
by Walter Knight
Humorous Military Science Fiction
Available now in ebook at popular retailers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Smashwords (multi-format). Coming very soon in print!
The Butcher of New Colorado returns to the spotlight, assigned to protect the lavish new USGF Embassy while acting as a spy for General Lopez and the CIA on the spiders' home world of Arthropoda.
Amid riots and sports betting on exhibition basketball games, Czerinski finds trouble has followed him across the galaxy. An old foe makes a surprise visit and wrecks his office. A war ensues over turkey dinner, leaving the scorpion embassy in shambles.
Following that debacle, Czerinski and crew get a plum assignment back on New Colorado, guarding a volcano in desert-isle Quenaudenville as he tries to figure out what no-good mischief the spiders are up to now. And just when things couldn't be worse, his terrorist ex-girlfriend shows up with their delinquent son, Joey Jr. This time the loony legionnaires go off the reservation with a game-changing detour!
PART I – Embassy War
I am Colonel Joey R. Czerinski, hero of the Legion, Butcher of New Colorado, former casino owner, and commander of a Foreign Legion garrison tasked with security of the United States Galactic Federation Embassy on Arthropoda. The spiders of the Arthropodan Empire are not happy that I am back in their capital. I have been assured that I am protected by diplomatic immunity, but I have doubts.
Today I meet with spider spies to sell top-secret private-sector human technology. Being a spy, a double agent, and more is all part of my job description. Do not think me as a traitor. I have certain self interests and business partners to look out for when I patiently explain to spider techs complicated operating systems to our latest electronic devices.
* * * * *
“You put the Wonder Bread in these top slots and push down the lever until it clicks into place,” I instructed. “In about a minute, the bread pops up toasted!”
“Wow, amazing,” gushed the spider spy. “What about maintenance? A device this intricate must be a nightmare to maintain.”
“How do you keep the cheese from gumming up the works?” asked another spy.
“Turn the toaster upside down and rap on its bottom,” I continued, ignoring that last fool. “Most crumbs will fall out. Be sure not to make toast while taking a bath. It could be shocking.”
“Can you guarantee toaster durability?” asked the spider spy skeptically.
“Of course. This appliance will outlive both of us. I guarantee it. A limited warranty is issued with each toaster.”
“How can you guarantee illegal, unlicensed, and untested technology like this?” asked the spider spy, always suspicious of human pestilence promises and boasts. “Your limited warranty is not worth the scrap of paper it is printed on.”
“If you are not interested, I have other buyers,” I replied, making an exaggerated show of getting up to leave, but not going anywhere. “These toasters are cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology from the General Electric Corporation.”
“We will buy a thousand toasters,” advised the spider spy, impressed. “What else does your General Electric have to sell?”
“I just received a million electric toothbrushes, guaranteed to clean pearly white the nastiest yellow fangs of the Empire. For half price, I also have the latest fang-care accessories, including tooth paste and much needed extra-strength mouthwash. I can see you are in dire need of mouthwash, so to show goodwill, I am giving you a complimentary bottle of Scope with each purchase.”
“More guarantees?” scoffed the spider spy, holding the bottle of magic green liquid up to the light. “Why would I want to mask my breath? How do you expect me to attract females if they cannot smell my breath from a distance? Your mouthwash destroys the aroma.”
“Exactly. At least I hope so.”
“The mouthwash will help you attract females,” I insisted.
“You are a fool,” replied the spider spy, tossing the Scope aside. “You know nothing of our females. This is worthless!”
“You can also use Scope to scrub toilets,” I suggested, still smiling assuredly. “Did I tell you this is the New & Improved Extra-Strength Scope?”
“Our business is concluded.”
“Not yet. I want to buy the blueprints to your new portable atomic generator.”
“Ha!” hissed the spider spy, obviously annoyed at what he felt was human pestilence naivety. “If you want one of those pieces of junk, all you have to do is go to the Walmart Superstore and purchase it. They’re on sale all week. I hope it explodes in your face!”
* * * * *
“What am I going to do with a hundred thousand bottles of mouthwash?” asked Quartermaster Sergeant Donald Crisp as we walked to the front gate of the embassy. Sergeant Crisp was a born salesman and taught me all about marketing. But he constantly complained, letting inconsequential details upset him. “You promised Scope would be a sure thing on Arthropoda.”
“It should have been,” I replied. “Spiders have terrible breath, but just don’t care. All is not lost. We just need more marketing. That’s your job. I have more important responsibilities to worry about, so handle it!”
