The tension is palpable in the counsel chambers. Controller General, Sammy Theman (of Nurfworld’s western safe zone) paces the soft, spongy floor. Pausing for a moment, he rotates his left thumb (which has been in his mouth the entire time) and looks up. No one has uttered a word for several minutes as Sammy continues his pacing, considering the question.

“Ehm… ”

Theman spins around to face the Jr. Controller who just cleared his throat.

“Yes, yes Billy. I know. We will have to talk with the old man. And soon… right away actually. I’m just trying to decide exactly how to put this question to him in a way that… Oh there just isn’t any easy way to do this is there?”

The Controller General quietly answers his own question and looks down at his wet thumb. “How could they have let this go for so long?” He thinks. “How is it that no one knew things were getting to this level of… Danger!?” Sammy winces at even the thought of the word. No one on the counsel is old enough to have any memory of a time when such words were uttered at all, much less in public. After all, this is a society of safety, and these are its leaders.

“We don’t think such things.”

“What things?” asks Billy, confused by the apparent non sequitur. “My boss is losing it.” He thinks.

“Shit, I said that out loud.” Sammy suddenly sees his thoughts becoming a feedback loop of self recrimination that will lead to panic if he doesn’t do something. And he can’t afford to panic. The others will think he’s losing it.

“I will speak with Chancellor Goodman right away!” Controller General Theman quickly declares in a defensive display of decisiveness. “This extraordinary problem requires extraordinary measures.”

Non committal murmurs of doubt and tenuous hopefulness permeate the chamber. Sammy feels tiny beads of sweat creep down the back of his neck. He nonchalantly wipes his entire head with his hand in a feeble attempt to appear deep in thought.

“What the hell did I just sign up for?” Sammy thinks as he heads for the chamber door. Fortunately, it will take at least an hour for him to get through the safety protocols and enter the nearly inaccessible office of Chancellor John Goodman.

He has that long to think of some way to tell him the truth.

Key elements of our nurf has failed.

Nurfworld is in…