“Any last requests, Psycho Gecko?” asked the voice of an overseer from above. Slagathor, the woman.
“You could at least pretend y’all were going to try and keep me alive through all this, couldn’t you?” I asked. I made the deal with them, after all. Instead of cutting me open indiscriminately, they would discriminate on the side of keeping me alive. Also, Venus wasn’t allowed anywhere near the Rubik’s Cube facility. I had it all written out in a contract. Admittedly, I’m missing my eyes. It’s possible they slipped a few extra clauses in there.
It’s also possible they had me sign a nude self-portrait, but that’d be dishonest. And that’s no claim to make about the people who locked me up, tried to drug me, and want to kill me. That’d be like someone turning around and saying I would use the surgery to escape.
“How about ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ by Iron Maiden?” I asked of Slagathor. Good music to kill to, and that made the only time I’ve ever heard that requested. The serious lack of Iron Maiden on the radio is just one reason why I take issue with it.
I didn’t hear a reply of any sort until just after my skin got all tingly. The bells and opening riffs kicked in as I dropped. They had great timing. A wall opened up and people began to manhandle me, all set to “I’m waiting in my cold cell when the bell beings to chime, reflecting on my past life, and it does’t have much time.”
They loaded me up on a gurney and rolled me out of there. I couldn’t hear much on the way to our destination over the music and the electric razor they used to shave the top of my head. They made it nice and round, like a ball. That’s right, I was balled. When I got out of there, I vowed to make the curtains match the drapes somehow.
Then again, pubic hair topiary sat low on my list of priorities once I attained freedom. The first thing is murder. Second is murder. Third is murder. These are specific murders, by the way. I have victims in mind. But the list takes awhile before it gets off murder. There’s some arson and theft too, maybe a bit of stampeding cattle through the Vatican to add some kinkiness.
The trip didn’t last long. Soon, they wheeled me into a room and the music quieted a great deal. I overheard some interesting things, however.
Like a man’s voice when it spoke about the layout. “In order to minimize time between the parts being inside him and being in our custody, they shifted my lab so that it’s down the hall. Nothing suggests he booby traps his own body parts, but we’d rather be safe than sorry. Shouldn’t you restrain him?”
A woman with a heavy Midwest accent answered him. “The parasites will keep him down long enough to do what we need to do. He’s almost a normal human outside the armor and away from the nanomachines.” I normally haven’t heard people from the Midwest talking about such technical stuff. Usually it’s enough to hear them pronounce “bag” like “bage”.
I also got a picture of the room. One of the nurses entered with a phone that had its wireless left open and unsecured. I saw for the first time in almost a month. I was blind, but then I could see! And they had such sights to show me.
Most people wouldn’t react so positively to the myriad scalpels and other such medical knives on the table next to me. I get that. I understand, but screw those guys. Like a junkie glimpsing a needle, I needed to grab a hold of one of those sharp pieces of metal and jam it into someone.
When the nurse turned to scrub her hands and put some gloves on, I caught a glimpse of a clear portion of the wall on one side. There stood a suited man and a woman. Darn voyeurs. Don’t they know that sometimes a man has trouble performing under close scrutiny?
The fun and games ended abruptly when the doctor decided to get down to business. My last request cut off in the middle of rocking out. I wouldn’t have been able to hear it very well over the sound of the electric bonesaw starting up. I missed whatever quip he made before he brought it close.
My hand shot up and grabbed it before he could give me the closest haircut ever. Though the music stopped, the saw ripping through the belly of unfortunate medical personnel provided a lovely tune for me all the same. I tried to say as much, but I couldn’t get my mouth to move. Even the cyberized vocal cords didn’t react to my commands.
My arms and legs certainly did, though. That unfortunate fact brought many screams out at once to the assembled assholes who sought to separate parts of my body from each other. How cruel of these people. Don’t they know that my organs have no body to depend on but me?
The fellow I disemboweled found that out himself when I reached in, pulled out something lumpy, and threw it in the face of someone else. Most of the group didn’t concern themselves with fighting back. I swiped at one of them who had turned away to try and escape through the door with the other five or so. I didn’t get a good look at things as the camera tried to escape in that crowd too.
The music died along with the surgical team.
I caught a break around the time I caught one of the nurses. The camera pulled back as well. I reached around, inadvertently giving her a grope, then pulled it out of her pocket. Then I pulled her close to serve as a hostage. Didn’t want them to lock down everything before I got out of there.
