Archive for October, 2011

Story Recap: Dr. Photius Callaway, the Killing Man, is taking a vacation after being deposed as the leader of the criminal organization Technefarious. His vacation is interrupted when he discovered a superhero is staying at the same hotel.

“Bad Penny. I wondered when you’d turn up,” Photius taunted.

The man standing in the pool frowned at him. “Very original. It’s almost as if that was the first time I’d heard that.”

The supervillain rolled his eyes. “Well, I’m sorry if I’ve started to repeat myself. There’s only so much new material for clever banter that I’m willing to work on for a person I’ve already killed five or six times. Eventually, I would think you’d stay dead.

“How did you come back this time?”

Penny ignored the question and leaned forward, one hand gripping the edge of the pool. “What are you doing here, Photius?”

“I’m here on vacation, just like you are, I assume. Although, I suppose it’s possible that you have a new power source the requires swimming trunks and hotel pools.”
“No,” he said, taking his other hand out of the water. “It’s the same as it’s always been.” At that distance, Photius could only see that there was a small copper coin between thumb and finger, but he knew the coin would be gouged on both faces.

“Well, since we’re both on vacation, I think it would be reasonable for me not to kill you and for you not to try to arrest me,” Photius said.

Penny stared at him.

Photius sighed and set his glass down on the ground. “If it helps I’ll promise not to commit atrocities against the civilians. Or I’ll threaten to do it. Whichever helps you forgot that you saw me.”

That shifted Penny’s expression into a glare.

The supervillain shrugged, picked his glass back up, picked the plant matter out of it, and took a drink. “Make a decision, man. I have some goofing off to get back to.”

Bad Penny flipped his coin.

Dr. Photius Callaway, last of the Killing Men, lounged by the hotel pool, enjoying the sun. It had just been one week since he had been deposed from his leadership of the notorious supervillain organization Technefarious, and he was determined to enjoy his imposed vacation from his chosen vocation. From the pool, he could see dazzling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean in its Caribbean colors and his fellow tourists frolicking in its waters.Photius doubted any of them were wanted by the authorities, locally or internationally, unlike himself. Instead of selecting a destination that catered to those that worked in his field, he had chosen this spot to get away from his fellow supervillains for a while. There was some personal risk for him in this. He had never bothered with a mask to hide his identity during his career, and while he lacked the grotesque physique some with superpowers had, his linebacker bulk was not exactly ubiquitous, either. He was sipping a fruity drink with enough decoration in that it could easily double as a flower arrangement, but if he had to be honest with himself, it really was not much of a disguise.

Still, no one had accosted him for anything more vigorous than a tip for service, so he hoped for a few more days of quiet while he tried to decide upon a new course. The past few months had been bad. At the end of his tenure as the leader of Technefarious, the staff had shrunk to one third of its peak size. One by one, his lieutenants had ended up in jail, dead, or in jail and then dead. Of the rank and file henchmen, most of them had been captured by the Establishment, the superhero collective that kept the Earth from plunging into global disaster on a daily basis. Freeing them had been his next priority, but before he could arrange it, his authority had been usurped by those unhappy with his leadership.

As a falling out among supervillains, this one was notable for the lack of violence that ensued. Dr. Crankpot and D.O.C.T.O.R had spearheaded the coup. The former was original founder of Technefarious back in the 1960’s, returned from the dead in mysterious circumstances. The latter was Crankpot’s greatest creation: an artificial intelligence that originally ran on vacuum tubes. Neither had been pleased with Photius’s denial of their leadership claim after their reemergence, and they has seized the decline of Technefarious’s fortunes to oust Photius.

Letting his eyes linger on a particularly nice bikini-clad bottom that was sauntering past, Photius reminded himself that the change in his circumstances was not all bad. Technically, he had never wanted to be in charge of Technefarious in the first place. Photius’s immediate predecessor, Dr. Processor, had not been a particularly good leader. Photius had found himself as the ringleader of those within Technefarious that wanted Processor removed from his position. Afterwards, his fellow conspirators stuck him with job of running the whole operation.

Photius had been good at it. Recruitment went up, fatalities went down. Technefarious had not fulfilled its ultimate goal of ruling the world, but with over five decades of failing at that, it was hardly the average henchman’s benchmark for success.

Now relieved of the burden of leadership, Photius felt disinclined to start a new crew. He had enough money that he could live a life a quiet debauchery if he wanted, although with just a few days of vacation under his belt, he knew that it was not a full-time career for him. There was not even anybody he wanted dead. Sure, he had enemies, but nobody he felt the need to hunt down.

The supervillain sipped his drink. If nothing else, he could do some freelance work for his girlfriend while he decided what he wanted to do with his life. Green Needle had offered him a full-time position with the Chlorophyll Cabal, but Photius knew eco-terrorism was not the niche he wanted to fill. However, she was his girl and killing people she wanted killed would pass the time.

