The memory implant device is Galaran technology. Over one hundred years ago, Galaran archaeologists had recovered a Goa'uld memory device, but only recently had scientists come to understand the technology. Galaran scientists, including Dr. Reya Varrick, Dr. Marell, and Dr. Amuro, had worked on the project which developed the memory implant technology from the Goa'uld device.
Memory implant technology is capable of copying a memory from one individual's mind and splicing it into another individual where it becomes incorporated into the consciousness like a transplanted organ. The device consists of a reclining chair in which the subject is seated, and six small electrodes that are attached to the subject's forehead, temple, and neck. A control panel on the chair can adjust the settings, and the electrodes flicker with a blue light when the device is active. The main controls are operated from a separate computer-like console, which also displays the readings and results as a series of brain wave patterns. Although the process was still being perfected, the Galarans saw the potential of the device as an educational tool, making possible the instantaneous transfer of knowledge. Despite SG-1's skepticism and concern for the danger of potential abuse, the US Joint Chiefs expressed an interest in establishing a trade agreement to acquire the technology in exchange for interstellar and defense capabilities.
Mitchell volunteered to try out the device, and he was very impressed by the results when one of the Emissary's memories of meeting Reya Varrick was implanted in his mind. However, shortly afterward, Dr. Varrick was murdered, and Mitchell awoke with the memory of having killed her. In the interest of diplomatic relations, the Emissary chose to overlook the incident, and Mitchell was free to go, however Mitchell demanded that the real killer be found, and he subjected himself to further testing with the device to prove that the memory of the murder had been implanted. In this instance, the device was used not to implant memories, but rather to trigger and measure specific memories from Mitchell's own past, and he remained completely conscious and able to communicate the moments he was experiencing throughout the process.
Brain activity is extremely fluid, with shifting patterns and memories coloring each other. Consequently, creating a successful graft without inconsistencies is very difficult. Initial tests showed no inconsistencies, indicating that the memory was genuine, however evidence that Mitchell had been stunned or unconscious provided grounds to continue the investigation. Drs. Marell and Amuro established a baseline to precisely calibrate the equipment by using seminal moments from Mitchell's childhood, including a memory from the age of 10 when his father, a test pilot, had lost his legs in an accident. To establish a comparative standard, the memory of the murder had to be compared to a genuine memory of similar content and emotional resonance, and Mitchell recalled a painful moment from his military career in which he had been responsible for a friendly fire incident. The comparison established that the memory of the murder had been implanted, meaning that anomalies would occur when the brain was incapable of dealing with inconsistencies that arise as a result of the graft. Such an anomaly was identified when a reflection in a mirror showed the face of Dr. Marell rather than Mitchell, establishing that Marell had been the murderer. He had implanted the memory of the murder into Mitchell's mind, and had erased it from his own. Rather than prosecute Marell for a murder he could not remember, however, the Emissary arranged for the incident to be covered up, and the painful memory of the murder was removed from Mitchell's mind.
Despite the awkward diplomatic relations from the incident, the Galarans established an alliance and trade agreement with Earth, and the SGC acquired the Galaran memory implant technology. The memory implant device used by the SGC underwent several modifications and is now much smaller and more compact, able to fit into a rolling suitcase. The control panel with lighted buttons in a triangular array controls the device, which still uses the six leads attached to the forehead, temple, and neck. Many of Mitchell's memories had been downloaded into the device, and Mitchell received special permission from Landry to use the device on his friend. Bryce Ferguson had been wounded saving Mitchell's life and had missed the opportunity to join the F-302 program. Now with a fatal brain aneurysm, Ferguson was able to use the device before he died to relive many of Mitchell's memories with the SGC, although the memories were not directly grafted or implanted.
This slightly altered version of the memory implant technology was later used at Vala's suggestion to implant a memory in Vala's mind as part of a plan to lure Adria into a trap. In this case an entirely original and fictional memory was created for implantation. The fictional memory, which seemed real to Vala, related to a dream concerning the symbols on a disc that represented the Clava Thessara Infinitas, an Ancient treasure:
Vala dreamed that possible latent memories of Qetesh revealed the address of the treasure to be the six symbols intersected by a horizontal infinity symbol superimposed on the tablet disc: 14-21-16-11-30-7. However, when SG-3 and SG-8 investigated the address, they were ambushed and returned with critical injuries and two fatalities. A second dream revealed a new address using a vertical infinity symbol: 26-20-35-32-23-4. Despite suspicions, SG-1 prepared to investigate the planet by ship, but the IOA believed Vala had been compromised and had become a liability. They prepared to have Vala confined at Area 51, but she used a Sodan cloaking device to escape through the gate.
In reality, Vala had been escorted by SG-1 off-world after the false memories had been implanted in her, and there she encountered Adria, who believed the memories in the embittered Vala to be genuine. Together they gated to the second gate address in the implanted memory, expecting to claim the Ancient treasure themselves, only to find SG-1 waiting on the planet to capture Adria. Afterward, Vala had to be convinced that her memories of betrayal by her team had been implanted and that none of them were true, except for a disturbing memory of a television program about dancing with supposed celebrities.
Cross Reference: Dr. Amuro, Clava Thessara Infinitas, Emissary, Bryce Ferguson, Galar, Galarans, Vala Mal Doran, Dr. Marell, Cameron Mitchell, Reya Varrick
Episode Reference: Collateral Damage, Stronghold, Dominion