Things have gotten a bit hostile around Empyreal City. The Reds, Greens, and Yurples descended into open warfare. There was blood, guts, and ass everywhere. It’s been madness, I tell you. Madness!
Great TV, too. I have it on while working on this shiny doohickey. That’s a technical term, just like thingamajigger, thingamabob, gadget, gizmo, junk, and piece of shit.
“…It appears that the Greens gang firebombed the hotel to try and kill a prominent member of the Reds gang. Casualties were high as the Greens utilized Maryjane cocktails, their signature modification of a Molotov cocktail, leaving victims far too incapacitated to escape on their own. This is presumably payback for the Reds taking their sickles to the Green greenhouse on 9th and Madison that grows the really good shit…not that I know anything about it. Let’s go back to Ron in the studio, Ron?”
“If you’re joining us in the studio, we just got back from having some technical difficulties while Jim was discussing the premature harvest by the Reds at 9th and Madison. We lost all the rest of his feed after he mentioned that and absolutely nothing needing to be censored was spoken live over the air. Nothing at all. Over in the financial sector, it appears that China is making the case for downplaying the United States’ role in the global economy. Here’s Tina with the financial report.”
“Thanks Ron. Despite owning more than a trillion dollars in U.S. treasury bonds, China is not happy with American politicians. In an op-ed piece, China’s state news is calling for a ‘de-Americanized world’ in light of the Federal shutdown’s effect on the world economy…”
Huh. Guess that means nobody spotted a little extra violence that took place around here. Then again, that lady burglar is very good at not being spotted, so I piggybacked on her anonymity. She came back, you see. At the time, I was asleep on my couch front of the TV. Sprawled out, mouth open, drooling a little. Circuit boards, wires, and a tube intended to be used as a barrel on my lap. I was in my armor, though, so don’t let it be said I’m sleeping around without proper protection.
According to the playback from my helmet, she was just there hanging off the wall by my window. Totally unnecessary, of course, as this is the ground floor. If I’d bothered, I could have set up a warning system with motion detectors, an alarm, and instantly playing back what happened as I awoke.
I didn’t have that set up this time because I passed out while watching TV. She was quiet, though, as she pressed some doohickey on her forearm that had all the shiny stuff on it and phased through the window and wall. She had very fluid movements, like she didn’t so much move as flow to a spot. She was trying to steal my Cthulhu bird Picasso painting.
I let the first one go because I had bigger fish to gut like a pig, metaphorically and simile speaking. Doesn’t mean anyone just has a right to walk in and steal my stuff.
“But Psycho Gecko,” you may ask, “what about how you walk around stealing stuff?” Good question. Answer: It’s different when it’s me being stolen from. Duh. I’m morally opposed to being stolen from, but not to stealing from other people. It’s called a double standard, because it’s twice as awesome for me than it is for other people.
She was very smooth, my thieving houseguest, but she made a mistake. As quiet as she was, as inconspicuous, she made the mistake of getting too close. Sounds like a tagline from a movie about thieves, but in this instance it pertained to the suit detecting her proximity.
I don’t know what I was dreaming about, but suddenly there was a thief with a nice ass in it and me waking up suddenly. I sat up, turned around, and went after her with the welding torch I had by my hand from the work. She whipped around in a move that was half a matter of stepping away and half a way for her to get herself spinning for a kick.
That was a mistake on her part. My head was surrounded by metal. Her foot wasn’t. She had to catch herself as she landed, but then she bolted for the window.
“Come back, lady, Mr. Welder just wants a kiss!” I yelled as I ran after her. She cussed, but didn’t phase through the window. She stopped, saw me after her, then stepped on the sill and did a backflip, landing impressively on the other side of the sofa. She looked up to see what I was doing.
I was clapping for her, then burned the number eight into the wall. “Your lead up was awkward and you need to work on that, but I liked the recovery. You really stuck that landing. Spain is being a hardass on the judging, but I give you an eight.”
She ran out the door. You know, the Spanish judge was right, she was being a little punta.
I doused the welder, grabbed my air cannon, and followed after, laughing. I dunno why. I just felt like laughing. I can’t explain it, but sometimes you just want to laugh maniacally when you chase a pretty young woman through the bad part of town. Or in a small suburb with a dark secret. Or in the woods at a summer camp. Or even in rural Texas. It’s not really something you can explain. You just have to be there and feel it.
I followed her. She run swiftly down the hallway and ducked around the corner just before an air blast slammed into the wall, sending out a shower of drywall and cheap paint. She was heading toward the door. I kicked open the door to the room on my right, tossed the cannon into the arms of a scared man with a snub nose revolver, and charged up the energy sheaths around my fists.
“Don’t hurt us, please!” he called, fumbling with his gun and mine. He dropped both. I ran to the wall across the room and plunged first one fist, then another into it, discharging the stored energy into the wall and blowing out a lot larger portion of wood, drywall, and brick than most people are allowed to when they punched.
“Oh no,” said the man as I turned to him.
I grabbed the air cannon, shot the hole I made to clear more space, and dove out with the battle cry of “Oh yeah!”
I caught myself in a roll and got oriented outside. I checked on the building’s official entrance and found she wasn’t just standing around there. Instead, my houseguest was climbing up the exterior of the building. That’s one way to try and trick me, I suppose.
I took some potshots at her, but missed. She climbed faster. I began to stick things in the barrel and fire so as to vary my shots up a little. The brick shattered against the wall just over her head, but the empty beer bottle smacked her in the back. Lucky bottle.
I hit the stealth and the jump boosters.