“What could be more important than a multi-million-dollar mouthwash deal?” asked Sergeant Crisp. “This debacle is costing money!”
“General Lopez only permits our little deals if we work on his CIA projects, too,” I reminded Crisp. “There is a lot going on here you don’t see.”
“Yeah, like Lopez getting a cut of our action,” complained Sergeant Crisp. “I know how that works. Lopez needs to start carrying his weight instead of shaking us down for a percentage.”
* * * * *
At the front gate, we were confronted by early morning spider demonstrators protesting American contamination of Arthropodan culture. Frivolous complaints were another unfortunate part of doing business on Arthropoda. I delegated most complaints to Crisp. The protest leader, waving a ‘No Walmart’ sign, presented a list of grievances.
“Not you again!” I sighed, accepting the list. “I thought we resolved all differences on Walmart. The Teamsters will be allowed to organize employees, and shoplifters will no longer be vaporized.”
“You have been vaporizing shoplifters?”
“Walmart is just the tip of the claw!” shouted the spider protest leader. “Americanizing our culture is the main problem.”
“Go tell the Emperor your problems,” I suggested. I knew this particular protester well. We called him Barney because of his dyed purple exoskeleton. A real troublemaker. “Stop disturbing my peace!”
“It’s illegal to protest at the Emperor’s Palace,” advised Barney. “So I am stuck protesting at your Nest of Spies. Our grievances will be addressed, or else!”
“Bring it on!” I replied, dismissing Barney as a fool. I slammed the embassy gate. I glanced at the grievances, about to walk away. Barney and his followers rattled the bars, chanting, ‘Yankee Go Home!’
The grievance list complained about Walmart insensitivity, McDonald’s hamburgers being too dry, Taco Bell using cat meat and road kill in their burritos, human pestilence Satellite TV contaminating Arthropodan culture by corrupting youth with gratuitous violence, porn, and reruns promoting scary purple dinosaur toys marketed to babies, and Fox News not being fair and balanced.
“This is ridiculous!” I fumed, wadding the list into a small ball and tossing it aside. “I have a mind to file a defamation complaint against all of you! There are no cats on Arthropoda, so there can be no kitties in the tacos!”
“We have lab results proving otherwise,” exclaimed Barney, triumphantly waving documentation.
“The spiders have been importing cats as pets,” whispered Sergeant Crisp.
“I thought you spiders were dog lovers,” I commented. “Why all this sudden concern for cats?”
“Of course I am a dog lover,” replied Barney, rattling the gate with his claw. “Dachshunds rule! That is not the issue. The issue is dietary fraud! Today Taco Bell serves up cats, tomorrow it will be our beloved doggies.”
“Cat tastes like chicken,” added Sergeant Crisp, trying to be helpful.
“Does not!” insisted Barney.
“Remind me not to eat at Taco Bell anymore,” I told Crisp, in a hushed tone. “This is a bunch of rubbish!”
“I’ll show you rubbish!” shouted Barney.
I was startled by the metallic thunk of a toaster crashing nearby, followed by more toasters. Electric toothbrushes sailed through the air like arrows. Soon the embassy yard was raining toasters and toothbrushes. Legionnaires scrambled for cover. A shot rang out. The entire incident was recorded by multiple video cameras and immediately broadcast over the Intergalactic Database.
My communications pad rang before I scrambled to the safety of the Embassy Administration Building. It was General Lopez, shouting, “What the hell are you doing? I turn on the news, and you’re already making a spectacle of yourself, dodging my black market toasters! Why are you always creating bad press for me and the Legion by provoking those damn spiders? Can’t you go one day without a riot?”
“It’s not my fault,” I replied defensively. “You think it’s easy running a nest of spies? No one appreciates the job I’m doing here, especially you. If you think I’m screwing up, send me home! I’ll be glad to leave this place!”
“Those are my toasters they’re throwing over the wall!” fumed General Lopez. “Do you realize how much this debacle is costing me?”
“Forget about the cost,” I advised, flinching as toasters cracked against the shatterproof embassy windows. One of those spiders had a hell of an arm. “We have a chance to deal the spiders a crippling blow, and you’re concerned about costs? I’ve got the spiders right where I want them, eating out of my hand.”
“This had better be good!” said General Lopez doubtfully. “Tell me what you have.”
“The spider public is demanding the Teamsters unionize all Arthropodan heavy industry, and they think it was their idea. The Emperor is helpless to stop us now.”
