To: Magus Tyrone Girardi, Director
From: Lawrence Ellis MD, ThD
Subject: Request for reassignment.
I am taking the liberty of writing to you directly, in violation of hierarchy and protocol, to humbly request urgent reassignment. I do not take this step lightly, but I have taken the matter up with my superior on several occasions, and we have been unable to reach an agreement. Dr. Cornell insists I am irreplaceable, and while I fully understand that my combined credentials in both Neurocybernetics and Thaumaturgy make me a valuable asset to the IOND’s efforts, I cannot, in all honesty, continue to give my best when I live in abject fear, not only for my life but my very sanity.
On accepting my initial assignment to the project, I believed I understood the inherent risks in cybermantic research. The past two years, I have come to the realization that they are far greater than I (and I dare say “we”) had ever contemplated. Harrowing and traumatic though my personal experiences—and those of my colleagues—in the deep metaplanes have been, it has been the everyday toll on our minds and spirits that is causing me to despair. Only last month, we lost Martin Xiang, a valued co-worker and good friend, during the metaplanar component of a procedure. In March, Dr. James Royce had to be forcibly restrained after magically assaulting three members of his staff. I was part of the on-site evaluation team that reviewed the incident, and though we’ve had no further contact with Dr. Royce after he was handed over to security, our findings indicate a distinct taint to the astral signature of his workings—one I should add had not been detected before. I believe more frequent psych evaluations might have been beneficial in detecting the problem before it manifested, and I have suggested as much to Dr. Cornell—though this will only attenuate the psychological hardships and stresses of our assignment, not resolve the underlying problems. These and other incidents during my tenure with the project have lead me to conclude that, if I were to stay my present course, both my life and my sanity are at risk.
No matter how callous and cold one grows, how much distance we try to place between us and the subjects, the constant burden of what we do and how we do it invariably takes its toll. Which brings me to the issue of our subjects. Rationally, I fully understand that they are either volunteers, terminal cases, or victims of extreme trauma. I comprehend we do them a service. However, emotionally, one cannot work with them for any amount of time without coming to the realization of how traumatic the cybermantic process truly is on the intelligence locked within. And I have come to doubt that any of them realize the true cost of their decision. This burden has greatly increased since being transfered to the S100 project here in Montreal.
The elation of bringing someone back from beyond the Threshold, of reigniting life by combining the wonders of science and magic, has faded for me. When they reopen their eyes, reawaken to themselves, all I see now is the lost child in them, the disconnection and consternation, the fundamental doubt in their spirits that something is wrong with them, something that can never really be set right. That in my mind is the true reason we lost so many before the techniques were perfected. I don’t simply refer to the cognitive disorders and mental dissociation either. This is much deeper than even those. Something spiritual in nature. Only someone devoid of any empathy could overlook the spiritual desolation that follows the process. Despite the advances in the technology, it is impossible to ignore the feelings of depression, abandonment, apathy, and anguish that radiate from their auras. It is, I dare say, an effect amplified by the perpetual astral background count the procedure generates. Even non-Awakened staff report feeling unease and disturbed in their presence.
I also find Dr. Cornell’s fixation with the line of research resulting from our dealings with the Xenos troubling, to say the least. The nature of the techniques we have been privy to through this association are disturbing. Their cybermantic rituals involve elements that are not only unethical in the extreme, but violent and illegal; their theoretical approach is radically different from our own. As you are undoubtedly aware, the process developed by the Xeno relies upon literally killing the subject under controlled circumstances and then bringing them back to life, imbued with a new spiritual essence drawn from some other source. The technique is similar enough to the process of becoming a vampire that parallels are unavoidable. While the technique does not require the devouring of human life force, and might have originally been intended as a cure, I find the requisite forms and rites inherently troubling.
I do not trust our Xeno colleagues and would strongly advise severing the relation and purging any such research from our systems. I am fully aware that, as Director, you sanctioned this partnership, but I cannot condone pursuing these practices further, and I truly hope you agree and urge you to reconsider.