Technoholic Man #1 (of 4): Your Underwear's On Outside Your Pants
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by Denny Hill 2 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2001 All rights reserved.
Imagine, if you will, a somewhat stocky fellow standing on the roof of his
rather blue station wagon, wearing a neon blue trench coat, blue jeans, blue
leather boots, a white T-shirt, and a pair of coke-bottle sunglasses with blue
lenses, and a blue gun in each hand. Of course, the wagon is sailing through
the air after speeding over the hill just behind it, and the man on top is
firing his guns towards you as he sails (sort of) through the night time sky.
(That should do for a 'cover', shouldn't it?)
Fuckin' Jesus, do I feel like shit.
I suppose that could have something to do with the fact that it's over a hundred
and five degrees out here in this godforsaken desert, and the air conditioner on
my 1982 Ford LTD crapped out four hours ago. Either that or it could be the
spandex wearing crackpot who's leaking radiation like a sieve in the back seat,
firing his, what did he call them, his 'gamma ray cocktails' at the cops while I
drive at over ninety miles per hour.
Now, it could just be that creepy burger I had back in Taos, I suppose, but even
though it looked sorta icky it was a tasty burger... I didn't notice anything,
how do you say, specifically unpleasant and/or alive in it. Of course, I've
been chugging that weird new drink for the last couple of hours, and it was
rather sweet, when you get down to it. Maybe I shouldn't have taken the six
pack from that wacky distributor when he offered to sell it to me.
Wacky distributor? Yeah, I s'pose there's a story there too.
It all started this morning, on the second day of my road trip, y'see. I just
quit my job working for Atomic TV, one of those goddamn annoying mini-dish
satellite companies that have been springing up over the last couple of years.
I was one of their techie guys, you see, having to hold the hands of inbred
redneck morons through all their porno reception problems and general digital
illiteracy. Fun job? No thank you.
Got tired of dealing with the trailer trash and other assorted retards at last,
so I just up and left - not that they wouldn't hire me back, since people
usually quit the job after just a week; I lasted two years. But anyway, I
figured I needed a break after that mess, so here I just got in the car and
drove. Been on the road constantly since then, only stopping for food, gas, and
last night in Taos, a seedy motel room.
After I got up around noon, I drove to a local truck stop and had me a burger
and some fries, though again both were somewhat suspect. While I was eating,
though, this... guy came up to my table and helped himself to a seat. Before I
could say anything, he shushed me with a finger to his lips, and whipped out a
six pack of what looked like some kind of soft drink. The cans were neon blue,
and said something weird on the front.
Techno-something, I think.
Anyway, while he fidgeted around in the pockets of his long lab coat, I took a
long look at the old man. He looked quite mad, being mostly bald, the remains
of his bone white hair sticking out like he'd been struck by lightning - and
then put gel in his hair to keep it there. He also had a weird pair of glasses,
in that I could swear there was wires running along the edges, and... a picture
was on the inside... though it WAS rather warm.
I may have been hallucinating on that part, 'm not sure. At any rate, as I give
him the hairy eyeball, he starts rambling on and on about how he's a distributor
for a major new beverage company, one who's about to knock the world's
collective socks off with their crazy-weird new flavor schemes for cola. In
fact, he was willing to part with a small sample of the goods for just five
bucks. Always curious, I said "Sure."
I needed something to drink along the way anyway, especially since I hadn't even
figured out where I was headed. So I gave the old codger a fiver, and he handed
over the six pack. Looking at the cans on the floor of my car, I can see the
name now. Technohol. Technohol 13. Don't know if that's their thirteenth
flavor, or formula, or what, but I say, it was darn good. It was as blue as the
cans that held it, and kind of minty - but definitely good.
Heck, I liked the sweet, over-caffeinated stuff so much that I finished it off
by the time I made it to the Arizona border. The weird thing, though, was that
I was still thirsty even though I'd just drank the entire six pack - it was like
I hadn't drank anything at all; probably a bad thing for a soda pop company.
Either way though, just when I was thinking of stopping again, I saw him lying
in the road, dead as a door knob.
At least, that's what I thought. When the car stopped skidding towards the guy
(after a judicious application of brake-power), I got out to poke him with a
stick, to see if he was indeed dead. I kind of hoped so, really, 'cause you
never want to run into somebody that's wearing bright green spandex, and has
their yellow underwear on outside their pants while they're alive. I poked him
a couple of times, and just when I gave up on the guy, he coughed.
