I’m glad I was here in Washington for the latest and greatest in Presidential speeches.
“My fellow Americans, I’m here to address a few points I didn’t cover in my recent State of the Union Address. First, I’d like to address the friendly rivals of the opposing party: kiss my ass, you ignorant butt monkey fuckers. I hate every one of you cumsucking scum nuts, drag-assing around for no other reason than to make me look bad. Furthermore, I have proposed some executive actions to several of your wives, and gave their pussies one hell of a filibuster. By the way, if my daughters are watching this right now, babies, you’ll want to change the channel. It’s about to get nasty. Now lets move on to a sackless bunch of so-called allies I’ve seen since Italy joined the Triple Alliance. Once again, for members of the opposing party, getting that joke involves knowing a little something about history. It’s that thing you’ve been repeating since you don’t know shit from shiitake. But you got nothing on these two-faced sons of bitches that couldn’t pass a bill if I filled it with corn and shoved it down their throats. Now, I’d like to thank God for providing an example here of the biggest room of pale, soulless dicks since the gay ginger porn awards.” The President started to point around the room. “I hate you, I hate you, I don’t even know you, but I hate your guts. I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and nobody else. You’re cool. And I would just like to say to all of you: kiss my ass, you rotten motherfuckers.”
Of course, then they ruin the whole thing by showing me getting chased out by the Secret Service and the real President who hasn’t gotten through his wrist ties yet while going “Whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop!” I had to. You can’t put me around so many important people trying to maintain imagined dignity and not get something like that.
As for temporarily incapacitating the POTUS, that was also a fun little achievement to pull off. It almost messed up my performance, since I had to wait in that mini fridge for more than an hour before he decided to wet his whistle on the way to his Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech.
It certainly turned out to be worth it. I think. It’s debatable, since it was another instance of prominent supervillain crime affecting a politician. But it was funny and didn’t actually hurt anyone, so that looks better. And it served to forward another part of what I’m doing around here.
Technolutionary couldn’t stand the crack house, so he tried renting his own motel by the interstate. To be fair, cheap motels often serve as amateur laboratories to the methamphetamine-inclined. I’m fairly sure he’s not going to cook up any of that. He’s too uptight. Like, maybe he’s a cocaine guy? But even though he wanted to stare at all that, he told me he’d stay in town until we were finished so he could lend a hand if needed. With him out, I redecorated the crack house to mark it as my property and prevent stray people from strolling on in. You’d be amazed what you can use as a nice lamp cover when your only raw materials are a bunch of drug addicts.
He said he’d keep an eye out about Constellation, too. Decent of him, though he didn’t have the sort of information-gathering resources at his disposal as Harlon, Fortune Cookie, or Double Cross. I’d gotten them in on the act of hunting down the Voluntary Super Registration List and/or Captain Lightning so I could call in a favor.
While Gecko’s Amazing Spy Squad ran down the possible locations of Constellation Consortium bases and/or got a message through to Captain Lightning, I decided to look into a hunch I had and pay a visit to the Booth Busters. That’s the informal name of the District of Columbia Anti-Superhuman Enforcement. While the Secret Service handles superhuman threats to the President, Washington itself gets DCASE and their containment facility.
They kept the few supers they captured in a rounded, three-story tower erected next to Fort Washington in Maryland. It’d be pretty damn tough to get someone out of there without a lot of heavy firepower. Or a presidential pardon.
Sorry to disappoint, folks, but I released Max Muscles the legal way: impersonating the president.
The New Jerseyite strongman looked dazed as they let him go. I mean, they didn’t know what was going on any more than he did, but mine was the only car around. I stopped right by Max and the pair of guards with him. “Gentlemen!” I exclaimed on exiting the car. To them, I looked like any other man who happened to be wearing a red, white, and blue costume with my cape, ballistic vest, and eagle-themed helmet.
Max Muscles, who I’d met in one of my aliases back in New Jersey, kindly provided exposition for the guards. “Missile Patriot!”
“That’s right! I have been sent to retrieve you on the orders of the President of these United States, by the power vested in me by the grand ole flag, the grand old party, and the grand ol’ opry! By the way, here’s a little something for you boys, the President said to go out, find some strippers with really big cans, and start making some regrets.” I handed the nearest guard a briefcase full of ones.
She held out a clipboard in return. “You’re going to need to sign for the prisoner.”
Eh, fine, whatever. Makes no difference to me. I gave her my John Hancock and she undid the useless restrains on Max’s wrists. “Thank you, Mr. Hancock.”
