“Akira could hear pitchforks hitting the pavement”
Paul froze in his tracks. Akira leaned on him firmly, pressing him towards the exit.
“No,” he said simply.
Billy-Bob and Lasseter grabbed him by the arm, tried pulling him off the balcony.
“Never underestimate the power of the right moment,” he said, spinning, turning back to face the crowd.
“What?” Billy-Bob, stunned.
“This is my moment,” he answered, lips upturned.
Paul raised his arms, the sleeves of his multi-colored robes swaying gently in the wind.
“I am your Christ. I am your Buddha,” He announced, raising his hands towards the sky, his fingers stretching toward the heavens.
Akira turned quickly, her defensive algorithms gearing up, expecting to see pitchforks hurling towards them.
“I am the resurrection,” Paul continued. “I am your truth. We are the nanosphere!”
A stunned silence fell over the crowd as hundreds of eyes fell upon Paul.
“Can you feel them?” Paul asked.
Billy-Bob and Lasseter exchanged glances. Shrugged.
“It’s absolutely sublime,” Paul whispered. “This is my exalted moment. Look at them Lasseter, Billy-Bob. You too Akira. Hundreds of souls falling into synchronization. They have little in common but me. Listen to their breathing. Listen to their heart beats. Feel their bodies and souls come together as one.”
Billy-Bob and Lasseter looked out upon the crowd.
“They are falling into a single rhythm,” Akira stated flatly. “Like one pulse. One heartbeat. It’s quantifiable.”
“Coincidence?” Billy-Bob asked, nudging Lasseter.
“No such thing,” Lasseter responded. “Everything’s connected.”
“These people are connected to me,” Paul answered. “Through the nanites. Connected directly into my mind. We are now one consciousness.”
“Welcome to the nanosphere,” Paul yelled loudly. “The merger of science, technology and spirituality is now complete. This is your second coming!”
Billy-Bob’s hand slid onto Lasseter’s shoulder, gripping it firmly, as he leaned in and whispered, “Is Paul starting to believe his own bullshit?”
“It’s not bullshit,” Paul replied, overhearing, moving only the corner of his mouth.
“It’s true, Billy-Bob. Science will never lead the masses to realize who they truly are. Will never lead the masses to true peace. I see this now as an absolute truth. Why had I not seen this earlier? Scientists are the ones who create Frankenstein monsters and atom bombs. The number of lives scientists take exceed the number of lives they save.”
Paul turned his back toward Billy-Bob and faced the crowd once again. The crowd, the masses, now moved as one, breaths and chests now heaved and moved as one organism, as if a giant whale had come to occupy the courtyard.
“Can you feel it, my children?”
“My children?” Billy-Bob repeated, his face contorting.
“Feel the peace, purity and wisdom emerging from our intertwined minds. Feel your neighbor as you feel yourself. When you hate your neighbor, you hate yourself. When you hurt your neighbor, you hurt yourself…”
A sigh came from the crowd sounding like a gentle breeze.
“…and when you love your neighbor, you love yourself.”
Silently, the heads in the crowd turned as people looked at each other, as if for the first time.
“I am your reality,” Paul continued, “The nanosphere is your reality.”
A loud whoop.
“I have no agenda but to set you free. Church leaders, politicians, those with agenda’s, are nothing more than salesman who lie and manipulate to enslave you….”
Paul inhaled before continuing…
“I want nothing from you but to save you from yourselves. I am your connection to the nanosphere. Through me, through technology, I will set you free!”
The crowd roared. Akira could hear the sound of metal pitchforks hitting the pavement.
‘We’d better pack up our nanites and get outta dodge,” Billy-Bob interrupted, looking skyward, watching what were once little black dots grow perceptively larger.
Black Hawk Helicopters. Getting dangerously close.
Paul lowered his arms and spread them forward as if to embrace the entire crowd.
“You got this?” His face turned grim as he turned toward Akira.
Akira met his eyes. She saw eyes that were once bright with hope become clouded with fear.
Without saying a word, she reached deep into her robe with her right hand, calmly removed a small object, cupped her fingers around it and placed it in her palm, then held it directly in Paul’s line of sight.
The sunlight glimmered off its reflective surface.
“I got this.”