56.2 - Mess Hall

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It sucks being a pyromaniac. Wait, no. Being a pyromaniac is amazing. It sucks being a pyrokinetic. Hot Mess reflects on the boss's powers. They're so amazingly versatile, and he's done some pretty kickass things with them. By contrast, all she can do is heat things up. She's forced herself to compensate, using science and trickery to leverage her one-trick pony into an Olympic-level dressage exhibition. For example, her current plan to kill Kid Kelvin-- Wait, kill? What happened to "be his nemesis"? Ladies and gentlemen, it's been a rough few weeks. Humiliated in front of the girl she wanted as a lieutenant! Shamed through her defeat by that boy with the stupid suit! She's decided to assign him her own nickname. He's not "Pietro, the Plasma Prince". He's "the Pangolin". It's an animal that's armored and looks incredibly goofy. Anyway. Where were we? Oh yeah. Embarrassed by a couple of teenagers in front of her--! You know what, why are we dwelling on this? Let's get back to the part where we kill Kid Kelvin. After all, he's the real problem. He never, ever made an effort to adopt her as a nemesis. And what's wrong with her? Is it her appearance? Admittedly, her hair is kind of plain, her skin is a weird color (though it looks great underwater), she doesn't have the best figure ever-- You know what, this is depressing too. Fuck it. Really, the only thing that'll help is to kill Kid Kelvin. Okay, but how? Well, back to her patented system, named after the Star Wars droid 3P0: Pyrokinesis plus Perception plus Perspicacity plus Zero fucks given. Kid Kelvin, thanks to his cold powers, is one of the few people on campus who buys those absurdly tart gumball thingies from the vending machines. Mother Puckers. Hot Mess privately suspects the label on the machine is a joke left by the student body. The fonts are slightly different. The repair man doesn't seem to care about replacing it either. Repair man? Oh yeah! The plan. Anyway, she used her pyro-powers to slightly overheat the machine, just enough to cause an untraceable breakdown but not enough to excite suspicion. "University Physics, Volume 2: Thermodynamic Processes". Hooray for Openstax. Then she called it in, on the phone number helpfully plastered on the machine. The repairman showed up, just as expected, and while he was inside, she broke into his van and got an imprint of the machine access keys. After that, it was a simple matter to open the case herself, then rig a grenade right behind the Mother Puckers vending lane. The next person to purchase one would get a nasty surprise. All she has to do now is wait. Heh heh heh. #Cutscene More on the way.
[Well, that went dark quickly. In a humorous way, of course. Awaiting the next scene!]
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Mike
Pro
Given Messy's track record, I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes.
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Grenade: check. Hideout to spy on the shenanigans: check. Escape route, for when Gardner security activates: check. Cheap complex device attached to school security monitors, to aid escape: check. Here he comes, here comes Kid Kelvin, he's a victim on wheels! He's a victim and he's gonna be splattered over someone! He's buying candy so you better look alive, he's waiting for the change from his crisp new $5! And yes the odds are against him in this dangerous work, you bet your life Kid Kelvin won't make it through. Go Kid Kelvin, go Kid Kelvin, go Kid Kelvin go awaaaaaaaaay----! MOTHER PUCKER! Smoke pours out of the vending machine - a huge cloud of it. There's no explosion, no shrapnel as the machine tears itself apart to embed chunks of steel in his vulnerable flesh, no wailing and gnashing of teeth, no lamentations of the freshmen. Furiously, Hot Mess starts texting Samir, one of the two henchmen who's still in her service - the others are taking some well deserved time off in the Ukraine. H: THIS WAS A SMOKE GRENADE WHAT THE FUCK SAMIR S: But you said you wanted to smoke his ass, boss H: I MEANT KILL HIM YOU DIPSHIT S: I thought you only used your powers on your nemesis, I assumed it was a figure of speech, like you wanted a distraction, so I got the smoke grenades. H: Okay I'll give you that one Back at the lair, Samir wipes his brow. It never bodes well to have live grenades around a pyrokinetic. He briefly thinks about looking at that rumor he heard, of a Fedex in town that hires exclusively serious ex-military ex-mercenary types. But the money is good, and for all her faults, the boss is extremely fair to her subordinates. Hot Mess puts the phone back in her pocket and takes stock of the situation. Kid Kelvin is stumbling out of the smoke. Alive. Very much alive. God dammit. I mean, it could be worse. He looks ridiculous, like a cartoon character who took an explosion to the face, all blackened up and gasping for air and confused. I mean, he really does look ridic-- That's it ! Hot Mess rubs her hands together. Yes. Why kill him when she can humiliate him? The way he humiliated her? Only worse, a thousand times worse. A million times worse! She runs off to the janitor's closet, to indulge in an evil laugh. The girl's bathroom is way too crowded for such things these days.
