MD #187: Mind Games
Mind Games
Summary: Miri gets into Emily's mind and finds that someone went through it with a laser scalpel.
Date: 11/10/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: After Conflicting Compulsions
Miri Robin Adeliza Emily 
Shrink's Office
In the Set
MD #187

OOC NOTE: Miri's abilities, which were rolled for OOC, provide her significant capability. This log is an example of what it looks like while a Line member would go inside a mind — or others who are embarking on this like an Arpay Mod with abilities. No rolls were recorded so that we could exemplar the concept for others without concern of failure. THIS TIME. (cue evil laughter)

Miri, still in her scrubs, led the Admiral straight to where Emily was being quasi-guarded by her MP in the Recovery Ward. As far as introductions go, Robin's was more perfunctory and went a little like, "Hi Miss Benning. I am Rear Admiral Robin Io. I am in charge of this ship and every one on it. I'd like us to go somewhere more private to talk. If you will come with Lieutenant Zahav and myself?" She nodded to the Marine and that was that, he followed along soundlessly until they came to a lower deck that has the offices. There's one in particular that is used by the ship pschiatrist. The Marine holds the door open for them, and Robin pauses, last one in, to tell the Marine, "Please guard the door and do not let anyone in." Then she slips inside, closing the door behind her. Chestnut eyes flick towards Zahav and back to Emily. "Apologies for the curt introduction."

Emi was looking blotchy when they arrived, like she'd just finished crying about something. Not the best way to meet the woman who runs the ship. That stiff upper lip just stammered in confusion and idolization. Of course, I'll do everything you want! Emily is still in her scrubs and its very obvious this makes her uncomfortable walking around. Though she quickly realizes nobody is looking at her like she's an oddity. Just another face in the crowd, though one that feels cold since she is used to heavier garments. There's a comfort in the anonymity and something vaguely calming. But -everything- is interesting. EVERY. Thing. She is clearly a social soul and wants to stop to ask lots of people questions but.. no. No time. The offices aren't exactly foreboding and the cubicles are also far more exciting than anyone else could possibly fake. Who gets excited about cubicles? Someone who was raised in a drawer. Once in the room, she stands at the other side of the little office and folds her hands behind her back, hiding the trembling right one. Chin tilted just upwards, her posture is immaculate. "Thank you for the apology, Admiral Robin." her tone indicates it isn't terribly needed. "Lady Emily of House Benning." Girl even curtsies. It looks ridiculous in scrubs but no doubt she's serious about that respect. "It is an honor. What can I do for you both?"

The office itself is reasonably cozy, stuffed with scrounged furniture and with honest-to-gods lamps so that the occupants can get a break from the harsh overhead lighting. Miri switches on a few lamps. "Lady Emily." She gives her a polite nod. "Make yourself comfortable. The Admiral and I want to talk to you a bit and see if we can help you get settled in." It's not the whole truth, but it's a good start.

With her blues still unbuttoned from being off duty in the mess hall, Adeliza enters a little breathlessly, the runner that Robin sent getting her by the guard at the door. She takes one calming breath, settles her jacket and smoothes her hands down her hips. She is without sidearm, as she was not on duty. She almost doesn't recognize Emily, but she gives the woman a smile when she does, and tucks her hair behind her right ear. She takes a step or two off to the side, and clasps her hands behind her back, to watch quietly.

"I would salute, but it's something we military folk only do for other military and the commander in chief." Instead, Robin dips her head slightly in return to the curtsey. After the formal introductions are made, the Admiral takes a seat in an armchair. "Lady Benning, understand that I am using your title out of respect for your situation, but that in our culture, titles are not something entitled to by birth, but through merit." Apparently Robin just /had/ to let that be known. "As I understand it, you have asked for asylum, that is, to leave your planet it have refuge among us. It has come to my attention that you and what makes you you has been tampered with by the individuals that are called Clerics. There is a concern that because of this, you might do things against your will and present a concern for other people's safety." Which might explain the guard. "Lieu-" Just then Adeliza enters and Robin shuts up till the woman is able to close the door. "Excuse me. This is Lieutenant Wynn. She will be assisting me, but we expect no more people," she says as if to assure Emily that it's only this cadre of women who will be present. "Lieutenant Zahav-Miri," Robin nods softly to Miri, "Believes she might be able to find out more about this tampering, and with time and experimentation with her abilities, possibly help you undo some of what has been done to you. I have to warn you, it's possible that you will want to resist help as a part of tampering," she says gently.

