Die Writing

The gates

Posted in Neuropilot by erdaron on August 11, 2010


Thanks for reading, y’all. This is related to the Pamphlet.


A needle pricks your finger. A couple of neurons fire off in panic, signaling to the brain that something is wrong. The brain acknowledges, and commands the finger the shirk away from the needle.

A billion needles prick your entire body. Every neuron now fires off in panic, signaling to the brain that something – everything – is wrong. The brain tries to acknowledge, but there is just too much pain. Shock. Blackout.

That’s the trick they pull on us. The starfighter’s control network jacks directly into my spinal column. In combat there is not enough time to pull levers and push buttons most of the time – a mere thought, a raw reflex will have to do. So they jack the control network right in. They actually did a good job of picking which pathways to hack, so that the system’s inputs make sense to the brain. For this reason, the machine’s distress signals go into pain receptors.

When a shell hits the jet, I actually feel it. I feel every bit – the concussion, the shrapnel, the burn. It’s all right here in my brain, and it hurts like hell.

Combat is an intense place and there is a lot of pain. So much pain in fact, a normal person shouldn’t be able to handle it. So they install a few chips, spray some chemical into the blood, and voila – the safety floodgates that would normally allow the brain to go into a blackout are now fixed open. No matter how much pain there is to handle, there is no release of unconsciousness. After all, lose the pilot – lose the machine. Can’t have that.

We are not allowed to have painkillers. They all work by either slowing down or completely shutting down some neural pathway or other, and that means that some part of the machine will either be shut off or slowed down. In a situation where every nanosecond counts, that is unacceptable. Instead we are trained in how to disassociate ourselves from pain. We feel it, but simply don’t care.

There is a reason for the floodgates. There is a limit to how much intensity the brain can handle before, quite literally, burning out. That’s the rumor, anyway.

2 Responses

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  1. kliphtin said, on August 27, 2010 at 1:29 am

    I haven’t written home in a long time. Sorry about that. I miss you guys. Training isn’t for the weak. Two months out of the last six, my hands were shaking so much after low orbit training, that I couldn’t type.

    It’s a struggle out here baby, these ain’t Tonka trucks, but I’m proud to know that I’m in such an elite group, and that we’re fighting for something important. We’re going to be off planet for the next eighty-eight days, they call it the weighty eighty-eight because everyone returns lighter then when they left. I only got in because my combat score ranks amongst the highest in the camp. I’m surprisingly effective out there. Ha.


    After a quick decompression at base for medical testing I’ll be released on leave and we’lll get to spend sixteen weeks with you and Kyte. That’s what I keep thinking about. I know that Kyte can be tough sometimes, and I can’t wait to be there for both of you. I miss you, Xian. I miss your touch, and your mouth. I’m doing the right thing, and I’m doing a good job, but it’s hard to be away for so long.

    They tell me the first two years require the most effort, and then it’s up to me what happens next.

    I love you, Xian. I hope this message reaches you well. Sweet dreams.

    Kenny Step
    Falcon Class Sergeant

    • erdaron said, on August 29, 2010 at 1:20 am

      Nice. I like this. I especially like his family’s space names (Kyte and Xian). Use of a personal letter is intriguing, too. I’m going to think on how to incorporate it :).

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