For an evil supervillain, mind reading is a useful skill in uncovering the intentions and motivations of those around you. It is a natural extension to the "people person" cast of mind that most fiends already possess, with an added level of detail that can illuminate and animate the dark recesses of whatever dastardly scheme is just about to go down. Contrary to what many suppose, it does not requires neither hyperintelligence nor a polished stage presence, but simply a willingness to get involved with devilry that mankind was never intended to toy with.
- Choose a discipline. In order of increasing invasiveness:
- Satellite-based mind-reading rays.
- Penetrating hypnotic gaze.
- Mind-meld mediated by touch.
- Implanted neural transmitter.
- Memory extraction and playback.
- Hardware and wetware. The present state of the art in mind reading technology does not lend itself to large-sale commercialization, except in the case of a few remote alien manufacturers. Unless you have selected a discipline which relies solely on your natural mental endowment, it is time to assemble the psychic interface you need. You might need to hit the electronics workshop or the tissue vats, or simply subject your forebrain to alien emanations. While you are perfecting the technology you may go through various stages of prototypes and one-off experiments — do not dispose of these, as they may provide useful parts for your ultimate implementation, as well as serve as decoys to anyone attempting to infiltrate your laboratory.
- Finding the relevant bits. Most individuals you will encounter will have extremely disorganized memory and lazy, fragmented cognition, leading to a challenging time getting at the on useful bit of information you are after. If you have a specific search, your best bet is to follow the threads of association until you come across it, as general browsing though the undifferentiated mass of detail will lead to madness.
- Take notes. Probing someone else's mind often requires an altered state not only on the part of the subject but also that of the mindreader, which can cause trouble afterwards when you can no longer recall the details of what you discovered. If possible, write it down, or dictate it to a portable voice recorder or trusted assistant.
Strokes of genius
- Practice. When you have acquired the necessary apparatus and instruction in its use, it is up to you to put in the long hours needed to transform theory into fact. Start out working with a subject you are comfortable with, whether this individual harbors kindly thoughts toward you or not, do not concern yourself overmuch with subtlety, in a calm environment free of distractions. Mix up your sessions, switching between drills focusing on accuracy, speed work, breaking down mental defenses, and increasing your stamina. Once you have extracted all you can from this first subject, acquire additional fresh practice partners and concentrate on distinguishing one set of thoughts from another, on switching rapidly between subjects,
- Projecting thoughts. While mindreading is generally considered a read-only process, there is an advanced technique where you insert your own content into a subject's mind, publishing those as thoughts which appear to the target as their own. If you are adept in this mental regimen, you may also tinker with the way these foreign notions are portrayed, giving them an obsessive nature or investing them with religious fanaticism, for instance.
- Recording. Mental states can be saved on various types of media for later replay. Detailed and complex experiences can consume a considerable amount of expensive storage space and pose organizational problems if you have extensive holdings derived from multiple subjects. Proper record keeping and a robust database design will go a long way toward avoiding this kind of trouble in the future.
Traps for mere fools
- Unintentional chatter. Going around in public places with the telepathic sense turned on is liable to trigger even more of a killing rage than you already have, owing to the fluff and imbecility that the average mortal devotes his or her attention most of their waking hours.
- Losing your bearings. You may experience a certain disorientation if you have connected to someone whose sensorium has been shared out, and may have the annoying sense of being in the wrong body. Ninety percent of the time this is only illusory and you may dismiss it as a trick of the human mind that will go away soon.
- Reptilian brain. The vast majority of the time the knowledge you require is in the upper strata of the frontal lobe and associated structures. Usually it is best to stop a little short of the hypothalamus, to avoid any risk of self-loathing and untreatable depression.
Precious and needful
- Dazzling spiral goggles.
- Crystal pendant.
- Mood lighting.
- Mystic aura projection.
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- Image credit Goggles II/Raleigh by base10
- Image credit counterhyphnotism by Pixel Addict
- Image credit DSC_0114 by sofauxboho