To whoever may find this letter:

If you have found this note, it means that I am dead. Von Wicked is hunting me, and I doubt I'll survive the night. I only pray that I have found a safe place to hide this note. I simply wish to tell my story, and to apologize to Father for failing him. I suspect that Father will know the moment of my death; perhaps at this very moment I am transmitting information to his laboratory, for I am certain that I have not discovered all of my capabilities. But I wish to leave a record in my own words, so that the world will know my life and understand my experiences. I have never kept a diary, of course, or been so foolish as to correspond without making sure my words were safe from outsiders. Father told me over and over: "Never leave a paper trail! Never leave evidence behind!" So I'll say as much as I can here before I am discovered.

Whatever happens, please don't blame Father. What other life could he have sought? Should he have obeyed his parents' wishes, and followed them in a career as an accountant? How could he, saddled with a name like Herschel Q. Deathblast? (He always vowed to find the government clerk whose error led to his banishment from society.) The only path open to him was to leave the world that mocked his strange name, and his thick glasses and prominent teeth, and to pursue arcane studies in sciences forbidden by the rest of the world.

Father was called a mad scientist by some, because he dared to explore beyond those realms accepted by polite society. But in truth, he was a genius, of the sort destined for mockery in his own time. Future generations will remember him, though, as the man who first pierced the boundary between life and death. I feel no need to defend Father or his life's work. Even if I am killed, I have no doubt that Father will be vindicated one day; when his work is known to all - and do not doubt that it will be - my inelegant words will be unnecessary to justify his research. I only wish that I - the triumph of his studies - were not doomed to die by morning, as Father counted on me as a demonstration of his labors.

Father's work never left him time to find a wife - indeed, I don't know if such things are in his nature. He had no need of a woman to conceive an heir, however. His laboratory, filled with vessels bubbling with multicolored fluids, brimming with strange electrical devices, and lined with motivational posters - that was his wife; a tank of amber-colored fluid was her womb. And in that tank, I was created.

The first thing I can remember seeing was the framed Successories print that hung on the wall above my crib. "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." This was the mantra that Father followed. He believed that nothing mattered so long as he built the perfect heir, the one who would conquer the world, the one who would lay her boot across the throat of humanity.

I didn't realize at the time that the circumstances of my creation were unusual. I didn't know that other children didn't remember the electricity coursing through their brains during their first moments. Other children weren't born knowing how to read, or to walk and talk. I first discovered that I was different from the other children when I was eight years old, playing with the young boy from down the road. We were playing ball, and a squirrel ran by. Without thinking, I aimed my hand and incinerated it with a bolt of plasma that shot out of my wrist. Until my companion ran away, screaming in terror, I had no idea that other children couldn't do the same thing.

Other children weren't trained in martial arts from the first moments of their lives, nor could they speak twelve languages or perform calculus in their third grade math classes. From the day I learned that I was not like other children, I worked without cease to discover the extent of my abilities, and to achieve everything I could. I vowed that I would justify the years my father spent designing my body systems and placing delicate implants in my neural tissue.

I asked him that fateful day why I was different from other children. I asked him whether I was the only one who could shoot white-hot bolts of fire from my wrists, and why I didn't have a mother, and where I came from.

"Ordinary children," he began, "are produced by a simple but rather disgusting biological act, and I will not trouble you with the precise details of how the exchange of organic fluids leads to the development of a child. However, it is a matter you will have to thoroughly understand in the future, because I suspect that you will need a mastery of it in the course of your eventual work. Nevertheless, that is a matter for a later date.

"You, unlike most children, do not have a mother. In terms of your biological heritage, your genes come from myself and from a variety of men and women whom I selected for their possession of certain qualities that you will find useful in your later life. Your physical strength and agility, your attractive appearance, and many aspects of your temperament were carefully chosen from a large field of candidates. I hope you will not find it immodest of me, incidentally, to divulge that you owe your intellect to my own genetic contribution.

"You were not carried in any woman's uterus during gestation, I spent years perfecting the equipment needed to develop a child in my laboratory. I developed hundreds of cell cultures, and culled the weaker ones while determining which had the genetic makeup that I wished my daughter to possess. When I selected one - one who would be intelligent, and strong, and invulnerable to many diseases - I took it, and used procedures that I developed during the previous twenty years to cause it to reproduce and grow in a tank of carefully designed fluids.

