An Artificial Intelligence Back-of-Head Neural Interface Unit, or "AI backvisor" for short, is an electronic device that features in The Gerosha Chronicles of Dozerfleet Comics. It is a mind control device frequently employed by the Hebbleskin Gang for a variety of purposes, as documented below. First eluded to in the 2005 version of The Battle for Gerosha, it has found use several times since then.
Somehow, when attached to the back of someone's head, it forms a neural link that alters their thought processes. The alteration can be anywhere from merely planting suggestions or skills in someone's head all the way to creating an alternate personality to dominate for control of the host body, in a manner reminiscent of demonic possession. Some backvisors take effect immediately, some gradually. It is a common thing for Duke Arfaas and his ilk to do as a means of punishing activists who threaten or undermine them; by attaching a backvisor to said activists and forcing them to serve as semi-mindless minions. These minions usually become costumed assassins, sent out to kill other forms of opposition to the Hebbleskin Gang.
Three basic types of AI backvisor have been defined so far.
- Brown Hair Dye Nanobots: The least commonly-employed, and restricted in use to Gerosha Prime.
- "Independent" backvisor: A unit that attaches itself hard to the victim's head directly, and remains in place until removed by a third party. It is there whether the subject wears a helmet or not.
- Helmet-bound backvisor: Similar in design, but this version is fixed into the back of a suit helmet. Its influence over the wearer fades away after the helmet is removed.
The Battle for Gerosha
Main article: The Battle for Gerosha
The 2005 version of this story had "Jeanette the Bunny" as being a Hebbleskin critic who was captured and forced to wear an "Independent" AI backvisor. She was dressed in a "bunny assassin" outfit, and sent out to look for Craterville residents who opposed the Sgt. Luddin and Fantisk Hebbleskin regime. While later versions of the story opt out of a bunny suited-assassin, the early version initiated use of the AI backvisor as a plot device. The backvisor itself was only implied, and was never shown. Jeanette was freed from her duties as a Bunny Assassin after Mitch Brandel battled her in hand-to-hand combat and freed her.
Ciem / Vigilante Centipede
The 2005 version of Ciem was the first to introduce hair dye nanobots. They were utilized both to turn Jeraime Malestrom into L1 the Llama and to turn Denny Levens into Dr. Leone. As the dye faded away, a miniature helmet-bound backvisor replaced it in Jeraime's L1 cap. Ciem was able to free Jeraime after beating him up and subduing him long enough to remove the Llama cap. However, she'd stung Jeraime in the eyes and blinded him for life. Helmet-bound backvisors were also used on Dolly Malestrom and Lindsay Hamilton, to turn them into S1 and S2 the Bunnies respectively. Ciem defeats them first, and learns from Dolly how to defeat L1.
The 2006 version had it that the L1 cap was replaced with a full-on L1 helmet. An independent backvisor was used to control Jeraime, and had a recharge period in which Jeraime had to be strapped to a "Frankenstein" table to restrain him during his brief bouts of sanity, a la Prince Rilian from The Silver Chair. Instead of becoming Dr. Leone, Denny was murdered by L1 outright in this version.
In 2007, Classic Gerosha Ciem followed a similar path to Despair Gerosha Ciem in regards to nearly all major plot points. However, L1 was replaced with Musaran. After Jeraime is electrocuted and distracted, Ciem is able to grab a hold of his Musaran backvisor and break it over her leg. It screams upon being destroyed, implying that the Musaran AI inside it was demonic in nature. Freed from its control, Jeraime apologizes for Denny's death. The electrocution is blamed for his blindness, rather than him being stung in the eyes. Some test backvisors were being used on two droids in the Scarr Building breakroom of Viron University also, around the time that Candi eavesdrops and discovers a plot between police chief Merle Hourvitz to conspire with Duke Arfaas to unleash Musaran on the Levens home and assassinate Denny. Candi rushes home to warn Denny, but is too late. Her efforts are further frustrated when Kelsea Linney gets involved, and suicide bombs the house to settle her own vendetta against Denny.
In 2010, Comprehensive Gerosha's Ciem: Vigilante Centipede implies an end to Musaran that is similar in nature to how the 2007 webcomic handled it. However, Ciem must find a different means to electrocute him, given that the Montinel Corporation is exclusive to Classic Gerosha and there were no CRT monitors in the office building to achieve the desired goal.
Ciem 2 / Nuclear Crisis
The original ending to Ciem 2 has it that Henry Malestrom eventually becomes L2 the Llama / Musaran II, depending on version. An AI backvisor is attached to him so that he cannot question his decision to align himself with the Hebbleskins to get revenge on Ciem. Also, Captain Aardwulf was initially going to have one attached to him after his transformation to ensure his loyalties to Duke Arfaas. He rebelled and killed his creator scientists, however, ensuring instead that he went rogue.
Ciem 3 / Condemnation
Milp in both Classic and Comprehensive Gerosha versions of this story uses an AI backvisor to take control of Botan the Plant-Man, whom she uses to shield her in a "Forest Funnel Town" while she turns into the Miliblob. Together, she and Botan take all of downtown Dirbine / Evansville hostage. An entire neighborhood is destroyed by the Forest Funnel Town. They nearly kill Ciem, Mukade, and Meerkat also. The one major mistake in Milp's plans was that she failed to factor the Earwig into them.
