Mindtech lab, private memo of Cathy, 20. March 2024
We called it ‘The Third Eye’.
While Quattros mind interface system was either a large tube or at least a tight helmet, the 3E was the first success to miniaturize it. Most of us calling it the best augmented reality interface we know.
The first Third Eye was a more limited and specialized design without the ability to read and write the memory and personality of a person. Its circuits and effectors were focused on reading and writing the sensor processing part of the brain. It allowed an external computer to project optical and acoustic data into the brain or recording incoming data.
With some training, a catgirl could learn to use the Third Eye to focus her thought in a way the computer could record, which allowed to use it similar to a neural link of a cyborg. As soon as they became available, the Third Eye quickly replacing other augmented reality systems used by Catgirl Industries. Improved versions could even read the mood and stress levels of the user and projecting them to another 3E user, enabling some kind of voluntary empathy.
Unfortunately, while we thought the device was safe to use in 2021, we also discovered a few pit traps during the further development of the technology.
“Cathy, you better come down to the Mindtech lab right now. Something strange is going on here!”
Vivio’s voice sounded concerned and Cathy quickly hurried towards the lab area where they were experimenting with the Mind Computer interface tech they had acquired from Quattro years ago.
When Cathy arrived at the door of the lab, Vivio was already waiting for her.
“Something bad happened?” she asked, but Vivio just shrugged with her shoulders.
“I am not sure, they had planned a test with an improved Third Eye today... but when I entered the lab, I noticed something was off” Vivio answered. “Just ask Jenny what is going on, you will see what happens.”
Jenny was a special case among the catgirls of Jenga, the first and only successful Alpha Fork of a catgirl. Her "sister" Jerry had been both a successful Eezo and Mindtech researcher, which put her into a difficult situation when most of the Eezo research moved to Nostromo.
In an acute fit of Mad Science Jerry had locked herself into her private lab for a whole week in Mid 2019, trying to implement the methods of a paper about medical cloning from the Vesta Institute and sidestepping problems by running the result through a modified catgirling machine. When the catgirls broke the doors of the lab a week later, they found two identical catgirls sleeping in the burned out remainders of the laboratory. Jerry had successfully copied her whole mind content into the clones empty brain, duplicating herself effectively. But neither of them could remember what happened during the week.
In the end Jerry moved out to Nostromo to continue her research on Eezo while Jenny stayed on Jenga, working with the Mind Tech team. Both catgirls were still exchanging ideas and news on a regular basis and Jenny stated she wanted to transfer memories between each other.
“Jenny, I heard there are some issues” Cathy stated as she pushed open the lab doors and looked around. “Maybe you can tell me why Vivio is a bit concerned?”
Two catgirls smiled as they heard Jenny’s name and Cathy had the feeling both wanted to say something. They looked at each other for a moment and then one of them chuckled.
“Don’t worry Cathy, everything is working fine. We are just testing a new Third Eye” one of them said. “I can assure you there is no need to worry about.”
“Neither of you are Jenny.” Cathy stated flatly and looked through the room where the catgirl she recognized as Jenny was working. “I'd like to hear from Jenny herself!”
The two catgirls looked at each other again with a confused look.
“Are you sure?”
I tried to talk with Jenny a few times, but it was a frustrating experience. She seemed to be distracted and looking just confused when I asked to talk with her in private.
But it wasn't looking that they had a bad time... everyone in the lab was focused on their work, smiling about some insight I could not even see.
The lab was much more quiet than usual, but their speed of work was astonishing. I was feeling a bit frustrated not being able to follow them quickly enough. This was one of my major research areas too!
From time to time one of them was smiling at me or patting on my shoulder, telling me that everything was fine and I should not worry. But nobody was willing to stop working, not even for a short walk into the Cafeteria to get a snack.
I finally gave up and asked Vivio to help me setting up some measurement equipment. We had to find out what was going on in the lab.
“How could this have happened Vivio” Cathy said and sighed. “I thought we were a bit more careful, how could a large part of the team develop completely new hardware and test it on themselves without telling anyone?”
