So. You know, this whole thing’s been a part of my life for like nine years now. Hey, I hope someone enjoyed themselves.
So, here’s what we know: Earth is the current focal point of a series of entities who gave something to the start of the multiverse and are here to reclaim it after having been shut out. I’d feel a lot more sympathy for them if that didn’t involve destroying the Earth and moving on to the rest of the universe. I’m the last person who should deny someone a chance to let out a little anger and try turning their lives around, but these things don’t want that.
We’ve managed to capture all of the ones that tried to come after us but the Perverse. The Perverse can twist people’s words to do anything, but is now quite lost, whatever that ultimately means. That leaves two more: the Persistent and the End.
Mystic Teneceroni, the liaison from an alien consortium that wouldn’t like to be destroyed because Earth fucked around, has been helping us out with all the info his people have. That includes magical rituals that allow us to capture and seal the beings. It also includes know what they are and more or less what they do. They have records of other civilizations that had run-ins and weren’t so lucky.
I had to let my former ward Leah know, along with my half brother. They’re a couple, and the portal in Canada to my home dimension. I don’t give a shit about not seeing that place again, and the feeling is mutual. Being a genocidal madperson leaves an impact, and most of them are probably pretty sure I haven’t changed, that I’m just fooling people. Sometimes I wonder if they’re right
“Hey Leah,” I called her up.
“Hey Gecko! It’s so nice to hear from you. Sorry we haven’t visited to see little Alexander. Things got hectic over here.”
They had an invasion by people pulling old enemies of the Phenomenal Fighting Justice Rangers out of time. I wonder if I’m going to suddenly pop into the middle of that fight sometime.
In turn, I explained the shit going down on Earth, which Leah took in stride. “Just another Tuesday, right?”
“Except for the apparent solution being to shut down all the trans-dimensional stuff. The Grau have a device that’ll close every portal on Earth, and we need to then not open a new one.”
“For how long?” Leah asked.
“They claim to have a way to safely open wormholes that are similar but safer, but they said it would be some time before Earth is evaluated and approved for that sort of thing. I’m getting a years vibe from these guys, but they’ve surprised me before.”
“Yeah, Ambassador Bong Hit’s speech went viral,” she responded. That would be when this Grau ambassador took a big sniff of something and tore into Earth for doing all this shit we’ve been doing here. It was way more effective than the condescending way other alien civilizations talked to us or invaded us.
After a pause, Leah said, “Well, I have to stay here.”
“Alright,” I said. “But now you know what’s coming. So, if I never see you again, just want to say…”
“Yeah. And we’ll always have Valentine’s Day,” she said.
“Ah… you knew.” Thanks to a bit of awkwardness, we didn’t keep the conversation going too much further, but I sent her photos and videos of Alexander.
While I was doing all this, others around the world were working on other considerations, like Ricca’s off-world mining operations. Then it was off to the bedroom for my most arduous preparations yet.
The Desire had a potential knockout blow for getting to me, but I think maybe it knew that would blow up in its face. My kids may not have the easiest of lives and the world is going to have some trouble, but they’re going to grow up in some fucking peace without this kind of existential terror bullshit. Qiang’s distracting herself by day and crying herself to sleep by night. Venus promised to stop by and drop off some surprised for her when she visits Alexander. He’s just born and this shit’s all he’s ever known. We’re fighting for the fate of the world and universe. I will not remain powerless in the face of extinction.
Up next, the Persistent. Supposedly brings back the dead to go after people. I already sent Spinetingler a text. As the other biggest name killer supervillain on the planet, and one I have a ceasefire with, I figure he and I make the biggest targets. Meanwhile, I headed to where I hid the godly powers I gave up: the bedroom. That’s not just some sort of brag. I implanted the powers in my pillow. It’s perfectly fluffed and always cool.
Just thinking of it made me sleep. So damn sleepy. Not natural. Don’t worry, the powers would fight it off. I reached for the pillow and went to me knees, laying my head down on the unkempt bed, arm outstretched for the pillow.
I saw the space between universes. I’ve traveled there enough to recognize it. A giant mass of universes, ever-expanding. This time, my view expanded out past it, to a vast blackness between worlds. Some of it was void, but something shifted and I could see things moving through the void. All sorts of shapes and sizes, some with unusual angles, some with only curves, and at least one that appeared as a simple line. One of these things could have maybe been called a free-floating eye, with arms hanging out the back and a pupil that took up half its surface. Part of the surface lens reached out on the end of an eye vein, forming a smaller eye that snaked through the multiversal cluster and shoved itself into one of the universes. Then the larger one turned to me.
A woman appeared in front of me. It was a dead person from my past, alright. Fortune Cookie and I had worked together to prevent someone stopping time out of grief over his dead son using a clocktower in the mountains of Transylvania. She’d been killed by a simple serial killer, I think purely to motivate me to stop that one. “So, you things know me as the Persistent. Hmm.” She seemed amused. Her voice was light and she had the beginnings of a smile at her mouth.
“That’s what I’ve been told,” I commented. I was still me, and on my knees actually. I gripped my right hand around where the pillow had been in real life, right under my hand, and pulled it close. There was nothing there in this vision, but I needed to try.
“Sending the dead after people creates satisfying fear. I should do it,” the Fake Fortune Cookie said. She shifted at times into other forms. Miss Tycism, Forcelight, and an older version of Venus. All versions of people I killed, except Fortune Cookie. “You know why you little ones fight so hard? It’s the fear. This wouldn’t have to be so difficult on you if you would stop being afraid. I can take that from you.”
“I’m not taking any deals from you,” I told it.
Fortune Cookie shook her head. “I’m not offering. I will take it from you. I want you to know what’s going to happen now.”
She zoomed in. I saw an aged Gorilla Awesome perk up, looking around at an army of zombies. He dropped his shopping bag to start attacking, but the zombies were only in his head. In reality, they were just people. Elsewhere, I saw Ouroboros pull out his knives suddenly while walking the floor of his casino and gut one of his pit bosses, seeing the face of a dead assassin instead. Elsewhere, I saw a buff man at college, Bulletproof Brian, who looked up from his studies to see bullies who once tormented him coming at him with baseball bats. He was a little kid again in his mind, and fighting the people who once broke his arm. In real life, he smashed another student into a library bookshelf.
Then, in my house, Venus walked through the door, carrying an old book in her hand. She headed into the hallway and I lunged out of the bathroom to pin her to the wall, holding a pillow over her face.
“Well, that’s cheating,” I said.
“We’re not playing a game,” Fortune Cookie said. “But I will enlighten you before you die. I’m not the Persistent. I’m the Perception. All that will happen has happened. Others defied their end. The others you trapped will be freed. But first, I will feel your pain and suffering.
I rolled my eyes. “Clearly, you’re not aware that Venus is one of the few people capable of kicking my ass even when I have powers.”
I got worried when it took awhile. That would have been a great line to go back to my body to. As it was, I got to watch as the Perception showed me more of the world being forced to attack people because of past fear and trauma. And I couldn’t do anything except let her feed on my own emotions, at least I figure that’s what was going on.
Then, I blinked. This was the real world again, in my living room. Things had feeling and it wasn’t a giant void surrounding a multiverse. Nearby, Venus stood with a book cradled in her arms. I recognized that book now. I’d fought others who used that corrupt tome that holds trapped monsters in its pages. She looked at me. “Why’d you stop? Did it work?” In front of her sat my body, gnashing teeth at her while safely chained up.
“Did what work?” I asked. I looked down, then felt myself. “Wait, I’m Morgan.” Axinomancer claimed to have a ritual that could allow the non-binary ax-based mage to channel me. Looks like she decided to use it.
I looked up when Venus opened that book. Arms made of paper reached out toward my body and snatched it and the chair right into it. The pages slammed shut. And I was really surprised to not be stuck in whatever that book did to people. “You in there?” I thought to myself.
I felt the warm acknowledgment from Morgan in my subconscious, and realized I could remember the past few minutes from their point of view instead of my own.
“Well, I know you’d be able to beat that thing in me. Just didn’t figure it’d be this way,” I said.
Venus hugged me. “I didn’t think the book would stop at whatever that was,” she said. “I figured as long as Axinomancer got you out, we could figure things out from there.” She stepped back and held up my wedding ring, slipping it onto my finger.
“Looks like Morgan got what she wanted after all. The old Morgan, at least. Guess there’s a new one now.” I held her for a couple of seconds, letting all this get awkward. “We need to make sure we got all of her that’s here.”
“Morgan?” Venus asked.
“The Perception. It’s not the Persistent. Get someone to check on Gorilla Awesome. I need to get a hold of Ouroboros. If we’re going to have to get everyone she’s affected, this is going to be busy”
Venus and I went to work. It was tougher with me, as it’s not like I can just hack into cameras and cell phones now. I had to go through some channels on VillaiNet to get hold of Ouroboros. And when I confirmed he was fine, I had to inform him about the Perception. Luckily, he wasn’t the only one who’d had an episode like that. The Perception had targeted people with powers and people with power. Probably the only reason we hadn’t had a nuclear exchange was because everyone was walking on eggshells after the Desire nearly caused Fallout to happen.
Then it was back to the basement. Venus had to get the rest of the magic squad to deal with that book in a way that didn’t unleash every forgotten monster in the history of mankind, and I used the excuse of customizing my new body. I’m not non-binary.
The End is coming. And when it gets here, it’ll face me at my full might.
I know it can take days to squirt out a baby. That’s not what’s happening here. I needed to get caught up is all. It’s been harder to write under the circumstance I found myself in and in the period immediately afterward. Tl;dr, you try keeping up with a blog while giving birth. Miracle of life my ass.
Now, after dealing with The Unwelcome, things were starting to fall into place. Isabella and Maia had been delayed by dealing with the aftermath of The Dark and the invasion of The Unwelcome. Holly had been out getting a signal to Mix N’Max, my old friend, letting him know about the momentous occasion. She’s also trying to hide from me a bunch of presents she’s been buying in secret since I never held a baby shower.
A hulking nurse with cybernetic implants poking out of his facial skin stopped in. “I don’t normally work here, so I’m not sure I have the right place. There are visitors for you. Is this the room of Psychopomp Gecko?”
Ah. Sam had forgotten to give them my alias. That’s an unfortunate oversight.
The nurse shook his head. “That’s Psycho Gecko…”
“Yeah,” I said, curious. My legs were still up in the birthing stirrups, but I reached over and grabbed for one of the panic bags.
The guy had a neck that wasn’t so much a column as it was a slope. Muscles on top of muscles. He could be the main character in a first person shooter. He shook his head. “You fought the space marine invasion, didn’t you?”
The former space marine ran at me. I whipped something out of the panic bag. Instead of my machete, I whipped a stuffed dog into his face. I then lowered my head and the sharp unicorn horn sticking out of it. When the former space marine pulled himself off it, he spurted blood all over me from the hole in his chest and one of his hearts. He got it all over the dog plushie, too. He turned and ran for it, dripping blood the whole way.
