Short Story – Bewildered Herd #1: The Sting

01 - The Sting

“Christian my boy, check this out,” said Peter, double-clicking a video file on his laptop.  Christian watched the clip over his flabby boss’ shoulder, recognising the sultry half-dressed pop star but, naturally, not the song it belonged to.

“The inverted cross, numerous references to the single eye, the pyramid…. we’ve certainly dropped the ball,” said Christian after a few seconds of the clip.

“One of us has,” corrected Peter. “She even gave an interview that mentioned dreams of an illuminati ritual! Would you believe it?” He finished off the last of his box of donuts, sugar powder falling on his protruding gut.  “I can imagine Sebastian’s not going to be best pleased.”

“Isn’t he ever?  Still. It might not be anyone’s fault.  Her programming’s just gone a little haywire.  It’s rare, but it does happen.”

Peter rubbed his hands together, showering himself with more sugar.  “That twat Cain complained that his herd wasn’t responding to the subliminals.  I reckon he might have dialled it up to eleven.  Y’know, unleashed the supraliminal weapons.”  He waved his fingers in the air.

Christian checked the emails on his phone; if a whole shit-storm was coming down, the 33rds would be sending out meeting invites to the department heads.  Nothing so far, but the day was still young.  Each department had an amount of autonomy in their particular area, but potentially-damaging changes needed authorisation from someone up the chain. Sebastian Krul, as a 33rder, would have had to personally authorise the use of any powerful mental weapons. If someone was responsible for the pop star’s sudden knowledge of the Illuminati, heads would roll.

“Anyway,” said Peter, “how’s your policy changes coming along?  Are your flocks responding?”

“Better than expected, if I was honest,” replied Christian. “I’m using bad things as the driver behind an initiative to snoop all Internet communication in the United Kingdom. We released a couple of TV dramas about terrorism just to desensitise the herd, then prepped a couple of journalists to write a piece in the newpapers stating that these fictional attacks are possible.  Collectively, the herd shit themselves.”

“Loving your style,” said Peter with a wink, “and I can always arrange another false flag attack if there’s too much public resistance.  Y’know, man with a rucksack, somewhere public.”

Christian willed his imagination to be still; it didn’t help to dwell on the details.  “I’m also trying to use the recent riots to pressurise mobile phone providers to release information on instant messages.  If we were to stage another incident, we could use the same false flag for both purposes. A terrorist attack that was co-ordinated using instant messaging and emails.”   Again, he stopped the pictures in his mind from happening, concentrating on the words only.  There was a time, long ago, when Christian would lay awake at night worrying about killing innocent lives just to further the agenda – it wasn’t right. Except it was, in a strange way.  During Christian’s first orientation session, he was told that the population was a dumb herd, and, just like every other kind of livestock, they would die swimming in their own filth and ignorance if left on their own. Without rules and justice – and, yes, oppression – they would continue to rob and kill and fornicate, but on a grand scale that would eventually devolve the race. Control was necessary and essential in order to grow, even if it meant the sacrifice of a few alcohol-dependent, immoral proles once in a while.

Christian returned to his office and called a meeting with his team. In the plush conference room, they performed a quick greeting ritual, clasping their hands in front of them and muttering “my right hand resting thereon”, and then sat. Out of Christian’s eight team members, Lamech was the only one who displayed any kind of humanity. The rest were snakes, hailing from greedy families who were only interested in money, making money, and boasting about money. They were also power-mad, constantly trying to out-do each other – and usurp Christian too.  They were kings in their own kingdom, but Christian was their king, and then Peter Christian’s king, and then Sebastian.  Heaven-knows who the 33rds served.  Ever-increasing circles of influence, power, and responsibility.

Christian gave his team a quick summary to their uninterested faces, Lamech the only one making notes. Christian then got to the main point of the meeting, opening the email from Sebastian on the wall between them. It made no sense to him.  Nobody had the full story, no-one knew what was planned for the herd except for the 33rds. You simply did your job and tried to forget that humanity existed underneath the stats.  “Gentlemen, we have a task from the 33rds.” The team picked up interest at this. “We need to introduce a positive mind worm into the cattle, and so need to work out which of our available weapons will be best suited to the task.”

“Cool!” said Archie, a thin wiry nerd of a man with a large nose and watery eyes. “What is it this time? Nuclear power? Greedy bankers?”

“No,” replied Christian, feeling sure that this was a test of his team’s abilities, nothing more. “Bees.”

“Bees?” Lamech’s young scarred face stared incredulously, as did they all. “The flying black-and-yellow insect? Why?”

“I do not know.”

“I smell a test of our performance,” said Patrick Ford, not looking up from his phone.

“Regardless, we need to accomplish this subliminally, with little chance of anyone picking up the delivery, but as many people as possible getting the keyword.”

