The Shop (Stephen King)
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The Shop is a fictional, top secret government agency in the writings of Stephen King. It plays a central role as the antagonist in the novel Firestarter, the miniseries Golden Years, and the film The Lawnmower Man, and is an element of the novel The Tommyknockers. In addition, an offhand reference hints that it may be at least partially responsible for the events of the novella The Mist. In the film adaption of The Langoliers, Bob Jenkins tosses out a government conspiracy-based theory for the conditions of the plane and refers to the theoretical agency responsible as 'The Shop.' In The Stand, The Shop is tasked with stopping the superflu outbreak, which it utterly fails to do. The Shop is interested in the scientific research of what might otherwise be considered paranormal phenomena, such as aliens, immortality and psychic powers.
The formal name of the agency is the Department of Scientific Intelligence. In addition to research staff, the Shop also employs armed agents who typically work undercover and pursue their goals with an utter disregard for morality. King keeps the extent of the Shop's legal legitimacy, as well as the exact nature of its relationship with other government agencies, vague. The Shop's director in Firestarter is Captain James "Cap" Hollister.
King has stated that the name The Shop is a reference to Alfred Elton van Vogt's novel The Weapon Shops of Isher.
The Shop (in game)
The Shop in game follows most of what is detailed above.
They are known to take personnel from the Department of Defense. Said persons are declared dead or missing in action. Many have bombs implanted in their skulls for the ultimate protection of shop secrets.
The truth is The Shop is not a CIA project. They layer just enough CIA "flavor" on their operations so that if push came to shove the CIA would take the fall. The shop was a separate Black Budget project within the Pentagon.
The Shop was under investigation by Bureau-13. Their main office has been located in the Air Force wing of the Pentagon. Bureau 13 through the agency of Jennifer Ashby pushed The Shop and its horrors out into the public light. The responsible people were tried and convicted. It is not known if that is the very last anyone will see of The Shop. It has a tendency to rise again.
A common theme of The shop is people in it having sudden moral pangs about the ruthless ends of their changes and turning them out. Nearly all knowledge of the shop has comes from these sources.
- Psionic Warriors -- The aforementioned Firestarter and other like projects. The Shop closed and buried the project after Charlie burned them out. The location of Charlie is carefully unknown. We have a contact if necessary. Exposed in The Shop Trial. META: The events of Firestarter are considered mostly canon to the game.
- The "Batboy" -- Of World Weakly News fame. An attempt to make soldiers that can "see" in the dark. Batboy was an unqualified failure. The Batboy himself returned with the Greyhawkens after The Trial for Peoplehood. His departure was greeted with a full special issue of the World Weakly News that if it had a brush with reality quickly wiped it off and moved on. Exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Rusty the Dog -- Is now understood to be a Shop production, a project to make super dogs. The outcome of the project is unknown. Roody the super dog is the only other one to surface. Not exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Alabama Ape Woman -- Currently living with her guardian in Las Vegas under Bureau 13 protection. She is to all evidence a living homo habilis. How or why she was acquired/created is unknown. Exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Betty Ashby -- Another genetic manipulation building on the Batboy work. Betty is a Human-Mexican freetail bat hybrid and much better than the Batboy, but not perfect. She was released by her handler right before the scheduled "project end" which would have seen her cut up. Exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Project Salem -- Access to spirits of Algonquin legend, similar to the Irish Banshee. It resulted in one agent being prematurity aged keeping the thing from getting to the rest. Shut down by Bureau 13. Not exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Timmy -- An extremely strong telepath housed in an 8 year old. Timmy was the terror of his Midwestern town. His dominance of some people was to the point they didn't eat unless told to. Timmy was turned over to the Ane for rehabilitation. Exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Theodore -- A human-Kodiak bear hybrid. Theodore managed to kill or drive out all The Shop operatives and gave B-13 a good deal of trouble. From the record Theodore was suppose to be a super soldier. Teddy is a violent loon with a short fuse on his temper. Ane healers have managed to correct the loose wires in his brain. Teddy is not so much on a hair trigger any more. Exposed in The Shop Trial.
- War Dolphins -- No breeding had started. There had been some work on communication, eagerly taken up by more benign persons. Exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Jaguar Spirits -- An attempt to summon and control magical forces in Central America. It totally broke out and was controlled by Agents of Bureau 13. Not exposed in The Shop Trial.
- Wendigo -- A similar attempt to access and control a spirit called Wendigo. From all evidence they got the spirit, and utterly failed to control it. It took its due, and went back from whence it came. Not exposed in The Shop Trial.
The Shop Trial
In 2010 Charlie met with Jennifer Ashby on the Warp Drive Project grounds. While eating lunch and discussing mutual concerns Betty Ashby in her innocent way suggested breaking The Shop open, exposing all their secrets and taking the leaders to trial.
The two women looked at each other startled, from the mouths of babes if you will. This was done. Using Jennifer's legitimate FBI ties Bureau 13 peeled back the layers of deception. Surveillance had taken place already, and many shop secrets were known, but it wasn't known what to do with them. This was something to do with them.
The Shop tried all the usual DoD dodges, national security and so forth. President Russel was having nothing to do with it. He saw that it was exposed and ordered his generals to expose it. One general was fired outright. As Russel said on TV: This is not the fault of my administration, but it is the responsibility of my administration. Those that have committed crimes, for what ever reason, shall be brought to justice.
The Ane lent Jennifer their considerable PR department. Mission: Make every inhuman thing The Shop had done to mommies and children stick like hot glue. Things like Teddy, Timmy and Betty were plastered all over them. They made it stick and never let the public forget it. Worse, Congress smelled blood in the water and they scrambled over each other to care more about mommies and children than their opponents. The press gleefully danced in the streets with figurative DoD heads on their pens.
By the time the trial came down the public was clamoring for blood, real blood. The Shop masters were dragged into the court room before a hostile and vengeance minded public. The Shop masters got nailed to the wall. Life sentences of hard time were handed out. Justice was told to keep on the case. If the bastards appealed, nail them harder. The government also refused to pay the high priced lawyers as the activities of The Shop were not legal or authorized. Said lawyers evaporated when the time for appeals came down.
To date everyone put in jail has stayed in jail. The only failure of justice has been the Shop Mistress herself. She was found in her cell impaled on a sharpened broomstick. No one knows nutten.
The Smoking Ruins
That will not stop someone from starting the madness all over again.