Episode 16 Transcript

16 - Patient #13-A-3 (Chloe)
By Lauren Shippen

[sfx: click of a recorder]

Dr. Bright: Patient #13-A-3, session 7. Due to the patient’s telepathy, our sessions are now focused on honing her ability, though we occasionally talk on the phone if there is a pressing personal matter. After the past few weeks of phone conversations, I think we have been able to rebuild a certain amount of trust. I am hopeful that she might now consider helping me when Agent Green comes for our meeting next week. While I do have reservations about getting her tangled up in all of this, I think she might be able to access some vital information. 

[sfx:  opening door]

Dr. Bright: Hi Chloe, come on in. 

[sfx: closing door]

Dr. Bright: How are you doing today?

Chloe: Really great. I think Frank and I made a breakthrough. 

Dr. Bright: Really? That’s wonderful. Tell me about it. 

Chloe: Well, like I told you on the phone, we’ve been going to that art therapy place that you recommended. I signed up to volunteer at their open house and Frank has been willing to go as long as I’m there. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, from what you’ve told me, it sounds like he’s really beginning to trust you. 

Chloe: Yeah, I think he is. I think he was a bit confused at first - I mean, I guess it was a little strange for some random college student to take an interest in him - but once we started talking about his art, he got more comfortable around me.

Dr. Bright:  And he didn’t find it strange that you knew he was an artist?

Chloe: I don’t think so. I told him I could just tell and that made him happy. He started thinking about his grandmother - I guess she was an artist too. Not professionally or anything, but she used to tell him that “you can always tell a painter by what they look at”. I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean - I guess it’s just one of those things that grandmas say - but I think I reminded him of her a little bit. 

Dr. Bright: Is that something he told you or something you heard in his thoughts?

Chloe: I heard it. He doesn’t talk about his family very much. Why have you changed your mind?

Dr. Bright:  I’m sorry?

Chloe: About me helping Frank - your thinking about him is different now. Before you didn’t think it was a good idea but now- it’s like you’re happy that I’m spending time with him. 

Dr. Bright: You’re right - I was hesitant at first. But I think this relationship has been good for you. Because Frank’s thoughts are so fractured, you have to work twice as hard to understand them. I think this has made parsing through the thoughts of everyone else easy by comparison. 

Chloe: Yeah, that makes sense. Things have been getting easier. Even with Frank, I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. The painting has been making him a lot calmer and that makes it easier to hear him. 

Dr. Bright: How are his hands doing?

Chloe: They’re doing okay. I’m still not totally sure if it’s a physical injury or something related to his PTSD, but they still shake quite a bit. He’s getting used to holding a paintbrush again, and I think he’ll get there eventually. And yes, he’s staying at the VA now and I think they’re gonna help him get back on his feet. I think that’s helping a lot. 

Dr. Bright: I’m still not quite used to you answering my questions before I even ask them.

Chloe: Sorry. 

Dr. Bright: No, it’s perfectly alright. 

Chloe: You don’t understand it, do you?

Dr. Bright: Understand what?

Chloe: Why I would use my power like this. You’re thinking about how if you had the power to read minds, you probably wouldn’t use it to help a homeless artist. 

Dr. Bright: Well, yes, I suppose that’s true. 

Chloe: It’s nice that you think of him that way really - as an artist. I think he would like that. He never wanted to be in the Marines, you know. But his dad was, so Frank decided to try and make him proud by joining up. He actually ended up liking it in the end. But then his dad got really sick and Frank went to go take care of him after he was discharged and that’s when things started to get bad. I think taking care of his dad had given him a purpose - something to focus on; distract him from thinking about the war. And so when his dad died, Frank’s whole life unraveled. And yes, this is all stuff that I’ve heard in his thoughts, not from him directly. 

Dr. Bright: Chloe, I wasn’t just thinking about asking. 

Chloe: I know. But you would have. It’s an important question. I know I’ve completely crossed a line now - digging into someone’s thoughts to find out more about them it’s, well, it’s a huge invasion of privacy, I get that. But it does relate to his art at least- not that that’s an excuse, I guess. But I went looking for the art and found his family history. I wasn’t trying to dig his skeletons up. 

Dr. Bright: His family is the subject of his art - paintings, correct?

Chloe: Yes, it’s a series. Seven paintings depicting seven different pieces of his life - important pieces. 

Dr. Bright: Would you mind describing them to me? I understand if you’re not comfortable with that; if you feel it violates Frank’s privacy to share. 

Chloe: No, that’s alright. I know you’re not interested in the finer details of his life. Or even the art, really. You want to know how well I see these things in his thoughts, right?

Dr. Bright: Yes, that’s it exactly. 

Chloe: Well, then to answer your real question: I don’t see the paintings perfectly clearly. It’s more that I see the colors, the way Frank wants to paint - you know, the intention behind the brushstrokes, the emotion that he’d be putting into it. Like, the first one is blues and greens and it’s soft and comforting. I think that’s the one with the lilies I’ve been seeing. I think it’s for his grandmother. She’s the only person he really thinks of fondly. Well, her and his unit. And he misses her a lot so the painting is kind of bittersweet. But gentle.

