The Compound


The agent took her to a small windowless room inside an ugly, non-descript building.  An older man soon joined them.

“Please have a seat, Ms Quinn,” he said in a friendly tone. “I’m Dr Johnson, and this young man who brought you here is Mr Johnson.”

“I’m sure you’re very anxious to know why you’re here. The reason we pulled you in was because we noticed that your IQ was off the charts, literally,” he continued.

 “What is wrong with that?” she asked, puzzled.

“It is okay to be smart, but not this smart,” Mr Johnson replied curtly.

Dr Johnson glanced at him, motioning him to be quiet. He showed her a chart from his overhead projector.

“As you probably know, the IQ of a college graduate is usually between 110 and 140. Someone with an IQ of 150 is considered a genius.”

“Einstein’s IQ is here,” he said, pointing at the 160 mark.

“Your IQ, on the other hand, is here,” he continued, his hand reaching for over the chart. “Unfortunately, the chart only shows up to 200. Your IQ, Ms Quinn, is 211.”

“That’s impossible!” she exclaimed. “This must be a mistake! I took the test. Twice! Both the times it said 143!”

“Aah, yes, that was our little trick,” he smiled. “You see, whenever someone’s IQ exceeds the 160 threshold when they take the online test – we call it the Einstein threshold, the system automatically sends us an alert with their actual score, while at the same time fudging their results, giving them a lower score.”

“We didn’t believe it the first time. So we asked your school to get you to take the test again, and presto, once again, it was 211! Yours is the second highest score ever recorded.”

“What was the highest?” she asked, intrigued and feeling proud.

“I’m sorry, that’s classified,” he replied.

“And why is a high score a bad thing?” she asked.

“Don’t you see, Ms Quinn? High intelligence, if left unchecked, could be dangerous to the country,” he replied. “What if such intelligence falls in the wrong hands? Who knows what someone with an extraordinary ability might come up with?”

“So what are you going to do with me?” she asked nervously.

“There are three options,” the young Mr Johnson replied.

“Option 1,” he said, “We perform a surgery on your brain to diminish your intelligence, after which you will have no recollection of what happened here. You will continue to live as a normal high school girl. But remember, your grades will start slipping.”

“Option 2,” he continued, “You join us. We put you in our top secret institution for the extraordinarily talented people like you, and you will work on exciting projects for the government - projects that you would never have imagined existed.”

“Option 3,” he thought for a second and continued, “Actually, we don’t use option 3 any more. Too many hassles. I’m hoping that won’t be necessary - as long as you cooperate.”

“What about my parents?”

“Unfortunately Ms Quinn, this is a decision you will have to make yourself,” Dr Johnson replied. “We will leave you alone for a few minutes to think about it,” he said, and the two Johnsons left the room, locking the door behind them.

The End

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