Tag Archives: Bennett Long

A New Boss in Kingscrow 9

They got Doc and Max. Captured them. They were paying a visit to that rep. Doesn’t matter if they got to him now. Superheroes aren’t exactly spec ops. The whole mess isn’t quiet. Even if he doesn’t talk about it, the news is swarming all over the place. It was an odd choice, but I’m guessing they don’t have much choice now, what with the investigations.

Turns out Max has been messing with some drug testing results. Ridiculous stuff, of course. Horse steroids, deer hormone supplements, recombinant bovine growth hormone, and the usual pregnancy false positives. At the very least, they have to spend time looking over the guys, keeping them in doctor’s offices. The public scrutiny is great.

I wasn’t at the lab at the time this went down, either, doing the very important job of bringing back supplies from the grocery store. The usual. Snacks, drinks, cleaning stuff…tampons for the girls. Probably why I wasn’t in the building when they dragged the girls out and torched it. There would have been more casualties had it been me, but looks like Sam and Holly did ok on their own. Some of the enforcers had to be lifted out in a helicopter. From the looks of things, Sam went a little crazy with her piercing gun. The guy with the microwave connected to his tongue by a chain was easy to diagnose. I’m not sure what happened to the guy holding his crotch. Possibly an involuntary Prince Albert.

Despite the water and hitting me with various things and the jokes behind my back and the taunting, I admit I’ve grown rather fond of them. That’s why the guards with guns to their back wound up with 2 liter bottles breaking across their faces. Holly and Sam took the hint and made a run for safety. I don’t blame them one bit. I have been known to lower the life expectancy of people in my immediate surroundings. A merc in an exoskeleton turned toward them, but I blinded him with a pudding cup to the face. I tried to stop him from raising any more of an alarm by shoving a tampon in his mouth, but word got out anyway. For that, I relocated his nuts a few inches up his body.

The enforcers were forming up, weapons aimed at me, including more PKM soldiers. They were stopped as Col. Mortimer called out, “I want this one personally.” Past the soldiers, I saw bulky machinery rise up, then turn toward me. Mortimer’s face looked out from a bubble cockpit, his lower half protected by armor plating, like a medieval bevor. Fancy term for the part under the visor that protects the mouth and sometimes throat as well. Regardless of what I know about helmets, Mortimer stepped forward in this large piece of machinery and raised the sculpted fist, letting out a burst from the flamethrower on its forearm. “You’re not the only man in a power suit that can take down someone’s base.”

I threw the rest of the box of tampons at his cockpit and hit the stealth.

“You don’t want to show yourself. That’s fine. Let’s just hunt down those girls and throw them on top of the barbecue. There are no rewards for them. We can do whatever we want. Naw, that’s not going to do anything for you. We could level the whole block and it won’t move you. No girlfriend that we’ve ever turned up. No boyfriend either. We’ve already caught the closest things you have to friends. You are a man who leaves nothing but death behind you. The world will be happy when you go.”

Projections of me appeared charging him. He turned, punching, firing the flamethrowers on both arms. I even put one projection on one of his men with the misfortune of standing too close. I didn’t give him very long to play before I dropped them all and hung down where he could see me, looking at him upside down.

He couldn’t see it through my helmet, but I smiled at him as I waved the chicken heads around. I wish he could have looked between the mech’s legs to see all of them running around like explosive chickens with their heads torn off.

I laughed in his face as they went off sending us flying up with the mech’s legs traveling in different directions. At least, I laughed until the mech flipped over, falling head first, my too, too squishable flesh underneath it. I scrambled to climb up the thing and managed to get so far that my boots were under its arms when I landed. As we crashed and the cockpit bubble shattered, I was shaken off and greatly hurt my ass, to use the technical term. I jumped up quickly though and put on a show for the assembled soldiers around despite my aching tailbone.

“Oh yeeeeaaaah, brother, that’s what you call the Super Exploding Fisherman’s Burning Mech Piledriver 95. Who’s next, if you smell what I’m cookin’?”

They turned and ran.

“Hey you cowards, come back here and get your heads ripped off like real men!” I yelled after them. Then I heard a squawking from the downed mech. Sliding down beside the cracked cockpit, I could see the aptly named Mortie had a radio headset on. I slid it on out of there off his head and wiped some of the blood off before tuning in.

“Yeah bossman?”

“Mortimer? This isn’t Mortimer. Who is this? What’s happening?”

“Mortimer is currently indisposed. He’s playing Squash.”

“Put me on with him now or you can find a new job.”

“Please tell me this is Mr. Long.”

“It is. Your ass is in a sling now.”

