The Silence Protocol is a process by which Psy children are mentally programmed not to feel or acknowledge their emotions. It was implemented roughly a hundred years before the start of Slave to Sensation in a last ditch effort to save the race from widespread insanity which threatened to consume them.
- date? — Mercury cult forms, proclaiming that Silence will save the psy race from insanity. The cult is scorned as fanatics, but over the decades they gain respect (see Visions of Heat (book))
- circa 1940s — Mercury study begins — a longitudinal Silence trial study. The first two Silent Psy were the Adelaja twins, Tendaji and Naeem, who eventually committed suicide (Caressed by Ice)
- date uncertain — Zaid Adelaja becomes the first Arrow and The Arrow Squad is born in secret, to protect Silence
- date uncertain — several members of the Psy Council are Mercury-trained believers
- 1969 - “the Psy Council proposed, in the year 1969, to instigate the Silence Protocol” (Mine to Possess). A decade of debate ensued, while following the Mercury study results, which were falsified.
- 1972 - “Catherine and Arif Adelaja appeared in public for the first time in a decade —- with their twins, Tendaji and Naeem. The boys are teenagers, strong and quite beautiful. And they are Silent. Arif made a speech. . .”(BoM)
- 1973 - opposing Silence, the Forgotten exit the PsyNet and hide in their ShadowNet
- 1979 - Silence Protocol signed into law 1979 by Psy Council
- date uncertain — Silence goal changes from sanity to also include perfection, flawed children disposed of
- Silence Era — 1979-2082, enforced by Psy Council and The Arrow Squad
- 2082- Fall of Silence — 2082
See also The Timeline
The Silence Protocol was enforced to eliminate emotions from the psy race. Originally, all Psy felt emotion, as their race was originally human, before they began to manifest high levels of intuition, followed by telepathy and other psychic abilities. The more emotional a Psy individual was, the less control they had over their mental powers. Also a person's mental state would bleed into others through the PsyNet, sometimes causing them to lose control as well. Losing control over one's abilities could easily cause a person to unintentionally harm or even kill. This created a dangerous loop where people would lose control of their powers, hurt others, and then feel horrible about doing so. After a while people's minds would break under the constant pressure and they would go truly mad, causing even more anguish.
Silence was originally proposed by a cultlike group of secretive fanatics before the Silence Protocol went into effect. “Mercury, Catherine and Arif Adelaja’s secretive group.” (Blaze of Memory)
“It was initially raised by a cultlike group named Mercury.” No one had taken them seriously at the time. However, two decades after publishing their idea, Mercury produced their first successful subjects. The test graduates were only teenagers and the conditioning was prone to failure, but they were enough to change things. Mercury stopped being referred to as a cult by the majority and started being spoken of as a think tank. It took one hundred years for them to morph into a group of visionaries, the saviors of the Psy. “The first pro-Silence Council was dominated by acolytes of Mercury. Two were graduates of their beta version of the Protocol.” (Visions of Heat)
The Mercury experimental trial period came first, before the Silence Protocol. Silence was the outcome, the brainchild of Mercury. This secretive research group was founded by Catherine and Arif Adelaja after the death of their infant daughter at the hands of a family friend. She had suffered a psychotic break and, for reasons unknown, used her telepathy to shatter the baby’s mind. Since emotional outbursts can lead to a loss of psychic control, Catherine and Arif conditioned their sons not to feel emotion at all. This meant that their children were in full control of their powers and not a danger to others.
The first two Silent Psy were the Adelaja twins, Tendaji and Naeem. Sixteen years after their reveal, they commit suicide, Tendaji killing first his brother, then himself. They only leave a note, which would never reach the public, because their elder brother Zaid Adelaja covered up their suicide and destroyed their note, to preserve the myth of silence.
We are an abomination, a plague that will kill our people from within. Silence must never take root, must never infiltrate the PsyNet. Forgive us.
1979 Silence Protocol
In 1979, after a trial period under the Mercury Program and ten years of debate, the Silence Protocol was made mandatory for all members of the PsyNet under the age of six. Everyone born after 1971 was automatically enrolled in the program. Parents who did not comply risked losing their children to the state.
"IN THE YEAR 1979, the Psy race made the decision to embrace Silence and condition all emotion out of their young; to become without hope or despair, anger or fear, sorrow or joy. Mothers and fathers sentenced their children to lives of icy control out of a soul-deep love those children would never feel in return. They told their babies that Silence was a precious gift, that it would save them from the madness and violence that so often came intertwined with the staggering beauty of their psychic abilities." (Heart of Obsidian (book) prologue)
Psy children are telepathically programmed to feel pain (known as dissonance) anytime they feel emotion and then they are taught how to keep their equilibrium no matter what. The protocol takes about sixteen years to fully implement in a person. The depth and extent of the training vary from child to child. Those with the strongest and most aggressive gifts are put on the harshest regimes. Attempting to disable the Silence programming can literally cause the brain to explode.
Psy who complete the protocol are expected to remain Silent for the rest of their lives, while those who 'fracture' their conditioning are slated for 'rehabilitation'.
Dissonance is a pain reaction that is triggered when a Psy breaches Silence. It's an alarm to tell the Psy to disengage in whatever he or she is doing and rebuild his or her shields.
It starts off small but get's stronger in intensity with time.
Results and Consequences
Perfect, not Creative
No Psy ever sang, ever attended a symphony. He’d heard it said that their voices were uniformly flat, but he didn’t believe it. No, what was more likely was that their voices had been flattened by Silence.. .(Blaze of Memory (book))
“It was less a decree than a subtle change in culture born at the top. The aim of Silence altered from mental survival to perfection.” (Last Guard)
Rampant Ambition & Sociopaths
Although Silence did drastically reduce the outbreaks of insanity and murders it also lead to a rise in sociopathic behavior. No longer allowed to feel joy or sorrow, the Psy channeled their energy into ruthless ambition and cut throat pragmatism. Ethical behavior soon went by the wayside because codes of honor were no longer being re-enforced by feelings of guilt. As a result, Psy came to dominate the worlds of business, government, and science.
This success came at a price. Empaths, whose gifts lay in emotions, could not be conditioned and therefore were presumably Rehabilitated in large numbers. Without Empaths to help them recover from the futures they saw, Foreseers went insane on an even larger scale than they had prior to 1971. Anchors also began to suffer more mental and emotionL pathology.
“Have As always displayed a high incidence of physical and/or psychic defects?” A hard shake of his head. “The statistics I’ve unearthed say we were at about the same rate as the general population. It was only after Silence that anchor young began to be born either sick or with hidden genetic defects. Not all, but a slowly growing majority.” (Last Guard)
- Main article: NetMind The effects of Silence were seen on the psychic plane as well. The PsyNet, once a vibrant colorful place, turned dark and the NetMind split into two entities. The new entity, known as the DarkMind, was made up of all the emotions that people were no longer allowed to feel or acknowledge. Whether this entity started out insane or simply became that way as a result of being ignored is unknown, but the consequences of its insanity are not. Desperate to be heard, the DarkMind sought out those with a sociopath bent and infected their mind with homicidal madness. The Anchors were particularly susceptible to this infection.
- While Silence is typically attained by age sixteen, it can happen sooner: Sienna Lauren was Silent by age 9.
- Silence is officially completed at 18, but Psy are not considered adults until 20.