Do you consider it an abuse of power to hit on lower level researchers?
Nope. They’re their own people, they make their own choices. If I ordered them to sleep with me and threatened to punish them if they didn’t, that would be an abuse of power. But I don’t do that, and it’s not my problem at all if they assume that and do it anyway. I didn’t say a thing. Some people might say that’s a bit of a grey area but to be honest, I think that’s bullshit. I can’t be held responsible for the conclusions people jump to.
How do you feel about psychiatric evaluations?
They’re bullshit and I avoid them whenever I can. Yeah, they might help some people and I’m sure they’re useful in some respects, but I don’t need a regular evaluation to know what I already know. Besides, this place doesn’t really give a shit about your mental health, so long as it doesn’t inconvenience anyone else. Everyone worth their keep in this place knows the right thing to say to get the tick and not lose their job for however many months.
I just hate them, same way as I hate pretty much everything to do with the psychiatric field. It’s not going to help me, and I’d get over it a lot faster if people stopped trying to pretend they can.
If there was undeniable proof that there was a god, what would your reaction be?
Anger, probably. I don’t imagine that any god that exists would be anything like what religion expects, but I’d still be angry because of those expectations. I try to keep in mind that any god out there has to be an indifferent one, but I know I’d still be angry. If it turned out that one of the major religions was true, I’d be even more pissed, because thinking about all those genuine prayers going unanswered really boils my blood. What use is worship if you don’t even get the benefits?
"If you’re going to keep bringing up the fact that I stabbed you while you were trying to kill me, I honestly don’t know what to say to you," he said. "Seriously, what the hell? I’m the one who’s tied down, in case you forgot."
His heart rate quickened — footprints were all the confirmation he needed that he wasn’t crazy, that something had been there and that he’d actually seen it. Based upon Kondraki’s reaction to the footprints. Trent was inclined to believe that he really hadn’t seen anything there, which left Trent in a worrying predicament.
"So it can turn invisible, then," he said. "Or it can shield itself, somehow. Either way, if you can’t see it, that does leave us in a bit of a situation, wouldn’t you say?"
He met Kondraki’s eyes as coolly as he could, hoping he at least looked like he was keeping his wits about him. Being tied down was definitely taking away from any intimidating features he had, and that was on top of Kondraki’s height advantage and having the outcome of their previous encounter under his belt. Of all the people he had to be stuck with, it had to be this idiot.
"Did you see which way it went?" he asked. "The footprints, what direction did they go in?"
The window continued to draw his attention back to it. Trent wasn’t sure what he’d do if there were more windows in the room and he saw its face leering in through all of them, especially if there was one sitting right over the bed frame. The disadvantage to that was that it could be anywhere, and he’d seen what it did to a human body; he wouldn’t put it past the thing to break through the wall.
"I’m not flipping my lid, and you know it," he said. "If you’re going to turn around and say those footprints are just a coincidence, I’m going to call bullshit. I’m completely sane here."
"Oh, you’re tied down?” Kondraki asked. “I hadn’t noticed, Trent. You haven’t mentioned that, not once.”
Not for the first time, Kondraki sorely regretting not killing Trent when he’d had the chance, back when they’d first met and Trent had insisted on being just as annoying. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the creature stalking them seemed more interested in Trent, Kondraki thought he probably would have finished the job by now.
"I think they were going that way," Kondraki said, pointing to his left. "So around the cabin, at a guess. Or maybe into the tree line on the other side. Whatever it’s doing, it certainly doesn’t seem to be banging down the door and asking if we wanna buy cookies."
There was nothing he could really do, so despite his urge to take some kind of action, Kondraki sat down again. He didn’t have the strength to stay upright for long, and if he needed to make a run for it, he wanted to have at least some energy stored up.
"In all the research I’ve done on things like this, I haven’t come across invisibility," he said slowly, thinking back to what he did know. "I don’t know what to think about you seeing it and me managing to miss it, but I’m pretty sure it’s something to do with the fact that it called your name, not mine." He looked up at Trent and gave a tired smile. "So maybe you are going crazy, after all. Yeah, I saw the footprints, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were the only one who saw it, and that plays in perfectly to the fact that it’s after you, trying to make you go out there. What better way than to play into your paranoia and make you feel trapped in here? Helpless, even? You’d run out there if I untied you, just to feel like you were doing something. You’re right where it wants you, and that’s why you’re seeing it."
What's the most embarrassing sexual encounter you've had?
I was too drunk to get it up once. I didn’t even think that was possible, but what do you know, it is. Thankfully I was also too drunk to feel much embarrassment until I was on my own the next day and could properly cringe and lay face down on the floor for a few hours, but yeah. Definitely not one of my finest moments. At least I’ve never passed out halfway through or something, because I don’t think there’s any coming back from that.
Are you bothered by the fact that most social activities are unavailable to you given your reputation, regardless of how much social activity you actually want?