It takes most people more than a few seconds to reach the top of a building if they’re climbing or perhaps jumping. She isn’t most people. Neither am I. When she climbed over the edge and found herself hauled to her feet and hung out over the edge, she was understandably surprised. Probably figured I was most people in that regard.
I had her by the neck in my left hand, air gun in my right. The barbed wires used to project the energy sheath caught in the tight black material around her neck and raked over her skin. She hung on for dear life.
“Come on, lady, why you gotta be such a dick? It’s my painting. I’m keeping it,” I said, shaking my head.
She responded haltingly due to her predicament, “Don’t want you…destroying it. Like others. Monster.”
“That which has a fleeting existence is all the more valuable than stored, preserved, guarded collection. Or that’s my take on it. Just leave it be. You don’t see me interfering in your thefts, do you?”
“You did. Doing research at…party. Want to see…magic trick?” She angled the diamond and mirror bracelet on her left forearm toward me. I don’t know if she caught a beam of light or it just generates one, but either way it flashed me. It flashed me like a flashbang, or perhaps like Margaret Thatcher, because I was blinded for a moment. Unable to see properly, I brought the cannon up and smacked at her forearm. Something crunched and then she screamed. It felt like a big ass bug bit my hand. First there was a kind of shock, then it felt like it was swelling up and inflamed. There were points of what I could only describe as numbness digging into me too. I didn’t feel the woman’s weight anymore.
I put my hand down and tried to clear away the spots in my vision. The effect on my hand spread away from there and to my armor. There was less of an inflammation feeling there, but it felt plenty freaky.
I had to reboot my eyes and the helmet’s visual sensors. When they came back online, I was surprised to find the woman was both hanging on to me and translucent. Well, it is October. Before I could figure out who I was going to call, I realized what had happened. I broke her phasey thingy.
“You ok?” I asked.
She nodded. I tried to shake her off. “Then get off!”
She grabbed hold of my neck and the shocking sensations dug in. They got far enough that it felt like my throat was going to close up on me from the afore-mentioned inflammation sensation. For the sake of saying this, I think the nation needs more information on the inflammation sensation. It spread to my right hand, along with the inflamed feeling, when I tried to grab her hand and pull myself free. We struggled like that, with me failing to pry her off and her holding onto me desperately.
It ended with me on the rooftop, choking, her hand halfway through my throat. “You can stay holding, just not to my neck!” I yelled. She seemed to understand because she retreated to holding my hand and arm. When I was more myself and less threatened with death, I looked at her and asked, “Ok, so I broke your toy. Why are you sticking with me?”
She shrugged. It occurred to me that if she’s not all physically there, then even hearing me was an accomplishment. Probably couldn’t speak. Phasing, or becoming partially removed from the physical world, is odd like that. Like most superpowers, if you think too much about it, it doesn’t make sense. I just figure there’s some other aspect to it that helps to keep people somewhat grounded. I guess the ones whose powers don’t work out just don’t live long enough, like if a person somehow phased right through the earth with no conservation of momentum. They’d fly right through the planet-…I looked down and noticed the way the thief was drifting through the roof. She bounced off a few boundaries.
“You’re being dragged away but for me, yes or no?”
“The only thing providing a barrier is shocking you, right?”
I sighed. “Damn it. Alright, let’s get off this roof in front of everybody and I’ll give you my take on things.”
I dropped off the side of the building and found the broken and shattered armband on the walkway below. I brought it in with me and explained as I walked back to my room with a ghostly woman on my arm. “Typically, energy still has an effect on you when you’re like that. Physical attacks, even wind, can exert some pressure on you because of the kinetic energy. Electricity is a more pure form of it and is more solid to you. Also more harmful. Damn, I think I left the cannon on the roof. Most people, you’d be a minor shock to the system. You could pass through them fairly easily with only an inconvenience except for the brain and spine. You’d fuck them up and they might be solid enough to bounce you around. Except I’m in power armor. I’ve got electricity all up in this thing right now.”
She squinted and reached for my neck again as we stepped through the door to my apartment. I brushed her hand away and shut the door. “Uh, uh, uh. I’m not human. I kinda merge with computers and electronics physically, and I have some cybernetics in me. You could probably hold onto me without the suit, but it’d be bad touch. And if there’s one thing I don’t stand for, it’s bad touch, missy!”
I wagged my finger at her. She looked bemused. I think. Then I shook the hand that held hers and formally introduced myself, which is normally an event that causes equal parts shock and pants-wetting in people who don’t already know, “By the way, I’m Psycho Gecko. I expect I’ll have to wait on your name.”
Moai opened the door to the bathroom then. A towel was wrapped around his lower body and a giant shower cap was stretched over his large stone head.
“Oh, so that’s where you’ve been. I had to chase a thief and accidentally unphase her so she needs to hold onto me or risk falling off the planet, and you’ve just been in the shower all this time! What were you even doing in there for so long?”
Moai didn’t say anything, just bounced across the apartment to the bedroom to get dressed. As he passed by, a copy of Masonry Magazine fell to the floor. He paused for a moment, then kept on bouncing.
What a stone cold perv, man.
So, yeah, I’m still here, working on fixing this doohickey. Until then, I can’t keep the lady off me. Don’t even know her name. We agreed on no showers, and I think she wants this finished today, based on how she apparently didn’t sleep a wink when I went to bed.
I can’t tell if that was because she was worried I’d try something, or because she was worried she’d fall asleep and then off the planet.
At least I can put that in a dating profile if I ever try internet dating. “Pros: Women would rather sleep with me than risk being flung into outer space at high velocity never to be heard from again.”