Before this precise moment right now I was a worker in the sewage system under one of China’s secret industrial cities.
Let me tell you about the sewage system under a typical secret industrial city of China: full of sewage. No, full of sewage. Picture this: obloid tunnels a little over man-height with the detritus of dirty humans and dirtier machines up to the chest. Barely liquid enough to flow towards the outlet and the inland sea and us workers would wade through it checking for anything that might cause a blockage or – increasingly likely – made from a material we could sell on. Metals, wood, body parts, that sort of thing.
I was a sewage worker for a little over three years. You had to have certain skills and my controllable gag reflex was one of them. Also, great night vision.
Now, they – meaning the Chinese authorities – knew I had great night vision and that’s because …
Before I was a worker in the sewage system under one of China’s secret industrial cities I was an agent conducting espionage on behalf of the Panamanian government.
Spies aren’t born; they’re made. And I was made into one hell of a spy following recruitment. Bionic implants, gene technology, directed memory training, the works. Panama keeps below the radar but they’re years or decades ahead of most other countries in these fields of expertise. Hence the night vision.
On that last mission I’d timed my swim across the Pacific to coincide landfall at Lianyungang with the very early hours of the morning. I remember laying in the surf watching the shoreline for any signs that I’d been spotted and eventually sprinting into the cover of the treeline but not much else comes back once the stun grenades popped. I’d been sold out somewhere along the line and walked into a trap.
I was transferred to sewage duties following a fruitless interrogation. They’d never have broken me and they knew it. During the questioning I kept thinking back to the second world war because …
Before I was an agent conducting espionage on behalf of the Panamanian government I’d been working with some of the top Nazi scientists towards the end of World War 2.
There were a number of projects on-going: invisible submarine technology, laser tanks, channel-hopping jet packs, radar-jamming butterflies. Everything your average Fuhrer thinks might tip the scales in his favour was there. I was assigned to Department K; breaking the chronobarrier.
Now we knew that the barrier could be broken and we knew there was at least one direction it could be broken in – forwards – but jumping forwards – with the exception of enabling a risky form of escape – was of limited use to the German war machine. The big cheeses weren’t going to entertain scientific curiosity when there was the fate of Europe to determine. Weapons from the future returned or jaunts backwards to adjust already-occurred events; those were our goals and the incentives to achieve them were brutal.
You may be wondering how we knew about the barrier. Easy. From me. You see …
Before I was co-opted into working with some of the top Nazi scientists towards the end of World War 2 I was a shape-shifting, time-travelling, sentient frog.