“You sure you’re ok up there?” Sam asked me over the phone. I may not exactly be with Mix N’Max’s assistant but we figured we’re staying in touch. Medusa’s keeping tabs on me too. Adrian called too. I ignored the call from a hungover Senator Goatse because I don’t care what he’s calling about but the best case scenario was being upset that he paid for my trip into space. The SpaceSex rocket has been remarkably well-maintained. And it’s been a lovely experience once you get over the realization that you’re a tiny bit of metal from certain death. I’ve loved most of my life in that kind of situation.
“You’re humming again,” Sam said.
I laughed. “Was staring out a window again. I keep thinking of that Aladdin song about showing Jasmine the world. I’m actually seeing it, all of it.”
Sam sang a few lines for me before stopping to say, “I wish I could see it.”
“There’s always the feed from the International Space Station, but it doesn’t do it justice. It’s not the same as when you cross the Universe Divide, either..” I pushed off the side of the service module and toward the command module to check on the distance to the moon. “It’s been nearly three days now.”
“I’m surprised it takes so little time. We just never go anymore,” Sam said. “You bring a flag along?”
“Let’s see, I got power armor, food, toiletries, and a spacesuit with its own thong. I’m fully prepared for pretty much every situation that could come up on the moon. And for the record, it turns out the fake engines they strapped to the side were completely unnecessary. It’s a good thing they fell off with the first stage. Barring anymore modifications like that, I’m good to go.”
“Not yet you aren’t. You’re thinking of Disney tunes. You need something to get your head in the game,” she remarked.
“Ha! Save it for the lander. Which, according to this thingamabob, is actually in good condition. To be completely honest, I was half sure this thing was going to pull itself apart when the first two rocket stages fell off. Like, though when the second part fell away, it’d take part of this one with it. I headed out of the command module and through the service module. I’m also super glad I actually took the time to read the manual and some instructional videos. There’s a whole thing where the third stage separates from the part that goes to the moon and you have to flip the the ship around and dock with the lunar module. I nearly missed that. Wouldn’t want to be without the beauty I now headed for. I opened the door and got a face full of sex toys, a veritable rainbow of dildo. A plethora of peggers. A variety of vibrators. And a surplus of strap-ons, too.
The shifting mass did something. I felt something break away. I don’t know, but I made sure the door back to the command module was just fine. I think I heard something, or it was the shuddering of something breaking. In space, nobody can hear me cuss and dive into a lunar module full of sex toys. “Sam… looks like I’m on approach.”
She started playing “Fly Me to the Moon” from the Bayonetta soundtrack.
I had to dig my way through the toys to the computers and cross-reference the data it gave me with my brain’s info on the base. The register in my store has a more advanced computer than this old thing. The base we were looking for was on the other side of the moon, but those manuals made it pretty clear I had to get this lunar bit away from the rest before I could even think of bringing it down. I wasn’t able to tell Sam I had to let the lunar module get miles away from me until the song was over.
Despite all that, the descent mostly went ok. Took me a long time before I came around on a course for the ICE base, which seemed unaware of me. I was quickly relieved of that thought when I saw through the windows that the base was looming close and various pieces on the outside of it were rotating around toward me. They had at least spotted me. “I could use that music now, Sam.”
There was a brief snippet of her voice, followed by just silence. Oh, right, we were on the dark side of the moon. I guess I’ll have to supply the music. “Gloryhammer” by Gloryhammer ought to do nicely. I believe it’s from their album Gloryhammer. Perhaps a key why was in the belting of Angus McFife XIII: “Galaxies swarming behind me, nebulas lying ahead. This can only mean, that I have arrived into space, oh yeah.”
While Angus sang about feeling the astral fire inside him, I was noticing that the moonbase didn’t fire on me. Maybe they couldn’t. Maybe they didn’t have exterior turrets set up for people invading. They’d have to get them at some point, but much of this moonbase looked like they’d taken prefabricated buildings and worked them in with moon cement in a ziggurat with a wide, flat top on it sporting radar dishes and communications towers. A pair of large metal engines poked up from the dusty moon’s surface on either side, almost like a sci fi power plant. I brought the module in for a landing on that roof, right near one of the things that was watching me. I hopped right out and kicked the thing away, it turning out to be nothing but a camera.
