Trope-a-Day: High Times Future

High Times Future: As long as you’re competent to do what you have to do, when you have to do it, your neurological state and how you got there is your own business. Download all the drugs you like! (Well, except those falling under the category of Coercive Substances, or those which drive you insane in ways likely to cause harm to others: magical berserker nutball powder is off the table. But apart from those it’s between you and your mind.)

Splitting Hairs


A libidigen, in short, is as close as you can get to the classical myth of an “aphrodisiac” or “love potion” without running headlong into the Coercive Substances Act and its painful consequences.

Certain substances once considered potential aphrodisiacs may be considered Class 0 Coercive Substances, of which the most prominent is ethanol. Class 0 substances are permitted for general use, since they are not true coercive substances; the aforementioned ethanol, for example, is a disinhibiter (while capable of lowering inhibitions, in normal doses, it does not create desires, nor cause the intoxicated to do anything that they did not have at least some volition to do in the first place). The categorization for Class 0 substances exists because overdoses of these substances may cause unconsciousness or inability to resist other forms of coercion, and the Empire considers it desirable to be able to charge those making deliberate use of these effects with pharmaceutical-mediated battery in addition to other applicable charges.

Genuine libidigens, however, do create desire (with or without creating corresponding capacity): the user of a libidigen wants to have sex. They are considered Class 1 because of this, and because the desire they create is both nonspecific and non-overriding; a Class 1 libidigen creates a desire for sex that can be overridden by conscious volition, and also does not cause its user to find anyone sexually attractive that they were not already attracted to. As such, they are permissible for use by oneself or with the explicit consent of the person to whom they are provided. Provision of them to anyone without their explicit consent is under Imperial law pharmaceutical-mediated battery and likely to also result in charges of rape1.

The mythical aphrodisiac/love potion, which induces overwhelming desire, and may direct it at a specific individual regardless of previous desire-state, would be classed as a Class 2 Coercive Substance, since these effects obviously violate individual volition. Substances in this category are deemed to have no legitimate purpose. Provision of these to anyone is considered both pharmaceutical-mediated battery and rape. Supply of these to anyone, in accordance with their function, will result in being charged as an accessory before the fact to the above.

The equivalent Class 3 substances which not only cause overwhelming desire but also impair volition to the extent that the user is unable to resist acting on this desire instantly and without restraint are absolutely prohibited under all circumstances.

– sidebar, The High Guide to Hedonic Pharmacology, Kanatar Guides

1. Note that under Imperial law, all attempted crimes are charged as if successfully carried through. Incompetence is not a mitigating factor.

You’ve Got To Read This

basilisk hack: (from the mythical petrifying serpent); a class of cognoweapon capable of being introduced through normal sensory channels which attack metalogical defects in sensory input processing or cognition, causing various cognitive dysfunctions, neural storms, seizures, and in advanced cases, coma.  Most publicly known families of basilisk hack are automatically filtered by modern security metacortex extensions.

YGBM hack: (“you’ve got to believe me”); a more advanced class of cognoweapon based on basilisk hack (q.v.) principles, in which the basic hack serves as a channel to introduce a memetic payload without it passing through normal cognitive/memetic processing, thus causing instant belief and/or conversion.  This is largely a theoretical class due to the difficulty of passing a memetic payload through limited sensory bandwidth and the nature of available cognitive exploits, but certain simple examples are known to exist, including the Andreth-Calcië emotropic symphonies, the Citizen Nondescript bioshell series, the Out-Of-Mind visual textures, and the Must-Have-It Box.

YGHM hack: (“you’ve got to have me”); a specific YGBM hack (q.v.) variant focused on inducing desire, or simple lust.  While no target-specific forms are known to exist live, one subset of the Andreth-Calcië emotropic symphonies is known to induce these mental states in a generalized sense.  (Legal warning: effective-fidelity recordings of these qualify as a Class I Coercive Substance and, as such, non-consensual exposure to such is a serious crime under Imperial law.)

yaghem: (slang); a person whose sexuality presentation and/or seduction techniques possess all the subtlety of a YGHM hack (q.v.), albeit without the effectiveness.  Considered derogatory.

– excerpted from Cognitive Threats Monthly: Special Introductory Issue