I swept the phone over toward the rest of the room. Ah, something a little less plugged-in to serve as a weapon. I tugged my new friend over toward one of those shiny little rolling tables and dropped the bonesaw. I picked up a pair of equally-shiny scalpels and held them up. I felt like laughing and saying “At last, my arm is complete!” but the paralytic parasites left my mouth incapacitated.
That could be a problem. I had a way to walk around and stab things, but I meant to use my mouth to try and get around the nausea tone they play. I had some time before they used that on me. It wouldn’t do if they played that sound and caused their precious scientists and researchers to to trip and fall within stabbing distance.
In the meantime, I had a nurse screaming in my ear. I held up a finger to her lips and turned the screen of her phone toward her. Having sunk my metaphorical powered tendrils into it, I brought up the abortive text message, “Thank you for the phone, but quiet if you want to live.”
One good thing about not having eyes in my head, I didn’t need to expose my brain to peek out the door. The crowd of doctors had left, but a pair of men with guns took their place. The outfits changed but the overall goal, opening me up and removing my brains, remained the same. Despite the presence of body armor, their throats were no more immune to a good scalpel than the doctors’.
I just had to stab more quickly, seeing as I can screw up a throw when I don’t see out of a single eye I hold out on one arm. The problem with needing to move quickly is that they had guns. While some would assert that guns don’t kill people, I didn’t intend to stay in front of the barrels long enough to confirm or deny the assertion.
My time in captivity left me a little rusty. Some would have spent their time in such a cell by practicing and doing katas. Where I come from, telegraphs are a little old fashioned. That’s why, even though I was the blind man, they never saw it coming when I jumped at them feet first. I held scalpels between my toes. Then I held them between their throats.
I made sure they were good and dead before depriving them of their submachine guns. They even had full-on concussion grenades in place of any flash bangs. Wow, good thing these guys prepared for serious trouble, right?
Now, the nurse didn’t want to come with me, and the squad of armed guards that filed out a room made that a wise decision. I went back and grabbed the nurse anyway. I held her in front of me in something resembling a hug with a gun in one hand and a phone in the other.
It created a nasty standoff until I remembered that tone of theirs. The one that knocked me down. I couldn’t pull that off because of the way my mouth, vocal cords, and cybernetics all tied together. “Put down your weapons and let her go!” yelled one of the guards, no doubt expecting my famous lack of compliance. I loaded up a simple program into the phone and slid it and the gun from my other hand along the floor toward them. When I dropped to the ground, I pulled the nurse on top of me to cushion my head.
Her flesh was more than welcome when that piercing sound issued forth from the phone and everyone else around me started stumbling and dropping like drunken flies.
When it shut off abruptly, the first person to his feet was yours truly. Good thing I still had the other gun I took off the first pair of guards. Yeah, I dislike guns. Doesn’t mean I ever took a vow to stop using them, especially when escaping prison.
After grabbing the phone and ventilating the guards, I hauled my hostage up off the floor and dragged her along. I held up the phone for her to read, “Lab?”
She pointed to the door at the end of the hallway a bit shakily. I helped support her as we headed toward it, wondering if they’d shift that thing around. Maybe they couldn’t at this point. Maybe I’d open that door and find the Rubik’s Cube Lion and Tentacle Monster Petting Zoo.
Who would even have that petting zoo? That’s a horrible idea. I should have marched right into the overseers’ office and given them a piece of my mind about that. Then again, they wanted a piece of my mind.
The door turned out to be a lab where techs ran around trying to pack up stuff. As soon as I walked in, I received a welcome signal: my eye. It looked out at me from on top of a box being carried by a guy trying to carry it out while breathing heavily. I gave him a few extra holes to breathe through and picked up the eye from where it now rolled on the floor. I wiped it off on the nurse’s scrubs, then popped it right back into my right eye hole.
Then I raised the gun toward an asshole trying to box up an incomplete power core. I’d talked them through that thing so far until I got too sick and they found the parts hidden in me. Originally, I wanted them to put it together in such a way that it would activate on its own after a short delay. Ah well. I let go of the nurse then and tossed her back the phone, then gave a little salute.
She ran out of the room along with the evacuating researchers. From the ceiling, I heard Slagathor say, “That wasn’t wise of you, Gecko. We don’t need to keep you alive.”
I gave the ceiling the finger, then tried to talk. No go yet. With that not working, I set about getting my bomb figured out. Never trust a power source you can’t turn into a bomb with a little creative rewiring. All the while, the overseers tried to taunt me.
