Tear The World Apart - Part 1, Lonely At The Top

(May 26, 2008)

“Patchwork City. The clouds hang low, the storm is brewing. I look out over the city, and I see a swarm of mindless ants - drones, never suspecting what is to come. The magnifying glass of doom is casting its flickering shadow over this city, and none see the danger. None but…”

“Doc? What the hell are you doing?”

Doctor Spencer Ecchs exhaled slowly, gritting his teeth. Slowly, he uncrossed his hands from behind his back and turned, the window that he had been looking out now behind him as he surveyed this sudden interruption. His lab coat billowed out around his knees, as he leveled his best glare at the intruder. “I was dictating my memoirs. At the moment, I'm wondering what exactly you're doing in my office.”

He shouldn't have bothered; the glare slid off her like water off a duck's back. “Nothing, really. Just bored.” Shrugging, Nightshade crossed the room to stand next to him, glancing across at the doctor. “What's all this about magnifying glasses, then? Trying to get the old Laser-Eye up and running again?”

“What? No!” Ecchs paused momentarily. “You know, I'd forgotten we had that. Remind me to look into it again sometime later. But regardless - no!” Shaking his head, he crossed back to his desk, pushing the chair aside and sinking into it. “Why am I the only person worried right now? The Champions are prancing around like they're on vacation -”

“Probably because they practically are.” Nightshade examined her nails, not bothering to look over at her CEO. “We haven't pulled a job since that whole 'Dr Perfect' thing last month, you've been so busy Antihero-proofing everything.”

“That! That is what I'm talking about!” Raising an accusatory finger, Ecchs pointed it at Nightshade. “The Antiheroes are a serious threat! And as if that weren't enough, the SEA is pouring agents in, so we have to walk even more carefully than usual! If they find an Accord violation… well, it would be bad.”

“Right, we won't let them see the twenty tons of Chronarium you've still got locked in the basement.” Nightshade shrugged again, brushing a strand of dyed-black hair out of her eyes and glancing up at the doctor with a skeptical expression. “Shouldn't they make things easier if the Antiheroes attack?”

“Well… yes… but that's not the point!”

“So what is?”

“That bastard Lucky Ladd is back, that's the point!”

Nightshade's eyebrows rose into her hairline. “You pulled in favours to get him back.”

“Yes! Precisely! And I hate it!” Throwing his arms in the air, Ecchs's voice raised in frustration. “That's how bad things are, Nightshade!”

“Mm-hm.” Rolling her eyes, Nightshade walked for the door. “Hey, call me when you're making sense, okay? I realize it could be a while, but I'm always interested in seeing something new.”

“Bah! Get out of my office, you ungrateful excuse for a vice-president!” As the door clicked softly shut behind her, Ecchs sighed heavily and dropped his head on the desk. “Bloody minions. I bet the Champions don't have to deal with crap like this.”

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