“I could destroy them for you. It would require minimal effort,” said the featureless white face of Mr. Omega in my HUD. I was suited up and checking over elaborate gauntlets on my lower arms. They had been built to attach to my usual gloves on the lower limbs. Because of that, those arms now lacked the redundant energy sheaths, or the Nasty Surprises that I liked to hide there. They can punch without damaging the devices, so I’m not completely disarmed. Times like these make me wish I had a cybernetic tail, though. With a sharp blade, shooting lasers out of it… Fuck yeah.
Rather than focus on building my perfect body, I had to respond to Mr. Omega. The extradimensional deity had popped in to offer his services. It wasn’t a bad idea. I don’t trust the guy still, even if he did help save my daughter. Part of me doesn’t like the idea of being so mean to a guy who saved her, but so it goes. The Evil Overlord’s List doesn’t say anything about giving someone a free pass for saving your daughter’s life, after all. So I might have him do some of the destruction for me in a very flashy way. He’ll look like a big oncoming threat and make people more worried about him than me.
I did inform the VillaiNet that I might be going after some of those Freedom Legion dweebs and would likely kill a few. The villains are usually ok with it being open season on cops. The other way around, cops have gotten away with countless abuses by claiming they felt threatened and thought the person they were stomping on had powers. But they didn’t like the idea of me bumping off supers as often without good reason. The Legion being a more formalized version of a supercop complicates that set-up, or so I thought. Turns out, the Legion’s been a bunch of asswads to villains around the States, so most of them are pretty fond of the idea of me thinning the herd a bit.
I took a Psycho Flyer all alone this time to help facilitate my plan to blame it on Omega. One good thing about this plan to trick him is that I’ll really enjoy using the Telechamber again. When I eventually build it, and if I eventually kill him, it’ll be really nifty to have that mode of travel available when it comes time to kill people.
I set the cloaked Flyer down outside some small town in Maryland. Probably a bit close to D.C. For the government’s taste when they found out about it, but they might have already known. That asshat with Hephaestus made it sound like a partnership, but he’s probably saying the same about the deal I worked out with him.
I double parked the Flyer off in a wooded area outside of town and left it camouflaged as a cottage standing on a pair of chicken legs so as to scare people off. I camouflaged myself as The lab looked like any another unnamed office building in a commercial district. Nothing too special, as far as most people are concerned, until I noticed the food truck was hanging around late in the afternoon, and the guy at the order window looked really attentive. I didn’t see the cook, but I figured he was in there, too. They also had a guy acting like he was picking weeds in a flowerbed out front.
I walked past and headed down another street. “Okily dokily. Chu, you ready?”
“Empress, I must reiterate my sincere concern that we have not adequately-”
“Yeah, I heard you. Let’s get this party started,” I told him.
“As you wish. We are making the initial stellar connection… now.” I could practically hear the wince in his voice as he waited for it to all blow up in his face. After a couple of seconds, he reported back, “Power is holding steady so far. This might actually work. I knew it would, but I wasn’t ready to do this for real yet.”
“Ok, let me know when it’s time to get my suit powered up,” I said. I walked a bit and turned a corner, swapping holographic disguises so I could walk back the other way as an old man. That gave me an excuse to take my time. I felt the connection being made before he reported back to me. The new stream of power was a huge boost. I activated the telegloves… no, they needed a better name. I was throwing “tele-” on everything now. I dubbed it… the Portahole.
Damn. I decided to hold off on giving the gloves themselves an official name until I learn to name things better. Instead, I used them to create a portable hole off in the food truck. It looked like a line in the air. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like if you had a surface-level scratch on the surface of a piece of glass. I shoved my hand through. My helmet agreed with what the cameras on my glove showed; my hand now stretched out inside the food truck near the stove. I grabbed a nearby pot and smashed it hard over the head of the observant cashier. He went down next to a sack of potatoes. Through microcameras on the armor, I caught a glimpse of someone else grabbing for the hand with one hand while holding a gun in the other.
