“The Status Quo will stop at nothing to maintain the Status Quo.”
Whoop. Whoop. Whoop. Whoop.
The sound of approaching death grew louder as the black dots in the distance grew larger, finally recognizable to everyone.
Heads turned. The crowd murmured.
Paul felt control slipping out of his grasp. This could get dangerous. His first followers. He had to protect them. But how?
Akira spoke first.
“I don’t care about these people at all,” she said flatly. “They’re just insects to me. But these are your nanite infested minds, under your control…so you care, don’t you Paul…?”
Akira turned her attention back to the cell phone in her palm, fingers flying over the shiny black surface, not waiting for an answer.
The sound of the approaching Blackhawks grew louder. Paul turned toward Lasseter: “She’s right. Any suggestions?”
Paul sensed the rising panic as the helicopters got closer.
Lasseter didn’t hesitate: “Douse those brains with chemicals.”
“Chemicals?” Paul’s eyes bulged.
“Figure it out, Paul. You can do it. This is your first test of power and control. Own it.” Lasseter nudged Billy-Bob with a sharp elbow.
“Don’t hold back,” Lasseter went on calmly, “Hit those brains with everything…release the chemicals…”
Paul closed his eyes, turned toward the crowd, raised his arms high and concentrated.
He remained motionless far too long.
Billy-Bob watched as the crowd sat in unison, as one single organism, assuming the Lotus position. All looking ecstatic. All ignoring the threat from above.
“What’d you do?” Billy-Bob forced himself to remain standing.
“That was easier than I thought,” Paul grinned, the sleeves of his robes flapping in the wind. “I flooded their brains with chemicals…natural chemicals…Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin…they feel so good now they won’t panic…then I took over their cerebral cortex and planted the suggestion that they sit.”
Billy-Bob fingered his Glock. “How long can you keep them that way…?”
Lasseter interrupted. “Won’t take long for fear to override bliss.”
“Just give me more time, more practice,” Paul answered quickly. “Eventually, I will remove all fear from their consciousness. Even fear of death. Once I remove fear, they’ll be free. This will be my gift to all mankind.”
“Fear?” Billy-Bob echoed, pointing upward. “Right now, we have several very good reasons to be afraid.”
“They’re coming,” Akira responded. “The status quo will kill to keep the status quo…”
WHOOP. WHOOP. WHOOP. WHOOP.
Lasseter spoke quietly. “Akira, time to do your thing…”
The wind began to howl as the rotors from the Black Hawks created their own dust storm as they began to descend.
“What exactly is ‘her thing?” Billy-Bob shouted over the howling wind.
As if to answer, Akira nodded slightly towards the corner of the plaza, and Billy-Bob heard the sudden high-pitched whirring of thousands of drones skimming over the head of the crowd still sitting safely in the Lotus position, rapidly rising skyward, like a flock of birds or a swarm of mosquitos.
“If it’s digital, electronic, connected to the internet, has a man-made brain or electronic circuits, I own it,” she said.
Billy-Bob watched in astonishment as the wave of drones increased in number and headed straight for the Black Hawks.
“Something I learned from your Martial arts,” Akira continued intently, “If your enemy goes high, you go low. If they push, you pull. If they go big, you go small. In that way, you transmute their greatest strength into their greatest weakness.”
Billy-Bob shielded his eyes and watched the sky darken.
The drones were rising faster now, their fans whirring and whining, lifting them over the heads of the crowd and lifting them above the buildings straight for the helicopters. Drones of all types were in the mix. Toy, recreational drones that happen to be in the area. Police Surveillance drones that were recording Paul’s first appearance. Small and large drones. Copter and winged. Single Rotor and Multi-Rotor Drones. Fanned and jet. Some Police Drones in her net were even equipped with small guns to manage crowd control. If it was in the vicinity, it came. Her army. Off to do her bidding, like humans under Paul’s control would eventually do his bidding.
Akira ignored Billy-Bob and Lasseter and Paul and lifted her head to focus.
“And this helps us how, against them?” Billy-Bob yelled against the wind.
“Even with their weapons,” Akira answered, “Even with their guns, how many can they shoot out of the sky before these little Kamikaze’s clog up their engines and rotors, or take out their pilots?”
“Paul,” she continued, “Instruct your sedated minions to walk out of the plaza quickly but quietly before the explosions begin.”