Isolated Sensory Network Dysfunction in The Dragonstar Sagas | World Anvil
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Isolated Sensory Network Dysfunction

Kaesta suffers from a rare congenital disorder that causes the sensory nerves in her brain to function abnormally. The sensory nerves are supposed to carry the signals with information about what Kaesta touchs, tastes, smells, hears, and sees. Without an experimental cybernetic implant, Kaesta's mind does not register pain and has decreased temperature sensitivity.

As a small child, before the implant surgery, she wouldn't realize when she was injured. She couldn't feel temperature changes and didn't know if she was overheated until she was on the verge of losing consciousness. During her most terrifying early memories, her vision would tunnel, closing in as her sense of balance would fail.

The disorder has progressed rapidly. Kaesta has begun to lose feeling in her hands and feet. Her sense of taste and smell have both faded, but she hides these new symptoms from Asimov.  

Althea's Decline

Kaesta's mother, Althea, lived with this disorder for nearly three decades before her mind lost all contact with the outside world. Her body lingered on for years in a coma. Kaesta's father, Rylan, was convinced that her mother's mind was there, trapped alone. He spent the years during Althea's vegetative state studying neurochemistry. He was desperate to find a way to reverse her condition or reach her conscious mind by some other means.  

The Cybernetic Implant Isn't Working

Unfortunately, Kaesta's condition is deteriorating much faster than her mother's. The experimental cybernetic implant meant to act as a stopgap until Rylan could find a cure for his daughter is now failing. Decline is imminent. When the implant completely ceases to function, Kaesta will be plunged into a state of total sensory deprivation. This is Kaesta's greatest fear.


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Oct 5, 2023 12:21 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

The real life version of this condition is terrifying, and you've managed to make it even more so. The bit about Althea is so sad. :(

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Oct 5, 2023 18:39 by Melissa

Thanks, Emy! I stayed up waaaaaaay too late last night researching neurological disorders. Hoping to raise the stakes with implant failure when it's least convenient. :)

Oct 6, 2023 18:23 by Molly Marjorie

This is so terrifying. Poor Kaesta! I also like how it's rooted in an actual condition.

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Oct 6, 2023 20:26 by Melissa

Thanks, Molly! I'm hoping my additions give it a more sci-fi feel. Got to give the hero motivation! I wanted the stakes to be high and the cost of failure to be terrible.

Oct 18, 2023 04:43 by Enoris Leinwand

This is so scary ! I can not even imagine how terrified she must be This article is an amazing interpretation of the theme and sounds like a great integration to a story. This sure adds a lot of stakes !

Oct 18, 2023 10:20 by Melissa

Thanks, Enoris! She's pretty terrified for herself but she's also worried for Asimov. Since it's just the two of them, if she passes away Asimov will turn off. As an Android, unless he can find a new crew or purpose, he'll suffer from Voluntary Shutdown Syndrome. Both of their lives are on the line.