You know, I could have gone to any ole dimension. I could have even visited you readers out there. Instead, I wound up in this one. Let me tell you, they don’t treat me well. No parades in my honor, no people falling at my feet willing to serve. It’s enough to make a guy feel unwelcome.
Locking me up behind bars was a bad way for them to start. I arrived in this dimension originally at the epicenter of an explosion that destroyed some buildings and killed some people. Next thing I knew, they yanked my armor off me and had me all locked up. Can you believe that? Horrible way to treat some disoriented person who didn’t even know the language. Unlike most illegal aliens, though, they couldn’t exactly deport me. Instead, they were going to settle on leaving me in jail while they tried to bring in a linguist, a lawyer, and a psychiatrist to evaluate me.
I wish I could have thought up a bar joke about that back when it was happening, but I didn’t even know what a bar joke was.
I mention all this because this dimension has never let up on treating me bad, even regularly failing to comprehend my thought processes.
First off, they didn’t let me keep the robots. Not Venus, not Leah, not Forcelight or Troubleshooter or Mechamoto Musashi. I thought Mechamoto would at least have the stomach for the dead bodies, but no. When they caught up to me in the basement of a chemical plant, wrecking Hephaestus experiments, they wanted me to freeze as much as they wanted the Hephaestus scientists to. Ingrates.
That goes back to that whole “other people as a weakness” thing I’ve been recognizing. If I’d treated them like they deserved to be treated, as enemies, I wouldn’t have had this problem. This problem that started with Troubleshooter holding me up by the back of my kilt.
“Aww, who’s a cute evil little Mel Gibson?”
“Nae Mel Gibson! I’m Nac Mac Gecko! I willnae be handled by ye, boggin bigjob!”
“He’s like a real live Smurf…with a bodycount!” She poked me with a waldo. I tried to grab on and pull, but it backed out of my grasp.
“What were you doing here dressed like that, Gecko?” asked Forcelight as she stepped up. I glanced over my shoulder to see she’d covered her eyes to avoid looking down up my kilt. Fun fact: It’s called a kilt because that’s the fate of anyone who makes fun of the guy wearing one.
I answered her question by pointing to animal cages in the corner. “Ta’ coo beasties!”
She looked over at the cows, some of which had an unusual number of limbs and tiger-striped fur, but didn’t get the significance. “Crivens! Ta’ Hephaestus bigjobs cannae ha’ a lab for bogling ta’ coo beasties wi’ yon science, ye daftie.”
“And the blue body paint and kilt help because…?” she asked.
“Ach, ahm a wee free man. Nac Mac Gecko! Gimme back mah antigravity doohickey!” I worked hard on that antigravity doohickey. I had to pull the schematics from when Max and I stole it for Hephaestus.
It wasn’t easy building it in miniature, which was why I didn’t take it with me to the robot lab. As usual, killing people helped me figure out how to handle the problem of making such a small version, so I went back to the hotel room and grabbed it while they were out trying to track me down at the robot lab. Once I got it the hang of what I was doing and completed it, I found it was great for removing the effects of gravity from an object. Little as I was, I’d been able to throw mutated cows around at this place.
“Can I dress him up in something else? A little tux, maybe?” Troubleshooter asked Forcelight with a grin. At first I thought she knew where I was coming from, but something about her eyes when she smiled and the camera on her goggles made me think she wanted to embarrass me more than join in on the fun.
“No, but we’ll probably get better answers out of him if you clean him up,” suggested Venus from Leah’s shoulder. They were in costume alongside the heroes.
“Agreed. Now, into the box,” said Forcelight with a nod. It was returned by Troubleshooter, Mechamoto Musashi, and probably my other two companions if I wanted to be honest about their opinions of me.
