Tag Archives: Reindeer

Topsy Turf 5



I’m not just doing this out of contrarianism or a dislike of the exact circumstances Venus dumped me in. I actually feel pretty bad how much I’m neglecting just enjoying things with my family in a world where they’ve been given a happy ending; turns out I have professional masseuse training that Sam and Holly know all about. I’m neglecting people who love me and wanting to change their entire world, and I can tell they’ve noticed something. They’re worried. Sam’s a little hurt, even.

That’s why I suggested a day off before we make our move. The others took it. A day to relax before an intense operation. Let them gather up anything they need last minute, or just enjoy what they can of the world while we’ve got it. I think they truth serum has them pessimistic about our chances. I spent some of it with my neglected family.

I appreciate what Venus tried to do. She tried to give me the life she thought I wanted. Or that she thought that I thought that I wanted. Or that I thought that- I’m stopping this here. She tried to make a perfect world for us, where even a bunch of people I killed were brought back and given a second chance to be good people.

If I was the only problem, it worked against the notion that this whole thing is bound to fall apart on Venus. You know, except Max and Pestilentia were already back to the bad side of the law. Same for the Greens and the Reds. Venus messed with their heads to make them want to do good. Her idea of good failed.

Now, there’s Spinetingler and his daughter, Mindgame. She got caught hunting down Texas state officials involved in a shelter that was trafficking the kids for sex. The governor’s called out the Texas Rangers to hunt her down, which is going poorly for them. Mindgame can take over a person’s mind like it’s nothing. The Rangers investigated and claimed the sex abuse never happened. Other investigators looked at it and came to the opposite conclusion, probably because they actually talked to the kids in question. It’s a low bar, but Mindgame’s buried them under it.

The day after it was announced the governor was sending the Texas Rangers after her, video emerged of Mindgame leading the bunch of Rangers to a field where they all dug a big mass grave and beat each other to death with their shovels.

Spinetingler went in a different direction. The videos coming out of his haunted houses of people taking video of their journey turned into horror movies. People would go in expecting some out-of-season spooky fun. They got a bunch of scares tailored to their individual fears and secrets. It stopped being fun. For more and more, it stopped being survivable. The videos suggest a lot of people have literal skeletons in their closets.

The funny thing is they’re still following the spirit of Venus’s brainwashing. She wanted them to be law-abiding citizens and superheroes. Now, they’re more examples of what happens when someone interprets that the best thing to do involves going outside the law. And for others who require some restricted substances to live, they’re choosing to live rather than let the law kill them. I myself was able to pay someone to smuggle cocaine to Powder. Like, if a guy requires nuclear waste to survive, you can bet he’s breaking into places containing it.

With a little digging, I found it’s not just the former villains having that issue. Some of the forceably-reformed are doing well in their new lot in life. In contrast, some of the street-level superheroes are getting caught knocking heads. The problem with linking your moral concept of good to a system of justice and welfare is it won’t survive too well if that system is built badly. If she did what I think, Venus didn’t want to interfere too much with that. I think she had confidence that superheros could fix the problems themselves. All of that from a little online snooping.

Without my powers and with the less-refined algorithms I used, that “little digging” took me hours. I wanted the ammunition to try and convince Venus. It’ll probably fail anyway. She’s got power and an annoying tendency to think she’s right all the time. I’d wish we could give her anxiety, but sometimes the people who are the most anxious will press ahead anyway when they think they can make it work, just as stubborn as the ignorant ones.

Woops, think I got something that wasn’t truth serum on me while cleaning the armor. Nope, definitely not truth serum.

…Ok, so one potential back-up plan I have for when this fucks up is time travel. Don’t know if that means finding a time machine or someone who can run super fast. That’s why I stopped to ask Medusa as we gathered into my shop, “Hey, you know any speedsters?”

“You know any time travelers?” she asked back. She turned to offer help toward one of the ambulator mold slimes placing containers of Truth Serum around before stopping herself. “Feels weird without my team here. None of them know her, really.”

“I don’t know her either,” Pestilentia said. “Can I leave?”

“We need you here because you’re the closest to her power level,” Max explained.

“So I’m the ‘oh shit’ button,” Pestilentia confirmed.

“Do we need to stand any special way?” Max asked.

Medusa and I both shook our heads. Medusa answered, “She’ll listen when we pray.”

“You have to pray to your wife?” Max asked me, ever-present smile growing wider.

I raised my eyebrows and gestured with my head toward Max’s girlfriend, the goddess of decay and disease. He shrugged.

“Are we ready?” Medusa asked. Nods answered her all the way around.

“How does praying work?” Max asked.

“Oh Venus, goddess of boners,” I started. “Also, my wife. We would like a chat with you. That’s myself, and also Medusa-”

“Leave me out of the prayer, please,” Medusa interrupted.

“Me too.”

“Uh huh.”

“I would like to talk to you then all by myself,” I said. “As the baby momma of your demigod spawn, I desire an audience.”

I waited.

“Last time, she responded a lot more quickly than-”

Suddenly, we were all standing in the courtyard of Master Academy, which had seen some better days.

“Shit’s on fire, yo,” Max said, pointing to a burning building.

While he was checking out the pretty flames, I noticed the fight going on nearby. Venus was in a beam war with some device that looked like a crystal ball held by an evil time traveler known as The Torian. She occasionally shot eye blasts at a speedster who tried to rush her. I didn’t recognize the speedster. There was also a glowing, flying coffin-shaped mechanical being with what looked like a humanoid robot torso hanging off it, also trying to blast Venus. The blast stopped before it touched her, but it was slipping.

“Can you help?!” Venus called out to us. Her head spun around behind her to blast the speedster.

“Hold up!” I said, raising my arms. “What’s going on?!”

“It has to be this way!” Torian yelled above the fray. “With her powers, she’s too great a threat to the timeline. She threatens to tear reality apart with her constant changes! I have to entrap her powers.”

Constant reality changes? I didn’t notice any of those. This all got way way more hectic since we left my pet shop back in Radium.

The speedster stopped by us, panting. He wore a white and blue costume. “Listen, I know this is confusing, and I don’t know what you’re doing here, but I’m from the future. I’m trying to help my mother-in-law, but she’s not listening.”

Waaaaaait a minute there… “She’s your mother-in-law?”

“Yeah, I came from the future using a speed-activated temporal anomaly inducer,” he pointed to what I thought was a harness on his costume. Then he pulled out a disk with some wires and a couple small lightbulbs on it. “I can displace her in time and give us time to talk it over. “

“We are-” the robot started to say.

“Enough!” I shouted. “Everyone stop! That means Torian, super speedy flashy guy, and you, alien machine god-thingy. Everyone calm your tits!”

And amazingly, they did.

I took my helmet off and walked up to Venus, maneuvering to stand between her and Torian. I actually had an idea for the speedster to take Torian back in time to steal the powers from me just before Venus got them, but that’s not what I was going to go with. Instead, I hugged my wife. “Hon, I think we need to talk and try to do better.”

I could hear the booing already. Max was upset he didn’t get to start a fight. He had a water bottle with a squirter ready, too. Instead, I hugged one of my favorite squirters, Isabella. I whispered to her, “You messed up, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the world.” Then I raised my voice, “And you don’t need to be beat up or zapped or whatever that thing was going to do,” I pointed to the freaky flying automaton, “over a mistake.”

Venus quietly cried, but stayed wary of the situation. I saw her concentrate on me, probably reading the plan I came up with in favor of the plan I’d had to talk to her.

Medusa also came up and hugged her, covering another area someone might come at us.

“I thought you brought me to fight,” Pestilentia muttered.

“I brought you in case of a fight. Can we just all calm down and talk? This isn’t a monster… this is my wife, Isabella. And not too long ago, she tried to get people to give me a chance instead of trying to kill me all the time.”

“She’s me,” Medusa added. “My sister now, but she’s just a younger me from a past timeline. Any mistakes she makes is one I’d have made in her place. If any of you want proof she can grow and change, I’m it.”

“She’s my friend’s wife!” Max announced. He stopped, not adding onto it, then started toward Venus with arms outstretched in the silence.

Pestilentia grabbed him by the collar. “Touching, but you don’t know her that well, remember?”

“I thought we were all doing it, “ Max explained.

“Wow… so you’re Qiang’s mom,” the speedster said, eyes fixed on me and mouth agape. “She’s told me so much about you. You really are a hero.”

If I’d had laser eyes, that speedster would have been dead in a flash.

The ground rumbled before I could come up with some pithy comment. A huge skeleton clawed its way free of the earth, eyes glowing green. “You will pay, Venus, for what you did to us!” It managed to free half of itself, a bony torso with a few scraps of viscera clinging to it, twice the size of anyone else there.

“It’s Spinetingler,” Venus whispered.

“Calm, Spiney. It’s Gecko, by the way. We talked her down. We’re going to resolve this without fighting. And back in the real reality, you and I had an arrangement about staying out of each others’ business.”

The skeleton sighed. “You better be sure about this, Gecko. But if anyone has a plan to kill a god, it would be you.”

If he only knew.

“That’s boring. I wanted to punch someone,” Mindgame said. The pale, wild-haired young woman climbed out of the hole as well, brushing dirt off her black tank top and pants.

“Are you a god?” I asked.

“No,” Mindgame said, causing the skeletal form her dad had taken to facepalm.

“Remember what we went over, sweety,” growled the skeleton. “When someone asks if you’re a god, you say yes!”

“I’m not going to use that line just because it worked on mom,” Mindgame whined. Though she turned and looked me over. “But if you’re real nice, I’ll be your goddess.”

I felt Venus sprout extra arms to wrap around me. Mindgame held up her hands. “Jesus, I’ll back off.”




Topsy Turf 4



My actions to rile up Medusa worked wonderfully. She’s pissed, and went public with accusations against former President Asshat. With a little more push, she’ll cross that line, and I have just the push lined up. But I wanted to let that one marinate. Some things can’t be rushed. Asshat hasn’t released a taunting statement yet. He will.

