The massive humanoid- either a normal Umerian who had become Vinaranoid by extensive Umerthirst consumption, or a normal Vinaran who had become Umerianoid by extensive education in SCIENCE!- was surprisingly articulate, given his hulking physique and intimidating demeanor.
Dr. Bruce Hardpeck at his desk
"So I'm back, ladies, gentlemen, and assorted sentients, to talk to you about Umerthirst. We've all seen the stock advertisement." At this, the lights around the exhibition booth dimmed, and a video began playing over Dr. Hardpeck's head...
"UMERTHIRST! Made with SCIENCE! MAD SCIENCE! It makes you MAD with ENERGY!"
There was a picture of some massive posthuman bodybuilder yelling "AAAAAH!"
"Science, energy, science, energy, electrolyes, turbolytes, powerlytes, more lights than your body has room for. You’ll be so fast, Mother Nature will be like, “Sloooooowwww dooowwwwnn.” And you’ll be like, “Bwa-ha-ha-HA! Mad science SNEERS at you, Nature!""
The guy yelled "AAAAAH!" again.
"You’ll feel like a GUNBOAT made of biceps! With our radical TRADITIONAL blend! Synthetic Vinaran hormone duplicates! PREPOSTERONE!"
The bodybuilder started yelling "AAA-" but a hulking, muscular green humanoid grabbed him in one hand, then hurled him towards the horizon, bellowing "RAAAAGGH!
""Side effects include delusional behavior, glowing sweat, unusual power behavior, death, prominent eyebrow growth, juggling live nuclear warheads, death, broken dilithium crystals, pants spontaneously turning purple, pitying fools, and death.""RAAAAGH!"
There was a brief disturbance towards the rear of the crowd as a shoddily dressed ork muscled his way up to one of the sales tables, bellowing his intention to buy a case, but this quieted down quickly after the cashiers saw the handful of unidentified gold teeth he laid down as payment.
"Last time, I demonstrated Umerthirst by wrestling a volunteer Bragulan from the audience."
"But some of your questions since then have made me want to talk to you about something very important: Umerthirst isn't just for humans. Its biochemical properties are broad-spectrum, and it can benefit a wide variety of bold lifeforms who want to unlock their physical potential..."
At the BEEEFNova Atlantean Pavilion
Blacksun Defense Technologies proudly presents DollDust(TM)!
The Latest in Non Leathal weapons technology designed specifically to meet the needs of the Commonwealth's Unconventional Warfare Corps, DollDust(TM) is a Police Officer's best friend. A patented nanotechnological system, DollDust(TM) will enter the body of a sapient creature and disengage its motor control functions within thirty seconds of ingestion and making them fall to the floor like a Ragdoll. Able to bypass the skin and specially calibrated to be non-fatal, a few kilos of DollDust(TM) on the wind can bring a violent riot to a swift end without a single life lost*. DollDust also is capable of temporarily inhibiting psionic activity in 85% of instances. Once offenders have been immobilized, DollDust(TM) can be deactivated using a specialized code transmitter system (with individual batches being programmable to specific codes), returning to the individual full control of their motor fuctions. As a default, doll dust will deactivate after 24 hours of activity if no signal is given. DollDust(TM) comes in general (programmed to effect Humans, Eoghan, Chaparrals, Zigonians, Iduran, Trill, Bragulans and Tau) as well as specialist variants for other species. DollDust(TM) can be delivered through a variety of delivery systems, from mortor shells to hand grenades to spray launchers.
*-Blacksun Defense Technologies does not take responsibility for injuries inflicted from collapsing in inappropriate scenarios or damage inflicted on DollDust(TM) immobilized individuals by external forces
Some Days Later
Ned Orton wasn't all that remarkable a fellow, really. Umerian Type Three citizenship, brought along to help handle the PUPPERS booth. About the only unusual thing about him was that he was a great fitness buff. He'd occasionally partaken of various biochemical boosts, to aid him in building up his strength or maintaining it at times when he couldn't exercise. But nothing all that extreme, really: nothing with major side-effects, and nothing that pushed him outside the unaugmented human envelope.
He'd always been curious about Umerthirst, but not entirely sure he should risk it; in the Technocracy the stuff was technically classified as detergent.
Seeing Umerthirst on sale at reduced price for the BEEEF, though, and seeing the persuasive sales pitch of Dr. Hardpeck, he decided to try a can and see what would happen. What could go wrong?
So he'd bought a can, and drunk it. He felt... well, a bit aggressive, twitchy, yeah. Maybe his eyebrows were a bit out of hand. Nothing he couldn't handle though. So he carried on with his day, finished his shift, decided to go look around. He wandered through the exhibits, checking out the Altacar Alta Cars and a few other things. Finally, he found himself in the Nova Atlantean pavilion, beholding some very strange things.
There were dueling dual thumbs, sophisticated electronics advertised by refugee Earth Caste Tau, and all manner of strange goods from this nation far to antispinward of his Umerian homeland.
"Greetings, humon? How err you?"
"Huh? Who are you?"
"I am Jhon, a posthuman of lardly Atlantis!" The man, seemingly identical to any ordinary person except for a blinking light apparently set into the side of his skull, struck a heroic pose.
"Lardly? Don't you mean, uh, lordly?"
"Bah! I have no tim for such irrelevant concerns! I must concentrate on the ground design of advancing humanity to the next level, transcending the frail limitations of such boings as yourself!"
"Hey..." This guy was really
annoying. Orton clenched a fist and growled, feeling a haze of green spread through his thoughts. He raised the fist to shoulder height, cocking it back to smash in the face of this 'Jhon' weirdo.
