A Cell of a Good Time
You know…it isn't often you wake up somewhere unrecognizable from where you went to sleep last. At least, I assume it is not where I went to sleep. It's hard to tell because it's really dark in here at the moment.
It's also wet, like I'm in some kind of huge water balloon, only...it's not water. You can't breathe water unless you're a fish...god I hope I'm not a fish.
Oh wait! There's some light! Kind of...
Whatever walls are holding in this water are brown and full of veins. I can make out some light coming through, and I see shadows moving on the other side.
"What the-? A cocoon? What the hell are you supposed to be?" said a gruff unrecognizable voice.
Is this guy talking about me? I feel like he's talking about me.
So... a cocoon huh? Well that answers some questions while providing so much mo-?
What the hell? WHY IS MY ARM GREEN?! I hadn't really noticed at first, but with what little bit of light coming through, I could tell that my arm was green! Wait, actually...there is something vaguely familiar about this arm, like I've seen it before. My arm looks like it's covered in an emerald and lime-green exoskeleton with these little irregularly shaped black spots. They also have some really sharp-looking claws. As I observed more of my alien form, I could make out five fingers on my hands and three toes on my feet.
Hey wait...oh...oh hai there Mister Tail!
Ok...so there is a tail coming out of my back, but not from my pelvis weirdly.
Wait...I have a theory.
It's a bit awkward moving my arm towards my head in this small space, but as soon as my hand makes contact with the large horns atop it, I know exactly what, or rather who I am.
Holy shit...I'm Cell! Like THE Dragon Ball Z Cell. I'm Imperfect Cell to be precise. I don't feel any lips, but instead a bird-like beak. That's gonna be awkward to deal with if I ever eat. I'm guessing I'm stuck in that cocoon he used after he went back with Trunk's time machine, which I'm currently shedding from I think.
Kinda weird that mister gruff out there hasn't done anything about the blatant bug monster in front of him yet. Then again, Dragon Ball had dragons, dinosaurs, aliens, demons, and talking animals all over the goddamn place. Maybe this is just another Tuesday for him.
I could hear the sound of creaking as I struggled to pop out of this damn thing. It was surprisingly durable, but the thin slit in the back was making it a bit easier. The surprisingly breathable liquid, which I now know is some kind of amniotic fluid, spilled to the floor, pooling around as my wings are the first thing to make it out.
Are these wings? I think it's more just a shell to protect my wings, like the kind you see on beetles. Either way my tail came out next. It's cold out here that's for sure. I began rising out of the cocoon, my head coming out, then my torso, then my arms...the essentials basically. I stood straight up, until I was on top of the cocoon.
Everything was blurry...but I was never one to let opportunity pass me by. So I took my first breath in this new body and-
"MAZEL TOV, I'm a boy!"
"What...the actual...FUCK...are you supposed to be?" said that same gruff voice from before.
Through my blurry vision, I could barely make out the shapes in front of me. Hard to tell who it was at the moment, but that was second to my mind personally. For some reason, something else took my attention...
"Huh...why the hell do I sound like Plankton with a head cold?" I asked aloud to no one in particular.
"No no...that was a serious question, what the hell are you? Answer me now before I tear your skin off to find it." said the voice once again.
"The name's Cell, strange gruff voice. Hey, quick question; do I kinda sound like a sick Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants to you?"
There was a pause.
"Well...now that you mention it actually…"
My vision began to clear, and my sense of smell kicked in as well. Oh god, the smell...just why?! Oh crap...I'm in a sewer!
No pun intended with that. Honest.
Also...hey there, absolutely humongous crocodile man! Thinking about it though, I can't recall any crocodile people in Dragon Ball, but then again, this is the same universe with a talking pig who likes panties.
"I'm so confused, you kind of have me at a disadvantage here." said the crocodile man who eyed me cautiously, before sighing and crossing his arms.
"Anyways, just call me Killer Croc, and we might as well find out who you are." he added.
Imperfect Cell has crashed.
How in the name of all things sane does that make any sense at all?! What, was being fricken Cell not stupid enough?! I couldn't even be in Dragon Ball?!
...Well, I guess that would just make too much sense.
I guess I can't blame anyone but myself, I mean I'm only just an Imperfect Cell...so why SHOULD I be in Dragon Ball Z?
Trick question, don't answer that.
So...the DC universe. Doesn't exactly narrow down where I am all that much besides the surface answer.I mean, with how many DC continuities there are... there's like a few hundred versions by my count.
With Croc here, I could probably rule out the Super Friends continuity. Probably 60's Batman too, which really is a shame. The camp of that one alone would have been worth the price of admission.
Ah whatever. I woke up as Imperfect Cell in the DC universe for some reason. I have so many questions, but I have the strangest feeling I won't get any satisfactory answers beyond the one I would've given; just because. In that case, I'm not gonna lose any sleep over it, so might as well make the best of it.
"So...Killer Croc eh?" I said as I fully stepped out from my broken cocoon, dripping fluid everywhere as the Croc guy stepped back to prevent his scaly feet from touching it.
"That's what I said, and don't forget it. So why are you on my turf, bug man?" he asked with a serious look.
I shrugged. "I can't say for sure to be honest with ya. Some kind of forced metamorphosis into a fictional character made real apparently."
Croc hissed a bit, although it didn't sound like a threatening hiss, it sounded more like how some people might hum in confusion or acknowledgment. Only with his cute scaly butt, he probably doesn't have the right vocals to hum.
"Normally, anyone else I find down here would have been eaten by now. But what are you supposed to be anyway? Some kind of alien?" he asked while looking me over with his yellow-slitted eyes
"Kinda. I'm more of an Earth-made genetic bio-weapon made with the DNA from humans, earth-shattering space monkeys, water-drinking demonic alien slugs, and...uuuuh...oh yeah! Alien space Nazis who seem to have a fetish for naming themselves after refrigerators." I explained proudly.
Croc just stared at me before simply nodding slowly.
"So you're a mad science experiment gone horribly wrong from another universe. Got it."
I grinned as much as my beak would let me. "I'd like to think it went horribly right."
Croc hissed/barked out a laugh at that, uncrossing his arms.
"Well, you obviously haven't looked in a mirror yet." he commented as she showed off his sharp pearly whites.
"Hi pot, I'm a kettle and you're black!"
