Another year, another prison. Since I’d been able to disguise my eyes with their barely-used chameleon function, Dr. Creeper and I appeared to be nothing more than humans with access to training. They put both of us in a local jail, some provincial correctional centre from the look of it. If they got any of our minions, they sent them elsewhere. They probably thought of putting Creeper in a higher security section as the mastermind, but he’s just an old man who can barely get around on his own. He didn’t have ready access to money or his equipment.
I gave Dr. Creeper a day to rest after our harrowing adventure. He hurried up to me the next day. “We have to get out of here!”
“Not your first time doing time, eh?” I asked.
“There are Canucks in here!”
“It’s a Canadian jail, so I’d naturally assume most of the prisoners are Canadian,” I responded.
He shook his head. “Remember when we saw all those Moose Knuckles?” A passing prisoner gave us a look but kept on walking.
“The bikers. And those other Canucks. You worried about them?” I took a look around, checking for any other inmates with really bad hockey helmet hair. Still no telling that’d actually be a Canuck.
“They put two and two together. I’ve seen them looking at me.” He looked around, spotting a group of about six people all looking at him.
“Damn Canada and its math education. Ok, so we might not want to stand out in the open like this if they’re coming for you now,” I said, checking them over.
“Won’t they attack us if we’re in private?” he asked.
“They can attack us in public, too. Difference is, I can get sent to higher security or solitary for kicking their asses in public, and that will set back our egress and leave you vulnerable. Sure would be a good time to move to a quieter area. Where’s the library?”
We found our way over to the inmate library, the patrolling guard , which had a number of books to keep a person’s mind distracted. I smiled at seeing “The Count of Monte Cristo” sitting in the Self-Help section. Good for them. And good for the Count. Revenge is a lovely thing to live for. Nice thing to kill for, too.
I ushered Creeper down into the stacks, which didn’t give people a lot of room to gang up on us. “Ok, so I’m going to need you to stay out of the way and as far in the middle as you can. Don’t want you getting shivved through the shelves, if they even can pull that off. And do not call for the guards. They’ll only get in the way.”
It took a minute for me to find myself facing two groups of six assholes ready to absorb the latest in footwear fashion advice. “Watch out,” I said to Creeper, eyeing this one big fellow in front of me. “This one learned to fight upside down and backwards.”
He didn’t think too hard about the joke and charged. I lifted myself up with the shelves and kicked him in the face I’d implied was an ass, breaking his nose. I heard someone coming up behind me and turned. This one had a paper mache knife. I pulled a book out to catch the blow. He stabbed Atlas Shrugged, and not a single thing of value was lost that day. I dropped the book, which took the makeshift knife with it, then swiped at his throat with my fingers. The blow turned him toward the shelves, which prevented me from getting hit by the spray of blood from his torn-open throat.
I stepped back to see the two guys behind him turn and run and to try and keep Creeper out of danger. I got myself grabbed by the big man with the broken nose from behind. Or I assume it was broken. I doublechecked and popped him in the nose with my head, so I got a little bit of blood on me. He tried to put my eye out and got his thumb burned off by a laser. He stumbled back toward his other Canucks, holding his hand. “Well? Don’t just stand there looking stupid, grasping your hand in pain. How about some applause for me?”
He yelled. I threw a paperback in his face and gave his belly a disemboweling swipe. “Must be a snitch, ’cause it looks likes someone’s spilling his guts.”
I grabbed a puking Dr. Creeper and led him out. The other two remaining Canucks didn’t try to follow. I led Creeper to the bathroom to let him shake it off, even as guards outside began to rush toward the library. I had a couple of seconds to wash blood off myself before the alarms sounded.
After everyone was rounded up and accounted for, they had a hell of a time trying to figure things out. They had an improvised knife and two dead bodies, so it ultimately was thought to be some sort of killing gone bad. Or at least that’s what they wrote it off as. Any knowledge of the gang dynamics or motivations would turn it up as a lie, but the Canucks could only talk so much, too. That’s just one of those things. Snitches get stitches. I’d have told in a heartbeat, though. I don’t mind when people do my work for me, especially if it’s something I could pull off on my own, like them taking me down. There comes a time when honor is inconvenient. If Master Academy comes after me, there’s only so much restraint I’ll show.
