It is probably the strangest case to come across my desk. Of course the higher up it comes from the weirder it seems to be. This is the case of one Phillip Bristow, a.k.a Philippe Bisque, a.k.a Philippi Bakir. This is an inter-agency case so some of the details are a bit vague due to secrecy by one side or the other. I have pieced this narrative together from case notes off the original family file and from interviews conducted with Bristow later.
Background: Flashback to the Seventies.
College students hard up for cash take part in a program to identify individuals with potential or latent ESP capabilities. These programs although run by the various college's were actually backed by the Government in an effort to find PSI spies. For those "lucky" students who were identified as potential candidates the next step involved various treatments to enhance these powers, including electro therapy and designer drugs.
The whole program was supposedly shut down but in fact individuals were "released" back into society and closely monitored for years afterwards. Two participants in this program, Ed "Teddy" Bris and Madeline "Mad Maddy" Stow eventually hooked up, dropped out of sight for almost a year before being "recovered" by their monitors by which time they had a son, the above Phillip Bristow.
Tabs were kept on the family as they moved about the country over the next few years, odd accounts by locals always seemed to crop up after they had left, and when little Phil was about to start school officials stepped in and placed him in a special institute for gifted children. This actually involved more advanced techniques than those applied to his parents and he was subjected to hours of rigorous testing until he finally revealed his psychic powers.
It was a case of the old flash cards with circles, squares, triangles and waves produced at random and Bristow's percentages gradually climbed beyond the statistical average and was approaching the genuinely phenom range by the time he had reached his eighth birthday. Bristow appeared to be a slow learner but in fact the paranoid ramblings of his parents to never reveal his full potential "to the man" was at the core of his "show them only what they want" attitude.
Days, into weeks, into months, into years the testing went on and on with Bristow showing a slowly progressing ability when in fact all the testing and training had expanded Bristow's powers to undreamt of heights. Bristow's room at the institute looked functional but was a combination of high tech surveillance and lead lining to prevent Bristow tapping into the outside world.
During a period of outside activity it seems Bristow overheard two scientists discussing if the onset of puberty would have an affect on his ability. Previous testing had seen a decline in ability amongst some students once past the age of 13 and if Bristow went down the same path he would be close to useless by his mid teens and possibly released from the program.
Bristow grasped this branch of hope and proceeded with a gradually slide down the percentage slope, always genuinely remorseful that he was not as good as yesterday, as he deliberately set about losing his power. Externally Bristow declined but inside he flourished as he manipulated those around him into believing he was now a burnt out shell of who he once was.
By the age of 14 he was finally dropped from daily testing although still kept at the institute for random checks to see if he was in fact faking his loss of ability. At the age of 17 he was eventually sent to a halfway house supposedly run by a nice old retired couple but whom Phil detected as being agency operatives the moment he met then. At first the outside world nearly was his undoing as his mind was swamped with input but his years of training came to the fore and he was able to blank out various ranges of signals until he could zero in on any individual thought he detected. The agency would have had kittens if they knew he could now achieve this quite easily.
Bristow was given a job at a local supermarket packing shelves and assisting in unloading pallets from the supply trucks. One afternoon while out the back having a break the store has held up by two masked robbers. Two days later while riding the bus home two men sat in front of him and he was able to read that they were the robbers. He concentrated on both men and soon had the full details in his head. He knew their names, addresses and where they had stashed the loot from not only his store but from several other robberies in the area over the past month. He also found out about their next job, due later that night.
Bristow followed the robbers until he was sure they would be in a local bar for some time, he then went to an abandoned warehouse and took some cash for himself as his reward, and then he called the cops and filled them in on the upcoming robbery. Next mornings paper led with the story of the arrest of two men in relation to a number of recent robberies thanks to a tip off from a member of the public.
