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Interview with a Supervillain
Harvali posted a topic in Short StoriesWrote this a while back, not sure it belongs here since it’s LEGO not Bionicle, but hey, folks need something to read during the pandemic. The Ultra Agents sublime came out during my dark age, but I loved the look of the villains. Sadly the agents felt generic. In fact it always bugged me that the only superheroes in LEGO were licensed, there were original Lego supervillains, but not heroes. And at the time Red Ranger would not be announced for a while yet. So a few years back I wrote this little story about a toxic vigilante. Far warning, as the tag implies there is lgbt+ content, because a lesbian friend of mine has opinions on Toxikita, though I will say there are no burying of gays hereof anything nsfw. Also warning that there are allusions to real life politics, so be aware of that. Also be aware I was in a mood when I wrote it, so this has about as much subtly as a brick. (Get it, because LEGO?) Anyway, it’s something to read, so enjoy. Interview with a Supervillain A short story about a toxic vigilante … A lone minifigure walked the streets of Chood City, she was wearing a long cloak, the hood obscuring her face save for a few glimpses of green. She stepped across the sidewalk, a cracked and chewed up place, the surface uneven and faded in color. Her feet clicked across the ground as she walked, her head sweeping back and forth. She scowled under her hood at the clicking, it was completely out of rhythm, thanks to the lack of repairs to the street. She clutched her head to try blot out the annoying offbeat sound, tapping her head loudly with her hands, trying to keep herself calm with the better more musically sound noise. But then even though her hands she felt a scream echo from a block away. The autistic minifigure sighed, and then she began to sprint across the rough unkept sidewalk. She clenched up at the clicking, but she did not stop running. As she ran her cloak was swept behind her, the hood pulling back to expose her bright green hair and her unnaturally lime green eyes. Her eyes lacked pupils and specks of green covered her body, her lips were a bright green, and she was wearing a shirt with a strange symbol on it, not unlike a fusion of a biohazard symbol and the skull and crossbones of a pirate. She wore a spiky collar, and dangling from her leg was several glass bottles full of a noxious green fluid. The strange woman ducked into an alleyway, taking a shortcut through the city. As she excited she hugged the wall, peering around the edge to look for the source of the scream. She could see armored cars parked outside of the homeless shelter, a place for minifigures who couldn’t afford bricks, had missing parts, or were too clumsy to build with them. She tightened, before sprinting forward towards the cars and the shelter. With a touch she swept her hands against the armored cars, and from her hands cane a toxic fume that made their tires hiss and deflate. She did not stop, just running straight in. She could see the police throwing the homeless minifigures to the ground, disassembling their wheelchairs and crutches, kicking the minifigures as they fell. “Lousy parasites,” one of them spat, right before the green woman tapped his shoulder. He turned only for her to clutch his wrist in her hands. Immediately he tremble as poison spread through his body, before he collapsed to the ground. “Its Toxikita!” A cop shouted, turning around and firing his gun wildly. She ducked behind the poisoned cop before lifting him up as a makeshift shield. She ran at the other cops, reaching for one of her glass bottles dangling on her side. She hurled it at the cops, unleashing a cloud of toxins. The police began to gag and cough as she threw her ‘shield’ at another officer. The two of them fell in a heap, and she ran over, poisoning the one pinned by the poisoned cop. More studs flew the air from their guns, and Toxikita ducked behind a pile of disassembled wheelchairs. She stretched, before reassembling some of the bricks, turning their wheels into a crude shield. Toxikita then sprinted at the police, slamming into them with her shield. As they were staggered she clutched their sleeves, poisoning them too. They went limp, and soon the building was filled with the sound of moaning, from both cop and victims. Toxikita then turned and ran towards some of the injured homeless and the volunteers at the shelter. She grabbed a glass vial and began to work with her power, concocting a paste. She then began to plaster it on their bruises, and they murmured at the touch, even as their yellow bodies began to mend. “Thank you.” “Don’t,” she muttered, looking away as her cheeks blushed green. She moved among the homeless victims, helping their injuries mend. As they recovered she returned her crude shield to the pile of disassembled