Days had passed, days, and still his sleep went on troubled. Ever since that night, unfettered indignity and hate would keep him awake. Remorse, the need to right the wrong, to make them sorry they ever said what they did, kept him awake. Seething. Boiling.
It reminded him of his time in prison, when claims about his state of mind, and his level of intelligence, were being made every single day while he was incapable of defending himself. It had been during that time he had decided to prove them all wrong by showing them what it was like if they were right. About him.
It would culminate in that Shadow Conclave, his second, when he would have the opportunity to conduct an invasion force into unstoppable victory over humanity.
He kept thinking back to his infiltration of their vessel, that elongated moment through which he could really… taste the dream. He could imagine the world pleading in desperation.
“Why? Why, Goldschmidt?”
“This is what you said I was. Notice how once I decided to actually become this, it took but a decade for the world to fall and you all to crumble.”
Vindication. He would then look to nothing but his survival.
Yet, there he was, employing his intellect for the sake of the world instead of against it. It was unfortunate but priorities were important. Those who would question his intellectual prowess, his incomparable genius, so directly as to call him obsolete? They deserved to be punished far more than those who would call him evil. The world had misjudged him, ruined him, but never had the people not recognize his genius.
He rotated his eyes, at that moment thin and extended so as to provide his vision with greater zoom. He saw it then: the submarine. It was docked at a secret port in a closed off island to the east of Norwayaka. Grunlandia, it was apparently called. It was a small thing and apparently all but occupied by the organization who owned the submarine, contrary to what maps would have you believe.
It was a remote thing, an ice-coated existence explorers had found out about and almost confused with an iceberg. It was uninhabited, and no one had really wanted to change that since its discovery.
It had taken him all of one day to figure out how to track the vehicle. The method he had employed would not work in the future, a sound-based system that emitted a noise, imperceptible to humans but likely annoying to some of the sea animals, which would rebound off metallic bodies. The distance at which this sound could travel underwater was remarkable.
He had sailed for three days until he finally caught a signal, which led him to the island. He was on a boat in that very instance, one built by him with an engine none had ever built before – steam-powered of course. The thing was almost the size of a small child and yet managed to be so much quieter. It also had a redirection system for the vapor, to send it into the sea. That way, his approach had been, and would continue to be, completely unnoticed.
It might not be all too environmental but who really cared? Not him.
Now to infiltrate their island, find out where the main compound is, infiltrate that, and then have a talk with the leader of this whole silly enterprise.
They would likely have scouts on the edges of the island, watching for undue approaches. He considered the problem for about ten minutes, coming up with the solution: spot them first. They would, after all, be using equipment that was not a match for his own.
The Mad Scientist had a thirst for results and research that was, in his opinion, unheard of. Despite that, he also was proud of the restraint he was capable of exhibiting, to the point where, sometimes, it resembled patience.
He staked out the patrols and figured out their patterns. It took the rest of the day but once night fell, making it even harder for them to see, he made his move.
He docked near one of the beaches, though that word was used loosely as there was no sand, only snow which was leading to a layer of ice that cracked and then turned liquid the farther away you got from land. The ice silently and obediently broke away before his boat.
Once his feet hit the ground, he activated the self-sinking part of the boat he had built. There was a plug below the floorboards, on each side of its stern. He had but to turn a lever to open it, and the boat would start to sink. It had enough metal and iron in it that it would not float.
He did so and then kicked the boat away. He planned to return to civilized lands using the submarine. Or failing that, something else.
Though why that would fail was beyond him at that point.
He was wearing a cape-like coat that was designed to be around him, it had a hole in its center through which he fit his head. The man he had purchased it from called it a poncho. It was fitted with a hood for added protection, not that here was much left of him to feel cold’s pinch or the sharpness of freezing, but on the other hand, there was a lot of him to rust and break down.
He had installed micro-furnaces around his joints, fumes were already exhuming from his leg and arm through small thin exhaust ports, but they were mixing with the humidity in the air before properly escaping his cape.
The main point was that the garments were white, it provided him good camouflage in the island. The fumes were also white, as he was using water as fuel. He could conveniently refuel using the ice.
However, even with all the preparation and all the technology – that he was quite literally wearing – there was no beating weather that bleak. He was freezing anyways. His limbs grew sluggish anyways – his metallic ones, the normal ones just hurt a bit. It was all very maddening.
By the time he landed eyes on a building, he had pretty much convinced himself he was going to blow up the whole light-forsaken thing, with everyone still inside.
Make me come all the way up here… he was aware the reaction was emotional and given to his age, physically and regarding temper, but he didn’t care.
The Mad Genius sniffed an already stuffy nose and looked up at a steel-plated gate. It had a roof of snow three feet high and was wide enough for four of him. He grunted and shuffled towards the right, there were three wheels there, each connected to a pipe, all three connecting into a larger one that went into the walls.
“We-e-e-ell,” his mouth shivered from the cold, he found himself trembling. In a grunt of impatience, he brought out a tiny blow-torch.
If they expect me to suffer through whatever puzzle they concocted here, they have another thing coming.
He turned it on.
Any type of security is just a lock, a lock which simply blocks a connection. I have yet to find a lock I have not known how to surpass.
