Lisa let out a sigh as she walked into her office. She wasn't looking forward to today, but she hadn't been able to say no fast enough. However, she understood why no one else wanted to do this interview. Whenever some start-up came to tell them about a "revolutionary new way" to make TV, the idea was usually half-formed or a scam.
As she opened her office door, Lisa noticed that a woman was already sitting in the visitor's seat. Usually, she wouldn't let anyone enter until she was ready, but she could only presume that her secretary hadn't been around and the woman had just let herself in.
"Sorry for the delay," said Lisa politely. "Traffic on the bridge was a nightmare"
"Don't worry about it." Smiled the woman as she lifted a teacup to her lips. "It can be a nightmare." As Lisa sat in her chair she realized that the cup wasn't from her office, and it wasn't a travel cup. Meaning that for some reason, this woman traveled with a bone china teacup.
However, Lisa quickly shrugged it off. It wasn't the weirdest thing she had seen someone do. "So," smiled Lisa as she got comfortable. "What did you want to talk to me about?"
"My new production method," replied the woman. "I'm Miss Vixa, but you may call me Overmind. I'm the representative for Datics technology."
"Overmind?" Blinked Lisa. "Interesting stage name."
"It isn't a stage name," replied Miss Vixa as she glared a hole into Lisa. "It is a title."
"Right, right," nodded Lisa as she mentally sighed. The only thing worse than a startup pitch was a startup pitch from an eccentric. "So, what do you folks at Datics technology do?"
"Well, our focus is on physical resources." Replied Miss Vixa, her body language instantly softening as she gently ran her finger around the rim of the cup. Something about her was uncanny, Lisa couldn't put her finger on it, but something about this woman made her feel uneasy.
"Right. So, props? Cameras? What specific resources?" Asked Lisa.
"Actors and Actresses." Smirked Miss Vixa.
"Oh." Nodded Lisa. "I see, we tend to call them talent. But I understand that might not be universal."
"That's the problem," nodded Miss Vixa as she seductively winked at Lisa. The wink only served to make Lisa feel even more uncomfortable around this strange woman.
"Excuse me?" Replied Lisa, doing her best to stay professional. "I don't follow?"
"The problem is that the actors see themselves as something special. As opposed to another prop on the stage."
"That is." Mumbled Lisa as she tried to work out how to respond to the statement. While the woman had said something quite rude, Lisa didn't want to push it. "Not how we would put it. But please. Continue."
Lisa took a deep breath. At the very least, she could let the woman finish her spiel and then let her be on her way. There was no need to start an argument, especially as it would only keep this meeting going for longer.
"Our technology helps actors become more compliant. More open to direction. And makes them act perfectly the first time. Every time. All of the joys of flesh with the easy management of CGI."
"You've lost me." Sighed Lisa, realizing she wouldn't be able to quickly end this meeting. "What are you actually selling?"
"Peace of mind!" Grinned Miss Vixa.
"By making your actors do as they're told." Replied Miss Vixa as she rolled her eyes, acting like Lisa had said something truly stupid.
"How? What does your technology do? We already have an HR department. And that is staffed by people. Not technology." Groaned Lisa.
"But they can't make actors comply. They can engineer incentives that convince them to comply. But they can't make them comply. Our technology is a show of force. An irresistible option that they can't fight."
Lisa let out another sigh as she rubbed her forehead. Her head was spinning, she had no idea what this woman was going on about. But at the same time, she couldn't think of a way to escape this conversation.
"Okay," said Lisa firmly. "I think there has been an issue. I think I've been misinformed about what you're selling. I guess my secretary forgot to send me something. So please, can you give me a layman's explanation?"
"I suppose I can," sighed Miss Vixa as she stretched. "We at Datics technology are very proud of our new Nanoite reprinting technology. A series of small robots that reshape the victim's mental faculties and leaves them totally open to external suggestion and mental networking."
"Pardon?" Interrupted Lisa. "It what?!"
"Makes them suggestible and forms a crude hivemind." Smiled Miss Vixa.
"That sounds. Worrying." Nodded Lisa. "And not possible."
"Oh, it is possible!" Grinned Miss Vixa as she reached under her chair and produced a black box. She fiddled with the box for a few seconds before putting it on Lisa's desk.
