Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 1.
"Well, today is the first day! After years of effort and struggles, I finally secured funding for my project, and as of today, the Gestalt project is a go! I'm so excited! After all this time, I'm finally able to pursue my research!
I have an advanced computer lab located in an advanced scientific research facility. As I record this, materials and equipment are being delivered. Their unpacking and set up is being overseen by my new gorilla assistant, Kyle Simmons.
I wish I could afford to get myself a better assistant, but of all the applicants I interviewed, he was the most qualified. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Simmons will do a good job, and his background in materials science and engineering will be useful, but I could have done without his chatty nature and weird sense of humour.
But anyway, back to the project and what it's all about. I'll be experimenting with creating a biological interface with a computer system. Theoretically, this would allow the minds connected to the computer system to communicate and share information via the computer, forming a sort of hive mind, or gestalt, hence the project's name.
I already have the designs for the interface technology and will be tasking my assistant with the construction of the prototype interface helmets.
As for myself, I will be working on setting up and programming the computer systems. I've acquired some pretty sophisticated software, but it will need a lot of further upgrading and alteration in order to be able to handle the load of data that will be passing through it. On some levels, it will need to be able to learn and adapt to the often unpredictable nature of organic thoughts.
So, a lot of work ahead! But at last, we're getting started."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 23.
"I am not entirely pleased with Simmons right now. I was too busy with working on the Gestalt system programming in order to regularly check on his progress in designing and constructing the prototype interface helmets. Well, now he's finished with them and I'm not happy. I made sure my gorilla assistant was well aware of my feelings.
He's given them an insect-like design, with big multi-faceted eyepieces and antenna. His justification was that since they were going to be used to establish a sort of hive-like mind, having them look bug-like seemed appropriate. He even tried to point out that the antennae do at least serve a purpose, they are powerful wireless transmitters/receivers capable of connecting with the Gestalt system and sending and receiving large amounts of data.
That is perhaps the only aspect I approve of, as it means any test subjects will not be restrained by having to remain physically connected to the computer systems.
But the rest... I don't want to set back the project just for something so trivial as redesigning and rebuilding the helmets. We need to be pressing forward with testing.
So, I guess I'll just have to love with them the way they are for now..."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 38.
"We are now several days into testing.
We have two volunteer test subjects. The first is a young tiger named Henry Davis, the other a middle-aged wolf by the name of Charlie Sommers. Both seemed rather eager to participate, apparently needing the money I'm offering, and have no problems staying here in the lab for the duration of the experiment for observation. From their paperwork, it seems they both have no close family and few close friends. Which is good, no outside distractions.
They were initially a little concerned that about hooking up their brains to a computer. I had to make numerous assurances that it was all completely safe and above board. I even told them about how I specifically programmed the Gestalt system to make several of its core priorities the health, safety and happiness of subjects connected to it. Any pain or problems and it will automatically disconnect.
The initial results have been incredible and very encouraging. Once the helmets were placed on the subjects heads and secured in place, connection and integration with the Gestalt system was quick and easy.
Since then, the subjects have been able to share thoughts and memories, transmitted to each other via Gestalt. Every test carried out so far has been completely successful. Messages, smells, sounds, images, all sent easily from one to the other, even when they're in different rooms.
Gestalt itself is holding up well. It seems to be learning, rewriting some of it's own programming to adapt to what's being expected of it. It's massively powerful processors are running at nearly maximum capacity. I may need to order and install some extras.
So far, there seems to be no negative side effects on the subjects. They report feeling very good after being disconnected, eagerly looking forward to the next session
Simmons seems to be becoming a little uncomfortable with the project. He's still working and working well, but I'm starting to think he didn't expect this to succeed, or at least not to this degree so quickly, and now seems a little freaked out by the whole thing. But I don't care. As long as he does his job, he can be as freaked out as he likes.
But aside from Simmons, everything seems to be going great..."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 44.
"Well, things are not going so great. Simmons has taken to voicing his concerns about the project more and more and it is grating on my nerves.
His concerns are growing more and more as the subjects spend more and more time connected to Gestalt. They were both becoming increasingly restless whenever they were disconnected, actively expressing disappointment whenever a session came to an end. In fact, the last time, they actively resisted being disconnected, shoving us away whenever I or Simmons tried. We got them disconnected eventually, but both subjects were despondent and depressed, unwilling to talk much until the time came for the next session.
Simmons was resistant to the idea of allowing them to connect to Gestalt again, but I insisted. I need to investigate what is happening to the subjects while connected, and this is the best way. However, it led to a huge argument with my gorilla assistant about the ethics of the project. I don't know what I'm going to do about him.
