Low Berth vs Fast Drug

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phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm

I believe the reasons for both the drugs and low berths from CT were because they were sci-fi ideas. Many of the core concepts are carried over from CT and have issues if you scrutinize them too closely. CT started off with the LBB's, then articles and concepts in the magazines became canonical. Each iteration of the game added to things rather than looked at the entire system holistically to revamp it.

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Reynard
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Reynard » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:24 pm

Ah Traveller Rule Zero, we give you options and you pick your options to taste. I like low berth and you like fast drug. Hey, they both work now go play.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby steve98052 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:29 pm

Somewhere in canon I recall reading that people on Fast Drug can be housed in low berths without activating the suspension cycle.

One requirement for the use of Fast Drug would probably be diapers. Other than that, the main result of the drug suspension would be the hunger of a subjective full day without food, plus the aches of 60 days of physical inactivity.

The historical reasons for the presence of both Fast Drug and low berths in Traveller canon are pretty clear -- editorial deadlines in the classic edition's publishing schedule, followed by the inertia of canon. But the in-universe explanation is not as obvious; it takes some hand-waving to bring them into line with each other.

One reasonable explanation for the unpopularity of Fast Drug travel is that the aches from 60 days of inactivity are really unpleasant, and leave the person unable to function well for some time after revival. And by contrast, low berths are as safe as jump travel itself as long as revival is attended by a medic, and once the revival is completed the person is ready to go, including rushing off to battle stations for Frozen Watch crew.

- - -

Slow Drug and Medical Slow are another interesting question. The combat version has documented restrictions: it hurts when it wears off (hit points in game mechanics).

Medical Slow doesn't have documented problems, but doing 30 days of healing in a day would be tremendously costly in terms of calorie expenditure. Even without the drug, healing can be metabolically expensive; one risk people face in present day burn units is the possibility that healing will cost so many calories that the patient suffers from starvation. Accelerate that 30 to one and it's a big deal.

To make Medical Slow usable, the patient would probably have to be fed lots of intravenous nutrients -- sugars for energy and protein and micronutrients for the physical components of the healed tissues. Additionally, the patient would probably need a high oxygen partial pressure to help supply the oxygen needed for the healing.

How much higher are the metabolic requirements? A human at rest uses the equivalent of about 1200 kcal per day, about 20% of which is for the brain, and at rest means minimal voluntary muscle activity by definition. A human doing extreme athletics (an example I read was cross country skiing across Antarctica) can use 6000 to 10000 kcal per day. A patient in a burn unit can use up to 10000 kcal per day. From that we can guess that 10000 kcal per day is about the limit of human respiration without supplemental oxygen, assuming that's the limiting factor. Breathing pure oxygen could increase that by a factor of five, assuming liters of oxygen per breath is the limiting factor; a pressure chamber could increase it further, so hypothetically six atmospheres of pure oxygen would supply the needed 30 times as much respiration.

Another limitation is heat dissipation. To remove waste heat in a state of greatly amplified metabolism would probably require a chill bath and body temperature monitoring.

But not all healing is as calorie intensive as a burn unit. Maybe the limit isn't 30 times the maximum human metabolism -- 30×10000 kcal per day -- but 30 times the typical metabolism of a moderately active person -- 30×2000 kcal per day. That would still require the high partial pressure oxygen and active heat removal, but it doesn't stretch reality quite as much.

But 60000 kcal per day of nutrition and six times normal oxygen is still something that can only happen under intense medical supervision. Don't use the stuff unless the patient is under constant care of a nurse, with a doctor checking in once or twice per hour.
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:30 am

Good points Steve98052. Very science-y and fact-y! Bringing those to a Traveller discussion, well... :) :) :)

I think both Low Berths and Fast Drugs can co-exist with a little tweaking. The Fast drug (and it's companions Slow, Medical, etc) could stand some reigning in. 60 days is a pretty long time to be in a drugged state and inactivity. You could get sores from not being rotated regularly, it doesn't address the normal things like biomass still breaking down in your body and creating things like gas... Changing Fast drug to be a more reasonable time window, like say 1-2 weeks, would still make it useful for some things, but also bring it closer to the realm of reasonableness. While there may not be any physical requirements or penalties, there may be some biological ones (ewww?) that a character would have to deal with.

