I really should be more worried about intruders from my world coming here to seek me out. It’s just so hard to care when that guy who followed me through first is busy getting whipped around Vancouver by Thang. It’s not entirely one-sided, but he’s a new guy in a new world getting whooped by new villains.
There’s Thang, the gorilla-pig thing from another world and self-styled “King of the Jungle.” There’s also this other guy in an eye helmet, EyeQ, who sometimes gets into it with my fellow Earthican when he’s not dueling with the wannabe knight, Sir Columbia. Maybe he’ll make full lord someday. Lord British Columbia. Columbia’s fighting the newbie, too. Miscommunication can occasionally work for me. Meanwhile, Catastronaut’s trying to harness the power of Vancouver’s constant storm to do something. He keeps getting foiled before he can build whatever he’s after. I think it’s because he generally starts off by announcing himself on rooftop and trying to zap things before he even lays a foundation. That’s just poor planning.
Here I was, thinking these guys were all going to cause trouble for me. They’re too busy fighting each other. This is great!
Things are finally going my way. I got a bomb. I don’t have to constantly run and jump everywhere. That one came as a pleasant surprise. Turns out, Watergate wasn’t that clever of a hiding place. It also turns out the Secret Service employs a ginger chick who I’d swear I’ve seen in porn. She woke me up knocking on the door.
I hopped out of bed and stomped over, figuring it was early enough that the hotel wouldn’t miss a dead staff member. I could always knock housekeeping out, stuff them in the tub, and bury them in ice cubes.
Instead, I opened the door to see her standing there in a black suit, white shirt, red hair, freckles, and pale blue eyes the same shade as the waters off Paradise City, Florida. The crotch of my armor suddenly became a mite too crowded. I wore it to sleep in. “Listen, I don’t know why you came,” I started, leaning against the door frame. “But I think I know why you’re about to.”
She thrust her badge into my face. Department of the Treasury, Secret Service.
“If this is about those wooden nickels, I’ll pay you ten thousand nickels to forget about it. What do you say?” I looked down at her. Huh. Pretty sure they didn’t let Secret Service agents wear shirts with so many buttons undone. Or that short a skirt. And while it’s possible for a highly-trained stripper or ho to move quickly in those heels, I have my doubts about government agents. Probably the most odd piece of attire she wore was a cable leading from her back down the hall. Once I saw it, I was able to figure out she had a harness on under her outer layer.
“Someone’s concerned about your health, pretty little fed. Why don’t we talk about why you’re here?”
She nodded, trying not to shake. It didn’t suit her. For crying out loud, you know how selective they are? Unless they just grabbed the prettiest woman in the office and sent her out to get my attention, they like veterans for this job. Which means I stood there with a hidden case of sleeping helmet hair nearly scaring the piss out of a highly-trained and experienced elite killing machine. The way my dick felt, I’d swear I needed to see a doctor about my erection.
“I’m here to offer you the services of the Secret Service. To look out for you and take you places.”
“But not prison, I presume.”
She shook her head rapidly, red hair flailing around. “The President has made it very clear that we’re to treat you like royalty.”
I pointed at her. “I see what you’re doing here. He’s going to have my tea tossed in the harbor, then rebel against me. No, wait… this guy doesn’t actually know history.”
“We’re supposed to treat you well!” she blurted out.
I nodded. “So that’s why they sent out a honeypot with a safety harness.”
“I’m still an agent,” she muttered to herself.
“At the moment, you’re a combination hooker and glorified target. But if you think you’re hard enough to hang with the Gecko, then you may come along and shove people out of my way while I walk amongst the plebes.”
If it seems odd that people I more-or-less threatened were willing to protect me, there are two things to remember. One, it’s one way to try and get on my good side while working out a deal. And two, earlier that day the President got caught passing classified information to Russia. Associating with a homicidal maniac like me might actually make him look better compared to what he looks like now. Besides, he might be able to limp on with his presidency if he works out a deal to assure U.S. Supremacy.
They were all fighting over me, even if the arguments didn’t mention me. Russia, the U.S., and Ricca might have secretly formed some sort of alliance, but I offered each one of them the ability to eliminate the other two completely. Instead of the group turning on each other eventually, I gave them the chance to betray each other immediately. I forced an escalation and, I think, the end of their agreement.
So that’s why I could visit this bakery with the redheaded stepchild of the Treasury department in tow, along with at least two dozen other agents hidden all around. I was trying various pastries and things, more to mess with these guys and force them to deal with the situation. Cheesecake, uncheesecake, donuts, donut holes, donuts without holes, chocolate-covered donuts, strawberry icing-covered donuts, chocolate-covered strawberries. I was just about to walk out of there with several boxes of sweets so I could make all the agents carry them. The shopkeeper and my new handler were whispering some sort of argument back and forth, presumably about payment, when I started to leave.
“Hey! You haven’t paid!” yelled a guy stepping out of the back. The cashier rushed over to put her hand over his mouth as I made a show of turning toward him.
I raised a finger but was cut off. “That will not be necessary. I will be more than happy to cover Mr. Gecko’s expenses.”
I turned to the side to see a man finish stepping through the glass as if it wasn’t even there. He wore a fancy light blue suit with a vague diamond pattern, and a smile. Also, a cool pair of shades with segmented blue lenses like insect eyes. Outside the window, one group of men in black suits were arguing with another group of men in black suits, some of whom were my entourage. When I checked again on the intruder, he held up a gold credit card. “The glorious Empire of Ricca would be more than happy to to see to any of your expenses while negotiations persist. It is the least we can do.”
