LUMINAIRE – I received an invitation from Inspector Xavier, the newly appointed commander of the regional Drugs Squad of Placid, to his office at the headquarters of the Federation Customs.
He was very keen on explaining to me what his team had done during the four weeks of their deployment within the region. Currently this part of space is seeing a major increase in the usage of the drug ‘Rise', so I accepted his invitation and after inspecting his new team we got down to business over a bottle of wine.
“First off, what is ‘Rise'?”
“Rise is a drug that greatly increases the ability of people to remember long forgotten memories and in the case of those who have been Reborn, they can regain many memories of their past lives, which can make these people seem extremely wise.”
“Surely that's a good thing for those that believe in being Reborn?”
“If only that were true. There is no scientific evidence that the hallucinations these addicts experience are realistic flashbacks. The way Rise works is to block receptors in the brain, extinguishing the reality of what a users senses are telling them, and replace their perceptions with memories that may or may not be true. Imagine a Holoreel that has been wiped and rewritten. There will still be old data in the areas not written over, but who is to say that the raw data is a correct, complete, in the right order and in context? It is a real shame that the Intaki people seem drawn to this drug; and it is clear Sarpati has done his market research well.”
“But independent experiments have shown no proof of this”
“Who are you more likely to believe? A backstreet chemist with a few chemicals and interested in turning a profit; or our scientists in the best laboratories the Federation can offer?
“Even so, this drug is purely recreational, what harm is there? The Federation is notoriously the most forward thinking of the four Empires; surely you're just stopping the people having a little fun?”
“Our scientists have determined that prolonged exposure to Rise can lead to lesions on the brain, which in turn will lead to a painful and prolonged death. In the short term, a Rise overdose can cause convulsions, heart failure and a depression of the vital brain centres that control respiration; leading ultimately to death by asphyxiation.”
“So what steps are you taking to remove the threat of Rise?”
“As you know, my recently formed specialist unit deployed to Placid almost four weeks ago. Although we are still in the early stages of our work we have already collected a great deal of information on the activities of the Serpentis. Obviously, it would not be prudent for me to reveal any details of an ongoing investigation but rest assured we are pursuing our goal a great passion and I am confident that you will be seeing the real results of our work in the near future”
“Do you have anything to say to your critics? There are rumours that independent pod-pilots and their corporations are having more success than you….”
““I am aiming to cut the head off this snake in one movement. The involvement of Illoren and other independent corporations is in fact slowing down the progress of my investigation. I am not in the business of chasing shadows.”
“Thank you for your time, Inspector.”