Chapter 2: Caress
This initial paragraph is to reply in detail to username Zemon789 regarding an inquiry of my methodology used a week ago in modifying the behavior of my subjects to achieve a desired result. You referred to it as “manipulation of natural data” and claimed that it falsifies anything I conclude from it afterwards. To clarify the situation Zemon789, I have already concluded their behaviors have I not? The fact that I can accurately predict their actions and alter them to my desired outcome is proof that I have achieved the knowledge I wanted from them. Yes, that does not give me natural data from them, but I do not seek it anymore. I cannot laud over my laurels, but tread onwards to bigger, higher targets.
Another user, Velt_(O_O) questioned the reliability of the outcomes on the basis that I am acting like a troubling manipulator, pointing out the potential risks of playing all parties to extract results. That’s a valid point, one that I resolved but perhaps did not point out elaborately. Outright acting like a multi-faced snake would give away the cardinal rule of manipulation: That your subject inadvertently wants to do the act anyways. I cannot force them into an action they would not naturally take anyways. What is within my point is to enforce the Jiminy Effect. Its what I call the walking of someone towards a path you want them to take, by negging at their already subconscious or conscious considerations, hence attributing to a bias towards one idea, that is in turn converted into action.
With that clarified, the next order of business is the manipulator himself. If I act obscenely different to a group of related people whose source of connection can be me, I stand out as an anomaly and compromise the efforts of my work. Hence, it is vital to form a base characteristic, which I refer to as Mean Character and modify within a reasonable boundary, certain traits of that character so that they do not seem abnormal. These un-outstanding deviations I refer to as Degree of Variance. It should be taken under great consideration to not overstretch this Variance, so as not to attract too much attention towards the conductor.
Here is where the situation stands at this point, over the past week my subjects have been in heated preparations for resolving their differences. I took precautions, cooling them both down so that the outcome does not involve excessive violence or expulsion from the university. With regards to the information of my university, I shall keep it private to prevent anyone reading this from possibly influencing the information. I will disclose that the university is one of many on the fair outskirts of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Rumors are a staple diet in this populous small-city, so I remain concerned with some radical exploding the situations I create, out of proportion. This adds to my responsibility of identifying and controlling known Outliers, anyone with the capability of hampering my experiments.
Bilal and Ali are set to arrange a little brawl, I would expect within this week, since university session just started, and no one is willing to create a scene just yet. However, neither parties can help themselves, as I have observed. I have spotted Bilal with several thug characters from our campus on their social media accounts. He would never kiss up to those types of people unless he was buttering them up for a favor. Ali is franker about his feelings and posts openly on our class’s group chat on how some “low-life” is nagging him into a fight and that it won’t end well once the “boys roll in”. On some occasions he clearly stated that Bilal is dead meat.
There’s plenty of open fields in and around the institution, veiled by thick vegetation and hilly shaping’s of the Earth, to conceal the confrontation to only the onlookers given an invitation. I can even picture it out with ease. They would prefer the large ditch-like depression to the West of the university, since there are no roads or buildings on three sides, obstructed vision to stop the scuffle from being viewed by unwanted eyes and only one path to monitor, the thick Botanical gardens for the Pharmaceutics students, in case in threat of being caught. It’s the perfect spot where several notorious fights have gone on over the past 3 years I have spent at the university.
I hate to resolve to such measures to arrange a simple contact, but situations demand it.
Zarah Baloch, full name Zarah Ifikhar Baloch is the last person on campus I have been unable to understand since I’ve been here. Or so to say, she is the last type of person. Everything she does merits a distinct categorization than that for everyone else. Normally the quiet types make up for what they withhold in actions and voice by how they carry themselves and the consistency of maintaining the act. When the right cord is struck, the poking-conversation-topic, the annoying companion or a provoking event is enough to break their Façade. This indicates a reasoning for the quiet act in the first place, which is generally a social insecurity that one finds too odd or sensitive to let out. Since these individuals have complete control over what they present to the world around them and in what dosage, I often find them as intelligent people or so to say, observably intelligent people. Those who can submerge themselves into their academics, their books and their ‘thirst for education’ as a solid excuse from engaging with the outside people. If anything else, these individuals could hail from strict religious families and hence refrain from contact as a devotion towards religion.
