Category Archives: 09. Breakout

What can one do when your buddy’s in jail besides make that jailhouse rock?

Breakout 7

I’d forgotten how good it feels to be “off my meds” as some might say. I’m not actually on meds, so that’s why that was in quotes. Scare quotes. SCARE quotes! Rawr! “RAWR!!!”

Enough scaring, for now at least. I’ll have to see what I can do next month as October is nearly upon us. A wonderful little month. A month where my investments will come to fruition, especially the ones in glass companies.

No need to fill up thinking about candy. It’s time for a picnic! Just Sam, Max, Holly, Moai, and I all headed up outside to the city. We actually settled on an old graveyard. Part of Max’s tastes, as he’s done some grave robbing in the past.

From a certain distance away, Kingscrow isn’t so bad. Dark and moody up close, but a lot of that is the packed atmosphere. All those old buildings and gothic designs mashed in with more modern ideas and designs. Unlike, say Empyreal City, which has been attacked to hell and back. In fact, I think they had an incident with a hell-like dimension. That’s not a cop-out to keep from calling it Hell, either. There’s more than one dimension that fits one of the many definitions of hell. There was even one full of nothing but lava that people thought fit the Biblical “Lake of Fire” definition, until someone figured out it was a portal to a volcano.

I’d like to meet a volcano goddess someday. Contrary to popular beliefs, they don’t blow all that often, but when they do it is incredibly hot. Mmm. Dat ash.

While I’m still temporarily untouchable by the heroes within Kingscrow, apparently all the gawking and screaming and fleeing for lives messes with all of us going out for a group meal. Not the first of our problems related to me carrying around the trigger to a bomb they hadn’t found yet.

Technically, that’s terrorism. It’s amazingly effective as far as tactics goes. Think about it. For the price of one bomb in a building, I have the heroes thinking I’m going to nuke the city. They’re keeping it somewhat quiet, though. A gamble on their part. It mainly has to do with the fact that they have no evidence such a bomb exists within the city.

As a funny aside, they have overturned at least three hidden nuclear reactors in the city. Two were from secret labs. The third was some kid in his basement.

“I’m just gonna have to fucking blow it,” I told the girls as they unloaded the baskets. I was laying back on one of those reclining lawn chair thingies. Relaxing. Hey, I had to go steal the food for this adventure. I reached over and picked a banana off my tilted over Moai’s fruit hat. Chiquita banana. Only the most evil of food for our little trip.

What, you don’t believe me? Look up their history. Those bananas have blood on them. Oooh, there’s an idea. Maybe someone can make a red banana. No, wait. Too many dick jokes associated with it. No one would have the balls.

“The fuck., Gecko!” said Sam.

Obviously, not everyone was on board with this plan.

“Why?” she continued.

“It’s obvious, really. So long as I have what they assume is a nuke, I’m a potential threat. People are afraid of a potential threat. People will give themselves to dictators and beat the innocent to death with deviled eggs over a potential threat. It’s called being a scared little bitch. A survival instinct can be a powerful tool for control but it can also be incredibly destructive.”

“That makes no sense.”

“That’s humanity for you. I am utterly unfit to fit into a society of such mad people.”

“You’re calling us crazy?” asked Holly now.

“Says the woman who trusts unapologetic killers more than your own family,” answered Max, getting my back on this one. Moai tilted to offer Sam fruit as she set down a bowl with plastic wrap stretched over the top.

She thanked him and took a pear, then turned to Max, “Thought you were looking for ingredients?” I closed my eyes while I soaked in whatever rays got in through the near-perpetual cloudiness surrounding Kingscrow.

“I thought of something important I had to tell you all. It was on the tip of my tongue. It was something to do with…oh…what’s the name… Right, that’s right. Forcelight was on her way.”

“I’m right here now.”

“Move then, you’re in my sunlight,” I told her.

“Careful, you don’t want to get cancer,” said Max, oblivious to heroine. Then again, it’s just like Max to be oblivious to heroine.

“What are you here for, Forcelight? Can you wait until after the potato salad to fight us?” I asked as I opened my eyes and checked around. Nobody there but us chickens. And the super fox, of course.

“I’m here to de-escalate things, so go ahead and eat. In fact, got any extra?”

“Do we have any extra plates? We have an extra guest for some reason,” I ordered and clapped my hands. Holly clapped her hand against my ear.

“I’m here to talk for now.”

“Unusual. Sit. Eat. Drink. Be Mary Marvel. But no matter what goes on here, Max and the others don’t need to get arrested because of your sensitive disposition and thin skin.”

“Okay. I’m here on my own anyway. No Shieldwall or Long Life.”

And so began the epic mealtime. It was mostly silent due to the unexpected guest, until “This is what you robbed that store for, isn’t it?”

“Mhm. I provide the food, Max provides the drinks.”

Forcelight swiftly set down the two liter she held and pointed to Max “He provides the drinks? The guy who does the drugs gets the drinks?”

“Yeah. I’m not supposed to anymore after that ‘pick your poison’ time and Doc’s not here to get the drinks instead. We don’t let Doc pick the cuts of meat. Just like Max isn’t supposed to be lighting any incense here.”

“This isn’t incense.”

“Good.”

“It’s a bong,” and that’s all you need to know about why Kingscrow has cloudy weather and residents who just don’t give a shit.

“See? Just a nice picnic in a cemetery with drugs and superpowers.”

“You’re all so…casual about it,” said our heroic guest. She turned toward Holly and Sam. “Are they always like that?”

“Pretty much.”

“Gecko goes a little crazy sometimes, but yeah.”

“Problem, Forcelight? And should we call you something a little shorter?”

“No and no. It’s just surprising that you’re both so casual about it. I thought more people would be self-conscious of being so different.”

Max swallowed the pice of shish kebob he was chowing down on before speaking, “I’ve been different my whole life. Why would I worry about it now?”

Moai nudged me with a pineapple. “Whaaaaaaat?” I drew out the question. He nodded toward Forcelight where she sat on the blanket with Holly and Sam. Max had his butt planted on a rectangular headstone nearby, but it was clear Moai was pointing me to Forcelight. She looked a lot smaller when she wasn’t flying around trying to punch my head off. She was watching us and caught me looking. “What was it you wanted to talk about anyway?”

“There’s been some changes at the corporate level. A restructuring of corporate values. With things changing I thought I’d take a risk and see if you could be bought off.”

I raised an eyebrow, then remembered to pull down my shades and reraise it. “You’re going to have to be more specific about everything with that.”

“Your work is worth millions, easily. If we can get mass production of your armor and nanites down then we’re talking about a fundamental shift in how the world works. We’ll pay you. You can live with millions. There’s no need for you to go around killing people and blowing things up.”

“You’ll just, what, cut me a check for letting y’all study that stuff?”

“Give us a hand figuring it all out and we’ll cut you a check. It’ll be your intellectual property, so you’ll get paid for it as long as it’s used.”

Max broke in there. “It sounds like a good deal.”

Sam and Holly nodded along to it. “Real good,” Holly said.

Sam added to “Take it.”

“I don’t know. It’s a corporation. And you say they’re restructuring their corporate values, whatever that means. For all I know, this whole deal was written down by Bennett Long on a list somewhere called ‘How to Conquer the World in 5 Easy Steps.’ As that guy who invented vaccines over here once asked, ‘Would you patent the sun?’ Ugh. Then there’s buy suits and wearing suits and those restrictive sexual harassment policies…”

Holly joined in “He’s a pig.”

Sam too, “Yeah, it’s true.”

And Max, apparently “Yeah, you won’t believe how often we have to throw a bucket of water on him.”

I glanced around at the others. “I see that all my goodwill has been paid back with slander and lies. You wound me, you guys, you surely do.”

“Hold on, let me provide some music for this heart wrenching scene,” said Sam before bringing together her thumb and forefinger for an award winning performance of the world’s smallest violin playing My Heart Bleeds for You.

Still, everyone was looking to me for an answer. “What time is it?”

Holly glanced at her watch “Threeeeee twenty four,” she said.

“Then let it be known far and wide that on this day…” I stood up as I speechified and checked the sky. “…with the express written permission of Major League Baseball…” There was the plane. The Enola Straight. “…cream, get the money, dolla dolla bill, yo…” It was headed out over the city for a special delivery from yours truly. “…four score and seven bong hits ago, I, Psycho Gecko reject this offer. Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird!”

They followed where I seemed to be looking. Forcelight spoke up, “That was a dumb way of answering. You could have just said no.”

“Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” I grabbed an apple off Moai’s hat. “If I had, I wouldn’t have shown you the plane about to drop the bomb.”

“What?!” blurted out Forcelight. To her credit, she took to the skies immediately and began chasing after it. It was a little too far gone for her to get there in time. To her detriment, she dropped the fucking potato salad. What did the potatoes ever do to her?

“The fuck are you doing!” Holly said as she beat me over the head with a shish kebab.

I had to cover up. “Ah! Y’all can just watch! Or get out of here.” Luckily I was facing the city when it went off. There was no explosion as it wasn’t nuclear or even conventional. Instead, the clouds and the city’s natural haze of pollution shifted away, throwing exploding birds around as well. We could see the windows of the buildings shatter from where we were. The explosion that consumed the spent device afterwards was easily lost.

“What did you do, Gecko?”

I let the sound wave from the device speak for itself.

“Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!”

It blew past us, the volume greatly reduced at our distance. Thanks to the power of the signal interceptor and my ability to purchase and modify really big speakers, the device that went off was extremely loud. Deafening to people up close. One single word that shattered glass and other materials sensitive to vibrations while forcing a repeat out of nearby sound systems, carrying a wave of air and broken windows throughout the streets. All with the power of just one word.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the bomb has been dropped and now Moai and myself shall make our way well out of the city and to Empyreal City. There’s just not much more I can do here to top the dropping of the F-Bomb.”

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Breakout 6

Busy busy busy
Busybusybusybusy bootylicious biz-AY!

I’ve been busy.

First off, let me tell you folks, you are in LUCK. I had an inspiring inspiration. It was all inspirational and shit. It’s like everything I remember about my old world collides with all the shit I forgot to remember and squeezes itself though the lens of this primitive dimension and suddenly I see things I didn’t see before. I’d been hoping this would happen. I’ve seen things not yet put together from their most difficult moments. You can’t get there from A to B. No no no no no no no no no no no.

That got away from me, yes. You can’t get there from A to B because that’s a line. Some things only exist outside lines. They only make sense outside that path. You don’t clearly see the forest from on the path, little red riding hood. I’m off in the woods. All the better to smell you.

Times like this, Max gets scared. The girls got scared too. I think Max wanted to tell me he was done helping. That’s fine. Max is fine. I don’t need his help. I had a great idea. They’ll love it! It’ll be a big joke on the whole city and they’ll laugh and laugh and snort and choke and cry tears and collapse and oh they’ll remember it.

I think so much more clearly like this. This focusing for you, this writing, it holds me back to think put it clearly for you reader people. But you came here for a story and you deserve a story.

So I had my idea and I worked on my idea and then Max didn’t want to help me. That’s ok. Max is ok. I didn’t use his stuff for this so he can go hide now because hiding inside is what they always do in the end. All those people living their lives afraid to be who they are. Are you afraid to show people who you are? Do you only do this for someone who already knows you? How does anyone get to know you for who you aren’t? Honey has an antibacterial affect. Diseases have grown more resistant to other antibiotics. Bees are disappearing and people pretend not to know why. People trick themselves into killing themselves every day because what things aren’t is easier to live with. Even though I lie to people with every hologram, I do so because I am a liar. I mess with the world and the world changes to accommodate me. There’s room in the world to accommodate you too, no matter how different.

Trying to focus and clarify for you all. I worked on my idea, my new bomb. It isn’t ready yet, but I can get it there in short order. It will be ready. It wasn’t part of how I wanted things to go originally, but now it will be. Problem is, I needed it to be ready for what I did today. It wasn’t, but that’s ok.

I visited the Long Life tower today. I didn’t go in armor. I had my coat with me, but I entered disguised as a delivery man there to drop off some baked goods. I know what you’re thinking, boys and girls, but this cake was not a lie, and neither were those tasty treats hanging off one hand of mine in a plastic bag. The front desk wanted to hold me up, but the elevator was packed full and besides, cake. Who wants to be the bastard that holds up the arrival of cake?

One man wanted a peak at the warm, moist treat within. I warned him it was someone’s birthday cake. He got his face right up in it, though, looking down at the candles and the fluffy frosting. “I wish it was my birthday,” he said. So I pushed a button on the base of the cake box and the candles lit. Their flames shot out a few feet, catching the man’s lapel and hair on fire as he screamed, fire scorching his tongue and his mouth and his throat. He tried to drop and roll, but there was no room, even with his scared coworkers pressing against the sides of the elevator.

“Anybody else want to make a wish? Hehehe ha ha! Hey, hey, go ahead and blow him out if you want to try.”

There was a melody running through my head. I call it a melody because I’m not trained in music and I know fuck all what to call it. It was a sound that made me feel whole. Feel happy. Whatever you call it. A tune? A harmony? Chorus? “Chorus? I can’t even pare us off!” Oh, they were too scared to get the joke, of course, but that didn’t matter so much once I brought the knife out of the bottom of the cake’s box.

We had a screaming fun time in that elevator and the cake lasted. Believe me, everybody got a slice. And all the while the tune stayed with me. I felt complete again.

The alarms didn’t really sound until I got off at Research and Development. I know what you’re thinking, that I got off at R&D, but I assure you, I’m not that much of a technophile.

The man at the security desk tried to end the party, but he got a knife upside his face for his trouble. You may not have noticed, but there’s a reason I generally use knives that explode? The fact that the handle bonked him in the face should be a good indication, but I didn’t let it worry me.

Poor guard. Working 9 to 5, being kept down by the man, stuck guarding the scientists, and then a supervillain walks in and hits him in the face with a knife. The icing on the cake was, well, the icing on the cake. He was too blinded by it to notice me slip out my newest laser potato peeler and jam it into his gut. Every once in a blue moon I’m jealous of potatoes, you know. At least they get to hang out with their buds.

I didn’t spend forever on the guy. I just carved up the cake with his face still on it thanks to my newly-retrieved knife.

My culinary crusade wasn’t not yet over, however, as I hefted the two pie boxes out of the bag I had with me. The next two guards to rush out at me got pied. I know, I gave two guys a taste of my pie. You want to know what flavor of pie a guy has? Boys-enberry. I hear it’s a popular recipe with Catholics.

Ah, but I should have freshened up. I don’t always freshen up for potential suitors as the hissing reminded me. Their faces bubbling even where they weren’t embedded in pies, the guards dropped their guns and nightsticks and collapsed to the floor.

The good thing about an entrance like that is smart people, like those working in R&D realize pretty quickly not to stop you when you go dumpster diving through their computer systems. There was a researcher or something that tried to stop me from taking back the nanite synthesizer. With a few twists and then a violent snap, I promoted him to project head. Oh snap!

There were loud alarms at this point. It threw me off my humming. Shame, that was a good song. The noise put me in the mood for a more violent sound, but first I had to check out how their handling of the nanites was going. You know, you’d be surprised what a very minor change to the code can do, especially when it’s to the program copied onto each and every one they make from now on. Oh, I didn’t want to destroy them. No, I have something in mind that counts on them doing exactly what they want to do. They’ll make a lot of these and they’ll sell the crap out of them. Ship a million of those things? They’ll ship them out a whole new door.

The researchers were sadly unwilling to join me in an impromptu mosh pit but the guards at my next stop, that switchover floor, were all too ready to get moshed the fuck out. I set aside my synthesizer for the moment and jumped through a nearby glass divider into a conference room. I grabbed a chair, swung, and tossed it through the breaking wall and into the guard’s fire. That chair, sadly, did not make it. The next chair did, knocking him on his ass. I was on him before he could bring the gun up and signed my name in his throat with a piece of glass. Psycho Gecko was here. Then I turned him over on his back, yanked down his pants, and signed one ass cheek.

His friends showed up soon after. No helicopter this time, though. That’s a shame. I guess they left it be-Hind.

The other guards filled the air with bullets and pellets. Their friend provided a minor shield, but the human body is notoriously not bullet proof. Neither is just about anything you find in an office, in fact. I chucked the body at one of the teams of two and got in close, jamming broken glass into the lead guard’s eye. His buddy couldn’t fire around him well enough, but I could get my head past the first guard enough to rip out the second guard’s throat with my teeth. Hey, I didn’t get to have any cake earlier.

Three bodies were fairly bulletproof, that’s for sure. I propped up the bodies against a desk and dove over it to land next to a man hiding underneath, praying. I pocketed his stapler and post-its. They came in handy.

I crouched and moved past a wood wall backing up a larger desk between my position and the gunmen. Finally they realized I wasn’t behind their dead comrades and turned their attention elsewhere. One of them did check behind them. He was blinded. Blinded I tell you! Blinded…by post-it notes over his eyes. He went to fire but I grabbed the barrel and jammed it under his chin. He took the front half of his own face off.

His partner turned and had me dead to rights but for taking a stapler to the face. His hesitation and inability to follow me proved useful. I rolled toward him, grabbed the stapler where it fell, and stapled his nuts to his thigh. I held the gun barrel well clear of myself as I stood and used the stapler like a pair of chopsticks. His tongue was the rice. I only got it halfway clear before I lost my grip too, but he was in no mood to fight back at that rate.

They made me do this, too. They stole my stuff. Stuff like the nanite synthesizer I left near the elevator to the ground floor. If only they hadn’t taken it, I could have snuck past and made my way up. But no. They wanted my things and that means I couldn’t just leave it and go. When will they stop killing themselves with myself as their instrument? Why must they make me want to do this?!

They had an override on the elevator up. I overcame it easily overall with a press of my hand to the security controls and an over active imagination. I’m practically overkill to their machines, frying them so bad you’d think they were over easy. Next stop, penthouse floor. That’s the floor over 9,000. And that was terrible.

I strode out to where I figured Forcelight must live, my rightful property in hand, and found…nothing. Her stuff was there. Computers. Documents. Mail. A bed that’s barely been slept on. There was an open window as well. She’d be back soon, then, I knew. Unless they had to go out on a mission between when I walked in the door and when I got up here, she’s off seeing to what happened below.

New company policy. That’s how the email started. CC: everybody. Forcelight, come alone. Send.

