It… it… the, it… flames, flames on the sides of my face, breathing… breathless… heaving breaths…
It’s been difficult to talk and think since the big revelation the other day. My girlfriend ran off with the Pink Justice Ranger because the Pink Ranger was the chief suspect in my attempted murder. And Medusa wanted to find out more about my past from her, because the murder suspect was my ex. The same ex who had once been a devoted follower of mine in our home dimension until she learned I was going to destroy the world. She kicked my ass and left me laying against the Dimension Bomb in the middle of a force field that had its polarity reversed to hold the explosion inside it.
It’s how I got to this dimension, but it’s safe to say it left me with a bit of residual bad feeling. So much so that when I found out about it all, I disappeared and left. I didn’t run. I just couldn’t deal with it then. I know it’s ridiculous. I guess the whole scenario just left me with some unresolved issues. You know, because that’s the first time anything did.
So I got out of there and left a message for Venus before going silent. She and pretty much anyone else would have trouble contacting me, but I still let her know that she should still determine if Alyss did it. If she did, I want some form of justice for the attempt on my life. What I should want as a dictator is her life, actually. It’s what I aspire to as a person, actually. My mind started to go to excuses to let her go, but… why?
I took a bit of time to myself to get sorted out. Just me, a bottle of seashine, and the medication I take for my brain. I awoke the next day feeling like I’d deepthroated Godzilla. And on the island of Martinique. It took me awhile to figure out, because the language of the people around me seemed less familiar than usual before I realized they were speaking French. I was still wearing my power armor, and nobody had filled the pants with chocolate pudding this time. The health and recycling system of the armor would have gotten rid of any of that.
I checked my surroundings and found them mostly covered in sand. Indeed, I was almost completely covered up in sand. Some gifted sand sculptors had decided to use me as the base for a sphinx and pyramid complex. I stole a picture off someone’s phone. As bad as my head felt, I could still appreciate the work to do that. The artistry and skill, all that crap.
It shocked them when music started playing from my armor. Though somewhat muted by the sand, Iron Maiden began to serenade onlookers with their ballad “Powerslave” before I burst out of the sphinx. I gave a polite golf clap before heading out into the water to wash any clinging mud or sand off me.
I found my Psycho Flyer and a couple of soldiers hanging out at the airstrip. They directed me to a nearby bar for the rest of my bodyguards and the pilot. They’d just gotten their drinks when I pushed the door in. They took one look at me and the guard closest to the pilot stole his mug away. “Get it to go, boys,” I ordered.
I didn’t check my messages until I was in the air. I had a few texts from Medusa about calling her and talking and them not being that bad. Then I had checked the voicemail message, which was the latest and came early this morning. It wasn’t Medusa’s voice that greeted me. “Hello Gecko. This is Alyss. Medusa thinks we should talk. She thinks you changed, that you care now. That you have a real love for others in your heart. I remember how tempting you can be, poor, damaged thing. She’s so trusting, she doesn’t realize we can hold her as an accomplice to your continued freedom on our Earth. She thinks it’s a fun trip. Meet me at the portal on your side, alone. If you surrender to me, I will show her leniency.”
So there I was. Medusa, my longtime nemesis, stood up for me. Investigated my attempted murder. She’s had a huge change of heart about me, and thinks I’ve had a similar one. So foolish and naive and trusting. Why?! She should know better. All I really have to do to get rid of one of the few people on this world who can actually stand up to me is nothing. I can just let her go over there and be imprisoned or killed by people who see me as nothing but a genocidal madwoman. All I have to do is stay away. I mean, Medusa’s obviously planning something. She can’t really care about me that way. She’ll turn on me. And the alternative is surrendering.
I didn’t mention that message at all when I gave the pilot his sobriety test and then directions. I thought about what Alyss had to say as we flew. A poor, damaged thing. I’ve used my past as a hell of an excuse. There’s no disputing that I was wronged. And when I was cut loose, betrayed, I turned on them. They killed my humanity to give me a set of skills that I turned on them. I had been a killer for their order, then an agent of chaos who killed to tear it down. Always a monster. Always selfish.
