|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Cover|
The Ultimate Solution
“So what’s the plan, then?” says Sean Hymarc in a haggard voice between the breaths he’s still catching. Rose, and especially Torpol, released all their tension all over the Gray Fox, that much is for sure; Sean on the other hand, somehow, is still feeling a bit uptight.
“Vhat plan is zis, sihr?”
“Really Doctor, with the fucking accent again?”
“Oh right, sorry. Which plan are you talking about though?” as he chucks an iced bottle of unflavored seltzer water across the room.
Hymarc catches the bottle in his still gaping, unhinged in a snake kind of way mouth, pinning it between his tongue and bottom row of teeth whilst taking advantage of this super-human evolutionary trait he’s attained while his body is still capable of it.
Then, since he still has room in his mouthto release words even with the bottle in there, “Well, I’m not sure.”
Hymarc opens the bottle using only his teeth and his tongue and takes a glug. Then, “Three of my mercenaries are being operated on as we speak,” swallow “one is still wallowing in the mud, one is cleaning my saliva off her uniform in the bathroom and,” sip “the accountant droid is writing off the missing one as we speak. Your program is in a state of shambles that we’ve never before seen, and yet you seem as calm as a qualmless lip balm salesman.” swallow “Pardon my rhyming.”
Keeping the bottle pinned, Hymarc swirls the liquid ‘round and ‘round, watching the small bubbly whirlpool that results. Then he spins the bottle in the opposite direction to cancel out the cyclone, enjoying what little control he has over his life. I mean, the liquid.
Then, “I have to assume this is all part of a bigger plan of yours.”
Surprised at Hymarc’s sudden intuitiveness, Doc Torpol admits, “Yes, actually, it is. I don’t know how he accessed it, but the Gizmo bot must have tapped into the deepest, darkest recesses I built into his cybernetic mind and found the backup files containing my instructional blueprints for what I codenamed The Final Solution, and, well, he acted upon it. Although, I’m still not sure how he broke through all the encryptions, it took me literally years to write all that code…”
Torpol trails off, lost in thought over the possibilities. This leads Hymarc to ask a very obvious question: “The… Final Solution? You don’t… do you mean, like, Hitler?”
“Vhat?!” The Good Doctor shouts, perhaps a bit too loud. “Er, what? N-no, no of course not, never! That would be… so eh, so how are you feeling, can you walk yet Sir President Hymarc, Sir?”
It’s a good thing Hymarc’s never asked what G1-Zm0 stands for, because that G definitely doesn’t stand for Gary. Yikes!
“No, not yet, but I feel the feeling returning to my legs as we speak,” Hymarc says from the floor, where he still stands on his hands and knees. Kind of like a little doggy… hey, he caught the bottle with his mouth, too! What a good boy!
Torpol cracks the groveling Hymarc across the face with The Line, extending his solely on paper superior’s status of post-human evolutionary by at least a few more minutes. ‘Not yet, eh? That’ll teach you to show weakness in my presence. Get up you dirty mutt, stop being a little bitch. It didn’t hurt zhat bad,’ Torpol thinks to himself, saying, “Sorry boss, still had some tension built up. You understand.”
Hymarc, his jaw now hanging a solid inch and a half lower than it should be, makes some guttural noises that Torpol takes as a sign of affirmation.
Rose walks out of the bathroom, the harness between her finger and her thumb and the majority of her lower torso and upper thighs still wet with spittle. The odor of Hymarc’s saliva is so potent that she felt the need to not only shove cotton balls into her nose, but to also thoroughly scrub down the sex toy that, for god knows what reason, remained slimy after it was cleaned.
Rose looks at Torpol and then at President Hymarc, then back up at Torpol who she swears had a hand in his whip pocket a second ago. Then, with air quotes around therapy, “So uh… that was the therapy that Jennae always said she needed? Before uh… before…”
“Before she was gunned down by a malfunction in my otherwise perfect creation?” Torpol suggests before Hymarc can reattach his bottom jaw back into usable form. “Yes, she was quite a fan of these sessions. I gave you a beginner tension-release instrument, but Miss Jennae actually has quite a few of her own in the closet. Did you see the one that kind of looks like it might belong to a dragon?”