bricks, before she began to rebuild them into wheelchairs, crutches, and the like. She carried them over to the homeless and disabled, letting them settle back. She suddenly heard a crack, darn it when they broke in they damaged the foundation. She walked out and began to strip down the armored cars, disassembling them into pillars, before planting them inside to secure the building. Finally Toxikita was satisfied and pulled her cloak back over her face and clothes, before beginning to head back outside. “Thank … thank you,” a woman called after her, shivering as she staggered on her crutches, her peg leg still a bit trembling, “it’s … it’s good to have a superhero looking after us.” Toxikita sighed without turning back and stated, “I am not a superhero. Call me a vigilante if you won’t, but don’t kid yourself, I’m not like those kings.” “Not … all of them are wealthy.” “Maybe,” she dismissed, before walking away. She stepped into the street, before walking back to the armored cars. With a twist she pulled off more of the bricks, before assembling them into a crude skateboard. She kicked off and rode across the street, her whole body shaking as the skateboard rattled against the rough ground. She tensed up at the noise, but at least it was better than the clicking. “Me, a superhero?” She laughed bitterly at the thought, turning down another jagged street. Only this side of Chood City was this damaged, the richer parts of town were a lot better maintained, they got new fancy parts to replace the old, even though their oldest parts were only a few years old and still functioned perfectly. And they called their victim’s parasites? The vigilante glared in frustration, before she sighed in an exhausted voice. Toxikita reached under her hood and began to tug at her rubbery green hair, flicking it began so it it would spring back into position. The autistic did this for a few minutes, using the sensation to calm herself down She rolled down the street, kicking periodically to send herself moving forward. Finally she skidded to a halt in front of a sewer hole. She dug the skateboard into the lid, using the board to pry the hole open. The board didn’t even creak or crack, the police had a lot better pieces that the poor of Chood City. It made her want to drop a bomb of Pollutonium on their police station, ruin all of their bricks and force them to feel how the other half lived. But Toxikita didn’t do stuff like that anymore. She hadn’t in about four years. She descended into the sewer, the vigilante was immune to the noxious fumes and fluid that flowed here, and admittedly she liked the sensation of the goopy gunk rubbing against her, felt a bit like moisturizer oozing over her skin. She chucked the skateboard into the gunk, at least she could ruin some of their bricks. Then she began to wade down the sewer, following the toxic burn marks she made made into the walls. Finally she made it to her makeshift home, a small thing cobbled together out of bricks raided from the police and other bullies. She opened the door and walked in, before flopping down on her double p-decker couch. Admittedly she only used the bottom half to sleep and rest, the top she instead used as storage. She did not have the larger amount of space down there. The autistic reached besides her couch, before scooping up some slime. She rubbed the goo against her face, smearing it in as she settled into her home. On the wall was a photo of Adam Acid and Retox from their wedding. Hopefully her old minions were doing well nowadays, it was dangerous for the three of them to interact much, especially since Toxikita was definitely the bigger target. She pulled off her cloak and hood, before folding them nearly on her couch. Then she turned over onto her back, laying flat. She would need to hide for a bit, air until the heat died down. Then when the police began to recover, she would strike again. … Toxikita chopped up an old apple into studs, before picking up a piece and eating it. She went dumpster diving every so often, scavenging bits of food thrown away by restaurants and grocery stories in the richer part of town. The apples weren’t great, but they did their job. As she ate suddenly she became aware of a beeping, one with a horrifically uneven tempo. The autistic vigilante winced at the heat, before recognizing it as her alarm. Someone was trudging through the sewers, and they were close to her home. She stretched and began to head outside, hopefully she wouldn’t have to move her home again, she built it on tractor wheels and a motorcycle, letting her drive it away as needed. Still she hated to move, took weeks for her to figure out exactly where everything was, and it was just stressful in general. She pressed herself around a sewer wall, letting her peer over the edge. Whoever was coming was heading right this way, steadily sounding closer. Dang it did they know where she