I may have glossed over a few of my Electric Eyes, but they’ve embedded themselves into the local communities of a few important cities. I should have had more. I needed a lot better coverage in South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. What can I say, other than that I’ve been pushing myself controlling thirteen. It’s gotten easier, which will make it much easier if I ever need to spread my control over a larger group in the future.
Of course, I let myself get distracted. Had I worked on building more, I could have distributed them around, got more done. There’s just too much to do. Amusingly enough, I built them to help take some of the pressure off. That, and to provide a little extra help for my sudden but inevitable betrayal.
All good things come to an end, though. If all this has seemed like a pointless bit of waiting in the icy Antarctic, that’s half true. It was nice to have some fun, even if said fun helped people. I know, I’ve moved a bit far from the whole “agent of chaos, smacking people with trash cans” thing, but sometimes necessity forces a change, whether we like it or not. This entire ordeal with the aliens, for instance.
Yes, I know it changed me. Brought me to a crossroads.
I know, there’s an awful lot of talking instead of showing there. Just a bit of contemplation. I have a bit to contemplate after an announcement that came out of Washington D.C., from the newly-healed president. Yep, he survived. Nanites. The new miracle of the modern age, stolen from me. A panacea for the world’s ills.
Taken from me, reproduced by people who couldn’t entirely contemplate it, distributed. I have a right to feel wronged for what they’ve done, and I’ve taken measures for revenge. Forcelight, for all the heroine’s inability to pick a good name, would have sold it. I gave it away and made Forcelight do my bidding before leaving her to die somewhere between the Earth and space. And yet, I’m still not sure if I feel everything has been balanced out there.
So, when I feel so strongly about retribution for any wrongs the world gives me, what am I to make of POTUS offering amnesty to an super villains who helped out or are willing to help out in the rebuilding process. Come forward, take an oath, sign a name, and your crimes are wiped away. “So much of our past has been wiped away by those who meant humanity, all of humanity, harm. There is much work to be done to restore our great nation after all we have been through, but I promise you the fires we faced are not the end. As we have in every conflict that has tested our resolve, we will come out of this stronger, because the fires and the beating that we took have not beaten us down. They have beaten out our weakness, and forged our Union anew. As part of this renewel, I make this offer.”
My first thought? “Yeah, beat my metal some more.” Except then people started taking him up on the offer, and more countries followed and I had to think. It involved lots of straining and going, “How do regular people do this?”
It took longer than I thought for the call to come in. “Well, if it isn’t my poor, put-upon handler. Here to share the good news?”
“You heard?” asked Venus, my dear, idealistic nemesis, who has been after me to reform. I think she sees me as some broken thing to be pitied and tempt to the side of angels, or maybe she’s trying to prove something. She makes a good speech of it.
“Yeah, sure. I heard. I don’t entirely believe, but I heard. Works out better than you could ever dream of, right? Sure, until someone steps forward they don’t want taking the deal. I’ll guarantee it. Guaran-damn-tee.”
“You have trust issues. Give the rest of the world a chance. They’re willing to give you one. Did you ever bury those bodies up there?” She referenced, of course, the crew of the weather research station I killed when I got here. In this case, it was self defense.
“Technically, they are buried.” In the sense that most of them had been packed under snow, inside of snowmen that serve as useless guards for my ice fortress. “Sealed in tight, you might say.” The seals that broke in the other day had decided to stick around thanks to a generous donation of spare foodstuffs tossed out into the snow. They liked fish sticks.
“I wanted to draw your attention to all the murder because I want to know why you do it?” She went on.
I shrugged. “Well, I hate people, and nothing gets that message across like killing them. And I think they’re stupid and create a lot of problems that, surprise, killing fixes that too. Oh, and there’s the little matter of feeling down when I don’t get to kill people.”
“Bullshit. How many people have you killed down there over the past month? What about when you were CEO, did you get your daily recommended dose of dead bodies then?” See? You trust someone, and they start throwing dead bodies in your face.
I figured I needed to remind her of what I revealed once. “It’s not nice to make fun of someone being addicted, ya know.”
She scoffed. “You are not my definition of fun, nor would I make fun of what you’ve done.” Shame, that. I’ve certainly had a lot of fun doing it. “But addiction doesn’t work like that. Maybe you think you’re addicted, or maybe you don’t know how it works, but have you ever gone into withdrawal any time it wasn’t convenient? It’s not just that you’ve done it so long and you’ve gotten used to it, take pleasure from it.”
“Kinda hard to beat chemistry and physiology, Venus.” I flipped through the news in my head. Amnesty here, amnesty there. Elita the Warrior Woman and Good Doctor were some of the names I recognized. One channel even focused on gangs organizing and applying for the amnesty. So long as “superhero” and “supervillain” can include non-powered people, there’s always that opening. Some people are super because they suffered through a once-in-a-lifetime experiment with gamma radiation or mutated animals. Others might have been born as part of some persecuted subgroup that happened to have access to extranormal abilities. Some are even alien refugees who quite like their adopted home world. And all of them get lumped in with men in masks who know karate, or billionaire playboys with expensive suits. Throw a mask on Charles Manson, call him Helter Skelter, and offer him a damn pardon, why not?
The fact that’s not happening leads me to believe there’s still a process to keep someone too infamous from joining in. Oh, wait, wasn’t Venus saying something? I tuned back in to find her still talking.
“People leave the hospital every day, not addicted to morphine. Others live as alcoholics until one day they find a purpose and put down the bottle. Rats will drink cocaine-laced water if they’re kept alone in a cage, but they don’t care as soon as you give them something else to do. You told me the truth of your life, as you understood it, but you don’t know everything. You don’t know there isn’t any changing for you.”