"Bitch I'm beautiful." he responded with a smirk.
Eh, I guess I'm the wrong character for this quote, but whatever, fuck it.
"Bitch, I'm adorable."
Cros smiled, and I found that I did not like seeing crocodile guys smiling.
"Hehe, I think you're alright, freak." Croc said as he stalked over to the side and took a seat next to a pile of dead human bones. I simply observed and found that while I should be disturbed...I wasn't.
Hey! Don't blame me. When you see the amount of death in DC's latest films, even Saint Mary would get used to it.
"You can stay for as long as you need, just don't get in my way, and we'll be the best of friends. I'm the top dog of the sewers, got it?" he said as he tore a ribcage apart to suck the marrow.
I waved the crocodile man off with a roll of my insect eyes.
"Yup, Clear as crystal, your royal scaliness."
Now with that out of the way, I can-
Huh, just realized I don't really have anything to do at the moment.
Hmmm, decisions, decisions.
So to reiterate, I'm currently stuck as Imperfect Cell stuck in the DC universe. This is my chance at a clean slate. I could do anything I wanted really. Well, so long as there are no Superman-tier dudes around, I should be alright. If not though, I do have that overpowered Namekian regeneration. As far as I could tell, I'm stuck here, so might as well make the best of it.
Now...should I be a superhero? Nah, this is DC, they're covered when it comes to superheroes.
Maybe I could be a supervillain...nope, sounds just as bad an idea. Nothing really does ever go well for supervillains in comic books.
What to do, what to do...
I sat on the cold wet floor with my armored arms and legs crossed, just six feet away from the cannibalistic crocodile man eating someone's arm.
It had been an interesting first day I suppose. Though... Is it cannibalism if a villain like him eats humans? I think it could go either way since he's not really recognizable as one.
I don't think this is the DCEU though, since Croc didn't have a tail in Suicide Squad from what I remember.
"Hey Croc, we're in Gotham right?" I asked aloud.
"Last time I checked." he responded with a burp.
"I'm gonna go up top then. Get my bearings."
That actually made him pause with a look akin to that of concern.
"What? Really? But...it's noon in Gotham." he said like it was the most important thing in the world.
"Oh good, then a library should still be open. Gotta go do some research. Catch ya later Croc." I called as I stood on my tall legs and walked away with an audible squeaking noise on every footfall. Killer Croc simply watched me curiously before shrugging and going back to his eating.
And with that I was moving on up. Like literally, I climbed up a ladder towards one of the manhole covers and pushed it open. Maneuvering my body's extra bits before sliding the cover back into place.
And that's where it got really amusing. Sure, I made a scene in the city as I walked, albeit not intentionally mind you. Still though, a scene was made. Apparently my lovely visage is so amazingly striking, people just randomly ran in terror at the sight of me. The only one who actually didn't at first was a little boy who had gone up to grab my tail, to which I simply looked back and grunted for a moment before his parent's grabbed him frightfully and ran away.
Get on my level Ke$ha, The party always stops when I walk in, even in the sunlight. Even then, the party don't stop, no...it just changes.
Still though, I needed someone's help as I had no idea where the library was and I'm gonna need the internet to figure stuff out. Most people were far too busy avoiding me or shuffling off or screaming in terror to answer my questions...
Oh look! A sleeping homeless guy on a bench cliche. SCORE!
I walked up before crouching down to the guy's level, watching as he snored loudly with the scent of alcohol and smoke, looking very peaceful...and then I grabbed the guy's shoulders and shook him awake as hard as I could.
"Wakey wakey sunshine!" I yelled in my admittedly raspy-sounding voice.
"Huh? What? Who the…" he groaned as he rubbed his eyes before looking directly at me, before pulling a face that matched that of the hundreds of people I'd passed on the way here. "WHAT THE FUCKING HELL?!"
The guy stared at me in fear, and tried to crawl away from me. It was at this time I learned something new about my body. As the guy moved away closer to the wall while I retained my own firm grip on his shoulders, my arms went along for the ride. We both stared at the unnatural sight that only added to the overall unnatural nature of my unnatural body.
Ha! Cool. I have the Namekian stretchy arms. I guess that does makes sense, although I do remember Namekians could only do that when the animation budget could afford it. However, as awesome as I found this new discovery, the homeless guy found this discovery to be utterly terrifying and screamed even louder. He knocked my arms from his person and ran off, during which my arms returned to their normal length as I watched impassively.
As interesting as that all was though, my thoughts on the matter didn't really last all that long, since not a few seconds later, I was now surrounded by flashing red and blue lights and the long arm of the lawmen.
Not as long as mine though. Remember that.
"Ummm… hello?" I said awkwardly to the cops that seemed to have materialized out of nowhere. Before I even had a chance to say anything else though, shit got way too loud.
"WHO OR WHATEVER YOU ARE, STAND DOWN NOW!" yelled one of the officers through a megaphone. The feedback whine of it was like my eardrums were a chalkboard with a sharp knife running down it, and left me wincing in utter pain.
"OOOOOOW! MY EAR HOLES!" I screamed as I covered my aforementioned ear holes.
I mean really? Is the megaphone cop thing really necessary? I mean I wasn't doing anything to people other than looking like a large scary bug man, which isn't the best situation to be in I suppose, but I guess this is a preemptive strike against villainous-looking alien beings or something. Didn't Martian Manhunter have that problem?
"On what charges!" I shouted back, hoping to god they didn't use the device from hell. No wonder Piccolo hated when Gohan would do the accursed action known as whistling.
I don't think they expected that from me actually. Even through the flashing lights I could see the cops exchanging looks of concern and confusion. Whoever it was that had the megaphone seemed even more confused about what to say. I guess this is usually the part where the monster starts tossing cars and they shoot and fail while I rip them all apart until the hero arrives to save the day in a climax that destroys the entire city anyway
Welp, I'm always happy to disappoint.
"YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR PUBLIC NUDITY!" he finally responded, causing yet another feedback loop of intense sound. Which in turn caused me to grip my ears tighter and clench my eyes shut.
"AAAAAAAAOOOOW! STUPID NOISE!"
More like stupid Namekian-enhanced hearing.
"YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR PUBLIC NUDITY!" the cop reiterated.
"But...but I don't even have any JUNK! Or an asshole for that matter unless I count you!" I shouted back.
