Tag Archives: Advocate

New World War 4

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I had a heck of a day, readers. Any day you take part in a high speed chase through the desert is a good one. The team of superheroes I deign to work with were called out on a tip about illegally-imported goods. That meant flying over the desert, tailing a couple of 18 wheelers. Drillbit had some sort of bottom-facing visual camo activated.

“We could stop them before now,” Advocate explained, “But then we wouldn’t know who the buyer is.”

“Rabbit,” said Rabbit.

Advocate nodded to her. “We think they’re carrying arms. We’ll swoop in and catch both parties in the act.”

In an arms deal, one side is guaranteed to be bringing weapons and the other side is guaranteed to have something valuable and an interest in acquiring weapons. This usually amounts to both sides being armed and cautious because they’re worried about being fucked over. That’s one reason why a trustworthy arms dealer is so valuable to most criminals. Added trust is also a point in the dealer’s favor worthy of raising prices over. It’s either that, or trust a guy’s selling you something worth so little they aren’t concerned it’ll be stolen.

“There’ll be plenty of them there, that’s for sure,” I said, then commenced to coughing. School full of kids and somehow it’s me, the woman without medical nanites to assist my immune system, whose head became a hacking snot pinata. I took a napkin offered by Rabbit and blew my nose, growling when my ear decided to creak. My ears are sophisticated technology and they’re creaking. They don’t have things with which to creak!

Once I’d properly disposed of the napkin in the increasingly-full trashbag I’d brought with me, I thanked Rabbit, who responded in her usual manner.

“Eminence?” Advocate asked.

I waved off his concern. “I told you, I’m good to go. Me on my death bed would be better than Mike Tyson at his prime. When the Boogieman goes to bed, he checks under-,” and that’s when my cough interrupted my completely accurate portrayal of my abilities. Advocate just nodded while Rabbit patted me on the shoulder.

“Rest on the way there,” Advocate advised.

I leaned back in my seat and let myself be talked to sleep by an ASMR person on Youtube who likes Reiki and jellybeans. Despite that, my mind kept wanting to wander to a song that felt appropriate. Between both of those, I was pretty much knocked out when I heard Drilbit yell back,” We’re here!”

I unbuckled and stood, in an odd frame of mind. Advocate and Drillbit were up at the cockpit. Rabbit stood next to the door, which was still closed. I closed one eye and checked through spy satellites. Normally, the United States is way more focused on foreign targets. They had a shitload aimed at their own land instead, and it’s like they weren’t even bothering with encryption in this timeline. Anyone could get in there. I actually had to wipe out a Chinese worm in there to take full control before zooming in.

The semis were stopped at an abandoned shopping center just off the highway. I hummed, hands swaying to the music. Had to divert one to cover a cough as I looked over eight guys standing by the semis and group of four vans with nine guys deployed around there. “Eight guys with the big trucks, nine with the vans. All armed. You know, a cherry bomb would fix this entire problem for us.”

“We’re not here to kill them. We’re here to bring them to justice,” Advocate said. “Drillbit, bring it down, block off escape routes. Everyone else, disable the vehicles first, then move on to the people.” He opened the door, showing we still weren’t all that close to the ground. He turned and held out his hand for Rabbit and myself.

“I don’t seem to have packed a chute,” I said.

“I’ll take care of that,” Advocate said. Rabbit had already taken his hand.

I took the other, “Don’t make me regret this, or I’ll make you regret this.”

He smiled. “Last one down buys drinks!” Then he jumped, taking Rabbit and myself with him.

I heard Drillbit yell, “No fair!” before we began our skydiving without a parachute. I couldn’t help but feel a thrill, even as the Earth rose rapidly for its deadly smooch. Advocate actually let go of me at one point. When I looked over, he’d also released Rabbit, but my attention was soon drawn to a white-yellow aura surrounding her and I. I looked down to see I was coming right at the front hood of a van and-

Wham!