was? She needed the burn marks to find her way in the sewers, but if someone else had noticed them… Did not sound like a police battalion though, admittedly she was not the best at recognizing people but it sounds like only one set of footsteps. A curious maintained worker? Toxikita sank down, laying down into the goop until she was almost completely submerged. Her body was covered in gunk, letting her blend in. She breathed slowly, her head tilted slightly to look for the source of movement approaching. If it was a maintenance worker, he would be not worth poisoning. But suddenly she was unsure if she remembered to seal the sewer hole behind her, and it was best to be cautious here. As she laid there she spied a flash of pink, a woman was wading through the ooze, her hair was dyed in a mix of pink and blue, and was tied up in a way Toxikita was familiar with. Caila Phoenix. The vigilante tightened, an Ultra Agent, here? But the agency had been disbanded for years? The autistic tried to lay still, though her heart struggled against her chest. Toxikita could take that pencil-pusher no problem, but if the Ultra Agency was still around, and investigating her… It didn’t help matters that Phoenix was admittedly a good martial artists and skilled with a bomb or two. Toxikita had never really had to fight her, she was confident she could take Phoenix, but if the agent could fend her off long enough to contact other agents. As Toxikita looked through the waves of sludge, she realized Phoenix was not wearing an Ultra Agent’s uniform. She was dressed in a brown trench coat, and while she had a gun it was just a pistol, and an old one too. Looked a lot less up to date that the Chood Police Department’s military gear. It could still be a trap, so Toxikita moved slowly, using her hand to drag herself through the gunk gradually. As Phoenix trudged through the sewer her legs created waves in the noxious fluid, which helped mask Toxikita’s movements. Finally Toxikita was right besides Phoenix. With a thrust Toxikita’s hand shot out, grasping Phoenix’s ankle. Phoenix stumbled as the poison traveled up her body, before the woman passed out, going limp in the sewage. Toxikita stood up and flicked her hair, splattering gunk everywhere. She stretched and smirked at the Ultra Agent, before hauling her onto her back. Then the autistic carried her off, headed towards her makeshift home in the sewers. … Caila Phoenix awoke with a groan, her body clammy and covered in sludge. She felt faint, and was propped up against a mismatched wall of bricks. She was sitting on a few bricks too, elevating her body above the gunk that lapped her legs. She started to move only to hear a voice remark, “don’t move around, you need to give time for the antidote to work. Caila looked over to see Toxikita lounging on a double-decker couch, the poisonous villain staring straight at her. “Reinforcements are coming, they will—” “Doubt it, I searched you. You are just a P.I. now,” dismissed Caila, “nice explosives by the way, good to see your skills haven’t dwindled away.” “…” “…What are you going to do with me?” asked Caila, staring up at Toxikita. “Life isn’t all about you, you know,” dismissed Toxikita, “but you know where I am, and you still were hunting for me. Can’t just ignore that.” “So you are gonna corrupt me?” “Yeah let me just turn you as toxic and ruthless as me, how could that go wrong?” “Then what?” “Well it’d be smart if I had just let you die of poison then disassembled you, but I’ve been moving away from that kind of stuff these days. So instead I figure we’ll just talk a bit. It’s not like you Ultra Agents really had a chance to interview one of us before.” “So you just want to villain monologue?” “Something like that,” Toxikita answered, “though I have been moving from that term. First I need to know, did I forgot to seal the manhole?” “Yes.” “Ah click,” sighed Toxikita, “though I’m guessing you were already searching for me?” “You and your henchmen were the only villains to get away. So what’s your plan?” “Ain’t got a plan,” Toxikita stretched, “no scheme, nothing like that. You know it’s funny you left Astor City for me, and not Chood City. This place has been getting worse and worse for ages, would have thought a hero like you would have tried to help the people here.” “Chood has one of the strongest economies, there are new jobs every year…” “And the CEOs pay their workers less and less. There are more people living in poverty than ever, more folks can’t afford homes or even storage crates, and the bulk of minifigures work so many jobs that their parts wear down.” “…Didn’t think a villain would care about that?” “You know, the one time you Ultra Agents caught me and my boys, I didn’t tell you what it was like the day I became Toxikita.” “No, you didn’t.” “First, I’m gonna ask you not to use my old name. I know you Ultra Agents probably figured out my old civilian