Broadcast

Broadcast

A Story by Scott W. Martin
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A scientist is feverishly working on a new research project which produces some unexpected results.

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        Dr. John McLarrich sits beside a man strapped to a reclined black leather chair elevated several feet off the floor. His hands glide over a console beside him flipping switches and typing commands as lights flash and unseen components hum. Wires seep from the impressive looking console, flowing down and up, leading to a large device fixed firmly to the subjects head.


        “Dr?”

        “Yes I’m here Sam, what are you getting?”

        Sam squirms slightly as if trying to look away from the mask.

        Dr. McLarrich leans in toward Sam in a concerned manner “Are you ok?”

        “Yes, yes I’m fine.”

        “Do you feel anything?”

        Sam shakes his head slightly again. “a bacon cheeseburger.”

        “You see a bacon cheese burger?”

        “No, just … a bacon cheeseburger.”


* Begin Excerpts from the Interrogation of Dr. John McLarrich


Some of the early experiments using light to transmit subliminal messages were cumbersome. Our first transmissions were originally fixed on mathematical algorithms based around synaptic responses in the brain.

        The idea is that all human minds work similarly to the point where if one could isolate the trends in the synaptic responses when someone smells a bacon cheeseburger for example, then maybe you could also, in turn, exploit that sensation by evoking it within the subject. Most of the time we wouldn’t get across at all, the subject slowly becoming irritated that beams of light were being flashed in order to control their thoughts and emotions. Eh, they were paid well and none of them suffered any permanent brain damage that we could detect.

        The biggest appeal was for us to extend this concept into visual media. Visual media, being generated almost completely by light anyways, was the perfect mode. Think about a movie with an intense action scene; guns firing, cars exploding, the audience literally on the edge of their seat simply from visual and auditory experiences. Now think of the same scene, except you can smell the gun powder. You can feel the waves of heat from the explosion blow across your face. Feel your adrenaline pumping not just based on what’s going on in the movie, but on the same level as the hero jumping out of a five story building while dodging gun fire. I mean the possibilities were just exciting.

        The suits saw greater possibilities in advertisement. Seeing an advertisement that gave you the taste and smell, and maybe even the hunger for, a specific food, like a bacon cheeseburger, would be extraordinarily profitable. Because of this we were all overworked, stressed out and pushed to our limits so that the investors could start raking in the cash. And the further we got in our research, the more paranoid those funding the project got. Scientists would be fired and disappear without a word. More and more security measures, security officers and simple privileges revoked. I still remember shortly after a few of our early successes when I received the email which stated we would be required to live on site if we intended to stay on with the project. A lot of people left that day. Being that the project was almost completely of my own design I decided to stay on and see where we could take it.

         At first, the only real feedback we were getting was bizarre adjectives and nouns. Very generic and unmarketable for the most part. After a while it seemed easy to make a subject think about, or maybe even smell a bacon cheeseburger. But creating anything with any sort of consistency was beyond difficult. Even during the final days we hadn’t even scratched the surface of mapping human thoughts. We spent most of our time just making the damn thing work.

        Some of the biggest problems we encountered early on involved the subjects becoming sick and delusional. This usually only occurred when patients strongly disliked what they were being subliminally introduced to. If they hated mushrooms and you send them the thought of a mushroom swiss, then the result was usually vomiting and sometimes even followed by black outs.


* End Excerpts from the Interrogation of Dr. John McLarrich


        “Alright Sam, I think we can call it for the day.”

        Dr. McLarrich sat with his head down, eyes raised, fearfully looking at the majority of the board staring him down expectantly. The room was dimly lit in a grim and intimidating manor. The Dr. had just finished giving his monthly progress report and the members of the board were now mumbling quietly among themselves on the opposing side of a large round table. They shuffled through papers and took notes.

        One of the members glared across the table at Dr. McLarrich and removed his glasses. “Dr. McLarrich it shows here, in your reports, that you received better results with a deeper probe or broadcast or whatever. In fact it says here that the deepest broadcast, which was early last month, resulted in the subject not only becoming hungry but desiring the specific food of choice.”

        “a bacon cheeseburger.”

        “What was that?”

        “a bacon cheeseburger, it was the ‘specific food of choice’”

        “Yet, I see here that you haven’t made another attempt at one so deep. In fact there haven’t been anywhere close to that level in several weeks. Why?”

        Dr. McLarrich cleared his throat and straightened his shoulders slightly. “The subjects showed increased discomfort the deeper the broadcasts became. There was an obvious sign of disorientation being caused and brain damage, although unconfirmed, is still being looked into as a possible side effect. Until we know for sure …”

        “We require results Dr.,” Another board member spoke up “not excuses. If deeper broadcasts produce the desired responses then I believe you should center you work around making them safer. We’re not only racing against budget here but also against global competitors.”