“Uh, I–… I, um. I–”
“There, there, miss Rose, please do not stutter. It drives me just crazy,” Edvard says, his voice taking on a rabid intensity upon uttering the word crazy. “You can put the instrument away now, the therapy session is over. I’m pretty sure yours goes right next to the draconic piece.”
Hymarc makes some more guttural noises at this remark, these noises more neurotic than the previous guttural noises, his way of attempting to enunciate the words No, I brought that one from home, that’s my toy! Give it back!
Rose turns around slowly, getting an uneasy feeling in her gut about needing to walk back into that closet. Or maybe it’s some form of intuition, maybe she can sense that someth–
BANG BANG BANG
BANG click click click
A pause, then, click.
Torpol twists his FN model 1922 sideways, ejecting the clip and peering into the empty space within the magazine. “Huh, must have forgotten to reload it. Oh well, the job is done.”
He twirls the pistol on his finger and blows the smoke from the barrel. Then, and only then, Ed holsters the pistol and takes out his communicator, tapping a series of seemingly random spots on the screen until two henchmen, er, nurses burst into the room and grab Rose’s lifeless, leaking, sopping wet body and carry her out. A third hench–… the secretary comes in with a mop and begins to clean up the blood stain. If future patients were to see such a grotesque smear on the carpeted hardwood-tile floor, they would be made to feel very uncomfortable, the same kind of uncomfortable that you feel trying to imagine what a carpeted hardwood-tile floor is.
Well guess what? It isn’t; the specific type of flooring in Doctor Edvard Torpol’s psychiatry office doesn’t matter. I know what kind of flooring he has, it doesn’t matter to the overall story though. Just picture it as whatever flooring your therapist has in his and/or her office… oh, you don’t see a therapist? Well that’s probably why you’re so annoyed about the whole flooring thing. We’ve been over this before, transitionary scene. If you’re still bugged, well, Torpol is always accepting new patients!
Wait, you don’t care about what kind of floor in his office? I’m just rambling and making this painfully self-aware because I’m still a little bugged about the ending of the PsychoTherapy chapter and this is how I deal with being made uncomfortable by my own work? Oh…
Upon hearing the gunshots, Hymarc dropped down to his belly with such a force that his jaw lodged itself back into place. When the dust settles and he realizes he’s capable of speaking again, he shouts, “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT, ED?”
“WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?! SHE WAS THE LAST ONE BESIDES FUCKING KINGPIG!”
“DO YOU KNOW HOW OFTEN A SITUATION COMES UP WHERE WE NEED AN OPERATIVE TO TALK TO FUCKING ANIMALS?! THE PRISONER SPEAKS OUR LANGUAGE AND THE AQUARIUM IS ALREADY STOCKED WITH FISH. THE PIG IS FUCKING USELESS!”
“As useless as he is lifeless – when you sent KingPig to wallow in the mud, I had a robot install a device that would launch a collar around his neck and then pull his face under, drowning him in the happiest place he could imagine. He’s been rotting there ever since.”
“Why did you say one…?”
“BECAUSE THAT’S PRECISELY HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THE FUCK YOU’RE KILLING OFF MY MERCs!”
Torpol ponders this, then, “Okay, but one what? Minute? Hour? I know you don’t mean one second, because zhat vould be phizicly impohssible. Unless, of course, I vas a cyborg, buht…” as he slips back into his German accent.
“Torpol, if you don’t quit it with that fake fucking accent I will slaughter you where you stand. The old man on the mountain in my trip the other night said I was a god, not you!”
Hymarc is beginning to spew more saliva than he spewed all over Rose’s groin when she was still alive.