"NUDITY IS STILL NUDITY!" he responded, albeit with a bit of a smug tone with how his megaphone seemed to be visibly causing me distress.
I have discovered my arch-nemesis, and its name is megaphone. That said though... I can't argue with his logic. I mean I technically am naked right now. I don't recall Cell ever wearing clothing, but then he never needed to because he was his own person. And like Frieza, he never actually needed them due to not having any explicit organs.
Normally I guess this is where I run off to begin a dramatic escape and a character arc about learning to be myself despite all the difficulties of looking like this…but screw that noise. Let's see how far they're willing to take this. After all, there are more potential lolz this way.
"Well shit, then you got me, ya coppers! You have put an end to the reign of terror caused by the great and powerful…drum roll please...the Emerald Streaker!" I yelled as I raised my hands in surrender.
Nothing happened for a moment after that, it was just me surrounded by cops still, arms in the air like a common thug. Then, one of the officers cautiously walked towards me, hand on his holster. I watched him approach and didn't move a muscle. He then pulled out a pair of hand cuffs. He looked at them, then back to me, then back at the cuffs, then back to me. Sadly his cuffs were not me-
"Um, please put your arms out...uum...sir?"
"Sir is fine." I said as I present my arms to him. By the shocked look on his face, I can already tell this is going to be a fun day.
"Look, it's not a complicated question, are you an alien or not?" the man said calmly, now reaching the end of his patience with me.
"I'm not telling you shit! I want my lawyer!" I shouted in as whiny a voice as this body would allow.
"Ok, this is getting us nowhere. Look, all we need to know is if you're an alien since you aren't in the system. So either you're a new species of alien or a new metahuman." the man explained as he wrote something down.
"Oh, why didn't you say so?" I responded. "Well, to answer your question...I want a lawyer."
With a frustrated groan, Detective Harvey Bullock walked out of the interrogation room and slammed the door.
That asshole could suck it for giving Commissioner Gordon a heart attack, assuming that event happened here. Given the nature of comic book reboots, Harvey Bullock could be anything from a gruff and abrasive detective with a heart of gold to a gruff and abrasive detective with a heart of doughnuts. Sometimes crooked, but most times loyal. Doesn't matter really, I still know my rights, and I guess arresting a possible alien/metahuman for public nudity is probably something new for them. Might have to fix that in the future. I wonder how many officers are on the other side of the two-way mirror here in this room.
"Nothing matches in the database with this guy. Doesn't match with any known aliens or metahumans. He's complied with officers, and asking for a lawyer is within his rights. All in all, he's probably the most pleasant I've ever seen for a...whatever he is." said Commissioner Gordon as he watched the giant bug-looking figure drum his fingers on the interrogation desk.
"My money's on him being an alien." replied Harvey Bullock as he put a cigar to his mouth.
Gordon looked at him with a raised brow before Harvey could light it. Upon seeing this, Harvey sighed.
"I miss the good old days." he said longingly as he put the cigar back in his coat.
""Regardless, assuming he's an alien, other than pointing him to the official registry offices, we really can't do much."
"Think NASA might be willing to deport him into orbit?" Harvey muttered in an almost hopeful voice.
Gordon looked at him with a deadpan expression.
"I'm pretty sure that'd count as murder."
With another sigh, Harvey nodded in understanding.
"So...I guess we wait for a lawyer to get here?"
"Pretty much. Come on, let's get some coffee. Something tells me today is gonna be one of those days." Gordon said as he turned to walk away from the insect guy who seemed to be currently humming 'I Shot the Sheriff.'
"Amnesia is fairly common these days, so we have a system in place to deal with cases like those. I'm sorry you had to spend the night in a jail cell." explained my lawyer who was being surprisingly civil. "Now I'm not saying you'll get citizenship, but you'll be on the records for legal presence here in Gotham City. Other than that, you should all be set. I can drive you to the office if you want."
I have to admit, as far as lawyers went, this guy was alright. I'm guessing I'm not the weirdest thing he's ever had to deal with. Which surprised me when he entered the room and just looked at me like I was another human being...rather than something who could devour his entire being in a few seconds. Which I was, but no way I was gonna tell him that.
"Thanks Mr. Simmons, I would appreciate it." I answered politely.
"No no, mister Cell, it was all my pleasure."
I followed Simmons to his car, which was a pleasant experience, especially when all the cops and citizens who caught a glimpse of me looked either shocked or nonplussed. It wasn't like I was trying to do so either, but my feet were still doing that squeaky noise that Cell had whenever he actually walked.
I looked over at Simmons with a curious gaze. "I'm actually kind of surprised you aren't running for the hills from me."
The man turned and gave me a humored smile. "Son, I live in Gotham, I've represented way worse people than you. There was this one metahuman kid, who looked like a shaved bear with scales. Arrested for grand theft. Not important really." he said, although I could definitely catch a twinge of guilt in his voice.
"I see, so after the whole identity thing, you wouldn't happen to know a way a….big guy like me could get some easy cash, huh?" I asked while putting a hand to my chin in the cliche manner.
Don't judge me, it's still classy.
"Well, I know one way. It's easier for a meta, and not many would take it, but I know S.T.A.R. Labs pays possible metahumans like you to be glorified lab rats. Other than that, I have no idea in such a short time for you, Cell. I'm sure someone at Lexcorp would be interested though." he added as an afterthought.
"...I'll keep that in mind." I thought, thinking about my current options.
"You do that and we've reached your destination. Here, let me get the door for you." he said as he got out of the car and went to my side of the door. "Watch your wings."
It was at this point that I decided that Simmons was one of the good ones. I walked into the Gotham registry and not two hours of boredom later, I'm all set. Two hours probably doesn't sound like a lot, and I think they were rushing to get me out of the building before someone snapped from panic, but still...we're talking DMV levels of boredom.
Also, my legal name is now Cell Genome McSplice III.
Because why not? I can't even remember my old name anyway, so might as well have some fun with it.
It was getting dark by the time I got out, and Simmons had shaken my hand and given me a polite farewell before leaving me to my own devices.
So...where is S.T.A.R. Labs? Looking at the street, I realized I had no idea where I was and that it's kind of hard to keep identification without pants and pockets to put them in and here I am stuck holding it. Maybe nudity really is a problem for characters who don't normally wear clothes.
