Category Archives: 45. Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror!

Another classic tale to astonish from only the best producers of mayhem and murder this side of the universe divide.

Gecko Versus The Moon Conqueror! 11

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Finally, the last fight. I had it all planned out, regardless of how Cercopagis wanted to do things. That’s the important thing. Can’t let him have act like he had too much power or he might start believing it. Plus, I got back to thinking about how poorly I marketed the entire thing. Sure, I pitched as an epic struggle between us versus them, but the follow-up’s been horrendous! If I had PR people, they’d have been all over this. Anyone wanna guess why I put off getting them?

So, anyway, I rented out the big Olympic stadium in Rio this time. And by rented, I stole. Admittedly, that’s a lot less badass of a thing to do as dictator of the world. On the plus side, it’s somewhat made up for due to residual badassity of having taken over the world.

See, my problem was the spectacle. This could have been so much better if we’d publicized it more. Actually put our team memberships out there, done some opposition research, run out some dossiers, come up with customized theme songs. Then again, that would have been a lot of build up with little results to show with a few of those. It’s like those MMA fights where they make a big deal about it, then it’s over in a few seconds. At least I wouldn’t have forced people to pay to see them.

But that would have required for us to collaborate instead of compete. And that’s kinda tough when it could go either way. But it’s time I stopped caring. Not caring works out much better for me. After all, I rule Earth. If Cercopagis wants this planet, he can pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Or, at least make it clear he could kill me and give me an option to give it up while still living. I’m open to negotiation, particularly when it comes to certain death versus a chance of life.

I know I gave up the ability to pick the site of our final conflict to Cercopagis Lysis, but cheating has worked out well for me so far. With Mix N’Max still not taking my calls and Max Muscles too busy doing oiled-up superhero things, I decided to take matters into my own hands. And since I, the Great and Devious Psychopomp Gecko, am not supposed to fight…I chose to bring back The Missile Patriot! Clad in Kevlar, with tactical straps on my chest, I once more masqueraded as the red, white, and blue defender of Truth, Explosives, and solving problems the American Way: mindlessly beating people up. It’s a shame that of all the extra stuff laying around, most of it’s related to not being me. Still, the eagle-beak helmet hides my face very well beind the visor. Just a shame how much the rockets on the forearms resemble those on almost all of my Electric Eyes.

Oh, yeah. Them. Kinda got a status update there. So it turns out that someone might be working against me there. I know who I suspect, but the actual list of people who might want to destroy them is about the same as the number of folks on Earth.

Near as I can tell, Electric Eye Berlin was just walking along, patrolling, trying to keep the streets quiet when BAM! Piano landed on it. I might have put it down as a simple accident, except the camera phone of an onlooker showed the piano had a safe strapped to it with an anvil welded on top of the safe. And when I got Electric Eye to turn its head, one of those baby pianos for kids fell on it, with sandbags tied to its legs.

I suppose somewhere out there could be a world where weighted pianos fall on people all the time, but this is sadly not one of them. And it’s an extremely unusual way to assassinate someone. It’s the kind of method I’d use, which also shows why it worked. I mean, important people have counter snipes and guards with submachine guns, but I’ve yet to see the Secret Service work out how to stop a mad piano bomber, and I’ve seen the plans. They had a contingency for nuclear bombs hidden in vaginas, a contingency for an android sent back from the past, and even a contingency for aliens that turn into giant monkeys. Granted, that last one involved lots of screaming, but they still planned for it. I can respect that, actually.

What I can’t respect is someone dropping pianos on EE Berlin, sniping EE Los Angeles, and EE Tokyo getting eaten by what I assume was a squid. Except I’m pretty sure squids don’t often come above water, even if he was inspecting one of the damaged nuclear plants around there. Rio is showy, but there’s something to be said for a battlefield that makes Geiger counters tick. So either that one got eaten by a mutant squid when I wasn’t looking, or Cthulhu got up for a midnight snack.

At least the sniped one made it obvious who was to blame. I should have just killed Lone Gunman back at the United Nations or the last time he was after me. That’s what I was taught. Don’t taunt too much, don’t explain an evil plan, just shove the grenade up their colon and pull out faster than the Flash if he was Catholic. Next time I see him, I’m going to hit him so hard, it’ll knock his ass off his genome. We’re talking slapping the rectum off his DNA.

So that turned out to be more to deal with after everything else. The most important thing, before all of that, would be the fight.

I didn’t make attendance mandatory or anything like that. I just set up food vendors and cameras and drew attention to myself with a small parade in my armor. I left the armor sitting up there on the throne, attended to as if it was me by three hanger-ons and Moai, who I kept around and ordered to keep a close eye on the few people I’d attached to my government. I needed to delegate and I knew I could trust Moai.

So this was the state of the Imperial Gecko Regime as of the final fight. I lost three Electric Eyes, had Moai as my Prime Minister, disguised myself to fight, and otherwise had cheated my way to victory. Overall, I’d say things were looking up and I decided to have the history books write that I had won with style instead of using a word like “cheat.”

When my final challenge went out to Cercopagis, it came in the form of a Missile Patriot dancing in an empty Olympic stadium to the song “Party Hard” by Andrew W.K. I meant it as a taunt and because I felt like dancing. As the old saying goes, “Dance like you’re threatening the entire world with death if anyone laughs.” I kept satellites overhead to make sure nobody flew overhead with any pianos, too. Or at all. They might go after the armor, but I’m not a fan of being collateral damage, especially where flying machines are concerned. Just my luck, somebody’d build a lead zeppelin just to land on my head.

This time, the gold and purple flying saucer arrived and hovered over one of the VIP boxes. Luckily, I doubt he had any pianos on board. Heh. I remember wondering if he’d send out a piano monster. And thinking how weird it is I didn’t catch any sight of the squid from other sources nearby. And thinking how tired I’d become trying to be everywhere at once. It was nice to be just one person, one body, about to punch some serious dick.

Then the saucer blared a noise like a zombie bear’s fart and their champion entered the arena. It came as something of a pleasant surprise when the man entered, wearing all black, duster and wide-brimmed hat included. He twirled his revolvers and I caught sight of a rifle barrel over his shoulder.

Lone Gunman, who used to be the sidekick known as Holdout to the hero called Sixgun. He’d been a rather nubile teen at the time and known for wearing short shorts. He’d vowed vengeance upon me when I permanently disarmed and deheaded his boss. Kidnapping him and torturing didn’t help matters. Though Holdout proved surprisingly resistant to assassination at that time, his attempted vengeance hasn’t amounted to much. There was this time he took over a criminal organization to kill me, but that worked itself out in the end. That is, I killed enough people to make it right. That’s generally how the world works.

And here I was, all hyped up to kill the lad for everything he’d attempted to do to me.

He didn’t make a good first impression on the fight by ending the twirling of his guns with a pair of shots at the armor on my throne. One went right through the head, the other where my heart would be. Then he looked to me and smirked. “The fight’s over.”

“You’re not worried about the killswitch?” I asked. Cercopagis already attempted to hijack everything to claim victory. Every time he tried, it suddenly swapped away from his gilded mug back myself and Gunman on opposite sides of a large arena.

“It’s worh killing billions to get rid of him. He’s a monster. You can’t compromise with something like him. You kill them, even if good people sometimes die in the crossfire.”

“That may be, but the agreement he made hasn’t been fulfilled. The alien scum who seeks to control this great nation has not won three fights. Until this is so,” I posed here, legs spread and arms flexing, “Then he cannot control the planet. And as a red-blooded American hero, I do not cede control of the Earth so easily! As George Washinton once said ‘My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, alien domination, banished from the Earth!’”

It’s more realistic than the real quote, where he wanted to get rid of war.

“You can’t be serious,” Lone Gunman said. He casually fired a shot at me. The moment I saw the gun barrel pointed at me, I activated my rockets. And the fight soundtrack for the television broadcast started up. I made sure to focus in really well on my leaping into action, t-shirts, lunchboxes, and the still on the back of the DVD case. The only question remaining is…bed sheets?

He only tried another shot from his revolvers before dropping them. He ignored his rifle in favor of a gun pulled seemingly from nowhere. Holdout’s power had been his ability to store weapons, and probably other objects, so that he was almost never disarmed. It didn’t necessarily matter if he was tied up properly. But as a slug whizzed past my ear, I smiled at the thought of not tying him up at all.

I’ve been dodging bullets my whole life, figuratively and literally. So many people have pointed guns at me, I have a pretty good idea of where they’re putting the bullet (excluding a whole host of other factors). And I could move. There’s not usually much else you use rockets for, after all. I jerked all over the place, heading for him. I led shots only to stop suddenly and dive in another direction. I even reached inside one of the many pouches on my armor and whipped out a flashbang. Though I’ve thought up an alternate version involving a projector showing extremely bright porn while high-pitched moans and grunts play, this was the conventional one. I caught more of the bang, but Lone Gunman took the flash.

Blinded, he pulled out everything he had and just unloaded on the air. The firestorm of lead grew from just in front of him to spread around both sides and his rear as he took potshots in all those directions. Unfortunately for him, like most humans, he neglected a very important one. One that, ironically, a hunter would have been more likely to catch. I dove at him from above.

I landed on his shoulders. He collapsed under the weight and dropped the submachine guns he had at the time, a pair of those crappy little Russian types unrelated to the AK family that everyone hates. I fired my rockets to keep my balance with my feet now sitting on his arms. I then raised my right foot and brought it down, swinging my arms down to get a little extra oomph from the rockets. Crack! Went the bone of Lone Gunman’s right arm. I almost laughed and gave myself away, too. I can’t help it. It was humerus.

A second stomp broke the left one. For added measure, I ground on his fingers with my heels while he screamed and tried to crawl away. “Yeah, writhe little man. Still feel like supporting the death sentence before anyone gets a trial?”

His answer consisted of several syllables of vowels but nothing substantive in a philosophical or legal sense, which was just fine with me.

I looked up toward Cercopagis’s saucer and announced. “Psycho Gecko wins! You have no claim to Earth.” Remembering who I was supposed to be, I put my left hand on my hip and pointed with my right. “Now get off America’s planet, alien scum!”

The bottom of the saucer slid open and a dish descended. It swiveled to aim at me as electricity danced along the dish to gather in the middle. I grabbed Lone Gunman and held him up, figuring on throwing him one direction and bolting in another as a way to confuse any targeting systems.

Before I could, I heard metal tear, which is completely different from the sound of most weapons firing. Dropping, Gunman and kicking a bit of dirt in his eyes, I looked up to find Warman standing in the stadium, a torn-off dish in his hands. Eschaton and Captain Lightning were there as well, blasting at the saucer.

It rocked back and forth before Lightning flew right up to it, pulled his fist back, and punched the saucer hard enough to send it flying into escape velocity with a hole in its side. Eschaton and Captain Lightning flew up after it.

“Good going, kid,” Warman said. He walked up and clapped me on the shoulder with one hand. “That would have been harder if you hadn’t kept him here.”

“What’s going on? You all were working for him,” I asked. I got the feeling I’d mised a few trees for the forest.

“We worked with him. The whole fight was our idea. If he won, they knew they could kick him off Earth like they’re doing now. They did it before. If he lost, it bought us time for the Master Academy to finish their project to take the Psycho out.”

I cocked my head to the side. “You put an awful lot of trust in Psycho Gecko adhering to his agreement. Do you even care about all the people dying now to his nanites?”

“I’m not responsible for what bad people do to each other,” he gestured to Lone Gunman and the dish in his own hands. “And for what it’s worth, Gecko has been known to stick to an agreement in the past. Doesn’t matter now…but let’s go make sure.”

He dropped the dish then, pinning Lone Gunman under it. I don’t think he agreed much with the younger hero. “We’ll settle up with you for what you’ve done after we go check his vital signs.”

Warman and I jumped up to the throne where the Koreans and Saki cried over my still armor.

I could almost hear Venus in the back of my head. She told me I didn’t have to pull off the helmet. I could find a way to bury empty armor and an entire identity. I could leave that darkness behind and start over fresh, like I always claimed nobody gave me the chance. Like I always said I couldn’t. I could even be a hero instead of some killer. I felt oddly sure that she’d help me.

“Why are you waving?” asked Warman.

“Just saying goodbye to a passing thought.” I stepped up to the armor. I unsealed the helmet and pulled it off.

“What the hell? Oh no, where did he go?” Warman put his finger to his ear. “Priority One is not dead. Repeat, Priority One Target is still alive and unaccounted for.”

“He’s not unaccounted for,” I said. I pulled off my eagle helmet and smiled at the hero. “It was me, Warman! It was me the whole time!”

He glared at me and raised a fist. I spat in his face. “Five people for each of you. You, Eschaton, Captain Lightning. For what you’ve done, five others will die. Other heroes’ family members. Sons and daughters. Fathers. Mothers. Maybe I’ll even pick some related to former world leaders.”

“Why? Isn’t that like shooting the person who didn’t fail you?”

I shook my head. “Not at all. I just had the idea that you hero types are just the type to not care about sacrificing yourselves or your friends. Even your good names, for a time. But are you willing to sacrifice each other’s families? Are you willing to let another person oppose me if it means your child might die as a result? Or, in your case, your old friends and their families? Maybe that woman you wanted to marry that time but didn’t because she was a spy and you were a soldier? Did I mention I did my reading on you?”

Warman lowered his fist. “You bastard.”

“Count on it,” I said and pulled my own helmet over my head. Right there, I changed out of Missile Patriot’s armor and into my own. I clapped Warman on the shoulder as I passed him by. “And good going, kid. I probably would have been blindsided if you hadn’t told me so much. By the way, I want Victor Mender and Venus of Master Academy brought before me. Don’t worry, I’ll let your little trio of superstrong mofos know, too. Be a shame if Capain Lightning let them go and your childhood friend had to pay for it, eh?”

I lept down to where Gunman struggled to tip the dish off.

Hide who I am? Pretend to be people like this who sometimes look so barely different from me except that they’re on the “right” side. Maybe I just don’t want to let them all win. Maybe I want revenge. Hell, it could be as simple as knowing there’s still no way I’d ever be able to truly integrate into society. Or even want to. I’d just end up as some hero who kills, and heroes don’t kill.

