Building a Better Cyborg

With the exception of improved control software, the current model for cyborg manufacture has remained relatively unchanged since it was first developed in 1994 by Dr. Andrew Morris.  The selection criteria for the subject at their most base levels are still very minimal, requiring only a fully functional nervous system to host the Control Unit’s (CU) signals and that the subject still is alive.  Of course sight, hearing, and all of their limbs intact is still the preferred state.

The subject is first fastened down, as the body will heavily convulse throughout the procedure, and needle probes are inserted into the spinal column at the base of the skull.  They are usually pushed in through the back of the neck, although there are newer versions that work best when placed in the mouth and through the back of the subject’s throat.  This requires some sort of block be set between the upper and lower jaws to prevent clamping down.  The testing system then starts mapping the subject’s nervous system by sending signals down each nerve and analyzing the return.  The engineer must proceed with caution, ensuring that the subject is firmly fastened down at this point, as the body will often engage in violent localized spasms.  Upon occasion the signal follows the wrong path and feeds back into the subject’s brain, potentially causing seizures or a stroke.  This can be corrected by rotating the corresponding probe until it feeds in the correct direction.

The mapping process can take weeks, and the engineer must keep the subject hydrated and fed throughout so as to avoid death.  An intravenous nutrients system is generally adequate to this task.

Once the nervous system is accurately charted, the engineer must prepare the cyborg’s CU.  This is a twenty-four step process starting with pattern analysis on the mapped nervous system’s data.  A set of algorithms analyzes the data and creates a new control set based on the subject’s readings.  Each baseline control set is unique to each subject, and cannot be applied to any other cyborg.  Once this is done the engineer uploads the new instructions to the Control Unit.

Installation of the CU requires that the frontal lobe of the subject’s cerebral cortex be removed in such a way that the subject’s body does not expire.  This was the most difficult obstacle to get across in the initial cyborg design.  The Control Unit is installed directly into the space created by the frontal lobe’s excision and control filaments are connected into the various other parts of the subject’s brain.  The subject’s body should still be fully functional at this point.

After the CU is installed, the engineer must go through the nervous system testing process.  It is very similar to the initial mapping procedure, except that only two external probes are used.  They are inserted through the nasal cavity and into receiving ports in the CU.  All signals will now flow to and from the Control Unit along the subject’s natural nervous system.  The calibration procedure can now begin.

Over the course of the next month the cyborg’s engineer will slowly and methodically test each and every command on the subject’s CU while closely monitoring the results.  Changes will need to be made throughout.  There are two ways to implement these tweaks:  The engineer will either modify the CU’s control code to accommodate anomalies, or they will have to install small feedback corrections nodes throughout the subject’s body.  The corrections nodes are attached surgically to specific points on the nervous system structure and modify the signals sent and received at to that area of control.  These nodes correct for any variation in the signals to bring them into standard; it is normal for hundreds of these nodes to be installed all over the subject’s frame, and cyborgs often end up with a network of scars reflecting this procedure.  The best engineers only install these nodes in the dozens.

The calibrations process can take from two to four months.  Once complete, the engineer is generally free to make significant modifications to the cyborg’s frame.  This can include mounting hard points for weaponry, limb and organ replacement with more effective electronic parts, and just about anything else the engineer can come up with within reason.

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