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Old 11-13-2023, 10:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: X3-methyl-5-T

ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: X3-methyl-5-T

The substance called X3-methyl-5 is an extremely complex organic alkyloid derived from a plant native to the planet Veranis (Dyaxor A V). The term X3-methyl-5 is actually a code phrase, because the Governing Commission on Veranis prefers to keep the actual chemical formula quiet, in order to discourage efforts to find other sources of the substance.

Other common names for this substance include Nostalgia, Sweet Dreams, and Reverie. Other names exist, but Nostalgia is probably the most commonly used by the dealers and users on Earth.

The source of Nostalgia is a genus of plants, distantly related to the Solanaceae. There are several species on Veranis that produce the source chemical for Nostalgia, at least in small amounts, but only a few produce it in sufficient quantities and concentrations to be economically worth harvesting.

The source chemical is not Nostalgia, it has to be processed to produce the actual drug. Several isomers of this chemical exist, but only one is useful to produce the actual drug.

This last fact is also one of the reasons why synthesis of Nostalgia has not (as of 2123) been practical. The particular stereoisomer that is useful for Nostalgia is very difficult to synthesize in bulk, even in 2123. It has been successfully synthesized, but the processes always seem to include other isomers as well, and the other isomers are deadly poisons.

The conversion process that transforms the raw feedstock into Nostalgia is moderately expensive, and tricky to carry out without also contaminating the finished product with the poisonous forms. The equipment necessary is TL10 chemistry laboratory equipment, but if done right, the process takes days, and some specialized knowledge.

Matters are complicated by the fact that the feedstock chemical is unstablE. Once harvested, the relevant leaves, stems, and roots of the plants (as of 2123, drug runners know of six plants that have enough of the source chemical to be useful)*must be kept cool, but not cold. The source chemical will break down into useless products within a few hours at room temperature, but this can be extended to a few days if the temperature is kept between 32 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even a brief exposure to freezing temperatures will render the chemical useless.

Bright light accelerates the breakdown, to the point that most harvesting is done at night. Matters are worsened by the fact that all of the best source plants are deadly poison in themselves, sometimes sufficiently to be dangerous even to skin contact.

The plants must be processed to extract the source chemical, which must then be processed, fairly quickly, to create Nostalgia. Once created, though, Nostalgia is a very stable compound and it tolerates a wide variety of temperatures and travels quite well, and retains its full potency for a long period as well.

In appearance, Nostalgia looks like nothing so much as powdered cane sugar, except that it has a slightly reddish color, and sparkles brightly under sunlight or other bright broad-spectrum light. It is very bioactive, and a small amount of the powder will make for many doses.

Users indulge in Nostalgia by dissolving the powder in pure water. Generally, the purer the water, the better, from the point of view of the user, since impurities sometimes cut the effect of the drug. Most users use distilled ice water, because the very cold water numbs the mouth and thus reduces the unpleasant taste of the dissolved drug. Injection and ingestion of the pure powder does not work for the 'trip', the dose hits the central nervous system too fast and may trigger nasty side effects. To produce Dreams, the drug must reach the central nervous system gradually.

(Users describe the taste as being something like Alka-Seltzer mixed with Tabasco and castor oil.)

A typical dose, for an early user, is one decigram mixed with one cup of pure ice water. Tolerance does rise with use, of course.

A glass of Nostalgia will usually cause the user to fall into a deep, peaceful sleep within one Terran hour or so. [Sixty minutes plus HT for a new user.]

This sleep will usually last eight-twelve hours for a new user, and during this sleep, instead of normal dreams, the user will literally relive past memories as if they were experiencing them over again. In the large majority of users, the relived memories are positive. Indeed, most people find that the relived memories are among the most joyous and happy of their lives.

[The sleep-trance will last for twelve hours, minus ten minutes for each level of HT.]

It is extremely difficult to awaken a person in a Nostalgia sleep. Usually intense stimulation is necessary, pain works better than anything else, but even pain is not easy. A user awakened during a Dream will be disoriented, as well as usually angry and frustrated.

A 'bad trip', reliving negative experiences, can happen, but it is the exception in most people. Those users who do experience a 'bad dream', though, will tend to relive not just bad experiences, but some of the worst memories of their lives. Nostalgia stimulates reliving the extremes.

People who suffer from intense nightmares on a regular basis are more likely to experience a 'bad night', as the users put it.

[In GURPS terms, any character who suffers from the Nightmares Disadvantage will usually relive negative memories.

Nostalgia is not physically addictive. Psychologically, however, it is intensely addictive. Interestingly, the older a user is, the more psychologically addictive it tends to be, because there are more positive memories to relive, and it can enable one to 'relive' life with, say, dead loved ones or other lost joys.

Most humanoids are addicted by their first experience of Nostalgia. The exception are those who happen to experience a 'bad trip' on their first dose. Since the addiction is psychological rather than physical, a bad trip on the first use often prevents further use and addiction.

[On a first use, most Homosapients must roll vs. Will at -8, or become immediately addicted. Teenagers tend to be somewhat more resistant, they resist addiction at -4. The exception are those who have already experience great losses or other pains, making them more vulnerable to reliving past happiness.

All rolls to 'get clean' from Nostalgia are at -8, or -4 for teenagers.]

Nostalgia does not work on pre-pubescent Homosapients, it produces the deep sleep, but dreams are unaffected. Anyone who has passed puberty can experience the Dreams, but very young people often find the drug less addictive than their elders.

Nostalgia is in fact a poison, and overdoses can be dangerous. Any time a dose of more than 1 gram is ingested, serious harm can follow. Much more than that can be fatal. Fortunately for the early users, the 'trip' does not become more intense or longer with a heavier dose, so overdosing is rare in early-stage use. Later, as tolerance rises, higher doses are necessary to produce the dreams at all, but they still do not lengthen or intensify them, it merely takes more of the drug to work.

The drug is intensely dangerous for individuals suffering from certain neurological issues.

[Any time more than 1 gram of Nostalgia is ingested in a 24 hour period, the user must roll vs. HT at a -1 penalty for each gram or fraction of a gram above 1 gram (round up). On a failure, for each point of failure HT is reduced by 2 for each fraction of a gram above 1 ingested. This can rapidly become fatal. Double all HT loss on a Critical Failure.

Anyone suffering from the Narcolepsy Disadvantage must roll vs. HT at -10 on a dose on Nostalgia, or slip into a coma that will not end short of death without medical intervention. Any epileptic receiving a dose of Nostalgia must roll vs. HT, and on any result other than a Critical Success, he or she will immediately go into an intense seizure, ending in death a few minutes later. On a Critical Success, HT is halved 1d6 weeks, and one point of HT is permanently lost.]

From the dealer POV, Nostalgia is a marvelous product. It transports easily, is stable, very addictive, rarely (immediately) kills the user, and indeed in early stages it is not even very physically harmful. The users do not usually become a threat to those around them until later stages of addiction. This combined with the intense addiction means that the user lives long enough to drain their finances entirely.

Though Nostalgia is not terribly destructive at first, with the passage of time matters change radically. Long-term use is very harmful.

At first, there is a 'repose' period, during which a second dose will merely produce a dreamless, exhausting long sleep with no 'trip' of any sort. This period lasts about a week, usually, so early-stage addicts do not usually use the drug more than once a week. The repose period shortens with extended use, making multiple trips per week possible.

HMS Overflow-For conversations off topic here.

Last edited by Johnny1A.2; 11-14-2023 at 10:59 PM.
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