“He didn’t even mention you, it’s like you don’t even exist, you twisted fuck! Now you tell me why you just shot my second favorite MERC in the back of the fucking head or so help me… wait, was that a fucking efF-ehN nineteen twenty-two? Wasn’t that issued to officials of the Third Reich?! ED!? WHAT THE FUCK, ED?!”
“President Hymarc, Sir,” Torpol says, bringing his voice down to an especially soothing octave. “Yes, that was a efF-ehN ‘twenty-two, it was sold to the public until nineteen forty-two. My father got it as a present before he had me and he passed it on to me before he passed on to the other side.”
That may be how Edvard Torpol, or, before he moved up here from Argentina with his family and had his name changed, Edvard Thierack got the pistol, but it was not how his father Otto got it.
“As for Miss Rose and Mister Pig, well, it was inevitable. While Gizmo’s execution of Miss Jennae and Miss Violet was quite the shock, it could not have happened at a better time. This is all part of The Fi–, er, The Ultimate Solution.” A tactful pause, a stroke of his facial scar, then, “You seem to be growing into hysterics sir, may I suggest another therapy session?”
“NO! No, I… no, I’m fine. Just… can you help me up? I’m still sore, but I think I can stand.”
The Good Doctor offers a helping hand to an equally frightened, enraged, aroused, bewildered, and ecstatic Sean Hymarc, who takes it, trying to keep an open mind. “All right Doctor, I’m listening. What is this ultimate solution?”
“You want to take possession over the tallest skyscraper in all of New Manhattan, don’t you?”
As Hymarc considers these words, two out of his five previous emotions are taken over by curiosity. “Yes, I do…”
“Well, I’m happy to announce that your dreams may soon come to fruition.” A few indiscriminate taps on his glass rectangle and a gesture to the computer screen that was previously recording the therapy session, then, “The surgeries are complete. Please, take a look at your recovered test subjects.”
Hymarc looks and there they are – the newly upgraded R4y, J3nn43 and Ultr4-V1, all up and standing, appearing to be totally normal. R4y’s missing all the gigantic dagger cavities all over his body and the girls are no longer riddled with bullet holes; it’s as if the accidents never happened. ‘Impossible.’ Even G1-Zm0, upon the completion of his upgrade, still retained a gnarly facial scar from his accident. But the first three… they’re complete. They could easily pass as humans on the street; throw a business suit or a tuxedo on them and they could be more inconspicuous than Hymarc himself in a corporate setting. Torpol taps his screen again and they all start doing jumping jacks in unison.
“They’re… perfect, Doctor. How did you…?”
Torpol giggles like a schoolgirl. “This, sir, is the second phase of the MERCs program. I call it: MERCS. Mercenaries Enhanced with Robotic Cybernetic Systems.”
“But Doctor… we already called them MERCs…!”
“Yes, but this time it’s with a big eSs, so it’s different.”
“Hm… very well. So, this is your ultimate solution to Apex’s problem of not possessing its entitled ownership over all of New Manhattan, is it? Inventing the perfect reanimation surgery that not only brings the dead back to life, but also enhances their bodies, reflexes, mental, and combative abilities? Or are we taking the Apex Corporation in a more lucrative direction, selling this technology to the highest bidders and using all that foreign money to snatch up as many smaller satellite corporations as we can? Then we could use that snatched corporation money to repeat the process until we own the entire city, taking it over from the ground up so we can’t possibly be stopped. It’s… you’re brilliant, Doctor. This is the closest thing to a grassroots movement possible in this city where plants don’t grow. Or… no, you couldn’t be…”
Torpol holds his smug little grin, the baby-smooth, hairless skin of his face not wrinkling around his smile even a little bit.
