Written in 365 Parts: 74: Your Past May Be A Fiction

“Wait, what? A construct, what? This is in my head? You are in my head? Like in a dream? I don’t have dreams like this.”

“Oh, you don’t dream like this? Why, what’s the matter? Am I not naked in front of the class, manipulating a marmoset?”

“What? What the heck, no.”

Drick laughed. “Sorry, look I managed to get a few hours sleep while they were operating on you and so I am just playing around. Being light hearted. Setting you at ease a little. Let me as best as I can. You might want to take a few deep breaths.”

“If you’re being light hearted I am seriously worried. Deep breaths, sure. Just use small words, okay?”

“As small as I am able to, let’s face it large words would confuse you.”

“Thanks. What’s a construct?”

“It’s a computer simulation. This is a computer program running on the device that is connected to your mind. It has the capability to send signals to your mind that, sort of, replicate your senses. Early simulations were just like holograms, or semi-sensory, poor augmented reality. But, we have since developed technology that allows full fusion of cybernetics. Using the fact that there is a greater understanding of how the brain creates and uses information from senses, memory and more importantly its own perception or imagination. It allows us to build immersive simulations. This is one of those.”

“So this is being created and sent into my head?”

“Yes, and more importantly, no. The construct program merely allows the operator to define what they would like you to see. The actual shape of what is created, colours, textures, smells, tastes, pressure, gravity is made by your mind. The full sensory experience is provided by your brain. That’s an important distinction. If we create a simulation, and create all the textures and components, we would have to force your brain to accept it as real. Your brain is wired to help prevent that. In fact, the brain has a few mechanisms to validate what is real, unreal. or more accurately what it considers to be truth. The brain believes itself above all other evidence. That’s partially why we have biases and mental illnesses. What your brain considers correct, or accurate, may not represent reality.”

“So How do you get this then?” Marsh indicated the bedroom and the furnishings. Gesturing at a mirror. “This looks a bit like a mirror I saw in a hotel room, but it is different. So it feels partially familiar. Am I doing that, or is the construct program doing it?”

“Good question. Both. The operator wants you to be in a room. It has a bed, chair, table, mirror, windows and doors. They want those to lead to places as well. So those instructions are in the construct program. The code then fires the right neurons to pull examples of those things from your mind and coaxes you to create the picture in real time. At the same time it creates the correct waves and vibrations, mimicking those that your brain uses. That’s the really clever part as the waves in your head are mostly unique to you. Simulating them is difficult, manipulating the brain to create them is why we have hardware fused to your mind. At that point the construct is no different to what your brain does anyway. The final big issue is if there is missing information. But, that can be created by the construct pulling data. So, for instance, you have no idea what a blaster rifle looks like. However I am connected to the same construct, as is Rodero, and the archives of image data so we can make one appear.”

Drick walked over to a chest of drawers and opened them. They pulled out a long black rifle with an unusual cylindrical stock and large bore. There was a series of mini displays on the rifle’s top and a set of small stud switches above the trigger. “Here,” Drick passed it to Marsh. “How does it feel?”

Marsh looked it over, “smooth, rubberised surfaces. The studs are sharp and metallic. There is a weight to it, but it is a little, maybe wrong feeling, I don’t know.”

“Wrong?”

“Yeah, something like that. Something about the weapon that doesn’t feel right.”

“That’s your brain working. You see you now know that this shouldn’t feel right. But the construct program is very good and the operator competent. Your senses should not know any different. Had we not discussed it you would not be feeling this way, you have no knowledge of the weapon so everything should be a new experience. But I told you it was created and now you sense that. You’re probably feeling that way about the whole program now. It is being rejected by the working part of your brain. However small that is.. You are expecting a difference, and the wrong feeling is that there isn’t one. Small items we can get away with it causing no real discontent. However, if we created everything with you having no internal references, or biases to make it believable, you’d probably have a seizure.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. A lot of very early construct programs, particularly the total immersive experiences where people wanted to roleplay extreme situations, caused massive issues. The brain has great potential to damage itself.”

“So why am I in this construct?”

“I thought this would help. Look we have brought you online fully. That hardware in your head is an impressive piece of kit. There are capabilities to give full augmentation to your senses. It has full ability to access both public and private networks, that’s computer networks. It has both reception and broadcast capabilities, which means you can literally send your experiences to another person, or system. Hell you could stream the Marsh experience directly into someone else.”

“This all seems mad. How will I know if I am somewhere real, or a simulation, or, well, anything?” Marsh looked at Drick his face starting to pale.

“Sit down,” Drick sat in a chair and waited for Marsh to take the seat opposite. “This is why I used this particular construct, it’s a simple one. A room with minimal distractions. The truth is that you can tell, but it takes a lot of training and a lot of time inside construct programs to be able to tell. You have to learn it. They have become so sophisticated that some organics spend all of their existence in virtual worlds. Sometimes it is the best thing for them.”

“It’s scary.”

“It is. Very scary. The power that is available via the links to your mind can give a rogue operator almost godlike powers over you. However this is known. The devices have safeguards. Organics don’t like being altered without permission, so they made the hardware with failsafes to prevent that. Up until last night your unit was not functioning properly. The people who fitted it had restricted your access to prevent you using its full capabilities. They had also prevented you from benefiting from any failsafes. They had disarmed them. They had control over you. Marsh, your past may be a fiction. We are going to have to discover what is real.”

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