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The key is a fully developed brain. Once the adult host's consciousness is gone, the mind stored in the drive uploads with ease.
Gabriel Santiago [src]

Mind Drives[1] (formerly known as Memory Drives), also referred to as the "Miracle of Sanctum" by the Sanctumites, are cybernetic implants used in Sanctum to transfer the consciousness and memory of Primes from host to host.

The implants were first created by Becca Franko, who created the Memory Drives, the predecessors to the Mind Drives.

These implants were reversed-engineered by Gabriel Santiago, whose work and research was used and taken advantage of by the Primes. The Primes wanted to use the Mind Drives to keep them alive forever by implanting the Mind Drives into the bodies of their new hosts, after their former host dies from old age. They wanted to use the Mind Drives to keep themselves in power as the immortal rulers of Sanctum, forever.

Some of the Mind Drives were later lost, due to the arrival of members of Wonkru from Eligius IV, while some of the Mind Drives remain intact.

After humanity's transcendence, Clarke Griffin is the last known person to have a Mind Drive.


The Memory Drive implant was created by Becca Franko and was the precursor to A.L.I.E. 2.0. She provided the implants to the Eligius III Exploration Team in order to log and save their memories as they explored the new world. Thirteen of the implants were reversed-engineered by Gabriel Santiago, in order to upload an entire mind, thus creating a new implant, known as the Mind Drives.

Unlike A.L.I.E. 2.0, the Mind Drive can only hold an entire, single consciousness. When Josephine Lightbourne died, her boyfriend Gabriel and her father Russell started working on ways to bring her back to life. Since Josephine's mind was already stored in her Mind Drive, Gabriel began experimenting on how to upload her mind into a new host. After many unsuccessful tests, he finally figured out that for it to work, they needed to use a fully developed host brain that can handle the entire file size; and they had to clear the host's consciousness. This hypothesis succeeded and Gabriel was able to bring Josephine back to life using the Mind Drive technology.

Following this breakthrough, the original families (the Primes) to settle on Sanctum took advantage of the Memory Drive technology to store their entire consciousness in the Mind Drives. Following a Prime's death, their Mind Drives would be used to transfer their consciousness into a new host, essentially keeping the Prime alive. Like the Flame, only nightbloods are compatible with the Mind Drive; and are therefore the only ones who can serve as hosts for the Primes.

Despite claims that the host's mind is completely wiped, the mind wipe sometimes fails after the transfer goes wrong as Clarke Griffin only ended up trapped inside her own head when she became the host to Josephine Lightbourne. According to Josephine, it's been hundreds of years since a mind wipe has failed, since the time that the Mind Drives were first being used to implant the consciousness into another host. In Clarke's case, she discovered from a manifestation of A.L.I.E. that the chip she took to enter the City of Light, A.L.I.E.'s neural mesh, protected her from the mind erasure drug. If the chip is removed using the same EMP method used to save Raven Reyes, then the process can be repeated and Clarke's mind will be destroyed. This requires removing the Mind Drive first which Russell Lightbourne sees as an opportunity to restore Clarke and find Josephine a new willing host. However, Josephine is unwilling to give up Clarke's body, forcing Clarke's friends to take extreme measures to remove her.

When the host survives a mind wipe, their state of consciousness appears to be tied at least to a sleep pattern. After taking over Clarke's body, Josephine did not go to sleep for a few days, something that she commented was normal for taking a new host body. During this time, Clarke's mind remained completely dormant. When Josephine finally went to sleep, Clarke's mind instantly became active again within her body though she lacked any sort of control. Clarke and Josephine's encounters in the Mindspace were all while Clarke's body was asleep or unconscious and in their first encounter Josephine made it clear that Clarke's only chance to forcefully take control was while Josephine was still asleep in the real world. However, the two minds are able to relinquish control to each other at will, though when one is in control and awake, it appears to be impossible for the other to seize control back. If the host falls asleep, the Prime can take control back again even if they willingly relinquished it previously.

In the Mindspace created between the mind of a host and the mind of a Prime, the host and Prime can interact with and harm each other. Though the Prime can be killed, they will simply download back into the Mind Drive and then be restored in the body of their host. However, this protection is shown to disappear when the host and Prime's Mindspaces merge, leaving them able to kill each other permanently, effectively destroying each other's consciousness.

According to Gabriel, he and Russell once used Red Sun toxin to determine if any of the host's mind survived after a resurrection. The test confirmed that the host's mind is completely gone, leaving only the implanted consciousness.

According to Josephine, the Mind Drive can only be safely removed by a neurosurgeon such as Eric Jackson. It is also believed that the Children of Gabriel can safely remove them and it is known that Gabriel Santiago taught at least one person the procedure to remove a Mind Drive in an effort to ensure his permanent death. However, that failed when he was resurrected in a new host against his will and killed that person in retaliation. Its later shown that the procedure to remove the Mind Drive from a living host involves the person being hooked up to an EKG and EEG for monitoring while their heart is temporarily stopped, effectively killing the host. This causes the Prime's mind to download back into the Mind Drive which can then be surgically removed and the host's heart restarted, reviving the host free of the Prime's consciousness. This process was done only once with Clarke Griffin, but only due to her surviving the mind-wiping drug due her neural mesh from A.L.I.E.'s key.