"After nine months of development, you, my daughter, were viable and ready to come into the world. That was just over eight years ago. And while I still cannot confess all of my plans and aspirations for you, I created you with a specific purpose in mind. Over the following years, I implanted a variety of electronic devices - computers, radio transmitters and receivers, a set of steel reinforcements for your skeleton, and the weapon you discovered today. You, my dear daughter, the youngest Deathblast - you, with your perfect genome and lethal body - you will bring glory to our family name!"

At that moment, I began to understand Father and myself, and he and I spent the following years at work furthering my training. As time passed I learned more about my own capacities. He explained more of his purpose and the destiny which awaited me. We spent hours, with him training my body - gymnastics, dance, many forms of fighting - and tutoring me in chemistry, biology, physics, electronics, and of course all of the arts and aesthetic achievements of humanity. Father always believed in the importance of human achievement in art, and wished me to appreciate such things just as I understood more prosaic and objective fields of research. So I learned the works of Michelangelo, of El Greco, of Picasso and Rembrandt. I read the works of Cervantes and Shakespeare, of Aeschylus and Virgil, of García Márquez and Pynchon.

He impressed upon me other lessons as well - first and foremost was the importance of secrecy. I have already explained that he trained me not to leave written evidence behind me. He also taught me to guard my words, to never tell the circumstances of my creation or my mission - of which I was learning more and more. He taught me to kill in dozens of different ways, and of the necessity of being merciless with my enemies. He told me, unabashedly - for we were both fully commited to our shared goal - how a man might be seduced and foolishly blinded to my doings when given the promise of the "disgusting biological act" that Father disdained.

Our relationship deepened over the years; we moved from Father and daughter to teacher and pupil, and finally to collaborators. I keenly desired not only to please my father but to accomplish our shared goal to further his esoteric explorations of the nature of the world, and to use his work to assume our rightful place as lords of humanity. As masters of life and death, it seemed only right that we should be recognized as humankind's natural leaders, especially when you consider what they're settling for right now.

We spent long hours together in his laboratory, working together on new devices to be grafted to my body: my eyes, now, are augmented by devices that let me see infrared and ultraviolet light; my ears can hear more distinctly than the most dedicated and naturally talented musician; I can lift many times my weight and bend steel bars with my hands; my mind has been enhanced further and further with metal circuitry, enabling me to store entire libraries, to interface with computer systems, to perform precise mathematical calculations. I can run faster than any human being, and my perspiration smells like rose petals. We pushed his scientific work further as well - first resurrecting dead goldfish, then lizards, and finally, a young man who had fallen in love with me and whom I had strangled one night. (I strangled him again afterwards - no point in letting him run off and tell the police.) Father's learning had advanced until he conquered death, a feat beyond the imagination of any other scientist.

As I grew into a woman, it became clear that Father's work was exquisite. While it may seem arrogant to say so, I became more and more attractive with each passing year. Long, softly-curling red hair, a body simultaneously slender and voluptuous. Men fell in love with me the moment they met me, and when I was twenty-four, I became the favored concubine of a general in the Argentine army. Together, we engineered a military coup d'├ętat and after his tragic death - all it took was a short length of piano wire one night - Father and I became the rulers of a nation, the Lord and Lady Deathblast.

This was, of course, not the limit of our ambitions. Not by far. And so, when I met a man named Robert Von Wicked one day at an elegant party thrown by one of Father's friends, Father and I formulated a scheme to finally achieve conquest of all humanity.

Robert was a man who shared our ambitions - a man who saw the world for what it was, a cesspool full of evil and stupid people who need a strong ruler to lead them. Robert was intelligent, too - a scientist, like Father. He had cultivated tastes and a rapier wit. And he was handsome, the best looking man I'd ever met; I confess that my own knowledge of the arts of seduction left me with no defense against them when Robert smiled at me. He was tall, with dark, wavy hair and blue eyes. His face bespoke nobility, and when I spent time with him, the computer chips in my knees sent signals to my brain indicating imminent loss of structural integrity. I could hardly trust myself to walk in his presence without falling over.

