Still, no one has shot at me in at least forty-eight hours. I think that's a plus.
Our little journey into darkness in Afghanistan turned out predictably disastrous. Vasily made the delivery, several hundred implements of violent death were sold to members of a marginally sane religious wingnuts, and large amounts of US dollars went into the hands of the Russian underworld. It's good to see a global economy at work, you know?
However, as we started back, our little convoy became the target of some wacky hijinks by a group of men in robes and sunglasses, sending our bullets back in a lethal refund party. It was when the lead truck blew up that I knew we were in trouble. Vasily heeled the truck over and jumped out with a large silver revolver in his hands, ready to mount a defense and save his money. I, on the other hand, screamed like a four year old, grabbed my laptop and bailed out under the truck. Pitched firefights are just not my bag, kids.
As WWIII (or LA after dark) went on behind me, I took to the martial lessons of my Scottish Highland ancestors and made a run for safety. Safety in a country that has over a hundred thousand landmines strewn about is relative at best, but I didn't feel like sticking around for the torturing and looting that serves as the after prom party in these situations. So, I ran into the baked scrublands and raw rocky hills for cover. I got maybe two hundred metres before the convoy of UN Peacekeepers showed up.
Let me tell you, I have never in my life been as happy to see blue helmets. Canadians are peacekeepers. We've got UN street cred up the wahzoo. My country be representin', yo! All I have to do is turn myself over to the soldiers and they will lead me back to safety, maple leaves and ice cold pints of Moosehead.
Indian peacekeepers suck. They arrested me, as an illegal deserting the Russian army from the signals corp. I had forgotten about the uniform. They dumped me in the back of a jeep with my ankles and wrists plastic wrapped together. Once the shooting dieddown at the convoy, the Indians rolled in. The natives had dispersed and the Captain in charge made up notes for his boss while the soldiers went looking for money or valuables on the dead Russians.
Indian peacekeepers suck. As we rolled back towards their camp, we actually passed the Canadian camp. I started shouting and received a boot to the back of the head that kept me eating floorboards until we were long past. At the multi-national depot, I was frogmarched into the base and slapped in a cell, waiting for Indian Intelligence to perform my third interrogation of the week. I was almost disappointed at the de rigor beating with the shredded cables and half-hearted attempts to pin me as a counter-insurgent designed to spearhead the new Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. To be honest, the whole country could get bombed to glass for all the Indians care. They were far more interested in the laptop with its coded files in Cyrillic.
Five hours later, I'm on a courier plane bound for New Delhi. New Delhi is a lovely city. I saw at least 19 seconds of it before shoved into a car, roughly beaten, and delivered into a tiny jail cell at the bottom of a prison that makes Attica look like Disneyland. Stuck in a cell, with a film of rancid water on the concrete floor and the sound of prisoners fighting, the final depths have been hit. To be honest, I figured that I wasn't going to get out of there. My epitaph will read BRYANT TELFER "He doesn't travel well".
That was until Cecil MacAllistar walked into the jail cell. MacAllister, as he explained, was a British intelligence agent who's specialty was Near Eastern and Indian affairs. Seems that solid intel on Russian troops in the Uzbekistan theatre is very sketchy right now, and her Magesty's government would very much like to know their intentions, especially with the US cuddling up to the independent and oil rich state. While the British Raj has long been consigned to the pages of history, the Indian and British intelligence agencies have something of a working arrangement. If I agree to turn over the information on the laptop with the passcodes, they will see that I'm mysteriously released from this curry-reeking hellhole (have I ever mention how much I loathe the smell and taste of curry?) and all records of my detainment disappear. Or, I can not help them, their code breakers will eventually get into the laptop, and I can while my days away learning to speak Urdu. By the way, he noted as an afterthought, the FSB were now looking for me because of the information, so I'd better brush up on my self defense.
MI6 plays hardball. However, after this giant fuckstick comedy of errors, I'm done with trusting anyone. So, I agreed to turn over the information but only in a western styled democratic country in a public place. I was hoping for Vancouver, but agreed on his choice of Perth. Australia. VB and meatpies.
So, I'm on a plane over the Indian Ocean, a member of one of the world's premier intelligence agencies dozing beside me and a pretty woman feeding me gin so my hands stop trembling enough to write this. Rule Britannia.