Cassie: Part 7

“We had to change,” Sam said. “You don’t want to risk exposing who you really are. And then I set up a ward that stopped people from noticing that we were here. That’s why no one else came down the alley.”

“It’s really cool,” Rod said. “Think of it as a Someone Else’s Problem field from Hitchhiker’s Guide.”

So right, another guy who would assume that I’d read that book—because Nick and Marcus weren’t enough.

“Sure,” I said. “Haven’t read it, but I get it. Give me a second, I want to be in costume when the Feds get here, and do either of you have handcuffs? Mine are at home.”

“I’ve taken care of it.” Sam pointed to the two men I’d taken out. Both had brown cords curled around their arms and legs. The cords seemed thin to me, but they were probably magic, and I hadn’t brought my own, so why argue?

I pulled off my shirt and shorts and put them in my backpack. I set the backpack to change color to the same blue as my uniform, and it changed shape, becoming smaller. I also hung my staff on the side of the suit.

The small costume didn’t have any arms or legs, but it did have a mask. The flag against a dark, blue background gave it the basic Captain Commando look. It didn’t cover much more than a one piece bathing suit, but it covered a lot more than the costumes of some of the women in the comics Marcus reads.

The bottom half of some of them is basically a thong. I’ve never understood how they expect to “strike fear in the hearts of evildoers” with their asses hanging out—never mind fighting in high heels.

The only real supers who dress like that are trying to use their powers to break into acting or modeling.

When I was done, Rod looked me over. “Who did you say you were?”

“I didn’t, but I’m Captain Commando.”

“Oh. Oh,” he said. “No kidding.”

Sam only raised an eyebrow, and said, “Where’s your sword?”

“I’m on vacation. I didn’t bring it.”

“Well,” Rod said, “if the Feds are coming, I guess I’d better turn troll again.”

The Feds came twenty minutes later—two ambulances, and three cars worth of agents.

Isaac Lim gave them their orders, “Check to see if anyone’s still watching. Check for cameras. We need to make sure no one can identify Captain Commando here. We also need to find out who those guys are.” He nodded toward the men on the ground.

A couple of the agents wore helmets—government telepathy helmets. I remembered seeing them when we captured Mayor Bouman last year. Daniel told me they were nowhere near as good as a real telepath.

Agent Lim waved the three of us over. We gathered around him with Rod (in troll form) towering over everybody.

“Nice to meet you in person, Captain Commando. Red Hex, and Troll, nice to see you again. They’re in their second year in the Stapledon program. You’ll probably see each other next year. How did you all happen to be here?”

“Mom’s here, and I wanted to get out for the night,” I said.

“Does she know?”

“No.”

Lim laughed.

Sam (Red Hex) said, “We’d heard of a couple people disappearing at clubs, so we investigated.”

“And you happened to show up here?”

“I did a little spell to find the best spot to look before we left.”

Oh great, it sounded like she’d done the magic equivalent of Daniel’s “find the biggest threat” trick.

Lim said, “That’s a spell to find the least safe spot in D.C.?”

Rod laughed, and glob of spit as big as my fist dropped from his mouth, splashing on the concrete.

Gross. Just… yuck.

We didn’t even have time to respond before the sound of wind came from above, and a guy appeared floating in air next to us.

If I had to use one word to the describe him, I’d have to choose hot. Muscular, and dark haired, he looked like he’d stepped out of the cover of a Harlequin romance novel. Their superhero series–SuperHearts? I’m embarrassed to admit I know that.

Like mine, his costume had a red, white, and blue patriotic theme going.

Landing, he said, “Now what’s the problem here?”

22 thoughts on “Cassie: Part 7”

  1. “No problem, Captain Hunky-pants. You missed, well, everything. Go back to your GQ photo-shoot and leave this to the heroes who get shit done.”

    Oh, wait. Sorry, Jim. Didn’t mean to write your dialog for you.

  2. i think that the somebody else’s problem field is the only one of Adams’s inventions that we can actually assume exists. It only makes sense why people ignore important issues like wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

  3. captain mystic: It’d be nice to blame a device. There are a lot of problems that get ignored.

    Psychlone Ranger: You may be going the right direction there.

