The Perfect Plan, Part 5: Cargo

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(October 16th)

“Just drop them off over here.” Nightshade waved to one corner of the Malefico loading docks. The man she was talking to, a thickly heavyset man wearing blue overalls and a black jacket. “I'll deal with it from there.”

“Big delivery.” Nightshade twitched her head to one side, to see Josh standing behind her, watching quizzically as the deliverymen began to unload massive crates with a forklift, driving each one to the designated corner and letting them fall roughly down. “I didn't know we were planning a heist.”

“Not a heist, Josh.” Nightshade considered, then shrugged. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Sure.” Josh smiled brightly. “What's inside.”


Josh gasped. “You… you bought robots?” Looking suddenly nervous, he glanced around worriedly. “From another company? A not-Malefico company?”

Nightshade rolled her eyes. “I already told you, this isn't heist-related. It's for Ada's bachelorette party.”

Josh's worry vanished, replaced with confusion. “Robots. For a bachelorette… you're going to have to walk me through this one, Nina.”

“Don't call me Nina.” Nightshade glowered at him, then shrugged. “But sure. Amber and I worked it out. One way or another, get a bunch of rival supervillains together and there's bound to be fireworks. So we're hiring Ash to set up that old shifting ninja tree maze that he put together, before he decided to be a superhero…”

“Oh, the one where the trees and the hedge maze are all ninja robot zombies, and the paths change whenever you walk them?” Josh grinned. “That is a pretty awesome place. Heard it gets a lot of tourists.”

“Right.” Nightshade glowered again at the interruption, but her relief at having the party ready overcame her annoyance, and she carried on. “So, we're releasing a lot of these robots into the maze after supper, and dividing the party into pairs, and sending them to go hunt robots!” She grinned. “Electrical weaponry only, but they have an hour to make modifications. The ninja can get out of the way of general taser fire. Prizes to the team that can take out the most robots.”

Josh stared at her. “You're sending teams of supervillains – heavily armed supervillains – heavily armed supervillains with known grudges against each other – into a shifting, confusing maze. At night. With the express goal of shooting at everything that moves.”

“Yep.” Nightshade's smiled widened. “Pretty sweet, yeah?”

“Um.” Josh temporized. “It will definitely be an event to remember.”

“That it will… hey…” Nightshade, who had been turning to look at the crates, turned back quickly with a suspicious look in her eye. “You don't like something about this, don't you?”

“Um.” Josh stalled desperately. “Just… um… robots. Not very sexy, you know?”

“To mad scientists?” Nightshade answered ironically. Before Josh could counter, she added, “We've got them looking like buff shirtless men, if you have to ask. It's a bit tacky, but that's sort of the point.”

“Shirtless men.” Josh said. “Like the Terminator?”

“No, not like the Terminator!” Nightshade fumed. “Give us some credit for orginality, here!”

“Okay.” Josh folded his arms. “In what ways are they not like the Terminator?”

“Well… they aren't going to terminate anything.” Nightshade answered. “No combat programming, just defensive routines.”

“So a running-away Terminator.”

“No!” Nightshade thought desperately, then said, “They have British accents. Not Austrian ones.”

“Did you ever watch the Terminator movies?” Josh asked. “Not every one of them had…”

“Look, they're not Terminators!” Nightshade cut him off. “You want a reason? Here's a reason! They're not Terminators because anyone who says they are Terminators is going to get their annoying face punched through a wall!” She cracked her knuckles pointedly.

“That is a very good reason, and one that I hadn't fully considered.” Josh said. “Definitely seeing your side of things.”

“I'll bet you are.” Nightshade grumbled. “If you'll excuse me, I have to check the robots and make sure they all work.”

“Cool.” Josh nodded with a smile, and turned for the door. “I'm going to go make some more arrangements for the Doc's bachelor party, so if anyone's wondering where I am, tell them I needed to go for the day.”

“Tell Irene, she's the damned receptionist.” Nightshade shot back, bending over to starting opening the first crate.

“Fair enough.” Josh shrugged, then added in a thick Austrian accent, “I'll be back.”

By the time Nightshade's head had snapped around, the door was already slamming shut behind him as he took off at a sprint.

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