Thinking a quick dip in the pool might distract his mind from his problem, Photius glanced over at the water. As he did, his eyes met those of a man who had just popped up to the surface of the water.

With a twinge of annoyance, Photius realized he recognized the man. The villain hid his face behind the foliage in his drink, took another sip, and held the glass awkwardly close afterwards. His obfuscation delayed the inevitable for only a few moments.

“I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to take the flowers and crap out of those before you drink them.”

Photius sighed and lowered the drink. “And then what would I have to hide behind?”

The man in the pool tensed, eyes glued to Photius.

The supervillain smiled back. “Hello, Bad Penny. I wondered when you’d turn up again.”

From the Desk of the Deposed:

Welcome back from your weekend, everyone.

This will be my last post as the leader of Technefarious. After the pounding we took from the Younglights last week, Dr. Crankpot and D.O.C.T.O.R. unified in their opposition to me. They arrived at an agreement to split the rule of our criminal enterprise between them and rallied much of the remnants of our much-battered personnel to their proposal.

Naturally, I offered to relieve them from the burden of their lives for their presumption.

Before our conversation could to escalate to the point of deploying killing implements, the Elite Triad intervened. While they had some reservations about the change, they were backing the coup de tat by our former leaders. When I asked the Elite what would happen if I pursued my preferred resolution, they informed me that would have to view that as dissolution of our friendship.

That stopped me. I guess I’ve just lost too many friends over the past few months to lose one more over a stupid argument.

Crankpot and D.O.C.T.O.R. were magnanimous in the victory and offered me a position in their new Technefarious. I declined. I took over Technefarious because we had a leader I couldn’t stand. I haven’t exactly warmed to our newly renewed leaders since they’ve rejoined us, either. If I’m not in charge, I’m going to have to go.

I’ll miss you all. Bleach actually offered to come with me, but then I told I wasn’t planning on paying him, so you’ll get to hang on to him for a while longer.

That’s it, I think. I just wanted to leave a record of what happened, and let everyone know there was nothing too hard about the feelings involved. Really, none at all by supervillain standards.

Remember to take care of each other. The world is already yours – it just doesn’t realize it yet.

Your Former Leader,

Dr. Photius Callaway
The Killing Man

Author’s Note: This is not the end of Photius’s adventures posted on Mondays. This is just a good point to switch formats. Over the past year, I’ve stretched the memo format as far as I want to and occasionally beyond. These posts were only supposed to be around 500 words, but it seemed like everyone second or third one ended up over 1000 as I tried to tell enough of the story to keep things moving along. I’m itchy to work with the other tools in my storytelling kit, but I’m not done Photius. So, his story continues. It will just be told a little differently from now on. I’ll see you next Monday.

From the Desk of the Dictator:

Well, it’s Monday, again. Yay.

We’re going to have to build a new Base Omega. Base Omega would be our backup base of last resort. Unfortunately, we’re standing in our current Base Omega right now, since the rest of our bases were blown up. Not our best week.

For those keeping score, we fought State, Overclocked, Hope Titanson, Silver Spear, Goldfish, Living Goo, and Hammerstone. Those would be a handful of the many members of the Younglights, the superteam Record Holder belonged to. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume their attack was in retaliation for my murder of him a while back. No one every said that a supervillain’s life is an easy one.

Our reconstruction of events is pretty patchy. We lost too many people and too much property to do a proper after-action report. We know State and Hope caused most of our problems. His moniker is the Quantum Android. She’s a goddess/reality TV star. Instead of a wacky television show, his reality distorting powers and her ability to make miracles created a storm of power that enclosed our headquarters and fritzed out much of our equipment.

Overclocked was responsible for the destruction of our soul catchers. With security distracted by the reality storm, it wasn’t hard for the robot to rip through our facility at superspeed, knocking out sensitive equipment as he went. The soul catchers were the very first thing he hit, but I don’t think they were trying to ensure our people would stay dead if killed. That’s not really been the level of violence the Younglights practice. I think it was aimed at me. If they were running an operation to avenge Record Holder, then it would make sense to cut off all avenues for my escape. The stories about our soul catchers have been making the rounds, but I think that the Younglights didn’t realize that not only was I not connected to the soul catchers, I can never use them myself. I guess the history behind my powers isn’t as widely known as I thought.

While that damned robot trashed our stuff, Silver Spear, Goldfish, Living Goo, and Hammerstone chewed their way through the base, neutralizing our staff as they went. I finally concluded that the heroes had pulled us far enough off balance that the loss of the base was inevitable, and I called for an evacuation.

