Episode 27 Transcript
27 - Mark, August
By Lauren Shippen
[sfx: iPhone voice memo beep]
Damien: Okay, are you ready?
Mark: Yeah, I guess. I still don’t really see the point of this.
Damien: It’s been almost two months and you still can’t do anything. There’s something getting in your way - something blocking you and I think if you try talking about it, you’ll figure out what’s wrong.
Mark: Someone’s been paying attention in their therapy.
Damien: Yeah, well, Dr. B. is right about some things.
Mark: Yeah, she is.
Damien: Getting everything out in the open can’t hurt. Plus, I want know what The AM’s been up to.
Mark: Yeah, I know. I can feel how much you want it. So I want it too. It’s weird.
Damien: I can’t help it.
Mark: C’mon, I don’t need you to feel bad about it. I just - I haven’t met someone like you before. It’s a new feeling. I’m still getting used to it.
Damien: Well, hey, if this goes well, you’ll be on the other side of it. Which, I have to say, is pretty amazing.
Mark: I’ll take your word for it.
Mark: Right, yeah, okay, settle down. I’m going to tell you everything. I want to. It’s just, it’s hard. The whole thing doesn’t exactly read like a fairytale.
Damien: Though I do make quite the dashing knight in armor.
Mark: Yeah, more like a weirdo with a van. Just like Disney come to life.
Damien: Hey, you never know. Disney could have taken a weird turn while you were under.
Mark: Oh yeah? Have they started making movies about shifty guys in hoodies?
Damien: I’m just saying, I woke you up from a deep sleep. I know I’m not your imaginary Sam, but I do okay.
Mark: Hey, don’t talk about her like that. She's not imaginary.
Damien: Okay. You talk about her in your sleep, you know.
Mark: I do?
Damien: Yeah, just her name. Sometimes.
Mark: Sorry about all the nightmares.
Damien: It’s fine. It’s not like I’m getting deep sleep in these shitty motel beds anyway.
Mark: Yeah, no kidding.
Damien: Probably not the ideal place to recover.
Mark: I don’t know, I think we’ve done okay. The internet is amazing - that at least hasn’t changed. Coma Recovery 101 right at our fingertips.
Damien: True. Though shockingly nothing on time-travel induced comas.
Mark: I know! I guess I’m just that special - not even the internet can explain me.
Damien: Nope. That’s all on you.
Mark: Right. So I guess I’ll just at the beginning?
Damien: Sure, yeah, just start wherever you want to start.
Mark: Okay. So I’ve had this ability for a while. I think since I was kid.
Damien: You don’t know?
Mark: Well, the thing is, it needs other people to work. I can’t just go around doing whatever I want - it’s not like I absorb the abilities of every atypical I meet.
Damien: So it wears off pretty fast?
Mark: No, it doesn’t wear off. I just can’t do it unless I’m close to another atypical.
Damien: How close do you need to be? Touching?
Mark: No, same room is fine. Maybe further. 31.2 feet apart is my upper limit. But that’s on a good day.
Damien: That’s a very exact number.
Mark: Yeah, well, The AM is pretty exact.
Damien: They tested for that?
Mark: Oh yeah. They’ve got stats on stats on stats for me. They measured every single part of my body, put me in rooms with other atypicals and tried different distances, different times of day, different fucking room temperatures. I’m pretty sure they know more about me than I do at this point. Which is not a fact I relish. And God knows what they did to me while I was in the other time.
Damien: You think they continued to experiment on you?
Mark: Yeah, why the hell not? I don’t know what they could have figured out, but they would have made use of me. It is a “use every part of the animal” kind of place.
Mark: Yeah, they are resourceful, I’ll give them that.
Damien: How’d they find you?
Mark: Right. Um, I’m still not really sure.
Damien: So they just snatched you off the street?
Mark: Not exactly. They reached out to me - emailed me, actually.
Damien: And said, “hi, we’re The AM, we’d like to experiment on you? Please come on down?”
Mark: No. They made it sound like a job opportunity. They said they admired my work, that they thought I had great potential and they’d like to talk to me about working with them.
Damien: And you went?
Mark: I thought they were talking about my photography. I’d been applying to about a million jobs, sending my portfolio around, and they emailed me through the form on my website. Everything they said made it sound like they were a non-profit wanting to hire me as a photographer.
Damien: So you went to this meeting, under false pretenses, and they just kidnapped you?
