“Everyone remembers where they were that horrible day that Dr. Doomington unleashed the Quackinator on the University of Northern Mississippi and turned everyone into ducks,” says Officer Carruthers of the DPS in a statement. “And the incident in Cascadia last year was really a wake-up call for us–if Professor Chaosz, who everyone thought was just a kindly science teacher, could hurl moviegoers into the fictional world of the film they were watching with his Imaginverter…it could happen anywhere, at any time.”

The Active Mad Scientist training seminars at Southern Michigan University are designed around three simple principles: “Flee,” “Fear,” and “Fight.”

“Obviously, the best solution to an Active Mad Scientist is to simply leave the area as quickly as possible,” says Carruthers. ” That’s ‘Flee.’ It gives the Area 51 Response Team time to arrive and secure the area. But that’s not always possible, as we saw at the incident in Sacramento where Sinestroni erected a Reality Barrier to prevent escape.”

“Fear” advises that people relocate to designated shelters and huddle in wordless terror in the hopes that the Active Mad Scientist will pass them by. “We’ve hardened certain campus locations against mad scientists,” Carruthers adds, “with lead linings, ray scramblers, polarized laser-proof glass, NBC sealing, and magic spells (well known to be a weakness common to mad scientists).” The officer does concede, though, that there are circumstances in which the “Fear” strategy will not work. He cites the notorious 2002 attack on a Pennsylvania supermarket with mutagenic nanodroids by Das Angstverkäufer GmbH as a particular example.

Finally, the “Fight” step urges people who are cornered like rats to strike back at an Active Mad Scientist with whatever means of self-defense they have available. “Obviously this is a last resort, if ‘Flee’ and “Fear” fail, only. We don’t need anyone being a hero and getting themselves frozen in carbonite.” Officer Carruthers explains that the best method if it comes to fighting is to try and grapple the Active Mad Scientist at point blank melee range: “They generally tend to be very weak physically and quite nerdy,” he says. “Though be sure to assess beforehand. Grappling with Doktor Destroyo is not the same as going toe-to-toe with Baron von Muscles, PhD.”

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“What’s that you’ve got there, Dr. Näher?” a student asked.

Näher looked at the circuit board, dotted with lights and switches, under his arm. “Oh, just a piece of a little science project I am tinkering with in my spare time.”

The student smiled. “Like the Tesla coil you showed us in class?”

“Something like that, yes,” Näher said, tapping his nose.

Inside the campus superconductor center, Stanley the security guard called out a friendly greeting. “Dr. Näher! More bits and bobs for your hobby project?”

“Yes indeed, Stanley,” said Näher. He flipped the guard a candy bar from the vending machine downstairs. “No need to tell Dr. Kuntz about my hobby work, as usual.”

“If you say so, Doc. Ask me, worst he’d do is tell you to take it home.”

Outside Näher’s lab, one of the custodians was buffing the floor. “Any chance of getting in there to clean, Dr. Näher?” she asked.

“I’m afraid not, Emily. The danger of static contamination, you see. I’m sure you understand.”

“All right, but you know I’m going to keep asking until you at least let me go over it with a lint brush.”

Näher shifted his circuit board to his other hand as he fished for his keys. “I have no doubt, Emily,” he said with a smile. “I have no doubt.”

Once inside, he strode deep into the bowels of the device that had consumed nearly every waking moment of the last ten years. The circuit board slid easily into the last open space in the master control panel; the lights and switches glowed to life as power coursed through them.

“And now, at last,” Näher laughed. “To unleash it.”

He flipped open the clear cover on the master button. It was bright red, glowing, and had a simple label: DOOM!