“OK…I need you to give me a moment.” The Prof. fiddled with her Evil Blackberry. “Hmmm…that kind of limits things.”
“What do you mean?” She was shaking her head which gave me not great confidence boost.
“Minus the storage costs and the costs for upgrading your body—and including the trade in on this body and whatever those weird sticky samples are attached to you—…I only have a few things that fall into your price range.”
“So discounted, reject powers.”
“Rejected from your own robot super-team? Ugh.” This was one of those moments where my processors and filters went on of synch.
“And what is that supposed to mean? My team is effective and efficient.” She jabbed with one finger, causing my right arm to drop off. Undingnified, but I still held the moral high ground.
“Please name one mission you’ve undertaken that hasn’t required one or more of them sacrificing themselves to save the group.” I thought my reply had merit.
She frowned. “They’re very giving. Plus I like seeing robots blow up.”
I decided my merits had been overstated. “In any case…those powers your brilliant mind conceived?”
“OK, first up…Insect powers.”
Could be good– “Armor, flying, stinging maybe…” I saw the look on her face. “I’m thinking not.”
“More precisely Beetle powers. They make up the largest percentage of the Earth’s animate biomass you know and now you can have absolute mastery and control over them.”
“Control. Like summoning them? Instantly?”
“Oh, they’ll come instantly at full battle beetle speed.”
“About five minutes to generate enough for maximal minion irritation.” She tried to sell if at least “Haven’t you seen The Mummy…scary scarab beetles?”
The allure of flesh-rending did not blind me to an immediate problem. “Unless I carry a large box of scarab beetles, it is unlikely I will have an amble supply of Egyptian scarab beetles at hand.”
“We could work that into a back unit—like an ant farm…Ok, next. Shapchanging.”
“That sounds promising. Wait…rejected shapechanging…and the catch?”
Prof. Doctor got a faraway look. “You have seen Gumby, perhaps? You change shapes like that. Make yourself into like gum.”
“That show was spooky. But I don’t think Gumby changed shapes. And I don’t think he was made of gum.”
“His horse was.”
“In any case, when you say like gum, you mean…”
“The consistency of chewn gum, with the corresponding adhesion factor.”
“Let’s put that aside. My next choice.”
“Mind control.” She corrected herself quickly. “Limited mind control.”
“One emotion. Anger. In a radius. Around you. At you.”
“You’re serious? Who would come up with that?”
“It was a custom job for some MMORPG-inspired supers.”
The thought of Dark Elf superheroes bothered me. But I was willing to play this out, “And…”
“They aggro’d Celestius the Unrelenting, master of the power cosmic and nurser of prolonged grudes.” She made a gesture that I suspect implied the splattering of a team of heroes by a giant space boot.
Prof. shook her head. “I only have one more. Dimensional Trapping.”
“Creates a beam of specialized particles that shifts your target’s dimensional frequency, sending them to a hellish realm of torture and pain.”
“Sounds promising. And the catch?”
“They reappear in the same spot about twelve hours later. Usually they’re unhappy about the experience. Life-scarringly, epic villain motivation-level unhappy.” She smiled.
I was a reasonable robot. “OK…maybe we can just modify my existing powers…”
“That we can do….BWAHAHAHA…*koff*…hahahaa…sorry, allergies…” And she set to work.