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“Having absorbed or destroyed every one of its competitors, OneiriCon begins to deteriorate. It is then that its Governing Executives conspire to create a number of puppet entities which would provide a degree of competition for the organization, thus reinfusing its lower-level executives and other conflict-driven personnel with a sense of purpose and staving off total degeneration. (The majority of OneiriCon's employees - the billions of AL's and even greater numbers of EU's - have existed in a benign dream state for so long that they seemed to require no external stimuli of any kind, although this remained a matter of debate among the organization's scientists, who are highly adept at providing themselves with trumped-up mysteries and challenges.) For a time Project Puppetcorps succeeds admirably, and some of the artificial corporate entities do quite well in the marketplace, or what is left of it. In the end, however, they too are absorbed or destroyed by OneiriCon. Unable to reconcile themselves to the prospect of terminal stagnancy for an organization that has always subsisted on the principle of ceaseless growth, many of the Governing Executives voluntarily submit to devolutionary brain surgery and afterward join the ranks of Noncon AL's. Others have themselves transported to the distant past, where they become slaves of a society governed by automatons, thus affording their competitive spirits new objects of resistance and a low point of orientation from which they can once again work their way to the top.”
Thomas Ligotti - “The Nightmare Network”

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