“You hear that?” I asked Gunman, who hadn’t been privy to the conversation in my head.

“Please, you won, let me up,” he groaned. I stepped around in front of him and dialed up the strength on my leg’s muscle enhancers.

“Heroes don’t kill.” I brought my foot down on his head, hard. Then I stepped out of what used to be a human head and wiped my boot off on his sleeve.

I won’t be the hero the Earth wants. No. I’m the villain the Earth deserves. I am Emperor Gecko. All hail the man-emperor of mankind.

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Gecko Versus The Moon Conqueror! 10

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She’s out there now. I can hear her. I swear the floor sags under her weight, which I know has to be an auditory hallucination since it’s held up her, me, and a bed. But still, she stalks the Forbidden City, doing her best to find me.

Readers, send help. I think Beetrice wants to fuck me to death.

I was led to believe bees didn’t need an extended mating process, but it’s safe to say we’re dealing with a creature so far outside the realms of standard bee and human biology that we might as well be dealing with science fiction. You know, like a scenario with marauding space aliens, giant robots, or people with incredibly, physics-defying powers. Completely unrealistic, if you ask me. They left out all the magic and wizards you find in real life, too.

Eh, I guess I should be happy to be getting laid. Right now, there are millions of sex-starved people all across the world, unable or unwilling to enjoy physically connecting with another human being on a deeper emotional level…in either the vagina, mouth, or ass. I guess the asexuals get it lucky in that, aside from an awful lot of culture being related to sex.

But, hey, I lived to be screwed another day. That’s important. Not everyone gets so lucky. I’ve been the one to make sure of that before. That’s why it’s important to savor the little things before they sever your little things.

No matter what, she saved my bacon. Turns out, someone left the refrigerator open. I couldn’t walk at the time (see: almost getting screwed to death), and she shut the door for me. Almost as important as bacon, she won a fight.

I still had two to go. After the out-of-nowhere Mendes Configuration, Eschaton’s Fingerpoke of Doom, and then this whole Mecha Ashidaka mess, I don’t have a clue who to expect.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s for the best. I keep getting worried about stuff, emotional, blah, blah, blah, and things just get worse. Maybe it’s time to play to my talents again. Like a bit of cooking. I’m not horrible at it, though it makes a much less interesting subject than being a homicidal supervillain. “…And that’s how you make fettucini alfredo. Sorry it took me awhile to finish the post, I had to go murder somebody with my supersuit.” That’d focus too much on the wrong sort of details. Though, hmm, maybe I can cook up some alfredo in time to throw it into the next enemy fighter’s face?

Actually, it was my turn. Yep, time to send my own champion out. And that left me with only one option, especially because Max’s phone kept going to voicemail. According to the cameras, Sam wrangled his phone and kept hanging up on me. And when I hijacked his computer screen to try and get his attention, Sam threw it into a fire. And then when he kicked back to watch some TV, Holly “accidentally” spilled a bucket of water on it when my mug showed up on the screen.

Sadly, neither of them had my nanites inside of them, a situation sadly becoming more common. I’ll fix that after everything else here. Gotta oversee that myself. And the useless people who were supposed to help find me another hero? I’ll take care of them too. The currency situation, the labor situation, the disasters caused by the volcanic eruptions I used to solve climate change, the oncoming food shortages due to those same eruptions dramatically affecting the weather… I’ve got a lot on my plate. None of it, sadly, fetuccini alfredo. I might be on something of a kick with that food. I guess after sacrificing my body to make bee babies with Beetrice, I’ve got thick white sauce and limp noodles on the mind.

Well, I did agree that Max was backup on this one. That left me with Moai. Don’t get me wrong, Moai’s great. He’s strong, he’s surprisingly smart, and he has a lovely singing voice. On the other hand, Max’s abilities have a wider range of uses and he’s an even better singer. So I set out to talk to him personally. And because it got me away from Beetrice. I didn’t bother to tell her about the trip either. I even left the various Asian women I kidnapped. I took my armor, because I’ve been trying to wear that again when I’m not being ridden hard enough to break bones. In fact, that’s all the more reason to wear the armor for sex, too. Let that be a lesson about the importance of wearing protection, kiddos.

I met Moai on arrival at Carl’s place. He probably would have picked me up, but I took the Imperial chopper and had it flown right in front of the apartment building. He didn’t even have to meet me at the curb. There they were, having a pleasant lunch at the table, when Carl asked Moai if they had any more Kool-Aid left.

“Oh fuck!” I called out, my upper body hitting the wall above the window. At least my legs made it through. As I pulled myself through to find them enjoying a pleasant lunch of cereal, pizza, and broken glass.

“Hey guys.” I stood up and waved. “Kinda drafty in here, isn’t it? Hey, how about we go out for some food.”

No big fight. No big arguments. No talk about redemption or saving someone. Just three friends out for lunch. Then, I asked them if they had any particular monuments or places they wanted destroyed. When they suggested New Jersey, that got me to thinking about a little loose end I never tied up. A little someone to find. Just another example of a fine superhero standing up and protecting their home from an alien invader. Someone, in fact, that is obviously not a member of my team.

Serves Cercopagis right, after all, the way he started the fights. I’d have done the same in his position, but this is different. This is me. Now there’s an idea…

“Hey, by the way…anybody seen a fellow named Max Muscles around?”

See, I had this idea. This wonderful, beautiful idea. Poetic, really. It involved this superhero I’d hung out with in disguise once. Nice fellow, if a bit of a meathead. I still stand by that description after remembering Mystery Monster, too. He got into a bit of trouble being controlled by the Fluidics. I got him released, sent him to Empyreal City, and forgot about him when things went to hell. He’s a New Jersey boy, born and bred, and I think I have just the plan for him.

Later that night, Moai and I stared up at a giant tin and wood elephant in Margate City. “It’s beautiful,” I told Moai. I swept my hand across the view. “Just incredible. All this time, I knew you could build weapons to destroy a city. I never imagined you could utterly annihilate one by building such an exceptionally horrible building. Do you think there’s a slide under the tail so it can crap out visitors?”

Moai, no doubt dumbofounded, shook his head.

“You ready, champ?” I asked.

He nodded to that easily enough and headed for the entrance to Lucy the Elephant. With that Davy Crockett mobile nuke launcher on his back, he better be ready. Warman may have wussed out, but I am fully prepared to have somebody else launch a short range when I’m not around. But I wasn’t not around yet. I had to set off the fireworks. Literal fireworks. With enough fireworks, you can send just about any message, even to an alien asshole in space.

There, I spelled out my invitation in the night sky, the image flashed across the internet. “Moai Versus ???? Your move, claw cock.”

Cercopagis got the message, but Max Muscles got the message even more quickly. He was easy to find. With Empyreal City being wrecked, it was easy to search the remaining gyms for him.

Mere minutes after I took over Youtube to make the challenge, Max fell out of the sky. The invincible, super strong hero wore silver spandex and had painted his skin with gold and glitter. I didn’t even plan that part originally, but he said he had some stuff laying around for a party later. Those New Jerseyites really aren’t afraid to take “metrosexual” to a whole ‘nother level. He landed in a crater and dug himself up, then flexed for the cameras. I’d stuck around for that.

“Yeah, what now fucker!” He pointed up at Moai on Lucy’s back, six stories in the air. “In the name of Circus Lice, I’m here to fuck you!” After a couple seconds, he remembered to add, “Up!”

I panned up to watch Moai stare down at the newcomer and inserted an appropriate movie phrase as if my minion had bravely accepted the challenge. “This! Is! Sparta!” He took a running start and jumped off elephant toward Max, who ran likewise ran and jumped at him. When the two met in midair, the footage blinded everyone. You couldn’t see much with the bright explosion in the center that I stole off some old footage of a Russian bomb test. It looked real impressive, if a bit grainy in places.

When the explosion began to slow down, more sound added to the sense of drama. Grunts and whooshing noises. With the camera temporarily blinded and distorted by the explosion, nobody saw anything of the fight where Moai called out “Makankosappo!” Shortly after that, the image returned to show Moai covered with light burns, no Davy Crockett in sight, standing over a collapsed Max in a ripped outfit with hair standing out at a sharp angle.

Before anyone had any time to question the fight, including why the damage to Lucy looked more consistent with a bunch of grenades than a small nuclear device, I turned the camera to the sky. There the fireworks shot up and announced “2-2.”

Oh yes, Cercopagis did not care for that one bit.

“Fraudulent space swine! Treacherous concubine! I should have your entrails entwined around my vessel!” he screamed at me over the phone.

I did my best to sound bored and distracted. “Uh huh. Uh huh. I agree completely. Exactly what you said.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“Noooo, I would never do that. But turnabout is fair play, isn’t it? Eh? Don’t feel too bad now, there’s still one last fight. Just think of all this as heightening the drama. Putting asses in the seats.” Not that we sold tickets or had an arena for any of this. “I’m so nice, I’ll even let you send your person down first this next time so this can’t happen again, provided you give me a few days to dig up one last person to give you a run for your money.”

Sadly, Max Muscles wouldn’t do. Even if nobody recognized him after that stunt I pulled, he’s hitting the bottle again these days. Drunk as Stalin an hour after hearing the Nazis wiped their asses with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

“All I need is more time, you see. I’ll let you know when I’m ready, no more than a few more days, and this way we can prevent any more unfortunate mistakes related to perception and all that. Win-win, right?”

“Your cheating ways irk me, Psycho Gecko. I shall tolerate no breech of trust in the final battle. I shall land a party to ensure the you do not violate our agreement further.”

I laughed. “I agree wholeheartedly. Trust me, if you’re down here, our deal is the last thing I’ll feel like violating.”

And so we agreed.

It’s good to be the Emperor. It’s not too bad winning, either, even if being a winner means being a “winner.”

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 9

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Needless to say, Tuesday did not leave me a happy camper. Then again, no campers are happy. They’re camping. They don’t have internet, indoor plumbing, or air conditioning. It also makes them incredibly easy to kill without witnesses around. Don’t expect some sort of denial like “Not that I’d know that,” around here. Yeah, I’ve killed campers. Just cram them in the sleeping bag, knock them against a tree a few…dozen…times, then throw that shrimp on the barbie.

After my recent loss in this contest I shouldn’t have agreed to, Cercopagis and I agreed that the winner of a match chooses the champ and venue. That way, he tips his hand first. And tip he did. He tipped like a-… ya know, I don’t know of any particular demographic that tips really well. Still, he gave me tips like a horny but deeply conflicted teenager with his hot cousin. There we go. A+ work as always, Gecko.

While I tried to reach out to Eschaton or any other Earth supers I might persuade onto my side, Cercopagis called me up to let me know. “The instrument of your doom is on its way.”

Yeah, yeah, who hasn’t heard that one before? I even said it to Wildflower in bed a few times back before she dumped me for abandoning her in the middle of an alien invasion. Well, not to her face. I aimed a bit lower. Moving on.

The next fighter descended from the sky like a brilliant shooting star and landed stopped in midair over Fort Rogers, Warman’s home turf. The figure shone bright white all across his body. He looked like a star and could easily generate a huge amount of thermal energy. His name was Eschaton, and that explained why I couldn’t reach him to offer him a spot with me. That, and I’m not sure he actually wore anything under all the white light. It’s not impossible to hold onto a cell phone in that condition, but it’s a bit difficult. You certainly wouldn’t want to press it up to your ear immediately after sliding it out.

Eschaton floated up there like a shy, even more Caucasian version of Dr. Manhattan, waiting for us to make the choice he wanted us to make. In the teleconference, I knew immediately I couldn’t send Moai or Beetrice out after him. Moai can’t fly, and Beetrice would be a bug going against a bug zapper. Mix N’Max was technically on the team, but that was supposed to be a backup situation; I still don’t have enough people for him to backup!

I mean, of course I had ideas to cheat and compete anyway, but that’s a bit more iffy than I’d want. If we’d won the first time around, I’d feel more like losing this one. To bring up a more understandable comparison to y’all’s world, it’s like the story of Sun Bin and the horse race. This Chinese king invited one of his top generals, Tian Ji, to a horse race. They each had a first, second, and third fastest horse to race against one and the horses in each category were similarly matched. The fastest from each guy being about even to each other, I mean. Since they were betting on the races, too, Tian Ji asked Sun Bin, a noted strategist, for some help coming out ahead. Sun Bin had him race his third fastest against the king’s fastest, his fastest against the king’s second fastest, and his second against the king’s third.

Nice story. I originally hoped to use that strategy, except I thought I could take the Mendes Configuration. Because of that loss, the second fight forced me out of that strategy. On the plus side, Warman chomped at the bit to fight Eschaton. “I can take him! I’ve always wanted to prove it.”

“You sure?” I asked. If I had to, I could send someone weaker out there to immediately surrender. I really, really, really didn’t want to do that and risk a third round knockout, but at least I’d have my strongest pawn there. “You better be damn sure.”

“Me and him have wanted to see who is stronger for a long time. Now we have an excuse and I came with a full load.” The image panned back to show Warman strapped with a jetpack and holding his double minigun in one hand, looking an 80s Saturday morning cartoon come to life. I don’t know who thought that gun up, but they were simultaneously childish and awesome. Its destructive capabilities and usefulness still paled in comparison to the weapon slung over his shoulder. Davy fucking Crockett. “Fucking” isn’t part of the nickname for the mobile nuke launcher, but few would argue. And in fewer fights would it be considered appropriate weaponry.

I looked at it and said to Warman, “Ya know what, sure. Blast your load all over him. Have fun out there. Tell ya what, I’ll even DJ the fight. How do you like Fallout Boy?”

“Don’t call me boy, boy,” he growled and walked offscreen.

Satellite images showed he stepped out and waved to Eschaton, who lowered himself down. They stared at each other dramatically. It was a seen sadly bereft of tumbleweed, a camera angle showing high noon, or Clint Eastwood wearing a blanket. Moments like this were made to be stretched out like the chords accompanying them. A clash of titans deserves no less than the world to stop and take notice. And afterward, anyone watching a replay would turn to a friend and go, “You gotta see this. You won’t believe what’s gonna happen.”

