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The Hard Sell
The Afterman Descension Symbol
Appears On The Afterman: Descension
Track 3
Length 4:39
Written By Claudio Sanchez
Produced By Coheed And Cambria
Michael Birnbaum
Chris Bittner
Preceded By Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant
Followed By Number City

The Hard Sell is the third song on the 2013 album The Afterman: Descension.

Lyrics Edit

I’m paranoid and sick of this world’s misconception of things I did
My language poured across this wrist in a metaphoric disaster
My guess, I’m missing out on the punch line
Unless this hanging noose is fitted to be all mine.

I stood by everything I loved
While you never understood me much

‘Cause there’s only one of me
And too many of you fighting over nothing
Oh, there’s never enough cool for everyone
And before you know it you’re selling out to be in

These eyes ungoverned are tearing us apart
Their ears forsaken have given up on art
Now, why believe in anything they praise
When one hand holds them the victor
While the other holds the shovel to their grave

Oh this ticket window has closed
Save your money, baby…
The next show’s about start
Where else can you get to watch this talent fall…
One by one they drop.
"I have the great privilege and honor to present to you today the last great visionary in all our beloved company. I present to you a man who brings new meaning to the ideas that we currently believe. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with my great respect I give to you, Mr. Sirius Amory."

Inspiration Edit

"The Hard Sell echoes the sentiments of Sentry, in the sense of so many people pulling you in different directions in this industry. No one in this band—or a lot of bands we know and respect—gravitated to music for reasons outside of an innate love for it. We started making music because, as cheesy as it may sound, it was, and is, one of the only ways to relieve ourselves of emotions that would otherwise just stay confined until they exploded in less productive ways. The need for validation from those who don't like what we bring to the table was never a concern because making music for them wasn't the catalyst to do it in the first place. The music we create is simply a result of what we are at any given moment. I'd rather just keep doing what we do and understand that if it continues to resonate with our audience, it just means we're doing something right."

StoryEdit

Upon returning to Valencine, Sirius is taken in for debriefing, but given the traumatic nature of his voyage, it's decided he should be given some recovery time. As many truths tend to be, Sirius quickly realizes the things he witnessed in the Keywork could create complications for the people of Heaven's Fence and more persecution for himself in the scientific community. Equally as important is the difficulty of coming home alive to a world who has already accepted his death. A great deal can happen in 547 days and Sirius has been mourned, his loss accepted by his friends and family, who've begun to move on. His entire return is a hard sell.

Sirius confides in his mentor, Dr. Allen Linkev, a man he's trusted for decades, who thinks of Sirius as his own son. Linkev believes the discovery could be catastrophic, especially for someone who may want to try to harness the powerful souls of the Keywork. Linkev cautions that for the public to know that an afterlife exists, that it's not what they have thought it would be and that their behavior in life holds no real weight on the after - could change the equilibrium of humanity, creating Fence-wide depression and potentially mass hysteria. Sirius respects Linkev's opinion, but wonders if he could use the discovery to help people transcend? Linkev argues that some things are better left untampered with.

Still, Sirius has given up so much to make this discovery, believing in truth so deeply that he put an irreparable strain on his marriage in the name of seeking it. Now he's expected to keep that truth to himself?

Recognizing Sirius's indecision about keeping the makeup of the Keywork to himself, the Prise decide to pay him a visit. They reinforce Linkev's sentiments, explaining to Sirius that he has stumbled upon a secret of the universe which only the Prise were meant to know. Entrusted with the duty of protecting the structure and all its mysteries, they would be forced to view any exposure of those mysteries as an open declaration of war against them. This is information of the highest security and though they can do nothing about Sirius having found it out, should he share it with the others, he must understand that he'd be firing the first shot in a planetary war which mankind could never win.

A press conference is held a few days later, to hear about the discoveries of this man who defied death in the name of science. Up to this point, Sirius has not been able to commit to keeping the secret of the Prise to himself, deciding he will know the right decision when it sits before him. An older brunette reporter from a Fence-wide news network poses the first question, "Mr. Amory, can you tell us about your findings?"

As Sirius stands before the sea of press, he can feel the excitement, almost electric in the packed to capacity conference room. Bubbling up even more steadily in the audience, he feels a different emotion emitting from the crowd: Fear. Fear of the unfamiliar, fear of what this scientist might have to say, fear of having to question things they held true. He knows at that moment, it is not his place to share what he has learned.

Sirius substitutes an algorithm, combining physics, molecular structure and chemistry to scientifically explain away his findings about the energy of the Keywork and its relationship to the colony. The research community is thrilled. This is a theory they can finally wrap their heads around... one that follows the scientific method and can be replicated on their terms. The mission is the biggest historical accomplishment for mankind. He is honored with the first of an award created in his name: The Amory Award. In his acceptance speech, Sirius watches the crowd smiling back at him, the pride on their faces, the hope they have in something bigger than themselves... and he knows he's made the right choice. The impact of his choices in his personal life, however, haven't proven as positive.

Meri has a difficult time handling the abrupt return of her husband, who's reentered her life suddenly and without warning, like some living ghost. Of course she's never stopped loving Sirius, but after dealing with the stages of grief and finally accepting a future of which he has no part; it's not easy to revert to what feels like a different lifetime. She's since cultivated a relationship with Colten, her knight-in-shining-armor from the bar. Colten, who never denied thinking Meri was the embodiment of his ideal woman from the moment he'd spotted her... who was patient with her indecision... who wanted nothing more than to discover everything about Meri with the same intensity Sirius had given to his work.

As the worlds at large champion Sirius' return, Meri struggles to find out where she falls in all that has happened. Would she appear a villain, leaving her husband; this hero who has returned as if he were a prisoner of war? Is love reason enough to backslide into a life that at times made her feel like she was on the outside looking in, when she's just getting settled into a new life where she is the epicenter? There are too many emotions for her to process, too many variables and uncertainties. And there is one more thing: It turns out Sirius is not the only one in the Amory family who can keep a secret: Meri's made a discovery of her own.

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