Julia dressed quickly. A black latex bodysuit to make her slick so hands could find no purchase. High heels did not impair her mobility - in fact, she felt stranger fighting without them. They could be deadly weapons in her hands, though her hands were deadly enough on their own. And knives, hidden in various places, to be withdrawn - almost instantaneously - when needed. If black latex emphasized her sculpted body, if high heels made her legs longer, her breasts more prominent, her ass more pert, well, today it was particularly important to look her best.

"Today's operation will be unusual, and I warn you all that it will be dangerous. It will be, in fact, one of the most dangerous operations we have ever attempted. The enemy most likely suspects that we will be coming, and he is far more capable than any national army or any other fighting force that any of us have faced."

Julia spoke from a raised platform. Before her were a hundred figures, male and female forms dressed the same as she was, save for Julia's unmasked face. Her troops would have seemed almost identical to an outsider, but Julia knew her fighters and could identify them at a glance - a chin held slightly more aloft than the others (André da Silva), shoulders sharper than most (Lakshmi Sharmistha), a foot restrained from tapping (Li Xianyuan). Julia selected every member of her force herself, trained all of them, and knew intimately how each one carried him or herself. She knew every soldier's strengths and had chosen only her most capable handfighters for today.

"We will be attacking a wedding. Many of the attendees will be civilians, and as such we will not use guns or explosives. You are to use nonlethal force whenever possible against civilians, and most importantly do not harm the bride or groom.

"The wedding is being held on a small, uninhabited island in Melanesia. Because of the presence of civilians, biological countermeasures are unlikely. The enemy depends heavily on electronic weapons" - Robert had always loved his toys - "and as such, we will neutralize beam weapons and robots with a high-altitude nuclear airburst. This EMP should destroy most electronics, and we have an extra in reserve in case backups arrive. We will be arriving just before the EMP via helicopters, which will take shelter under overhanging cliffs on the island's northwest shore. Our analysts have examined the enemy's radar apparatus and believe we have found a path to enter undetected. We will scale the cliffs by hand and attack. We will have radios, but be prepared for radio silence if the second EMP is activated.

"Because the enemy will not wish to harm civilian attendees, our analysts believe that the guards will not be armed with automatic weapons. Most likely, they will be only lightly armed. Each and every one of you is capable of fighting off gunmen. I will deal with the bride and groom. You will pacify the island in order to permit me to do so. Again, I remind you that civilian casualties are to be kept to an absolute minimum. Do not harm the bride and groom. We leave in one hour."

Julia examined her reflection as best she could in the window of the helicopter. Espresso-colored hair, large dark eyes, subtle makeup (for however long it lasted; even the 18-hour lipstick didn't usually survive hours of kung fu under life-threatening conditions.) She was at the age where she supposed her family would leave subtle hints about settling down again, preferably with a more stable husband this time. If she ever saw them. She hadn't, not since one Thanksgiving several years back when she and Robert had tried to visit her parents and inadvertently led KGB agents to storm the house.

The helicopter flight lasted hours, hours of anticipation and the ache to do violence, to see the faces of the happy couple, Robert and that red-headed woman with metallic bones and a carefully computer-augmented brain. Julia's scientists had analyzed the bride's construction and determined that she was not vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse weapons, which was a disappointment at first. But on further reflection, Julia realized that she didn't wish to kill the bride. At least not until she could watch.

As the island entered view, though, old habits kicked in and Julia felt herself prepare for battle - to turn off her other thought processes, and let years of training take over. A particular focus was required to do this kind of work. And no matter how she felt, a fight could always restore calm: the feel of launching herself through the air, the cold heft of a dagger, the sensation of stretching out and putting all her anger into physical form. Julia and her companions stretched their muscles, silently, serenely. Even though they would relax and laugh about the battle later, silence always reigned before.

Robert stood next to his beautiful red-headed bride. She was laughing up at him in antique white silk, yards and yards, cut coquettishly, emphasizing her body. His tuxedo was cut to flatter his body as well - he had always taken pride in his physical form - and hide the weapons hidden in various places. Now of all times he had to be careful. Enemies might expect vulnerability on a day like today. Julia might visit him.

The island was being constantly monitored by radar and the eyes of his soldiers. Radio contact was constant; outside the perimeter of the wedding, his soldiers were standing guard with grenade launchers and laser pistols. The guards hidden in the audience maintained continuous radio contact. Robots - stronger than humans, less vulnerable to bullets or energy weapons, invulnerable to biological agents - accompanied the soldiers monitoring the perimeter. Everything was outside of the line of sight; Robert didn't want his guests to see the security measures that were necessary. Many of them weren't aware of his line of work.

