Peter and Michelle were dropped off by the front doors of MedicinaTech in the Toronto District.
“OK, you two,” the driver said with what was by now an all-too-familiar lack of emotion. “Here’s where you wanted me to drop you off.”
“Yeah, OK, thanks,” Peter told him. He and Michelle got out of the car and walked over to the front doors of his parents’ business and government. It was the early afternoon, so all the staff, informed of his imminent arrival, were in the lobby waiting to welcome him back.
He and Michelle went in. The acting CEO walked up to greet him. She also had that look on her face that seemed to indicate a lack of human personality.
“Good afternoon and welcome back, Mr. Cobb-Hopkin,” she said as if having memorized a speech, putting out her hand to shake his. “I’m Marsha Tenenbaum, acting CEO–“
“Oh, uh, hi,” he said, not shaking her hand. “Look, I’m sorry, but we’ve had a long, crazy trip here, and we need to go rest for a bit, OK? We’ll talk later.” He and Michelle went off into a small meeting room to be alone. They closed the door behind them.
All the staff outside, instead of being shocked at how uncouth Peter was, just stood there like robots, with what seemed to be meaningless smiles on their faces.
“OK, Michelle,” he said after heaving a big sigh. “What the fuck is going on around here?”
“Around here?” she said. “Around everywhere.”
“Exactly,” he said. “All of that–getting out of Leavenworth, going on the bus ride all the way to the Canadian border, getting from there in another bus to Toronto, then that guy…that automaton!…driving us here. That was all much…too…easy!“
“We’re escaped convicts,” she said. “We’re wanted…aren’t we?”
“Was there any kind of a manhunt…at all?“
“I know. It doesn’t make any sense.”
“All Bolshivarian carriers getting us through everything, everywhere, with no difficulties?”
“I thought they were all killed with the bug spray drones,” she said. “I can understand if a few of them survived, and are in hiding, but…”
“And the testing was supposed to have wiped out all the remaining carriers, or at least almost all of them,” he said. “But they’re everywhere now.”
“Far too many, it seems. I never thought I’d be feeling uncomfortable about that.”
“With no recognizable human personalities, either. I thought the emotional numbing of the vaccines was bad. This emotional numbing we see now is much more extreme. I learned from my year in Leavenworth that the army grunts don’t get the vaccine…because they’re already brainwashed into obeying the dictates of the ruling class; that’s why they show more emotion than the general population, though only hate and anger.”
“Yeah, I learned that, too,” she said. “But this robot-like behaviour of the new carriers–it’s disturbing. They don’t seem to have a will of their own. I’ll bet Valerie and Pat, Wendy and Sid have been taken to their homes with the same ease. We should contact them on social media.”
“Yeah, I’ll do that right now,” Peter said, getting out his smartphone. “I’ll tell you another thing: no only are there all these new carriers, including guards who were nasty to us and hated the Bolshivarians right up ’til the switcheroo, but you never see these anti-Bolshivarian types splitting up into pieces.” He began typing up a message on Facebook, then tagged Valerie, Pat, Wendy, and Sid.
“This is really weird,” Michelle said.
“OK, I just tagged all four of them with this question: ‘Did you all get back home with disturbingly unbelievable ease, your drivers all acting like robots with seemingly no will of their own?'”
Within a few minutes, Valerie, Pat, Wendy, and Sid all ‘liked’ Peter’s post, and commented ‘Yes.’
Pat added to his comment by saying, “I’ve experienced exactly what you’re talking about here in Milwaukee. All human automatons, these new carriers. No difficulty at all getting home. Just as you said, Peter: ‘disturbingly unbelievable ease.’ This is too good to be true, let alone to be good.”
Valerie, Wendy, and Sid all ‘liked’ Pat’s comment.
Both Peter and Michelle looked at his phone with fearful faces.
“Michelle, are the Bolshivarians controlling people’s minds? What do you think?”
Wide-eyed, she couldn’t answer.