Alright, guess I should pick a direction and walk randomly I suppose. S.T.A.R. Labs kind of sounds familiar actually, not sure why though.
Enough of that for now, first things first. Make money, then get pants.
Wait a minute, it's currently night, and I am in Gotham City. I wonder if Batman is watching me?
Oh, who am I kidding? Of course he is. It's not like I'm trying to hide anyway.
And now five seconds to set the newest record for the fastest freak out ever in public.
I looked at the random civilian who was running away from me like he'd seen the devil himself. And considering what I looked like, I suppose it is understandable.
"You know, that's kind of rude!" I yelled after the man. It was then I noticed he had thrown something away from himself, and my enhanced vision narrowed down on it. What the-? Did he just toss a joint?
"It wasn't you he was running from."
Oooooh...that buttery smooth deep voice sending chills running up my (maybe?) spine could only mean one thing. I turned around, and saw the Dark Knight himself, the terror of the underworld, and the protagonist of one of the best superhero game series of all time, staring at me with that infamous bat glare of his that he retained only for those he was either about to beat up or intimidate them to having a heart attack.
"Hey." I responded with a cool shrug.
My side objective of not squeeing? Complete!
Batman said nothing as he observed me for a moment with that stone-cold frowny face...then with a nod, he turned around and began to walk away with a swish of his cape.
I looked back from him to the rapidly retreating man who had been smoking weed that I suspected had been the reason he'd been here and seen me in the first place.
"Wait, aren't you gonna chase that guy?"
He stopped for a moment but didn't look at me.
I guess some guy with a joint is below his pay grade. Fair enough. Wouldn't expect Batman to have the reputation he has focusing on those small fry.
"Wow, you're always ominous." I responded, which seemed to lead to him turning back around to glare at me again. "Anyway, love the costume but I'm afraid I gotta jet, you wouldn't happen to know where S.T.A.R. Labs are located, would you? I heard they pay."
Batman observed me cautiously. All in all, I might be a giant bug man capable of destroying planets, but damn if this hero didn't leave an impression.
"Head down three blocks before taking a left. Keep walking until you find a university. You'll know when you get there." he replied calmly, and I wondered whether he was helping me or sending me someplace to keep an easier eye on me. Was this his way of extending an olive branch?
"Ok, thanks." I replied with a chirp, before walking away like a boss. I'm sure I could still feel the glare from Batman and the atmosphere, believe it or not, got even darker, but I was not going to turn around and give him the satisfaction of seeing his presence give even me the willies.
I will not be dragged into super heroics, thank you very much. After all, with great power comes great entertainment potential. And I was planning on shaking things up for the-
There was suddenly a firm grip on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw Batman giving me the most intense glare I'd ever seen, and all I could think of was that his blue eyes were the most beautiful I'd ever seen.
"What?" I asked.
"I will be watching you very carefully." he responded darkly.
If I were actually capable of it, I probably would have shit myself by now, That said though, I probably should have expected such a greeting from the most paranoid man in the world of DC comics. That other hero, the Question, might be the only person a bit more paranoid than Batman, but Batman was capable of actually making the paranoiee into the paranoid.
Oh wait… I just remembered something: I'm fucking Cell.
"It's because I'm green isn't it?" I said with a grin.
Batman was not amused, at least if his narrowed eyes were anything to go by. Thankfully he let go of me, and I sighed a bit in relief before Batman pulled his vanishing act via grappling hook.
Wow, that was fast. How the hell doesn't he get whiplash from that? Questions for another day I suppose.
But my next stop? S.T.A.R. Labs.
I'm pretty sure I'm in the Young Justice version of the DC universe. After all, the balled-up newspaper I found in the garbage read the year 2010, so I was fairly certain that this was Young Justice. Guess that means the Martians and other metahumans are a prominent thing.
To be honest, I didn't really watch much of the show, maybe two or three episodes at most when I was...whatever I was before coming here. Still, at least I knew where I was now. Oh, and you can now add littering to my ongoing list of nefarious crimes because I didn't need the newspaper anymore.
My evil truly knows no bounds.
As I moved on, I had to admit, Batman was right. I really couldn't miss it.
"Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Labs." I read aloud, puffing up my chest with a large inhale of air. "Well, here goes nothing."
Walking up to the door, I proceeded to give it a nice firm series of raps.
'Knock knock knock knock knock…(dramatic pause)...knock knock!'
Shave and a haircut style of course. It really didn't take all that much time for someone to answer the door, although whoever they were, they were obviously cranky.
"We are closed to the public at the moment and are not accepting visitors, please come back at-!"
Oh good, he actually looked at me.
"Hey there!" I said with a chipper-as-can-be voice. "I hear you guys do science on guys like me and pay for it. I'm here for the check. I need to buy pants as you can see." I finished with a gesture towards my nude body and giving a small swish of my tail.
Whoever this guy was, he just kind of stared at me for a moment. Not with an 'oh god! Someone kill the fucking monster!' look, more like your general state of bafflement and confusion.
"Uuum...yes. Come on in, Mr…?"
"Cell. call me Cell." I replied kindly as I walked inside.
The entire room was FILLED with nice, advanced technology that was all over the place. And on top of that, there had to be several dozen scientists and blue-collar workers all working like honey bees. However, they all paused upon seeing the large, black-dotted, carapace-covered cockroach walking into the room. Most of them looked worried or concerned, but a few of them actually began getting out their cell phones and snapping pictures.
I passed my escort up as I thrust my new ID into his hands as I observed my new surroundings. It looked like a nice place to get poked and prodded honestly, and some scientists seemed to have dropped whatever they were doing and headed to make some calls.
"Your actual name is Cell Genome McSplice the Third?" asked the guard who had let me in, raising a skeptical eyebrow.
"Yup! Apparently there are no strict rules for names at the registry. And since I had no parents to give me one and I was mature enough, I just couldn't resist." I explained with a smirk.
At that, the guard simply rolled his eyes and led me to a particular scientist who looked disciplined and ready to deal with me. Which was fitting, because I was ready to begin testing his nerves. His face took on a professional yet kind expression and he looked up at my relatively taller form with no hint of fear whatsoever.
Gesturing to the guard who passed him the ID automatically, he held out his free hand and I shook it politely.
