“Yeah, this is actually a bad time for me to do therapy today. I’ve been infiltrated by seals.”
“Do you mean soldiers or animals?” asked Venus.
I looked out over the bar countertop where a troop of seals were wrecking the rec room. “You’re going to hate me for saying this. Then again, you hate me anyway. The answer to your question is yes.”
“Will it take you long to get rid of them?” she asked.
I counted the number of seals, then took a photo of one with my eye and did some photoshopping magic. “Maybe. This one looks like a badass.”
Venus laughed as she saw the photo of a seal posing on the sofa. It had an eye patch, a beret, and a beard on its face. It smoked a cigar and wore a t-shirt with its own face on it, a bazooka strapped to its back and Captain America’s shield held in one flipper. “I’ll call you back,” I told her.
As for anyone wondering why I huddled behind a counter, that had less to do with the seals and more to do with a night of drinking and light debauchery. I’d have done some heavy debauchery, but the ritual I found off that porn bulletin board website turned out to be bogus. Sometimes a guy gets tired of looking at Slavic women and decides to see what the Whore of Babylon looks like in a cheerleader outfit. It’s probably for the best that the ritual was fake, though. As drunk as I was, I might have gone to bed with a succubus and woken up next to something with a literal goat face.
Which, come to think of it, is making me curious in ways I didn’t think I’d like. But enough about human bodies with animal parts; I had to tear some body parts off some animals. Strictly for non-sexual purposes, of course.
Actually, I didn’t go slaughtering them willy-nilly, nor even Willy Wonka (who had all sorts of interesting ways for dealing with children). Instead, I herded the bunch outside my icy fortress of doom and shored up the walls. I had to put extra work into that, with as much spare metal as I could spare from the building itself. The seals stuck around for awhile, trying to get in, then I convinced them to stay by throwing some scraps over the side of the wall. Maybe I can convince a couple to stay and guard my moat, which is otherwise unimpressive. What could I fill it in with? I got water, snow, and ice. If I use the snow and ice, I might as well not have a moat; this isn’t just an opinion, but an actual definition. And what would the water stop? Seals and penguins both swim in that stuff. If not for the fact I’ve seen them do it, I’d think someone was fucking with me on that point. I hope their ball sacks are internal. I suppose I could have checked, but no. Not taking time out of my busy day to check a seal’s testicles.
I had to pull kittens out of trees in new, exciting countries. Well, if kittens were Lenin’s preserved body, and if the tree was a fleeing nuclear submarine. He’d absconded with the cadaver early in the morning, but Electric Eye’s rockets allowed me rapidly close the distance. It helps that Russia doesn’t have too many ports on the European side of things. He still got out to sea and submerged before I could stop him, though.
I couldn’t just send Electric Eye after him. Underwater is possibly the most difficult frontier left for mankind. I would sooner send one of the Thirteen to space. Space is easy; it’s not a matter of how to survive, but just how to make survival last long enough. But hitting the water? That’s a hell of a lot more dangerous than hitting the ionosphere. That alone could do serious damage, not counting anything caused by what the water gets into. I didn’t build these things to fall apart in the rain, but it’s a bit different under the sea. The water can try to get everywhere, which reminds me that the pressure could seriously fuck up the robot too. That’s another difference: in space, the pressure problem is because you want to keep a relative few square inches of atmosphere in. Underwater, you have to deal with every single square inch of water around wanting in.
I set that Electric Eye to work while it tried to follow. The good news is, I had a rough idea of its destination. Old submarine captains don’t just hijack Lenin’s body to stop off at an English Dairy Queen. For starters, they don’t have that franchise over there. No, if someone goes Cold War crazy, there are only two major targets they’re thinking about. And one of them no longer exists. One is an allegedly secular empire where the citizens all keep a careful eye on each other for signs of disloyalty and where the state is more than happy let their own people starve in the streets so they can build up a huge military to push their ideology onto Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. And the other dissolved in the early 90s.
Still, a rogue Russian captain would almost certainly head after the United States. Just like how would-be world conquerors target the States, or how wannabe supreme beings go there to fight American heroes. Being the top of the food chain means a great deal of prestige goes to the one to take them down.
Electric Eye would be about useless staying in the air, and it would be difficult to wait for the damn sub to surface and launch its payload. I had to get underwater and take it out. I immediately set the Berlin, Rome, and London Electric Eye robots to work on the primary equipment and add-ons. Over in Empyreal City, the superspeed robot went to work on a backup in case it became necessary.
