Previous chapter here. I'm tired of disclaimers, and if you're reading this chapter before the last two you've already done goofed anyway.
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A few days after their heist, Lawrence walked into the lab to the sight of his boss sitting by the supercomputer with a half-finished Cloak Drone wired up to it.
"I thought you were gonna build a thingamajigg, and I find you here playing video games," Lawrence teased his boss as he cracked open a beer can and poured some of its content onto his dome.
"Please don't do that," Willcraft said without taking his eyes off the computer's huge screen. "I made your suit waterproof, but that doesn't mean you should smear sticky liquids on it. Besides, you can't even drink."
"Roleplaying that you're drinking beer?"
Willcraft sighed as his sidekick poured some more beer onto the dome, frustratingly aware of the trickling sound of it running down the mech suit he had crafted with such love and care.
Lawrence walked over to the Cloak Drone and leaned closer to take a better look at it, poking it with his free hand. In its current state it was a mess of wires, computer chips and other sciency things, and a red, spherical lamp that seemed to stare right back at him.
"So how's it going with this dumb thing?" he asked.
"I'm programming it right now," Willcraft responded. "I thought that was obvious from all the wires connecting it to the computer. After I'm done with this, all that's left to do is save a backup file of its programming so it can easily be applied to all future drones, and then finally I'll equip it with a hull."
"Good idea. Right now it looks fucking creepy. Like one of those defective turrets from Portal."
"You're mentioning Portal a lot."
"What can I say, I really like those games. Wasn't THAT into the first two, but like pretty much everyone I gotta admit that the third one was a fucking masterpiece. The story took JUST the direction I was hoping it would, and tied up all loose threads. Instant fucking classic."
"Yeah, yeah... Did you come here for any better reason than to pester me? I'm kind of trying to work towards world domination over here."
"I did come here for another reason, but it's nowhere near as good as to pester you. But then, I'm biased in that matter. Anyway, we're running low on some supplies. That's what I came here to talk about. Supplies. ...Ever thought about how it sounds like 'surprise'? Surprise supplies..."
"So why don't you grab some henchmen and get some?"
"First of all, ew, I highly disapprove of how that can be misinterpreted. Second of all, I've never done it without you before. And I really, really don't trust my ability to get even half of them home again, or the supplies."
"And you seriously think I have time for that? Did your artifical equivalent of ears glitch out when I emphathized the importance of what I'm doing here?"
"Look, I don't give two shits about your henchmen, so for me it doesn't matter either way. But you seem to want 'em around for some reason, and they apparently need food to stay around. So, y'know, it's your decision in the end, but..."
Willcraft groaned and rose from his chair, setting his supercomputer to sleep mode. "For fuck's sake... If I'm going to be focusing on bigger projects I can't be running petty errands, so then I kind of count on my closest minions to do that for me. But nooo, apparently I'll have to build a raiding robot now. Or at least teach you how to go shopping."
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And so, in the middle of the night, a truck drove across the relatively quiet roads of the city with a disgruntled Willcraft at the wheel. It came to a screeching halt at a grocery store, and Willcraft opened the truck's cargo to let out the henchmen inside. They knew what to do and ran out of the truck, going straight for the store.
"Don't just ignore the gun shop next to it!" Willcraft shouted at his minions. "You imbelices waste more bullets than Lawrence wastes my time!"
Lawrence glared at his boss with a grumpy muttering and his bulky arms folded while the two lazily watched their henchment do all the work, loading the truck with food, ammunition and weaponry.
"Are you noticing how you literally have to do nothing other than drive here?" Willcraft asked. "I really don't get why this is so hard to you."
Then, suddenly, one of the henchmen was knocked to the ground by a blue blast of light, the boxes of ice cream he was carrying breaking as they hit the concrete, covering the street with melting ice cream.
Willcraft clutched his chest and whimpered. "Few things are as heartbreaking as wasted ice cream..."
"Seriously?" Lawrence asked.
"Seriously. Nothing can lessen the incredible disappointment of a scoop of ice cream falling off your cone. I'm thinking of introducing it as a torture method. Anyway, let's take a look at where that blast came from."
"Oh yeah, right."
The two got out of the truck and investigated the area. Willcraft made use of his heat vision and quickly detected an unknown humanoid. Just in time to see said humanoid raise its hands, followed by a powerful blue light. Willcraft instinctively held up his arms to protect himself, but it wasn't needed as Lawrence stepped in front of him to take the hit, which had little to no effect on him.
"Fuck your first robot law," Lawrence muttered. "Watching you take that blast would have made my day."
