"Warning: choking hazard, small parts, not suitable for children under 3 years" was what the Li'l Edgar Allan Poe Posable Figure box said, but Johnny didn't listen because he was almost thirteen so he ripped off the head and ate it. Without a seconds hesitation the rest of Poe followed his head down the impressive gullet of this typically always hungry teen. Johnny burped, picked some of Poe's hair from between his massive molars and looked up at his dad. "Can I eat the box too Pop?"
The hulking figure crammed into a chair at the other end of the anti-matter table looked at Johnny. He was perturbed with the interruption, but well, it was "Bring Your Kid to Work Day" and little Johnny was his pride and joy after all. The Director looked around the table at the group of bored and disengaged Sector heads. This meeting was in need of some entertainment, some small diversion to get these guys back in the game. Besides it would have been rude to not show some gratitude for the gifts brought him by the Sector chiefs from the Fringes. "Sure son, why not? Dinner's not for a few more hours." The box, the Styrofoam inside and the bar code disappeared in a flash of teeth mashing. "That's my boy!"
What a bunch of stuffed shirts he was dealing with today. It never ceased to amaze him how the representatives from the Fringes always carried themselves with more self importance than the staff who shouldered the bigger load near Headquarters. He smiled or grimaced. With him there really was no difference.
"So where were we gentlemen?"
The representative from Sector 3 continued his report. "Before this unseemly interruption, I was filling the Director here in on some odd goings on at the outer edge of the Expansion in my territory. It seems some of the Matter that is self aware has found the key to what is really going on. I submitted a report some time ago and it obviously did not make it to the good Director's desk. Gentlemen, we may be in trouble. If Matter has figured out what we are doing, then it's all over for us."
The Director sat with his massive head propped up with one of his massive hands. He looked bored. Everything was a crisis with these clowns. Some Matter somewhere sneezes and these flounders from the Fringes get all panicky and nervous. Damn he hated dealing with issues that meant nothing in the over all business model set up many years ago. The plan, once implemented, could not be reversed. And these boneheads should know that. But he did need to humor them. Their participation was key to completing the plan on schedule and under budget.
"So, just send an asteroid their way and take them out. Standard procedure when Matters get out of hand is it not?"
Sector 3 Chief looked annoyed at the interruption but answered the Director's question. "Uh yes sir, it is standard policy to snuff out any hint of resistance. But this Matter is different. They have figured out how to defeat the use of Asteroids and such."
This meeting was really starting to piss the Director off. Underlings who needed their hands held at the drop of a hat just rubbed him raw. The Director straightened up and dropped his hand hard on the table. The whole room shook. "What do I have to do here ferchrisakes? Draw you guys a freakin map? Come on, you know policy. Just fire out a Perforation and take care of this Matter. End of story." The Director placed his head back on his hand. With the other he flipped his massive fingers dismissively. "Go on, Continue."
Sector 3 Chief shifted his weight uneasily. He had never felt the anger of the Director before. He was still new. Only on the job now for a couple of epochs. But he hadn't risen through the ranks because he was timid. Stiffening his back he cleared his throat. "Well it appears they have stumbled upon the secret of.......The White Hole."
The silence in the room was deafening. The Director snapped his head up and stared at Sector 3 Chief. His mouth began to move, but no words came. Murmurs from the rest of the Sector Chiefs turned into chaotic discussion among themselves. The Meeting had gotten out of control.
"Silence!" The Director was now on his feet and leaning hard on the anti-matter table. It bowed under his copious mass. "That is impossible! White Holes are still just a theory. No one has been able to prove their existence."
Sector 3 Chief stood his ground and stared back at the Director. "Yes sir that is correct. We have yet to prove or disprove the possibility that White Holes can exist. But how do I explain that the six Perforations and then the Tear I sent out just disappeared? No reports. Nothing. And in the meantime, a new anomaly has been noticed in that sector of the Expansion and the Matter I intended to take care of still exists. I have been over this with the slip stick boys and they have concluded the only answer is indeed a White Hole."
The Director was not ready for this. Matter only existed to feed their expansion into this universe. He could not get his mind around the idea that the Matter created by his forebears had now discovered the one weapon he and his kind feared the most......Anti-anti-matter. If true, his race had finally overstepped their abilities and created the means of their own demise. The Director tried to imagine a hole that could eat darkness, thus producing Light. As he understood the notion here, Light produced in such a fashion indicated with a high probability that their race's bogeyman, Anti-anti-matter came through as a byproduct. His limited intellect in things scientific stopped him from even being able to conceptualize the concept. He sat back down with a plop. The room shook and the various cool drinks of liquid Matter on the table tipped over. He sighed. "So where does this leave us?"
No one spoke. Eyes were cast down at massive hands clasped in nervous grips. Everyone around the table just sat there as if struck dumb. Little Johnny, who had been mindlessly looking out into the nebula, turned and said, "Gee guys, Dad always told me when I was little, never be afraid of the Light. The Light would never hurt you."
The silent tension in the big room broke. These heavy wieghts representing the far flung territories of the Empire relaxed, some even grinned. The Director was smiling or grimacing again. Sector 3 Chief managed a nervous haha as he sat down and straightened the copious collection of sheets he had used for notes during his presentation.
As the meeting settled down, Sector 6 Chief remarked, "Yeah guys, no need to be all positive and up. Things could be better you know. There isn't always Light at the end of the tunnel. And every cloud doesn't have a silver lining. Just keep thinking negative and all those pesky Matters will take care of themselves."
The Director let his head settle in on that massive hand again. His face once more the face of a bored and overworked bureaucrat. "Okay. Settle down guys. We have quite a few more Sectors to hear from. Who's next?"
For some unknown reason this, I kept thinking of Frank Zappa while I wrote this. Zircon Encrusted Tweezers, Montana, and Dental Floss Tycoons came to mind more than once. Anyway, I am once again left wondering where the Hell that came from?
I had serious issues with the ending. Must have re-written it 3 or 4 times. Still not sure.
(1302 / 1852)