I should have locked down the Unity better. It’s a hell of a mind freak. Dr. Unity used to be a superhero before he decided to spend his retirement bringing about world peace with a drug meant to force people to love each other. I stopped his little drugged-up free love fest but he got away. As far as I can tell, he’s dead now, care of The Claw using him for his own chemical program. They named the drug they developed Unity in his honor. It messes with access to long term memory and increases suggestibility.
So that’s why I think my name is Tripura. Now, as others might have noticed, and what took me a bit longer, is that a lot of these folks are running around named after gods. That includes me now. Ares, Apollo… not even the first guy I know going by that name. Last one I knew was Paveman’s kid, I think. This one’s just OP, though. Enhanced durability, teleportation, light arrows, doing weird body stuff to people.
I still don’t know what he did to me, but at least the bleeding and other discomfort stopped. Unity, god names, and the latest on my medical status. Not a lot of things that are known, but I have suspicions. Suspicions based entirely on memory stored in the computerized part of my brain, as well as in this blog itself.
I just have to confirm it, so I did some wanderings once I found the clothes they left me. They cut out holes for the extra arms, never mind what that does to the garments. But they also gave me surprisingly free reign. You know, to recover my memory. I used it to try and figure out where I was. I couldn’t get a signal out, so either they dug deeper when they built this location, or they’d reinforced it with lead or something. I’d be surprised they don’t have themselves some sort of magical god metal, but there are only so many ways to do metal. Put elements in the wrong order and you end up with salt or something instead. ‘
This place was a lot less dark than the others. More open, as well. It was arranged like a giant hashtag, with personal rooms on the outside and the middle portion taken up with various common rooms. Meeting hall, refectory, game room, library, exercise room, and a small classroom. There were people here. Regular people, in regular clothes. Only occasionally did anyone wear any odd costume or armor.
I saw a woman hugging children. A man put his hand on her shoulder and she kissed one of them on the cheek. “It is time for your lessons on the other side.”
That kid hugged her and left with the man. Then the mother stood up, rubbing the other’s hair. “Come, it is time for school for you as well.” I made a note of the direction the man and kid went and followed this pair to the classroom on this side. Kids were filling it, including one with glowing purple orbs for eyes, and another with pointy ears and dragon wings. Ok, no big deal. So then I went where the others went and found my way to a doorway I hadn’t yet explored through.
And up a staircase. And out into the sunlight. Feeling myself reconnect with the world all at once was a bit much without being able to remember how to manage it so well. I didn’t even know what all these alerts were I was getting. It overwhelmed me for a moment.
“You’ve been inside long?” asked a guy who wandered up on my while I had my hand over my face, trying to adjust. I had to learn to mute a lot of stuff.
“Something like that,” I said. “I am Tripura.”
“Reynard,” he said, giving a Western bow. Chin length brown hair, goatee, piercing blue eyes. I didn’t like the look of him. Can’t tell if that’s the Gecko part of me or the part with drug-induced amnesia.
“I’ve not heard of that god,” I said. He laughed. “It hardly matches with Ares or Apollo.”
“This is the human part of the compound,” he said, holding out his hand to indicate the building in the center and the high walls surrounding all of it.
“Human part?” I asked.
“You must be from an isolated cell. You’ve never seen where they put the demis before?” When I cocked my head, he explained. “The ungifted children of gods and visitors. Humans”
According to what I’ve looked up about my own memories, this is all very culty.
“This is all very new to me,” I said. “I have never been involved in any of this.”
He smiled a thin smile. “We are learning new things now that we have been found. They are evacuating locations, moving everyone around. However, I hear this does happen from time to time and then everything is alright. It will probably be alright soon, and then you can return to your life. Until then, may I show you around?” He offered his arm.
I took it and let him guide me around. There was certainly less farming and crafts than the notes on cults leads me to expect. I’d have said less sex, too, but he did show me the school. Someone’s popping out plenty of kids. They had a few classrooms, and they were all young kids. “Where are the older ones?”
My escort pointed off in the distance. “They go to normal schools. The schools here get educate them until they can be trusted not to tell everyone their father is a sun god or their sister can command legions of insects.”
I shook my head. “Nobody tells?”
“Why should they hurt their family and friends? Money? We have all the money we need. Attention? The visitors have ways to let them be superheroes or villains. There is nothing to gain, but many examples of what happens to outsiders who know. Ask Camulos or Matunos to show you the eagle of the lost Ninth Legion of Rome. They love to use it to scare the children away from telling boyfriends or girlfriends.” He chuckled. “It’s a more exciting story than what happened to Thonis.”
The Ninth Legion of Spain, Roman’s mysterious lost legion. Exact fate unknown. Thonis… Egypt? City slid into the water. Fate very much known, but apparently helped along. Enough people like Apollo and Ares, and they could have dominated the world. Which begs the question: why not?
And another question to be begged here is why they decided to keep me when they could have done worse. I suppose that’s the point of taking someone prisoner. And on top of that, if these guys are known for killing Roman legions and cities, what are they planning for Ricca? And my daughter? I don’t want them ending up like Proctologus Ticklum and whatever heavy-handed treatment his legion received.
