Sinking into the dark, bottomless abyss, I suddenly woke up in a closed space.
With nothing more than darkness all around me, I saw a glass window right in front of me.
Images that were shown there were constantly shifting, showing various parts of my life.
Childhood and the ensuing gruesome training, happy times, playing games with some internet friends, overcoming obstacles… cold-blooded murder.
However, the things that were shown on this “screen” were changed.
The way all of this was shown was partial, biased, some events were warped to the point of almost no recognition.
All they had was the semblance of true event, some familiar scene at the beginning or in the middle, everything else was a straightforward fabrication.
To someone without mental fortitude training, someone simple who wasn’t taught how to repel these kinds of mental threats, their mind could very well collapse under pressure.
I’m not even sure if normal people would realise that all of this isn’t real.
Although our minds are formidable existences, so enigmatic that even the current scientists can’t fully comprehend the human brain, these seemingly perfect mechanisms are easily affected.
Many people from the scientific environment claim that brainwashing is impossible to be conducted.
At least not with the current methods.
That’s nothing more than a load of bull.
Think about it.
It’s true that changing someone’s personality takes a while, but is it really impossible?
When we fall in love, don’t we subconsciously choose to disregard our partner’s faults and flaws?
To change ourselves to fit their “type” better?
To become a reliable, strong man able to support the family, or a faithful woman who wholeheartedly stands by her chosen one?
Don’t we look at our loved ones in oblivious manner, as if they were statues worth of worship?
Well, sometimes what we perceive is love is nothing more than a fleeting desire, an outlet for our corporeal needs.
These peculiar behaviors are what make us whole, what make us human.
Anyways, the loved ones are only an example.
What matters is that when there’s will or enough stimuli, a change occurs. A change in our very brains.
So, is it really impossible to affect a human’s brain?
Definitely possible. In fact, it is 100% possible.
The only reason it is not used far and wide, leading to an inevitable downfall of our civilization, is the required time.
Those blabbering scientists speak with some grain of truth.
Current technology with all its advancements isn’t capable of providing astounding results in a timely fashion… yet.
I am by no means an expert, so I can’t fully expand on how all of this works, but these behavioral changes are real.
When someone tells you your girlfriend cheats on you, no matter how faithful she is, you will turn a tiny bit suspicious, won’t you?
Then a slightest sign of betrayal can make you erupt like a volcano and destroy your whole relationship.
This is a slight change, a ripple in the ocean, causing your clear thinking to cloud, the stream to be slightly polluted.
I want to focus on something grander, like polluting the whole river known as perceiving and analyzing – thinking.
When you read the newspapers you sometimes see the headlines “Plea of temporary insanity, the murderer walks!” although this sounds ridiculous, such “temporary” changes can occur.
Without beating around the bush, everyone knows that most of those who try their luck with this plea weren’t “temporarly affected”. This is not a distraction, for god’s sake.
It’s simply a convenient excuse to get your “out of jail” card.
But such “accidents” occur in our normal lives.
You lose in a game, it’s fine.
What if you lose because someone cheated? Then you’re angry!
Sometimes so angry that you hit that person for no other reason than him being a douchebag!
Almost all of these cases can be blamed on stress.
Humans under pressure often submit to stress, it’s important to relieve it, otherwise it may cause depression or odd, often violent, behavior.
To the point now.
I want to talk about the most evil, most affecting brain change that can happen.
Meddling with the brain.
That’s how it’s commonly called.
In other words, changing who we are.
What really defines us, human beings?
The memories which consist of everything we experienced.
People we met along the way, how they influenced us.
Every single decision we made, shaping us into what we are.
Corporations, mafias, black ops operatives, military as well as terrorists.
All of the aforementioned groups of people conduct this sort of cruelty.
These people use sleep-inducing drugs, allow you to relax while in a dream-like, subconscious state to change your experiences.
Things that you have liked may become your worst nightmares.
Your brain under the wrong influence may bury or uncover things you wished no one knew about or the ones you wanted to forget.
Those procedures involve causing traumas, digging up important secrets, all sorts of industrial espionage, eliciting certain behaviors or habits.
Putting it in simple words, getting brainwashed like this changes you.
Sometimes it’s recoverable, other times it’s not.
What I’m trying to say, is that these unwanted changes can be permanent.
As a next successor of the organization, according to my grandfather’s last will I was “asked”, it was more of a coercion, to undergo a mental fortitude training.
Seeing the ill intentions of the shareholders, I decided to hire my own “shrink”.
Doctor Valen, female neurologist and a member of brain researching team.
She was one of the youngest geniuses of her time, acclaimed as a “future star of neurology”.
Meeting up with her, I learned that she’s a 28 years old, so 12 years older than me at the time.
Her looks? I would say she wasn’t bad.
Okay, Dr. Valen was pretty hot, but I was in the middle of mourning, filled with grief and resentment.
Furthermore, the shareholders, various organizations including the government as well as my father were trying to force me out.
With almost no allies, it was hard to struggle day after day, not to mention chasing skirts.
That and the women in my place of work were pretty hot, so I was used to it.
