At last, it is time to send me into battle! Just not yet with my armor complete. The main body’s fine, and the helmet’s where it should be. Gloves, too. The boots aren’t anything too special. Nah, the main hold-up is the power source and exoskeleton. I have an idea on both, it’s just a matter of making one less powerful and the other more powerful.
Since I’m not going to be merged with a power core, it would be tougher to regulate that thing. The last thing I want to do is end up dying at all, let alone because my enemies could just stick their hand in and tell the power source for my armor to go blow itself up. I’ve solved the problem in the short term with a jury-rigged system using a supercapacitor and a motorcycle battery. In order to hide the obvious weak point of the battery, I put together a round armored covering. I’ve got my armor machine working on a cape to cover it up better, as well as a more lightweight covering, but I should be good with the weight for now.
That’s because of the exoskeleton. My version isn’t done just yet, but Master Academy had several spares laying around. I stole one of those and upgraded it a bit. Not enough to be wholly adequate for my future purposes, but it’s at least enough to get by. Just a big cobbled-together Frankenstein’s monster here. I’m not sure if that’s just the armor or the armor with me in it, either. Eh, who am I kidding? I’m the guy killing people, robbing their graves, and stitching together a human centipede to bring back to life. Then I’d coat it with flame retardant and send it after the villagers’ children when they stormed the castle.
I’m not a nice person. And that’s terrible.
So on the day of my big return to action, I stood in my new armor, helmet off. The Emperor Gecko armor, I dubbed it. It just didn’t feel right. Before, the armor was a part of me. It wasn’t some high-tech, overly-complicated jet wannabe-with half the armor and double the weaknesses. But it was still a part of me. This is a dead shell I wear. I guess the name of the armor fits that assessment. Something, something boohoo angsty pants. I forgot what I was going to put there originally. It doesn’t feel right, but that’s how it goes. Time to lace up my corset, pull up my stockings, tighten my frilly panties, and face the music like a man.
Now, that last sentence might lead people to suspect I made quite a sight, but I didn’t have all that on under my armor, and I only had on the boots, pants, and top.
“So this is what you’ve been making in here,” said Venus. She was there. Leah, too. I’m guessing Psychsaur told them.
“As if you didn’t know already,” I said. “You guys going to keep this stupid collar and pair of ears on me, or what?” I briefly pointed to the ears that served as part of their tracking and alarm system. “I think I’ve proven by now that I do have to keep coming back now.” I didn’t mean to get angry over it, but hint of righteous indignation flared up inside over the idea that they’ve made me used to it by now.
She stepped over with something that looked like a curling iron in hand. “We might as well. You’re going out there for us now.” She lowered her eyes as she slipped a prong between my throat and the collar. She lowered her voice as well. “I don’t approve of using you, by the way.”
“Remind you a bit too much of using the copy of me? Whose idea was that, by the way?” I asked. When I felt the collar slip off, I breathed deep and rolled my neck around. I haven’t been free of that thing in some time.
“Victor took personal responsibility for that situation,” she answered.
That’s the problem with some people.They never want to give a straight answer because they’re horrible liars. The correct answer is the one that works best for you. Like if someone ever asks me if I raped Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I can honestly answer that one, “No,” but nonconsensual bestiality is no time to grow an honest streak if he guided my long wooden ride with a sack at the back of it. A boner, maybe, but not an honest streak.
“Lie some more,” I said and stepped back to grab my gloves. The fitted into place and sealed with a turn. “These are my friends. See how they glisten. See this one shine, how he smiles in the light, my friend! My faithful friend! Speak to me friend, whisper, I’ll listen. I know, I know you’ve been locked out of sight all these years, like me my friend. Well I’ve come home to find you waiting!”
I hopped up on a table and cut to the chase, holding one fist in the air. “At last my arm is complete again!” With my other hand, I reached down and adjusted a switch on my belt, manually powering up that gauntlet. This time, the glowing energy formed up and held itself two inches over a plate which protected the wiring and mechanisms of that allowed it to concentrate power. I jumped over and turned, bringing my hand down lightly on the table. The stored energy dispersed as kinetic energy, breaking through the table and scorching the surface.
Next was the helmet. I reached up and screwed something in a little tighter on my eye. Just a little replacement for my laser that I didn’t use in case some people got a bit scared. When I set my triangular-eyed helmet on my head, my laser eye flashed an activation signal. The system turned on and presented me with a slightly less complete view. The cameras were entirely on the helmet and couldn’t give me a view of what was immediately underneath my head. On the plus side, I’ll have bigger problems if the answer is anything other than “my body.” It also provides a way to control the gauntlet charge and allows me to adjust the exoskeleton’s output manually.