With their eyes locked upon one another, Warman nodded his head. He stood there as Eschaton rushed forward, flames trailing and rising in the air behind him. But then he slowed. And stopped. And reached out with one finger to gentle poke Warman’s chest. Warman dropped like a shot; he landed on his back faster than if he’d been playing dildo dodge ball.

“Ooh, he got me!” Warman called out. “I’m too hurt to go on. I will surely have to forfeit.”

Eschaton landed, turning his flames off to reveal a tight-fitting outfit, and helped Warman up. The pair headed for the base’s cantina, talking and smiling.

Over in China, I sat in my office nestled in the Palace of Earthly Tranquility, part of the Forbidden City Complex. I called out to the Koreans and Saki. “Ladies, would you please come here?”

They walked in, the twins and Saki shooting each other annoyed glances. I slapped my hand down on my desk to get them to focus on me. “Ahem! Good, now that everyone’s paying attention, I would like for y’all to pile everything you can lift in this office onto my desk. Except that, that’s my armor. I’ll need that.”

I stepped over to wear my armor stood on a mannequin as if it belonged as one of the Palace Museum’s displays. This place is a museum nowadays, ya see. I slid into it and felt my nerves connect, power flowing through me to activate the armor and allow me to feel the strength I’d sadly not exercised on a personal level as much as I should have lately. Meanwhile, my groupies piled decorations, my chair, and other small items onto the desk. When the finished, I waved them back, “Please, make plenty of room.”

They lowered their heads and pressed against a wall. I stepped up, grabbed the edge of the desk, and flipped it. “What the shit was that? Motherfucker! I will rain down blood, semen, and a foul vengeance upon him for this! Raaaa, angry sounds!” I stomped around a bit, put my fist through a wall, then tossed the desk up until it got stuck in the ceiling. It was much less satisfying than just offing a person, but I didn’t want to get rid of the womenfolk yet. I liked them. Their boobs too.

Women’s fun body parts aside, venting my anger on Warman himself wasn’t much of an option. Not unless I had a way to take down Eschaton as well. No, I couldn’t do that without facing a hell of a lot of threats classifiable under “Extreme bodily injury,” and “Please, my arm. Give it back. No, not in there.” As the person who usually constitutes those threats, it gave even me pause.

Plus, I could worry about that after I lost. Until that happened, I needed to make sure that didn’t happen.

Would have been great if I’d had time for that. Pouncing like some sort of belligerent, pouncing, hunting thing, Cercopagis sent out his next challenger immediately afterward in one of his little flying saucers. It headed straight for Tokyo, because it’s like the Empyreal City of shit happening in Asia.

The competitor tore the vessel apart from the inside with a pair of telescoping limbs. They slid back into place behind her as the metal unfolded to present her to the world and explained why she landed in Tokyo. The humanoid had feminine curves that stood on set of four legs. One looked to be black and ended with a chitinous heel that clashed with three metal ones that resembled sharp stilettos. The arms closest to her shoulders looked normal, for her, but a pair under that were stumps. Instead, the arms that had torn open the saucer were attached to her back.

A hot cyborg spider lady. My identification program figured out her identity from when I spent time in Japan, working for a group of bug-based villains fighting bug-based superheroes called Nature Force. Her name is Ashidaka, and she looked pissed.

Figures, though. Somehow, those damn villains always pop back up. It’s hard to keep a bad guy down.

I called up Beetrice directly. “Gecko? Sorry to hear you lost the other fight. Do you want to stop by and have some sweet time?”

“I’d love to later tonight, but I got something I need you to do. Remember how I talked about fighting someone for me?”

“I heard that glowey guy touched down…”

“No, he’s not the fighter. I need you to get to Japan, honeybee. You know how you were a royal grub all corrupted by spider DNA because a spider lady wanted your people subservient to hers?”

“…no?”

“Good. She’s back, she looks pissed, and she’s in Japan. She’s not Godzilla, she’s just goddammit. If you’ll get on a plane there, I’ll send you everything I know about her to read up, and you’ll have the best selection of ass-kicking weaponry available to you, understand?”

“I’m not sure about this. Can’t you just give up? You won’t have to do anything with me…”

“I promise you, Beetrice, I will be all over you the second this fight’s finished. It’ll be Emperor Gecko and Queen Bee right in the streets of Tokyo. They’ll have to replace me with a tentacle monster in local news, it’ll be so hot. You can do this. And afterward, I will tear your pussy a-fucking-sunder. In fact, put the phone down between your legs.”

A second later, I heard her voice distantly say, “Now what?”

“The instrument of your doom is on its way,” I whispered to her crotch over the phone. Then, louder, I said, “Ok, you can take it away from there if you want. Just…listen, I think you can do it. They didn’t send out someone like Captain Lightning or another Eschaton or another Mendes Configuration. I think he used up his big names to get to this point and-”

“Ok, I’m in Tokyo.”

I blinked and checked her phone’s GPS. She had managed to get to Tokyo. More than that, local cameras showed her there with a huge stinger spear, towering over Cyber Ashidaka. I did not know she could fly that fast. In fact, I checked Empyreal City in case she’d left some sort of warp trail or wormhole or something. “Did you get a hyperdrive installed?”

“Can’t talk, must fight! See you tonight.”

Through electronic eyes and ears, I saw Beetrice the large queen bee woman toss her phone away and bring her spear up to deflect lunging strikes from Ashidaka. The spider tried to impale her immediately, but Beetrice spun the spear like a cheerleader’s baton and knocked the blows aside. Ash supported herself on two legs to throw the other two forward as well, but Beetrice spun to the side. Her back stinger whipped through the air and glanced off a metal chestplate of Ash’s, further infuriating the arachnid.

Ash screamed in frustration, then reached onto a dial sticking out of her side. She turned it, and I suddenly remembered the other problem with those sorts of enemies from Japan. Ashidaka cut right to the chase and grew big enough to kick over a nearby office building. That…certainly explains why he didn’t mind sending he to bat cleanup. She didn’t even wait until they were in the uninhabited skyscraper section! That fiend!

Eh, maybe I could get Beetrice to goad her over to that Gangnam area in Korea. These assholes named NC Soft could use a good giant spider ass kicking.

Beetrice flew into the air and immeditaly dodged a strand of webbing shot right at her. She retaliated by throwing her spear into one of Ashidaka’s eyes, then dodging around a nearby building taller than the gargantuan arachnid.

Ashidaka hissed, her legs stabbing into the glass windows as they sought out Beetrice. They failed, and soon a rumbling sound made both myself and her stop and wonder if the building was coming down.

Instead, a pair of giant robots stepped into view. Does everyone have a giant fucking robot but me around here?!

One bore scars over parts made to resemble insects. From its back rose a pole with a flag bearing the Nature Force Rangers’ logo on it. Next to it, the other robot had more of a general animal theme and looked like a knight, complete with a lance that had formed out of a giraffe robot.

Damn rangers and their cursed teamups!

Oh, wait, they fight giant monsters. In this case, that’s a good thing. Go go damn rangers and your cursed teamup!

As the pair and Beetrice went to town on the spider lady, Cercopagis called me up. “This is an outrage! How dare you cheat?”

“Cheat?” I asked. “I haven’t done a thing. Whoever is in those robots, they aren’t on my team at all. They’re just citizens of Earth. A feature of the environment, you could say, and who was it that picked the battlefield?”

“This reeks of dishonesty!” Ooh, count those panties as twisted. The cameras showed Ashidaka get lanced from behind, lose one of her replacement upper limbs to the Nature Force bot, and have her cry of anguish cut off by Beetrice throwing her spear into the giant woman’s mouth.

Even as Ash’s remaining bug eyes bugged out, I rolled mine at Cercopagis’s attitude. “And what do you call Eschaton versus Warman? That fingerpoke of doom was no legitimate fight.” Ash collapsed to her knees. Her remaining hands pawed futilely at her throat. The Nature Force bot stepped back and raised its sword to the sky. The sword glowed and grew; first gaining half again its length, then another half, then another half. A tornado grew around the blade just before the rangers brought it down for one last finishing strike that carved their former enemy in half.

Beetrice flitted up to kiss the robot on its cheek before disappearing in a cloud of pollen.

I smiled to myself. “Listen, Cercopagis, if it means that much to you, how about a deal? If I lose anymore fights, you win, but I have to win two more in a row to win. That sound good?”

“That’s not a deal, that’s-!”

I didn’t get to finish hearing what it was. I hung up on him. I didn’t have all day to sit around and yap on the phone. I had a date to prepare for, and I knew for a fact she’d love to receive some flowers.

And she did.

And afterward, I had to get some nanites to heal my pelvis.

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 8

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I remained hard at work at Argentina’s Pink House. “Work, work, work, work, work, work,” I turned toward the Korean girl near me whose boobs tried to fight back against being shoved into a tube top, “Hello boys, did you sleep well? I missed you.” The Korean, whose name I’d never bothered to learn, giggled and patted me on the head. Maybe I should call her Kim? I dunno, I’ll leave that one to the philosophers.

“Emperor Gecko, it is time,” my newest assistant, the Japanese girl, added. Ya know, I’m beginning to suspect that way of referring to people might be a bit degrading and/or dehumanizing. She hasn’t complained, just like she hasn’t said a thing about my inability to find any clothes her size other than Catholic schoolgirl outfits.

I turned to her as she slid into my lap I may have encouraged her to sit there. I mean, Japanese people don’t have the same hang-ups as sitting on the lap of someone the same gender, but they also don’t get along well with Koreans. It’d be as out of place as casting a Caucasian woman as a Japanese character in a setting where a refugee crisis is causing racial tensions to flare up in Asia. “Thank you. And I see you put your hair up in the pigtails like I asked. Good…uh…what’s your name again?

She smiled at me, “Saki.”

I didn’t have anything to do with that one, I swear. She looked all confused, too, as I snorted and sat my head down on my desk for a moment. “Ok, Saki it is. You said it’s time?”

She nodded and handed over a tablet showing Times Square. Where else? Where the fuck else? Always Times Square? I’ve done it too. It’s just one of those places. It’s iconic, like how a spaceship trying to blow shit up will always gravitate over the White House, or how revived Romans somehow always end up learning English with one specific British accent. If Mobian was still around, I’d ask him what they really sound like back then. We’re all going to feel real stupid when it turns out the Romans were some Cockney-sounding bastards. Or, hell, maybe they had a Southern accent like me?

I’d tracked Cercopagis Lysis’s ship as it approached the Earth, but he took his sweet time on showing up, nor did he and I ever work out how this whole thing would start off. Except for the whole “I’ll show up, and if you don’t show up, everyone will think you lost,” thing. Perception is a well-known battlefield.

I had other things to do besides stare at him all day, waiting for him to make a move. He could play that game with people who didn’t have to coordinate shit around the world. Sometimes literaly, given some areas with a lack of plumbing and my attempts to rectify that for the good of people’s rectums. That doesn’t even count time spent kidnapping a team.

Not that it’s all kidnapping. Moai came around when I gave him a direct order, and I left Carl out of it. Then I swung over and told Beetrice, the queen of the bee people Buzzkills, that I’d rock her fucking world if she fought for me or provided a kickass champion for my team. She thought I meant right then, which caused a bit of a problem. The Korean girls got the wrong idea, see, and then Saki had to go out and buy a crowbar.

By the time she got back, I’d been manhandled enough in a literal sense that it was more a matter of avoiding death by sex with a giant bee woman than missing pointy booty call in the first place. Beetrice thought the choking was just my kink, too. She didn’t realize I still have a few issues about that sort of thing going back to when I was a kid.

So that’s Warman, Moai, and Beetrice accounted for. I also called up Mix N’ Max and asked him to be a part of the team, as both a backup and to supervise another project. I wanted him to create a monster for me. Let me briefly go back to before Saki brought me the news so things aren’t a huge surprise to y’all.

“If you want me to revive someone as a strong reanimated being, I can do that. They don’t have a lot of powers and retain their own minds, though. That’s mostly chemical, with some electrical work to pull it all together,” Max said, pointing with a pointer wand to a screen against the wall with sketches projected onto it. His assistants worked the projector and the laptop set up by it. Holly looked all bright and fashionable, like a blonde Valley Girl, in contrast to her friend Sam with the nose stud and the purple hair. Sam looked more like what you’d expect the pale, goth-looking Mix N’Max in his red coat and poofy shirt to keep around. The chemical- and drug-minded super was no stranger to odd people, and had remained something of an ally and friend of mine for years due to the both of us having some history killing other supers. In my case, it tends to solve problems. More often in Max’s case, you can’t make a few omelets without injecting a few eggs.

The Electric Eye I inhabited shook its head. I’d sent the one in Los Angeles to meet up with Max at Salt Lake City, where he’d been working on methods of changing skin tone and sexuality. Wish I could have been there for that one. “I want something with a lot of power.”

Smiling, always smiling, Max nodded toward Holly. She pressed a button and the image of a large, pieced-together human body disappeared. The next screen looked a blank lime green until an imagine flipped into the screen from the side. After a couple of rotations, it stopped to reveal a picture of a large, hulking brute of a man. No, wait, a woman. I think. One of the boobs was big and droopy, and the hair was a bit on the long side, though that technically didn’t rule out being a man. Either way, it was large, and while that size isn’t beyond the realm of humans with gigantism, the wide, heavily muscled chest.

“I present to you the ‘Mutant’ permutation of unsafe super-empowerment. Chemicals are handy, but sometimes we can manage the same results with enough radiation, but those are unstable. Strangely, the most stable variants arise with lower levels of mutation and a few generations of living out in a desert. We don’t know why that is, but if you want power, we can just grab someone, inject them, zap them with a lot of microwaves, and have you a mutant in no time.” As he spoke, bullet points shot out of the bottom of the screen, one character at a time, giving some of the same information.

“Powers?” I asked.

“Generally, strength and toughness. They are not easy to kill once you’ve made them, except they die on their own easily. The stable ones are a little stronger than people despite the radiation poisoning, but the bigger ones surpass your standard ‘Reanimated’ type and can go toe to toe with a flying brick, except for the flying part. If you can hit one with a nuke, sometimes they come out able to shoot radiation or heat vision.”

I considered it for a moment before going, “I need bigger, stronger. Do you have anything that could take out a city?”

Max pointed back to Holly. Getting no response, he threw his pointer at the sleeping assistant. She snapped to attention and pushed a button, moving us onto the next screen where the words “Tokyo-Class” appeared up top.

