Cyberpunk Wiki
Advertisement
Cyberpunk Wiki
2013Icon2020IconRedIcon2077Icon

Soulkiller is a Black Program written by Alt Cunningham while working for ITS, later stolen by Arasaka.

History[]

2000s - 2010s[]

When Alt began work on the program that became Soulkiller, it was a storage matrix intended to contain artificial (non-human) personalities. However, during its development, she was awed to realize that this matrix could also be used not only to store the minds of living persons, but to transfer these digitized engrams to and from physical bodies seamlessly. Alt envisioned it as a form of immortality; a tool to preserve the consciousness and memories of dying individuals.[1]

Alt's employer, ITS would eventually assume control of the data matrixs' program and renamed it Soulkiller, using her foundational work to "build a killer".[2] By the 2010s, Soulkiller had become an incredibly powerful anti-personnel program, capable of tracing and extracting the mind of an intruding netrunner in seconds. The program had such a notorious reputation that even non-netrunners knew of what it did as "the closest thing to Hell on Earth". However, due to its enormous size and complexity, this version of Soulkiller could only operate within the systems it was installed.[1]

In 2013, Alt was abducted by Arasaka executive Toshiro Harada and, under duress, wrote an improved version of the program from scratch, capable of freely traversing the Net. Once complete, Toshiro used this new Soulkiller to eliminate Alt, unaware she had secretly coded into it a Controller override. After being digitized, Alt used her command over Soulkiller to eliminate her guards and assume control of the Arasaka mainframe and security systems. However, as she prepared to reunite her engram with her body, an ill-timed rescue attempt led by Johnny Silverhand resulted in her physical form being disconnected from the machines. Johnny left with Alt's unconscious body, unaware her digital form was now stranded inside the Net, and the most dangerous version of Soulkiller ever designed had entered Arasaka's possession.[1]

2020s[]

During the Fourth Corporate War, Arasaka iterated on the new Soulkiller, employing the 2.5 version to kill key targets whilst preserving their engrams for later interrogation.[3][4] Prior to the AHQ Disaster, Morgan Blackhand and Johnny Silverhand, among others, were tasked with wiping out Soulkiller from the Arasaka mainframe, successfully destroying traces of the 3.0 version. Despite this, they only pushed Arasaka's investigation a few years back.[citation needed]

Arasaka continued to work on Soulkiller, storing engrams in one of their databases called Mikoshi.[5] After Johnny Silverhand's death in 2023, his soulkilled engram was eventually put in Mikoshi, however how it was placed there is unknown.[6]

2040s[]

Hanako Arasaka begins work on a new version of Soulkiller. Focused on Alt's original vision of using the program to preserve a person's consciousness and transfer it into a clone body. In contrast, previous versions of Soulkiller were used by Arasaka as a weapon.[7] This later became the "Secure Your Soul" program.[citation needed]

While early versions of Soulkiller transferred the original personality away into its matrix, leaving a mindless husk that eventually died: Later versions allowed engrams to be created without killing the individual if need be. [8]

2070s[]

In the 2070s, information regarding Mikoshi access points or technical specifications was classified, and any request to know about them was denied, however, access points could be found in every major Arasaka Tower HQ found worldwide.[5]

Arasaka, with the help of Anders Hellman, created the Relic project, where they would store the engrams of soulkilled individuals and where they could interact with them. The main purpose of this project was to successfully transfer the mind of an engram into the body of a person, though the only aim of this project was for Saburo Arasaka's sole use.[citation needed]

In 2077, after multiple Relic 1.0 failures, Anders Hellman decided to try out the 2.0 experimental version due to pressure from Yorinobu Arasaka and his investors. With a long list of VIP engrams ready to be used due to Soulkiller being testedin secret, Hellman decided to put Johnny Silverhand's engram on the new version of the Relic due to belief that the experimental version would fail and would destroy an undesirable engram like Johnny Silverhand in the process. [9]

Alt Cunningham appeared after V breached the Blackwall to ask about the Soulkiller program. It was revealed that she was not fully Alt but an A.I merged with her remaining consciousness, continuing to use her engramic data as a new entity. For 50 years she held onto the image of Alt to ensure she did not get turned into complete data like other AIs. She states to V that if they go through with the deal: She can use Soulkiller to separate V and Johnny, however that while their consciousness, neural engrams would be uploaded that the rest would cease to exist.[10]