“At least there is some good news. What’s all this nonsense on TV about Taco Bell? I’ve got the CEO of Taco Bell on hold, wanting to know why his new upscale restaurants are being persecuted by spider health inspectors.”
“I’ll pay someone off,” I replied, trying to placate Lopez.
“Not with my money you won’t!” fumed General Lopez, disconnecting.
I looked out the window again. Legionnaires were retreating to the reception lobby, firing shots into the air. Several spiders scaled the front gate, teetering at the top, undecided about whether to drop down into the embassy yard. More shots rang out. One of the spiders perched atop the gate dropped back into the crowd – more sensational news for the Intergalactic Database.
* * * * *
Arthropodan Intelligentsia State Security Police arrived and cleared the streets of protesters. A litter bearer removed a dead spider found at the gate. I greeted the ranking Intelligentsia officer through the front gate grill.
“The Emperor is going to be upset about this,” he commented.
“Sorry about the mess,” I replied. “That rioter was trying to breach the front gate.”
“Shoot as many trespassers as you want. It is that purple pest I am concerned about. Why could you not shoot him?”
“You mean Barney? Barney is harmless.”
“Barney does not know when to shut up,” insisted the Intelligentsia officer, annoyed at the mere mention of Barney’s name. “The Emperor has noticed that purple traitor and is not happy. There are important trade deals being negotiated, and public support is important. We do not need these agitators rioting in the streets.”
“So arrest Barney,” I suggested. “Who will care?”
“Freedom of speech is another new concept you human pestilence have infested the Empire with. It is all your fault. They read your Constitution drivel on the Galactic Database. Believe me, I long for the good old days when I could just throw malcontents like Barney into the mulcher.”
“Mulcher? Do you have a surplus mulcher I can buy?”
“What, your gulags are full again?”
“We don’t have gulags,” I replied defensively. “Our gardener has some pruning to do.”
“Sure, like I believe that.”
I shrugged, satisfied there would be no serious political repercussions caused by the front gate incident. As I left, Corporal Guido Tonelli hung back to talk to the spiders.
* * * * *
“Is the game still on?” asked Corporal Tonelli, waving tickets at the Intelligentsia officer. “I got front row seats just for you. You’re not going to let one little riot cancel the game, I hope?”
“No way,” answered the Intelligentsia officer, snatching the tickets. He scanned the tickets, reading the human pestilence writing with his translator. “The Harlem World Trotters. Are they any good?”
“They’re average,” advised Guido. “Care to place a bet that your all-stars can beat them?”
“How many points can you give me?”
“It’s a straight up bet,” insisted Guido. “After all, this is a home game for you spiders. You have home planet advantage.”
“Put me down for fifty thousand credits on our all-stars to beat your World Trotters.”
“Whatever,” said the Intelligentsia officer, swiping his card to record the bet. “Others may be placing wagers, too.”
“Not a problem,” advised Guido. “I can handle all the action you bring.”
“Just remember, I get a percentage of all action I send you.”
* * * * *
I briefed Ambassador James Yamashita. He was concerned about fallout from the riot. This was my second assignment with Yamashita. In my opinion, he was a worry-wart, but he seemed to be a professional, competent diplomat.
“Was it really necessary to shoot that spider demonstrator?” asked Ambassador Yamashita. “Did you know the President saw the whole thing on TV and called me personally about it?”
“We’re still reviewing helmet camera downloads,” I advised. “Maybe that spider had a heart attack or something.”
“He was shot off his perch at the front gate! Everyone saw it on the database news.”
“That has not been confirmed. There was a lot of confusion, and we do not know for sure he was shot. We were ducking toasters. I plead self-defense. It’s a jungle out there.”
“There will be no more incidents,” warned Ambassador Yamashita, pacing about his office. “I worked hard to get this plum appointment to Arthropoda. Do not screw it up for me, or else!”
“Why are the spiders throwing toasters, of all things? Have they gone crazy? Or is this a result of more games by you and your CIA buddies? Why was I not informed the spiders toasted their bread!”
“They don’t. That’s the problem. That, and a few malcontents and agitators. It’s nothing to worry about.”
“Security is getting lax,” complained Ambassador Yamashita. “I expect you to be more diligent.”
“Are you going to the Globetrotters game?”
“I don’t have tickets yet.”
“Neither do I. You tell Guido I expect front-row seats for two behind the American bench!”