We may have a couple of itsy bitsy problems. Just a little bit. Oh, of course we do. My streak of luck, of course we’d have some.
Let’s start with the minor problem. An outside signal that came in. That’s a fancy way to put it. The heroes redialed. I assumed that in all the chaos they’d have lost Venus’s earpiece. They had taken it out, the music was blaring, people were zapping each other. When I thought back to how they figured out it was the real me, I just figured they lost that earpiece. Hmm. Maybe they did. Makes just as much sense if they had the phone that one linked into and tried it that way. It also makes me feel like a moron.
The problem is fixed for now. My helmet is off the grid. It’s on the down low, like a gang banger banging other gang bangers. The solution I picked to distract them is pretty good, too.
They can call as much as they like, but they’ll only ever pick up the sound of a pigeon eating or crapping. I’ve got it where the signal only goes to a certain receiver that I made copies of and fed with bread to the local pigeons. They’re going to be very surprised to find me hiding in a small white pile on the Shieldwall jet.
Who am I kidding? First thing they’ll do is surround the shit pile, order it to stand down, then fire on it with deadly force.
The only thing is, they know for a fact I am in Kingscrow in the short term. They fed that to me, after all. They didn’t just taunt me about Max to show they actually were accomplishing things. They wanted to give me a target if I escaped.
Now, problem number two is what I was whining like a baby about the other day. Sam, Holly, and I were at another base hidden under La Cosa Pasta Italian Restaurant, with Holly applying iodine to my leg. “This is why you should work on your hygiene. It doesn’t even look like you did anything to this.”
“I told you. Some alcohol, some stitches, a little super glue. I just got unlucky as far as an infection, I guess. Doesn’t Max have something put away for occasions like this?”
“He didn’t keep things labeled but if you want to pour his experiments on your open leg wound, go ahead.”
“Sure, that’s how it starts. I let you pour something on me and next thing I know I’m waking up with a pink corset on and a tattoo stretching the width of my ass featuring a heart and the words ‘I love tricky dick’ that can only be read properly when you squeeze my cheeks together.”
Sam gently whapped me across the head with a newspaper, “Oh come on, it could be worse than that if you don’t try this stuff.” She held up a bonesaw to demonstrate.
“You’re right. It just occurred to me that I should probably be more worried if the tattoo is only readable when my cheeks are spread. What does this yellow one do?” I picked up a flask of bright yellow liquid. “My guess, he wanted a banana snow cone or he was working late and didn’t want to walk to the toilet.” I shook it up.
“Don’t touch that,” Holly scolded as she took the flask away and set it on the shelf behind her. “That’s either to dissolve dead bodies or it causes flowers to instantly grow all over a person’s body.”
“Huh. That’s odd, even for Max. Why would he need something to dissolve a dead body?”
“You know Max,” Sam took out a lighter with fanged skull on a snake’s body dripping poison on the side and flicked it. She used the flame to sterilize a needle and knelt down while Holly grabbed her stuff and moved aside. “Want anybody’s name down here?”
“No. I had someone significant, but no more. For once it is I who have had something torn out of my ass, and this ass-torn item was my heart. That’s what you get for hoping you can be more than just the killer of her significant other. Sigh!” That’s not a typo by the way. I really said sigh. Sometimes you just want to get your point across. Bad communication can lead to horrible mistakes like that. Did I mention that’s one reason to blast rock in your enemies’ ears when it’s you against a team?
“Right. You get a lightning bolt,” Sam said as she went to work.
“He looks more like a Jesus fish kind of guy.”
“You two are spoiled, you know that? I could snap at any minute. I’m a madman on the edge.”
“Madness is like having a big dick, Gecko. If you have to say it, it isn’t true,” said Sam.
“Whew, good thing I have a little dick.”
“It doesn’t work in reverse,” Sam’s next push of the needle through my skin hurt a little more than usual.
“I’m only supposed to have one prick. Watch out giving me any more.”
“Nope, just not looking to get lucky in a leg wound.”
“Hey,” said Holly as she finished cleaning up her implements and put them away in their spot, “Do you actually have a plan for getting Max out, or is this going to be improvised and end with you rolling a giant donut down the street?” Then there was a ding from my rear, meaning the other side of the room that my back faced, and she left to go take care of that. To my knowledge I had nothing in my ass set to give me an alarm. I need a burglar alarm.
“I have some ideas on this one. Ok, ok, get this, this is gonna be huge. We start with me getting explosives. Lots of them.“
Sam cut me off, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, already this is sounding too dangerous.”
“Relax. They’re for the prison. Most modern prisons are more tech than walls and stone. Marscow’s a throwback, mainly because it’s right by the city. So we crumble a wall, let as many out as can go, make sure we get Max when we skedaddle, and the heroes will be too busy cleaning up to notice when we give them the f-bomb and hightail it.”
