I wonder what they would say if they knew? Would they ask me why – these people who flock around me?
It’s not me they are interested in. I am like a statue in Trafalgar Square, surrounded by pigeons, bustling and noisy, I play the role of scenery in their minds. My presence is simply a fact to be navigated and, if necessary, stepped on. They are as uncomprehending of my real purpose as a pigeon is of Nelson’s column and yet they flow thick around me, pressing in on every side.
I’m not sure why I came here at this moment, why I feel compelled to seek out their company. Is there some subconscious obligation within me to share in their condition, a hidden agenda of conscience pushing me to identify with them finally? It certainly doesn’t sound like me, well not as far as I’m aware. You could ask my psychologist if it mattered to you, but it won’t matter to me – not soon anyway.
I marvel that I have these thoughts, they are not my native territory.
My home ground is turfed with certainty. A flat track on which to run, unimpeded by the distraction of doubt, I don’t like to be way laid by wasteful self-reflection. That is how I like things thank-you very much. Neat and compact, like a present wrapped for Christmas, perfect in the box, with well decorated trimmings and even a little bow. What point is there in breaking the perfection simply to find out what is inside?
With a little smile, I shake my head and refocus my attention on things more concrete and external.
Would they ask me WHY?
Surely they would – surely. That is how most people are wired.
Built with a need to know the answers, at least when it affects them, I can see them in my mind’s eye pleading with me. “Please tell us”, they cry, as if understanding substitutes for salvation. “Please”, the tears rolling down their faces. “If there is any humanity in you, then tell us.” The stronger ones stand with fists bared, seeking to extract with physical intimidation what can’t be done with empathy, but the irony is that none of it would work – I really couldn’t tell them.
Yes, I know what you are thinking: that I actually mean I WOULDN’T tell them. That I’m small, a runt who was picked on relentlessly at school. A man built stubborn, spiteful and vindictive from his years of torment, and so I clam up to get revenge in a passive-aggressive refusal to satisfy their needs – but you are wrong. I mean what I said, that I really couldn’t tell.
You assume that I am like you. That it matters to me why the Agency sent me here. That it matters why I have been tasked with removing this planet.
In your mind will be horror at the destruction of their history, culture, families, arts and loves. Or relief at the cessation of their wars, crimes, greed and hates. To you, there must be a purpose – a purpose derived from something you value. It is something that is wired in.
To me these things have no value.
Love, war, culture, greed – these things mean nothing to me. I have no compulsion to care one way or another, what I crave is certainty. A certainty that the Agency provides with disciple and hierarchy, and what leg do you stand on to condemn me for it? From where to you get your built in values and the wiring that makes some things important and others not?
If they must have an answer then, it would be, “Because the Agency sent me”.
That is all I could tell them if they asked me, although I doubt that it would be enough. So why do I immerse myself among them at this time? To be honest I don’t know.
It is not long now.
I am good at my job.
I knew that this was a one way ticket.
The satellites recorded that in the last moment before the end, he reached out. Grabbing the nearest person available, he wrapped them in the most intense bear hug he could muster. It was his first and last.