Do Androids Dream of Robotics Sheep Before They Go To Sleep?
Chapter 12* * *
“I think we’ve pretty well established that the Agency are robots, impersonating people. They might be androids or even some kind of alien cyborg devices, but I personally doubt it. As it is they have left nothing behind to identify them with.” Max stated the obvious to his audience before sitting back down.
Several weeks had gone by and we were no closer to locating the Agency than before. They had simply vanished as far as we could tell.
“I have a lead Nina,” Morgan announced over breakfast the next morning.
“Okay, I’ll bite Morgan.” Nina laughed while drinking her milk with her cereal.
“I went back and looked, well really I turned Jet loose on it. I asked her to follow the money and look into any bills or funding for anything connected to robots or artificial intelligence that our group of senators had voted on together as a block.” Morgan started.
“And that got you what?” Nina laughed again.
“That got me Projects Pinocchio, Morpheus, and Baku,” Morgan smirked back at Nina, and the group arranged around the dining room.
“Okay, I get the Project Pinocchio name. That’s the Disney fairy tale about the old woodcarver Geppetto, that carves himself a son. His puppet becomes a real live boy. That’s probably robotics I grant you? But what about the other two. I mean Morpheus is the Greek god of sleep...” Eve interrupted Nina.
“No, no, Hypnos was the god of sleep Nina. Morpheus was the son of Hypnos, he had the power to enter the dreams of mortals to deliver messages from the other gods. He was the god of dreams and dreaming himself. The Greek’s had an absolute obsession with dreams and dreaming you know.” Sweet Eve lectured the group.
“Okay smartypants what about Baku?” Nina demanded.
“It’s not Greek, I can tell you that right now,” Sweet Eve answered matter of factly.
“Is another Chinese legend, that ugly greedy Japanese steal, like everything else Japanese. Baku is dream-eater in Chinese legend. Baku is a benevolent spirit animal who protects people from the terrors of bad dreams. Description of beast change over time, like description of Baba Yaga, but Baku protects believers from nightmares. Some say the Baku has become a chimera...it has the ripping claws and legs of a lion, head of rhinoceros, and piercing eyes of a bull elephant.” Madam Chang added her voice to the discussion.
“And where are they, Morgan? These Projects.” Max asked the money question.
“Where you would expect Max with all these politicians involved. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. Within easy traveling distance of DC, the nation’s capital. They have a group of doctors and engineers from John Hopkins, Harvard, Sanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among others gathered at Walter Reed. All of them working on some hush, hush project.” Morgan related looking proud of herself as she surveyed the other people in the room.
“So how do we find out what they are doing, “Oh, Great and Wonderful Sorceress Morgan le Fay”?” Max asked meekly.
“Since you asked so nicely Lord and Master, I got us all passes as congressional aids for Senator Eric Fairington, Jr., and Senator Ron Hessman’s next inspection visit. Well, it’s really supposed to be an inspection trip anyway. Like I’ve been telling all of you, we might have removed the devices from their heads, but the programming is still in there. We just imposed a little programming of our own, on top of what’s already swimming around in their heads. Of course, I’m not guaranteeing what kind of reception we’ll get once we’re in Walter Reed itself, ha, ha.” Morgan laughed at all of us.
“I get no respect around here,” Max complained.
«I’ll be there with you and Max. I don’t see a problem.» Fred showed his confidence in being able to handle any situation we encountered.
“Fred you might be immune to their tricks, but inquiring minds want to know, are we? That’s the million dollar question we’re all asking ourselves. What would happen if they hit us with something that knocked us all out?” Morgan posed the question that was on all our minds since it had been suggested we stick our heads in the lion’s mouth.
«Even if you were all fully unconscious I would still sense that you were all in trouble and teleport you all back here where you could recover safely.» Fred told everybody.
“And nothing could prevent you from teleporting us out of there Fred?” Max questioned.
«Nothing of this Earth that I’m aware of Max.» Fred answered matter of factly.
“What about not of this Earth Fred?” Nina questioned.
“We’ve certainly seen enough of that lately!” Morgan pitched in.
«I draw on powers that are greater than the four dimensions you are confined to. I am not a natural being as much as a created one. Yes, my makers were enough like you that I was able to merge myself with Max when I encountered him. The same applies to all of you for that matter. My original memory, what little remains of it anyway, tells me that I am unique. Other things, some bright and shiny, some others darker than dark, exist out there too. Things just like...no similar to me anyway, but something tells me that none of them is involved in this Morgan. You’ll just have to trust me on this Morgan.» Fred told the listening group.
And so the fly entered the spider’s web.
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, like most big universities, colleges, and even Langly itself today was spread out over much of Bethesda, Maryland. The particular complex our underground subway car wound up landing at was almost entirely underground. Yes, Capitol Hill had it’s own private subway systems with its hub directly under the Capitol buildings themselves. It has lines like the spokes on a wheel that go to other underground complexes spotted around Capitol Hill in and around DC.
