Ooooooohohohoh. Recovered and rebuilding, the possibilities open up before me. I’ve had to partially disassemble my armor to upgrade it so I have something to sync to. I built it to be less user friendly than my older armor precisely because of this. If the rebuilding process doesn’t go perfectly, it could compromise the increased protection. I’ve repurposed the nanites, the printer, my own handy skills, and some of the decor. They built this area strong, lots of reinforced supports and high-quality electronics. The nifty thing was that I could get some pretty advanced electronic from the bugs around, too.
I only had a short break to work on all this before my hosts reiterated their desire to see my side of the bargain come to fruition. They’d helped me, and I even got Technolutionary to change Qiang for me. She’s finding it strange, too. At least she’s unlikely to know the full extent of the changes made to her. Just a bit of messing around with an X chromosome, that’s all. Technolutionary’s statement about genetic relation is no longer true.
I’ve been teaching her a little about her new powers, like having her mess around on a computer with the paint feature. That went well until she found my porn stash. Hey, I know I just got the thing last week, but can’t a guy expect a little privacy for his 200 gigs of naked women?
To keep her out of trouble, I dragged her along to the labs with me. That, and I was leaving my suit behind to be worked on and didn’t want her potentially interfering from curiosity. She’s mostly been good about that, I think because I’m otherwise pretty lenient. One of these days, it’ll probably result in her blowing something up, but that being bad assumes I care about things that aren’t me blowing up.
My lab in the experimental whosy-whatsit lab is nice space, with blast walls set up in case they’d be needed. They had a full set of tools there, including a group of observers and assistants who really wanted to know what materials to bring me. They got them lickety split, even though I requested easily twice as many as necessary. I disguised that party because I gave them alternate materials to pick up. My plan, if it’s at all possible, is to find a way to trick them. I want to build a functional one, so they think they know how to make it work. Except it will be incomplete in some way, so their attempts to replicate it don’t quite work.
It sounds nice in theory. Not sure how I’ll pull it off in practice. Add to that, I’ve been distracted just trying to navigate the world infonet. There are all kinds of vulnerabilities in Russia, but I have to find the right one. It’s like looking for a needle in a corpse’s cerebellum.
On the plus side, this is one of those rare occasions when I have help. Unwitting help. Like the Master Academy. They oughta be willing to lend a hand. I peeked in on them to see how things are going and found them in the middle of a hostage situation on Capital Hill. In the House of Representatives, specifically. According to CSPAN, the House was introducing articles of impeachment when a bunch of armed people in bulletproof vests ran in, planted “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, and threatened to shoot anyone who voted to impeach.
…So it looks like they’re a bit busy with that. Saves me the trouble of hacking the Congressional agenda at least. And I couldn’t find Mix N’Max, either. My old friend with alchemically awesome abilities to make a potion inexplicably capable of anything from anything seems to have gone off the grid, too. I should have noticed that before now. Just like how some of the heroes have disappeared, only to reappear working for the Claw. Rather important I look into that while I’m here. You’d think they’d have some of them make an appearance to intimidate me.
Ok, then let’s see what Dr. Creeper’s up to. Last I checked, he was enjoying a nice start to his villainous career in Canada. Now when I checked in, the news finds him tossing giant robots at the Justice Rangers: Dimension Force, who still seemed to be based in Vancouver. That’s where the giant robots came from, and where they kept fighting crime. Must resist urge to go back and punch them in their helmeted faces and give them wedgies with their costumes. I should try to get him away from them. No, better, I need to get them away from him. I dropped him an email.
“Yo, Creeper, sup? This is your homeboy, Psycho Gecko. I been chillin’ over in Ricca for a little bit now, saw you had some trouble. If you can go quiet for a bit, I think your problem with those blasted rangers will go away. Lay low for a bit, and I’ll do something to draw their attention to me.
P.S. Nice turnaround on the new robots.”
That was just the spark I needed to reveal how I was going to throw together some bombs for these bums.
I worked frantically, but with purpose. All my recent practice and boning up on the theory stuck with me enough to come up with two working models. It wasn’t enough just to build the bombs. Ok, so that was a lot of it. But the programming was a whole ‘nother matter, and I had the benefit of an entire other culture with completely unrelated programming languages. I added several lines that limit the ability of the bomb to function if activated at certain times. There is only one second out of every minute when it can be safely activated. Otherwise, it acts more like a normal bomb in the immediate area.
That, and I might have used some stuff in the bombs that’ll break them after a little bit of time. Again, I won’t go into too many details. At least over here, you can get arrested just for laughing at the wrong people, let alone if you’re reading details on bombmaking. So I added a bit of coating at the right point. Caustic stuff, completely unnecessary to what I really need to do, but eats through some wiring that is needed for the whole thing to work. They might figure that one out, but I hold out hope for the programming.
Let’s keep in mind, I’m not just talking about one-off bombs, either. It takes two just for the delivery system. In addition to sabotaging the one-off dimensional bomb, I also put together the pair of delivery bombs in such a way as to screw it up. Once again, it has to be activated at a specific second, but failure to do so sends a signal to the second one to return to sender. For added fun, the second of the minute to activate the regular ones isn’t the same as these.
Now, if you’re someone like me, with a networked backdoor and full knowledge of how to use them, they’re no danger at all.