  4. It’s interesting that Cassie is missing the point about her knowing Hitchhiker’s. The people who have read it don’t assume that she, in particular, has read the book. The book is so awesome, and ubiquitous among their usual social circles, that they assume that EVERYONE has read it. I do the same thing, and as I grow older I find more and more that I interact with people for whom the book has never even crossed the periphery of their awareness, let alone actually had the possibility of being read.

    Then again, it doesn’t surprise me that a gorgeous and talented teenaged girl would be so self-centered as to think that. If fact, it would surprise me more if she managed to think otherwise without external prompting.

    Hg

  5. Cassie’s right about how hard it is to strike fear into people’s hearts while wearing a thong. That’s why Batman goes commando.

    Superman, no surprise, is a briefs guy.

  6. Psychonamous Gex!: The Rise of Psycho Gecko, Part 1, or “How to steal limelight from this other website that you probably shouldn’t post this on oh well hit the button”

    One night, three men walk into a bar. One tall, one fat, and one about on par. They were blue collar types who had come far, and now they were in a no collar bar.

    The other patrons could best be described as the type of people who wear short shorts, camo, and/or basketball jerseys to a wedding reception. Simple folk. The common clay of the earth. You know, morons.

    The three take a seat at a table as far away from both the usual crowd and the foul-smelling, chunky fluid in the back corner of the bar.

    “I can’t believe we’re in a dump like this,” said Frank, the most average looking of them, save for his mustache, the likes of which once caused a wild-haired scientist driving a customized, gull-wing Pinto and his passenger, a Brit with a scarf, to believe they had perfected time travel and were now in the 70s.

    He hadn’t addressed either of his comrades, but they were all huddled on one side of the table with the taller man in the middle. Used to taking charge, he responds, “This is where he said for us to meet him. You’e the one that said this guy was the best with these kinds of things. How great he was with those jobs in the UK.”

    “Give him a call or something, Bill. I think I heard someone call out ‘Freebird’ whatever that means.”

    Bill raises an eyebrow and looks over at the rotund third wheel of the group, hoping for further input. The third man, Harlon, merely looks at the small snack menu that was already present on the table and asks a question for the ages, “Fried…pickles?”

    Bill sighs and takes out his mobile. Loaded as it is with blue tooth wifi internet connection, texting keyboard, touchscreen, game apps, stylus, GPS navigator, and music player, its ability to make phonecalls is sketchy at best. Just as the P.I.’s number starts to dial, a man in a tan duster and khaki pants walks over, ringing. He sets down a bottle of vodka and three glasses. “Hey there, fellows, just who I’ve been waiting for.”

    “You’re-?”

    “That’s right, I’m you’re guy. Sorry for the surroundings, but I felt it was best if there was no way you guys’ were spied on at the places you normally drink at. You know, with all those people who know what you look like.”

    Bill holds out his hand, “I’m Bill, this is Frank, and Harlon. Nice to make your acquaintance at long last. We heard great things about you. Obviously, that’s why we hired you. All the privacy, and then meeting like this, caught us quite off guard, you must understand.”

    The man sits, ignoring the offered handshake. “That’s the point though. Helps me do my job better. If everyone knew who I was and what I looked like, that just defeats the purpose.”

    “Quite alright, we understand, don’t we?”

    Frank and Harlon nod, Harlon now contemplating the menu’s nachos and salsa.

    The man pours drinks for his companions, then reaches into his coat, removing a pair of spectacles and a folder. “Go ahead, have a drink on me. I reckon you chaps will want a report now?”

    Bill grins, “Yes, if you have dug up any interesting dirt on this man, we could get the network to spin off a whole new series. Imagine, a show dedicated to the dirty little secrets of supervillains.”

    “I see someone’s excited. Alright then, Psycho Gecko. Name unknown, age unknown,” he keeps talking as Frank attempts to voice his outrage,” Place of birth is an alternate dimension. No classification of the dimension as of yet. Notable variations include a mutant species of humanity known as Homo Machina,” here Harlon snickers,” that have the ability to physically integrate with technology. You stick your phone in one’s hand and after awhile the nerves join up with it. This makes them incredible with technology, a handy skill as that Earth’s technology level is approximately 3 generations higher than this one. Gecko is one such individual.”