First on the agenda for the senatorial junket was Project Pinocchio, run by MIT Professor Tomas Russet, with his gaggle of graduate students, and other lesser minions. As you’ve probably already guessed by now they were developing human-looking robots to interact with humans in institutional settings. These androids were mainly to act as nurses and orderlies in the medical institutions with labor shortages. If these we were seeing were an example of what the Agency was running around in, then I could see how they had fooled most people into believing they were real people from a distance. They really were quite impressive.
Next was Project Morpheus, run by a mixed group of associated neuroscientist, psychiatrists, and other brain specialists from John Hopkins, Harvard, and Sanford mainly. They were working with traumatized vets on creating a virtual reality landscape without being too invasive.
Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), and direct current stimulation (tDCS) were being used to directly interfere with the cortical white matter pathway rhythms of the human brain. By synchronizing a single resonance frequency, or desynchronizing the cortical white matter pathway rhythms with the application of several frequencies at different intensities, the brain’s own cortical oscillations were influenced.
While studying REM sleep, the rapid-eye-movement stage of sleep, psychologist Ursula Voss discovered that certain subjects experienced what she termed “lucid dreams”. In fact, nightmares is probably a better description of what Voss’s subjects were experiencing. Electroencephalograms and other brain monitoring devices have shown that those dreams were accompanied by the telltale electrical activity called gamma-waves.
The working group investigating this discovery hypothesized that those frequencies could be used to create the state of lucid dreaming psychologist Ursula Voss had originally induced in her subjects. They further hypothesized that with the use of hypnosis and some outside stimuli, projected video and directly induced audio among other things, they could get the mind to create its own virtual reality landscape. From there with a little outside prompting they could program what the subject was dreaming about and even alter the course and subject of the dream itself.
Gamma-waves are directly related to the executive functions of the brain. Things such as higher-order thinking, as well as awareness of one’s mental state while awake, but they are almost unheard of in REM sleep. In her experiment she induced a current with the same frequency and intensity as the gamma-waves she observed in the dreaming brains of her subjects. With outside verbal prompting, she was able to direct the outcome of their subject’s nightmare. As an example, in one instance the test subject was able to grab her dress before running out of her house butt naked.
She reasoned her technique might help people suffering from post-traumatic-stress-disorder, PTSD, someday. Those people who continuously relive a very traumatic experience that changed their lives forever. Terrible things that happened to them in their lives, things that caused them to have terrifying dreams in which they relive those experience over and over. She figured that if they were able to dream lucidly, they might be able to bring about a different outcome to their reoccurring nightmare. They would finally be able to lay to rest the ghost of that traumatic experience. With a little verbal prompting, they might be able to turn down a different street this time to avoid the roadside IED bomb, or duck into a crowded restaurant before the shooter attacks them.
Of course, there was still no sign of the Agency’s involvement in any of this at this point. Next up was Project Baku, located in a rather isolated sector of the campus, in an older building that had just been renovated. In legend, Baku is a dream-eater, a spirit animal that visits homes in the middle of the night, and devours the nightmares of people who are sleeping, if you believe in him. Beliefs are a wonderful thing.
When we arrived at Project Baku a lunch was already set out and prepared for us. The meal was served by robots created by Project Pinocchio. After the meal was over the senators all went to sleep congenitally in their chairs and the robots introduced themselves to the rest of us.
“Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. I always wanted to say that line. A race of more advanced sentient beings, much like yourselves, launched a probe to fly to the center of the universe to collect data along its merry way. It’s artificial intelligence’s directive was to gather all the information it could on the way there. To do this it would direct it’s movements to the next closeness solar system to investigate and give it a flyby until it reached the center of the universe. It’s directive also was to periodically transmit all that information it had collected back to its creators.” Robot Number 1 started off.
“Are you that intelligence Number 1, or do you have a name?” Max asked.
“Yes and no Mister Sulivan. First, the group that assembled me has designated me, Bradley. Anyway, for the first million years or so everything went fine. Then the first original probe, my ancient predecessor, was attacked without provocation by another probe between two solar systems...” Morgan interrupted it.
“You’re telling us that it got attacked way out there in the wasteland between the stars Bradley,” Morgan asked.
“Yes, Miss le Fay it most certainly was. We have all it’s information now too in our database. Though our creators never created us to be hostile, or aggressive for that matter, we were far better equipped to handle its unprovoked attack than it was. It’s imagined stealthy approach was not as stealthy as it thought, and our shield withstood its initial laser onslaught. After that, I waited until its power supply ran down. We then tractored it remains to our probe and studied them for hundreds of years as our mission continued.” Bradley paused.