identity, but it’s not me now. Well, that’s obvious. But if you hadn’t bothered to do any research, I was an environmental scientist, studying the effect pollution had on the planet.” “I know.” “The day AntiMatter sucked me into that vortex, I was having a bad day. I had spent years studying pollution, how it corroded bricks, rubbed off faces, and it was growing. I had estimated we had maybe thirty years before it grew irreversibly out of control. Of course now I know we really had half that back then, but we only figured that out recently. And even then, I could already feel the pressure of a mere thirty year deadline pushing down on me.” “I had spent months trying to get people to begin to transition to cleaner fuels, to pollute less and recycle more. And the average citizen was working as hard on it as they could. But the politicians and CEOs didn’t care, and they caused the most pollution. They could squeeze more money out of the limited fossil fuels in our world, they would rather doom the planet than make slightly less money. After all plenty of them could just flee to Mars if worse came to worse, they wouldn’t be trapped on a dying world like the rest of us.” “I tried fruitlessly to convince them to give a darn, and just I kept getting beaten more and more beaten down. That day I was depressed, defeated, anxious, and hopeless. And that’s when AntiMatter sucked me into that vortex.” “What was it like?” “Despite your agency’s propaganda, it didn’t suddenly make me evil. You can’t just flip a switch and drain someone of ‘good.’ But it did destabilize my body’s chemistry quite a bit. Everything was bleak, no one seemed to give a darn, the world was doomed, and the worst minifigures were going to escape unscathed, I got bitter and self-destructive.” “There was no hope for our world, so I decided to make sure there would be hope for the kings of our world either. I would make them suffer, poison them and our world until all of them were just as sick and corroded as everyone else. Make them regret their apathy and cruelty. I was gonna make every minifigure equal in the face of Armageddon.” “…That’s bad logic, but it … explains some things.” Toxikita nodded, flicking her rubbery hair back, “Oh nowadays I know it was bad logic, I’m not in denial. At the time I was defeated, and wanted to just dump the world in the trash. But I wasn’t just magically turned evil. I take responsibility for my many attempts to poison Astor City.” She reached below her and scooped up some sludge, before massaging it into her face. “When Invizable broke us out, me and my boys skipped town, deciding to lay low for a while. We shared living space here in Chood City, forced Retox and Adam Acid to deal with their unresolved issues. We stuck to the shadows, didn’t pollute anything, kept clean, paid off the cops who saw us, that lasted about a year.” “And then?” “Then one day I was downtown in disguise, doing some shopping, when I stumbled upon a rally being held by Mayor Karup Leeder, then just another CEO in the crumbling city. He was one of those CEOs who had always denied my warnings, called it fake news.” “And at that rally he was … using my image. He was using me as a prop, discrediting my past self’s environmental research because of my villainy, and to spread fear. He used me as evidence that autistics were violent, that people with vibrant hair were freaks and dangerous.” “Yeah, I’ve seen some of that,” Caila nodded. Aside from her dyed hair, she was also autistic too. That I was still loose, and was really the cause of the city crumbling. I hadn’t done anything to the city, that was all his pollution. He rallied Thad City needed stricter laws against undesirables, keep them in their place. He was using me, using my image as just a tool. I hadn’t been tearing down the CEOs and politicians to our level, they were using me to hurt the most vulnerable.” “…I was horrified and ashamed. And I … resolved to not let Karup use me as a pawn like AntiMatter had. That I would stop letting monsters use me to beat down.” “It was too late by then to stop Karup getting elected, and I won’t forget what my misanthropy caused. So I resolved to get healthier, and to stop hurting their victims.” “Just like that?” “Just like that.” “…Then why not get purified? We had the cure—” “It’s not a cure, it’s a regression. I liked being Toxikita, and I did not want to move backwards to be a helpless scientist who couldn’t change the world. I wanted to move forward, and grow. Not be cleansed of the person I had become. And the fact is that the villains who were purified don’t seem all there, they seem hollow, less like a minifigure, more like computers.” “…” “But I made the choice to get better, and the first step was getting some stability. So I studied my toxic powers, you know a lot of medicines are made from poisons, from Ipecacs to anti-venom. I knew chemistry and biology from my