Tag Archives: Cercopagis Lysis

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 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! 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! 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! 1

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Now that I’ve got my swagger back, this whole “ruling the Earth” thing has finally become fun. I still have the nightmares and the odd flashback, but it’s easier to deal with again. That’s the difference between me and all those hero types content to make the world by playing cops and robbers: one bad day…followed by a lot of good ones. What the hell was I worried about, that the same dimwits I’ve accused of misruling the world would hate me for how I do it? Worst case scenario, I kill a lot of people. I don’t know how I’d ever live with myself.

Now one thing I couldn’t very well live with is losing the planet to every alien shrimp. Cercopagis Lysis. His ship drifted in, the egg-shaped oval core easily identified from its numerous incursions since the 1970s augmented with various extra modules added over time. He had painted the exterior, but the newest segments obscured it, and exposure to stars and dust had altered it away from the bright yellow and green paintjob. He brought his ship to the moon, where the elongated portion split open to provide a foundation for the rest of the vessel.

In that time, I tried to build a giant robot. It wasn’t hard someone like myself who has thrown a few together in the past. Such a project would hardly stand out on my original Earth, not so much for the frequency of giant robots as the heavy and varied activity of the industrial areas. On this world, I never managed the same giant robot activity. Harder to cover up.

And why, given all the impracticalities, would I or anyone from my planet use giant robots? I believe it originated in the use of some sort of energy field surrounding the planet. Maybe magic, maybe just something standard science doesn’t understand. A few beings of various backgrounds managed to tap into this energy field and use it to construct weaponry that, at first, surpassed those of the time. Technology quickly caught up and emulated the earlier designs, which proved amazingly resilient to tripping, bombing, and artillery.

I didn’t need some mystical energy field. I knew what alloys to use in the proper places. The problem was getting everything on this Earth prepared. I hadn’t given them a lot of lead time on the project, so the factories I’d confiscated were scrambling to alter their production lines to accommodate the new design. It took me a day to free up the proper materials, too. Under the right circumstances, I’m more than capable of building a giant robot out of wood. That doesn’t mean it’ll last very long, even if I used mahogany. Though, without wood, I’ll be unable to charge the “Mah Agony” beam, so that one’s out. A bit of a last ditch weapon anyway.

The plants I communicated with decided to solve the time-sensitive nature of the request by bringing on more people to work day and night. I solved the issue of incentive by telling them successful completion would lead to less necessary time working. I wish I could take credit for that one, but I discovered post-flashback that I’d forgotten a concept to ease people into post-scarcity by easing up on the work hours for less desirable jobs while allowing them to be paid the same as if they worked a normal shift. Not that we’re post-scarcity yet, but at least they listened to me this time. Though if they’re all going to keep using a money system, I should go ahead and throw my face on the bills.

Really, the economic incentive merely provided the carrot. A brilliant man like myself doesn’t believe in ruling by the stick. No, no, no. I believe in shoving the carrot up someone’s ass if they don’t do what I say and quietly informed the managers involved that failure meant termination, usually within the presence of a grabber drone demonstrating its ability to squeeze a cinder block to dust.

That was the military position I found myself in when Cercopagis Lysis paid me a visit. The physical position itself looked different, as I’d expected his visit and redecorated my throne room with a nice rug, more lights, and a trio of North Korean dancing girls. The throne didn’t look very regal either; I forced the producers of the TV show Game of Thrones to lend me the Iron Throne. I added a nice pillow to make it more comfortable, then sent off a request for a new formal throne.

The last one built for me didn’t quite suit my style with the whole “hero torn apart” motif, but this one made to resemble a bunch of swords gave me an idea. Soon, I shall rest my world-dominating buttocks upon a work of art. It shall depict me in my armor fighting and defeating a number of the world’s most well-known superheroes, arranged into a comfy chair. I’ve already ordered the people at Dr. Scholls to study the effects of their gel cushions on the human ass. If they fail, I’ll examine the effects of their gel cushions on the interior of their asses. That’s what we in the tyrant business call motivation.

I counted on Cercopagis wishing to address me conqueror to conqueror, or otherwise being so arrogant as to gloat. I knew he he’d do this because I, the Great and Devious Psycho Gecko, have such an astounding ability to predict my opponents’ actions! Which reminds me, better make sure the contest for control of Earth has nothing to do with chess.

Also, note to self: make sure the statue throne gives me the absolutely correct huge bulge in the crotch region. Unless they decide to have me sit on my own lap.

Indeed, my humble palace at The Hague soon shuddered under the arrival by Cercopagis, who I saw descend in a smooth, golden sphere. Six pieces of the outer sphere peeled away and bent down to serve as legs for the ship to land on. Then one portion of the exterior rippled and reformed into an escalator that carried the conqueror in his warsuit.

It looked like segmented armor made of platinum with a gold tinge most noticeable at the sides where the plates weren’t looked at straight on. It had two larger toes with a third facing backward. The hands copied this three-digit look, all three of them. The third stretched out of the being’s back and stuck out through a solid dark red shell that hun down to resemble a rigid cape. Portions of the shell crossed over the front to resemble thick X-shaped straps. The shell continued and formed the back portion of a helmet. The face appeared the same platinum color as the rest of the armor, in the shape of a scowling visage that looked quite normal for humans save the single tusk and single and single horn that, from the side, made the helmet resemble a weird crescent moon.

