Monday, August 8, 2016

Mind Transfer: Ill thought out evil plan

[I've been looking at Resident Evil stuff a bit and found out that in one of the games I have yet to play there's a thing that doesn't involve all laws of biology and virology being ignored to create zombies and monsters.  Someone who considers herself more than human decides to shoot for immortality by transfering her conciousness into an unwilling victim.  Near as I can tell (I haven't played the game), it's played straight, but it seems to me like there are some obvious pitfalls to such a plan.]
[In other news, this was written entirely on a bus.]

- - -

Talbot was fuming, she'd come so close and these two insignificant creatures had snatched immortality from her.  She had to find her vessel again and complete the transfer.  She had to get out of this virus-riddled body.

But the insignificant creatures were the only ones who knew where the vessel had been hidden.

“Tell me where you put it,” she said again to the male creature.

“I'm not going to let you use a twelve year old girl in your sick experiments,” it said.

To be expected.  But this one was all talk.  She had memorized the creature's psychological profile.  It would be easily persuaded.  The other creature was stronger, so its only use was a method of persuading the weaker creature.

“Computer, execute procedure eta three seven in holding cell two,” Talbot said.  The male creature would be sure to talk when it was forced to watch the female creature begin to lose cohesion and melt.  The process was slow enough that Talbot had no doubt the female creature would stay alive long enough for the male creature to tell her what she wanted to know.

Though. . . the process shouldn't be so slow that there weren't yet any results.

“Computer, report on holding cell two,” Talbot said.

“Holding cell two is intact, and all systems are functional.  The cell currently houses a human female, vital signs unremarkable.  The temperature within the cell is 17 degrees centigrade. The atmosphere within the cell has a composition of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen--”

“Why hasn't procedure eta three seven been implemented?”

“Procedure eta three seven has not been ordered by an authorized user.”

“I ordered it!” Talbot shouted.

“You are not an authorized user,” the computer said.

Talbot said, “Override code--”

“I changed the codes,” someone said from the doorway.  Talbot spun to look at the intruder.

* * *
~ ~ Earlier ~ ~
* * *

Mary awoke to pain.  Her body was fine.  He brain hurt.  A flood of new thoughts, feelings, ideas, memories.

When her mind finally settled down she groaned and said, “That's it; I'm doing drugs.”

She'd never been interested in mind altering substances before; she always thought that the anti-drug lectures they had to sit through in school were pointless because who would want to do drugs?  But if her mind was going to be altered anyway, she wanted to be the one in control.

She took in her surroundings.  She was on a metal table in a no frills-break room.  Sub-level three, east wing.  The coffee machine never seemed to work right.

She rolled herself a bit and let her legs drop off the table.  Once they found the ground she pushed herself into a standing position.

Either the others had stopped her before the mind overwriting process was finished, or Talbot had been wrong about the effect the process would have.  Probably the second.  Talbot was an arrogant ass who rarely considered that she might have overlooked something.  Her memories proved that.

Speaking of...

“Computer,” Mary said, “code A twenty six Zeta thirty two: biometric scanners malfunctioning.  Request override.  Authorization Talbot, Jessica G.  Override code Albuquerque -- √úbermensch – Kumquats are better than apricots.”

The computer responded, “Please input personal codes nine, seventeen, and twenty three and general code four at the nearest terminal to confirm override.

Mary typed them in quickly.  Personal code nine was the first ten Fibonacci primes, no spaces:
 Seventeen was the beginning of Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
Als Zarathustra dreissig Jahr alt war, verliess er seine Heimat und den See seiner Heimat und ging in das Gebirge.
Twenty Three was more existentialism.  The birthdates of Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, and Satre
“Override accepted,” the computer said.  “Welcome, Doctor Talbot.”

Too easy, Mary thought.

“Computer, the failure of the biometrics and the security breaches on,” Mary rattled off a list of dates and times, “indicate that base security has been compromised.”

“Confirmed,” the computer said, “however you are not authorized to initiate an omega level response.”

Mary nodded.  Whether or not the computer could see it was an open question, but she didn't really care.  Three users of the highest authorization would need to be present to initiate any omega level action.  Base protocol 101.

“I request a reset of my own security codes,” Mary said.

“Your request is granted,” the computer said.

Mary typed new codes into the terminal.

“I recommend that biometrics be re-calibrated using scans of my person,” Mary said.  Whether the recommendation was accepted depended on various esoteric probabilistic models built into the base's computer, but if it were the “re-calibration” would throw a wrench into the entire system because  there was no way to reconcile her heat signature, retina, iris, hand-print, and so forth with any of the records on file for Talbot.

Attempts to do so would send the system into a spiraling destructive frenzy until it decided not to trust anyone's biological id, except, perhaps, for that of Mary herself.

If it followed the recommendation, that was.

“You are authorized to replace your corrupted biometric files with ones based on new, accurate, scans,” the computer said.  “The possibility of re-calibration will be investigated.”

Mary shrugged.  It had been worth a shot.

After she got new scans done on her, making her hands and eyes all access passes to the entire facility, it was time to rescue her friends.  She knew where they'd be: holding cells, sub level six, north wing, corridor three, room seven.

* * *

Talbot looked at the vessel for a moment before it really registered.  The vessel changed the codes.  To do that the vessel would have to know her codes.  The transfer had obviously worked to some degree.  She just had to complete it.

“You are incomplete,” Talbot said.  “Let me finish what I started and you will be--”

“I'm complete,” the vessel said.  “I'm more than complete.  I've got two lifetimes of experience in me.”