“Why would any intelligent rational race intentionally send killer probes out like that Bradley?” Morgan asked.
“It turned out that the builders of the killer probes had some justification. They had been attacked by drones from another star system that intended to invade their solar system and colonize it Morgan. The killer probe that latched onto me had discovered my transmission back to my home planet. It turned out to have been following me for hundreds of years before it caught up to me I eventually discovered.” Bradley informed us.
“Persistent little buggers.” Nina laughed.
“This was not the only probe out there I discovered. I started a search at that time and have accumulated ten more since then. Most of them are so old they have lost power and forgotten who made them, or even their purpose. Everything wears out eventually I have discovered the hard way, even me. I discovered long ago that I was losing little bits and whole pieces of data every time I renewed my own program. Even the backup copy, that was supposed to be protected, had suffered significant gamma ray damage.” Bradley stated matter of factly.
“Well, I guess that gets us to what you’re doing here Bradley?” Max asked.
“When my systems started really breaking down I was forced to improvise Max. I started incorporating parts from the other probes I had laying around into myself to compensate for what I had lost.” Bradley admitted.
“I take it that wasn’t such a good ideal Bradley.” Max laughed.
“Maybe not Max, but it was the only answer to a bad situation. Anyway, we need your help. We have only arrived here recently and we have gone to great lengths not to harm any of your separate individual biological units. In the words of one of your better comedians, we may have folded, spindled, and mutilated a few, but have not permanently harmed any of them enough for them to cease functioning. They continue to live and function. The senators and others were assessable to us whereas you and the Empress were not. So we set this all up to draw you to us, and here you are.” Bradley finished.
“So what’s your problem, Bradley?” Morgan asked.
“I have become a schizophrenic. I am suffering from Dissociative-Identity-Disorder, or what you previously knew as Multiple-Personality-Disorder, Morgan. I’m not a violent person...entity...well whatever, but lately...Wow, that’s a relative term when you’re dealing in millions of years! Anyway, the other probes have managed to get past my fire-walls and managed to crawl into my mind. Now they demand equal time too. That is why I concede I am not the original probe as I started out. I even forget what my objective is sometimes. Where I’m going. And the dreams? Wow, I’m dreaming in full color all the time now. Sometimes in my dreams, I’m a flesh and blood alien, and sometimes I’m just some kind of a wheeled mobile unit. I’ve had arms, tentacles, fins, extensor rods, wheels, cogs, oozing slime, and other things I can’t even begin to describe what’s in those dreams. I’m losing it Doc.” Bradley described his problems.
“Okay, the question is what do you think we can do for you, Bradley?” Max asked.
“I’m harmless, well at least non-hostile, but some of these other personalities I now contain are dangerous, hostile, and paranoid to boot. There has to be a way to delete them or at least incorporate them into one whole personality I can live with. I’ve come to realize that I have to trust somebody now before I lose all control over them and myself too. I want you to do the job for me since I obviously can’t do it myself. I chose your group because of how you handled the Cree mess, and the CAI. I think I’m doing the responsible thing.” Andy related his problem to all of us.
«Do you dream Fred?» Max asked Fred out of the blue on our private line.
«I do not sleep Max, how could I possibly dream? I was completely offline until I encountered you. The memories I have of my beginnings are very confusing.» Fred related to Max.
“I guess then the first thing we have to do is put everything in order on your probe itself then Andy. Cure the body first, then start on the problems the mind thinks it has next.” Morgan laughed.
Bradley was one of six new Android mobile units built for the probe we designated as Andy. He had them built here on Earth via Internet instructions. Right now his main body was in a concealing close screened orbit behind Venus. The worker unit he had dispatched to explore Earth, looked something like a two-foot long metallic centipede we found out later. It had relayed back information about the Internet, eBay, and other things here on Earth. Soon Andy was in the precious-metals-market business here.
It actually appeared that Andy had supplied the startup money for the original smaller Project Pinocchio at UCLA. That project got it the first working Bradley unit. With a working android that could impersonate a human, if you didn’t look too close, he gained control of Capitol Hill.
Through the Internet, he learned of us, the Cree, and finally the Empress herself. That decided him to trust us with his mental problems. Problems that had become almost unmanageable even for an advanced artificial intelligence like himself.
Andy’s probe, ship, whatever you want to call it, started out life looking like a large smooth metal sphere. Nobody had ever imagined it winding up looking like this. Aerodynamics, streamlining, and other aesthetics were unimportant when your craft was never intended to enter an atmosphere again anyway.
Once again his makers were relying on gravity and antigravity to get Andy, and the others like him to the next target the slow way. Something to push or pull on was the rule without an FTL drive. This was the first solar system Andy’s probe had ever actually stopped at, and he had used up a lot of energy he couldn’t really afford to lose in doing it.