“If you have a candidate in mind, don’t expect them to survive this,” Max said.

I shrugged. “That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

Max cocked his head to the side, “You?”

I shook my head. “No, I meant someone else’s life is a sacrifice I am fully committed to. Just give me something that’ll work on anybody I happen to grab off the street, alright?”

And that’s how Team Gecko recruited Mystery Monster, aka Albert. Al liked to think of himself as a nice guy with some flaws. Just a normal, average, everyday working stiff. Just someone who drives a little fast from time to time. How could he know that keeping someone from merging onto the freeway would lead, several cars back, to someone hitting a pedestrian?

The butterflies know, of course. I am, I’ve said, an agent of Chaos. And the thing about Chaos is that it has this Theory. In that Theory lays omniscience and the means by which to show that even someone who does nothing more than speed and shag the occasional neighbor’s pet Shiba Inu is still capable of murder through such simple and otherwise accepted forms of injustice. Besides, the Shiba was asking for it, running around with no pants on.

Now, back to the present day. Lysis’s ship sent down a gold and purple colored saucer that landed. Out of which stepped a thin being in golden armor, because Cercopagis buys armor for the look of it. I can’t entirely complain. I do a lot for the look of things. Armor made to look good and armor made to look fortified both come out about the same as armor with any joints big enough to slide a blade. Still didn’t stop me thinking how gaudy the guy looked, with his gold armor and his staff.

He stepped well away from his craft, earning dozens of honks from annoyed drivers, then raised his staff. A minor shockwave pushed all the cars just slightly. If he thought it’d get him fewer honks, he sadly misinterpreted the Empyreal City rush hour traffic.

“I am the Herald of Cercopagis Lysis, the Galactic Conqueror!” he announced, giving Cercopagis a title we couldn’t easily fact check. If someone can conquer anywhere in the galaxy, why go after Earth? At least the Fluidics had a good reason. They needed brainwashed bodies to serve as fodder in their wars. This guy just keeps getting beaten and comes back for second chances. Any similarity to any other supervillians y’all know is clearly unintentional, wrong, and in no way me.

Anyway, that’s not all the guy said. “I am here to announce the first fight of this contest between our respective leaders. My master now gives you his first champion, secured from our daring raid upon the Hiveworld of Sathe during the Eternal Culling: The Mendes Configuration!” He turned to his ship and raised the staff. From the top of his craft, an orb rose.

I began to wonder if we’d have yet another enemy more concerned with being completely alien to humanity when the exterior of the orb broke and shifted around. In the process, it grew. It grew big. The Mendes Configuration, whatever hunk of space junk it seemed to be at first, was clearly a grower, not a shower. It grew in pulses, pushing out evenly at first, then less evenly as it took shape.

In the form of a giant robot with one eye. I frantically sent out my consciousness to the Robot Room, as I wish I officially named where I had people putting together my robot. The PA systems startled everyone as I said, “Please tell me it’s ready, please tell me it’s ready, it’s gotta be fucking ready, come on!”

Unfortunately, the camera showed that what they’d assembled looked more like a stickman with boxing gloves and boobs than a proper giant robot, leaving me thoroughly disappointed.

So I put in a conference call to Team Gecko. Warman started to say he’d take Mendes but I muted him and said, “Max, it’s time.”

“It’s time?”

“Yeah. I wanted to say that in a dramatic way. And it is time. Send in…dun dun dun!…the Mystery Monster!”

After a second, he asked, “Is that what we’re calling the guy we…?”

“Yeah, him. Stick him in the microwave, give him his shots, do whatever you need to do, preferably on a plane ride over to EC.

In order to fill the time, I brought in Electric Eye. “In the name of the Ruler of Earth, the Emperor of Awesome, the Immaculate Man-Machine, his Lordship the King of Kings, the Master of Disaster…” Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t just have it rattle off titles the entire time, “while Team Gecko’s champion is arriving, I would like you all to enjoy the musical event of the…week, let’s go with week. Ladies and Gentlemen of Earth, your planetary anthem will now be performed by its original singer, Sir Mix-A-Lot.”

Because Earth enjoys big butts, even if I can lie. It wasn’t just that, I really did bring in various one-hit wonder artists to sing and otherwise earn the first musical paychecks they’ve seen in twenty to thirty years. It was a thing. Got some goodwill going.

And then Max texted me, “Bombs away!” and Electric Eye had to carry Sir Mix-A-Lot to safety as a giant-sized man-thing crashed into Times Square opposite the Mendes Configuration. That was a good enough way to describe it, because longer ways involve words like “bulbous, club-armed, tentacle-headed” and other odd things that normally don’t describe anything derived from a human. Except bulbous, I suppose, but I don’t like to see anything bulbous on people. You wouldn’t call a big, beautiful butt bulbous, now would you?

The Mystery Monster didn’t really have a head, or a neck. More of a lump on top of its torso, with a mouth that opened to roar. At the pincered, one-eyed alien robot made out of round bent pieces of metal. What is it with the lack of eyes? Then again, the monster over there didn’t have any visible eyes. Had a big lump in place of an arm, looked like a club. And the other arm ended in five very wet-looking fingers. I certainly wouldn’t shake it. I wholeheartedly approved of the other weapon it packed, though. It looked like a giant blotchy pink and wet naked humanoid except for the bony drill poking out between its legs. Some men are hung like a horse; this one was hung like it could build a house.

They both stood tall at thirty feet, but I think Mystery Monster had the reach on the robot.

All over the news broadcasts, I interrupted to provide some voiceover work of my own. “Fight Numero Uno: The Mendes Configuration versus Team Gecko’s Mystery Monster. Begin!”

Before I even finished, the Mystery Monster started on its own…by turning around and smashing its club into a car that finally learned to stop honking. I decided to hijack the scroll at the bottom of the broadcast. “Fun Fact: Mystery Monster hates obnoxious drivers. The owners of that building were probably assholes anyway. Technically, there’s nothing in city ordinances against tearing up the road with a drill dick.”

I had to stop due to the call coming in. The Imperial Hotline, aka the phone line for anyone who really, really, really needs to call me but doesn’t know me well enough to get my private number, lit up with a call from an unknown number. “Hello?”

“Greetings, soon-to-be former ruler of Earth!” See what I mean about needing better names for these titles? Cercopagis went on with his gloating and laughing, “Does your champion ever intend to actually fight?”

“Oh, he’ll fight. See? He’s fighting right now.”

“I believe that’s mating, though I believe your species doesn’t typically do that to architecture.”

“Any moment now, he’ll be doing it to your random space robot’s face! Then you’ll see.” I told him all that, but I began to have my doubts. Max warned me that making a monster bigger and more powerful, especially in such a short amount of time, left them rebellious and prone to turn on their masters. Like teenagers. And like a teenager, Mystery Monster had started sticking its parts into strange things not meant to hold it. In public, again like a teenager.

I decided to send in the Electric Eye, setting Sir Mix-A-Lot down in the hopes he could find his way back to his fiefdom without my help. Electric Eye rocketed up onto the building that was a-rockin’ because Mystery Monster came a-knockin’ and called down to it, “You stop humping this and go hump that other thing this instant, or you are ground! You’ll be turned into Mystery Meat when I’m done with you!”

Turns out he’s a lot faster with that club than I anticipated, but still not fast enough to smash Electric Eye. Eye threw it to the side and missed the domestic abuse visited upon the poor building that been drilled by MM. Figuring Eye finally had its attention, I sent the smaller robot zipping around toward the bigger one.

“You cannot have two champions in a single fight! We agreed to one-on-one battles!” Cercopagis yelled at me over the Hotline.

“Don’t worry your golden panties off. Electric Eye won’t fight.” The Mendes Configuration tracked it anyway, a red laser light appearing and growing larger as if considering an attack as the smaller robot approached, then stopped right in front of the single orb that made up its combined eye and head. Except while Mendes paid attention to Electric Eye, Electric Eye paid attention to Mystery Monster and cut its rockets, ending this dance of alliteration.

Fancy souvenir snow globe from a space knickknack store or not, the Mendes Configuration didn’t take that laying down. Unfortunately, it didn’t even take it kneeling down or losing oil control. It unloaded some sort of beam onto Mystery Monster that scorched the flesh of its chest, bring a wail out of the monsterized human. MM responded by bringing its club down on the robot’s head. That forced the robot into a squat. That turned out to be a bad position when facing an opponent with a biological drill in place of its private parts.

Right about then, the news censored the fight with black bars. It didn’t help that I inserted sounds from some porno. Debbie Does Space, anyone? Is that a thing? Wouldn’t be the first time some shit I made up to be funny turned out to be real.

Things seemed to be going well. And, as Sir Mix-A-Lot’s cameo appearance early indicates, that clearly foreshadows a but. But, the Mendes Configuration reached down and grabbed the drill with its pincers. It squeezed. It tore. It simultaneously caused billions of men around the world to reach for their crotches in sympathetic pain. And then it shoved that drill right into the middle of Mystery Monster’s fleshy torso.

Mystery Monster stumbled back, pumping a different sort of troubling fluid onto the street below. At which point, its screaming mouth filled the air with an emasculated cacophony until the Mendes Configuration shut it up with a blast of whatever laser, plasma, or heat vision constituted the red stream coming from its eye.

Between the internal burns and the loss of what may be blood (usually, it’s not green), Mystery Monster collapsed and curled up in the fetal position. From there, the fight was purely academic, if academics often beat each other to death with their own severed cocks. Which, to be honest, would make debates a hell of a lot more interesting. It’s probably the only way I’d pay attention to philosophy. Because, let’s be honest, there’s only so many times people can go around with circle jerks about wondering if the world is nothing but a computer simulation. As a dude who has crossed dimensions, that means either I disproved it, or the entirety of existence is centered on me.

Sounds about right.

Unfortunately, the Matrix fucked me over and left Mystery Monster so smashed up by the alien robot that I could have renamed it Ground Beef. Except I don’t know what you call human meat. Pigs are pork, cattle are beef, but long pork is just a euphemism.

“That is one in my favor. I will let you start the next fight, Psycho Gecko. Consider it an act of mercy,” Cercopagis Lysis said over the Imperial Hotline.

“Go eat a mystery meat dick,” I told him.

Some days, you think you get a chance to use a giant robot. Other days, you see a thirty-foot tall monster get its weaponized penis torn off and then stabbed in the chest with said penis. Unfortunately, today was dick-stabbing day in the worst way.

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 7

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The first steps of my official government have been laid. I pulled together a team of saps to assist me by filtering out various moonbat applicants for Team Gecko. They are now officially my Department of Labor, and will afterwards work on managing the concerns of workers and managers, particularly in the industrial sector. Coordinating, making sure people get benefits, making sure people don’t abuse benefits. It’s a give-and-take thing, labor. Or at least it is when I’m not the one laboring.

I’m still working on finding someone to help figure out other departments. Gotta sort out the power hungry assholes and privilege seekers from the ones who just want to do what they’re good at. That’s one area where the monetary incentive doesn’t work, because plenty of people will do a job poorly so long as there’s money in it. They don’t care about it anymore than they’re paid to care.

As for the power bit, that’s where we look at Joseph Stalin. The Bolsheviks had their little reunion, but they were revolutionaries. They wanted to fight the government and were unprepared when they became the government. There were all these boring things to do instead. One guy stepped up and was like “Sure, give me everything to do. If I can’t handle it, I’ll find people who can.” Next thing they know, the most powerful man in the entire country is the secretary with a bunch of his friends in positions all over the place. There’s always folks like that, and they love to pop up whenever there’s a power vacuum. A lot of people think that the danger ends with the revolution. Ha!

In my case, I’ve got to find other ways to hunt down people. Tests and such. It’d be nice if I’d bothered with this earlier, but I didn’t. I had a team to build.

I tried the Titan, head of Cape Diem. I’ve left him alone, except for the fact that I’ve made him busier than ever. I found him in the country of Benin. Cape Diem’s people had a small center in the city of Cotonou from which they sent out a traveling medical group to counter some of the countryside’s problems with receiving medical care. In a compound right next door, they had people trying to find cheap ways to expand the country’s agriculture beyond subsistence farming.

Titan was busy helping to repair some cheaper housing that looked to be falling apart. And by that, I mean he took the place of some damaged support columns holding up the building while his team and local contractors worked on replacing them. With his other hand, he checked on other Cape Diem teams around the world and so on.

A dozen feet tall, with dark blue skin and the occasional hint of orange, the man looked up at me with all-white eyes save for where something glowed from underneath that membrane. “I won’t fight for you,” he said.

I came in person because the personal touch is so important. Like when I dropped to my knees. “Pleeeeeeeease? Pretty please with a cherry on top?”

He sighed and raised one leg to scratch at the calf of the other through is blue, grey, and yellow uniform leggings. Standard Cape Diem nonthreatening colors. “Offer me money.”

“Yes,” I said.

“Power too, promise me that.”

“All you want,” I swore I heard some of this before.

“Offer me anything I ask for.”

He didn’t even look up. He was messing with me. “Anything you want.”

He glanced at me again, then shrugged, careful to keep from shrugging the building while he was at it. “I still don’t want to fight for you, and you’ll be lucky to get anyone to.”

Analysis of dialogue complete. He quoted Princess Bride at me. Inconceivable!

“I think I’ll get more than you think,” I answered back.

He smirked. “You can’t even see it, can you? People will work with you when nothing personal is on the line, but no one will ever fight for you, especially not me.” He seemed awfully sure of that.

“So what I’m taking away from this is, there’s not much of anything you can think of to make me change your mind,” I asked. Unlike with Captain Lightning, the innuendo had to stay put away. From what I’d seen of this guy in the past, there’s a reason he was able to tell everyone he wasn’t playing their games. It involved him taking a nuke to the face and not even being knocked unconscious. I did about the equivalent of that to Captain Lightning. It knocked him out and would have killed me.

I didn’t come in armor, to appear less threatening. I even swallowed down the question of how his organization avoided the whole nanite mess. They had a few people with some exposure to them, but they hadn’t been passing them around like I expected.

“Ok,” I said. “Don’t have to fight for me. Anything I can throw your way? We’re still on a money system, so I could toss that at you. Maybe order people to give you a hand?”

