Black Box

Home again, home again

Jiggity-jig

Before leaving for Toronto to track down Dr. Cornelius, Blackwood informs the group that The Doctor has offered to surgically alter their appearances. Sitting down for a “consultation”, he explains that he will “remove your faces and give you new ones”. When asked if the group will be able to get their old faces back, he says it is “likely”. Shockingly, most of the group is reluctant to take The Doctor up on this offer, instead opting to receive a “disguise package” from Blackwood and Prudence. Pete & Phia, however, opt to go under the knife. They both end up blonde, strikingly attractive, and more than slightly “Aryan looking”.

The others receive new skills, as well as disguise kits. Eugene’s includes a full prosthetic beard, much to his delight.

With their physical cover worked out, the group reconvenes with Blackwood to discuss their travel arrangements. Somewhat nervously, Blackwood informs the group that they will be traveling by plane. When there is a stated lack of reaction, he jokingly comments “what’s the worst that could happen?” At which point the group seriously considers traveling by bus. On the bright side, they are informed that Terry has requested to accompany them. They happily welcome their former Camp Dreamland associate. As the meeting is wrapping up, Phia asks whether they will get any money or identification. Blackwood seems startled by the request, pointing out that as a group of psychics he assumed they would just brainwave people into accepting their presence. Although Phia seems happy enough to accept this response, the rest of the group pushes for more traditional methods. They are eventually given $5000 each (American, which they remind Blackwood will need to be changed), passports, and other government identification.

With all the preliminaries taken care of, the group is blindfolded & hooded before being taken to the plane. Once in the air the precautions are removed, and a short five hours later they are back in Canada, at the Toronto Island Airport.

It is summer, and a beautiful day. Phia declares that the first order of business is to go out for lunch. After taking the ferry, they find the first restaurant with a patio and enjoy their first meal as “free persons” in over a year.

While they eat, and Eugene admires the waitresses’ short skirts, they debate what to do next. Although their stated mission is to contact Dr. Cornelius to see what he knows (and what information he has hidden away), the group isn’t entirely sure how to go about it. Working under the assumption that he is still with the TSI, they consider going to the main offices in Markham and posing as patients. The idea is also raised of going to the Camp Dreamland site to see if a) it’s still there and b) whether there are any other patients being “treated”.

Ultimately, the group decides to go with the closest option. They rent a car (a remarkably inconspicuous black SUV) and drive to Markham. On the way, Phia and Suzie put up screens, and Suzie puts up a monitor. Through some experimentation she determines that she can tell when most of the group engages a process, with the exception of Terry.

Arriving at the TSI’s main office, the group decides to send in a few “scouts” rather than approach en masse. Phia & Suzie head in first, Eugene will follow, and the others will stay in the car.

Once inside, Phia pushes Suzie forward to talk, saying only that she is here for moral support. While Suzie talks to the receptionist, Phia pushes a command to “not worry” and that Suzie needs to see a doctor. The receptionist visibly relaxes, and hands Suzie some paperwork to fill out. The women retire to some chairs to wait.

Shortly after, Eugene enters. While he goes through a similar process with the receptionist, Suzie takes the opportunity to rifle through her mind and finds out that while Dr. Cornelius is indeed still working with the TSI, he is unfortunately not in the building currently.

After handing in the paperwork – which Suzie leaves blank (and Phia disguises) and Eugene fills out with false information – the trio are invited back to meet with the consulting doctor. The experience is strikingly familiar to when they each came to the TSI the first time, many months ago. The doctor explains that the best treatment for their condition is behavioural therapy, and suggests they participate in the Camp Dreamland initiative. They are handed pamphlets, as well as a relatively recent medical journal when Phia asks if there is any documentation of their work.

While Eugene stays behind to talk to the doctor a while longer, Phia & Suzie head back into the waiting room to review the literature. Suzie skims through the results. The article itself was written by Dr. Cornelius. It appears that this disorder is not uncommon, and group therapy is the best known treatment. There is no mention of shared symptoms.

While Phia heads back outside to inform the car-dwellers of their findings, Suzie takes the opportunity to pull Dr. Corenlius’ current location from the receptionist. It appears that the good doctor spends most of his time at Camp Dreamland, with the current set of patients.

Outside, Pete & Terry have been listening to loud music and smoking up the SUV. With her companions distracted, Vanessa gains some distance from the car and calls her mother’s most recent phone number. Her mother answers, but instead of risking detection Vanessa pretends to be looking for someone else.

Once everyone has returned to the car, they decide to head to Camp Dreamland next. After crashing at a Motel 6, they arrive at the camp early the next morning. There are several cars in the parking lot, including one they recognize as belonging to Dr. Cornelius. The reception area is empty when they enter. While trying to decide what to do next, Dr. Kennedy appears. Phia quickly pushes “trust me”, and convinces him to bring the group to Dr. Cornelius’ office for a surprise visit.

After a brief wait, Dr. Cornelius opens the door. He comes to an abrupt stop in the doorway, completely shocked by the presence of 6 people in his office. Phia does a quick scan of his brain and finds that it has been drastically altered with surgical precision. Cursing under her breath, Phia sends a telepathic message to Suzie of her discovery. Checking for herself, Suzie pulls to see if she can find any memories at all. In her zeal, she actually causes more mental bruising. Shaking her head, she tells the rest of the group that there’s nothing to be found. After Phia orders the doctor to forget he ever saw the group, his eyes glaze over and he wanders away.

With their hopes of a quick resolution dashed, the group decides to see if they can pull anything from Dr. Kennedy. They return to the reception area, and Suzie does a quick once over. She finds that Dr. Kennedy is absolutely terrified – he knows something has happened to Dr. Cornelius, although he doesn’t understand what, and there are gaps in his memory that he can’t explain. Digging further, Suzie discovered that he has incompletely memories of the group, and that he is worried about something in his lab journals. Unwilling to risk damaging his brain by digging yet further, Suzie hints to Phia that he should forget the group was ever here. Phia is happy to oblige, and Dr. Kennedy walks off in a daze.

Returning to the parking lot, the group holds a quick conference about what to do next. They decide to stay at Camp Dreamland, to try to reproduce Dr. Cornelius’ research in hopes of determining the information that triggered the events of the past year. They also plan to check the new patients for psychic tendencies, in hopes of saving innocents from what they have had to endure.

~

Quotes without context

“Have fun with your new faces, your C-Canadian money…”

“Suddenly a beard walks into the room, followed closely by the man its attached to.”

“My name is Paul Redwood. I’m a lumberjack.”

Comments

JCat Bootler

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