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It’s Matt here. That headache did turn out to be a reaction to my Neg-Vac. Remember what I said before about side effects? That’s all it is. The thing is, if you take medication too much, your body builds up a tolerance to it. In this instance, there’s also the added difficulty that what sorts of negative emotions our brains focus on will change over time. So, my mix was slightly off this month.

On the up side, Sarah was really understanding. She got me in for testing quickly and gave me some time off afterward too. The downside to this is that I’m not due another Neg Vac for another couple of days. As mine needs quite a large change too, they can’t give me a booster to balance it out. So, I’m stuck on pain meds. It’s not as bad as I made it sound last time. Not now, anyway. The first day was a killer, I guess.

It does hurt though.

Still, this is a good opportunity to talk about how this works.

In most cases, small changes can be made by using interim doses. These will usually be spread out over the month to slowly move you to the right levels. That’s important because before the thirty-day cycle ends, there would be too much of the previous dose still in your system, and you’d risk a big reaction if you don’t use the stepped approach. After the thirty-day cycle, it’s like a clean slate, so a change in dose will be fine.

The exception to that rule is a sudden shift in tendencies towards extreme, violent behaviour. What that means is, if your Alleviation Sim indicates that you’re leaning towards, say, kidnapping and torturing someone, a new dose will be supplied. This dose will be mandatory. Yes, it does carry the risks mentioned above. Without it though, we risk a return to high crime levels.

Now, in my case, my last sim showed a slight increase in paranoid tendencies. This ties in with my initial assessment. Basically, it showed that my dose is no longer effective in keeping them at bay. I don’t really like the word ‘paranoid’ as descriptor here. It’s not like I think everyone is out to get me. Not really. I just worry. A lot. About a lot of things. And that sometimes affects my decision making.

Anyway, even if the dose is wrong now, the Neg-Vac is keeping it more under control than it has been without it. I just need to get through the next week. My main point is side effects happen. They aren’t a reason to not join the project. Believe me, an occasional headache is way better than an occasional crime.

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