So first, I had an appointment. I remember my old friend Mix N’Max as setting up pop-up pharmacies to serve the disadvantaged, but he got shut down shortly after Venus’s change to reality. It’s one thing to give him those pharmacies as a backstory, but he doesn’t actually have any licensing or degrees. Not letting anyone give people any weird bottle of liquid and telling them it’s medicine is actually one of those things I agree with, so I can’t entirely fault them. The exception is that Max can feed someone a shit sandwich and make it somehow give them perfect health. He’s been working his pharmaceutical magic on the run from the law. Half the job’s done for me. I took the Flyer to Los Angeles, where he’s been staying one step ahead of everything along with the help of Sporea.

I looked her up. Pestilentia was an incredibly-powerful super, on the level of a god, trapped in the Madstone. She held power over fungi, bacteria, and viruses. We eventually came to an understanding when I made her incapable of harming me in exchange for not killing her. That might have been wiped away by Venus changing reality. I put that risk out of mind on my way to see her in this reality, where she’s known as Sporea. She helps Max, she helps regrow forests, and she’s done some work in agriculture. She sounded like a Green before the remains of the gang attempted a massive attack on Empyreal City.

I figured my knowledge of Max would give me some sort of edge over the cops in finding him. Plus, he probably wanted me to find him more than he wanted them to. It’s too bad the villain bars were all wiped out in the Big Change.

When I got close, I tapped into the police band. They didn’t have anything on him. Too busy dealing with some climate protesters. I was going to put in a call and withdraw the cops back to the precinct, but then I realized an easy way to find someone offering illegal medical care. I didn’t even have to tell them to get beat-y on the protesters; they did that on their own.

I watched it all happen from behind the ship’s cloak, scraping social media related to the protest and some of the groups involved, then getting into the Discords. A throwaway account got promoted in a bunch of them, giving a location and a time for “doctor care”. The address wasn’t a doctor’s office. The feds could infiltrate easily, but by the time they get to it, everyone will be gone.

It was a homeless encampment. I set the Flyer to hover over it and checked for any presents, like MREs or anything. The most I could bring to the party was the Flyer’s First Aid kit. I deployed down the trapdoor using the rope and held up the kit. “Hey, where I can drop this off?”

“You a cop?” the guy asked, looking up at the nothing I appeared out of.

I gestured to the power armor I wore. “I’m a supervillain. Heard a friend might be here, but didn’t want to arrive empty-handed.

“Hey Johnny, show this weirdo to Max,” the homeless guy said to a teenager. The young boy nodded and waved me over as he started leading me. We ended up at a pavilion made of tarp and tent that was crowded. I saw it, and then I saw the woman pointing a bow and arrow right at me.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“Easy, Sporea. I mean no harm to you. I need to speak with you and your boyfriend. I have some crazy shit to say,” I told her.

“Why should I trust you?” she asked. She looked at my hands. “That’s cute.”

I set it down and kicked it over to her. “If I’d realized what I was walking into, I’d have stopped for a bunch of burgers, first.”

Max stepped out of the pavilion and looked at me. “Hey Gecko!”

“Hey Max… wait, you know it’s me?!” I cocked my head to the side.

“Yeah dude,” he jogged up. “I was hoping you’d know what’s going on.”

We hugged. “I’ll explain. How do you know something’s up?”

Max shrugged. “We took a dose of truth serum, meant to show us the truth. It showed me that the world wasn’t right. It had been changed. My darling Clara isn’t a hero named Sporea. Other villains had been changed and altered. Some people were back from the dead. Things weren’t right. It also said George R. R. Martin’s never going to get off his ass and finish A Song of Ice and Fire.”

I nodded. “It’s true. It’ll probably only get released posthumously. Holy crap, I’m glad you guys figured this shit up.”

“Hey, you got any of those nanomachines of yours?” he asked. I called them out of my armor in a shimmery wave. “Awesome, let’s hurry up before the cops arrive.”

“I got a getaway vehicle for us,” I said.

Now that was easy recruiting. After we saw to a bunch of the homeless and injured protesters, we packed it in and I brought them back to my place. I wish Radium wasn’t so far from everything worth doing. It gave me plenty of time to explain what happened and the changes I know Venus had made to reality. She didn’t change that the base under my store is a good hideaway.

Meanwhile, the stain on humanity of a former President had made a speech instead of laying down in a grave and rotting somewhere. I preferred him dead. He “denied” doing anything to the Exemplars by claiming it was a Deep State conspiracy cooked up by “Slutty Medusa” and that he thinks very fine people should stop what the Exemplars do.

The next part of my plan called for killing him. It wasn’t necessary now that I knew Max had some truth serum, but I would feel a lot better. Besides, “I need to make some. It takes a couple days to cook all the lysergic acid diethylamide for it. A gallon goes into each does of serum.” I groaned and pointed him to the fabricators and nanomachines. “Also, don’t forget there’s fast food not far, just try not to draw too much attention, ok?”

I stopped Pestilentia as she was headed into the base. “Also, you take care. I know we haven’t seen eye to eye, but right now you’re the most powerful person that can fix what’s going on.

So I had to wait long enough for Max to cook plenty of truth serum until, at last, the day arrived. It was like another day after I got Max to my base, but I’m impatient. I was forgetting stuff more and more. The bad times, sure, but also some fun times back in the other reality. When I thought back to my childhood, I was a bitchy cheerleader. I studied veterinary science and engineering in college and developed a Ritalin addiction until my girlfriend helped me out of it. I had time to ponder the changes while building something to aerosolize the serum.

I flew in from Radium, and boy were my arms tired. I spoofed a burner number and sent Medusa a warning that someone was going to assassinate the skidmark on humanity’s underwear of an ex-President. I knew she’d get there quick. I was counting on it. I didn’t even drop down until I saw the Exemplar Flyers pull up and drop a couple squads on the property. Then I joined them, landing in the valet parking section without a rope. I turned to a young valet who fell back and started running down the drive.

“Smart kid, he’s got a future,” I said. I wasn’t cloaked, just my Flyer. I went in. I wanted them to find me. And, as if President Shitstain felt the same about me, I saw a big sign saying he was speaking in the ballroom.

The crowd was anemic. There were few of them, and they looked blood-deprivedly pale. The Ex-President was on stage, arguing with the Exemplars, yelling, “Put this on Twitter! Let everyone see, they can’t do this!”

“Listen, Hitler Two: Electric Boogaloo,” Medusa said, pointing a finger at him. “There’s been a credible threat made about your life, and I should stop it.”

“That’d be me,” I said, raising a hand. A bunch of guns turned on me at once, including one guy in the crowd who tried to pull a concealed peace out from under the folds of his stomach. I grabbed it and kept it pointed down at his abdominal holster. “Nobody move, or someone’s gaining a higher pitch.”

“What?” asked my hostage.

“Shush, thinking isn’t your strong suit,” I told him. I turned to the crowd and checked out all the smartphones up getting video. “Good, glad we’re all gathered here. Max, now, please.”

Max responded from the Flyer radio, “It’s done. It’s dropping really slow.”

“That’s unfortunate,” I said, not letting on that I could see the trio of Exemplar soldiers easing up on me with rifles drawn. One almost got the barrel right up to my head when I ducked under it and dove past him. I stopped low and kicked back at his knee. His friends turned to me and tried to fire on the holographic double of mine that ran for the door. It disappeared after a few steps, but my fist appearing in one’s face appeared and cracked his visor when I sent him to the floor. I grabbed the rifle and smacked another of the tree across the head. Loosing my grip on that gun, I grabbed his and broke it over my knee. By now, the first one I’d kicked recovered and turned to me. I deflected the barrel in time for him to miss and punch a fist-sized hole through the wall and a marble statue of the ex-President that pretended the guy had a Greek hero’s bodytype. I pulled the gun out of that guy’s grip and tossed it over my shoulder before kicking the guy hard enough to cause a crater in the wall nearby.

That trio dealt with, I just had another seven soldiers and Medusa to deal with. She came charging up first, wearing black and yellow power armor. The helmet was fitting for her namesake, with a mask that resembled an angry woman and a trio of metal snakes along each side. I caught a punch of hers, then took a knee to the body. I deflected the next punch and hooked her knee. The snake heads glowed and I ducked under six small ruby lances of coherent energy, having to let her go.

“Nice,” I said, rolling to the side. She was there, nearly kicking me in the head, when I arose. Seeing her helmet, I thought to radio up to Max, “Hey, does this stuff penetrate armor?”

“It can get into anything with air circulation,” he answered.

I dodged one way and a hologram dodged another. Medusa happened to guess right, nearly stomping on my ankle. She was really going after me here. Time to go on the offensive. I overlaid a hologram on myself. She tried to block a punch that didn’t happen when I booted her in the belly. She rolled up to her feet, smacking a metal chair over. She grabbed it, and I remembered a sparring session before the change and before my godhood where she stuck one of those through me.

Above and around us, flesh-colored fog drifted out of the vents. It was then or never.

I directed energy into the gauntlets of the armor, forming a glowing projection of potential energy around the gloves. She raised the chair to shield the left I threw and it was bent and thrown away easily. She rolled into a capoeira kick that caught me upside the helmet and came up, giving me a power armor double axe handle to the chest. She kicked the back of my knee.

“Wait!” I yelled. I raised my left hand slowly to unlock my helmet and pull it off.

“Delilah?” Medusa asked, lowering her guard. She took my right to the helmet, cracking that face mask. I quickly pulled my helmet on and went invisible, sealing the suit to the environment once more before the truth serum could engulf me. I totally wasn’t worried what truths I might see.

I don’t know what I was worried about, other than maybe that Medusa did a lot better against me than I preferred. But then, I’m only human.

“What are you doing?” Medusa asked, coming up to me and putting her hands on my shoulders. “Baby, what is this?” She coughed as the gas seeped in.

“Don’t worry,” I told her. “You’ll see the truth soon enough.”

I sounded like a fucking cult leader or religious terrorist.

“Oh god, I’m a narcissistic sociopath who drifted through life on fortune and accolades handed to me by people invested in the lie that being rich made me special! And I really hate Black people and Jews!” yelled ex-President. “Nobody should listen to. In any room I walk into, I know the least. My election was entirely because I was a racist elected after a Black man!”

