Episode 14B Transcript
14B - For SB (Mini Episode 2)
By Lauren Shippen
[sfx: click of a recorder]
Dr. Bright: Hello, Sam. I know it seems foolishly cloak and dagger for me to leave an encrypted USB like this, but one can never be too careful. I imagine you’re probably already looking over the files within and you should take some time to become familiar with them. But I wanted to offer an explanation in my own words of what exactly is going on.
I’ve been working with atypicals for nearly ten years. When I was getting my graduate degree in abnormal psychology, I met a woman who was telekinetic - she could move things with her mind. I was fascinated and began to study her - with her permission, of course. She worked at the university and became a friend. And then- a few months into working with her, my brother came to visit me.
Mark has always been a little different. Mostly he was just so different from me - our parents were serious people. Kind and generous, but serious. I inherited that from them; Mark didn’t. He found joy in everything - he always had a smile on his face, a joke up his sleeve. He- well, the important thing is that he was special. Is special.
Odd things happened around him when we were growing up - nothing crazy, just peculiar. I always chalked it up to his strange luck, his bizarre charm. He chalked it up to the unpredictable joys of life - he thought anything could be an adventure if you had the right attitude about it.
When he came to visit me, I introduced him to the telekinetic - Vanessa. And when they met, objects starting moving around all on their own. At first I thought it was Vanessa showing off, but she was a Level 5 already - someone in perfect control of their ability - and she said she wasn’t doing it. One thing led to another, and we discovered that Mark was also telekinetic. But only when he was around Vanessa.
I won’t go through the whole process of discovering the exact nature of Mark’s ability, but, as I told you on Saturday, he is able to mimic the power of any atypical around him. The possibilities are limitless. Mark was thrilled. I was nervous.
[sfx: shuffling of papers]
Remember that non-profit I told you I worked for? The one that researches atypicals? I told you I had left because they weren’t doing the kind of work I was interested in. That may have been sugarcoating it.
They’re known as The AM - The Atypical Monitors. They call themselves a non-profit, but they work closely with the CDC, WHO, NSA, and the like. As far as I know, they are the only organization in North America dedicated to the study of atypicals.
I worked for them for 7 years. At first, I was just a low-level researcher: processing data, evaluating patient files, writing reports. I rarely had one-on-one interactions with atypicals, but I enjoyed the work and The AM payed for my doctorate program. It seemed like the perfect situation. Then I was promoted.
I started working in intake. Agents would bring atypicals in from the field - often people who had powers that had gotten them into trouble. An MD and I would do a basic health check, evaluate their psychological standing, and then recommend them for a program - essentially a crash course on how to control their ability and keep it a secret. They would vary depending on the ability and the individual, but most people were back out in the world within six weeks.
During my time there, Mark went missing. He had just graduated from college - art college to my horror. He wanted to be a photographer - maybe he still does, I don’t know. But a few months after he got his degree, I stopped hearing from him. At first I thought he had just gone off on one of his adventures, ended up in some remote place trying to get the perfect photo. After a week, I filed a missing persons report. As far as I know, that report is collecting dust somewhere. Or, even more likely, it was intercepted by The AM.
I’m still not entirely sure how they found out about his ability. I think it’s very likely that they were monitoring me. Listening to phone calls, checking my emails - I was rising through the ranks quickly and I’m sure they were keeping an eye on whether I was a valuable asset or a risk. My security clearance kept getting higher and I soon discovered what was going on underneath all the benevolent programs.
They were experimenting on people. I hadn’t seen these experiments directly, but you hear things if you work at a place like that long enough. I thought they were doing drug trials - seeing if certain pharmaceuticals could work as a suppressant or enhancer. And I was right - there was some of that though not on willing participants as I assumed. And Sam- you have to understand, this is why I didn’t want you taking medication. It doesn’t mix well with abilities as strong as yours. That’s actually one of my current areas of research but, well, I haven’t cracked it yet.
The drug trials weren’t the worst of it though. There were also very extreme practical experiments. Pushing people to the limits of their abilities, invasive procedures to find the source of the power - just about every mad scientist experiment you can think of.
My new position eventually brought me into the orbit of these secret trials. At first, I was too shocked to say anything. They assigned me to work with the patients there and I went along with it - I didn’t know what else to do. To this day, I’m not sure if that was the right choice; if instead I should have spoken out right away. It’s a terrible program and I hate that I was ever a part of it but I never would have found Mark if I had said no.
After a few weeks into my promotion, I was itching to know the extent of what they were doing - what I was getting myself into. I thought if I knew everything, I could fix anything. I was already working in a high security area of the facility, but there was another section that was essentially quarantine. Only the very top people had access and we were told it was holding extremely dangerous atypicals. One night I was working late in the lab and an opportunity to sneak in presented itself. So I did.
Mark was there. He looked so unwell - I have no idea how long he was in there. But this was about two years after he initially went missing. I had been chasing down every possible lead I could and there he was. Underneath my feet the entire time. And I moved to open the door to his cell and he saw me and that’s when security found me.
I was fired immediately. But an agent on my team was fond of me, he- he knew how much of an asset I was, so he got his boss to offer me a deal. They wouldn’t arrest me if I agreed to work with them on “the outside”. They were tracking atypicals in the general population - people who hadn’t gotten into trouble or weren’t a danger to society. They wanted me to keep tabs on these people and seek out other potential atypicals. I laughed in their face. I told them I would report the kind of work they were doing, get them shut down, get my brother out. And they laughed right back.
I may sound paranoid, but I believe that The AM operates outside of the law. I had seen what they were capable of and, well, I feared for my life. Out of pure instinct, I agreed. But I demanded that they let my brother go. That they let me keep tabs on him on the outside instead. They said they were finishing up his trials anyway, and that he would be released to me in a few days.
That’s when things went terribly wrong. While I was setting up my practice - this practice, the one I have now - they were conducting experiments with Mark and the mental time traveler. They were making them both go back in time - all the while giving them drugs and seeing how it would affect each of their abilities.
During one of the trials, the drugs reacted poorly in the time traveler and she died. Her body died in the present while her mind - and Mark’s mind - were in the past. He’s been in a coma-like state for the last two years - once she died, he lost his ability to travel and never woke up from the trip. I guess he has been on it this whole time.
So that’s the long and short of it, Sam. Because of a medical error, my brother’s body is being held captive while his mind is two hundred years in the past. I know it sounds preposterous, but you’ve seen him. You know. And I think you might be the only one who can get him back.
[sfx: click of a recorder]