Tag Archives: Technolutionary

Gecko Rules 4



Well, The Empire of Gecko is unofficially at war with Australia. I say unofficially, because there’s this whole technical definition thing at work where a country can only be at war with another country. Technically, I’m putting down a rebellion, which is hard for me to admit. With an accent like that, it’s difficult to claim the Australians are revolting.

And it isn’t really their fault. That alien ship that hid in the Australian outback turned out to contain Technolutionary, the mad genius who allied with the aliens. He had something of an obsession with me. While it’s true that I am clearly a superior lifeform to the humans of earth, he had this idea that he could study my organs and tissues and such to turn regular homo sapiens into homo machina like me. This was one of those obsessions like “We could be so great together! I broke into your room and left you a model replica of you compiled out of your discarded boogers because I love you!” He’s not a mentally stable guy.

On top of that, went phenotypically female for awhile there and he felt that was even more evidence that he and I were soulmates. Which is ridiculous. Clearly, Wildbow-senpai is my soulmate. I’m just kidding. He probably barely even thinks of me.

Anyway, I caved to some of Technolutionary’s demands in light of the oncoming alien invasion and we figured out a way to transform humans into a superior form. He was supposed to get on that more, but then broke away to join with the aliens and started turning the humans they captured into people like me. On the plus side, his stalker-esque love for me led to him dealing with the aliens to try and give me amnesty too. I took it long enough to get out of Empyreal City, then figured out a way I actually could stop the aliens and gave neutrality the finger.

I know a bit of a recap, but not everyone has such a fine memory as me. I have a mind like a…uh…thingy that holds stuff really well. Like a hooker with boobs, a dick, a high-tech sledgehammer, and a suit of metal power armor, maybe. I dunno, it’ll come to me. The phrase, I mean, though his experiments mean there could very well be hookers in power armor flying around somewhere. Hell, he even turned Venus into a homo machina like myself.

So he’s in Australia, stirring up trouble. He activated his ship’s forcefield in such a way that it surrounds the continent. It’s not perfect, though. Probably damaged, or maybe he wants people to actually live. But he turned on a forcefield that made it fuzzier for me to connect to Elecric Eye Sydney and any of my nanite-infected potential minions down there.

Then, he declared to the people of Australia that he was Technolutonary and he was there to save them from the evil Psycho Gecko. I heard that through Electric Eye, concentrated on staying connected to me at the expense of keeping track of people I could control.

Technolutionary even had a way to undo exposure to the nanites, which he sorta does. I can control nanites by touch because of my species’s unique natural abilities. Any of them converted to the same species could, too, though he’s more likely to scoop out their brains and replace them with CPUs programmed to do his bidding. He always preferred his human-bots to homo machina.

None of that announcement got out to the outside world, which still whined and moaned at me like a Young Earth Creationist reading a science textbook. So I was like “Fuck it.” They keep wanting to resist. Hardly anybody picked a leader for their zones, and a few smartasses tried to get together and elect the same representative for multiple zones. For those fuckers, I liquidated the would-be leader. I know, it sounds harsh, but if they’d only let them control one zone, the others nearby might have picked someone who’d be subordinate to them as another loophole.

Some of my picks weren’t entirely random, either. Ouroroboros of Paradise City already had experience leading things. I don’t trust him, but my stranglehold on Earth means I don’t have to trust anybody. I just have to be able to kill them or a few million of their best friends. Plus, many criminal leaders would be at least somewhat amenable to my way of doing things as it could afford them even more power in the new system. That’s one reason why I went with some of them. That, and they would be excellent at putting down anybody rebelling against me and, by happy new coincidence, them.

Over on the West Coast of North America, I went with Victor Mender, the head of Master Academy. That whole “killing people if you disobey me” thing is even more effective on good guys like him, which is part of the reason why I liked picking leaders who had a conscience. They’re more common than most would think. Good, respected leaders like that might be held hostage by the nanites in their own body, but they’d definitely think twice before crossing someone who would kill half their zone. And folks being respectful of their leadership would be less likely to rebel against it or me.

I rushed through the process of picking people in part so I could reveal what happened to Australia to them and the rest of the world.

“My fellow Earthicans, we have a grave danger at our doorstep. The threat that I initially saved the world from has not been completely vanquished. That’s right, in the time when some thought me dead, the world’s leaders ignored at least one alien vessel that hid on Terra Firma. My protectiveness for this planet in the face of so much is part of the reason I took the reins of power from the incompetent. I may be a fearsome leader to many of you, but I am your fearsome leader! Like a mama bear tearing a head off aliens coming to anally probe my cubs, I vow to keep Earth safe from this alien threat and any others! Yes, others, because I’m afraid your former leaders have allowed the ship to send off a transmission that is bringing reinforcements. I now urge all of you to look to your representatives and myself. Help us to keep you safe. Help us to keep Earth strong. Help us to show these xeno scum that we will not abide our conquest by them and their slimy tentacles. All hail Earth!”

I really wanted to add an “All hail Emperor Gecko!” to that, but I was pushing my luck as is. I think the announcement went well for the most part. I probably lost the Japanese at fighting against alien tentacles, but I’m sure I can figure out some way to continue compelling their loyalty. Oh, that’s right, the ability to kill almost everyone in their country. That oughta do it.

The transmission bit was total bullshit, too. I just got tired of trying to be the nicest fellow around with ruling them. I took a shortcut, and one of the easiest ways to unite a people is by invoking an external threat. The English had the French, the French had the English, Greece had Persia, China had everyone whose ancestors hadn’t boned the Yellow Emperor, and the Slavs had all the people who enslaved their women. But, come on, have you seen Slavic women? The only reason nobody’s enslaving them nowadays is because it’s easier to pay to look at them naked online. See a spicy latina online? They’ll call her Marta, but you’ll find out her real name is something like Zdenka Malkova.

But enough about porn. This is the internet, not a place for porn. I lied about the transmission because if they feel threatened, they’ll be more likely to stick with my leadership, no matter how bad it is. It happens all the time, and it’s much better I do it this way rather than try to consolidate my rule by going apeshit on people of a different color or religion. Although, technically speaking, most aliens are a different skin color and believe in different religions. Eh, it’ll all work out, I’m sure.

That little announcement sure sent various news sources buzzing. Good. Many of them had chosen to stick with their chosen profession even though I’m trying to still get rid of currency, so it’s nice to see the ones that stuck with it aren’t just assholes. I don’t know, maybe I’ll scrap the idea of a post-currency for now and work on easing my way there. I’ll have to design proper money though. Get a picture of my face to go on the front, and one of my ass to go on the back. If they think that’s bad, wait until I do the same for stamps.

The fact of Australia being cut off from the rest of the world only helped my case. Yep, with my fledgling economy going through such major upheavals, nothing distracts quite like a war, but that also put it on me to muster some forces and prove my worth. Luckily, I had the U.S. Navy.

I know, all this seems focused on the West and U.S.-centric, but this is one where anyone doing their homework will know what I’m talking about. The United States Navy is like the Mastercard of Navy’s: it’s everywhere you want to be. Most European countries’ navies are smaller and restricted to their particular area of interest. The United Kingdom and Canada don’t have to bother too much because the Yankees have their back if any military problem breaks out. Russia doesn’t have much coastline for its size, though I’ll definitely call them if we ever get invaded by icebergs. And countries like China and India are just emerging as industrial and technological powers. They’re getting there, but they aren’t there yet. Unlike armies, navies require a lot of technical expertise and logistics.

So the damn Yanks simply had the best navy for me to begin bombarding the crap out of this forcefield. The barrier let light through enough to see everything, but did an excellent job of preventing missiles and shells from penetrating. But if anything could break through Australian protection, it’s American seamen. At my request, they chummed the waters a bit. Spread powerful shortwave radio beacons into the water for sharks and other underwater critters to munch on, then herded them toward the barrier. Upon confirmation that the chicken of the sea could slip their peckers through, they began to bombard the barrier again, with the intention of drawing attention away from the approach of SEALs and Marines.

They were met by Electric Eye Sydney, who relocated to help secure their landing zone, scout for staging areas, and otherwise help them to infiltrate the country.

So that’s what y’all have to look forward to from me next time. Over the next few days, my seamen are going down under and deep outback.




Aliens Eunt Domus 8



Just bear with me here, folks. See, sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Ignore my boobs for the purposes of this lesson. Just keep that in mind as I recount what happened.

See, there was the usual ranting, raving, and distrust in the Master Academy Camp, so much so that I began to hope the invaders would just zap the place like they did the broadcast station. No luck. I actually watched as they tried, and somehow failed. Something the supers here did, good to keep in mind. There wasn’t much else to do for entertainment in between working on the D-bomb. The broad strokes of it are done, it’s more a matter of adjusting it to only affect a certain radius. After all, if you think of spacetime as a sheet on which massive objects sit and distort, then you have to be careful how big of a whole you punch through the sheet…

Ah, hell, that’s getting too technical. But anyway, I didn’t have too much to do. There’s been little to no TV ever since the field went up around the city, and the internet has abandoned us as well. Oh internet, we are but worms without you! Come back to us! Bring the porn!

At least I had a few games stored in my head to alleviate it, though I almost missed having teammates in Payday 2, except for the part where they bitch about how the people who make their game keep wanting to be paid. It’s one thing to steal porn off the internet; it’s another to insist all the porn should be free.

But enough about various sorts of pussies.

So, between building a better bomb and listening to Elmore James perform “The Sky is Crying,” I also got the skinny from the scouts. I almost said hero scouts, but at least some of the ones around the campus were villains who resisted assimilation after a couple of misty downpours. With the sheer numbers on the aliens’ side, it was looking futile. I put out the call to Beetrice and the Buzzkills in the bunker under Double Cross Tower, but phone lines were iffy and I didn’t quite know if bee people were immune to everything. They’re not human, but neither am I or many other supers, strictly speaking.

One fine morning, I hopped up to the wall to take a look out and saw people. Just people. A sea of human beings, unpowered and powered alike. There was no earth visible ringing the school. Further on, I mechanical tendrils reached down from the sky, and presumably a vessel rivaling Empyreal City in size. Kind of a bad sign when you can’t tell the size of a craft even when it’s right next to a city.

I dropped down just inside the wall and didn’t quite catch myself, landing on my ass. I took a minute to sit against the wall. Ya know, just for a minute. Or five. Or thirty.

I had to think. I let so many pieces get away from me. So many things I couldn’t keep track of. I even vaguely wondered how Crash and the others at the company were doing. Probably trying to kill me. Just for good measure, probably have to kill Crash with her own car. I’ve kept on wrecking them anyway. And a few other things. But at least I had an idea or two to go with it.

To my surprise, Venus walked out to retrieve me. She had her armor on, too. Kinda risky to go outside without it, even though it’d been a day since the last light misting. “Why didn’t you just send Wildflower? I’m tired of this stupid fantasy you have about reforming me, and you hate dealing with me anyway.”

She turned around and plopped in the mud next to me. “Yeah. It looks bad out there. You know it isn’t your fault, right?”

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, not so much I could have done to just plain stop them, but that doesn’t mean nothing was my fault. Even I can’t stop an army, and now I am fated to die. I did…every damn thing I did…to live. You can stomach almost anything if it’s to save your own ass, ya know? Lots of dead people. Hurt. Wounded. Taken apart. Things. Except I’ve almost certainly failed, so all that was meaningless.”

I pushed my hands against my helmet, wishing I could shove them in my mouth to hide the noises that began to burst forth. I couldn’t. I wound up holding my head, uncontrollable laughter issuing forth. I just couldn’t stop.

Venus reached out and put a hand on my shoulder, as much to try and stop me as comfort me. It took a minute of effort to force myself to stop long enough to hear the worthless words, like so many others that she employed to deter me from actions that, in the end, didn’t matter one way or another. “I failed too. I thought I could save you. We aren’t so different, you and I. I wanted to save you in spite of yourself. You wanted to make me kill you.”

“Didn’t matter anyway,” I responded. “None of it does. I think, somehow, I fooled myself about that. Or forgot it. Its very freeing, though, to realize that everything is permitted, that there isn’t guilt, just responsibility. I have always had an end coming for me, whether I made it happen or not. Maybe what I did pushed it back. Maybe not. It was always there regardless. In thinking I was so smart for knowing life was absurd, and yet I still was the victim, controlled by my past and my fear. Those bozos out there better hope they kill me. Because I feel like fetters are off that I didn’t even realize weighed me down.”

I jumped to my feet. Venus rose beside me and stepped in front of me. “We give the world meaning, Gecko. We live for a short time and use it to make the world a better place for all who come before. If they enslave me, they will know I resisted. It matters if it slows them down one second. And if I die, I died fighting. Maybe humanity will die fighting. These bastards will look down on a dead world full of dead people who would rather fight with everything they have than submit. We are not puppets.”

I gave her a golf clap, but was interrupted by something a little worse.

Someone yelling for us on the outside over a completely silent crowd. “Dear friends! Come out! Let us have a talk!”

I thought about it a moment. “I know that voice. This guy’s a jackass!”

I poked my head up first, then turned visible, then hauled up Venus when it seemed no one was in a sniping mood. I saw the alien ambassador again, who had looked so Nazi just a short while ago. Since then, he’d undergone a few changes. For starters, there was the way his skin looked a bit rotten, and how his eyes were all black with black goo dripping from them in lines down his cheeks. And how his mouth looked to be filled with nothing but more black slime, even covering his teeth. He wore one of those rough encounter suits his bodyguards had, but with round plugs or holes on the sides.

