Day 342: Is this goodbye?

Yes. Yes it is.

Voltan no longer has the time necessary for the upkeep of this Evilscope transmission. It is Voltan's sincere hope that the little people have enjoyed reading it as much as Voltan has enjoyed writing it.

Communication may be renewed when Voltan is lord and ruler of all.

P.S. In order to quell certain rumours, Voltan hereby avers that Voltan is not Scaryduck. Nor is Voltan Bummero. So there.


Day 336: Activity at last

There has been too much talk of late. Voltan has grown complacent in isolation aboard Super Secret Sea-Base Beta. The time for action has arrived.

A submersible awaits by the super secret underwater exit. Voltan shall pilot the craft to an island rendezvous. There Voltan shall harbour it in Voltan's secret tropical outpost (little more than a leafy marine lock-up, to be honest, but there's no harm in sounding impressive) and transfer to a surface vessel.

Voltan's destination is secret, naturally. Zane is to accompany Voltan, while Miss Billingbrox shall remain aboard the Sea-Base. All communications equipment shall of necessity be deactivated until Voltan returns.


Day 335: Hot

It is unseasonably warm upon Super-Secret Sea-Base Beta and yet the heating is on at full power. For reasons unknown to Voltan the system is set to the calendar. Thus on 21 October the heating is turned on, and it stays on until 21 April. This happens regardless of the weather.

When Voltan is lord and ruler this practice shall be banned. No more sweltering in shirtsleeves in autumn. No more shivering in woollens in spring. The heating shall be turned on only when it is needed. This shall be to the betterment of Voltan.

After allowing Voltan to sweat all weekend—metaphorically this time—Zane has revealed that his tale of Mr Tidy the delivery man was but a jest. No doubt Miss Billingbrox put him up to it. Voltan is relieved to learn that there are no other secret sea-bases in the area. However, Voltan still does not know where Zane found the eggs and crab apples.


Day 332: Increasing handicap

The governments of the Western world vaunt democracy as their greatest export and the root of their success. It is Voltan's opinion that this is but window dressing. The West is commercial, corporatist and entirely dependent upon the wage-slavery of its population.

Bring down its businesses, and its governments shall follow. This shall be achieved without the need to confront its armed forces. Therefore, Voltan shall sow death and terror among the business leaders of the Western World.

Voltan shall do this with explosive golf balls and poisoned tees. Voltan shall pass deadly electric currents through the flag poles in each hole. Ha ha! And Voltan shall keep something special in store for the 19th hole, oh yes. This shall be to the glory of Voltan.


Day 331: Who shall bring forth deliverance?

Voltan cherishes the English language in its infinite richness. Its heroes: Shakespeare, Milton, Blake and Cooper. Its poems and songs. Its depth of synonyms. Its portmanteaux. Its pickings from all over the world. Words such as crabapple and blancmange bring pleasure.

Unless, of course, they are uttered in swift succession by Zane when announcing the evening's menu. That his febrile mind should concoct such a dish is not surprising, but Voltan cannot imagine where he found the necessary fruit and eggs. Voltan put this to Zane over a quivering spoonful.

'From Mr Tidy,' was his reply.

'And who is Mr Tidy?'

'Little bloke, comes round in a little boat. Sells all sorts off the back. Sort of a mobile, marine grocer.'

Voltan groaned. Super Secret Sea-Base Beta had been compromised yet again. 'What next? Newspapers and milk delivered in the morning? A chat with the postie over a morning coffee?'

'Well, it's a bit...'

'This is not suburbia! This is a secret, evil, ocean-based lair! It is supposed to be self-sufficient! It is supposed to be secret!'

Zane, taken aback, said nothing.

'And yet, thanks to you, our cover is blown so wide open that little people have started to view us as a commercial opportunity! What have you got to say for yourself?'

Zane fidgeted with his blancmange. 'Wasn't me,' he said. 'It was Bibi that asked him if he could get us some stuff in.'

'Miss Billingbrox? How has she had contact with the outside world?'

'She saw him out of her porthole and, sort of, shouted down.'

'Saw him out of her porthole?'

'Yeah, he was on his round, see?'

A sinking feeling gripped Voltan's stomach. 'His round?'

'Yeah. He delivers to some of the other sea-bases round here too.'


Day 330: Underachieving

Zane is soon to submit to testing in order to obtain his level 4 certificate in evil sidekickery. Success would allow Zane to progress from goon to flunky. Voltan feels Zane has not been making all he could of his life, and so has endeavored to prepare him for this assessment. For example, Voltan has put Zane through mock examinations.

'Question 4. You have captured your nemesis's child and its pet. What is the correct course of action?'

'Ooh! Ooh! I know this one! I know this one!'

'Be still. You look as if you need the toilet. I will deduct points for mincing.'

'You should... er... be really nasty to the pet.'

'Really nasty?'

'Yeah, like, perhaps give it water instead of milk.'

'I suggest you try something more evil.'

'Um... kick it? You know, um, a bit.'

Zane hopes one day to be a henchman. Voltan knows this to be impossible. It is such a disappointment to Voltan. Without improvement, how can Voltan ever hope to palm Zane off on another unfortunate employer?


Day 329: Control

When Voltan is lord and ruler of all, the sale of alcohol shall be strictly controlled via a monopoly. This shall be modeled upon Systembolaget of Sweden.

Perhaps you think this is because Voltan wishes the little people to be more efficient, or less violent or some such. It is for no such reason. Voltan merely wishes to vex others. Ha ha ha ha ha!

What? You know Voltan is evil.


