It all started when I MORFed, naturally. My life before wasn't much to talk about, and my life for the first bit after wasn't much more. Then - as with a great many good stories - I got the power.
Before I get started, let me make clear that this isn't a sordid tale of misdeeds and crimes against humanity. With very few exceptions, my 'power trip' was as spotless as I could imagine, and not because-
Sorry: Getting ahead of the story.
*AHEM* You're still rolling? Okay.
The most troubling thing about sudden power is the confusion. Did I do that? Can I do that? What if-? It started out - not with reading minds or anything of the sort - with an intuitive sense of what people were wanting.
Learning slowly over a few days that your mother doesn't want you to wake up in the morning is jarring enough. Yes, the woman wanted me dead. She hadn't worked out how, or even gotten the courage to do it, but she wanted me to stop breathing. You're probably wishing she'd gotten it done and saved you the trouble, but...
She wanted me dead, my Dad just wanted her to love him like she used to, and Michelle wanted what she always wanted and always got: To be the most important thing she knew of.
Leaving me out of the loop, so to speak. I had friends, and even more people who wanted me to do things for them - just like most people. Most of them vanished when I MORFed, but the few who remained were better for it.
And it's not like I was alone in my situation: Around a dozen or so in the school at the end of the school year. I won't bother you with the details unless you want them.
No? Okay. Back to me.
Certain aspects of my ability came to me suddenly, and in whole blocks. My brain wasn't as developed as some of the other students.
Yes. Eric Robinson. Before he was- You mean to tell me you know all of what you know and you didn't connect Eric with Amy? Truly? Would you please go about spending my tax dollars better?
What? No, I haven't kept in contact with her: Different circles and all that.
I started learning from the teachers then. I can lift and copy whole sections of someone's mind. You knew that, I see. So... most of my school time was learning the rest of what I needed to learn and practicing my skills before I came to the attention of people like you. It's how I was able to stay off your radar for so long.
*sigh* Yes, yes: You caught me. Congratulations are due, I suppose. Clever of you to use MORFS against me. I was waiting for someone to do it - naturally - but I didn't count on that combination. Oh, well.
As I went throught the school, I noticed a lot of things which seemed odd to me: People learning faster and slower on the same subjects; people carrying various types and strengths of darkness in them; the most basic forms of trading and extortion. Basically, a world of humanity at its basest and most developmental.
Perfect for me to begin learning what I could do. I am exhaustively aware of the depravity in the souls of humanity. I started very quietly, first learning all of what I could about things. Then I started making a few changes in them.
Yes: I meddled with the minds of my fellow students, making changes and generally getting rid of the habits they were trying to stop anyways. I also smoothed out certain interactions a little. Not too often, and not too much. Things like that are obvious.
Advertising companies and the entertainment industry in general do much, much more to everyone they can as often as they can. I notice that they aren't here in handcuffs under heavy lights and being asked questions. I can only assume that you have a different avenue for your illegal search and seizure.
Ah! Violating the telepaths' accord. Of course. And I've already admitted to my crimes. It's a bad thing to be me, I guess.
Unless I mention that my purported crimes were before the accords were even dreamed of, thereby not illegal in any official manner. So I guess that you'll need something else to hold me here.
What's that? Sufficient suspicion to warrant a warrant and questioning, or something like that. It would be a lot easier to have this conversation with you if you were in the room here, rather than on the loudspeaker from you know where.
Is it that you're just cautious about being in the room with a telepath? Despite all of the hardware in this room making it hard for me to think, let alone manage any sort of powered assault, you're probably correct in not taking the chance. I guess we'll just have to put up with it for now.
Yes, I guess I do seem a bit at ease for all of this: I never really saw the use of getting nervous about my situation - no matter what it was. Crying or throwing myself on your nonexistent mercy isn't going to buy me so much as a minute more of breathing. We both know this. I told Stephen that there were people out there who would punish him for his wrongdoings.
I didn't really think you'd be punishing me at the time but...
Back to the questions. All right. I altered a few of them, just to make things better- make that easier - for all of us. I didn't take it upon myself to gather a 'harem' - seriously: What use is a harem when I can just enjoy everything that everyone's already enjoyed? - or become a 'superhero' and clean everything up. I'm not going to bother trying to fix everything when all I would get is fights and complaints.
