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C2IP: The Agenda War IX

Mags and The Masked Man surrounded by fire and screams and blood.

Sugarcube used to love this town, she thinks, feeling her heart breaking again.

"The Mayor and the oil and the companies and the Law," the Masked Man shouts. "Drawing their lines and digging their holes and dispensing and withholding. This town's fortune and fate in their hands and everyone here is just a resource to them. Another means to an end. Sucking up life and love and dreams like the crude stuff and leaving ruined desperate husks. And Que will die and Mode and someone else will take their place. Let's call it The System. But the truth is there's no homes here, no jobs, no future without them.

"And the Wagoners with their hopes and their ideas and their ideals, doing what they can to get people well, keep them safe, make things better and stronger. Maybe make a change. Let's call it The Counter-System. All the ways they argue and fight it out. Who's using the schools and the papers and the places of gathering for what ends.

"Truth is, Maggie, and you know this in your heart, in your bones... It's all lies, all of it. This whole damn town is an infection, an open sore. This was free land once and a whole other people lived on it and with it and were murdered for it and enslaved. Omega Canyon, Temperance City, all the ranchers and cowboys, all the bounty hunters and Marshals, all the gamblers and the priests, all of it is a plague, a shadow, all of it rooted in native blood and suffering. If there's ever going to be any real future all this has to be torn down and burned away and the truth be owned and shared. That's the only way anything real is ever going to happen. 

"That's why the only safe place in Omega Canyon is Judgement Grotto. The only part of this cursed enterprise that's even a little bit real: the graveyard.

"So that's why we're here. We're finally going to make everything real and send it all to the grave."

Maggie understood it now. Understood why things were in crisis.