The auditorium was a fairly large room, in the centre of the institute dome wth seating for over 200 people, at current it was occupied by about twenty, filling up, as these events always do, from the back first. Not wanting to stand out, Chris sat on the second from back row next to a brunette woman who was chatting quietly to a man wearing glasses and a short beard with a woolly hat.
"Hello, my name's Chris Tre- Chrissetti for this, any idea what all this is about?"
The brunette turned to face him and Chrissetti was pleasantly surprised how pretty she was
"Gayer for this trip, and this pretty man here is Dann, we know about as much as you, still Tom Biship should be starting in the next...5 minutes."
A scientist started to walk down the row of seats handing out name tags like the one he was wearing
"Sorry, I forgot to hand these out earlier, can you wear them at all times, please? 'Raa' said, handing name tags to Gayer, Dann and Chrissetti.
Over the next few minutes, more than 30 more people entered from the back of the hall, all wearing their nametags. One of the last was a spitting image of a younger Patrick Stewart, the guy who played Captain Picard! And to top it off his name badge identified him as 'Trekky'. He was holding the hand of a girl no older than 14 who was clearly grating on his nerves.
"Ok, ok, new game! I'll say a word and you--"
"Just be quiet! You've been doing this for two hours now, 'Muffs'!" Trekky said, angrily.
Eventually the lights dimmed and the curtains on stage opened to show a projected image of the Earth, slowly rotating
"Everything you know is a lie." A voice from offstage said, amplified by the room's speakers. An older man, with grey hair and glasses made his way onto the stage wearing a suit and tie, sudden;y Chris felt extremely underdressed in a T-shirt and jeans. "A lie which has been forced so thoroughly into the masses subconcious, that nobody dares to question it.
"This!" He said, jabbing a finger at the rotating Earth "Is the centre of it! Not the Earth itself but the shape of it!. We do not live on a blue ball hurtling through the cosmos but upon the back of a great disk, thousands of miles wide. This is what the Earth looks like!"
The familiar ball of the Earth slowly unfurled itself outwards from the North Pole, leaving the Arctic circle in the centre, the continents and oceans arranged themselves around it in a circular shape, the Antarctic ice stretched itself around the oceans like a cradle
The ice wall! Chris thought back to the strange expression on his letter.
"What I am about to tell you has been proven by the great Professor Samuel Birley Rowbotham, after whom this very institute is christened. He wandered the isles of Britain until his death in 1884, proving through easily repeatable experimentation why the Earth is flat."
Chris raised and eyebrow and sat back in his seat in wry amusement, the man was a nut! He listened for close to an hour about Flat Earth physics. How gravity didn't exist and was created by a 'universal Accelerator' pushing up on the Earth, how water was held in by an ice wall possibly hundreds of miles thick, how the sun and moon were 32mile objects circling over the equator until:
"Oh come on!" A guy from closer to the front yelled "You don't expect us to actually believe this bullshit, do you? Hello, we've got pictures of the Earth from space!"
"Which neatly brings me to my next point." Tom said "NASA, ESA, the Argentine Space Agency, the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, The Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization, The Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, etcetera, etcetera are all lies, dedicated in a mix of covert military research, producing fake space videos and pictures, faking rocket launches and, most importantly, lining the pockets of the creators.
"'What could be gained from lying about the earth?' you say? Space travel is impossible because it would require infinite energy to keep it accelerating against the UA. When NASA realised this, they had 2 choices, either admit to billions of US dollars wasted into a fruitless research or save face and fake it, investing the government grants into secret military endeavors and advanced image manipulation technology. As well as making a hefty profit. Soon, other 'space agencies' joined the scam.
"Could it be done? Of course, only a few people need ever know about the biggest deception in the history of mankind..."