“…my god, you are! You’re planning to do both, that’ll… Apex will take over the world. It wouldn’t even be a slow start, we could use the MERCS technology to overthrow entire governments from within, without them even knowing! And who says the MERCS tech is complete? It can always be upgraded, there’s never a ceiling when it comes to your science, Doctor! We–” quivering breath “we could give them superpowers; they’re already neigh indestructible, so why not? You could outfit them with implants, give them the ability to channel arcs of lighting between their fingertips, like the good guys in that one novel I read before that dreaded girl with the cat stopped them. What was that called? Violence… something. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. The possibilities,” with stars filling his pupils, “are endless…”
“Are you done yet?”
Torpol’s goddamned insolence has suddenly worn very thin on Hymarc, even thinner than the remaining hair on his head.
“Am I… am I done?” the Gray Fox snarls, slinking out of his burrow. “I’m celebrating the genius that is your work, Edvard, and you treat me like I’m a child attempting to describe his dreams to an apathetic father.”
‘Just what the fuck do you know about an apathetic father, you inconsequential little insect?’ Torpol thinks to himself, saying, “My apologies, President Hymarc Sir. You clearly hold a high regard for my inventions, but your scope is too large. This world… this world revealed to me eight years ago that it was not worth taking over. The United States government, before it fell, it was at the helm of the greatest empire in all of human history, possibly the greatest to ever exist. It was everywhere; embassies in all the major superpowers to keep tabs on their greatest threats, all the while designing and testing secret weapons systems that could easily decimate those very same superpowers if they ever got out of line, all the while staying out of the public’s eye. The general populous didn’t even know they were funding these weapons projects through their taxes, they had no way to trace the money because of the brilliance of the confidential black project label that was protected by law – it was an impenetrable wall, greater in stature than the titanium wall around New Manhattan. But the United States, like all great global empires, fell. No, this world is not worth the effort, however little, it would require to take it over completely. Besides, why would you want the stress of managing all those countries, all of those humans?”
Hymarc waits for Torpol to continue as Torpol waits for Hymarc to answer his question. The two stand in silence, looking longingly into each other’s baggy eyes as the MERCS on the computer screen continue to do jumping jacks, none of them breaking a sweat.
“Well,” Hymarc says, caving, “I… I don’t know. I suppose it would feel good, Doctor. It would make me feel good to know that every human on this planet would know my name, would fear me. Would respect me. I would feel good about myself.”
“But would they?” Torpol poses, ignoring the utter infancy of Hymarc’s last statement. “How could you be sure that every human knows who you truly are? Posters of your face on the walls of their private houses and public institutions? Surveillance cameras and microphones in their televisions that are sold pre-programmed to broadcast your propaganda? That’s how the old yoU-esS of Aye was before she fell, and yet we still had more than half of the population completely unaware of what the president even did, let alone which Deep State officials gave him the orders to fill whilst he temporarily occupied his position.”
‘Now that can’t be true,’ Hymarc thinks to himself, not wanting to interrupt. ‘… can it?’ It’s been quite a few years since then, the world’s changed a lot. Could the humans really have been that stupid back then? ‘And why does it feel like the room is moving?’
“Plus, there are still uncontacted tribes living in the jungles of Africa and South America, not to mention the unexplored islands in the Specific Ocean, Sir. How do you plan on making sure they know who you are? Are they even capable of understanding a man of your magnitude, the power you would wield over them? Are you capable of understanding the power necessary to control an entire planet? Is anybody? Is a mere human being even competent enough mentally to handle that kind of stress? Look at the greatest tyrants of the past! Stalin, Leopold The Second, Mao Zedong; they were so inept, their brains so incapable of understanding the unlimited power they weld that they bled internally, and Mao? Well, let us just say the heart of a lion doesn’t up and stop one day. Even Adolf–”
First name basis, huh?
