Frabjous day, kaloo, kalay! Well, not that damn frabjous. Frabjous enough. At last, my most prodigious talent comes to the forefront. I have pissed off everybody!
Now, just for clarity here, I’m not one of those eye sluts who are so desperate to be looked at that they think the best way to do so is to go around offending people for no reason. Nor am I one of those gloriously ignorant know-nothings who think that the more everyone hates them, the more correct they are. Let’s be clear here, I work for this hate. I had to kill a lot of people, destroy a lot of buildings, and threaten the entire world to get this hated. Any five year old could, and does, run around yelling about Jews and making fun of everyone, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been teaching Qiang some English. Besides, she’s four.
I didn’t get a response from Dr. Creeper, but my attack on the spot where the Dimensional Rangers entered has drawn their ire. They’ve been spotted in some sort of battleship departing from Vancouver and headed in Ricca’s direction. Also, the ship has eyes, so it’s probably a giant robot. A robot with big, googly, anime eyes. Saviors of the damn world, and they’re floating around in that. On the one hand, I want to give them shit for not taking the whole thing seriously, but that’s a little too much hypocrisy for even me to excuse. At least they’re taking the bait.
Our friends at the Master Academy in the States are still in the process of dragging their feet. The situation in the House was cleared up with a few casualties. Cameras caught most of it, until the heroes arrived. Something caused a disturbance that prevented all recordings. An unusually shaken House and Senate voted to impeach the next day. The only problem at this point is all the militia stuff going on. Car bombs, IEDs, suicide bombers; they’re doing everything they can to keep the military from removing the former President from office.
That leaves me in a more precarious position than I’d like.
The other people I pissed off were these Riccans. I threw my weight around a bit. They have clubs and stuff here, and I’m always a VIP on the guest list. If I wanted to walk into a jewelry store and take something, no problem. If I took it upon myself to waltz through a grocery store in the buff, nobody called the cops or anything. I walked behind the deli counter and everything, just slapping my meat on the counter and asking a customer, “So, you want the sausage?” Perfect time for someone to go for a cleaver swipe, but nothing. It turns out it’s pretty boring to be a supervillain when no one’s going to stop you but you can’t do anything all that big.
So that’s why I eventually wound up back in this club, listening to really loud music and trying not to think about what was all over the floor. That was when this dame walked up to me, and I don’t use the term in the older sense of the world. Dame walked up to me, a wealthy thief with tech allowing her to become intangible, not so unique an ability around Ricca. The last time I’d seen her, she was about to be executed by heroes who were somehow working for Ricca.
She had her blonde hair long and straight, with plenty of makeup and a tiny blue dress. It’s more skin than I’ve seen her in, but her villain costume was skintight and shiny black, though with a mask that looked all mirrored.
She walked up, looking right at me, bringing a cherry to her lips to eat it. They were nice lips. I’d have loved to lose my cherry to them. “Howdy, Dame,” I said in English.
“Hello, Gecko.” Her eyes ran down my body. “Feeling bold, aren’t we?”
I shrugged. “I’d have said bored. Say, didn’t you get killed?”
She smiled. “I could ask you the same thing.”
“You could, but that wouldn’t answer my question.” I put my hands on my hips. That drew her attention. “You’re alive, and you don’t appear particularly hostile to people around here.”
Believe it or not, dancing isn’t my strong area. I’m not often said to be graceful. I prefer terms like “confusing,” and “likely to kick someone in the balls,” though I feel I’m badly out of practice on both. “Please tell me you want to bring me in for some reason.”
Instead, she stepped close and ran a hand over my shoulder. “Sure, you can come in. Your place or mine?”
I grinned. “Too easy.” I grabbed her hand and tossed her out onto some dancers on the floor. I had guards in restrained and dark long-jacketed suits on me in an instant. I grabbed one and smashed his head into another, sending teeth flying. A third whipped out a baton of some sort and raised it overhead. I punched him, then grabbed his belly with those fingers. With my other hand, I twisted the baton out of his hands and shoved it into his mouth. “Take it, you dirty, dirty boy!” I yelled.
I needed that. Oh did I ever. I just needed to cut loose like I haven’t been doing lately. I wasn’t arrested or anything, and not just because of my importance to the ruling regime. I got out of there because, believe it or not, authoritarian regimes aren’t always that effective at keeping the peace. Were they the worst cops I ever saw? Nope. But for such a bright and shiny place, they weren’t that good at using all those high-tech tools.
I lost them pretty easily after I ambushed one of their police cycles. They didn’t pursue any further than the outside of the palace walls. Too easy.
Qiang missed me, though, and came running as soon as I stumbled on through the door and laid down on the couch. In the middle of all her hugging onto me, I still had to stumble over to the container with my armor resting in nanites, getting repaired. I pulled out part of it and laid down in the nanites, reprogramming them to heal me when I came into contact with them.
It was then, soaking in sweet, sweet healing that I noticed Qiang had a bandage around her hand. “What’s that?” I asked.
“I was throwing the knives,” she said.
I unwrapped her hand and saw a long cut along her palm. “Sliced you good, didn’t you?” I scooped up some nanites and put them in my mouth, then kissed her palm. The nanites went to work immediately, closing it up without a scar. “There, kissed it all better.”
Her face lit up with a smile and I just had to hug her. “You’re getting me all wet!”
“Sorry, sweetie.” I said, letting her go.
“It’s ok,” she said. “They said you would be worse at the home.”
“They did, huh?” I asked. “How so?”
She looked down. “They taught us stuff with bananas…”
“Yeah, ya know, maybe it’s for the best we don’t remember all that. What about your powers? Been practicing?”
