Tag Archives: Dr. Creeper

Creeper Takes Canada! 7



“Not even the tip?” I asked.

Rouge rapidly shook his head from his position handcuffed to the bed of his cell. “I was just playing with you. I’m not into guys.”

“Not even when you could fake some Stockholm Syndrome to try and get free?” I asked. I pretended to drop the keys between his legs. “Whoops. I seem to have dropped the keys to those cuffs. I think they fell in your asshole. I better try to fish them out.”

“No, no, no, no, no, no!” he said. “I can feel them against my balls. You don’t have to touch anything to get them back. Or even leave, I don’t care. But I don’t like this kind of thing.”

I rolled my eyes. “Tease. Next time, don’t start flirting in the middle of a fight unless you want to go down when you go down.” I grabbed my keys back and left the room. There goes getting laid on this trip. He might realize I left him handcuffed in there before long. I might have some of the minion team let him loose later.

From there, I went to find Creeper. He’d been overseeing the loading of the weather formula containers into the airship when I ducked out to try and convince Rouge to join me for a little friendly swordplay. Imagine my surprise when I found him almost taking off without me. I had to run to make it aboard along with the last of the mad lab assistants.

“All aboard who’s coming aboard!” yelled one of them, who wore a pirate hat and a lab coat with a skull and crossbones on the back.

“And just who might you be?” I asked as we pulled up the ladders and ropes to begin our ascent.

I gave me a mock salute. “I’m the first mate, on account of my experience on my dad’s boat and my research into aeronautics. I used to work at the lab.”

“Well then, matey, make sure your poopdeck’s prepared for some action. I have trouble believing there’s only one superhero in such a large city, and I somehow doubt this is going to go smoothly. Things never go smoothly. People don’t like being frozen for some reason. I blame Florida’s immigration campaign. ‘Florida… because you’re so old, you only want to pay for air conditioning.’”

“…Right, sir, or whatever I call you,” he responded.

“I’m the Hussar, so that’s what you call me. You know, that, or, uh, His Hussarness, or uh, or El Hussarino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. Either way, I’m the man with the sword.”

“Sure. Fine. I just wouldn’t go back for it if I were you. We’re a bit high up.”

I looked down to where I should have had my jian sword hanging at my hip and found nothing. That’s not good. And he was right. Most people think of airships as being fairly slow, but we’d gotten high enough off the ground that my survival would be painful and involve rehab.

I tried to think where I left it. I had it at lunch, I remember, because I stabbed it into the sliced chicken sandwich to call “dibs” on it before someone else could grab it. And then I used it to help spread some of that Japanese mayonnaise on the sandwich. Oh, and to pick some chicken out of my teeth after that. Then there was trying to get this one really annoying clinger out of my nose while sitting on the toilet, followed by washing it off in the sink and waiting under the damn hand dryer way too long. I even had it when I went in to try and seduce our prisoner with handcuffs and coercion. Ya know, if I had just slipped him a roofie, that would have worked out. Can’t say ‘no’ if you’re too incapacitated by drugs to say anything at all. Can’t say ‘yes,’ either, but that’s just how intoxication goes.

And after trying to make some hot gay rice pudding with that cocktease, I came straight here. Straight here. No stops. No bumping into pickpockets.

Well, crap. He must have footsied it right out of its sheath while he was giving me those pouty “don’t rape me,” puppydog eyes. I hate when people’s pets look at me like they don’t want me stuffing and mounting them. And I’m no taxidermist.

So that’s a hero back in our base with access to a sword. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Yeah, right. “Hey, first mate person!” I called out. He’d been walking away during all my pondering.


“Where’s the radio on this thing? I need to call back down to base.”

“We piled it all into the bridge.”

I burst into the bridge. “Number 1, report!”

From back behind me down the deck, he said, “You ran to the door of the bridge! Should be a radio in there!”

“Right. Hey everyone. Hey Doc. There’s a radio in here, right?” I asked, looking around at the people all standing up at tables and shelves with equipment set up.

Creeper pointed back down the airship. “Oh, there you are, Hussar. The radio was making too much noise and taking up too much space, so we moved it to the maintenance closet.”

“Right, thanks. By the way, you didn’t leave anything that could fly back at the lab, did you?”

Dr. Creeper shook his head.

I ran back, almost bowling over the first mate trying to find the maintenance room. They cleverly hid it in the room marked “Broom Closet”. I threw open the door and found myself inundated with smoke and noise. The radio operator had techno music blasting while he smoked a cigarillo.

“Turn down the music ya friggin’ bass head! It sounds like a strip club in here.” I yelled. The operator scrambled to turn the music off. “Just get some dancing girls in cages, why don’t you?”

“Sorry, my man. What do you need?”

“Whenever you get done practicing for your DJ gig, I need to call down to the base and tell them that our prisoner is armed and presumed escaping.”

“Got it.” He turned and fiddled around with the dials, then pulled up a microphone. “This is Creeper One to Ground Control. Someone pick up.”

There was a sound like a bunch of scrabbling, a thud, and a screaming.

I leaned down over the mic. “What’s going on down there? Come in!”

“Uh, everything is under control. Situation normal,” the base responded.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Uh, had a slight weapon malfunction, but, uh, everything’s perfectly alright now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?”

That didn’t sound suspicious at all. “I’m doing good. A bit tired. That Rouge really took it out of me. And I mean that sentence in all kinds of ways. He took it like a champ. I was definitely not his first. And the mouth on him, geez. The guy could suck a golf ball through a garden hose, and swallow cold molasses. Feel free to stop by his cell, unless you’re a woman. He is strictly dickly.”

“Like hell!” the radio person on the other side yelled. “Um, I mean…”

I waited a second for a continuation of that sentence before I asked, “Rouge?”


“Don’t lie now.”


“Crap. Expletive meaning only, Rouge. I know you can’t. You’re pretty well backed up now, I’m sure, after the ramming up in there. Ya know, from the sex.”

“We didn’t have sex!”

“Lovemaking then, whatever. Listen, you need to go back to your cell and think about what you’ve done. And whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do not try to stop this evil scheme.”

“Uh, negative.” Then there was a loud sound and the operator started wiggling some knobs.

“I think he hung up on us,” I said.

“At least there’s nothing down there he can fly up here, right?” asked the radio operator.

I shrugged. “We didn’t buy a spare airship. Bank vaults aren’t just packed full of cash. So it’s just some cars, some vans. A few extra parachutes, but those aren’t so good at getting up here. Oh, and my motorcycle with the rockets.” I paused a second. “Do we have any anti-air weapons on this boat?”

He frowned. “The doctor said they were saw blade harpoons, whatever that means.”

“Get ’em ready and pointed down,” I said.

I headed outside to find the bridge again. Just before I opened the door, someone called out, “Holy crap!” I checked over the side of the airship.

Rouge, asshole, flew through the air, holding tight to my motorcycle as the rocket engines shot him toward us at a sharp angle. It was awesome, but that was the kind of awesome thing I should have been doing, not him. Not only is he a cockblocker, but he’s a crotch rocket cuckold. On the plus side, there wasn’t a whole lot he could do to take down the airship with a sword, or even his pistol.

He didn’t do either of those. Instead, he sat up and let go of the handlebars. He let go with is legs, too, pulling a back flip as the motorcycle flew out from under him and revealing a pack on his back. As he straightened up and began to fall, fabric opened up and spread out, revealing the purpose of the pack on his back.

And the motorcycle just kept coming. I mean, damn. Did he jam the handlebars or something? There’s wind up here, but it flew right at the balloon.

“Quick!” I yelled out impotently, “Pull a sharp right!”

The motorcycle crashed into the balloon and rammed right through, which is survivable. Even at our height, balloons don’t have very fast crashes. Then the cycle hit an internal support and exploded. Most cars don’t explode when they crash, but most cars aren’t loaded with rocket fuel.

A groaning preceded a loud snap. The airship tilted over sharply, throwing me against the side of the bridge. I laid there for a few seconds to get my bearings and figure out if we were going to roll even more. From the open door of the radio room further toward the rear, I heard the radio blasting “Nearer, My God, to Thee”. It contrasted nicely with the screams from falling henchmen, who would hopefully remember their parachutes. I mean, if they’d only gotten on at the last minute like me, maybe they wouldn’t.

But now wasn’t the time to lament lost chutes. I had a doctor to save. Dammit, readers, I’m a villain, not an emergency worker!

I crawled over to the door of the bridge and looked in. I saw Dr. Creeper holding on to the door on the opposite side, Vancouver far below. I could see the fear in his goggles as he looked up at me. His gloves slipped and he fell prey to gravity’s mentally-disabled kid squeezy hug of affection.

I pulled myself over into the door way and dove for the other, following after him. He had spread his body out to try and slow down. Good for him, because I didn’t have to rely on mere physics to catch up. I clicked my heels together and felt rocket science add to the power of gravity.

I kicked them off briefly as I tackled Creeper. “You ok?” he asked.

The way he clutched at his chest, I thought he might be having a heart attack. After a moment, he spoke up, “You knocked the air out of me!”

“There are worse fluids to lose,” I said. “Now hold on. It’s time to give gravity the finger.”

I swung my legs down underneath me and clicked my heels together. “There’s no place like ground, there’s no place like ground, there’s no place like ground,” I said as the rockets kicked on and fought against gravity. I didn’t add any kind of power dial, and fuel was limited, so I made my careful descent by turning them off, then slowing my fall with the rockets. When we landed, I fell down with Dr. Creeper over me in the middle of a street. Some people noticed us, but most were busy gawking at the airship crashing at a glacial pace.

“Thank you for flying Air Jordan, we’re now landing in Vancouver, the local time is 2:34 PM, and the weather is clear.” One of our henchmen came screaming out of the sky to splat nearby. “Correction, it’s raining men.”

“Holy shit!” said Creeper as he stood up, still gasping for breath as he looked at the ship, then felt all over himself as if to make sure he was really there.

I shrugged. “Any crash you walk away from, right Doc?”

“Yes, I suppose. That was certainly grand, I suppose.”

That’s when the cavalry arrived for the other side. Dozens of men on horses flooded the street, all of them armed with SMGs pointed right at myself and Dr. Creeper. “Royal Canadian Mounted Police!” one of them yelled.

Dr. Creeper raised his hands to the sky. When he saw me reaching for the butterfly sword hidden on my back, he tugged at my hand. “Discretion and valor, Hussar. We can’t break out of a morgue.”

