Despite all my rage, I was still just a Gecko in a cage.
I don’t know if any of y’all out there have been in solitary confinement. I’ve been in solitary a few different times here and there. Mostly back there, on the Earth I came from. It works because my people are similar enough to humans in social respects.
The principle’s pretty simple: isolation as a form of punishment. Guards have used it for every little thing. Arguing, talking back, other such minor infractions. Hell, I was once in a women’s prison this time I used the nanites to really throw off my appearance. Not fun, either, as my regular armor was completely the wrong shape in parts. The attempted bikini armor look worked horribly too. The point, though, was that I’ve seen women get groped by one guard, then get thrown into confinement when they tried to tell another guard.
That time, I went too. A horny bastard with an untrimmed mustache tried to get off on the power trip of feeling up a deadly supervillain he had in custody. I gave him a good trim. When I was done, nothing stuck out too far from his body.
That place deserved me. I could tell. They cheered me when I got free and started massacring the guards. Who am I kidding? Most of the prisons people like me go would cheer that kind of stuff. Hell, most of those prisons would cheer somebody screwing the jello in the cafeteria. I’ve been lumped in with an odd bunch.
Then again, my neighbor had been an old lady who had been found unfit to stand trial and just tossed in that cell for a couple years. The way that sock was part of that big open sore on her foot. Ew. Full body shivers. Good news is, I heard they eventually dropped the charges before she ever got to trial and wound up letting her go. I sent her a delicious lasagna when I found out.
Humans have always been social animals, and when isolated, they have this tendency to get a little bit off their rockers, depending on how long they’re locked in a tiny room with no stimuli. Not like they can tell how long it’s been, anyway. Sure, I always had a handy atomic clock in my eyes, but for the rest of them the days run together with no sun or moon. It also doesn’t help that anyone thrown into such a room will have no access to their medication or medical help. None of the guards care if they’re tossing in someone with some psychiatric issues. In general, people who have stayed in solitary confinement have mentally deteriorated in a horrible way the longer they were in there. It doesn’t help that they keep the rooms filthy and don’t generally clear out the mice and bugs.
I’ve heard people deteriorate as they bang away at the walls and doors for hours because it was something different than being alone by themselves.
I learned to view it as another thing that a healthy dose of spite helped me deal with. Rooms like what I’ve been trapped in have caused a lot of suicides over the years. A lot of Vitamin D deficiency too, but mostly the suicide. In response, I took a selective view of reality. I decided that every time I was thrown into solitary, it was them suggesting I kill myself.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve had plenty of days when it felt like the whole world was against me. The past year and a half were particularly bad about that, as a matter of fact. I long ago decided on simple position about suicide: never give them the satisfaction. A lot of people wanted me dead and they figured the best way was to have me off myself.
Useful way of speaking. Sure, my filthy mouth has turned a lot of people off, but I like to emphasize a person’s lack of humanity. That’s one reason humans of either of the dimensions I’ve been to invented those terms. Dehumanizing people. That’s why some guys get called “fucker” and some women become “bitches.” Sometimes, kids become “random animal name.” Enough about kids. They’re annoying little fuckers.
Like this one kid at a Hooters I ate at. The mom with him kept berating the dad about why they were taking their two year old to such a sexualized place. Between the kid tossing stuff on the floor all the time and the mom spending her time chewing out the dad rather than seeing to the kid, it got on my nerves. Naturally, I sat on her face while I ate and explained to her that a two year old little fucker surrounded by busty women in skimpy clothing wouldn’t get horny.
He’d get thirsty, duh.
Ok, ok, there’s been a lot of rambling, but I haven’t been broken by this chamber of isolation. In fact, I had been planning out some modifications to my armor to try and bust out. Also, I just about perfected my own personal one-man version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street when whoever was watching me began to speak to me.
“Hello Psycho Gecko,” said a booming voice from everywhere and nowhere at once.
“Hello voice. You want to sing ‘A Little Priest’ with me? I’ll let you have the hammiest parts. Well, it’s not actually ham so much as a little priest, but you get the point.”
“That’s not what I do, Psycho Gecko.”
“Oh? What do you do then?”
“Psycho Gecko, I’m God.”
“God, eh? Finally came begging at my feet, it sounds like. Fair warning, I’m not gonna lay there and take it like that Mary woman did. Oh, and make sure to bring plenty of oil and chip clips.”
“That’s really not why I’m here, Psycho Gecko.”
“You’re not here to do very much, are you?”
“I work in mysterious ways.”
“I do too. I just call it ‘bullshitting.’ Who are you really and what do you want?”
“It was worth a try. My name is…actually, I shouldn’t tell you that. I’ve been ordered to open up communication with you.”
“Alright, bring her ass in here and don’t forget the oil and the chip clips. Let’s get this piggy squealin’!”
“Communication. Com-mu-ni-ca-tion. Talking. I was ordered to talk to you.”
“Zeusdammit, I was looking forward to messing with Miss Communication. Anyway, whatya want with talking to me? A gecko in the box not what you thought it would be like, just like she said?”
“She who-,” the voice said, then paused a moment. “Nevermind. I was advised to open communication with you and make you aware that help is not coming.”
