The media runs government pieces on Mex-US-Can. At home, Philbert Noyce is shaving and an advertisement for shaving cream pops up on his mirror. Disgusted, Philbert goes to find his wife Maggie. Maggie is sitting on the couch with a hologrammatic model from a coffee ad. Philbert shuts off the ad and tells Maggie that she's late to work.
On the train to work, Philbert glares irritably at all of the advertising playing on screens around the city. An interviewer, Rashad, is questioning The Candidate about how people think their vote doesn't matter in the Uniparty system. The Candidate insists that it's about the process, and Rachel calls in to say that they don't have a choice. Philbert, watching, agrees, and The Candidate talks about how they've narrowed the candidates from 52 to 1. As the audience cheers her, Philbert looks around and notices that everyone else seems to be in agreement.
Philbert arrives at work and tells his Supervisor that the train was late. His Supervisor berates him about how he should buy an automated call and Philbert is too much of a manualist, and puts him on the B3 assembly line. Philbert gripes to his coworker, Lenny, who is on the B1 line, and they confirm that the line feeder Ed will eat with them at lunch. At lunch, the three men eat and are the only ones at the company. Philbert complains about how his wife is screwing a coffee ad model. They suggest that he should buy an object to cheer himself up, and they discuss the merits of cheese.
When Philbert returns home that night with cheese, he calls to Maggie but gets no answer. The hologram of the cheese girl appears to advertise her cheese, and he quickly shuts it down as Maggie comes in. When Philbert opens the cupboard, things fall on him and she apologizes for there not being enough room. Maggie tells him that the speech is about to start, and once she leaves Philbert turns the ad back on.
In bed, Philbert and Maggie watch The Candidate's speech. Maggie finally goes into the next room to watch something else, and The Candidate talks about what they have to do as a mega=nation. She says that they have to "kill all others", and Philbert confirms that the words are appearing onscreen. The interviewer doesn't react, and Philbert calls Maggie in to see it. He tells Maggie what The Candidate just said, but the interviewer doesn't say anything. Maggie walks out in disgust, and Philbert plays the video back but the words aren't there.
The next day, Philbert arrives at work and asks if Lenny and Ed heard what The Candidate said. They weren't watching the interview and there's nothing on the news. The Supervisor sends them to work, and Philbert can't find the video anywhere on the news or Internet. Philbert notices the Supervisor checking his phone and keeps working.
At lunch, Ed warns Philbert that he could lose his job. Philbert wonders why they need three guys to run a factory. Ed points out that it's against the law to fully automate and the unions fought for it, but Philbert figures that they're tokens. After Lenny walks off, Ed tells Philbert that he saw the video as well and tells him not to take the political stuff so seriously because it's just entertainment. He then asks Philbert if he checked out the Yellow Bonnet Girl, and assures him that the optics can take him a long way.
That night, Philbert is dozing on the train and after everyone he leaves, he wakes up to see another interview where The Candidate is saying "Kill all others". The train shuts down and Philbert tries to get somebody's attention. Someone comes on and addresses Philbert by name, saying that they're working on it. The train starts back up and Philbert sees the "Kill all others" message flashing on the screens. As he takes pictures with his camera, he hits the emergency stop but the train shakes as the train behind it hits.
Later, a Peace Sergeant interviews Philbert and asks if he felt he or others were in danger. He describes what happened and the Peace Sergeant says that there was a brief power failure. She points out that he engaged the emergency stop, and Philbert insists that he wasn't crazy. Philbert suggests that some hackers must have gotten to the signs, and says that it was hate speech. The Peace Sergeant says that the autopilot overrides all human errors except for outliers, and asks if he was on drugs or alcohol. Philbert insists that he wasn't, and she informs him that Trancom doesn't want him back on their system. An insurance adjuster takes over and sets out to establish the pre-dispositional factors. She questions him about his personal life and the video of a winter windfall that he's watching.
Later, Maggie drives Philbert home and asks what "COV Provisional" is. Philbert insists that it was a train accident and he had nothing to do with it, and they're giving him an autopilot car. Maggie apologizes and asks if he's all right, and Philbert says that he'll pay more attention next time. At home, the couple watch TV and a commentator says "Kill all others". Maggie doesn't hear it, and figures that it's all her fault and says that it's a distraction. She turns off the advertising, says that it'll be just them, and hugs him.
