by Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender, author of
What would you do with a superpower? Well, for starters, let’s pick just one... an unusual one, as far as powers and superheroes go.
For the sake of convenience—and shameless self-promotion on my part—let’s choose the power that David Flint has. David is the protagonist and first-person narrator in my forthcoming supernatural thriller Marionettes (Juju Mojo Publications – May 31, 2016).
David is resuscitated after drowning in a flood, and returns to the land of the living with an uncanny ability: He can “jump” into other people’s bodies and minds, and control their thoughts and actions. In essence, David “becomes” that person, taking over their every voluntary physical function—and leaving his vacated body vulnerable while he controls that person. He can control anyone within a six-mile radius from his own body, basically making anyone he jumps into become his human puppet. Any distance farther than six miles from his temporarily vacated body, David loses control and returns to his own body.
After discovering his new ability, David thinks of himself as the Marionette Man. He reads his human puppets’ minds, knows their every thought, their past experiences, their familiarity with their family, friends, associates, and acquaintances, and is totally in control of their bodies and minds as if he is them until he leaves them and returns to his own body. If he chooses, during the time he’s controlling them, he can let them know they’re being completely co-opted and manipulated—or he can hide his presence from them, leaving them terrified and wondering why they’re doing and thinking things beyond their influence.
Pretty frightening, huh? To totally lose control of your own body and mind, and know that another has taken over your every physical and mental function. Would some people believe it to be a form of demonic possession? Talk about a waking nightmare!
In DREAMWEAVERS, anything can happen when dreams merge with reality... including murder.
So what could a person do with this awesome power David has? Let’s start with David’s own list of 5 amazing things.
1: Take the Bad Guys Down
With David’s power, you could infiltrate gangs, cartels, and evil corporations without their knowledge or awareness. If you can’t realistically start from the top, gradually work your way into the upper echelon. From a safe distance, perform covert reconnaissance into the group you wish to destroy, “jump” into the body and mind of any flunky at any level of the group, and climb—or rather body-jump—your way to the top. If you wish, kill the ruthless human detritus as you go. If your puppet is attacked, compromised, or killed, jump into the person who’s disabling your puppet and move on up.
With power-mongering corporations—such as big pharmaceutical companies or Big Oil, for just two examples among many—finagle your way into the top dog and force them to reveal their secrets to the whole world. Make them send out bulk emails containing crucial evidence of their illegal activities and unethical or immoral business procedures to the police, FBI, Homeland Security, and any and all applicable law enforcement agencies. Hell, make them send those emails to the general public, so there would be no way that any corrupt officials within those law enforcement agencies could hide it from us—you and me, my friends. Make those corrupt individuals, gang leaders, mob and drug cartel bosses, and wicked executives hold official publicly announced press conferences in which they lay it all out—with indisputable evidence of their wrongdoings—on camera, a method where they can’t take it back after the deed is done and after you’ve returned control of their bodies and minds to them. Make them post videos of the exclusive reveals on YouTube. Talk about giving the evil subhuman scum among us a dose of their own medicine! The internal conflicts alone that would spring from such an invasion would effectively make them crumble into ruin without our further outside interference. Public accountability would eventually become the norm, impossible to avoid or evade.
The only thing David Flint doesn’t know—and is afraid to find out the hard way—is if his mind will die and not be able to return to his body if he’s killed while controlling one of his human marionettes. So extreme caution is advised in life-or-death situations: Be ready to jump into someone else if you think your current marionette is about to take the eternal celestial dirt nap.
2: Level the Political Arena
Whether we all admit it to ourselves, to our families, our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, and even our enemies—or don’t admit it, and continue to hide in pathetic denial—we all know by now that our political leaders are corrupt across the board. They no longer have the best interests of humanity in mind in their continual struggle to achieve more power, more riches, and yes, more control over the masses over which they preside. Because of them, too much killing has been done in the name of deities, power-mongering, the acquisition of territory, and the despicable and barbaric lust to subjugate the masses. There’s that control factor again. These people are the greatest poison to humanity that could ever be imagined. The time has come to turn the tables against them, in the most drastic fashion.
With the expert assistance of a cadre of benevolent and compassionate Marionette Masters, we could invade the minds of our political leaders—both despots and supposed humanitarians—and force them to reveal all their secret agendas to the whole world. Such a global exposition of nefarious vendettas would force even the most ignorant of people’s eyes and minds to open. OPEC and their affiliates need to die the horrible death they so richly deserve so that the brilliant scientists of our world can no longer be stifled or stymied under their autocratic authority, and can work together to develop the clean and ever-replenishing power source that heretofore has lain just beyond our grasp because of a small percentage of the world’s tyrants’ desperate and contemptible desire for dominion.
Of course, if our hypothetical Marionette Masters were corrupt, we could be in for a whole new world of calamity. Therein lies the rub: Humanity, in its oh-so-brief geological infancy, is plagued with the barbaric desires of the worst of our kind. An infusion of collective awareness, through the help of those who could invade, read, and share our very thoughts with our fellow humans, could possibly be the best deterrent to such an unmitigated disaster—and could even prevent our extinction.
Okay, I’m hopping off my lofty pedestal now. I’d just like you, my fellow humans, to know that I trust and have faith in the best of us to bring out the best in us.
In JAGANNATH, an intelligent shape-shifting alien reads the minds of the humans it absorbs, and transforms into monsters from our darkest nightmares.
3: Cure Terminal Diseases
What an amazing feat it would be for several of our Marionette Masters to hop into the minds of the most accomplished doctors, scientists, and medical research specialists and absorb their vast wealth of knowledge about the human body, diseases, afflictions, and our infinite capacity to heal. Accumulate that knowledge—not just what’s in their journal articles, papers, essays, and other various publications but also their remarkable ability to analyze, diagnose, and prescribe the proper treatment for each affliction, their incredible talent for comprehending biological functions and reactions to various stimuli.