Even if I hadn’t gotten it all on video, his fans did as well. I stuck around to get plenty of footage to upload, then helped carry out Medusa, whispering to her, “What is reality? Who are you? Who am I?”

“You’re Delilah Gecko…” she said. “You’re… a reformed villain.”

I heard Max snicker and asked, “Uh, is this channel still open?”

“Yeah,” he answered.

“Stop laughing, you clearly fucked up.”

“I see the truth. Isabella shouldn’t be a goddess. She took the powers from you and she messed up, didn’t she?” Medusa looked back at the guy on the stage. “I can’t believe she brought him back. You know I’m not like that anymore, right?”

“Of course I do,” I told her. “Seems everything but that reformed villain part came through nice and clear.”

“Ass,” Medusa said.

“Also, cool costume,” I complimented her.

“Thanks, I kicked your ass with it,” she said.

Max laughed again.

“That’s two lies, Max. Might have to go back to formula,” I told him.

And that’s how I brought Medusa, Pestilentia, and Max into the anti-Venus conspiracy. I don’t even think I need the others at this point. The squads Medusa took with her are also in on it, but I doubt they’ll help much. And as for the ex-President, his credibility’s shot to hell and back now that he got caught telling the truth about himself. I managed to drive a wedge between Medusa and the devotion to the law that Venus forced on her without killing him and framing it on Medusa, who happened to be present.

Doesn’t mean I’m some sort of former villain at all. I could murder him if I want to. It just didn’t serve a purpose like that.



Topsy Turf 3



Venus dropped me off at home after the family visit with a hug, appearing on my lawn. The flamingo was a simple flamingo. The lawn gnome riding a dinosaur was a simple lawn gnome riding a dinosaur. She hugged my shoulders and kissed my tender cheeks and told me, “See? I made the world better. Just like you made the world better for Qiang.”

There was something I didn’t trust about the way she looked at me. That put me off. That’s my wife, and I love her. In spite of all of this, I do love her. She’s just stubborn, thinks she’s right about everything, and puts way too much trust in the justice system. Along with the reality warping powers she stole from me that she used to change the world. But I think we can make it work.

I didn’t say anything, proud as I am. Just let her teleport out. But also, she’s objectively wrong. She erased what fragmented memories I had of my parents so she could substitute this other couple. I never tried to erase what my daughter remembered, just claimed to be someone she couldn’t. And while I’m willing to admit some of how I treated her is a bit shady, Venus is supposed to be the moral one between us. Also, I altered Qiang’s genes for my own vanity’s sake. She was my daughter before that, and she’s my daughter now.

That’s what Mom and Dad seem to think of me, but they don’t know any better. This wasn’t a choice, this was a lie of reality. And so I went inside, saw to my motherly, domestic duties, and checked on the progress of my villainous power armor and nanomachines, while doublechecking my list. I want Medusa, Spinetingler, and Pestilentia. Maybe I should see if Human Sloth wants to be a part of this. He’s supposedly a good guy.

Yeah, that’s what I thought of the parents, too. Then Venus showed up. Maybe this is foolish. I’ve beaten Venus before. She beat me, too. She changed me, before she became a god.

Fine. Improvise, adapt, overcome, eradicate, and evolve. And build a bomb.

Even without my homo machina abilities, I still had ways of tracking down the elusive Medusa, my girlfriend, the older version of Venus who had chilled out in some ways even as she cooled me off. The Exemplars don’t advertise their base in this timeline, but I knew because I guess I’d been invited to stuff as Medusa’s long-time girlfriend in this timeline, and fiance. The Office of Superhuman Resources hates it, same as in the real reality.

I’d vindicate them, but it’d be much more effective to pin the blame on someone who already hates them but won’t be touched normally. I settled on, holy shit, she brought back one of the Presidents I killed as a guy who lost an election. The whining alone shows that wasn’t a good idea. On top of that, he’s putting out a bunch of BS about supers being dangerous. It’s a whole thing they’re onto now. Tweet after tweet from his vapid supporters claiming that having any sort of superpower gives people an innate advantage. They use Master Academy taking in orphans and training young supers as evidence that supers want to recruit people’s children into dangerous lifestyles.

I hate him. Perfect fellow to frame.

I called up Medusa, “Hey dear, it’s been a little bit.”

“What’s up?” she asked. I heard gunfire behind her.

“Sounds like someone’s having fun,” I said.

“Yeah…” she didn’t sound happy. “Can’t talk about it, but we’re on coyote duty. Waste of time and resources if you ask me.”

Ah, border smugglers. Medusa actually helped get people across humanely in the real world. Now, because Venus is still wedded to the idea of heroes helping law enforcement all the time, she’s helping round up immigrants and refugees. “Ok. I was just thinking about you and wanting to do dinner. We can talk about plans later if you want.”

“Yeah, we should. This guy in charge of this, Caulfield, is totally anal about anything like this. He might think I don’t heart the idea of beating up people looking for a better life. One of these guys we’re arresting is still wearing his army uniform. His U.S. Army uniform.”

Oh right, a weird consequence of Venus letting that one President live was the United States deporting immigrant veterans.

As a side benefit of being a Shieldwall Reservist, I get some degree of access to their teleporter systems. Still don’t trust the things though. I plugged the reservist watch (which decoder function) into my computer and set to work masking the identification signautre. Couldn’t bypass that it all goes through Shieldwall HQ, but the armor helps with that.

The armor couldn’t just be the same ol’, same ol’ either. I finished an independent power source for it. It took a bit of programming to make the fresh suit compatible with the nanomachines and better able to handle the task of camouflaging without my brain’s direct interface stepping in.

I worked all day and night on it, but I still found time to send Qiang off to school. She was offered to me as an incentive when I was selling Dimensional Bomb technology by some people who did not get what they wanted and did not mean it as a family thing. Times like that make me glad to be an asshole who enforces an agreement even to the detriment of the other party. But she’s my kid. I paused long enough to reflect that Venus touched a nerve before I slipped into my armor, activated Invisible Mode, and teleported to Shieldwall Headquarters.

I stepped out of the teleporter tube. It was a big room, able to hold meetings in, with the teleporters and their equipment against one wall. A control station was in the middle of the room. I had memores of people setting up a small stage on it when necessary. Someone was manning the station, a cyborg of some sort. With my memories, I knew him as Cyber-Eye or something? He looked at the teleporter tube, then at the computers. I hopped over and landed behind him, skidding to a stop because the damn floor was painted concrete. World-spanning transporter system, but nobody’s putting up money for carpet or carpet-cleaning.

Cyber-Eye turned toward the direction of the skidding, reaching up to keep his fedora on. Smaller metal hands opened up his trenchcoat, with one pair of tiny hands holding a blackjack and another wielding a short-muzzled .38 revolver. I saw the lens that replaced one of his eyes adjust as he saw me, then adjust again in fear when I lunged at him. I stopped myself bouncing his face off the console, since I need to type stuff out now. Instead, I swept his legs out from under him and tossed him on the hard floor. Then I yanked him up by his metal right arm, swinging him in an arc to smack the floor again.

I stepped over to the computer and found where his signal showed up in the teleporter hub. A few button presses later and I sent him safely on his way to a new home: Death Valley. I figured he’d be fine, and that was good enough for me to strand him. Then I added some new coordinate to this amazing machine. I finished it off by tapping the chest of my armor. “Gecko to Engineering, one to beam-”

I got the timing wrong.

“-up.” I finished as I appeared in the Exemplar base, a quiet office building in Hagerstown, Maryland. Alarms went up. Someone must have an alarm about that sort of thing. And I was in an some off-white corridor like in a really boring office. They broke up the plainness of it all with motivational posters. One featured a young hero, maybe a sidekick, hanging from a rope on the side of a building, with the words, “Hang in there!” underneath.

If this is Venus’s vision of what to do with her future self/older sister, then I detect resentment. I prepared to throw people through walls when someone rounded a corner. A guard, or perhaps soldier, in black Exemplar armor raised a boxy rifle. The barrel was wide enough to launch grenades, and my memories told me that there were plenty of guns designed to disprove the concept of “bullet proof” still. The thought crossed my mind that this was an odd thing for Venus to include in her perfect world.

The guard swept that gun across the hall, then advanced. Another guard followed, similar gun and armor. Both moved past me as I stepped to the side. They paused at one point and I looked them over, checking for wallets and other mementos. I ended up following them through a door, down another hallway, and into a room swarming with people. “We’re clear between here and the restrooms!”

“Thank you, gentlemen, for securing the crappers,” said a guy with some stunning red hair. It was a really sexy ginger color. Just an amazing color. Shit happens, I guess. I ordered the nanomachines to flow out low and eat their way through everything that isn’t a person. I grit my teeth, thinking back to how I’d have killed them all in a mess of shimmery nanite tentacles at one time. I imagined the screams. Someone bumped into me, the invisible person, from behind. I turned and got a hand over his mouth just after he let out the start of a scream. More started up when others noticed.

I doubled him over with a punch while nanites dissolved his clothes. The guards I followed in turned to me, but their guns fell apart in their hands. Their armor fell away. For my own viewing pleasure, the redhead’s clothes fell away, too. I tried to spy on him while kicking knocking out someone trying to flee out of this command center. Next thing I knew, the redhead was in front of me, throwing a punch at my helmet. He grabbed his broken hand, gritting his teeth. “What are you?”

“I’m here to make this country great again,” I said, as an implication of the person I’m framing for being behind the attack. Felt disgusting to phrase it that way, but it was true in a different sense. Still, I lost the smug smile under my helmet thinking back to my argument with Venus and her dig about me wanting to go back to a status quo. “You should look me up when I’m not on duty. But for now, I have a large bomb here.”

I tossed that guy through the remains if the door and down the corridor. He’d survive. I sent a new signal to the nanites. Most were recalled to my armor while the rest planted a bomb. The digital timer said ten minutes. The actual timer was set for five.

