Note: read… every story since “Suburban Doxology”, and We Am Venom! up to “You Know My Name, Now Scream It!”.
Hey, it’s Cal! Good to see you again, dear readers!
If you’re new, and don’t know who I am, well, uh, you see that note up there, right?
You do pay attention to the notes at the start of the stories, don’t you? They’re there for a reason, dear readers.
And I’m not doing the whole “explaining who I am” thing again, I just did that two Sagas ago, I’m not doing it at the start of every Saga.
So, uh, what I’m saying is, you should probably go get all caught up before you continue reading this story.
I’ve tried to warn people a buncha times, it’s exhausting, so it’s up to you to make that choice. If you keep reading this story and end up feeling lost and confused because you don’t know who everyone is and what everything is, that’s on you.
Don’t forget to take an occasional bathroom break while you’re catching up.
Maybe grab a snack and a drink first, too.
And roll up a couple of joints or pack a bowl, if you partake. If you don’t, hey, to each his own.
Or her own, or their own.
Anyway, I’ve made my point, heed my warning or don’t.
And don’t worry about keeping Yours Truly waiting.
All done? Good! Welcome back!
Let’s get started, shall we?
So, it’s been a peaceful month or so since Operation Suburban Doxology.
We’re getting closer to the next Calvin Korkea Day. Boy, it’s almost been five years since the Demonic Invasion.
Five years since I started doing all of this.
I’m just gonna say it: if there’s ANY day for some major shit to go down, it’s THEN.
Don’t you think we all know that, Niv? The entire ChaotiX and all of our allies are going to be on guard.
But that’s then, and this is now.
Things are still peaceful right now, Fi.
Don’t jinx it, Cal.
Yeah, I know, MIKA.
You remember MIKA, right, dear readers? The AI in my new Endo-Klyn Suit. Love that suit. What, did you think I was gonna tear it off in a bell tower or something?
The next one’s almost ready.
And Marley has been reminding the rest of the team, especially Konba, that he has dibs on the next one several times a day.
Mar said, and I quote, “Mawwey wiww hit Konba in da no-nos again if Mawwey gutta.”
As a consolation prize, Konba has dibs on the third one.
We’re still keeping an eye out for our enemies currently at large, and keeping an eye on those currently in our custody.
And we might have a permanent way to deal with the Dark Demon-- snrk– but Val wants to run a few more simulations before she puts it into action.
The Spirits of Sin are still safely secured in their box, before you ask.
Vic could keep that box safe until the heat death of the universe, if he’s lucky.
Unless something ends all life in the universe before then. It would be rather pointless to keep the Spirits contained if that happens.
Yeah, and I can name at least a baker’s dozen of assholes who could make that happen, so let’s get back on topic.
We think Dehak and his posse might have crossed over to Earth, and we’ve got a rough idea of where on Earth they could be.
You’re probably wondering how they could get to Earth without being caught.
After all, we have a big barky friend keeping an eye on the Pit of Giaga at all times. It’s not like Gaius can get up and wander off.
He’s a giant talking magical tree.
And Lorik’s also got guards watching the cave in Dragonfly Forest at all times, in shifts, so we would have Dehak coming and going.
We would have.
But it turns out that the Pit of Giaga isn’t the only passageway connecting Earth and Magicca.
We learned about another passageway from Umbra, indirectly. Lavender read his mind during her chat with him, and what little she heard before he kicked her out turned out to be of surprising strategic value.
So Eddy asked his grandfather about it, and Chrysus not only confirmed the existence of another passageway, but also told us where the entrance on Magicca is. It’s the one most of the dragons used to get to Earth, which makes sense in hindsight.
I’m not telling you what it’s called. Eddy’s mentioned it, go ask him.
Naturally, we investigated. Eddy and Erd, with a bit of guidance from Chrysus, opened the Dragon’s… nope, not saying it, and on the other end, they wound up on a mountaintop in Siberia.
So those assholes are probably in Russia. And they’re most likely on foot, so they can’t move very fast, right?
Again, if they were using magic to move around, plenty of people would feel it. Dehak and Varney are both very powerful.
Fred doesn’t seem to use his magic anymore. Maybe he lost it when he became the Rider? Iunno.
If they had stolen an Earth vehicle, they’d have left a bloodbath behind.
All four of them are vicious, pitiless, remorseless killers who will murder innocents to further their cause, because said innocents are in their way, or just for shits and giggles.
But they also know that they’re outnumbered and outgunned, and in terra incognita. They’re probably trying to keep a low profile, until they’re ready to start whatever insane schemes they’re plotting.
And it’s not like Fred can give all three of his buddies a ride on his motorbike.
Even if, say, Dehak sits behind Fred and holds the Many under one arm, and Varney goes bat and rides on Dehak’s head, that would look ridiculous, they’d be spotted in no time.
Yeah, but the Many can fly, and turn to mist form. Hey, can’t vampires do the latter too?
Not all of them, Niv. It’s actually kinda rare. The Ianos Clan couldn’t do it, and neither can the Morris Clan. I don’t know if Varney can do it.
I think Sonia’s dad said that Dracula could do it.
Yeah, Julius said that.
But Dracula wasn’t just an average garden-variety vampire, he was fucking Dracula.
I’m pretty sure Ianos wanted to be the next Dracula. And Varney might be gunning for that empty throne too.
Varney invented vampirism, so his credentials are in order.
The reincarnation of Dracula is doing fine, though. No signs of his past life making themselves known yet.
Maybe you’ll meet him one day, dear readers.
I don’t think they’ve even met Sonia’s dad yet.
Well, I’ve mentioned him a few times.
Meanwhile, our hunt for Carnage continues, and judging by the signs, he’s returning to San Francisco, and he’s not returning alone.
