Former Spider Villain Turns Water Treatment Plant Into Lair

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Former spider villain Lord Recluse has taken up residence in a Baltimore Water Treatment Plant, but he has bigger plans for our world than we imagined!

Baltimore, Maryland – In the recent past, the management of the Baltimore Water Treatment Plant realized they had a spider problem. A serious spider problem. They put out a call for help, and were met by a response from a group of etymologists and arachnologists interested in studying the unwanted visitors.

The problem turned out bigger than officials expected. The experts soon reported the treatment plant wasn’t just infested, it was overrun. As many as thirty seven thousand orb-weaver spiders could be found in every meter of the four acre mega-web. Overall, they estimated there could be a hundred and seven million spiders living in the upper levels of the facility.

That’s 107… followed by six zeroes.

If over a hundred millions spiders are bad news, a villainous arachnid overlord is worse. Far worse.

“His name is Recluse,” said villainologist Percy Whethers. “He calls himself Lord Recluse, but come on. He’s living in a water treatment plant.”

You could be excused for not knowing who Lord Recluse is, since he’s a bit of a niche villain and something of a has-been. As the main bad guy and evil plot device for Paragon Studios’ superhero-based massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) City of Heroes, a computer game that never had more than a couple hundred thousand players worldwide, relatively few people could identify the spider-themed villain. And since the game studio was shuttered in 2012 and the game unceremoniously dumped by parent company NCSoft, Recluse has kept quiet.

Until now. After nearly three years of hiding out, Lord Recluse has agreed to an interview. As it turns out, he used some sort of portal device to come to the real world and quickly discovered the Baltimore Water Treatment Plant and its spider problem. Not a problem for him, however, since he’s something of an arachnid fetishist.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Mr. Recluse. Let’s start with something simple. Why a water treatment plant?

First of all, let us dispense with the formalities, shall we? Since leaving the Rogue Isles, I’ve taken to letting people call me by my given name, Stefan Richter. Please, call me Stefan. As for the water treatment plant, where else is a former villain and terror-monger supposed to go? There comes a point at which everyone wishes to simply live out the rest of their lives in peace, even supervillains. Sadly, there are no retirement communities for men of my peculiar pedigree, no rest homes for the aging sociopath, so one must make due. And with the spiders already taking up residence, well… it felt a bit like home.

Aren’t you overstating things just a little bit? You were a villain, sure, but in a video game. All those atrocities you think you performed were just part of a story.

And that may be the worst of it. All of my crimes? They’re not really crimes at all, but just the machinations of storytellers designed to entertain the masses of basement-dwelling geeks who would gladly be superheroes, but for their ever-expanding waistlines and aversion to all things physical. I’ll never have the pleasure of crushing Statesman and his Freedom Phalanx for good, nor defeating that blasted horde of Paragon City heroes, because they’re really all just a bunch of pimply faced nerds on the other end of an internet connection!

That’s hardly a fair characterization of video gamers, especially from a fictional character.

So now I’m fictional, am I? And yet here you sit, interviewing me. Still, you make a valid point. I was a villain in a video game, which provides for me a very limited resume. I had considered doing something constructive with my time here in this so-called Real World, but what is a man of my history to do?

What options have you considered?

Options? Pah! Those of us with a fictional origin lack things like birth certificates and social security cards, limiting our employment and education options. I have, however, been emailing your president concerning his planned amnesty program for undocumented residents. He seems like my kind of man, in charge no matter what the world might say, even if they speak out against him! Perhaps with his help, I can start anew.

There is a lot of political opposition to the president’s amnesty program. What’s your backup plan?

There is always a potential return to my previous lifestyle. After all, your world is sorely lacking in true villains. Oh, you have your despots and serial killers, and then you have your politicians, who are their own breed of evil. But true supervillains? When was the last time you saw one? Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Bin Laden came close, I suppose, but no true supervillain goes out while watching reruns of I Love Lucy on a thirteen inch TV.

So… world domination, then?

It’s either that or… look, I have some ideas, but they’re a bit sensitive, or rather I’m sensitive about them. You understand if I don’t share, hm? The last thing a man of my stature needs is to have his ideas mocked on the world wide web.

I promise not to mock you, Stefan. What kind of ideas do you have in mind? Murder? Mayhem?

No, no, no. Animation. And not the standard villains-versus-heroes fare you might expect from someone with my background. You know, even when I was leading Arachnos against the forces of good, I thought it might be nice to have a spider-themed cartoon for little children. Perhaps a story about how spiders can get along with other creatures, and even humans, who have an unnatural fear of all things arachnid.

Sort of a My Little Spider: Eight Legs Are Magic?

You DO understand! Gracious, I was beginning to think I might never find someone who would be able to comprehend the scope of my grand scheme. I want to name it Itsy Bitsy Spider: Creepy is Cool. Imagine, if you will, a cartoon teaching children just how important spiders are to the world, but in a fun, adventurous way. I’d be sure to minimize the venomous bites and web cocoons, too! But Baltimore isn’t the place for such things… I’ll have to move to some place where animation is important, like Los Angeles or Vancouver. Now that we’ve spoken, however, I think I’ve resolved to do that very thing. Thank you for your assistance in making this rather difficult decision. If you’ll excuse me, I must go release some hostages before packing.

No, Stefan Richter, thank you. Thank you for the interview, for not murdering this reporter with your mechanical spider arms, and for not taking over the world and subjecting us all to your freaky spider-thugs. And about that cartoon… you might want to work on the premise just a little bit.

Simon Hawk
Chief Diversionist

Simon Hawk is a thinker, writer, satirist, and full-time oddball. As Chief Diversionist of Knozzle, his job is to write, baby, write with the intention of making his audience think and laugh. Or at least chuckle.


When not hunched over his computer, he spends his time on a balcony overlooking the Arkansas River (pronounced ar-KAN-zas, people!) playing Death Metal’s Greatest Hits on his diamond-studded kazoo. He sometimes pretends to know the meaning of life, but mostly just knows the meaning of obscure words like “sesquipedalian”.


Simon Hawk

Simon Hawk is a thinker, writer, satirist, and full-time oddball. As Chief Diversionist of Knozzle, his job is to write, baby, write with the intention of making his audience think and laugh. Or at least chuckle.

When not hunched over his computer, he spends his time on a balcony overlooking the Arkansas River (pronounced ar-KAN-zas, people!) playing Death Metal’s Greatest Hits on his diamond-studded kazoo. He sometimes pretends to know the meaning of life, but mostly just knows the meaning of obscure words like “sesquipedalian”.

  • Ghosthack

    Growing up creepie….