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Month: December 2022

Merry Christmas, Professor Nemesis

Apex glided through the sky at subsonic speed toward Professor Nemesis’ mountain lair. No need to rattle any windows on a holiday, after all.

As the thought crossed his mind, infrared lasers from the foothills tracked onto him. Subterranean launch platforms spat missiles in swarms. The roar drowned out his super-hearing. He dove and swerved to avoid the first wave—not too good a turn radius on these models—only to see them arc around to follow him. Guided by the lasers, no doubt.

Apex squinted, and electromagnetic waves flowed in a torrent from his eyes, then narrowed and focused to a specific frequency. Sure enough, the missiles veered to follow Apex’s signal and slammed back into their own launchers.

Apex touched down at Professor Nemesis’ front door.

The gargantuan titanium skull rising out of the mountain was crushed in places. One eye lit up a sickly green. Apex turned up toward it and arched an eyebrow. “Missiles?” he said for the benefit of the camera no doubt tunneling data back to the professor. “Those haven’t been effective against me for fifty years. You might as well come out and talk, Nemesis.”

The mouth of the skull yawned open.A shrunken, greying scientist in badly oversized lab clothes decorated in a green skull motif shuffled out to meet Apex. “A mad scientist’s budget doesn’t stretch like it used to,” he coughed.

Apex reached out a hand toward Professor Nemesis. “You kept your word. Every dollar spent trying to kill me matched by a charitable donation. And no innocents endangered.”

Nemesis slapped Apex’s hand away. “As if I would endanger the innocent. My quarrel is with you, you monkey.” He gave a wet, wracking cough and doubled over. “No using—“ he started. “No using your micro vision to diagnose me. You promised.”

“I wish you would let me—“

“I let you do enough.” Nemesis’ eyes watered. “Every year, I let you condescend to me, and you get stronger, and I get older.”

Apex offered his hand again. This time, Nemesis took it without looking. They were silent together.

“I will kill you,” Nemesis said finally.

“Merry Christmas, Professor Nemesis.”

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