Tag Archives: Dr. Snugglesworth

Unique Problems 6



Secretly bugging heroes who have kidnapped at least one supervillain away to a secret prison. Just like old times. Too much like old times. Humanity’s learning, but I wish it’d learn faster. Just a reminder that I can’t kill my way out of every problem. I’d say I miss the godlike power, but I’m probably better off not having so much power.

No, I’m content to have the kind of power that lets me spy on a supergenius cat and a patriotic superhero, both of whom traveled from Unique, Iowa to West Virginia. The regular internet and cell signals are terrible there, but my tech doesn’t rely on that. They headed up to an abandoned mine. Plenty of those in West Virginia. A land pockmarked by humans seeking treasure that poisoned them. If you’re going to create a secret prison, it’s as good a spot as any. The fact it could collapse and is unhealthy just to live in wouldn’t much matter if you were building a secret prison in the first place.

I was able to follow their path into the mountains, finding exactly where to go, catching some of what they were talking about thanks to some hitchhikers in their ears. “Where did you get these automated defenses? Those turrets are…”

“Alien,” Bill of Rights answered. “I raided a salvage sight. The government has plenty of these. One or two missing is no big deal.”

“I counted six,” Dr. Snugglesworth mewed. “And these robots.”

“I confiscated a supply from a mad scientist. Agronomiser’s not the only prisoner.”

“How many?” I heard a weird mewl then.

“That many, and room for more. Each one is attended to by a system that keeps them paralyzed while dealing with their bodily functions. They get all the nutrients they need to live and the waste is disposed of. For their mental stimulation, and to keep them from breaking out, the headsets keep them in a virtual reality simulation where they have no powers, living a regular life and teaching them to be productive citizens.”

“What kind of productive citizens? What about individual nutritional needs? Do any of them have diabetes or gluten allergies?”

“There were hiccups at first, but I worked them out.”

“How many people died from your hiccups?”

“I did the best I could with the information I had.”

“You murdered them.”

“I didn’t kill them. They were accidental deaths.”

“Preventable deaths because you decided to lock them up. What is worth it?”

“Do you know why this city for us means so much to me, Snugglesworth?”

“Doctor Snugglesworth. What justification do you have for this?”

“The mass murder of so many people over months. Supreme Court Justices, Ex-Presidents, Senators, Representatives, cops, soldiers, doctors, teachers, mothers, even famous children’s book authors. I don’t know when it really started, but someone has murdered millions and made it look like accidents and medical issues. I’ve noticed patterns. Someone targeted them, someone like your Unicorn Goddess friend. Maybe even her. I’m lucky she’s losing her powers or she would know about this.”

“You’re doing all of this because of some conspiracy theory?” Dr. Snugglesworth sounded like he couldn’t believe it.

“I’m doing this because we need to stand together, with our powers, against someone who would go around and kill us. Some of those who died were heroes, good men and women. Heroes have to protect ourselves, otherwise who will save the world?”

“From what? What protects the world from this?”

“I can see you’re getting emotional, doctor, but remember what happens if I let Agronomiser go. He knows what we’ve done. Are you going to go straight now and let him go? Give up your patents and your fortune? Your good name? You can do so much more good.”

“I never meant to have a cost to what I do. You say he knows, then when are you letting him out?”

“When he’s the sort of person who wouldn’t hold it against us and would understand why we had to do it.”

“Would you? Could you? Could you ever have your life stolen from you like this and then thank the person for doing it because it was supposedly for the greater good?!” Dr. Snugglesworth was mad. One might say the genius cat was purrturbed.

“What are you going to do, Snugglesworth?” Bill asked. There was a pleading to his voice. Or maybe it was an edge. Emotions were easier to read when I was omnipotent.

“I don’t know, Bill. But I can’t support this. You have to see what’s happened here… you let this conspiracy theory turn you into this. You were a good man. Flawed like all of us, but now you’re locking people up and killing them. You call that protection? You can’t be a hero and do this.”

I have to give Dr. Snugglesworth credit. I didn’t think he would make a stand like this when he lied to get me out of the way and cover this up. Now that he’s seen just what this all means, he’s rejecting it. I don’t know if he’s been neutered, but the cat’s got balls. Big balls. Of yarn.

“What does that mean about us, doctor? I shouldn’t let you go either, but I know you’re a hero. We’ve worked together. We both share the idea about Unique,” Bill said. Sounded weepy there. I can’t fault him for that. If someone’s got actual principles, this is a hard conversation. The fact that I didn’t kill him in the Culling meant he had them, at least then.