Path to Glory/The Star - Ending:

It is revealed by the AI version of Alt Cunningham that the Relic's DNA reconfiguration has given V around 6 months to live. But if they wish to still return, their body is still connected to Mikoshi and their digitized engram can be transferred back, overwriting any previous changes on it. Or they could join with Alt's digital entity alongside the engrams she has absorbed from Mikoshi to travel beyond the Blackwall.
Johnny Silverhand's engram later admits that he feels that he has always been dead as he thinks Soulkiller actually kills souls and believes his nature is to rebel from beyond the grave to honor the real Johnny Silverhand's mission. After this realization, Johnny Silverhand decides to save V's consciousness and memories by leaving the Relic and following Alt Cunningham beyond the Blackwall and to fuse with her mind as raw data along with other engrams that are trapped in Mikoshi.

The Devil- Ending:

Arasaka successfully commercializes the Relic program after Hellman reports to Hanako Arasaka the results of V and Johnny Silverhand's Relic malfunction. The first subject for this program becomes Yorinobu who had failed a hostile takeover of Arasaka and was on the verge of killing himself before V intervened. To restore his honor, he agrees with Hanako that he will let his father take over his body and mind, who had his body secretly subjected to the Soulkiller program after his death. While Alt is not present to clarify the repercussions of being Soulkilled, several characters, including V, will point out that engrams from the dead are not really human consciousnesses but simply data masquerading as them.
Unfortunately, Arasaka fails to save V's mind from deteriorating after surgically removing the Relic from their head. According to Arasaka, Johnny's imprint is wiped and destroyed but that doesn't stop him from visiting them in his dreams. Due to V's mind deteriorating and Arasaka being unable to help, they have the option to save their engram with Soulkiller and have it transferred to Mikoshi until they can find a suitable body, if ever. This essentially means V chooses death while their data can be stored somewhere for the far future, according to Hellman or Takemura.

Temperence- Ending:

During their meeting in Mikoshi after the assault on Arasaka tower with their chosen faction (except for Arasaka), V chooses to abandon their body to join Alt beyong the Blackwall to fuse with her form alongside the other digitized engrams. Johnny, as the new owner of V's body decides to leave Night City and start better life as a new person.

Notes[]

  • Lizzy Wizzy is an artist whose manager tries to submit her to the Soulkiller program in hopes of eradicating the bad parts of her psyche. However, it is stated officially that once an engram is created no alterations can be made to it.
  • Officially, Arasaka, out of ethical concerns, will only create one engram out of a subject's mind and kill the subject's body afterwards to ensure no other copies can be created. This means that engrams are essentially treated as data backups by Arasaka. However, shards stating otherwise have been found that show multiple engrams are made, and that the only time death occurs is when an accident occurs with the target person. Although this could be dependent on their value to the megacorp.
  • The first three versions of Arasaka's Soulkiller would kill the subject in the process of creating an engram, however the shard Secure Your Soul: Medical Report 11 confirms that by 2077, the process is no longer lethal except when accidents occur. Hanako Arasaka may have developed this version as it is stated the new version of Soulkiller could be used to transfer engrams to clone bodies.[7]
  • According to internal Arasaka logs, the goal of the Soulkiller project is to copy artists, cultural icons and important people for commercial purposes under the guise of immortality.
  • All engrams submitted through the Soulkiller program to Arasaka are treated as property and can be destroyed at any time. [11]
  • Adam Smasher offered David Martinez to become an engram, though the later did not show any interest.[12]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk 2020 Corebook. 2nd ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1990. (pp.193,199–200,202–3)
  2. Never Fade Away (adventure)
  3. SEVILE, A. Firestorm Stormfront. 1st ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1997. (p.125)
  4. ACKERMAN-GRAY, D. Firestorm Shockwave. 1st ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1997. (p.95)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mikoshi
  6. CD Projekt RED. Cyberpunk 2077. Video Game, Multi-Platform. Poland, CD Projekt S.A., 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (p.268)
  8. Secure Your Soul: Medical Report 11
  9. The Heist
  10. Transmission
  11. Where is My Mind?
  12. STUDIO TRIGGER. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners - My Moon My Man. Anime. Netflix/CD Projekt RED, 2022.
Advertisement