There’s been cases of missing fluffies everywhere in the area around San Fran, feral herds attacked, members of those herds dragged off, traces of red Klyntar biomass found.
To the casual observer, that stuff’s hard to distinguish from regular blood.
But we’ve pieced together, more or less, what that red, slimy, psychotic little bastard is up to.
He’s raising an army.
Last night, Venom called me from their room in San Fran’s Foundation branch, telling me they’ve got a gut feeling that Carnage is going to make a move soon.
Maybe it’s a Klyntar instinct or something.
Naturally, the squad we’ve had searching for Carnage is in the know, ready to roll out the moment he makes his move.
If you’ve forgotten, that squad consists of Victor, Scarface, Drake, Diablo, Dexter, Danny, Ghost, Jake, Bellikose, and the recent additions of Reilly and Mayday, who, for reasons they couldn’t explain, felt the need to get involved.
And the other recent addition of Taarn-tual, who also found himself feeling compelled to lend a hand or six.
In his case, he could explain his reasons.
As it turns out, Taarn knows Venom’s Klyntar half too. They were actually bonded for a short while, but then Taarn realized that his fancy new suit wasn’t just a fancy suit, and was, in fact, sentient.
Taarn freaked the hell out, but they got to talking, and ultimately parted ways on amicable terms.
If they ain’t the One, they ain’t the One.
Venom’s Klyntar half feels a bit guilty about that. It had been puppeteering Taarn’s body while he slept, to go web-slinging so it could feed on his adrenaline. Which didn’t help its case.
Now it knows that it should ask first. And its symbiosis with Tom has been a lot more successful.
Symona would be a perfect addition to the squad, but she’s still in training, meaning me and Mar also can’t copy her sonic screaming yet.
That, and she’s still learning English.
And she’s a kid, so sending her after a psychotic symbiotic fluffy would be cruel.
Remember, we don’t throw kids into the battlefield if we can help it.
You know, Danny and Ghost have that ghostly wail thing. And you’ve already copied their invisibility and intangibility, why not copy the ghostly wail too?
Yeah, and they did recently develop the power to fire blasts of ectoplasmic energy. It’s green, and tangible to things like ghosts, so if we ever run into another evil spirit, we know who we’re gonna call.
And now they have an offensive power that doesn’t leave them feeling drained after one use.
If only they developed that power BEFORE that box washed up in Italy. It’s like a video game where you can’t get a given power-up until AFTER the part that it would trivialise.
Tell me about it, Niv. If I had copied their intangibility before the Demonic Invasion, it would have gone a lot differently.
So why not just save yourself some trouble, and complete the set now?
Because they’re already busy helping to find Carnage, training Symona, and training with Akira and Wukong to hone their new ectoplasmic power. Functionally speaking, it’s not that different from firing a regular energy blast.
And they’ve still got Branca to take care of too. She’s doing great, these days she speaks English like she’s been speaking it her whole life. Yes, she still has a crush on Miles.
In about five more years, they’ll both be old enough.
There’s also Phantasm, yes, he’s still staying in the land of the living. He feels like he’s still needed Down Here.
Point is, Danny and Ghost have enough on their plate, so that’s ixnay on copying their ghostly wail for now.
The Trinity of Terra never really dealt with the Klyntar back when they were touring the universe, but because the Trinity is Pierre, Deston and Victor, they were always prepared for the possibility, so we’ve got sonic cannons ready for the squad members who don’t have a ghostly wail, or pyrokinesis.
And who can hold a sonic cannon.
Kinda tricky to work one with hooves…
If I had known in advance that Anti-Calvin had a Klyntar in his back pocket when we went to the Citadel of Calvins, I would have brought one of those cannons with me.
It took a really long time for Victor to convince Valerie to do this, but we also have a sonic cannon that blasts dubstep at the targets.
You know, like Saints Row.
Speaking of Anti-Calvin, he’s still recruiting. He apparently recruited a Bugsey recently, according to CQK-1, my regular source of multiversal news.
Me and CQK-1 were equally surprised by this pick.
And Anti-Calvin seems to have recruited an Eira too.
Which didn’t surprise us.
Considering the fact that most of the counterparts of ChaotiX members who Anti-Calvin seems to have recruited are men, he probably wanted some more eye candy.
And he’s probably not just looking at her.
I mean, unlike me, Anti-Calvin isn’t married, and he’s probably not a father either. He never even dated his timeline’s Judy, and I don’t want to know what he did do to her. He’s all about doing whatever the fuck he feels like doing, like a delinquent teenager who stole his dad’s credit card.
I don’t think that he’d have to get smashed on Skull Smash to have sex with Eira.
It’s not that she’s not attractive, she’s beautiful in an unkempt kind of way, but, well, I’m happily married to Judy.
Like Val and Suzy, Eira’s more like a cool big sister to me.
Unlike Val and Suzy, Eira’s a cool big sister me and Judy once slept with when the three of us were all fershnickered, but we don’t talk about The Feast anymore.
Also, blondes haven’t been my type since I had to dump Gilda for… well, being Gilda before her generous serving of humble pie.
I don’t want to know what Anti-Calvin did to his Gilda, either.
He had to dump her too. We both feel all of the same pain, but the difference is how we chose to handle that pain.
I don’t do what I do because of the tragedies in my past, but in spite of them.
Perhaps all of Anti-Calvin’s cavorting around the multiverse is just him trying to bury that pain. To drown his sorrows in blood. To pretend that he can’t feel anything at all. He’d rather rip his own heart out of his chest and stomp on it than admit how miserable he is.
I hate his guts, but I also can’t help but pity him a bit. He’s not just evil, he’s broken.
