- This page is about the Oni concept of the Daodan, for the page on the Daodan DLL patch, see here.
Daodan latency etc
Recurrently mentioned by Shinatama, Kerr, and the rest of Griffin's scientific crew, from CHAPTER 01 . TRIAL RUN on. Not very informative to the player at that stage, but the unfamiliar name suggests something out of the ordinary, i.e. more exotic than regular biometric data.
High Daodan latency is bad, low latency is good (27.5 is normal, 29 is a bit alarming). Also mentioned are "bioplasmic waveforms", which are expected to be stable.
Arguably, Muro's "An android... Interesting... They must be using it to monitor her progress." doesn't refer to the progress of the Daodan integration process. At that moment (arguably) Muro is not interested in Konoko appearing as a rival to himself, i.e. as another Daodan.
More trivially, the neural link allows Shinatama to not only gather precise biometric data, but also to visualize Konoko's immediate environment : "I've seen everything you've seen". Thus "monitoring Mai's progress" can amount to making data like Mai's exact location and environment available to Griffin.
The neural link also acts like a portable scanner that Shinatama can use to analyze situations that are outside Mai's own field of vision (but still in close proximity to Mai), and feed Mai back with appropriate tactical information. Examples of such tactical computers include Halo's Cortana and Serious Sam's Netricsa.
OMG, this is off-topic. Bound for Shinatama's page or something.
The Daodan catalyzes physical performance, but also affects psychics : one becomes addicted to effort/violence, headstrong, and easily aggressive.
TCTF HQ terminal goes here.
(the Daodan is not mentioned in the context, but the player already suspects, after the first chapters that Mai is not 100% normal i.e. that she's enhanced in some way)
- Looked at another way, the major spikes only happen in three places: after beating Barabas a second time, after beating the room of bad guys at the end of Chapter 7 (ACC Exterior), and after beating her brother at the end of the game. Three times is hardly a large enough sample from which to assume that it's only boss fights that do this to her, especially since a Fury and a couple of Strikers are hardly a real boss fight, and the real boss fight with Mukade triggers no such reaction. This leaves the question of what specifically causes the major spikes.
The experience takes the form of a violent spasm, during which Konoko (uncontrollably?) raises her arms in the air then spreads them apart. A blue glow appears all over her body, and the sighting of this aura-like entity is accompanied by a soft humming-whistling. The fly-in panel of her face shows glowing skin and eyes, an "animal" smile, and the corresponding voiceover bears close resemblance to a female orgasm.
The spasm, known as a "powerup" to modders, is not referred to as a "Daodan spike" ingame. Rather, it's described as "consistent with the waveforms of a Daodan spike, but far more powerful." Probably a "regular" "Daodan spike" is like an adrenal spike, but "far more powerful" already ^^
It's interesting to confront the above symptoms with the concept of ecstasy.
First mentioned by Shinatama during her talk in CHAPTER 08 . AN INNOCENT LIFE : "They used me to monitor the growth of the Chrysalis inside you". Developed on by Kerr and his colleagues in CHAPTER 12 . SINS OF THE FATHER. The "growth" process takes dramatic proportions in later descriptions.
Mentioned by Mutant Muro : "I am very impressed with what you have been able to accomplish without drawing on the full power of your Chrysalis."
He doesn't name the Daodan explicitly during his encounter with Mai, but his allusions bear close resemblance with the descriptions of the transformation process occurring in CHAPTER 12 . SINS OF THE FATHER and CHAPTER 13 . PHOENIX RISING.
In his diary, Hasegawa alludes to the Daodan project as a "something" that he will do to "excuse his survival" after Jamie's death, also saying "if something isn't done we are all doomed".
A medicine to slow down Konoko's transformation. See Chapter 12 : SINS OF THE FATHER (consoles)
Kerr says that the transformation cannot change the symbiont's personality but vice versa. He claims the final form (Imago stage) as an expression of the person's "true nature" (which shall mean the unaltered personality). See Chapter 12 : SINS OF THE FATHER (speech)
TCTF-own researchers failed to remove Daodan tissue by invasive and exploratory surgery. They name two reasons:
- The dadoan cells are actually replacements for their originals, so the researcher cannot rip them out without having compatible tissue as new replacements.
- The Daodan tries to replace damaged tissue almost instantly, that makes a mechanical removal difficult.
Other ideas are:
- to overload the Daodan's recuperative capacity but which is supposed of having a fatal effect to the host also
- or to inject cell clusters which would attack the Daodan cells only. (It's unclear how the Daodan could react to this threat.)
The only mention of this stage by name is in the last chapter's objectives.
