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A Fall of Faith
by Josh Munce

Three concentrated laser beams sliced past my head. I'd just barely avoided getting a rather poor haircut by some angry paramilitant grunts, as I dropped of the edge of the cliff into the warm murky waters of the bay below. As I hit the water, the beginning sounds of a tremendous explosion were heard, and even under the ocean I could feel the tremors of the compound ripping to shreds as the mini Nova bomb tore through it. Ah, the priorities of modern man. It was 2019 on Earth, and we'd found more ways to end a life than to save one. And cars still barely hovered more than a foot off the ground.

I swam slowly but aggressively until my face broke surface, my lungs taking in their fill of the muggy tropical air. I turned around in the water and looked at the blue flames lapping upward, engulfing the top of the island. There was little chance any of the militants could have survived, but just to make sure, I detonated the second bomb I'd placed carefully on the cliff side. The lesser explosion took out enough of the island's base to send the flaming top tumbling into the water. Although the water swallowed the fragments whole, they continued to burn, the lavatic liquid the nova bomb had spread still fueling the flames. They'd likely as not burn for days to come. Turning my back on the sinking Atlantis of hate, I began my three mile swim to shore.

I plopped myself tiredly into a chair in the hotel bar. An automaton quietly hovered to my side and chirped at me happily, indicating it's readiness to serve my drinking needs. I quietly mumbled for a rum and cola, and waited. After a moment the little electronic beast shoved a bluish liquid in a glass at me.

"Your Roman Cola, ma'am." I stared at the thing in disdain. I quietly placed the drink on it's tray and lay back. I hated when they called me ma'am. I didn't think I even remotely sounded female. It just went to show how cheap the manager was. As I sat, I felt a large hand clap onto my shoulder. Instinctively I looked up, ready to slaughter the idiot who dared touch me.

"Cool it, Devan." A rough and deep voice said behind me. I relaxed, knowing the voice instantly. "I'm just here to commend you on your work and give you your pay, as usual."

I held up a hand nonchalantly and accepted the large manilla envelope. Greedily I pulled the package open, ready to watch the total on my Swiss bank account rise through the roof. My eyes bulged and watered as the gas invaded my breathing space, my throat closing as I slumped forward to the floor. Seconds before I passed out, Griffin looked at me solemnly. He said something apologetic and picked me up just as I blacked out, but I didn't hear the bastard. My last thought was a mental note to kick Griffin's head in the next chance I got...

I snapped instantly to consciousness, looking about my surroundings. At first I was disoriented, but I quickly took a grasp on the situation.

"Thank Thor... I thought you'd never wake up." A tall blond looked at me seductively. I could tell she wanted to do things to me I only dreamt of. Something kinky, I'd bet. Maybe she'd put on a red lacy little bodice and ask me if I liked the top or bottom. "Well?" she asked impatiently, apparently having asked a question while I was fantasizing.

"Bottom." I grinned sheepishly.


"Um, nevermind." I blushed. I had to stop doing that. "What do you want from me?"

"Me? Nothing," she said coyly. I could tell she wanted me. Presently she frowned, as if at my thoughts, and kicked me hard in the gut. "Jerk."

"Wh..wha..?" I was doubled over, short of breath. My gut was in agony; she was a pretty good aim.

"I do not want you. You're not even my preferred gender."

"You're... a..." I groaned, my stomach hurting to much to go on.

"A Psychic Lesbian Warrior, yes." She smiled at the look of disgust on my face. It was a corny thing for her to say, and the idea that she was capable of such odious thoughts was far more painful than knowing she was no-man's land. I straightened myself, and sighed.

"Okay, what do you want from me?"

"I want nothing," she continued, eying me suspiciously. I'd abolished all thoughts and was focused on the matter at hand. "It's what my superiors want..."

"Your ... superiors?"

"Yes," She picked up a manilla envelope and began to look at the contents. "You're 00Devan ... quaint." She smiled and rolled her eyes. "Your government wants you to take on a most important and dangerous mission."

"Oh?" I hated working for the spooks. The pay was lousy, the benefits reeked and the food was only subpar.

"You are asked to read this dossier and reply as to whether or not you'd be willing to take on the assignment," she continued as I made for the door. "I remind you that because this mission is of the up most secrecy, your reading of the file would cause your death."

"Then I won't read it." I sneered.