“What kind of penetration percentage are we trying to achieve?” asked Lamech.

“As close to total as possible, within the western areas, for a period of a few weeks.” The team muttered incredulously to themselves. Total saturation was usually reserved for preparation events, such as going to war or amendments to a law. But a saturation event lasting only a few weeks – about an insect – and in a positive light?

‘What about warning the herd about a new and deadly virus transmitted by bees?” said McDonald, an arrogant bear of a man. “The media would jump all over it, bees would become the top searchable term, everyone would be talking about it.” He spread his arms theatrically. “Mission accomplished. Ensure that I’m given full credit on your report, Christian.”

“No,” said Christian, “that method is not subtle nor positive. Just saying the word bee repeatedly is not the mission profile. We need to implant bee without the herd knowing it.” He smiled. “Listen next time, McDonald.  Or maybe you need the mission delivered to you subliminally?”

“What I meant was,” said McDonald, clearly embarrassed, “is that we release a drug called bee. Make it super addictive and super deadly.”

Christian sighed. “Nothing with lasting effects, for God’s sake! It has to be subtle and very temporary.”

“Temporary, but with huge saturation…” Lamech said quietly,  “…it has all the hallmarks of a musical delivery system.”

“A song about a bee?” said Ford, blowing into a hanky.

“Not quite,” said Christian slowly, picking up the idea. “We do a bit of word substitution, something like ‘Be mine’, have someone really trendy and popular sing it, should be in and out of the music charts over the course of the required time period.” He turned to Simon, unofficially known as the pop guru. “What do you think?”

“No problem whatsoever.” The dark-haired army vet turned his laptop around and gestured to a list of artists. Christian recognised a few, but he didn’t know how their songs went; The Orientation team warned against listening to music from pop bands, as they frequently contained mind worms and subliminals. It was music for the masses only. “These three artists are very popular right now, but if you wanted immediate and unquestioning popularity, then this group,” he brought up an image, “is the one which will fulfill our requirements. Their music is completely computer-generated, so priming it with a weaponised worm is simple.”

“Splendid!” Christian nodded to Simon. “I’m assigning this task to you. Can you get it done in a week?”

“Sure thing,” he replied. The group finished up and left Christian alone in the meeting room. Why a bee?  He looked at his phone, but there was no messages.  There was no-one to message him, no loved ones, no friends, which in his profession was an advantage as far as the department was concerned.  How did the others cope?  How could they carry on forging friendships and romantic entanglements knowing what they knew?  Christian dealt with it the only way he could; complete disconnection with everyone.  Still, there were some nights, sitting in his fantastic mansion surrounded by priceless paintings and rare artifacts, when he could almost reach out and touch the loneliness.


It was a dingy bar, created to let the herd relax after a hard day’s work, to let them smoke or play pool, to chat about whatever was currently interesting to them, which was whatever the Illuminati told them to be interested in. When Christian had become an initiate, he had expected to be denied all access to the normal world as a security precaution. Yet, surprisingly, there were no restrictions, other than not revealing anything about the truth. He could drink in bars, or go on holiday, or screw any of the herd if he so wanted. Anyway, it was surprisingly easy for the Illuminati to trace an information breach back to the source, and it wasn’t uncommon for a work colleague to suddenly disappear. Christian ignored the looks from the drunken locals and quickly found Peter sitting alone at a booth, drinking a tall beer.  Christian ordered a drink, sat opposite Peter and exchanged the handshake – completely unnecessary but borne out of habit. “What’s up, boss?”

“The usual,” replied Peter.  His eyes were half-lidded and his shirt creased and grubby.  He’d been drinking for most of the day, concluded Christian.  Peter had suffered three near-breakdowns since Christian has known him, and they had all started like this; the invite for a beer, a smattering of small-talk, then a leading question about the validity of controlling the world, followed by a rant about doing full disclosure. Each time, Christian had always talked Peter off of the ledge – so to speak – but Christian had felt compelled to report the last incident to Sebastian. In response, Sebastian had given Christian some extremely clear instructions to follow if it ever happened again, which was the reason Christian had gone home briefly after receiving Peter’s invitation.

Christian took a long draw of his drink, wanting to cut to the chase as quick as possible.  “Having a crisis of faith again, dear brother?”

Peter sighed. “Do you know what the maximum capacity is of the earth? Y’know, living without harming the earth?”

“Well, I’ve heard thirteen billion, but I doubt that’s true.” Christian supped his beer again. “The Georgia Stones state a total population of five hundred million in order to live in harmony with nature. I agree with that figure.”

“Which means that six billion people would need to be killed for mankind to be at harmony with the earth.” They sat in silence, a tune tinkling merrily from the TV. “You hear that?  More shit from our department no doubt.” said Peter.