Even though I slammed into the engine block of a van at something close to terminal velocity, the velocity didn’t prove terminal. It didn’t even hurt. I didn’t feel anything as I embedded in the hood. After a second’s contemplation, that faded and I could feel the metal wrapped around me. Pushing my way out was harder to do, and necessitated a bit of wiggling. By the time I pulled myself out, the others were already busy being shot at.

Rabbit jumped one guy in a shirt and suspenders, smashing the back of his head with an axehandle blow, landing with a dropkick on another fellow. She disappeared from the ground in a cloud of smoke as one of the other guards ran over to shoot where she’d have been. He turned around and spotted me, but clenched his teeth in surprise. Rabbit’s hands appeared from behind him, stretching a band reading “Tommy Hilfiger” over his eyes. He turned around to swipe at Rabbit, showing off his boxers stretched from crack to brow. Rabbit dove between his legs and kicked his knees out from under him.

Advocate tanked being shot like it didn’t even matter. He pulled out a toy gun, the sort that shoots plastic balls, and shot the nearest soldier. The ball lit up with the white-yellow aura as well, and smacked the guy around like a good punch. Another pulled a knife and lunged for Advocate’s throat. It refused to dig in and clattered out of the man’s grasp. Advocate’s shield aura appeared around his own head when he headbutted the man.

By now, I’d gotten free enough that I could see we’d all taken out a van upon landing, but the one to my left was still around. A trio of guys ran for that one. I hopped on top of the hood and looked straight down, hitting the laser eye before backflipping off it. Steam whistled out of the radiator and the guys pulling on the car doors ended up pinned under the sides as they fell out from the middle thanks to their pulling.

I heard a semi’s engine roar to life and ran for that one. The driver ran right over the leg of someone in a suit. The second one turned over and started to follow it, both of them heading for the lanes not blocked off by a hovering shuttle.

Rabbit was running as well, so swerved to grab her and throw her in an arc to toward the top of the first semi. She landed ok. Then I took aim and cut out the rear wheels of the one closer to me. The trailer dropped and skidded along the road. I jumped on and managed not to go through the top. I started climbing to try and get to the cab.

By the time I reached it, one of the suited arms dealers was hanging from the open passenger door, trying to aim a rifle at Rabbit, who was fighting someone on the roof of the next semi. I pulled him up to the roof and slammed him into it, sending the rifle falling safely behind us. Hand tangled in his shirt, I kept smashing him onto the top of the cab until it gave way and we dropped in. A pistol clattered to the floorboard under us and the driver reached for his rear waistband. I grabbed his arm and diverted the gun’s barrel to his head. “Don’t do it! You have so much to live for!”

He stomped the brakes, sending me flying against the windshield. Unfortunately for him, I hadn’t let go of his hand and his wrist had a lot more give than my muscles. I held onto that gun with two hands, grabbed his head with the other two, and rammed him into the horn.

Honk! Whoosh! The air bag deployed, pinning him against the seat. I disarmed him and used the passenger seatbelt to hog tie his compatriot, who didn’t take it too well. Then I went to check on the other semi, which I saw had also stopped before getting too far. One of the doors popped off with an arms dealer against it. Rabbit leaned out and gave me a thumbs up. “Rabbit!”

“Gecko!” I said, waving back at her. Looking back, I saw Advocate jogging toward us. He found me, palms together, bobbing back and forth on the hood of the semi like a hula ornament.

“Everything good?” He asked me.

I nodded, “Yeah. Rabbit says ‘Rabbit’ by the way, so I’m assuming that’s what that means. You get the others?”

He pointed back the way he came. “Drillbit’s got them in a hole. State troopers are on their way. FBI and ATF time is hard to come by right now, with our government shut down.”

It was a decent enough wrap-up, and we did indeed go for drinks after we got back. Out of costume, but at a bar with more than a signs about superheroes and people in superhero t-shirts. We did a pretty poor job hiding identities. Drillbit had spiral markings over his arms that matched the ones from his costume, and Rabbit, while looking nothing more than a pretty Native American woman, didn’t widen her vocabulary outside of costume. I could only hide my extra arms so well.