    “Family is unknown. As a child, he was put into a government project. Homo Machina were feared by the government and distrusted by the populace, so they and other undesireables were considered the perfect fodder for the Psychopomp program. Psychopomp, as we all know, refers to a type of mythological being that ushers the souls of the dead to the afterlife in some manner. In this instance, it was an attempt by this one government to continue warfare in a changing world. Warfare was too dangerous to engage in openly and civilians knew it. All warfare was becoming covert, like what the CIA and KGB were engaged in. Undeclared war amongst the shadows because of the threat of complete annihilation.”

    The man pauses for a sip directly from the bottle. Frank takes a moment to chime in, “There’s an idea. Juicy details about other United States’ politics and scandals!”

    “Yeah, yeah, sure. Anyway, they subjected these kids to a lot. There’s a reason this was all kept extremely quiet. Fighting dogs, killing and dissecting pigs bare-handed, rape, cutting up the tendons of living kittens and then splashing them with saltwater. They were exposed to all that and more.”

    The three executives are stunned until Harlon speaks up, “Why would they do that in front of a little kid?”

    “Good question. For one thing, they were all kids in the program at first. For another, that’s what they forced the kids to do, not what they did in front of them, though I suppose watching each person having to do it or be executed also counts. I guess I should explain. They didn’t care about long term assets. They were prepared to lose all the kids they did this to, with the added benefit at the end of getting someone too used to following horrific orders for them that they’d be able to cause all kinds of homicidal carnage when blended into an enemy civilian population. Government-trained, batshit-crazy serial killers. No matter what happens, someone dies that they don’t like. That’s where the name Gecko comes from. To dehumanize these kids, they didn’t give them real names. Just referred to them as different animals.”

    “The two to make it to the end were designated Gecko and Lamb. Lamb was an especially empathetic boy. Crying all the time, reluctant to kill, but very good at knowing just where to hurt someone. Gecko, on the other hand, was a stone-cold sadistic murderer. He enjoyed it. Surprised them all when Lamb finally snapped at their graduation and killed him.”

    Bill begins to cough in mid-sip. Harlon gives him a lazy pat on the back as the story continues.

    “Lamb changed after that. Had been just as sadistic as Gecko when he did that. The official file reads that he felt like such a coward for doing horrible things to protect his own life that he gave up and killed someone he thought deserved it, and in the process because too much like that person for his psyche to handle. Your usual psych eval BS, but he insisted on taking the name Gecko, so he was redesignated as Psychopomp Gecko. It was such a proud graduation day for the program. ”

    THUD! THUD!…….THWACK!

    The man stands up, shaking his head at the sight of two men with their heads on the table and the third having fallen out of his seat. “See, you guys have to lay off the booze and get out more. So nervous you drank too fast and didn’t get to hear the whole story. That private eye was so much calmer compared to you three.”

    Psycho Gecko shakes his head as he raises the bottle and drains what is left. “Since I’m talking, might as well share with you that the secret was the thin coating of powder on the interior of the glasses. Mix this stuff with it, take a drink, and in moderate amounts it merely paralyzes.”

    Gecko leans down, checking their vitals. “Yep, got you two little ones…the big one over here…you’re still alive.” He reaches down and raises Harlon’s arm so that he could lift the fat executive up, appearing to just be carrying his drunk acquaintance out of the bar. “Let’s go see that boss of yours, the one who set y’all on this project. Maybe he’d like to hear a story.”

    As the bar door closes behind them, Gecko can be heard saying something innocent enough…”You remind me of a pet I used to have. Now, was it one of the dogs, a pig, or that darn cat..”

  7. Jim, I’m so embarrassed now, such a short time later, for pretty much spamming your story with something I just threw together. I completely understand if you delete that.

  8. No, dont Jim……that had me splitting my sides…….

    Anyway, besides the main story (which is great), it’s the semi-random nature of the comments that makes this place great to visit, even when there are no updates (ie, today)…….

  9. Hg: You know, it’s funny the things that are in there that I didn’t deliberately put there. That seemed to me like the way Cassie would see things, but I didn’t think (in so many words) what that said about her perspective.