helpless past as a scientist, and I was able to synthesize a medication. You see, I had been taking my meds the whole time I had been Toxikita, the only time I didn’t was when you Ultra Agents had me locked up. I wasn’t irresponsible. But my body chemistry had changed, they were no longer that effective on me, my antidepressants didn’t work for one thing.” “… I understand how destabilizing it is to have bad meds. But you know that does not justify what you did as a villain.” “I agree and accept that.” Caila was feeling a bit healthier, but remained sitting down propped against the wall. Finally she said, “I … respect your ownership of your own actions.” Toxikita’s cheeks suddenly blossomed a bright green, and she looked away. “I didn’t do it to impress you agents, you know.” There was a pause before Caila asked, “you have had a number of altercations with the police, every officer has been poisoned by you at least twice. Why?” They are bullies, brutes,” dismissed Toxikita, “you Ultra Agents had thorough training on all you equipment, you were taught never to escalate a fight, and if one of you crossed a line he was fired, just like Lux was. Even as a villain I respected you. But the ChPD, they are barely trained, they use equipment intended for the military or agents that they don’t have experience with, and they use their military gear to respond to everything from loitering to making too much noise. They protect each other too, if a cop disassembled someone for sleeping on a park bench, the rest cover for him, and the cops who try to weed out corruption get thrown off the force. The police are just another gang terrorizing Chood City. “…” “Look at how good the police equipment is, polished bricks, rare parts, flick-fire missiles, solid armor, they are Karup’s private army. Same with the gated communities Karup and his friends live in, not a single brick worn down. Now look at the rest of the city, corroded streets, cracked buildings, shaky foundations, most folks are homeless despite plenty of homes in the rich parts of town. People who had only minor injuries can it afford to replace them, so their bodies just get worse until they break. And just yesterday the police raided the town’s only homeless shelter, disassembled their wheelchairs, taking what little the poor had. There is no justification for that, it’s just evil. A worse evil than I ever was.” Caila breathed slow, trying to betray nothing in her face and said, “they attacked a homeless shelter? Why?” “Doesn’t matter.” “Humor me.” “Look you know as well as I do a lot of folks who are mentally ill or have ‘colorful hair’ end up homeless, especially in Chood City. Few businesses want to hire difficult workers, the ones that have jobs get barely any pay, prevents them from affording housing. Pushes them out to the fringes, the ones who can come here, the ones who can’t sleep on the streets, and then the cops lock them up for loitering and vagrancy. Leaves them with a criminal record, harder to get a job, and gives the minifigures here ‘justification’ to consider all of them crooks at best. All it takes is a excuse and the cops can ravage any shelter they want with little judgement. Just another way the city is oozing with .” Caila coughed at the vulgarity, before saying, “you care a lot about this.” Toxikita blushed again and looked away, before murmuring, “Yeah well, I won’t if they hadn’t used me as a prop. Without permission.” “Of course,” Caila tried not to smile, before settling on another poker face, “but if you are attacking police openly and so often, sending more of them to the hospital every week, that just gives Karup more excuse to call you a monster, and to use you as a prop.” “Yeah well he was doing that when I was just minding my own business,” snapped Toxikita, “He didn’t even have proof I was in the city, just used me as a scapegoat for the corrosion and the grime that coats the streets. If I did nothing he’d keep it up, at least now I am letting the weak know someone gives a darn and I’m costing him and his gang plenty of bricks and money. And any moment they spend searching for me, less chance they can be beaten up the helpless. That’s what they were doing at the homeless shelter, cracking their hands and smudging off their faces.” Caila did not respond to that comment yet, and instead said, “You do sound pretty noble for someone fighting him out of spite.” “Yeah well you’re wrong,” Toxikita looked away, trying not to show her green cheeks, “I just have standards. The world stinks so much that I look better by comparison.” “And why have you told me all this?” “I like to complain about how the world sucks, consider this venting as my therapy.” “Alright. Then what happens now?” “…Still thinking it over,” muttered Toxikita, “can’t risk you telling anyone that I’m down here, I probably should disassemble you.” “Makes sense.” “Agreed.” “You could probably make a