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I discovered that it’s a tad difficult to explain the society of Full Metal Librarian in eight sentences—it’s tough to explain the Librarians in eight sentences. So it might take a couple of weeks.
But I can provide some general history that doesn’t necessarily appear in this story: in the decades since the Second Civil War (aka, the Ten Year’s War, the Theocrat’s War,or the Devil’s Rebellion, depending on who you ask)—and the declaration of total martial law in the chaotic aftermath of the bombing of Washington DC—the country gathered itself up and went on, as nations sometimes do, in a sort of reorganized, hypervigilant, militarized fashion.
With a lot of DNA samplers and armed librarians and a cyborg Press Corps.
As for the specifics that have ended up in this story: in a set-up that seemed like good idea at the time, I gave Charlie a cat named Gladys Breitbaum and made Reynard—who is my favoritest ever plausible infodump-generating device—ask why.
Charlie starts by providing eight sentences worth of background info:
“We got zero respect from the government, the public—even from the people who depended on us for damned near everything from contact codes to Net access,” he added. “And our budgets were cut every damned year. Never mind that libraries were the only civilizing influence left by then, or that without us, the whole democratic system falls apart because everyone but the rich would be too ignorant to vote. Not that most people used libraries for actual research, or even reading—”
“Anyway,” I said in a loud firm voice, “Gladys Breitbaum was a little old lady who defended her public library in Big Rock, Iowa, from a gang—”
“The Blue Demons,” said Charlie.
“—that was moving through from Chicago. They’d already looted or burned half the town, just for kicks, but when they reached the library steps, she held them off with a shotgun for six hours until the town militia was able to restore order.”