I hesitated, then raised my hands as well. If it had just been me, I suppose I’d have tried fighting my way through the Canadian kilted yaksmen. “Fine, doc. But you’re wrong. There are ways to get those little doors open.”

“Let’s not find out, alright?” asked Creeper just before the Mounties dogpiled us.




Creeper Takes Canada! 6



Now, we couldn’t just unleash our blimp on the world and expect people to think straight in the panic. I mean, I could. Creeper didn’t want to. But it gave me time to work out a few last minute kinks and see what I could do to catch Rouge before he interferes further with our plans. So Creeper started planning a bit of advertising while I practiced with my swords, finished my boots, and began tinkering with my new motorcycle.

“What are you doing there?” Creeper stopped by to ask. He mostly kept his attention on his tablet, pushing buttons on it.

“Well, since I got the boots fixed, they gave me an idea for this thing. Hopefully it’ll be ready by the time things go into the air. What about you? I thought you had some gasses to mix,” I looked up from wrenching away at my bike with a crescent.

He looked around for a chair and plopped into the nearby recliner I’d set up before holding up the tablet. “I can monitor that here. I love these new computers. My daugher showed me how to use them.”

“Yeah, you said she was going by the traditional name. How’s she doing? Have I had run-ins with her?”

He went back to examining his tablet, putting a finger to something and dragging it elsewhere. “She saw you in a bar once but she didn’t think you noticed her.”

“Huh,” I suppose there are plenty of people like that. “Well, at least things didn’t turn violent.”

“She said the bouncer didn’t recognize you, so you forced him to grab your balls, then cut his hand off. That was the first time she ever saw the rocket launchers come out there. You worried everyone.”

Huh. I mean, I don’t remember the specific incident. It just doesn’t stand out that much, though it has been awhile. “Sounds like something I’d do.”

“You worry a lot of people. She said half the villains are worried you will turn on them. I understand it more after our encounter with the Canucks and Moose Knuckles. It seems like the supervillains fight each other a lot.” He leaned over his tablet even more, watching something closely.

“True,” I grabbed a screwdriver and tried attaching a little something near the muffler. “Oligarch had his plan, and I stopped that. The Fluidic aliens had their plan, but I stopped that. I took over, and Cercopagis Lysis tried to take me out. Then the heroes unleashed a copy of me to fight me. If they hadn’t done that, I bet the Claw had a plan to betray me. And now I might be the one to stop Claw. Probably will, all things considered.”

“Why can’t the heroes do it?” he asked, looking up.

I shrugged. “Dunno. Technically, he’s the legitimate ruler of his country. If, by legitimate, you mean he killed the previous dictator, rules with an unquestioned iron fist, sends tutors to third world countries to teach torture techniques, and has been legally recognized by every country in the United Nations. To be fair, the United States does that torture tutor thing, too.”

“Why does that stop the heroes?” Creeper asked.

I scratched my head with the screwdriver, then grabbed a socket wrench. “Superheroes keep the peace and uphold law and order. In his kind of country, they uphold his kind of law and order. It gets extremely iffy if our superheroes go around toppling other countries. Other countries might reasonably ask why it is that a citizen of another country is allowed to impose foreign values on a place they probably don’t even speak the language of. That, and there’s all kinds of legal grey areas there that heroes don’t like to get tangled up in. So heroes aren’t good for the really important things like that. Except maybe Titan.”

Creeper looked up. “I thought of joining him. Maybe after this is over, I’ll help him with weather and robotic farming in another country. Think about it, towering Nazi-designed robots marching through the verdant fields of sub-Saharan Africa.”

“As fun as towering, Nazi-designed robots make anything, agriculture’s using drones now. But we’ll blow that bridge up when we get to it. For now, we have a ransom to make.”

We decided to raid this legislative session of the city council. On a good day, they might have a single bored reporter there, or a couple of high ones. Creeper got on the phone and spread some rumors about a scandal coming out. That might even double the journalistic turnout. I went behind his back and sent in a rumor that a supervillain would attack the session. If it bleeds, it leads.

I brought along the Hussar Cycle and lagged behind the others quite a bit, since I wasn’t really disguised. We had earpieces on this job, so I could stay in contact while the others went on ahead in the cars.

The plan involved them busting into the session, with Creeper’s ray gun waving around. If the cops were stupid, they might get laser beamed. If not, no casualties. They’re really nice about it all. Creeper would take the stage, or whatever they have in the city council, and make his big announcement.

“Citizens of Vancouver, you are now on the verge of an ice age! I am here to wreak havoc on your environmentalist efforts, unless you pay me one billion dollars!”

There was much gasping. Then, “Um, how?”

“Cash. Or gold! I will take bearer bonds, even.”

“Like, right now? Nobody has that kind of money on them.”

“We will set up a dead drop!”

I knew we forgot something. I reached over and grabbed the cell phone from some woman walking by next to me. “Hey-!” she started to say, until she suddenly fell asleep after taking a fist-sized sleeping pill.

I gave my phone a call from the new one, then told Creeper the phone number. “If they call that number, we’ll give them the location of the dead drop.”

“And here is the number to call once you have the money. Tie up the line if you wish. It is your loss.”

“Who are you, mysterious and menacing stranger?” Geez, is someone feeding these reporters lines? I wonder if that’s the kind of stupid phrasing they come up with when they know this sort of thing is coming.

“I am Dr. Creeper! Mwahahahaha!”

Ouch. He needed more work on the laugh.

I heard the sound of doors bursting open as someone fell to the ground. Then a smack, a thud, and someone moaning in pain. “It will certainly be a cold day in hell before I let you turn my city into a block of ice. Allow me to express my pointed discontent with your plan,” said a voice it took me a moment to place.

Luckily, I had some help from one of the reporters, “Rouge!”

I took off, heading for the council building. As the assistant to the bad guy, I get to make my own separate cool entrance, and this was the time for it.

I passed by Rouge’s cycle by the sidewalk, along with some limping henchmen who cheered upon seeing me. I circled around until I found a reinforced van sitting a few feet back from a hole in the wall. I zipped right through, clipping a retreating minion as I did so. I found Rouge there, running on a fucking wall to dodge ray blasts from Dr. Creeper with a sword in his hand. I headed for them. Rouge landed right in front of Creeper and brought his sword down to knock the raygun from the Doctor’s hands. My sword blocked it.

“Hussar, deal with this man,” said Dr. Creeper.

“You won’t stop me unless you step up your game,” said Rouge.

I swung my blade at Rouge’s head, causing him to back off. He tried to get around me toward the old man as the other villain gathered up his henchmen to go. I drove a tight circle around to get back in front of him and block his path. I then began to circle him as tightly as I could, stabbing. Rouge put his skill to use blocking and deflecting my stabs. I kept him off balance enough to prevent him from stopping Creeper’s retreat. And even from attacking me. Then he deflected a strike too little and I gave him a small cut on the arm. Despite that, a smile grew on his face. I almost felt it coming when he changed that and whipped his sword around to give me a small slice on the shoulder. Then he vaulted over the back of my bike.

I had to spin the bike around, leaving skid marks on the floor, but Rouge’s focus was entirely on me. He had that darn smile on his face still. He raised his sword in a salute. “I needed that scratch to awaken me.”

“Are you having fun yet?” I asked.

“It is rare for common criminals to give me a challenge,” he responded.

“I’m far from a common criminal, myself and my friends. Careful, if you focus on me, you’ll never catch him.”

His smile twitched. “You’re right. I should focus on the others. What reason do I have to pursue you instead?”

I reached over and grabbed the first person I could get my hands on and pulled him across my boke. A blond young man, a bit of a looker. I left my hand on his ass, purely to steady him on the bike. “Can’t let an innocent hostage get hurt, can you?” I gunned the bike and headed out for the gap in the wall. The rest of the team had taken off in the cars. I took a little longer to navigate the wreckage. Rouge took the time to run outside to his bike. Since I’d deliberately taken so long, I only had a few seconds of head-start. I wasn’t going my fastest, either. Extra weight of a hostage in an awkward position.

I soon saw Rouge approach in my rear view. A gunshot took off the rearview on my side. I turned and raised a blade, catching his as a weak swipe came my way. I slowed down to move alongside him. I sat up then to give myself better range of movement. Cocky bastard decided to outdo me by jumping up to his feet. I pressed down on the hostage slung over in front of me and got to my feet.

Rouge and I exchanged thrusts and swings like that. When a car threatened to come between us the first time, he kicked his handlebars to steer around it. We met again in front, sparks flying off our blades as I leveraged our words up in between us. We both stood there, looking into each other’s eyes with blades between us and either grins or gritted teeth.

A bus was coming up, and I adjusted my footing to plant a foot on the handlebars. I swerved around it and took a breath that I soon cut short as a swipe from atop the bus almost knocked my sword free. Rouge ran atop it, but dodging was as easy as ducking now that I knew he was there. At the front, he lept down onto his bike.

When I brought us together, we caught blades again. This time, I whipped out my butterfly sword from behind my back. Rouge hopped onto the front of my bike then, with the hostage between us. I backed off to avoid a stabbin’, at which point Rouge reached down and grabbed the back of the hostage’s belt to help him across to his own bike. “Let’s keep this between the two of us, shall we?” He winked at me.

I nodded. “Fine. I like it… intimate.”

“Perhaps once I have you in handcuffs,” he said, “we shall have time to get to know each other better. It is a shame to lose someone so exciting and refreshing.”

Ok, so he’s into me. Somehow. Must be because he doesn’t know me. Or he’s trying to get to me. Little does he know, when I play gay chicken, I play gay chicken all the way.

“I hope you feel the same when you’re in cuffs.” I kicked at a newly-installed button between Rouge’s legs. The rocket engines attached to the bike kicked in. I grabbed my spear in its holster to hold on. Rouge flew back toward me and almost went off the end of the bike, losing his sword. I grabbed hold of his rear collar and held onto him, then threw him onto the hood of a car we passed. Then I dropped down to kill the rockets and circle back around to grab him.

I found him conked unconscious with a crack in the windshield of an extremely distraught driver who wasn’t in the mood to argue once I pulled Rouge’s gun and held it on him.

As for Rouge, he awoke to find himself handcuffed in a little cell in the lab, watched by camera. He should really get a brain scan, but we had to settle for giving him a couple aspirin next to a plate of food and some water.

