8
$\begingroup$

Sure fiction already has a master of the elements, but their power is limited to the four 'elements'; wind, water, earth and fire. But what if a true master of the periodic elements, all 118 of them, was to become my enemy.

Even with unlimited numbers and an unlimited budget, would I have any hope of defeating someone who can control all of the known elements? If I do have hope, what is the cheapest way to defeat him?

Some clarifications on the Master of the elements;

  • He cannot create anything.
  • He can only move the known elements.
  • The elements must exist within a 10 mile radius for him to control them.
  • The strength of his control is limited to endurance; at first he could lift metric tons of material but as he wears out, his strength does as well.
  • He can see even the smallest atom, so all elements are in the game.
  • He cannot turn some elements into others, meaning he is stuck with the form he finds them in.
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This seems like a question where instead of asking what can they control, one needs to ask what can't they control. $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Aug 19 '16 at 19:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What do you define as elements? Are you talking about the elements in the Periodic Table? (There are over two hundred of those). If so, do they have to be pure elements? For example, could he control Sodium Chloride (table salt), since it is a chemical combination of more than one element? $\endgroup$ – automaton Aug 19 '16 at 19:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ He has a range, and a reaction time. Overcome either of these, and you should be fine. My initial suggestions are Lasers or Relativistic projectiles. $\endgroup$ – Sconibulus Aug 19 '16 at 19:40
  • 28
    $\begingroup$ Obligatory xkcd $\endgroup$ – Kys Aug 19 '16 at 19:43
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ This master could dismember it's enemies at atomic level... $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 19 '16 at 20:04

15 Answers 15

31
$\begingroup$

Easy, you shoot him from really really far away. Our nemesis does not have superhuman reactions, so he can't detect a speeding bullet before it is too late. Human operated sniper rifles would be effective out to a mile. If he can detect and disarm snipers that far out, then something more drastic is needed. Time on target artillery strikes could be potentially exhausting for him to deflect, if not immediately lethal. Multiple strikes could weaken him to the point where conventional snipers could be effective.

$\endgroup$
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ At first I doubted the mile distance, but it seems several sources place military snipers at ranges of 1-1.4 miles not being that extraordinary. Also I always upvote answers that suggest artillery. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Aug 19 '16 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ What's to stop him from simply hiding from the artillery instead of taking it head on? Also, he's "simply aware" of anything in his zone of control, so sneaking within sniper range isn't an option. $\endgroup$ – Lord Farquaad Aug 19 '16 at 20:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LordFarquaad yes, that depends on the OP's definition of his senses. I was taking it as his long range senses are more clouded. So he can "see" everything out there, but there's so much in his "vision" that he can't pick out the one sniper a mile away. $\endgroup$ – Kys Aug 19 '16 at 20:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Orbital lasers seem like a good option as well. $\endgroup$ – mcargille Aug 19 '16 at 20:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Get a railgun.Unless he has a godlike reaction speed or ages to prepare a defense, he should die. $\endgroup$ – Skye Aug 20 '16 at 7:19
14
$\begingroup$

Obligatory xkcd

Maybe: Given that your enemy appears to be able to be able to, in essence, control matter, your options dwindle to either out-enduring him, a surprise attack, or some sort of non-matter weapon (heat, radiation).

A direct confrontation without overwhelming force isn't going to work: After all, he can literally tear you/any machines you send after him to pieces without having to even move.

  • Out-enduring: As the strength of elemental control diminishes as your opponent tires out, it stands to assume that a prolonged attack would eventually defeat him (once he no longer has the strength to defend himself). Be wary of not granting him any opportunity to escape!

  • Surprise: If he doesn't know you are there, he probably isn't ready to defend himself, right? Sneaking up on him probably won't work as the elemental master has probably had the foresight to set up traps and/or alarms. A long-range projectile weapon is probably your best bet.

  • Energy weapons: If he has an escape route ready and has created an impenetrable shield of air around himself, your chances against this elemental master seem pretty grim. Fortunately for you, this guy can only control matter. Unfortunately for him, that means he cannot control fire or electromagnetic radiation (though he can attempt to shield himself from them). Option 1 would be to lure him into a building and then light it on fire; if you can get the fire burning hot enough fast enough, you might be able to cook the poor guy before he can knock down a wall and flee. Option 2 would be some sort of explosive device; obviously bigger is better here and you want more energy in light/heat/radiation than in a shockwave (he can block the shockwave). Option 3 is to blast him with enough radiation to kill him.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I was looking for that xkcd... +1 $\endgroup$ – PipperChip Aug 19 '16 at 22:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Personally, I would have went with Order of the Stick. Chlorine and Titanium elementals for the win. $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Aug 20 '16 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Fire is just some plasma of organic matter reacting with atmospheric oxygen. Just bend the oxygen away from the combustible stuff. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Aug 20 '16 at 23:47
7
$\begingroup$

The cheapest way?