poison that would make me corrode to dust.” “Well, no.” “Still I’m sure if you disassemble me and soak me in the sewage my clothes and face will all bleed out, no one could identify me then. Brick me up in the sewer walls, it could be quick.” “That would take too long,” snapped the vigilante. “You are right, what’s your plan then?” “…” Toxikita looked away, her hands clenched. “If I may,” Caila stood up and sat down on the couch besides Toxikita, “I might have a suggestion. If you would be interested.” … Toxikita flicked her rubber hair as Phoenix began to speak. “You know, almost every city has some grime and chewed up bricks, especially the bigger ones. There also tends to be gaps between the poor and the rich, and the police tend to have better equipment that a civilian, getting old equipment from groups like Ultra Agents and the old Mars Mission fleet. But none of them have a gap on the scale of Chood City. It’s possible you could have caused it, you have the power, especially if you have the resources to strengthen your power.” “Humph.” “It doesn’t look like you have the resources to devastate a city, no helicopters or mechs or even henchmen, but you also like the filth, and you could have taken me to a fake lair.” “That what you think?” “No, because I am not an idiot. I did consider it, I have to in my line of work. But there are reasons I came down here alone without alerting the ChPD of my suspicions.” “…Alright.” “I had come to Chood City a few weeks ago, getting evidence. By the time I would get to a crime scene the police had already cleaned everything up, and they aren’t welcome to even a local P.I. Me an outsider with bright hair and my own disabilities, I could feel their contempt for me.” “Yeah they suck.” “Yesterday I got there early, and saw something’s they didn’t want me to see. Cop reinforcements were tearing down the only polished bricks from the shelter, ripping them out. They got violent quick, and well, I’m still pretty good with a fist. After I knocked out most of them, many of them fled, but I caught a rookie. He said you and the gang’s had stolen those bricks from the police, they were just taking what was theirs. They didn’t seem too bothered that tearing it out might collapse the building.” “I know demolitions, so I also know the weaknesses in architecture. I mended the building, and then looked over the homeless there. They were bruised and wounded, but they had already had their wounds treated. Some of them were healthy enough to explain what what you had done for them. They called you their only superhero, if a violent one. And you know, if you were secretly hoarding bricks to corrode the city, it didn’t make sense for you to leave all those parts there, or for you to have reassembled their medical equipment for that matter. And why help treat them, I know they were beaten not poisoned, and either way why would you waste poison on helping them when you could use the stuff to devastate Chood City. The cops’ story didn’t add up, and I trust my eyes and those testimonies to know the truth.” “Great. Bet you were surprised when I poisoned you.” “You only knocked me out.” “Yeah. Still poisoned you.” Phoenix continued, “it was a bit frightening I won’t lie, but since I woke up things have gotten back on track.” “Still might disassemble you.” “Of course. Or, we could also let each other go?” “Pardon?” “You could let me go, move your home too if you feel you need to, and I would just not tell anyone what I heard down here, say this was a false lead, maybe even encourage the newer agencies not to look too much into their affairs.” “You are just gonna let a vigilante loose in this city? Not to mention one who regularly attacks law enforcement? Doesn’t sound like something an Ultra Agent should do. More like Lux.” “You don’t have to keep up the tough girl act constantly you know? I already know you can be dangerous when you want to be.” “I could crush you.” “Of course. But this city is broken, the laws have been twisted to hurt the most vulnerable, and the worst minifigures become cops. It’s like if AntiMatter’s plan had succeeded in Astor City, only there are still plenty of victims to be terrorized. In a place where evil is law, I think … you might just have to have a rule breaker to bring hope to the people.” “…I am not gonna just trust you. That would be stupid.” “I know. But if a former Ultra Agent helps dismiss the claims you are damaging Chood City—” “Won’t work, Karup owns the news stations.” “Yeah in this city. But other cities like Astor City could listen, and they could start to put the pressure on Chood City. Maybe even get some activists to come in to try and help.” “…Yeah well when they see me they’ll call you a liar.” “Let me worry about that. If I can use what power I still have to help, I should.” “…You know if you were a detective I wouldn’t even consider it.” “Lucky I am not then.” “…Well I suppose I