Other nurses found me like that, soon after followed by the whole family. “Uh…” I tried to come up with something snarky to say. Holly had me covered, blowing a noisemaker and waving around a couple of sparklers as she ran in, dragging around balloons tied to her arms. She ran over and hugged me.
“Watch the sparklers!” I said, careful of my hair catching fire. There was a lot of unwashed oil in those locks.
“Ew, bloody… so is the baby out yet?” Holly asked.
“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!” I said.
Some strange guy poked his head into the room. “Hi there, I’m with Nuclear Blast Records, and I’d love to sign whoever unleashed that phenomenal scream”
“Out!” Isabella said, closing the door in the heavy metal producer’s face.
Meanwhile, I hit the call button. “Get in here!”
I think I’m due a bit of privacy about what happened next. Which is new. Usually when a situation involves a bunch of screaming, crying, drugs, and pain, I’m all too eager to share it. But permit a blood-soaked babymaker to keep something to myself. And after all that was said and done, they even let me hold the little pain in my ass.
“Hello, Alexander. You’re going to have a hell of a life,” I said to my tired, crying baby. Then I passed him over to Isabella and Maia. Sam and Holly were out of the room, with Sam helping Holly recover from watching what happens when someone gives birth. I’d have warned her to gird her loins if I’d had time beforehand, but there was a lot of screaming.
They did have to take Alexander away from me and almost everyone filtered out to let me rest. The thing about your body being in pain every few minutes for like a day is you don’t get a lot of rest. I woke up to a thin, zombie version of myself sitting in a chair next to an abandoned balloon. Her hair was white save for the barest of my rainbow colors at the bottom. My split horn was longer, with the smaller rear portion twisting around a longer main horn until it came back behind the main one. I couldn’t tell where her hands ended and nails began. She was thin, deathly pale, with cloudy white eyes that stared at me.
“So who are you?” I asked this dead reflection.
“I am your Fate,” it said.
“Is that what you call yourself? Fate?” I asked.
It stood up.
“Since this is a joyous day for me,” I warned it. “I’m going to advise you not to do anything that causes me to have to stand up. So, what, are you here with the failed space marine, or is this another yahoo from beyond the veil of existence?”
“I am the Fate. The path of all living things is set in stone and beset by suffering.”
I flashed back, even moreso than my stress disorder caused once upon a time. I was a kid again, being beaten by others in the Psychopomp Program. I was being held in an armlock by Medusa, tearing my arm out to free myself. I was screaming as something the size of a baby forced its way out of something the size of my pussy. And then I was back there in bed, with that zombie of myself standing in the room. I pulled the blanket aside and swung my feet over the edge of the bed, sitting on the side of the bed.
When I stood up, I stumbled back behind a shield. When I lowered it, I was in a burning building, facing off against a pissed-off Venus. Her armor was slimmer. She retracted a double-headed ax attached to one of her arms and raised the double double barrels on each forearm. I raised the shield. Bullets pinged off, pushing me back as I tried to dig my orange boots into the ash. I was in a black and orange version of Captain America’s costume, but without the belly stripes and with a large G where the star would be.
Venus’s fire abarted. “What’s all this about?!” I asked.
“Don’t pretend you didn’t kill my son, you bitch!” she screamed at me. I looked over the shield. She was heading right for me with that ax. I threw my field at the floor, which it bounced off of to come at her face from below. She swatted it away and took my knee in her visor, diverting her to the side. I landed and shook my leg. Fucking hurt doing that to my knee.
When I looked up again, Venus was gone and I was looking at Qiang, just a little older. We were standing on the torn-open side of a building, like the windows had been blown out. She looked at me, then jumped out. I ran over and dove after her. She was splayed out, her tears splashing me in the face as she watched me bring my arms in close. I flapped my wings but the ground was so close. I didn’t have time to catch her. Instead, a glowing light pulled me up into it.
I stood up in the Mobian’s time vessel. “I have you. That wasn’t real. She’s messing with you.” He wore the same face as when I saw him replace the Torian, his evil counterpart, but was dressed differently. He wore a boring brown suit jacket with elbow patches, but a bright red scarf and a brown trilby.
“Oh, someone finally came to see what’s going on,” I mentioned.
“Everyone’s seeing it. Their own personal confrontation with every bit of suffering they’ve ever faced, sometimes changing their present to twist the knife. You have its attention. Good job with the Unwelcome.”
“Changing the present, but Qiang’s not dead?” I asked.
“Not where you came from,” the Mobian said.
“You can’t evade me,” zombie-me said. She now blocked the glowing white doorway. Her feet didn’t move so much as slide along the floor. I stood up, realizing I had gone from Captain Gecko to Unicorn Goddess as far as my costume.
“Who said I’m evading?” I asked. “I’m standing up now.”
“Your fate has been sealed.”
“Yeah, but I’ve still got a destiny to seize,” I said.
“I stand beside her,” the Mobian said. “Gecko, the time will soon come when I will disappear.”
“You kinda did already,” I said.
“Oh. Well, that’s wonderful news,” he said. He rushed up the dais toward a console and pressed a button. I fell out of the doorway and back into the hospital room. A bright light flashed by the window. I stood up, my costume fading away to a hospital gown now. Outside floated the Mobian’s time vessel. Nearby, my laptop crackled.
“The truth about time travel is this, Gecko. From the point of view of the future and of timeless, infinite beings, the past is set in stone. It has to be that way for us. It’s our present that can change. It’s your present that can change, and the universe has to reconcile that. I’ve devoted myself to helping stop people from changing it enough to bring the Fate into reality, but it’s found a way. So now I have to trap it, maybe even destroy it, but I need my vessel. You may doubt this, but I hope I see you again.”
The Mobian’s vessel flashed and disappeared. Trapping someone who wants to change reality to hurt everyone using a vessel that can travel through time. It’s like rain on your wedding day. Isn’t that ironic?
The gown wasn’t the only thing restored. My body went from a keyed-up Captain Gecko with an adrenaline rush to falling-down tired. I grabbed the wall and eased down into a chair. After a few minutes, I recovered enough to get back to the bed, trying to avoid laying on my deflated belly.
Wait, everyone had to be freaking the fuck out, too. I pulled myself up and stumbled out into the hallway, confirming that everyone else had had a hearty round of being fucked with. I found Qiang down near the cafeteria and hugged her, then carried her with me to go check on Alexander. The rest of the family, mostly hanging out around the cafeteria as well, caught up to us around then, in the middle of a bunch of babies cradling my newborn and my firstborn.
New Normal 6
The crew of Lethac the living ship has left the Earth. Despite the fear I’d created in them of Earthlings with my brutal use of technology, they stayed long enough to stock up on a shitload of food. I paid. I didn’t know much about their crimes or what sort of people they are, but I’m giving them a chance. It’s likely my trust won’t be rewarded, but that’s the trust of being scary.
They got their second chance. And I got to walk into the United Nations with a present for the whole world. Maybe not the few remaining alien diplomatic parts who hadn’t been shrunk, but the humans, at least. And just to make a point, I was flanked by a guard of Exemplar soldiers with Medusa and Venus in power armor. In my hands, I held the orb. That sounded ominous. I held the crystal ball with a tiny fleet of ships holding steady in it.
“I demand you us our people back, barbarian!” one of the quill Grau said. He or it or whatever was taller, thinner, and dressed in a dark jumpsuit. I think the cape was for intimidation factor.
“That’s not really my decision,” I pointed out. “What, exactly brought your people here anyway?” I held up the crystal ball. “What was so important for your people about this speck of dust, suspended in a sunbeam, that we call home?”
“That is for your betters to discuss,” the caped alien said. I didn’t need to guess at his fury. I think the idea of a primitive holding his people’s welfare over him and being in a position to demand answers got to him.
I was, of course, quite angry at the whole thing.
“I think you’d better answer the woman,” said a blue and orange-skinned figure in a nice suit. Hey, Titan’s here. Not as a delegate, of course,
“Were we addressing the wrong people? I spoke with the political leaders of Earth when you are all the slaves of those aberrations who threaten your lives every day because of the powers they stole from the universe?” That outburst from this guy also brought murmurs among the UN delegates, many of whom had direct lines to their leaders in a situation like this. This alien knew a thing or two about playing us, or maybe people just weren’t that different across the universe. The fact that this guy’s such a supreme asshole seems to prove it.
That’s when a Black delegate stood up. “You have come here full of yourself and your demands in the manner of someone who holds himself our superior based on your own perception of privilege as more advanced than us. Even your selection of who to speak with betrays your belief not in the equality of peoples but in the superiority of some to decide the fate of others. This body was created to give all of us a say in the affairs of our world. Humanity, in its entirety, deserves to know why you have come to us.”
“Fine! Fine,” he declared. Ooh, arrogance and anger were easy to detect in these Grau, too. “Just give me a few seconds.” He, because I keep slipping into it mentally, turned his back and gestured to one of his underlings who had feathers around its head and carried a small black case. That one brought it over and opened it. Several nearby people strained to see it, most of them looking back and forth at each other and talking as they tried to figure it out. Some reached for guns when the assistant pulled out a device like a gun that glowed on the end, but then it hooked the device up to something. There was a gurgling sound, and then a bunch of smoke rose into the air. The Grau in charge turned back to face me, giving me the barest glimpse of some sort of glass tube back there.
The Grau delegate opened his mouth… and started coughing. He stopped after a moment and shook his head, then began speaking, the French accent fading away. “Alright, the truth is, y’all got to stop all the crazy shit up in here! You got gods doing crazy shit, changing timelines. Time travel on top of that, and we don’t even know what to keep track of out there. You done raided other planets, and sometimes we catch y’all hiding in ships or space stations like pests. People are out here afraid they’re going to have a human infestation. How many holes in the universe do you have on this one planet alone? You know how many we have in the entire Consortium? None, because we span twenty solar systems and we got there by not fucking with the fabric of the universe. You broke the universe. You have permanent holes, and that didn’t teach y’all anything?! There are people who throw black holes around and one of y’all ate a star. Who eats a damn star?”
…Ok, I expected this whole thing to play out differently. I got a lot of stares from a lot of people, too. I might have had something to do with some of those situations. But in fairness, there might have been other people doing stuff like that.
“Setting aside that you broke existence… you broke it, that’s just how it is now. None of us know how to fix it so get used to it. But there are worse things out there than Trobogorians. We know you encountered one of them already, but the more times you break reality, the more you let in powerful monsters that wanna fuck shit up even further. We’re here because you are like children, and we’re not really your parents, but you’re screaming and breaking things and that’s bad. And now imagine if you keep it up and your planet gets invaded by unstoppable monsters you can’t contain or kill, beings from outside all context of existence with their own warped morality. That’s happened before.”
Well that’s just passive aggressive there. Or maybe not so passive.
The Grau calmed down some. “Look, I know I came here throwing stuff around, but that’s just who we are. We don’t know who you are, except you’re messing everything up, being assholes, and one of y’all tried to blow some of us up. Now, ma’am, I thank you for saving those people, but we all know you’re going to use their lives as a bargaining chip. I can’t think that’s nice. I just can’t.”
