“Andrew, nobody has scores like this.” Clifford Dolci stabbed his finger into the stack of green-bar paper, pushed it across the oak conference table to his boss.
“Good?” said Churchill.
“No, bad. Distance visualization, card guessing, all the usual ESP tests, West gets everything wrong. I couldn’t believe it, so we ran the tests again. Same result. Very unusual.”
“Take the card guessing. In a fifty-two-card deck on average you should guess the suits of thirteen cards. This guy scores near zero. Deck after deck. It’s impossible. The law of averages says you have to guess some cards right eventually.”
“He’s unlucky,” said Churchill.
“No, I think he’s doing it on purpose.”
“That would make him quite remarkable.”
“What makes you sure he’s faking?”
“I think he’s aware of his abilities and he hides them. He likes the money. Figures we’ll eventually get bored and go away and he’ll have enough to buy a new tractor or some crap like that.”
“I’ve made four million dollars off this guy. Yeah, Dolci, he must be faking.”
Dolci rose from the conference table and pulled a video dolly across the room to the edge of the table. Dolci punched a button on his video remote. “These thermal brain scans are interesting. The one on the left is a test subject. The image on the right is West. See any difference?”
“West’s brain looks hotter. What are they doing?”
“This is the control sequence. They’re in a dark, quiet room. Watch this.”
A moment of static appeared on the screens, then both images resumed.
“Jesus. What are they doing now?” Churchill leaned closer to the screens.
“West makes the other guy look like a popsicle brain.”
“Yes.” Dolci pointed to areas of the screen. “The difference is striking. The control subject goes from cool blue to green with a little yellow. Notice that West’s cerebral cortex is uniformly yellow with areas of orange. Much greater activity. And also his medulla oblongata. An interesting juxtaposition. One controls higher thought, the other instinct.”
“Is he okay?”
“Yes. No outward signs of agitation. What fascinates me about these images is that his brain does something similar to what Memnon does for our test subjects. More brain activity, more blood flow. It’s an interesting parallel.”
“What would happen if you goosed him with Memnon?”
“I assume his brain function would increase even further.”
Churchill pondered for several seconds. “Do you have any idea how good he is, Cliff? I mean, this is all rather vague, so far.”
“He says he can’t do anything. It’s just luck.”
“Well, we know that’s a load of manure, from a farmer, no less.”
“What do you think we should do? I’m out of my field here.”
“I have an idea,” Churchill said.