I felt resistance, but pulled my hand through easily. Over at the food truck, I could see the guy standing over the stove with his back to the window. The other guard’s hand joined mine, coming through the air in front of me. Then his head came through. The guy gritted his teeth and shoved a gun in my face. “You’re under arrest!”
I smirked under my armor and created a second hole while snatching his gun away. I had hands to spare, and while one disarmed him, the other shoved his head through the hole. Over at the food truck, his body jumped and jerked. His pants strained and tore. I stopped the holes, leaving me with a bloody chunk of flesh on my side, and the guard with his head up his ass in the food truck. I saw his body flop to the floor.
Over near the flowerbed, the guard there had heard something and was looking around. He looked toward where I was, but only saw an old guy and something on the ground near me. I created another pair of portable holes and reached through with two arms. I wrapped one hand around the guard’s mouth and used the other to break his neck. I tossed him as far behind a bush as I could and pulled myself together.
The first test went ok, but it was time to really put this new weapons system through its paces. I showed myself through the door and up to the desk next to the metal detector and security door. I looked like a homeless man at the time thanks to the power of holograms. I came up to the desk as he asked, “Can I help you, sir?”
With the power of portable holes, I reached for the gun holstered on his hip. “Yes, you can help me… by dying!” I said, releasing a cackle from my armor’s speakers. He reached for his gun with his right hand and found me there, holding it down. I uppercutted him from below and pulled my arms back as he tumbled down onto his chair. I hopped the desk and kicked him in the head as he stood up. Hs face disappeared into a hole and reappeared over his back. I grabbed his hand and twisted it around to slap his own face. I pulled up on the back of his shirt and tugged him out of the hole while I repositioned it, then shoved it back through. It was cold up there in the Arctic circle. It’d be handy if I could dump the whole guy there, but Chu had advised me not to crank up the settings too high on the first go. I don’t want to push my luck too much.
I left the bombs in the Flyer this time until I needed to pluck one out of midair, noting, “I need to carry a top hat around with me.” I set it up behind the monitor on the guy’s desk before heading deeper. Even the door behind the guard’s desk was locked, so I just opened it from the other side. Breaking and entering made easy.
I disappeared from view, though I needn’t have bothered. People seemed to prefer staying in their offices. It was better this way, as the halls were narrow, but I did want more of a fight for a better idea how the results worked. I could already envision some neat tricks, putting one hole in front of me and the other behind someone’s head so that shooting me became suicide. Oh, and it’d be awesome if I kept a tank of hungry piranhas around to send someone’s head to. Maybe a shark tank, even.
I set a couple more around, including in the stairwell I took up to the second floor. Remember, always take the stairwell in case of emergency. I came out and found a hallway loaded with a dozen soldiers in full-on tactical gear, all aimed at the elevator nearby. They turned and opened fire at chest height in front of the door. I let myself become visible and held up one hand, because while I am badass enough to dodge bullets, I no longer have to. I quietly guided the other portable hole around the room as they opened up. As they dropped, I got a frantic call from Chu.
“Empress, we saw a spike in power output.”
“It’s fine. I had to expand one of the portals a bit to catch a hail of gunfire. How we holding up?”
He took a second to answer. “I think… No, something’s wrong. The power drain is continuing to grow. What are the portals doing?”
“I’d rather not call them that. They’re portable holes, like Wile E. Coyote used,” I said, but checked on it. I thought I’d turned the portable holes off, but they were there and growing. I switched them off but they didn’t turn off. “Yeah, we got an issue.” From a side door came a man in a gown. “But it might be good to have it anyway. I think I got a super here. Psycho Gecko vs. Gown Man!”
The scratches in the air disappeared. The devices still had power. No sparking or anything, no smoke. Internal diagnostics had some sort of error in the processing. A stack overflow that wouldn’t resolve, something like that. “Uh, Chu, you didn’t do anything remotely, did you?”
“No. Shit, I will get on this immediately. Please don’t kill me for my failure!”
“Fix it and we’ll be cool,” I told him. Then, nodding to Gown Man, I said, “Looks like I’ll have to kill you the old fashioned way… with power armor.”