You know what’s funny? All this plotting and planning, all this taking advantage of her father’s setup, and the board wanted someone else in control. Apparently it’s expensive trying to save the world. That’s a phrase that tells you a lot about humanity.

The ding of the elevator marked her arrival. Her costume was white and black in hard, jagged angles. She was beautiful, you know? It was a very stern and angry beauty, most definitely linked to the eye of this beholder. She didn’t attack right off.

“Good! Glad you didn’t want to come up here shooting or do anything stupid like sneak up behind me through that open window. And if anybody is there, I would advise them to back off.”

Forcelight shook her head. “Nobody else is up here. I’m more than enough for you, you know.”

“Yes, I remember from last time, when you arrested your daddy.”

“He isn’t. You’re keeping up your friends’ message, but it’s a lie.”

“Ah, so you think. I’d suggest a DNA test, but you’re built out of so many dead people’s parts, who knows who it would say you are?”

“You’re behind everything in the news about me lately too.”

“I’ll have you know that every bit of information they have found was not planted. Double check it if you like, if you dare.”

“Why shouldn’t I take you down right now?”

“Oooh, you guessed I had something in mind! Damn, I like being underestimated. Fine, spoilsport. I have a bomb ready to blow right in the middle of your fair city, one of nigh-nuclear proportions. I’m very proud of it, too.”

“You have friends here!”

“Friends? Your little campaign to isolate me was cute, but I don’t exactly have friends. Just people I’m not killing yet.”

“What do you want? Why come here?”

“I just wanted to get my stuff and make sure I got out nice and safely. You know me. I have a dozen different way set off a bomb even if you think you have me. Now, mostly I was here to get a little something back,” I lifted up the big canister. “This was only part of it. I believe you have a certain statue of mine?”

“You said you didn’t have friends.”

“I don’t, but I want my pet rock back. Got it? Good. The other thingy I wanted to talk to you about was to let you know that Doc, or Good Doctor as you know him, is trying to change. He had a good reason for everything he’s done, too.”

“What reason?”

“That’s his to tell. You shouldn’t be out fighting the likes of me. Look at you. Who are you? You own most of a corporation, you’ve been experimented on, your dad clearly loves you. You can’t deal with all that and fight me at every turn too.”

“I think I can. Not everything has to be dealt with.”

“Have you even been under the covers of that bed for an entire night’s sleep since you started all this?”

“Don’t talk to me about my sleeping habits.”

“I’m not talking about joining you in there. I’m just offering some very healthy advice. Get out of this before I do much worse than ensure my escape with a few bombs.”

“You can’t kill me, you know.”

“True at the moment. You’ll survive, surrounded by a city of dead. The question is, do you want to make me kill them?”

“You’re a bastard.”

“Bitch, please. PLEASE tell me this exchange ends with us grabbing each other and kissing.”

That’s the point where she punched me out the window. I kept my nanite maker too. No need to meet my maker though. Forcelight flew after me and caught me. That’s when I sent off the signal to detonate. The cake, left forgotten as it was, activated and took out the entire R&D floor. Fire rolled out through breaking glass as it blew. Chances are good that their servers weren’t on that floor.

Forcelight wanted to drop me at that point, but I looked her right in her glowing white eyes. “I’m sorry, do I look like I want to bluff with a bomb? How many people die because of you today?”

She was decent enough to set me on the ground at that point and get the cops to clear off as I waited in front of everyone. I was completely unmolested there, though I noted the flights of birds being chased by choppers, and the occasional explosion as one of the micro munitions went off. Still trying to trace my signals. They were more than a little worried when that sight prompted laughter from me.

Finally, they brought out my Moai, completely free of cement. I gave him a biiiiiig hug. I think he was happy to see me, but he’s got a hell of a poker face. Never seen him crack a smile. We took off down the city streets, proud and out in the open. To quote Teddy Roosevelt from when he time traveled to the Cold War, “Talk softly and carry a large arsenal.” Cue jokes about the size of his arse-enal and then a dead State Department official. Just because there’s a toy bear named after him doesn’t mean he’d gone soft.

How many more people died that day? No more by my hand. Hell, the city wasn’t at risk. As I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, the bomb wasn’t complete when I got it in my head to do all this. Isn’t it a shame that a fellow can’t get proper service without threatening to kill everyone around? I still had to blow some fuckers up!

I’m hardly all that off-kilter though. They’re the ones doing the murdering. How many more people do I get to pick out of my teeth with a knife because they want to stop me?

Oh say it’s plenty. Say it’s plenty. They keep making me and I’m nothing if not what I’ve been made. Now then, all this has made me hungry. To the Minstrel cycle, my minion! Tonight I feast on the dreams of frightened children and the eggs of Waffle House!

 

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Breakout 5

Yak yak yak, yak yak yak, I swear Max created a mouthwash that serves as a portal to Nepal. Nepal has yaks, doesn’t it? I’ll drop yaks on them if they don’t!

I’ll worry about that later though.

Instead, after all my work, all my planning, all the drinks I bought at the bar, Max had questions.

We had been working on some tricks to pull but apparently there was one huge, burning issue still hanging over this whole thing. “What then? You get your Moai back and then you…what? Mojitos?”

“Well, I’ll be escalating and de-escalating things in the process, feinting, counterstriking, setting up one or two future events to go my way unless something happens.”

“So you’re going to keep fighting them,” Max said while mixing honey with toothpaste and arsenic. Kids, don’t try that at home. What Max does isn’t chemistry.

Barely need to keep an eye on the guy in a lab though. Especially when you’re busy working on some micro munitions. “Yeah. Planning on screwing with their heads. Thinking I might, I don’t know, build a giant laser gun in Empyreal City and destroy New Jersey or something.”

“Destroy New Jersey. Hmm. Keep that up and people will believe you’ve gone over to the side of heroes.”

“They wish.”

“So you’re just going to keep fighting them? Do you think you’ll win?”

“Win? Like kill them all? At this point that’ll be tough.”

“Then what is your endgame here? How long are you going to do this for?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then why do you keep doing this?”

“I told you, they stole my minion.”

“And after that, what keeps you going?”

“I dunno.”

“What started this whole grudge in the first place?”

“They keep surviving all my fights and joining together. They stole some of my stuff. They keep finding me and trying to bring me in. I kinda have to fight a crowd of stalkers like that.”

“Are you going to get back what they stole from you?”

“Yeah, that’s part of the plan. But not all of it. I have plans for some of the stuff they made.”

He didn’t even bother to asking me again. By now, the question was implied. Only Max can turn mixing carnivorous fertilizer into question.

“They keep coming after me.”

“I think by now they’ve got other threats to consider. Rumor has it they may confront Miss Communication over what she did to those Chinese factories to create her robots.”

“Then once again I don’t know. They just insist on being so good and idealistic. It’s so unrealistic. Real people shouldn’t be idealistic. They might get something done. You know, Venus was an abusive government away from ending up more like me.”

“It’s just not like you to get so hung up. You walked away from Holdout. So why care for this petty obsession?”

“You don’t normally care.”

“Your designer heart still beats with common blood.”

That particularly poetic way to put it caused me to look up and examine my ally, and perhaps what some would call a friend, “You’re high again and I shan’t pursue this line of questioning any further.”

“Awww. I won’t help you, you know.”

“Sure you won’t. How’s that coming along?”

“No, this I’ll help, but I’m not leaving the city. I just thought I’d point out that this could all end in your death.”

I wiped my hands off and stood up from the counter I was working at. “You ok to drive?”

Max looked up at me and reached for his drink. Which was smoking. Huh. It started as root beer, I know that much. With the very last of our preparations complete, it was time to go have good time.

First stop, the Kingscrow Clam Festival. I expected more lesbians, but it was a seafood event. A city that isn’t on the ocean holding a festival over seafood. You know, everybody’s in on this game in their own way. I was doing people a favor by stopping by like that.

I wouldn’t have missed the grand opening of Miss Clam 2013. Take those palms off those faces, ladies and gentlemen, or you won’t be able to read what happened next. The music played. The shell opened. A beautiful young lady stood there in a dress and a tiara, waving.

And then my voice bellowed from the speakers. “Om nom nom nom.” The mechanical clam slammed itself shut, severing her arm. After a little more smashing, the screams stopped and I could announce, “Mwahaha, I am the almighty clam! Bow before me, powerless mortals! Your day of reckoning has come and you shall pay for being so shellfish with mother earth’s gifts.”

Now, while all this is going on, some people are growing clam shells over their heads because Max had been passing by some of the food booths adding in a little bit of “You Are What You Eat”. One of these days, we’re going to find someone whose head turns into a giant pussy. I still believe in that dream, dammit!

We couldn’t stay for the party, though. By the time Shieldwall showed up, we were long gone.

Yep, a fun few days. Next stop was the stadium. It was game day, baby, woo! Go hard or go home, stick a needle in my ass, and fuck up that mascot! Except that day, it would have been a big mistake to do so. That day, the mascot was me. Of course I didn’t bother wearing the suit. I wore my own instead. It just looked like the mascot’s suit to everyone else, which caused some confusion when the real mascot came over and stood right in my way.

I went to walk by and he pushed me. Then he grabbed for my neck, no doubt to expose me as an imposter. Ha! Nobody exposes me! I expose myself! And I did, right there in the park, when dropped to my knees and shot a glowing fist into the other mascot’s crotch. The park erupted in cheers.

