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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.

-- Baron Klim,
"The Music of the Spheres",
See: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for background


No one ever explains exactly what a nerve stapling is. It is understood to be some form of brute medical imposition, an outrage that is felt but never seen, a thing so shameful and necessary that those who bluster its defense do so with averted eyes and violent fanaticism. How else could it be? It must be done. Of this we all admit, even we who do not admit it and abhor the revolting procedure and its fascist, terrifying finality. It must be done.

Are we to allow the drones their unrestrained impulses, their base and inhuman lack of self control? They will puncture the walls. In their stupidity and selfishness they will breach the membranes that protect us from Planet and its air, its toxic gases and hostile life forms. The worms are out there and they want us, want to feed on our dreams and carcasses, to lay eggs in putrid masses and use us to feed their larvae. We cannot risk the continuity of our physical existence on account of these undeserving, out of control savages.

They are changed afterwards, in all the ways we know they must be. They shuffle, speak slowly, and look at us with unfocused slowness. We are grateful for the order that comes with the newly stapled but deep within us we still sense their anger and fear their suppressed resentment. We fear that one day it will erupt and that even in their dazed, smothered imbecility they will see us for the tyrants we are and so give us what we deserve.

I am for the staplings. They are indefensible, unacceptable, barbaric acts of basest expedience. No society, no matter how great its need, can admit of so nakedly inappropriate an abuse of power. Official force must be circumscribed, its application limited to clearly defined scenarios and justifiable limits. There can be no justification for these things we do.

Yet there were are. It must be done.

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