A few of the 'worst' I took it upon myself to 'fix'. Mostly I just made it easier to be around them. I was living there, too, you know. I did a few favors for friends who helped me: Mostly just matchmaking, but occasionally I got rid of someone in their way.
I didn't plant anything, I just gave the people who's job it is to take care of the people the information to do their job. Easy as pie, and I didn't violate the accords doing it, either. I know the accords backwards and forwards - I wrote about half of them, you know - and nothing I did violates any of them.
You didn't know I had a hand in the accords? I used proxies, but I wanted to make sure that they covered enough to be of use, while still leaving enough room for growth. If you take away all room for growth, things stagnate and die, leaving weeds to grow and then the whole thing collapses.
There's no need to be nervous: I'm captured now. You have me securely locked in a room with no escape, bombarded with technology that's designed to turn my brain to mush and ruin my telepathy-
Did you know that my company pioneers this technology? Every so often we 'leak' a little to keep people growing, and keep technology on the right track. There are devices that will not just turn off the telepathy, but actually melt the brain of anyone even remotely sensitive. You know this, of course: Your government funds many of the companies that provide the devices you're using here.
Back to my story. I left school and went to the best college I could afford. No, I didn't steal the money. *sigh* I had most of the knowledge that all of my teachers' possessed, so I qualified for a number of grants and scholarships. I parlayed a year at state into a transfer to a better school. A year there got me to a big university, and I drained all of the professors on the way.
No. There is nothing wrong - legally or morally - with taking the knowledge that they're trying to give you anyways. I paid my tuition, and became a success story at the schools I attended. That became a startup company that people were begging to throw money at.
Not all of them, no. Enough of them? Yes. My company diversified into as many projects as I could handle - and I could handle quite a lot. My open MORFS granted telepathy was touted as the sort of thing that allowed me to get the very best from my people.
Many of the best and brightest flocked to me, giving me more resources to work with. The farther I went, the better I got and the better the company did. There were some rivalries and some abortive attempts at industrial espionage - some of them by your governement, weren't they? It's a serious mistake to think that you can just waltz into a building where there is a telepath and expect your secrets to stay yours.
There are rooms in all of our buildings that shut down devices - even the hardened shields that some spies tried to use - and then they were open to me. It took everyone a little while to figure out that you needed to send someone who could actually produce something. I can't really afford to just hire anybody.
Not everyone wanted to work for a bat headed freak. It's really not all that hard to weed those out, though. I got a small bonus for sending people to where they were likely to be most useful. I even repurposed some of your governement's spies and sent them elsewhere.
Side note: You should always be careful of how you treat your people. Even if they don't work for money, someone might be able to bribe them with what they really want. That's what happened to your wife, John. She's not dead, I just moved her along to where she'd be appreciated.
You got a death certificate instead of divorce papers - I'm not in the habit of killing people. That's more your speed. Yes, I've had the chair disabled. Did you really think I'd have said any of this if the outcome were in doubt? There are people coming to get you now. The same people you sent to get me, so you know they're good.
All of this technology works on the basis of 'frequencies', if you will. Most of why I pioneered this technology is so that I could get used to it, and develop countermeasures and strategies that work to counter it. While I've been sitting here, I've worked out the rhythm of your devices and wormed my way through them. Once I get inside your heads, the shields don't work anymore, of course.
You didn't know that? I suppose that you'd need to find a talented telepath and keep their trust enough for them to tell you how to kill them. Not as likely as you'd suppose, when you're terrified of them. So after I got through, I started to make the changes I'd needed to get myself clear of this. It was a small risk - allowing myself to be captured like that - but I think it paid off handsomely. Don't you?
I now know everything that you don't want me to know about your setup. I know about the bases you have hidden for research, and the one set aside for 'breeding'. Really? All of this and you set up a secret whorehouse for yourself and your cronies? You do know that it's not something that you'd be able to explain away if it were discovered, don't you?
You're not going to be able to tell anyone about this. I've already sent one of the technicians with a message to your boss. Nope. Not the president. You really thought you were working for the government? Tsk tsk. Your strings are being pulled by a telepath, too. Oh, he works in the government - just not for the government, if you know what I mean.
My ride's here, John. I'd say 'see you later', but we both know how likely that is. Goodbye, John.
The entire MORFS Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/