He conjectured, successfully, that the wheels were turning tiny yet very strong rotors that were blocking what was coming from the big tube to go into the three, and then down and to the side of the wall. It took him a while, but he eventually finished his work.
He sealed passage on the big tube, then opened the three, turned the wheels to place them in the right position, then welded everything back together with the use of some iron plating he could spare. Finally, he broke his own sealing on the big tube.
They threatened to burst and explode but hesitated long enough on that for the gate to creak open. They trembled, they whistled as ruptures surged in across their shells, but the Mad Genius still waited for the gate to open enough that he could walk inside without ducking.
He stepped inside and walked on, not reacting when the tubes finally burst open, and the gate crashed shut. He would find another way out.
He would ordinarily have dropped the poncho, but he had to admit he was still too cold to do that. He did, at least, pull the hood down.
Now, he thought, too embarrassed by his stuttering teeth to try and use them, to find out who these people are.
It didn’t take him long to find people. Four workers hauling crates, a scene so typical and quaint it worsened his mood. Their appearance, however, was curiously familiar. Goggles and a vest over a body suit. The goggles, specifically, seemed to tug at his memory.
Where have I seen that particular model before?
He didn’t stick around to remember, mostly because he didn’t like the feeling: of knowledge that he had clearly learned but couldn’t properly dig up. His mood worsened.
Falk left the large unloading bay and entered some kind of tunnel, or a hallway sunk in snow, and followed it. He kept moving like he owned the place but his eyes whined as they gyrated and angled around, taking a look at everything ahead of him. His arm was engaged into weapon mode, in case he had to shoot someone quickly, while still staying hidden inside his poncho.
There was something to be said about having a cape which conceals everything inside, it did afford a certain extra confidence to the way he handled himself, and that was saying something. Confidence was the last thing he lacked in the way he handled himself.
He ran into a room which purposed seemed to be file archiving. Curiously, he pulled up a dossier, filled with sheets of paper, and perused it.
It was mostly engineering designs. He saw weapons, movement enhancements, and overall mechanical patches to the body. He wasn’t that impressed with what he saw in the first few pages so he threw it aside and pulled up another.
They were a collection of maps pointing out the locations of the headquarters and outposts of several secret organizations. Starting with secret spy agencies belonging to a few nations of note, followed by the Tech Guild itself, the House of Magni, Kagekawa and the rest. Most notably, Shadow Conclave, which was famous for having all their outposts and safehouses completely secret. Yet, they were all listed on the maps.
It was followed by a list of names with markings in front of them. Either “alive”, “turned” or “out”.
They’re taking over them? There was a lot of “turned” and “out” markings. And doing so well too?
It was at that point his ego finally allowed for the consideration that whoever these people were, they were actually competent, not to say very rich in resources. To the point where it was odd that he had only seen two workers.
Maybe they had abandoned the base, but then again, they wouldn’t leave such secrets behind.
He reflexively looked back, but not a sound seemed to be present, let alone someone. He sighed in annoyance and threw the file with maps to the side. He continued to go through what documents he could find.
That was, after all, part of his mission.
He found contracts to assassinate a few heads of government, agreements signed by men who were now heads of guilds and other such corporations. He found a tally of a merchant’s agreement concerning the selling of weapons and drugs. They were cheaper in some areas, unavailable in others.
He was witnessing the cataloging and archiving of decades worth of a concerted, organized effort to destabilize and control. Take control of what they can, weaken what they can’t. They registered the failures as well, he noted how most of them involved the triumvirate of Magni, Kagekawa and Scavengers. He also noted how they were far reduced in number when compared to the success they had and were still having. They were also, apparently, constantly at odds with his own group, Led by Anarchy. Anarchists like him were hard to pin down or predict, so they had unknowingly been the cause of a considerable amount of trouble.
Falk’s mood worsened when he found a file on himself.
It described him as too erratic and untrustworthy to even try to talk to. He was marked as alive, but a note had been made that no attempts should be taken to turn him. He would die. It also contained information that was, for a lack of a better word, private. They knew Falk had not actually lost his eyes.
He looked at the “dead” note again.
The Mad Genius crumbled the file and threw it aside.
“We will see about that.”
So the organization, whatever its name – it wasn’t in any part of the papers he had looked at – was in direct competition with the Shadow Conclave, and unknown to everyone else, it seemed. The amount of information they had evidenced, however, that they had spies everywhere. The files they held about himself, and all the other thieves who had participated in the Shadow Conclave, were too detailed. Too well informed.
They had people close to every one of them, including, of course, the LBA. He made a mental list of all three individuals who he suspected had betrayed him, since only they knew he had not actually lost his eyes in the fires that had scarred him forever and claimed his limbs. It was a lie he allowed to propagate because it helped people judge his intellectual capacity more accurately when they considered he had worked out how to build eyes into his head.
He left the room, thinking of how he would find out which one of them he had to kill. Or rather, he was trying to decide whether he would kill Lisa or not. The other two he didn’t mind eradicating just to be on the safe side, but Lisa was about the only person in the world who could satisfy his palate, what with her amazing cooking skills.
It was then he saw someone new. Some sort of young tinkerer who was marching across the corridor, too immersed in the gadget he was screwing to notice the Mad Genius.
His mood worsened.