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How to kill people with a train when you are out of rope

The Next Step (1.365)
**** You are aware, of course, that even low-life maladjusted little punks go on murder sprees using plain old slugthrowers, yet are hampered with the way certain niceties of execution must sometimes take a back seat owing to practical constraints. So if you need to off the charge you have in hand, the locomotive is thundering down the tracks, but you don't have a coil of jute you can spare to lash him or her down, what do you do? You don’t want to suffer the ignominy of those scheming against the heroine in Charles Stross's novel Saturn's Children (external link) who gets herself tied to a set of tracks on Mercury, of all places, by her own hair, but still manages to extricate herself in an ingenious fashion. Fortunately, we have a generous collection of ideas you may wish to draw upon in this pickle.

*Evil plotpoints

  1. Weld the victim into a car with reinforced glass windows which you strand at a railroad crossing.
  2. As they sleep on a secluded beach, suddenly a train appears and encounters a bend in the tracks (which you have thoughtfully arranged) and derails on top of them!
  3. Run a hose from the ventilation pipe of a long railway tunnel and pipe the toxic diesel fumes into a small room they are living in.
  4. Use hypnotic suggestion to impel them to run around naked outside whenever they hear a train whistle in winter; whereupon they take ill and succumb to some bug.
  5. An electric circuit could be completed by the passage of the train which triggers a roadside pocket nuke positioned near your proposed victim.
  6. While the victim is picnicking downwind of the rustic rural station, place a cannister of nerve gas where the speeding train will rupture it.
  7. A spring-loaded box of deadly black mamba snakes can be transported by rail to the victim's feet, where they will administer a fatal bite.
  8. Tape a leaky vial of weaponized anthrax (or similar agent) to the side of the train and allow it to spread its load over the cities and countryside as it passes.
  9. Take two diesel locomotives and attach them at the ends of a string of cars pulling in opposite directions. The increase in global warming will raise sea level and strengthen deadly hurricanes, dooming your victims in time to a frustrating, lingering demise.
  10. As a member of a model train club, your N gauge enthusiast victim is ironically subjected to blunt trauma by means of S Gauge locomotives wielded by your thugs.

train wreck

! Strokes of genius

  • Rope alternatives. Magnets, chains, cable ties, fishing line, duct tape, and superglue are all fine replacements for the length of hemp you are missing. Be sure you have not overlooked some perfectly good temporary bond you just happen to have on hand at the scene of the termination.
  • Flamboyance. The ritual of liquidating the innocent with a train requires the dastardly villain to rise to the occasion, lest tradition be sullied with a subpar effort. In your role as train whisperer, dress for maximum impact, put on your most menacing accent, and remember to mug for the cameras which must be on hand during your performance.
  • Tie them up in steel. If you happen to have superhuman strength, it is an impressive feat to use the steel rails to truss up the people and finish it off with an ornamental knot as you proceed to drop a locomotive upon their helpless screaming forms.
  • Punctuality. Timing is key. This scenario is precisely what all our high school algebra teachers were preparing us for with those word problems which would begin something like “An east-bound locomotive leaves Santa Fe at 6:30 AM traveling at 85 mph….”
  • Zap, zap, zap goes the trolley. Electric lines often have that lovely third rail right there just waiting for you to complete the circuit in a manner not recommended by the manufacturer. Or perhaps they have the juice running in overhead wires so photogenic as they emit long deadly arcs on their way to the ground.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Maglev lines. Ground clearance is your enemy.
  • Brake failsafes.
  • Ghost trains. They are scary, perhaps, but not substantial enough to be reliably lethal.
  • Disused rail lines. If you are left waiting for more than a half hour, it is time to inquire about the solvency of the railroad company you have been relying on.
  • Individuals of superhuman strength or toughness.


+ Precious and needful

  • Lightning strike. When all else fails you.
  • Evil laugh.
  • Handcar. For your getaway.
  • Dead Man’s Switch countermeasures.
  • Railway timetable.


Further plotting



Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Thursday 13 of January, 2011 06:36:46 EST by GrinningSkull.

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