“Don’t mention it. And you go have fun with those strippers, now!”
I looked Max over as he got in the car. A bit leaner than last time. Unshaven. No slick hair this time around. “How have you been, Max?”
“I don’t know, bro. Things got crazy. Brian is schoolin’ it up in college, just totally crushin’ the coed pussy. Oh, but right after you left, Gastrolord disappeared. Cops found his stuff, though. So I been able to party and lay down the law on my own since then. Matter fact, Gastrolord being gone’s why Brian figured he’d be fine gettin’ his college on.”
Bulletproof Brian is Max Muscles’s friend. Together, they were known as Generation Flex. I killed Gastrolord. I was hanging around in Jersey, fighting an organization called Hephaestus that maintained a warehouse there because Hephaestus refused to pay me on a job. Gastrolord was a snail-themed villain who tried to collect on a bounty they put on my head. Unfortunately for him, I upgraded his ejector seat in the cockpit of this giant snail vehicle he drove around. Extra power and the ability for me to engage it remotely. It was very messy. No wonder they never identified the body.
“So, that’s it? Gastrolord disappeared, Brian went to college, you were on your own; one thing led to another and you attack the Capital.” My visor precluded me showing off a raised eyebrow of incredulity.
He looked ahead. “Can we get away from here, first?”
I nodded and took us away. Not a fan of discussing it in the parking lot, I guess. “Why’d you do it? Someone pay you? It’s just not anything like what you’d pull. I mean, maybe party around the place, but not throwing cars around and all.”
“I think I drank too much, or it was too much ex. I started losing time. Blackout, man. Not cool, bro. I got out of control, just too much fun. One of my bros recommended AA, so I went there. It was like one of those things where you realize somethin’. I mean, they tell you to put your life in God’s hands, pray to him, confess your sins to him, and try to spread his message ‘n all. I started talkin’ to God, and he gave me this feeling. He guided me. He told me I could make the world a better place. Like, a heaven on earth. He brought me here, and then he said I needed to make a sacrifice for the good of everyone. See, everything’s better now. You’re here, and you got me out!”
I digested that mentally at a stoplight. “So no bribe? Nothing?”
“No, nobody paid me.”
“Ever heard of Constellation or Senator Powers?”
“Let’s have a bite somewhere and I’ll set you up to head back to Jersey, how’s that?”
“You’re a bro, bro.”
Another meal, another bit of cash tossed away, but at least a little information. I believe someone spoke to Max Muscles, but I doubt it was any deity. A super with telepathy, maybe? It’s a great power to pull off a scam like that. “Tina? This is Jesus. I need you to make out a check and send it to this P.O. Box, and you’ll get your eternal rewards in the afterlife.” If anything, it’s more surprising none of them have gone for a bigger prize. Then again, how would I know they haven’t?
Now there’s a question, but not one I have to answer. I’m not the hero of this story.
But I did get a visit from one. It was shortly after that, while trying to figure out which sex to go with. I was male, due to Fortune Cookie sending me a text message to call a number that in no way resembled a phone number for the United States. Celebration! I’ll have to bring her back a souvenir…the Washington Memorial, maybe? Hmm, knowing her, she wouldn’t want any phallic symbol I’d been carrying around with me. I’ll think of something. Maybe I can get her the Constitution.
At first, I wondered if dialing this number would send me backwards in time to go meet Socrates and ask him why I was kicking his ass. I used a burner phone because it’s easier to ditch a phone than my head. One call later, a man picked up and asked, “Hello?”
“Hello?” I echoed.
Him. “Who is this?”
Me. “Who is THIS?”
“My name is Captain Lightning.”
“Oh, hey dude, it’s Psycho Gecko. Remember me? I fought you to the death inside a nightmarish hellscape that time. How ya been?”
“How are you calling me on this number? This is an abandoned hospital in…a country I’m not allowed to identify.”
“To be honest, I don’t entirely know how I’m doing this either, but I’m probably going to put someone’s face on Mt. Rushmore because of this. Oh, and I need to call in one of those favors you owe me.”
He sighed. “I don’t think I can help you put a new face on Rushmore.”
“That’s not what I called for. I’m trying to find information on a PMC,” that’s private military company, or contractor, or concerto, “called Constellation.”
“Stay where you are. Where are you?”
