The number of volcanoes that have been hollowed out and converted into a secret South Pacific lair for evil super-villains bent on world domination has been decreasing alarmingly, according to a new study from a leading vulcanologist.
Speaking from the site of the dormant Mt Tarawera, in the North Island, New Zealand, Professor Harvey Ashborne from the Department of Vulcanology, University of Nottingham, complained that he had been examining the site for nearly two days now, with little or no sign of a protective metal casing on the surface to conceal the elaborate, Machiavellian scheming contained within.
“I’ve been in vulcanology for nearly 40 years,” said Professor Ashborne, “and despite researching volcanic sites throughout that time, I haven’t so much as had a sniff of a super-villain yet. The whole thing is very disappointing. All I keep finding is these rocks, occasional pools of molten lava and the odd eruption. Bearing in mind the popularity of super-villains hiding in volcanoes in the 1960s, I make that a decrease of around 1000%. Probably more, actually.”
When asked what exactly he was hoping to find, the Professor became extremely animated. “Well,” he commented, “essentially, what we’re after is a man-made structure housed within a hollowed out volcano, with its own monorail system. A bit like Disney, I suppose, but with many more guns and a big nuclear missile.
“Also, there should be a bald-headed evil genius, stroking a cat, with a grand master plan to threaten world leaders with a nuclear device that should launch directly out of the centre of the volcano, or even, better, some kind of space-ship. The evil genius should ideally be making a series of threats to a suave secret agent, and there should be some kind of clock agonisingly ticking down. Yes, the clock would be a nice touch.”
The Professor refused to be drawn as to how he could be so specific as to what he was looking for but did add that: “the fact I haven’t yet found it after so many years is my biggest disappointment since starting my vulcanology undergraduate degree and discovering it had absolutely nothing to do with Star Trek.”