They knew it too. Probably made it pretty damn hard to figure out then when I hopped out of the Flyer and stepped toward the barricaded portal in Canada. The staff went from gawking at the Psycho Flyer and watching it speed off to taking cover at my approach. They knew who I was, and from the way Alyss stepped forward in her costume, they had been warned shit was to go down.
“You’re here,” she said, twirling her Ranger energy blaster around in her hand.
“Wouldn’t be the first time you got me to come,” I said. “Just you out here waiting for me?”
She nodded. “Just you and I.”
“It was you who tried to knife me on that other world,” I said.
“I didn’t know about that fucked thing you did to that other woman, and who could predict you would stop the destruction of a world?” she commented. “Medusa made it sound like the most normal thing. You’re a selfish bitch that’s there when it counts. I thought I knew better, but you’re here. Or are you just here to kill me? The team isn’t here. It’s the perfect time for revenge if you want to sacrifice Medusa.” She held her hands out to either side, daring me to take a shot.
I stopped and looked at her. I’d been the devil in enough deals to see one. I could kill her easily enough. She hurt me. Not just physically, but bad enough I’ve had nightmares about the time someone I cared for turned on me and left me in a situation meant to kill me. And it’d be so easy to use it as an excuse for letting them win. Couldn’t help myself. Had to kill her, but at least I got revenge for Medusa, ha!
I pointed to the portal. “She through there?”
Alyss nodded. “Leave your armor here and go through. Medusa goes free and we bring you to justice.”
I snorted. “You wouldn’t know the first thing about justice, no more than you really know me. You were wrong about me then. You’re wrong about me now.” Big words, but they didn’t make it any easier when the armor snapped open and I stepped out. Ya know, I suspect that traitorous piece of dickcheese played a part in my paranoia about relationships, but I didn’t come here for her. I didn’t even come here for Medusa, not really.
I came here for me. I didn’t want to be a puppet, and I didn’t want to let those fuckers who turned me into a killer have a say in every action for the rest of my damn life. I wasn’t going to let this woman do that to me either.
The armor closed behind me as I walked toward the portal that led, if the past was any indication, to the old memorial in honor of my defeat. They’d left sensors intact there in case I ever showed up again the first time. After that, they left entrenched guards.
This time, they had a group of shocked-looking Justice Rangers in civvies standing around while Medusa ran up and hugged me. “What the fuck?” they asked.
“The fuck?” I asked.
“You’re so getting fucked,” Medusa whispered to me before kissing me and turning back to the Justice Rangers. “Told you.” Turning back to me, she looked down. “Let’s get you covered up, ok?”
She pulled me away from the portal, which glowed as Alyss stepped out of it and asked, “What the fuck?”
Finally, another appropriate reaction. I stopped going with Medusa. “This was a test?”
She beamed at me. “I’m sorry, yes.” She kissed me on the cheek this time. “I knew you were better than they thought.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t think it was the least bit risky to put me in such a risky position around people who really could have betrayed you and used this to catch me?” I looked over at Alyss as she walked over to join her team. “And you bunch. You’re supposed to be the defenders of your world. Everything’s safe, no problems need solving, so you can spend all your time on my Earth, bothering me, looking for a chance to kill me or play games with people’s lives?”
“Like you care,” said Blue.
“Lose that costume and let me take you into my custody, right now,” I said cocking my head toward the portal. He didn’t, just standing there. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. You’re more than willing to see me as the monster every time, but someone had to fight for our people and show the humans they couldn’t do that to us. I know how many bodies your shining utopia used for a foundation. You were thankful I made them at the time. If you’re going to encourage monsters, don’t be surprised when they turn out to be monsters.”
“You feel better?” Alyss asked, arms crossed and gun holstered once more.
“I’ll feel better if you never set foot on my world again,” I told her. “None of you, or Ricca will consider it an official act of war.”
“Babe, isn’t that a bit much?” asked Medusa, looking up at me. “I wasn’t in any real danger.”
I admit, I was a bit mad at her. Making a game of it like that seemed mean. I knew I had done much worse, and used that to temper my anger toward her. “As much as I’d like to beat some people up, maybe even kill them, I’m taking the high road right now, hon. I’m showing how more evolved I am. As the superior being, it is my right.” Then I grabbed her, threw her over my shoulder, beat my chest while hooting, and ran off naked with my girlfriend through a portal to another dimension.
As highly-evolved beings do.