Emily listens to Miri and nods. As requested to be comfortable, she eyes the couch and decides to sit oh so gently. Ahhh yes, comfort. So much nicer than a bed. There's a polite nod to Adeliza as well before she looks to Robin. "I understand your stance on my entitlement. I was only titled this time last week in preparation for my marriage. It was to help offset dowry. I introduce myself that way as a matter of formality, as required by my own culture." No disrespect intended. She definitely listens closely to the rest, though. That right hand continues to tremble lightly. Her whole being seems to stay very cool but at the edges, and watching her closely, they can see her deep fears about what's being said. A swllow and a nod. "From what I understand of my situation, I would say this is all possible or true, yes." The words are too well-controlled. She does a good job of hiding her own horror, but it makes her come across a little more flat. "As I told Gunree Lleufer, I would like help. I know I am not well. I am-" She looks down at her hand. "I will risk whatever is necessary. You all have been exceedingly kind to me. I ish no harm upon your people, especially by my own hand." Those eyes look back up.

Miri sits next to Emily on the couch. "When you're ready, take my hand," she says gently, extending her right hand. "I promise this will not hurt. It may feel strange, and I will not invade on any private memories as much as I can manage. I'm not like the Clerics. And not all pointy-rated people can do this. Please trust me. I'm here to help." Well, those certainly were words. The freckled PA takes a deep breath. This is always scary. When you get an impression from someone's mind, you never forget it. It becomes a part of you, and it never fades.

Adeliza does also nod to Miri and Robin when she enters, then quirks her lips a little as she's introduced to Emily again. Her head tilts a little as the mystery of Zahav is semi-revealed, and her gaze is a little more intent on the PA.

"Before you do, understand that we have not done this before. We do not know the effects of what Lieutenant Zahav can do and have not tried to help someone before in your condition mostly because usually people are not in a condition to consent. I have spoken with Miri about what I hope us to accomplish and the work we need to do to find out more about what's been done to you in hopes to help you." Robin's head tilts to the side as she presses her lips together in a conciliatory fashion. Miri already obviously has her permission to initiate it this way by Robin's nonplussed reaction.

Emily looks nervous now, more than ever. Clerics touch people and do things. Change them. Right now, she knows that if she reaches out something bad might happen. She was fleeing this. Her eyes focus on Miri, then look to Robin. She gives a shaky nod and looks back to Miri. "Please help me," is spoken so timidly that she sounds six inches tall. Her trembling right hand hesitates before reaching out and resting in Miri's. Those eyes close…

…And Miri is immediately into her surface thoughts when she decides to be. She can see Emily thinking about her mother, the look of fear on her mother's face, surrounded by others. The memory is fuzzy and difficult to discern, but real. It feels genuine but there's something off.. like parts have been blocked. And as Miri turns her mind to look deeper, Emily can feel it and there's a scared inhale, feeling Miri looking into her mind. What Miri can see is essentially memories and connections, strings linking clusters and blocks, drifting as they might link to others contextually. The mind looks like a universe, so vast. But as she sinks down deeper and deeper, Miri can feel it all becoming more clear. It is almost as if she were wrapping herself in a blanket of the girl's mind. She can feel the girl's heart and soul down there, feeling the brightness and hope. Her dreams. Her very real fear. And as Miri looks it all links more clearly in Miri's mind. She finds that when she wants to look for something, she need only think about it and her mind moves towards it. And even as she does, she can feel that there is something amiss. Those strings that link.. some of them have been broken and shorn. More harsh, perfect lines have been drawn that do not drift, as if installed by a computer. Others have blocks emplaced. Yes, someone has been in here and player with her mind. She is still who she believes herself to be, but Miri can tell that there have been tweaks to who Emily is and it has shaped who she has become.

Miri has the hands and mind of a surgeon. With the utmost gentle care, she begins to work on the severed and frayed connections. Her 'fingers' deftly dance, her focus single-minded and hawklike. She's not ready to tackle the blocks yet. One thing at a time.

The work is slow going. At first it is a bit awkward. Without hands to work with she has to learn to manipulate the severed ends. Its a bit like juggling two ends of a wet noodle at first. Neither want to move the way she wants them to. But it starts to come into play a little easier. The older memories to a certain block are reconnected and then glow brightly, joining the others. Some completely severed blocks, dark and decaying, suddenly glow like bright lights in the darkness. Trickles of memories behind them, all connected and daisy-chained, begin lighting up, exposing more severed connections. Someone came through here and just hacked away to try and cut part of her out. And even as the connections are made, everything starting to come together more completely. The other problems that now show up are the linked memories that are more clearly constructed and false. As Miri circles them in her mind, she can pick out the structure of them and realize how they are built and cobbled together. They look like other memories but just don't have the same 'spark', as if they were missing something. The connections can be severed quite easily or simply thrown into the mental garbage, swiped away like a bad Tinder photo. But the other problems are the blocks. And as she begins to back away from the core of Emily's mind, Miri can see one large 'trick' installed. The connections go to memories and feelings, deep down within her. That 'trick' is connected right into the nerves of her right hand and links to memories of her mother, rebellion, and desires to speak out against her own House. Its a godsdamned trap, a physical response a Cleric would notice if she was not mentally behaving herself.

