Sam and Holly have been a low-scale nuisance around town, playing around in their power armor. They got all ready for a fight and never got to follow through. In the end, they realized the high school’s set up to let them do sparring with each other and some of the super kids. Mix N’Max’s last update to Holly said something about fighting abominations I don’t know if that’s him being rude about hillbillies or some other sort of hiccup on his quest for the Madstone. Which doesn’t even sound like that big of a think. All the stuff online just makes it out to be some folk medicine cure for rabies. As for the other member of my little polyamorous lesbian coven, Bridget’s started a youtube show teaching people 19th century crafts and cooking. A couple others who do that sort of thing are thinking of having her on for crossovers.
That leaves me to my own devices. Or at least, to devices that Sam and Bridget don’t feel the need to bother me about. Like working with Troubleshooter. Once I explained what I’d learned from Troubleshooter, Sam thought it was a great idea for me to work with a bunch of superheroes. Or at least an amusing one. She laughed a lot. She still promised to back me up if I needed it.
I didn’t need it. I had my own backup. Sometimes, I’m my own best friend. That’s going a bit far in this case, but I’m a lot more at peace with my own self since before contracting werereindeerism. The full moon came a bit early this month, but it came nevertheless. With it, my time to split from Reindeer again. Rather than turning into a ravening beast that attacks innocents, I would normally be turning into a hero who protects them. She’s got my knowledge, but none of my cybernetics or abilities as homo machina. I don’t know if Reindeer would have my god-like abilities. The last time it came up, I used my powers to temporarily expel Reindeer from my body when it was time. I did so again this time, constituting an entirely new body for Reindeer.
Reindeer shook herself off, her body taller and more muscular than mine would be on its own. She checked herself over. “A bit early, aren’t we?”
“It certainly proves an idea that’s been tumbling around in my brain. You’re not just limited to the full moon, not like that,” I pointed out.
Reindeer looked down to her belly.
“I kept the zygote,” I told her.
“Good. You better let her know. Before you start showing, at least,” Reindeer advised. “It’s going to be a shock for her to find out you’re going to have her child, considering the circumstances and body parts involved.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I agreed. “Listen, I called you here because I’m going to be busy in a little bit with everything.”
“I know. And you were also wondering if I might be interested in a separation, to live my own life. You keep the house, the money, people we love, and instead I go off and live my own life.”
“I get the feeling you don’t approve.” I laughed just once, sadly. Wasn’t Reindeer’s fault or mine that we ended up in this situation, split like this. She only gets to live one day a month, and is treated as a different person by people who are, to her mind, family. “Maybe we oughta try something out. You living with everyone. Having Qiang treat you as a mom, too.”
“Is it weird I’m scared about that? Because I look different and appear once a month, that I’ll be differne to them. They won’t fully reject me, but, ya know.”
Times like these, I hate talking to myself.
I reached out awkwardly to try and comfort Reindeer with a hand on the shoulder. “I get it. That’s a hell of a scary change and rejection to go by. And it involves hoping our girlfriends are furries.”
“You dress up as a unicorn with wings. I think they’re furries,” Reindeer noted.
I cracked up and she followed, which helped a little of the tension. There was still plenty to worry about once the laughter died. “I really haven’t been living my life like I’m two people.”
“Well, you’re kind of not,” Reindeer countered. “I was like your dirty secret. When you transformed, you could do what you wanted to do secretly, but with an excuse. It wasn’t really you, it was the therionthropy. Now, you’ve been actively been choosing to try and be a heroine. You just keep finding excuses to justify it. You’re even considering going mad with power intentionally so you can force someone to take it all away from you and justify being all mean and pouty.”
I opened my mouth to object, but Reindeer’s antlers lit up with glaring white light for a second and she insisted, “Don’t try to deny it. I’m you, remember? Maybe I’m also the part of you that puts on that horn and goes around saving the world.”
“You know what, maybe you just go on and do your own thing tonight,” I told her. “Stay home, try out being your own person, make sure Qiang calls you ‘mommy’. And maybe see if Sam wants to call you that, too.”