“Mr. Long, it’s your ass in a slingshot if you don’t give me back my friends. I’d bring up Mortie here to testify to that, but he’s a rather grave man and I think he’d like to rest in peace.”

“Who is this?”

“It’s Psycho Gecko. Your enforcers are no longer an issue in our dealings, so I guess all you’ve got left to defend yourself with are those heroes of yours. Your choice, I guess. Can guard the Good Doctor and Mix N’Max, or you can guard yourself. You don’t have the manpower for both at the same time.”

“They’ll be in my office in 30 minutes. I won’t be.”

I tossed aside the headset and went diving into the fire real quick, looking for any of my gear I could savage out of this. I did find one thing.

It was less easy making it to the zoo on time. Because I still don’t trust Bennett Long and because even if the place is empty, I want to wreck it a little bit. I had to run around pretty quick in there blowing locks off the gates. Luckily, I could ride for the next part. I hopped up on a giraffe’s back and wrapped my arms around its neck to steer. The motivation for giraffes, ostriches, and so on to run came from the lions, tigers, bears, and other predators I’d released second. A bushbaby hopped up on me, covering my face for a moment. I slid it around and it held on to my neck in much the same way I was holding the giraffe, except it got to sit to a big black case I’d strapped to me. Storks, starlings, even a kookaburra and a woodhoopoe all flew out ahead of me as I led the rush of animals down the street to the Long Life building.

If you’re worried about the slower animals, I didn’t take everything in the zoo. The penguins have to sit out until I can figure out some sort of ice gun.

As I approached, I realized it was good to have been skeptical. Paveman was waiting by the door, drawing from the asphalt and concrete to increase his bulk. He threw some chunks of it high and managed to startle the giraffe which threw me onto my shoulder, to the panic of the bushbaby riding me. Still, I knew how to deal with a man made of rock.

“Stop!” I said, pointing at him. “Hamerkop!”

Not just the Hamerkops, but a lot of birds landed on Paveman all at once, blinding him and allowing me to grab hold of an ostrich. It didn’t care for that, but it wasn’t going to sit around and argue with me with that tiger right there, so it used that bill to break the glass door and hop inside. I saw the birds scatter off the flailing Paveman as the tiger pounced him instead, probably breaking fangs in the process. Ah well, no accounting for taste.

The ostrich bucked me off when I tried to take it in the elevator, leaving me upside down propped up against the wall. Fucking ostrich. The bushbaby had crawled back on my face, protecting it but giving me an idea what ZZ Top sees when they’re upside down.

I moved it so it was behind me again as the ostrich tried to assault me. I was forced to pimp slap the bird before forcing the doors closed.

I was surprised the elevator was even moving, but I guess a trap is no good if you don’t get someone into it. My best guess is Paveman was panicked by the sight of a zoo coming down on his head. To be fair, that was kind of the point. I felt good though. Plenty of adrenaline. Even felt lighter, which I checked on and found the rocket case had broken free of my back on the elevator.

Well, there goes my big surprise to y’all about how the hell we’re getting out. That charred case is the only one I had left.



A New Boss in Kingscrow 3

Good Doctor didn’t let me in on what was up right then and there. Instead, we rode over to Mix N’ Max’s lab. He was persistently silent throughout the drive. When we walked in, we found Max looking at some brain matter under a telescope. The TV in the next room was on and loud enough for us to hear.

They were reporting on Chief Assistant District Attorney Joseph Adontes Jr., whose father was kidnapped and forced to abet a bank robber. Looks like Joe’s grandkids are going to be more pissed than I thought.

“Heya Max,” I said.

“We need to talk privately. Make sure the girls don’t interrupt us,” Doctor said curtly, indicating the room the TV’s noises emanated from.

Max looked up, one eyebrow raised curiously, then called out, “This can wait if it’s so important, just let me get to a stopping point first. Hey girls. If you will, turn that TV up and don’t come in the lab until I say otherwise!” A stopping point? Must be an important matter.

I walked around and messed with some of the equipment as Max’s current helpers turned the TV up. “Meanwhile in Empyreal City, the absence of Sixgun was revealed by his successor, the Lone Gunman, who has vowed to take up his mentor’s guns and charge…” That was so surprising, I nearly knocked over a large bag of baking soda sitting right there in Max’s hidden lab.

Luckily I didn’t. It could have mixed in with the big bag of cocaine right next to it and then how would we heat soft drinks in the oven?