Not really. I used to be, a little more I guess. I’m not even sure why when I think about it. I guess it’s because the asslicking can get a little tedious, even for someone with an ego as big as mine. But I’m not social at all, and I don’t want any social interaction, so I don’t miss it, and I’m not bothered by the fact that the opportunity isn’t even there. It would be like asking an asexual if they’re bothered that they can never have sex. No, they’re not, because they’ve never desired it and it’s not important to them, so why would they be bothered? If you genuinely don’t want something, you don’t want it, regardless of whether or not you could have it if you wanted to.
I like my reputation. I like that most people are scared of me and avoid me, and even the ones who are just disgusted avoid me too. That’s the way I like it. I don’t like being around people, I despise most people I come into contact with, and if walking into a room is all I have to do to clear it out in five seconds, that’s fine by me. I like being feared. It gets shit done.
I mean, come on. Look at the shit I have to put up with in this job. I have to have some perks, and the power is definitely one of them.
What would you do when the inevitable answer to that question is, "We can't."
Then there would be no more use in believing O5’s lies when they say that research is “ongoing” in terms of saving her. I don’t believe for one fucking minute that they’re doing anything of the sort, but I can’t start raising hell without proof. If it was proven that we can’t save her, then I see no use in listening to them any more, or continuing the current procedure as a stand in until we get something better.
I’m not sure what I’d do with that information, or even what I could do. Raise hell, I imagine. Maybe even literally.
"I swear to god I’m not trying to fuck with you," Trent snapped. He drew in a deep breath and held it for a second. It took all the willpower he had to even try to stop sniping at everything this asshole was saying, and if the predicament wasn’t so dire, he’d have a thing or two to say about whose agent it was that had been ripped to shreds out there in the woods.
"You’re in the same predicament I’m in here," he said. "The only difference I’m seeing is that you’re not the one tied down right now. I’m pretty sure we can both agree that there’s something out there, whether or not you can see it, and given a choice that thing won’t hesitate to try and fuck us up."
He expected to see it in the window again, as if its absence had been only a trick of the light, or perhaps the snow and darkness had momentarily obscured it. It still wasn’t back in the window. Through the brief thoughts flickering through his thoughts as to whether or not he’d even really seen it (and of course he had, it had been there clear as day) he had to ask where it was now.
If he hadn’t been going crazy when he’d seen it, he was sure that being stuck here while vulnerable and now at the mercy of Kondraki would be enough to drive him that way.
"If you aren’t going to let me go, I need you to go outside and see if it’s there," he said with a slight edge in his voice. "There’s something out there, and I can’t see it anymore. It could be anywhere, and you just want to sit here like an easy meal."
He subconsciously pulled on the belts in an effort to get his hands free, as if this time they wouldn’t be tied as tightly as they had been every other time. Letting Kondraki tie him there and make him helpless was currently his biggest regret, even if he knew there had been a reason for it — he didn’t want to go crazy but for fuck’s sake, he wasn’t, and now he was just helpless.
"Forgive me if I don’t entirely trust the person who stabbed me twice and then tried to smash my head open with a log," Kondraki said bluntly, rolling his eyes. All he wanted to do right now was try and get some sleep and ignore how much he’d kill for a McDonald’s right now, but clearly that was going to be impossible with Trent.
Despite his convictions that there was nothing out there, he found himself following Trent’s gaze to the window. Of course, there was still nothing, but that didn’t stop him scoffing at the other man’s suggestion.
"You think something’s out there, and you want me to open the door, go outside, and check?" he asked. "Are you fucking stupid? Is this some sort of joke? The world’s lamest assassination attempt? If you’re that fucking convinced something’s out there, surely the last thing you want is me opening the door and vanishing into the fucking night. You’ll be sitting here like easy fucking pickings. You say I’m the easy meal, you’re the one tied to the bed.”
Kondraki stood up, walking the short distance to the window and pressing his face against it. Without the glare from the fire, he could see a little further outside. He looked down as far as he could go, trying to see the snow at the window. He couldn’t be certain, but he thought, maybe, there was something there.
He felt the blood drain from his face and in two seconds he had forgotten everything he had just said, crossing to the door and quickly pulling it open. It took all of two seconds to poke his head out, confirm the footprints, and slam the door closed again, but by that time he was already livid, mostly because the bastard had been telling the truth.
"All right," he said shortly, turning back to Trent. "So there are footprints out there. But I still didn’t fucking see anything, which means you’re still flipping your fucking lid."
Would your parents be proud of you?
No. My parents has their lives ruined by the Holocaust. They were seven and eight when they were smuggled out of their village, because there were Nazis on the way and the adults knew the reality of what was going to happen when they got there. There was no time to come back for any others by the time my parents had been smuggled out, and that was the last time they saw their parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. No one else survived but them.
They would tell me, growing up, that I must always think independently. That I must never let “the greater good” spur me to do things I would never usually condone. That I shouldn’t buy into the myth that the suffering of anyone is ever for a good cause. No matter what it is, no matter how convincing the argument, they’d tell me, anything born of blood or death or injustice is never good. They told me I should never catch myself saying “I was just following orders”.
If my parents knew what I do, what I’ve done, they would hate me. I thank whatever deity there is, every day, that they think I’m dead.