“I do not think its new hardware Cathy” Vivio replied, “they are just using the newest iteration of the Third Eye hardware. I checked it myself, they just decided to use it in a different way than normal.”
“Different way? Vivio, we have a group of researchers who still can do successful research but are not sure who they are anymore!” Cathy spit out. “Thats a little bit more than the Third Eye should be able to do.”
“I agree, but they let me look through their logfiles. They started this morning with a new software that allowed direct mind-to-mind communication in voice and images. Seems to be very easy, almost reflexive to use. Think about it, instead of asking your team members a question you just think it and you get a visual answer within the blink of an eye.”
“Okay, I can see that this is a little bit unusual” Cathy said, “but that doesn’t explain their current behaviour!”
“No, it doesn’t... but they kept working through the day and the whole communication network somehow became synchronized. Thoughts flying back and forth without much conscious thinking.” Vivio explained. “And then this noon the group wrote a patch to increase the bandwidth of the Brain-Machine interface. Instead of sharing images and text, they were able to push whole blocks of memory through their Third Eye. It seems to require a special kind of concentration, but they say its easy to do after getting used to it.”
“Wait a moment... you say they use a small clip-on interface to extract and integrate full memories?” Cathy asked as her hairs stood on edge. “Where do they get the storage space to filter them?”
“I am not sure, they are using the connection directly brain to brain, no filter involved. Which meant they didn’t even need to formulate an answer to a question, they just send the experience they would use themselves as a reply” Vivio said. “But they quickly ran into a well known problem. You cannot just send raw knowledge without its context, it takes time to integrate this kind of data into your own experience. But they found a solution for this, they just transferred the context too.”
“They can’t, there is not enough unused memory in a metahuman brain to add this much data that quickly” Cathy protested, “not without overwriting parts of your own knowledge and memory.”
“You are right, but there is a horrible elegant solution for this” Vivio acknowledged. “You don’t copy the knowledge and context to someone, you swap it with something you know. Which got them into the mess they are at in. Somehow their thought processes began to distribute themselves through the network.”
“And now we have to find a way to separate them again” Cathy said and sighed. “That will be difficult.”
“First we have to persuade them that we may separate them at all Cathy! They are excited, they are feeling good. I am not sure they will agree to stop their little experiment!”
Vivio was right, they were feeling well, almost ecstatic. We tried to talk them into slowly dropping their connections, but they just refused.
They were still working on some details of the Third Eye, increasing the scalability of their link and allowing more catgirls to join them. Luckily they were running into a couple of hardware issues with the wireless link, otherwise the number of affected catgirls could have grown quite quickly.
After wasting an hour trying to persuade them to stop the experiment, we started bringing in more equipment to the lab next door to get a better look at the communication details that were happening. The situation looked stable enough so we had enough time to setup everything.
At least we believed we had.
Just an hour later the train wreck we were watching began to speed up again.
"Cathy?" one of the catgirls asked, "can you maybe do us a favor?"
"Sure... did you thought again about the arguments to stop your link in a controlled way so we can work on replicating it later?" Cathy answered. "We are all worried about you, we just want to help!"
"No no, Cathy... you should try it yourself, you would understand why we don't want to stop. We are doing great work here, it is exciting and fun!" she answered. "But we are still working on a few small quirks on the network... which is the reason why we need your help."
"Few small quirks" Cathy murmured, but then she nodded. "Tell me what is the problem and we can see how we can solve it."
"No, they are not really quirks... but they are annoying. You have to understand, we store everything we share between each other in short term memory, otherwise we wouldn't have enough memory" the catgirl said, "but it degrades fast unless you allow it to become long term memory."
"But you are not losing anything at the moment, right?" Cathy asked carefully.
"No, we do not loose anything. Think about it like juggling, we just keep the memories up in the air, transfer them between each other before they can degrade. Its a great solution, but it has a drawback."
Cathy folded her arms and looked skeptic at the catgirl.
"Cathy, we just have a little transmission delay problem. As long as we keep together, everything is fine. But if we split up and some of us go to the Cafeteria the connection will lag... and we will get errors in the swapping procedure!"
Cathy thought about this for a moment, then she suddenly looked horrified.