I looked around at the crack house and its visceral aesthetic. I’m not sure if dead druggies is in style for entertaining guests. “If you’re wanting to meet me, you’ll want to meet me somewhere else than here.” I glanced at a pair of legs sticking out from a hole in the wall. The pants were stained with blood, urine, and what I could only assume is a large quantity of chocolate pudding. I could assume that, but I won’t. “Plus, I’ve got nothing to eat to offer you for hospitality.” Which was true. Some people can tie a cherry stem with their tongue, but I challenge you to find anyone else who can stick a whole coconut up someone’s nose. Not their own nose, but someone’s.
“Fine. Jefferson Memorial. Meet me there as soon as possible. I’ll be there in ten.” He hung up.
Huh. Well, I made there just about on time with the help of my armor. We met in the shadow of Thomas Jefferson’s statue. He had some good ideas, and some bad. They mostly stuck the good ones in the building, since it wouldn’t do to have uncomfortable mentions of slave-fucking.
Nice quotes though. “I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Almost sounds like my kinda guy, though my favorite was a bit longer: “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
The little attention I pay to politics makes that one hilarious. The assumption that people move away from barbarism just because they know better, especially. Makes me want to knock out half the wall and build an encroaching Nixon Memorial, because my experience shows that people will still kill, suppress, threaten, steal, and rape no matter how advanced they are. Civilization just means you wear nicer clothes while you do it.
Though some people do dream about a place where being a dick to someone isn’t the default. Bleh, now I’m starting to sound like Max Muscles, or Senator Powers, or even Oligarch.
“You never struck me as a tourist,” said someone behind me. The 360 display showed Captain Lightning floating down from roof level, having flown in real quick from spreading democracy to countries the United States isn’t supposed to have forces in. He wore a bright red costume with a white and gold lightning bold on his chest. He didn’t have a cape this time. Despite having fought in World War II, he looked to be in his early forties, maybe. No grey in his hair. Overall, he looked better than when he was in thrall to Spinetingler, the horror villain.
“Let us remember the past so we can better destroy the future, that sort of thing.” I shrugged and turned around. “You didn’t want to discuss Constellation over the phone?”
A nod. “The government loves private contractors in everything from wet works to intelligence gathering. I remember when we trusted the country’s protection and management to those with higher ideals.”
“Or people who were at least better about hiding it, which shows more competence and discernment. Anyway, I need to know where Constellation might have any secure servers that require a physical presence to get into. They have some data I need. I mean, I don’t expect you to know all that, so I’ll settle on a base of theirs and hopefully pry out the location from there. Or from other people.”
“Can you tell me a little more about why?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
A holographic ring of crazy brown hair appeared on the back of my helmet as I told him, “Aliens.”
He shook his head.
“No, I’m serious. Aliens. They’re up to something. We’re going to need all hands on deck to stop them. I’m not even killing as many heroes as I normally do because of this.”
“You think Constellation is part of it?” He floated down to touch the ground. Off in the distance, I think I noticed some snapshots. I threw up a hologram of me looking like an anonymous man in black.
“No, but I think they’re involved in something that’s going to weaken the superpowered community. Like it or not, I’m kind of a murderous referee.”
Captain Lightning mulled it over for half a minute. “Officially, I’m not helping you, because Constellation’s affiliates are not involved in the theft of foreign artwork and gold or the smuggling of illegal narcotics into the country, are we clear?” He smirked as he said it.
I cocked my head to the side like a confused dog or a man with a broken neck or a man hit upside the head with a dog with a broken neck. “…no?”
“Good. So whatever you do, do not attack the nearest Constellation base, which is a mobile headquarters stationed in the Potomac.” He pointed behind him, to the west where the Potomac river flowed.
“Really? Can you clarify where it is, so I won’t get too close by accident? Because I don’t see any boats or islands or anything.”
“It should be easy to avoid a submarine, but you wouldn’t believe how many times they run into things.” He shook his head. “That’s a discussion for another time, unless you want me to help you. That would be another favor.”
I shook my head. “Nope, I got this.”
“You’ve got a submarine?”
“Not yet, but I’m about to.”
He shook his head this time. “I hope I’m doing the right thing.”
I pointed back to the statue of Thomas Jefferson. “As a famous president once said when discussing a possible war with Napoleon, ‘I’m gonna fuck them so hard, they’re gonna call me ‘Master’.”
“That’s not-” he looked behind me where someone had etched that very line onto a wall. “Gecko!”
“Whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop!” I turned invisible and scuttled out of there.