(Sixteen year old MercIury is the narrator)
I’ve never seen a non-mutant humanoid. Not in the flesh. Only in filmograms made before 2020. Until today that is. I suspect the other students here in Headculturedome are as amazed as I am to see him. There he stands on a raised plinth in the conference hall staring down at us and we stare back at him. A humanoid with two eyes, one nose, one mouth, two arms and two legs. Dressed in a silver grey suit, neatly pressed trousers, jacket to match and a pristine white shirt and purple tie, he reminds me of Daniel Craig as James Bond or a smooth-faced chat show host. Not a politician. The latter are usually tie-less, shirtsleeves turned up a bit to show that they are of the people and therefore for the people. Though no one is fooled. Think of Cameron or Obama. But this man – let’s call him Mr. Suit – makes no pretence of being one of us. No dumbing-down for this smoothie with his sleeked-back hair and chin held high. He’s a cut above us and makes sure we know it. Yet, I can’t help wondering. Is he the throwback or are we?
We’ve been instructed by auto-put to assemble here. A spccial visitor is to address us. And here he is. Mr Suit. His slate-coloured eyes scrutinise each one of us in turn as they sweep in a wide arc reminiscent of that long one camera shot of Gene Kelly dancing in the rain. Maybe his eyes are mini-cameras. Implants. Recording our every expression, noting our body language. Even here in Headculturedome we are not privy to every new technological advance, so I have no idea if it is possible for humanoids to have camera implants in their eyes or not.
I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but I sense that as those steely eyes retrace their route, anti-clockwise, they linger a little longer on my face than on the others. The mini-cameras move on and swing back for another look. No doubt about it. Mr Suit is focusing on me, little Mercury. A shiver runs through my body. Sweat breaks out on my forehead. That reaction will no doubt be recorded too. Or at least noted. Why is he so interested in me?