Live him to death.

Assuming he doesn't make miraculous advancements in medical technology, and understand the absolutely precise mechanics to increasing his lifespan (which we're currently trying to do), you just need to hide, have a healthy life, and hope you outlast him.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Or just sick Dr Who's weeping angels on him. Blast him into the past and let him live to death. Now you don't have to hide. $\endgroup$ – candied_orange Aug 20 '16 at 17:43
5
$\begingroup$

This question is slightly different than other "I invented an ultimate enemy, now help me kill him" questions in that you set rules that include an infinite budget.

Stand just outside the 10mi range limit with a giant energy weapon, like a laser or a source of gamma rays. Irradiate him until he's dead. He can't manipulate the weapon because the body of the weapon is more than 10mi away, and the photons making up the beam are not atomic elements. Sure, he can maneuver some of the matter into the line of fire to deflect your blow, but you have an unlimited budget, and he only has about 2000 cubic miles of dirt to put in the way. The dirt can't hold up to unlimited firepower without his assistance, and if he's holding together clumps of dirt under the onslaught of petawatts of directed energy, he'll fatigue soon enough.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, depending on the universe you could use chunks of a neutron star if you don't mind destroying the planet he is on. Neutrons don't count as elements. Their subatomic particles. Just how light is made of photons. $\endgroup$ – Kayot Aug 20 '16 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ I was going to suggest pair of neutrino anti-neutrino beams fired at each other from opposite sides, but quick check with some physics forms suggests that isn't possible, or won't do anything useful. I though I'd seen someone suggest that once as a ground penetrating weapon since neutrinos don't interact with regular matter much, but maybe it was just not that thought out. $\endgroup$ – zstewart Aug 20 '16 at 20:41
3
$\begingroup$

If he can physically move any element (or combination thereof) within a ten-mile radius, the character is actually indistinguishable from someone with powerful telekinetic ability (who could move any physical matter).

The question is really a function of how complete his control is. Since you edited to say that he expends strength proportional to what he is moving, you could simply send a missile at the guy. It would take a LOT of energy to flat out stop a modern missile going several times the speed of sound. Even if you have to use more than one, you said you have an unlimited budget - just keep launching them from safely outside his ten-mile radius.

As far as the cheapest way, you wouldn't want to go for a direct offensive. I would say use some form of trickery, like poisoning his food supply. But with an unlimited budget, I can't think of a reason you'd have to. More complications might be necessary to make an interesting situation.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Stopping it wouldn't really be necessary though... it would probably be relatively easy to disable the detonator and modify the angle it's travelling by a degree. $\endgroup$ – Sconibulus Aug 19 '16 at 19:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you are intimately aware of the configuration of a missile, its radar proximity fuse, it's thrust system, and its navigation, then possibly. Even if you were staring at the blueprints of a ballistic missile, you'd have no clue what you were looking at without an aerospace degree. And a sophisticated maneuvering missile would automatically correct its course if it were diverted. But my overall point is that if it's a war of attrition and side A has unlimited resources, eventually you can throw enough at him to wear him out $\endgroup$ – automaton Aug 19 '16 at 20:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Sconibulus So you just throw a kinetic impactor at him. At about 10 km/s it will cross his control radius in about 1.6 seconds and deliver energy of 10x its weight in TNT. $\endgroup$ – Mike L. Aug 19 '16 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeL. yep, a sufficiently large asteroid would kill the dude, as well as the city he's in and a decent chunk of the neighborhood. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Aug 20 '16 at 23:52
3
$\begingroup$

My answer is that it depends on his endurance, but if that's too high, you just lose. The end. You said he's aware of anything in his control, so he is aware of any attack from 10 miles away. If he can handle it, no problem. If he knows he can't he can just bail; he's got about a million ways to do that. He can just control his own body and fly away, or just create a 10 mile hole in the ground and hang out in it.

The point is, it would be REALLY hard to develop a scenario he can't just not get hurt from. Sure hiding in a hole in the ground isn't a scenario that can hold out forever, but moving around underground would be a snap for our everything-bending friend. Typically, when people have zones of control I'd say "make an attack from just outside so he can't stop it," but if this guy can see any attack from 10 miles away and just hide almost perfectly, that's not gunna work. Plus, you can't even keep him within a certain area, because anything you attempt to contain him with, he can just think a hole into.

Poison seemed like a good idea, but if this guy can see atoms, he can probably identify poison in food/drinks. If he can't then this is the way I'd say to go. If he has any inherent human flaws too, I'd say exploit those. If he covets one particular thing, go after that thing. Force him to leave his safety. If he's arrogant, taunt him. Make him try to not just hide in his everything-bunker. But if your villain keeps a cool head and doesn't get ahead of himself, I don't see you winning this...

