I suppose I should do something about the giant maggot, but Medusa and Venus didn’t ask me. The visiting aliens wanted the both of them on suspicion of attempted assassination, but those two beautiful losers were still going to save them. They didn’t ask me to take part. In fact, Maia, better known as Medusa, kissed Holly and told her, “I don’t care if you have to tackle her. You keep her and my baby safe.”
Holly giggled. “If she gets out of line, I’ll have to use the cuffs on her. Or let her use them on me.”
I swallowed some of my buffalo chicken sandwich with extra jalapenos so I could yell, “Don’t you think you can just control me with sex!”
“She’s right,” Sam jumped in, arms crossed. “We can trap her using food, too.”
“I’m the deadliest person on this planet!” I reminded them, then caught some falling chicken to shove into my mouth.
“You’re beautiful, glowing, and carrying my baby!” added Isabella to all this. The time-displaced Venus was as correct as her older self in claiming parentage over the hellspawn growing inside me.
I felt the baby kicking. “You tell ’em, Alexander.”
“Aww,” Holly was there in an instant, hand on my belly. I glared at her, tired of people just feeling entitled to touch my belly.
Sam sensed my mood and pulled her away before I got hungry for human flesh. “She’s a bit hangry right now.”
“I hunger,” I said in a deep voice. Raising my head up, multiple metal tongues waggled in the air before I devoured the rest of the sandwich hole, the nanomachine tongues grabbing all of it and helping me not choke on it.
So they didn’t spend much time with me. They had to go figure out a response and a plan to faction. But I was right there. I had a plan. See, the giant maggot had actually shrunken down to get back into the living ship. I created a spare body that was, like, pure hot muscle. Wonder Woman would get jealous. Abs for days, and thighs I could use to crush coal into diamonds. No exaggeration, I gave her superstrength. And then I sat down in a nice little chair in the basement that hooked into me and maintained my vitals. I closed my eyes and opened the Amazonian beauty’s eyes.
For reasons known only to a devious criminal mastermind like myself, I had made a metal and leather bikini with loincloth for a costume, but I reluctantly decided to go with my second choice of costume. I put on a larger copy of my armor. Which, by the way, is no mere power armor. All that time as a god, I learned stuff about chemical bonds and alloys. This was armor fit for a god, and worn by the best one Earth ever saw. The size of the body meant I had the largest nanomachine cape I’d ever thrown together.
I teleported right onto the living ship. It rocked violently. Ugh, I thought I left the nausea behind in my pregger body. A small blue alien floated along on some sort of hover chair, stopping when it saw me. It backed that thing up out of sight. “Come back, Sparky, I just want to find out where the big worm is. I’m the early bird.”
I turned the corner and got jumped by a muscular, hair, braided guy in a red robe. He swung at me with a wide sword. I ducked out of instinct and did a split punching him in the balls. I tried to be gentle enough not to cause castration, but I can’t guarantee all his sperm survived. I grabbed his leg and tugged, sending him onto his back and giving me time to hop up and dust myself off. “Where’s the maggot guy? I’m putting a stop to this.”
A bolt of light struck the wall next to me. I ducked behind it, leaving a holographic copy to stand in my place. “What’s all this about guns?”
Another alien approached unloaded on the hologram with a large gun that had a couple spinning barrels side by side, firing these little glowing fireballs. I suspected plasma, but a little different than the way we shoot it on Earth. All she got for her trouble were plasma bolts flying through the hologram, which was unhurt. This one was a Grau with feathers on its head and along its lower jawline.
“Shoot it!” the downed man yelled.
“I am shooting it. It’s not being shot!” the Grau yelled back
“Everyone shut the fuck up!” I yelled. The hologram raised her hands. The firing stopped. I turned on the invisibility, the armor projecting the environment behind me for anyone to see from any given angle. I circled around my hologram and these two beings. “I am from the planet below, and I just want to end this useless little conflict we’ve all been forced into before something actually happens. Also, how do I understand all of y’all?”
“Microbes in the air infest the language center of your brain and communicate the meaning between different infectees.” said the Grau.
Ah. So these guys are spreading universal translation germs all over the place. They even got me. But more importantly, that kind of question paused the hostility for a moment.
The Grau spoke again reaching a hand out to help out the downed guy with all the hair. “We don’t mean you any harm. We’re criminals, but we don’t care about your world.”
“Bold of you to say that after trying to kill me, but fine, I’ll extend a little leeway. Maybe in your culture, murder is considered a greeting,” I told her.
The hair guy spoke up, “In my culture, I should kill you for striking my mivoks. It is not an honorable way to fight,” he sighed.
“Yeah, but it’s effective,” I said.
He grunted. “Yeah, that’s why we don’t like it. I’m Drahlo.”
My holographic double nodded. “My name is Gecko. I am a protector of Earth.”
“Aerno Va,” the Grau said.
“Stupid! You’re supposed to kill it, not invite it to lunch!” yelled the little blue thing on the hover chair.
Drahlo pointed to that thing with his sword. “That is Gy’regl, former pompous bag of flatulence of Louria.”
“Glorious,” I said, rhyming with what I heard the guy’s planet was called. Or maybe Louria was something else. “And what about that big worm guy?”
Darlo cocked his head. “That is Fro’cen D’ner. He worked for these drelnats. I saw when they hired him to use his shrinking technology to improve their capacity. Smaller prisoners means more prisoners.”
