Just to combine and include the stories within the Path to Power. They are relevant in the continuing saga of Dr Vermicious. More soon.
Dr Vermicious woke in his customary seated position. It didn’t matter. Every time he fell “asleep” his body dissolved into a pile of wriggling little creatures. As their energy returned over time they joined together again within the aura that was his skin. If he could have he would have vomited at the scene as it played back for him on the video camera he had removed from the studio of a local pornographer. After all, he would have no further use for it. A quick strike a little smoothing and the good people of SHC had another photographer specialising in weddings and children’s portraits. He seems to have a really nice way with skintones.
Now that he was fully awake he became aware of noise and discord from the surrounding area. He walked out of his rooftop shack and looked over the parapet of the abandoned whorehouse. Funny how the pimps and johns had stopped hanging around the place. Dr Vermicious had indeed been a busy bunch of worms. In the street were a lot of guys who looked exactly the same. Same old school mask, spandex and shield. They seemed to be heading toward the nicer area of town where the old school superheroes live. His curiosity piqued he dropped into the street and walked up to the nearest.
“Excuse me,” he sent “What’s going on?” The reply he received surprised him and drove him to his knees (in a way, actually his lower legs collapsed into the familiar wormy mess).
“Skreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeee.” A modulated electronic squeal hit him like a physical blow. He lashed out with the full force of his being, knocking the thing back and giving himself time to re-arrange his legs. Another four blows saw the thing lying dismembered at his feet. A sepulchral voice intoned the result “You challenged and defeated Chad Rockwell, winning $74,601 and earning no experience.” To be honest he had the feeling that his humanity was returning and the first of his emotions to recover was…… mild annoyance.
Looking down, dispassionately at the destruction he had wrought Dr Vermicious spotted something lying in the gloop that had once been a living thing. Picking the sliver of silicon and precious metals out of the mess he inspected it with all his sense. Hm. A bio-mech construct. Too advanced for this world and vaguely familiar. He turned at the sound of air being displaced and narrowly avoided a vicious slash from the shield carrying golem. It took six excessive blows to render the construct. Funnily enough despite the effort expended no ill effects were apparent. None whatsoever. Well, this would need further thought, thought that was disturbed by that damned annoying voice “You challenged and defeated Chad Rockwell, winning $59,681 and earning no experience.”
He turned and wandered back up the wall to his hovel. More thought indeed.
I awoke with a start. Yes. I. Control is all, control of self is first. Where had I heard that? Never mind. My thinking on the Chad problem was over, along with the various scenarios played out during my little worms down time. Now, time to sort this out. I walked out and hopped over the parapet, delighting in the feel of my feet squashing and reforming. I could have just floated down but where is the fun in that. Fun? What am I thinking? How come I’m feeling again?
“We decided it was better you recovered your humanity, better to understand them, better to deal with them.” Voices in my head. The last thing I need.
“No,” came the reply, “Exactly what you need. How else can we communicate with you? We have a lot of time and energy invested in you, not mention millions of our children. How are they by the way? Lost any? Need a top up?”
“Who are you? What are you? What am I? Why did you do this? Why am I here?” All of the above streaked through my thoughts and brought back a feeling of amusement, not mine but that of the ….What? “What can I call you?” Again the feeling of amusement. “Mommy would do. Or Daddy. Whatever you feel like. It will be neither appropriate nor inappropriate. It doesn’t matter.”
“OK. I shall call you Bob. Is that OK?”
“That’ll be fine. Now get on with it.”
“Bob?” No answer. Ah well. Let’s see to Chad.
I walked towards the point my sense told me was the spot where Chad was to be found. Walking? No. My mind stretched a bit and I found myself in a large room, luxurious, walls panelled in dark oak and lined with library shelves weighed down with objects, books, scrolls: the usual paraphernalia of a low level magician. Chad turned and smiled. He walked away from the view which I realised wasn’t a window but some sort of large scrying glass. Unusually it was attached to a very modern looking control panel, rather reminiscent of a studio mixing panel (More memory! I’ll have to check this out later). He walked toward me and stuck out his hand.
“Dr Vermicious I presume. Or do I call you Snip?” I ignored the hand and he clasped it with his other and rocked back on his heels. “Etiquette not within your memory yet? Never mind. You don’t really matter.” I closed the space swiftly and grabbed him by the throat. Squeezing hard. Enjoying it. He gurgled his amusement and twisted away into another plane. Where I still had hold of his throat. The amusement turned to horror as he realised what had happened. As long as I maintained contact I could go wherever he did. My other hand came round in a stunning blow.
“You challenged and defeated Chad Rockwell, winning $37,720 and earning 100 experience.”
“Shut up, Bob”
Then smooth. A practised motion. Mischief gone from his mind, no evil, strange. Chad shook his head and smiled.
“You really thought me evil? Not really, just bored. Desperate for some sort of challenge. You might just be it.” He knocked my hand away before I could recover from the confusion. As he disappeared I caught his last whispered thought. “Say hello to Bob, won’t you?”
Gone for now but he’ll be back. But who or what is LOKI? More puzzles dragged from a strange and twisted mind. Ah well there’s always next time.