I don’t want to be honest about that, though. They wept like babies as Troubleshooter’s waldo dropped me. It quickly reformed into a funnel that sucked me up like a vacuum and deposited me into a metal containers with air holes that decreased in frequency the lower down they went. I could still access networks outside the box. There wasn’t much I could do inside it. I had enough room to lie down and stand up, but I wouldn’t be pulling off any gymnastics routines in there.
While in there, I felt my robots getting destroyed. I pieced them together from the Hephaestus robotics lab I’d raided. I still had some of the little Roomba-looking disc bots, and I even got some of the torsos on wheels to work, but I couldn’t bring the big robot with me. I disconnected its line from the wall, figuring I could take it on battery power or on the power from my internal core. In no time flat, the battery screwed up and blew up, taking out half the robot.
That’s why the place I got them from was a lab and not a factory.
Anyway, after that, I was alone in my box for a good long time, listening in as they chatted away. None of it was about me, and it wasn’t much like a lot of conversations I have. Where were the insults, the lack of comprehension, the implied threats? Where were the fun and games with survivors of my little attack?
It’s stuff like that that fills me with the confusing combination of hatred and longing. Then that causes hatred of longing and longing for hatred, and before too long I’m humping the skull of a dead giraffe because necrophiliac bestiality is easier to deal with than thinking too much about those people and their friendships. Back me up, I can’t be the only one who is like that.
It was Venus who slid down and spoke to me from outside one of the air holes. “Hey, Gecko. We’ve come up with a plan and for some reason they think you’ll be more receptive to hearing it from me.”
As if I hadn’t overheard. They were all crowded into my car, after all. Heroes were driving around in my car while I was stuck in a box. Longing stopped being a contender for my emotional focus at that point.
I threw my kilt at the air hole.
I was supposed to be a building-jumping, dog-humping, donkey-punching, Cheetoes-munching, wheeling, dealing, plane-flying, supercar-riding son of a gun. Whooo! I beat on the box I wasn’t supposed to be locked in.
“Hey, hey, calm down! You’ll hurt yourself,” Venus said. Then she muttered something to herself. She probably wanted me to hurt myself.
Fuming, I sat down.
“You good?” she asked.
“I’m listening. Ready to tell me about how you’re going to Amplitude to give him me in exchange for making you big again.” That was as far as they got. Give me to Amplitude and let him re-biggerize Venus.
“How are you psychic now?”
I put the brakes on for the car. “This is my car. Even now. Even reduced to this. You should have made this plan with me, not made this plan about me.”
I heard Leah through cell phones. “It stopped on its own. The gas isn’t doing anything. I can’t move the wheel. The windows won’t even go down. What’s going on?”
The Alice in Chains song “Man In The Box” began to play to provide a hint and because I thought it was clever at the time. That’s how you’ll know if I ever become a god somehow, by the way. Any world I rule will come with its own soundtrack.
Somewhat chastened, Venus spoke to me through the holes. “Even if you wanted to trap us in here, Forcelight could tear her way out. Mechamoto’s can cut his way out. Troubleshooter could force the doors to unlock. I understand you want to be included in the process, but you need people like us if you want to be big again. We don’t need you. Besides, I think you might like this one?”
“You don’t think we’re going to just leave you in there and expect you to play nice for Amplitude, do you?”
That made a difference. It still didn’t excuse the hose. They took me to a house, possibly even a safehouse, and started prepping for the deal. Troubleshooter got me clean while Forcelight used a number from the Hephaestus paperwork to call Amplitude. They still didn’t bother letting me out of the box.
In between sprayings, I shouted out to them, “Whew, I’ve never spend so much time in a box as when I’m hanging out with Venus and Forcelight, eh?”
Troubleshooter sprayed me with the bubbles.
“Did I offend you, Troubleshooter? I’m really having fun in your wet box, you know.”
She hosed me again. “Pig.”
“Ok, I get it, I get it. It cleans the blue gunk off its skin or else it gets the hose again. Anyone ever tell you you have all the fuzzy sweetness of John Wayne Gacy?”
