Authors: Girish Karthikeyan
“What were your next steps?”
Dr. Stevenson slides her sleeves up to her elbows and teases the floppy collar away from her neck. “Certain chemical and medication exposures are known to cause mental illness. Most prescribed medications are psychoactive. Somatic illnesses have all been treated with genetic modification or other means. That leaves just environmental conditions like mental illness and exposure to negative situations. I looked through Dr. Abby’s medication history and tested him for any substances that could contribute to his mental state. He came back positive for
“How did you work with this finding?”
“Not much had to change. The
would still work no matter the root cause. I continued to pull test results for the substance and heroic personality disorder. I, of course, asked him if he was taking
in any way. I spent a week trying to find the source of the dosing. At the end of that week, I recommended he get checked in at a hospital.”
“What were their findings?”
She supports her chin with one hand. “They found malicious programming on his system. The docs at the hospital settled on a tech purge. They gave him a medication that signaled the tech to leave his body. After a few days, they did the install/inject procedure with a security upgrade. As of last week, his body is purging itself of the
.” She takes her hand away.
stay still hangs in my memory. I didn't realize how much tech changed everything until it got ripped away for however how long.
“How is his treatment for heroic personality disorder going?”
“Once the root cause was discovered, his need for the
went down. His dosage is steadily going down as well. He should be off the medication by the end of next week.”
“Did Dr. Abby pose a threat to Dr. Mekova during the time of the incident?”
“When Dr. Mekova was attacked we have a record of how much
was in him. At that point, the levels were sufficient for clinical effect. That leads me to believe he was affected by heroic personality disorder.” She looks at me apologetically.
“That’s it for my questions.”
“Mrs. Alamander, are you ready to cross-examine Dr. Stevenson?” the judge asks.
“Yes, thank you,” Mrs. Alamander answers.
She approaches the witness stand. She asks, “What are the differences between narcissistic and heroic personality disorders?”
She searches Alamander’s face for any clues. “In both conditions, the sufferer has any inflated view of themselves. The causes are different. Narcissistic personality disorder features the inability to truly see personal ability level. It became too painful to see their true self at a young age. The classic cause is parents withholding reward.
In heroic personality disorder, it arises from the desensitization to emotions. They experience such intense emotions and sensations inherent in saving a person’s life that everything else becomes meaningless, including others. They overestimate their abilities in this state… To feel something they have to help people.
In narcissistic personality disorder, they don’t have empathy for others. In heroic personality disorder, they have trouble feeling emotions.”
cause heroic personality disorder?” She leans against the judge’s booth neighboring Winter.
, aides the brain in the filtering process by which it chooses the memories to store and discard. The usual mechanism is based on the intensity of the experience, emotionally. The
intensifies the more wide spread neural experiences and depresses the less wide spread reactions. Saving someone is an all-consuming experience and thus amplified. Through prolonged use, more than 6 months, it causes selection of highly emotional states over others. Luckily, neural function returns after the
“How does the
combat the effects of the
and heroic personality disorder?”
Stevenson zips her hands together one finger at a time. “The
levels the intensity of emotional swings, primarily by modulating the aymgdala. This is the primary symptom of heroic personality disorder, inability to feel except in intense situations. The tech is also the administering agent. It excites underutilized pathways and depresses overused pathways.”
“Why is his dosage of
being reduced gradually?”
“It counteracts the
. The dosage of the
has to stay in synch with his level of
“Is it true that the
is no longer in his body?”
“I ask again, why is he still taking the
She shakes her head back and forth swiftly as if clearing her head. “Discontinuing emotional stabilizer abruptly skews the delicate balance of emotions within us.”
“Thank you. No further questions for this witness.”
Dr. Winter Stevenson does a shallow head bow before descending from the stand.
The Hon. Waters says, “Mr. Vintage, you may call your next witness.
Mon 10/5/17 3:16 p.m.
he last witness summoned, Dr. Mekova. After this, the jury decides, and Mr. Vintage can’t help me much more. Dr. Mekova — the stiff-faced manikin with Irena’s face on a screen — takes the oath along with a court provided witness. I know it can’t be her. She’s dead.
Mr. Vintage, my defense attorney, asks, “What is your name and position within the court?” from halfway between the desk and the stand.
The well dressed man sits in the witness stand. That Irena thing waits right by, standing. “I’m Jacob Harwood. My responsibility is to reconstruct a neural model of the victims in each case.”
“What is the result of this process?”
He directs us to Irena. “This is a physical representation of Irena Mekova that contains all the knowledge of the victim after the unfortunate events we are discussing. The victim is able to testify in the case just as with every other case.”
Mr. Vintage addresses his following questions to “Irena.” Everyone feels unsettled with it here. “When did you first meet Dr. Abby?”
The sim of Irena Mekova replies, “He was a patient at the Overlook Trauma Treatment Center. I was brought in to consult on a traumatic brain injury with memory loss, the first one in almost 10 years. The docs needed someone with my expertise to deal with the memory loss. The traditional methods weren’t working.”
“What is the standard treatment for memory loss?”