There was a shout from behind him. "Quick, Frod! Dust harm!" He felt someone reach around from behind and a puff of some kind of mist or fine powder sprayed in his face. His vision danced as the DollDust(TM) worked its way into his lungs, seeking out and assaulting his nerve trunks. The Atlanteans gathered, preparing to catch him as he fell and keeping his brains from being bashed out on the ground when the neuroactive psychoassault nanites disabled his motor control and paralyzed him.
But the nanites, they were not
paralyzing the man! Instead, they encountered the exotic, unnatural, mad-science ingredients that made up UMERTHIRST as they coursed, nay rampaged
through Orton's veins! The chemicals and the nanites interacted... exotically, unnaturally, and madly. His muscles tautened, which was not unusual, for the nanites did occasionally cause random firing of the nerve cells as they locked them down. He began to... grow!
And turn green. His clothes tore from his body, stretched beyond limits as the UMERTHIRST's 'ordinary' unnatural muscle growth was catalyzed and accelerated by the DollDust(TM). Soon, Orton's musculature swelled to Vinaran proportions, and beyond! UNCONTROLLED MENERGY raged through his body, distorting it almost beyond recognition.
He was now at once more than human- and less
than human! On the one hand, the interactions between the DollDust(TM) and the preposterous amounts of UMERTHIRST coursing through his veins had boosted his strength, physical resilience, and aggression beyond the bounds of humanity, or even post-humanity! On the other hand, the psychoactive and neuroassault effects of the chemicals and nanites had suppressed all his higher mental functions, and many of his lower ones.
Truly, the man was Ned Orton no longer. He had become... the Astonishing Bulk!"RAAAGH! ME SMASH PUNY ATLANTEANS!"
The Bulk laid about him with massive fists, ham-sized and fruitcake-hard. For Christmas had come early in the Atlantean pavilion, and the first present was a box full of 'punch in the face!' Security troops went flying left and right, and the stall shattered to pieces under their hurtling bodies. One particularly hyper-augmented individual tried to challenge the Bulk toe to toe, mano a mano. For a few quite awesome seconds
, this plan worked surprisingly well. But alas, while the guard had manos of great potency, he was no match for the MENERGY-augmented manos (and, more importantly, toes) of the creature before him. Therefore, in the long run, his strategy proved... unwise
The Astonishing Bulk, remarkably irate after his brief, anticlimactic fight with the security guards, proceeded to rage throughout the convention hall, causing great property damage. Many credits of miscellaneous Atlantean goods were trashed, and that was before
he reached the weapons displays.
He wrenched the lid off a crate of mortor shells and began hurling
them in random directions! Fortunately, these were mere dummy demonstration bombs, and thus did not explode with the devastating force of a normal Atlantean military mortor. But nonetheless they were heavy projectiles, thrown with truly mighty force. Racks of electronics were upset, and merchants dived for the deck as the heavy poststeel cylindroconoids spun through the air.
Some brave post-men tried to stop the monstrosity, with weapons grabbed from the demonstration racks. Unfortunately, the Atlantean Deathcaster assault rifles, which might well have ripped the turbolyte-charged madman to pieces, were equipped with integral biometric identification, and could not be fired except by the designated users! Since most of the post-men were not designated users, and were merely random citizens quick to react in a crisis, they were unable to wield the weapons.
One, luckier and more skillful than most, had a different weapon of choice. Earlier today he had won a noble contest of marksmanship at one of the many Bragulan arms pavilions. For his success, had been awarded no ordinary human-sized K-bolter. Recognizing that his post-human frame would allow him to wield full Bragulan-sized weapons, he was gifted with a simplified, ruggedized, lever-action K-bolter, suitable for being wielded by post-men in a post-apocalyptic environment!
This weapon had no biometric user-identification, for the Bragulans neither knew nor cared which human would choose to fire the weapon; it was all the same to them whether man riddled his fellow man with bullets, or the other way around.
Unaccustomed to the heavy recoil of the massive, low-velocity slugs, the post-man's first shots went wild. Alerted, the Astonishing Bulk began running straight toward the nearest wall, head down as if to crash straight through. The post-man let fly with another K-bolt that tore a gouge across the Bulk's broad back, and then the monstrosity did
crash straight through the wall! Using his head as a battering ram, he smashed out of the main chamber, smashing down a layer of ancient paleobragcrete as if it were made of styrofoam."GRAAAA!"
His bellows of rage could be heard echoing down the maintenance corridors as he charged off in search of something else to smash- perhaps toximutoids, or EWOKs, or Fenrisian bears, or even gorillanoids? As a member of the Expo's Smarm Patrol was to note after the fact, who knew?Some Minutes Later
A crowd of dismayed Atlanteans assembled, shaking their postheads in dismay at the damage the Astonishing Bulk had done. So much, so fast!
"Hew? Hew did he turn the minitank upside down? It weighs fifteen tens!"
Then there was a groaning from a pile of wreckage, where some man-sized object had been hurled through the thin partition at the wall of a booth advertising the latest in duel thumbs.
The other Atlanteans gathered round him, looking concerned.
"Relax, guys, I'm fine. He knocked me silly, but I feel fine now."
"It must be your posthuman implements!"
"Uh... hate to break this to you, but I'm baseline. Still saving up, you know?"
"O. Are you sore you're OK? You sound finny."
"No, I'm fine. It's all right. Though I think we need to look into the DollDust, figure out what did that." He shook his head, as if there was suddenly something bothering him that never had before. "Say... does anyone know where I could get my hands on a dictionary?"