Illegal and Controlled Substances in the Fleet

Illegal, Restricted and Banned substances

‘Bootleg Liquors’
Most illicit alcohol production is on a small scale and is independent of organized criminal activity.

Ambrosia

Making bootleg Ambrosia is not all that difficult, simple fermentation vats are the main equipment. Quantities are small so the varieties tend to be unique. Quality of homemade tends to range from fair to horrid and its most redeeming feature (to the customers) is that it is very, very cheap. The exception to this is Tazan Ambrosia. (See Tazan.)
Common bootleg Ambrosia Cost = 3 cubits per 32oz
‘Better bootleg Ambrosia Cost = 5 cubits per 32oz

Buzzer

The Colonial equivalent of ‘Home Brew Vodka.’ Distilled from potatoes and other starch sources, using a variety of equipment and chemical and additives and flavors. Access to scanners prevents all but the most incompetent brewers from producing methyl rather then ethyl alcohol. The legal issues have more to do with the dangers inherent in the stills, the consumption of valuable food resources and the loss of revenue to the Council which taxes alcohol sales.
Costs:
Buzzer 80 = 5 cubits per 32oz
Buzzer 100 = 10 cubits per 32oz

Krell Beer

The most common ‘bootleg beer’ because krell plants are easily obtained from the Agro Ships which grow the leafy, edible plant in vast quantities.
Cost = .50 cubits per 32oz

Tazan

A leafy plant that has mild hallucinogenic properties when pulped and fermented (origin of Tazan Ambrosia) or dried and smoked (called a Tazan Twist or just Twist.) Users claim to feel good about themselves, have deep insights into difficult issues and to experience a general feeling of euphoria.
The negatives of Tazan use varies with individuals. For most the biggest drawback is that over time their body develops a resistance to Tazan and its benevolent effects. These users sometimes move on to Joozil Berries. For other users the issue is that the hallucinogenic properties tend to remain for sometime after the other effects have worn off and, with repeated doses they remain longer and longer. Eventually the hallucinogenic experience never ends and the user finds him or herself in a world of their own. Treatment has minimal effect in restoring the subject to reality, in part perhaps because the use of Tazan was a retreat from reality to begin with and the subject has no desire to return.
Typically an adult will get about a three centar ‘high’ from a single Twist.
Tazan is easily grown with the aid of a few lights and water containers. Tazan growers and suppliers are found on almost every ship and are heavily infiltrated with the various criminal groups.
Dried Tazan Cost = 5 cubits per Twist
Tazan Ambrosia Cost = 12 cubits per 16oz (effect of 2 Twists)

Varthax

Varthax is not actually a drug or even a chemical. It is in fact a living organism, a parasite that infects its host.
The Varthax parasite actually feeds and thrives on various hormones and chemicals in the hosts blood stream. The Varthax stimulates production of the hormones and chemicals by attaching to the various glands in the host.
The physical effects of Varthax begin about three sectari (days) after infection. Initially the host feels good. Really, really good. Infection level is around 05.5 to 07.5 parts per micromegon. The hormones, including adrenal secretions, have the effect of giving the host energy, eliminating aches and pains and lifting his or her mood. Depression and sadness disappear. As time passes the effects increase dramatically. After about a secton (12 days) infection levels are now around 10.5 to 13 parts per micromegon and the hosts strength increases sharply and he becomes resistant to pain. Mood enhancement continues, but the individuals natural tendencies become more and more in control. Inhibitions fade, violent and angry people become more so. Lustful and jealous individuals are obsessive. Sex drive soars. Confidence levels increase dramatically. Common sense also fades and a general drop in intelligence and reasoning ability becomes pronounced. This only increases with time. By the fifteenth sectari and an infection level of 18.5 to 22.5 parts per micromegon, strength increases even more and the subject is immune to pain. Emotional responses are in control, reason is gone and madness reigns. By the end of the second secton an infection level of 32.5 to 38 parts per micromegon are reached and the damage to the brain is irreversible. People infected to this degree are commonly called ‘Varthax Zombies.’