"Well hello Mr...McSplice?" he asked, probably wondering if this was some kind of joke as he saw my name on the card. Upon feeling the level of strength in my hand and how it actually felt like a shell, he shook off his misgivings and let go of my hand.
"Please, just call me Cell." I said
"Right. Cell it is then. My name is Dr. Samuel Harding, and you do know what we do here right?"
I shrugged in my usual uncaring way.
"Vaguely. I understand that you guys are all about science and I was told I would get paid if I cooperated. How much do you offer by the way?" I asked eagerly.
Harding shrugged himself, although he did take out what seemed to be a pen recorder and put it in his pocket. Seems he was treating this like an experiment document. I feel so special now.
"That depends entirely on your...unique circumstances. Though at minimum, you are guaranteed a thousand for your initial introduction, probably double for coming to us yourself."
I couldn't contain the small squee and dollar signs that made up my eyes. That much already?! I'm sold!
"Bitchin! So when do we start?"
Harding seemed taken aback by how eager I was, but I guess he wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
"Well, this is after hours Mr. McSplice, but I think we can start with a simple physical. I wasn't planning on leaving anytime soon anyway." he said calmly, although now he seemed more intrigued.
"And then I get paid after, right?"
"I'm sorry Mr, McSplice, but that isn't up to me. We need to see if there is actually anything worth studying about your biology, and then we can see about how valuable it is to our current research."
I pouted at that. "But I need pants!"
I could already tell this was going to be fun by Sammy's facial expression. There was something there beneath it though, and he seemed to consider it.
"Normally, subjects aren't paid until testing is completed, but you are without a doubt something unique. I'll talk to someone, but you're going to have to take the physical first. Does that sound good?" he asked.
I nodded like an eager child in a candy store, although in this case, I think I was the store and Harding was the child judging by the pleased smile on his face.
Time really does fly when you're being stabbed with needles. Luckily for me though, Sammy found something so interesting upon getting my blood that I actually got my money in record time. Not all of it yet of course, but I did get my guaranteed grand.
I was allowed to leave the lab after they got the samples they needed and did all their initial observations, and I made it clear I had every intention of coming back afterwards, which made most people in the lab look shocked. They'd probably expected me to bail after I got my money, but it's not like I had anything else to do.
So that was why I was currently at the tailor, getting my measurements from a guy who was obviously waiting for me to eat him...which now that I think about it, I think I could actually do if it really interested me.
With clammy hands and a perspiring brow, he measured my shoulders as I lifted my arms up to a T-position. Sure I could have gotten any pair of jeans, but where was the fun in that? I wanted a cool motherfuckin' suit to go with this body, and now I was gonna get it.
Besides, I was actually arrested for public nudity out here, and I can't let that happen again. Gordon had been kind enough to drop any charges since it was my first offense, and I didn't want to end up spending my money on fines.
"So how long does it usually take for a custom fit?" I asked politely.
The man jumped a bit upon hearing my voice and gulped nervously. Geez, was I really that scary to look at? I thought I looked pretty handsome with my beak, slitted eyes, crown carapace, and my tail.
What? Don't judge me. I think I look hot and so will you!
"Y-yes...well normally after measurements, you can expect a lasting fitting within the first one to two weeks, then return for a final fitting and any slight adjustments in the one to two weeks after that. Overall, I would say about a month and a half total." he explained with as much calm as he could muster.
"You...you do intend to pay, right?" he asked with a nervous tic.
Oh, he thought I was one of those villains that demanded some good suit with no intention of following through on payment. Now I might be able to do horrible things, but cheating them out on payment was not one of them. I pay my taxes one leg at a time.
Hmmm I wonder if I could actually do that too? Add it to the list.
"Yeah, I do have a grand for you now, but the rest for after S.T.A.R. Labs pays me. How much is this going to run me anyway?"
The man seemed surprised but less nervous now.
"Your unique body shape is going to give some issues, but I feel I can work around it. Your bill should probably be going around two to twenty eight hundred."
I hummed. "Damn, I guess suits are no joke. Alright, I think I'll have that."
The tailor looked at me with an actual smile before nodding politely. He seemed less nervous and more professional now.
"I am confident you will. That's the last of it, so you may leave. Return in a week for the next fitting."
I thanked the man with a salute, I was out the door, and I heard the guy locking the place and putting the closed sign up while his phone rang, no doubt telling the awesome story of my presence.
As I was alone again, I realized something. So far I've been just going along with other people's reactions to my appearance. But since I have nothing to do right now, another idea popped into my head about what else Cell could do.
Dreams will be realized, and awesomeness will be harnessed.
I cupped my hands together while also keeping them open.
I feel something within me stir.
It's difficult to describe really.
It's not warm or cold, but it does have a weight to it.
Wait...isn't the Kamehameha strong enough to blow up moon? Ah whatever, I just shoot into the sky.
Well that was disappointing.
Looking at my energyless hands, I can't help but feel like an asshole for yelling the name of the founder and first ruler of the kingdom of Hawaii like it was some kind of simple magic spell. Cell was one of the most powerful and popular villains in Dragon Ball Z, and yet I had found out that while I did seem to retain his regeneration easily enough (the scientists had discovered this when one of them actually had to take a scalpel to my carapace to access my veins) I had no idea how to make use of his other powers.
How do I even shoot Ki blasts? This is unacceptable if I'm going to be doing the things I want.
Maybe Sammy will know.
"It says a lot that your digestive system is the least interesting thing about you." explained Harding, as I sat down on the table. "Both your mouth and tail are connected to their own independent stomach, but you completely lack any kind of excretory system."
"Is that bad?" I asked. To be honest, it sounded bad. I know Cell was able to suck people dry and absorb androids no problem, but if I didn't know how to do ki blasts, then I might not be able to process them as easily.
"You do have an incredibly well-built digestive system. I would guess anything you can't digest would be vomited up, so I don't think it will be a problem really. Other than that, your other organs are...alien really, for lack of a better word.. Your innards are completely symmetrical. Other than the stomach, the only other organ I could somewhat identify is four liver analogues. Two livers that are mirrored on each side of both of your stomachs." he explained further.
"Huh...weird." Was all I could say.
"It's more than just that, It's a fairly unique approach to redundancies in the event something fails in your body."
"But wait, didn't you say the digestive system is the least interesting thing about me?"
Dr. Harding nodded enthusiastically and I could tell I was in for a long explanation.