“Now, Doctor,” I said, looking at the monitor’s screen at him as Creeper observed the trapped hero. “I believe your plan can now proceed with no obstructions at all.”



Creeper Takes Canada! 5



“Next time,” didn’t work out quite as well as we hoped.

With a bit of cash under our belts, Creeper decided to assemble a large balloon. Hydrogen. Could be a balloon, could be a dirigible. Might even be a zeppelin. Hold on one second. Correction, it’s a rigid airship. He bought the thing from Goodyear and had it brought here for us to repaint and reassemble. And by us, I mean the minions. I had to help them, but not with that.

Both to help gas up the airship and for his current, non-robotic nefarious scheme, Dr. Creeper brought on more henchpeople and had them start robbing some places. Laboratory supplies and so forth. It’s done much better now, too. He bought them goggles and shirts with his own name on them. Creeper confessed to me that he thought about dressing them all up as mad lab assistants, but that would just mean lab coats. Maybe black ones to denote the evil. And having that many other people running around in lab coats would kind of throw off the significance of him being the big guy in charge. I suggested scrubs to him, but he pointed out that’s more of a medical thing and he’s not that sort of doctor.

Which reminds me, I need to find the time to look up if there’s ever been a mad proctologist. If not, I plan to find a regular proctologist and drive him to insanity. I can almost envision it. A government official drives home, only for a flying saucer to appear and abduct him in a forcefield. It’s not an alien! No, he’s getting probed by… The Mad Proctologist! And, through the power of the probe-u-lator, a brief sixteen hour anal exam forces him to give up governent secrets. It’s brilliant, brilliant I say!

On the plus side of the costume situation, Dr. Creeper arranged for the first batch of minions to have their new outfits custom-tailored, and he plans to do the same for this second group, too.

They weren’t necessarily supposed to be quiet about everything as a way to breed name recognition. It didn’t surprise me that in my guise as Dr. Creeper’s second-in-command, I was called upon to save them. I was hanging out in the Executive Break Room, which is basically just a small room where Creeper and I can talk without being so careful about my identity. I was hanging out and having a cappucino. He was laying down without his back brace on.

“You ok over there?” I asked. He was making noises people usually only make when they’re getting tortured or having sex. There’s a lot of similarity there. Certain groans and moans, along with some cries to deities and references to genitals. Like “Oh god, my balls feel like..” He wasn’t referencing his balls, which is good for me. There are some things I don’t need the skinny on. One of those things, a pair of those things I assume, is/are Creeper’s balls.

“Ungh. Oooh. Oh yeah, that’s just what I needed. I see why it is so fun. The work gives me energy, but it takes a toll whenever I stop to rest.” He looked up and smiled at me. “I feel like a kid again. Thank you for all your help.”

I gave him a thumbs-up. “Sure thing. Glad you’re having fun. I mean, it’d suck to do all this and not even have any fun doing it. I’ve had trouble with that, too.”

The intercom crackled to life. “Hello, Dr. Creeper, sir? Team 11 is calling from Axis Chemicals. They say they lost contact with some of the team and think a superhero is on the scene.”

“There is no rest for the wicked,” Creeper said, then started to sit up.

I held up a hand to stop him. “I got this. Tell Team 11 the cavalry’s on the way.” See, it’s funny, because hussars were cavalry.

I headed out on the new Hussar Cycle. It’s just a black rice rocket with a holster for a pair of lances. Nothing all that special. The assistant back at the lab sent me the address I needed to get to and I made my way there. As usual, I ignored most traffic laws, and occasionally the law of gravity. And the law of gravity’s a real asshole. Trust me, that one loves to use lethal force.

I got there in time to find the police present at Axis, which was actually Axis Mundi Chemicals. They had one of the big wagons there they were loading a whole bunch of beaten-up Creeper gang members into. Completely unacceptable, I’d say. Good thing they had me to act as their lawyer. I saw the closest cops turn to address my pointed legal argument, which involved me holding a lance while braking and doing a front wheelie. He needed that like he needed a hole in the chest, but he got it anyway.

I let the lance and the cycle drop so I could get off and whip out my sword. The nearest one to pull some gun-shaped object lost his hands at the wrist. The one after that fell to the ground with a broken collarbone and a bit of bleeding.

That left me with another half dozen officers around me. “I’m only going to give you this chance once because someone has decided to play nice. Tend to your friends. They can be saved, and this guy’s,” I nodded toward Handless Joe Jackson, “hands can be successfully reattached if you get him and them to a hospital now. All you have to do is leave me with them.” I raised my sword to point to the minions.

The cops lowered their guns and moved to grab their buddies, as well as the one’s hands. “Make sure you don’t mix them up,” I added before stepping over to the minions.

“Jesus!” said one of them.

“Hussar, actually. Stand up, get on out of here, and turn around so I can see your hands,” I said, waving them onward with my sword.

“He’s gonna cut off our hands for failing him!” said one of them in the back.

“Tempting, but that is a decision for the doctor. Want to know just how sharp my sword is, though? Sharp enough to cut you loose from handcuffs. Want proof?” With the choice between freedom and incarceration in the air, the henchmen didn’t sit around on their hands waiting for the cuffs to rust off and we actually got ourselves a couple of new cars courtesy of the police. They even had the substances the minions had been after bagged up for us already. As they scrambled to get it all loaded, I grabbed the nearest one and asked, “How did y’all get caught, anyway?”

“Uhhh, you know that fruity hero with the red outfit who jumped around all the time? Rouge?”

I nodded. “So he showed up again. Probably a coincidence, this time.” I let him go while I disabled the GPS trackers in the vehicles we were taking.

Back at the lab, Creeper was elated at the recovery of the items and the minions. He even told that group to take the rest of the night off and come back the next day. Then he pulled me aside to walk me over to where another pair of teams were assembling the airship. “Did you kill anyone?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t think so. I badly wounded two of the cops and gave the rest a choice of saving their lives or turning it into a fight. Canadian healthcare won out. It was Rouge again.”

“Could he have tracked them somehow? No, that would be improbable. We would know. They would be here, now. I would spend all night cleaning the buzzsaw traps. Hey, I have people to do that for me now! Oh, but I wouldn’t want someone to have an accident and lose a finger.” He folded his fingers together thinking that through. “Perhaps I need to hold a seminar or write a manual on proper maintenance of the traps.”

“You have a lot of other stuff on your plate right now besides traps, ya know. Like our insidious method of tire advertisement that your minions scramble to assemble even now. Soon the world shall tremble at our high quality rubber!” I said it with a lot of sarcasm so he’d know it was in jest. “But I am really curious now what we’re going to use this thing for. It’s a bit of a floating target, and there aren’t too many plots you can use one for.”

“You are correct. I thought hard about what to do that fits a man of my skills and gimmick. I decided we’re going to mess with the weather.”

My mind immediately went to the entire crew of henchmen performing a choreographed musical number around me while I attempt a rain dance. The blimp stands a better chance. Rigid airship, I mean. It’s hard, and ribbed for our pleasure.

“I am not a lifelong scientist, but I know of a chemical mixture that can be seeded into the atmosphere to induce storms and worse. The Chinese have been working on it for years with limited success. I worked in a climate lab once and there was limited collaboration. Soon, with the help of the men and women working under me, I will unleash the storm of a century on Vancouver. Ice will rain down and lightning will shake the city to its very foundation!” By now, his voice had picked up in volume and his hands were now claws grabbing hold of the air.

“I haven’t even gotten to the ransom!” he said, turning to look at me.

I pretended to be writing on a notepad. “Please, doctor, tell me about the ransom.”

“If Canada does not pay me fifty billion dollars, I will cover half of the country with ice!” he yelled, then tried out a laugh. It wasn’t his best work. A lot of villains have to hire a vocal coach for that sort of thing.

“Doc, I’m pretty sure at least half of Canada is already covered in ice. Like, permanently.”

His face screwed up like he smelled a fart. I really felt like having egg sandwiches for dinner. This time when he spoke, he was quieter about it. “I mean the other half. The parts that aren’t so cold. It is going to be summer soon. Do you think I’m asking for too much money?”

I pulled out my phone to check.

“I’ll look up the GDP of the place and get back to you on that, but offhand I’d say… probably? I don’t know if you can get that much, especially with just one airship. I know a billion doesn’t stretch as far as it used to, but maybe we should start there and work our way up? Oh, yeah, they definitely have fifty billion to toss around, I see here. But I don’t think you have much grounds to go for it. It’s kinda easy to take down a blimp.”

He rubbed his hands together. “That is the beauty of the formula… I am using a chemical composition with a density that will keep it high enough in the troposphere to continue weather patterns until the correct counter reagent is introduced. Even if they shoot us down, the storms carry on. What do you think?”

I gave him a golf clap. “It’s genius, it’s nefarious, it’s fabulous; I like it. If you can get that over more of Canada, we got a fifty billion dollar idea on our hands. Try it out on Vancouver for a billion. If they pay pronto, we’ll move on Toronto.”



Creeper Takes Canada! 4



In spite of how much more fun this nonsensical little side job is, my thoughts keep returning to the situation with The Claw and Master Academy. It’d be easier to take seriously if his ally in the United States wasn’t a nincompoop in addition to being a fascist puppet of a foreign power. To be fair, that’s not mutually exclusive in any sense. Lenin was a puppet of a foreign power. Mussolini was a fascist moron. Contrary to popular perception, dictators in general, and fascists in particular, are terribly inefficient at getting anything done.

That’s holding stuff up in the United States, since now he can’t get pretty much anything pushed through in terms of legislation, and his own party just spent eight straight years arguing that executive orders aren’t legitimate. And while he’s running around like that, the only thing he’s not doing is projecting power overseas to halt any advances by hostile countries, like the Russians, North Koreans, and the Claw.

Technically, we’re a bit closer now that we’re now close to the Pacific, but the Claw’s been going for smaller targets than Canada. I’m fairly certain the U.S. military won’t sit around on their hands if anyone goes after their closest northern neighbor. I’m not worried about him coming after me. The guy probably doesn’t even know I’m alive, though I still have at least one loose end to chase down at some point when I get back to interrogating Master Academy. So I don’t know why I felt like checking in on everything.

There’s not a whole lot going on. The Claw’s been pretty good at preventing information from leaking out from within his regime, and North Korea doesn’t have a free press.