“Ta da!” I said, upon finishing a pair of dimensional bombs. I turned to see the various assistants all whirl away from staring intently to pretend they were talking and drinking coffee. One guy just got his cup, almost immediately spitting his coffee back out. One pair pretended they weren’t filming me, the one with the camera instead trying to look interested in filming the one with the microphone spank his own butt. I found one of them who looked wide-eyed and frozen, unable to avoid being caught.
“Y’all get all that?” I asked that one.
“Good. Now to test it.” I pulled up a satellite view of Toronto, Creeper’s current battlefield. After several frustrating minutes of trying to find some action, I realized I was an idiot for not aiming where I knew people from my universe would be keeping an eye on: my apartment/workshop.
I’d made them fairly small, so I couldn’t just take out the entire building. But a single floor? Yeah, I think I could pull that off. “Ok, folks, let’s focus on those colorful new heroes in Vancouver. Everyone got their phones?”
The group as a whole shook their heads.
“Really?” I asked.
The wide-eyed one from earlier raised his hand. “Mobiles are banned from the Institute of Science’s lower laboratories, on pain of imprisonment or even…” he took a dramatic pause here. “death.” They all jumped at the sound of lightning before we all turned to see Qiang playing with my phone, having put on a video of ambient storm noise. It’s very soothing. So are those videos where people roll ice cubes around their mouth.
I winked at her and reached out for it, feeling my hand merge with it. I sent a “Thanks, sweetie,” her way before slowly taking it away so as not to hurt her. Then I tapped in to the satellite view of the building and tried to let the rest of the bunch see. “This building is where these heroes came through. I happened to see it happen.”
I stepped over to the bomb and activated the main unit’s countdown at the proper time. I played a flighty version of myself as I played around, looking at their reactions, until I could punch the buttons for the delivery units.
While they did that, I searched for nearby accessible cameras that provided a better view. I soon found a traffic camera down a side street that could make out that floor from the side, albeit at a distance. The bomb disappeared from our universe. As an added bonus, we got to see some sort of squid or octopus fly through the wall into the street. It squirmed around, tossing a car and almost making us miss the moment when the floor it flew out of collapsed in on itself, bringing the floors above it down suddenly. The top of the building crashed down on the bottom portion.
“Aside from the stray octopus, a precision strike that eliminated one floor for certain, one entire building in its entirety. The rest of the city’s infrastructure is intact. This can be done to any bunker in any mountain. White House or Downing Street. Specific offices in the Pentagon. With this power, no one in the world is truly safe. I’m so tempted to just use the other one. At its maximum power, everyone can be killed. This smaller size demonstrates anyone can be killed. Mwahahahaha!”
I couldn’t help myself. With pressure off, thinking of the power in my hands was amazing. I could send the Claw’s palace into oblivion. I could send the oceans into the void. I could destabilize the sun. I could-. I reached down to grab Qiang’s hand as she reached out for the remaining bomb. “No, my darling. This is not for you to play with yet. Maybe when you’re older.”
She pouted up at me and looked back to the bomb, but ultimately acquiesced and stepped back toward me. I patted her on the head. “Good girl.”
One of the watchers went running, so I figured we were done for the day. Took my kid and was heading out, this time through the surface entrance. Qiang and I were skipping along on out when some guards tried to stop me and pat us down. “I am sorry, sir, but it is our duty,” said one of the guards.
“Danshaku is my formal title. Danshaku Psycho Gecko. My profession is murderer. My bra size is A. My shoe size is eleven and a half. Would you like proof of some of these things?”
They looked between themselves. I raised my foot. They bowed and backed away, leaving Qiang and I free to walk out.
“Please wait!” someone called behind us. I sighed and turned around. “Am I going to have to tell somebody my cup size?”
An elderly man, yet another person in a damn suit, approached, bowing. Suit this, suit that. If they’re going to dress for a funeral, why should I hold myself back from making corpses?
“What is it now?” I asked, tempted to ask Qiang for her knife for a more practical lesson.
“I am Director Medekhgui of the Institute. The Emperor was truly wise to bring you to us. You have done a great service, this day and in the days to come, for our people.”
Qiang tugged on the side of my long coat. I looked down at her, then back behind us where she was looking. There, I saw Warman, the so-called patriotic hero who I last saw executing prisoners for Ricca. He walked right by the guards despite the machine gun under his arm. He looked at me, but otherwise didn’t show any recognition. He nodded to the doctor as he headed deeper into the complex.
I nodded toward him as I asked the Director. “What is with him?”
He looked back to him, then nodded to me. “I am not at liberty to share those details with you, though I believe associated knowledge will be brought to your attention. We have high hopes for your project to synergize with others.”
“Sure. I don’t like being left in the dark. Could go badly. I have to custom build these things to fit the mission, after all.”
He smiled. “Our duty guides us, and at times, constrains us. Please, I would not detain you any longer.”
I nodded and took Qiang’s hand to lead her out and hopefully find a nice ice cream parlor, wondering how long it would take before they try to use the bomb I left behind or make their own copy.
Over in the United States, a few of my old captors at Master Academy received emails without a From listed. Victor Mender, the head of the group, as well as Venus and Psychsaur. “Gecko here. The belligerents must be declawed. I’m working on Ricca, y’all take the States. I don’t have anything in mind for Russia, but we’ll see what I can whip up. And before you think I’m alarmist for thinking I’m stopping a potential cataclysm, let’s remember that time I thought the aliens were coming, eh?”
Yes, information, like emails, can travel through the dimensional breach as well. Sure is difficult to find a secure and unmonitored line of communication out of here.
I smiled and led Qiang down the street. “Come on, let’s go learn about superpowers.”