The heroes are a bunch of Grinches. That’s the only excuse for the way they reacted when they found out about the stolen computer. Psychsaur passed by and stuck her brain where it didn’t belong. It feels dirty to say this, but I’m starting to get used to the feel of her reaching in there like that. Sadly, my tinfoil cap didn’t do a thing to keep her out. I’m at least willing to check out some of those crazy theories on avoiding mind control. Just don’t ask the scientologists for any help with that. They charge you thousands of dollars and all you get is inducted into a cult centered around alien ghost possession.
On the plus side, anyone who keeps on after finding out all that is almost guaranteed to be left alone by telepaths. Who would want to look into that mind?
Like I should talk, ha!
Shortly after Psychsaur read my mind and promptly ignored my mental image of better ways for her to spend her time than reading my mind, I got a small horde of heroes in the library, and they were curious. I’m curious too. What do you call a horde of heroes? Like, the actual collective noun? A herd of heroes? A cacophony of capes? A den of do-gooders? A pod of party-poopers?
So this veritable bellowing of heroes descended upon the library like bullfinches while I sat with a drink and read through the thing. Like bullfinches, they sounded loud and too annoying to pay attention to. Some yelled at me, some yelled at each other about preferring if Venus was here to handle me, and some shushed the others so no students would come running. Little did they know the only students they had to worry about coming were this couple in the study room. Bless ’em. They’re teenagers. This is the only time in their lives they’re legally allowed to screw underage partners. Who am I to deny them that opportunity when it doesn’t risk flying all over the books?
Finally, the flock of freakin’ felon fighters calmed down by the appearance of Victor Mender in his handy-dandy assisted living wheelchair thingy. That quieted them down as if he stormed in glaring, though he doesn’t really do much with his face these days. “Bring me up to speed,” his computer said. Psychsaur put a hand on his shoulder, the feather, scaled dino-girl’s eyes going glazed and distant for a moment. And I was back there all of a sudden. Relived the whole thing like a flashback. Neat. The blood, the gore, the disappointing lack of endorphins over the blood and gore, everything.
I blinked as everything came back into focus. According to my HUD clock, one second had passed. Psychsaur removed her hand from Mender’s shoulder and glared at me. Or I assume so. It’s safe to assume that’s the default facial expression from most people around here who know I’m me.
“Is this computer going to compromise my children?” asked Mender.
I shook my head. “I checked it over. No tracking devices. It isn’t connected to any networks of any sort, and I know some places to check. It just took me longer than usual to get in courtesy of your horrible human genetic experimentation, but that’s none of my business.” I helped myself to a sip of tea.
“Everyone except Psychsaur leave.” Mender’s commanded. The heroes listened to the digitized voice of their master, and I stood up to get while the getting was good until he added, “Not you. You do not operate without my approval.”
I raised an eyebrow and looked over to Psychsaur.
Mender spoke up again. “I will have her make it official if you push the issue.”
I do so hate giving them what they want without a fight, but I raised my hands. “Fine. Just thought I’d help. You know, handle some of that dirty work you guys don’t bother with. After all, they didn’t shoot any of you with the gun. They shot me. That kind of impudence deserves some revenge.”
“You are a prisoner. I have been lenient because I want something and because I can control you. Do not get on my bad side unless you enjoy that form of control,” he said. “If you had asked for my permission to hunt down the individuals responsible for harming the student you found, I may have given it freely.”
“Student?” I cocked my head to the side.
“From before the purge over nanites. I have extended invitations to those who would come back now that you are incapable of controlling them, but some have not accepted or responded. This boy was one such student. The evil that men do lives on and on.” After making his little point, Mender rolled on over to look at the screen of the computer. I pulled up a program that looked like it came from the Nineties. It was present on the computer and showed an inventory with coded references in place of the sources. If connected to the internet, it could be instructed to synchronize and update its information.
“This is shows me a little bit. A couple of sources handle heavier weapons and ammunition. Surplus military vehicles and equipment. Another seems to have your more specialized materials for building stuff. There’s a couple here that are chop shops for just regular stuff, and even some drug dealers in case that’s needed. I had an idea along those lines before, actually. I might make it happen now.”
“Psychsaur,” he said. I felt her probe my mind again.
“He’s telling the truth. He has a translator.” She walked over and leaned down over the table. “How do you know what the codes mean about the sources?”
I shrugged and opened another document, a simple note the owner of the computer made. “The greatest flaw of any computer system, of course.” I felt her in my head again, seeing my understanding of the note’s contents that laid out which code equaled what. I turned to Victor. “They will be scrambling to change as much of this as they care to. This is a big undertaking. People will be moving stuff all over the place. We must strike while the iron is hot, lest it be used to brand our asses.”
