Monday, August 20, 2007

289. Jonathan Crane

History will ask, as it has every right to do, how I pulled it off. The truth is, in retrospect, it was all quite simple. Most things are when you have an actual army at your disposal.

HateMonger will surely tell the world that he sought me out. He does love to take credit for things, doesn't he? But I remember something rather different: in my search for funding for my research, it was I who first approached him almost a year ago. Like so many others, he would have nothing to do with me--at first. But in time (aided by a rather effective demonstration of one of my lesser formulae) he came around, and within a month he and his organization had become the benefactors I so desperately needed.

It did not hurt that we shared a common enemy.

I wanted the vigilante who had killed my mentor. HM wanted a certain pest controlled. We both got what we wanted.

As I have said, the actual procedure was easy--much more so than anyone could have predicted. I would like to assume full responsibility for the facility with which four formidable opponents fell prey to my talents, but I must confess that I saw weaknesses in their group early on--weaknesses I of course exploited fully.

I created situations which further isolated the men from each other. Once one of them had fallen to me, I used him as bait to lure the next, and so on. I had studied each man from afar for weeks before I confronted any of them directly, so I knew exactly where his vulnerabilities--his fears--lay. Dr. Tanhoger's notes, rescued from the fire, were a tremendous help for the main two; the others were easy enough to unpeel.

And unpeel them I have. No scientist could ever have hoped for a more ideal situation: four subjects upon which to experiment for months at a time. Human-sized lab rats to be broken and rebuilt according to my whim (and, of course, HateMonger's rather more exacting instructions). They resisted at first, which was tiresome, but in time they each caved in, more or less simultaneously. Once again, with two of them, I had the benefit of Dr. Tanhoger's earlier meticulous research; I knew the precise triggers that would provoke a relapse to their earlier state of surrender. Here again, I used my success with those two to prove to the remaining pair that it was pointless to resist the inevitable.

I must wrap up these notes and make a few final preparations for HM's next visit. While he has toured my facilities on several occasions since the initial captures, only now am I ready to unveil the results of my months of work on the four.

I am quite certain that my benefactor will be pleasantly surprised by what is beginning to take shape.