Zarah Baloch is in a linguistic and anthropology course. Subjective arts subjects aren’t something that merit social isolation, nor have I ever observed any religious garment or practice from her. She’ll sit there in the middle of that park bench in front of the Anthropology building every day, in every weather during all her breaks. This is the only thing I have been able to conclude her so far, she doesn’t long attention. She doesn’t attract attention as the strange quite girl, rather that is what keeps people away. She isn’t unapproachable, as I have heard several new female students try and get brushed off. She treats the men who try as they act – like idiots- by simply walking over the next bench amongst other women when they try to talk to her in cheap fashion, the general trend. This indicates that she certainly understands social interactions but isn’t interested in it. It’s a premature observation as of yet. She sits in the dead center, so is probably not an introvert or socially awkward, since such traits prefer sitting or standing near the perimeters. Zarah dresses casually and people in her classes tell me that she isn’t any different at any moment or presentation during lectures. All this shows one motivation to me so far. The motivation for attending university. Certainly, she has no hopes of pursuing a career in something as useless as Anthropology, nor does she come for the people. Rather she comes for the atmosphere, or to be precise, the familiarity of it. I’m still uncertain what it provides her exactly, safety from an abusive family? I know her year younger brother in the university runs with the lot of alcoholics, but I have not recorded any moment of non-sobriety from her. So perhaps an escape is what she wants? Just to be away from home, to be in command of her own time, perhaps delay her parent’s marriage plans for her. I had more theories on her than facts to work with.
I’ve orchestrated this whole situation to withdraw people from that Anthropology park to get some direct information out of her. Here’s hoping it bears interesting results.”
As predicted by Zaka, the word broke out between mid-week of a rising tension between two gangs and the hype escalated to the point where parties were arranged, and sides were joined. Everyone remotely associated with the head-locked pair were obligated to take part in the spectacle. Wagers were placed, and rumors were laced around every attendee. Professors were given insight of the event through more sensitive parts of the student body that feared for their own safety. By Friday afternoon the halls and walkways of the entire university were clear, as footsteps marched towards one of two destinations, either the mosque for prayers, or the Botanical gardens. The timing would allow some blows to be placed before the faculty took time from their religious entanglements to stop the act.
As the sun burned down the humid Mid-September hills of Rawalpindi, only two individuals could be seen elsewhere. At the front side of the Arts and Humanities U-shaped collection of buildings, amongst the symmetrically spaced trees and bushes were parallelly organized wooden-frame benches, all of which were empty except the green painted one in the middle. Upon this old, faded bench sat an early twenties looking girl, cross-legged and hunched over a textbook, starring at pictures of slouched over Early-Men with spears. ‘They were hunter-gatherers motivated by the need to feed, imbued with the will to survive and acclimated to adjust as a pack. Their distinction from animals only being that of their superior social skills’. It was an interesting extract that she was fond of re-reading. Of men as monkeys. A befitting position.
She sat up a bit straight and adjusted her hair, not for habit or boredom, but to gesture her notice of the young man approaching the bench from opposite the buildings. He seated himself on the bench next to hers and remained quietly seated at that distance a few yards to her right, monitoring the burnt, yellow grass sharpening at his feet, as sweat trickled down his forehead to quench their thirst.
The young man eventually sat up straight at remained fixated at a typically beige painted building perpendicular to the girl and spoke.
“I didn’t know Kashif had a sister,” he announced to nothing in front of him. “You ought to know that he’s mingling with some tough crowd.”
No response from the girl, who simply flipped a page and continued reading, dropping her hair to block any peripheral view of the boy. Undeterred, Zaka loudly cleared his throat and went on.
“He’s down at a fight down by the Botanical gardens. The whole school is. It’s pretty rough.”
I suppose she may lose her feelings towards her own brother. Perhaps he went off the deep end for her to care.
“Anyways, just wanted to let you know. Sorry to bother,” he said, getting up and brushing off any grass from his shoes, as he moved away from the bench.
“The gardens you say?”
The voice came as a surprise to Zaka. It was clearer and more controlled than expected, yet light and gentle, but higher in pitch.
“Yes, that’s where I heard everyone went. I doubt you brother went to the mosque.” The cheeky quirk was expected to induce some form of a response from Zarah, which Zaka could not see from over his back as he continued to walk away.
Contact has been made.
“Don’t talk about my brother like you know him.”
“I’m sorry sister,” Zaka quickly apologized to avoid aggregating the situation and hampering the future for obtaining information.
“And don’t act like you don’t know my name,” Zarah scolded, raising her eyes from her interesting book and staring at the same beige building while continuing to assert her position. “Why are you bothering me? What’s your name?”
There seemed to be no point in fabricating a backstory. Momina and Zainab could already be used to trace back the details to Zaka, since they were former classmates with Zarah when his research on her began and provided him with her behavioral details. So, it seemed pointless to not come clean regarding his own initial contact with her.
“I’m Zaka. I believe we were classmates last year in English Composition,” the young man spoke as if though declaring to an assembly and casually walked down the path away from the benches, paying no more heed to the girl looking over her drawn hair to notice him and remark to herself, “Oh yes. You do seem familiar.”