The Star Army
Main Article: Star Army of Yamatai
Main Article: Star Army of Yamatai
Fragmentation of ST data is a medical condition discovered by the Department of Health and Medicine of the Yamatai Star Empire in YE 40. It is believed to be caused by an anomaly in the Nekovalkyrja Operating System that causes fragmentation of the ST data that quantifies the 'soul' of a digital being. Only one in unknown millions of the artificial lifeforms that use the system will ever be affected thus making it rarer than the very rare male NH-27 Nekovalkyrja.
It has been around for longer than the Department of Health and Medicine can trace due to the extremely small number of cases found. Of four confirmed cases two were institutionalized for hyper-aggressive behavior and extreme paranoia, another was found in counseling after committing suicide1) following years of suffering from clinical depression, and the last happened to be an intern working in the same office as the team researching the disorder and showed clear signs of social awkwardness right alongside acute brilliance.
The symptoms of this condition are not unique to fragmentation nor are they exclusively negative, however, the condition is not positive by a long shot. Symptoms experienced by those very few afflicted are never identical, though some common items include anxiety, depression, hallucination, paranoia, intermittent psychosis, hyper aggression, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder to various degrees. While the net of symptoms is quite broad and can be confused with common personality disorders these symptoms are always accompanied by a common state of making subconscious edits to their operating system, altering their own code in negative ways.
While in a minor state some of these symptoms might be unnoticeable or even beneficial to a Neko's occupation the long-term degradation of the person’s data can cause these symptoms to become so severe that the sufferer eventually dies from suicide or complete fragmentation of their ST data that results in permanent death.
While many of the studies have been from only a handful of people researchers investigating the disorder have hypothesized that the most severe of the symptoms include a reduced ability or inability to heal, permanent psychosis and/or hallucination, seizure, coma, or sudden death. Although the condition may start benign, the uncontrolled alteration to the Neko OS will assuredly result in the intensification of all aforementioned symptoms.
While the list of negative symptoms is staggering there is one noteworthy telepathic symptom. Sufferers tend to create abnormally strong telepathic connections to other digital beings. While still being impossible to host a psionic attack under the influence of a Psionic Signal Controller it is theoretically possible to barrage another digital being with harmful psionic data, or possibly even corrupt another's ST data. This naturally caught the attention of the Star Army of Yamatai though due to the difficulties in finding mentally fit people with fragmentation no tests have ever been conducted on the viability of military application. However, it should be known that this is a two-way street and that due to the strength of the telepathic connection while the willpower of an afflicted being can cause a normal mind difficulty in disconnecting or resisting intrusion it also opens up the fragmented mind to a counterattack. Researchers have further theorized correctly that this aggressive use of telepathy will greatly accelerate the declining mental state of the fragmented mind.
It is unknown how the condition is contracted though it is confirmed that it is present from birth and is not inherently contagious. The disorder is naturally-occurring disorganization of ST data that causes intellectual degeneration and loss on sanity before deviating so far from the format of the Nekovalkyrja Operating System that a person becomes an unrecognizable and unsupported program. Due to the digital nature of the disorder changing into a new body will not help and it is impossible to correct the faulty lines of code without fundamentally changing the person, in short causing a new person to be created in place of the old one.
The only way for a healthy Nekovalkyrja or Minkan to contract this affliction would be from having an accidental or deliberate alteration of their OS occur or possibly the insertion or removal of memory go wrong. Unlike a being born with fragmentation this unnatural alteration could be corrected and could not be spread from such a person. The likelihood of such a situation occurring is extremely unlikely though doctors would urge patients diagnosed with fragmentation to use extra caution when using telepathy.
If detected in a fetus it can theoretically be treated by careful manipulation of the baby’s operating system via the mother, however, working on the child's mind is being done through the mother's and can result in damage to the mother's ST data. This risky procedure is only theoretical and the skill set to identify the problem and correct it has never been developed by a professional due to the extreme rarity of patients and current undetectability of fragmentation.
Those afflicted with ST data fragmentation cannot be cured without overwriting their own ‘soul’ as it were. Those who choose to live with the condition are believed to be doomed to eventual insanity, body incompatibility, or eventual permanent death. From a medical standpoint, the condition is a death sentence with the only hope for survival questioning whether the person is actually the person they were before.
What researchers would not discover is the afflicted people’s ability to use their fragmented state and self telepathy to mentally “step outside” the confines of their mind and make adjustments. By entering a meditation-like trance a person can see their own code and with great caution and focus “defragment” to a more stable state when done correctly. Without self-discipline and focus, this can also be self-destructive. Though it will never solve the cause of the problem, it can give the sufferer the ability to survive and maintain their sanity.