It’s been awhile since I checked my old PO Box around this place. I know, the guy with a brain computer keeping a PO Box for snail mail. I checked it infrequently even before everything went to pot. It was usually only good for junk mail, like some of the stuff I got. “Dear, Psycho Gecko, we have an exciting opportunity for you. How would you like $6 million to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II?” Followed soon after by, “Disregard prior message. The business opportunity is no longer solvent.” That one was signed by just MI6 and dated a day after the one before. I’m not technically in the hitman game anymore since becoming a world leader myself. It seems somewhat beneath me. Like a world leader taking orders from a random person with money on who to kill? This isn’t the Cold War, though not for lack of trying from the Ruskies.
It’s practical in other ways. Up until taking up government work, I was the World’s Public Enemy Numero Uno. I should be careful about taking jobs to sneak into dark, secluded places for killing people. Someone might find out, like the person who hired me, and I’d be in a dark, secluded place that’s perfect for an assassination. I don’t need that headache. Funny how becoming a political leader made a lot of countries ok with all the mass murder and weapons of mass destruction I’ve built and used, though.
I sometimes wonder if the spy agencies enjoyed working with me. I might think one of them was behind the bombing on that one hotel, except it was too messy. CIA doesn’t technically have jurisdiction within the United States. While that’s never stopped them before, it’s also their ass if they do something stupidly public, like a car bomb, and then it fails. It’d barely be acceptable if it worked, let alone if the only casualties were American civilians. Same for the other domestic agencies. And foreign ones? Yeah, they don’t want to be caught blowing up buildings in the U.S. either.
I had time to work this out despite everybody and their mother clamoring for my attention. Updates from Ricca, updates from North Korea, Qiang wanting me to take her a giant toy store. Ya know, they mistook me for an elf? For some reason, a guy can’t walk around with bells in his purple hair without someone thinking he’s strange. And, of course, wish her a holly jolly funeral in front of Qiang. This kid is seriously interfering with my game. She’s cockblocking my skullfuckery.
It wasn’t all spoiling her with toys, though. I gave her that day, and then that night was boring and unproductive. The next day, though, I put her through some physical training. She’d never been parachuting before.
“So you say some of your old friends are looking for work?” I asked the pilot at the front of the plane as we took to the air above Empyreal City.
“Oh yeah. It’s shitty as all hell on the airlines. Bad hours, bad pay, no benefits. I got friends collecting food stamps. They don’t want food stamps. They want money,” he looked at me. “Me, I’m stuck doing this kinda stuff ever since getting off.”
I’d struck up a conversation with our pilot because I’d recognized him as part of that crew who would fly for villains a few years back. Always nice to know of a bunch of desperate pilots looking for work in all the wrong places. “If you can give me some people who work around the west coast or who are willing to move over there, I might have something for them.”
He smiled. “After all this, alright?” He gave me a thumbs-up.
I returned it, then turned to address the tugging on my pantleg. I found Qiang standing behind me. “Daddy, did I have to leave my armor?”
I knelt down. “It’s too heavy, my sweet. You’re wanting it now?”
She nodded. “It makes me feel safe after what those guys tried to do.”
“The guys… the ones with the dog ears and the claws that I beat up?” I asked.
I hugged her. “This is one time when you can’t wear the armor, but I’ll let you wear it as much as you want anytime you can, ok? Just know that I love you and I would do anything to keep you from being hurt by anyone.” I kissed her on the forehead. “Ok, now let’s go jump out a plane!”
They had her tandem jump with someone else. Good for her. People started freaking out when I did it, though. Probably because I slipped the chute off and threw it out first.
As amazing as it was seeing the Earth from that high up, that’s all housekeeping. That’s the veggies of this whole situation. Let’s get to some nice, firm, hot meat up in here. The stuff that doesn’t involve my daughter.
The night of our skydiving trip, the police channels started to perk up about a situation involving the Wolfpack and a big electronics store. According to the cops, it looked like a siege. Wolfpack was spreading around to the side doors and rear loading area. Someone inside had heavy weaponry. I wouldn’t have a whole lot of time, if it was my guy. All I had to go on was the Wolfpack interest and the presence of automatic weapons. Either one was explainable by all the self-appointed vigilantes out there who think they’ve stopped a mass shooting if they stop the guy from killing a 27th person.
Luckily, height is easy to translate into horizontal distance if someone’s smart and has a way to control their fall. Like, for instance, rockets built into their power armor. By the time I’d arrived, things had only escalated. Under ordinary circumstances, the police were all too willing to use tear gas, shotguns, and riot police to break up a hostile crowd of unarmed college students or people protesting Nazis. Against a gang of white criminals claiming they’re about taking their neighborhoods back to a safer time of law and order, they were mysteriously stand-offish. All they were sending in were people to form a perimeter.
Maybe they just thought a hero would help, the sort they don’t like when they’re putting the boots to peaceful groups.
