Rise Of Darkness, Part Two: Talking Business

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(April 19th)


“BUSINESS SCHOOL?!” Filmore Ecchs' roar echoed through the household. In the kitchen, Carol idly reached out, steadying the china cup threatening to fall off the counter, before returning to work with a sigh.

In the lavish Ecchs study, his son stood his ground. “Absolutely, Dad. It's the wave of the future.”

“Wave of the future.” Filmore muttered. “Are you out of your mind, Spencer? You're a mad scientist. Your brothers and sisters are all mad scientists. Your parents and grandparents are all mad scientists. You took a bloody undergraduate degree in pseudoscience, and now you want to be a… a banker?!”

Spencer Ecchs took a deep breath, feeling his hands curl into fists and forcing them back. “You have six scientist children, Dad. Well… five, sort of. I don't know, does Ester count? Science duchess isn't really a 'proper' scientist, after all. Kind of diluted.” He shrugged. “Anyway, you're not paying, so what do you care?”

Filmore gritted his teeth, his voice dropping to a more reasonable level. “Spencer, there is a grand tradition…”

“The grand tradition is dead, Dad.” Spencer said harshly. “I was nine when it died. I was fourteen when you attended its funeral. Don't give me any crap about our grand tradition when you're the one who sold it out.”

Filmore hesitated. “Spencer, that wasn't… this…” He broke off. “Is that what this is about? You waited nine years to tell me that you didn't approve of my signing the Accords? You're throwing your future away for that?”

Spencer turned away. “No!” He yelled. “I spent nine years trying to believe that you were wrong. I went to the IAV, got my degree in evil science. A degree in evil science.” He laughed harshly. “But you know what, Dad? You were right. We have to change with the times. It doesn't matter what people say, what they think. It's all about the bottom line.” He waved a hand around the room. “Reputations and respect are for other people, as long as we just have enough money.”

Filmore growled softly. “You don't know what you're talking about.”

“I do! I've learned, Dad. You shouldn't be angry, I'm on your side now. Money is what matters, so money is what I'm going to make. To hell with science, and to hell with villainy.” He grabbed the door handle, slamming it on his way out of the room.

He got two steps down the hallway before being engulfed in purple light that froze him in place. His mother stood in front of him, arms crossed. “You go right back in there and apologize to your father, young man.”

“For what?” Spencer said angrily.

“For taking out your frustrations on him.” Carol said sternly. “Your father has spent his life worrying about his children. He's spent so much time doing his best to take care of you, and your behaviour is simply atrocious.”

“He gave up, Mom.” Spencer muttered.

“You have no idea what it was like.” Carol snapped. Spencer looked up in surprise. “The heroes were ready to declare war on us. They've always outnumbered us, and the public supports them.” She shook her head viciously. “You've seen what the Antiheroes have started. Imagine that, but with ten times their numbers, and with government support. With heroes who wouldn't toe the line rounded up and killed.”

“Sounds like a villain's plan.” Spencer said finally.

“There wouldn't have been a difference anymore.” Carol said. “Some villains might have celebrated that. They would have still died.” She shook her head. “If I'd realized you had taken it so hard… your father was protecting you, Spencer. I won't have you attacking him for it.”

“I…” Spencer chewed his lip reluctantly. “I'm not changing my mind, Mom. The world doesn't need another fake villain. I'd rather give it up entirely than be someone that doesn't matter.”

“Try a taste of the business world.” His mother tapped her wristwatch, and the purple light vanished. “I don't think it will be to your liking.” Her eyes narrowed. “Now go back in there and apologize.”

Spencer nodded slowly. “I'm sorry, Mom.”

“Don't tell me.” She pointed behind him. “Tell him.”

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