Malicious Mercy 1

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I got an odd report today. Something freaky happened over in Empyreal City. Someone blew up a laboratory over there. It was one of the top things trending on VillainNet, along with coverage of Hbomberguy’s stream. Donkey Kong’s for trans rights, but the Applied Energy Investigative Of Yonkers has been kinda hush-hush on what it’s been working on. Or it did, until it blew up. My Intel agents got a drone in there. They’re really good with those things, and we’ve rigged them up to look like normal civilian ones, but harder for police to shoot down and sieze.

That’s how I got close-up footage of what looked a lot like the portal in Canada that leads to my home dimension. My use of dimension-breaching technology has made my new home particularly vulnerable, it seems. Or, and this worried me quite a bit, these humans somehow found a way to replicate the ability.

They didn’t go into the breach, but the local intel office did their best to hunt down documentation or even fleeing personnel from AEIOY. Pagan’s a smart guy, and he realized it would be something I’d like to know about. A good example of that is the initiative he took forming a private contracting company to help with the cleanup and rebuilding of areas damaged by supers and other disastrous fighting. It’s a pretty handy business model that works all the better now that the United States government has crippled itself during my absence.

We’re doing phenomenally thanks to that. Shitload of new recruits. Plenty of low-level government officials now on the take trying to make ends meet. So much of the people meant to keep us from sneaking stuff in are either calling out sick or taking money to look the other way thanks to this that we barely even need to hide it. On top of that, we’re also keeping evidence of their indiscretions to make sure the pipelines don’t dry up when regular paychecks start coming again.

The United States is on clearance sale.

Back to the subject at hand, without Federal disaster relief, state governments, especially the stupid ones, are turning to profit-driven businesses to make up the difference. My guys got a contract to rebuild a courthouse. Now we have hidden cameras and microphones all over the place. We know the secret entrances and have backdoors past their security. Those in-roads are why my guys pounced on the contract to clean up AEIOY and raid it while nobody was sure what did or didn’t survive.

That made it even easier to get a Dudebot into the rubble to where the city police kept a small cordon around the big, wavy, glowing portal that hovered a couple of feet off the ground.

I didn’t even bother to hide it. I let the Dudebot approached. The cops called out, a couple of them raising their firearms in case I turned out to be black. When they realized who I was, they all stepped aside. “I’m getting’ paid too little for this shit,” one of them muttered as he holstered his gun.

I called down an automated quadcopter drone like the local office uses and sent it through. Bluetooth connections can get a bit iffy between dimensions. Before I could send it through, a short arrow whizzed out of the dark and exploded. It wasn’t enough to compromise the Dudebot, but it was a little more than our reinforced drones can take. It took me a moment of side thought to realize the absurdity of an arrow piercing the thing as I traced back where the arrow came from.

Moving through the wreckage was a six-person squad in grey and black, with harnesses and helmets that curved back. They held rifles with curved portions sticking out of the end of the barrel and a cord that fit into gaps running the side of the barrel. The barrel came together into one solid piece at the rear and the weird crossbow gun looked to be magazine-fed.

I suppose back in the old days I’d have killed everyone and then start asking questions, but I’m an Empress now. I’m supposed to be regal and diplomatic. I looked back to the cops, who were finishing their retreat and raising their weapons. “Relax, back there. I’m sure we can talk this out without too many deaths.” I folded the pair of arms my Dudebot has behind its back and stepped toward the newcomers. “Greetings to you, my dudes. What are thou up to this chillaxed eve?”

The squad kept their weapons trained on me before one of them held up a fist, then approached with his crossbow-rifle no longer aimed at me. “I’m Gunnery Sergeant Marshal,” he said, without a trace of irony. “We have misplaced individuals from our world,” he nodded to the portal, “We’re looking to get them back.”

Ooh, refugees from another world. The plot thickens. “What kind of individuals?”

“They’re wanted on our world and that’s all you need to know,” the crossbow-wielding Gunnery Sergeant said. “I know we’re being brusque, but it’s our job.”

“I haven’t run across any refugees from another world so far,” I said, “But I’d be more than happy to keep an eye out. Of course, I’d need to know who I’m looking for…”

He reached into a pouch on his harness and pulled out a few playing cards. They had photos of people’s faces. There were about thirteen. They didn’t all look familiar to me, but a few stood out. One looked like Paveman aka Dirtbag. Another was the fellow they called Country Outlaw but who resembled Honky Tonk Hero with a little less oil in his hair. Of greater interest to me was the Jack of Hearts, Medusa. And if y’all think I’m petty, just imagine how petty it was to name their version of Venus, “Medusa”.