Low berths, with the proper tech, would still be useful. But the death part... that would make low berths illegal in most advanced societies as a way to travel. The adage "but it's cheap and affordable transport for the poor!" doesn't fly for most industrialized and advanced societies. Instead you'd just make regular transport cheaper. Even people who took the Titanic in 4th class had cramped and poor conditions, but at least they didn't book passage with an idea they were gonna die. The ships sinking notwithstanding, at the time the ship was thought to be "unsinkable". Which just goes to show you that you need to NEVER believe marketing materials.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby baithammer » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:05 am

Fast works by decreasing the biological activity, so things like blood flow and waste cycles are also drawn out. ( The end period may be messy if one didn't have a clean system.)
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:47 am

Image

Stick them in batha tanks.

For fast, the liquid will support the muscles and skeletal frame, and any damage will be immediately detected and healed.

For slow, as a medical procedure, nutrients can be directed to cells that require them.
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:09 pm

baithammer wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:05 am
Fast works by decreasing the biological activity, so things like blood flow and waste cycles are also drawn out. ( The end period may be messy if one didn't have a clean system.)
Agreed. However I was pointing out the other aspects that the drug could not affect because the decomposition is occurring regardless of what your body is doing.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby baithammer » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:27 pm

Decomposition occurs on death..

As to surface of the body, think of oral anti-fungal treatments.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:54 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:29 pm
Somewhere in canon I recall reading that people on Fast Drug can be housed in low berths without activating the suspension cycle.

One requirement for the use of Fast Drug would probably be diapers. Other than that, the main result of the drug suspension would be the hunger of a subjective full day without food, plus the aches of 60 days of physical inactivity.
Fast Drug does not turn people off, they are not unconscious, it merely slows down perception and metabolism. It's called Fast because it makes the world appear to go faster, so the affected can still perceive.

People can still eat and go to the bathroom by themselves, it just takes hours instead of minutes.

People in general dislike being stored in coffins, even if only for a few hours.
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:43 pm

baithammer wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:27 pm
Decomposition occurs on death..

As to surface of the body, think of oral anti-fungal treatments.
If you eat something and it's in your stomach acid and you consume fast drug, the drug does not alter chemistry. Ergo anything already exposed to the chemicals in your body will break down at their normal rates. Your body and it's functions can be altered by the drug, but not the physical processes. That would take a temporal effect, or a drug that alters all chemical reactions. Neither of which Fast drug can or does.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby baithammer » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:59 pm

The processing of food has a biological timing to it ( Same thing that prevents bears starving during hibernation.), all chemical functions in the body are slowed.
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:47 am

baithammer wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:59 pm
The processing of food has a biological timing to it ( Same thing that prevents bears starving during hibernation.), all chemical functions in the body are slowed.
Not to the extent you are trying to make it out to be. The stomach secretes gastric juices to help break down food, it also is a muscle that works to pulverize the food. Fast drug would (a) slow down secretion, and (b) slow down the physical breakdown of the food. But the gastric juices (which contains hydrochloric acid) would not be affected by fast drug - ergo they would continue to act at normal speed upon whatever is in the stomach.

And bears don't truly hibernate in winter. They enter a state called torpor. Bears can wake up during the winter, but animals in hibernation will not. It's somewhat of an interesting area, as animals that hibernate (birds, fish, etc) actually lower their body temperature. A bear does not. A bear is in a deeper sleep and living off stored fat, but some will wake during the winter, leave their den, but return. They do it due to a general lack of food necessary to support them. But it's not hibernation as such (even though most think it is). And while looking it up I learned that bears can even give birth while sleeping in torpor. Also, unlike humans, bears don't lose muscle mass while in their torpor. Their bodies do consume their fat reserves but they don't cannibalize their muscle mass like a human might (which, under Fast, would not happen).
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:16 am

Maybe the fast drug neutralizes the acid and slows the gastric juice output as a first step in the torporing process? It is all handwavium tech to get to the 60 days of life support extension as the rules describe. it may make very little sense chemically or realistically, but it gets the job done.

