- December 28th, 2010
As some amount of time evidently passed, The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd grew familiar (as familiar as an amnesia prone unwitting ghost can be) with his new environs. Those environs spanned several acres of oddly shaped hallways, break rooms, lavatories (he spent most of his time in there, trying to coax secrets from the fixtures. Fixtures in these locales (the horribly bureaucratic, profit driven and impersonal) tended to assume the attitudes of their confines and, thus, were far from helpful, giving or entertaining, much to the chagrin of The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd... but he soon forgot about previous snubs and attempted comradely chatter again. Usually within minutes of his last attempt at good humor.), conference rooms and assorted testing labs.
The facility that Yoyodine Inc. runs in the drab and tetris shaped buildings in the complex and are devoted to such guberment and clandestine operations as Attack Zeppelins! (the exclamation point is a part of the name), Artificial Muse AI, "The Problem With Polar Bears" (after very troubling problems in a manufacturing plant up north involving Artificial Muse Manufacture), Squid Mercenaries (turns out, they have no loyalty. Only an intense and burning hatred for whales... no one knows where this battle started or which side could possibly win. Squid high command is willing to work with any organization to bring about the bloody, tasty end to all whale-dom), Interspatial Anomalous De-Chronification Transmission Protocol, Vast Arrayed Consciousness Wiping Space Lasers and "The Cure For The Common Cold" (Which is really an umbrella project for anything that "Cannot Be Named"). Little is known of this vast, corporate expanse aside from its fantastically tasty and popular "High Fructose Corn Syruprise! softdrink" (or, slated for release next Novectober: "High Fructose Corn Syruprise Harddrink -- FOR ADULTS!"). It operates mostly underground (very much like mycelium) and only arises once a project has reached maturity (has "bloomed into fruitfulness" so to speak) and can be monetized (or used as leverage). The corporate steering committee has not been seen since the ill-fated Bern Negotiation of 2074 where half of the attendees were forced to eviscerate themselves. It is said that all of the members reside in Canadia where they've been granted corporate immunity to local laws (although those laws are lax and tend to be pro-flora/anti-fauna, so skirting them is hardly a noticeable hardship). It has always been assumed that their motivations were financial (or at least merely narcissistic to the point of divorce from the natural order of things (which, really, isn't considered that much of a problem)). (But! If Ameridinians knew how politically intertwined the Canadians and Yoyodine had become, they may reconsider...
"This, my friends, is the the future of The Planet: You're either on board or you're swimming with the manatees!" He looked gently down and muttered, "Vicious, vicious manatees." A tear welling barely noticeable in his left eye. After a half second, The Prime Minister shook his head and returned to the task at hand. He reached back to open a red curtain (actually the same red carpet the VIPs had walked in on... Canadia is short on textiles) displaying a slick drawing his 4 year old had put together with paste and crayon (this being Canadia, their standards for boardroom presentations are quite a bit lower than ours).
Squinting, Jereth Denko of Yoyodine said, "Yes, well... it looks as though an ice cap has been placed over the Ameridinians, a few people are drinking from goblets in Canadia and 3 polar bears are feasting on people... or maybe just dragging them around while they still plead for death. Is that the gist?"
"Very perceptive! Yes. We Canadians are sick of being labeled a top-hat to Amerdine's head, a wastrel nation to be forgotten and pitied, an OREGON TO THEIR CALIFORNIA. I don't even know what that means! The injustices and disrespect we've suffered have only served to steel our will and drive our elite cross-country ski commandos to bloodthirsty berserker rages (thanks to some Yoyodine mood enhancement, as well).").
The Yoyodine Executives shifted a bit, placid smiles on all of them (which usually meant trouble; at least to the perceptive among us). The Prime Minister beamed, he had them in the palm of his hand. "Alright," Jereth agreed, "But you can't go this alone, of course," and he looked around the table at various faces not yet met/intimidated/negotiated with/suckered/or honored.
"Well, we won't tip our hand just yet, Director." The Prime Minister smiled coyly.)
While wandering a hallway, The Erstwhile Mr. Lundeguard walked past an unusual type. Dressed poorly and un-tucked, sniffling with a vacant but impatient stare. There was a receptionist that The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd wanted to have a chat at ("at" since the living didn't respond, so he just rehearsed pickup lines and pretended they were shyly twirling their hair and making breathy eye-contact).
"Hey." The gaunt gentleman said, annoyed. "Dude, what are you doing here?"
"Me?" Ever had a cast on, or a retainer or any part of your body confined for days if not weeks? At the very least, wake up with an entire appendage unresponsive to your will and the slow tingling that accompanies contact... movement? That feeling when the restraint comes off and you touch it. The fuzzy cottony feeling? The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd felt that in his head, the part that had actual response hadn't been used in so long he barely knew how to hear any more. "I, uh. Don't know. I'm just here."
"I get that. Do you know what you're doing?"
"I'm going to go talk to that girl." Not quite confident that the conversation was over, The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd turned to pursue his blond but she had disappeared down some hallway/corridor/shaft/or causeway. "Shit."
"No, do you know why you're still here? You've been dead for a while now, dude... you don't think there's a reason for that?"
"To chase blonds. That was sort of my life's work."
"Nope. Look, I'm privy to some odd communications and I think I owe a friend of yours at least a little bit. Come over here." Cecil (calling him the gaunt fellow or drab, or dirty or whatever is getting tedious, he'll introduce himself to The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd in a little bit, so you're going to know anyway, it's not like it's a big secret. You won't remember him, but he was a junkie that lived close to "The Hick." He's gotten a menial, junkie-type job at yoyodine emptying trashcans. But in the course of his employment has received several admonitions, stern finger shakings and outright demerits. After a certain number of demerits (56), one has to undergo "courier duty" which entails being put into a drug induced hypercoma and shifted into a sub-rational and wholly outside of time consciousness where you deliver corporate memorandum all over space and time. Being a junkie and degenerate, he tends to open said communique since no-one is (or can be) looking...) started heading down hallways between the bricks and up around time spasms.
"...After a while I got to like it," Continued Cecil, "Better than the stepped on satori and dilaudone I was getting from my 'friends.' Yoyodine knows how to make some transendental shit. Anyway, they project me into the time between seconds, sometimes you have to wait till someone isn't looking, sometimes walls will just open up to other countries. We're between everything, the smallest rocks always have room between, and the smallest units of time, eye blinks, heartbeats, there's always time between. So they send me all over, through shortcuts and lapses to deliver shit like this: "Cecil opened a pneumatic tube canister and fished out a scrap of mildewed yellow paper, "'Contract on Phenson yanked. Details Altered.' It takes me what feels like 10 minutes to get this across the world. Which, I guess doesn't seem like much, but I have to deliver, like, 600 of these things before they wake me up." He turned a corner and stopped at a door.
"What has this got to do with blonds?" The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd asked, scratching his neck uncomfortably.
"Nothing. Your friend, the Timmy Burger dude. He stopped by here for tests and they shunted him off to transform into a slug or something in an alleyway. He was my neighbor and he needs your help... looks like he's headed into something strange."
"Stranger than being a slug or a hypersexed ghost?.... Or a drug addicted dimension traveler?"
"Look, people are going to get hurt, I got you to this division, check it out. And here." Cecil handed The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd a note with an address. "He's headed there... some sort of big leafy garden a slug his size can't resist."
The Erstwhile Mr. Lundegaurd looked at the note and the lab door ahead of him. "So, what's your name? How do I contact you?"
"I already did more than I need to, jack-ass."
Fucking junkies. Never can count on them. Trust me, his name was Cecil.