“The treatment largely depends on the cause. In Dr. Abby’s case, the
damage was fixed before I arrived. The memory loss is allowed to resolve without any outside help. Just being in familiar surroundings with people who knew him is usually enough. They had already tried all of that. I suggested he be moved to the Stephens Institute for more directed treatment.”
“What treatment did you use for Dr. Abby?”
The bot speaks without moving a servo. “I decided on a combination of two therapies ESMR and CDMR. Emotional Stressor Memory Recovery or ESMR method is based upon the principal that if you recreate an emotional state exactly, it facilitates the recovery of the associated memory. An empathic response to their prior experience specifically creates the memory recovery. An
emotional state enhancer
can be used if the first attempt doesn’t work. A representation of the memory is required to identify the emotional state.
The second method used was Curiosity Directed Memory Recovery or CDMR. Just information about their life is required to pull this method off. The subject, in this case Dr. Abby, is asked questions about what he remembers. These leading questions make Dr. Abby want to know more. Dr. Abby then looks for the answers, himself. This method is partly relearning and partly aiding what he starts to remember.”
“How well did the treatments work?”
“As he kept working, the more it stuck. He had trouble recollecting daily events. The memory enhancer helped him regain the ability to create new memories. The combination of ESMR and CDMR revived his lost memories. Dr. Abby’s memories weren’t destroyed. He just lost the ability to access them. He had a complete recovery at the hospital and just needed some extra help for a few months.”
This sim reminds me of something. The computer modeling recreates every neuron from a neural scan and responds identically.
“How did Dr. Abby end up working with you?”
“I lead a research department at the Stephens Institute. Dr. Abby was a research scientist. He seemed like a perfect fit and was just able to fill the position.”
“Has Dr. Abby ever acted threateningly towards you?”
“Did he ever act in an angry or contemptuous way?”
“What was Dr. Abby doing on the night of the incident?”
The voice of Dr. Mekova protects me from even beyond the grave. “He was accessing the data archive for me.”
“Why wasn’t the data available on your computer?”
“It is the security protocols. Proprietary info is kept off networked devices. Drives are stored with a dedicated pad to access the data.”
“What happened on the night of the incident?”
“I was monitoring a genetic study from my office. It ran from 7:20 to 7:40 p.m. At that time, I decided to set up the next one. I headed to the genetic lab with my jacket and a few pads, just everything I was going to take home. I kept everything on a desk in the lab. A few minutes later, I leave the lab and see Dr. Abby near my office. I think about waiting and meeting with him. The security protocols should take care of locking my office after he leaves the data I requested.
That’s when it happened. Someone approached me from behind, and covered my face. I felt a sharp pain.” The static face becomes a video of Dr. Mekova, something real or a sim. She closes her eyes and lets silent tears come out. She clears her throat, and she continues talking. “That’s the last thing I clearly remember.” She wipes her eyes.
“Thank you for having the courage to testify on what must be a terrifying event,” Mr. Vintage says and sits down.
The judge says, “Mrs. Alamander, you may now question the sim of Dr. Mekova.”
“Yes, Your honor.” She solemnly approaches the sim. “Was there a secondary reason you chose to hire Dr. Abby?”
“No, I just had a position to fill. Dr. Abby was a good candidate.”
“Is it true that people who have undergone ESMR need routine supervision?”
“Yes, I had weekly or monthly appointments with him. That was all the supervision he needed.”
“Is your interest in him purely as a patient?” Alamander turns her head to me briefly.
“How frequently do you treat people?”
“Not that often, once every few months. There are a few requests for consultations, most are answered by others.” The face screen returns with her face angled down.
“Is it safe to say you don’t have much patient experience?”
“No, throughout my early training I was seeing patients every day.”
“Are you sure you saw Dr. Abby enter your office?”
She looks intently at the questioner. “He was near my office. He wasn’t
“Did you see Dr. Abby some distance away during the attack?”
“I’m as sure as I can be.” The sim Irena glances at me.
“Can you explain the meaning of that?”
“Yes, I’m an expert on human perception. Everything people experience goes through a filter to some extent. The amount you are connected to the experience is one of the main influencers. Considering our relationship, I’m sure I had a true perception.”
“Is it correct that you were able to see Dr. Abby during the time of your attack?”
“Yes, I was able to see him the entire time.”
“Thank you. I have no more questions for you. I have some additional questions for Mr. Harwood about this model. Mr. Harwood, how accurate is this model?”
“Irena is based on the neural scans obtained postmortem. She contains everything that Irena felt, knew, and even hoped. The use of such a model is widely accepted, as you know.”
“Mr. Harwood, thank you for your service to the court.”
Alamander returns to her desk, the witnesses leave the courtroom, and Vintage moves forth.
"The defense rests, Your Honor."
Mon 10/5/17 4: 39 p.m.
f both sides are now ready for closing statements, we can get this wrapped,” the Hon. Malcolm Waters says.
“Yes, Your honor, we are ready to proceed,” Mr. Vintage says.
“Mrs. Alamander you may go first,” the judge says.