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Playing Opossum

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Commander Cohen watched as the small team of four shuffled into the debriefing room silently settling in seats. Three of his own men and the Hero known as Myst. He waited until they had all settled.

Without preamble he said, “You all know why you are here, correct?” At the nods he received, Cohen turned on the screen mounted on the wall. It immediately lit up with a picture of a young man in the middle of accepting a diploma. Short black hair under a cap, dark eyes shining in excitement, a wide smile on his face; he couldn’t have been older than 18.

“This is Flugzeug Slys. He’s a prodigy and has several doctorate degrees, including chemistry, biology, electrical and mechanical engineering. He earned them all before he turned 20.”

Someone whistled; Jacobson probably. Cohen continued on.

“Six months after his last graduation, Slys disappeared. There was nothing left to imply suicide or elopement, no contact to his family or landlord, he seemed to vanish completely. This was seven years ago. However, we have reason to believe he’s still alive.”

The picture changed. A tall, dark-skinned man in a sharp suit and tophat, grinning at the camera with inhumanly sharp teeth.

“We believe he is currently being held captive by the supervillain known as Black Hat. Black Hat has been around for years without capture despite generous effort. However, as he has seemingly retreated from public eye, and has become a weapons supplier for other villains.”

Another picture, this time a rather blurry photo of what appeared to be a young man in a labcoat, a paper bag on his head with goggles holding it in place.

“This is one of Black Hat’s employees, known only as Dr. Flug. We know he only worked with Black Hat within the past 5 years, and seemingly had no background to trace where he came from, until this recent connection was made. A week ago we intercepted this broadcast made by Black Hat to other super villains, his apparent way of communicating with potential clients.”

Cohen stepped to the side, the screen changing to a video player. He pressed play, the image of Black Hat appearing standing in front of a huge manor home. The inhuman spoke in an accented rasp of a voice.

“Hello inferior evil beings. Are you tired of unexpected guests in your villa of villainy?”

The supervillain turned to shoot what appeared to be a laser from his eye at a bird that landed on the crooked metal fence. It exploded into feathers.

“Not anymore! With Black Hat Organization’s security system-”

Black Hat pulled Dr Flug into view by the wrist in what was clearly a painful grip, given how he clutched at his arm while the supervillain spoke. At the apparent prompt that came from the end of Black Hat’s speaking, he piped up in a false-confident voice.

“We guarantee your lair will be fully protected!”

He pushed a button on what appeared at first to be a button for a garage door, and the camera zoomed out to focus on the huge manor house. Various sorts of deadly weaponry emerged from places on the building. It looked almost comical. Black Hat turned back to the camera as it refocused on the two men.

“Now turn it off so we can get back inside.”

The man in the paper bag suddenly grew anxious and fearfully turned to the supervillain, his voice trailing off.

“I never actually thought about... turning it off?”

Black Hat grabbed the other’s shirt, baring sharp teeth in a snarl. The young man’s shaking did nothing to prevent the supervillain from literally kicking him over the fence and into the yard, his voice growing deeper with every word.

“You will find a way to get me back inside MY OWN HOUSE.”

The video ended with the young man’s terrified shriek and a thunk as he hit the ground. Cohen stepped in front of the screen again, a deep scowl etched on his face.

“This is just one of several videos we’ve managed to collect. All of them have similar evidence that Slys is being held against his will and may have been traumatized by abuse. We suspect that Slys is unable to contact anyone outside for help. Our objective to infiltrate Black Hat’s base of operation and retrieve him by any means necessary. Deadly force has been authorized for this mission should we be met with resistance. Any questions?”

No one said anything, similar looks of grim determination on everyone’s face.

“We head out at 0500 hours tomorrow. Dismissed.”