I decided to go out in the herd. I usually tried to avoid it, as did most of the other Controllers, but I’d had enough. I’d always known that I’d been infected with a sense of empathy for the stock, but before I could report it and take precautions, it was too late. Somehow, I knew it would come to this.
I drove to a shopping mall on the outskirts of the city. The collective amazed me with their stupidity; motorists criss-crossing lanes at will, braking without warning, accelerating without reason. Some bedraggled-looking sap with a mangy dog stumbled into the road, then started an argument with the driver who, in all fairness, should have been his killer.
I parked my non-descript car in line with a bunch of other unimpressively blank cars and entered a supermarket. I glanced at my human reflection before the automatic glass doors whisked it away; too rugged, too haunted for a man my age. It was a living mask, and yet some of the experiences and horrors had started to bleed through to the surface. Another reason why I needed to disclose.
Inside the cheap metal building, I savoured the crafted assault on the senses; the commanding adverts, the over-reaching packaging, the numbing music. A semi-circle of laminate floor snaked through shelves full of crap, manufactured by slaves in far-off countries. My slaves – no, I pushed any thought of work away and started an anti-clockwise route through the store. The herd were thickest here, loafing around in a mismatch of clothes, unshaven faces and stupid hair styles. Pregnant women stomped around, strangely proud of the fact they were about to give birth to another suffering mouth and anus. Everyone seemed to be blemished in some way; a scar, a spot, a limp, bad breath, an annoying voice… I picked up a DVD and noticed the format, but not the words itself. Main points in bold, description in three sentences and no more, small two-syllable words, orange and blue colour scheme. All designed to, sub-consciously of course, please and entice the masses. Some thought that marketing was to attract consumers away from competitors’ products; in fact, it didn’t matter what product the herd purchased, as long as they purchased something and continued their blind consumption. A single product’s advertising was a pixel in the huge glorious consumer picture.
A small child barged into my legs and fled, carrying some shit toy back to his mother. Poor kid. If I wanted to, I could pick him up and explain everything to him – the slavery, the carefully-constructed lies, the messages hidden in media outlets, all designed to keep people dumb, distracted, and poisoned. He wouldn’t understand, of course. Hell, I could explain it to his parents but they wouldn’t understand either. Their thoughts would be on house prices, or the next car they wanted, or making sure they were home in time to watch a TV program. I couldn’t blame them for being dumb; I’d helped make them that way. No, for them to realise, I needed to show them.
I dropped the DVD on the floor, uncaring whether anyone thought it rude of me, and looked at a toy replica of a weapon from a popular movie. £40. I tried to remember whether that was a lot in monetary terms, but I’d lost all form of reference. Money wasn’t actually anything. There wasn’t any value in a piece of plastic with some data encoded on it. Money was just a way for the herd to compare themselves against each other, and a way for the Agency to keep the world in check. When the earth was being belligerent, reign the money in, call in the debt, and send food prices up. When everyone was back in their place, release the financial grip, then repeat as necessary.
I walked up some steps next to an escalator. Escalators, lifts, automatic doors – it was a symptom of a cultural illness. Many overweight people were taking the easy route, their beady eyes filled with a look I knew too readily; hunger, desperation, and a little bit of fear too. I found that it helped me do my job if I hated these sweaty fat fucks, and that was something that came too easily to my mind when regarding their piggy faces and their greedy grabbing ways. I reached the top of the stairs, not really knowing why I wanted to continue “shopping”. Laptops and tablet devices stood out as if on parade, showcasing their amazing technological abilities. In reality, it was all horseshit. The cell phone in my pocket was more capable than anything that could be purchased by the herd. I prodded one of the display models, watched the menus flow by. It was more than most people needed. Or deserved.
A shop assistant walked by; she was beautiful, blond, glistening green eyes and a lithe body. We made eye contact and she smiled bashfully before passing me. My heart dipped twice; once because I found her attractive, the other because I was helping such an innocent and beautiful example of the race die.
I roamed the maze of consumer crap before descending back to the ground floor. More and more people were flooding into the building, and suddenly I knew this was it. This was the time. My life was now forfeit, my values long-ago killed by my superiors in the Agency. All that was left in this primitive physical body was my guilt, my anger, my self-awareness. I was going to end my suffering. I raised my arms above my head and drew in a deep breath.
“Fire! Fire!” I cried. Everyone stopped and looked at me. Good. With a quivering hand, I pulled my hair until the skin slid off my head like a sock. I looked at everyone with my real black eyes, felt the air pinch my exposed milky skin, and waited for the reaction to the real me, the reality of their reality, which was me. I was real. I was alien. I was in control – not their bank manager or Prime Minister or some crackpot military general. I was their leader and their greatest threat too. I blinked in the bright lights, which broke the spell for most. There was screaming. There was panic. There were people who started to video me on their silly phones. And then there was the ones I’d counted on being present, the ones that underlined mankind’s struggle with itself and its environment – the violent ones, those who didn’t understand anything other than physical harm, and so used it whenever a problem appeared. A small group approached me with shovels and knives, price labels still attached, and screamed at me. I killed them with a thought.
Now alone, I walked out into the rain. People cowered behind their vehicles, others pointed more cameras at me. I cared not. I knew I had ten minutes before others arrived; my colleagues to kill and remove me, the police and army to capture me.
“I am an alien,” I shouted in my high-pitched voice, now unmodulated without the living mask, “and you are my food source. Everything that you do is for my race. You are slaves, and you will die to feed me and my brethren!” There was silence except for the rain. “We control this world. I am telling you this because you should know that the world you live in is a lie!”
Black cars screamed into the car park and suited men – in actuality, Zetans like myself – piled out. Just behind, two army trucks stopped and real humans dispersed. I smiled; wait until the two forces tried to claim me for their own. My disclosure had just begun.