Copyright © Mark Langenhoven
A collection of short stories seen from another angle.
They got together one evening to set the plan in motion. In the beginning there were only a few of them but that was sure to change with time. Once there were a few of them around, as there were now, then anything was possible. At any one time it was always possible to find a few of them, however, it was only once they got together and started seeing some strength in numbers that the ball started rolling.
Slipping into the alleyways later on, each of them had a mission. Each of them knew that they had to recruit another member for the mission by the time that they got together next time. Like Jehovah's witnesses they sidled up to their peers and slowly chipped away at their resistance until they gave in. If they couldn't convert someone quickly enough then they moved on. There were enough others to choose from after all.
The next time they got together their numbers had swelled considerably. They listened as the master plan was outlined to them all. The process was simple enough, they were going to split into smaller groups and spread out into the community, setting up more camps as they went along. During the entire process the importance of recruiting new members was stressed at every possible occasion. Nudging the person next to him one of the new group members, or cells as they were referred to officially, turned to him and remarked. "Seems to me like they think that the only reason we're here is to get new members. What do you think they are going to do with all these members?"
His cell member indicated that he was just as much in the dark. "The
only positive thing about this new setup is that we don't really have
to do anything other than recruiting other members for the cells."
"Yeah, that's true, the other wombats do all the work for us now."
They headed off together to their assigned area. "I'm glad we got assigned to this area, I like getting into the guts of the job rather than having to fool around with the brains up there."
"I'm easy. I don't mind where I end up. They seem to have a pretty solid plan worked out here. I reckon we will be living in the lap of luxury in the very near future."
"Well if everybody does their bit then things will work out very nicely indeed."
They continued chatting to each other as they headed off, followed by some of the others who were also assigned to their area. When they reached the target point, their cell leader called them together and went over the battle plan again. After the brief outline there were some questions from the crowd around the cell leader. "Can we expect some kind of retaliation some time in the near future?"
"No. We don't expect them to be aware of our activities until it's too late. By the time that they try to do something, we will have massive safety in numbers."
"What kind of weapons do you think they have?"
"At this stage they have no defensive weapons at all that we're aware of. Their only hope is to try to slow down our recruitment program. That is why it is essential to continue recruiting all the time."
"What other jobs are we expected to perform?"
"None. That's the beauty of the Program. We continue recruiting new members, and the stupid sods that don't want to join us end up working for us to supply all our needs. In the end everybody will have to join us whether they like us or not."
"OK, everybody lets split."
So, they split up again and wandered off to do their individual recruitment drives.
The next time the group got together their numbers had swelled massively again. Reports coming in from other cells showed that they were having similar successes.
Over the next few days, however, some other reports started coming in. They told of non-cell members collapsing under the additional work load imposed on them due to the recruitment drive by their Program. There was some initial panic amongst the cell members. This was quickly quashed by the leaders who calmly informed them that this was all part of the Program. The idea was to incapacitate the people who did not want to join the Program. If there was not enough support available for the cells then they would simply move out to other areas not yet reached by the Program. Their whole purpose was to recruit everybody and spread their message as far and wide as possible.
As time went by, ever more of the cells had to move from one area to another as the support structures gave way as per the Program. Once everybody was recruited to the Program then the second phase of the Program would be implemented. As yet nobody knew what the second phase was, but they all trusted the cell leaders implicitly.
One day, out of the blue, some distressing news reached them. It appeared that some deadly weapon had been deployed with a sudden viciousness, completely destroying many cells before they could move out. The buoyant mood that had been prevalent among the cells slowly evaporated as report after report of a deadly killer beam swept from person to person. The only good news was that almost as many of their enemies were being killed by the indiscriminate beam as their own troops. However, fresh enemy recruits were now pouring in every day from some point outside their borders. These new troops were more resistant to their recruitment efforts and were not battle-fatigued like the people they were replacing.
With the passing of time, more of their number were being decimated
by the seemingly invincible killer beam that scythed down entire cells
without warning or mercy. Although the enemy was also taking a severe
hammering, their apparent endless supply of new troops was starting to
take its toll on the Program.
Within the space of a few weeks, their numbers had been reduced to less than those found at the original meeting where they had formulated their battle plan. For the meantime they would have to lie low and wait for another opportunity to present itself before they could launch another attack. They had lost this battle, but not necessarily the war. Time would tell if they got another chance to attack. The formulation of a new Program was already underway.
"Well Mrs. Rogers, I have good news. The tests show no more cancer in your system. You will have to come in for checkups periodically, but you have definitely beaten it. Congratulations!"
He had been summoned with the usual signal from central command. His mission: Hunt down and kill. Central command suspected an infiltrator in their midst. Now it was up to him to find the infiltrator, eliminate him and then recommend procedures to repair any damage caused by the enemy agent. Sticking to the standard procedures, he started by searching central command. This system was instituted when they discovered that the enemy was capable of infiltrating central command in the past. Slogging his way through the entire central command, occasionally having to step aside from time to time to allow others to continue with their work, he eventually completed phase I of the assignment without detecting anybody that shouldn't be there.
The next phase involved searching the rest of the company. This was a much more lengthy process, but this was the most likely place to find his opponents. Looking for them required the individual checking of each person against a register. Known characteristics like date of birth and other unique identifying information had to be cross-referenced against the master list kept only by himself. The enemy's ability to disguise themselves as normal employees was their strongest asset. If they could remain undetected for long enough, then it was almost impossible to decide the amount of damage caused due to information lost via espionage or plain vandalism.
Working his way through his list, he could not find anybody that could not be identified positively. He continued with his work, updating central command of his progress as he moved along. He had almost reached the last sector when he found somebody that did not check out on the initial checklist. Asking for the unique codeword that he issued to every employee upon their first arrival, he received the wrong reply. This was the only confirmation that he needed. The enemy had managed to implant one of their aliens into the brain of the employee standing before him now. Pulling out his stun gun, he blasted the man into unconciousness immediately. Toggling his communicator, he sent a message to central command informing them that the enemy had been detected.
Getting down to the more grusome side of his work with precision and speed, he set about removing the alien from the brain. If he was successful, then the employee would carry on afterwards totally unaware of the problems that had befallen him. The next task was to identify the alien removed from the brain. If the species was correctly identified then it would assist him greatly in determining the damage caused. Some time later he grunted in satisfaction as he lifted the still stunned alien from the head of the man. He knew these types well. They were vicious vandals, causing the employee that they possesed to destroy everything that he did methodically. The positive side of the story was that they were not very imaginative. He would be able to repair most of the damage.
Calling the reconstruction team in, pinpointing his current location, he set about reviving the employee. Within minutes the employee was operating normally again. Heaving a sigh of relief, he informed central command of the successful elimination of the alien invasion.
Completing his search, he could not find any other employees that had been invaded. As an added precaution he issued new codewords to all the employees before giving central command the all clear. Before returning home, he handed in a log of his day's activities allowing their records to be updated.
Josh sat back from the screen with a sigh of relief. "Wow, I managed to get that virus just in time. If it had gone undeteced any longer then I might not have been able to recover all my files."