And yes, many people will think I'm insane for even touching such a controversial storyline, but maybe I'm a sucker for punishment :-).
Thanks heaps to dien and caiacomica for looking over this for me, especially since the characters aren't exactly their areas of specialty :-).
Spoilers for Civil War: Frontline to #10 and Thunderbolts #110.
Transcript of 2nd Session between Dr. Leonard Samson and Robert "Robbie" Baldwin, Monday, Feb 20th, 2007, 1:30pm.
Dr Samson: Hello Robert.
No reply from patient
Dr Samson: Is Robert okay with you? Would you prefer me to call you Robbie, or is that too informal?
No reply from patient
Dr Samson: I know our first session didn't go well, but I was hoping-
Robert Baldwin: I thought I made it pretty clear to you that I'm not doing this
Dr Samson: Then I'd be interested to know why not.
Robert Baldwin: Where's my suit?
Dr Samson: I'm not going to tell you that, Robert. I don't think that it's a very healthy thing for you to be thinking about at the moment.
Robert Baldwin: And I really don't care what you think. Do you think I'm going to just talk to you? That isn't going to happen. Let me out of here and give me my suit.
Dr Samson: I'm not going to give you the suit, Robert. And yes, I hope that you're going to talk to me-
Robert Baldwin: Prepare to be disappointed.
Dr Samson: Robert, I'd really like to--
Robert Baldwin: Go to hell! You've kidnapped me. You've drugged me. You're keeping me in a padded cell and now you've got me strapped to a bed and you expect me to talk to you like you're my kind old uncle or-
Dr Samson: Robert, the painkillers are mild and entirely appropriate. And you know why we have you strapped down. After last session-
Robert Baldwin: Well if you'd let me go in the first place you wouldn't have had to worry about me blowing a hole in the wall, would you? You think I'm not going to find a way out of here? I'll blow the whole building into rubble if I have to! You've got no right to do this!
Dr Samson: This may surprise you, Robert, but you are not strapped to that bed because we are worried about you blowing up the building.
Robert Baldwin: No, you're worried about me escaping and telling my bosses in the Thunderbolts that a guy who's supposed to be on our side is kidnapping registered government agents because he thinks he can make the world all better with his extreme psychiatric conversational skills.
Dr Samson: That's not the reason either, Robert.
Robert Baldwin: Yeah, right.
Dr Samson: Robert, I want you to think about what you did to activate your powers enough to blast that wall last session.
Robert Baldwin: I reminded myself.
Dr Samson: That's... an interesting way to phrase it. Maybe we could.
Robert Baldwin: Maybe we couldn't. Give me my suit and let me out of here.
Dr Samson: I'm not going to give you the suit, Robert.
Robert Baldwin: Let me out of here! I'm not interested, okay? Get these things off of me!
Dr Samson: Robert, I don't want to do this, but if you keep struggling like that I'm going to have to give you some more drugs so that you don't hurt yourself. These ones won't be painkillers; they'll be designed to knock you out.
Robert Baldwin: Good! Bring it on! I don't care what you stick me with.
Dr Samson: This is not going to involve a needle, Robert. This is going to involve gas. All of the staff in this facility have been briefed about how your powers work.
Patient lessens struggling but is otherwise silent
Dr Samson: I'd like to talk to you about what you've been doing to yourself to activate your powers, Robert.
Robert Baldwin: This is illegal. You're holding me against my will. It's against the law.
Dr Samson: I'm a registered psychiatrist, Robert. Legally I'm qualified to judge whether a patient can be restrained for the safety of himself or others.
Robert Baldwin: You think I'm a danger? You think I'm going to hurt someone else?
Dr Samson: Robert! Robert calm down. Please stop struggling. I repeat to you, I would rather not do it, but I will use the gas if necessary.
Robert Baldwin: Do you think I'm going to kill people? Is that it?
Dr Samson: I didn't say that, nor am I going to.
Robert Baldwin: You fucking did--
Dr Samson: Robert, halfway through my first session with you, you stabbed a pen you'd taken off of my desk two inches deep into your own leg.
Robert Baldwin: I don't know whether you got the memo, Doc, but pain is pretty much how my powers work now. I thought you might have figured it out when the wall went down two seconds later, but apparently-
Dr Samson: You don't use your powers every second of the day, Robert.
Robert Baldwin: I didn't say I did.
Dr Samson: So what was the suit for?
No reply from patient
Dr Samson: Robert?
Robert Baldwin: Just let me go, and give it back.
Dr Samson: Robert, look down at yourself. Look at the injuries. The energy from your powers cauterised the wounds so that you didn't bleed to death, but there is extensive scarring all over your body.
Robert Baldwin: Let me out of here.
Dr Samson: That's what the suit did to you, Robert. The suit you had made, and you wore.
Robert Baldwin: Let me out!
Dr Samson: I'm not going to do that, Robert.
Robert Baldwin: This has nothing to do with you!
