Episode 12 Transcript
12 - Patient #12-D-10 (Sam)
By Lauren Shippen
Dr. Bright: Personal log, day 568. Unfortunately, I am not any closer to determining how to get Mark back. I still have six weeks until my quarterly evaluation with Agent Green, but I confess I am not as hopeful as I was a month ago. I have not been able to reach Chloe or Sam and, without either of them, I’m back at square one. I keep watching the same footage over and over, reading the file again and again, hoping to see something new, notice something I didn’t before. But I can’t find a way through it. Mark is stuck. And I’m stuck. So once again, I turn to Plan B - maybe if I can get his body, I’ll be able to figure out the rest from there. But then there’s the question of what kind of treatment he’s been undergoing with The-
[sfx: intercom buzz]
Dr. Bright: Yes, Sarah?
Sarah: Sorry to disturb you, Dr. Bright, but there’s a patient here to see you.
Dr. Bright: I don’t have anyone scheduled for this time, Sarah.
Sarah: Yes, I know, but she says it’s urgent. She was in here a few weeks ago - Samantha Barnes?
Dr. Bright: Send her in please.
[sfx: opening door]
Dr. Bright: Samantha. Sam. Please, come in. Take a seat.
[sfx: closing door]
Sam: I- I didn’t know where else to go. I just, I had to talk to someone.
Dr. Bright: Of course. That’s what I’m here for. Please. Sit.
[sfx: Sam sitting]
Dr. Bright: I’m very happy to see you, Sam. I’ve been worried about you.
Sam: You have?
Dr. Bright: Of course. We didn’t leave things very well last time and I’ve been trying to get a hold of you. I want to apologize.
Sam: You tried to get a hold of me? When?
Dr. Bright: For the past few weeks - you didn’t get my messages?
Sam: Uh, no I didn’t. I’ve- I’ve been away quite a bit.
Dr. Bright: I see. Have the lengths of the trips changed? In how much time passes here, I mean.
Sam: No, no, not really. It’s, um- I’ve been going on a lot of trips. And I’ve just sort of lost track of things.
Dr. Bright: How frequent have these trips been?
Sam: Um, I don’t know, a couple times a day.
Dr. Bright: More than once a day?
Sam: Yes. But that’s not why I’m here. Something happened. And I don’t know if it was a fluke or-or if- I don’t understand it.
Dr. Bright: Okay, deep breaths, Sam. Start from the beginning.
Sam: Okay, well. The past month - well, after I left your office, I just started remembering everything and I barely made it home before I went away again. And then it was just like that for weeks - I kept flickering in and out, I barely felt like I was here, I felt like I wasn’t even solid. And even when I was here, well- I just hadn’t dwelled on that stuff in a really long time and I thought I had it handled, but I guess I didn’t. I’ve just been one bad day away from disaster this entire time.
Dr. Bright: You are not a disaster. You’ve experienced multiple traumas and you’ve never spoken to anyone about them - it takes great endurance to survive that. You are incredibly strong, Sam. Don’t forget that.
Sam: It hasn’t felt like that these past few weeks.
Dr. Bright: I’m so sorry to hear that the trips have gotten worse. You know you can always come to me.
Sam: I know. But I just wasn’t sure if I could trust you.
Dr. Bright: I understand. And I’m very sorry for that. You weren’t entirely wrong at your last session - I was interested in observing one of your trips again. But it wasn’t on a whim, or to make you feel like a circus act, and I am so sorry for making you feel manipulated. But I wanted to observe so that I could better understand your condition. There’s no literature on this, Sam - no scientific journal I can look up to help me figure it out. But that’s no excuse. I should have respected your boundaries and not pushed you to try and control something that you weren’t ready to.
Sam: Thank you. I appreciate that. But I think you were right - I think I can learn to control it.
Dr. Bright: What makes you say that?
Sam: Well, that’s why I’m here. Like I said, the trips were getting worse and happening more frequently and I thought- I thought I was never going to get out of it and then I went somewhere I never thought I would go.
Dr. Bright: Where?
Sam: I went back to the accident. My- my parents’ accident, the one that killed them.