I teleported back out of there, stopping off at Shieldwall and stormed over to the computer. No one had noticed anything wrong yet. It gave me plenty of time to mess around with the computer, altering the records, before dropping a grenade on the console. I made damn sure it was done teleporting me before the device blew up, leaving a lovely little trail that should drive Medusa to take revenge on a politician who the law refused to arrest and try even as he now attacks the government again.

Elegant. Simple. Can’t wait to find out how I fucked it up while I’m recruiting someone else.



Topsy Turf 2



The Reds got into it with the heroes again. I didn’t get called out for that one, so I guess they felt they had it. It had something to do with the Reds giving away food and providing some basic health check-ups on the street. They didn’t have a permit for the first part or all the certifications for the second part, and there was some question of where they got the drugs. Because just like the Greens were brainwashed to be good and that still meant protecting the environment, the Reds apparently actually believe in helping regular-ass people and sabotaging corporate oligarchs. They stole drugs and medical equipment and their doctors weren’t certified.

The cops and some of the heroes ended up being super rough with a bunch of homeless and poor people. Some of the supers performing some police brutality were ones who had been turned “good” by Venus; others were people who’d already been heroes.

If there’s one positive thing Medusa took away from her interactions with me, it was to fuck the police. In this altered reality, Venus made her work for the Office of Superhuman Resources, with the Exemplars being her special operations team. As a mere human, I had to look all this up or write code to scrape the internet for news on some of the people I’m looking up. It gave me something to do while the fabricator constructed additional nanomachines for my use.

For all I knew, Venus saw everything I was doing. Part of the problem with materials and powers that block godly omniscience is I didn’t even find out how to build the things. I’m hoping she’s overwhelmed or actually believes in giving me enough autonomy that she’s standing off. Dealing with full-on reality warping was a lot easier when I was one.

I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the monitor. I hadn’t thought about my physical appearance much. I’d been more weirded out by the fact that I’ve had sex with Dame before, and now she’s my sister. Now, I know how twin fantasies work. Been there myself. Just I have a whole lifetime of memories with her as my twin sister, super close, and also memories from the real timeline where I made her scream and cling to the comforter.

I’m morbidly curious how she wrote other relationships of mine. Oh wow, I think I had a pregnancy scare with Mix N’Max. Ok, I’m actually kind of glad she wrote back out me giving North Korea’s top military minds blowjobs. If I get out of this, I might keep that change. Whoa, and Beetrice, the bee queen, is my college girlfriend. I went to college?

I pushed the distractions aside. Medusa was first priority as an ally. Second and third would be Spinetingler and Pestilentia. I think Spinetingler’s reality-warping is stronger, even if he doesn’t understand it as being that exactly. I tried to remember if I had any past with him. Nope, but she and I were friends going back to high school, where we were pretty popular. Ugh. I’m over following the lives of high school supers. It gets creepy being that focused on the lives and drama of teenagers, and really over-inflates the importance of high school to the rest of someone’s life. Though the memory of seeing Venus as a rival cheerleader on the other side of the football field is kind of nice. I hated her and crushed on her all at once.

Ah, but if she went to a regular high school… yeah, I remember now. She has parents in this version of things! Before, Venus ended up with Master Academy because she was an orphan. Now, she had a family. I guess she kept the name and gave herself powers anyway, without Master Academy focus-testing stuff.

Holy crap, some high school drama gave me useful information. I have to talk to those parents. Holy crap, they’re my in-laws. I can even remember them from the wedding. I have their phone number! They’re going on the list of people to get on my side. If they’re good people, and I doubt Venus made them assholes, they will hopefully agree with me about Venus not doing all this to the world. That actually bumped them way up my list of priorities.

I didn’t need the armor for this meeting. But I needed to grab a bag and put some flying time in. I left behind some dinner for the family and a note informing them I had to go handle something epic. Despite not being a villain, I still have both the base under my store and a flying machine. There were a lot fewer weapons on it now that it was supposedly built for a hero. Flying was a little sloppier without the innate connection that came from connecting to it with my mind and using it like a piece of my body.

It took hours before I landed in New York, in the driveway of a nice house in the suburbs. It was a quiet place, with enough land and walls to give the parents of two famous superheroes some privacy. It didn’t make a lot of sense in this version of the world, where there weren’t supervillains. I knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” I heard a guy’s voice call out. “Oh, Delilah!” My father-in-law opened the door and hugged me.

“Hey John,” I said. “We really need to talk about your daughter.”

“Come on in,” he waved me in. “Is it about Maia? I don’t agree with polygamy, but you’re very special to both of my girls.”

“I meant Isabella, actually… is she around, by chance?” I asked. My father-in-law walked around and led me into the living room to take a seat. He had the NFL Network muted on his TV.

“Not right now, but I’m sure she would come if you wanted,” he answered. “Sofia! Delilah’s here!”

My mother-in-law looked out from the kitchen. It smelled lovely in there. “Hi dear!”

“Hey Sofia,” I waved back.

“Don’t you be formal with me young lady,” she said.

My memories told me she always hated me calling her that. “Mama Sofia.”

She came out and hugged me. “What are you doing here?”

“I just wanted to talk about Isabella. And you both, actually. I think we better all sit down first.”

We took a seat. A memory popped up in my head, one from this new timeline. I bullied and pranked Isabella for the first couple years of high school. Then things turned around for us and I was stopping by their house to pick Isabella up for prom. John had been cleaning a shotgun.

I cleared my throat. “Ok, so this whole timeline has been altered, significantly. You know, with how Isabella has her powers… her control over reality is big. She’s made some huge changes, and I think she’s lost her way.”

“What do you mean?” John asked.

“Did she do something?” Sofia questioned.

“She did a lot of somethings. She brainwashed people. And it might sound like it’s for a greater good, but she doesn’t realize the violation. And she doesn’t realize it’s not going to stick.”

“What do you mean? Brainwashing?” Sofia asked.

“A lot of people that you know as heroes aren’t heroes. She twisted their minds. Like those gangs in New York. She turned them into her idea of good, tried to make them cooperate with the law and all. And it was the law that started bashing heads in. But I don’t think you can just go in and change a person’s brain like that.”

“That’s… no, she wouldn’t,” John said. “What’s going on?”

“I wasn’t a superhero,” I admitted to them. “I was a supervillain. I didn’t go to high school with her. I never bullied her. Well, I kinda did, but it was all in very different context. I was her enemy, and I had my reasons for my life. But in spite of that, we fell caught feelings. We fell in love. It was a journey we both went through and it changed us, but then time travel and this power interrupted it. She changed my life and my body. I was pregnant before she changed it. I was pregnant and she altered my body.”

Sofia was shaking her head, starting to tear up. John was holding her. I was upsetting them, but I had to press it like that. I needed them upset and questioning. I’m still pregnant in this version of events, but it hits people hard to hear that someone messed with a pregnant woman’s body.

“Why are you telling us all this?” John asked. “You’re upsetting my wife.”

“You two are one of the changes. In the original timeline, Isabella was an orphan. You died a long time ago.”

Lightning flashed. Isabella appeared, more like Venus, dressed in regular clothes but with a glow that blinded me. She grabbed me before I could say anything else and we left there, instead appearing in a bare, black space. “How dare you?!”

“How dare you?!” I threw back at her. “You changed me. You messed with my head. You wouldn’t even love the version of me that lives here. And it’s not fair to her, either. She didn’t make any choices of her own.”

Isabella exploded at me, only verbally. Given her powers, the literal version could also happen. “I made the world better. You justified yourself talking about the need for radical change. I made it, and now you’re defending the status quo. I made everyone’s lives better. It’s not my fault people don’t like it.”

“It is. You made the world this way, so you are responsible. You’ve got all the power and all the knowledge, but your perspective is all wrong. Your idea of good means that good guys and bad were stomping on the homeless whose only crime was trying to get relief. Plus, you know, you still left people homeless. You have your limits, too. But look what you did to me?”

We appeared in a very nice house. I recognized it as home. It’s where Dame and I grew up. “I gave you family you didn’t have before. I gave you a mom and dad.”

“Hey darling!” my mom said, coming around the corner. “Oh, hello Isabella, how are you?”

My dad came out of his study. They didn’t fit right, maybe. They were Dame’s parents before the change. They weren’t the ones that died, I don’t think? Except I couldn’t remember their faces. Instead, I remembered this mom and this dad. I sniffled.

“What’s wrong, sweetpea?” Dad asked.

“Yeah, what’s wrong?” Isabella looked over at me. I shook my head for a moment. I knew I was forgetting things from my childhood, not that I had the best recollection from before my kidnapping. Instead, these memories felt stronger, but without overriding me like they did for a few days under Isabella’s influence.

Mom and Dad hugged me. “Did you bring that granddaughter of mine along?”

“Not this time. We just popped in for a quick visit,” Isabella said, joining us in the hug. My wife and my parents. For a little bit, in spite of the blatant manipulation, I let myself believe.



Topsy Turf 1



So here’s the score… I shared power with Isabella, aka Venus, the version of my nemesis-turned-lover pulled out of time a few years back. She wanted to marry me after I used my godlike powers to give myself her baby, so we got hitched and took a honeymoon in space where I merged with her symbiotically. I also decided to let her use my power for something of her choosing when we got back to Earth.

Now, I’m a fucking human. Not homo machina, human. I have real eyes without lasers, no internal wifi router, and my skin went from bulletproof to squishy. And she made it where I’m a retired superhero who can turn into a reindeer-woman. As far as I can tell, every other villain on the planet is a superhero like this.

Mix N’Max runs pop-up pharmacies. Spinetingler is a pumpkin-man who lures people into his haunted house to scare them straight. Powder, who is literally powered by cocaine, is in the hospital because of sudden withdrawals. And if you’re wondering how Spinetingler has anyone to scare, I think Venus only swapped over super criminals. The Greens gang either became super cops or turned their lives around, but she wrote the past so that mundane purse snatchers and burglars existed. And crimes are still happening. My computer has a link to the Shieldwall Database.

