I’ve finished NaNoWriMo (out side of revisions) so it’s back to the grind along side revisions of the MACRO CORP. But here’s some more superhero hiijinx. As things come to a close Lloyd’s adventures with the Macro Corp. get crazy(ier).
Beat D-8 — A New World Order.
Lloyd had great faith in his agility, more-so when he had proper motivation. He lowered his body and moved to spring clear. At least that was the plan. Instead, Matthew Heiber grabbed him at the shoulder, preventing his retreat.
“Don’t move,” Matt said.
“But—Rockets?” Lloyd said.
A profound argument to be sure, but the shadows around them pooled together and washed over the small group. Miss Teller stood calm and steadfast, lending confidence to Matt’s odd choice of tactics.
The rockets slammed into them, but vanished into the shadow. They receded as fast as they appeared. Some distance away, a spark of light came from the ground and the trio of explosive ordinance launched skyward.
Ms. Walters at the full mercy of her suit took off in the direction of the rockets.
“That will be of little use.” A voice said into Lloyd’s mask.
Matt and Joyce traded a confused look.
“Who’s that?” Lloyd said.
“Pluribus Bombast,” Joyce said, “He’s a jerk.”
“Not a jerk, a Genius. Those aren’t dumb fire missiles. They are a special design, tuned to target your new recruit. Mind you, they have minor range issues.”
Once Ms. Walters got in range of the missiles, the trio turned in midair and screamed towards them once more. Lloyd seeking missiles? Diabolical.
“Well, crap,” Matt said. “I’m out of ideas.”
“I’m not,” Joyce said, resting a hand on Lloyd’s back. “I’m going to give you a little boost. Think you can handle this?”
Lloyd raised a brow. “Handle what?”
“It’s easier to just show you I guess. Bandit, give him a connection, then take care of Gidget.”
“Roger that.” Matt traced a circle on the ground making a pool of shadow in front of Lloyd. “You can’t go through, but this should see if this does any good.”
Ms. Teller forced Lloyd into a crouch, giving him a glimpse of the passing sky and the steel casing of the rocket.
Lloyd gave her a confused look. “You’re not saying—“
“Yes. Touch the rocket,” Joyce said, keeping her hand in place.
Lloyd shrugged a shoulder. What harm could it do, besides premature detonation that blows him to bits? He reached out and touched the cool steel and plunged into a stage of his mind. The theater had a distinct factory theme to it, complete with rolling conveyor belts. On the stage were three rockets with tutus wrapped around them.
O.K. now I’ve seen everything He reached over to the script, tried to heft it and realized it had been made of sheet metal. Flipping over the cover had been an ordeal, but he managed with a bit of good old fashioned effort.
Top to bottom the pages were scrawled with ‘kill Lloyd’.
The rockets sat motionless on the stage. Saying nothing because, well, they were rockets. He detected no ambitions from them and the script certainly didn’t help. He flipped through the pages, all of them the same except for the last one. Boom.
Lloyd leaned forward, pressing his fingers together. “Say. I think you three are denying your true calling. You don’t want to explode and kill an audience. You want to have an audience. You’re show stoppers, sure, but the show should stop at you. Not because of you.”
The rockets said nothing. Rockets.
“Think about it. How glorious would it be to explode high in the sky and bring joy to all those around you instead of terror? Who says you have to be simple torpedos bent on a single task, when you could be fireworks.”
The rockets hopped in place, their ridiculous tutus fluttering about.
“That’s right.” Lloyd stood on his desk, pointing. “You are in control of your brief and meaningful life. Go out with a bang. –and you know preferably not next to me.”
The stage melted away and the real world returned. He yanked back his hand in time to see the portal of shadow close, realizing what had happened.
“So?” Joyce said, pulling her hand back.
“I think we’re good.” Lloyd said, the rockets swung upwards, screaming away into the sky and burst into a dazzling explosion of sparks.
Matt had found his way onto Trixie’s flying surfboard and grabbed her from behind, struggling to wrestle her to the ground with little success. She reached back and threw him off, sending him falling towards the earth.
His shadows caught him and belched him from the ground a few feet to the side. “It’s no good. She’s strong.”
“I threw ya’ off cause ya’ grabbed my boob,” Trixie said.
“Hey. They control unit for the suit is there,” Matt said.
“The control unit is on the belt,” Dave said.
“O.K. So it’s close to it. Accidents happen.”
“I have control of her suit again, but I had to take the weapons offline. We need to get up that tower ASAP. That’s where the signal came from. We’ll keep Gidget away from it till we scout it–”
“I’ll go, and I’ll take the new guy.” Matt said, he gave Lloyd a wink on the sly.
