shard: v. To switch personas. Once a mind has been riped (wiped and rewritten), the previously used portion is closed off and an artificial psychic barrier is raised. Although impenetrable in theory, the barrier can be breached, and the closed off persona – even the original one – behind that barrier becomes dominant. This episode is called a shard.
Sharding continues at an increasing rate, weakening the psychic barriers, until it reaches a cascade level and dissolution ensues. The episodes continue with trip hammer acceleration until the mind collapses and every persona dies, in turn, one at a time. Finally, the soulner – the original persona – also dies.
In 2502, the first successful cognitive reconstruction – the restoring of the soulner to dominance – changed the definition of sharding. Although sharding episodes could still occur, it was possible to have several episodes without triggering the cascade effect that led to dissolution. This allowed the original persona to continue a normal life, albeit in a different body.
Once cascade sharding began, however, dissolution and death were inevitable.