Supervillain Scheme No. 122 (Part 1)
The Planet Earth had just narrowly escaped certain destruction for the 121st time. This time, near-devastation was at the hands of a supervillain named Dr. Lizardo who had devised a way to harness the power of the sun and shoot laser beams out of his eyes. His plan was to use that to evaporate the ocean, but he was thwarted at the last minute by an anthropomorphic barnacle named Cap’n Crusty.
While this was another close one, Earth had narrowly escaped so many of these threats that people have stopped taking notice of them for the most part. Even the world’s leading newspaper, The Globe, only covered this latest attempt inside an infographic titled What You Might Have Missed This Week—placing it underneath a blurb about a prominent pop star mourning the death of Bubbles, her beloved Pomeranian.
On a far away planet, the president of Supervillain University, a man known simply as The Headmaster, was livid about all this. With a copy of The Globe tucked underneath an arm, he stormed through the middle of campus with gritted teeth and his face beet red. He was making his way to the dorms to give Dr. Lizardo a piece of his mind for his latest failure.
The Headmaster was tall, thin and appeared to be in his 60s. He had white, neatly combed hair that was crowned with a graduation cap that had a tassel that dangled in front of his face. He wore black-rimmed square glasses and was always dressed in a black graduation robe with blue stripes on the sleeves. His other prominent physical features were his large, bulbous nose, puffy white eyebrows, and a walrus mustache.
As he stomped through the sidewalk, he passed by many of his supervillain students and faculty and got flashes in his mind about their own previous failures of destroying the Earth.
He walked passed the Purple Piper who tried to arm rats with scimitars and hypnotize them to attack humans. However, his defeat came at the hands of the superhero named Mondo-Radio who overrode their hypnotism with radio frequencies and reprogrammed them to attack the supervillains instead.
Then there was the Armadillian who crafted a tank as large as Mt. Everest and set about destroying famous landmarks. His rampage ended when the superhero Busta-Man blew up the tank by simply plugging the end of the turret.
Then there was Professor Googol, the self-proclaimed smartest supervillain on campus. He figured out how to knock the moon out of its orbit and crash it into Australia. But his plan was thwarted by a mob of emus, known as The Collective, who managed to catch the moon and bounce it back in place. …The supposed genius of Supervillain U outsmarted by a bunch of birds.
No matter what the Supervillains did to try to destroy the Earth, they always failed. And The Headmaster was sick and tired of it.
He kicked open the door to the dorm’s common area and saw Dr. Lizardo with another failed pupil, Big Mouth Cassie, in the middle of a game of chess.
Dr. Lizardo looked like a Gila monster in a red cape who could walk on his hind legs. Big Mouth Cassie was humanoid with a round purple head the size of an oversized beachball and a mouth that halved the span of her head like Pac Man. She also had long green hair that was done up nicely in a pony tail.
The Headmaster pounded his fist to his hips and yelled at Dr. Lizardo: “Your big plan was to evaporate the ocean with your eyes?”
The ends of The Headmaster’s mustache puffed out whenever he spoke particularly breathy consonants.
The chess-playing supervillains had barely flinched at that outburst. The Headmaster always got like this after one of his underlings lost another one of their world-destruction bids. Lizardo moved his white bishop to F5.
Big Mouth Cassie, keeping her eyes on the board, shrugged and said: “I thought it was an OK plot, myself.” She moved her black Queen to F5 to overcome the white bishop.
“You are one to talk, Big Mouth,” The Headmaster retorted. “Your brilliant plan to destroy Earth was to yodel at Antarctica.” Pawn to C3 to overtake a black knight.
“In theory it should have worked,” said Dr. Lizardo, defending his big-mouthed friend. “It should have destabilized the ice and caused it to slide off the continent.” Black queen to D7.
“But she forgot that all it took to get her to stop yodeling was a little superhero named Chicken-Man to tickle her feet with feathers!”
“Well, hindsight being 20-20…” White knight to H4.
The Headmaster then took a closer look at their chessboard and was horrified about what he saw. He clenched his fists and let out a frustrated yell.
“You nincompoops!” he cried. “You are both in checkmate! How is that even possible?”
“No we’re not,” protested Dr. Lizardo, squinting at the chessboard for a couple seconds before finally realizing: “Oh shoot.”
The Headmaster then used his arm to swipe all the pieces off their chessboard, sending them flying onto the linoleum floor, where they rattled and rolled.
When the pieces were settling down, they realized some of the clamor they were hearing were the clicks of high heels belonging to Miss Valentine, The Dean of Operations. While she was a ranked member of the Supervillain University faculty, The Headmaster more or less got away with using her as his personal secretary. She had a heart-shaped face, red hair trimmed in a pixie-cut. She wore circular, oversized red-rimmed eyeglasses, a black pencil skirt and a red frilly blouse.
She wasn’t watching where she was walking, and she accidentally stepped on one of the plastic pawn pieces, crushing its head. She put a hand to her hip, and said: “We can’t even play chess at this college without causing a mess? Who did this?”
