I bet you're wondering what is happening to Megamind, Minion, and everyone, right? After all, I kind of left them in a rather bleak situation. Well, I'm here to share exactly what is happening to them. I hope you'll like what I've got planned.
Making a name for yourself among the super-villain community can be a real challenge. Dr. Brainstorm understood that better than most. And it wasn't just a matter of pride, though that was sometimes enough of a reason. There was an actual benefit to being well-known among other criminals. More infamous villains could generally get better deals on the black market, find more goons to hire (or at least more effective ones), and could arrange more effective team-ups against a common foe.
One way to become truly infamous was to have the most impressive and unstoppable hero to face, someone that all other villains would hesitate to do battle against. The more extraordinary the hero, the more amazing the villain who faced them regularly would have to be. Another way would be to be the best at what they do. The strongest, the fastest, the stealthiest, the deadliest, the richest, the most successful, and the most unique super-villains were the ones who ended up being whispered about with admiration by their colleagues and feared by those who defend the innocent.
He wasn't any of those things. His opponent was a joke and generally the police themselves were more of a nuisance than the hero of his hometown. Without a more impressive hero, he wouldn't be able to gain the necessary attention. And with no chance to become truly infamous, he couldn't gain those perks.
So Dr. Brainstorm branched out, traveling around to different cities to face new heroes and to gather more effective tools to fulfill his goals. He was brilliant, talented, and an effective foe for the average guardian of a city, yet he couldn't claim to be infamous enough to be satisfied. He couldn't gather the necessary attention to make a big name within the super-villain community. He quickly discovered that his path to infamy was blocked by one individual.
Yes, that super-villain's existence was a thorn in his side long before he had the opportunity to meet him face-to-face. Even if he never left his city and never truly succeeded in his plans, everyone knew who he was and considered him the greatest of them all to an extent. He possessed the most powerful and unstoppable opponent, Metro Man, as his personal rival and battled him numerous times over the years. He was certainly the smartest criminal, especially when it came to building and designing his inventions. No one, good or evil, could ever measure up to his technological creativity and skills. And it would take a very special villain to be considered more unique and note-worthy than the giant-headed, blue-skinned, extraterrestrial that resided in Metro City. Dr. Brainstorm knew that all other intellectual villains would have to stand in Megamind's shadow forever.
Then, as if to make things worse, Megamind finally succeeded in disposing of his opponent and taking over the city. He defeated an unstoppable, super-powered, practically-invulnerable superhero. He forced the entire population of a decent-sized city to turn over control to him without the local authorities firing a single shot. He kept control and possession of the city without any outside hero or the American government even making the attempt to free the population. Abruptly no other villain could measure up to him. It didn't matter what your mode of operation was. If you weren't able to defeat your opponent and take over a city, you were still less impressive than that big-headed criminal from Metro City. He was officially the best super-villain in the world.
That would have annoyed Dr. Brainstorm enough, but then things got worse. That Titan or Tighten or however you spelled the name popped up and the entire hero-villain dynamic shifted. It was insane. The world's most impressive and infamous super-villain abruptly became the city's new hero. He was perfectly content turning his back on years of villainy and crime in order to be a selfless goody-goody. The population of Metro City forgiving him for the past was a little more understandable; the mindless mass of the public were easy to sway with the right skills. But for someone with so much talent and power to just give it up in order to start playing by the rules was unbelievable. It was an insult to all those who steal, kidnap, threaten, and even murder for personal gain. It could give the regular citizens the foolish idea that a little kindness and understanding could change anyone from bad to good. Most villains aren't looking for kindness so much as they are looking for cash and power.
So choosing Metro City as his next target served multiple purposes for Dr. Brainstorm. Not only did it offer him the opportunity to bring down the former greatest super-villain that he'd always strived to measure up to, but he could also send a very clear message to the rest of the criminal population that changing sides was a form of betrayal and would not be tolerate. In addition, choosing to face Megamind directly rather than merely attacking his city offered more unique opportunities that Dr. Brainstorm intended to exploit. Hence the reason he'd programmed his stolen robots to merely incapacitate and capture the blue-skinned alien while every other target was to be destroyed. He needed his precious goose alive if he wanted to collect the golden eggs, after all.