As for the perception of the people under the drug, that is an interesting point. Would they see things as a blur? Would eyes dry out and get damaged? I think it was in the book Buying time, by Joe Haldeman that a zombie drug was used to kidnap a person. They moved very slowly but could still perceive things around them.

Maybe it would be bad to see things, so masks would be important. Too much input to a slowed brain could cause problems, like looking at a Jump field.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:04 am

Stomach acid production is reduced during such process and most likely when running at this low rate a human body will be asleep or very close to it.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:54 pm

PsiTraveller wrote: As for the perception of the people under the drug, that is an interesting point. Would they see things as a blur? Would eyes dry out and get damaged?

TTB wrote:Fast drug is named because it makes the universe (to its user) appear to move much more quickly; the drug slows down personal metabolism at a ratio of approximately 60 to 1. Users are extremely vulnerable because they are living at such a slow rate; but physical aging is also slowed, and the need for consumable supplies is reduced, thus allowing conservation of air and food.
This is basically all we know.

I interpret "vulnerable" as against outside harm, a person with a baseball bat could kill a room-full of people on fast drug before they could react.

If the world appears to move 60 times faster, I assume anything moving fast would be just a blur, but two people both on fast drug would perceive each other fairly normally.

Presumably the drug works reasonably safely, so your eyes will not dry out and crack, and gastric acid will not burn through your stomach.
Survival Margin wrote:For example, medically oriented PCs could rig a system to preserve themselves with Fast Drug, which speeds the passage of time subjective to the PCs at a rate of 60-1. Players with a large supply of this drug (426 60-day doses would be necessary per person to get through 70 years while only aging 1.17 years) could rig a system to automatically dispense it to them for years at a time, or periodically wake up and re-administer it to themselves.
So we can apparently even use it safely for many years...
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Reynard » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:19 pm

"Low berths, with the proper tech, would still be useful. But the death part... that would make low berths illegal in most advanced societies as a way to travel. The adage "but it's cheap and affordable transport for the poor!" doesn't fly for most industrialized and advanced societies. Instead you'd just make regular transport cheaper."

The Medical task check should make surviving low berth a statistical certainty when the manufacturers and facilities who buy and use the cryoberth and low berth units have argued the cases before any officiating or regulating body until it becomes time test acceptable. You can say you can not guarantee 100% safety anymore than with drug reactions or the best grav vehicle with all known safety features. People take drugs, use cars and fly in jets knowing something could go wrong. We hear far too often about products today that are undercut by big companies to save money and having their lawyers tell them they can win a case if only with a 'not admitting any guilt' deal. And yet people still do it to save a buck.

Remember the Death Lottery is a gamble and gambling is based on 'The house usually wins'. The house is the starship who keeps the pool if no one dies. The captain isn't cheating if they use starport services to better handle revivication as well as using your own medical staff. Being known as a safe low berth transport is a marketing win.

Most drugs don't keep working for long periods of time. That's why the vast majority of drugs, not designed to cure in a single go, need regular reapplications measured in hours or a day or so. A low metabolism would not negate that and should negatively affect efficiency of the drug over time. It's effectiveness would break down. This make me wonder if this is the reason it's not as efficient as a low berth over time. It may have a time limit of around maybe two weeks and you can't readminister as it will not spread from the site of insertion because the body is so slow unless you wait for the person to revive before giving more. This is why it's used more in emergencies and by less scrupulous starships.
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:32 pm

Reynard wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:19 pm
The Medical task check should make surviving low berth a statistical certainty when the manufacturers and facilities who buy and use the cryoberth and low berth units have argued the cases before any officiating or regulating body until it becomes time test acceptable. You can say you can not guarantee 100% safety anymore than with drug reactions or the best grav vehicle with all known safety features. People take drugs, use cars and fly in jets knowing something could go wrong. We hear far too often about products today that are undercut by big companies to save money and having their lawyers tell them they can win a case if only with a 'not admitting any guilt' deal. And yet people still do it to save a buck.

