Purple Elephant

Participants:

brian2_icon.gif thompson_icon.gif

Scene Title Purple Elephant
Synopsis There is one in this room
Date Feb 12 2009

Primatech

Primatech. Company. Place.


The lights of the room glare off the one-way mirror, and whether there's someone behind it is anyone's guess. The answer being, probably. Thompson's back is turned to it, seated in a casual posture in a metal chair, feet kicked up onto another and flicking through a file in his lap. His suit jacket hangs off the back of his chair, shirt of the opened collar variety, because if you want to relate to someone, it's by not wearing a tie.

Brian is seated stiffly into a chair opposite, stiff if only due to the fact he's hooked up to what the movies would call a lie detector, but what is actually called a polygraph. Dubious technology at best, and this one in particular looks like it's been dug out of the ground it's so aged, but somehow, it works, the needles set to run lines across the scrolling paper with a murmur of a buzz. Works as far as the mechanics are concerned, anyway, who knows if it really detects lies?

"Ever been abroad?"

He hasn't been instructed to lie, or to be truthful. Both. Answer, for now, as he chooses. Thompson's lazy attention remains on the file in his lap, and little glances towards the polygraph.

His eyes slowly move over to the little flicky thing on the papery thing. Calm. This isn't real. No pressure. He remains completely still under the polygraph. Truth or lie? He had always been told to tell the truth. But he's an Agent now. He has to do things, for the greater good. Things that might not seem good— "I fought in World War Two, in Antartica."

His eyes slowl move over to the paper thing. He was doing his best, forcing himself to be calm, forcing his body to obey his mind. But was it good enough? The training that he's had thus far, was it going to pay off? Or was Thompson going to yell at him. The man that he has started to look up too, and acidentally dress like.
Rather than yell, Thompson gives a low chuckle at the question, glances at the polygraph. Whatever it does, it prompts him to say, "You're trying too hard." He turns a page. There's not exactly disapproval in his tone, just fact. "It's like the purple elephant, agent. You try not to think about it, but inevitably, it's all you can see. Either that, or you got yourself nervous." The next question comes without preempt: "Ever been to a strip club?"

Taking a deep breath, Brian gives a slow nod. Stables himself. Don't move. Don't think about it. Block out the truth. Then comes the question, "Yes. I worked at a strip club for fifteen years." He responds crisply. He's pretty sure he's never been to a strip club. Who knows what he did in the time that he doesn't remember. Deep breaths, did he fail again? He glances over at whatever the thingy is doing.
It does something, alright. Well actually, this time, it maintains, the needles barely twitching as thin lines scroll along white paper, the graph recording Brian's minute physical reactions upon each answer. Thompson watches it for a moment sort of gives a tilt of his head. Better. The file is closed, tossed aside, but he doesn't get up to unhook Brian from the machine, studying him for a moment. "Why're we doing this, Brian?" The machine continues to run, but it doesn't have the silver haired man's attention.

"To turn me into the next Soldier of Fortune. Universal Soldier. Whatever." Brian murmurs, remaining perfectly still in the chair. Is everything a test here? He has no idea, yet. But he's going to be a freaking awesome test taker, he is determined to excel at this. "To make the world a better place."

Silence, then, Thompson shrugs. "That's a start." A twist of a smile at his protege, perhaps in an attempt at putting him at ease. Rarely a thing he's good at unless the other person is on the same wavelength, but Brian isn't so far away. "An eventually, we can start fixing the world. But no. Right here, right now." He taps the polygraph, which is doing all kinds of interesting things now. "This. A psychophysiological detection of deception, as our friends in government agencies like to call it. Controversial, because it doesn't work that way. People can cheat their way out of lies and sometimes even better, cheat their way out of truths. It doesn't take a lot, just a good mind and a talent. Because we both know it doesn't read lies. It just reads…" A pause. What does it read, Brian?

"It reads what I give it to read." Brian says softly. "It reads what I allow it to read. I'm better than it. A machine can't figure out what a truth or a lie is. So I tell it what truth is, and what deception is." Winters says, his eyes skipping to Thompson's gaze, searching for approval from the older man.