“I can’t support you anymore. It might hurt the Unique Project… but if you’ve done it right, it will survive you. It has to, otherwise how would we ever hold anyone accountable for what they do wrong?”

Bill Of Rights sighed. “I…. can’t let you do that.”

“What are you going to do about it, William?” Dr. Snugglesworth asked. The cat then snarled. “Let me go! Not the belly!”

“I can’t have you showing your ass, Snugglesworth,” Bill said.

“Doct-!” Dr. Snugglesworth started.

I figured this would be a good time for divine intervention, or whatever I count as nowadays.

I appeared in full Unicorn Woman regalia, portaling in to see Bill Of Rights in full, gaudy costume, while skinny robots held Dr. Snugglesworth and were trying to shove him into a cat carrier. “There’s no need to fear, Mary Sue is here!” I declared.

“Unicorn Goddess!” Bill Of Rights said. He pointed at me with a laser pointer. Dr. Snugglesworth tried to pounce on the dot but a couple of nearby alien turrets aimed at me. The robots grabbing the cat hero dropped him to turn toward me.

The turrets fired blue balls of energy at me. Smaller portals caught them and delivered them right back into the turrets, blowing them up. The first of the robots that approached, I gored with my horn. I threw that one over my head and hoof-kicked another one so hard, its head twisted around 360 degrees. Another one tried to stab me. Me! Like blades can just stab me. The forearm-length blade stopped at my chest because even swords fear me too much. Plus, stab-proof skin. Fireproof, too, though I swapped out the asbestos long ago.

I grabbed the blade and broke it off, then pushed it through that robot’s chest. I slammed that one into another robot, then a third, and a fourth until they were all smashed against a wall with enough force to thin them out and finally impale the third and fourth on the blade.

When I turned around, a door was opening and a line of more robots marched in, holding rifles. My horn glowed and sliced across at torso level, melting a line through them. Bill Of Rights ran up and tried to sock me in the jaw then. I caught it on the cheek. Rather than turn the other one, I glared at him, then headbutted his hand. He backed off, holding it. I turned and slammed him with one of my feathery wings that knocked him off-balance. I kicked back behind me and through a portal. The hoof connected with his back and sent him sprawling.

Bill Of Rights caught a claw across his cheek as he scrambled to stand. He grabbed Dr. Snugglesworth, the impotently squirming and scratching supercat, and moved his arm back to toss the cat. That’s when he caught sight of my fist. He was too late to block with Snugglesworth. He went down, hold loosening on the cat as his brain’s hold on consciousness also loosened. I sent in the nanomachines to make sure he wasn’t brain-damaged and to keep him unconscious. Meanwhile, Dr. Snugglesworth tried to bite his nose for a few seconds before giving up, leaving not a scratch on the superhero.

The cat turned to me. “Thank you for showing up. You were spying on us?”

I shrugged. “You were both acting pretty suspicious.”

The cat glanced down at Bill Of Rights. “It was the correct call. I am sorry. You were right, about all of it. This has led down a route I truly never expected.”

“We both know that old sayings are no substitute for data and scientific experimentation, but they contain a measure of accumulated cultural knowledge passed on through time,” I mentioned to him. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

The cat nodded. “Yes.” He padded toward the edge of the platform we were on, overlooking a bunch of clear plastic containers, just under twenty of which were filled with a green fluid and bodies floating in it. Despite what Bill said, they looked skinny and weak. Their muscles had atrophied from their time floating around not using them. Just releasing them would leave them in bad shape. “They’re going to need physical rehabilitation. I wonder how I provide for it without dumping them back into prison.”

“You don’t want to send them back?” I asked.

“They’ve been through hell. The way Bill talked, I don’t think he would ever have released them. They knew too much,” Dr. Snugglesworth said. He sighed. “I don’t like the thought of facing up to what I did. I realize that means I know it was wrong.”

“Yeah. Well, I can hardly talk about that. I know someone you should call about yourself. She might work something out for you.” I summoned a card with Medusa’s business number on it. “The Exemplars have resources to help with something like this.”

Dr. Snugglesworth took the card away from me with his mouth and dropped it to stare at the number. “If you don’t mind, I’ll have to call when I get back to my human suit. By the way, can you give me a lift? I can’t get William back on my own accord.”