“Well, maybe this will be easier than I thought,” I meant to say, but the intense cold hit me like a bucket full of ice cubes got shoved under my skin through all of my holes. I saw a huge thermal signal nearby and headed toward it. My HUD identified it as a heat exchanger. An important piece of equipment, it kept my nibbles from flaking off and I knew there’d be an access point. Sure enough, they had a roof-mounted airlock for all the sensitive equipment up there. I quickly let myself in and started cycling it.
Just like that, I was in and using the power of holograms to blend in with the environment. I managed before a gaggle of guards in spacesuits came running up with ICE-issue plasma rifles. I clung to the top of the corridor, which wasn’t that far above everything, and projected a hologram of someone cutting into the airlock from the other side, throwing up smoke that didn’t hang around. The Icers readied ther rifles and spread out for maximum lines of fire.
The cutting stopped suddenly, as did the appearance of any effect on the door. As one, I and my nanomachine tendrils pantsed the entire group. I grabbed the two nearest me while they were trying to figure out what was going on and slammed them into the others, creating a bloody, panic-firing mess of guts and flesh. I left them all behind and headed to the next section, thinking, “Suck it, Vader, I’m not even breathing hard.”
The next room, the door behind me sealed shut magnetically as soon as I was through. Visible or not, the doors still open and close. According to my suit, the atmosphere outside was thinning out. The room wasn’t hit or anything. They were venting the corridor on purpose, which was a neat way to make an advantage out of their use of prefab building sections. They didn’t count on me appearing and charging up the energy sheaths surrounding my gauntlets. Weight is an entirely different thing on the moon, but mass and energy are universal. I smashed a hole right through the floor, and the next floor, and into some sort of large, impressive command room. I bounced off a statue of someone on the way down, but I don’t know who. Ended up coming to a comfy bounce next to a man in a uniform with way too many medals. He even looked like the statue.
“Who are you?” I asked the guy near me as I came to a comfy bounce. I was going to ask their wifi password, too, but I’d cracked that easily. I guess they didn’t figure someone else would just come in off the street up here and steal internet from them.
Various people in ICE spacesuits and DIE jumpsuits surrounded me with a variety of weapons. One guy even had what looked like a pointed drillhead spinning between two chainsaws. Nice. Impractical, but nice.
The man drew himself up to look more imposing. He also edged away slowly. “I am the Supreme.”
I left a holographic double of myself in place while following this Supreme guy. Didn’t like the way he was leaving me standing in the middle of a bunch of armed, hostile people.
“You have come here to the moon and invaded our base,” the Supreme declared. “Surrender now, and we shall allow you to live while we analyze your armor.”
The hologram of me looked around at everyone, then up to the Supreme. “Nah. Guess you better kill me.”
“Do it!” I yelled from Supreme’s position with a sample of his voice. I clamped my glove over his mouth while the various people charged forward. I shushed him and showed off a pair of my round orb grenades, a regular old blower-upper and an incendiary. I tossed them into the puzzled crowd, who were watching as the guy with the drill-saw combo tried to take the hologram’s head off.
“So, Supreme guy… what are the,” I for the explosion and resulting screams. I went ahead and threw a third one over my shoulder to silence those. “Neat place here. Must have taken a lot of work interfacing with the alien systems. But what I really want to know is where are you keeping your prisoners. Like, a big metal box in a Faraday Cage.”
I moved my hand away to let him answer. “The girl has friends in high places.”
Yeah, about 238,900 miles up. “I’m her best friend. Now, not too long ago I’d have killed everyone just for making me come all the way up here, but I like to think I’ve changed. I don’t know if I have, but I like thinking it and am going to try a more peaceful method of resolving our conflict. Give me the woman you captured and we will leave.”
A piece of one of his minions plopped off the nearby statue to himself.
The Supreme raised a hand slowly, then offered a handshake. “Dangerous stranger, you have a deal.”
I shook. “The name’s Gecko. Psycho Gecko. And I fully intend to keep my side of the deal.” I glanced up at the statue, “Say, who’s the loser who needed a giant statue to himself?”