He shook his head. “It takes more than just money and outside help to fix things. This isn’t about the White Man’s Burden. One of the stories I make sure they include in training is about this group that came into a country and wanted to help. So they planted a bunch of crops in an fertile area that the natives were just too dumb to use. The plants grew, then migrating hippos came through and ate everything, destroying the entire crop. Cape Diem doesn’t save the day and fly off to ignore the consequences of our actions. We look for what will work. We talk to people. We use local contractors so they get paid and things get built right, instead of giving credit to untrained college students whose houses couldn’t stand up to a loud fart. We need minds, not money.”

His little rant got him a bit agitated. The white membrane covering his eyes had pulled back and flames burned out of the iris hidden underneath. For a moment, he glared at me. Then the moment ended and the nictitating membranes moved back into place. “I don’t care for you. Things have gotten worse since you took over. I just want whoever’s in charge to stop messing things up so I can try and get things fixed around here.”

I can definitely sympathize. And the closest to any good I wanted to so involved me taking over for the same sort of reason. I couldn’t fight some war against the Titan to bring him to my side on top of my conflict with Cercopagis. I had to get a team together, beat the alien, and then I could finally get around to everything I’ve neglected.

“So, if you’re not fighting for me, are you fighting at all? Just as a courtesy, something like that? I can send over enough pizzas for a pizza party. For the entire country.” In the interest of choosing the right expression for the food I offered, I put on a cheesy smile and gave two thumbs up. “Eh? Eh?”

I think he rolled his eyes. The glow shifted around, at least. “If it’ll get you to go away, I’m not taking part in that contest on either side. I don’t like Lysis, but I don’t get involved in politics unless they get involved with me first. I’d better not get involved, either.” He raised an eyebrow.

I shook my head. “Nope. I’ll send over the pizzas later.” I turned to step on back to Helicopter Force Eighteen, the Emperor’s personal helicopter. Helicopters Force One through Seventeen are decoys and took off around me like a flock of mosquitoes. Ooh, except for Helicopter Force Seven. That one stayed on the ground, then exploded. Hence the decoys. Damn hard to find good chopper pilots, too. I had to stab them all with needles and inject the nanites.

Hmm. Maybe what I need to do is add a tail…no, I can see that being used against me. I’d have to alter my armor all the time, change up the car, and I’d probably wind up crapping on myself when I rush to the bathroom and forget about the tail.

He was a notable failure, though I did ship in a lot of pizzas. Maybe not enough for the entire country, since it’s like ten million or so, but a lot anyway. I know y’all wouldn’t expect me to do so, but I didn’t even send him the bill for it. It’s one of those annoying cases where someone tells you “This guy is really, really strong,” instead of letting you see it, but since all this is from my point of view, I’d rather not see it just so y’all do. I like my legs right where they are, thank you.

Good. Bad. Either way, I’m the man with the… uh… blog? Didn’t think that one out.

So I only had Warman at that time. And while I had an office full of people to take applications, most of the applicants didn’t live up to the hype. I could have used Forcelight if I still had her. I sent along a message to The Claw, but someone from his office claimed he was in ill health and needed to recover. I’m not inclined to believe him, though he is a bit on the old side and reclusive. Maybe this is one of those situations where the dictator’s off on a long vacation while his people run things. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.

I found Venus, too. It took more work than it should have, but I found her with the rest of the Master Academy people in Empyreal City, stopping a few pockets of crime I’ve neglected due to being a single person. She stood there in her shiny silver and pink power armor. The person she was talking to stopped when I took over, then smiled. “Heya there, boopsie! Ooh, you know grinding your teeth is bad for them, right?”

“I know,” she said, not stopping the grinding. “What do you want?”

“Fight for me?” I asked.

She crossed her arms. “Why?”

“Because crime is down, you love me, and I’ll murder everyone you care for if you don’t?” That undoubtedly looked odd and drew some looks, considering I’d jumped into a teen girl and we were surrounded by a bunch of people that looked like they’d been beaten up. And handcuffed. I looked around at him. “Did I interrupt you in the middle of something…freaky?”

“No, this is a blood trafficking ring. People pay good money to have their blood swapped out, but not everyone’s ethical about it. This is what people have resorted to thanks to you,” Venus said. Another woman behind her hissed and broke his cuffs, then jumped at her. Venus’s fist caught her in the face. My proxy’s nailed her right in the ovaries. That’s not an expression, either.

“For God’s sake, get your hand out of her parts. There’s so much wrong with that,” Venus said, grabbing the shocked and hurting vamp and dragging her back against the wall. There was an audible pop as the perp released my proxy’s hand.

“At least she doesn’t have fangs everywhere,” I muttered, then watched as Venus grabbed a nearby chair and staked the screaming vampire’s arms to the wall. “Ooh, kinky.”

“This is a very good reason why I absolutely do not and never will love you!” Venus turned and yelled, getting in my face and pointing her finger at me.

“To answer your other points, crime is only down because you took away everyone’s freedom and threatened to kill them. Just like you threatened to kill my friends. You really want me to fight? Really? You think you can trust me not to surrender when I get out there, or will you kill people then? Or how about if I throw the fight? How would you even know? Are you going to murder the loved ones of anyone who loses on your team? How many people do you think will join you if that’s what you’re going to do?”

That…made sense. Worse, I think Titan knew it, too. Did Captain Lightning? I agreed to these fucking rules. Cercopagis Lysis presented them and I agreed. “Son of an emerald whore,” I said quietly.

I blinked, then glared at Venus and brought my finger up close to her face as well.

She screwed up her face. “You got something to say?”

I shook my head. “Nope, just wanted you to smell this finger.” She pulled her head back, bringing a laugh at me. A bitter one, though.

I left her friend there and went on a small detour to commandeer a satellite transmitter. A quick uplink later and I sent Cercopagis a message. “Will need time to collect team. Earthlings intragnizent. You are a female reproductive organ, if your species has them.”

The message came back quickly. He replied the same way. “Will show for first fight Tuesday. Will interrupt the work week. If you don’t show, will declare a victory.”

That dick! Screwing up the week like that! Also, the whole PR victory thing. I get it. He shows up, says it’s fight time, and I don’t even bother? It makes me look bad, and I don’t want to walk into that whole mess with just Warman. For one thing, that stupid idea about not fighting more than once. This is bullshit, I shouldn’t follow the rules anyway! Seriously, who starts shit on a Tuesday? Damn, he is evil.

No, no, no, no, it’s cool. It’s cool. Got a bit too sane there, but I’ve already got some ideas. And Mix N’Max on speed dial.

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 6

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“Come ooooon!” I pleaded.

“No,” said Captain Lightning, arms crossed. He floated above me, higher up in the woods so as to keep an eye out for anyone needing immediate rescue, or anything else more important than talking to me.

I met him back in the U.S., because who doesn’t like a shitload of jet lag? As a hero, albeit one with what appears to be less crime to fight, he used his considerable powers to help the victims of natural disasters in his beloved America. Figuring it wouldn’t hurt to butter him up a little, I came to him instead of calling him away from Louisiana. Seriously, if I’d known he’d be there, I’d have kept the tsunamis rolling so we could meet up somewhere else.

I mean, at least India had people useful to the U.S. Of A. I suppose I should have some sympathy for their plight, if I cared. Don’t know why I’d start with Louisiana of all places. If nobody made them stop, they’d still be forcing everyone to learn about Creationism and geocentrism in schools. Everyone except for the slaves, of course. They’d be back at the farm, plowing their white stepmothers. Then they all get up on Sunday and sit in church together, learning from a white-knuckled preacher about how Jews killed their savior and how God taught racial purity with the Tower of Babel.

As opposed to now, when the slavery part is illegal. Oh, I wish I wasn’t in Dixie.

But I am, and I decided to play honest with folks rather than be the usual politician. I made no secret of my disdain for the state, though I think I got them all excited when I stepped off the plane and started throwing beads at people. This hanger-on who just kinda started traveling with me suggested that if I were to do that, I should at least toss out Moon Pies, except they were all gone by the time we landed. Because I love Moon Pies.

I once killed for a Moon Pie. This guy had an inheritance coming his way of about half a million dollars, but the will said his older sister would get two million. He offered me $100,000 for the kill, but I played hard to get until, exasperated, he asked me what it would take to murder his sibling in cold blood. “A box of Moon Pies,” I told him.

“That’s all? Don’t you want money?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Two boxes of Moon Pies then.”

“What kind of man murders someone over a Moon Pie?”

“Asks the guy who wants a family member’s life taken for money.”

Long story short, he paid me the Moon Pies, then tried to back out on the deal. I grabbed the sister, told her about the deal without telling her he’d decided not to go through with it, and made an honest man of him. I guess I was something of a prick in that whole affair, but no more than the nature of the incident allowed me to be.

Irrelevant past story aside, I made this trip before announcing the big contest between myself and Cercopagis Lysis specifically to recruit someone.

“You’d be on the side against me! You wouldn’t even have to fight, just walk out and surrender. Boom, automatic victory for Earth, which continues to be ruled by its own people.”

Captain Lightning turned his head to the side. I listened in to transmissions and found a truck carrying FEMA MREs had been beset by armed men in camouflage. I could feel my nanites inside just one of them. Before Captain Lightning could set off to stop the ambush, that one turned his gun on the others of his party, then himself.

“See? I’m not such a bad guy,” I grinned up at him. He didn’t return the expression.

Cap shook his head. “I don’t care about helping you at all. You’re as much an invading outsider as Cercopagis. The difference is, he’s never been human.” He took off, leaving me there in the middle of his campsite in the woods.

To think, people subject themselves to camping voluntarily. Somebody slaved over a hot air conditioner so that you could be cold! At least have the decency to freeze inside like a grateful little bitch!

So I left there and caught up with this bus full of an entourage I seem to have acquired, the sight of which made me miss Moai and Carl. But Carl is safer not being associated with me, so perhaps it’s for the best that I now have a bunch of red shirts around to buffer me against bullets. There’s the North Korean twins, the Japanese girl, this guy who only goes by Daniels who insisted he work on my image, and some people in black suits that seem to be my bodyguards. I don’t remember getting them.

It’s not enough to run a country, except a really small one like Molossia. Yet another reason I agreed to this contest with Cercopagis is a chance to focus on important things like building a ruling government.

I had a few other names on my list, too. I stopped by to see Warman. Another American superhero, this one preferred to live at Fort Rogers in Utah. That’s Fort Rogers, not Camp Rogers. One made Warman, the other trains Army Rangers. I’m sure they both like to claim they make super soldiers.

Once again, access to the deepest, darkest secrets of all countries has its benefits. Fort Rogers hosted the post-World War II super soldier experiments, though their resources were sometimes loaned out to MKNAOMI, an old biological warfare research program. They named this new project WSCLARK. It’s a cryptonym, a code name. All the projects have them. People think they give projects names reminiscent of their goals in some way, and that’s true, but they don’t make it obvious. Some of the letters mean something and others don’t. The CIA isn’t the boogeyman, but they aren’t Encyclopedia fuckin’ Brown either.

At first, it wasn’t any better than some of the crazy mind control stuff, except they eventually figured out how to temporarily grant their own agents superpowers, which is where closer collaboration began to occur with some of the MK series of projects, which were about giving the CIA all kinds of tools to use against Russia. Some of those incidents showed up in other ways. A mixture that didn’t work well leading to an incident at a place called Shag Harbor in Canada. Then one of their guys defected and tried to flee the States. They caught up to him over the Berwyn Mountains in Wales, causing a battle and an earthquake. Another time, the Russians pulled something of their own and scared the crap out of Wurtsmith Air Force Base, in Michigan.

The WSCLARK people preferred to work more quietly until they knew they had something. The CIA created an entire phenomena called Earthquake Lights to keep that part hidden. It wasn’t until the 90s, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, that they went public with Warman. Warman, the Man of War, destined to defeat the Soviet Union. He was so good at his job, the CCCP collapsed about a year later thanks to social justice issues. Or so the public version goes.

When I walked into the Fort Rogers gym, I found him working a punching bag with my face printed on the outside case. I decided to set my expectations low for this meeting.

He turned to look at me, panting. Sweat glistened from the top of his blonde head as he looked at me with that piercing, blue-eyed gaze. No, this is not turning into a gay romance novel. Even though he did invite me to get pounded by him.

“Here to help me work out?” he held a hand out toward the punching bag.

I waved it off. “Nope, though I have someone who needs hitting you might want to work up to.”

He narrowed his eyes at me, an expression that, if he wore it all the time, would have had women stopping him in the street to tell him how he’s such a special young man and isn’t it delightful he can dress himself?

“Look,” I said. “I’m not all bad. You know you can’t always trust the public record to fully reflect what’s gone on. You spend twenty-five years fighting the good fight behind the scenes, but then nobody takes you seriously after you go public until you start playing baseball Iraqi tanks instead of bats and balls. Been there, done that. Well, not exactly that, but I could have easily done worse if that had been my intention.”

“What are you rambling about?” he asked, stepping over to a bench to put a stop to the flood of sweat coming off his head with a towel, like some sort of Dolph Lundgren Hitchhiker of the Galaxy.

I stepped over, mindful of my lack of armor and gave the bag a hard punch. I didn’t need my helmet’s 360 degree display to realize his amusement when I discovered he’d added a bit of lead to the inside of that bag. I don’t know how much, but my knuckles found out it was there and made sure to tell my brain. My bones and skin might be tougher than normal, my muscles surprisingly strong for my size due to nanites, but this is a guy whose idea of a gun involves mashing two miniguns together. I hate to think what his condoms are like.

Sounds like a nice brand, actually. “Folks, come on down to Richard Richard’s Rubber Room for our brand new Double Dick Special!We’re all pumped up and ready to give you all the deals. It’s a long, hard, dirty job, but we help you get it done!”

I took a few more punches now that I knew what I was hitting, then stopped. “You’ve been fighting for your country for a long time. Now I need your help to defend our planet.”

He snorted. “You can’t kill your way out of it?”

