“Our Motto is DYSTOPIA NOW!” was scraped into the wall above the wire-strewn worktable.

Every other wall in the room was covered in sound-absorbing foam, and the windows had blackout curtains.

One corner of the cramped cache stank of sweat and deodorant, the other of gun oil.

“Goddamn,” quipped the second to enter, pulling on a glove, “don’t touch a single fuckin’ thing.”

The first silently snapped photos before turning his attention to the plastic tub of swirling caustic liquid in the center of the room: “One guess where the laptop is…”

“Shame,” mumbled the second special agent, stooping to curl his nose at the tub’s fumes, “but, of course, we know what sites he was visiting.”

The first snapped a close-up of the swirling acid, “Yeah, Storm King radicalized another one.”

“We’ll get ‘im someday, kid.”


The Amazon Security Service agent pondered his younger colleague’s pause as he examined the sparse bookshelf. “Looks like he took his collection with him.”

All that remained was a heavy, ten-volume printout of the Discord User Agreement and three back issues of Inspire magazine.

As the older agent ruminated on memories of thrice glimpsing a copy of Bronze Age Mindset in the first’s belongings, the young man announced, “Printer parts in here too. Old model, before the backdoors.”

This broke the other officer’s reverie: “Didn’t want what he printed known.”

“Well, we sure a—sure want to know what it was.”

As the younger man bent to lift the tub, the older started and lunged, “Wai-!”

The tub of half-dissolved drives left the floor, and 34 milliseconds later, the atomized remains of the room’s contents crossed the street.

Later analysis of the dissolved, boiled, and toasted data recovered only half an MP3 file labeled “???dguns Are Bea?t??u? – ?HØØ???” and a long segment of a detailed log of steadily improving deadlift maxes.

The case was maximum-priority within hours.

Far from home, though not yet beyond their reach, braving the tides of a rough and poisoned sea, a young man with little more than a duffel bag of banned books and a jar of protein powder to his name pushes his hand-refitted sailboat south, towards a legend only hinted at.