An essay by Blake Morely, as provided by Russ Bickerstaff
Art by Luke Spooner
We’ve all heard the stories and rumors about the shadowy company known as TranScend™. Any search for them online conjures up a pretty sinister picture carved out of breathless lies, rumors, and suspicions. Horror and anxiety over what the general public thinks they might be doing has overshadowed actual information on the company and what they really do. Ghost stories told around the glow of portable electronic devices have spooked enough people to get Congress to take notice. There’s been talk around Capitol Hill of looking into the feasibility of getting a committee together to discuss the possibility of launching another formal investigation into the company. This has made them understandably nervous.
TranScend™ has been meaning to set the record straight for some time. This is no easy task. The premium they’ve placed on client confidentiality has kept the public largely in the dark about who they are and exactly what it is that they do. To make matters worse, they’re so far ensconced in what they’re doing that they don’t have much time to concern themselves with the world outside their own operations. Journalists who come looking for information tend to get bounced around a lot. In and amidst all of the offices and sub-offices of the company that I have been routed and re-routed through, it has been absurdly difficult to get noticed by the company. Thankfully, I’ve climbed far enough into their good graces to put together this story. Chance and circumstance have awarded me the honor of writing about them. One of the company’s stipulations is that the final edited version of the story I write about them be no more than 2,575 words in length. (I am only kind of interested in knowing where they came up with that number and why.) Seeing as how I’m already well over 10% of the way to that limit, I’ll get on with it.
Carly Brown’s office is everything you would expect from someone providing an extravagant service to the ridiculously wealthy. It’s big and opulent. Choice areas of the office are occupied by abstract sculptures. Various bits of sleek, designer furniture have been persuaded to lounge around and look trendy. I make a point of telling Ms. Brown that it’s not what one might expect out of the office of some evil genius who turns wealthy people into gods to fulfill their twisted, power-hungry fantasies. She’s not amused by this. Ms. Brown is a very professional touch, right down to the conservative bright pink mohawk and tasteful designer tattoos along her collarbone. (Very high class.) “It’s a misconception that we’ve been battling for years,” she says. “I don’t mind the general public thinking we’re mad scientists here, but it’s always a little unnerving when fully-vetted prospective clients expect me to look like Dr. Frankenstein.” I wince a little bit as I know that I’m writing this piece for Mad Scientist Journal–a designation which quite nearly cost me the story. TranScend™ has had so many problems with PR that it is extremely reluctant to participate in anything written for MSJ.
It’s not surprising that people would have misconceptions about the company. If anyone tells you that they can create any kind of a universe for you that is tailor-made to fit your own tastes, you’re bound to think they’re crazy. You’re going to expect them to look and act the part. Granted, the next thing you’d probably do is ask to see a brochure. You’d want them to show you the courtesy of acting a little crazy (or at least mildly eccentric) beforehand, though.
“It’s not crazy to want a world that will fit you better,” Ms. Brown says. “It’s what all of us are doing on some level. Paint the walls a different color. Move the desk to the other side of the room–that sort of thing. As organisms, we are all trying to adjust the world around us to fit us better. It’s simple adaptation. We at TranScend™ are filling a basic psychological need for people to find a space where they feel most comfortable. We give those who can afford it the opportunity to fit together a whole universe that is designed to fit them like a tailored suit.”
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015 collection.
Blake Morely is a freelance writer and shadow figure living in Mad City who engages in odd jobs whenever they come knocking on his door. Anyone interested in learning more about him need only enter his name into a search engine. Outside his own writing, his life is a big, messy, unedited narrative, and he likes it that way.
Russ Bickerstaff is a professional theatre critic and aspiring author living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife and two daughters. His short fictions have appeared in Hypertext Magazine, Pulp Metal Magazine, Sein und Werden, and Beyond Imagination among other places. His Internarrational Where Port can be found at: http://ru3935.wix.com/russ-bickerstaff.
Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.Follow us online: