For some reason, the full moon has gotten marked down as a family bonding night. Which is kinda ironic, considering the importance of the night is that I’m a weredeer who transforms at the full moon into a heroic alter ego. I don’t have a lot of friends in the villain community these days, so I guess it’s not so much attacking my friends. I think Max decided to spend some time at Isla Tropica after spending some time with his sibling in the South, so that’s not an issue. I don’t have many friends period, but I guess the people I spend the most time hanging out with for awhile are Marianne and Adrian, and they used to be superheroes.
I was a little on edge the whole day leading up to it, even though I’d been making peace with Reindeer on an intellectual level. I guess that’s a part of me. One day a month, that deep-seated desire to help people doesn’t come out all twisted. It was still unusual to be so tense.
Tonight’s agenda was to fly into a city along with an Exemplar shipment. The Exemplars were helping with the official vaccination efforts. They had the manpower; transport was getting to them. And I just happened to have built my own flying machine to help get around.
“Are you sure this thing’s safe?” asked Davilo, my brother. He was already transformed into a Justice Ranger. I guess he had something of a break right now. Leah, my former ward and apprentice, didn’t hesitate before running into the side door of the vessel. It was a more compact version of one of my Psycho Flyers, with some of the upgrades to speed and stability of the new ones, sadly offset by it being a little less rounded an aerodynamic from the materials I used. It’s stable; I wouldn’t fly around if it was going to fall apart on me. Instead of three jets, it had four oriented on the sides but at a lower angle that reduces its profile a bit. Along with concentrating some weapons at the front, I dub this… the Pegacorn. It’s like if a unicorn and a Pegasus were mashed together. Still has the same cloaking capability as the other Flyers.
We had some Exemplar help loading up. They had on white power armor, scuffed or dirty in places, but there were prominent red crosses on them. Medics, in other words. They didn’t carry weapons, though the armor that helped them carry such heavy loads also meant they’d be more than capable in hand to hand against most people. In between using my shop as a stop-off for villains needing a place to lay low or seek medical attention, I also let the Exemplars stop over. Somehow, I’ve become neutral ground.
We were all ready and in the air when my internal alarms went off. I left my body behind a curtain with Reindeer’s costume. The Iron Deer power armor came online with me at the helm wondering if I might change the name. It seemed ok at the time, but now we’re bordering on tying my identity too much to that Marvel comics guy. I went to fly the Pegacorn while pondering such ponderous thoughts.
Leah, Davilo, and the Exemplar guys crowded into the cockpit. “It sounds weird back there,” Davilo offered. “What do you think?”
“Metal Deer? It sounds so generic. Metalbeast is better, but isn’t properly descriptive. Might be fun to mess with the fans of that sci fi movie, though.”
“What are you talking about?” One of the Exemplar medics asked.
“Thinking up new names. Iron Deer was a bit hasty of a moniker to take up. Means I picked a name too fast. Too many associations with a comic book character for my taste.”
“Maybe we should call you Psychopomp Deer?” Leah teased. At least I think it was teasing. She seemed happy with herself at that suggestion.
“No offense, but I’d rather not drag my good name through the mud by associating it with heroism,” I told them all.
“You actually like your reputation?” asked a medic.
“A lot of people died to make that reputation. Doesn’t really fit to know I can kill anyone in between helping save kittens from trees,” I said.
At least my brother had some sense. He asked, “What is wrong with cats on this Earth?”
“It’s an expression,” Leah said.
“It’s a waste of a perfectly good feline,” I answered. “Climb up onto stuff, then refuse to get themselves down even though they could just survive the fall.”
One of the medics peeked back. “I don’t hear anymore bones snapping. It might be safe to go back.”
“Golden hind!” called Reindeer from the rear of the Pegacorn.
“…An ass?” asked Leah after a moment of silence.
“No, a creature from Greek myth that Heracles had to capture. A hind is an old term for a female deer. I get tired of the Greek stuff.”
The medics filtered back as Reindeer made her way up, costume on. “It’s that or try to build a new name. Like Bronze Hind or,” she tried to snap her fingers, failing just as much as I always do. “Platinum Hind. Titanium Hind.”
“Ununbium Hind?” I asked.
Leah cleared her throat. “Titanium Hind would look like Tit Hind if shortened, if that makes a difference.”
“Platinum Hind it is then,” I said.
Reindeer tapped me on the head. “It needs a ‘The’.”
“The Platinum Hind… I feel like I should be shinier,” I said, glancing down at the metal body of the power armor that could move on its own.
“If people think you’re platinum, it might mess with their expectations,” Davilo said.
Leah clapped. “I could shine you up!”
Davilo blushed. “That must mean something different here.”
I shook my head. “No, it’s suggestive on this Earth, too.”
Reindeer laughed as Leah went red-faced and shouted, “Just get us there already!” before stomping off toward the back.
Our destination was St. Paul. The Exemplars were running it 24/7 to catch people who needed it but couldn’t come in regular business hours. I’m 99% sure they’re vaccinating everyone possible in-between the “appropriate” vaccinations. We off-loaded everything and then, I guess, Reindeer’s plan was to help with the vaccination. So I guess we were helping vaccinate folks. Reindeer and I had enough medical knowledge to aid the medics with the technical stuff. Leah and Davilo stuck around with us, Davilo sticking beside me.
“You should stop by First Earth and do stuff like this,” he said at one point. “But I understand if you want to avoid it.”
I didn’t get a chance to answer when the action started. Because it’s always going to fucking happen. I swear, my power is attracting useless conflict. The clinic we were operating in started to shake. The ceiling split apart, but a portion of it fell in toward us. I pulled the patient in the room toward me and opened up, protecting the guy in the inner cavity built to hold Reindeer.
