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All that Glitters

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There was once a tiny, unofficial province in South America called Mão Sangrenta (Bloody Hand), named after the roughly hand-like shape of its border. Not recognized on any map, this humble little kingdom had a beloved leader: President Georgi Abraxas.

One day, a huge fence was constructed around its borders. Nobody could get in or out. And all communication to the outside world was cut off. Various humanitarian groups tried to brave the fence and find out what was going on, but it seemed impenetrable. Finally, a brave American reporter succeeded in climbing the wall and discovered that it was...empty. Completely deserted. The villages, the capital city, even Georgi's mansion were totally void of human beings. And everything was left as though everyone had simply vanished while they were doing everyday things.

There was a large pile of gold nuggets and chunks of silver in the treasury, most of which was later confiscated.

To this day, no one knows what happened.

Except for me.

Because I am Georgi Abraxas.

It all started sometime in September 2011. I had recently inherited the leadership from my father (who had died of a stroke), and my people were falling on hard times. I cannot recall the exact date it happened, but I remember the incident as though it were were yesterday.

A package was delivered directly to my mansion. The return address was from somewhere in America (again, some details are fuzzy.) I took it inside and opened it, and what greeted me was a sight that made me slack-jawed with horror.

Inside was a creature that had the head of a man and the body of a six-legged, scale-less lizard. Its skin was pure white, and its head was topped with long, greasy black hair. It woke up, turned to me and spoke something in English. When it saw that I did not understand, it started speaking in Portuguese, my native language. "Hello, Georgi. Please, do not be scared. My name is Jeffery. I have heard about your financial problems, and I am here to help you."

"How?"

Jeffery closed his large pink eyes, and seemed to go into deep concentration. A glowing red symbol that looked like a vertically-oriented eye appeared on his forehead. After about 15 seconds, three golfball-sized sized chunks of gold appeared in front of him. The symbol disappeared, and he opened his eyes.

"Here's how." I was even more astonished than ever. "How...where did you..."

"I rule a kingdom, like you. My subjects are called Drones. They are creatures that live deep underground. They sometimes come across small deposits of gold while digging new tunnels. Gold is useless to them, but I, unlike them, know how much humans like you value it."

"What are you saying?"

"All right, I'll cut to the chase. I am a parasite. But a beneficial one. If you let me attach to you, my Drones will provide you with more gold. As much gold as you need."

Gold nugget

I accepted his offer, and soon he attached to the back of my head. I hid the new fold in my neck by wearing a silk scarf in public at all times.

Every few days, gold nuggets would mysteriously appear in the treasury. I knew it was Jeffery's work, but I said nothing. Soon I was able to afford new roads, schools, and better public sanitation for my subjects. I was loved by all. At some point, however, I suddenly became greedy and started giving less and less to the public. I didn't realize it then, but I was starting to look different too; paler, thinner, and with dark circles starting to form around my eyes. I now know it was Jefferey's fault. And the more greedy I became, the more I seemed to fall under his influence.

After a month, Jeffery now had a new demand for me. I was to introduce the religion of his people, the "Sleep-Bringers" cult, and use it to replace the Catholicism that had been our religion since my great-great-grandfather founded this place. Also, I was to have a fence constructed to keep people from leaving afterwards. If I did, the amount of gold would double and there would be silver too. At this point, I was so blinded by greed that I didn't care about the consequences of my actions. I agreed. A tall figure, clad in a white robe, appeared before me. He said he would take care of converting everyone, all I had to do was make the announcement.

Within days, most people in Mão Sangrenta had joined the cult. I don't know how the stranger did it. There were ones who resisted, of course. These people were executed, or fled the country. As promised, the regular gold deposit had doubled and there were now some chunks of silver. Next, came the construction of the fence. It went up unnaturally quickly, and I now know why.

When the fence was completed, Jeffery said he had a special reward for me. When I asked what it was, he laughed. I passed out, and when I woke up I was in some sort of huge cavern. Jeffery was now detached from me, and sitting in front of me on a tiny golden throne. He had a sadistic grin on his face.

"Welcome to your new home, my friend. Or should I say...slave."

I started to object, but then there was a flash of red in his eyes and suddenly I couldn't move. I could still speak, though. But the words coming out of my mouth were interspersed with strange, inhuman buzzes and clicks. I swear, I wasn't trying to do it.

"I am President Georgi Abraxas, the great leader of Mão Sangrenta. I am nobody's slave!" I fumed.

"Oh, but you let your own greed enslave you. You did everything I told you to do without thinking, all for the sake of money. And now you are my servant."

"Never!"

