Troubleshooter’s a pretty nifty tech heroine. I outclassed her pretty easily because of my own abilities as a homo machina, but she’s pretty good at all this stuff. Diode’s satellites, Mouser and Rammer, have sniffed out a dozen satellites. A few days observation with me putting in appearances helped us figure out if there were anymore. They noticed whenever I did things like show up to provide some rain and debris clearing to California. I cleaned up a lot of lead, reversed some desertification, and filtered out some air pollution. I didn’t need to appear in person to make all that happen, so me showing myself was purely about getting noticed by the wrong people.
Not just Parietal and his desire to keep living after I killed him. That’s disrespectful. What’s creepy is my cult I’m getting. I can hear them praying to me. Investing, test scores, dick sizes. I try to answer those last ones, by the way. That’s just good PR. Once that gets out, I’m going to be bigger than every other religion combined. I don’t necessarily answer the follow-ups looking for girlfriends or boyfriends or theyfriends. I sometimes answer the bigger boobs prayer, but only when it’s from the person themselves. When nature closed a door, I opened a boob window.
Yeah, it’s a bit shallow, but also why not let people look how they want to look if it’s within my power? That includes my fellow trans folks. I didn’t forget them or the many ways they express themselves. Not everyone gal’s looking for a pair of ovaries, and some guys are just happy with taco Tuesday every day.
I dare say, in the middle of all this work, some of it actually made me feel happy. Helping people who needed it, and some who don’t. Finally cutting through all the BS and just fixing it. No weird, high-tech things. Just a wave of my hand and the ice caps are repaired. I could fix mankind.
I could even create a situation where I was willing to sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner. I sent Troubelshooter and her crew home, figuring I’d keep track of the entire world enough for them to enjoy the holidays if possible, or hang out in the base if not. A few of them stayed there and threw together their own dinner.
And I sat down with my family. My daughter, Qiang. My girlfriends, Sam and Bridget. Whatever you call Holly, other than Sam’s friend. I mean… considering she’s sleeping with me more than Bridget is, who is trying to get up the nerve to tell me she’d like to move out and explore the world on her own. And, oddly in my case, some actual family. My half-brother Davilo joined us, along with my former ward Leah.
“So this holiday is about thanking people?” Davilo asked.
Leah giggled. “Not exactly.”
I explained. “It’s a day of giving thanks for the good things in one’s life, in commemoration of when colonizers from another continent arrived on this one and nearly died before surviving with the help of natives they later murdered.”
“Are all their holidays this weird?” Davilo asked.
I shrugged. “I think every holiday’s weird once you look into it, even ours. The even celebrate the death of a famous holy man with chocolate and declarations of romantic love.”
Davilo nodded along. “We have Rectification Day, commemorating the Vuldrini, yes.”
That got a lot of blank stares. When Davilo didn’t elaborate, Leah cut in. “They have some bizarre holidays over there, too.” She looked around. “Um, so you’re like the Brides of Gecko? Dracula gets three, Gecko gets three?”
“Whoa, I’m not wearing a ring.”
“I don’t know if I’d marry her, my last marriage went so badly…”
Davilo cut past the answers. “I’m thankful for my family, which I thought I lost.” Crickets. “Is anyone else giving thanks for family?”
Holly spoke up first, “Parents dumped me for drug addiction.”
“Mine were sadistic religious fundamentalists,” Sam said.
Leah shrugged. “Family problems because I turned out to have powers.”
Bridget decided to answer, too. “I got sick and my husband thought I was replaced with a changeling. Then he tried to burn me alive.”
“That’s horrible!” Holly declared.
Bridget patted her hand. “Don’t worry. It was a long time ago, and I’m better off now.”
I’m going to miss Bridget’s sense of humor. I looked over at all of them, including Qiang who had stolen a piece of pumpkin pie and was eating it while the rest of us were sitting there not chowing down. I added my own bit to this. “Not all family is what you’re born with. I’m happy with the family I’ve found, and it even feels like we’re missing some folks. I don’t think I’d be the same person if not for the amazing people who have come into my life over the past few years. Even some of my enemies turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
“Aww, are you transmitting this to the Hallmark channel right now?” Sam asked.
“Fat chance,” Holly muttered. “I’m missing Christmas romance movies.”
I slapped the table. “Christmas has no place here this early!”
“What about food? Does that have a place here, ’cause I’m starving,” Leah said.
“Isn’t there a blessing involved?” Bridget asked.
“Dear Unicorn Goddess, bless us and this food, and may we not clog up the toilets,” Sam said. “Let’s eat!”
“Unicorn goddess?” Leah asked.
By that point, everybody was shoving some form of food into their mouths and were too busy to answer her, myself included. Sure, food doesn’t really do anything I need, but I enjoy the taste. A star is good, but it’s all calories with no flavor. My body desires a sun, my palette prefers homemade gravy. And, after gulping down half her mashed potatoes at once, Holly even told them all about the appearance of a godlike being with a unicorn theme, without giving up my secret identity.
It was, believe it or not, a nice night.