Setting up a secret lair, especially one that he only planned to use for a short time period, was normally a challenge. However, there were a surprising number of large and usefully-located abandoned warehouse buildings available in the city. Additionally, there were some enlarged underground tunnels with access to the street level and a few deserted factories that no one seemed to care about. It was no wonder that the place could so easily support a rather flashy super-villain for so long. Dozens of villains could hide out in the city quite easily if it wasn't for the fact that no one in the past would even think of moving to Metro Man's turf to start a crime spree. Dr. Brainstorm wouldn't be surprised if Megamind actually renovated a few of the locations over the years for his own use before switching to another base of operations. It was almost too easy to set up a few things in a rather old warehouse.
Knocking out the former villain for capture was far easier than Dr. Brainstorm expected. The man went into the battle knowing that years of being the bad guy would have left Megamind very knowledgeable of the normal tricks, strategies, and general behaviors that a super-villain might attempt. That was why he was proving extremely effective as a hero in most encounters. It was simply hard to surprise him. He and Metro Man had countless battles over the years and the experience showed. Younger, hot-headed crooks would never give the more experienced Megamind trouble and even Dr. Brainstorm had to admit the blue-skinned alien had fought more battles than him.
But the difference between a bad guy and a good one quickly became apparent when the giant ninja-based robots attacked his companion: the hero cares about people beyond themselves. Attacking a random adoring citizen, a love interest, or even just another hired minion would always make a hero react. And a distracted good guy was easier to disable in combat. Dr. Brainstorm was a little surprised by how strongly the former-villain reacted to the attack on his assistant, but apparently the hero-mindset sunk in rather quickly. It was so very simple at that point to disarm the arachnid-based robot and to knock Megamind out. Then, with the target acquired, he activated his machines' stealth cloak and retreated unseen with both the resident hero and his mostly-intact creation.
Ninja robots did have their uses after all and stealthy retreats were only slightly more important than sneak attacks.
Storing the arachnid-based machine in a corner of the large base of operations next to his three functional robots, Dr. Brainstorm ensured that his captive was in his specially-prepared holding cell. Megamind might be well-known for his ability to escape imprisonment, but even he might have difficulties getting out of a large glass tube. It about the size of one of those sci-fi teleporter pads he saw on television and Dr. Brainstorm picked it out specifically because there were no corners or crevices to hide in. His prisoner would always be in plain view. He also ensured that the cell was empty of anything remotely helpful and that all of Megamind's inventions were removed immediately upon arrival. His de-gun, his intriguing-looking watch, and anything else that he might scavenge into a useful device was currently sitting on a table about ten feet away. He was taking no chances.
It was a bit of work to reach this stage, but it was worth it. All his preparations had led to success. Now, as he watched the former villain climbing to his feet while rubbing his giant blue head slightly, Dr. Brainstorm felt ready to put the next step in his simple plan into action.
"You didn't have to hit me so hard," Megamind muttered, his eyes glancing around the room as he spoke.
"Well, you did face Metro Man and that red-headed fellow in the past," the white-haired man responded. "I wasn't certain how much force it would take to bring you along quietly since you survived their super strength, but I did program my robots to make the calculations for me. There shouldn't be any permanent damage. I'd hate to risk something happening to such a valuable resource."
He gave a small and diabolical chuckle, one that tended to make most of Dr. Brainstorm's captives shiver. All it did this time was make the alien roll his eyes slightly.
"You call that an evil laugh? Please, I could pull off a better one as a child."
The man retorted swiftly, "But you aren't so evil now, are you? Actually, I have my doubts about how much of a super-villain you ever truly were. You always seemed rather soft and I find it interesting that no innocent bystanders were ever harmed in even your most destructive battles. Isn't that amazing? You could always put on quite a show, but that was all it ever really seemed to be: a show."
