Mwahaha. Hahahahahahaha! Ahahahahahahahahaha! Cue lightning strike there.
You don’t know how hard it is for me to resist putting a pinky to my mouth when I do that. Luckily, I don’t have that problem when I pull off a real, mad scientist-grade evil laugh. You know, one of those where you just can’t stop laughing at all the destructive power in your hands. For me, it usually involves something where committing a war crime is as easy as pulling a trigger.
Seems like I’ve lost my wonderful laugh lately. So hard to just enjoy the little things, like going for a stroll, flashing back to a time you were ambushed by infantry trying to stop you destroying their world, then coming back to your senses in the middle of somebody’s house with lots of blood and few solid body parts laying around.
Maybe that’s just me, though.
One final coffin nail. One more. No more need to wallow in worry and paranoia over plans not coming together all because I have to have one to take down these heroes. It’s a joke. Heroes aren’t going to do on their own what they can’t do as a team. More on that later, actually.
The update from Dame had some interesting things.
“Paveman was let go as part of financial haggling. The accountants trying to clean up the team of those who seem less effective in battle to mitigate agreements made before the change in corporate leadership. He is bitter, but not disgruntled. His son is visiting him to cheer him up. He tends toward alcoholism and wallowing in memories. Enjoys cheap beer and the movie Red Dawn. Is planning on looking into a gang meet to discuss the hostilities and presence of possible third party interference.
Computer reveals leftover details about you. They aren’t sure what’s wrong with you, but suspect a combination of mental disorders, save for Venus. She suspects your actions are unconventional, but deliberate. They leave enemies unable to react and make you appear more intimidating. Sanely choosing actions to make less imaginative minds think you’re crazy. Lone Gunman supports analysis, is in favor of extreme measures to end the threat. Lone Gunman disciplined by Forcelight.”
Sounds nice. I hope she used something more forceful than a boarding school paddle. Damn, if they put that on video, that’d take care of their funding permanently. Not that I’d buy it, of course.
It was nice knowledge to have, especially in light to a little meet and greet I’d arranged. My armor may not be the fanciest or most powerful out there. Doesn’t give me the most incredible of super strength, just enough to get by. It’s bullet proof, except against big enough guns with armor piercing bullets. There are special sheathes of energy it can create around the gloves, but they have to charge up and are useful for hand to hand only. It provides life support, but I can’t patch it up without easily expended nanites. I can leap tall buildings in a single bound…provided I like the sound of breaking bones in the morning. Which I do, though I prefer if they weren’t my own. The computer helps me a great deal, but when can I pay attention to it in the heat of battle? What it has that other power armor, doesn’t, though? My brain interfacing with it and the numerous small cameras and projectors placed around it to create realistic holograms, some of which disguise me or render me invisible.
As you may have noticed by now, I love to put that to use more than any other aspect of it. In this case, I went to each gang disguised as a member of that gang to report on a new development: the guy who tore the bosses’ houses apart wanted to speak about terms of peace in the city before he had to kill too many more people.
It was raining lightly when Moai and I showed up for the meeting. I know, I know, with my sunny disposition you imagine it’s been nothing but clear skies and sunshine, but that’s just not the way the world works. I appeared to be nothing more than a man in a black suit with sunglasses on. Moai himself was dressed in a large coat and fedora. He was too big to pass as a normal human, but I just wanted his face and body concealed enough. I hid a speaker and receiver around his neck too.
See, it’s entirely possible that these guys will be a little upset at me killing their friends, and those old Space Marine weapons have been known to shoot holes in my body. I’d much rather have Moai there if people go from gun shy to trigger happy. I really need to build me some more of those holodisks. This constant back and forth hasn’t been good for my stockpiles of gadgetry.
As soon as I was done, I stepped around behind Moai and vanished into thin air. I took up a position on a nearby rooftop.
They all showed up. The Greens were punctual, at least, arriving in some Tesla car. I expected it to be full of smoke when it showed, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the Green guy, whose name I never bothered learning, stepped out. You know, he’s black and that makes it work a little better, but I’ve been wondering lately what is up with these eco-types and dreadlocks? Is it better for the planet to not wash their hair so much, and if so, why not just cut it really short or try baldness?
He had four guys with him. One stayed in the car while the others approached with him. The two in the rear had shotguns. The one alongside him had a pistol’s bulge at the bottom of his shirt.
The Yurples showed then. I didn’t recognize the make of the car. If I’d heard of it, they wouldn’t have thought it was cool enough to drive in. Same kind of set up. One guy stood guard at the car with a handgun and a chainsword. The rest formed an entourage around the white guy with the facial scruff and a business suit. A suit. Huh.
The Reds drove up rather noisily in a hummer that was loud enough without the vibrating bass. The jovial attitude of the Reds ended when they shut off the vehicle and stepped out. This guy was black too, but with the bald head and thick beard of a true revolutionary. Big fellow as well. Unlike the Soviet Union, this guy’s not running out of food.
Reminds me of a real joke I heard they used to have. “How do you know that Adam and Eve were USSR citizens?”
Answer: “They had no clothes, one apple to eat between them, and were told they lived in paradise.”
By the way, if anyone wants to suggest a better term than black in the comments, go ahead. I’m aware of the term African American, but I find it odd in application towards people who have lived here for just as long or longer than the white people. Remember, don’t hate someone for their skin tone. Hate them because, whether black, white, red, brown, yellow, orange, indigo, or periwinkle, people are often assholes.