But there’s still stuff to note. Captain Lightning hasn’t been seen in weeks. People don’t know if it’s due to retirement or something a bit more sinister, because there’s been nothing released about him. I know the guy was old, but the timing is suspicious.In light of that, I checked on some more of the big names.

War Man had been meant to ship out to Germany. And that’s the last they have about him. And here I am without an easy way to access Department of Defense records to see what he’s doing over there. Something about mole men almost collapsing Germany into a giant sinkhole. They were a Soviet-era super soldier project that got shut down, put into cold storage, and lost in the shuffle, allegedly. That’s the Russians’ story and they’re sticking to it. Frozen Russian mole man-pops. Knowing the Russians, they’d be polonium-flavored.

Eschaton, that fantastic flaming man, saved the Philippines from being swallowed by the sea due to some aquatic villain called Silver Shark. From the picture, it looks like a human cyborg with shark pieces. I hope he survived, because that sounds awesome. That’s the last the news has on Eschaton, but that was just a couple weeks back.

I know I’m not the type to fanboy over superheroes. I’m probably the last person to hope they’re doing well. I just feel better knowing they’re around to deal with The Claw. But if The Claw’s targeting Master Academy, I still feel a nagging urge to do something about that for the way they took me in. I’d rather the heroes do the good deed so I can avoid it. And I don’t trust The Claw. He’s slippery, wily. He’s got a brain on him, and surrounds himself with a shroud of mystery.

The Claw lives in a palace. No, he stays in a bunker. He tours his nation every day dressed as a normal person. He rules from a tower that allows him to see over the whole of his country. Who knows what the truth is? For all I know, he’s fighting on the front lines and killing anyone who sees him.

He has long, sharp claws. He has laser claws. He can grow giant. He’s super-intelligent. He’s actually an alien, or a fae, or some mutated human. I know that at least two of those are true. I’ve seen the documents and photos about him growing to 100 feet tall and throwing a train at someone. He’s yellow, with large eyes, a mouth full of fangs, pointy ears, and claws. I wonder what color he bleeds?

I had too much time for such speculation while building my rocket boots, which I still haven’t finished. In addition to being totally cool, they will give me much greater mobility. A villain on the go needs to be able to move quickly, and vertical movement is always a plus in an urban environment. Or against an enemy who can’t fly. Just watch for thrown rocks, unless the opponent is Gorilla Awesome. Stuff still gets thrown… just not rocks. Not really, but he would hate that joke.

Between cyber stalking superheroes and strapping explosives to my feet, I also took the time to figure out what I’d do for weapons. I felt I needed at least one as Hussar, and I’m not much of a spear guy. I’ll keep one in reserve, but I need a new one of those, too. Lucky me, the same people I got my armor pieces and hussar wings from had some legitimate weapons and knew where to find any others I might want to try out.

I brought along some of the new gang to help with that. Creeper’s hold-up of the armored transport wasn’t just about warming up; he’s been using the cash for cars, hired help, and whatever equipment he can get to arm his new minions. After the run-in with the gangs and police, I think it’s safe to say he doesn’t mind some lethal ordinance. He’s not giving them anything too powerful, though. He settled on rifles that look like long, smooth canisters except for a barrel with a fin sticking up. They fire lasers of adjustable strength. The lowest range will heat someone up and leave them with light burns. The highest puts a hole in people. They’ll need them. They sure as shit aren’t swordsmen.

I settled on a thin Jian sword, a type of Chinese sword that doesn’t look particularly out of place. I like how it moves, and I don’t need anything too fancy. I tossed in another couple blades, too. Like a shorter sword, a butterfly sword, in a sheath under the hussar wings. And a trench knife in a boot sheath. Knives are fun. But apparently not fun enough for people to hang out and be my stabbin’ dummies.

Before I could head to the nearest grocery store meat department to test my new blades out on the pork, I received a call from Dr. Creeper. “I need to plan my debut at the bank. It would be a shame not to utilize your experience. Are you available to meet me back at the lab?”

“Sure, I’ll come down to the lab and see what’s on the slab,” I said. At least with a bank job, I stand a good chance of being able to test these out on a different sort of pig.

Dr. Creeper had a detailed map of the interior courtesy. “I must credit you with that. Your zeppelin drone gave me many ideas. I thought, ‘Why not use a normal balloon like someone delivers to a loved one for their birthday or anniversary?’ and that is how I we have these pictures.”

“Good thinking. The tellers will have a bunch of cash, but nothing groundbreaking. Most of a bank’s money is electronic. There’s also whatever the vault’s packing, but you have to prevent anyone from closing it.”

He smiled behind a pair of thick lab goggles. “I have just the thing!”

We showed up bright and early to make our withdrawal. Eight AM, a time when no reasonable human being should be awake. Lucky for me, bank’s aren’t human. They’re not even mammals. A single red balloon wafted into the bank ahead of us with the word “It” in white lettering on the side so as to convince people it is some sort of marketing ploy related to that movie.

There are trailers for it online. A clown in a sewer, a bunch of kids; it must be some sort of comedy or drama about a punch of children finding and befriending a clown. Clowns are nice. I don’t understand why some people get creeped out by them. I’ve even fucked a woman in clown makeup. Y’all might be wondering, based on the ambiguity of that sentence, who was wearing the makeup? The answer is: yes.

But enough about my sex life. It was time to penetrate this bank vault and pop its Gecko-robbing cherry.

Dr. Creeper maneuver the balloon into place from the back of a van, landing it against the inside crack of the open vault door. He had a way to use it to jam open the vault if need be. At that, he tapped a microphone sticking out of the console he worked at. “Listen to me, listen. It is time to act. This is a stick-up.”

As the minions exited the cars with us, he turned to me, rubbing his hands. “That is fun. I want to say it inside, like in the movies.”

“By all means,” I said. “You better enjoy yourself. I mean, we got costumes and ray guns and swords. There’s no reason for people in spandex to take themselves too seriously.”

“I prefer pants. They hide the braces better. Now, you should make your entrance. Good luck, Gecko!” He gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up, grinning like a jackass. It was infections, and I smiled as I pulled my hood on, adjusted the eyeholes, and clamped the collar on around my neck.

As I stepped through the door of the bank, I drew my sword and took in the situation. The henchmen and -women had the tellers and manager down on the carpet. There were a couple of oldtimers on the ground, but they didn’t appear to be roughed up or in the midst of heart attacks.

“Any problems?” I asked, going for a gruff tone. Not “Batman,” gruff, where it sounds like someone’s jacking off in front of their neighbor’s sprinkler at 3:32 AM every third Tuesday of the month. Just gruff. Gruff enough to kick a troll’s ass off a bridge. Ugh. Seems I’m overindulging a bit on this trip. I’ve become drunk on bad similes and metaphors.

One of the men shook his head. I nodded to him. “You and…” I picked one of our henchwomen. “You. See to the drawers.”

I walked over to a little counter with brochures and hopped up on it. I looked to the tellers. “Unless you’re enamored with dying, I suggest you all use inside voices and stay calm. It would be impolite to ask your coworkers to clean up any messes you leave behind.” I swung my sword and threw it down into the wood between my feet. A few of the tellers jumped where they lay as it hit the wood. I hopped down, letting my gauntleted hand slide down the blade. It seemed to stick enough, so I left it there and walked back to the door to open it for Dr. Creeper.

He rushed in, a wide smile across his face. His black pants and large white lab coat hid the leg and back braces well. “I am Dr. Creeper, and this is a stick-up! We will be taking all the money in your vault now.”

The men cheered at his enthusiasm, and the remaining bunch who weren’t busy emptying cash drawers ran to the back.

“We will have a meeting about that later,” Dr. Creeper whispered to me.

It went pretty smoothly from there on out. A man in a mask is just as good as an “Out to lunch,” for convincing most people to stay away. So is a gaggle of masked goons carrying bags of money out to a bunch of cars.

It went well until one of them ran back in without his laser rifle. “Doctor, sir! There’s a hero!”

“Funny,” I said. “I didn’t hear self-righteous posturing and inflating ego…”

“Deal with it, Hussar,” ordered Creeper. Yay, fun.

I turned, grabbed my sword, and walked over to the door. When I stepped outside, I saw a man in black. Dark red pants, red long-sleeve shirt, black boots, and a red cloth strip with eye slits tied across his eyes and upper head. He wore a black cowboy hat atop his head. A pair of henchmen were trying to take him on hand-to-hand and failing badly. He was jumping all over the cars and van, easily keeping his distance, and slowly undressing them with careful swipes of his rapier. He held a gleaming silver revolver in his left hand, which probably belonged in the holster on his right hip with a red rose icon on it.

“I see your boss has come to check on your progress. Don’t worry, there is always another job out there somewhere,” he said it with a cynical lack of enthusiasm as he eyed me.

One of the minions turned around and got a swipe across his butt that sent him running toward me. “Get out of here!” the red fellow yelled at his backside.

“Who are you supposed to be?” I asked, readying my blade for a fight.

The man stepped down off the hood of a car. After a moment, he slid his revolver back into its holster and brought his own sword up to tap against the edge of mine. “I am Rouge. When someone has a problem around this city, I fix it. Your friends were barely worth my time. For your sake, you had better be more substantial.”

I pulled the butt-swiped minion back behind me and caught the other one’s eye who stood behind Rouge. I nodded off to the side. He got the idea and got out of the way of any brewing fight between myself and this swashbuckler.

I’m not what anyone would call an expert. I’ve been trained, but I’ve spent more time practicing how to fight with potted plants than I have with a sword lately. So when he feinted the first time, I took the bait just a little. The second time, not so much. When he tried a third time, to play around with me, I didn’t react at all, even as he took an extra step to avoid a counter attack. People like to think in threes, myself included. It was while he moved that I thrust with my sword toward where his left leg would have to end up to maintain good balance.

He pulled off some tango spin and came around to sweep my sword to the side. And so we went for a tense minute. He would try to play with me and show off his obvious skill, forcing me rush to ward off series of lighting-quick slices that he didn’t mean to land. If he wanted my sword out of my hands, he could have done it and killed me. I hated the restriction and hoped I could lure him in close enough to pull out the butterfly sword real quick and open his throat, but he did and excellent job keeping his distance. It worked pretty well for him until I circled around to a trash can by the road. I turned away for a moment to throw it at him. He had to move back to avoid it, and then further still to dodge my thrown sword. I’m not one for jumping kicks, but his sword didn’t deflect steel toes so well and I knocked him back with a dropkick.

