A large orbital death platform continued its eternal fall around the Earth.
Positioning rockets along its hull occasionally made an offering to Newton's laws of motion.
One long, thin cone projected towards the Earth. In the control room a long, thin man sat in front of a bank of consoles. A red phone crouched next to him. The man wore a lab coat with the name "Dr. Urias" sewn across the left breast.
The red phone rang.
"Hello?" the man answered.
"This is the President of the United States. I understand that you're holding us hostage. May I ask your name?"
"Oh, yes, that. Could we do this on video? My ear gets hot when I use the phone."
The man hung up the phone, punched in a few keystrokes, and a popular video conferencing application loaded up. His contact list included the President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, among others. Each of the names of the most powerful people in the world were accompanied by icons of adorable baby animals.
The video connection went through, and the worried face of the President of the United States appeared.
"Good afternoon..." the President paused while she squinted at her monitor, "Doctor Urias."
"What? Oh, no, that's not my name. Sorry, second-hand lab coat. You can call me Doctor Steve."
"Doctor Steve. Yes. Of course. May I ask after the threat that you issued this morning?"
"I send out a lot of threats. You'll have to be more specific."
"Where you state that unless we transfer one billion dollars into a specific Swiss bank account, you will turn the Taj Mahal into a black crater with your orbital death ray?"
Doctor Steve slapped his forehead.
"Oh, yes, that. Apologies. I meant to say 'White House.' I'll turn the White House into a smoking crater. Shit. Now I have to make another call. Being an evil genius in an orbital death platform requires an awful lot of telephone calls and paperwork. Recording bank account numbers, keeping currency exchange rates up to date, the job never ends. I think that I've spent more time on my financial spreadsheet than I did designing the whole of this orbital death platform. But anyway, that's chitchat. Yes, I demand that you give me one billion dollars or I'll turn the White House-" at this Doctor Steve winked "-into a smoking black crater."
"That is an unfortunate threat, because the United States does not negotiate with terrorists. And we have a variety of nuclear missiles aimed at your position."
"You do?" Doctor Steve glanced at his readouts, then typed in several commands.
The orbital platform moved very slightly. The electronics of the death ray hummed a funeral dirge. No visible light issued from the aperture of the death ray.
"Now you don't."
The President's head swiveled, her eyes widening with terror. Doctor Steve heard an advisor speak offscreen.
"He isn't lying. The USS Springfield, the USS Skeelon, and the Cooper Mountain Facility have all gone silent."
"You monster," the President said.
Doctor Steve reached up and touched his face.
"Funny, I don't feel any fangs," he said. "You have an hour to transfer the funds. I'll call you back after I get in touch with the Prime Minister. Doctor Steve out."
He flicked off the President, then clicked on the picture of fish and chips that represented the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
A ruddy, angry face filled the viewscreen.
"Threaten us with your death ray all you want, but you'll never see your face on any British banknote!" the Prime Minister bellowed.
"What the hell are you talking about? I never demanded that. I couldn't give a damn. I told you that I wanted one billion British Pounds transferred to my Swiss-"
"This connection is bollocks, you looked like that other prig who is also sitting in an orbital death platform and issuing demands. No offense, but he's quite a more ruthless cunt than you. We'll call you back."
Doctor Steve's mouth dropped open.
"Another prig? Come now, they should only be dealing with one evil genius at a time! And I'll remind them that I'm quite evil!"
His orbital death platform tilted. The circuits began to glow. Before the death ray could fire, however, the negotiations between the Prime Minister and the owner of another orbital death platform broke down. Unfortunately for Doctor Steve, the other death platform was on an orbital path that put it further away from Earth than his own.
The death ray punched through Doctor Steve and his orbital death platform, lancing down to immolate a small abandoned cottage in Wales, the birthplace of the Prime Minister. Because some evil geniuses know how to pick targets.
The Moral: look out behind you.