Red-eye flights were killers, and this one had been no exception. But Ian had needed to get to the company's main production office by tomorrow, so he'd bit the bullet and flown out. Luckily, Ellis had recommended a hotel that he said was the best stay he'd ever had, and looking at the bungalow style houses and the well manicured ground, it certainly looked good. As the cab's headlights played over the front desk building, Ian saw that even now, at 4AM, there was a bellhop standing at rigid attention at the front door.
Checking in was a blur to Ian, but it went quickly. The man at the front desk had been as efficient as the bellhop, though both of them had seemed a bit off. But Ian was far too tired to really put his finger on what it was. Since Ellis was a preferred customer, they'd held the room till now, and Ian was grateful as the bellhop led him to the bungalow and deposited his luggage there.
However, after the bellhop left, Ian began to hear a light buzzing. It wasn't very strong, just a faint sound not unlike a old refrigerator. Ian, however, was tired enough that he knew he could sleep through it, though he'd mention it to the front desk. He started to take off his suit, tossing his tie and cufflinks on the table and his coat over one of the chairs. But as he was unbuttoning his shirt, the buzzing grew substantially louder, and he suddenly felt like he couldn't stand.
Collapsing into a chair, Ian tried to make sense of what was going on. W
hat the? Why can't I seem to move? So tired. He tried to lift his arms, but after the final button on his shirt they just seemed to be dead weight at his side. I mean, I guess I could sleep here, but the bed would be better if Drone could get himself to move. Wait, why did I think of myself as Drone? What's going on?
Still on their timer, the speakers hidden in the room intensified the buzzing again. The sound was designed not only to disrupt the thoughts of anyone in the room, but also to subliminally insert suggestions to begin the conversion of the occupant.
Buzzing is so loud. Drone can't hear itself thing. No, I'm not a drone, I'm Ian. Why does drone keep on thinking drone? I, I mean I. I'm... I'm... Ian! That's right. Drone's former name was Ian. No! My name is Ian! I have to get out of here! Something is wrong! Drone has to- I have to move.
Through a titanic effort, Ian slid forward on the chair. But it was already too late. The next stage of the program began, and the large wall mounted television turned on, displaying a weltering series of flashes and whirling, spinning, fascinating graphics that Ian was looking directly at. What the?! Flashes... can't concentrate. Ian... has to move. But... spinning... who is Ian? Drone is not Ian. Drone... is drone. Does drone have to move? Voices say no, drone does not have to move. Drone has to watch and listen to the voices. Drone will comply.
Ian, his mind now lost, slid back in the chair as his programming washed over him.
Drone has no identity. Drone has no thoughts. Drone has no will. Drone is servant of master. Drone obeys. Drone always obeys. Drone's old life is not important. Drone will only remember old life when instructed by master. Drone will wear uniform. Drone will encourage others to come to hotel to be turned into master's drone. Drone serves master. Drone has no identity...
Three hours later, after Drone's mind had been thoroughly brainwashed, a new image came on the screen. Drone immediately recognized his master. "How may I serve master?" Drone said emotionlessly.
"Your drone designation is designated Drone I6. Once I have given you all instructions, you will go to the front desk and tell Drone S2 your designation and request drone chip injection. You will then return to this room, change clothes, and begin to act like Ian. You will carry out Ian's tasks in this city and then return to Ian's home. Drone P14, which Ian knew as Ellis, is working in your company to bring it under my control. You will assist him with that, continuing to act as Ian unless in the company of only drones or when speaking to me. Once that task is done, you will return to this city with P14 and any other recruits I send you and report here, so you can be rid of Ian and become my drone full time. Do you understand."
"Drone I6 hears and understands. Drone I6 longs for the day when it can serve master full time."
"I do to I6. Carry out instructions." The television switched off. Drone I6, formerly Ian, walked out of his bungalow, still only half dressed, rolling up his sleeve as he went to be implanted with the chip that would make these changes to his mind permanent...