Eclipse Phase - Apocalypse

Subtle Psyches

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Personal Notes on Experimental Regimen Stoneflesh-223
Dr. Keitaro Chavez

My Firewall associates pinged my muse over and over again until I was finally forced to see what was so very important that they had to interrupt my 223rd deconstruction of the “King in Yellow” basilisk hack data provided by my long-estranged alpha fork Dr. Mikhail Eng. I’m retroactively pleased at their persistence.

It would appear that Clowder and Echo were going over the aggregated data from the thousands of psychosurgeries the three of us performed in the aftermath of the basilisk hack’s deployment and noticed some subtle irregularities. I have to commend them. The subtleties were obvious once pointed out, but neither me nor my muse caught them. I’d like to think it was because we were focused so intently on the hack-data itself that was recovered from Mars but I would not wish to do my fellows a disservice.

The irregularities they noticed were specifically a part of the egos of the three members of the fleet who were repatriated from the Canaan aerostat governed by the ASI known as Astraeus… random neurological junk-code that would have been overlooked had it not been the SAME junk code in all three. When Clowder and Echo brought one of these individuals, Mr. Bodhi Kapoor, nephew to Dr. Nanda Kapoor, back to my psychosurgery suite they poked around at it a bit. As they started unraveling the associative implications of this aberrant neurology, the depth and complexity of it became clear enough to trigger my equipment’s simulation override protocols which dumped Clowder and Echo into a sequence of Mr. Kapoor’s memories that appeared to post-date the Fall itself, seeming to follow him into the years of struggle on Earth after the interdiction. The conclusion of these memories culminated in a very pure and distinct chime that was, in actuality, a shockingly complex single-note basilisk hack that immediately started working on Clowder and Echo to change their sensorium in a panoply of subtle ways.

They deleted those forks, of course, whereupon they neglected to immediately inform me of the situation, choosing instead to travel to Venus to inquire of Astraeus herself. It would seem that Astraeus solicited volunteers among her 43 million odd rescued egos for… augmentation. They were modified in ways intended to make them resistant to basilisk hacks, as well as… deeper alterations designed to make them “poisonous” to whatever schemes the TITANs required transhuman egos for, just in case they should return and resume the harvest.

That’s what she claimed, of course, and we’re not in any particular position to determine otherwise. Nevertheless, once they returned and finally told me of these events, I took a copy of the chime from my simulspace records. Analysis does confirm that it’s a sophisticated basilisk hack that appears to change a person’s sensorium in subtle ways rendering other basilisk hacks less likely to work. A hack to block a hack. Quite clever, really.

That was certainly enough to accelerate my work considerably, but apparently while on Venus they met with a Firewall “vector” named Silkworm who has been monitoring Cognite’s orbital facility Thought. He noticed some sudden changes in personnel and research direction. It would seem that Thought was once host to a copy of Karl VanDeLaarSchot who may well have infected the station-mind, Dr. Ilya Fero. Karl’s death appears to have sparked full-on Vittrad outbreaks in everyone touched by him, so there is some concern that Dr. Fero might be infected. This was certainly welcome news as now it motivates Firewall agents to commit to the murder-contract Dr. Eng presented to them. Rather than simply being anti-Cognite assassins, they have a rationale to justify their deeds. It’s a weak rationale considering they permit a known Vittrad async to operate alongside them, but it’s not my job to balance their senses of personal morality.

There was some concern that maybe the purported billions of decaying egos in Iapetus may also be infected, but I don’t believe there’s any empyrical evidence to support such a conclusion. For now, though, they have accepted Eng’s contract and are preparing to infect multiple copies of Dr. Fero’s ego with a custom-designed basilisk hack. I wish them luck.

For now, I must get back to work.

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