Still no giant robot. Delays. None of the places are designed to build giant robot parts specifically. Car parts, airplane parts, trains, small robots, but not giant hulking machines of menace. I have to keep overseeing them to get anything produced at anything close to a reasonable speed, and now they’re claiming quality control issues. The way this is going, they’ll have to produce enough for two robots just so I can get one in working order.
All that in the middle of moving, too. I decided to head to a stronger location. Turns out, the Dutch Royal Family has their own bunker. A good, sturdy Cold War bunker built to survive nukes. I had a dream about Cercopagis dropping the moon on me, ya see. I only had a few days to stop it by going around and awakening or empowering four superhumans on Captain Lightning’s power level to stop it, except I kept screwing it up and the moon would hit the Earth. Then I’d wake up and it’d be the start of the three days again.
I know that a lot of the folks where I’m from don’t think much about Cold War bunkers in Europe, but that was one of the most important places to build a stronghold like that. This one had been repurposed as storage. Probably not the strangest thing such a structure has been used for.
I also called up all the zone representatives to inform them of the State of the Tyranny. Or at least to let them know more about the situation. I don’t have to tell them anything, but I couldn’t control the information after my televised destruction of what turned out to be a robotic double.
I used modified holodiscs to work out the whole thing. Mine pretty much showed all the names, zones, and rough geographic areas covered by said zones in some sort of giant chatroom. Their end showed my face. “Greetings from the giant head who controls your world! No, my name is not Richard, before anyone asks. Ok, so we’ve got a bit of a conflict on our hands here. I’m sure y’all have seen it. Cercopagis Lysis had something to do with the Fluidics stopping by so he could show up and rescue Earth from alien conquest and pretend to be a more benevolent ruler. Blah, blah, blah. At least I waited until the crisis was over, but why are we bothering to imagine I have any standards anyway?”
Multiple names lit up to signify that people wanted to address me. I decided future holodiscs used for these purposes would have either text-to-speech capability or attached keyboards. One by one, I opened up more direct communication with them…
“You’re a moron!”
“You don’t know what you’re doing!”
“You’re stupid, nobody loves you, and you deserve to die alone!”
…and, having yelled that at some of them, the others began to withdraw their desire to speak to me. Then I composed myself. “I’m trying to bring you all on board, so help me help you by shutting up. He wants to rule you, and it’s hard to rule over a bunch of corpses. Believe me, I’ve tried.You, he wants alive. Me, he wants dead. Typically, cessation of life is the big political equalizer. And, as the phrase ‘Who died and made you king?’ indicates, it’s a decent method of promotion as well. Still, some of you doubt my qualifications as emperor. No, scratch that. You don’t doubt my qualifications. Not since people I’m unhappy with sometimes drop dead. You doubt my competency to rule. And maybe there’s something to that. But what I want to establish to you all here and now is simply… I don’t give a rat’s pampered ass about any of you.”
I paused to smile, practically hearing the responses die in their would-be speakers’ throats.
“I have eyes and ears everywhere…and I can’t stand y’all. I can’t fix y’all. Taken as a whole, the human race is worse than I could ever be. It killed any desire I had to serve it and justified all my darkest criticisms. But. But, I took over. I am the ruler. You are all mine now. And as much as you may hate me, this big, dark universe has a few problems with y’all existing. So do others like me. They have a point, but you’re mine. So you’re going to get the benefit of being my people. I don’t care if I have to blow up the moon and build a replica in its place to keep the dies under control, I will wipe that asshole off the face of the Earth!”
Suddenly, an alert came up. Panicking astronomers were tracking something very unusual.
“Sorry folks,” I broke up the assembly early. “Looks like Cercopagis is trying to manipulate the moon so as to throw off the tides. This assembly will be reconvened after this has been dealt with, or never. Depends on how successful I am. Just try to keep people in line so I don’t have to kill too many of them. Feel free to crucify people. Ciao.”
After leaving them with official orders to keep the peace, I took a break from spying on everyone and being a bad boss so I could check in with the people who keep their heads in the clouds. I had two, then three, then six observatories reporting in: since Cercopagis had arrived, the moon’s orbit had shifted. Not much, just slightly.
I didn’t know what even a slight shift meant for tides, and the alarmism of some of them made me take over their own hands and give them a slap to pull themselves together. One fellow had been reduced to a ball of tears curled up in the fetal position until I took over his female colleague’s body and gave him five fingers ‘cross the face. It took three times to get him to shut up, at which point I said, “Now call me ‘Daddy’.”
Nice as it was to be a woman again, I can do that anytime now. I can be almost any man, woman, child, or elderly person. I still have to wait for the experts to explain things to me that I don’t know. Like how a minor disruption in orbit can easily snowball into something bigger, since the point of a stable orbit is that something won’t fall to Earth. If Cercopagis kept it up, he could threaten the Earth with it.
I doubt it, but it’d make a great bluff for him. Certain death versus uncertain death, at least in the eyes of the little people. And I know what’s in their eyes.