[+10 for a reference to both Alycia's Lost Lambs and Speed Racer .]
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The boss describes telekinesis like a laser, and pyrokinesis like a flashbang grenade. Fire is just heat energy applied to air, and heat energy is just molecular motion. A pyro doesn't have the fine control to apply all that motion in the same direction, but sometimes that's not necessary. Hot Mess has honed her power, not just to create and shape fire, but also to agitate any object that won't immediately catch fire. She's been taught to plan her capers, but she's also good at improvising. This time - Operation Humiliate Kid Kelvin - planning and support isn't necessary. And this can double as a training exercise. The boss will approve. Let's carefully review our efforts. Analyze the payoffs from success, and diagnose the root cause of failure. Balloon full of Cheez Whiz from the cafeteria, suspended with double-sided tape on the ceiling, and detonated remotely using advanced pyrokinesis. Yield: Kid Kelvin was covered in Cheez Whiz. Success. Locker release mechanism fused shut. Yield: Minor inconvenience, since he appears not to care about how he's doing in classes and hence doesn't carry textbooks around. Failure. Analysis: failure to take subject's psychological profile into account. Stole and incinerated normal clothes while he was changed into sweats for PE. Extra work was necessary to infiltrate the boys' locker room, and there was one very surprised ginger lad she had to glare into submission. Yield: Sent home to get replacements. Operation terminated early. So far so good. There's plenty of prep that can be done for Day 2. Clearly the level of humiliating incident needs to be calibrated to keep the victim at school. Furthermore, aside from the Cheez Whiz, not many people were actually witness. This needs to be something bigger. How about a callout? A letter of challenge. Yeah, that's the ticket. She watches as Kid Kelvin opens his newly repaired locker. She sees him pull out a slip of paper, glance at it, and frown. She watches, carefully, as he ambles down the hallway and disappear. Is he off to tell a teacher or administrator? Is he going to chicken out, call the adults in? If he does, he looks weak. She'd have to disappear from the school for a bit, but it would be a walk of triumph - she got him. And if he tries to handle this himself, he's on her turf. She's trained by a master supervillain. Kid Kelvin, despite the rumors about his connection to King Winter, has exhibited no operational awareness, no tactical or strategic sense, nothing. These thoughts occupy her as she comes round the corner, still tailing her target. It's only when she almost bumps into Kid Kelvin, staring at her, does she realize something's amiss. "You've been following me around," he says, coldly. Hot Mess tries to assemble her thoughts, throw back a haughty retort, but he cuts that off too by holding up a piece of paper. It looks strange... "Did you leave this in my locker?" he asks. Okay, now she's ready. "Hah! Yes, I did. Let's see if you're man enough--" "Fine. I'll go on a date with you," he says. "But just one." What? The paper. It has hearts on it. There's handwriting visible, but it's not hers. She used stencils to disguise her handwriting, hide anything identifiable about the message. "Meet me out front after school." He smiles, sort of, and walks away. WHAT?
[HA!]
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Next episode coming soon! In the meantime, I feel like this is Hot Mess's love theme. Lyrics here .