Dr. Bright: Are all his paintings that gentle? Focused on happier times?

Chloe: No, not at all. The one about his unit is kind of fond, but more aggressive than the one with the lilies. Most of them are dark and angry. Big, violent brushstrokes, a lot of splatter painting. 

Dr. Bright: Like Jackson Pollack?

Chloe: Yes, exactly. But sharper somehow. 

Dr. Bright: And these paintings are about the war I assume?

Chloe: Yeah, mostly. There are three of them specifically about the war, I think. Well, one about his unit and then two others, maybe?

Dr. Bright: You’re not sure?

Chloe: Well, they’re really similar and they’re right in the middle of the series, so they sort of blur together. But the intentions behind them are a little different. One is when he got injured - it’s pain, pure pain, and it’s physical pain. When he thinks about that one it’s like he wants to claw at the canvas, stab it with his brush. I think he was shot. 

Dr. Bright: And the other one?

Chloe: It’s more of an emotional pain. Still sand and blood but, I think maybe he lost a friend? It’s really confused - some of the pain is his, some of it is his units’, and then there’s just the general chaos of the war. The violence is still there but it isn’t in his body as much, if that makes sense. 

Dr. Bright: It does. 

Chloe: That one’s the worst I think. Sometimes I’ll hear him thinking about it and I’ll wish for the loud pain of the other one. Which sounds crazy but it’s just-

Dr. Bright: I understand. 

Chloe: You’re thinking about your brother again. 

Dr. Bright: Yes. Sometimes losing someone we love can be more painful than any physical trials we experience. 

Chloe: But he’s not completely lost, right?

Dr. Bright: No, I don’t think he is. In fact, I think I may be able to get him back. 

Chloe: What does that have to do with me? I heard you thinking about me and helping him but I don’t understand. 

Dr. Bright: Chloe, your ability - your gift - it could help me save my brother. I know you don’t like to use it to get the upper hand on people but I was hoping you could make an exception. 

Chloe: You want me to listen to someone. 

Dr. Bright: Yes. 

Chloe: An Agent Green? You want me to spy on what- a cop?

Dr. Bright: No, he’s not a cop exactly. He works for an organization that monitors people like you - people with special abilities. 

Chloe: The AM. 

Dr. Bright: You’ve heard of it?

Chloe: No, you were thinking-

Dr. Bright: Right, of course. Sorry I just - normally I would not encourage a patient to look into this organization. They can put people like you in great danger. 

Chloe: But they already know about me. That’s who you were telling about me - not your recorder - but these dangerous people. Why would you do that?

Dr. Bright: I don’t have a choice. If I didn’t report to them on my patients, they would just take them into custody. Believe it or not, these sessions are protecting you. 

Chloe: You may believe that, but I don’t. If I hadn’t come to you in the first place, they wouldn’t even know about me. 

Dr. Bright:  That’s not exactly true. 

Chloe: My mom? They know about her?

Dr. Bright: Yes.

Chloe: But she doesn’t see you and she doesn’t seem to be in danger.

Dr. Bright: Her ability protects her. Telekinetics are a dime a dozen at The AM. Telepaths however- 

Chloe: That’s why my mom sent me to you. So I could be an outpatient? What does that mean?

Dr. Bright: The AM has a few levels of atypical observation. There are those who are held prisoner by the organization, experimented on - those people tend to have very valuable and strong abilities. Then there are those who are brought in by the organization and then let go - like a rehab center. These are people with pyrokinesis, invisibility, enhanced empathy, certain kinds of prescience or psychic ability - basically anything that the government either has no use for or something they can already do through technology. 

Chloe:The government has psychic technology? 

Dr. Bright: No, not exactly. But, for whatever reason, The AM still has a hard time believing in mediums and precognates, despite all the other extraordinary things they’ve seen. 

Chloe: Okay, so where do you fit into all of this?

Dr. Bright: Those atypicals that are brought in and then released - those are outpatients. Once they are through their initial program at The AM, they are sent to me - or others like me - who can help them with the day to day struggles that they encounter as a result of their abilities. 

Chloe: And then you report on them? To an organization you hate. 

Dr. Bright: It’s not a perfect system, but it keeps The AM out of my patients’ hair and they are able to live mostly normal lives. 

Chloe: But I was never brought in by any organization. 

Dr. Bright: But you’ve been monitored since you were a child. 

Chloe: What? And my mother knew. She was the one who told you.

Dr. Bright: Part of me feels as though I should just sit here and think and let you sort it all out. 

Chloe: Sorry, I’m just - this is a lot to take in and, as always, you are thinking very fast and it’s a little overwhelming. 

Dr. Bright: You were about 10 years old when I met your mother. 

Chloe: But you never met me. 