“You’re right,” I said, holding up the crystal ball. I handed the crystal ball to Medusa. “Here you go. I’m no longer holding this bargaining chip. Let me know when you want them restored to their proper size.”
I turned and portaled out, leaving the person they wanted for attempted assassination in charge of the orb. She knew I was going to do this ahead of time, and I was ready to intervene if necessary. Until then, I was seeing to the size-shifter gizmo. Oh yeah, I had that thing ready to go and everything. I built a command console in the base, connected the cooling hose, and had the power hooked up. Venus called to join me so I portaled her in as well. “What’s on the menu?” she asked. She looked around. We were on an asteroid with a thick, clear crystal wall that gave us a view of outer space.
I pointed to a very small copy of myself nearby. “Figured I’d restore the fun-size version of me.”
“Cool. I like the proportions,” my wife said. Unlike the body at the UN, I was here outside of my armor. It was really thick crystal in the asteroid. She walked up behind me and wrapped her arms around me. Mmm, she felt so strong in her power armor. And, of course, she touched my belly. I didn’t mind it so much this time. “I don’t mind your other proportions.”
I fired up the size-changer. The lights lit up in a sequence for some reason. “So the weird thing about this is it isn’t computerized. No connection. Mechanical and chemical, though.”
Since Isabella hadn’t seen it hooked up, she didn’t notice the unusual whine. And this was just it being on like back at the ship.
“Oh, does this go to anything?” Venus asked, picking up this weird crystal I’d left laying around. It was the one that had been given to me by Torian as a favor to be repaid later. Lots of those debts accumulating lately. Venus grabbed the crystal and slotted it in near the base. The device went back to normal and instead, I got that other body restored. No giant explosion that would have grievously wounded someone or something. Torian never actually told me what the crystal was for, so I left it all over the place in case I needed it, and I guess this was the time. I imagined explosions occurring if it hadn’t been there, but I don’t know for certain.
“Hey, babe, the aliens want their fleet back,” Medusa radioed in.
“I’m ready,” I responded.
“Wait… ok, first they’re looking to see if there’s a hole or opening in this orb they’re in. Orb sounds too ominous, doesn’t it?”
“I think so, yeah,” I told her.
“Do you know anyone who builds ships in bottles?” she asked.
“Why would that matter? They’re spaceships, they can just fly out if there’s a hole.”
“Yeah, and they’re pretty sure there’s no hole. They said they’re just going to put it where it needs to go and then break it.”
“I’ll handle that, don’t worry,” I told her.
I portaled the orb away from her and into my hand. “Everyone in there, I’m about to start resizing you, so when you notice you’re growing, you all need to pick a different direction and fly that way so you don’t crash into each other, ok?” Then I portaled a little typewriter hammer in, because some guy once invented hammers for people to type with, and I broke it. All the little ships tried to flee instead, but I dumped them off past the moon. There, I embiggened them!
They followed my advice. They all picked directions and flew.
There were some crashes. 99% of the fleet made it out just fine. Meanwhile, Venus was on comms with me, “If you want to come back, this guy’s really pretty chill once he smokes whatever he smoke. He let some of the rest of us try it. One of their aides agreed to drop everything against Maia and I, and we were all invited to a celebration tonight if you want to go. Maybe you shouldn’t be partying, though.”
I turned to Maia and told her the good news and the party news. Then I turned to the more buff, taller body. And it said, “Oh fuck yeah, let’s do it again!”
One party worthy of an Electric Callboy song later, I can report that it’s the quilled Grau are males and feathered Grau are females. I tested both at the same time just to be sure, one of whom was the fangirl who knew me from the space opera.
New Normal 2
Maia, aka Medusa, has been arrested by someone in connection to an attempted bombing on the U.S. Capitol when an alien envoy was present. There are dozens of different ways she could have been framed. I don’t know why the aliens are here, but they’ve got a fleet parked in orbit and I think we all want to avoid yet another alien war. It’s getting old at this point, and there are more aliens than there are people on Earth, so the numbers are against us.
Sam and Holly, other girlfriends of mine, took the news well. Sam pulled out her bronze knuckles and Holly grabbed a morning star off the wall. I held up my hands. “Let’s not go off half-cocked here.”
“Really?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, I’m still putting together armor. Also, I don’t know who actually has her right now. I figured I’d try diplomatic channels. First thing’s first, I’m trying to talk to Isabella.” I thought Venus would be getting back to me in no time, so but she told me she needed to talk later. Meanwhile, I’ve got whole villainous base mobilizing. “Creating clones, assembling nanomachines, and manufacturing drones, too. But mainly, I’m trying to get the armor right.”
Sam patted my shoulder. “Baby, you don’t need armor. You’re not fighting in person.” She reached out and touched my belly. Ever since I got this damn belly, people just touch it without asking. Holly set the morning star down and reached out to rub my belly, too.
“I am the most dangerous person on Earth. I’ve got a loaded pregger hole and I’m not afraid to use it!” I declared. I got a ring back. My eye HUD told me I had a call incoming. “I gotta take this, it’s Venus.” I backed away to try and escape their hands. I turned and headed downstairs to my basement lair. “Isabella, my baby daddy, what’s the situation?”
“I am at the Master Academy. I cannot believe I have to hide here. Alright, Maia, right; they think it might have been me instead and they want me arrested by the government and turned over to them. I think that means it’s the aliens who have her.”
“Any idea what they are? They don’t look like Fluidics or Trobogorians. Or Cercopagus Lysis. Or those guys with the space opera-”
“I don’t recognize them either, but they call themselves the Consortium of Grau. That may not be their species. This is all my fault.” I had never seen Venus so uncertain of herself as she’s been since we resolved the issue where she stole godlike power from me and tried to fix the world.
“Did you blow up the capitol? I mean, you know I’m not snitching,” I said.
“No,” she said.
“Then it’s not your fault. Duh.”
“They’re here because of what I did. They detected it through fancy high tech alien whatchamacallits and came to make sure Earth wasn’t going to fuck everything up. That I wasn’t going to fuck everything up.”
“You’re not, so there. Issue resolved. Moving on,” I said. She stayed quiet. I sighed. “Ugh… ok… as much as I don’t get rehabilitation, you’re generally a force for good. You even… ya know… me. And I did a lot worse than you ever did. I’m proof that not only are you not terrible and the worst person in the world, but that people can change for the better. And it was thanks to you. Oh my god, kid! Your baby won’t get off my damn bladder.”
She laughed. “Ok, the Grau took her up to a ship, but you can talk to them at the Capitol. They’ve landed delegations in major nations’ capitols around the world. That’s if you want to talk. I’m reaching out to the Exemplars for when that fails and we have to beat my sis out of them. I think they have a spaceship in case of complications.”
“Smart. I’ll talk since the aliens don’t want me dead as far as I know. Plus I have that bit of space celebrity from that opera. I doubt I’ll get anywhere, but maybe I can arrange a visit so we can pin down her location.”
“You might need to put a tracker on us,” Isabella suggested. “Something other people can’t track like a phone.”
“Funny how I’m the violent option on Earth, and the diplomat to the stars,” I mentioned in parting.
Sam and Holly insisted on coming with me, so we had to get a babysitter for Qiang. I trust Qiang… within reason. She’s getting up there. The stuff with the altered reality interrupted her latest birthday party, but she’s getting to the age where I can tell she doesn’t want to spend time with me and might even be embarrassed by me. I guess that goes double now that I’m puttering around all aching, fat, and gassy. We figured she wouldn’t need a sitter for long. For the sake of the sitter, I hoped she was prepared for a challenge.
The pair even donned a pair of costumes. I saw them when gathering up my gear at the store and prepping the Flyer in case I needed it for a diplomatic mission-turned-fight with aliens. Scattered around were boxes, containers, a few drones, and snacks. Lots of snacks. Snacks were absolutely essential. I’d already gone through half a bag of Dove chocolate and a package of smoked gouda pretzel sticks by the time my other girlfriends showed up. And also a few pickles. Some nutella. I ordered a Hawaiian pizza because I wasn’t sure how long they would take and it actually sounded delicious to me right now.
Sam wore a shiny red corset, white jacket with red studs over that, and pants trimmed in white. She protected the short mohawk she was going for with a red armored helmet and tinted white visor. She had on reinforced biker boots. Holly’s outfit was looser, with a shorter maxi skirt over the pants that had red leopard print spots in places. The back of her top turned into a hood with stiff supports to hold it up or retract it when she needed to. And her shoes were practical as well; modified Under Armor Ubers that The outfits looked like they were all about fashion because of the subtlety of the armoring and some of the gadgetry built into it, like electric stun pads in the gloves, hidden boot knives, and radios.
Sam was Rose Red and Holly was Snow White.
“Wow,” I said, seeing them in that in person rather than memory.
“Yeah. We liked the costumes from memory,” Holly said, twirling and making skirt go spinny.
Sam walked over, working those lovely curves. She put a hand on my chubby mommy belly, because of course she did. “You’re just wearing this outfit?”
I was in a loose boho skirt and tank top. I pointed behind me to the small treaded vehicle the size of a small car headed up the ramp from the extensive underground base under my store. “I got more clothes in there.” It settled in next to where some body doubles of me were seated on chairs. Unlike me, these weren’t pregnant.
“Good, you’re not going into a fight yourself,” Sam said. She took my hand. Holly took the other one. A moment later, we appeared in my portal lair. When I got my hands on wormhole technology, I exploited it to create a base that combined pieces of various dimensions and locations within the universe. We appeared in a cave with air portaled in from over a section of ocean higher than the tallest ships and lower than any plane that would be traveling that far from civilization. I activated a giant monitor and a hologram station to give me a complete view of the alien fleet over Earth.
I had a moment of viciousness. “I could just… wipe them all out. Every single one. Crack them in half, douse them in the heart of a star, suck them all into black holes, vent atmosphere, flood them with deadly creatures. Drowning, electrocution, throwing a planet at them. I am death incarnate… except I need Maia and I don’t know where she is. And if I kill them, maybe they send another fleet. Or they send someone with the ability to negate wormhole technology. Or they just destroy Earth from afar before we even realize we’re under attack, doing to us what I do to them.”
Sam squeezed my hand. Holly booped my nose. “Boop. Why so serious?”
I shook my head. “Heh. Guess it’s a good thing I had so many mental problems before. I was mad without power, so I already know to be careful. Ok, enough with the boring-ass introspection. Everyone ready to go deep into Congress’s tightwad?”
They nodded. A door opened in front of us, with me humming the Twilight Zone theme. We stepped through and out into Congress near to various people in suits. I tapped one of them on the shoulder. “’Scuse me, I need to see an alien.”
“Who the hell are you?!” asked a startled man somewhere around his thirties with a bit too much forehead and chin.
“I am the Psychopomp and I request a meeting with the envoys. Take me to them.”
“You look like some fat woman with two cosplay chi- oh my God,” he backed away when I warped my body away and replaced it with a spare body wearing a set of my armor. I had armor for myself, but it looked better without the rounded belly. Someone ran up, Capitol Police. Holly and Sam were ready, but the guy I’d scared held up his hand. “Officer, this group needs to be shown to the alien envoys. Take them there immediately.”