It wasn’t just him backing up the army of enslaved people around us, either. He brought friends. Most of them looked robotic. I saw spheres that waved some sort of barrels at us, usually with a smaller secondary sphere attached by a metal shaft. Balls and shaft aside, they also had a few of these things that looked like an orgy of octopi all pointed tentacles full of black slime toward the air above us. Some sort of artillery, then? I couldn’t see their bases very well.

There were definitely more of those bodyguard types, but with mechanical tendrils hanging off their suits. And giant discs with four big tentacles that ended in gleaming metal tips.

I suddenly understood why the Japanese so hated to see an invasion by tentacle monsters: no matter whether hostile or peaceful, you’re still getting fucked.

I nodded toward Venus. “You want to take this one, or do you want me to talk smack about his momma?” To the diplomat, I yelled, “Hey, your momma sucks so hard, they called her a whirlpool!”

Venus pointed toward the huge army with her chin. “I would tell you this isn’t helping, but I don’t think they stopped by for enrollment.”

“That’s right, this is a school. Maybe you ought to get the kids out here to learn some important lessons. See how many of them can name all the different types of word that ‘fuck’ counts as. Tell ya what, I’ll even spot them prepositions in light of these fuckers right fucking here.”

While she dropped down and made for the school, the voice of the aliens spoke up again, the slimy bastard. “It is time you joined us. The city is against you. Soon, the world!”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that before. You don’t frighten us, English pig dogs! Go and butter your bottom, sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at your ambassador, you and your sssssshitheads!” I started blowing him raspberries and patting the top of my helmet, the put my thumbs where my ears would be to make a funny gesture.

“This-!” started the ambassador, before I interrupted.

“I don’t wanna talk to you no more you empty-headed urinal cake licker. I would fart in your general direction if it didn’t make you horny. Your mother was a hamster, and your father did time for bestiality!”

With what amounted to wit on their planet, the alien asked, “Is there an adult at home I could talk to?!”

“No! Now go away, or I’ll taunt you a second time!” I gave him the V sign with one hand and the middle finger with the other.

That was when the slime-filled tentacle whipped up over the wall, wrapped around my waist, and tossed me into the middle of a huge crowd of people. They got all handsy, too. It was like being in the middle of a zombie movie, which would normally be a bad thing if I was a horror movie character. The mean, foul-mouthed lesbian who drinks and has lots of sex?

Then again, the joke’s on them. A regular person would be restrained. A regular person wouldn’t have Gecko’s patented fists of fuckin’ fury, motherfucker! Wham! Bam! Pow, right in the kisser! It’s not like the city would really miss a person or twelve. They have reinforcements, and busting a few skulls gave me room to get my feet under me and jump, narrowly avoiding an explosion from one of the tenta-mortars. Not exactly watching where I was going, I missed a large burst of blue laser from one of those floating orbs and shafts. It missed me because I clanged into it and spun off before I could even wreck its shit.

I landed ass first on someone’s head, snapping something on them in the process. Good thing, too. Helped me land on my feet, like a cat of death or a buttery piece of toasted destruction.

I landed, snapping elbows to faces and throats. Headbutt a nose, kick a ball. When the surging crowd gave me some room, I popped the Nasty Surprise out and used it to skewer some poor idiot in front of me, and the person behind him. I withdrew the mini chainsaw and and grabbed hold of the second person’s intestines. I drew them out through his friend and wrapped them around the throat of another attacker, tightening it into choking and tying it off in a knot.

My efforts to make a pretty bow went surprisingly undisturbed by other expendable slaves, but then one of those human-shaped suits stepped over the crowd using the tendrils that stuck out of its back and sides. It tried to put one through my neck, but I ducked and he impaled his friend’s face. I turned and deflected the next few blows aimed at me with my fists, though he backed me up. Despite the wild thrashing of that part of his body, he settled on the humanoid legs and slowly crumpled forward like some sort of folding-up puppet. I didn’t have all the room in the world, unfortunately, so I resorted to dodging in place until I could grab one. Before he could follow up or wiggle free, I slid under the legs of the encounter-suited liquid alien thingy, then jammed the end of the tendril right where the poop chute would be.

The tendrils flailed for a moment, so maybe that still hurt. I grabbed the base of a pair of them, set my boot on the one I shoved up his ass, and used the leverage to really ream it in there, spurting black goo all over him. To be fair, dark-colored fluid often gets on my boot when I stick it up there on a human.

Before I could dig my hand in to grab hold of its core, a mortar blast threw me onto it and tossed us both forward in a heap. Then a follow up blast reverberated the entire world around me. Felt like my teeth were going to shake out and left me unable to breath from the pressure of the blast. A third shot didn’t come in as quick succession, giving me a moment to roll to my feet and desperately try to jump for freedom. That one hit just after I left the ground.

The resulting mess of a jump spun me around enough that I almost lost my lunch and didn’t quite comprehend when I stopped flying. When I gained the ability to think again, i turned out I’d been caught by someone. I almost put my elbow through the jaw of the person who grabbed me before I noticed its yellow and black exoskeleton, antenna, and its compound eyes. You know, it’s not until you’re face to face with a half-bee, half-human monstrosity that you appreciate the beauty of its five eyes. He, or more likely she, soared above the crowd on wings that really shouldn’t have been able to lift it, let alone me.

But this is the battle where aliens are fighting superheroes, so perhaps it’s the wrong time to analyze things. And as it set me down in front of a small army of Buzzkills, it seemed like a pretty good time to give the analysis a second look.

I heard Beetrice a split second before I felt the giant, multi-armed bee person squeeze me against her yellow exoskeleton in a hug. “Weeeee! So happy to see you!” It had been an exclamation point sort of day by then.

“You’re here. Great. I mean, great! But maybe ease up on the lovin’? It’s time to do some seriously hating…”

Beetrice let me slip out of her arms to the ground while bee-people and slave-people fought before the earthen wall in the distance. “Sure thing, most important drone! But who do you want us to hate?”

“There’s not a lot of options here, but not the heroes. For once. Odd to say it, I know,” I pointed over at the wall where Master Academy capes had mounted it to blast the attackers.

“What about them?” she asked.


She picked me up again, but this time to show me another force, approaching to flank both the Buzzkills and slaves.

This time, it was a bunch of people with all sorts of mechanical add-ons marching in lockstep toward the fight, but stopping short of engaging anyone. Above them floated Technolutionary, floating in form-fitting purple armor. I hopped over in front of him and the metal monstrosities he’d built. They looked like more of his human-robots, but their bodies had various gadgets built into him. This guy watched too many Borg episodes of Star Trek.

Technolutionary laughed as he floated over. “How do you like my creations?” He held his hands out to encompass the mass of mechanized abominations. “The proud merger of my work and your natural gifts. You should be proud of our children.”

“I got ya, you’re back to the weird semi-romantic thoughts. Ya know what really turns me on, though? Killin’ aliens. Come on. You, me, a bunch of expendable idiots. Let’s make this massacre happen, right?”

Technolutionary stared down at me. “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that.”

I pointed toward the battle, where all other forces were hard at work beating the crap out of each other in an orgy of violence and explosions that would bring Michael Bay to tears. “Come on, man. Expendable stuff was made to be expended. This IS why we did all that collaboration, ya know. Saving my ass from the aliens.”

Technolutionary floated down and pressed a button on one of his forearms. A panel on his belt opened and some glowing thing floated out. He raised his hands and it floated over them before forming into a perfectly symmetrical crystalline structure about the size of his forearm. “I have saved you. This is the key.”

I looked it over. “Looks like a rock. Most people at least stick it in a ring first. What is it?”

He cupped it close. “This is a transponder from the aliens themselves. A sign of my willing cooperation.” He turned his head and spoke to his human bots. “Move on the heroes. Capture them all for our allies.”

“Willing cooperation?”

He looked toward me, then pressed another button on his forearm, causing the metal face that covered his real one to fold up. He smiled at me with that freaky look in his eye, like he wanted to get freaky. “I did this for you and I. You will be safe, and I will usher in the next evolution of mankind.”

“What does it do?” I asked, probing for information.

A voice echoed forth from the crystal thing, a rough digitized voice. “This is a sign of your cooperation. Join us willingly and become a great asset, Psycho Gecko. Your ingenuity is welcome and your willingness to serve your best interests appears infamous by our understanding of Earth’s superhumans.”

The crystal glowed, then split into two identical smaller versions. Technolutionary added his last bit to the pitch. “Come on, Gecko. Join me. Save yourself. We can watch the world evolve together.” He raised his eyebrows. “You don’t even have to fight here. Let’s just leave this city and watch the fight from afar.”

“Kind of a shield up right now.” Off to my left, humans swarmed a crack in the wall while aliens worked to pull it apart.

“It lets you out.” Technolutionary smiled. “They will know where you are, but also not to attack you.”

It took a second of thought, but I stepped close and reached out with my left hand.

Technolutionary set down on the ground. “Yes. Smart girl.”

“And if I don’t want to help, but just have a truce here?”

That provoked a response from the crystal. “Parameters acceptable.”

A puzzled Technolutionary looked between me and the crystal, then at the inside of his eyelids after I tried to fist his eye hole. On the off chance it’d negate the transponder thingy, I left him alive. I shouldn’t have, but I did. It was more than he deserved. Then I took one of those damn floating crystals, which folded in on itself until it became small enough to fit in a pouch on my armor.

“Helping you isn’t exactly on my agenda. But if this gets me out of here and doesn’t get me killed…ok then.” I muttered to myself.

Like I said, don’t judge. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. It’s not like I’m going to help them. I’m just ensuring my survival. I mean, fucking alien invasion, dudes. What am I supposed to do?

I mean, I did call Beetrice up again and tell her to get her people and hide. Lock themselves in the bunker. All that. Gave her a fighting chance. I still never found Crash or Carl since all the rain and assimilation stuff. But I did get Moai out. He helped me haul out the Dimension Bomb. And me. I rode out on his head, the energy barrier around the edge of the city opening up to accommodate everything around me as we approached.

I didn’t look back while the others fought for their lives. I’d saved mine, after all.

That was the most important thing. Sure, right. The most important thing.

But it’s not my fight anymore.

Nope. Not my fight.



Capital Chaos 6



I’m glad I was here in Washington for the latest and greatest in Presidential speeches.

“My fellow Americans, I’m here to address a few points I didn’t cover in my recent State of the Union Address. First, I’d like to address the friendly rivals of the opposing party: kiss my ass, you ignorant butt monkey fuckers. I hate every one of you cumsucking scum nuts, drag-assing around for no other reason than to make me look bad. Furthermore, I have proposed some executive actions to several of your wives, and gave their pussies one hell of a filibuster. By the way, if my daughters are watching this right now, babies, you’ll want to change the channel. It’s about to get nasty. Now lets move on to a sackless bunch of so-called allies I’ve seen since Italy joined the Triple Alliance. Once again, for members of the opposing party, getting that joke involves knowing a little something about history. It’s that thing you’ve been repeating since you don’t know shit from shiitake. But you got nothing on these two-faced sons of bitches that couldn’t pass a bill if I filled it with corn and shoved it down their throats. Now, I’d like to thank God for providing an example here of the biggest room of pale, soulless dicks since the gay ginger porn awards.” The President started to point around the room. “I hate you, I hate you, I don’t even know you, but I hate your guts. I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and nobody else. You’re cool. And I would just like to say to all of you: kiss my ass, you rotten motherfuckers.”

Of course, then they ruin the whole thing by showing me getting chased out by the Secret Service and the real President who hasn’t gotten through his wrist ties yet while going “Whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop!” I had to. You can’t put me around so many important people trying to maintain imagined dignity and not get something like that.

As for temporarily incapacitating the POTUS, that was also a fun little achievement to pull off. It almost messed up my performance, since I had to wait in that mini fridge for more than an hour before he decided to wet his whistle on the way to his Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech.

It certainly turned out to be worth it. I think. It’s debatable, since it was another instance of prominent supervillain crime affecting a politician. But it was funny and didn’t actually hurt anyone, so that looks better. And it served to forward another part of what I’m doing around here.

Technolutionary couldn’t stand the crack house, so he tried renting his own motel by the interstate. To be fair, cheap motels often serve as amateur laboratories to the methamphetamine-inclined. I’m fairly sure he’s not going to cook up any of that. He’s too uptight. Like, maybe he’s a cocaine guy? But even though he wanted to stare at all that, he told me he’d stay in town until we were finished so he could lend a hand if needed. With him out, I redecorated the crack house to mark it as my property and prevent stray people from strolling on in. You’d be amazed what you can use as a nice lamp cover when your only raw materials are a bunch of drug addicts.

He said he’d keep an eye out about Constellation, too. Decent of him, though he didn’t have the sort of information-gathering resources at his disposal as Harlon, Fortune Cookie, or Double Cross. I’d gotten them in on the act of hunting down the Voluntary Super Registration List and/or Captain Lightning so I could call in a favor.

While Gecko’s Amazing Spy Squad ran down the possible locations of Constellation Consortium bases and/or got a message through to Captain Lightning, I decided to look into a hunch I had and pay a visit to the Booth Busters. That’s the informal name of the District of Columbia Anti-Superhuman Enforcement. While the Secret Service handles superhuman threats to the President, Washington itself gets DCASE and their containment facility.

They kept the few supers they captured in a rounded, three-story tower erected next to Fort Washington in Maryland. It’d be pretty damn tough to get someone out of there without a lot of heavy firepower. Or a presidential pardon.

Sorry to disappoint, folks, but I released Max Muscles the legal way: impersonating the president.

The New Jerseyite strongman looked dazed as they let him go. I mean, they didn’t know what was going on any more than he did, but mine was the only car around. I stopped right by Max and the pair of guards with him. “Gentlemen!” I exclaimed on exiting the car. To them, I looked like any other man who happened to be wearing a red, white, and blue costume with my cape, ballistic vest, and eagle-themed helmet.

