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Dox | Short Story

Back in school I used to take this stuff called Doxofin. It was stimulant my roommate’s friend whipped up while developing a nootropic for some startup that never took off. She was chem major. Damn good, but damn lazy. She never got around to graduating.

First time I took it was because I was curious. She gave me forty milligrams because she didn’t know how powerful it was at the time. About half an hour in I felt it hit. It was that feeling of running all-out, legs extending as far as they could go, and not feeling out of breath or exhausted. A pure, open, mental sprint that lasted for an hour. Every word, every movement, was calculated, analyzed, optimized, and purely efficient.

After that, I was hooked.

My grades never got better, but they didn’t need to. I was top of my class. My productivity, on the other hand, well that skyrocketed. The stuff I came up with back then blows my mind now. It got me where I am today. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t lost that. Sometimes.

I experimented to the point where I knew exactly how much to take to hit the level I wanted to function at. Eighty milligrams became the base dose. Take that seventeen minutes before class with sixteen ounces of OJ and I could get my work done for the upcoming class, while taking notes and catching up with friends. A hundred-forty milligrams just after dinner would get me a productive all-nighter on a Friday. Another hundred Sunday morning would get my sleep cycle reset for the rest of the week. Sure there was the burnout afterwards — your brain can only run on max for so long, but it wasn’t so bad.

Two hundred milligrams.

Third time I did that was the last time I touched Dox. Two hundred was about six hours of high-octane thinking — eight if you took an additional fifty at the four hour mark. But the crash, that was hell. Depression in the worst, most logical way. I wasn’t good enough to be at that school. All of my accomplishments were because of the drug, not me. Even when I looked at my output for those two years, I would think “yeah, but other people are doing so much more and they don’t take anything for it”. I was worthless, and I was smart enough to know that was true. In the eyes of the universe, we are all worth nothing.

I never contemplated suicide. I was too stubborn for that, and I wanted to prove to the unfeeling world that I was not just a blip on the radar. But I lost the will to operate for days at a time. One of the residual effects of Doxofin is that your perception of time stays warped. Minutes feel like hours, and days… well, that’s an eternity. Kind of like a dream, but worse because you’re trapped in reality. I know that the second time was just a week, but I swear I aged six months from that.

My roommate’s friend had moved onto another job, somewhere in Thailand I think, and with her went my source of Dox. Part of me knew it was the best thing for me. A different part told the first part it was wrong, and gave a well-reasoned argument for why I should keep taking it. Neither side won, because after I stopped I figured out how to synthesize it myself in three days. Like I said, residual effects.

Ten years later I find myself here. On a ship, about eighty thousand kilometers past the Moon, moving away much faster than I should be. An hour ago I became the last living member of my crew. Well, technically that’s not confirmed. I only recovered evidence of three bodies, but after the explosion there wouldn’t be much left of the fourth.

Thirty three minutes ago I got suited up, possibly for the last time. Twenty six minutes ago the module I’m in vented the last of its oxygen to a hull breach, and two minutes after that I determined my only source of breathable air is two kilometers away on the other side of a centrifugal research station. Given how long I’ve been away from Earth, I approximated my bone-mass loss at five percent and my muscle loss at eleven percent. I haven’t eaten in four and a half hours and I’ve used up everything I ate, judging by the slight tremor in my right hand.

Fourteen minutes ago I popped two hundred milligrams of Doxofin, which should kick in within the next thirty seconds. I don’t know how I’m going to make it across two kilometers on a quarter tank of oxygen, but in three minutes I will. All I have to do is wait…

 

 

Boom. Let’s do this.


Side Note: I've renamed this to "Space Drugs" to better set expectations ahead of time, so people realize this is a short fiction and not something more akin to a memoir. Hope you enjoy it!

Earth Rendering

I wanted to post a fun little project that I've been revisiting from time to time. A few years back I found a collection of high-resolution Earth textures, which I dropped onto a sphere and rendered what I thought was a pretty convincing planet. Every few months since then, I've pulled up the file, tweaked it a little, and rendered out a new version that's a little bit better than the last. My most recent attempts are the two large images at the bottom, but I'm sure I'll continue messing with this and see if I can't make it even better.

An early attempt, probably two years old.

A recent attempt from a few months ago.

Earth and Moon, daytime gibbous.

Earth and Moon, nighttime crescent. My personal favorite so far.

Holidays - 2015-16

Happy new year, everyone! If you're reading this it means you're looking at an updated website. I figured I would fix this up while I have the time so it doesn't look quite so out of date when people visit it.

Like most of my holiday breaks, I tried to make this a productive one. Unlike most of them I succeeded in that! By which I mean I did about half of what I had planned instead of none of it.

Aside from updating the website, I finally finished some artwork and posters, did a good bit of reading, and even some writing. I wanted to share some of this with you all as a way of making progress more tangible, and helping myself get more comfortable with putting content out there.


Artwork

A lot of these were unfinished pieces that I finally got around to completing. The first two are educational posters that I would like to be able to sell for use in classrooms, or personal decoration. I still don't know what the best option is for that, but I'm looking into it. If you're interested, let me know!

These next three are a little more personal in nature. I would love to make the Bird Thing and Darth Vader images into shirts, though I'm sure there's tons of licensing issues with the latter.


Books

Reading is something that I'm finally getting back into. I thought it would be nice to share some of the books I've been absorbed in over the break.

Wool, Shift, and Dust by Hugh Howey

After The Martian by Andy Weir, my life was lacking in hard science fiction. Wool had a ridiculous number of ratings and great reviews (over 11,000 ratings and 4.5 stars), and it wasn't long before I was getting the sequels, Shift and Dust, and devouring those too. They're well written with a lot of twists, though a bit more dystopian than I had hoped. Fortunately, the focus is really on the characters with a lot of philosophy on human nature.

Cover - Relativity.jpg

Relativity: The Special and General Theory by Albert Einstein

The edition I received is the 100th Anniversary edition. I've been wanting to read Einstein's Special and General Relativity for a while, and with the anniversary in November it seemed an appropriate time. This was a Christmas gift so I'm still working my way through it. It's surprisingly short and not-so-surprisingly dense, but in a good, brain-wrinkling way!

Cover - 50 Stories.jpg

50 Stories by Nicholas Sailer

I wanted to give a shout out to my friend and former classmate Nicholas Sailer, who wrote a short story every day for a year and published his book A Story Each Day. 50 Stories is a selection from the larger volumes, and has been a great read (also still working through this one). The stories are short and varied, which makes them great for a quick read at lunch, or a longer session in the evening. Knowing Nick personally has made this feat even more inspiring, and I look forward to seeing what he does next!

Star Wars The Force Awakens: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

It's a young adult novel. It's about Star Wars. I read the whole thing in two nights and loved it. I think it really benefits Finn and Poe, giving their characters more depth and backstory that was lacking in the film. Having more of Rey is just icing on the cake! Be forewarned: it's a very quick read.


That's the holiday update! My plan is to do an update each week, sharing some of what I've been working on, including artwork, writing, and hopefully some other side projects, so stay tuned and don't be afraid to prod me for more. We could all use a little encouragement sometimes!