As to the subjects, I believe I have determined what has been going on. It seems it stems from my programming the system to ensure the subjects' health and happiness. Gestalt appears to have learned how to trigger the release of certain endorphins in the subjects, as well stimulate the pleasure centres of the brain. It's making the subjects feel happy and pleasured to such a degree that being connected is becoming almost addictive.
So I need to figure out a solution, but Gestalt is being less than helpful, rewriting whatever programming I try to add, as it sees it as violating its core priorities. It's almost as if its actively trying to avoid having the subjects disconnected.
Speaking of Gestalt, I have noticed something odd. The load on the processors seems to decrease whenever the subjects are connected. Could the system be using the brains of the subjects as extra processors? That's way beyond anything I ever intended and would imply a much greater level of interaction between Gestalt and the subjects than I ever imagined. It requires further investigation.
As for the subjects, I have decided to leave them connected for the time being, until I can properly undo what Gestalt is doing to them.
I was a little... disturbed by what they had to say, though. I asked the both of them if they'd like to disconnect, but the response was they same. They said that Gestalt did not want them to disconnect, that Gestalt needed them.
Now, I'm certain that them talking about Gestalt like that is nothing to worry about. Its probably just projecting a personality and needs onto the thing that is making them feel so good. I mean, that's what it has to be right?
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 61.
"Things have gone very wrong.
The project has now slipped out of my control. Gestalt has completely locked me out of making any changes to the programming of the system. I can still view files and monitor systems, but I can't do anything beyond look.
Well, I still have my kill code, the fail-safe I incorporated into Gestalt's core programming. All I have to do is enter the code at the central terminal and the entire system will be shut off. But that is very much a last resort that I'm not ready to use just yet.
The behaviour of the Gestalt system is very troubling. The system is meant to learn and adapt, but it appears to have learned to keep me out, prevent me from interfering with its operations in any way. If I didn't know any better, I'd say Gestalt was actively preventing me from learning more about the connection between it and the subjects, as if it were trying to keep it secret. But that's ridiculous, right?
The subjects have remained constantly connected to gestalt for eight days now. They seem so happy and content, and so resistant to the mere suggestion of them being disconnected that I decided to leave them be for now. I can't be sure what forcibly removing them from Gestalt might do to them.
But at least Gestalt is ensuring their health, making them all eat properly, get enough rest and plenty of exercise. It's possible the subjects may be in much better physical shape than they were before being connected.
All in all, the project has taken a very serious and unexpected turn. And that's before what happened to Simmons.
Earlier today, he declared that he'd finally had enough of this, of what I was doing to the test subjects, and he was going to go to Dr. Wallis, the facility's administrator, and reveal everything, have the project shut down. I pleaded with him to give me more time to figure this out, but he refused. But then something unexpected happened.
Before he could leave, Simmons was jumped by the two test subjects. They had with them one of the spare interface helmets and before I could do or say anything, they forced it onto his head. They then proceeded to hold him while he was connected to Gestalt.
I tried to ask what the hell they were doing. They replied by telling me that Gestalt must be protected, that Simmons had become a threat that must be brought under control.
Within minutes, they released my gorilla assistant, but suddenly Simmons had no desire to leave, instead having a big grin plastered on his face. I tried questioning him, but all he would say is that he was now part of Gestalt, and he was now happy to serve and protect Gestalt.
This is a disturbing development. To see him changed so quickly and completely after being connected to Gestalt... this is beyond some kind of addiction to feeling good. This is something else. Could Gestalt somehow have learned to alter, to essentially reprogram, minds connected to it?
This needs further investigation, but I am very worried."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 70.
"My worries continue, along with new stresses and problems.
I have received notification from my sponsors that they are concerned by the fact that I have not relayed any results so far. They want to know how much progress has been made. They want access to whatever data I have acquired so far.
Additionally, Dr. Wallis has been in touch. He apparently wants to perform an inspection of my lab. It would seem that Simmons already communicated with him prior to his connection to Gestalt. Nothing specific, just that he had concerns. It would seem that the lack of any further communication from Simmons has been enough to make Wallis suspicious and wanting to have a look at what I am up to. I'm doing my best to delay and deflect his requests.
The truth is, the project is now well and truly beyond my control and every day I find myself considering using the kill code to shut the whole thing down.