I was shown to a room with four Tesla coils surrounding a metal cage with a big metal egg inside it. The coils were powered down, the cage was opened, and the sides of the egg glowed as they were split apart. My prime body fell out, looking a little more trim and a lot more stinky. I swapped, letting my prime body put on the power armor. The guards were curious, but stayed too far away for harassment when the proxy body transformed into a large panther. My prime body, armored up, mounted the panther form as it began racing down the hallways.
I was passing through the corridor where I’d killed the first set of guards when the alarms went off. “Danger! Evacuate! Self-destruct triggered!”
They really ought to have done a better job keeping people off their wifi. And for fuck’s sake, don’t make your self-destruct internet accessible, even on the moon. Still, they gave me the woman and I am leaving. By that point, they were too busy trying to get into their own rockets to worry about us squeezing into the lander and tossing out a few to-go gifts on the way up. Oh, neat, the bottom legs and such of the lander stay there when you launch it from the moon.
The bad news came when the fuel light came on as soon as we made liftoff. It went off about halfway up, when the fuel ran out and we began a long drift back around. Swung us far enough around the moon that we didn’t get caught by the explosion. The kaboom was not earth-shattering, but it tossed one of the escaping rockets into our orbiting command and support modules, blowing the whole mess up.
I didn’t want to be stranded. I expected other fallout. A facility that used abandoned alien space engines to hurl projectiles at Earth’s surface is a game changer. All military forces are restricted from space by international treaty. They can get around that, especially if the possess such a military facility already created by a third party. Possession of giant guns is 12/10ths of the law. But just like I’m not weapon anymore, and the moon won’t be either.
And, seeing as I did a good thing, the universe is making me pay for it, leaving me stuck on the moon with no food or water. All the times I’ve been to space and this time is the one to do me in. Gave me time to contemplate and speak to myself: “Shit. Fuck. Blown on up. So that’s it. Trapped on the moon, three days away from Earth.” I paused for awhile. A minute, maybe. “I regret killing Forcelight. Lone Gunman, too. Miss Tycism. Good Doctor. I don’t even know all the names, but there are a lot of folks who could have done much better without me in existence. So many possibilities and so much potential lost because I was so powerless I had to kill everyone. And now, because I kept being so kill-happy, I’m stranded on the moon without any food, water, or fuel.” I let out a sad laugh.
Imagine my surprise when I got an answer. A jittery see-through image appeared, like a big green mass of pixels that became a rough face. I noticed other shapes moving in and out, forming little green humanoid ghosts off back behind the face. “Psychopomp Gecko, I can save you in return for your fealty.”
The face continued. “I need agents in your time. Serve me, kill for me, and you do not have to die.”
Figures. Fucking figures.
I shook my head and tossed a vibrator at the face. The toy bounced off the window and drifted back, wagging back and forth past my head in the low gravity of the moon.
“Is this a no?” the big green pixelated face asked.
“Correct,” I said. “I don’t know what you’re up to, but you’re gonna lose. Maybe not because of the me, but there are people who can fight you in ways I can’t. You’ll never see them coming. As for me, I’m nobody’s weapon anymore.”
“Pathetic,” the big green head said before disappearing. One of the humanoid ghosts stayed, for a moment before the images completely disappeared. Weird, but I’m due for some sort of time travel adventure this year still.
All of a sudden, a teenager appeared behind me, my HUD labeling him as Dean from Radium. I turned to glance at him. “Hi. Welcome to the moon. The fuck you doing here?”
He shifted uncomfortably, tossing aside a big latex horse dong. He tossed it aside. “I’m glad I didn’t end up with that in me.”
“Anyway, hey, I’m Dean. You saved my life the other night,” he introduced himself. He held a hand out for me. “Medusa and Radium thought you could use a hand getting home.”
“How’d they know where to find me?” I asked.
“You’re still transmitting,” Sam said on the line with me. “I let Medusa and a few people listen in.”
I didn’t like the sound of that, but I grabbed Dean’s hand. Everything darkened around me, and then lightened back up. Myself, my panther double, and a load of adult toys fell into the streets of Radium right near my house. Adrian and Marianne ran up to help me up and hug me. Dean’s parents helped him up and beamed at me. Even the moon, very nearly full, looked a lot happier since we left so many toys for the man in the moon to play with.
Sam hung up before I could start asking who all heard my little confession of regret.