A funny thing happened on the way out of the bathroom, though. I went to push the door open and noticed it didn’t open into the same hallway as before. I stepped back as Blackstone stepped through. The time mage went back to the unshaven look, and smelled like he’d actually slept in the bed I covered with boiled vinegar and hot sauce.

“You’re late,” I said.

“My wife better not be,” he responded.

I rolled my eyes, “Like I said, wasn’t me.”

“I know,” he said, just as accusingly as if I said it was. “I was able to see it. I saw you and your friend steal the book. Who was that?”

“Mobian, the heroic time traveler. You really screwed things up with your little trick. You didn’t think you could fuck with such an important part of the universe and not pay a cost, did you?” I asked, hands on my hips.

“What do you want for the book?” he asked.

“You know what I want,” I said, raising a hand to examine my nails. “Nasty situation you’re in, isn’t it? You can’t beat Claw. You don’t even know enough to sneak in there and steal away your Marivel. If only you knew someone with access to a craft that can infiltrate the island easily, or a sneaky person who knows the island like the back of her sexy, sexy hand.” I flipped my hand around so he could see the back, which had a little rabbit sketch on it I’m still pondering the meaning of. I know what I hope it means, just not what it means. I looked away for a minute and she’d drawn a little rabbit.

“I’m not giving her up,” he said.

“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…” I said, then started humming again, a song I hadn’t much associated with my shenanigans since that time I tried to steal the Wishing Stick in Paradise City. My last word to him on the matter was from it. “Doesn’t matter where you go or what you do… ’cause if I burn, so will you.” I giggled, looking at him. I pulled out some lipstick and wrote my number down on paper towel for him. I walked over and stuck it in his coat pocket.

He glared at me and stepped back into the doorway, which swirled with purple light. After a second, the door slammed shut. I opened it and saw the correct hallway outside, where a sign urged me to drink Bud Light instead of beer. I grabbed another paper towel, balled it up, and tossed it out. I followed it when it didn’t disappear.

I think he’ll come around. At the very least, Blackstone will figure out why so many have to turn to murder to try and stop me permanently. Time will tell.

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New World War 2

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I found a supply cache to help me out. I may soon have nanite capability again because of it. My time keeping a close eye on the Riccan Intelligence Service paid off. They had a supply cache in the area. Several safehouses, too. I might see to them later. This time, I paid a visit to the supply cache.

They’d hidden it under a burger place called The Grease Trap. You wouldn’t think that’d be a real name. They specialize in big, fat, greasy, unhealthy burgers. A look through the window showed someone chowing down on a burger that looked to be about fifty-percent burnt, crunchy bacon and dripping red grease. I got a pain in my left arms just looking at it, and I’m pretty sure the guy working the register was a Riccan agent.

I went around back, to the dumpsters. A homeless person sat back there, lap covered in a blanket and upper body nestled in a giant sweatshirt. I’ve been around a shitload of dumpsters, and these were something special, with a fragrant bouquet that would scare off most people. But, to the experienced nose, it only added to the suspicion. There was one smell missing that no dumpster is without. I’ve dumpster dived for parts. I’ve hidden from cops in trash. I’ve even scanned in shredded documents. There’s one smell every single dumpster on Earth shares: sour beer. If I ran across a dumpster at the biggest Mormon temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, there would still be beer in there.

The Riccans were sloppy without me in charge. They were practically begging to be broken into. Just look at what the building’s wearing. I checked around the dumpsters and found an outlined section like a panel. It opened up after I pressed on it and lifted up to show a keypad. A fucking keypad. What is this, a cell for 80 year olds?

The key was having a powder of some sort. Luckily, I’d beaten up a drug dealer earlier. It was purely for selfish reasons and had nothing to do with the team being asked to assist the cops and Advocate directing me to work the drug unit specifically. So I beat the crap out of some dealers and confiscated the coke. I didn’t want it to tempt any of the cops. They might snort it or sell it. It would defeat the purpose to let them have it. Plus, I need the money more than they do.