Dr. Bright: What happened? When you arrived, where were you? What did you see?
Sam: I landed in the front yard of our house, and I opened my eyes and I saw my parents and me getting into the car. And I knew, I knew immediately that this was the day. And it put me in total shock - I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I just sort of went on autopilot. I climbed into the back seat, sitting next to my dad and - oh my god, he looked so young. And my mom - I’d forgotten what she looked like when she smiled and for a minute, just a minute, I didn’t think about what was about to happen. I was just back in the car with my parents. I was sitting right behind the other me, so I couldn’t really see her face. My face. Ooh, that’s weird, I haven’t really had time to process that part of it yet. But my parents, they looked so happy, and they were so encouraging of me, so patient and kind. And then I started to notice the streets around me and I realized we were just half a mile from the intersection where it happened and I started to panic - me me, not the other me. And I was thinking, “I do not want to see this happen again. I cannot watch this happen again”. Or, well, I guess I would have been seeing it for the first time. Because I wasn’t even there when it happened. I mean, that’s why it happened.
Dr. Bright: It’s okay, Sam. Remember it isn’t your fault. Did you- did you see the accident?
Sam: No, I didn’t. I was thinking how I couldn’t bear it and everything stopped. I froze time. It was like in that movie Clockstoppers - have you ever seen that movie? No, of course not, it does not seem like your kind of movie. But it’s one of the last movies I saw in theaters, so I remember it pretty well. Which is sort of sad. But once the trips really started to get going, I couldn’t really go to the movies anymore. The people, the dark space, the loud noises - it was too much. Anyway, it was just like that movie - everything was frozen in place and I just moved around it. Well, I guess, technically in the movie, he was moving really fast, not actually stopping time so-
Dr. Bright: Sam.
Sam: Right, sorry. I’m just. It still seems a bit surreal. I mean, I’ve never been able to do anything - anything - when on my trips. And then I just stopped everything, just like that.
Dr. Bright: That is fairly remarkable.
Sam: That isn’t even the best part. I came back. After everything went still, I got out of the car, looked around and just thought to myself, “I don’t want to be here right now. I would give anything to be anywhere but here”. And then I came back. I thought about coming back to the present, and I felt the air pull on me, and I shut my eyes really tight and then- then I was just standing in my kitchen.
Dr. Bright: Sam, this- this is an excellent step-
Sam: Wait, I’m not done. When I came back, I was standing in front of the microwave - I had been heating up my lunch, I don’t cook just in case I go away and burn my whole apartment down - and only seconds had passed since I left. Seconds! It’s never been that fast before.
Dr. Bright: Are you saying that you brought yourself back to almost the exact moment that you left?
Sam: Yeah. I think I did.
Dr. Bright: Sam, this is wonderful news. Have you been able to replicate this at all in other trips?
Sam: No, I literally just got back from that one. I took the pasta out of the microwave and came straight here. I had to talk to someone and well. You’re the only person in the entire world who knows about me, so...
Dr. Bright: Sam, I know I’m not your first choice of confidant after our last session but I am very glad that you came to see me.
Sam: No, it’s okay. I think I can forgive you for that. I mean, it was a really, really cruel thing to do, but, well, I need you if I’m going to figure this out.
Dr. Bright: Figure what out?
Sam: Figure out how to control it. Think about it, if I’m able to come and go as I please, then maybe I could go back and fix things. Stop my parents from getting into the car that day. Save them.
Dr. Bright: Sam, this is very good progress but I don’t want you to get ahead of yourself.
Sam: I’m not! But I stopped time and then traveled forwards through it by just thinking about it - I wasn’t even trying. Not really. Imagine what I could do if I was trying, if I had full control.
Dr. Bright: I didn’t mean that you could go back in time and change the course of history. I think you will be able to control it - control when you leave and when you come back. But I don’t think that would change what you can do when you’re in other times.
Sam: Why not?
Dr. Bright: It just simply isn’t possible.
Sam: How on earth can you say that? None of this should be possible. I can time travel. I told you that 5 minutes after meeting you and you believed me instantly. Why are you drawing a line now?