Wikipedia defines "Imago" as the "last stage of development of an insect", the completion of a metamorphosis; in other words, the adult stage. There also exists a sub-Imago stage in one order of insects -- mayflies.
The Daodan concept is easily the most original and powerful in all of Oni. It neatly maps onto society, technology, personality etc, and it can also be considered on its own, as an appealing sci-fi concept and the embodiment of not-so trivial dilemmas (ethical and other).
The Daodan is designed so as to run free : to come up with an adapted response to complex or unforeseeable challenges, to "react as it sees fit". There are virtually no limits imposed to that "hyperevolution" by the designer. Rather than making the "patched" humans able to withstand certain types of toxins, they idea is to provide a dynamic cure for any toxin there will ever be. Which sounds very nice, but brings about a few disturbing aspects...
Mender and catalyst
The Daodan can either "reinforce" existing bodily structures, or "replace" them with radically new ones. This dual selection process is mainly triggered by externally applied "stress or harm". The overall, long-term effect is to "distill the quintessence" of the host, to express its "true nature" as Kerr puts it.
Practically, though, the "patch" is gradually extending throughout the host, redefining the "nature" of the host organism as it does so. That's quite close to massive cyborgization of a human body : enhancing it with synthetic patches until the body is one big patch surrounding a vanishingly small human core.
Nanotechnological medecine, in cyberpunk and such, often features smart, hyperminiaturized robots that deal with diseases at cell level. Those robots, however, are specialized for a specific type of activity, as they are, from A to Z, the product of human designers and engineers.
The Daodan is essentially different in that it is 100% biological : it's even different from 3rd-party grafts and implants, because the tissue is originally that of the host himself. That, and the fact that both tissues do end up very different, makes the Daodan readily identifiable as an extreme form of cancer. Basically, the Chrysalises implanted to Muro and Mai were comparable to tumors (aggregates of cancer cells), and the different growth processes occuring then are equivalent to direct invasion and metastasis.
Cancer disrupts the fundamental equilibrium between cell division and cell death, and thus affects the organism's integrity. The Daodan does pretty much the same (note the connection of the aforementioned equilibrium to the "stability" of a host/Daodan "symbiote"). However, the initial mutation isn't random, and the process is considerably different from a proliferation of tumors, and does not result in death the way regular cancer does.
The Daodan is smart about its progression through the organism. Its core "hyperevolutionary" design is an autoadaptive upgrade of the host, which results in assimilating, "reinforcing and enhancing" existing structures, rather than going for any vital space it can get. A sort of dynamic integrity is thus maintained (if things go well, that is), and then it results in increased resilience and preservation of the host, rather than its death.
The Daodan serves its host as best it can. Which is more or less the altruistic goal claimed by Hasegawa.
So, is everything fine? Not really...
Efficience and loss of control
The key idea of the Daodan design is that in order to achieve outstanding performance (efficiency, power), you have to give up control. That's what Kerr and his colleagues keep talking about, that's what Muro and Barabas and Mai illustrated, each in their own way : Muro escaping the Syndicate's control in pretty much the same way as Mai escaped Griffin's, Barabas's more complicated case being a forced (and failed) conciliation of power and control.
Point is : with the Daodan, one should always expect the unexpected. The fact that the theory itself denies any kind of accurate control and prediction is what makes the Daodan so different from any other prototype technology. Whatever widget comes up in sci-fi, even if it never served before, one always knows what it's supposed to do. With the Daodan, one doesn't have such luxury.
And so the very notion of "competence" doesn't really apply : Kerr is the most competent guy we see, and just what diagnoses and forecasts does he make?
What comes closest to competence is the awareness of the theory's self-imposed limitations. What comes closest to incompetence is the overlooking thereof. Rather than the overlooking of a particular element of a hypothetical control/confinement scheme, it's the illusion that control/confinement schemes are at all viable which is irresponsible. And that's pretty hard to overlook.
Confidence in the upgrading process is another delusion, more comfortable and easier to overlook. Thus it is more suitable for a global-scale altruist such as Hasegawa or Kerr. Assuming that the Daodan can do no wrong is just as irresponsible as claiming full control of the consequences, be they good or bad. But in the first case, the false belief is more irrational, and thus interferes less with objective reasoning.
Der Grundgedanke des Daodan-Designs ist, dass man Kontrolle aufgeben muss um eine herausragende Leistung (Effizienz, Stärke) zu erreichen. Das ist worüber Kerr und seine Kollegen ständig reden, und es ist das was Muro und Barabas und Mai darstellen - ein jeder von ihnen in seiner Weise: Muro befreit sich aus der Kontrolle des Syndikats ganz ähnlich wie Mai von Griffen befreit. Barabas ist ein etwas komplizierterer Fall. Er stellt eine erzwungene (und gescheiterte) Eingrenzung der Stärke zu Gunsten der Kontrolle dar.