I held that one up in particular. “She’s a pretty one. What’s she wanted for?”

The Gunney took it back. “Her crimes are innumerable, stranger. Any aid you could give us is appreciated.”

Fucking sploosh. An evil Venus? You could host Olympic White-Water Rafting under my dress.

I folded the Dudebot’s arms. “How do I contact you with information?”

“Toss us a message in a bottle,” he said, pointing to the portal with his weapon. “I wouldn’t recommend bricking up the portal either.” He looked past me to where some of my Riccan “cleaners” kept an eye on the situation from afar. “We never abandon the chase.”

I rolled my eyes at that back on Ricca, but it doesn’t show up any on the Dudebot’s face. I left the cleaners to continue pulling any information, but I know my home dimension wasn’t in play here. These guys spoke English.

This being Empyreal City, there were a few different areas I could check. The Rothstein’s Sports Grill had nothing. Correction, they had ten cent wings. But aside from a motley assortment of various villains and groups of henchmen, they didn’t have any of the faces on the cards there. I’d run some of them through facial recognition and found most of them to be regular people. Good upstanding citizens, that just so happen to live in a community where somebody has superpowers and likes to save the day. So, if nothing else, the cards gave me a heads-up on some superheroes I hadn’t already known about.

As always the guy to talk to was the bartender, who was now pale bunch of tendrils and fibers holding a roughly humanoid shape. “What are you having?” he asked as I stood the Dudebot there.

“Your highest-proof drink and information on weird happenings,” I said.

He pulled out a mason jar of clear liquid and poured me a shot glass. Then, cautiously, he reached up and unscrewed the light bulb above me. I hadn’t gotten around to installing smell testers, so instead I tipped it up into the false mouth and let it seep into the spit storage area of the robot’s head.

“Cthulhu almighty, I’ve never seen that before,” the bartender said.

Luckily, my Dudebot made an ATM withdrawal from this guy who hadn’t been paying attention to who was behind him when he took money out. I slid several twenties over the counter for the barkeep. “Has there been anything lately where maybe the Master Academy seemed to be doing some infighting, or Venus was caught doing anything criminal, anything like that?”

Tendril guy extended one of the ones that served as his finger to point off to a corner where a man with antlers and a green hoodie sat. “Mangrove said somethin’ about that, but it was awhile back.”

I dropped some more cash off for the bartender. “Give me what he’s having then.”

Mangrove snorted to see me. He had a little thicker fuzz on him than a human’s supposed to have, and his fingernails were thick and dark. He’s one of those Greens that’s been smoking whatever it is that’s been upgrading them from regular hippie gangsters into something a little more animalistic.

“Penny for your thoughts,” I said, pulling up a reinforced chair near him. I offered him an IPA instead of a penny to be polite, though.

“What does the robot queen of Ricca want with me?” he asked, looking me over. “And what’s that smell?”

I shrugged. “Probably the moonshine. Listen, I heard from a little birdy who serves drinks you might know something about the Master Academy superheroes, or at least Venus, dipping their toes in the our waters. Or fighting each other. Or something where someone we thought was a hero maybe got into it with other heroes.”

He nodded, causing a bit of moss on his hoodie to flap. “I saw something like that. It looked like that fine ass rival of yours and a guy with a guitar were beating up her friends from the school.” He pointed back behind him with his thumb as if to indicate the Master Academy was back there. “I didn’t get to see all of it because Paveman turned into some sorta rock monster and went apeshit.”

I pulled out some cash and pretended to wipe my helmet’s brow with it. “Anything else you could tell me?”

He leaned forward and waved me toward him with two fingers. “As a matter of fact…” I slid closer, the money brushing up against his hand. He took it and pulled it loose, then sat back and pocketed it. “That’s all. Didn’t even see how the fight went. For some reason it was all hushed up. The most I heard about it was a gas leak by that building that blew up.”

“Huh…” I said, looking through news archives. “Must be pretty hush-hush. Only leak I see around there is in November.”

He nodded again, making me wonder how much he hates low-hanging chandeliers. “That’s the one. November.”

Interesting timing. “Thank you, my good man…. moose… whatever you are now,” I said, standing up.

