Despite numerous objections from Dame, I took a little bit of time to prepare. I had my reasons though. It wasn’t about annoying Dame. Well, it wasn’t ONLY about annoying Dame. There were a few factors, but what I decided was most important this time was fun. Sometimes, in this wild and hate-filled world of ours, you just wanna have fun. I am the right gender for it momentarily. Or sex. I think I kinda screw the words up a bit when I’m probably mentally a man who was physically male and made myself phenotypically female.
I’m proud of the fact that there are no words to describe me sometimes. In fact, some of my favorite times are when the best people can attempt are screams.
So when I was finally ready, I called up Dame. I know she has some sort of permanent residence around the city, but nobody ever wants to give an evil mastermind their home address. The spycams gave me a heads-up as she tried to fly through the floor of my room. For those who don’t remember, she possesses a gadget that allows her to become incorporeal with certain strange interactions with electricity. And with me, considering my abilities.
She flew through the floor and settled onto her feet in the outer suite. I burst through the door in full regalia, “Nice to see you!”
“I’d say the same, but I hate you. What the fuck is this?” Dame asked, pointing to my costume.
I twirled the spear in my arms and slammed the butt into the floor. “Fucking awesome, that’s what the fuck.”
“Are you sure this is the time to play games?” she asked.
“Lady, these events represent a paradigm shift that may very well change everything we know about our ways of life. For the entirety of the rest of human existence, it’s likely powers can be shut down. Anyone who can slip a collar on a super can stop them. We might as well have as much fun as we can while we still can. People have expectations of me. Glorious expectations. It’s sometimes nice to live up to them.”
“Should I ask where you got that thing?” she asked.
I shrugged my head to the side. “They have some sort of vegan thing going on here. It’s like some sort of symbol of these guys who eat beef.”
The old cathedral was still in service, a few hundred years not being particularly old in Europe. It had just let out its service when the strains of music began playing all over the city around it. High above the rising music, a figure stood in a black cloak and hat, face covered by a pale, grinning mask.
I kicked him off for blocking my view and took his place. The light glinted off the scales of my armor, the dome of my horned helmet, and even the pointy cones on my boobs. My robotic horse stepped up behind me, nuzzling my shoulder. “That’s right, Bot Stallion.”
“Are you done posing yet?” asked Dame from behind us.
The horse let out a whinny at my command. “Bot Stallion says hello,” I called back to her. Then I swung onto its back and raised my spear. “Havoc!” I let loose the drones of war, which rose and followed as I rode the horse off the side of the building. The Ride of the Valkyries roared out, heralding my arrival.
Bot Stallion shot our grapple lines that hauled us back against the side of the building. It cantered down the side of the building and jumped off before we smashed into pavement. Someone’s car broke its fall while keeping us moving forward, this time at the doors of the cathedral. The rockets on the horse kicked in then and hurtled me even faster toward the main part of the building.
I’m sure it had a formal name, probably ending in -tory or -cristy or something. I know what to call the door at least, which soon began a career in teaching reptiles martial arts after I broke through it on my robot rocket horse.
A priest stood there with hands raised. “What in God’s name is going on here?”
“I am Psycho Gecko. Gods have no place here,” I told him. The drones formed a circle around me and began flying after each other, lasers aimed downward and cutting deeper with each pass.
“What do you want from us?” the priest asked, clasping his hands.
I raised my spear and looked to the roof, catching a glimpse of the Three Hares symbol in a place of prominence where worshipers could easily see it. Then I threw the spear in between laser beams to impale the priest. “Kill da wabbit, kill da wabbit, kill da wabbit, kill da-!”
The floor dropping out from under me cut me off as the drones finished with this layer. That put me in the basement, with Dame floating around. Her skintight black suit was a tough darker than the shadows, but it was the glittery, crystalline mask and bracelet that really stood out. “Nice to see you finally,” she told me.
I got down off the horse as the drones joined us. “I’d say the same, but I hate you.”
She pointed up. “Was that really necessary?”
“Yes,” I told her. “But I’d rather not talk about it here. If you’re so confident in your quiet shortcuts, my dear, feel free to get us an invitation.”
She nodded and pressed something on her bracelet. She turned translucent and dove into the floor of the basement. She surfaced again, muttering to herself, then went swimming through the floor, looking for something. For my part, I started checking all the candelabras and torch holders attached to the walls, the older the better. “You wanna give up yet? I got plenty of laser. Not like the world’s running out of light yet.”
“Shut up,” she said from out of the floor.
“Actually read an interesting line in a book. Not a bad book, just not entirely profound. But they had this phrase I thought was pretty good.”
“I think I got it,” she said. She disappeared down below. Soon, I heard a click. I looked around to where an old candelabra bent into a wall. A five foot section of the wall around it popped back as well. I poked my head in and found myself looking at a winding staircase. It was at that point I began to regret already using the Phantom of the Opera theme song in my adventures. But it saved Dame from the ill-effects of my singing, so there’s that. Instead, I hummed the Tales From the Crypt theme. A line of laser drones followed faithfully while Bot Stallion took up guard mode in case the heavy construction blocked my ability to reach out to it.
“You’re not even trying to be quiet, are you?” asked Dame at the base of the stairs.
“That implies I’m avoiding a fight. Instead, this might just be an empty air raid shelter,” I looked around, finding this corridor to be fairly narrow. “Though…”
“An air raid shelter with that staircase?” she asked after checking up where I’d come. “And this sort of entrance.”