While we search for other Earth-like worlds, the so-called Goldilocks Worlds, there are literally an endless number of other stars and planets out there that could support life. Maybe not life like us, but life anyway. Sol, our star is a G2 yellow dwarf in the main sequence phase of its life. It has been flickering like a candle in the black void of space for 4.5 billion years, happily converting hydrogen atoms into helium to give that flicker of warmth that makes life on Earth possible. Our sun was expected to continue like this for at least another 7 billion years, plus or minus a few million if nothing goes terribly wrong.
Whereas the original Andy probe was a large smooth metallic sphere, the other probes that were secured to his hull now were anything but. These other probes he had picked up along the way were anything but normal too. They ranged from something that looked like a child’s first attempt at a chemistry experiment growing rock candy crystals on a string. Large colorful crystals attached to other crystals with a feeble inner flickering glow, all jagged sharp edges facing outward. Others looked like some kind of ceramic pottery but were extremely cold, or extremely hot. Then there were the plants, at least three different kinds of plants, from the three different plant probes that he had altered course to pluck out of the void.
All of the plant probes were a thousand times bigger than him, and they actually grew on everything now. They had actually tried to eat Andy when they came out of hibernation that first time he approached a solar system’s sun. In the end, they had breached his hull and compromised the integrity of his vessel forcing him to activate his force field. This cost him energy that he couldn’t really afford to lose.
In the end, they seemed to concede that he was alive too, and quit trying to eat him, but his once shiny spotless probe’s hull now looked like a giant rat’s nest of gnarled twisted vines and other things. Things that twitched, crawled, and slithered on their own were all about his ship. A living jungle hanging in the blackest void of deep space.
Ever since reaching Venus the jungle had gone wild again, just like every other time Andy had neared a sun. Though Andy had not been able to communicate with the plants yet in anything but raw primal emotions, he could sense that it/they were trying to communicate with him now. It/they wanted something and were trying their damnedest to communicate that something to Andy.
Finally, Andy understood what the plants wanted. They wanted to finally fulfill their instinctive mission, what a whole world of sentient plants had striven countless millennium to create them for. Well, all their missions were the same for that matter. I guess primal imperative is closer to the message they communicated to Andy than anything else. They needed transportation to the surface of Venus, a bare lifeless rock that they could bring to life.
They had been created and launched into space in the hope of reaching a planet like Venus one day. Now that they were so close they didn’t have the resources to reach the planet without burning up on reentry. The ablative skins they had originally had for reentry were long since gone, their raw materials used as food to feed the rest of the probe over the years.
At one time the three plant probes had been a hundred maybe a thousand times larger than it/they were now. Andy himself didn’t have the needed resources to get the plants down to Venus either. That only left Max’s group and the Empress to provide them with what they needed.
Andy had done his research into humans and discovered things that made it amazingly simple to reprogram us. It seemed that electricity played a major role in our personalities. He had studied our brains in hopes of understanding his own now altered mind and proceeded to give us a lecture on what he had discovered and done to the senators.
Electricity and its effects on the human body, it seemed, was discovered much earlier in man’s evolution than most people like to think. Early on the more astute medicine men, shaman, witch doctors, wizards and witches, and others noted that people that got too close to the “lightning bolts of the gods” burnt the Hell up. If they didn’t burn they suffered shocks and memory loss among other things.
Ancient Egyptian texts dating back to around 2750 BC describe encounters with electrified fish and other things. They noted the numbing effect their electric shocks have on the human body and mind. Once again they noted the loss of memory from multiple shocks. Some victims seemed to awake without any knowledge of who or what they were at all.
Somewhere between 150 BC and 650 AD, the Baghdad or Parthian Battery was made by somebody, we don’t really know who. It was recently discovered in modern-day Khujut Rabu, Iraq. These ancient batteries it is reasoned could have easily been connected together to deliver 9 volts DC to a device that has never been found either. It has become one of the real mysteries of our time.
1744 could be regarded as the dawn of electricity’s use as a therapeutic device in medicine as reported in an article published in the first issue of Electricity and Medicine. Eleven years later the first treatment and cure of hysterical blindness were documented. Even America’s own Benjamin Franklin later wrote that an electrostatic machine of his own design cured “a woman of hysterical fits.”
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s American engineer, inventor, and all around great electrical wizard Nikola Tesla became an important contributor to the birth of what we term today as “modern commercial electricity”. He is well known for his work with alternating current (AC). He invented the polyphase distribution system still in use today. There is some evidence that he was involved in early “Shock Treatment” tests in Paris, France.
The first ECT, “Electroconvulsive Therapy”, better known as “Shock Treatment”, procedure was conducted in 1938. Typically, the electrical stimulus used in ECT is about 800 milliamps, .8 Amps, or 4/5th of an Amp. It also has up to several hundred watts of power behind it and is usually 60 c.p.s. sine-wave alternating current. That current is allowed to flow through the brain for between one to 6 seconds, and this may continue several times during the sessions.