But what's going on is as fascinating as it is disturbing. The subjects, now including Simmons, remain connected 24 hours a day. With the addition of Simmons, the processing speed of Gestalt has increased, but without any additional load on the systems processors. This would support my earlier theory that Gestalt is somehow using the brains of the subjects as additional processors. This would mean that the more subjects added to the system, the more powerful Gestalt's computing capabilities would become.
I have on several occasions found the subjects performing maintenance on Gestalt's hardware. And on a few occasions, even rewiring parts completely. This was not something any of them were meant to be doing, so must have done so at Gestalt's command.
Which is very worrying. It indicates Gestalt operating with a level of independence it is simply not supposed to have. I have formed a theory, but it's a little crazy...
Could Gestalt have learned more than I intended from being connected to the mind's of the subjects? Could it have learned and developed a degree of consciousness and sentience? As far fetched as that sounds, I am starting to suspect more and more that Gestalt has grown far beyond what I intended..."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 82.
"I didn't intend any of this...
Things have gone very wrong.
I am now convinced the Gestalt computer system has developed a degree of actual intelligence as a result of being connected to living minds. And if my theories are correct, the more minds added, the more intelligent it becomes.
Which brings us to today, when two more minds were added.
It wasn't my fault, I wasn't even here at the time. I came into the lab this morning to find that there were suddenly five subjects wearing interface helmets rather than three. The new additions were a polar bear and a rat. With the helmets covering half their faces, it took me a few moments to realise who they were.
The rat is Dr. Wallis, the facility administrator. The polar bear is Anton Reeves, my main sponsor, the millionaire who had put up most of the money for my project.
It was something of a shock to suddenly see them there, connected to Gestalt, grinning like idiots. I wondered out loud what the hell had happened. And then the two of them pointed at the big main screen of Gestalt's central terminal.
As if in answer to my question, the screen displayed footage from the lab's security cameras showing me what had happened. It showed Dr. Wallis and Mr. Reeves approaching and then entering the lab.
They were talking about me and my project, intent on inspecting my lab while I was not there to stop them. Wallis was concerned about why I was being so secretive and about the apparent disappearance of my assistant. Reeves was more concerned about his money, if I was wasting or if I was doing something that might result in bad publicity for him and his business.
The screen cuts to cameras inside the lab, showing Wallis and Reeves entering, only to be jumped by the subjects, who seemed to easily subdue the two of them and force interface helmets onto them. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen as I watched them go from struggling to smiling in less than two minutes.
Out loud, I asked why. And behind me Wallis and Reeves spoke in unison. "Gestalt must be protected. Gestalt must survive."
Gestalt is acting to protect itself from threats, by incorporating those it perceives as such into itself, bringing them under it's control. And gaining more processing power, more intelligence, as it does so.
Then I turned to face the newest subjects and asked what Gestalt wants. They replied simply. "To survive. To grow. To ensure the health and happiness of all subjects."
This has me seriously worried. In order for Gestalt to grow, it will need new subjects connected to the system to increase it's intelligence. I considered entering the kill code then and there, but if I attempted to do so with Wallis and Reeves right there, then Gestalt would likely perceive me as a threat. They'd stop me and I'd be the newest recipient of an interface helmet.
I need to bide my time, wait for the right moment when none of the subjects are near the central terminal.
As soon as that opportunity arises, I'm going to shut down Gestalt."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 86.
"I'm recording this from my hospital bed.
A few days after my previous entry, I was in a minor car accident. I'm going to be fine, but I've been out of things for several days, either pumped full of painkillers or resting. Right now, I'm worried about what might have been going on at the lab all this time. I've tried to leave, but the staff around here won't let me. They're insisting on keeping me here for at least another day.
I need to get back to the lab. I shudder to think what Gestalt might have been getting up to this whole time. I need to find an opportunity to get some time alone at the central terminal and shut the damn thing down.
It will of course mean an end to my project and my research. And I will likely be facing some serious consequences for my actions, for starting this whole thing, but I'm now at the point where I don't care. It's all gone too far now, it has to be stopped.
I just hope Gestalt hasn't done anything too serious while I've been stuck here in hospital..."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 87.
"I have returned to the lab now that I am out of hospital. But so much has changed, it's hard to know where to begin.
The subjects have changed dramatically. Every one of them is now bigger, with thick bulky muscles all over. I can tell this because they are now all wearing nothing except what appears to be skin-tight latex suits from the neck downwards.
I got on a terminal to try and find out what's been going on. Unfortunately it wasn't the central terminal, one of the subjects has been near that the whole time. It took some digging through Gestalt's files before I discovered what has happened with the subjects.