The officer took his hand off the very large gun and held them up to show he wasn’t going to do anything, then waved us toward him. “Sorry, right away.”
We walked through what they call the halls of power. There, the slimiest and most craven of power-grubbers oozed around looking for ways to collect checks and prestige without doing anything. And that’s after I’d killed all the malicious ones through accidents when I was a god. Finally, we were shown through a cordon of guards, including aliens in power suits that hid everything but their body shape and number of limbs. To play nice, I stepped back out with my real body and my sore cankles to look less threatening.
“This is cool!” Holly said.
“It’s lame,” Sam countered.
“I could really go for Korean fried chicken,” I said.
The cop presented us to some guy in a suit, who presented us to a room with a big table where Americans in suits sat with teal aliens who had lion-lake manes made of quills or feathers depending on the alien. “Psychopomp Gecko, and guests.”
“Thank you,” I said to the cop. I handed him a fiver. “Tell you what, go buy yourself some really cheap love.”
He stepped away, and my group stepped up to the table where some confused Senators, ambassadors, and aliens all stood up at my presence. One of the feathered ones turned to me and said in French-accented English. “You are the opera star. This is an uncommon delight.”
“Hon, hon, hon, now you send celebrities?” a petite quilled alien asked, directing the question to the politicians.
“I am not here as a celebrity, though I will sign autographs after the meeting,” I announced. Holly pulled a black marker out of her utility belt for emphasis. “I am here because you have arrested my wife under suspicion of trying to blow you all up and would like to negotiate for her release.”
In one back corner, I saw a silver-haired agent in a much cheaper suit whispering into the ear of a man from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The small alien gestured to another in its group. This one was larger, and had a couple of rings gathering up quills on opposite sides of its face. “That is not possible. What she did was a violation of the sanctions of safe harbor and diplomacy of the Consortium.”
“Let me visit her then,” I said.
The Senator from the SSCI spoke up, “We would consider it a personal favor of goodwill if you honored the request of Psychopomp Gecko to see her wife.” I glanced at him and nodded my appreciation. That’s Torian and now this guy I’m going to owe favors to.
“You have a child from the prisoner?” asked the alien who recognized me from the space opera I’d been in a little bit. That feathered alien reached out across the table for my belly, then actually climbed across it to place her hand on my belly. Holly and Sam both snickered.
I sighed. “Yeah. And if you let me up to see her, I’ll let anyone in the room who wants to touch my belly do so, on top of the good will incentive.”
I’ve never had so many hands on my stomach. “It is agreed!” the quilled alien with the slight build declared. “We will provide you with what you Earthlings call a conjugal visit, eh?”
“That’s not,” the one Senator who helped me out started to say.
I held up a hand. “Speak for yourself. I fully intend to get up there and conjugate her brains out.”
“We will have you on the next diplomatic shuttle,” the petite envoy declared. Meanwhile, the one who recognized me pulled out a plush doll of me for an autograph.
New Normal 1
Welcome back, dear readers. After the restoration of reality, there were loose ends to clear up. As much as I liked having a cult, I had to get them to close up shop. I saved some commemorative merchandise from it for myself, but I don’t want these guys selling the worship of me now that I’m back down to normal. From what I gathered, the memories of the other world changed people a bit. Lots of introspection. Not so much with my family, since they knew what happened. Medusa and Venus also took a lot of time to get reacquainted with their parents and to help Venus deal with her mental issues. She’s taking her failure as a goddess hard, even after I reassured her she didn’t even have to drown everyone on Earth.
And without the god-like power, I’ve had to get used to gravity and biology again. Science sucks. Morning sickness caught up to me and I’m showing my preggerness. I’m fat with little Alexander and obsessed with dipping tacos in ranch with a side of chocolate chip cookies. Cooked garlic in chow mein. Carrots in Cool Whip. I feel like the floor shakes whenever I walk into the kitchen. I’m fat and gassy and I look terrible. And I can’t stop crying!
“How do you feel, babe?” Sam asked cautiously, watching me eat strawberry jam out of the jar while watching an episode of Farscape on TV. I sniffled and wiped my face with a napkin. “I’m great. This is a funny episode. Crackers don’t matter!”
On screen, a Floridian astronaut was beating up aliens. An alien in leather bondage gear and a Hawaiian shirt suggested he murder one of them and have pizza with margarita shooters. Ugh, I can’t have alcohol. I never felt more like drinking than now.
“You going to get around any?” she asked.
I sniffed. “I’m a blob. An ugly, ugly blob.”
“You’re beautiful, you would just be more beautiful if you had a shower and stopped eating everything,’ Sam said. She reached out to rub my belly. “Here, let me help you up.” She helped me get to my fat feet with my fat ankles and fat calves and helped walk me into the bathroom. I went for a bath in the tub I’d designed to be big enough to let me lay down. I floated there, singing whale songs to match how I felt.
“Hon, I left a dress out here for you!” Sam said. “You’re a beautiful, beautiful butterfly!”
“I just farted and it smelled like cheap salisbury steaks! I haven’t had those in a month,” I answered. Aside from that, I enjoyed the hot water relaxing my skin. I could have fallen asleep, but it was one in the afternoon.
My relaxation was ruined by Holly shouting through the door. “Hey hot chunk, your sister wives are fighting a giant turkey!”
“Thank you, Holly!” I did not feel like thanking her. I think she calls me hot chunk for the angry sex. Except lately, it’s been hangry sex. There was mixed reception to me keeping a spicy turkey sandwich on the nightstand while we fucked. I groaned and pulled myself out of the water.
I wasn’t impressed. It was a turkey. Venus’s head came up to its shoulder. It breathed flames that nearly engulfed my depressed baby daddy-momma. Father of my kid, without sperm or penis being involved. I reached out my consciousness. When I returned things to normal, I also gave myself back all of my implants and resources I had in the past. That includes a base with dimensional portal technology, swarms of nanites, and the ability to connect to both remotely.
“Need a hand?” I asked Venus.
She sighed in her power armor’s earpiece. “Yeah, if you don’t think I’m chicken.”
“Assisting you would be a poultry challenge,” I said. I created a portal and sent out a mass of nanites that fluttered through the air like a flight of butterflies. The turkey turned and flamebroiled some of them, which was smart of it. Due to their smaller surface area, nanotech is susceptible to temperature extremes. I had more metal than it had fire; they formed into a hand that wrapped around the turkey and pulled it into the portal. I opened a portal to a cave deep underground with a bit of air and dumped the turkey there until I could see what the heroes want done with it.
“Thanks dear,” Venus said. “We need a good codename for when you’re all heroic like this. What did you do with it?”
I explained to her. I avoided exasperation over her calling me a hero. I’m not a hero. “And now I’m running back into the moral conundrum of what to do with it. Either turn it over to an immoral, corrupt justice system, or send it into an unaccountable system of secret prisons. Or just kill the thing, I guess.”
Everything seemed fine. We’re just moving toward a new normal after the recent fuckery. Like, now that I’m subject to biology. “Anyway, I need to go see this doctor in town about my coochie passenger.”
“Ew. Fine, go make sure our baby’s going to be fine.”
I hung up. Sam was going to go pick up Qiang, while Holly accompanied me to the obstetrician. She was down to help me with all the extra paperwork of getting five months pregnant without having seen a doctor yet. Since it’s the town of Radium, the older guy just sighed, looked at my cybernetic eyes, and said, “This is superhero-related, isn’t it?”
I shrugged. “Well, a hero knocked me up. And then I didn’t have to deal with any health matters for other reasons having to do with power and all.”
“Alright. Let’s open up the hood and take a look. Why don’t you tell me about your diet?”
“This is going to be interesting,” Holly said, holding my hand. I wasn’t in any danger, I just wanted to hold her hand. Her skin is soft.
Everything’s fine. I’m just a fat, hormonal woman forming a human up my vajay-jay.
Of course, just as things are getting into some sort of normal rhythm, that’s when the aliens appeared. Huge swarm of ships covered the sky, that whole deal. I didn’t get a call about it. Elsewhere, some weird multi-limbed thing out of Lovecraft’s wet dreams. Also, somebody with superpowers tried to blow up Capital building. All shit that nobody called me about or attacked me over.
I even got to talk it over with the god squad on game night. I used portal tech to get there this time. Baron Samedi greeted me, “Gecko, you’re glowing!”
“It’s about time,” said voice both familiar to me and unfamiliar to the setting. The Torian, an evil version of the time hero The Mobian, more likely to use time travel for his own benefit.
“Hello Mobian. Looking to use up one of your extra lives?” I grunted. Folks wouldn’t describe someone with a big belly like mine as threatening. “Or just here to check on the aftermath of everything?”
“The latter,” the old man said. Considering he was like hundreds of years old, he looked good for his age.
Tom Waits stood up and pulled out a chair for me. Argu the Observer, an alien god, scooted its chair away from Torian. I thanked Tom and took a seat with a graceful “Ugh. This pregnancy shit…”
“Now you know why I don’t like being a woman,” Torian said. “You really got rid of the power this time.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m regretting that decision already. What’s the game tonight? I’ve had to miss recently for reasons.”
“We know!” Argu argued. “My people found out what’s going on in this planet and it alarmed them.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked.
Samedi nodded gravely while Tom Waits dropped the game Pandemic on the table. I groaned from the game choice. Samedi ignored it and filled me in, “Argu was telling us how Earth is like a cosmic dumping ground for discarded energies and technology that promote superpowers.”
Torian scoffed. “Different civilizations tell different stories for why humans get so many superpowers, and they’re all lies. None of them know. They pick on Earth because they can and because they don’t see it as an equal and they don’t like superpowers let humans fight back. You called out their ineffectual peacekeepers and made friends with their former slaves.”
Argu folded some of its starfish body in on itself. “You threatened all of reality.”
“I put it back together,” I said.
“The aliens are concerned, and the humans must tread carefully,” the Baron added.
I shrugged. “They’ll call me if they need me.”
We played Pandemic, aiming to stop a disease I nicknamed Disco Fever. In the end, Disco Fever overran the planet and spelled the doom of humanity. “Maybe they need doctors more than gods,” I noted.
Torian stopped me. “I need to warn you about something, because I know if I do, you will survive and can help me in my future. And I have some fondness for this planet that you are a lethal guardian of. Also, you’re going to kill Mobian at some point and bring him closer to being me.”
“Huh. Sounds like the right calculus,” I mentioned. He might have some game in mind, or he might just be that selfish. I yawned and looked at the old geezer. He was in Victorian casual, I’d say. A nice embroidered vest, slacks, pinstripe shirt. He normally went with a suit jacket and top hat, but this time he had on a tweed cap. “What’s up?”
He held up a color-shifting crystal attached to a small chunk of porous rock. “You’re going to need this. You’ll figure out when, and you could make it without it, but it would cost you time and someone important to you. This will save her life.” He held it out for me.