Shieldwall’s a thing again. It went from a bunch of people I pissed off trying to stop me as a supergroup, to being a worldwide superhero collective. I have an inbox full of superheroes congratulating me on the recent marriage like they know me. Including, it turns out, from my sister Dame. Yeah… now she’s my sister. I think Venus just plain erased the Three Hares conspiracy, so now Dame and I are twins who grew up in a nice fancy place. Dame tests security for banks and museums.

That made me wonder what she did to my actual brother, who was over in our home dimension. To make it more confusing, this Earth was connected to yet another version. That one, everyone was all swapped around so the heroes were villains and villains were heroes. I was overwhelmed with questions and missing my omniscience. Also, really wish gravity couldn’t touch me anymore. I feel so heavy now, and that’s not the pregnancy talking. I don’t have the enhanced musculature either.

I didn’t need this shit. I had a direct line to Venus. After all, she’s the goddess now. Just had to igure out prayer. I once heard that it’s actually pretty easy; “you just put your hands together and hope.”

Venus’s face appeared on my monitor. “Gecko! I should say ‘Delilah’ now. You got back to me fast. How are you getting adjusted?”

“Ve- Isabella, I know you made all the villains heroes, but what else did you do?” I questioned her.

“You’re upset.” She sighed. “Give it a fair shake, ok? I’m giving you a shot at a boring domestic life and at being a hero. There’s no past for you, but not just for you. I gave all of them a chance.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose in exasperation. “You did a lot more than that and you shouldn’t.”

“Why not? Your power is all-knowing and all-powerful. It’s not capable of making a mistake,” Isabella said.

She plucked the accusation of a mistake from my mind. Before I could speak, Isabella continued, “Just give it time. Please. You know you’re contrarian and you pretend you don’t want a chance to be a hero.”

That’s not true, readers, but even if it was, you can’t just make people heroes. I was going to tell Venus about it, but she left my computer monitor. Just left. Didn’t pop out to continue talking with me or anything. Left.

I put my hands together again. “Get your ass back here!”


“I know you’re listening! I remember how annoying prayers were until I tuned them out!”

Still nothing.

“I’m your wife, dammit!”

A halo of light erupted from the computer monitor. I got up and went about my usual day. I woke my adoptive daughter up, fed her, got her ready for school. My sister and I passed some texts back and forth, since she was still up just after a heist. Then it was off to the store instead of tackling Holly back into bed. Selling weird and quirky gadgets to small town America, aka Radium. Someone even came into the shop and got an autograph from me for her action figure.

It was a nice, boring, easy day. Yeah, it was nice to be with my family. Everything else was boring. Being some shop owner. I’m almost a nobody.

The next day, I woke up and got my daughter ready and off for school. But I had to put the store on hold. My Shieldwall Reservist alert watch activated. I threw on my spare costume at the store while reading the alert. Somehow, the Greens had gone crazy. They were an order of environmental guardians who protected the Earth after having been exposed to a mysterious chemical in their drugs. They’d ended up animalistic, with fur, horns, even hooves. And now, all of a sudden, they were rampaging around the city. They were rapid-growing trees on streets and bridges, destroying every car, and were trying to take down the city’s electrical grid.

Heh. Don’t know why I felt so smug and cynical, but I guess they realized a conflict between keeping the peace and opposing damage to the environment. Now, Shieldwall was calling up some reservists from all over to come to Empyreal City to fight them. Something felt off about that, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Instead, I stepped out of the Empyreal City Shieldwall Meeting Hall teleporter tubes and activated my powers.

It felt just like the first time transforming. It’s uncomfortable. It never happens evenly. My muscles tore and stretched. Bones shifted and grew, sometimes breaking as they moved. The bone growths that spouted from my head were the worst part. The antlers grew out of my head, only appearing after the velvet burst, all bloody and gory. I almost gagged when I got slapped in the face by some of the velvet.

Somebody walked up to me, a guy in slacks, shirt, and tie. “Whoa, we don’t need you. You look too much like the guys who are doing all this.”

“Like hell we don’t,” an older, guy said. He was dressed the same as the first, but heavier set, no shades, and his clothes seemed more worn. “Residents near the natural gas plant in Jamaica are telling me the skies are filling with pollen there. Everyone else is busy. Do you know how much energy this fucking city takes? Beggars and choosers, Davidson, for Christ’s sake.”

Davidson and Jameson, liason officers from the Office of Superhuman Resources.

“Jamaica?” I asked.

“Jamaica,”Jameson reiterated.

I flew into the air and took off through the roof access of the Meeting Hall, humming the Sorting Song from Futurama. Everybody say Jamaica!

My antlers glowed. Sometimes, people wonder if I might be trans or something because of the antlers thing, but female reindeer have them and keep them for a long time and-.

Oh, there was the cloud of pollen. Like a flower explosion happened in Queens. The Kennedy International Plant was hidden under a thick yellow cloud that immediately made me wish I didn’t have a nose. “Oh deer. I wish I wasn’t going into all that.”

I activated the sonic arm cannons and flew directly overhead, firing downward to force the pollen onto the ground. The cloud settled, revealing what the Greens had been hiding. In its place was a huge flower with thorns on the edges of the petals and along its waving branches. It snapped its petals closed, using the thorns like fangs. My antlers lit up, but there was the whole natural gas plant it had grown right near. I had to be careful. Pipes and such. The very thing that more easily gets rid of it is exactly what gets rid of the power plant I’m here to save.

Ok, so I can’t do this easily. If I was going to be lazy and take the easy way out every time, I’d have just been a cop.

Where’d that come from?

I swooped right down the middle of that flower, into, past grasping stamens that swallowed me whole. I ended up trapped in the bottom of its main stem, squeezed on all sides. I pressed my arms and legs against the walls, especially aimed upward and downward. I turned the sonic weapons up high and fired, tearing the flower off and splitting the stem, freeing myself. Chunks of the flower fell down on me. A big part fell on me, slamming me into the body of the giant plant and landing on the top of the root bulb and throwing up a shitload of pollen that had landed.

I felt it growing back around me. I blasted it again, trying to give myself room. Finally ended up clearing enough space to do some light blasts into the roots, tearing out chunk after chunk as I went, sneezing all the while because of all the pollen.

When it no longer seemed to be trying to grow back, I crawled my way out of the sticky mess, covered in chlorophyll that trapped pollen all over me. I was sneezing, goopy, I had things in too many unpleasant cracks. In the words of Master Shake, “I am 30 or 40 years old, and I do not need this.” And then I get outside and see people posting that shit on Tiktok for likes. Curious onlookers who couldn’t bother to, ya know, run from the potential giant fireball that would have happened or the plant with thorns the size of their bodies.

And then word came in from Jameson about some of the Greens elsewhere.


I was glad to finally get back home, cussing and muttering to myself about them teleporting me but leaving the fucking goo all over. Lives saved, power plants still most operational, and meanwhile we’ll all get called fucking corporate shills because we didn’t want people to go without heat or hospitals to go without power and all that shit. We’re not the ones who decide to build wind turbines and tidal turbines and nuclear plants. At least the Greens didn’t try to fuck with those.

First thing when the teleporter dropped me off in my basement, a shower. The one down there was built to handle all sorts of biohazards. Just… really not fun getting the chlorophyll out of some of those places. When I got out was a message on my computer monitor. “Do you see yet?”

I shook my head. Motherfucking Venus… Isabella… she brainwashed me! That message was the trigger to revert it. She tried to make me a hero for a day and a regular person for another. In the middle of my anger, I had a long laugh over the fact that it didn’t stick that well even when it happened. I hated being some spandex cop. I was still me, though. I still had my perspective.

That’s what did it for the Greens, too. She changed their minds temporarily, but whatever thing they’re into, however it affects them, it changes their perspective, too. As far as they’re concerned, what they were doing was right, and there are others who believe in it as well. Pull the plug, destroy all that stuff, and that way the rebuild might as well be clean sources of energy. If it happened to them and started to happen to me, it was going to happen to others. Medusa, Maia, for instance. The reason she went from being Venus to taking that identity was because she got to the point where she couldn’t stand upholding a flawed system blindly, where the worst abusers were protected because they were rich or come from the right family.

So that’s a flaw. It’s something I can use to maybe convince Isabella to turn things back. Or she might try to correct things again.

I knew I needed a plan, and I needed allies. I didn’t want to think about it, but my wife and I might get into a domestic dispute over all this.

Oh my god, and she made me a cis woman. I mean, sure, now guys who beat their wives will stop objecting to me playing Jeopardy, winning beauty pageants, and being middling at sports, but at what cost? That’s… I don’t even know. I was furious at her for everything she did, all these changes, some of them like she didn’t even know me but wanted to force me to do what she thought was right.

The fabricator had a new suit of power armor ready for me by the time I woke Qiang up the next morning.



Alien Villainess 5



It was all wrapped up. Myself and my wife who couldn’t be evil if she tried made it back to our cruise. The captain yelled at us awhile, but we tuned it out. We were still merged symbiotically, which was fun. It was more fun when we got back to our cabin. I mean, sure, there’s sex and all that. That’s fun. Makes me cum and everything. Great for a workout. Decent for reproduction, but that’s not why we did it.

I’d have been fine just being with her. Isabella. The woman trained to beat up supers and given the name Venus by people who know sex sells. There was something intimate about the way we’d bonded. I don’t mean having an adventure together. We’d had those in our own twisted way. This was just a lot more intimate bonding. I don’t think anyone’s truly been in my head before, outside of Psychsaur, the telepath. Always thought it was weird she did a 180 on me immediately after getting up inside my head, but I had something in me that got her on my side. And I experienced that with Venus while she got to try that with me.

It wasn’t a matter of feeling normal, or feeling completely right.

Anyway, we kept up the merger for the rest of our trip was solved pretty quickly after the wormhole spat us right back out onto the correct route where it got us. It then disappeared like some sort of miracle or act of Gecko. The ship decided that its first stop after returning was going to be an extended one to better evaluate and repair the ship and mental damage associated with the ordeal. That mostly meant lots of relief for the crew, who had to deal with angry, hungry, anxious guests. One of the blob crewmembers was nearly eaten. It wasn’t because the guests started to turn to cannibalism; it fell asleep in a bowl and was mistaken for gelatin.

