Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Most Helpless Man

But the only thing that worried me was the tasp implanted in my attorney's head, and I knew the bastard had it. I've collected drugs and liquor across fifteen worlds in known space, and on a few more beyond it. I'm personally familiar with barbiturates, analgesics, tranquilizers, hallucinogens, opiates, alkaloids, cannabis, the active salvinorins, psychostimulants, inhalants, and a couple more known only to Trinoc science, whose names wouldn't mean anything here. . . . A collection of the chemicals I have known and loved would fill a room at the Institute of Knowledge back on Jinx. I'm familiar with self-induced depravity; and I'm completely comfortable with it.

But the wire scares me. Even the tasp. I'll make my own day, thank you very much. Tanj it, the only things I want messing with my pleasure centers are the site antagonists I've recently ingested. I'm good with transfer booths, with stepping disks, with stasis fields, and with the goddamned Quantum II hyperdrive, but there is something unnatural about the direct electrical stimulation of my brain--or of anyone else's. There is nothing more helpless and irresponsible than a wirehead. And the fact that Nessus can turn me into one, even briefly, on some hash-addled or ecstasy-trip whim of his makes me as nervous as a kdatlyno downrange from an ARM with a sonar jammer.

Beyond the needed services he performs for me as my attorney, Nessus is a completely twisted individual, crazy as a Kzin telepath. I like that very much in a sentient. But I'd have to watch the cowardly bastard as well as the drugs permit.

Ah well, no need to worry about that right now. More important was taking the edge off these goddamned alkaloids. I wet a handkerchief with a dab of ether, then did it again for good measure, and took a nice long huff. Within ten minutes, my muscles turned to delicious whipped butter and the interior of the Skydiver resounded with that wonderful buzzing. I smiled as best as my nearly-disconnected facial muscles could manage. Should those fucking bandersnatchi return, I'll be much more relaxed in their presence. . . .

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