“Abie Prinsloo. Welcome to the assimilation.” Akinyi Cisse said.
Assimilation. The word sounded cold and cruel, like a process carried by emotionless machines in a cold storage unit. Instead, families ambled across the wide expanse like they were on a field trip to the zoo. Smiles and laughs all around walking across the pristine tiled floors and glass windows, like the store fronts in a mall. Behind the windows were realistic mannequins of families, each of different races and each dressed in various garb – it looked like a store selling family clothing sets… or perhaps families altogether. He walked towards the first stall that featured a dark skinned family dressed in traditional Hausa-Fulani atteire, the sign at their feet read: West Africa – Peace. The male mannequin lifted its head and Abie jumped back in shock. An electronic voice rose from the exceptionally human-like mannequin, in a thick accent,
“Hallo friend. My name is Chidiebere Abuchi and this is my wife and our kids. We are living in peace here in Western Africa thanks to the power of assimilation. Crime has gone down by 75 percent, domestic violence by 82 percent and we have never been happier. Join the assimilation and make Africa whole again.”
“Wonderful isn’t it?” Akinyi asked from behind. Abie spun around and looked at the man before him.
“Is this what you mean by assimilation?”
“Of course. We seek to unite Africa and perhaps the world in the same way. Does it not make for a wonderful world to live in? No worries of crime or violence. You know your children are safe, your spouse is safe. You are safe.”
“At what cost? What part of ourselves do we lose?”
“What part of yourself have you lost Abie Prinsloo?”
“But… I haven’t been assimilated…”
“Of course you haven’t!” Akinyi laughed heartily and a few people turned to look towards them as they walked past. Abie for the first time flustered. He didn’t like feeling foolish and for a soldier it was a rare experience. Akini stepped up beside him, leaning in until their shoulders were touching,
“Not yet anyway.” he whispered. Abie recoiled, staring hard at the man.
“Don’t play with me.” He meant to sound menacing but it came out as a whisper and he hated it. Inside this compound, he was alone and on enemy territory. Even his military training didn’t prepare him for such a scenario. Aliens. It was such a foreign concept even in this age of technology and advanced warfare, where the enemy could very well be human-like robots that bleed oil instead of blood – the Terminator come to life. Yet humans were as close to discovering life on other planets now as they had been forty years ago.
And here he was talking to one.
“Indeed you are Abie. Remember that if nothing else, that you are in the presence of an extra-terrestrial and on the cusps of a new age. The age of assimilation. The age of peace.”
“The age of slavery.”
“Ha! Slavery? My great-grand father and his father once personally knew what slavery was and I can assure you that this is not what they experienced. There is no master and slave. No degrees of importance. We are all the same.”
“Except of course the extra-terrestrials in our heads.”
“We are more along the line of shepherds, no greater than the sheep. For what are we without them? Yet there has to be some form of authority don’t you agree? As a military man you understand?”
“These people are not sheep. Or soldiers.”
Akinyi waved him off and walked away.
“No matter, I’m showing you all of this so that you understand that we want peace as much as you do. The means we employ are far better than using weapons as you are so apt to.”
And yet it was a weapon he followed back when he was rescuing Bravo squad,wasn’t it. The little girl had a mechanical arm that was definitely a weapon.
“And what of the girl I met?” Abie asked. He hoped to gain some upper hand. Akinyi stopped and turned around.
“The girl with the metal arm. She…” Abie felt the memory fade, watched it darken as the clear image he had slipped away. He mentally fought against the fading memory.
“What girl with the arm?” It was the first time Abie saw a new emotion in the man. No longer calm and collected. Abie shook his head,
“Her hair was tangled with something like tentacles. They were attached to her metallic arm and…” the image was fading faster and he couldn’t grasp it until it simply didn’t exist anymore. He tried to picture it but his mind was coming up blank.
“What did she say? What did she do?”
“I can’t remember. I can’t…” Akinyi suddenly lunged at him and held on to his head. He was about to attack, a simple maneuver in fact, but a white hot pain seared the inside of his head. He screamed. The sound echoed across the mall and people turned to look for a second, in passing really, and carried on. Abie was far too preoccupied with the burning in his mind to notice.
“Gaaaah!” He felt liquid seep from his ear, spill down the side of his face and a moment later his ear popped. The heat stopped as suddenly as it had appeared. He attempted to keep standing but his legs felt rubbery and in the next moment he was on his knees. He managed to raise his hand to his ear and it pulled away wet with a thick black liquid. Akinyi above him was staring in sick horror and it felt as though the whole compound had been plunged into silence. Abie turned to see what everyone was staring at and he fell back away from the hulking black mass. Had that come out of his ear? That tentacled monstrosity. He didn’t know where it began and where it ended, just a mass of slithering black coils writing there under the light. It was almost as tall as the ceiling.
<Assimilation.> The thing said. It was the same monotonous voice that been in Abie’s head. <I fear there will be no assimilation here, only subjugation.>
<The moment we saw what Abie Prinsloo could do, and what he had done to our satellite, we had a feeling it would be you. That’s why we chased you.> Akinyi said, only it was the same monotonous voice that spoke. His mouth shut with a snap.
<So much work for little old me.>
<A necessity. You are here in our grasp and that’s all that matters.>
<Sadly not. I’m not the only one on this planet.>
<We’ll find the others too. It’s a matter of time.>
<Time you don’t have I’m afraid to say. While you were chasing me, the rest of us were setting up camp. Russia. North Korea. Germany. India. Australia. Ireland. Brazil. Mexico. Cuba. America. It’s already too late.>
“Too late for what?” Abie managed to ask, his whisper loud in the silence.
<Peace. As I said before, there will be no assimilation here, only subjugation.>
The creature raised it’s tentacles, a myriad of them all slick and oozing. Below them were more writhing coils, as though the creature was nothing but them.
<Oh lord> Akinyi cried. The compound was plunged into darkness. Abie listened to the continuous whispering slithers of all those tentacles moving around him, covering the sound of his short gasps. He felt them slither across his body, wrap around his arms, chest, neck. They trailed over his face. He struggled against them but they were too many, like he had fallen into a sea of wet, wriggling snakes. He tried to cry out and felt one coil over his lips, a rancid coppery taste filled his mouth. As he felt completely consumed, he heard the thing whisper in his head,
<Abie Prinsloo of Sector Swartkoppies, Southern Republic of the United Commonwealth of Africa, your presence has been requested.>
What happens next? Who knows? I don’t know either… but it is merely the beginning! *cue scary music*