Categories > TV > Dark Angel > Early Days0 Reviews
X5-494 learns something about himself -- only to promptly forget all about it.
He shifted on the hard chair, slouching a bit further in an attempt to relieve the pressure on his tailbone and the growing ache in stiffening joints. He had long since mastered the art of patience--one didn't survive Manticore for long without it--but the way they made him wait this time was rapidly moving from the realm of Tiresome to Absurd.
The glare of the fluorescents overhead, the single illumination in the windowless room, gave no indication how much time had passed since they sat him down on this chair right before breakfast. There was no clock on the wall, of course, and they had taken away his watch the second they'd dragged his ass into Psy Ops--for reasons they'd yet to reveal. But the hole in the pit of his stomach told him that lunchtime had to be a distant memory while dinner was just around the corner.
They had to know that he'd finished their inane test, the questions so insultingly simple he had considered ignoring the questionnaire altogether. It had taken him less than three minutes after picking up the felt-tipped pen to answer the two hundred or so questions; questions that would drive anyone insane, let alone someone with his IQ.
But perhaps that was the entire point of the test: see how far they could push him before he snapped. Well, he'd be damned if he gave them the satisfaction. He wished he knew where the camera was hidden. Undoubtedly he was being monitored by an array of psychiatrists right about now and he'd enjoy staring them down. Then again, perhaps it was better he didn't. He doubted getting cocky would get him out of Psy Ops any sooner. Still, it was hard to suppress that natural inclination while they left him to cool his heels with nothing to divert his attention and his overactive imagination coming up with worst case scenarios as to their reasons.
/Count yourself lucky/, he mentally told himself. He slunk down even further until he could lift his legs up and rest them on the table, ankles crossed. At least he wasn't restrained, drugged, or cuffed spread-eagled to one of the examining tables downstairs, subjected to one of their more... physical... trials. He closed his eyes in an attempt to catch a nap but the room was cold and he shivered involuntarily. Was this all part of their games? Or had they truly forgotten about him?
It was almost--but not quite--as if they were subjecting him to another sensory deprivation experiment. He still had his eyesight; except there wasn't much to look at, just four naked off-white walls, a light-blue vinyl floor, the chair he sat on, and the table.
They hadn't taken away his hearing, but the room was soundproofed. He concentrated for a while on the thud of his heartbeat, the rush of blood in his ears, refusing to give them the satisfaction of talking out loud just to hear the sound of his own voice. After all, wasn't talking to oneself a sure sign of insanity?
The next sense: taste. His mouth was dry and even water would have tasted sweet. Yet there was nothing.
Touch--again, smooth walls, slick vinyl, the slippery steel of the table. Or himself. He chortled. Not an option.
The last sense left was smell. He grimaced. If they kept him here long enough he might wish they had deprived him of /that/...
He shoved away the urge to hop up and start pacing. Instead, he dropped his head, closed his eyes, and pretended to have fallen asleep.
Many, many hours later--definitely past dinnertime, and he suspected the moment for midnight snacks had come and gone too--the door finally clicked open. He lifted his head, instantly wary but refusing to show it--and blinked rapidly.
For the longest time he wondered if perhaps his tormented brain had cracked after all, after the long hours of mindless boredom. She had to be a hallucination. Or else he had died and gone to heaven.
"Hey," she said. Her peppy voice broke the spell. He regarded her cautiously. Large, bright eyes. A dazzling smile, showing a row of even, white teeth. Curvaceous body clad in a dress covered with brilliant red and blue and yellow flowers almost painful to his eyes, used as they were to drab walls. She wasn't a doctor.
"Who are you?" he asked. "/What/ are you?"
"I'm Mia." She closed the door behind her. "My specialty is telecoercion."
Mia wandered around the table and he twisted on the chair to follow her with his eyes.
"Telecoercion." She smiled brightly. "Means I make people do--"
"I know what coercion means," he interrupted. "Why are you here?" Even as he asked the question, he had a sinking feeling in the pit of his empty stomach that he wasn't going to like the answer.
"What do you think?"
He rolled his eyes. "More tests. You're not going to make me do embarrassing things, are you?"
"What sort of things?" Her cheeks dimpled and she cocked her head at an odd angle.
"Quack like a duck? Hop like a bunny? Dance a jig on the table. Naked."
Her eyes widened slightly. /Shit. /Had he just put an idea in her mind? Seemed like his big mouth was running away with him again. He clamped his jaws shut, determined not to say more.
"Would you like that?" Her voice was a bit lower, more husky.
"No!" he squeaked. Squeaked! Time to take the initiative back.
Mia cocked her head a little further, blinking those large, bright eyes at him. They sparkled with merriment.
"Well, okay, I would. The naked part, at least. With you." His hands flew up to his mouth. Where the hell had that come from? Way to go, 494. Try and flirt your way out of Psy Ops. Yeah, right.
But Mia merely giggled. "Don't worry, soldier. I can only work with feelings already there. I can't make you do anything you really, really have no desire to do, or say anything that deep down you do not believe. And I see no ducks in your secret fantasies."
She paused, her expression growing serious for the first time since she had entered the room. She crossed over to him, and despite himself he drew back in the chair when she leaned forward, catching his chin between her small hands. Her palms were cool and dry. She pitched her voice low, barely audible even in such close proximity. "Hang in there, 494. Don't let them vanquish that spark of free spirit. Some day, it might turn into a blaze."
He blinked, not sure what she was talking about. She let go, offered him a quick wink and went to the door. She knocked, then turned around and cocked her head again in that strange way she had. "You'll forget I said anything," she said.
The door opened, and she slipped out.
By the time they came to take 494 out and back to his cell, all he could remember was how long the dreadful day had lasted, and how hungry he was.