Day 328: Zap, a return

It has not escaped Voltan's notice that extensive systems of surveillance cameras have become commonplace in large population centres.

Voltan shall subvert these systems and install lasers in the cameras. Then Voltan shall wrest control of the systems from their operators. The power or remote-controlled death shall be at Voltan's fingertips. This shall be to the glory of Voltan!


Day 325, later: Fun

Ha! It is Friday the 13th. Again. Tremble with fear!

Zane has admitted to paraskavedekatriaphobia, the idiot. Voltan shall strew his path with ladders and precariously-balanced mirrors. Then Voltan shall observe his panic. Ha ha ha! This shall please Voltan!

Perhaps, to add a further element to the afternoon's fun, Voltan shall also put some spiders into Miss Billingbrox's hair. Ha ha ha!

Voltan is playful today.

An aside: Voltan applauds the Swedish custom of setting fire to one another on Friday 13th.

Day 325: Voltan makes the world go around

Money is a key to many doors. Voltan is sure that someone has already said this. No matter! Henceforth you may strike their pitiful names from your dictionaries of quotations and replace them with Voltan.

Voltan makes lots of money. Voltan is not going to talk about Voltan's money-laundering, stoozing or careful management of funds via a series of tax-efficient savings and investment vehicles. Voltan makes lots of money in the same way as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea makes lots of money: by printing $100 bills. This pleases Voltan!

Voltan has developed a network of skilled counterfeiters able to forge the banknotes of any nation state. Ha! Voltan shall use this money to destabilise the world's economies by flooding them with currency. This shall be to the glory of Voltan.

The counterfeiters shall have a second role once Voltan is lord and ruler: they shall produce a new currency, to be issued by Voltan. Who better to protect against forgeries than those who would otherwise be doing the forging? Voltan shall smite those who refuse, or who resume their habit of illicit minting.

Voltan is cunning and wise!


Day 324: Welcome to Voltan's network

When Voltan is lord and ruler certain advances in mobile telephony shall be undone. Specifically, the capability to play music files through the telephone speaker shall be removed. No longer shall the top deck of buses be subject to the latest downloaded drivel. Instead, bus journeys shall be given over to quiet contemplation of the glory of Voltan.

Moreover, ringtones shall be regulated and subject to strict quality controls. No more ba-ding-ding-ding. Ever.


Day 323: Ham-fisted radio

As Bob Hoskins would have it: it's good to talk. Voltan has noted Miss Billingbrox's determination to contact the outside world. At times she reminds Voltan of that stumpy little fellow with the finger, such is her desire to phone home. This has presented Voltan with an opportunity to regain Miss Billingbrox's trust (and thereby progress with Voltan's plan): Voltan would allow Miss Billingbrox to contact the outside world!

Of course, Voltan cannot actually allow her to do so. Instead, Voltan decided to use a cunning recording so that it would appear that Miss Billingbrox had done so, without risking her divulging any sensitive information. Voltan had written the script and had Zane record it, disguising his voice by placing a sock over the microphone. Now it was set to play back through the disconnected radio, with pauses for Miss Billingbrox to speak in.

Miss Billingbrox was unsure when Voltan told her she was permitted to use the short-wave radio, but soon her enthusiasm overtook her. She sat at the desk and began jabbing at buttons on the set.

'Hello? Hello? This is Bibi Billingbrox. Is anyone receiving, over?'

There was static. This was part of Voltan's plan. Miss Billingbrox turned the tuning dial.

'Hello, is anyone receiving? Over.'

'This is mmmmphlanmph.... krrrrring you faintly. Over,' came the reply.

Miss Billingbrox grew excited.

'Hello!' she bellowed. 'This is Bibi Billingbrox, fro...'

'Krrrrbrox, what is your position? Krrrrr.'

'Hello, I'm...'

'I see. Wait there, Miss Krrrrrmmphrrrr, and we'll krrrrrr.'

At this point Voltan became vexed. The idiot Zane had not left long enough pauses.

Miss Billingbrox turned to Voltan. 'What's going on?' she said.

'Krrres, yes, we quite understand. Everything will be fkrrrrrrrmmpph,' the radio continued.

'That's a recording, isn't it?'

At this Voltan spluttered somewhat. 'Don't be ridiculous.'

'Yes, Miss Billingbrox, as soon as you get back to the mainland. Over. Krrr.'

Miss Billingbrox glared at Voltan.

'Krrrnk you, Miss Billingbrox. And to you too. Okrrrmmpphrrrnd out.'

There the recording ended, and with it Voltan's hopes of beguiling Miss Billingbrox.


Day 322: Il communication

That uppity popinjay Kim Jong-Il has been throwing his weight around of late. This vexes Voltan. Just because he has a whole country, whereas Voltan only has Super Secret Sea-Base Beta, he thinks he's already halfway there. But it is a crappy country. Everyone knows that. If Mr Kim believes he can achieve world domination before Voltan, he shall have another think coming.

Apparently Kimg Jon-Il's birth, to Kim Jong-Suk, was foretold by a swallow. However, suck and swallow do not a birth make. Voltan smells a rat. Ha ha ha. Perhaps the rat had something to do with it. Ha ha ha.

Bah! Enough of this. Voltan is not scared of Kim's bargain-basement nukes. Voltan shall unleash substance 3xb upon North Korea. Just as soon as Voltan has discovered it.


Day 321: Frisky

What is Voltan to do with Trinny and Susannah once they fall into Voltan's hands, as surely they shall during Voltan's ascent to world domination? Should Voltan have them shot and buried in shallow graves? Or, on the other hand, should Voltan indulge in sexual intercourse with one or both of them?