My reason for choosing a female doctor was simple, I would feel weird sharing my secrets with a male.
Just a preference.
Besides, since we were going to spend quite a lot of time together, I might as well indulge myself with some eye candy.
After the first meeting, which was quite… disastrous, I ascertained myself in my choice.
Choosing a female was definitely the right idea.
What we did was quite… primitive.
I had to replay the events in my mind for a few times, then voice them out loud.
Even though I knew it was a test for my own good, I hesitated.
Talking to a stranger about your personal matters is no small thing.
Especially if you’re in a criminal organization.
Well, maybe not criminal, but an organization that is off the books.
Physician-patient privilege didn’t give me a peace of mind either.
Anyways, after the first meeting, my urge to kill everyone around started subsiding.
I couldn’t hit a woman who was trying to help me.
She was hot too, that would be a crime against mankind…
I’m not saying that hitting ugly women is not a crime, it’s just…
For me there are no ugly and pretty women, only less and more desirable ones.
Let’s leave it at that.
Within two years I had many appointents with Dr. Valen.
The duration varied, but it always revolved around the same things.
Repressing or suppressing your thoughts.
Trying to find the reason for anger, discomfort and distress.
What can I do to not get angered?
Finding an outlet for the frustrations.
Day after day, I learned.
Breathing techniques, counting, reminiscing happy events, I went through it all.
Slowly, it became “How to be happy therapy”.
I didn’t manage to overcome one thing though.
That’s why instead of repressing anger, finding an outlet for it and whatnot, I asked Dr. Valen to teach me how to control that anger, how to use it to my benefit.
In other words, how to deal with rage!
Even though I often got into trouble, even though I was often stressed, overwhelmed and helpless, I never acted out of anger.
The control I was able to attain far surpassed Dr. Valen’s expectations.
Dr. Valen who I later called Melissa was overjoyed with her research, while I was happy with my progress.
A win-win situation.
Developing such a friendship was really helpful to my state of mind at the time.
After earning a substantial amount of money as the leader of the organization, I brought a check with couple millions to dr. Valen.
Melissa was overjoyed.
She seemed like a child which tasted a lolipop for the first time.
Spending many years in the organization, I met with quite a lot of people.
Some of them received quite a substantial amount of money from me to help them “grow”.
To my surprise I discovered that many turned sluggish, a few even ditched me completely.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t have that, so those people had to be taken care of.
What I want to say, is that while financially helping someone, you should only give them enough, not a dime less, not a dime more.
If they have too much, they won’t work hard.
If they have too little, they won’t feel appreciated, thus become dejected which in turn affects their results.
In other words, keep the tabs on, make sure that you’re letting your subordinates, friends or whoever you wish flourish, instead of hindering their progress.
The events on the screen were playing once again.
In my childhood days, my grandfather often brought me to the company, not as a proper, rightful member, but to listen.
“Try to perceive who is a liar, who supports me and who’s indifferent.” this was only one of many tasks I was burdened with during the meetings.
Needless to say, my results often were not up to standard, not good enough.
“If you severely beat someone up and that person still dares to talk back, it means your haven’t administered enough violence. The same goes for being strong. If your strength is insufficient, you require more training.”
With such mentality of my gramps, I rarely had a day off.
When I did, I mostly played games to relax myself.
No one can endure the gruesome training 24/7.
Just like emotions need an outlet, so does frustration.
Playing games allowed me to have a moment of reprieve.
The other thing were hot springs.
Hot water does wonders for the body and mind.
The older I grew, the less friends I had.
With no time to hang out, who could blame them for ditching me?
I probably wouldn’t remember them either if they didn’t show up for who knows how long.
The next thing I knew I lived in a world of adults.
Helping out my grandfather with the organization’s management, training in the dojo, knowing more and more family secrets…
Not long after I learned something that permanently changed me.
There was no more “happy, innocent youth”, all that was left was a precocious young man.
Exactly that scene was playing out in front of me.
As it was a mind attack, it had some “extras” as well.
Pretty well organized attack, I have to say.
What I saw, was the moment of the past when my grandfather was telling me about my father.
To be exact, gramps told me that my father married into the family only to take over grandpa’s position.
There was no other reason but that immense greed.
Hearing about such things was a shocker.
I didn’t want to believe it at first, after all grandpa could simply try to antagonize me against my father.
With no one to turn to, I placed a bug in my parent’s bedroom.
It wasn’t difficult to acquire with my monthly allowance and connections from the organization.
Listening to the recordings, I learned that my parents rarely even sleep in the same bed.
I heard my mother trying to repair that relationship but to no avail.
My mother’s sobbing sounds at night made me feel like my heart was stabbed by knives.
Realizing that it’s only a marriage on paper, I had to suppress that knowledge deep within my heart.
How could I let my sister know?
What would she think then?
Wouldn’t her whole life be ruined?
As years passed, my grandfather was giving me more and more responsibilities.
He was grooming me to become the successor, as my father was supposedly “too weak and too soft-hearted for the job”.
The deep anger within me didn’t subside by much.
