They let me stay. It took a lot of hard work, determination, and pointing out how many times I’ve saved the world. I mean, it’s right there in the secret town charter that villains need to also be given a chance and not thrown under the bus, plus I did fix both the people and things damaged in the recent pepper incident. There might also have been some sort of probationary conditions, like sharing my findings about the pepper analysis with the supers investigating on behalf of the town council.
Another condition of my probation was community service. And I like my home, so I agreed. My daughter should have friends and community, and so should my kid. They were actually willing to accept something easier on a pregnant woman, but I opted for something that would get things settled more quickly. There were a couple heroes on the city council. And so I ended up agreeing to work with one’s brother for some community service in a bit.
I guess I could have taken the offer from Unique, but I just didn’t trust it. There had to be something wrong with all those heroes together in one place. There would have to be some sort of supremacist plot or something. I went to investigate in the most obvious way: I turned into… Unicorn, I guess? I need a new name other than Unicorn Goddess since I gave up being a goddess. Let’s call me Unicorn for now. Or maybe Unicorn woman. Either way, teleported down to near Unique while in Unicorn form and flew over the fields. I found the house nearest to it and landed on the porch.
Unlike when I overused my powers, I remembered I could use nanomachines. I’m a genius, y’all. So I sent some of those in on a breeze to scout around. Someone was walking around, which meant getting his attention was as simple as a knock on the door. Someone called out, “Coming!”
I leaned against the doorframe as the inhabitant opened it. “How’d do do?” I asked.
He was just slightly taller than average and a little scrawny. “Can I help you?”
“Hey, I’m here to ask you a few questions about your pepper fields here. First off, fields full of peppers? You know how hard that’s going to be to go through and pick?”
“You’re the Unicorn Goddess, right? Do you have something to do with the FDA or something? Why are you here talking about my peppers?” He asked. He stopped and held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Mel. You might know me better as Dr. Snugglesworth.”
Dr. Snugglesworth is a super genius cat. I looked him up and down. “You look taller in-person. I’m dropping the Goddess thing nowadays, so you can just call me Unicorn. And I’m here because I was examining your peppers recently and found they are inhabited by monsters.”
Mel shook his head. “Whoa, this is a lot. You’re not a Goddess?”
“Don’t think about it too long,” I said. “Anything about the rest of that?”
“Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about monsters,” he said.
I teleported a pepper into one hand and a spray bottle of water into the other. I gave it a squirt and let him see as the pepper grew a mouth and began to roar. It grew in my hands, but I slammed it into so much salsa before it could get out of hand. “That seems to be the case with every single one of your peppers. Haven’t you noticed anything while watering them?”
“They’re desert plants. I don’t really water them,” he answered.
“You didn’t think it was odd that a domesticated species of plant didn’t require any water but still grew to ginormous sizes?” I asked. “Where did you get these seeds from?”
“I made them. I’m a genius! I decided to dabble in genetic modification of plants in order to alleviate food shortages.”
“And you went with peppers,” I pointed out. “Not potatoes or corn or wheat. What’s going to happen when a storm comes through? Come on, what’s going on here? Are you secretly a supervillain cat?”
Mel was nervous and sweating. “No. Listen, let me explain.”
I disappeared the crushed pepper into the sun and the water bottle back to my garden, replacing them with a notepad and pencil. I quietly repeated what he said as I wrote it down. “No. Listen, let me explain…”
“I didn’t know about the monsters or whatever you say is making them grow like that,” he admitted.
“How?” I asked. “If you designed them, how? What’d you take the DNA from?”
Mel shook his head. “I don’t know. This is technology I stole when we stopped a supervillain. He claimed to have a way to use food to take over the world, but then my team broke his jaw before he could admit it and now he’s in prison. I took all the stuff he built, filed some patents, made money off it. He only had it ready for peppers, but I figured once I had enough room to grow and test them, I could find something to extract and splice into other foods.”
I sent the notepad away and created an image of the creature I’d cloned, showing a sped-up version of its growth and the experiments. “The DNA spliced into those things makes this. Has anyone actually eaten any of them?”
