The helicopter silently glided over dilapidated buildings stretching into the distance. It seemed to be a city of some sort but one that seemed foreign to Abie. He turned towards the man sitting opposite him who was also looking out at the destroyed city. Akinyi Cisse of Juluo. Here. One of them.
“I guess it is quite difficult to believe that a statesman would be one of them, as you so kindly put it.” Akinyi said, turning to face Abie. “Then again, you would think all these movies would make you look towards leadership first in the event of alien encounter.”
“It’s the most obvious.”
“So what’s your plan?” Abie looked back out into the open space. The city was fading into brown grassland.
“Oh… I thought you only employed ‘voluntary hosts'”
“As you are of course.” Abie remained silent. Now that he was once again faced with the reality of an alien being lodged in his brain, he couldn’t help imagine what its intentions were. It also tried save him. To help him escape and like a fool he let his own judgement fail them.
<I’ve also kept you in control this entire time.> The voice in his head said
“For what purpose? What reason do you have for letting me be?”
<To show you that we are not all the same.>
“Are you not?”
“I cannot speak for you, but we are.” Akinyi said. The grassland was making way to a fenced off area, tar breaking the monotony of grass where a compound came into view. Building sand, white stones and various machinery where scattered around the building where half of it was still under construction. It looked like a warehouse of some sort but it was difficult to say what it was for, considering the barren landscape around it. It was too obvious. The helicopter began to descend.
There were no soldiers or personnel when the helicopter landed on an empty parking bay. In the distance the sun was peeking from the horizon in an orange haze that lit up the area, making their shadows long. Only Akinyi and Abie stepped off the helicopter. Akinyi led the way with Abie following close behind. He knew he couldn’t escape, where would he go. He had seen no vehicles other than the construction vehicles and with that he wasn’t going to get anywhere fast.
“Where are we going?” Akinyi lifted his hand and twirled a finger. Behind them, the helicopter started up silently, the gust of wind it generated the only thing giving it away. Abie turned around and watched it fly off in the same direction they had come. Reinforcements? Was it fetching the creature he had shot in the guise of his old flame? Was it dead? He doubted it.
“Oh don’t worry, it will take more than just bullets to kill us, and yes, it is fetching our mutual friend.”
“For what? Where are you taking me?”
“You will see…”
Akinyi led him into the warehouse, where Abie noticed the large black and white billboard announcing the building of a mall. The name of it had been torn off on purpose it seemed, and only the date survived the tear: 2058.
“A mall huh?”
“Mall” Akinyi said, raising his hands to create quotation marks in the air.
“So what is it then?”
“A mall, obviously, but also a base of operations where we will push our plans forward.
“The assimilation plans.”
Abie wondered why Akinyi was telling him all of this, basically giving him the plan. If he were to escape he would have vital information should he go public. If he were to go public. If he could. Perhaps they would wipe his memory or force him to join. That made sense. He was already a “voluntary host” so it would make sense.
The inside of the “mall” was brightly lit, the skeleton frame stretching into the sky where the next floor would begin. Their footsteps crunched sand underfoot as they approached an elevator.
“An elevator. Of course.”
“We took most of our ideas from all the ‘alien invasion’ books and films that you humans created. I must say you are all very creative.”
Abie could only nod as they entered the elevator and Akinyi pressed the single button. Abie felt the slight lurch of the thing, it was an old fashioned elevator rather than the quiet modern ones. He thought of the invasion. What more would they need when humanity had given them all they needed, only this time there would be no hero to save them. No magic virus to destroy the super alien computer. No hero to foil the alien plot. Or perhaps he was the saviour, in the right place to foil whatever plot was in the pipelines; but what plot was it. He would need more information.
The elevator stopped.
“You do realize I can hear your every thought… right?” Akinyi asked. He stepped out of the elevator as the doors swung open. Abie remained still.
“There is no hero in this story my friend. Come along, we are almost at our destination.”
He followed. The alien in his head was transmitting his thoughts. It was so obvious how did he miss it. So caught up in the events happening around him that he didn’t think of that one vital thing when it was so obvious.
<Very obvious> The voice replied to him.
<Why didn’t you say?>
<I was prevented from speaking up. Don’t you think I would have tried?>
<I don’t know what you would have done.>
<You still don’t trust me?>
Abie wasn’t sure. He could. He should perhaps but… his thoughts were open. Bare. They walked down the narrow corridor, lit by gas lamps that Abie had only seen in history pictures.
“Are you allergic to modern technology?”
“Modern technology is traceable. Electricity. Wires. We don’t need any distractions right now.”
“Distractions from what?”
Akinyi didn’t answer and instead stepped aside to let Abie walk in front of him.
“You’re not going to knock me out are you?” He smiled. Wary.
“Of course not. We’re here aren’t we.”
“Hmmm.” The corridor ended at a metal door that swept open when he approached it. Abie stood for a long while. Unaware that his mouth was hanging open as he took in the sight.
“Abie Prinsloo. Welcome to the assimilation.”