"Your blood was just as interesting, Mr. McSplice. You seem to have nucleated red blood cells, for what function, I really can't guess. Maybe your red blood cells can take on the function of any other cell or maybe it's so your red blood cells can divide. You do have a skeletal structure, but until I can analyze it further I can't be certain it plays any role in blood cell production."
I guess this is what happens when you throw a bunch of aliens into a living petri dish for the sole purpose of killing an alien monkey. Was Dr. Gero so narrow-minded he didn't realize what he'd created?
"Other than that, we did find traces of cellulose in your musculature, and your green coloring seems to be caused by chlorophyll of all things. You probably don't even need the stomachs, just some water and sunlight to survive!" he said with a bit of excitement.
Hehehe I guess I can thank the Namekians again. Those alien slug demons sure have some useful stuff in their biology. I nodded though and motioned for Harding to continue.
"But it goes even far beyond that. I have never seen a physiology so alien in all my life, and I've studied dozens of alien species! Are you sure you used to be human, Mr. McSplice?" he wondered out loud.
"What, you couldn't tell?" I asked in a semi-joking manner.
"I haven't gotten your genetic tests back yet, but your physiology alone can only be considered alien. You seem to have a non-centralized nervous system. Kind of, but also kind of not. Your nervous system actually might be just more brain, like your nerves are coated in excess neurons."
Wow, I wonder if that's how Cell was able to survive without a head and even regrow it back with his memories intact. It's amazing to hear details that the original show didn't even explore.
"Neat. Hey, what about breathing? Do I have lungs? Gills? Do I even need to breathe?" I questioned, now getting thoroughly invested in what was being said.
"Well, the mere fact that you can talk points to some kind of respiratory organ, but we are still very early in the analysis of your biology. For all I know, your stomachs might also double as lungs. Many of these unidentifiable organs could be analogues to human organs that are just so different in appearance that I don't realize what they are. At this rate, the answer could be all of the above." he said with a serious gaze. You could have lungs and spiracles similar to that of an insect, but at the same time, you may not need oxygen in the same way that we do. You're just so alien that I couldn't tell you one way or the other, and at this point, I wouldn't want to rule anything out."
It didn't escape me the emphasis Sammy put on the word 'anything.' I always knew Cell was bound to have the weirdest biology possible, and despite the fact it was my body, both Sammy and myself were taking this rather well.
"Fair enough." I responded, before remembering what I'd done outside the tailor store. "Hmmm, I know this is going to sound strange Sammy but did you find any... swirly energy stuff?"
Dr. Harding looked at with an expression of confusion and something else I couldn't quite put my finger on.
"That is an unusual question considering what we've discussed. Why would you want to know about something I have no evidence for about your body?"
Once again, Sammy was not amused by my dismissive tone of voice.
"I need an actual answer Cell, if you want me to answer yours." he said sternly.
I shrugged, and figured I'd better activate my 'convincing bullshit' mode.
"I can feel...something. Not quite sure what it is, it's more like a nebulous ethereal thing within me. I can't quite explain it better than that." I lied.
Translation: I wanna do ki blasts, but have absolutely no idea how to. I'm not bitter about it or anything. I mean it's only every kid and even grown man's dream to pull off the Kamehameha.
My own theory as to why I couldn't do it was the same reason Captain Ginyu couldn't do the awesome saiyan stuff after body-snatching Goku. He didn't know how to use that power, but he could still fly and pull off only the stuff he knew.
It just occurred to me I've haven't tried to fly in this body yet. Something else to look into later.
I, on the other hand, came from a place where ki didn't exist at all, so I didn't know how any of this stuff worked.
"I think we should focus on your biology first before we look into whatever theoretical abilities you might have." Harding said kindly, but dismissively.
"Fine." I said with a sigh.
Stretchy arms...do your thing.
And they're off! Neck in neck! It's gonna be a photo finish for the ages! Damn, call me the Energizer bunny because I keep going, and going, and going, and goi-
Oh I stopped.
Sammy looked at my severely stretched out arms with what seemed to be an impressed look, then wrote something on his tablet before nodding to me. I let go of the grip on the pole near the end of the room, and with that, they snapped back.
"It seems your max length is just under thirty meters, Mr. McSplice, with each arm lengthening at roughly three meters per second from my calculations." Harding said.
"...cool." I replied.
"It is impressive I'll admit."
I rose a brow at him, although do I even have a brow?
"You seem distracted Sammy." I said.
And the 'Unamused' saga of Samuel Harding continues.
"Please don't call me that. But yes, some of your tests came back. The results were...unexpected to say the least."
"Unexpected how exactly?" I inquired.
Dr. Harding looked at me as he seemed to think about what exactly to say.
"Well, your protein samples contain human DNA, albeit only roughly anyway. You have eight times the genetic information of human beings, and the entire human genome is just a small part of it."
Now I was curious. "What exactly do you mean by that Doctor?"
"In the simplest terms I can think of, Mr. McSplice, if you took a strand of human DNA in one cell and stretched all the way out, it would be about two meters long. If we did the same to one of your cells, it would be sixteen meters long. And exactly two meters of that is the entire human genome, slightly modified, but human nonetheless." Samuel explained.
"Hehe told you I was human. Well...human-ish." I responded, secretly hiding how fascinated I actually was with his words.
Sammy sighed, as though I'd missed something very important. Being who I am, I might have.
"You don't get it Mr, McSplice. You can't just make a strand longer like that. Some of our results show that your organs, at least some of them, are composed of organic polymers, but are otherwise artificial. You do have genetic information, but many of them can only be artificial proteins and biomolecules. In other words, your DNA repair mechanism is basically CRISPR on steroids. You are a literal treasure trove of medical marvels, and your body contains numerous biochemical compounds that would make whoever patented them very, very rich. In fact, analyzing your organs could lead to new kinds of artificial organs decades beyond anything we have now."
Harding walked up and actually kneeled down before me like I was the most fascinating specimen in the universe...which guessing by his words, I was.
"And even beyond that, you are practically a holy grail for everything from whole limb regeneration, slowed aging, the eradication of various diseases, and perhaps even immortality! With your DNA repair mechanism alone, we could build new xeno nucleic acids from scratch. Whoever made you was undoubtedly a genius! Mad as they come, but a genius nonetheless." he finished.
