Every summer, you see the signs. Detour. Construction. Road
Closed. You see the men in neon orange vests. "Construction
workers". You see them laying pavement, shovelling asphalt,
jack-hammering concrete. Setting out pylons. You're told that their
doing "maintenance". Fixing the roads, you know?
It's bullshit. We've had the technology to make roads that will last
decades without any maintenace, for at least twenty years. So, why do
we still close roads for construction every summer? It's the pylons.
The "construction workers" are nothing of the sort. They're Pylon
Herders. They breed them. They feed them. They take them to the
streets once the weather is warm enough for Pylon Season to begin.
Our agency has known about the Pylon Herders for a while. We didn't
know, though, why they were doing it. The Pylon Herders proved to be
especially resilient to conventional infiltration techniques.
In the end, it was a Talker we found under a railway bridge over a
ravine that gave us what we needed. What we never suspected was that
the Pylon Herders were not the masters. It's the Pylons themselves.
An alien species that have been with us since World War I, at least.
Slowly infiltrating our society, guiding the development of our
culture and technology for thier own ends.
The Pylon Herders are slaves. Their wills subverted in the service of
the Pylons. They feed on cured asphalt - that's why we use it for our
roads. They lay thier eggs in the roads, and when the weather turns,
their young gnaw cracks into the highways, and the adults arrive to
feast on the shattered remnants.
Beyond the obvious influences of our car-dependant society, and the
conditioned acceptance of Eternal Construction, the Pylons have been
influencing our society in more subtle ways. "Rave" culture with its
neon colours is just another way to influence our children to greater
acceptance of the Pylon's bright and terrible rule. The flashing
lights reminiscent of the Pylon species' blinking neuter drones. Go
into the toy aisle in any store - notice that more and more of the
toys are brightly coloured plastic? There is some evidence that
Global Warming is thier idea - when the global temperature rises, the
summers come sooner and last longer. More time for "construction".
We know that the Pylons want to continue to expand thier hold on us.
More highways, more construction. What we don't know, though, is what
else they want. We have a growing suspicion that they have more in
store for us - that they want to move from hiding in plain sight to
ruling us outright in a terrible, bright orange totalitarian reich.
Every summer, they get stronger. We fear it may be too late to stop
them - their roots go too deep into society. The future will be
This microfic brought to you by frustration at the number of lanes
currently closed on the 401, and the extra commuting time it has
brought me. And yes, this is set in the same world as my Dead Hobo Prophecy.