Somewhere in Nevada…
A man whose skin appears to be made up of lots of little rocks slammed his hand down on a table. A very frustrated man. Clattering brings to his attention that one of the confiscated weapons just fell to the ground thanks to his annoyance. He bent down to get it, keeping one eye on his tied-up prisoner. He picked up one of the many odd items his foe had on him when captured and set it on the same table holding his tray of bloodied instruments. Knives, a branding iron, a club, a whip. That was his stuff.
A machete with a grenade taped to the handle. Half of a pack of cheese crackers. A potato peeler. Shades. A rubber chicken. Bananas. A bottle labeled “Yellow Springs Mineral Water.” That’s what the supervillain had been carrying on him when he was caught. Ridiculous, thought the man, using the mirror above the table to keep an eye on his prisoner. As he looked past his reflection, it didn’t even register anymore how his powers had altered his body from the outside in. He hadn’t shaved in weeks, but there was no beard, no stubble. His hair wasn’t receding, but it was falling out. His eyes were crystalline and jagged rocks poked out of his gums in place of teeth. No knife, or potato peeler, could get deep enough to hurt him.
But that wide grin worn by the man in the chair could still rile him up. “What are you smiling about?”
“I don’t know, I just felt like smiling. I’m one of those people who smiles at times when I shouldn’t. I mean, a lot of the time I’m the reason people around aren’t smiling, so I really kinda should, like that time when I was giving the elderly painting lessons in Borja, Spain. On second thought, maybe that doesn’t count.”
“I wish you’d shut up until you ever had a first thought.”
“Awww, Gravel, don’t be that way just because your little knife tricks don’t impress me. I’m going to want that nipple back, by the way. I’d trade and give you a finger, but my hands are tied on the matter. Be a pal?”
“Do you ever shut up?”
“Do you ever follow due process?”
“Everyone I kill is guilty.”
“Everyone’s guilty of something, period. You’re the one going around killing people for the crime of conspiracy to evade taxes in the nude.”
“You kill them for no reason. And stop trying to get me to picture you naked again. The surveillance tapes were enough.”
“Bring that knife over here and you can see the real thing in person.”
“No, just no.”
“Ha! You tease. Spend all afternoon whipping me, but I’m the one going too far…”
The prisoner chuckled to himself, white-out eyes never leaving Gravel. Or at least Gravel couldn’t tell if they left him. To hell with getting a confession. Gravel reached for his holster hanging on a wall hook and slipped out the Five-seven handgun. He turned, clicked off the safety, and aimed right for the heart. A squeeze of the trigger and a loud bang left a grin on his face.
It left Psycho Gecko staring down at a hole in his chest for a moment before looking up at Gravel, offended, and said loudly, “Well, OOOW. Bastard.”
With a growl, Gravel fired again while stepping close. A gunshot wound blossomed on Gecko’s collar. Gravel held the gun to Gecko’s forehead, point blank. Just as his finger squeezed the trigger, Gecko rolled his head to the side, then low in front, and up the other side, only losing a little scalp to the gunshot. He then used the momentum to drop himself and his chair to the ground and spouted, “How you like that slow motion Neo shit?”
Gravel adjusted his aim, but Gecko kicked at one of his legs. He shifted to maintain his balance and dodge the attempt, but didn’t fall. Then Gecko dragged his feet and the bottom of the chair back from the kick and against his other leg, sending Gravel down against the table of gadgets. He saw the potato peeler go flying. He shook away the pain long enough to aim for Psycho Gecko as the villain who ought to be dead wiggled his way over to the peeler. It was while he had grabbed the peeler and was turned towards Gravel that the vigilante saw the flesh on Gecko’s collar and chest surrounded by a silvery liquid and being mended. Time-delay nanites, he realized.
Red light flashed from behind Gecko in time to a humming noise and the former prisoner brought his hands forward to fire a laser from the back end of his potato peeler, cutting the gun free of Gravel’s hand and then searing a line across his throat, opening it up. No blood came out, but he had to gasp to try and breathe out of the new hole. Gecko used that time to cut himself the rest of the way out of his bonds and melt the end of the Five-seven’s barrel.
Gravel stood to fight Gecko, sure he could take him hand to hand again even in this condition, but Gecko just grabbed one of the bananas, smooshed it up, opened one end, and flung the mashed up banana into Gravel’s eyes. He flailed with one hand while he tried to clear away the fruity obstruction. If only Gecko would start talking again, give him somewhere to aim.
“Got this just for you when I took the job to hunt you,” Gravel heard. He threw a punch, feeling mirror shards fall on his arm. Then his head was yanked back as a knee was shoved into his lower back, keeping him off balance. Something was forced into the hole to his throat. He threw an elbow behind him and then grabbed at the hand as he tried to keep from swallowing the liquid. He couldn’t even force himself to throw it up. He pulled Gecko’s wrist away and twisted it. The villain’s knee fell away as he had to keep from falling. Before Gravel could take advantage of this, he felt a roiling in his stomach.
“What was that?” He could barely spit the words at Psycho Gecko as he glanced at the supposed mineral water bottle in the captured hand. Yellow Springs Mineral Water, a Gekko Tekk International subsidiary.
“Just a little something from Mix N’Max. He remembers you from that time in Colorado Springs and hopes you enjoy what he likes to call ‘Hyper Laxative’.”
A roar erupted from Gravel’s belly. It was the last thing he ever heard.
Psycho Gecko stepped calmly out of the shack and threw up, making sure not to get any on the head of the vigilante that he held in his left hand. Not that it would have done any more harm to it. They were both covered in the light brown remnants of Gravel’s last meal that had been quickly metabolized into explosive excrement by Max’s formula. In the midst of losing his own last meal, Gecko couldn’t help but giggle. The resulting vomit up his nose kept him from smelling anything else, at least.
The Cartel didn’t find it as funny. They held their noses as he handed over Gravel’s head and collected his money for the hit. They didn’t even appreciate the rubber chicken shoved in Gravel’s mouth. In fact, they hardly paid it any mind at all, until its legs started moving. That only drew their attention closer to it, which was a poor place for them to be in when it exploded in a spray of small, sharp stones.
Somewhere in Nevada…
A man who normally wore a black suit met with a man who normally wore power armor who he would have pursued for the government. Money for the hits changed hands, and the supervillain left a slightly richer man. But the agent got the better end of the deal, he thought. He left knowing that his brother’s execution by Gravel while serving as an undercover operative in the Cartel was paid back. In full.