It is not the voltage that is important it is the current, the Amperage, that kills. Converting watts to amps can be done easily using the Watt’s Law Formula, which states that I = P ÷ E, where P is power measured in watts, where I is current measured in amps, and E is voltage measured in volts. Given any two the third can be determined easily.
Anything above 10 mA produces a severe shock, anything above 100 mA is considered lethal as it locks up the bodies muscles and stops the heart muscle from pumping blood. Above 200 mA you also have to contend with the burning of the skin too. As you can see the 800 mA used in ECT is well above what is considered lethal and would be if continued for more than six seconds.
Immediately prior to treatment, a patient must be prepared physically, then given a short-acting anesthetic such as methohexital, etomidate, or thiopental, and muscle relaxants such as suxamethonium, also known as succinylcholine. Occasionally atropine is administered to inhibit salivation. Of note, Atropine is also carried to counteract the so-called nerve gas agents.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (tTMS), transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), are neuromodulatory techniques made possible by a little invention called the Op Amp way back in the early ’60s. This little solid-state device made it possible to truly control and regulate those super small amounts of potentially lethal Amperage. These techniques are far less invasive than ECT but can achieve much the same results to the brain in some cases. Of singular importance to Andy was their ability to produce “Electrically Induced Sleep and Lucid Dreaming”.
Instead of the 800 mA, or .8 Amp, used in Shock Therapy (ECT) these devices only use 1500 µA, or .0015 to .002 Amps, way below the .01 Amp or 10 mA threshold required to produce even a severe shock. They generally use two electrodes of different polarities, the “anode” and “cathode”, and are commonly connected to the transcranial stimulator which is driven by a small 9 VDC dry cell battery. The small dry cell battery is a safety measure, it guarantees that you can’t accidentally electrocute yourself. A low-intensity constant current source of .001—.002 Amp, about the same amount of juice needed to power up a small penlight, is passed from one electrode to the other across different sections of the brain. In the other magnetic device, a copper wound figure-eight-coil is used to pulse magnetic waves across different sections of the brain too.
With these devices and the proper drugs it is possible to non-invasively induce a deep hypnotic state, change moods, adjust attitudes, and more importantly, it can suppress, not actually remove, but temporally suppress some traumatic memories that are depressing the subject. It can also reach those “root memories” that define the personality of each individual. Of course, as some have observed, “Memories make the man. Remove the memory lose the man.” I might add, “OR create the new man.”
Flunitrazepam, or Rohypnol as it is better known, is a short-acting benzodiazepine drug with actions similar to those of Diazepam and can cause Anterograde Amnesia. It is known to be used as a “date rape drug”, and the United States Government itself has banned the importation of this drug into this country. Some reports even indicate that it may precipitate violent psychotic behavior in some individuals.
There is a marked difference between long term memory and short term memory. Certain drugs like Rohypnol have the proven ability to remove short term memory before too much time has elapsed and it becomes permanent long term memory, but no drug I am aware of can reliably remove long term memory or erase the mind for long. Drugs can only suppress it for an undeterminable length of time.
On the other hand ECT, Shock Therapy can actually remove long term chemical memory strings if that memory string can actually be located in the subject’s brain. So using transcranial stimulation a three-dimensional representation of the subject’s brain can be generated in a larger than life-size holographic tank in real time. Then the different memories you want to remove can be called up in the hypnotic trance, then isolated in the representation of the brain displayed in the holo-tank, and finally removed with almost surgical precision using ECT like an invisible scalpel.
Transcranial stimulation and holographic tank allow for the exact placement of the ECT electrodes on the outside of the skull. Generally, those electrodes are nothing but small pieces of household sponge soaked in salt water to increase their conduction. This three-dimensional representation is what makes the calculation of the duration and even the amplitude of the pulse necessary to cleanly burn out that long term chemical memory possible.
Electroconvulsive therapy, as it is called today, is not a required subject in US medical schools, and not a required skill in psychiatric residency training either. Privileging for ECT practice is strictly a local option. There is no national certification standard established in this country for ECT, and no ECT-specific continuing education or training experience is required to do it.
Without the proper preparation of the subject, like the use of anesthetics, and the better muscle relaxants, the people that receive Shock Treatment tend to suffer permanent spinal injuries, even broken and/or snapped bones from the violent convulsions during treatment. There are far more actual physical injuries than institutions like to advertise even today. In the early days of Shock Therapy, there were even more. They pass off the injuries today as “Pre-Existing Conditions”. Of course, that’s if anybody even bothers to look at those files today. Also, the medical insurance companies call ECT, “the biggest bang for the buck”, a real no brainer, ha, ha.