I think he’s actually really lonely. He does keep building multiversal teams. If he didn’t want company, he would be going it alone.
And I wouldn’t put it past him to use his ability to travel to any timeline he wants as a way to get laid with women across the multiverse.
There’s an idea right there, multiversal speed dating. You can ask your date, “Your universe or mine?” Could be a fun event at the Inn Between Worlds, and Igor would make a profit too.
I’ll talk to CQK-1 and Igor about it later, but don’t get your hopes up.
Considering what Anti-Calvin is doing, expecting a yes is an exercise in disappointment.
That asshole still hasn’t recruited any versions of our FLUFFY members. He didn’t even replace his Mar again. He replaced his Jack, and his Al, but not his Mar.
M-9890 wasn’t even his Marley, Niv. His Marley is dead too, like everyone else from Timeline-9891.
Shows how few fucks he gives, don’t it?
It’s a shame. Even if he decided to abandon his omnicidal ambitions, there’s nothing for him to go home to.
Even if he hadn’t destroyed his timeline entirely, even if he hadn’t killed everyone there, he’d never be welcome back. He burned his bridges a long time ago.
Bridges, buildings, anyone who looks at him funny, anyone who DOESN’T look at him funny…
And now that we’re on the subject of burnt bridges…
Me and Marley have had to kill a dozen more would-be assassins from New Tenneb attempting to avenge their fallen princes, their false god, their king and most of their race, and their original home planet, and one of them attacked me while I was picking my fluffies up from Happy Fluffy Daycare.
The more of them we kill, the harder the remaining Tennebites try, and the more desperate they become to finally get their revenge.
If the second-last Tennebite in the universe manages to kill me, the last one standing will probably still choose to see it as a win for New Tenneb.
To be fair, I killed one of their princes and destroyed the mecha they worshipped, but I didn’t do the rest of that crap they think I did.
Not that they believe me. They won’t believe me, and the fact that I’m not a Tennebite would usually be a good enough reason for them to not trust me on its own.
They mistrust all outsiders, but they think the idea of a Tennebite betraying one of his own kind is, er, unthinkable.
But I was there when Scha killed Duwen. Scha took hypocrisy to heights that most of his kind could only dream of.
If the Tennebites want to go extinct trying and failing to kill me, I don’t fucking care anymore, and I’ll waste whoever they send my way until they give up or die out.
Either outcome is acceptable to me at this point. If I never hear someone call me a “krik” again, I’m happy.
They’ve made it crystal clear that peace was never an option, so if they won’t stop trying, it’s only a matter of time until their extinction wish is granted. I’ve got enough assholes to worry about, they’d be doing me a favor. The strongest members of their race are already dead and took their best weapons with them, I can take the rest of them.
Killing the average Tennebite isn’t even a warm-up for me.
And I definitely wouldn’t need Calvin Impact for that.
Killing them all with a mecha would be EXTREMELY ironic, though. You know, because THEY tried to do that to everyone ELSE.
Yes, Niv, all of us got it.
We were all there for their second try.
I wasn’t. I missed that one on account of not being created yet. Let me review my files…
That’ll take you a while, that’s at least THREE Sagas worth of data, and one of those Sagas is a LONG one. Scha and Duwen stuck around for a lot longer than MOST of our villains do.
Yeah, and when Duwen finally died, it was a total anticlimax.
He took all kinds of punishment from us before he was stomped flat by his own brother.
I can’t believe that I was ever scared of that guy.
But a lot of Tennebites have been dying undignified deaths ever since, mostly at my hands, like that asshole who jumped me at the daycare.
I wish my new car was ready, I wanted to run that stupid bastard over and strap his corpse to the bumper.
Hopefully, they won’t stupid themselves into extinction before Jack finishes that time travel upgrade.
Hey, it’s not a crime to kill Tennebites, remember? They bear genocidal hatred for everyone who isn’t them and reject any law but their own, so why should our laws protect them?
And they’re the ones who won’t stop trying to kill me.
It’s not like the whole situation with fluffies not being protected by the law.
Fluffies didn’t have it coming.
With turning him into space racist roadkill being off the table at the time, I instead punished the bastard who attacked me at Happy Fluffy Daycare by teleporting him somewhere private, and using him as a guinea pig for something I’ve been working on with my light powers, and my electrokinesis.
I think it works, because there wasn’t enough left of him to fill a thimble.
And it’s a good thing that I teleported him to the middle of nowhere, because everything in a mile radius was vaporised too.
I miiiiiiiiiight have given it a bit too much juice.
Yeeeaaah, a technique like that is for, ah, special occasions.
Not something I wanna bust out every day.
It would certainly be overkill to use it against an abuser.
It’s a helluva display, though. I bet the readers can’t wait to see it in action. They haven’t even gotten to see the Power of Many in action yet, and it’s been a while since you learned that!
Well, like I told that businessman while I was showing him and his fluffy around the School after that business meeting, I can’t make any promises. As Fi said, techniques like my new trick and the Power of Many aren’t a “for abusers” kinda thing, they’re a “for supervillains” kinda thing.
That guy was so happy when I let him try a battle suit on. When he put that generic grey training suit on and looked in the mirror, it was like all of his Christmases had come at once.
He had some ChaotiX fanfiction he had written in his briefcase. I caught a glimpse when he opened it up.
I wish I was making this up.
But when he worked up the courage to let me read it, it wasn’t that bad. No one was acting wildly out of character, it’s frankly kinda disturbing how well he knows all of us.
And there was the obligatory painfully obvious self-insert who joined the team at the start of the fic, spouted various business-themed one-liners like “Time for a hostile takeover!”, and whose weapon of choice was a power armor that turned into… a briefcase.