It came in handy here. I opened the Ziploc and tossed a handful at the keypad. There were four numbers the powder stuck to. Ah, human oil. If only we could harness it the same way we do the oil of other critters. It gets everywhere. Disgusting creatures, humans.

I didn’t get the right combination of numbers my first go. As soon as I inputted it, I heard a whirring noise from behind me and threw myself to the side, narrowly dodging a gout of flame. Having stopped codebreaking and dropped, I rolled to avoid more and looked up to see what had come after me. The homeless person’s sweater had burnt away when the automated flamethrower turret inside activated. Disarming that was as easy as cutting the fuel line with my laser eye, which set fire to the machine as well. With no other defenses, I was free to take my time on the scorched keypad until I found the combo. The dumpster clicked and released from the wall. The thing was easy to move, and underneath was the supply cache.

It was a treasure trove of things anyone needs to run a spy operation in a major city: guns, body armor, computers, burner phones, more drugs, and a shitload of reusable gift cards. The cards would have to be enough. The video cameras recording me would be a nice bonus. Unlike the Institute of Science, these were sending data via broadband to the upstairs. I plugged myself in and made an adjustment. Woops, there goes the camera data, except for a few fragments I inserted showing a man matching Douglas Blackstone’s description. He’s the one who broke in, Claw! Feel free to find him and question why all you like. Ha!

Just one of the ways I keep implicating Blackstone while doing my duty as a superhero. It’s kinda growing on me, knowing that I can do whatever I want to him and no one will believe him. Just eternal torment at my hands, no one believing him that I’m evil. The worst hells are those of our own making, or so a demon or two has told me. I don’t know if they were flirting or monologuing before a torture. I’m not sure there’s a big difference, but I enjoyed it either way.

So, after using those gift cards to splurge on some usable materials, I decided to spy on my new nemesis’s wife. A nice easy way to occupy my mind while my body put some things together. See what she’s up to. She’s a tiny little thing. Short and skinny. Can’t imagine her ever being pregnant. Hmm, now there’s an idea for getting back at him. But not without my nanites.

My mind flew from California to Connecticut as fast as the lag would let me. Marivel was typing away at her work computer, messing around with a spreadsheet. She had an instant messenger related to her job, so that was my way in. I showed up as anonymous to her.

“Hello, Marivel Blackstone.”

“Yes? Is this Mr. Drangly?”

“No, this is… someone else. Someone who knows something is wrong.”

“What do you mean? Is it about the Fergson account?”

“Nope. That’s Greek to me.”

“It was in Greek.”

“Hence the cliché phrase. No, I have something more personal to discuss with you. Tell me, haven’t you noticed something off about your husband lately?”

“Management monitors this account.”

Yes, they do, when their computers are on and the messenger’s logs aren’t wiped. “That has been taken care of.”

“?What did u? do? Who are u?”

“I am a super from another dimension, sort of. It’s complicated. I was brought here by Douglas Blackstone. I believe you know the name.”

“What does my husband have to do with superheroes?”

“Nothing, until the Blackstone from my dimension came here and took the place of the Douglas Blackstone of this world.”

There was a long pause before she answered. “that’s crazy.”

“Sure it is. Now that you know it, things make more sense. Gaps in knowledge? Some difference in how he looks? A new interest in the occult?”

“I’m not saying your right but there are other explanations”

“Do any of them account for his extracurricular activities?” An image flashed across her screen. She got a glimpse of copied images I kept of her husband’s new Federal file. Then came the sound file that opened and played on her end: “I missed opportunities for happiness, like with a childhood friend. I didn’t miss her in this reality. I didn’t realize it until we were on the road.”

I thought we were done, but after a few minutes of me building away in the Master Academy workshop, she typed again. “why tell me this?”

