Bad Penny (Chapter One)

Story Description:

Bad Penny is the story of a super villain forced to become the hero. It’s a piece that I’ve been mucking with over the past few months, and that I do hope to have published in the near future. I’m sharing the first chapter just because I think it’s keen.

The rest is for me and maybe a publisher later.

01: Bad Penny

Hey. I want to tell you a story. It’s about me, and though I’m not egotistical enough to say that I’m my favorite subject, it is a good story. Maybe the best story ever.

So, introductions. That’s me there, booking it up the road like I’m trying for first place in a one girl marathon. The skinny ginger with the frizzy curls. I’m the one in the scarlet skin-suit. You know the type of suit I’m talking about, one of those tight ‘I’m in the supers club’ numbers. Maybe you can’t see it really; I do hide my super suit mostly under a pair of overalls. I mean, I have my dignity, and the costume doesn’t have much room to store that in. It doesn’t have pockets to store my stuff in either, and I have tons of stuff.

See, I’m an inventor, engineer, and to blow my own horn, an absolute genius. It runs in the family, which is an important fact that we will discuss later. Point being, I like to have my tools and toys on me at all times.

The oversized super-techy gauntlets I’m wearing are a fine example of my inventive brilliance, and should help you pick me out of the crowd. Those are my Multi-Gauntlets. They have more settings than a utility belt has pouches. I made them and they are awesome. Patent pending.

Finally, and this here is the easiest way to spot me, I’m the one currently being chased by what feels like every cop in the city. You see, my name is Bad Penny, and I’m the villain of most stories.

Just not this one.

But that’s me getting ahead of myself. I mean, I was being quite villainous at the moment. I’d literally just knocked over an armored car, and had figuratively stripped it clean. They were carrying a canister of stabilized Deloranium, which I was actually stealing for my dad. We’ll talk about him later, but for now just know that I didn’t personally have any use for it. Mind you, I didn’t need the money I stole either, but if you’re already robbing an armored car, might as well go for gusto right?

Either way, that’s why I had a bag of swag over my shoulder, and that’s why the police were chasing me. And before we mistake this for amateur hour, you should know that this was not me running for my life. This was a victory lap, and it was all part of the plan. Honest.

In fact, I’d say the plan was coming along better then, well, better then planned. I’d wanted the city’s attention focused on me for my own currently secret reasons, and included in that was at least a good few cops. Instead, it felt like I’d woken up everyone who’d ever carried a badge in this town. Heck, even Chief Bronson was personally part of the chase squad, which in some ways was actually flattering. I mean, you jam your bits into a super suit, you’re hoping that someone will notice, right? Anyone, hero or villain, tells you otherwise they are either lying to you or to themselves.

That said, this much attention was too flattering, if you know what I mean. My theory that I was being chased by all the police was proven wrong when I hit the main drag, and found that there were even more officers there. They’d even set up a mighty fine road block. Cars and stanchions and everything. Tons of guns.

I stopped running. I mean, there wasn’t anywhere to run to at this point, and the cops knew it. Cars and sirens screeched to a halt behind me as the not-roadblock part of the police force caught up. There was a brief kerfuffle-shuffle as cops leapt behind their vehicles and pointed yet more guns at me. Chief Bronson stepped out of his car with the swagger of a man in charge, and the certainty of someone that thought he’d just bagged the feather in his career cap. Someone handed him a megaphone, even though he was maybe fifty feet away from me.

“Give it up Bad Penny,” Bronson yelled. “We have you surrounded. There’s nowhere left for you to go.” His officers punctuated for him with the clickity-clack of many, many guns cocking.

This is the sort of place where I’d reply with ‘I could always go up’, and then fly away with a rocket pack or something. Sadly though, I don’t have a rocket pack, or at least not one on me currently. If my ride wasn’t running late, it’d be a different story, but we’ll get to that later. For now, all you need to know is that wasted one-liner moments are the absolute worst.

It’s fine though;I’m a professional, and I get over these things quickly. Besides, there’s a good chance that no one would have heard me quipping anyways, what with the sudden gunfire. I’m not sure what happened fully. Maybe I twitched, or maybe not, but something spooked a rookie in the back, and he fired. And then so did nearly everyone else.

Which, you know what? I’m actually fine with that, thank you very much. I mean, you don’t try and pick a fight with the police in this town if you’re especially vulnerable to bullets. I spread my arms wide as the police panic-emptied their guns at me, all to the tune of the chief yelling for everyone to hold their Goddamn fire. His words.

And, after some more shooting, and some more yelling, the police did hold their fire. Really though, it had less to do with Bronson’s yelling, and more to do with the whole me not being effected by them firing at me. One by one, the cops just stopped shooting, and took to gawking as their bullets hovered in the air all super cool around me.

“Inertial barrier,” I explained as I plucked a stalled bullet from the air. “It slows things down. Pretty much stops them. Impressive, right? Yeah, you’re all super impressed. But I’m going to get you to hold your applause till the end of the show.” One of the officers near the back actually did clap, proving that there’s always one in the crowd no matter who that crowd is.

I made a big show of adjusting the dials on the back of my Multi-Gauntlets. “You’ll love this one,” I promised as I pointed my palms towards the parked cruiser roadblock. “I call it the Annihilation Wave. It’s all super science-y, but layman’s terms? Well, really, is there layman’s terms for agitated molecules and aggressive combustion?”

