It’s terribly inconvenient being shrunk. I mean, there’s the fact that if Amplitude’s weird power mojo didn’t work, I wouldn’t be able to see, I’d freeze to death, and I wouldn’t be able to breathe, but that’s not important. What is important is how much harder it is to kill someone.
You probably realized by now that Leah doesn’t have much of a killer instinct. Very nice girl. Hurt, bullied, but not murderous. While I’ve helped build up her confidence by making her somewhat of a badass asskicker, or badasskicker, there are limits to what she can do. I think Venus has it in her to kill, especially in regards to me, but she’s got this pesky code of ethics. They’ve both been talking to me less since last time, when Leah thought I tricked her into killing people. Venus used to try and turn me toward the benefit of mankind, but she has stopped that act.
I asked her about that one time while they were on the motel bed, chatting and looking up cat pictures on the internet. I had to zoom in with my eyes to catch her tiny middle finger.
At least the experience probably got rid of Leah’s crush that I think she had on me.
Down time couldn’t last forever. We certainly have taken enough of it, though some of that has been because we didn’t have anything we could do. We had to wait for this person or that. The last few days, we’ve been busy with surveillance. Well, Leah’s been busy with surveillance. Venus and I would stand out on our own, especially with Hephaestus aware of their own associate’s abilities. The good thing about Leah being so new to anything is that barely anybody knows about her and what she can do.
Of course, their cover blew apart some when Venus went with her, claiming she’d hide in Leah’s hoodie somewhere. They don’t want to be around me.
I’ve found it’s better not to think about the times you feel little and alone. I guess this is a teachable moment for y’all: when you’ve got one of those really bad times that makes you feel like shit, you have to get through it somehow. Distract yourself. Think of someone who means the world to you. Hell, if you think the world’s got it out for you and wants you to just off yourself, then you need to make sure you never give them the satisfaction. Yeah, evil may be petty, but sometimes pettiness is important.
I think I just made a tautology cry. I broke philosophy.
I was glad when Leah and Venus came back and admitted they’d seen just about everything they could about the place. It was absolutely essential that they improvise. That meant me.
“And we’re not going to kill anyone, are we?” Leah said, arms akimbo, glaring down at me. Venus stood on her palm, adding her expert glare to Leah’s.
I rolled my eyes and checked my pitchfork. It went with my devil costume.
“Sounds like a Dante-ing task, avoiding killing them. Are you planning on just going around in nine circles arguing this with me?”
Venus fumed. “This is about people’s lives. Take this seriously!”
I spun the pitchfork around over my head. I stopped it pointing at a certain halo pipe cleaner and raised an eyebrow.
An hour and a half later, the three of us sat in my lovely suped-up super car. Leah was at the wheel in her costume. I had taken control of the radio, listening to a little ditty called “Man On Fire” about a villain taking fiery vengeance upon the hero of a tale. It wasn’t an entirely appropriate song. The hero would be left untouched by me. It’s the other villains I was attacking.
We were waiting at an intersection by the place. To our right and across the street, it sat, a neat little accounting office that looked nice and clean. Polumetis Accounting. It was an office. Not every base of an evil organization had to have marching minions and secret labs. Hephaestus set this place up to handle some of the paperwork. Passports, customs, invoices; there’s a lot of things to fake to keep the appearance of staying above board. Then again, these days it’s completely legal for a company to fund terrorists, kill people, and rip people off. Just ask JP Morgan, HSBC, Wells Fargo…hell, just look into a major banking corporation and you would see that the rest of us are committing crime at a discount rate.
Compared to that, Faustus being in possession of the cursed Basano Vase isn’t nearly so evil or corrupt, and that thing killed four people in less than a year.
Fuck the IRS. We came to attack, and attack we did. This time, we were all strapped in as Leah revved the car and pushed the indicated button to activate the plow. It unfolded from the middle of the grill, prominently displaying Latin writing on the front for anyone who was just in front of it and happened to look up. “Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo, ” it declared. That’s Latin for “I will sodomize you and face-fuck you.” Those ancient Roman poets were intellectual as fuck.
Leah gunned it. As you may have noticed by now, readers, my car isn’t your standard car. Even just the fact that it’s based on an older model would make it tougher than your average car. Believe it or not, cars used to be made of metal rather than plastic. As tin and steel gave way to plastic, aluminum, or even lighter steel, they became cheaper and more easily destroyed. The tradeoff is that more modern cars also have better safety features built in, like rearview mirrors, seat belts, and improved frames. My Black Sunshine combines this to make a car that’s perfectly safe, so long as you’re inside of it.
We plowed through the front frosted glass like a hot knife through a throat. The lobby section, with its various plush upholstered chairs, was devoid of any splattery people. The girls expected that; they never saw actual customers go in the place. The women. Ladyfolk. You know, I may not have a very good vocabulary offhand for dealing with female humans, despite generally being down with the bitches and hos. Much respect, yo.
So no customers were plowed. They had a secretary type at a window in the front area. She fled out the door to that office and down a hallway, screaming her head off. We stopped, parked most of the way in the lobby. Venus and I unstrapped and waited for Leah to calm down long enough to set us on her shoulders, me in my devil costume and Venus in the angel one. That was the concession she made to get me to agree to not killing people.
If the place got any customers, that ramming bit would have been right out of the plan.
Leah stepped out and shut the door behind us. Scared faces peeked out of offices along the highway.