"What can I say? Just because I was a super-villain didn't mean I had to be uncivilized about it. There's a difference between being a super-villain and some common criminal with no self-control." There was a patronizing smirk directed toward Dr. Brainstorm before he continued, "Metro Man was always my only real obstacle, so there was no reason to involve anyone else in the fight of good versus evil beyond the occasional hostage to get the ball rolling."
Glaring at Megamind through the glass, the man said, "Here is how it is going to work. You work for me now. I give you a pen and paper and you design inventions for me. After I look over the plans to ensure you didn't create an elaborate trick to sabotage me, I'll have them constructed and use them in my own crimes."
"Wait, wait, wait," interrupted the former villain, forming his hands into a T in front of him. "Time out. Are you telling me you're going to steal someone else's creations rather than develop your own? Seriously? Were your robots your work or did you steal them too? I know you're a criminal, but really? Plagee-aris-em is just a new low."
"Do you mean 'plagiarism'?" Dr. Brainstorm frowned in confusion.
"You're a criminal based on the use of technology and gadgets," he continued, throwing his hands up in the air in disgust. "You could at least have the common decency to use your own work instead of someone else's. That's just an insult to the rest of the intellectual world. And how can you feel any sense of accomplishment when you aren't even failing or succeeding with your own creations? You're no better than a common street thug."
Groaning, he ordered, "Spare me the moral speech, Megamind. I don't want to hear it. It makes far more sense to let someone else do the work and to collect the reward yourself. You're brilliant and very talented at creating amazing devices, so I'd be a fool to let such a valuable resource be squandered helping the mindless masses of this city. You're the goose that lays the golden eggs. You're so much more profitable serving as my personal reservoir of ideas than out there wasting your skills on the unworthy."
"Give me one good reason," he responded.
"Because you're the good guy now," Dr. Brainstorm answered simply. "You're one of those poor and pathetic people who care about those far less important than you. If I decided to go blow up an office building filled with hard-working people, you'd be upset about it. You care about the fate of your pretty little reporter who I am still trying to figure out how you convinced to ignore all those past death traps. I mean, really, did you brainwash her or something?" He shook his head in confusion at the insane choices of women. "Anyway, you care about her. You even seem to care about your little follower that was trying to help you out earlier."
While he'd started directing a rather hateful glare at the man when he mentioned the reporter, Megamind seemed to have turned a slightly paler shade of blue at the last sentence. The white-haired man congratulated himself silently for bringing up the fish in a robotic suit. He'd faintly known about the odd assistant; the news reports always showed it assisting in the past both during Megamind's time as a hero and villain. It was rare that a villain found a truly useful minion that showed a hint of competency, but most would still quickly get over the loss of such a helper. Good help might be hard to find, but cheap and easy-to-replace help was simple enough for those on the wrong side of the law.
But his observations of how distracted Megamind became when the tide of battle turned against his assistant and his assumptions about the soft-hearted nature of the former so-called super-villain left little doubt in Dr. Brainstorm's mind that he would react this way. It was further proof that Megamind was trapped in the annoying hero-mindset. A sentient fish in a mechanical simian body might be more difficult to replace than most minions, but no true villain would give the underling a second thought. Why worry about the hired help? Concern for the pretty reporter, he could understand since even a villain could get lonely and bored. But a minion? Only the bleeding-heart heroes would bother with it.
"Where is he?" asked Megamind quietly, staring at him with an unreadable expression. "What did you do?"
"I don't know how much you saw or remember of our battle," he remarked casually. "You did suffer a slight blow to the head."
Placing his hands behind his back, he began to casually walk in a circle around the glass container. Dr. Brainstorm knew that he wasn't as overly-dramatic as some villains and he certainly didn't bother with music during his crimes, but he knew how to make an impression with less flamboyant actions. Circling a trapped victim like a predator could be in some ways a better method of making a point than fireworks and explosions.
"From what I noticed before I left, I believe that both your rather large battle robot and the smaller robot suit were smashed beyond repair. Otherwise, I might have brought those inventions along with your mechanical spider thing," he explained. "As for the fish itself, I think I saw it get tossed out of the little tank when it broke. I didn't notice where it landed or if anything happened after that. It would have been about," he casually checked his watch, "forty or forty-five minutes ago, I believe. I'd guess that the cowardly and useless citizens of the city won't even consider approaching the area for another fifteen minutes at a minimum. Now, I'm not an expert on the biology of fish, let alone intelligent fish, but I would probably guess that you're going to be in the market for a new minion if you ever get out of here."