“You are holding back on me!” he said as he recovered too quickly for my taste. At least he let me get back to my feet. He even let me retrieve my sword from were it lay. “Are you afraid for my feelings? Rest assured, I think I can take it.”

“This is a distraction!” called Dr. Creeper from the doorway. He raised his raygun and fired at Rouge. The masked man rolled to the side, then again to avoid my swing. When he stood, it was with his back to a wall making up the front exterior of the bank. He pulled a bullwhip out from behind his back. It swung out and lashed around a streetlight. He ran up the wall and away from where my sword could cut his whip, allowing him to swing free to land on a black motorcycle. It roared to life, raising him up on its rear tire. I think I saw him salute me with his sword. A blast from Dr. Creeper’s ray gun missed, striking where the front of Rouge’s motorcycle should have been. Instead, the vigilante sped off doing a wheelie.

I looked to the cars to see if we could pursue or even if the money was loaded up and noticed what Creeper meant. The tires on the vehicles the minions had been moving money to had been slashed.

“Quickly, get everyone out. Load what we can fit. There is more room in the van,” ordered Creeper. He stepped walked over to check on me. “How are you?”

“I’m not slashed or anything. He’s called Rouge, and he’s going to be trouble if we run into him again. He’s much better than I am with a sword, I know that much; just playing with me. He won’t be so much trouble if I can handle him more permanently,” I said, trying to hint that it’d be easier to just kill a guy like that rather than fight him.

Creeper clapped me on the shoulder. “I refuse your offer as frustrating as he will be. I want my own hero, Hussar. Now, we must be going. It is a shame we have to leave some of the money, but we have far to go and a lot of people to crowd in with.”

I raised my sword in the air. “I call shotgun!”

Creeper raised his gun. “And next time, Rouge will not stop us. You hear that, Rouge?” He made a show of looking around. “Next time!”



Creeper Takes Canada! 3



It took us several days and a significant bribe, but we finally made it to Vancouver. Yep. Quite a ways to go, even with the delay. I really hate that we had to leave the disassembled robot, too. I know the pain of losing a giant robot. It’s hard enough just to get the damn thing built. But we’re pretty sure it might get misplaced due to some paperwork so it can be picked up later. We’ll see how well the bribe worked.

Dr. Creeper spent quite a bit of the trip’s remainder working out the kinks in his back and looking things up on his phone. I finally asked him about it as we rolled into Vancouver. “We’re here! Here to bring the city to its knees with something other than your robot! Again, that does suck.” I have something of a weak spot for giant robots.

“Enough with that, young man. There will be other robots. If that is all it took to make everyone know your name, we would be drowning in robots. Now that we’re here, we split up. You need a new look. If we want people to think you are my second, you need to look different than you already are. While you do this, I will acquire a property for us to use as a base of operations. Then we can worry about money, transportation, and people to do my bidding. We want to move quickly. Pull over at a gas station and let me out to go about your business.”

Soon after we entered the gleaming, eco-friendly paradise that is Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I know, it sounds like another case of making sure to talk about “London, England,” and “Paris, France,” but that’s actually a valid thing to take into account around the United States. For starters, there’s London, Ontario. Or Miami in Florida, Ohio, and Manitoba. And a Wales in Wisconsin, Utah, North Dakota, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, and Alaska.

But enough about confusing geographical name theft. I had to make a whole new me. That’s right. It’s clothing montage time!

Eh, not really. I didn’t know where to find the local super costume maker or designer or any black marketeers. That left me with a costume shop.

Now, I know I’m not his underling, or mere second-in-command, but part of this fun diversion is that I don’t appear to be me to most people. As his second, I have to complement him. He’s in charge for a reason, but I have to be the guy who wrecks the good guys and makes him look even more badass because he’s my boss. Most people take the easy way out and grab someone big, strong, and dumb for that kind of job. Except the way I’ve been left, I’m not particularly big nor do I qualify as the strong guy in a community car-lifting isn’t an uncommon lesson. So I’m not going to be the big guy.

I also need to work with Creeper’s retro theme. I started throwing together a Musketeer thing, but that’s a bit too retro. I even found a breastplate that fit me. But even if I did favor guns, the ones that fit that sort are wheel lock pistols. They can be pretty cool-looking if done right, but still fairly primitive pistol technology. There’s a reason why Samuel Colt is given so much credit in this universe. They had a few other pieces of old armor, too.

Gecko the Barbarian? Also way too retro, and double-headed battle axes are a bit unwieldy. Plus, once again, it’s too much of the dumb, strong, and big guy thing. Plus, it’s Canada. Sure, it’s also spring, but there’s a very limited window for loincloths this far north. It’s like the old Union strike song goes, “What do we want? Loincloths! When do we want them? Summer, preferably!”

Gecko the Greaser? I’d eyed a leather jacket here, remembering the Behemoth one I left behind when I fled the Master Academy. With a good pair of jeans, some boots, and a nice switchblade, I could go around teaching the popular kids a thing or two. My hair would be a fire hazard with all that grease or oil in it. That one made the final cut, since it worked pretty well. It just seemed a little underwhelming for a second. Maybe a notable minion, but not the guy who is number two to a scientist.

Another one that made it to further consideration was Gecko the Steam Punk. It involved a mohawk, a brown leather vest, some goggles, and a big metal cog collar. Figured I could come up with some sort of steam-powered weaponry. Like something that shoots big railroad spikes. I could do it if I had a pressure cooker. It’d be fun.

Gecko the Hood? Not a very inventive adjective there, I’m afraid. Wear a black or brown hood that maybe shows one eye. It’s the rest of the outfit I have to work on. Overalls is straight out, because that’s a very rural theme that doesn’t fit that kind of person. Plus, scarecrows have been done before. It’s sad, too, because I’d make a hell of a scarecrow. I’d be dancing around with a chainsaw or a scythe. Or a chainscythe. But a black hood with some sort of close-fitting leather costume… sure, it’s a bit fetish-y, but most super costumes are.

Oh, you think it’s a joke, until you find out Wonder Woman and her magic lasso was invented by a guy who was into bondage. Just for fun, take a guess what Iron Fist’s creator was in to.

Still, I kept it in mind. I might be able to use pieces of it. Or pieces of other stuff, except for the loincloth. Might keep that one around for the next time I see Venus, though.

But that thing about keeping the pieces gave me an idea. I began to mix and match.

The first attempt didn’t go well. I stood in the mirror in the loincloth, wearing a hat with a giant feather sticking out of it, a shirt with puffy sleeves, a brown leather vest, and tight leather pants.

“Oh, are you shopping for the pride parade?” asked the cashier as he passed by.

“I decided to let my subconscious dress me. I get the feeling it wants to tell me something sometimes,” I replied back. Joke’s on him, though. I know I enjoy the occasional good hot dicking with men sometimes.

But my next attempt, that went a lot better. Oh yes.

I grabbed the parts and pieces I needed for inspiration before asking around if they knew anyone who had some legitimate armor and blades. It’s not that unusual of a thing in a community that uses those sorts of costumes. Before long, I had the requisite pieces I needed, none of them particularly custom made. Mostly. For weapons, it was a choice of either a spear or thin swords of the type associated with rapiers and fencing.

That turned out to be plenty of time for Dr. Creeper to acquire himself some out-of-work lab space. Budget cuts, he said. “Hey, that’s good. If you get some names, we might already have out minions.”

He said he’d give it a thought, then asked me to meet him at a particular street corner in costume in thirty minutes.

He didn’t give me a lot of time, true, but I had most of the functional stuff ready. Still, I was running about five minutes late and actually saw him from the next light over. I was still in the semi. He was on foot, wearing some long coat, pushing a walker, and holding up traffic. An armored car, to be exact. Or armored truck. Same difference. The big armored thingy that transports cash from one place to another. Kudos to him for finding out one’s route.

I don’t think he saw the police car behind that, and I say that because he suddenly threw off the coat to reveal himself in his mad scientist garb. He pointed his ray gun right at the driver and pulled out some small metal orb that gleamed like it had been polished. Before the driver could gun the vehicle, he threw the orb at the hood. I was excited to see that, because I have an expectation about shiny metal orbs. Instead of drilling through the windshield and into the driver’s skull to unleash a fountain of blood, it stuck to the hood and flashed. I’m tired of flashes, but it might have done something to disable the engine.

It caused enough of a disturbance that the Vancouver Police, who stepped out in uniforms of either black or very dark blue. I couldn’t see too well at that distance, so I decided to get a closer look. I gunned the engine and headed right for them. Once I made it safely through my intersection and had enough speed to make it no matter what, I kicked the door open and climbed on top of the cab. The cops turned when they heard the roar and the whistling noise. The one on my side barely dodged the semi crashing through their cruiser and knocking it against some parked cars on another street. Which is just what they get for following so close as to get caught in an intersection.

And the winged Hussar arrived. Tight black leather, steel-toed boots, gleaming steel gauntlets and breastplate bright enough to reflect the sunlight in an enemy’s eyes. Coming from underneath the rear of the breastplate were a pair of wooden frames with black feathers attached. Small wings, but they were responsible for the whistling noise that had drawn some of the cops’ attention. On my head, I wore the black hood with a single hole open to allow what looked like some sort of laser eye to barely poke out. I kept it small because it was for show, and it attached to a small interior covering I hope to turn into some interior armor and padding. The hood met the breastplate with a cog collar to tie together the whole thing.

The cop gaped at me but raised his handgun at the same time. Herr Glock met herr Hussar, only to be disarmed by a sweep of my spear and a follow-up smack across the face. His partner crawled out from behind the wreckage of the cruiser, bleeding, with a shotgun in hand. I pulled the disarmed cop toward me to use as a shield, then threw my spear. It wasn’t balanced the best for throwing, but it was hard to miss at that range. I caught him in the side of his gut, probably knicking all kinds of fun things in the process.

The cop I had struggled. He tried an elbow to the belly, but that got him some hot breastplate-on-elbow action. That funny bone’s not so funny now, is it? I pulled out his baton and lightly beat him ’round the head with it. “Go on. Shoo! Get out of here.”

He reached for his taser. I kicked him in the balls with steel-toed boots. He decided that gravity should have the deciding vote in our argument and acquiesced to its desire to bring him closer to the ground while clutching his poor, manhandles testes. I ignored him to go see what my spear was up to. About the halfway point inside the other officer, it turned out. The guy was laying on his other side, screaming, so I took the time to disarm the officer closest to me. Then I walked over, kicked his shotgun away, pulled my spear out, and tased the other. Took his gun and taser away for good measure, too.