Slowly. Carefully. Patiently. Miri examines the false memories before discarding them. She want to learn the imposed narrative. When she gets to the "trick", she begins to wish she had Randy with her. It needs the mind of an EOD. Maybe even the two of them working together. She leaves it for now and starts to feel the blocks, pushing against them gently.

With the memories discarded, she can even feel the mind glowing brighter. The fear is beginning to ease away and the world Miri is wrapped up in feels like a dull glow of warmth where things had felt a bit chilly and damaged. The memories flowing through, the false ones, seem to imply that Emily needed to believe that she should enjoy her life and a couple of false implants of pleasing her adoptive parents and their generously rewarding her. The pavlovian response to the dinner bell. There's a personal pleasure and satisfaction of serving the House and her family. And there's a narrative and control… the false memories linked to traps and triggers at the real ones they were to replace. …No wonder she was freaking out. Miri can see why. Emily wasn't adopted. The Queen is her real mother and made Emi unable to even try to speak about it. Most of the connections had been cut but a few were missed on the back end.

When she tries to push against the blocks, the strings begin to strain. They are hard targets but a little mental agility, careful work, and Miri begins to crack them and they fall away. The unblocked connections grow brighter all over again and she can feel the power of it all. Watching the blocks disappear, she see's how they too are constructed. Looking around, there's such a vast place to work with in here. There is the gentle tug to play and experiment, too. It would be so easy to implant memories. Miri is absolutely sure she could build more elegant, natural work than one of those Clerics and their roboticly perfect lines. Amatuers. Full access at her fingertips, genome coding flies by as she wonders about it. A body and its chemical balances. But she can look back up at that 'trick' and see it looming over everything. With so much unblocked, it links to so much of her mind now. Everything is connected.

As the blocks crumble away and the diaphanous tendrils of memory swirl and coalesce in their webs, the officers in the room can see Miri smile. It's warm and u guarded, dimpled and childlike. Within the girl's mind, Miri gazes up at the 'trick', a dark mass contrasting against the iridescent light of memory, with tendrils reaching deep in all directions. One by one, Miri follows the tendrils and cuts them off at the contact point. Watching the dark tendrils crackle and wither away is satisfying, sort of like popping bubble wrap.

The other people in the room can watch Emily's hand stop shaking slowly, the motion eventually ceasing. She's sunk into the couch like she were almost asleep, the apprehension and fear gone. There's no smile, but more a neutral expression as if unconscious. Gentle breathing while in her mind, the rough strings fall and collapse, hitting other connections and breaking apart. As the last few come undone, Miri can look at it with that smile and see the dull glow of it begin to fade into nothing. With the last plucked and destroyed connection, the mass goes dark like an ugly cancer and begins to shrink away. The encoding for it, as she takes it apart to discard it, is like reading a new language Miri never knew she understood. Its fluent. She looks over it all and realizes exactly how it was done and why.. Control. There were spies in her midst, watching the uncleansed girl for signs of her hand shaking. Those others may not have even known it. It was a signal linked to her nerves in the hand. ..And when Miri steps back to look around, everything seems well in her world. It feels like hours. Its been exhausting, but very likely also deeply satisfying. But then the fear grows… this girl was just modified. What would a completely cleansed brain look like? How cold would that be?

Suddenly, Miri collapses back against the couch, a cold sweat beading on her freckled forehead as she drops Emily's hand. She takes a few staggered, irregular breaths and works her mouth like waking up from a nap with a dry mouth. A few quiet, tense moments pass before she opens her eyes. "I think we won," she says, voice just above a whisper.

Only four and a half minutes have passed for Robin and Adeliza.

Emily's hand drops limply and and sighs heavily, head lolling to the side on the back of the couch. Her eyelids flutter heavily as she starts to stir, rapidly blinking for just about fie seconds. They're watching a mind reboot. Its just as if a Cleric had reset or cleansed her. Those eyes eventually blink more slowly and she realizes she's slouching and sits up more quickly. How undignified. Sitting very still, her eyes search the floor even as Miri breathes heavily. No words yet. Seems she's trying to sort her own memories out and realize who or what is going on. There's no so much worry or anxiety as the sense that she is awash with so much, Emily is no longer sure where to start.

Robin rises from her seat to move closer to the women into a crouch. "It's been about 4 to," Robin consults her timepiece, "5 minutes. Lieutenant Wynn if you could make a note of that please? Zahav, as soon as you are able you should start keeping a log," she whispers that last part but really seems more intent to focus on whether they are okay. "Lady Benning? Emily?"