Shortly after this incident the agency once again placed Bristow under surveillance and at the same time Bristow commenced a new workout regime. Each morning he left home and walked or ran for several blocks slowly working these exercise periods up to an hour. He was tailed on a number of these workouts but he soon set a predictable pattern and was always spot on with his timings. Then one night a co-worker arrived at the house with a bag filled with games, dvd's and cd's, he stayed all night and left next morning when Bristow went for his run.
By now the agents watching him had also settled into a routine and did not follow Bristow on this particular morning. After the usual one hour Bristow had not returned and at 1 hr + 2 minutes the agents got worried and quickly searched the area without finding him. A search of his room showed most of his clothes to be gone, taken by his friend. This friend was eventually located and explained how he had helped Bristow get out of town by picking him up not far from home and taking him to the bus station. An extensive search was conducted but after several days no one was able to remember exactly if they had seen him, helped him or new where he was going.
Present Day - Agency Head Quarters
The case grew cold but was never fully closed so it was a few years before it came my way. Local police reports across several states showed a spree of small time theft all with the same M O, young women, drinking, strange but nice young man, sex and then next day unaccountable withdrawals from ATM's of various amounts of cash. I headed out into the field for some interviews with the victims.
Case # 12345/01- Victim is single woman, aged 23, office worker, lives alone.
Victim attended a local bar with some co-workers after work on a Friday night. Arrived about 6:00 PM and by 10:00 PM most of the group had moved on. Victim was sitting alone at a table and remembers thinking she would really like some "action" tonight and if some guy offered her a particular drink she would seriously consider sex with this person. Next thing a young man appears at her table with two drinks, asks if he can sit as he's waiting for a friend, next he explains that his friend seems to be late so offers her the exact drink she had been thinking about. They start chatting and he likes all the same things she does. The conversation is going smoothly when he suddenly decides to leave, she suggests maybe he can walk her home and maybe a nightcap or coffee. He agrees, they leave, go to her place and one thing leads to another and BAMM they have sex. She describes it as the best sex ever because he seemed to know exactly what she was thinking and did everything she wanted. Next morning he was gone and it was not till later did she realise that money was gone from her account but her card was still in her purse. The date and time the bank gave for the ATM transaction put it at some time in the early morning. Victim had trouble remembering what the man looked like describing her memory of him as vague while she was clear on all the other details of the evening.
Case # 12345/02- Victim is divorced woman, aged 28, nurse, lives with other nurses in large house.
Victim attended a nightclub alone; most of her friends were on night shift that week, on a Wednesday night. Arrived about 9:00 PM and by midnight had attracted the attention of a few males in attendance. Victim was exiting the dance floor and heading towards the bar for a drink when a young man appeared out of the crowd with two drinks, says the bartender gave him the wrong order and would she like the spare drink which happened to be the exact drink she had been thinking of ordering. As with the other victims they start chatting and he likes all the same things she does. The conversation is going smoothly when he suddenly he suggests they find a quiet, cosier place to get together. She drives to her place because the other girls are at work and they can be alone. She describes him as an experienced lover who seemed to know exactly what she was thinking and did everything she wanted. The same pattern then emerges as next morning he was gone and it is not till later does she discover that money was taken from her account but her card was still in her purse. Once more the date and time the bank gave for the ATM usage put it at some time in the early morning. Victim had trouble remembering what the man looked like describing her memory of him as vague while she was clear on all the other details of the evening.
This was the same story for more than a dozen women across 5 states. Total cash value stolen from these reported incidents was just over $10,000 but it could be much more if you factor in unreported cases. From two places CCTV coverage was obtained and some usable pictures of the man were cut from the tape but at several establishments they seemed to have had camera problems on the evenings concerned.
Agency profilers, photo experts and behavioural scientists put together a detailed analysis of the man and determined his most likely targets based on his previous movement patterns. Now on any given night covering all the available drinking establishments in a town would be next to impossible so we again revisited the victims testimony to narrow down the types of premises frequented by our suspect. Local PD assisted by fast-tracking reports fitting our scenario and we soon were in a position to move but it seems our man was ahead of the game.