I gave the bag a few kicks, then a headbutt. After that, I leaned on it due to the pain and a need to determine if I’d concussed myself. I shook my head. “You’re a soldier. Your entire job is to kill people. It’s a necessity sometimes, you know that. Sometimes war is unavoidable. Sometimes, necessary change must be baptized in blood, like the promise of liberty after the American Civil War. Where would we be if old bigots didn’t die, eh? I think I know where Germany would be.”

I stepped back and gave the bag a hard pump kick that swung it back. Dropping to my belly, the bag passed right over me as it swung back, and I rose to give it a good elbow where a person’s kidney would be if the bag was a person. But then, a hanging person rarely needs a kidney shot to finish the job. It left me leaning on my elbow against the back as I looked over at the unimpressed supersoldier. “I worked out a deal to end this latest damn threat to the planet. A contest between myself and Cercopagis. Each of us picks representatives for a one-on-one, best three out of five fighting tournament, but neither he nor I can be one of them. I mean, hey, when he’s gone, I can work on making things better instead of being such an asshole to people. I can take time. Talk folks around. I’ve taken some wartime measures here, but the point of that is it only lasts while at war. Like Lincoln’s and habeus corpus, or that time FDR concentrated people of a certain race into camps.”

He glared at me for that one. For particularly patriotic folks like him, the Japanese internment camps are a shameful part of the nation’s history. For me, it’s a sore to pick at. Make people emotional, override their reason, control them. Sometimes I push the buttons. But sometimes…

“I’ll have a list of demands. You do what I want, I’ll fight for you,” he said.

I held my hands out and stepped away from the punching bag. “As long as my death isn’t on the list, I’ll take a look and do what I can do. I can be a reasonable man when people want me to be, Warman.” I grinned.

I hoped to get more on my side, preferably once Captain Lightning had joined up, but I didn’t. Instead, it was time to make the announcement. I did so with my usual tact.

All across the world, television and internet-connected computer screens lit up with an explosion. The radio folks just had to use their imagination of the visual. “There’s a bear in the woods. Some people like to pretend the bear isn’t there. They don’t think the bear is a threat. They don’t realize that the bear came from another planet to steal hard-working Earthicans’ jobs. To fuck hard-sleeping Earthicans’ spouses. To talk some completely alien language around you where you can’t understand it. Preferably right during the good part of a movie. It doesn’t matter how many different words for snow the aliens have, Emperor Gecko of Earth knows a thousand different ways to tell them ‘Fuck You.’ And that’s what he’s going to do at the upcoming Dic-Off. That’s right, he knows he’s a dictator with the world firmly held in his small but powerful hands. But he’s done diccing around with that extraterrestrial arthropod called Cercopagis Lysis. At the Dic-Off, Earth’s five greatest warriors will go one on one with whatever sad sacks of shit the enemy convinced to hate you for your freedom. Earth is going to win, and then, by golly, everyone’s gonna get laid. Support your local Emperor, help build the greatest team this side of the Milky Way to kick those aliens off Earth… or else!”

It was really quite tasteful.

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 5

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There may have been a miscalculation or two about those volcanoes. Just, ya know, a few problems with that many shockwaves, particularly the ones in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Between the somewhat minor damage to a few countries with coastal cities (who even needs an India anyways?), and the refusal of a few of the volcanoes to shut off properly, some people are starting to grumble and it almost looks like I did the job of my rival conquistador for him. It. Whatever.

I’m surprised the heroes haven’t stopped by to depose me. Or more villains. I’ve been idly wondering where they were. I expected more opposition to my rule at the very least. That’s not to say there haven’t been incidents. I just expected them to involve fights and confrontations. Maybe a bunch of Neo Nazis marching and hailing, hoping to take me out and take the throne. Or maybe some rogue hero, one that’s really pissed off, flying in to tear my head off out of nowhere. I can’t keep track of all of them. Even if I wasn’t so infamously self-centered, I have an entire world to look to and only so much time and attention to give it.

I stopped one little attempt, at least. I caught Lone Gunman trying to snipe me the other day. He had something done to flush himself out, which is probably why he looked so anemic. But even one tiny little nanomachine is enough, when you’ve got access to the entire world’s infrastructure. Rather than use it to kill him via application to certain parts of the brain, I went for a walk. I walked down to a hot dog vendor and leaned out of line just in time for the person in front of me to get hit. I dropped a coin to pay the man, and ducked down to get it. I stood up, and there was no more vendor, so I took my hot dog for free. And so on.

I know, me eat a hot dog? I’m truly a man of the people. And he’s a man with a tendency to kill lots of people while saving them.

That little story brings me to another point, though. The scarcity of nanites. They break down, get used up, or just pass out of a system over time. I’ve been doing my best to replenish the supply and distribute them. After all, people still get hurt, still go to the doctors, still need vaccinations. It’s more a matter of getting them into people at that point. Some physicians are willing to do it, since they are superior medical care. Others refuse. If I don’t my little guys inside them or their families and friends, there’s not a whole lot I can do. I can’t send Electric Eyes around to every single place, and there’s only so far people are willing to go to accommodate my efforts to resist the aliens.

That’s the problem with being an untrustworthy sociopath sometimes; even invoking an external threat is only going so far to help me out. The problem, I think, is that I didn’t enact a lot of purges beyond what I did to some of the political opposition. That, and I barely have a power structure in place, and while that ensures most decisions go through me, it also means that fewer people have a vested interest in their own government. Dammit, yet another thing. See? This is why originally I only meant to kill everyone who got a nanite instead of take over the world. This is the trouble my conscience causes when I let it.

Now, a lot of otherwise-reasonable people are acting with fear at the forefront of their minds. They’re afraid that more of them are infected or infested or whatever. So they go around with that doubt in their heads. Tina scraped her knee and it’s fine already? Must have nanites in her. Johnathon hurt his hand and keeps whining about it? Must be making a big show of it to try and hide that he’s being controlled, because most people don’t act out that much from a simple papercut. I’ve gone and turned most of the world into conspiracy theorists.

It’s tied to evolution, dear readers. Animals at any stage of the food tree need to figure out if they’re facing something that’s a threat. Recognizing patterns, sensing movement, yada yada. People sometimes start to see things that aren’t there due to a problem in the brain specifically; other times, it’s a product of fear. There’s a huge swath of people who operate from a fear-based mindset. It distorts their ability to think straight, causing them to take irrational actions and claim some huge percentage of the world is against them.

These are the types of people who already fear vaccines, think the nanites are in chemtrails, and worry that fluoride in the water is just a euphemism for vaccines. And, because of that fear, they are cowed. They will do what is asked of them for fear that the people around them will make them do it once it’s revealed that they aren’t also part of our happy little club.

Fear is the ultimate control on the human race. Give man fear, and he will police himself.

And sometimes, I have to justify that fear.

I know I’ve rambled on quite a bit, partially to set the mood and partially to gloat over what I’ve done to the people of Earth, but it has all led up to something.

In addition to flight and paralysis, fighting is another reaction to fear. I don’t give a damn if survivalists hole up and take potshots at police inasmuch as it requires me to redirect an entire force of one single solitary stealth bomber. Or someone who shoots at a cop at some big protest. Murder’s already against the law. They’re just hurting themselves acting like that.

But somebody attacked a nondescript factory in Japan. Due to all the recent wave activity, enough people failed to show up to work in that city I’m refusing to name. So it wasn’t just minor damage. They’re so obsessed with work in Japan, you’d think they were as bad as their Chinese neighbors. I actually think it’s pretty funny. In China, those down below are made to work to their deaths by those up above. In Japan, they don’t have to be so tyrannical because they convinced the people to work themselves to death.

And that’s why people from Japan don’t like me. Moving on.

I wouldn’t even care normally. I tried to force people to take vacation days and personal days, so it’s nice so many of them didn’t show. Plus, after a certain number of absences, they couldn’t have gotten any work done anyway. So I’m not angry about the missing workers, nor do I consider it suspicious.

That anyone knew the factory produced medical nanomachines? That part is suspicious. That’s the kind of opposition I didn’t expect, but that worries me. Because that means a hell of a lot fewer people are going to be affected, and that means someone’s thinking. As all dictators have known, people thinking is dangerous. I could get parts anywhere. Knock out one of the factories in China and I can afford to open up another one entirely to take up the slack in time. But all those pieces don’t mean a thing without quite a bit of refinement.

I had my local Electric Eye visit the plant to look at the devastation. A huge chunk of the wall had been cleanly removed. Not cut or blasted through. Not pulled out. There weren’t any scorch marks or bending that indicated that, according to the camera of the local Electric Eye. Turning to look to the interior of the room, it wasn’t difficult to discern the fate of the wall. It reminded me of the story I’ve heard that tornadoes could put a pine needle through a pine tree. But with thousands of shards of metal through conveyor belts, lasers, robotic arms, and other such pieces of the production line.

Not every machine, though. A number had been spared. The management insisted they could still work on the nanites for me. They forced some workers in and proceeded to fire up the machines and even gave me the first of this reduced batch for personal inspection. If they only worried about normal quality control, there wouldn’t have been an issue. But I decided to give them some orders. Being a little angry, I wanted them to jump out and eat the manager. They received the orders and sat there. They didn’t move at all, aside from some gentle sloshing from being carried.

I tried other orders. Nothing. I stuck Electric Eye’s hand inside and ordered them to form armor, a knife, metallic skin. Nada. I could go on. There’s a lot of fucking words for “no,” folks!

They didn’t just trash the place in a way that would make me abandon it and move production to another factory. They wanted me to think it’d been merely slowed down. Instead, they sabotaged the equipment. Programming in some, subtle physical alterations in others.

It wasn’t worth salvaging the place and it also showed that someone knew what the hell they were doing. A superhuman had been involved, but they probably had inside help.

“Has the entire workforce received their complementary nanite injections?” Eye asked the manager.

He bowed repeatedly. “Yes, yes.”

I didn’t have to worry about him lying, either. Such superb medical care that repaired past injuries, healed future ones, and could prevent illness had been seen as an incredible gift to the owners of this facility, who went so make every worker take them when I offered them as an incentive and reward. That frustrating Japanese politeness would insist they lie to me and claim they had used them anyway, but the owner had insisted on recording video of every single injection. I found it in the computer systems as I forced my way in to gain a complete listing of personnel. Sadly, no camera systems could help me find out if any of them were the culprits. Also destroyed. It wouldn’t have changed their fates.

Mindful of the degree of information warfare involved in the sabotage, I terminated the entire payroll.

Some hung themselves or jumped from buildings. A few hurled themselves in front of the high speed trains. I even got two at once when one of them stepped off the sidewalk right in front of another who drove a car. Some died by poison and some died by the bottle, but all of them died as a warning and a punishment. Though, when I saw one guy’s daughter, I also took the opportunity to ship her off to my next residence. She was quite honored to meet the Emperor of Earth at Windsor Palace.

If it comes to anyone’s surprise at this point that I’m evil…well, congratulations. Always nice to have a new reader, but you’d better start earlier.

You know who else was honored to meet the Emperor at Windsor? Our little space crustacean, or spacetacean, Cercopagis Lysis. Or at least round, rolling robot with a holographic projector on top. “Greetings! Behold the glory that is Cercopagis Lysis as I lower myself to speak directly to the presumptive ruler of my planet!” The tiny image of the armored alien reached up with its arms as if to embrace the very ham spewed forth from whatever it used as a mouth. Perhaps its asshole.

See, told y’all “presumptive ruler” felt condescending.

“Look, everyone, it’s the never-been king and all his hopes and dreams, here to visit us from his home planet of Wannabe. Here to whistle your apology like a scalded lobster?” I couldn’t help look over at the giant lobster in its tank that I’d received as a gift from supervillain The Claw.

“I am here to offer you a deal, for the good of all of us.”

“Except the ones who are dead,” I quickly interrupted. “Now, there’s no use crying while there’s science to do to clean up the results of our latest conflict.”

Cercopagis interrupted me again. “When I look outside my ship, it makes me glad I’m not you. You have made it clear the depths to which you will sink.”

I nodded. “Balls deep, man. Balls. Deep.”

“If this goes on much longer, we will destroy that which we both wish to hold within our grasp. Even if you win, you will force your people to the breaking point and they will break. I have seen what people due to a ruler they can no longer tolerate. It is not pretty. So perhaps we can resolve this with less violence. A contest.” He spread his arms, at that. I briefly wondered if his third arm also spread when he did that, or if he didn’t bother using it in the human gesture.

“You want me to give up my superior position to give you something like an even chance at taking over in an agreement that I doubt you’d be willing to uphold if you lose?” I asked, putting it into perspective.

“I have seen the riots broadcast from your satellites. I read about the fears of mankind. They will turn on you. You know this. I can not beat you now, but I can distract you and remain a threat until Earth’s mightiest superhumans rebel. In the ensuing chaos and destruction, your world will be unable to resist me. I merely have to wait until you lose, but then I would receive damaged goods. If you win in this contest, I will leave and you are free from the distraction I pose to consolidate your power.”

I leaned forward in the classic Thinker pose. “Color me intrigued, or perhaps robin’s egg blue. What do you have in mind?”

“A series of five fights. We each choose warriors to represent us. They fight, one at a time, until one of us reaches a majority of victories.”

Interesting idea, but I could see a few problems. “Including supers? That’ll present some balance issues. We’d have to let the other see our rosters as we build them. And I didn’t think you had too many people with you in that ship of yours.”

“I have some of my own, and old allies on your world.” He crossed his arms. “I trust there will be no retaliation against Earthlings who fight for me?”

I shrugged. “Eh, sure. I will not lay my hands upon them, not even a digit.” Might shove my foot up their asses, though. “The balance issue is still a big deal. We might as well throw the biggest hammers at each other.”

“From the information I have gleaned about you, you know that basic ideas of power levels are irrelevant to how well one performs in battle. I have spoken with one ally I would enter into this contest and he imparted an idea on me. Our rosters will be secret until all are gathered, then we can adjust it. One of us picks a fighter and the other team decides who to send to fight after having time to deliberate on it and decide who would be the best for that situation.”

“I’m not sure that does anything at all about the balance issue, and I don’ t like the idea of my team voting on anything. You think I’m going to game the system.” I wagged my finger at the holographic display.

He nodded. “You would. I would. Neither of us will. In this way, our fighters will have motivation to think and fight. I would dislike it if one of my team stepped outside and surrendered against my will because you decided to utilize a far stronger opponent. This gives them an opportunity.”