Which is actually pretty cool, I can’t lie.
I made his day some more by signing it for him, and made a mental note to tell Val, Suzy and Xav about that briefcase armor thing.
At least everyone still had their clothes on by the END of the fic. Unlike some of the OTHER fanfics we’ve had the misfortune to read.
We will never discuss the me/Fi/you one, Niv.
Or the me/Fi/Gaius one.
Or the Victor/everyone one.
I haven’t the foggiest what you’re talking about, Cal.
What did you just say, Cal? I appear to have spontaneously gone deaf.
This is a blatant attempt to avoid an uncomfortable subject, but that businessman even got to watch me spar with Konba while he was at the School.
Kon was totally showing off for him.
He does seem to enjoy showing off for an audience.
I thought you were deaf?
I got better.
If you’re curious what that business meeting was about, dear readers: FauCorp’s been talking to Ben & Jerry’s about making ChaotiX-themed ice cream flavors, and as the leader of the ChaotiX, of course I’m involved in the discussion.
And not just because I want to make sure that my flavor is one I like.
I am probably going to be eating a lot of it.
So, lots of chocolate, some fudge and/or cookie dough too, and if I taste a hint of fucking raspberry, someone at Ben & Jerry’s is getting their car moved out of their reach until the grievous mistake is rectified.
I could carry their car to the other side of the planet without even breaking a sweat.
Hell, I could teleport to the moon, and leave it there. MIKA’s equipped for space travel. And nobody would touch the car there, we haven’t started colonizing our moon yet!
Kinda wondering why that’s taking so long. It’s not a matter of not having the technology anymore, maybe it’s a politics thing? I dunno. I’m a superhero, not a politician.
I’ll ask the President later.
Jeremy’s election campaign is going well, by the way. President Wilson’s actually getting nervous.
Anyway, to finally get back on topic again, using my new trick on abusers is like… like playing an RPG and using endgame spells on the basic enemies in the first dungeon.
Kinda wasteful, really.
So it all depends on a fitting target rearing their ugly head, and I’m a magnet for supervillains, which makes this a matter of “when”, not “if”.
Oh, and if you’ve been wondering, dear readers:
I don’t have to be in Luminary Form to use my light powers, but they’re stronger when I’m transformed.
When am I getting a badass transformation?
You already got one.
Oh, how many have YOU gotten since then, Cal? And Konba got like THREE transformations, FOUR if we count merging with you, FIVE if we count Omega Saingan too, and I’m disregarding the fact that he didn’t get to KEEP two of those new forms. Point is, MY next turn to get a new transformation is long overdue! C’mon, it took long enough for Faucheuse Toys to start making plushies of me, and I don’t get to be in the base roster of Battle X-travaganza! You KNOW that I don’t like being left out of the fun!
Niv, be honest with me.
If you do get some kind of new transformation, are you going to go full shonen every time you power up? With the posing and screaming for several episodes? Er, stories?
I think, if I had a sussy baka sense, that it would be going off. Damnit, got me saying it now.
And it’s a good thing that Susan’s got a Copy-Blocker.
Because, if I had copied her power…
My eye would be twitching like crazy.
There’s still no sign of Mr. Coffeebreak, the Light of Peace, M-62, Zebediah and the Gurus, or any of the other assholes who want to take a swing at us. They’re all biding their time, I know it.
So are we. You think we aren’t prepared for them?
Remember who mentored me, dear readers!
Pierre put shotguns with silver buckshot in every Foundation branch, in case a demon gets through the wards!
And that actually came in handy during the World Revolution, just ask Mark if you don’t believe me!
Pierre has an ark full of frozen embryos ready to go, for the event that the Boss Up There is in another flood-y mood!
And it’s got a seed bank, too! And a backup of the entire internet, with copies of every work of art, book, film, song, even every video game humans have produced, Doc wants to save as much of our culture as possible if the worst happens…
Pierre has a portable lab in the flying car that he designed and built himself, so he can do science while he drives!
Or rather, while his car drives itself!
It can teleport too, that’s how we were moving so quickly when we had The Talk.
Let’s see Xzibit top that pimped-out ride!
And Pierre had plans for his kid getting teen pregnant, and his kid getting someone else teen pregnant, before he had even met his bitch of a dead ex-wife Vanessa!
Doc plans for everything!
And I try to do the same.
Other than that, it’s been an uneventful month. Same old, same old. Kicking ass, or sometimes just prodding buttock, and saving fluffies, you know the drill.
Wayne and Clover have become good friends of the ChaotiX, and so have the other innocent bystanders who were possessed by the Spirits of Sin, like Locke. The ones who survived, that is.
And so has Ulysses, our mysterious new purple-loving psionic pal.
You should see what he does when someone tries to knock that fedora off his head.
Niv, you were the one he did it to, after he caught you snaking that tendril towards him.
He knows how I feel about fedoras! If he wants me to stop, he should throw that hat in the trash, where it BELONGS! If he had a neckbeard too, I would REFUSE to associate with him.
This is a hot button issue for you, isn’t it Niv?
Look, I just think that there’s a specific kind of man who can pull a fedora off, and–
Argue about this later, guys.
For the record, I think that Ulysses can pull it off just fine.
And he doesn’t set your sussy baka sense off, does he?
Well, no. He’s not like Dibbler, who can set it off merely by EXISTING near me.
Despite his brief stint as Avaritia’s unwilling host, the ChaotiX’s opinion on Dibbler has remained unchanged: he’s a bloody nuisance.
We’ve still gotta have a word with him about those bootleg bobbleheads of you. At the very least, we should be getting a cut of the profits.
What profits, Niv? They’re not his biggest seller. I mean, they’re blond and wearing Groucho glasses, people can see that they’re not legit from a mile away.
