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Uno and Fog: Descent

April 26, 2019

In the early evening I went down to our lair bringing a sack of groceries for my partner, turning the key that would normally be used to go to the penthouse, but turning it counter clockwise.  The benefit of having a trust fund, and your father giving you stocks in his company for every birthday and Christmas is that I owned this building, although it was through several different holding companies.

Building the lair was the difficult part, unless you have some weird alien crystal that builds a lair whole cloth from whatever material is available, you inherit some mystical tower from your predecessor, or you accidentally fall into a now forgotten cavern used for smuggling (none of which applied to either of us) you have to build the thing yourself.

If you’re skilled in plumbing, wiring, and masonry, great but my skill set wasn’t in that direction and my partner insisted that he wasn’t going to be pouring concrete for the next six months.  So we were left with having to bring in people to construct it, but then there’s the problem with keeping it secret.  If you hire a local construction company, they’ll know its there and require you to have the necessary permits from the local authorities, which means the plans for your lair was now on file with city hall.  You can try and disguise what you’re doing, but that only goes so far.  If you have mind control you could go that route, but clearly you’re a villain which may be a matter of perspective to some, but there’s some obvious bright lines.

You could hire skilled labor from several states away and have them flown in to build the lair without knowing where it was.  People are rightfully leery of doing that.  The drug cartels are notorious for killing their workers to keep their drug tunnels secret and there are rumors of lairs being built with blood in the mortar.  Which isn’t a metaphor.

That left subterfuge.  I presented the plan as an intent to build an underground nightclub.  It would allow for the plumbing and electricity we needed and several points of controlled egress which included a delivery elevator that could bring a motorcycle to the surface.  I wanted to name it The Lair but The Fog  would have none of that, being clever was, in his mind, a good way of drawing attention.  We tossed around several names (well I tossed names around, The Fog just rejected them) including: The Underground, Hades, The Underworld,   and Inferno among others.  We ended up choosing Descent.

Six month later it was built.  Six months after that, after terrible mismanagement, Descent closed and was soon forgotten.  Although my father didn’t say anything directly about my apparent failed venture, he did comment the day the closure was announced that he “hoped I was putting childish things behind me.”

I didn’t argue with him, just acted disappointed and dejected for several days even though I was quite happy with how things had turned out. I even wrote it off on my taxes.  How many heroes, or villains for that matter, get the opportunity to write off the expense of their lair?

We began outfitting the place in earnest once it closed.  That was also the point The Fog abandoned any pretense of a secret identity or alternative life.  Having him leave the penthouse and move downstairs was a relief.  He believed romantic entanglements kept a man from reaching his full potential.  He’s like a brother to me, but still.

A few months later, when the Descent was becoming just a memory, The Fog removed almost any reference to the club on the internet, broke into the city planning division and destroyed the paper plans, and replaced them with the old ones before the renovations and deleted everything off the state, county and local system that referred to the changes.  He duplicated permits to other projects, so if someone did some digging it would look like someone made a mistake and entered the same permits into the system twice.

The Fog has pointed out on several occasions that we are both criminals, our goals just aren’t the tradition ones of the unlawful.  I wasn’t too sure about the second part considering the assault, breaking and entering, hiding assets and that The Fog’s preferred method of gaining information in the field was intimidation.  I didn’t argue with him though.

I didn’t tell him about my taxes either.

I put the groceries away in the restaurant grade kitchen area then we filled each other in on what we had discovered earlier that day.  The Fog seemed to have a grim satisfaction about it.  I refrained from commenting on my ruined suit.  He had little sympathy for the loss of “trivialities” as he saw them.  I was tired from the complete lack of sleep from the previous night and sitting in meetings all day. I needed sleep.  I’m not sure he would have any sympathy for that either, but he wasn’t paying the bills.

The Fog was sitting in front of his computer.  He had a massive screen along the wall in front of him with several displays running.   He pulled up the staff roster for the Natural History Museum, under the visiting professors using the museum for research was one Sarah Alvinson, aka Ms. Teri, with Ph.D.’s in archeology and ancient languages, currently a professor at New Light University on a sabbatical.

It felt good to know her secret identity.  Made things even.  The Fog was pulling up everything he could find on her.  Where she had gotten her degrees.  Her family, job history, thesis, and published papers.  I noted that her husband had been murdered shortly after they got married.  Another professor by the looks of him.  Her father was wheel chair bound, some kind of accident when she was younger, although I didn’t see any specifics.

The Fog  was reading through all of it.  Faster than I could keep up, scanning and clicking, when I saw something.

“That’s him.  The guy from Mighty Meaty Mike’s.”

The Fog stopped clicking through information, blew up the picture.  “He was her research assistant.”

“It’s him.” I was sure of it,  “Different name than the one he gave the pizza place though.”

“Interesting.”

“Yeah, out spellcaster is full of secrets.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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