Even Parietal didn’t interrupt it. Everything was gravy.
Then came Black Friday.
I was trying to doze. I once again lost the ability to sleep, but I instead entered a lower state of consciousness while still aware. That’s an awful lot of stuff now that I’ve got a cult about me. Makes me wonder if there might have once been gods, and they all decided to let their religions die out rather than put up with all the bullshit calls in the middle of the night. Except for Zeus. If there was a real Zeus, he’d be texting people back, like “You up?”
I noticed the increase in activity before Troubleshooter did. There were more calls for me, darker prayers. I’d always gotten some folks who wanted me to hurt people. I could have done it easily, but I’d been trying to avoid that. I mean, sure, I made things like debt records disappear and that technically would cause some harm to someone with a financial interest in it. That’s not the same as wishing to break the jaw of a loudmouth kid next door. That was soon followed by noticing that some of these prayers were referring to me by another name: Psycho Gecko.
I didn’t like that, so I went ahead and did a planet-wise forgetfulness spell about me being Psycho Gecko. Unlike some people, I made exceptions for folks I was cool with knowing. That reprieve lasted five minutes, then they went right back to it. I was about to do it all over again and throw in forgetting the existence of Psycho Gecko, but I sensed that Troubleshooter sought my presence. “Every one of the satellites we’re tracking and at least a dozen more are transmitting. Parietal took a page out of your playbook and is interrupting the media with reminders that you are the Goddess.”
“That explains why it didn’t matter if I made them forget. These things aren’t affected, so they remnd everyone,” I looked out over the screen, paying particular attention to the display of Earth and some of the satellites made of Parietal’s special metal.
I checked it out myself, popping in to hover in the air above Times Square in Empyreal City. There were images taken off cameras, showing me and showing the Goddess. It wasn’t terrible convincing. It’s not like I went from one to the other in public or anything. My physical features were different as well. Body shape, weight, that sort of thing. It was ridiculous, but the assertion itself was enough to make people believe it. Then he showed the completely made-up part showing me turn from one to the other, using the old transformation from Sailor Moon. Which is awesome and I’d do it, but that’s not how I change. The part that really pissed me off was then showing another transformation, showing me turn into one of my old looks as a guy.
“What do you want, Parietal? Come on, too scared to talk?” I asked.
Next came the deepfake people. AI-generated faces and computer-generated voices. “Do we really want our children worshiping some man who pretends to be a woman? Some murderer who pretends to be a goddess?”
I growled to myself. This wasn’t just done to expose me, this was done to piss me off. Whatever’s coming next, Parietal didn’t want me thinking straight. And here I was getting snapshotted in public by a bunch of people who would no-doubt overanalyze my reaction.
Nearby, one of the monitors turned into a large P. “What do you want?” I once again asked.
Words began to scrawl over the screen. “I want you to lose your power. No one should have that much.”
“So what, you want me to give it up and you’ll stop? Or are you just going to hunt down the next person on the list?”
“I do not know. You killed me. I was created for this purpose from downloaded memories.”
“You don’t have any other concept of existence other than this? You literally couldn’t think up anything else to do?”
Images flashed onscreen. Various heroes, some now alive, some never dead. The White House and Statue of Liberty appeared as well, likely referencing a time I fought the Statue and sent the White House into another dimension.
“I’m trying to make it up to the world,” I said.
“You are beyond amends,” Parietal declared. “Prove it. Undo this without brainwashing people. Save yourself and prove yourself a monster. I predict you were going to erase the information from everyone’s minds again and enact Kessler Syndrome.”
He was right. That’s what I had in mind to fix all of this. I mean, if something bad happens, but all the effects are reversed and no one has any memory of it, did it really happen? Dame would say “no” after I cleared her mind of some past trauma and memories. I shook my head. “You want to make that impossible for me anyway. You won’t stop hounding me until I’m dead or I’ve found some way to lose my powers.”
Troubleshooter called while I was busy. “Goddess… Gecko… there’s more to this. Something’s going on. Diode’s been analyzing one of these hidden satellites, and they’re not just set up to transmit to Earth.”
“Then where else?” I asked.
“It looks like it’s a trans-dimensional relay. We don’t know where this has gotten out to, or how long it has been transmitting.”
“So someone or something else is watching for some reason. I don’t suppose you can do me a favor and find a way to take all of these out.”
“It will take some time, but your will be done,” she vowed.
“You’re not going to want people hearing you say that soon,” I told her. I reached out for any disturbances. The most I found that a lot of folks were paying attention to our little planet. Extraterrestrial eyes were upon us.
I drifted down from where I floated. My wings faded away and my hair lost its vibrant colors, becoming curly and brown. I kept the horn, though I also regained some of the pleasant chub I liked to carry around.
“Hello, everyone. I am the Unicorn Goddess. I am Psychopomp Gecko, and I mean you no harm.”
Granted, there’s a lot of dead assholes not alive anymore to hear me say that. But this isn’t over. This is just a temporary setback until I figure out Parietal’s game and make sure death sticks. And unlike Hathor or some other goddesses, I will not be cowed.
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