        “I understand that” McLarrich speaks up. “But the risk we could be taking on the subjects is felt to be …”

        “That does not directly concern us Dr. McLarrich. Those subjects all signed wavers to health risks when they started. We specifically took on subjects with limited to no family and insured everything from the subjects, to you, to this f*****g pen. As far as we see it the doors for your experiments are wide open. Return to your work McLarrich, and find a safer way to increase the depths of the broadcasts. Good day.”


* Begin Excerpts from the Interrogation of Dr. John McLarrich


        The research following that meeting actually produced some of my most brilliant research on the project. The improvements made included ways of making the signals more easily accepted by the human senses. This greatly lowered a lot of the negative reactions to the broadcasts and allowed us to broadcast quite deeply without any real side effects. Mild headaches became our only real problem; vomiting and dizziness happening now and then only on extremely rare occasions.

        Even though the research was going well, I still felt like we were taking risks with some of our subjects. The extent of what we were doing was on such a large scale that it left a lot of room for unforeseen variables.

        I woke up that morning and slid into my clothes. I didn’t even learn what had happened until I was already on my way to my office. That’s when a member of security stopped me and mentioned it in an offhand way. It’s still hard for me to believe that they didn’t even wake me.


* End Excerpts from the Interrogation of Dr. John McLarrich


        The night before, everything’s quiet in the living quarters on the east end of the complex; and Sam Willis can, in all its cold nakedness, hear everything. He can hear the security officers down the hall. Their laughter especially, seeping in here and there breaking through the still aura of the small caged room. But there was more now, in what used to be absent. What was not noticed then was now obviously there. He could hear footsteps. Not just when the rounds were made outside his room, but when the security officers walked to the bathroom at the other end of the hall; and even a good distance down towards the break room which was near the entrance hall. He could hear the other men participating in the project breathing, their hearts beating, then their thoughts and dreams and nightmares. But the loudest sound of all, the sound that kept Sam awake, was the rumbling of his stomach. A rumbling that just couldn't wait until breakfast. The guards would just have to understand.


        The security officers were relaxing on a job that so far had been cake work. 12 televisions, each displaying three cameras in 10 second intervals, allowed coverage of the entire living quarter’s area. This coupled with a short walk of the general area every hour, and the fact that not one of the subjects had tried to escape, made this a great job.

        Shortly after midnight an alarm, usually remaining perfectly silent began to buzz loudly. The two men were instantly brought to attention and stared dumbfounded at the monitors. The door to room six stood open, and a man the officers recognized stumbled down the hall holding his stomach.

        The two officers hurry into the hall, and move down towards Sam.

        “Stop right there.” One of them says as he pulls out a flashlight and shines it towards Sam’s head. “You know the rules, nobody out of room after lights out. How did you get the door open?” Sam looks up with a blank expression mixed sleeplessness and pain.

        “Are you ok buddy?“ The other man says as he moves towards Sam. ”You don’t look so good. Lets get you back to your room and we’ll call the Dr. down to take a look at you.”

        “Hey Mike, do you ... do you smell that?”


        Dr. McLarrich rushed into the security room and walked straight over to the Head of Security Tom Broodlin. “Why didn’t you contact me Tom? What the hell happened?”

        Tom leaned back in his chair, tipped his glasses down, folded his thick hands together and rested them on his bulging stomach. “You tell me Doc. One of your subjects, a Sam Willis, got out of bed in the middle of the night, opened his supposedly locked door, walked down the hall past two security officers and made it into the main dining room. He then entered the kitchen, fixed himself some left overs and ate a more then I've ever seen a man eat, then he past out.

        “He walked passed two of your men? I thought you already weeded out your incompetents.”

        Tom grew a grin and looked directly into McLarrich’s eyes. “Did I say ‘walked passed’ doctor? It was actually more like, ‘they let him by’. Here.” Tom turned around and slid his chair over the console controlling the monitors. “Take a look for yourself and tell me if this isn’t the most damned thing you’ve ever seen.”

        Dr. McLarrich took a few steps closer to the monitor. The image displays Sam lying on his side rocking slightly. Sam stands up and walks over to the door. It opens slightly and he grabs the handle opening it up the rest of the way. He pauses for a second and hunches slightly. He then walks into the hallway where he pauses again placing his hand on his stomach and stumbles into the wall, crunching over in obvious pain. He continues on and meets up with the two men who head him off. One of them shines his flashlight toward Sam and begins speaking. The other officer approaches Sam and then stops. Sam begins to speak to the two security officers as they stand motionless.