When I turned, I found Dr. Creeper admiring my handiwork. “You are late, but still when I needed you.” He leaned forward. “What do I call you?”

“Hussar,” I answered. “Now what handy tools do you have to crack open this treasure chest?”

“Show me the tip of your spear,” he ordered. My innuendo sense was tingling, but I held it up close. He stuck some cube to it with some sort of putty, then waved a hand at the rear door of the armored car. “If you would please use that key on the lock, but stand back from the explosion.”

I nodded and took a few steps back along with him, then threw the spear into the door. The cube on the end had been a shaped charge, expending most of its energy against the door. The door slowly creaked open to reveal its lovely interior.

“How do we get out of here?” I asked.

“I have a man. Grab the money, please. Thank you,” he motioned for me to do the heavy lifting of coinage and cash, which only lasted until a black car pulled up.

“Holy shit,” the driver yelled, “You attacked a cop?!”

“Cops,” I said.

“Grab the money and let’s go,” said Dr. Creeper. He looked at a watch on his wrist. At the thirty second mark, he told us, “Time is up. We’re leaving.”

The driver got us out of there and pulled over in a parking garage give minutes later to slip on a plate and some magnetic bumper stickers.

“Nifty,” I said. “Hey Doc, where’d you find this guy?”

He smiled and held up his phone while the driver ran around, “I found an app for supervillains who need a lift. The bad guys created the service first this time. It’s called ‘Super’.” Upon the driver reentering and sitting back down, he commanded, “Onward to the lair. As your slogan says, ‘Get away with it, with Super.’”

And get away with it we did. But while we relied on Super this time, I’m already working on my own mobility. I’m thinking… rocket boots? Rocket boots.



Creeper Takes Canada! 2



Ah, to be riding across the crisp Canadian wilderness in a semi-truck. Eh, it’s ok. I just haven’t been on too many road trips with another person lately. And it’s fun to get away from all the drama and Master Academy heroes.

It wasn’t tough to get across the border either. We headed through the ol’ checkpoint only to be stopped by a man in a uniform wondering what we were aboot to get up to. I let Creeper handle this one, because my automatic response to authority involves teaching them the difference between choking and strangulation. Plus, he was the one in charge of this whole operation.

“We’re bringing my daughter’s stuff to her. She married herself a nice Canadian boy. So polite. All this is too big to fly.” He nodded toward the semi trailer behind us.

“Maybe we should take a look at it, eh?” inquired the Canadian guy. He took a couple steps over toward the

“You can, but could we do it in private?” Creeper asked. “They like to do what she said is called ‘Pony play,’ and my new son-in-law would be embarrassed if everyone saw his horse tail.”

“Is that a type of whip?” asked the officer.

I broke in here. “I believe it’s a bit more literal of a tail. Like, one that you stick inside of a person around the tail area.”

The Canadian stopped and peered in at us, then looked along the trailer. “On the other hand, you two have honest faces. Go on through.”

I shot him one of those stupid two-finger salutes that involved the pointer and middle finger at the same time. “Thank you, sir. Don’t worry. We don’t intend to cause any trouble. We’re not criminals. Just wholesome Caucasians from America. The real one, that is.”

He narrowed his eyes at me before he waved me on. I thought I did a pretty good job of of pretending to be a regular person, all things considered. That border’s a bit of a joke. I mean, they do an awesome job catching 18 year-old beer smugglers. Most of the times. Well, some of the time. Look, they’re working on it, dammit!

Creeper’s not too comfortable with driving, old man that he is, so I handled a lot of that, staying entertained by listening to music and podcasts. Back on the first day, I had to take a break from a lovely little sci fi story to address him staring at me. “You seem to be fascinated by my head. What’s up? Some phrenological musings?”

He set down the novel he’d been reading in between peering over it at my head. “I happened to notice something odd about your features. You have a number of scars on your head. Are they from your fight with the giant robot that everyone thinks killed you?”

“Yeah, they would be. My nanites didn’t leave scars unless I told them to. I should have been making some of them, too. Time intensive without the equipment, and I feel like I’ve been rushing from crisis to crisis lately. It’s a bad way to go. Let the heroes do that. But that’s beside the point. I was in pretty bad shape. Some of those same heroes thought they might better keep me around. Thought they could use me in the event another big-name villain capitalizes on the chaos I left behind. And I kinda suspect one of them felt guilty, but that might be asking too much.”

“You don’t think very much of them. I’m sure many of them are good people trying to do good things. Haven’t you ever felt the need to help the helpless?”

I rolled my eyes. “That’s what I was doing when I took over the world. They’re not helping the helpless. They’re helping people who won’t help themselves or can’t because of other people. And people don’t know what kind of help they need anyway. I forgot that, too. It’s a lesson I very much learned when I first became aware I was a villain.”

“Please, on this adventure, I hope you do not seriously hurt anyone. Consider that a favor for me?”

I wanted to give him a funny look, but I didn’t want this series to end with me turning my head back around to look in the whites of another semi driver’s eyes coming from the other direction. I settled for a derisive snort. “I’m not promising anything if it comes down to self defense, but I’ll try not to go out of my way.”

That matter settled, I decided to chase away my thoughts with the continuation of the sci fi story about a small crew in a space station around the star Wolf 359. I thought it was a Star Trek thing at first, but no.

That occupied the more think-heavy portion of my brain until Creeper tugged on my sleeve. “I need to use the restroom,” he said once I’d popped out an earphone.

So we took a brief break to top off the gas tank and empty out the bladders at this little stop. It didn’t look to be in the best of shape, though it must have been near some small town or something. But we got a look at some sort of confrontation. There was a man in a hat and a leather vest. The hat stood out because it had moose antlers on it. Like big, actual moose antlers. Maybe they were. But it was just one of him and three of these other people who all wore jerseys and hockey helmets. He was having some sort of argument with one of them while the other two just glowered nearby.

I turned to the cashier. “Some sorta sports thing?”

I turned as one of the hockey people pulled the moose guy’s vest, tugging it up until it caught on his hat’s horns and hung over his face. Then the trio really laid into him. And while he may or may not have known how many of them it would have taken to whoop his ass, they certainly used enough. They left him a sobbing, pants-pissing wreck in the parking lot. He didn’t put up too good of a fight. Just before they left, the one he’d been arguing with bent down and searched through the guy’s pockets until he found whatever he expected and left.

The cashier whispered to me, “You want to stay out of that, don’t you know. Them there’s the Canucks.”

I frowned. “I thought you were all Canucks up here in Canuckistan.”

He shook his head. “They’re a gang. They dress up and some of ’em have powers. That’s how they fend off the superheroes. Don’t know what they’re doin’ ’round these parts.

“Moose guy a gangmember too, or just really horny?” I asked.

“He’s part of a biker gang. Those Canucks will get out of here before his buddies show. Knuckles never travel alone.”


“They’re called the Moose Knuckles. That one got beat, but you don’t want to face a whole bunch of Moose Knuckles at once.” He shook his head, his face a portrait of somber warning.

I restrained a snicker. “Yeah, sure. I gotcha. I know I certainly wouldn’t like to find myself face to face with that many Moose Knuckles.”

“That your truck?” he asked, pointing to the rented semi. I nodded. He went on to say, “You want to be careful with that. They sometimes hit truckers.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Ah, there you are!” Dr. Creeper had finally found his way out of the bathroom. I filled him in on the beating and local gang situation while we shopped for snacks, subtly picking up what I thought I’d need to prepare in case those Moose Knuckles snuck up on us. Orange juice, a couple of energy drinks, a jar of ketchup, a jar of hot sauce, a pack of coffee, and a two liter of diet Dr. Pepper; they’d be in for quite a treat if they thought us easy pickings.

Well, we got on the road again and soon after my fears turned out to be justified. A dozen Moose Knuckles roared up behind us on motorcycles. They made identification all the easier by not wearing helmets but all sporting moose antlers somehow or another. Hats, bandanas, all of that, and all of which stayed on very well considering they were on motorcycles. The lead one had a pair of chrome horns on the front of his bike. I got a good look at it as he pulled up and aimed a double barrel in my face. “Pull over!” he yelled.

I cupped my hand to my ear. “Huh?”

He angled closer to yell it again. Before he could, I pushed the door open and knocked his arm. He wobbled, but didn’t go down until I grabbed a bottle of what started as orange juice, shook it up, popped off the cap, and flung it in his face. I know, I know. It’s expected that I made some kind of inexplicable bomb or acid. Maybe you thought flames would spew out like a makeshift flamethrower. But have you ever had orange juice and hot sauce thrown into your face? Sure, he had goggles on for his eyes, but he still had to breathe.

So down he went, probably wishing he had that helmet. There goes another organ donor. I didn’t bother to close the door the way they were taking shots at me.

“What’s going on out there?!” asked Dr. Creeper. I turned to see him curled up in the floor of the cab.

“Moose Knuckles. They’re all over us. You think you can take the wheel while I try to fend them off?”

He pulled out his ray gun. “You keep us on the road. I’ll handle these cads!”

He scrambled over and pushed me back against the seat. He poked his head and arm out, firing the ray gun with a zapping sound. I caught a glimpse of a motorcycle becoming a fireball.

“Throw the two liter!” I yelled at him. He ducked pulled back in, staring at me right in the face, before realizing he blocked my view. Good thing, too. A bullet went through the windshield behind where his head had been. He turned to look at it, his face going pale.

He gritted his teeth and grabbed the bottle of what used to be diet Dr. Pepper. It swirled with colors that weren’t normal, even for soft drinks. “What does it do?” he asked.

“Well, some people are probably going to die. That’s a bomb, so hopefully it won’t be us.”

Then we heard the yelling. He turned to look out the passenger window while I checked the driver’s side to figure out what was going on. Behind us, our attackers had been set upon by a group of men dressed as hockey players with sticks who raced along the road on rocket skates.

“We just got caught between a gang war here. It’s the Canucks. Quick, I think we better use the Pepper bomb before they get to fighting on us as well as over us. You better buckle up.” I grabbed the Pepper bomb from him as he strapped in.