Now gather together all the greatest minds—and the apprentices and trainees too—in various conferences all over the world, and share with each of them, one by one, all that cumulative knowledge. The process would take months, even years, but imagine all the advances possible with such an undertaking. It’s not entirely implausible that many of these specialists, once confronted with such a vast wealth of aggregate knowledge, might have so-called “Eureka!” moments, and discover solutions that were once blocked simply by lacking the awareness of a colleague’s previously unshared expertise.
With a power of this magnitude, working together as a species, who’s to say we wouldn’t eventually cure cancer? Or even better, diminish or even eliminate the effects of aging?
4: Be the Human Truth Machine
Why not? In Marionettes, David’s partner Dana McGee, who has the same uncanny ability as David, points out how the power could be used this way. In criminal trials, jump into the minds of the accused and determine beyond the shadow of a doubt whether he or she is guilty or innocent. Acquire from their minds the elusive evidence that either incriminates or exonerates them. With the assistance of a Marionette Master, detectives could get inside the heads of their suspects. We could even eliminate once and for all the horrible tragedy of prosecuting and punishing innocent defendants!
Psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and psychologists could examine the minds of the mentally unstable and discover the primary reasons for their distress... and maybe even alleviate their symptoms.
Distrust your neighbors/ colleagues/ employees/ employer? Is your significant other cheating on you? Find out for certain with this amazing power. Just be prepared for the potential devastating truth, and deal with it in a mature and responsible way. We don’t want to start new wars, however limited or significant they may be, do we?
Bottom line is, this incredible power could either be an emotionally crushing burden or an exhilaratingly liberating gift, a means for either salvation or damnation. The end results would all depend on how conscientiously the power is used.
In SOULSNATCHER, children with extraordinary psychic powers are being used as pawns in a deadly supernatural war.
5: Teach Anyone Anything
Yes, this amazing power could be a teaching tool, limited only by the extent of our imaginations. So you want to learn to play the piano? Anyone with this “human marionette” power could just jump into the mind of a piano virtuoso and absorb all their musical knowledge, technical expertise, and cumulative experience and training. Then, armed with all that information, jump into the mind of the eager beginner student and transfer that knowledge to her/ him. Our minds think beyond the speed of light... in fact, our synapses fire at the speed of thought. The brain processes billions of bits of data every moment of every day in nanoseconds, well beyond the capabilities of the most advanced computer humankind has yet created. To be precise, the human mind is the ultimate computer.
Of course, technique, skill, dexterity, and the deft physical application of the acquired knowledge would take time, practice, and self-discipline to learn and perfect. But the basics would all be there for immediate mental retrieval: how to read music, understand music theory, play scales, transpose the written note to the instrument itself, even how to hear a musical composition and determine key, pitch, tempo, and a multitude of other intricate details absorbed from the original virtuoso’s mind.
Want to know everything there is to know about history? Geology? Science? Medicine? How about understand quantum physics? Simple: have the Marionette Master enter the minds of all the experts in each particular field, absorb and accumulate the knowledge from them, and then transfer it to the enthusiastic student.
The potential possibilities are mind-boggling. How many Einsteins-in-the-wing would this astounding ability awaken, how many potential Chopins and Mozarts and Bachs and Teslas and Galileos would discover a propensity for unparalleled excellence? People who might not otherwise ever have the opportunity to learn that all their lives they’ve had an aptitude to excel in a certain discipline, but for whatever reason never got exposed to it, would suddenly arise in an unprecedented worldwide renaissance that could ultimately change our very nature and way of thinking.
You could even jump into a pregnant woman, discover the unique joy and wonder of carrying a developing life inside you, and share it with human males. Who knows? The heretofore unknowable experience could possibly give us all a greater appreciation and love of life, which we (males) couldn’t otherwise fully comprehend.
The sky wouldn’t be the limit; even the stars couldn’t contain the infinite possibilities. A concerted effort of this nature might propel humanity into an evolutionary sea-change that could eventually send us out to galaxies that even the Hubble Telescope hasn’t seen yet, as well as shrink us down to the atomic structure that reveals the nature of existence itself. Time and space would no longer be barriers in our ultimate collective pursuit of knowledge. We could possibly even pierce the veil that separates life and death.
Of course, we all know that knowledge without the application of wisdom can be dangerous, even disastrous. History—as brief as our moments here on this spinning rock hurtling through space have been so far in an astronomical sense—has proven that. As a species, we would either be forced to mature, or devolve into the savage, mindless protoplasmic soup from which we originally emerged. But if we excelled in our efforts, as humans so often do, we could potentially propel ourselves into the next step in our evolution as a species.
I know I’ve always been a Big Dreamer. But in order to make the Big Dreams come true, as I’ve stated before, we must dream big. I for one intend on never stopping, until I gasp out my last breath... and transcend the portal that lies beyond the realm of death. And if I’m able, I plan on dreaming big there, too.
Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender
photo copyright © 2013 by Reggie Barton
What astounding uses of this outrageous power occur to you? We heartily welcome all your ideas! Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section below. If anyone comes up with an irresistible idea that I end up using in the sequel to Marionettes (yes, I do plan on writing a sequel), I will list your name in the Acknowledgments page with my thanks for sharing your ideas.
Special thanks to Jason White, Michael Schutz, and Darkness Dwells for allowing me to share my unique madness with the whole world on your blog. I hope to be a guest on your podcast show again soon!
Cheers and happy reading to you all.