It looks like I have a new minion and this one fits in a lot better than Moai. Admittedly, Moai gets a lot fewer looks than you’d think for a giant bouncing Moai, but he has weight and size problems.
So I have Carl now. You may remember him as the robber who called me “Psycho” and threatened the tellers. Moai seemed cool to hear about it. He’s finally feeling better, I think. The cracks are all closed up on him. A little thick, I’ll admit, but I’ve got the brains and Moai has the stones. All we’d need is some beauty and we might have a full-fledged team.
Speaking of beauty, next time I see Dame, I’m going to show her a nice recording of Venus giving up her name to me, the marvelously maligned Psycho Gecko.
Eh…that’s kinda iffy. Maybe I can get away with calling myself great and devious, but marvelously maligned is a bit of a stretch unless I start carrying around a staff. On the plus side, I could rock a bitchin’ visor…hmmm. Nah, not worth it. Those types always wind up surrounded by incompetent subordinates who do nothing but screw up their otherwise-great plans to conquer the world.
Ah yes, speaking of plans, I put some in action to deal with my own rogue’s gallery of heroes. Or would you call that a Robin’s gallery?
Nonetheless, I set out to do some damage to the heroes assembled against me. Or should I say, disassembled. With the jet down, travel time has greatly increased for the heroes. Sure, Forcelight and Honky Tonk Hero can zip anywhere they want, but even the more mobile Gorilla Awesome, Black Raptor, and Troubleshooter can’t make other states in any sort of timely matter.
That was the point, after all. It reminds me of a story, though it’ll probably make about as much sense to you as any of the others. See, these Mongols were facing a numerically superior force, so they fled. And fled. And fled. The enemy went after them, exhausting themselves and separating their force as some lagged behind others. So the Mongols turned around and killed them piece by piece.
From my reconnaissance, I can also tell they’re not all in the same spot. With Long Life no longer so friendly to the team, they can’t just go around commandeering labs and office buildings. Maybe they could scrounge up enough money to rent such a space, but who knows what bills are piling up. At the very least, they need some cool cars for transportation until they get a new jet, if they’re going to get a new jet.
This is a big city, too. With my base gone and my new headquarters unknown, I was betting on them splitting up some to handle patrols and any Gecko-related incidents. My petty crimes helped confirm that one.
Now, at the end of the day, finding out where a hero lays his head is as simple as following them home. That’s made incredibly easy if you can turn invisible and zoom in with your helmet. So I have a few boltholes down.
First one up to bat: the lovely Miss Tycism. I love picking on her. It’s not even about tearing her loincloth off yet again. It’s the magic. Magic sucks. There are some theories out there by psychiatrists who believe that there are four different conceptions of the universe for each of the various power classifications. They’re trying to find out if it all has to do with viewpoints so fundamentally different in thinking that it provokes an instinctive opposition to it. Mystical, like Miss Tycism or Captain Flamebeard, opposes technological, like Troubleshooter or Miss Communication. Biological, like Venus or Breakdown, in opposition to scientific, like Forcelight or Ouroboros. As a bit of an odd quirk, Scientific was originally going to be just Chemical instead, but then there was all the radiation that started causing stuff.
They like to do it up like a + or an X so that each opposing source of power is across from its nemesis. Magic and technology are well known for opposition between each side, but neither of them seem to oppose natural or scientific. Biological and scientific also dislike each other like a jock on a beach kicking sand in a 1950s nerd’s face, but once again, there’s crossover with the perpendicular axes. There is, after all, a strong link between science and technology, but there was also stuff like alchemy for a long time. As for the biological types, who are naturally so good, there’s nothing stopping them from using a magic sword or power armor that they didn’t create and don’t understand.
And then, what muddies the whole thing up is that you just don’t always know. How can Good Doctor see inside people or through things? I don’t know. Could be a strange genetic mutation that would give evolutionary scientists a hard-on, or it could be exposure to strange environmental factors like a chemical spill. What exactly is Max’s power from? Hell if I know. His concoctions seem like magic to me, but he seems to think he’s being scientific about it in his own way.
