Treatment 3

When a neuroscientist accidentally unlocks the brain's hidden psychic potential, she's thrilled. But when her test subject goes crazy and starts killing people, she's the only one with the ability to stop him.

Diane is a scientist working on parapsychological research, but she’s not especially thrilled about it. Whereas she got into the field as the skeptic daughter of a stage magician, more interested in disproving the supernatural, her coworkers are all ghost-hunters and occult geeks, and she’s become known as kind of a wet blanket. However, she’s tolerated, even respected, because she gives the entire lab a measure of respectability in a field where that’s normally nowhere to be found.

The latest project has to do with a supposed link between schizophrenia and ESP, with the theory being that the voices and hallucinations schizophrenics hear and see are actually the thoughts of others. Diane has been working on something else, so she’s called in to look at things when the study shows a statistically significant anomaly. Everyone is really excited about it, but she obviously is unimpressed. She looks over their data and sees a few variables or contaminations they weren’t accounting for, and starts the study over again.

However, repeating the study with Diane’s strict standards doesn’t reduce the anomaly. In fact, the anomaly may have grown. Diane double-checks everything, runs the study again… and this time, it’s definitely grown, completely inexplicably. She checks everything she can think of, but can’t find the hole.

The more stressed and annoyed she gets, the more excited her coworkers get, which only annoys her more. So, she goes to see an old mentor of hers, Dr. Kevin. She gives him all of her data and asks him where the hole is. He responds by chastising her for making assumptions. She’s relieved at first, and asks what she was assuming, but he tells her that her problem is she’s assuming there is a hole. Obviously, he says, the odds of this being ESP are pretty low, but science won’t allow her to rule anything out completely. He makes it clear he’s not saying that this is caused by ESP, only that maybe her bias is blinding her in some way.

When she asks what she should do then, he asks her what she’d do if she wasn’t certain that this wasn’t caused by ESP. She says she’d move the study forward, so that’s what he tells her to do.

Still uncertain, and more than a little upset, she decides to continue the research with a case study of the most effective “psychics.” Before long, it’s clear that one of them - a schizophrenic young man named Quentin - is leagues beyond the others, and the case study changes to focus entirely on him. Diane is convinced that if she can figure out how he’s gaming the study, that’ll key her in to how the others are, too.

Diane gives her coworkers room to try their crazy ideas (albeit with her strict oversight), and they come up with a few simple hypnotic therapies and harmless drugs that triple Quentin’s success rate. There are also a few random spikes in his accuracy, which a careful monitoring reveals correlate with times he’s been skipping his schizophrenia medication.

Once they officially take him off of it, he’s able to guess which card out of a deck of 52 you’ve drawn. Soon, he’s able to communicate to you what card he’s drawn - even through a soundproof wall. The biggest breakthrough, though - and the tipping point that finally convinces Diane there might be something supernatural happening - comes when Quentin inexplicably moves one of the cards without touching it.

Obviously, though, taking him off of his medication is not without consequences. The more his powers improve, the worse his mental state gets. Moreover, he develops a violent hatred towards - and an unnatural sixth sense for - certain other schizophrenics, who, when tested, all show some measure of psychic ability. The prevailing theory is that, if the voices he hears really are the manifestations of uncontrolled telepathy, more psychically powerful individuals may affect him more.

Additionally, now that Diane has really accepted the supernatural nature of the events at hand, her reliability in the greater scientific community is all but shot. Even Dr. Kevin cautions her against admitting what she believes. He doesn’t tell her not to believe it, only that letting people know may be a bad idea. She flips out at him, calling him a bad scientist, and expands the study to greater levels, using Quentin to test for psychic ability - even in non-schizophrenics.

She discovers she may have some latent ability, and that she’s actually been using it subconsciously help calm Quentin.

However, she’s not with him 24/7, and eventually the strain of testing breaks him. He lashes out psychically at the other psychics in the facility where he’s held, killing them all with a mental overload. When the guards come to investigate, he kills them with telekinetic thrusts, breaks out, and runs away.

The entire escape is caught on security cameras, and the fact that the killings have no explanation other than supernaturally does a lot to legitimize Diane and her research. However, human rights groups immediately crucify her for her methods, which drove Quentin to the breaking point.

Diane searches for Quentin, but to no avail.

When more bodies start showing up with unexplainable deaths - most of whom were schizophrenic or had other traits Diane had correlated with psychic ability - the police come to Diane for help understanding what was happening, and how to stop it.

Realizing that Quentin is hunting down other psychics, Diane realizes that their best chance at finding him is to lure him in with another psychic. Not willing to put anyone else in harm’s way, and aware of her own apparent talents, Diane demands to undergo the treatments and take the drugs that they’ve found aid psychic ability. The police then drive her around the city as she howls mentally, trying to irritate Quentin and alert him to her presence.

Eventually, she senses him from a few miles away. He approaches faster than seems possible, and hurls the police away before focusing on her. She tries to calm him, but he’s beyond that now. He seems reluctant to hurt her, but at the same time refuses to let her live. He cripples her mentally, shutting her off psychically, which also deals some vicious brain damage to her. However, once she has no psychic sensitivity whatsoever, she’s able to escape his mental stranglehold long enough to shoot him.

Diane never recovers from the brain damage, though, and eventually finds herself serving as the subject of a new case study, looking at what parts of her brain have been damaged, as those are the parts that are likely to affect psychic ability