“Repeat after me,” I told Leah.
She nodded, and called out to the Hephaestus pencil pushers “Alright, you anal-retentive math-honkies! I’m here for a little bit of information. Whoever helps me gets to hurt less than those who don’t, unless you’re into S and M. Then, you will be hurt more if you cooperate and less if you don’t. You can take that to the bank, or my name isn’t- oh you’re dead now. I am not calling myself that.”
She slapped me. I may have deserved it, but it was hard being in that position and not abusing my power to make her call herself “Supertits.” I didn’t push the issue, and not just because she slapped me upside the face. It’s possible that she was right, inasmuch as she can be right without me admitting to being wrong.
She stepped up to the first office past the secretary’s. A tall man with glasses and grey hair looked down at her. “We can’t help you. That’s not our job.”
“He’s stalling. Security is on its way. Here’s one,” Venus told Leah, who turned to see a pudgy man with a laser pistol in his hands.
“Throw me,” I said. Leah grabbed me and tossed me at the guard while she scrambled back toward the secretary’s office.
I passed by the stream of deadly coherent light as I flew through the air. I landed on the man’s chest, my faithful pitchfork in hand, and used the incline his bulk provided to climb up and launch myself into the air. I brought my sharpened plastic pitchfork down on his eye before he could blink. He cried out, which was awful loud, so set my feet against his head and nose, yanked out the pitchfork, and stabbed him in the tongue with it. He put his hand over his mouth, muffling his screams of pain. Triumphant, I shook my pitchfork over my head and asked, “Where is your god now, giant flabby mortal?! Bow before the might of Littlezebub, Prince of the Tenth and Smallest Circle of Hell, Demon of Finding The Milk You Just Bought Was Bad All Along!”
He tried to pistol whip me, but I was even more nimble than usual as a little person. He hit himself in the head instead and fell back to the floor. He was out like a light. A fat light. I gave a hiss and stabbed the air toward another one of the office workers who watched everything transpire. The nervous young guy slammed his door, catching his voluminous curly hair in it.
Toward the front of the hallway, Leah was playing the good cop, asking all nice and sweet about files for Amplitude and Psycho Gecko. Venus played the bad cop, standing on the guy’s chest and yanking on his collar, trying to look him in the eye with a growl.
“Listen, I do NOT, you hear me, do NOT want to stay little like this much longer. You will tell us what we need to know or I will shove my demonic friend over there up your ass. Do you hear me?!” I must have been rubbing off on her. On her, not to her, you pervs.
The man fumbled for something in his pocket. A cylinder, and I don’t think he was happy to see us. Neither of my fine female companions noticed him pull a needle filled with some sort of green substance. I ran toward him, having learned long ago from Mix N’ Max that people can do a lot of things with needles full of green substances. I threw my pitchfork at his hand just as he stabbed himself in the thigh with it.
The pitchfork landed far short as the man gasped and stumbled back. Venus fell back onto the ground, but was unharmed. Leah swallowed and took a step back as she watched what happened in the office. I got to see what she saw when the man stepped out again and I wasn’t impressed.
He was even taller than before. Taller than a wookie at least. He growled as he dipped his head to fit under the door. His skin was now pale green, and his hair had turned into some sort of chitin. He hadn’t grown any more muscular, but he was all jacked up and tensing like a man on a roid rage.
He reached for Leah, who dodged his grip, but wound up cut off from the exit. I kept running, glad they weren’t getting any further away with my speed. I recovered my pitchfork just as Leah blinded him. Acting on instinct, she turned his eyeballs opaque and the same shade of green as his skin.
Venus lifted up a folder and tried to trip him, but it only made him half-stumble.
They gave me the time I needed to run close and pole vault my way onto the man’s dress slacks. Using my plastic diabolical instrument of doom and damnation, I scaled the colossus and prepared to bring him down at his weak spot. Just as the wannabe Lurch got a hand on Leah’s shoulder, I got a plastic pitchfork in his balls. “Fork your balls, motherforker!” I yelled.
Oh, I stabbed hard. I even wiggled it a bit. He let out a pained moan and tried to grab for me, but I swung on the pitchfork to the other leg. Yeah, it was in there good. While he was bent down and concentrating on me, Leah wound up and punched him hard in the throat.
He suddenly had more pressing concerns than my demonic ball wrath and leaned back against the wall, trying to breathe properly. Leah grabbed his head and pulled it down as she jumped up, sending him to the ground. Then she looked down the hall at the white collar spectators. “Anyone else want to be a problem today?”
Badasskicker, see? She stared them down and looked awesome doing it.
One fellow, a younger guy with a huge mop of curly hair that had a chunk torn off, promptly fainted.
We got what we came for, though: Amplitude’s address, a list of Hephaestus properties in the city, and a nifty new laser pistol for Leah.
It’s a good thing we had the help of some very cooperative workers, because we barely got out before these little VTOL drones arrived. They were held aloft by four sets of blades that wouldn’t get in the way of the small-caliber barrel under the belly of each drone. We were down the street in the car, watching their response to our attack. They scanned the wreckage in front of the building, then moved, sending one drone in high to continue scanning while the others maintained different altitudes and went in two seconds after the first one.
It was informative and hilarious. Leah and Venus didn’t get the joke until I pointed it out to them, at which point they rolled their eyes at me.
What kept me laughing until we got back to the motel room?
They were office drones.