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AC Nerve Stapling

Nerve stapling is a common term for a medical procedure that uses the eponymous nerve stapler: a device originally designed for psychotherapy, but often applied on both Earth and Chiron to deal with social dissension.

Procedure[ | ]

When strapped to a patient's head and upper back, the nerve stapler extrudes hair-fine probes into his brain and spinal column. A psychotherapist can then use the device to inflict extreme sensations (not necessarily pain) on the patient, subjecting him to a rapid course of psychological conditioning. Unless possessed of exceptional will, the subject will usually succumb and become a calm and loyal member of society. Nerve induction is used in more technologically advanced societies.[1]

The punishment sphere is built around the stapler, with a semi-translucent spherical cover that allows people to witness the torment of its victims. It's not uncommon for victims to suffer permanent psychological trauma by mere proximity to the sphere, before the stapler is even strapped to them.[2]

Effects[ | ]

The neurological procedure is designed to make any subject a calm and loyal member of society. The ability to maintain a distinct self-image is significantly decreased, and they have difficulty placing their own interests ahead of those of the group. Nerve-stapled citizens are also emotionally detached, unable to feel anger or other strong emotions. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of much of their creative intelligence, and they are only able to perform well at tasks that are thoroughly familiar to them.[1]

Nerve stapling is usually only inflicted upon the citizens of police states, where the procedure is used to quell unrest. Since the procedure has a drastic effect on the subject's ability to innovate, most faction leaders are reluctant to use it for fear of losing their technological edge. The procedure wears off, but slowly. Without treatment to reverse the procedure, a nerve-stapled citizen might require several years to recover his natural psychological balance.[1]

References[ | ]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Alpha Centauri GURPS Sourcebook
  2. Punishment sphere: "It is not uncommon to see patients undergo permanent psychological trauma in the presence of the Sphere, before the nerve stapler has even been strapped into position. Its effect on the general consciousness of the culture is profound: husbands have seen wives go inside, and mothers their children. Dr. Xynan left the surface of the sphere semitranslucent for a reason. You can hear them in there; you can see them. It is a thing of terrible beauty."