Another day, and yet another dollar spent. Of all things, Technolutionary insisted that my genome is too complex to fully map on his own. And then genetically graft to homo sapiens on his own. He claimed the only way he could get things done in time was the brute force method: wave after wave of grad students.
What an idiot. “How the hell do you propose to get grad students, you crazy, research-hungry bastard? They work for the only currency we can’t provide: college credit!”
“Listen to me, this is brilliant! Brilliant, I say! The fools will work for free. All we have to do is call it…an internship.”
That magnificent bastard. I gotta give him credit. It’s brilliant. He sent over the entire business proposal. All we had to do was muscle in on local colleges. I don’t understand why we weren’t getting in on this scam before now. Shit, I should start handing out student loans next and really put the hurt on people.
But enough about destroying the hopes and dreams of human beings. I intended to tell y’all about hunting and caging human beings instead. Or at least, superhuman beings.
Ah, hunting sentient beings. It’s an interesting pastime. Some people will even pay to take part in that, so long as it’s not a fair fight. Then again, the same could be said of people fighting regular game. I have yet to see a hunter go after a deer bare-handed. Which reminds me, at some point I should find a way to give deer a fighting chance. Like knifehooves, or perhaps a biological rocket system located in the anus. An internal constipation engine, of sorts.
That’s a gag for another day, though. Wildflower’s the joke of the day today.
It’s been a bit complicated by the lack of knowledge about her powers. Allow me to demonstrate what went wrong.
The first attempt to capture her was pretty straightforward. She perched on my balcony again, so I politely shooed her away with a fire hose, further emphasizing the chilly October day we found ourselves experiencing. In order to justify my use of firefighting equipment, I followed it with a Molotov cocktail. Yeah, that’s the correct order.
It caught her off guard because, as far as she knew, I’d just been carving a Jack O’Lantern, showing off my artistic ability to screw up knifing a pumpkin, when I suddenly pulled a hose on the scantily-clad heroine. Knowing the importance of keeping my hose in line, I left it by the bar and ran out onto the terrace to confirm Wildflower’s fall from grace.
I looked down, expecting to see her either splatted on the road in some degree of distress, or caught in a net that my guys were supposed to string up between Double Cross HQ and the building across the street. It was there to catch her, both by arresting her fall and putting her in captivity.
She slashed through the net. Unless my guys disregarded my very specific orders to buy the good stuff, that should have been kinda tough. But no, she slashed through a portion and used it to swing over to the other building, then dug her claws into the glass and concrete over there. Guess that answers the net question. For good measure, she then jumped out over the distance, caught the Molotov before it hit the ground, and was caught in turn by one of the sidewalk trees that grew and stretched in her direction.
We can safely add sharp claws and plant control to the list of powers. Super strength and agility, too. I sighed, walked back to the bar area, grabbed the pumpkin, and threw that at her too. Better than keeping it around my penthouse. I also send out an email to the entire office that plants, alive or dead, are no longer allowed in the building or any other building we own. Just like the company health plan, though, we were willing to pay out for rubber.
Later that evening, she stopped by during the office party. I looked out by the window to see her poking her head down from above, watching us. Now, the rest of us were all just having some punch and pie to celebrate the end of another successful work week of fleecing people. We actually made some money. Not enough to offset the massive startup costs of creating a corporation from scratch, but we’ll get there. We’ll get there. Like I said, just need to start selling to high rollers and maybe rob a high-value target.
I threw the party for two reasons. The first was morale. I think a lot of the anonymous drones we’d hired got the general sense that this whole effort was slapped together and not at all how these things went. I’d actually mentioned that at the very beginning in a few brief remarks. “I know we aren’t the usual company. We haven’t necessarily worked in this environment before, so there’s a lot of useful stuff we don’t know. Useful stuff that every company like this knows, even the dead ones. But I bet we all know a hell of a lot that those other companies don’t, especially the dead ones. So don’t think of it was a weakness, that we don’t know the established way to do things. Think of it as freedom. We can learn to do it our own way, and with our own special flare, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m sure you’re all eager to sample some pie!”
And, just as food and drink served as a way to make a community happier and bring it together, such displays of revelry were also accepted as decent times to temporarily bury the hatchet. And the thing about burying the hatchet is, you always want to be the one to do it. That way, you can memorize the location and come back later, when the other guy is sleeping, to dig it up. Now, I find that a hatchet is best for soft tissue damage, somewhat like a knife, except that it requires a swing instead of a thrust or slice. That means you need more room. And while the stomach area is your best bet for stabbing someone, a hatchet can stand a little bit of metal-on-bone action.
Here I am talking about how hatchet someone instead of getting on with things. I had just enjoyed a nice slice of pie and extricated myself from a trio of former credit card identity thieves when I saw Wildflower looking in on the party. I waved and smiled, then motioned for her to come in. She narrowed her eyes and stuck her tongue out at me. I held up a fork in one hand and a plate of apple pie in the other. She crawled down the window, providing an interesting view in the process, and slipped the window open enough to sniff around. Then she pushed it wide open and hopped in, landing on a pair of bare, clawed feet.
I smiled at her, “I know I got you all wet earlier, but feel free to come and enjoy my pie.”
She turned her nose up at me, “Hmph! I think I will, but you better not hose me down anymore!”
I followed along, setting my fork on my plate so I could reach out to trace a finger over her exposed shoulder. She jumped and glared back at me. I shrugged. “You looked…soft. I was curious what moisturizer you used. If you’re not putting lotion on your skin, it would suck to get the hose again.”
She batted my hand away with her tail, perhaps not fulling picking up what I was putting down. Of course, I mean pretending to put down. Unless she can do some plant pheromone thing. Then we can blame that while also advising DC comics to sue her for copyright infringement. Poison Ivy wants her shtick back, and she doesn’t like people taking parts from trees.
