From the Desk of the Dictator:

Welcome back from your weekend, everyone.

With previous Technefarious leaders Dr. Crankpot and D.O.C.T.O.R. hanging around the home base again, it feels like old times. Unfortunately, those old times seemed to have extended into our operations. The list of dead from Project Bucket Run is longer than I want to include here. A permanent memorial I commissioned for them will be placed in the courtyard once it is complete.

Project Bucket Run was supposed to be a simple assault, steal, and retreat operation. Ruffle some feathers, do some property damage, take what we came for, and get out. Instead, after three days, only three of us survived.

We were just trying to steal the Bucket of Pure Water, a magical object that would be useful for some of our other projects. We had received a tip that it was among the horde of the dragon Metalhead. Our intelligence indicated that he was not a natural dragon, but one cursed into the shape of dragon by his excessive greed. Driven by their favorite vice, greed dragons are not noted for their excessive intelligence. Unlike the natural fire-breathers, their monomania can be used to trick or distract them during negotiations and battle. They don’t have much use for sacrificial virgins, but gold is something they really like.

We missed the fact that Metalhead wasn’t a normal victim of such a curse. He used to be a petty criminal. After an accident, most of his body was replaced by cybernetic parts, including three-fourths of his brain. It wasn’t our handiwork; we aren’t the only practitioners of superscience in the world. With his enhancements, his inorganic brain left Metalhead capable of plotting even after his dragon-cursed organic brain was crippled with greed.

He used that awareness to build himself one of the deadliest lairs I have ever been in, and my supervillain moniker is the Killing Man. Our initial penetration of his perimeter went smoothly. About halfway to his treasure trove, everything shifted. The after-action report from Extraction Teams A and B suggests that the lair itself teleported to another location. On the inside, our team suffered a sense of disorientation and then were attacked. Of course, between Frigid, Bleach, Elite Beta, Elite Gamma, the heavily armed Extraction Team C, and myself, we destroyed the laser turrets, giant robots, and miniature helicopters that jumped us. From there, we had just enough time to patch ourselves up and determine that our communicators weren’t working before we got attacked again. This time, our attackers were lava-spitting stone centipedes, gremlin cannons, and flying swords. Immediately after we finished with those came the poison ghosts, flaming zombies, and mobile ballista.

For seventy-two hours we fought. When we ran, acid pits, storms of explosive arrows, and crushing walls sprung up around us. When we stood our ground, wave after wave monsters and robots wielding every type of weapon and enchantment came at us.

Remember a couple of months ago how easily I penetrated the SuperMaxed prison they were keeping Bleach in? Well, those weaknesses existed because of the necessities of moving things in and out of the prison. Sustained by his curse, Metalhead could cover those gaps and create a setup to hammer any intruder into paste. Interlocking fields of magic and technology stopped our unblockable communication systems and cut us of from the Soul Catchers back at our home base. We didn’t realize the latter. The full cost of the mess we were in did not catch up to us until after we had finally conquered the facility.

I want to pause here to offer a special remembrance for Frigid. We lost her on the second day. Half of the Extraction Team were dead by that point, and Elite Beta had been reduced to his memory drive. The walls of the hanger we were crossing had turned into one giant heating element, dumping a punishing amount of radiation into us. Frigid’s endothermic powers blunted its effects but took far too much of her concentration. When the energy eagles dove into the room, she wasn’t able to avoid their claws. Injured, she reached out with her powers to a dangerous degree, drawing the radiation and the eagles to her like moths to a bug zapper. My powers tipped me off to what the end result of that would be. She wouldn’t let me stop her, and her command, Bleach suckered me with his powers and dragged me from the hanger. When we had reached a safer location he restored me, but it was too late to save her. In expressing my displeasure with the sequence of events, I may have gestured at Bleach too intently with a sharp implement, causing him to dash off into the next trap. We saved him, but I’ll admit that my reaction to Frigid’s death made that more complicated than it needed to be.

By the time we finally confronted Metalhead, only Bleach, one member of Extraction Team C (Rick), and myself remained. Compared to the effort it took to reach him, it wasn’t much of a fight. I had Bleach and Rick stash themselves safely and called upon our sadistic host myself. It wasn’t the first time I’ve gone dragon slaying.

The Bucket and the rest of Metalhead’s treasure are ours. So is his lair. If you ask me, though, we paid too high a price for a mere dragon’s horde.

At times like this, I like to remember that our real goal will put us in a position where we can keep this kind of thing from happening. Our fallen will not have died in vain.

Your Leader,

Dr. Photius Callaway
The Killing Man