Mel shook his head. “Not that I’m aware of. And they won’t now. There’s so much water in the human body. You have to help me destroy the entire field of peppers!”
“Done,” I said. I sent out a swarm of nanomachines to rot all of them on one side while I floated above the house and summoned a wall of flame that I pushed along the other side. Passerby gathered, including that shiny new truck from before. Mel ran out along the drive to meet the locals and assure them this was a good thing I was doing. It helped that I worked super fast. The speedster they were using didn’t even show up in time before I’d scorched the entire field to ruin. It was fun, too. Unleashing fire is just so great. Burn it all down!
I held in my laughter. It took quite a bit of power and restraint to hold myself back from enjoying the joy of the cleansing flames. As soon as I finished, I blinked over to floating over Mel and his buddies. “Alright, that’s taken care of. We should be good now.”
“What do you have against our town, lady?!” asked the guy who first gave me a ride to these very fields.
“Nothing,” I assured him. “It’s just there was an unlikely series of events that caused me to get involved in all this. It really is that simple sometime. There’s not even a huge, world-ending plot. Well, there almost was. Who’d you steal these peppers from?”
Cut to myself, as Unicorn, and Mel standing in the administrative offices of a prison in Florida. A tired fellow in worn but smart office wear sighed and gestured toward the aging computer monitor in front of him. “I’m telling you, he’s not here. He was never returned after he escaped. You say Agronomiser was caught a month ago?”
“Yes!” Mel said. “He was escaped six months ago and then was caught as part of a scheme to sell giant killer melons.”
“Really? My wife could use a pair of those,” the administrator said.
“Ha,” Mel responded. “I was informed he was going to be brought right back here.” He said it to me as much as to the guy in front of us. “They took him away and I looked around the lab. You know how that went,” he gestured to me.
“Well, whoever told you that was lying,” the administrator said. “We haven’t seen him since he escaped on the back of that Flying Spaghetti Squash Monster.”
Mel was clearly agitated as we left. I could tell this didn’t make sense to him. He turned to me. “By my calculations, you should have some form of omnipotence if you were at your thus-demonstrated power level.”
“Not anymore,” I told him.
“That makes this harder. Because the one who was with me, who assured me he was taking Agronomiser to back to prison, was Bill of Rights,” Mel said. “I don’t like the thought of confronting him, but I dislike the implications of this revelation even more. What did he do with Agronomiser? Is he dead? Is there a secret prison somewhere?”
Yes. I didn’t admit that to Mel, but I know of an actual secret prison under the Master Academy. There are also various governmental ones in different countries. Those had a disproportionate number of guards and administrators caught in the culling.
“Let me check one of the secret prisons out there real quick?” I blinked us back to his porch and was going to drop him off there, except we heard the thunder and saw the dark clouds the sun from view. The air was tense with a storm.
“It’s not supposed to storm today. Or every, over this farm,” Mel said. “I have one of the weather control devices they use in Florida.” Lightning flashed. Mel raced inside and toward a basement door. He hit a switch on the banister and the stairs turned into a slick slide that he dove down, coming up in a basement where I was already waiting thanks to the power of teleportation. What looked like a high tech directional buoy was sitting there, sparking, its guts torn open.
The thunder rolled and the lightning struck. “Another love grows cold on a sleepless night,” I muttered to myself. It wasn’t my fault the weather was singing.
Mel shook his head. “We need to be ready. There’s an excellent chance that-”
The bottom fell out. Even in the basement, we heard the loud pounding of a sudden outburst of water from the sky.
I decided to finish the thought. “…that a bunch smaller peppers fell and got mixed in with the dirt enough, or there were seeds in the dirt deep enough, that the fire and my other methods didn’t catch them.” I nodded.
The howling from outside confirmed the idea. “Did you have to use quite so many seeds?” I asked him.
“Did you have to give up the power of a god?” he asked me. Mel’s face contorted then and rose up along with a portion of his chest cavity. Inside sat a shiny grey and black cat glaring at me from behind a pair of small eyeglasses. Dr. Snugglesworth meowed at me.
I shrugged. “Come on, let’s see if kitty’s got claws. We’ve got some chili con carnage to stop.”
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