I took the crystal, which felt warm in my hands. The rock was room temperature, but the crystal felt like it generated its own heat. I looked back to the Torian. It was a biological-crystalline growth, a fact that popped into my head somehow. Likely a residual memory of omniscience. It’s not like I lost all the knowledge I’d actively looked for or browsed out of boredom. I still know “Fine. Deal, I guess, unless I find out something later.”
I wiped my palm on my dress and reached out to shake on it. Torian removed his cap and kissed the back of my hand. “Charmed to have helped you.”
Back at my house, I had a message waiting from Medusa, the version of Venus who didn’t get sucked out of time and who grew to care for me and lose a lot of her uptight, strict adherence to the law in favor of vigilantism and social justice. “Hey, Gecko. I wanted you to hear it from me. I was on security when someone tried to blow up the Capitol with the alien envoy present, and they claim it was me. I guess I should tell you to stay out of this and let justice prevail, but I don’t trust any of this. Clear my name and come get me, please. Try not to hurt too many of them.”
Well, well, well. Looks like some aliens need stabbing with a crystal.
Alien Villainess 5
It was all wrapped up. Myself and my wife who couldn’t be evil if she tried made it back to our cruise. The captain yelled at us awhile, but we tuned it out. We were still merged symbiotically, which was fun. It was more fun when we got back to our cabin. I mean, sure, there’s sex and all that. That’s fun. Makes me cum and everything. Great for a workout. Decent for reproduction, but that’s not why we did it.
I’d have been fine just being with her. Isabella. The woman trained to beat up supers and given the name Venus by people who know sex sells. There was something intimate about the way we’d bonded. I don’t mean having an adventure together. We’d had those in our own twisted way. This was just a lot more intimate bonding. I don’t think anyone’s truly been in my head before, outside of Psychsaur, the telepath. Always thought it was weird she did a 180 on me immediately after getting up inside my head, but I had something in me that got her on my side. And I experienced that with Venus while she got to try that with me.
It wasn’t a matter of feeling normal, or feeling completely right.
Anyway, we kept up the merger for the rest of our trip was solved pretty quickly after the wormhole spat us right back out onto the correct route where it got us. It then disappeared like some sort of miracle or act of Gecko. The ship decided that its first stop after returning was going to be an extended one to better evaluate and repair the ship and mental damage associated with the ordeal. That mostly meant lots of relief for the crew, who had to deal with angry, hungry, anxious guests. One of the blob crewmembers was nearly eaten. It wasn’t because the guests started to turn to cannibalism; it fell asleep in a bowl and was mistaken for gelatin.
The Captain and several of his best blobs were ready when Isabella and I were ready to depart, still sharing one body. He oozed forward to meet us. “Would it matter if I said I wanted to hold you until I find out what games you played with my ship?”
“Not one bit,” we said. Nearby, some of the passengers ran out into the street of the city in a group aimed at the closest bar. The screams started soon after they entered, along with the fighting and the Jimmy Buffetf music. He was probably pissed that aliens stole copies of his recordings and… wait, I checked on it with my omniscience. He was nabbed accidentally by some passing aliens in 2001 and signed a music deal that included opening a restaurant chain. Dude’s loaded with alien currency.
“At least tell me who you are. Cleopatra and Mona Lisa can’t be your real names. They two of the most common aliases in the universe.”
“That can’t be true,” Isabella laughed internally.
I did a quick scan with my omniscience and found a weird coincident. “So it turns out that a lot of species have common names that sound similar to some Earth names, including…”
“No,” Isabella said out loud, laughing.
“You treated our lives like a game!” the Captain accused. “I’ve met many beings who feel entitled to harm my crew because of money and power, but space is deep and it doesn’t care who you think you are. You best kill me first if you play games with our lives ever again, because I would move stars to see the universe rid of you.”
“Don’t you know?” we said. Our eyes went pure black. “We eat stars.”
I don’t know where he kept them, but the Captain had balls to keep staring us down as we left. Isabella felt bad, but I reminded her, “See? You managed to play the villain a little bit. But don’t worry. There’s a difference between bad and evil. You were just a little bad.”
“I’ll stick to sometimes taking the bad karma option in games,” she told me. “Can we go home now?”
With a snap of my fingers and an unnecessary burst of light, we indeed were home. Well, a brief stopover on a rooftop overlooking Empyreal City on a stormy wintry night. With my powers, the cold didn’t bother our shared body anyway. Lightning streaked through the sky, illuminating a city and the dancing raindrops that pelted it. “To everyone else, it’s a horrible night,” Isabella said.
I took awhile before responding, waiting on a beautiful lightning strike I knew was coming. It’s nature, like a raging river. You can shift the tide over time, but you can’t stand up to it. Not unless you’re something beyond human. “It doesn’t have to be,” I suggested. “But how you’ll use my power goes beyond just one night. I’ve been avoiding spoilers, giving you privacy. Tell me what you want.”
“I want to do it myself,” she told me.
I eased her into the omniscience. My experience controlling multiple bodies helped me compartmentalize things. If it didn’t matter, I didn’t care. And plenty of times, I left it partially or entirely off, which has inconvenienced me before. So I thought it best to ease her into it.
“I can see eternity,” Isabella said.
“Oh, that would be the omniscience about psychedelic mushrooms,” I guided her. That helped take some of the edge off other knowledge she could access. People think omniscience, they assume it means knowing all sorts of good or neutral things, like how to build Dyson Spheres or how gravity actually works. The lab coats are going to kick themselves when they realize the second one. But it also means knowing all the bad. When and how everyone will die. What went through the minds of a planet of sentient beings when a massive asteroid wiped them out. What it felt like to be every victim, and every victimizer.
I wasn’t surprised when Isabella needed awhile to adjust.
“It took me awhile to relearn sleeping after all this hit,” I mentioned to her.
“I know…” she dwelled on the thought for awhile. “…what I want.”
The began to change things, reaching out with her power, racing along a lightning bolt. It became a fractal that struck the Green Zone of Empyreal City, the neighborhoods taken over by the Green gang whose tainted drugs have made them animalistic and allowed plants to retake the urban environment. The growth became less intrusive, more like an unusually gentrified, environmentally-friendly neighborhood.
The worrying part was the changes made to the Greens themselves. The unmutated gang members changed, mentally. They were all going to give up crime. She’d changed their minds. And the bestial ones were different now. Still changed, still willing to protect their territory, but they were getting uniforms and badges.
“Isabella,” I warned.
“Listen, I did so much to give you a chance to be good and to be a heroine. You’re better than you were, right?” She had that edge of conviction and begging in her voice. Right there where belief meets going out on a limb. I needed to talk her back away before something happened.
“Yes, but the journey taught the lesson. It was my choice. You can’t just make people how you want them to.”
“I’m cutting the ‘journey’ out the way you cut out disease and disability,” she responded.
“That’s not the same. It’s not that simple with people’s minds. Different points of views and circumstances aren’t a disease.”
“No, you’ll see.”
I sped up, but she already had. Lightning struck us.
I woke up sick to my stomach and with a bladder that wanted to explode. I rolled over out of what turned out to be a bed and nearly fell. For the first time in awhile, gravity actually meant something to me. And I really had to pee. And throw up. I stumbled to my room’s bathroom to empty both ends. Only then could I really take stock.
I couldn’t fly anymore. No laser claws. I thought I had omniscience, but it turns out I’m a smart-ass know-it-all. Still hot, though. I tried popping my eyes out; had to put THAT back in in a hurry. Why is it when other people mess with my body, they fix my eyes?
Ok, I realized it, too, but I think that’s different because I want to think it. As near as I could tell, I was human. And not just human as a shorthand. Since I didn’t have any other powers, even the ones I copied off people I studied, I tried connecting to the internet through the devices I integrated into myself. When that failed, I hugged the TV. Then I grabbed a phone off the charger in the living room. And I didn’t have an external phone. Plus, what the fuck was up with all this sunlight? Ugh, it was morning and everything.
Ok, so I was human. That’s not a good way to start things off. Seemed to be my own house. I rushed to Qiang’s room and stopped myself before I burst in. She was asleep. Then I realized there might have been someone in the bed with me back in the bedroom. I snuck back over there to spot Holly Wayne and Sam Hain in their nightclothes, Holly drooling on Sam’s hair. Sam gave a rough snore. Beautiful.
Then I remembered that thing with the Greens. I checked the closet, worried there would be a police uniform. My heart caught in my throat when I saw the blue outfit hanging up, but then I realized it had a skimpy skirt and fuzzy handcuffs. Whew, it was just a sexy Halloween costume. It hung next to my Sexy Karen outfit from the night I demanded to see Sam’s manager.
But then I saw the other costume. It looked like Reindeer’s costume, but small enough to fit my frame. I checked my head just in case but didn’t feel any antlers. No, wait, that’s because I only had antlers when I transformed. The costume even had a the ability to shift and grow.
I realized I knew that because I had extra memories. Memories of being Delilah Gecko, a human from this Earth who somehow had the power to turn into a reindeer woman who can fly and shoot light beams from my antlers. I also tend to react to trouble by saying “Oh deer.” Sam and Holly were my girlfriends and sidekicks. We met through my friendship with the superhero Mix N’Max, who was currently dating Sporea, the goddess of renewal. I had been a hero, before retiring to pursue a quiet domestic life with my family.
I stumbled down to the basement hideout, and to the computer that was still connected to the outdated extradimensional blog. It had a link to the hero messenger, HeroNet, where my fiance Medusa asking what I thought about this old cathedral as a wedding destination. But there was also one there from the goddess Venus, my other wife. She asked, “Do you see yet?”
Alien Villainess 4
To get us up to speed, in case anyone’s forgetting, I took Venus off on a honeymoon and stranded a space cruise to give her a shot at playing out a fantasy of hers. Don’t tell her I said this, but she’s shit at it. I bonded to her symbiotically to help her deal with the alien planet and give her a convenient power boost. But her attempt to steal an experiment was disrupted by someone else stealing it first. Some heroes fought her, but then ended up recruiting us to go along and help them steal it back. Also, being bonded to her right now, there’s a lot of plural pronouns and I tend to refer to her by her first name.
And as an example of how our thoughts converge, we were in sight of Dr. Malevolent’s icy fortress when she thought, “We haven’t been that villainous, have we?”
“No, but think of it as laying a foundation,” I answered. “We’ve given them reasons to be suspicious. We had sex with them. Soon, we betray them and they probably try to fight us.”
I could sense the doubt in her. Perhaps I’ll never corrupt my waifu. That’s not a bad thing.
The Flicker and I were racing along, keeping pace, pulling a sleigh carrying Reservoirman, Florxman, and the Amazing Twins. Kinda wish I could take the twins with me when we left. Flicker’s not too bad, either.
We smiled when Isabella shared my thoughts. Humans coming to an alien planet to abduct aliens for some sexual probing.
The thought was interrupted by some omniscience warning me of immediate danger. Mines. They were Dr. Malevolent’s. We fired eye beams that were nothing but colored light and a bit of warmth to uncover that mine in the way. Flicker saw it and went the opposite way as we wanted to go. We went with her and used heat vision to uncover more mines in our path. Dr. Malevolent had plenty, but his minecraft left something to be desired. The minefield had a lot of mines left in straight lines. With me pointing them out, and both of us having superspeed, we navigated it all safely.
