Alright, update time, folks. First off, I haven’t seen any more of The Saurus around. I always wanted to meet him, too. Unfortunately, that would have been kind of difficult in that last situation. Even I wouldn’t have been able to handle him, Veloic-raptor, and an armored Venus at the same time.
Venus has left me alone, however. I’m pretty sure they’ve got some cameras set up to watch for me leaving the gas station, but they must be wired and very well-disguised. Rather than focus on rooting them out, I trashed the TV in order to build a holographic disc. Have I mentioned those things before? If I have, it’s been awhile. Holo discs take more work to replace than my chickens, knives, or potato peeler.
The payoff came when I turned it on and it bathed me in a hologram of my armor. I programmed it to identify and disguise me unless I left. In that case, it would create the hologram and have it do various pre-programmed actions such as watching TV, eating sandwiches of variable size, dancing on a stripper pole, and frantically running to the bathroom.
The solution had its flaws. It also meant I wouldn’t spend hours searching for cameras and then be unsure if I got them all, only for Venus to replace them an unspecified amount of time later. Just thinking of that, I added a new action for the hologram to perform: all my joints snapping backwards, my body floating in the air, my head spinning around faster and faster. Then, since I wired the disc into the building’s power supply, it would shut the lights off. When they turned back on, my doppelganger would be leaving the bathroom door, hiking his pants back up.
Beware of bad chili, people.
Aside from that, Venus didn’t even go out and gloat publicly about anything. Safe to say our brief team-up ended after all that. I never even got to ask her if she screwed with my Dead Meat and Killbasa rockets aside from the payloads.
Speaking of questions, I realized the base had quieted down quite a bit by the time I finished the disc. I couldn’t find Tricia anywhere. When mentioned forming a search party to follow the toilet pipes and find her, Carl told me she left. Matty even had a note she left me explaining that while Tricia didn’t know what kind of story she could possibly put together out of all this, she didn’t think she needed to stick around any longer.
Which sucked. She didn’t exactly see me at my best. I took December easy there. Then again, she also got a much better perspective on the EMP.
I listened to the stories while working and they gave Venus the benefit of the doubt. I had a superweapon of some sort. The FBI and Venus tried to stop me. The more conspiratorial-minded news sources suspected the pulse may have been caused by Venus as an attempt to stop me. People knew she used gadgets to generate electromagnetic pulses to fight me. Maybe she tried to use a larger version to put me down once and for all?
The revelation that I tricked Venus onto that roof gave weight to that idea.
In unrelated news, Captain Lightning went missing in Ohio, a supervillain using moon dust attacked and robbed Cape Canaveral, and the mayor of Toronto is sleeping off a three-day crack binge/high speed donkey chase. Again. It was fun the first four times, but it’s gotten stale by now. There’s only so long that the same old donkey show will entertain people.
I never attempted to understand Canadian politics, but apparently they couldn’t touch me if I got elected up there. I’ll put that one on the list as a potential way to avoid jail time.
The moon dust story was more interesting because that stuff is really rare. The amounts that were used to incapacitate and kill the staff, they suspect someone has easy access to the moon. That sounds fun, readers. I’ve always liked outer space so long as my presence there didn’t come from a particularly powerful punch. I’ve been before. It involved aliens. Ah, the fun we had with Uranus. We left it a mess, but that doesn’t matter. It’s not like anyone regularly goes poking around there. And no life can survive the atmosphere, or at least no life like us. The gases are all wrong.
But in that instance, I didn’t get to float around in space itself. It’s important to have dreams, after all. Some people want to look down on a planet they control. Others want to blow it up. Me, I just want to float above it, taking it all in, unzip my pants.
And piss on it.
Think about it this way, I’d be trying to put out fires on a global scale.
Speaking of fires, fellow villains brought one to my attention to handle through my dark web site. I meant that literally and metaphorically. One of Empyreal City’s caped crusaders followed a villain back to his lair. And by lair, I mean his room in a tenement. A fire-trap tenement. Hey, as much as heroes say it doesn’t pay to fight crime, the lower level guys can’t necessarily rake in the millions that I can get away with.
Making it worse, a few other villains stayed there so they could all cover the rent. And the same guy who was followed also had a final exam the next day.
That’s probably why the guy ran around stealing. Have y’all seen the rates colleges charge these days? It’s like that webcomic, Evil Inc., says all the time: you can do more evil inside the law than you can outside the law. Or something like that. I need to catch up on that sometime. It wasn’t bad, though the part where a hero and a villain were married in a stable relationship was kinda out there.
Anyways, I had to go meet with the roommates on account of the victim, Urban Croc, getting nabbed when he had to go to the hospital for smoke inhalation. It provided an excellent opportunity to test out my methods of evading Venus.
And if it turns out I failed, I’m also eager to take her on in that armor, as long as she doesn’t have a pair of dinosaurs backing her up. I would like to emphasize not wanting to fight the dinosaurs. Maybe I could handle The Saurus, but the speedster worried me more.
