The interplanetary Age saw huge strides in neuroscience, personal medicine and pharmacology; of special note was the development of reactive nanoparticle drug delivery and nanite drug delivery/synthesis systems which brought significantly better targeting and efficacy. Consequently the field of nootropics (first named by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea in the late Industrial Age) was born and blossomed producing a variety of highly popular drug regimens that improved mental ability. Nootropic pharmacology came as stark contrast to the previous use of drugs for improving mental faculties such as caffeine and nicotine whose results were ambiguous.
At first many nations attempted to ban or heavily regulate the use of such drugs for the general public (even when the same governments were funding nootropic research for medical and military purposes) but in the face of rampant black market production and competition with nations without such stipulations the majority of governments relaxed regulations allowing nootropics to become far more common. Early drugs increased faculties such as concentration and memory becoming popular with students and late night workers. Before long many companies introduced mandatory drug screening for employees to ensure that workers were taking their prescribed nootropics, initially such measures revitalised drug use opposition but they failed in the face of growing productivity and the introduction of nootropics to the regimen that endowed enthusiasm and ambition to workers. Over time the sophistication of nootropics grew to allowing the improvement of complex faculties; cognition, perception, pattern recognition amongst others allowing a great boost to intelligence. Improvements in personalised medicine allowed tailored regimens for specific geno/phenotypes (in the rare case that the geno/phenotype of the individual is incompatible genemods can be used), despite this some nootropics have a higher efficacy with certain sophonts.
For millennia the science of nootropics improved resulting in a wide range of products and applications. In the current era fully personalised and customisable nootropics are available that can grant specific amplifications of intelligence for as long as desired including permanency. In some societies extensive use of nootropic regimens is a precursor for ascension, in combination with other intelligence amplification techniques states of transavantism can also me achieved.
Notable Nootropics The following is a list of historically important/popular nootropics and nootropic regimens. Most have multiple names but are presented here as their original brand names Mainly developed in the Interplanetary Age many of these drugs were designed to work on multiple biological clades where possible (even if this requires different drugs, delivery mechanisms and doses).
Pep Taken as a form of energy drink Pep decreases fatigue, increases alertness and works to keep the user in a perfectly wakeful state for the next 4-6 hours (subsequent doses endow similar effects but for geometrically decreasing amounts of time).
Cram Originally developed as a treatment for people with memory related disorders this nootropic became highly popular amongst students on the black market in the early-to-middle Information Age. This potent pill is a collection of memory and motivation boosters encapsulated in a delivery system designed to maintain optimum dose over 8-10 hours (in other words throughout a night). Shortly after ingestion Cram grants a window of eidetic memory, allowing users to process and remember great amounts of information with high fidelity all the while feeling constantly motivated. Early versions suffered from potentially harmful side effects by causing a strong retention of the user’s emotional state e.g. a recently bereaved user attempting to learn a subject will always associate that subject with pain. More sophisticated versions using nanite clusters of reactive nanoparticles removed this effect by creating a more selective effect.
Many political and legal efforts attempted to remove or heavily restrict this nootropic for use in the general public, ostentatiously to prevent “cheating” but mostly to create monopolies for its use. This restriction progressed up until a series of international movements made up of quickly graduated bioethics, political and legal experts grounded the efforts to a halt by spearheading protest movements and infiltrating key commercial and political institutions.
Precipio Administrable in multiple forms but most often via inhaler Precipio gives a boost to an individual’s perception. Users describe their senses seeming to expand, taking in far more detail very clearly. For a long time it was unclear how this nootropic exactly worked until it was revealed that rather than increasing sensory processing (which would be suggested by the described experiences) Precipio partially increased short term memory retention and pattern recognition allowing an individual to draw more information from what they are sensing. User’s predisposed to paranoia should receive medical treatment to deal with this before trying Precipio else severe psychological problems may develop. Some delivery mechanisms are capable of denying administration of Precipio if genes linked to paranoid conditions are present in the user.
Insight Partially hallucinogenic the veracity of this nootropic has always been hotly contested. The mechanism of action is to cause the user to fall into a lucid state filled with mild hallucinations, usually involving memories from the user’s past. Whilst in this state the drug is designed to help the user find patterns, connections and revelations. There are many anecdotal accounts of this resulting in profound positive effects on the individual’s personality and of genius moments of insight leading to ground breaking academic work. However for every account of positive results there are accounts of users who have come away paranoid, or obsessed with a fallacious idea. User caution is advised.
