Sheila didn't struggle as a conical device that looked much like an old-fashioned hair dryer from a beauty parlor lowered onto her head. It would have been surprising if she had: she was restrained, sedated, and – although this was not electroshock treatment and they had no reason to think she'd so much as twitch – fitted with a mouth guard.
Global Justice took their deal with Drakken very seriously (if only because his surprising productivity would turn from all the useful little devices he was cranking out to an enormously destructive rescue attempt if he got even a hint that Shego was in danger), but they weren't taking any chances. As treatment went, they were feeling around in the dark on this one…a dark that unquestionably had monsters hiding in it.
Dr. Cyrus Bortel frowned as the scanner helmet locked into place. "Once again, I must protest, Dr. Director," he said, looking up at the woman beside him. "The Mental Diagnosticator is still highly experimental."
The one-eyed woman didn't look away from the two-way mirror that allowed her to watch the room where Shego was being tested. Since he was standing on her blind side, Bortel knew that she was all but ignoring him by not turning her head. "Duly noted," she said. "But she knew that when she volunteered."
Bortel snorted. He was this woman's elder, and he was not one of her subordinates. His politeness was at his discretion. "You say she volunteered. But even if she did, did you bother to tell her the full risks? This is still braintap technology!"
"Doctor, you build mind-control devices and then sell them through Internet auctions. The last thing I need from you is a lecture on ethics."
Time to be both more discrete and more polite. Drakken wasn't the only scientist to ever make a deal with Global Justice, and the statute of limitations hadn't expired on the Weapons Trafficking charges for the Moodulator incident.
Dr. Bortel sat down and shut up. but Dr. Director apparently didn't mind explaining herself once she'd quelled the rebellion in the ranks.
"Shego is too powerful, too dangerous, and too unstable to take the time for normal psychiatry, Doctor," she said. "We need a diagnosis yesterday and we need to start treatment the day before. We tried the old-fashioned shortcut, but the telepath who tried it still hasn't woken up. Thus the artificial means."
Bortel nodded and grunted, but then what she'd said truly sank in, and his head snapped toward her. "You didn't tell me that Miss Shego has psionic defenses!"
"She doesn't. That's why we're so anxious to find out just what our telepath saw in there."
Understandably, Bortel was a good bit less anxious to turn to the Diagnosticator's monitor and hit "run". Still, he did it, and the scan commenced with a few flashing lights and a hum of machinery.
It was a fact of Elizabeth Director's life that her field of vision was somewhat limited. She chose to focus what she had on the unconscious superhuman on the other side of the mirror, rather than the somewhat petty little man beside her.
This was probably the course of wisdom – after all, given Shego's constantly-shifting metabolism, who knew how long the sedatives would remain effective? And who knew what kind of mood she'd wake up in? But it did mean that she didn't see it when Dr. Bortel's eyes widened.
"Doctor Director?" He asked in a strained voice.
"You told me that the most important thing was to confirm or refute Drakken's hypothesis about her having two personalities, correct?"
She nodded, but still didn't turn toward him. "That's correct, Doctor. We were hoping, if that was the case, that we could eliminate the Shego personality entirely, or at least integrate the two."
"Actually, it's starting to appear that Shego is the integrated personality."
She finally turned, raising the eyebrow over her functional eye. "I beg your pardon?"
"It appears that this 'Sheila' may actually have been the original personality. She's so limited because Shego has spent years using her as a psychological wastebasket: attributing every 'weak' trait to her until the poor girl is a caricature of whoever she used to be, a mere collection of 'weaknesses'."
That explained why 'Sheila' could only speak Spanish when she arrived at Global Justice, rather than knowing all the languages that Shego knew. It also explained why she was learning English – and those other languages – so quickly: she wasn't learning them, she was remembering them. What it didn't explain was why Shego considered Spanish to be a weakness.
"For some reason, she's recently begun to 'grow back' – "
"Doctor, this is fascinating, but you started out talking about Shego."
"Yes, yes. It appears that Shego is actually the integrated personality, between poor Sheila and a third one that I've just discovered."
"Yes, I –" He turned back to the monitor. And then he froze.
"Doctor Bortel?" She prompted.
"My God…" he whispered as he looked at whatever was on the monitor. Then the lenses of his glasses cracked with a sudden, sharp report.
Startled, Dr. Director hesitated. In that moment, the Diagnosticator's monitor collapsed in on itself.
Dr. Bortel rose to his feet and turned toward her. Although none of the glass from his broken lenses had left their frames, there was blood running from his eyes like tears. Behind him, the control panel for the Diagnosticator continued to collapse in upon itself.
"You waste what little time you have left," he said in a flat, hollow voice. "Go home, Elizabeth Director. Find a man. Find a woman. Get laid, get drunk, get high – do whatever will give your last hours some pleasure. Your army of toy soldiers can't stop the End from coming. Nothing can."
Then he grinned. An awful grin, with blood on his teeth. When he spoke again, it was in the same hollow, oracular tone, but the flatness had been replaced with a horrible, chummy merriment. "And incidentally, you might as well just put an overdose of morphine into Janice Monroe's IV drip right now. Spare everyone a Terri Schiavo situation. She's not going to wake up."
Dr. Director just had time to realize that she had never mentioned the wounded telepath's name to Bortel before he fell over dead.
A massive stroke would later be ruled to be Bortel's cause of death. Or rather, fourteen strokes if one counted the individual blood vessels that had burst in his brain.
The crumbled pile of rust and corrosion that had once been the Diagnosticator was a bit more difficult to explain.
Curtain. End Act One. Please return after a short intermission, when we shall begin Act Two: Bleeding Through.