“Of course it is,” smiled Christian. “It’s called ‘Emma Be Mine’. It’s the tune my team released last week. Number one in all the charts. God knows why the 33rds wanted that particular worm out there.”

“And we’ll never know. Sometimes, I think these ignorants are better off than us.”  Peter waved an arm in the general direction of the drunks.  “At least they don’t know that something’s going on.” Christian watched a couple arguing at the bar, clearly full of drink. “Are we any better off?  We know that something’s going on, but we don’t exactly know what! Are we in a better position than these proles?”  He downed a shot of whiskey that was hiding behind the numerous empty beer glasses around him.  “Ignorance is bliss.”

“Would you be happier not knowing?” said Christian, checking to make sure their conversation wasn’t being overheard. “Would you be happier not knowing about the false flags, and wars, and pandemics, and what news is true and what’s bullshit? Do you really want to live in ignorance, wondering whether the latest headline has been made up by dumb shits like McDonald?”

“That’s just my point,” said Peter. “What gives McDonald the right to tell these people false information anyway?  He couldn’t find his own ass with both hands, and yet his stories are spread throughout the world as gospel truths.  That ain’t right.”

“It’s just the way shit has to be,” replied Christian.  “We all have a job to do in this life.  This is our job.”  Christian tried to inject some venom into his voice, hoping that Peter was sober enough to pick up on it.  “You shouldn’t question your job.  Bad things happen to people who do.”

“Like Cain,” replied Peter sadly.  “Christian, something huge is about to happen.  Sebs is giving out some odd orders lately.  Procurement purchased two million airtight containers last week, each big enough to hold a man.  I saw an order for two billion hollow-tips and ten thousand assault rifles, destined for a base in Alaska.”

“So?  It’s probably business as usual stuff, or gearing up for a large training exercise.”  It would have to be a huge training drive, thought Christian – two billion bullets?

“We don’t have a base in Alaska, Christian.”  He took a long drink of his beer, his gaze never leaving Christian’s neutral face.  “But the most frightening thing I’ve seen lately is Sebastian requesting a report on epidemics and viruses. Infection rates, cures, collateral damage to the environment, and so on.”

“So?” It was time to see where Peter was going with this.

“I can’t order the deaths of millions of people, Christian.”

“You already have, Peter. Me and you both. People we haven’t met, innocent people, if such a thing exists.  However, remember that these are people that will kill us for the paper in our wallets. Don’t think of them as people, Peter. We are people. Not them.  They are too numerous to be classed as people.  They are not unique.  We are.”

“Do you really believe that, or is that the departmental training talking?”

“Of course I believe that.”  There was a time when Christian didn’t believe, but in the absence of God or a religion, logic became a salvation.  It gave him belief, with the added comfort of proof.  Christian liked logic.  “Take pigeons for example.  Simply because there’s far too many of them, they’re classed as a pest and exterminated as such.  What about rats, and weeds?  Once something becomes too numerous, it is classed as a pest and needs to be controlled and culled to prevent it killing itself and everything around it.  Mankind is too numerous, is now a pest, and we do what is necessary.”

“I don’t believe that.  There’s no difference between me and one of the herd.”

“You only feel empathy because you recognize the similarities between us and them.  It’s a trick.  They sound like humans, therefore you’re fooled into assuming that they’re human.  Cats meow to sound like a human baby crying, sparking the maternal instinct and therefore tricking humans into looking after them.  It’s exactly the same with the herd.”  Peter grasped his friend’s hand on the table.  He wasn’t trying to persuade Peter for the sake of his life, but for Christian’s too; if Peter did persist in becoming a whistleblower, then Christian would have to kill him, and if Christian didn’t kill Peter then Sebastian would kill Christian – or worse.  All the Illuminatis knew about the black projects in Dulce.

“You cannot be serious,” muttered Peter, moving his hand away.  “You’re a monster.  I need to disclose the Illuminati to the herd.  Maybe they can solve their own issues without us killing them.  Maybe.”  And that was that; the tipping point, the last signal that Peter was serious about coming out.  It couldn’t happen.  Christian felt his heart pounding, a remnant of the man he used to be complaining that he couldn’t go ahead with this, but his conditioning won over.  He was going to kill Peter.

“Well, we’ll agree to disagree for now, eh?”  said Peter as breezily as possible, and pushed his beer aside.  He stood and patted his pockets theatrically.  “Dammit.  I’m going to the store for some smokes. You coming?”

“Why can’t I just stay here?”  Peter narrowed his eyes briefly.  Did he suspect something?

“It’s not safe here alone.  Not for us, brother,” lied Christian.  Peter processed this, and then shrugged and downed his drink.  He staggered to his feet and followed Christian through the pool area.  “So how’s Sandra and the kids?” asked Christian, holding the back door open for Peter, allowing him to go outside in front of him.