Der Punkt ist, dass man mit der Daodan immer das Unerwartete erwarten sollte. Der Fakt, dass die Theorie an sich jede Form der genauen Kontrolle und Hervorsage verneint, macht die Daodan so anders von jeder anderen Prototyp-Technologie. Welches (widget) Wunderding auch immer im Science-Fiction auftaucht, sogar solche, die es noch nicht gab, man weiß immer wozu es gut ist. Bei der Daodan hat man diesen Luxus nicht.
Und so trifft "Kompetenz" hier auf gar keinen Fall zu: Kerr ist der kompetenteste Typ, den wir kennen, und welche Diagnosen und Pronosen trifft er?
Was am ehestens "Kompetenz" nahe kommt, ist das Wissen über die der Theorie selbst auferlegten Grenzen. Was am ehestens "Inkompetenz" gleichkommt, ist das Übersehen derselben. Zu glauben, dass Kontroll- / Beschränkungssysteme vollkommen verlässlich seien, ist noch unverantwortlicher als das Übersehen eines wichtigen Elementes eines hypothetischen Kontroll- / Beschränkungssystems. Und das ist schwer zu übersehen.
Vertrauen in den Upgrade-Prozess zu haben, ist eine weitere Illusion - zumindest ist es leichter und angehemer zu übersehen. Dies passt eher zu einem global wirkenden Altruisten wie Kerr und Hasegawa es sind. Anzunehmen, dass die Daodan nichts falsch machen kann, ist genauso unverantwortlich wie die Behauptung über eine totale Kontrolle der Konsequenzen - seien sie nun Gute oder Schlechte. Aber der falsche Glaube an Ersterens - absolut verlässliche Kontrollsysteme - ist immer noch irrationaler, und damit geht er weniger mit einer objektive Argumentation einher.
Was Muro angeht, so ist er sich dem Problem bewusst, schert sich aber nicht viel um Kontrolle. STURMÄNDERUNG ist dafür ausgelegt den Überlebenden Ewiges Leben und Anarchie zu bringen.
Alienation and loss of humanity
The "power VS alienation" dilemma is best illustrated by the Barabas experiment.
Hyperevolution of Man
Effectively, there's a hell of a gap between a thoroughly upgraded (hyperevolved) human being and a regular human, both physiological and psychological. Actually, there's no well-defined limit or goal to the Daodan process.
So much of a difference that the Imago can be regarded as another race, another species... which is close to the basic concept of ET intelligence, no matter if the Daodan's origin is entirely human or not.
At any given moment, the upgraded (hyperevolved and hyperevolving) biomass and the still-completely-human cells are distinguishable. There's the human host and its hyperevolved clone, the Chrysalis.
There is no merging between the "tumors" and the intact organs. As the process progresse, the human host loses its integrity as organs are "hogged" by the Daodan biomass. There's an invader, an invaded and a front line, rather than a transformation occurring uniformly over the whole organism.
Given enough time, the process extends to all of the host's systems (again, there is no limit to the field of action of the "patch"). That means the nervous system and the brain will be subject to an upgrade, too.
The biological struggle at cellular level (the host's immune response to that strange invader : an upgraded copy of itself) is a bit tedious. Once the smart cancer begins to upgrade the host's brain (who said it doesn't need uprading? sure does!), the picture gets much more juicy.
Basically it's the old clon'o'phobic dilemma (what happens if your clone or double kills you and usurpates your identity?), except the killing and usurpation happens inside one single body.
Transiting to the Imago stage has been compared to falling in love. Passion dramatically enhances the sense of power, while dulling things such as common sense. In a way, "true lovers" don't belong to this world : they're beyond the community, beyond reason, etc.
The process has no declared goal other than a relentless mending of defects and catalyzing of resources. This results in a constant evolution towards "something" (perfection?).
One can then wonder what the finality is, if any. Is it the Imago stage (whatever it is?)? Can one avoid transiting to the Imago stage? If so, could that be the goal : balancing between human and Imago?
The Imago theory, upon reflection, brings up some unusual points. If the purest Imago state is acheived, then the Chrysilis has nothing more to adapt from. Does it simply die, or could it survive? If it lived, could it possibly be inserted with another Chrysilis?
If so, then one must wonder at the monsters that may occur...
Different people with different backgrounds and motivations will likely fail to consider the Daodan concept from a philosophical or scientific point of view, and will attribute a very practical value to the entity and process, depending on what the Daodan means to them in the context.
A Daodan can thus be regarded as a tool, a weapon, a cure, an antidote, a threat, insurance, sacrilege...