Having a native on hand to show me where the local dives were proved most fortuitous, in that now I know where the dives are. Huntsman and I hid out in our civvies in one, once I stole him some civilian clothing. Not that it would have mattered anyway. We shared a drug den with six other people. I could have told them I was Santa Claus and they’d have believed me. However, they usually made it more difficult, not less, to determine if Huntsman’s invisible spiders were around. They tended to feel them all the time regardless of their physical presence.
I didn’t mind them being around so much, so long as Huntsman kept them off me. He tested that once, when we had lunch out at a restaurant. He was updating me about the situation: “Just to be safe, I’ve been checking homes too. There are no hidden superhero prisons under any showers in town, I can guarantee that for you.”
A spider plopped onto my shoulder while I chowed down on a buffalo chicken sandwich. I finished chewing and asked him, “You know, some days, I wonder about things. Like about plant. If they could think, they’d be amazed at the fact that we move and see and talk. They’d be horrified at the thought of us. We are cruel otherworldly creatures to them. We force them into certain shapes and breed them into forms that please us with shape or smell. We tear them limb from limb to consume them, and even pluck their young from the equivalent of the womb because those are tasty. Now imagine what they’d think about me punch-fucking your throat until you can breathe backward because your spider is touching me.”
I smiled at him, showing off the mildly spicy chicken stuck between a canine and an incisor. Then I grabbed a fork and stabbed through the spider, my shirt, and my skin, pinning it there as I began to bleed. Still smiling. I began to sing, “Spider dead, spider dead, smashed in its little head…”
His freaked-out reponse was simply, “Pizza.”
The translator needs more work with Australian English.
I spent a bit of time stealing cameras and cell phones to repurpose. I was serous about making tiny cameras for the invisible spiders. Huntsman wasn’t looking forward to another trip to prison, so he agreed to help me out in thanks.
I’ve got to say, I’m a bit curious what the prisons are like around here given that Australia started as a penile colony. There must be an incredible amount of dicking going on there. Or shivving. Or dick-shivving, which either involves shivving people with a dick, or shivving people on the dick. Either way, it’s not going to be a lot of fun for somebody.
Huntsman checked all his old prisons first thing, but he didn’t find out anything important. Just a bunch of funny stuff about his old, much larger former cell mates being harassed so much they dick-shivved each other to hide in the infirmary.
After that, he spread out with the search, looking for military bases and secret military bases. It didn’t take as long as you’d expect, since Australia is actually 40% spiders, which would be terrifying if the other 60% wasn’t vegemite and the top ten poisonous animals on earth.
Huntsman woke me up at the crack of noon to tell me he found it out back in the outback. Or he suspects that’s where my compatriots are being held. They flew the colors of the Special Reactionary Task Force, but “I can’t get inside the buildings. I can get them through the fence, under the barbed wire, past the guards, over the landmines, past the recoil-less rifle emplacements, and around the tire rings. But every time I try to tell them to squeeze in through cracks, they die and the camera goes out.”
I checked the footage from while I was out, which confirmed his story and gave me the coordinates. It also showed that the approach lacked high foliage or other cover while providing and that they have fucking cannons pointed everywhere outside their base. Big cannons, with powerful heat-seeking shells forged out of fuckmetonium. Or at least big enough to do a number on Moai and Carl if they tried to escape.
Let precluded the use of stealth to get them out of there. I initially planned to go in alone, kill people, use a bit of toilet humor, and waltz out of there. Now, it appears I’ll have to tango at least enough to occupy their attention. Invisible spiders couldn’t do that sufficiently. Neither could regular spiders. I needed more animals.
I knew just the guy to go to: Chris, over at the ranch. When I showed up, I found him in the middle of neutering a dingo with his own bare claws. I watched as he finished snipping before surprising him. “Glad to see someone’s on the ball around here,” I said.
He turned and dipped his claws in a bucket of water. “You’re late. I thought this was an express deal.”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, that. That deal’s got to go on pause. A few of my associates were deprived of their liberty by the Aussies and I need a small army to get them back. I was hoping one of your uglier critters may have bitten you?” I smiled, testing the waters. He didn’t like the idea of sending animals against people who could kill them, so he might be a bit testy about attacking the military. If he got too testy, he might try to get two testes. Snip snip.