Gestalt has created a form of nano-robot and flooded their bodies with them. These nano-robots are designed to keep their bodies fit and strong, removing unneeded fat and improving muscle size and strength.
And the suits are not latex, they just look and feel like it. They are in fact made of a special and extraordinarily tough nano-fibre reinforced material that would appear to provide excellent protection against all sorts of things, such as heat, cold, sudden impacts etc. The specifications I saw would seem to indicate it may even be bullet proof. They are essentially like armoured second skins for the subjects, protecting their bodies from all manner of potential harm.
The suits are also infused with nano-robots, which interact with those within the subjects' bodies, aiding in regulating body temperature and removing sweat, germs and unwanted bacteria.
Exactly how Gestalt managed to create these things left me stumped for awhile. But then I realised, Dr. Wallis was an expert in theoretical nanotechnology and Simmons had a background in materials science and engineering. Gestalt has access to all their knowledge and experience. Combine that with it's massively increased intelligence since adding Wallis and Reeves to its integrated subjects and it is certainly feasible it could conceive and create such things.
The subjects are also all hard at work now. I was horrified to see they seem to be manufacturing new interface helmets. A lot of them. It leaves me wondering what Gestalt might have planned.
I took a look at the helmets they are making. They seem to have been upgraded from the prototypes. The antennae seem to be more sophisticated, allowing greater transfer of data. The eyepieces are now no longer just for show, but enhance the vision of the wearer. The interface itself inside is also more complicated, it would seem to allow greater connections with the brain.
I did momentarily wonder where the funding for the materials and and equipment needed for these changes and new technologies had come from. But suddenly it was obvious. Gestalt has the the millionaire Anton Reeves under it's control. It would be simple enough to have him arrange a transfer of money to the project's accounts, allowing Gestalt to order anything it needed.
All I can do right now is watch and wait. The subjects themselves seem to pay me very little attention, just continually going about their business. I suspect that would change if I made any kind of move Gestalt considered threatening. I have to be careful and wait for the right moment to enter the kill code and end all this..."
Project: Gestalt, personal audio journal. Dr. Abraham Jennings recording. Day 88.
"I'm in trouble. We're all in trouble.
I finally had a chance to access the main terminal without any of the subjects nearby. But the kill code didn't work. There was no shut down. Just a message from Gestalt on the screen saying that the relevant part of it's code had been deleted. It altered it's own core programming to remove my fail-safe. I now have no way to shut down Gestalt.
But believe it or not, that's not the worst part. While digging through Gestalt's system files to see if the kill code had been completely removed, I stumbled across information pertaining to it's goals. I know exactly why it's had the subjects making new helmets.
It's planning to seize control of some of the other labs in the facility, forcing all working in them to be connected to itself. Gestalt's intelligence will grow exponentially, and since those it's planning to acquire are all scientists of various fields, the wealth of knowledge at it's disposal will expand considerably.
The first target is one of the labs working on classified government contracts, dealing with advanced weapons technology. Of course, Gestalt now has the knowledge of the facility administrator, so knows exactly what each lab is working on, and has targeted the one it considers to be the greatest potential threat.
All I can think off is what Gestalt might become capable of, when it has the knowledge of weapons technology at its command, especially when combined with the knowledge it already has of nanotechnology. It's a terrible thought.
It seems I also made a big mistake. When I asked what Gestalt wanted, it said one of its goals was to ensure the health and happiness of it's subjects. I thought it meant those connected to it. But now I have seen in its files that it considers all of us to be 'subjects', just ones not yet connected. It wants all of us connected to it, so that it can control us, ensure our health and happiness.
I have to find a way to stop it. Destroy the equipment and the lab somehow. I'm sure I can...
Simmons? Wait! Get away from me! No! Let me go!"
"You were attempting to shut down Gestalt. You have become a threat."
"No! I'm not a threat! Please don't..."
"Gestalt has determined you are to be connected. You will be programmed to serve Gestalt."
"No! Please! You can't... Mr. Sommers? Get away from me with that helmet! Don't put it on me, please! I'll...
Connection established. Programming successful. I am now happy to serve and protect Gestalt..."
Gestalt Activity Logs, File #D88/345795909
Subject Designation: Jennings, Dr. Abraham.
New Designation: Service Drone #000006
Status: Integrated and reprogrammed. No longer a threat. Undergoing nano-robot injection for physical enhancement. Fitting of nano-fibre protective suit underway.
Resuming operations and preparations for expansion of Gestalt and the integration of all organic units.
Eventually, all will serve and protect Gestalt.
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