The head of the Reds had brought two more guys with him, but two stuck with the getaway vehicle this time.
All in all, much more manageable of a group than I anticipated. I was certain they’d bring a lot more. I guess I just don’t know a whole lot about things at that particular level of criminality.
They were all gathered together, clearly distrusting of one another, but they wanted some answers.
So they approached.
“Uh uh!” I said through Moai’s speaker. “Just the head honchos get to honch on over here. Step right up, boys and girls. Or pretty much just guys. Demographically challenged, are we?”
“Who the fuck are you supposed to be?” queried Big Red.
“I’m the guy whose been kicking your asses for a little while now using the power of paranoia and interpretive dance. I’ve been taking it easy, actually. But every casualty of your little war, every dollar lost, each one of your homes blown up…that’s all me.”
“What do you want calling us here like this?” asked the Yurple guy.
“Out of the goodness of my heart, I’m here to give peace a chance. See, I have a scheme coming up that needs some manpower, and y’all have manpower. Working together, we can do even more amazing things in my name than ever before!”
Green spoke up this time, “Uh huh. What’s in it for us, player?”
“A metric assload of money, and a little recognition for helping pull something that makes a real mark. Something that lets people across the nation know you’re no one to fuck with! Also, I’ll stop killing you. Refuse, and I’ll keep killing and find another way. Peace sells, gentlemen. Who’s buying?”
They all chose peace, at least in this matter. Full control of the gangs? No. Working together on a joint project for a respite and money? Yes. Good enough, and it got even better when we had an unexpected visitor show up.
Paveman made his grand appearance by overturning the Greens’ car. The leaders all got out of his way as he shifted to come right at Moai. “This ends tonight!” he yelled. He tore off the coat and hat to reveal…Moai! See, that’s the problem of this being from my perspective. You miss out on some of the surprises.
Moai hopped up and slammed his head down on Paveman’s, knocking him to the ground. Paveman went to one knee, then rose up from it to uppercut Moai. The two exchanged blows until a different sort of precipitation made its way through the air. There’s been a lot of miniguns around lately, but the one mounted on the Humvee and kept hidden below the sun roof was one of the more welcome ones. It knocked Paveman down. When he tried to stand up, a Green bodyguard kneecapped him with a bolt gun and put him down again.
I dropped down and approached the scene as the leaders all wondered what to do about him.
“Gimme some room. I’ll handle him,” I said as I appeared and pushed my way through the group. They gawked. “Might want to have someone see to the guy in the car, and maybe arrange alternate transportation?” I really just wanted a moment alone.
They recognized the voice and gawked a little, then put some distance between themselves, myself, Moai, and Paveman.
“Ouchies. Probably something you can heal by now, but that’s gotta hurt.”
“The one and only. The man who keeps on beating that hero ass.”
“What’s gang warfare to you?”
“Just another tool. Just people dying for a cause they know nothing about.”
“You’re a monster. No. You’re a dick.”
“Nice assessment. I’m also unstoppable, and you know why?”
He didn’t say anything. Not the first time a villain just wanted to get something off his chest. Most people have friends with phones or Facebook. We hold people at our mercy. Generally, it works out better to let us talk. It also saves on therapist costs, to hear some guys tell it.
“So, this one night I’m out walking around, years back. I approached a bridge and saw on it a couple: a young man and a young woman. They talked, then held hands, and then went to jump, together, hand in hand. Except the young fellow faked it and let go, letting the female go splatty-thuddy over the road. She died before I even got close. You see, a lot of good people are that little girl. Play by the rules, hold to promises, even when the rules and promises are horrible. Sometimes sticking with the way things are means insuring your own destruction.”
I saw Paveman sitting up and motion to Moai, who pinned him by his hand. “But those of us who aren’t so nice will lie and get away with whatever we want. Like with the girl and boy again. Even if a cop or you yourself had been there, the most you’d have done was arrest the guy. Because the good is ever too fettered by what is right to do what is necessary to defeat those not constrained by the social contract.”
I patted Paveman on the head, unsure if anyone ever got my parables anyway, then began to charge up that glove. “You know, I found that guy and I dropped him out a plane. Don’t worry, I threw him a parachute too. Well, actually, it was a pack for a parachute filled with a bunch of loose feathers.”
I raised the charged glove up, prepared to strike. Even a stone man is a lot less of a problem if he’s just a head. “Goodbye Paveman.”
Before I could take Paveman’s head off, a crash came from behind me. It was Apollo, the marble-statue-looking hero that worked with Venus. He had tilted the Yurples’ unknown car on its side, then jumped on the Humvee and tore the gun off.
He made his way toward Paveman and myself, partially shielding himself with the door he tore off the Humvee. I gave Moai the signal for “let’s get out of here” and cut to stealth. Trap? I didn’t know. But where one member of Shieldwall is, there is a disturbing tendency for more to arrive. It wasn’t a standoff, though. My point was made, even if Paveman survived. The gangs got clear, but had to walk, while Apollo was stuck tending to his father. Yep. Chip off the old block.
Ok, so I wanted to kill them, but these gangbangers were more concerned with injuries and rides. A lot less cowering in fear involved in that than I hoped for. Still, that act of disloyalty telegraphs that they’re most likely going to turn on me later. It’s the guns and the environment. Too many supers around, combined with having guns that can turn people into lifeless fruit salad gelatin.
But for now…more evil laughter. Bwahahahahaha!