That particular statement caused the trapped Megamind to stagger back as if struck hard enough to knock the wind out of him, which Dr. Brainstorm considered to be a rather strong reaction to the loss of an underling. Bleeding-hearted heroes. Wasting their energy on such unworthy causes. He'd never understand their obsession with the lives of less important people.
Still, the man finished with the calm remark, "Just remember that if you can't find yourself motivated to let me pick your giant brain for ideas, I can always bring in your lovely little reporter to keep us company. After all, you should know how easy it is to kidnap her."
Without waiting to see how his captive would react, the man turned around and headed towards the disabled spider-based robot. He wanted to take a look at how it was constructed and what made it work. And how he could improve it for his needs. Besides, it would probably be more effective to allow Megamind to reflect on what exactly the stakes were. Heroes were so predictable. Threaten something important enough and offer absolutely no alternative, they'll sacrifice their freedom or life for the "greater good." That was why it was a job for fools. Villains only have to look out for themselves.
After it became clear that Minion was at least breathing on his own even if he still seemed to be unconscious, Roxanne risked letting go and letting him float in the sink by himself. While she was happy to see that he wasn't dead, the fact he wasn't awake yet allowed other concerns to start emerging. She knew he wasn't in the best condition. Scales torn loose and forming bruises were fairly clear evidence of that. She didn't know what else could be wrong with him that she couldn't see.
Drying her hands on more of the paper towels in the closet, she went over the possibilities and her options. The fact he'd clearly been battered around enough to hurt him could mean that there could be damage below the surface. After all, if a human wandered into the a hospital looking as pounded as him, doctors would probably start worrying about internal bleeding or something. At least, that's what her experience from watching television informed her. Or what if there was some kind of damage from him not breathing for so long? And if he was seriously hurt, what could she do about that?
She had enough concerns about what she'd do if Megamind needed medical help and he was at least humanoid. The general plan was to drag her boyfriend to the prison and let the doctors who work there take a look at him. After all, they'd been patching him up after battles with Metro Man for years and they knew the most about what to expect from him. That's where she and a concerned Minion took him after the battle against Tighten to ensure that he was all right after being punched and tossed around like that. Plus, the people at the prison wouldn't do something stupid like try to turn him into a science experiment, though that particular "men in black" conspiracy thing was a lot less likely now that he was the city's hero.
But what was she supposed to do with Minion if he didn't wake up soon? She was near the end of her knowledge of how to treat a distressed fish. Who could she go to for help with him? A normal doctor wouldn't have a clue about how to help a fish, even one who was as intelligent and self-aware as any human. She wasn't even sure that a veterinarian would be able to do anything. She didn't remember ever seeing her mother drag one of her poor koi fish off to the vet when they were in trouble. Most vets dealt with mammals and even the ones that handled more exotic species took care of birds and reptiles, not alien fish. Roxanne honestly didn't know of anyone who might be able to help. There wasn't exactly a xeno-ichthyologist listed in the phone book after all.
She ran her hand through her short hair, a style chosen years ago for being easier to deal with when having a hero fly her to safety was a regular occurrence. What was she going to do if there was something else wrong with Minion? What if there was some kind of internal injury she couldn't see, like broken bones or something was ruptured? What if he was bleeding to death internally or he was brain damaged? She got him back into water and breathing, but what if that simply wasn't enough? What if she'd only slowed down his demise rather than actually saved him?