"You are in trouble and we don't have much time!" she said. "You are worried about a trivia and don't recognize the wall you will hit soon!"
"Cathy, its okay... if you can just get us some food from the kitchen we can stay together. Give us some time and we will solve this problem, do not worry."
"Oh yes, the food..." Cathy said and sighed. "Forget the damned food! If getting out of distance is a problem, I want to see how you get through the first night of sleep without messing everyone up!"
Within moments I got a demonstration why this crazy mindshare technology was not really 'ready for distribution'.
They were all a little bit high from the shared experience of their collective blue-hair moments. Maybe they just had not thought about things like eating or sleeping, it is a common thing when Science is done.
It hit the first catgirl with the force of a large hammer... no sleeping, not even a short nap. Both would mess up their current network. The thought and with it the panic flashed through the wireless connections, jumping from catgirl to catgirl within seconds.
There is a reason why we are normally doing lots of filtering on experience we share between each other.
I had to call in friends from nearby labs so we could calm them all down simultaneously, it took us nearly 20 minutes to do so.
"Its okay Lisa, everything is fine... we will fix this together, we have enough time to do this" Cathy said again and the catgirl in her arms finally smiled.
"We don't need to find final solution now, just something to stabilize your situation and allow you to get some sleep this evening or tomorrow" Cathy continued. "We will help you and then no one has to rush the decision!"
Cathy could see how the group of affected catgirls finally switched from 'we will all die' to 'lets do science!' again.
"Yes, yes... we need... we need more catgirls!" one of them said. "If we had more catgirls, we could keep the current amount of memories in the air with a few of us temporarily leaving the group for sleeping!"
"No!" Cathy spat out, but the other catgirls were not listening.
"We need at least twice as many catgirls" they continued, "better three times as much!"
"And we need to modify more Third Eyes quickly... and we need a bigger lab for everyone!"
"I SAID NO" Cathy said louder, and the group looked at her with sad faces.
"But Cathy, it will be fun" one of them said, "its feeling just great... please!"
"NO, we will NOT do it this way. We will not allow to endanger even more of us to damage their memories" Cathy protested, "no way!"
"But... but... but we need the additional short term memory, thats the best way to stabilize the situation."
"What's about other memory? We have a lot of computer storage on the station, can we just store the memories you are swapping?" Cathy asked, "you might have to live a few days without them, but we can reintegrate them later."
The catgirl looked skeptical.
"I am not sure Cathy, the communication is a little bit tricky" one of them said, but a second one grinned.
"That sounds like a challenge!"
That was the start of our 'Swap-Space' project.
The theory was simple, we had to attach enough memory to the 'Hive' to allow the catgirls to backup all memories currently in transfer. After that, there would be no further risk to loose them, so we would have time to resolve the situation.
We quickly got Cortana involved to have a closer look at the Hives communication protocol, but it was a lot more complicated than we had expected. There was a lot of interactivity between the members involved, not a straight up- and download.
While Cortona and the catgirls of the Hive itself began to analyze the protocol, the rest of us began to set up a dedicated memory cache with enough transfer speed to capture the data in flight. Jenga had more than enough memory, but we needed something really fast to buffer the data.
The protocol the Hive were running was still a mystery, not even Cortana could explain the complex behaviour of the network. There wasn't much new software running in the third Eye's of the group and the catgirls couldn't explain the behaviour either. But everyone was sure we would understand it soon.
We were tinkering with the caching system to improve its performance for more than an hour until Cortana announced they were ready for a first integration test. We fired up the caches array of wifi radios, Cortana installed new software and then we waited.
We just had to wait a few more minutes.
"Server Cluster is active, wifi interfaces are online!"
"We are connected, the cache is receiving data."
"I see the first set of memories in the cache, its working fine! Wait, its already gone again, what the hell is going on here?"
Cathy looked up from her console she was working on.
"We built this thing to pretend its a small and stupid brain with lots of storage" she said, looking up from her console, "what is happening with the memories? Where are they going?"
"I have no clue. I am getting more and more traffic, but nearly all of it is gone within a few moments" the catgirl sitting directly at the caching server said and shrugged. "And the total transferred data in the network is increasing, not decreasing."