With a wave of my hand, I sent Dr. Snugglesworth and the card back to Unique. William I kept with me, in temporary holding only. I flooded the mine prison with nanites to disable further defenses while giving Medusa a call to let her know. By the end of the day, the Exemplars were setting up an evacuation to get the prisoners to Radium for recovery and rehab.




Unique Problems 5



I took to the wild, dark skies. Lightning struck around me, burning one of the chili monsters. There weren’t many; I’d had nanomachines tear apart half the field and burned the other half. Enough seeds or enough of the smaller chilis had been buried, though. The water made them grow out of control. Titans walked the Earth once more in the town of Unique, Iowa. But even titanic peppers weren’t immune from death’s pregnant embrace. Because in this scenario, I’m death, and I’m like 8 months pregnant. At least being in my Unicorn Woman form didn’t have all that belly swinging around.

It has to do a pocket of folded space… don’t think about it too hard, it’s some physics stuff I learned as an omnipotent being. Mankind’s not prepared for the unified theory. Seriously, if I gave lasers to cavemen by bringing nanites, this would be like giving toddlers a nuke linked to a big red button.

Enough about that, I had chilis to destroy. I fired a laser from by horn that bisected, trisected and downright dissected one of the peppers that was bigger than King Kong. In the constant drizzle, the parts started to grow whole new bodies, so instead, I exploded it. Another one, I teleported into the sun. One that was bigger than Godzilla took a swipe at me. I was going to tank it anyway because I can, but it missed when purple bolts struck it and made it wince. Down at the ground was Dr. Snugglesmecha.

It was a bipedal walker mech with long, smoothly sharp metal claws, a pair of triangular ears on its big, round head, and a couple of energy weapons mounted on its shoulders. Dr. Snugglesworth, the genius superhero cat, piloted it from an armored core. The rain had fueled the growth of the genetically-monsterfied peppers out of his ability to do much more than annoy. Two of them were now focused on him and I wasn’t even sure he noticed the second.

I shrunk the second into a concentrated mass the size of a penny. Then, I wrangled a half dozen of capsaicin-carrying chilis large enough to rival King Ghidorah, all smushed together by a localized, discriminatory gravitational field. I converted some of the compressed pepper into antimatter and tossed it into the middle of the bunch, blowing all the rest to salsa.

Thing is, that kind of impressive shit took it out of me in ways it didn’t used to when being a goddess. Anyone watching wouldn’t know I was kinda running on empty at that point, and the subsequent teleporting of the rest hid my weakness. That part I could do with some amazing technology I’d already built that could teleport stuff anywhere from the Sun to Uranus. It can go further than Uranus, but I like the pun. Most of them just ended up in the sun. Of course, that didn’t leave me with much as far as fixing the weather. That honor went to Dr. Snugglesworth, who raced back down there to fix the damaged weather control device while I swept over the battle farm field, looking for anything weird like a Void Ghidorah-sized red hot chili pepper under the dirt.

After I was convinced we weren’t going to be killed by any killer cayenne, I descended to find the cat piecing together the weather control device, complete with a small arc welder and miniature welding mask. I scanned it as well but came up with nothing new to offer. He was on the right track. Some of the stuff that had been torn out were redundancies, but he was going to restore an important actuator that was key to distributing power to all the correct circuits and parts. I could have sped it up, but it gave me time to monitor the outside and try to recover my power. Another thing about not being a god is I can no longer eat stars. Instead, I grabbed some of these excellent chicken sandwiches from Pakistan.

I left one next to Dr. Snugglesworth for his benefit. “Pretty rough work,” I commented. I quickly added, “What they did to it.”

“Yeah,” he mewed at me. He put aside the welder, then reached over and tried a switch on the wall. It powered up. “It’s like they tore stuff out until it stopped working. Except they knew how to call in a storm. That was not today’s weather. I check the forecast every day.” A couple minutes later, the rain stopped and the clouds rushed away.

“Well, who all knows you have that here?” I asked. Then I thought to ask, “And who knows you have this base under the house, and who knows the significance of water to your crop?”

“There aren’t many,” Dr. Snugglesworth said, nibbling on his chicken sandwich. He moved the bun aside to chow down on the crispy breading. “The first person I should speak to is also one of the most important. He’s one of the leaders of this community. Not the one funding it. A lot of us put money in. My patents have made me a lot of money.”

“Makes it a bit harder for someone like Agronomiser to make money,” I pointed out.

