Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“You’re going to record this?”
“Of course. The world must know.”
“So, this is where I’m supposed to tell all about the nefarious schemes my diabolical organisation has planned?”
“Something like that.”
“About the slaves working on Mars to build colonies for the elite to retreat to when this world dies?”
“Come again?”
“Or maybe I should regale you with the true history of this world, of the stealthy yet unshakeable grip of our shape-changing reptilian overlords, and their taste for virgin flesh?”
“Get serious.”
“And reveal the dastardly plots of the insane cults that worship blasphemous entities from beyond the rule of space and time, entities who lurk at the very thresholds of our reality, waiting for the stars to align and the rituals of their fanatical devotees to let them loose upon us?”
“Oh, come on!”
“But wait! Who is to say that my telling of alien overlords from the depths of space, who rule us all with misdirection and mind control, whilst secretly stealing succulent mammals for their abattoirs on the dark side of the moon, is not a revelation too far?”
“You’re not enlightened, you’re bonkers!”
“Really? Can you tell me that our darkening, proto-dystopian societies are not being driven into feudalism by the clever manipulations of an ancient vampire hierarchy so powerful that even the ultra-rich know their only recourse is to party and enjoy endless idylls because they will never truly rule?”
“Vampires, now?”
“Alright, then. What about the fabulous cities in the lightless depths of our oceans, home to the first intelligent race of this planet? What of the secret treaties that exist, forever banning us from certain parts of the sea? Treaties enforced by the threat of the annihilation of mankind’s latest civilisation, just like they’ve done several times before.”
“I’m going to have to apologise for this.”
“To who?”
“I had no illusions about escaping the aftermath of this kidnapping with proofs intact, so I’ve streamed this live, through some literary correction and formatting utilities, to an online fiction site I occasionally ghost-write for. It’ll be front page one day next month.”
“Oh dear.”
“Why say that? You win! I can’t draw public attention to a lunatic exposé like this. I’ll be ridiculed.”
“Doesn’t matter. You’ll be dead.”
“As will I.”
“You see, in my haste to have you dismiss me as a fool, I told a truth.”
“When the transcript gets published, they will quickly discern who I am. From that, they will certainly be able to determine who you are. We’ll be killed.”
“I’ve heard a lot of empty threats while investigating. You’re not convincing.”
“There’s nothing empty about it. Dangerous things will be instructed to hunt us down and execute us.”
“You’re crying!”
“I suggest you put your affairs in order, young man.”
“You’re actually convinced of this lunacy!”
“Quite frankly, you should kill yourself.”
“I will only suffer an abrupt, messy death. You, on the other hand, they will not ask gently, nor will they be persuaded by any truths you tell – unless they are verified by your agony. And, regardless of what you offer up, they will cull your friends and family just to be sure.”
“You’re delusional! Give me a few minutes, then you can leave.”
“Very well.”
“Not going to wish me luck?”
“Luck is not a factor. We’re dead men walking. Enjoy the next few days, then end it on the day the transcript is published.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m out of here.”