“–was unable to truly understand the absolute power he held, the ramifications of only targeting certain groups for his cleansing when he could have persecuted them all… and his brain, too, bled, in one way or another. And don’t you dare let anybody tell you any other story, you hear me? That man died inside his bunker, side by side with his wife, with a mouthful of cyanide and a bullet to the head, and that is the end of that fucking story. Erm… where was I? Ah yes; Hymarc, Sir, what I’m getting at is, even a human as paramount as yourself is still a human, just like me, just like the consumers, just like the uncivilized tribal buffoons who throw spears thinking their primitive pre-technology can take down a modern metal helicopter, as if their wooden sticks and loincloths would stand a chance against the spinning barrel of a fully automatic machine gun. There’s a glass ceiling to be reached regarding the human potential, and though that ceiling was raised with each day we progressed as a species in the past, we’ve evolved to our pinnacle. This is the year two thousand twenty; humans physically cannot go up from here, you’ve seen the data I’ve shown you, the infographics. This is it, I’m afraid; we’ve maxed ourselves out, reached the level cap – humans are humans, we are biologically limited, incapable of achieving truly great things, existentially held back from realizing limitlessness.”
“So then, your plan is to perfect the MERCS technology through repeated testing and experimentation on our operatives until you develop a prototype to be installed into a living human. Once that’s achieved, you’ll implant it int–… you’re going to implant it into me, aren’t you? And then I, equipped with the most powerful mind and body to ever walk on this planet, will single-handedly take over and ascend to the status of a god? Is that what you’re getting at?”
Torpol practices a deep breathing exercise that his father used to do on the nights he was too tired from working in the lab all day to beat his
test subject son to sleep.
“No, Sir. Together, we are going to use the MERCS to take over the largest, most powerful business in New Manhattan – a very well-hidden company called Cape Enterprises, Uncorporated. That is the entity which currently holds ownership of your next tower, Sir, and we shall cleanse its spirit from the hallowed halls with our holy fires of Apexity. From there we will take over the city, ushering in a new age, a new style of life to this island and this island only. The contact we’ve made – you know, the la dada da-dah contact, the one who sent us Rose – he will help us. Using the technology and funding acquired from the hostile takeover of Cape, we will build a bridge between his dimension and ours; once he’s arrived, he will bridge the gap between our dystopian dollarscape and his superior way of civilization; he will show us the way to true utopia. Once we’re there, we will lead by example – I suspect that China, or perhaps India or Japan, will change first. The rest will come slowly; Russia, England, South Africa, they will be among the last to join us in the future. As for the Untied States of America, well… we’ll need to test our new weapons systems somewhere; as optimistic as I am, I’m sure some of the world’s superpowers will try to stop us, so we must be ready for anything. Great power begets challenge, after all, and the dumber they are, the faster they’ll fight. But in the end, they’ll all bow down to our influence… our alternative of living will be so superior compared to theirs that they will have no choice. We won’t be at the pinnacle of human life, we will embody it; we shall become the Apex of human existence!”
It’s too bad that Torpol put so much time into planning out that monologue so it would namedrop Apex at the end, because bossman tuned out the second he learned the name of the home of his greatest adversary. “Cape Enterprises… Uncorporated? Why haven’t I ever heard of that? Who’s in charge of it, why have I never met him?? What the fuck does uncorporated even mean?!”
Rolling with it because Sean’s understanding of the entire plan isn’t important to the fruition of the plan, “That, even I do not know. He’s something of a ghost, nobody in the city knows who he is, what he looks like, what his motives are… the only information I’ve been able to dig up is that he’s been here since before the wall went up… and, well… and that he owns eighty percent of the city.”
“EIGHTY PERCENT?!” Hymarc shrieks, his heart coming to a halt with such a force it almost convinces his brain to hemorrhage. “How is… how is that even fucking possible?!”