Although I do keep a pair of Groucho glasses in my bag of holding.
Honestly, I don’t think Dibbler even has a biggest seller. The only thing he can really sell for long is his disgusting hotdogs.
And I’m fucked if I know how he does it. I’m still not really sure how he talked me into buying one.
I was drunk at the time, that’s probably it. I wouldn’t eat one of those things sober.
I’ve seen feral fluffies refuse to eat them.
Speaking of food, Chunky’s diet is really starting to make a difference. Slayer’s cunning plan to motivate Chunky to lose weight via the careful application of threats of quality time with a horny half-demon fluffy who likes 'em big has been working like a charm, and the pounds are almost melting away.
Slayer isn’t actually planning to rape Chunky, he doesn’t do his thing to regular fluffies anymore. Except Beatrice, and he’s gentle with her.
But Chunky doesn’t know that…
Oh, and Chaos has started a little pet project, trying to redeem an abuser. I haven’t met the guy yet, but I’ve heard a lot about him. Not just from the ChaotiX members I’ve got keeping an eye on him, he’s become something of a celebrity in our city.
And not only because of the ugly, itchy sweater he can’t take off.
Naturally, being the Harbinger of Chaos, I know the full story, more or less, and by now, the entire ChaotiX knows too.
And so do most of the other anthropomorphic personifications, because Chaos happily told his colleagues a few stories at his last party. Those stories got a lot of laughs. Famine laughed so hard he sprayed food in Peace’s face, and Peace had already forgiven Famine.
Yeah, Peace is a real nice guy. If you saw which form he usually takes, you’d see that it makes perfect sense for him to take that form.
Peace is so nice that his feelings toward the Light of Peace are, well, he’s not angry, he’s just disappointed. He’s tried to talk things out, but ultimately, he accepted that they have irreconcilably different opinions on the concept of peace, and hopes that the Light of Peace will see things differently one day.
We’re talking about the same Light of Peace who wants to brainwash everyone into peacefulness, and eliminate free will in the process.
The big glowy bastard is that bad, and he still doesn’t hate them.
And that’s the lowest opinion Peace has on anyone save the Devourer.
Yeah, even Peace hates the Devourer.
He’s nice, not stupid.
Chaos’ parties aren’t always necessarily to celebrate something. Sometimes, he throws a party to celebrate the anniversary of another party, or because it’s Tuesday, or because he just found some exceptionally good cheese and wants to share, or simply because he’s in a party kinda mood.
Of course he invites me, I’m his Harbinger.
He invites Marley and Erwin too. We’re all on his list of Top Ten Favorite Mortals, and guess who’s Number One.
Here’s a hint: the one he picked to be his Harbinger.
And he invites Law, even though they don’t really get along very well. Their boss ordered them to cooperate, and this is Chaos’ way of offering an olive branch.
But he doesn’t invite Oblivion, because Oblivion is just as much of a party pooper as Fate was.
Oblivion is the least popular of the bunch by far.
Goddamnit, I veered off topic again.
If you’re new, you should know that this kind of thing tends to happen a lot.
So get used to it.
I was gonna say something, but it’s fun to watch you when you get going.
I’ve been working with you for about a month now, Cal. And I’m STILL getting used to it.
Let’s just get back to the matter of Chaos’ pet project.
Naturally, I’ve already played a part in it, and the guy only knows about some of my influence.
He doesn’t know that I made Vic promise not to go Victor on the guy unless he really fucks up and Chaos gives Vic the green light.
But he does know that I talked to Suzy about arranging a hotel room for him. He was sleeping in his car before that, and I don’t know where he was sleeping before Chaos retrieved his car for him.
Hopefully, he’ll do better than the last person I arranged a hotel room for.
He got upgraded to a better room a couple of days ago, around the same time he got his new fluffy, and you won’t believe it, but now they’re staying in the same room that Adam and Kushim once stayed in.
You know, before we found out who Adam really was, how bad he really was, and Cajack aged him to dust fourteen thousand years in the past.
Chaos specifically requested that room, I don’t know why, and it coincidentally happened to be free, so Suzy figured she’d just humor Chaos, and rolled with it.
That is sometimes the best thing to do.
And Chaos is paying for the guy’s expenses at the hotel on his behalf. Chaos has a lot of money from his side job, and he only has to spend it when he feels like it.
Without that, I don’t know if Suzy would have let the guy stay at the hotel.
I want to meet the guy, but every time I spot him while I’m out and about with Mar, he runs away before we get a chance to land and chat with him.
The closest I’ve gotten to an actual conversation with him was last week, when I saw him while me and Judy were getting lunch at Sugarbean’s.
We were ordering lunch for the family, because not sharing food that good with your kids is child abuse.
The moment the guy saw me, he ran into the restroom cursing and locked the door, refusing to come out until I had left the premises.
He claimed to have suddenly come down with the worst case of explosive diarrhea from eating some bad curry the night before, and once he had locked himself in, he started making farting noises, clearly with his mouth.
I can tell the difference between that and a real fart. I’m no Pierre, but I’m not dumb.
I chose to simply play dumb, my signature move, and heard an unlocking door and a relieved sigh as I left with Judy and our food, half an hour later.
Fifteen minutes before we left, I loudly vocalised a desire to use the restroom, and the guy started making those farting noises again.
Was that really better than admitting that he’s scared of me?
Now, a locked bathroom door isn’t actually an obstacle to me, but he’d made it clear that he was in no mood to talk.
Y’know, I can’t say that I don’t see why he’s so scared of me, but all I wanna do is talk to him, and get to know the guy under the sweater. All I’ve got to go on is second-hand accounts.
