They were just trying to innovate, you know? To push things forward, to change things, to try. It was a place built for people who could change things. A place for these dreamers, these space-heads, these geniuses. All of them with wild, out-there ideas and, thanks to Our Gracious Benefactor, the means to explore them. That’s how they liked to be addressed: Our Gracious Benefactor. Each word capitalised. They could totally tell if you didn’t pronounce it in capitals, if you were thinking in lower case. That got to be a saying with the white-coats, thinking in lower case, if you weren’t willing to go far enough; weren’t pushing things all the way out there. That wasn’t me, you understand, I wasn’t trying to mess with fabric of stuff or break into some higher reality. I’m not to blame, is what I’m saying. None of this was my fault. I was just writing press releases, trying to make the rest of them sound less like off-brand Bond villains, trying to figure out marketing strategies for these things that fucked with reality, that twisted humanity. Just a hired geek trying to sell the end of the world.

It was the white-coats. They were the ones that actually did things. Your Emmett Browns, your Professor Morriartys, your Doctor Dooms. They’d been tempted away from studies or tenures, from cushy government jobs. These wannabe Einsteins, these Oppenheimers. From every discipline, every industry, all living and working in Our Gracious Benefactor’s gleaming, futurist paradise. Far from government oversight. Far from petty protesters. No funding applications. No interference. No questions. Our Gracious Benefactor assured them they’d be free to explore their own unique brand of crazy, fully funded and unfettered. Most didn’t even care about money, not really. They just wanted the acclaim. So Our Gracious Benefactor got in people like me, creatives, to play yuppie-troubadour to the white-coat’s scientist-knight.

A few demanded that their work not be used in any military capacity. Your hippie type’s mostly, your pussies. So there were complicated contracts drawn up by lawyers, then checked by other lawyers, then chewed up and shat out by some all-powerful lawyer’s lawyer, by God’s lawyer. And finally these hippies and these pussies, they’d sign on the line that was dotted, their worries soothed, their consciences absolved. A lock-stock, death-free, guarantee. Benevolent applications only. For their disintegrator ray, or their temporal compressor, or their (no word of a lie) mind-control suppository. Come to think of it, butt-hypnosis guy came on board without any stipulations at all. Dude just wanted to work.

It couldn’t last though. Things can only take so much messing with before they turn to total bullshit. You fold and unfold the world enough times and it’ll start to fray, start to tear. And that’s everything now. A world of bullshit. Loose and lawless and falling apart. The big-hitters managed to escape the bullshit in time, of course. In their ships or portals or pods. A few ascended into some higher state of bullshit, leaving the normal people behind, neck deep in it. And that’s us now. Stuck in the hot-suite, while the outside world splits and twists and fractures. A bunch of pen-pushers, safe and sound, watching the end of the world.


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