You are swift, stout, and cunning, meteoric and ordinarily unstoppable, you are the proverbial irresistible force by all accounts. But now you have fetched up against a big immobile something that refuses to get out of your way, whether out of stubbornness, malice, or unintelligence. What can you do with a recalcitrant big ol' pile of stuff you have got to clear away besides put your head in your hands and weep? If you can conquer the thing so massive that it curves spacetime around itself, not only would you accomplish whatever you originally set out to do, but just maybe you will score some well-deserved points in the hearts of your admirers and rivals.
- Bust it up. Use a particle beam weapon or high explosives to fluff it up a bit, just enough so you can stroll through to the other side.
- Phase it. Existing as we do in a place of many dimensions, it is of course possible to consider shifting it, particle by particle, from the ones you are in into another where you are not, without actually having to move it in some sense.
- Ignore it. Vanity can trump matter, as every supervillain knows. Declare your obstacle to be insignificant, proclaim its presence to be irrelevant, and see whether you can nullify it with the blank nothingness of your disregard.
- Bore through it. It doesn't have to move, if all you need is a passage through it. Works especially well on bank vault doors.
- Alter your frame. The Solar System is approaching the constellation of Lambda Herculis at 20 kilometers per second. So if your immobile object in question is fixed in the reference frame of the Galaxy, you have it made; you just have to wait for the planet to get out of the way.
- Chew your way through it. Every child is born a tyrant, and every one knows that the best way to confront an annoying object is with a gaping maw and a consuming appetite for destruction. Plunge right in and see whether you can make a dent in the gigantic blancmange guarding your dungeon cell.
- Reason with it. If your immovable is intelligent and communicative, camped in place despite your own best efforts, you might consider whether you might be able to persuade it to self-propel itself to a place which is mutually agreeable to you both.
- Sex it up. Dress yourself up, put on a fetching take charge attitude, and spritz on something that gets the glands started flowing, and you just might be able to get that inert hulk to pick him/her/itself up with thoughts of getting funky. Just be prepared to run if necessary.
- Check it out underneath. If the item in question is one which is normally self-propelled, spend a little time eyeballing it to check for a simple explanation to the symptom. Did you leave the parking brake on? Is the propellor connected? Did someone prank you by replacing the dilithium crystal with window glass?
- Hit it on the side. Might not do anything but make you feel better. Go ahead - give that big dumb obstacle a good dope slap and enjoy the feeling it gives you.
Strokes of genius
- Persistence. Some things are only immovable up till now, until you find your optimum approach to spiriting them off. This may well take a good long while, however, with no perceptible progress, so you must prepare your self mentally to endure the wait in good grace. Once things start falling into place they may do so quickly, so do not fall asleep in the meantime.
- Marxist theory. Some supervillains find that classical Marxist theory affords a useful vocabulary when it comes to the struggle against an entrenched status quo ante, restructuring of individual consciousness, a long view of history leading to an eventual emancipation. It may well come in useful at the local taphouse after things settle down in any event.
- Think outside the box. Some impassable obstacles turn out to be so only when one buys into the assumptions that go into their design. For instance, the gigantic crystalline block that no amount of exertion can budge may turn out, on further investigation, to be made of salt and thus easily dissolved away with a firehose. Another example is the sophisticated combination lock on the door that is effectively uncrackable, but the code to open it is marked on a sticky note on someone’s desk nearby.
- Setting expectations. If you take on the impossible, how you will be judged afterwards depends sensitively on the way you went in on the task in the first place. Loudly proclaim that the object in question is of trifling difficulty and nothing but swift and unambiguous victory will leave your reputation intact, or emphasize the phenomenal impenetrability of the thing and go about it at your own stately pace with any detractors in check; it is all part of the art of showmanship that must accompany these sorts of grand undertakings. Truly gifted silver-tongued rogues may even omit the vanquishing part of the trick entirely and still be given credit for pulling off the feat.
Traps for mere fools
- Getting stuck. Your initial pitch may not be the one which leads to ultimate success. For instance, you might have decided to unleash billions of nanotech devices to digest an enormous rock which lies between you and a fabulous treasure, but have discovered that the gray goo has reached an impasse, perhaps due to a vein of some distasteful stuff. When you see this happen, see whether a well-placed blast from your molecular disruptor beam array might get things flowing again.
- Onlookers. So your consort's mother is over visiting and interestedly perusing your little situation. This can lead to no good. Either the advice you will get will be unhelpful and only lead to additional frustration, or it will actually work and make you look like an imbecile. It may be worth the extra effort to stage a distraction or, in extreme cases, fake a miraculous solution, just to save your poor nerves.
- Shrapnel. If you activate your freeze ray and then hit the boulder with heavy munitions, be sure to keep yourself well away from flying shards that may result.
- Paperwork. Some barriers are not that difficult to surmount themselves, but are made so by a suffocating bureaucracy that is attached to them. This is typically the case in those societies which are heavily concerned with obeying laws and regulations, even when the motivations behind those rules no longer apply. You may freely do away with the immovable object, but be prepared to put up with the hassles that will come afterwards.
Precious and needful
- Teleportation booth.
- Melt ray.
- Over the counter analgesic.
- Second-hand light saber.
- Vuvuzela marching band.
- How to clone an army
- How to deal with invading aliens
- How to get over a crush
- How to avoid a gruesome demise
- How to get started with giant robots
- How to set up a lair
- How to walk away from defeat
- How to exploit advanced technology
- How to inhabit inanimate objects
- How to conceal an island
- How to summon spirits of the dead
- How to buy a used death ray
- How to grow a mighty brain
- How to get apes to accept you as their leader
- How to be enrobed in flames
- How to make a universe implode
- How to walk away from an explosion
- How to maximize fireball damage
- Image credit Rodfæstet by Ma1974
- Image credit Bridget undercling by Chad Podoski
- Image credit Don't Let it Float Away! by OneFlameintheFire