The mayor stared down at the immense map of his future utopia that he’d unfurled across the desk in front of him. The tattered document of his grand designs nearly obscured the entire surface of the rickety old desk that he’d stolen from behind an arcade. The tattered document of his grand designs, titled “Colgate,” was spattered with drops of blood, sweat, and tears—not his, of course, but rather those of the people he would beat viciously with the rolled-up map when he was displeased or happy or utterly indifferent. The new mayor liked to hit things with cartography.
“Here,” he mumbled to himself, “I’m going to build a power plant. No. No, three power plants.” He jammed a stubby finger into an empty field adjacent to a school. “Then I’m going to run the power lines from here,” he traced his finger across the map, smearing it a little. “To here.” He jabbed his finger at the fire station. “Those firefighters keep complaining about not having electricity. I say if they have no electricity then there’s less chance of an electrical fire! Ha! Ha! Ha!” The mayor sat down and then stood up again right away, pleased with himself.
A voice from the doorway of his office disturbed the mayor’s self-congratulatory thoughts. “Mr. Mayor,” it said, “people are complaining about the lack of roads and some other essential services.” The mayor’s teeth began to grind involuntarily as he turned to face his obese secretary, Kevin, who was a huge fan of plaid umbrellas—not that this really mattered. “Kevin,” said the mayor, “people don’t know what essential services are. I’ll tell you what’s essential: building a police station next to the school. That’s essential. The monsters. I’ll surround ’em with power plants and police. It’ll be like electric fences. They won’t be able to leave. They’ll just learn all day, powered by the sweet glow of energy. If they don’t like it I’ll have them gunned down.”
Not for the first time, Kevin pondered how the mayor had come to power. It seemed as if he’d simply walked out of obscurity holding a giant map and ordering people around; the strange thing was that this behaviour had worked: everyone did as he said, no matter how ridiculous his requests became. This “Colgate” was being planned by someone with absolutely no grasp of city planning or urban sprawl management or even a stable grip on reality. There were only four roads in town and they all led to a rocket launching pad. It was madness. Kevin pushed the thoughts aside, grateful that his employment offered him so much time to peruse plaid umbrella catalogs (this is really irrelevant).
As Kevin stood in silence and the mayor tasted a stain on the map he didn’t recognize, there was a flash of light from outside. It was immediately clear to both of the people in the room that there had been a nuclear incident.
The mayor had ordered a nuclear plant built next to the forest arcology; the red pandas must have escaped and thrown themselves into the coolant pumps, as red pandas were infamous for doing. Normally interfering with the coolant pumps would at worst cause an immediate interlock safety shutdown, but red panda fur is extremely reactive to radiation and can lead to some kind of unscientific chain reaction that makes shit explode. These thoughts ran through Kevin’s head even as the skin melted from his face; the plaid umbrella he attempted to shelter himself with did nothing.