You are a famous (and secretly fraudulent) psychic that has been kidnapped by the government to create and train a generation of psychic soldiers for the military. – Whitefolly
The soldiers stood in front of me, straight as ramrods. Every one of them bald as a spear, every one of them waiting for my instruction, and every one of them a font of untapped psychic power.
I’ve seen the dossiers. Every one of these men and women is a natural psychic, hand picked by the government to be used as special forces operatives. Telepathy, telekinesis, astral projection, divination, teleportation – every psychic power you can imagine from a comic book is not only possible, but a good number of the people in front of me are capable of them.
I adjust the tinfoil wrapped around my head. Thank Christ it works; if it didn’t, then the multiple telepathic cadets in front of me would instantly know the truth about me.
Despite what the nation thinks of me, I’m not really a psychic. I can’t read minds, I just understand human psychology. I can’t move matter using willpower alone, I just use a complicated system of hidden wires. I can’t see the future, I’m just good at recognizing patterns. It’s all a big con that the entire country has bought into so deeply that when the government needed a teacher for their newly-founded psychic corps, I was the obvious choice.
God help me, all I wanted to do was make a quick buck. I knew I’d eventually get caught, but when that happened, I’d just change my name, get a new face, and spend the rest of my life living in the lap of luxury, as rich as Creosote. That’s probably not going to happen right now. If I get caught now, I’ll probably end up dead and nobody would ever find me.
I clear my throat, and prepare to address my students, who are everything I’ve been pretending to be and more. “Faaaaaaall in!”
They don’t move. They’re already standing at perfect attention. I flush a bit. “At – at ease!” And they relax, at least a little bit. “You are all here because you think you’re the most powerful sonsabitches – and daughtersabitches, sorry – in the western hemisphere! You are dead wrong!” They are not. According to the dossiers, one of them can crush a car down to the size of a soda can using only her thoughts. One of them can make an entire apartment building catch fire by sneezing. “And it’s my job to whip you into shape!” Help me.
I’m pacing in front of them now, channeling the spirit of every drill sergeant I’ve ever seen in the movies. “You are all maggots! Tiny little disgusting worms compared to me! If I wanted to, I could rip you all to shreds by blinking!” Me and my fat mouth. “I’m not wearing this shiny hat because it’s a fashion statement! I wear it so that I don’t accidentally murder all of you!”
If I have one flaw (I do), it’s that my mouth tends to get away from me. Like it’s doing right now. “Form up into groups by psychic specialties! I want to see what you maggots can accomplish!”
Already, the words coming out of my mouth are starting to trick my own brain. Maybe, I think, maybe I can actually pull this off. Maybe I can train these people without actually having any powers of my own. Maybe, using my wits alone, I can get out of this mess, cash a fat check from the government, and then run away as far as I can where nobody will ever find me.
They split apart like a well-oiled machine. They’ve all gone through basic training already, and the point of my training is to get them up to speed on their psychic abilities. Which, as I have said, I can’t do because I’m not actually a psychic. A few small groups are formed. I can guess which one is the telepath group, because it formed without any of the members saying a word that I could hear. The other groups had to call out their specialties, eventually coalescing into small crowds.
Except for one woman, standing perfectly still and completely alone in parade rest. Staring at me. I prepare to bark at her, thinking perhaps she hadn’t heard me.
I heard you. That tinfoil isn’t enough to protect you from me.
My words get stuck in my throat.
Oh no. More thoughts flow into my mind, coming from this plain-looking woman. I catch a glimpse of everything she’s capable of. She can set a forest ablaze, split the oceans like Moses, move from one hemisphere to the other in a split second, glimpse the future with perfect clarity, and most terrifying of all, read minds even through rudimentary protections such as my own.
And she knows what I am.