Dr. Bright: No, I didn’t. But your mother told me about you. She said that The AM had checked in every year, on your birthday, inquiring about any powers you may have displayed. And every year she said no. They - and your mother - assumed that if you had a power, you would be telekinetic. Most abilities are genetic. I actually have a theory that-

Chloe: No, I’m sorry, I can hear your thoughts trailing off into science land, but I don’t care about that right now. 

Dr. Bright: Of course. Vanessa- your mother thought that you were perfectly normal. Her telekinesis appeared when she was a child so she thought you were in the clear. The moment she suspected you might have an ability, she called me. She knew The AM would want to snatch you up. 

Chloe: God, you mean that literally. But if I have such a high-value power as you’ve been thinking, then why doesn’t The AM want to take me now?

Dr. Bright: They already have a number of telepaths actually. The danger with your power is not the ability itself, but the misuse of it. When a telepath starts displaying symptoms, The AM tries to get them off the streets as soon as possible. Otherwise, a telepath who is confused about their ability or doesn’t know how to control it - as you once were - could unintentionally reveal their power to the general public. And that is The AM’s greatest fear - they thrive on secrecy. So most of their work with outpatients is about maintaining that secrecy. They teach them how to use their abilities, get them to sign an agreement that they will not use their powers in front of others, and monitor them to make sure they aren’t breaking any rules. 

Chloe: So, anyone with an ability is basically treated like a criminal?

Dr. Bright: They don’t frame it like that - they try to explain to atypicals that it is in their best interest to keep their powers a secret. Appeal to images of villagers with pitchforks and what-not. 

Chloe: That used to be your job. You used to work for them, and that’s what you did. 

Dr. Bright: Yes. I thought it was good work that I was doing-

Chloe: You still do. Think that I mean. And, well, it seems like you still do that kind of work. 

Dr. Bright: You’re right- I do still think that it’s good work - keeping an eye on atypicals protects everyone. And in my own private practice, I am able to help my patients. But The AM often has less than noble intentions.

Chloe: They have your brother. 

Dr. Bright: Yes. 

Chloe: Because he’s powerful. 

Dr. Bright: Yes.

Chloe: And you want me to listen to Agent Green’s thoughts to find out about what they’re doing to him. 

Dr. Bright: Yes. 

Chloe: Okay.

Dr. Bright: What? Chloe I don’t expect-

Chloe: No, I want to.  I don’t love the idea of spying on someone but- while you’ve been talking about them, you’ve been thinking about the experiments they do. Seeing them in your head, it’s just like watching what goes on in Frank’s head. I’m so tired of seeing people get hurt. If I can do something to help stop that, I will. I mean, I’ll talk it over with my mom first. It seems like she’s been leaving a lot of stuff out of our conversations. But this seems like the right thing to do.  

Dr. Bright: Thank you, Chloe. I admire your bravery. I know this is crossing the line of doctor and patient so I think it would be best if you stopped seeing me in a formal capacity. You could still come in, and I want you to, but it would be pro bono on my part. I would be a resource for you, not your therapist. 

Chloe: Yeah, that sounds good.

Dr. Bright: Good. I have a meeting with Agent Green next Friday. I was thinking you could sit in the waiting room and listen to his thoughts. I’ll ask some questions to make sure he thinks about Mark. The whole meeting shouldn’t be long. Green is my liaison with The AM - he checks in a few times a year to get updated on my research and any new patients. 

Chloe: Isn’t that a bit of a conflict of interest?

Dr. Bright: What do you mean?

Chloe: Well, because the two of you used to-

Dr. Bright: Oh, I didn’t realize I was thinking about that-

Chloe: It was just kind of running under everything whenever you said his name-

Dr. Bright: Right, yes, well that’s- that’s obviously no longer a concern. And The AM never knew about our...

Chloe: Right. 

Dr. Bright: Well, uh, let’s practice a bit. Why don’t you go sit out in the waiting room and we’ll use the intercom to do the numbers exercise. 

Chloe: Yeah, okay. 

[sfx: time passing]

[sfx: opening door]

Dr. Bright: Alright, Chloe, very well done. How are you feeling?

Chloe: Tired. Listening for that long always wipes me out. 

Dr. Bright: I understand. Why don’t you go home and get some rest. I’ll call you this week to discuss next Friday. 

Chloe: Okay. Don’t worry, Dr. Bright. It’s all gonna be fine. 

Dr. Bright: Thank you, Chloe. I hope so. 

Chloe: Bye! 

[sfx: closing door]

Dr. Bright: End of session 7. I am relieved and more than a bit surprised that Chloe agreed to my proposal so easily. I suppose this is one of those instances in which Chloe hearing my thoughts worked in my favor. I don’t know what we’ll be able to glean from Agent Green’s thoughts, but anything is worth trying while Sam and I work on getting her back to Mark. 

[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 to make a per episode donation. No amount is too small. And 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 Chloe is Anna Lore. Anna is also responsible for all the gorgeous graphic design you see on our website. Speaking of which, if you visit www.thebrightsessions.com, you’ll find information about our cast and crew as well as bonus content for each of the characters. We’re adding to it all the time. 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.