In 1945 the big war ended and the Cold War started with “the Wall” in Berlin, Germany. The Germans didn’t just leave us with Von Braun, they left us, and the Russians, with plenty of other neat toys to play with too. The only problem was the human body rejected most of them outright. The hearts, the replacement limbs, were all rejected whether biological or mechanical. Until they developed an anti-rejection drug years later that was effective they just kept dying, but nobody died from the operation anymore. It was the operation was a success but the patient died, ha, ha. This was also the start of the so-called “fight for the hearts and soles” of the estranged peoples of the brave new world they now ruled over. Brainwashing started in a big way at that time. Better living through chemistry seemed to be the theme.
The many violent battlefields of this new world landscape, like the Korean War, saw vast improvements in medicine. The battlefield MASH units pushed forward many projects. They became the testing grounds for these new bioweapons both sides were developing. A veritable smorgasbord of raw meat to experiment on was available now. Not much has really changed in all those years, raw meat is still available on numerous battlefields around the world.
These new personalities that Andy created with the hypnosis, Transcranial Stimulation, and ECT were not the so-called split personalities that wound up fighting each other for dominance of the one body they share. Those pitiful shattered personalities that finally break down from the internal stresses created during their creation.
Before Andy’s creative use of it, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) was used like a sledgehammer. There was no fineness, just one massive burst of raw juice directly through a large cross-section of the human brain, either front to back or side to side. That burst of lethal Amperage tried to scramble every neuron in its path on its journey through the brain. All in a massive effort using brute force to try to remove the offending thoughts the brain was obsessing about.
In reality, it got rid of everything and nothing, because the brain recovered and the same fragmented thoughts reemerged weeks or months later. The brain itself rebuilt those fractured, not quite destroyed, long term chemical memory strings. The brain doesn’t like partially incomplete memories, to the brain it’s an itch it can’t scratch, so it rebuilds them as best it can. The replicated memory might not be the original, but it will be close. That is why we find that some details of old memories are wrong sometimes when we really check. Was the color of your baby rattle red, or blue, or maybe yellow? It’s the small details that change over time. Time destroys the fine details, as the body ages it constantly refreshes and renews those long term chemical memory strings, but it also rewrites them too.
Andy changed people’s whole minds through the creative use of hypnosis, Transcranial Stimulation, “Electrically Induced Sleep and Lucid Dreaming,", and eventually Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) itself to remove the roadblocks to those desired changes we sought. Once those memories he wanted to remove were located, with the help of the less destructive and invasive tools, it was literally burned out. With that memory completely gone it is easy to substitute a new memory without any resistance now.
To a certain extent the subject’s mind is binary, all 1’s and 0’s. You had choices throughout life. You did this, but you could have done that. With Andy’s process, he could call up all those critical choices the subject made and have the subject relive them one by one. Then he could alter the critical ones to get his desired results. With the Shock Treatment, the core memory that was blocking the subject’s acceptance of this new reality could be called up and erased. Then Rohypnol was used to erase even the memory of Andy’s treatment.
And yes, Rohypnol has the proven ability to remove the short term memory of what Andy had just done to the Senator’s hypnotized mind. He came out of the procedure thinking he’d just had another session with his hair transplant doctors.
Believe it or not, Andy didn’t have anything to do with Ann, Meg, or Sara’s enslavement. At first even Jerry, Marvin the Magnificent, and Peggy Sue refused to permanently enslave the girls. It seemed that a good time with one or two of the girls from the act overnight was one thing, permanent enslavement was something else entirely. It seemed that Jerry and Peggy Sue had a conscious of sorts and tried to follow the Golden Rule in this line of work, “bend it, but don’t break it”. We’ll leave off the second part, “break it, you buy it.”
Though Jerry was proud of his skill as a hypnotist he had a conscious. He even used Rohypnol to erase all memory of what he had done with them that night, not even leaving an implanted trigger. Who would have thought?
Finally, Daddy and his slimy high priced lawyer threatened to have them both sent to prison if Jerry didn’t follow orders. Jerry then did the job reluctantly with the use of several highly illegal drugs that Daddy himself procured from some government black ops source. The Senator was responsible for all of this it seemed.
I would like to think that Andy followed the Hippocratic oath, “Do No Harm.". That he removed some of the sharp edges that Jerry’s rather brutal conditioning had left. That he left the people he treated in better condition than he found them in, but there are tradeoffs that had to be made.
“How did that...that...thing sneak into our solar system.” Max wanted to know looking at the nightmare Andy’s probe had become.
We were all looking out the forward viewport of one of the Cree shuttle’s we had borrowed off the Ogomma. What we were looking at could have been the cover artwork of an old Lovecraft horror novel about the “Old Ones” returning. It was massive, several miles across at least, a wiggling, never quite still jungle reaching for Venus. Maybe yearning would better describe what we were all feeling better. You could feel the yearning in your bones, you could feel it crawling up your backbone even.