Yes, a helmet. Unlike the Fluidics, Cercopagis couldn’t originally breath on Earth. He used to wear a helmet all the time, though the records also say it’s extraneous at this point as he’s incorporated a cybernetic filter into his circulatory system. If only I could crack that little system, this whole situation would be much easier. I checked him over on approach and found nothing giving off any signals except something in an alien system that bounced between him and the moon. I’m not the only one who likes to have a trick lined up just in case.

He stepped into my small, rather plain room and looked around. Whether befuddled by the lack of pomp and ceremony or the dearth of defenses, he took longer than I expected to take on little ol’ me on the throne in my armor, the Koreans sitting next to me on floor cushions.

“Greetings, Cercopagis Lysis!” I held my hand up high like a toast. “Are you perhaps here to play the world’s largest game of pinball?”

The armored alien bastard regarded me silently for a long second, then said, “Who are you?”

Ouch. That hurts. Gonna need some aloe for that burn. “I am the Great and Devious Psychopomp Gecko, Supreme Benevolent Dictator of Earth. If you’ve come to see a parade thrown in my honor, you’re just in time. I’ve been waiting for a reason to throw one.”

He paused again, I guess taking in the turn of events. When he finally spoke this time, he said, “I expected someone else.”

“That made it easier for me to sneak around and pull it off, true. Though, who exactly did you expect to be in control of Earth right now?” I turned to the side so my upper body rested on one armrest and legs on another.

Cercopagis raised his chin, then brought it back down. I didn’t understand the gesture in this context. “I am here to liberate Earth from its evil conquerors and install myself as the better choice of ruler. Where are the Liquoids who installed you?”

“Liquoids? Are you talking about those aliens with slimy black fluid bodies and a nasty habit of using mind control? Ridiculous name for them.” I suddenly decided to televise this meeting with a five minute delay. Fuck censorship, the delay’s there to make me look better. Fill in gaps for comebacks, maybe autotune my voice.

“I made sure they received knowledge of Earth, particularly the one known as Adolf Hitler. They were quite taken with his philosophy and example. He makes a fine ambassador for Earth and convinced them you humans would be a ruthless tool in their desire for revenge. So where are they?!” He raised a foot and slammed it into the floor, cracking tiles that didn’t do anything wrong to him.

I shrugged. “I killed ’em.”

“You and what army?” he asked.

“Not the Nazi army, that’s for sure. I didn’t like the idea of being invaded. Neither did the rest of the planet. Their hearts, my mind, your ruined plans. I got Earth prepared, Earth fought, the Fluidics lost. It sounds like you had quite an idea there: you directed them here, figured we’d bloody each other, then you’d show up at the last minute and take over the place, maybe look like a better option than the Fluidics. Mind control and world domination; I find you despicable.”

I am the kind of guy that gives speechwriters a job, talking all haphazard like that. Though, I told the truth about finding him and the Fluidics despicable. It’s a general principle that anybody trying to control the world who isn’t me is wrong. Tell me if you’ve heard this one: so a crazy guy with a Southern accent and subpar language skills meets with an alien that doesn’t understand English fluently…

“You did the same as I would have. Your many enemies have an option now. Perhaps I shall let them toy with you before your execution.” He raised a hand and pointed at me, then brought it to his chest to pound on the plates there. I think he expected me to be intimidated. He sure didn’t make a very compelling case for handing over the reins of power.

I sat upright in my chair. “I’m sure that speech sounded better when you made it up to deal with other extraterrestrials having taken over. Now, it doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as, say, calling for Eschaton, Warman, and Captain Lightning.”

In a flash, literally in Captain Lightning’s case, the three appeared through a new hole in my roof. Eschaton and his white hot flaming body, very much insists he isn’t gay no matter how many times I ask if he is. Warman, the super soldier dressed like a soldier trapped under a pile of Kevlar, whose idea of concealed carry involves a double minigun. Captain Lightning, the aging red, white, and gold hero of World War II and onwards. My nanites flowed through none of the heroes’ veins, but in enough others to convince them to stand by to take on a wannabe alien conqueror. He didn’t seem to have much of a plan, beyond standing there and getting caught. The heroes took one of his legs off before securing him firmly in their arms, but otherwise made no move to kill the guy for me.

I stood up and began charging my armor’s forearm energy sheaths. They grew brighter as power directed into the array wound around my forearms and projected into a field floating just over the surface of my gauntlets. I punched into Cercopagis’s chest with one hand, the energy carrying my first in to puncture it. Circuitry and fluids came out with that fist. The next punch smashed the helmet open, to reveal the dead body of the alien wannabe-lord…wasn’t in there.

I pulled the helmet wrecked apart, but it appeared mostly hollow except for a voice module and sonar. “I apologize for not meeting you in person, Psychopomp Gecko, but I assure you our business is not yet finished. You give me a lot to think about.”

He chittered something like a laugh. Captain Lightning must have recognized it, because he took the initiative to toss the armor into the sky where it detonated in a green mushroom cloud that lacked any electromagnetic pulse.

“Thank you, heroes,” I complimented the group before dismissing them with a wave of my hand. “I suspect you’ll be less helpful when one of us next makes a move, but I’m sure folks appreciate your willingness to serve for the good of others.”

They all glared at me as I sent them off like servants. I fumed underneath my helmet. My incredible luck at having the enemy walk right up to me turned out to be anything but, and now he’s planning something on the moon while I’m down here waiting.

Sure would be nice to have space-capable giant robot right about now.

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