The nanotech in my brain is like a gateway, a portal to the entirety of the Corporate research and training on all the known discoveries beyond the stars. It's a trip, man. All I have to do is study an object or hear the name of something and a switch is flipped and I can spout off anything that has been written in the archives about that object. It's like an out-of-body experience where I float through rows and rows of alphabetized three-ring binders. I find the one I'm looking for, flip it open, and see what's there.
So, here is what I know about N'jiarian nectar.
It is a wine made from rare fermented berries found on the bushes in the N'jiarian mountains on Mongalisonia, where my tobacco comes from. It's harvested by only the purest of heart and those who possess a lovely singing voice and an advanced degree in experimental psychology. A N'jiarian berry harvester is an elite position, sought after by many, but obtained by a precious few. It is among the most expensive liquors in the known cosmos. Rare. Dangerous. Thus, it is forbidden across the No Trade Zone.
The first sip of N'jilarian nectar is smooth and sweet. The high alcohol content hits in two stages. The first induces a kind of euphoria. Nirvana sets in. Everything is beautiful. Everyone is your friend and your heart is full of joy. You want to share all you have. That's why my mom and the others were openly sharing their bottles of the nectar with anyone they could find while I was doing the dance of love for Kenzie. Stage One is the best you will ever feel in your life.
Stage Two is another story.
I've never had N'jiarian nectar before, but I have heard the stories about Stage Two. Legend states that the mountaintop of Stage One is followed by a plunge into the deepest, darkest emotional valley imaginable. The liquor contains a chemical that seeps into your consciousness and propels you into a literal void.
I can feel that void pulling me toward it as voices fade in and out around me. My vision is blurred and lips feel like they're sliding off my face and now all I can picture is my face without lips. I'm not sure it's a good look for me. The face of Head Honcho Herpezoid comes into view. He giggles maniacally.
"Why are you doing this?" I ask in a voice that sounds like Darth Vader slowed down. He just laughs and lights up one of my Mongalisonian cigarettes.
"Merry Christmas, assholes."
Shit. Here we go.
To be continued...