Mark: Pretty much. Yeah, yeah, that face you’re making is basically how I felt about it too. I mean, no one actually sticks a needle in your neck and then throws you in a cell underground in real life, right? That’s just something that happens in movies. Except- here I am.
Damien: That blows.
Mark: Yes, Damien, it blows. Eloquently put.
Damien: Jeez, sorry.
Mark: No, I- I don’t mean to keep snapping at you. It’s just- the last person I talked to about this stuff was Sam. And I-
Damien: You told her about The AM?
Mark: Well, not all of it. Not the stuff that they did to me. But I told her how I got there - to 1810. And then we got to talking about Camille a bit - you know, my time travel buddy-
Damien: Yeah, yeah.
Mark: But mostly I tried to avoid that topic. And she didn’t push. She understands not wanting to talk about that stuff.
Damien: And you’re sure that she was there - that she was real?
Mark: Yeah, I am. The more I think about it - I spent nearly two years there and never had such vivid hallucinations. She felt really real. And even though it’s such a blur, I think she’s the one that pulled me out. I mean, you didn’t do anything special, right? How else would I have woken up?
Damien: But why would she bring you back and then not come looking for you?
Mark: Maybe she couldn’t find me. We haven’t exactly been parading ourselves around. She’s probably still with that…Dr. Bright person - the one she said she was working with.
Damien: Yeah, that’s the other thing, how do you know that doctor isn’t working for The AM?
Mark: I don’t know for certain, but I trust Sam. She might not always be the most forthcoming person in the world, but she doesn’t lie.
Damien: If you say so.
Mark: I think we should go talk to my sister.
Mark: Yeah, I know, I know, and you don’t want to go and you don’t want me to go either so most of the time I don’t but I just think we could get some real answers-
Damien: I was in therapy with your sister for over a year- she’s not exactly a forthcoming person either except she does lie-
Mark: She wouldn’t to me. Not after everything that’s happened. And she could help me with my ability - she’s done it before. I appreciate what you’re trying to do here, but you’re not her.
Damien: I don’t think it’s a good idea - you don’t know how much contact she might still have with The AM.
Mark: I highly doubt she’s still working with them - they were none too pleased with her last I saw her.
Mark: I saw her get fired or arrested or whatever The AM’s version is. She found me and it set off an alarm and a bunch of security took her away. And the whole place freaked out about it. I knew Joanie was good at her job but apparently she was the rising star of the whole place. For her to breach a high security area and then try and break out a subject was a big deal.
Damien: She tried to break you out?
Mark: I- yeah, I think so. I mean, she was pretty paralyzed with shock at first, I think, but she started to move towards me and yeah, of course she would have broken me out, she’s my sister. But then the alarms went off and they grabbed her and it was all anybody talked about for weeks.
Damien: Wait, how do you know that? I can’t imagine you were standing around the water cooler with your captors.
Mark: There was a guard. He was kind - really kind, actually. He would bring me extra food, actually decent eats, from the employee cafeteria - keep me updated on the news, that kind of stuff.
Mark: I don’t really know. I tried to crack a couple of jokes my first few weeks there - what Joanie would call my defense mechanism. And he liked it - he laughed. And then he would just come talk to me. We’re about the same age and I think he was bored - he was a patrol guard, so his job was basically to walk up and down the hallway and stand at doors - I provided decent conversation. By the time I went into the coma, we were friends. Hell, under different circumstances- well. They would have had to be very different circumstances.
Damien: I think I met him.
Damien: When I came to get you out, I, um, well I did my thing with the guards, you know-
Damien: And there was this guy who told me not to hurt you. Even through what I was doing, he was able to tell me that.
Mark: Yeah that sounds like Charlie.
Damien: I’m glad you had a friend in there.
Mark: Thanks, man. It definitely made things a little easier.
Damien: Did he ever try and help you escape?
Mark: No. I never asked.
Damien: Why not?
Mark: I didn’t want to get him in trouble, I guess.
Damien: So you think he would have done it?
Mark: Yeah, probably.
Damien: Because he liked you.
Damien: Because of your ability?
Mark: No, because of my personality.
Mark: I’m just a normal guy by myself. I can’t make people like me. I’m not like-
Damien: You’re not like me.
Mark: Well, yeah. Oh c’mon, don’t make that face. But if I’m being totally honest, I’m not sure I would have stayed if you hadn’t wanted me to. At least at first.
Damien: And now?
Mark: You’re alright. I mean, you’ve taken pretty good care of me, a complete stranger. But don’t you have a life you should be getting back to? A job? A family? How can you take 2 months off to bounce around cheap motels helping a guy recover from a supernatural coma?
