The bad news, my leg was trying to rot off.
The good news, I was right about hygiene not being the cause of my wound not healing.
See, you just have to find the silver lining in things. Grandmother just died? More food for the starving kids in Africa. You killed her? It shows you’re a hands-on kind of worker. Killed her for her inheritance? You’d be a great corporate executive with that kind of attention to the profit motive. You then used her fortune to buy and consume extra food equivalent to how much she ate? Congratulations, you just made sure there were enough dead starved kids in Africa to feed the live starving kids in Africa.
So, back to the main point of all this, it looks like Ouroboros’s body double used a poison dagger back there in Paradise City. Even the girls had to admit it couldn’t be mere infection. Didn’t smell like gangrene. That leg is all funny, puffy colors with lots of goop coming out of it, and the initial effect has spread to my chest.
I think he wanted to slow me down. Hard to gauge, but I’m not dead yet and even my slightly different reactions to some chemicals wouldn’t account for all this. My powers don’t get shut off when I get put in anything that’s supposed to dampen them because they’re a part of my physiology. Like if there were a race of people with four arms, power dampening cuffs of any kind aren’t going to cause two of those to shrivel up. And because of both the upgrades I’ve made to myself and some aspects of my body chemistry that make those upgrades possible, things are slightly off from baseline humans.
Some of that was known by my old pal Harlon that I called up about this time. I was hoping for more time to sling mud, but I needed him to do a few things for me. He jumped at the idea of helping me out, like a puppy whose master just arrived home. Step 1, he digs into Forcelight and Bennett Long to uncover more proof about the adoption and the nature of the experiments that made her who she is today. Step 2, the news corporation he has influence at starts up some hard hitting pieces about Bennett Long’s schemes. The public will probably want to know, especially since his adoptive daughter has followed through on them in her own way. Nothing like a news network to fuel rampant speculation about the true intentions of a woman given powers by illegal experimentation and organ theft.
Thanks to Shieldwall’s disregard for my intellectual property, I can feel a fever under this armor. I’ve been sluggish too, in that the girl are accusing me of leaving a slime trail wherever I go. Harder to breath too. So naturally I assaulted the Long Life building. Ok, more like infiltrated it.
I needed to get to the flyer, you see, and that was located higher up on the building. This time, however, I figured I wouldn’t get myself locked down in the building. So I approached the security measures with a different technique.
I visited the circus and interrupted their human cannonball act. Some creative modifications later and I soared over Kingscrow, arms in front of me, invisible to the naked eye. And come on, naked eyes, have some dignity. Cover yourselves up!
I was slightly off on my math, however. I figured that out when I hit a corner of the building that was slightly higher up than my intended target and didn’t have the landing pad wing underneath it. My cat-like grace got me the rest of the way. Yes, my screaming, cussing, jumping, grabbing, pigeon holding, flagpole straddling grace. After a few minutes of recovering from my graceful ordeal, I stood up, untangled the flag from my armpits, and made my way to the flyer. I saw more automatic turrets around, but if they saw me they didn’t act like it. There was a lot of pigeon crap, though. Yep, high tech security system defeated by nothing but elbow grease and pigeon shit. Bird excrement: the other white meat.
I was there because I had to move my plan up. I thought up this wonderful little plan the other day on the toilet. That’s right, the toilet. That’s the spot where people have more of their ideas than ever before. It’s a fact. Just look at the rapid development of science and technology that occurs only after the invention of the toilet. You won’t see ancient Greeks and their tree leaves thinking up 3D printers. Nor will you get to the moon while sitting on an outhouse, no matter if one is carved on the door.
So I had this plan, and I saw it, and it was good. Problem was, I need Max’s help right now. Chances are good he knows how to fix me, which is the sentence that led to Holly suggesting I take some scissors for Max as well. Aside from that, they were helpful and went to go pick up the delivery from Phil the bombmaker while I was busy sabotaging the Shieldwall plane.
Nothing so drastic as making it crash or anything. I do something like that around this date and I’m bound to bring down even more heat. But they may find the things weapons just don’t work like they ought to if they get too close to me. I’ve got a way into all kinds of systems. I even found the remote start-up thanks to the VTOL jet turning on all on its own.