    Mycroft/PG: No worries. If I’d set up forums for this site, I’d be saying that that would be the place for things like this, but… there aren’t forums. There’s no neutral space. So, it’s totally okay. Also funny, so there’s that too.

    brandwag: You know, I have written poetry, but not poetry that’s deliberately designed to be horrifically bad. It may be bad accidentally, but that’s another thing.

  10. Gecko, now the obvious next step is to make your own site and force the loyal readers of L.O.n. into submission to follow your and Jim’s stories

  11. Jim, i’m really sorry but based on the nature of your last post this comment was begging to be asked.
    How did they treat aptain *Commando in the Legion pornographic feature film?

  12. Honestly, I’ve no idea. I imagined just enough of what would be in the film to know what Nick would find horrifying.

    I did not script it out.

    I’ll probably only add more details about the content of that film if I can work it into a joke somehow.

    1. Too much of the bar was realistic. I don’t know what the deal is with fried pickles, but they’re all over the place as appetizers here. And I once attended a family member’s wedding reception where people dressed like that. Fried chicken to eat, lots of beer around.While trying to set up the toast, the groom set down the champagne to sip his beer. No joke, the DJ/guitarist played Dueling Banjoes.

  13. “They’re in the their second year in the Stapledon program.”

    Really enjoying this arc Jim, though I’m hoping to see more of what Cassie can do, through her own eyes.

    PG – just start a blog already! :o)

    Though I prefer the book to the recent movie version of Hitchhiker’s, I loved the return to normal after using the improbability drive.

  14. The movie version was good too, in its own way.

    “Ford” “Yes?” “I think I’m a sofa.” “I know how you feel.” *both* “AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!”

    Looks like Jim integrated my Congress-Man idea. Congress-Man, the superhero who always shows up too late to actually solve the problem. His symbol is probably an eagle with a red right wing and a blue left wing. Problems like his, no wonder the eagle’s losing its hair.

    Also, nice to see Troll here. A good, classic superhero. If there’s ever a legacy, you know, a Troll II, I wouldn’t want to stick around and see how he does. Probably be one of the worst heroes ever.

    There’s a joke hidden in there somewhere. It’s not a gutbuster even if you know the prerequesite things, but it’ll be special.

    You know there’s got to be a hero or villain actually named The Harlequin who either hates the choice of name now, or is laughing his/her way to the bank thanks to royalties from that kind of novel. Now it makes me wonder if there’s special super-powered prostitutes or super-porn stars. Probably not very many, seeing as powers are relatively rare, but since the numbers are increasing, like the large class in Stapledon, I see a new market opening up. Quick, someone find me The Purple Pimp, America’s pimpingest hero! He is descended from a long line of pimps, including Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. Trust me, Franklin had game. That’s why he preferred to be called the Founding Daddy when women addressed him.

  15. your comment sir was disrespectful to the american nation, (and as a canadian i fully support it) but dude seriously what about the pimpinator?

  16. WA_Side: Thanks for noticing. That’s fixed now. As for the current arc, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I hope everyone’s enjoying it. Alas, it’s going a little longer than I originally intended (which isn’t bad, but is a surprise).

    PG: Any resemblance to Congressman is purely coincidental. For real. It is funny though.

    Captain Mystic: Sometimes I think being “disrespectful to the american nation” is more our national pastime than baseball, but it’s okay. The nation can take it.

  17. I assure you, I am not being disrespectful to the American nation when I suggest that Ben Franklin enjoyed lots of sex. I enter into evidence his 1745 letter “Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress” which was also cited in Supreme Court cases dealing with obscenity laws.

    Franklin advised a young man that if he wants sex, he should marry, as marriage makes one complete being, but if he still persists in wanting a mistress, Franklin advises to prefer old women to young ones, for 8 reasons he gives. I will bring up a few.

    “3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.”

    See, Franklin didn’t want to deal with too many kids from his affairs.

    5. Basically states that since women seem to age moving down there body, as in their face goes first, then the breasts, and so on, “So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.”

    Yes, Franklin just basically said that you should cover her face when you have sex and you won’t be able to know the difference because “in the dark all Cats are grey”.

    “8[thly and Lastly] They are so grateful!!”

    The Gecko hath spoken!

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