Willcraft stepped out from behind his sidekick and switched off the heat vision to get a better look at whoever Lawrence had just saved him from. His eyes fell upon a figure, probably in his late teens or early twenties, dressed in a blue suit with some dark blue armour pieces, a cape, and a mask that covered the upper half of the face. His arms had glowing blue, angular lines covering them and his palms beared round, blue lights of some sort.
"As I thought," Willcraft said. "A wannabe superhero."
"Whatcha wanna bet on?" Lawrence asked. "He got his powers from some genetic business or from gadgets?"
"I'll say gadgets or a mix."
"Then I'll say genetics or a mix, so if it's a mix, we tie."
"Deal. Anyway, shut up now. I haven't gotten to kill a single superhero yet, and I'm real excited to score my first."
Willcraft cleared his throat and took a few steps forward, pleased to feel the wind moving backwards causing his trenchcoat to wave evilly. "Kid, you better have an excellent excuse as to why you are interrupting my evening shopping."
The superhero held his head high. "You are committing a crime. I'm stopping you. That's how it works. I'm going to take you and your goons to jail."
Willcraft laughed. "Oh, that's rich! Say, how many supervillains have you taken to jail?"
"None yet," the hero admitted. "Supervillains, at least."
Lawrence giggled. "So... He's your first?" he asked in an attempt at a seductive voice.
Willcraft waved at Lawrence to shut up. "Do you have any idea who I am, boy?"
"You're a criminal," the superhero responded.
"I am Willcraft! Up-and-coming villain phenomenon, evil genius, master technologist, and crusher of squishy skulls! The latter of which I will be sure to familiarize you with."
The superhero tilted his head. "So why are you doing such a petty crime as robbing a store?"
"Well, for your information, I WAS working on something really big and awesome, but a certain SOMEONE didn't wanna go shopping by himself because he's shy and needs someone to babysit him..." Willcraft muttered with a glare at Lawrence. "Anyway, how about we get to the part where I tear your spine out and shove it up your ass?"
Without any more words, the superhero raised one hand and released a blast of blue energy which Willcraft rolled out of the way from, leaving the slower Lawrence to take the hit with an unenthusiastic "Ow".
"Henchmen, get me something to shoot this sucker with!" Willcraft ordered as he sprinted towards the hero, dodging a few more blasts. Right before getting into melee range, the hero launched himself into the air by releasing energy blasts from his feet, landing on the store roof where he continued his assault.
One of the henchmen handed Willcraft an assault rifle, which he pointed at the hero and pulled the trigger, only to hear a disappointing clicking.
"Did you just give me a gun straight from the store?" he asked the henchman coldly.
"And you were not aware that guns on display are traditionally not loaded?"
"Uh, I guess, but... I don't work well under pressure, I guess..."
Willcraft moved out of the way of another blast, but the henchman was less fortunate and took a direct hit.
"I'm not distraught about this," Willcraft sighed and raised his hand towards the hero, shooting out his harpoon from his sleeve. The hero tried to evade it, but it still hit him in the leg and pierced through. Satisfied to see his weapon finally working, Willcraft triggered the next feature of the contraption and sent a powerful electric shock through the wire while reeling it in. The hero fell off the roof with a heavy thud as he was pulled in by the harpoon stuck in his leg, and when he was close enough Willcraft finally had a bit of mercy by activating the final feature, which was to have the harpoon retract the barbs that kept it from being pulled out, finally allowing it to return to its proper place in Willcraft's sleeve. It was only then that he realized that Luna was right, the whole bloodshed part was kind of messy. He'd have to scrub his suit after this, and maybe reconsider the harpoon's design.
But for now, he had a wounded hero right at his feet. Time to finish the job.
One of the henchmen suddenly showed up by his side to hand him a shotgun, and this time he fired a test shot into the air, pleased to see that there were actually bullets in it. However, the hero used the brief distraction to launch himself away from Willcraft with his energy, causing him to get hurled into the store. Willcraft sighed and ran inside, only to find that the hero had already disappeared among the shelves. However he noticed a trail of blood on the ground. That and his heat vision would guarantee that his target wouldn't be able to hide. But he decided to save his heat vision for now. Not make it TOO easy.
With the shotgun in one hand resting on his shoulder, he strided around in the store following the trail.
"Told you I was out of your league, blast boy..." he taunted confidently. "Oh, and by the way, if I just guessed your name correctly, I'm almost embarrassed for you."
He recieved no response, and decided to casually shoot one of the store shelves, causing the unsteady thing to topple. He was surprised to see the hero standing on the other side of it, holding his bleeding leg and looking just as surprised.
Okay, that probably seemed awesome, Willcraft thought. I just gotta not say anything about it not being intentional. Gotta own this.