Max Muscles, who I’d met in one of my aliases back in New Jersey, kindly provided exposition for the guards. “Missile Patriot!”

“That’s right! I have been sent to retrieve you on the orders of the President of these United States, by the power vested in me by the grand ole flag, the grand old party, and the grand ol’ opry! By the way, here’s a little something for you boys, the President said to go out, find some strippers with really big cans, and start making some regrets.” I handed the nearest guard a briefcase full of ones.

She held out a clipboard in return. “You’re going to need to sign for the prisoner.”

Eh, fine, whatever. Makes no difference to me. I gave her my John Hancock and she undid the useless restrains on Max’s wrists. “Thank you, Mr. Hancock.”

“Don’t mention it. And you go have fun with those strippers, now!”

I looked Max over as he got in the car. A bit leaner than last time. Unshaven. No slick hair this time around. “How have you been, Max?”

“I don’t know, bro. Things got crazy. Brian is schoolin’ it up in college, just totally crushin’ the coed pussy. Oh, but right after you left, Gastrolord disappeared. Cops found his stuff, though. So I been able to party and lay down the law on my own since then. Matter fact, Gastrolord being gone’s why Brian figured he’d be fine gettin’ his college on.”

Bulletproof Brian is Max Muscles’s friend. Together, they were known as Generation Flex. I killed Gastrolord. I was hanging around in Jersey, fighting an organization called Hephaestus that maintained a warehouse there because Hephaestus refused to pay me on a job. Gastrolord was a snail-themed villain who tried to collect on a bounty they put on my head. Unfortunately for him, I upgraded his ejector seat in the cockpit of this giant snail vehicle he drove around. Extra power and the ability for me to engage it remotely. It was very messy. No wonder they never identified the body.

“So, that’s it? Gastrolord disappeared, Brian went to college, you were on your own; one thing led to another and you attack the Capital.” My visor precluded me showing off a raised eyebrow of incredulity.

He looked ahead. “Can we get away from here, first?”

I nodded and took us away. Not a fan of discussing it in the parking lot, I guess. “Why’d you do it? Someone pay you? It’s just not anything like what you’d pull. I mean, maybe party around the place, but not throwing cars around and all.”

“I think I drank too much, or it was too much ex. I started losing time. Blackout, man. Not cool, bro. I got out of control, just too much fun. One of my bros recommended AA, so I went there. It was like one of those things where you realize somethin’. I mean, they tell you to put your life in God’s hands, pray to him, confess your sins to him, and try to spread his message ‘n all. I started talkin’ to God, and he gave me this feeling. He guided me. He told me I could make the world a better place. Like, a heaven on earth. He brought me here, and then he said I needed to make a sacrifice for the good of everyone. See, everything’s better now. You’re here, and you got me out!”

I digested that mentally at a stoplight. “So no bribe? Nothing?”

“No, nobody paid me.”

“Ever heard of Constellation or Senator Powers?”


“Let’s have a bite somewhere and I’ll set you up to head back to Jersey, how’s that?”

“You’re a bro, bro.”

Another meal, another bit of cash tossed away, but at least a little information. I believe someone spoke to Max Muscles, but I doubt it was any deity. A super with telepathy, maybe? It’s a great power to pull off a scam like that. “Tina? This is Jesus. I need you to make out a check and send it to this P.O. Box, and you’ll get your eternal rewards in the afterlife.” If anything, it’s more surprising none of them have gone for a bigger prize. Then again, how would I know they haven’t?

Now there’s a question, but not one I have to answer. I’m not the hero of this story.

But I did get a visit from one. It was shortly after that, while trying to figure out which sex to go with. I was male, due to Fortune Cookie sending me a text message to call a number that in no way resembled a phone number for the United States. Celebration! I’ll have to bring her back a souvenir…the Washington Memorial, maybe? Hmm, knowing her, she wouldn’t want any phallic symbol I’d been carrying around with me. I’ll think of something. Maybe I can get her the Constitution.

At first, I wondered if dialing this number would send me backwards in time to go meet Socrates and ask him why I was kicking his ass. I used a burner phone because it’s easier to ditch a phone than my head. One call later, a man picked up and asked, “Hello?”

“Hello?” I echoed.

Him. “Who is this?”

Me. “Who is THIS?”

“My name is Captain Lightning.”

“Oh, hey dude, it’s Psycho Gecko. Remember me? I fought you to the death inside a nightmarish hellscape that time. How ya been?”

“How are you calling me on this number? This is an abandoned hospital in…a country I’m not allowed to identify.”

“To be honest, I don’t entirely know how I’m doing this either, but I’m probably going to put someone’s face on Mt. Rushmore because of this. Oh, and I need to call in one of those favors you owe me.”

He sighed. “I don’t think I can help you put a new face on Rushmore.”

“That’s not what I called for. I’m trying to find information on a PMC,” that’s private military company, or contractor, or concerto, “called Constellation.”

“Stay where you are. Where are you?”

I looked around at the crack house and its visceral aesthetic. I’m not sure if dead druggies is in style for entertaining guests. “If you’re wanting to meet me, you’ll want to meet me somewhere else than here.” I glanced at a pair of legs sticking out from a hole in the wall. The pants were stained with blood, urine, and what I could only assume is a large quantity of chocolate pudding. I could assume that, but I won’t. “Plus, I’ve got nothing to eat to offer you for hospitality.” Which was true. Some people can tie a cherry stem with their tongue, but I challenge you to find anyone else who can stick a whole coconut up someone’s nose. Not their own nose, but someone’s.

“Fine. Jefferson Memorial. Meet me there as soon as possible. I’ll be there in ten.” He hung up.

Huh. Well, I made there just about on time with the help of my armor. We met in the shadow of Thomas Jefferson’s statue. He had some good ideas, and some bad. They mostly stuck the good ones in the building, since it wouldn’t do to have uncomfortable mentions of slave-fucking.

Nice quotes though. “I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Almost sounds like my kinda guy, though my favorite was a bit longer: “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

The little attention I pay to politics makes that one hilarious. The assumption that people move away from barbarism just because they know better, especially. Makes me want to knock out half the wall and build an encroaching Nixon Memorial, because my experience shows that people will still kill, suppress, threaten, steal, and rape no matter how advanced they are. Civilization just means you wear nicer clothes while you do it.

Though some people do dream about a place where being a dick to someone isn’t the default. Bleh, now I’m starting to sound like Max Muscles, or Senator Powers, or even Oligarch.

“You never struck me as a tourist,” said someone behind me. The 360 display showed Captain Lightning floating down from roof level, having flown in real quick from spreading democracy to countries the United States isn’t supposed to have forces in. He wore a bright red costume with a white and gold lightning bold on his chest. He didn’t have a cape this time. Despite having fought in World War II, he looked to be in his early forties, maybe. No grey in his hair. Overall, he looked better than when he was in thrall to Spinetingler, the horror villain.

“Let us remember the past so we can better destroy the future, that sort of thing.” I shrugged and turned around. “You didn’t want to discuss Constellation over the phone?”

A nod. “The government loves private contractors in everything from wet works to intelligence gathering. I remember when we trusted the country’s protection and management to those with higher ideals.”

“Or people who were at least better about hiding it, which shows more competence and discernment. Anyway, I need to know where Constellation might have any secure servers that require a physical presence to get into. They have some data I need. I mean, I don’t expect you to know all that, so I’ll settle on a base of theirs and hopefully pry out the location from there. Or from other people.”

“Can you tell me a little more about why?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

A holographic ring of crazy brown hair appeared on the back of my helmet as I told him, “Aliens.”

He shook his head.

“No, I’m serious. Aliens. They’re up to something. We’re going to need all hands on deck to stop them. I’m not even killing as many heroes as I normally do because of this.”

“You think Constellation is part of it?” He floated down to touch the ground. Off in the distance, I think I noticed some snapshots. I threw up a hologram of me looking like an anonymous man in black.

“No, but I think they’re involved in something that’s going to weaken the superpowered community. Like it or not, I’m kind of a murderous referee.”

Captain Lightning mulled it over for half a minute. “Officially, I’m not helping you, because Constellation’s affiliates are not involved in the theft of foreign artwork and gold or the smuggling of illegal narcotics into the country, are we clear?” He smirked as he said it.

I cocked my head to the side like a confused dog or a man with a broken neck or a man hit upside the head with a dog with a broken neck. “…no?”

“Good. So whatever you do, do not attack the nearest Constellation base, which is a mobile headquarters stationed in the Potomac.” He pointed behind him, to the west where the Potomac river flowed.

“Really? Can you clarify where it is, so I won’t get too close by accident? Because I don’t see any boats or islands or anything.”

“It should be easy to avoid a submarine, but you wouldn’t believe how many times they run into things.” He shook his head. “That’s a discussion for another time, unless you want me to help you. That would be another favor.”

I shook my head. “Nope, I got this.”

“You’ve got a submarine?”

“Not yet, but I’m about to.”

He shook his head this time. “I hope I’m doing the right thing.”

I pointed back to the statue of Thomas Jefferson. “As a famous president once said when discussing a possible war with Napoleon, ‘I’m gonna fuck them so hard, they’re gonna call me ‘Master’.”

“That’s not-” he looked behind me where someone had etched that very line onto a wall. “Gecko!”

“Whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop!” I turned invisible and scuttled out of there.


Capital Chaos 5



I wore my Norma Mortenson identity again. It’s a false assumption for many people that someone who changes their outward identity as much as I do can’t easily keep track of who they really are. The Barbellian, Missile Patriot, Banshee, Norma Mortenson, the Lord of Misrule, any others I’ve missed by now: how can I possibly maintain who I really am? But that’s easy. I know who I am. I’m not my boobs or my penis, but I am the sort who will use both for any advantage they can give me.

Once you know who you are inside, the outside is only icing on the cake.

So I once again became Norma and used my assets against Senator Powers. I may have enhanced the mammary glands a bit, because me and him, baby, weren’t nothin’ but mammals. I didn’t actively flirt, though. He’s not my type. I prefer the innocent and naive, I think.

We stopped at a barbecue place, the Senator having an odd taste for the messy food. Perhaps he just wanted to see fluids smeared all over my face. Eh, probably a power play.

“Good day, Miss Mortenson,” he stood up and offered a handshake.

I smiled as I shook, “Good day to you too, Senator. Thank you for meeting with me.”

“I always have time for prominent citizens like yourself. Please, let’s order first. I’m known for my love affair with the ribs here.”

Not to mention his love affair with Latino masseuse, though I think baby oil factored into it more than love ever did.

I had the salisbury steak myself, filling up. All the physical activity of supervillainy burns a lot of calories and increases the appetite. Then there’s the physical cost of restructuing myself with regenerative nanites. If I use them enough without restoring my chemical energy reserves, I’ll shrink. Priscilla Powers will also be chowing down more than ever, but that’s because she’s got to power her hand and feet. I don’t have that issue. I have a power core embedded in my chest that can wipe out a city if cracked.

That’s a good way to make sure people don’t want to kill you, along with always keeping at least one syringe of nanites on me, though I did compromise a core once to beat Captain Lightning. Temporarily. Still managed to knock some sense into the guy. He thanked me, since he was being controlled by the horror-villain Spinetingler at the time. He even told me he owed me a couple after we managed to save the entire city from being ruled by a villain other than me.

So we enjoyed a filling meal and made small talk about a few topics, like the craziness in Empyreal City, the weather in Paradise City, and how cleaned up Kingscrow had become recently. I guess Mix N’Max liked Vegas, but I realized I hadn’t kept up with him very well. My former druggy partner-in-crime might be surprised to see me now. Then again, I met his brother that time, who I’m pretty sure is his sister now. He may not be that surprised.

Wiping dabbing at my mouth all gentle and ladylike after inhaling the last of my food, I asked, “Now, Senator, how about we get down to business?”

He wiped his hands on his napkin and left it crumpled up in his plate, “Yes, Hero.Net, right? There are rumors that heroes are organizing on it.”

I shrugged. “That’s a strong word for it. It’s like a social network. It makes it easier to share clues, team up, and manage patrols. Plus, it gives them a forum for discussions. This reaches a lot of heroes at once.” I showed him a few screenshots

He glanced over the papers. “You could have made these, but it doesn’t say much about their competence that they’ve organized so well but can’t stop crime.”

“I could say the same about every branch of law enforcement in the U.S., but no one’s trying to abolish the police and FBI. It does seem daunting that the villains aren’t out yet after all that, but that’s easy to explain.” I showed some printouts of The Order. “The villains’ version came first as a remnant of that alliance that briefly took over the entire city.”

“How do you have these?” he asked, apparently convinced of the villainous version.

I held up two tablets, each one logged into one of the networks. “I get access to both. Not only could I help you find heroes and villains for your registration gag, but my servers are trusted by them. Both groups willingly help to keep them more secure. What better place for a registration list, right?”

He gaped. “This sounds like quite the confession.”

I shook my head. “I didn’t hear a confession, but I did hear an opportunity.”

Powers looked around, “I refuse to be a party like yourself. I do what I do for the good of everyone. To make the world a better place. You’re the worst sort of corpora-.”

“Look at your phone.” I told him, smirking. He did, then looked around again, more closely this time. Lots of puzzled people with phones. A frantic hostess at the register, trying to get the machine to process a credit card. For some reason, communications in and out just weren’t working. Except for those tablets of mine. I winked at him.

The Senator settled down, showing no more reluctance to work with a criminal. “You’ve made a very good point about security, but I’ve already made that deal. Constellation has the contract to maintain the security of the list.”

Constellation Consortium. Mercenaries.

I grinned. “Senator, you’re counting on the patriotism of mercenaries? They fight for money. I have plenty of that on my own.”

