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"The biggest 'screw-you' to the war on drugs since Bitcoin."

~ Tisifona Okhotnova.

Overview

A joywire is a type of cybernetic implant observed in Mechanocratic Russia, used for self-entertainment purposes. Originally devised for the entertainment industry during the Technological Singularity following the increasing popularity of cybernetics, joywires have since become a tool of criminal syndicates to make money.

Simply put, a joywire operates after locking into a socket on the side of a user's head - the joywire socket, which is often preinstalled and hooked directly to the brain beforehand. Once properly installed by a 'joywirer' and activated, a joywire begins to stimulate the production of dopamine and other neurochemicals tailored to create sensations of pleasure. This often leaves the user desensitised to the outside world around them, and particularly their own basic needs.

While it is impossible to overdose on a joywire, they tend to be highly addictive - or, rather, it is the sensations that they cause that are addictive. While 'wired', a user is prone to neglecting themselves, unwilling to relieve themselves of the joywire's euphoria. It is not unheard of for wire-junkies to be found in their own homes having expired from thirst or exhaustion - with the joywires still hooked up to their brains.

For this reason, joywires enjoy a similar status in the Mechanocracy as hard drugs, and have often been referred to as 'e-narcotics' as a result. It is illegal to possess a joywire, and manufacturing them carries a harsh sentence of fifteen years in prison. Nevertheless, despite this total ban, joywires remain popular consumer goods on the grey and black markets.

Most criminal syndicates that maintain joywire factories have taken to preprogramming their products to fail - the usual modus operandi is to have the joywires operate for a time limit, before suddenly producing sensations of intense pain. This forces the user to unwire himself and tend to their basic needs, before coming back to the joywirer to get their joywire fixed - which either incurs a heavy liability charge or wholesale replacement. That way, the joywirers keep their customers alive so that they keep buying their products, and they make more money as a result.

Trivia

The idea for, and name of, joywires comes from computer game RimWorld, where a similar bionic implant exists to boost the mood of colonists at a cost of decreased consciousness.

Their use by criminals as a method of exploiting their users for cash is directly inspired by reports of faulty Apple iPhones pre-set to stop working correctly after a period of time, thus motivating customers to purchase the next model of iPhone.

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