Deep brain implantation: In 2159 it’s standard equipment. It’s called your “chipset”.

P56 The Lightstream Chronicles online Graphic Novel and Web Comic

With all this controversy about “selective erasure” between Colonel Chen, Kristin Broulliard, and the regen room entourage, it might help to provide some background on the chipset that makes this all possible. Deep brain implantation was already in use as far back as the early 21st century to help with brain disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Of course, those diseases are a thing of the past in 2159, but the technology that was pioneered back in the 2000’s quickly evolved from disease intervention to brain and body enhancement.

The augmentation begins at an early age usually when a child reaches 3 or 4 years old. A port is inserted behind the ear just below the occipital bone and laterally to just above the C1 vertebra. The port resembles a small patch about 20mm square. It blends in with the skin and becomes visible only when touched by the owner. This reveals a slender 5mm slot in the center. The port connects through a microscopic tube to the base of the pons, a key feature of the brainstem that connects the medulla to the thalamus. The pons is considered white matter as opposed to the grey variety and is used to conduct signals from the forebrain and midbrain. It helps a number of autonomic functions like sleep, respiration, swallowing, bladder control, hearing, taste, and equilibrium among others. It also helps you dream. The first implantation sends a stream of nano particles that are programmed to find the pons and set up a grid, basically a set of microscopic slots that will accept updates and other programmable nodes that interface with luminous implants accessing everything from the Lightstream (the evolved internet),to infusion learning, internal body chemistry, and the V*. These implants are what allow the person to receive voice and telepathic transmissions as well as to “see” who is calling or immerse themselves in the world of the V.

Pons
The location of the pons. This is where our chipset live in 2159. Click for animation.

The pons’ midbrain pathway also provides access to the hippocampus, the brains memory center. The placement of the chipset is both strategic and precarious. As long as the port is used for medical purposes only such as software updates (so to speak), all is well. With the relatively new diversion of exchanging experiences, however,memories—complete with their accompanying sensory experiences are recorded and extracted directly via the port to an external device called a swig and then can be transferred to another person. Though participants swear by the “rush” of reliving someone else’s experience and claim that it far exceeds virtual simulations (which are readily available), the procedure is fraught with danger. Since the technology is relatively new and heavily regulated, quality swigs are hard to find and quite expensive. This opens the door for black market technology. Swigs with poor modulation, unsecured insertion, or faulty extraction algorithms can damage nearby white matter, in the adjacent medulla oblongata or pons itself. Because these two organs are so important to the body’s autonomic functions such as respiration and heartbeat, a bad swig, also know as a jack, can cause permanent damage or death. Consensual swigging, is legal, as is everything consensual, however there is also the illegal form of this is known as headjacking which we have discussed multiple times in this blog. It is usually used in rape cases, torture, bondage and occasionally murders, the latter with questionable results. It has yet to be proven that a person’s physical death can be shared and survived.

I will be featuring a swig and a jack later in 2014. Since the comic is taking a break for Christmas week, the blog will oblige. Next post, unless moved to do otherwise, will be January 3rd. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Read the real story here: Luke 2:1-20.

 

* V (The) – Street vernacular for virtual reality immersions.

animated gif courtesy of: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Pons.gif

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Graphic novel or web comic, it’s still serious business. Plus a CGI rendering update.

p 55

This week we’re peering into the regen pod where Sean floats suspended in a amniotic soup. As they encounter the visual of Sean’s injuries, Kristin Broulliard and the team are a bit taken aback and the crime takes on a more visceral punch. Despite the fact that modern medical science has found a way to repair this kind of trauma, the memories, however repressed they might be, could still be stored up inside Sean’s head — or not. Under normal circumstances, portions of the brain that house memories can be accessed and much like tracking through a DVD, selectively erased. The procedure is more difficult than it sounds. Memories are stacked, like thin layers and they are not always sequential. If the procedure samples too deeply, or grabs a snippet that does’t belong, the subject can awaken missing key components of their personality or identity map. In extreme cases, illegal intrusions using cheap, makeshift headjacking devices, can disrupt the autonomic nervous system affecting heart rate and respiration and ultimately resulting in death. Sean’s fate remains to be seen.

Would you erase the memories?

Chief Science Officer Broulliard is a bit taken aback.
Chief Science Officer Broulliard is a bit taken aback.

Progress update

While The Lightstream Chronicles exists as a complete storyline in screenplay form, the graphic novel obviously evolves more slowly. This week I expect to put the finishing touches on Chapter 2 and begin the Chapter 3 Prologues. I have slated a number of new pages and scenes. There are 6 chapters in total. Chapter 2 is the longest and chapter 3 is the shortest. As soon as I get the entire project in the bag, I’ll start posting a spread each week, or possibly two postings per week. Believe me I’m as anxious as my readers to “see” how this ends. But of course, I can always change it up. Let me know your thoughts here. Thanks.

 

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Regenerating damaged human tissue. A design fiction chrysalis. The Lightstream Chronicles online graphic novel and web comic.

The regen room. Page 54.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,

“…many accident victims and their injuries can be repaired, their body parts replaced, or regrown and their virtually lifeless bodies, regenerated using advanced stem-cell-based biomedical treatments. Because of the gravity of Sean’s injuries he will most likely receive an immersive regen. Patients treated with immersive regen are often coherent and functioning in a day or less.”

Sean’s injuries, though most likely terminal or resulting in serious impairment or disability in the 21st century, can be repaired or “regenerated” in a matter of hours. The process is known as regen and consists of an induced coma and submersion into a muculent, stem-cell-enriched, liquid – something like amniotic fluid on steroids. The patient actually breathes the fluid and it is absorbed into the skin. Sean’s broken bones were set before submersion, but once broken bones are set, cells regain their original undamaged functionality, the regen goes about sealing wounds and restoring damaged tissues, according to their original genetic blueprint.

The brain and its subtle intricacies are not always as predictable. Brain science by 2159 has been relatively successful in recording, restoring and implanting memory, however, severe brain injuries may still result in permanent damage. In Sean’s case there is the added complication of headjacking which can, if botched, result in a brain death. SInce Sean is the only survivor of the recent series of rape/headjackings in DownTown, his ability to remember the attack could shed some much needed light on the perpetrators of the crime.

Notes on building the regen pod

Here I was looking for something rather organic, not plantlike, but possibly like an insect chrysalis, pupa, or a freeform amniotic sac. (I found the photo below, after designing the pod BTW). I also wanted to suggest that the fluid contained therein was thick enough that the body could literally float, suspended. Then, a bio-electrical charge is also present throughout the fluid and serves to accelerate absorption of the regen into the tissues. These electrical charges can be seen swirling about and illuminating the fluid. Hopefully, all of this comes across to some extent. The circular, ring-like devices generate an electromagnetic force that keeps the body upright and they can also be used to channel regen fluid directly into the body, such as the tubes that are inserted into Sean’s nose.

Common_crow_pupa.1
Common_crow_pupa.1
The Regen Pod.
The Regen Pod.

All of this is somewhat easier said than done. The refractive qualities of the regen pod, reflections, lighting, and electrical charges proved to be incredibly costly rendering choices. Whenever the pod was featured I could expect many anxious hours of waiting for renderings to materialize. I’d love to get your thoughts from readers on the 22nd century sound effects that might go with these scenes.

 

 

1 Chrysalis photo courtesy of Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupa#Chrysalis

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