Red and viscous as blood but not nearly as salty or pale straw colored like the ichor of twisted inhuman demons — wine is the fluid of choice for the stylish and health-conscious supervillain in many ways. Since they spend so much time beneath the surface of the earth toiling in their laboratories or plying their trade in their dungeons, wine cellars make a natural extension to the well-outfitted lair with the added benefit of shielding those sheltered behind the casks from blast and radiation. The thrifty fiend is delighted with the way that the longer one lets it sit around doing nothing, the more its value will (potentially) increase, while the practical one finds thousands of ways to hide things or persons within the innocent-looking barrels. In so many ways, wine is a better friend to you than your chosen consort or your chief lieutenant, though you are probably best advised not to let them know that.
- Infodump. Mastering the arcana of viticulture and oenology is like any other kind of detailed study: an exercise in drudgery. The best way to achieve this is by the same methods you would use to upload a mass of undifferentiated and often contradictory data into your head, whether by cybernetic interface, cerebral engram transfer, detailed nanotechnological neurotransmitter re-routing hackery, or real-time djinn assistance, depending on your personal style.
- Lairbrew. You can start out small if you have a spare vat which isn't being used for a while for nefarious purposes, obtaining grapes of the proper pedigree, impressing selected minions with cultured feet to stomp them into a liquid what is known as must, spike with a few special secret boosters of your own, then inoculating it with microbes which will turn it into a sour smelly concoction which you will carefully decant into sterile vessels with your house label on them. The drawback is that all of this is hard and fussy work, and mostly honest (unless you obtain your supplies through chicanery or theft), so you may want to force one of your lackeys to do it, on pain of punishment, thereby keeping your hands dirty.
- Obfuscate. Even without total recall of specific wine-lore, you can in almost all cases show off your savvy by speaking in terms that seem as if they have a specific meaning that your listener cannot fathom. Taste, and after an appropriate interval, pronounce the wine "fluty," "narcissistic," "verbose," or even "globular" with sufficient self-assurance, compare it to "feldspar" or "flagella," and you will never be challenged on what precisely you are talking about. Make up a few authorities and some turgid quotes and you will be home free.
- Incorporate it into your routine. Perhaps you can empty out the waterboarding tank and replace it with a half a hogshead of wine — California chablis at first, graduating to a full-bodied red as your operatives gain confidence. Or perhaps your moat is looking a little tired and wan lately and can benefit from a ruddy transfusion of its own. There are veins to perfuse and androids to cool and mutant herbiage to irrigate and so much more.
Strokes of genius
- Pairings. Wine and food is the most traditional one that people have in mind, but you may want to explore pairing different vintages with varieties of other activities that you find rewarding deep in the recesses of your lair or out on a caper. What better way is there to celebrate reanimating an ancient corpse than by tapping a cuvée of venerable Chateau Damnation de Faust?
- Fizz. Champagne and its cousins are the pricey stuff of celebration and braggadocio, as modern urban musicians have already cottoned on to. The compressed gas contained within a single bottle lends it an air of menace, though technology has not yet progressed to the point where it can be used as sole propulsive force for a vehicle. Serve well chilled, with a hint of steely resolve in your eye.
- Spit. If your audience needs more convincing of your refinement, rear back and take a good spit. Then, later, when they are not looking, have a good-sized swig of the stuff to make up.
Traps for mere fools
- Other would-be wine snobs. Always best to be the only one in the bunch. If you are unfortunate enough to have one or two already in your circle, the best courses of action to take are the administration of artificial amnesia or (if possible) liquidation.
- Fake corks. For Crom's sake, don't you know anything?
- Ebola residue.
Precious and needful
- Corkscrew. Keep it by your thumbscrew.
- Stemware. Don't put them in the dishwasher, or give them to your troll dishwasher either.
- Platinum icebucket.
- Sabre. For uncorking champagne or other things.
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