Maria Rios-Gonzalez—“Hey baby, I had to give you a call and let you know what that fool Jamaal is trying to sell now. ... No, no, he’s right down on his corner, in broad daylight. He’s got Neural-Boost, in the Luxor Lab Corporation packaging and everything. ... No baby, I did not spend your hard-earned money on anything. This is Jamaal, after all. But it got me thinking about how we got Ricardo coming up on his interview at Hilton Academy preschool next month. It’s tough to get in there. I was thinking maybe we should look into getting him some of that brain boosting medicine. ... I know, honey. I know what the brain drugs costs. But if he can get into Hilton, our baby will have a future. He’ll go places you and I never had a shot at. ... I know it costs, don’t shout! But this is our kid, he deserves a chance. ... Okay. We can talk tonight.”

Thank you, David. This is a Sharon Cox, Channel 6 Special Reporter with a report for our viewers on the Intelligence Enhancement Drugs that we all have been hearing about of late. In 2055, the Human Potential Project, the successor to the Human Genome Project, was established by the United Nations to develop technologies that would take advantage of the new understanding of genetic coding that the Human Genome Project provided. Many diseases and ailments were being eliminated at birth with the genetic therapies that had been discovered. More important, a number of medications were developed that greatly enhanced the human intellectual potential. By 2077, pharmaceutical companies around the world had full lines of intellect enhancing products available.

Dwayne Johnson—“No Sheila, the interview didn’t go well. The personnel guy was positively zooming. He must be eating them brain drugs like candy. It’s not fair! I spent two years taking marketing courses at City Tech so I can get me a real job, and this guy is bored with me. He was popping off facts and figures, then giving me dirty looks ‘cause I can’t take it in and spit it back. It’s just not fair! I can’t afford them super drugs, but nobody’ll hire me without ‘em. I’ll be day manager of the Burger Pit until I’m old and gray. ... I know sweetheart, I love you too. Look, I gotta get ready for work.”

The neural enhancement medications that emerged fall into two classes; neural accelerators and synapse multipliers. Accelerators increase the rate at which signals are propagated along nerve fibers by as much as 20%. While that number may not seem large, it permits the user to process information much faster. When used in conjunction with educational programs, the user is able to learn much more quickly.

Multipliers increase the number of neural connections within the brain. These drugs have many important uses today. Children suffering from Down’s syndrome or people with certain forms of dementia or brain injuries can overcome these ailments with this medication.

But the widest use of both classes of medications, and the most profitable, is among normal people. The brain drugs increase your IQ, making you smarter. Among the pharmaceutical companies’ target populations, the use of brain drugs has shifted the normal bell curve of intelligence to the right by as much as two standard deviations into what is considered the gifted or genius range.

Sam Kelly—“What newspaper did you say you were from? ... Oh yeah, I used to get that. You wanted to talk to me about the brain drugs, right? Well, they’re a godsend for me. I retired from the National Chemical four years ago after 35 years. Last year, I just started losing it. I don’t remember a lot of stuff that happened. My wife Peggy had a hell of a time. I just started forgetting stuff, I mean like who she was, or where I lived, or what year it was. One time, I walked out the front door and got lost three blocks from home. She had the cops out and everything. ... Huntington’s Disease my Doc calls it. The way he explained it, my brain cells just wore out, started dying. It took a couple of months, but the brain drugs turned it around. I still have trouble walking, and forget where I put stuff sometimes, but that’s nothing. Mind you, it’s god awful expensive. And I don’t mind if you print that. I’m on Medicare, and the co-pay still costs a quarter of my retirement check. But at least I qualify. My brother-in-law has Alzheimer’s and Medicare won’t pay for any brain drugs for that. Something about it not being an approved treatment. ... No, there’s nothing they can do. With him off work on disability, they can’t afford the brain drugs by themselves. It’s a damn shame, too. George was a bright guy, a manager over at National Chemical until the Alzheimer’s kicked in. A damn shame.”

In 2072, the Americans Civil Liberties Union filed suit in District of Columbia Federal District Court to require the intelligence enhancement drugs be made available to the public generally without regard to income. They argued that because individuals with limited incomes couldn’t afford them, this created a disadvantaged class based on income, and by extension based on race. The District Court dismissed the petition because such treatments weren’t medically necessary in the cases put forward by the ACLU. The Court ruled it lacked authority to require medical insurers to bear the cost no matter what advantages the individuals would gain. An appeal is pending.

Sally Anderson—“Joan, you wouldn’t believe how well little Sammy is doing now. He was really delayed until last year. Four years old and he was still in diapers, and he wasn’t able to say single words. ... Yeah, he’s been taken the brain drugs for a year now. You wouldn’t believe the difference. He’s walking, he’s talking, he’s even started learning his ABCs. ... No, he’ll never be a super brain or anything like that, but he’ll be okay. ... Oh Jesus, it costs a fortune. But I’ll tell you, if I had to do it over again, I’d spend every dime I had. The day he looked up at me and said, ‘Mama’ was one of the happiest days of my life.”

Last year, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Manuel Ortega, spoke at the Pacific Rim Economic Conference in Tokyo. He said, “The world is at the dawning of a golden age. Until this century, human civilization only produced a da Vinci, a Newton or an Einstein once a century, yet each of these great minds shook the world with their brilliant insights. Today, the United Nations Department of Neurological Enhancements has identified five young people with tested IQs at equal to these great minds. All have been treated with the new wonder drugs since birth. One young lady in Shanghai is beyond the capacity of standard intelligence tests to measure. We literally have no idea what she will be capable of doing as an adult.” The Secretary-General closed by promising, “Within our lifetime, the world will be changed beyond recognition.”

Ronaldo Rios ­“Please send an ambulance 1527 Georgia Street! I got a call from the day care when my wife Maria didn’t pick up Ricardo. I rushed home and found her. She’s passed out on the floor, I can’t wake her. ... Yeah, I think she took something. She had a box in her hand, Neural-Boost pills made by Luxor Labs. ... Yes, I’m sure that’s what it is. That’s what the box says, and it’s got the blister packs with all but two of the blue pills in it. She must’ve taken them. She said something about trying to get some for our son. She probably took ‘em to make sure they were okay. ... What do you mean bootleg? I mean, the packaging looks real! ... How would I know what’s in ‘em? They’re little blue pills, just like on TV. ... Dammit, I need help! I don’t think she’s breathing now. I gotta help her! Just send an ambulance!”


# # #

Living With the Miracle by James R. Stratton
originally published December 22, 2008



James R. Stratton is by day, a mild-mannered government lawyer specializing in child abuse prosecutions, living with his wife and children in Delaware. But in recent years he’s been forging a dark alter ego of genre fiction author. James has been published multiple times in Big Pulp, and in Dragons, Knights & Angels Magazine, Ennea and Nth Degree Magazine, The Broadkill Review, Tower of Light Online Magazine, and Paper Blossoms, Sharpened Steel, an anthology of Oriental fantasy.

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