Dokhtar-e Ahriman

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The Dokhtar-e Ahriman (Daughter of Ahriman) is the living receptacle of the live panopticon feed which links directly into her surgically augmented visual cortex via the adapted optic nerve (normally the right eye is removed to facilitate this). The recipient achieves full situational and information awareness, which in the first few test subjects resulted in fatigue, disorientation and ultimately psychological trauma as the perception of self is overwhelmed by the relentless flow of raw data.

In order to prevent such undesired side effects recurring selected state institutions and Augur Industries were tasked with producing specimens capable of processing information whilst enduring a heightened sense of reality without being distracted by incidental details - such as the nature of the operator's integration into the operating system.

Project Methuselah

Methuselah was the codename for a black ops programme run by the Directorate of Research and Engineering's Bio-systems Division, under Magister Kapec in cooperation with Augur Industries and the Natopian Spacefleet.

The programme began in 1641 AN and consisted of a series of cyberorganic experiments of live human volunteers drawn from the overcrowded gaols of Shirekeep. The intent was to enhance the natural abilities of humans through cyberorganic and cybernetic implants and to recreate the Babkhan Dokhtar-e Ahriman [1] [2]. The programme experienced a high rate of attrition, with participants enduring sickness, convulsions, body shock and trauma, but they all endured because they believed in the promise of a free pardon if they survived. At least one of the volunteers died during a botched operation that was intended to replace her eyes with implants that would give her ultraviolet spectrum receptors that would have allowed for direct interaction with the data-ports of the Panopticon Suite.

After the early experiments found that Humans couldn't function with machines in their brains, the project team began using subjects on the verge of death such as prisoners hung at the gallows, wounded soldiers and coma patients. The running theory was to hardwire the subject's brain with a computer intelligence that kept the brain functional while the body was surgically repaired. After this a neurolinguistic programmer would fixate the subject on the moment of their 'death', shutting down all conscious thought and allowing the computer to exert complete control while the subconscious is dying over and over again. The CPU is powered by a small thorium battery cell. The project stalled in 1642 as the struggle to produce an operational specimen raised the prospect of cancellation.

The breakthrough was achieved when specimens, taken from a certain ethnicity resident within the Vale of Angularis, noted for prizing matrilineal descent, was identified as possessing the desired cognitive profile. These now enjoy Imperial protection and, as His Majesty's Loyal Subjects are being induced to cross-bloodlines, so that new, consistently reliable bloodlines can be generated.

Further study showed that the most efficient method for processing received inputs was not through inducing the subject to replicate the ways of a computer processor but rather to order patterns in an occult manner, similar to the dream journeys of the primitive steppe shamans who claimed to mediate between the spirit and physical worlds. This requires a REM-dreaming state, audio-visual stimulation, certain chemical compounds, and a strongly reinforced cultural narrative.

Accordingly the test subjects, their breeding partners and those who work around them, have been encouraged to believe in the more outlandish aspects of the occult belief and parapsychology. To reinforce this test subjects are all females taken from matrilineal lines where the sensitivity is most pronounced. Those we have termed Daughters of Ahriman have been induced by the means outlined to perceive reality through the prism of the Jadu ye Siyah (Black Arts) taught by the Chamber of the Crypteia.

Inbreeding and cultural conditioning has enhanced the uncanny aspect of the test subjects making their situation all the more believable, both to themselves and those with-whom they interact. Indeed it very quickly ceased to be a requirement on the part of researchers to simulate supernatural occurrences as test subjects and those in proximity to them have made numerous reports of extrasensory perception and psychokinesis - demonstrating once again how beneficial the power of suggestion can be.

The notable drop off in mortality rates, achieved by Cohort Seventeen, an initial batch of nine, meant that test specimens were now available for integration with the Panopticon Suites of new equipment coming into service.

Integration into selected platforms was in progress during the 1650s:
1652: IRS Medusa;
1654: Elwynn Class Corvettes;
1655: Duchy Class Destroyers.

In 1660 the bloodlines of Project Methuselah were replenished by the induction of fresh breeding samples gathered as tribute from the city of Nackholm after its liberation from Neo-Batavian control.