DEATH NOTE (is still the creation of Ohba and Obata)
Genre: Old skool Light VS L
Notes: Entrapment scheme. I don't know if there is a real test like the one L uses here.
Quote: Theoretically, if that was the situation, what should Light do?
Let’s say, theoretically, that Light walks out of his last lecture of the day at Touo (Introduction to Market Systems), and finds that L is waiting for him on a park bench with a stopwatch. It’s the kind used in the Olympics, accurate to the hundredths of seconds.
"Why?" Light asks, although he knows perfectly well why.
L blinks and says, "Light-kun doesn’t know?"
That hurts Light, a little, because now he’s going to have to act as if he doesn’t know. And he really hates doing that, especially in front of L. But this is for a greater cause, so Light pretends he can’t guess what L is doing with a stop watch and, seemingly forgotten on the bench beside him, a questionnaire. (First Question: Someone you’ve known all your life is accused of murder. The evidence is uncontestable, and bail is set at 500,000 yen. Do you…) L turns the clipboard so that it is face down, and Light looks up, startled. L is watching his eyes.
"…No, I don’t," Light says.
L doesn’t look convinced, but he doesn’t look skeptical either. He only looks curious.
"I want to ask Light-kun some questions, and I want to time his responses," he says. His bare toes wriggle and he cocks his head to one side. "Now do you know what the stopwatch is for?"
Light stops struggling with himself. This is the sort of thing the son of the chief of police is expected to know, he reasons.
"Yes. This is another test. If I’m Kira, I’ll have to think about my answers. I won’t be able to answer honestly because that might give me away, but lying takes longer than telling the truth. You’ll probably ask a few inconsequential questions to get a sense of my normal response speed, and then switch to questions that might reveal character traits of Kira’s, or information that only Kira would know, or…"
"I’m glad Light-kun understands. Shall we get started?"
"Not here," Light says promptly. "What about the café I took you to earlier?" He’s been running through his options, you see. Walking to the café will buy him some time, which he will use to prepare. Preparation is the key to success.
"No," L says. "I don’t want Light-kun to have any more time to think about his answers."
Light curses inside his head.
L continues. "We should take the quiz now. It’s only a psychological survey, nothing suspicious. If anyone asks, we can say it’s a class project. Does Light-kun agree?"
Because turning L down would be suspicious, and because he is confident in his abilities, Light answers in the affirmative.
"Of course," he says.
"Very well." L sidles awkwardly to the left side of the bench. He faces right, his feet on the bench, the clipboard braced between his knees. In his left hand is the stopwatch. In his right hand, between two fingers, is a pen. It is an extremely precarious position.
"Can I help you with that?" Light asks, sitting gingerly on the other side of the bench. "I can time my own responses, if you’d like." He extends a hand.
L places the stopwatch in it with no hesitation at all. "Light-kun is very helpful."
Light smiles. He won’t be able to cheat, of course. L is only three feet away and he doesn’t have to look at the clipboard to ask questions.
"Let me figure out how to work this stopwatch fir-"
"Are you stalling for time, Light-kun?"
Theoretically, if that was the situation, what should Light do? Should he arrogantly decide to trust in his own ability to lie quickly? But Light wouldn’t do that. He knows that it takes longer to lie, and that this applies to himself as well as others. (Of course, it is possible that he would be able to pull this off where every other person has failed. But the risk is unacceptable.)
Should he purposefully answer slowly? Perhaps he can fool the system. But he has matched wits with L before; the other detective might notice the difference. (It is also possible that Light would rather not act below his abilities, especially in front of L.)
Should he answer normally, regardless of the consequences? L might make a mistake. This survey doesn’t matter anyway – it isn’t hard evidence; it doesn’t prove anything except that L is determined to prove that Light is Kira, and will even resort to informal psychological tests to do it. Perhaps Light should just give up.
(This is the most intolerable choice of all.)
Here is what Light decides to do: just as Ryuzaki is clearing his throat to ask the first question, Light flexes the fingers on his right hand and winces.
"Ouch. Sorry, Ryuzaki, but there was a two-hour essay test in class today." (This part is not even a lie, although Light was finished half and hour early.) He massages the tendons in his wrist. "My hand is still a little numb. I think you’d better do the timing after all."
L accepts the stopwatch without comment, although his eyes dart to Light’s left hand, which is shaking noticeably. (The reason is that Light has been digging his fingernails into his palm for the last minute of conversation, until the muscles began to spasm. This will give him an alibi in case L asks why he doesn’t use his other hand instead. Light is secretly disappointed when L doesn’t ask.)
"Shall we begin?" L asks, and before Light can answer he has started on the first question.
"You witness a close friend committing a crime. What do you tell the police?"
L has cleverly begun with the second page of the test, bypassing all of the questions Light has already seen. He has also cleverly begun with a loaded question.
But it doesn’t matter.
"It depends on the crime," Light says.
"Armed robbery. Two convenience store clerks were wounded."
"I’d report exactly what I saw."
"What’s your sister’s birthday?"
They continue this way for twenty minutes. Light is amused by L’s ability to simultaneously ask questions, time Light’s answers, and record the time of his previous answers. He guesses that he spends between five and six seconds each on the innocuous questions, and around half a second longer on loaded questions. He isn’t sure; L has the stopwatch.
But it doesn’t matter.
"Oh, my," L says. Apparently they've finished, because now L is scanning the information on his clipboard. Every now and then his eyes will widen in surprise, as if he has never seen anything like it before. (Light rolls his eyes; L wrote it all down himself less than half an hour ago.)
"Oh, my. Light, you answered an average of point-five-eight seconds slower on questions relating to Kira."
Light pretends to contemplate this. One second, two seconds, three seconds, four seconds, five seconds. The stopwatch lies discarded on the bench between them. Eventually he looks up into L’s eyes.
"But Ryuzaki, that’s only half a second. It can take that long just to recognize that I’m finished answering the question and press the stop button."
Ryuzaki considers this. "True," he says.
"And I know you think I’m Kira. Isn’t is possible that you unconsciously recorded a higher time on the questions you knew were important?"
"It’s possible," L says, seriously. He comtemplates his eyebrows, and Light fights back a smirk.
"It's possible, because I am biased. I also have less control over my left hand. Yes. Yes, you’re right. I apologize, Light-kun."
(Light still doesn’t smirk, although he’d like to.)
They both stand, Light patting the wrinkles out of his pants and L simply rocking forward, his hands in his pockets before his feet hit the ground. Light turns pick up his school bag.
"Ah!" L says. Light feels his shoulder muscles clench and deliberately relaxes them. He casually swings his school bag across one shoulder.
"What is it, Ryuuzaki?" he asks, turning.
"If someone not familiar with the situation were to administer this test to you, they would not have the same bias. I will ask Mogi-san tomorrow."
Light smiles. Mogi is an idiot.
"Okay, Ryuzaki." He turns to go.
"Oh, and Light-kun?"
"You tried much too hard to get around this test. I have raised my suspicion that you are Kira by two percent."