“He’s imagining a donkey,” Psychsaur mentioned offhandedly to explain the cuss word.
“I know you’re enjoying the mental donkey show, but let’s focus on the important stuff here. Like squeezing these guys until they decide it’s more profitable to give us the information we want. Honestly, if they hadn’t been so zealous to protect it in the first place, I’d have passed them right over and been able to do nothing but twiddle my thumbs. And if they’re just overreacting, then they’ll pay for their stupidity. That should be its own reward, truth be told. Also, they’re a criminal conspiracy, so technically this could be seen as a good deed.”
That’s how, less than two hours later, I crashed in the door of an apartment building riding the body of a whale of a guard who stood at the door. “Hi kids, do you like violence?!” I asked the lounging gangmembers.
They were fun, and good for letting me finally put some ideas into motion. I figured the drug dealers wouldn’t be high on the Ukrainians’ list of people to warn and evacuate, but what they lacked in importance, they made up for by giving me certain unique tools so I could deliver a chalice full of whoop-ass to everyone in attendance.
An hour after making short work of the least important part of the network, I paid that specialized materials warehouse a visit. They were in the middle of packing everything up, with armed guards and everything. Like almost all humans, however, they don’t usually look up as a first instinct. Jumping the fence into the compound wasn’t tough, and from there it was easy to make a vertical leap to grab the edge of the building and pull myself up. It’s probably safe to assume by now that I wore my armor.
I announced my presence on that cold December day by making the snowy day just a little whiter. I punched a hole in the roof and pulled it wide. I tossed out bags I’d taken off the dead dealers and hit a remote, causing them to burst with a minimum of explosive goodness to fill the air with falling white powder. Cocaine rained down. Tony Montana would have had a heart attack, and for so many different reasons. I’d have used pot smoke grenades, but they took too long to whip up. A little treat for another time.
I dropped down onto a shelf, sadly without a cool Batman glide. Think Batman at Ace Chemicals, except I dropped down into something that clearly wasn’t smoke to beat people up. And no cape, either. I’m considering a cape. I think it’d be cool, and it’s not as impractical as people make it seem. At least program one into the rear holodisc.
Also unlike Batman, I know how to have a good time. I put on a nice little song called “Why So Serious,” by Badministrator.
I dropped down and immediately gave someone a joyous Kwanzaa by gifting him with my boot to the back of his neck. Stuck the landing, too.
My laughter echoed through the air like falling yayo, accompanying the joyous sound of necks snapping, bones breaking, and gunfire hitting anything but my soft tissues. Music to my ears, and the reason why some of my soft tissues were temporarily hard tissues. But it just wasn’t the same. Normally, shoving my fists through a man’s belly and lower back until they meet makes me happy.
Any guards or workers who got in my way while I was in there, I took down. One of them dodged over fallen boxes while carrying a case of his own, only for me to slam him against the metal support at the end of the row and grind his face against it until his jaw popped off.
I heard some of the trucks rev up to get out of there with whatever they had. I noticed a contingent of bigger guys near the door, including one fellow with a gun I recognized as a M249 Para SAW. The SAW part stands for either Squad Automatic Weapon, or a literal saw depending on if you’re firing it full-auto at a tree or not. It wouldn’t do much to me, I thought. Then he fired a burst of fireballs from it in my general direction. I disappeared quickly enough, but not before tossing a knife in his direction.
As I believe I’ve stated before, I could be better with throwing weapons. My aim is not the best. My ability to utilize explosives is pretty good though. The grenade-knife exploded, taking the heavy gunner out before he could spit more hot fire than Dr. Dre on Speed.
By the time heroes showed up, tipped off by the destruction and a call from me to the Master Academy, I was gone with my own truck, a trail of bodies in my rear view mirrors. I got some good stuff, including several things on my wishlist, but I had more stops to make. I still had Christmas shopping to do. Just because I’m sticking it to these guys doesn’t mean I can’t get equipped.
Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s group of storage units full of future dead bodies and military-grade hardware that’s going to go in my library lair and maybe my armor. I’m thinking a nice mobile SAM will be a great Geckomobile against flying heroes. And, ya know what? I think I found a box of nanofiber that’d make a great cape.
Because it’s getting to be a new year. And I’m a new man in many respects. A new man who conveniently didn’t think about how much of this stuff I can put to use on myself when anyone thought to question my motives.
2016 had its highs and lows. Looking on how it ended, a lot of lows. The wrong people died. Someone other than myself is in control. I got turned human. Worst of all, too many people survived.
Time to go out there, nut up, and try to make 2017 a killer year, no matter how many people have to die to make it better.
Happy New Year.