I got the hose again. She didn’t have to take that one as an insult, though. The guy was known for dressing up as a clown and entertaining children. You might say he put the fun in “functioning sociopath.” Or not, whatever floats your boat.
When my time playing a ship’s anchor was at an end and I was all prettied up according to the standards of four women and a cyber samurai, they took me to Amplitude. According to their plan, Troubleshooter broke off to set up something nasty to keep Amplitude honest in his dealings.
I was carried in a box, but I could still listen in on the phones and computer mics of the place.
“You are the superheroes who called? I’ve seen you bunch. You were Shieldwall.” That was Amplitude.
“That’s right.” That was Forcelight. The ever stoic asskicker. Strong. Flight capable. Durable. Never liked me much. I killed her adopted dad. She had me and my box in her hands. She continued, “I hope we won’t have a problem dealing with you. Psycho Gecko is erratic. He’d stab you as soon as look at you. I hope you’re more reasonable.”
“I am. It was the unreasonable threats of your little nemesis that forced my employers to send me after him. It’s a shame that those like him expect to be treated like kings. Me, I just hope to get by.”
“I do what I must. There is no chaos in what I do. No needless death.”
Venus spoke up and she sounded even angrier than most of the times we talked, “Medicine like what you stole in Seattle that time was meant for sick people. Those deaths were needless. That was chaotic enough for their families. ”
“You heroes are nitpicky, aren’t you? No, I think you are just mad because you’ve been shrunk. I am sorry for that. I was aiming for Psycho Gecko, not you. You have my gratitude for bringing him to me. I am at your service.”
“You took more people, too. Are you at their service?”
“They were bad people too. I have his friend, Mix N’Max. He is even worse than Psycho Gecko in some ways. He creates addicts and enslaves people to his drugs. They both have killed heroes, remember? We don’t owe this scum anything. I owe you, though.”
I have to assume that he kept his word. No fighting broke out. Troubleshooter didn’t blow up the building with a flaming ass-cannon. Instead, Venus sounded louder and happier when she asked, “How do I look?”
“About right. Maybe even taller than you were before,” said a digitally-altered voice. Mechamoto Musashi. I doubt he liked me, but he had always been so quiet. I wondered, and still wonder, if anyone ever told him he didn’t have to live up to the stereotype of being a silent samurai.
The box shifted and I lost my footing. The bottom was still slick. “Here you go, one boxed Gecko,” said Forcelight. The box changed hands. That part wasn’t according to plan. The top of my container opened and a masked face peeked in at me.
“Hello Psycho Gecko. You are mine now.”
I gave him the finger. He laughed and closed the top again.
According to the plan they told me, they would take down Amplitude after finding out if he had Max. That he bragged about it was even better, but they were changing things up.
“Don’t forget this,” Leah said. She never did pick out a name. A pretty teen who had gained confidence and learned to fight back against bullies under my tutelage. I had taken a non-romantic liking to her, though I suspected her of taking a more romantic liking to me.
I was wrong on that point.
“What’s this?” Amplitude wondered.
“It’s a power dampener,” answered Forcelight sternly. “It’s hard to shut him down, but that will make him compliant if you feel the need to take him out of the box. Trust me, we’ve put a lot of work into that.”
The top of my cell opened again. There was mirth in the eye of Amplitude as he looked in, but he didn’t address me. “I think it will be awhile before I need to take him out, but thank you, heroes. I don’t believe he is going to trouble you for a long time. He will be interesting to study before I turn him over.”
Like I said, this dimension has treated me badly. Now the heroes and the ungrateful Leah have delivered me to Amplitude like the world’s most foul-mouthed fucking collectable. At least he’s close enough that I bounced a signal to my laptop and got it to send up an update.
There’s no one else to call in to help me out of here. As the heroes have been so kind enough to remind me, all I have is myself.
Too bad for Amplitude and too bad for the heroes. Other people would ask me to be merciful when I get out of here. On my own? I don’t feel like it.