Voltan is not even sure that these two options are mutually exclusive.

Voltan suspects the fat one would be more accommodating, but that the thin one would perhaps give a more spirited performance.

However, neither of them is a patch on Anthea Turner.


Day 318: Jazz hands!

Voltan shall flood Broadway and the West End with a series of musicals so unrelentingly tawdry that the theatre business shall collapse.

This shall force many thousands of feckless thespians into the labour market. Once working in proper jobs they shall cause untold damage to the economies of the world.

Businesses shall fail, and workers shall fear for their homes as rent and mortgages go unpaid.

Thus shall the ground be prepared for Voltan's rise to power.


Day 317: Remedy

The time has come to deal with Miss Billingbrox.

Voltan is partly to blame for this situation. Voltan should not have become distracted by plotting the path to world domination. Voltan should have acted quickly and decisively. Alas Voltan was remiss in this respect, and now Miss Billingbrox has learnt too much from Zane, and possibly led him astray. Moreover, she has been a drain on resources with her endless demands for food, heating and so on. Also, Voltan needs to get into the sump room in order to perform maintenance.

The plan of action is as follows: Voltan shall dispatch Zane to refresh the anti-rust paint on Super Secret Sea-Base Beta's outer cladding. While he is thus occupied, Voltan shall take Miss Billingbrox away on the Octavius, under the pretence that she is to be returned whence she came. Voltan shall navigate some distance from the Sea-Base until it has disappeared beneath the horizon. (Voltan suspects that Zane, the love-struck fool, may well abandon his duties to observe through the telescope Miss Billingbrox's departure.) Then Voltan shall smite Miss Billingbrox and dump her body overboard.

In order for this to work Voltan must have Miss Billingbrox's trust. Voltan shall begin to regain this trust by allowing her to leave the sump room and attend our gathering around the Evilscope for movie night. Tonight the viewing choice is Voltan's. We shall be watching Key Largo with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.


Day 316: On a small vessel

Yesterday Voltan left Super Secret Sea-Base Beta in the Octavius, a 22-foot centre console boat that Voltan uses for sea-borne maintenance and tender duties. It was the former that occupied Voltan's morning. Normally Voltan would send Zane out on the monthly barnacle scrape. However, Voltan required a change of scenery. The endless hours spent upon Super-Secret Sea Base Beta had been playing somewhat on Voltan's mind. Voltan shall soon make a trip to dry land before cabin fever sets in.

Voltan named the Octavius after a ghost ship, thereby playing on Zane's fearful and superstitious nature in order to discourage him from ever taking the craft out of sight of the Sea-Base. Thus, should Zane ever turn against Voltan, he shall not dare use it as a means of escape. It pays to think of every eventuality.


Day 315: Plan for a slave army

Voltan requires cheap, plentiful and expendable labour. Voltan has resolved to meet this requirement with convicts, students and the unemployed. This shall have additional benefits: prison overcrowding shall be eliminated; a potentially hostile intelligentsia shall not be allowed to renew itself, and shall eventually wither; the feckless shall no longer litter the streets nor impose a financial burden upon society.

This work force shall be kept separate from, and subordinate to, Voltan's principal armed forces.


Day 314: Font fatwa... a fontwa

When Voltan is lord and ruler of all, Comic Sans MS shall be obliterated from the face of the earth except for two instances:

1) In a museum, akin to the Black Museum. Its purpose to chill, warn and prohibit.

2) It shall be used on the death warrants of Voltan's enemies. Ha ha.


Day 311: Loose lips

What has become of Miss Billingbrox? You may well wonder. Voltan too has had reason to ask this question, as Zane's reports have become increasingly vague of late. Voltan suspects Zane wishes to dissemble the extent of his relationship with the girl.

Last night Voltan adjudged the time had come to observe an interaction between the pair. Voltan spied from a shady nook as Zane delivered Miss Billingbrox's evening meal, and witnessed the following exchange:

Zane (henceforth, Z): I managed to get you some potted pork to go with your gruel.

Miss Billingbrox (henceforth, B): Potted pork?

Z: Yeh, s'what he eats on Mondays.

B: But today's Wednesday...

Z: Sometimes he likes it cold on a Tuesday.

B: [Inaudible] weird. Why does he insist on eating such bizarre food?

Z: Dunno, maybe it's, like, because he's from somewhere foreign.

B: Where's he from?

Z: Dunno... not here. I know that.

B: But where's here?

Z: Dunno, really. Like, near Scotland maybe, I think.

B: But that can't be right, I... Never mind. Listen, Zane, you're such a sweetheart.

Z: [Inaudible, but the tone suggested pleasure.]

B: No really, and so brave too, getting me food and the pencils and everything.

Z: I'd do anything for you, Bibi.

B: I know Zane, that's why I wanted to ask you: do you think you could get the key to this door?

Voltan had heard enough. The casual exchange of confidential information vexed Voltan most sorely. Granted, it was tempered somewhat by Zane's stupidity (Scotland! Ha!) but he was clearly bewitched by the girl. Voltan retired to the comfort of the map room, partly in order to block access to the key cabinet and partly to plan what to do about Zane.


Day 310: Fog fug

A sea mist has risen up today. It cuts Super Secret Sea-Base Beta off from the world. The sea is flat with almost no swell at all. There is no movement. No sound. Nothing but flat, milky light.

