He took two deep breaths and knocked on the door. The response was immediate.
‘Come in please!’
He entered the small, sparse, windowless room. Directly ahead was a desk, behind which sat two men, dressed in business suits. The one on the left spoke first.
‘Welcome, welcome! It’s always a pleasure to meet our agents in the flesh, please sit down.’
The man on the right smiled and indicated the single chair in front of the desk. He sat down in it.
The first man looked down at some documents and shuffled them, searching for the right one.
‘Ah, Stanton is it? Mr Gerald Stanton?’
‘That’s right sir.’ He replied.
‘Agent three, four, eight, is that correct?’
‘I’m Agent Cole.’ He looked to his left, ‘And this is Agent Masters. He was recently promoted and is still in training. His role here is merely as an observer.’ Masters smiled again and nodded slightly. Stanton nodded and smiled back, then turned his attention back to Agent Cole, who spoke again: ‘You’re working on the covert infiltration of Earth by sentient shape-shifting Martian slugs, is that right?’
‘Well, technically they’re not Martian because they’re not really from Mars, its more that they’re hidden on the other side of Mars above the planet in an orbiting spacecraft. They’re actually from…’
‘That’s fine, we’re familiar with the back story, after all, we wrote it. Martian slugs will do.’
‘Yes sir, of course.’
“You have been doing splendidly with your content; we are all very impressed. Your last video, on the physiology of the alien slugs, was excellent. I liked the way you linked the shape-shifting ability to the optical properties of terrestrial slug skin; that dash of actual science is always very effective, it lends an aura of real credibility to your presentation. My favourite part though, was the third set of eyelids when taking human form. Not just a second set, but a third! It’s absurd little details like that that will really hook your audience. So far you are progressing nicely.’
‘I'm not sure, the most I’ve ever got is just over 47,000 views. It doesn't seem like much, not compared to the big channels like Truth Now Media or The Norbett Report, and I'm getting a lot of ridicule, even from my own subscribers. I’m not sure enough people are going to buy it.’
‘Don’t get too hung up on whether or not people believe you Stanton. That is secondary to our concerns. The main thing is that they are aware of you. Modern cognitive infiltration is not about convincing the viewer but overwhelming him with possibilities that all seem feasible enough, without ever being completely confirmed as true. Our experts in psychology assure us that a large part of our audience is there purely for entertainment purposes. And don’t forget the subscribers you have gained from the debunking of your works by Agent 236, SciGirlShirl and Agent 324, Mr Rational. They must be at least a fifth of your subscribers, and the most likely source of the ridicule. They will come back for more content, they all will, regardless of whether or not they believe it.
'And in regard to the size of your outlet Gerald, it takes a lot of trees to obscure a forest, and every tree, as insignificant as it may seem, plays it's part. Anyway, we hope to grow your channel through a crossover with the Pleiadean Collective, Agent 185’s team. They’re doing tremendous work in the neopagan and UFO communities and it's time we introduced that audience to their secret slug overlords.’
‘But wont that conflict with their established lore? Do they really have room for more aliens? And they already have shapeshifters running the planet, the reptilians.’
‘I’m not really sure you fully understand what it is we're trying to do here Mr Stanton. But that’s understandable, logic is a hard habit to break, especially for someone as intelligent as you. What we try to provide is an illusory journey of discovery, and It’s not really a rabbit hole if it has any kind of bottom. None of what we produce in this division can be found to be free of contradictions, or it would eventually satisfy on an intellectual level, and our audience would lose interest. We must keep them permanently engaged in the worlds we create, or they may seek others, over which we have no control.
'In addition, we cannot have the normies comparing their worldviews to anything coherent or they would never completely settle into a false sense of self-satisfied intellectual superiority. The conspiracist must be a fool, or the people would be inspired by his example and begin to really think, instead of just uncritically consuming a counter-agents narrative. You are part of an integrated whole, and you must realise that your part in all this has to complement every other part, even if it is through contradictions.’
‘Ok, I understand. It’s just… its hard… as a writer… to create something that ultimately doesn’t make sense.’
‘We all have to make sacrifices for our art Mr Stanton. You are no exception. Just know that your work is greatly valued by the authorities and you will continue to be handsomely rewarded for your efforts. That will be all for now. We will meet again in three weeks to brief you on your appearance at the upcoming Awakened Minds conference.’
‘Thank you, Agent Cole, Agent Masters.’ He looked at them in turn as he spoke, stood up from the chair, and exited the room.
As the door closed behind him the agents turned to each other.
‘Everything is going exceptionally well Agent Cole, exactly as we had hoped. Better even.’
‘Indeed, Agent Masters, indeed’
They nodded at each other, blinking their third eyelids in excitement.