I Can’t Sleep

Well actually I haven’t tried, but I’m pretty sure I can’t sleep. It’s been two days now. Basically it’s a combo of starting Alpha, working to get all our requirements done for the proposal Greystle wants, and asking out Janice (well without the actual asking out part – I’ll get to it).

I got some Orexinal at the campus store and it works great, I was starting to fall apart and now I’m doing fine.

I won’t mention this to Janice. I mean she’ll be pissed enough about me taking a drug, but the fact that the pharma company that makes Orexinal is one of Greystle’s companies will push her over the edge. Ever since the Jack crap she’s gotten to be an almost activist about those guys. Ned and I now make sure she never goes to any meetings with them.

Oh

It wasn’t until I was 17 that I finally had a girlfriend. And it was serious, it way going to be forever. But even a 17 year old deep down knows that isn’t true, and when coming home from a movie in my parent’s ancient hybrid I blurted out that I was going to leave town and go to Dulles Tech. I didn’t let Anna speak I kept going on about how this was best for me, and how we can still have a relationship even though I’m gone, and though I didn’t plan it I started babbling about my parents getting a divorce and before I knew it I was crying. Finally I was silent and Anna said “Oh.”

Adit’s story is mentioned in dozens of studies. His case is the case study on countless white papers and thesis papers and journal articles – etc. Luckily as soon as he came to Dulles as a child he was known only as Rasa. I always assumed that was in reference to Tabula rasa, that and it sounds Indian. Rasa is famous in many diciplines of study – taking brain-computer interface (BCI or wetware) technology to a whole new level. Rasa was a source of pride at Dulles. Only Jack, Ned and I knew that Adit and Rasa were one in the same, until I told Kaitlin.

As soon as I heard Kaitlin say “hello” I leaped into listing resources we might need, how I’ll get Ned’s permission to secure a lab, and that budget was not an issue. Finally I paused, “what’s this about?” Kaitlin finally was able to ask. I let her know that Adit was Rasa and he was broken. Whatever Adit and Jack had done wasn’t working. I paused again. Silence, and then Kaitlin said “Oh.”

Now Kaitlin and Adit are making my stockpile of Orexinal disappear as we’ve locked ourselves into a lab right above the Greystle guys. If they only knew the patent potentials happening in this room.

Kaitlin is like a kid in a candy store looking at Jack’s specs on Rasa that Ned had locked away and working with Adit on possible reasons for the malfunction and ways to improve the system. I have to say Adit has taken to Kaitlin. He never had before – when he had memories of her from before his last night of sleep. He is starting to look like he is secure. I think he finally feels safe. Good. I can’t imagine what it really is like when everyone is a stranger.

I’m trying to help out, but I am so out of my league. Honestly the only help I can give them is time and privacy. Oh, and I seem to be getting the drinks and food too.

I am the go to intern on this project. I’m fine with that.

Orexinal

I’m afraid to go back to sleep now. I feel like a child afraid of nightmares. But I’m afraid of dreams. I’m afraid of even a moment of not being conscious. A moment of not being in control. I think there is even a tinge of the classic “what if I don’t wake up” fear, but it’s more of “how long will I sleep” fear. Will it be days?

And gosh durn it, I get so much done never going to sleep.

I know at some point I need to stop taking Orexinal. Alpha is up and running, Adit is up and being Adit, and I even have a personal life! I don’t need to always stay awake.

There is nothing more I want than to wake up next to Janice, but there is nothing more frightening to me right now than the idea of being asleep.

Fear wins.

With Kaitlin and Adit using some of my Orexinal supply I’m beginning to run low. And I’m starting to get really anxious about it.

I’ve checked with the campus pharmacy and they’re all out, and not expecting more for at least a few weeks. The strikes have disrupted a lot of the supply chain.

The Good News is Alice has a contact in town that can get me a couple of months supply, the bad news is that he is pricey and outside the green zone.

Oh well. Field trip!

Outside the Green Zone

I know I’m not “in touch.” I’ve heard that accusation many times by the “activist” cool kids in the student center cafeteria, that’s one reason why I avoid eating there. That and the food is awful.