The Captain and several of his best blobs were ready when Isabella and I were ready to depart, still sharing one body. He oozed forward to meet us. “Would it matter if I said I wanted to hold you until I find out what games you played with my ship?”

“Not one bit,” we said. Nearby, some of the passengers ran out into the street of the city in a group aimed at the closest bar. The screams started soon after they entered, along with the fighting and the Jimmy Buffetf music. He was probably pissed that aliens stole copies of his recordings and… wait, I checked on it with my omniscience. He was nabbed accidentally by some passing aliens in 2001 and signed a music deal that included opening a restaurant chain. Dude’s loaded with alien currency.

“At least tell me who you are. Cleopatra and Mona Lisa can’t be your real names. They two of the most common aliases in the universe.”

“That can’t be true,” Isabella laughed internally.

I did a quick scan with my omniscience and found a weird coincident. “So it turns out that a lot of species have common names that sound similar to some Earth names, including…”

“No,” Isabella said out loud, laughing.

“You treated our lives like a game!” the Captain accused. “I’ve met many beings who feel entitled to harm my crew because of money and power, but space is deep and it doesn’t care who you think you are. You best kill me first if you play games with our lives ever again, because I would move stars to see the universe rid of you.”

“Don’t you know?” we said. Our eyes went pure black. “We eat stars.”

I don’t know where he kept them, but the Captain had balls to keep staring us down as we left. Isabella felt bad, but I reminded her, “See? You managed to play the villain a little bit. But don’t worry. There’s a difference between bad and evil. You were just a little bad.”

“I’ll stick to sometimes taking the bad karma option in games,” she told me. “Can we go home now?”

With a snap of my fingers and an unnecessary burst of light, we indeed were home. Well, a brief stopover on a rooftop overlooking Empyreal City on a stormy wintry night. With my powers, the cold didn’t bother our shared body anyway. Lightning streaked through the sky, illuminating a city and the dancing raindrops that pelted it. “To everyone else, it’s a horrible night,” Isabella said.

I took awhile before responding, waiting on a beautiful lightning strike I knew was coming. It’s nature, like a raging river. You can shift the tide over time, but you can’t stand up to it. Not unless you’re something beyond human. “It doesn’t have to be,” I suggested. “But how you’ll use my power goes beyond just one night. I’ve been avoiding spoilers, giving you privacy. Tell me what you want.”

“I want to do it myself,” she told me.

I eased her into the omniscience. My experience controlling multiple bodies helped me compartmentalize things. If it didn’t matter, I didn’t care. And plenty of times, I left it partially or entirely off, which has inconvenienced me before. So I thought it best to ease her into it.

“I can see eternity,” Isabella said.

“Oh, that would be the omniscience about psychedelic mushrooms,” I guided her. That helped take some of the edge off other knowledge she could access. People think omniscience, they assume it means knowing all sorts of good or neutral things, like how to build Dyson Spheres or how gravity actually works. The lab coats are going to kick themselves when they realize the second one. But it also means knowing all the bad. When and how everyone will die. What went through the minds of a planet of sentient beings when a massive asteroid wiped them out. What it felt like to be every victim, and every victimizer.

I wasn’t surprised when Isabella needed awhile to adjust.

“It took me awhile to relearn sleeping after all this hit,” I mentioned to her.

“I know…” she dwelled on the thought for awhile. “…what I want.”

The began to change things, reaching out with her power, racing along a lightning bolt. It became a fractal that struck the Green Zone of Empyreal City, the neighborhoods taken over by the Green gang whose tainted drugs have made them animalistic and allowed plants to retake the urban environment. The growth became less intrusive, more like an unusually gentrified, environmentally-friendly neighborhood.

The worrying part was the changes made to the Greens themselves. The unmutated gang members changed, mentally. They were all going to give up crime. She’d changed their minds. And the bestial ones were different now. Still changed, still willing to protect their territory, but they were getting uniforms and badges.

“Isabella,” I warned.

“Listen, I did so much to give you a chance to be good and to be a heroine. You’re better than you were, right?” She had that edge of conviction and begging in her voice. Right there where belief meets going out on a limb. I needed to talk her back away before something happened.

“Yes, but the journey taught the lesson. It was my choice. You can’t just make people how you want them to.”

“I’m cutting the ‘journey’ out the way you cut out disease and disability,” she responded.

“That’s not the same. It’s not that simple with people’s minds. Different points of views and circumstances aren’t a disease.”

“No, you’ll see.”

I sped up, but she already had. Lightning struck us.

I woke up sick to my stomach and with a bladder that wanted to explode. I rolled over out of what turned out to be a bed and nearly fell. For the first time in awhile, gravity actually meant something to me. And I really had to pee. And throw up. I stumbled to my room’s bathroom to empty both ends. Only then could I really take stock.

I couldn’t fly anymore. No laser claws. I thought I had omniscience, but it turns out I’m a smart-ass know-it-all. Still hot, though. I tried popping my eyes out; had to put THAT back in in a hurry. Why is it when other people mess with my body, they fix my eyes?

Ok, I realized it, too, but I think that’s different because I want to think it. As near as I could tell, I was human. And not just human as a shorthand. Since I didn’t have any other powers, even the ones I copied off people I studied, I tried connecting to the internet through the devices I integrated into myself. When that failed, I hugged the TV. Then I grabbed a phone off the charger in the living room. And I didn’t have an external phone. Plus, what the fuck was up with all this sunlight? Ugh, it was morning and everything.

Ok, so I was human. That’s not a good way to start things off. Seemed to be my own house. I rushed to Qiang’s room and stopped myself before I burst in. She was asleep. Then I realized there might have been someone in the bed with me back in the bedroom. I snuck back over there to spot Holly Wayne and Sam Hain in their nightclothes, Holly drooling on Sam’s hair. Sam gave a rough snore. Beautiful.

Then I remembered that thing with the Greens. I checked the closet, worried there would be a police uniform. My heart caught in my throat when I saw the blue outfit hanging up, but then I realized it had a skimpy skirt and fuzzy handcuffs. Whew, it was just a sexy Halloween costume. It hung next to my Sexy Karen outfit from the night I demanded to see Sam’s manager.

But then I saw the other costume. It looked like Reindeer’s costume, but small enough to fit my frame. I checked my head just in case but didn’t feel any antlers. No, wait, that’s because I only had antlers when I transformed. The costume even had a the ability to shift and grow.

I realized I knew that because I had extra memories. Memories of being Delilah Gecko, a human from this Earth who somehow had the power to turn into a reindeer woman who can fly and shoot light beams from my antlers. I also tend to react to trouble by saying “Oh deer.” Sam and Holly were my girlfriends and sidekicks. We met through my friendship with the superhero Mix N’Max, who was currently dating Sporea, the goddess of renewal. I had been a hero, before retiring to pursue a quiet domestic life with my family.

I stumbled down to the basement hideout, and to the computer that was still connected to the outdated extradimensional blog. It had a link to the hero messenger, HeroNet, where my fiance Medusa asking what I thought about this old cathedral as a wedding destination. But there was also one there from the goddess Venus, my other wife. She asked, “Do you see yet?”

Oh deer.



Unleashed 5



Sam and Holly have been a low-scale nuisance around town, playing around in their power armor. They got all ready for a fight and never got to follow through. In the end, they realized the high school’s set up to let them do sparring with each other and some of the super kids. Mix N’Max’s last update to Holly said something about fighting abominations I don’t know if that’s him being rude about hillbillies or some other sort of hiccup on his quest for the Madstone. Which doesn’t even sound like that big of a think. All the stuff online just makes it out to be some folk medicine cure for rabies. As for the other member of my little polyamorous lesbian coven, Bridget’s started a youtube show teaching people 19th century crafts and cooking. A couple others who do that sort of thing are thinking of having her on for crossovers.

That leaves me to my own devices. Or at least, to devices that Sam and Bridget don’t feel the need to bother me about. Like working with Troubleshooter. Once I explained what I’d learned from Troubleshooter, Sam thought it was a great idea for me to work with a bunch of superheroes. Or at least an amusing one. She laughed a lot. She still promised to back me up if I needed it.

I didn’t need it. I had my own backup. Sometimes, I’m my own best friend. That’s going a bit far in this case, but I’m a lot more at peace with my own self since before contracting werereindeerism. The full moon came a bit early this month, but it came nevertheless. With it, my time to split from Reindeer again. Rather than turning into a ravening beast that attacks innocents, I would normally be turning into a hero who protects them. She’s got my knowledge, but none of my cybernetics or abilities as homo machina. I don’t know if Reindeer would have my god-like abilities. The last time it came up, I used my powers to temporarily expel Reindeer from my body when it was time. I did so again this time, constituting an entirely new body for Reindeer.

Reindeer shook herself off, her body taller and more muscular than mine would be on its own. She checked herself over. “A bit early, aren’t we?”

“It certainly proves an idea that’s been tumbling around in my brain. You’re not just limited to the full moon, not like that,” I pointed out.

Reindeer looked down to her belly.

“I kept the zygote,” I told her.

“Good. You better let her know. Before you start showing, at least,” Reindeer advised. “It’s going to be a shock for her to find out you’re going to have her child, considering the circumstances and body parts involved.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I agreed. “Listen, I called you here because I’m going to be busy in a little bit with everything.”

“I know. And you were also wondering if I might be interested in a separation, to live my own life. You keep the house, the money, people we love, and instead I go off and live my own life.”

“I get the feeling you don’t approve.” I laughed just once, sadly. Wasn’t Reindeer’s fault or mine that we ended up in this situation, split like this. She only gets to live one day a month, and is treated as a different person by people who are, to her mind, family. “Maybe we oughta try something out. You living with everyone. Having Qiang treat you as a mom, too.”

“Is it weird I’m scared about that? Because I look different and appear once a month, that I’ll be differne to them. They won’t fully reject me, but, ya know.”

Times like these, I hate talking to myself.

