0038 - Unbalance. - 2018.06.25



In the Star Trek universe (from Next Generation on) a chemical called "synthehol" replaces alcohol in most alcoholic beverages. Depending on what episode you watch or debatably-canonical source you reference, it mimics the pleasurable effects of tipsiness without causing actual drunkenness, hangovers, or addiction. It can also be "dismissed" easily, although it's not entirely clear how - perhaps the transporter can simply filter out the synthehol molecules.

In any event, I do like that the Trek writers recognized that intoxicants and the consumption thereof are a major element of (most) civilization, but also that alcoholism is the sort of societal problem that a future Utopia would have definitively solved. In Forward, I decided against creating a non-booze booze and decided, instead, that Lee's chemical rebalancer (which was already mentioned previously) also works on inebriation.

As with Lee's Internet connectivity, I'm not really interested in the techy nitty-gritty - rather in the societal and philosophical difference between the two.

Synthehol is not real alcohol. Try as you might, you cannot get rip-roaring drunk on it. If the Federation implemented Prohibition, and made real alcohol illegal, synthehol would be a condescending allowance from an autocratic regime, a meaningless gesture in the direction of freedom, like giving a bicycle to someone banned from motor vehicles.

In contrast, Lee's chemical rebalancer grants them more freedom, not less. Lee can choose whether or not to be drunk.

As with all technology, with greater power comes increased ability to make bigger and stupider mistakes.


0038 - 2167/07/05/19:26 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, living room
LC: Bleagh. I don't know why college students like this teqwilla stuff. I keep waiting for it to taste better, but it's just gross straight through. I've almost finished the bottle and I'm not even buzzed, it must be super weak. Does teqwilla go bad?
LC: Oh, wait, my chemical rebalancer. Duh. I should probably turn that off.
[moment of horrible realization]
[curled up on floor]