“Have them stand on one leg again.” The same instructions they give him every time. Every time they take him into the bright room with those same five individuals and every time things are more or less the same. They want him to have them stand on one leg, to cover their eyes. New steps are added each time. Have them dance. Have them hug each other. Any step that’s added becomes part of the routine which means every time they come in here takes longer than the time before.
The only consistent thing DeMarcus has noticed, which he’s quick to point out, is that every time his powers get weaker. It starts with people being able to show annoyance while they do the things they’re doing. With muscles that quake in resistance. Over time it grows into more. They listen but they don’t have to do so for long. One of them stands on one leg but then stops after only a few seconds, having completed the letter of the command but ignoring the spirit of it.
The asian woman’s the first to outright defy a command. He tells her one day to hug the man next to her and she refuses. He can see the amount of strength it takes. Her arms start to rise, her body moves into his, but there’s no hug. When he finally tells her to stop he can see sweat dripping down her forehead. Despite that she has a proud smile of defiance on her face. She was able to fight. Seeing this seems to inspire the rest. Soon commands are ignored left and right.
Today they’ve been doing almost nothing he’s told them. He said to stand on one foot and only one of the five did and even then only for a moment. He told them to break-dance which two weeks ago they all did without issue, despite the fact that none of them apparently know how to do so. Instead of dancing, today he only receives laughter. Only one of them even looks at the floor.
Whoever’s administering this test, the frustration in their voice rises every session. This research may still help them with future subjects. Maybe they can find a way to use this chemical for their own good. It won’t involve DeMarcus though. After a session last week they actually asked if they could dose him again. If his mouth were free he would have screamed no at them. At least they asked and didn’t pump it into his room in his sleep.
“DeMarcus, I want to try something new. You’re going to try giving the commands in an angry manner. We want to see if your aggression has any effect. We’re also going to try giving commands from closer and further away. Go ahead and shout at them to stand on one leg.” Yelling doesn’t seem to have any effect. They stay put. “Get closer to them, say it right into their ears.
He moves up to the Asian woman and gets right next to her ear. She doesn’t react. Her eyes stay pointed forward. “Stand on one foot.” No response. He starts walking back toward the glass, raising his eyes. “This isn’t going to work. My powers have no effect on them. They’re still free to do whatever they want.” Whispers make their way onto the speaker but they’re so low that he can’t make out the words. “If you’re going to talk about me, maybe you should talk to me.”
The voice rises. “We’re still not confident in this. We’re going to keep pushing you for more tests until we’re confident the powers are gone.”
His fist clenches and squeezes tight. Are they ever going to let him out of here? He hears gun safety’s being released behind him. “Come on, I’m entitled to get a little annoyed after weeks of this. I have people I care about out there. I need to get back to my life. I was told when these powers were at least mostly gone I could go. That’s where we are.”
“We’ll decide when that’s the case.”
The guards move to take him back to his room. He rolls his eyes and thinks about resisting but knows with those ear plugs he won’t be able to do a thing. Even without them he’d likely be helpless at this point. The guards get the handcuffs out, the first time they’ve been pulled on him in almost two weeks. Apparently clenching his fist is all it takes to get those back on. “You know you don’t need to keep me here anymore. You know it.”