There came a thunk from the side of the truck. I turned to see a Canuck had checked a Moose Knuckle into the side of it and sent him skidding along. Another Knuckle drove faster to try and pin the Canuck against the truck, pulling out a chain and whipping the guy. The Canuck caught it with his stick and the two glared at each other.

Into the middle of this mix, I dropped the Pepper bomb. Unfortunately, the Canuck got his hockey stick free of the chain by swinging it low and knocking the bomb toward us and under the truck. I decided to go limp.

The bomb must have gone under the wheels and cracked open, letting in enough oxygen for it to detonate. The explosion blew the trailer into the air, and even angled the front cab a little for half a second.

Once the noise and heat died down, I pulled us off to the side of the road and got out to take a look. On the plus side, we lost our pursuers from both gangs. They made quite a lovely splotch on the road in the middle of a patch of flaming wreckage.

Dr. Creeper stepped around the front of the truck and walked up to stand beside me.

I started to apologize, but something in the wreckage moved. One of the Canucks stood up, seemingly unscathed by the explosion. His jersey hung off him in burnt shreds and his helmet was cracked. A blue, arcing bolt struck him with a zap. He fell back into the pile back there.

“Well… any crash we can walk away from is a good one, yeah?” asked Dr. Creeper as he slipped his raygun back into his belt.

“Yeah, but your robot’s a bit wrecked, and I don’t think we can haul the rest like this.”

He looked at the trailer for several seconds, then sighed. “Yes, you’re right. That is most unfortunate. Can you disconnect the trailer?”

“Yup. Question is, do you want me to?”

“I don’t want you to, but I need you to. Please do so. I refuse to allow my first major crime spree as a supervillain be derailed by not having a giant robot. We might even find something to use against these Canucks and Moose Knuckles for doing this. We’ll show them, just you wait and see. Ungh, and please hurry with the truck. I’m going to need some Bengay and ibuprofen.”



Creeper Takes Canada! 1



Ok, so let’s recap where we stand here. Because the present is the product of a chain of causality, and that shit gets confusing.

After taking over the world, and being declared Supreme Leader of North Korea, I had the support of a few people, major supervillain The Claw included. Didn’t really talk much to the guy, but he knows a thing or two about administration, since he runs his own country over in the Pacific. After punching myself so hard I exploded, The Master Academy teamed up with The Technolutionary, a former stalker of mine with an affinity for technology and biology who likes spreading part of my genes around to other people. They turned me into human, even as a giant half-bee henchwoman of mine turned out to be pregnant. The Claw propped up my insect baby momma in North Korea to serve as an ally.

And he needs those allies, because he’s going around taking over less prominent countries in Asia. Now, as near as I can tell, he’s also got something going with Russia, and that let him extort help from the Ukrainian mafiya, and somehow he has pull with the new President of the United States. And they all helped bomb an American city while attempting to force superheroes to register and take a loyalty oath with the American government.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what endgame the guy’s going for unless it’s the stock “world domination,” but he must have laid a hell of a lot of groundwork. I’m serious about that. I had the world held hostage with nanomachines that would turn everyone’s loved ones into goo if people rebelled against me, and I still got beat. This guy decided afterward to go ahead and be like, “Yeah, I can top that.”

Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s a dick-measuring thing. Or he’s just offended that I managed to take over the world for awhile. Like the same indignation I had over this new POTUS who somehow managed to get the United States without putting in any of the work. Regardless, it puts me in a position of trying to figure out if I really care enough to head over there and get involved. I don’t think there’s much more I can do here other than assassinate the President. Which, at this point, would probably be a mercy. Turns out he was the weak link. Not the mafiya, not the Russians, not the militia, but the President of the United States.

So I could have done that. But first, I got a call from Dr. Creeper on my super secret hotline: free for the first five minutes, $9.99 a minute after that. “Hello Mr. Psycho Gecko. How are you?”

“Eh, mas o menos, Doc. Got what I was looking for in the end, just pondering where to go from now. On the one hand, I could assassinate a world leader. On the other hand, I could start a ground war in Asia. It’s a little up in the air at the moment. How about you?” Now, in most places I would have gotten a few looks. When you’re at a table in a nice restaurant that thinks they specialize in authentic fried chicken, it clears out a lot of space around you. If they knew what real fried chicken tasted like, they’d have run much faster. Empyreal City is good for many things. That isn’t one of them. They call that breading? Grind up some Saltines, bitches! If you’re going to be both a fancy restaurant and one known for fried chicken, you gotta bring your A-game.

“I am doing well. My daughter told me she made a nemesis. I told her it’s only a matter of time until she hears the pitter-patter of child sidekick feet running around her lair.”

“Cool. I hope it works out with her and her nemesis. It’s hard to keep a nemesis these days. There’s just so many people who want to explore their options. I mean, I have a nemesis, but she’s been too busy for me lately ever since I got hurt. I think she’s fighting other villains.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Perhaps you should monologue to her more? Communication is important.”

“It’s tough. She’s always hanging around with her teammates, and they hate me. Except for one or two who I think tried to fight me behind her back. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one putting any work into the relationship.”

“I don’t want to insert myself somewhere inappropriate, but…” he started.

I tossed my plate of half-eaten chicken at the wall to indicate I was done in a safe and friendly manner. “No, no, go on. I’m open to advice.”

“What you do to get her attention, is it all about you, or is it about her?”

Huh. Good question.

He went on. “Maybe if you do something that is truly about her, it will help remind her why she has devoted herself to stopping you. If you are the focus, anyone could fight you. She doesn’t need to be there.”

The waiter that passed by plastered on a smile that I made real as I dropped a $100 tip onto the table. It’s not like the waiter cooked it. She was just passing by, though, and didn’t stop to clear anything away on either the table or the floor. “It’s possible I’ve gotten a bit too caught up in my own thing lately. I have been mopey, and this other thing I’ve been pursuing has been keeping me from something I really wanted to do to her ever since she had me fixed up.”

I’m referring, of course, to my intention to nail down for sure who kept the copy of me around in the Master Academy’s supercomputer and then decided to help it build a giant robot to go out and kill me. I’m pretty sure it’s Venus, but her boss keeps covering for her. Once I know for sure, then it’s time to kill her. And I mean it this time. I know, it’s been something I’ve been wanting to get back to for years now. I get distracted and just don’t find the time. But the Creeper’s right, and I need to finally do it.

“I hope I have not overstepped my bounds. I merely called about that favor you said you owed me.”

Fine, I’ll do it later.

“Yeah? Got something in mind? What are we after? Diamonds? Bonds? Bodysnatching a dead saint, maybe?”

“Good lord, none of those. I will keep the saint proposal in mind. I was going to travel to Vancouver and try something there. This city is too militarized. I think Canada is a good place to make a mark.”

I mean, that depended. I probably have more run-ins with Canadian special forces than most villains do with my homicidal tendencies. It might work out pretty well for him. “Well, if you finished your robot, I imagine you’ll make quite a few. So what’s my end of this?”

“I hoped you might help protect me as the muscle for my scheme. I am not a young man. I can’t fight or run and I am a newcomer to this life. It doesn’t exceed the, uh, amount of the favor, does it?”

“You caught me at a time when I was figuring out what to do and why to do it… so this is a pretty nice distraction. Sure, I’ll help out. You just better not mind if I take on a disguise or two in all this. My reputation could bring down a lot more heat than you’re ready for.” I heard a bit of a ruckus near the door and looked up to see an old friend in a black leather costume standing there, the visor all lit up. “Hey, listen, I’m going to have to call you back. We can settle more of the specifics in a little bit. I look forward to road-trippin’ with you.”

I ended the call pretty quickly because the Good Doctor was headed my way with his little black leather mask/hat thing and a good grip on his scalpel. I believe I had him perturbed. “You didn’t slip a tracker into my food, did you?”

He threw a scalpel at my chest. I ducked to the side as it thunked into the back of the chair. I reached a hand up to grab something to use as a weapon and briefly considered hiding under the table and tablecloth. The thought only lasted a moment before I rejected it because of Doc’s power to see through most things of relatively thin thickness. I crawled to the other side of the chair before standing and raising the first thing to come to my hand.

He’d seen me coming and almost rewarded me with a scalpel in my throat. I instinctively raised my own weapon to intercept. My fork caught the blade in its tines and deflected the deadly blade to the side. He punched me in the gut and reached down to slide another scalpel out of his belt. I grabbed his wrist, twisted, and yanked. That scalpel went flying into a nearby wall over my plate of chicken.

I backhanded Doc across the face, then grabbed his helmet and twisted it so he couldn’t see. Which actually didn’t do anything because that’s his power. I spun around, twisting free of his other scalpel to snatch up a left-hand weapon off the table. I came up with a spoon.

Doc stood off from me a few feet and fixed his helmet, then pulled out a fan-shaped bonesaw for his offhand. It looked a lot better in a fight than my spoon. Don’t get me wrong, it’s handy for cutting a person’s heart out because it hurts more than a knife. But it really distracted me from the conflict. I mean, this place served fried chicken. Why the fuck is there a spoon in this restaurant?!

“Is this because I didn’t oblige you by getting captured by the other heroes during our handling of Aurum? Because the heroes’ tendency toward betrayal is starting to get a wee bit predictable.” I twirled the fork and spoon around in my hands. There isn’t even soup on the menu. Nobody does fried chicken au jus. Why is it here? Why does a fried chicken spoon exist?

He swiped at me with his scalpel a few times, then tried a diagonal downward slice with he bonesaw. I avoided it, then kicked at his arm on the downward arc in the hopes of throwing him off his balance. I got a scalpel to my calf instead, so I got that going for me. I jammed my inexplicable spoon through his visor and into what seemed to be some flesh with some give. He yelled and backed off to grab at his helmet and the spoon.

He sure did struggle with it a bit. I mean, you have to sort out order there, because you can jam things into really bad places and make the damage worse if you pull off the helmet. But that’s also the first instinct.

I got cyborg eyes. Been there, done that.

“Listen, buddy, don’t forget to put pressure on the wound,” I told him, a little less-than-helpfully. I may not want to kill my old friend, but I still enjoy laughing at the expense of someone who tried to kill me.

With Doc incapacitated and myself not quite ready to create my own personal version of Old Yeller, I saw to my leg. A strip off the tablecloth made an ok tourniquet for the short term. Had to glue and stitch myself shut while Funsize yelled that I should warn her next time I’m on my period.

But it’s all cool, because I’m heading to a place where there’s plenty of healthcare to go around. A place where the beer is stronger, so the women are prettier. Land of golden opportunity, until you get so old they send you off an ice flow.

