Greazeburger Origins Part One: Introducing The New Characters At The Beginning Of The Story

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Horatio Greaze awoke with a start, lying on their back in a ditch. A light rain trickled down from above, washing away the blood that gushed out of the hole in their body. Slowly they reached a trembling hand to their chest, and they were hit with another blinding flash of pain. They didn't know how they were still alive.

They tried to stand. More pain. They slowly rolled over, mud splashing around their arms. Struggling, coughing up blood, they finally stood upright. Sirens wailed in the distance, no doubt searching for Horatio. They slowly crawled out of the ditch and up onto the road, where a blood-soaked slip of paper was left on the pavement.

"Official termination notice. Your services will no longer be required at Greazeburger Inc."

Horatio laughed, a sickly wheezing mockery of humor, but still a laugh. They were fired. Nobody ever came back from being fired. The hole in their chest oozed more blood, and they wondered how much time they had left. They collapsed in a heap on the side of the road, rain washing over their damaged body. They could feel themselves slipping away, moving on to eternal rest.

The lights were getting closer now. Red and blue flashes, voices getting louder and louder. Horatio could feel themselves being lifted up and carted away. Something big and plastic was pushed over their face, forcing oxygen into their lungs. Something was pushed down on their chest and a blinding pain raced across their body again. Panicked shouts from the people in white coats. Lights flashing blue and red. They were moving again. They didn't know where. They didn't care where. They were dying.

Until they weren't. They were in a white room, strange devices lining the walls and plastic tubes shoved in all sorts of new holes. They wondered if this was the place dead Greeazes went. But there were other people here. Humans. They stood around Horatio with puzzled looks on their human faces. They wrote notes on clipboards and whispered amongst themselves. Horatio tried to sit upright, and one of the humans rushed to keep them in bed. Bed? They noticed the comforting mattress and blankets they hugged them so softly, like the vat of gelatin they had been formed in. Doctors stood around them, confused over the inhuman biology of a Greazeclone.

They were alive and recovering, but now they were on Earth, stranded with no way back home. That was what the company did to its rejects. Horatio knew that one of the company's enemies would come sniffing around the corner sooner or later, and they would much rather not be here when they did. Not to mention their lack of health insurance.

They rested for a while, but as soon as the doctors had cleared out, Horatio jumped from the bed, tearing the tubes and wires from their body. They felt a sickening pull on their blood vessels as the tubes left their arms, and more pain as they forced their wiry body through the window and out onto the ground in a flurry of glass and blood. Covered in nothing but a flimsy hospital gown and a few meters of bandages, they ran out into the night.

Alice slowly opened her heavy eyelids, the piercing light of the monitor casting a harsh glow on her face. This was the third time all week she'd fallen asleep at her desk, and something told her it wouldn't be the last.

She checked the clock. Three in the morning, only half an hour had passed since she conked out. She couldn't tell if that was a good thing or not. The gentle hum of the computer told her to get back to work, but she couldn't. She'd spent days sifting through libraries worth of legal jargon and nonsensical financial documents, trying to figure out where the fuck Martin Greaze was hiding.

Being on a secret mission away from the Site wasn't nearly as fun as she thought it would be, far less action and glamour and far more sitting in an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere doing research "off the grid". She didn't even get a cool codename.

There were so many contradictory contracts and looping trade deals, she could hardly tell which documents were actually connected to Greazeburger and which were from a mundane money-laundering scheme. She rolled her chair away from the computer and turned the light on, taking a break to look through the stack of paper files. A fistful of unpaid bills with all the addresses scratched out. A court transcript from that time MCD tried to sue them. A recount of an 1847 witch-burning where the victim's last words were "This witchcraft sponsored by Greazeburger Incorporated, the very well-liked company of the future!"

And then there was the picture. That smug face in the mugshots she'd been given. The way he metaphorically exuded charm and literally exuded slime. The way it gave her a headache whenever she looked at his eyes.

The way it was staring at her through the window.

She jumped out of her seat and fell to the floor, trying to remember where she'd hidden her gun. If that really was Martin outside and not a hallucination brought on by her lack of sleep… Well, she didn't want to know what that psychopath would do to her if he knew what she was up to.

A knock came at the door. Three gentle taps, then nothing. Maybe they'd left?

A loud crash told her otherwise, and she peeked out from behind her desk to see the window had been smashed in and a large naked person was crawling inside. Great.

She ducked behind the desk and frantically grabbed for anything to defend herself. Her hand closed around a long piece of plastic and metal. She wrapped her finger around the trigger and stood up, pointing the gun right at the intruder.

Or at least, what she thought was a gun. In the light from the desk lamp, she could now see she was brandishing a stapler.

Luckily for her, the intruder didn't seem to know what it was either. They put their hands up in surrender, before promptly passing out on the floor in a pool of blood. She examined them closer, noticing several small cuts from the broken glass, and a lot of stitches on their chest that had come loose.


She didn't want to deal with a dead body, which meant re-sealing the wounds. But she didn't have any sewing supplies. She looked down at the stapler in her hands and wondered if her hands would ever be clean after what she was about to do.

Egrene was already awake, which was very good considering he was driving an oldsmobile full of unlicensed weapons at three in the morning. He idly tapped his fingers on the steering wheel while he waited for the light to turn green.