A listless mood has arisen within Voltan as if to mirror the weather. Voltan spent much of the morning in a brooding torpor. After some time Voltan grew restless and began to fidget, picking rust off rivets and opening and shutting the map room door to hear the hinges squeal.

It is in such moments that Voltan falls prey to fears and misgivings. But it does not do to dwell upon them. One must be resolute if one wishes to take over the world.


Day 309: Zap!

Throughout the developed world the proportion of households equipped with microwave ovens is approaching 90%. Voltan shall exploit their explosive potential.

Voltan's forces shall target the distribution chain of microwave ready meals, replacing normal product for special doctored items identically packaged. These doctored meals shall contain a large amount of metal wrapped in poisons and/or bio-warfare toxins. These meals shall be sold as normal through retail stores to the unsuspecting populous, who shall proceed to microwave them. Once inside a microwave oven the metal shall cause the meal to explode, thereby contaminating the microwave with poison and spreading lethal toxins into the victim's home. Many such meals shall be sold before the risk becomes known. Thereafter the disruption shall be immense. This pleases Voltan.


Day 308: The best money Voltan ever spent

What sort of person would risk their life to infiltrate an isolated marine fortress and leave empty handed? What sort of person, moreover, would advertise their visit by leaving a turd as a calling card? These questions have played on Voltan's mind ever since discovering the turd on day 303. Imagine, then, Voltan's reaction upon coming to a realisation: the perpetrator had not left empty handed, he or she had not left at all!

As soon as this idea occurred to Voltan, Voltan knew it to be true. Voltan acted at once. Zane was dispatched to search the upper areas of Super Secret Sea-Base Beta, while Voltan descended to the bottom. We were to work our way towards the middle and rendezvous in the radar room. It was not long before Voltan's hunch was proved correct.

Turning a corner Voltan found a shadowy figure meddling with a panel behind which runs Evilscope subroutine and surround-sound wiring. The fellow was intent upon his task and did not notice Voltan. He appeared to be unarmed, but Voltan wasted no time in confirming this. Voltan leapt upon the blackguard and smote him hard upon the head. Then came an uppercut to the jaw, an elbow to the bridge of the nose, knee to the groin, kick to the ankles, stamp on the head and kick in the face. Within moments he was lying motionless on the floor bleeding somewhat. Voltan then bound him at the wrists, knees and ankles before calling Zane. When Zane arrived we carried him to the shark pit and flung him in. He was swiftly eaten. Voltan then retired to the galley and enjoyed a cup of tea.

As you can see, Voltan has benefited from the evening course Voltan took some years ago: Ego-management for Supervillains, in which instructions were given on the deleterious effects of grandstanding when combating enemies. Thus no speeches, no explanation of impending doom, no waiting for consciousness to return before delivering coups de grace. Voltan considers the fee to be money well spent.


Day 307: Another list of the superlativest items ever

Next comes number 32 on Voltan's list of hated things: punditry. Voltan remembers, when Voltan was a youngster, how everything was better. Voltan shall now reminisce in a trite manner about this item in such a way as to evoke memories without examining them any further. No doubt you remember the item the same way too. So now we shall laugh gently at a shared recollection of past foibles and/or lost glory. Ah me, ah my. Wasn't it?

No! Voltan shall smite these brainless nobodies! They clog up the Evilscope without remorse. Again and again the same teeth appear surrounded by the same faces, jumping about in an obscene dance with the lips and tongue to form the same words over and over again. Shallow prattle. The sound of oxygen being wasted.

Voltan shall smite them! Smite their shows from the televisual schedules, smite these people from the planet and smite those who continue to comission them from ever having existed. There shall be no place for punditry in Voltan's new world order. No place even its history.

Time for a short break now. When Voltan returns, everything shall be better.


Day 304: Down with the kids

Indolent youth do not trouble Voltan. There are very few such to be found upon the high seas. However, Voltan is aware that street corners in many a town in many a nation state are troubled by accretions of disaffected teenagers. However, hulking hormonal monsters are not a menace, they are a resource waiting to be tapped. Voltan shall set them to work administering vicious beatings.

The young have no conscience and little inclination to think for themselves. More importantly, they shall be keen to make their way in the new world oder under Voltan's rule, whereas the older population has more to lose by Voltan's rise to power. Voltan shall use this underage army to cow the older population. Ha!

Voltan shall distribute free 'hoodies' bearing natty insignia. Loyalty to Voltan shall be absolute.


Day 303: Stool

Super Secret Sea-Base Beta may be shabby and ill-equipped, but Voltan endeavours to keep it clean none the less. Voltan cannot abide mess: it interferes with the planning and execution of evil plots to take over the world.

Voltan often makes inspections of Super Secret Sea-Base Beta, noting cleaning and maintenance tasks that require attention. This Voltan does by mid-morning. Voltan then outlines to Zane what action is to be taken. Granted, Zane does not always perform to Voltan's high standards, but the shortfall is usually of a tolerable level.

Since Miss Billingbrox arrived and turned his head, however, standards have been slipping. This morning Voltan was strolling between the shark tank and the boiler room—idly wondering whether fitting lasers to the sharks' heads had been such a good idea after all—when Voltan was abruptly shaken by the sight of a human turd occupying the middle of the corridor.

Voltan is rarely given to swearing but did so liberally on this occasion. What was a human turd doing here? It was quite sizeable, and glistened slightly in the red glow from the sharks' activity. This vexed Voltan. It was offensive. It was smelly. It was on the floor. It coiled slightly at one tapered end. The other end was more rounded and bulged most unpleasantly.