When Max went to put something in his centrifuge, I snuck a peek at the piece of brain he was messing with. Nothing all that interesting. I poked it and it jumped. Curious, I poked it again and it opened a mouth, baring fangs at me. Obviously, I was perplexed. I had to know more, but before I could poke it a third time, it jumped at me and began to chew my collar. Stumbling back and swiping at it, I hit the latch on the freezer. Out stumbled a zombie.

Whew, never have I been so glad to see a zombie. If anyone could help me fend off an attacking brain, it would be a zombie. The carnivorous brain stopped and sniffed at the air, which I consider quite the accomplishment for a cortex. The zombie shambled for me, releasing a moan, but was cut off as the brain practically flew at it, biting into the pale flesh of the zombie.

Relieved, I kicked the zombie back into the freezer and shut the door. When I turned around, I found Doc and Max just looking at me, arms crossed. “You done screwing around?” Max asked me.

Before I could answer, the news caught all of our attention, “Bennett Long, owner of the Long Life Corporation, has expanded on his statement about working to clean up Kingscrow of supercrime with a $500,000 bounty on noted supervillain The Good Doctor, who reportedly attacked him in his office before being fended off by Long Life’s new Peace Enforcement Teams.”

I looked at the Doctor, who knew what I was thinking if the knife he palmed was any indication. Max stepped between us, hands up. I noted the wrist sprayers under his sleeves. “Knock it off, Gecko.”

“Good idea.”

“It would be imprudent to try, Gecko,” came from Doc.

“Cut it out, Doctor,” said Max, still trying to keep the peace.

“Lungs, liver, or lymph nodes?”

“None of the above. If you, EITHER of you, start anything in here, I’ll dose you. The moment you take off those masks, you’ll be paralyzed or worse. So here is what we are going to do. We’re going to sit down and I would like to hear why the richest man in the city wants our Good Doctor. Then, you two leave through separate doors.”

Reluctantly, we backed off, Doc and I standing on opposite sides of the room. “Sit,” commanded Max. Keeping our eyes on each other, we sank into chairs.

The Good Doctor spoke: “You know I kill people for their organs and sell them, but what you didn’t know is that I had an employer. Bennett Long, the city’s benefactor, has been paying me to provide organs for research and transplant purposes. If you were wealthy, secretive, and well-connected, Ben could get you what you needed to live. For more, he could even get you the organ of someone with powers. That an organ transplant was incapable of transferring special abilities meant nothing. It was something of a status symbol, in their sick way. There are heiresses and aristocrats walking around with organs stolen from men and women who risked their lives or notorious crime figures. They were stolen by me for a man who used to be my friend. At least until he turned on me last night and attempted to liquidate me.”

“Ben and I knew each other from college and medical school, my aspirations aided by the gift I discovered in those days. At that time, he was unaware of my abilities. He dropped out of medical school, but found a way to get into the medical profession with Long Life and offered me a job at one of his private clinics. I chose to work in a hospital he sponsored instead. “

“I met the love of my life due to that friendship. She had secrets in her past that she never let me in on, but her relationship with Ben was not one of them. Ben had moved on and gotten married, so it didn’t appear to affect our friendship. It is unfortunate that Alice proved to be the impetus of so many unfortunate events as well. Her pregnancy was troubled from the start, but I didn’t expect anything would put her into labor prematurely. I acted then and there at home, but I lost her. Our daughter, Aneta, was saved, but needed more time to develop.”

“The police found drugs in Alice’s system. I never knew her to be an addict. They were hospital-grade pharmaceuticals and sedatives, so I came under suspicion and they were going to take my daughter from me, but Ben stepped in for me. He hushed things up and supposedly his company’s testing threw their results into question. He even covered Aneta’s care at no immediate cost to me. I later found out his price was to help him in this new endeavor, organ acquisition from those who were doomed to those who could help fund more hospitals and outreach clinics. I thought he was taking a risk by covering up Alice’s test results. Later, he held them over my head to force me to continue. He made a killer of me. I tried to balance this with caring for Aneta, but she found one of my scalpels and began to notice things. I thought that if I sent her off early enough, she would never even suspect what I had become. I sent her to my best friend, that damn traitor!”

“Last night, he told me he was planning to take a more active role in the city’s and state’s politics. He needed to clear skeletons out of closets and then he called in his men. I had to fight my way out. He’s got everything to make it look like I was drugging my wife, he knows all about my role as his damn assassin, and he’s been raising my daughter for 13 years. I have money saved, but not what he’s offering. Is there anything I can say to convince you two to help me fight him rather than turn me in?”

“You had me at ‘turned on me last night and tried to liquidate me,’” I told him. Let’s be smart about this. The guy already broke his deal with his former friend, the Doc. What are the odds he’ll pay me that kind of money?