The Senator pointed at me. “They’re soldiers from the U.S. Of A. that fight for their country, and they use better equipment and receive better pay for their sacrifice.”

I rolled my eyes, “And they run off and let real patriots die in pitched firefights so they can collect their checks.”

The Senator didn’t take kindly to that. “Say what you want, they’re still a security firm and your company is some silly little medical supply company that owns coffee shops.”

“Hey, everyone needs medical treatment from time to time, including mercenaries. Speaking of which, I understand your daughter has recently been given some illicit treatment of her own. It’s why you’re in town.”

“Yes, the doctors are amazed, excited at the quality of the wo-, the limbs. You indicated before you can do better?”

I put up all the tablets and everything, released my little embargo on communications, and pulled out a small flash drive. “Easily. Take a look at these demonstrations. I can give her skin on them, and you won’t have to choose between denying your daughter the ability to walk, or benefiting from superhumans even as you seek to corral them.”

The main points of the meeting dealt with, we quickly got out of there.

Shame about Senator Powers, though. Accidentally emailed some very nasty stuff to people from his office computer and tried to pin it all on a virus of some sort. Real nasty stuff that really let a lot of people down. I guess I’m the only one who found the clowns and their “cream” pies funny, but even the normal ones terrify a lot of people somehow.

Poor fellow. What a political downfall. Thoroughly discredited, even moreso with another email released from Psycho Gecko, and some funny business coming out about his Powers PAC bank accounts transferring money to a non-extradition country.

The next part of the plan, getting a copy of the list, probably won’t be as easy as all that. For starters, I’m dealing with Constellation Consortium. They’re one of those corporations that owns a bunch of smaller corporations. They’re private military contractors made up of ex-military. Mercenaries, in other words, though they mainly do work for the United States Military. They’ve helped with disaster relief, which helps make them look better considering they also bought out Universitas. Universitas used to be Darkwater until they massacred a few civilians and had to change their name. Name brand is important, after all.

I mentioned before Senator Powers dealt with a lot of security folks, so that explains their involvement. I guess I expected the Pinkerton Detective Agency would be involved instead, especially since they employ superpowered operatives. Of course, knowing who I’m messing with doesn’t make it any easier to find out where they’d store a list like that.

And, as much as I’d like to fire off one of Chekhov’s guns and cash in a favor with Captain Lightning, I don’t have his number. Whoops.

And it’s not like Constellation’s mercenaries are easily identifiable. This would be so much easier if they ran around in yellow and green shouting, “Hail Hydra!” But don’t count me out yet. I might have been able to use the stolen phones… if they hadn’t been blown up in my hotel room. I could pretend to be a hero willing to register, but why? With Senators Powers having a really bad day, how would anyone know to contact them about it?

Shot myself in the foot there, I guess.

Luckily, I have ways of getting what I want. Ways like Harlon. He’s a high-up executive of a news organization I’d rather keep secret. A few years back, he had what could have been a bad encounter with me. After killing some of his coworkers, I took pity on him. Every now and then, he and I scratch each others’ backs for information. While a lot of the pundits on news channels are pretty much useless, like that fake CIA agent who got outed recently, their sources are usually legit. I left him a message on my way back to our crack den hideaway.

I saw all the druggies were lying still when I got there. I shrugged and headed upstairs. “Tech, did you kill all the crackheads? I’m proud of you, man.”

I found him upstairs, poring over data on holographic screen projected by his gauntlet. “No, it’s merely a sedative.”

I shook my head. “Someday, you’ll have to learn that drugs won’t solve all your problems. Just look at the people downstairs, for instance.”

“Oh?” he asked, paying the conversation little attention. “What does solve problems?”

“Violence of course. And sometimes blackmail, but always violence.”

I had time to ponder my predicament as I changed out of his sight, having excused my appearance as Norma as just another trick to Technolutionary. Then I stopped my precious nanites in their not-quite-tracks. I had a brilliant idea. It should have been so obvious to me before. I paused the nanites long enough to do some shopping, no doubt shocking people with an my asymmetric appearance. But it worked for me. I just needed a close enough outfit and a car for Moai to drive toward the Capital Complex while my nanites finished setting me up again. I know, why not the armor? Because when I walked past security looking and sounding like Senator Powers, I didn’t need to give them any special reason to stop me. And while it might be hard on an aide or page who forgets their identification, it’s much easier as a known Senator. Same for a Senator needing help to find his own office.

At least I’d gotten the building right. There’s like three of them for the use of Senators. I found the staff packing up in a hurry, the sound of a shredder chewing through documents in the background. “What’s the happy hap, people?” I asked cheerfully, trying my best to maintain his accent instead of mine.

“Senator!” a young man rushed over. “What are you doing here? You said you were going back home after you made bail.”

I raised a finger, “I did say that, my good lad, but I have to wrap up one last thing.”

“Sir?” He almost dropped the file folders he was carrying.

I put my hands on his shoulders. “You are my number one guy on this. I need you to talk to Constellations. You hear me? For God’s sake, you better hear me. I need the list. They’ll know what I’m talking about. I need a copy. It’s my salvation. My own personal Jesus. I need someone to be my friend, someone who cares. Are you that someone?”

Emboldened, the staffer nodded and walked off as fast as his energetic little legs could take him. Meanwhile, I adjusted my phoney bologna tie to keep from choking. That’s when I noticed a group of men and women huddled around a TV, some of them wearing worried expressions. “What’s upizzle in the hizzle? Why so glum? Don’t you have work to do?” I said, putting my arms around a pair of them. One short, plump woman of Asian ancestry turned to me and jumped like she’d seen a ghost. Others looked surprised to see me as well.

That’s when I paid attention to the news coverage, “…if you’re just joining us, Robert Powers, the Senator leading the charge on superhuman registration, was attacked by the supervillain Mary Malady at his home less than an hour ago. The Senator is fine. We go now live to where he is commenting on this turn of events.”

The image then changed to Senator Powers walking away from a house that looked like it’d been eaten by giant termites or something. “This is more evidence of what I’ve been saying in the recent days. There is a superpowered conspiracy aimed at my red, white, and blue American heart because they’re afraid I’ll expose them and their treachery to the world. They’re false friends who seek to stab us in the back. The superpowers are afraid of letting America be the superpower it deserves to be.”

Big talk, saying I’m afraid of being exposed after I jumped out of a cake wearing post-its. But I have to appreciate the brilliant damage control. He must have some way to get people to attack him. Well, aside from being an ass.

I looked around at the people who had seen “me” elsewhere on live TV. I shrugged. “You know they include a delay with live television. What if I’d given everyone the bird?”

Still, good time to leave before my treachery and false face is exposed to the world. And make a note for later: Maybe if I check with the guy who tore up D.C., I’ll find the Senator behind him, too. I headed after the aide I stopped originally. “Yo, yo, guy. Man. Fellow. Buddy.”

I found him in an office down the hall with a big desk and family pictures of the Powers family on the desk. He had set aside his folders and rifled through one of those rolling index card holders. He looked up when I entered. “Senator, I haven’t called them yet. I’m sorry, if you’ll just give me a minute.”

I waved my hand in the air like wiping away something. A grin, maybe. “That’s ok. I need to run, so if you’ll just give me the number now, I’ll handle it on my own.”

“It’s in here somewhere, Senator,” he told me, pleadingly. I glanced down at the index and noticed a picture of Priscilla set on top of the folders. I reached over and grabbed it. “Oh, that! I was just grabbing that to pack up for you, Senator.”

A ringing phone stopped him. He glanced down, then back up at me, then stopped to answer the phone. “Hello?”

I looked over the photo while he took his call. Priscilla looked happy, grinning and showing off her chair with a set of fake spinner hubcaps on the wheels. Word. “Come to daddy,” I said, then giggled to myself.

“Sir? Is this some sort of prank?” asked the unfortunate aide. He held up the phone, showing that Senator Powers was calling. The Senator’s voice asked, “Hello? Kent? Are you there?”

“Just a private joke. In here, you said?” I told him, pointing to the index. He nodded. I nodded too. “Good. I’ll go ahead and relieve you, then. I’m sure you have a splitting headache.”

“Actually-” he started, but didn’t get to finish as I embedded the corner of the picture frame into the middle of his forehead.

“Here’s blood in your eye, kiddo.” I winked at him, then pushed him over and wiped off my face where a spray had gotten me. The phone dropped to the floor, the Senator left talking to no one. I pocketed the index, then slipped out my survival syringe of nanites for a quickie. At least the ill-fitting suit looked appropriate on a random fleeing aide, who had good reason to get out of a haunted Senate office building before Capital police locked it down.

The bad news, I still don’t have the list, and Senator Powers might just recover from this. The good news, I can find what I need with a little more time, and the Senator still has a lot more to lose. If I want to get really mean, I could even knock up his daughter. I mean, I’ve already spent enough time giving her my DNA.




Capital Chaos 4



“Dearest Senator,

I am elated our work proved satisfactory to you in spite of your attempt to renege and elminate your daughter. I don’t know what you have planned for her as an asset, but I assure you our work will easily stand up to the wear and tear of everyday life, such as walking, running, cake decorating, and feasting on the hearts of your daughter’s enemies. Preferably with a well-decorated heart cake. We still await the funds you promised us. Also, I know you have hired a few other villains like myself before, but make sure you remember to thoroughly destroy this email. Just a friendly reminder considering all the leaks and investigations that have gone on lately.

Hugs and kisses,
Psychopomp Gecko”

Ah, such a lovely way to implicate daddy dearest in everything. I figured out I could get more mileage out of this entire thing by framing him as being a party to the kidnapping, which helps to create a good narrative for why he tried to blow us up. I mean, he went on TV and assured everyone he had nothing to do with that, but we had already said our piece first. It’s hard to play catch up on TV and the internet.

The past few days haven’t been kind to the Senator, but I’d rank it as more of a shitshower than a shitstorm. For starters, Priscilla has been talking in front of the cameras. She used to be a nice little set piece, the daughter in the wheelchair thanks to a super fight. She was a supporting character in his narrative. Now, she’s got a story all her own. An exclusive story of being kidnapped, experimented on, cut apart, and put back together with parts and pieces she doesn’t yet fully understand. I noticed she didn’t mention anything about her powers, so she’s probably talked to her dad. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about the fact that she could identify me as currently being a woman. When I saw that, I doubled back to the hotel and wiped their records. I hope I got to it in time, but I’m not yet sure. For starters, I don’t even know how someone found us there at the hotel in the first place.

So let’s see where our goals stand. In order to continue pressuring the Senator and screwing up his career, I need to transfer some money out of an account connected to him so that it looks like he paid for something. A less important goal is making sure the email I sent him leaks out to the press. To help kill the Registration movement aside from the Senator’s efforts, I need to find out more about that list the Senator mentioned awhile back. The voluntary one. I have some ideas on that. And another minor goal would be to determine how someone found me at the hotel and if they’ve linked me back to my Norma Mortenson alias.

Yay, some other bunch of complications, like people finding out where I am. Is it too much to ask to mutilate someone in peace? Seriously, there’s always gotta be some secret conspiracy trying to outdo me for evil in everything nowadays.

Don’t laugh. Sometimes, a guy just feels like he isn’t stacking up in the evil department anymore. It was horrible. I had to go give a bunch of orphans food poisoning to feel better about myself. You know, if you set them to music, you could make a show of it like the Belaggio Casino in Vegas.

The account transfer went smoothly enough. The First Capital Bank here in Washington is home to at least one account from most of Congress, making the entire thing much easier than trying to get to the Cayman Islands. I snuck in with my usual pizazz: being delivered right into their clutches. Technolutionary didn’t want to do the undercover work, so I let him stay at the crack house we are borrowing from the tenants and look over the data from Priscilla. Instead, I just had a delivery service take me into the belly of the beast, where the workers took over carting me around.

That belly part is barely an exaggeration. I traveled by cake. A giant birthday cake for the manager working on the ground level. A VP would have more authority, but it’s still the little guys who move the money. And everyone loves a birthday cake. They all gathered around. I heard someone mention, “Wow, this is a big cake. You don’t think there’s a stripper in there, do you?”

When I was pretty sure everyone was around, which was right after someone yelled out, “There’s the birthday boy!” I pressed the release on the gas tanks I’d hid in the cake with me. Now, one of the tricky things about gas meant to render someone unconscious is that it’s hard to handle all the factors without risking death. There’s stuff to factor in like fat content, body size, whether someone has eaten recently, whether someone has had alcohol recently. But all of that only matters if the person with the gas cares about human life. I do not.

I waited two seconds after the gas shot out into the room, then burst out, my personal music player set to “Let The Bodies Hit The Floor.” I popped out of the top of that cake wearing a gas mask, nipples covered with a Post-it note each that read “This is a stickup!” I found myself in a break room.

It didn’t occur to me until I was climbing out of the cake that it probably would have been funnier if I was still a dude. And that Technolutionary probably would have agreed if he’d known my plans, being a dude who likes to oggle my dudettes. Ah well, more fun for me. And more cake. Er, almost. It occurred to me after I scooped up a handful that all the gas would make it dangerous to eat.

Darn. I smeared it all over the wall as I skipped along, looking for the manager’s office. Cheap drywall down here. A bank like this, you’d think they’d spend more money on walls. Maybe they only cared about the external ones. A woman rounded the corner and stopped abruptly, still holding a bunch of files out in front of her. “Hey sugar,” I told her. I grabbed the files with one hand and grabbed her hand with my other, getting icing all in it. Then I slammed her head into the wall. Imagine my surprise when it only dented it the first time around. A little better drywall than I thought. “Huh. Stud, maybe?” While she tried to scream, I rammed her head against the opposite wall, which didn’t dent so much and sounded a bit different. It also shut her up. “No, THAT was a stud.” I sent her into the first wall again, embedding her face this time. I heard her slump down to the floor after I passed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t run into anyone else on my way to the office, no matter how long I took. No, please, if everyone wants to poke their heads into my business, poke away. I like a little extra head. Except I found the computer without incident. The manager was still logged in and everything. I’d say it was insultingly easy, but that probably would have led to me discovering a bomb stuck under my chair or mysteriously shoved up my ass.

