Fantasy & Sci-Fi

The Institute Part 2
"The Activation"

By Anonymous

On Monday, Garrett collected 2 grams of a gray powder from the factory (actually a small machine resembling a washing machine). He looked at the substance in fascination. A single particle of it could program the mind ofanyone; there was enough in the tiny vial he held to program thousands.

He put the vial into his pocket and headed for Carmody's office.

Seated in the office were Carmody and a lovely girl; Garrett estimated she was no older than 19. Garrett stopped, stunned. She was incredibly beautiful and was dressed modestly in a long summer dress but her figure still showed through; a knockout.

"Hello, James. I want you to meet my niece, Lisa," Carmody said with a smile.

"Er, hello...Lisa," Garrett stammered. "Uh, Howard, may I have a word with you in private?"

They retired to an inner office.

"Your niece?! That's…that's unthinkable!”

"So what? Unthinkable? Not to me. I've planned this entire project around little Lisa. She was the reason for it. Soon, she'll be my Institute-trained servant.”

They argued a while longer, then Garrett shrugged. "I give up. It's on your head."

"Fine. Give me the implant."

Garrett handed over the vial. "A single particle will be enough; more will not increase the effectiveness. As a practical matter, use as little as possible in a drink or a snack."

"Fine."

"Oh, and wash your hands after you open the vial."

"I'll do that."

Returning to the office, Carmody said, "Well, Lisa, are you ready for your tour of the place?"

"Sure, uncle Howard."

Midway through the tour, Carmody stopped. "Here's the cafeteria. Let's stop for a drink." He seated them at one of the tables and went to get drinks. Lisa had asked for a Sprite. He brought her the drink, and watched as she sipped it. He and Garrett had coffee. The men exchanged glances. She'd taken the implant. Even a tiny sip would contain thousands of particles. They would quickly enter her brain and begin replicating. Upon reaching a critical threshold, they would begin altering the memory sequence inside Lisa's beautiful head.

"Lisa is visiting for the summer,” Carmody told him. “Her parents are in Europe. I agreed to let her stay with me until September."

Garrett nodded. Carmody would be able to test her, use her, for three months without interruption. "I see."

"I knew you would. Lisa has the run of the house, and of course she has Jenny to keep her company." Jenny was Carmody's teenage daughter. There was no mother; Carmody's wife was dead. Garrett looked sharply at Carmody. Could he be planning...? Carmody stared blandly back, and Garrett knew it was true.

They finished their drinks and continued the tour. About an hour later, Lisa asked to go home; she had a headache and a slight fever. They packed her into Carmody's limo and watched as it drove off.

"The headache and fever are normal. She'll sleep soundly until morning. Then the implant will be complete."

"Activation?"

"As we discussed. The activation phrase is: 'Tell me about your life at the Institute'".

"And the hypnosis activator?"

"'Calumet lanyard banana,'" Garrett told him.

"All right. I'll see you tomorrow."

The following day, Carmody was late. He got in at around 11:00 A.M.

"How'd it go?" Asked Garrett.

"Great; better than I could have expected! God, I've been waiting for this, dreaming of it, for years. And now she's mine!"

"Tell me about it."

"I got up early; couldn't sleep anyway. Knocked on her door at about 7:00. Went in and found her still in bed.”

"And?"

"Well, I asked her how she'd slept, if the headache was gone, small talk. I was nervous. With anticipation. Finally, she said, 'Uncle Howard, I've got to get dressed,' meaning I should leave."

"Did you?"

"Are you nuts? I used the activation phrase," Carmody said.

"How did she react?"

"Almost perfectly."

"Almost?"

"I must have slurred the phrase at first; my throat was dry. When I asked the question the first time, she seemed to give a little jump, then she looked directly at me and said, 'What did you say?'"

"Right. They're programmed to ask for the phrase again if they're not sure it was given correctly."

"So I repeated it: 'Tell me about your life at the Institute,’ very precisely this time."

"And?"

"She gave a little half-gasp, half-moan. Then, quite spontaneously, she said, 'Oh god...' Her face went blank for a short time, I'd say less than ten seconds, her eyes fluttered shut, then open. A shocked look on her face; that cleared. And then she looked at me and said, 'How may I serve you, Master?'"

"The standard response, remember?"

"Yes."

"The look of shock was all the memories and programmed responses turning on," Garrett mused. I'm amazed she didn't lose consciousness for a short while. The impact on the brain must be incredible."

"She was dizzy," Carmody said. "I ordered her to get out of bed and stand before me." She did, but was unsteady on her feet. I thought she might faint, but she didn't."

"How long did the dizzyness last?"

"About a minute."

"Normal," said Garrett.

"And then?"

"I put her through the drill to test her responses. Every single one was perfect, no deviations from the nominal. Just like a little machine."

"Excellent. We'll give her the full diagnostic when she gets here." The "full diagnostic" was designed to test the absolute limits of the programming, including tests to ferret out the tiniest tendency toward resistance or disobedience.

"I'm sure she'll pass it," Carmody said.

"Sounds as if." Garrett smiled. "Seems completely successful."

The next day, Carmody brought Lisa to the Lab. Her behavior had changed--she clung and cuddled to Carmody. "I told her the Lab was like an extension of home-otherwise she'd be in 'public mode,’" Carmody explained.

"Fine. Just as long as it doesn't interfere with the tests."

"It won't. Lisa, you remember Dr. Garrett?"

"Uh huh," she purred, glancing at him.

"He has some questions for you; I want you to answer them, OK?”

"Yes, Lord."

"Lisa, when did you first, er, join the Institute?"

"I was eight," Lisa said.

"And what happened when you got there?"

"I don't remember clearly...they gave me something that made me sleepy. When I woke up, I had this bump behind my ear," she said.

"The Institute discipline module," Garrett commented. "It sends signals to the pain and pleasure centers of the brain; no human can withstand conditioning with the module."

"At first, new girls don't always obey," said Lisa. "But the module teaches them to obey very quickly. After the first few months, they never had to use my module--I was a good girl," she announced proudly.

"There's no lump there," Carmody said, feeling behind both ears.

"Of course not. The module is there only when the subject is under Institute training. Ask her."

"Where's the module--the lump--now, Lisa?"

"They removed it when I graduated. Graduates don't need it anymore."

"I see." Garrett nodded to Carmody. "Calumet Lanyard Banana."

Lisa stood and her expression became blank. Staring straight ahead, arms at her side, she said, "I am ready for your instructions, Master."

"Listen carefully. Dr. Garrett is your other Master, subordinate only to me. You must obey him just as you do me, except that my commands take precedence over his. Understand?"

"Oh yes, Master."

"Fine. At the count of three you will awaken from this trance."

Once the girl was out of the trance, Carmody said to Garrett, "She's all yours. How long will you need her?"

"About two and a half hours."

"OK. Bring her to me when you are through."

Garrett turned to Lisa and said, "come with me." She ran to his side, eager to obey.

Taking her hand, he led her into another part of the lab. "We have some tests for you to take, Lisa," he said to her.