Holly returned with two cups of coffee and handed one to Sam. “It sounds really basic, like exactly what people think of when coming up with a plan to break into prison. That place holds supers, so they’re probably reinforced for that sort of thing.”
Sam chimed in, “What about that thermite stuff the conspiracy theorists always go on about? Couldn’t that do it?”
I snorted. “Please. Don’t insult my intelligence. We’d practically need to turn the prison into a thermite sand castle to have a chance at getting through the walls. There goes any chance of getting it there stealthily. And it’d have to be piled on the walls, because that stuff burns downward with gravity.” I shook my head, “I like thermite at times, but not on this job. We can do this with conventional stuff. It’s all about placement, girls. Soon, I’ll have those convicted bastards so free, they won’t just be fantasizing about those skyscrapers nearby. They’ll practically be climbing them. Driving a car out of here. All that stuff. I think we can even fit an inflatable slide into this somehow.”
Holly looked over at Sam, “This is a terrible idea. Even Max would be careful about this.”
Sam eyed me as she answered her best friend, “I know. Believe me, I know. Trouble is, we need his help or Max isn’t going to get out to tell us how stupid it was.” To me she added, “We get to make suggestions?”
“Of course, I’ll entertain creative ideas you come up with. If I’m not going to kill you for all you’ve done so far, then there’s a decent shot I won’t take a decent shot at you just for making a suggestion. For instance, you can suggest to me where I can find someone who sells boom goods.”
Their suggestion led us to a landfill on the edge of the city once I was back in my armor. I had knocked on the door of a portable office building and we waited. I turned to the pair with me, “You’re sure this guy is good and trustworthy? In my experience, these explosives suppliers seem to have bad nerves and short lifespans. I suspect there’s a link there somewhere.”
“Down, boy. No playing catch with the grenades. We’ve delivered some muscle relaxers to the guy before. You’ve got money, right?”
“Yep. Ouroboros paid me for the job with Raptor at least.”
The door opened suddenly, showing us a man in a white tank top and camo pants. His clothes were torn and had soot on them in spots. His hair was wild and he was bleeding from his chin. He looked between me and the ladies, then said to all of us, “Sorry, my phone attacked me.”
Holly muttered, “Oh shit,” under her breath.
I extended a hand toward the explosive guy. “Hi, I’m Psycho Gecko. You know, I had an encounter with a phone lately. Damn thing was tough as hell to kill off.” I stepped in and put an arm around the guy, starting to walk back into the office, “Broke a fucking sword fighting the thing. Say, I need to blow some shit up and I heard you were a guy with lots of crap that blows shit up. And I thought, ‘Damn, I need some of that crap that blows shit up.’ And that’s why I’m here tonight. Oh, and this is Holly and Sam, supposedly you know them?”
By then, I’d walked us back around in a circle to the door where he and the ladies shook hands. “Sooooooo…think you can hook me up?”
He looked at me, “You got enough cash?”
“I got cash out the ass, my good man.”
“Please launder it first.”
“How much you need?”
I told him. He whistled at that. “Wow. That’s almost enough to take down a building if you get it in the right spot. You’re not clearing off any property right around here, are ya?”
“Nope, this will all be taking place well away from you.”
He held out his hand to me, “By the way, I’m Phil.”
I shook it again, “Nice to finally meet you, you rude asshole.”
At that point, we were attacked by a robot that looked like a cell phone. It was the size of a man and had that shiny black plastic all over its thin limbs. Its face was a larger screen. It had bullet holes in its limbs and one foot was missing. I leaned my head toward Phil, “Rudeness excused. I can understand the preoccupation.”
The cell bot lunged for us. Phil slipped out of my arms, jumped out of the office, and hid behind Sam and Holly. The duo had pulled out a syringe gun and a water bottle filled with some sort of clear fluid, respectively.
I grappled with the robot and redirected it toward the wall. I skidded along, locked up with it, and was pushed against the wall, then spun it against the wall. Except what the robot hit was the window. We fell out, landing in the loose dirt-like substance that composes the ground of a landfill. Something splashed against the robot and it twitched in inhuman ways. Then it fell to the side.
Holly stood there with that bottle as the robot, now reduced to a glitchy remnant of its formerly hardy self, crawled away. I charged up my glove as I limped after it. “Not so smart now, smart phone.” I threw my fist up the back end between the legs of the robot, smashing through plastic and wiring and circuit boards. I drove my hand up along the robot’s body, knocking off chunks of it. I kept going, keeping the glove charged, until finally I knocked it’s head off.
I stood up and looked over the bot’s torn body. It wasn’t getting back up from that one. Then I turned to Holly, “Thanks for the assist. Whatever that concoction was, it beat the pants off this cell phone.”
“Uh, it was just my water.”
“Huh. Well, that is how you hit a Pound Key.”
I held up my hand for epic high five time.