It surprised the hell out of me to be dragged out for more court proceedings after only a couple days. Regular trials can drag on for a hell of a long time, and it’s surprising enough that I even had a hearing already. To be pulled back in so soon smelled fishier than Denmark. That country needs some serious deodorant, I tell y’all. Something’s rotten there.
I’d been a little less well-informed of worldly going-ons lately, and that’s without any of the back channels to determine diplomatic pressure by various countries. All I knew is that the United Nations is a pretty useless organization. Coupled with how long trials tend to take, I naturally expected to be waiting here awhile, trying to think up things to send to y’all’s dimension. Like about this time I walked into a brothel with a donkey and a honeycomb. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll get to tell that story another time.
So let me break it down why I didn’t expect things to move so quickly, aside from the simple “trials move slow” kind of thing. Attorneys have to get some witnesses and figure out what they’re going to say. They have to access evidence and experts that can help their sides, sometimes then making time to share those with the other side. There’s jury selection, too, though I didn’t know how much that mattered to the World Court. To be fair, the last thing I’d want is to be judged by a group of regular folks off the street. They tend to be inherently evil.
Like a town full of ignorant folks who never met a gay guy but make jokes all the time until, when someone comes out, they ostracize them and bully them. The town grew up with that kid and loved him, but let their inherited prejudice mess with their judgment. So the churches keep on preaching that homosexuals are wicked, sinful things that should not be permitted to live. Next thing you know, the boy’s beaten to death or something and some of the town are all like “How could this tragedy have happened?”
Aside from my Polonius-inspired long-windedness, regular folks have a tendency to fail epicly at realizing the full consequences of their beliefs and actions. I just admit what I do, and yet I am not the single worst killer in this or any Earth’s history. Same analogy as above, just different adjective. I’ve met folks who said “I don’t hate black people, I think everyone should own at least one.” I’ve seen atheists decry Catholic child molestation, then turn around and threaten women who accused a prominent skeptic of rape. Police mock domestic abuse victims, PETA executes animals, . And that’s just in a “civilized” country.
You know, I’m starting to think it’s incredibly accurate when I tell people it isn’t hypocrisy when I do it. Or maybe I just seem like a self-righteous dick.
Moving past all that talking, I had to prepare for more talking. To that end, I let my face slacken and composed myself goofily, not so much in my usual sense, but to pass as if they had sedated me. Mrs. Pretorious, the esteemed counselor who acted as both my defense and the prescriber of my sedation, entered and assumed her accomplices had already worked their magic on me. Subsequently, the image of her leading my docile ass in convinced the others that I must have been needled already. That, or they all decided I was calm enough to let it slide.
Everything came to order. And then it didn’t.
“Before my attorney says a word, I would like to speak on my own behalf.”
“This is highly irregular,” said the UK representative.
“I am unfamiliar with the practices and regulations of this court. Perhaps as an opening statement? My attorney may object, but she is here to do my bidding,” I suggested, not having a clue.
“I would hear what he says,” said the Chinese judge. Apparently my inadvertent flirting the previous time paid dividends.
The judges began a whispered argument that I didn’t quite hear, mostly because I didn’t care that much. In the end, they addressed me with their most wise judgment of “You may not address this court at this time. Allow your counsel to advise you on our etiquette here, Psycho Gecko.”
I stayed standing. “With all due respect, this was not a request.”
A lot of things happened at once. Their civilian, i.e. Nonpowered, bailiffs took a step toward me, but stopped. The superpowered ones, or other heroes in attendance, also reacted. Captain Lightning hovered, but stayed right there. Lone Gunman went so far as to draw his gun, which I doubt he was supposed to have, but didn’t do anything else with it either.
“Right now, many of you are wondering what’s going on. You’re frozen in place. Good for you. Is there a camera in the house?” I looked around. “Camera man? Nothing? I know someone’s got to have a phone or a webcam or something.”
Captain Lightning, the most powerful being in the room who didn’t obey, nonetheless floated there to assess the situation.
Everyone in the room with a phone pulled it out and pointed them at me, turning on their cameras and allowing me to start streaming and recording. “Thank you. I want this recorded for posterity, now that I have made sure there will be posterity on this planet. If you’re watching this, you probably know me and hate me as Psychopomp Gecko, the guy who saved Earth. The guy who conspired and made deals, who suppressed his own instincts in order to gain the cooperation of governments, heroes, and villains alike. The person left absolutely hanging by all of them because of my actions in the past.”
I smiled, then thought of a nice little lyric. I swept my hands around to encompass everyone, “You’re so nice. You’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just…nice.” I motioned to myself, “I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m just right. I’m the witch. You’re the world.” Going back to speaking normally, I said, “So how about I stop lying for a bit. I am indeed a bad person. I kill people. Killing’s wrong, right? Unless someone attacked you. Or they’re the wrong religion, or country. Or if they might attack you. Potentially. Or if you just thought they might attack you. Or if you think they harmed you. If you’re a soldier, if you’re a peace officer, if you’re a jury. Someone murdered, so kill them. Someone’s been drafted, kill them. Someone’s politically inconvenient, kill them. Someone preaches the wrong thing. Someone loves the wrong person. Someone hates the wrong one. Kill, kill, kill. Just remember that you’re not like those heartless folks who kill in cold blood. Those dispassionate sociopaths. When you think of the people you killed, or had killed on your behalf, you do so with moral contemplation and an understanding of the value of human life. Right?”