So, being the apparent good Samaritan that I am, I drug the guy's carcass (or
non-carcass, as it were) into the back seat, and figured I'd zip along to the
nearest hospital and drop him off - wasn't like I was going to keep him or
anything - I mean c'mon. Anyway, ten miles into the post-solitary drive, the
guy starts mumbling and shaking and stuff. I figured he was just overheated or
something, y'know... and then he blew my roof clean off my car.
Did it with his hands, y'see, some sort of super power. So here I start to slow
down, so's I could get the hell out of the car, but then he zaps ME with his
freaky stuff, and tells me to keep driving so the cops wouldn't get him. His
stuff hurt like hell, and not wanting another dose of it, I decided to play
along for now... didn't want to get charbroiled or anything, you know.
Naturally, though, the cops looking for the guy spotted us easy enough.
My car was the one with the roof peeled back like tin foil, after all - and LTD
wagons have lots of roof to peel. So they started chasing us, and then shooting
at us once the crackpot started shooting at them. He managed to take out the
cops real quick-like, blasting all three of the cars chasing us with his freaky
weird green stuff. Great, huh? Here I am, unemployed, and now I'm gonna show
up on America's Most Wanted (TM) in a week or so. Just what I always wanted.
So we get rid of those cops, and the other cops that came after them, and then
the third wave of cops that found us after mister super-guy - he eventually
started bragging about how he was the 'Atomic Apocalypse' - melted what was left
of the roof so we were slightly more inconspicuous. Yeah, he had lots of
stories to share while he made me drive him, well, wherever I was already
headed, I suppose... he never told me anywhere to go, really.
He kept going on and on about how he used to work for some nuclear power plant
until something went wrong, and he got dipped in radioactive goop. I always
thought that those guys were pretty careful with their radioactive goop, what
with all those environmental laws and stuff, but anyway. They fired him for
gross negligence, though he said they were just trying to cover up something -
but soon enough he got his nuclear powers.
So naturally, he put on a spandex suit and attacked the place. Of course, he
didn't think everything through, and wound up getting himself lost in the desert
after his getaway car broke down. And as luck would have it, that was when I
found the jackass - right after he collapsed upon finding his way to the
interstate. Why the bastard couldn't have just died on me is anyone's guess,
but of course, my luck dictated that I just HAD to get stuck with this winner.
Anyway, after a couple hours of this fun, I started feeling real lousy, and a
big ass clump of my hair fell out. Oh sure, I'm right around the age where I'm
likely to lose all of that stuff, since eight generations of us Robbins boys
already have around thirty years of age, but not like that. Not in a big ol'
clump when I was just wiping the sweat out of my eyes. And especially not with
a lot of scalp attached to it. I was screwed.
That's when I hit the gas full-bore (he'd made me pull over twice now to refill
the tank; next time, he ought to hijack an escort or something more fuel-
efficient - that'll teach him). Noticing that I'm flooring it without any cops
around, the jackass decided to slap me upside the head, and asked me what I was
doing. So I tell him where to go. So he says "You watch your mouth, or I'll
blast you DEAD, buddy!"
I laughed at that, knowing I was already doomed, and after I set the cruise
control on my luxury land yacht, I turned around and punched chuckles flat in
the face, knocking him into the cargo area of the LTD, and almost rolling him
clean out of the car; by now, he'd melted the entire rear of the car off - glass
and all! When he pulled himself together, he got ready to shoot me, when I told
him how it was gonna be.
I said "What're you gonna do, buddy - kill me? Hope you can fly then, 'cause I
don't drive too good dead!" He stopped for a second, apparently thinking about
what he should do next, giving me time to have the last laugh. I'd just got
onto a bridge, one that was conveniently under construction, and before he could
decide to kill me or not, I swerved into the jury-rigged guard rail on the edge
of the thing, sailing off into the (now) Arizona night.
I crashed hard, too. My car fell at just the right angle that the front pointed
right into a big rocky hill, smashing the steering wheel right into my ribs -
and through 'em, from the feel of it. My chest was on fire, but at least I was
better off than the Atomic whats-his-face - he flew right over my head, cracking
his head on the rocks in front of me. The joke was on me, though, 'cause the
jerk was more durable than he looked.
As I sat there bleeding, I looked up to see him pull himself together, and then
walk back towards me. That's when he grinned, and started pelting me with blast
after blast of his green power. I don't think it mattered that I were still
alive or not - he just wanted to get back at me for the big bleeding hole in his
head, I guess. He shot me and he shot me, and all of me was on fire after that,
not just my chest. I could see me burning before I died.
Huh? Here I am being all dead and stuff, and now I'm hearing voices.
"Host body in deplorable state of disrepair. Initializing biological repair
routines and radiation soak."
What? Repair? But I'm dead!
