“What the hell…” Edna awoke disoriented. She couldn’t remember falling asleep, but she felt like she was laying on something firm. She opened her eyes, sat up, and found herself in a space that resembled a jail cell. It was only one cell in a much larger warehouse. Just outside the cage, smiling at her, stood Beauregard. The world’s most helpful supervillain wore a black, tux-like costume with a long flowing gold cape. His pale skin contrasted well with the gold accents on his lapels.
“Good morning,” Beauregard said. “I apologize for the inconvenience…,” he began to apologize.
“Nuh uh, this is flat out kidnapping,” Edna interrupted. She stood from the cot and glared at him through the bars. Like most people in the world, Edna had trouble taking Beauregard seriously as a villain. “If you let me go now, I won’t press charges. If I have to wait for a hero to rescue me, I’ll be annoyed.”
“Not this time!” Beauregard laughed. He pointed at a control panel with dozens of buttons, lights, and instruments. “This time, I’m not waiting. Every good plan needs a witness,” he said. Then made a deliberate pointing gesture at Edna. “I realized, I don’t have to monologue to a hero. Anyone will do. So, here’s my plan….”
“Wait!” Edna interrupted. She felt a legitimate worry all of a sudden. “Don’t you want the heroes to watch your final victory? You can make the heroes that always mock you see you succeed.” Beauregard paused and looked at Edna. He tilted his head slightly; just enough to give Edna hope.
“They… mock me?” he asked. Despite her situation, the surprise in his voice tugged at Edna’s heart. “I thought they were more professional than that.” He shook his head.
“Whatever. Obviously I don’t mean as much to them as I thought, so no. You’ll do. This Earth is running out of resources faster and faster, not to mention climate change and all the other problems created by humans.” Beauregard paced back and forth in front of Edna’s cell while he explained his plan.
“I know I have a pretty strange streak of luck going. So far all my evil plans seem to help the world. So, this time, my plan is designed to help the world. By terminating three-quarters of the global population. Humans and animals alike.”
“Killing strangers isn’t a very good plan if you’re trying to be a hero.”
“Be a hero?” Beauregard smiled but shook his head. “Not interested in that, my plan is still supposed to be evil. But I am trying to get out in front of whatever mysterious force twists my plan into something helpful.” Beauregard began wandering toward the control panel.
“How does it work?” Edna asked.
“That’s a good question!” Beauregard replied. He grinned as he stopped in front of it; then, he reached down and pressed a red button. “Like this! No stalling.” The moment he pressed the button a low, gentle hum filled the room. Edna listened and watched. She waited for something to happen. After two minutes, the hum died down, and Beauregard sighed happily.
“I did it!” he said. “It worked!” He leaned down to check several of the instruments, then focused on the screen, and he nodded again. “It worked! Three-fourths of the population is gone!” he cheered. Edna felt uncomfortable flutters in her stomach. At 24-years-old, her life was pretty much on track. Her parents died when she was young and she was an only child. She had no family and few acquaintances. None of which would qualify as “friends”. She wasn’t worried about anyone in particular, but she felt the weight of what he did just the same. Edna leaned against the bars and hung her head while Beauregard gloated to himself.
“Who are you?” a woman’s voice made Edna look up. As far as she knew she and Beauregard were the only two people in the room. But, she found two new women standing in front Beauregard.
Both wore perfectly tailored suits. The black suit resembled a chauffeur’s uniform while the white suit looked like something a CEO would wear. Beauregard was obviously surprised. He jumped back away from them.
“Who are you?” the woman in black asked. Her voice matched the first time Edna heard the question.
“Beauregard,” he answered warily. “How’d you get in my lab?”
“The same way you sent over five billion humans to one of my Earths,” the woman in white said. “My name is Dana Sharp, and I don’t appreciate trespassing on my property.
“One of…?” Beauregard asked. “…your… Earths?”
“They’re alive?!” Edna asked loudly from her cell.
“Ah, someone worth talking to,” Dana Sharp said. She turned her attention from Beauregard and approached the cell. The woman in black got there first; she opened the cell door without a key.
“Uh, I’m Edna,” she extended her hand and Dana shook it with a polite nod.
“About four minutes ago approximately five billion, two hundred fifty million humans appeared on one of my Earths. As well as several billion new animals. All in perfect health. Can you tell me why they appeared?” Dana asked. Edna nodded.
“Supervillain over there,” she gestured at Beauregard. “… wanted to lighten humanities’ burden on the Earth.”
“Oh. Your Earth is in need of more resources? I can provide anything you need. And, now that your citizens are aware of the multiverse, I have many different Earths they can visit.” Dana Sharp turned and smiled at Beauregard.
“I’m sure you’re relieved. You accidentally found a way to save the planet, and no one was hurt.”
“RAAAWRGHG!” Beauregard raged. He slammed both fists against the control panel then fled out of the warehouse.