Dr. Snugglesworth gave me a kitty scowl. “Agronomiser’s brilliant enough to find work at any lab that would take him.”

“Yeah, lots of places are lining up to risk their security clearances and funding by hiring infamous super felons,” I noted.

“Moot point. He’s a criminal who hasn’t stopped yet.” From the tone of his adorable voice, I think I hit a sore point on Dr. Snugglesworth. By stealing the work of others and incarcerating the people who really did it, he’s hurting a chance at livelihood outside of crime. Sure, some of us don’t stop even with money, but a lot of people are just looking for fame, recognition, and cash. And in the case of Long Life stealing my nanomachines, their lack of understanding of the underlying programming allowed me to go in and pull off some pretty scary shit. It took a few years of testing, trials, production, and distribution, but it was worth it.

Dr. Snugglesworth decided a trip to see that prominent citizen, who he said I’ve seen before: the jovial fellow in the shiny new truck. William Offwright. His superhero identity was not very well-hidden. We walked into an office seemingly carved out of one giant piece of oak and adorned with flags and patriotic memorabilia. A starred and striped mask sat on the desk next to his nameplate. “William Offwright – Bill Of Rights.” In one corner of the room was a display case with his gaudy costume, a silver eagle forming armor across a chest covered in stars, stripes running up the legs of pants that must be incredibly tight.

“Snugglesworth, and the Unicorn Goddess, my my!” He stood up, beaming, and gesturing me forward. He reached a hand out. “Nice to meet you at last. I hoped you’d be interested in our project here. You know, being a part of this would be a huge boon to us. We could even build you a temple if you’d like.”

He really laid it on thick, but Dr. Snugglesworth let out a noise like he was hacking up a hairball. Bill looked down at him, concerned. “Are you alright? Can I get you some water?”

“I was just clearing my throat, William. This isn’t a social call. As you know, the Unicorn has appeared at my farm a couple of times now. Perhaps you’ve heard there were problems with my efforts.”

“You told me the destruction of the first crop was necessary and the problems would be worked out in time for a second,” Bill said.

The cat shook its head. “That was a lie. You know it. I can smell the nightcrawler castings on your shoes. You were out at my house today and you sabotaged the weather control device.”

“Damn your cunning nose, Dr. Snugglesworth,”Bill said. He held up his hands. “I had to be sure all of the peppers would be destroyed. I know where you got them from. I was there! If anybody looked into them and found supervillain hanky-panky, it’d set the whole town back. I thought a town of superheroes could handle the resulting problem. Mel, I’m sorry. We’ll figure something out, but we can’t let it get out that you got rich off what you stole from supervillains.” Dr. Snugglesworth avoided looking at him after that last bit, probably shamed by the reminder that his livelihood very likely caused people to stay trapped in a life of crime.

Bill took a break, then focused on me. “You understand, right, Unicorn Goddess?”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“You’re a good woman and a hero. You understand. We all hide things and tell lies to maintain our cover. This is just like that. I mean, unless you inherited wealth, it’s damn hard to hold down a job and use our gifts to better the world.”

I was going to do a summation making it clear that I saw their theft, corruption, and willingness to risk innocent lives as no different than the supervillains they fight, but I decided to head back to the other reason we burst in here. “Where’s Agronomiser?”

“That’s right!” Dr. Snugglesworth backed me up. “You said you were taking him back to prison but he never went back to the prison he escaped from. I looked and there’s no official record of his recapture. What did you do to him?”

Bill opened his mouth, looking between myself and the cat, then said. “I don’t have to answer that. All you need to know is the world is safe.”

“That sounds like a murder,” I said. It wasn’t the biggest leap from what we knew. When people are disappeared and don’t show up for awhile, there are only so many potential fates. One of them is death. There are still women demonstrating in Argentina hoping to learn what happened to their loved ones who disappeared in a conflict that ended in 1983. And if I leverage the most extra thing Bill Of Rights did to Agronomiser, I figured he’d either give it away or he’d walk it back and tell me he “just” tortured him or something.

“It’s not a murder, nobody’s murdered!” Bill assured Dr. Snugglesworth and I. “But I’m not telling you. Take it from me by force.” He held his arms open wide.

“You want to take care of this one, Snugglesworth?” I asked.

“Doctor Snugglesworth,” the cat said. “I earned that degree. I will take care of this, Unicorn Woman.”

