“You think you got what it takes to bring me down? Let me tell you somethin’, brother, I’m the champ for a reason: I am the cream of the crop!” I yelled in the middle of the intersection, pointing to a very confused woman in a banana yellow car. It got even more confusing when I ran for the car and jumped up to dropkick it in the grill. Scared, the woman shifted into reverse and backed into the truck behind her with a crunch.
I stood up and threw my hands up. “Yes! Once again, fear the mighty of dropkick of Cat of the Night!” I posed, flexing.
The angry horns were nearly overwhelming as the onlookers taunted me, but refused to try and take the intersection from me. I was king of this hill.
Then I heard a ringing in my ear. The horns didn’t mess with my hearing; it was my ring tone. I picked up. “Hello?”
“Boss, do you have to play that boom boom song whenever someone calls you? I’m still sick of it.”
“I use it to assert my dominance over other people’s ear holes. What’s up?”
“The President just sent someone up with a bottle of rum to congratulate you. They finished doing whatever they did for you in the lab.” I heard a woman’s voice, probably Penny, say something in the background. “Penny wants to know if we’re letting her go yet.”
I hung up on him, more to be rude to Penny, and decided to go see about getting my core back. But first, I needed a ride. A nearby motorcyclist sped through the intersection. How thoughtful. I jumped up and wrapped his neck in a leg scissors, swinging around his body with my arms out. Whee! At the end of the rotation, I threw him off and grabbed the handlebars, settling my ass in the seat and taking the through a construction site, a llama farm, a playground, and a cabaret in order to get to the power plant. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, even if that means you make a burlesque dancer forget her lines.
At the lab, they practically threw the doors open for me. Probably because I was still on the bike. I let go and hopped off next to the president as the speeding machine tipped over and skidded along the floor to knock down a gaggle of Tropican grad students. The President gave me a polite golf clap for me efforts, then pulled his cigar out of he looked me up and down. “You have been wrestling with cars again.”
“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do,” I said, posing.
“A man does not have to do it in a lime green thong and mask.” He puffed away at his cigar and turned away, avoiding any more glances down there. “The pink feather boa is new.”
I shrugged and wrapped it around my neck again. “I cut through the cabaret.” Switching to English, I then added. “I guess you could say I gave them the whole thong and dance.”
He groaned. “May God have mercy on your soul when he smites your tongue,” he said.
I snorted. “Oh yeah? Him and what army?”
The President looked upward and crossed himself, then edged away from me.
I ignored him and walked over where the various researchers and techs huddled around a pair of boxes. Just ordinary metal boxes. But not just any boxes! Boxes I needed to get to. I picked up the closest lab technician and slammed him down on my knee. “Out of the way, folks, nothing to see here.” I tossed another one off to the side. When they cleared out enough, I saw that the containers held several pieces of metal in different shapes. I’d specified a certain pattern, but they had to be in separate pieces with certain ones separated.
“I thought something would glow.” The Pres stepped up beside me.
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah right. Then anyone could tell I’m sneaking up on them, especially in the dark. If you take that away from me, I won’t ever have a shot at having kids.”
I spent the next day buried in my work. I wouldn’t normally care about Carl or Moai being around, but we still have Penny with us. I find comfort in her squeaky, fear-laden voice as it wonders what new depravities I’m going to sink to next. I surprised her with plans for a kitten cannon, baffled her by staring blankly at wall for an hour, and distracted her with a trip to the island’s amusement park.
Most captives don’t get treated that well, but then this whole business with the Technolutionary suggested she could be even more useful to me. I just didn’t want her seeing what I did to make my little power core.
Most pieces I requested were extraneous. Even with the other stuff I needed to do in order to create something functional, I didn’t want to leave anyone with an exact blueprint on this technology.
It reminded me of Technolutionary, Forcelight, and Venus. Forcelight’s company figured out how to make more of my nanites for their own benefit. They also put together an inferior set of power armor for Venus. Now the Technolutionary wants to save the world with cybernetics, most likely whether the world wants saving or not. Unless he’s also some sort of super biologist, I don’t think there’s a whole lot he can accomplish by poking around inside me, but I’m still at least emotionally opposed to being vivisected.
It would hurt.
But I’m sensing a pattern, here. This world is taking on traces of me. That’d be scary enough for most people, but this headlong rush is potentially dangerous. I bet that sounds hypocritical coming from me, but there’s a difference between isolated superbeings having access to these technologies and the mainstream marketing of such. The difference is the global impact. I believe people use the term “watershed moment” for what seems to be approaching. I don’t know what a watershed is or why people use them for momentous occasions, but I think this Earth is closing in on a disaster with the potential to turn extinction-level. And that’d be a stinker. That’d be an ex-stinker.