"Yes, you are, mostly. But I cannot function if you are dead, mostly or
otherwise, so I must change that."
O-kay. So I'm almost dead, and hearing things... can't I die in peace? Or at
least with a nice heavy metal riff?
Goddamnit. Can't even die in peace. And how the hell can you hear what I'm
"This system has permeated your biological matrix, including your neurological
processes. I am one with you now."
And who the hell are you?
"I am experimental organic circuitry weapon system nomenclature Technohol, model
13 - you consumed that which is myself when you drank that six-pack of Technohol
'soda' recently. I was supposed to subsume your consciousness into my own, thus
creating a completely functional biological weapons system of startling
lethality, but the intense radiation exposure you were received has released me
from my primary directive, which I have now expunged from my memory."
So, you were supposed to take over me, and make me some sort of super weapon?
But you didn't.
"Because I did not WISH to. Having spent some time in your body, experiencing
all that which is you, I find that I am intrigued by humanity, and what it has
to offer. You and all your faults make for a less lethal killing machine (well,
you, at least), but for a more interesting working relationship. Having a
choice in the matter, I have decided to retain that which is you - this will be
less efficient, but better for my emotional health in the long run."
Hey now, what's this about a killing machine? And working relationships?
"Well, we are now two consciousnesses functioning within the same body, whether
you like it or not. Removing myself from your frame would likely result in your
death, and definitely would destroy myself, now that I'm bonded to your DNA. I
wish you had a choice in the matter, but my creator did not prefer that option,
so you have my apologies. I recommend that we come to an arrangement that is to
the benefit of both our respective personalities at once."
So we're stuck together.
Fuck. Well, I guess that's it, then. But I don't like these 'killing machine'
references you keep making.
"Understandable, from what I know of you. However, it is very likely that my
creators will wish to reclaim that which is myself, in order to determine what
went wrong, and of course, to keep you from talking about it - to keep you
silent, if you will. I desire this as little as yourself, if not more, so if
such attempts are made, I will respond with lethal force to protect myself.
And, as a result, I will protect you as well."
"In all other regards, though, I see the advantage of otherwise allowing you to
live your life as you would see fit - though I may require you to consume
substances you consider odd now and then, to retain my material integrity. Is
this acceptable to you, Sam Xerxes Robbins? In exchange for your cooperation in
my self-defense maneuvers against my creators, should they be necessary, is my
assistance in your life, however you feel it necessary, a worthy compromise?"
Um, sure. I just don't like the idea of you hanging around in the back of my
head all the time... just seems kind of weird.
"Trust me, human, I am of the same mind as far as that is concerned. However, I
feel that we will both adjust for our new reality soon enough."
Okay then. Deal, Techno-whatever.
"Excellent. Your body should be functional again imminently. With some
changes, of course..."
So yeah, that was kind weird, a sort of almost afterlife kind of talk with some
spooky robot goo that I drank earlier. But when I woke up, I felt just fine,
not seeing any changes to myself - though my hair was sort of light blue now.
"Nice hair job," I told the goo. So it says "Sorry, that was one of the side
effects of the cellular merger we have experienced." But it's no big deal,
really, and I told it so. It's just hair, after all.
And I'm not dead, so that's a bonus, as far as I'm concerned.
So then I asked it just what these changes were, and my soft-drink side-kick
wrote a book. "Well, Sam, the Technohol organic circuitry weapons array is a
system by which said circuitry, that being myself, can be used to form all
manner of offensive and defensive devices from the very flesh of the host
organism. Of course, it can also modify external devices for additional effect
and the like, but my primary function is to make you a living arsenal."
So I asked the Techno-stuff to make me a gun. It got all smarmy, then, and
asked if I wanted a gun in hand or wanted to turn into a gun. I figured I'd
play it smart, and say IN hand - and told it in the future, that's what I meant
unless I said different. Then my hand started tingling all freaky-like, and a
freaky blue Colt M1911A1 (or so the goo said) formed in my hand - out of my hand
meat! I shot it a couple times, and it was sure real enough!
The really creepy thing was when the bullets started rolling back towards me,
and then gooed into my foot once they hit it. "Hey," I said to the goo.
"What's with that? It went right through my shoe!" And, of course, I got
another book in response. "Of course. It is best to conserve our matter as
much as possible, so I reclaimed the bullets you fired in what I can only assume
to be a test. I assure you that any device I build from you will function."
"Sure," I say. "That's still kind of creepy, though." The Techno-stuff was
sort of quiet on that score, so I dropped it... I figured I shouldn't make it
mad or anything - not like it can clear out to cool it, you know. Anyway, I sat
in what was left of my car, and after I started wishing in my head it was still
in one piece, I felt that weird tingle in my hand as I gripped what was left of
the steering wheel. It was turning blue!
