The Santa Matrix Chapter 8: DISCLAIMER: Contemplation exercises pose certain risks

For the previous chapter, click here! For the first chapter, click here!

War now seems inevitable. It always has, but now more than in recent memory. Months have turned to years since the last Great Attack, and you sense another one is on the way. You can almost smell it. More importantly, you can hear it in the language of earthly media. The leaders are clamoring for some newfangled, sensational bloodshed — some cooked up foreign menace to keep the population distracted and outraged. Terrorism. TERRORISM. It’s all in the word — an existing within the word. We fear the meaning — and the hidden meanings within the meaning, — more than we know. Principles don’t sell as well as fear, and we buy fear by the pound.

Some of the better elves are concerned about how conflicts will impact operations. The very oldest ones, such as Ramshackle, inform the others that war needn’t slow anything down one iota. He urges them to link up with him psychically; Journey to their first time together. He knows a nostalgia trip will help distract them from outside concerns. He’s wise beyond his years, and he seems impossibly old. Each elf produces a different memory of meeting Ramshackle — such pure images found in semi-visibility clouds, with each little puff providing more information, intermingling.

Of course, some newer elves can’t stay in this state for long. Their meager minds are incompatible with a vast new Energy use. They also don’t see the memory as clearly; it’s like some foggy, befuddled TV program from their childhoods. Being an outsider, you can only guess at the full effects of such powers. You do know this much: They can change elf demeanor to an impressive degree.

It’s also a way to not be jaded so easily. You’re all in danger of that, given how you’re constantly living and working for an international holiday. For you, distraction is largely a question of the digestive system. Not only does food keep you looking like Santa, it is one of the few sources of merriment you’ve got.

Suddenly you hear an alarm: An elf has escaped! You drop your sandwich to the concrete floor.

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