Dennis Detwiller

Section 2: Methods of Study

In Gaming on July 20, 2011 at 7:07 am

As a thank you, I’m posting previously unpublished GODLIKE material for the rest of the week. Below, find Section 2’s methods of study.

 

Section 2 Methods of Study

S2 rapidly moved from a purely scientific branch of the OSRD to a practical applications branch. Within the first 12-months following the examination of the British Talents, S2 was producing measurable psychological results in American Talent test-subjects.

After a brief phase early in its incarnation, S2 settled upon the theory that Talents could re-write physical reality with the power of their mind alone—this view shaped the program. Divisions of the ever-growing program sprung up at Harvard University School of Psychology and Princeton University, expanding on its newly minted School of Psychology, Parapsychology and Physics, established in September 1941 to study the Talent phenomenon. By 1945 dozens of research facilities in the U.S. were under S2 control.

These various factions all took their cues from Professor Talbot at the University of Pennsylvania, and he set them each on odd paths designed to probe the very limits of what was known of the Talent phenomenon. Work was often repeated between two groups (unknown to the groups of course) in the hopes that each would approach the same problem differently. Talbot was always more concerned with results than explanations, and this concern was evident in his directions to the research groups—“I don’t care how you get the effect, or how it works, ‘how’ is no longer a relevant question, all I care is that you can repeat it and that the effect is applicable in the field”.

Unlike the scientists developing the Atomic bomb, free exchange of ideas and methods was frowned upon unless absolutely necessary, and this necessity was totally at Talbot’s discretion. Though this pleased the military establishment, surprisingly Professor Talbot, not military intelligence, established the rule. Talbot was concerned that certain “pervasive ideas could escape, contaminate the program and erase free thinking. Once you ‘figure something out’ that idea dies in the mind. We are here to explore a whole new world of the mind, not write some dry tour-guide of it…”

 

•Classification

Unlike their Axis counterparts, S2 immediately understood that Talent powers represented something more fundamental than a strange genetic mutation—Talents could somehow alter reality to their liking with the power of their mind. Professor Talbot settled on an “effect based” classification system, since the “cause” of Talent powers was considered a “question for another time”. Though several teams sought the elusive “why” of Talent powers, most were concerned with the best application of those powers in combat.

Powers were divided into three categories, with three sub-categories. Every Talent discovered by S2 was subjected to a regiment of tests by S2 (or in the European theater, the SSO), and given a two-letter classification, establishing a category and subcategory describing their abilities. At the beginning of the war, such tests were extensive, but as manifestations and the number of Talents began to grow, tests became, by necessity, much shorter.

By the end of the war, every American Talent was required to memorize his or her two-letter classification just like their military ID number.

 

•Categories

These categorizations were used throughout the war to establish a “profile” for individual Talent abilities, so that the TOC could correctly assign them. All Talent abilities were classified O, D, or N, but sometimes, in rare instances were given multiple letter ratings, representing particularly versatile powers.

 

•Offensive Powers (“O Powers”)

This classification covered any power with an offensive component, including movement powers that allowed flanking or surprise attacks. This category was the most common type of “homeland manifestation” found in American Talents.

 

•Defensive Powers (“D Powers”)

This classification covered any power with a defensive component, including movement powers that allowed dodging or sidestepping attacks. This category was the most common type of American “in-the-field” manifestation.

 

•Negation Powers (“N Powers”)

Discovered after 1943, the so-called “Zed” effect allowed Zed Talents to “cancel” a target’s Talent power. This negation effect proved very valuable in combat against enemy Talent forces, and N individuals were often held up in voting committees at the TOC as each of the American armed forces lobbied to gain control of them.

 

•Sub-categories

The sub-categories of the profile were established to describe the three major types of “styles” of Talent abilities. These letters were placed at the end of the basic classification, giving a double letter code, such as “O-C” (“Offensive Conscious”) or N-U (“Negation Unconscious”).

 

•Conscious

This sub-classification represented a power which was under the subject’s conscious control, and could be “turned” on or off at will. Most conscious Talents were well educated, or were fanatic followers of the Talent phenomenon. This type of Talent usually represented someone who earnestly wished to be a Talent.

 

•Unconscious

This sub-classification represented a power which operated without the subject’s conscious control, and which, in fact could not be consciously activated at all. Instead, the power either activated in the presence of a certain trigger (usually danger) or acted out the subconscious will of the subject. Most unconscious Talents either manifested in combat, or were uneducated individuals.

 

•Delusional

This rare classification later became the focus of S2’s pursuits. Initially, this classification represented a Talent power that, for any number of reasons, the subject believed was not a Talent power at all. Often, delusional Talents believed that they were “blessed”, “magical” or “special”. Many delusional Talents exhibited some of the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, as well as various other mental illnesses.

Later in the war, after the appearance of America’s first “mad” Talent (Sgt. Harry “Super-Man” O’Malley) in June 1943, delusional Talents became a major focus of the American S2 program. Delusional Talents seemed to exhibit more sheer power than C or U Talents, and sometimes, seemed to bypass the known “laws” or Talent-kind. S2 was very interested in using such a power against the Axis, but the war ended before any significant advances in the project could be achieved.

 

•The Talent Predisposition Test

Professor Daniel Talbot assembled a psychological profile test in late 1943, called the “Apperception/Negation Test”, which could, with about a 5% margin of error, predict individuals who were Talents, or who had the predisposition to become Talents. This test would later be known as the “TPT” or “Talent Predisposition Test”, and almost every individual inducted into the military in both England and America after 1943 would take it.

It contained a baffling array of questions that seemed to meander from the topic of self-image to completely other worldly phenomenon, such as question 28b “Have you seen, or do you believe in Ghosts?” To the completely mundane, such as question 22, “What is your favorite animal?” Talbot wove a maze of questions designed to probe at the deepest portion of the human mind, and paint a clear picture of the individual. Specifically, the test was designed to look for the classic Talent mental attributes—narcissism, eccentricity, creativity, laziness—without alerting the subject to its motives.

Question 44, the last in the series, was perhaps the most famous:

 

“Q44. A bird lives in a tree. In three months it will lay eggs, and must build a nest. Each day it collects between 10 and 20 twigs, and 5 and 10 leaves, assembling them into a nest. There is a longest and shortest amount of time it will take the bird to construct the nest. What kind of tree is it?”

 

Later on (in the 1950’s and 60’s), the term “Question 44” became a slang term, synonymous with “nonsense” or “gibberish”.

 

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