I reached out awkwardly to try and comfort Reindeer with a hand on the shoulder. “I get it. That’s a hell of a scary change and rejection to go by. And it involves hoping our girlfriends are furries.”

“You dress up as a unicorn with wings. I think they’re furries,” Reindeer noted.

I cracked up and she followed, which helped a little of the tension. There was still plenty to worry about once the laughter died. “I really haven’t been living my life like I’m two people.”

“Well, you’re kind of not,” Reindeer countered. “I was like your dirty secret. When you transformed, you could do what you wanted to do secretly, but with an excuse. It wasn’t really you, it was the therionthropy. Now, you’ve been actively been choosing to try and be a heroine. You just keep finding excuses to justify it. You’re even considering going mad with power intentionally so you can force someone to take it all away from you and justify being all mean and pouty.”

I opened my mouth to object, but Reindeer’s antlers lit up with glaring white light for a second and she insisted, “Don’t try to deny it. I’m you, remember? Maybe I’m also the part of you that puts on that horn and goes around saving the world.”

“You know what, maybe you just go on and do your own thing tonight,” I told her. “Stay home, try out being your own person, make sure Qiang calls you ‘mommy’. And maybe see if Sam wants to call you that, too.”

“I think I’d like that. But if you need me, I’m there.”

With my psychological problems laid bare, it was a doozy of a fucking time to invite Troubleshooter’s team up to the base.

Troubleshooter doesn’t really have a permanent base of their own. That makes her group flexible, operating out of a group of taco trucks. But Troubleshooter needed some place to bring down a satellite in private and then autopsy it. And here I am with a base that can access anywhere I want it to. The main question I had was what personal Troubleshooter wanted me in. I can either explain or brainwash why the goddess is working with them, which is a touchy subject morally. The alternative is working with them as Gecko with all the distrust that entails. It’d actually be nice to be trusted and liked for once. Even if it is by a bunch of hero noobs.

I can rationalize a lot as being a product of self-interest or arrogant exercise of power. It’s a handy ability for avoiding cognitive dissonance. It just gets difficult sometimes.

In the end, I decided to use my amazing powers of pessimism to examine the situation and realized that if the satellite in question is one that messes with my perception of it, it’s probably going to fit better if I’m present as the Goddess.

And so it was. I went for a robe type of setup, with my wings folded behind me and my horn sticking up proudly. Then it was off to the Multi-Base, the hidden base located across multiple dimensions, where each room might be in an entirely different universe. With a wave of my hand, I added a persistent illusion, or glamour, to a few choice items. I hid away the nanite and armor machinery, then made the monitor appear to be a magic mirror. I kept plenty of tools around in the lab for Troubleshooter. Then it was time to get Troubleshooter up there.

I opened a portal, then sighed and expanded it. They brought a taco truck and an RV through. “Close it!” someone yelled from the RV window. I snapped it shut in time to catch a furry arm. A quick peek revealed the group had stumbled into a nest of the Greens, a gang that’s usually in Empyreal City. They’re starting to expand further South using algae to gain footholds and begin transforming the landscape.

“Hmm,” I mused. Checking the arm, I saw a few little green sprouts on it. “Let’s just clean that up.” Poof. Nonexistent. Turned to energy that I absorbed. In fact, it’s given me an idea for repowering myself that I don’t want to share with heroes.

The heroes and what seemed like support staff were piling out, gushing over me, and checking out the new place.

“Where are we?” I heard someone ask, a woman in a tattered white dress. Apparitia, the ghost girl, in human form.

“We are currently in an inaccessible cavern, deep beneath the Earth. It has no opening to the surface, normally. However, other rooms here branch off into different places, in different universes, providing oxygen, water, and power.”

“The magic alone must be amazing,” another person said. My omnipotence put them as non-binary, and known as Axinomancer, with their magic power focused through the long-handled ax in their hands.

“It’s self-sustaining right now, feeding off the power of a star,” I told them. I didn’t want to deal with all of their names, or the way some of them were looking at me. I know what to do with fear, anger, distrust, arrogance, and even lust. I should keep my empathy turned off, like British people. “Where’s this satellite?”

“Hold your horses,” Troubleshooter said, pushing through some of the heroes setting up chairs and tables.

I looked over to a horse standing next to me. The horses looked at me. I shrugged, and reached over to rest a hand on its neck. “Holding.”

“Where did that horse come from?” someone asked.

“Not what I meant,” Troubleshooter said. I patted the horse and sent it walking to another room where it could disappear. It was a construct made just for comedic purposes, and it would return to me. Troubleshooter raised her laptop. “You have anything to connect to?”

I waved my hand, turning my magic mirror into a big monitor for Troubleshooter to connect to. Or just undoing the glamour I put into place earlier. Standing there surrounding by heroes as the Unicorn Goddess, my powers of nigh-omniscience had given me an epiphany about myself. Luckily, I had the god-like ability to stand around looking pretty instead of letting stuff show. Axinomancer edged closer and I faked a smile that impressed even myself. My powers even let me get the eye crinkle down.

It was all being nice and conjuring up food to go with their meals so I didn’t get so many questions in the fifteen minutes or so it took Troubleshooter to get set up, pull up the coordinates, and connect with the systems necessary to find the satellite she’d been tracking again. Fifteen minutes of me wanting to abuse my godly powers for everything from petty dickery to just making everyone want to serve me. I was glad when Troubleshooter said, “Got it! Think you can open a portal and our team snatch it?”

“Right there or off to the side a little?” I asked, pointing to the monitor. I was sitting on Axinomancer’s lap, feet resting on Apparittia, holding a leash that connected to a collar around Grimalkin’s throat.

Troubleshooter turned and didn’t see anything wrong with the sight. “Yeah, my arms should be able to snatch it.” The mechanical arms attached to a vest she wore whirled. Parts folded out of the vest and attached, expanding them. Finally, the arms joined together into one limb bigger than the rest of Troubleshooter’s body.

I got up off my little throne and set the young heroes back to normal, mostly. They weren’t any more abnormal when I was done with them than when they started. It was an easy thing to open the portal with a seal that kept this side from being affected by the vacuum of space. I saw the satellite through it just fine, just like I’d had no problem seeing Parietal. It’s just that when I tried to sense it with anything outside the conventional human senses, it wasn’t there. I could have dragged it in myself, but Troubleshooter did all that for me, plopping the device on the floor of my base, me closing the portal behind it.

The satellite was cylindrical, about the size of an arcade cabinet, and a single light glowed on the side of it. The light blinked three times, then stayed back on. A light issued forth from it. “You found me, Gecko.”

I made it so everyone there heard it address me as Goddess, not Gecko. Then I shrugged a bit and just reconciled the two. They had those positive feelings about the Unicorn Goddess, who is Gecko, who they feel the exact same way about. Why put up with an inconvenient mind when I can just change it?

“Who did I find?” I asked. With monotone voice giving nothing away and not being able to just read into it, I actually didn’t know. People talk about how great that is, but I don’t see the attraction. Oh, right, added a little someone onto people’s attractions. Troubleshooter started eyeing me appreciatively, but that wasn’t brainwashing. I just added an option she didn’t have before. Nevermind, I got rid of it. Then I put it back when I changed my mind again. It’s not like liking women is a bad option to have… eh, I flip-flopped again. No new attractions for anyone.

“I said I am the fastest thinker on Earth and I meant it, one step ahead of a goddess. I have to be. For you see, any god will abuse its power. You can not do otherwise once you have power. Even the most noble fall to that temptation. You are not the most noble.”

This person was claiming to be Parietal, a smart speedster who created a material that could block my senses. The reason I didn’t suspect his involvement before now is because I killed him weeks ago. The more Parietal talked through that machine, the less I cared what he had to say. “Troubleshooter, can you disable this thing?”

She morphed the mechanical arms back into two, one of which shifted into a drill and the other into a sawblade. “I believe so.”

“As one being who has surpassed mortality to another, I will save your friends so much trouble,” Parietal said through the speaker.

I put up a shield around the satellite, containing it as it detonated and unleashed Omega energy. It’s the same energy I absorbed to gain my power, and it can have a pretty nasty effect when used against itself. I’ve found the secret is absorbing it. That’s it. For all his bluster, he made me more powerful. I’m still not back to the level of pulling a copy of Earth out of another dimension, but it felt good to have the power coursing through me. The satellite had been powered by another Omega pearl, a piece of the fractured being who had once possessed me, and whos powers I now possess.

“That could have gone better,” Troubleshooter’s limbs powered down back into more functional hands.

“I’d say it went pretty well,” I told her.

“I guess we better pack up and get going.” One of those extra arms moved to tug some hair out of her face. When it finished, it and the other arm moved back and transformed again, forming a pair of metal wings with a reflective coating. A single horn grew out of Troubleshooter’s forehead, eyes glowing.

“Never mind,” I said through her mouth. My mouth, now. I looked to my team of impressionable young heroes and heroines. “I insist we stay.”

Why not? Why shouldn’t I? Troubleshooter said she’s thankful. Here’s a way she can show it.

And then even that satisfying bit of evil was undone when I remembered I needed her because she can see this stuff and I can’t. I had to jump right back out again. A competent evil goddess sticks around a lot longer than an incompetent one, that’s for sure.



Great Power 8



Ok, so maybe this power is tempting me. Upon the monthly reminder that I’m a werereindeer, I considered, merely considered, only considered… blowing up the moon. Now, dear readers, before y’all get upset at this, I was going to replace it with something else about as dense. I had some ideas for certain people I could use instead. They wouldn’t shine as bright because these are some pretty dull, dense people. But they’d be there and we could hopefully still have tides. Those are important, right?

Other ideas that occurred involved sending it to another dimension and all that, blocking the light from it for a night, or spending the night on the backside of the big cheese itself. I didn’t want to waste a lot of time on the weredeer stuff when I had these disappeared Omega pearls to deal with. For all I knew, someone else figured out how to merge with them. I even thought of not even doing it this time. I had a lot of control over my own body, and that included the ability to snuff out this magic condition I’d been stuck with.

