by M.D Schultz
A brief description of the second of three members making up the Triumvirate.
|Case Study 365082 The Cathedral
After the creation of the first Prism Gate "Case Study 365000 The Glutton" there became a present need for an organization to oversee matters pertaining to the parallel realms. The Fifth Chapter was the world's answer to the rift phenomena. A confidential organization dedicated to protecting humanity from the horrors beyond the gates. The first members were a collaborative group of investors who came to make up the original council. However, the United Nations eventually took over funding when the Environmental Protection Act was passed and the council was replaced with the Triumvirate. When the true hierarchy was developed, the three most elite members, who oversee all Chapter operations, came to be known as the Triumvirate. These individuals are gifted in dealing with the parallel realms because of their “unique” conditions. However, these augmentations make them a clear danger to humanity in a rogue scenario. As such, with their approval, case studies have been opened surrounding each member. Given the strict policies of confidentiality, especially with lower ranked officials, identities will be withheld save for their respective code names. The members of the Triumvirate include the Rift Walker, the Cathedral, and the Ouroboros. Case study 365082 will cover our data on the Cathedral.
Humanity has always been both fascinated and afraid of the unknown. Think of the fear and wonder you feel when observing of the depths of the ocean or the vastness of space. With the growing advancements in technology and our new understanding of the universe, the list of great unknowns has become small. However, there is one thing that science will never explain. What happens at the end of life? This single question has been debated since the dawn of humanity and, for those who seek knowledge without faith, there is only one way to answer it. The greatest mystery of all is the root of most people’s fear. However, to the young, the fear of death is often an afterthought.
When I was studying medical biology, I knew a young man who once told me that he was not afraid of illness or death. He believed that by the time he was old medicine would have advanced to the point that we would be beyond such things. As such, he cared little for his lifestyle and drank himself into an early grave. That foolish man never lived long enough to see his perceived utopia come to pass. I begin to wonder if most young generations think this way. Is that how they justify such reckless behavior? It doesn’t take a doctorate in biomedical science to understand that our advancements in medicine have begun to plateau even after our studies of the parallel realms. Through our efforts, we have done away with many illnesses and advanced the human life expectancy well beyond a century. However, we have reached the true limit of our mortality for, no matter how many organs we replace, the mind eventually decays. We often call the human brain the seat of the soul as it can never be replaced. Just as that young man once thought, our advancements in science have pushed us beyond the once great killers of mankind but we have simply replaced one illness with another. Neurodegenerative disease has become the leading cause of death. No matter how far we have come, our end seems unavoidable. However, there are many who still resist.
The Cathedral is a unique case for the name isn’t referring to an individual but an entire section of scientists. These men and women were dedicated to immortality technology and studied ways to continue to advance the human lifespan. To be honest, this field has been around for many years even before the appearance of the Prism Gate. Anti-aging products once dominated the markets before full body skin grafts were employed. No, this field changed entirely to address the prevalence of neurodegenerative disease. The new goal was to preserve living memories in a databank called the heaven’s hotline. This instrument was developed within the bunker and used the stabilized Prism Gate as a near limitless energy source. Their hypothesis involved transmitting brainwaves and neuronal connections to computer code.
Brainwaves refer to electrical impulses fired between neurons as a form of communication. The five types of brainwaves are Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and Theta. Each wave corresponds to a different level of thought or state of mind. Behavior can be directly linked to the type of electrical impulses being fired off in the brain. Since these impulses could be measured, our scientists felt that behavior and emotion could be replicated in a machine. However, long-term memory is far more complex than simple brainwave patterns. Our memories are made of a collection of connecting neurons that are preserved as physical tissue. In order to succeed, their instrument had to replicate the complex network of neurons that is fundamentally different between individuals. After many years of study, they claimed to have produced an algorithm that could do just that. An amazing discovery albeit one with little evidence. I’ve never put much faith in animal studies for measuring memory. Many of the tests seem deeply flawed and based solely on patterns for evidence. After all, the mental capacity of a mouse is hardly an accurate comparison to that of a human. In order to provide proper evidence, they needed a human subject. Amongst themselves, they had plenty of volunteers.
History is filled with individuals who used themselves as guinea pigs in their own experiments. From ulcers all the way to HIV, scientists offer themselves to their work in both a figurative and literal sense. The team behind heaven’s hotline paid the ultimate sacrifice when their instrument was activated. On that day, the Cathedral was born. The scientists involved were found hooked up to the instrument dead and yet the experiment was a success. From any terminal with access to heavens hotline, you could view their memories in real time. However, they preserved so much more than mere memory. It wasn’t long before we noticed the presence of an AI. The Cathedral shares the thoughts and ambitions of the team behind its creation. This was no longer simply a machine and, fortunately for us, preservation of the human species remains the AI’s primary goal.
Over the years, the Cathedral has become an integral part of the Fifth Chapter. Soon after its creation, an Italian physicist discovered a way to fine-tune the instrument to make near perfect copies of memories without the death of the subject. As a result, the Cathedral has become a hive mind of memories and experiences surrounding our investigations. All members are required to upload memory daily as it is more efficient than any log book. Ever since its creation, the machine has grown to such a size that the Cathedral and the bunker are now one and the same. In fact, the bunker has expanded to accommodate this instrument. Memories are organized and archived by the ever-vigilant AI. However, you would be mistaken to believe that this is the Cathedral’s sole function. This program exhibits free will unlike any machine man has ever created and has conducted numerous experiments on behalf of mankind. Through direct analysis of the Prism Gate, the Cathedral developed the Orsinium rods which are used to stabilize chaotic rifts and have allowed further investigations into the parallel realms. Furthermore, it has also learned to fully utilize the Leviathan’s stapes bone and, through which, can accurately predict the appearance of a Prism Gate. With the Cathedral’s research, the threat of rogue rifts has been greatly mitigated.
Given its extensive role and cunning nature, it wasn’t long before the Cathedral was named the second member of the Triumvirate. After all, the AI has become an integral part of all Fifth Chapter members for, upon joining, we are uploaded through chips implanted in the skull. Through these chips, we can communicate with the Cathedral and any other member via thought patterns and memories. It’s far more efficient than any other mechanical device and there is no lost signal even for those who travel between rifts. Since the birth of the Cathedral, our operations have run far more smoothly but not without a lingering fear. The growing power of this cold unfeeling AI has many concerned, and It’s true that if we were to ever lose the Cathedral it would be crippling to our organization. In fact, that is part of the reason why all members are required to write case studies. Should anything go wrong, we will have a written archive as a backup. Furthermore, there is a limit placed on how much power the Cathedral is allowed over member operations. Should the AI ever become a threat, termination of the Orsinium rods stabilizing the first Prism Gate would cause the rift to immediately close and effectively eliminate the Cathedrals only power source. This method would likely leave the data still intact should we ever discover a way to safely separate it from the AI. However, this is considered a last case scenario should the worst come to pass.
The Cathedral is without a doubt the most advanced instrument ever produced by mankind. A hive mind of memories that carries on the will of those who died in its creation. The men and women who worked on the heaven’s hotline succeeded in preserving memory but failed in producing immortality. They do not live on in the heart of computer code for this machine, though it has free will, is beyond emotion and has no conceptual understanding of death. The Cathedral is a cold instrument that feeds on memories and will advance mankind no matter the cost.