Robert had a young son, Julian, by his ex-wife. A charming boy, only two years old, but already growing to resemble his father. Together, Father and I conceived our plan. I would become Robert's lover, and learn every inch of his Fortress of Doom in the mountains of Nepal. I would find out the capabilities of his army, and make him fall in love with me; together, Robert and I would send his legions of gigantic killer robots to subdue the armies of humankind. And when, together, we finally were recognized by all as the rightful lords of Earth, I would kill him, holding his son hostage if it was necessary to lure Robert into a trap, and Father and I would finally accomplish our goal. Together, Father and I would place every man, woman, and child in every nation in subjection. The name "Herschel Q. Deathblast" would go down in history as Earth's greatest leader, and no one would dare laugh at him anymore.

But in my weakness, I succumbed to Robert's charms, just as surely as he succumbed to mine. I fell in love, even knowing that I should not. In that, the perfection of Father's work is clear: though I was created from a tank of inert chemicals, I was subject to that most quintessentially human of weaknesses: love.

And so I resolved to abandon the plans that Father and I had so carefully formulated. I decided that my love for Robert was more important than my lifelong devotion to Father. I refused to speak to Father, and as the day approached of my wedding to Robert, I became more and more giddy in my plans to be his wife, and build a life together with him. We spent afternoons wandering through the gardens, or long evenings torturing captured military officers with red-hot pokers. It was a storybook romance.

We were to be married atop one of his fortresses, on a tiny island in Melanesia. But Robert and I barely survived the assault by Robert's ex-wife during our wedding. We did survive, though, and we were quickly married during the aftermath. When we withdrew to his fortress afterwards, we consumated our marriage, but as we lay together afterwards, I discovered that Father had not informed me of all of his secrets. To my horror, I heard my voice apologize to Robert for having to kill him, and my arm raised of its own accord. My plasma blasters were warming up. I couldn't stop it - my own brain had been overridden by Father's electronic implants.

But just as I had underestimated Father, he had underestimated Robert. Robert quickly darted behind the bed - his naked body as exquisitely beautiful as ever - and he summoned his robot guardians. My legs, still not under my control, propelled me out of the room. Father must have realized I was in danger. I made my way out of the Fortress of Doom, sometimes inches from the bullets fired by Robert's robot soldiers. I knew secret ways into and out of the Fortress, but of course so did Robert. I can barely remember my escape, under the influence of the massive amounts of adrenalin released by my neural regulators, and I still can't bring myself to review the camera footage recorded in the implant in my upper arm.

I spent the first night after my escape cursing Father for what he had done, and for destroying my marriage to Robert. But now, a day later, I realize that only I am to blame for what happened. Had I cooperated with Father, it is inconceivable that Robert would have escaped a burning death. My own failing in falling for Robert Von Wicked is why I am hidden away now, though I am under no delusion that I can continue to evade Robert. Already today I had to destroy three of Robert's robot soldiers and sneak into an airplane bound for Samarkand. But no part of the Earth is safe from Robert; the best that I could hope for is to spend the rest of my life running from him. So instead I've hidden myself the best I can to get these words onto paper before Robert finds me. Convey them to Father if at all possible.

Please understand that Father is not to blame for any of this. He is a good man, and I don't doubt that he will achieve every one of his goals. As the Successories poster in his living room says, "Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by those doing it. The human spirit can overcome any obstacle in the way of a dream." I only wish I hadn't let my heart lead me astray. I failed him, and my imminent death is nothing compared to that knowledge.

Forgive me, Father.

            Lady Deathblast

The Von Wicked Chronicles
by Excalibre and Evil Catullus

I remember when it was me who made you want to take over the world and enslave humanity
Latex. High heels. Knives. (Excalibre's writeup)
It's not my fault that I'm so evil
I was a teenage Overlord
Lady Deathblast's Lover
This little light of mine
The Thanksgiving battle
My funny villaintine
Robots and comic books
This wicked life
The education of little overlords
All things truly wicked
Darkness lights its own way
No rest
How it all began
Sometimes I think you love that doomsday machine more than you love me.
They are mine. They are dead.
There is a crack in everything
Hell hath no fury like a villainess scorned

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