I’m a part of them. Sometimes, I sneak into them when they need help. They might ask in a prayer, or when exasperated. “Please not today!” isn’t a prayer per se, but it’s still a cry for help. And all they have to do is get my attention. Let me in. Be cured of all their physical ails and potentially share their body with me. I’ve taken final exams, given big speeches. Hell, the other day I even gave birth for this one lady. She wanted to scream and claw. I might have felt like it too in her position. It was certainly an experience, though one I didn’t have to feel. And, after I finally squeezed that kid out of my body and I held it in my arms, I stared the doctor dead in the eye and told him, “Bring me some of the nanites. We’d better inoculate this kid.”
I didn’t release control of the woman until after they’d dropped a few into the kid. She broke down a bit then, finally getting to let out the pain she’d been going through, though it disappointed me the way she stared down at my chubby little cheeks with fear. You’d think every parent would want a baby that didn’t scream its head off. I didn’t stay like that long, but it got me to thinking. I wonder if that baby would ever develop its own personality if I controlled it constantly? Would it even know what to do with its own freedom? Interesting questions, but not ones worth answering.
And, before people start thinking I’m some baby-possessing creep, I’d like to point out that I did normal, selfish things with these abilities. Like sex. All kinds of sex. And foreplay. And romance. Dating. I don’t know, maybe these humans are starting to grow on me. They don’t look half as ugly as I remember, though that still means they don’t look half as good as they think they do.
I’ve been all of them. Mother and father and child. Lover. Criminal and victim. These people are MINE. They may be so messed up that I can’t fix all of them, but I will not give them over to someone else.
I needed to do more than just supervise a robot. I wasn’t too sure about the whole dimension bomb business again, either. A little bit of study while building the last one turned up that it might leave something like a scar and have some sort of cumulative effect. That would be bad, to put it mildly. I don’t know how bad, but somewhere in the range of Elder Gods and Great Old Ones showing up en masse. Or even worse, my ex.
So I figured I’d call up the folks at Area 51. I have their number now. I knew them, and several others, had access to alien ships from our most recently completed invasion. The Fluidic ships that landed on Earth weren’t outright atomized, and they had some very valuable parts.
“Someone’s coming down with a case of psychosis!” I announced as I took over the body of a female air force officer at Area 51. Damn, she had a comfy chair. U.S. Air Force likes to live it large. Big screen TV, kickass chair, and an alienware computer. Not the brand, Alienware, but a computer made partially out of extraterrestrial hardware. I went all tappity tappity tap tap to look up where they kept the captured alien ships.
It struck me on the way down the hallway that there was a great irony in all this now. Area 51 has long been rumored to be a secret area known for messing with aliens, but that’s just the popular rumor. In reality, the place does secret aircraft research. People started seeing lights moving faster than any planes could, or flying around in unusual ways…well, ta da! When they had a choice between putting people’s unfounded fears of extraterrestrial visitation at ease or keeping military hardware secrets from the Soviets, well, they leaked a fake autopsy video and never looked back.
Now, because of that focus on aerial superiority, they actually had become home to the greater part of the United States’ alien ship research, and the most obvious one for me to find out. The Australians just got theirs, and The Claw’s people are tight-lipped, but I’ll find others. I’m going to need a few.
At first, armed guards tried to stop me from entering the hangar hosting the specific ship section I looked up, but I held up my hand and made them choke. “My name is Psycho Gecko, Emperor of Earth, and I will see these vessels.”
It’s important to work on your dictatorial diction. Really adds a little extra oomph when you need authority. Not too many people get away with going, “How y’all doin’? My name’s Empr’er Jed and I welcome ya to the big house. Y’all’s just in time to watch me execute some people. Yeehaw!”
First time I host public executions at a mansion I confiscate, I’m totally doing that anyway.
The guards, once let go, tried to stop me anyway, but I stopped them and made them say, “Yes, Emperor Gecko.” That convinced them, though I gotta give them credit for the attempt to stop me before that. Strong sense of duty.
“Good men. I need folks like y’all in my army. Now, escort me in, announce me, and round up someone in a lab coat. I got some work to do.”
The hangar wasn’t quite the flurry of activity I expected, and the researchers and technicians studying the thing dressed a bit more casual. Fine by me. Pantless Wednesday was coming up, after all.
The guards brought me one fellow in a shirt and tie who looked a bit nervous at being called before me. I tried to set him at ease with a little laughter. Just something to humanize me more. Unfortunately, my cackling at the sight of the alien engines before me had the opposite effect.
“Sir…ma’am, your highness, to what do we owe the pleasure?” He held his hands behind his back to keep from wringing them in front of me.
I gestured toward the engine with a nod. “I’ve got another plan in the works to deal with a new alien troublemaker, but I’ve got a little something else in mind in case that one is delayed for too long. How well does that engine work?”
“How well? That depends on what you’re hoping to do with it.”
I walked toward it, hands held out wide. “I plan to get a few more to help with this, so take into account you’ll be working with more than one. I aim to play chicken, you see. How difficult would it be to use these to move, oh, an entire planet about Earth’s size and mass?”