“Why can’t you suggest there are people here to kill more often?” I smiled at her and winked before skipping through the corridor.
Poor Dame floated through walls to catch up, “That’s not what I said.”
“It isn’t?” I aske,d playing at a frown. “Strange. That’s what I heard. Perhaps you have a speaking problem.”
She glared at me. “I’m not arguing with you. It only encourages you.”
I skipped along until we rounded a corner and I found myself looking at a larger gathering room. There were cheap plastic tables all about, like it was used for a large meeting or conference. Two things really stood out above all that. First was the door on the opposite side of the room, like someone stuck a regular house door on the dark stone of a cathedral. The second was a man reading a magazine who tossed it aside when he saw us and scrambled to his feet.
“Who are you?” He asked, holding out a cupped hand. I felt pain ripple through my belly and up my chest. It was like pressure, and something squeezing me all over. I felt like wheezing. Then it reached my head and I felt nauseous. I threw up, then collapsed back against the wall.
Dame bent down by me, then looked back up at the man. By this time, he’d pulled out a composite bow and plucked it, firing a bolt of light at Dame. She whirled rapidly into the wall that the lightbolt tore a chunk out of.
The bowman turned back to the room. “Time’s up! Go, go, go!” Then he looked at me, eyes lighting up. He stepped closer. “Who are you and your friend?” He looked me over.
When I caught him staring at the cones over my boobs, I asked, “You like my knockers?” The right boob popped open and a boxing glove popped out, smacking him in the face. I lifted myself so that when the left one fired off, it caught him in the balls. He bent over in front of me, giving me enough opportunity to say, “My eyes are up here.”
He stood back up, teeth clenched in anger. I pointed behind him, where the drones had gotten into formation, flying around in another circle, this time with lasers aimed at him. I’ll give him credit, the man took more photonic bukkake to the chest than most could, but he cut and ran. Or disappeared into a flash of light. I was hoping for sliced and diced super salsa, but I’ll take light-based teleporting.
When he seemed busy not being present, I went ahead and reached under my scale mail skirt for a regen nanite fix. Whatever this fucker did to me, I had them log it for later inspection. That was the position I found myself in when I saw a group of kids come running out of a side hall. Like eight of them. Five teens, a young boy still in single digits, and a pair who looked like they were twelve. They saw me, eyes wide, and all except one of the older boys ran for the door. He looked to me and raised his hands as if to do something too.
The drones took aim at him and his friends. “Stand down,” I said. The dizziness was still there, but I had enough strength to drag myself to my feet with the help of a wall. “Whoever you little shits are, you’re coming with me.”
“Or what?” asked the teen.
Dame poked her head out of the wall next to him, “Yeah, or what?”
The boy fell over one of the plastic tables. He got his feet under him and ran after the others, who were doing something to the door. They hauled it open, revealing a sunny area with tree branches swaying in a breeze.
I smiled and began to walk toward them. “Come here, kiddies. Come to Gecko!” I stumbled against a table though, so it was time to inject myself with more nanites. “Run and I’ll shoot you full of photons.”
“No,” Dame said, floating out in front of the drones. She punched a couple of them, disrupting the electronics and shutting them off. The others she stood in front of. “Not children.”
I was interrupted by hacking up blood from my internal injuries, so I didn’t press the point. Not too much. Not with how I was able to bounce a signal through the portal. Sure, GPS showed me in London and Istanbul at once. But it was specifically a location not on Dame’s list. It must have been nobody’s business but the Turks’.
The door didn’t stay open long. They rushed through with whatever they had on them, at which point I could roll onto the table. “Whew. That hurt. Go double check if you can about where that door leads. Or gimme a minute and I’ll do it.”
“I’ll do it,” she said. When she opened the thing, it was just stone wall. “It’s a portal.”
“They must be doing neat things with stolen Cape Diem technology,” I said. “And nasty things with whatever they put in me. Come on, let’s get out of here and leave cleanup to the cleaners.”
On our way out, I passed a team of Deep One Riccan soldiers on their way in to tag and bag everything. I needed the drones to help move myself out, but I recovered before Bot Stallion got us back to my hotel.
“Now can we finally talk about what that was about?” asked Dame, slipping off her bejeweled mask and tossing it to the side as I began to lose the valkyrie getup.
“Hunting. I don’t know who these guys are, which is just amazing. I can’t find anything in all my numerous stolen top secret files about these Three Hares, so they have done a phenomenal job staying under the radar. But they’ll know we know where they are based on these raids.” I sent text massages to Titan and Venus then, informing them that the Three Hares site was indeed connected. They had Dame’s list, too. “Or that I know, since I’ll be the one hitting up everything. And if they start to panic and move things around, we’ll know thanks to some friends.”
“Stop beating around the bush,” she said.
“But that’s what I’m doing. Beating around the bush and seeing what flies off. Seeing where it flies to. If they stay still, we might miss them.”
She crossed her arms. “Are you feeling alright?”
I shrugged and read the diagnosis from my nanites. “Surprisingly lucid considering I just fought off brain cancer. And lung cancer. Liver and prostate too. That guy gave me tumors. Literal fucking cancer. I’ll have to thank the bastard who did that to me with a bit of chemo therapy just for him next time I see him.”
“Next time?” Dame asked.
“This isn’t over yet. I’m still hunting wabbits.”