Like I said, she makes a good speech.
“An intriguing new perspective, but why would I want to change? What would I do? Walk around, get beaten up by old people who know I’m not allowed to fight back? I am still a fan of the ol’ ultraviolence.” Darn connection fuzzed up for a moment there. That’s what happen when you start making phone calls from Antarctica. I swear, internet service is so bad here, it’s hard to imagine how anyone puts up with it. Then again, Antarctica’s not known for its population.
“Stop beying such a pussy, Gecko. You could spend all day sitting around, thinking up reasons not to do something audacious, or you could go and do it. Are you not the man who had the balls to fight a city full of aliens all by himself?”
Did I leave a door open? The temperature dropped a bit. Without the easy accessibility of perimeter cameras and spy satellite coverage, tracking the weather had actually become more difficult in the place. It didn’t help that the facility meant to look at it was, well, here. Occupied by me. And then the paranoid people I took it from had wrecked all that equipment, along with radios and computers. I repaired some of it, sure, but watching the latest season of Game of Thrones didn’t give me real-time weather data. And, to make it worse, Cersei Lannister never even went lesbian!
“It’s starting to blur together whether or not I had balls at the time, actually, and I only did that because I had no choice. Everyone turned on me, and the government wasn’t willing to give me any help. Everyone you want me to extend an olive branch to. It’s hard to put my life into those kinds of hands.”
I probably sounded distracted as I got up and went to check one of the nearby doors and windows. The shapes trying to hide didn’t make me feel better. The snow on the floor inside the door made it even worse. I silently padded back toward the hall on the other side of the rec room, wondering if I’d even make it to my room before the silent intruder or intruders made a move.
“Not everyone’s a psychopath, you know.” Now there’s a laugh, though by this point I got very quiet, making my way over to the hall and then down it. Without my armor and without a weapon, the hallway made a poor spot for me to fight someone. Even with my armor, it would offer little space to dodge.
“That’s the thing about society. When you get enough people together, they can still manage to act like sociopaths. A little bit of evil in people who think they’re decent still adds up. By the way, I didn’t order takeout, so I’m just wondering who all you told about my little forced exile up here. I mean, I was heading back anyway. I just need some dragons and an army of eunuchs.”
“Don’t spoil it for me! I haven’t been seen the last episode.”
I inched closer to my door, not an assassin in sight. “And?”
“What, the takeout thing? I thought you were joking. It’s only me and Captain Lightning.”
Which just meant either Captain Lightning blabbed, or he turned on me. He’s a pragmatic sort. He fought Nazis alongside Russians. I pulled my eye out, then thought better of it when I realized I pulled the laser eye out. I replaced it and took out the non-laser version.”Where’s he right now?”
“I don’t know.”
“I think I do,” I told her, then ducked. I didn’t want someone knowing for sure where I stood as I gently pushed my door opened and rolled in my eye. Everything looked all clear, actually. That changed as soon as I eased into the doorway. The entire back half of the room exploded out, ripped away. There floated Captain Lightning, and some other capes I didn’t recognize. When I still reached for my suit on the portion of the bed remaining, it flew away from me toward one of the unrecognizable ones in a green and red parka.
“Well, looks like y’all have everything handled in here. I’m going to go make sure nobody leaves out the front door!” I said and turned to run back toward the rec room, only to find Lone Gunman there, of all people, with a minigun that didn’t look standard issue. Then again, miniguns aren’t exactly a weapon that ever fits the definition of standard issue. When I turned to go the other way, I saw it had indeed become standard issue on this trip, and that the second one rested in the gunmetal grey-clad hands of Warman, whose costume looked like a mix of tactical gear and medieval knight. If they were normal guns, I might take a risk that I could get them to shoot each other and duck under everything. With those…nope.
I turned back toward Captain Lightning and the others, one of whom at least had the decency to burst into flames, albeit as part of his powers instead of dying. “So,” I began, “I suppose you’re here for a little chat with me, Cap’n?”
“Things are calming down. I worked with you while I had to, but you’re too dangerous. You’re under arrest.”
“So you got a whole posse to bring me in? A bit much, isn’t it?”
He nodded toward the green and red parka guy. “They are here representing their countries.”
I shook my head. “Well, that won’t do. If you’re wanting me to take that amnesty, you’ve convinced me.”
Now Captain Lightning shook his head. “Are you a United States Citizen?”
He had me there, which he knew. Without waiting for an answer from me, he then asked, “Are you on U.S. Soil?”
“I am currently in the presidential palace of Geckopolis, capital city of Gecktopia, and I have two words for y’all: diplomatic immunity.”
“It does not work like that. We have been given international jurisdiction by the United Nations. Congratulations, you get to appear before the World Court. For all your capability, you aren’t strong enough alone to take us. Will you resist?”
From down the hall, I heard Gunman say, “Please resist.”
I didn’t have much of a choice to trust the world after all, looks like. I held up my hands. “Ok, you got me. I don’t suppose it’s asking too much that I get to face my accusers?”
In my ear, I heard Venus rejoin the conversation. “Have faith, Gecko.” I hung up on her, a bit tired of her stalling bullshit. I knew all that idealism couldn’t be real, and the idea of having faith is almost as funny as reading a web page via Gizoogle.
As for me, that’s why I’m off wherever I am. Near The Hague, I think. Yep, they took me to the Nether Regions and gave me the shaft. A lead elevator shaft, with everything closed up. They left me to my bed and, a few hours later, someone sent some food down on a rope.
I’ll give them one chance to not completely fuck me over. Maybe. Then, strong or not, I give Captain Lightning and anyone else a Latin lesson: pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo. And shove my fist straight up his posse.
What? I said posse.