“I do not know Sir, but it does not matter. Even with his wealth and his power, he is just a man, just a human. And as I just proved to you with Miss Rose, no matter how intelligent, how quick, how capable; no matter how enhanced one’s reflexes are, all humans have one thing in common: all it takes is one well-placed bullet to the head… or, you know, multiple poorly-placed bullets throughout the entire body. Regardless, we will place that magic bullet; Rose’s and KingPig’s surgeries will be complete by the end of today’s night. The chances are forever in our favor – tomorrow we will storm the building, commit hostile takeover, fire our shot to be heard around the world, and set into motion the greatest power grab in the history of humanity. Then, with the cooperation of Earth’s leaders and the higher knowledge our greatest ally, we will rewrite history in our own shape. A great man once said, ‘If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed;’ who’s to say current history is the truth? Maybe New Manhattan has always been the world’s capitol, maybe any countries aligned with Apex have always had access to bottomless bank accounts to do whatever they please with. Maybe wartime laws and humanitarian guidelines were just propaganda, put in place by a twisted species of shapeshifting reptilian creatures to trick the humans into… whatever, it doesn’t even matter! Sean, as soon as we’re at the tip of the pyramid, we can make reality whatever we want it to be. Maybe this planet was never called Earth to begin with, maybe… maybe it was always… Planet Hymarc.”
“Doctor…” Hymarc grovels, feeling the blood swell his nether regions, “I was listening… but now I’m paying attention.”
“Wha–… do… do you need me to repeat myself? What does that mean, now you’re paying attention?”
“I… it’s a turn of phrase Doctor, it doesn’t matter. So then, that’s the plan: tomorrow, us and our squad of six cybernetically enhanced supersoldiers will storm Cape Enterprises, kill everybody inside, and assume the mantle of corporate king of the city.”
The room stops feeling like its moving, but just like when he noticed its movementy undertones earlier, Hymarc makes no verbal mention of his observation.
“That is almost correct, mister President, Sir. You are forgetting one very important aspect: Th–”
“And what might that be?” Hymarc pompously cuts in seconds before learning the answer to his question.
More deep breaths from Torpol. Then, in the most restrained version of his rage-voice ever, “Zhat vould beeeee, The Prisoner.”
“Him? How does that waste of space fit into all of this, he spends all of his time locked in a cage. Er, I’m sorry, closet. His reflexes surely can’t be anywhere near that of the enhanced MERCS.”
“This is true; however, we will need security. As an alien, he is equipped with a vastly different physiology than us – I’ve performed dozens of scans, his body has shown zero signs of degradation over the years of his stagnant confinement. He’s proved he can overcome a MERC, but we’re the only ones who have MERCs. Er, had. Now, unless one of our agents decides to go rogue, which is impossible because I built the microchip that controls their brains, we aren’t going to have another use for him after this mission. And seeing how useless of an investment of physical space his prison closet is, we will make him a deal: if he watches the outside of the Cape building while we’re taking it over and successfully prevents any unexpected variables from interfering, he will earn his freedom in the form of a one-way teleportation to an island where he can live out the rest of his days in peace. The same island that I assume, oh what was her name… Petunia? Yes, Augusta Petunia – the same island that I assume she inhabits because her combative inadequacy allowed some street larcenist to make away with that ridiculously expensive piece of high-octane idiocy we acquired by accident.”
“Ah yes,” Hymarc reminisces, “Auntie Vigil and the amphibious motorcycle… you know, in hindsight, we could have just sold that thing and used that funding alone to bridge the gap between our gold-skinned ally and ourselves. All this scheming could have easily been avoided… well, the ebb and flow of the tide is unpredictable, I suppose. At least we got to test the teleportation technology.”
“Yes, collateral damage is to be expected, I suppose. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, as they say; when it’s not being a bitch, that is.”
“Well… that’s certainly one hell of a plan you’ve come up with, Doctor. It seems to be much further grounded in reality than any of my previous suggestions were. I do apologize for wasting your time with my mediocre-at-best ramblings.”
‘Yeah that’s right, bow down to my brilliance.’ “Oh, don’t beat yourself up President Hymarc, you shall soon be king of the city.”
“Yes… so uh… now what?”
“Well we’ve been standing in your office talking for quite a while now, is the session over? Shouldn’t we, I don’t know, go and check on the MERCS?”