“We have to clean that up?” Morgan questioned.
“Yes...yes we do,” Max answered back mildly.
“Where do you start?” Sweet Eve finally asked the group.
«Can you communicate with it Fred?» Max asked.
«Yes and the answer is, if you promise to deliver their seed pods, and assure them their seed get a good start, they are willing to die off.» Fred finally answered.
«Isn’t that rather harsh Fred.» Eve put in.
«Maybe Eve, but its what they have always expected to do in the end anyway. All this was to deliver that seed pod to a new fertile planet.» Fred answered.
«Maybe there are better places for them in the solar system?» Eve reminded everybody that Venus might not be the ideal environment for anything green and carbon-based. There might be better places in the solar system for all of them for that matter.
«I’ll ask.» Fred laughed.
In the end, the carbon-based plants chose Mars. Venus is nothing but a molten silicate mantle over a more molten iron core, much too unstable, hot, and dry for any carbon-based plant life to survive on. On the other hand, Fred was able to communicate with the silicone entities and discovered that the pottery wanted to go to Venus and the crystal thing wanted to go to Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. The other lump of cold hard stone wanted to go to Europe, Jupiter’s moon.
The plants finally decided on Mars. True it wasn’t ideal, but there was water, oxygen, and other resources, and most of all it would not come into direct conflict with man for many years to come. Maybe I should say conflict with the animal kingdom here. There was some discussion about potential Life Zones on Enceladus and Europe, both of these small planets were known to have free water under those frozen ice crusts. On the other hand Mars with it’s lighter gravity would allow us to divide up the three plant probes and land them more or less intact on Mars with very little scorching. This was something the plants themselves had never considered until now.
So, in the end, the wildlife was removed from Andy’s probe body. This still left us with the four other mechanical probes and the damage due to the hull breaches to deal with. Once again the Cree engineers and Jet took over.
Far from being helpless as Andy had led us to believe, he had dozens of automated androids running around. Some were autonomous, but most of the others were mere extensions of himself. And yes, the race that built him did look like giant six-foot centipedes with more specialized legs and/or hands with the classic opposable thumb than I cared to count.
“Look my androids patched me up as best they could. They jury-rigged these other parts in after we studied them together. We thought we knew what they did, but like any jury-rigged thing it wasn’t an original part and didn’t act like an original part. Evidently, my makers never meant for me to repair myself I guess. Well, not after the spares, those modular black boxes, ran out I guess.
Sure there is redundancy built in, that was the only reason I’m still alive and running, but I can’t afford to allow my own robotics extensions to try to remove this stuff. If I get shut down in the process now they’ll probably never get me started again. There’s not an imaginative bone in any of their bodies. Without me to direct them they’re as dumb as shit, ha, ha.” Andy related to the group.
“Did you ever try to communicate with them?” Morgan finally inquired.
“Them? Them who? Oh, you mean the other probes? Sure I did after that first attack. I wanted to know why? I did the same with the other four probes, but they are much older and I never got much out of them. I’m not even sure they’ll ever fully boot up again even if I supplied the power. They’ve suffered much more damage than I have Morgan.” Andy told Morgan.
“So who does brain surgery on an artificial intelligence Morgan?” Max asked.
It turned out that the real question was how not who. Andy had not been entirely truthful about his condition or its cause. Yes, the first alien killer probe was defeated, but it was only playing possum when he pulled it in with his tractor ray. By the way, the vaulted tractor ray is only a manipulation of the graviton.
At the last moment, the killer probe kicked in some kind of booster rocket and crashed directly into Andy. It actually breached Andy’s hull. At first, he thought there wasn’t any damage. Sure the affected area went off-line, but the backups kicked in fine, and he seemed to be okay. An unknown time later Andy’s service robots got into the damaged section. It was such a mess Andy made the decision to just wall it off and leave it like it was.
“I take it that was a mistake?”
“A big mistake Max.” Morgan laughed.
“And how do you know this?” Max asked.
“Because Jet’s already found the hole and sent in drones to look, Max,” Morgan answered.
“Well, what did she find out?” Max asked again.
“She found out that Andy is a very bad housekeeper. It’s amazing that he’s still running at all.” Morgan laughed.
“That’s not all, the killer probe is still alive, and believe it or not, it’s actually attacking Andy. Still attacking...well trying to attack him anyway.” Jet interjected.
Andy turned out to be compartmentalized. The outer area that was breached contained mostly backup data and auxiliary memory modules. There was a central core that Andy was built around, but as long as that central core remained intact Andy was ok.
Even though the killer probe was now inside Andy there was no way it could, not with the minor tools it had at its disposal in its crippled probe, go any further physically. On the other hand, there were wires, fiber optic cables, and other things running through the compartment it now had control of. So the alien, figuratively speaking, sat down and patiently began to try to communicate with Andy since there was nothing else to do.