The next day, Maggie and Philbert drive to work and pass a neighbor. People run by chasing a woman, and Philbert tells Maggie to stop the car. He gets out and runs over, and the people say that the woman is and "they" and they've got her. They say that the police are on their way, and Maggie tells Philbert to walk away. The police pull up and address Philbert by name, telling him to step back.
Soon, Philbert is back with the Peace Sergeant. She asks how he knows the suspect, and Philbert says that he just saw a woman running down the street. The Peace Sergeant points out that she would have thought Philbert would steer clear of incidents, and he asks if the people are being charged. She says that she doesn't buy into the political mumbo jumbo about the Others. However, Philbert has been in twice in two days and it looks bad. The Peace Sergeant warns that anyone can look "Other" under close observation and tells him to go to work.
At the factory, the Supervisor tells Philbert that they have to do thirty days of health monitoring. He asks Philbert to give his consent for monitoring, and it will let them release his health data to Human Resources. Once Philbert agrees, he puts on the wrist monitor and the Supervisor explains that it's preventative. The Supervisor assures Philbert that the data is confidential, and tells him to lay off the political talk per company policy.
At lunch, Philbert tells Ed and Lenny that he's on monitoring. There's a "Kill all others" billboard across the street with a body dangling from it. Ed figures that it's just a dummy, and wonders who the Others are. Philbert wonders if they're talking about killing people, but Ed and Lenny don't see the problem and Lenny wonders if they would turn each other in or turn a blind eye. Philbert's monitor beeps, and after a moment Lenny says that he's just messing with Phil. Ed says that it's just politics and it will be over soon.
Philbert returns home that night wearing sunglasses and a sweater. He records a question for The Candidate using a fake name and calls in to ask about "Kill all others". The screening system identifies Philbert by his real name and when he realizes that they have, and Rashad knows that he's agitated about the advertising. The Candidate says that many of the Others are scared, and asks Philbert if he's an Other. Philbert takes apart his phone and turns off the lights, and curses to himself.
The next day at work, the Supervisor assigns Philbert to B1. Lenny and Ed ignore Philbert, and Ed finally tells Philbert that no one is allowed to talk to him. That night, Philbert goes home and sees a Peace Officer outside questioning Maggie. He goes by and comes back on foot, avoiding the Peace Officers. He finds graffiti accusing him of being an Other. Philbert climbs up to his apartment rather than use the door, and Maggie wonders why he came in the way. He tells her that the COV are coming and it's a witch hunt, and says that they can make anyone an Other. Maggie figures that he got a concussion in the accident, but Philbert says that he heard the words and the signs first. he accuses Maggie of being like the rest, and she asks if he's an Other. Philbert slaps her and then says that she's not the real her, and insists that he can prove that it's real as he runs off.
Philbert runs down the street and a COV helicopter pursues him, telling him to calm down. COV cars go by and Peace Officers call to Philbert, tell him to surrender and let them help him. Philbert finally comes to a "Kill all others" signs and climbs up. The Peace Officers arrive and tell him that they're rescuing him, but he figures that they're saving themselves. They pump calming drugs into Philbert via his wrist unit.
Lenny and Ed are shooting pool at a club.
Philbert yells that it isn't real. A broadcast of him comes on at the club, and the announcer says that political terrorism has gripped the city. Ed insists that Philbert isn't an Other, but Lenny says that it could be anyone. Philbert staggers from the drugs and then collapses, and he realizes what they're doing to him. He takes off the monitor and sees the puncture marks beneath, and throw it away yelling that they're using their information against them. Philbert warns that it will be all of them and it's real, and they're all Others. As Philbert tries to pull down the hanging corpse, he slips and falls.
The Candidate gives a live broadcast saying that they must acknowledge and reach out to the worst in themselves. She says that they have a self-correcting democracy, and they if someone isn't an Other then they have nothing to worry about. The Candidate says that they are expanding the KAO program to the entire Western Hemisphere and congratulates the citizens on their vigilance and belief.
Ed and Lenny go back to their pool game.
Philbert's body hangs on the KAO sign.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 28, 2018