Monday, August 8, 2016

Life in the Fast (Drug) Lane

The first multinational corporations got that big controlling commodities or resources. The next generation became truly global by controlling inventions like railways and telegraphs that moved people and information. The next wave made its mark by controlling time (albeit crudely). Appliances and conveniences were produced that maximized your productivity allowing more leisure time (Unless you were working in America).

The Company extended the control of time to an unbelievable degree. There was no way known to slow down the universe or make things happen faster of course but time is relative, a conceit of the mind and minds can be manipulated.

Let's take things slow. Say you like to be kept in suspense.

Fast drug is a fairly cheap and low tech commodity (200 cr. TL 10). In fact it makes you wonder why people put up with the deadly effects of low passage. Perhaps the drug requires limited natural resources to synthesize or specialized knowledge and skills. Perhaps low passage can be initiated by anyone but fat drug requires a prescription (it's even called drug.) Let's ponder a world or culture with easy access to fast drug.

Time loses all meaning for long voyages. At least for milk runs you could stack your crew members like cords of wood. On exploratory trips fast drug reveals its flaw: you need someone to administer an antidote. that means a crew member must make the trip awake or in cryo (or more than one if you're paranoid.)It's also rather wasteful. A single dose lasts for two months. Cutting it down to less time ay be a little dodgy.

Aside from traveling as a piece of furniture fast drug opens a number of economic possibilities. Take that beautiful young starlet. She makes movies and they make money. She can only make one a year tops and there's often downtime of a year or so between films. Why should she sit around aging? Just take a nap for a few months until her next flick is ready to shoot. The same applies to professional athletes who need to make the most of their productive years. in between their seasons when they aren't training let them sleep and duck an aging roll. In both these cases prolonging a career even by a decade or so would reap huge rewards.

Needless to say highly trained individuals of every sort may have their productive lives prolonged in the same way The special forces leader may be pushing eighty but he can pass for thirty.

Is the law on your tail? Things are getting hot? Drop a fast pill and sleep until the heat dies down.

The benefit of fast drug above cryo/low passage is that for the one you need a special berth that draws power. With fast drug you could probably bury yourself alive in some out of the way spot until you ready to rise.

Militaristic regimes, want to keep all those soldeirs but can't afford them in peacetime? Give them fast drug and let them wait until needed. In this case you might want to arrange things so say your army is divided into eight units with their wake up times staggered. If there's trouble let the first unit wake up, then the second etc.

Unemployed? Can't make the rent? Drop  fast pills until the economy turns around. There may be sleeper hotels catering to those taking a long nap to meet economic needs.

In case of a disaster fast drug could save uncounted lives. Is your healthcare system swamped by a crisis? Stick some of the victims in a fast drug coma until you can get to them and work on the truly urgent cases. this can also be a humane way to isolate disease carriers until a cure could be ]synthesized or researched.

Prisoners of war are another chance to economize. Prisoners in the penal system you kind of want to experience their captivity. In case of a war though you may be left with thousands of trained combatants who need feeding, guarding (barbed wire ain't cheap.) Instead knock them all out until peace is declared. This method might also be used on captive psionics who can raise all manner of hell if you don't have a regular supply of psionic shields.

Slow drug is the other side of the coin: take a dose and your metabolism is sped up by 2:1 for the combat version or 30:1 for the medical version. The RAW says that the medical slow drug requires life support gear as the patient is in a very vulnerable state but it says nothing about the patient's mind? Does slow drug leave you conscious? If that's the case can you learn or do mental work (research) under its effects? You might need to be immobilized to protect yourself from sudden movement but surely eye tracking technology would let you operate a display as you scroll through pages in seconds. You might also want a nurse standing by to mist the patient's eyeballs as they read.

Back to psionics because I can't help myself (it's always on my mind). Would a psionic under the effects of slow be able to make assaults or probes 30 times faster than normal? Would they regain their psionic strength 30 times as fast as well? Because that is pretty damned spectacular. Get one psionic onboard a ship or station, give them a slow pill and within a few minutes that ship is yours. (more accurately it's theirs but you get my drift.)

Don't forget what the Company says, "Time is money."