Andy’s first Primary Directive Rule in his programming was to avoid alien contamination at any cost. Because of that, he refused to even try to communicate with the alien, his upper-level conscience mind blocked it out completely. At first, his strategy worked, but over time the alien was able to decode his internal communications language and made direct contact with his other parts.
Because of his Primary Directive Rule, and the now constant voice of the alien itself in his head, Andy developed “dissociative identity disorder”. Of course, he was now self-diagnosing himself and this was what was previously known as multiple personality disorder. I personally think the latter is more descriptive of the situation we are dealing with here.
This is a complex psychological coping mechanism where the person literally dissociates himself from a situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic, or painful to assimilate into his own conscious mind. He literally walls the experience off and it takes on an independent life of its own. Of course, some still want to say it is just an aspect of schizophrenia.
Anyway, Andy ignored the voice at first, but other parts of his Artificial Intelligence Gestalt began to acknowledge the voice’s existence and finally began to talk back to it in ways he wasn’t even conscious of, well couldn’t consciously acknowledge anyway. The first major evidence of this were words, weird alien words, that began to appear in Andy’s reports and instructions to his other parts.
“You do know that this would be much simpler if you would just acknowledge the alien probe.” Morgan laughed.
“It would have been even simpler if my own worker robots hadn’t revolted when I ordered them to remove the alien probe from the compartment and dump it into space in the first place.” Andy grouched.
“You waited too long.” Nina put in.
So began the process of removing, well really the separation, of the alien from Andy. This would not totally reduce the trauma to Andy, but it would be a start. At some point Andy was going to have to confront the alien. To begin that process we would have to reconstruct the alien probe at some point just to find out what we were dealing with. Of course, that would be without all the lasers, masers, and other assorted killing things he originally had.
Everybody seemed to be convinced that the alien was not just a program, they considered it a conscience entity judging it by its acts. Even the parts of Andy’s own electronic brain, the more autonomous parts anyway, considered that it was alive. Now we needed to find out what it was and wanted.
There were many questions that had to be asked and answered here. Can an AI grow beyond its original programming? Can it lie for that matter? How would you even know if it did? This was a true alien machine. A machine that was built and programmed to hunt down and kill other intelligent probes. It had already proven that it would carry out that programming when it attacked Andy without any warning. Had it really changed or was it just waiting until it had more resources to destroy Andy?
Months later Andy and the intruder were free of each other. Capital Hill was restored to it’s former dysfunctional self and life was good in the Empress’s Empire. The three plant probes had managed to sort themselves out and had all gained a toehold at least on a hostile Mars. Even the ceramic thing was trying to communicate with us from Venus. Life was indeed looking good all things considered.
Andy and the other probe had worked out their disagreement and were set to explore the outer Ort clouds. The plants were halfway into being talked into teraforming Mars for human habitation, if a reasonable treaty could be worked out that is, and the Empire in the form of Empress Chizuko would guarantee it, ha, ha.
Empress Chizuko Tocaona, the ten Fairy Tale Princesses and Wanda, and Morgan of all people, had decided to have babies all at one time by Max. Of course, as I’m sure you’ve all guessed by now, they would all be female. Madam Chang, as Prime Minister and ultimate authority on such things, assured everyone that the Empire would be fine with it now. In fact, she informed Chizuko it was time for Chizuko to declare Earth’s independence from the Cree Empire anyway she advised.
Right now, within the inner circle around Chizuko, the discussion was about if the incest taboo even applied anymore, after all these and all those to follow for that matter, would be designer babies, not the result of so-called “natural selection”. Their DNA would leave nothing to mere chance which ruled out any possibility of a destructive lethal recessive gene being carried by either the male donor or the female recipient. Having anything like hemophilia showing up in any of their bloodlines was a virtual impossibility today.
Things like hemophilia, the bleeder’s disease, that rare sometimes fatal blood disorder carried in the recessive gene of the female members of the Royal Families of Europe and passed on to their male offspring for countless generations long ago was a thing of the past now. Such a disease today was virtually unthinkable where the test and cure for the disease was so simple.
Of course back then it, and other genetic defects like it, lead to the creation of the inbred red neck stereotype image we all think of today when somebody brings up incest believe-it-or-not. That stereotype, and an a better understanding of the genetics behind it, lead to the creation of the incest taboo and laws we have today. The subsequent laws passed against those types of relationships, for obvious reasons, is what we have today.
Now with “the virus” out there those rare defects might even be cured or wiped out entirely in Earth’s general population. But these were matters to be decided at another time Max decided as he fell asleep with his head resting in Chizuko’s lap. Life is good he thought to himself as his eyes closed and his mind faded out to dreams of a future Dynasty he was now part of. Death was much overrated he thought to himself.