Now there’d be a twist ending. A bunch of FBI agents trapped in a building looking for activity from a terrorist or something are given a clue that one of their own is involved in the plot. It soon turns into a psychological thriller when they all suspect each other. The numbers dwindle as paranoia takes hold, only for the final survivor to realize at the last minute that he has a Trojan Ass. Dun dun duuuun! Then the title comes up: One Nation Under Ass-ault.

Now we just need to convince Danny Trejo he’s perfect as the lead.

At that point, escape was as easy as I looked. I just walked out and caught a cab. Hell, when I called out for one, I had two cabs, a limo, a bike courier, and a bus all stop for me. Pretending to fan myself in my gas mask, I said, “Wow, anyone care to give a lady a ride?”

Must have been the legs. I made them long this time.

After that, I figured I’d work on the mystery of this voluntary superhero list. I figured it probably wasn’t in government hands for a few reasons. One, there’s never been one to public knowledge, and recent Congresses have been so screwed up that they couldn’t pass a bong. Two, any really secret list would defeat the purpose of letting people voluntarily sign up for it, but it also would have leaked by now. Three, this guy’s major contributors are private security firms specializing in everything from investigations and forensics to small-scale military operations.

That just goes back to one of those basic lessons about the power of money. One of the few people to have a political say in the world’s most powerful nation, and all it takes to make him drop to his knees and whore out that purty little mouth is waving money around. Making money to finance reelection to stay in office to make money to finance reelection…

Which actually presented me with a way to get information from the Senator that I didn’t figure out at first. One little spoofed phone call later and… “Hello, this is Norma Mortenson of Double Cross Incorporated, calling for Senator Powers. I have a proposition for him.”

“Uh huh. Are you a contributor, ma’am?”

“I’ll go you one better. I’ll pay you personally a thousand dollars to put me through to him, but the offer’s only food until the count of five. One…two…three-”

The phone clicked and started ringing again as the aide on the other end transferred me, apparently without realizing I didn’t know who they were. And I’d have paid, too.

“Hello, this is Robert Powers. Who is speaking?” He’s probably going to kill that aide now. Maybe I can contribute the thousand towards the coffin fund, or maybe booze for the wake.

“My name is Norma Mortenson, owner of Double Cross Incorporated out of Empyreal City.”

“Yes, Mrs. Mortenson.”

“Miss Mortenson.”

“Miss Mortenson, what can I do for you this day?”

“I caught your interview the other day, the one about a voluntary list of superhumans, and it interested me a great deal. There’s money in that sort of business.”

“I suppose it can be, Miss Mortenson, but I only care for helping my constituency, who are tired of living in fear from the superhuman menace.”

“I understand. I too am devoted to making the world a better place.” A less populated place. “And I believe we can help each other. I have many contacts with the Empyreal City superhero community that I believe would be willing to hear you out if I asked them to. Oh, and perhaps your daughter would be interested in some of our premium custom limbs. She’s become something of a celebrity as of late, and Double Cross has been looking for famous endorsements. Strangely, current sports stars aren’t accommodating.”

“Miss Mortenson, I’ve been hearing tall tales from everyone about the superheroes they know. This is the first we’ve talked, and I don’t know you from Adam or Eve. Why should I believe you?”

“Because I can get you into the actual secret network for Empyreal City’s heroes. Namedrop Hero.Net to one of them and see if that makes a dent.”

He must have already heard of something to that effect, because he turned right around and said, “Miss Mortenson, I’d like to meet you. I am in D.C. for the week. I think we should meet and have lunch. I would be very interested to hear what someone in your position thinks of my bill. Do you mind if I transfer you back to my aide to get everything scheduled?”

“Not at all, Senator.”

So there. I feel like I have all the subtlety of James Bond during the last thirty minutes of a movie, but it works. I suppose I could just kill him, but that’d be that whole “martyr” thing. Perhaps instead I can drive him to suicide. Hmm. I think I have an idea on that, but I’m going to keep that under wraps until I can make it happen.



Capital Chaos 3



It’s been such a BORING few days since we started the treatment. Ya know, aside from fighting to keep Priscilla alive. Technolutionary knows his robotics and genetics, but sometimes he gets too caught up in watching stuff happen to stop it. Like this nasty infection in Priscilla’s fingers. I poked and prodded at the darkened flesh, flinching at the smell.

“What are you doing down there? My hand hurts like hell. Is something wrong?” Priscilla asked, weakly.

I got up in her face. Well, a few inches from her face. I then reached down and pulled up a can of silver spray paint. “Well, I gotta tell ya, you could look better. If you’re really determined to go, I could give you a shot of this to get you pumped while you pull some big stunt. Or, if you’re too big a baby for that sort of thing, I can do something about this infection to your hand.”

Priscilla squeezed her blue eyes shut.Yeah, she could be better. I walked over to Technolutionary, who watched something on a tablet instead. It looked like cells infecting other cells, over and over again.

“Hey, what’s that?” I asked. When he looked up, I sprayed him in the face with the paint. He sputtered and fell over.

“You’re making me miss the best part!” he said, jumping to his feet. “What are you doing with paint in here, anyway? This is a delicate medical area.”

“I ran out to improve one of the monuments. I was thinking about Abraham Lincoln recently and thought I’d give him a cool reboot.” The news, meanwhile, speculated on the vandal who painted the Lincoln Memorial statue’s face silver, gave him a mohawk and upside-down skull for a mask, stuck giant spiky football pads on him, and left giant spears embedded with points sticking up all around the place. There’s also the fire hazard of someone leaving all those burning coals to form a barrier around the base. Unfortunately, I didn’t get leave a customized Lincoln town car nearby. Moai suggested it too late into the project, but there’s still a chance to pimp out Thomas Jefferson’s memorial.

“Aaand,” I continued, “you sound like you’re missing the forest for the trees in your delicate medical area. She’s got an infection in her hand. Smells gangrenous.” I pointed over to the offending hand with my can.

As much as Technolutionary liked staring at my ass, it helped draw his eyes to the area in question. That got him in motion. He walked over, tapping the tablet. It switched to different cells, showing a very different picture. They didn’t look healthy, and were being swarmed by bacteria. “Yes, gangrene. That shouldn’t have happened.”

“What are you doing to me?” Priscilla asked.

“Hush, we’re fixing you,” Technolutionary answered.

“Is this happening in the other cells being converted?” I asked him.

He swiped through a few images, then brought up about a dozen more onscreen at once. “No. I think we have an isolated case. The immunosuppresants left her vulnerable. She’s infected, and it’s attempting to spread to her blood. She’s at risk of sepsis and septic shock. That is not good.”

“No, no, no, no, no…” continued Priscilla.

“Normally, there’s nothing more I’d do than listen to you say ‘No’ in just that tone, but this is no time to flirt,” I told her. Then I walked out of the room. We’d used a guest room of the private suite to hold her, not far from a fully-furnished kitchen. It helped that kitchens often have interchangeable tools with operating rooms. I walked back in with a big bottle of vodka in one hand.

Technolutionary took one look at it while hooking up a new IV line and shook his head. “That’s no good. Alcohol will not sterilize this. In fact, it can cause this very infection if used on surgical instruments!”

“Shut up,” I told him, then took a long pull of vodka. Then I held it out toward Priscilla. “Want some?”

“Germs,” she answered, looking at the mouth of the bottle.

I rolled my eyes, then set it down. “If not that, then do you want something, anything for the pain in your arm?”


“There’s the magic word, starshine.” I nodded, pulling a kitchen knife from my pocket. There’s a trick to keeping sharp knives there safely, folks. I recommend you learn it before trying any of this at home. I knelt down underneath the table we had her on. One quick stab later, she jerked against her restraints and I had to lay a cereal bowl down to catch a small drip.

“What did you do? I can’t feel my arms. WHAT DID YOU DO?!” she screamed over and over.

“Geez, the thanks I get. Just trying to be nice. ‘Hey, Psycho Gecko, save my life please.’ ‘Oh, sure I will. I’m awesomesauce at that.’ It’s almost like you wanted to be able to feel this.” I brought the knife down hard, getting a spurt of nasty blood all over me. “Moai, we need suction over here!” Priscilla watched, mouth agape, as I hacked a second time. Right about the first time I heard the knife stick into bone, her mouth bulged then released a fountain of spew onto herself and some onto us.

“Wonderful job, Gecko. Have you ever heard of tourniquets? We only have so much blood!” Technolutionary wiped the puke off his face. Not like it was all that gross. Slightly-yellow stomach bile, mostly, though not something you want to leave on you or your clothes. He grabbed a strap he over on his cart and started tying off the arm while I wiped my own forehead.

Impatient, I yelled for my chief minion. “Moai, where’s that suction?”

He rushed with the vacuum cleaner, trailing the cord. “Ah, good. Get her face. She can’t be puking all over herself, not in this position.” Moai pulled off the hose attachment and used it on Priscilla’s pretty and pale physiognomy. When it looked like she had another big vomit incoming, he raised the entire vacuum and held it up against her mouth for it.

Most of the blood problems stopped once Technolutionary got the strap hitched up nice and tight. I had the hand mostly off, too, but this one last section of bone refused to give. I even dropped the knife and tried muscling it off with my hand in hers, really trying to get some leverage with my elbow on the table. With a snap, I fell forward and took the disconnected hand with me.

I jumped to my feet. “And the new Extreme Arm Wrestling Champ is…Psycho Gecko! High five, everyone!” Technolutionary and Moai ignored me, so I high fived the severed hand instead. Then I pointed at it, “This guy knows what I’m talkin’ about.”

“Your methods were not ideal, but I believe she can be stabilized until the transformation is complete. We planned to fix her legs then. Do you want to make her new hand, or should I?”

“You work on keeping her alive, I’ll handle the cosmetics.” I answered. “Does she have any other trouble spots?”

“Good question.” He raised the tablet and scanned her with the camera. It took a couple minutes, time I spent helping Moai clean up the table.

“There, there,” I said, brushing Priscilla’s curly hair out of her freckled face with her own hand held in my right.

She stared up at her former digits. “Is..is that…?”

“Nope,” I tossed the hand away.

“Hmm,” hummed Technolutionary. “Her appendix doesn’t look good.”

I raised the knife I still held in my left hand.

He frowned and turned so he couldn’t catch me in his peripheral vision. “I believe the antibiotics will prevent appendicitis. I’m more interested in what you did to numb the pain of your impromptu surgery.”

“Oh, right, I’ll have to fix that my own way. Just gave her a little nick in the spine. Nothing much. Just can’t move her arms now.”

“You paralyzed me?” Priscilla broke down into tears.

Technolutionary didn’t bother looking up from the screen. “We can fix that.”

“My hand!” she yelled.

I shrugged. “We can fix that.”

“You can’t treat me like this. I’m a human being.”

“We can fix that,” Tech and I said simultaneously, then glanced at each other.

She started sobbing again after that, mouthing words like “Dad” and “Mom” to herself.

I turned to Technolutionary. “Would it hurt anything to sedate her?”

He still didn’t look up from his tablet. “Why? I doubt she can feel much now that you damaged her spine.”

I walked over and gave Priscilla a good, long sip of the vodka.

There’s a cliche that the night is always darkest before the dawn, which is bullshit. The sky lightens gradually, since the light is provided by the Earth rotating toward a star. It’s not like flipping a switch. But in this case, that was Priscilla’s lowest moment. Her condition improved considerably that night, and the next day.

I kept a close eye on her, too. I stayed in the room with her, watching over her, assembling a new hand out of materials I sent Moai out for. To better help me, and to get Technolutionary out of the room part of the time, I stole the med tablet and hung it over her to allow a constant scan, then steamed the feed to the television in the living room. When she got well enough, I even fixed her spine with a few of my nanites.

And when she had moments calm and lucid enough to ask, I answered her questions about what we did to her. And why. And even why we didn’t take her wheelchair. “Eh, he probably had some sort of tracer on there. Ever heard of a lo-jack? Hijacking is taking a vehicle, lo-jacking is planting something on it to track its location. Why did you even ride in that thing? I’m sure you could have gotten some good legs, like those ones you can run races in.”

“My dad didn’t think fake feet were necessary. Um, it’s more convincing than that when he says it.” She sniffled. “God, you only did this to me to get to him.”

“A lesson well-associated with superheroes. Not to say he is one. He just has a daughter who lost part of her legs to a superhuman fight, then convinced you to stay in a nice, wieldy wheelchair so he could start campaigning on superhuman control and registration. I know heroes can be dicks, but I’m not sure of many who would stoop that low. Ooh, speak of the devil.”

On TV, a reporter with a weird name like Major, or Wolf, or Brit stated that Senator Powers would be addressing the press about his daughter’s disappearance in thirty minutes. “Hey, look at that. Your dad’s going to betray his own bill, all to protect his darling daughter.”

When that press conference started, amazingly, Powers was back in his home state, with his wife and son. He got out of here in a hurry. Then again, the Senate only stayed in session like one day this entire month. The man looked ill, looking more thin in the face. He must have had some really bad bags under his eyes for them to look that visible after makeup. “Ladies and gentlemen of this great nation, I stand before you a battered man. As you all will have heard, my daughter was taken from us on New Year’s Eve. A madman named Psycho Gecko, a superhuman who has been left unchecked for far too long, kidnapped her. Recently, he contacted me. I expected a list of demands. Instead he showed me…he showed…he murdered my little girl.”

