Darius couldn’t figure out how he got to Convercorp. It all felt like a rush, like the kind of dreams one has where they feel like they’re falling, slipping away into a void. Regardless of arrival, Darius awoke to find himself... in the dark. Not sure if he was alive or dead, Darius found himself to be sitting... sitting in the darkness, embracing it. All was quiet... Darius began to contemplate his situation. ‘Am I dead?’ he asked himself. He concluded that he wasn’t alive or dead, but in some sort of metaphysical suspended animation in an alternate universe. It seemed to make sense or as much sense as it could make in a dark space of unknown-ness.
In an instant, bright white lamps switched on, nearly blinding Darius. He found himself lying on a psychiatrist’s chair and a young woman was seen sitting in a gray chair next to him. The woman had long, dark brown hair and ruby red lips forced out into a smile; she appeared to be some sort of nurse-like figure. She began to reassure him in a sweet voice. “Welcome into our special care. No need to run... You will be fine... Convercorp will make you fine. They will take care of you, just like they have cared for me... They have called me the Advisor.”
Darius was confused. Why would he need to run away? Who or what was Convercorp? “How did I get here? Where am I?” Darius asked.
The woman in the chair was quick to reply. “You don’t seem well. How long have you had your condition?”
“Condition? What condition?” Darius stammered.
“We simply must begin your first treatment immediately!” the strange woman commanded. Darius didn’t understand. Treatment? “It is best that you receive treatment to remove your problems...” the woman replied from a corner in the room.
Darius followed her and soon found her opening a red door in the corner of the room that had almost suddenly appeared. They stepped through the door and into a long, dimly-lit hallway. A nearby speaker blared in an automated voice, “Will all patients in Sector 4 please report to Surgery for their scheduled cranial manipulation procedure. Thank you.” Men in white lab coats darted furiously around Darius, pushing a gurney down the hall into an unknown room. It was all too busy... Darius, with nothing else to do or understand, followed the Advisor around the hallway to another room. The room was a sterile white with a strange collection of surgical equipment and a dentist’s chair in the middle.
“Now we will begin your Mindscrubbing. Your Protectors will change you into the proper garments and will sit you in the washing chair,” The Advisor instructed Darius.
Four of Darius’s Protectors led him into a booth where they stripped him of his clothes and gently slipped him into a white hospital gown. They rubbed a special numbing soap onto his temples so as to provide “easy access” to his cranial “sector”. Darius was led back into the room and was seated in the chair where his Protectors began his treatment.
As the men strapped him in, the loudspeaker blared out in the hall for “Patients 34 through 40 to report to surgery for a personality removal.” Darius shivered... “Is this what will happen to me?” he thought.
The Protectors hooked a heavy black plastic “headband” onto Darius’s head, and fit its two specialized nozzles in his ears. The boy was so frightened that he only appeared to quiver slightly, like a defenseless animal in a science lab. Here Darius sat strapped to a chair with a strange device attached to his head under harsh surgical lamps. Everything around him looked like a giant metallic arm waiting to operate on him, waiting to tear him apart. His Protectors showed no regard to his fear. Instead, they strapped on Darius’s piece de resistance, a sedation mask, which began to work immediately. His head began to spin madly. Though he couldn’t hear much in his dizzying state of mind, the boy was able to perceive that his Protectors and the Advisor were talking about him. He could only pick out a few clear words like “complete social disconnection” and “psychological reconstruction purposes”... He could see them holding a white shampoo bottle marked “S-XCIN” in big, black letters but wasn’t sure what it meant. It was then that everything went black.
Darius’s Protectors drilled into his temples to allow access for the procedure’s intricate hardware. They carefully clotted the oozing blood, then carefully inserted two large pump nozzles attached to the “headband” and secured them with surgical tape. His Protectors wet his hair, and poured in a thick, pink shampoo. The men tickled his hair with the lather, working it deep into his scalp. Darius mumbled a bit at the washing, but soon quieted down. At once, the headband’s nozzles began pulsing waves of sound deep into Darius’s head and injecting a powerful mind cleansing shampoo through his temples. His head’s inner cavities resonated with the sound... throbbed with the painful sound. As Darius’s brain was getting a forcefully perfect wash, the surgery team noticed that his hands began to twitch in a most unnerving manner. The Protectors gently caressed his soapy hair, churning up the creamy lather in an attempt to lull the disturbed patient. The fidgeting ceased and the Protectors increased lather flow to the patient’s brain. The brain shampoo was pre-lathered so that it could scrub out all the unnecessary thoughts of Darius’s cranial cavity and leave it handsomely spotless without a trace of free will. Darius winced in pain from under his sedated state, thrashing about in the chair like a severe electrocution. He screamed in pain, trying to get up from the chair, but found himself strapped in. The brain-lathering had reached its most intensive stage... The Advisor delightedly watched her patient’s mind fall apart with each cleansing pump into his brain. The men pumped more shampoo into his head, squirting a sedating conditioner into the solution. As both shampoo and conditioner pumped into Darius’s brain, his thrashing ceased and he settled down again, developing a slight smile on his face. The Advisor grinned; his treatment was working.
Darius’s brain was being lathered into complete submission to Convercorp. His hair would feel shiny and clean, but his brain would be completely spotless. At one moment in his operation, the surgical tape came slightly loose around one of the nozzles. The lather emerging from the cavity was pink, normally white but stained with the escaping blood from Darius’s violently scrubbed skull. Strangely enough, he did not react... The young patient simply remained in a hypnotic state of mind with the same creepy smile growing on his face. The Protectors quickly secured the leaking nozzle and washed the blood off the boy’s face. When the pumps exhausted their cleansing supply, Darius was left with a sickening smile on his face, almost as if it had been the product of a horrible disfigurement. The nozzles were removed from his head and the incisions were stitched up. The Protectors carefully rinsed the shampoo from his hair and removed the Mindscrubbing headgear. The torturing was over. It was all over...
The Advisor tested her patient’s correction status by placing her hands on his face. Nothing, except a faint coldness of the skin. “Darius...” she called. No results. She snapped her fingers to wake him up, but to no avail. The patient had no pulse, nor did he have any signs of breathing. Darius could’ve easily died in surgery. He was gone; he was certainly gone, or the closest living equivalent to a vegetable. “Hello, Patient 59,” she whispered. Darius’s eyes shot open. His heart began racing and he began breathing deeply and heavily. He had been activated... The patient would no longer be known as “Darius”; he belonged to Convercorp now...