I went invisible and got out of there when that happened. No one would be able to tell anything had happened to it, which was a shame. It’s not that I’m an attention hog that wants to prove my brilliance over mere mortals. It’s just that I liked the idea of putting a car boot on it to indicate the heroes couldn’t use it.
I patched into whatever the big alert was through the flyer and found that the problem was the cell phones. The same kind as that heinous one I fought in Yabloo City and the robotic one that tried to drop Phil. The heroes walked right by me as they filed onboard. I almost thought Forcelight or Raggedy Man were going to pick up on something, but they didn’t stop. Raggedy Man did look at in my direction as he passed by, and hefted a mace in the shape of a jingle bell on a stick to his shoulder, but I guess he decided the rampaging cell phone robots starting up around the nation were a bigger concern.
As they flew off, I noted the ship’s computer searching for information on Miss Communication and Wrong Number. Whew. Glad there’s other villains being gangbanged by the heroes for once. I don’t think I should count the Paradise City gangs due to how that turned out. You know, with me offered on a silver platter with an apple in my mouth.
This is wonderful, though. The preparations for the jet were moot, but now they wouldn’t even be in town.
Rather than wear down Forcelight’s credibility and then stage a prison break, I had to break Max out of prison to cure me and focus on hurting Forcelight after that. Not my preferred order, but that’s the way the bowling ball bounces.
It still took a couple hours time before I could enact the breakout. I wasn’t moving as quick with all the aching and soreness. Cops didn’t even bother to stop us as we prepped. Reporters were noting that with all the attention paid to Empyreal City, other cities now had less chance to stop their incursions which were beginning as well. A few cops took pot shots at us from a distance though. I just said “Fuck It” and carved them up with the Nasty Surprise. “Where is your app for that, you cellular sons of bitches?” I said. Had to catch my breath afterward.
Now the breakout itself. Allow me to set the mood. I sped down the highway behind the wheel of a big rig, trailer in tow, with Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal” blasting. It was a highway that connected with the street running next to the wall of Marscow Prison. A few cell phone bots ran around in the streets and I swerved to run them down.
Then the bombs blew. “What got blown up?” you might ask yourself.
The road. I blew it to smithereens in one section that I was just passing over, and the truck went airborne. I grabbed the CB radio, “Breaker breaker, this is Mad Dog 20/20, we have liftoff. Repeat, this is one spicy load of salsa I got behind me. All passengers, please put up your seat backs and tray tables. If you look out the left side of the cabin, you can see robots attacking a children’s hospital. The weather is partly cloudy with a 100% chance to rain a truck, 17% chance to rain men.” The cab barely cleared the high wall of the prison. The trailer didn’t. The trailer slid along the barbed wire at the top of the wall as the cab was tilted to hit the ground first.
And hit we most certainly did. I pulled myself out the broken window of the cab and saw that the trailer’s end was resting on top of the wall. I noticed I had the radio in hand still and held it up, ignoring the severed cord. “Thank you for flying Gecko airways. Anyone who wants to make use of our fine delivery of ladders may do so at this time. Have a pleasant stay in Kingscrow and I’m turning in my pilot wings.”
I dropped the radio, took a deep breath, cloaked, and made a break for the complex. The cell bots were a decent distraction at first, but Marscow was a dinosaur as far as prisons went. If they were too old, a lockdown caused by such an attack would be impossible to get around. My fears proved unfounded though. At some point, they’d discovered the wonders of electronic security measures. Door after door opened for me until I had made my way to the security office. Riot armor-clad prison guards found out the hard way that firing a shotgun at me just makes it burn more when the barrels are shoved up their asses.
Then it was time for my speech. “Prisoners of Marscow Prison. My name is Psycho Gecko. This is a jailbreak. I’ll need to see Mix N’Max as soon as possible.” I opened as many cell doors as I had access to, “I suggest leaving, either through the gate if possible or through a nice little semi parked in the yard with a trailer full of ladders. There should be a garbage truck full of pillows waiting on the other side of the wall.” I turned away from the mic to call up Holly and Sam, “You two dropped off the truck, right?”
“The package is in place and we’re out of there,” said Sam, “We’ll meet you and Max at the hideout, but we didn’t want to wait around for all the prisoners to join us out there.”