Escape wasn’t all that harrowing of an experience either. In exchange for a future sexual favor from Creeper, I negotiated a few minutes with someone’s cell phone. Didn’t even have to keep it. I was helping Creeper outside to the exercise yard for a walk toward a far fence well away from most of the sight lines. Good old chain link. I just burned right on through it. The Super getaway driver I’d contacted on my phone showed up right on time to pick us up. We were out in less time than it would take to reach the second chorus of the song “You’ve Got Time.”
“I pictured that taking longer in my head,” said Dr. Creeper from laying down in the backseat.
“So what do we do next, now that this plot didn’t quite work out?” I asked from the front.
The driver spoke up, “People, please! I won’t want to be that much of an accomplice.”
Creeper ignored him. “You don’t have to do anything. You have upheld your end of the favor and then some. There’s no need for you to keep helping me out.”
“I dunno. You needed quite a bit of help. If not for me, you’d be a one-shot. A villain of the week. Sadly, that’s at least a little bit my fault. Or a lot my fault. Rouge got my sword… somehow. I haven’t quite puzzled out which body part he used to grab it, but I’m beginning to wonder if he’s Centauri. You wouldn’t get that joke. Then he used my motorcycle. And that’s all after I messed up your original plan with the giant robot incident. Ya know, maybe you would do better without me.”
“I don’t blame you for any of it. It made a great story, but I am not going to be one-time villain. And it’s handy you bring up the robot.”
We were dropped off back at the lab, which had been looted quite a bit. Between fleeing minions, Rouge, and the police, very little had been left untouched. I helped the Doc. “They’ll check here now that you’re out. We need to grab and go. No place for repairs.”
“No, no, you’re right. Help me find the replacement brace and my emergency stash. Shouldn’t you grab your armor?”
Dr. Creeper kept an old, rusty toolbox with a false bottom for hiding cash in. He’d stuffed it full following the bank job and hid it next to a closet with more of his braces. The braces had mostly been looted, but he found one he said he could get functional with limited tweaks. He also had me carry out a smaller canister like the ones he kept the mixed gasses in for his little weather plot. Maybe he hoped to salvage that much for future use.
As for me, I found the crate with my armor in it busted open. Dammit. I didn’t think anyone would just wreck it like that. The crate had “Dildoes, Industrial Strength,” on the side, and I doubted even the cops would seize it. I thought wrong, apparently. Damn you, stencils, you failed me again! Indeed, I wouldn’t find out until the Super service dropped us off at the barn outside of Vancouver that it actually had been the police to grab it. Vancouver’s finest had dumped it in an evidence lock-up somewhere, sources reported online.
As far as the barn goes, it was nothing to write to another dimension about except for the giant robot inside. Even partially assembled, it still cut an impressive figure. “The authorities who recovered it on the highway misplaced it but found themselves with an impressive pension,” Creeper explained.
“Money and parts. Mostly money for parts. Wish we had some autoworkers. Better yet, auto-working robots.”
“I have an idea to expedite matters. I can get this up and working again in no time now I’ve put one together from scratch.” He smacked one fist into the palm of the other hand.
“Good,” I said. “While you’re doing that, I think I’ll just have to waltz through the city and tear apart police stations until I get my latest armor back.”
“Good. That is very fitting. This is no time for grand schemes, I think. Just enough destruction to let them know that I am mad scientist to be taken seriously!” He walked over to the robot and climbed slowly up to the chest so he could access the head. A lever popped it open, and he reached inside to pull something else. He had to hold on as the robot shifted. Its right shoulder opened and a metal tube lifted out on a base. The tube extended into a smaller one, then another, until it had formed a cannon. He looked down at me. “You brought the mixture, yeah?”
When I nodded, he added. “Good. Let’s get ready to take a parting shot at this city.”
So, on the same day we broke out of jail, Creeper set to work rebuilding his brace and robot, and I made him an artillery shell full of ice and thunder to rain down over the city.