Makise Kurisu was alive and well, thirty two years after she met a madman in Akihabara.
Thirty two years since a treasured friend had died.
Thirty two years since a band of thugs had burst in and spirited away both herself and her friends for interrogation regarding their work on time machines.
Thirty years since she'd turned her coat and began working for Sern.
For two years she had stubbornly resisted by refusing to talk, starving herself and misleading their research. Eventually Sern's patience had run out and they began using more… forceful methods.
She'd cracked after just one innocent person killed in front of her. The promise that they had "Plenty more" where they came from if she refused to cooperate had been enough. That and the subtle implication that Okabe and Daru could be amongst them had shattered her resistance.
With loyalty and hard work she had earned Sern's trust and by extension the Council of 300. Trust enough to be permitted some freedom. Trust enough to be permitted some insider knowledge.
Trust enough to be inducted as a member of the Council in 2032 when her "death" had been arranged.
The members of the Council acknowledged her as one of their own. Ten years of loyal service amongst the Councils ranks and many more for Sern had earned trust and respect enough to be deified as the mother of time travel.
Her genius with Sern's time machine had allowed them to wield limitless power… and still they wanted more. It was not enough merely to control people's lives, to restrict travel and the flow of information, to hoard technology and power to themselves.
Every single day the council spoke of resistance cells and the potential for rebellion. It was a concern that even with the time machine there would eventually arise an attractor field that would result in the downfall of the all powerful oligarchy of the Council and to this end they sought to control the one thing that had eluded them all this time.
They wanted to control thought itself. Restricting knowledge and information was not enough. No matter how restricted, no matter how controlled; the embers of resistance and rebellion would burn in the mind of every man, woman and child… and so they had turned to their shining star, their most willing convert.
Even before her "death" in 2032 she had been researching the problem of human thought and freedom. Now she had an answer for them.
Makise Kurisu cleared her throat.
"Thank you all for coming, I understand it is most unusual for the full Council to meet all at once, but this recent development is at least as major, if not more so, than the development of the time machine."
She took a quick breath before continuing.
"As some members are likely unaware of the full context of the research, I shall quickly recap. Alongside the attempts to develop a time machine through with which to create a utopia, the Council has initiated many projects in order to reach that goal."
"During the 1950's and 1960's, new chemical substances were released to the public through a variety of methods including aerosols, through drinking water, and through various drug labs resulting in wide spread usage of substances such as PCP and LSD, amongst many others. The idea at the time was to develop a chemical substance that would form a dependency and foster obedience to authority figures. As you can imagine, such experiments were only ever of limited success."
"Other methods attempted to utilise subluminal messages, subtle psychological cues aimed at reshaping the way humans construct and perceive the world. The most effective methods were found to be primarily psychological as the Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram's Experiment demonstrate. While this did lead to manipulation of the media and various other entities to great effect, there was no way to take full advantage of them without a more complete understanding of the human brain."
"The last twenty five years however have lead to great strides in the understanding of the human brain. The origins of thought and language were cracked just over a decade ago, the nature of consciousness has been laid bare before us and the question as to whether the human soul actually exists is within our grasp."
"Approximately eight years ago I finally managed to uncover what has eluded us for many years. The key to manipulating human thought in such a fashion as to drive undying loyalty to a concept, an idea, an ideology, or an organisation."
Kurisu paused for effect as she now knew for certain she had her audience's undivided attention.
"During this past year, I've been verifying and analysing the results of my experiments for the past eight years. I shan't bore you with the full detail and scientific nomenclature, however, suffice to say that I have developed a computer program that can subtly alter any media it comes across, be it an image, a film, a text document, even an audio file, such that it will be fully capable of implanting the desired suggestion or idea into anyone exposed to it."
"Moreover, such a person would become a living repository for this program as well. Their speech patterns and mannerisms would also be subtly altered in such a fashion as to convert anyone they met, provided they have some length of exposure. While the process does degrade and become more inefficient the more it is passed on, exposure to a pristine form of media altered by the program should reinforce the program to full strength and allow it to continue to spread. The beauty of the process lies in its undetectability. Even after significant exposure, the subtle changes in behaviour, speech patterns, mentality and so on would require an expert in human behaviour and tells to discern that anything is amiss."
"Now consider these two triangles," she said as two red triangles appeared on a slideshow, "Both of these images seem identical. Even the file size would be the same. The one on the left has been exposed to the program, while the one on the right is something I put together in a cheap paint program. The subtleties in the left triangle will slowly convert anyone to believe and think whatever ideology we choose to implant. Triangles however, are rather simple, and would require months of continuous exposure to begin to have an effect. The more complex the form of media, the stronger the message we can implant into others minds. Unlike mind control this method cannot be resisted or broken. Its subtleties allow it to slip past both overt and covert methods of avoiding our propaganda and the nature by which it spreads allows it to subvert even the most isolated and steadfast rebels to our cause. With this, the last embers of resistance to our regime will finally be eliminated, once and for all."
The applause came slowly at first, but then built up to a thunderous roar. Three hundred of the world's most powerful men and women stood and applauded Makise Kurisu's triumph over human thought and freedom. Kurisu raised her hands to indicate that she had a few more words to say. Even so, it took time for the applause and enthusiastic chatter to die away.
Before Kurisu could speak, the doors to the auditorium burst open and admitted a horde of people wielding guns. The invasion was quick, well planned, and flawlessly executed. Several of them surrounded Kurisu… not as captors, but as bodyguards. The Council was too stunned to speak. It reminded Kurisu of a much smaller but entirely similar invasion long ago.
"As I said," Kurisu said with a smug grin, "I've been conducting tests of the program for the past eight years and exposing numerous people. Gathering allies."
Chief amongst them were those responsible for monitoring and managing the time machine. Only with them firmly in her pocket had she been able to act freely and with impunity.
"Traitor!" Shouted a voice somewhere in the back. The sound of a rifle butt smacking bone quickly silenced him.
"For the past eight years I've had people exposed to a simple ideology. A simple idea. A simple set of commands. Rise up. Rise up against tyranny. Rise up on the day that I, Christina, call for you."
She smiled as she used her old nickname to refer to herself. She'd hated it. She still hated it. She hated it with a burning fire that only the sun could rival. But 'Christina' was the only name she could use that would fit with the intended message. The variables were complex. Using her real name would force her to alter the message and bring unintended consequences that would marr humanity for generations. For what she had in mind the name Christina was the only one that could fit. She'd wondered, during the long years she'd been working towards this goal, if Okabe had known all along… or if he'd just been a lucky idiot.
Her followers were tense. Ready to act. Waiting for her to give the word. Three of them to be precise. Those three words would unleash the program that she had infected tens thousands of people with and millions by proxy. Those three words would compel them to spread it to as many as possible. Those three words would cause the human race to rise up against the Council, Sern, and any other dictator that saw fit to oppress humanity for generations to come and tear them down in fire and blood.
She smirked as thirty years of obsequious obedience finally came to fruition at the behest of those three stupid words.
"El. Psy. Congroo!"
Gunfire had never sounded so free.