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

You don't

My first thought after reading this was, how are you not already dead? As 渡し守シャロン stated in a comment, this guy is going to do you in, quickly, using your own atoms.

He will pick some element that is prevalent in your body, probably hydrogen, oxygen, or carbon, and focus in on that. He will enhance its normal vibrations, speeding it up as hard and as fast as his endurance will allow.

You will begin to feel hot. Then the pain will hit. Then you might briefly smell the aroma of yourself cooking, just before your expire. The end.

I'm sorry. You shouldn't have made an enemy of him in the first place.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ That's only gunna happen if you get within 10 miles of him though $\endgroup$ – Lord Farquaad Aug 19 '16 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, if you are stupid enough to duel him. A smarter opponent would kill him from an ambush, or in his sleep. There is no mention in the question about him having superhuman reflexes or any precognitive ability. He can't dodge a bullet. He could, in theory, influence the atoms in the bullet, but with normal human reaction times the bullet would have hit before he even have started thinking about it. $\endgroup$ – vsz Aug 20 '16 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, this is how famous gunslingers in the Wild West were killed. There were so famous about how fast and accurate they are with a revolver, that no one was stupid enough to face them at high noon in the middle of the street with guns holstered, leading to a quick-draw duel, like you see in the movies (there was precisely one single such event in recorded history!) No, they instead shot them in their sleep, or shot them with a shotgun from the back while they were drinking at the bar. $\endgroup$ – vsz Aug 20 '16 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ @vsz Do you have any sources to back this up? Not primarily because I doubt you, I find it highly believable, but it sounds like something that would be very interesting and enlightening to read - I love to learn about the truth behind the myth in our everyday lives and pop culture. $\endgroup$ – Maurycy Aug 20 '16 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Maurycy : I just read a lot about the lives of famous people from that time, it's not one centralized debunking book what I'm thinking about (but I'm sure you'll find plenty with a simple search). The Bill Hickok vs Davis Tutt shootout is one which might resemble the duels found in movies (but even that was not an organized one), and Bill Hickok was later killed in a saloon by a shot from the back. According to Wyatt Earp, he might have taken part in one "count to three" style duel. In this wiki article there are plenty of sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunfighter#Fact_and_fiction $\endgroup$ – vsz Aug 20 '16 at 20:35
2
$\begingroup$

Go nuclear.

Those atoms break down themselves (he can't stop it) to create megatons of force (he cant withstand it) and will disintegrate him at the speed of light.

Shoot 2, because well... it'd probably be the last justifiable time in history to do so might as well splurge a little.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Oh sure, he's the master of the elements, but is he the master of molecules?

You arrange to have FedEx deliver a package to him. The package contains a powerful bomb, which will go off when opened. Primary explosive is TNT. Detonator is sodium azide. All parts for the initiator are plastic. The elements are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sodium. In other words, nothing exotic, nothing out of the ordinary. If he is alerted by the presence of these elements he will spend all his time worrying about every animal that comes within 10 miles of him. If he won't let these elements near him he will starve to death.

Alternatively, how about nerve gas? VX, for instance only takes about 10 mg to cause death, and its elements are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulphur. Again, these are all characteristic of living organisms.

Or, to keep things simple, a milligram of botulinum toxin in his food will do the trick, and that's just a standard protein, with no exotic elements. Actually, there are any number of organic toxins which will do the trick. Diphtheria toxin, for instance, will kill in concentrations of 0.1 ug/kg of body weight, so 10 ug is lethal in the bloodstream, but I'm not sure if ingestion will do the trick.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

With unlimited budget I see four options:

  1. You nuke him from orbit. Using lasers, nukes, antimatter. The moon.

  2. You blackmail him. Maybe you can't defeat him in combat, but you have kidnapped his son, he won't be a threat anymore.

  3. You deceive him. With unlimited funds you should be able to control any information source he could get access to. Trick him into doing your works.

  4. Make it someone else's problem. Bribe everyone you see, someone will eventually discover a weakness, or he will die by the sheer number of opponents.

Bonus: Terminating humanity should defeat him, invest into some dangerous experiments: sentient AI, greygoo, black-hole generator, donald trump, you name it.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Well the way I see it there are a few options.

  1. Orbital strike.

Specifically a kinetic weapon, since putting nuclear weapons in orbit is banned by international treaty. These are commonly known as "Rods from God". Since our mortal enemy can only lift metric tons of material, he wouldn't be able to stop a rod from space falling on his head with kinetic energy equivalent to a nuclear strike. However, this is a rather "scorched earth" approach to the situation. We can do better.

  1. Poison.

If it's possible to deceive him, you might be able to get him close to an unstable organic explosive, and use a speaker at the explosive's resonant frequency to set it off. Or just a regular poison, if he's really not paying attention.

But this person might be quite vigilant, and determined.