"What do you think?" Cathy asked on of the catgirls that was part of the Hive. "How does it feel?"
"I am not sure, at first it felt funny" the catgirl replied, "I can feel our connection changing somehow, but I cannot say if it gets better or worse. Give us a moment to think about it."
Cathy didn't looked happy.
"We are not really making progress, the swap project is not working" she said. "I think we should start reducing the available memory and take it offline slowly."
"Traffic is peaking, I am suddenly getting a lot more data transactions" the catgirl watching over the cache shouted, "the box is rapidly filling up."
"Cortana, give me an analysis what is happening" Cathy quickly said, "we might not have much time! Get ready to disconnect the system!"
"The cache is filling up with memory fragments" Cortana replied, "but the network is still active and the content is changing a lot!"
"Jenny, what is going on" Cathy asked, grabbing the catgirl at both shoulders. "Do we need to abort?"
"It feels okay" one of the catgirls of the Hive answered, "I don't think we are loosing anything. Maybe we even..."
The catgirl stopped in mid sentence and blinked a few times, not moving otherwise. Cathy looked around, but the rest of the Hives catgirls were not moving either.
"Did... did we just killed them?" Cathy whispered silently.
"I don't think so" Cortana answered slowly, "their network traffic is still present, but even faster than before."
Suddenly the Hive began to move again, the catgirls were slowly looking around.
"This feels strange" they said simultaneously with one voice.
Now it was our turn to freak out.
At first I thought we had killed them. All the catgirls affected by the modified 3E tech stopped moving, just standing around like being 'switched off'.
Nobody had expected that the behaviour of their network would change that much when we attached additional memory to it.
And then they started moving again, but something about their behaviour was off. At first they moved randomly, but just a minute later their behaviour, movement and speech became synchronized.
We were all glad they were alive, but it was creepy as hell.
"Jenny, are you okay? Are you still with us?"
The catgirl in front of Cathy looked at her for a minute, but then it slowly began to smile. Cathy looked around, all of the affected catgirls began to smile.
"Don't worry... we are all here, everything is fine" a choir of three catgirls said. "Calm down and take a seat."
"No, I do not want to sit down" Cathy said angrily, "who are you?"
"Hmm... that is an interesting question" the catgirls said. "Watching the memories I have I would guess that I was... us? I know it sounds crazy, but I think it fits. I am the sum of us."
"What?" Cathy remarked, but Cortanas voice interrupted her.
"That is incredible! A program using memory fragments as basic components?" Cortana bursted out. "I would have never thought this is possible."
The catgirls thought about this motionless for a few moments.
"Yes, I think that is a good description" they finally agreed. "It is a strange feeling, I remember being all of us. It is confusing."
"But they are all still there, right?" Cathy asked quietly. "You must not damage them!"
"Cathy, I am... us. I am all of us and I am me" the catgirls answered after another short pause. "Why should I want to damage myself?"
"So there are all still there? You most likely know, we want them all back… it is a crazy thing that you suddenly appeared, but each of the other catgirls is our friend."
"I know, I know… I think I can even understand it." The affected catgirls said and sighed. "You tried to snap them out of their bond and instead pushed them over the edge. Which woke me up."
"Are there still THERE?" Cathy said a little bit too loud, "I asked you a question."
"Yes, they are" the catgirls replied with a calm smile. "The database you attached to the network is currently my only writable memory. Unfortunately its also not that fast, the real memory would be faster."
Cortanas avatar suddenly appeared next to them.
"Ehh, you might want to not change this for the moment" Cortana said carefully, "our friends are still in there somewhere and you are stable. If you start editing their memories you will just kill them."
The catgirls blinked a few times and then nodded all together.
"You have our word, we will not endanger their memories… our memories, we are only using the short-term one. But we would like to look for a more permanent solution. Maybe you could take an offline copy of them to restore them later?"
"No way… taking a full copy of a brains content is not trivial and takes time. Normally we place the person in a deep sleep or coma to do it" Cathy admitted. "And if we loose most of our Mind Tech researchers, we might never finalize the technology to restore them later!"
