Before anyone goes and thinks Venus is back with me for any of the many good reasons I could imagine for someone I forced into a Slave Leia costume that time, she’s been a pain in my ass. Nagging me about stopping and turning myself over to the mercy of the world. Yeah, right. I’m the one who gets to flit about and see that mercy firsthand through various eyes. I’m pretty sure she’s planning something, too. I haven’t seen her use her phone recently, so I stole it and checked it to see who she’d been calling and texting.
I’m already obsessive and I’ve hit her before. Might as well do more stuff to make myself look like an abusive boyfriend, though we’re not dating. She insisted on that, even as she brought me takeout so I didn’t have to suck all my vitamins through an IV tube.
Despite me checking her phone, I found nothing there to help me. She figured out how to go in and delete the records of who she called and for how long, though she couldn’t hide that something had been deleted. I think there was a Sherlock Holmes story where that played a part. One of the things he presented as evidence was “the curious actions of the dog at night,” or something like that. When someone then mentioned that the dog didn’t do anything at night, Holmes said that was precisely the point. Same reason why a parent won’t get worried with kids in the house until it gets too quiet.
Somehow, I doubt siccing Spinetingler on me was the plan that required so many calls, but she tried that. She walked in one day, turned the lights off, said “Spinetingler, Spinetingler, Spinetingler,” three times, and flicked on a lighter to show me a mirror held in front of my face. I could make out the dark, malevolent presence of the supervillain capable of transforming people into horror-themed monsters and slashers. He looked good for a guy I’d injected with nanites following my Grey Goo protocol. There weren’t many beings that could easily survive a mass of nanites tearing them apart at the cellular level and using the materials to create more nanomachines dedicated to doing the same thing. It’s one of those potential dangers with the technology, alongside nanites being able to kill people if they malfunction or are suborned.
“Psycho Gecko,” he growled. He no doubt remembered the incident with the nanites, since it happened a little more than a year ago. He’d engulfed Empyreal City in some sort of Hellish pocket dimension and unleashed monsters. I fought him because I didn’t like the idea of myself or my friends dying or otherwise being trapped in said man-made Hell. Just because I’d be willing to try a xenomorph due to Giger’s paintings doesn’t mean my enjoyment of Bosch would lead me to visit a hell. Still, I remembered what drove him to do that to the city. He was looking for something. Someone.
“Hiya,” I told him, raising a hand to wave at him. “I’m guessing Venus thinks you and I’ll fight and she can capitalize on the confusion to undo my reign of benevolence-”
“Terror,” she interrupted.
“Reign of benevolent terror,” I continued. “But I don’t feel like that. If we fought, I might have to start killing people with nanites, maybe dissolving them so there’d be nothing left to bring back, and that gets messy. Especially if it’s anyone in Empyreal City. Of course, if I were to suddenly die, that kind of thing would kick in anyway, so it looks like there’s really no benefit for you in attacking me.”
Behind the mirror, I saw Venus’s face drop. I couldn’t tell Spinetingler’s expression with all the shadow and the glowing eyes. “Someday, you won’t have your hostages to hide behind. You know what you’ll get then?” His red, glowing eyes narrowed at the question.
I punched the mirror, breaking up the image and leaving nothing but a mirror behind. “Yeah, seven years bad luck.” To Venus I then added, “You disappoint me. On the one hand, I remember you being so much more of a threat to me. Then I remember how much time I spent making this happen, with all the opportunities I took advantage of and all the patience I showed, and I’m really glad you’re not able to foil me at the drop of a hat.”
She dropped the mirror and glared at me. Except then she wasn’t herself. I stood in the ruins of a building, a forcefield providing the backdrop of my field of vision. Bombs exploded, tracing a line of fire over the forcefield. In front of me stood a woman with pale pink hair with conflicted emotions on her face. I laughed. She punched me. Except, this time, it didn’t hurt and I wasn’t frozen like normal. I didn’t get more than a couple of punches in before I realized I wasn’t hitting the woman with the pink hair.
I rolled off her and looked around in spite of my armor’s 360 degree view. “I’m sorry,” I told her. It just slipped out. “Flashback. Wasn’t you.”
Venus grabbed the mirror and swung it down over my head. To her surprise, and probably later relief, I didn’t retaliate. I had to make sure the things happening to me were happening now instead of then. Normally, I don’t worry so much about the flashbacks, but now I’m in charge of billions of lives.
And then I had to struggle with why that mattered at all. I’d sooner kill them all in the past, and every day I have them in my head reinforces that it’s the only correct way to deal with them. Why did I even do that to myself? I wanted to be good, or to pretend I was? Much like the time I used a story I read on a transgender transformation fetish website to justify killing some people, it made sense at the time. That’s why a guy with a computer in his brain has trouble remembering things. It’s not that I can’t remember the events, but I can’t remember the feelings.