“Ah, miss! I was informed if you showed to offer you this very special pie in order to, as our dear President put it, ‘bury the hatchet.’” Said the fellow catering the event. He offered the entire tin of pie to Wildflower, who took it with a smile but sniffed cautiously at it.
“What flavor is this?” she asked.
“Peach, but with extra special seasonings,” said the caterer.
She sniffed at it, dipped a fork in, brought the forkful close to her nose. Then she whirled around and walked right over to me. “Catnip!”
I shrugged. “I thought you’d enjoy it.”
She narrowed her yellow eyes. “You’re trying to drug me.”
“It’s catnip! You’ve got the cat vibe going on. I thought it’d be like, well, catnip toy ou.”
“Stop being nice to me. It’s creepy.” She balanced the pie tin in one hand as she glared at me.
I shrugged yet again. Dealing with Wildflower gave my shoulders a workout. “If you insist.” I palmed a tiny remote and pressed the button on it. Then I stepped back as my personal electronics started to go wonky. The positively-charged electromagnet inside of Wildflower’s pie tin activated, as did the negatively-charged ones in every other pie tin in the room. Even as the pull of magnetic metal on Wildflower alerted her to the danger, ever tin flew at once.
Acting with incredible reflexes, Wildflower threw the catnip peach pie at me, smacking me in the piehole. I saw her throwing herself to the side just before my vision failed due to the pastry and the magnet. I barely had time to even try and pull it loose before pie after pie slammed into me. I swear a pumpkin pie tried to force itself down my ear, while something softer smooshed onto my boobs. Banana cream, maybe? The overwhelming simultaneous impact of dozens of pastries knocked me down.
I was down for awhile. Seven minutes before someone through to pull the tin off my face. I know they had to dig me out, but I can’t be sure what else happened to keep them from rescuing me any sooner.
I was nettled. Super nettled. And I might have to add super reflexes to the list. I’m not sure if you could say she had a danger sense of some sort. Such foreknowledge is ridiculous and unrealistic except for clairvoyants, but reflexes and enhanced speed count for a lot.
So finally, I did indeed call up Herne. “You done wif those Looney Tune tricks, ‘en?”
The next morning, I awoke to a ruckus on the outside of the building and ran out onto one my balconies. You know you’re rich when you have multiple balconies. My fuzzy pink pajamas proved little defense against the cold, but the sight of Wildflower fleeing a man on motorcycle down the side of the building warmed some organ inside of me. The spleen, maybe.
You read right: a man on a motorcycle. He raced down the side of the building on a chrome monstrosity, antlers standing up proudly from his helmet. He held a spear to the side in one hand. Or maybe it was a rifle. He raised it up and shot something from the end. Whatever it is, he missed her. When they hit the street, I called him up. “Hey, send off toward 33rd. Circle her around, then goad her toward 44th. I have a plan.”
“You have a pl-?” I ended the call. I didn’t need no lip.
I raced down to the art gallery and threw on my armor. Moai poked his head around one of the exhibits of a nude Greek guy. “Hey, Moai, you seen my parachute around here somewhere?” He nodded and tossed it over. I slipped it on as I headed over to where the window should be and tore down the drywall we’d covered it over with. Taking a few steps back, I lept…and smacked into the window.
Damn. I remembered too late that I DID order these things to be made strong enough to handle human bodies being thrown into them with some force. From the floor, I called out, “Moai! A little help, please?”
He nodded, then bounced over and headbutted a hole in the window for me. I gave him a thumbs up. Then he picked me up and threw me out. A little less thumbs-worthy, but I appreciated the effort. Unfortunately, I really should have thought about the weight difference of a parachute loaded down with me in my armor. Oh, sure, y’all think of that now. I didn’t think about it until the ground looked considerably closer. At that point, I adopted a holographic disguise as a woman in all-black clothing and a ski mask, then tried the parachute. When it didn’t slow me down enough, I also considered panicking. I started drawing up a panic plan and everything.
9:05:53 AM, start waving arms frantically.
9:05:55 AM, scream.
9:05:56 AM, urinate.
9:05:58 AM, land hard on Crash’s new car, which softened the blow. Injuries minimal.
Ignoring Crash’s crying on the sidewalk, rolled off the messed-up vehicle, shooting an email to Crash’s inbox informing her that she can take some paid leave to get another new car. Meanwhile, I jacked a taxi. No passengers, unfortunately.
Now, the reason why I requested the pursuit head down 33rd is because 33rd dead ends into 44th. Well, technically it dead ends into the foundation of the higher road that is 44th, but either way, it’s one big wall. It’s one of those things you learn if you flee the cops enough times. I hoped Wildlfower didn’t have it down yet, given her relatively short career as a heroine. When I got within sight of the 44th wall, I texted Herne to go ahead and bring her on.
Four minutes later, I heard them coming. Wildflower snarled and panted as she pounded down the road on all fours. Behind her ran glowing translucent hounds. Ghosts? Spirits? Magic? Don’t know. I know that every time Wildflower attempted to flee down a side road or alley, they cut her off and tried to nip her. Herne herded her as well, aiming his shots with the spear-rifle thing to also keep her from escaping.
The only way left to Wildflower was forward, through a dark tunnel under 44th. SMACK! Oh wait, there’s no tunnel under 44th, is there?
Herne skidded to a stop next to her and clamped a pair of handcuffs on her wrists and ankles. Then ropes. Zip-ties. More ropes. Duct tape. He looked up at me when I tossed a pair of fuzzy pink handcuffs over for him to use on her.
I projected pulling off the ski mask and grinning at him, then held up my cellphone and pressed a button. The hologram of the tunnel disappeared, though the phone and button were for appearance only. “How do you like that Looney Tune trick?”