Seven Lies a Week
rating: +46+x


"What do you mean, 'we're not live'?" Melanie Pendras resisted the urge to tug at her hair. It had taken them half an hour to doll it up for the camera. "A fucking asteroid is going to hit the earth! We have an exclusive story, and we're not live?"

"There's something wrong with the cameras." One of the cameramen tried adjusting the lens. "No audio feed, either."

"Son of a bitch. If those assholes at Fox report on this before we do…" Melanie shook her head. "Fuck it, I'll go on Twitter. The public needs to know that they're in danger!"

Upon opening her phone, Melanie Pendras's screen was filled with a spiraling, branching fractal that made her very soul hurt. The cameras came back on just in time to see her in the midst of a heart attack, the story about the asteroid forgotten.

In the corner of the studio, an anonymous production assistant looked down at her phone's screen and made her way towards the door.

Anchor cut. Kill agent was a bit extreme.

It's filtered. She'll live. Probably.
Egg crashed in the Pacific. It's expected to drown.

Cool. I'm heading out.
Want me to pick up some Cinnabon @ Times Square?

Watching my weight. Knock yourself out. Don't forget the gas.

The production assistant tossed an amnestic gas grenade over her shoulder. Upstairs, the station manager— the only other person who knew of this— was tripping out of his mind on bad mescaline. He'd be discredited easily, assuming the windows in his office didn't give.


"Heard you used to work back at 19." Agent Modelo moved around to the boot of his car, trying to make small talk with his partner. "What was that like?"

"It was all right, I guess." Agent MacElroy fumbled with his keys. "I got sacked from there. Apparently I had 'chronic kleptomania' and they didn't want to put up with me nicking shit."

"Christ, you've only been in England two weeks and you're already using the slang." Modelo chuckled. "Why flee across the pond?"

"Probably the one place in the world where I don't have any outstanding warrants, believe it or not." MacElroy opened the boot, revealing its cargo: one unconscious Member of Parliament. Poor bastard looked too closely at the UK's Black Budget. "Back in training, I heard this ludicrous rumor."

"What's that?" Modelo began lifting the MP from the car.

"Apparently, all amnestics are is prolonged torture and gaslighting until they admit they didn't see it. Bloody inelegant, if you ask me."

"Everyone gets fed that rumor when they go into Cover-Ops. It's to prepare ya for the real fucked-up shit we gotta do when amnestics aren't necessarily an option." From beneath the MP's head, he produced a digital camera. "Shit. He's sat on the tripod."

From beneath his coat, MacElroy produced a tranquilizer pistol and made his way to the nearby field. "Does it matter if it's a ram or a ewe?"

"Rams are more deviant, I think." He grunted as he pulled the man from the trunk and placed him on the grass. "Y'know, this tactic has been used so much it has its own bloody name."

"Do tell." MacElroy lined up the sights of his pistol with a ram. The dart sank into its neck, and it ran around for almost a minute, before collapsing.

"The 'Bugger Ewe' maneuver. That's 'Bugger E-W-E'." He said this as he pulled down the MP's trousers.

"I fuckin' love British humor." MacElroy laughed as he went over to the unconscious ram and propped it upright.


Making it so that someone no longer existed was almost depressingly easy in some parts of Asia. All you had to do was click, drag, drop, make a phone call. That person, and possibly their entire family, would be unpersoned faster than you could say "Orwell was right".

Liu had had to do this to six families in the last hour, and would have to do it to seventeen more before the day was up. All of them were exposed to something (she didn't know what, beyond 'it's anomalous') whose existence made the Party very, very unhappy, and an unhappy Party meant no Foundation collaboration. As it turned out, a sizable proportion of the nation's population was allergic to amnestics, so it would be a waste of resources anyway.

Liu would ask for a transfer to another office within a week. Already, she had lasted a year longer than most Cover-Ops agents working in this part of the world. She wasn't sure what that said about her.


Even in the frozen hellscape that was the Antarctic, accidents happened. The cold and the loneliness did strange things to people. You would undress even if you were getting frostbite, resulting in things like sunburn, hallucinations, or contorted corpses. That's what they said about Dyatlov Pass— classic hypothermia.

That would be the official line on what happened at the Argentinian station. The report wouldn't mention esoteric markings covering the building's interior, or the blood. It was easy to clean up at sub-zero temperatures — it would get to a point where you could peel it off a body in long, solid strips.

"Documentation's finished." The photographer picked up his tripod. "I don't know how hypothermia is going to explain all the bite marks."

"Let's leave that to the people upstairs." Agent Tavish picked up his large, metal shovel. He was so thankful that the hazmat suits were keeping them warm. "So, what kinda ritual is this?"

"I'm just here to take photos." The photographer shrugged. "The photos will be transmitted to your tablets within the hour. Until then, do not move the bodies. It could compromise the credibility of the scene!" The photographer made wild hand gestures even as he walked out into the Antarctic day.

"'Compromise the credibility of the scene'? Fuckin' creeper," Tavish muttered. He set back to scraping the bloody circle off the concrete floor.


"Oh god, oh shit, oh fuck, oh god, oh shit, oh fuck, oh god."

"Rookie. Breathe."

"I set the whole fucking block on fire! I only meant to get one fucking room!"

Agent Pereira slapped her new recruit across his face. "Listen to me. Everyone on the whole block was as good as dead already."

"Mãe de Deus, the screams…" The rookie leaned against the wall, watching the old buildings burn. "What have I done?"

"Probably saved the whole city. Once one of those hives takes root, it spreads far. Like, real far. I wouldn't be surprised if it had gotten the whole block already." She offered a cigarette. "You get used to a bit of arson working in this department."

"I-I just took this because I could be closer to home…" He took the cigarette and struggled to light it with his matchbook. It was the same matchbook that he just used to kill at least four-hundred people. "Can fire even kill that thing?"

"Probably." After his third attempt, Periera shrugged and handed him her lighter. "I think you may be up for a commendation on your first assignment. If we can confirm that it's been eradicated."


'Poacher eaten by lions' made for a great news story. It had that nice karmic feel to it. Also was a handy way to dispose of evidence. Regrettably, lions didn't find poachers to be very tantalizing prey. That's why you had to bring a wood-chipper and a couple of sirloin steaks to mix in.

"You sure you got all the bullets out?"

"Bastard probably already had a few in him when we put him down. I wouldn't worry."

"Have you never seen what a bullet does when it hits a woodchipper?"

"Fine, but you're cutting off the head."


"We're live in three… two… one." The cameraman mouthed the last word as the lights in the studio went high.

"Good evening, this is WLXO in New York. I'm Adam Schumacher, substituting for Melanie Pendras. Our top story tonight: Argentinian authorities are grappling with a second tragedy this week. In addition to the fire which ravaged several blocks of Buenos Aires, we have reports that several members of an Argentinian science team have died of hypothermia…"

In the corner, the production assistant held a fresh cinnamon roll in one hand and thumbed through her phone in the other. There was a ghost hunting show to sabotage, UFOs over Uluru to explain, and a vanishing (though thankfully uninhabited) island to conceal.

The production assistant licked the sugary thumb-print from her phone's screen, and resumed controlling the narrative of the world.

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