You COULD just turn invisible and sneak up on him. You’ve done it before. Isn’t that how you introduced yourself to Vidunder?
Billy’s still on the fence about joining. For some reason, I kinda thought that he’d get involved with the Spirits of Sin thing, but… fuck it, doesn’t matter.
Look, I don’t want to force Ugly Sweater Guy to talk to me, okay Niv? When he’s ready to talk to me, he’ll stop running away whenever he sees me.
It’s like trying to convince a wounded animal to let you treat it, if you don’t have a magical ring that’ll let you just explain what you’re doing.
You’ve still gotta keep it simple, most animals barely understand human inventions.
I’m trying to build up Ugly Sweater Guy’s tolerance for me, by letting him see me every once in a while.
He’ll get used to me sooner or later.
Besides, with his new arrival, he’s got enough to worry about.
He’s probably got a lot of ingrained bad habits he needs to unlearn.
What are the odds of a guy like HIM finding a fluffy like THAT in the alley?
Less likely things have happened, Niv.
Yeah, okay. Good point, Fi.
Man, you know who should talk to Ugly Sweater Guy?
Hey, yeah! Dave used to be an abuser too, and look at him NOW! He totally gets what Ugly Sweater Guy is going through! And they’ve both got nicknames with the word “guy” in them…
In my opinion, the five most important words in the English language are “I know how you feel.”
If someone can say that and mean it, they aren’t too far gone, and even if they’re not exactly good, there’s still the chance of redemption for them.
I think I MIGHT know a way to help Ugly Sweater Guy’s redemption along a bit.
Niv, you’re not going to suggest that we serve him a tall glass of demon blood, are you?
Not YET, at any rate. But we could at least ask around, see if any of our half-demonic members would make a donation…
I’ll put this one in the maybe column, but I’m hoping Chaos can handle this on his own.
Frankly, I wouldn’t trust Ugly Sweater Guy with any kind of powers yet. He’s not really ChaotiX material… and it sounds like he’s still struggling with the urge to abuse fluffies. We’ve got a rep to think about.
Or does he expect me to knock on his door with a battle suit for him?
Now that’s unlikely. If Ugly Sweater Guy crosses Threshold X, I’m showing up with a power dampener, and I’ll let him choose: a bracelet, or a dart.
Oh, and speaking of unlikely things, there’s my own project to redeem an evildoer…
Umbra’s still being a grouch, but I have noticed a marked improvement in his behavior while in our custody.
A very slight improvement, but hey, progress!
However, while watching Umbra on the security cameras, I’ve also noticed him occasionally talking to himself in his cell, and when he does so, he seems to be under the impression that Klaus is in the room, because he keeps addressing “Number Two”.
He COULD be talking to his turds.
That’s… a theory, Niv…
The other two theories are that Umbra has begun hallucinating due to his extended isolation and can’t tell the past from the present anymore, or that Klaus is rendering himself visible only to Umbra and screwing with his old “boss” in the guise of the identity Umbra forced upon him.
I asked Klaus about it, and he swore that he didn’t know what I was talking about.
And he didn’t set my sussy baka sense off, so he’s either telling the truth, or he’s a master liar.
Well, he probably had to get good at obscuring the truth when he was Umbra’s unwilling right hand man. The Order of Darkness was a clandestine operation, secrecy was vital.
I think we should just keep monitoring the situation, with the occasional chat to see where Umbra’s head is at. If the isolation is getting to him, he needs someone who isn’t imaginary to talk to, even if he doesn’t want that.
And Deston, as the best damn fluffy psychologist there ever was, is ready to intervene at a moment’s notice.
Of course, the Faucheuse brothers CREATED Umbra, and even THEY don’t fully understand his twisted mind.
He’s got a lot in common with Bertrand, when you really think about it.
Yeah, that human form Dehak wished for Umby did look like an older Bertie.
But Pierre spliced his own DNA into Umbra’s genome, which explains it, and a lot of other things.
Yes, dear readers, that does mean Umbra is X-Positive too. Pierre’s power is supergenius intellect, and Umbra inherited that just like Val and Bertie did, and just like the Docs inherited it from François. Remember when Umbra called himself the Supergenius Fluffy?
Umby and Bertie DIDN’T inherit Pierre’s COMMON SENSE, though.
Well, the Docs got that from their mom.
And Val and Suzy ain’t no fools. Doc really did raise them right.
After making a LOT of mistakes with Bertie. Clearly, Bertie was the practice kid, like Scotty was.
Remember, Suzy is smart, but not supergenius smart, she got lie detecting instead. Even the Docs can’t explain it.
Sorcie’s really clever for her age, so Des is raising her right too.
It ain’t about how many smarts you got, it’s about how you use what you’ve got. A lot of my enemies were smarter than me, but I still got the better of them in the end.
There’s a difference between intelligence and wisdom, Niv.
Yeah, I KNOW the difference: intelligence is knowing that tomatoes are a fruit, wisdom is knowing that you shouldn’t put tomatoes in a fruit salad. Umbra’s clearly high INT, low WIS.
That tomato analogy is a good one, I’ll have to remember it for my future Champions.
And you’ve admitted that Cal is your GREATEST Champion, so those future Champions are gonna have some BIG shoes to fill. They’ll have to work HARD to ketchup with him, Fi.
You were building up to that pun, weren’t you?
You know it, buddy!
Okay, it wasn’t actually bad.
Right now, me and Marley are on the Snowflake, the ChaotiX’s space station. In the big room where we fought the zombie fluffies. MIKA’s in street clothes mode at the moment, and Konba’s tagging along, for old times’ sake. We met him on the Snowflake.
