The Story of the P’s    

with Introduction and Explanatory Notes by

            Dr. Lionel Dejean 

a short story by Stephen Baum


Bumbastories Inc. have obtained the following files which we hereby release to public view. They were sent to us by  a retired schoolteacher who calls himself George Packard. Packard claims that these files were transmitted to him via the medium of nano-wave, and the claim is that they come from the year 2125. Our own technicians have yet to fully understand how this transmission across time was performed. But having nonetheless fully transcribed all of the files, we proudly publish the following story in its entirety.

The story is called The Journey of John Marshall, which apparently is (or will be) a well-known saga or movie-legend for the people of the 22nd century.

 The actual story is preceded in the transmission by the following Historical Introduction, which appears to be a neuro-recording of a lecture delivered in the “Second Summer, 2125” to a class of university ”firsties”, or freshmen, history students. The lecture is by Dr. Lionel Dejean, who is, or will be, a prominent and highly respected historian of the early 22nd century.

 Delivered as an audio-line lecture-series to a class of American History 101 students, Dr. Dejean’s introduction and variously interjected explanatory notes and remarks, albeit pedantic and heavy-handed, nonetheless serve to provide a useful overview of some of the major themes of 21st century American history. Also, Dr. Dejean’s remarks serve (we hope) as a sort of introduction and guide to our story: The Journey of John Marshall.

We apologize in advance for Dr. Dejean’s instructional style. It appears that college professors of the future turn out to be no less pompous and stuffy than the present lot.


Historical Introduction by Prof. Lionel Dejean

It was almost precisely one hundred and one years ago – in the first quarter of the year 2024 – that the large P’s were first isolated. According to our best estimates, the small personality profiles (the small p’s) were first introduced into all Grid marketing operations and were plotted for the first time onto the early Net-Grid in 2017 (according to Ginsberg. 2118). But judging from the available disc and archeological data – and this, I must emphasize, is my own, personal judgment – the actual discovery of the large P’s was an entirely serendipitous event. Yes students, it appears that many of the momentous events in our recorded history are simple chance occurences.

In any case, the small p’s had been too data-rich, too heavy. A dead-end had been reached. Thus it was that once the 21st century hi-tech institutions (the HTI’s) extended the convergences of the small p symmetries – and then afterwards when they traced the additional convergences that were revealed with the mapping of the additional dimensions – the large P’s emerged. They virtually jumped off the screen!

Of course, screens in the beginning of the last century were actual physical screens and they were quite massive in many cases. Thus, we can understand that the emergence of the large P’s was made especially dramatic or “large”. Thus the name, or is that obvious? Additionally, the speaker modules were simply gargantuan compared to today’s nano-links and implants. However, we must not forget that back in the early 21st century, technology had yet to evolve to sub-atomic chips. The present generation of 5D environments and four-generation mind-tunnels were still unknown. I mention the technology because it is important for us to understand and to appreciate the impact of electronics in general on our history as a species, and in particular the impact that this original piece of technology, this creation of the triple P’s, actually had upon our grandfathers’ generation. It was clearly a milestone in history. Therefore it is very important that we tell this particular story. And, I must add, it is always (and in all cases to the best of my knowledge) a valid and noble enterprise to study history and to obtain a proper understanding of one’s place in this universe.

Unfortunately, our study of the 21st century is fraught with difficulties due to the destruction of records and files that occurred in the various wars and insurrections. But aside from the physical destruction, I must add, and quite notably too, that we have almost no credible commentary from the historians or scholars of the early and middle 21st century. And that is because there were almost no independent or “unconnected” historians left! Morgenstern* has rightly termed the 21st century the “Second Dark Ages”. The Grid, which by 2038 had become the dominant Net hook-up, was indeed a sort of black hole. Indeed, the Grid mimicked the galactic black holes in that the Grid absorbed and saved all input. Once everyone was connected to the Grid, independent thought disappeared.

Prof. Wilson of Greenland University has cited the “commercialized academic establishment” and the “psychology of mercantilism” that obviously were essential to the development of the early net-grid in the beginning of the 21st century. But once established, the Grid automatically channeled all thought and energy toward its own maintenance. The Grid was its own raison d’etre, as it were. In any case, reliable academic work by historians (and by all scientists in all fields for that matter) effectively ceased in the early years of the 21st century.

Now, since the revolution of 2068 we have resumed our study of history, of course. But it is clear to us now that the years of the late 20th and early 21st centuries were indeed a sort of Dark Ages in our peoples’ history. Indisputably, many remarkable advances were made in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, especially in chip technology and in time management/travel. And certainly the construction of the Grid was a formidable accomplishment. We cannot forget that. But the study of history, as well as any other pure scientific study of any kind, was not exactly encouraged by the Grid, to put it mildly. Pure academic study, as I say, essentially atrophied in the early 21st century. It is all quite regrettable, I suppose.

But to continue: By 2050 the first generation of computers as well as the old capitalist system of economics had reached its logical end. A new mythology, a new set of directions, a new orientation for the world-system, was needed. Consumerism, and the economics of constant growth could only go so far. The earth’s crust had been plundered and already lay half-barren. The world’s consumers, the human population base – 99% of whom were either connected to the Grid or otherwise under the “unanimity umbrella” – had been stimulated and out-wired for nearly three generations to want more and more consumer items. The physical health of the species together with their productive capacity – their ability to work – degenerated — just as the earth and the natural environment was becoming less and less able to sustain them. Eventually the whole machine was bound to run out of energy. And it did. But the creation of a new mythology is an arduous and lengthy process. It takes time to grow, time to take root.

Of course, the Grid was programmed to observe the onset of any new mythology and to thwart it. According to some revisionist historians, the Grid responded to that threat in the year 2040 by generating the PPP’s. My personal opinion, as I mentioned earlier, is that the discovery of the large P’s was serendipitous. In any case, the Grid was effectively rescued or extended for another twenty years by the P’s – nearly another human generation.

The PPP’s, the large projected personality profiles, once implemented, enabled the Grid to have nearly total control. For no new grid systems could be introduced once personality and free will (to use the old 20th century term) were deleted.

(Prof. Dejean’s Introduction, and the Story of the P’s/The Saga of John Marshall to follow)

Click here to go to Story of the P’s #2