“So you’d know the truth. You deserve to know the man sharing your bed isn’t the same one you knew and fell in love with.”

“I need to think about this”

Fair enough. I figured I’d give her even more time by putting their car into the local police’s system over there. Caress a few ones and zeroes, and suddenly it was spotted speeding away from the scene of a bank robbery. Arranging for a bag of unmarked bills to appear at their house will be a little tougher, but I hear people like delivering things by drone in this timeline, too. It’s only a matter of time before drone piracy becomes a thing. I imagine Captain Flamebeard will laugh his ass off from his flying pirate ship.

All in all, not a bad way to set things up for the New Year. But, still, I decided not to wear a mask on this New Year’s Eve. I sat away from the festivities, sipping on wine and Irish cream liqueor. Not together, no. Ew. Just one after the other. It was a side room at the Master Academy, one of the little recreation areas with a TV, sofa, and room for the younger students to play with toys.

I sat there, blinking through channels, when I heard a knock. I looked up to see Advocate there. “There’s plenty of room at the party,” he suggested.

I shook my head. “Nah. I’m ok. Kind of a bad time, considering what’s happened.”

“I didn’t get the whole story on that,” he said.

“An asshole mage didn’t like me, blamed me for all his problems, and went all ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ to stick he and I in a world where I didn’t exist. He hated it too, and we were going to work together to get back to our world, but then he realized the version of him in this world had a wife and he decided to stay.” I mean, I probably did kill Blackstone’s parents. I’ve killed a lot of people. It’s still correct to point out he blames me for killing them. I sighed. “I miss my daughter.”

“Oh. No wonder you hate him,” Advocate said. “If you need more things to get drunk with, you know where to find us all. Just don’t mess up all the school computers or something, alright?”

I waved him off. “Fine, fine.”

I still went out to see the fireworks. Just like on my Earth, the state of California basically spent the entire year on fire somewhere or other, but some of the supers set up a more controlled way of making exploding lights in the sky using their powers. Some would zap things up, or carry stuff with telekinesis. It was quite a show, especially when the entire sky lit up and a glowing orb appeared in the air.

Mobian’s timeship jerked from side to side, then plummeted. It halted its crash about ten feet off the ground and landed slowly. When the door opened, Mobian himself stumbled out. He looked different. Darker skin, longer hair, and burns on some of his clothes. He looked around at some of the supers who surrounded him, including a couple with healing abilities who stepped forward to check him over.

“I need help,” he said. “Something’s gone wrong with the timeline. Things aren’t supposed to be this way.”

“Tell me about it,” I muttered.

He looked right at me in a crowd of supers who liked to beat me up, and said something I didn’t expect to hear, “Gecko?”

I nodded. “We’re in deep shit again, aren’t we, Mobian?”

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New World War 1

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“What do you think?”

I stood in front of a mirror in a dressing room booth, looking upon the horror that was myself.

“We tried to go with something regal,” said one of the tailors, a young woman in the costuming program at Master Academy.

Regal in this case meant Tyrian purple, aka Imperial or Royal Purple. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a horrible color, but I’d have preferred electric purple. Something to assault the eyes while I’m assaulting the ass.

So Tyrian purple with those swirly, twirly silver-colored marks at the elbows, knee pads, and skirt. It wasn’t skintight. Leggings, a skirt, and a top that didn’t show anything off under the vest. They agreed to give me something like a vest with extra armor after I pointed out I’d been shot recently, and that had an E in calligraphy on it, black and silver. I’d slipped on the silver boots and the flared silver gloves, which I folded back down so they’d look slightly less stupid.

They gave me a cape that fell to mid-back, probably because I mentioned having had a cape before. A mask covered my face fairly well, but I could at least break that up with a visor that used to belong to a Ronin-Go ninja. He’s not even dead, just in jail. I didn’t have to fish the visor from a colon before I began messing with it.

