Headline:Wildenberg Renovation Plans Hit Second Snag

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Wildenberg Renovation Plans Hit Second Snag

April 9, 2003
by Cardy Dennison
Special to the Astro City Rocket

ASTRO CITY - The beleaguered Wildenberg Center renovation project met with another setback yesterday, as excavators uncovered a second layer of heretofore unknown facilities, including toxic chemical storage and what inspectors are calling "energy-lattice reactors." Dismantling of the dangerous devices and disposal of the chemicals and weapons found in the structure could take up to four months, spokesmen say.

The Wildenberg Center, an ambitious construction project begun in the 1980s, was intended to be a massive living-and-working facility, including luxury condominium towers, millions of feet of office space, and even television production facilities. Hailed as a visionary undertaking, the Center was the brainchild of the firm of Leverett and Gleason, which broke ground on the western shore of the Wildenberg River on August 10, 1982, but ten months later, the company was bankrupt and the project abandoned.

In recent years, the abandoned foundations of the Wildenberg Center turned out to hold the headquarters of the Conquistador, a mysterious armored crimelord who mounted an abortive nationwide crime spree before being defeated by Honor Guard and vanishing.

The weaponry, generators and other dangerous machinery in the Conquistador's base were disposed of over a period of four months, before the renovation project got fully under way. Now, however, an older and deeper base has been uncovered -- presumably, another costumed villain's base, though opinions differ as to whose it was.

"We're hearing ridiculous rumors that it was the lair of the Scarlet Snake or Dr. Deezer," said Percy Blakeny, a spokesman for the E.P.A., which is overseeing the new discovery. "This is arrant nonsense, of course. The Snake hasn't been active since the late 1940s, and Dr. Deezer died in 1958. Neither of them would have been sneaking hidden lairs into a construction project as recent as the Wildenberg Center."

Blakeny did say, however, that investigations should reveal the identity of the person or persons behind the base. "We have computer equipment down there," he said, "and we're hoping to recover data from its memory units. Right now, Augustus Furst is helping us dismantle the lattice reactors, but after that he'll be taking on the memory banks, in an effort to reconstruct them. If he's successful, it's possible the data could be used to bring down any of a number of master criminals currently at large."

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