Soon, we were right there, across a treacherous pass of ice that also couldn’t hold us back. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night will stay these boring, uptight do-gooders about their business.
Florxman’s teeth were chattering as he dismounted. “W-watch for bolos,” he warned.
Bolos. This world’s word for robots. These are not automatons. They were very simple mechanical beings, incapable of their own thought.
We floated above the ice, carrying Flicker and Reservoirman. Florxman used his grappling hook to get to the giant metal door, a dozen feet tall. The Amazing Twins took the shape of a cloud and a penguin-like creature to get close to the door.
“I’ll knock,” We said. The thing was some heavy-ass lead, which meant nothing to us. One blow dented it and revealed the bolo hiding in wait on the other side. It tried to push the door open from that side to get to us, but the door jammed from the dent. We used the heat vision again, melting through a portion of the door and igniting the punchcard computer in the bolo’s brain, deactivating it. We pulled the door off and hurled it off back into the minefield.
“We are we even along?” said Thod of the Amazing Twins. That was the guy. Florxman looked at them. He’s still suspicious because, really, why slow myself down and work for them for ultimately no reason? What is my ulterior motive?
I stopped. Not from the question or his suspicion. I held a finger to my ear to emphasize I was hearing something else. “You go on without me.”
“Is something wrong?” Reservoirman asked. Finally, a chance for him to be the strong one. That was the only real role he had left and I’d stolen it from him.
The shuttle we’d taken was contacting me. The captain of the space cruise we’d been on let us have it, the shields modified to deflect the early radar systems of this planet, along with a pilot and co-pilot. They’ve been sitting around bored for this whole trip while we took forever, but a god was their passenger.
“I knew it. She’s crazy,” Reservoirman commented. “I shouldn’t have put my dick in her.
“You too?!” asked everyone else.
Reservoirman singled out Florxman. “You warned me to keep an eye on her. I did. It looks like you did too.”
I waved at them to shut the hell up. The blob aliens in the shuttle were talking. “Listen, the Captain’s really freaked you are taking so long. He just asked us to scan the city for you, and we had to tell him you weren’t in the city. With all due respect, what the hell’s going on out there?”
“We’re not in the city. Someone else stole it first and fled toward the planet’s northern pole.”
“Fine, but our scans also showed you were mating with the locals. We covered for you on that one, but we can’t wait around much longer for you to finish this intergalactic booty call. The Captain said if you don’t step it up, we’ll just take what we want from somewhere else and damn the interference. The buffet ran dry and the retirees are getting restless. The rest of the buffet’s currently stocked, but passengers are talking about eating the crew. They already threatened to shove fruit into one crewmember and eat him out of a bowl.”
“Message received. We’ll speed this up a bit. Be there soon,” We turned to the confused and defensive alien heroes. Or local heroes. We were the aliens. “We’re going to speed this up to get ahead of whatever else is coming this way.”
I blinked out of there before they could express their confusion, appearing in midair in the lab of Dr. Malevolent. The confused mad scientist looked up from a bank of rough, super low-res green monitors. “What are you doing here?”
“I gotta take your nuclear bomb. It’s a thing. For the record, atomic explosions don’t ignite the whole atmosphere, but it does a bunch of nasty shit, so you’re better off not using one near yourself,” we told him.
“You sure we should give him that much?” Isabella asked.
“May not matter if we’re skipping out and letting something happen,” I responded, landing next to the bomb and tearing it free of the devices holding it in place.
Flicker raced up next to us, grabbing our arm. “What are you doing?”
We reached out and caressed her face. “We wish we knew you better, so we could justify taking you with us. This was just supposed to be a game. I guess I don’t play a bad guy very well.” That last bit was Isabella, not me.
“Speak for yourself, love. I can play the bad guy just fine. But I’m sure you’re a nice person, Flicker,” I added. As if I’m suddenly against having a harem with an alien in it. I fucked a deep one.
“Ew,” Isabella said. She looked to Flicker. “Not you, something she said.”
“There are two people in there?” Flicker asked.
“Got it, princess,” I told her.
Flicker let go of me and we both sped up to normal time. “What are you?”
“We are wives. Just married, off on an adventure, one without powers and the other a reality-warping goddess,” we answered.
Dr. Malevolent went for a death ray. We raised our hand and stopped the beam in midair, then dispersed it.
“You really didn’t need us,” Flicker said. Nearby, Dr. Malevolent, an alien wearing a doctor’s gown, was sneaking toward a console and began to ease a bunch of levers down
“As we said, this was about fun,” We tossed the circular shell of Malevolent’s nuclear bomb in the air. Flicker tried to catch it, but we held it away from her. “Relax, it takes more than that to set these things off, especially this style.” We pulled the beryllium off telekinetically. That’s what we were there for. We went ahead and disassembled the rest of the nuclear weapon, transforming the plutonium core into a much less harmful substance, copper. “See? We’re a big softy in the end.”
“I’m glad the goddess is the nice one,” Flicker said. She watched us toss aside everything but the beryllium.
“Ok, ship, come meet us. Transmitting coordinates now,” we informed the shuttle. Then we winked at Flicker. We balled up our fist and… turned to punch a shockwave that blew a large bolo through a wall. Another four rose off the walls. We smiled at Flicker. “How many of these do you think the team can take without me?”
“Uh… two?” She guessed.
We nodded. Why bother pretending we’re native? I opened and then closed a hand. In turn, one of the remaining four bolos fell apart and the other squeezed in on itself, leaving two active ones. The rest of the team came running around the corner of the hallway in time to see the display of power.
“You could have had all this, you know,” we said, gesturing to our shared body, which was Isabella with me pretending to be a costume that rode up in inconvenient places when I found it convenient. We raised a hand blasted the ceiling of this icy fortress apart, exposing everyone to the wintry night sky. A glowing light enveloped us from the shuttle floating overhead.
“We must go now. Our planet needs us,” we told Flicker.
“What’s that music?” Florxman asked, referring to the Superman theme that appeared out of nowhere while we began to float upward. We landed in the shuttle and strapped in while they shut the door.
“Have fun?” asked the co-pilot.
“Not as much as we intended, but… it was a bonding experience,” Isabella said. “You couldn’t betray them either,” she thought to me.
“You corrupt me with your damn niceness,” I told her in our head.
“You’ve been ignoring those calls for days. You knew,” she teased.
“Stop it. The other wives are going to make fun of me if you keep this up,” I responded.
“I’ll pretend you corrupted me, but you have to let me do some stuff with your powers,” Isabella offered.
I mean… she’s so good.
Together we conjured up an image of the planet we left behind. It was quaint and nostalgic… but it was a really shallow vacation. Without the emotional connection to the people there, it’s just shallow theme park voyeurism. And my wife is terrible at being evil. No way she’s going to do something too messed-up with my powers.
Alien Villainess 3
After that night at the Wherever of Justice, having boldly gone where no humans had gone before, Isabel and I rode along in a plane headed further north. It wasn’t as fun as flying under our own power, but we appreciated the view. The awkwardness from some of the team provided further entertainment. None of them had shared that they all got a piece of Isabella, known on Earth as the superhero Venus, and myself, known on Earth as not normally some symbiote merged with the body of Venus. That’s made possible by the Great and Devious Psychopomp Gecko pretending to be dead and using my recently-acquired godlike power to become… the Unicorn Goddess! Anyway, the horn and wings are optional.
Teasing Isabella wasn’t optional. “Oh no, good girl gone wild. What are we going to do about the paparazzi? First you marry a supervillain, and a woman, but then you two are all polyamorous?”
“People will know what I want them to know, especially now,” she said. The smile that crossed her face was from both of us. I liked the answer, even if it was arrogant. “The Academy thought about restricting who I was known to date back when they worried about my boyfriend turning into a large monster sloth. First time I ever put my foot down with them, it was to say they would never dictate who I dated or loved. I knew a little bit about liking women then, too. They turned me into their PR project and I was going to fight for as much of my soul as I could get away with.”
Being basically one person and one mind for such a long trip gave us time to think on the similarities between us. She’d noticed them sooner, since she was less self-absorbed and I was constantly pissed about my past. I’m still pissed, I just put off further suffering. I don’t know a healthier way to deal with it. I’ve avoided healthier ways to deal with it, save for some therapy that other people are proud of me doing.
I think even a good Earth jet would have reached that fortress in the frozen far north by the time we set down in a small town for refueling. “We don’t get superheroes,” the airport’s owner and operator told us. “Normally just research and rescue flights.” He leaned in to whisper to Florxman, “I don’t suppose I can have your autograph for my son, could I? He loves all the costumes and masks and bip pop pow fighs.”
Being an unknown on the planet, Hyperwoman, as Isabella and I were going by like this, was nearly forgotten. We gave a pretty basic one, with my taking control of her hand so we could handle the alien characters. Then we, meaning Isabella and I, asked, “Is there anything fun to do in town while we wait?”
The old man scratched his temple. “Now let me think. There’s a mahg show going on down at the rec center, with a silent auction.”
I projected an image of a domesticated animal with four legs, a protective ramming dome of bone on its head, and a pair of swollen udders hanging from its belly. It was maybe the size of a large dog on Earth, or a medium gerbil on a really small moon.
I could have gone with a joke about Uranus there, but I decided not to take that. Unlike Uranus.
“Pass,” we told the old man. “What else do you have?”
“The local schoolchildren were going to have a field trip to the city, but it got canceled. Seeing you guys would surely brighten their day?” he answered.
We looked over at the heroes briefly. They were liking that idea. “Anything else you got? Something really fun?”
The old man gave a high-pitched, whistle-sigh. “There’s the casino.”
So anyway, we walked into the casino. Much like an Earth casino, it was filled with cheap plastic and metal, weak inebriations, and machinery engineered to extract the optimal amount of money from anyone who dared to sit down. People still won sometimes, because of how the odds worked, but they money they won had to come from somewhere. That’s just how houses of chance work. But as long as you recognize you’re in an adult arcade where the games involve possibly winning money instead of winning a side-scrolling beat-em-up, you’ll be fine.
I brought the team with me, but those sticks in the mud kept talking about lectures and moral turpitude. Instead, I walked in and called for a Swanecool, a drink I knew I’d enjoy. The bartender got the wrong idea, though. He pushed some button that set alarms off. What dealers there were reached under their tables and pulled out weapons, like firearms, clubs, and knives.
“Gambling is illegal here,” Florxman said.
Isabella thought to me, “Is he really that scary to people?”
I showed her an image of a Florx, a winged sea predator that is capable of leaving the water, flying through the air to attack people, and settles in bodies of water surprisingly far from the oceans, including pools. “He likes to use terror and intimidation, along with the association with an animal that creeps people out and sometimes is a legitimate threat.”
“I guess it loses something without the context,” Isabella responded.
“Listen, why can’t we all just have some fun-” we started to say aloud. Unfortunately, the casino staff made the first move. The patrons ducked, dipped, dived, and dodged as the ones with guns opened fire. Florxman threw down a smoke bomb and disappeared behind cover. The Flicker appeared to stand still while dodging shots. Reservoirman twirled his spear, deflecting bullets. We stood there and let ourselves get shot.