Talbot shook her head.  The vessel may have gained some of her essence, but it was still a small inferior being.  “You could be something great,” Talbot said.

“You know, when we,” the vessel gestured to itself and the creatures in the holding cells, “first encountered you I thought you were insane.”

“Silence!” Talbot shouted.

“Now I know better,” the vessel said.  That was better.

“Now that I've experienced your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your memories, your ambitions...” the vessel said.  “Now I know that you're not insane, you're not unwell, you're not sick, you're not damaged.  You're evil.  Nothing more, nothing more sympathetic.”

Talbot had had enough of the discussion and charged at the vessel.  The vessel dove out of the way, but Talbot knew she'd have it before long.  Then she could complete the transfer.

“Computer, authorization Talbot - Ishmael, Pequot, Picard!” the vessel shouted.  That wasn't one of Talbot's codes.  She was confused a moment before she remembered: It changed the codes.

Talbot spun and attempted to strike down the vessel.  She'd find a new one; this one had become a threat.

The vessel dodged again.  As it did it shouted, “Eliminate the non-human presence--” Talbot lashed out again but the vessel was nimble.  “--in the room,” the vessel finished.

Talbot recognized the sound of turrets spinning up to speed.

* * *

“I've got to hand it to you,” Mary said to Talbot's corpse.  “I thought the rotary machine gun turrets in the holding area were overkill, but it turns out that they were just the right amount of kill.”

Mary walked away from the body and toward the cells to release her friends.

There were some hugs.  Adults could be so mushy.

“You've really got her in your head?” Elza asked.

Mary shrugged.

“It's not all bad,” she said.  “I understand French, German, and Russian now, and I think Simone de Beauvoir was kind of awesome.  Not exactly the biggest changes, and hardly the end of the world.”

“But, I mean, isn't she going to try to take over or something,” Elza asked.

“How she ever could have believed her mind was stronger than mine is beyond me,” Mary said.  “There's nothing much there.  She had lots of knowledge, a massive superiority complex, a sadistic streak, and no real core to her personality.  Everything she thought or did was about thinking she was better than everyone else, but when it comes to what she actually was . . . it's just hollow.  She was such an empty husk that there's nothing to replace me with.”

After a moment, Mary added, “Trust me, I'm fine.  Other than knowing a bunch of new stuff, the only real change is that, now that I'm intimately familiar with what she did with her life, I'm determined to live the next 40 years of my life well."

Trying a differnt text size since apparently the old thing was hard for some to read.  I don't know, though, this seems kind of big to me.  Does it seem big to you?

For comparison:

This is the size I usually shoot for.

And this is blogger default.


  1. My usual response to body-stealing plans is "Why steal from an unwilling host when you can share with a willing host?"

    Sometimes the answer is "because they don't have any method of mind-transference that doesn't overwrite the original", which is a Doylistic cop-out, but sometimes *cough*DS9*cough* it doesn't overwrite the original and the body-hopper still insists on being evil about it.

    (If I were Rao Vantika, I'd have possessed Julian Bashir too, but I'd have explained the situation to him ASAP (via asynchronous communication, since co-fronting seems to be beyond them) and offered to move somewhere more hospitable at the first opportunity if he didn't want me around.)

    (I'd say "Be a Tok'ra, not a Goa'uld!", but I've only actually seen, like, six episodes of Stargate, so I'd have to trust that my cultural osmosis on Tok'ra vs Goa'uld is accurate.)

    The text size is on the big side, but not to the point of being unpleasant.

  2. I am enjoying the nice big font.

    Also enjoying the story.

  3. Your old font was slightly easier, but I don't really mind either way.

    I like the concept but I'm not entirely convinced by the explanation. Evil is a pattern of thought, and it shouldn't be filtered. Perhaps the merging removed the props on which it was resting (the "everyone is stupider than me" pressure is only about half as strong as it was)?

    1. I'm not going for Mary's assessment being perfection. Probably the biggest part of it is simply that Mary was there first. Talbot's mind was integrated into Mary's. The effect would have been quite different if Mary's mind had been integrated into Talbot's.

      Mary viewed Talbot as evil and cruel* and that provided the lens through which she interpreted and integrated the massive download of new thoughts, memories, ideas, and such.

      It's also the case that every Talbot thought, motivation, or drive has to contend with how Mary would feel about it.

      If they'd both been dumped into an empty mind at the same time that might result in a stalemate (though more likely a blend where what's Mary, what's Talbot, and what's some of each is on a case by case basis) but since Talbot was put into Mary's mind Mary has the advantage.

      The brain is already used to moving along Mary pathways, and the way that the two conflicting sets of memory and personality and such work is that the new stuff is integrated into the framework created by the pre-existing stuff.

      While there was a lot more data, the download was integrated the way an ordinary experience would be. That can result in completely changing a person, but generally it involves fitting the new stuff into existing mental paradigms.

      Mary's paradigms have Talbot as an evil person not to be emulated and most of the mind download is able to be plugged into that paradigm just fine. "Of course she'd look at it that way, she's evil."

      The places most likely to change Mary's worldview are the places where there's the least of Talbot personality. Information rather than motivation, knowledge rather than interpretation, skills rather than the impetus to learn such skills.


      * Which made Talbot scary, but also lesser than. Mary thinks that good is better than evil, and since she thinks Talbot is evil everything built on the idea that Talbot was better than lesser beings (several of whom Mary thinks are good) had the foundation yanked out.

      Sure, Mary remembers thinking those thoughts, feeling those feelings, and having those motivations, but it's remembered in a way similar to remembering things and thinking "Damn was I wrong back then."