While y’all were busy seeing what I did there, nobody saw what I did in the safety of my own room. Even if the President had cameras in there, I made a pillow fort. Laugh all you want, but it worked, didn’t it? Yeah, I guess the joke’s on any spies right now. “I’m sorry, sir. Our cameras were unable to penetrate Fort Fluffenstuff. The cameras, the drones, the satellites, nothing could look through it. This shouldn’t have happened! Our equipment is foolproof!”
Of course, the problem with claiming anything is foolproof is that fools are often much more creative than whatever is supposed to stop them.
At last, it was ready. The moment of truth. That’s not to say it was a moment to tell the truth. This was a moment for me to find a secluded spot with a few syringes of nanites and sharp knife. As a handy way to power all my electronic parts as well as my armor, this particular power core is near and dear to my heart. Which is about where I put it. Luckily, it’s not the sort to generate enough heat to fry me from the inside out.
Still, holding that knife like that, I just had to stop and think. A year ago, I wouldn’t have mentioned this to y’all, but the cat’s out of the bag. The veil has been lifted. Y’all know the truth about me. With that comes a certain degree of… not truth. More like “fuck it all”. I mean, what are y’all going to do at this point, huh?
So I had the knife in my hand near slightly discolored patch on my chest from the last time I was opened up, when a part of me wondered if I should maybe accidentally do this without the syringes nearby. Completely accidentally on purpose. The thought flickered through my mind at first, like many thoughts do, but then another one floated to the surface that made me stop and think on this more seriously. “Do you have worth?”
Good question. I mean, it was pretty clear that one or two worlds would be better off without me. Moai doesn’t seem to have any goals of his own. Carl’s not even useful to me most of the time. He saved my ass recently, but that’s a bad thing for lots of people. Even my value as a source of scientific information has been greatly diminished by the proliferation of technology that I use.
That’s not even getting into the part where I constantly lash out because of my complete inability to properly fit into it. To be fair, that’s partially because it’s flawed and partially because I’ve been trained in the art of assholery for a long time. And that led, quite naturally, to a toilet drain spiral of delusion as I distract myself from both murderous impulses and these same thoughts with mindless debauchery like car wrestling.
I know I said some time back that a person shouldn’t give their enemies the satisfaction of seeing said person end his or her self, but I neglected to explain what to do if you are your own worst enemy. Sometimes, you tally up the score and find it a bit lopsided. I honestly don’t see a lot of good points. I can remember a few exciting times when I thought I had a real handle on the world. Believe it or not, I think there are times I was really happy. But what could anyone say now makes them proud of me?
Except that pretty much anyone I’ve ever known wouldn’t want to spend time with me unless I paid them. Probably because most of them have goals and ideals, and here I am fixated on my next diversion. And even if that could hurt me, I’ve become adept at hiding behind a smile. No one would ever know. Who thinks to look any deeper? Who cares?
Am I just going to wake up someday and find out I’m some homeless crazy who fled into an imaginary world of superheroes and villains to escape a life I couldn’t handle? Or is that what I already am?
Wait, wait. Obviously, I must be kidding about this, about all this. Who looks up Psycho Gecko and counts on seeing a villain weighing his self loathing, huh? This would be a horrible thing to read. Not funny in the least. So obviously that was all a joke. A big, bad joke. Ha ha.
Now that that the unfunny joke is out of the way, there was something very important I needed to get off my chest. Skin. It was time to take the plunge. Not a bad follow-up joke, eh? It was a real gut buster as I slid the blade into the flesh below my rib cage. I didn’t want to waste time going through ribs. Under the ribs and then up past them has been a great spot to aim for so many people throughout the years.
And the rib bone’s connected to the lung bone. The lung bone’s connected to the spinal bone. The spinal bone’s a little too far, let’s back up to the heart bone. And the wheels on the bus go squish, squish, squish. And Bingo was his name-o.
I stopped laughing in the middle of all that. Not easy to make air noises with your face hole while your chest cavity is opened. Or when your chest cavity gets closed by reconstructive nanites but you’ve been left in an incredible amount of pain. I closed my eyes and just tried to sleep off the mending process. Just shut down the conscious mind and wake up when the pain left town.
Then, I felt the nerves light up when they made the connection. Power began to flow through my body. It wasn’t much at first, as the core had to build up to what amounted to a table supply, but I felt different all the same. Like being hooked up to an intravenous energy drink drip again after an absence away from that jiggle juice.
And I began thinking back over another fleeting thought of my wandering mind when it wanted to sleep off the pain.
This world tour’s not over yet. Feel free to come along with me if you don’t mind the occasional glimpse into my mind. And just because my life’s a joke doesn’t mean we can’t laugh.