Navarch Garrick Talin smiled into the silent darkness of his office. "Hello, old friend."   There was a sigh over his desk speaker, promptly followed by the voice of Minder Shane Lawrence. "How do you do that?"   Garrick shrugged, an imperceptible movement in the dark. "I just know things."   "One of these days I'm going to find out the answer."   "When you do, let me know. That's about the only thing I haven't figured out." Garrick frowned. "But that's not why you're here."   There was a pause on the other end as Shane gathered his thoughts. "It's about Mind Doana. She needs... a distraction."   Garrick leaned back in his chair, biting his lip as he rubbed his chin stubble in thought. "She's the best applied mathematician we have."   "And she feels underutilized. We haven't had need to challenge her since she joined MORTAC." The Minder's voice donned the air of authority, a remnant of his days at the helm of the Mordena. "I want you to change that."   The head of the Mordena Security Council closed his eyes in thought. "We could send her to interface with Baden. We don't need anything from them, but I know they've been having some trouble with efficiency in their shipyards."   "I know my homeworld. They'll never agree to the help." Shane paused. "Unless something major has changed since I died?"   Garrick grinned. "So we ask them for help."   "Ask to study their assembly methods? To see if we can learn from them?"   "Exactly." Garrick sat up in his chair. "She knows how to word a good question. I give it a week, they'll be begging her to calculate a better line balance."   Garrick grinned even wider at his friend's snort over the speaker. "A week? I don't think they'll last the day."
The Minder serves as the leader of the Minds of MORTAC, maintaining morale and the organizational hierarchy as the HiveMind grows in size and knowledge. Former Grand Navarch Shane Lawrence, first resident of MORTAC, invented the role for himself in recognition of the leadership required to guarantee MORTAC's success.


It's basically like herding Gromdornox while playing three simultaneous games of Lies and Allies at once, and everyone is screaming at you with varying degrees of language skills.   You know, a typical Tuesday.
— Minder Shane Lawrence
  The Minder must be a capable and organized leader, able to analyze, delegate, and maintain order within the informal ranking structure of the Minds of MORTAC. The Minder must also be recognized as the chief authority by those Minds, as without this recognition the position holds no power. Former Grand Navarch Shane Lawrence has been recognized as the only logical choice for leadership, as his role as founder of the Mordena captures the loyalty of younger souls while memories of his leadership already command the old guard. It is well recognized that, should he ever decide to move on into The Afterlife, he must personally select and train his successor to maintain the effectiveness and loyalty of the MORTAC.  
I've followed him through pain and certain death more times than I can count. But there's always room for once more.
— loyal Mind


Shane Lawrence appointed himself, as he has done for every other position he has ever held in life. Subsequent Minders, should he ever choose to step down, will probably be selected by their predecessor. Currently this does not appear to be a likely event.


MORTAC contains the souls of the Mordena's most knowledgeable and analytical deceased experts. Collecting so many egos in the same team and expecting them to work together tends to present its own tribulations, most of which reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole. And this is before accounting for other, more personal issues, including each new soulbound's adjustment to life within the Supercomputer.   Officially the Minder is responsible for maintaining the efficiency and accuracy of the MORTAC HiveMind, but unofficially this duty takes on many forms. The Minder is therefore part task master, part therapist, part confidant, and part coordinator, not to mention the analytic roles held by each member of the MORTAC.   As the population of the Supercomputer grows the Minder must adapt its structure to suit the new dynamics. This also requires delegation to effective members of the team, assigned to tasks based upon their strengths, and sometimes it means identifying when an individual is not a good fit for the team and helping them determine their next steps.   Whatever it takes to keep the team happy, healthy, and helpful to the primary goals of the Mordena.
Form of Address
Source of Authority
Himself, with backing from the Grand Navarch and the Minds
Length of Term
As long as the Minder is willing
First Holder
Current Holders
Reports directly to
Related Locations
Related Organizations
Shane's voice sobered. "Seriously, how do you always know when I'm listening? I know you can't use magic."   Garrick paused thoughtfully. "I suppose we have too much in common for me to not know?"   "But your cosmic burnout..."   "Is a secret," Garrick finished. "You never had that luxury." Garrick thought back to his days as a Void Mage. The rush of power, the feel of the life of the Universe itself flowing through him... And how empty he always felt afterwards. He shook his head. "Besides. My gifts were always stronger in other areas."   Shane grunted agreement. "You'd do well in MORTAC."   "I'm not dead yet." He chuckled softly. "At least, not again."   "Well, just think about it." Shane's voice felt distant. "Thanks for the help, old friend. I've got to go. It's movie night."   Garrick's brows furrowed. "You? Watch movies?"   The emergency line lit up on his desk then, interrupting the conversation. The Navarch hastily answered, poised to provide a rapid response team, but relaxed upon receiving the caller's complaint. "Me and the guys made plans to watch Babes in Space tonight, but now we're locked in and the screen won't play nothing but those dumb safety training videos! You need to-"   "Movie night," Shane repeated, disconnecting the call. "Someone needed to make sure they took their safety training, and I promised the Commander I'd help her out. Nothing else I tried worked."   Garrick bent double in an effort to restrain his laughter. "Goodnight, Shane" he weezed between breaths. "Enjoy your entertainment for this evening."   "Get some rest, old friend," Shane answered with amusement. "I'll have one of MORTAC's new teams keep watch tonight. See how they work together. We'll finish planning Doana's mission once you've slept."


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25 Mar, 2021 11:08

'Shane Lawrence appointed himself, as he has done for every other position he has ever held in life.' I almost spat out my tea.   I really am loving this concept, and I love Shane. I neeed more Shane in my life.

25 Mar, 2021 12:13

Realtalk: I might have a crush on Shane.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
28 May, 2021 14:11

Great article, seems like an interesting character :D I love the last quote and how he forced them to watch the safety training videos XD

Feel free to check my ship challenge article.
28 May, 2021 14:14

Shane is the best. Others don't always agree. Hahaha! <3

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
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