Fantasy & Sci-Fi

The Institute Part 1
"The Memories"

By Anonymous

"The breakthrough came when my professor, Dr. Klaus Newman, discovered the fundamental mechanisms of memory storage in the brain. His work led directly to methods of literally 'reading minds' through the now famous 'mind probe.' It is less well known, however, that Dr. Newman's discoveries eventually enabled us to write, as well as read, minds. In other words, memories and beliefs could, with difficulty, be created and implanted. At first, the process was a hit-or-miss affair; then the research of myself and my colleagues elucidated the 'encoding' used by the brain. Using supercomputers, new memory chains and sequences could be generated which were indistinguishable from natural ones."

"There has been much controversy over the ethics of memory writing and implantation. So far, such discussion has been rendered moot--for lack of an effective means of implanting memories. The current best available means uses focused ion beams and is slow and error-prone. No more than a few memory chains can be implanted by this means due to the collateral damage caused by the beams. So philosiphers and ethicists would seem to have nothing to worry about from 'mind writing.'"

Professor James Garrett looked up from his lecture notes. "That concludes today's lecture."

After a few questions, the class straggled out of the lecture hall. He packed up his notes and prepared to leave. He hated his job as lecturer here at Ocean College. He, a Nobel Prize winner. Each time he completed a lecture, he tasted the bitterness. Once, he'd been a leading light at Harvard, and his grad students had done the lectures. Now, he was an 'instructor' at a third-rate cow college, and grateful for the job. He shook his head ruefully. Ever since that incident, his career, his reputation...in ruins. He'd used the mind writer--the ion beam implanter--on one of his coeds. For a brief while, it'd been wonderful. She'd been his willing slave, ready to do anything he wanted. But he'd been greedy. He'd tried to implant his younger sister. Only a child, really, at 16; he had planned to train her, over several years, as an exquisite little slave. The implant didn't take, and she blew the whistle.

The papers had a field day. "Mad Scientist in Mind-Ray Sex Zombie Case!" screamed the headlines. "Pervert Prof Uses Brain Ray on Lolita!"

And now he was here--all his dreams in ruins. The college was very careful to restrict him to teaching; no research with ion-beam memory implanters.

An older man, not a student, stood before him. "Dr. Garrett, I believe you know who I am."

"Certainly. Howard Carmody. You are one of the richest men in the world."

"Correct. I am CEO of NanoDyne. I would like to discuss a business arrangement with you.

"My research is supported by a number of government grants; it is quite well funded at present."

"Don't dissemble with me. You have no research funds--and no lab."

"You have done your homework."

"My staff is competent."

"I'm not interested in becoming a pet scientist in one of your labs."

"Ah. But I am talking about unlimited funding and the ability to pursue any line of interest, without interference."

"Why would you wish to offer me an unlimited budget and no oversight? It doesn't make sense."

"There would be...some restrictions...at first. But only at first. In return for your assistance in pursuing a certain line of inquiry now, you would be given total freedom upon completion of the research I have in mind."

"And if that research fails?"

"I doubt you will fail; however, if you should fail, the deal is off."

"All right. I assume the research has something to do with nanotechnology."

"Correct. I want you to develop a means for memory implantation via nanotech."

"Been tried. There were insurmountable problems."

"I know. But one of our staff scientists has developed a way around the problems that stopped the previous effort. We believe that his methods, combined with yours, will lead to success."

The prediction proved prophetic. In less than a year, working first on animals, then on human volunteers, the team had scored success after success. Finally it developed a fully-automated method of memory development and implant which was completely effective.

Then--with the tools in hand--his benefactor had revealed his ultimate goal. He called it the 'total immersion' project. The idea was nothing less than the construction of a complete life-memory implant, literally building a fully-textured, completely "real" set of memories which had never actually happened.

For the implantee, however, the memories would be true, consistent, and completely believable--no matter how "unbelievable" the content. Because the subject's brain would 'believe' that he or she had actually experienced the events in the implant, down to the tiniest detail, the subject would be able to answer questions about the "past"--any questions. With the same accuracy and detail--and lapses--as with a real memory.