“But still leaves us picking the most powerful, in all likelihood. I have another idea. The team that votes also gets to decide the venue of the fight.”

Cercopagis thought it over briefly, then said, “Agreed. Any further rule revisions?”

“No, but I’m sure we’ll both come up with things as we pick our teams.”

“So you are agreed.”

I nodded. The spectacle would also help. Competition often brings people together, and the sides are clearly “Earth” via “Alien Invader”. They’ll eat it up. It’ll be like the Olympics. Well, except the Olympics are going on right now. It’ll be like the Olympics mixed with Mortal Kombat and a dash of Marvel’s Civil War. At the risk of comparing it to the Olympics again, though, I’m going to cheat my ass off to make sure I win, because Cercopagis does have a point about people’s willingness to put up with me.

And now my giant lobster has a new round, robotic squeeze toy to play with.

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 4

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Busy week, busy week. Avoided matchmakers, done more work on the robot, thwarted another plot by Cercopagis, AND had a bit of a party. Things got a bit hot and sweaty, in other words.

First off, I got to get my hands back in the game. It almost makes it seem like I’m not doing anything useful if I’m not hands-on, though I suppose that’s the downside of being Emperor of Earth. That, and The Claw’s taken it on himself to insist, according to his duty, that I need to work on having an heir as soon as possible. He even knows a few likely candidates. The crazy Japanese crime boss who murdered her own parents and holds her own against the Yakuza by sheer ferocity almost sounds like a winner, but something tells me she’s not the domestic type. Then again, I don’t know what I want in a woman beyond not betraying me. I suppose actually caring about her as a person would be nice for a change.

I don’t trust The Claw to arrange me a baby momma anyway. I knock up some woman, and then I die under mysterious or, hell, inevitable circumstances. Claw claims that the baby has a right to rule, and he uses the baby as an excuse to grab onto the power. Ya know, holding onto it until the kid is old enough. If he even let the kid stick around, he or she’d just be a puppet.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’m getting enough offers from the public. There’s plenty of people attracted to wealth, power, infamy, and “that hot, evil ass,” to quote someone. I’m half-convinced that was Technolutionary continuing to obsess over me.

Unfortunately, more than a few people have noticed my tendency to bring things back around to Venus. She would not be amused by the lookalikes emailing me their photos, wearing masks and little else. I think I recognized a couple of them. The boobs, I mean. The women had masks on.

That doesn’t mean I’m not getting any male attention. I got dick pics out the wazoo, and a few pictures of male wazoos, too. It’s just that there’s less pressure on me to get involved with them due to the whole “founding a dynasty” thing.

It’s weird, it takes up too much of my time, and they’re all only begging for my baby juice because I saved the world. Believe it or not, most of them don’t care that I upped the ante and almost crashed us into the moon. That’s just one of those crazy people things. Sadly, I’ve received no interest from Andreja Pejic, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Beth Riesgraf or Felicia Day.

Enough about love. I mentioned earlier my hands were busy, then went on a tangent about women sending me dirty pictures. In retrospect, this may have given people the wrong image about me. I meant to talk more about getting my hands dirty assembling pieces of my robot and its armament. This planet isn’t as far along technologically as the one I came from, so it’s been almost impossible getting the factory teams to churn out a good electro-rifle. I had to settle on shoulder-mounted Tesla Coils instead. Aiming them is a simple matter of manipulating ions.

On the plus side, the goo spewer is functioning perfectly. It fires a mixture of gunk that ignites after a couple seconds of contact with the air. The ammunition’s a bit tricky to make and store, but I know a thing or two about chemistry. After all, I’ve got people sending me naked pictures. And again, if anyone over there is considering it, breeding age is important. Even if I was a cougar hunter, post-menopause means no heirs!

Yep, diving in and assembling my giant robot helped to put me at ease, especially once I ignored the cries and pleas of my subjects. All inquiries were to be formally logged with either zone representatives or a member of the Thirteen Electric Eyes.

It’s been so long since I had the joy of throwing a giant foot together. Hell, even my armor is formulaic. Stagnant. I need to upgrade it as well. I’ll never have the time if I have to constantly worry about threats like playing moon chicken or solving global warming.

Ah, yes, that brings me to the other attempt by Cercopagis Lysis. I have, on a whim, looked at plans for reversing climate change. It’s one of those major problems I always thought proved the folly of mankind. Even the ones with enough sense to admit its happening sometimes claim that there’s no proof mankind had a hand in it, then somehow use that to reckon that there’s nothing mankind can do about it.

In fact, I just took a moment to order in a pair of grabber drones. Like a claw machine, the great hand of his new god has moved to pluck him out of the detritus…and they are flying to drop him off on an iceberg. No, wait. I’ll redirect them toward polar bear country. Poor bastards have already lost enough of their land, might as well throw the bears a bone. Or an entire skeleton, why not?

So I have had it in the back of my mind that that’s one of the things I needed to fix, but I’ve avoided doing anything about it with all the other concerns, like expanding Earth’s food resources to accomodate continued population growth or handling Earth’s energy needs.

Here’s what happened. Cercopagis’s moon base fired a large laser that burned brief but intense. It flashboiled part of the ocean north of Russia, but that’s not all it did. According to some people who don’t get paid enough to put up with all this shit, as anyone who looks into research grants would know, that rapidly melted a huge layer of permafrost on the seabed and released a lot of methane.

“However he did it, it’s incredible he didn’t set it all off!” the fellow told me over the phone.

Hmm. Have to file that idea away under “Scorched Earth,” for whenever I get booted off my throne.

Such a rapid escalation in greenhouse gasses was set to have a pretty big effect, but it got worse when additional beams struck from the moon over the course of the next few hours. The calls of the climatologists got frantic until, my last time, they didn’t pick up at all. Surveillance showed they’d degenerated into an orgy. For scientists measuring something that could have a catastrophic effect on humanity, that’s a bad sign. That’s the literal “Fuck It,” level of danger.

I needed a solution, fast. Gradual wouldn’t do it. That idea some people had, to float a hose and pump sulfur into the atmosphere? Too small scale for me. I needed a hell of a lot more than that. I needed…bombs.

You know that quote about a room full of monkeys pounding randomly at typewriters and the works of Shakespeare? I needed a bunch of monkeys to pound away at a series of devices built quickly and to my specifications.

Take an F-Bomb and make it bigger, heat resistant, and louder. A hell of a lot louder. Forget shattering skyscrapers. These things are practically nukes of the sonic bomb world. I built thirty all across the world. Again, this took away from building parts for the giant robot, but I can’t use a giant robot to stop the rapid increase of global warming. Laser-induced permafrost farting got me into this mess, but it’d take more than just breaking wind to get the Earth out of it. To save the world, I needed to break the earth. In a good way. At least, in a survivable way.

I bombed several active volcanoes around the world to open up holes. Then, I flew in the Earth Breakers. Not me, myself, personally. I had lots of helicopters. Some for the Earth Breakers, others were firefighting copters loaded with just water. I dropped in the Earth Breakers next and let them sink away.

Then came a series of blasts that were very much not silent, but still quite deadly. Along with creating an opening, the bombing runs messed with some of the pressure on the magma. The Earth Breakers loosened up a lot more rocks, opened up pathways to more magma, and formed bubbles. Then came the firefighter helicopters that flew in and dumped water into the same holes the Earth Breakers fell through.

The pilots didn’t wait around for my orders to get the hell out of there, not that I blamed them. The timing in how I did things isn’t an exact science, but things paid off quickly enough that they were likely grateful I assigned them brown pants with yellow stripes for mission uniforms.

All around Earth, in almost all of the volcanoes I bombed and watered, wonderful seeds of salvation bloomed. Or should I say, eruptions. Boom, bitch, get out the way!

And that, dear readers, is the recipe for Psycho Gecko’s special, most realistic Volcano Cake. Don’t try it at home, unless you don’t want the home. I don’t recommend eating it unless you need more sulfur in your diet. And all it required was a drastic increase in aerial particulates to absorb or reflect sunlight so it can’t reach ground level and become trapped on Earth.

Sure, a lot of doom-sayers came out of the woodwork over the combination of rapid methane release and then huge volcanic eruptions around the world, but my administration has been a boon for anybody profiting from such things. Gun stores, churches, televangelists, gold sellers, survivalist profiteers, and all that mess. Joel Osteen ought to name his latest private jet after me, if he even bothers naming them anymore. I am the anti-Christ, according to some people. Then again, religion’s full of the kinda people who think the others are evil for taking the wrong day of the week off. It doesn’t particularly scare me to be called such. If anything wants to smite me, it knows where I’m staying: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s a big, white house.

The climatologists got back to me on another phone call, out of breath from their apocalyptic sexual escapades, and confirmed that I did, indeed, save the world again. From both alien-made climate change and man-made climate change. So, having done yet another good deed through an act that otherwise would have been something to ransom the world with, I set about throwing a little ball.

Y’all know me. I like holding balls. And this one wasn’t for charity or for fancy dress. No, this time I held my ball for pleasure. It was a good way to let off steam. Ya know, for people, since the planet just let off a lot of steam. Besides, some people were beginning to catch on to the fact that I’m unlikely to do anything to kill myself, which at least hints at the possibility of their survival.

So I got washed up, tossed some stuff in my armor to work on the smell, and went out to have myself the first get-together in the White House Presidential ballroom that ever featured AC-DC since Nancy Reagan brought all those pot brownies. The things you learn with access to all those confidential files.

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 3

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At last, the Great and Devious Psycho Gecko has come back to the United Nations! The compound, at least. The organization doesn’t really exist anymore.

It seemed a good public place to answer the challenge from Cercopagis Lysis. It’s part of the nature of men like me and things like him. See, most criminals are in it for money. I’m not talking people who get caught with a few ounces of marijuana or heroin. I get no kick from cocaine. Muggers, identity thieves, con artists, burglars, and so on, they’re in it for money.

You don’t see many people in jail for running a red light. That’s more a matter of convenience, true. Others are crimes of passion. Somebody gets mad, and someone else ends up beaten or killed. Those folks are little better than a dog scratching at a door in a thunderstorm; people whose brains are slaves to animal instinct. Same for the sex criminals. Then they get out of prison and can’t find jobs. They’ve gotten used to an antagonistic relationship with the rest of society. Their friends and even family abandoned them, but at least they bonded with other people in jail. Other people who were in for robbing, burglarizing, and so on.

I am not part of that group. I’m part of a group that cares more about greatness and audacity; inspiring fear and having fun. That’s the sort of criminal who puts on a costume and announces their crime via the United Nations. The kind of criminal who doesn’t want the money. They want the world. Which sounds somewhat romantic until you remember it puts me in the same category as the crazies and the politicians, but that’s being redundant. As a world leader, I count as one of those already. And I’m increasingly beginning to suspect that, despite my earlier firm handle on mental health, I might be a politician too.

I say all this not to justify myself or anything like that, but to explain why it is that I felt in no way phased by a crustacean from another world calling up the entire planet from his hidden moon base. If anything, that’s part of what makes my life so great.

So, this announcement of yet another damn alien?

“People of Earth, I am Cercopagis Lysis, your future ruler.” A bit generic. There needs to be a better way of putting “future ruler.” As someone who has been there before, I know “Presumptive Ruler” sounds condescending. He spoke out from televisions, computers, and radios all over Earth. The radio listeners just couldn’t see him sitting in what looked like the bridge of his ship, a panel of instruments before him. He looked much the same as when his robotic decoy visited: platinum-colored armor plates, a helmet with one horn and one tusk, three arms, all that jazz.

“Your planet has been ravaged by invaders and now by the deranged madman known as Psycho Gecko. I bring you security.” There’s the carrot. THE carrot. Security. You can get anyone to do anything as long as you say it’s about security. Trust me, I know what desperate lengths someone will go to save their own lives. It’s the ultimate way to get people to do what you want. Just highlight all the ways things seem less secure, and abuse it. It’s easy to spot once you know the trick.

“And so it is with a heavy gluback that I must persuade Psycho Gecko to step down…by crashing the moon into your planet. Everything will be fine so long as he steps down and allows me to take his place. He must do what is right for you, or you must do it for him. You have five hours to comply.” He pulled a lever, then pushed a button to end the transmission.

And with that, the moon accelerated. I saw it coming, though the frantic calls of the astronomers made it even clearer. Well, I couldn’t let that shit stand, so I had the folks at Area 51 strap a hell of a lot of helicopters to the anti-gravity engine of the alien spaceship and start flying over to Empyreal City. It couldn’t carry itself in its current state with the changes I made to it. I suppose the human scientists helped a little bit, especially after one of their contracted technicians walked out on his job. Probably thought I was bluffing, not killing him outright with the nanites.

He likely thought different when he got home and took a knife to his husband and son, then himself. I didn’t wait until the next day, with the news. Nope. I let, some might even say “forced,” the rest of the Area 51 team to watch it. Sadly, nobody else wanted popcorn. Can’t say I blame them. Tools kept slipping out of my borrowed fingers for awhile after that.

I brought my own body to Empyreal City to meet it. I didn’t expect Carl to meet me there, though it surprised me when Moai texted back that he was watching after Carl. I tried to get ahold of my old assistant, Crash, but apparently she died in the invasion. There had apparently been quite the lavish funeral. I must have missed my invite.

Oh well, there’s a truckload more where she came from. I’m sure I’ll be invited to some funeral. Maybe an important one next time. Maybe I’ll arrange for Morgan Freeman to have an accident. No, wait…I need him to narrate the hit movie about my life.

The procession from the Imperial plane started with a line of Rio Carnivale women in the bright feather outfits. Sadly, the North Korean twins “forgot” the similar outfits I got for them. Shame. I thought they were more obedient than all that. Still, totally worth it to take that detour down to South America.

My security was handled by a small swarm of Buzzkills, humanoid bee-like people. Their exoskeleton served as black armor for them, and many used giant handheld stingers as swords. Beetrice, their queen, was more than happy to take my calls, especially after finding out I have guy parts again. She’s had a thing for me, keeps wanting me to father the next thousand or so eggs. Something like that. You wouldn’t think insects and mammals could do that, but she’s been pumping this shy guy who used to handle Human Resources for his. I guess you could say he’s now the head of her Human Resources.

