I was forging bones for a certain Eastern European dictator when the Angels of the Apocalypse found me. Vlad, as I'll call him (that wasn't his name), had a serious need for bones. Working from old dental and medical records, I sculpted skulls and partial skeletons from liquid calcium, to create atrocity sites that would discredit his political opposition. Discredit them so thoroughly that no one would object when he had them exterminated.
The Angels of the Apocalypse, however, had loftier goals. One of them—an obese man, running to sweat—explained it to me.
"We need proof," he said. "Proof that the good Lord in His infinite wisdom has not seen fit to lead us to."
"You need lies."
"In the service of Truth! We're not asking you to create anything contrary to what we know to be true."
Three million dollars later, I was in Los Angeles, putting the finishing touches on a tyrannosaur skeleton with stone spear points in his vertebrae and a hominid skeleton impaled on his teeth. Out on Como Bluff, a team of creationist geologists were prepping the site where they would "find" it.
"Doesn't it bother you, employing lies and deceit like this?" I asked, when the sweaty guy came to take delivery. "I doubt the founder of your religion would approve."
"We have no choice! Darwinism must be disproved. Soon! The End Times are upon us. We have only a few years before all life ends in total and universal nuclear warfare."
I smiled. "That's a little extreme, don't you think? The Soviet Union is dead. Who's supposed to start this nuclear war of yours? Pakistan? Korea?"
The fat man smiled back at me with the smug assuredness of the righteous. "Oh, don't worry about that. We have agents at Los Alamos working on it at this very minute."
© 2002 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.