I roared and punched the floor, because I wasn’t done being an idiot for the day, then clawed at my ears briefly as I heard people around the world. People hating me, hating each other, wanting things, sad and despairing. For one-point-two seconds, everybody I controlled capable of it attacked anyone nearby. My act of frustration gave me a migraine and once again made me ask the million-dollar question: Why the hell did I do this?
Oh, right. Emotionally vulnerable, I thought of reacting to my archenemy’s numerous attempts to be a righteous hero by staying the villain she tried to redeem as a way to validate her existence out of my love for her and the type of hero she is. That’s easy to follow. That one makes sense. Then that damn lawyer I consigned to Davy Jones’s sweaty, jockstrap-loaded Locker asked me why I’d defend the whole world if I hated it so much. And my answer of “Because I like living,” was a good one, but I also thought about the fact that me living didn’t necessarily have to come with so few casualties among people I hate.
Rolling around on that floor, that’s what started me laughing. That shit right there is why villains shouldn’t have standards! People with principles, honest men, are too dangerous like that. They could do anything at all. Thankfully, I stopped laughing before I could suffocate or have a heart attack. I’d have kept on going if I hadn’t become puzzled by figuring out what the hell my principles were.
As enlightening as the whole thing was, it allowed my dear Venus to run off again. Sadly, she might think I’m holding some grudge against her. It was nice having someone to confide in while it lasted.
That’s not to say that the only thing I did recently was prove my superiority to people and do more boring introspection. There’s been plenty of that, though I’m proud of the fact that I’ve jumped to the top of the power charts due to my machinations. Doctor Doom would be proud, if it was possible to pry any pride for other people out of that self-loving tinpot dictator. Maybe with a can opener? Extra points if someone aims for the ass.
I enacted a few more plans of vile wish-fulfillment, like releasing the contents of college textbooks online for anyone to see, forcing Donald Trump to go without his hairpiece in public, and forcing the Queen of England to wear a dark cloak and act out the scene where he meets Luke Skywalker after the young Jedi’s been captured by Darth Vader. Hopefully they have that movie in y’all’s universe. The guy with the funny ears, Prince Charles made an adequate Vader, but Prince Harry did an excellent job as Luke. They even used authentic antique swords to duel with. I couldn’t manage the lightning thing very well on short notice, so I had Queen Elizabeth shuffle around on some old time rugs in socks and shock the guy a bunch of times before Charles picked her up and chokeslammed her. Sadly, the Royal Family didn’t have any convenient bottomless pits laying around. Smart idea for a ruler, actually. No damn reason for those to be in a throne room. Horrible draft. Then Luke covered her for the pin, as counted by the Prime Minister. Roll credits.
Boom, post-credits teaser for the next movie. I’m thinking Jaws as performed by Australia’s Harold Holt. Maybe work in the other English Prince somehow, since none of his mom’s dresses fit for him to play Leia.
Also, about that time, I gave a bunch of monkeys automatic rifles, trained them to ride ostriches, and set them loose on Westboro Baptist Church. If not for me trying to move the planet away from capitalism, that little snuff film would be the next big hit in movie theaters.
Yep, enforcing my unique brand of justice on Earth got all the more sweet after my little mental revelation. I recreated the Running of the Bulls through the Vatican with cardinals. I made the top brass of the South Korean company NCSoft shove their heads up each other’s asses like the world’s longest human centipede. The population of Yemen broke out into a spontaneous, full-scale dance number to the tune of “Too Sexy For My Shirt.” Inspired by that, I ordered everyone on the planet do The Wave. When I found anyone refusing, I gathered them up and brought them to The Hague so I could force them to wrestle a gorilla in a kiddie pool full of pistachio pudding.
Now, around this time, some news stations were beginning to assert that I had perhaps become mad with power, which is ridiculous. I was mad already. The power just made it easier to make people do things.
And so I laughed and laughed, having my way with the world, until it came to my attention through my link to some astronomers that something approached Earth. It entered the solar system quickly, then slowed down around Jupiter. At my request, they checked the type of ship, and found it to be entirely different from our recent Fluidic invaders but still known to the good people of Earth.
Well, well, well. I’ve got so many of the other most powerful beings on Earth standing down out of fear, I wondered if I’d seen this one coming. The alien conqueror himself, Cercopagis Lysis. Not as much of a threat to the entire world as the Fluidics, since they had the forces for it and he’s just one being, but he is individually powerful beyond my usual ability to kill. On top of that, he has few, if any, meaningful connections to Earth, so I can’t scare him off with my billions of hostages or bluff him with my fictional deadman switch.
Here he is showing up, no doubt to conquer Earth, with my standing in his way whenever he shows up. I have no way to beat him, and pretty much everyone on the planet would prefer if I lost and he won.
Altogether, it brought a twisted little smile to my face as I thought, “This is going to be fun.” Then, to my minions in the more industrialized zones, I spoke right into their ears so they knew my will, “Who does a guy have to kill to get a giant robot around here?”