Geology and Success
The cover promised an article about Asian oil production.
Quentin threw the magazine into the pile. With students walking past, he read other magazines, other journals. He learned about Jupiter’s moons, the end of the Grand Glaciation just ten thousands years ago, and the miserable prospects for intelligent life in the stars. A long, dense article about the Black Bed Slaughter had to be read in full. A quarter of a billion years ago, events or some grand conspiracy had tried to sterilize the Earth, and that evil nearly won. One authority went so far as to point out that no known phenomena could be blamed, which left the tenuous possibility that extraterrestrials were culpable--alien adventurers disrupting the ecosystem with star drives and other powerful fantasies.
Quentin eventually worked his way to the article about Asian oil. Large photographs showed derricks and pipelines on great wastelands of sand. But what mattered was one modest portrait of important Persians, including the familiar face at the center.
But the caption was wrong.
Nobody named Fakoor was standing on top of that ancient, unlikely wealth.