At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements.
I recently saw some of a documentary called Smoke and Mirrors. It's a fascinating history of the tobacco industry. They knew that smoking was deadly by the 1950s, yet still they promoted it, focusing on their bottom line rather than... oh, I don't know... phasing out something that KILLS PEOPLE.
This is the sort of thing teeming with what if possibilities...
What if you (or your main character) suddenly learned your livelihood was based on a lie? Would you give up your stability to do the right thing?
I have no idea if the link to the movie will work or not. Or if it's permitted to post. If there are any issues, let me know and I'll take it down. I was looking for a different link, but all I could find was the tape on eBay (for something like $100).