Screech
Screech focuses entirely on getting your legs moving, which you, of all people, should find helpful. Remember when you got shot up last mission because you forgot what cover was, and the doc wasn't sure if you'd make it? Not next time, motherfucker. Take one of these and you can dodge fire from foe and friendly alike. You'll also scream about it: Screech messes with your hearing a fair deal, and you'll be shouting without even realizing it. Gotta go fast? Gotta take Screech. And keep your volume down, you're too loud.
  • Cost: 1000 creds
  • Uses: 1
  • Requirements: Be human, or blue hedgehog.
  • Stats: +2 speed
    +1 agility
    +1 intuition
  • Duration: 2d6 turns
    Effects start at the beginning of the next turn.

Screech is a mixture of a feel-good drug and a battle drug.

The street version comes in a small patch of foam fabric, often colorfully stamped with the face of a banshee, Screech's unofficial symbol. Chewing (but not swallowing) causes a number of very fast-acting effects. For starters, the user may notice they feel a lot more positive about things - like there's much more reason to go on living. This is quickly overtaken (but not erased) by a series of other strong feelings: the muscles grow more tense, like the person is ready to spring, and reaction time is shortened to what seems almost supernatural. It's a combination of adrenaline and a number of other precise effects. Most arteries are constricted somewhat, and the heart begins to beat harder. A larger ratio of blood than normal is directed towards the head, and the muscles there tense, leading to popping veins and, often, bared teeth. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that the excess blood has the unusual side effect of dulling a person's hearing. Many people like this, and in fact there are a multitude of sleep products that are derivatives of Screech (but without the adrenaline-like rush).

In terms of psychological effects, someone taking Screech usually feels faster, stronger, and more powerful. They feel more ready to throw themselves into dangerous situations, and feel like they can take on more than they're normally capable of (which is usually true to some degree). Their voice gets louder, very often to where they're shouting. In terms of physical effects, they're faster and more agile, though they may quickly find smaller, more precise operations tiresome (such as using a computer).

Side effects while active

Side effects only take place for the duration of the drug, and stop afterwards. Side effects can stack between drugs. Some effects may be immediately obvious. Others, the GM may record privately and must be discerned by the player.

100% Extra addictive In terms of addiction, this drug counts as an extra dose. If a single dose of screech is the only drug taken on the mission, then you will not become addicted to it; however, on the injection of a second drug, the chances jump up to roughly 50% instead of 20%.
100% Loud shouting The person becomes incredibly loud as their hearing dulls; they may think they're talking at a normal tone of voice, or they may realize but simply not care - mostly because they can't turn their volume down anyway.
85-100% Facial tension The character's face and neck become tense, and their veins begin to pop out. An identifying mark.
85-100% Bared teeth Many people unknowingly draw their lips back over their teeth as though they were rabid. This can look fairly grotesque, but doesn't always.
85-100% Dulled hearing Dulled hearing, possibly accompanied by light tinnitus, makes it so that they can't hear how loud they're being - and may also not hear quieter sounds. This means the GM will not let them hear sounds quieter than talking, which will seem quite quiet indeed.

Overdose effects

If you take too many different drugs in a short amount of time, you have a chance of receiving the side effects of any of them. These last for the duration of the longest-duration drug you've taken. Those that last other lengths will be noted. Continuing to take drugs past this point may result in death. Some effects may be immediately obvious. Others, the GM may record privately and must be discerned by the player.