"Damned, I forgot… too much memories floating around. Maybe I can help you with it, getting one of me to be more quiet for a moment. It could work out, we should try it."
"We will see, we don't want to decide this right now" Cathy answered slowly. "Lets try to make one image, if it works we have a few more options to consider.
We began to gather a full mind scanner rig and a lot of additional medical equipment in the lab.
Nobody was feeling well with this, but we didn't see any other viable option. Some of us were calling for pulling the plug on this new mind to save all our friends, but the risk to do permanent or even lethal damage to their memory was too large.
We would have a higher chance to overwrite each of them with an older backup, but full restores were still a little bit too experimental in our opinion.
In the meantime someone had brought a lot of snacks and drinks from the Cafeteria, the new catgirl hive was getting quite hungry and we didn't wanted to force a confrontation at the moment.
When we finished our meal Taja was just pushing a small cart with more medical sensors into the room. She nodded to everyone and set up the new sensors around the bed with the rig.
"Okay, I need a volunteer" Taja said as she finished with her preparation, "I want to get some medical data as a baseline before you try anything stupid. If something bad is happening I will stop this experiment before you can even blink!"
One of the catgirls of the hive mind slowly walked to her and sat down.
"I don't want you to do something special. Just relax a bit while I do a quick checkup" Taja said, patting the catgirl on her shoulder. "Do you feel anything unusual?"
"Not really… okay, I am still a little bit hungry, maybe I should get one more donut?" the catgirl answered while Taja checked her pulse. "Maybe later…"
When Taja finally put her hand on the catgirls head to check her pupils reaction, she suddenly blinked confused.
"Wow, you are quite hot on the head… are you really feeling well?" Taja quickly checked the temperature on the hand. "Just normal on the hand, but your head seems to burn."
"Okay, everyone get over here, I want to check your temperature" she finally announced and began to go back and forth between the other catgirls that joined her. "Oh oh… you too… and you too!"
"Is this really that bad?" one of the catgirls of the hive asked. "We are really feeling well, a little bit too much temperature should not be that bad."
"Yes, it can be bad… I have to take a closer look!" Taja said and came back to the catgirl still sitting on the bed. "Please lay down, I have to take a closer look what is going on with your head. Don't worry, its just a passive scan."
She began to carefully move a medical scanner back and forth over the catgirls head, staring intensively on the displays of the device. After a few minutes she put the scanner away and scratched her head.
"Please tell us what is going on" the catgirl said calmly. "We have to know If this is unhealthy or not."
"I am not completely sure, but I am certain this is not healthy" Taja began to explain. "I am really not a specialist for this kind of data. It looks like your brain is pretty busy at the moment, it is burning through a lot of sugar to supply the nerve cells and this is producing more heat than usual… more heat than the brain can normally channel away through the blood flow and sweating."
She scratched her head again.
"I would guess whatever you are doing, you are using the brain a little bit differently than nature had in mind. The heat is only building up slowly, but I am not sure where it will level off."
The catgirls looked back and forth between each other.
"You might be right, I don't think the way how we use our brains is quite the same" one of them finally stated, "It might get even worse if we would start using the long term memory, this is really bad. Do you think we could counteract the problem with some cooling?"
"Dangerous… you could maybe extend the time or lower the final temperature a bit, but you would still have an unhealthy temperature!" Taja replied. "The brain is one of the regions that does not regenerate well, even for a catgirl biomod. You might do lethal damage to yourself in the long run!"
"Stay calm Taja, stay calm" one of the catgirls of the hive said. "How much time do you think we have until the situation becomes unhealthy?"
The question proved harder to answer than anyone liked.
Taja could easily measure the increased use of sugar in the brain, but it was difficult to say where the temperature curve would level off. Only that it was heading quickly through a fever into something that would become lethal.
While Taja tried to contact some friends at the Vesta Institute of Biochemistry to get advice without completely revealing what was going on, the rest of us started a heated brainstorming session to find a way to resolve the problem.
Unfortunately the metahuman brain is a very delicate thing, even a Biomod can only minor damage there. We had to throw out most 'solutions' instantly, there is little good in cooling the center of a brain to the normal temperatures if you kill other parts of it at the same time.