Upon closer inspection the turd appeared still to be quite fresh. It must have been laid some time last night. But toilets are plentiful on Super Secret Sea-Base Beta and are all functioning properly. Voltan could not understand why this had come to pass, or to whom it could be attributed.

There were of course only two suspects. Miss Billingbrox hotly denied Voltan's suggestion that she had performed a dirty protest, and in her defence pointed to her continued incarceration in the sump room. She then demanded she be released. (Moreover, she was abusive and made improper remarks regarding Voltan's private life. This Voltan chose to ignore for the time being. Voltan shall smite her for it later, however.)

Zane too denied being the author of this outrage. And Voltan must admit that it does seem unlikely. Under Voltan's orders Zane spent last night scraping the barnacles from the super secret underwater exit.

Voltan is perplexed. Voltan has cordoned the area off and shall investigate further.


Day 302: Spidergeddon

Voltan has learnt that there are many spiders on the mainland at the moment. This is a result of favourable climactic conditions over the previous twelve months.

Voltan wonders whether it is possible to reconfigure the Evilscope to transmit on a frequency they can hear. The arachnid legions are currently sowing fear in a most inefficient manner. With Voltan's co-ordination and guidance they could cause terror and panic in the cities of the world. Moreover, they could entangle military and law-enforcement targets in their webs. Then conditions would be ripe for Voltan's sweep to power.

Voltan can picture them now scuttling majestically along major thoroughfares and sweeping across the facades of national monuments. There shall be no glass large enough to cover them, no card powerful enough to slide under them! They shall conquer all for Voltan!

This pleases Voltan.


Day 301: A set-to

As ever, last Thursday night was movie night on Super Secret Sea-Base Beta. But last Thursday was different in that Miss Billingbrox was present.

Voltan now knows why she was so insistent that her new quarters be next to the radar room. She mistakenly thought that it contained communications equipment. It seems Miss Billingbrox is eager to send a message to the outside world.

This became apparent when, as we prepared the Evilscope to project Waterworld (Zane's choice), she rushed at Voltan in a violent rage. There was much scratching. It is often thus with high-tempered women. Shortly afterwards, as Voltan blinked the blood from Voltan's eyes, Voltan noted that Miss Billingbrox was bent over the Evilscope's control panel, jabbing at the buttons in a frenzy, shouting that she needed rescuing—as well as a powerful stream of expletives. Voltan further noted that Zane was also prone, clasping his groin with his knees pressed together.

Nevertheless, it was not long before Voltan was able to overpower Miss Billingbrox and subdue her. Voltan always keeps a phial of substance 3qn about his person for just such an occasion. Voltan then locked her in the sump room, where she has resided ever since. There has been much complaining.

Voltan suspects that rescue was not Miss Billingbrox's immediate concern. Voltan wonders whether the expletives were arranged in such a fashion as to transmit information via a pre-arranged secret code. Who knows what she could have achieved had she been able to activate the transmission facility.

This is a dangerous situation. Voltan must watch Miss Billingbrox closely.


Day 300, later: Electoral update

Voltan has spent much of the day working on the scheme to zombify the world's legislatures. Voltan has concluded that the prime occasion for implementing this scheme is at the start of a new legislative period.

Today legislative elections were held in Sweden. A new centre-right Government has prevailed. A new cabinet shall be appointed in due course.

The time for zombification is ripe.

Further legislative elections were held in the German federal states of Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Perhaps Voltan can bring down the Bundesrat from within.

Day 300: Voltan dares to dream

Visionaries are often dismissed as fantasists. Indeed, Voltan would have thought as much of anyone who suggested packing the worlds' legislatures with biddable legions of the undead. And yes it has been done already! For Voltan has learnt that the Conservative Party in the British legislature has fewer living, human MPs than it has zombies and ghouls.

Voltan can only marvel at the mind behind this. Voltan wonders who it could have been. Perhaps their controller walked among them disguised as yet another zombie? Tebbit, perhaps. Or even Thatcher, although that seems too obvious. More likely she was a decoy zombie created to draw fire away from the real leader. Voltan is unsure as to when the zombification of the party began. Could it have been under Hague? Howard? Perhaps it was Blair: a zombie opposition would serve his purposes admirably. Or even the monarch, although Voltan doubts she would have the stomach for it: being married to a zombie would be enough to put anyone off.

Voltan must discover who this mastermind is and learn their secret. With such knowledge Voltan can zombify legislative branches of government across the globe. Then control of the nation states shall fall to Voltan, and world domination can be achieved! This shall be to the glory of Voltan!


Day 297: Evilscope

A little background for the little people: you may imagine the Evilscope to be a mere image-viewing device. Ha! It is more powerful than your feeble televisions. It is greater even than your hard-drive enabled personal digital televisual whizz-bang boxes. For not only can it receive all forms of broadcasts and communications known to man, but it can transmit them too.

The Evilscope on Super Secret Sea-Base Alpha can, at any rate. However, the example to be found here on Super Secret Sea-Base Beta is less impressive. The sea air seems to have corroded some internal parts.

Its reception is limited at best, allowing for viewing of most terrestrial and satellite television stations from the nearer nation states. If the wind is blowing in the right direction it may even become possible to receive a picture clear enough that Voltan no longer needs to squint. Private and military communications may be eavesdropped upon if the sea swell is not too high, but to do so can interfere with the operation of Super Secret Sea-Base Beta's internal systems, including lighting, heating and waste processing.

