It has shades of other stories to be sure as well but then again as you say most sci-fi nibbles from one another.
Well first off I'd point you toward the GURPS Psionics book. The old 3rd edition version before they folded Psionics into the "powers" system. It gave some great details on Psionic drives including ideas on psionic machinery including "brain boxes" which are basically your comotose drives.
Personally I love the idea and can see lots of interesting ways for the players to go when they "find out the truth." Though I would suggest having a "truth agent" or the like who's sole purpose is to "Monitor the drives" and keep the black boxes black. He would also have to be a Psi Blocker preventing the "drive's" thoughts from getting out.