That didn’t stop the Wolfpack, who responded by throwing things at the police lines. They weren’t as covered up from that side. The cops must have distracted them from the store, but they were slinking back to it as their best cover. The problem with that was gunfire from inside keeping them from being completely safe until they took him out. It also led to one of the Wolfpack firing on the police line, which caused a few more to briefly open up. I noticed the ones on the nearest side of the store booked it for the group at the front. The ones who’d been sent to the rear didn’t bother heading in until they caught a glimpse of police headed their way.
It’s not that unusual that they weren’t more violent to the lover-like attentions of the police. They know they stand a pretty good chance of not being killed so long as a cop doesn’t die. Most criminals don’t want to end up a copkiller. That’s the kind of situation where the police just fire until all the guns run empty. It’s important to remember that most criminals do things for money, with a few others focused on pride.
As for murder? Well, that looks like a job for… Psycho Gecko!
I landed hard by the rear of the building. The wolves there realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t law enforcement and opened up with what guns they had from behind the soft cardboard boxes they were using for concealment. Can’t call those cover. When I got close, they tried to surround me and use those metal claws. First one to try it received an amazing price: all you can get kicked in the dick! Fresh and hot, right from the oven. Ah hell, dick kicks for everybody!
They were all so full afterward, they had to recover on the ground. I left them and their groans behind as I ran inside, trying to find one specific source of gunfire in there. It was easy enough. The guy was focused on the front of the store with his belt-fed machinegun. It was Quadmaster, though his white and grey harness only had three at time time. That probably had something to do with hitting up this place and its spare parts for just those sorts of rotors. “Yeah! Get some! Get some!” he yelled, firing sporadically on the gang members by the front of the store.
I walked over, past the few terrified hostages laying still on the floor, and knelt down behind him. I took my time adjusting myself there, then poked him on the elbow. He whirled around, firing past me and through a wall, shredding a row of office shredders. Then he looked down. At crotch height, I headbutted. He flew back, dropping the gun and trailing arms and legs behind him. He toppled one flimsy set of cubicle walls and rolled over. A printer fell off the shelf above him and clocked him in the face.
“Nice to see you again,” I said, standing up. “Looks like things haven’t been going so hot.” I walked over and tore a couple more rotors off his harness, then grabbed his foot. “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”
The canines still had their bone to pick with him, and now the shooting from back here had stopped. Three of them ran. I dropped Quadmaster’s foot and grabbed a nearby display laptop. Slamming it shut, I dropped into discus stance and whirled around, releasing it toward one of them. He fell with a laptop half-embedded in his chest. “I guess you could say,” I said, standing up. I had a moment while his comrades looked at him, stunned, and used it to project a set of holograph shades I pulled down over two of my helmet’s eyes. “He had a big Mac attack.”
One of the others lowered his hands, dropping a pair of claws that looked to be attached to a harness under his fuzzy sweatshirt. He ran at me. I looked around for something to have fun with and came up with a camera tripod. I swung it upward to knock a swipe from one of his claws up, then caught the other one in the middle and twisted. He cartwheeled and came up on balance, pulling his claw free. I jammed the head of the tripod into his belly. The third Wolfpack out of all this chose that moment to jump on my back, but I ignored him while I used the tripod to lift his friend into the air. The one on my back was trying to wrap an arm around my neck and choke me, but my helmet’s jagged neck guard bit into his arm. I gave the tripod a little jab into the air to push the one with the big claws into the air. When he came down, it was by getting his ass impaled on the tripod with a cloud of bloody spat from his mouth. I pulled the legs out, prompting a long, low moan from him as I set him up like that.
It was hard to hear over all the screaming from the one on my back, who was losing a lot of blood trying to free his arm from me. I let him go and caught him as he slid off, then threw him against the nearby trashed display of laptops. I walked over and grabbed the power cord from one of the laptops. Lifting my injured assailant by the neck, I wrapped the cord around his neck. A gaggle of gangbangers arrived just in time to see me pull hard on the cord and pop their friend’s head off like a cork. It actually makes a popping noise like that. Gets me every time.
“Anyone else?” I asked to the Wolfpack.
They ran, leaving me to pull a drowsy, recovering Quadmaster up over my shoulder, aim for a skylight, and jump out of there.
I kept him out of his wits on the way back to my hotel room with periodic application of a well-known treatment called “My Fist”. Causing pains in my ass? Painful, burning irritation in my hotel room? Being a headache? You may need My Fist! Now available in children’s dosages. Once I got him there, stripped off his harness, searched his clothes, tied him up, and shoved a ballgag in his mouth.
“Don’t worry,” I told him. “It’s for your safety too, and it’s only lightly used.” For some reason, that got enough of a response from him that he didn’t shut up until I offered him some more My Fist.
Now to learn everything he knows about that attack on my hotel. I’ll ask real nice.