Yeah, I didn’t trust this shit. Instead, I shed some nanomachines with orders to hitch a ride and report back. I turned and walked through the door, and then through a portal back to my base. That was where I monitored them when Snugglesworth, figuring I was gone, said, “You’re right, William. I’m implicated in this, too. We will handle this internally, but we will handle this. Is Agronomiser alive at least?”

“Yes, Jesus, you think I’m some sort of murderer?” Bill answered. “I’ll even take you to him if you want.”

“Yes, you do that,” I muttered to myself. And then, just to sound badass to myself, I added, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”



Unique Problems 4



They let me stay. It took a lot of hard work, determination, and pointing out how many times I’ve saved the world. I mean, it’s right there in the secret town charter that villains need to also be given a chance and not thrown under the bus, plus I did fix both the people and things damaged in the recent pepper incident. There might also have been some sort of probationary conditions, like sharing my findings about the pepper analysis with the supers investigating on behalf of the town council.

Another condition of my probation was community service. And I like my home, so I agreed. My daughter should have friends and community, and so should my kid. They were actually willing to accept something easier on a pregnant woman, but I opted for something that would get things settled more quickly. There were a couple heroes on the city council. And so I ended up agreeing to work with one’s brother for some community service in a bit.

I guess I could have taken the offer from Unique, but I just didn’t trust it. There had to be something wrong with all those heroes together in one place. There would have to be some sort of supremacist plot or something. I went to investigate in the most obvious way: I turned into… Unicorn, I guess? I need a new name other than Unicorn Goddess since I gave up being a goddess. Let’s call me Unicorn for now. Or maybe Unicorn woman. Either way, teleported down to near Unique while in Unicorn form and flew over the fields. I found the house nearest to it and landed on the porch.

Unlike when I overused my powers, I remembered I could use nanomachines. I’m a genius, y’all. So I sent some of those in on a breeze to scout around. Someone was walking around, which meant getting his attention was as simple as a knock on the door. Someone called out, “Coming!”

I leaned against the doorframe as the inhabitant opened it. “How’d do do?” I asked.

He was just slightly taller than average and a little scrawny. “Can I help you?”

“Hey, I’m here to ask you a few questions about your pepper fields here. First off, fields full of peppers? You know how hard that’s going to be to go through and pick?”

“You’re the Unicorn Goddess, right? Do you have something to do with the FDA or something? Why are you here talking about my peppers?” He asked. He stopped and held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Mel. You might know me better as Dr. Snugglesworth.”

Dr. Snugglesworth is a super genius cat. I looked him up and down. “You look taller in-person. I’m dropping the Goddess thing nowadays, so you can just call me Unicorn. And I’m here because I was examining your peppers recently and found they are inhabited by monsters.”

Mel shook his head. “Whoa, this is a lot. You’re not a Goddess?”

“Don’t think about it too long,” I said. “Anything about the rest of that?”

“Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about monsters,” he said.

I teleported a pepper into one hand and a spray bottle of water into the other. I gave it a squirt and let him see as the pepper grew a mouth and began to roar. It grew in my hands, but I slammed it into so much salsa before it could get out of hand. “That seems to be the case with every single one of your peppers. Haven’t you noticed anything while watering them?”

“They’re desert plants. I don’t really water them,” he answered.

“You didn’t think it was odd that a domesticated species of plant didn’t require any water but still grew to ginormous sizes?” I asked. “Where did you get these seeds from?”

“I made them. I’m a genius! I decided to dabble in genetic modification of plants in order to alleviate food shortages.”

“And you went with peppers,” I pointed out. “Not potatoes or corn or wheat. What’s going to happen when a storm comes through? Come on, what’s going on here? Are you secretly a supervillain cat?”

Mel was nervous and sweating. “No. Listen, let me explain.”

I disappeared the crushed pepper into the sun and the water bottle back to my garden, replacing them with a notepad and pencil. I quietly repeated what he said as I wrote it down. “No. Listen, let me explain…”

“I didn’t know about the monsters or whatever you say is making them grow like that,” he admitted.

“How?” I asked. “If you designed them, how? What’d you take the DNA from?”

Mel shook his head. “I don’t know. This is technology I stole when we stopped a supervillain. He claimed to have a way to use food to take over the world, but then my team broke his jaw before he could admit it and now he’s in prison. I took all the stuff he built, filed some patents, made money off it. He only had it ready for peppers, but I figured once I had enough room to grow and test them, I could find something to extract and splice into other foods.”