At first, I thought something exciting had happened on the field but, nope, they cared more about my ball handling. They quieted down somewhat when I withdrew my first and the mascot’s spine and skull.

I stood up, gave a bow to the shocked crowd, shoved the bones into the end of the mascot’s t-shirt gun, and gave one very lucky fan a once in a lifetime souvenir. Well, once in somebody’s lifetime.

At that point, I could tell security wanted to rush me. Wanted to. Thing is, people can rush awfully slow when they just witnessed you tear a man’s skull and spine out through his dick. The football players on the field wanted to come at me too, but they realized that I’m nobody to take on without extensive crotch protection.

They didn’t even care about why the sprinklers on the field had turned on. They began to care right about the time the grass had reached their knees. They began to get out of the way, but it took grass leaves hardening and slicing off a few legs before they rushed. Isn’t that always the case?

Why do you people do that, by the way? You can’t get most people to move their asses except for a selfish reason. They’re slow to do very basic things, like driving or running, or handing over their cash and jewelry. You have to bring their interests into the situation, I’ve found. Like ramming the car, like chasing them on a tiger, even like smacking around the person a little bit until they drop the money and keep referring to you nostalgically as “Daddy”. Doesn’t explain why the last example was rubbing his cheek along my shirt and kept insisting he was hungry.

The grass generally got about thigh high, except for a few hard green shafts that stretched into the sky like the Hulk on Viagra. They even formed hard green spheres on the end, except the contents that spread out from these shafts were less radioactive. For more on how the Incredible Hulk invented fetus cancer, you’ll have to look elsewhere, like Stan Lee’s nightmares. His juicy, tender nightmares.

Instead, some of these spheres, these pods if you pardon the whale speak, opened to reveal various monstrous adaptations. There were flowers with mouths in the middle that bent and chomped a referee in half. I finally got that joke about what’s white and black and red all over. A bloodstained legless referee torso! It was so obvious, too, I should have got it a long time ago.

Other plants did other things. One flower with a mere two petals wielded them like a crazed cokehead hibachi chef, slicing through the visiting coach. A quarterback who had stood on the field all this time pulled out a handgun from his tights and fired at a nearby pod that opened to reveal a rose. Thorns grew rapidly across its stem, heedless of the bullets hitting the giant flower. The rose bent to face the quarterback. Whatever the face was like, the thorns around toward the trapped player and skewered his body in multiple places.

I motioned for a sack on the play.

While I admire the QB’s commitment to cheating by bringing a weapon onto the field, I would have called a penalty on that play anyway. He was supposed to be in shotgun formation instead.

“Was the mascot necessary?” came Max’s voice over the radio and into my helmet.

“Absolutely. That’ll teach a crow to show some spine around me. Nice pets by the way, they worked out perfect.”

“Thanks, I made them on a whim. The zombie-eating brains weren’t working out and I was trying to think of something to defend against a zombie apocalypse.”

“You went with plants?”

“Nope. Too hostile to the living.”

“Good job anyway. Now, lets-“

“Don’t you say it, Gecko. I know the words you’re about to speak and you should know better!”

“I don’t remember long enough to know better. Now-“

“No, no, no! A pun is a pun, but that is a pun too far.”

“Alright.”

“Okay?”

“Okay.”

“S’alright?”

“I didn’t say it, did I?”

“No.”

“Good.”

After a moment of silence, I dropped it.

“Let’s leaf.”
“Son of a-!”

I muted him so I didn’t have to hear the rest. So you see, I didn’t originally intend on blowing up that maintenance room, but it just sorta happened.

After that, we merely sat in the park feeding the birds. That’s all. That’s it. I swear there were no weird tracers in them to throw people off my trail. Just Max and I feeding the pigeons.

I did make one teeny tiny call while I was there. “Harlon! How’s the lying on TV business going?”

“It just goes, Gecko.”

“How about Operation Dayglow Faygo?”

“The what?”

“I told you that was supposed to be the codename for the slander campaign against Forcelight.”

“Shhh! Don’t you know the NSA is listening?”

“Ferrous Ulysses Charlie Kite Omega Foo Foo. There, dealt with.”

“What was that?”

“It was a secret code that tells any NSA members listening to fuck off.”

“Right,” There was a pause, “Well, Forcelight and all of Shieldwall got a big PR boost from fighting the robot incursion into the U.S. Your tips about Bennett Long and his secret operations has paid off so far, but the boys by the desks think it needs more context.”

“I got your context right here!”

“Are you making a crude gesture right now?”

“Yes, but I’m really about to have your context right here. We’ve been working on a video that should help.”

“Please, for the love of God, you do not know the meaning of the phrase ‘tasteful nudity’.”

“Come off it already, you had people edit that down for public consumption.”

“The editor hung himself!”

“Huh. Jealousy is a dirty little monster, isn’t it? Anyway, we’ll have something sent to you soon, just got to finish laying the groundwork. Catch ya later, Harlon, bye!”

So it was back to sitting in the park, feeding the pigeons. And walking around the park feeding the pigeons. Nothing at all villainous about that.

At least until the pigeons began randomly exploding. I was going to put them on a trigger originally, but a random timer is so much better. And the best part are the fireworks that accompany the explosions.

It wound up being a wonderful commercial, by the way.

It had a nice voiceover, “This woman claims she’s a hero who wants to save the world.” Boom, picture of Forcelight all up in your face. “But does she really look like someone trying to protect the world?” And there she is, in all her glory. Punching a giant claim while clam people run around, waving their arms panicked. “Why does she hate the creatures of the sea?” Then we cut to her using her powers to blast and burn plants. “And why does she hate plants so much?” And when did she learn how to burn things with her powers, that’s an important question on my end. Final cut, Forcelight trying to round up pigeons that are desperately trying to escape. “If she loves the world so much, why does she hate all the pretty birdies? There are too many questions about Forcelight and her nature-hating ways. Why, Forcelight? Why do you want to destroy Mother Nature?” And the whole thing ends on a picture of Bambi from the Disney movie looking scared.

Oh snap, Forcelight, you just got P’ed in the R.

 

Next

Previous

Breakout 4

It’s true, it’s true. Oh, it’s damn true. My leg is cured! Also, I can see again and I think my arthritis is gone. I can walk again, no longer have halitosis, and my athlete’s foot is gone. My hair’s not receding, my dick’s not impotent, and my legs aren’t restless. I’m no longer short on vitamin B12, I’ve regrown my kidney, and wisdom teeth are coming back in. Oh frabjous day, callooh, callay. Now please stand up and donate a few thousand dollars to the Church of Mix N’Max of Latter Day Witnesses. They’re called Latter Day Witnesses because I made sure they didn’t make it to the trial, capisce?

As you may have gathered by now, Max fixed up my leg and the rest of me. Then we went out and got a drink at the Low Earthy Bar, where I found that I didn’t need money. True, a lot of the guys from Marscow had only been out a short amount of time, but it had been a busy few days for them.

I sat drinking my fair share of the bar’s vodka, laughing with Max, Holly, and Sam. “The pillows were pretty good!” said Max, having mixed some rum with his horse ecstasy or whatever he took. Holly nodded along with him.

“Well it’s a good thing I didn’t hit a women’s prison too, otherwise a fight would have broken out at that point,” I said. With enough people drunk and feeling good, I actually got some laughs from the rest of the bar on that one.

“Look at that. Rupt is in a good mood,” said Sam, looking off into the packed crowd of patrons. I looked around and couldn’t see the guy.

“I don’t see him. Why’s he having such a good time?” I asked.

Holly snorted at that. “Because you took out Rawhide.”

“Who?”

She explained, “That giant you fought off when you found us. He and Rupt have been feuding because they wear the exact same costume and neither one would change. You solved that problem for him.”

“Well that’s awkward. Show up to rob a bank and they’re wearing the same thing? Scratch that, showing up to rob the same bank at the same time, and then in the same outfit? I guess it could be worse. They could have been robbing a wedding.”

“Who robs a wedding?” asked Sam.

Max and I both raised our hands to that one.

“Seriously you guys?”

Max shrugged, “They had good wine.”

“They had good cake,” I added.

“Did you guys actually take anything of worth?” Holly queried.

Max answered a question with a question. “You remember that awesome coffeemaker we used to have, right?”

“Hey, we’re on the news again!” someone shouted. A large portion of the bar shut up and turned to the TV.

They did a quick rehash of who I was and the breakout itself, noting that I was not working with superheroes. “He is to be considered armed and dangerous at all times. Even if he’s holding something you wouldn’t normally consider lethal. Even if he’s got nothing in his hands at all.” That’s a heartwarming disclaimer.

I turned to the guy at the next table and shoved his head into a bowl of peanuts. He struggled against me and the table with his four arms, but his friends had to force me to let go, revealing the four eyed guy to be puffing up and turning a funny color. Yellow and green plaid, I think. “Carl, speak to me!” said one of his buddies. The man turned to me, “He’s allergic to peanuts you asshole!”

I was too busy paying attention to the TV again.

“But one of the inmates is not happy with his rescuer,” spoke the announcer to the boos and thrown trash of the bar patrons. One guy even toss his salad at the screen. It left a glop of French dressing running down the screen.