That’s why I prefer to suggest that any psychiatrists who spend too long theorizing about all this instead go get a nice set of happy pills from the psychiatrists who actually see patients. Especially when they start trying to figure out where psychic powers fit in all this. Nothing gives a psychiatrist a headache like a psychic.
Now that long explanation that was quite out of the way of this little tale is why I snuck into Miss Tycism’s friend’s house with some dogs from that dog-fighting ring I set up and let them go to town. It’s been awhile since those mutts have had something as soft as a pillow between their legs. What? I’m letting them roam free, aren’t I?
It’s not like I did this to get caught anyway. I had this little doohickey attached to the living room TV that blocked the frequencies that Venus’s communicator used. I guess they didn’t change them since the bank job. Miss Tycism’s friend was nice and quiet for me thanks to the gag in her mouth and Tycism, as I like to call her when I get tired of saying the whole thing, was scheduled to be returning from her normal patrol hours. Right on time, she stepped over that threshold and onto the offwhite carpet to find me there, sitting on the red leather couch with a pack of scarred dogs surrounding me.
“Sup, dawg?” I said. Then I pointed at her and activated the pre-programmed whistle because I never learned, ok? There, are you happy?! There’s at least one more thing I, the great and devious Psycho Gecko, am not an expert at.
So the dogs charged her. There was Zeus and Thor and Butch and Mack. Her hands pulsed briefly with purple energy and knocked the dogs back. No harm was done to them, but they kept coming. They were dodging some of the blasts too. I had to roll off the couch as a stray one knocked it through the door into the kitchen. Tsk tsk. You’re not supposed to bake a sofa in the oven like that, but she gets points for trying to make it fit.
She was keeping the jaws from clamping on her when she finally realized she could back up. She threw two blasts at once, flinging Zeus and Mack into Butch and Thor, then moved out of view from the door. They bunched up at the door and she pulled together some sort of purple sphere she’d created in that span of time, trapping them all and lifting them off the ground. She touched the sphere and pulled forth a purple line of the same energy and tied it to the railing outside. The dogs floated outside like some sort of vicious purple balloon.
I figured she’d take her time knowing I was in the house. Even with her friend inside, she’d probably do some chanting and whip up a big spell that would cause my testicles to suddenly be pulled out of a hat in Las Vegas. I don’t wanna have to throw those things over my shoulder like a continental soldier because they hang so low!
I threw myself out a side window and circled around. Another thing I wasn’t doing, I wasn’t running out that front door into some sort of magic missile even with invisibility on. Except she thought to run inside. Huh. Maybe I should have gone with my other idea to wait inside for her. At least I knew where she was headed.
I leapt up and grabbed on to the window sill and siding outside the bedroom I stuffed her friend in. Took her a few seconds to run in with some scroll thing in her hands. She must have paid a visit to her bedroom. I was losing containment big time on this one. I slammed my head and shoulders into the window, rolled through, and got to my feet with a fist headed right for her head.
And then I was dead. Somehow, the certainty of my death was just there, in my thoughts.
It was all just nothingness. No sights, no sounds, no feeling of a body. Not even numbness to let me know I had a body there. Time dragged on in utter oblivion with only my own thoughts to keep me company.
Luckily I didn’t have a bladder or bowels to empty at the time. Or a body to shake. And if any of y’all spread around that I said that, I’ll fucking cut you! I’ll do it! I’ll cut you with a damn squirrel.
So I was left alone with just my thoughts, and that’s how I figured out something was wrong.
I sent off commands to a part of me I couldn’t even feel. I told the computerized portion of my brain to look for nearby video sources. It’s possible to hijack a phone’s camera, but the real dirty secret involves all the webcams left unsecured. If you’ve got one, you’d better make damn sure it’s off and secured from wireless intrusion. Suddenly, audio and visual broke through from the friend’s laptop. With it came the sudden realization that I could feel my cybernetic parts and the suit.