“They’re going to kill you for this,” said Ass, the slower of the male overseers. You can tell he’s slow by suggesting they’d kill me for escaping in the middle of their attempt ot kill me.
“Why can’t we hit him with the sonics again?” asked Dick. Good question. Whoever was in charge of it must have thought so, too, because they went and played them for me. I tried in vain to counter it with a frequency from my own voice, but it still didn’t work. Didn’t stop me from fumbling my way through the final phases of the process, nor from finally recovering from the ability to feel and move.
I didn’t realize how sore my adventures left me until I regained the ability to feel pain.
They stopped the most annoying sound in the world just before another bunch of walking corpses entered the room in need of some serious killing.
“Hey, overseers?” I asked as I stood up, a half dozen guns shoved almost up my ass.
“I don’t know what you want, Gecko, but I can tell you what you’re about to get,” said Slagathor.
I opened my mouth wide and unleashed a high-pitched tone that seemed to stab into the ears. The same one they loved to use on me. The guards weren’t expecting it. I was. They also didn’t expect when I jumped onto the group and knocked the whole bunch to the ground. I rolled off with a grenade missing.
That’s alright. They fell on it for me. Saved my life, too. I’d be eternally grateful to those guys, if they weren’t dead. I just brushed myself off afterward. “Hey, overseers, y’all might want to answer a few questions for me before this toy I put together blows everyone up. Yes, you too. This little sucker I put together is like the Tsar Bomba of explosives, more so than Tsar Bomba itself. I’m not safe so long as I’m here, but neither are you.”
“You wouldn’t blow yourself up,” said Dick.
I checked around for a computer that might control where this room went. If I couldn’t convince them to let me go, I needed a way to get myself out.
“Ever looked up my history with Venus? First time I fought her, she had my arm in a lock. I tore it off to get away from her. My capacity for self-harm is matched only by my survival instinct. When the two are in opposition, you get some interesting events, to put it mildly. You really don’t want to be in a scenario when both are pointing to the same actions. We’re in that situation now. Now, I know how damn thick this place is. It can block a signal a hell of a lot easier than it can block this blast.”
“Only as thick as your head if you think you’re getting away,” said Slagathor.
“I may not get away, but you don’t have to be the one to catch me. You can be the person who saves your giant fancy prison. All you have to do is let me get too far away to activate the bomb. I don’t know if you think the Cube runs deep enough for that, but you could take your chances. Or you could bet on a sure thing: letting me get to the surface.”
Slagathor snorted before answering, “You won’t make it ten feet before the forces topside bring you down. Whatever you are, you aren’t Superman.”
I laughed. It felt good to laugh now that my various withdrawal symptoms had fled like a bear from a beastiality convention. “On a bad day, I’d settle for being The Rainbow Raider. I’m not asking you to plan my escape for me. I’m just saying you might want to keep from exploding today. I think we’re both in agreement on this, right? I mean, it might look bad to let me see the sun for the first time in about a month, but it’ll look worse if this place goes bye bye. Not that you’ll be around to catch the flak from it, right?”
I didn’t even feel the place move. Instead, the roof retracted, showing me the sky. The night sky. I guess I’d forgotten about Daylight Savings Time. My overseers even went so far as to raise up a staircase. I shot the walls a one-finger salute this time. “Might want to dump this room near the bottom just in case I can reach the trigger from up top.”
They were right about the forces up top. I saw armored personnel carriers going to and fro. Some were bringing all sorts of amateur, gun-toting surgeons to open me up. Others, if I had to guess, contained evacuees in some form or another. Maybe the people who meant to watch my head get sliced and diced.
Hell, they even rolled out a tank to greet me. Just in case I thought of fucking for cover, the ground closed up behind me, cutting off any retreat into the prison.
I don’t know how many guns they had on me. As a certain joke I keep referencing said, I didn’t know how many of them it would have taken to kick my ass, but I knew how many they were going to use. I also knew that my bomb was on a timer, not a remote detonator.
The good thing about being on the surface, even though things got hot, there was at least enough of a buffer to send me up, up, and away instead of the nasty fate that befall anyone inside the Rubik’s Cube. The explosion threw everyone on the surface into the air as it blasted apart the complex.
And, for a brief time in my grand escape, I could at least fly like Superman. Or General Zod, given my inclinations.
The landing, though…I took that more like Lois Lane. Complete with the vocal pitch.