Transmission is haphazard. Voltan can access the internet, and interrupt radio reception within a two-mile radius. Voltan is the scourge of passing shipping! (Of which, admittedly, there is very little.) However, the forced broadcast of chilling messages to television sets in homes and drinking establishments throughout the world of which Voltan has long dreamt is still some way off.


Day 296: Bonfire of the profanities

When Voltan is ruler of all, Voltan must be wary of sedition. There will be malcontents. Voltan must thwart the malcontents! One method Voltan will employ is to burn books. This will be greeted with joy by the semi-literate masses.

Voltan can imagine the malcontents’ faces watching their pretty books burn. Ha ha ha! They will be beyond despair! This pleases Voltan.


Day 295, later: A meeting with Miss Billingbrox

It is now five days since our interloper arrived. Voltan has thus far been unable to ascertain just how much Miss Billingbrox knew about Voltan and Super Secret Sea-Base Beta before her arrival. Had this occurred upon Super Secret Sea-Base Alpha Voltan would simply have subjected her to the Brainulator. However, Sea-Base Beta is not endowed with such a machine.

Voltan shall now recount a conversation that took place soon after her arrival. Miss Billingbrox had finally recovered from her ordeal enough to begin to take note of her surroundings.

'I want some food,' she said. (Why must Voltan always be plagued by impudence?)

'Zane has fed you, I believe.'

'He gave me bread and water, yes, but I need some real food.'

'I see. It was imaginary bread, perhaps?'

'I need something nutritious. Something hot. With vegetables in it.'

Voltan will admit to being taken aback at her forthright manner. Nevertheless, it does not do in such situations to cede the upper hand.

'What are you doing here, Miss Billingbrox?'

'At this precise moment, Mr... Mr Whoever-You-Are, I am asking for some proper food. I don't want to sound ungrateful. You did rescue me after all. But that doesn't make me your prisoner. I mean, have you even tried to contact the authorities? Someone is coming to collect me from here, aren't they?'

It was at this point that Voltan came to a conclusion: the more food that Miss Billinbrox's mouth contained, the fewer questions could issue forth from it.

'I shall have Zane bring you something from the kitchen.'

Voltan turned and left. And she shouted: 'You still haven't told me your name.'

Since this conversation Voltan has not had time to meet with Miss Billingbrox. Voltan has been busy hatching diabolical plots. However, there has been a certain level of communication through Zane. Miss Billingbrox relays any messages she may have for Voltan to Zane when he serves her meals. Voltan sends any answer when Zane collects the dishes from her new quarters next to the radar room. Voltan is troubled by such extensive contact between Zane and Miss Billingbrox—especially given Zane's infatuation with the girl—however there is little choice at present. Voltan can only hope that Zane is able to hold his tongue. By her very presence upon Super Secret Sea-Base Beta Miss Billingbrox already knows too much.

Day 295: Divide and rule

Voltan shall attack not just individual nation states, but the very concept of a nation state!

Voltan shall target major metropolises throughout the world: New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Cape Town, Nairobi, Tunis, Cairo, Alexandria, Buenos Aires, Sydney. In each case Voltan shall disrupt the proper functioning of the infrastructure. The transport and communication networks, the distribution of food and fuel, the processing of payments and access to cash. Voltan shall do this in such a manner that the nation state government is blamed.

Voltan shall harness the citizens' rage. Voltan shall foment revolution. In each case the aim shall be cessation from the nation state and the creation of an independent city state. Through puppet governors Voltan shall be the ultimate lord and ruler of the world's major cities. From this power-base, further advances towards world domination can be made.


Day 294: Home shopping the evil way

Today Voltan received the new season's brochure from Maim & Goodlowe Ltd, purveyors of deathraps and doomsday weaponry. Voltan has long considered the anti-hero measures on Super Secret Sea-Base Beta below par. In particular the time has come to choose a new deathtrap for A Deck. Concealed pits lined with rusty spikes no longer strike fear into the hearts of Voltan's adversaries. Once, in a slower, more innocent time, perhaps...

Moreover, Voltan wishes a quicker method of dispatching intruders. There was a time when their agonized screams pleased Voltan, but they soon lost their novelty factor. Now Voltan considers them an annoyance at best. As such Voltan will forgo slowly-moving walls that crush a victim inch by inch. No trap with a TDR* higher than 5s shall be considered.

After deadliness, a further consideration must be cleaning and maintenance. Zane complains bitterly when ordered to dispose of entrails. This in turn vexes Voltan. Blades are out, then.

Instead, Voltan shall move with the times and order a more modern deathtrap: the Zappulon 5000-K®. Essentially it is little more than a device primed to expose a passing victim to enormous amounts of electricity; the main innovation lies in the earthing and measures to ensure that its killing power is directed at its victim only, thereby obviating the need for those working nearby to wear outsized rubber gauntlets.

Voltan is tempted to order the gaunlets anyway as a style statement.

* Time/death rating. Just one example of the jargon creeping into modern villainry.


Day 293: Voltanistan

Voltan admires Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, the great Turkmenbashi! He is a true leader worthy of praise. It will be a great shame to depose him. However, Voltan shall not flinch from this when it is time.

When Voltan is lord and ruler of all, Voltan shall order the construction of giant, rotating golden statues of Voltan to be placed in the principal cities throughout Voltan's dominions.

There shall be much rejoicing. This pleases Voltan.

Moreover, Voltan shall rename various locations in order to reflect their status within the new world order. Thus New York shall become Voltanhattan; London, Voltanium; and Sydney Voltanharbour, New South Voltanland.

All current nation states shall be abolished. They shall be replaced with a single state: Voltanistan.