“Oh. Oh, yes. We’ll take the case,” Lloyd said. “I’m very good at scouting and such.”
“All right,” Joyce said, “Gidget, did you see anything while you were up there?”
“Some sorta big computer.”
“So we just shut that thing down?” Matt said. He waved Lloyd to follow up the spiraling steel staircase of the radio tower. Once he knew they were out of earshot, Matt muted his comm. “So what did you do with the missiles?”
“I think I convinced them to explode somewhere else,” Lloyd said. “I didn’t even know I could do that.”
“It’s Medica’s power. She amplifies others potential and more than that. She can apply aspects of other’s powers to people. In your case, she just made it so you can apply your mind control power to machines.”
“It’s not mind control. Nothing diabolical like that,” Lloyd said, “I can touch people’s hearts. Help unlock their aspirations. Help them realize—”
“Alright. I get it.” Matt slowed to a stop. “If that’s the case. All you need to do is convince that computer up there that our dream is the right one.”
“Our dream?” Lloyd brought a hand to his chin. He means a harem. How hard could it be to show a machine the beauty of it? I mean. The internet is a thing after all.
“So you get it right? This is the chance we’ve been waiting for.”
“Not on our watch.” JP’s voice came over the comm.
“What?” Matt stumbled as Jay pushed past him, running up the stairs.
“You’re being short sighted as always. Why would you use this thing for something stupid like that? Because you’re you.”
JP knows about our plan? Wait, of course he knows. “I can’t let you use that device for evil.”
“Evil? Ha. I’m just applying a miniscule tax. Five cents.”
“Five cents?” Lloyd broke into a run after Matt, the two of them in hot pursuit of Jay.
“I’m simply going to send out a signal that will inspire people to donate five cents to my cause.”
“That seems awful small for you,” Lloyd said, “and harmless.”
“Do you know how many people there are in the world Lloyd? Over Seven Billion. A large percentage of them have access to the internet, and if only a fourth of them give a nickel; that gives me a lot of nickels.”
“But why would they?” A picture of a kitten appeared in the HUD of Lloyd’s mask. It contained raw unfiltered adorable to a tooth rotting extent.
“The beauty of it is. Many will give more on their own free will. The nickel plan is just a safe baseline. By my estimation, some will donate dollars, twenty or more in some case. By this time tomorrow, I will be the richest middle school kid in the world.”
“That’s— really smart,” Lloyd said, “and only slightly unethical.”
“And your plan is any better?”
Matt yanked on the front of Lloyd’s costume. “Can you can the purple prose and hurry up? If Indifferent Boy gets up there first everything’ll be ruined.”
“Can’t you just shadow-step up there?” Lloyd said.
“Too much light. Someone planned ahead.”
JP chuckled. A video feed of him appeared in the HUD, wearing a black mask and together his fingertips. “Of course I did. Hacking into the light systems? Childs play for Whisper.”
“Sorry, Whisper.” Lloyd said, screeching to a halt. He swung off the side of the stair case a scurried along the side of the tower. “But you underestimate my dedication to my dream. Bandit. Give me handholds where there are none.”
“You read my mind.” Matt stopped in place plunging a hand into a formed pool of shadow on the wall. His hand emerged above Lloyd in globs of shadows to form an unparalleled short cut. He overtook him easily and closed in on the top.
“What are you two doing?” Joyce said over the comm. “This isn’t a race.”
“You’re wrong about that,” Pluribus said over the line. “You’re already too— wait. No! What are you— agh.”
“What’s going on up there?” Joyce said.
“I’m not at the top yet. But it won’t be long.” Lloyd said, making the final grab. He pulled up and a familiar odor filled his nose. Steak?
Patton, or rather the Beefy Butcher, stood triumphant atop a sprawled out old man with a nasty under bite. A smaller device sat smoking at the edge of the landing. The larger machine looked intact.
“Fa— er— Mr. Butcher? What are you— how did you—“
“Meat-a-pult,” Patton said giving a thumb up. “He had a big invisible shield thing around him. Cooked my meat well done when I went through, old guy was going on about killin’ ya so I beat the tar out of ‘im. I mean, well done? That’s a crime.”
Lloyd pushed past Patton and rested his hand on the machine. Nothing happened. The power Mr. Teller granted him didn’t work away from her, and worse he had a sudden hankering for a steak.
“That machine thing had some gibberish on it, like ‘subjugate’ so I changed it to something better.” Patton shrugged.
“What did you—” Lloyd approached the machine and in all caps it said GOTTA EAT YER MEAT. He peeled off a pork chop from Patton’s costume, unable to control his body and took a bite. The flavors exploded in his mouth, like it had been his sole purpose in life.