He opened his mouth and his hands. Metal flowed through the air from all around, including the guns of the downed soldiers and my armor. Sensors reported loss of armor integrity all over the side facing him as specks of it flew off toward him. I tried to hit my helmet lasers but they did spark and catch fire as parts of the mechanism also fled. I ran forward and popped a Nasty Surprise whip. It fell to the floor. I punched him in the side of the head, not knocking him down, and came away with the metallic portions of my gauntlet stripped away, flowing over the area where I punched to form a second skin on him. I saw it when he turned back to me and smiled.
I reached for his throat but I flew back. It was like magnets, if magnets included non-ferrous parts of my body all pulling backwards. Ever had your eyes force themselves back into your skull? It’s a good thing he tossed all of me backward. And just think about my brain. It’s hard to feel what your brain is doing, but I have plenty of metal in there.
A fucking… metallokine? Fuck if I know the term. A guy who can move metal. Someone draws that fucking card in the game of life and gets enough of a drop on me that they dismantled my armor. I tried to lunge for him again, but my eyes and other cybernetic organs protested by holding me back.
My HUD was screwing up too. I tried not to think about what he was doing to my insides. I wondered briefly if he could control the iron in my blood along with the steel in my chest. But Mr. Omega’s face appeared for sure. “I offer my aid again.”
“Yes. I need it,” I said.
Instantly, my body lit on fire, but only in the metaphorical sense. I was hot, and painfully so at first, but I got used to it. The pressure on my metal parts lifted. I laughed in relief as I stood, noticing my body wreathed in the same shade of red from Omega’s body. On my chest, where I’d had four tendrils arcing downward had been eaten away along with my armor until you could barely see it. Now, the design formed a glowing white omega symbol. I looked to the metal manipulator, whose gown was apparently backless based on the load he dropped directly on the floor behind him. I was on him in a second, his throat in my hand. I lifted him up as if he was weightless. You always still feel some resistance when you use your muscles, but this wasn’t like this. He might as well have been a balloon.
I focused on him, almost like seeing him in a different way. That freakish nose and those weird lips and skin. Humans are disgusting-looking if you really look at them, and I mean even the ones with what they’d consider normal features. This guy wouldn’t have been too bad looking, but in my eyes he was gross. I wanted to annihilate him.
He blew apart in my hands, leaving a few motes of red light behind. “Ok, awesome,” I said to no one in particular. I wanted my armor back. I knew it intimately. I wondered if wanting it back worked anything like wanting that guy gone had been.
“Allow me to help,” I felt my own lips move on their own. Little glowing lights, like fireflies, appeared around me, then pressed close to me. When they faded, I wore my armor again, but with the omega symbol on the chest and most of it blood red in color.
I laughed as I waved all four hands, envisioning the same effect as my bombs. I blew that building apart, watching from the inside as explosion after explosion tore the place apart. And none of it touched me. Nothing could touch me. Forget punching above my weight class. I was so far beyond anyone’s weight class. I flew out of there, a streak of red. Actually flying, with no resistance, no friction. Like a balloon with a will and speed. Ok, so it sounds slightly less awesome when compared to a balloon, but I haven’t felt my body tell physics to go fuck itself that hard even when I had control of Forcelight’s body.
There’s a thought… a bit late to take her body. I really like having Dame, though.
Lost in thought, I didn’t realize I’d swerved and curved through the air back to the Psycho Flyer until I saw the chicken-footed cottage in the woods below me. I set down in front of it and felt myself drain. Gravity took hold of me again, which was annoying more than anything. Seriously, gravity, go fuck off.
The omega symbol and I both stopped glowing. Mr. Omega’s face appeared on my fully functional HUD though. “Is that all?”
“I don’t suppose you can take care of the other two buildings, can you?” I asked.
Mr. Omega smiled. I received alerts from my watchers of the laboratories being smashed flat by large red hands. Could have been my hands, too. Might be again. I wonder if I can grab some of that power again. Stretch goals.
This thing is going to be awesome while it lasts.