Day 291: Spitting

Voltan is disgusted by the poor hygiene and manners of little people. Particularly repugnant is the habit of spitting. Voltan shall ban all spitting. Sportsmen and women shall not be immune. Voltan shall not tolerate the spreading of disease. Voltan shall not tolerate the dirtying of the streets. Voltan shall not tolerate turpitude.

Those spitting chewing gum shall be doubly punished.

This edict shall also apply to fellatio.


Day 290, later: Becalmed

After yesterday's wind, today Super Secret Sea-Base Beta is becalmed. The sea reflects the few clouds above with barely a ripple. All is quiet.

Inside it is quiet, too. Zane has been unusually assiduous in carrying out his duties. Voltan suspects he does not wish to be lambasted in front of the interloper. As for Miss Billingbrox, she has spent most of the day asleep.

It has occurred to Voltan that perhaps her arrival was no accident. Maintaining the secrecy of Super Secret Sea-Base Beta is paramount. Thus, before Voltan can dispose of her, Voltan must discover how much she knows. If she came on a mission then there will be others who know of the Sea-Base, and it will be in jeopardy.

She woke not long ago. Voltan sent Zane to feed her and give her some clothes. Hers were little more than rags. Zane has been given strict instructions not to give her any information. Voltan will talk with her later.

Voltan has used the Evilscope to investigate this Bibi Billingbrox, but it has found nothing. Nothing at all. This vexes Voltan.

Who is this mysterious girl?

Day 290: Sing praise to the glory of Voltan

The world would be a better place if the little people knew where they stood. They are like children. They thrive when boundaries are set for them. Singing praise to the glory of Voltan will help them remember their rightful place. This pleases Voltan.


Day 289: Interloper!

An unprecedented incident: an interloper has landed upon Secret Sea-Base Beta!

It happened deep in the night. The wind had been strong all day, and the swell was high. There was no passing shipping on the radar. Voltan was alone with Zane in darkness. Zane was cowering beneath a table in the main quarters, whimpering with every gust that lashed the outer cladding, so Voltan had retreated to the lower observation deck to be alone.

Voltan had been musing for some time on how best to bring low various regimes throughout the middle east when a small boat appeared and, with a swift inevitability, foundered against Super Secret Sea-Base Beta's northern leg. The craft was soon driftwood, but among its remains Voltan saw a dark shape, immobile, hanging it seemed from a hawser that Zane had neglected to detach after the Sea-Base was towed into position.

This vexed Voltan.

There is a speaking tube connecting the lower observation deck to the main quarters, and it was into this that Voltan bellowed: 'Zane! Get down here at once!'

There was a delay while, above, Zane fumbled with the tube. He then mumbled something akin to 'yessirmistervoltansir' and, guessing from the sounds following, failed properly to replace it in its holder and left it swinging. He soon appeared on the lower deck.

'Detach that hawser. Gather the driftwood. Deal with the interloper. I shall await you in the radar room.'

With that Voltan retired to investigate whether there was a larger craft nearby from which the boat may have come. Maintaining the secrecy of Super Secret Sea-Base Beta was at the forefront of Voltan's mind. However Voltan could find no such vessel on the radar screen.

It was not long before Zane reappeared, dripping wet and with a strand of seaweed lodged behind one ear. The hawser had been detached and coiled in the store room, he reported. And the driftwood had been placed by the furnace to dry. Voltan was about to commend Zane upon a job well done (for once) but then came the news that instead of stepping on the interloper's head and sending another down to Davey Jones's locker, the idiot goon had helped her aboard and given her cocoa!


'Yessir,' said Zane. And Voltan noted with distaste the grin that spread about his face. The poor fool had fallen in love already. It was ever thus with Zane and women.

Voltan has dismissed Zane for the remainder of the night, and visited the interloper in her makeshift quarters: a mess of cardboard boxes and blankets in the dusty space between the galley and the sump room. Voltan has interrogated her briefly, but she is too exhausted to talk much.

The interloper is a young girl—about 21 years of age—lone and bedraggled. She claims to have hired the boat for a pleasure tour in one of the nearest harbours and then drifted out to sea when its owner had suffered a heart attack and fallen overboard, taking the motor with him. Her name, apparently, is Bibi Billingbrox.

Voltan fears this is the beginning of something long and most vexing.


Day 288: Defeating Voltan's arch-nemesis

If Voltan is to be an evil super-genius, Voltan must defeat Voltan’s arch-nemesis.

In order to achieve this, Voltan must first acquire an arch-nemesis. Voltan has several potential nemeses: Voltan’s idiot goon, Zane; the tax inspector; ill-fitting undergarments. The list is long. However, none of these possess the characteristics of an arch-nemesis.

Voltan shall ruminate on the matter and compile a list of attributes required of an arch-nemesis.


Day 287: The mess must go

Voltan has been watching Anthea Turner: Perfect Housewife on the Evilscope. She is an inspiration for Voltan. Such iron control! Such attention to detail! This is how world domination can be won!

However, Voltan cannot ignore the state of Super Secret Sea-Base Beta. Anthea would not be pleased. There is dust on the rivets. There is rust on the outer cladding. The flanges are all greasy. Moreover, Voltan suspects there may be vermin in Zane's quarters. No doubt they feed and breed within the festering drifts of discarded undergarments that accrete in every corner of his foetid domain.

Voltan has ordered a feather duster and a pair of rubber gloves. Voltan shall put Zane to work. Dust shall be banished! Rust shall be no more! Grease shall be reduced to manageable levels! Vermin shall be exterminated, or perhaps trained up into a crack invasion force with which to create havoc in the offices of the electricity company.