85-100% Trouble breathing In most cases, an overdose results in trouble breathing. A 1d6 roll will determine whether the character's windpipe closes up at some point during the next few turns. This can be fixed by, as in most cases, an anti-shock med. The effect will take place 1d3 turns after the overdose. The GM will not inform the player of these rolls beforehand.
35-65% Hearing loss The character may develop a complete loss of hearing due to an overdose of screech. They will have to roleplay the effects, and possibly come up with some clever ways to communicate with their squadmates. Alternatively, they may enjoy the blissful silence.
35-65% Noise-sensitive Some characters may develop a sensitivity to noise. If the character has hearing loss, this is effectively mitigated and removed. Characters sensitive to noise take an immediate -1 to all actions around loud noises, owing to the distraction. The GM will not say whether this is in effect. In the case that both this and Hearing Loss are rolled, the GM will choose one or the other, but not both.
35-65% Headache Other characters may develop a bad headache. This is purely roleplayed by the player. Painkillers make it go away fast.
20-50% Cancer Yes. Cancer. There is a chance that the individual develops cancer if they overdose on Screech. This can be checked and taken care of with a cancer screening back at base, provided the individual remembers to check. Praise FSM for cancer cures, right? The GM will not tell the player whether this is in effect. If the cancer is not taken care of, the character will die after one month.
5-35% Dizziness A small percentage of individuals find themselves dizzy after an overdose; their inner ear essentially ceases to function. This results in a -1 to all rolls involving movement, and running/walking takes twice as many layers.

Withdrawal effects

If you take too many drugs over the course of one or two missions, there's a chance you can become addicted and experience withdrawal symptoms. Some effects may be immediately obvious. Others, the GM may record privately and must be discerned by the player. Still others may happen at random for the duration of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be mitigated by taking another of the particular drug at some point during or before the next mission - or you can try waiting it out for a mission or two, until it goes away.

  • Duration: 1 month (1 full-sized mission)
100% Headache A splitting headache. Constant pain results in a slight decrease to morale, especially if left on their own. Painkiller meds are an acceptable solution.
85-100% Suicidal tendencies Screech addicts, apart from headaches, find themselves quite suicidal. Small wonder, either, given all the withdrawal effects and possibiliity that they have cancer. Whenever they are in a situation that offers a new way for them to kill themselves, they must do a willpower roll or they will attempt to kill themselves. This lasts long enough for other characters to notice, if they're looking in the character's direction, and they may be able to stop it if they're close enough.
35-65% Irrational fear A screech addict may find themselves fearing something silly or unlikely to happen, at an intensity much greater than they're used to. Alternatively, they fear something that is very likely to happen, and try to avoid it. It is up to the player to decide how to roleplay this, but it must be roleplayed in some satisfactory fashion. If the player fails to do so, then the GM may strike the character with a "meltdown" which can range from an inability to act to throwing themselves in harm's way. This is completely the GM's discretion.
35-65% Fatigue The person may feel abnormally tired, equalling a -1 to endurance. This can be fixed with a quick catnap, eliminating effects of fatigue for 4d6 turns. The GM will not mention when the effects of the nap run out.
35-65% Tinnitus The person's ears may ring, making it difficult to concentrate or, especially, hear things, equalling a -1 in noise-based perception rolls.
35-65% Itchy skin The person has itchy skin and may scratch themselves absentmindedly. Woe to them if they're wearing heavy armor!

History

A moderately-aged drug developed in the late 2600s, purely as something to improve reaction time of human soldiers during the Galactic Cleansing, prior to humanity deciding to enlist the wralk. At first, it was a military secret, but as it became clear that the drug had no positive effects on nonhumans, it became a point of morale boost, specifically while humanity was concentrating on wiping out the hiltorel and the gorvans. This very rapidly gained it the name "screech" due to how loud and boisterous the takers become. It wasn't long before the secret formula fell into the hands of drug manufacturers, who began producing it commercially.

Unfortunately, Screech is highly addictive and usually requires taking multiple doses in order to achieve a lasting effect, making addiction very highly frequent. The overdose effects, and especially the withdrawal effects, are fairly nasty and often end in death. After a number of incidents (including the suicide of a fairly prominent and important early New Earth politician) it was re-labeled an illegal substance in the early 2700s. By this time, humanity was already thinking of repopulating the wralk species for use in combat, and so didn't feel as though they needed it as much anymore. Manufacturing continued, however, but always out of sight of policemen. It was also popular among cops as well - especially during gunfights, where the little foam squares could be ripped off a strip and chewed at a moment's notice. This was a luxury they preferred not to permit to criminals they might have to eventually fight.

Ever since the prohibition, there have always been activist groups advocating the re-legalization of Screech, but none have ever been fully successful. It remains a popular drug on many midworlds, though it's seen less often in the Core.

Ingame example

Ingame example


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