I simply stared at the man as he got back up and smoothed out his lab coat, looking slightly embarrassed by his positive rant of my body.
"Hehe neato! So I'm basically a state of the art bio-android! Arnold Schwarzenegger can eat his heart out!" I said, as I leaned back and looked up to the ceiling, thinking about everything. It's not every day you get told you're a technical marvel of genetics that could help people.
"That's a good way of putting it I suppose." Samuel said. "You are at least partially manufactured. I don't think you quite realize just how important you really are. I mean, if any of this information got out, everyone would do anything to get a hold of you, even just a piece."
"Guess we wouldn't want that, would we?" I responded.
It was quiet for a moment before either of us spoke again.
"You know, you're remarkably calm about being an artificial life form." Harding stated while tilting his head slightly.
"Would you prefer an existential crisis from an emotionally unstable Bio-Android?" I asked with a raised brow.
"No. It's just… you aren't reacting like a person who woke up as a..whatever you are." he elaborated. I just shrugged in response.
"I'm more of a 'go-with-the-flow' kind of guy." I said while making a wave motion with my hand.
Here was that awkward silence again. Might as well call it, Uncomfortable Silence 2: Electric Boogaloo.
"I did look into your energy-related question. You may actually be onto something, as you do burn energy at an alarming rate, but it's not chemical energy that is expended during it. It is actually a good thing since your metabolic rates are insanely high. Even with photosynthesis and a nutrient rich diet, you'd probably expel more energy than you could intake. The exact nature of this energy is inconclusive, but your body is doing something to compensate for it."
"Also neat." I say proudly as I lean back and put my arms behind my head and smile at how awesome my new body really is.
"You really have no idea." Harding added while inspecting my feet.
Looking back in the mirror, I gotta say that I look good for a giant green bug man wearing a professional-looking suit. When I had returned to pay the money in advance, the tailor actually got even more enthused and finished my order in record time.
He looked on proudly as I looked myself over, although he also dodged my tail that almost whacked him in the face several times. "I'm glad you approve Mr. McSplice. The tail and wings were a challenge to work with, but I am nothing if not professional."
"Thanks Jeeves." I said as I turned around to see how my non-ass looked.
"Please don't call me that." he deadpanned.
"You got it Mr. Belvedere."
"Oh alright, what is your name anyway?" I finally asked, realizing I had not taken the time to learn my tailor's name.
For some reason he hesitated, but then sighed as though he was sighing his own torture warrant.
OH MY SIDES!
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ahahaha! Geoffrey?! really?!" I managed to say between breaths of hysterical laughter. "I gotta say man, that name is just so...fresh!"
"Hey! Hey! How is the Banks family anyway?! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
The newly-named Geoffrey sighed. I guess I'm not the first person to make these jokes to him. Well, it's new to me, so I'm gonna enjoy this.
"I'm just going to ring you up." he said with exasperation, ignoring my continuing snickering. "Your down payment to me went through, so you can keep the suit, but you're gonna need to pay the rest off later."
"Thanks Geoffrey." I said politely, before grinning as I added. "and do give my best to Uncle Phil and his son Will."
I could FEEL his groan at that.
"You look ridiculous." Samuel said in disdain as soon as I walked back into S.T.A.R Labs.
"Jealous Sammy?" I replied with a smirk, placing my hands on my hips as I twirled like a Disney Princess showing off her dress.
"Not in the slightest."
"That's not what the ladies here have been saying." I added, pointing over my shoulder towards some of the female scientists I had passed who were all looking at me with astonishment. Hell, I saw one woman actually fanning herself a little as I gave a small swagger of my assless rear in her direction.
"Look Cell, I've been talking to the higher-ups here at S. . Labs and they are very interested in keeping you around." he brought up.
"Oh yeah? How interested?" I asked.
"Very." replied Sammy as he handed me an envelope.
Taking it with a raised brow, I wasted no time in opening it and-
"HOLY SHIT! HOW MUCH?!"
"That's yours to keep. A lawyer is coming down here later to talk to you." Sammy said, and I don't think that smugful smile of his was a coincidence.
"So...many...ZEROES!" I exclaimed, my wing armor spanning out in what was definitely not arousal.
"More than I make in a year, and I make six figures."
"You sure this is a check? This looks more like a phone number." I said, still slightly in shock. Was Cell's body really worth this much for this universe? Dr. Gero could've made a fucking mint out of his creation. In fact, how much were those androids?!
"Well, you don't want it, I'll be more than happy to take it off your hands." Samuel said in a somewhat hopeful voice.
I spun on my feet and walked out the door. "Be back later, I'm going to the bank!"
Gotham's First National Bank was an interesting place. As soon as I walked in, the security guard looked me over exactly once, and then calmly asked if I was here to rob the place. Took less than a minute to convince him I was here to open an account once I showed him my check.
This must not have been the most exciting place to work.
Looking around the bank, I saw most people looking at me like...like I was a giant green bug man in a three piece suit. At least no one was screaming at me at the moment, that had tapered off fast during my time at the lab. It honestly didn't take all that long to get me in an office to open up an account. As soon as the teller saw my check, I was in the bank faster than you can say 'payday.'
"Cell Genome McSplice III." I said to the teller who wrote my name down.
"I have to be honest with you Mr. Cell, that name sounds fake."
"I got to pick it." I said while looking very pleased with myself.
There was a moment of silence as the man looked at me.
Business stuff ensued, more talking, sitting, and questions. I had answered a long at the labs, but now I was doing the boring stuff with checking accounts and security. After an hour, I was kind of wishing that something would happen to spice things up.
It was at this point I was reminded that I now lived in a comic book universe.
As we sat there discussing my financial options, I heard the unmistakable sound of gunshot. The teller in front of me deftly ducked under the table like a pro. He didn't even look all that scared, just exasperated. I wondered if this was just a normal thing for him.
"I'm gonna go check that out. Excuse me." I said, before walking out the door, only to see about five armed dudes with masks pointing a gun at an accountant that I talked to previously.
"Now shut up and put the money in the-"
"HOLY SHIT! ITS A META!" exclaimed one of the guys who proceeded to point his gun at me.
I almost instinctively jumped out of the way before realizing something. Was Cell still bulletproof in this universe?