Then perhaps Voltan shall invite Anthea Turner and her white, dust-seeking glove to pay a visit to Super Secret Sea-Base Beta.


Day 286: Chewing gum

Chewing gum vexes Voltan! Why must little people incessantly chew? They are like cattle chewing the cud. Only cattle do not litter. Cud does not blemish Voltan’s world. Cud does not stick to Voltan’s shoe. Chewing gum does!

Voltan will not tolerate sticky shoes merely to assuage the little people’s unthinking desire to crank their jaws morning, noon and night!

Voltan will ban chewing gum! This will be for the betterment of Voltan.


Day 285: Voltan shall make the trains run on time

The efficient running of one's rail network is the standard by which all dictators are judged.

That and the number of enemies slain.


Day 283: Power to Voltan!

Voltan received the quarterly electricity bill for Super Secret Sea-base Beta two days ago. It is beyond ridiculous. Voltan waxed wrathful upon reading it.

Electricity is supplied to Super Secret Sea-Base Beta via a lengthy underwater power line, for which the power company has the audacity to charge Voltan an exorbitant maintenance fee. Thus Voltan is all but bankrupted even before the company adds further charges for the vastly inflated amount of amperes, joules or watt-evers it claims to have sent along this line.

Voltan shall tolerate this situation no longer! Voltan has resolved to generate power independently!

Sadly the skies above Super Secret Sea-Base Beta are not condusive to the use of solar panels. However, there is ample wind to power a turbine. Voltan has ordered one from the mainland, which Zane shall install upon its delivery. However, it is to be shipped via a number of subsidiary destinations in order to preserve the secrecy of Super Secret Sea-Base Beta. Thus it shall take somewhat longer than the usual six-to-eight weeks.

Until such time as it is delivered, therefore, Voltan is reduced to following Zane around Super Secret Sea-Base Beta turning off the many lights he has carelessly left blazing. This vexes Voltan. Voltan has also been forced to forgo the daily ministrations of Voltan’s electric razor. But there is a silver lining: Zane is no longer permitted to use the Evilscope to play the recordings of Mr Cash. Silence reigns once again.

Except for the bloody seagulls, of course. Perhaps the wind turbine will chop them into little bits. Voltan can but hope.


Day 278: Cry cry cry

Voltan is not alone in Super Secret Sea-Base Beta. Voltan has an underling named Zane. Alas Zane is not a henchman. Zane is not even a flunky. In fact Zane has barely reached goon level, and Voltan fears this is likely to be the zenith of Zane's career in evil. Or should that be nadir?

Every Thursday night is movie night in Super Secret Sea-Base Beta. Last Thursday Voltan was feeling magnanimous, having finally succeeded in smiting the tax inspector, and so Voltan allowed Zane to choose the evening's viewing. Voltan feels this was a mistake, and has vowed never to allow this to happen again.

Zane elected to view Walk The Line over the Evilscope, since when he has worn nothing but black, which Voltan could accept quite readily if this were the only effect. However, Zane has also adopted the habit of walking as if his underpants contained considerably more than the two shriveled walnuts Voltan knows to be down there. Zane also claims to be a cowboy, which leads Voltan to wonder just how much attention Zane was paying. But worst of all is that Zane has taken to listening to the recordings of Mr Cash loudly, repeatedly and exclusively.

If Voltan hears Folsom Prison Blues one more time, Voltan may well make Zane walk the line right off B Deck and into the brine below.


Day 276: Voltan's secret weapon

Substance 3xb is extremely potent. Voltan will use substance 3xb both as a fuel and as a weapon. There will be many deaths. There will be cheap transport for Voltan. This pleases Voltan.

Voltan’s efforts to discover substance 3xb continue. There are many experiments that Voltan must undertake. Voltan is becoming accustomed to the smell, but it is doubtful that Voltan shall ever become inured to the other effects: the skin irritation, the headaches and the fequent explosions. Yet these are a small price to pay compared to the benefits Voltan shall reap. Substance 3xb shall not evade Voltan for long.

In the course of this research Voltan has discovered a very efficient way of cleaning brass.


Day 274: The betterment of Voltan

Voltan's quest for world domination continues. Everywhere Voltan goes there are fools, idiots and wastrels. This world is going to hell in a handbasket. If Voltan were in charge things would be better. No more dithering little people. No more arguing about climate change, the size of hamburgers or import tarriffs for feminine items! Instead all will work with a unity of purpose: the betterment of Voltan!

When Voltan is ruler, Voltan will require a henchman to carry out menial tasks that, while necessary, are beneath Voltan. Like making Votlan’s tea when Voltan comes home from running the world.

Moreover, the henchman must have 1) a distinctive name, perhaps based on his physical appearance, and 2) a special super secret attack that can defeat all enemies. There will be enemies. This pleases Voltan.

Voltan writes from Super Secret Sea-Base Beta, perched on a rusting column 30 feet above the briny swell. Super Secret Sea-Base Beta is shabby, and smells not a little of fish. This vexes Voltan. Voltan is here because Voltan has the builders in Super Secret Sea-Base Alpha to carry out repairs. Their tardiness vexes Voltan. They shall suffer Voltan’s wrath!

The food on Super Secret Sea-Base Beta is monotonous, and mostly canned. Voltan yearns to return to Super Secret Sea-Base Alpha, with its extensive kitchens and trained chefs. Fresh food is plentiful, particularly Super Secret Sea-Bass.