In the parking garage today, as I was on the way out, someone — I think she was an intelligence analyst — asked me if I had plans to “party it up” on New Year’s Eve. Simple question. I didn’t. But it actually made me stop and think.

When was the last time I actually went to a New Year’s Eve party? Can’t even remember. Wasn’t really the social type back in my black ops days, and getting drunk was always a bad idea: Never make yourself vulnerable if you can help it. Getting drunk was something you wanted other people to do, to give you an opening.

And since I came to Coerdian and got cleaned up? Just seems too risky. All the time, I am reminded that the inside of my head is balanced on a knife’s edge. Even a little to either side of “all right,” and —

Strangely enough, I don’t think anyone has done a study of the effect of alcohol on cybernetics. Or another way to put it: how being wired affects the way in which alcohol affects the brain. Probably not much if you’re an S1. It’s a simple rig at that level, not that much is changed. But when you’re an X-wired like me, that’s a whole other thing. None of the people who put all that stuff in my brain knew exactly how it was going to affect me under normal circumstances, much less if I were to go on a drinking binge.

So I’ll stay home on New Year’s Eve.

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