Dr Samson: Robert, I am a doctor. I think this has everything to do with me.
Robert Baldwin: It's none of your goddamn business! Just give me back me my damn-
Dr Samson: Robert, the suit has spikes lining the inside. Everyone who has inspected it has been of the opinion that simply wearing it would be agonising enough. Walking around in it for as long as you did would have been--
Robert Baldwin: Screw you. Fuck you. This isn't your problem and I'm not playing along with your games.
Dr Samson: I'm not going to allow you to hurt yourself anymore, Robert.
Robert Baldwin: I'm getting out of here as soon as I goddamn can and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it...
Dr Samson: Robert, I've warned you. Please stop struggling.
Robert Baldwin: Bite me.
Dr Samson: Robert, please.
Patient continues to struggle
Dr Samson: Nurse Harris, can you come in here?
Session ends at 2:03pm.
I was at a party once. Yes I know, hard to believe that Doc Samson, superhero, psychiatrist, erstwhile friend of the Hulk, would ever have the time or inclination to go to a party, but it has been known to happen. Sometimes I even enjoy myself.
Anyway, I was at the party, and making small talk, and someone asked what it was like to be a psychiatrist.
I almost didn't answer at all. I certainly had to think about it for a while. Psychiatry is not the sort of profession that you can sum up with a witty allegory; an extended metaphor that makes everyone smile and nod their heads and say "of course!" In the end I said this, and, although it is woefully inadequate, it's still the best explanation I've ever managed to come up with.
Being a psychiatrist is like putting together a series of jigsaw puzzles, each one in various states of completion.
Sometimes, a person will come in whose puzzle is almost finished. Just a few pieces that need rearranging, and the picture is clear. Sometimes the jigsaw is half completed, and you need time and energy to discover what the picture is becoming and how we might get there.
And sometimes someone dumps a bunch of seemingly random pieces in front of you; no box, no certainty that they are even from the same puzzle. They say, "There! Now put that back together again! Now make it whole." And sometimes you find yourself staring at the pieces and wondering whether that's ever going to be possible.
I feel a little like that now.
I'm in an underground facility in a top-secret location. There are two nurses and two security guards here at all times. Two rooms away, in a specially constructed room with reinforced concrete walls and silicone padding throughout the interior, is a person, a teenager, named Robbie Baldwin. I've been asked put him back together again.
The man who asked me to do it is called Reed Richards. You've probably heard of him. He's... been through a lot lately, but then, we all have. The civil war has ripped the superhero community apart. Friends are fighting against friends, lovers against lovers. And it was all sparked off by a disaster, a disaster that many would argue would not have happened if it hadn't been for Robbie Baldwin and the rest of the New Warriors rushing into a situation they were ill prepared for.
I don't have the rest of the New Warriors in this facility. The rest of the New Warriors are dead. Robbie Baldwin was the only one who survived, and so Robbie Baldwin became the scapegoat for the disaster. For the Registration Act. For the civil war.
I'd only met Robbie once before now, and that was only briefly. My impression was of a casual, joking, immature young man who always had a smile on his face. I'm sure there were deeper issues beneath the surface but nothing like...
Reed Richards called one night, and he asked me for a favour. He told me that he'd felt responsibility towards Robbie since the disaster. After all, Reed had been the one who created the jail that Robbie was incarcerated in, the one who'd investigated Robbie's mysteriously changing powers. And Reed had been the one who'd allowed Robbie to go to the press conference where he was shot in the gut.
He said he felt responsible for what Robbie had become. I knew he felt guilty as well. But I didn't quite realise quite what he meant when he said, "what Robbie had become" until he showed me.
The re-imaged Thunderbolts are the government's latest strategy to take in and incarcerate unregistered supers. When Robbie joined the team Reed felt uncomfortable, but when he found out what Robbie had been doing to himself, it was the last straw. He called me in, and a few others, and now Robbie has mysteriously gone absent from the Thunderbolts. I'm sure they're not pleased. I don't much care. I know Reed's uncomfortable with the fact that we are keeping Robbie's presence from the government, and to be honest I am too. But we both know who is running the Thunderbolts, and we cannot in good conscience allow him to go back there.
If they find him, back there he'll go. I have little confidence that they will allow him to get the help he needs, mostly because he refuses to accept that he needs help. We considered fighting through the courts until Jen told us just how long fighting through the courts could take. This is a far from ideal situation, but it's the best anyone can do under the circumstances.
I don't know whether it will be enough. They're out looking for him, I know. If they find him he goes back, but if he escapes he'll go back as well. He doesn't want my help; doesn't want anyone's help, no matter how much he desperately needs it. I'm on a time limit, racing against a burning fuse, trying to get through to him before it's all too late. Before he gets out, because then he's lost.
Perhaps he is already. I won't stop trying to prove that statement wrong.
But I don't think I'm going to be getting a lot of sleep in the coming weeks.