The gray Kyrii was brought in by two guards, a Skeith and an Ixi, who set him down before positioning themselves next to him. On the other side of the security glass, Kespi pulled out her pen and turned to another page in her notebook. The green Eyrie smiled warmly. This could be a big break, an interview with one of Neopia's most wanted criminals, brought to justice at last. Ah, Kespi Daspen, I believe? the Kyrii asked. I'm Extoxication, of course. Still in black and white- with a stripe motif, even- but… I think I like my old outfit better, he added, glancing down at his prison uniform.
Kespi tilted her head. "I don't know. I think it suits you.
That's what they said when I got it. But back to the topic. I'll do what I can for your article. I'll be here for a long time, and this is liable to be the most fun they'll let me have. Extoxication said, giving a wry smile.
Kespi nodded diplomatically, jotting down her opening notes. "Well, I think the first question on anybody's mind is why you were caught- why this time instead of another. You've got quite the laundry list, everything from bank stickups and gold heists to art theft and industrial espionage. Extoxication didn't sound too bad, until you remembered that, Kespi reflected. Not only what he'd taken, but how- he'd made toxic gas an almost exclusive modus operandi.
Best I can say is that everybody overreaches at some point. In my case, Parmenth Labs had a recently installed backup ventilation system. It activated after I shut the other one down, clearing out the knockout gas and letting security in.
What's the reason behind the gasses? Surely there are more reliable ways to do the same thing," Kespi asked curiously. It seemed awfully easy for something to go wrong, after all.
There's nothing like a little fresh air. Especially if you're the only one enjoying it, and everybody else is choking on tear gas." Seeing the reporter's face, Extoxication laughed. I'm not trying to win anybody's sympathy here, Kespi.
A little flustered, she composed herself, pushing on. "And why Parmenth Labs, of all places?
Extoxication shrugged. I did the math. Market value for rhodium is twice as much by weight as gold, easily. Doesn't have the same public attention, so security should have been laxer. A little digging around turned up large purchase orders by Parmenth for catalytic research. A couple pounds of the stuff in one place seemed like too much to pass up.
So what exactly happened when you broke into the facility?" Kespi enquired, leaning closer. This was the real meat of a good piece, the action.
The Kyrii nodded, settling back in his seat as if about to start, but suddenly gave a violent cough. Gesturing that he was okay, he managed to get out, Occupational hazard. He took a deep breath. And held it.
The minute hand of the clock slid to thirteen, and there was a small explosion from the air shaft. Smoke came pouring out, quickly filling the room. Kespi stood up in alarm. As she sniffed at the air, her vision began to grow hazy. Extoxication gave a wry smile, his lips tightly pursed, and stood up.
In reality, I was contaced concerning Parmenth Labs by Up Inc. They had a vested interest in some of the antimatter extraction research going on at the facility. And since antimatter is the planet's single most valuable substance, the considerable sum they paid me was something of a bargain.
The rhodium provided a convenient explanation for why I would be breaking in, and the secondary ventilation was better than explaining that I was delayed by having to access and transmit hidden files. Given the additional complications of the job, part of my contract with Up Inc. included the assistance in escaping prison in exchange for the return of twenty-five percent of the initial fee. This time a bargain on my end.
Billy was my petpet,
The Other Heroes:
Twitchy and Scralt:
Ah, Miss Daspen. So good of you to come see me again. I'm a little surpised, actually. And look, the guards have gas masks this time around. How cute. I understand you have a few questions for a competition going on. Likewise… cute. Fine, I'll bite.
I'm sure everybody's well aware that I go by Extoxication. I really hope no one needs the etymology explained for them.
No, I'm not giving you my real name. It's worth more than any brownie points this interview is going to get me with the Warden towards "good behavior.
Hmph. Powers. Hardly. I'm not some incompetant dolt that happened to be in the right place at the right time. Anything I can do, I found through reading, research, and experimentation. Feel free to try it at home, kids.
Age. Well, let's not get carried away here. Let's just put it as "late 30s".
For anybody curious, yes, I am indeed a man. Just to clear that question up. This is Pulitzer material, I can tell.
Heh… yes, I'm a villain, and not afraid to admit the fact to myself.
Of course I have a "lair", if you insist on calling it that. I have to have some place to do research and prepare my compounds.
Engleman Prison Security Footage
We meet again, Miss Daspen. Trite, I know. I couldn't resist. What have you got today, then?
Ah, 'why I am what I am today.' Jumping to the meat of it a little soon, are we? That's the topic that wins you a Pulitzer. The villain's mind and past laid bare for the discerning reader to pore over. Well, fine. Let them see. Let them all see; after all, they made me! It's their fault I'm here right now. It all started when I was five. You see, my mother– You're seriously writing this nonsense down? What sort of weak-minded, spineless idiot do you take me for? I could say I fell into a vat of toxic waste and you'd probably buy it.
Fine, then. Since it's obvious I'm going to have to spell things out for you and the readers… I have no powers whatsoever, not freak gifts or supernatural might. I have no skills that hundreds of chemists, chemical engineers, and sundry researchers don't have. There is nothing I do that would be beyond the scope of anybody who decided to pay attention in class and think for themselves on occasion. But no, to them, "knowledge is power" is another trite saying, something to get students to regurgitate answers on tests. They live nine-to-five lives, and will die nine-to-five deaths.
Of course, I know what you're thinking. I'm behind bars. I'll just sit here, rotting away, while everybody who played by the rules can enjoy the fresh air. I think you are forgetting who is writing about whom. Who's name will be in bold type in the headline. Even if you did win the Pulitzer, it would be me people would think about after reading that article. Personally, I couldn't care less about fame, but I would bet another ten years on my sentance that you do, Miss Daspen.
I am, if nothing else, pragmatic. A single heist, properly executed, is worth at least five times more than an entire year of work for some company at top sallary. I studied hard, although I won't say when or where, since I'm sure you'd just love to do some digging. I spent a few more years carrying out personal research and experimentation. The knockout gas I use on occasion is of my own development, you know. After that, it was just a matter of planning and action, again and again. It's not as hard as they'd like you to think… Sure, I'm here now, but that's thirteen years later. For more than a decade, I took everything they threw at me every time. And you never know, this might not be so permananent. After all, I've been in and out before. Admittedly, the guards didn't have gas masks then, but I love a challenge.
For obvious reasons, I don't let on as to my real identity. Every layer of security makes tracing bank accounts, chemical purchases, and black market sales more difficult. Feel free to try and track me down through any of the above, by the way. You certainly won't be the first, and people tend to underestimate how many compounds you can prepare yourself with a little patience. Not the best for quality control, but hey… what's a little ClF amongst ClF3?
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