Side effec : multiple personality disorder (unrespo ), antisocial personality disorder (unre onsive); migraines, extreme aggression (unresponsive). No known contraindications.
C. L.: artificially manifested, Lenaurd protocol, early induction, deceased.
P. Reynard: non-carrier, deceased.
N. Shaw: manifested (G1821 carrier, original).
Side effects(?): self-harm, poss. oppositiona defiant disorder (unresponsiv ), conduct disorder? (unresponsive); tested: class a barbiturat s (unresponsive), class b (unresponsive), class c (un esponsive); unresponsive to all classes; (test m.a.d.), deceased.
Generalize side effe ts: nausea, elevated temp., insomnia, night terrors
Before I could say anything, Jamie began writing giant letters over the words with his index finger.
My sentiments exactly.
I turned my attention to the stacks and piles of papers, notebooks, and files strewn around the room. Books had been haphazardly stacked on open metal kitchen shelving, rolls of paper (maps? charts?) leaned against the walls. A glass globe teetered precariously on a small table, holding what looked like a large metal grain of rice. The place was chaos. Not what I’d expected from Dr. Kells.
I had a hunch about the rolls of paper and headed for them, skirting the U-shaped desk in the center of the room. But a noise like a burst of television static snapped my head around.
A flatscreen hung from the ceiling, and with another burst of static it came to life. Dr. Kells filled the screen. She was seated at a table in front of a pea-green-and-off-white-striped wall. Her lips moved, but there was no sound. It looked like she was speaking to someone, someone offscreen. She was more animated than I’d ever seen her. The sleeves of her white lab coat were rolled up to her elbows, and her hands moved as she spoke. Then, finally, the audio turned on.
“G1821 operates in many ways like cancer,” Kells said. “There are environmental and genetic factors that can trigger it, and when triggered, the gene turns on, like a switch, activating an ability in its host. But as you’ve witnessed, the gene also appears to turn off certain switches, like the instinct for self-preservation. Certain thoughts and behaviors can become compulsive, such as the urge to self-harm.”
A burst of static distorted the image, but we heard Kells speak in fits and starts. “Jude was needed to trigger Mara, to expose her to what she was most afraid of, in order for me to know whether and when she would manifest, and in order for me to study her developed ability—its consequences and its limitations,” she said, taking out a notebook. She wrote out three words, then held them up—but the camera was too far away for me to read what she’d written.
“If the ego is the organized part of her mind, and the superego plays the moralizing role, allowing her to distinguish between good and evil, then the id is just a bundle of instincts. It strives only to satisfy its own basic needs, like hunger and sex. It knows no judgments and does not distinguish between moral or amoral. In normal people, non-carriers, the ego mediates between the id—what a person wants—and reality. It satisfies a person’s instincts using reason. The superego acts as the conscience; it punishes through feelings of remorse and guilt. These feelings are powerful, and in normal people the ego and the superego dominate the id. As you’ve seen,” Kells continued, “Mara appears to have the ability to convert thought into reality, but her ability is dependent on the presence of fear or stress, as I believe it is for the other carriers. In any case, G1821 makes Mara’s id reflexive; if she is afraid, or stressed, her ego and superego don’t function. And the consequences, as you’ve seen, can be disastrous. Her ugliest, most destructive thoughts become reality.”
“Well. That’s not good news,” Jamie said, before Stella shushed him.
“Mara doesn’t even always have to be aware of these thoughts, of her intent behind them. If the right mixture of fear and stress is present, her instinctual drives take over. And there’s a Freudian theory that along with the creative instinct—the libido—a death instinct also exists, a destructive urge directed against the world and other organisms. The drug we’ve developed will, we hope, reactivate the barrier between her id and her ego and superego; it’s designed to prevent any negative intent from becoming action. The dose needs to be adjusted, however, and I can’t study Mara on drugs. And she’s too unstable to be studied without them. High doses of another drug we’ve developed should bring about an almost flawless recall, so at some point, when it’s safer for us, Mara should be able to recount exactly what happened at the time of any specific incident, and recount what she was feeling at that moment. Luckily, she is responsive to midazolam, which we’re using to help her forget, so she needn’t relive her traumas on a daily basis.”
The image on-screen warped and flickered, and there was a second voice, distorted, that I couldn’t make out. Then Kells came back, as sharp as before.
“Yes, I tried to study her as noninvasively as I possibly could. That’s why I had her behavior recorded before I took any specific action. We installed fiber optics in her home, to observe and record her behavior before it escalated. But the fact is, I can’t learn how to help her until I fully understand what’s wrong with her. The applications—the benefits—of what we’re doing here outweigh the risks. The treatments we could develop based on what you show us, the applications they could have—” Her voice grew passionate. “They’re far reaching. So far reaching that I don’t even know the extent of them yet. No one should have to suffer the way people have been suffering because of G1821, especially not teenagers. Listen,” she said. “Anemosyne and Amylethe, they corrupt the findings. They change the outcomes of the studies we need to conduct to make sure Mara and the others can be released safely. I need to be able to study someone without those drugs, to map a manifested brain with an MRI and CAT scans, to study how it responds to stimuli and fear and stress. The answer isn’t in the blood—it’s in the brain. So blood work, test tubes—they’re not going to give me what I need. I need to study patients while they’re awake, and conscious.”
Dr. Kells leaned forward and ran her hands through her hair. “I need to study you.”
“What do you want me to do?” I heard Noah ask, before the screen went black.
I STARED AT THE BLANK screen, as if just by looking at it, I could make Noah appear. But he didn’t. Nothing did.