A Day In The Life, Part 3: Spygor

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(June 2nd)

“Once they'd gotten the mindworms off the Lissann homeworld, that was it for any chance of detection. Drendi mindworms create psychic static that makes telepaths see what they expect – they slipped through the Atlantis gate like water off a duck's back.” Moonbeam shrugged loosely.

“You realize that I will have nightmares for weeks.” Gregory Thompson, mayor of Patchwork City, shuddered dramatically. “Drendi mindworms. Amazing.” He sighed heavily. “Well, the conspirators were caught, that's the important thing. It'll look good in my campaign – no successful attacks since last May, and thank God that wasn't an election year.”

As Moonbeam rolled her eyes, a tiny camera tracked her movements. Tucked imperceptibly behind the fronds of the mayor's favorite potted plant, it automatically shifted its zoom to follow her motions before returning its attentions to the mayor.

Sitting at his computer, Igor Spytensky watched the camera's tiny display on the corner of his monitor, one earbug listening to the dialogue as he made notes. He smiled thoughtfully. Drendi mindworms, eh? Something that Doctor Ecchs would be interested in acquiring, perhaps. On the other hand, there were horror stories about what happened to villains that stole from the SEA. The Doc might not want to risk it.

Even Igor was never quite sure what his boss would risk.

A mirror carefully and artfully placed on one wall showed the movement of two of his co-workers coming down the corridor, and he quickly minimized the program for recording, returning to his spreadsheet. He then glanced up distractedly as they paused in his office.

Jean and Kyle. Of course.

“Hey, Iggie! How's the quarterly report coming along, my man?” Kyle pointed to Igor and mimed firing a gun, with a conspiratorial wink.

“Well.” Igor smiled neutrally. “Done ssoon, I think.”

“Listen, thanks for working on them, huh?” Kyle smiled. “You have a lot on your plate as it is, and I really appreciate it. Don't think we haven't noticed you working all that overtime.”

“Yeah, but don't overdo it, you'll make the rest of us look bad.” Jean gave one of her braying laughs, clearly amused by her own wit. Kyle and Igor gave polite chuckles, and Jean continued. “Oh, hey, I was going to ask. Have you seen the security tapes from last week? The mayor was complaining that someone opened his safe, and the tapes have been wiped.”

“Er… no. No, I haven't seen any tapess. Why would I have seen anything like that?” Igor swallowed, with a faint smile. The tapes in question were sitting in the bottom of his desk right now – when he had attempted to throw them out the day before, the janitor had nearly caught him, and he'd been waiting to take them home tonight. If anyone viewed those tapes, his dark secret would be revealed. The entire office would know that Igor Spytensky and Spygor were one and the same person, and his cover would be absolutely ruined. It would be disasterous. “Have you checked Hal's dessk? Jusst between you and me, I've noticed him hanging around after hours a lot.” Igor leaned in conspiratorially. “Maybe he's funneling information to Dr. Ecchs.”

“Huh?” Kyle looked confused.

Jean frowned. “I don't think there's much in the mayor's safe that Dr. Ecchs would be interested in. Why would Hal – or anyone – take that kind of risk?”

Igor stared at her for a moment, stung by her lack of comprehension. “Jean, the city'ss budget for the upcoming year is in that ssafe. So is the mayor's proposed legisslation on food vendors.”

“Okay…” Jean said slowly. “You think Malefico might decide to attack food vendors next?”

“What? No, of course not!” Igor forgot about covering his tracks, and his lisp vanished under a tide of annoyance. “The budget has tax alterations in it. Malefico can save millions of dollars by pre-emptively shifting their systems around to compensate. They can start investing in vendors that they already know will succeed, and pull funding from anything that might become a loss. Knowing what's going on in the city is corporate espionage. It's huge!”

“Wow. You're really passionate about that, man.” Kyle said.

Igor winced inwardly. He hadn't meant to be. “Well, uh, I'm passionate about ssecurity, that's all. We do really important work around here, and it jusst burnss me up to see someone take advantage of it.”

“I can tell.” Kyle nodded. “Well, I'll ask Hal if he's been around, but I don't think he's a spy or anything. Even if you say it's important, I can't imagine that Dr. Ecchs feels the same way.” When Igor raised an eyebrow, he shrugged. “Villains aren't like you or me, man. They don't care about making money, they just want to be famous and show off how badass they are. Dr Ecchs wouldn't have a spy for civic stuff.”

And who do you think told him about the city's proposed name change? Who gave him police reports to make sure he always knew what villains were in the area? How do you think he knew about the Antihero attack weeks before it happened, or how to exploit loopholes in the driving safety act to create those larcenous shopping carts? This time, Igor managed to keep his mouth shut, and his expression pleasant. “You're probably right.”

“Course I am.” Kyle smiled. “Anyway, sorry to keep you from your work. You coming out to bowling tomorrow night?”

“Wouldn't misss it.” Igor said. After a few more pleasantries, Kyle and Jean headed off to chat with Hal.

It was so easy. So painfully, pathetically easy to disguise himself as one of them. So easy, in fact, that he sometimes wondered if anyone was actually paying attention to the work that he did. The Patchwork Champions knew that he was here – or at least, that a villain named Spygor was here, feeding information constantly to Malefico. Had they ever come after him, ever taken steps to connect mild-mannered Igor Spytensky to the fiendish Spygor? No. They didn't take the mayor's office seriously enough to consider him a security risk.

Some day, he promised himself. Some day he would get the respect that he deserved.

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