Backups were only a radio call away. Robert didn't expect difficulties - very few people knew about the wedding. His bride could certainly be relied upon for discretion - she had fought at his side for over a year. But he planned for difficulties all the same.

A flash of light.

Silence. The hum of radios had disappeared. The guests were still gaping open-mouthed and rubbing their eyes. Robert's vision slowly returned to normal and he turned immediately to his bride. She looked at him, frowning. "I've lost radio contact, Robert." She tapped the side of her head. She meant the radio nestled into one of her brain's ventricles. "I'm not getting any reports from the perimeter. Internal diagnostics show everything's in order."

Robert fingered his radio, knowing that it was dead. "That was a nuclear explosion. She's taken out our radios. And the robots. And most of our weapons."

"It's her, then? Julia?" Her face twisted into a frown. "At our wedding? How utterly uncouth."

Reinforcements would arrive if radio contact was lost for more than two hours. But Robert knew it wouldn't take her that long. Distant booms meant that the grenade launchers were being fired. Gunfire could be heard in the distance. And as he watched, black figures arrived and began to dispatch his guards.

It was over in minutes. His guards were armed with lasers and pain rays and other weapons that could be used without danger of stray bullets injuring the wedding guests. Most of them were dignitaries or Robert and his bride's civilian family members. Now his men's weapons were useless and the guards were felled quickly by swords and knives and flying kicks.

Robert watched as gracefully somersaulting figures cut through the crowd, and realized he was being surrounded. The identical black figures seemed to be forming a circle around him and his bride, fighting off his soldiers but maintaining a safe distance from him. An eerie silence had fallen. Most of the guards were unconscious or dead; the guests were huddled in a circle. The black figures themselves were wordless as they fought.

One figure vaulted in from his left, flipping, now kicking a guard in the chest and launching herself off of him. Brown hair flew out behind her as she twisted in the air, throwing a knife and pegging another guard in the shoulder. She was fifty feet from him - forty, thirty, and as he drew his gun he realized it was already too late because by the time he had it out, and clicked off the safety, it was flying through the air and he felt a sharp pain in his hand from a stiletto heel.

His bride pulled up her sleeve, prepared to fire the laser attached to her skeleton, but Julia already had a hold of her, and seemed to merely run her fingers over his bride's neck. She fell in a heap on the ground. "She'll come to in a couple hours, Robert. If she's still alive by then."

He smiled in spite of himself. "Julia, you always knew my weak spots." He looked at her, her face flushed from fighting, her hair tangled up. She was sweaty, breathless. He remembered how she'd always looked the same after fighting as after sex. "You always had a certain flair. This is the most stylish attack I've ever seen you do."

She blushed, and turned away for a moment. He watched her wave a hand in the air, signaling like a trader on the floor of a stock exchange to one of her soldiers. The soldier nodded and he left, signaling silently to his companions. "You never turn off the charm, do you, Robert? You can talk your way into any girl's heart. I suppose that's how you got her." Julia gestured to the bride, whose veil had fallen off, leaving her hair to fan out over the sand.

"Anyway, the choppers will be here in a moment. I was just here to offer my congratulations." He could hear the blades now; the black helicopter had moved in quickly and was lowering itself down. A ladder fell down to Julia; her soldiers were already climbing up to the other choppers. He watched as she climbed up hers, agile, graceful. "Oh, and a wedding gift," she shouted down to him. She was nearly in the helicopter as she dropped the grenade.

It fell at his feet, and bounced, and bounced, and it was about to explode but it bounced again off a rock and suddenly it was in the air, flying away from him, towards the ocean, when it exploded. He felt hot air from it but the blast wasn't even enough to get his bride's white dress dusty.

He wondered whether Julia had missed on purpose.

The Von Wicked Chronicles
by Excalibre and Evil Catullus

I remember when it was me who made you want to take over the world and enslave humanity
Latex. High heels. Knives.
It's not my fault that I'm so evil
I was a teenage Overlord
Lady Deathblast's Lover
This little light of mine
The Thanksgiving battle
My funny villaintine
Robots and comic books
This wicked life
The education of little overlords
All things truly wicked
Darkness lights its own way
No rest
How it all began
Sometimes I think you love that doomsday machine more than you love me.
They are mine. They are dead.
There is a crack in everything
Hell hath no fury like a villainess scorned