"You're telling me that's it?" Chuckled Lisa, finally losing her patience with Miss Vixa. "I'm sorry I don't think this meeting can continue. This doesn't seem appropriate for our company and I don't think it can do what you say it can."
"Of course. I said that as well!" Laughed Miss Vixa.
"Really now? Miss Vixa. I feel like you're lying to me."
"Please," smirked Miss Vixa. "Call me Overmind." Miss Vixa pushed a small button on the side of the box, causing it to suddenly spring open. As it did, a load of black goop poured out of the box.
At first, Lisa was annoyed. She was going to have to spend hours trying to clean this disgusting mess off of her desk. However, before she had time to complain, the goo started to race towards her.
"What the hell?!" Screamed Lisa as she tried to quickly move backward. However, before she could scramble out of the chair, the goo fell into her lap. It was weirdly warm, almost the temperature of fresh blood. It made her skin tingle, despite the fact that it was only touching her clothes.
Lisa jumped out of the chair and started to swat at the goo, but it didn't matter, each time she touched it, the substance expanded out, covering more and more of her body. The strange tingling sensation growing more intense with each second.
"Don't fight," whispered Overmind's voice. But it wasn't coming from her lips, it was like she was speaking right into Lisa's head. "Don't fight. It is too late to fight."
Lisa continued to struggle. The goop had covered the entire lower half of her body and was quickly engulfing her arms and torso. Every part of her was starting to tingle and fuzz, it was like she had fallen into a pit of TV static.
Her legs wobbled as Lisa found it harder and harder to control her muscles. She stumbled and fell to the floor as Overmind giggled directly into her brain. "Don't fight it. If you fight it you'll lose all of your original personality."
"What?" Groaned Lisa as her vision started to blur. Her brain was spinning at high-speed, she could hardly tell which way was up and which was down. She felt disconnected, almost like she was melting through the floor and into the universe itself.
"Don't fight. I want some of that personality. And all of that knowledge. It will make the hive mind so much more delicious." Mocked Overmind's voice. Each word seemed to crash across Lisa's brain like a tidal wave of fuzz and static.
Her muscles felt weak and fuzzy. She tried to stand up, but she couldn't muster anything more than a small twitch. "Help," groaned Lisa. But Overmind just laughed.
"No," said Overmind into Lisa's mind. "No. It is too late. Even if I wanted to. Once this starts. I can't hold it back." Lisa continued to struggle, but the black goop was slowly swallowing her head, covering her eyes. Lisa could hear other voices echoing around inside her head. It was like they were chanting Overmind's words.
Lisa couldn't block them out. They were too loud. They were too persuasive. The tingling was also too intense, Lisa's body didn't feel like her own anymore. It felt like a glass tank she was floating inside of. None of her muscles would respond to her.
"What?" Gurgled Lisa as the goo fully enveloped her head. Her vision turned dark as she felt the voice grow louder and louder until it drowned out everything else.
"All hail Overmind." Echoed the voices in unison. Each sound ran through Lisa's brain, rewriting her synapses. She could feel her brain being remade as the goo fused with her. Her brain was changing but it didn't feel bad. It didn't feel good.
It didn't feel.
It listened to the Overmind and the voice of many.
It rose from the floor. Its body moving in time with the whims and words of the many.
"How do you feel?" Giggled Overmind.
"It does not feel." It repeated.
"What does it think?" Replied Overmind.
"It does not think. The many think." It said without thinking. The words felt like a memory. But the memory didn't belong to It. It was a memory from somewhere else.
"Follow me," nodded Overmind as she rose from her seat, lifting her cup as she did. It nodded, quickly falling into a rhythmic march as it started to follow behind the Overmind.
It didn't know where it was going.
But It didn't care.
The marching let It listen to the voices in its head. The voices felt like they had been in Its head for years. They felt natural. They felt right. With each step, they became a bigger and bigger part of It.
It was an it. It knew it was an it. It was one of the many. And the many all thought as one. It could feel its body fusing with the strange substance. It was its skin now. It was part of It. It was part of the many.
It followed the Overmind as she walked into one of the other offices. It knew the office, but before it could think any thoughts about the office's purpose, Its memories got absorbed into the many. The many owned all of Its memories now.
