Dr. Nelson sat alone in a rigid chair, his fingers trembling. His eyes darted to the door, anticipating Agent Reynolds' arrival in the stark and chilling CIA office. The room seemed to hold its breath, the cold light casting sharp shadows that leapt like ethereal demons in the air. This unholy office was where the lines between truth and deception blurred, and Dr. Nelson was about to step into that treacherous terrain once again.
The meeting served a dual purpose: to assess Jack McCoy's promising abilities and to unravel the recent trial mishaps involving Stephanie, Michael, Chuck, Chester, Amanda and Randy – subjects who had recently been released from the trial. The doctor couldn't help but shudder at the thought of Randy White, the sole fatality in the trial. A sharp pain gripped his chest as he contemplated his inability to do anything to save the man. Dr. Nelson was aware that the X-subjects were in the care of the CIA for recovery, but his attempts to gather information had only resulted in vague responses. When Agent Reynolds' underlings arrived to escort the trial participants, a deafening silence hung in the air, which intensified Dr. Nelson's anxiety.
Nine days of this trial had left Dr. Nelson, a 67-year-old man, worn to the bone. The mysterious Formula 35C drug cast a shadow of uncertainty over his mind. The CIA's secretive stance smothered his trust like a dense fog. The declining mental state of the subjects haunted his conscience. He had contemplated ending the experiment, consequences be damned. Yet, Jack McCoy's remarkable progress and the curious case of Subject 7, Frank Tanaka, gave him pause. Frank communicated through haiku poems, exhibiting an almost supernatural perception of the world. It was as though the drug had granted him insight into reality's very essence. His latest poem delved into life's simplicity, nearly sparking a spiritual awakening within Dr. Nelson.
Flowing motions, be not, be,
Life's essence, but a dream.
However, Dr. Nelson pondered, Jack's story was one of burgeoning talents, heightened senses, telepathy, and an IQ boost that defied all logic. A leap of nearly 20 points in intelligence was a monumental shift beyond the boundaries of what was considered possible.
A few tense moments passed and the door swung open, revealing Agent Reynolds. He strode into the room and settled himself behind the desk, his gaze locking onto Dr. Nelson's eyes, which were filled with a mixture of anxiety and curiosity.
"Doctor," Agent Reynolds's voice was steady, devoid of emotion.
"Mr. Reynolds," Dr. Nelson responded, mirroring the same tone.
Agent Reynolds took a deliberate, slow breath, his exhale a measured release of tension. He powered up his laptop, each keystroke punctuating the suspense. As he read through Dr. Nelson's latest report, a fleeting expression of panic flitted across his face, a detail not lost on the observant doctor.
Dr. Nelson's intrigue heightened, an involuntary shiver racing down his backbone. When Agent Reynolds concluded, he closed the laptop gently, yet his gaze remained fixed on Dr. Nelson, an unspoken weight hanging between them.
The silence was broken by Dr. Nelson's impatience. "Well?!" he practically implored.
Agent Reynolds leaned forward, his demeanor firm, arms crossed. "Doctor, what do you think is transpiring here?"
"I see two sets of promising results," Dr. Nelson began, "clearly indicating—"
"We need to shut it down," Agent Reynolds cut him off.
Dr. Nelson's words hung suspended, his mouth still half open as he coughed slightly to regain his composure. "I'm not certain if that's warranted. Perhaps a dose reduction or gradual tapering—"
"Dr. Nelson, thus far, the trial hasn't yielded any promising outcomes," Reynolds asserted.
"Promising outcomes? Did you not read the latest entry from Subject 15? And can you please clarify the exact parameters the Central Intelligence Agency seeks?" Dr. Nelson's voice quivered, his frustration simmering beneath the surface.
"Classified," Reynolds retorted, unflinching.
"Classified? I'm administering the drug, sir. How can I fulfill my duties without adequate information?"
"Only as much as we reveal, and as much as you discover, doctor. Nothing beyond," Reynolds's response was icy, leaving no room for negotiation.
"The case of Jack McCoy presents compelling indications of enhanced memory, congruent with my own research and frankly, mind melding! That doesn’t pique your interest—"
"THAT'S THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OUR OBJECTIVES!" Reynolds's outburst was sudden, his tone indicating he had revealed more than he intended.
Dr. Nelson stared, horror-stricken, his mind racing. A million thoughts and suspicions churned within him.
"The old experiments are back, aren’t they?" Dr. Nelson let out a nervous chuckle. "This isn't about advancing humanity; it's the same bullshit you operatives have run since psychological warfare began. Enhanced interrogation, mind control. I should've known it the second you uttered those three letters C-I-A," he gasped, rising from his seat.
Reynolds adjusted his appearance with a dismissive air. "I need to submit a report to my superiors. You'll receive further instructions in due course. For now, continue with the trials."