Damien: I don’t want to talk about it.
Mark: Yeah, I know. But you also want me to trust you, which I do, because that’s the way it works, but if you want me to trust you for real, you need to give me a reason. Other than your ability.
Damien: What do you want to know?
Mark: Why are you doing this?
Mark: This - breaking me out, helping me get better, listening to me talk about The AM. You’re not a therapist-
Damien: Definitely not.
Mark: You’re not a scientist, you said The AM hasn’t done anything to you, so why get involved? Just to piss off my sister?
Damien: Not entirely.
Mark: Okay, then…
Damien: There aren’t other people like me.
Mark: Not to burst your bubble, dude, but I just spent the past four years in a place full of people like you-
Damien: Other atypicals, yeah, but did you ever meet anybody who had my specific ability?
Mark: No. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Damien: Yeah, I know that. But I don’t know how to find them. So when I found out what you could do…
Mark: What, you wanted a buddy? A partner in crime?
Damien: We haven’t committed any crimes. Well, since getting you out that is.
Mark: Yeah, not yet. But you get this gleam in your eye any time we talk about The AM.
Damien: I just wondered what it would be like: to be around someone like me.
Mark: God, I must be quite a disappointment to you then.
Damien: What do you mean?
Mark: Because I can’t do anything. I’m broken.
Damien: For now, yeah. But you don’t think your ability is gone for good, right?
Mark: I don’t know. Hey listen, man, I get it. If I hadn’t had Joanie growing up, I would have felt really alone too.
Damien: But she isn’t like us.
Mark: No, she’s not. Which, for someone like me, is sort of a relief sometimes. Around her, I don’t have to worry about accidentally setting something on fire or walking through walls. But she didn’t care when I did. Joanie never cared that I was different.
Damien: Sure, because of the way you’re different. She definitely doesn’t seem to like my particular brand of different.
Mark: Yeah, because you can be kind of a dick about it sometimes. My sister doesn’t suffer assholes.
Damien: I haven’t been an asshole to you! I’m helping you!
Mark: Yes, I know, and I’m grateful for that. But you’re also weirdly demanding. You just expect me to go along with you on whatever you want to do.
Damien: Can you blame me? That’s how my entire life works.
Mark: Sure. But after a while, isn’t that just a convenient excuse?
Damien: You don’t know anything about me.
Mark: Oh, and whose fault is that? I’m trying to get to know you. I don’t know what else to do.
Damien: Alright, slow your roll. We’ve gotten way off track.
Mark: You’re right. Can you stop doing that?
Mark: You wanting me to talk about The AM it’s- maybe I don’t want to relive every terrible thing that happened to me in the past four years.
Damien: But you need to. You’re, you know, traumatized.
Mark: God, you sound like Joanie. You think you can fix this? Do you also have a degree in psychology? Actually, you could I guess, I don’t know anything about you, which brings us back to what I want to talk about-
Damien: Yeah, well, you can’t always get what you want.
Mark: Unless you’re you.
Damien: Hey, it’s not always a blessing, okay? Once you’re better and you can do it with me, you’ll understand.
Mark: Oh, so that’s what this is about? Pulling someone else into your weird pity party?
Damien: I’m not having a pity party!
Mark: Yes, you are! You want me to feel bad for you right now - I can feel it, remember?
Damien: See? Okay, this is what I’m talking about - my ability isn’t always a good thing.
Mark: What, because people can feel what you want? Want what you want? Want to make you happy, meet your needs? God, yeah, that must be awful-
Damien: Yeah, yeah, sometimes it is!
Mark: How? How could that be a bad thing?
Damien: Because sometimes people take it too far.
Mark: What are you talking about? You want me to care? You know what they say - caring is sharing.
Damien: Shut up.
Mark: Damien. What do you mean? Who took it too far?
Damien: I told them I wanted to be left alone and they listened. They left and they never came back.
Damien: My parents.
Mark: Your parents?
Damien: When I was 13, I got into a fight with them about something and - the thing is I didn’t have good control over it back then, when it first started. It was stronger too. We were fighting and I told them to leave me alone and they did. Forever.
Mark: I don’t understand. I thought your ability wears off - that once you’re no longer near someone it doesn’t-
Damien: Yeah, it doesn’t work after a while. But it lingered for longer back then. They drove away pretty fast. By the time it wore off, who knows how far they’d gotten.
Mark: But surely they would have come back.