“Hey, if I wanted to watch the French run on TV, I’d put on the History Channel!” I said. It’s a dumb joke on many levels, starting with the fact that the History Channel is only good if you want to watch how bigfoot and sasquatch worked with ancient aliens to fulfill the end times prophecies by creating the earth for the Illuminati to rule. Or something like that.

“We have here a video sent to the station by notorious mastermind ‘Breakdown’,” she said before cutting to the video itself.

It shows Breakdown in his modest costume. Dark green tights and cane with domino mask on of the same color but for a blue teardrop under one eye of the mask. On his chest was a design of a similarly colored drama mask from the theater. You know, the crying mask associated with Greek tragedy. He smiled and twirled his cane, then caught it on the bottom and pointed it at the camera. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I have a message for the one called Psycho Gecko. He runs and he fights and the heroes have not stopped him yet. Nothing physical has shown itself his complete superior, but I wager our poor mental gekkonidae, shallow as he is, can’t stand up to the challenge I pose. I do this not out of valor or righteousness. No, I will show them all which one of is truly the giant of the grey matter. Seek me out, Gecko.” The video panned to the side as he tapped his cane against the floor. A spotlight shown on ten children in patient gowns, huddled up with a crowd of gun toting henchmen around. “Or I’ll exploit the one weakness I know you have. Your first clue shall be present in this riddle: How is a raven like a writing desk?”

Can you believe that asshole? Stealing my thunder and wanting to challenge me. Like I don’t have enough to deal with. “Yo, anybody got a number I can call the guy up?” I asked of the stunned crowd. “Anybody at all?”

A guy at the bar stood up. Looked like just a regular guy. Henchman maybe? Plenty of those got let out too. “One of his men was a buddy of mine. I got the number of his sister, might be able to get to him through her.”

“Number por favor. While I’m speaking Spanish, Sister Rockefeller! Get this man a bottle of your best tequila! In exchange for helping me, I will erase this man’s memory and make him wake up wondering who peed in his pants!”

The answer, of course, was me. He was just too drunk to notice it at the time.

I called the number later that night when we were back at the base under La Cosa Pasta. Luckily, Max had one of the big TVs in there. Giant-sized thing, wider than I am tall. And when I say big TV I mean it was one of the Big TVs. The capitalized letter is important. Nobody calls up the UN or the President or their rival hero on a simple phone. That won’t do. Big TVs are a product all their own. A secure phone line with the ability to take and make calls that include video. A must for any supervillain with an axe to grind against the world.

So I called up this henchman’s sister. She got her brother on the phone. He, in turn, got me the number for Breakdown’s Big TV. I adjusted my helmet comm’s distortion to “Deep and Threatening” for this one.

The screen suddenly showed Breakdown on his computer.

“Impertinent fool!” I said, raising a fist toward the screen, “To think you dare presume on my time with this wasteful idiocy! I ought to smack you with a rusty ladle for this!”

Exclamation marks are a vital part of threats that go out over a Big TV, hence their reinforced speakers.

Breakdown opened his mouth. I let him get the beginnings of a syllable out before I interrupted, “Did I say you could speak? I’d pull down my pants and stretch my head between my legs if I wanted to hear you talk. Now why did you pull this shit?”

He went to answer me but I interrupted again, “I didn’t say you could talk yet! Assholesayswhat?”

“What?” he asked.

“Somebody isn’t paying attention over there. I’m tempted to end this call. First, however, tell me, yes, tell me with your words, why did you issue this challenge?”

He opened his mouth as if to talk. Realizing I wasn’t cutting in again, Breakdown cleared his throat and attempted to regain his attitude. “Ahem…I saw your weakness. Asking prisoners to help fight for kids? I thought that was such a strange request for you to make. Then I looked up. You gassed all of Memphis but St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital went mysteriously untouched? ‘Somebody has a weakness,’ I said to myself. I can’t fight you physically, we both know that, but I can prove myself to be the better of the man with an entire super group of heroes after him. You’re not completely over the edge. You still have one rule. To beat me, Psycho Gecko, you’ll have to break it.”

He was trying to play up his modus operandi. Psychological challenges that caused mental breakdowns in his victims. He chose the wrong person to try it on. “Yes, I do have one rule, Breakdown. It goes ‘Never deny a Rabbi a pepperoni pizza on an Autumn Friday afternoon when you’re there to assassinate him.’ It’s never been invoked, but it’s there. I don’t see what it has to do with anything. The kids are yours. Keep them. Everyone knows you have them. Everyone knows who to blame if they die, including that huge group of heroes who have their base in this very city. They’re going to be pissed at this when they’re done cleaning up the robots. Oh, and Breakdown? I’d really try and keep them alive if I were you. I don’t like to see kids die. I don’t have to save them, but it would be very bad to let them die. How is a raven like a writing desk? I’ll shove both of them up your ass if anything happens to them. If you think I won’t, I suggest checking out what I did with a reality TV producer and a kayak. It should still be on Youtube in the playlist called ‘Don’t Fuck With Psycho Gecko’. Because the only thing worse than me killing you? Me NOT killing you.”

I cut the feed.

I told you, I’m too busy to play mind games. Parents or heroes, they might have to rush out there in case the kids are killed. I like my way better. Now Breakdown and his guys have to protect a bunch of sick kids.

“Now that that’s done, you heading out soon?’ Max asked, putting a hand on my shoulder. I turned around toward him.

“Naw, I still have business in town. Things I need you to help me with.”

“Like what?” said Sam from the stool she was propped up on. She and Holly were passing a bowl of popcorn between them. It seems I’m entertaining when I threaten people.

“Ladies and high men. Not hymen, you can keep your legs closed. I have a minion to break out.”

Max cocked his head to the side. “He wasn’t in Marscow?”

“It seems not. Checked the manifest while I was in the system. Makes sense, I guess. He’s a Moai. You know, big statue from Easter Island. I figure he’s in the Long Life Tower somewhere, or at least we can find out where they dumped him there. So here’s the breaks: I’m not down and we get Moai out.”

 

Next

Previous

Breakout 3

The bad news, my leg was trying to rot off.

The good news, I was right about hygiene not being the cause of my wound not healing.

See, you just have to find the silver lining in things. Grandmother just died? More food for the starving kids in Africa. You killed her? It shows you’re a hands-on kind of worker. Killed her for her inheritance? You’d be a great corporate executive with that kind of attention to the profit motive. You then used her fortune to buy and consume extra food equivalent to how much she ate? Congratulations, you just made sure there were enough dead starved kids in Africa to feed the live starving kids in Africa.

So, back to the main point of all this, it looks like Ouroboros’s body double used a poison dagger back there in Paradise City. Even the girls had to admit it couldn’t be mere infection. Didn’t smell like gangrene. That leg is all funny, puffy colors with lots of goop coming out of it, and the initial effect has spread to my chest.

I think he wanted to slow me down. Hard to gauge, but I’m not dead yet and even my slightly different reactions to some chemicals wouldn’t account for all this. My powers don’t get shut off when I get put in anything that’s supposed to dampen them because they’re a part of my physiology. Like if there were a race of people with four arms, power dampening cuffs of any kind aren’t going to cause two of those to shrivel up. And because of both the upgrades I’ve made to myself and some aspects of my body chemistry that make those upgrades possible, things are slightly off from baseline humans.

Some of that was known by my old pal Harlon that I called up about this time. I was hoping for more time to sling mud, but I needed him to do a few things for me. He jumped at the idea of helping me out, like a puppy whose master just arrived home. Step 1, he digs into Forcelight and Bennett Long to uncover more proof about the adoption and the nature of the experiments that made her who she is today. Step 2, the news corporation he has influence at starts up some hard hitting pieces about Bennett Long’s schemes. The public will probably want to know, especially since his adoptive daughter has followed through on them in her own way. Nothing like a news network to fuel rampant speculation about the true intentions of a woman given powers by illegal experimentation and organ theft.

Thanks to Shieldwall’s disregard for my intellectual property, I can feel a fever under this armor. I’ve been sluggish too, in that the girl are accusing me of leaving a slime trail wherever I go. Harder to breath too. So naturally I assaulted the Long Life building. Ok, more like infiltrated it.

I needed to get to the flyer, you see, and that was located higher up on the building. This time, however, I figured I wouldn’t get myself locked down in the building. So I approached the security measures with a different technique.

I visited the circus and interrupted their human cannonball act. Some creative modifications later and I soared over Kingscrow, arms in front of me, invisible to the naked eye. And come on, naked eyes, have some dignity. Cover yourselves up!

I was slightly off on my math, however. I figured that out when I hit a corner of the building that was slightly higher up than my intended target and didn’t have the landing pad wing underneath it. My cat-like grace got me the rest of the way. Yes, my screaming, cussing, jumping, grabbing, pigeon holding, flagpole straddling grace. After a few minutes of recovering from my graceful ordeal, I stood up, untangled the flag from my armpits, and made my way to the flyer. I saw more automatic turrets around, but if they saw me they didn’t act like it. There was a lot of pigeon crap, though. Yep, high tech security system defeated by nothing but elbow grease and pigeon shit. Bird excrement: the other white meat.

I was there because I had to move my plan up. I thought up this wonderful little plan the other day on the toilet. That’s right, the toilet. That’s the spot where people have more of their ideas than ever before. It’s a fact. Just look at the rapid development of science and technology that occurs only after the invention of the toilet. You won’t see ancient Greeks and their tree leaves thinking up 3D printers. Nor will you get to the moon while sitting on an outhouse, no matter if one is carved on the door.

