Achilles Anophtheis (Achilles revisited)

The director walked onto the stage, gingerly adjusting his radiation
mask in order to fit the microphone beneath it. His nervous cough boomed
through the hall. After shuffling the papers on the podium before him, he
began.

"Welcome ladies and gentlemen of the Pre-Apocalypse Archaeological

Society. We have called this session to impart to you a matter of the
utmost importance, a discovery of the highest order. As you are aware, our
teams have only recently been able to sift through the debris of the razed
cities of our belligerent predecessors, thanks to the efforts of our
colleagues at the Physical Research Society who, with the aid of Allah,
have made our task infinitely easier with the invention of a radiation suit
which allows our field workers to work even in areas of the highest
radiation concentration: the cities of what was formerly the United States
of America. The discoveries are literally pouring in, and we have our
hands full simply cataloguing the numerous finds. Our first find was a
small rectangular object, containing a spool of thin ribbon, which one of
our historians identified as what was known as a cassette. Simply put, it
was a device on which sounds could be recorded. From its small size, our
historian conjectured that it was of a type designed for recording the
human voice rather than music. Armed with this belief, we managed to
convince the Censor Society to allow us to reconstruct the primitive
machine to play back the message we hoped it would contain. They agreed;
on the condition that we did not do so until they had a chance to screen it
for the negative influences that caused the downfall of the last corrupt
civilization. They duly approved it and we are now ready for its first
public presentation.

"Before we begin, I would like to explain some of the terms used in the
recording, for those of you who lack the benefit of an historical training.

The tape is evidently the recording of a psychologist. You are all aware
that the sacrilege which led to the destruction of the Nuclear Age was
primarily caused by the decline in religious belief and values. A
psychologist was the person who supplanted the role of the confessor in
this blasphemous time. He labored under the delusion that the immortal
soul was accessible on a scientific, human level; and, like most of the
scientists of the day, impiously discounted Allah as an unnecessary
complication. We found an infamous saying which pervaded much of the Pre-

Apocalypse literature: \'Religion is the opiate of the people\'. Well,
psychology became the new \'opiate of the people.\'

The patient with whom the doctor is dealing with in the recording, has
been identified as a prominent businessman of the day. He is what was
called an arbitrageur. A man who specialized in dealings on their stock
market, a term I am sure all of you are familiar with. In any case, an
arbitrageur bought and sold companies for a profit. In the few pieces of
literature we have been able to recover, it seems that such men were
regarded as the heroes of their age. I refer of course to the numerous
copies we have of the autobiographies of Donald Trump, Robert Campeau and
the like. Evidently the culture considered these books to be of great
importance, for we found huge amounts of them in large buildings. This was
apparently for safekeeping since the storage facilities were located well
away from the centres of attack in the event of a nuclear war. The
periodicals of the day also reflect the reverence in which these men were
held, as they are frequently mentioned. It is another mark of the
degradation of the society that the primary estimate of a man\'s worth
became the amount of money he earned. It is difficult in this holy age to
conceive of such blasphemy, but it is necessary that we do so in order to
avoid the same traps into which they fell. We have managed to reconstruct
the scenario as far as was possible, but we endeavored to retain all of the
original conversation in addition to our own narration. I don\'t think that
there is anything further that you need to know about the recording, except
perhaps that it appears to be incomplete. I would ask that you remain as
silent as possible, because the tape is of very low quality and the accent
is very difficult to understand. If you are having trouble, I suggest that
you follow along in the transcripts with