Sunday, January 18, 2009

Villainy - A Polite Discussion

The Aether Salon in New Babbage hosted a discussion with Baron Klaus Wulfenbach and Doctor Obolensky on the subject of Villainy. The salon was quite crowded despite various grid-related problems, including a cessation of log-ins for a time (nearly 79,000 were in-world at one point!) and the inability of many to drag out a salon chair on which to sit. Miss Trafalgar kindly provided some of us with seating, and I waited with rapt attention for the speakers to arrive.

The attendees mingle before the discussion begins:

Dr. Malegatto Alter, in human form:

Miss Trafalgar did the introductions: "Now on the stage, wearing the snazzy 'Peaceful Dictator' ensemble, weighing in at something around 80 kilos, and accompanied by his retinue of variously civilized-yet-threatening types, we have the Baron Klaus Wulfenbach. Known throughout the civilized grid for his floating nation of Europa, his yen for exploration, and his notorious
control of Science, the Baron is a force to be reckoned with. The Baron is one of the most powerful Sparks - sometimes known as 'mad scientists' - of his generation. While declared on the side of good, his experience with the mind of the Villain makes him an expert in his field.

"And in the other corner, Babbage's local Evil Genius, Doctor Gelving Obolensky (CVB) - weighing in at possibly less than 50 kilos, counting his top hat and mustache, as well as the various devices hidden in his pockets. Documents have surfaced indicating that Doctor O moved to Carpania from Belgium almost a century ago, and attended the Royal Carpanian School of Science! for several years, before gathering an array of black marks the like of which had not been seen before, or since. He was apparently discharged before graduation, but the records have been sealed, and then stuffed into a large safe, which was riveted shut, disguised as a giant clam, and then dumped into the middle of the Black Sea. Or so he tells us. Recently, the fiend has brought his machinations to Caledon and Babbage, and has threatened Steam Sky City with a giant mechanical man known as Lord Smashington II, nearly enslaved all of Babbage with a HypnoRay Cannon of unusual size, and endangered modesty itself via his marketing of the insidious Frock-Be-Gone ray gun. There are even rumors that the recent disappearance of the Babbage Courthouse and Mole Man Invasion were his work, although, that cannot be confirmed. What evil will this twisted genius next unleash upon the unsuspecting populace?"

The Baron spoke first:

He discussed Sparks, and his efforts to reunite his homeland, Europa, after unsettling events there.

After the Baron finished, Doctor Obolensky said, "Sorry, I was just nodding off." Mr. Wulfenbach shot back, "Shame being that old."

Doctor Obolensky opines:

"A Villain, as opposed to your everyday thug, is a person of style. One can't just bash someone over the head, and expect to be a noted villain. Now then, I suppose you are all thinking "Why, oh why, is my life plagued with Doctor Obolensky, that horrible villain and stylish man about town? Well, the answer is rather simple. You lead boring, ordinary lives. And yet, you lack the drive, the vision, and the ability, to crush your neighbors with giant mechanical lobsters. So of course, someone has to do it for you, or you'd all end up with nothing to talk about. Now then...I'm a genius, and I could have chosen, at some point, to follow the path of the hero. But, let's face it. Although better than you rabble, heroes have a significant down side. Do heroes get to ride about in giant mechanical lobsters, crushing buildings beneath their oversized claws? No!Plus, the clothes are better. And let me tell you, evil women are far more entertaining than the good ones! At least, I seem to recall that being the case."

The Doctor had a sense of humor about him that evening:
[14:57] Ambrose Steampunk: You rouge!
[14:57] Doctor Obolensky: Indeed, I keep the make-up to a minimum.

The two gentlemen then took questions from the audience:

At one point, Miss Magdalena Kamenev wanted to know, "Why aren't more women villains? Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. I Enjoy Being a Girl." The Baron looked at Doctor Alter, and Captain Redgrrl Llewellyn grinned and winked at Dr. Alter, who grinned back. Doctor Obolensky replied, "Hmmm...well, I think you'd be surprised....there are many evil women, of course. But, women seem to be less likely to actually embrace Villainy." Miss Kamenev persisted, "Do either of you have a mentoring program for women villains?" I gasped, thinking Miss Kamenev very forward. The next thing you know, she will be insisting on the right to vote! The Doctor evaded the question, replying, "[Women will] be evil, of course, as any man can tell you." (The Baron added, "Oh ja.") He continued, "But they're usually too socially conscious to actually stand on the roof of a building in a storm and laugh maniacally."

Mr. Ambrose Steampunk asked Dr. Obolensky, "IF, as you say, Being a villain is so much more fun, How do you feel aboutbeing chaced by mobs of angry citezens with the torches and pitchforks? Is that fun?" The Doctor looked thoughtful, then replied very seriously, "Well, it's better than no response at all. But, with an angry mob, you miss out on all the good soliloquies and the opportunities for duels and the like. Invariably, you're left with the lesser fun of releasing the rabid weasels on them."

Ah, the pleasures of an afternoon spent savoring polite intellectual discussions! Sadly, I had to leave before the conclusion, so I had no way of knowing whether the session ended with a large explosion, or hand-to-hand combat between the two speakers. Still, I am most gratified that these gentlemen would agree to spend their valuable time - which could have otherwise been spent in other pursuits, such as planning World Domination - to speak with the group today.

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