So I had this plan, and I saw it, and it was good. Problem was, I need Max’s help right now. Chances are good he knows how to fix me, which is the sentence that led to Holly suggesting I take some scissors for Max as well. Aside from that, they were helpful and went to go pick up the delivery from Phil the bombmaker while I was busy sabotaging the Shieldwall plane.

Nothing so drastic as making it crash or anything. I do something like that around this date and I’m bound to bring down even more heat. But they may find the things weapons just don’t work like they ought to if they get too close to me. I’ve got a way into all kinds of systems. I even found the remote start-up thanks to the VTOL jet turning on all on its own.

I went invisible and got out of there when that happened. No one would be able to tell anything had happened to it, which was a shame. It’s not that I’m an attention hog that wants to prove my brilliance over mere mortals. It’s just that I liked the idea of putting a car boot on it to indicate the heroes couldn’t use it.

I patched into whatever the big alert was through the flyer and found that the problem was the cell phones. The same kind as that heinous one I fought in Yabloo City and the robotic one that tried to drop Phil. The heroes walked right by me as they filed onboard. I almost thought Forcelight or Raggedy Man were going to pick up on something, but they didn’t stop. Raggedy Man did look at in my direction as he passed by, and hefted a mace in the shape of a jingle bell on a stick to his shoulder, but I guess he decided the rampaging cell phone robots starting up around the nation were a bigger concern.

As they flew off, I noted the ship’s computer searching for information on Miss Communication and Wrong Number. Whew. Glad there’s other villains being gangbanged by the heroes for once. I don’t think I should count the Paradise City gangs due to how that turned out. You know, with me offered on a silver platter with an apple in my mouth.

This is wonderful, though. The preparations for the jet were moot, but now they wouldn’t even be in town.

Rather than wear down Forcelight’s credibility and then stage a prison break, I had to break Max out of prison to cure me and focus on hurting Forcelight after that. Not my preferred order, but that’s the way the bowling ball bounces.

It still took a couple hours time before I could enact the breakout. I wasn’t moving as quick with all the aching and soreness. Cops didn’t even bother to stop us as we prepped. Reporters were noting that with all the attention paid to Empyreal City, other cities now had less chance to stop their incursions which were beginning as well. A few cops took pot shots at us from a distance though. I just said “Fuck It” and carved them up with the Nasty Surprise. “Where is your app for that, you cellular sons of bitches?” I said. Had to catch my breath afterward.
Now the breakout itself. Allow me to set the mood. I sped down the highway behind the wheel of a big rig, trailer in tow, with Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal” blasting. It was a highway that connected with the street running next to the wall of Marscow Prison. A few cell phone bots ran around in the streets and I swerved to run them down.

Then the bombs blew. “What got blown up?” you might ask yourself.

The road. I blew it to smithereens in one section that I was just passing over, and the truck went airborne. I grabbed the CB radio, “Breaker breaker, this is Mad Dog 20/20, we have liftoff. Repeat, this is one spicy load of salsa I got behind me. All passengers, please put up your seat backs and tray tables. If you look out the left side of the cabin, you can see robots attacking a children’s hospital. The weather is partly cloudy with a 100% chance to rain a truck, 17% chance to rain men.” The cab barely cleared the high wall of the prison. The trailer didn’t. The trailer slid along the barbed wire at the top of the wall as the cab was tilted to hit the ground first.

And hit we most certainly did. I pulled myself out the broken window of the cab and saw that the trailer’s end was resting on top of the wall. I noticed I had the radio in hand still and held it up, ignoring the severed cord. “Thank you for flying Gecko airways. Anyone who wants to make use of our fine delivery of ladders may do so at this time. Have a pleasant stay in Kingscrow and I’m turning in my pilot wings.”

I dropped the radio, took a deep breath, cloaked, and made a break for the complex. The cell bots were a decent distraction at first, but Marscow was a dinosaur as far as prisons went. If they were too old, a lockdown caused by such an attack would be impossible to get around. My fears proved unfounded though. At some point, they’d discovered the wonders of electronic security measures. Door after door opened for me until I had made my way to the security office. Riot armor-clad prison guards found out the hard way that firing a shotgun at me just makes it burn more when the barrels are shoved up their asses.

Then it was time for my speech. “Prisoners of Marscow Prison. My name is Psycho Gecko. This is a jailbreak. I’ll need to see Mix N’Max as soon as possible.” I opened as many cell doors as I had access to, “I suggest leaving, either through the gate if possible or through a nice little semi parked in the yard with a trailer full of ladders. There should be a garbage truck full of pillows waiting on the other side of the wall.” I turned away from the mic to call up Holly and Sam, “You two dropped off the truck, right?”

“The package is in place and we’re out of there,” said Sam, “We’ll meet you and Max at the hideout, but we didn’t want to wait around for all the prisoners to join us out there.”

“Whatever floats your boat,” I told her, then turned back to my announcement, “Let’s see…anything else, oh, right. Shieldwall, that team led by Forcelight, is not in town presently, but I do ask that escapees take a moment to pay a visit to the nearby Hope Memorial Hospital which is swarming with attack robots. To reiterate, that’s the hospital full of kids. Unless you’re in here for child molestation, in which case the only ass you need to worry about is your own while you flee. Now the announcements. For lunch today, the cafeteria is serving freedom fries. Anyone interested in the work release program, please report to whatever door you want to leave by. Also, the warden has volunteered to help pick up soap in the showers today. Ta ta and have a pleasant escape.”

It’s amazing the amount of goodwill and credibility you get from criminals when you provide a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for them. Nobody bothered me as I made my way to the cell block that the computers say they dumped Max in. Along the way, though, I ran into another familiar face.

“I should have realized you would be back,” said a British accented voice from a cell. I turned to look. “You’re not looking so well, Gecko. Desperate times and measures?”

“Something like that, Doc. You’re welcome to come along too,” I held out my hand toward the open cell. Good Doctor shook his head.

“No. I won’t try to stop you, but I’m not going with you. You should learn when to stop.”

“It’s who I am, Doc. It’s like telling me to stop breathing. Any idea where Max is?”

“You might check the showers and hurry. God knows what’s happening in there right now.”

“Thanks Doc. See ya around.”

I waved and ran for the showers. It was there that I found a horrible sight. A naked Max, without makeup, burning a man’s face off with a chunk of soap. The other inmate had way too hairy an ass. I mean, bleh.

“Hey Max,” I called out, waving both hands.

“Gecko!” he said, dropping the soap and the man. Then we embraced under the warm showers. Just the two of us. Two guys. One of them naked. Nothing wrong with that.

We parted, “Alright, let’s get you out of here and to the hideout. I need you to whip up a cure for poison.”

“Can I get my jumpsuit, at least?”

“No time for that,” I turned and lowered my back. He hopped on and I carried him piggyback through the complex. Nothing wrong with that either. Outside, I found the old-fashioned giant gate still closed. Guards in the towers alongside it had gunned down any prisoners attempting to make their way out. As a result, they were all climbing the truck. “For fuck’s sake.” I limped closer to the wall near the truck.

“You sound tired, Gecko. Are you alright?”

“Just some deadly deadly poison. Nothing to worry about once I get you out of here.”

I jumped. My angle was off and my toes didn’t have enough purchase, so I went falling backwards in a roll. I managed to roll through to land on my face though.

I’m not sure if I mentioned already, but the closest thing there is to a safe way to fall is to land with as much of your surface area as possible so the impact is distributed across your body. Failing to do this can lead to broken bones. Doing this can still lead to broken bones, there’s just slightly less chance of it.

Max was kind enough to provide moral support by spanking me on the butt and yelling, “Hyaa! Giddyup!”

As soon as I could speak, I told him “You keep this up and I won’t take you by Hot Topic, Max.”

“Don’t lump me in with those posers. Come on, upsy daisy, let’s try this again.”

Groaning, I stood up, adjusted Max as much as I could, and jumped for it again. This time I landed on the top of the wall and ran along it to where the truck and pillows were.

“I’m not sure about this,” said one bald prisoner with glasses to another man.

“I know you’re ascared of heights, but it’s the only way out. I’ll hold your hand, how about that?” said prisoner number 2. He held his hand out for the other man. Before he prisoner number 1 could grab it, I shoved him out of the way and down to the truck.

“Hey!” prisoner number 2 started, before I kicked him in the back of the knee and sent him down as well. Then it was my turn. This time, I landed on Max. Too bad it was on pillows, but I do technically need him alive. Max and I stumbled out and slipped into the cab of the truck. I took off just as another prisoner took a leap of faith. Oh well, if enough of them fall, they’ll make a pile big enough for the last ones to make it safely. See? Silver linings.

Max and I passed by Hope Memorial too. It swarmed with prisoners now, some super and some mundane, who were giving the robots hell. I can’t blame them. After all, I just broke hell loose.

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Breakout 2

We may have a couple of itsy bitsy problems. Just a little bit. Oh, of course we do. My streak of luck, of course we’d have some.

Let’s start with the minor problem. An outside signal that came in. That’s a fancy way to put it. The heroes redialed. I assumed that in all the chaos they’d have lost Venus’s earpiece. They had taken it out, the music was blaring, people were zapping each other. When I thought back to how they figured out it was the real me, I just figured they lost that earpiece. Hmm. Maybe they did. Makes just as much sense if they had the phone that one linked into and tried it that way. It also makes me feel like a moron.