        “What’s that? What’s he saying?” Dr. McLarrich inquires.

        “There’s no audio with this system Dr. Sorry.”


        When the words spoken come to an end, both officers step away slightly giving Sam easy access past them.

        “J, M and J, what the hell just happened? What am I looking at?”

        “He goes through three locked doors all together doctor. The second two alarms don’t sound and he somehow managed to elude two additional officers monitoring activities in those areas. After he passes out he’s finally found by one of them while making his rounds.”

        “What do you’re men have to say about this? “McLarrich asks in an authoritative voice.

        “According to them, they don’t remember anything after they encountered Willis in the hall.”

        McLarrich stands up hastily “Where is he now?”

        “He’s in the examination room.”

        McLarrich turns and heads towards the door.

        “By the way doctor, one more thing. Don’t be making any phone calls. We’re on lock down until further notice.

        McLarrich’s hand slams against the door. “You should’ve told me!”


        Dr. McLarrich walks into the examination room to find Sam lying on his back in the chair. Sam’s eyes are closed and his expression wears a slight grin as if he was having a rather good dream. He began to speak in a very soft voice, and tried include as little fear as possible.

        “Are you awake, Sam?”

        “Yes Dr., I heard you come in”

        “How are you feeling?”

        “Pretty good I guess. I’m tired. A little hungry.

        “Sam,” The doctor sits down in the chair beside Sam’s. “what happened last night?”

        “I got hungry doctor.”

        “How did you manage to open your door Sam? You know no one’s supposed to leave their rooms after ten”

        “They’re coming for me doctor. They arrived just a few minutes ago. They’ll be here soon. I thought you might like to know.”

        “Who’s coming for you Sam?”

        “The project's being taking over by a higher power John.”

        “What are you talking about? By who?”

        “I don't know John. I’m not really sure yet.”

        The doctor’s voice waivers a little as his hand moves up and rests on the bottom of his chin, pulling at it slightly. “How do you know this? How can you be so sure?”

        “I’m hungry doctor.”

        “I need to know Sam, how can you possibly know this?”

        “I can hear them talking.”

        “Who?”

        “Everyone John. I can hear everyone. If I focus, sometimes I can hear whispers when nobody is talking. Like now, I can hear your whisper. You’re scared of what this means. Of what will change. Don’t worry John, they’ve already arranged a nice proposal for you. You’ll be just fine.”

        Dr McLarrich lowers his head and places his hand on his face in silence.

        “They’re here, finally.”

        “I don’t get it, what makes you so excited about all of this?”

        “It’s almost as if I can dream the future John. And it’s a good dream doctor, a very good dream.”


* Begin Excerpts from the Interrogation of Dr. John McLarrich


        That’s when your boys entered the room and escorted us away and that’s all I know. Oh, he did tell me one more thing as we were walking out of the room. He mentioned your interest in acquiring myself and my research. He mentioned that it would be in my best interest to take your offer. He said that it would make me happy. So gentlemen, what exactly are you offering?


* End Excerpts from the Interrogation of Dr. John McLarrich


Epilogue


        A black van drives down the road in the dead of night. The two men in the front seat make idle chit-chat as their passenger in the back, chained to the seat, rides in silence. An unseen IV running into his arm, keeping him fast asleep.

        “Why couldn’t we be transporting this guy to Louisiana or Texas or somewhere closer?”

        “It’s not so bad Bob. Besides, at least we finally get a tame one this time. They musta drugged this guy out of his mind. He passed out and started drooling all over the place after they sat him down and locked him in.”

        “Man I can’t remember transporting anyone so quiet before. Remember the guy we had a few trips back? The one we took to Washington?”

        “Yeah, that guy just wouldn’t shut up. If I had to hear one more story about him banging his girlfriend I think I would’ve thrown up.”

        “You think she was a pretty as he let on?”

        “Let me put it this way, how many good looking women do you know that would just drop their panties and let you plow into them in an elevator full of people as you ride to the top of the empire state building?”

        “Hey I don’t know, I knew this one chick …”

        “Wait up a minute. You smell that?”

        “Yeah, it smells like … like a bacon cheeseburger.” 

© 2012 Scott W. Martin


Author's Note

Scott W. Martin
This is in its draft stage right now and because of the projects I'm trying to take on its doubtful that I'll revisit it any time soon. I hope you enjoy. P.S. - feel free to point out any grammatical mistakes, I still slip up from time to time.

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I like this. I am not a huge fan of science fiction but this was really good.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on September 5, 2008
Last Updated on May 15, 2012
Tags: Mind Control, Sci, Fi, Science, Fiction, Supernatural

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Scott W. Martin
Scott W. Martin

Charlotte, NC



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