After a few seconds of debris falling on us, everything seemed to quiet down. “Davilo, you ok?”
“I’m alive, sis,” he answered. “Doc?”
There was a muffled sound for a moment, then the doctor turned on the speakers of his power armor. “I’m going to be sore tomorrow, but I made it.”
“I’m going to push,” I said. I started standing up, creating enough room for Davilo to squirm around and get his feet underneath him. He helped me and the both of us got enough up for the Exemplar medic to untangle himself from around a chair.
The medic coughed, then asked, “Where’s the patient?”
“In here! I’m fine,” came the muffled reply from inside me.
“Good. Once we get you out of here, give the vaccine two weeks to reach full efficacy and you’ll be good to go.”
“Thanks!” he called out. “For all of this.”
We got out from under the debris. “I’m going to check on who did this, you want to dig people out, doc?”
The medic nodded. Davilo joined me as we jumped clear of the place. It was like the building had been pulled apart through the middle. Some parts of it were coming up at an angle, confused people wandering out or looking for each other. We happened to be in the large part of the middle that fell apart when it came down. My brother and I hopped clear to . I paused long enough to open back up and let the relieved patient run off.
“I knew it! Robots are trying to take control of us!” Davilo, the patient, and I all turned to see a man in a hoodie and cargo pants. Could have been anyone without some special costume. He didn’t even wear a mask. I got a great look at his face for later.
“Did you do this?” I called out.
“I don’t see a badge. Per the United States Naval Code, you have no right to detain me,” the man said, bowing up at me. I jumped over the building to land in front of him. Davilo made his own way involving kicking off the damaged building. Just before he landed, the man threw his hands up in front of me. I grabbed them and broke his thumbs.
“Agh! Fuck! You’re not allowed to do that!” He grabbed at his hands with, well, his hands.
“What about this?” I asked before kicking him in the crotch hard enough to lift him off the ground.
He landed and doubled over, sounding like he was trying to avoid a dry heave, “No! What kind of hero are you?”
I stepped behind him and grabbed him by the boxers, lifting him up in a wedgie. “The kind that doesn’t talk and let you do something. Now what’s your deal?”
He didn’t answer at first, the pain from the nutshot catching up to him. It wasn’t until I was spinning him around me by his boxers that he made some noises other than pain. “Stop! I’ll talk!” Meanwhile, my brother and the patient I’d saved were helping extricate others from the damaged building.
“Good,” I said, holding him up so I could look him eye to eye by the back of his pants. His boxers were a mess by this point. “What’s your deal?”
“I have to stop the global cabal of pedophile reptilians who operate out of a pizza place,” he said.
“What’s this have to do with vaccines?” I asked.
“They’re not vaccines, they’re microchips that keep track of you.”
“Are you aware you have your phone in your pocket and that its global positioning is activated?” I asked.
“That’s…different?” he asked. Then his head exploded and a dent appeared in my chestplate.
“Snipers!” Davilo called out. Suddenly, they went from getting people out of the building to trying to get people behind as stable of cover as possible. Dong! Another shot bounced off my head this time, but it gave me an idea what we were looking for. I pointed. “Thataway!” The sniper was in the back of a pickup truck down the road, more hoodie-dressed people back there. It was all a similar getup, but these were packing guns and had stayed less obvious. Some kind of fall guy bullshit, probably thought they were clever. The two guys in the truck still had their phones with them.
A silvery light shot into the sky. I stared as Reindeer floated into the air but not using the jets or the sonic equipment on her costume. They couldn’t have let her hover that way. They wouldn’t have lit up her eyes or antlers so they looked like they were filled with the light of the moon.
The sniper aimed at her. The others, realizing they’d been made, raised their rifles toward her. The truck’s engine roared to life, so the driver at least had enough sense to realize something was up. With a flash, twin silver beams of light shot from Reindeer’s antlers to knock them all back and scatter their weapons. The driver gunned it then, tires squealing as he tried to race out of there. I gave him a moment before I self-destructed his phone. He lost control then, probably concentrating on a pants pocket. The truck smashed into a postal box, then into a traffic light pole.
We had them all tied up by the time the cops finally rolled up. They rolled to a stop, rolling the window of their cruiser down to look agog at the weredeer and robotic deer sitting there with a truck that had a bunch of humans tied to the hood. “Sup,” Reindeer said with a nod.
“You got a hunting permit?” the cop behind the wheel asked as he stepped out.
“These fucks just attacked a bunch of people getting the vaccine. We better not hear any bullshit about letting them go because you think prosecutors won’t charge them,” Reindeer said.
That cop’s face got red at the implication he’d be biased.
I held up a hand. “Shove the indignation up your ass. You want to say there are good cops, prove it.”
“Yeah. Hunting season ain’t over yet,” Reindeer finished up for me.
Once the cops finally took those guys into custody and started taking witness statements, though, I pulled Reindeer aside. “What was that with the horns and the lightshow?”
Reindeer shook her head. “I don’t know. Something feels different. Maybe because it’s winter. Maybe I’m getting stronger the longer I stick around. You know you didn’t have to do all that to the first guy.”
I shrugged. “I know, but he annoyed me. I wanted to hurt him and somebody doesn’t like me casually murdering folks.”
“It’s not any better if you do it in a tuxedo, either,” Reindeer cut me off before I could joke about formally murdering people.
The night was ruined, but no one else died. And I found some evidence to suggest Reindeer is getting stronger. Found that out when I woke up around noon, wearing a towel in my bedroom with a note in hand that Reindeer had written explaining she’d woken up in Reindeer form the morning after the full moon.
I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m going a bit crazy and paranoid, but I’m fine.
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Sorry for the late post.
Was in a real dark place tonight and forgot about it.
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