After Abby Griffin replicates the Nightblood serum, she is able to use a Mind Drive to resurrect Marcus Kane in the body of a "Null" named Gavin who is injected with the new serum, however Kane commits suicide shortly after. John Murphy and Emori are offered the chance to use Mind Drives to become immortal like the Primes as well.

As seen with Clarke and Josephine, as the wall between a host and Prime's mind breaks down when a mind wipe fails, they start to gain the knowledge of the other and become more aware of their surroundings. Clarke began to be able to hear things going on in the outside world and could use Morse code to communicate a response. At the same time, Josephine recognized the Morse code and gained the knowledge needed to understand it. She also gained knowledge on Clarke's relationship with Bellamy Blake. In return, after Josephine relinquished control to her, Clarke was able to take the knowledge she needed to ride a motorcycle from Josephine as well as the ability to speak Mandarin which Josephine knew but Clarke didn't. At that point, due to how far the wall between their minds had deteriorated, Josephine also experienced a seizure and Clarke could see and interact with a manifestation of Josephine in the waking world and hear her voice. In the Mindspace, once the barrier between their minds broke down, their Mindspaces became combined and Clarke could erase some of Josephine's memories by floating them. The two were also vulnerable to each other without the barrier with a death in the Mindspace becoming permanent for the consciousness in question.

After Gabriel tried to remove her from Clarke, Josephine's mind was able to avoid downloading back into the Mind Drive by using the neural mesh as Clarke's mind did when the Mind Drive was first implanted into her. As a result, Josephine was able to exist within Clarke without her Mind Drive. However, this only lasted for a short time as Clarke was able to destroy Josephine for good by killing the projection of Josephine within her Mindspace. When Josephine was destroyed, her brain wave pattern flatlined on the EEG monitoring her and Clarke. Its subsequently confirmed that nothing of Josephine survives on her Mind Drive and she is completely gone.

It's possible for a mind to be deleted from a Mind Drive and a completely new mind uploaded to replace it. Using an Eligius computer in the lab on Sanctum, Simone Lightbourne was able to delete the minds of the Lee family to make room for Marcus Kane, John Murphy and Emori. This computer can also repair broken code on both Memory and Mind Drives and, due to both technologies being created by Becca, is compatible with the Flame.

The Mind Drive appears to have the same requirement that the Flame does in that anyone who uses it must be a Nightblood, even someone just using it long enough to upload their mind. When telling Abby how to use the Mind Drive to save Marcus Kane, the first part of Josephine's instructions was that Abby make Kane a Nightblood before she uploaded his mind to the drive even though it would only be in Kane's body for the short period that was required to do the upload.

A Mind Drive gives off a signal that can be tracked. While on Eligius IV, the Primes tracked Clarke via the Mind Drive she had been implanted with after returning to Sanctum claiming to be Josephine in need of a new one.

Sheidheda was able to download himself into Russell Lightbourne's Mind Drive when the Flame was deleted. Like with a Prime and their host who shared a body, he remained dormant until Russell was knocked unconscious at which point Russell awakened in a Mindspace of Sheidheda's creation. Sheidheda was able to kill Russell in the Mindspace, apparently permanently and effectively resurrect himself by using the Mind Drive to take over Russell's last host. After Indra realizes the truth, she has Russell's Mind Drive removed so that Sheidheda can never resurrect himself again.



In 2045, after some of the members of the Mission Team Alpha, were killed by Russell Lightbourne, who was affected by the toxin-induced psychosis caused by the Red Sun eclipse, Russell and Dr. Gabriel Santiago began to use the Memory Drives to reverse-engineer these implants into a new technology, known as the Mind Drives, in order to resurrect those who were killed. After 25 years of failed tests, they successfully brought back Josephine Lightbourne, using fully grown human embryos with Nightblood. Due to this success, those who were killed were also brought back in the new bodies, using Mind Drives.

For hundreds of years, the newly-resurrected members of the Mission Team Alpha, also known as the Primes, decides to use Gabriel's new invention to keep them alive by reincarnating themselves into the new bodies of the Hosts. To do this, the Primes began their lies and a cult of personality in Sanctum to trick people into believing them as gods and giving up their bodies as a sacrifice through a ceremony known as Naming Day. Every year, the Primes use the mind-wiping serum to erase the Hosts' consciousness and then implant the Mind Drives into the back of their heads. They used the Mind Drives to keep them alive inside the Hosts after each deaths from old age. They also want to use the Mind Drives to remain in power as the rulers of Sanctum, forever.