Part of her wanted to go find her boyfriend. Not only was she worried about where he might be and what could have happened to him, but he was probably the only person on the entire planet that might actually know how to help Minion if he was seriously injured. She didn't know for certain, but it was a possibility. She recalled not that long ago sitting on her couch watching a movie on Lifetime with him and she'd finally decided to ask about the thing attached to his head. In that very cheerful and helpful way that he always answers her questions, Minion explained that it was a neural implant that allowed him to control his larger mechanical bodies. When she asked when exactly Megamind added that, the fish quickly corrected that it was attached before they arrived on Earth by one of the scientists on the planet. He couldn't remember a lot about their original planet since he was apparently only a little older than Megamind, but Minion believed that it was commonly done so that his people could interact with the world while lacking hands. All Megamind did was later devise robotic suits that could work with the neural implant already in place. Maybe whatever her boyfriend did to figure out how the neural implant worked would give him the knowledge to be able to tell what his friend's condition might be.
But as worried to death as she was about why she still hadn't heard a word from Megamind and her hope that he might know how to help Minion further, she couldn't leave. She couldn't leave her friend hurt and alone in a strange place. And until she knew how badly he was still hurt, she didn't want to risk trying to move him somehow unless absolutely necessary.
The woman stared down at the sink, the water still running in order to compensate for her improvised plug being imperfect. Supposedly watching fish was relaxing. It was just one of those facts that people stated. Her mother used to comment about it, inviting her daughter to watch her koi swim around the pond. At the momen, she felt anything but relaxed.
But then, it wasn't like she was dealing with an ordinary fish. Other than making it easier for him to move around and to provide some heavy muscle for Megamind, the reason that Minion inhabited a large and biped suit was probably because it made it a little harder for people to dismiss him as just a clever pet or something. A tall, broad-shouldered humanoid (well, simian) figure somehow earned more respect than a fish the size of a cantaloupe in a bowl. It helped humanize him to other people. It made it easier for others to accept him. But he was still Minion either way. He was still the same person, even when he didn't have access to opposable thumbs.
Honestly, it was rather thoughtless of people to judge by appearances. The entire city did it from the start. Even before they had the chance to really know them, everyone loved Metro Man, thought Megamind was nothing but trouble, and barely noticed Minion. And yet all three had similar origins. The automatic reactions were simply due to how the citizens perceived them based on how they looked. Only later did some of those opinions change. Only later did their actions and personalities have a stronger influence on how the world saw them.
Closing her eyes in frustration, Roxanne slumped forward until her head was resting on the side of sink. She hated feeling helpless. At least, she hated it when there was a real problem that needed to be solved now. Being the damsel in distress while Metro Man and Megamind prance around was one thing. Having the city conquered, having Tighten attack, or watching a battered Minion in the hopes he would be all right was quite another. Roxanne wanted more than anything to be able to help. She wanted to do something to make certain that her friend would be all right. But the two skills she used in the past to try and make a difference, her unwavering certainty in the idea of good will always rise up against evil and her communication skills that she used daily in her job, weren't going to help her with this. There was literally nothing she could do to really help Minion except wait and see what happened.
Waking up hurt. His head and body throbbed and ached, perhaps even more clearly than before. And he still felt so tired. But even considering everything else, Minion felt better than the last time he was awake and his sluggish thoughts struggled to find an explanation for why that was. As he took a breath and tried to think straight, the answer appeared. He could breathe. Even better, he could breathe easily and without effort. The hot, dry, and oxygen-starved sensation was gone. There was no need to fight the useless air; he could relax as water flowed through his tired gills.
Minion enjoyed several moments of unhindered breathing before wondering how he ended up back in water. His last clear memory involved slowly dying on the pavement with no hope of reaching help. The fact he wasn't dead meant someone or something intervened. Curiosity urged him to investigate, so the fish tried to take the first step by opening his eyes. The effort of accomplishing that small task and adding light to his already in-progress headache made him groan involuntarily.
"Minion?" a familiar and soft voice said, apparently in response to his reaction. "Please tell me you're awake."
Forcing himself to take note of his surroundings, he realized that he definitely wasn't anywhere he'd ever been before. He seemed to be in a large sink and he could make out shelves with cleaning products above him. More importantly, he could see a woman peering down at him with an expression somewhere between concerned and relieved.
Swimming tiredly the short distance to the water's surface, he poked his head out enough to ask, "Ms. Ritchi? Are you all right? Where are we?"