Satellites around the world responded to my commands. It wasn’t as difficult as it might have once been to control so many at once. The world’s attention focused on me. To quote those of y’all reading this and rolling your eyes, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”
“But not me. I lie. I steal and scheme, poorly as to that second point. I kill people. Regular people. Innocent people. That is, people who haven’t been arrested or caught committing crimes. People that other folks want dead, but not you yourself, who ever you are. As far as those other people are concerned, I was right that one time. Right to work for your governments and pontiffs. A man hired me to end his life rather than wither away in pain. Really pissed off his son, who cared more about the inheritance paid to me than his father’s life. Funny how that works out. Killing’s wrong, and I’ve done so much of it. Then I committed what may have been genocide on a bunch of alien invaders who were doing a pretty good job of taking over your world because you all let them. They talked pretty and had everyone so scared of what they would do that you let them do it.”
Billions of people watched. Some of them did so of their own free will. Some found themselves in the same grip as the ones around me at the World Court, except they began to repeat my words in their own native languages.
I waxed lyrical once again, “Nothing we can do…not exactly true. No, of course what really matters is the blame. Somebody to blame. Fine, if that’s the thing you enjoy, placing the blame, if that’s the aim, give me the blame.”
I looked down and shook my head. “After all, I’m a killer, and a narcissist, and I probably think I’m a hell of a lot smarter than I really am. I am a bad person, and someone dear to me has attempted to make me see that I could be a good person. Oh, how I have debated it. In the past, I never would have even thought about turning over a new leaf, and I’ve gone through so many changes recently. Perhaps I might have changed enough to make it possible? Changed enough that my only inevitable end is no longer so inevitable. If anyone was to check David Hume’s grave, they might find him having an epic boner right now.”
Oblivious to the announcement, the thirteen Electric Eyes made sure to drop off their latest shipments of food and medical equipment. Going further than before, they began administering shots of nanites into folks themselves. They have so many uses. They heal diseases, restore damaged limbs, close wounds, and destroy those nasty alien mind control organs, among other things.
“I considered abandoning all such progress and devoting myself to that person in our own personal eternal struggle. I could be the villain that gives her the opportunity to be that grand hero she yearns to be. For mine own good, all causes shall give way. I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er. Or at least that’s what the Scottish might say on it. But, alas, doing the right thing still nagged at me. And I have decided that I can no longer distract myself from my responsibilities. To claim to hate the world so much, yet do nothing but let people deliver themselves into my hatred.”
I turned toward the judges, who sat under my sway. The cameras focused on them as well. As one, they shook and fell over, their bodies already being seemingly eaten apart from the inside. “To be fair,” I said, jumping up there next to the dead body of one of the inferiors who would have passed judgment up on me, “I originally meant to do nothing with this ability but kill a lot of people at once. It seems I truly have changed over this past year.”
Captain Lightning’s eyes glowed before several of the bystanders stood up and got into his way. He’s a smart man. He began to understand the depth of what I’d done.
Ah, those regenerative nanites; they do so many things. It’s been quite some time since Long Life took some and began to build their own copies, complete with the old programming. When I found out, I made it a point to infiltrate one of their facilities and mess with the programming. Just a nice little backdoor to make sure I had access. As I’ve mentioned before, the nanites communicate with each other and reinforce their programming so as to better coordinate, further allowing them to pass on updates and orders to each other.
“Believe it or not, I do care about people and I have a strong sense of justice. Stronger than many people’s, I think. I like certain things about this world. I have friends here. I have stuff. There are some really hot Eastern European women I like staring at online, that kinda thing. I have decided that I will protect this world and look after it. Nurture it, help it to grow into a better place. But to do so, it’s only natural that I not leave it under the supervision of people who have so little vision that they’d treat their savior to a trial and so little competence that they couldn’t even unify against an incredibly well-organized threat to the entire planet. Which, I suppose, also helps to justify my ascension here today.”
In such an interesting coincidence, such nanites turned out to be effective in destroying growths that our recent alien invaders induced in people that allowed said extraterrestrials to use to control their minds, though they ran into some troubles when a superhero controlled by me messed with their ability to convert entire cities at once. Though, to be fair, that wasn’t the first clue an observant person might have picked up on. Especially not world leaders and other important figures who rushed to be first in line to avoid alien control.
I wish I had a bitchin’ chair to recline in at this point, but I had to settle for sitting on the corpse of some judge from the United States. “This will be a big change, but I will make this world better. Don’t try to stop progress and the transcendence of your species because you cling to the past like a monkey refusing to leave his safe tree and learn to walk on two legs. After all, Thomas Jefferson once said that, while he doesn’t advocate frequent changes in laws and constitutions, they 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 disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and 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.’”
I shrugged and patted the gooey body next to me. “Resistance is also ill-advised due to the billions of people I have under my control, whether direct or potential. Or under the control of certain infiltrators around the world who will direct people away from doing anything to stand in the way of progrss. Plus,” I waved a hand at the dead judges, not bothering to state the threat. Aside from being able to see through anyone’s eyes and bring their hands to my task, anybody recently exposed to the nanites could now be killed by the tiny machines. “I’d hate for my death to trigger some sort of killswitch.”
I eyed Captain Lightning as I said that, just in case his patience ran out. A man like him could afford lots of patience, being downright invincible as he is. Unfortunately, people tend to think that invincibility means a person can’t be hurt or can’t lose. They are so very wrong.
I folded my hands up neatly in front of me, knowing already that I wouldn’t even need to ask. My trial was over. They would open those doors for me and let me leave unmolested. More than that, this world is mine. “And for those who simply don’t like me…remember that I am the Psychopomp. I am the flail of god. If you had not committed great sins, god would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”