If you didn’t know that we have a space station, or you’ve forgotten…
We gleefully stole it from the Abuse Syndicate, after taking down their leadership, who were hiding away up here in Earth’s orbit.
Yes, we seriously stole a space station.
And no, it doesn’t have a big death laser attached to it.
What kind of superheroes would have a space station with a death laser?
It would be almost as bad as making our headquarters a floating continent.
Look at what happened to the last one.
I named the Snowflake, because it’s shaped kinda like a… snowflake, with seven areas.
It’s a bit small, not a lot of room for supplies and such, but the Syndicate was using reverse engineered blipper tech for their own nefarious ends, so getting more supplies wasn’t a big deal, they could just have someone blip down to Earth on a grocery run when they were low on food.
That’s why we don’t sell blippers to the public. In the wrong hands, blipper tech is dangerous, especially if whoever made the blipper doesn’t really understand it, such as that hack Hans.
Don’t even get me started on what can happen if they cheap out on the parts. Our blippers are made with the best parts we can get, we don’t go scavenging in a junkyard.
Although Pierre did have to make do with junked parts during some of his adventures with the Trinity of Terra.
There’s no trace of the blood or gore from the horrifying display we once fought through here, not a whiff of rotting fluffy.
Took us a while to get the stench completely out, we could hardly crack a window…
Instead, a stage has been set up, as the last touches are being put on Zephyr’s upcoming concert in orbit. All five members of the band are here.
Their fluffies are happily chatting over in the living quarters, Wave getting some dip in a kiddy pool. Yeah, there’s a bathroom there too. There’s some pretty impressive water recycling tech on the Snowflake, Val said it’s of Hydroxian origin.
Water purity is a very important matter to Hydroxians, even more important than it is to us humans.
The concert’s been delayed for a while. A lot of things got in the way.
Seth gestures at the stage.
“We aren’t going to be able to have a lot of people up here. We’ve been sold out since about a week after tickets went on sale. And a lot of people weren’t happy about the constant delays, but considering the circumstances, it’s understandable why it took so long to get everything ready. The point is that we are holding a concert up here. It’s a dancing bear kinda thing.”
“Dewe am gunna be a dancie beaw tuu? Wow, Mawwey nu am missin dis con-suwt.”
I crack a grin.
“I know that you know that figure of speech, Mar. …Paul would probably do it if we asked.”
“I already asked him, Cal. He said he just needs to decide what kind of bear he goes with. But that’s not gonna be the biggest surprise of the night.”
“So what is gonna be the biggest surprise?”
Seth smiles mischievously at me.
“Let’s just say that we might have a special announcement planned, Cal. Oh, and guess what?”
“Cousin Bulk said that he’s gonna be coming too!”
“Awesome! I’ve always liked him.”
Yeah, it’s always fun when he comes to town.
Konba raises an eyebrow.
“Who’s that? The name doesn’t ring a bell.”
Seth happily explains, purely for Konba’s benefit.
“He’s from my mom’s side of the family, Kon. She was Australian. And Bulk’s a wrestler, so that’s his ring name.”
“His ring name?”
“It’s a thing on Earth. Some people just don’t have good real names for wrestling, you know? And Bulk is actually only half of his ring name.”
“So what’s his full ring name?”
As Seth explains that, he looks a bit embarrassed.
“Bulk… Bogan. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: Hulk Hogan, but Australian. There was a lawsuit, so, as part of the terms of the settlement, Bulk sticks to the Australian wrestling circuit.”
Bulk’s also not legally allowed to call his fans Bulkamaniacs.
Marley smirks up at Seth.
“Am dat eben weawwy a fing, Seff? Cuz yu haf towd Mawwey dat bee-fowe, an Mawwey nu haf seen anee pwoof yet.”
“Of course it’s a thing, Mar! Not as big as American wrestling, but… look, just ask Bulk later, I’m blipping down to Australia to personally deliver his concert tickets, you and Cal are always welcome to come with.”
I shake my head.
“No can do, my schedule for today is packed after this. It’s gonna be another long one…”
Konba seems to have a few more questions.
“So you’re half… Aw-stray-lee-yan, Seth? I’ve met a couple of humans from Aw-stray-lee-yah, but you don’t sound like them. One of them called me a… I think he called me a dronn-goh? Why don’t you talk like that?”
“Because I was born and raised in America, duh. I’ve been to Australia to visit the family a lot, though. Cal, Andre and Dave tagged along a few times. And I was conceived there, as Dad has unfortunately told me a thousand times.”
“His training’s going well, I must say. And so is yours. You can do so much with the element of air, you’re far more dangerous than you seem.”
“Thanks, Kon. We’ve been training hard, when we’re not busy up here. And I’ve been trying to do something like Symona’s power, so I can help with the Carnage situation too. I mean, sound is basically just air vibrations, right? Good thing this place has an artificial atmosphere. And artificial gravity, but maybe we could turn it off for a bit so I can rock out in Zero-G… do we have time to bolt everything down…”
As Seth starts rambling, I nudge Konba with my elbow.
“So how are things going with you and Jack?”
“Oh, we decided to call it quits. We had fun together, but it was never serious. Just a casual fling over the holidays, you know? Now that I think about it, Krist-muss is a lot like Great Ape Day.”
“You called it quits? For real? That’s a shame, everyone was saying you made a cute couple.”
“They can say whatever they want. I’m no longer the Konba who will burst into tears in the middle of the stadium because everyone is laughing at me. And I’m still friends with Jack. He said he wants to introduce me to his other ex. Zaki’s a caveman, and a champion pterodactyl racer over on Primal Earth, so even if it doesn’t lead to the bedroom, it’ll still be a good time. Believe me, us Saingans can handle a breakup. Most of us don’t take relationships as seriously as you Earthlings do, we don’t shed a lot of tears when a relationship ends. It’s why we get along with Dunnans so well. There may be a fight, but we’re Saingans, that’s normal for us, there’s usually no hard feelings afterwards.”