The man kept that smile on the whole time, though he provoked one from myself when we left the store and he waved for his men to stop blocking the door. “Let the help in. They have boxes to carry.”
He didn’t even make me an offer. We just hit up a bar together, him picking up my tab the whole time. A couple bottles of vodka later, he and I stumbled out, being guided by the rest of the Riccan diplomatic envoy and the Secret Service. I remember turning to the redhead from earlier and informing her, “They’re going to need help in there. Karaoke.”
“We heard the screams,” she said. I heard sirens approaching.
My alcohol tolerance having gone to shit lately, I took a moment to remember how to walk before answering her. “I dunno why they were yelling about some yellow king. I thought that was the best song of Fancy I ever sang. I wasn’t gonna do country, but they din’t have much better. I think I spilled lemonade down the front of my pants.”
“You’re still in your armor!” she said, as if that changed anything.
They got my back to my room and dumped me off there.
I awoke the next morning nude and hungover with someone else’s hand on my crotch. Curious about the hand and any other shenanigans, I ran back my eye recordings and found I’d left my armor hanging up in the shower to drain and had stumbled into bed, where someone was waiting to wrap me in her arms and tits and show me a drunken good time.
I rolled over to find she was a dyed blonde. Now, I think most people would have criticized someone sending in a hooker with a bloody nose, bloody lip, and heavy bruising around her throat, but that turns out to have been my fault. I slid off the bed, grabbed hold of the mattress, and started shaking it up and down, hopping to add a little extra noise. “Ahhh! They launched! Nuclear war! The end is nigh! This is what we all get for not being Quakers and buying the oats!”
After some brief confusion, the nude woman fell off the bed and came up holding a very large handgun. She waved it all around, cursing in Russian, before asking me, “What’s going on?” When she saw me holding the mattress, she cursed to herself in her mother tongue.
“Say, where did you pull that thing from?” I asked. “And who are you? And what are you doing in my room? And how does your ass feel today?”
She put her hands on her hips, making sure to give me a good look at her assets. “It is fine. You are not the first or biggest. I do not do the choking often.” She cocked her head to the side to show off the bruising around her neck. She then shifted her stance, at which point a strawberry with a bite taken out of it fell to the floor between her legs. “Or the food.”
“So, I take it you’re here from the great red bear to fuck me into submission?” I crossed my arms.
She shrugged. “We can provide you with a great many things. You would live like a king in Russia, or a Pope if you like them young. Knowledge is power, and we have it. Everything the United States thinks they keep protected, we have hacked into. Do you want to know where all their black sites are? Do you want to see their latest research? Or maybe you would like to meet your favorite porn star?”
“From what site?” I asked.
She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. We have all the porn stars.”
I put my hands behind my back and walked over to the window. Yanking the curtains open, I saw a helicopter probably a hundred feet away, staying level with the window. I gave them a little wave, then motioned for her to join me. “Come over here, whatever your name is.”
“Agnessa,” she said, stepping over. She grabbed a sheet off the bed to wrap around herself and approached. I reached back and put my arm on her ass. She didn’t seem to mind. My other hand went to her belly. I looked into her eyes and said, all sweet and softly… “Long live the king.” Then I grabbed her and tossed her through the window.
I waved at the chopper, the Russian agent screaming to her death over the sound of the helicopter.
All of a sudden the smiling Riccan guy stuck his head up from below the window. “Hi, hello! I see you’re awake. Mind if I come in?”
I shrugged and stepped back away from the bloody broken glass. The Riccan diplomat phased his way through the wall and window, then stood up and brushed his suit off. “Mind if I close the drapes?” he asked.
“Nah, go ahead. It’s a bit breezy in here, anyway.”
He pulled them closed to give us some privacy. “I’d have come through the door, but it is packed out there and I knew you would want to hear my offer. It’s the only one you need to hear. However, I do not wish to interrupt if you were in the middle of something.” He motioned toward the window.
I waved him off. “Nah. Just the Russians making their case.”
“I take it negotiations stalled?”
“It went downhill fast. But what can I do for you?” I looked around and opened one of my purchases from the day before. Cake makes an excellent breakfast food. Milk and eggs, bitch.
“In light of your rejection of the Russian Federation and the incident with the American President giving information about Israeli informants to foreign governments, there are few entities with as much power and wealth as us who stand to make you a credible offer. Indeed, I think we are the only one who truly knows what you want.”
I raised an eyebrow, but kept on munching on my cake.
The Riccan diplomat reached into his jacket and pulled out a thin sheet of material that appeared to be nothing more than a color photo. It showed a laboratory. Then he swiped his finger along it and it scrolled over to show a person laying on a table, attended to by Technolutionary.
Technolutionary had been a villainous stalker of mine. He specializes in the melding of robotics and biological form, usually by sticking computers in people’s bodies so they serve him as a sort of bio-robot. The guy felt that, as a superior being, he should try to make more beings like me. I didn’t like him, and out first encounter was violent, but then I worked with him to fight off an alien invasion last year. He turned on me to support them at one point. After I almost died fighting a copy of myself, Master Academy had him use the process on me, but the other way around. I know he made me human, and he’s also the best chance at turning me into the correct species again.
Before we could go any further, I heard a knock on the door. I held up a finger, figuring this would give me a moment to think, and went to answer it. Outside, I saw an older man with a head of shock white hair holding German chocolate cake. “Guttentag!” he said.
I flipped the cake into his face and yelled, “Nein!” Closing it again, I turned my attention back to the man working for The Claw, the guy I was actually supposed to be foiling. “At first you had my curiosity. Now you have my attention. Let’s talk.”