There is not, which is fine because the Annihilation Wave is really a demonstration sort of thing. I open hand fired a wave of angry red energy into the side of an empty cruiser. The car popped high into the air, and violently exploded. Hyper Mega Super exploded in fact. It blew up so completely that there was nothing but a dusting of ash left to fall on the police. Annihilation Wave baby; accept no substitutes.

Kudos to chief Bronson, btw. He just stood there in a snowfall of ash, staring fury at me. That man does not flinch, as it were. “Do you really think you can get away with this?” he asked without his megaphone.

I smiled a sneer back at the chief. “I’m Bad Penny,” I replied, because you should always say your name at least once in these things, “and I get away with everything I do.” Not the absolutely best quip-comeback I’ve ever used, but I actually DO get away with everything I do.

I popped another car right behind the chief at this point. He again didn’t flinch, but everyone else did, and that’s pretty much good enough. Someone dragged him away for his own safety while the rest of the police ran for theirs. I annihilated a few more cars, and ruined their little roadblock. A couple braver cops shot at me from cover, but Inertial Barrier, remember?

Also, I’d like to take a moment to point out that I was only blowing up the empty police cruisers. I love a good explosion as much as the next girl, but I’m not a psycho about it, and I’m not behind killing folks just because. Besides, police are almost people too.

Anyways. Cars exploding, cops running about, bullets flying, and me in the center of it all. By this point the media had gotten in on the action, and were recording the whole thing for prosperity. It was, all in all, a good day.

So, of course The Paragon had to show up and ruin it.

The Paragon is the world’s greatest hero, if his hype was to be believed. He had this double button flap blue jacket thing, and a little red half cape with matching boots and gloves. I’ve always thought he looked like some sort of pulp fiction sixties space cop. In all fairness, The Paragon’s been about since the sixties, and he is supposedly a space cop, so I guess I’m pretty much bang on.

You should know that I didn’t need to see The Paragon to know he was coming. I mean, I’m doing massive property damage, and the police are all suddenly pointing past me and staring awe at the skies? Right?

Right. I tried to do smart thing, and turned to actually, really, really run. Instead, I only slammed face first into The Paragon’s super invulnerable chest, because of course he’d landed right behind me.

The Paragon put a firm hand on my shoulder, and gave me the look. One of the things I hate the most about The Paragon is that look; like he’s not mad at you, he’s just disappointed. I fiddled with my gauntlets, and stared at my boots. I did nothing to stop him as he took my swag bag.

“What’s going on here, Penny?” he asked calmly.

The obvious answer was stealing things and blowing stuff up, but I didn’t say that. Instead, I went with “Oh, hi Paragon.” And because that wasn’t cringe worthy enough, I followed with “I wasn’t really expecting you.”

“You weren’t expecting me,” The Paragon repeated slowly. He looked about at the panicked officers, and the snowfall of ash, and the whole general chaotic mess of the place. “This is loud, even for you,” he said. “Surely you must have known I’d hear it?”

“Please don’t call me Shirley,” I replied instinctively. I looked about quick, but no one cracked a grin. Not even that one guy in the back. Tough crowd.

Needless to say, though I’m saying it anyways, The Paragon was not impressed. “It doesn’t matter what this was,” he admitted, “it’s over now.” he stern-gazed me, and squeezed a subtle threat into my shoulder. “It is over, right? You’ll go quietly?”

“Well…” I hummed and hawed for a moment, and then I clicked the button that blew up several of the parked cars I’d ran by earlier. Yeah, my Multi-Gauntlets are one of my coolest gadgets, but I have a gaggle of others on me. Mini magnetic remote controlled explosives barely rank top ten of cool, but they’re effective enough.

In this moment, the mini explosions were doing their job as an effective distraction, and I wasn’t going to waste that. Police dove back into cover, and The Paragon looked back at the noise, which of course was the whole point. I used that second of confusion to squeeze a Multi-Gauntlet between me and The Paragon. “I was totally expecting you,” I admitted as I fired into his chest.

I mentioned that The Paragon was invincible right? Yeah, he’d have ignored my Annihilation Wave, which was fine. I really had been expecting The Paragon to show up, and had built in a feature just for him. There was a solid ‘funt’ noise, and enough recoil to knock me on my butt. Mildly embarrassing, but totally worth it, as the actual blast hurled The Paragon down the street and through the display window of a fancy lingerie shop.

I managed to blend standing up, brushing off, and excited fist pump into one smooth action. “Super Kinetic Blast,” I told my cowering audience, mostly because I didn’t want to see the media making up their own names for my stuff later. I flicked my gauntlets back to Annihilation, and blasted a few of the remaining cruisers to remind the cops to just stay hidden as I dashed back up the street.

I wasn’t under any illusion that I’d just beaten The Paragon, by the way. Best case scenario, I’d stunned him a bit. Worst case, he was flying up behind me, about to hit me in the back of the head. I was safely estimating somewhere in the middle of those, and giving myself maybe half a minute head start. I wasn’t going to get far on foot, and honestly I was getting a bit tired of running. I turned on the radio built into the Multi-Gauntlets, and called for my ride.