As neat as the whole situation was, did I really want to go out of my way to try and kidnap an imprisoned evil version of the superhero I’ve had a crush on for years? Was this really a good use of my time? Was there any good reason to hand her back over the crossbowmen?

Yes, yes, and yes, actually. I had just the idea, and it would all begin with infiltration and a jailbreak to begin my act of malicious mercy.

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10 thoughts on “Malicious Mercy 1

  1. Pingback: New World War 7 | World Domination in Retrospect

  2. Laz

    By the power of an archive binge, I have returned! Returned very nearly in time for what I believe to be the date six years from when you started posting this amazing story to the internet.

    In honour of the occasion, would you be willing to do a Q&A in the comments for myself and any lurkers lurking around? From just me, there are a great many minor questions about the wondrous world that Gecko lives in that I’ve never found the time to ask in the comments before.

    Reply
    1. Psycho Gecko Post author

      You dare to question ME?!

      Eh, sure, why not? I’m sure in no way will this expose the world as a sham of poor and inconsistent design that ruins me forever.

      Welcome back. I know it’s a daunting task to read my scrippledygook that hopefully gets better over time. It’s always nice to know people enjoy enough to keep up with six years worth of me.

      Reply
      1. Laz

        And now, for what may be the longest comment that this series has ever seen…
        *Inhales*

        In no particular order, but numbered for easy reference:
        1. Why is Mender still in a wheelchair? He’s has access to nanites for years now, and access to people who can make damn sure they’re out of his system once they’re done for about as long.

        2. Is the wishing tree the originator of the wishing stick? Similarly, if the tree had been asked for wishes by a morally-upstanding-type-person, would it still have tried to kill them?

        3. Did Leah ever pick a superhero name?

        4. What even happened at the end of the battle against Cthulhu? My best guess is that the nanites were set to ‘Give it an ass I can kick’ rather than ‘Grey goo.’

        5. Where did Technolutionary go when shit started going down on Ricca? Is he still out there humping keyboards with his newfound powers, or did something kill him in the meantime?

        6. Roughly how long was Gecko in his current home reality before the start of the series?

        7. Did Psychsaur somehow miss that Gecko is blogging interdimensionally? Venus mentions that Troubleshooter never found a blog from Gecko, so presumably someone found out it exists.

        8. Will Polydeus ever show up? Everyone else from the list that Gecko gave Leah has had their ass kicked. Has he managed to opt out? Alternatively, is he a Hare? The name and inclusion of immortality in his known power suggest it is a possibility.

        9. What’s the villain situation been like in Japan since Cookie died? The assorted keepers of order over there seemed to make extensive use of her power.

        10. Roughly how much inter-reptile contamination happened to Psychsaur? With Gecko we can look at her thought processes and make guesses about what changed, but Psychsaur hadn’t appeared before diving into Gecko’s head, so we don’t have a starting point to work from.

        11. What is Spinetingler’s power? My best guess is that he’s effectively a reality warper, but limited in that he needs a power source of some kind (eg Captain Lightning, something good enough to power a giant robot) to get any high-grade warping done.

        12. Why did Crash have to die? Why, Gecko, why?

        13. What is the current word count of the series? Failing that, how long do you think it’ll take me to figure it out?

        14. Which has been your favourite page/chapter/story arc/some other subdivision of the series to write?

        Reply
        1. Psycho Gecko Post author

          Well, I can’t say how satisfying these will all be. Some of them are things I hadn’t thought about.

          1. Really damn cautious. Considering the history of the Master Academy, he has reason to beware anyone offering an instant, easy fix if there’s any way it could leave him beholden to someone like Gecko. It’s an offer he heard before and he has a far more cynical mindset about who and what Gecko is.

          2. Yes, actually. And yes. The wishing stick was broken off from the tree and refined somewhat because someone realized how fucked everything would be if someone like Gecko could use it. That didn’t necessarily end its ability to mess with people. Even good people can be tempted when offered that kind of power. The real headscratcher is if they can still use it if it successfully tempts them. That tree’s a real jerk.

          3. Yes, she totally has one (*rereads to see if one ever showed up anywhere*). It’s just a little difficult for Gecko to find it out right now because she’s been reassigned far away from Gecko for a reason.

          4. They reduced Cthulhu to a form Gecko is more comfortable with. Which she then kicked hard enough to break bone and knock Cthulhu far into the ocean. As far as anyone knows, Cthulhu’s dead, though those old Lovecraftian beings always do weird things by living in extra dimensions.

