We were just trying to innovate, you know? To push things. The place was full of these people; 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 the caps, if you thought in lower case. That got to be a saying with the white-coats, thinking in lower case: if you weren’t going far enough; weren’t pushing things all the way out there. That wasn’t me, you understand. I wasn’t trying to mess with things or make anything. I’m not to blame, is what I’m saying. None of this was my fault. I was just there writing press releases; trying to make them sound less like off-brand Bond villains; to figure out marketing strategies for things that fucked with reality, that twisted humanity. Just a hired geek trying to sell the end of the world.

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 and tenures, from cushy government jobs. These wannabe Einsteins, these Oppenheimers. From every discipline, from every industry, all living and working in Our Gracious Benefactor’s gleaming, futurist paradise. Far from government oversight, 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 their work wasn’t used in any military capacity. Your hippie type’s mostly, your pussies. So, complicated contracts were 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 pussies, they’d sign on the line that was dotted, their worries soothed, their conscience 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. Dude just wanted to work.

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