Pulling out a tiny notebook with a pen, Adeliza nods and makes a quick note in her own, somewhat cryptic, shorthand. "Done, sir," she says quietly. As the Admiral scoots over to the two women, she cracks the door open just barely open for her slight form to slip out, making sure that her body blocks any view of those inside. She returns very soon, bearing two cups of water in one hand, her fingers pinching together the rims so that she can repeat the process of blocking off any view and quickly enough that only a word or two, if any, might be heard. "Sorry, sir, I should have thought of this before we started." She hands one glass to Miri, then waits for Emily to straighten before she holds it out to see if the young woman can grasp it.

"It felt like hours of surgery," Miri says, voice dry. She takes the water gratefully and takes a long sip. "It was a hack job," she continues, her eyes waking up fully and glancing at Robin expressively, "but I think I was able to reconstruct the connections. They planted some deep stuff… I'll write a report and keep it on paper. We can log this the old-fashioned way." She sits up slowly and painfully, her attention turning to Emily. "Now it's time to see how she's doing."

Emily looks up suddenly when Robin addresses her and looks to the Admiral. She suddenly heaves out a breath and laughs once into a smile. "I have so much I've been wanting to say. So many things I'd forgotten. Memories I had forgotten that seem clear as sunshine on a cloudless day." There's love and life in her eyes. Honesty. "My hand.. Its not shaking." She even reaches out to take the glass with it, almost laughing as she takes it without effort or spilling a drop. A long drink and her eyes close. "Thank you." Legs cross and she quickly turns her head to look at Miri, eyes expressive to her wonderment. "I could feel you inside my mind. That was… That was absolutely, completely terrifying. And now I just-" She looks at her hand, then the other women. "I feel-" Her hand comes to her lips and her smile lifts, her whole face lighting up. That voice is just a whisper. "I feel free. I didn't even realize I knew what that was."

"Thank you Wynn." Robin rises up and steps back as Adeliza moves in with the cups, giving her ample room for the handoff. Robin's upper crust Virgan accent is still ever present. "Remember to bring it to my stateroom," she murmurs to the PAC before stepping closer to Emily's side, even though she's still not in the way. "That's good to hear, as dreadful and exhausting as it must have been." If the hand things throws Robin for a loop, she doesn't show it. There's just concern and curiosity, as if absorbing the fact freely for further reflection. "Is there anything else you notice?"

The Lieutenant gives one, short, nod as an acknowledgement of the appreciation for the water, but she's currently too interested in hearing what the women might have to say about their experience to do, or say, anything else. There's a thoughtful expression pulling her eyebrows slightly towards center as she tucks her hair behind her right ear, then backs up to sit in the chair that Robin recently vacated so she isn't hovering in some sort of position of dominance.

"They rigged her hand to shake as a tell for thought crimes," Miri explains over the rim of her cup. She lowers it and lifts her head. "If she thought about banned topics, her hand would shake. They also did a real number on her memory, but they can't actually delete memories, it seems. They can construct new ones, reroute and sever memory connections, block memories, but they can't erase them. Well, if they can, they didn't."

Emily noddles to Robin, the smile still on her face. She still seems to be up there on Cloud Nine. The hand drops and she sips more of her water, looking to the Admiral and Adeliza first. And then? Her eyes close and she lets herself relax with a long exhale. Miri's words bring her attention back though, she there's some minor alarm there. "I kno it seems a bit late to ask, but it does seem that a Cleric had been.. that? What you did? In my head? They did all that to me?" Her hand turns over at the wrist, "Which is why I feel so different?"

"I see. Interesting that they can't seem to delete memories, or at least didn't with this one." Ever the scientist, Robin looks back to Adeliza and says, "That's wild conjecture," just in case Adeliza writes any of it down. She looks back to Miri at Emily's question.

"Yes, Emily. But I think I repaired as much as I could find. If you feel any residual effects, we'll take another look. If your hand twitches at all, I would like my colleague to take a look, if you don't mind. But we'll cross that bridge if we come to it." Miri pulls up the collar of her scrubs and wipes the sweat from her brow.

Emily listens, focusing closely on what Miri tells her. "I will let you know if there is anything untoward, yes." She lets her eyes slip right, then left, looking at the room without moving her head. Something playful seems caught in her mind. "I remember more of what I was taught about the second war. The people who fought. It feels as a fog burning off in the sunlight. I remember my schooling more. I remember what they did to my mother." The playfulness fades, but her eyes narrow as she looks to Miri. "Thank you. I did not know what it was that I was missing from my life. I feel much more sure about my decision to ask for your help. I am in the debt of your people," she allows with a respectful dip of her head to Miri and Robin. There's a little bit more of a sense of her regality now that there's more life to her. It makes it feel a little more real and honest. "I expect I will still be kept as a prisoner for now, yes?" Its an assumption but one she vocalizes to get feedback from.

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