Using the new photonic supercomputers, absolutely "real" simulations of reality could be generated in a very short time. Even "realities" which were physically impossible could be created. But none which were logically impossible.

Carmody was delighted. Gradually, he took Garrett into his confidence. "The next phase is to creaete the reality I have in mind. We'll gang several of the supercomputers together. It must be perfect; without flaw and totally believable.

"All the simulations are believable."

"Yes, yes...but THIS one must be iron-clad--you'll understand."

Slowly, the parameters became known. It was obvious why he'd sought out Garrett given his past. It was the old dream--the fantasy of all men: to have complete control over the minds and bodies of females. Carmody wanted willing and eager sex toys, just as had Garrett; submissive, totally obedient female servants. And his method for creating them was far more audacious than Garrett's crude use of the ion-beam implanter.

Carmody wanted to construct 'The Institute'; a total-immersion brainwashing facility. If someone tried to build it in "reality" it would be impossible: too expensive, illegal on many fronts. Impossible to keep its existence a secret. Impossible to staff. And some of the "processes" he had in mind for the "residents" were either impossible or illegal. Some of the mind-altering drugs were "impossible" but not logically so.

Anyone implanted with the "memory reality" of the Institute would be a totally-programmed slave. There would be no question of disobedience: the experience would be too overwhelming, too completely "real." The subject would literally remember years of intensive programming and conditioning with drugs and hypnosis--Carmody called it "meta-hypnosis," more powerful than normal hypnotic techniques. The protocol called for full immersion from childhood to puberty. In fact, the implant could be used on anyone--age didn't matter--but the MEMORIES would be from earliest childhood.

"How the subjects will 'feel' during the 'training' is a meaningless question," Carmody explained to Garrett. "The training itself occupies zero real time and is itself timeless. I suppose any subject exposed to Institute techniques and methods would feel like a helpless plaything of infinitely-powerful, godlike Masters; of course, this is exactly what we want. The subject would quickly learn that her Masters' word was Law--even physical law. She would find that disobedience is not only impossible, but literally unthinkable. Indeed, the entire concept of disobedience, of self-will, would be removed from her mind."

As Carmody and Garrett discussed the implant, Garrett wondered at the audacity and brilliance of the plan. Carmody had thought of everything: "The memories of The Institute programming will be suppressed--hidden even from the implantee--until the proper key phrase is given. At that time, all memories and behaviors will become active. That way, subjects can be implanted now and triggered whenever desired." Whoever gave the proper activation phrase would be recognized as the Master--the one whom the implantee must obey and serve without question.

"The memories will flood back, overwhelming the 'normal' ones. In essence, the subject's childhood will be instantly replaced by a totally self-consistent and convincing memory overlay of a ten-year stay at The Institute. And the conditioning and programming will turn on. I imagine it will be a fairly shattering experience..."

"We don't want a zombie: the personality will remain unaffected. The subject will just obey--quite helplessly--any command given by the Master." Carmody also specified that the conditioning regimen include a second keyword that would project the subject into a deep meta-hypnosis trance, "For fine-tuning," as Carmody said.

They began development of the 'virtual reality sequence.' Every implantee would have the same basic memory trace, with minor random variations automatically encoded. Each would 'remember' the same intense and overwhelming programming; each would remember the training in total service. More importantly, each would have a brain state that reflected the training and programming of the Institute. And the brain state would be exactly the same as if the implantee had indeed spent years under the loving care of a real Institute.

It took months to program the simulation. Additional months to debug and check it out. Finally, the sim was ready. "When can we test it?" Carmody asked.

"I've fed the sim into the nano factory; we should have test nanos on Monday," Garrett told him. "Do you have, uh, a subject in mind?"

"Yeah; let me handle that. What modality for delivery?"

They'd discussed several means of getting the implant to the subject. "Ingestion I think. Less chance of an error; less chance of someone else getting the 'plant."

"All right."