Doctor Terror tapped her pen impatiently as she stared down the last minion to enter the room. The minion briskly walked over to the opposite side of the long, plastic fold-out table, and sat herself down alongside a dozen or so other henchpeople dressed in identical high-durability glider suits and eye-covering helmets. Their outfits all sported the same red and black color scheme as the doctor’s own low-cut leotard and lab coat.
Sterile, fluorescent ceiling light flooded the plain gray room, illuminating every nook and cranny. Looking at the dull, generic office space, few would guess that this room was smack dab in the middle of the secret lair of one of Volt City’s most feared criminal masterminds. But Terror tended to be a bit stingy when it came to workplace expenditures, and given that few superheroes had much interest in infiltrating the secondary conference room, she hadn’t bothered to give it the same sense of aesthetic cohesion as the rest of her state-of-the-art lair.
“Okay, is everyone here?” The helmeted henchwoman in the center of the group of minions looked to either side of her and received a few nods in response before looking down at the paper in front of her, “Ahem, thank you again for agreeing to this meeting, Doctor. We, the representatives of the Doctor Terror Henchpersons’ Union, affiliate of the broader National Federation of Minions and Sidekicks, are here to bring forth the following series of grievances and demands-”
“Demands?” The pen bent a little in the doctor’s iron grip.
“Ma’am, please don't interrupt, I’m simply communicating the agreed upon language approved by majority vote at the last DTHU meeting,” the henchwoman responded matter of factly, triggering a chorus of mhms and nods from the surrounding minions.
The doctor crossed her arms and huffed, “The only reason I’m even here is that you ingrates went on strike in the middle of my showdown with fucking Cargirl. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to be publicly thwarted by a grown woman who makes puns about motor oil?”
The representative henchwoman cleared her throat and continued, ignoring the doctor’s whinging, “We are here to bring forth the following series of grievances and demands, which we wish to be addressed through documented, legally binding modifications to our terms of employment.”
Terror’s eye twitched a little as she made direct, spiteful eye contact with the henchwoman’s visor, before finally letting out a frustrated sigh. “Go ahead.”
“First, the union demands that Dr. Terror subsidize 80% of bail payments or legal expenses incurred by her henchpeople in the course of performing job duties.”
“If you don’t want to pay bail then stop getting captured, you worthless cretins!”
“Second, the union demands that Dr. Terror add a dental option to the employee healthcare plan-”
“You already have dental!”
“-that covers providers outside of the National Mad Scientist Registry, given recent malpractice accusations.”
“If Dr. Teethtania is good enough for me, they’re good enough for you!”
The representative henchwoman sighed and slumped her shoulders. “Ma’am, these interruptions will only make the process take longer. We haven’t even started actually negotiating.”
“As if you socialist goons will get a goddamn dime out of me!”
“If you aren't ready to negotiate, we can always come back next week.” As if on cue, the henchpeople all got up out of their plastic folding chairs in unison.
“Uggh fine! Fine!” Terror grumbled. The henchpeople sat back down. ”Hurry this up then. How many more are there?”
“Thirty-five. Third, in regards to Dr. Terror’s insistence on referring to us as her ‘terrordactyls’ despite no part of her villain theming having anything to do with prehistoric reptiles-”
“Okay, no, no, I’m done. This nonsense ends now.” The villainess reached under her folding chair and pulled out a cartoonishly oversized chrome pistol with a glowing neon green barrel and dozens of blinking lights. She hummed a jaunty little tune as she pressed a button on the blaster’s side, triggering a high pitched whining noise, and began to inspect its charge meter, watching as it slowly but surely filled up from 0 to 100.
“Ma’am, the Mind Blaster, really? I don’t need to remind you that hypnotic compulsion of one party by another during union negotiations is strictly prohibited by the terms of our existing employment contracts.” The whining noise stopped with a resounding *DING* as the readout pulsed 100.
“Mhmm, mhmm, oh don’t worry I remember.” Terror nodded as she turned the spread knob from narrow to wide. ”But the great thing about the Mind Blaster is…you won’t.” The villainess leveled the blaster at the throng of minions, pulled the trigger, and- *BZAAP*
The doctor’s world erupted into a disorienting blur of green and stars and spirals as the ray gun’s emitter fired backwards. Her mouth hung open as all ability to control her body left her completely.
“Wha-...what…” she slurred, her arm wobbling back and forth as her grip on the blaster began to loosen.
“Fortunately, nothing prohibits a party from hypnotizing themselves.”
“The engineering department is very passionate about direct action!” another henchperson proudly proclaimed, to the approving nods of the others.
“...you…you…” Terror’s head drooped into the slowly growing puddle of drool in front of her as she struggled to cling to her blinding rage. Her eyes blinked open and closed, slowly and unevenly.
The main representative spoke up again, “Now ma’am, I can’t help but sense some unnecessary hostility here. If we want these negotiations to continue smoothly, it might be best if you pull that trigger again, don’t you think?”
“A minute ago you wanted to hurry this up, didn’t you?”
“Ye..yeah…but that…thas…not…” The blaster *DING*ed again.
“Then you really should press the trigger. Let the blaster get rid of all those worries and frustrations. Wouldn’t that be nice? Calming yourself down a bit, making yourself more amenable...this whole process would be over before you know it.”
A drop of drool fell from the corner of the doctor’s mouth as she nodded weakly. Her finger sloooowly started to press against the trigger. “Sounds niiice…suuure…...w- wait...no…you...little…Marxist…fuc-” *BZAAP*
The blaster clattered onto the table. One of the last things Doctor Terror’s dimming consciousness was aware of was the sound of a dozen plastic chairs scraping against linoleum, quickly followed by the tender, comforting feeling of so many hands softly petting, touching, and rubbing all over her arms, legs, back, chest, and face. Each touch pulled her deeper and deeper into a soothing, pleasure-filled fog. Giggles echoed through her empty ears.
“Now ma’am, are you finally ready to negotiate?”