“I think I’d like that. But if you need me, I’m there.”
With my psychological problems laid bare, it was a doozy of a fucking time to invite Troubleshooter’s team up to the base.
Troubleshooter doesn’t really have a permanent base of their own. That makes her group flexible, operating out of a group of taco trucks. But Troubleshooter needed some place to bring down a satellite in private and then autopsy it. And here I am with a base that can access anywhere I want it to. The main question I had was what personal Troubleshooter wanted me in. I can either explain or brainwash why the goddess is working with them, which is a touchy subject morally. The alternative is working with them as Gecko with all the distrust that entails. It’d actually be nice to be trusted and liked for once. Even if it is by a bunch of hero noobs.
I can rationalize a lot as being a product of self-interest or arrogant exercise of power. It’s a handy ability for avoiding cognitive dissonance. It just gets difficult sometimes.
In the end, I decided to use my amazing powers of pessimism to examine the situation and realized that if the satellite in question is one that messes with my perception of it, it’s probably going to fit better if I’m present as the Goddess.
And so it was. I went for a robe type of setup, with my wings folded behind me and my horn sticking up proudly. Then it was off to the Multi-Base, the hidden base located across multiple dimensions, where each room might be in an entirely different universe. With a wave of my hand, I added a persistent illusion, or glamour, to a few choice items. I hid away the nanite and armor machinery, then made the monitor appear to be a magic mirror. I kept plenty of tools around in the lab for Troubleshooter. Then it was time to get Troubleshooter up there.
I opened a portal, then sighed and expanded it. They brought a taco truck and an RV through. “Close it!” someone yelled from the RV window. I snapped it shut in time to catch a furry arm. A quick peek revealed the group had stumbled into a nest of the Greens, a gang that’s usually in Empyreal City. They’re starting to expand further South using algae to gain footholds and begin transforming the landscape.
“Hmm,” I mused. Checking the arm, I saw a few little green sprouts on it. “Let’s just clean that up.” Poof. Nonexistent. Turned to energy that I absorbed. In fact, it’s given me an idea for repowering myself that I don’t want to share with heroes.
The heroes and what seemed like support staff were piling out, gushing over me, and checking out the new place.
“Where are we?” I heard someone ask, a woman in a tattered white dress. Apparitia, the ghost girl, in human form.
“We are currently in an inaccessible cavern, deep beneath the Earth. It has no opening to the surface, normally. However, other rooms here branch off into different places, in different universes, providing oxygen, water, and power.”
“The magic alone must be amazing,” another person said. My omnipotence put them as non-binary, and known as Axinomancer, with their magic power focused through the long-handled ax in their hands.
“It’s self-sustaining right now, feeding off the power of a star,” I told them. I didn’t want to deal with all of their names, or the way some of them were looking at me. I know what to do with fear, anger, distrust, arrogance, and even lust. I should keep my empathy turned off, like British people. “Where’s this satellite?”
“Hold your horses,” Troubleshooter said, pushing through some of the heroes setting up chairs and tables.
I looked over to a horse standing next to me. The horses looked at me. I shrugged, and reached over to rest a hand on its neck. “Holding.”
“Where did that horse come from?” someone asked.
“Not what I meant,” Troubleshooter said. I patted the horse and sent it walking to another room where it could disappear. It was a construct made just for comedic purposes, and it would return to me. Troubleshooter raised her laptop. “You have anything to connect to?”
I waved my hand, turning my magic mirror into a big monitor for Troubleshooter to connect to. Or just undoing the glamour I put into place earlier. Standing there surrounding by heroes as the Unicorn Goddess, my powers of nigh-omniscience had given me an epiphany about myself. Luckily, I had the god-like ability to stand around looking pretty instead of letting stuff show. Axinomancer edged closer and I faked a smile that impressed even myself. My powers even let me get the eye crinkle down.
It was all being nice and conjuring up food to go with their meals so I didn’t get so many questions in the fifteen minutes or so it took Troubleshooter to get set up, pull up the coordinates, and connect with the systems necessary to find the satellite she’d been tracking again. Fifteen minutes of me wanting to abuse my godly powers for everything from petty dickery to just making everyone want to serve me. I was glad when Troubleshooter said, “Got it! Think you can open a portal and our team snatch it?”