The Grau lowered its double-barreled gun. “One of the guards talked to me. Said D’ner was caught stealing funds and killing someone who found out. He got free somehow.”
“Have any prisoners sided with him?” I asked.
“Only the Dreleks and the Trou,” Gy’regl said.
“I don’t think the Trou is sapient,” Drahlo said.
“And the Dreleks are greedy opportunists who would snurch your amnexus if you turned your back…” muttered Gy’regl.
“Sound familiar,” Drahlo looked at Gy’regl while he spoke.
The little green guy in the hover chair gathered his robes in one small hand. “I do not snurch. I procure.”
“Is the danger past?” asked a thin, bald, red and light green being in light, irridescent robes. The way portions of its skin shimmered in the shifting light was pretty. I made a note of it to copy onto a body later. Might make a good tattoo.” This alien glanced at the hologram, then turned to where I stood instead. “I presume there is a reason you aren’t showing yourself.”
I dropped the invisibility. Drahlo growled and Aerno raised the gun slightly, but neither tried any more hostility. I shrugged. “Y’all were attacking me.”
“Fair,” Aerno said, dropping the gun so that it hung from a sling on its shoulder. “Gecko, this is Lha Ayn.”
“Greetings, Gecko the assassin. What brings you to our prison?” Lha gave an Eastern-style bow.
“I intend to disable Fro’cen’s device that shrunk the fleet, and steal the shrunken fleet itself. Maybe use the first part to figure out how to restore the second part, after a bit of negotiation to see what freedom’s worth to the Consortium.”
“You’re going to restore the Grau?” Drahlo asked. He spat at the floor.
I held up my hands. “Like I said, after a period of negotiation. They came here to strongarm Earth. Their being shrunk is a handy bargaining chip.”
Drahlo raised his sword and pointed it at me. “We will not be prisoners again!”
I nodded. “Fine.”
“We want the ship,” Lha Ayn blurted out. “Do what you want with D’ner and his ilk, leave us the ship, and we will aid your forces.”
“Eh, it’ll probably just be me,” I said.
Aerno scoffed. “How many vessels and soldiers do you command?”
I shrugged. “I have one atmosphere-only vehicle and a handful of people who would fight at my side.”
“Your planet, how advanced is it?” Drahlo asked.
“We made it to the moon and can land robots on Mars,” I said. “Internal squabbles halted space exploration for awhile there.”
The aliens all looked at each other before Gy’regl said what they all seemed to be thinking. “Primitives. Our salvation’s in the hand of savages.”
I rolled my eyes. “Ok, first off, where’s the shrink ray.”
Five minutes later and a couple floors down, we peered down a hallway that looked like a set of ribs with metal skin wrapped around them. At the far end was a large room and a door made up of thin, wing-like layers that pulled away from the center. It was open while a ball of wiry tendrils pulled itself around the room and the glowing podium in the middle. A red light blinked on top of it, and a hose from the side connected lower down on the podium, leaking a white mist.
“That’s the Trou, a fearsome beast that constricts and tears apart multiple pray. I thought they were stories to frighten children into eating their fungus,” Drahlo instructed.
“Cool. Stay here. I’ma punch it in the dick,” I took off running for it, charging the energy sheathes on my gauntlets. Potential energy gathered in a glowing layer above my gauntlets, ready to become kinetic. The Trou didn’t seem to have any sort of face. Or body?
Aerno called out from behind me. “They’re a collective of carnivorous worms!” Aerno raised a gun and took some shots at the Trou past me.
Cool. Just before the Trou pounced, I made sure the armor’s environmental seals were locked. The punches I unleashed didn’t do much even with the excess energy. I think I split a couple of these tough worms that wrapped around my limbs and throat, lifting me into the air. My nanomachine cape split into a bunch of tendrils of its own then, lunging for the Trou’s and eating into it. I heard a roar made up of dozens of squeals at different pitches as part of it severed. I reached in and tore the Trou collective in two, tossing one against a wall long enough to turn and encompass the other with my cape, seemingly devouring it. The nanomachines invaded the alien’s cells, tearing it apart at the microscopic level.
The other Trou tried to roll away, but I bounded toward it. I landed in the middle of it. It tried desperately to wrap around my neck or force itself into my armor. The nanites formed a shell around us, then compressed inward until there was nothing left but myself and the nanomachines returning to cape form.
“How did you primitives not kill yourselves yet with this technology?” Aerno asked. She and the rest had approached, watching in morbid fascination as I took their boogeyman apart with ease.
“It helps that I’m one of the ones who does most of the killing,” I answered.
“Perhaps you should come with us. I could use a bodyguard when I retake my throne,” Gy’regl offered.
“Sounds fun, but I’ve got a family here to consider,” I told him. I nodded back toward the device.
“If we’re at the mercy of a planet of these, we’re doomed,” Drahlo quietly confided in Aerno.
“I much more prefer our chances now,” Lha Ayn told the both of them. Louder, to me, she added, “We will accomplish our goals better if we work together.”
Ah, of course. As usual, working together meant waiting until I did the work, then them jumping in to pat themselves on the back. Still, better inside pissing out than outside pissing in. “Sure. Let’s steal ourselves a ship. Hell, let’s steal ourselves a whole fleet!”