"Fine. Will you at least tell me what happened to the five subjects you took away? Where are they?" Dr. Nelson's voice trembled with urgency.
Reynolds's smile was faint but cryptic. "Have a pleasant evening, Doctor."
Exiting the office, Dr. Nelson was left with a bitter taste in his mouth, the agent's demeanor and words a chilling reminder of the dark path he had wittingly stepped onto. His gut churned, reminding him of the devil's deal he'd taken—a deal that could very well condemn him to a life behind bars or worse, threaten his existence.
Dr. Nelson found himself faced with a singular, unequivocal course of action: he had to delicately guide the subjects away from their dependence on the drug, all while maintaining utmost discretion. The once-distinct boundary between ethical scientific pursuit and a perilous descent into darkness had become dangerously vague.
Recognizing the precarious situation, he decided it was prudent to revisit and modify any journal entries that might inadvertently divulge the subjects' budding skills and abilities. These changes were necessary to ensure nothing raised red flags for the agent, as the fine line between ethical research and potential misuse loomed dangerously before him.
Later that day, Dr. Nelson made an unexpected visit to his home to see his wife, Marge. As he stepped inside, his wife greeted him at the door with enthusiasm.
"Get in here, I wasn't expecting you until Sunday night," she exclaimed, her eyes wide with concern.
"Thought I'd stop in and recharge for a bit," he replied in a somber tone.
She could immediately tell that something was amiss by the expression on his face. Without hesitation, she hurried into the kitchen and prepared a pot of coffee. Meanwhile, Stanley settled in the dining room, placing his laptop on the table and reopening it to reread Jack's last entry about healing his mind and apparently Emily's as well. The sounds of pots clanging in the kitchen and the aroma of fresh coffee wafting through the air lightened his heart. Marge's presence was a soothing balm after a long and trying day. They had been married for 45 years, and her love remained a constant source of strength.
Stanley's eyes fixated on a particular sentence in his entry, one that intrigued him:
"Somehow, I was able to plug into her thoughts and I discovered the truth about her."
He scratched his head and adjusted his glasses, deep in thought.
Jack's newfound capacity to delve into the depths of the human mind was a mystery that demanded further investigation. It was also a double-edged sword — a potential breakthrough for humanity, but also a potential threat if it fell into the wrong hands. The CIA's involvement in the trials raised concerns. Stanley couldn't help but question the motives behind the CIA's aversion to these abilities. If their aim had been to explore avenues like mind control or enhanced interrogation, then the discovery of telepathy should have been of particular interest to them. The incongruity of the situation left Stanley deeply puzzled.
Marge entered the room with a platter of fresh fruits, nuts, and cheeses, along with a large brown mug of steaming coffee. As she sat down beside him, her hand gently caressed his head. "What's wrong, dear?" she asked with a concerned tone.
"Just work," he replied, his lips momentarily sealed.
"Are you really unable to share anything about what you're doing?" she inquired, a touch of exasperation in her voice.
Stanley gazed at his wife, cracking a half-smile. He grabbed a piece of cheese, took a sip of coffee, and then spoke.
"Not this job, Margey. I'm forbidden. All I can say is that I'm equally thrilled and terrified. It's as if there's a great light revealing a truth, but an equally great darkness trying to obscure it," he said, shaking his head in apparent frustration.
Marge possessed an uncanny ability to understand her husband, and she recognized that his words, though cryptic, held a deeper meaning. However, she couldn't shake her sense of fear for him. She had a growing intuition that whatever he was involved in had spiraled out of control, and she desperately searched for the right words to dissuade him from it.
"Honey, if you're uncomfortable with what you're doing, perhaps you should consider stopping and selling the labs. We'll find another way to make ends meet. I can't bear to see you like this," she pleaded.
Stanley stood up, picked up his laptop, and cupped his wife's blushing cheek. He offered a warm smile as he spoke, his voice filled with determination.
"My love, if I can keep the darkness from encroaching on this operation, I might have discovered the answer to all human afflictions."
Marge's eyes widened in astonishment.
"Trust me, dear, it's a battle, but I have to fight it. I must," he declared through gritted teeth, his gaze unwavering. Suddenly, his phone buzzed, and a text message popped up. It was from Agent Reynolds, and the message was marked as urgent. He quickly read the message and his eyes widened in panic. "I need to return immediately," he exclaimed.
Marge rose from her seat and quickly poured the coffee into a travel mug, handing it to her husband. She then embraced him tightly. Stanley kissed her passionately, his jacket now back on, and grabbed the travel mug.
As he headed for the door and climbed into his car, he stole one last glance at his wife standing in the doorway, shivering in the cold and waving him off. He waved back and, very quietly, let out a tearful sob. His desire to save the world was unwavering, but his wife had always made him question if he should drop everything to be with her.
"It's all for the greater good," he thought to himself as he sped out of the driveway.