Seeing as I didn’t have many people coming and going, that I needed to find a good way out without getting taken out like the trash by dinosaurs. So I had an idea.
Cantaloupes. No, cantaloupes? This is no time for cantaloupes. This is time for CAN elopes.
I had one idea that worked well enough, though. Carl took me out with the trash. Well, dragged me out. “Carl, you sure you don’t want me to replace those arms with something metal? Or at least the muscles? I can go in, cut out the muscles, and attach something better in their place. Of course, the muscles attach to bone, so they could break them. Carl, how do you feel about prosthetic bones?”
“I don’t know what you heard, boss, but I don’t have any problem with my bones.” the bag bounced over a round depression in the sidewalk. A manhole. Huh. Maybe Tricia had the right imagined idea: the sewers.
“This isn’t about that bone. But while we’re at it, how about ligaments. I could give you ligaments so strong, you could arm wrestle a lumberjack to death.”
“I’m just Carl, leaving trash out by the curb and not talking to it. Talking to garbage would be suspicious.” He had a point. He also could have taken up the workout regimen of the trash collectors. They had no problem tossing me into the back of the truck to be compressed with lots of other gooey gunky globs of garbage.
Which reminded me, I needed to get out of there before they smushed me like a bug.
With my escape accomplished, I figured I’d meet with the villains in need of my services. Have brunch. Maybe kill them; it depended on how I felt.
So we all met at a restaurant. I won’t say which restaurant, but it had a gift store up front, served breakfast all day, and there were more white people than a barrel of crackers. While I got a few looks from people, that occurred because of the smell rather than the my appearance, which looked like a pale kid with greasy black hair.
A hostess asked how many in my party, but I pushed her away by her face because I’m edgy and awesome. That’s edgy and awesome, right? If not, at least I’m also an asshole.
I found a pair of youths seated at one of the tables. One of them practiced pulling small object out as if palming them, though he stared intently at a nearby woman. I saw her put her phone away in there. He then pulled the exact same phone out of thin air. The other couldn’t hide himself so well. He didn’t have a mouth. Looked like a normal blonde guy, and probably would have been attractive, but only smooth skin existed where a slit and lips would normally be.
“Gentlemen,” I said to them as I approached. “I believe you’re waiting for me?”
The mouthless guy looked up at me with eyes lacking any color but the black pupil in the middle. A crackly, disembodied voice in my ear asked, “You?”
“You don’t look like shit,” said the other. He stared at my pants pocket and tried to pull his little trick. He came up empty-handed and frowned.
“As the resident angel of death, I took a form I thought you would be comfortable with. Were you expecting something a little more grim?” I replaced my black hoodie with a hooded robe instead, then sat across from them. “Or maybe something with a bit more fanservice?” I reappeared to them as a very pretty, if somewhat adult, model who I absolutely do not spend an inordinate amount of time looking up naked photos of.
I found myself surrounded by whispering voices speaking over each other so that I couldn’t tell what they said, while both fellows tried to look down my shirt. It could have been creepy. I turned toward the guy with the white eyes. “Are you going to sit here whispering sweet nothings in my ears, or can we order up a course of revenge? Tell me, kiddos…who wronged you?”
“Hey…” the pickpocket started. “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” Apparently I’m not the only one to look at that stuff. I smiled. Wide. And the edge of the hologram’s mouth began to break apart like a lava flow cracking apart. It turned back to normal quickly enough.
Unnerved, the pickpocket leaned back. “It’s this guy. It wasn’t his fault completely, though, see. The place was messy, and we’d been drinking. Smoking. But nothing woulda happened if she…I mean, it wasn’t a guy, it was a girl. Have you ever heard of the Pink Pixie?” Pickpocket buried his reddening face in his hands as he asked that.
I did a quick search on the name. “One of the high school-age heroes floating around. She’s strong and she can fly.”
The disembodied voice responded, “Our roomie might not make it, and then he’ll be in jail. We argued with him two days before that because he wanted to retire and live a normal life. Do you know how hard it is for a paroled supervillain to get a normal job? I’ve like never heard of it happening. God, what’s that stink?”
“That is the smell of victory, gentlemen. Victory, and half-eaten hot wings. Bring on the hot sauce; it’s time to munch on some pink pixie next.” After a moment of looking between the two, I added, “Let’s just pretend that didn’t sound like what it sounded like, gentlemen. She burnt your friend. Now, I’ll give her a burn that will never cease.”
“You’re going to give her gonorrhea?” asked the pickpocket.
“Gonorrhea? Oh, she’ll be a goner alright.” I nodded. The malevolent laugh I released after that did little but prompt a waitress to come over and take our order.
“Hey there, are you all ready to order?” she asked others. Then she glanced at me. “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before? It’s on the tip of my tongue.”
You bet it is, dirty girl. You bet it is.