The back of the vehicle was filled with everything the team might need to take down Greazeburger's Earth division, from computers and surveillance equipment to a cattle prod. The only thing they were missing was the location of the central offices.

The light changed, and Egrene stepped on the accelerator, going a little too fast on the empty road. He wanted to get back to the headquarters as fast as possible so he could get some sleep, even if only for a few hours.

His phone chimed, meaning a call was coming in. Normally he'd just ignore it because his phone usually only rang for scam calls. But this was different. He'd just upgraded to a new prototype that send brain-melting cognitohazards to any unknown numbers, so this must be important. Without looking away from the road, he put it through to the car stereo.

"Heeey Egrene… you know how we've been trying to track down the Greazeburger HQ for the past couple days?"

"Holy shit, you found it? That's awesome!"

"Yeah… actually the opposite happened. They found us."

The car slowed down a bit.

"How fucked are we?"

"I don't know yet. It's just one guy, and they kind of passed out from blood loss after they jumped through the window."

"Are you sure this is Greazeburger?"

"Yeah, looks just like the picture they gave us. And why else would a gravely wounded naked guy smash through our window?"

"Maybe they're high?"

"Look, can you just hurry back here? I stopped the bleeding but I don't want to be alone with this guy when they wake up."

"Alright, I'll be there in a few minutes."

He ended the call and started accelerating, hoping the place would still be standing by the time he got there.

Alice looked out the window, patiently waiting for the car with all the team's supplies and, more importantly, Egrene. The longer it took for him to get back, the more worried she got that the prisoner would wake up before she was sufficiently armed.

Calling them a prisoner was a bit of a stretch though since they were currently lying on the couch unrestrained but unconscious. She'd done her best to seal up the worst wounds with the stapler, but the couch still got soaked in blood. Not that it mattered, because it already smelled like cat piss and nobody wanted to sit on it anyways. An unfortunate side-effect to basing off the grid.

She turned away from the window, and as if on cue, headlights shone through the window on her back. She turned around and saw the oldsmobile was in the parking lot. Egrene stepped out, dressed in plain clothes that would have made him look perfectly ordinary if he wasn't walking into an abandoned building with a shotgun at three in the morning.

He looked over at the broken window as if he was considering entering the building through it, but decided against that and used the door like a normal human.

"Hey, I got all the stuff we needed. How's the prisoner holding up?"

"They're still not-"

A horrific shriek came from the couch as the prisoner rolled over and fell to the floor. They clutched their chest and felt the staples and blood-soaked bandages that covered their bullet holes.

"Why is my body full of metal?"

Alice tried to find the nicest way to tell them what had happened. Egrene had less tact, but he did have a shotgun to wave menacingly.

"You almost died, now tell us who you are and how you found us or you'll die for real."

The prisoner raised their hands in surrender.

"Hi, my name is Horatio and I'm from Greazeburger Incorporated. I worked there for fifteen years in the stealing customer data department but then I didn't meet my quota last month so they demoted me to folding cardboard boxes for the factory but I couldn't manage to get the fifth dimension right so I got fired but I didn't die so I figured I should go here since you guys seem nice."

Alice took in that statement.

"Wow, that's a lot… Why do we seem nice?"

"Well according to our dossier Alice usually puts spiders outside instead of killing or eating them like most humans, and Egrene doesn't like mayonnaise."

"And that's why you decided to break into our secret base?"

"Well, we don't really have dossiers for anyone else on this planet. We only know you since you're investigating us."

Egrene took a step back.

"Wait, you know what we're doing here? What the fuck was the point of the secret off-site base?"

Alice shrugged.

"Seemed like a good idea at the time."

Egrene turned to her, fuming. Horatio also gave her an angry look, presumably trying to follow the trends.

"Look, I get this is bad news but can't we focus on the positive? This guy was fired from Greazeburger, which means they have inside information from the company. Information we might be able to use."

"How do you know we can trust them? What if they're a spy?"

Horatio was indignant.

"I'm not a spy!"

"Oh, they said they're not a spy. I guess that means they're completely trustworthy now."

"Glad that's all cleared up."

Egrene didn't lower the shotgun. Alice asked one more question.

"Do you have any kind of proof?"

Horatio opened a small pocket in the skin of their leg and took out a battered old flip phone. They lined the antenna up a vein in their arm and drew a bit of blood.

blood sample accepted. welcome, horatio greaze.

The phone opened, displaying a surprisingly modern screen. Horatio turned it to face their captors.

"Here you go, the Greazeburger official corporate group chat. They didn't bother banning me because they thought I was dead."

Alice grabbed the phone and started scrolling through it.

"Holy shit, I didn't know facebook could have this many people in one chat."

The phone buzzed, and Alice received a picture of a young woman standing in front of a McDonald's captioned as Living the good life as a normal human with one singular stomach. Thousands of emojis followed.

And right in the corner of the picture, there was a car license plate for their state. This might be close by.

"Alright Egrene, looks like we've found our target. You and Greazey start palling the raid, I'm going to get the site director on the phone and then check every McDonald's in the state."

"Wait, you're letting this thing help with the raid? Shouldn't we, I don't know, put it in containment?"

"Eh, you can do that after we blow up a fast food joint."

Egrene was less than pleased with his assistant but was willing to let it slide if it meant getting to blow up a building. Horatio grinned, happy to take part in the destruction of the company that had fired them.

"How many guns can I have?"

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