While he found the exhausted croak of his voice to be mildly concerning, Roxanne gave a weak and choked giggle. It almost sounded like she didn't know whether to laugh or cry. When she used one of her hands to wipe her eyes, Minion realized she really was on the verge of tears.
"I'm fine," she finally responded. "Just don't ever do something like that again. And I'm the one who should be asking if you're all right. You scared me to death."
"Sorry," he apologized immediately. "And I'm all right."
She raised an eyebrow, "How about we try honesty now? Because while you aren't really one to complain, you currently look like you decided to go boxing against a shark. So you're not really 'all right.'"
He certainly felt like he'd tried to do something that crazy and he knew he would probably fall back asleep soon simply because even thinking felt exhausting, but he also knew that he would heal. Most of the pain was on the surface rather than any deeper or more serious injuries. It hurt, but he wasn't badly hurt. Still, she was clearly worried and wouldn't be happy without a more complete answer.
"I'm fine. Tired, sore, and very happy to be in water again, but fine," he stated. "Promise."
Some of the tension in her shoulders, but not all, seemed to drain away at his words. She'd been very worried apparently and he felt bad for upsetting her like that. She gave him a weak smile.
"That's good. I wasn't sure who I could go to if you needed medical help of some kind. Most doctors aren't equipped to handle aquatic patients."
"That's true," he agreed. "I remember back when he built my second ro…"
Minion trailed of as he realized what was missing and felt horrible it took him this long to notice. Without the distraction of dying to hold his attention, he could focus on more important things such as his primary purpose in life. And that purpose wasn't present and was in danger the last time his fuzzy memories could recall. His tired and sore body forced itself back into a state of alertness.
"Sir?" he called, already feeling panic building. "Where is he, Ms. Ritchi?"
The expression on her face was all he needed to see to know that she held no good news. Minion sunk back below the surface in order to take a deep breath, trying to keep calm and completely failing. He'd failed. He let this happen. He was supposed to protect and help him. He couldn't just stay there. He needed to find Megamind and make sure he was safe. He couldn't fail him. He couldn't.
Anything could happen to Megamind without him there. He could be hurt. Or lost. Or worse. The alien fish knew he would be swimming in frantic circles out of worry if he possessed the strength and he was already twitching his fins anxiously, causing him to move back and forth in the sink. He needed to get out there and find him. If anything happened to him, Minion knew he would never forgive himself. Even the small amount of swimming back and forth in the water was using up his energy born of worry, but he couldn't force himself to stop. Rational thought was being shoved aside. It all boiled down to one simple idea: he had to do something to help Megamind.
A pair of hands reached down and pulled him to the surface, forcing him to meet Roxanne's gaze as she spoke.
"Calm down, Minion. Please. I'm worried about him too, but you're not going to do anyone any good if you give yourself a heart attack. There was nothing you could do then and even if your robo-suit wasn't destroyed, there is no possible way that you're in any condition to charge out to find him."
"But I have to," he responded, trying to wiggle out of her gentle grip. He wasn't really thinking about what he would do if he got free, but he couldn't seem to escape anyway. The burst of strength from the idea of Megamind in danger was fading back into an even greater exhaustion. He whispered sadly, "I have to help him."
"We do," she corrected. "We'll figure something out. Now, I need you to think. You know Megamind's inventions best next to him. Is there anything he's created that we can use to track him down? Anything at all?"
"Maybe," Minion mumbled, his eyes growing heavy once again. He was just so tired. "It would be back at the lair."
Letting him go, Roxanne responded, "Okay, we'll head back there, grab some ray guns, turn them sideways, and make that Dr. Brainstorm guy wish he never even thought of coming to Metro City."
While not normally one for revenge schemes since that was generally Megamind's expertise, the exhausted and sore fish couldn't help giving a tired smile at her statement before he felt himself slipping back into unconsciousness.
Thank you very much for the reviews so far. I might not have a lot, but I definitely appreciate them. It looks like this is actually going to be a three-shot story. I don't know when the finale will be posted, but I'll try to do it at a reasonable length of time. And remember, feedback is always appreciated.