“I bet it’s not laying in bed sweaty while smoking a cigarette either, is it? Seems like an oddly suspicious thing to tell me about. How can you be so sure, hmm?”
“Because we dropped the barrier around the city and released a public service announcement of sorts. Then we tracked them as they left the city. You’ll be happy to know they were somewhat reluctant to go.”
So they tracked Mix N’Max, Holly, Sam, and Moai out of the city, eh? I figured it might happen. Nothing like a few days in the hole to remind a person of their flaws. Sometimes I over season food. I sing on the toilet. Occasionally I dance naked and perform an animal sacrifice at funerals. It’s a big hit when I include the pyrotechnics.
It seemed like a good time to try and work out how they tracked us all, at least. “Rhyming, eh? Don’t make me have to go iambic on your ass. So, you say you’ve been tracking them. I call bullshit.”
“You can call whatever you want. You don’t know the first thing about sigils. You never even saw it.” Pride and stupid people: a winning combination. I would have noticed something on my armor and I think Sam would have mentioned strange tattoos showing up. Holly was all bent out of shape, though, and Moai was in their custody for a long while. Either one of them could have had some magic symbol on them somewhere at this point. Quickly, either sensing his mistake or being berated for it, the voice muttered a quick, “Gotta go. You stop playing with yourself!”
“Yeah, sure, whatever, don’t mind me. I’ve got a full schedule here. I’ll barely miss you.”
With that, I went back to my futile attempt to dig out with a shard of my armor. The walls, like the floor, were pure white. Whatever they were made of, I was making no headway. The whole place remained smooth and unblemished. Last time I was surrounded by that much white, I had accidentally crashed into a Tom Jones concert. It’s not an unusual story for anyone who knows me.
It was half a day later when I heard anything else, which was good. I was starting to get the feeling they weren’t concerned about my welfare. It startled me out of a nap, though, and that wasn’t so cool. Good thing about talking to voices from nowhere, I could just keep on laying there.
“Hello Gecko,” said a richer, more smooth voice. It didn’t boom like the last guy.
“Hello voice. Not sure if you can see, but I was kinda in the middle of a dream here. ”
“That’s the first thing you worry about? You don’t wonder about your friends abandoning you or why you’re still alive?”
“Nah, I think I know why they left. Don’t blame them. Not a whole lot I can do about if y’all try to kill me, at least not ahead of time. Feel free to lose more people trying it.”
“Such arrogance. No wonder you struck a nerve of our allies.” That final word dripped of sarcasm like a woman’s babymaker dripping of kid ketchup.
I yawned and squirmed around in my armor, trying to scratch an itch. “Should I be concerned, nameless man of mystery, or are you too busy trying to fuck around with me?”
“You may call me Samson, and I don’t want to ‘fuck around’ with you. I dare say you may be very useful to me.”
“Uh huh. Yeah. Mhm. Riiiight. To shreds, you say?”
“Please pay attention, psycho one. You still live only at the pleasure of Faustus. We have been trying to avoid this conflict our cousins at Hephaestus dragged us into.”
“You held onto my Moai.”
“We left him in one of our low security caches and and sent someone to help you find him.”
“Belle was yours, eh?
“No, those were her own issues. That’s why we insisted she do whatever necessary to lead you to the cache. The hunter’s sigil on your Moai was not our idea. Pivot from Hephaestus gave that order, and some of my men were vindictive enough after what you did to the Ziggurat. Now, you’re the lesser evil.”
“Hey, I resent that remark. I’m a great evil. I offer good pay, lots of sick days, and free dental,” I said with a shake of my fist at the ceiling.
“At this time, it would behoove you to shut up and let me talk. Your capture has exacerbated pre-existing tensions between our groups. Pivot’s team has not been making things easier, either. We never should have put that barrier up. It was too public a gesture. Now, we suspect they will turn on us. Or us on them, if they push us enough.”
“Great, my freedom depends on someone remembering. Or at least what you make it sound that way. It’s not like I can see all deez nuts in action. I can’t exactly trust your word like this, can I? You already tried to get a god in here to fuck with my head. ”
“That was Mikey. They, Pivot’s team, wanted him to provide information that would damage your psyche. He’s most certainly not a god.”
“Aha!” I pointed straight up. “Everyone knows that you’re supposed to say you are a god.”
“Mikey did his job well.”
“Pft. Mikey can coverse with me if he wants, but unless you’ve got either some proof or you’re definitely letting me go, you and I have nothing to talk about.”
I waited for some acknowledgement or a goodbye, but there was nothing but silence again. Then it was time to cut on the music in my helmet and slip out of the suit. I spent days running through things on my cranial computer, going over the plans to make sure it would work perfectly. I didn’t know if they can see in my cell, but I didn’t want them to get wind of what I was doing and whisk my armor out of here like a load of crap or food scraps. I don’t care what country it is, starving kids in Africa don’t need this armor. They need smaller armor that’ll better fit them.
I needed my armor. Me. Because if my calculations were correct, I ought to be able to rewrite the programming of the nanites with me, modify the wiring for the energy sheaths, and ultimately make a one-shot blaster powerful enough to bust a bunker. Barring that, it would turn me into paste.
To think, they called me mad. Mad! Mwahaha…buahahahahaha…MUAHAHAHAHA-HA!