Flash Particularly favoured by artists, writers and innovators lacking inspiration. Users under the influence of flash gain greater and clearer imagination. Ideas more easily form, most of the time inspired by trivial thoughts/perceptions but often seemingly out of the blue. Rather than
being a continuous effect flash works sporadically, acting once a unique idea has occurred and rising in effect as a crescendo before tapering off once an idea has been explored to satisfaction. Rationality is still conserved preventing users from treating foolish ideas as good ones. Users of flash often seem completely normal until some small event (such as an off topic phrase) suddenly seems to them as an important metaphor for their problem leading them to run off and engage in a feast of creativity. After many hours of use the efficacy of Flash wears off leading to increasingly “out-there” ideas.
Ray Named after a famous autistic this nootropic was created once research into savant syndrome had outlined the neurological conditions leading to exceptional feats of memory and calculation. Users on Ray became superior (but not of higher toposophy) at mathematical and other highly ordered activities. A common side effect is for users to focus too much on particular issues and find it difficult to let certain minor details go.
Linga A cocktail nootropic working specifically on the areas of the brain associated with speech and learning Linga raises the ability of a user to learn a language to greater than that of a young child. By heightening memory retention and neuronal plasticity in a specific manner Linga allows users to learn a new language in an astonishingly short amount of time; the original product advertised “Learn a new language in ten days or your money back! (minimum commitment to learning 50 hours a week)”. Depending on what the user wants further courses of Linga can either aid in new languages alongside existing ones or weaken previous languages in place of a new one.
Crystal Earning its name from a popular Anglic phrase this simple nootropic works by granting the user greater clarity and ability in hold complex concepts in their minds. A user on crystal is commonly able to hold in their mind highly detailed images and are capable of focusing on both the smallest and largest details at once in a bizarre specific yet holistic manner.
Inquisitor Originally developed under a security grant the original formulation was an attempt to grant interrogators with the ability to perceive microexpressions so as to act as efficient lie detectors. For a long time the project was met with minor success until the nootropic was combined with other drugs designed to temporarily boost empathy. Since then there have been many different variants of Inquisitor, indeed with the development of Deniers there has been a constant battle for dominance.
Denier Ironically also originally developed under a security grant Denier reduced users to a near psychopathic state that allowed them to easily model their emotive state rather than feel it and thus allowed them to lie with extreme conviction. Denier has been constantly developed in an attempt to fool Inquisitor and its later iterations. There are even competitions between various nootropic labs over who can win deception vs detector trials.
Prolific The Technocalypse greatly curtailed research into and use of nootropics in the Sol system. Once the Dark Age was over and the renaissance of the First Federation was underway the science improved again. One of the first products of this revitalised science was dubbed Prolific. Available in multiple formats (including via implant that allows for long term administration) Prolific was a synthesis of many previous separate nootropics expertly brought together to produce what was advertised as “Prolific: The Smart Drug”. Taking effect in minutes prolific greatly improves a user’s pattern recognition, perception, memory retention, memory processing, motivation and clarity. Commonly personality changes ensue due to these greater faculties causing the user to be very confident, charismatic and happy. On top of this highly advanced reactive components of the nootropic ensure that the various components of Prolific act in an optimum and synergistic fashion. At its best Prolific can allow users to multitask, devoting significant intellectual capacity to various lines of perception and thought (this latter ability is often scorned by members of the Homo Superior clade as an inferior attempt at what they do naturally better).
Despite the fantastic capabilities Prolific endows on users it was highly controversial upon release (and in many societies still is), whilst sophisticated neuropharmacological techniques ensure that Prolific is not addictive users commonly become psychologically addicted to the person they are when on the drug. The change is so radical that when Prolific undergoes its rapid period of wearing off (ten minutes or so) users experience great despair at returning to their relatively unintelligent, unmotivated selves. These despairing individuals are an example of algernons.
Nootropicopia A set of hylo/biotech implants that can synthesise and release various nootropics on command. If the user is fitted with a DNI the set can be placed under direct control, if no DNI is present a variety of physical cues can be used i.e. command words that when uttered release a dose of relevant nootropic.
Text by Ryan B
Initially published on 21 January 2012.