That would have worked fine, except Hope and State’s reality storm didn’t like our teleportation signals. The first wave to teleport out didn’t die, thankfully. Instead, the storm anticipated their arrival point and blew up that location. That’s how we lost our first backup base. It was a pretty big boom. Our teleportation system detected the newly created obstruction at the location and immediately routed them to the next emergency point. That’s how we lost our second backup base. The Teleportation system switched to the next and the next and the next, and then we were all out bases.

That’s excepting Base Omega. For paranoia’s sake, you cannot teleport to it. Turns out that is a handy feature for just this kind of screw up.

With our evacuation options reduced to escape by vehicles, it was clear that someone was going to have to stall the Younglights while everyone else scattered. So, I gathered up Bleach and the Elite Triad and headed out to do just that. To my surprise, Dr. Crankpot joined us. As old as he is, I wasn’t really expecting to want to mix it up with people four or five generations younger than himself. While we attended to that, I assigned D.O.C.T.O.R. to coordinate the evacuation. With everything else screwed up, his big AI brain was in the best position to maximize Technefarious’s flight.

The Younglights are good fighters. I have to give them that. None of the killing scenarios for them that I envisioned during our brawl were easy to implement. I’d get the upper hand over one of them, and one of the others would intervene. The flipside was that they couldn’t take us, either. The Elite’s capability in the fight wasn’t a surprise to me, but Dr. Crankpot’s was. The dude can scrap. Sure, he couldn’t match the Younglights in speed or power, but he had an endless stream of knick-knacks and gadgets to screw with them.

All of that was just a cover for Bleach. Hope and State’s reality storm was keeping our vehicles penned into our base, so they needed to be taken out. With their teammates occupied by us, Bleach could get close enough to them to drain their powers down enough to break to the storm.

The end of the storm meant our people could escape. It also meant that our equipment could hook back into our satellite network. D.O.C.T.O.R. analyzed the restored data stream and informed me that the reality storm had not gone unnoticed by the larger superhero community. The Establishment was dispatching the Executives to deal with the matter.

Their arrival would likely not go well for us, so we beat down the Younglights enough that we could disengage and ran. D.O.C.T.O.R. had held a drill sled for us. As we plunged into the Earth, he informed us that the Establishment had arrived. From there, it was every vehicle crew for themselves.

Only one-third of Technefarious arrived at Base Omega. I’m sure some of the missing are just lying low, and that others have decided this would be a good time to desert our organization. Worse, some died in the attack. There’s simply no way to prevent it in an assault that thorough, no matter how good the superheroes are at their job. The remainder (probably the majority) of the missing are probably sitting in jail cell or in a hospital, waiting for the local authorities to attend to them. Now we need to figure out how to rebuild and how to recover our people.

This is a setback, but the world will be ours. Have a good week, everyone.

Your Leader,

Dr. Photius Callaway
The Killing Man

From the Desk of the Dictator:

Welcome back from your weekend, everyone.

I know the last week was a long one, but I want to thank everyone for all the hard work they did. The loss of so many of our people set all us back on our heels, but it was nice that we could all pull together to finish the memorial garden for Frigid and Extraction Team C. I was particularly touched by the turnout for the dedication ceremony. Again, thank you all.

If you haven’t seen Dr. Crankpot or D.O.C.T.O.R. since then, it is because I put them under restrictions since memorial service. Dr. Crankpot’s speech that the operation that killed our friends would have gone differently if he had been in charge was in poor taste, I thought. Doubly so considering what was the acceptable casualty rate when he founded Technefarious decades ago. Still, I felt killing him would be excessive, so instead I locked him in his suite for a few days.

D.O.C.T.O.R.’s behavior was a bit more sinister. The subliminal messages criticizing me that he piped through sound system during the dedication ceremony did not go unnoticed. I realize he is as eager as Crankpot to be put back in charge, but there’s a time and place to try to undermine me. I restricted his voice circuits to work only through the speakers in the men’s bathroom off the main lobby as his punishment.

I know “Being a Supervillain Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” makes a great bumpersticker, but it’s no way to actually run an organization.

I’ll release them both back into general circulation later this week.

There are no immediate plans to plunge into another world-conquering project. We paid a high price for the Metalhead’s treasure horde, so we’re going to sit down and catalogue everything we acquired first. There were plenty of gold and jewels, of course, but there was also cash from fifty different countries, government bonds, and even some stocks. Our cybernetic dragon really was a creature of today. It’s going to take our financial department a while to sort it all out and laundry it.

The occult department has plenty of new magical artifacts to keep them busy. The Bucket was not the only one Metalhead was sitting on. While their working on those, the assault teams and the computer department are going over his base and securing all his traps. I don’t intend to lose anyone else to that place by accident. All of that ties up enough of our resources that there is no sense in trying to start something else right now.

Have a good week, everyone. Remember, the world is already ours – it just doesn’t realize it yet.

Your Leader,

Dr. Photius Callaway
The Killing Man