Sometimes circumstances just happen to work out in your favor, as in the case where a thriving, wealthy metropolis is situated astride a geologic fault which is subject to enormous stresses from underneath. All around the tectonic plates making up our trouble planet, disaster is just waiting to happen given the slightest excuse, and happily it is all too easy to provide that tiny little push to speed the cataclysm on its way. What it takes is a bit of coaxing and a smidgen of control to be able to claim its calamitous effects as your own, fundamentally. At least it is more of an engineering problem (albeit a large one) rather than one where you have to argue and trick your way past a mass of suspicious humans, so many burnt-out villains find it a stress-reliever in more ways than one.
- Boring. The point where the tectonic forces bear strongly against each other for your typical fault or fault system is not at the surface where the motion is most apparent, but far beneath. Gaining access to this ticklish region is not always easy, especially when the junk lying on top is in control of your adversaries. You may wish to concentrate on faults located underwater that you can creep up to, undetected, in a submersible, or those which you can drill sideways towards using a very, very long shaft. You may wish to float a cover story regarding mineral prospecting to obscure the true nature of your work.
- Lube. Just as when your own joints get old and creaky, a tiny bit of liniment is just the thing to get things moving again. Basically you need to inject some kind of slippery stuff (magma, bacon fat, surplus cadavers) deep beneath the surface of a formation at the precise point where the accumulated stresses come to a colossal head, thus unlocking the stored energy on demand.
- Apply force. Perhaps you care little for a sense finesse in your earthquake generation. Then a simple line of nuclear warheads, a thousand megatons in all, might be enough to control fifty thousand megatons of released energy over a long distance. If you have access to some alien or futuristic tech you might even be able to dispense with the nukes.
- March in and take over. Once things have been loosened up, you may deploy your forces to re-establish a new order in the affected area according to your evil desires. Amid the chaos those who you deem with disfavor can be disappeared while your hand-picked puppets assume the reins of power. Wait for the lava to cool first, however.
Strokes of genius
- Black holes. If you have access to ultracondensed stellar matter, this has the advantage over all other techniques when it comes to compactness, since you need only drop a baby black hole down a shaft next to even a fairly large fault system to get good results. In most cases, you do not need to worry too much about swallowing up the entire planet if you are diligent about working out your calculations in advance.
- Monsters. Certain underground denizens would be happy to help you out with all your earthquake needs, given sufficient inducement. Think of things that an underworld nightmare might have difficulty in obtaining — vanilla ice cream, macanudos, vestal virgins — and offer a number commensurate with the seismic activity you seek. But make sure you specify payment only after delivery.
- Surf's up. Even when your hated target is far from a geologically active region, you can still sometimes mess them the heck up if they have their prized cities situated on a coastline and potentially subject to tsunami damage. If you set off a series of earthquakes at different locations at just the right times, you might even be able to set up a monster lensing effect where the arriving waves reinforce one another as they approach the helpless, panic-stricken victims.
Traps for mere fools
- Watch your step. A good earthquake can be a bracing and exhilirating spectacle, true, but it would do ill for your fortunes to be swallowed up by the chasm or to have a tree fall upon your head. If it is at all possible to be airborne, in space, or in another dimension, you stand that much better chance of having your last laugh post-quake.
- Overreaching. The fear of a fizzle is a natural one when it comes to fault-baiting, but if one is truly a stellar-class menace one must soberly consider the risk of causing too much damage at one time. A charge designed to cause a pair of plates to slip past one another, injudiciously designed, can end up blowing a quarter of the planet off into the void, potentially causing great losses in booty. Take the time to do a little bit of computer modeling, under different scenarios, and this becomes much less of a problem.
- Mole people. Your task which started out difficult becomes tremendously more difficult if you stir up the shadowy legions of mole people living in the subcrustal layers of the planet, with their keen sense of smell and their implacable determination to crush those who stand against their interests. Experience shows they cannot be bought and have many times demonstrated how tough it is to kill them, so it is by all means prudent to avoid their involvement.
Precious and needful
- Astroglide®. Buy in bulk for the greatest savings
- Magma generation device. Portable, if possible.
- Spare seismometers.
- Gigantic drillpress. Operated by a drill sergeant.
- Electromagnetic dynamo array.
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- Image credit Avalanche- Earth shattering force by Dashu Pagla
- Image credit _MG_9907 by Fenneke
- Image credit It's Not My Fault by Clearly Ambiguous