“I think I’ve become a lot more comfortable with myself over the past year or so, but I can’t say I’m not questioning it. Is it because I’ve been a woman, or is that just incidental? And isn’t that just really stupid and cliché if I’m suddenly a better person because I’ve become a woman? It’s certainly not how I viewed everything that’s happened lately.” I leaned in, laying my head on the shoulder of the slight man I danced with.
“You’re a man?” he asked.
I rolled my eyes, currently using their camouflage to appear to be normal brown human eyes, and gave his earlobe a tug with my nails. “You’re not a good listener. I’m not sure what I am, I’m just not trying to say it aloud because people get bored by introspection.”
“So between your legs you have a…?” he asked.
“Case in point…” I muttered. “Nope, no penis. I even have a period, which is something most trans women don’t get. If I am one.”
He opened his mouth to say something else, but I pressed a finger to his lips. “Shhh… you don’t have to say anything at all.” I knew what he was going to ask and I didn’t care to hear it. I didn’t pick the guy for any good reasons. He was ok looking, but the real reason I picked him is I stand out all by my lonesome. I’m a stranger in a strange land.
It was Gangnam. Just a few years ago, the district had been the subject of a popular song about wealth inequality and the dangers of trying to live up to that as a standard. It drove people to debt and bankruptcy.
I’m one to talk. I went from apartment to palace. From stolen bank accounts to GDP of a nation. From being the dark mirror image of humanity to a nanite-surgical standard of beauty just as naturally unattainable as the skyscraper we danced around in.
Oh well. At least they had a kickass ice swan. It’s not a fancy party without an ice swan, y’all.
I’d gone in undercover once again, and with the benefit of gloves hiding those little extra arms of mine. Pickpocketing is so much easier like this. I didn’t come here to rob everyone blind or confuse some guy by talking about my particular gender issues. I honestly hope not to talk to anyone about my gender confusion. Everyone’s got a dog in that fight, and you’d think if I was a woman, I wouldn’t have gone THIS long-
Nope, not talking about it. For now, I follow the example of the great Western philosopher Popeye: I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam. I had, in fact, smuggled in yams in case I needed them. I may need the extra weapons.
The Great and Devious one has been called upon to render judgment. The target: Koko Kokokofa. Yeah, I’d wondered if it was a typo too.
One of the supervillains I’d personally furloughed from the Chinese Hell prisons worked South Korea for a time after he’d gotten free. Alpine, he called himself. Could grow to about fifteen feet tall with a relative increase in strength and density, along with the ability to generate snow. He’d landed in a Chinese prison recently and had a long life ahead of him. Then I got the referral from VillainNet and found myself looking at photos and video of a man in his 80s with Alpine’s costume hanging off his bony frame.
He’d been out trashing a night club to impress people and make his mark. It’s not uncommon for villains to use acts of public destruction as a job application, especially if they’re muscle. It’s not the way I do things, where public destruction is a side perk, but people do different things with their lives.
The hero who responded was… well, hardly a hero, I guess. Koko there is some sort of K-pop diva with telekinetic powers who fights crime sometimes. I looked her up and it’s all so coordinated and PR-heavy, with her in delicate dresses and her hair done just right, that a lot of her stuff could be set up to make her look good. Junk food companies did something similar in the United States decades ago, hiring someone to rob them and tipping off a hero, all to advertise their pastries or candy bars or what-have-you.
Koko had been at the club according to Alpine. They got into a fight, and then she lifted him up with her mind and pulled him toward her. She touched his face and drained something from him. He felt his strength pulled away and saw in a window that he went from his twenties to an old man. When he asked her what she did, he said she looked different. He said she had bags under her eyes beforehand. She laughed at him. When he heard police approach, he turned tail and escaped as fast as his hammering heart would let him. He had his powers still and that helped.
The judges appointed by the other super villains on VillainNet counted this one as mutilation with prejudice. That might sound weird, but even the lawless and anarchic get offended over things. Everyone gets offended over something. Supers tend to hate anything that takes their powers away or gives them to someone else. Identity theft can be bad too when people start messing around with others’ crushes and girlfriends. Going from 20 to 80 years old because of a laughing pop music star? You better believe that’s a paddlin’.
I advised Alpine to visit someone dealing in nanites. Nothing a bit of surgery and some organ replacements can’t fix. I’d see that Koko didn’t get to enjoy those stolen years. Lucky for me, singers are the sorts of people who leave a schedule. The party here was private, but some people don’t think wealth is worth having unless you show it off by telling the little people what they’ll be missing. Koko’s set to perform here this very evening.
I didn’t bring the armor along. It’s just the way I’m doing things this time. Since I’ve got all this money, it’s nice to be able to get an alias on guest lists.
And that should catch everyone up. I came here, checked around for her, and found a guy to latch onto so I didn’t look too out of place. I made a bit of idle chatter while I looked for Koko and thought up ways to improve this sort of thing for the future. The image that sprung to mind was one of my eyes floating. I could put together a simpler version with a good power source. From there I could try to recreate the floating orbs from my home dimension or pick a smaller, more conventional method of flying it up and around.
“Is there someone you’re looking for?” asked the guy I was with, breaking into my thoughts and cluing in on that.
“I heard the singer Koko would be here. I’m a huge fan. Meeting her is a once-in-a-lifetime event.” I smiled up at him.
He scoffed. “She won’t mingle until she performs. She always does that.”
“How long do we have?” I asked.
“Not long,” he answered. “Would you care to get a drink?”
“Sure, lead the way,” I said. At least I got to try some of the finger food before he arrived with a glass of wine. “What, no Manischewitz?”
He furrowed his brows. “Is that a problem?”
“Not really. L’chaim!” I said as I shook my head before sipping on the dry white he brought me. I guess I’m just not much of a wine person.
The guy leaned against the wall next to me. “I feel like you opened up to me because of a real connection-”
“Hold this,” I handed him my wine glass and shushed him as the lights dimmed and security people cleared out a portion of the dance floor. Out came Koko with a pair of backup girls in identical outfits, with identical hair. They were even right about the same height. She looked young, but that’s pop music pretty much anywhere. I scanned the backups for anything unusual real quick as they all went into a song.
I left the guy alone as I walked back over to the food table and that bitchin’ ice swan they had. A shame they had no knives for me to cut into it. Good thing I snuck my own in. I pulled them out, got behind the swan, and stabbed them in. The rockets in the knives shot off and flung the swan against the ceiling over the pop dancers. The festivities all stopped as the swan broke up and started to fall on them. Koko held her hands up from in the lead and stopped them all from coming down on her.
By that time, I was running at her from the front. I pulled another knife and set it off aimed right for her. One of the backup dancers saw me though and stepped in front. She took the knife to the heart and fell down. The other moved in front too, but she started to turn red and grow larger. When that one charged, I turned sharply and headed for the windows on the edges of the floor. I heard her follow with pounding footsteps.
“You have nowhere to go! You’ll pay for hurting Momo!” yelled the behemoth behind me.
Nowhere to go was the point. I grinned and fired my laser eye again, cutting into the window three times. I turned to look back and saw the red K-pop singer looked more like Lou Ferrigno. Unfortunately for her, she interrupted me while I was hungry. She wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry.
I slowed enough so she could catch up, then jumped and landed with a split. Momentum took my torso forward to the floor. It took Lo Lo Ferrigno over me and against the broken glass, smashing it out. She teetered on the edge there until I hopped up, grabbed a nearby table, and smacked it into her backside, sending her plummeting down from 40 stories up.
I got away from the hole in a hurry though. I ran to the side, around columns and interior walls, so I could loop back around to the main area. Best not leave yourself exposed in front of a hole near a telekine.
At this point, much of the crowd decided this wasn’t an evening where everything would be in control and decided to leave. A pair of security guys tried to pull Koko along like they guided the guests, but she shook them off and tossed one into one of the cheese plates. Nearby, an overweight lady shrieked before I pulled her skirt up and scrambled to my feet. Koko turned fast and knocked me to the side with her mind. I rolled, grabbed a waiter’s tray, and tossed it at her. She stopped it in the air. Same for another rocket knife. I kept pitching and she kept catching, but I took out the yams and smashed them into the floor when I thought she couldn’t see. I looked up to find she sent everything back at me all at once. I stayed ducked to let it fly overhead, but I felt her pull my legs and bare arms out like Vitruvian man.
She walked up, smirking, up until she stepped on the yams and slipped. She nearly fell, and clearly had other things to concentrate on, but I didn’t feel Koko’s mental grip fail. Instead, she grabbed onto me to steady herself, then looked me in the eyes. “Did you think that was a good trick?” she asked.
My camouflaged arms, unfolded from around my belly. One hand held onto lower jaw, fingers in her mouth except for the thumb under her chin. The other grabbed her throat and tore it out. “Not as good as that one!” I yelled as the blood spray coated my lower arms along with the rest of me. That dropped her concentration.
I lunged forward and bent her head back, then snapped it off her neck. I rolled and stood up, opening my legs wide and reaching for my cock. With a twist, I pulled the rubber chicken grenade out from between my legs except for the pin in the head. I shoved it into Koko’s mouth, kissed her panicked features goodbye, and tossed the head away to explode.
Slowly, the shocked guy I’d been chatting up walked over, the only living person besides myself still in the place. He held our glasses, both empty. Eyes wide, he stuttered, “That… w-was.. wha? I-I-I-.”
I grabbed him and pressed my bloody lips to his for a kiss. I broke the lip lock with a grin and told him, “Come with me if you want to live,” before turning away to escape.