The Headmaster, being a sort of supervillain of supervillains, wasn’t afraid of much. But he was afraid of Miss Valentine. He nervously explained to her how he caught these two students with two simultaneous checkmates, and his only resolve was to swipe off all their pieces in protest.
“Huh,” said Miss Valentine. “The two nincompoops caused their own mayhem, but when the hot-headed Headmaster came in, he caused even more mayhem. Maybe there’s something to be learned from this.”
The seed Miss Valentine planted into The Headmaster’s brain suddenly sprouted into a rainforest.
All this time, he’d been sending his supervillains one-by-one to the Planet Earth to destroy it, expecting just one of them to succeed. But what would happen if he sent all of them at once.
He snapped his fingers.
“Miss Valentine, call me an assembly!” he ordered.
She crossed her arms and said to him in a surly tone: “I do that every day, minus the embly.”
The Headmaster squinted and put his fingers to his cheeks. Miss Valentine always had this curious way of ending their interactions with some kind of quip that he couldn’t comprehend.
The Headmaster stood on stage at the school’s 650-seat auditorium, which were sparsely scattered with 156 of his pupils of varying size and color. Some of these these students had already had their hand at destroying Earth, while others had yet to have their go at it.
One supervillain, sitting in the front row was named Anathema who tried destroying Earth five times—albeit each time with less potency. Her first attempt was quite a decent one—releasing into the world hordes of trashcan like robots with toilet plungers for arms, programming them to kill all humans. Unfortunately, she didn’t foresee one critical design flaw: they weren’t able to climb stairs. That made them rather easy to escape from. The world's superheroes hardly needed to get out of bed for that one. That plot was nevertheless genius compared to her latest attempt—so feeble that all did was inadvertently create the Beanie Baby craze. Even though everything she tried was a failure, her attempts were legendary enough that she’d been promoted to a tenured professor and also head of the Department of Cataclysmal Artificial Intelligence (formerly the Department of Killer Robots).
The Headmaster walked to the podium and tapped the microphone, a means of simultaneously checking that it was on and letting his audience know he was about to begin talking.
“Miss Valentine, would you please reveal the master plan!”
She rolled her eyes and pulled a string that dropped a black shroud that covered a 20’x20’ poster board situated in the middle of the stage. On that poster there was a picture of the globe with humanoid figures floating around its circumference.
Miss Valentine resented having to put that thing together. “We have something these days called PowerPoint,” she told him at one point, but that was to no avail. The Headmaster had the unwavering belief that the more expensive and cumbersome presentation materials appeared to be, the more likely it would be for his students to pay attention.
The Headmaster took out his laser pointer and made circles around the globe. He then began his speech.
“We have but one mission here at Supervillain University. To destroy the world. The world held together by nothing more complicated than fragile ecosystems, lifeforms, dirt, rock, water, and a mysterious force called gravity. We have developed advanced technologies to undo so many of these forces, and yet, we always fail. Why is that?”
He signaled for Miss Valentine to flip to the next poster, which she did in a most graceless manner—by just knocking it over and allowing it to plop onto the ground. The next poster depicted cartoon portraits of 10 famous superheroes who had been especially making the rounds these days. They were shown in propaganda style, with angry, red eyes and yellow, pointy teeth. That was even though that was a fairly accurate representation of one superhero in particular, an anthropomorphic grizzly bear known simply as, The Grizzly.
“The cause of our constant failures are these horrible people. These so-called superheroes!” He used his laser pointer to make circles around some of their faces. “We have all taken the classes and discussed theory after theory about why these superheroes must take it upon themselves to prevent us hardworking, decent supervillains from achieving our one goal. We discussed how aimless and sad these individuals must be to have absolutely no discernible point to their lives except to prevent us from doing what we’re set out to do. All that theory is nice to know, but the one thing we haven’t yet figured out how to do is actually beat them.”
He signaled for Miss Valentine to flip over the next poster board, which was the same image as the first—with the world and humanoid figurines encircling it. This was the subject of a contentious debate between Miss Valentine and The Headmaster—why he insisted on the same image twice. Especially considering he wasn’t going to use the image much the first time.
“Up until now, they’ve had only to deal with one of us at a time,” he said. “But what if all of us descended onto Earth at the same time? I’m talking about teamwork! The best-case scenario—we overwhelm the superheroes and one or more of you dolts succeed in your nefarious plots to destroy the Earth. The worst-case scenario—we don’t succeed, but we’re fighting with the superheroes so much that it causes enough incidental damage to Earth to make it effectively destroyed.”
The Headmaster signaled for Miss Valentine to reveal the final poster board, which showed a sectional view inside the Earth with a hole bored into it and a giant bomb placed in the core.
“But here is our secret weapon! While you all are distracting the superheroes, I will be overseeing the drilling the Planet-on-ator into the core of the earth. The force of a billion nuclear bombs! And then finally KABOOM. Earth is destroyed.”
The Headmaster set about to laugh maniacally for an extended period of time. Looking as though she’d just seen the stars for the first time, Anathema stood up and proceeded to slow clap. She was followed by others with progressively less awe-inspired glints in their eyes.
...the story is continued.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons