Old Villains get that way by being very deadly
[WP] Years after their retirement, a bunch of the old superheroes and supervillains decide to host a reunion and reminisce about the "good old days."
“So who’s here so far?” Kella asked. She had decided to forgo her costume for the event, and was glad she did. Twenty years were rarely kind to an aging body and she had no interest in showing every new bump and bulge encased in skin-tight kevlar.
“So far I’ve spotted Incendiary- he’s over there chatting with Geronima- and I’m pretty sure Doctor Rimehart is by the punch bowl,” Good Witch told her, gesturing to the two villains. No surprise everyone was using their code names too. For the sake of secrecy, Kella- better known as Tradewind to most of the world- wore her delicately-jeweled mask, as did many others.
Kella leaned over to get a look at Rimehart who-as he ever had- noticed the attention and raised his glass to her. He was one of the oldest people in the room, and was flanked by two immense bodyguards. She wasn't surprised. He was a suspicious old bastard.
Of course, when you come to a party made mostly of people who wanted you dead, suspicion was probably a good idea. Frankly, she was surprised he came at all. Pure curiosity made her walk in his direction. They were occasional enemies, but he had never been after her in particular.
“Doctor Rimehart,” she said politely with a genial smile that only shook a little. He had a standing kill-on-sight order, and was one of the very few villains that no one tried to bring in alive anymore.
“Tradewind,” he said in reply, nodding back, a slight smile on his wrinkled face. He was eighty-five or close to it, but he moved like a much younger man. His ever present cane tapped along at his site, the dark metal hiding a wide array of terrible weapons.
He could kill everyone in the room if he felt like it. That was never in question.
“What do you make of this little gathering?” Kella asked, getting her own glass of punch before looking out over the gathering. More people were arriving, and she raised a hand to her old nemesis- Shrieking Violet- who quirked a smile in return. “Last time everyone got together was what- 2024?”
“When the Devourers landed,” Rimehart remembered quietly. “I am afraid I must sit. Would you care to join me at my table?”
It was a terrible idea. She wouldn't put it past him to poison her if he got the chance. When she hesitated, he chuckled. “Do not worry, my dear. I did not come to this little gathering with violence on the mind. I am here on Peacekeeper’s invitation.”
Peacekeeper was the strongest Power in the world. Her Power prevented the doing of harm. No one knew how, but her effect was complete and inescapable. Rimehart might be cunning enough to find a way around her power, but Kella didn't think he cared enough to bother. Peacekeeper was one of the very few Powers Rimehart had never targeted.
“Is she here?” Kella asked instead, mulling over the implications of that.
“I believe she is discussing the state of Korea with Water Dragon and Lotus,” Rimehart gestured to the two heroes who worked in that part of the world. “There are to be governmental visits soon. They are inviting her to the proceedings. She is accepting, if you were curious. And how have you been these past years? I rarely see you on the playing field anymore.”
“I retired after Meteor,” Kella told him quietly. Now that she knew Peacekeeper was in the room, it was easier to relax. “He murdered my husband and broke my neck. After that- well the good fight didn't seem so good.”
“I watched the fight,” Rimehart admitted. His fingers tightened on his cane. “It may be a small comfort- but I hate all Powered humans, not just Heroes. If you had not ended him, I might have taken an interest in putting him down. A rabid beast does no one any good.” It was true enough that he had killed as many Villains and he had Heroes. Whoever was the most powerful seemed to jump to the top of his to-do list, and Meteor could have destroyed the world- something Rimehart would never allow.
“Thanks,” she said in reply, and nodded when a server appeared with a plate of small finger food for the table. “It is, actually, in a weird way. Even if you’re the one who hunts us like rabbits. I remember when you killed Colossus.”
Old grief and anger burned there. He had killed a LOT of her friends over the years, and would have killed more if he got the chance. Just because she had never crossed him directly didn't mean she was unaware of his habits. Colossus was her boyfriend at the time and his death shook her world.
By his slight smile, Rimehart remembered too, far more fondly than she did. It was one of his earlier battles, when Kella was just starting on the Heroic path.
“That I do not regret,” he confirmed slyly. He knew perfectly well what Colossus had been to her, and wasn't sorry. “I will continue my work until I die or succeed, you must know that by now.”
“I do,” she said bitterly. “Believe me, I know what would happen if I picked a fight with you. You’ve murdered plenty of Flyers before me.”
“Yes,” he didn't bother to deny it. “If I chose, I could kill everyone here. Including Peacekeeper, if you must know, although I appreciate her work too much to damage her for the time being.”
“What- how?” Derailed, Kella focused on him again. He chose a small cracker decorated with something spicy-smelling and ate it neatly before answering. “No one can do harm near her.”
“Ah you’ve hit on the very thing, my dear,” he smiled like she had done a particularly clever trick. “Her range is about a mile, give or take. Very useful- VERY powerful considering her effect- but certainly not too far for a talented sniper.”
“You wouldn't-” Kella sat up straight, alarmed. He raised a hand to stop her, and his guards looked at her carefully, as if deciding if she would become a problem.
“I wouldn't,” he agreed. “I approve of world peace, and that is what her aim is. She ends wars and allows the Unpowered to control their own fates, to an extent. But I will kill her eventually, and she knows this.”
The calm admission was more than she could take. “You’re an evil old bastard,” Kella hissed as she stood. There were people here she actually wanted to see, and this conniving villain was not one of them.
His laughter followed her, sounding like a razor blade against a nerve.