He narrowed his eyes and slipped a cone over the dingo’s head, then hopped the fence. “Continue.”
“I got someone to check on the places they usually dump criminals around here. He’s been in and out a few times, so it seemed like a good way to find them. He can’t find a single trace of my guys, and they didn’t even have powers. Well, Moai might be considered powered just because he’s an animated statue. Might be because they were going after me specifically. I think I know which piece of donkey dung tipped y’all off, and then the military came down, but they’ve been tight-lipped ever since. They’re keeping most of y’all’s government out of the loop on this one.”
Chris’s claws clacked together. “The military? Was it the Second?”
“Second Commando. Special Powers Reactionary Task Force for the Development of Long Ass Names.”
“Ragh!” he yelled, spooking several of the animals near us. He threw his claws to the sky. Then he turned his gaze upon me again. “Why do they want your friends?”
This time I threw a hand to the sky. “Because I am the Great and Devious Psycho Gecko. Gecko the Geckarian, Dictator of Latveria, the One True King of Westeros, and Lord of the Dance. You may kiss my ring.” I held up my hand.
“You don’t have a ring,” he said, glancing down at it.
“You may buy me a ring,” I told him.
He raised a claw up in front of me and opened it so it formed a U shape. “Pizza that.” Damn translator. “I’ll help you fight the Second. They have it coming for what they did to the animals.”
I nodded. “Bored soldiers on shore leave.”
He shook his head. “Massacre. In the ’90s, they wanted a live-fire simulation for their helicopters, so they rounded up a bunch of kangaroos and taught them to attack with beach balls. I’ll help you get revenge for them, my roos and I. This time, they’ll get more than beach balls for their trouble.”
“Yeah, balls to the wall!” I gave him a high five, then picked up and threw the neutered dingo danglies at the car window to alert Huntsman. “Get out here! We’ve got to get these animals ready for war.” He got out, where I herded him to the ranch so we could begin our preparations. “Let’s get down to business to defeat their guns. We need to be the shit, not the runs.”
Looking over the kangaroos, most of whom showed pathetic promise at pugilism, I shook my head. “You’re the saddest troop I ever met, but you can bet before we’re through, I’ll make a man out of you!” I pointed right at one of the kangaroos.
Chris shook his head. “That one’s female.”
I moved on to the wombats. “Fuzzy as a Teddy, but evil within. Once you have metal claws, you are sure to win.” They looked at me and made a sound like a scraping noise. “You’re a tailless, round, pathetic lot, and you haven’t got a clue, what things I’m gonna attach to you.”
“What things?” Chris asked.
Moving on, I confronted the Tazmanian Devils. I grabbed one and lifted it up. “Beat a man! You must be shed blood like a coursing river, and dive into them like a great harpoon, with all the strength of a drunk footballer, mysterious as the backside of baboons!” I lifted it in my arms and spun around in a circle until it bit at my hand. I dropped it and it scampered off.
Completely ruining the beat, Huntsman squealed like a little girl. “I have so many of them here!” I turned and saw him covered in the fuzzy bastards. Just all over. I couldn’t even see how he was talking to me.
“Take it from someone addicted to human pain and suffering…you got a problem. You don’t keep them on when you touch yourself, do you?” I put my hands on my hips as I waited for an answer. After several awkward seconds, he still hadn’t answered. I raised my hands above my shoulder and wiggled my fingers. “Well then…ew. Now, where’s Chris gone?”
“Chris is my civilian name!” he called out from the direction of the house. I turned to see him step out of the door, zipping up his jumpsuit. Faded with time, the once-bright red jumpsuit now looked pale pink. It had light, flexible armor plates running down the sides and back. Maybe it was bulletproof, but it appeared to lack any sort of powered exoskeleton, so he had to carry around protection he could lift with his own strength. He let go of the oversized zipper and then took hold of a helmet he carried under his other arm and set it on his head. It had a backing that met and covered the back and sides of his collar, though it appeared brighter than the rest of the suit. “I retired years ago, but you may call me by my old handle. I am Crushtacean.” He snapped his claws for emphasis.
Then he raised them to his face as I enthusiastically declared. “Soon, our enemies shall roo this day!”