Putin stared at the Doggie Doo Vacuum and thought of C-4. He looked at the “All Great Men Have Mustaches” T-shirt and thought of Stalin.
With a growl he flung the Sky Mall catalog across the room and turned to gaze out the window. “What is wrong with me?” he wondered bitterly.
Of course he knew intellectually that his admiration for Stalin, like virtually all his other beliefs, was manufactured in the White Room.
Yet when he’d seen the man … he’d been rendered frozen, impotent. It was more than shock at seeing a dead man alive. Something was stuck.
Putin reached for his tumbler of vodka, finished it in one gulp, and poured another. Across the aisle, Snowy anxiously watched her master.
Of course she’d seen Putin withdrawn, aloof. He was a taciturn man. But there was something different this time—something unstable.
Snowy turned back to the topographic maps spread before her and tried to focus. She had to learn the terrain where they’d be fighting.
Up on the plane’s third floor, Black Ops was in the TV room preparing for battle in his own way—watching back-to-back episodes of Dr. Who.
“Just a couple more and I’ll get serious,” he told himself before burying his face in a bucket of popcorn.
In the sky 200 miles ahead, Kanye sat in the Technicon Ixion wearing a pair of Oculus Rift goggles and watching a simulation of his life.
Arianna Huffington looked at him in disgust. She couldn’t contain herself. “Kanye, why are you watching virtual reality of your own life?”
Without taking off the goggles, Yezee responded, “ ‘Cause my life is dope and I do dope shit. Why would I pretend to be someone else?”
Antonosky hated them both. He hated everyone in the Order, but was being careful with his thoughts because Huffington was around.
“We’re the rulers of the Earth, why don’t we buy full-size snack bags?” he asked aloud, opening his third tiny packet of pretzels.
No one answered. George Takei had headphones on and was watching Downton Abbey. Kissinger and Cheney were necking under a blanket.
“Seriously,” Antonosky went on, “We have multiple underground fortresses, we’re in a luxury jet, and I can’t get a can of Pringles?”
“Shouldn’t you be flying the plane?” growled the Red Tsar. “Autopilot, your Heinous,” replied Antonosky, ripping open a tiny bag of peanuts.
Back on the Pal’s K-7, Murder Cat was growing impatient. He’d already spent two hours in the gym, and an hour on the scratching post.
Now he was staring at a box of catnip. Sometimes he liked to get a little loose before combat. Catnip helped, but he knew Putin disapproved.
Suddenly, the intercom clicked on. “Eeeee-ooooow. Sceee-sceee-beep!” Murder Cat never had any idea what Peaches and Herb were saying.
Then Putin came on the PA. “Ten minutes!” Murder Cat leapt to a window, but clouds obscured his view. The future remained unclear.