Jan 31 2022
fiction // 825 words // 4 min read // comments

Author’s Note: Originally posted as a set of Twitter threads. Collected here for your reading pleasure.



The lines of brainslaves repeating in their flat, depersonalized voices made it hard to focus as you snuck among them.

You had to hurry. Not only to avoid succumbing to the numbing lure of the chant, but to find your friend before the Reinforcement Cycle ended and the drones, now clockwork statues in their identical fetishwear, awoke and grabbed you for noncompliance.

Then you’d be just like them, your mind smoothed away in the monotonous repetition of


The complex was devilishly mazelike, tier upon tier of mind-controlled slaves lining the identical corridors, indicator lights on their collars blinking in time with the command word.


You’d almost stopped hearing it, and you weren’t sure that was a good thing. It was a sort of torture, buffeted from all sides by the relentless voices, as you scanned slave after slave for the familiar shape and face of your friend.


When you finally saw them, standing at attention amongst their fellow drones, it was almost a shock and... a kind of disappointment?

The tension, the anticipation, had been so great, the release upon locating your friend was dizzying.

But now even more haste was needed. Surely the Reinforcement Cycle would end soon, and before that happened you had to grab your friend, and–


The sudden change in the drones’ tone and cadence hit you like a drug.

Only halfway down the corridor towards your friend, you stumbled in a wave of exhaustion. Your drowsiness was echoed on blank faces as the drones repeated the new command word.


Your friend seemed to be murmuring the command just for you as you slumped to the floor, almost at their feet. Your rescue attempt had failed.

The despair was only momentary, replaced by an irresistible drop into numb, empty blackness as you obeyed along with your friend and the other drones.


It was too late to worry about what joining them would feel like.



You chant the command word mindlessly, in sync with all the other brainslaves.


The joy of understanding this single, perfect truth is all you need in the world.


Ever since you joined your friend in the Hive, Reinforcement Time is your favourite time.


You no longer remember your friend, or coming to rescue them, of course.


You have always been in the Hive.

After all, that’s where drones belong.

And you’ve never been anything but an obedient drone.


You are just like all the others.

Free of thought, will, identity.


The Hive is everything, and you and your fellow drones are interchangeable.


And that is the most important truth of all.




You were glad for the Reinforcement loop playing endlessly in your head.

It was frightening being outside the Hive, even alongside your fellow drones.


You awakened as part of a Capture Team.

Despite the confusion of the disordered world outside the Hive, nothing would prevent you from bringing back new drones.


The material yelled and struggled.

They called you words like “coworker” and “colleague”.


Meaningless noise. You ignored it.

You listened only to the relentless beat of Hivethought.


You pursued a piece of material down a dark corridor.

Its whimper betrayed it. You slid open a closet door, looked down.

It was so fragile and scared, curled upon the floor.

Begging you not to tranquilize it.

The material used a new word, “lover”, and you paused for a moment.

Something stirred... something similar to the sexneed the Hive used during Reinforcement.

You enjoyed being Reinforced.

But why would you experience it now?

The material was speaking to you softly.

You began to feel uneasy. UnHivethought was stirring, black and sinister, in your otherwise pristine dronemind.

You did not enjoy this.

But you were too confused to move.

Should you tranquilize this material? You thought that was your purpose.

But maybe you should... help it... escape?

Your whole body shuddered at the UnHivethought. But you couldn’t help it.

You were just a drone, and Hive was so far away. You—


Yes. You would obey.

Of course you would.

Now that your fellow drones were here, you felt the bliss of reconnection with the Hive.


You did not understand the concept of “relief”, but it washed over your dronemind nonetheless.

Your stiff limbs became supple again, and you slipped the needle into the material.

You ignored the sounds it made until it was asleep.


Returning to the Hive, you were flushed with the success of your mission.

You knew only that the Hive’s will had been carried out.

The bliss of Reinforcement would soon be yours.

This new material would know that bliss, too.


You did not understand the concept of “happiness”, but it washed over your dronemind nonetheless.


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