Professor was pacing up and down before the group; we were patiently watching him. After a while he turned to us and said, “You know, this is my least favourite part of the test. All our data shows that successful activation of brain-machine interface is a unique experience for every capsuleer. Yet here you are, expecting me to give you a silver bullet. I truly believe that sharing successful candidates’ experience with you not only adds no value, but in fact hinders your progress, as your minds get locked onto specific techniques. What I want you to do is completely opposite – release your mind, broaden your horizons, think out of the box and find your own way to control the pod. This is your best chance to achieve the goal. If you trust me, I ask you to leave this room and return to your pods.”
We looked at each other – no one was going anywhere.
“Ok,” said Professor, “I see – you tried hard for a month, nothing came out of it and you are frustrated. But please understand that one month is nothing, it’s just…”
“Excuse me, Prof,” interrupted I, “it’s you who needs to understand. I haven’t talked to you about it, but I was ready to quit two weeks ago. Don’t know about the rest of the group but the only thing that motivated me to stay that long is the fact that I actually saw it work. Call me impatient, but from my perspective it looks like an exercise in futility. I spent a whole month in that pod – flexing muscles, imagining things, listening to the feedback – and the result was absolutely nothing, nil, zilch! I am at my wits end. Never in my life I engaged in such thankless and meaningless activity. We realise that you don’t have a silver bullet but what we ask you to do is to give us hope. Even if the experience of other candidates cannot be replicated, simply reading their success stories will be an inspiration. As things stand now, we simply can’t carry on for another five months.”
I saw a few people in the group nod in agreement. Professor looked at us and winced as if he had toothache. I guess, this was his exercise in futility with every group of aspiring capsuleers.
“Well,” sighed Professor, “if you insist.”
He produced his data pad and did something on it, “You have access to Archive folder now. Happy reading.”
“Thank you, Prof,” the group yelled jubilantly and we ran to our rooms.
Professor was right – the reports were a mishmash of subjective experiences where people tried to explain inexplicable. Some wrote about muscle activity, some about thoughts, some even recorded whole sequences of actions which consistently resulted in pod control. After reading about a hundred of such reports I had got an impression that they described not the actual causes but just coincidences. A person might have been consciously trying some techniques when he chanced upon the right mind signal. But honestly, how can one describe mind signals? Imagine, you need to explain someone how exactly you clench a fist. You might say something like “I just curl my fingers”. The next question will be “How do you curl a finger?” The only answer I can provide is “I just do it” which won’t be helpful for a person who never knew how to curl fingers. And this is fine for normal human beings who learn to control their body from infancy – there is no need to describe basic movements. Babies naturally and gradually learn how to move arms and legs when their minds are clean slates and are receptive to new physical experiences. But since those experiences are acquired unconsciously, there is no way to consciously describe them.
Then, as we grow up, we settle in our ways and our minds become rigid. We have full control of our bodies and we do not expect any surprises from them. So, any “additional organs” that we acquire through brain-machine interface are simply ignored by our minds who can’t get out of the familiar grooves. One needs to get back to the blissful state of ignorance of a newborn baby in order to learn how to use a new organ. But how can one do it? The reports didn’t give a clue.
I started to understand why Professor Muhamad was against the disclosure of these reports. Still, at that moment they were better than nothing. At least, I could hope that there was a capsuleer whose brain was similar enough to mine and I could use his or her experience to activate the pod. That thought filled me with joy as after four weeks of wandering in the dark I finally had something concrete to work on.
There were thousands of reports and the remaining five months were not enough to try all of them. I decided to select only those which seemed most promising. Don’t ask me how I determined which ones were promising – I just relied on my intuition. For example, I excluded all reports where pod activation was caused by some muscle activity. I didn’t believe there were couplings between the existing and the new nerves which could be engaged simultaneously – most likely I would have already found such coupling during the first month when I tried pretty much all muscles in my body. This time I wanted to concentrate on thoughts. In my view, a person had to get into a certain state of mind which was conducive to discovery of new organs. The way to such state, and maybe the state itself, was likely to be different for each person but I hoped that I could get some ideas from the reports. And I had to get those ideas quick – now I had only five months left to get that bloody pod moving.