Interviewer: I understand you’ve been places and seen things no one else has.
Hap: I have, and there’s limits to how much of that I can tell you about.
Hap: When I was a boy and we went to visit my grandpa, sometimes I’d catch him drinking whiskey, or smoking a cigar. Now my daddy did such things with great regularity, but my mamma’s daddy was a preacher. If anybody knew he drank and smoked, especially grandma, all hell would’a broke loose. So when I first came upon grandpa drinking he let me know right away what would happen if I let his secret out.
Interviewer: So, the details of your adventures must remain secret because of some punishment that hangs over your head?
Hap: Not just my head, the whole world; so I just want to share a few bits, hoping to avoid the kind of troubles these other folks have seen.
Interviewer: Okay, how’d your adventure above the aether begin?
Hap: It was 1881, I was a reporter in Pittsburgh, and my boss sent me on a special assignment. Allen’s friends in the rail and steel business heard rumors of new metals being forged in a secret. They figured it might be like Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park, an invention factory. Only these inventions threatened their livelihoods and the ruination all of Pittsburgh.
Interviewer: And Pittsburgh still stands today, a monument to American industry. But I don’t recall any breaking news about such metals or the struggle between these mystery men and the steel barons; what happened?
Hap: They were right about the metals and secret laboratory, but they misunderstood the purpose. These folks were building a vehicle to travel beyond the sky, into the aether.
Interviewer: And you went with them?
Hap: I did, although at first they regarded me as an enemy seeing as how I was spying on them. It took the compassion of Regina Wells and a much bigger danger for the expedition’s leader to invite me along.
Interviewer: And what did you find out there?
Hap: I can’t be too specific, but there’s civilizations out there besides our own. They’re centuries ahead of us in some ways and many more behind us in others. That’s why I’m talking to you now. I want people to know how amazing and dangerous our future appears based on these people and the paths they’ve been down. Powers most profound lie ahead in our future and our level of maturity and responsibility must keep up, lest we too find ourselves struggling to survive in the wake of catastrophes born from greed, apathy, or pride.
Interviewer: And if you were specific about the civilizations you refer to they would…
Hap: Send ours into a new Stone Age before they’d let us get near them. Like a wounded animal, they’re on the edge of death and likely to lash out against anything capable of pushing that second foot after the first, into the grave.