I got back up with Dr. Creeper and we made arrangements to head to a magical frozen ice kingdom with a partially-disassembled giant Nazi robot in tow. And I love that sentence. Psycho Gecko and Dr. Creeper are going to Canada!



Psycho City 4



It’s surprising how easy it is to find a person by the name Dr. Creeper in Empyreal City. Mostly because I never thought anyone would use that as their legal name. That sucks. Someone needs to punch their mother. Which, if this guy’s documents are accurate, would involve digging her up from a grave. The dude’s old. Anyway, my expectations about his name weren’t reflected in reality. There were a few creepers in Empyreal City, don’t I know it, but only one Darron Creeper who was an old man.

I broke into his home, as anyone would on such a fact-finding mission. Fact-finding… wait a minute, am I working toward peace? That doesn’t sound right. I’m just heading to war through different means, obviously. Like diplomacy. Diplomacy is such a fun way to tell someone to go fuck themselves.

Anyway, I broke into old man Creeper’s place, a small house on the edge of Empyreal City. It would have cost a bit of money, which was circumstantial evidence in favor of the guy indeed being a mad scientist. The sane ones don’t get enough cash. Drives them bonkers. Next thing you know, they’re holding a Bunsen burner to someone’s face, demanding tenure and a sexy lab assistant. After a little time spent in prison, they realize the real money’s in laser miniguns and ice capade launchers.

So he had a nice little peeling green wood siding house with pale pink shutters. The yard was mowed, but with the strands close to the bare picket fence grown up. I circled the place and spotted a door down to a basement. I’m starting to think I need some sort of eye drone or some way of obtaining a visual without using my own eyes or my suit.

Well, I wasn’t likely to find his secret lair in the attic. Too small. Maybe in a mansion. Nah, I had to get into the basement.

The door was locked, a problem I solved through careful use of a fist-sized lock pick. As soon as I did so, a water sprinkler popped up behind me. Except, instead of water, it spurted flames at me. I pulled open the door and closed it shut against the flames. I’d landed on a stairwell that flattened itself, causing me to fall on my ass and slide down into the darkness.

At that point, I figured a stealthy entrance was no longer on the menu. The slide lasted several seconds longer than it would have in a normal house, and then a pair of saw blades emerged, spinning, ready to take a few pounds off me. I pushed myself forward to get my weight over the front of myself and jumped over them. I fell quite a distance, missing the bubbling pit of liquid at the bottom of the slide.

I hit the stealth, my holodiscs cloaking me in their current weak invisibility illusion.

“Who is poking around my lab?” asked a creaky old voice. I soon saw an old man puttering along at a good pace, special braces on his thin legs propelling him along with all the speed of a young man. He held a cane with a silver skull head in one hand. The other held a finned ray gun. Real retro. He had a head of evenly-trimmed, dark grey hair, just a bit curly in front. Longer than buzzcut, but not long enough for gravity to be an issue. His lab coat was a bright white Howie style that buttoned on the left side. A very meticulous mad scientist. They exist. Show me a mad scientist with his hair blown out, and I’ll show you a person who ran with a beaker they shouldn’t have. But then, they probably had more fun, too.

The man checked the bubbling pit, then turned suddenly, pointing the ray gun all over the place. “Come out now! I know what my acid pit looks like when someone falls in it!”

I adjusted the volume on my helmet so my voice could boom a bit and keep him from figuring out my location. “I am the Emperor of Earth, Psycho Gecko!”

The man listened carefully, then perked up and smiled. “Really? I thought you were dead. The explosion and the giant machine men…”

“I know, right? Eat your heart out, Jesus. He only had a crucifixion, a spear, and a boulder to deal with.”

The man squawked out a laugh. “What ever are you doing here, wherever you are? Would you perhaps like a glass of tea? I might have some cake leftover from the neighbor lady’s visit the other day.”

I dropped the illusion right in front of him. His hand came up with surprising dexterity. Even as I stepped to the side, I saw him twist his wrist to the other side so as to avoid aiming at me. He gave me a sheepish expression of apology. “Sorry, reflexes.”

I shrugged it off. “It happens. Truth is, I’m surprised you’re not hostile to me. Very few people are so friendly to me these days.”

Dr. Creeper slipped his ray gun into a special holster on his belt and waved me along. “Great men often make enemies. I am ecstatic to meet such a famous villain. You aren’t here to hurt me, are you?”

“Eh, I’m just here for information. Looking into something that concerns me.”

“You must excuse my accommodations, I operate on a much smaller scale than you do.” He passed me by and led my into his lab and, presumably, toward something other than tea to drink.

He showed me to a stark white lab where robotic arms moved along a criss-crossing network of pillars to assembled an old-fashioned giant robot. He noticed me looking. “Do you like it? It’s based on the old Donnermaschines from Germany. With modern advances in robotics and computers, these old designs are much more effective.” He smiled, proud of his creation even in its incomplete condition. It only had one arm, for instance; a gleaming gunmetal and black limb ending in a pincer.

“You have something of a retro thing going on,” I mused.

He nodded. “I have always wanted to be a supervillain, but I never found the time until after retiring. These old aesthetics remind me so much of my mother. Both of them, I suppose.”

I raised an eyebrow, not that he’d notice. “That must have been difficult to grow up with, given the way people thought about homosexuality.”

He snorted. “Goodness! No, I was adopted. My adoptive mother fought crime as Miss Fury. I am a little old to chase after muggers in a panther-skin costume, though. On the other hand, my mother was none other than Baroness von Kampf.”

That rung a bell. “German aristocrat and Nazi saboteur in the United States during World War II. Some misadventure ended with her getting branded with a swastika on her forehead. Operated out of Brazil for awhile there, which is the last place she was publicly spotted.”

“You have heard of her!” He clapped his hands together. “Having been abandoned in Brazil, I did not know her myself. There were problems, you see. It was in Brazil where someone branded her. She left me while fleeing her enemies. I was rescued by Marla Drake, who the public knew as Miss Fury.” He turned to indicate a room we had been headed toward. “Would you mind joining me for a meal? I was about to eat.”

“Sure, sounds good.” I nodded and began to follow after as we walked into a room that could have been mistaken for an office break room. “Dr. Drake would have a nice ring to it. So would Doctor von Kampf, though you’re a Baron, so Doctor Baron von Kampf? That’s a mouthful. Why be a Creeper?”

He set about getting everything set for us. “I have a granddaughter going into the supervillainy who wants to be the next Baroness von Kampf. I didn’t want to confuse anyone with our names. I named myself after one of my biological mother’s friends who I learned about her from. He was also a Nazi saboteur. Now I am the scientist Dr. Creeper and my granddaughter, Baroness von Kampf, uses his costume and daggers.”

“So there was a different Creeper?” I asked.

He shook his head as he poured out a bowl of some sort of chicken soup. “He was a very private man, so I keep his real full name to myself, and he did not have a codename like so many of the others. Names like Hyena, The Red Death, Captain Swastika, Hun. There were so many active in America. Now I am not a Nazi, and neither is my daughter, but it brings attention and makes us distinct.”

I shrugged. “True. Plus, you aren’t going around being called Baron Darron. That name doesn’t work at all. Anything to drink?”

“Beer, bourbon, whiskey, a little rum, and I think I still have vodka left upstairs.”

“Eh, I meant more like coke.”

He shook his head. “Oh no. I tried it once in college, but I preferred LSD.”

“Soft drinks,” I clarified, “Or perhaps sweet iced tea. Just something to drink, not something to get drunk off. Just something for the meal. Before we get distracted any further, though, I also want to ask if you know anything about any good ol’ boys getting turned into jet cyborgs, or being given superspeed legs.”

The doctor pulled some of the glass bottle Cokes out of the refrigerator and turned to reveal his face lit up. “You have seen my work?”

“I have. Not bad, though there are some weaknesses, if you don’t mind me saying.”

He shrugged and handed over a bottle. “The bones? I don’t care. I told them it would cost more to do it properly, but they accused me of trying to jack up the price of surgery. They weren’t even paying for what they were getting, but they still complained. I don’t care what it does to them.”

“Who was paying?” I asked. I tried the soup. Pretty good, if a bit less salt than I’d prefer.

“That is a good question,” he said between spoonfuls of soup. “The man who arranged for their outfitting provided money in place of affiliation or ID. He did not wear a uniform or costume. He did have a golden eye, though.”

“Like, just something gold-plated, or was it an actual golden false eye?” I asked to clarify.

“The latter. A man with a golden eye hired me to turn a small team of men into cyborg superheroes. I normally wouldn’t do this, but it was a lot of money.” He shrugged. “I heard a couple of them were beaten and the parts removed. They have not come back to me for re-installation.”

“Superhumans are only as strong as the person beneath it all. When your metal parts are bolted to bone, that’s doubly true,” I said. “I beat the one with the legs and the jet guy. If I don’t find this gold eye first, I might have to reap the rest. He was responsible for getting the parts to you?”

Creeper nodded.

“Darn. I was going to ask you about Michelangelo, because the other guys would have lied to me on that, but I’m guessing you don’t know anymore on that.”

“I really don’t. I think they killed him and took over.”

“Probably. I liked Michelangelo, too. I might have to come back and finish them off when I get the chance.”

So I enjoyed my brief lunch with him and prepared to leave. Just like that. No fuss, no fight.

“Is there anything else you wanted?” he asked when he’d shown me to the front door. The early afternoon sun reflected off a shiny metal robot, its boxy frame looking like something out of the Jetsons mixed with a lawnmower. It rolled lazily across the lawn, moving at sharp angles to cut the grass.

“Nah, I think that’s it. Besides, if I need any more information on these guys, I can just call you, right?”

“Oh, of course! It was great to meet you. I would love to hear from you again. We could exchange methods and techniques, perhaps?”

“That’d be fun. Hey, thanks for having me. I owe you one, how about that? It’s not as easy to get ahold of me these days, but if you need a favor, know you can call one in on me, got it?” I shot him finger guns.

The old man practically bounced. “Thank you! I hope I’m never in that dire a situation, no offense, but I’m honored. Please, drop in again any time you’re in the neighborhood.”

See? Nice and smooth infiltration of a villain’s underground lair. I’d like to see a hero pull that off. No, really, I’m curious to see the ray gun in action. Some of that retro stuff’s coming back.