Infection can incur in several ways. Deliberately ingesting the parasite eggs is one way. Exchange of body fluids, spit, semen, blood, can in cases of infection levels greater then 11.0 parts per micromegon, cause infection. Contact with fecal matter of an infected individual or creature and consuming uncooked meat from an infected creature are all ways of contracting it.

Curing a Varthax infection is easy, though the damage can be lasting. Massive doses of antibiotics administered for about 7 to 10 sectari will clear the system.
However, the use of common antibiotics, in regular, constant and low doses allow the infection level to be maintained at lower levels, usually between 07.5 to 12.5 parts per micromegon. Varthax users, seeking the beneficial effects of the infection will take antibiotics to keep the infection under control.
The problem is that over time the Varthax parasite becomes resistant to the antibiotic and blood levels will begin to rise. Awareness of the problem diminishes in the subject and it becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate and get the infection back under control. Inevitably the parasite wins.
The increasingly erratic behavior of the subject becomes a menace to all around and increases the chance of spreading the infection. Unsuspecting victims often do not realize that anything is wrong with them. They simply feel good. By the time the more obvious effects of pain resistance begin to manifest themselves, the victim’s judgment is often too clouded to recognize the problem.
Varthax infections have broken out several times in the Fleet, leading to the conclusion that there is a source of eggs somewhere in the Fleet. The eggs can remain viable for many yahrens with no loss in potency.
The Tarqs are widely suspected of at least being the original source of Varthax parasites in the Fleet. Their leader in the early days of the Exodus, Hector of Neillan, was a known Varthax carrier. He maintained his sanity and control for yahrens by having his personal physician monitor his blood levels every sectari and provide treatments as needed.
Identifying a Varthax carrier requires a detailed medical scan or a blood/tissue sample. Of course, the carrier’s erratic behavior can be a give away as well.
Possessing Varthax eggs, knowingly harboring the parasite, or spreading the parasite are all prohibited and can result in fines, imprisonment, treatments and catharsis treatments. The most common form of Varthax eggs is a powder. The eggs themselves are not quite microscopic.
Cost = Sale is almost unheard of, but a ‘dose’ is about 200 cubits.

Joozil

A powerful synthetic, hallucinogenic acid (LSD) The manufacture and sale of which is primarily controlled by the Tarqs and Jubal’s Crew. Effects are unpredictable and often long lasting. Joozil is more powerful than Tazan and many Tazan users will move on to Joozil as they build up a tolerance to Tazan.
Despite this it remains a popular substance in the lower decks and those on the GA. It provides an ongoing diversion to the unremitting boredom of their lives. The most common form of Joozil is in small tabs or pills that are dissolved under the tongue. Known as ‘Berries’ to those who use them they are tiny, easily concealed and come in a variety of pretty colors. One berry gives an 8 to 12 centar ‘trip.’ As resistance builds duration drops to 4 to 8 then 2 to 4 centars. Larger doses are needed for long trips and eventually a user can expect to take a dose so massive that he or she never comes home.
Cost = 5 cubits per berry

Frak Juice

A common ‘date rape’ drug. (Much like Ecstasy) It is a liquid that when ingested in small quantities, has the effect of dramatically lowering inhibitions. In larger doses it brings on an almost catatonic stage in which the subject responds to commands in an almost zombie like state and afterwards the subject has no memory of the events. Too large a dose can cause death.
A dose of Frak juice sufficient for 1 typical adult and two centars lowered inhibitions, costs 12 cubits. Duration depends on body weight and general health. A second dose, administered while the first is still in the system, can extend the normal effect or induce the catatonic level or even death.

Starker

An injectable stimulant and mood enhancer. Using small, one use pneumatic tubes a single dose of Starker makes you instantly happy, enthusiastic, full of energy and ready to party! A user can, on a single dose, operate at full throttle for twenty four centars straight. A second dose can allow an additional twenty four centars of activity. However, there is a cost to the body and mind. Food consumption nearly doubles and as time passes the user becomes edgy, irritable and ultimately violent. Using Starker for more then seventy two centars straight runs the risk of a complete psychotic breakdown and a resulting violent outbreak.
Though most commonly used in ‘party’ situations, Starker is sometimes used by workers trying to earn overtime or to finish a rush job.
Cost per tube = 15 cubits