|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Cover|
There Is Still Work To Be Done
I’m Feeling Woke
“FINE aha-ahhahahaa, FIIIIINNNEEE I won’t take the computer, just AHHHH just stop ticking me!”
“Good boy!” Chuck says, flicking a joint into Hymarc’s mouth. “Listen homie, if something, fuckin’, I don’t know, if some crazy shit happens and I decide that it’s time for me to leave the city and move on to better things, you can have my computer and Cape and whatnot. It’ll never happen, but if it does, yanno.”
“Very well, Mister… shit, I never caught your name, amigo!”
Chuck smiles, there’s quite a few places he could go here. Ah fuck it, “The name’s Chuck. Chuck Leary. Keep it the fuck out your mouth though, kay?”
“You have yourself a deal, Mister L–… Cape. On one condition though,” as Hymarc is helped off the floor by his new buddy. “You need to help me install a growery in the Apex tower. I never want to be sober again!”
“Easy there, bucko,” Chuck quells, “I knew somebody like that once. It uh… ended pretty untimely, if you smell what I’m burnin’.”
Hymarc nods thoughtfully, then, “All right. But I still want to grow some plants, I feel like it would be a fun project.”
“It is! The high is better when you produce it yourself too, trust me. I’ll swing by on Monday morning or something, cool?”
“President Hymarc!” an enraged Doctor Torpol shouts from the elevator out in the hall. “We must be going, there is still work to be done!”
Chuck chuckles. “I’m just gonna pretend that wasn’t about me.”
Chuck clasps Hymarc’s right hand in his and brings him in for a brohug, adding, “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, my dawg. Safe travels,” as a pat on the back.
“You as well.”
Hymarc takes his sweet time walking back to the elevator. When he gets there, he offers the joint to Torpol, who almost smacks it out of his hand. He then offers it to the MERCS but, seeing how they’re still paralyzed in their interFacer mode, they don’t partake. The elevator ride is slow, the unequivocal musical stylings of rapper’s rapper Royce da 9’5” providing melodic wisdom to drown out the screaming going on inside Doctor Torpol’s head. When the troupe gets to the roof, the Jettison ship is already waiting for them.
After everybody is strapped in and the craft’s autopilot lifts the Apex crew into the air, Torpol finally asks Hymarc how he’s doing.
“I’m… I’m feeling woke, Eddie. I’m feeling woke as fuck, like I just woke up from a nap, a nap that many don’t wake from until the day they die.” He pauses, takes a very drawn-out drag of his joint, and then says, “How about you, pal? You had uh, you had a lil’ episode back there. How you feeling?”
“I had multiple neuroelectric seizures and a cerebral aneurysm, I’m lucky to be alive. Divine intervention is the only possibility I can surmise for my continued existence. I–”
And just like that the flight’s over; they were just going across the city, after all. As Torpol and Hymarc walk out of the ship onto the roof of the Apex building, which looks much better without a spire now that Hymarc has an alternative to compare it to, they see AdultJack waving in the distance – he followed the ship back, just to make sure they wouldn’t pull any funny business, you see – as he flies away. Torpol grinds his teeth so hard his wisdom teeth shatter, causing the taste of bony blood to sweep over his pallet. Today is not Edvard’s day.
One Last Chance
As the day continues, it only seems to get more obnoxious for The Mad Scientist. As soon as he walks into his laboratory to do a little research before retiring for the evening, he’s ambushed by a very disorientated and pissed off The Prisoner.
Holding Torpol against the wall by his still slightly bleeding ear and mouth, The Prisoner shouts, “WHAT THE FUCK, ED?!”
“I can see somebody is happy to still be alive.”
The Prisoner slams the back of Torpol’s head into the solid steel wall. “We had a fucking deal, why am I still here?”
“Because, alien, you lack vision and perseverance. We do have a deal: if you eliminate any outside variables from tinkering with my plan, you are free.”
“I did all I could, I damn near tore this city in half trying to–”
“A remote-controlled drone of you made of nanobots damn near tore the city in half, and you’re very welcome. Had I not strapped you into the drone rig while you were unconscious, you would have gotten yourself killed and ruined both of our plans, all in trying to… what, exactly? Eliminate Mister Cape, or whatever his real name is?”
“I thought it was Main Character.”
“SILENCE! No, Beta, Mister Cape was an entirely expected variable… his lack of sanity and humanity in general was just a tad bit underestimated, I’ll happily testify to that, but he was expected nonetheless. No, there was an unexpected outlier, one that still must be eliminated in order for us to seize power over Cape Enterprises, Uncorporated.”
The Prisoner cocks his head sideways, not quite following the Doctor but not lagging behind either. “All right Doctor Torpol, you get one last chance. I’m listening.”