The ever-present, constantly bemused smile on Thompson's face deepens a fraction, which is his way of saying: approval granted. Then, he's on his feet, picking up his jacket and tugging it on. "Come on," he says, a hand out to switch the polygraph off, the continual whine from the machine fading with a whir. "Let's walk." And he heads for the door.

But there's a lot of coordy thingies with a polygraph, so, ripping them off Brian quickly jumps to his feet. The replicator goes to pick up his own coat, swinging it on and around his shoulders. Dressed just like Thompson, only younger, the Agent in Training picks up his pace to catch up with his mentor and follow him out of the room.

Out in the brightly lit hallway, Thompson's stroll is slow and casual to allow Brian to catch up with him, hands in his pockets, and once the younger man does, he barely glances at him as he begins to talk once more.

"In the real world, lie detectors are the last thing you need to worry about," he says ambivalently. "You get hooked up to something like that, the people working the machine aren't even gonna know what questions to ask. We're on the government's side, so that's not an issue either." A glossing over of the truth, but it's mostly honest.

"It's a test," Thompson states, as they walk through the corridors of Level 3, passing by the numerous examination rooms. "It's theory and practice. You control what your body is doing, gives you insight into what your mind is doing, and that's the point. You let someone get into your head, and it's over." The doors are shifting from the normal variety of office door, into the kind made of steel, as if they were cell rooms.

"So I don't let people into my head." Brian gathers. "Like telepaths? What do I do, if they're trying to get inside my head. Is there really a defense against that?" He asks as he paces alongside Thompson, putting his hands into his pockets in absentminded mimicry of the older man. A student following his teacher.

His eyes search the steel doors though most of his attention is on Thompson. "Like the polygraph?" He tries to answer his own question. "I let them read what I want them to read? Like that?"
"You can't stop your heart beat, your breathing," Thompson says, with a nod. The gist has been understood. "But you can control what your body does, how it reads, and dictate the end result. You let them see whatever you want them to see. You mislead, you think in some other language, you focus on the purple elephant. It's not easy, but it is doable."

Thompson's arm goes to to stop Brian, both men coming to a halt out front a door, Thompson taking out a card and swiping the lock beside the door. There's a mechanic whir, and the door unlocks, Thompson curling his hand around the handle.

"Telepaths. Mind readers, illusionists, lie perceivers, controllers of memory, action, and mind." He wrenches the door open, and it swings with a heavy, metallic grind. Inside the room, it's too dark to see. "They come in all different shapes and sizes, Winters, but the one thing they all have in common is the inability to completely own your mind. Unless you let them."

Thompson tilts his head towards the room, urging his 'student' inside.

Blinking as he's suddenly stopped, the young man looks to the door of destiny. He gives a slow nod of comprehension as he digests all Thompson has to tell him. Purple elephant. Thompson talks a lot about this mysterious miscolored elephant. Nodding eagerly, Brian quickly steps forward and into the room past his teacher.

And Thompson doesn't follow, predictably, backlit from the bright lights of the hallway that angle into the shadowy examination room, and casting him into indefinite silhouette. "The mind is meant to be the one thing no one can imprison," he says. "That's not exactly true. But it's a good idea, don't you think?"

The door swings shut. It locks, audibly, and not even a hint of light filters through. For several moments, Brian is alone in the darkness, with only the sound of his own breathing to accompany him. Then, the buzz of electricity, and fluorescent lights, in turn, all switch on in cages fixed into the high ceiling. The long, cement room is bare, cavernous, with a long one-way mirror lining a wall, and towards the end of the room, a redheaded woman is patiently waiting, hands clasped behind her back, in a business suit and skirt, highheels making her taller. She doesn't turn around, doesn't wait for Brian to talk to her, because in the very next moment, the world tilts, and Brian can't see barely anything at all.

Good day, Agent Winters, a voice whispers through his head. Feminine, soothing, seductive. Let's see what you have for me today. Let's see it all, together.


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February 12th: Fight To Win
Previously in this storyline…
So That's Where You Are!

Next in this storyline…
Dig Deep

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February 12th: Dig Deep
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