Buy Glorbl! shrieked the billboards lining the boulevards.

“This all looks awfully familiar, doesn’t it?” said John.

Presented by Glorbl!” proclaimed a plaque at the corner of a building, long abandoned and beginning to sag under the weight of many years.

“I suppose it does, after a fashion,” Mary said. She shook her leg to free a flier (Glorbl’s the One!) that had been pressed against it.

As they continued down the road, they noticed that the density of Glorbl advertisements became newer, better preserved; the infrastructure was as well. “Looks like the middle was the last bit to fall apart,” John said.

The ad copy became more desperate as well: from Glorbl Needs YOU! to Please Help Glorbl Help You! to Glorbl: Too Big To Fail!. It had been pervasive earlier, but the city’s core was overrun with advertisements that were more vibrant in their faded greens, pinks, and yellows. In time, the place was practically wallpapered with the stuff, and the fliers and Glorbl promotional detritus was ankle-deep in drifts.

“What do you suppose Glorbl was?” asked Mary.

“Everything, by the look of it,” said John. “At least at the end.”

Mary nodded. “Evo One to Evo Mother, come in Evo Mother.”

The speaker on her spacesuit–required to filter out the poisonous methane atmosphere that everything on Eta Carinae IV breathed–crackled in response: “Roger that, Evo One. Status Report?

“Another extinct one,” said John. “Looks like this bunch was after something called Glorbl, or at least that’s what the translator makes of it.”

Roger that, Evo One. Come on back.

Just like Betelgeuse VII and its Ynyyxr, the Sklog on Aldeberan II, and Canis Majora Prime’s Vxleen, Eta Carinae IV had yielded a dead civilization that had gone into its grave relentlessly hawking itself to death.

“There’s a lesson here somewhere,” said Mary as they lifted off. She cracked a bottle of Vin Fiz Neo, downing it in great gulps. “But I’ll be damned if I know what it is.”

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