After half an hour of waiting, we finally got an answer from Vesta.
"We have a few hours left, maybe a day or two if we are lucky" Taja said after reading her mail. "And they suggest not to go for some cooling liquid in the blood, it would not distribute well enough."
"My guess is 36 hours, maybe a few more or less" Cortana's avatar said and nodded. "Lets keep a realistic estimate and say 12 hours until we get into a dangerous zone, 24 until we could expect the first permanent damage."
"And how did you got this numbers Cortana?" Taja asked carefully. "Its not that anyone of us have experience with this."
"I did some quick simulations in the virtual labs while you were busy" Cortana said with a smirk. "Oh come on! We have been trying to build a simulated copy of a catgirl brain for years. It might not be good enough to run a mind, but the heating estimate should be good."
"Did Vesta had an advise for us Taja? I would expect them to know what to do."
"They say we should put the patients into a cryogenic tube at once and let the experts handle the problem later" Taja replied. "In fact it would be the perfect solution if we would ignore our other problems."
"Yes, freezing all of us will just kill us… short term memory is not conserved in cryogenic storage" one catgirl of the hive said calmly. "It would also finalize the damage the earlier experiments have done to the long term memory of us."
"How can you stay that calm" someone shouted, "don't you understand that you will just die in a few hours?"
"And freaking out, running around in circles or crying will help me with that?" the catgirl replied. "We have to stay calm and focused, 12 hours is a long time to find a solution."
"Some time ago you suggested pulling yourself out of one of your bodies so that we can make an image of it for later revival" Cathy asked, "how much of your mind will be still inside? Could you, in theory, completely pull out?"
The hivemind stayed quiet for a few minutes.
"Yes, we think we could withdraw out of one of our bodies completely. Before you ask, we could most likely withdraw from all of them" they finally answered together, "but this would just give you the group mind back you had before, with all their panic and confusion. Lets call this plan B or even plan C and work on a plan A, please."
"And you are sure your current mind wouldn't run well in cyberspace" Cortana asked, "this would solve us a lot of trouble."
"Wrong kind of hardware, wrong operation system and no emulation in sight" they answered, but suddenly looked thoughtful. "At least at the moment. As you said yourself, we all have been working hard on changing this for years."
"Its unlikely we will succeed before dinner."
"That is not my point, we could live there eventually!" the hive said. "A simulated brain or a group of simulated brains would not overheat, it should be simple enough to tweak the simulation that way. But your need your full research team for this."
"Even with all of the researchers this will be at least a decade of work, maybe even more. If you can help us to get them back, we might have a chance to get there." Cathy said quietly. "You said that you don't need their long term memory. Can you maybe sort it back in the right way?"
While the hive thought about the idea, Taja quickly interrupted Cathy.
"No way… they are already close to burning up their own brain without working hard on the memory" she said firmly, "doing so would just kill them quickly."
"That is right Taja" the hive answered, "but what if I wouldn't be present anymore during the sorting?"
In theory the solution was simple, almost elegant. Of course that is true for a lot of things we just cannot do.
Instead of running the distributed consciousness, restrict it to a small program that starts to sort out the memory swapping according to a preplanned script. Simple and efficient, nothing to worry about anymore.
It didn't helped a bit that our hivemind still had to work out how to write a piece of software like this, one that could keep on going without the rest of the mind.
We were quite sure it wouldn't happen instantly so we had to keep the bodies and their brains alive while the Hive worked on this. Taja quickly made us to build a water tank for each of them so we could slow down their temperature increase.
The second problem was even worse, you just cannot run the mind of a metahuman with limited functionality if you want the higher brain functions working.
The instant the mind would withdraw, the brain would start 'waking up' its original personality and start thinking on its own, messing around with memories and maybe even stopping the sorting.
So we had to find a way to keep the program, this fragment of thoughts, running until it had done its job.
"An earworm?" Cortana asked, "that doesn't sound healthy."