“Did anyone else just get chills?” Leah asked. Most of the other students around her nodded. It’s not every day the question is answered “What is black and blue and orange all over?”
Emperor Gecko, that’s what.
Venus stepped up and put her hands on my shoulders. She shouldn’t get much that way. The helmet and belt’s where all the action’s at. She looked where my eyes should be and said, “No matter what you do, you can be forgiven. You just have to ask. Maybe not by man, but by God.” She removed her hands and held up an earpiece for me to stay in communication.
My response to that was filtered through the helmet, which deepened the voice somewhat. “Never forgive. Never forget.”
At least I remembered to steal some of the kitchen knives ahead of time so I didn’t spoil my big departure with a side trip to the kitchens. Aside from that, I had a pair of holodiscs on my belt to get me through. I wanted chicken grenades, but I had enough on my plate with the rest of this project, along with all the other stuff I’ve done. I’m lucky I got a belt with holodiscs at all. I’d have even stuck some swords in the battery plate if I had any.
Besides, armor like this, I didn’t need much more than my fists and some rears to shove them up.
An hour later, I drove a truck up to the gap in the chain link fence that formed the closest to an entrance these tossers had. They had sandbags there, but well out of the way to let in much bigger vehicles than the small pickup truck I brought with me. Being a bunch of paranoids who didn’t know me, a half dozen of them surrounded the vehicle, pointing rifles and shouting at me to get out of the truck. Granted, I looked like a normal human being thanks to the disc on my belt projecting that image over me.
I’ve seen soldiers in a war zone who were more polite. They fired either a warning shot or a smoke grenade or something to warn people off they saw coming ahead of time. Part of that’s to let people know ahead of time not to come close, and part of that’s because they wanted to make sure nobody got close with a car rigged to blow up. Waiting until I pulled up and then surrounding me wasn’t as effective a solution for either of those problems. I could have been anybody. I could have been some crazy person coming to kill them all!
Oh right. I was. I kicked the door open, knocking one guy back and diverting the barrel of another couple of guns. The nearest one who could have had a shot fired, but I bent his barrel, then reached between his leg to give the other one a new turn as well. I picked him up by that and threw him at the one I knocked back, sending them both to the ground.
One of the two I’d screwed up the aim for shot at my chest. When nothing happened to me, I grabbed the rifle and jammed the butt against his throat, then reached for his finger. I broke it, then pushed it against the trigger. Turns out some naughty boy had an illegal automatic. That wouldn’t have been a pleasant shot with just the kick from a semi-auto. Karma like that’s part of why I do it, folks. Someone’s gotta handle the universe’s dirty business. And business is good.
The guy on the ground who didn’t get his body yanked around by his nuts struggled to try and stand until I punted his nose. My back armor stopped a lot of rifle fire, but plenty of it went past because more than one of these guys had an automatic weapon they didn’t know how to handle. They call it “spray and pray” because it takes divine intervention to consistently hit something when you let ‘er rip. I turned around and dipped low, teabagging the guy whose face I just remodeled before front flipping to land on the shoulders of the other one who I initially knocked around. He went down under my weight, and I quickly back flipped to land knee first into his crotch. He sang like the famous Appalachian Nutless Cock Swallow. I stood up and kicked him in the taint, sending him skidding and probably rupturing some colon in the process.
Another rushed up and tried to put one in what he thought was an ordinary human skull. Behind him, his friend clutched at his face and fell down. I didn’t even plan on that one. I turned and headbutted the gun, which kind of blew up in his face. His reflexes needed work. I grabbed the partially-dismantled gun from him and beat him over the head once, twice, three times a lady. The fourth shot went underhand. “Nut check!” Yep, he had ’em.
The last one, who was now trying to crawl away while holding his bleeding face, didn’t put up anymore of a fight, not even when I grabbed him for a bit of parley.
See, my little incident at the gate didn’t go unnoticed. Several of them were gathering up, including a guy with a light machine gun of some sort. But I figured I’d give them a shot, just to pay lip service to the people sending me on this errand.
I hefted the wounded guard up, supporting him anally via my fist. My helmet made sure I was heard properly over his groans of pain. “Attention donkey show enthusiasts and elephant show hopefuls: seeing as there are some people who care about this sort of thing, I am giving you this opportunity to walk away with an unbruised anus. Lay down your arms and surrender, and I promise you I will not be allowed to do to you what your dad used to do to you after getting drunk and making you wear a little dress. I warn you now that should you fail to do so, well, things will get messy. You’ll be missing fluids you didn’t even know your body had. What do you say?”
“You’ll take our guns when you pry them from our cold dead hands!” one of them called out, but I couldn’t see who. I was holding up my wee little puppet man. Then it got loud. Guns are like that, and these folks weren’t using silencers, not that those things work as well as the movies. I weathered the storm fairly well, between my armor and the unfortunate guard who seemed to go out of his way to attract all the bullets. Or maybe that was me waving him around.
