In my previous blog post I wrote about the idea that Anagro uses advanced nanite technology to maneuver Observer Gohrlay into participating in a mind downloading experiment. In The Start of Eternity, as the story is currently written, that experiment destroys Gohrlay's brain because of the destructive nature of the "brain scan" that determines the structure of her neural networks. That structure is copied into positronic circuits in an attempt to create a positronic robot with human-like cognitive abilities.

I've been worried that it is probably going beyond of the limits of the Rules of Intervention for Anagro to callously kill Observer Gohrlay. I originally thought that the plot of The Start of Eternity could be advanced by depicting Anagro as treating Gohrlay like a puppet who could be tricked into participating in the experiment. I was trying to provide motivation for R. Gohrlay to later "declare war" on the Huaoshy when she learns what Anagro had done. However, I think there is a way to keep Anagro's behavior within the bounds of Huaoshy civility while still allowing R. Gohrlay to be launched on her crusade against the Huaoshy.

For Cellular Civilization I made it appear that one of the characters died: "...Charlie dies in a horrible car crash. Or is he dead?". Similarly, it would be possible for it to appear to the humans at Moon Base that Gohrlay dies while, in fact, she would continue living.

Anagro is part of the Huaoshy civilization, which long ago mastered nanotechnology. We can assume that the Huaoshy have technology for "scanning" the structure of a biological brain in a non-destructive way. Long ago the Huaoshy used that technology to create intelligent nanoelectronic robots, however, the Huaoshy do not allow that kind of advanced technology to be used by other species within the intergalactic civilization that they control. In particular, Anagro does not want the humans on the Moon to get the idea that it is a trivial matter to transfer human minds into robotic brains.

In The Start of Eternity, a small group of human scientists living on the Moon has initiated a study of Positronics. The humans develop technology for destructively scanning the structure of a human brain, but nobody volunteers to have their brain scanned. Anagro is fascinated by the idea of a positronic brain with a human-like mind (since they have nanoelectronic robots, the Huaoshy have never bothered to create and study positronic robots). I'm now thinking that Anagro could devise a sneaky plan by which it would be possible to obtain a human volunteer for mind downloading and the creation of a positronic brain with a human-like mind while not allowing the human residents of Moon Base to realize that non-destructive mind downloading is possible.

The Plan. As part of that plan, Anagro uses advanced Huaoshy technology to non-destructively scan the structure of Gohrlay's brain, but he makes it appear to the humans that destructive brain scanning was used. Anagro creates a clone of Gohrlay and substitutes that clone's body for Observer Gohrlay's body just before the destructive phase of the brain scan begins (using the primitive human-designed scanner). The clone's brain is destroyed, not Observer Gohrlay's brain. Observer Gohrlay is secretly taken to the more advanced Huaoshy-style brain scanner and results from that scanner are fed by Anagro to the waiting human robotics team in the assembly room. After the scan is complete, Observer Gohrlay is awakened and she continues her life. She is taken to the planet where the Huaoshy routinely take "retired" groups of Overseers.

Suicide. When Observer Gohrlay "volunteers" to participate in the mind downloading experiment is she committing suicide? If there is such a thing as justifiable homicide then is there also something like "justifiable suicide"? I have not thought about Gohrlay's death as a conventional suicide. Many of her important memories were taken from her and she faces a decision between living with huge holes in her mind or "volunteering" for an experiment that would destroy her mind. She is not free to make this decision on her own. Anagro makes use of nanites to alter Gohrlay's thoughts and guide her towards participation in the mind downloading experiment. If the story is modified as described above (to include The Plan) then it might be possible to call Gohrlay's death a "simulated suicide" in that people such as Klempse might imagine that Gohrlay dies by suicide. However, it might also be the case that the Neanderthal culture would recognize the existence of a "right to die".

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