Damien: You’d think, right?
Mark: They didn’t?
Damien: Nope. Guess they probably came back to their senses in the car and realized they’d been given the perfect excuse. They had a demanding freak of a son. He wanted to be left alone? Fine. I’m sure they were relieved.
Mark: How- how could they do that?
Damien: What, you have a perfect relationship with your parents?
Mark: No. But they didn’t abandon me when I was just a kid.
Damien: From what your sister's told me, they kind of did.
Mark: What? No, there’s no way that she would have told you about that. Unless, you made her.
Damien: I was curious.
Mark: Jesus, and you wonder why Joanie doesn’t like your particular brand of different.
Damien: What? I wanted to know if we had any common ground.
Mark: It’s not at all the same thing. Our parents didn’t leave us. They were just…they weren’t particularly attentive, okay? There are way worse things in the world. Clearly. What did you do after they left? Where did you go?
Damien: I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I want you to tell me-
Mark: The director of The AM would come and talk to me every now and then. Well, one of the directors. The director of the facility I was in, anyway.
Damien: That’s not Agent Green is it?
Mark: Definitely not. But I did see him from time to time. He worked with some of the other atypicals on my hall and we sometimes did experiments together. That guy was terrified of me. I have no idea why. It’s not like I could do anything to him but he always excused himself whenever we were in the same room.
Damien: I think I know why that is.
Damien: I’m pretty sure he and your sister used to be a thing.
Mark: Oh really? That another thing that you forced out of her?
Damien: It doesn’t make it any less true.
Mark: Oh god, are you serious? Joanie did always have the worst taste in men.
Damien: So the director?
Mark: Right, yeah. Director Wadsworth. It’s not that she enjoyed inflicting pain on anybody, because I don’t think that she did. There were a couple of scientists who definitely got a kick out of how much we squirmed, but Wadsworth…she’s all about that bottom line. How much progress is being made, how close they are to a break through, how much profit they can make off of it. She is ruthless. But also incredibly sharp - she would come in and pinpoint exactly the variable that needed to be changed in order to make something work. And she was always coming up with new ways to combine powers, see how they worked together. That’s where I came in, usually.
Damien: What do you mean?
Mark: I’d be in a room with a few different atypicals, told to try out their powers, see what I could do, try and use them all at once. That kind of stuff. All the while, they’d be monitoring every single system in my body - my heart rate, my brain waves, you name it.
Damien: What were they trying to figure out?
Mark: Anything. Everything. They tried extracting powers from people, putting them into someone else. I think the military was funding some project along those lines.
Damien: They do that with you?
Mark: Couldn’t. It’s too risky - you can’t remove someone’s power completely, but a lot of stuff went wrong in the process of trying to duplicate it. I’m too rare. They only did that kind of stuff with powers they had a lot of access to. Pyrokinesis and mind reading, that kind of stuff.
Damien: And then they would just shove the power into somebody else?
Damien: Did it work?
Mark: I’m not sure. I think so. I wasn’t really part of that stage of it. They would pair me with the atypical that had had the power extracted. See if their power still worked. It usually did once the person was recovered enough, but sometimes it took a while. The procedure is invasive.
Damien: Did they ever get invasive with you?
Mark: Yeah, I don't want to talk about this anymore, I think I’m done.
Mark: I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I am tired, my body hurts, and now I’m sad. So please just- just let me lie down and leave me alone for a bit.
Damien: Yeah, yeah, of course. Sorry.
Mark: Wow, an actual apology. I must look terrible.
Damien: You have gotten pretty pale. I’ll go out and get us some food. Just-
Mark: Stay here? Yeah, I know.
[sfx: Damien gets up]
Damien: Cool, I’ll just-
[sfx: iPhone voice memo beep]
[music & credits]
Lauren Shippen: Episode 27 was written and directed by Lauren Shippen, and produced by Mischa Stanton. The voice of Damien is Charlie Ian. The voice of Mark is Andrew Nowak. Our music is composed and performed by Evan Cunningham. The original Bright theme was written by Lauren Shippen. To hear the full theme and for other bonus content, please visit thebrightsessions.com and follow us on tumblr and on twitter @brightpodcast. And, if you haven’t already, please rate and review us on iTunes. The Bright Sessions would like to thank Elizabeth Laird, Anna Lore, Elizabeth Harrington, Ken Hertz, Oswaldo Rossi, and Authentic. The Bright Sessions will return on November 30th with Episode 28. In the mean time, thanks for listening and stay strange.