The problem is fixed for now. My helmet is off the grid. It’s on the down low, like a gang banger banging other gang bangers. The solution I picked to distract them is pretty good, too.

They can call as much as they like, but they’ll only ever pick up the sound of a pigeon eating or crapping. I’ve got it where the signal only goes to a certain receiver that I made copies of and fed with bread to the local pigeons. They’re going to be very surprised to find me hiding in a small white pile on the Shieldwall jet.

Who am I kidding? First thing they’ll do is surround the shit pile, order it to stand down, then fire on it with deadly force.

The only thing is, they know for a fact I am in Kingscrow in the short term. They fed that to me, after all. They didn’t just taunt me about Max to show they actually were accomplishing things. They wanted to give me a target if I escaped.

Now, problem number two is what I was whining like a baby about the other day. Sam, Holly, and I were at another base hidden under La Cosa Pasta Italian Restaurant, with Holly applying iodine to my leg. “This is why you should work on your hygiene. It doesn’t even look like you did anything to this.”

“I told you. Some alcohol, some stitches, a little super glue. I just got unlucky as far as an infection, I guess. Doesn’t Max have something put away for occasions like this?”

“He didn’t keep things labeled but if you want to pour his experiments on your open leg wound, go ahead.”

“Sure, that’s how it starts. I let you pour something on me and next thing I know I’m waking up with a pink corset on and a tattoo stretching the width of my ass featuring a heart and the words ‘I love tricky dick’ that can only be read properly when you squeeze my cheeks together.”

Sam gently whapped me across the head with a newspaper, “Oh come on, it could be worse than that if you don’t try this stuff.” She held up a bonesaw to demonstrate.

“You’re right. It just occurred to me that I should probably be more worried if the tattoo is only readable when my cheeks are spread. What does this yellow one do?” I picked up a flask of bright yellow liquid. “My guess, he wanted a banana snow cone or he was working late and didn’t want to walk to the toilet.” I shook it up.

“Don’t touch that,” Holly scolded as she took the flask away and set it on the shelf behind her. “That’s either to dissolve dead bodies or it causes flowers to instantly grow all over a person’s body.”

“Huh. That’s odd, even for Max. Why would he need something to dissolve a dead body?”

“You know Max,” Sam took out a lighter with fanged skull on a snake’s body dripping poison on the side and flicked it. She used the flame to sterilize a needle and knelt down while Holly grabbed her stuff and moved aside. “Want anybody’s name down here?”

“No. I had someone significant, but no more. For once it is I who have had something torn out of my ass, and this ass-torn item was my heart. That’s what you get for hoping you can be more than just the killer of her significant other. Sigh!” That’s not a typo by the way. I really said sigh. Sometimes you just want to get your point across. Bad communication can lead to horrible mistakes like that. Did I mention that’s one reason to blast rock in your enemies’ ears when it’s you against a team?

“Right. You get a lightning bolt,” Sam said as she went to work.

“He looks more like a Jesus fish kind of guy.”

“You two are spoiled, you know that? I could snap at any minute. I’m a madman on the edge.”

“Madness is like having a big dick, Gecko. If you have to say it, it isn’t true,” said Sam.

“Whew, good thing I have a little dick.”

“It doesn’t work in reverse,” Sam’s next push of the needle through my skin hurt a little more than usual.

“I’m only supposed to have one prick. Watch out giving me any more.”

“Homophobic?”

“Nope, just not looking to get lucky in a leg wound.”

“Hey,” said Holly as she finished cleaning up her implements and put them away in their spot, “Do you actually have a plan for getting Max out, or is this going to be improvised and end with you rolling a giant donut down the street?” Then there was a ding from my rear, meaning the other side of the room that my back faced, and she left to go take care of that. To my knowledge I had nothing in my ass set to give me an alarm. I need a burglar alarm.

“I have some ideas on this one. Ok, ok, get this, this is gonna be huge. We start with me getting explosives. Lots of them.“

Sam cut me off, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, already this is sounding too dangerous.”

“Relax. They’re for the prison. Most modern prisons are more tech than walls and stone. Marscow’s a throwback, mainly because it’s right by the city. So we crumble a wall, let as many out as can go, make sure we get Max when we skedaddle, and the heroes will be too busy cleaning up to notice when we give them the f-bomb and hightail it.”

Holly returned with two cups of coffee and handed one to Sam. “It sounds really basic, like exactly what people think of when coming up with a plan to break into prison. That place holds supers, so they’re probably reinforced for that sort of thing.”

Sam chimed in, “What about that thermite stuff the conspiracy theorists always go on about? Couldn’t that do it?”

I snorted. “Please. Don’t insult my intelligence. We’d practically need to turn the prison into a thermite sand castle to have a chance at getting through the walls. There goes any chance of getting it there stealthily. And it’d have to be piled on the walls, because that stuff burns downward with gravity.” I shook my head, “I like thermite at times, but not on this job. We can do this with conventional stuff. It’s all about placement, girls. Soon, I’ll have those convicted bastards so free, they won’t just be fantasizing about those skyscrapers nearby. They’ll practically be climbing them. Driving a car out of here. All that stuff. I think we can even fit an inflatable slide into this somehow.”

Holly looked over at Sam, “This is a terrible idea. Even Max would be careful about this.”

Sam eyed me as she answered her best friend, “I know. Believe me, I know. Trouble is, we need his help or Max isn’t going to get out to tell us how stupid it was.” To me she added, “We get to make suggestions?”

“Of course, I’ll entertain creative ideas you come up with. If I’m not going to kill you for all you’ve done so far, then there’s a decent shot I won’t take a decent shot at you just for making a suggestion. For instance, you can suggest to me where I can find someone who sells boom goods.”

Their suggestion led us to a landfill on the edge of the city once I was back in my armor. I had knocked on the door of a portable office building and we waited. I turned to the pair with me, “You’re sure this guy is good and trustworthy? In my experience, these explosives suppliers seem to have bad nerves and short lifespans. I suspect there’s a link there somewhere.”

“Down, boy. No playing catch with the grenades. We’ve delivered some muscle relaxers to the guy before. You’ve got money, right?”

“Yep. Ouroboros paid me for the job with Raptor at least.”

The door opened suddenly, showing us a man in a white tank top and camo pants. His clothes were torn and had soot on them in spots. His hair was wild and he was bleeding from his chin. He looked between me and the ladies, then said to all of us, “Sorry, my phone attacked me.”

Holly muttered, “Oh shit,” under her breath.

I extended a hand toward the explosive guy. “Hi, I’m Psycho Gecko. You know, I had an encounter with a phone lately. Damn thing was tough as hell to kill off.” I stepped in and put an arm around the guy, starting to walk back into the office, “Broke a fucking sword fighting the thing. Say, I need to blow some shit up and I heard you were a guy with lots of crap that blows shit up. And I thought, ‘Damn, I need some of that crap that blows shit up.’ And that’s why I’m here tonight. Oh, and this is Holly and Sam, supposedly you know them?”

By then, I’d walked us back around in a circle to the door where he and the ladies shook hands. “Sooooooo…think you can hook me up?”

He looked at me, “You got enough cash?”

“I got cash out the ass, my good man.”

“Please launder it first.”

“Naturally.”

“How much you need?”

I told him. He whistled at that. “Wow. That’s almost enough to take down a building if you get it in the right spot. You’re not clearing off any property right around here, are ya?”

“Nope, this will all be taking place well away from you.”

He held out his hand to me, “By the way, I’m Phil.”

I shook it again, “Nice to finally meet you, you rude asshole.”

At that point, we were attacked by a robot that looked like a cell phone. It was the size of a man and had that shiny black plastic all over its thin limbs. Its face was a larger screen. It had bullet holes in its limbs and one foot was missing. I leaned my head toward Phil, “Rudeness excused. I can understand the preoccupation.”

The cell bot lunged for us. Phil slipped out of my arms, jumped out of the office, and hid behind Sam and Holly. The duo had pulled out a syringe gun and a water bottle filled with some sort of clear fluid, respectively.

I grappled with the robot and redirected it toward the wall. I skidded along, locked up with it, and was pushed against the wall, then spun it against the wall. Except what the robot hit was the window. We fell out, landing in the loose dirt-like substance that composes the ground of a landfill. Something splashed against the robot and it twitched in inhuman ways. Then it fell to the side.

Holly stood there with that bottle as the robot, now reduced to a glitchy remnant of its formerly hardy self, crawled away. I charged up my glove as I limped after it. “Not so smart now, smart phone.” I threw my fist up the back end between the legs of the robot, smashing through plastic and wiring and circuit boards. I drove my hand up along the robot’s body, knocking off chunks of it. I kept going, keeping the glove charged, until finally I knocked it’s head off.

I stood up and looked over the bot’s torn body. It wasn’t getting back up from that one. Then I turned to Holly, “Thanks for the assist. Whatever that concoction was, it beat the pants off this cell phone.”

“Uh, it was just my water.”

“Huh. Well, that is how you hit a Pound Key.”

I held up my hand for epic high five time.