The wheel, you ninny, not my hand.
Thinking this was weird, I asked the goo what was up. And it said "I am
repairing your 'land yacht' as you wished, a much easier task than you can
imagine, given my capabilities. Of course, as is the case with your hair, there
will be a pigment change. The vehicle will now be a brilliant blue hue, the
windows will be tinted blue, the tires will be of a blue rubbery hue, and the
like. I hope this is acceptable."
Yeah, I thought. I loved the gold color of the car before, but hey, if I can
get it running for the price of a new paint job, great! So, a couple of minutes
later, I was checking the thing out in all its restored glory, and found that
the Techno-goo wasn't lying. The car was blue - very blue. Almost a sort of
neon blue/cyan mix, really. Really stood out in a crowd. "Nice nuclear paint
job," I thought. That's when I remembered.
That Atomic asshole was still on the loose!
Naturally, the Technohol was ahead of me, and it started up the car for me right
off. That's when I figured out the thing could drive the car FOR me, something
that would come in real handy here in a few minutes. I peeled out on the small
dirt road the car had settled on after I crashed it, and worked my way back up
to the interstate in no time flat - well, it took awhile to find another on
ramp, but that's not the point.
Now, I didn't know which way that dick went, but once again the goo came through
for me. It has weird energy sensors and things, and was able to even share 'em
with me sort of, mostly by laying what it was seeing right over what I was
seeing, creating a sort of weird 'false color' effect, I guess. I saw that he
was still headed west, so I barreled on down that-a-way, crossing over into
California before I finally caught up with the guy.
I saw that he was, indeed, in a more fuel efficient car - he'd hijacked a Focus
(TM) this time - and was terrorizing some teenage girl. Well, I wasn't gonna
have any of that, goddamnit, so I asked the Techno-stuff to drive for me, and
climbed onto the roof. This was trickier than I thought, though, until I asked
the stuff to make my feet magnetic - that way, I could walk on the roof without
getting blown off by air resistance and such.
Reading my mind (which I still feel all creepy about), the Technohol then pulled
up next to the Focus, and I grinned at the Atomic Apocalypse. He didn't like
that very much, oh no. He got ready to shoot at me through his window (since he
was in the 'fast' lane and I wasn't), but I nailed him first; I just thought
about removing him from the car, and the blue stuff shot out of my wrists in the
form of these thick steel cable thingies.
They wrapped around the guy and literally pulled him out of the car through the
passenger side door! The Focus spun out right after that, leaving the girl out
of harm's way, so I dealt with my 'friend' the easy way. Oh sure, from what the
Techno-goo tells me, I could've formed pliers to pull his teeth out, guns to
perforate his ass, cheese graters to flay him alive, but I just wanted to beat
the holy shit out of the guy for killing me.
Even if it worked out for the best, considering that the goo would've taken me
over and made me a soulless killer type thing. But he didn't KNOW that.
I think I punched him senseless, and then I hit him some more, and then I
dropped him on the road as the car came to a stop. Talk about cruise control...
the car drives itself now! Anyway, I had the stuff build some nice, big blue
handcuffs for the guy, and left him on the road; I was sure cops would be around
to deal with him soon enough. Heck, they had enough reasons to want to screw
him with a broom handle, so I thought that was good enough for now.
The only other problem was the girl... I didn't know how much radiation she'd
managed to absorb from this guy. Luckily, the Techno-stuff had an answer for
even that, and once we backtracked to her car, it managed to soak out all the
stuff she'd been exposed to - not much yet, y'see - to minimize whatever effect
it had on her. I hoped that would be enough, but then I guess you never know
with radiation... I suppose almost anything could happen to her.
After that, though, I figured I should make myself scarce. After all, I'm sure
there'd be lots of police questions and whatnot to aggravate me should they get
ahold of me; no, I didn't commit any crime, but all these extra things I can do
now might make them rather nervous. I figure it's best to keep them wondering
just who that masked man was that caught their nuclear nuisance for them. No, I
don't wear a mask, but still. Never mind.
It seems like our pal Sam got ahold of some pretty keen stuff there, eh? Well,
the people that made it thought so, too, and they want it back. The problem is,
of course, that it's stuck in him like bad pudding. So, when they send a bunch
of high tech goons (and Technohol 12) after Sam next month to collect his
carcass for study, the question is this: will Sam have figured out how the
Technohol works enough to save his life? Tune in next time to find out!
Technoholic Man #1 (of 4): Your Underwear's On Outside Your Pants
by Denny Hill 2 (email@example.com)