The guards at the gate smile happily, but it’s transparent and forced, as if they smile just because they have guns and they know that people with guns who aren’t smiling are scary. Once inside, I clutch protectively the little card that hangs around my neck - the only proof that despite my utterly generic appearance I do in fact have a name. And a number, that’s emblazoned on my security pass as well. I’m number 11092426, as if there’s 11092425 people out there that I’m supposed to look up to.

I wonder if that meaningless amount we get paid isn’t proportional to the amount of work we do, wherever we do it, but to the amount of self-identity we lose; the extent to which our ego suffers in the name of some faceless corporation.

Still, as dreams die, others are reborn. Although the work I’m doing now may be meaningless to anyone but a few people, the project as a whole and the technology its descendants will create is nothing short of groundbreaking. It’s nice, I guess, to be part of a team that’s doing something that no-one we know of has done before.

And now I’m going home, to read a few more pages of the Mage: The Ascension sourcebook before I go to bed, just to keep up that nagging feeling that somehow, inexplicably, I’m on the wrong side…