I felt an incredible pain race through my body. It was as though every one of my nerves was on fire. After 10 seconds of this, The red glow went out of Jeffery's eyes, the pain stopped, and I could move again. "I wouldn't recommend resisting my will like that, because if you do you'll be feeling that VERY often," he said.

I conceded. "All right, you win. I won't resist you anymore."

"Good. Now, let me level with you. The reason I did this to you is twofold: I needed more Drones for my army, and..."

"Wait, don't you have enough Drones?"

"Not really. You see, Drones cannot reproduce. They are created by converting humans. When they die, I must find more humans to take their place."

"Converting?"

"When people join the Sleep-Bringers and put the Mark on their bodies," he said as he climbed down from his throne and drew a crude representation of a smiling face in the dirt with his tiny hands, "they start to fall under my influence." He raised his tail, and pointed to the stingers at the end. "And when the venom my tail makes is injected into their bodies in addition to this, they start to transform into Drones."  He lowered his tail, and climbed back up onto the throne. "Of course, I can only make so much venom in a day. My venom is mixed with water to be more economical and less straining on me, so I can concentrate on my host."

"Uh...Jeffery?"

"Please, call me Master."

"Oh, all right. Master, you never told me exactly what a Drone IS..." Jeffery smiled again. "So you want to know what a Drone looks like?" He closed his eyes again, and once more a red eye-shaped symbol appeared on his forehead. A small hand mirror manifested in front of him. He opened his eyes, and told me to pick up the mirror and look at myself. I did so and screamed at what I saw.

My face was totally white. Well, that wasn't quite true. My lips were blood-red, and the circles around my eyes were now thick and black as coal. My nose was missing, and in its place were two small black nostrils. My eyebrows were gone too. The sides of my mouth had split, forming a twisted smile. On top of my head were two silver, upward-thrusting, antelope-like horns. Behind my back were two huge batlike wings with crimson webbing. I dropped the mirror, and it broke. Looking down at my feet, I saw that I was barefoot. I had three uniformly- sized toes per foot with sharp black claws at the end, and my fingers ended in razor-sharp claws that seemed more like extensions of my fingers.

Jeffery looked up at me, and grinned toothily. I could tell that he enjoyed seeing my horrified reaction. "What's the matter, Georgi? You wanted to know what a Drone looks like, didn't you?"

I sat down, my head reeling. I then noticed that there was a tail coming out of my pants. I adjusted my position so I was no longer sitting on it. I looked down at Jeffery. "Why...why did you..."

"Now I can get around to the second reason I attached to you. Drones are divided into four castes, like bees and ants. Workers, Soldiers, Foragers, and Workers. And each caste has a powerful Drone Leader, as well as a Drone Commander who serves under them and directly supervises the respective Drones of each caste."

"What does that have to do with ME?"

"I did quite a bit of research on you and the history of your country before I had myself mailed to you. You come from a long line of leaders and heroes. You shall be an excellent Drone Commander."

"Are you sure? I barely had any experience as a President. And I don't know how to work with Drones. I don't know what their wants and needs. I don't know how to speak to them. They're not human."

"But you ARE a Drone. And Drones were once human. There's nothing to it."

"And what about my people? You said they were turned into Drones. Will I see them again?"

"Of course you will. When all of them have finished their transformations, most of them will be transferred down here to The Hive. In the meantime, General Angus will train you." 

Jeffery clapped his tiny hands. A large white centaur with wild, reddish-brown hair, a Fu Manchu mustache, and a lion's lower body emerged from one of the many, many holes in the walls of the seemingly endless cavern. Like me, he had black circles around his eyes, no nose, fingers tipped with claws, and a tail tipped with a twin stinger. Jeffery introduced me to him in English. Amazingly, I understood every word of what he was saying. Angus turned to me with a bemused look on his face. "So, punk, you're gonna be my new Commander? I bet you won't last one day. C'mon, I'll take you to the Deninburgh Outpost and see if you're really good enough to be my second-in-command."

Oh, I was good enough, all right. I was more than good enough. I passed every test with flying colors and then some. I was declared to be the best trainee he ever had. I was taken back to The Hive and Jeffery decreed me Lieutenant Georgi, The Horned Death. I inquired what my new title meant, and he replied that all high-ranking Drones get a fancy nickname. I'm not quite sure why my last name was dropped, though. Oh well.

Georgiathisdesk2

Well, now you know what happened. I'm sorry for going on a bit too long about how I earned my position, but that's how it went.

I was responsible for the disappearance of my people. I betrayed them for gold. And I am sorry. I wish I could have turned down Jeffery's offer when I had the chance. But...it doesn't matter anymore. My highest purpose is to serve the Master now. And soon, yours will be too. Come, investigador. We must see him now.

THE END



Written by Furbearingbrick
Content is available under CC-BY-SA

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