I was trying to be a filial son, tried to not hate my father.
Maybe he had a reason?
That was one of my naive thoughts.
Terminal illness, family coercion? It’s possible, right…?
Looking through many files my grandfather left, as well as conducting research on my own, I learned that father’s family is deeply tied with the government, thus their standing in the society was pretty high.
My father had no terminal illnesses, at least none in the record.
Every hospital, every clinic, I searched everywhere. I even went as far as sending people to ask around in the black market…
Nothing was found.
My curiosity couldn’t be repressed any longer.
I needed to know, how could I keep that innocent, not-knowing attitude without knowing the reason?
It was simply too painful to keep the act.
As I was contemplating confronting my father about it, I realized that no one in their right mind would admit to such a thing.
Left with no choice, I broke into my grandfather’s study.
Perusing the documents, I found out about something that solidified the loathing for my father.
While my mother was weeping every night, he had the time to sire a child overseas!
Trembling with unprecedented fury, I forcefully suppressed it.
Carefully perusing my grandfather’s files, I wrote down the woman’s number.
Grandpa seemed to have done extensive research, but I needed to know for myself.
Pretending I carry out a request from my grandfather, I used the organization’s resources to verify the information.
Soon enough, I knew who the neighbours of the alleged female lover were.
Dialing the number, a hoarse voice rang out at the other side.
According to my information, it was one of the neighbours.
I was relieved knowing that these people know how to speak English, although I learned quite a few languages, I wasn’t very fluent at either of them which would make things awkward.
“Good morning. I am Mr. Johnson from “Last Will” company. I am calling to ask about a very peculiar person, Mr.Underwood, who was sighted in your neighbourhood. It’s a white male, height…”
“You did see someone resembling the description? Excellent! Unfortunately, our resources are limited, so our company can’t search for them an ourselves. However, Mr.Underwood’s father’s last will included a note that we are obliged to reward a person who found him. Do you know about his current whereabouts?”
“Oh really? He lives next door? Could you give me the address?”
“I see. Okay, I’ve got it. Please tell me one more thing. When was the last time you saw the man?”
“Last week? I see. Please leave your bank account number, we’ll wire transfer the promised amount 24 hours after confirming it’s the right person.”
My grandfather did give me quite a bit of allowance, he called it “change”.
The total amount was roughly 50 000$.
I never had any time to spend it, so I kept it at my bank account.
Sending 10000$ as a reward, I confirmed my suspicions.
Who would have thought that I even received a picture from the same man a few days later…
There was no need to check its credibility, on that very day my father was supposed to be on a “business trip” and it came right after.
Everything matched. The hair, the skin color, the posture.
I remember feeling incredible amount of bloodlust.
From that point forward, I detested my father with my whole heart.
Whenever I could, I avoided him.
When grandpa was still alive, it was bearable, but after his death, when I was merely 16, this whole thing became overwhelming.
Therapy with Dr. Valen was really helpful, although my hate didn’t dispel, the anger control let me become sane again.
My judgement was no longer affected, resulting in taking over the organization in one fell swoop.
The methods used were ruthless, often breaking all taboos, but when someone throws a grenade at you, you don’t look at him with shock, you counter with a rocket launcher!
At least I do.
Seeing the exact scene of my father entering a build overseas before me was no surprise.
Every bad thing that happened to me was neatly shown right in front of me, as a recollection of events.
Pfft! Yeah, right.
It was made to be far worse, every bad thing was interjected with a good one, which in turn turned into a bad one.
Whichever developer made it, he was surely testing the theory of modifying memories.
Hmph, don’t worry you crazy bastard, after today, you won’t live much longer.
I’ll make sure of it.
If someone without mental fortitude training was here instead of me, this person’s whole life could be ruined.
Imparting such a cruel method to the game…
Blood Eccentric my ass, it’s nothing more than making the players test subjects.
Whoever’s backing them, even if it is the government, I swear I’ll exterminate you!
Alright, I’ve spend enough time here, at this blank space, looking at this bullshit.
Hmph, because of this ridiculous trial, I remembered some bad things.
Oh well, it’s not like I can change the past.
The only thing left is to look forward to the future.
I am the one in control.
Leave this place.
That’s the most important part, to remember that all of this happens in your mind. You’re the man in charge here.
Only then can your subconsciousness take the hint that you want to regain control.
Leaving my subcosciousness area, I saw myself being shaken by Clare.
*sigh* Now she’s worried, what will I tell her?
Maybe “I fell asleep” will work…?
Sylph: J, are you alright?
Icicle: I’m fine. Doze off for a while. Let me go, I need to do something.
Hmph, titles and privileges, huh?
More like looking for mentally warped people and psychopaths to experiment on.
Still, that bastard actually took my damage buff away from me!
Looking at the axe, it was covered in gore, just like before.
I don’t want anyone else to be affected by this shit before I’m done with both the developer and their backers, so I need to destroy it.
With no other option left, I started slamming it against the wall.
If the thrown axe couldn’t leave a dent on it, then it should be enough to destroy it, right?
Alright, time to wrap this fight up.