Also of note is that a helmet-bound backvisor was included in the Earwig armor's helmet. Its tech was stolen from the Hebbleskin Gang for use by Darius Philippine as a prototype of powered armor solider. However, he failed to properly reprogram the AI. In spite trying to keep the suit away from Dolly, his inaction when Candi is captured prompts Dolly to go to great lengths to steal it. She does so, and uses her Earwig persona both to fight some of the chaos that Ciem was unable to, and as a way to scheme how to free Candi from Lloyd Kolumn. However, the improperly-reprogrammed AI had a tendency towards magnifying Dolly's already-on-edge tendencies to be impulsive and bloodthirsty, driving her to near-psychotic levels of extreme violence. The helmet nearly completely takes control of her while she is in California, turning her into a feminine Musaran. It takes the freed prisoners restraining her while Candi takes the helmet off and detaches its internal backvisor, before Dolly's sanity is restored. Even then, Candi destroys the helmet and backvisor and tosses both into the sea. Dolly then learns to operate what's left of her outfit without a helmet. She is still traumatized by the thing the helmet made her do.
Main article: Sodality (series)
In this Cataclysmic Gerosha timeline, early success on the part of Meethlites and the Hebbleskin Gang with AI backvisors prompted the Phaelites and SCALLOP to work on their own. They sought to make theirs less aggressive, aiming more towards powered armor suits that had AI backvisors aiding the wearer in knowing how to utilize the suit to full effect. SCALLOP developed a prototype AI to go with their "Project: Earwig" line, much of it consisting of technology stolen from the Hebbleskins. However, they wanted another project for dealing with Phexos that went rogue or defected; an "ultimate Phexo hunter." "Project: Musaran" was outsourced to a brilliant hardware and software engineer named Jeraime Malestrom, who was also part of a family of cattle ranchers. He was sent out by his firm to develop his project in southern Indiana, rather foolishly as Halal Affadidah and his regime invaded and took over. While trapped behind enemy lines, Jeraime met and fell in love with a librarian and political activist named Dolly Weiss. The two married in secret. However, Hebbleskin spies got wise to Jeraime's schemes.
In late 2019, the Malestroms were attacked by Hebbleskin and regime forces. Dolly was taken to an execution camp in South Bend, while Jeraime was abducted by the Hebbleskins and forced to complete his project under their watch. They then punished him for ideologically opposing them by making him wear the AI backvisor that transformed him into Musaran. The reprogrammed Musaran was later released on the city of Houston to hunt down not only all Centhuen Prototypes, but the rumored "Sodality of Gerosha" that was growing in numbers, power, and influence down there and posed a threat to Arfaas' master plan for Houston.
Dolly, meanwhile, escaped the death camp with help from Candi Flippo. The two teamed up with Imaki Izuki and Donte McArthur to lead the Exodus Agenda out of Ameristan and to freedom in Toklisana. However, Donte was captured and Imaki was shot dead. The girls made their way to the campus of the University of Houston. When Milp assassinates Darius Philippine, Dolly decides she is going to go along and help Candi and the other growing numbers of members to the Sodality in defeating their new enemy. Alas, she has no special weapons or powers. Lex Philippine decides to ignore his father's wishes, and gives Dolly access to the Earwig prototype armor. Glitches in the AI make Dolly a little crazy at first; but Lex and his team eventually correct those glitches and allow Dolly as "the Earwig" to permanently join the team.
Ciem and Earwig later have to battle Musaran to free Donte and Jeraime, restoring Emeraldon to their ranks and also freeing Jeraime from his own creation. This time, Ciem is able to get away with only causing temporary blindness in Jeraime's eyes. He is later healed and allowed to go back to cattle ranching. He and Dolly re-marry in Toklisana, so Dolly can go to live with him on his ranch and their marriage can be legally recognized by the state.
How the AI backvisors influence wearers is inspired heavily by the AI "ghosts" in Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue series, particularly The Blood Gulch Chronicles. In particular, O'Malley was an inspiration for Musaran. One of Musaran's other inspirations was an alien from Independence Day that mind-controls a scientists and tells all of humanity: "diiiieeeeee!!!"
Backvisors are typically shown to be of a metallic construction, and form a half-circle around the back of an individual's head. They have a red rounded-corner square light in the middle to indicate their function, though its size varies by depiction and interpretation. Exactly how they latch on to someone is not fully explained, though helmets are worn with the intent of making it harder to remove them. They do require a recharge from time to time, in which case the individual gains ability to think for themselves. When the Musaran AI in 2007's Ciem becomes damaged, it still has enough control over Jeraime's body to force him to act like a homicidal maniac. However, it forgets why it needs to remain obedient to Arfaas. As a result, the Musaran AI goes rogue and starts killing everyone in sight.
- http://dozerfleetblog.tumblr.com/post/65542963429/ai-backvisor-now-defined Post confirming this article's fleshing out] at The Dozerfleet Blog