“I guess we have to fight,” we muttered to ourself. We sped up and rushed to the nearest person with a firearm, taking it out of that guy’s hands. We did the same to the woman after that, and the man after that, and so on, until we’d relieved them of their guns. Then we moved back to where we started, set the pile down in front of us, and came back to normal speed. A lot of confused casino minions looked at their hands, then at us. “You’ll want to run along now,” we told them.
The Flicker appeared next to me, dropping all the bullets and pellets that had been fired. She’s pretty fast. Makes me wonder if she might be faster. She could be a God of Speed… but that really makes it feel like the “god” title isn’t that meaningful. I guess you get to pick what constitutes a god if you’re a powerful reality warper. Anyone who disagrees, you just wipe the out of existence.
Florxman jumped to the top of one gaming machine and swooped down onto one of the dealers who grabbed a hand-sized die from the table and was about to throw it. The fight proper kicked off there, with Flicker doing most of the work. We hung back because as much as we both enjoy fighting, we had come there to do some gambling. Party-pooping heroes.
I grabbed some coins that went flying when Reservoirman threw someone onto a table and tried one of these machines. “Ok, those things are Wild, getting these three starts one game, and having some of these symbols in a row starts a different game. You know, this is a lot less fun when we know all this.” They were pre-computers on this planet, so this thing had physical controls that meant it wouldn’t hit for me for fifteen more turns. We gave it a few goes before we got bored, picked up the machine, and hurled it at the boss. He just stepped out of a back room with an automatic gun in each hand up until the gambling machine hit the side of the door, which killed most of its momentum before it could kill him. He’d survive, but he’d need to let some ribs heal for awhile.
Our heart wasn’t really in any more fight, but neither were the various minions. Some tried to run only to get rounded up by Flicker or by Florxman’s grapple gun. The town’s constabulary of like a dozen guys had twice their number of belligerent dealers and pit bosses to take into custody. About the only good thing is the Amazing Twins decided to let the patrons go.
The heroes seemed pretty happy with themselves up until the explosion from the airfield. Flicker and I were the first ones there to see the robot stomping around, smashing the rear of the plane with the front of the plane. “I’ll get the legs, you take it down,” Flicker suggested.
“Agreed,” we said.
Flicker left friction-heat I the air that ignited grass as she ran. She went behind it and rammed into the knees of the blocky, claw-handed robot. One thing people don’t get about speedsters is that they have to be physically tougher and stronger to deal with the speeds they handle. The robot wobbled. We rose into the air and shot into its chest, creating a crater in the grass that it fell into with us standing in the hole we’d left in its chest. We reached down and tugged its head off as well, using my powers to examine it. It was an interesting piece of early technology, a melding of steampunk and extremely early computing technology. It has a small punchcard brain, more efficient than it should have been for that level of technology.
The rest of the team finally arrived riding on the back of the male Amazing Twin who had taken the form of some sort of extinct flying creature. When he landed, he reverted to the same humanoid shape as the rest who stood there. The scowl Florxman wore looked like he had to take a truly enormous dump. He walked up to us. “Have you had your fun yet?” He pulled a blocky device off his belt, an advanced radio for this age, and started pushing buttons on it.
“No, actually. This was all pretty boring to me.”
“I can speed rebuild it!” Flicker offered.
Reservoirman scoffed. “No. I hate flying, and I’m not going to do it in something you put together in seconds.”
“Fine, we’ll run you there,” we said.
“We will?” Flicker said.
Florxman thought it over. Reseroirman slapped him on the shoulder. “Come on, rich boy. You’re springing for a coat and sleigh.”
“Quiet!” Florxman said. The crackling of the radio grew more distinct.
A man was speaking, “And if I do not receive this ransom, I will detonate this atomic fission device and turn the entire atmosphere into a fiery conflagration!”
Florxman growled to himself and shut the radio down. “We don’t have time. Let’s do it.”
So, despite having been a werereindeer for awhile, it took going to an alien planet on the other side of the galaxy for me to get lashed to a sleigh with four people sitting in it, bundled up against the cold, and a speedster next to me.
I looked over to Flicker. “You and I should race sometime.”
“Not now though, right?” she asked nervously.
We looked back at the rest of the team. I let her have a moment of doubt. “No, not yet.”
Alien Villainess 2
We took one of the transport ship’s small craft to the planet, Isabella and I. That’s Venus’s name, and one I felt more compelled to refer to her as when we were joined in a symbiotic relationship. The Captain blob wanted to send one or two of his blobs with to fly the craft and keep it ready for our swift departure, which we were going to refuse until Isabella pointed out it looks suspicious that the ship had such an accident with my powers. So we came down in a cramped craft that was stripped of everything but the bare minimum supplies. The crew themselves didn’t take up a lot of space. The blobs can compress themselves really well.
“This craft isn’t designed for combat. Will it be easily detected?” we asked the blobs.
One of them flicked a few switches. “The tech boys reconfigured the basic shields to give off a small profile for early radar. There aren’t a lot of aerial craft to see us. We need to set down outside of the urban center. You can travel quickly?”
“Yes,” we told them. The craft set down in the woods outside of town, though the trees were a little unusual to us. They looked like oversized brown broccoli with green tips. We were barely out of the craft before we took to the sky, letting out a “Woohoo!”
“It’s beautiful,” Isabella said, looking down at the world. “And small.”
“Mhm. Frail,” that thought had a couple of connotations.
If this seems a tad bit confusing, it was for us, too. We were sort of one and the same person. We knew each other’s thoughts and feelings. Our body was one and the same. That was something fun to explore with that avian alien. It was very different from me exploring what it means to possess another person. And the fact that I didn’t just create a copy of her to do whatever I want gave it more meaning to me, even if I could create a duplicate of her that was perfect in every way. Because a perfect copy is still a copy. Which might come across as some grand revelation if it hadn’t already been thought up by some stoner in the parking lot of a 7/11 eating the cheapest burrito on Earth.
In a way, she felt the same. Sharing myself with her like this, she could reach back in time to an earlier me and make me come around quicker. She could make me seek help or stop killing. Give me epiphanies it took years to reach. But it’s not the same. She wanted to know I could change.
I’d never been that open with anyone before. Fears, doubts… and all my wicked temptations. That’s one of the toughest things you can expose to someone. She knew what I want, what I really, really want, and not just to quote Spice Girls. In turn, I knew what she wanted. There’s the usual heroic stuff, like justice and helping people. But also a family. Someone who loves her as a person and not for a mask and costume. A few real friends instead of a bunch of distant teammates and people who put her on a pedestal. Also, to spend a lot of time laying around, eating junk food, and playing video games. It’s a humble goal, but its hers instead of one given to her by the Master Academy. And then here I came, all creepy-flirty and suggestive of her shirking her duties.
We flew into the city, hours left before dawn would break on this planet. The moons brightened up the sky considerably, a string of three pearls in line on the black night sky. I acted as a HUD for her, highlighting the target building, translating street signs and advertisements as we passed by them, and providing the local time. “Quiet or loud?” Isabella thought.
“Go loud or go home. Or go loud to go home, I should say,” I responded. “Hmm.”
The building was lit up and surrounded by a crowd of people, as well as the local peace officers. We stopped and landed on a much taller building nearby, zooming in and enhancing the sound for us. There was one in a fancier outfit than the others, holding some bars that had been bent a good 90 degrees. “It was Dr. Malevolent and his Mighty Robot,” the fancier officer told another who had just arrived. “He broke in and stole the beryllium. We need to find him. I don’t know what he has planned, but it can’t be good for the world.”
I noticed the glint of moonlight off a nearby building and drew Isabella’s attention to it. Someone else was hiding out on rooftops, holding a bulky listening device. He wore a darker outfit to blend in, like a dark vigilante who relies on darkness and deception to stalk criminals. “Another factor, but not important. We just need to find this Dr. Malevolent,” we said to ourselves.
I reached out with my omniscience. “He’s fled to the icy northern reaches of the planet, in a fortress of permafrost, ice crystals, and solitude.”
“I’d like to fly there,” Isabella said.
I smiled using her face. “Sure,” I told her.
I sped it up some, because Dr. Malevolent really was a long ways away, but I gave Isabella a chance to fly. “It’s amazing, isn’t it? Flying under your own power?”
“It’s like…” she started.
“…transcendent,” we finished.
And of course we got shot at by the other person on a rooftop. He swung through the air using a grapple gun, but he’d shot at us with an elongated silver handgun that matched the eyes on his long black mask that resembled a horse’s face to me. It was creepier for the natives of the planet. We smiled. We both wanted to fight this guy. We flew at him. He stopped and fired at a building to the side, zipping away. Didn’t matter. We have power enough to easily destroy a planet. Multiple planets. A galaxy, even.
The costumed vigilante tried a bolo that we tossed aside, then another shot. The bullet did jack squat. The decorative building statue falling on us didn’t do much either. We caught it and tossed it at the vigilante’s line, dropping him. He still had the grapple gun and readied it, firing just in time for us to tackle him onto a rooftop and through the support beam of a small water tank that fell over toward us.
He wheezed, hurt, and sat upright. Holding up a hand, he said, “Wait!” He gasped for air. “I just… wanted…. your… attention.”
“You got it. Happy now?” we said. Along with the thrill of fighting someone who appeared to be a hero, Isabella was already having regrets. It wasn’t much of a fight.
“So… he… could…” the dark crusader started to say. A man landed on the building behind us, cinching his spear against our throat and pinning us against his bronze armor. “do… that…”
We tested the spear. It was tough. Exotic and enchanted elements. We stomped on his foot hard enough to crush it through the roof of the building, then turned and popped him in the belly. He was tough. After the first blow didn’t overcome his enhanced toughness, we made sure the second was better suited for someone with powers. He went flying, leaving us free of the hold. We turned back toward the vigilante, who shot a grapple bolt at our face.
We ducked our head to the side and grabbed it, calling out, “Get over here!” We yanked him toward us but he just let go of the gun. He threw down smoke bombs we could see through, probably to help cover the approach of another of his friends. A woman ran up, wearing yellow and white, leaving a small trail of fire behind her. She moved at superspeed, trying to create isolate us in a whirlwind.
We flew up out of the open top, then smiled. “Bumrush?” Isabella asked in our shared mind. We accelerated down and smashed through the roof, damaging it and throwing off the speedster for a moment. We also had superspeed, and burst through the roof again right behind her. We threw her straight up into the air and flew after her. Behind us, the man with the spear rode a column of water that he then launched himself from to follow us.
“This is fun,” we both thought. “Pointless, but fun.”
We flew around the speedster at super speed, throwing punches before grabbing her by the ankle and tossing her into who we assumed to be her teammate. He caught her, but it left his arms full for when we rushed him and headbutted him down onto the building. That just left the unpowered vigilante… ah, there he was. He thought he could hide in the shadows. He thought the darkness was his ally, but he merely adopted it. We had heat vision and x-ray vision and all kinds of vision. One moment he was looking up at us, the next moment he whirled to find me there poking him on the shoulder.
