For several months of torture, the Directorate kept me in their offices, making me file paperwork on their "test subjects", all while I kept sending applications to the "Dead Zone tourism" branch, to get away from towering cubes of the Directorate, away from cities and transmitter towers that were slowly frying my brain.
Centuries of industrial pollution were inevitably changing the biosphere of our world and the Directorate knew it better than anyone, yet they did nothing to stop it, profit had to be maximized, production had to be increased, customers had to be satisfied. Holes in the ozone layer, irreversible changes in the atmosphere, radioactive fallout, wild-life mutations, the days growing darker and the sky turning black - none of this mattered to them.
These changes must have been so gradual that no single generation was able to protest it.
Everyone was happily, playfully, and joyfully ignoring the world outside of the protectorate city Domes and Directorate Cubes. Why bother with the environmental damage reports when the latest celebrity trends are so exciting?
Mercury in the atmosphere?
Pff, Fred Mercuro X just released his latest album available for download straight into your brain!
Satisfied and spoon-fed by ANNET 24-7 people begun to forget what the outside looked like.
The Directorate sold the Dead Zone as "Entertainment" and great fun was had by all, exploring ruined landscapes and documenting "strange beasts of the wastelands" on your mind-pad.
My transfer is finally approved! Such Joy.
Ironically, my only relief from my daydreams and nightmares is the Dead Zone. There are no ANNET transmitter towers in the Zone, except for the mobile transmitter in the All Terrain Vehicle, but it works like ass and the tourists whine about how they can't constantly mind-text to each other and have to resort to the "outdated" methods of "moving your lip muscles to communicate".
I will show you the World.
Scorched earth, shattered splendor.
Tell me, tourists, now when did
You last let your hearts decide?
I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
From the mountains of garbage,
To the glowing green seas.
A whole new world
Where the dead cities sleep.
We shall visit them now,
On an all terrain vehicle ride.