Speaking over the speech, I muttered, “Wow. He REALLY wants to be THAT much of an asshole on this.” I shook my head, thinking what this means. He’d probably spin Priscilla as, I don’t know, a cyborg under my thrall? A clone? A surgically-altered lookalike? Otherwise, he’d pretty much have to kill her.

Hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I called up Moai and Tech. “Moai, check the halls, see if we’ve been made. Technolutionary, en garde. The Senator is saying I killed his daughter. I think we’re in the crosshairs.”

I grabbed Priscilla’s table and IV hook and wheeled them both out to the living room. I stopped when Moai tossed me my armor on his way out to check the hallway. While I slipped into it, I expanded my mind and tried to sense anything unusual. Nothing, really. Except, wait…a single cell phone for the entire floor below us. A maid?

Taking a risk, I stepped over to an out of the way portion of the floor and punched my way down. I landed in a heap of dust, drywall, and insulation, with wiring trying to hold onto me.

The suite below looked smaller, but the biggest difference was the stack of C4 sitting on a cable. At first, I couldn’t see the detonator. Then I figured out they actually rigged a manual detonator up to it. The cable. I started following it, stepping past the dead body of a maid. At first, I thought I’d find a guy with one of those plunger boxes from cartoons. Instead, it stopped at the ceiling just above the elevator. I stopped to puzzle that out, then called up to the others. “The elevator’s rigged. The next time someone on our floor calls it, a bomb down here goes off and blows us the fuck up. Technolutionary, let’s take our guest down the stairs.”

“She won’t go on this table,” he told me.

“Unstrap her and lower her down with her medicine. Moai, make sure to grab the feet and hand.”

Technolutionary chimed in. “And the tablet. It has all the relevant medical data we need to recreate the process.”

Technolutionary carried Priscilla down, having suited up in his own armor in the meantime. I let the girl ride me piggbyback as we headed downstairs, Moai taking point in case whoever planted the explosives thought to watch the stairs as well. About halfway down this tedious exercise, I had a flash of a magnificently evil idea. In my head, I called down to Room Service and requested more towels.

We were easily clear of the explosion when ripped through the building high above us like a constipated dragon. Funny thing is, I jumped without meaning to. I don’t mean I was startled. I was expecting the blast, but then I jumped forward and had to catch myself, then my helmet started flipping through its vision modes like crazy. I hadn’t been paying attention, otherwise I should have noticed it. It had been years since I’d been on the same planet as anyone who could do that. “Our little butterfly has emerged from her cocoon,” I sent out as message along the circuits.

“What’s going on?” Priscilla asked out loud behind me. “I can feel your armor like it’s a part of me.”

“That it is,” I told her, also out loud. “Moai should carry you from here.”

The rest of our descent even gave time for emergency services to arrive. They spotted my little entourage as we exited in full gasping fanfare, but stayed back. Priscilla, the doll that she was, looked into the nearest camera she could find in the crowd. Big Brother doesn’t need to watch anyone when they’re all willing to record their own lives, but this time it helped me. “My name is Priscilla Powers. I’m not dead. Psycho Gecko kidnapped me, but I’m alive, see?” she waved her handless stump for people. “My little brother’s middle name is Juneaux, but he hates it. My mom’s best dish is her spinach shells. I wanted to call my first dog Sparkles, but Dad put Zeus on the tag. It’s me! I’m alive! It’s me!”

I walked over and slid the replacement hand onto her stump, then turned to that same camera. “Trying to assassinate me AND your daughter at the same time while claiming I killed her? That’s low, even for a politician. Now, everyone, let’s get some room so Cinderella can try on her glass slippers.”

Priscilla’s face lit up as her body made the connections and the hand came to life. I made a small improvement on the fingers. They were boneless, more like finger-shaped tentacles. Those things had lots of nifty little tricks. While she played around with her new range of motion, Technolutionary handed me one of the prosthetic feet. We both knelt and slipped the three-toed feet onto the ends of her legs, then stood back. In a matter of seconds, they flexed and curled then moved about.

“I can walk!” Priscilla declared just before Moai eased her to her feet. Then, of course, she fell down and we had to help her up.

“The muscles in your legs have atrophied. You need physical therapy to regain your ability to walk,” Technolutionary told her.

“Get away from the girl!” called out a pair of DCPD officers. Behind them, I noticed a reporter and cameraman rushing to the scene, who stopped to get a view of the cops with more sack than brains. Moai, Priscilla, Tech, and I all turned to these officers at once. They sheepishly removed their hands from their holstered guns and stepped back.

“What do we do with them?” asked Technolutionary, stepping toward them. The crowd and officers took a step back in response.

“Nothing for now. This part is done. More publicly than I hoped, but her own father blew up my original plans the same time when he tried to blow up his own daughter.” I threw my hands up to the sky. “What sort of man tries to kill his own daughter?! What foul agenda was he willing to advance through such a murder plot? Oh, may the Furies pick the flesh from his bones!”

“If you do not wish to engage in a fight with the police, we ought to leave before we have no choice in the matter,” Technolutionary interrupted.

I lowered my arms. “Good call. You’ve been a wonderful crowd, folks. I’m available for parties, Bar Mitzvahs, even the occasional adult diaper commercial.” Feigning a sniff, I pointed at one of the cops. “This guy knows what I mean.”

And with that, we disappeared, leaving our metaphorical butterfly Cinderella behind as we fled to one of the bad neighborhoods of D.C. where crime is rampant and police fear to tread.

Truly, it’s a tale fit for Disney.



Capital Chaos 2



Okily dokily, folks. I had Priscilla Powers, daughter of Senator Powers, both of whom exhibited an odd trait of being appropriately named for their involvement in all this. And despite kidnapping the daughter of a Senator, I didn’t even make the biggest splash in news.

Nah, that was the big battle between Terrorjaw, the human-shark of the seven seas, versus Kelly Kaiju, the growing man. The official story is that Kaiju went fishing for Terrorjaw to put an end to his evil, ship-interdicting ways. Terrorjaw’s a bit of a pirate, you see. I asked him about it once, but he said he preferred torrents to raiding boats.

The unofficial story, as spread in The Order Forums and on Outlaw X, the underworld pirate radio show, is that fans of Kaiju got together to make him a giant bologna sandwich. He dropped it in the water, tried to get it out real quick, and found Terrorjaw clamped down on the other end. As sometimes happens when someone steals a lunch, war were declared.

On the one hand, Terrorjaw was punching a little out of his weight-class, but Kaiju is a one-trick pony. Terrorjaw has one hell of a bite, but Kaiju can lay some major brute-force smackdown if he hits someone. Kaiju lost a finger or two, but ended up skipping Terrorjaw like a stone. Authorities in the UK have been put on alert.

The report of a kidnapping seemed small potatoes next to two people running into each other and randomly getting into a fight. That’s what sells newspapers, though, and it’s guaranteed that the press are going to give this matter a huge amount of attention any day now.

She is a missing white woman. I’m half surprised that twat Nancy Grace hasn’t deafened half the nation yelling at them through their TV sets to find Priscilla.

I mentioned a speech last time, and that’s because I wanted to chat with our friend Senator Powers. But first, I think I owe y’all an explanation. See, this whole superhuman registration thing, it’s just stupid. Accident of birth, or just accident around radiation, and someone now has to register with the government? At least gun owners gave others a reason to be worried, namely the desire to own a weapon.

Aside from that, it’s also just stupid as hell to trust that some government database of superheroes can remain a secret. That’s the sort of thing that separates real conspiracies, like the coup planned against Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from the fake ones, like the moon landing. The former was broken up when the business executives planning the entire thing trusted the wrong person, who turned them all over. The latter has never been proven, despite requiring the silence of hundreds of people in NASA, the rest of the executive branch, the astronomy community, the Soviet Union, independent observers, and anyone who fires a laser at the lunar laser ranging array left up there.

Two can keep a secret, so long as one of them is dead. Which means harassed or dead heroes when the list gets out, and possibly people kidnapping supers for their own diabolical purposes. I don’t want that. I want supers for MY diabolical purposes. And I don’t want some alien invasion to get a heads-up on where to find all the superhumans that could potentially oppose them.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by smacking peanut butter on my genitals and running around backwards I would do that,” or something. Truly, he was a man after my own heart. Lincoln, gimme five!

Speaking of five dollar bills, I had to make it very clear to Senator Powers that money couldn’t buy back his daughter. Only one thing could do that: the reversal of his support for this idiotic law.

I sent Moai to drop off a tablet I gutted and modified to allow a single video call. Then I called up the Senator and ignored his questions and other attempts to draw out the conversation. I know the average time for police and the FBI to trace a phone call, but now we’re talking the full might of the Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security and whatever else they oversee. Homeland Security and Sandwich Standards. They might have a trick or two to trace calls more quickly.

I’m sure they wanted to take their time, examine it, look for prints and all that. Funny thing about fingerprints, you can lift them off all sorts of things. Like stolen watches and phones. That’d be a dead end, but I also called five minutes after they took it from the drop site.

“Hello, hello!” I said into the camera held by Technolutionary, remotely monitoring it myself to see how he framed me. “Make sure you’re getting my bad side.”

I let them get a good look at me in my grey and orange armor. Strips of armor curved in like a V to meet a central chest and spine piece. A helmet with a visor dipped in the middle to look like it glared, with the visor continuing to a pair of horns like a jester’s cap. The third such horn stuck out from my the front, over the visor. The helmet was grey, with the throat and visor orange. The vertical plates were orange as well, going into an orange starburst around the neck. I know I still call them gloves, but my handware is more like grey with orange barbed wiring used to project the energy sheath.

The pants were made of an orange nanomaterial that can’t easily be penetrated by blade or bullet, with grey armor plates, braces, and pseudomuscles held in it. Boots were orange and grey, not particularly armored except the usual stab and shot resistance. I painted eyes and teeth onto the front of them as if I had skulls up there, but they didn’t look too special from the outside.

In short, while I can look like anybody, the armor was distinctly Psycho Gecko. And then I added a wide-brimmed straw hat, a pair of swim trunks, a Hawaiian shirt, and hung a camera around my neck. I’m a tourist in this town, after all. “Good morning, TV land. This is the one, the only, the Great and Devious Psycho Gecko here to show you our dear Priscilla.” I stepped out of the way to show where Priscilla sat in a wood chair, tied down.

“You monster, if you-!” the Senator started from his end.

I waved my hand. “Mute!” The tablet on his end obeyed and he shut up. “This is merely to let you know we have your daughter. Your lovely little daughter.” I knelt beside her and ran a few fingers over her cheek. She flinched away, then turned and tried to bite my fingers. I grabbed one of the offending incisors and yanked it out, causing her to sit back and yell in pain. I walked over to the tablet and held it up so everyone could get a good look at the tooth and its root. “See that? Not easy to get the whole thing out like that. Takes a bit of practice, though she has plenty if I needed more. Truth is, it’s not like it’s important to have her in one piece.” I tilted the tablet down so it focused on her missing lower legs, then tilted it back up to me.

“Asshole! Tore out my toof!” she yelled behind me.

“The tooth hurts!” I called back to her, then added, “You want the tooth? Well you can’t handle the tooth!” And I tossed the incisor away. Stepping over to the side, I retrieved a limb I’d put together just for her. A three-clawed lower leg. “But you might be able to handle this little baby. Don’t worry, daddy dearest, she’ll get top of the line prosthetics. Superhuman, even. I’ll even throw in a little bonus, give her some extra oomph so she’s guaranteed to be on your little list. Just to keep you honest, just to make sure that you’re not advocating anything you wouldn’t do to your own daughter. Supposing she survives, that’s when you’ll get her back.”

“From my heart and from my hand, why don’t people understand my intention? Heh. This message will self destruct in ten seconds.” I cut the feed, activating the five second self destruct on the tablet I sent them. Why not lie? Besides, whoever’s holding that thing probably won’t die. They might lose their hands, but they’ve got pretty good healthcare. Probably. Eh, not my concern.

“Go fuck yourself!” Priscilla spouted at me and Technolutionary.

“Temper!” Technolutionary told her.

I grabbed the chair I stuck her in and carried it over to the table Technolutionary prepared for the procedure. I lifted her up high, then slammed her down back-first, breaking the chair and stunning her momentarily. I strapped her down and pulled the pieces out of the way.

“Everything is in readiness, Gecko, we merely await your command.” Technolutionary said, pulling over a cart with his equipment on it. The main thing seemed to be a trio of intravenous bags. They didn’t look all that remarkable. No strange colors. No glowing.

“So you’re going the chemical route?” I asked.

He nodded. “Cybernetic integration is rough on human physiology. The immune system rejects the foreign bodies and attacks them. Rather than suppress the entire immune system, I have developed a virus that suppresses it only where the implants work. I believe I found a way to utilize the virus for converting all her cells with a slight gene modification.”

“You’re going to do something to my DNA?” Priscilla asked.

I reached over and patted her on the forehead. “We’re going to make you better. Better than this, better than human.”

She shook her head. “You don’t have to do this! We have money! We’ll give you whatever you want.”

I covered her mouth with my hand. “I want silence right now. And I want you to survive this. You’re not helping either right now, and I can assure you that your cries for help mean nothing to us. Now, would you care for a ball gag?” I held up one I planned to use for muffling her slightly. Eyes wide, she shook her head. “Your loss,” I said, tossing it away. Instead, she just whimpered as Technolutionary swabbed her arm and inserted an IV line.