Overmind walked up to the desk and smiled. "Good day." She said firmly.
"I don't think we have an appointment," replied the woman sitting at the desk. It let its thoughts and memories be uploaded to the many. The many had to know that this was the head of the company. The person who made the decisions.
"We don't need one." Chuckled Overmind. "Because I've got an offer you won't turn down!"
"Who is that?" Blinked the woman as she looked at It. It took a second for It to realize that the woman wouldn't recognize It in its new body. It didn't have flesh anymore. Just shiny black material that shimmered under the lights.
"My pitch!" Chuckled Overmind.
"For what? Perversion?" Blinked the woman.
"We at Datics technology offer a droning service. That makes actors and actresses into obedient thralls, linked to our eternal hivemind so they can be operated like puppets." Explained Overmind as the chanting grew louder in Its brain.
"That sounds unethical." Muttered the woman as a look of concern formed on her face.
"But it will save you 98% on wages." Nodded Overmind as the chanting continued to get louder and louder and louder inside Its head.
"98%?" Gasped the woman. "I'm in! What do we do?"
"Nothing," chuckled the Overmind as she snapped her fingers. The snap echoed through Its mind. It could hear millions of voices cry out. It could feel the bodies of the many moving.
Images flashed through Its mind. Images of the many storming the studio, their new flesh reflecting the light as they charged around the building, spraying the black substance over everyone they came into contact with.
Security was helpless against them. They fought as one. They moved as one. They thought as one. Nothing could stand in their way.
The visions that flashed through Its head made it quite dizzy. But dizzy in a good way. It felt good. It felt good to be one of the many. To be serving the Overmind in every action. It could feel its memories of the building flowing through the many. Guiding them. Helping them strike perfectly and precisely. Helping them get every single person.
It was like electricity flowing through It. Every few seconds another voice joined the many. They were lost and confused at first, but they were soon absorbed into the comfortable writhing mass of thoughts and chanting that the many provided. The many was home now. The many were everything.
It was the many and the many flowed through It. It was not the owner of Its thoughts. They belong to the many. It was just a tool that could be used to improve the many, to help them spread themselves.
It could feel the echoing voices as more and more got added to the web of voices that made up the many, only to be smothered under the weight of the words that already existed in there. They couldn't escape. Escape wasn't an option. Only weak, trembling surrender.
"What is going on?" Asked the woman as the sounds of screaming started to echo through the corridors close to the office.
"Change. The winds of change." Smiled Overmind as she sipped from her cup.
It started to shudder, It was becoming overwhelmed by the new voices. But It knew it was okay. The Overmind would tell It if there was a problem. Instead, It let itself sink into the voices of the many. Joining the choir of chanting as the world went dark.
It just had to let the many guide it. To let itself get lost in the voices.
"Okay! Scene one. Begin." Shouted the Overmind. It suddenly returned to reality as its body walked across the set and approached the other one of the many that stood there.
"Hello dear." It said.
"Hello dear." Replied the other figure.
"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Asked It.
"I do not know. Why did the chicken cross the road?" Asked the member of the many.
"Unknown. The Overmind has not modeled such a thing." Replied It before letting out a strained laugh.
"Yes." Nodded the member of the many. "Knock Knock."
"Please come in. We have no need for privacy as we are one mind," said It as Overmind laughed uproariously in Its head. "A drone goes to a doctor and asks him for help with a medical issue. What does the doctor say?"
"Give up free will." Replied the member of the many.
"This is correct. The Overmind wills it," replied It as the Overmind's laugher grew louder.
The woman from the office looked nervously at the Overmind as she rubbed the back of her head. "You know," sighed the woman. "I don't think this really works."
"What do you mean?" Huffed the Overmind. "This is comedy gold!"
"I don't think our agreement will," started the woman. However, before she could finish her sentence, the Overmind turned and threw the contents of her cup at the woman.
The woman flinched, expecting to get burnt by scalding hot coffee. However, she quickly realized that she was now covered in the black goo that the drones were covered in.
It chuckled to itself. The many chuckled. They could hear her screams, but it didn't matter, soon the many would soothe her and she would become one of them.