Torpol looks at the computer’s camera feed and the MERCS are still doing jumping jacks; the floor beneath them is beginning to crack, and now that he really looks, Ed notices that the shockwaves seem to have knocked the camera a bit loose. Every time all three of them hit the ground, the frame shakes a bit. Just a slight tremble.
“Ackh, that’s giving me a headache. Let us just go see them for ourselves.”
“SILENCE!” Doctor Torpol yells as he walks over to the door that normally leads to his waiting room. He presses the doorbell-looking button, then, “If one more human talks to me like that today, in that exact same pattern… ‘But Doctor, dot-dot-dot, some random bullshit!’ I’ve had enough of it!”
“Oh thank goodness, the plot moves forward. Come, President Hymarc, the elevator is here.”
“The elevator?” Hymarc asks, wondering what Torpol could possibly mean until he opens the door to his waiting room. Except the door doesn’t lead to his waiting room, but rather to the glass elevator that runs alongside the Apex Corporation building. During all the jibberjabbing, Torpol activated the most convenient function of his Treering office location – the rail system. Before moving into the office, Torpol used a whole bunch of Hymarc’s Apex dollars to install a high speed office-sized rail system that runs underground, and underneath the seabed, all the way to the more shallow layers of New Manhattan’s plasti’spa’junk foundation, ending right under the Apex building’s lowest sub-basement.
“This is… incredible,” Hymarc marvels, refusing his brain’s urge to wonder why he’s had to air-ferry a car from the city to the mainland and then drive the hour and a half between there and the shore for every one of his biweekly therapy appointments up to this point. “I do have one last question though: what about Rose? Your henchmen carried her out earlier.”
“Ah, clever observation. I also installed a series of tubes that are meant to transport single bodies. Not living bodies, mind you, but cybernetic bodies. The sheer g-force and lack of oxygen in the tubes would suffocate and kill a living creature, but since I build my henchmen myself and Rose had wilted, well, it all worked out. No thorns in the side of the plan, so to speak.”
Hymarc stares out the back wall of his elevator and watches the planet shrink away as he emerges from beneath the streets of New Manhattan and rises above it all. This city, this deranged dollaristic city… Hymarc’s belonged to it for so long now, and it will soon belong to him. He’s come a long way from his days of throwing temper tantrums in his parents’ apartment and filling fish tanks with ocean critters.
In his head, Hymarc’s already planning his speech for when things work out. Because, even though they’ve never really worked out for him in the past, he’s sure they’re going to work out this time. Just look at his team: a brilliant and steadfastly loyal happy scientist, a squad and a half of cybernetic mercenaries that couldn’t turn on him even if they wanted to, a purportedly golden-skinned god from another dimension that’s just waiting to join his impressive ranks. Even The Prisoner offers him an edge; why would the
Zeroc rebel now, at the very moment when his chance at freedom is hanging so close to his face like a carrot on the end of a stick dangles before a pig? ‘Wait… pig… KingPig… rotting ever since…!’
“Doctor!” a panic-stricken Hymarc shouts.
“Hymarc!” Torpol shouts back, smelling the President’s state of anxiety and craving to prolong it.
“I may have discovered a loophole in your plan – you said that KingPig has been rotting in the mud ever since he was assassinated. His flesh and muscles, surely by now they’ve been reduced to bile. Even with your cybernetics, how can we possibly make use of a decomposed corpse?”
“That’s simple, sir: he will have the appearance of a zombie. I told you earlier that I wanted to experiment on him.”
Torpol didn’t, but Hymarc mis-remembers him saying it, so he might as well have actually said it.
“A human corpse at KingPig’s current stage of decomposition is not something one often comes across, we must take advantage of this opportunity whilst it is presented.”
When Doctor Torpol’s finished pulling that nonsense out of his ass, similarly to how he pulled his… never mind, Hymarc, still looking out at the shrinking city, says, “Your brilliance truly knows no bounds, Doctor.”