Frontier Psychiatry
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Cream cheese and bagels are in the brown paper bag on the table. Did someone bring them in? I can't recall.

I’m sure at least a few of you have had to treat a manic patient before. Most manic patients who state that they can bend reality to their will are delirious. In these walls though, chances are that they can. This makes treatment significantly more difficult, shots of Lorazepam aren’t as effective when the patient can turn them into saline.

However, when you remove reality from the equation, they are at their most vulnerable. You occupy a reflection of the subjects psyche, the world in their image.

You have as much control in this reality as you do in the reality of a shaper, and with that minuscule amount of control you’ve managed to find yourself with a job at a paranormal research agency.

Too philosophical for you? How about a brief lesson on the Foundations favorite medicine?

The majority of amnestics are bimodal agents, one part selective GABA receptor agonist and one part brain-lesioning agent. The most common agents have to be cleaved by a liver enzyme to regulate the dosage of the active metabolite. We have many ways of delivering amnestics, sprayer trucks, aquifer release, pills, eye drops, injections, patches, gummy bears…

Why? Because there are many things we want to forget, and very few things we want to remember.

I'll set the scene, every electronic billboard in Time Square was remotely accessed and modified to display a Berryman-Langford kill agent, it's quite the sight for inoculated eyes, hundreds of bodies lying there with spiraling fractals hanging overhead. Every news ticker rapidly repeating the phrase "Are We Cool Yet?"

One of the Foundation's took the initiative; checking for a pulse. With a jolt the body he was examining pulled him in for a word. The operative was dead before he hit the ground, as the afflicted civilians got up and moved on with their day, disregarding the dead man in scramble goggles bleeding from his ears.

An auditory kill agent embedded into a visual cognitohazard, the perfect excuse to deploy an experimental amnestic agent en masse.

There's a neurological basis for PTSD, noradrenaline released in response to trauma changes memory formation, making things stick around in your head far better. You can imagine how this interacts with amnestic agents. People feel that something happened to them, they get flashbacks to nothingness, or to memories made just after they received the amnestic.

Don’t worry, the symptoms fade without the trauma being present in memories, but these are some of the consequences of exposing such a large chunk of the population to amnestics.

How about a case study? Get a feel for what it's like to treat an anomalous patient.

The patient, JR was a child with anomalous properties; From what could be ascertained from the patient's screaming his right eye allowed him to see the future. After a few weeks of researchers asking probing questions, not once allowing the patient to receive any sort of psychological care, the patient attempted to end his misery.

His esophagus was damaged badly enough that a tracheotomy was necessary. The patient received the treatment in his room as the injury was deemed not traumatic enough to necessitate the movement of the patient through the facility to an infirmary.

An on-site psychiatrist was brought in for an emergency session with the patient, as soon as they were given privacy the patient spoke of what he saw through his bad eye and his fear of being trapped in containment forever. The patient choked what he needed to say out despite his freshly opened throat hole.

The psychiatrist informed the patient that he could be rid of his visions if he damaged his right optic nerve sufficiently, judging by what the research files on his condition indicated. How deep the scalpel had to pierce to ensure the destruction of the nerves, and how shallow to cut to ensure that there'd be minimal injury to the surrounding tissue. The location of the tracheotomy kit, and how much time he had to do the deed before The Foundations security staff would get the chance to wrestle the scalpel out of his hands.

I left the room.

The patient was sent back home to his parents after a healthy dose of amnestic gummy bears. Missing an eye and without any memories of the terrors that befell him in the weeks that he was gone, but his parents were presumably happy to have him back.

Every time you forget a piece of you disappears. Mistakes wiped away with a pill and paperwork. Enough time and you will even forget that you forgot. All that's left is debris.

I don't work for The Foundation anymore, that piece of me is gone.

You know what they say about us, that what we do is immoral, neutralizing parathreats -well, destroying the anomalous doesn't necessitate murder. You can destroy the anomalous aspects of them, convince them to lay down their powers, render themselves inert forever, and return them to baseline consensus reality.

On a fantastic day, you might be able to get a reality bender to cease to be a reality bender, on a bad day we'll have to kill them. It sucks but hell, it's better than them being locked inside and researched for the rest of their existence. Why not kill them all? Because every time we kill them there's a risk too, I'm sure you've heard the chair, right? Curing them is a more amicable solution.

Your first patients will be the parathreats detained in this facility. I'm not going to give you methods, it's dangerous work, that's why we have arrays of tuned Scranton Reality Anchors topside and dozens of Type Blues- er, occult specialists who are on our side ready to save your sorry ass if you fuck up.

Patients have been successfully treated by psychiatrists who allow them to sit in the fancy leather chair while the doctor lays on the sofa. They've also been treated successfully by psychiatrists who don't say a word, letting the patient come to their conclusions.

My preferred method? Don't rely on it, but a warm meal and the cold hard truth. If they escape, they're done for, either we get their hand on them and they'll get a reality anchored bullet through the back of the skull, or the Foundation does and they'll spend the rest of their life a dozen miles underground.

After that, I give them the way out. Once they're no longer parathreats, they're out of our hands, they'll be amnesticized and returned to their normal life. The rarely offered alternative is to give the Post-Greens a position at the GOC, the experience of having been a reality bender is quite useful in this field.

Oh no -I've never bent reality in such a literal sense, but one of the specialists you walked past was negotiated back to consensus reality with a stuffed blue shark and a brownie, believe it or not. The way her powers worked, she wasn't entirely in control, her fears could turn an innocent stuffed shark into a real one. She never would be able to appreciate simple things in life like that, without her fear becoming real.

Once I figured that out, I asked her if she feared losing her powers, and then it was inevitable. The fear became reality. Psychiatry is best used to expose flaws in people's thinking, breaking negative looping thoughts, helping people out of ruts while working in their system of beliefs and logic.

There are well over a dozen contained reality benders in this facility alone. The weight of their collective ego is a gravitational anomaly detectable from orbit. A ticking time bomb rests underneath the facility, threatening to wipe us out if we screw this up, the world can't take being this broken forever, can it?

Well? We have work to do.

I hope you enjoy a challenge.

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