I had Moai bring over a TV and hang it on the wall at her feet, while I brought her a pillow. I unsealed my helmet and pulled it off so I could look her in the eyes and tell her, “It’s ok. You’re scared, but we aren’t going to kill you. Hell, a change like this, you’d have to be crazy not to be scared…which may explain something about my species. Well, your species too before long. And we won’t let you down. We’re villains, remember? We know a few tricks for staying alive when everyone wants us dead. I’m Psycho Gecko, after all. If there’s anyone who could fight off Death, it might just be me.”

So began the transformation.



Capital Chaos 1



As much as Empyreal City loves to celebrate the New Year, with the giant dropping discoball, I didn’t stick around for the festivities. I had a good excuse, too. See, New Year’s parties are a great time for people to go out in public and enjoy themselves with lots of drinking and stuff. Technolutionary was mildly disappointed, too, but I don’t think he really had a lot in mind. If I recall, I did have to stop the guy from ventilating his cranium during the holidays.

He came with me, as did Moai. I also changed up my appearance so Technolutionary didn’t connect me to Norma. Unfortunately, it led him to try and put the moves on me. He insisted, and still insists, that he and I would obviously make a good couple. He even hinted about populating my species once he’s sure the process works on himself.

Sure, sure, repopulation. Let’s take sex, and instead of the pleasure, we make it all about duty, obligation, and squirtin’ out babies. That’s a recipe for a good time. Given his usual level of enthusiasm, I decided to make sure he didn’t have anything to do with my meal and drink preparation. Most people wouldn’t dare try that on me, but this guy is just delusional enough to try something because he assumes he deserves sex with me.

Anyway, I left Empyreal City ahead of 2016 because, much like using the female body as a disguise, I wanted to take advantage of the transition. Washington parties it up on New Year’s all the more for being full of wealthy, powerful people. So after getting myself and my associates moved into a floor of a lovely and discreet hotel. Crash chose well, though I suspect Fortune Cookie helped her. Not sure how I feel about my personal assistant getting help from her. Then again, it’s probably not that hard to find a hotel in this city that’s willing to keep secrets. That goes hand in hand with being the home to some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the United States.

I’m talking hookers. I’m talking cocaine. No matter what’s going on, I’ll guarantee you the word “blow” comes up. And that’s the best case scenario. If a politician isn’t fucking someone, they’re probably fucking their country instead. Though that leaves out the various aides, lobbyists, and dignitaries who also like pushing Little Willie down the slip ‘n slide.

But enough about the seedy underbelly of people you don’t want to imagine the underbellies of. I had to go find a way to worm my way into the private life of a Senator.

Hey, I know what y’all are thinking, but it’s more innocent than that. I got into the email of his staff and found out they were preparing for a New Year’s Eve party on a boat called the Spirit of Washington. It wasn’t technically Senator Powers’s party. Instead, a private security firm was having a party and named him the Guest of Honor. Contributors, aides, supporters, and family; many of them were asked to attend as a gesture of gratitude. I needed a way to get in, and I needed a nice dress. That’s one area where having Technolutionary came in handy. I sent him out to shop for me and it turned out as well as I expected.

I knew the easiest way to insert myself into the situation, and it involved exactly the sort of outfit Technolutionary wanted to see me wear. Then I camped out the dock where the partygoers embarked the Spirit of Washington. I thought I had a mark when this chubby guy with curly hair and an untrimmed mustache showed up, but then this smoking blonde ran over to him and gave him one of the grossest kisses I’ve ever seen. I don’t mean gross because of his physical appearance. I mean a raunchy, over-the-top kiss with tongues and hands flying everywhere.

Well, good for him. Made my job harder, until I ran across a really skinny guy hauled along as the third wheel with a couple. The woman in the first couple glanced at her phone and they then stood around, waiting. The third wheel drifted off a little to give them some space, at which point I approached him.

“Hey there. Kinda sucks, getting pulled along in all this. By the way, my name’s Candy.” I held out my hand. He looked at it, then shook.

“Terrence. You’re with the party?” he asked, looking over my slit dress and high heels.

I shrugged. “You could say I’m working. Don’t worry, I’m not assuming you’re buying. But you look like you could use a reason to get away from…” I flopped a hand in the direction of the couple.

He looked between me and his friends. “Pretend I hired a pros-…call…escort? What would they think?”

“Lucky Terrence, probably. You could even pretend you don’t realize it, so that when I slip away to do what I’m here to do, you can act all heartbroken. ‘Oh, poor Terrence. He’s too good for this sinful life.’ And you use their sympathy and be like, ‘I think I’m going to go home early. Somebody, fetch me a lifeboat.’ Problem solved. I won’t even charge you.”

So, in the end, I got onto the boat…on the arm of some sleazy asshole with gropey hands that approached me after Terrence turned me down. Darn human dignity.

I had trouble getting away from Hanz Assengroper, so I invited him to a bathroom on the yacht and left him there with his own hand sticking out of his throat. Out of common courtesy, I left an “Out of Order” sign on the door. He made quite a smell when his bowels dropped, and it’d be rude to let someone just waltz into that mess.

Not that waltzing was the dance of choice at this party. More a matter of a few young people hopping around while the older money exchanged pats on the back and crinkly handshakes.

Actually, that’s not completely accurate. I shouldn’t sell them short. They didn’t need to hide the money like some common drug dealer. They just exchanged checks made out to Super PACS. After all, he got this nice yacht party, with catering and a DJ, and didn’t have to pay a cent. One guy even invited him to see the new private airport screening methods his company used in Hawaii. Of course, it’d be rude not to comp the Senator a brief hotel stay while he was down there doing his job. But don’t dare bribe the Senator; that would be illegal. Oh look, more than $100,000 in door prizes to be handed out at the party. I’m sure the Senator will be no luckier than any other man when the cash prizes come up.

Free of the ass I rode in on, I wandered around and tried to spot Powers’ daughter. She was supposed to have been dragged along to this event, which got me to wondering if people in wheelchairs like going on boats. Might be something to explore sometime if I use that as a disguise sometime. At the very least, it gave me another point of identification to find her. Or it would have, but I couldn’t find the damn girl.

I checked the place over for the third time when I stopped to ask a suited security guard, “Excuse me, sir, but I’m looking for Priscilla Powers?” I held up a cell phone. “She dropped this, and I’m just trying to get it back to her.”

“Ma’am, any lost items should be turned over to security,” The man held out his hand for the phone. I didn’t oblige.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t see the problem in giving it back myself. It’ll get there quicker.” I smiled, fluttering my lashes.

The guard grabbed the phone from my hand, “You’re not my type and Miss Powers never came aboard for the party. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

I shook my head. “Nope. Thanks, hon.” I turned and walked away.

As I did, a woman stopped me, “Excuse me, do you have the time? I can’t find my phone.”

I held out a watch, “Here, take this, I have plenty of spares.”

She glanced down at the Rolex. “It’s not my style.”

I shrugged and pulled out a collection of watches from my purse, “That’s fine, I have a selection. Say, is it true the Senator’s daughter is a no-show?”

The woman selected a pretty little platinum number, “Yeah, watching him hide how pissed he got is so funny. She’s been trying to get out of this all week.”

I held my hands out, “Where could she possibly want to go more than this little get-together?”

“Ten to one, the Young Boys Club,” she said, admiring her new watch. “Thanks a lot. It’s beautiful.”

“You’re very welcome, but I think I hear my date calling for me.” I extricated myself from that situation to prematurely activate my escape. It wouldn’t pay to stick around with all the watches, wallets, and phones I carried in my purse. There’s just so much more room to fit stolen loot in these things. I rifled through it as I walked, securing them all in a waterproof bag for good measure. When I reached my destination, I reached under the railing and gave the hull of the yacht a couple of knocks. “Anchors away!”

When I jumped over the side, Moai caught me in a large sack insulated sack. He sealed it closed and dropped off the anchor chain. Inside, I slipped one of the diving masks, almost fumbling it when we hit the water and began to sink. It’s not as fast as a boat or helicopter, but it got me where I was going. To shore, at least.

I still had to try this “Young Boys Club” for the Powers kid. Now, prior to what y’all might be thinking, it had nothing to do with child molestation. It turned out to be a play on the term “Old Boys Club” and seemed to be the hip and/or groovy spot for the kids of the D.C. Upper middle class.

Moai and I both got carded, but we had no shortage of cash and expensive watches. We found Priscilla out on the dance floor, dancing. Yes, dancing. She spun her wheelchair around, then grabbed a pair of glowsticks out of her lap and started waving them around in the air like she just didn’t care, blowing a whistle to the music.

I tried to whisper to Moai, but I had to yell to make myself heard. “Leave the chair.” He nodded, then broke out a comfy burlap sack. He bounced out onto the dance floor, wrecking it with his hardcore moves. The nearest dancers started a ruckus of some sort when he threw the bag over Priscilla. Once he had her upper body in the bag, he didn’t even have to put up with her kicking.

I dealt with the phone once we got in the car we rented after getting out of the river. Now, to finish Technolutionary’s makeshift lab and work on some sort of speech toward the Senator. To quote Shakespeare or not to quote Shakespeare, that is the question.



Together For The Holidays 3



Ah, December. If I had balls, I’d probably be freezing them off right about now. I’ve been traveling around to check on people a bit more. I can’t entirely blame them, but I can partially blame them, so it’s all their fault. Stupid Technolutionary and Fortune Cookie.

So, yeah, a word with Technolutionary. He claims he’s had some major breakthroughs with everything. I kinda figured that, given what he did to make Beetrice what she is now. Except the name. That was a horrible choice by her. I suspect he gave her some of my DNA for her to come up with nomenclature that bad, but that’s not really hereditary. Besides, she still has this odd idea about wanting to sex me up. It’d be completely inappropriate for me to know if I’m related to her through retroviral-related DNA hijinks.

So I pulled on my armor and headed over to find Technolutionary all alone, sitting in a spinning desk chair, holding a gun to his own head. I almost kicked my shoe at him, I’d grown so used to my horrible feminine footwear. Instead, I tossed his salad. I’d brought him a salad just because. I actually hoped he wouldn’t eat it. That place makes some great ranch dressing. Technolutionary can testify to that, since it knocked the gun away.

“That’s very smooth,” he said casually, ignoring what I’d walked in on. He shook his head and to get more of the salad off, then stood up. “Allow me to wash up and I’ll be with you.”

After that, he updated me on the project to make a lot of people Homo Machina. I can’t remember if either of us gave it a fancy name. Like Project: Genetic Insertion or Operation Artificial Penetration.

I noted Technolutionary didn’t seem as enthusiastic as normal. And the lab didn’t seem to have anybody else in it but us. Even at the centrifuges, where he never hesitated to test animal fluids for signs that his treatment worked but they just weren’t doing anything, not a soul was stirring. Not even a mouse.

It would have been rude to invade his privacy and check the wired security network. I’m not saying I didn’t do it, I’m just acknowledging it was rude when I did. Humanbots, dogbots, ratbots. Nothing unusual there in those specimen rooms. The humanbots, by which I mean humans whose brains and some body parts he’s effectively cyberneticized to the point that they are no longer autonomous and serve him, looked like he’d branched out to a trailer park, but no sign of his interns. Might have to talk to him about some of the equipment, though. I couldn’t tell exactly what some of it was for, but I doubted all of them were necessary for converting people and trying to give people my abilities.

After all, I’m working on an appropriately-named deadline here. He’s got shit to do instead. But I figured I’d handle things delicately. When he walked back in, I told him, on my best manners, “Hey, mind telling me where everyone is? We can’t keep getting you help if you’re just going to kill them all. And you know it’s serious when I’m the one saying that.”

He sat down at a desk nearby and picked up a Styrofoam cup that sat there. “Ungrateful bastards. I have attempted to impress upon them the importance of our work here. We are changing the world. Remaking it. This has the potential to be the single greatest scientific discovery in the history of mankind. They’re taking exams and getting drunk. That’s their excuse, and I can tell you it is simply an excuse because they are not doing them in order. We are losing invaluable time!” He tried to throw the cup to make a dramatic gesture, but it sorta drifted to the floor.

There wasn’t a whole lot I could of advice I could give him but, “Fuck ’em. You’re Technolutionary, and they are mere college interns. You’ll show them. You’ll show them all!” I raised my fist in the air, trying to inspire him.

Technolutionary jumped up. “They haven’t seen the last of me! Soon, my plan will be complete!”

Ah, revenge. A classic motivation for mad scientists. To think, those fools scoffed at his ideas. I didn’t scoff, I don’t think. I just recognized the potential harm in giving a bunch of people my abilities. Screw society, I don’t want to die here. It just so happens that now means letting people have my abilities.

Technolutionary wasn’t the only one down in the dumps. Moai’s been moping around the office, too. It’s because I haven’t let him go outside a whole lot. I think even Carl’s straining against his current position. Crash is irritable, but that’s so much the norm that it’s barely worth noting. Then again, I’ve been feeling unsatisfied as well. I almost feel like going to another state for the sole purpose of insulting their people and daring them to stop me.
But this isn’t my pity party. It’s not even Puddles Pity Party. I recommend giving that guy a listen, by the way.

Now, if only I knew someone who could provide advice about the future. Who could guide me, and tell me what I needed to know to make things better…

I was thinking that in my office while poking a fire. Surprised the hell out of Crash when she stopped in. She took one look at the fire in the middle of my floor and shut the door again. I immediately shot her a text. “Crash. Get me every copy of World War Z and Wanted on DVD. Hurry before fire goes out. I love you.”

Telling random people I love them is just good manners. It either makes people feel better or creates an interesting moment in their day. Rarely has it ever gotten me into trouble, aside from that time with the Russian mail-order bride.

I just sent off the text when I got a new one, and not from Crash. It was Fortune Cookie, archnemesis of sports bookies everywhere. “i told u not to ask me for help but i will wrap you if something happens. people r super depressed and you could fix that but i won’t say how.”