“Please say something,” said the teen boy from outside the dressing room. I believe he was in the costume program as well. I had him to blame. And myself. Instead of robbing a bunch of places for money, laundering the money, establishing a digital identity, and slowly making the stuff I need to make the stuff I need, I’m taking a shortcut. I’m letting the heroes think I’m…

No, I can’t.

It’s too horrible.

I’m letting them think I’m a… ok, stopped myself throwing up. They think I’m a superhero. What happens in Timeline 2 stays in Timeline 2!

I’ve played hero before, even while staying at a Master Academy. But it was obviously temporary then. I was going to get away, even if they had measures in place to try and keep me around. Now, I can walk away whenever I want. Maybe go get myself eaten by Mot or stomped by the Claw. No, the plan involves staying here.

Between Forcelight and myself, I’ve got Blackstone on track to be treated like a supervillain. I can find him if I really try, but that’s just part of the battle. I have some groundwork to lay with his wife. If I can convince her he’s not really her husband, that’d be good. I’m also open to painting her beloved as a supervillain to force her away from him. Anything to ruin the main thing keeping him here.

Now, when I went through that doorway portal that dropped me elsewhere with Facelight, I lost my connection to his phone. Magic’s a bitch. Unfortunately for him, magic didn’t erase Marivel Blackstone’s phone number from my memory.

Back in meatspace, I sighed and forced on a smile to play nice with fucking superheroes. “Sorry, I was just so overwhelmed. It’s really different from my costume in my world.”

“We hope it’s not a bad difference,” the woman said.

“Oh no. Just different. There’s a lot messing with my head lately. A whole new world. The outfit reminds me of that.” At least I get to lie to them still. I took a deep breath, whirled, and walked out of that dressing room like I owned the place.

“Your Eminence,” said the teen boy, bowing low.

“That’s what the letter on the chest is for,” I said. Eminence. Can’t use some of my other identities without the equipment. No rockets to be Missile Patriot, no armor and motorcycle to be the Hussar, and no drones to be the Free Radical. Note to self: hall with mannequins wearing all my various alternate identity costumes.

An alert beeped on their phones simultaneously, saving me from commenting on the odd turn of events here while I inspected the woman’s pink dreadlocks. She and the teen looked up at the me at the same time, drawing my attention away from the inspection. “We got you ready just in time,” she said.

I cracked my knuckles. “Time to get Eminent on some asses.”

“That doesn’t really work,” the teenager said.

“Don’t step on my lines,” I said, snapping my fingers once with a flourish. “This is my house now. Eminent Domain.” I left them to mourn the English language and headed for Victor Mender’s office.

The headmaster of the Master Academy himself was no less wheelchair-bound, but he was less patient with me. I didn’t know the layout of this admin building so well and got there late and was kept out by the crowd of emerging heroes.

“Too slow!” said a guy in a domino mask with a dark brown costume and a yellow spiral going down it, the arms of his costume yellow arms and legs. He grabbed one of my hands and tried to pull me back with them. I didn’t budge and instead raised an eyebrow. “You’re heavy,” he said, then stopped. “Sorry, about your weight. We have to go now. You’ll be briefed on the way.”

We ran off to where the grounds were opening up. I expected a giant jet, but a bunch of heroes were running back and forth to smooth alien shuttles, the type the Fluidic aliens use. I don’t know what their formal name is; I call them Fluidics because their bodies are composed of thick black fluid controlled by a central crystal core. The ones who had come to Earth were the losing side of a civil war who tried to infect and mind control people to serve as soldiers in a second effort. I wiped them out with a well-placed Dimension Bomb. More of them made it in this timeline, with fights still ongoing.

“Fluidic shuttles. Nifty way to get where you need to go,” I said.

Spiral guy led me to one in particular where a woman in a pale blue robe and white rabbit mask stood by the door. “Can you get on our radio channel?” the spiral guy asked. He turned and showed off the earpiece built into his domino mask. I sorted through the myriad other channels of the scrambling heroes and found it.

“Got it,” I said.