The friend was freed and waving her hand back and forth in front of my helmet while I stood stock still. “Wow, that spell froze him?”
“Not unless his worst fear was being frozen. I would try and read his mind, but he’s got some sort of psychic interference. Come on, get out of here. I’ve got to alert the rest of the team, and even that won’t slow him down,” explained Miss Tycism to her friend. She rolled the scroll she held back up even as it darkened and smoked. She tossed it out the door of the room and away from my view.
“Hey take my picture!” she said and stood right in front of my left fist. She brought hers up like it would uppercut me in the chin.
“Don’t disturb him. That spell is very sensitive to outside forces. You don’t want to set him loose.” She checked her belt. “It might be quicker for me to use your phone…aha!”
I tested those receivers I had installed in my spine. They were designed to allow me to circumvent having my neck or back broken, so I hoped they’d be of use this time. No such luck. They still had to send signals along nerves that were technically organic.
There was still one part of my suit I could activate, though. I sent a command and a Nasty Surprise turned the posing pal’s throat into a blood fountain.
I was forced out of my mystical imprisonment by a distraught Miss Tycism trying to throw me out the window with one of those purple repulsion blasts while she knelt by her friend. I ducked into an illusion of invisibility and slid to the side. I ran at her at an angle. As I got close, I set one foot on her knee and brought the other up into her face. She fell back with a broken and bloody nose. I didn’t let her go down, though. I grabbed her by the hair and leaned out of the way of various blasts she sent into the ceiling. Dust from smashed drywall drifted down over us as I took her chin in my other hand and… “Oh snap! You just got served.”
I checked the downed communicator. It had an error message… “Lost connection.”
I grabbed the jammer before I left. Someone was bound to find the place before long and report it. I could still deal with another good guy before they called in a warning.
Next was Black Raptor. The guy was only able to commute to work with the team thanks to the jet. Sure, he’s got wings on that exoskeleton, but he’s from Florida and here we are in Empyreal City, New York. That’s a long migration.
And it’ll be even longer now.
Raptor was busy chatting away on his cell phone with his kids when I arrived. He was in civilian garb. The exoskeleton hung in his bedroom closet and the molded protective armor and tights were strewn over the bed.
“Don’t worry, babies. Daddy has lots of days to save. I’ll be back soon.”
That’s when I jumped through the window, grabbed him by the throat, and slammed him against the wall. The phone dropped from his hands in his struggles to get loose. “I don’t think so, bird boy.”
I couldn’t help myself. A malevolent cackle escaped me. I was taking my time with him. Oh yeah, I put him through the wringer. I tossed him onto the nightstand, breaking a wall light on his backside. I threw the motel TV at him and embedded it in the yellow drywall. I chased him, slammed the door on him when he tried to open it and escape, then followed him into the bathroom where I broke his boxer shorts off with a wedgie. When they broke, he went down face first into the toilet for a swirly. Good thing he flushed last time. When I yanked him out of the water, I spun him around and threw him into the wall by the shower. He broke through and landed in the closet. I stepped through after him as he tried to crawl out and dropped the little safe on his back.
I picked it up again and held it over my head. Raptor turned over on his back to look up at me, begging me through the defeat cocktail of water, tears, snot, and blood that drenched his face.
I don’t know why I stopped. I just know that I saw a face from really long ago. The oldest memory I have of a different father begging. Probably just some leftover mind whammy from Miss Tycism’s headgame. I tossed the safe aside and reached down. His shirt tore as I pulled him up a little. “You love those kids so much, maybe you ought to be there for them instead of off playing hero. One of us will leave town here in the next day, you hear? If I go, you’ll find me in Paradise City, playing villain.” To add emphasis to this threat, I turned and brought out the Nasty Surprise to cut through the joints of his exoskeleton. When I’d left him with nothing but pieces of it, I went over and cut his tights in half.
That’s not to say I lost my will to kill someone. With my mind fucked over like that, though, the person I most desired to kill was unfortunately beyond my reach thanks to me snapping her neck.