He looked back up at the sky, then to me. “How?”
I grabbed him up off the roof. “Because I’m Hyperwoman. Who are you and what do you want?”
“I’m darkness. I’m the night. I am Florxman,” he answered. “What connection do you have to Dr. Malevolent?”
“None. I’m just trying to go get the beryllium he stole,” we answered.
“Maybe we can help each other,” he said.
We laughed. “What can you help me with?”
“We’ve fought him. We know what sort of tricks he has. You’re strong, but he’s a brilliant and evil genius. And we could use your strength.” Florxman answered.
“You could use a mint,” we told him.
In our head, she said, “ We could go with them and betray them.”
“Up to you, love,” I told her.
We set Florxman down and turned toward the others approaching. “Fine, we’ll go with you. But we need to hurry. Who are you two?”
“Reservoirman,” the guy with the spear said. He looked to Florxman specifically. “You want her with us after this?”
“You have a better idea?” Florxman asked. He nodded toward the speedster. “Hyperwoman, this is the Flicker.”
The speedster waved to us. We waved back.
That is how we picked a name and met the Justice Alliance. Florxman, Hyperwoman, Reservoirman, the Flicker, and some young sidekicks called the Amazing Twins. “You know what would make the betrayal even better?” Isabella asked privately. The way we were staring at Reservoirman’s ass while walking into the Justice Building in the heart of the city, I had a good idea what she had in mind. It was a nice ass, but that was her attraction seeping through to me.
“Fucking a hero and then betraying them?” I suggested.
We glanced over at The Flicker, lounging ahead of everyone. Isabella pulled a joke out of my head. “A bull and his son look down a hill at a field full of cows. The son says, ‘Dad, let’s run down there and fuck a cow!’ The bull replies, ‘No, son. Let’s walk down there and fuck ’em all.’”
I married this woman.
Sickeningly Sweet 7, Epilogue
“Psycho Gecko killed Captain Lightning,” Lightning’s successor announced to onlookers. The video was all over Youtube. Amazingly, that was all there was to the video. Somehow, the part where he told everyone I am the Unicorn Goddess didn’t record, didn’t upload, and was instantly forgotten by everyone, including the new Captain Lightning.
“Looks like he’s got a lot to learn still,” Sam said, leaning on my shoulder on the couch. Holly had me move my arms so she could slide onto my lap.
“That’s your fault, though,” Holly added.
Sam patted her friend’s head. “She’s right, you know.”
I rolled my eyes. “I know. Just like I know he’s got a good reason to hate me, even though I had a good reason to kill him.”
We were at this martial arts tournament being held at the local high school. The town of Radium had settled on integrating the super and non-super schools together, and one of many events they were trying to build a community spirit was stuff like this. With the rise of the show Cobra Kai, it was pretty popular, and Qiang had some competition out there. We were all trying to avoid this stage mom yelling for her son. They segregated the competition by sex, so Qiang wasn’t going to get a chance to whoop her kid’s ass. Instead, we tried to ignore her.
“You ever find out where the non-binary kids are competing?” Holly asked.
“Ugh. They’re making them play pretend,” I explained. “Don’t even see why they have to segregate this stuff anyway. When someone comes at you in a dark alley, are you going to be able to ask to segregate that fight? No, you kick ’em upside the spleen.”
“Cut their dick off,” Sam said.
“Poke their eyes out with your nails!” Holly added. We made for an intimidating cheering section. Qiang waved, all smiles, while she waited for her next fight. She raised up a box of popcorn. “Anyone want some?”
I reached out with a prehensile tongue to grab a couple pieces off the top.
“Pass one here,” Sam requested. I slipped one to her using the tongue before chowing down on the other piece. Holly giggled and waved at an older guy who’d been staring. The staring didn’t stop when two more women joined our little crowd. Medusa brought the wings, and Venus brought tacos.
“Boopsies,” I acknowledged them.
“Isabella,” Venus said.
“Maia, at least when we’re dressed like regular people,” Medusa said.
Sam laughed. “So you split up your names?”
Medusa smiled at her. “I let her have the first name, because I’m going to be a good big sis.”
Sam shook her head. “How do you get used to that? She’s you!”
I raised a hand. “Ooh!”
“No!” the whole quartet said at once. I hadn’t even made the suggestion.
I turned my nose up. “Fine. It was just an idea of an offer.”
“Don’t you have a big enough harem?” Venus asked.
“I don’t know. Last time I checked, my alleged fiances were having second thoughts,” I noted. Now, omniscience doesn’t mean omniwisdom, and I could tell I’d hit a sore spot. “I’m sorry. We’ll talk about that later. We’re here now and let’s enjoy watching Qiang rearrange some faces.”
“Up next, Kim Hart versus Qiang Lamb,” the announcer announced. We all started cheering. Venus started a wave that Holly continued, dropping popcorn on me. Through odd chance, all of the popcorn fell into my mouth.
I noticed Medusa watching and gave a little, “Ta da! And for my next act of god…”
“Shh, our kid’s beating people up,” Sam said.
“Our daughter,” Holly said. Medusa and Venus repeated it. I shook my head, thinking about how we are most definitely not a normal family. Qiang and Alexander are going to have some interesting lives, but I hope they have it only as interesting as they want.
Meanwhile on the mat, this Kim girl showed a lot of acrobatic skill dodging Qiang, and the confusion Qiang had about it left her open to get a point scored against her. Qiang came back the next go-round and blocked a kick before giving the girl a punch to the chest.
An older woman with a red dye job she hoped looked natural leaned down and tapped me on the shoulder aggressively, “Excuse me. Do you have to do that?”
I turned toward her. “Do what?”
“That!” she waved her hands at my little lesbian cuddle fest, with Sam on one side of me, Holly in my lap, my arm having slipped around Venus, and Medusa holding my hand that ended up on the other side of Venus’s shoulders.
“We’re just here existing,” I said.
“What’s your problem?” Sam asked.
“She doesn’t like lesbians existing,” Holly answered.
“No, you can exist, just don’t do that here,” the woman said.
“Do what?” Medusa asked, giving her a glare.
“You know, touch each other,” the woman said. She had her fingers entwined with her husband’s next to her.
“We can touch in public same as you,” Medusa said, nodding toward the woman’s hand.
“She thinks we’re unnatural though,” I pointed out.
“I didn’t say that,” she said. I snapped my fingers. “You are unnatural! It’s not right that children can see you exist. Little girls are too impressionable and should be thinking about having sex with men!” She held her hand up to her mouth. “I didn’t say that!”
“Sounded like you did, ma’am,” Holly pitched in.
Venus cleared her throat. “Talking about little girls having sex at this sort of event might count as public obscenity or whatever this state has.”
Medusa took the layup. “Maybe I should get my friend the sheriff in here.”
“Hey, you have no right,” the husband chimed in, pointing his finger at us. “We paid good money to come here and think about sex while staring at little girls!”
“Funny how that keeps slipping out,” I said.
Red-faced the couple ended up leaving, muttering to themselves. The wife said something about the doctor giving her the wrong pills.
We finally got to concentrate on my girl’s match. While we’d been chatting with that annoying couple, Qiang and Kim had themselves a longer bout where Kim used her acrobatics skill to dodge, mostly jumping or throwing herself out of the way. Qiang stayed on her and Kim never had time to full regain her feet, so my daughter was able to get her eventually. Qiang wasn’t nearly as winded as Kim was from all that jumping going into the fourth round, and started off feinting a sweep. Kim jumped, but was slower dodging and realizing the feint, so she caught a food to the chest about the time she landed, giving my daughter the win.
We had a little break then before the finals.
“So, we’ve been thinking,” Medusa said. “It’s not legal for you to marry two people in this country.”
I snapped my fingers. “Drat. Guess the wedding’s off, especially because I’m already married to someone else technically.” One of them is even roaming around somewhere. She came from a Bronze Age-level society on a lost continent that came back. We were married for political reasons. As soon as the ceremony was over, I drugged her to keep her in a coma while I stayed with this other woman I was seeing for political reasons. To make it up for her, I eventually brought her out of it with various enhancements, and let her lead the life of an adventurer.
“Delilah Lamb is not legally married to anyone,” Medusa said. “And neither is Psychopomp Gecko, who exists as a legal entity who has been pardoned before. The Unicorn Goddess is in even weirder legal space. You don’t have to pay taxes since you’re the head of your own religion.”
I shrugged. “After everything, y’all still want to marry me? Attaching your name to mine?”
“We’ve done a lot of thinking about it. It was a big consideration, to add to it. That’s why I’m going to sully my bad reputation with it,” Medusa said. “How’d you like my last name? Psychopomp Gecko-”
“And Delilah can take mine or we can hyphenate. Either way, we decided not to do two weddings in one day, so we’re splitting it up and I’m going first,” Venus added.
“She’s become a real brat now that she’s a younger sister,” Sam said.
Holly gave her a playful swat on the shoulder. “Either be nice or marry our girlfriend yourself.”
“By the way,” Venus said, “I appreciate you keeping the omniscience off right now.”
I shrugged. “It’s not as interesting if I spoil the competition.”
Venus just smiled at me. Someone else tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see a Catholic priest. “Excuse me, Delilah Lamb?” He opened a Bible he had with him that had a cheat sheet tucked within it.
I went to turn to Venus, who was right next to me, and ask her what she did, but I noticed Medusa revealed a veil she put on Venus. Sam was pulling on a tuxedo sweatshirt and a clip-on tie. Holly got off my lap and pulled a small bouquet of flowers out of the bottom of the trick popcorn box. She whipped her phone out and started playing the wedding march at a subdued tone.
“Elaborate deception,” I noted as Sam put a veil on my head.
Qiang came running up, stopping to grab a pillow with a couple rings on it from her backpack.
We left the gym with Holly jumping around tossing popcorn at us. Sam stuck a sticker to my back reading “Just Married.” I refused to let Qiang be outdone. She skipped along with her trophy and a sign behind her reading, “Just kicked ass.”
Of course, that’s when alarms sounded. Worldwide news alerts went up as gigantic spaceships blotted out the sky. “People of Earth,” they announced on all channels and frequencies “Fear not. The Trobogorian Directorate promises not to kill anyone.”
“Which ones are these?” Sam asked.
Venus raised my hand and kissed it while Medusa answered. “They’re the pacifists, technically. They prefer weapons that keep people alive in excruciating pain.”
“Yay, kicking aliens to the dark side of the honeymoon,” I said, smiling over at Venus. I don’t know why I couldn’t stop smiling. It shouldn’t have meant so much, but it did. And I knew it’d be fun to go beat up some invading aliens, too. The last time a Trobogorian expedition hit Earth, it didn’t go their way. Now, they’ve got me to deal with, and about a bajillion angry alien machines mobilizing around the outer planets to help protect the people who gave them a home.
Heck, I bet this’ll all be cleared up before Outlaw X gets done entertaining y’all instead. Cut me some slack, I’m on my honeymoon.
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