Because of this inhumane actions of the Primes, Gabriel becomes guilt-ridden by his new invention as it was implied that the Mind Drive was meant to resurrect those who died in the first Red Sun eclipse just for one time only. To stop the Primes, Gabriel defects from Sanctum and founded the Children of Gabriel.


Season Six
Episode Appearance Status
Red Sun RisingAbsent
The Children of GabrielAbsent
The Face Behind the GlassAppears
The Gospel of JosephineAppears
Memento MoriAppears
The Old Man and the AnomalyAppears
What You Take With YouAbsent
Ashes to AshesAppears
Adjustment ProtocolAppears
The Blood of SanctumAppears
Season Seven
Episode Appearance Status
From the AshesAppears
The GardenAppears
False GodsAbsent
Welcome to BardoAbsent
The Queen's GambitAbsent
The FlockAbsent
A Little SacrificeAbsent
The StrangerAbsent
Blood GiantAbsent
A Sort of HomecomingAbsent
The Dying of the LightAbsent
The Last WarAbsent

Notes and Trivia

  • This is the third type of mind interacting chips shown in the series. The first were the City of Light Keys created by A.L.I.E. and the second was A.L.I.E. 2.0, a.k.a. the Flame, created by Becca Franko.
    • Chronologically, Mind Drives were created before the other two chips.
    • Clarke Griffin has utilized all three, albeit unwillingly in the case of the Mind Drive.
    • Due to the Mind Drives and the Flame both being created by Becca, the two technologies are compatible meaning that a computer intended to repair Mind Drives can also repair the Flame.
  • Unlike A.L.I.E., which is a true artificial intelligence (machine intelligence), the Mind Drives store a real person's consciousness.
  • It took Gabriel Santiago 25 years to jailbreak the Mind Drive.
    • Josephine Lightbourne was the first Prime to have been resurrected using the technology.
    • Marcus Kane was the first non-Prime to have been resurrected using the technology.
  • A person's consciousness can be deleted from the Mind Drive and a different consciousness can be written onto the Mind Drive.
    • Simone Lightbourne deleted the Lee family from their Mind Drives using the Memory Drive Interface Computer. Those four Mind Drives went to John Murphy, Emori, Clarke, and Kane. Murphy and Emori have taken Daniel's and Kaylee's names, presumably taking their Mind Drives. Clarke and Kane would then have been left with Faye's and Victor's Mind Drives.
    • Josephine removed herself from her Mind Drive when she hung on inside of Clarke's mind using her neural mesh which had been created by the City of Light Key. Her consciousness was killed by Clarke while her Mind Drive is now empty.
    • Sheidheda uploaded himself to Russell Lightbourne's Mind Drive and then deleted Russell from it by killing the Prime in their shared Mindspace.
  • The consciousness inside a Mind Drive can be deleted.
  • There were thirteen Mind Drives sent to Sanctum with Mission Team Alpha.
    • Three Mind Drives are currently in use. The are being used by Murphy, Emori, and Clarke. After Emori dies, Murphy has her Mind Drive placed into his head before they Transcend. It is unclear what became of their Mind Drives following their return to human form.
    • Five Mind Drives were floated and permanently lost in space. Clarke floated Simone and the three Masons. Kane, who had received one of the Lee family's wiped Mind Drives, was floated by his own request.
    • Priya Desai's Mind Drive was smashed by Russell.
    • Ryker Desai's Mind Drive still contains his mind. It was last seen given to Priya, but it is unclear what happened to it afterwards.
    • Josephine's Mind Drive is empty and was last seen in Gabriel's possession.
    • Russell's Mind Drive is surgically removed to prevent Sheidheda from ever being able to resurrect again.
    • Gabriel is killed by Sheidheda and his Mind Drive once again contains his consciousness, but he wished for a permanent death meaning that no one would try to resurrect him. His Mind Drive is left in the corpse of his last host in the Second Dawn Bunker.
  • Besides Sanctum, Eligius III went to four other planets, sending mission teams to each. Each team member had a Memory Drive.
    • It is currently unknown what happened to all those drives except for Colin Benson's. His was found by Gabriel, Echo, and Hope Diyoza in "The Garden". His drive contains his memories from the time he left Earth to his death on Skyring.
  • According to Russell in "The Blood of Sanctum," the Mind Drives can be accessed wirelessly.
    • Since the Primes were planning to access the drives of the teams on the other planets, this would mean their original Memory Drives could be accessed wirelessly.
    • Sheidheda used this wireless capacity to upload himself onto Russell's Mind Drive.
  • The device that Gabriel attempted to use to repair the Flame in "Blood Giant" appears to be the same one that Simone Lightbourne used to delete the Lee family's Mind Drives in "Memento Mori."
  • The mind-wiping drug has a similar concept to the one used in Cyberpunk universe, where they kill the host with the soulkiller and then save the mind to a chip that is then implanted in a body and overwrites the present person's mind, working like the Mind Drive.


See Also