“Good,” he said and headed into the shuttle, leaving me with the rabbit woman.

“I’m Eminence,” I said.

She pointed to her chest. “Rabbit.”

I nodded back toward the spiral guy, “And that guy?”

“Rabbit,” she said again.

“Rabbit is a woman of few words,” said another guy who stepped into view inside the shuttle. “Hop in, I’ll get you sorted.”

I stepped in and let Rabbit close the door behind us. Spiral guy sat up front in some chairs of human design that had been added to it. The other three of us strapped ourselves into seats. “Drillbit’s our pilot.”

“Yo!” Drillbit called out from up front. We lifted off.

“And I’m Advocate. I can shield people and take a hit from a train if I need to,” he said. “I block for people. Rabbit’s agile, good at sneaking, good at illusions. God gave Drillbit a gift. He digs holes.”

Drillbit gave a strained fake laugh. “Ha ha!”

“Everyone, this is Eminence. Technopath, four arms, laser eye, really good fighter.”

“Why do they call you Eminence?” Drillbit asked.

“Because I fucking rule,” I answered. “What’s the big deal? Where’s everyone going?”

Advocate shook his head. “Everyone’s going different places. It’s like the entire supervillain community went active at once. Ricca’s probing to the South. The alien traditionalists took over a pair of towns in the Midwest. There’s also been a werewolf sighting in London, Ohio. There’s a lot more going on, but we’re focused on a detention center in the city where members of the Reich are being held. We received a tip that members of Oligarch’s Army of Evil are going to release them.”

Look at that. Another guy I killed is back. I raised a hand. “Who are The Reich?”

“Super Neo-Nazis. They started as a militia of vigilantes until it turned out their leader was a clone of Hitler. We caught these guys when they attacked a protest earlier this year.”

“Lovely,” I said.

“The garden’s overrun with dickweeds!” Drillbit called back. “We’re here. Looks like we’re early.”

I reached out to get a sense of the situation. Lots of automated traffic. Robo-cars. The way of the future. The jail opened up to me because nobody gave a damn about their network security over here. I didn’t have the cameras. Oddly enough, I couldn’t get the alarm system, which is usually connected to phone lines.

“Eminence, can you call in, let them know we’re coming?” Advocate asked.

I scrunched my brow. “No, I can’t. Phone lines are disconnected. I don’t think we’re early.”

“Rabbit,” Rabbit said in a low voice.

Advocate nodded toward her. Drillbit called back as we set down. “We have guards out here to greet us. They don’t look happy.”

Advocate shrugged. “We parked an alien spaceship in their parking lot. Keep an eye out. The guards could be replacements. We might be just in time. Stay alert everyone. Rabbit, you’re up front with me. Eminence, let me do the talking. You’re our newbie. Drillbit, take the rear and keep your eye out for the blindside.”

We walked out to meet the guards, who were packing SMGs. Seems a bit excessive for guards standing out front at a jail. Seems I don’t often remember guards out front at a jail. Most of the security is focused inward rather than outward. When I saw they had earphones, I went ahead and started checking for chatter. “Stop right there,” said one of the guards. “What’s going on?”

Advocate held up his hands. “Master Academy sent us. We’re checking in on your security with the Reich villains in there.”

“Security’s fine,” said the guard who took the lead. His compatriot turned away.

Instead of grabbing at the clunky radio on his hip, he pressed a button on the earphone. “It’s Master Academy wanting to check security. Can anyone fit inside the warden’s suit?”

I spoke without opening my mouth. “They’re henchmen. Listen.” I played the recording of what the one guy had just said.

Rabbit, who had her head cocked to the side, straightened up.

“We’d really like to see for ourselves. We’re all on the same side here. It’s not like we’re going to call the company you work for,” Advocate said.

“Fat fuck got blood everywhere when we shot him. Keep them outside. Don’t let them see anything.”

“Hey, look!” the door opened and a trio of guards stepped out in uniform, still holding their guns. “Superheros! Hey, bunny lady, my daughter loves you. Can I get a picture?”