“Right there or off to the side a little?” I asked, pointing to the monitor. I was sitting on Axinomancer’s lap, feet resting on Apparittia, holding a leash that connected to a collar around Grimalkin’s throat.
Troubleshooter turned and didn’t see anything wrong with the sight. “Yeah, my arms should be able to snatch it.” The mechanical arms attached to a vest she wore whirled. Parts folded out of the vest and attached, expanding them. Finally, the arms joined together into one limb bigger than the rest of Troubleshooter’s body.
I got up off my little throne and set the young heroes back to normal, mostly. They weren’t any more abnormal when I was done with them than when they started. It was an easy thing to open the portal with a seal that kept this side from being affected by the vacuum of space. I saw the satellite through it just fine, just like I’d had no problem seeing Parietal. It’s just that when I tried to sense it with anything outside the conventional human senses, it wasn’t there. I could have dragged it in myself, but Troubleshooter did all that for me, plopping the device on the floor of my base, me closing the portal behind it.
The satellite was cylindrical, about the size of an arcade cabinet, and a single light glowed on the side of it. The light blinked three times, then stayed back on. A light issued forth from it. “You found me, Gecko.”
I made it so everyone there heard it address me as Goddess, not Gecko. Then I shrugged a bit and just reconciled the two. They had those positive feelings about the Unicorn Goddess, who is Gecko, who they feel the exact same way about. Why put up with an inconvenient mind when I can just change it?
“Who did I find?” I asked. With monotone voice giving nothing away and not being able to just read into it, I actually didn’t know. People talk about how great that is, but I don’t see the attraction. Oh, right, added a little someone onto people’s attractions. Troubleshooter started eyeing me appreciatively, but that wasn’t brainwashing. I just added an option she didn’t have before. Nevermind, I got rid of it. Then I put it back when I changed my mind again. It’s not like liking women is a bad option to have… eh, I flip-flopped again. No new attractions for anyone.
“I said I am the fastest thinker on Earth and I meant it, one step ahead of a goddess. I have to be. For you see, any god will abuse its power. You can not do otherwise once you have power. Even the most noble fall to that temptation. You are not the most noble.”
This person was claiming to be Parietal, a smart speedster who created a material that could block my senses. The reason I didn’t suspect his involvement before now is because I killed him weeks ago. The more Parietal talked through that machine, the less I cared what he had to say. “Troubleshooter, can you disable this thing?”
She morphed the mechanical arms back into two, one of which shifted into a drill and the other into a sawblade. “I believe so.”
“As one being who has surpassed mortality to another, I will save your friends so much trouble,” Parietal said through the speaker.
I put up a shield around the satellite, containing it as it detonated and unleashed Omega energy. It’s the same energy I absorbed to gain my power, and it can have a pretty nasty effect when used against itself. I’ve found the secret is absorbing it. That’s it. For all his bluster, he made me more powerful. I’m still not back to the level of pulling a copy of Earth out of another dimension, but it felt good to have the power coursing through me. The satellite had been powered by another Omega pearl, a piece of the fractured being who had once possessed me, and whos powers I now possess.
“That could have gone better,” Troubleshooter’s limbs powered down back into more functional hands.
“I’d say it went pretty well,” I told her.
“I guess we better pack up and get going.” One of those extra arms moved to tug some hair out of her face. When it finished, it and the other arm moved back and transformed again, forming a pair of metal wings with a reflective coating. A single horn grew out of Troubleshooter’s forehead, eyes glowing.
“Never mind,” I said through her mouth. My mouth, now. I looked to my team of impressionable young heroes and heroines. “I insist we stay.”
Why not? Why shouldn’t I? Troubleshooter said she’s thankful. Here’s a way she can show it.
And then even that satisfying bit of evil was undone when I remembered I needed her because she can see this stuff and I can’t. I had to jump right back out again. A competent evil goddess sticks around a lot longer than an incompetent one, that’s for sure.
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