“Whatever floats your boat,” I told her, then turned back to my announcement, “Let’s see…anything else, oh, right. Shieldwall, that team led by Forcelight, is not in town presently, but I do ask that escapees take a moment to pay a visit to the nearby Hope Memorial Hospital which is swarming with attack robots. To reiterate, that’s the hospital full of kids. Unless you’re in here for child molestation, in which case the only ass you need to worry about is your own while you flee. Now the announcements. For lunch today, the cafeteria is serving freedom fries. Anyone interested in the work release program, please report to whatever door you want to leave by. Also, the warden has volunteered to help pick up soap in the showers today. Ta ta and have a pleasant escape.”
It’s amazing the amount of goodwill and credibility you get from criminals when you provide a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for them. Nobody bothered me as I made my way to the cell block that the computers say they dumped Max in. Along the way, though, I ran into another familiar face.
“I should have realized you would be back,” said a British accented voice from a cell. I turned to look. “You’re not looking so well, Gecko. Desperate times and measures?”
“Something like that, Doc. You’re welcome to come along too,” I held out my hand toward the open cell. Good Doctor shook his head.
“No. I won’t try to stop you, but I’m not going with you. You should learn when to stop.”
“It’s who I am, Doc. It’s like telling me to stop breathing. Any idea where Max is?”
“You might check the showers and hurry. God knows what’s happening in there right now.”
“Thanks Doc. See ya around.”
I waved and ran for the showers. It was there that I found a horrible sight. A naked Max, without makeup, burning a man’s face off with a chunk of soap. The other inmate had way too hairy an ass. I mean, bleh.
“Hey Max,” I called out, waving both hands.
“Gecko!” he said, dropping the soap and the man. Then we embraced under the warm showers. Just the two of us. Two guys. One of them naked. Nothing wrong with that.
We parted, “Alright, let’s get you out of here and to the hideout. I need you to whip up a cure for poison.”
“Can I get my jumpsuit, at least?”
“No time for that,” I turned and lowered my back. He hopped on and I carried him piggyback through the complex. Nothing wrong with that either. Outside, I found the old-fashioned giant gate still closed. Guards in the towers alongside it had gunned down any prisoners attempting to make their way out. As a result, they were all climbing the truck. “For fuck’s sake.” I limped closer to the wall near the truck.
“You sound tired, Gecko. Are you alright?”
“Just some deadly deadly poison. Nothing to worry about once I get you out of here.”
I jumped. My angle was off and my toes didn’t have enough purchase, so I went falling backwards in a roll. I managed to roll through to land on my face though.
I’m not sure if I mentioned already, but the closest thing there is to a safe way to fall is to land with as much of your surface area as possible so the impact is distributed across your body. Failing to do this can lead to broken bones. Doing this can still lead to broken bones, there’s just slightly less chance of it.
Max was kind enough to provide moral support by spanking me on the butt and yelling, “Hyaa! Giddyup!”
As soon as I could speak, I told him “You keep this up and I won’t take you by Hot Topic, Max.”
“Don’t lump me in with those posers. Come on, upsy daisy, let’s try this again.”
Groaning, I stood up, adjusted Max as much as I could, and jumped for it again. This time I landed on the top of the wall and ran along it to where the truck and pillows were.
“I’m not sure about this,” said one bald prisoner with glasses to another man.
“I know you’re ascared of heights, but it’s the only way out. I’ll hold your hand, how about that?” said prisoner number 2. He held his hand out for the other man. Before he prisoner number 1 could grab it, I shoved him out of the way and down to the truck.
“Hey!” prisoner number 2 started, before I kicked him in the back of the knee and sent him down as well. Then it was my turn. This time, I landed on Max. Too bad it was on pillows, but I do technically need him alive. Max and I stumbled out and slipped into the cab of the truck. I took off just as another prisoner took a leap of faith. Oh well, if enough of them fall, they’ll make a pile big enough for the last ones to make it safely. See? Silver linings.
Max and I passed by Hope Memorial too. It swarmed with prisoners now, some super and some mundane, who were giving the robots hell. I can’t blame them. After all, I just broke hell loose.