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Breakout 1

Wonderful Kingscrow, how sweet the smell. Old beer, or possibly trash. It has been awhile, and I’ll have to talk to Good Doctor at some point about that whole “promise” thing but this is a very important matter. Max is in jail. Not voluntarily either. This is a situation that has to be rectified. And I take rectification to a whole nother level. There’s a reason for the similarity between the words “rectify” and “rectum” when I’m involved. Rectum? Darn near killed ’em.

While I enjoyed the laid-back urban decay of Memphis and the shift between day and night life in Paradise City, there’s something appealing about a city with gothic influences and steady corruption. I was even able to buy a new trenchcoat. I prefer them in tan. People expect worse things from a guy in a grey or black trench coat.

Looks like Shieldwall should have been more defensive on the homefront. You know you’re truly back in town when someone tries to mug you.

It was night and this fellow came up behind me from an alley. He stuck a gun in my back and demanded my wallet. I was in my armor but he couldn’t see that. What he saw was that his gun did absolutely nothing against me. The he saw the brick wall next to us. He got a real close view of it. From the snapping sound, it’s obvious he got a little too nosey about the brick. Then I threw him into the alley and introduced him to Mr. Dumpster. Mr. Dumpster is our friend! I taught him all about the benefits that Mr. Dumpster can give people who like to mug. Mr. Dumpster has food! Om nom nom. Mr. Dumpster has bottles to drink from! Ok, I was off on the acceleration and distance, but the liquids wound up on his face anyway. And finally, Mr. Dumpster is a convenient place to dump a body when you’re done with it! Or to dump a sobbing, broken shell of a man who was just forced to eat garbage and get beat up when all he wanted to do was indulge in a simple mugging.

Though the broken man one could just be a wild rumor I’ve heard. Maybe I’ll test it some day.

At least the cops of Kingscrow haven’t much changed. I waved to a pair of them parked across the street as I left that particular alley.

My suit was essential for visiting the Low Earthy Bar.

It would have been awfully convenient if what I was looking for just happened to be present when I walked in. Awfully convenient. Things just don’t seem to be so awfully convenient anymore. I know I got some strange looks as I entered and dropped the illusion of normalcy. There were some mixed signals from the mess in Paradise City, of course.

“What are you staring at, four eyes?” I barked at a guy sitting nearby, smoking. He raised his lower pair of arms defensively. I shrugged and walked off. My thoughts on the matter were that anyone who had a problem with me ought to take it up with me after I’ve had a drink.

“Sister Moonflower, some vodka, two glasses,” I told the hippy dippy chick manning the bar. She smiled at me as she served me, always seemingly genuine even when her clientele are murderers and thieves. Which reminded me of something I needed to do. Once she had poured me a couple drinks, I grabbed them both and walked over to the smoker I’d snapped at earlier.

Beside him, I told him quite earnestly, “I’m sorry for snapping at you. I don’t even know you and I really ought to treat you like I’d treat anybody else. Here’s to you,” I said, then smashed him in the face with both glasses, causing him to cry out and cover all four eyes with his four hands. I then turned to the rest of the bar and announced, “You can’t say I wouldn’t ever hit a guy with glasses!”

There were a few groans and everyone went back about their business. I stepped up to the bar and Sister Moonflower stepped right up, “Hey there, sissy poo. I’ve always wondered, the glasses aren’t quite even and sometimes they have bubbles in them. Where do you get them?”

“I have a friend who makes her own environmentally conscious glassware. Gaia needs every bit of help she can get.”

I dropped a couple hundred dollars on the bar, “That ought to pay for the glasses. Do what you love, that’s what I always say after hitting someone with four eyes with a pair of glasses. Do what you love.”

“You must love to send a message,” she said as she took the money.

“Hmm? No, just wanted to hit him. He was close and nervous. This isn’t a good place to be nervous. I’m not nervous. Why do you ask? What do you mean paranoid?” I turned to the guy standing next to me at the bar who had started to pick up my accelerated talking, “Who you callin’ a psycho, huh?!”

He got up and got well away.

“So, anyway, now that I have some privacy for us, I was wondering if you know about Max’s companions, Holly and Sam? I don’t think the articles I read mentioned they were caught too.”

“They stopped by once. Got heckled without Max here. I had to drop your name to get them out of here ok. I think they’re still laying low at one of his bases. They were trying to sell off some of his product in here at the time. You might try the drug dealers.”

I gave her a good look before asking my next question. Hair unwashed in who knows how long, held back by a tie-dye bandana. Baggy shirt with wood buttons. Baggy skirt with a flower pattern sewn onto it. Sandals. The bar’s tip jar was a clay jar from her shop upstairs, painted with the likeness of Jimi Hendrix pointing to a space shuttle that was carving a peace symbol into the moon. Apparently the man was a giant who hated aliens so much, he ordered the moon pacified. Ridiculous. Everyone knows the closest offworld alien colony is on Mars. I mean, people have their suspicions about the planet Venus, but that place is so cloudy that if any aliens are there, they’re far too baked to worry about invading Earth. Well, unless they got the munchies.

“Sister, I don’t suppose you know any drug dealers, do you?”

It cost a few thousand dollars worth of charity to some tree planting organization and a promise not to kill her dealers, but I got the names of some guys who knew some guys who maybe knew how to get me what I was looking for. The guys she sent me to were more involved with the less harmful stuff. LSD, Ecstasy, pot. Hell, the LSD and Ecstasy people want me to find Max’s stash too. The guy was crazy, but he knew how to cook, and a reliably safe drug, like if it was made under proper pharmaceutical conditions, is a valuable thing to a drug dealer.

The next set of guys dealt with stuff a little harder and they were the ones who knew who sold the exotic stuff. As I was looking for information instead of drugs, they started to clam up. Some of these shrimps even tried to get crabby with me. Now, I don’t eat seafood, which is more due to the parasites, mercury, antidepressants, and birth control that build up in the fish, but I have learned a thing or two about dealing with seafood. For example, to get clams to open up, you have to put them over some steam until they can’t help but get that hard outer shell pried apart. And crabs? Well, to get the goods from those guys, you bring out the shell cracker.

Hell, after my recent adventures involving Honky Tonk Man, little miss trust fund plastic surgery superwoman, and the walking fireworks display named Bright Star, I know all about crackers too.

The guy who told me he had a number for one of the girls was one of those types with black lights strung up and a pet boa constrictor. He didn’t seem to like his pet so much when I had his head shoved into the terrarium while it began to climb his body. The important thing is that I didn’t kill him. When I left him, he was healthy and well enough that I’m sure he’d have no problem fighting off a boa constrictor with one hand tied behind his back. For his sake, he’d better be.

When I showed up at Puppy Yippy, a former pet store, I found I wasn’t the only one looking for the girls. There was a rather large man with bulging muscles under leather straps who was tearing a wall apart to get in. Super strength, and higher level stuff at that. Everyone has their weaknesses though.

He wasn’t facing me so he was caught offguard as I jumped onto his back, wrapped my coat around his neck, and hauled back on his neck. It took some fancy footwork to dodge his large hands. Finally I just kicked him in the sides and yelled “Giddyup!” He obliged and tried to smash me into the wall. I let go and jumped off. He smashed through himself and I followed him in. He realized I was on the ground and tried to hit me, but found me a difficult target. He then found himself sprayed in the face with a fire extinguisher. Nailed my rodeo ride right in the bullseye. He was hacking at the fumes but had enough sense to raise one foot up, a little too high considering his loincloth, and brought it down to stop me off my feet. It brought the fluorescent lights down on our heads and caused me to stumble into an old countertop. My plan was unchanged, though. When fighting large oily muscle men, you have to fill their mouths with something.

That something wound up being the fire extinguisher. He grabbed me soon after I stuck it too far into his throat. His gag reflex was trying to chuck it up, along with his last meal, but I kicked the nozzle off the end sticking out, sending it firing even further into him. He was forced to let me go to save his own life. I fell on my back just in front of him and hit the jump enhancers. I then drove both my heels up under his loincloth.

Bells rang, which I found out later was due to a nearby church, and the giant dropped. From there, I hopped on his back again and applied a sleeper hold. Yes, it’s a real hold, not just a wrestling time waster. The secret behind it is to cut off the flow of oxygen to the brain. It’s dangerous because if you don’t hold a sleeper hold long enough, you may fail to cause brain damage and death, instead only knocking the person unconscious.

After a couple of minutes, I let go and turned to find myself looking down the syringe gun held by Sam. Beside her, Holly held a vial of clear liquid that appeared to be sparking. Not sparkling, sparking. “Gecko!” I expected Sam to fire anyway. Instead, she ran forward and put her arms around me. It was odd. Like some sort of gesture of gratefulness or something. Weird.

“I found out Max was caught a little bit ago, but didn’t have time to get up here and deal with it. By the way, who’s your friend?” I nodded my head toward the passed out gay bodybuilder centerfold as I put some pressure on my leg where Ouroboros’s body double stabbed me. I’d forgotten how slow natural healing is.

“No clue,” said Holly as she slipped the vial into a pouch on her belt. Who knows what vial concoction that was?

“We can call him Morty for now, but we might have to move y’all’s operation. I tend to attract hero trouble and it would be bad if they knew I was after the prison.”

Sam looked up at me, “You here to break Max out?”

“When I’m through, there’s not going to be a place left to break him out of.”

So far that’s the only time when women were happy that I mentioned breaking a prisoner out and bringing him to them.

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