I started out of a doze and opened my eyes.

The lobby.  Shit, I’m still only in the SOE lobby.

I let my eyelids close again.

I’ve been here a week now.  Waiting for an assignment, getting softer. Every minute I stay in this building I get weaker. And every minute some developer compromises and writes bad code, the case against SOE gets stronger.

In the world of massively online gaming, everyone gets everything he wants, eventually. I wanted am assignment, and for my sins they gave me one, though they were dragging it out like a low priority trouble ticket.

I was going to the most out-of-touch place in the world, and I didn’t even know it yet.  Days away and dozens of miles through the highways that snake through the valley like a main circuit cable and plugged straight into McQuaid.

It was no accident that I got to be the caretaker of CEO & Executive Producer Brad McQuaid’s reputation, any more than being back at SOE in San Diego was an accident. There is no way to tell his story without telling my own. And if his story is really a confession, then so is mine.

A deep voice said slowly, “Kilgore?  Kilgore Trout, is that you?”

I opened my eyes and looked up.  It was Crosby, out of Community Relations.  What did he have to do with this?

“Hello, Kilgore, are you there?” he asked, making a play out of waving his hand in front of my face.  I squeezed my eyes shut one more time, shook my head as though I could shake off the ennui like a dog could shake off water.

“Hey Brenlo,” I said, using his game name for no good reason, “are they using you as a messenger now?”

“Oh no, Community Relations has to keep an eye on everything.” he said in his smooth baritone. “And Community Relations is very much interested in a little project you might be doing for… for all of us here at SOE.”

He smiled a soft smile then gestured with his head, “Come on, we need to talk with the action committee.”

I struggled to my feet as he turned and started to walk.  He did not walk towards the locked door that would lead to the inner workings of SOE.  He walked towards the front door.  As I watched, a bit confused, he gestured with his hand to come on.

I moved towards him, out the front door, and into the harsh afternoon light of San Diego.


~ by Kilgore Trout on May 2, 2007.

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