All this sociology is fascinating in its own way, but I need access to whatever the leadership’s doing. “These children seem young to be destroying Egyptian cities,” I mentioned to Reynard.
“They are kept separate, as are gods like yourself,” he said, eyes narrowing, flicking toward . “Perhaps you should return to the god quarters until someone eases you into things. You are new here?”
“I wish to help. They are but children,” I said, waving my arm as if presenting a sandwich or a brand new car.
“We have top people helping them,” he said, guiding my back around toward the door I came from. “Top people.”
“Ok,” I said, sing-song. I think I was doing pretty good at pretending to be an airhead with my head emptied out. I wish the jokes he told were at least worth laughing at the way I did, but I likely played into his suspicions of being another Unitied super. United? Whatever. Maybe they do this often. A bunch of people drugging supers into their own army? Too many questions. Not enough bodies hitting the floor.
I waited until night to head back out. Most were sleeping, but not everyone inside the underground area. But, oddly, no guards. Not even outside, when I stepped out into aboveground again, dressed in the darkest, most casual stuff they brought me. According to some of might notes elsewhere, expensive designer turtlenecks are actually a bad thing to bring along when spying, despite what certain secret agents think.
The interior overhang of the wall was angled, cutting down on my profile from the outside. I rolled over to get a view of the city. Cologne, Germany. It doesn’t smell as great as you’d think. I still haven’t figured out where I store phone numbers and email addresses to let Venus and Titan know. I’m kinda on my own here, and it’s really fucking with me. I had a damn map of locations with people taking nanites. Titan’s people use them if I knew where they were and how to call them. I could launch a damn rocket to carry me nanites if knew how. It’s all there, all easy to get to, but I just don’t fucking KNOW.
I paused a moment to headbutt a tile on the wall. No time for this shit.
I’m Psycho fucking Gecko.
Losing my mind comes with the territory.
Reynard told me where to find some sort of clue with his eyes. The wall helped me get close enough to jump across to the roof. More ceramic tiles. I cracked a few on landing, as they’re more sensitive to weight. And I weigh a tiny bit more than my size suggests.
Nobody wandering around seemed to notice anything. I don’t know if any are guards, or civilians, or guards masquerading as civilians. Some kind of amazing spider-woman, I crawled to the edge of the roof, hung down, and forced a window open to slip inside.
I successfully infiltrated a janitorial closet. I took a mop and the sliding wheeled bucket thing with me. It took a bit of wheeling to find anywhere with a guard. I figured I could go over and try to come up with a lie to get into the door. But that’d let him see my face, and he might not believe it. Killing him would expose me before I learned anything useful.
So I waited around the corner. And waited. It was boring, but I found where I kept the TV shows and movies. A hell of a twist in that Titanic movie. The movie post-iceberg is an entirely different animal. I had to pause it though, when the guard got up and left for the bathroom. I hopped in the wheeled bucket and pushed off the wall and floor with the mop, sliding toward the door and catching myself before I could burst through it. It was unlocked, which makes sense. I think they have special locks in place of guards elsewhere. I slipped inside quietly.
The room was packed so badly, it felt like the janitorial closet again. The back wall was taken up by a mass of monitors and computer towers with a person asleep on the keyboard. To the left were shelves with pieces of armor that came up as SWAT gear, which is normally associated with another country’s police force.
On the other side was a door in a frame. I know what they can do with that. I have to move quickly, stepping around the sleeping person to take a look at the monitors. One was a camera on someone sweeping downed helicopter wreckage and bodies. Another was on someone herding people into a van. Most interesting to me was one focusing on another person at another monitor. The resolution was a bit off, but he had unusually pink skin and about half his head shaved, with like a giant mohawk that fell over on the right side of his head. He wore a denim jacket and seemed to smile as he looked at me.
I cocked my head to the side, wondering if he had something to do with the guy who projected himself to me. That theory gained some traction when his appearance shifted to look just like video I took of him for later identification. Suddenly, the denim human appeared in front of me, raising a finger to his lips. “Do you know who I am?” he asked.
I shook my head.
A sly smile crossed his face. “You never knew. But don’t worry. You’re here. You’re awfully curious, Tripura.”
I checked back behind me, wondering if the guard had finished his whizzing in a whiz. The denim guy floated on over there, right through the shelving. “I won’t tattle, but you have to help me. Together, you and I are going to get me off this primitive rock. That means you have to hurt these people more. I knew they’d take you in if they caught you. That’s what I was doing with the emergency exit, but you weren’t cooperative.” I looked around, checking the shelf with the SWAT gear again, but then the projection moved to block my view. “Oh, you better get out of here. Now.”
I hopped back into my bucket, slid out the door, and glided down the hall before anyone spotted me. Then I went back in the closet, and outside, where I fell and failed to break anything because of my cat-like reflexes. The projection of the denim dude greeted me in my room. “About time you made it.”
I gave him the bird as I stepped in and plopped on the bed.
So let’s count it down:
Hares? Still alive.
But believe me, I am still alive. I’m doing spywork and I’m still alive. I feel fantastic and I’m still alive. While they’re dying I’ll be still alive. And when their children are ashes I’ll be still alive.
Still alive, still alive.
Ooh, look, I remembered a song!