“That could have gone better, but thank you for giving them a chance,” said Venus in my ear. “What are you going to do next, ‘make the chimichangas’ like that one movie?”
“Chimichangas aren’t my style, Boopsie.” I queued up some music for the impending spine bending. Hearing the fire die off as people ran out of ammo, I told her. “Since I’m going up against these types, how about some Blues?” Blues Saraceno specifically, “Pumpin’ Irony.”
I lept to it while they reloaded, dropping the hologram and bodies. This time, the exoskeleton was cranked up to break bones on simple punches, and not mine. Charged gauntlets pulped faces. I caught LMG guy before he could get anything reloaded in the middle of all this. “Hello, my name’s ‘The Broad Side of a Barn’. Didja miss me? Nice gun you have there. Some people claim those things are just replacement phalluses, but everyone knows a REAL phallic object has to be able to glide up an ass. Let’s put the matter to bed, shall we?”
Turns out his gun was compensating for something.
The initial fun was broken up when one of them ran out of a tent with an RPG and took aim at me. Well, tried to take aim. I don’t think he got a lot of practice in at the shooting range, because the only thing he hit was someone’s mud-splattered truck behind me. I jumped back up to my feet and pulled a knife that proved that if I ever find a god, it’ll probably be the one the Aztecs worshiped with sacrifices.
Turned out, that was the explosives tent, too. I took a minute to explore it and give people a chance to catch their breathes outside. Some of them fled, but a dozen survivors had pulled up someone’s homemade monster truck to use as cover, and because someone got the idea to mount another LMG on the back of it. As if they needed cover, as if I’d shoot back. Yeah right. I brought knives to this gun fight. I twirled a couple in my hands, getting used to the weight of the attached grenades. I pulled the pins and threw the kitchen knives, not having particularly good aim. But, as they say, close enough only counts with horse shoes and hand grenades. In this case, they landed close enough, given how many of them decided not to stand back up from those explosions.
“That was a bit extreme,” Venus said. I noticed movement in the air and turned with another knife in hand to throw at the drone. “That’s me!”
“So, you like to watch?” I asked in a sleazy tone.
In the background of her, I heard, “Remind me to never check a book out.”
She ignored that bit of commentary. “We were curious.”
“I don’t know why. Mender knew how this was going to end when he sent me,” I responded as I began to search over the place for explosives, information, and maybe even survivors. What I found, I like to think justified Mender’s decision. Inside one of those prefabricated sheds was boy tied to a metal cot wearing dirty pajamas. Not dirty as in “I wore these a week in a row to sleep in,” but dirty as in, “This guy has been forced to crap in these for a month.”
Another guy in camo stepped toward me from the right, a pistol in hand. I swung a knife with my right hand. He fired the gun, which zapped me against the wall of the shed with a burst of red lightning that left my ears ringing. I grabbed my head and shook my head a bit before focusing on the man, who stared down at the knife in his belly and tried to hold onto his guts.
By the time he looked back up, I had his arm in my hands. One twist and crack for his wrist, another the opposite direction for his elbow, and then a third one popped his arm out of his shoulder. He didn’t keep hold of that gun, which looked to me like a blocky sci-fi type of gun, a pair of red glowing lines running along the length of the barrel and stopping at a red cube sticking through the rear of the gun above the handle. I then pulled the knife out of him and tapped the paling figure on the nose with the blade. “It’s your lucky day. You just surrendered, whether you like it or not.”
The drone floated in and I heard Venus gasp. “I know him. He used to be a student before the purge.”
I cocked my head to the side and laughed at my prisoner. I put the knife up and put him out with brief pressure to his carotid artery. “Too bad for this guy then. I have a feeling it won’t be his lucky day. Y’all better send an ambulance to meet me, though. I’ve gotta get both these guys out of here in a stolen truck, and it’s not the best ride, medically speaking.
The former student didn’t react, either due to sedation or shock, as I untied him and carried him across one shoulder, along with the wounded prisoner on the other. I felt unusually concerned for their health, probably a result of Psychsaur’s mental invasion, otherwise I could have jumped them out of there. Instead, I tossed the former guard in the back and set the student up front with me for the drive to meet what turned out to be a van that Master Academy had converted for private medical use. They took over from there, though I noted both got a small application of medical nanites before the doors closed.
They let me keep the explosives I found, which I put to good use after examining my armor. I found no faults in it except that I lacked one of my most powerful weapons, the chicken grenade. And thanks to the stash I recovered from our friends on their little snipe hunt, I have plenty of materials to work with. Yippy-ki-yay, mothercluckers.