Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks Fiction Fragment Friday is another story dealing with superheroes and villains. I like the main character I have created here and I’m sure we will see him again. Maybe in a future story with Ricochet.
It is harder to pick the right group of villains for a job than you might think. There are so many variables that must be accounted for. What is the goal of the mission? Who are the heroes most likely to respond? What personality issues may arise? Will any of the powers interact poorly with each other? Will they keep quiet until after it is completed? This is why jobs that I organize tend to be more successful than my counterparts. They never consider all the variables like I do. I suppose that is why they call me Tactician. It was not a name I chose, but I was young and that was one variable I didn’t consider. If you don’t announce a name you will never live down what the media gives you. Let me walk you through my process.
The start of every job comes from inspiration. This could be a tip from my network of informants or just an idea that I think up in the shower. Never underestimate the potential of ideas you have during your daily routine. I keep a notebook in every room just to capture these ideas whenever they may strike. This morning my inspiration came from a news article online. The Museum of Science and Technology downtown was hosting a traveling exhibit on heroes and villains from the 1980s. One of the objects mentioned was the helmet of Dr. Terror. This object was barely a footnote among the artifacts from much more successful villains, but to me it was the most prized object I could ever have in my collection. That particular version of the helmet is the one that I drew for him on my sixth birthday. Despite how ridiculous it looked my dad made it and wore it because I designed it. There is no question about what my target is, but I still research every other item on display carefully. Never do a job for only one reason if you can help it.
With my target identified the next step is research. I get the blueprints for the museum, the sewer maps for the area, and make note of every building for three blocks around. You need to be prepared for multiple escape routes though your crew doesn’t necessarily need to know all of them. Also you need to know what is nearby if you need a distraction or in case there is a likely hood of heavier resistance. I run my algorithms to show hero activity in the area and determine the most likely heroes to respond. That might be enough for most villains, but I take this an extra step further. I look for public appearances to see where any known heroes will be. Finally I cross reference the items on display with past news articles. I want to be prepared for anyone powered that may be at the exhibit to be reminded of their or their parent’s glory days.
Next I identified potential resources to bring into the job. The list started off with every villain not in prison that I knew how to reach. Next I eliminated any villain that was a Nazi or psychotic killer. I may be a villain, but I’m not a monster. I not only won’t work with these people, but find they add an extra difficulty to the group dynamic. Bringing them in is an invitation to having your crew turn on each other or be manipulated by the heroes. After all my eliminations I was left with twelve potential resources. Before forming any plan it is key to know what you have available.
With all my data points consolidated I started coming up with my plans. Yes I do mean plans plural. I always have a main plan, a backup plan, and an emergency plan. My main plan for this job was to have Vortex use her portals to get the team directly inside the building. Then Repulsor would put up one of his force fields to keep out any incoming heroes. There was only a fifteen percent chance a hero would show up capable of piercing the shield in under twenty minutes. Brickhouse was chosen for her strength and invulnerability. This was to handle anyone that might be trapped in the force field with us. The key to this plan was to enter quickly get as many artifacts as we could and then get out hopefully before we even hit the news. My main plan is always the best, but I am rarely able to use it. Case in point Vortex declined because she was trying to go straight and Repulsor had already signed on for another job.
My backup plan was not as clean. For this plan we would buy tickets and go in as attendees. Pulse owes me a favor so I knew that I could get her on board. She would take out the alarms and security cameras so there would be no footage of us without our masks. That would not be a major concern for my cohorts, but I have never been caught and enjoy having my identity remain secret. Brickhouse could still handle the guards while I bagged the goods. Without Repulsor I gave us only five minutes to grab and start getting out. This meant exiting out the back door and into our getaway van. The van was loaded with my illusion tech so we could change the appearance and plates anytime we got out of sight. This plan had far more risk, but still had a ninety-five percent chance of working.
This was a simple plan and should not have gone wrong so of course it did. In the exhibit room Brickhouse pushed back the guards and I started grabbing the items on my list starting with my dad’s helmet. When I reached for the Golden Asp’s amulet I was almost crushed by Brickhouse being flung across the room and through the display. This was the worst case in my plans, but was something I had taken into account. A man that could only be Champion’s son was posing with energy radiating off him in a bright glow. There was an entire section of the exhibit dedicated to his father who had recently fallen saving the world. It was time for the emergency plan.
I yelled out orders to Brickhouse and Pulse while moving on my escape plan. I knew they would only last moments against Champion Jr, but that would be enough. I hit a button on my watch and it wrapped me in an invisibility illusion. While the hero was distracted I slipped out the side door and took off in my van. This was going to hurt my reputation. Having a failed job would make it hard to hire resources next time. Abandoning my crew would mean the price and quality would both be impacted for months to come. It also is never good to have people out there with a grudge against you. It was not my cleanest job, but as I stare over at my father’s helmet on my shelf I am happy to say it was a success because as always I considered all of the variables.