NOTE: You might want to look at my Theme Reveal before reading this… then again, you could also just plunge in.
About This Book
Dept: Lighthouse Admin
(via iDictaBrain dictation)
If you have the clearance to read this text, you are a Lighthouse Agent. You may have gone on many missions through time on Lighthouse business; you may be a raw, quivering recruit. The authors of this text do not know. Of course, you are, on the whole, more likely to be a new recruit than a hardened veteran, as time travel is extremely dangerous, and most of our raw recruits perish horribly before they become hardened veterans. They are then replaced by newer, rawer recruits. Really, we at Lighthouse Admin sometimes feel that we are just shoving all of you guys into a big meat grinder.
FUN FACT: A meat grinder was a device for pre-masticating animal tissue, used in the days before the advent of Synth-Flesh Vats — and of the protein-rich, perfectly textured, totally humane patties, composed of nothing in particular, that we all know and love today.
We feel that we have, perhaps, gotten a little off-course here. It is so difficult, focusing on this trifling little manual, when we ought to be toying with the destinies of men and nations, or monitoring the stream of data flickering eternally across the soothing blue screen of the Core Computer that thrums at the heart of the Admin complex, or catching up on our erotic correspondence, or something. Oh yes. You are statistically likely to be a raw recruit. Therefore, let us at Lighthouse Admin be the first to welcome you to your new, exciting career!
If you read your waiver before you signed it (which you didn’t; it is actually designed to ensure that no-one will read it all the way through, with its unattractive font, its strange frequency, its brain-shattering scrolling function, and its dense verbiage), you know that you are likely to be dead within a month or so of active service, and that quitting isn’t a legally-available option for you anymore. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? In fact, it is scary. But fear not! This handy A-To-Z Guide is here to help. It is an Interdepartmental effort, as we felt that every department in The Lighthouse, even the really creepy ones, had something to teach. The resulting text is a survey of the work of a Lighthouse Agent, and of the many surprising pitfalls that Agents may encounter in the line of duty. The A-To-Z format is supposed to lull you into a false sense of normalcy and safety.
FUN FACT: I am leaving that last sentence in, even though it kind of defeats the purpose of the A-To-Z format. The A-To-Z format was Jenkins’ idea, and he’s a total hater. One of those sneering, superior types, oddly sexually compelling, but bad for my morale and sense of self-worth. You know the kind of guy I mean? Of course you do. So anyway I’m leaving it in.
One further note, and then I am going to read some Swinburne and try to forget about your problems. Already, my iDictaBrain selector is hovering lovingly over the volume. But to delay a pleasure is to heighten it, and anyway I wanted to tell you about the language used in this book. It is written, wherever possible, in Early Digital/Late Pre-Digital English. This is not done merely to bedevil you; we also feel it will be good for you. People talked and wrote in approximately this manner for a good chunk of The Past. You must get used to it.
That, I think, is all I have to say. Goodbye, and good luck!