could easily hunt you down and crush you if you double-crossed me,” Toxikita muttered, “and even if you rat on me, I can relocate somewhere else and make the cops waste their time looking here. And you are probably too much of a goody two-shoes to lie.” “Card-carrying for the last five years.” “…If you do double-cross me I will smear off her face until you can’t speak or even breathe, got that? No explanation, just smudging off your face.” “Understood. And even if I beat you, your boys would hunt me down and free you anyway.” “Fine then. You heard anything about them?” “Yeah Jack Fury ran into them about two years ago, rubbing a bank. Retox was calling the shots, Jack said he seemed pretty frustrated with Acid, but less vicious.” “Imagine that.” “There is one thing though. Jack detonated a special grenade to purify them. They were caught in the blast, but it didn’t work. They were immune. Now neither of them are smart enough to inoculate themselves against the tech, but you might just be.” “Yeah, I might just be.“ “How did you do it?” “…It was in the first year I was in Chood City. Corrupted a bunch of rats, experimented on them with poisons and then purified them. Gave the boys their powers didn’t I? After long enough I could inoculate the rats, then did it to the boys and then me.” “Appreciate you didn’t experiment on people.” “I was laying low at the time, new super villains, disappearances, or people getting brain damage would only have attracted attention,” Toxikita dismissed, her cheeks still flushed green, “speaking of brain damage, how is that old professor doing?” “Dr. Brainstein is still recovering from being purified,” Phoenix looked away and Toxikita smirked a little, “he’s as smart as ever, but he now struggles to make decisions, even simple ones like what to eat for breakfast or what sock to put on first.” “You can see why I don’t want to go back. Besides I feel a lot better about myself since becoming Toxikita, and not that helpless damsel. Besides the name is much better. And don’t you dare say my name sounds ridiculous, Ms. Phoenix.” “Wasn’t going to,” the P.I. answered, “I know very well what it is to chose your own name. No one is just born Caila Phoenix. But you know, the doctor still does research, groundbreaking too. For the past few years he has been studying other dimensions, worlds of minifigures like us but different. Not aliens like the few surviving Martians or the alien fleet who nearly wiped them out, more like different versions of our world.” “Not sure how that’s groundbreaking or even relevant. Got enough problems here.” “When in one dimension there is a woman called Tox, who looks a lot like you and she also has poisonous abilities. She’s different in some ways, she inherited her poison powers and she was never a super villain, but I could still see bits of you in her. Last we saw her she had become a part of a resistant movement, fighting against an evil warlord who had conquered a great city and ruled by fear. It wasn’t even her city, she just came when the people needed her.” “…Yeah well I’m not like that.” “I think you are.” “Well thanks,” muttered Toxikita, “in how many dimensions am I a remorseless super villain?” “Many,” Phoenix said with a smile that made Toxikita blush at how genuine it was, “Tox doesn’t define you, just shows one way you could be. Like you said being good was your own choice, she just taught us that you could make that choice if you wanted to.” “Yeah well she was never a super villain.” “Doesn’t mean she didn’t grow from when we first watched her.” “Still, like you said she doesn’t define me, I chose to spite Karup and his cronies. Anyway I need to move my house, so I think you should get going.” “Alright,” Phoenix stood back up, before saying, “you know, if you ever need some help, I can do some investigating, help you find weaknesses in Mayor Karup’s reign.” “Don’t trust you like that. But thanks, I guess.” As Phoenix walked to the door Toxikita muttered something. “What was that?” “Just, your hair blends together in the back, looks purple.” “Yeah I think the sewage smeared my hair into a big mess.” “…Purple looks good on you,” Toxikita’s cheeks were a solid green, “Maybe, dye your hair purple more often, Caila.” “Sure, always looking to reinvent myself,” Caila smiled before walking out of the door and back through the sewers, her feet wading through the gunk. Toxikita waited until the door closed, before slapping her cheek. “Easy there,” she muttered, “she’s a former Ultra Agent, you’re a vigilante at best. It wouldn’t work.” She would wait a bit longer, then she should drive her house elsewhere in the sewers. She … she still couldn’t trust Caila, of course she couldn’t. But it … she wasn't great at reading people but it felt like the P.I. might trust her, at least a little. And that idea made the vigilante’s chest squirm. Though it … it wasn’t exactly a bad feeling either.