“Not too bad.  Kids grow up so fast these days,” said Peter.  Christian let the door slam shut, plunging the alley into complete darkness, and pulled his Glock out of his jacket.  He’d killed before, but not a friend, and not so close-up.  Peter wasn’t a friend anymore though.  He was a threat.  He was one of the herd.  Christian raised the gun and forgot about his friend Peter, and  aimed at the traitor called Peter.

“I’m so sorry,” said Christian softly.

“What for?  No, wait!”  Peter realised at last that he had been setup and tried to back away from him, but Christian’s aim was true, even in the blackness of the alley.  Three shots and Peter was dead, gone from the world, removed from the privilege of the ruling class in the only way that ensured secrets stayed secret.  Privileged power was a double-edged sword that could cut both ways, mercilessly, all in the name of limitless power.  Christian quickly retrieved Peter’s wallet from his pocket before sprinting away from the crime scene and back to the real world, just as the bar door opened.  Emma Be Mine could be heard droning through the midnight air, a tribute to Peter and the work he had done.

Thousands of miles away, Sebastian leaned back on the plush chair and laughed at Chan’s shitty joke.  It was a false laugh, yet expertly timed for appropriateness, to convey camaraderie and friendship.  Personally, Sebastian wanted to kill the little Japanese pervert, but the man was vital at this moment in time.  Music tinkled in the background, cheap popular music.  Even though the Illuminati soldier didn’t know the tune, he recognised the mindworm almost immediately and knew it was the one crafted for this exact moment.  He hoped it had saturated through to Chan’s subconscious.

They were in one of Chan’s many penthouse suites, all panoramic windows and backlit red drapes.   Water features and small pools were dotted throughout the surprisingly large place.  On Chan’s lap, a young prostitute wriggled and giggled.  Her silken body had been hired by Sebastian to sate his guest’s desire for the evening and to make sure Chan remained in a receptive state.  She was very good, if the small bump in the businessman’s trousers was anything to go by.  Sebastian casually looked behind his shoulder at one of Chan’s armed bodyguards, who raised his gun slightly to remind Sebastian who was in charge here.  Sebastian nodded in response; it never paid to antagonize hired goons, although the serpent within him writhed in fury at this oppressive behavior.  Sebastian would exact a terrible revenge upon Chan and everyone connected to him once the businessman had fulfilled his use.  Hell, Sebastian would probably do it in person.

He calmed his passions and concentrated on the task at hand.  “I see you appreciate the finer things in life, my friend,” said Sebastian, “for example, my gift that is currently entertaining you.  Her name is Emma.”

“Emma, Emma, Emma,” replied the man dreamily, looking into the whore’s pretty face.  “She is truly special!”

“If I may trouble you for a moment, Chan” said Sebastian, “my clients require you to sign one of these forms in order to authorise a course of action.”  He pointed to the seven contracts on the table.  All but the second one would mean disaster for many of the secret department’s current machinations.  They needed Chan to not only go ahead with their plan, but to see it through to the very end.

They had analysed the usual courses of actions; assassination, financial attack on Chan’s company – until they discovered his huge criminal network – and even replacing him with a clone, but they all involved some degree of risk and possible compromise.  A mass mindworm within a pop tune ensured that Chan would at some point hear the song, and be subverted.

The man glanced over at the contracts, speed-reading the summary of each whilst keeping one hand on Emma’s breast.  The prostitute wiggled some more on Sebastian’s unseen command.

“Emma be mine.”  The businessman focused on the second contract suddenly.  “The second one is my choice.”  He scrawled his signature on the bottom, and a lawyer appeared from behind him to witness it.  “Now make it so, Mr Krul, and leave me to enjoy this fantastic girl.”

“Absolutely, Mr Chan.  I wish you good health.”  Sebastian rose and allowed himself to be escorted out of the heavily-guarded complex, again reminding himself to obliterate this building and everyone in it.  In his limousine, he fired instructions to his subordinates via email and waited for their responses.  His phone rang; it was Christian Player, one of Peter’s more able acolytes.   “Krul.”

“Peter has resigned.”

Sebastian couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. “You accepted his resignation yourself?”

“I was instructed to, if he called in sick again.”

Sebastian nodded to himself.  “I am impressed.  See me tomorrow in my office.  You are to take Peter’s place.”   Sebastian cut the call and mulled this over; Christian was certainly a brother to watch.


3 thoughts on “Short Story – Bewildered Herd #1: The Sting

    1. Thanks very much! If you want to read more short stories for free, I have a free book published on most electronic eBook stores, called Grand Theft Planetary. And it’s free – did I mention that? 🙂 Enjoy.

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