"Failure to read a 'For Your Eyes Only' government file is punishable by death. Section 8-45 paragraph D subsection 12-F. 'Failure to read a F.Y.E.O. governmental file by the addressee of said file shall be immediately executed.'" She smiled back. Crap. This was a regular Catch-22. If I read the file and turned the mission down, they'd kill me. But if I walked away without reading the file, they'd kill me. I sighed and sat on the table.

"File," I grunted. She handed it to me and I cracked it open.

The plane touched-down at Greenwhich Interspacial Aeroport at about 12:00 p.m.. I was quickly shuttled from the plane to the Greenwhich Interspacial House of Pancakes for a late lunch. I wolfed down a few dozen blueberry Rootie-Tootie-Fresh-And-Who-Gives-A-Craps and was quickly sped to my hotel room.

I slipped off my shoes quickly as I entered the room. I looked around my quarters.

"Ah, the government keeps it's promises," I said faciously. "Look, there's my ocean view..." I said, pointing at a picture of a crudely drawn sailboat hanging on the wall. "And this must be my built-in jacuzzi!" I accussed sarcastically, thrusting a finger in the direction of the smallish bath tub with some Fom-E-Bubblez tablets laying on the rim.

"Shut up, sir." The marine next to me said, firmly. I hadn't really noticed him until now. I spun on my heel and stared him down.

"You want a peice of me, punk?" I growled.

I woke up bright and early the next day, feeling surprisingly refreshed despite having spent the entire night upside down and on my head in a closet that wouldn't pass inspection to hold so much as a broom.

I managed to yank myself out and looked cautiously at the marine who had helped me to bed the night before. I turned to enter the bathroom, and was surprised to see it locked. I jiggled the handle and pounded the door.

"Get out of there, you bastard! I need to piss like you wouldn't beleive!" I shouted. I looked at the marine, who only shook his head and looked at the floor. The door swung open quietly and a small man dressed in white with a hat three times taller than him came out slowly. After a moment, I noticed that it was Pope John Paul, the second. He'd been alive longer than most living humans. I wondered how the old fart had lived so long.

"Patience, my son." He mumbled. "I was doing the Lord's dirty work."

I pinched my nose as I thought twice about using the lav.

"And apparently his smelly work too. Good God, man, what did you eat!?"

The Pope laughed like a dirty old man and sat on my bed as I shut the door to the bathroom. I'd risked my life at the hands of mercinaries from almost every country on the planet, but no one was damn fool enough to go in there.

"Polish food shoots through me like a laser beam," he grinned. "Which is strange, considering I'm Polish myself."

I grinned and sat. I wondered what brought him here, and why he was without his protection.

"I suppose you wonder what brings me here, and why I am without protection," he began. "Well, I'm just here to wish you good luck on your mission. No man has ever returned from this one alive, and I like to get a good look at a man before he dies."

I frowned at this.

"You honestly think I'm going to die here?" I grumbled.

"I'm the mouth peice of God, I know these things, capice?" He grinned. I punched him hard enough to send him out the window.

"We're on the first floor, right, Marine?" I looked a little worried.

"Try the fourteenth," he sighed. I leaned my head out the window.

"NO JOHN PAUL! IT'S NOT WORTH IT!" I yelled. I watched the Pope splatter. "Oh God... this isn't good."

"YOU G--DAMN IDIOT!" The Man in Yellow yelled at the top of his lungs. "WHY IN THE HELL DID YOU PUSH THE POPE OUT OF A FOURTEENTH FLOOR WINDOW!?"

"I told you, I misjudged his wind resistance in the room." I sighed, this had been going on for hours.

"Well, if we didn't need you, we'd have killed you. Or at least jailed you." He turned his attentions away as a woman handed him a manilla envelope. He read through the contents quickly, there being only a page. "You're a lucky Sonofa..." he started. "The Pope survived and you've completed your mission."

I looked at him, inquisatively.

"Huh?" I replied, mustering the full level of my genius. "What do you mean? I didn't even know my mission ... Was I supposed to punch the Pope out of a window?"

"No, you idiot," the Man in Yellow sighed. "You were supposed to assassinate a world power."

"Oh." I thought.

"I guess they hadn't briefed you yet." He smiled. "Let's just say that a certain talking chihuahua's Castrolian rise to power is now over. Apparently Taco Bell was shooting a commercial nearby... he was visiting to ensure his plans went accordingly when a certain religious moniker had a little accident. He happened to break the fall."

I sighed. This was weird, but at least I could finally go home.

I caught a flight and returned home to my studio apartment in Westwood, California, content in the knowledge that I had saved future generations from the hypnotically evil phrase "Yo! Quetro Taco Bell."

-- Josh Munce

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