Ali was eager to be part of the con's first hivemind experience. She'd been listening to the preparation file every day for months. She couldn't quite remember what it said- the file was tricky in that way- but she knew she was responding more and more easily to the file's trance. Now, even hearing the gong that played at the beginning of the recording was enough to make her sink.
Ali made sure to arrive at the conference room a bit earlier than the scheduled time. The email had said latecomers would be locked out and she didn't want to risk tardiness. As she walked into the room, she noticed the other participants were seated on pillows in a circle. In the center, the hypnotist who organized the event was also quietly sitting on their own pillow. Everyone had worn white-something that had felt like a personal choice to Ali this morning but now seemed suspiciously influenced.
No one spoke.
The silence made the room feel cavernous.
Ali stared at the floor in front of her.
A few people straggled in right before the official start time. They also soundlessly took their seat.
At 4 o'clock sharp, Ali was startled out of her reverie by the loud bang of the door closing. She looked up and saw the hypnotist silently move from the door back to the middle of the room. Ali waited eagerly, anticipating some kind of an induction or command or cue but- instead, they just sat down on their pillow.
They closed their eyes.
Ali looked around at the others in the room who seemed just as confused as she was. Wait...what were they supposed to....
A gong sounded.
Her eyes slammed shut. She heard herself begin to recite the beginnings of the induction she had listened to so many times.
"Close your eyes and relax" she said, her speech perfectly matching the timing and inflection of everyone else's in the room. "You're already beginning to go into trance." A choir speaking in unison.
Ali's thoughts smoothed out as her own voice got lost in this sea of other voices, hypnotizing and being hypnotized. "It feels good to let go. It feels good to give in. It feels good that you can't resist us, " they were all saying.
Now she remembered fully.
"No one can resist the hive."