Friday, September 28, 2012

City of Tomorrow, Part 10

It’s said that Metropolis was founded because someone had a vision of the future.

I don’t mean to be coy.  Literally, someone had a vision of the future.  That’s what the City of Tomorrow was based on, an actual vision.  The initial days of feverish architectural design was meant to facilitate that vision, to bring about the necessary conditions that would help that vision come true.

What was the vision?  No one knows.

The Apex Club was formed, first and foremost, to answer that question, which burned at the heart of the secret conversation constantly murmuring across the streets of Metropolis.  If you listen carefully, you can hear it, even in the midst of the busy hubbub of workaday life, or at night when anywhere else the whole world seems to be abuzz with anything but matters of truth.

There’s a common misconception that the Apex Club is a scientific organization.  To a certain extent, that’s exactly what it is, but in a slightly more comprehensive survey of disciplines than you’d normally expect.  Mostly it emphasizes the human element, when normally science seeks to downplay our impact in the grand scheme.

But like the City of Tomorrow itself, the Apex Club doesn’t look backward but forward, attempting to make the giant leap to the future, and how humanity factors into that, dismissing the usual pessimism to envision life as it can shape change even in the midst of obstacles.

The main requirement for membership was measurable psychological levelness, which is to say sanity.  They didn’t want potential megalomaniacs who would derail their efforts or warp them.  That’s not something everyone thinks about.

They didn’t know it, but the Apex Club was very much like the original founders.  Sometimes those attempting to explore something are very much like what they’re exploring.

They sought to identify the individuals who had the potential to fulfill the original vision.  To put that another way, exceptional individuals came together to fulfill the vision of exceptional individuals by looking for other exceptional individuals.  Got it?

That’s why they cared about people like Jasper Finds and Charlie Varrick, and why they cared about the identity of the infant under the care of Celeste Montano, why they sought to recruit Martha Thomas, who was to be the last of their agents, who would answer the riddle of the infant and all the other questions, and quite possibly, the biggest one of them all, what exactly was the vision of the future that gave birth to the City of Tomorrow.

Am I talking in circles?  I’ve found that most times it’s necessary to do that in order to understand what’s going on.

Martha struggled to accept what was happening to her, especially the odd way in which the Apex Club chose to reveal itself to her.  In the weeks and months after learning the truth of the clinic, she no longer saw individuals, no longer trusted them, and to its credit the Apex Club realized that this was to its benefit.  Martha was the opposite of everything it had assumed about what it would take in order to solve the riddle.  The fact that she had such a hard time adjusting also meant that she would never be comfortable, and that would only force her to fight harder for her answers.

It’s true that she avoided answering the obvious questions presented her, but it also meant that she answered the ones that the Apex Club never expected to be asked.  That was what made her so valuable.

Martha ended up transcending what she was supposed to represent.  That had always been the goal.

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