I sent the notepad away and created an image of the creature I’d cloned, showing a sped-up version of its growth and the experiments. “The DNA spliced into those things makes this. Has anyone actually eaten any of them?”

Mel shook his head. “Not that I’m aware of. And they won’t now. There’s so much water in the human body. You have to help me destroy the entire field of peppers!”

“Done,” I said. I sent out a swarm of nanomachines to rot all of them on one side while I floated above the house and summoned a wall of flame that I pushed along the other side. Passerby gathered, including that shiny new truck from before. Mel ran out along the drive to meet the locals and assure them this was a good thing I was doing. It helped that I worked super fast. The speedster they were using didn’t even show up in time before I’d scorched the entire field to ruin. It was fun, too. Unleashing fire is just so great. Burn it all down!

I held in my laughter. It took quite a bit of power and restraint to hold myself back from enjoying the joy of the cleansing flames. As soon as I finished, I blinked over to floating over Mel and his buddies. “Alright, that’s taken care of. We should be good now.”

“What do you have against our town, lady?!” asked the guy who first gave me a ride to these very fields.

“Nothing,” I assured him. “It’s just there was an unlikely series of events that caused me to get involved in all this. It really is that simple sometime. There’s not even a huge, world-ending plot. Well, there almost was. Who’d you steal these peppers from?”

Cut to myself, as Unicorn, and Mel standing in the administrative offices of a prison in Florida. A tired fellow in worn but smart office wear sighed and gestured toward the aging computer monitor in front of him. “I’m telling you, he’s not here. He was never returned after he escaped. You say Agronomiser was caught a month ago?”

“Yes!” Mel said. “He was escaped six months ago and then was caught as part of a scheme to sell giant killer melons.”

“Really? My wife could use a pair of those,” the administrator said.

“Ha,” Mel responded. “I was informed he was going to be brought right back here.” He said it to me as much as to the guy in front of us. “They took him away and I looked around the lab. You know how that went,” he gestured to me.

“Well, whoever told you that was lying,” the administrator said. “We haven’t seen him since he escaped on the back of that Flying Spaghetti Squash Monster.”

Mel was clearly agitated as we left. I could tell this didn’t make sense to him. He turned to me. “By my calculations, you should have some form of omnipotence if you were at your thus-demonstrated power level.”

“Not anymore,” I told him.

“That makes this harder. Because the one who was with me, who assured me he was taking Agronomiser to back to prison, was Bill of Rights,” Mel said. “I don’t like the thought of confronting him, but I dislike the implications of this revelation even more. What did he do with Agronomiser? Is he dead? Is there a secret prison somewhere?”

Yes. I didn’t admit that to Mel, but I know of an actual secret prison under the Master Academy. There are also various governmental ones in different countries. Those had a disproportionate number of guards and administrators caught in the culling.

“Let me check one of the secret prisons out there real quick?” I blinked us back to his porch and was going to drop him off there, except we heard the thunder and saw the dark clouds the sun from view. The air was tense with a storm.

“It’s not supposed to storm today. Or every, over this farm,” Mel said. “I have one of the weather control devices they use in Florida.” Lightning flashed. Mel raced inside and toward a basement door. He hit a switch on the banister and the stairs turned into a slick slide that he dove down, coming up in a basement where I was already waiting thanks to the power of teleportation. What looked like a high tech directional buoy was sitting there, sparking, its guts torn open.

The thunder rolled and the lightning struck. “Another love grows cold on a sleepless night,” I muttered to myself. It wasn’t my fault the weather was singing.

Mel shook his head. “We need to be ready. There’s an excellent chance that-”

The bottom fell out. Even in the basement, we heard the loud pounding of a sudden outburst of water from the sky.

I decided to finish the thought. “…that a bunch smaller peppers fell and got mixed in with the dirt enough, or there were seeds in the dirt deep enough, that the fire and my other methods didn’t catch them.” I nodded.

The howling from outside confirmed the idea. “Did you have to use quite so many seeds?” I asked him.

“Did you have to give up the power of a god?” he asked me. Mel’s face contorted then and rose up along with a portion of his chest cavity. Inside sat a shiny grey and black cat glaring at me from behind a pair of small eyeglasses. Dr. Snugglesworth meowed at me.

I shrugged. “Come on, let’s see if kitty’s got claws. We’ve got some chili con carnage to stop.”