Remember the Death Lottery is a gamble and gambling is based on 'The house usually wins'. The house is the starship who keeps the pool if no one dies. The captain isn't cheating if they use starport services to better handle revivication as well as using your own medical staff. Being known as a safe low berth transport is a marketing win.

Most drugs don't keep working for long periods of time. That's why the vast majority of drugs, not designed to cure in a single go, need regular reapplications measured in hours or a day or so. A low metabolism would not negate that and should negatively affect efficiency of the drug over time. It's effectiveness would break down. This make me wonder if this is the reason it's not as efficient as a low berth over time. It may have a time limit of around maybe two weeks and you can't readminister as it will not spread from the site of insertion because the body is so slow unless you wait for the person to revive before giving more. This is why it's used more in emergencies and by less scrupulous starships.
You are conflating accidental deaths with designed in death. These two issues are not the same. People die in plane crashes irregularly, and when there is a design defect that contributed to the accident the manufacturer gets sued and has to fix the problem. Systemic problems (usually) get fixed. Though since we are talking attorneys, people get sued when no fault is there, too... But that point is not germane to this discussion.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Condottiere » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:36 pm

The body functions are slowed to a crawl, but you'd need some form of inhibitor to do the same with chemical reactions.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:37 pm

baithammer wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:04 am
Stomach acid production is reduced during such process and most likely when running at this low rate a human body will be asleep or very close to it.
True, and already agreed to. But you missed the point, again. Your stomach contains gastric juices at all times. More is released as needed. ANY food you would consume shortly (time period TBD) prior to consuming fast drug would chemically react with the acid because that's how chemistry works.

To AnotherDilbert's point about handwavium, one could also simply assume that users of Fast drug are warned to not consume any food X hours prior to consumption or else they may experience unpleasant gas/stomach effects as a result of their body reacting to the food. Since time is slowed down so much for them the experience of an upset stomach would last for days, or weeks, to the user. Not fatal but certainly not pleasant.

No need to do any handwavium, just a potential side effect of the drug. Possibly more problematic, depending on a number of things. Certainly an interesting nugget for a referee to use if they so chose.

Yes, Condittere is correct. An inhibitor included in Fast drug, or taken with it, would also do the trick. And still stay within the bounds of science reality.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby steve98052 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:48 pm

phavoc wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:30 am
Good points Steve98052. Very science-y and fact-y! Bringing those to a Traveller discussion, well... :) :) :)
Haha, thanks.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:54 pm
Fast Drug does not turn people off, they are not unconscious, it merely slows down perception and metabolism. It's called Fast because it makes the world appear to go faster, so the affected can still perceive.

People can still eat and go to the bathroom by themselves, it just takes hours instead of minutes.

People in general dislike being stored in coffins, even if only for a few hours.
I would argue that if your biological functions are slowed 60 to one, you're not going to have the reaction speed to maintain coordination for feeding yourself, let alone getting out of a chair to go to a toilet. Food, if any, needs to go through a tube (which is a medical procedure), and toilet functions mean diapers.

I'm not sure what 60 days of external time compressed into one day of perceived time would be like. I would expect that such a drug would include a light sedative, unless the experience is something that people usually report enjoying.
phavoc wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:43 pm
baithammer wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:27 pm
Decomposition occurs on death..

As to surface of the body, think of oral anti-fungal treatments.
If you eat something and it's in your stomach acid and you consume fast drug, the drug does not alter chemistry. Ergo anything already exposed to the chemicals in your body will break down at their normal rates. Your body and it's functions can be altered by the drug, but not the physical processes. That would take a temporal effect, or a drug that alters all chemical reactions. Neither of which Fast drug can or does.
It's not just a matter of stomach acid. There are also digestive enzymes that would be present in the intestines with the food. And unless the drug also reduced the activity of gut bacteria, they would continue their activity normally, until they ran out of the digestive contents that they break down into food that we can absorb, generating the various metabolic products that they make along the way.

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