Getting Inside Doctor Zero's Lair

Doctor Zero, as it were, was an assuming sort and a humble man.  That's not to say that he was a mere mortal, or less than a supervillain, but if you were to ask him, he would argue the point.

When addressed as "Sir", or "My Liege" by henchman accompanying other Supervillains to the gatherings Zero would hold, in order to discuss ridding the world of humanity, the good Doctor Zero would always respond that a villain is a villain, and that none should stand above the rest. 

"Why is it that I call myself Doctor Zero?", he'd begin, "when surely I could call myself Doctor Omnatopeia or Doctor Harbringer?"

Of course the question was rhetorical, and despite the intent of the lesson, those who listened, of course, waited for an answer.

See, in the world of "super", as you're probably aware, whether it be hero, or villain, they both have their fine points, there is always a ladder to ascend.  Or one would think so.

Not Doctor Zero.  Whether one had knocked the moon off its axis, or merely harangued a shopkeeper for change, Doctor Zero would maintain, with no small degree of tenacity, that a villain was a villain, and no matter the destruction, all villains from the shoplifter to the soul stealer, all contributed.  The difference, he declared, was passion. 

A true philanthropist for milanthropists, Dr. Zero, having achieved his PHD from UCLA in the subject of Nuclear Physics, had also graduated in honors in organizational diagnosis and change with a specialization in Group Dynamics.  He had frequently been called upon to speak at the Conference for World Destruction, most recently to share his latest paper, "How to turn a Win/Win Supervillain Negotiation into a Lose/Lose for Humanity"  It had met with rave reviews from arch nemeses across the board, to which, Zero, of course had politely excused himself with a simple, "I do what I can."

So it was that Emma and Bruce came to a modest one story bungalow,quietly set behind a well manicured lawn with solar fixtures sculpted in the shape of dragon flies guiding the way to the door.  Dr. Zero, of course, was true to his word.  Modest green shutters sat idly behind the few windows at the front of the house, agreeing with the structure to say nothing flamboyant, choosing instead to let all who passed by feel as if they belonged.

The portrait of his external world spoke well of his humility, and passed along no hint to outside observers of the dastardly hypocrisy that began once once was allowed into his inner sanctum.  (quick hint:  marble foyer, multilevel basement).

Emma's knock escalated to pounding.  Bruce stood cover, waving nervously at the henchman next door, ready to act as a wingman once Zero began to resist their invasion.

No response.

A low rumbling made its way down the street, as a glare of congruent headlights lurched towards them like a funeral march.

Emma ducked down, trying to pull her wings level to her shoulders while Bruce ran towards the front of the yard to hide behind a low lying shrub.

The quiet was palpable.


Bruce was hissing.

A nod.

"Is that Harry Chapin?"

A puzzled expression.

"Is it?"

"Damn, I think so, but it's too far to see."

The men in suits next door, were shaking hands with the growing line of suits and gowns that emerged from the cavalcade.

"Emma, Dr. Zero's neighbor isn't Cat Stevens, is it?"

Before Emma could answer, Bruce had leaped across Zero's carefully groomed section of Crysanthemums to find out.

"Damn it, Bruce!  We should have discussed this."

The End

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