He reloaded the shotgun and pointed it at the hero who was raising his free hand. Willcraft, who put a lot of value in situational awareness, knew that the shelf behind him contained highly flammable substances, and he suspected that whatever the hero's energy powers were would ignite them. Considering for the duration of a split second, he decided to not fire even though he certainly had the time, instead letting the hero release a blast while he threw himself out of the way. The shelf behind him exploded into a violent mass of flames, destroying large parts of the store and causing a number of objects to catch on fire which quickly spread.
"Woo!" Willcraft cheered as he got back up on his feet. "That hurt, but it was SOOO worth it! And now the store is all broken and on fire! Way better setting for murdering a superhero!"
He checked his suit to make sure it was alright, and was relieved to find that it was still in a fine condition. Making it fireproof had been a wise decision.
He activated his X-ray vision, knowing that heat vision would be useless for finding the hero in this environment, and quickly found him attempting to escape the scene. Just before he could launch himself through the ceiling, Willcraft fired the shotgun causing a number of very painful objects to bury themselves within the hero's legs and, from the sounds of it, disable the devices that allowed him to produce energy blasts with them.
"Hah! Called it! Lawrence was wrong!"
The hero couldn't get back up to his feet, and instead weakly rolled over to face Willcraft. "What kind of psychopath are you?"
"You're misusing that term. I mean, okay, I do most likely suffer from either psychopathy or sociopathy, but I'm suspecting you're referring to the common misunderstanding of what the word means. But yeah, to answer your question, I'm what you call a supervillain. Might not wanna get into the hero business if crazed, dangerous killers freak you out."
Willcraft threw the shotgun aside and grabbed the hero by the neck, lifting him up to eye level and sighing. "I've seen lots of cases like you lately... Kiddies thinking they got what it takes to be a hero or villain without knowing shit about what really comes with the job. I almost DON'T wanna kill you so that my first hero kill can be more impressive. But hey, I did get us this neat setting, so I might as well..."
Then, before he could actually break the hero's neck as intended, the fire alarm finally went off and sprinklers in the ceiling activated, slowly putting out the raging flames. Willcraft's face took on a "Fuck my life" expression underneath his mask.
"That took way too long to be automatic!" he spoke loudly. "It was activated manually, don't try to fool me! So just come out here, Luna!"
A slim, agile figure dropped down from the ceiling, landing without making a sound behind Willcraft, who turned around completely unsurprised to see her.
"Are you here to fuck up my plans again?"
"Aw, no flirting this time?" Luna responded.
"Huh, you're in an unusually unprofessional mood. Usually I'd jump at something like that, but today I'm just really sick of everything. First Lawrence, then this poser, and now you. I just can't get SHIT done today. All I want is sit at home and work on my devil devices, is that so fucking much to ask?!"
"So you're not interested in going on a date with me, then?"
Willcraft unceremoniously punched the hero in the face, knocking him unconscious, and dropped him on the floor. "Go on... Even if this is another of your tricks, I'll play along for a bit..."
Luna took a few swift steps closer to him and her tone got as serious as usual. "There is a party arranged by some high-ups in the underworld, and I need to get inside. However, only known villains are allowed, as well as romantic company."
Willcraft nodded and tapped the mouth filter of his mask. "I see where this is going... I'm a known villain, so I can attend. And you want to join me as the romantic company."
"Yes. But to be clear, it is a strictly professional arrangement. We are not actually a couple; this is solely out of common interest. As soon as it is over, we are enemies again."
"Hmm... Common interest, you say? I see what YOU get out of it. I imagine you got some important stuff to steal or some bigshot to hang up in a streetlight somewhere, but what do I gain from this?"
"One evening to pretend we're back together."
"We'd have to in order to make it believable. If I'm going along with this, I demand smooching. And hand-holding. And dancing. And, if we find the time, some sweet screwing."
"We'll sort out such details once we're there. But I can tell you right now there will be nothing of the latter."
"I'm okay with that... We'll let things unfold however they please... And if they choose to unfold with you changing your mind, I certainly won't complain..."
"So it's a deal, then?"
"Give me the time and place, and I'll see you there."
* * *
Once the agreement was completed and Luna had disappeared, Willcraft left the damaged building. He had decided to let the hero live so he could tell people of his encounter with the super-awesome Willcraft, and left him alive and unconscious in the building that was now no longer burning. Perfectly safe until help arrived.
Speaking of which, Willcraft was surprised that no police had shown up yet. Of course, maybe there were bigger crimes going on all over the city tonight. What concerned him more was the complete absence of the truck he and his goons had arrived with.
"Fuck you, Lawrence..." he muttered and began his long walk home, knowing that his sidekick was sitting at home in the lair snickering right now.