If our mortal enemy is as powerful as you say he is, and if he is actively searching for you, it is only a matter of time until he finds you. The only limits to how fast he can cover ground is how long he can fly and the acceleration his body can handle.

But for the sake of argument, let's say that time isn't a factor. He has no idea that you've gone to go hide on the moon.

  1. Don't use matter.

Use energy. Gamma radiation is quite deadly. X-rays are good too. The hard part is projecting that energy from outside his sphere of influence. Even these focused energies will dissipate to be non-lethal from over 10 km away with our current level of technology. And if your enemy is smart, he knows how to counter high-energy photons. A lattice or grid structure of atoms would diffuse it fairly well.

But we have unlimited money. So we can make radiation bombs (read: nukes) and use the same principles of physics to wear him down. We focus the radiation from the bombs precisely onto his exact location using a network of spy satellites. But he could just go underground. Dirt is pretty good at blocking radiation.

  1. Leave.

Honestly, I think it'd be cooler if you just built a deep-space colony starship with 3D printing and research facilities - no expense spared, and left the solar system. He wouldn't be able to follow you with his limited stamina unless he built his own starship. If he's that determined though, you're going to need something more powerful than money to defeat him. Maybe another element-bender, if one of those exists.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, TheZouave, this might be seen as heavy handed approach to the problem, but you have several creative solutions. Perhaps someone should advertise for an element-unbender (assuming one exists). You will have fun here. $\endgroup$ – a4android Aug 21 '16 at 5:49
0
$\begingroup$

It depends on if he knows where you are and can say, create/purify/strain astatine around you. Because then he can pretty much just create a 10-mile radiation shield around him that will sterilize everything before it makes it to him.

Unless of course, you can nuke him from orbit.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

You will need orbital HERF guns of some kind. But they will have to be really, really, really powerful. Even then, if he/she is smart they will diffuse it with a simple faraday cage.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Entangle the matter around his head using dissipation, and a special type of EMF, instead of coherence. Then scramble his his atoms or even loop his time, quantum mechanically. I believe this would be impossible to stop. I coin the term "hierarchical entanglement". The great weakness of entanglement is that you could entangle the space around any entangled space, thus creating a hierarchy that would negate the child entanglement. You would need to provide a field that would not allow the matter to become entangled to beat it. I dont how that would be possible.

...or instead of scrambling his atoms, just create a small piece of spacetime, near him, change the configuration of entangled atoms so that they create a vacany (smere them along the walls of said entangled geometry?). The vacancy, even though small, would be a vacancy in spacetime, and not just the atmosphere. This vacancy would need to be filled by nothing short of the entire weight of the universe (on that empty piece of space). I imagine that would be a huge displacement energy. An inch of spacetime snapping to fill a void the size of a small dice would probably be enough to destroy most things.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Nevermind, I beat my own problem. If the being made himself from atoms that have a very fast rate of decay, they could not be entangled. It brings to question, what happens to 2 atoms that are entangled, but one atom is older and decays while its entangled... so if this being made himself from atoms that have a very fast rate of decay, it might make such an attack worthless. :/ Hate it when I do that. $\endgroup$ – D13D49 Mar 13 '17 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ I think I know where this post came from. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 13 '17 at 18:33
-2
$\begingroup$

There are a few possibilities if running and hiding are not options.

  1. Distract him or blind him using energy rather than matter. In a fantasy setting (like Avatar: The Last Airbender), you might use mirrors to reflect sunlight into the Master's eye. The opposite approach would be to plunge the room he is in into darkness.

Mirrors reflecting concentrated sunlight to light a fire

  1. While I am assuming you are thinking of the traditional 4 elements model (Air, Water, Earth, Fire), traditional Chinese cosmology actually had 5 elements. Use the fifth element of Wood against the Master.

Icons for the four classic elements

  1. How closely does the universe adhere to the elemental model anyway? Once again, using Avatar: The Last Airbender as a model, being an Earthbender only seems to work with rocks and earth for most Earthbenders. Only people with highly developed special abilities can bend metal or lava, for example. If this is the case, the Avatar does not seem to manifest these special abilities when "bending", so might be vulnerable to a special "bender" using metal (Earth), lightning (Fire) or some other unusual manifestation of the "element". Blending two techniques (lightning is an attribute of Fire, but the bending is apparently a modified Waterbending technique) might also change things enough to provide an advantage.

YMMV.

$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ -1 for not reading the OP's question. OP clearly is talking about the modern concept of elements, and even provides a number WELL beyond 4 or 5. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Aug 20 '16 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ -1 for not even skimming the other answers before posting. You could've been posting a duplicate of a previous answer for all you knew, and if you'd read the other answers you would've seen that most of them were using phrases like "all matter", "but not other particles" and "elements, but maybe not compounds". $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Aug 21 '16 at 14:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.