Hilda, this is a wonderful record, but please remove the words noted and replace them as specified. —T.A.E.
It’s wonderful to see such a bright and interested audience! Thank you, thank you for coming to my lecture today, you elite few. I must sadly point out there have been multiple people caught sneaking into my presentations, so know that if you haven’t been approved
and paid the fee for the ticket, you will be found, and you’ll be treated accordingly. Therefore, if you’re a dastardly type who thinks they can learn from me for free, please exit via the main doors and no harm will come to you.
Wonderful. Let’s begin.
The Martian Conundrum. I often hear the words “how could we have been so blind for so long?” and “why didn’t you help more people?” My friends, those questions always make me smile. Blindness is a virtue. Deafness doubly so. I am glad people didn’t know about the Martians before their invasion. I am relieved they lacked the wherewithal to defend themselves! Oh, I hear grumbles. Discontent. That’s perfectly understandable, yes indeed, but note that I do not say “I’m glad thousands died!” That would be monstrous.
No, ignorance was a virtue in this case. For the Martians were and are — for we shouldn’t consider them gone but merely regrouping — just as tied to Aether as those of you in this room. They came here for Aether. They wanted it.
Ah, the big secret: Aether. It makes one feel rich to know it, no? Imagine if everyone knew that secret. Imagine if everyone had access to it. Imagine if everyone could change their face, shape, sex, and shoot electricity from their eyes! Farcical. The swarming masses do not need this power. They are not equipped to use this power. And I’m damned sure they could never understand this power!
And yet we hear from our so-called peers among the students, the pact, the order, that a better-armed population is a safer population. Imagine, if you will, the Martian invasion at a time where everyone uses Aether! Cities would be demolished, millions would die, and the Martians wouldn’t have to lift a tendril to make it so. Panic would be the cause, because without discipline, Aether spinning is a form of primitive panic. Man makes spark, man builds fire, man gets scared, man burns down jungle.
Let’s keep the fire to the people who
can afford to know how to use it, shall we? The quickly multiplying human race can do without the means to destroy itself.
Yes, I say it’s better the Martians invaded an unknowing world where we were the best placed individuals to undo the damage they wrought. Our primary affairs are unwinding damage, time, and other effects idiots among Tesla’s sycophants can’t foresee. Allow me to point you to Dunwich, raised from the sea as a result of our unwinding efforts! Expecting the unenlightened to manage such a feat is like expecting a marsupial to play the harpsichord!
I thought that would make you laugh. I’m glad it did. Let’s talk again about the Martian invasion, focusing on New York.
When the Martians hit Manhattan our first action was to assist in the evacuation of the island. We assisted those we could onto boats and across the bridges, but we were doing so with a plan. We wanted people safe of course, but we also wanted them to remain in the darkness of sweet ignorance. This was more easily achieved with them far away while many of our experts went to work, making notes of the people the Martians were scooping up, dragging away for experiments, and choosing to spare when they could easily blast them to nothingness. We found that common thread again: Aether. How could we in good conscience go to the American public and say, “the Martians are invading because of our devilish experiments?” They would rightly turn on us, even where our values are noble.
No, ignorance is always better.
As soon as the main body of people were evacuated or in hiding, members of our society were there in our dirigibles, engaging with the invading menace at head height. We let loose with our own weapons: gatling cannons, electroshock projectors, and such, and I want to tell you it was a glorious triumph, but no. It was more than that. Many ships went down, many of we Unwinders upon them, but those who survived discovered so much from our encounters. We were the first to discover the rearguard of Martians remaking our structures. The hubris! They had only just begun their assault, and already they were carving tombstones into the great buildings of New York.
I would like to spare a mention to the red weed at this time. While we span and used all the offensive forces Aether could give us in the skies, we unwound the sprawl of red weed as it made its way up the Hudson and across the streets and surrounding buildings. This was a time when our particular skills were much in supply, and the rewards we earned for our efforts were keen indeed. When you realize the damage done from the red weed in cities like Paris, it’s honestly a miracle we were there to stop it in New York.
For the newly arrived of you, you may be wondering what the red weed is, or what it does, you lucky neophytes. Imagine a mold that saps the heat and life from you. It can drain electricity from a cable, heat from a flame, and oxygen from a body. Some Aethernauts were stupid enough to use it as cover, but I can tell you immersing yourself in that material is tantamount to bathing in sulfuric acid: ill-advised. Unless you’re covered in red weed, in which case it’s worth a try.
Yes, New York was the site of our great triumph. While many Aethernauts fought a losing war on the other side of the Atlantic, we wound back the clock on those Martians before they knew what we were doing. It’s my belief that they knew, or correctly hypothesized, the powers of Aether before they arrived, with the exclusion of our unwinding. We have the ace, my friends, and that’s what made us heroes.
You will hear time and again how we could have saved more lives. You’ll be accused of analyzing the enemy when we should have just fought. You’ll be told that Edison’s Unwinders are more interested in filling our pockets in exchange for providing security to the fat and wealthy.
Do not let the words of the unenlightened swarm trouble you, my friends. Where they can only flail in the darkness, screaming their half-truths at us like deranged apes, we can
afford the best earplugs money can buy use our mastery of Aether for the good of humanity and leave them to their squalid fumblings at science leave them in blissful ignorance.
From The Speeches of Thomas Alva Edison
Trinity Continuum: Aether Serial Part IV, by Matthew Dawkins
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