Saturday, August 30, 2014

Planning for failure

[Been reading Kim Possible fan fiction.  Has me thinking about exploding lairs and such.  Entirely original, though.]


"Why are the ventilation ducts big enough to crawl through anyway?" a man in a short suede jacket asked.

"I have pondered that myself," the older man in the lab coat said.  "I believe I know the answer."


"Yes, but I don't think you'll like it," he said while walking over to exposed ductwork.  "Follow me."

When the two arrived, the older man pointed at a symbol on one of the ducts.

For a moment it meant nothing to the man in the suede jacket and then his eyes opened wide in recognition.  He double checked the name of the company and said, "It's one of her friends."

"Indeed.  Regrettably, they're the best."

"So the company that makes our ventilation systems is owned by a personal friend of the person most likely to use said ventilation systems to bypass our security and break into our lairs?"

The other nodded.

"Why don't we just blow the place up ourselves?"

"Would you prefer to go without air conditioning?"

"No."  There was a moment of silence.  "Well, we could--"

"The last time we used anything other than the best was when--"

"Let me guess," the man in the suede jacket said, a palm connecting with his forehead, "it was when the climate control broke down and somehow the fresh desert air being pumped in didn't get any cooler and the aquifer-tapped lair didn't get any less moist.  As I recall it was muggy as hell and north of 120 degrees."

The other man nodded again.

"You're right.  I'd rather blow up the building myself than go through that again."

After a somber pause, he resumed, "It's just that I can't send sentries into the suspiciously person-sized ventilation system because then they wouldn't show up when we need to do a head count to make sure everyone gets out safely when the lair explodes, which it inevitably will."

"You don't like that the lairs have a self destruct."  It wasn't a question, it wasn't even disguised as one.

Nonetheless, the young man in the suede jacket answered. "No, no," he said quickly. "The self destruct has served us well.  I've lost count of the number of times cases against us have had to be thrown out because all of the physical evidence was destroyed by the self destruct."

After a pause he resumed, "I just think we could save a lot of time and money if we just blew the place up ourselves rather than waiting for her to get here and do it for us."

"We hope for success; we plan for failure."

"And you don't see any causal relationship between what we plan for and what we always seem to achieve?"


"Yes, boss?"

"Take a few days off."

"Thanks, boss."



  1. So I take it you prefer the 'plan for what you wish for not for what you fear' route to success. Or is the minion just being mouthy here.

    1. I think it depends, definitely one should have contingency plans, and with the track record of most villains expecting to fail and planning for it is probably a good idea. But there's also a point where it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy (self destruct buttons are strongly recommended against by the evil overlord list.)

      In this particular case the minion is just frustrated (though he does think that it would be much simpler to just blow up the lairs for the hero since that's what always ends up happening anyway.)