The Generic Villain on Holidays

Holidays. They’re an interesting little piece of work, particularly in the original sense of the term and not the more modern, rampant commercialism, most government employees and public school students get the day off meaning. A lot of us Hands of Darkness really aren’t sure what to do with them, and can you blame us? Leaving aside the possibility of stealing them (let’s come back to that later, shall we), the big question becomes “Do we Do Something on this particular holiday?” It’s a tougher question than you might think.

The first thing to look at is whether it’s one of those holidays that’s inherently inimical to our sort of work: the ones that draw down miracles like moths to a bonfire, where every time you breathe in you get angel down in your nose, or where if you put so much as a toe out of line you get hit by a lightning bolt from whatever god the day’s been dedicated too. That’s one of those days when you need either a really good contingency or to just use some of your Alignment Inconvenience Leave.

Then you look at what sorts of things people are doing to observe the holidays. Yes, this also makes a difference, and not just to PR. If it’s some little commercialized shindig that’s been appropriated by several different groups of people and turned into an excuse to sell merchandise, as far as you’re concerned it’s probably a normal day (goodness knows a bunch of them will be seeing it as such). One where everyone’s supposed to be at home with their families might be a good day to strike at public places, but it does mean that the ones who work or go to school most days and only moonlight as heroes aren’t going to have to try to explain their abrupt absences.

And then there’s the PR, and this is where things get interesting.

For some holidays and similar events, even the most warlike of cultures have an enforced truce, to the point where they are not permitted to take up arms. On the one hand, this seems like a good time to strike, but on the other, even if someone doesn’t break the rules and engage in self-defense, you will have thoroughly stepped over the line and gone from someone to be opposed to someone to be destroyed. If you want to be a career antagonist, don’t do it.

Another thing for the publicly active villain to keep in mind is the range of PR benefits of being obvious about not only not operating on, but actively celebrating the holidays in question. That gives you good old “one of us” factor among the common people, particularly if it’s a holiday that involves giving, caring, or otherwise being part of a group greater than yourself and your schemes. If your minions are getting days off, parties, gifts and the like; if you yourself are getting into the spirit (and making sure people find out about it!), that gives you a certain something that separates you from those truly irredeemable types—and best of all, they’re not likely to have a term for it, so they’re less likely to be watching for you to exploit it!

So as you come up on a holiday, think before you act.

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