The Moscow met each along the way, though Rome was a bit of a side trip. That one, by the way, I’ve outfitted with a large cross it carries on its back, the long portion of which is just a sheath for the sword that the upper portion serves as a handle and guard for. That Electric Eye received a sword less out of necessity and more because that looks awesome.
I wouldn’t have had EE Rome lug that sword up to meet EE Moscow in the first place, but Europe’s small like that. I think I’ve mentioned, that’s why they are so much better about languages than Americans. They have entirely different countries all over the place, and each one just has to have its own language. The American continents have two major languages that can get people anything they need, but every country in Europe wanted to be their own kingdom with their own way of talking.
Naturally, I blame the Thracians. They’ve had an easy ride for too long, so I’m putting this on them. I swear, just think about the Gaul of those Thracians!
EE Moscow, as I’m calling it because that works better than numbers, received armor from the other three. Smoother and more streamlined, I cut down on the time to build it by acquiring pieces from elsewhere, though I wouldn’t say I acquired them in a single knight. A few different ones, maybe. The craftsmanship was downright medieval, but time necessitated making due and making it watertight.
Along with the armor, it also received fuel for its rockets and modifications for other systems. Had to make the rockets a little better for underwater operations, add better sonar capabilities, and do this thing for the top of its new helmet that would allow it to pull a neat trick to move faster underwater. The formal words fail me, something about cavitation, but air is less dense than water and it has been found that creating an air bubble underwater allows torpedoes and submarines to move faster.
If only it had been the Berlin robot, the names I had to pick from would have been more appropriate. I couldn’t settle on calling it Das Bot or U-Bot before it took off over the London channel and aimed for the water. I had a rough idea of the capabilities of the modern-day craft as well as the quickest route it could take, and set the bot to search and destroy.
See, depending on the route, it takes between five days and a week to cross the Atlantic ocean in most civilian boats. Civilian boats. A military ship can go faster, with some submarines capable of making the trip twice as quickly. Depending on how they’re built, some subs are faster submerged, others are faster on the surface. And that’s not even counting all the information about their capabilities that stays hidden due to the fact that militaries frequently don’t like letting potential enemies know what limits their ships operate under. Same reason the U.S. Air Force was more than happy to let people mistake the Blackbird and U-2 spy planes as aliens back in the day.
I didn’t underestimate the speed of the enemy. No, I just underestimated their ability to stay quiet. I shouldn’t have, but I did. Numerous incidents have been reported, and some have almost certainly not been reported, of submarine collisions. Some are with ships that couldn’t detect a silent sub, and some were between submarines who couldn’t detect each other. They see the world through sound, interpreted by computers, and to that end they’ve become very good by design at hiding from such a view.
So good that my submersible, despite all the preparations, didn’t spot it until three days on, when it emerged behind the robot. It was a bit off the route I figured, but the amount of chatter it generated helped confirm that it was the one I was looking for. I didn’t have time to break through U.S. Navy and Air Force codes, but that didn’t stop me from hearing them talking back and forth a lot over the sudden appearance of a large, previously-undetected vessel.
I didn’t have time in part because the Russian sub wouldn’t have shown up unless it was ready. Indeed, EE Moscow reached it just as a pair of hatches swung open and two missiles lifted off. Electric Eye latched onto one and pulled its helmet off. It had come with a visor originally, but I didn’t take too many chances on the cavitation thing working perfectly. A sweep of its laser vision cut the other missile in half, causing an explosion of fuel but leaving the warhead to tumble back into the cold Atlantic where, perhaps in a thousand years, it would fuel an industrial revolution among the Lobster People.
Clinging to the remaining missile, Electric Eye grabbed it and hit its rockets. Fuel became a precious commodity for this thing over the course of the trip, but nuclear power still takes precedence. It helped that the missile itself turned toward the United States, and Electric Eye was able to add to that and swing it around back in a U. Not knowing how good their tracking systems were, I can’t say definitively if the Russians knew what hit them, except that it wasn’t a robot in any way.
Therapy is nice and all, but sometimes hurting people is its own reward. And by sometimes, I mean frequently. Or it leads to its own rewards, like hastily dropped wallets or pulled-out gold teeth. Technically I saved the day, this time, but if anyone asks, I’m just keeping the world together until I conquer it.
Laugh all you want at that excuse, but I’m the one who shall have the last laugh.
That wasn’t the last one, by the one, though I suspect I’ll have another big one coming soon. I can’t cool my heels down here forever. When it comes to my time to return to the world, y’all can bet I’m staying frosty.