          5. Technolutionary is still around, just staying quiet and creepy. He got the hell out of there when stuff went down and it’s not all that difficult for people to disappear and make their way slowly, silently, from Asia to Europe and anywhere else he’s headed. He’s aware that Gecko doesn’t like him, and that Gecko now runs an entire country.

          6. I haven’t really settled on an exact amount of time, but less than 6 years. I kinda like the idea of it being roughly 3 years, but I don’t recall if there’s anything in particular that makes that not work, even with Gecko not quite being honest. I know she’s referenced being suspected of some older murders, but that would either require more time travel, or people messing around and trying to blame her for past famous killings.

          7. Psychsaur should be aware of it and should have let them know, but they don’t have a way to read it or even know which dimension or dimensions it’s going to. Gecko’s side of the archives are in the computer portion of her brain as well, but why bother with those when they have a psychic who could, at the time, access Gecko’s brain without resistance?

          8. I never really set out to turn that into a checklist, and I don’t have any definite plans about Polydeus. He’s not a Hare. Instead, he’s hibernating, trying to keep to himself until somebody finds him and things go to hell. He’s the kind of guy to be disturbed by desperate Nazis and end up going on a killing spree that leaves both sides of the battlefield destroyed.

          9. I haven’t thought much about it. They managed to get by before she ever showed up, and there can be more of a turnaround with villains in Japan. Enemies of the Justice Rangers especially tend to be locked up, banished, sent back to the future, put into stasis every year, only for a fresh new batch to show up to fight a different team.

          10. I worry I handled that poorly, making Psychsaur a little too sympathetic to Gecko. I like to think Gecko calmed her down some, like she learned to care less about all those thoughts floating around until she needed to. Even though there’s something of a bond between them, Psychsaur feels some guilt over messing with Gecko’s mind after everything that’s happened to her. Also, Psychsaur was straight prior to getting all in Gecko’s head.

          11. He has some ability to warp reality, but it’s more limited and nuanced than Gecko thinks. He couldn’t just wish to see his daughter and she’d appear, for instance. He can’t accidentally do it in his sleep, which is why he could be contained, but anything he’s altered will stay altered while he’s asleep. While his powers can allow him to survive more than just about anyone else on the planet, they also weaken the more he weakens. He likes his horror-theme, though, and enjoys turning people into monsters. When he had control over Captain Lightning, that meant a double dose of driving his dominance home and leaving Lightning mostly physically unchanged to help turn Lightning into a symbol of terror. He can exert control over people’s minds as well, but there are ways to free people from that. In that regard, his daughter is far stronger. But, since alterations don’t reverse just because he’s unconscious, there’s a huge benefit to empowering minions who can be controlled or who are loyal to him. In theory, if he were able to somehow control a large group at a time, he could build an army out of empowered terror minions.

          12. …did I kill Crash? I didn’t think I did, but let me know if I missed something. I thought it was left ambiguous where Gecko never knew what happened to her and just didn’t bother to check later because she’s busy.

          13. I don’t have an exact number, but based on the minimal threshold I try to hit, it would be more than a million. Screw you, Tolstoy, you hack!

          14. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some earlier stuff that I enjoyed, but I really love the fight against the corn soldiers. It was just stupid and silly and fun to come up with.

        2. Psycho Gecko Post author

          Update on 13:

          Per my local copies, from the period of Holiday Black And Blues Part 7 to the latest update, I have written 1,001,024 words. That leaves everything from the first post on January 27th, 2013 (Yay, anniversary!) to December 24th, 2014 uncounted. So more than a million words even if we don’t count the first 23 months.

          Though I do make some changes between the local version and the posted version whenever I post it, in addition to typo fixes. Should give y’all a rough idea.

  3. Laz

    And while I’m here, I may as well help out. As a man once wrote in a gravelly voice, ‘Typos. Typos never changes.’

    close-in footage of what looked a lot like the portal
    Close-up?

    these humans somehow found a way to replicate the ability somehow
    Grammar and the tongues of commoners do not require an extra somehow, though it’s possible an Empress might. Somehow.

    “I know we’re being brusque, but it’s out job.”
    This one is definitely a typo, and doesn’t require me checking that it was your intention. Does it?

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Malicious Mercy 2 | World Domination in Retrospect

  5. Pingback: 6 Years And Counting | World Domination in Retrospect

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