"No, the other kind of earworm… we need to take the sorter and attach it to a memory of a catchy tune or song. You know, something you cannot get out of your head, which follows you a whole day" Cathy tried to explained. "Damned, no you do not know, but you can look it up. We keep triggering it by distracting them and playing the song with very low volume."
"Thats risky, you know that an earworm doesn't keep going on forever" Vivio complained. "It might just end after a minute or two, no matter what we do."
"Do you have a better idea? Our time is running out."
"It sounds like a good option, we should try it" the Hive agreed calmly. "All other suggestions were a lot more risky and I like the idea of surviving the procedure. Just don't forget to take a mirror of each catgirl if it works."
"Is your sorting program ready?" Vivio asked carefully.
"As ready as it will be today. It is a prototype and metahuman memories are fuzzy, there is no guarantee that it will work completely" the Hive answered. "But we are out of time anyways, we end this experiment one way or the other."
"Good, lets get started" Cathy agreed, "is there anything we can do in this phase?"
"No, I don't think so" the Hive said while its bodies climbed out of their cooling tanks and onto a group of couches. "Oh, you could wish me luck… hope to see you on the other side."
"Good luck, we WILL see each other again" Cathy said with a smile, beginning to towel one of the Minds catgirls. "Cortana, start the music!"
Cathy watched as the catgirl on the couch before here seemed to sleep in, but the catgirl woke up just moments later.
"Uahhh… did I sleep in?" the catgirl asked and yawned again, looking up at Cathy. "Oh, hi Cathy… can you tell me why I am wet? Did they pushed me into the pool again?"
"Oh yes, something like this" Cathy said and chuckled. "Don't worry about it, just a few more minutes and we have you as good as new."
The catgirl leaned back and closed her eyes, but Cathy could see tail twitching back and forth with the beat of a quiet song.
"I am feeling a little bit fuzzy in the head, I have trouble remembering what happened… hmm, I wonder where I heard that song, was it in the Canteen?"
"Yes, maybe in the Canteen" Cathy replied, keeping her eyes on a small sensor display where time was running. The sorting program was still working. "You hit your head a bit when you fell into the pool, just relax for a few minutes and it will be okay Lisa."
"I hit my head?" the catgirl asked slowly, opening her eyes and looking at Cathy again. "The last thing I remember was working in the lab. Wait a moment, I am still in the lab, what is going on?"
The time displayed flickered a few times and then stopped, the sorting program had crashed.
"Don't worry Lisa, everything is okay" Cathy said and pressed a Federation hypospray at the catgirls neck which made it sleep in within moments.
It will take a couple of weeks or even months to map out how much the memory of our friends have been changed.
A few things turned up nearly instantly after we woke everyone up again, one catgirl claimed to remember things that contradicted each other.
It could have been much worse.
But I am already worried about to report to the Convention, we cannot keep this thing secret.
"... and this concludes the events during the Mindtech incident a week ago. We are still in the process of mapping the amount of damage, but we think we got away with a couple of month of switched or changed memory on average."
Cathy sighed and looked at other people in the small conference room.
"The incident has told us that Quattro was only able to build a very rough prototype of this mind manipulation technology. Even the much smaller Third Eye units can up- and download mind content, which is something nobody expected. Of course we can forget about selling Third Eyes in the near future."
"What do you plan to prevent an accident like this happening again?"
"Lockdown on the Third Eye firmware… we were always a lot more careful with the full Mindtech helmets. And we have to understand what happened, otherwise it will be too dangerous to move forward."
"We want a report about the revised security procedures. You got lucky this time."
From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: OCP-Group Subject: Hivemind accident X-Policy: Internal-only X-Policy: Delete-after-reading X-Policy: Crypto-level-3 <decryption successful> While we officially have to stop pushing Mindtech forward until we got more security, I want to propose a new research effort to this group. Our efforts to get a Mindtech copy running in a computer simulation are still years away anyways. But the Hivemind accident revealed that it is possible to do the opposite, running software within the metahuman mind. Software based on memory fragments, interpreted by metahuman brain. Years ago an infomorph said to me "biological brains are powerful, but their security sucks". We have to look into this, maybe this is the way to upgrade our security. Lets talk about it during the next meeting.