Dr. Bright: Because there are limits to every ability. I told you I’ve had other patients with other extraordinary capabilities. Yes, some of them - including yourself - can do things that beggar belief. But these powers, these gifts, are not limitless.
Sam: But you just said that you don’t know anything about my ability. For all you know, my limits could be much greater than anyone else’s.
Dr. Bright: They could be. But time travel is fixed. It’s a spectator sport - no one with such an ability has ever been able to affect the past.
Sam: No one- what do you mean, no one with such an ability? You said you’d never seen anyone like me before.
Dr. Bright: I haven’t personally worked with someone of your talents before, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Sam: Who are you?
Dr. Bright: I’m sorry?
Sam: If you haven’t worked with other time travelers before, then how do you know they exist? Is there some secret society of scifi heroes I don’t know about? Are there other therapists like you?
Dr. Bright: Of course, Sam. I’m one person in one city. This kind of atypical biology is not unique to our location. There are others who struggle with similar issues and they have people who work with them and study their abilities, just like me.
Sam: What do you mean, of course? Why would that be something I assume?
Dr. Bright: You came to me because I advertised therapy for the strange and unusual, did you not? You knew I had other patients who had special abilities.
Sam: Yeah, but, I- I just thought-
Dr. Bright: You thought I’d found the only atypicals in the world?
Sam: I- I guess not. I hadn’t really thought about it that much, to be honest.
Dr. Bright: That’s understandable. Your own ability gives you plenty to think about without worrying about the larger picture.
Sam: Yeah, I guess. But I’m sorry - I’m still a little confused. Do you or do you not have previous knowledge about time travel? Because you are saying a lot of contradictory things here.
Dr. Bright: I have read about other time travelers, it’s true. But I meant it when I said your ability was more unique than any I’ve ever seen. I’ve never heard of anyone physically leaving this time and traveling to another.
Sam: What- what do you mean? What other kind of time travel is there?
Dr. Bright: The mental kind.
Sam: Mental time travel? What is that?
Dr. Bright: There have been documented atypicals who have been able to push their consciousness back in time. Their body stays here, in the present, but they fall unconscious - they look like they’re in a deep sleep to a casual observer - but really their mind is in another time. Another place.
Sam: What, like they're dreaming?
Dr. Bright: Sort of. Except, to them, as far as I know, it seems just like normal life. It doesn’t have any of the confusing logic or limitless possibilities that dreams have. They are in reality. Just in a reality that is long past.
Sam: Like the Pensieve.
Dr. Bright: The what?
Sam: It’s this thing, in Harry Potter-
Dr. Bright: Ah yes, right, I remember that. Yes, actually, that is a good comparison. From the descriptions I’ve read, it does sound a bit like going into someone’s memory. But, as far as we know, it isn’t subject to any one specific perspective. These time travelers see history as it happened - not the narrative of someone’s thoughts. It’s like that for you, isn’t it?
Sam: Well, yes, I guess. I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about the historical and narrative accuracy of my trips. I’ve always taken it for granted.
Dr. Bright: But for instance, today - the trip to the day of the accident. Was that as it happened, or as you remembered it?
Sam: No, it was definitely how it happened. Because I noticed things that I didn’t before - like the color of my dad’s sweater or people walking on the sidewalk. So, wait, how many time travelers are there in the world?
Dr. Bright: It’s hard to say. The one mental time traveler I am familiar with - the one I’ve read about - had a good amount of control over the ability. But given the nature of the ability, someone in your position - someone who doesn’t have control over it - may just think that they are falling asleep and having very vivid dreams.
Sam: So what - all the narcoleptics in the world are actually time traveling?
Dr. Bright: I don’t know.
Sam: Oh my god- I was kidding. But that’s really a possibility?
Dr. Bright: I don’t see why it couldn’t be.
Sam: Okay, so that seems likely but the idea of me changing the past when I can already move through time is somehow too unbelievable?
Dr. Bright: Like I said, Sam - it’s never been done.
Sam: But if I’m the only one who physically goes back than it doesn’t really matter what the precedent is, does it?