As far as stall tactics went, it was pretty. They kept us in the parking lot while more and more “guards” noticed or were told and came for the meet and greet. All told, I think we had a good twenty out there to greet us.

“Who are you?” asked one of them, looking me over. “You new?”

I nodded. “I’m Eminence.”

“Eminence, eh? What do you do?” asked another.

I winked at him. “I rule.”

At a nod from Advocate, Drillbit spoke loudly to get everyone’s attention. “Hey, before we go in there, does anyone want to surrender?”

All the smiles and laughter stopped. Fake guards on either side of me pushed the safeties into unsafe.

I raised a hand as I reached out mentally, connecting to a nice weapon. “Just curious, what is it rabbits do really well?”

A self-driving car skidded through the parking lot and drifted to the side right at the crowd. Rabbit and I jumped. Drillbit’s arms spun and he disappeared into a person-sized hole in the ground. Advocate, like a bunch of the guards, was hit by the car. I’d say that probably took out a good dozen. Rabbit landed with her boots on the upper back of another. Drillbit pulled a couple underground. And I landed in between two guards, to raised their guns to my midsection. One split later, they fell with bloody crotches courtesy of some unfriendly friendly fire.

Rabbit was kicking the crap out of some when I saw another guard standing off to the side, aiming at her. I zoomed in with my non-laser eye and fired the laser. The man’s trigger finger and trigger both fell to the pavement moments before Advocate ran up and clocked him across the jaw.

The front of the jail blew off in flames. Drillbit ducked underground. Rabbit jumped for cover, and Advocate tanked the blast.

“I am the master of the elements, Elemaster!” said a woman who stepped out of the flames. Men and women in red, blue, white, and brown uniforms backed her up, wielding SMGs. Dirt rose up to form a short wall to provide cover for them. Pulling up the rear were a foursome of men in prison outfits.

Drillbit poked his head out of a hole. “Oh crap.”

I looked down at him, then back up at Elemaster and announced, “Surrender now and you’ll receive decent treatment. Snuggling may be involved.” Elemaster gets real huggy when she’s drunk. I thought it was just a crush on me, but I’ve seen her latch onto some real slimeballs. Like, people with some amphibian in ’em.

She laughed. “Who’s going to make me?”

“I am Eminence, and you may address me a such!”

“I’ve never heard of you, Eminence,” she said my latest codename mockingly. “What can you do?”

I smiled and said, “I rule.” I sent the paralysis signal through their earphones. I’d once been imprisoned in an incredibly secure super prison called The Cube where the guards used a specific sound to control me. It’s capable of paralyzing the human body. When I managed to escape, I made sure to take a full analysis of it with me to throw it right back at people while modifying my ears to block it out. I didn’t even have to worry about that part now that I sent it along their personal channel while not even listening to it.

All the minions fell to the ground. Elemaster looked back at them. “What the hell?” When she turned back around, she found a car zooming at her. She raised her hands and threw a fireball, which meant she got hit by a flaming self-driving car instead of a non-flaming one.

“Eminence!” called Advocate, running over to her.

“Relax, it probably wasn’t a lethal speed,” I said. “The others are just paralyzed. It’s something I did to their comms.”

Drillbit and Rabbit, meanwhile, approached the escaped prisoners. They all raised their hands, one of them saying, “Please don’t hit me with a car.”

All in all, I’d say a fairly successful mission. I even had time, when we alerted the police, to sneak over and get hands-on with one cruiser’s cop computer. Just adding some state crime warrants to go along with some federal ones I hacked in and created for Douglas Blackstone, just in case he ever visits.

I’m going to make a villain of him. He can complain about me all he wants, but now everyone thinks I’m a superhero. I wonder what his dear, new wife will think. Who is she likely to trust, a hero who knows her husband’s not acting right, or a husband who’s wanted for all sorts of nasty business?

The main question on my mind is if I should kill her, or make sure she breaks his heart first.

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