“Weww, wut mattuh am dat yu an Jack bof haf fun, wite?”
Konba nods, a wistful smile on his orange face.
“It was great while it lasted, Marley. And you should see what he can do with his powers in the bedroom. Cal, you two are missing out by not copying Jack’s powers, I think Judy and Caelum would really appreciate it–”
“I’ll stop you right there, Kon. An Omega with time powers is dangerous, and I don’t want to endanger the space-time continuum just to pleasure my wife.”
“Eben Mawwey can see dat am a bad ai-dee-yuh.”
“And Jude completely agrees with us on this, Kon. I’m not going into detail, but she has used her talents in bed too.”
Don’t tell Judy that I told you this, dear readers, but she recently borrowed a copy of the Compenydyum of Sex Majick from Deston.
It took her a very long time to work up the courage to ask.
That book has to be stored in a big cooler of crushed ice when it’s not being read, and the ice has to be replenished frequently.
And Deston said that it was already in the Sanctum’s library when he became the Archmage, so he insists that it’s not his copy.
I THOUGHT I felt my sussy baka sense sending me a slight tingle when he said that, but it COULD have just been an itch. Or gas, we DID have a rich lunch that day.
Well, Deston is a married man too.
Yeah, AND a grandfather. Him and Annie may be REALLY old, but it’s not inconceivable that they had a sex life in their younger days. Sorcie’s dad had to enter the world SOMEHOW, eh?
And Pierre, who can be a bit of a prude, fathered three children with two mothers.
Mind you, I’ve done the same thing, so I’m no better.
Of course, I have four kids if you’re counting both Quins separately.
And if you’re not counting all of the fluffies.
I mean, you know what most fluffies call their owners.
Speaking of fluffies, I need to go talk to the squad hunting Carnage again.
If Carnage is sighted, they’ll move out, and me and Marley will be joining them to lead the charge.
Or did you think that we were gonna just chill in my office and let our friends handle everything?
Haven’t I said it a thousand times?
A king who won’t defend his own kingdom is a shitty king.
And they do call me the Crownless King now.
John’s not one of those people. He doesn’t really have a high opinion on royalty in general. It apparently runs in the family, he says he had an ancestor who was executed for regicide.
Presumably, his ancestor had kids before killing that king, because I don’t think he would have gotten a conjugal visit.
John’s cool with the royals affiliated with the ChaotiX, though.
But they all had to work for it, by proving to John that their royal status hasn’t gone to their heads.
I had to work for it too, by proving that my power hasn’t gone to my head.
So yeah, he really hates Harvey, and would love to haul him off to prison, but Harvey isn’t a criminal on this side of the universe.
I need to see how Harv’s doing, too. Eddy, Erd and Ceec are visiting him in his cell right now.
And while I’m down there, I need to take a look at our other guests.
One of those cells may be vacated soon.
So I also need to swing by Val’s lab, and see how that thing she’s been working on with Merv is doing.
It’s tricky, integrating science and magic, but not impossible, which Prometheus and Beta prove the same way Dibbler sets off Niv’s sussy baka sense: merely by existing.
And while I’m in Val’s lab, I need to see how Argyrum’s regeneration is going.
They’ve apologized for trying to kill us. Remember, we met Argyrum on the Snowflake too.
Niv, anything else I’m forgetting that we need to do today?
Have you forgotten that we need to pick up our normo fluffies from Happy Fluffy Daycare later?
How could I forget that?
Have you forgotten to ask Chaos how Ugly Sweater Guy is doing?
Nope. He’s got all kinds of things planned for him.
I’m not telling you, dear readers.
I don’t wanna spoil the surprise.
We’re gonna have to stock up on imaginary popcorn.
Actually, Niv, the imaginary popcorn maker is on the blink again.
So DON’T turn that thing on, or it’ll stink like BURNT imaginary popcorn in here for a WEEK!
I really wasn’t expecting THAT when I moved in.
Damnit! Cal, you’ve GOTTA imagine up a replacement for us.
What, did you lose your imaginary toolbelt again?
Hey, YOU’RE the one who imagined an entire CITY in here! Where’d I put that damn thing? Okay, Nivlac, retrace your steps. Where was I the LAST time I had my imaginary toolbelt? I think I was at imaginary Harry’s Place…
Tool belt is actually two words, not one.
Not very helpful right now, MIKA!
Meanwhile, down on the humble blue marble below, in San Francisco, Venom the symbiotic fluffy swings from building to building.
As they swing past a certain law firm, Michelle Howard, attorney at law and Tom’s former owner, spots them pass her window, and whimpers in terror.
She closes the curtains, locks her door, and grabs her phone, making a call.
Whoever she’s calling quickly picks up, and after a couple of seconds, Michelle speaks.
“H-hi. It’s me, Michelle. I’ve been thinking about that deal you offered me, and I’ve come to a decision…”
Beneath the streets of San Francisco, Carnage, the other symbiotic fluffy, gathers with his horrific herd in the sewers.
Surrounded by his minions, the psychotic symbiotic fluffy addresses them.
“Dis dawk time, we make ouw moov. Yu aww knu da pwan. Nu fuk dis up fow smawty Cawnage.”
He looks up, as if he’s imagining that he can see the sky through the concrete ceiling.
“We am COME-IN fow yu, DADDEH. Cawnage am gunna make yu PAY fow nummin Cawnage head awf.”
Then he starts giggling, as if he has just remembered an amusing joke.
“An dat nu am gunna wowk DIS time…”