She nodded. “How did you know I’d get superpowers?”
“Because if someone’s parents have powers, they tend to get them too.” I’m not really an expert on superhero genetics, but that seems to hold up. “You have my powers, because I’m your dad.”
She gasped, then threw herself at me for a hug, talking fast. She seemed grateful for my little deception. She gets family, superpowers, lots of money, and a life a lot better than she’d likely get on her own. I get progeny of my own. She’s cute, too, real sympathetic; she’ll tug at the heroes’ heart strings while I prepare to tug out their hearts. I’m pretty sure she’s not part of some plot to kill me, and that’s an added bonus.
She’s a departure from the general theme of people hating me, though my reveal of being her long-lost father led to lots of annoying questions. She didn’t want me leaving her side again, but I reminded her I came back every time since finding her.
I left the next night with my armor to do a little scouting, and piss off the Institute and the Claw’s people. Given my unique diplomatic status, I don’t exactly have to sneak around the Institute of Science. I’m not allowed to go places, but I find that security doesn’t want to stop me. Neither does the elevator, nor all these fancy electronic locks. What’s the point of having a reputation for chaotic eccentricity if I don’t abuse it sometimes as a cover?
So I went peeking around, looking for fascinating scientific stuff and asinine heroes who just had to go and get themselves captured. After a bit of roaming and finding people hard at work on cyborgs, rifles, jets, and some sort of deflective shield technology, I finally found something of more pertinent interest in the Chemical Warfare wing. There, I came across War Man being tended to by a doctor while hooked up to an IV dripping phosphorescent red fluid into his veins.
“It was a dark night in the city, the kind of night that reminds you of old girlfriends. The bad ones. Some serious stank had descended over the city, oppressive as a nun and only half as dark. But nothing a private dick like myself hadn’t seen before. It was then that he found himself in the middle of a lab, staring at a man he hadn’t seen in days,” I narrated, putting on a black and white filter in my eyes for the mood.
I stepped into the room as the doctor looked up. “You are not supposed to be here!”
“I looked over the cowering woman,” I continued. “I didn’t trust her for some reason. Maybe it was the beady eyes that revealed a soul like a rat, or maybe it was the smell of piss emanating from her underwear as I approached. The dame who paid me a visit left me in no state to take guff from this gal. She was beautiful, with legs that didn’t end and ruby red lips so sweet, they could suck a softball through a straw. If looks could kill, she had ’em. For her, I would kill. For her, I knew I’d get answers, one way or another.”
“Please,” she said, holding up her hands. “I just work here. I am monitoring the dose.”
“A dose of what, I mused to myself?” I mused out loud. “It looked like War Man, the Man O’ War, was getting an arm full of Mountain Dew Code Red. I hadn’t seen such a procedure carried out since my childhood friend Skippy died on the battlefield of the Great War. It left me friendless. And suspicious.”
She stepped closer, hands held where I could see them. “I will tell you, but we should speak where he cannot hear.” She motioned with his head back to War Man, who peered at me suspiciously, but otherwise kept taking his medicine.
“Ok, I said to the lady,” I said to the lady, “But no funny business. Hands off the cream pies and whoopee cushions, wiseguy.”
She led me over to a corner and spoke softly. “We received a memo you might explore. If anyone asks, you threatened to kill me.” She looked around, checking cameras in the corners of the room.
I put my hand on her shoulder. “Hey, relax. We’re all friends here. Of course I’m threatening to kill you. Now tell me what I want to know or you’ll end up a science project instead of the scientist.”
She fidgeted under my hand. “This is the lab specializing in the drug Unity.”
“The Empire obtained a scientist with knowledge in chemical interactions with the brain. It attacks the neural pathways of long term memories, metaphorically blocking them.”
I nodded. “Then you come in, and take advantage of that lack of memory to say ‘Hey, we’re your friends. You’re loyal to this Claw fellow, and doing his good works around the world.’
“Essentially,” she answered.
“Something tells me you didn’t think up this plan. Who made this stuff, while we’re friendly enough to discuss it?”
She tried to look me in my eyes, but couldn’t figure out which “eyes” to look into. “Have you heard of Dr. Unity?”
The hero behind Sexahol, a drug he intended to turn the world into one big hippie love-fest. It created feelings of general love and lust in those affected. It also built up in people’s brains. He dosed Empyreal City with it, including the UN. Offered me women, too. Offended, I beat his little plot, left him imprisoned, and exposed his plot to the world. A more responsible person might have kept better tabs on him. “I’m aware of the fellow.”
“I do not know exactly what happened, but the doctor was persuaded to give up the secrets of his research before expiring. We engineered Unity and named it for him.”
“And him?” I asked, looking back toward War Man.
She looked back as well, checking the bag of Unity. “Those with a healing factor require regular doses.”
“Wow,” I nodded. “Let me guess, they’d kill you for telling me all this.”
She nodded as well. “I hope your threat of violence will persuade them not to execute me. I have a family.”
“Hey… I think I know a way to make it work even better!” I grabbed her head and pressed it to the wall. She flailed and screamed but did nothing capable of stopping me as I pushed and pushed. Much cracking, and then squishing, ensued. War Man sat up and took notice, but didn’t interfere. He glared enough, though.
When security arrived, I left them to clean up the woman with a hand print through her head. “All clear here, folks. Nothing to see. The security breach is handled.”
The guards in their faceless armor and glowing claw insignia pointed their rifles at me until one of them held up a fist. “He is free to go.”
I nodded to that one and walked past them. “This is not the Gecko you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.”