The twins and I rode out on a flying Persian rug…or at least a Persian rug being carried by real Persians, chosen for both strength of arm and awesomeness of beard. I’m sure they resented me making them wear the poofy pants and the giant turbans. A Chinese paper dragon ran all around this little parade because I wanted one. I’m Emperor. If I want a paper dragon running around when I walk into a room for an important meeting at the UN with my various zone representatives, I damn well get a paper dragon. Pulling the rear, I had some guys wheel in the giant lobster tank.

I may not have a real dragon for a parade, but at least I have a really big shellfish. And if The Claw thinks his little bribe helped put him in charge of a zone…then he’s right. This thing is cool as polar bear shit.

Well, I went into the big meeting room, which seemed much less full these days. Oh, they wanted to keep up with the meetings of diplomats, despite me telling them the countries no longer existed. Naturally, I used great tact to put a stop to that. I am known for my tact, after all. Such as when the Area 51 folks landed the engine in the courtyard, then blew open the wall of the building so the cameras could get a good view of it as well as me.

“Ladies and gentlemen of Earth!” I started off. “I am your current ruler, not some wannabe who couldn’t even be bothered to save you from the aliens.”

As I went on, the some officers from the Air Force wheeled in a podium with a steering wheel and shifter on it. “And while that asshole up there shouldn’t get Earth because he’s the one who sent the Fluidics here in the first place, I have a much better reason why he’s not going to have it.”

I stepped over to the new podium and turned a set of keys. Outside, the engine groaned a couple of times. “One moment, it’s used…” I tried it again, and it finally turned over. At the same time, other engines positioned around the world also activated. I couldn’t just stick them all in one place and turn them on, not with something as big as the planet. Their geographical distribution worked to my advantage in keeping the planet whole. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to the Earth, after all.

“Now then, I have just activated a series of devices that will accelerate the Earth toward the moon, because I give as many fucks as a panda. Can’t threaten a sociopath like myself into hurting my dear Earthicans that easily, Cercopagis. You now have two and a half hours to surrender and begin moving the moon back into place, or I will move heaven, or at least Earth, to get to that damn moon and kick your ass personally.” I moved the shifter, putting the Earth into drive. I hardly felt a thing, being that close, but I could tell from all the people I possess that those further out from the engines could feel at least an uncomfortable shudder as the Earth began moving.

Behind me, the United Nations’ giant monitor lit up with the alien at his control console. “You fool! You’ll kill yourself and everyone else!”

“Exactly what you wanted. What’s a matter, Cercopagis…chicken?” I flapped my arms. “Bawk bawk bawk, ba-CAW!”

He growled and pushed another lever on his console all the way forward. “Oh yeah? Well you now have one hour and fifteen minutes to surrender, or I’ll go ahead and do it!”

I stomped on the podium’s clutch and shifted again. “Thirty-seven minutes, thirty seconds. The ball’s in your court, alien freak!”

He pushed a third lever. “Eighteen minutes, forty-five seconds! You wouldn’t destroy the world out of such desperation, I know it.”
“Ha! You really don’t know me. I’ve already tried to destroy one world. People need a man of principle like me. They know I won’t take their shit.” I shifted gears, then reached over to push a button. The CD player started up, with the sound of “The End Of The World As We Know It.” I grinned beneath my helmet, not that he could see it, and added, “Nine minutes, twenty-two and-, no just twenty-one seconds now.”

Despite the sound of the music, I heard people all over the world cry out in great pain and anguish as the end began. People prayed and looted. I just stared up into the eyes of the alien conqueror.

Maybe he ran out of levers. Probably I was right about his unwillingness to go all the way. He pulled the levers back with one hand, the other frantically turning a wheel. “Alright! You win this round, Psycho Gecko, but this is not over yet!”

I laughed and joked, “Did the Earth move for you too, baby?” I only downshifted after the astronomers got off their smelly, shit-stained asses to confirm he was reestablishing lunar orbit. Things generally got a bit more orgy-like around Earth once I won the game of stellar chicken. There was a party atmosphere everywhere. I felt like naming it a national holiday even before one particularly dignified and self-controlled astronomer came forward to message me. Due to my little game, it’s now projected to take Earth 366 and one-quarter days for the Earth to orbit the sun.

Happy Emperor Gecko day, Earth!

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Gecko Vs. The Moon Conqueror! 2

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Still no giant robot. Delays. None of the places are designed to build giant robot parts specifically. Car parts, airplane parts, trains, small robots, but not giant hulking machines of menace. I have to keep overseeing them to get anything produced at anything close to a reasonable speed, and now they’re claiming quality control issues. The way this is going, they’ll have to produce enough for two robots just so I can get one in working order.

All that in the middle of moving, too. I decided to head to a stronger location. Turns out, the Dutch Royal Family has their own bunker. A good, sturdy Cold War bunker built to survive nukes. I had a dream about Cercopagis dropping the moon on me, ya see. I only had a few days to stop it by going around and awakening or empowering four superhumans on Captain Lightning’s power level to stop it, except I kept screwing it up and the moon would hit the Earth. Then I’d wake up and it’d be the start of the three days again.

I know that a lot of the folks where I’m from don’t think much about Cold War bunkers in Europe, but that was one of the most important places to build a stronghold like that. This one had been repurposed as storage. Probably not the strangest thing such a structure has been used for.

I also called up all the zone representatives to inform them of the State of the Tyranny. Or at least to let them know more about the situation. I don’t have to tell them anything, but I couldn’t control the information after my televised destruction of what turned out to be a robotic double.

I used modified holodiscs to work out the whole thing. Mine pretty much showed all the names, zones, and rough geographic areas covered by said zones in some sort of giant chatroom. Their end showed my face. “Greetings from the giant head who controls your world! No, my name is not Richard, before anyone asks. Ok, so we’ve got a bit of a conflict on our hands here. I’m sure y’all have seen it. Cercopagis Lysis had something to do with the Fluidics stopping by so he could show up and rescue Earth from alien conquest and pretend to be a more benevolent ruler. Blah, blah, blah. At least I waited until the crisis was over, but why are we bothering to imagine I have any standards anyway?”

Multiple names lit up to signify that people wanted to address me. I decided future holodiscs used for these purposes would have either text-to-speech capability or attached keyboards. One by one, I opened up more direct communication with them…

“You’re insane!”

“You’re a moron!”

“You don’t know what you’re doing!”

“You’re stupid, nobody loves you, and you deserve to die alone!”

…and, having yelled that at some of them, the others began to withdraw their desire to speak to me. Then I composed myself. “I’m trying to bring you all on board, so help me help you by shutting up. He wants to rule you, and it’s hard to rule over a bunch of corpses. Believe me, I’ve tried.You, he wants alive. Me, he wants dead. Typically, cessation of life is the big political equalizer. And, as the phrase ‘Who died and made you king?’ indicates, it’s a decent method of promotion as well. Still, some of you doubt my qualifications as emperor. No, scratch that. You don’t doubt my qualifications. Not since people I’m unhappy with sometimes drop dead. You doubt my competency to rule. And maybe there’s something to that. But what I want to establish to you all here and now is simply… I don’t give a rat’s pampered ass about any of you.”

I paused to smile, practically hearing the responses die in their would-be speakers’ throats.

“I have eyes and ears everywhere…and I can’t stand y’all. I can’t fix y’all. Taken as a whole, the human race is worse than I could ever be. It killed any desire I had to serve it and justified all my darkest criticisms. But. But, I took over. I am the ruler. You are all mine now. And as much as you may hate me, this big, dark universe has a few problems with y’all existing. So do others like me. They have a point, but you’re mine. So you’re going to get the benefit of being my people. I don’t care if I have to blow up the moon and build a replica in its place to keep the dies under control, I will wipe that asshole off the face of the Earth!”

Suddenly, an alert came up. Panicking astronomers were tracking something very unusual.

“Sorry folks,” I broke up the assembly early. “Looks like Cercopagis is trying to manipulate the moon so as to throw off the tides. This assembly will be reconvened after this has been dealt with, or never. Depends on how successful I am. Just try to keep people in line so I don’t have to kill too many of them. Feel free to crucify people. Ciao.”

After leaving them with official orders to keep the peace, I took a break from spying on everyone and being a bad boss so I could check in with the people who keep their heads in the clouds. I had two, then three, then six observatories reporting in: since Cercopagis had arrived, the moon’s orbit had shifted. Not much, just slightly.

I didn’t know what even a slight shift meant for tides, and the alarmism of some of them made me take over their own hands and give them a slap to pull themselves together. One fellow had been reduced to a ball of tears curled up in the fetal position until I took over his female colleague’s body and gave him five fingers ‘cross the face. It took three times to get him to shut up, at which point I said, “Now call me ‘Daddy’.”

Nice as it was to be a woman again, I can do that anytime now. I can be almost any man, woman, child, or elderly person. I still have to wait for the experts to explain things to me that I don’t know. Like how a minor disruption in orbit can easily snowball into something bigger, since the point of a stable orbit is that something won’t fall to Earth. If Cercopagis kept it up, he could threaten the Earth with it.

I doubt it, but it’d make a great bluff for him. Certain death versus uncertain death, at least in the eyes of the little people. And I know what’s in their eyes.

I’m a part of them. Sometimes, I sneak into them when they need help. They might ask in a prayer, or when exasperated. “Please not today!” isn’t a prayer per se, but it’s still a cry for help. And all they have to do is get my attention. Let me in. Be cured of all their physical ails and potentially share their body with me. I’ve taken final exams, given big speeches. Hell, the other day I even gave birth for this one lady. She wanted to scream and claw. I might have felt like it too in her position. It was certainly an experience, though one I didn’t have to feel. And, after I finally squeezed that kid out of my body and I held it in my arms, I stared the doctor dead in the eye and told him, “Bring me some of the nanites. We’d better inoculate this kid.”

I didn’t release control of the woman until after they’d dropped a few into the kid. She broke down a bit then, finally getting to let out the pain she’d been going through, though it disappointed me the way she stared down at my chubby little cheeks with fear. You’d think every parent would want a baby that didn’t scream its head off. I didn’t stay like that long, but it got me to thinking. I wonder if that baby would ever develop its own personality if I controlled it constantly? Would it even know what to do with its own freedom? Interesting questions, but not ones worth answering.

And, before people start thinking I’m some baby-possessing creep, I’d like to point out that I did normal, selfish things with these abilities. Like sex. All kinds of sex. And foreplay. And romance. Dating. I don’t know, maybe these humans are starting to grow on me. They don’t look half as ugly as I remember, though that still means they don’t look half as good as they think they do.

I’ve been all of them. Mother and father and child. Lover. Criminal and victim. These people are MINE. They may be so messed up that I can’t fix all of them, but I will not give them over to someone else.

I needed to do more than just supervise a robot. I wasn’t too sure about the whole dimension bomb business again, either. A little bit of study while building the last one turned up that it might leave something like a scar and have some sort of cumulative effect. That would be bad, to put it mildly. I don’t know how bad, but somewhere in the range of Elder Gods and Great Old Ones showing up en masse. Or even worse, my ex.

So I figured I’d call up the folks at Area 51. I have their number now. I knew them, and several others, had access to alien ships from our most recently completed invasion. The Fluidic ships that landed on Earth weren’t outright atomized, and they had some very valuable parts.

“Someone’s coming down with a case of psychosis!” I announced as I took over the body of a female air force officer at Area 51. Damn, she had a comfy chair. U.S. Air Force likes to live it large. Big screen TV, kickass chair, and an alienware computer. Not the brand, Alienware, but a computer made partially out of extraterrestrial hardware. I went all tappity tappity tap tap to look up where they kept the captured alien ships.

It struck me on the way down the hallway that there was a great irony in all this now. Area 51 has long been rumored to be a secret area known for messing with aliens, but that’s just the popular rumor. In reality, the place does secret aircraft research. People started seeing lights moving faster than any planes could, or flying around in unusual ways…well, ta da! When they had a choice between putting people’s unfounded fears of extraterrestrial visitation at ease or keeping military hardware secrets from the Soviets, well, they leaked a fake autopsy video and never looked back.

Now, because of that focus on aerial superiority, they actually had become home to the greater part of the United States’ alien ship research, and the most obvious one for me to find out. The Australians just got theirs, and The Claw’s people are tight-lipped, but I’ll find others. I’m going to need a few.

At first, armed guards tried to stop me from entering the hangar hosting the specific ship section I looked up, but I held up my hand and made them choke. “My name is Psycho Gecko, Emperor of Earth, and I will see these vessels.”

It’s important to work on your dictatorial diction. Really adds a little extra oomph when you need authority. Not too many people get away with going, “How y’all doin’? My name’s Empr’er Jed and I welcome ya to the big house. Y’all’s just in time to watch me execute some people. Yeehaw!”

First time I host public executions at a mansion I confiscate, I’m totally doing that anyway.

The guards, once let go, tried to stop me anyway, but I stopped them and made them say, “Yes, Emperor Gecko.” That convinced them, though I gotta give them credit for the attempt to stop me before that. Strong sense of duty.

“Good men. I need folks like y’all in my army. Now, escort me in, announce me, and round up someone in a lab coat. I got some work to do.”

The hangar wasn’t quite the flurry of activity I expected, and the researchers and technicians studying the thing dressed a bit more casual. Fine by me. Pantless Wednesday was coming up, after all.

The guards brought me one fellow in a shirt and tie who looked a bit nervous at being called before me. I tried to set him at ease with a little laughter. Just something to humanize me more. Unfortunately, my cackling at the sight of the alien engines before me had the opposite effect.

“Sir…ma’am, your highness, to what do we owe the pleasure?” He held his hands behind his back to keep from wringing them in front of me.

I gestured toward the engine with a nod. “I’ve got another plan in the works to deal with a new alien troublemaker, but I’ve got a little something else in mind in case that one is delayed for too long. How well does that engine work?”

“How well? That depends on what you’re hoping to do with it.”

I walked toward it, hands held out wide. “I plan to get a few more to help with this, so take into account you’ll be working with more than one. I aim to play chicken, you see. How difficult would it be to use these to move, oh, an entire planet about Earth’s size and mass?”

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