"Um..." I began, before a loud BANG was heard and I took a shotgun blast to the chest. However, the robbers and I could only watched as the bullets slowly slid off my carapace and dropped to the floor.
Confirmed, Cell is still bulletproof.
"Hey! Was that really necessa-?!"
These bastards had just ruined my brand new suit! It wasn't even fully paid for yet!
Looks like I'm going to have smack a bitch. And with that, I popped my knuckles and snapped my neck, and I thought I could hear someone whistle at that while the robbers all flinched.
With the white hot rage of a thousand Hulks, I launched my arm at the asshole who shot me, grabbing his face and yanking down violently, his head slamming into the hard marble floor, creating a sizable crater in the process.
That was when more bullets came in, and I ran forward at speeds that would put the Flash to shame. Sweeping my arm low, I knocked all the would-be robbers on their asses before I grabbed their guns and broke their guns as quickly as I could. And they fell apart like they were made of plasticine.
You've just gotta love super strength.
I took three of them down, leaving the guy at the front who had taken the accountant hostage, and another guy who had thankfully realized that shooting me wasn't going to work.
"What do we do boss?!" the hostage-taker shouted.
"Shut up! I'm thinking!"
I watched the two carefully as I waited for something to happen. Looking at the situation, I didn't think there was anythingI could do without endangering the hostage.
"As cliche as it might sound, you really don't have to do this." I spoke up, crossing my arms in an attempt to look nonchalant.
"Shut up freak!" yelled who I suspected was the leader.
Well that was just hurtful.
"You're robbing a bank in Gotham City, probably the absolute worst place for anyone to rob a bank, barring maybe any bank in Metropolis." I said deadpan.
"Just...just stay there, you freak." said the man as he turned to his only conscious partner.
I saw this as my chance and the hostage seemed to realize what was happening.
"I'll keep an eye on the bug, you go get the mon-"
I suddenly stretched my arms out to the asshole and grabbed his gun with one smooth motion. Before he could react, I smashed the butt of said gun into his face as the hostage's head smacked into the other guy, and then they fell to the ground and frantically moved away.
When my arms returned to their normal length, I admired the new sawed-off shotgun in my hands before a loud buckshot sounded and hit me in the back. I barely felt it, but now my suit was utterly ruined.
I turned to the criminal who was looking at me in shock, and then I grinned evilly. "I count two shots, so that means you're out, right?"
Before he could do anything else, I went and tossed the gun I was holding directly towards him at a speed that would count as lethal, but just barely so, as I hit his legs and heard his bones snap.
He hit the ground with a cry of agony, and to my amusement, the very same gun that I had thrown at him came down on his head and knocked him out.
And that was when the cops came in. How is it that when a superhuman being solves a crime, it's only then that the authorities rush in? I feel bad for Gordon sometimes, with his group only being there when Batman solves the grand villainous plan.
"Hi officers." I said with a wave.
The cops looked baffled and pointed their guns at me, before the teller who had been hiding came out and explained the situation. The authorities all looked weirded out, but then turned to the now bruised and beaten robbers, putting cuffs on them and leading them out the door
One of the cops came up, and looked me up and down, then stared into my eyes.
"Nice suit." he said with a whiff of sarcasm.
"You gonna try arresting me for public nudity now?" I replied. I felt good about stopping this crime, but now my several thousand grand suit was ruined. And I had just broken in the tail hole!
Not what you think! Remember, I don't have an ass!
"I thought you looked familiar." the cop said.
"What, is there some other giant bug man I wasn't told about here in Gotham? Who else could I be, Firefly?"
The officer shrugged.
"Heh. maybe. You aren't covered in flames or trying to set anyone else on fire, so you can't be him. No idea if he's really a bug or not, but this is Gotham, so I'm ain't ruling it out. Anyways, nice job on taking down those thugs, but I'm going to need to take a statement." he explained while whipping out a notepad.
"Awwwwww do I have to?" I pouted.
The cop looked at me, pencil in hand as he waited for me to say something.
"Fine, but can we hurry this up? I got an account to open, an appointment to keep, and a suit to fix." I said while pointing at the tatters of my now ruined clothing.
"Just start at the beginning."
I've been here for a few weeks now, and after the whole bank incident, I'm starting to realize just how strange it is to be living here. I mean, I am going to have to actually do something. Dicking around is fun, but I am Imperfect Cell. There's no androids around for me to achieve my perfect form, but that's alright.
Imperfect Cell always looked the coolest to me, with his insect-like design and overall demeanor. His second form was cool in terms of power, but not much else. Perfect Cell is iconic, of course, but he really just looked like a carbon copy of Frieza.
To be honest, superheroics sounds like a lot of work and bureaucracy. The Justice League has that all covered, and I'm fairly certain that it is an immutable law of nature that no matter what, the heroes always win in the end. My introduction here isn't going to change that one way or the other.
Sure, I stopped a bank robbery, but that was just because I was there at the time. No need to make it a full-time job really. Super-villainy is just as bad though, the aforementioned good guys always winning being a contributing factor in making the idea seem unpleasant.
Plus I didn't really want to kill anyone. I found I just didn't have the stomach (or stomachs in this case) for it. Even if one of my powers is literally the ability to drink people, I don't want to use it. For god's sake, one of Hellboy's powers was literally kickstarting the apocalypse, but he doesn't use that, so I don't see any reason to drink people at all.
That said, I do need something to do with my time. Sure, I could train and train until I'm able to finally harness ki energy, but what about after? What job opportunities are there for a giant green bug man in a three piece suit? I mean jobs that I would actually want to do?
I stood there for a moment, drawing up blanks, and then...light bulb!
Hey how did that get there? Never mind.
You know what? I think I know what my calling is now.
DC tends to be on the serious side of things, even as insane as life can get in a world of superheroes, although it's not usually the fun kind of insane.
I think I should fix that.
I think it's time someone added some silver age hijinks into the mix. I mean I am Cell, so who's gonna stop me? And thanks to S.T.A.R. Labs, I can afford the same lawyers who represent Lex Luthor.
So why not make the world a more fun place to live?
Maybe I should start by giving the Batmobile a new and improved paint job.
I then paused and frowned.
"But where am I going to find that much hot pink spray paint at this hour?"
A/N: As you can probably tell, this won't be a serious story, probably won't even have a proper narrative, just a collection of the insane wacky misadventures of Cell Genome McSplice III.