I admit I’m more into Alpha than what goes on outside Dulles’s halls. But stepping outside the green zone was a slap in the face.

First the smell. I don’t know how they prevent the smell from getting into the green zone, but they do. My stomach writhed and flipped in reaction to the smell. It wasn’t just the garbage it was as if the streets were sweating.

Second is the fact that the town was falling apart. When I first started going to Dulles as a student, downtown was full of, shall we say, cheap housing. But now it’s all gone to seed.

I wonder if the Roman Senate, as they heard news of lost territories, increased crime, and a diminishing treasury, ever put two and two together and realized that Rome was waning? Did they try to stop its slow death? Or did they close their eyes of it all and continued to bask in the glory that was Rome, all the while rubber stamping all of Julius Nepos’s decrees.

Heading out in the middle of the night seemed like to me the best way not to get noticed but the campus guard wanted to “escort” me for my own safety. It only took him 50 bucks to realize I’d be okay walking into town on my own. No bus or cabs, so there was a lot of walking. I discovered my campus ID was also my “pass” back into the green zone.

Alice had me meet her contact underneath the huge Prescott banner at the corner of Barbara Ave. and Houston St. I had assumed it was a left over “re-elect Prescott” poster from last year’s election. I was wrong. It was a banner, huge, 4 stories tall. It didn’t even have his name, just his picture and the words “Our Leader” at the bottom. They were all over town, covering the broken windows of all the abandoned buildings.

A few thousand dollars later I was heading back to the green zone. Another 50 and my bags weren’t searched, and exhausted I went to my room and collapsed on my bed. I closed my eyes and didn’t sleep. I waited 10 minutes, showered, changed, and headed back to check on Alpha.

Alpha doesn’t sleep, and neither do I.

The old net and old opinions

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. At first I thought it might be a bit of “post-partum” depression in finally having consummated my relationship with Janice. After so much tension and expectation the body is bound to feel a little “let down” at having finally gotten what you so long desired. But I couldn’t be happier about it, and I get more giddy about she and I every day.

I thought maybe the die off on alpha was getting me down, but really that is part of what the project is about: life and the cycles of life. The die off is part of the living artificial world we have created, and besides the life count summaries are leveling off and the extinction rate is back to where it was before the die off.

Alice keeps prodding me about Orexinal and says I should get off of it. But I can’t find anything on the Grid that had anything but praise about Orexinal, so Alice had me look at her old internet snap shot backup that she grabbed from Archive.org before the government shut them down with the passing of the Freedom of Commerce act. Millions of machines once served up all the data that she’s got stashed in a few cubes on her desk.

It seems there is a big black market for backups of the old net Definitely useful to have an anti-authoritarian goth chick on the project team.

And as you’d expect from the medium that was outlawed because of the volume of anti consumption commentary (don’t want to denigrated products you know, you might hurt their feelings); there is certainly more of anti-Orexinal buzz on the old online slow road.

It seems Orexinal’s definition of “no side effects” is “nothing you can see.” Kinda like the definition of the legal torture allowed by police (man, one trip outta the green zone and I’m starting to sound like an “activist”). Depression and paranoia seems to be the side effects most people were complaining about. The paranoia is pretty targeted though, you become paranoid about sleep: what sleep does to you, where do you go, what is your mind doing without your control. The dream/sleep state is the enemy (I can get behind that).

Orexinal, among other things, generates many of the chemicals your brain generates while you dream. Keeping the brain healthy. The fruitier of the commentary I read posits that the “spiritual” aspects of dreaming are left unfulfilled and that the Psyche naturally gets depressed having been removed from its natural state. The truly paranoid articles suggest that the paranoia against sleep acts as an addictive hook to get the user to continue to use the drug, and that this “side effect” was a planned property of the drug.

Hard to judge the veracity of any of these claims. Actually impossible. Well that’s one advantage of the Grid’s vetting of public content (though Janice’s position paper on the beginning of life has still not been green lighted), you know the experts agree on it.

So should I get off Orexinal? I’d say “I’d sleep on it,” but I won’t.

I erase the history log of the sites I went to before giving the cubes back to Alice.