Lots of things have been written about my forefathers from the Manhattan Project and their reaction to the first nuclear bombs. I don’t know what is accurate and what is dramatized fabulation. But today I think I can understand how they felt. I’m terrified and awed by the power of this thing I helped build.
When the project started, it seemed no different from any other neuroscience research endeavour. We did get a lot of funding from the government, but there was nothing suspicious or uncommon about that. We were just another lab in a sea of brilliant academics.
Our focus was the response of brain tissues to external stimuli. There was a lot of literature about the response of brain tissues to implants, of course, and neuron’s response to various molecular stimuli was a hot topic in neurobiology. But we wanted to try a different approach, focusing not on the components of the brain, but treating it as a closed system.
Most of our colleagues were focused on mapping the effects of emotions or perceptions on the brain. We couldn’t realistically hope to compete with the brilliant fellows from the University of California, let alone all the others. That’s why we were looking for a novel approach that could be our own, a new door in the field we could open. That may seem presumptuous, but back then we were not aiming for results, just for exploration of ideas.
As it often does, our work sparked from a silly idea I had watching the Matrix Reloaded. In the movie, they get rid of the machines pursuing them by launching a powerful EMP. The electromagnetic field emitted by the pulse would wreak havoc in the electronic circuits of the machines.
Why wouldn’t EMP work on humans, whose brain is essentially an electrical circuit? Brain chemistry wasn’t as simple as a train of electrons running around wires, so something as simple as a magnet wouldn’t work, but surely there was some way we could alter the brain’s flow with some sort of magnet-like wave. There must be frequencies that could induce a reaction in the brain.
We discovered there that some teams were investigating the potential of gamma wave stimulation during sleep to stimulate lucid dreaming. This was very encouraging. If lucidity could be triggered during a dream, maybe we could incept in the brain our own image or ideas.
We experimented with various magnetic fields and electromagnetic wave radiation. At first it seemed doomed, nothing we did seem to have any meaningful effect. The chemistry-based circuitry of the brain proved remarkably impervious to our tinkering attempts. It was actually a pretty impressive defense against external attacks.
But any defense has weak points, and there were gateways to the brain that let information through. That was probably our breakthrough. Using the perception canals the intellect was already receptive to. With waves in the visual and auditory spectrum, surely we could reach inside the brain.
And it worked. Better than anyone could have expected or dreamt. This was the starting point, and everything accelerated from there. Within days, we could trigger various vague feelings in our patients. It wasn’t long before we could summon simple images in their mind. Entranced by such success, we quickly moved on to more and more complex ideas to incept. Nothing seemed to be out of our reach.
It wasn’t much of a stretch from implanting images in their brain to implanting thoughts, and therefore decisions. Soon, we could manipulate the will of a person. We started by simple things, like accentuating an already present desire (say urinate or eat…). That was easy. But in essence, that wasn’t much different from making people do our bidding.
Before we realized it, we had on our hands the Device, a powerful mind control system. To be honest, we were playing with fire, but none of us really realized what we were doing. It’s only after having witnessed the effects of the Device that we really came to terms with the consequences of our invention. It’s unbelievably powerful. It can reach out into anyone’s mind, change what they perceive, change how they think… I can only shiver faced with the might of the invention I helped build.
We did our best to keep our project secret, but such success in such a dangerous field was bound to attract attention. The government reached out to us, and I cannot begin to imagine what other organizations are secretly after us. It’s probably only a matter of days, if I’m lucky, before this gets out of our control.
If the Device falls in the wrong hands, there’s no telling what its power could do. Cement totalitarian empires or sustain the most abject cruelty is probably just the tip of the iceberg. It’s no exaggeration to say it could wipe out humanity. I can’t even comprehend all the ramifications of this.
I’m utterly terrified, and my fear grows more and more the more I think about it. But I can’t destroy the Device. We can’t go back. It would only be a matter of time before someone else discovers what we did and reproduces it. Maybe some people are already working on it. Maybe there are other versions already being used.
So I came up with a plan. I think this is the only thing I can do. If I can’t destroy the Device, I can at least limit its power. If the Device can manipulate people and incept any thoughts, I can use it to make people wary and careful. I can make people think harder, and realize how powerful this technology already is. And then I can only hope for the best…
So I’m using my access to the Device one last time before it gets revoked. Let’s control a few minds and put in my thoughts, to show how easy it can be, in hope that it serves as a warning.
I’ve just turned on the machine and logged in. Now to prepare the visual signal I’m going to send to get things started. The screen of the machine is still a blank slate. I enter a cryptic message as project title, and I start typing the configuration code that will incept the subject: “Lots of things have been written about my forefathers from the Manhattan Project and their reaction to the first nuclear bombs…”