A Day In The Life, Part 6: Calamity News

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(June 12th)

“Good evening, and welcome to Channel 6, Calamity News. ” The stirring background music fades away, revealing the shining silver desk at which the news anchors sat. “I'm Gary Liddal.” On the left, Gary gives a picture-perfect smile, his teeth glinting in the light, and resists the urge to reach up and slick back his brown hair again. It's slick enough. Instead, he shifts slightly in his seat, taking care not to crease his suit.

“And I'm Cara Randall.” Her almost-crimson hair pulled back in a ponytail, Cara sits ramrod straight as she looks seriously towards the camera. “Tonight's top story – a new diet fad is sweeping the city. But is it legal?” The screen behind her lights up, showing the towering edifice of Malefico. “Earlier this week, Malefico unveiled the latest in a long-lambasted line of food products from their Malefoodco line, which in the past has included such unmemorables as 'Peaches and Valkyries Ice Cream' and 'Uncle Phil's Squirrel Brisket'. Their latest food, however, goes by the name of “ThinkFit!”, and has a popularity that is rapidly skyrocketing, due to an unusual ingredient – mind control serum.”

“That's right, Cara.” His smile turning into a solemn stare, Gary turns his attention back to the camera. “Malefico claims that ThinkFit, an energy drink that sells for just over ten dollars per bottle, contains a mind-control serum carefully calibrated to make you psychically inclined to eat only healthy foods. They recommend one bottle per week, due to the effects gradually fading. Jack Lipson, head of Marketing at Malefoodco, says that the system is perfectly safe.”

With a flurry of sparks and stars, the channel cuts away to a pre-recorded press conference. Lipson, a portly man with the sort of mustache that you could really give a twirl, was in the process of waxing it as he spoke, exuding confidence (if not inspiring it). “We expect this product to be in every store in the country by the end of the month. I've just started trying it last week, and I've already lost ten pounds.”

Cutting back to the studio, Cara presses on cheerfully. “Of course, so-called 'miracle cures' are common in the diet world, and this one has its fair share of objectors. I believe that we have Jeremy Langley live at the mayor's office with Timebender, the renowned leader of the Patchwork Champions. Jeremy?”

“Thank you, Cara.” Sitting in the office, Jeremy looks faintly ill-at-ease next to the glamourous leader of the city's champions. Counting himself fortunate that his skin was dark enough that blushes won't show up, he turns to his personal hero, keeping his voice professional. “I have with me Amber Smith, better known under the moniker 'Timebender', who has more than a few safety concerns about this. Amber, I believe you were saying something about a grotesque mockery of human progress?”

“Pretty much, yes.” Amber takes the microphone that Jeremy happily offered her, looking towards the camera. “As a rule, everything that Malefico delivers has strings attached. And mind-controlling food? He doesn't have to announce that it's dangerous until right before he decides to use whatever insane triggers he's implanted in there. Plus, I'm not even sure it's legal to incorporate pseudotech into foodstuffs.”

“That is an excellent point, Ms Timebender.” Jeremy says, taking the microphone back. “Do you think that the SEA's representatives in the city will be likely to block production of this food?”

“I'd honestly hesitate to even call it a food.” Timebender replies. “It's basically just a drug. A mind-controlling drug, I might add.”

“There you have it, folks. If the SEA doesn't shut this down, it sounds like the FDA will.” Jeremy says dramatically. “Back to you, Cara.”

“Thank you, Jeremy.” Back in the studio, Cara is looking chipper. “We spoke with Malefico representative Doctor Ada Byron, the inventor of ThinkFit, was unapologetically blunt about the system's chances.”

The screen cuts to Ada Byron standing proud in front of a bubbling vat labelled 'Test Batch #6', wearing her trademark light blue worksuit. “We do understand the concerns that certain individuals have, and we would like to stress that we have the resources to tie any suits up in court for at least a year. Of course, that may mean that you'll have to buy as much ThinkFit as you can now, before someone decides that just because it happens to be made by a group of supervillains, ThinkFit must be evil. If everyone thought that way, we'd never have gotten Sprite.”

“A very interesting point.” Gary says thoughtfully, as the camera returns to him. “What do you think, Cara? I may go down and buy some after the show.”

Cara frowns. “Are you saying I'm fat?”

“Uh.” Gary hesitates, then laughs unconvincingly and turns his attention quickly back to the camera. “We'll have more on that story as it develops. After the break, we'll be looking at the proposed subway line cutting through the New York Undertown – will the Mole People allow it, or is this a prelude to armed conflict? We'll find out, after the break.”

The music plays for the cut to commercial, and the grip says “One minute, people!”

Gary turns his attention to Cara. “You know I didn't mean…”

“I know.” Cara says brightly. “I just love seeing you sweat on camera.”

There is a disgruntled pause. “One of these days, you will get fired. And I will laugh at your dumb ass.”

Cara smiles again. “We're back on already.”

“What?!” Gary spins to the camera, to see the cameraman shaking his head at trying not to laugh. He shoots a look at Cara. “Well played, Randall. Well played.”

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