Author note: This story is set in the same world as the Scientist of Death stories.
Most people would be scared shitless if a supervillain walked into their office but for me this was just my three o’clock meeting. His name was Wireframe. According to the application he had submitted he was baseline human in powered armor. These guys are a dime a dozen but at least he had a gimmick in his look. His armor was coated with a zero reflective paint with the edges trimmed with red. It gave the effect of a black hole contained by a 3D wire frame graphic. Thus his name.
I stood as he entered and offered my hand, “Good afternoon, how are you doing today?” He ignored my hand and sat down.
“I’m need to hire a dozen henchmen for a bank job. Can fill this request?” His voice was modulated a little too much and buzzed on certain sounds. I sat down behind my desk.
“Henchpeople,” I said.
“What?” he asked.
“We call our employees henchpeople.
“Your organization is named Henchmen For Hire, is it not?”
“It’s a legacy name. Also we don’t call them bank jobs; they’re heists.”
“Whatever. Can you get me a dozen ‘henchpeople’ or not?”
“Of course we can. Do you require any specialist types?”
“All our henchpeople are trained in basic combat, crowd control, and ex-filtration techniques. We also have specially trained groups. These include demolition, heavy combat, stealth, and tech. Will you need any of those?”
“Uh, no. I- I don’t think so.” He sounded unsure.
I brought up a contract form on my tablet and started filling it out. “Ok, twelve standard henchpeople for one heist. What date?”
“Ok. Will you be providing weapons and equipment for the henchpeople?”
Wireframe hesitated before answering, “Uh no. Do I need to?”
“Not at all. Some supervillains like their henchpeople to use custom weapons and armor to keep on theme. We can’t replicate your color scheme exactly but we can do black with red trim or anything else you’d like.”
“That sounds ok.” I added it to contract.
“Great, I just need a payment method and you’re good to go.” I gave him a big reassuring smile.
“You will be paid after the job is done.” Uh oh someone thinks they’re in charge.
I stared into the blackness where his eyes should be. “Now that is a problem. We require payment upfront.”
“I can’t pay upfront. If I could, I would just hire my own henchmen.”
“Tell me how does a supervillain like yourself afford a custom powered armor suit but not henchpeople?”
“I was part of the team developing the suit for a military contractor and I stole it,” he said.
“Story as old as time. Did you create any exotic technologies for the suit?”
“It uses a carbon-nanotube weave to decrease the weight to protection ratio,” he boasted.
“Yeah, so does our armor. Come on, give me something good. What about the paint job?”
“What about it?” he looked down.
“Zero reflective coatings are useful but the ones I know about are fragile. Your suit is coated in the stuff so it can’t be that fragile. How hard is it to apply?”
“Once mixed, it can be painted on with a brush or sprayed on.”
“Interesting. And you know how to make it?”
“Ok, I’m going to send you down to one of the tech labs. You talk to them about the paint and they’ll let me know if we’re interested in buying or licensing it from you. If we do, you come back up here and we’ll talk money.”
“And if you don’t?”
“You could always start robbing gas stations and work your way up to a heist.”
A few minutes later, Wireframe was heading to the labs. Too many young supervillains think they can go straight into pulling off heists. They can’t afford good help and try it solo only to get their asses beat by the local superhero. This one seems a little smarter. We might just be able to turn him into a regular client.