Tsk, tsk. Ability to see the future clearly doesn’t translate to texting skills.

But she had a point. She had told me before to basically stop going to her for any sort of advice because it made it harder for her to see major threats. Not that she’s perceived any anyway. Unless she means the depression. But if she’s really serious about what she thinks I need to do, then things are about to get lively.

I walked over where Moai stared out the window at the city. I put my right arm on his back and gestured across the skyline with my left. “Assholes, Moai. Assholes as far as the eye can see. I think it’s about time they got loosened. Come on, help me put on my armor. It’s about time we gave this city a quick, fierce injection. An injection of you and me.”

Moai and I were busy that night. The next day brought with it a slew of new crimes to report. Like how a pair of criminals had broken into a Long Life medical clinic and made off with thousands of dollars of supplies. Elsewhere, someone broke into a free clinic and left a big Douglas fir tree with pills and gauze and such under it, with a note claiming they were from a donor called the Lord of Misrule. Normally, the police might look down on that sort of thing and take that stuff in as evidence to be returned to Long Life.

Problem was, the security cameras. They don’t show enough details about the perpetrators for some odd reason, but they clearly show that the free clinic received their donation about forty-five minutes before the Long Life clinic received its illicit visitor.

Then, there was the crime discovered at a hardware store that sold trees. They found a cop with assorted pine tree branches glued to him, hanging upside down in the Douglas fir section. He turned out to be a beat cop who’d been beaten and carjacked while on patrol right by an orphanage that received an anonymous donation. Funny how that keeps happening.

They found the officer’s car parked halfway inside a Greek diner. The restaurant had long been known to them as a front for Frank Frangopoulos Jr., a notorious cigarette smuggler. “But the alleged smuggler’s business has gone up in smoke now that police found thirty kilos of cocaine scattered all over the place.”

Hey, don’t feel bad for Frank. His lawyers will have a field day with the fact that twenty of those kilos still have tags on them from the ECPD evidence lockup. It won’t look as good when cameras at the evidence room show what looked like Frank forcing his way in to steal twenty kilos. And who knows if they’ll ever find out where the extra cocaine came from?

Curious minds want to know, including Powder on The Order Forums, under the topic of “Lord of Misrule?”

The forums were a fairly nice place, all things considered. There were a couple topics thanking other members for helping. Big Bad Wolf and Herne the Hunter were posting back and forth under the topic of “Flea Prevention Methods.” Powder even had an apparently detailed post on the best “’Cake’ Recipes.” Don’t know what the euphemism is for, though. Maybe she’s not yet used to the idea that we’re all criminals.

She was especially busy in the post about my antics. She swears the Lord of Misrule stole the coke from her because she got blackout drunk and woke up on a pallet of cigarettes. She still hasn’t found her bed.

Trust me, she doesn’t want it back. I swear, I tried to give it away to some people sleeping under a bridge.

While my little romp amused them, it didn’t go well for everybody. Herne the Hunter got fed up and posted several angry comments about Frangopoulos, like “FML, FWIW this SOB rekt my protection income from Frango.” Pretty sure that’s not the correct use of “rekt.”

I didn’t know that. Seemed like a good time to break in as Banshee and suggest people start posting those sorts of things so we don’t accidentally step on each others’ toes.

As for me, I enjoyed my outing as well. While I hid my identity a bit with the cameras, it felt good to run around as myself again. After all, the Lord of Misrule is usually just a title. And my misrule of Empyreal City has just begone.

I’d put in a mouthpiece if I were you, Empyreal City, because I’m about to deck some halls.



Local Politics 15



I’m glad the new queen of the bee people was ready in time before the big attack. While I’d been messing around with heroes and villains, Technolutionary had been hard at work studying the blood I’d extracted from Wildflower. To say it had been quite the cocktail would to leave out all the other animals and body parts.

I hadn’t anticipated Technolutionary actually making things work this quickly. I just figured I’d go through with this as a way to weed out the problem elements in the Buzzkills. Listen, I keep hearing different reasons. I look different. I smell different. The queen is part spider monster. I only plan to throw their lives away in a scheme that benefits no one but myself. All true. But, as we all know, problems only have one cause, and one cause only. When people do things, they do it for only one reason.

Anyway, while I may not know the exact solution to the problem, I once again determined that killing a lot of them would most likely fix things too. Really, there are few problems that can’t be solved by murder. Go ahead, think about it.

Now that you’re done with that, let’s stop thinking about minor stuff and start focusing on the important stuff: my life.

So, yeah, turned out to be a surprise when Technolutionary called me up and announced, “It’s ready!”

I knew it was Technolutionary, because that’s not a guy you let call you by surprise. You label that number. That’s not a “I’m crapping, but who is calling?” number. That’s a “Brace your sphincter” number.

“What’s ready?” I asked, remember to squeeze my butt shut.

“I have transformed your queen grub! At last, she is fully bee again. She’s very talkative. Could you come pick her up as soon as possible? She’s annoying. Get off of that!”

I didn’t think he was talking to me with that last part.

And since it was Technolutionary, I couldn’t just have Crash run over and pick up the queen bee. Nope, I had to pull on my armor and drive on over to Sigma Labs. Technolutionary met me up in the lobby in casual clothing. “Welcome! Glad to see you’re staying alive in these interesting times.”

See, this is why I’m not a leader. I have trouble managing large groups of people. “You’ve seen what’s going on?”

Technolutionary smiled as he led me downstairs. “Yes, and it’s fascinating. I’m tempted to join The Order, but why would I? I have the supplies and cooperation I need without law enforcement attention. Do you think they will last?”

I shook my head. “It’s unlikely. They’re digging in, but tensions will arise, like they always do. The Oligarch is the one pulling the strings, so his ego will bring things down somehow. Meanwhile, I’ve been staying plugged in. I have an acquaintance who knows the odd CIA and military expert. They think it’s only a matter of time before Oligarch finds himself on the wrong side of a wet work team. That’s not my concern right now. Like you said, we’re doing our thing. We don’t need the extra attention.”

When we stepped into the lab, I saw a large Buzzkill standing there, staring intently at TV screen. She was bigger than the normal, people-sized ones, but not so much as the queen had been. She also had the extra pair of legs from a middle point on the side of her torso. Under the arms, but over the legs, and approximately halfway between each. Contrary to the popular image of a lot of smutty minds, she didn’t have curves that would look good to a human. She had a bigger ass, true, but it was kinda pointed, and she had these fuzzy areas on her upper thighs and torso.

Technolutionary gestured with his arm. “Here she is! I believe she’s an adult, but she’s mentally young.”

She looked over at us, segmented eyes glittering. “I am the queen and I rule.” She pumped one of her arms in the air. Then, she stepped over to me and looked me over. “Drone. You are early.” Then she threw her arms around me and kissed my helmet.

Well, that’s great. I have a bee person smooching on me that’s been alive for, what, a month and a half at most? Plus, thanks to my helmet’s 360-degree view, I got a closeup view of what her mashed-up mouthparts look like. Nope, not nearly fully human.

After an awkward couple of seconds, she released my orange and grey armor to stare down at me. “It is how people do.”

“Isn’t this moving a bit fast?” I asked her.

She lowered her head to stare at where my mouth should have been. “You are not a normal drone, but you are right. I must see the colony before we mate. Take me.” She slipped one of her arms under mine and started walking toward the way I came in.

This is how a person gets suspected of buggery, you know.

Technolutionary stood aside, but whispered, “Have a good time, you two.”

I gave him the finger and walked along with the queen, searching the internet for bee information so I could try and figure out this thing. “Yeah, let’s check out the colony. Get those other bees in line.”

“Then we mate!” the bee said, lifting me up a few stair steps in her enthusiasm.

“Yeah, sure. I don’t really have the-” I stopped. “I’m not sure I have the time, I mean. But yes, I’ll be your drone.” It occurred to me that I probably shouldn’t let on to the queen that I didn’t actually have the parts necessary to perform the duties of a drone. I mean, I’m capable of sex, but she wants sex for reproductive purposes. So I lied to her and pretended I was useful until I could get her figured out and properly molded into what I need her to be. “But we’ll discuss all that once you get back there and get those workers in line. What do you say?”

She squealed and hugged me. “Best day ever!”

I quickly made myself a note to carefully avoid exposing her to the Disney channel ever again.

I wish I could say she solved my problems with the bees, but then we got there to find the whole place was buzzing. Not an exaggeration. There were so many Buzzkills, you could easily hear them from the street. They weren’t doing much to hide their presence, either. I could sense their hostility, as well. They wanted to beat me up, but they didn’t try anything yet.

“Stand aside for the queen and her first drone!” The queen yelled, having learned something of sounding overly dramatic from her time with Technolutionary. Or the TV. I’ma have to learn that girl some proper English, n’awmean?

Well, before I could do that, she stopped and took a big sniff of the entire place. I’m fairly certain smells have some importance to bees. They have great importance to humans, too. Some humans use them to communicate their desire for revenge on those surrounding them, particularly in elevators.

While she stood there, snorting up smells, a large Buzzkill jumped out. Actually, only large compared to me and the others. It looked about the same size as my queen, but with an extra pair of legs. “Usurper!” she yelled at the queen I’d brought. Then she grabbed for her with six vicious arms of vicious furry bee fury.

I just wanted to say it that way, that’s why.

The queen bee finally left her nose out of things and responded, trying to catch hold of her evil part-spider twin. Alas, the spider woman had a numerical advantage in limbs.

What she didn’t have, soon after, was a solid chest cavity. I charged up my gauntlets and jumped into her from behind, bursting out of her belly like some sort of majestic otherworldly being. I yelled, as is the custom whenever someone pops out of a female’s belly.

The Buzzkills around hummed in what I assumed was anger due to the number of rude gestures directed my way. None of them made a try for me or the queen, even as I squeezed myself the rest of the way out of the dying mutant queen. I know, I seem special, but I take my dead enemies off one leg at a time. Without looking up at her, I asked the queen, “Hey, honey, what’s going on? There’s more of you?”

“Yes. My mother had many royal daughters. Only one can rule. We will slay them all.”

“Tis certainly the season for slaying, but does it strike you as a bit crowded around here?” I looked around at the ever-growing crowd of onlooking Buzzkills. “The little folk seem a bit restless, too. Should there be that many around?”

“No. The old queen breeds extra workers. Then she leaves with them. You killed the old queen.” She looked down at me, but I couldn’t read her expression.

I brushed bee gore off my body. “I don’t know how many times I have to say it, I had nothing to do with Freddie Mercury. That was before I got to this dimension. So, what you’re saying is, there’s like double the Buzzkills around because they were going to leave with the other queen?”

“Yes. They do not interfere with the queen fights.” She said it, but she still tensed up and raised her arms. Queen fights. Huh. I always thought that was that fighting club in San Francisco. I mean, they don’t discriminate. Straight people can and do fight, too. They just tend to underestimate homosexual fighters and thus are unprepared for the gay bashing they receive.

“Are you sure about that?” I asked, noticing that the term for surrounding Buzzkills had changed from “crowd” to “small army.”

She looked all about her nervously. “They are not supposed to.”

Amateur. I didn’t need to look around. I could see all the people around who wanted to beat me up. Seriously, I thought I dealt with this shit. Perhaps it was wrong of me to interfere in a delicate eco- and political system without any knowledge of what’s going on.

No. That can’t be right. Obviously, it’s their entire society that is wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

“You are not supposed to rule! You are not right. Even workers know that.” Queenie and I both turned to look at a trio of fake royals approaching, all as big as the first one. A bunch of Buzzkills followed them, so I had to drop the “small” from “small army” when approximating their number. “And you have mother’s killer fighting for you.”

I reached over and patted what turned out to be Queenie’s hip. “I could kill ’em, but I don’t think you’d survive it.”

“Then we risk it. Today is a good day to die!” Queenie said. Yep, way too much TV.

“Drop that Klingon shit. You’re too valuable to me to go dying.” I ran between her legs so she was on my shoulders and jumped clear of the place. And broke something in my leg. I mean, I got healed and we still escaped, but it’s starting to seem like everything’s going out of its way to shit on me.

Crash probably figured out the sort of mood I was in when I came stomping in the hidden executive entrance followed by a giant bee woman. She took a look at me, and at a piece of…something…that fell off me onto the carpet, and said, “Oligarch has been calling…but I’ll tell him you’ll get back with him when you’re ready.”

“Anything important?” I asked as we stepped into the private elevator.

She looked down at her tablet to read back over her notes. “He’s got to delay the attack you discussed at the last meeting. He had to solve a problem with Navy Seals that paid him a visit. He wants everyone to double check their lair defenses and don’t hesitate if you need help.”

Oh, great. Now he’s killed one of those government assassination teams. I’m sure that won’t potentially escalate things.

I’m going to be so glad when I’ve dealt with him and the other royal bees. Like I said, death is always a viable solution to a problem. And while all these random things keep happening to just screw over my plans, I can at least be reasonably confident in my ability to kill my way out of this mess.

Although, sure, I have been off my game a bit lately. And I am going to be dealing with some villains who survived me in the past. Actually, been a lot more survivors lately. And now I have to go out of my way to keep some people alive.

Altogether, it sounds pretty bad. Sounds like I’ve lost a step. Sounds like maybe I just don’t have it anymore.

Where was I going with all this? Oh yeah, soon it will be time to bathe in the blood of a thousand innocents. For the good of everyone, of course, but especially me. Except the ones who are dead.

Well, there’s no use crying when there’s killing to do. When I look outside, it makes me glad I’m not you, ’cause I’ve plans to run and I’m gonna have fun with the people who are still alive.