There's a foul odor in the lair tonight, but it's not from a failed attempt to cook something edible, it's the smell of a promising relationship with one of your minions, now gone so very bad. Now the kid you have grown accustomed to must go and this entails a number of entanglements with the rest of your operation, leading you to fret about how the side effects of the excision might adversely affect your overall efficiency. Not to mention potentially decimating the team you send in to do the takedown, if this is one of the more high-octane creations you have devised. There are right ways and wrong ways to pull the stopper on an unfortunate staffing situation, and it is possible to minimize the fallout, both literally and figuratively, when your hellspawn reacts in all too natural a fashion.
- Cloak your intentions. Perhaps you have made up your mind after a disastrous incident which made it clear in your mind that there was no room for the two of you in the same evil organization. It is possible to hide the precise extent of the break and the timing of the remedy so that very few indeed will suspect your intentions at this time. The last thing you want is to to kick off an arms race where each side amasses weaponry, allies, and armor so that the only outcome of the final confrontation would be mutual annihilation.
- Observe your subject's habits. Use stealth and cunning to keep one eye on every action and every word coming from your creation. You are looking for signs that point to preparation for the showdown, whether these amount to defensive fortifications or gearing up for a pre-emptive counterattack. You may be able to frustrate or at least blunt these measures under the guise of attending to some necessary piece of business, during this period when you are still ostensibly on civil terms.
- Distraction. You will need to go on about the rest of your nefarious business even while this conflict brews, which you can use to your advantage by upsetting the delicate timing of the maneuvers behind the scenes. If you suddenly leave the scene, or rearrange your bodyguards, or take up surprising new alliances, all under the guise of preparing for a campaign, you multiply the uncertainty in your enemy's mind as to what exactly is in store for them.
- The decisive stroke. As with comedy, timing is the key to betrayal. If you can drop the bomb a beat earlier than they expect, or slip in the toxic dose just as some key event is winding down, it will redouble its effect on the victim who may have to prepare their response in an impromptu way. Use your intuition as to when the precious moment of inattention will come.
- Press conference. Your surviving crew will need to know the transition plans after the linchpin of your operations has been sacrificed, so explain to them the terms of your gambit. Be on watch for aftershocks which may befall one or more henchmen whose loyalties may have fractured during the cataclysm. And if you have taken some hits during the carnage, be prepared to demonstrate what resources remain to you in case there are any ambitious types who hope to make their own move at this time.
Strokes of genius
- Disposal crew. A supervillain who is deeply involved on an emotional level with the thing they create is sometimes poorly equipped to let that thing go when the time comes to wipe it from the face of the Earth. This is when it is handy to have an extraordinary team of trusted henchmen to see to it that the destruction is carried out despite any last minute second thoughts or split second hesitations on the evildoer's part. Equally important is the charge to verify that the being is permanently out of commission afterwards, never to rise back up in some maddening sequel.
- Insinuation. If you can plant an agent in the confidence of your target, you can use this as a conduit for information, including misinformation which you plant to throw the other players off the scent. For credibility, this agent should be one who can share to some degree the dissatisfaction with yourself, so set up a backstory which will hold up to suspicion.
- A substitute. Once the troublesome creation has been wiped out, some evil geniuses find that it is psychologically beneficial during the transition to designate a symbolic replacement for the loss. The substitute may be a lesser monster, a captive, or a junior minion whose main duty is to endure having one's attention focussed upon it in a somewhat obsessive way. Some villains eventually send the substitute away as a scapegoat, while others emphasize the transformation of the object of attention into a non-threatening form which no longer causes distress. This can be a process that takes years to complete but many still favor it over the alternative, which can leave scars that last a lifetime.
Traps for mere fools
- Helicopter parenting. The time to hover over your creation, as you well know, is past. Time to let go.
- Telepaths. You may need to don the tinfoil hat in stubborn cases.
- Long goodbyes.
- Nostalgic reminders. Though you might think these might be reassuring, they have a way of eroding one's rational decisions during a split section of weakness.
- A taste for drama.
Precious and needful
- Cursed amulet.
- Ravenous beasts.
- Short fuse. And high explosives.
- More power.
- Reinforced bunker.
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- How to breed monsters
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- How to torment a soul for eternity
- Image credit Frankenstein Junior by cszar
- Image credit Megavolt Tesla Coil 3 w/BART by Nick Winterhalter
- Image credit monster_17 by aj trojnarski