Dr. Bright: But you’ve said it yourself - you’re not really corporeal. You can’t affect the space around you at all.
Sam: But before today, I couldn’t control anything at all. So you don’t know what’s possible! You don’t know what I could be capable of!
Dr. Bright: Sam, I just don’t want you to get your hopes up. This is a good step forward but that’s all it is - one step. And I think if we work together, we can keep moving forward. But let’s just take it one step at a time, okay?
Sam: I don’t know. I’m thinking maybe coming here was a bad idea.
Dr. Bright: Sam, I promise I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.
Sam: It’s not that, it's- it'sll the other stuff. How do you know about the other time travelers? How are you so calm about all of this? Are you special too? I don’t know anything about you and I’ve entrusted you with the biggest secret I have.
Dr. Bright: You’re right.
Sam: I am?
Dr. Bright: Sam, I want you to trust me. I need you to trust me so that I can help you. This isn’t usually a two-way street, but, then again, I’m not a usual therapist. There are certain things that will be important for you to know if we’re going to be productive.
Sam: You mean, about the other time travelers?
Dr. Bright: Yes. Before I started practicing here, as a private psychologist, I worked for a non-profit. They recruited me in graduate school and I assisted them in their research on atypicals.
Sam: What kind of research?
Dr. Bright: I’m afraid I can’t discuss the specifics with you - the confidentiality agreements were very strict. But after a few years there, I discovered that the organization was not dedicated to the kind of work that I had set out to do. They had different priorities, so I left, came here and started working on a smaller scale.
Sam: Why are you telling me this?
Dr. Bright: Because this is the kind of work that I wanted to do - help individual atypicals understand and control their abilities. And that will only work if we can be open with each other.
Sam: So is that what I am? An atypical?
Dr. Bright: That’s how you are identified to people like me. Are you prepared to identify yourself that way? Someone who is aware of and working with a special ability?
Sam: Yes. I’m ready. I want to take control.
Dr. Bright: Good. Let’s get to work.
[fade out; time passing]
Dr. Bright: Okay, Sam. Keep up with those exercises and if you’re ready, next session you can try going on a trip. On purpose for once. And I will be here when you get back, no matter what.
Sam: Okay, that sounds - well, let’s just see how it goes.
Dr. Bright: Okay.
Sam: Just so we’re clear - I still have a lot of questions.
Dr. Bright: I know. But let’s just focus on you and we’ll handle your questions as they come up. But you’re safe here.
[sfx: opening door]
Sam: Bye, Dr. Bright.
Dr. Bright: See you soon, Sam.
[sfx: closing door]
Dr. Bright: End of session six. The patient has made incredible steps forward but I’m concerned about her fixation on fixing the past. Despite her objections, I truly don’t think it’s possible. That being said, I think this is an excellent sign that she will be able to help Mark. I would have preferred a few more weeks of sessions before telling her about my time with The AM, but I think it was important to open up a little to get her to come back. Once we’ve established a rapport again, I’ll tell her about Mark - this won’t work without her full cooperation. But until then, I have to gain her trust back. She’s much more confident than the last time I saw her. I was seeing glimpses of this in our first five sessions, but I think today was the first time I saw the complete Samantha Barnes. The woman who has survived loss, and wars, and repeated physical traumas in the form of time manipulation. She’s not as malleable and desperate as she was when she first came to me, but I think this new determination - this new comfort with her ability and trust in herself - will ultimately work in our favor.
[sfx: click of a recorder]
[music & credits]
Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions is made possible through listeners like you. If you would like to support the podcast, please visit patreon.com/thebrightsessions or visit our website, thebrightsessions.com. And if you haven't already, please rate, and especially review the show on iTunes - it helps us stay on the charts so other people can find us. The show is written and produced by Lauren Shippen. The voice of Dr. Bright is Julia Morizawa. The voice of Sam is Lauren. This episode featured a special appearance by Elizabeth Laird as the voice of Sarah. All of the beautiful graphic design you see on iTunes and our website is by Anna Lore. If you’d like to get in touch email us at thebrightsessions@gmail or find us on twitter @brightpodcast . As always, thanks for listening and stay strange.