I’ve gone a little soft. Usually I mean with the belly I’ve added. Makes it even more fun now, being a chubby gal flying around with my superpowers. But on top of that, I like Reindeer. If someone told me when I started all this that I’d like some aspect of myself, especially a part that wants to be heroic, I’d probably have torn off that person’s ass and made them it eat. I’m reluctant to say this, but maybe all these people fucking around in my brain fixed things by accident. Or maybe I fixed it somehow when I had infinite cosmic power. Like how when I thought about it, I checked and found I was no longer infected by the disease engineered to shut down any powers above the human baseline when in contact with certain collars.

I went ahead and made that permanent for myself before hearing the alarm letting me know it was almost full moon time. Then I split off a body just for Reindeer to manifest through. We were in my base, not the Skylab. Sam was with us, using a large computer system and some of the recon drones I’d built to check a few areas I remember pearls being in. One of those areas was Technolutionary’s portion of the SkyLab.

I wanted to handle it myself, but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to revert to Reindeer in the middle of all this. And I didn’t. Though Sam did comment on all the screaming and snapping and stretching. “That’s gross to hear.”

“I’m glad I don’t have to feel it,” I told her.

Reindeer stood up. Whereas most people who turn into some sort of were-thing find themselves consumed by instincts and evil desires to tear other people apart or what-have-you, my alter-ego decided to become a hero. My therapist says it has to do with buried desires to be a hero that fueled my villainous rampage and desire to save the world in my own twisted way at times. But weredeerism isn’t treatable with pills and techniques, at least none I’m aware of.

“You get used to it,” Reindeer said, shaking herself off and grabbing her costume. “You’ve got a problem. Things going missing. You know this is probably Technolutionary, right?”

“Or the demons,” I said.

“Or the Exemplars,” Sam contributed.

“Yeah, and we have to remember there are a lot of unknown unknowns,” Reindeer warned. “But we already know one untrustworthy supervillain who has the ability to track down every single pearl on the planet. We’ve been expecting him to betray us.”

“True,” I said. “And he was experimenting on materials to resist the effects of Omega energy.”

Sam joined in. “And he already told you he wants to weaponize the pearls instead of hiding them. And his section of the lab is emptied out.” The monitor showed us both that his part was missing. There goes the longshot that it had something to do with that one guy in the chair powered by a pearl that time. I lost track of him pretty quick.

I shrugged. “I thought he’d be able to keep it together longer than this. Ok, Sam. We’ve confirmed he’s gone. How about some of those other pearls?”

“Gone,” Sam said, switching to a bank of views. The views didn’t show anything, which was the point. If they’d showed pearls, we’d know the pearls were where we left them.

“Ok, let’s activate the trackers,” I said.

“We planted enough of them,” Reindeer muttered.

Sam pulled up the global view and activated the numerous bugs I planted all over Technolutionary’s gear. Never on his armor itself, because I figured he’d find those. Instead, my nanobots got them all in the guts of his machines. I left a few really obvious ones on some of the equipment for him to find and disarm, figuring he’d let his guard down if he thought he’d already gotten all of them.

They all lit up in the same location: Empyreal City. The place had seen plenty of problems from the last time the pearls were in action there. “Let’s go,” Reindeer said. She grabbed some of her gear, like the grenades that looked like Christmas ornaments.

“You don’t want to take the night off?” I asked. “This is my problem. You got your own life.”

“Right now, we got a pile of shit to clean up. You could use all the shovels you can get if she’s figured out how to use these things.”

We both kissed Sam goodbye before leaving. Here I’d been worried Reindeer would have my body dating someone else, turns out she’s got at least some of the same taste as me. And I don’t mind Sam being a bit of a furry.

But before we went, I access the vaults. There were a lot of pearls out there. I had my own misgivings. I can tell because Reindeer, who is also me, voiced them. “You know you shouldn’t do this. It’s risky.”

I know,” I said. I grabbed pearl after pearl, absorbing their power. Not all of them. Just enough that to make me feel like we’d still have an edge over Technotutionary. And from there, I took us right to our partner.

This base had been built into the sewers, inside a half dome of metal. It was a pretty wide open space, widened and torn apart to make enough room. All of Technolutionary’s equipment was there. Technolutionary, I found, was inside a metal cage hanging from the ceiling, his armor on the floor below him.

“Gecko,” Reindeer called, looking at an armored throne with mechanical legs. The man seated in it had his own armor. More than that, he had a chair powered by Omega energy, and a mess of tendrils all with their own. Even just looking at him, I couldn’t feel the pearls.

“Gecko? The Psycho Gecko? Welcome. As you can see, I’ve beaten you to the rest of your prizes, but we can leave this where it is, yes?” the man said. His face was covered in a smooth white plastic mask, or some other material that looked like plastic. Some people have a lot of fun creating stuff that looks like plastic. It’s an aesthetics thing. People are like that.

“Who do I have the displeasure?” I asked.

“I am Parietal, the fastest brain alive,” he introduced himself. “I became interested in the potential of the Omega pearls. You ended my most promising experiment, providing their power to others and watching the chaos that ensues. I planted a tracker on your friend, Technolutionary. From there, it wasn’t difficult to-”

Parietal was interrupted by a crunch. Reindeer raised a hoot off some sort of bug-like device that had been sneaking up on me while he drew my attention. “Sorry, did I ruin that plan?” Reindeer asked.

“Who are you and why are you here?” Parietal asked.

I made a show of turning to look at Reindeer, then disappeared and reappeared behind Parietal’s chair. I punched my hand through it, feeling more resistance than I had since gaining this level of power. Fast brain over there must have figured out some nifty materials. The tendrils whipped around and tried to fire on me but I absorbed the energy. I didn’t need to sense the pearls to drain them. I cracked that throne like an egg and pulled out the ones it used as an energy source of its own. I absorbed that one, too. All mine. The machine burst open with a crimson explosion.

The man in the throne stood there. His jumpsuit had neon red lines running along the arms and legs, but he seemingly knew when he was beat. Reindeer kept an arm pointed at Parietal, sonic weapons armed, but was busy tearing the lock open. Technolutionary practically jumped into her arms, I guess a bit of a furry himself. I don’t know if he knows about that curse of mine.

“It’s fascinating, but I wonder what will become of you as you gain more power,” Parietal mused, turning around to face me.

“A means to an end,” I said.

“What a glorious end,” he said. Guy was kind of creepy.

“Behind you!” Reindeer and Technolutionary both cried out.

Spheres rolled over the inside of the dome, spreading out in a semicircle. They didn’t fire at me. They fired near me, all of their beams converging. I caught the expanding blast, draining it before it expanded and blew the hell out of me, Reindeer, the city, and that other guy we were working with.

Technolutionary and Reindeer dropped down, Technolutionary’s armor standing up and sliding onto him. “Turn it off!” the other villain ordered, raising an open hand to Parietal. He had lasers built into each finger.

“I don’t think I will. I need to run,” Parietal said. The red lights intensified and sprinted out of the way of both the lasers and Reindeer’s sonic blast. The lasers nicked him, damaging the suit enough for me to feel the power from another pearl beneath. The others tracked him, trying to blast the super smart speedster, but they ended up blasting off a part of the metal dome instead. Parietal raced toward that section, leaving a hole in the wall behind him. So a super tough super smart speedster. Or at least smart speedster. Let’s not give the guy too much credit here.

Reindeer flew after Parietal, but Technolutionary lagged behind, keeping his lasers trained on me while I drained the energy from this weapon system. That’s what it was, a nifty means of defense and a way to blow the whole base up if Parietal lost. It also meant I had a fuckton of pearls we hadn’t already collected feeding me energy all at once.

“Gecko. Can you handle it?” Technolutionary asked.

I nodded, realizing then that I’d become a glowing person and once again burnt through my clothes. And I had an idea, then. I didn’t just contain the power, though that’s what I was doing. I had held almost all of it at one point. I used it. Might as well, and it would take some of the strain off me. I wiped that power-controlling disease off the face of this and every other Earth planet infected with it by us. I cured… everything. AIDS and HIV? Gone. Cancer? Wiped out. Diabetes? Eliminated. All injury, all disability. The only thing stopping me from all transitions was not wanting to delve into every individual mind and find out the level of transition they wanted to go to, but I’d have time for that. I didn’t wipe out the homo machina mutation, either, nor the others inflicted with the unique condition that gave me Reindeer.

“What’s going on?” Technolutionary said. “I’m connecting to my satellites, what are you doing?”

“What a god should,” I answered, head snapping around to stare him down.

“You’re not a god,” he said.

“I might as well be. Isn’t this what you wanted? A weapon to scare off everyone who would come after our home?” Ok, I was a bit intimidating there. But this guy wanted to use this power. I use it to fix something and suddenly he’s scared of me?

Enough jerking off. I reached right back up those converging beams and yanked all of those remaining pearls I couldn’t feel right out and into me. The residual blast was weak, really just blowing the lights out. I had enough light on my own. I sent Technolutionary to his lab and followed after Reindeer.

I appeared near her, up on the surface. “Where did he go?” I asked.

Reindeer shook her head. “I don’t know. Got away. Still can’t track him?”

I hated it, but… “Nope.” I tried expanding outward, even looking for wind disturbances, things moving at high speed. Either his shielding was that good, or the fastest thinker on Earth put some distance between us and is laying low. “But I’ll find him again. People don’t lose obsessions that easily.”

“Are you ok?” Reindeer asked. “Something’s different.”

“I had to absorb a lot more energy,” I said. “It’s no big deal.”

“Really? Because you’re flashing everyone.”

Oh yeah. Nude. I created a costume real quick. Didn’t mean to create an omega symbol on it, but fixed that real quick. “I’m great. Never better. And so long as I have the power, I think a lot of people are going to feel better than ever.”

“That sounded kind of ominous, girl,” Reindeer commented.

“Ugh, I prefer it when the doubting voices stay in my head,” I whined. Then, on a whim, I teleported some beer cheddar cheese to me to enjoy with my whine. This “ultimate power” shit is handy when I’m not completely homicidal.