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Path

7. Swept Away

6. Resisting

5. John's crossed in mental headl

4. Empathizer: A Bit Too Strong

3. The Empathizer

2. Unstable Universe

1. The Drafting Board

Empathizer: Swept Away

on 2019-08-05 13:30:51

1303 hits, 85 views, 1 upvotes.

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<My name is John. My name is John. My name is Cindy. My name is Jessica. My name is Courtney.> Wait...

He opened his eyes just in time to see about a dozen sorority girls walking on the path just a few feet away. Tanned and toned in matching denim miniskirts and tight pink t-shirts with the greek letters "Delta Delta Pi" written in glittery silver. And as soon as his eyes were open, so were the floodgates. The idea of getting back to the lab or getting away from the crowd evaporated completely. He had to catch up with his friends!

A quick jog and he was right there with his girls. His movements completely like theirs - hips swaying, chest out, occasionally flipping back a strand of long hair that wasn't there. He felt tired, but also energized! They'd all stayed up late drinking wine, painting their nails in matching sorority colors, and running through everything they were going to do for the week. He was so excited for today! It was always the best day of the year - to come out on the quad with his best girlfriends and yell and cheer and meet the new pledges.

This new group had managed to drown out the rest of the huge crowd from John's mind, but the dozen bubbly personalities completely buried his. The number of minds flowing through him made it difficult for any single one to take hold, not that he was aware of any of that. Until one of them spoke.

"Ohmygosh, everyone looks sooo cute! This is gonna be, like, a total blast!" He said loudly, in perfect unison with Tiffany at the front. They all stopped and turned in confusion. <Ugh, who is this weird dude following us?> He thought to himself. Wait, that's me! "What are you doing, creep?" He and Jessica said at the same time. Wait, no! He wasn't Jessica - this confusion was allowing John to resurface.

"Who are you calling a creep?? It's me, Tiffany!" He said. They looked angrier and more confused, and he suddenly felt the same way. "Wait, no! Hang on... my name... my name is John!" Finally, a breakthrough. "I... I need help." Wait... what did he need help with again? <Let's see... I was in the lab... brushing my hair... then Sarah came in (which Sarah?)... then I ran out of the lab... and then we all walked out of the house in our matching...> He looked down at himself. "OMG what am I wearing!? I thought we had agreed on denim skirts and pink t-shirts today!"

The girls kept staring at him, still confused, but suddenly seemed less angry. If he'd had any clarity in his mind, he would have remembered the other feature he'd built into his empathy chip. Even if the empathizer had made him more comfortable approaching others, John was still terrified he'd be rejected for being too outgoing. So he built in a sort of feedback loop. A nano-emitter that could subtly influence those around him and make them more accepting of his behavior. But now that the receiver was acting stronger than anticipated, there was no telling what this would do.

"So... John, is it?" Cindy asked, more calmly. He nodded. "What do you need help with?"

"I'm just... I'm so confused." He was on the verge of tears now. Jessica put a hand on his shoulder.

"It's ok! You're with friends!"

"R-really?" He asked. He still wasn't sure if that was right. The lessening confusion from the girls made it harder to fight back.

"Of course!" Emily chimed in. "We're all sisters here!"

Sisters! Of course! These were his BFFs, and nobody could take that away. He suddenly beamed with a huge smile.

"Right!" Jessica chimed in, taking charge as she often did. "Why don't you go back to the house with Emily and Kayla to get your outfit sorted out. Shouldn't take too long. We'll be right here. Because like we say: Once a Delta--"

"ALWAYS A DELTA!!" John shouted with his sisters, which gave way to a cacophony of giggles and hugs. John was so happy he'd finally figured it out.


Meanwhile, Sarah Trask had returned to the lab. No signt of John anywhere, she looked around to figure out what the hell he was up to. There on the desk was the messy pile of notes that had led him to his creation.

"Bingo," she said.




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